Tag: paranormal

Losing Faith? Read This Post

Mind WavesPardon me for the long blog post. I have a story to tell. It’s about answered prayer and dreams come true. It’s about magic and mysticism and this thing called faith. I must tell the entire story to do it justice. I hope you’ll spend five minutes reading it through.

If you’ve been following my posts, then you know a few things about me and the launch of my first book, Mind Waves:

  1. Beach Glass Is Important. Both in my life (I collect it) and in my book, where the heroine uses beach glass in her artwork. The hero offers her a piece of glass twice in the story–early on he presents her with a piece of red glass (a rare find) in the shape of a heart. By story’s end, he hands her a piece of green glass, matching the color of his eyes. (Check out the front cover and his glowing green eyes and the heart in the lower-right corner.)
  2. I’ve Had Multiple Paranormal Experiences. Past blogs have told of ghosts encounters, prophetic dreams, palm-reading analysis and auras, which fueled many of the scenes in the book.
  3. I Have a Strong Faith in God. I didn’t always. (That’s a story for another post.) My faith has partly stemmed from encounters with an invisible world–if I believe in ghosts, it’s not a big stretch to think I’d believe in God. I pray often and have asked the Lord to guide me in my writing life, which is fraught with rejection. Despite my beliefs, I sometimes doubt or ask him to reveal himself, particularly when I’m struggling to stay on course.

And that’s where this story begins.
I spent Labor Day weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan with extended family. My husband and I were both stressed leading up to the trip. The week before he’d been in bed with migraines. I’d spent the week launching Mind Waves on social media.

Our first day on the beach, our sixteen-year-old son, Sam, disappeared. He had gone ahead of his dad to check out the waves. By the time my husband arrived, he was nowhere in sight. And when I finally made it there two hours later, Sam still had not returned. He’d left his cell phone behind in the cottage, too, a rare occurrence. It wasn’t his nature to disappear without telling someone. We started to worry.

Our day at the beach, Lake Michigan.

Heading to the Lake Michigan beach to learn Sam had gone missing.

Searching for Sam
The family split up to search. Grandma went back to the cottage. My sister-n-law checked the volleyball court, and my husband and I strolled up and down the beach. After a few minutes, I encountered my sister-n-law, who was on her way back. Instead of searching for Sam, her head was bent over the sand.

“Did you find Sam?” I asked.

“Yes, he’s fast asleep.” She pointed in the distance, where I could make out his form in his black bathing suit, lying on his beach towel.

Relieved, I stopped to consider her. “What were you looking for?”

“Here,” she said, handing me a piece of green beach glass. I noticed immediately the color was darker and smoother than my normal finds at Edgewater, like it had been tossed around in the Michigan waves a bit.

“That’s so cool.” I started to hand it back.

“You keep it,” she said, knowing I collect glass.

“Thanks.” I pocketed the glass, and she headed back to tell the others.

Lord, please send me beach glass
Since Sam was okay, I decided to stay and scan the sand for more glass. Surprisingly, I found a few pieces. That’s when I had my God thought.

Lord, I prayed. Can you please send me a great big piece of glass so I know you are here?

I smiled inwardly at the thought of asking God for beach glass, adding, I don’t need the glass to believe in you, of course. I always believe. It’s only I’m tired and scared of what I’ve got myself into with this book launch and want to feel your presence. So, why don’t you just send me glass.

And I laughed out loud at the thought of God sending me beach glass.

That’s when two women appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. Excited and full of questions, they wanted to see what I had found. I pulled the small handful of glass from my pocket and showed them.

Heart-shaped glass found on the beach.

Heart-shaped glass found on the beach.

“Oh my gosh, it’s a heart,” the first woman spoke, pointing at my palm. She was tall with clear skin. Her head was wrapped in a colorful scarf.

“That’s amazing,” the second one added with genuine enthusiasm. She had freckles and her hair was in pigtails. She looked to be in her early twenties and wore a bikini.

I studied the green glass in my hand. It was a heart! I hadn’t seen the shape until the woman pointed it out.

“Do you live around here?” I asked.

“No, we live in Chicago,” the taller one said. “We’re yoga instructors. We’re taking a class.”

“They gave us fifteen minutes so we thought we’d check out the beach,” the shorter of the two said. “So great to find you. How long have you been collecting? What do you do with it?”

The questions continued until eventually, I told them about Mind Waves and how it was inspired by beach glass.

“That’s so amazing,” they younger of the two said with passion. “I’m definitely reading it.”

“Me, too,” the other added. “This is so exciting.”

How strange, I thought, and said aloud, “You two are not going to believe this, but I’d been praying for God to send me a piece of glass, as I’m worried about my book launch, and instead he sent me two potential readers. And I guess I got the glass, too,” I said, holding up the green heart.

“That’s so cool,” the taller of the two said. “I will definitely check out your book.”

“Me, too,” the other added.

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And as quickly as they arrived, they departed on a flurry of energy.

If the Lord is for us…

Me with my mother and sister 'n law shortly before our beach glass discovery.

Me with my mother and sister ‘n law shortly before our beach glass discovery.

Dazed, I returned to our beach umbrella, where the rest of the family had gathered. “You’re never going to believe what happened.” I recounted the experience.

