Pomodoro!

(This post may include affiliate links.)

Recently, I’ve been trying to synthesize my writing routine. Last week, I blogged about the rituals that get my engine revving. But what comes after the “start rituals”? I mean, novel writing is a big task and I’m more of a “tiny steps” kinda gal, so obvs, I break everything down into small, manageable steps. As a result of my need to be more efficient, constraints of the pandemic, and the need for space, organization, and increasing my word county, I’ve been timing my writing sessions.

pomodoro – it’s “tomato” in Italian

Turns out, there’s a whole trend on this called Pomodoro.

Named after the Italian word for tomato, it harkens to the little tomato-shaped kitchen timers. Of course, any timer will do the trick, or you can plug “Pomodoro technique” into youtube and you’ll get a nifty little timer pre-set for twenty-five minutes. And that’s it. You write for twenty-five minutes, then take a five-minute break. Of course, you can set a timer for longer periods. Work for an hour and take a 10-15 minute break, but my physical therapist told me I should get up and move more often, so 25 minutes it is. And, in all honesty, my 5-minute break often expands to 10-15. I use my break to take a walk around the yard.

So for me, it’s 25 minutes of writing, 5-15 minutes of walking that has evolved into gardening/landscaping, one little corner of the yard at a time, and wouldn’t you know it, it has had a positive impact on my yard as well.

So today, I bring you my relaxation project – the pathway that I’ve carved around the perimeter of the yard. It’s easier to show that than it is to show the writing which, honestly, is just 145 pages of type, much like this, only without the pictures.

On top of the walk-about every 25 minutes, yesterday began the launch of the house renovations. There’s nothing grand going on there and honestly, it doesn’t photograph well, but as it comes to fruition, I’ll start sharing the reno project that takes place in the late afternoon, when the writing sparks are all petered out.

Until then, I hope you find some benefit from Pomodoro, whatever your big project may be, and enjoy the pictures of my writing downtime. In the meantime, I hope you make some art, read a book!

Sofie.

5 Rituals to Writing with Intention

It used to take me a good long while to shift gears from being a person to being a writer. Yes, they are completely different beasts. And how frustrating when, once you’re in the groove of being a writer, someone talks to you, forcing you abruptly back into being a person. It used to take me a good twenty-minutes to regain that shift. Well, what if you had a practice in place that allowed you to shift gears from sane person to writer with more expediency?

I’m here with the answer. Ritual, ritual, ritual. I used to have to work at it, drill down for that sweet spot when the words flow freely, but then I discovered the power of Rituals. Like Pavlov’s bell, they are stimuli that illicit a learned response. Here are a few of the daily rituals that I depend on to put myself into that writing frame of mind, that magical sweet spot.

Coffee. Ever since that unpleasantness involving a mouse and the infrastructure of my stove, I don’t have one. (Stove, that is. I’ve got mice. The cat is absolutely useless.) I have replaced my stove, and my coffee maker for that matter, with an electric kettle and now there is no turning back.  That paired with my little “pour-over coffeemaker” makes me unstoppable. Check it out through these handy-dandy little affiliate links, for which I may receive a percentage if clicking turns into buying. I’m serious. The electric kettle has been life-changing… and it makes the whole coffeemaking process look more like a sci-fi mad chemistry experiment. It’s also the start of my morning rituals.

Meditation. I’m serious. Just hop on youtube and search for guided mediation. You’ll find more things that are wrong with you than you knew existed, but then you just kind of meditate on them, imagining all sorts of energy whizzing around your body until you step away from it all tingly and ready to receive the muse.

Incense. It began when I noticed my outdoor office smelled a little… funk. (I think there was a skunk sleeping under the building for a while. He has since moved on, thank goodness. He never sprayed the place, but they have a lingering residual musky smell that is not exactly conducive to wanting to spend time in your office space. So I started striking up an incense around the same time I fired up my laptop. The more associations you make with your work, the more easily it is to get into the groove of the work. (Yes, I’m writing my Friday blog with sandalwood burning in the background. And yes, another affiliate link.)

