Saturday, December 18, 2021

Struck by Cupid’s Arrow: The Advantages of Insta-Love in Fiction

by Jessica Nelson

Two main characters lay eyes on each other while [insert preferred meet-cute here] and there’s an instant, undeniable, irrevocable connection that sets them on the journey of a whirlwind romance.

Insta-love? Psshh. More like insta-lust.

I object to the “love at first sight” trope in fiction on principle. It’s annoying to see two characters go from strangers (or worse — enemies) to proclaiming their undying love and willingness to die for each other in less than seven chronological days — or 20 pages, whichever comes first. Unless your story involves Cupid literally shooting the characters with love arrows, insta-love is highly unrealistic, even by fiction standards.

That said, I am an avid reader of romances, and I have found that, as a reader, I have very little patience for slow-burn romances.

Maybe the inundation of insta-love has ruined me for more measured love stories, or maybe I’m just a naturally impatient person, but if the characters are still hemming and hawing about whether or not they might like each other by page 100, I’m liable to start screaming, “Get on with it already!” at my Kindle.

Readers like me prove that insta-love has a place in fiction. But there’s a way to do it wrong and a way to do it right.

The most “wrong” way to do it — and most universal example — is the classic tale of Cinderella.

Discarding the other themes, there is nothing more unbelievable than the way Prince Charming falls for the tale’s heroine.

Like, seriously: He dances with a girl for one song and falls so madly in love her that he’s willing to marry her and make her the queen of his kingdom, but he never gets her name, can’t remember what she looks like, and has to use her lost shoe to identify her? Bleh.

The development of love — of a romantic connection — is often a driving force behind emotional conflict and character growth. If a story uses insta-love, then one avenue for growth and development has been taken away. The emotional heart of the story has to shift accordingly, generally becoming introspective: discovering oneself, battling inner demons, healing from old traumas, etc.

A budding romance usually features heavily in the story’s plot; insta-love makes the plot rely almost solely on external forces: something that keeps them apart or pushes them together, or an obstacle they must overcome as a team. If you’re like me, I like my love stories to have some flying bullets or sword fights, maybe a crime or two, and the occasional explosion. I’ll settle for a ghost or other paranormal or fantasy elements.

When done right, insta-love successfully raises the emotional stakes of a plot-driven tale. With the characters already so invested in each other, any threat to one of them or their relationship becomes more intense for the reader.

If there’s insta-love, there’s likely to be insta-lust, which can be just a trite, particularly given its overuse in the romance genre. I’ve read descriptions of characters’ physical reactions to meeting “the one” that have literally made me laugh out loud. And every time I read about body parts “tightening” or becoming erect, I’m liable to roll my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong — such descriptions have their place in adult romance, just maybe not so explicitly in the meet-cute. Even if the author is relying on insta-lust the get the characters together, it can be overdone.

Insta-lust at least has a basis in reality — more so than insta-love at any rate. In every human interaction, we eye up the other person and make a series of split-second judgments. One of those may be deciding whether or not we find the other person attractive and to what extent.

The advantage to insta-lust is it draws the characters into close proximity and keeps them coming back together. As long as the characters are interacting, there are opportunities for love to grow.

Of course, intense physical chemistry can also bring its own set of interesting plot points.

Inta-intrigue, however, hits the sweet spot. It incorporates the physical elements of attraction (without the more explicit details) and the emotional elements of love. How does the person’s appearance make the character feel? What about the person piques the character’s curiosity? What internal or external force draws the characters together again and again?

With insta-intrigue, there’s plenty of room left to develop a romance — as sweet and clean or hot and steamy as you’d like — that can be built into the plot or around which the story can evolve.

All said and done, insta-love and insta-lust have their place in the literary tradition. And there are a lot of readers who look for just that. But there are ways to do wrong and ways to do it right. The key to using insta-love or insta-lust effectively is to balance it with other emotional and plot elements to create a story that still has room for growth and change.

So sometimes it does pay off to be struck by Cupid’s arrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Kindle Edition of In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology Is Now Available!

 

It’s here! I’m so excited to announce the release of the Kindle edition of In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology.

