Lyrical Empowerment

lyric1Once, I went through a colossal break-up. It was shocking, and awful, and I’d been dumped. I told my friends I wanted to make a CD for myself of strong women singing empowering songs. I added some songs, they suggested some songs.

There was a lot of range in those songs, from Aretha Franklin to Pat Benetar to Avril Lavigne. They were perfect, because I knew he’d be sorry one day and I knew I would only move forward, even if it did feel like someone was literally ripping my insides apart with a butcher knife and a cheese grater.

Then a friend of mine pointed out that I wasn’t collecting strong women songs; I was collecting angry strong women singing empowering songs. It was true, but I was okay with that.

I’ve decided that I can’t make all of you CDs, because that’s illegal, but I can make a Pandora station. If you’ve ever had your heart broken and know you deserved better, I hope you enjoy it. Or, you know, if you feel like listening to some angry strong people (because Pandora is difficult and won’t let me use gender as a qualifier) singing empowering songs, you might enjoy it as well.

Click to listen on Pandora

*You’ll need a free account

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Seinfield, Chains, & Writing

SeinfieldbgI’ve been trying a new technique to increase my writing output with quite a bit of success. Let me clarify, I measure success by working on writing in some way, every day. That’s been my goal. (I wrote last year about how important it was to set goals and then create a plan to achieve those goals, a road map of sorts.) I have finally found a very simple method that works for me.

I first heard about this technique on the website lifehacker.com. Basically, the site covers everything from how to put an altoid tin to use when you’re finished to how to land your dream job (in case you’re one of the five people who hasn’t heard of it). I’m an organization junkie and I’m in love with efficiency. I’m always searching for ways to accomplish more in more efficient ways.

This bit of advice hit my radar last year sometime.

[Seinfield] told me to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker.

He said for each day that I do my task of writing, I get to put a big red X over that day. “After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job next is to not break the chain.”

“Don’t break the chain,” he said again for emphasis.

I noted it, did a little nod that it was likely good advice, and promptly filed it away. Fast forward a few months to me being utterly disgusted that I could not find a writing schedule that worked for me. I’d write for a day or two, slack off for a week, and start over.

I finally decided to buy a calendar and try this technique. I can tell you that making those chains is more addicting than candy crush. Or chocolate. Or Downton Abbey. Whatever you find irresistible, you will also find yourself compelled to add another link to your chain. There were those days, and we’ve all had them, that writing anything seemed so huge that the only reason I opened my laptop to do it was to create another link in my chain. And I got good, solid work done because of it. I started seeing real progress.

If you’re struggling, I suggest you give it a try. I also (again) recommend Jamie Raintree‘s writing progress spreadsheet to help you keep up with your work on various projects.

Do you have any other tips that might helps all of us get butt in chair?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

I’m an office supply predator

20140905085424_kindlephoto-16632292Back to school sales

I am such a sucker for back-to-school sales. I mean, I know, all writers are. We can stock up on pens, and highlighters, and post-it notes. Same here. But, I enjoy them in a gleeful, cackling like a witch as I examine every bin, sort of way.

Story Notebooks

I always buy a five-star five-subject notebook every year to be my story notebook. Believe me, it gets used until the papers are creased and crinkly. Then I file it away, once the story is done “just in case.” Just in case has never happened. I’m not even sure what just in case is.

Sticky notes here, there, and everywhere

I buy post-its. But I don’t buy a pack of post-its (although I did recently acquire one of the Colors of the World collection; I chose Rio de Janeiro). I go through the bins, picking up and tossing pads (either into my ever-filling cart or back, like a fish that’s too small to eat). I’m a predator of office supplies.

One word: pens

I don’t think I am exxagerating when I tell you that I could never buy another pen and I would still have leftover pens when I die. Now, let’s all laugh at the idea of me not buying pens. I’m an addict.

In fact, I wanted to share a picture with you that I shared on my blog.

wpid-2014-04-15_11_21_55The box is to hold the little minutiae that I may need at any given time, that I need regularly enough that I don’t want to search for it when I need it.

These are the office supplies I pulled out. Four highlighters, two Sharpies, a pair of scissors, a pad of blue Post-Its, three pencils, and approximately seventeen pens. Let’s not forget, these are not all my office supplies. This isn’t from my desk, which holds more, or the kitchen, where I keep pens, Post-Its, Sharpies, and scissors for mailing, labeling, etc. This is from one container in one room of my house.

Those aren’t even a sliver of my supply.

Office Organization

I may need to start searching pinterest for office supply organization. In fact, I’ll leave you with this: how big is your stash and do you have a specific organization scheme?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Forty

My birthday is this month and forty is just around the corner. I’m not sure I can easily describe what this summer has, already, been about for me. I’ll try: one lost (and found!) pet, poison ivy, am I middle-aged, two-thirds of my children are adults, and discovering the farmer’s market.