I burn mine in an old (very tarnished) sterling creamer.

Journal. I have a stack of coffee-stained signatures at my right hand. The first item in my daily journal (after the day and date) is usually the word, “Words”. After the day’s writing, I jot down my word count. Sure, I’ve got a goal, but it’s only a goal of 500 words. Heck, 500 words is nothing! Before I know it, I’ve written 1,500 or more words. Most of them might turn out to be garbage, but hopefully not. Some wise writer person said, “you can’t edit what you haven’t written,” or some other words to that same meaning. You can’t call yourself a writer if you’re not coming to the table. You can’t call yourself a novelist if you don’t write “the end” on at least one stack of 200 pages. So write down the intention, then do it. I’m not saying it might work. I’m saying it DOES work. You are a writer the first day you sit with the intention of returning to this place every day.

1/2 c. instant coffee, enough water to cover the pages in a baking dish. I dry mine in the toaster over, thus I have singed more than one page.

Exercise. I usually shoot for every hour. Excessive? Trust me, I’m not killing myself, or killing “it.” For every hour of sitting on my muse, I get up and take a stroll around the yard. I’ve managed to hack out a modest garden path that tootles me around the entire yard. I made that sound extensive. It’s a square acre. One acre. So I squirreled the pathway around the perimeter of the yard and now it allows me a 5 – 10 minute interval to think of something other than the work-in-progress (WIP). Try it! It really does work. It gives you space to think outside of the office box, outside of the plot box, outside of the rules box.

And there you have it. Build a routine. It doesn’t have to be this one. It can be any other associations that both calm your brain and numb your will to live amongst the humans. Join “us” on the other side where the muses live. It really is quite magical… and that’s not just the coffee and incense talking.

Note: Looking for a cool book on habit building? Check out ATOMIC HABITS by James Clear. It’s a magical and comprehensive look at how making tiny shifts can shift your world.

Spinning Yarns… into Knots

After all this time, I still need to reference the framework for plotting a novel. I have a tendency to ramble (if you hadn’t noticed.)

Recently, I’ve been enthralled with mysteries. I’ve got so much to learn, such a long way to go! Every advance in learning ignites belief that I’ve finally “got it.” Then reality kicks my butt and I write myself into another corner… until I learn the next bit, and I’m on my way again.

For the past month, I’ve had a back problem. Anyone who has suffered from pulled muscle and bulgy disc will feel very sorry for me. Much time has been spent in a recliner instead of in the garden. More time has been spent making lists and using Pinterest to plot and plan my next home renovation, than to enact it, but eventually, I had to make my hands busy. Mornings are spent on the keyboard, working on the next novel. (A mystery series coming your way.) But afternoons are filled with spinning a different sort of yarn, something I can do from the relative misery of my new recliner.

Scout, helping with the macrame lampshade project.

It began with a “how-to” kit on macrame wall hangings. I’ve had to order three more skeins of cord and now I’m finishing up a lampshade cover. All of these bits will eventually find a home with my daughter and her soon-to-be husband! (In just twenty-two days we get a son-in-law!)

My first macrame projects!

I’m not sure macrame has a place in my home. Maybe in the form of a hammock? Possibly. I like things that serve a purpose, and I think I could make good use of a hammock… with my back. Whew.

The macrame lamp shade (untrimmed) on its floor lamp.

A Picture Paints 10,000 Words

This particular blog post is a favorite recurrent theme of mine: The Rhetoric of Visual Communication.

You see, it is my belief that Rhetoric in general, is a superpower, and if the premise holds true, that a picture is worth ten thousand words, then that would make visual communication a SUPER superpower.