It’s been almost two years since a global pandemic shattered our world. Perhaps for the first time in history, people from every continent are experiencing the same emotions—fear, anger, sadness, anxiety. How are they coping? What are they learning? How have they changed? Writers and artists of every age (10-90) from six continents (including the countries of Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe) have contributed original art, photography, poems, essays, fiction, and scripts to create In the Midst, a COVID-19 Anthology. The works reflect a common humanity beyond age, ethnicity, or location and are captured here to share with the world.

People are suffering in so many ways from this unprecedented situation. But the pages of this anthology carry much more than tears. They also show the resilience of the human spirit. Some offer encouragement. Some ways of coping—especially creative ways, such as taking up new hobbies. Others find humor in the quest for toilet paper, the mandate to “wash your hands,” and hair—from new hairdos and natural hair colors of those who can no longer see their hairdressers to COVID cuts for those who took the problem into their own hands. Some describe new skills or practices that have improved their lives—things they will retain long after the pandemic is over. And many show appreciation to the ones who’ve sacrificed to keep the world moving.

What ties them all together? The universal experience of living in isolation and anxiety during a global pandemic with no end in sight. People are in crisis and need to share their experiences and imaginative solutions.

Difficult decisions were made to cut down the deluge of entries to this final selection of 100 pieces representing 84 authors and artists. I’ve always said that when you share your art or your writing, you share your soul. And we now celebrate the courageous people who have bared their souls to give you a glimpse into their lives.

I hope you are as touched as I have been by these honest, from-the-gut reactions while still IN THE MIDST of this historic pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll see our way out of this soon, and this anthology will become a collection to help future generations understand exactly what it was like to endure separation from friends and family, shutdowns of schools, churches, and “non-essential” businesses, and, of course, the fear and suffering caused by illness and death.  

In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology is available in two formats on Amazon. The standard format has a black and white interior and, for a limited time, sells for $16.95. The full-color edition printed on high-quality paper sells for $52.00. The New Kindle edition is available for $6.99 USD and is available worldwide. It is, of course, in full color. 

If you don't live in the USA, sign into Amazon in your domain area. Then you can type B08NX43Y4L in the search bar for the low-cost, black-and-white interior edition for a limited-time price of $16.95 USD (converted to local currency). Type B08NX6Q2Q1 for the full-color version (or click on the links if you are in the US) for $52.00 USD.  For the Kindle Edition, type B09L9K2ZQ1 as your search element. You can also search for "In the Midst COVID-19 Anthology" to see all versions on the selection screen.

The unique cover was designed and created by Lana Hunneyball. The artwork featured on the card faces are among the more than 30 original creations or photos included within the anthology. Lana used the layout of the card game “Patience” as a fitting representation of the patience required to get through this pandemic—and it’s a form of solitaire, which is especially fitting since many of us are alone at this time. Isolated.


But now you don’t need to be! Order a copy of this anthology for yourself and for everyone you know. You’ll be glad to have the company.

And be sure to share this announcement. Thank you! 

Be safe out there. 

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Style Guides to the Rescue!

 Twenty-five or so years ago, when I was just beginning my editing practice, I had two important mentors. My friend Wilma was a newly-retired grammar teacher, and she was my definitive source for grammar. We even called her the grammar guru. If Wilma said it was so, it was so. My friend Patsy was a well-published author who had received many national and international awards. She’d been published in Guideposts, Redbook, Grit, Good Housekeeping, and on and on and on. She knew how to write a story.

Wilma, Patsy and I frequently met for lunch. One day, we went to Applebees. Wilma and Patsy arrived together, and they were already in the midst of an argument. And, as the meal progressed, so did the volume of the disagreement. I was the innocent spectator—and I was horrified. Here were my two mentors, the two women I admired most, and they were violently arguing about a comma.

My horrification was not because they were loud and on the verge of getting us kicked out of Applebees—although I was a bit embarrassed. What bothered me was that these two great sources of writing knowledge disagreed about commas.

By the time we left, Wilma and Patsy had forgotten their disagreement and were making plans to go shopping. But I was traumatized. How would I ever again know who to believe? Who to trust?

The internet was young in those days, but I went home and started a search. I found arguments for both sides of the Oxford comma debate. And then I found the answer—it all depended upon the style guide used. Both Wilma and Patsy were right. Wilma worked in academia. Her style guide said no Oxford comma. Patsy wrote fiction. The Chicago Manual of Style loves the Oxford comma.

