So You’ve Finished NaNoWriMo…Now What?: Words of Advice & Flash Fiction #Writing #WritingAdvice #MondayMotivation


Slow Cooked

*Original story posted for Week 54 of Battle of the Blogs in 2016.

Her fingertips feathered the keys of her keyboard, driven by the ache to write something, anything. Words, for that still, silent moment, apart for the whistling of the wind outside her window, seemed to elude her.

She drummed her too-long fingernails against her writing desk and let out a frustrated sigh. She knew what she wanted to say, knew how to fix the mistake that was before her, she just had to muster her patience and allow the words to flow forth in their own time.

Writing from scratch and revisions never came in a microwavable package. The finished product always promised to be good, better than good, but it required the stamina of a crock pot, slow-cooked until the words fell from the pages into the reader’s imagination like succulent meat dripping from their bones.

As if savoring the aroma that wafted from her imagination, she closed her eyes and smiled as the scene played out upon her eyelids. Yes, she had it now. Her fingers, set at the ready, danced across the keyboard with the familiar music that delighted and sped up the beating of her heart into a glorious tattoo.

Like feathers upon the wind, the story floated around her, until the scene was finished, the revisions were done, and the belly of her muse was full as if from a savory meal cooked to perfection.


Many of you fantastic creatives set out over the month of November to create a literary tome of excellence. You set up your outlines, isolated plot points, and then when the first of the month hit, so too did your fingers hit the keys on your keyboards.

The adventure was fruitful, some days were more exhilarating than others, but still, you managed to reach novel status or at least get pretty close to it.

But now what? Now that NaNoWriMo has come and gone, what are you to do now?

  1. Keep Writing: Just like with the character in the short story above, you have to keep writing your story. If you didn’t reach 50k words in the allotted time that is okay. Every story, every piece of art grows at its own pace. Honor that, but do keep writing.
  2. Acknowledge your first draft for what it is: Novel status achieved or not, there is still worthy work ahead of you. Microwaves are good in the kitchen on an emergency basis, but microwave works of fiction aren’t good anywhere. What I mean is that you still need to ‘work’ your story into perfection even after you write the final words ‘THE END’. That moment is actually the beginning of really turning your WIP into a masterpiece
  3. Give yourself a deadline to finish the first draft: My first go at NaNoWriMo took me a little less than 30 days to hit novel status and 96 days to complete the story as a whole. For me (with many of the stories I’ve written…and like you, need to polish for publication) 90 days is the sweet-spot. There is less pressure to continue with manic writing, but enough of a push to keep you focused.
  4. Give yourself breathing room and time to mentally regroup: I recommend writing until your story is actually finished BUT sometimes, some narratives are so complex that your mind and muse simply need a break. Take a few weeks off if you need to. Either remove yourself from the story completely for a spell, or give yourself distance but allow your mind to gently work through the conflicts that are still ahead.
  5. BONUS ENJOY THE ROAD AHEAD: After completing 30 days of writing, you’ve earned it! Give yourself a pat on the back for coming this far. It was no small thing, but you did it!

“Be of good cheer. Do not think of today’s failures, but of the success that may come tomorrow. You have set yourselves a difficult task, but you will succeed if you persevere; and you will find a joy in overcoming obstacles. Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost.” ~ Helen Keller

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!


Doing the Groundwork: Week 6 in Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream Free Creative Course #MondayMotivation #SeizetheDream

Hello Creatives and welcome to Week 6 of Sow the Seeds & Seize the Dream 12-Week Creative Course.

This week’s module is designed to help you begin to do what it takes in order to bring life to your creative dream and vision.

In order to do anything, we must accept the fact that change is required. Many of us balk at the very word ‘change’ because it generally means that we are going to enter into a season of discomfort and the unknown, which requires a greater level of faith on our part.

Change in life requires decision making, which means we have to be decisive. If we want to live and seize our dream we have to make the necessary changes and stick with them.

In our creative process, and dare I say life in general, vision is where you take stock and figure out what it is what you want, the voice is the sound you want to make, the impact you want to create, the identity, if you will, of how you want to present this vision that you have.


