The final exam

I am nearing the end . . . finally. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the Creative Writing course, but when things interfere with my writing, I tend to get a little frustrated. Okay, a lot frustrated. But I think in the end, it was good. Taking that massive break to focus on the course, then get my schedule back on normal track again has been such a good thing. It’s resulted in many changes in my day to day schedule as well. Not change as in, doing things differently from before, as much as getting myself back in the routine I had in previous years, which optimized my work.

In the past year one of the biggest things I’ve mentioned, that I was struggling to get back on track was my sleep schedule. I truly believe that a steady sleep schedule is one of the most important things on the planet. During my teens years, I suffered from insomnia. It turns out that it wasn’t that I couldn’t fall asleep. It was that I wasn’t on a steady schedule. We think it’s an inability to fall asleep when really, the differing bedtime schedule makes our bodies not know when we’re supposed to sleep. Otherwise we’d never actually fall asleep. I would go to bed whenever – say around 1 am, sometimes Midnight, sometimes 11 pm. Then I would get up when I woke. Hey, 1 pm is fine, right? Even though I was basically feeling rushed and anxious all the time.

So back then I learned that going to bed at a certain time (and not getting back up, even if I couldn’t sleep) was the key. If I couldn’t fall asleep, I lay there and played out stories. Which is also what most likely helped with story telling for my books. The ol’ counting sheep routine and all. My mind would gently focus on one thing and I would just play out the storyline (like daydreaming) and not get too involved in the thought behind it, which allowed my brain to turn down into dreamland. Thinking too much about anything? Oh yeah, even now I will struggle to fall asleep. Playing out a scene, scenario, storyline? I slowly drift out of the day and into sleepytime.

Even if I wake at night, I won’t get out of bed unless it’s just to use the bathroom. The problem is that we’re teaching ourselves to wake back up at that time. We’re invading our brains with bright lights signaling time to wake. So even if I wake, I don’t get up, I stay in bed.

Slowly I’ve begun training my body and brain back into being in bed by 10 pm or so. Then getting up around 7 am. I’m still working on turning that back so that I am IN bed for SURE by 10 pm, and then waking up before 7 am. I turn back my alarm by five – ten minutes every other week or so. Don’t actually need the alarm, it’s just a precaution. Unless I’m extremely tired, I usually wake before it goes off anyway.

With finally getting the rest I needed, last year I started to have the urge to clear my space. It’s funny to me that suddenly Marie Kondo has blown up. It’s a practice I started quite a few years ago. Mostly because I noticed how much better I felt when I didn’t hold onto “things” as much as before. I grew up with a mom (and I see it in my brother) who is a hoarder. She hates me calling her that and I understand it, but it is what she is. She places emotional attachment on items of no value. If a cardboard box enters the house, “don’t throw this away, I’m going to use it.” It can be an emotional trigger to trash things for her. Trash being literal, or giving it away. We have piles of “I’m gonna use that later.”

Needless to say, after all this time, I’ll go through at times to slowly rid myself of things I don’t use, or don’t need. Because at the end of the day, having more room to walk, and open spaces that allow my creative brain to free itself, is more beneficial. Holding onto “things,” for me doesn’t work. I just don’t like it. It clutters my brain, doesn’t relax me, and I like clean open spaces. Also I have dogs so having floors that are open and clean allow me to play with them, or them to have space to play.

That’s what I was also doing last year. I have been clearing out things that I have no need for. There were many items that I actually had to trigger my brain into seeing to get rid of. It’s like a small bundle of junk on a stair you pass again and again and again. After a while our brains don’t see it unless it’s really something bothersome. We pass it and don’t think twice. Until finally our brain takes a moment to actually see that there is something there.

So some of the stuff I purged was old paperwork that I’ve kept for no reason other than I guess just to keep it. Papers from the dogs when they were babies and I had to take them for puppy shots, that sort of thing. The ad from when my mom was in Mississippi and she came across it to buy Amber for me. Some might say keep it for sentimental reasons, or don’t trash it just because it reminds me of her, but she’s always in me. Amber, Sabrina, Khaleesi, and Dakota. They’re always there. Getting rid of their paperwork that I no longer need doesn’t get rid of them. For each of them I have that one favorite toy of theirs, sitting on a shelf with their ashes. That’s all I need. Same as my dad’s watch he wore all the time.

Compared to the house and what I used to have in my room, my room looks quite bare, lol. Until you look at the boxes, and drawers in my dressers, full of manuscripts waiting to edit. Yes, I have a couple drawers full of clothes, but that’s it. I don’t have many clothes. Or shoes. The rest is full of writing books, manuscripts, and writing courses printed out from Holly Lisle. The ones I’ve purchased that is.

And speaking of courses. As I mentioned above, I am nearing the end . . . finally. I have enjoyed the course and enjoyed the information I have learned, but I’m so glad I am nearing the end. I actually have the last written exam sitting on my dresser, ready to edit. I titled it, Mr. Finkle’s Grave Error. Sounds sort of goofy, but it’s a little Sci-Fi, Horror-ish. I’ll probably share it through this site after I’ve sent it off and gotten graded. As a freebie. Even made the cover for it.

