Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Five Tips for Inspiration in the New Year!

 Debby Giusti here.

If you’re like me, you’re never at a loss for story ideas. They seem as plentiful as the stars in the sky. The tough job is to focus on the glimmer of light worth following. Discerning the direction my work will take requires a knowledge of the various parts of a story that fit together into a completed manuscript, such as character, conflict, suspense, motivation, faith, romance.

Pulling all those pieces together, like a giant jig-saw puzzle, can be a challenge. When I’m tired or have worked too long, my vision for the story blurs. Sometimes the framework may be in place, but the middle remains a giant void unable to be filled. At other times, I’ve pulled in so much information that I’m unable to fit the parts into a unified whole.

Some may call that writer’s block. I think of it as being stalled, like a car that sputters and dies. When the driver repeatedly turns the key in the ignition, the engine floods and refuses to start.

“Let the car rest,” my husband would caution, which applies to the overworked writer as well.

Whether you feel blocked or stalled, try one of the following five tips for inspiration. The ideas aren’t new. We’ve all used them from time to time, but since we’re starting fresh in 2013 and gearing up for our March Speedbo, they’re worth reviewing once again. 
ENHANCE YOUR ENVIRONMENT. Do something nice for your writing space, whether it’s a private office, a cubbyhole in the corner of your bedroom, or an area in the kitchen you’ve claimed as your own. Engage your senses. A scented candle, soft music playing in the background, a favorite photo that recalls a special place or a relaxing trip, a plush throw covering your legs, a bouquet of flowers or a candy dish filled with chocolate can change the ordinary into something special that encourages creativity.   
EMBRACE NATURE. Most of us sit for hours each day at our computers. We need to give ourselves permission to spend time outdoors. A walk in the woods, a stop at a local pond to feed the ducks, a short break to build a snowman with the kids can be welcome diversions. Pausing to enjoy the beauty and bounty of God’s creation provides a breath of fresh air for our bodies and our minds. 
EXERCISE. Turn that stroll through nature into a power walk, and you’ll free the endorphins, lower your blood pressure and come back refreshed and renewed. Thirty minutes at the gym, a Zumba class, or a bike ride -- even if it’s stationary -- sweeps away the cobwebs and restores energy and enthusiasm. 
MAKE A DATE WITH YOURSELF. Remember the old saying, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy? It also applies to Jill. Reserve a few hours in your weekly schedule for something you enjoy. Go shopping at the mall, have lunch with a friend or visit a local museum. You’ll come home eager to get back to work.
MAKE TIME FOR PRAYER. I doubt Seekervillagers need to be reminded of the importance of making time for God, no matter how busy our days may be. Praising the Lord and focusing on the Divine elevates our thoughts, brings peace and nourishes our spirits and our souls. Often the answer to a story question pops into my mind when I’m in prayer as if the Lord is thanking me for spending time with Him. Focusing on something bigger than ourselves allows us to think beyond the finite and open ourselves to the possibilities that only God can reveal.

What tips can you offer for inspiration in the new year? Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for a copy of my January Love Inspired Suspense, THE GENERAL’S SECRETARY, and a $13 Starbuck’s Gift Card for 2013. No superstition allowed. I’m claiming the year ahead will be filled with inspiration, creativity and writing success for all of us in Seekerville.

Be inspired!

Wishing you HOPE (my One Word for 2013) in the New Year!
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti

Trusting the Wrong Person Can Be Deadly...

Lillie Beaumont's dark past has just turned up on her porch--fatally wounded. The dying words of the man imprisoned for killing Lillie's mother suggest hidden secrets. Criminal Investigations Division special agent Dawson Timmons agrees. He has his own motive for seeking the truth, and it gives Lillie every reason to doubt him. But even as they reluctantly begin to face painful secrets together, Dawson fears that a murderer is waiting to strike again. And this time, Lillie is right in the line of fire...


  1. The coffee's on! I've brought an assortment of sweet rolls and muffins for a late night snack or morning breakfast.


  2. Ah, ha, I don't have to fix the coffee today. Thanks for the help, Debby.

    I don't drink coffee and don't have a Starbucks closer than at least a hundred miles, butI'd love to read your new book.

    I do a little better about going for walks during the summer, but I don't have the will power to get out when it's this cold. Brrrrr!

    Thanks for the reminders.


  3. Hi Helen, sorry about the coffee. :)

    I love to bundle up when it's cold and walk...not far, mind you. It's always so invigorating.

  4. I love tips all kinds of tips but tips on writing are most needed and appreciated right now. Thanks Debbie these are very timely tips for me and I am looking forward to everybody else's

  5. Hi Mary,

    Sometimes I need to be reminded that breaks are important.

