Posts tagged with: Creativity

The Magic *Ping*

Last year about this time I told my close friends and the people I work with that I didn’t want to travel in the spring of 2014.

Ping airplane2I have several trips I usually make at this time of year.  Been making those trips for six or seven years now. For y’all who might not know, spring is the start of conference season for writers, and there are all kinds of events for readers–luncheons, teas, weekend events where readers meet writers…you name it. 

I LOVE those events.  I love meeting and getting to know people.  I love readers and I love talking about books.

Beyond that, I get together a couple of times a year with a few of the other Banditas  to talk about our books, throw around ideas, and brainstorm new books and series.

It was hard to say, “I’m not traveling in the spring next year.”  Because tPing bulbs 2014hat meant other people had to bend their schedules for me. 

But it had to be done.  Because each year when I’ve had to leave during March, April or May, I’ve mourned.   I realized last year that each time I’ve been gone in the spring, I’ve missed something really important.   This past year I knew I had to make a change.   I need to be home in the spring for a specific reason.

This is when the creative magic happens for me.  The magic *ping*– that moment when the soul resonates with something so profoundly that you just have to stop in your tracks and soak it in.  It is those moments when you feel the kind of deep peace that reconnects you to who you are.  It is the moments that heal you–the kind of things that awaken your creative soul. 

ping bulbs 2014 5The most powerful *ping* for me is found right here in my own yard. 

It is watching my flowers bloom as soon as the weather turns warm.

Something revives in me as I watch the world come to life in the early part of the year.  With the awakening of the earth after the dearth that is winter, my soul comes alive as well.

Maybe it’s that I love flowering bulbs just about more than any other blooming plants.   There’s something  reminiscent of the eternal about planting bulbs in the fall and having them bloom the following spring.  It sparks some magic inside me. 

Sinking bulbs into the cool earth during the death of autumn, to wait through the long, cold winter, and have those bulbs sprout into a glorious, colorful resurrection in the spring…

That does it for me.ping bulbs 2014 2

I’m not the least bit religious any more.  But it’s a little hard for me to not believe in a creator when I see that happen.

This winter was a long, cold one here in the United States.  At least in most parts of it.

I’m really, really glad that I have this season with no travel.  I’ve been able to witness the glory of the resurrection of nature and my garden every day so far this year.   It has awakened the creator in me.

I asked Bandita Donna what does it for her.  She said,  The ocean.
There’s something about the tide coming in and the eternity of it that soothes my soul.  And the sound..
.I love the sound of waves.  Definitely the ocean for me.”

I feel the same way about the ocean, actually. Sometimes I use a recording of ocean waves to lull me to sleep at night.   But I live in landlocked Kentucky, so don’t see much of the real thing.  I have to travel to get it. 

So I asked Bandita Jeanne what did it for her.

“Buildings,” she said.  ” Old ones.  Imagining what to do with them, where they could be utilized.  Renovation, of course.  Adaptive reuse.  :>  Houses. Gardening.  Hanging with the dogs/walking with them. Cemeteries.”

All of those except cemeteries do it for me, too.  No wonder Jeanne and I are evil twins.

Every writer has ping bulbs 10some kind of background story. Some upbringing that made him who he is today, or  life events that have shaped her into the storyteller she is.  For me, it is my childhood on the farm, what I learned from the old folks around me, from working with my dad, and from gardening with my grandmother, the one us grandkids knew as MotherGrant.  

MotherGrant was a creator in her own right.  She had a green thumb.  Shorthand for a gift for growing things.  She had an 8th grade education (that was considered graduating when she was a girl) but she could mix a little sunshine, a little water and a few seeds with a bit of dirt and her own magic, and with that concoction she could create the most beautiful garden you’ve ever seen.ping bulbs 2014 3

I’m not her.   I’ve got a higher degree in horticulture, but I’m not that good.  

Still, when I put my hands in the dirt, something happens.  I can feel her beside me, urging me on, telling me just how deep to cover the seeds, and just how much water they need. 

Maybe it’s that connection with her that makes me need the spring so much.   I dunno.  But when the winter starts to give way to warmer weather each year, I start watching for the bulbs to emerge from the ground, and when I see the green shoots grow and spring into glorious blooms, the creator in me comes to life.   I feel the *ping.*

I took all these photos (except for the jet) in my yard tonight.  And with every moment I was out there, I felt more whole.  I felt that *ping* of “Yeah, this is who I am.”

ping bulbs 2014 8What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

What do you look forward to in the spring?