Let me take you on this journey, my explanation for how I arrived at this bold statement:

IF per Aristotle, Rhetoric is the art of discovering the available means of persuasion with regard to any situation, then that could be construed as mind control. If that’s true, then a thing, a picture, which is worth ten thousand words, would have the power of a written rhetorical argument, but ten thousand fold! Voila. A SUPER superpower.

So the next time you encounter a rhetorician, just remember, you’re in the presence of a superhero… or perhaps a supervillain. Mwahahaha.

The Fairy Magic of Writing

A fairy child amongst the Creeping Jenny in a window box planter… captured on camera 4/22/22.

It was once believed that any human who stepped inside of a Fairy Ring, would be under the spell of those mythical creatures, overcome with the desire to dance until they went mad or died of exhaustion.

So what bizarre segue, you may wonder, will I find to connect fairy rings with writing?

It’s all the same. An interconnected world.

Fairy children on a fungus… captured on camera 4/22/22.

The thing that makes a “fairy ring” is the mycelium – tiny root hairs – of a mushroom. They spread out across a large network below the earth, then in the spring, when it rains, those hairs sprout up into mushrooms at the end of the tendrils, forming a rough circle of mushrooms.

It’s rather like plotting a novel.

We begin with a thought, an image, a spore of an idea. That idea spreads like a fungus. Yes, story plotting is a fungal infection. You begin to eat, sleep, breathe and expand on that idea… rather like mycelium. Before long, you’ve got a network of characters.

You’ll find a plethora of blog posts, youtube videos, etc., explaining how you should plot a story. I’m a bit more… organic… but yes, I do it in basically the same way. I like the tangential connection, that almost always, eventually, sprouts into a mushroom at the end of the tendril, but remains interconnected with all of the other little mushrooms in the neighborhood.

A fairy child sleeping in the hostas… captured on camera 4/22/22.

As an aside, did you know that the largest living organism on earth is a mushroom in Oregon? It covers more than 2K acres, connected via the mycelium below the soil.

It’s not nearly as romantic as fairy lore. I will continue to dance… slowly going mad… and write the next story…

A Writer’s Brand

What do you think of when you hear the term, “brand”? Do you see a swish and hear the whispered command, “Just do it” and feel like it might be worthwhile to strap on a pair of tennis shoes and go for a run? Or maybe you see a certain soda, white script on a red background and you salivate? For me, it’s the other big-name soda. Every time I look at a fluttering French flag, I just wanna pop a top. That’s what a brand is supposed to do.

Okay, you heard this here, first. (Rather, you’re about to hear my version of it here, first, er, in an iteration of many others, but here goes.)

“A brand is made up of a promise of consistency, paired with the trust that you build over time represented by a consistent style-set that elicits an emotive response.” You can quote me on that. In fact, you might say I wrote the book on this. I wrote a book on this. Well, it’s in progress, and there you have a quote from it.

Cover Rough Sketches… Coming… Not very soon…

That’s a mouthful. “A picture’s worth 10,000 words,” and brands are certainly one of the best examples of this.

(“Just do it.”) Swishhhh.

That’s the short, but a meaty version of my definition of brand, but now I’ll break it down, dissecting what that means for a writer. The major components of an author’s brand are…

Consistency.

  •  Consistency of Genre. – Usually, the first thing someone wants to know about a writer is, what genre do they write in? or for those who are persnickety about prepositions, in which genre do you write? That leads to…
  • Consistency of Voice – a style and tone recurrent through a body of work. (For example, I would never ask “in which genre do you write?” I’d say something like, “what genre do you write in?” Nah. I’d just ask, “what genre?” Grammatically, my voice is a tough nut to crack and annoys some people. They’re not my readers. People who forgive the use of a preposition at the end of a sentence, or those who are unbothered by incomplete and oddly worded questions – they’re my peeps.
  • Consistency of Quality. This is a loaded mark. What is quality? Well written? Grammatically flawless? Probably not, as exemplified above. A complex plot? That might eliminate much literary fiction. It’s up to the reader to decide… and to come back for more. Whatever your mark is, you want to hit it every time.

