Good Launch Weather

by Kristy Horine

My husband went into the hobby store for a battery tester. The tester was for the wireless stomp pedal that turns the pages on the iPad where he stores his music sheets for the trumpet he plays on Sunday mornings.

He’d been having trouble with the stomp pad. He attacked the problem like he usually does: a serious process of elimination.

First, he changed the batteries. Then, he played around at the angle his feet hit the silver depressor buttons. Then, he jumped online and waded into every forum he could find on stomp pedals. Then, he watched a few YouTube videos. Then, he landed in the hobby store to find all the right wires, gauges, and alligator clips necessary to test batteries.

“Ah.” He nodded his head, rubbed his chin a bit.

Turns out, there was something wonky with the wiring inside the stomp pedal connecting the batteries to the device.

Also turns out the warranty had recently expired.

My husband ordered a DC adapter. He can still use his devices and toot his horn.

Still, there was something that just wouldn’t let go of him. Something that kept him staring into space, rubbing his chin, zoning out on conversations.

It wasn’t long before I received a text. “I’m in the hobby store. Think Sadie would like to shoot off a rocket?”

And so it began.

Each step of the build, a grown man and his five-year-old daughter glued together much more than Part A to Part B. It wasn’t long they had a completed rocket. My husband opened an app.

“Good launch weather.”

We trudged over the fields – the rocket and we three.

A connection here, a countdown there, and the rocket was off in a whoosh of flame and a cloud of smoke. It reached an apex and began a descent. The parachute failed to deploy. The rocket plummeted to earth.

My husband shook his head.

“I’m sorry for the launch failure.”

My mouth fell open a little.

“Are you kidding?!? That launch was perfect. The landing was a little iffy, but the launch was fantastic!”

The rocket lived to launch another day – five more times, to date.

So, what does this have to do with writing?

Everything.

We have a problem, a need or a want, an assignment, or a story spark. Sometimes the writing comes fast, the words falling into perfect places. Sometimes there’s a distraction and one thing leads to another. We go in for a tester and end up standing in a field by a launchpad. T-10 and counting.

There are times we know the beginning. There are times we think we know the beginning. Often, we can only guess at where or how our work might land.

No matter the unknowns, dear writers, today there’s good launch weather. It’s T-10 and writing.

Click-to-Tweet: How is writing a story like launching a rocket? Good Launch Weather – @Kwriteone via @InspiredPrompt – The Emotional Highs and Lows of Writing


Writing Prompt – Using this story starter and photo, write an opening paragraph:   “The heather is blooming on the mountain,” Oriole said. “I’m longing to go.”

I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived!

By Jennifer Hallmark

I am a writer. My job in life is to pen words and share them with my world: family, friends, social media, and the Internet. My mission statement is “to write with God and bring hope and encouragement through my words, both written and spoken, to everyone I meet, both online and in-person.”

And on top of that,  I just found out that my debut novel, Jessie’s Hope, finaled in the Selah Awards. Did I actually have the audacity to take time off?

Yes.

In taking a month’s sabbatical, my mission statement would be somewhat placed on hold. I found not writing extremely hard. After all, my life had been wrapped up in this chosen profession since 2006 when I attended my first local writing class. Fourteen long years of studying, writing, being critiqued, more writing, more studying, and attending meetings, conferences, and retreats. I’ve read over twenty-five books on the craft, listened to numerous podcasts, and taken tons of classes: in-person and online.

Factor in writing a few hundred blog posts, interviews, guest posts, three full novels and a couple of half novels and you can see I haven’t been idle when it comes to this writer’s life.

And that was part of the problem.

At first, I loved all of it. My hobby proved to be fun and for five years, I enjoyed penning words as a pastime. Then, I wanted more. Maybe a published author and, gasp, being paid money for something I’d written. Was that too much to ask?

My writing went to the next level starting with me attending the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference with lots of other writers. And work. My hobby became a job, second to being a mom and housewife and chicken farmer. 48,000 baby chickens raised every six weeks to be exact. Life was full but enjoyable.

My children grew up and moved out and before you could say empty nest, I had six grandchildren. Then my stepdad passed away and Mom moved nearby. As I think back, I really didn’t enjoy the grown children stage the way I would if I had it to do over. Parents, my word of advice: Enjoy the empty nest while you can.

In 2011, we sold our chicken houses and I started writing full-time.  And babysitting. And helping Mom as the only sibling in the state. Then a good friend became a widow and another good friend died. Life suddenly started to drain the life from me. Add in a few health issues of my own and I was totally being set up to fall apart. The plates I’d kept spinning for so long began to fall, one at a time, until I stood amidst broken glass, mourning so much change and so many losses.