Doing, at this level is more pragmatic and mental than it is a physical action. Your ‘doing’ is not just found in the tools or the actions that you use to implement what you want to do. This level of doing begins first with:

  • Seeing what you want to do
  • Acknowledging what you have on hand or available to you (Your current tools)
  • And then determining what you need to let go of in order to obtain what it is that you have coming in your next level of creativity


You need to determine what it is that is holding you back, and there are things that hold us back like weighing anchors. Here are some things that could be blocking you from taking hold of your God-given dream:

  • Relationships: You will only be as strong and capable as what you are connected to.  Being linked with people you’ve considered ‘friends’ whose aim is only to discourage instead of encourage, will always keep you down. We do ourselves a disservice when we allow others to constantly speak death over us and our dreams. Wisdom urges us to create distance from such relationships. (Proverbs 12:26)
  • Wrong Thinking: Wrong thinking which generally is the greatest culprit, will always keep us down. Yeshua Jesus tells us be it unto us as we believe, and His word further warns us that as we think in our heart so are we. What are you allowing your heart to say? (Matthew 9:28-29, 8:13; Proverbs 23:7)
  • Old Wounds: It could be that we are holding on to old wounds that we have not allowed the Lord to redeem in us.
  • Tangile Blockades: Or it could be something as tangible as living in clutter. Cluttered environments easily stifle our movement since we have limited space to move. Decluttering is a big part of letting go.

The root cause of many of these “blocks” tend to be the words of others. Hence why we must be diligent in guarding our dream. Everyone can’t be trusted with your treasure and some ‘friendships’ or romantic relationships could really be the toxins that are preventing your growth. We need to be willing to prune even if it hurts.

NOTE: I am not speaking about marriage, here. For goodness sake, do not leave your spouse in order to become a painter, or cut your mother completely off because she thinks being a writer is a waste of time. These relationships are sacred and require a completely different level of wisdom to work through. 

Simply put, you need to take stock and decide what or who it is that you need to let go of in order to take hold of what it is that I have in mind for my vision. This is the biggest part of doing. It is not easy but it is worth it!

As Tamara Lowe put it:

If people don’t respect what you bring to the table, let them dine alone.” ~Tamara Lowe


Whatever medium or creative path you are embarking on, determine what you currently have available to you.

  • Artist: If you have paper, paint, ink, clay, etc, take stock of it
  • Writer: If you have an idea for a story, write it down
  • Begin to make a dedicated create space for the road ahead

Also prayerfully consider what is holding you back. If you need to distance yourself from relationships, receive healing, renew your mind, or declutter, now is the time to do so.




  • What have you found is the most difficult part about change?
  • Is making a decisive decision something that you struggle with especially when it means change will be a result. Why?
  • Out of the list of ‘blockers’ which do you think has been your greatest obstacle?
  • How can you begin to see Christ as being bigger than this obstacle, today?
  • What advice do you have for other creatives struggling with similar challenges of change and creative blockers?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Building Memorials for Creative Success: Week 2 #SeizetheDream #Goals #MondayMotivation #CreativeMotivation

*To see previous course encouragements see the Course Content Page.

Then Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the children of Israel, one man from every tribe; and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.” ~Joshua 4:4-7 NKJV Bible Gateway

Memorial. A memorial is something that we set up to remind ourselves of important events or happenings in our lives.

Wedding bands are memorials of covenant relationships with one’s spouse. Diplomas are memorials for academic achievement. Gravestones are memorials declaring the life and death of a loved one.

No matter the type of memorial, all of them have the same purpose, and that is to call us to remembrance.

Every memorial that is set up in our lives will either spur us on to a healthy and whole future, or they will hinder us from taking the necessary steps we need in order to truly walk in our desired creative success.

As creatives, and for those of us who are people of faith, we must be mindful of the kinds of memorials we are setting up in our lives. Are we establishing reminders for success, or stumbling blocks for failure?

As we walk into the second week of this creative journey here are 3 Memorials we need to investigate; Past, Present, and Future.