Trust

  • Time – it requires repeated effort and accomplishment to build trust. There is the odd bird or two who takes everyone at face value, bless their hearts. But a super fan has typically never been let down by the writer who delivered on their promise.
  • Commitment – I, as the writer, commit to delivering the same genre, voice, and as well-written as I am capable of creating.
  • Persistence – You. Show. Up. Every. Day. Full stop.. I create every day and to the best of my ability, I release what I have promised in previous books. (but more on this later.)

Style-Set

  • Author name – it’s the hinge pin of your brand. You should own it, (in the sense that you want to have control over that name.) You want to make sure it fits your genre. Destiny Hardon would hardly be an appropriate pen name for someone who writes inspirational romance. (And my apologies to all of the Destiny Hardons out there. Your parents are precious.) Google your chosen or your actual name to see who else may have it. (Go ahead. Google Sofie Couch. Sophie Couch. Not my genre, although I respect her right to make those films. I just wish my friends had googled it before they gave me that nickname.)
  • Font – look at other books in your genre. Comic sans has a place in this world, but it is not on your doctoral thesis. Do you notice the consistency of font over a body of work by one writer? Google John Grisham, Mary Burton, Joanna Bourne, Louise Penny. Check out those consistent brand messages!
  • Covers – what do you notice about their covers? Do you see consistency in the cover art? Subject matter? Tone?
  • Colors – the other kind of “tone”. Are the covers consistently dark, earth-toned, or bright and bold? That’s a part of their brand. My blog site/website has a pretty consistent color palette that was inspired by the colors in my office/studio. I do admit though, they are also the colors in the buckets of paint I had sitting around in excess in my workshop, but I like them, so… it is now a part of my brand.

For most of us, when we think of “brand”, we think of words like:

  • “Images”
  • “Icon.”
  • “Logo”
  • “Style”

But this is just the tools meant to elicit an emotive response provided you’ve consistently fulfilled your promise of the first two parts of “brand”. You tie that promise to an image, a logo, a style, you stir up that secret sauce and let it bake for a long time, and “poof!”

You will know when you’ve achieved “brand recognition”. It’s the first time a repeat reader picks up your book from a shelf of books and recognizes something about the cover, the font, and the style that reminds them of the heart that they were promised would be within the pages.

So, can you judge a book by its cover? Every writer should be so lucky, although I think it has more to do with hard work and conscious decision than luck.

I hope you’ve found your brand. I hope this helps define it a bit.

In the meantime…

Make some art. Read a book!

The Business of Being a Writer

It’s that time of year again. Yes, I’m talking about April 15th, the tax deadline!

I realize that tax season is stressful for many, but seriously, I kind of enjoy it. No, I’m not a STEM studies kinda gal. Math is not my thing. I’m humanities all the way. But tax season isn’t really about the mathematics and with do-it-yourself tax software these days, the math is taken out of your hands.

For me, tax season is all about reckoning the past year’s successes… and considering any potential failures. You do this by pulling out all of your receipts for expenses, (and I am very good about keeping up with expenses) and tabulating the net gains of the previous year.

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, 1912, 3rd ed. “Bob Cratchit”

This is the part of the blog where I insert a disclaimer: Nothing here should be construed as tax advice. This is one person’s methodology for tracking those troublesome bits and bobs involved in the calculation of taxes. I am neither a lawyer nor an accountant, and this should not be construed as legal or accounting advice.

Okay, now on to the fun bits. Yes, I said “fun” in a blog post about doing your taxes.

In years past, I have had to account for several small businesses. While they are essentially the same, requiring slightly different forms, I’m only concerning myself with The Business of Writing – for the purposes of this post.

Each businesses accounting must be kept completely separate – expenses as well as any profits. To do this, I’ve found the easiest means is to start a notebook for each year that contains sections that are based on the U.S. Federal Tax form, Schedule C.

