Friday, November 30, 2012

The Ten Pounds of Christmas

The Ten Pounds of Christmas

            I gain ten pounds every year at Christmas.
How is that possible? It’s easy. I start in October. Then I struggle to take off my “Christmas fat” in January and February.
            This shameful acquisition of the bulge begins in October with Halloween candy. (And I don’t have small children to blame its presence on.) October is candy month. Any candy that comes into this house during October is for yours truly.
Then there’s snacking during football games—an annual ritual—the home team couldn’t win if I weren’t encouraging them in front of the TV with the cheers of my crunching.
            In November I vow that I will NOT gain weight over the holidays this year. But, having made that vow, the terror of holiday goodie deprivation niggles at me. The only cure for this tweak of conscience is—guess what?—a bowl of buttered popcorn and the last of the Halloween candy.
            Then comes the mother of all eating events, Thanksgiving. It would be a sin to diet on Thanksgiving, wouldn’t it? How else would I show my thankfulness except by indulging in everything the buffet has to offer? Someone went to a lot of trouble to cook all that goodness; it would be rude to pass it up.
            I hardly need to remind you what December brings. But I will: parties, Christmas cookies on display everywhere I go, gifts of home made treats, boxes of fudge and chocolates . . . the list goes on.
            I’m not sure January would be the same without digging out my “fat” clothes, bemoaning my food transgressions of the previous ten weeks, and joining a diet group for the umpteenth time. It’s all part of the post-holiday depression syndrome, that and the drifts of snow that nearly cover our west-facing windows.
Forgive me if you’ve seen this blog before. Yes, I posted it last year and did a weekly add-on until the second week of January. The reason for this repetition? It worked! I gained a mere ½ pound last year. So, hopefully, along with this blog and my weekly trip to TOPS, I can do it again this year.
The holiday season is especially hard for writers. Not only do we have to find time for all things holiday, we frantically try to keep up with our writing and all the things that accompany it. And what’s the easiest cure for stress? Food, of course. Much easier to grab a bag of chips than go for a walk in the frigid air, right?
So please join me for tips, camaraderie, and friendly banter. Together we’ll keep our writing up and our weight down!

Tip of the week:  Dealing with leftovers.

If you're the hostess, be armed with stacks of plastic containers. They're inexpensive, and you can box everything up and send it home with your guests. Be assertive!
If you're stuck with rich goodies, and don’t want to eat them, freeze it or throw it out. But make sure it’s in the garbage with something disgusting enough to prevent retrieving it in a moment of mad craving!

Dear readers,
I plan to continue blogging on the holiday weight-gaining dilemma weekly. Each week I’ll add a new tip on how to buck holiday weight gain. This will be the second year of the series. It really helped me last year, along with joining TOPS before, rather than after, the holiday season. I plan to have another no-weight-gain holiday season. Please join me.
Till next week,

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Count Your Blessings!

Count Your Blessings!

What you think about manifests itself prominently in your life. Take time to appreciate what you have and all that you are. If you’re feeling so down that you can’t think of anything you’re grateful for, consider these powerful gifts—keep in mind they’re only a fraction of the many you possess.

Can you see?
If so, take a moment to be grateful for your vision. Savor a radiant sunrise, new buds on a tree, the beauty of snowflakes on a winter day. Don’t forget the ability to read an entrancing book—it’s priceless.

Can you hear?
With a fresh awareness, enjoy your favorite music, the voices of your loved ones, the sound of children’s laughter, the wind whistling through the pine trees, a crackling fire on a frigid day. Imagine having to live without hearing.

Can you speak?
With your words, you can console a loved one, comfort a child, say, “I love you,” and inspire others to action. Speaking through the written word is a gift in itself. Be grateful for your writing talent.

Can you smell?
Close your eyes and inhale deeply through your nose. Imagine the fragrance of spring flowers, the cologne of a loved one, Thanksgiving dinner, the sharp, pure smell of fresh snowfall. You can smell them all without even having them near. 

You can think!
We take for granted our ability to think, to direct our lives, control our destinies. How amazing it is to be able to read a book, or write one. The gift of thought and learning has no price tag. Cherish it!

The more you are grateful for, the more you will learn to love your life. Write down ten things you are grateful for and look at them often. Think about how much better it is to dwell on all the things you’re grateful for than spending time mired in negative thoughts.

