CREATIVE

8 Simple Steps to Get Creative

What’s the Secret to Being Creative?

For some people, getting the creative juices to flow is easy. For others, just thinking the words “I must be creative” stops all color, all ideas, all flow.

If you’re like me, and you find yourself in this category at times, don’t despair. There are solutions.

Creative Energy is Elusive.

A creative spark can appear and disappear just as quickly. The secret to staying productive as any kind of artist is to discover how to switch that light on and off at your will.

A Creative Muse Can Help.

A creative muse can be found in everything. It lives in a sunset, in a star, in a bird’s chirp, and in the melody of a beautiful song. The greatest part about this is that every creative person has access to this inner muse.

The trick to finding yours is tapping into your senses and letting them fly freely. Once you set your senses free, you enter a zone where you can create a world that touches and inspires others.

So how do you tap into your creative inner muse?

CREATIVE

You have to clear your mind and here’s how. 
I challenge you to experiment with the following actions to see which one most effectively gets you into that creative zone.

1. Sit quietly and listen to music.

2. Create a collage of colors, shapes, and words. Then, stare at it through unfocused eyes.

3. Free write for ten minutes. Set a timer and write without any regard for grammar, spelling or logic. Just write whatever pops into your mind and don’t stop to analyze or think.

4. Get up and move for ten minutes. Break out into a light jog, brisk walk, jumping jacks, whatever you can safely perform.

5. Read quotes.

6. Meditate or pray.

7. Go out into nature. Sit on a park bench. Stare up at a tree. Admire a flower.

8. Play with color. Get a paint brush and splash paint on a canvas or color on paper with a crayon.

Okay so there you have it, eight solutions that can help free your mind so you can find your inner muse and get those creative juices flowing.

Try them and please share your feelings on this little challenge. Did it work? Are you feeling more creative?

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

 

comfort zone

Get Out of The Comfort Zone

As a novelist, I’m always interested to learn what motivates people to go beyond their comfort zone to that place where real growth happens. When creating characters, I enjoy learning lessons through them. What makes them act the way they do? Why do they care so deeply for certain things? How did they become so cynical, so happy or so fearful?

A Comfort Zone Can Steal the Magic

comfort zone

kikadoo. com

We’re all driven by different things. Our past experiences shape the way we view the world and the way we interact with others. We all come equipped with driving forces that dig deep and push us towards or pull us away from defining moments. Getting stuck in a comfort zone robs us of defining moments.

How do I get out of my comfort zone?

I’m driven by the word CAN’T. When someone tells me I can’t do something, I do it double-time. The catalyst for this motivation to jump out of the comfort zone digs deep.

When I was in kindergarten and sitting in a circle for story time, a girl bullied me. Each time I’d raise my hand to answer a question, she’d hit me. After several grueling rounds of this, I stopped raising my hand and eventually lost all confidence to speak to anyone but my best friend, Todd, and my immediate family members. For two years, I spoke only to them. Talk about getting stuck in a ‘comfort zone’ that was anything but comfortable!

Bribed with adventures and treats that would make any well-adjusted child leap for joy, I turned my back on any hope of being a ‘normal’ kid. Then one day, my best friend begged me to speak to his mother because that was the only way I could go to his baseball game. For three hours, I stood next to his mom as she watched soap operas and waited patiently for me to whisper something, anything, in her ear.

Todd begged and cried for me to brave up and say something. By the end of the third hour, my best friend knelt down exhausted and said to me, “I knew you couldn’t do it.” This little action switched something in me so powerful that I managed to whisper ‘yes’ into his mom’s ear.

I haven’t been able to stop talking since.

Fast forward to high school English class. To graduate, I needed to present my book report to the class. I refused, deathly afraid of public speaking. My English teacher allowed me to present it to him after school.

When I finished, he told me, “You won’t succeed in a professional setting, so get used to working harder instead of smarter. That little insult sparked an inferno inside of me, and I marched off to college shortly after and majored in public speaking, and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Whenever someone tells me I can’t accomplish something, I accomplish the S*#T out of it!

