Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 21, 2015

Daphne du Maurier

“Women want love to be a novel. Men, a short story.”
~Daphne du Maurier

By автор неизвестен/author unknown [Copyrighted free use], via Wikimedia Commons

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 20, 2015

vase of daffodils

“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day – like writing a poem or saying a prayer.”
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

photo credit: cyclamineus daffodil (Narcissus cyclamineus), 3 via photopin (license)

Organizing Projects with Trello

corkboardAfter finally finishing All Plants Are Edible Once, I’m ready to take on some new projects. After scouring the blogs for productivity tips, I’ve settled upon Trello as my go-to site for organizing projects.

What Makes Trello Great

Trello’s strengths are its simplicity and flexibility. The setup works like a corkboard. Writers will appreciate this familiar interface. You can create a separate board for each project for at-a-glance organization.

Then, it’s time to work with your blank canvas. For organizing projects, I like to begin with a general goal checklist. You create these individual bits as cards. You can add text, checklists, images, and more to complete your thought. I like the initial checklist to envision the big picture.

Organizing Projects

For each item on my general checklist, I create another card that delves into the task and breaks it down into doable pieces. A great new feature of Trello is the ability to date these items. You can view a calendar of your upcoming tasks. (As of this writing, it works on the website only, not the mobile apps yet.)

To get the most out of it, you need to spend the time creating your boards and cards. The time you spend here is worth your efforts. The next thing you need is to make it a habit.

I work a Monday through Friday work week like most folks. Part of my daily routine includes several websites that I visit during the week. I organize them through the Fox add-on, Morning Coffee. Trello is one of the sites I visit daily. I like the daily check-in to remind myself of important tasks.

I have several irons in the fire, as it were. I’m working on another mystery to follow up with Murder to Order. I’m also planning another 101 book as well as a more cerebral work based on some of the posts from this blog. What can I say? I love to write.

For a writer, organizing projects and your workload is vital. As the saying goes, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. With Trello, you at least have a road map.


photo credit: On the Head of a… Tack? (100/365) via photopin (license)

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 19


“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
~Ernest Hemingway

photo credit: Water in a dry place via photopin (license)

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 18

writing well

“Writing well mean never having to say, ‘I guess you had to be there.'”
~Jef Mallett

photo credit: De-inking IV via photopin (license)

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 17

super dictionary

“Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say ‘infinitely’ when you mean ‘very'; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”
~C. S. Lewis

photo credit: The Super Dictionary via photopin (license)


After months of hard work, I am ecstatic to announce that my next book, All Plants Are Edible Once, is now available. This book details some of the folklore and historical uses for common wild plants. I delve into the stories about the plants, telling both the good, bad, and yes, politically incorrect tales surrounding them.

My Inspiration

The plants themselves are my inspiration. Throughout my career in conservation, I’ve studied wild plants. Telling their stories was an integral part of the nature tours I led with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and later the US Forest Service.

You look at things  differently when you know the back story. Take creeping Charlie, for example. It is the bane of my husband’s existence. He loathes it because it has a stronghold in our lawn. The stories tell a different tale.

Did you know that it was used by the Saxons to clarify beer? That’s probably the reason it earned another of its common names, alehoof, of the ones that I dare write. And if that weren’t enough, there are the magical associations it has with fortunetelling and prophecy.

And it’s not just creeping Charlie. Other common plants like dandelion, hedge bindweed, and mullein have equally fascinating stories to tell. If anything, they inspire some interesting conversation about what people thought about back in the day. Like why would anyone call a plant devil’s plaything? There has to be a story there.

Lessons Learned

I learned several valuable lessons from writing this book. First, don’t give up on a project. Your time and effort will pay off. You will get it done.

Second, writing about things you love gets the job done. Sometimes, it’s all the motivation you need. Finally, write for yourself. I don’t know how this book will do. I expect there’s a narrow niche. But it doesn’t matter. I enjoyed the process, the stories, and the accomplishment. To me, that’s priceless.

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 16


“I learned never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.”
~Ernest Hemingway

photo credit: Tuhala via photopin (license)

Go Ahead–Take a Nap

brainAs if any of us need an excuse. A study by Saarland University confirms what physiology and psychology—and perhaps your own experience—has told us. A power nap is beneficial. This study suggests that that 60-minute snooze may improve memory performance.

The Brain on a Nap

The researchers considered the effects of a nap on memory recall of single words and word pairs on 41 participants. Between learning the task, participants either napped or watched a DVD. The results showed that those who napped maintained memory of hippocampus-dependent memories. The DVD group’s performance declined significantly.

The hippocampus is a part of your brain that helps you learn new memories, both short and long-term. The brief respite offered by a nap helped maintain memories of learned tasks as evidenced by performance.

No Shame in Napping

The research seemed to support the notion of the afternoon nap. Unfortunately, napping carries a lot of baggage. It’s something we associate with the very young or the very old, not something that healthy adults engage in. But if it helps with learning and retaining, it certainly deserves better recognition for its mental health benefits.

There is, after all, no shame in napping. Just because you’re asleep, it doesn’t mean that your brain is inactive. A lot goes on under the proverbial hood. We get in trouble with remembering things when we are bombarded with too much information and too many tasks.

For the writer, this research is a good thing. If you’re trying to work out a scene in your head, maybe a nap would be just the thing to get the creative juices flowing, as it were. You may be better able to remember where you’re going with your plot.

The takeaway message is that rest is essential. It helps us perform better in all tasks, including memory performance. For individuals who depend upon words for a living, this study makes power naps all that more special.

http://mystery.weborglodge.com/By Chris DR

photo credit: Image from page 636 of “Human physiology” (1856) via photopin (license)

Weekly Writing Inspiration–Week 15


“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
~E. L. Doctorow

photo credit: Rain on the mountains via photopin (license)