What’s Your Stinky?

Emmie puppy

 

What’s Your Stinky?

In honor of National Puppy Day, this blog post will be inspired by Emmie Lou the beagle and her Stinky.   Emmie loves her Stinky.  If I’m not wrong, you have a Stinky, too.  My Stinky is the Belinda Starr series.   It’s the thing in my life that takes up most of my time, has been loved to pieces, and possibly, maybe just a teensy weensy bit, interferes with other aspects of my life.

Emmie and her Stinky:

Emmie and Stinky

 

Emmie’s Stinky got her name because as often as we’ve had to wash this thing, still the stench remains.  That’s how much our beagle loves this toy.  She’s played and slept with it so often, it has a perma-smell.   Stinky is Emmie’s  go-to chew toy and utensil of choice for of tug-of-war.  She’ll spend hours chewing and playing with Stinky, and when she’s ready to collapse, she’ll fall asleep with it under her paw.  Generally speaking, we don’t discourage Emmie’s playing with Stinky, but when she chews holes through her, we take Stinky away for mending and replace her with one of Emmie’s other toys.

I spend an insane amount of time working on Belinda Starr at the Metallic Enchantment.  I’ve drooled all over that dragon enough times that no amount of detergent will get my smell off of it.  There have been times where Steven has to smack me on the head with a rolled up newspaper because I’ve chewed holes through Belinda Starr and have left bits of fluff around the bedroom (please note: we do not smack the beags with newspapers or any other object).   Anyway, as hard as it is, sometimes I must put my Stinky aside and focus on other projects. Sometimes it’s a short story.  Sometimes it’s writing in a journal.  Sometimes it’s not writing at all, but other tasks that engage a different part of my brain; painting, walking, household chores, etc.

If you’re a writer, chances are you’ve been neglecting your physical health in favor of your Stinky.   I’ve been making changes to incorporate an exercise regime into my busy schedule, because as much as I love writing, I also love being alive.   It’s hard to step away from Belinda  Starr, but here’s the thing:  not only does my body need to move, doing so can actually help produce the solutions to whatever current writing dilemmas I’m facing.

So before you chew any more holes in your Stinky, step back a moment and ask yourself…what in your life are you neglecting?  What is out of balance?  And here’s a good one, have you moved much in the last 24 hours?  What is your Stinky?  And is it about time to let it take a rest?

Stinky

What’s your Stinky?  Is it full of holes (out of balance life)  or is it pretty much intact (in-balance life)? Let me know in the comments!

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The Bad Side to a Good Influence

face mask 2

 

Don’t follow good advice at the expense of who you are.

Attention introverts and people-pleasers…this one’s for you!

One of my characters in Belinda Starr and the Metallic Enchantment has a pattern of hiding his true self.  Because he has poor self-perception he often lets other people choose for him.  Another character of mine acts in similar ways.  She dreads hurting feelings, not because she genuinely cares about other people (though she does), but because of how causing dissension it will make her look.  Thoughts of confrontation and standing up for herself paralyze her.    (What will they think of me if I disagree?)

We’ve all heard of bad influences, the smokin’, drinkin’, cussin’ deadbeats that warranted words of caution from our mothers.  …You know, peer pressure and such.  Then there’s the abusers and users.  They’re the ones who, in one way or another, find a way to control and/or exploit you.  Maybe you’ve learned to stay away from these types of people, or maybe you haven’t (I hope you have).

Let’s talk about a third kind of person. This person could be described, perhaps, as a good influence.  They’re goal-oriented.  They have morals. They are kind to others. They’re not mixed up in drugs and they’re not in a troll-doll-worshiping cult.    Maybe they’re opinionated and strong-willed, or maybe they’re easy-going and non-abrasive.  Either way, you might be persuaded by this individual than you realize.  And that might not be a good thing.  

Let’s say you’re focused on a goal, whether it be fitness, career or otherwise related.  Good for you!  Things have been going alright so far, but you’re not sure what to do or where to go next.  In walks Passionate Pam.  She sure can talk, and it sure sounds like she knows her stuff, but there’s a good chance Pam’s talent has nothing to do with your goal and everything to do with persuasive speech.  You can’t blame Pam.  That’s who she is.  She’s just quoting what she knows to be true, even if she doesn’t have any experience in that particular field.  And yet she sounded so sure of herself, you go ahead and try things Pam’s (misguided) way.  And it blows up in your face. We’ve all been there.