Is there some place, like the ocean, or the mountains, or some activity like skiing, painting, knitting, or playing with your grandkids, that connects you to your inner self, lets you hear your muse, and brings you peace?

Maybe it’s a town, hearing certain music, or maybe even a person that brings you back to the core of who you are, and makes you go “yeah, all is right with the world for this one moment.”

What is it for you that makes the magic *ping*?

No use of photos without written permission by owner. All flower photos © Cassondra Murray.  Jet photo–Wikipedia.

What lurks in your subconscious mind? Ask Kelly L. Stone

I first met Kelly Stone via Dianna Love. 

Then I got to know her when we met at conferences, and found out that  Kelly wears a lot of hats.  Among her “jobs” she’s a licensed therapist and a fiction writer, but she also has a series of books about how to break through blocks, use the subconscious mind to find answers to life questions, and tune into the inner self. 

I was hooked.

Whether you’re a writer in a knock-down-drag-out fight with a character or plot, or a teacher trying to figure out whether this is the right  time for that big job move–the one that will take you from Boston to AKelly Stone photolbuquerque–Kelly’s techniques work, and they’re fascinating.

Sven is behind the bar, and the regular lair staff is on hand to serve goodies.  Bandits and Buddies, Find out about the creative struggles and  inner workings of your favorite authors as we welcome Kelly L Stone to the lair.

Cassondra:  Kelly, our Buddies love to get to know our guests.  Will you tell us where you grew up, and  how you came to your love of books and writing?  Was creativity encouraged in your family?

Kelly: I grew up in a one-traffic-light town in the panhandle of Florida. Creativity wasn’t necessarily traffic light 2encouraged in my family, but I’m fortunate that many of my relatives are talented and practiced their various crafts on a regular basis- in my immediate family there’s an accomplished oil/water color painter, two musicians (piano and flute), and a published author-all this creativity rubbed off on me. I saw discipline and artistic struggle first-hand.  Probably the greatest influence on me  was my late father, who was the most prolific reader I’ve ever known. He regularly encouraged and praised me for reading books.

 Cassondra:  *takes a glass of Cabernet from one of the Hockey Hunks*  What’s your first memory of books?

Kelly:  *accepts her glass of club soda*  Going to the public library with my father when I was four and being literally in awe of the place; the world seemed vast and full of infinite possibility.

 Cassondra:  I can relate to that.  If it weren’t for the library, I’d probably be a different person…or a different kind of person.  Do you remember the moment you first wanted to write?  What was that like? 

booksKelly:  I don’t recall it being a conscious decision necessarily–as a kid, penmanship and literature were always my favorite classes at school. Going to the library was my favorite activity and that’s where I usually spent my summers.

Making the shift from reading to writing seemed natural to me, and I gravitated to it without much conscious thought. In my interviews with other authors, that’s seemed to be the pattern- most writers are drawn to books and reading at an early age, and then naturally move to writing out of a love for all things books.

 Cassondra:  In your About Kelly section of your website, you mention that as you grew older and  went to college, then moved to work, life began to intrude on the creative process for you.  I think this happens to an awful lot of creative people, whether they want to paint, sculpt, play music, design and build furniture, or write novels. 

Will you talk about that time in your life, and what was happening?

 Kelly: It was what I call my *Burning Desire to Write* stirring to life; I was in my early thirties and devoted very little time to my creative process. I did some journaling here and there but didn’t see my way clear to how a person could write for a living. I had no sense of how to publish a book or even get started with writing; I just knew I was frustrated and needed a creative outlet.  Looking back, I think I recognized on some level that I needed a plan for getting started and the discipline to make the plan happen.

 Cassondra: How did you get yourself going again?Stone Time To Write

Kelly: I started researching how to get published (this was before the days of the Internet, so this research was the old-fashioned kind- in the library with the card catalogue).

I decided to try my hand at magazine articles first because articles didn’t take as long to write as a book.

It just so happened that I was also at this time volunteering with an animal welfare group that was working to strengthen animal protection laws. I had this idea that the work this group was doing would make a great women’s magazine article. As I mention in TIME TO WRITE, all you need in one good idea. So I took that idea and ran with it.  I wrote a query letter to Family Circle magazine; it was accepted and resulted in my first published piece in January 2005. 

Shortly after that an essay I wrote got published in Chicken Soup for the Sister’s Soul. These two events gave me a lot of encouragement.