Past: Where You’ve Been

  • Learn to Forget

The memorial of the past consists of its fair share of victories as well as failures. The beauty of looking back at our past is that we get to acknowledge it for what it truly is–Our past.

Sometimes our past victories can become as crippling as our failures. Remembering the ‘good’ that we did in yesteryear can sometimes be the fading glory that prevents us from pressing into the present opportunity for ‘greatness’ in tomorrow.

We can become so intimidated by our past success that we feel as if we won’t be able to reach that former glory let alone exceed it.

In Philippians 3:13-14, the Apostle Pauls says:

13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

As creatives, seeking a greater dream, we must, like the Apostle Paul, realize that we may not be at the level of success we’d like but we cannot let yesterday keep us from aiming for that level either.

We must learn to forget those old failures as well as put our past victories in their proper perspective if we are going to take hold of our future success.

  • Learn to Remember

In the same token, we have to keep stock of the victories we attained especially when the odds were against us and it seemed as if we were not going to reach or goals.

In Psalm 23, King David says of the Lord that His rod and His staff comfort him (Psalm 23) Some text suggest that the staff that David carried and referred to was a patriarchal staff passed down from father to son. On this staff were the victories over trial, and the mighty works that God had done for His people.

Being able to look back and remember how in the toughest of times we still achieved our goal is a comfort and an encouragement that urges us forward into our next victory.

If we overcame yesterday, we can surely do so today!

Present: Where You Are

Many of us creatives have found ourselves having a desired destination in mind but finding several reasons today for why we cannot get there. This often comes from looking at what you have in comparison to what you think you need, and then counting yourself out.

When we begin to see our present as insufficient in light of what we what for our future, and thus determine that it would be useless to make steps to contradict the insufficiency, we position ourselves for failure.

This is obviously not the kind of memorial we want to build.

If you are a person of faith, you must believe that the God of Creation not only gave you your creative dream and vision but that He is also aware of where you are and what you have, even in the face of what you ‘think’ you need.

Hebrews 13:5 says,

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”~ NKJV

To be content with our present does not mean that we are ‘satisfied,’ nor that we are deciding to just lay day and allow life to happen at whim. Rather it means that we have taken stock of what we currently have in hand, and with the minds of faith, courage, and ingenuity we are trusting a power greater than us to bless our steps of faith.

When we learn to move with and beyond what we have, seeing opportunity instead of lack, that we grow in our creativity and ingenuity. Genius is born when we move in faith and courage where we are with what we have available to us.

  • Remember that presently you are___________/you have_____________but you shall______________because you have faith.

Future: Where You Are Going

Where you are going is determined by how you think and what you see in your imagination. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that as a man thinks in his heart so is he.

In order for you to sow seeds for creative success, you must:

  • Learn to see yourself as successful
  • Learn to see yourself victorious in your vision
  • Learn to see yourself beyond the current odds

Overcoming roadblocks build strength, faith, and endurance. Building proper memorials enables us to do that.


  • In your journal, take the time to write down your memorials. Using the principles outlined in today’s course write down:
  1. Where you’ve been
  2. Where you are
  3. Where you ARE going
  • Speak your success: Using an index card, write down five affirmations about the successful person you are. Example: I am a success. I am original. I am courageous. Speak these out loud to yourself especially when you are feeling discouraged.




  • What memorials do you have that have helped you take the steps toward your Creative Dream & Vision?
  • How have past victories hindered or enabled you in your creative growth?
  • What advice would you share with others who have struggled to take hold of or regain their footing in conquering their dreams and goals?

Please share your wisdom and advice in the comments below.

FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS 12 WEEK JOURNEY, SEE Gearing Up to Prepare for Your Creative Success: Seeds We Sow

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Be Brave: A Quote

Promise me you’ll always remember-you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

~Christopher Robin to Pooh


Being discouraged by circumstances or challenges is easy. It’s deciding to overcome them and be victorious that takes courage and strength. the beauty is, just like with any muscle, whenever their is resistance applied and a push back given in the face of resistance, do we see strength and growth occur. our courage, our hearts, require healthy doses of resistance in order to grow strong. whatever you’ve set your heart to do, be brave in your doing. discouragement can always be turned on its head and be the stepping stone to CATAPULT you to your goal. if the dream is in you, it only means you were meant to see it as a reality. Be Brave and keep creating!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

Guard Your Future: A Quote

Stop cheating on your Future with your Past” ~ Pastor Kenny, Associate Pastor of Covenant Church

The phrase sounds simple enough, but it is often the simple things in life that cause people to stumble the most. We all know that it is true.