  6. We have the same word!

    And I love these tips. I read an article recently that said water and excercise really help becuase our BRAINS need the oxygen and the blood supply.

    Well, DUH.

    Why hadn't I thought of that??

    So, along with a quick music break, I drink a glass of water and speed walk around the house.

    And prayer... hoo boy, do't you know it.

    I should probably give God co-author status. He heard enough whining.

  7. Hi Debby:

    I’ve tried all five of your tips and they all work. Sometimes they even work so well that I find myself sitting at my computer wishing for just a little writer’s block to come along so I can go out for a walk and enjoy nature. Sometimes the medicine can taste too good.

    I find that ‘coming down’ from a peak experience is an ideal way to set my writing mood for greater things. I found two ways to generate peak experiences are to savor nature’s beauty and to ‘be with’ God through prayer.

    My one word is ‘rejuvenate’ – and I think turning more experiences into peak experiences is a good way to do that.

    Thanks for a very helpful post.


    P.S. I already have your new book on my Kindle but I’m short of coffee. : )

  8. I too dont drink coffee.

    i actually love walking now. if i had realised how much it would help my knee I would have done more years ago!
    its a great way to start the day.

  9. Wait, stop the presses. Helen doesn't DRINK any of that coffee she provides day after day after day!?!

    Helen, dear, you deserve the hostess of the year award!!!

    Debby, these are wonderful reminders. I was reading a book Michael Hyatt recommended on his blog: The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happy Life. The first one is to spend 15 minutes a day doing absolutely nothing.

    If anyone is interested in reading Michael Hyatt's blog about the book, it's here - "The Practice of Stillness"

    This is just an excerpt -

    Beck’s premise is that “doing nothing is the most productive activity you will ever undertake.” By doing nothing, she means literally doing nothing.

    This is not prayer (at least not in the sense of talking to God)
    It is not problem-solving.
    It is not planning.

    Doing nothing is being still, quieting your mind (and the cacophony of voices), and simply being.

    As you can tell, his blog really made an impact on me. He says the same of the book and the 15 minutes of stillness. "Honestly, this has been one of the most transformational things I have ever done."

    I just thought it was a perfect accompaniment to some of the suggestions you made, Debby.

    And I love your word for the year. It's so positive.

  10. WATER!

    Virginia, great tip! So needed. So important. Thanks for reminding us. Take a break and drink a glass of water. YES! I'll do that from now on. If I'm really pushing hard to get something done, I forget to hydrate and turn up, at the end of the day, dried up like a prune. UGH!

    Loved your comment: I should probably give God co-author status.

    God's my co-author too.

  11. Thanks for the help, Debby.

    I have my CD player next to my desk. My favorites to write by are Harry Connick Jr and Michael Buble. Especially if I'm writing a romantic scene.

    I have a corner in the basement by a window. If I get sleepy I exercise for a few minutes and try to recharge.

    Thanks again!
    Jackie L.

  12. Hi Vince,
    Love your "peak experience" concept. Not just an experience, but the VERY BEST experience. That's what we all should strive to achieve in every aspect of our lives, whether exercise or writing.

    Rejuvenate--your One Word--sounds like a great blog topic...or title for a conference workshop.

    Five tips for rejuvenating your writing!

    Just reading your comments brings inspiration, Vince. :)

  13. Jenny, when did you start to walk?

    Ah, you know what I mean. Walk for exercise.

    If I sit too long at my computer, my body cries for a walk. It's raining today...hoping for a break later so I can do a few laps outside.

  14. If the rain continues, I may use Virginia's other tip and walk around the house. I've got a visual on that one and smiling, imagining her children running to catch up with Mom. :)

  15. Balance is key. We need to balance our spiritual lives, our service to Him, our relationships, our health, and often, whether we like it or not, our secular jobs. In the Seven Habits, Stephen Covey talks about "sharpening the saw" and how recreation, and just getting away, helps his clients to focus. One of the most rejuvenating times for me is after a writers' conference -- I feel connected and charged, even if no one asked for a partial. Even a one-day conference recharges me. My other fail-safe break is to go walk around Boston. There is no direct inspiration because my current project takes place on the Oregon Trail, but being around all that creative energy does something to me.

  16. Mary Curry,
    Thank you for including the URL for Michael Hyatt's Stillness post. Excellent! A keeper, for sure.

    It sounds almost like centering prayer, although without the repeated mantra. I often "sit with God." Just sit. No dialogue. No asking on my part. No formal prayer. No recalling scripture. I find those contemplative times renewing.