So, I wrote faster. With longer hours to try and purge my soul of the pain that was piling up on me. I thought I could put these sorrowful thoughts on paper and they’d magically disappear. But they didn’t. I reluctantly contacted a therapist because I knew I was on the verge of a breakdown but didn’t know how to stop it. My first assignment? Read the book, Boundaries, by Henry Cloud and John Townsend.

Life-changing. The book and my therapist began to show me what I’d done wrong. No boundaries. No self-care. An aging body and more people who needed me. So I made changes. I started going to the gym, then changed my diet. See my article on my new way to eat.

From January of 2019 until today, I’d lost twenty-seven pounds and kept it off, then added strength training. I felt so much better physically. But setting boundaries was still hard for me. I’m one of those people who found it hard to say no but I’m learning. Self-care became more of a way of life and everyone around me is benefiting from it.

My only problem? I was still totally and completely mentally burnt out. You can’t keep it all going, seven days a week like I had for too long of a time. I had spent less and less time with real people and more time in my office and I became emotionally burnt out too. We were created for relationship and hiding doesn’t heal anything.

I made a major decision. Eight months after I’d released my first novel and with my agent shopping my second novel, I would take a month off.

February would be a time of renewal which also happens to be my word for the year. No writing fiction, articles, and no social media. More family time. Did you miss me on Facebook or Twitter? Probably not but somehow I’d gotten in my head that I was indispensable to the online world. And guess what I learned?

Social media went on without me. My book sales did drop a little without me marketing but not as much as I feared. And the rest and peace I received were well worth it.

I went back to work on March 2nd with more wisdom I hope, planning a four-day workweek for now. I have a planner to help me stay on track and am penciling in “me” time, a lot more than I ever have before. And it’s okay.

Everyone has to work with who they are and what their situations are in life. I tried to pretend it all didn’t bother me and failed miserably. But God, my family, friends, and writing buddies didn’t turn their backs on me. My blogging friends at Inspired Prompt kept the blog running. My family gave me some space and though the needs were still there with the grandchildren and Mom, I learned to say no or wait or soon. Not always yes, this minute.

Does anyone out there relate to this at all? Maybe you could share a comment below and tell me how you handle it all. I’m always thankful for suggestions as I journey on this new part of life…

Click to tweet: I Didn’t Write for a Month…And Lived! #amwriting The emotional highs and lows of writing. #WritingCommunity

Life Interrupted

Congratulations! You’re finally writing that best-seller. The words are flowing, your characters are playing along, and your plot is mind-blowing. Life is good. Then it seems everything that can go wrong suddenly rises to meet you.

During these unexpected interruptions, you may find it hard to focus on your WIP. Don’t worry. There are still things you can do to keep your skills sharpened.

Time Management

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen JurgensLast year brought my writing time to a halt as I faced more responsibilities with elderly family members plus my own health issues. As days turned to weeks and weeks into months, it became necessary for me to write on the go. Here are a few places I found time to write.

Waiting in the doctors’ offices

In the nursing home parking lot

Waiting for my daughter to get out of class

While riding on long trips

While cleaning and cooking

Writing on the go isn’t easy. But with a little imagination and creativity, you’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll have written by the end of the week! Now, let’s look at what we can do with those words.

Goals

During difficult times, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with a project. If yours is a long-term interruption, why not set smaller goals. If you can’t work on your story, work on smaller pieces. Write articles, devotions, or short stories. Each small goal will hone your skills as you wait. The most important thing is to keep writing and reading.

Reading

If you are a writer who can’t write unless you have absolute solitude, try reading. Reading will hone your editing skills. Reading a well-written book makes you aware of plot patterns and sentence structure. It will also fill your creative tank and get the ideas flowing once more. Keep those ideas tucked away in a safe place until you can begin writing again.

Self-Care

I want to add a caveat here. If you are facing a physical ailment, family responsibilities, or the loss of a loved one, take some time off. Do not feel guilty for needing time away from the computer. The book will be there when you are ready. Your health is the most crucial issue. There is only one you. And guess what, you can’t do everything. Believe me. Take care of yourself.

Remember, God holds it all in His hands. He knew everything that would come our way on this journey. His timing is perfect. Our jobs are to submit to His plan, follow His directions, and be ready when the time comes to share what He’s given to us.

Happy writing, dear friend!