Style guides are important, people! Be sure you understand which one is appropriate for the type of writing you do. Or ask. I’m here. I like questions.

Rest in peace, sweet, stubborn Patsy. I miss you every day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology is here!

 

It’s here! I’m so excited to announce the release of In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology.

It’s been more than 8 months since a global pandemic shattered our world. Perhaps for the first time in history, people from every continent are experiencing the same emotions—fear, anger, sadness, anxiety. How are they coping? What are they learning? How have they changed? Writers and artists of every age (10-90) from six continents (including the countries of Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Zimbabwe) have contributed original art, photography, poems, essays, fiction, and scripts to create In the Midst, a COVID-19 Anthology. The works reflect a common humanity beyond age, ethnicity, or location and are captured here to share with the world.

People are suffering in so many ways from this unprecedented situation. But the pages of this anthology carry much more than tears. They also show the resilience of the human spirit. Some offer encouragement. Some ways of coping—especially creative ways, such as taking up new hobbies. Others find humor in the quest for toilet paper, the mandate to “wash your hands,” and hair—from new hairdos and natural hair colors of those who can no longer see their hairdressers to COVID cuts for those who took the problem into their own hands. Some describe new skills or practices that have improved their lives—things they will retain long after the pandemic is over. And many show appreciation to the ones who’ve sacrificed to keep the world moving.

What ties them all together? The universal experience of living in isolation and anxiety during a global pandemic with no end in sight. People are in crisis and need to share their experiences and imaginative solutions.

Difficult decisions were made to cut down the deluge of entries to this final selection of 100 pieces representing 84 authors and artists. I’ve always said that when you share your art or your writing, you share your soul. And we now celebrate the courageous people who have bared their souls to give you a glimpse into their lives.

I hope you are as touched as I have been by these honest, from-the-gut reactions while still IN THE MIDST of this historic pandemic. Hopefully, we’ll see our way out of this soon, and this anthology will become a collection to help future generations understand exactly what it was like to endure separation from friends and family, shutdowns of schools, churches, and “non-essential” businesses, and, of course, the fear and suffering caused by illness and death.  

In the Midst: A COVID-19 Anthology is available in two formats on Amazon. The standard format has a black and white interior and, for a limited time, sells for $16.95. The full-color edition printed on high-quality paper sells for $52.00. 

If you don't live in the USA, sign into Amazon in your domain area. Then you can type B08NX43Y4L in the search bar for the low-cost, black-and-white interior edition for a limited-time price of $16.95 USD (converted to local currency). Type B08NX6Q2Q1 for the full-color version (or click on the links if you are in the US) for $52.00 USD. You can also search for "In the Midst COVID-19 Anthology" to see both versions on the selection screen.

The unique cover was designed and created by Lana Hunneyball. The artwork featured on the card faces are among the more than 30 original creations or photos included within the anthology. Lana used the layout of the card game “Patience” as a fitting representation of the patience required to get through this pandemic—and it’s a form of solitaire, which is especially fitting since many of us are alone at this time. Isolated.


But now you don’t need to be! Order a copy of this anthology for yourself and for everyone you know. You’ll be glad to have the company.

And be sure to share this announcement. Thank you! 

Be safe out there. 

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

LAST CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS




LAST CALL!

NO ENTRY FEE                                                Submissions deadline 8/15/20

IN THE MIDST

A COVID-19 ANTHOLOGY
  
Everyone has been affected by the Covid-19 crisis--and this is your chance to share your unique thoughts and experiences.  Get creative! We want to hear your stories, see your photos, enjoy your poems, and view your artwork. All ages and nationalities encouraged to enter.

Selected entries will be included in a printed book (ebook may follow) available on Amazon and other retailers later this year.

Please share this call on your social media platforms. Thank you. 

Click here for the submission form and additional information: 
IN THE MIDST SUBMISSION FORM
If you are submitting photographs or artwork, please also include the appropriate release form: 

QUESTIONS: Email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com

Monday, July 20, 2020

What's Your Favorite Punctuation Mark?


by Sandy Tritt

What’s your favorite punctuation mark?
Until recently, I had never thought about having a favorite punctuation mark—although I admit I’ve always had an affinity for those cute little curly commas. (And I have a distinct dislike for the colon and the semicolon: they remind me of too many late nights spent typing academic papers on my state-of-the-art Brother Electric Typewriter.) But the mark that really brings me joy is the EM DASH. This little guy has become more popular as of late—mainly because he’s versatile and, I’m told, “hipster.”