 Cassondra:  I just don’t see people with “accounting block.”  And I have no doubt that accountants use just as much of their creative brains to solve problems as do writers, painters or landscape designers.  Why do you think writers and artists—those in “creative pursuits” are more commonly affected? 

Kelly:  It’s because you’re creating from scratch-you’re making something out of nothing, and that’s hard to do. It stirs up all your fears and self-doubts.

Cassondra:  Interesting.   There must be an awful lot of us trying to write and getting stuck, because you have  three titles centered on helping writers move forward with their projects.  Tell us about those?

Kelly:  Yes.  TIME TO WRITE: No Excuses, No Distractions, No More Blank Pages was written after I published my novel, GRAVE SECRET, and I got tons of questions about how I found the time to write a novel while working full-time with a family, etc.

Stone Living WriteTHINKING WRITE: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind is about how to access the power of your subconscious mind for creativity purposes. 

And  LIVING WRITE: The Secret to Inviting Your Craft Into Your Daily Life is also about the power of the subconscious mind and how to use it for success and writing.

 Cassondra:  How did you make the decision to write books to help other creative people break through the blocks that keep them from working?  Did your own struggles with creative work play a role in that decision?

Kelly:  Sure. As I said, I wrote TIME TO WRITE because after I started getting published, so many people asked me how I found time to write. THINKING WRITE and LIVING WRITE are based on my work as a licensed counselor and helping others to recognize and use their own innate strengths and abilities.

Cassondra: You live in one of my favorite places on the planet–the Gulf Coast in the Florida Panhandle.  It’s gorgeous there.  Do the beach and ocean play roles in your creative process? 

Kelly: I grew up on the Gulf Coast and love it here, but like most writers, I can write anywhere-that’s a matter of discipline instead of location. But having a great view doesn’t hurt!Kelly stone pensacola-beach

Cassondra:  I know our Bandit Buddies love to get glimpses into the writing life and how their favorite authors work.     What common issues have you seen that keep fiction writers like us from getting their work on the page to make it available to our beloved readers?

 Kelly: I think it’s two-fold:  the main problem is that, for whatever reason, we don’t treat writing like it’s important. Just the other day I had some unexpected time to write, but instead of getting into my WIP I started making a list of everything that needed to be done- laundry, house cleaning, getting the oil changed in my car. Finally I said to myself, “You’ll do anything to avoid writing, won’t you?” and made myself go sit down at my desk and write.

The other problem goes back to the fact that good writing is hard, and writers tend to be their own worst critics.  It takes courage to write-and to keep writing.

 Cassondra:  One of the most interesting and unusual aspects of your book,  THINKING WRITE, is that it’s chock full of exercises and techniques for tapping into the subconscious. Are those exercises derived from your work as a counselor?

Kelly: Yes. The techniques are a variation of things I’ve taught people over the years in terms of learning to work with the power of the subconscious mind.

Cassondra:  *sips her wine as she formulates a question* In all the shelves of writing books I own and have read, I’ve never seen these ideas taught as a method to help creative people.  Why do you think writers and other creative people need these techniques?

Kelly: People generally don’t make use of the tremendous power of the subconscious mind. The techniques in THINKING WRITE and LIVING WRITE are geared toward helping people tap into their own innate resources. The techniques are easy to learn and easy to use.

kelly stone stuck in a rutCassondra:   I know I’ve been “stuck” before, not only in my writing, but also in life. 

A few years back I was stuck in a job that I liked on some levels–I loved the people I served– but I knew it was sucking the life out of me.  Try as I might, it felt like I couldn’t make the shift I needed to move myself out of that rut. I just Could. Not. Move.  It took a major life event for me to be willing to leap when I couldn’t see the net.  It would’ve been nice if I’d been able to make that shift without the drama—or the trauma.

Are the techniques you teach useful for everyone—let’s say someone who either feels stuck the way I did, or is having trouble making an important decision and just feels stumped?

Kelly:  Absolutely. The techniques help you access your subconscious mind’s guidance, and once you do that you can use them for any problem, any issue, not just creativity.

 Cassondra:  Can you give us an example of a short exercise anybody could do to help make that shift? 

Stone Thinking WriteKelly:  Sure. Dreaming is the most common way the subconscious mind tries to get information to the conscious mind. Everyone dreams, whether you remember your dreams or not.