Profit or Loss From Business (Sole Proprietorship)

Depending upon how large the business, I might have different notebook sections that align to the different line-items on the schedule C under expenses and gross income. Basically, when money comes in from that business, you log it in the section labeled “Gross Income.” When money goes out related specifically to that business, then a receipt for that expense gets pocketed in the corresponding “Expenses” pocket. For some of my larger ventures, I have separate sections for each of the common Schedule C expense categories. Some of my favorites are:

  • Advertising
  • Commissions and fees
  • Contract labor
  • Insurance
  • Legal and professional services
  • Office expenses
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Supplies
  • Taxes and licenses
  • Utilities

There are other categories you can consider – just look at the schedule C under “Expenses”. Some of the other expense categories may apply to you and your business.

Then you just subtract the expenses from your income. Hopefully, the income is bigger than the expenses. If so, the difference is the amount of money on which you will have to pay taxes. (Not the amount of tax you owe. That would be bad.)

So you see, this isn’t a bad thing. First, it forces you to consider the overview of your business. Is it really a viable enterprise? Did you show a loss? Well, lucky you, no taxes on that income, but you might want to reconsider your business model. Profit? Well, pay your taxes on that profit and then think about what you did that was successful and how you might top it the next year… and consider putting aside 1/3 of your gross income next year for taxes… just in case.

So you see, the taxman is really doing you a favor because, let’s be honest, would you really take such a considered look at your business model otherwise?

In the meantime, don’t put it off. Do your taxes. Then make some art, read a book.

On that note, this week’s projects consisted of, as ever, writing the first half of the day, followed by the creation of a couple of decorative artsy items. The first project centered around a walnut wardrobe that I needed to get rid of, but could not give away. (Shocking how few people want to have to move a solid, walnut wardrobe.) So I took out my trusty circular saw and “brrrrzzzzzp” ten minutes later, I had created a bar for our daughter’s upcoming wedding. Still needs some work.

And then this piece of abstract art by that illusive artist, Rothko Nokov (Knock-off) was created to shamelessly color coordinate with a very boldly painted room.

An “original” Rothko Nokov painting.

Sofie

How Do YOU Self-Motivate?

For me, it’s suspended disbelief. Fiction – it’s what I do. For example, today is April Fool’s Day, and there’s little that I enjoy more than getting my mom. She’s the master of April Fool’s Day pranks, so I’m always on my guard on April 1st. Well, I got her good today. First, you begin with something that could happen. Probably won’t happen, but could happen.

I’m a sucker for those alien conspiracy “documentaries” and I know my mother watches them too. Not for real, not because we believe in the credibility of the documentary hosts, but because it’s fun to suspend disbelief. So today, I shared with her the top secret news that someone we know was assigned the task of tracking UFOs, and they found something so big, they had to break silence to share it with me. 😀 Hook, line, and sinker… and I’m a terrible actor! (If you know my mother, she’s coming your way. Don’t fall for her story.)

The good news is, this suspended disbelief ploy can really work to motivate yourself and others. There was a game I used to “play” with my kids when they were little and I wanted the house to get tidied. In order for this trick to work, you kids have to be all-in, suspended disbelief. I would tell them that Dumble***e, from a particular book series, was coming over and we should tidy everything and prepare tea and dessert for his impending visit.

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, I’m a jerk who lied to her kids to benefit from some child labor. Let me be clear, they were suspending their disbelief. They were old enough to know that Dumble***e wasn’t really coming over for tea, but it was just enough of a push for everyone to get into the fun of this game of make-believe. I merely motivated child labor to get the whole house picked up, vacuumed, and the dining room table cleared and set for tea. (We would have real tea afterwards, real food – muffins, cookies, croissants – whatever we found in the fridge.) There was a real reward at the end of the manic cleaning, but the game of make-believe was the reward. It was a side benefit that the cleaning sometimes went on for more than an hour! Do you know how much cleaning an adult and two children under the age of 10 can get done in an hour? It can be impressive; beds were made, toys put away, flowers on the table… and I never think to put flowers on the table.