So, how can you hang out with the cool kid?
Lots of ways. He can be used in place of commas, parentheses, colons, semi-colons, or ellipses. He can offset phrases, show interruption or a change of direction, offer examples, or add emphasis. And he can be used to show missing words or parts of words. See why I love Mr. Dash?

Let’s look at ways he can help.  

An EM DASH can add clarity to a convoluted sentence. Examples:
  • Before: “When the check finally arrived, over six weeks after the accident, it was only for the parts, labor, and other repairs.” After: “When the check finally arrived—over six weeks after the accident—it was only for the parts, labor, and other repairs.”
  • Before: “Don’t start baking brownies if you don’t have everything you need, like a pan, an oven, and ingredients, including eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa, and nuts.” After: “Don’t start baking brownies if you don’t have everything you need, like a pan, an oven, and ingredients—including eggs, butter, sugar, cocoa, and nuts.”
  • Before: “Before we go camping on Sunday, we need to make sure we have plenty of ice, hamburger buns, marshmallows for s’mores and fruit salad, olives, and onions.” After: “Before we go camping on Sunday, we need to make sure we have plenty of ice, hamburger buns, marshmallows—for s’mores and fruit salad—olives, and onions.”
An EM DASH can indicate a sudden break or change in continuity. Examples:
  • “I don’t want to ever see—what is that thing crawling up your shirt?”
  • “I—uh—I just don’t know.”
An EM DASH can delineate a non-essential phrase within a sentence (non-essential means the sentence will still be a sentence without the phrase). Do note that if the phrase occurs in the middle of a sentence, both a beginning and an ending EM DASH must be used. Examples:
  • “Just as I was about to sit—and I do mean just—I saw the spider.”
  • “I decided to burn that ratty old sweater—until Jason said it was his favorite.”
Likewise, an EM DASH can be used to set apart an explanatory phrase. Examples:
  • “I love reading novels—fat, juicy, long-winded novels—while on vacation.”
  • “We need to get a first aid kit—bandages, antiseptic wipes, splints—for the cheerleading squad.”
An EM DASH can join two independent clauses. It’s a modern replacement for the semicolon, joining two related sentences that could each stand alone. Examples:
  • “We could sure use some rain this week—this heat is killing the garden.”
  • “I absolutely love old romantic movies—I get that from my mama.”
An EM DASH can add emphasis. Examples:
  • “I don’t want to see that jerk in here again—ever!”
  • “Can we forget the whole thing—please?”
An EM DASH can show interruption. Whereas ellipses at the end of a sentence illustrates a dropping off in tone or a pause, the EM DASH shows an immediate halt.
  • Either all in one sentence or by one speaker: “Hey!  Don’t step on the—oh, crap. Too late.”
  • By multiple speakers:  “You never let me finish. All you do is—” “No, I don’t!”
  • By an outside force: “Please quit fidgeting. We’re almost—” The doorbell rang.
An EM DASH can indicate an unfinished sentence or thought. Examples:
  • “I hope that isn’t a snake—”
  • “Is that car coming in my lane? There’s nowhere to—”
Where to find Mr. EM DASH
So now that you’ve grown to love Mr. EM DASH, you may discover that he simply doesn’t exist on the standard keyboard. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to create him. Let me count the ways:
  • Within most Word Processing programs (and iPhones), you can create an EM DASH automatically by typing two hyphens side by side.
  • MS Word will change two hyphens to an EM DASH as long as there is no space before, between, or after the hyphens. The metamorphosis appears after typing the next word or letter and then pressing the space bar.
  • If that’s too complex, in many programs, you can click on the toolbar below the edit box. Place your cursor where you want the EM DASH, select INSERT from the pull-down menu, and click on the second character (the longer dash).
  • In MS Word, you can click on the INSERT tab, look at the far right and click on SYMBOL, select MORE SYMBOLS, click on SPECIAL CHARACTERS, and—finally—click on the EMDASH (right at the top).
Too many steps? Give one of these a try:
  • In Windows on a PC, type ALT 0151  
  • For a Mac, use OPT  SHIFT  -
  • Simply copy an EM DASH from anywhere and paste it where you need it.
Other things to know:
  • In most usages (Chicago Manual of Style, etc.), no spaces should exist before or after an EM DASH. The most common exception to this is the Associated Press Stylebook (such as for newspapers), which adds a space on either side of the EM DASH.
  • The EM DASH is mostly used in informal writing—blogs, novels, emails, etc.—and is typically used sparingly in formal writing (magazine articles, academic papers, business letters, etc.).
  • There are three “dashes” in the dash family. The HYPHEN is the baby. It’s the smallest of the lengths and is used to join two words. The EN DASH is longer than a hyphen and is used to show a range—such as 3-4 years—or to attach a prefix, such as pre-Civil War era. And then there’s the EM DASH, the largest, the longest, the greatest. Aren’t you glad you’ve met him?
  • Mr. Dash got his name back in the old days when typesetters measured the number of points in a line. An EN DASH was considered to be the same width of the letter N—and, the EM DASH was considered to be the same width as the letter M.
So, tell us, what’s your favorite punctuation? Why?
And, of course, if you need help straightening out those cute little curly commas or making the most out of Mr. Dash, just shoot us off an email at IFWeditors@gmail.com.


