3 Ways to Make Creative Time in a Busy Day: The Almighty Quarter #MotivationMonday

Quarters are AMAZING! You can do so many activities with quarters. You can do laundry, you can play a game at an arcade with enough quarters. You can purchase a cheap, hot cup of liquid motivation on your way to work with quarters.

Once upon a time, you could make a phone call in a phone booth with a quarter. Packs of chewing gum used to be a quarter!

I mean I could go on and on about how great quarters are!

May favorite quarters, however, are those within a day, made up of minutes and seconds. In a single day, you have 24 hours, 48 half hours and 96 QUARTERS! 96! Now, you are probably thinking, “What is the big deal?”

Time does not play fair. It plays mind tricks. More often than not, it will rob you, trick you and leave you frustrated…if you let it.

Here it is, as creative beings, who have full-time commitments away from our crafts finding the time to cultivate our craft seems like an impossible feat. It never fails that the excuse of “I don’t have enough time.” is used.

I am guilty of that.

Time is a formidable foe indeed. Time does not play fair. It plays mind tricks. More often than not, it will rob you, trick you and leave you frustrated…if you let it.

Here are a few ways to make time for your craft during a busy work week when it seems that extra time is simply and understandably out of reach:

1. Don’t allow time to oppress you: If you, like me, have ever bought into the lie that you don’t have enough time to write, to draw, to compose, to do whatever it is that you feel a creative hunger for just remember you have 96 quarters at your disposal.

Yes, some of them are already accounted for, but when you consider taking 4 of those 96 quarters a day and dedicating them to your craft, you would be amazed at what you can achieve.

Even if you can only spare two or even one at the most, still your creative muscles will be strengthened.

You know what it is like to be hangry. The same rules apply when we are starved of creative release.

2. Use breaks between committed tasks as creative intermissions: A great way to be fresh during the work day as you go from task to task (besides taking a nap which is also a good thing) is to do some mental cleansing.

Doodling or jotting down ideas in a journal or sketchbook for a few minutes can help defrag your thoughts and get you ready for the next phase of your day.

Think of it as palate cleansing between courses.

3. Break your quarters into dimes or even nickels: Maybe you are really pressed for time, but if you allow yourself five or ten minutes to do a quick sketch or jot down your idea, you will be branding the overall concept to your memory in a way that it will be easier to revisit later.

Five minutes here, ten minutes there and the synopsis for a short story or full-length novel, or the preliminary sketch for your next drawing or painting is done.

You may be thinking that a quarter just isn’t enough, but something is always better than nothing.

Consider how a kid under the age of ten goes bananas for a dollar. College students living off of Roman Noodles feel like they’ve hit the jackpot if they find a single quarter laying around. We need to have the same attitude as they do.

Take the quarters you have, count them up, and dedicate a few of them to your craft. Even if it is just one quarter, set it aside to do what your soul is pushing you to do, and don’t spend that quarter on anything else. You will be amazed and enriched by the beauty you can achieve.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

*This is a revision of an article written January 12, 2014

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Time: A Quote

Time is really the only capital that any humanbeing has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose. ~ Thomas Edison

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The Prophet Moses wrote in Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.” As we draw to the close of the civil year, 2016, my prayer is that each of us would take to heart what we still have left to sow during this time, and all of the blessings that are ahead. Let us make good use of the time we have, numbering each day, loving the ones around us, and creating like the world’s existence depends on it!

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

And the Woman Writes: Progress with Ascension Graveyard

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“She sat, her fingers burning with the fire to press the keys of her keyboard, her ears greedy for the familiar tattoo that sounded off along with each word born upon her computer screen. With a vengeance, she set her pages ablaze!”

Progress, progress. As you’ve noticed, instead of the next chapter to Ascension Graveyard, I have given you this…a heartfelt report.

Writing this novel has been a great study in patience for me. Currently, things are going very well. I am carefully considering what parts of former chapters will be used in the future and which will be sent to the waste bin, while also building new threads.

As it stands, I have run out of completed chapters to share.