Click-to-Tweet: Learn how to deal with life’s interruptions. You might try writing on the go. Life Interrupted by @lgjohnson87 via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt

Use your imagination and write down ways you can continue writing when life brings interruptions.

Resources for the Healthy Writer

By Jennifer Hallmark

Resources. They’re gold to any writer. They rate right up there with research and time. But I’m not talking about a new computer, online classes, or a critique group. This month, we’ve shared articles on lessons the Crew has learned when it comes to physical health. Did you miss any?

I hope you enjoyed the articles as much as I did and learned a lot about fitness. Would you like a few more resources?

Books

Apps

Self-care is important to writers. I haven’t always listened to my body and I’ve paid dearly for ignoring the warnings. But I’ve started changing the way I look at myself and my writing and you can too.

Click to tweet: Writing and good health can go together. And we share some resources that you might find interesting. #WritingCommunity #health

If you know any great resources, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your ideas! 

Writing the Healthy Way

Let’s face it. Sometimes, it takes a wake-up call to help us see what’s right in front of our faces. And for “why” people (waving hand), it takes understanding why something is necessary.

itsawriterthing.tumbler

My wake-up call came in 2010 when I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease, Sicca, also known as Sjogren syndrome, arthritis, and bi-lateral frozen shoulders. For one who didn’t like taking breaks, drinking water, or eating balanced meals, my life was about to change.

Although the diagnoses explained all my symptoms, it didn’t give me the answers on how to change my lifestyle. The whys came by years of research. Hello, Google.

Relaxation

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease that messes with your cognitive abilities, among other things. If I get overly tired, I struggle to make decisions and suffer memory lapses. On those occasions, I take time away from everything, returning when I’ve rested.

Unfortunately, I can’t always control my schedule. Life has a way of interrupting our normal. What I can control is my nutritional intake. I do this by feeding my brain the necessary nutrients.

Nutrition

The way we eat affects our brains and our moods. Too much sugar weakens brain function and may worsen mood. Foods to avoid are refined carbohydrates, food high in trans-fat, highly processed foods, Aspartame, alcohol, and high mercury fish.

You may be asking, well, Gail, what do you eat?!

The omega 3 in fish is great for the noggin! Dark green vegetables improve memory too, along with berries and walnuts. By eating more vegetables and fruits, I have energy without the pain, and I think clearer.

 

Hydration

A good word for Sjogren is dry. You can’t swallow food or breathe when your nasal passages and throat feel like a desert, so I’ve learned to drink the required amount of water each day (that reminds me, I’ll be right back).

Hydration has become a way of life. A water bottle is always with me. Coffee is limited to one cup. Sweet tea with lemon and Dr. Pepper are treats for rare occasion. Hey, I get tired of water, but it’s a necessary element for good health. 😊

Want to think clearer? Drink water. Your brain is made up of 73% water. How about breathing better? Your lungs are 83% water. Want supple skin. Your skin is 64% water. Lastly, your bones are 31% water. (I’ll wait while you get that water bottle.)

Action

As writers, it’s necessary to sit and type for hours. But this disease has made it necessary for me to move. Experts advise moving every hour to counteract the dangers of sitting. Some suggest every thirty minutes.

I often do household chores or fold clothes while writing, carrying paper and pen with me. I exercise by walking outside, on a treadmill, or riding a stationary bike. The idea is to get my heart rate up and keep it up for 30 minutes to build stamina, reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and lubricate joints. My favorite thing is cleaning yards, especially raking and hauling leaves to the burn pile. Pulling a tarp or pushing a wheelbarrow always does the trick. 😉

Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for me. If I want a body that will take care of me, then I must feed it the right nutrients, get the needed rest, drink plenty of water, keep moving, and write the healthy way!

 

Learn More:
The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain
How Many Hours of Sleep Do You Really Need?
4 Types of Food to Help Boost Your Memory
Your Brain On Food
2 Minute Walk Every Hour May Help Offset Effects of Sitting

Click to Tweet: “Do I ever fall off the wagon? Honey, I’ve jumped and rolled down the incline. However, I’m learning everything that tastes good, is not good for you.” ~ @GailJohnson87 via  @Inspired Prompt  #writing #health

Writing Prompt

Ding. 
Jane’s hands paused over the keyboard. She couldn’t stop, now! She glared at the kitchen timer.
To lower your blood pressure and reduce stress, you must start moving, Miss Reynolds.
In the scene, tell if Jane obeys or ignores her doctor’s instructions, giving reasons for her decision.