The Trouble with Writing

I am an author and I am a teacher of the future of writing…and the trouble with all of that is this: some days writing feels like no trouble at all.

That shouldn’t be a problem, right? On days like that I should be skipping happily (in slow motion of course) across meadows of perky flowers with their little faces turned to the sun as they wave merrily in a light breeze. And sometimes I do allow myself that little daydream moment where I realize that I have spent ten minutes on the computer and somehow managed to crank out a week’s worth of word count and I do a happy dance around the house.

Then I start to worry. First of all, when is it all going to start crashing down? Because nothing in a writer’s life will stay lined up long enough for us to get that feeling all day every day (and I don’t think it should). But mostly I worry about my students getting that feeling. If they begin to feel that writing comes easily all of the time then how will they feel when it doesn’t?

I teach a grade in which my students will be taking a state mandated writing test at the end of February. STATE MANDATED WRITING TEST. why yes, I am freaking out, thank you for asking. So what happens when they open the test booklet, look at the response questions, and totally blank from the stress? I have 80 students. How many of them will be freaking out at that point? I know I would be! In fact, I know I WILL be!

Maybe the real problem with writing isn’t that somedays are more difficult than others. Perhaps the problem is that we spend so much time worrying about the eventual writer’s block or poorly written draft that we set ourselves and psych ourselves out, thus creating the blockage we worried about.

*SIGH*

Since today is the first official day of my Christmas break, maybe I should focus on my own writing for a few days and try to rejuvenate myself for the intensity of writing that will follow. I’m sure everyday will bring us a new trouble with writing!

Go Ahead…You Deserve It

I’m sure that someone, somewhere, sometime has told you to treat yourself. Go ahead and eat that cake, you’ve had a long day. Go ahead, buy that outfit, treat yourself! Well, in my life and with my friends the ‘treat’ is more often cheap junk food that we loved as kids. Cheap childhood junk food with ingredients that I can’t pronounce…and probably don’t want to know about anyway.

Well now you can treat yourself to your favorite childhood ‘delicacies’ with just a little work in kitchen and the help of Jennifer Steinhauer’s cookbook, simply titled Treat Yourself. This book contains 70 (THAT’s RIGHT FOLKS…I DIDN’T ADD AN EXTRA NUMBER, There are 70) recipes for classic snacks that we loved in childhood and can now love again! The introduction gives interesting and entertaining insight into the author and her search for great desserts, and also provides an in depth supplies list so that you know the need for a canoe pan is real and imminent.

Moving on…

I made two of these recipes for a potluck recently and was amazed at how well they turned out. First, I made the Thin Mints, and though her warning about the ‘snap’ not being there was absolute truth, the flavor was amazingly similar to those crunchy, minty girl scout cookies I love so much.

I then proceeded on to my favorite of the Little Debbie snacks: the Zebra Cake. This was much more complicated than the ‘simple’ thin mint recipe, but came out tasting amazingly similar (though a bit more sweet) than the packaged treat. I also took 1/3 of the cake and separated it out in order to change it up a bit…after putting the whipped center into the larger portion of the cake, I added cinnamon to the filling and created a brand new (for me) love. Needless to say, my friends at the potluck are it up.

 

Now I won’t tell you that this will be simple, the recipes are in depth and can take a few hours to complete. If you’re diabetic, you should probably skip this one or just know that you’ll need extra insulin after you start baking. All of that aside, the recipes are well written, well organized, and well tested. Jennifer Steinhauer, the author, often reiterates the lack of certain qualities (like ‘snap’) in these homemade goodies, because we aren’t adding the extra chemicals and using the big machines that the companies are privy to. But if you leave those expectations at the kitchen door, the outcome will surprise and delight.

I give this 4.5 out of 5 dragons. Well Done, Ms. Steinhauer, well done!

How to Recognize and Handle Addictive Personality Disorder

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about my addiction to colored pens. While the post was all in good fun, the truth is that I am addicted to using colored pens. Whether it stems from my mild OCD or is a coping mechanism that escalated along with overeating after I quit smoking, I still have at least fifty multi-hued ink pens (all fine or medium tipped!) waiting for me to use them. Along with the set of patiently waiting notebooks and large pile of yarn, these pens are a silent testament to my inner self.

You may think, “what’s the big deal about paper, pens, and yarn?” You’re right, but what if it was still tobacco, or what if my occasional beer piled up like my yarn? Addictive Personality Disorder is not diagnosed as often as alcoholism or drug addiction, but many of the people who try to clean up their lives and move away from harmful addictions turn around and fill that void with the ceremony of a ‘not-so-harmful’ addiction. Smokers who quit and overeat, drug addicts who clean up and begin pouring their time into exercise, and even overeaters who suddenly become addicted to counting calories all exhibit signs of APD. There are even some who become addicted to certain emotions!

Some common traits of Addictive Personality Disorder Include:

  • Impulsive behavior or lack of impulse control
  • Being prone to seek out excitement
  • The feeling of being alienated from society
  • A lack of patience and/or being easily frustrated
  • Low self-esteem, though often times popular
  • Rebellious behavior against authorities, rules, laws, etc. (includes, lying, stealing, breaking laws, etc. May also include an addiction to getting tattoos/piercings when family/friends find those things ‘taboo’)
  • Sensitivity to stress
  • An all or nothing mentality
  • A lack of intimacy or ability to have healthy relationships

 

While each individual is different, thus making each case of addiction different, these tell-tale signs might help you to see a pattern of addiction in yourself or those around you. If you find that to be the case, there are several things that can help you and others handle addictions.