In the past, I would have freaked out about this. Alas, I am older now and know to give myself some grace here. Creativity is a process. Revising while building takes a different kind of focus than writing a story straight from scratch or revising what has been completed.

I hope to have some new chapters soon…I say soon because I don’t want to default on a promise for next week or even the week to follow.

Nevertheless, do stay tuned. New chapters will return as we have a blog novel to complete!

Until next time.

~Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. CONQUER!

 

Waiting Like Bamboo: Learning to Take Life One Step at a Time

I’ve been asked by several people I know ‘what is your plan?’ They ask because they know my dreams. They ask because they have seen my struggle, and from their vantage point and sometimes even my own, it seems like nothing fruitful is happening.

That seeming reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

I once heard Joyce Meyer talking about growth and waiting on God. She talked about how she’d learned bamboo shoots, once planted, will spend up to five years growing deep roots before actually breaking through the surface. But once they break through they can grow a foot in a matter of hours.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” ~Psalm 119:105 

That teaching was so encouraging but the reality is, nobody really wants to wait like bamboo. We want the deep roots TODAY and the foot-by-the-hour growth TODAY.

All of this makes me think about the deceiving phrase of ‘overnight success.’ Again, one sees bamboo stretching to the sky in a matter of hours and they are led to think that its always been that way.

They have no idea the long dark pressing that the roots endured digging deeper into the earth, where no one sees, where no one gives applause, just so when the day comes for their shoots to literaly shoot toward the sky, they have roots deep enough to support the seemingly sudden progress.

I know that over the years I’ve made progress. I know this because of the evidence of the dirt beneath my fingernails and the scent of soil in my hair. I know this because my mind is still set on my goals and I have the sweat stains to prove that I’ve been working, even if only me, myself, the Lord Yeshua Jesus and the dark, are the only ones who know it.

 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” ~Psalms 37:23

I can honestly say that now I feel as if my head is moving about in the upward soil now, that the heat of the sun is kissing my crown. I know that soon I will break through the surface and shoot toward what I’ve been working for all these many years.

I just don’t know when, exactly, the breaking through moment will happen. I just know it is near.

So when people ask me while ignoring the smell of the labor on my skin or the dirt on my face, what is my plan, my answer is, to simply to trust where Yeshua Jesus shines the light on the darkness and there, take the step that is set before me.

That is my plan. Take the next step toward breaking through.

~Poeima, Poetry in Motion

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”

~Ecclesiastes 3:11

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Today is the start of a new season, a new day, a new year! As with most people, many of us are stepping forward into the newness of the unknown while leaving behind so much. Maybe you lost a loved one. Maybe a relationship ended. Maybe you didn’t lose those last 5 lbs that you planned to shed at the start of 2015. The good news is it is okay. Yeshua Jesus-the God of all creation-knows your heart, and he knows the steps you take. If you trust him, no matter how frozen the world around you may seem, soon and very soon you will see and feel the warmth of the Son (sun) breaking through the ice and revealing all the goodness of life that was being cultivated beneath the snow and earth of your yesterday! Trust He has made everything beautiful in its time. He is faithful. dance into 2016 with joyful expectation! Happy New Year!!!

The “Novelty” of Organization: Tools For Creative Planning

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One of the delights of being a creative person comes with the birth of a new idea to be created. All of us are born with an innate “creative gene,” but many of us fall short in not only starting the actually manifestation process toward creation, but the completion of the creation once we’ve begun.

When it comes to writing a full length novel from start to finish, there are several things that tend to hold us back from completing our goal.

I am going to address one of the biggest and yet stealthy overlooked roadblocks, and that is lack of ORGANIZATION.

Let me add this disclaimer. I am not a person who uses conventional outlines for my stories (This isn’t even a blog posting about outlining). In fact, I am a Stream-of-consciousness writer. (Basically I have a vague and yet concise destination for the story, but I let my free-flowing imagination get me from start to finish without putting on any kinds of creative restraints. )

I do however write down ideas as they come, and place them in a separate “spice rack” document to add into the story later.