That is my fuel. What’s yours? What gets you out of your comfort zone?

Wishing you all the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Are you an aspiring writer? Check out my free Writer’s Insights Video Series on tips to help get you started. Hopefully it’ll help you get out of your comfort zone!

Staying True – A Contemporary Romance Novel

lesbian romance novels staying true

Novel number 7, Staying True, is here!

I am so happy to announce that my next novel, Staying True, is now available in print and kindle.

Staying True was a fascinating novel to write because it combined romance, friendship, and many life lessons in its story line. These characters are some of my favorites. Here’s why:

Ruby: her free-spirited ways are refreshing and ultra sexy. She’s someone with whom I wish I could hang out. What an adventure she’d create for sure. And I can’t fail to mention, she’s a masseuse:)

Nadia: her flaws make her so real. She’s someone I could confess my inner most secrets to and never worry she’d judge me on them.

Shawna: oh where to start with her…? I admire this strong, no-nonsense woman. Shawna is a transgender woman who would jump in front of a speeding train to save a friend’s life. Her honesty, courage, and knack for witty redirection make me wish I could have a friend like her in my life.

Grampa: I molded this genuine character right from my greatest role model, my own grampa. His story may be fictitious, but his personality is spot on to the lively, youthful spirit of my sweet grandfather. In this story, Grampa has made mistakes throughout his life, and has seen his fair share of tragedy and disappointments, and yet he still jokes around and is able to share lessons that can change a person in a blink.

Here’s a quick synopsis of Staying True-

Free-spirited masseuse Ruby Clark treasures her independence, refusing to allow anyone to encroach on her sense of control. She succeeds at remaining unaffected until she meets Nadia Chase, a self-assured, sexy new client who sets Ruby’s heart in motion.

The two develop a connection that drips with chemistry. As Ruby struggles to maintain her autonomy amidst the fervent attraction, Nadia reveals a secret that threatens to derail both their professional relationship and their blossoming love.

Seeking guidance and support from Shawna, their transgender friend who struggles with her own issues of self-worth, and Ruby’s grampa, a wise storyteller who raised Ruby in the aftermath of a childhood tragedy, the unlikely foursome embarks on a quest to learn the meaning of love, letting go, and staying true.

Have you had a chance to read Staying True yet?

If so, who is your favorite character and why? What do you feel is the central theme to Staying True?

Wishing you the very best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

 

 

Forgive

The Power to Forgive

When we forgive someone, we free ourselves. The weight of the world magically falls off of our shoulders. It’s so challenging to do though, isn’t it?

I once held a grudge against someone for three months over something hurtful she said to me. I carried that grudge around like it was my suit of armor. It justified my bitterness. I’d go to sleep at night and allow this grudge to take up refuge in my dreams. I’d wake in the morning and further allow it to accompany me through the day and diminish my spirit. To sum up this span of time – I wasted three good months of my life.

Forgive

To forgive someone is hard.

At that moment of giving in to forgive someone, you feel like you’re selling out. So, you hold tight to your ideals for the sake of standing your ground and you wait for that moment when vindication seeps in and makes you feel good again.

To forgive someone takes time.

I waited three months for this person to apologize for her hurtful words. The apology never arrived. Instead, I was left with nothing more than a dreaded feeling that I had lost a battle and she had won. To forgive her was out of the question.

Then one day I was having lunch with a good friend of mine, complaining about how much worse I felt towards this person still after three long months. My friend placed her fork down, then reached out for my fork and placed mine down, too. She grabbed hold of my hands, stared me straight in the eye and begged me to let go. “Be the better person and forgive her.”

When we forgive, we let go.

The pressure of my three-month burden suddenly suffocated me. I wanted to let go and forgive her.

The weight of carrying around this anger for so long had created such an imbalance, such a burden, such an emotional drain on my soul that suddenly I needed to shed it. I wanted to sleep a full night again. I wanted to wake up feeling light and happy. I wanted my peace back.