I have a technique I call “Dream Solution.”  You can use it for any problem, but here I’ll focus on when you’re having a plot problem. For a few minutes before bedtime, focus on your problem and formulate a question.

For instance, “Subconscious, what is the next scene in my novel?” Ask your subconscious mind to give you a dream with the scene, then be prepared over the next few days to receive the answer.

Depending on how your subconscious communicates with you, it might be a dream or it might be a hunch or a flash of insight when you’re driving your kid to school the next day.

 Cassondra: And for non-writers, how does that translate into the everyday?

Kelly:  This technique can be used for any life problem; anything you need help from your subconscious on, ask it directly. For instance, “Subconscious mind, tell me if I should accept this new job or stay at my old one.”  Sometimes it helps to write the question down in advance, and then be prepared to receive your answer in the next few days.”

Cassondra:  Speaking of that subconscious influence, will you tell us about yoStone--Gave Secretur first full-length novel, GRAVE SECRET?  How did that story happen?

Kelly:  GRAVE SECRET came about when I had characters show up in my head and start talking to me. They told me their stories and the only way to make them shut-up was to write it down.

This happened around that time I was writing for magazines and I was constantly seeking new ideas for articles, so my creative mode was full-on. It was only after I wrote TIME TO WRITE and interviewed 130 authors that I realized that having characters show up like that and start talking wasn’t all that unusual (thank heavens!)

 Cassondra:  This is a women’s fiction novel, not a romance, but the blurb is so compelling!

Twenty-one-year-old Claire Bannister has just been released from a Florida mental hospital, where she spent over three years on the forensics unit for arson and murder-crimes to which she pled “not guilty by reason of insanity.” The trouble is, Claire’s innocent.

She knows who really set the house fire that killed her siblings on that balmy night in Pensacola, but she can’t tell. And she knows that her stepmother and lifelong nemesis, Sisley, will be watching her every move. Sisley never believed that Claire set the fire that killed her children, and now Sisley will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Claire flees to Tampa, unaware that Sisley is having her followed.

Claire is on a mission to find her boyfriend, Billy Powers, who disappeared the night of the fire with a briefcase full of cash extorted from Claire’s powerful father, Judge Oren Bannister. Will Billy still have in his possession the one item that Claire must get back from him?

Confronted by one dead end after another, Claire finally marries Richard Quenell, a handsome and wealthy attorney with a few secrets of his own. Claire conceals her past from her new husband, a decision that has disastrous results. When Claire, Sisley, Billy and Richard finally square off, the consequences will be devastating, and Claire will be faced with a decision that could change her life-again.

 Cassondra:  What’s next for Kelly?  Are you working on a book at the moment? 

Kelly:  Yes! You know that situation I mentioned with GRAVE SECRET where the characters showed up and talked to me? That happened again and I’m in the process of writing another novel, this one set in the time of Atlantis. I also have a proposal in the works for another non-fiction book.

Cassondra:  *lifts glass in a toast* Excellent!  I love the whole Atlantis mythology. 

Okay time for fun!  Kelly has questions for all of you, and she’s offering a giveaway. She’ll be online throughout the day, so post your answers for Kelly’s feedback on you and your subconscious mind.   

Kelly:  Here’s a quiz I call “Meet Your Subconscious” that you can take to learn how your subconscious mind communicates with you.

1) Do you ever get hunches? Think of a time you had a hunch that was correct and what happened.

2) Have you ever had a dream that resolved a problem for you?

3) Do you ever hear or see things, like flashes of light or hear your name called, right before you fall asleep at night?

Cassondra:  OOOO…I love it!  I get hunches all the time!

Bandits and Buddies, post your answers to be in the drawing.  Are you thinking about making a change in your life?  Or do you feel stuck in a rut?   Kelly is offering your choice of a 5 page critique or a 20 minute phone coaching session.   Do you know an aspiring writer who could use the coaching or critique?

Read Kelly’s official bio, and find out more about her on her website www.KellyLStone.com

Different Creativity

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

No doubt about it, we are a creative bunch here in the Lair!

You would think that statement would be a no-brainer with a bunch of writers, but actually, creativity takes a lot of different forms. Just off the top of my head here are some of the Banditas’ other creative endeavors:

  • Donna MacMeans paints in oils
  • Tawny Webber does scrap-booking
  • Cassondra Murray is a musician and songwriter
  • Joan Kayse is an award-winning baker
  • several of us (myself included) do various kinds of needlework

Not a thorough list, by any means, and I won’t even attempt to mention all of the creative endeavors of our Bandita Buddies, or this post would run on forever! Creative people always seem to find ways to channel their energies into artistic feats.