Monday, June 15, 2020

What's a Gawking Narrator?



By Jessica Murphy

Jessica Murphy
A “gawking character” is a narrator who tells the reader what happens in a scene instead of letting the reader experience it directly. This is also called narrator intrusion, and it robs the reader of the full experience, thus distancing him from the story. A gawking character looks like this:

Gawking: Adam saw the orange glow and the rolling black smoke in the sky from where he stood on the corner of the block. As he jogged down the sidewalk toward it, he felt a cool breeze and smelled burning wood. He ducked under the branch of a tree and saw the burning house. From where he stood, he felt the intense heat and heard the flames roar and pop. Adam stepped forward toward the open front door but felt the searing heat from the sidewalk drive him back.

The bold words show you where the narrator steps between the reader and the action and tells the reader what happens. This detracts from the reader’s experience. A scene must allow the reader to experience the action directly in order to grab him. Would you prefer to watch a friend eat a hot fudge sundae and tell you how sweet it tastes, or would you want to eat it yourself?

A gawking character is also redundant. If the scene is told from the character’s perspective, we already know that he experiences what we read. We don’t need to say the same thing twice. Here is the same sentence without the gawking character:

Direct: Adam glanced up from the corner of Kingwood and Beechurst. The starlit sky glowed orange, and thick smoke rolled across it. He spun on one heel, crunching grit on the sidewalk beneath his shoes, and ran down the street. The cool autumn breeze carried sparks and the smell the burning wood. Adam brushed the branches of a tree out of his face. In front of him, a house burned.

A rushing roar filled Adam’s ears, and a wave of heat lifted the hairs on his tan arms. Shading his blue eyes with his right hand, he squinted against the blinding light. Flames engulfed every inch of the house and licked at the cloudless sky. Pops and crackles from inside the house echoed down the empty street. Adam rushed toward the front porch, but the heat seared his face and drove him back.

This time, the narrator does not water down the scene. We see no “Adam felt,” “Adam saw,” “Adam heard.” Instead, the reader is the one standing on the sidewalk, the one who sees the flames, feels their heat, hears their roar. This kind of direct experience captivates the reader and keeps him interested.

Nonphysical Gawking
A gawking character can also filter internal experiences, such as thoughts or emotions. Again, if the scene is being told from the character’s perspective, we can assume that any thoughts belong to that character (unless he or she can read thoughts or sense emotions).

Gawking: Blood soaked through the fabric, and Preston realized he had plunged the blade into Jack’s side.

This scene is told from Preston’s point of view, so he must be the one realizing something. We don’t need to state the obvious.

Direct: A red stain spread across Jack’s gut, matting the shirt to his skin. The silver blade glinted from where Preston had plunged it in Jack’s side.

The same holds true for emotions:

Gawking: I felt worried, but a breeze made me feel a little better.

This is told in first person point of view, so the narrator must be the one who felt worried. After all, he cannot feel another character’s emotions. So, stating what the narrator felt is redundant.

