Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Hello again,

Yes, I’m still alive. You may have wondered.

Ever since my kickboxing fight, life has been crazy busy. At first I just enjoyed the unfamiliar downtime and being able to come straight home after work and relax. Not dragging a sixty-pound bag of gear on and off the bus has been heaven!

But then life got busy in a different way. It’s that time of year–time to go insane buying gifts, wrapping gifts, going to holiday parties, and catching up with all the people I neglected during training. Work has been very hectic as well, both my day job and my freelance gig. I have twelve stories I need to have finished by the end of the weekend, and I’m wondering how I’m going to get everything done. I’ve been working nights to cram it all in.

It’s also been a time of doctor’s appointments and dental appointments. For those of you that don’t know, I injured my left knee last fall, and I had promised myself that I’d get it checked out after the fight. I finally got in to see a sports medicine physician last week, and he gave me some positive news–I can still kick box! My knee just needs some strengthening exercises from a physiotherapist. It’ll take some time, but in the end, it will be as good as new. Now I just need to find the time to go to the physiotherapist…and to get back to the gym. Easier said than done these days.

It does trouble me when I start to feel like a hamster on a wheel. Reminders that life is too short are all around me. Yesterday was the third-year anniversary of a friend’s suicide. Today, I found out that another friend’s daughter (who I still think of as a little girl) is pregnant with twins. My friend is going to be a grandmother, and she’s not even forty. Where does the time go?

Ever since my best friend died suddenly, I’ve been a firm believer in making the very most of my life and ensuring each day counts. But how do you do this when you’re not independently wealthy? It’s not like we can all afford to leave our jobs to travel around the world, write the great novel, chase our various dreams, and spend hours on the beach with our thoughts. (Those of you who have the guts to do this anyway without the means, I salute you.)

We may not all have the guts, opportunity, or means to change our lives overnight. I certainly don’t. But I’ve decided that what I can do is control how much the negative aspects of my current situation affect me. It’s easier said than done sometimes–life can be unfair in a million different ways. Other people may not appreciate you or respect you in the way you deserve. It can be hard not to let one bad encounter, or one miserable day, alter how you feel about your life in general.

I hope I will be given enough time on this planet to realize my dreams of living somewhere beautiful and writing novels for a living, but there are never any guarantees. All I can do is make the most of each day in the small ways I’m able to right now, always hoping that soon things will get better.

How do you make the most of your life? How do you stop a bad situation from making you miserable?

Thanks for reading!
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  1. Mystic_Mom

    Holli – sorry about your friend. I lost a friend to suicide and I still miss him, since 1991. A grandma at 40 – oh my! Life sure can change in a short bit of time, can’t it?

    While I think it would be ‘fun’ to get that world tour on a book advance, I think we’d find that our stuff was waiting for us at home.

    Changing our lives starts with how we change perspective on our lives, and how we choose to make (or choose not) to change things big or small.

    I’ve been in a huge writing dry spell, poured my heart out in a guest post, and just hit a dry bottom in the well. Nothing. So instead of being a self-tyrant I’ve been trying (and not always succeeding!) to be creative in other ways, to be kind to myself and remove from my life the things that bring the stress and frustration.

    I know we cannot just remove the frustration of a job or a neighbor, or an injury or sad season. It’s never that simple, but sometimes the small changes that are simple have the biggest impact.

    I am praying for you and encourage you to find those small changes that will make a big difference. Wings to your fingers getting those writing jobs done!

  2. Story Teller

    Well, if *I* got the book tour, my stuff would be gone, because my “stuff” revolves around how I have to make a living at the present time. 🙂 But I agree that you can’t run away from your problems. I have a friend who is convinced that his entire life would be different if he could just move to Vancouver, and I fear for him, because I see the same patterns will repeat themselves there.

    I’m sorry to hear about your writing dry spell. That sucks. We do lose something when we can’t write. I’m hoping to return to my own writing (or at least rewriting) next week.

    Thanks, as always, for your kind words and encouragement. You are one of the most positive people I’ve ever met.

  3. Michelle Davidson Argyle

    I had a cousin who committed suicide when I was a teenager. It sparked the depression I’m still dealing with today. It’s so easy to get sucked into negativity ALL the time. It’s a lot harder to focus on the positive of everything. I think you’re good at that, though. Your posts always brighten me. 🙂

    I hope you can find the time to squeeze in everything you want, but I always have to remember to make sacrifices in order to treasure other things that are more important, but not quite as immediately satisfying. Hard to balance!

  4. Story Teller

    Sorry to hear about your loss, Michelle. Suicide is always such a difficult loss to move on from, since it’s theoretically a preventable death. There’s always the thought that we must have been able to do something to prevent it. And it’s so misunderstood: I’ve heard it called selfish, a sin, anger at the world…you name it. It’s unbearable pain, if you ask me.

    Thanks for the kind words. I’ve finished my huge freelance assignment. Now I need to squeeze in my writing and head back to the gym. Oh, and my place is a disaster! Always something to do. 🙂


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