Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Insecure Writer's Support Group and Celebrate the Small Things

Join the fun here.

Good Wednesday morning, y'all. What's new? Are you tackling the A to Z challenge? Thrilled to see Vilanova win? But first, a big shout out to our host, Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his merry band of cohosts: Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

(That last one isn't exactly merry as she piles up used Kleenex around the keyboard for the fourth time since Christmas. AAAA-CHOOO!)

April 4 question - When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

Image: barnimages

When your blank screen and mind are in perfect sync, "Om" is pronounced "Ummmm."

1. Tell myself I will write, every day, for at least an hour an hour and a half, no matter how much I hate the words spewing across the screen. I can edit the swill to greatness later. Then get hit with a crisis (see below for example) and put the writing on hold, again.

2. Spend time on research. You can never do too much of this, right? Wait, does this mean I'm supposed to research topics relevant to my novel, or can I just surf at will? I mean, how can you not watch cute cat videos all day when one of your characters might need to own a pet? It's all good.

Image: Viv Lynch

3. Take a long, long, long-long-long walk and try to get into a scene, work through a plot point, or find a character's voice. This can be tough if it's less than thirty degrees outside. If you don't own a snow suit, long showers are also good places to think. It helps to have a water heater big enough to hold Shamu though. 

I interpreted this question as a colorful way to ask what to do about writer's block. I suppose, though, it could also mean: What do you do when your queries go unanswered, book sales are nonexistent, or reviews aren't stellar? Well, my husband likes to put things in perspective. As a math professor, a bad day might mean a run-in with a difficult student, a lecture that went wrong, or a grant that didn't get funded. He consoles himself by thinking, "At least I'm not a surgeon. A bad day for them means someone died."

Alrighty, then.


It's time to celebrate the small things in life with our host, Lexa Cain, and her co-hosts: L.G. Keltner and Tonja Drecker. 

This has been a challenging week for two members of our family and I'm celebrating the fact that they are okay.

1. Fruits and vegetables are really, really good your health

 This past Wednesday, my mother-in-law survived a brush with gun violence in a N.C. Walmart. After picking up a prescription, she was about to head out the door when she decided to check out the produce aisle. Moments later, gunfire was heard outside and the shoppers were herded to the back of the store until the police arrived. Apparently, two people got into an argument inside the store first before moving it outside. One of them had a gun in his car and decided to use it. Two people were injured, but thankfully, there were no fatalities.

2. Mr. M gets a hair cut.

Last Thursday, Mr. M came in from our back deck, dragging one of his hind feet. The foot was bleeding, so I took him to the vet, thinking he must have gotten into a fight with some critter in the back yard. The vet later told me I was right, but the fight most likely occurred several days earlier. A wound on his foot got infected, formed an abscess filled with blood and pus, and this abscess broke open Thursday morning. 

While under sedation, they shaved Mr. M to get rid of several bad clumps of matted fur. Otherwise, he would have torn them out with his teeth. So he may look strange, but the shaving saved him from months of painful tearing.

Today (Tuesday), his wounds are healing and he is almost walking normally. 


If you're a writer, have you experienced rough patches in your career? Has gun violence affected you or your family? Ever nursed a pet back to health?


  1. My goodness! I'm glad your MIL and Mr. M are okay. Thankfully gun violence has never affected my family. I like taking long walks and I'm guilty of watching cat videos. It's totally research! Thanks for co-hosting!

  2. I'll admit, I spend a lot more time researching than I do writing. It's my excuse. Glad to hear that your MIL and Mr. M are both doing well. It must've been scary. Thanks so much for co-hosting this month! Eva

  3. Your husband is a wise man!

    No to the gun violence-- though my neighbor once ran off a gang of burglars with a shot gun, does that count? I think they thought she was an easy mark, little did they know she's more like a marksman!

    We have a few too many pets, so nursing them has become a hobby of mine.

  4. Very wise words indeed!

    I have friends who have been affected by gun violence. I live in a city constantly in the news regarding the same. So glad your MIL is OK!

    When I'm not writing as much as I feel like I should, I try not to beat myself up and try to put as many words on the page or do as much editing as my current schedule allows. As long as I do something each week, I tell myself I'm making progress that that's a GOOD thing!

    Thanks for co-hosting!

  5. Oh my! So glad to hear everyone is okay.

    I, too, enjoy long walks. Nothing clears my head & puts things in perspective better. I enjoyed your post! Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  6. Thank goodness MIL and Mr. M are okay. I'm grateful I have not experienced gun violence first hand. My husband is a Viet Nam vet and seen enough for both of us.

