About Me · Balance · Observations · Positivity

Tips for When You’re “Under the Weather”

We all have days when we feel just plain icky. Sometimes, we’ve caught some nasty bug. Sometimes, we are experiencing the lovely side effects of allergies. Sometimes, our bodies are just tired and burnt out. All of these qualify as being “under the weather”. It happens and it’s okay. Despite feeling like all you want to do is crawl back into bed for twelve ours, you can still have a productive and positive day. Here are some tips for when you’re feeling sick, but you still have to get things accomplished.

1) Take a day off IF you must: If you are running a high fever or are experiencing intense fatigue due to your sickness, take a day off. It is better to take a day off from work than to persist and get sicker because you didn’t rest. Don’t feel guilty. It’s okay. Rest is a good thing.

2) If you can’t take a day off, try to work on low-power mode: This sounds like we’re a bunch of robots, but we humans can work on low-power mode, too! If you have to go to work, be kinder on yourself. Don’t freak out if you’re walking or typing a little slower. Take things at a more leisurely pace. Don’t rush yourself. Once you get home, take a nap or go to bed really early. Rest is ultra-important when you’re not feeling well.

3) Drink hot teas: Tea is one of the most calming and beneficial drinks you can have. Most teas (unsweetened and hot) can be helpful in alleviating sinus problems, congestion, and fatigue. A cup of tea is a gift to yourself. You’d be surprised how much better you’ll feel after a good cup of green tea!

4) Give yourself permission to laze about and chill: Most of us feel guilty when we indulge in leisurely activities. This is utter nonsense, but most humans I know are workaholics anyway. If you’re feeling a bit low, go ahead and watch a TV show. Read a book. Play a video game. It’s OKAY. We all have days where we just need to check out from reality for a bit and enjoy a fantastical escape. It is healthy. Do it.

5) Engage in positive talk and thinking: I don’t know about you, but when I’m not feeling well, I tend to get a bit depressed.  This isn’t a conscious thing on my part, it just is. I always feel a bit somber, tired, and low when I’m ill. So, it is extra important for me to be positive about myself, my life, and my relationships. I also have to be sure I’m engaging in positive talk to othersIt is easy to let our deflated mood affect those around us. Don’t let it. Bring yourself up and be positive when you’re under the weather. 

 

I hope these tips encouraged you if you’re feeling unwell today! Get better!

 

~L.M.

About Me · Dreams · Editing · Indie · Observations · Positivity · Publishing · Writing

The Long Road Ahead

The beginning of a rough draft is always exciting and magical–like unicorns and fairy dust. Somehow, that random spark of an incredible idea seems to settle in our minds and then (usually at night when you’re trying to sleep), the spark grows and flares into a huge undeniable story. Such an instance happened to me last night when I was trying to get some shut-eye. I needed to flesh out the idea I had for the third novel in my Tales from Niflheim. Of course, a bevy of ideas began to fling themselves at my mind–vying for my attention. Somehow, I was miraculously able to remember them this morning. It’s a good thing, too, because I was way too tired to get out of bed and write them down.

So, despite waking up feeling kind of sick, I sat down and was able to start the very first page of the first draft of  my sixth novel (I say sixth, because I wrote four manuscripts last year and one so far this year.) Words always seem to fly from my fingers on the first 1/3 of manuscript. Things typically get tough in the middle (can I get an “Amen”?) and then by the last 1/3, things are back to flowing again. It’s sometimes hard to remember on the first few days of a new novel that there is such a long road ahead.

For some people, this keeps them from attempting to write a novel. “It’s just too hard to finish!” they might whine. For me, I think the long road ahead is an adventure to be experienced, returned from, and shared with the world. I love every aspect of writing a novel. I love the tingling beginnings of an idea in the brain…the cemented relationship of drafting and editing…the formatting and prep-work for publishing…I adore it all. That’s part of why I chose to go with indie//self-publishing. I like having my hands in it all–getting them messy and covered with wordy goodness. I love making cover art and learning about the marketing process. I may not always love these things, but for right now, they’re just a part of the long road to producing a book and getting it out to the public.

