When I started writing my first novel in 1996, I wrote all my pages in long hand. I would edit the pages as I keyed them in. Then I would print them off and go through them a gazillion more times.
Such was my process for many, many years. Then, somewhat suddenly, I decided I wanted to try a different method. I began to write my first drafts on the computer. It worked fine. I liked it. For several years, this became my process.
Yesterday, as I started a new book, I felt drawn to pull out the pencil and paper. It appears that, at least for now, I’ll be writing this book longhand first. What was once old suddenly feels new and exciting to me.
Perhaps you’ve had this happen in your own life. You were really involved in something at one time but you got away from it, grew tired of it, decided to go with something new, bigger, better. It could be that like me, you now find yourself going back and something that was old is new again to you.
An example: you used to write an old Classic bike but had purchased one of the gleaming new types…but suddenly you’re drawn back to your old Schwinn. And, in going back, you rediscover the pleasure it once gave you.
You may have moved on, but not permanently.
I’d like to know if this has ever happened to you. Maybe with a hobby or a talent or a craft. Perhaps with a food you used to eat all the time that you grew tired of and are now toying with the idea of eating again.
Share your story and you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a small box of books I’ve picked up from various conferences. Winner will be posted on the Jaunty Quill site on Sunday!
Have you heard that Phareell Williams’ song Happy? It makes me smile and dance along every time I hear it. I have to confess I also sing along but since happy is a feeling I get the words wrong all the time, which makes my beloved teenaged son roll his eyes. ”I thought you liked this song?” he says.
Like I said happy is so much a state of mind that I don’t pay attention to the details of why or how it’s happening. Last weekend my daughter did something she’d been wanting to do for a long time. And the joy I saw on her face as she prepared for it made me smile too. Happy always seems to me like a choice, but being an adult I know that it isn’t always. That there are so many outside things that can mess with your state of mind (or at least mine) and alter it.
I find simple things bring me joy because I associate them with either good memories or people who make me laugh. For example orange blossoms on a Florida spring breeze brings me a lot of joy. The reason is twofold. My birthday is in March and that scent on the air always heralded it. The second is that my mom used to put the blossoms in small bowls in our bedrooms when we were girls (my sisters and I, I’m not suddenly more than one person). And that scent permeated our side of the house.
What brings your joy? Sometimes it’s a FaceTime chat with my friends in the States, a conversation with my mom or my daughter, ticking my I’m-not-ticklish husband and seeing the look of surprise on his face.
I’m giving away a Cheryl’s Cookie card and an electronic version of Bound By A Child to one lucky blog participant today.
MAUREEN E, you won the drawing for Virginia Kantra’s guest post celebrating the release of CAROLINA GIRL! Congratulations! Please email me (drjsandersen AT yahoo.com) with your snail mail address, and I’ll get your info to Virginia!
Furthermore, thanks to your comments and newsletter signups, Virginia will be donating $50 to the organizations discussed in her post. WOOT!
Congratulations, Rochelle! You’re the winner of an e-copy of one of my books – your choice. They’re all listed on my website: NancyRobardsThompson.com. Please contact me through my website and let me know which one you’d like.
Have you heard about the “100 Days of Happiness Challenge”?
I stumbled across it the other day and immediately wanted to take part. After all, one of my new year’s resolutions was to be more positive and focus on life’s blessings. Today is my ninth day on the project and I’m having such fun.
For the Happiness Challenge, all you have to do is commit to taking one photo per day for 100 days of people, places or things that made you happy. Sometimes we get stuck in the grind of day-to-day life and forget to notice the good. The Happiness Challenge has made me more aware of my blessings, and it’s lifted my chin on days when I might’ve been tempted to keep my head down.
According to the 100 Happy Days website, some of the benefits you’ll gain from this project might include a better mood, a more optimistic, grateful outlook, and, they claim, that some people have even fallen in love during the challenge.
Here are a few of the photos I’ve taken so far:
This is the window of a local art gallery. I love the texture and reflections in the glass.
College Girl is home for spring break (that’s her in the blue on the left) and we went into a cosmetics shop one day when we were out shopping. I found the most perfect palette of eye shadows (which, of course, I snapped up). But it wasn’t just the shopping that made me happy. It was the rare unhurried day that my daughter and I got to spend together that made it so special and this photo captures that in an offbeat way.
This is the view from my desk. I loved the way the light was filtering in through the blinds and casting shadows on the wall. If not for this project, I probably wouldn’t have thought to capture it in a photograph.
Plain and simple… these are art supplies and a book on painting techniques that I purchased. They made me giddy with happiness. See, it really is the simple things that bring joy. Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves.
There is no right or wrong way to do this challenge. If you want to formally commit, you can sign up on the official web page at 100happydays.com and submit your photos. I committed to do the project with two friends (waving at Kathy Garbera, who is one of them). Every day the three of us share our photos with each other on Instagram. I email them a copy of mine, too, because that way I can save a JPG of the pictures to a special file I’ve created on my computer. At the end of the hundred days, I’ll print all the pictures and put them in an album.
According to a new study by London-based psychologist Phillippa Lally, PhD, it takes about sixty-six days to form a habit. While this debunks the former twenty-one day convention, by the end of the hundred days the looking-for-happy habit should be soundly ingrained.
So, can you commit to being happy for 100 days? I hope you’ll join me on the quest. If it’s not in the cards for you right now, I hope you’ll still comment below and tell us some of the things in your life – big or small – that make you happy. I’ll give away an e-copy of one of my books – your choice – to one person who posts.