Yesterday morning, I woke up to a gray sky and an even grayer mood. I grabbed a cup of coffee, started a fire in the fireplace and sat down to write.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch. It’s not like this is anything new. All writers occasionally come up empty. But this was annoyingly familiar…
As I sat there, toasty warm by the fire, it occurred to me that I’d been mopey and sluggish and generally all around blah for quite some time now. I could feel the ideas in my head. They hovered in the dark, waiting, watching, seeking an escape route from the unchartered territory of my brain. But they were trapped…locked behind a month long diet of ice cream bars and Twizzlers.
I’ve been blaming my lack of ideas and glum mood on the fact that I don’t get out much or see a lot of people. But as I considered the lethargic state of my brain, I knew there could only be one explanation.
There’s no lock on the pantry or freezer doors.
Sugar is my weakness. It overloads my brain and puts every idea on permanent hold. Coupled with the fact that I’d stopped exercising in the spring because I was so busy in the yard, the over indulgence of the past couple of months had finally caught up with me.
I’m in good shape, healthy, usually mindful of what I eat and do. But every once in a while, I falter, then fall down. If I’m not careful, I end up flat on my stomach, one hand clutching an ice cream bar, the other hand filled with red Twizzlers, my nose pushed into a bowl of richly buttered popcorn.
This junk food isn’t just clogging my arteries and promising to cover my body with an extra layer of warm fat for the winter. It’s frying my brain, killing my darlings…oh, those wonderful ideas that come from the mysterious depths of our sub-conscious.
After I finished whining into my cup of java, I made a few healthful decisions. Resume those daily walks. Cut out the daily sugar and save those junk food extravaganzas for a Saturday night movie fest. Focus on those delicious brain foods – fresh vegetables, fruits, and salmon. Half a day without sugar and already, my mind is humming along and the Idea Fairy is chasing her children out into my world.
I know I’ll fall down again. It’s in my genes. My dad always knew exactly where my mom hid his favorite go-to treat, the supersized bag of chocolate chips.
So what foods make you falter, then fall? And what snacks or foods do you reply on to keep you and your brain in premium condition? Busy minds need help to stay sharp.
Whenever I’m struggling through the work-in-progress, as I am with the midpoint rewrites on Sex, Lies & Family Ties, I get easily sidetracked. So when people started to talk about the movie THE WORDS starring Bradley Cooper, it gave me something besides my WIP to fixate on.
Larry Brooks, author of Story Engineering, the book that taught me about story structure and saved my writing sanity, recently wrote a post about the movie. According to last Sunday’s Storyfix.com post, the movie is about a writer who plagiarizes another writer’s work, then gets caught. Huh? Still, I’m fascinated and will definitely be catching this movie. But probably not till it hits Netflix or the movie channels.
I subscribe to TheBookDesigner blog because I once entertained the idea of designing my own book covers. There’s just one wee problem. In the process of selecting images and putting them together, I discovered I don’t have an eye for design.
Even if I borrow the idea exactly as it is, it still looks home made…or at least, home made by me.
Yet I love to fiddle with colors and images. Even if the end result looks childish and unprofessional, I do it for my own pleasure. Or sometimes, I do it for the pleasure of pure procrastination. It’s kind of like the first draft. Nobody but me sees the mess. Plus, when I design stuff on the computer, there’s no cleanup and I don’t have to whitewash my flannel walls with a new coat of paint.
So when the latest TheBookDesigner post showed up in my mailbox, I was thrilled to discover three new tips on finding and using images.
Photopin.com is advertised as free photos for bloggers and creatives. It’s simple, easy, straightforward. It pulls data from Flickr and you can filter images based on the Creative Commons licensing.
If you don’t have image editing software like Photoshop, TheBookDesigner recommends FreeOnlinePhotoEditor.com. It’s fun, you can fiddle till you’ve procrastinated the day away.
Lastly, there’s Google images which now has a cool little camera in the search bar to help you search for images using other images. For years I’ve had the image of a grumpy creature holding a coffee cup on my computer desktop. On a poor-pitiful-me day, I pulled it from the internet and since then, have never been able to locate the source. Now, I’ve uploaded the image and Google supplied me with links so I can locate and track the owner. Apparently it’s a popular image. If anyone knows of the owner, please email me at .
Do you love images and design and color? Or do you use them like I do, a procrastination technique masked to look like work? And what color(s) are the walls in your house?
UPDATED: There’s a new design site out there and I’m hearing some wonderful things about it! Canva’s Free Stock Photos. Just register on their site like you do with all of the other image sites, and you have access to not only images, but a whole host of design tools too. No more need for Photoshop!
My good friend Vicki Batman, who writes funny and fabulous romantic comedy short stories and novels, convinced me to spend the day with the lovely gals at the Plotting Princesses website.
The Plotting Princesses are a group of north Texas romance authors who get together and brainstorm their plots. How cool is that? On their website, they talk about books, writing, interrogate interview guests authors, and more. Check it out.