Whether you are a stream-of-consciousness writer or an writer who swears by the trusted outline, you still run the risk of falling short of your intended goal without proper organization, and let me make that more clear: TIME ORGANIZATION.

In addition to your goal for completing a full length novel (50,000 plus words…really 70,000 to 90,000 for an adult fiction novel) you have to set long term goals that keep you focused, while at the same time keeping you from getting overwhelmed.

I mean if you only have 5 pages written why are you even concerning yourself with the cover of your novel or even the final title. First things first. Put up fences and stay in your lane.

I have written and completed several manuscripts over the years and yet none of them have seen the light of publication because they have yet to be properly polished. (One was polished and even queried…just nearly published but I am glad it wasn’t…it could use a bit more tweaking.)

Why? Because I have not organized my goals to do so and without restraints we run wild…or run nowhere. As the book of Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…”

I would like to help you all create a “vision plan” for your goals even as I strive to achieve mine.

Here is a template I’ve created to map out and achieve my novel goals:

Novel Progress Planner.jpg AGI have given myself 9 months (Novels are like babies to me, they require time and care to grow and develop) to take Ascension Graveyard from the creative mess it is today, to a polished piece prepped to be self-published at the start or close of 9 months from now.

The template is pretty self-explanatory, writing down and expanding goals from 2 weeks clear up until 9 months, while also having simple yet pointed daily goals. As the length of time grows from 2 weeks into 3 months, you notice that my tasks have gotten more detailed.

Below is a blank document that you are free to copy and use if you’d like. The basic idea for this organization came from a book on business planning, but the ideology holds true even for writers.

You will have to tweak your goals for the stage of writing you are currently in. If you are just starting a novel it is best to give yourself at least 3 months to write from start to finish.

A full length novel is 50,000 words at the least to 90,000 plus depending on genre. Science Fiction is safe at 125,000 words.

If you dedicate yourself to write 1,500 words a day for 90 days, you will have 135,000 words. This is doable for even the most tight schedules.

Novel Progress PlannerShould you choose to give this template a try, let me know how it works or doesn’t work for you. Consider even creating an organized plan for yourself with a template all your own, just make sure to organize your time and organize your vision in order to bring it to manifestation.

“Dream. Imagine. Believe. Do. Conquer!”

Cheers!

 

So I Had These Ideas, Right?: Progress Report On My Progress

Hello my friends! Let me start by telling you this random tidbit, I just LOVE Thursdays! They are like my favorite day of the week!

Okay, enough of that. On to business. And what business you might be wondering. Well the business of IDEAS, and progressive movement.

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I have been blessedly overtaken by a slew of creative ideas and organization which gives me a better view and grasp for the future I aim to take hold of.

For a while I felt as if I was trudging through muddy thoughts and false starts but now the light of creative direction is shining brightly, praise Yeshua Jesus!

The ideas are in 4 areas: Blog, Books, Blog Novel, Business

First item of said business: the BLOG.

Blog: Since I changed my blog theme a few months back to Libretto, I feel as if my blog thoughts have become more cohesive. Its like this theme has somehow taken my jumbled ideas and put them into a type of order.

I am grateful for that.

Before, I felt as if (with the blog, Blog novel and other things) I was just throwing thoughts out randomly and hoping that something would stick.

But Libretto has this snazzy way of gently separating things, and with that comes this feeling of separate and orderly thoughts. That, and the fact that since this past July I have shed a TON of distraction and excess baggage from my life that has freed up a whole lot of clear thinking space. Things are beginning to make sense…again.

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So what are my ideas for the Blog:

  • Regular Blogging Schedule & Topics: Truth be told, I have already begun to blog on a regular schedule but I plan to add a few more topics to my sharing world: Music Interludes, Words of Faith, and WRITING CHALLENGES & PROMPTS!!!!

I am REALLY excited about the writing challenges and prompts! Yes, we have Musing Monday’s, but before Monday was Tuesday and on Tuesday was some really fun and wacky writing prompts that yielded some delightful fruits.