For you, does the long road of brainstorming, drafting, editing, and prepping seem daunting or exciting? I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

Regardless of what your thoughts are on it, I truly hope you enjoy your writing! Happy Friday!

Thanks for stopping by!

~L.M.

 

About Me · Observations · Writing

The Journals

So, I journal a LOT. When I was a kid, I started journaling about my life fairly early. When I was in middle school, I started keeping a prayer journal. I also started keeping a reading journal. Yes, I keep all of these journals separate, because they serve different purposes in my life.

Life Journal:

This  journal serves as the canvas for painting my life story. I have a GAZILLION of these babies. However, I did not start seriously recording my life until I was married. I have filled four journals totally full in the last two years of my marriage. I love to write about my life, my thoughts, writing ideas, lists, work meeting stuff, and artwork in here. It serves as my “catch all” journal. They are really fun to read through afterwards, because they hold such random entries!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Devotion Journal:

When I was twelve, I grew very serious about my Christian faith and began to keep a prayer journal. Every night (without fail), I would read from the Bible and jot down my prayers. As I grew older, my quiet time evolved into liturgical daily office prayers where I did not need to keep such a journal each night (unless I wanted to.) Now, I use my devotional journal for writing prayers, bible study, and theological book study notes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Journal:

When I was younger, I sauntered into Barnes and Nobles and found a Book Journal. I was intrigued and purchased it. This journal served to keep a record of the books I’d read, my thoughts on them, and what my favorites were, etc. I quickly filled the journal all the way full and had to get another one. This is my most recent book journal. It has blank pages in it, so I can write anything I want. For now, I’m using it simply to keep lists of the books I read each year and the months I read them. Isn’t it pretty?

 

 

 

 

 

Do you keep a journal or journals? I’d love to hear about them! Journaling is a fantastic way to record memories, keep track of important things, and engage in emotional self-love!

Have a great Thursday!

~L.M. ❤

Balance · Observations · Positivity

Life Happens

The last two weeks have been extremely stressful. As most of you know, a tree fell on//beside our house, putting three holes in our roof. Next, a serious family emergency rocked our world. Then, we had a bad car battery. Simultaneously, we had our normal life obligations like work, house care, and relationships to maintain. As well, I just took on a considerable amount of work for Maiedae. Also, I have a book publishing deadline coming up in 46 days. ARRRRRRGGGGG!!!!! LOL.

When you lay out all the “bad” stuff that has happened recently, with all the “normal stuff” and even the “good stuff”, life can look extremely full and stressful. But, when you sit back and truly think about all the wonderful blessings that have happened because of some of those “bad” things, or even the  “normal things”, life doesn’t seem so stressful anymore.

For example, the tree is still lying on top of my patio. I could wig out about that, or (like I chose to do yesterday), I can sit at my breakfast table and watch the sunlight filter through the pine needles that are now much closer to my vantage point. I could look at family drama like a disaster, or I could view it as an opportunity for loved ones to grow and learn. I could sit and moan that my car wouldn’t start yesterday and it was oh, such a horrible experience, or I could be thankful that the battery had a warranty and I was able to get a new one for free. As well, it provided me with some really special time to spend with my dad (who is an out-of-this-world mechanic.)

Honestly, life just happens. Sometimes, it is not so fun. Other times, it’s great. But you know what? Usually, life happens and it is a mixture of all the good, the bad, and the normal. Perhaps things are easier to digest, move through, and move beyond in that way. Scriptures say that we’ll never be tempted beyond what we can bear. My husband and I like to apply that to the “not-so-fun” stuff that sometimes happens in life, too. We will never face something that we can’t get through. It may feel like we can’t at times, but those are just feelings. Feelings are great, but sometimes they overwhelm us and get us all psyched out.

If you’ve been having a stressful week or month in your life, just remember to look for the little blessings that crop up here and there. Life is hard enough without dwelling on the bad things all the time. Chin up. Watch the sunlight paint the leaves outside. Have a hang-out date with a friend. Spend time snuggling with your hubby or wifey. Sit and soak up the good things when they come. They can help you make it through the next “bad” situation that might crop up. When life happens and it isn’t necessarily the way you’d like it to, just remember that you’ll never face anything you can’t make it through.