(Some DIY Environmental art outside the Word Crone Cottage, inspired by Nigel Dunnet, U.K. landscape designer.)

I use my suspended disbelief daily to motivate what could be an odious task. Yesterday, I was picking up sticks around the yard that fell in the last storm. (I’ve got LOTS of sticks and a bad back.) I’m not a big proponent of burning debris. I’d rather use it in some artful way. So yesterday, I prepared the yard for a joint visit from Monty Don and Nigel Dunnet, U.K. gardeners extraordinaire. I think they would be horrified by my homage to Nigel Dunnet’s Environmental Artistry and Monty Don’s “garden rooms.” Good thing they did not show up at the end of the day.

In order for this to work, there has to be a pay-off at the end. In the case of yesterday’s project, I guess the little witchy stick garden is my payoff. The jury’s still out for deliberation. And so it goes with any big project – cleaning the house, renovating a studio space, writing a novel… or preparing for a wedding that is in just seven weeks!!!

So I’m psyching myself out, to complete some other big tasks, (like finishing the current work-in-progress) before the wedding! And don’t tell me there won’t be a special guest at the wedding. He might magically appear! I’m gonna be ready for him, if he is, because I’m all in, suspended disbelief!

In the meantime, I think I’ll make some art, read a book… and write one!

Sofie

Time Management in the Word Crone Cottage

Time management is always a struggle for me. Lots of ideas. So little time to actualize. Okay, actually a lifetime of time, but if I am living every day as if it’s my last, then that’s not a lot of time! 😀

I do try to tackle large projects by breaking them down into tinier projects. It’s a skill that I guess every novelist learns to employ: plot novel, breaking it down into plot points that show character growth, write one word at a time to form sentences into paragraphs into pages into chapters into a novel. Slash and burn, edit, repeat.

So after posting my Friday post on Thursday night, I got the big idea to move my fish ponds. You know the type – hard plastic, 6ft X 4ft, amorphous with a deep center so the fishies can over-winter outside. I’ve never really liked where I put those ponds.

Breaking down a big task into tiny tasks…

So I broke it down into tiny tasks. Day 1 – empty water, rocks and wildlife out of pond 1, move pond 1 across the yard and refill with water, and rocks. (Gotta wait a day to make sure the water is the right temperature for the critters. Day 2 – migrate critters to pond 1 in new location. Booyah. Done. Day 3, empty pond 2 of water, rocks and any critters I may have missed. (I’m talking about you, Mr. 7-inch salamander and four bull frogs. How did I miss four bull frogs?) Day 4 – look at both ponds in their new potential location. Decide I hate the new location, and begin the process all over again to the new new location on either side of the foot bridge over the dry stream bed. Move pond 2. Dig the massive hole in the yard and refill original holes. Day 5 – move fishies, frogs and … where is that salamander? Day 6 – move second pond to new new location, digging another massive hole. Day 7 – edge with brick and later decide that looks weird. Start the process of replacing with stones from around the yard, then realize you’re due to finish a blog post in a few hours.

Reflecting on a week of pond moving…

I didn’t manage my time very well, with the one set-back of moving both ponds to the wrong spot before finding the perfect spot. Sigh. Oh well, such is gardening. You try a plant in a spot, it dies or doesn’t thrive or looks silly in that spot, and you move it. It’s the same with writing. You write a sentence. You let it stew and grow ugly hairs and warts, you re-write it, shuffle it to another scene, fix it again, trim it and sometimes you just throw it in the trash. I shuffle things in the yard as often as I shuffle furniture in the house, and believe me, I shuffle furniture… a lot!

