Experiments: Life’s Natural Spice

It’s really easy to fall into a rut.  The “same ole same ole”.  We want to be comfortable.  We like the familiar. So more often than not, no matter what we say we want, we’ll gravitate toward and maintain the same ole regular routine.

It’s not our fault.  It’s the way I think we were built.  There’s probably some research somewhere that has been able to correlate our inability to change routines that aren’t productive or healthy for us to our ancestors’ experiences as wandering nomads who never had enough to eat and were never able to secure a safe place to call home. (I haven’t looked, but it seems like you can always find a statistic somewhere to support whatever argument you are trying to make.)

I boil it down to this: change is damn hard.

There is no sugarcoating it. When you decide to wrestle with attempting a significant change, you have to suck it up.  Be uncomfortable. Get a little angry. And somehow stay motivated until you reach the promised land of “you like it” (I have to say that is a bit of a myth when it comes to some things for me).

I tell you this because I want you to know that I don’t think I have some profound secret to making everlasting change.  I struggle daily just like everyone else.  Some things have worked (committing to my morning pages) and most everything else has not. So I devised a plan (through my morning pages) to accomplish a couple of my goals at the same time:

I decided to experiment.

I’ve experimented before- mostly with some kind of diet/exercise routine, but I know from experience that every time I set out on this new path I get all excited and pumped up.  I visualize my success and feel thrilled thinking about crossing the finish line.  I smile more often and feel more relaxed because I am DOING something.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with some really cool things that have worked.  And honestly- most don’t.  (Go look up the statistic on Einstein’s failure rate. There is an actual book on his failures!) Experimenting keeps things interesting.  It adds a little needed sizzle to life. And if you keep an open mind, you can learn a lot.

My latest experiment is getting up earlier to exercise (a 20-min program) and write my morning pages in the actual morning. (Although I have been doing them, I often find that I’m writing later in the evening.)  Day 1 was a successful.  Because I have to travel early on Day 2 (tomorrow), I might run into some issues, but that remains to be seen.

Plus the biggest benefit: experimentation is FUN.

What have you experimented with lately?

Photo credit: fdecomite

The Power of Color

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to the red, white, and black color combination.  It’s funny how I even when I try to consider another combination, I’ll see something like this and it resonates.

This is it.

It isn’t even a question anymore. When I was looking to update my site template, I immediately stopped looking as soon as I found this one.  It just felt right.  It feels like me. It feels like home.

When I was 16, I got a job at a local hardware store. When you spend hours and hours of your life in a retail environment, at some point you start looking for things to buy to curb your boredom.  (Needless to say, that year my mom received a pretty slick toaster oven for Christmas.)

But one thing the store also sold was paint, and I had finally reached an age where my parents granted me creative freedom over my room.  It already had this crazy red shag carpeting when we moved in.  I found a black comforter bed set, and shiny black curtains with red tie backs to match. The only thing that was missing was paint on the walls (they were a stark eggshell white).

I bought some red and black paint and spent a weekend painting the biggest wall in my room (now I know that I was creating an “accent wall”.)  I originally intended to do a black and red checkerboard, but after a few measurements I quickly realized that was going to be a huge PITA.  So instead I broke the wall into 4 quadrants with two red and two black opposing squares.


I cringe now to think how my parents felt when they went to sell our house, but someone bought it even with my crazy accent wall.

The wall was the way that I expressed myself then, and they are colors that I feel help express my emotions now.  Red, black, and white are bold colors.  Someone who uses them isn’t afraid of anything, and that’s how I want to feel, even if sometimes I don’t.

This palette reminds me to be strong and fearless.  It inspires me.

So it wasn’t any surprise that even without any guidance from me, a variation ended up on the cover of Edge of Shadows.

Do you have a color palette that finds you even when you aren’t looking? What colors are “your” colors?

Photo credit: Stella Blue

Somehow I Escaped Unscathed

From National Novel Writing Month that is.  At the beginning of November I answered the call to untether my writing spirit from my inner critic, and set down 50,000 words in thirty days (or less) during the month of November.

It can seem like an insurmountable task. You have to be a little bit crazy to even want to do something like this. Broken down, NaNoWriMo means that you commit to writing an average of 1667 words each day of the month. But on October 31st, I laughed in the face of this adversary.  Why?

Because I’ve done it before. Twice.  (Full disclosure: I’ve attempted NaNoWriMo four times before this year. 50/50 are pretty decent odds if you’re the gambling sort.)

My first NaNoWriMo novel, The Reunion, took me 23 days in 2004. (I was pretty proud of that effort although my heart breaks a little every time I read the story.  Those poor girls need a lot of help.)

Facebook page for more details on when The Soul Garden will be available!

But for now I will bask, for a few moments anyways, in the NaNoWrimo 2011 Winner’s Circle.

What’s the craziest goal you’ve ever attempted?  Did you accomplish it?  Tell us about it in the comments below!


Thank you so much for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to visit me.

I am a Minneapolis-based freelance writer who has been dabbling with writing pursuits since I was a tween. While I may be a grown-up now, I still am in awe of how the written word can touch and motivate people in remarkable ways.

I am currently taking on clients for marketing and feature-related work. I will consider other projects, but a lot depends on the scope and timeline required.

You can find me on Twitter @cegesmith or don’t hesitate to drop me a line or two at cege@cegesmith.com. I look forward to hearing from you!