You can do it. Whatever you are facing, you can pull through it stronger than you were before you were faced with it. Be brave. Be strong. Be gentle. Be happy. All of those things are a choice.

Thanks for stopping by today! I hope that these words were encouraging for you if you’re facing a tricky work or life situation right now. Just remember, we all have hard times. Even if you’re having a bad day, try to lend a listening ear or give a kind word to someone around you today.

Happy writing and working to you all!

~L.M.

Balance · Observations · Writing

Using a Rewards System During the Workday

In transitioning from working full-time at a day job to working full-time from home, I’ve learned a few things about how my brain works. One thing I’ve noticed is that I need incentives to get a good block of work done at a time. Some days, I can just sit and crank out each of my tasks with no attention problems at all. These days are rare, but they do happen. Most other days, I’ve got to have breaks. However, I don’t just take breaks willy-nilly. I find out things I either need or want to do and then I create a system for rewarding myself with breaks.

Right now, I’m obsessed with Pinterest. I adore it. It is like magical fairy dust for my little creative heart. However, if I didn’t check myself, I’d be on Pinterest all day! Just because I work at home does NOT mean I can do that. So, I make deals with myself. I’ll say, “Alright, L.M., Get one full-page of writing done, then you get to look at Pinterest for 1 minute.” You know what? I got my writing done ON time today and still got to have breaks and Pinterest time. It was a huge incentive for me to write a page and write a good page. I didn’t want to rush through it to get to Pinterest. I really wanted to work hard and get a good page of writing done before I took a break.

The mini-breaks work well for me and they don’t always look the same each day. The rewards aren’t always the same either. Here’s some advice if you’re working from home, but are having trouble with your attention span. Start setting incentives and rewards for yourself. Examples below:

Reward Examples

>>Checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sites

>>Getting a healthy snack from the pantry

>>Taking a quick walk or doing a yoga vinyasa

>>Doing some housework

>>Doing ONE step in a crafty project but no more

>>Journaling

>>Planning//List-making

Now, you might say, “Wait…what? Housework isn’t a reward!” It is if you are pressed for time in the evenings and would like to knock out some stuff during the day! Besides, as Marry Poppins once said, “In every job that is to be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and SNAP! The job’s a game!”

Rewards you might not want to include in your list

>>Sugary or overly salty snacks— This can lead to a bad habit that negatively effects your health

>>Super time-consuming rewards like a major house project or errands.— If you must run errands, you’ll already have to re-work your day around them.

>>Going to the bathroom.— This is not a break. This is a necessity. Go when you need to! (Unless you’re just writing that absolutely perfect paragraph and absolutely CANNOT go until it’s done, LOL.)

>>Talking on the phone— People have a hard time limiting talk time even when there is a lot of work to be done.

Now, after you’ve made a list of rewards you’d like to have, you need to figure out how you’ll earn them during your workday. I recommend setting up a “get a certain amount of work done” system instead of an “every hour” etc. system. This will ensure that you get a lot of work done. If you say you’ll take a break and reward yourself every hour, you might just sit and stare at the screen with no real incentive to get any work done. However, if you set certain amounts of work you must have, you’ll work hard to earn your break//reward.

My examples are:

>>Get one page of good writing done, then take a mini-break (1-5 minutes) and reward myself

>>Get five to ten pages of editing done, then take a mini-break (1-5 minutes) and reward myself

>>Get all of my Maiedae work done, then take a break (10-15 minutes) and reward myself

>>Get all of my editing and other tasks done for the day, then take the evening off! (i.e., finish a full workday, then relax at night.)

Find out what your incentives will be and how you’ll organize your system. I think you’ll see an increase in your own productivity and you’d be surprised by how much it can lift your mood and keep your brain happy.

What sorts of reward//incentives system do you use for your work? I’d love to hear!

~Thanks for stopping by,

L.M.