I’ve been thinking about this diversity of creativity a lot since a couple of weekends ago when the DH took me to the college where he works to see some of the student art work (and some of his latest efforts too). I’m always amazed at the many and varied directions artists take in creating a work. My DH’s first choice is sculpting and he’s worked in many different media including metal, wood, and ceramic.

Back in the days when I still had my Dreaded Day Job, I had to travel all over the state for meetings, and sometimes the DH would accompany me. On one such trip to Los Angeles, after my meetings were done, the DH insisted we go to see the Watts Towers. Since these incredible works of art are not in the world’s best neighborhood, I was a bit hesitant, but DH talked me into it and I’m so glad he did!

These incredible structures are over 90 feet (30 meters) high and were built over a period of thirty years by one man, Simon Rodia in his back yard. Basically made of scrap metal and concrete, they are inlaid with an amazing mosaic of broken plates, bottles, and seashells. Quite a creative undertaking by an Italian immigrant and one-time tile setter, who built and decorated all this in his spare time!

What about you? What kind of creative things do you like to do in your spare time? Ever seen any unusual artwork or other creative stuff you can share with us?

Seven Steps to Empower Your Creativity

posted by Nancy

Today we welcome author, instructor, real human being Mary Buckham as she discusses empowering your creativity. Even if you don’t feel creative, or never thought of yourself as creative, you may learn that you really are and how to enhance your latent abilities. I loved Mary’s Silhouette books, Invisible Recruit and The Makeover Mission. They have great plots, plenty of boom, and strong heroes and heroines. Taking the Break Into Fiction workshop was a mind-blowing experience (in a good way, no actual boom involved, except the bombardment of ideas), and I’m excited to have her join us today. Welcome, Mary!

I love January, not for the post hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but as a season of reflection, of slowing down and taking stock prior to making New Year’s goals that stick. I usually give myself all of January to decided and clarify. Lately I’ve been reading a book by John C Maxwell: Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work. With lots of quotes, anecdotes and insightful questions Maxwell opens avenue of thought I found helpful to writers or anyone really, in particular a chapter on Creativity. Because being creative and living our creativity is at the heart of every writer. I’d like to share what I learned from Maxwell as well as my own experiences as an author, an instructor and a human being.

“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.

Were you aware that 90% of five-year olds see themselves as highly creative? That in itself is not amazing, but wrap your minds around the concept that by the age of seven, 80% of us who saw ourselves as creative no longer believe we are. That means only 10% of seven-year olds believe they are creative. By the time we reach our teens that number drops to 2% and remains fairly constant throughout our adult lives.

So if you are a writer, or a painter, or sculptor, etc., count yourself among the few who have never, ever given up on a gift given to many, but realized by few.

To savor and honor that gift here are seven steps to continue to empower your own creativity.

Step 1) Remove Creativity Killers. Sometimes the words are said by others, sometimes from within, so if you catch others, or yourself saying any of the following then you’ve run into a Creativity Killer. Follow the Rules. Don’t Ask Questions. It’s Hard. Be Practical. Be Serious. Think of [fill in the blank]. You Can’t Afford [fill in the blank]. Yes, But ….. You Don’t Have the Time. You Don’t Have the Money. Don’t Be Foolish. The list goes on and on but you don’t have to buy into the Creativity Killers.

Step 2) Develop a Creative Environment. You know best what spurs ideas, fuels your passion, creates energy. Is it color? Certain objects? A wide horizon? A secluded space? Honor your sacred creative space, whether it’s a desk top, a room or something else, and it will honor you. So take a good look at your working environment. Does it foster your creativity? If it doesn’t, how can you change it?

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow” – Charlie Bower

Step 3) Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do, not what they want you to accomplish or do. The more time you spend with creative people engaging in creative activities, the more creative you will become. Conversely, the more time you spend with nay-sayers or limited thinkers, the more time . . . you can fill in this answer. Who are you surrounding yourself with?

“Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance requires change, and change feels awkward, but, take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.” John C Maxwell.

Step 4) Challenge yourself constantly and be willing to feel uncomfortable. Delight in exploring something new, something different for you. What have you done lately to push your comfort levels? To challenge yourself? When have you broken your routine? Driven a different route home or read in a genre different than the ones you usually read? When have you tasted a new cuisine? Explored a new location? Daily we’re given opportunities to push our limits, so what’s holding you back?

