The Stressed Writer

You know the feeling: you’ve got deadline sneaking up on you, a billion things to get done, none of them done (or it sure doesn’t feel that way), or, and usually, anything you do either takes ten times longer than necessary, or you mess it up the first time around…and it still takes ten times longer. And then you’re asked to be creative, get words down on that latest project.

*Cue crazed-writer laughter here.*

How are those words going to go? If you’re like me – and many other writers I know – not well. Yes, I’m certain there are people who thrive on those last-minute, to-the-wall deadlines. I am not one of them. I can handle stress, but I don’t like it. My mind is going a million directions, but curiously, none of those directions seems to be remotely pointed at my latest WIP. 

Clearly, this is a problem. What to do about it? Since this, ahem, *might* be an issue I’m dealing with right now, let’s look at some potential solutions as well, shall we? 

  1. Can you reduce your stress-load? Are you carrying some stress that’s unnecessary? Worrying about the what-ifs and would-haves that really, you can’t do anything about anyway? Drop ’em. Are you stressing more about what you’re not accomplishing? That’s *probably* not helping. 😉 
  2. Have some fun. Oh, don’t worry, I hear your shouts and screams – “I have a million things to do, I’m already behind, I don’t have time for the luxury of fun!” And here’s where I say: sounds like you need to have some fun! As adults, often we underestimate the value and importance of fun, but when it comes to our creativity, it’s not just an option – it’s a necessity. We need to take care of that inner child who’s also often pretty important when it comes to our creativity. So have some fun. By all means, don’t take too much time, but make sure you have some. 
  3. Drop some of the expectations. There are expectations all around us – and the hardest of them are often those we have for ourselves. You’re not too old, not too slow, not too anything. Maybe you haven’t accomplished everything you wanted to in the amount of time you wanted to. Maybe your to-do list keeps getting longer, while the to-do list looks pretty short and sad in comparison. That’s okay. Celebrate those successes, and then do what you can, do your best, and just keep moving forward. All the rest is not helping you, so let it go. 
  4. Rid yourself of the guilt. Didn’t get the words written you were supposed to this weekend? Behind on your schedule? Word count looking low? Okay. So either accept it and move forward, or just leave it alone. Letting it stress you out is likely to only push you further behind schedule. So let it go. 
  5. Leave room for the story. All of this other noise? That’s what can drown out the story. So listen to your characters. Take them out to play, maybe in a scene or short-story that might never see the light of day. The point is to start hearing the seductive whisper of your story again. Then let that whisper drown out everything else. 
  6. Sit down, write, do your best – and revise in the morning. You can’t edit the blank page. So put some words down. Who knows – some of them might be better than you think. 
So, those are my ideas to move forward tomorrow. Yes, I’m stressed about my book coming out in less than 50 days (who knew installing that count-down clock would be such a terrible idea?? Note: perhaps add “don’t give your source-of-stress a visible count-down clock.”) But, I also have a scene in the next book that’s been waiting a while now: a wedding night scene where all I know is what does NOT happen. 😉 
 
I love to hear from you. So tell me, what techniques and tips do you have to write through your stress? Or reduce your stress so you can write? Or, are you one of those people who’s stress doesn’t affect their writing? Share in the comments. 🙂 
 
Thanks for reading, and wishing you a terrific week ahead. And remember: there’s always magic in the world if you look hard enough. 🙂 

A Pinterest-ingly Strange Post

One of my paintings from an idea on Pinterest

Yes, very well – I confess I *might* be playing around with my new website and taking it back out for a test-drive, as it were. And the title? Couldn’t resist, I suppose. 

BUT, there is actually a point, promise. I wanted to share one of my other obsessions… which rather conveniently also allows me to indulge in other obsessions, simultaneously. I’m speaking, of course, of Pinterest. If you’re curious, here’s a link to come find my page and boards (I’ll have to see if I can create links for that on my website.)

https://www.pinterest.com/shellychalmers5/

Here you’ll find some of my various interests (and also where I’ve spent far too many hours.) I guess it gives you a bit of insight into the kind of person I am and some of my interests. There are quite a few boards dedicated to writing. If you’re curious, these might offer visuals that I used to inspire me, especially in the early stages of the book, and when I was thinking about how to choose cover and branding images.

Writing related: 

  • Sisters of the Apocalypse Series (this board is dedicated to my Sisters of the Apocalypse series and images that inspired me.)
  • Potential Hero Inspiration board (as of writing this there are 144 pins of eye-candy here – ahem, I’m a bit surprised by that.)
  • Writing (This board is a bit of a mishmash of writing prompts I liked, inspiration, tips, etc.)
  • Potential Heroine Inspiration Board (it only seemed right since the heroes have one…though only 14 pins here.)
  • Setting Inspiration (images and ideas that inspire and spark the imagination – perhaps for stories in the future.)
  • Frozen Star Series (this one is dedicated to my Regency-Firefly space opera)
  • DLS Series (This board is a further-curated version of the Regency Paranormal Series board.)
  • Regency Paranormal Series (Another big series of mine, and lots of images here)
  • Sanctuary (My first official board for writing, actually, related to another paranormal series about the town of Sanctuary.)
  • Inspirational Quotes (I love some great quotes, many of these about perseverance and staying strong.)
After that we enter the monster-area of crafting and DIY, both of which I also adore. If you’re more curious about some of the projects I HAVE completed, feel free to drop by my other blog, Craft Room Chronicles, where I have pictures and tutorials of everything from my miniatures to paintings and other projects.
 