Direct: My stomach churned, but the crisp air cooled my feverish skin and the nausea settled for the moment.

If you take out the gawking character, the reader can experience every scene directly. Any less cheats him out of the story and, in the end, loses him.

If you need help with this concept, shoot us an email (IFWeditors@gmail.com). We're happy to look at your sample and tell you how to make it better. And, remember, we offer free sample edits. We're here for you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Call for Submissions - Covid-19 Anthology



IN THE MIDST

A COVID-19 ANTHOLOGY
  


NO ENTRY FEE                           SUBMISSIONS NOW OPEN

We are now accepting entries for In the Midst, a Covid-19 Anthology. We’ve all experienced unique situations during this historical event. Some of us have suffered great losses, some have experienced amazing miracles, some have undergone lifestyle changes, but all of us have been changed—forever. This anthology will capture the emotional truth of this time while we’re still in the midst of it. 

Our goal is to include the stories and poems of people from all types of backgrounds from all over the globe. We want to hear about your unique experience—and you may be creative in telling it. We will accept essays, articles, fiction, poems, photographs, and artwork. Pieces will be selected based upon emotional impact, creativity, and uniqueness. Stories of humor and inspiration are encouraged, as are stories of missed special events, coping mechanisms, kindnesses of strangers, and anything else you’ve experienced as a result of Covid-19. Photographs and other artwork that encapsulates the impact of Covid-19 s are accepted. 

We want to provide a family-friendly book that captures this unique time both for those still living through it and for future generations. Submitted material will be edited just enough to provide a professional-quality book; our goal is to retain the author’s voice.

TEACHERS and PARENTS: We'd love to get submissions from students so we can include their perspective. Thanks! 

We will accept: 
Nonfiction up to 1500 words (one supporting artwork allowed)
Fiction up to 1500 words (one supporting artwork allowed)
Poems up to 30 lines (one supporting artwork allowed)
Artwork/Photographs (up to 6 cartoons, photographs, or sketches). All artwork will appear in black and white within the book; artwork selected for covers will be in color. 

NO MORE THAN TWO ENTRIES PER PERSON. EACH ENTRY MUST HAVE ITS OWN ENTRY FORM.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: 
This completed form must accompany the entry. 
All entries must be the original work of the submitter, and the rights to the work cannot have been assigned elsewhere (Entries may be previously published as long as the submitter retains the rights to the piece). 
We require one-time rights only; the copyright for each piece remains with the author.
Submissions accepted between 05/12/20 and 08/15/20
The anthology will be published through KDP and available for sale through Amazon for a reasonable price no later than 12/10/20. 
Entries will be accepted based on creativity, emotional impact, uniqueness, and writing/art quality. 
There is no entry fee. However, we ask that you repost this call for entries through your social media accounts. 
No payments will be made for submissions.
Entries may be edited by Inspiration for Writers, Inc., prior to publication. 
We reserve the right to reject any submission. 
We reserve the right to cancel this call for submissions.
Any conditions that prevent us from fulfilling the rules will result in the cancelation of the publication of the Anthology.
All submissions must be in English. 
ONLY DOC AND DOCX ACCEPTED FOR PROSE; ONLY JPG ACCEPTED FOR ARTWORK. 
Releases must be signed by identifiable people in stories or photographs (one release per person). We strongly recommend changing the names and likenesses of people mentioned.
Entries are accepted by email only. Submission forms and releases must also be attached. 

We will not accept:
Material that is hateful to any religion, race, gender, or other group.
Anything not considered “family friendly.” 
Anything political. 



Click here for the submission form for all submissions: 
IN THE MIDST SUBMISSION FORM
Also click here if you are submitting photographs or artwork: 
RELEASE FORM (ADULTS)


CONTACT INFORMATION:
We will email you when we receive your submission. If you do not hear from us within 48 hours (longer on weekends or holidays), please check your spam folder. 

If your email address changes before the anthology is printed, please email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com and let us know.

QUESTIONS: Email us at IFWeditors@gmail.com



Friday, March 20, 2020

What to Do (When You Can't Do What You Normally Do)



by Sandy Tritt

For some us, these challenging days mean an abrupt change to our routines. We may find ourselves with nothing to do but worry—which is the worst thing we can possibly do. However, when we do something productive or creative with our time, our outlooks brighten. We feel better—and, when we feel better, we stay healthier and happier. Here are a few hints—some old, some new—to help you thrive in these strange times.

