Michille: Happy Valentine’s Day

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36899372St. Valentine is thought to be a real person, recognized by the Catholic Church, who died around 270 A.D. It is thought that he was beheaded by emperor Claudius II for helping soldiers wed. There is some question about this as there was another St. Valentine around the same time who helped Christians escape harsh Roman prisons who was then imprisoned himself, fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, and signed his love letters to her “From your Valentine.” There are about a dozen St. Valentines plus a pope. The most recent saint was beheaded in 1861 and canonized in 1988, and the pope of that name lasted about 40 days. Odd history for a romantic holiday – a lot of beheadings involved. Continue reading

Michille: Ambient Noise and Creativity

background-1872802_1920I recently stumbled on an ambient noise website and found it helpful in my creative process. It blocked out the death rattle on our aging Advatium oven, the scritching and scratching of our highly allergic dog, and other aural distractions. I started to dig around for more sites that might have other ambient mixers that I could use and stumbled on a research study from 2012. Is Noise Always Bad? Exploring the Effects of Ambient Noise on Creative Cognition. I’ll start with the conclusion:

“Results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. A high level of noise (85 dB), on the other hand, hurts creativity. Process measures reveal that a moderate (vs. low) level of noise increases processing difficulty, inducing a higher construal level [physiological distance] and thus promoting abstract processing, which subsequently leads to higher creativity. A high level of noise, however, reduces the extent of information processing and thus impairs creativity.” Continue reading

Michille: Write Your Novel in a Year

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As so many people say, or in this case after I googled ‘write your novel in a year’, so many web pages say it. I’ve discussed Writers Write and Anthony Ehlers series called Write Your Novel in a Year. The blog very kindly consolidated all 52 posts here. I have Chuck Wendig’s infographic on my bulletin board (if you don’t like foul language, skip this one). And I’ve tried the NaNo method (although I knew I wouldn’t write an entire novel in a month). I don’t read these because I think any one of them will be the magic bullet, but I do regularly find motivation to keep writing. Here are some of the new ones I found: Continue reading

Michille: New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

By not known; one on left is published by "Chatauqua Press", as stated near the bottom of the card in tiny typeThe collective edition. I don’t have any stellar writing resolutions for the new year. Enter the Golden Heart. Write some more. Finish current WIP. But I noodled around on the net to see what other writers have on their lists. Many of them are the same we all know. Butt in the chair, words on the page,

Goins, Writer has 17 (from 2013). #6 is ‘write when you don’t feel like it’. I like that one, although I know that isn’t on Elizabeth’s list this year. #14 is ‘make money’. I don’t see that happening for me this year. Continue reading

Michille: Last Minute Gifts for Writers (or Yourself)

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By mpan – Own work, based on File:Czakry.png, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49510274

For those fellow writers out there who celebrate Christmas, or those who give gifts to those who do, there isn’t much time left to buy a gift. The big e-tailers can still ship, some for free for a day or two more, and some at a premium. But what can you get a writer in your life without resorting to those big e-tailers? Many writers like to set the stage, so to speak, in their writing corner. They have certain things around them to help stimulate creativity, or block distractions, maybe add comfort, or improve ergonomics. I use candles, colors, hot tea, and my spirit animal. My choices are often based on universal archetypes, ancient teachings, and modern research. Here are some ideas for you based on the seven Chakras that can be turned into gifts based on color and scent and placement on the body. Continue reading

Michille: 50,045

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing Month is over. And for the first time since I’ve started participating, I DID IT! 50,045 words. 32 scenes (plus a blog post). 24 days with words on the page. Fewest words – 0 (6 days of no writing). Most words – 5,307 (on November 30). Fortunately (or unfortunately) I ended up with a severe case of insomnia for the last week of NaNo so I was up at three or four a.m. making up word count from the previous weeks/days of missing the mark.

How did I do it? I wrote. A lot. I didn’t stop and go back and edit. One day, I wrote, ‘she grudgingly pushed the cell phone across the table to him’. I started to think of what that would look like instead of using the word grudgingly. How does one ‘grudgingly’ push a phone? Then I told myself to stop that nonsense and just keep writing. I could fix that later. Every line of dialogue had a tag. There are lots of adjectives, adverbs, filler words, inane conversation, and side bars. Continue reading

Michille: Recipe for Writing

Maple Glazed Turkey DinnerSpecifically, writing for NaNoWriMo. And I have discovered a couple of things while using NaNo to get back into the habit of daily writing. The biggest discovery is that I can’t do it without changing my routine. I have had some very successful writing days, which for me is about 3,500 words, but every one of those days this month have either started at 4 a.m. or the family is scattered so I don’t have to bother with dinner. I’m not a fan of getting up at 4 a.m., but I work full-time and exercise (and make dinner most nights) so there’s not a lot of free time in my day.

I was on a writing roll on Sunday morning. I got up early. Not at 4 a.m., but around 6 a.m. and everyone was still sleeping so I wrote about 1,700 words and planned to get back to it in the afternoon. But there was the planned 6-mile hike with my cousin, a trip to the grocery store, football which I combined with prepping some Thanksgiving side dishes, then dinner prep, dinner, and clean up. And THEN I could sit down again to write. The roll had turned into a lump and I struggled to put a couple hundred more words on the page, but was too tired to do much more than that.

Let me get back to my successful days. Continue reading