Dear readers,
I wish all of you a happy, healthy Thanksgiving Day, full of good food and surrounded by loved ones. Many of us aren’t able to experience a Norman Rockwell-perfect holiday, and because of it, don’t take time to enjoy what we do have. My own family has dwindled over the years, and holidays aren’t what they used to be. I’ve learned to relish what I do have: a visit from my son, dinner in a fine restaurant, or even a day alone to spend as I wish. Many people don’t even have these.
Let’s count our blessings.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Collect Ammunition Against Negativity

Collect Ammunition Against Negativity

It will happen. You know there’ll be days when you feel like a slice of three-week old bread. Those are the days you’ll need to call up your reserves—you need help.
            Why would you want to prepare for those days ahead of time? Having a stockpile of ammunition comes in handy when your inner critic rears its ugly head. That inner voice that says you’re not good enough to write a jingle, much less a complex novel.
            No matter how good you are at liking yourself, the critic-monster will sneak back in. It’s extremely crafty and not easily booted out. The inevitability of its reappearances in our lives is why we need to be prepared.
            Negative thoughts keep you from having loving relationships, getting the job you want, and from finishing your novel. They may be the only things holding you back from succeeding!
             Here are some ideas for positive ammunition:
1.     Visualize eliminating your inner critic. Picture yourself rubbing it out of your life with a giant eraser, or tossing it in the basket of a hot air balloon and watching while it floats into the stratosphere.
2.     Create a library of inspiring books. There are so many to choose from for writers! Don’t just download the free ones to your kindle—read them!
3.     Write down every good thing anyone’s ever said about you and your writing. Jot down all those morale-boosters and read them over whenever you feel the need.
4.     Always remember you have a choice. Next time life deals you a setback, remember you can change the one thing you have control over—your attitude. Do whatever it takes to get back in a positive frame of mind.
5.     Get some exercise. A brisk walk around the block can do wonders for your attitude and spark creativity. Invest in a small digital recorder and take advantage of this heightened spark. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
6.     Look for someone to praise. Complimenting others can’t help but make you feel better about yourself.
7.     Watch an uplifting movie, or turn on your favorite music.

Dear readers,
How did you feel about this exercise? Did you resist it, resent it, even think, “Why bother?” That attitude might represent the way you treat your body, your writing and your entire life. Take time to think about what you love about yourself and all of your accomplishments. Now’s the time to shine!
All you NaNoWriMo’s out there, take heart. It will be over soon. Take time to read what you’ve already written and give yourself a pat on the back!
Have a great week everyone,
(This blog inspired by Pam Grout’s Treasure Hunt.)

Saturday, November 3, 2012



Who needs them?

An independently published author has the advantage of never being required to work toward a deadline. But, then, there are also those pesky, self-imposed deadlines. Are they a necessary evil or are they the death of our creativity? The procrastination bug hounds us all; distractions surround us at every turn. We all need to find a way to work toward the things we want to achieve.
How about goals? Are they merely deadlines in disguise? Maybe they are, but goals merged with deadlines, get things done. If you’re a new author, you need to establish habits that will support your work throughout your writing career. An experienced author can draw from what’s worked for him/her in the past, fine-tuning as he matures in his writing habits. A new author must establish good work habits early on.
And authors are not the only ones who need to develop a system for achieving their goals and meeting their deadlines.
            Some ways to make deadlines less painful;
1.     Think long-term. This keeps expectations realistic. Goals and deadlines can always be readjusted, but avoid stressing yourself by making them urgent.
2.     Supplement the long-term with daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Breaking down any large project into doable increments will keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
3.     Give yourself flexibility. A daily deadline of one page of writing may be easily doable, but it also allows you to miss a day and do two, and then catch up the next day.
4.     Don’t just make goals or deadlines and forget about them: Write them down, post them on your computer, keep a notebook.

Dear Readers,
 Many of us work better with a deadline looming. It’s hard, however, to stick to one that is self-generated! One way to set up a deadline for yourself is to get on a waiting list for reviews, editing, proofing, formatting, etc. Then, in order to use the services of the professional you’ve chosen, you’ll have to have your manuscript ready in time. This one works pretty well for me. Tell us what works for you.
Take care, and have a great week,