    Yet, Hyatt's stillness is different. I must try it.

    Not today. Too busy. LOL.

    Doctor's appt this morning. Revisions to finish and send tomorrow.

  17. Oops, forgot to sign it.
    Balance is key. We need to balance our spiritual lives, our service to Him, our relationships, our health, and often, whether we like it or not, our secular jobs. In the Seven Habits, Stephen Covey talks about "sharpening the saw" and how recreation, and just getting away, helps his clients to focus. One of the most rejuvenating times for me is after a writers' conference -- I feel connected and charged, even if no one asked for a partial. Even a one-day conference recharges me. My other fail-safe break is to go walk around Boston. There is no direct inspiration because my current project takes place on the Oregon Trail, but being around all that creative energy does something to me.
    Kathy Bailey
    Unpubbed in New Hampshire

  18. Jackie, love how you boost your inspiration!

    I received Chris Botti's DECEMBER CD for Christmas. Love it! So soothing.

    If I need to work really, really hard, I listen to Jim Beckman's FAITH. Found it at Target! It inspires me to push forward.

  19. Runner...

    Your comment hit me, like Mary Curry's stillness.

    Prayer is power, you wrote. That's inspirational!

    So Runner, do you run? As in jog? Or does Runner refer to a busy person on the move?

  20. Your comments, Kaybee, are rich with inspiration.

    Balance! YES! Something I need to remember.

    Covey's "sharpening the saw." A good guy analogy.

    The "high" that comes after a writers' conference. I agree.

    You even mentioned Vince's One Word: Rejuvenation!

    Walk the streets of Boston...may I join you? I'm feeling the energy and calling Delta to reserve a seat on the next flight north.

    See you soon...

  21. Kaybee = Kathy Bailey. :)

    You're in the drawing!

  22. Hi Debby!

    Great reminders! I'm working on a prosposal right now. I've been diligently(my one word) working on it but last night, I just couldn't bring myself to start the synopsis.

    At first I was going to TRY to do then, I thought, no, I'm in a good spot, I can take the night off. So I read couple of chapter in a biography and now today, I'm ready to get back to work!

  23. What a wonderful post on refreshing yourself, Deb.

    May I have the snowman? Please????

    And coffee, you saw me glance longingly at that coffee pot, didn't you?

    God bless you for that!

  24. You know, studies show that little kids learn better when given an outside time each day, regardless of the weather. Of course, you can't do that in the rain, but in the snow... the sun... that twenty minutes is a huge refresher to young minds, so why wouldn't it work as well for ours?

    And I won't deny that I've found "Pocket Coffee" an espresso-filled dark chocolate candy from Ferrarro that keeps my energy level where I want it to be mid-day.

    I don't do five-hour energy, but a quick shot of coffee/chocolate mixed???

    OY, I'm all over that one!

    But natural exercise is the best and we're in a three-story farm house... Those flights of stairs multiple times a day are a help, too.

  25. Hey, Debby! Great post! I love your "voice." You're always so sweet and cheerful and positive!

    The book I'm working on now, I know the character arcs for the hero and heroine, and I know the basic story, but if I don't come up with some more "stuff" for them to do, people to interact with, this could be a really short book! However, I always worry that I don't have enough story, and my books always end up around 90,000 words. A lot of subplot stuff comes to me as I write, I guess. But still, I'm thinking I might ought to do a little more brainstorming before I get too far into the story!

    Thanks for this post, Debby! I totally agree about spending time with God and then suddenly having a great idea! God is good. So now I'm off to read my Bible (new one I gave myself as a New Year gift!) and pray! Have a great day!

  26. Yay, Rose!

    Taking the night off and reading a good book refreshed your creativity. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your proposal.

    BTW, does everyone struggle writing synopses?

  27. Stairs! YES! Another great tip for exercise in the middle of winter.

    Of course, Georgia is HOT today. But wet.

    I'll try the stairs!

    And do tell, Ruthy, where you buy the candy. A chocolate-caffeine fix mid-day sounds perfect!

  28. Thanks for the needed inspiration on a dreary day!

    My hubby is putting up a write board and my desk has been moved to face the window so I can look outside. That minute break is a big deal.

    I also signed up for RWA because it is in Atlanta this year. It is something to look forward to as well as being a great motivator for finishing the first book and starting on the next.

    Thanks for ALL the reminders! Put me in for the drawing. I have a Kindle version of your book but hard copies are great, especially signed.

    Peace, Julie

  29. Praying you'll be inspired, Mel!

    Sounds like you're a panster, right? While I want every plot point in place--at least in my mind--before I begin to write.

