Tag Archives: productivity

Finding Your Flower in the Cracks (Productivity Tips)

Greetings from San Diego where it is a crisp 35 degrees Fahrenheit right now. (I’m eyeballing the fireplace and seriously debating….)

As I think warm thoughts and wiggle the ice caps from my morning toes, I’d like to share with you my favorite tips for writing/productivity/pick me ups when you are down. There are hundreds of things I could include in this post that serve this purpose, and I’d be willing to bet you have just as many, because each of us are so unique and therefore what we find inspiration and hope and magic from is equally so. This is perhaps the best, most important arsenal to have and one you want to be diverse and plentiful. I was going to say that I hope these things that lift you up happen to cross into your path when you need them. While I do hope the universe serves you in that way, I’d like to acknowledge and respect the importance that we have of honoring ourselves, and doing for ourselves. So what I’d really like to say is: Don’t wait for your pick me ups to cross your paths. Go put yourself in the path of your pick me ups. Seek them out, find them and spend purposeful time with them. Whatever they may be. Wherever they may be. These are a few of mine…

Animals, bright flowers, sweet flowers, smiles, trees, Orion, curly hair, lipstick.

Gandhi. Drew Barrymore. The Dalai Lama. Logic. Jim Henson. Dolly Parton. Jesus.

It was a simple flower growing up through a crack like the one above that inspired my first published book, Sidewalk Flower. I had gone for a walk, something one of my favorite authors suggested doing when faced with stilled creativity (she didn’t want to use the word writer’s block). And there it was. A little yellow burst at my feet. “What a fighter.” “How many times have you been stepped on?” These were the immediate things that popped into my head in that moment. “You are beautiful.” My “Sidewalk Flower” ended up being a woman who although fictional, in many ways became one of my real life heroes. Her name is Trista Jean Hart. I am honored to be her author. You can find her story HERE.

I’d like to leave you with this quote…

I’d love to be inspired by some of your pick me ups, so please share in the comments. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

Fishy kisses,

Mermaid Carlene


Always give credit where credit is due… 

Flower photo: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_ipopba’>ipopba / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Elephant photo: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_melpomen’>melpomen / 123RF Stock Photo</a>



Deadlines can be disastrous.  August 2 for Congress.  September 1 for School.  December 25 for Naughty or Nice!  No matter what project is at hand, any deadline can be gracefully accomplished, or utter disaster.

I wish this post could be about the Great Debt Ceiling Feud of 2011.  I have plenty to say about that little shootin’ match going on in Washington this week.  But that’s for other blogs.  No, my own personal deadline has been on my mind lately.  You see, I promised myself that I would finish my book this summer.  And I’ve cobbled together all the bits I’ve written on my current WIP into a “master file” document.  It currently stands at 42,000 really messy words.  Am I pleased?  No!

I’m terrified.  And my writing has slowed even more than usual (and I’m not a high-output writer in the first place).  My personal deadline when school let out was to have a 90,000 word rough draft by September 1.  Realization: ain’t gonna happen.  Maybe I should run for Congress!  Wait, I’ve already said that’s a topic for other blogs..  So, I have to accept where I am (not good at that) and reframe my ambition (definitely not good at that!) or abandon the effort altogether (never).

But, as I fussed about this last night, I commented – “I remember when I first started writing full time, I started the day by ‘going to work.’  I wrote from nine until twelve every day.  Then I had lunch, and the afternoon was for the home-improvement projects in the house.”  And that realization, that long-buried memory, was very freeing. I’d had the discipline to write, and I’d been successful at completing a book and seeing it in print.

So today is calmer.  Once I post this, I’ll set a time limit for how long I’ll be at the keyboard today, working on my book.  Once that’s over, I won’t go back.  I won’t dwell.  I’ll certainly think about my writing.  I might scribble some notes.  But I will NOT obsess about that deadline.  It’s history.  I’m not going to make myself sick over it.

So – do you obsess over deadlines?  How do you handle the stress of these demons?  Avoid?  Negotiate?  Reframe?  Or embrace?

And remember:  Christmas is just 5 months away.  Start those shopping lists now!  Every minute counts.