·       Learn something new. There’s nothing the soul enjoys more than a new challenge. There are all kinds of you-tube videos out there to help you learn anything. Anything. Here are some suggestions:
o   Learn a foreign language or sign language.
o   Learn to play a musical instrument.
o   Learn a new craft. Learn to sew, cross-stitch or crochet. Take up woodworking or stained-glass making. Make candles or lamps.
o   Learn to play chess, bridge, or poker. 
o   Learn to decorate cakes or tile a bathroom.

·       Do something you intended to do when you had “time.”
o   Make a gourmet meal (or a special dessert).
o   Read those novels you’ve been meaning to read.
o   Play board games (or put a jigsaw puzzle together). Involve the whole family.
o   Help your parents (or someone else) write a memoir.
o   Telephone a friend or family member.

·       Accomplish something.
o   Clean out a closet or a cabinet.
o   Paint or wallpaper an “accent” wall.
o   Old kitchen cabinets? Paint them!
o   Redecorate the living room.
o   Paint. Check out Bob Ross videos.
o   Write your memoir.

·       Adopt healthy habits. (C’mon. You know this drill. But now isn’t the time to get lazy. The better you feel, the better you’ll continue to feel).
o   Eat well. But don’t be afraid to splurge on a little chocolate.
o   Exercise. Fresh air will do you good.
o   Practice meditation, yoga, and/or prayer (this is especially important). There are plenty of you-tube videos to show you how.
o   Sleep. (But not too much. There's much to do).

·       Do something kind for someone you know.  
o   Send a food basket, arrange for grocery delivery, or snail-mail a thinking-of-you card.
o   Frequently check in with your elderly/health-challenged friends, neighbors, and relatives. Make sure they are eating, taking meds, and doing okay. Spend time just talking with them and reassuring them all will be well.
o   Prepare a meal, soup, or dessert for someone. 
o   Write a letter telling someone why you appreciate having them in your life.
o   Enjoy this time spent with family. Make a special effort to be kind to one another. Talk about your fears, but, more importantly, talk about things that make you happy and about your dreams for the future.

·       Do something kind for someone you don’t know.
o   Leave groceries (and toilet paper!) on the shelves for others.
o   Donate books, board games, or jigsaw puzzles.
o   Generously tip those who deliver groceries or food, or who do other things to make your life easier.
o   Give a package of toilet paper (or something else “valuable”) to someone who needs it.
o   Be kind. Everyone is stressed. Everyone needs a smile and a kind word.

·       Do something nice for yourself.
o   Be gentle with yourself.
o   Review your positive qualities.
o   Take a relaxing bath in Epsom salts and lavender oil. Feel your anxieties melt away.
o   Take a nap.
o   Write poetry.
o   Watch a movie.
o   Read inspirational books.
o   FINISH YOUR NOVEL (or hire Inspiration for Writers to finish it for you).
o   Send your novel (or memoir or book) to Inspiration for Writers for an edit.

·       Keep a positive attitude.
o   TURN OFF THE NEWS. When you are doing an activity that doesn’t require thought, keep your mind busy by listening to an audiobook.
o   Make sure you smile several times an hour—whether you feel like it or not. The very act of smiling makes you feel better.
o   Laugh out loud. If you need help, watch your favorite comedy or read a book of jokes or funny stories. Or look in the mirror and make faces at yourself.
o   Whenever negative thoughts threaten to take control, push them away by diverting your attention to happy thoughts or getting busy with an enjoyable activity.
o   Keep a gratitude journal or make a list of the things you’re grateful for. Add to it and review it several times a day. Especially find reasons this situation has brought joy into your life (more family time, spending less money commuting to work, time to try new things, etc.)

Yes, these are trying times. But if you spend this time learning something new, accomplishing something, spending time with family, and being kind, you will have done something important.

Please let us know how you’re coping with the current situation. Give us your suggestions for staying healthy and positive.


Just a reminder: Inspiration for Writers, Inc., is open for business. We already work from home, so we’re here and ready to help you take your writing to the next level. TALK TO US!