I will begin by REPOSTING some of my older Writing Prompts starting NEXT THURSDAY. But if you’d like to take a sneak peek, you can do so by clicking the link under the FICTION TAB called WRITING PROMPTS.

  • Add more titles to My Favorite WritesDon’t get me wrong. I would like for all of my stories to be read, BUT in light of the reality that this is not the case, I am going to continue to highlight those stories I am most in love with. You can find those by clicking HERE.
  • Creating an Author Page for Published Works (COMING SOON) My goal has always been to publish my works, and I aim to do so no later than Fall of 2016. The self-titled Author Page will be up February 2016. That blog will be more geared around published works soon to hit the market, future projects and who I am as an author. (I will share more on that in the new year.)

Books: What’s on the Menu

I know that ASCENSION GRAVEYARD has been the only novel of mine (Though still unfinished…we will get to that) that the blog universe has seen, however I have over 125 titles, several have already been started and many have been completed including several rounds of revisions and editing.

With that being the case, its time to allow those stories to shine, even while AG works out its issues.

  • Revise WARDEN, and NEXUS GATE 4037: THE ANIMAL, for Self-Publication in 2016: I am super excited about these two titles as both were written during my June version of NaNoWriMo. Unlike AG, both were completed in less than 90 days, and both are part of separate series! I will share a few chapters of WARDEN (as that will be the first to be published) here on I Came For The Soup on the debut day of my Author Page! I will be expecting some feedback too folks.
  • Continue to write other novels that are whispering: I have mentioned that I wanted to challenge myself with writing straight up romance. Well, I have been doing that. Saturday nights are dedicated to my work on an Clean Read Inspirational Romance, titled “Where She Lands.” This story whispers on the weekend and I take the time to listen while I rest from AG, Warden and Nexus Gate.

What’s happening with Ascension Graveyard, your Blog Novel? 

I am fiddling with cover ideas...this is my recent attempt.
I am fiddling with cover ideas…this is my recent attempt.

Don’t think AG has been neglected even though no new chapters have been shared in a loooonnnggg while. I am still ripping it apart in order to piece it back together.

One of the biggest revelations I had to come to was accepting that although I will digitally self-publish this book in the future, I have no idea how near that future is. AG, like every story, has its own character and flow, length and detail. This story is more “involved” than I had been allowing it to be. It may end up being long, or far shorter than I imagine. But in order for it to be either I must weed out the noise that is holding it back. Which is what I am currently doing.

What I can guarantee is that the finished product, plot and all, will be completely different even from what is currently posted. Such is the world of revisions and rewrites.

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What’s the Business:

I have already given you a dim look into the world of Shizen Brook: Art Prints and Fashion Accessories, but much more is on the horizon. Learning to take my time is key. The itch to rush ahead and try to produce certain products NOW can be tough, but in order for anything to stand and stand long, it must have deep roots.

I intend to make Shizen Brook grow and grow deep. My vision grows clearer day by day. Products are being designed and my Advertising Degree is being but to good use.

I know that I am holding gold I just need to purify it, if you will.

  • Keep to production schedule: After the Holidays have gone, I introduce my late Winter and Early Spring line of jewelry
  • Create a blog to share my progress:  Although I don’t mind it at all sharing what I am doing here, I think with the direction I am headed with this company, it is best to give it its own platform. 

So those are my ideas in a nutshell. Thanks for stopping by!

Cheers!

More Time: Flash Fiction Results for Monday’s Muse October 12th

Hello there! I am making my on Thursday deadline just 30 minutes shy of missing it. Nevertheless, my Monday's Muse results are in! To take a look at the original challenge, please click HERE.

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More Time

By the time he returned to the living room, he had gone, leaving no evidence of their visit besides the old book and an empty mug, still warm from what had been inside of it.

Heart pounding, Rance rushed towards his front door, his fingers slipping off the front knob in his haste. “Christopher!” He shouted, just in time to see the break lights of Christopher’s 4×4 stop at the end of the street before pulling a hard right around the corner.

Christopher was gone.

Rance bit back a curse word and slammed his front door shut again. How had he let this happen? He had the young man, right there, in his home, all he needed to do was stall him for just an hour longer.

