Ah…December, the month of snow and cold and Christmas. For the last few days, I’ve debated which books I want to read to wrap up the 2015 Goodreads Challenge.
Since this is the month I traditionally clean the house from top to bottom, cram in the Christmas baking and shopping, AND I’m on deadline (for the last two months, but we’re not going to discuss that book three in the Caught Between series is now a month late!), I need some quick easy reads. Plus my mom recently tumbled down the stairs and she has a compressed fracture in her lower back, so there’s additional vacuuming and snow shoveling at her house.
I have several Christmas novellas on my ereader that I still need to read, so here’s my list for December
As it is, I won’t quite make my goal of 100 books read for the Goodreads challenge, but I’ve far surpassed the number of books I read last year, which was the whole reason for joining the challenge. I’m totally ecstatic!
What’s on your TBR pile this month? And what might possibly take priority over your reading time? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you!
This morning I woke up filled with worry about things that haven’t even occurred yet. You know what I’m talking about. Those thoughts that distract you with what may—but probably won’t—happen next week or next month or next year (next year being on my mind because it’s only six weeks away).
Will I be able to weasel my way out of going to youngest son’s house tomorrow to help hang doors, because really, at this stage of the rebuild, I’m mostly standing around taking up space until we get to the cleaning stage.
Will I be able to fit in a quick vacuum next week?
A visit to my mother?
PANIC…there’s no edible food in the house! (which may or may not include red licorice…just saying.)
Then I remembered Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now which is all about living in the moment. With a vow to focus on one thing at a time today, I pushed my worries away, climbed out of bed, got ready for the day, and grabbed my first cup of coffee. As I set the full cup on my desk, the cup caught the edge of something and in an instant, coffee spilled everywhere.
Okay, so I hadn’t really been focused on setting the cup down. And I hadn’t really been all that enthused about working today…
For the next hour, I wiped coffee from the carpet, the chair mat, under the desk, on top of the desk, inside the desk drawers, off my papers, my sticky notes, my keyboard, and every nook and cranny in-between. For the first time since I woke, I was totally focused on the moment.
There’s something powerful about complete and total focus. It lifts the spirit and sets it on fire. It makes the passage of time unnoticeable. It brings enlightenment out of the dark.
I have a practice of sitting still and quiet for five minutes before I get down to the writing each day. Well, actually it’s less of a “practice” and more of a “I really need to do this every day” wishful thought. But when I manage to discipline myself enough to practice mindful meditation for several days in a row, I quickly notice that I’m more focused and I have less “interruptions”. It’s like the universe recognizes my mindfulness and rewards it with stressless and productive days.
Do you have a technique that helps you focus on the here and now? Or are you often unmindful—and therefore clumsy and scattered—like I tend to be when I let my mindful practice go? Let me know in the comments. I love to hear from you!
This month for the Goodreads Challenge, I’m on a Sketchnotes kick. If you don’t know what sketchnotes are (I didn’t either until I stumbled across them while Googling something for my current story), then check them out here. I’ll wait.
Oh, you’re back. Wonderful! Aren’t those designs and drawings so cool?!
I’m fascinated with this tool. It feels much like a guilty pleasure (like when I draw the pot of uncooked potatoes instead of putting them on the stove to boil for supper). Now, I’ve never been much into drawing or painting. There are amazingly talented painters in my family, but unfortunately I’m not one of them.
But I love to organize, which is how I plan to use the sketchnotes I create. I’ll be drawing scenes, characters, locations, and maybe one day I’ll even be brave enough to share them. 🙂 I’ve also picked up a few more sketchnote type books to expand my knowledge of simple drawing and organizing techniques.
In addition, I’m reading the first book in Catherine Bybee’s popular Not Quite series and Steena Holmes latest release, The Word Game. And I have a few books that I’ve added to my Goodreads shelf to read this year, but haven’t yet gotten around to it, so hopefully this month.
What are you reading? And do you have any current guilty pleasures that you would love to get me hooked on?
Last weekend, we celebrated the Canadian Thanksgiving. My brother and his beautiful wife hosted the event, and we celebrated with lots of good company and good food.
Thanksgiving Day is a reminder to be grateful, and when so much bad happens in our world, it’s important to remember to be thankful. And yet, gratitude is easily pushed aside by the busyness of every day life.
What I know for certain about gratitude is that I’m fortunate to be filled with it.
1. I’m grateful for my family and friends who have always supported me on my writing journey…my husband and boys and oldest’s beautiful girlfriend who listen to my plotting woes and celebrate my writing victories; my parents who gave me the gift of life and encouraged my dreams; my brother, his lovely wife, and my three sisters who give me glimpses into their lives that occasionally <gasp!> find their way into my stories and characters; my friends who read my books, tell me how wonderful they are, and love me enough to point out the errors within the pages.
2. I’m grateful for an overactive imagination—sometimes too overactive—that allows me to daydream about possibilities, and come up with plots and characters that keep me entertained.
3. I’m grateful for this job that I love. I get to make things up, wear pjs to work, and the furthest I have to commute is across the hallway.
4. I’m grateful for today’s technology which keeps me connected to my family and friends no matter where I am, and has allowed me to be the CEO of my own publishing empire.
5. And finally, I’m grateful for the readers who read my books. Your kind words keep me working, even on the days when I’d rather scrub the floor with a toothbrush than face the challenges of unraveling a muddled first draft.
This month, I’m rereading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. I loved it so much the first read through that this time I want to take my time going through it. Not that I hurried the first time, or skipped sections so I could “get it done”. It was just that there was so much to love about this book.
For me personally, it was less about dealing with the fear of writing (I’m not afraid of writing or putting my books out there to get loved or trashed, although hopefully there’s more love going around than the other thing!). The book was filled with inspiration, and I especially loved how she talked about ideas, and how they travel around searching for the right person who’s willing to put in the time and effort to bring that idea to fruition.
Coincidentally, after reading the ideas section, I had a dream, one of those intriguing dreams where the story plays out like a movie—color and all!—and the characters and plot and story are fully fleshed out. But somewhere near the end, I realized that the story included aliens invading Earth. I remember this moment vividly because in my dream I said, “I can’t write this story. I don’t write science fiction.”
Well, remember the “blue screen of death” that we used to get when our PC froze or died? (I use a Mac now, so I don’t know if the “blue screen of death” still occurs.) The dream—and the idea—were gone just like that. My dream landscape was just a blank blue screen…and I realized that my idea had heard me and moved on to find someone else to take on the challenge of writing its story.
So there you have it, my number one read for the month, although I do have my eye on a couple of other books. I’m on deadline with book three in the Caught Between series, but if I can fit more reading time in this month, I will. Both authors are new to me, both write romance. One of the books is the first in a series and FREE, which is a great way to try out new authors, don’t you think?