The path to forgive is right in front of us.

I spent one whole week writing and rewriting an email to this person trying to find the right words to describe the pain she had caused me, and how I wanted to just move on and forget everything. These drafts grew to the size of a chapter, stretching out for thousands of words. A novel was in full bloom! Every new draft seemed to negate the very thing I was trying to do. I was telling her how wrong she was and how I was going to be the one to set it right. She’d never read this and think, yeah, let’s hug now and be best of friends again.

So, a week later, thousands of words into it, I decided on this instead: “I miss you and I love you.”

I hit send and the weight of the world fell from my shoulders.

I learned that sometimes the best way to show your strength is to be humble with it and allow it to come in as a gentle breeze.

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. I’d love to hear from you. Have you struggled to forgive someone too?

 

no excuses

If You Want to Thrive Have No Excuses

There are no excuses why we can’t achieve great things in this lifetime.

We are equipped with everything we need to be successful. So why do so many of us stop short of achieving our dreams?

No Excuses to Back Down, You Say? Hmm…

We’ve all been there – to that moment in time when we just want to stop all action on a goal because all the odds are stacked up against us in achieving it. We’ve been told there should be no excuses, yet everywhere we turn we see this gigantic, scary obstacle blocking us, warning us to just turn around and go the other way.

No Excuses Still?

I’ll be honest, I get that urge to quit halfway through projects every time I write a novel or paint a picture. Yup. Every single time.

I’ll try to explain this with an example of what happens when I set out to do an oil painting. I sketch. I add my shadows. I paint my colorful mid-tones. Then I step back and that’s when the derailment occurs. The shadows aren’t quite right and the objects aren’t exactly up to par. I decide the only way to fix the mess is to start over.

No Excuses? Say What?

I toss my brushes into my wash bin, rip off my gloves and give up on it for days. The lure of fixing it creeps into my mind. I start to think, hmm, maybe there are no excuses

So, I waltz back into my studio, reexamine, maybe brush on a stroke or two of a highlight, step back and nod in approval. I say to myself, “Okay, maybe one more dab.” One more dab turns into twenty and my heart starts to charge again. “I might just be able to save this painting after all.”

no excuses

Cottage scene I painted for my mom. I was ready to toss it when I couldn’t get the reflection the way I wanted. Then, I decided not to give up.

On go the gloves and the soulful music as I dive heart first into the zone. The result – well, I’ve yet to paint over a canvas and start over again.

At that moment when you think of giving up, remember your greatest breakthrough could be in that next brushstroke, that next chapter you write, that next mile you run.

You’re right there. Don’t give up! Think, No Excuses!

Have you experienced a breakthrough like this after almost giving up? If so, comment here. I’d love to hear about it. Do you believe like me, that there are no excuses to achieving those things that make our hearts sing?

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr
novelist

vision board

Succeed with a Vision Board

A vision board is a visual representation

It’s a visual representation of things and circumstances we want to attract. I look at vision boards as a playground for my dreams. I have one hanging in my dining room so I can’t miss it. Mine consists of a white dry erase board filled with inspiring quotes, messages of gratitude, as well as the all important goals laid out on colorful paper. I pass by my vision board often, and I make a point to stop and reflect on it at least once a day. If I see my dreams and all that I have to be grateful for so far, then I am more apt to take action.

A vision board acts as a system

I’m all about systems. Although, I’d classify myself as a creative person, I’m tactical in my approach. Without a system, I’d be spinning in circles with an out-of-control mind racing from one thing to another. A vision board helps me to achieve my dreams in a logical, practical fun way.

A vision board is a road map

I would not be able to succeed at running a publishing company, maintaining an active blog, writing lesbian romance novels, holding down a full-time marketing job, and enjoying quiet moments with my family if I didn’t have some sort of road map to help me sort out the steps. When laid out in front of me, the necessary action steps become apparent. I  know that to get from point A to point B on my road map, I need to do XYZ.

vision boardI’m a visual person. I need to see things clearly to understand them, to absorb them, to act on them. Many things are tossed into my path on a daily basis. Without the help of my vision board, these things could easily swallow me up whole and block me from enjoying a fine balance while achieving my dreams.