  30. Heading out for a doctor's appt...just a check up, but it will take me away from the computer for a period of time.

    I shall return...


    Perhaps I'll have a moment of stillness while in the doctor's waiting room. :)

  31. Debby, what a refreshing post. It's so important to have ways to refresh ourselves. I love your tips. I spend time with God before I do any writing (other than my uber early morning writing sessions). I find that spending time with Him first helps me to maintain a better outlook on the rest of my day.

    When I need to refresh, sometimes I like to watch a movie at home (especially when it involves my man and popcorn) or read some fiction to let my mind relax.

    Oh, in case you never received my thank you for the book you sent me, please know that I am VERY thankful!!

    MARY CURRY--Thanks so much for sharing about the Michael Hyatt blog. I need to read that.

  32. Debby, I'm all for the candy dish filled with chocolate. Do I have to wait until I'm stalled?

    Helen, I drink enough coffee for the both of us. Folgers or Guatemalan.

  33. Wonderful post, Debby! We all need to feed our soul and refill our tanks. Besides your suggestions for what to do when I get stalled, I reread what I have and often get an idea of what I need to have my characters do next. Or sometimes just talking it over with a cp or with my dh triggers ideas.

    Someone will be blessed to get your new book, The General's Secretary. The title is triggering all kinds of scenarios in my mind.


  34. Prayer. I couldn't write a word without it.

  35. Thanks, Debby, for the reminder that we need to recharge our batteries. Sometimes so much is going on with writing deadlines, day job, family/friends, household chores/errands, etc., that we forget to take a deep breath. New on my "To Do" list this year (and goodness knows I don't have time for this!) is 2 in-class hours of strength training weekly with a small group personal trainer. A couple of friends and I committed to do it together and find ourselves looking forward to it and to the long-term results of it! Goodness knows I spend WAY too much of my life sitting in front of a computer screen! And my daily quiet time has also been lengthened.

  36. You know, I suspected Dawson of possible evil in the last book and I was dead wrong...

    Pun firmly intended!

    What a great read that was, and I haven't read this one yet, but I can't wait, Deb....

    I was thinking about your "spruce up" your environment thought.

    That helps me. To grab a $5 bunch of flowers...

    Or look up and see a clean counter... A butter cookie candle brewing (reminding me that I'm off cookies until my pants zipper NICELY...) those tiny changes fill my brain, they re-energize me.

    You are so stinkin' right.

  37. Great post, sweet Debby! (I plan to print these reminders to post in my writing area). ~ When I've been writing a while and feel stalled, I take a break and either work on my latest needlepoint project or play my piano. Doing those activities always "revives" me *smile*. Hugs, Patti Jo
    P.S. On this rainy day here in Georgia I've baked a batch of Peach Muffins--served warm with melting butter--Enjoy!

  38. Deb, I've only found the candy online. I got some as a gift at Christmas... And it's really a jump-start.

    Here's an Amazon link: POCKET COFFEE

    This one works out to about .50/candy, so one a day is in my budget.

    Maybe I'm weird, maybe it's psychosomatic, but whatever it is that laggy 2-3:00 hour has disappeared and that was a mainstay in my life...

    Which is fine if life allows naps, but around here, the only nappers are 3 ft. tall and under!

  39. Great coffee, Debby. Though i always look for Helen and hers, and am surprised when she's not here first. That's okay, Helen, i drink a lot of coffee, and am cutting back. Though now 'they' say coffee deters all sorts of illness. Would love to win your novel, Debby. Thanks for the chance. Loved the company, as always.


  40. I call taking a break from my work "letting the story simmer on the back burner". It gives me a chance to step back and think the story through again.

    And I've started walking in the morning, before I sit down at the computer. I take my son to the mall (he works in the maintenance dept. and has to be there before 7:00) and walk for 30-45 minutes. Believe me, the mall can be pretty quiet at that time! I get a lot of brainstorming and praying done in between greeting the other mall walkers.

    Once I get home, I'm ready to write. It works out great :)

  41. Such great advice, Debby.
    It's kinda cold outside for that power walk, around here, but it's a good idea most of the year. If wild dogs don't eat you of course.

  42. Spruce up my environment.
    I should do that.
    My 'environment' has been beaten with an ugly stick.
    But sprucing usually includes tidying and there I am afraid I have to draw the line!

  43. PS I know myself really really well and I have NO self-discipline around food.
    So I'd buy the POCKET COFFEE and eat the whole box and then have to be peeled off the ceiling by EMTS...or maybe they'd bring in the MOLD REMEDIATION squad.

    It would be bad.
    Which doesn't mean I'm not going to try it.

