Lately, whenever I sit down to write, a million extraneous thoughts begin to wheedle their way into my head. Some irrelevant, others more important, they all tangle together, creating a web of distraction that entraps my creativity, smothering it in disorganization. Priority be damned, I sadly seem to let every random thought overtake me, derailing me from my storytelling track.
Frustrated and struggling to find some much needed time to finish my next chapter, it suddenly occurred to me that my biggest stumbling block to success is me, myself and I!
Anxious to finish chapter thirteen in my new book, I sat down at my computer and constructed my opening paragraph. Yeah, I can do this. But then I remembered, I forgot to pay my Talbots bill. Struggling back to the story line, I was distracted by my rumbling stomach. Did I ever eat breakfast this morning? Oh yes, I had toast with peanut butter. My neighbor called asking to borrow something or other and my mind began to wander. I definitely need to take a trip to the market to get more something or others. Back on task again, I glanced at my calendar resting on my desk. Jeez, I forgot my dentist appointment was tomorrow. Noting the date, I panicked. My daughter’s wedding is in three weeks and I have a million more things to do. Where am I ever going to find a pair of shoes to go with my dress? The shoes need to be the right shade of blue, comfortable and not too pricey. Maybe I should check online.
Achh, I was doing it again! I needed to stop my wandering mind and get back to my chapter. But how was I ever going to tame my chaotic brain?
Afraid I might be losing my writing mojo; I called my good friend who suggested that I create a To Do list and make a check each time I finish a paragraph until I finish the entire chapter. Good idea, right? Wrong. At least wrong for me. I already know what I need to do, I ‘m just not doing it. So I rationalized, if a To Do list can bring success, how about a Not To Do list?
After some reflection, I grabbed a moment and created a short, but sturdy Not To Do list:
It’s day three of my Not To Do list and it’s going okay… I guess. Unfortunately, chapter thirteen is still incomplete, but at least it’s a lot further along than it was.
I think I need to add a 6th item: I will neither panic nor give up if this doesn’t work right away.
Perhaps you too have faced these same struggles? If you have any strategies that have worked for you, I’d love to hear them.
Until then, Happy Writing!
Fall is my favorite time of the year and an opportunity for me to share three unusual witch facts with you. Why? Well, of course, because I write about witches. But since my witches live primarily at the beach, and since that might seem peculiar to you, I thought I’d share a few other things you might find different, unusual or just plain funky about my favorite subject—witches!
Many practitioners of witchcraft were originally respected as healers, providing helpful healing aids to their villages. Using plant based remedies they created tinctures, oils and healing potions which they shared freely throughout their communities for the purpose of curing everyday maladies. Many were known for having vast gardens, where they harvested plants and flowers for medicinal uses. The popularity of using natural plants and flowers as healing tools is on the rise again today. Herbal Medicine, Natural Remedies by Anne Kennedy is a great resource for info on this.
(My book, The Witch of Bergen shares a witch who is one hunky healer)
People who practiced witchcraft experimented with herbs and potions in rituals that may have used the Mandrake plant. Mandrake contains scopolamine and atropine, two alkaloids that cause feelings of euphoria in low doses and hallucinations in higher doses. The rituals—performed in the nude—called for the participants to rub an herbal ointment containing the mandrake on their foreheads, wrists, hands, and feet as well as on a broomstick that they would ride. The ointment would be absorbed into their system, causing a floating sensation—and their description of that feeling is what perpetuated the image of a witch flying on a broomstick. Adapted from an article in https://mentalfloss.com
Others believed that brooms were never “flown”, but rather used to sweep rooms clean to allow for a sterile environment for creating powerful potions.
There is and it’s not Salem, Massachusetts! It is Vardo, Norway. It’s dark, cold and hard to get to, but what else would you expect from a place that honors witches? Called the Steilneset Memorial it recognizes the ninety one victims of the witch persecution that started in Norway in the early 1600’s and ended in 1692. 135 people were prosecuted for the crime of being a witch with 91 of them actually dying at the stake for their crime. The structure itself is a bit haunting, but none the less memorable. When I was in Bergen, Norway, I attempted to go there. But the train trip required was far too long and I had to put my trip off for the next time I’m in Bergen. I hear visiting there at midnight will set your teeth to chatter!
Just a few thoughts on witches to warm a cold October day.
There’s a certain time of the day when the world slows down and you can’t help but wonder.