But then, maybe the quote isn’t that simple. What does it really mean?

To not cheat on your Future with your Past, is to not allow the “baggage” and the “failures” of yesterday-be they your own failures or those of someone else-to keep you from embracing the goodness that is ahead.  Chain

We have all heard the saying (and I paraphrase) “You can’t drive your car through the rear view mirror.” Well trying to do so is the equivalent of allowing your eye to wonder back towards the past instead of being committed to the opportunity of the present future.

If we take this attitude into a romantic relationship, constantly thinking about our old partner, we are destined for failure.

Holding on to yesterday becomes nothing short of a robbing bondage. We lose everything if we don’t let go. We have to divorce yesterday.

We as creative people, are some of the blessed few who have embraced the power of our imaginations, but even we can miss the mark by living in the past.

Shake off the chains of yesteryear and set your mind firmly on the goals ahead. Commit yourself to them and achieve them. So what you failed in your last attempts. Take on the attitude of Thomas Edison (I believe it was he who said this) by embracing the mindset that you have not failed but found another way of doing it wrong.

As the Apostle Paul said-a man responsible for killing man believers in Yeshua before he, himself, became a believer and spread the Gospel of Grace and Truth further than any other:

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 3:13-14

Let yesterday go and take firm hold of tomorrow. Do like the rapper Ma$e said, and make it your gospel; Breathe. Stretch. Shake. Let it go!


I came for the soup.dpp widgets

Invisible Hat: A poem…and Illustration

This is my invisible hat

Illustration by Candice Coates done in ink 20min
Illustration by Candice Coates done in ink 20min: : Inhibits ALL creative movements forward.”

I wear to hide from this and that

I pull down from head to knee

And block the view of the things that are bothering me

There are a few problems with my invisible hat

It hides most of me from this and that

Not just the things that are bothering me

But all the lovely things I wish to see

It does leave view of my shins and toes

But covers up my eyes, ears and nose

My mouth too is hidden from all world view

So I  cannot speak the things I wish to tell you

Nor can I show the art you might like to see

And I can hardly hear the music that encourages me

So although I love my invisible hat

I will no longer wear it to hide from this or that

I shall use it only as a lovely floor mat

To rise above the things that try to hold me back

For I know I am courageous

And that is all I have to say about that


Invisible Hat. I totally wish I had one especially when dealing with issues like HTML. Am I the only one who dreads HTML? I am sure I am in good company with that.  Or simple misfortunes like finding a $2 off coupon only to realize it expired the day before.  Going to the grocery story to get your favorite pint of ice cream only to be met by a gaping whole because your flavor is sold out. On and on and on; these little annoyances sprinkle down in a day. The funny thing about life is if we allow ourselves to carry these”little” annoyances and don’t think to shed them immediately, we can easily be weighed down and find ourselves sinking in oceans of melancholia, thus the need for an Invisible Hat.



Journey to north end: Finale

The water was like acid slicing through the dryness that had constricted his airways. It burned even to touch his tongue but called up a desperation for more from deep within him. Crell needed more.

He hacked and clawed at his throat and face, his eyes felt like heavy weights were holding them closed but at the same time, with each desperate attempt to blink the weights tore away.

“Crell?!” Rosie’s voice was panicked and muffled, but she was there, right there, her hands touching his face. “Get more water! Those things don’t like water!” She yelled at his crew.

The vessel shook again with a dizzying tail spin before jerking as if it had been caught be something from beneath. Crell tried to open his eyes again but found himself gasping for air.

1372324928s7mvsHis body seized from the stabbing chill of more water, and the burn of his flesh sucking it in again. He growled through clenched teeth, holding tightly to Rosie’s hand.