Crafting 
  • DIY Crafts (a HUGE board that I probably should have sub-divided, these are all sorts of projects I want to try.)
  • DIY Your Own Miniatures (perhaps the biggest board.)
  • Fantasy Dollhouse (Another biggy, I’m working on creating a Fantasy Dollhouse right now, and these are inspiration.)
  • Kids Crafts (Crafts to do with my kids, and for them.)
  • Pirate Miniatures (Another miniature project, my pirate tavern which is forever-under-construction.)
  • Quarter 1/4 Scale Miniatures (a smaller scale of miniatures, more tutorials and inspiration)
  • Miniatures (not to be confused with all the other mini-boards, this one is mostly inspiration and pretty pictures.)
  • Airbrush (a board to supposedly help me start to use my airbrush and compressor…which currently terrify me.) 😉 
  • Painting Ideas (my inspiration and attempt to get better at acrylic painting.)
  • Ceramic Painting Ideas (different patterns and ideas to paint on teapots.)
  • Polymer Clay Projects and DIY (I love working with polymer clay, and these are some techniques and projects to try.)
  • Wire Wrapping and Beading Projects (more DIY projects – I have oodles of beads.)
  • Gift Ideas (since I like making things, makes since that I have to give them away. A lot.) 😉 
  • Shadow Boxes (something new I’ve been playing with, especially since they make great gifts.)
From there, we enter the “other” category, which I’m sharing just in case you’re interested. 
Other
  • Recipes to Try (these looked yummy and easy, two of my main requirements for recipes.) 
  • Basement / decor (these are home-based DIY projects of the small-scale variety – my house can’t handle the larger ones.) 😉 
  • Outdoors (these are both DIY projects for the garden, to decking and other lovely outdoor spaces I dream of.)
  • Antique and Vintage Stoves (another obsession, I actually have a cookstove from c.1920…but still love to look at others.)
  • Kids birthday ideas (Ideas for my two beautiful girls, some of which I’ve actually used.)
  • Teapots (My husband will assure you I don’t need any more…I have at least 20 in real life, but I still like to look.) 🙂 
  • Funny (many of these are geek-type humor, and a lot of fun. Check these out for a laugh.)
  • Seth Thomas Clock (my great-uncle gave me a clock very similar to the first one shown, and I’d love to know more about it.)
So, what do you think? Yes, I have a whole lot of boards, and hopefully you found something interesting in there. What about you – do you play around on Pinterest? Do you ever make / use any of the ideas you find there? Please tell me I’m not the only one. 🙂 
 
Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great week ahead. And remember: there’s always magic in the world if we look hard enough. 

 

New Website Almost Ready!

I’ve been working hard (Read: tearing my hair out and cursing a bit), but the new website is almost ready to go!If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably seeing the new digs. What do you think?

You might have noticed that there’s also a new domain name. That’s okay. The old one will be coming back as well (because two is definitely better than one!)

What’s up next around here?

  • I’m working on formatting Must Love Plague, and once that’s all ready to go, I’ll be getting it ready for sale and you’ll get your first peek at the cover (I’ve given you a hint of the cover, but it’s so much better in person.) 🙂
  • I’m at work both on stories to go in the Shades of Beckwell series, plus working on Must Love Famine – because what could be better than a marriage of convenience in modern times…and a very dirty-minded grasshopper companion?

Thanks for sticking around, and I hope you enjoy the new place. I’m settling in, and hope to make it an even better experience for you all the time. So poke around, let me know what you think, what might be missing.

And remember, the world always holds some magic if we look hard enough.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week!

Still here, Change on the Horizon!

Hey out there!

I know, I know…it’s been FOREVER since I last wrote a post, hasn’t it?

Well, in my world a fair bit has been happening. Some good, some definitely not-so-good. We’ll start with the dark and finish up on the light side, shall we?

Dark header v2
This is one of the headers I was considering…but I think I like my current version best now. What do you think??

Last year became a bit of a challenge as, frankly, I became quite frustrated with my career trajectory and perseverance became, well, even harder. I’m so very happy for the success of my wonderful and extremely talented friends, but I’m also human. It can be challenging to see every one else seem to race forward while I linger in the dust. So, I made the decision that this year, I would take charge of my own career and, more importantly, how I determine the worth of my writing and stories. Which means I intend to enter Indy-publishing, which both excites and terrifies me to an almost equal degree.

Having decided all this, events started to move forward…and then my grandfather became very ill. No, he wasn’t a young man (94 to be exact), and honestly, we’ve feared losing him for going on a decade now with various health concerns. But ever the optimist–and stubborn as heck (something I proudly carry on)–he continued to bounce back. Until this June. His prognosis wasn’t good…and it rapidly declined. Now, I see my grandparents at least once a week, and I’m so happy they’ve gotten to know my two daughters as well. Of course, this also made it so much harder to see him decline. And then, in early July, to pass. Needless to say: not exactly the happy part. So, yeah…that’s been a challenge too.

BUT (I promised good news, remember??), drumroll please…My first book, Must Love Plague, will be released this year, October 11, 2017. Which is pretty darned exciting, and definitely some positive news. Stay tuned for a cover reveal and pre-order links which I’m getting close to producing. I’m just finalizing the formatting now, and then progress will move onto the uploading-for-sale phase.

I’ve also been working on a connected series, Shades of Beckwell, which is set in the same magical town, and offers up romances for some of the other paranormal residents. The Shades themselves are a semi-secret group based on a group of older gentlemen I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year…and who *might* have a tendency to meddle and play matchmaker. This series, and in particular the hero of this group, is dedicated to my grandfather, and which I told him about in June.

You’ll also notice some changes around here. I’ve been working on fixing up my branding and tidying up the website (which, ahem, like the blog may have been a *tad* neglected.) But there are good things ahead here, and I hope the same can be said for you out there.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and remember: there’s always magic in the world if we look hard enough.