I’m feeling pretty aged this summer so I thought I’d make a list of the top five perks to being over forty:

  1. We’re layered. Much like Shrek, at this point, we’ve accomplished things, failed at others, been irresponsible, been so, so freaking responsible, and pretty much watched the age of computers and video games evolve from infancy. Not to mention music videos and the first Real World. (“This is a story about seven strangers..”.). We know things and we’re still young enough to impress with this knowledge.
  2. There was no such thing as social media when we were in high school and college. I breathe a sigh of relief nearly daily for that.
  3. We observe first. As mentioned earlier, we’ve seen so much come and go and come back again, we don’t jump in without checking the water first. It’s a wisdom thing.
  4. imagesWisdom. We haz it.
  5. We’re still fabulous. I think we’re likely the generation who will not go quietly to elderhood. We’ll dye our hair, drink a sangria, and tell you about that great book we just finished. And you will listen. Because it’s rude to interrupt your elders.

I hope your summer has been full of awesome and, more importantly, you’ve read some great books!

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

Seven Reasons Valentine’s Day is Evil

I’m home with a stomach virus tonight, so my bitterness is your gain.valevil

1. It lets men off the hook 363 days of the year to NOT be romantic.

The other day is your anniversary…if you’re lucky. Why would anyone only want to be treated like a special lady-friend once a year? I mean, men get Super Bowl Sunday. They get to blow things up on Independence Day. And, St. Patrick’s Day? All that green beer makes it clearly a male holiday. And also any other day of the year, when they get lucky for no reason whatsoever except maybe they’re cute in those boxers.

2. It’s a holiday designed specifically to make single people feel like losers.

I’ve been married eighteen years, but every Valentine’s Day prior to meeting my husband? Alone. It’s horrific. All the coupled people, mooning over one another, holding hands, kissing face, and you’re just standing there, wishing that you were lovable. That kind of self-esteem crushing shouldn’t even be legal.

3. Sampler boxes of candy.

Who told men this was a good idea? I have a favorite. You should know it. What am I supposed to do with all the chocolates I bite into, hate, and put back? Donate them to charity?

4. Stuffed animals for grown women who would prefer books.

I have three daughters. Stuffed animals are the space-hogging bane of my existence. If you bring me one, what’s a polite amount of time to wait before I chuck it into the garbage?

5. Seven hundred people, all trying to get into the same restaurant, at the same time.

I live in the country, so there’s like three nice restaurants, and everyone in three counties has to take their sweetie there. I imagine that in cities, while they have more restaurants, more people equals the exact same problem. Can’t we just go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and call it a day?

6. Everyone at work is comparing their flowers to yours. And you just lost in the relationship wars.

I have forbidden my husband to spend $200 on flowers that will cost $50 in a week. But, I’ve seen this go on. The delivery guys come all day. They bring bigger and more elaborate arrangements. You can practically see the women counting the blooms, measuring the height, and then smiling triumphantly. Go, you. Good luck paying your car payment this month.

7. The build up to “the most romantic day of the year” pretty much assures you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve never met a telepathic man. Between dinner, sweets, jewelry, flowers, romantic song choices for later in the evening, or that non-traditional gift you’d rather have, it will not live up to the expectations a thousand commercials have created in your head.

In all fairness to my own husband, I don’t really (obviously) buy into V-Day. He buys my girls something special, which is sweeter to me than a diamond ring ever could be. Still, on February 14th, I’ll just be over in the corner, conscientiously objecting.

Do you love Valentine’s Day or wish is it would fade into obscurity, like (real holidays, seriously) Toothache Day and World Egg Day?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

A Seasonal Effect

fall

September was always my favorite time of year. School always started on the 1st. There would be new clothes, new books at school, new pens. New teachers and new friends. Crisp autumn mornings and flaming leaves ushered it all in.

Fall meant change for me and always has. Even after I graduated from college, I would still sniff the change in the air one morning and feel hopeful suddenly. It’s become a time to begin new projects (most of which I never finish)–new blankets to crochet, new story ideas, even a new wardrobe makeover. Even though the leaves turn and float to the ground, I can’t see it as an ending, thought it’s often referred to that way metaphorically. For example, I’m nearly 40–does that mean I’m in the Autumn of my life?

Actually, that’s totally okay. I do want a new beginning. I do want to begin developing new habits. I want to eat healthier, I want to live happier, I want to see life more clearly. Maybe it means we can look at our lives and just let ourselves explode with color, begin the work that will bear fruit in the future.

What seasons affect you the most? I can’t be the only one who takes a cue from their environment. Does summer make you vow to enjoy life more? Does spring make you hopeful? Does winter make you sentimental?

Don’t forget, every comment is entered to win a $10 Amazon gift card from Julie!

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Come for the snark. Stay for the story.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

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