Charlie wanted to relax on her Sunday afternoon, but her dog had other ideas.

Thanks to Loki, she stepped out of the program . . . one she didn’t even know she was in one to begin with.

Official Page

This one I came up with after doing Holly Lisle’s – How to Write Short Stories (affiliate link) course. I grabbed that one when it first came out last year, which happened to be the same time I enrolled in this latest course. I was trying to do them both and found I couldn’t. So I put that one on the shelf until this year. Then used that one to come up with a final (original) short story to finish this course. That’s the biggest issue for me with courses that aren’t work at your own pace. Yes, this one sort of was too, but with having to be graded and all that, time was on my shoulders, and I felt it. Which hinders my brain. My brain (okay I do too) has a problem with authority. It balks. I say do this now, it’s all . . . nope.

With the Short Story course, I had in my head, “Girl goes for walk, loses home,” and that was where the story came about from. I used questions and prompts from the Short Story course above and then this story came to life. I have two other ideas too, but thought it might be fun to share them as I figure them out. If I do, I’ll do them here. Goes into part of what I’m planning for Facebook. To let people see a writer actually go from no idea to story.

There’s another course that I want to take of Holly’s that she is just now working on. It’s a “splinters” version which means severely discounted because there will be errors in it, and she’ll be working to improve it as time goes on.

That’s when I purchased the short story course above. So a lot of what I printed out has spelling errors and the like. She’s modified the course so now it costs more than I paid, but the goofs are no longer in it. Almost twice what I paid. But right now I don’t have the funds. Next year I’ll be able to buy the course, though I’ll pay full price by then, I’m okay with that. Holly deserves it as all her courses give me something new to work with. I relate to a lot of her processes. She is the one behind the podcast I link below in the footer. I love listening to it.

The new course she is offering, I wasn’t gonna chat about but since it’s in another launch until Tuesday, April 8th at 10 PM ET, I figured why not? I’m mentioning the other courses. How to Write a Novel – by Holly Lisle (affiliate link). There is a payment plan option so if you can’t afford the one main price, you can do payments. That is a huge thing that I appreciate about Holly’s courses.

Another thing that I tried to change because of my wonky sleep schedule last year was eliminating my afternoon coffee. Since I was having trouble sleeping, or I struggled to stay asleep, I was thinking it could have to do with the caffeine. And maybe I should just eliminate the coffee in the afternoon and that would benefit. That . . . didn’t go over well. In the afternoon I am beyond exhausted and forgot that what I was drinking helped me with creativity too, lol. It only boosted me for a few hours (as it does in the morning – I think that’s what helps me work out too). Turns out that eliminating that cup didn’t do a durn thing for me other than being exhausted so much that sometimes I’d work hyper slow, haha. I tried to use hot chocolate or tea, tried to drink more water (I already drink quite a bit). Tried doing a bunch of different things. So now I can tell that coffee in the afternoon isn’t affecting me negatively. I’d even removed it in the morning for a few days. That afternoon cup makes all the difference for me. For me, I don’t listen to studies, I do my own. With most of what I do. And my coffee study has determined that having an afternoon cup is beneficial for me, lol. Being that tired for me is precursor to stressing my brain so much I get headaches or a migraine buildup. Exhaustion leads to the dizzies too, so I’m gonna start my afternoon cup again and see the difference it makes.

Because I’ve been getting my sleep schedule back on track, I also have been waking early enough that I can get my morning exercise in too. I’ve been trying different routines and different workouts besides what I’d been. I found a few great people on Instagram who post home exercise routines too that you can check out. I’ll share a few posts below of those sites. Their names are on the links so I won’t worry over typing them in. And yes, a lot of these are mom routines, lol. When I was doing a weight routine, I’d used a routine fit for males so I only do what works for me, not what the label says.

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional so as normal, please consult a physician before starting a workout routine, and do be careful when working out at home. It’s too easy to hurt yourself at home without someone there to teach you proper form. If not careful, you can do more harm than good with poor form.

  1. https://www.instagram.com/justinratkovich/
  2. https://www.instagram.com/deliciouslyfitnhealthy/
  3. https://www.instagram.com/homebodysculpt/
  4. https://www.instagram.com/getmomstrong/

Finally, my last order of business is slowly working in a near daily blogging schedule like I was. Being tired is bad for the brain so I’d do my book work, then be done writing. I didn’t want to spend an extra hour at the screen, though I love writing and chatting with all of you. Especially on my social media platforms. I have plenty planned for there. Questions that are new, which may incite a stronger debate at times, but I know all of your are good at being respectful to one another so don’t fear that.

I told my mom (last night actually, haha) to post her real estate links to my Facebook profile because she sends them to my email and the links get lost. I don’t like things filling up my inbox, AND many of you who follow me on social media know I share interesting images of houses. That way you can go to my profile and get some house porn. She loves to look at homes for sale and dream. For me it’s the home itself I enjoy as I love beautiful architecture and I’m all about the “home.” Saves me the time of resharing that information.

Oh, and I just got Witness to the Moon back from my editor so I’m moving into deep edits.

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