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


The Happy List

This pic is from my own garden,
courtesy of Chris Brogden

Okay, so it’s two days late, but better late than never, right? There may be a bigger message here, namely that this hasn’t been a particularly happy week for me. For some reason, after writing over 2,000 words everyday, I stopped. I haven’t worked on my book for a week. I’ve been shoddy with the marketing and exercising too. I’m not sure why I continue to crash and burn, but this seems to be a cycle with me–times of high productivity followed by times of sloth.

But, even in the dark times, there are things that make us smile. So without further ado, here is my happy list for this week!

1) Cats & Kittens: This morning I was woken up by a kitten who sat on my head and leaned over to lick my face. Last week, one of my cats ran by wearing my underwear–don’t ask me how. Every single day, my cats make me smile. They are great companions. And I’m sure if you have pets you feel the same way, no matter what species they may be.

2) Garden Centres: I can never withstand a bad mood in a garden centre. I don’t think you have to be a gardener to reap the benefits. Something about being surrounded by plants and flowers, with the wonderful fresh smells of soil and greenery, cheers the soul. I always spend too much in these places, but I never regret buying plants. It’s the adult version of playing in the dirt, and as a girl who used to make mud pies, I heartily approve.

3) Tapas: In this country, the word “tapas” seems to mean “serve half as much and charge twice as much”. I have a feeling it’s not the same in Spain. But even so, eating tapas-style is an excuse to have a meal of appetizers! You get to share with friends, try a whole bunch of new dishes, and if the restaurant is good, swoon with happiness. Two of my local favorites are Segovia and Deseo. Try them at least once and see what you think!

4) Those Guys: When I was still working at CancerCare, I had to make a video during one of the big events. The event, a 20 kilometre fitness walk, had live bands at each check stop. The first check stop we arrived at had eight guys standing around in T-shirts and jeans–no musicians, no instruments, no band. I had no idea what to expect, and then suddenly they broke into the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. Later I went to their concert and I’ve been a huge fan of this local acapella group ever since. Discover them now, because I guarantee that someday soon we’ll be saying we knew them when. You cannot see a Those Guys show and avoid being in a good mood–that I promise you. Wait until you see them “move like Jagger”.

5) Hello Kitty Vans: I don’t think I have to say too much about this one. I haven’t purchased any yet, because I definitely have more than enough shoes, but this pairing is simply awesome. I’m not sure about the high-tops with the gigantic stuffed kitty head, though.

How about you, Dear Readers? What is making you happy this week? How do you get through a slump? And if you get something out of my lists or discover something you weren’t aware of before, please let me know in a comment.

Have a great week!

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  1. Mystic_Mom

    I’ve been in a writing slump, it sucks but I’m working on it. A bit of poetry here and there and doing lots of reading between packing and loading, seeking and searching.

    The things that make me most happy are giggling sons, cool pillows and quiet evenings. Some good books discovered and great authors revisited. Laughing at the silly, and watching plants bloom and grow. Seeing storm clouds and ducks, vultures and eagles.

  2. Laura Best

    Seeing the sun has been pretty great this week since we’ve had so much wet weather this spring, and talking to my three-year-old granddaughter this morning also put me in a pretty good mood especially when I learned she and Mommy are making plans to visit in July. 🙂

    There usually is something to smile about, but we have to be willing to look for it sometimes.

  3. Story Teller

    Thanks for your comments, ladies! Much appreciated.

    @ MM – it happens. You were insanely prolific for awhile. Usually writing ebbs and flows, or so I’ve found.

    Packing? Are you moving? Thank you for your list. I love to see things growing, too. It gives me such joy.

    @ Laura – saw the pic of your granddaughter in her rain gear–too adorable! Isn’t true that days always seem better when the sun is shining?

  4. Michelle D. Argyle

    I can’t think of a single person I know who works consistently without having high periods of productivity and then slumping for a bit. It’s just the nature of how things go, I think. I have found, though, that if I set my goals just a little lower, I’m more likely to work longer and more productively. So instead of 2,000 words a day when I am drafting, I set the goal of 2,000 words ever TWO days. That way I feel more flexibility. I can write 1,500 one day when I feel more energetic, and 500 the next day if I feel a little taxed. When I hit on that system, it changed everything.

  5. Story Teller

    Thanks for commenting, Michelle. I’m glad to know I’m not alone. I have people in my life who seem to be super productive all the time. I’ve never seen them in a slump.

    The smaller goals idea is a good suggestion. I have done this with kickboxing, starting with two days per week at the gym (I used to go five-six days) and even that was difficult at first.

    With writing, though, when I’m off I’m off and I don’t do it at all. It’s very frustrating. I’m forcing myself today, though–no matter what!

    What’s on your happy list for the week? 🙂

  6. Michelle D. Argyle

    It’s hot these days. I love summer. That’s my happy list. 🙂


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