If you’ve never used a vision board to help you clarify your life, career, and personal goals, then you don’t know what you’ve been missing.
For the past twenty years I’ve used vision boards to help guide my writing career, and aid in making personal goals for my weight, my health, and my relationships.
This workshop will help you discover why vision boards are so helpful in getting you to achieve definable and measurable goals and the reasons behind the psychology of “wishing and dreaming” vs. Goal setting.
Peggy Jaeger is a multi-published contemporary romance author and Registered Nurse who happens to be in the Second Act of her life, so that credo of walking the walk and talking the talk is one she knows intimately. Realizing there is a market for romance readers and writers who are also in the second act of their lives prompted her to develop this workshop to instruct, educate, and entertain readers and writers of romance of a certain age.
Hello, Slice of Orange! I’m new here. My name is Renae Wrich and I am a children’s book author and an aspiring writer of romance. I hail from the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, more commonly known as Minnesota.
Minnesota had an especially brutal spring season this year. To put it in perspective, in April there were only five days of sunshine (FIVE!) and the average daytime temperature for the month was a whopping 44 degrees. This miserable weather was only compounded by the fact that my family welcomed an adorable eight-week old whoodle puppy into our home in March.
Shivering outside at all hours of the day willing our whoodle to do her business, was enough to put my husband and I on a plane headed to the desert in May. So we dropped off our puppy and kids with the Grandparents and hightailed it to Sedona, Arizona.
Sedona had been on our bucket list for a while and this year felt like the perfect time to go. In addition to escaping the “sprinter” (spring + winter) weather, we also had the perfect excuse of celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary.
Let me tell you, Sedona did not disappoint. There’s so much to do and seriously not enough vacation days to do it all – Mystical vortexes, pink jeeps, prickly pear margaritas, art galleries, plus all the adventure and hiking your glutes can handle. Don’t worry, we also treated ourselves to plenty of R&R time at the pool.
It was on our last full day in Sedona, as I was wading through the pool, that I noticed a woman with a hat that had the word “Writer” printed across the front.
I don’t know if it was the buzz of vortex energy, the poolside margarita, or sheer excitement, but I immediately swam up to her and introduced myself.
My mysterious pool writer turned out to be none other than Rebecca Forster!! As you can imagine, Rebecca was incredibly kind and easy to talk to. We found ourselves lost in conversation about the world of writing and publishing. I probably could have stayed in that pool and talked with her all night, but for the sake of our pruned fingers and deserted spouses, we finally exited the pool and exchanged information.
It was a no-brainer when Rebecca asked me to fill in for her on Slice of Orange while she’s away. I am grateful to her and for opportunity to be a part of this incredible community.
If you have any littles in your life who are obsessed with macaroni and cheese, or any Grandmas who always save the day, please check out my book, Mac and Cheese, Please, Please, Please. It is available on Amazon.
Linda O. Johnston enjoys writing, romance, puzzles, and dogs.
A former lawyer, Linda is now a full-time writer and has published 57 books so far, including mysteries and romantic novels. She has written several cozy mystery series including the Barkery & Biscuits Mysteries and Superstition Mysteries for Midnight Ink, and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries and Pet Rescue Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. She also writes romances for Harlequin, including Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Writing as Lark O. Jensen, her latest release is Bear Witness from Crooked Lane Books. No matter what name she uses, nearly all Linda’s current stories involve dogs!
In addition to blogging for A Slice of Orange on the 6th of every month, Linda blogs at Killer Hobbies, Killer Characters, and Writerspace. Linda was interviewed by Jann Ryan, you can read all about it in Linda O. Johnston—Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and So Much More!
Betty Edwards’ book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (1),” opened my eyes to a reality I hadn’t fully appreciated. As a neurologist, I understand the functions assigned to various locations within the brain. However, I never completely respected the dominant hemisphere’s power. Most people are right-handed indicating the left half of the brain is their dominant hemisphere, the center for logic and language. If I let it, my dominant hemisphere rules, governing by talking constantly and ruminating, at times, keeping me up at night reviewing, reminding, advising, revising, and creating anxiety. It can be unrelenting and exhausting.
Pop culture has long espoused that the right, non-dominant, hemisphere, in right-handed people, is the center of creativity. However, functional anatomic studies have not proven that hypothesis; and, in general, the concept of strict lateralization of creativity to the right side of the brain is no longer accepted. Nevertheless, that historic, theoretic construct remains useful for this discussion. (2)
What happened to the right half of the brain or wherever innovation resides? According to Betty Edwards, the education system took care of that by heavily favoring a curriculum of dominant hemisphere activities with emphasis on communicating through reading, writing, speaking, and exercising logic. The dominant side of the brain perceives the parts of things and processes in a linear sequential fashion. On the other hand, the innovative centers tend to be more spontaneous and conscious of the whole.
Right brain development became stunted halfway through elementary school. Betty Edwards points out, if one tries to sketch a picture of something, for many of us whose left-brain dominates, the depiction looks primitive, like something created in fourth grade. Try to draw anything and the left brain won’t allow it. Instead, it names the thing, consciously or unconsciously, and the right hand obeys producing a stereotypical likeness of the object rather than the article observed. The dominant hemisphere takes over limiting creativity.
How can I shut down my left hemisphere, let the right-side shine, and escape the constant banter interfering with sleep and relaxation, and stifling inventiveness? What happens when I finally break away, escaping the left hemisphere’s tyranny. I find quiet and peace. Time flies.
Meditation is one way to achieve this. I turn off the voice, listen to my surroundings, concentrate on breathing. Who knows, if I focus on nothingness long enough, someone wiser than I once suggested, I may hear the angels whispering. Our North American culture doesn’t generally allow for guiltless free unproductive time, making meditation difficult.