    I've been taking a Vitamin B tablet to try and wake up after lunch.
    They say Vitamin B and caffeine are the main ingredients in those five hour energy drinks.

    So just take Vitamin B and have coffee or a diet coke instead...right?

    When I say I have no self-discipline I mean EXCEPT for writing. For some reason I always manage that. But oh, the dieting and exercise and household chores....There I fail and fail and fail. :(

  44. Spend 15 minutes a day doing nothing?
    does it count if you check the clock 15 times and count to sixty slowly fifteen times and your mind is rabbiting around in ten directions brainstorming a book and rethinking your approach to parenthood (after the kids are all grown) and singing a song (internally of course, wouldn't want to invade anyone else's 15 minutes of peace).
    Cuz that's what my head does when I do nothing.

    I think it's called ADD now. when i was a kid it just was called being a daydreaming flake.

    1. Hi Debbie, love your points of inspiration, esp. the outdoor and prayer time. Works for me. I am finding that lately I do better if I rely most on the prayer time. This is Sandra by those way but I am on a friends iPad and can not figure how to sign into my account . I'm telling you this in case it comes up in her name.

  45. Hey, DEB, great suggestions and ones with which I HEARTILY agree AND apply regularly ... except for the "nature" one, which is greatly curtailed at this time of year when I have to work inside instead of out on my lower deck. :( Of course, the fire in the hearth (which is still adorned with greenery and twinkle lights, I'm ashamed to say) does help ... ;)


  46. Back from the doctor's appt that took much too long.

    I'm healthy! YAY!

  47. Hi Julie

    My desk is next to windows. Love the view, which provides moments of inspiration. Watching hawks soar overhead, squirrels scampering in the trees, geese on the lake...

    Looking forward to seeing you at RWA next July. It'll be here in the blink of an eye.

  48. Jeanne, I received your sweet email and evidently failed to answer. Shame on me. Deadline status has me behind on so much except the book. :)

    Loved your mention of turning to God Him the first fruits of your day. Lovely!

    Popcorn and a movie at home...a nice date night with hubby and a great way to unwind.

  49. Bridgett, in my opinion, chocolate anytime is always good.

    That should have been my FIRST and ONLY tip for inspiration! LOL!

  50. Janet,

    Bless your hubby for helping you with story ideas. Mine does the same. In fact, yesterday when we started our walk, I said, "Mind if we talk about my story?"

    He laughed. The next book is ALL we've been talking about recently! :)

  51. Ditto your prayer comment, Bridgett!!!

  52. Applauding your decision to stay active and maintain health, Glynna!

    With a personal training...sounds like fodder for a new book, IMHO! :)

  53. Ruthy,
    I love flowers...loved going to the local market to buy beautiful bouquets when we lived in Germany. The cost was so reasonable.

    I often find a small bouquet at Publix for under $4, which brings a lot of joy. Carnations will last up to two weeks...a good buy.

  54. Hi Debby:

    As I’m working on my conflict assignment this morning, I keep seeing your one word “HOPE” and it seems to be calling out for an acronym.

    I keep thinking “Hope Opens Possibilities…” but the “E” won’t come. Maybe it’s none of those words. Maybe One Word should not be an acronym – but if it was, it could be mutually reinforcing all year long. Back to work. : )


  55. Patti Jo,

    Thank you for the yummy muffins! No calories, right?

    You play the piano and do needlepoint? I'm so impressed. Truly you are a Southern belle.

  56. Thanks for the link to Amazon. Free shipping! :)

    Is Pocket Coffee manufactured in Europe? The packaging looks like it might be.

  57. Marianne, you're in the drawing.

    I logged on exactly at midnight last night to ensure the post went live. When I left the first comment, I mentioned the coffee.

    Again, I'm so sorry, Helen, for taking on your job.


    Thank you, Helen!

  58. Jan,

    Good for you walking daily, rain or shine. Do you stop for coffee after doing your laps?

    Wish I had a mall close by. I have Krogers and Walmart, but those stores wouldn't be the same as a mall.

  59. Vitamin B, Mary? I'll try it.

    My doctor today suggested Vitamin D. Seems it's good for everything.

    I'm drinking a Diet Coke. Need to find the B and D.

    I would overeat the Pocket Coffee, too! Better to leave it for Ruthy.

  60. You need to work on stillness, Mary.

    Maybe that's why you can't sleep. That mind of yours never stops.

    Lucky for us. We get to read your books. Tough on you when you're always tired.

  61. Sandra has been having wi-fi and computer problems.

    Waving to you, Sandra! We can see you! You look great! Your pic showed up and your comment.

    Happiness is posting a comment on Seekerville!