    Grateful you kitty is OK. Sounds like you got him to the Vet just in time. Thank you for co-hosting April IWSG Blog-hop

  7. Wow! How did I miss that shooting in my own state? I'm so glad your mother is okay.

    I claim my Pinterest time is research. Even if it leads to cute cat photos.

    1. Sadly, this type of thing is so common, it doesn't make the national news. Just Google "Walmart Shooting" and you'll see several stories from around the country.

  8. I like all of your bad day writing strategies and your kitten (cat tastrope) too.

    We seem to becoming more violent daily. Just last week, a man ran over his fishing buddies with his car after an argument, killing one and injuring two others. What? You get mad and drive into your friends? Guns. Cars. Fists seem to be the answer to "talking" these days. Glad your mother-in-law is okay.

  9. Glad your mother and Mr. M re all right.
    Thanks for co-hosting through your cold.

  10. So glad your MIL and Mr. M are ok. That's more excitement than one needs. As to your writing strategies - yes! to each one. No, one cannot do too much "research." And taking a run, even in cold temps, is always productive for me, both writing-wise, and keeping the crazies-at-bay-wise. Thanks for co-hosting today.

  11. Thanks for co-hosting this month. Thanks for reminding me why I'm not a surgeon. Glad your mom is okay; that sounds so scary. I'm constantly nursing my dog back to health as she consistently scavenges for old food and bones in our neighborhood. She's a rescue who thinks she's starving all the time and has no awareness to the fact that she has major food sensitivities.

  12. I liked your steps to working through. It's all research, in the end, right? Haha. Thank you for co-hosting this month!

  13. I love taking walks to jog my brain/work out scenes. I'm probably making weird faces the whole time and people think I'm crazy, but that's okay--that means they don't interrupt me! :D

  14. This is when I'm reminded how much crazy goes down in my house every day. LOL. Long walks? Um, no. My shower is my planning place. It's the one place I can get away for a few minutes and just let my brain go. One day I'll have to freedom to go trouncing around the neighborhood if I choose. This is not that day.

  15. No gun violence though all my children have friends affected by it. Long walks would be great but we're having the never ending winter with gale force winds again today.

  16. I'm glad your mother-in-law is okay. I had a moment like that. One year, we were driving down to my grandma's and we were delayed waiting for my little sister because we were riding together. Because of that, we missed being in the middle of a huge pile up on the interstate.

  17. Yes, at least I'm not a surgeon. :) And at least we're staying humorous about it all! Great post!

  18. I like the surgeon comment. Perspective, it's all about perspective. Yes to all of your questions, I've nursed a pet back to health, I've just recently had a close enough brush with gun violence, and yes, I've had rough patches in my writing life. I just keep on going. Don't know why sometimes (about writing) but I do keep going!

  19. I love your husband's approach to a bad day. It could be much worse, if I were a surgeon.
    As per gun violence, I'm glad your mom wasn't hurt. Makes me grateful I live in Canada, not the US.

  20. So true. A bad day means somebody's not breathing. Everything else is manageable.

  21. Your husband has a point – for writers a bad day might mean bad writing, or none at all, but we can always put that right the next day.

  22. Long walks can help get me into the proper creative mood, but there are only so many months I can do that in Michigan. And treadmills don't cut it. Thanks for co-hosting this month's IWSG bloghop!

  23. Hooray for your husband. Perspective is a wonderful thing.

  24. Excellent points here, Tamara. I love #3 about taking long walks to get into a scene. Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG question this month.

  25. Thanks for co-hosting, Tamara. I am glad your mother-in-law and Mr. M are okay. You have some great ways to get through writer's block. I agree a long walk can be great to help work through your writing. Of course, for me, nothing is quite as effective as a long shower.

  26. Too bad about your mother-in-law. That's scary. And Mr. M-hope he's better. I really like your husband's attitude. It's really true if we can remember it when we need it.

  27. Yikes, I hope all who are unwell feel better soon.

    Stormy days can also refer to writer's block. All good points.

  28. Your husband definitely makes a good point!
    Hope Mr. M gets better soon! My poor cat had to spend two nights at the vet a few months ago with a urinary blockage. I was a wreck. It's not fun when our pets are sick.
    Thanks for co-hosting!

  29. Thanks for hosting. I too am glad your mother-in-law and Mr. M are okay. Happy IWSG Day.

  30. Awesome photos. I'm glad your relatives are okay.

  31. Goodness, those are dramatic stories! I do hope those idiots had their guns taken away permanently.

    Yes, research is always good. It's what I do when I can't get on with the writing.

  32. I love taking a walk to inspire the muse, and your husband's perspective-taking is a good idea.

    Thank goodness your mother-in-law is okay.

