Unexpected Twists, Abrupt Turns, Sudden Stops, and Altering Your Perspective — Daily Quote 

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The universe is full of signs. Signs she wants us to recognize, internalize, and maximize. She can be subtle, but she becomes annoyed when you do not pick up on the breadcrumbs she strews in your path. Prepare for a rude awakening if you are preoccupied, obtuse, and don’t notice. Your lack of awareness guarantees she smacks you right between the eyes with the message you’ve been missing.

It happened to me yesterday as I sorted through a backlog of less important emails. I was quite bored, somewhat distracted, and anticipating this specific chore’s completion. Bargaining with myself, I agreed to open one last email, and this sentence hit me, “The unexpected is to be expected.” I sat in stunned silence. Even the soothing playlist crooning from my earbuds faded from my consciousness. The world shifted on its axis, my perspective changed, and the trail markers I passed without seeing now came into focus.

The sudden glitches, the perceived brick walls, and the uncontrollable forward movement followed by the whiplashing abrupt stops weren’t problems. Well, they felt like complications I needed to solve before this phrase altered my outlook. Fresh eyes viewed them as gifts. The most arduous way to climb a steep mountain is to draw a straight, narrow course and proceed by staying on the shortest route. Seasoned hikers ascend the same summit by following natural grades, utilizing switchbacks, and conserving their energy. The road they follow may entail more covered miles, but the journey develops a unique beauty when you move slower, stop at the junctions labeled as a “Scenic Viewpoint,” and enjoy the picture postcards laid out before you.

Chances are you will still reach your destination ahead of those walking the straight line.

Have you taken a moment to enjoy your journey’s views?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 4

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Some days the best course of action is chucking your meticulously crafted schedule into the compost bin and letting your day go with the flow. Certain people can not or will not conform to your timeline. Forcing them to comply is an exercise in futility, guaranteed to increase your level of frustration and mental anguish on top of your already over-taxed desire to accomplish your stated tasks. It requires a willingness to step away from the Pomodoro timer, carefully hide your endless To-Do list and allow others to take the reins.

I heard you gasp, yes, I did, but you have to know your team, trust they have received your message, and let go. I cope by indulging in an extra-long lunch break, ignore your text messages, refuse to respond to emails, and see what happens. The range of emotions yesterday was epic. They included irritation at my non-responsiveness, which quickly built to panic, followed by a storm of activity as everyone scrambled to complete what we slated to have finished two weeks ago. At that point, I decided I needed a nap. Then came the barrage of sheepish responses, saying they were done. Only then did I reply by forwarding the checklist I sent at the project’s inception.

They did a decent job, they found and fixed some of their oversights, and they learned a lesson. I hope. The good news is I channeled my unexpected time-off towards a conversation with my new protagonist.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 362 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Don’t Offend the Fairy Folk by Suggesting They Are Imaginary — Daily Quote

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This quote tickled me. There are characters in my brain who would object to others questioning their existence. They have just started speaking with me, so I don’t want to offend them and risk losing the astonishing tales they are sharing with me. It places a tremendous responsibility on my shoulders. I feel an obligation to them, to the stories they whisper in my ears and etch upon my heart.

As a writer, I need to convey my friends as believable and fascinating individuals. Their magical powers are stunning in my imagination, and my burden is to describe in mere words the wonder and enchantment that fills the air when they touch the mystical realm and make it visible to a simple mortal. Each of them interacts and accesses their abilities in different ways. One tells me she is wrapped in a bolt of lightning, while another says she breathes the power into her fingertips. I take notes, ask questions, and attempt to get to the core of what makes them tick.

If I do my job well, I will introduce my dear companions to cherished readers in a way that is as animated and memorable as I see them. My fondest desire is for them to no longer exist only in my head. I want to share these unique creatures with the world. I hope my skills are sufficient for the task ahead.

How do you tell your character’s stories?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 3

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Tuesdays are always hit or miss, and yesterday was a series of hits that just kept coming. I handled everything in due time, but it left little opportunity to chat with my new best friends. They still offered me some wonderful little tidbits of information and some juicy dirt. I’m an excellent reporter and take copious handwritten notes on the back of a handy envelope. I don’t want to lose a single detail. You never know when the smallest scrap of a half-forgotten memory will come in handy.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 470 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Risk Failure, Dare Greatly, Defy Mediocrity and Never Compromise Your Dreams – Daily Quote

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It is easy to get discouraged. We make plans to improve our lives, transform our trajectory, and help others. The moment we set our intention to change, the universe takes notice. The cosmos believes it knows best, and everything is running fine. Who are we to step out of line and mess with perfection?

I am not interested in living with the status quo or setting incremental goals that only require marginal increases. Minor improvements allow the concept of failure to seep into our expectations when we are not looking. Thoughts like, “I’ve done this before,” or “this is a cake-walk.” invites us to take our foot from the gas pedal and let our eyes stray from the prize.

Overcoming pushback is crucial, requiring concentration and determination, regardless of the goal’s scope or complexity. Whatever the goal’s size, the stamina to overcome inertia is similar. Studies show challenging objectives correlate with greater expected satisfaction. Why waste the initial outlay of internal strength required to begin the journey on anything less than spectacular results? Whether I endeavor to move a mountain or a molehill, I must first gather the will to act.

With that in mind, I plan to beat the odds, surpass my perceived limitations, and dream big. I won’t be wasting my time and energy on modest intentions; I am reaching for the stars.