Then there’s Cool Cam.  You admire him because he’s intelligent, soft-spoken and approachable.  He offers many solutions to your problem and even admits he doesn’t know everything.  Maybe he points you to some good resources.   Now, despite Cam’s good advice, there’s a nagging little voice in the back of your head that says “go this way!  …This way, I say!”  To said voice, you say, “nah…Cam didn’t mention doing it that way.  Cam does it this way.  I should probably do it this way, too.  Cam is smart.  I should be like Cam.”

Both Pam and Cam are good people.  But if you continue to do it their way while ignoring that little voice (I.E., you), the bad influence on you, this time, is you.   Don’t follow good advice at the expense of who you are. If you do, said advice has the goodness sucked right out of it.  Aspire to be like Cam, but not if that means discontinuing you.  Appreciate Pam for the uplifting energy she brings to the table, but don’t let your energy disappear because of it.  Learn to trust yourself.  Be confident that the decision you’ve made for your own life has just as much merit to it as that of Pam’s or Cam’s.  Don’t let yourself be talked into doing something that just is not you.  This means the ever-important lesson of learning to say no, even to Passionate Pam and Cool Cam, who have your best interest at heart.   Pam might act upset or try to convince you otherwise.  Cam might give you a blank stare or nonchalant shrug, which you then might interpret a million negative ways, all of which aren’t what Cam had intended to mean at all.  Even if Cam thinks your way isn’t the best, do yourself a favor and do it your way anyway.   Pam and Cam…?  They’re good people.  They’ll get over it.

Chances are, Pam and Cam really won’t care too much which direction you choose.  And chances are, it’s all in your head that they’re going to come unglued, think you’re an idiot and unfriend you.  Remember, Pam and Cam are good people.  They’re not likely to demonstrate such unseemly behavior.  And you…?  You’re good people, too.    Now, if you’re the black sheep in your family or social circle, you might often keep your opinions to yourself as a means of avoiding drama and the same old judgmental, head-bashing comments.  More power to you.  I completely understand.  You can keep your opinions to yourself and still take action, still make your own decisions and walk your own unique path. Just like my underdog, follow-the-crowd character from Belinda Starr and the Metallic Enchantment, you may not be a leader, but you can be the leader of your own life.  Remember, your ideas and decisions matter, because they make you who you are.  Embrace it!

What Writers Want

hope despair sign

 

“It’s the difference between letting the ache push me forward and letting it push me down.”

 

Today I wrote.  A lot. Being so, I have a nasty case of brain-mush.  So much of my life is dedicated towards completing Belinda Starr and the Metallic Enchantment, and as I’ve said before (and in case you didn’t know), writing a novel is HARD.  Someday soon I hope to see Belinda Starr and the Metallic Enchantment become a best-seller, but tonight my mind, heart and soul are just plain tired.

It’s trying, to say the least, to put so much effort into something like this, especially when there are other things for which I long.  This longing is at times, an all-consuming ache.   I ache for writing-related, J.K. Rowling-level fame.  I ache to visit Ireland, New Zealand, and my brother in Arizona.  I ache for financial stability. I  ache for my husband and I to have a child.  The ache for all these yet-to-be-obtained things can be useful in that it pushes me towards completing my goals, but the ache can also be so painful that it borderline undoes me.  That’s when I need to stop for a moment and remind myself of all the things for which I am grateful, the things I already have now,the things for which I once ached:

  • Christ, my Savior.  The One who solved mankind’s biggest ache of all.
  • My husband.  What a man!  My kindred spirit, my sweet Bunny, the love of my life!
  • My mom.  She’s been such a blessing to us!
  • My beagle.  A furry blessing, what could be better?
  • A loving and supportive family.
  • Good friends, old and new
  • A great middle-grade fantasy novel in the makings, Belinda Starr and the Metallic Enchantment. 
  • Three completed works available on Amazon.
  • Time to write!  What every author wants and needs!
  • Food, water, shelter.  For real, these things ought not to be taken for granted!
  • The freedom to write what I want.  Another blessing not to be taken lightly.

And,

  • Confidence

This last one is the difference between letting the ache push me forward and letting it push me down.    I’m still tired.  My brain is still mush.  And while the ache has not subsided, I am confident that with God’s help (and God willing), that ache will be manifested into a wealth blessings yet to come.  For now, I think I’ll take advantage of another one of life’s many blessings:

  • Rest.  Specifically, rest in Him.  Resting in Him means knowing that even though I ache, I am never alone.  He’s heard my heart’s desires, and although I can’t be sure my plans will align with that of God’s, even if the  Belinda Starr series never sees the shelves of Barnes and Noble, through the storms of my aching, one thing I can be sure of is His divine peace.  What a blessing.

 

For what do you ache?  What blessings do you already have in your life?  Let me know in the comments below!