As mentioned previously, I’ve been in a creative funk for months. Some might call it writer’s block or lack or self-discipline or procrastination… whatever. I wasn’t writing. And, I wasn’t happy about it. A vicious cycle was growing and I had to break free. I renewed my commitment and decided to apply Jeff Goins advice: YOU ARE A WRITER. (So Start Acting Like One.)
Since I started treating writing like it’s my job (I know– I can hear you laughing, and honestly I also rolled my eyes as I typed that), new and exciting things have happened– who’d have thought!
I’ve started talking with my writer friends about… wait for it… my work in progress (gasp!) rather than family life, what books we’ve read, the weather, politics, etc. Since doing that, I’ve gotten some great suggestions to work out rough spots in my manuscript, had a few productive brainstorming sessions, and found an accountability partner who is many steps ahead of me on this publication journey.
I also realized, yet again, the wisdom of Ben Franklin’s little rhyme:
“If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten;
either write things worthy of reading,
or do things worthy of writing.”
Taking Mr. Franklin’s advice, rather than sit at my desk bemoaning the lack of inspiration, I chose to “do things.” Last year when my husband was being considered for jobs out of state we realized we should take advantage of all the tourist things we hadn’t done in Dallas in the twenty-six years we’ve lived here, and made a list to pull out in moments like these. I love travelling and sightseeing, but often forget to be a tourist in my own county.
- We toured the Dallas Holocaust Museum which proved to be a great resource for the historical fiction mystery I am developing (WIP #3).
- We dined at The Original Campisi’s Egyptian Lounge and visited with “the family” regarding its history and the possibility of using it as a setting in my next novel (WIP #2). If those walls talk to me, half of the story will be written in the corner booth by the bar.
- Restaurants! No visit to Dallas is complete without visiting its fabulous restaurants, which is also a great way to break up the sightseeing. As a vegan, I’m grateful so many restaurants now offer veggie options on the menu. Here are some we enjoyed in the last few weeks…
because who can be inspired or creative on an empty stomach?
- Iron Cactus–We had a great evening eating and enjoying live music on the rooftop lounge.
- Spiral Diner and Bakery–The entire menu is organic vegan fare. So good! Even the carnivores in the group are happy.
- Eno’s Pizza Tavern— This is in the Bishop Arts District, a neighborhood full of interesting shops and restaurants. Wear your walking shoes.
- And for the sweet tooth… in case you are OK with vegetarian fare, as I don’t think these two spots have true vegan options, don’t miss the Cake Bar at Trinity Groves and Emporium Pies.
- We visited the Sixth Floor Museum, which also added to my research for WIP #2. This outing included my mom and one of her oldest and dearest friends. It was fabulous to hear their memories and stories from the 1960s.
- The Reunion Tower ball is iconic in the Dallas skyline. It was great to enjoy the skyline from the GeO-Deck with my mom!
- I attended writer groups including talks by authors I admire, a police chief who shared stories of his time as an undercover narcotics officer, and a retired FBI agent who specialized in anti-terrorism. Each of these presentations triggered ideas that I can use in current and future projects.
Attending this morning’s gathering of the Dallas Mystery Writers, I was fortunate to sit with Carol Puckett. I challenged myself to get to know at least one new person at each meeting–a tough task for this introvert, and was hugely rewarded for my effort today. Carol and I got along great. I learned about her and her husband. She loved my service dog. After the speaker we ate lunch and continued our visit. Turns out that she is the chair of BoucherCon 2019 which will occur in Dallas and celebrate the 50th year of the Anthony Awards.
Through our serendipitous meeting, Carol and I were able to brainstorm ways to add technology and perhaps even a live-streaming option to the conference. My friend, Marsha, and I were able to give Carol names of local authors who might be willing to help with the conference. I also suggested some promotion and fundraising ideas Carol hadn’t considered. She invited me to join the local organizing committee for BoucherCon2019, and asked if I would be willing to speak at one of the lunch sessions. We noted that creativity, inspiration, and connections happen when and where you least expect them. Carol left with a list of action items to follow up on.
As a marketing student, I was taught to dress one step better than was expected and to always act prepared for the job you want rather than the one you have. In the past two months I have acted like an author as much as possible, and am pleased to report that the wisdom of the past still holds true. Serendipity is defined as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” I’m again reminded that I must get out of my head and my apartment and “do things worthy of writing” for inspiration, creativity, and serendipity to occur.
I’d love to know what you do to get your creative juices flowing! Please leave a comment or suggestion. If you enjoy my writing, look forward to reading my stories, want to encourage my dream, or like getting glimpses of my life, please follow this blog, like my Facebook page, and share with your friends.
Wishing you much creativity and serendipity!