I experienced one of those times last month as my husband and I walked the beaches at sunset on Marco Island, Florida. As warm breezes gently reorganized the clouds in the sky, pelicans skimmed the waters in search of their dinner and children raced along the shoreline squeezing one last ounce of fun out of the remnants of their day, I wandered and I wondered.
Looking up into the sky, it was almost as if someone unexpectedly tapped me on the shoulder and asked me, Hey! Have you done everything that you ever wanted to do, needed to do in this lifetime—and have you done it well?
It’s funny how such a grand sunset can make one feel so small. It’s not like I don’t see sunsets at home all the time, I do. I live at the beach. But somehow, this one felt different. Instead of leaving me with warm and mellow feelings, this fiery red sky sent out a challenge—Wake up! Live a little more. Laugh a little more. Challenge yourself to try something different. Be the best person you can be. See the good in others. Stop whining about the petty things. Tell your friends and family how much you love them.
Wow! That was some unsettling sunset, and the best thing that could have happened to me. It made me stop and think and I felt somehow rejuvenated, convinced that I would not forget all that I had been inspired to do.
But by the time I sat in the airport for five hours waiting for a long overdue flight, watched two women get into a weird cat fight over who was looking at who, got on an airplane where nothing seemed to be working, moved from carousel to carousel in search of my misplaced luggage and finally collapsed in my bed at four a.m., I had forgotten everything. Until this morning, when I pulled this picture up and started thinking. I’ve got a lot to do before the sun sets tonight. I think I’ll start with a cup of hazelnut coffee and tell my husband that I love him.
I hope you too find an inspiring sunset of your own.
An innocent trip to a second hand shop launches Carynn Cinnamon on a life altering adventure. Whisking her back in time to the 1600’s, she lands in the arms of a handsome witch who claims to be her husband. Is her heritage really tied to this man? Has she discovered her own wrinkle in time or is fate playing a cruel prank on this young witch? And what of his claim that the future of magic and witches everywhere depends on her next move? If she agrees to travel back in time again will she find true love or lose her heart and her life in the process?
If you’ve read any of my books, you know that I write about witches—nice witches thrown into every day dilemmas where their magic sometimes is and sometimes is not very helpful. Recently, I’ve had a new story buzzing around in my head, just ready to pop out. I can see my characters and yes, they have paranormal powers, in fact they’re all witches. I may throw in a warlock or two, although I’m not yet sold on that inclusion. I have a sense of where I want to take my characters, what conflicts they’ll meet along the way and even who my villains might be.
But I thought I’d try something different this time, something I’ve never done before. I thought I’d start with a house. Not just any house, but a place with its own personality. A house capable of hosting all sorts of exciting, mystically challenging; paranormal activity. The exact house to function as the hub of my story.
With this in mind, I went in search of the perfect abode for my witches to call home and that’s where I ran into my own dilemma . . . which house to choose? I combed various neighborhoods, searched the internet, looked through real estate sites and visited a historical site or two on a quest to find the right domicile. Once committed to a place, I think the rest of my story will naturally unfold itself.
I’m down to four houses scattered throughout Europe and the U.S.A. and I would love your input. Not only which house would you choose, but why? I chose each house for a different reason and I’ll be curious to learn which house captures your imagination.
One more thing, if you are curious about the stories I’ve written, you can find The Witches Of New Moon Beach in a new boxed set right now on Amazon and Smashwords. Take a look and let me know what you think.
Oh, and those of you who have been following my travels/struggles towards my sixty-fifth birthday – I’ve managed to complete every goal but one. I sadly have not lost my twenty pounds. However, not one to give up, I’m still working on it, including walking 45 minutes a day!
Happy New Year to you all and I can’t wait to hear from you!
Bailey Devlin believes in fate. . .and luck. . .and fortune telling.More info →
A chilling thriller that explores what happens when reality and nightmares converge, and how far one will go to protect the innocent when their own brain is a threat.More info →
A rash Christmas Eve quest to save a young woman lands a Baron’s daughter in the lap of a jaded Viscount…and he’s not letting her go.More info →
As if Olivia Merriman doesn’t have enough to do in her beloved town of New Moon Beach, now her grouchy great-grandmother has recruited her to head up their coven of witches; her sisters are miffed, the coven is pushing her to accept the job, and to top it all off an evil wizard is messing with her love life.More info →