  62. Julie, no sympathy. You're surrounded by nature. I want to live in your house!

  63. Love that your dh laughed, Debby. Just shows he's got a great attitude about your writing. We're blessed.


  64. Well, I'm annoyed at myself. My little trick to get the seed out of avocado went awry. I always cut the avocado in half, then poke the knife point into the seed and twist. This seed was small and I was so forceful that the knife tip poked through to my hand. I've been holding ice on my finger.

    I'm also annoyed at Yahoo. Yahoo won't let our Tina post!!!! Want to help but have no idea how.


  65. Vince,
    Thank you for spending time on my One Word.

    Hope Opens Possibilities Everyday...

  66. Janet, how bad is your cut?

    Do you need stitches?

    Don't think I'll try your avocado trick.

    Yes, we are blessed with wonderful husbands. :)

    Waving to Tina, who evidently can't comment.


  67. I EXPECT good things to happen this year and I can't wait to see what God has in store for all of us!@!

  68. My words of inspiration is slow down and relax. Think about what is really important. God and Family.

  69. Tina, you made it through cyber-space.

    Is EXPECT your One Word?

    I join you in expecting good things for all.


  70. Nicely stated, Amy!

    I'm all for slowing down and relaxing. Plus, God and family always come first.

  71. No, my one word is ONE. I am handling one thing at a time instead going crazy multi tasking.

  72. I can post to Blogger. Just not to the Yahoo Groups.


  73. Pocket Coffee. OHMYGOODNESS. Ruthy how did you find these??

  74. I still like sudoku for generating some thought. That may never change about me. Execise and sleep also seem to help.

    Vince, Debby said Everyday for "E." I was going to suggest "Everywhere."

  75. I know three people just recently, including my mom and a sister, who were diagnosed with dangerously low Vitamin D levels and are now on some kind of hepped up super high D supplement.

    Here's the question.
    Is this something new?
    Is this the health crisis du jor?
    Is it some seminar given in Hawaii that doctors flooded to, but actually missed because they were on the beach?

    Of course we all (and when I say 'we all' I mean ME) spend most of our lives indoors, so little Vitamin D from sunlight. And adult women often drink little Vitamin D milk so there's that source gone.
    So maybe it is a crisis.

  76. I'm right there with you on the nature walks and spruce up your environment. They both really make a difference in my mind set. Simba (my dog)says there's nothing like a good squirrel romp to get the creative juices flowing. :-)

    Another great standby for me is listening to a devotional or inspirational music. That helps me get everything in my life into perspective. I can't imagine that you didn't have that on your list! There's nothing like savoring a piece of chocolate to start the imagination zinging again.

  77. Oh Vince -- you said :

    “Hope Opens Possibilities…” but the “E” won’t come

    How about Everywhere? Hope Opens Possibilities Everywhere.

  78. Debby I started walking in the mornings (and afternoons and anytime) when Mum died. I couldn't stay home I needed to get out and sometimes when I didn't know who I could ring I would just walk. Some walks were over an hour. Then I started the Walk away the pounds DVD Actually started just before she died. but kept it up for about 6 weeks. as well as walking. now I want to go for a walk each morning and feel so much better. The dr said sometimes a crisis will bring around healthy changes. Both the health crisis and mums passing did this. Also before mum would have mad a comment (I know she didn't mean anything by it it was her way) but it would come across as judgemental like are you trying to lose weight. It was enough to make me do things in secret rather than have the comments that always made me feel bad. Now I feel freedom to do this just for me and to start it wasn't to lose weight it was just to get fitter. now its both. I feel so much fitter and the benefits have been huge. I still get cabin fever if stuck inside which may happen today going to be a stinker over 107 they say!

    I can walk when I cant settle to read also. I guess readers get readers block at times.

  79. MARY-

    "Here's the question.
    Is this something new?
    Is this the health crisis du jor?
    Is it some seminar given in Hawaii that doctors flooded to, but actually missed because they were on the beach?"

    I asked those same questions (okay, the first two) when I was diagnosed with 'dangerously low' Vit D and given pills for once a week that were 5,000 mg. Seriously!

    I thought they were trying to poison me.

    Midwife said they just had proof through several studies that severe Vit D deficiency is linked to heart issues, muscles pain, tissue damage and depression.

    So, what they thought was a vitamin issue affecting calcium absorption and rickets, is actually a whole system issue. Also, she said that there was a link between flu season and the dip in Vit D. Some say anecdotal, but since we've been upping our Vit D the last 3 years, we haven't ahd any flu in the family.

  80. Sorry, looking at my pill bottle it's 50,000 IU once a week.

    geez. That sounds like a lot.