I’ve discovered other activities with the hope of reaching the same end. My answer to that conundrum involves incorporating a constructive activity with the mediative practice. I stand in a stream with water rushing past me. An egret walks slowly on the opposite shore staring in my direction. I cast and retrieve a feather tied to a hook at the end of a long line, concentrate on the process, commune with nature. I may even catch a fish. I play a musical instrument, doesn’t matter how well. Music is about spatial relationships, a non-dominant hemisphere specialty. I paint a picture and become a part of the scene, lost in the color, and the lines. I walk among the flowers on the canvas, smell their fragrance, feel the breeze ruffling the leaves. Free the right hemisphere. Time flies.
That brings me to writing/composing. Harness the left brain. Creating fiction is like painting. My pallet is filled with words. I paint with them, craft images, dissolve into the story, live the mystery, fly among the stars to strange worlds, survive a dystopia, fall in love, reminisce, dream, get lost, find my way, escape into a world I create.
1. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards, 1979, Simon and Shuster.
2. Robert Schmerling, Harvard Health Publishing
Peter Barbour has been writing for over thirty years. He published “Loose Ends,” a memoir, in 1987, followed by a series of short stories from 1992 to 1995. “The Fate of Dicky Paponovitch” won Raconteur of the Month, May 1994, Raconteur Magazine, Susan Carrol Publishing. Since 2015, he has published more than twenty-five short stories which have appeared in shortbreadstories.co.uk, storystar.com, and shortstory.me, The Piker Press, Rue Scribe, Star Light Path, and ArtPost Magazine. His short story, “Why Bats Live in Caves,” can be found in “Fur, Feathers, and Scales: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales,” an anthology from the Bethlehem Writers Group. Barbour wrote and illustrated three children’s books, “Gus at Work,” “Oscar and Gus,” and “Tanya and the Baby Elephant.” He is a member of the Bethlehem Writers Group. Links to his stories and illustrations can be found at www.PeteBarbour.com Barbour enjoys deconstructing stories to see how they are put together. He grew up loving the Wizard of Oz series, and dutifully read each book in the series to his children. The hero goes on a journey is one of his favorite themes.
He loves the outdoors, and especially the Pacific Northwest, which serves as the setting for many of his stories. He is married, and likes to travel, which affords him the opportunity to absorb new experiences from which to write. Barbour attended the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate and Temple University School of Medicine where he earned his M.D. He completed his residency training in Neurology, at Stanford University School of Medicine and practiced medicine in the Lehigh Valley until 2015 when he retired.
He believes that what comes from the heart goes to the heart.
As we celebrate the Declaration of Independence this month, I wanted to share parts of a magazine article I wrote a few years back about freedom and the act of gratitude. I love reminders to be grateful in amongst the chaos of life. Including all the pieces that go with a writing career. I hope that it can be a source of encouragement to you. This was originally printed in WestCoast Magazine in July 2019. I’ve made some adjustments to fit a blog post rather than an article.
Another form of freedom we can celebrate is the act of gratitude. Google defines gratitude as “the quality of being thankful; the readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Wikipedia’s page takes it one step further and states; “Gratitude has been said to have one of the strongest links with mental health of any character trait. Grateful people are happier, less depressed, less stressed, and more satisfied with their lives and social relationships.”
I don’t know about you, but I would like to live a happier, less stressed life.
Say ‘thank you’. It doesn’t matter how big or small the act is, saying these two words makes a difference. A quick email reply with the words thank you. If someone holds open the door, hands you something, pays you a compliment, or when the server delivers your food, just say thank you. It matters.
Write a note. Send a note to someone for whom you are grateful and tell them why. In my research I learned psychologists use this technique to help people with their overall mental health. Even just thinking or writing about someone you are grateful for can help.
Start a Gratitude Journal. I love to stop and think about what it is around me that I can be thankful for. It’s amazing the little things you will notice when you do this. Sometimes we are so caught up in our to-do list, we don’t stop to appreciate what is going on around us. Like the baby birds chirping, or the sun shining so that the flowers will open and bloom. If writing in a journal seems a bit overwhelming, another option is to write out three-five things you are thankful for at the end of the each day.
Change your perspective. Even in the mundane and ordinary parts of our life we can find ways to be grateful. I have to remind myself when the piles of mount clothesmore scream for attention, to say thanks for the clothes I have while I fold laundry. In the hurriedness of getting dinner on the table, I remind myself to say thanks for the options of what to put on the table, a table to sit at, and that it’s not the only meal for the day. When I get stopped at yet another red light, I stop and refocus my thoughts to be grateful for the vehicle I drive and the ability to be able to travel from one place to another. These small things are what life is all about. Being grateful for even the stressful stuff will help us deal with it better.
Be kind. Kindness is defined as the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Hold open the door, place flags on a cemetery grave, smile and say hi to a stranger. Celebrate someone else’s success, say a kind word, be encouraging in all your Facebook comments, offer to help, give compliments, and refuse to gossip. And don’t forget to be kind to yourself too.
Show grace. Grace means different things to people, but the dictionary’s definition is “goodwill” and synonyms include the terms tenderness, compassion, generosity, and kindness. None of us are perfect and we will make mistakes. Forgiveness, patience, understanding, or even just a hug to let someone know you care, can go a long way.
This year, as we celebrate our nations birthday, let us all show a little more gratitude toward others and ourselves.
Happy Birthday America!
As I write this, I want to show my own acts of gratitude with saying thank you to my fellow writers. The love and support from the writers in the writing groups I belong to is wonderful and something I appreciate. We don’t always get to interact live with one another, but sharing blog posts, emails, and everything in between has a huge impact in encouraging me to keep going. So thank you! I wouldn’t be here without you.
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