Have you set lofty goals?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 2

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Manic Monday or not, March Magic keeps lending me a hand. Yesterday fortune smiled on me, and I spent another hour furiously scribbling notes with my characters. I am accumulating a large pile of pages, but everything feels disjointed and unconnected. Nothing bears any resemblance to a cohesive story with predictable plot points, rising action, or any other convention you expect to find in a novel. Don’t get me started on where to begin or how to finish this monster. Right now, it is a big globby mess of a megadeath middle. Their accounts of the events have me mesmerized, but it is the world’s largest pile of tangled-up twine.

The fundamental problem is I dived into the deep end of the tale. Everyone is talking at once. Someone is always interrupting a line of thought to lead me down another twisting path, a dead-end street, and countless irrational tangents. Redirecting them to the original thread never seems to happen. In the meantime, I am enjoying this wild rollercoaster ride. I trust we will reach a point where the entire epic will click into crystal clarity, the story will solidify, the plot will unfold naturally, and I will at long last be able to sit and write.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 640 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Set Limits, Define Boundaries, and Impose Structure to Discover Your Creative Freedom — Daily Quote

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Being creative is a messy business. It requires work clothes, steel-toed boots, a sturdy hard hat, a trusty jackhammer, a backhoe, a crane for the heavy lifting, a construction fence to hinder the gawker’s view, and an enormous five-gallon bucket of elbow grease. I need room to sprawl, kick up dust, throw mud at the wall, and dig deep holes into the heart of my design. If I am lucky, I avoid roadblocks, anticipate setbacks, manage material delivery, labor negotiations, and hit pay dirt when I pass the required inspections. The intention is to deliver a completed project on time and under budget.

It all sounds so easy until something or someone steps in to gum up the carefully drawn plans. Writers, artists, and other creative people need access to a dedicated place and time to roll up their shirtsleeves and create, free from distractions. Freedom within specific constraints is an odd pairing, but they are crucial elements in the creative process. You can’t effectively work on an unlimited number of projects and hope to complete any of them. When you limit your concentration to one primary goal, organized chaos is often the next step.

Critics help an artist focus, improve their final product, and compel them to attain higher levels of meaning, competence, and beauty. But a critical eye imposed too soon in the development stage can demoralize, block, or even end a project before it has begun. It is a game of setting limits, defining boundaries, imposing structure, and then attempting to push past the artificial restrictions.

Don’t knock at my door when I am working. I don’t want, need or value your feedback before the shape takes form. The vision is mine. The struggle is personal, and it is a road I must walk alone.

What limits do you set on your creative process?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – March 1

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Yesterday was another magical day. After conquering my Must-Do List for the weekend, I sequestered myself in my office, posted my Do Not Disturb sign, pulled out napkins, receipts, stray scraps of paper, the notes on my phone, and began my work. The story’s timeline filtered through first. Last week, a central figure divulged a shocking backstory that illuminated his motivations and created a natural tension with my principal character. This stage of the game is a handwriting marathon. I used bright yellow oversized pieces of paper and scribbling as quickly as possible.

A set of family trees are emerging, along with rough maps, floor plans, scheming plots, and treacherous conspiracies. Follow-up questions are circled and highlighted, arrows and asterisk populate the pages. When I reached the end of one sheet, I often forgot to include the oh so helpful page numbers on subsequent pages. I noticed I was having a tough time reading my previous sentence and discovered the sun had sunk below the horizon. A short recess allowed for an invigorating stretch, a hot cup of coffee, and better lighting, before returning to my interviews.

I could only handle four hours of grueling transcription before my hand refused to hold my pen any longer. We have barely scratched the surface. I need more knowledge of their world, answers to individual impulses and desires, and the scoop on the juicy intrigue. The cast is much larger than I ever imagined, and my characters continually reference kingdoms, regions, facts, and details I didn’t know existed. They inundated me with information, and it is more epic than the story I intended to write, but I am recording every bit. I am clueless about my actual word count, but I will transcribe everything into a word document in the next few days.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 380 (countable) words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

Goodbye Cruel Winter, Welcome Warm Spring – Daily Quote

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Winter’s end is coming. My countdown calendar says we are a mere twenty days from the first day of spring. Tomorrow we flip the page to March 1. Monday morning, dawn to a bright day loaded with possibilities, the beginning of a week filled with promise, and a month dedicated to starting anew. March always feels like a breath of fresh air and hope. But throwing away old, tired and broken patterns is often easier said than done. Peer pressure is real, established habits are hard to break, and slippery slopes catch us unawares. We fear the unknown and approach change with caution.

If you have abandoned your New Year’s Resolutions, gotten caught in the sensational worries of the daily headlines, or fallen into the trap of thinking you are not worthy, remember each morning offers you another chance. Wait for your future to unfold before you write your story in stone. When and where your adventure begins is not an indicator of where your journey will lead you. Every day, ordinary people make massive changes, achieve astonishing feats, and create their dream life.

The sun is smiling, nature is waking, and your supporters stand in your corner, cheering for your success. Become a master at embracing and enjoying unique activities, and walking unfamiliar paths, laugh when you trip and fall, then get up and try again—it’s how we learn.

What will you confront head-on today?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer

The 2021 Daily Writing Challenge – February 28

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Yesterday my focus was to deal with all my commitments for the weekend. Check, check, and almost done. A few minor nuisances to attend to, and I will officially clear my Sunday for takeoff. Everyone has been advised, warned, and threatened to within an inch of their lives. If they dare to ignore the sign posted on my door, retribution is mandatory. No exceptions. No admittance. If you knock, I need to see a protruding bone, blood, or smell smoke alerting me to an actual fire. I hope my muse received my dire request for a meeting, followed by my hasty memo that none of the posted notices pertain to her.

No matter the challenges and the obstacles blocking my way, I maintain the item at the top of my list as a non-negotiable. Yesterday I wrote 396 words.

Did you write yesterday?

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Keep on writing.

Jo Hawk The Writer