    Too bad about Michigan but I gotta shout, Go Buckeyes!

  33. I love your husband's perspective! I'm going to remember that! And I loved your humorous post, Tamara! What an awful experience for your mother-in-law. I'm glad that she thought of produce and didn't walk out that store! Take care!

  34. Oh ) hope Mr M is feeling better. I've just nursed Rosie my second cat through her spay operation. She got better in five days and spent the weekend on the prowl. I thought she was gone for good - but she's back.
    The gun violence sounds scary. I have luckily never experienced it.

  35. I'm so thankful we aren't surgeons! I like that cute kitty:)

  36. Wow, what a scary situation for your MIL! So glad she is okay and glad your kitty is on the mend as well.
    Your husband has a great perspective. I'm going to try to remember that.

  37. Wow. With real-life events like these, it is no wonder the writing gets interrupted and loooooong walks are necessary. I'm glad to read the happy endings.

    I love your husband's perspective. I'm going to use his quote next time my husband has an awful day at work (which is, unfortunately, every day). Thanks for co-hosting!

  38. Great advice on both sides quarter-backed with a fluffy kitty-cat and something terrifying. Great post. Thank you for co-hosting!

  39. Scary about your MIL! Your husband has a good point. At least our bad writing days don't involve killing someone!

  40. It's great that you are disciplined enough to sit down and write for an hour and a half every day. That's something I'm working on. I also enjoy long walks and long showers to clear my mind. I like your husband's way of thinking, it really puts things in perspective. I'm glad your MIL is okay, that must have been scary. I live in England and have never even seen a gun, can't imagine what it would be like to experience something like that.

  41. Thank you for co-hosting Tamara!

    I like to clean and go for walks to, hopefully, get my muse recharged. I'm sorry to hear about Mr. M. I hope he's feeling better.

  42. Hi Tamara!

    Great that you are able to write daily. I'm not. Never have enough time to.

  43. Hi Tamara, research and long walks. That's what gets me through mi days. Coffee and wine contribute as well.

  44. هل تبحث عن شركة متخصصة فى خدمات التنظيف بالطائف بافضل المعدات والسوائل وثقة تمة فى العمل ودقة فى النتائج كل هذه المميزت توفرها شركة الخليج الشركة الافضل والامثل فى الخدمات المنزلية بالطائف وبما اننا الشركة الافضل والامثل بدون منافس سوف نسعى لتوفر افضل الخدمات باقل تكلفة وبقدر كبير من الاهتمام والدقة عزيزى اينما كنت فى اى منطقة ا وحى تابع لمدينة الطائف اتصل بنا وسوف نصلك فى الحال شركة الخليج للخدمات المنزلية شركة تنظيف منازل بالطائف
    شركة تنظيف فلل بالطائف
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بالطائف
    شركة تسليك مجارى بالطائف
    شركة رش مبيدات بالطائف
    شركة مكافحة نمل ابيض بالطائف
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالطائف
    شركة عزل اسطح بالطائف
    شركة عزل خزانات بالطائف

  45. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Your husband is right. At least as a writer your bad days include having a character(s) die. Technically that could be considered a good day too. Think of the tension and conflict that’ll bring to the story.
    I’m glad to hear your MIL is okay. Shudder to think what would’ve happened if she hadn’t decided to check the product aisle. It still boggles my mind why some people think they can resolve their problems with violence. Especially gun violence. All it does is causes more trouble and pain for the person, the intended victim(s) and anyone else unlucky enough to get dragged into it.

  46. I didn't participate in the A-Z challenge this year, didn't have the time. Next year I'll be back, I hope >:)

    Cold As Heaven

  47. شركة امست للتنظيف افضل شركة لتنظيف المنازل والشقق والفللوالبيوت والمجالس والكنب والمفروشات والخزانات بالقطيف والمنطقة الشرقية لديها عمالة مدربة وخصومات هائلة طما توفر خدمات مكافحة الحشرات ورش المبيدات بالقطيف باسعار رخيصة ومناسبة وخصومات هائلة

    شركة امست للتنظيف

    امست للنظافة القطيف
    شركة امست لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة امست لرش المبيدات

  48. هل تعانون من الحشرات وكثرتها واضرارها البالغة نقدم لكم افضل شركة لابادة جميع انواع الحشرات بالضمان وهي شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات حيث تقدم اليوم افضل العروض والخدمات بارخص الاسعار بخصم 50% لفترة محدودة

    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالدمام
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالقطيف
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالاحساء
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بالجبيل
    شركة المثالية لمكافحة الحشرات بجدة


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