Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Feel Good Post

Last Saturday, the stars aligned (translation: the water polo schedule aligned/lightened up) and I made it to my local RWA (Romance Writers of America) meeting. I rarely rarely rarely (you get my drift) get to attend in the fall. Too many water polo games. Too many swim meets. was quite a treat when I found myself zooming up I15, NPR blaring in my ears.

The morning speaker was Barbara Samuel, who writes romance, historical romance and women's fiction. She's written about 25 books. Not to be sneezed at.

Anyhoo, Barbara was at our meeting to talk about voice and finding your voice. Very interesting and useful. She had us do several quick writing exercises. Such as, writing for two minutes about when you were seven years old and writing to a magazine picture.

In general, I don't quick writing. I just don't. Why? No time. When I sit down to write, it has to count. That's why I outline. So I don't waste a bunch of time writing stuff that I end up deleting.

But, I really had a good old time with the prompts. Even came up with a couple of scenes that I think'll work into book #3.

I especially enjoyed the exercise where we jotted down 10 things that make you happy. According to Barbara, you can't make one of these lists and stay grumpy. I'm going to test that theory one of these days.

Here's a few items from my top ten things-that-make-me-happy list (in no particular order):

1. licorice, both black and red
2. Child #3 butterflying for all he's worth in a swim meet
3. the book cover for I So Don't Do Mysteries
4. Child #1 hitting computer keys like a madman to demo loud, melody-less punk music for me
5. when my friend, L, answers the phone on the first ring
6. Child #4, when she's decorating the house for a holiday
7. a good crop of homegrown tomatoes in my earthbox
7. Child #2, in a good mood, all silly and goofy and joking around
8. my hair right after I've been to Jamie the Magical Hairdresser
9. DH doing home improvements
10. when Editor Wendy talks about my characters like they're real people (Eg. "Don't you think Sherry's wearing too much makeup?")
11. Hanging with the sisters
12. TORONTO--even the slushy springtime

So, what would be on your Top Ten List of Things that Make You Happy? Tell us even a couple of the items.

p.s. If you have a moment, click over to From Skilled Hands where Debra talks about Cups of Kindness, a group of artists in Ohio who are helping their regional foodbank.


Anonymous said...

I took Barbara's online voice class a couple of years ago and remember this exercise. You know, at first I didn't think I could come up with 25 things that made me happy (for the online class, it was 25 not 10. YIKES!). You know what? I came up with them and writing them down DID make me happy. A couple from my list were/are... a balmy summer night breeze stirring leaves so they rustle softly in the trees, late-night summer brown-outs when all the windows stay open and the hot air is filled with distant indistinct sounds of life, AND... email – getting to read something new that someone has written specifically for me. Yeah. Those things make me happy. :-)


laughingwolf said...

seeing my kids doing their thing... setting up my new workstation... having a car again

good insights, thx barrie :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm like you most of the time. I don't do prompts because I have already planned writing projects, often with deadlines, that I have to meet and I don't have time to just play around with side projects. When I get a break from deadlines I don't mind them so much

debra said...

Thank you for the link, Barrie.
#2 daughter is a swimmer, too---a breast stroker. But no swim meets now since she has a fractured tibia.
Things that make me happy:
1. being on this side of the daisies
2. making tiles
3. coffee with my friends
4. walking in the woods
5. being grateful
more, too :-)

Anonymous said...

My green, fleece-lined clogs over tennis socks.

My son telling me a crude joke he heard at school (I figure it's better than him purposely NOT telling me!)

My husband's gumbo.

Today: A new Deborah Knott mystery.

Chantal said...

I think I will use that list when I am having a bad day. See if it works :)

Stacy Nyikos said...

The smell of Fall when the leaves begin to daughters' smiles...getting a scene right...rain in the evening...German many neat things. What a great idea to list them.

Sheri said...

1.) walking in the woods
2.) Planting a brand-new tree in my backyard.
3.) sitting by the river
4.) going for walks with my dog
5.) when my family and I are doing something that makes us all laugh.

Oh and not to bring us all down from our happy lists... but this really does work. When my mom died seven years ago, as you can imagine, I was depressed. At some point, to help shake myself at out of it, I made one of these lists to remind me of all that was good in my world. Every day I read it (taped to my refrigerator door). I used it more like a menu... pick one thing from this happy list to do today - no matter how sad I felt. It's not that it helped me miss my Mom less, but it reminded me to live.


reading in bed at the end of the day, listening to good music, walking the dog, sleeping, dreaming

pattinase (abbott) said...

Licorice makes me happy but not my stomach. I need Jamie. Where can I find him/her?

Larramie said...

Smiles make me happy and they're contagious.

Kellan said...

So glad you were able to go to your conference and came away with helpful information. Loved your list too!

Take care - Kellan

Bee said...

I like any sort of exercise that reminds us to be grateful, so I will happily take up your suggestion to join in.
1) a new book that I just can't put down
2)the sort of fresh air/blue sky day that makes me feel like the earth has just been created anew
3)the smell of my roses
4)when my daughter says, "Mommy, I love you SO much"
5)cookies right out of the oven
6)city parks -- meandering around, people-watching
7)the first cup of tea in the morning
8)my husband's laugh (especially when it is a mischievous giggle)
9)eating Mexican food with my best friend
10)watching a great movie

Anonymous said...

I don't have 10 things at the moment -- but homegrown tomatoes and happy kids could be on my list, too!

Bina said...

Oh, it sounds just GREAT! I need to go to something like that.


1. Spending time with my youngest daughter cause she ALWAYS makes me laugh.

2. Horse back riding.

3. Reading

4. Gardening

5. Reading in my bed, with fresh sheets and shaved legs!

Okay, that's a few.

Annie said...

I did NOT read your post before I posted mine. This is just weird that we would write about things that make us happy. Ahh the stars have indeed aligned (at least if you believe in such stuff :)

gabe said...

Nice post and nice to go to a writing event to write and even nicer to be so busy writing novels that you have no time to do writing exercises. But the happy exercise is ... nice!
Nice: agreeable, pleasant, delightful

kim said...

Your list has made me happy. Okay, and for perfect happiness ambiance? Neil Diamond started on my ipod as I read your list -- I'm going to "pack up the babies and grab the old ladies" -- I'm ready to take on this day!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

What a lovely, well-considered list--and the picture is perfect! I may just steal this idea for a blog post... :)

And I would have LOVED to hear Barbara Samuels' talk! Lucky you!

Mary Ann said...

My dog jumping up on the bed, resting her head on my neck to wake me up. Ok, so she forgot it was Sunday. It still made me happy.

Rebecca Hickman said...

Diet coke, Fritos, and carrot cake with lots of cream cheese icing.

Tiny Little Librarian said...

It's great to have a list like this! And I like your Mr. Happy! (beats my Mr. Grumpy!)

Let's see...
1) The stuffed monkey my husband bought me - especially at the moment, as he's wearing his pirate Hallowe'en costume.

2) Books

3) Chocolate, it must be said

4) Musicals

And there are many more, but I have to get back to work! :)