Speaking of shuffled furniture. I “shuffled” an entire wardrobe right out into the yard. I tried to give it away on Marketplace. Afterall, it was a serviceable, solid walnut wardrobe. Sadly, no one wants to move a solid walnut wardrobe, not even after you’ve moved it outside to the edge of the driveway, so I think that will be my next project requiring some time management. My daughter is getting married in two months, so my blog posts until then will be filled with awkward tie-ins to writing, of course, but lots and lots of wedding-related projects. And if the wardrobe transformation is a fail, well, it won’t make it into the blog post next week. Or maybe it will. You’ve gotta be willing to kill your darlings, in writing, and furniture flipping.

Did I mention that I also managed to move the firepit this week? Oh, and I was able to construct a sort of make-shift step into the gable door of my office. The hope is, when the weather is nicer, I can swing those doors open for a fresh perspective.

Hope you have a great, productive week. May you master the art of time management and make some art. Read a book!

Sofie

Writing with Intention…

My days have been pretty predictable for the past couple of years. Well, we were in lockdown during the pandemic, so there was a force in effect to slow down.

Writing with Intention… and Magic…

I don’t imagine anyone else is interested in my day-to-day writing schedule, but it did occur that I might forget what I have found over the last two years, so in light of potential future distraction as we return to… ha ha. I almost said, “as we return to normal.” Silly, silly woman. Anyway, for my own edification, I thought I should write down some of the things I’ve added to my daily routine over the past two years.

1) Take time to quiet the mind.

Writing with Intention… and Incense…

The first thing I do as I enter my office is light incense. Just one. Then I meditate. Sometimes, meditation comes first. It depends on my mindset as I wake, and who else is awake in the house, so the meditation comes before or after coffee… but there is always coffee… and incense… and meditation.

2) Write down my goals and be mindful of my intentions for the day.

Writing with Intention… and journaling…

Some might just refer to this as a to do list, but I think of the to-do list as goals. Intention is how you engage with that list. My daily journal includes things like “write some words” followed by the daily word count when I’m done, usually around noon. I have a goal of 1,000 words per day. That’s quality words, not quantity, so the quantity might be more like 2,000 words. This is where I account for my daily writing goal. That goes something like this – “Rocky’s POV, chapter 4, the encounter with Bea, drop clues and foreshadow his reason for coming back from the dead.” That’s really the nuts and bolts of the writing goal, but in addition to that, I have to think about that character’s voice, think in his headspace, and consider my audience. Will you like this character? Have I been true to my promise to the reader? Is this thing that I’ve created worthy of my time here on earth?

Writing with Intention… and zhuzhing up the outside of the office…

3. Make some art/make magic in the garden

I also make a note about my afternoon’s intention, which usually entails some form of art. Today’s afternoon goals list reads: “photograph lace”, and “clean up trash around old fishpond.” Those are my goals, but as I’m doing those things, I’m thinking of next Friday’s blog post and how I will frame it around world-building and transforming the mundane into something magical. (Yesterday’s afternoon entailed transporting four goldfish, four frogs, an eastern painted turtle, and a 7-1/2 inch salamander across the yard to their new digs in the more accessible fish ponds. They ground me, and give me an added benefit to my hourly breaks. Every hour of sitting is followed by a stroll around the yard.)

4) Take Action

Writing with Intention… and finishing the darn book...

I am very fortunate in that I am surrounded, (online) with a community of powerful, talented writers with whom I share accountability. Like toddlers, we parallel play (parallel type in our case), and Fridays, we engage in a mastermind session, talking about our goals accomplished over the past week and our intention in the next week.

My intention usually involves my consideration of my readers, genre, and my brand in general. I remind myself of that brand, and occasionally, I tweak the brand through my ever-evolving mission statement.

And finally, I sit down, and write… every morning…  and every afternoon, I make art. But today is Thursday, and it’s five o’clock, so it’s time to wrap up this goal – of creating new content for my blog, and remind myself of my intention – to engage with readers who enjoy a happy ending, who can suspend their own beliefs to enjoy the ride that I call magic, and hopefully, be inspired to make their own art, and magic, and to share it with others.

Sofie.