I’d love to hear from you… Do you use a vision board?

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

 


opportunity

Opportunity Is Everywhere

Opportunity exists all around us.

To see opportunity, we must open our eyes and trust our instincts.

I once had an opportunity handed to me on a silver platter. I lived in Rhode Island and worked as a hair stylist at an elite salon and spa. Then one day, a good friend walked in and told me her daughter’s stylist suddenly passed away at the age of forty and left a hair salon behind. Her spouse wanted to offer it to someone worthy in the hopes of honoring his wife’s hard work. That salon was offered to me. I passed it up. You know why? I was afraid I’d fail and never live up to the success of my current job. Well, guess what happened? Not more than six months later, I lost my great job because the elite salon and spa was sold. If I had taken the gift, I wouldn’t have been left vulnerable and jobless. I let fear rule and it won.

opportunityA missed opportunity can lead to regret.

I regretted not taking advantage of that gift. It would have offered me a great investment opportunity as I pursued my writing career. I let fear get in my way. I think many of us do that. Ten years wiser, if someone offered to hand me a fully-functioning salon, I’d certainly stomp on any fears in a heartbeat;)

Luck has little to do with gained success from an opportunity.

When opportunity knocks, we must be prepared for it. Many people refer to those who seem to have it all as lucky. Those who seem to have it all are not lucky. They are prepared. They’ve chosen to prep for those moments when opportunities filter into their lives. I’ve had several people say to me, “You are so lucky to have your lesbian novels out there and being read my so many.” I disagree completely. My lesbian romance novels are out there and being read not because I’m lucky, but because I’ve worked hard to prepare myself and my novels for this opportunity.

I challenge you to look beyond the idea of luck as the reason for success. Rely on your natural gifts and do the work to refine them, and you’ll surely experience all the success you’ve ever dreamed possible.

Here’s my question to you: What actions do you consistently take to prepare yourself for opportunity?

Wishing you all the best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

overcome procrastination

3 Steps to Overcome Procrastination

How do you overcome procrastination?

I get asked this question often. All of us have stared down the road of procrastination. Usually we procrastinate because we either don’t want to do an unpleasant task or we fear it. Whatever the reason, procrastination never ends with us feeling great. So, how can we overcome it?

overcome procrastinationOvercome Procrastination With Baby Steps

Sometimes that mountain just seems way too tall to climb, doesn’t it? How great would it feel to just shift to something else for a while and let the climb wait until you’re ‘feeling it’ more?

Yep, been there, done that avoidance plan and it’s never turned out great for me.

Here’s a better solution to overcome procrastination: Work in small doses. Set a timer for ten minutes and do as much as you can in those ten minutes. Guaranteed, you’ll run over the ten minutes and not even realize it. Soon, you’ll be standing on top of that mountain looking down with pride whispering ‘that’s how you overcome procrastination!’

Overcome Procrastination by Starting Something Today

Let’s face it – who really enjoys cleaning toilets, scrubbing floors, and folding clothes more than enjoying a game on TV, reading a book, or hanging with a friend? We all have these annoying things that must be done. The more we procrastinate doing them, the more they pile up and create more work.

A trick to get through it: Set up a schedule for such necessary, mundane tasks and just do the work that needs to be done. The famous phrase that answers how to overcome procrastination comes to mind, ‘Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.’

Overcome Procrastination by Pacing Yourself

I’ve been that silly runner who has entered into 5K and 10K road races at a pace much too fast for my own good only to end up at the first mile marker defeated in a heap of cramps and panting like a buffoon. Proper planning prevents poor performance. This is the case in road races and in most all facets of life. Pacing sets us up for success.