P.S>// I realize I have a picture of candy as my image today. I also realize the irony of it, since I recommend NOT using sweets as a reward for your work. CANDY=BAD REWARD! DO NOT USE! LOL. I just put it up there since most people identify candy as a happy, child-like thing. 🙂 LOOK at the candy and get happy feelings. DO NOT eat the candy as a reward for your workday!! Don’t start a bad sugar habit during the week!

About Me · Observations · Writing

The Planner // Pantser Hybrid

Are you planner or pantser?

If you are unfamiliar with these common writer labels, planners are writers who sit and outline or plot every detail in their stories before they get too involved with their manuscripts; pantsers are the folks who write by “the seat of their pants” and often start with a blank manuscript page and just jump in to see where their preliminary ideas take them.

I am somewhat of a hybrid between the two. I often begin stories with a preliminary idea and one or two characters. I then try to think as much as possible about this story seed and I start making some beginning plans. I might make genealogies of the characters I have in mind. I might begin a rough outline. I might sketch the setting or basic plot. But after I get about three chapters in? I just wing it. I rarely look at my outline after the first few chapters (and I write long manuscripts.) The beginning plans soon turn into a huge story that I write on the fly. I love writing this way. I have just enough plans to get me started, but after that, I simply take it a scene at a time and let my mind get creative.

I find that writing this way brings me the best results. Sometimes, new characters dash onto the scene that I had no intention of creating. They end up being some of my favorites. Sometimes, an idea for a new story plot point will just tumble onto the page and I’ll be surprised by it. I love this. I love it when my own writing takes me by surprise. I’ve told my husband often enough that I really feel like stories are completed before we sit down to write them. I titled this blog “Unearthing Words”, because in my opinion, every story is really already in existence. It’s just waiting for the right author to sit down and uncover its story. I feel almost like an archaeologist discovering ancient ruins. A story is already there; I’m just responsible for unearthing its words one page at a time.

What about you? Are you a pantser, a planner, or a bit of both? I’d love to hear about your own writing processes! Share in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

~L.M.

About Me · Observations

Treasures on the Doorstep

I posted a fun Mister Rogers video on here the other day. Someone I know in “real life” saw it and yesterday, I went to my front door to go outside and check the mail. What did I find on my doorstep? A book wrapped in pretty pink paper. I bent down to grab it and opened it as I walked to my mailbox. Inside was a book entitled: The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember by Fred Rogers. Needless to say, I was very excited! It was my great-aunt who had given it to me. She lives about ten minutes from my house and she likes to leave little treasures on my doorstep.

One day, a gorgeous vintage doll house was left on my doorstep with a book inside. There was no note and I had not received a phone call from anyone, so the Philosopher and I searched all around our neighborhood for someone who might be expecting a doll house. As my husband and I don’t have any little ones yet, we thought this a little odd. Turns out, my great-aunt had left it for me to take to my grandmother (who lives about forty-five minutes away, near my parents.) It was for a baby cousin of mine. Both my grandmother and great-aunt thought that the other one would call and tell me about it (haha).

The strangest thing I’ve received on my doorstep was a bag of maternity clothes. I was not expecting a baby at that time (or any time yet in my life), but it was there, nonetheless, with no note or anything. Thinking it exceedingly strange, I pulled it into the house and began making the rounds with the neighbors and phone calls. Nope. This one wasn’t from the great-aunt, either (thank goodness!) A few weeks went by. One day, my front doorbell rang and I went to answer it. It was my next door neighbor.

She said, “You didn’t happen to receive a bag of maternity clothes on your doorstep a while back, did you?”

I replied, “I did!”

She laughed and told me someone had dropped them off so that she could take them to a friend, but had put them on the wrong doorstep. I gratefully gave her the clothes and it became a funny story to remember.

I do, of course, receive normal treasures on my doorstep: things like UPS packages and other mail too large to fit in the mailbox. I’ll always remember, though, the funny and strange treasures that are sometimes marooned on the doormat. Have any of you ever received anything odd at your front door? Share, share, share!

Have a blessed Saturday!

~L.M.