Step 5) Creative thinkers don’t fear failure. Why? Because they hold a different expectation of what failure means. Didn’t achieve what you had hoped for? For many this is considered a failure, but what if it meant something different? Any situation holds the seeds of new knowledge, self-awareness and new direction.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C Maxwell

Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. It means getting out on a limb, knowing that the limb often breaks! And if it does, take that opportunity to spread your wings and fly!

So what about you? What does creativity mean to you? How have you faced the highs and the not-so-highs of being creative or wanting to feel creative?

Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a copy of BREAK INTO FICTION™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells or a Fiction book of your choice depending on the genre you love.

Mary’s BIO:

Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer, co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media [June 2009], co-founder of www.WriterUniv.com and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her Synopsis and Query help, her Lecture Packets, Workshops and Writing projects visit www.MaryBuckham.com

What Color is Your Creativity?

by Tawny

I’ve spent most of my life a creative soul looking for an outlet. I don’t have the skill to be an artist, although I come from a family of them. So until I found writing, I turned to crafts. Ceramics (my aunt is a gifted potter), painting (my mother paints in oils and watercolor), loom knitting (my grandma despairs of ever teaching me to hold the tension right), beading (my grampa created gorgeous lapidary jewelry) and the list goes on. The only thing I’ve never attempted was drawing – and that was because it was always faster and easier to nudge my brother into drawing anything I wanted.

After my youngest daughter was born, I discovered scrapbooking and love it. Its probably the only crafty type thing I’ve stuck with, because its practical purpose outweighs any issues I might have with the imperfection of the final product. I’m making things my family will treasure forever. And that, I discovered, was the key. Since I couldn’t create art, and my family and friends were definitely tired of the never ending flow of dust catchers, scrapbooking became my perfect outlet.

I also discovered faux painting. I love color on the walls. Love intricate patterns and textures in color even more. When we put our house up for sale in June, I had to paint most of the walls a neutral white (sob) and I’ll tell you, that was one of the most uncreative months of my life. I can’t write with white walls. I actually refused to paint the family room, since that was the room I wrote in, because I was on deadline and couldn’t deal with the lack of color. Luckily, the house sold before my book was due, so I never did have to watch the gorgeous shades of sage greens turn neutral.

I really do believe- for me -that color is a creative inspiration. Its like a key that opens the Muse’s cage. But my brother, a gifted artist who makes his living off his drawings, lives in pure black and white. So for him, obviously, color impedes his creativity.

I need greens, purples, reds. Strong, intense color. Pastels won’t work and neither will blue.

How about you? I’m on the road today, but I’ll check in as soon as I find an internet connection! In the meantime, please share your creative outlets and what color inspires you!!! I’ll pick one random commenter to win their choice of any of my backlist books!!

An Inspirational Challenge

by Donna MacMeans

Several years ago, when RWA’s annual conference was held in New Orleans, I heard a workshop on creativity presented by Felicia Mason. She maintained that as writers, we experience life in a whole different manner than non-writers. We see possibilities, when others see scenery. We hear sounds and instantly create metaphors to describe the sound while others dismiss it as white noise. In that workshop, Felicia challenged the group to think of the one thing they were meant to see in New Orleans. That one thing that we saw through our writer’s eye that we could use in a story.

Growing up, I was the oldest girl with two older brothers. That has translated into a constant drive to “prove” that I’m as good as them. I face any challenge with a determination to win – which explains why four of my stories resulted from someone issuing me a challenge.

So I took Felicia’s challenge and mentally reviewed all that I had seen in New Orleans and discovered the one thing that spoke to me, but didn’t seem to resonate with anyone else – the Charm Gates at the Court of Two Sisters restaurant. I eventually developed a time travel built around the Charm Gates. One of these days it may even see publication.

So now I’m challenging you. What have you experienced recently that singled you out and spoke to your writer’s soul? Was there anything in Dallas at the recent convention? I know I stayed on the twentieth floor and thought about those small open areas by the elevators that dropped down to the restaurant area, nineteen floors below. I mean you could drop a body easily down one of those chutes. It’s a shame I don’t write contemporary (smile). What about a vacation? Was there something that inspired you? Could you create a story around it? Let me know, and I’ll send the person with the best inspirational experience an autographed copy of Elizabeth Bevarly’s book, The Ring on Her Finger.

Donna