Here’s how to pace to overcome procrastination:

When faced with a large looming project, instead of suffering needless anxiety and retreating from it, set up goals that are paced realistically. Be consistent with pacing and follow through. Before long, the task is complete and you’re free to enjoy the next challenge.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Here’s a question… please chime in with your comments and answers: In what ways have you been able to overcome procrastination?

freedom and love

The Magic Formula: Freedom and Love

Freedom and Love go hand in hand.

When we allow those we love to take up flight without limits, we are setting the backdrop for peace, for fulfillment, for our happiest days. To love someone is to become a part of the success, a part of the joy, a part of the magic. When two people are in love and offer freedom to grow, to soar, to live honestly, that love knows no boundaries and will harness the power to outshine anything that threatens to dampen it.

freedom and loveFreedom and Love Offers the Space to Soar

For a bird to fly, we can’t clip her wings or limit her takeoff, or decrease her flight space. The same is true in our relationships. We can’t expect our partner to stay grounded or fly only in our air space if we want him/her to truly live the best life and be fulfilled in our love. We all crave to feel the wind beneath our proverbial wings. None of us would be happy if that wind disappeared and was replaced by someone’s stale, confining presence. Love is not being afraid to let go and enjoy the spectacular rush of watching your partner soar to new heights. By offering freedom and love, partners will always tend to circle back for more of each other’s breath.

Freedom and Love Focuses on Inclusion

To love someone is to crave to be a part of his/her life. Through the journey of love’s stages, we discover parts of this person we adore and parts that scare us – scare us perhaps because we see growth and interests that threaten our future together. Instead of fearing our partner’s goals, dreams and desires and directing away from them, direct towards them. Become a part of the dream, the accomplishments by offering freedom and love and support instead of trying to change the very thing that makes our partner so special.

Freedom and Love Operates on the Goal of Being Happy

In love, partners should feel safe, happy, and fulfilled. For this to occur, we need to understand what makes our partners who they are. We all have needs that, when fulfilled, keep us smiling and at our best. For some, they enjoy time with friends, time exercising, time painting, time writing, or time walking alone in nature. When we know what makes our partner’s heart beat at just the right pace, keep it going. A happy partner is more apt to love with even more passion, more understanding, and more breadth.

Wishing you the best,

Suzie Carr, Novelist

P.S. Let’s keep the conversation going on this topic… Do you feel freedom and love is a realistic concept or not?

setting priorities

How to Set Priorities

To set priorities is crucial, especially if you want to move forward.

Without a plan, it’s easy to get wrapped up in things that don’t really matter or things that aren’t helping you to grow. For me, health is my number one priority. Setting priorities around health helps to keep me focused on it. I align goals to help me achieve optimal health such as exercise, nutrition and trying my best to maintain a well-balanced life.

Setting Priorities Keeps Me in Check.

setting priorities

Health is my #1 Priority

For instance – to keep in line with this priority, I set a goal to exercise five times a week at a minimum. Today was one of my workout days and I didn’t want to work out. I almost gave in to the temptation of not working out, which is an easy thing to do when I’m tired, cranky, and it’s not quite four in the morning (yup – I’m crazy, I know!) Anyway, I thought of my priority and decided right then and there that I would not give up on it. In setting priorities around health, I made a pact with myself to stick to exercise.

So, I did my workout. I was lazy at first, but then, I triumphed! My energy level raised considerably and I not only got through the workout, but I blasted through it. Now, as I set out to start my day, I am energized and feeling accomplished.

Biggest benefit to setting priorities…

When you feel like giving in… a priority can set you back on the right path. I SO easily could’ve caved and tossed myself in front of the television this morning. I came VERY close to doing that. I need reminders. They keep me going. Without them, it’s so easy to wander around aimlessly. I don’t want to waste my time walking with no sense of direction. I LOVE having a plan. I LOVE accomplishing goals towards that plan. I hope you do, too.

Wishing you the very best,
Suzie Carr, novelist

P.S. Your turn to share! I want to hear from you. Is setting priorities something you do, and does it keep you on track?