  • First, admit that there is a problem.
  • Once you have admitted the problem, seek help in the form of counseling or even close friends (therapy is recommended)
  • Learn ways to cope with stress that allow you remain calm and without need of those stress relieving addictions.
  • Provide pep talks and personal mantras for yourself. I.e. “I CAN, I AM, I WILL, I DO.” Or even, “I am smart, I am wise, I am healthy, etc.”
  • Diet and Exercise – while these can help refocus your mind and detox your body while keeping you grounded in the ‘present moment’ (it is crucial to stop worrying over the past and stressing out over the future – these are key triggers for many addicts) they can also become the new focus of addictions. Keep this in mind and be very strict on the types and amounts of diet/exercise that you indulge in. The goal is to be healthy.
  • Cold water, deep breathing, yoga, – helps you to calm down, resets/calms the nervous system and emotions.

One of the main things to remember is to keep away from the harmful/previous addiction and surround yourself with a good support group. You are not in this alone, you are not just an addict, and you CAN overcome these trials and issues.

 

Sources and Other Reading:

http://www.addictive-behaviors.net/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/103709-addictive-personality-characteristics/

http://www.addictioninfo.org/articles/living-with-an-addict/addictive-personality-disorder-symptoms

http://carolyncowan.com/the-addictive-personality/

 

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Just a small portion of my ‘stash’

Link

Heartburn Healers at Home

Heartburn Healers at Home

I’ve just had an article published via the Yahoo! Contributors Network that I am pretty proud of. Though most of us know a little bit about the ‘old remedies’ to heartburn (you know…the one’s that don’t involve pills that come in little purple packages or pink bottles) the remedies I researched and wrote up in this article are, for the most part, ones that I had not heard of before.

For the record, they work. I actually mixed up three of them in a hot tea last week and cured the heartburn of myself, my mother, and my father…all very different sufferers who don’t always get the same outcome from quickly dissolving tablets! (hot mint tea…spearmint…with a 1/2 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and a teaspoon or more depending on tastes needs of Organic Honey.)

If you use any of the suggested remedies, or have some I didn’t list, let me know! I would love to hear your experiences and ideas with this.

Early Prayer Private Prayer – Essays on Christian Worship, pt 2

This author is a minister, professor of Biblical Studies at NWOSU, and avid seeker of the truth and knowledge found in the Bible.

An excerpt from his newest writing endeavor, here is today’s post from Dr. Wilson Jay Tyree. Don’t forget to follow his blog and find him at http://www.facebook.com/TyreeTomes or get his other books on Kindle or Amazon.

Early Prayer Private Prayer – Essays on Christian Worship, pt 2.

Saturday Updates and Excerpts

 

Between articles, blogs, and Camp I’ve written around 6,000 words this week. Though not nearly as much as I was hoping for, I think that’s pretty respectable. However, for as much time as I spend writing, I need to amp it up a lot more and stop trolling Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest when I should be boosting my count (Seriously though, I find cool stuff so you should probably follow me on all 3! 😀 )

Though I didn’t quite get caught up on my Camp project, I did manage to bring down my minimum daily word count from 1700 to 1400. I may be able to handle that…Wait, I CAN HANDLE THAT! Now that I’ve brought you up to speed on my woeful inability to complete all of this week’s goals *sigh…bigsigh* I will leave you with something that makes me proud of what little I did accomplish last week…an excerpt from Dragons in the Deep.

Chapter 28:

“Excuse me sir,” Julie mumbled, shuffling across the cabin’s floor to whisper into Flynn’s general direction, “I have a message from Mr. Janxson for Mr. Ferdinand.”

“So give it to him,” Flynn shrugged and jerked his head toward the computer station, where Anna, Jane, and Ferdinand were gathered around Nickel as she showed off her hard work.

“I-I don’t feel comfortable with telling him this,” She whispered even more quietly, “Maybe you should do it.”

“What?” Flynn looked up from his own stack of papers and filed with a look of bewildered frustration etched across his features. “What are you talking about? Old Man Janxson probably just wants to make sure we’re being nice to his friends and thinks I’ll lie to him.”

“No sir, Mr. Janxson had me write down a very specific message about Mr. Ferdinand’s wife,” Julie was almost not making any noise at this point, so worried and embarrassed by the message that she seemed about to pass out from the anxiety of it all. “I just don’t feel right giving it to him though.”

“Julie,” Flynn spoke calmly and clearly, sometimes Julie’s anxieties made her a little stubborn and hard of hearing, “If Mr. Janxson wanted Ferdinand to get the message, it must be very important, right?” she nodded so he continued, “And Mr. Janxson entrusted this message to your care, right?”

“Only because no one else answered the line, sir.”

“But if he didn’t think you could handle, he wouldn’t have given you the task, would he?”
“I guess not.” Her voice wavered but she straightened her back with determination, “I’ll go give it to him right now.” She stopped mid turn to add, “But don’t expect me to wait on him to read it!”

Shaking his head at her obvious issues, but allowing curiosity to get the better of him, Flynn watched the ship’s steward scurry across the room, tap Ferdinand on the shoulder, hand him a piece of paper, and without saying a word, turn tail and race back out of the cabin.

“I wonder what that was all about,” Jane turned inquisitive eyes to the folded sheet in the Fairy King’s hands.

To Be Continued…

 

Article Help

I have been given the assignment to choose my own topic and write a short article dealing with an aspect of mental illness. I prefer not to do something that has been completely overdone already, but have still only narrowed the topic list down to 5 possibilities. That’s where you come in!

I’ve created the below poll to get your feedback on my possible topics. Please feel free to vote, comment, and/or message with your thoughts. Thank you!