Blowing out a breath, he pulled out his mobile phone and hesitantly dialed his contact. He hoped by some run of luck Carol would miss the call, but she was a thorough one. She took her job seriously. She would definitely not miss his call, especially if it had to do with a client.

“Carol,” He spoke her name before she could say anything. It was best he cut to the chase. “It’s about Christopher Mulholland. He was here,”

“Was?” She cut him off. She was a very good listener. “You mean you lost him? Again?” Last time it was because of one shot too many of Tequila, this time it was because of an impromptu bathroom break. Penicillin had never been kind to him.

Rance pressed his eyes shut. “I left the room for just a second, I swear. His coffee mug is still hot.”

Silence. “What am I supposed to tell our clients?”

Rance cringed. He could almost hear Carol’s teeth grinding. He snatched the mug from the table and with it the large book Christopher had carried with him.

A piece of torn paper fluttered from between its pages and onto the floor. Narrowing his eyes, Rance retrieved it. Tell them I am not ready yet. I need more time. Please. Rance mumbled the message.

“What was that?” Carol demanded.

“It’s a message, from Christopher…he said,” Rance paused, a thread of hope working its way through him. No, it wasn’t the news his clients wanted, not really, but it was better than they could have hoped.

“He is on to us.” He said gingerly pushing the torn paper back between the pages of the book. “He knows we are working for them.”

“Oh God!”

“It’s not bad, Carol, he says he just needs time, that he is not ready yet.”

“Yet?” There was the hope Rance needed to hear. It suddenly settled his stomach. “That means he is willing to meet with them eventually.”

“Exactly. So all isn’t lost. It will just take a bit more time.”

THE END

 

I Promise: A Short Story #Blogbattle Week 22

Today is Blogbattle Tuesday. I feel as if my words are whispers today, even those that come from my fingertips and keyboard, so I will let them be few. This week's keyword is "TIME." To read more entries by blog battlers, and the creator of the Blog Battles, Rachael Ritchey, please click HERE.

I Promise

“They’ll be safe here, I promise.” His smile bloomed like the radiant sun coming from behind a cloud, and with the same tenderness, it warmed her face, and bathed her heart with gladness.

She exhaled, and hoped that the worry lines would ease from between her brow even if she couldn’t stop the fluttering that tickled beneath her chest. It was hard to leave them there. She had done this before so many years ago, but then…

Reading her thoughts, His gaze turned tender, His scarred hand kissed the crown of her head before sliding down to cup her cheek. The feel of it washed through her like a gentle summer wind. He whispered again, “I promise.” And the storm within her ceased.

She dared to gaze back upon them, the tiny, fragile seedlings that she had planted with hope within this heavenly soil. It was excellent soil, He had told her, and the words bubbled with in her belly as if they were a child come to life in her womb. It made her giggle as if she were but a child herself.

She couldn’t understand it, her heart, this sudden joy, after all the pain and storms, and then suddenly with seeds she had not aimed to plant, not so soon and not in this ground, did she find herself breathing again with hopeful expectation.

But last time, those many years ago, she had planted similar seeds, oh but they were different. She had tilled them with such adamant care, and focus, that her sight had blurred and she hadn’t noticed that their roots had been gnawed away.

No, the saplings were sick from the beginning, and no amount of water could cure them for they refused to take in the light. They didn’t want to thrive in her ground. They didn’t want to be.

It wasn’t her fault, not then, and she never would be made to shoulder the blame.

Now she was beginning anew. And although the thought exhilarated her with fire and joy, she was still hesitant, even as she dropped the new seeds into the ground. “It will be different this time?” She asked, clutching His hand, feeling the warn scars that were His signature of truth. He could be trusted. He had carried her for so long. He had brought her here.

“It will be different, better, far better than you can imagine.” He swept the air with an arching arm and a rainbow bloomed upon the dew and light. He said, smiling again with more warmth. “Just give it time. I promise.” With that He took her hand and led her by the still waters where He refreshed her soul and made her to rest.

THE END