  81. I like to cook for my break away from writing. Sometimes being creative in another way opens the flood gates that have been closed by overwork or the hassles of everyday life.

  82. Be very careful with Vit D. Too much is also dangerous.

  83. Tina, so maybe my midwife really IS trying to poison me???

    But I'm her best client!

  84. You know, Tina, it seems like I remember this from a long way back.
    A lot of Vitamins are either absorbed if you need them or flushed out of your system if you don't, so they are harmless.
    But Vitamin D overdoses can be dangerous.
    So doesn't Virginia sound like she's taking a LOT? So what's up with that?

    Uh....we're not off topic are we???

  85. Oh course, One is your word, Tina. Sorry I forgot. I'm having trouble keeping everyone's word straight. We need a spread sheet!

  86. Walt, you must be a math guy if Sudoku relaxes you. Anything with numbers makes me nervous. :)

    "Everywhere" works for me!

  87. My doc said there's no danger in taking too much Vitamin D.

    Was he wrong?

    Mary, I've just recently heard about D boosting the immune system. That's new...or at least new to me.

    What does Tina say? She's the medical guru. Missy, too.

  88. Kav, check out the office tip and my mention of a candy bowl filled with chocolate.

    Maybe Ruthy ate it all before you got to that part of the post. LOL!

  89. I'm about to light a scented candle, but I'll also say a prayer for you, Debby, as you meet your deadline. :) Happy writing (or revising, editing or polishing). :)

  90. Oh, Jenny, I'm so glad you're enjoying your walks. That's something good that came from all your grief.

    And to lose weight too! I need to take longer walks.

  91. Jenny...readers' block! I'm laughing. So creative!

  92. Virgina, Mart, et al,
    My doctor said to have a Vit D level taken...a blood test...then I'd know what I needed to take. He said some folks need 2,000 IUs a day. Others need 4,0000 IUs.

    I need to google VIT D and see what CDC recommends.

  93. Misty,

    May I come for dinner?

    Cooking is a nice way to de-tune. I stop work at 5-ish for my walk. At 6PM I start to fix dinner. We usually eat at 7-ish and I'm back at work by 8:30 or so. The dinner break does refresh me. So does the food! :)

  94. Hi Debby:

    I have been taking vitamin D for two conditions for about two years. One is for my heart and the other is for calcium absorption. My endocrinologist has slowly worked my dosage up until now it is 4,000 units a day. The deficiency is now gone and my D level is normal. I’m tested for this every three months.

    It’s hard to find anyone who will tell you how much D is too much. I think that depends on your current level. If you have a deficiency you may well need a lot of it. However, it seems that all the doctors agree that too much D can cause problems in the body.

    I agree with your doctor. It is important to be tested.

    I like everyone’s “E” word. I thought of an “E” word at lunch. It just came to me: Everlasting. That’s kind of too metaphysical. I think I like “Everyday” best. You know, like, today is the first day of the rest of your life. What you do today can influence eternity. (Metaphysical again. I better go back to filling in my conflict charts.)


  95. Vince, glad your D level is in the good range now.

    I just read an interesting article about the high incident of Swine Flu cases, when it first hit, in children with neuological diseases that go hand-in-hand with low VIT D levels. A by-product of the flu study was realizing D was important to stave off influenza.

  96. Im back from my walk its warm for the morning and I have to say was happy to get home. just need some supplies then set for the day.

    Debby I definitely get readers block. I have books to read and some I have to and just dont want to. When Im tired I just cant concentrate then feel bad for not reading! Its one reason I am not requesting as much because i dont want to put pressure to have to read a book. There are some I will still request but I am now watching how many I do request.

    ok had a breather now to get the milk before the heat comes.

  97. Beautiful and inspiring post, Debby! Sometimes we do have to take time out to recharge those brain cells. I've been trying to do more walking recently. And it definitely helps that we've had a relatively mild winter! It's SO much easier and more fun to walk outdoors through our lovely neighborhood than try to talk myself into getting on the treadmill.

    As for enhancing my writing space, I've grown very attached (literally!!!) to my comfy Ikea chair and ottoman, which is situated across the room from my work desk. I tend to do the "busy work" of writing at the desk, then move with my laptop to the Ikea chair when I'm ready to work on the wip. The shift in posture and position tells my brain it's writing time.

  98. Jenny, explain about the milk. Where is it? Do you have milk delivered?

    I'm thinking it's outside on your front steps, but I'm probably totally wrong.

  99. I'm an outdoors walker too, Myra. And you're so right about the mild temperature in the South! Although we've been a bit too warm these last few days.

