Monday, July 31, 2017

Everyday Inspiration

When I unplugged back in March I needed more than a break from the internet and the blog. I had a huge project to tackle, creative batteries in need of serious recharging, and a desire to get back to who I am (versus who everyone expects me to be for them.) This little critter here is an example of things I was missing. Over the last couple years I'd gotten so busy that I wouldn't have said okay when my kid said, "Mom, come outside and see this cool bug."

I stopped burying myself in have-tos and must-dos. I started going outside again, and taking pictures of cool bugs. I wandered a little every day, not to search for anything specific but to be open to inspiration. That cool bug (only the second mantis I've seen since we moved here) inspired a character in the novel I just finished; one who turned out so well that my client complimented me for it.

Would I have created the character without seeing the cool bug? Maybe -- but it probably would have taken longer, and the character might not have been as original. Taking five minutes to admire and photograph this little critter was just for fun, but it helped me with the work, too.

Since I am the least random person I know, I spent a couple of months doing very random things. I ordered a mystery box of modern fabric (which I don't use) and got a bunch of very graphic fat quarters in black and white with touches of gold. You should have seen my face; I've never made a black and white quilt. The point of the exercise, however, was to get out of my fussy old lady crazy quilting color junkie corner and try something new, so I made the fabric into this quilt.

The process made me appreciate modern fabrics; their deceptively simple patterns become classy and vibrant when you start putting them together. The challenge of making such graphic materials work together taught me some new tricks. Since I'm now set on making a true black and white quilt, I think it expanded my horizons a bit, too.

We tend to get complacent with our creativity. I've been doing the same things over and over because I'm pretty good at them, I don't have to think about the work involved much, and the results are predictable and positive. Whether it's quilting or writing or anything, there's nothing wrong with sticking to what you know. That said, unless we try new things once in a while, we can't grow.

What have you done lately to seek new sources of inspiration? Let us know in comments.

Friday, July 28, 2017


Yes, it's really me. After 4+ months on hiatus, I've had ample time to attend to my family and freelance work, get my head and heart in the right place, do lots of other-than-writing creative things, and think about how I want to change/not change things with PBW. I don't have all the answers, but I know if I stay away much longer I'll throw in the towel -- and I'm not willing to give up on this just yet.

The long break was very good for me, writing-wise. Since I've been away I built a new universe, wrote three novels, four novellas and lots of interesting copy. I've also embarked on a new business venture that is very promising. If all goes well I should be gainfully employed until I'm ready to retire. With a kid in college who would like to go on to medical school, that financial stability is really important.

Since my career shift from traditionally-published author to freelance writer I've been struggling with what to do with the blog. I know what I don't want, and what I can't do. Politics are not my thing. I haven't been reading much for pleasure, and while I love books I don't want to review them anymore (but I will knock out what I owe Library Thing; just off the blog.) I'm not inclined to self-publish anything but free reads, so there's no point getting into the whole indy pub stuff. I'm not able to talk about my job except in the most general of terms, so that's off the table, too.

PBW needs to evolve into something else. That's where the question marks come in. I've been having a lot of fun over at Tumblr with my non-writing projects, and I'd like to do a writing version of that here. While NDAs prevent me from sharing details about what I'm working on, I can still talk about the process, neat things I find that help with the work, and anything that helps boost the quality and productivity of the writing life. I am and always will be passionate about that.

There are also a few things about my work that I can still share, too. For example, my French publisher did this amazing cover for their edition of The Clockwork Wolf. I'm thinking about writing a sequel to Ghost Writer for NaNoWriMo this year, and posting my draft online so everyone can follow the process. I'm looking around for a new desktop computer, and doing lots of research on that. I'm getting back out with the camera and taking pictures, mainly of architecture, to help with world-building and making covers for my free reads.

I've missed you all, too, and I want to hear what you've been up to -- so if you're still speaking to me, let me know in comments.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Wishing You