The Week’s Tweets on how to dodge subconscious blocks and WRITE THE STORY

pd_headshot WTS=Write the Story!

Write the Story 38: Meet a writing friend to brainstorm solutions to tough writing problems. Coffee helps

WTS 39: Feeling stuck? Read with an eye for for craft–for ex in Maggie Stiefvater’s Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. See http://bit.ly/4WFqwL

WTS #40: Feeling overwhelmed with holiday bustle? Steal a writing hour w/no distractions: turn off phone, Internet, and chatty relatives :-)

WTS #41: Take advantage of holiday get-togethers: listen, ask questions, collect stories, discover insights into character, place, & dialog

WTS #42: Setting New Year writing goals? Consider making them public at Writer’s Digest http://bit.ly/8lDX05

RT @ElizabethSCraig Applying the SMART doctrine to your writing resolutions: http://tinyurl.com/yeby9eo

RT @gretchenrubin A Year In The Pursuit Of Happiness: 7 Surprising Truths About What Makes Us Happy… http://bit.ly/87PfSl

Feeling Stuck? Chris Guillebeau suggests some great strategies for escaping the rut: http://bit.ly/5mKIdz

WTS #43: Stuck on a scene? Who says you have to write them in order? Skip around for inspiration.

A Writer’s Christmas List

photo With Christmas fast approaching, I feel compelled to share my wish list of writerly joys—most of which I already have. Kinda cool, isn’t it?

  1. Words a-plenty with which to play.
  2. Stories large and small to weave.
  3. Beautiful pens, notebooks, notecards, and sticky notes for the physical, sensual side of writing.
  4. A quiet space in which to dream characters, settings, conversations, plot twists.
  5. Fellow writers to share our ups and downs—and, of course, our writing.
  6. Books of every type to instruct, delight, challenge, entertain, and inspire.
  7. A special coffee shop or two, with friendly baristas and exceptional espresso.
  8. Readers who love our writing and get what we’re trying to say.
  9. A furred friend or five to inspire, comfort, or exercise (as needed).
  10. Friends and family who love us despite our writerly quirks and foibles…and help us remember why it is we do what we do.

Merry Christmas, for those of you who celebrate this holiday with me! And for the rest of you, may you have a joyous holiday season and a blessed New Year!

:) Cheryl

PS: Lest you think I have *everything* I desire:

11. An all-expenses paid trip to the San Juan Islands to continue the research for my current book….

Cool Science

Bottlenose Dolphin by CW Ye.We’ve all heard stories of dolphins rescuing people from shipwrecks or shark attacks—but humans aren’t the only one to benefit from dolphins’ altruistic nature. In March, 2008, a dolphin named Moko helped save the lives of a pygmy sperm whale mother and calf when they stranded on a New Zealand beach.

Humans tried repeatedly to refloat the mother and calf, but the pair kept re-stranding themselves on a large sandbar just offshore. With each try, the whales became more agitated and more disoriented. Would-be rescuers feared that they wouldn’t be able to find their way past the sand bar to the open sea.

Enter the dolphin: Moko shoved her way between humans and whales to guide the whales to safety.

All the coolest tales are true, don’t you think?

:) Cheryl

*Thanks to CW Ye at Flickr Commons for the dolphin photo!

The Connection between Good Looks and Self Esteem

brushes_creativecommons Ever wonder why we spend so much time and money on looking good? Maybe this is obvious to most of you, but I’m the kind of gal who questions the seeming contradictions between my beliefs and actions. For instance, in theory I’d rather spend my money on things of lasting importance (supporting a child through Compassion International, for instance, or (more selfishly) supporting my writing habit) than on short-term pleasures. So…why do I spend money on a haircut when my husband can cut a reasonably straight line across the bottom of my hair for free? Why do I buy a cute shade of nail polish or lip gloss?

One simple answer is that it feels good to make myself look pretty. Okay. That makes sense, but why? I mean, the definition of “pretty” seems to change with the seasons. I stopped reading the makeup section of Real Simple magazine for a while, because I realized that upon reading an issue, I’d discover that I “needed” some new product or eye glitter. Geez, was I really that shallow? What’s the big deal with looking good?

A study in the December 2009 issue of Personal Relationships (yes, there is a scholarly journal devoted to personal relationships; who knew?) sheds some light on the issue of why people like to look attractive. In it, researchers from the University of Georgia and the University of Kansas report that “attractive people do tend to have more social relationships and therefore an increased sense of psychological well-being.”

But there’s a caveat: this is only true in urban areas. In rural communities, where people have fewer choices in their social relationships, physical appearance loses some importance.

In my ideal world, physical appearance wouldn’t play a role in how others judge me; but in the real world, it’s important to recognize that yes, appearance impacts how others view me. This study also reminds me to be careful as I look at others, though, because the societal norm is apparently to pick the pretty face when given a choice. I’d like to help change that.

:) Cheryl

Photo is the work of annie316 at Flickr Creative Commons