    I want your chair! Interesting how a certain routine can shift us into work mode. I feel a sense of "Coming Home" when I sit at my computer.

  100. Hi Debby, loved your post today, how true weather it be a worker or just a reader playing games at the puter, breaks are needed. I am a slow walker, love the outdoors and feel God's prescence more it seems when I am there.
    Always like to read your books and happy to be in the drawing on this one. thanks for sharing all your cheer today with us...
    Paula O(

  101. Hi Paula,
    Is it raining in your part of GA? I want to walk, but it's misting right now.

    Thanks for your kind words about my books. You're in the drawing!

    I, too, feel God through nature...last night a haze hung over the lake behind our house. Hubby and I stood on the dock and watched a white duck (he/she--we're not sure--rules the area) glide across the water. Such a peaceful, God-filled moment.

    Sending GA hugs! I should have served grits this morning. Did you get any of Patti Jo's peach muffins?

  102. The milk I ran out yesterday but it was too hot to get it after being at the bookshop yesterday afternoon. Today is going ti be a scorcher so needed to walk to the supermarket to buy it. its now in the fridge with my other supplies.

  103. Ah Vitamin D. One of my favorite bandstands. I can tell you s a teacher, I swear by it.

    From what I understand, the danger of overdosing VitD has to do with it's interaction with Calcium. Too much of either causes calcification - not good. But I've read a lot lately that the reason for that has to do with Vitamin K2 deficiencies as we grow older.

    I know this sounds like vegetable soup, but if anyone is interested, there's a decent explanation here.

    I also remember reading that in Canada people are often given Vitamin D rather than a Flu vaccine. Have no idea if that's true or not, but I read it on the internet so it must be, right? ;)

  104. Wow, The General's Daughter sounds like a really good read.

    When I'm stalled, I like to drive. Drive, drive, drive. Plotting and talking to myself while I drive seems to work well for me. No music. It's hard to think with music on :)

  105. Jenny, I am laughing. Told you I probably had it all wrong. Glad you got your milk. 107 degrees. WHEW! That's hot.

    Stay cool!

  106. Mary Curry,
    I'm saving your web article to read after I submit my book tomorrow. Thanks for shedding more light on the VIT D issue.

    Must buy some tomorrow. And get a flu shot. I am so behind on everyday things.

  107. Annie, how interesting! Driving to renew the mind.

    What a great quirk for a heroine. Sorry. I don't mean you're quirky.

    May I use it sometime? Although I usually have a lot of travel time in my books so perhaps something else would be better for me to include.

    Still, I see her getting in her car to think and the hero believes she's running away. He follows. She thinks someone's stalking her, not realizing it's the good guy...

    I would work!

  108. Great tips, Debby, except for the one about exercise. But that's important too. This is a great time of the year to walk in nw Florida. Usually it's too hot and humid! I also love the idea of a scented candle and a dish of chocolates.

  109. Hi Cara,

    I could use a dish of chocolate right now.

    And another peach muffin! :)

  110. a great posting debby....thanks for sharing :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  111. Thanks for stopping by this evening, Karen!

  112. i have to say we dont have it very humid here which is a plus. I normally walk 7amish or early (that is am ish not amish).

    I am using 2 hands and making the most as I know the splint is going back on soon.

  113. I can't believe I just made it in today! This was good Debby and I can attest to prayer. My crit partner taught me to be specific about doing that whenever I sit down to write or edit and I know it makes a difference. Please put me in the drawing because I so enjoyed The Colone's Daughter.

  114. Specific prayer...important to remember. Thanks, Nancy.

    Thanks, too, for your kind words about THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER. You're in the drawing.

  115. I enjoy my walks immensely. A great time for reflective thought.

    I would love to read THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER thank you.

  116. My thought for the New Year is everything will work out, so far it has.

    MinDaf @

  117. Those are awesome tips. I needed a new boost to my writing this New Year and I decided to buy a desk and make a writing space - that isn't my kitchen table or couch. It was encouraging to read that was one of your tips - spruce up your writing space. Check, check. Now to work on the other ones.

  118. I am always inspired by motivational thoughts and quotes. I have an entire notebook on Evernote and a board on Pinterest with nothing but motivational thoughts. I will look at these often to be motivated and it gives me the break I need to break the block.

  119. I am always inspired by motivational thoughts and quotes. I have an entire notebook on Evernote and a board on Pinterest with nothing but motivational thoughts. I will look at these often to be motivated and it gives me the break I need to break the block.

  120. What a beautiful, inspiring post, Debby! I'll be sure to implement these suggestions next time I'm stalled. :) Thank you.