“They’re almost off. They are all almost-” Her voice transitioned from sounds of relief to shrieks of terror. Rosie grabbed hold of Crell’s shirt and pulled him closer to her, nearly smothering him.

The sounds of fear suddenly broke through the dullness of his once blocked ears as more of the growths fell away, retreating from the water. Even his eyes were free to open. He wished they had stayed shut.

The assaulting scent of the creature from below was bad enough; the stench of stagnant water laced with the body rot of other victims who had plunged beneath the blooms was paralyzing. The first of the creatures boarded the vessel, its leather skin stretched taught across jagged bone and rippled muscles. Its face was the shape of a sharp ‘v’ drawn with dark creases exposing teeth like that of a sharks.

It expanded its long clawed arms and let out a cry that forced Rosie to let Crell go. For the first time ever, Crell wished she was still holding on to him, but now she was covering her ears.

The beast stumbled forward, eyes the color of dry blood locked on Crell. “No!” He shouted as another of its kind crawled upon the vessel from behind them.

Crell could hear and breath clearly now. The water had knocked the growths free from his flesh, but he was still a goner. He could feel it in his bones.

“Rosie,” He whispered her name and clutched her hand, uncertain of why she was pulling away from him. Yes, he knew he was a dead man, but they didn’t want her. She could have at least been a momentary comfort until he was pulled below and torn apart.

But she would not stay put. Instead she shoved him away from her with such force that the creatures that hunted him cried out again lunging in his direction until stopping with a quickness that Crell could not read. It was as if they were hypnotized.

They were.

“Is this what you want?” Rosie held one of the bloody growths in her hands with several of the others to her chest. The beast from behind her hissed and caused her to stumble forward, but she did not drop her bait. “Crell, crank the engine…” She whispered as she eased forward towards the front of the vessel. The others of the crew had moved out of harms way. The creatures followed Rosie.

More cries from the predators echoed around them as the scent of blood and growths teased their drawn nostrils. An entire pack was on its way. The two on the vessel began to look at Crell again. He tried to crank faster but he was so weak. One of the creatures began to snarl and ease in his direction again, primed to pounce.

“No!” Rosie shouted, hurling one of the larger growths at the creature’s face. Before it could make its deadly move it was knocked from the vessel by the blunt force of its companion seeking after the growth that Rosie had hurled.

“Don’t stop! Crank faster!” The scrapping sound that had all but ceased was beginning to rise again. As if baiting wild hounds, Rosie tossed what was left of the growths as far away from the vessel as she could.

More pollen began to fill the air with the creature’s violent moves towards their reward, but the vessel was close, so close to North End. They were going to make it, blooms and pollen be darned! “Hold on, Crell!”

“Rosie! No!” Crell managed to push out from his belly.

Taking hold of the wheel, Rosie sent the vessel hurling forward with as much intent as she had the growths when she tossed them overboard. Wind whipped up behind them in a smokey blue trail of pollen before the vessel  groaned from an unexpected impact as its underbelly hit against a rock face that was well hidden beneath the growth of blooms.

Everyone on board shot forward in wild arcs in the air, splashing like cannon balls into the depths of North Sea.

*   *   *

Crell couldn’t help but sip up the salted water, dunking his head beneath for good measure. They were only a mile or so from North End now and he could manage the threat of dehydration. After what he had just experienced he was certain he could manage anything, even the violent slap of Rosie’s hand that had just landed against his back.

He turned to her as the burn of his slapped flesh radiated against the coolness of the salt water.

“We did it!” Rosie beamed. “We made it to North End. Well, we did, your vessel not so much.”

Crell scowled deeply at her before forcing her lips into his with such dominance that he was certain he felt her sinking. The crazy woman had cost him his vessel but she had saved his life and knocked him senseless in the process. “Yeah, we made it.” He said, pulling her back upward, smiling at her lips still locked in a heady pucker. “We did indeed.”


I hope you liked this bizarre story and found the “Ending” to be satisfying. As with all of the stories like this, there is somewhat of a tug to write more, as if what has been produced is only a snippet of a larger body of work, and perhaps this is. Only time will tell in the end.


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