“That’s so weird,” my sister-n-law said. “I just got finished telling everyone a similar story. I was thanking God for letting me find Sam and asked him to send me a piece of glass. I looked down and saw the piece of glass I gave you at my feet. I couldn’t believe it. Then you showed up.”

My sister-n-law has not read Mind Waves. “Did you realize the glass you gave me was in the shape of a heart?”

“No way,” she said.

We stood a moment and marveled at the glass and the not-so-strange coincidence. A great peace descended. A peace that surpasses human understanding.

“The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” Psalm 118-6

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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Mind Waves Cover Reveal — Check It Out!

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDERS! DEBUTING OCT. 7!

It’s here, it’s here! Mind Waves is finally here!

It’s been nearly three years since I wrote the book, so as you can imagine, I’m pretty darn excited the day has come for you all to see the cover.

Isn’t it perfect?

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY TODAY AT ANY OF THESE LOCATIONS!

The Wild Rose Press
Amazon
Nook
Kobo
iTunes
Bookstrand

Congratulations to all who preordered Mind Waves or shared the buy links on social media and then entered my raffle to win one of  5 $20 Amazon gift cards.  Winners below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


zIMG_6537_ppcrpAbout the Author

Amanda Uhl has always had a fascination with the mystical. Having drawn her first breath in a century home rumored to be haunted, you might say she was “born” into it. After a brief stint in college as a paid psychic, Amanda graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in theatre and a master’s degree in marketing. Over the past twenty years, she has worked as an admissions representative and graphic designer, owned her own freelance writing company, and managed communications for several Fortune 500 companies, most recently specializing in cyber security. Amanda is an avid reader and writes fast-paced, paranormal romantic suspense and humorous contemporary romance from her home in Cleveland, Ohio. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find Amanda with her husband and three children, gathering beach glass on the Lake Erie shoreline or biking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Visit her online:
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Amazon
Goodreads
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Late Night Ghost Auditions: No Callbacks Allowed

young woman in bed with alarm clock and eyes opened suffering insomnia and sleep disorder thinking about his problem on dark studio lighting in sleeping and nightmare issues

It happened last night.

I awoke to see a dark stranger standing by my bed. My heart leaped out of my chest, forcing a gasp, as adrenaline rushed through my body. I scooted across the mattress, nearly pushing my husband over the edge in the process. He, poor man, groaned, rolled over and went back to sleep. But I lay there sweating. What was that…thing?

I didn’t know. When I tried to take a closer look, it disappeared.

In the warm light of day, I brush this encounter off as an over-active imagination. I am a fiction writer after all. And I did have that chocolate mouse for dinner last night. That has to be it, right? RIGHT?

Ghostly encounters
“Ghosts are all around,” my writing buddy Joyce tells me. If anyone would know, it’s Joyce, who I met through a local writing group–the Northeast Ohio Romance Writers Association (NEORWA). She’s a member of a ghost-hunting group, called EVP Mediums and carries the title EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) investigator.

“Aren’t you afraid of ghosts?” I ask her, while visions of my mysterious late-night visitor dance in my brain.

“No, I’m not. The spirits don’t feel threatening. To me, they’re just people.”

Dead people, I think on a shiver. The thought of getting close to a ghost, let alone inviting one to speak, is, in a word, terrifying. I’ve been avoiding them my entire life, though they insist on appearing at my bedside on a routine basis and adding a dose of realism to my books.

Joyce doesn’t share my misgivings. She regularly volunteers to investigate sites known to be haunted along with other intrepid ghost hunters. They routinely tape apparitions speaking and observe dark shadows in eerie places. They even do…gasp…sleepovers.

EVP Investigator Joyce Caylor takes a break at her first overnight outing with the ghosts at Malabar Farms.

Not my kind of pajama party
Armed with camera and audio equipment, a psychic and an ordained minister, they call out to spirits, asking questions guaranteed to invoke an answer. What is your name? How old are you? Why are you here? What do you want?

In the old Mayflower Hotel in Akron, Ohio, which used to house drug addicts, the gang hears shades cry out for their drug of choice. At the Slovak Club in Lorain, ghosts are recorded speaking in…you guessed it…Slovak. At Malabar Farms in Lucas, the spirits issues words of support, uttering “I’m happy,” “He’s going,” and “Pray with you,” after the team performs a cross-over ceremony. The ceremony is performed by the group’s minister to encourage ghosts to “go to the light.”

“We always get ‘help us,'” says Joyce. “I don’t know why.”

Maybe it has something to do with being…gulp…dead.

“Has this been detrimental to your faith?” I ask.

“It’s strengthened it,” says Joyce. “I don’t worry about death. It’s made me think about my relationship with God and why this work is important to do. I kind of feel like this path opened up for me.”

In addition to the spiritual growth, there’s another benefit ghost-hunting is providing Joyce — material for her novels. She has a whole series planned, including five story ideas.

Not bad.

Hollywood has even come calling. Six members of the group (before Joyce joined) have been featured in a new series pilot on Lifetime called American Murder House.

Maybe I should encourage my late night visitor to audition?

At least he won’t have to worry about ‘breaking a leg.’

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That time I was in two places at once

imageThese days, I often wish there were two of me — one to do the dirty dishes and the other to lounge by the pool.

“If only I had more time,” I say. That’s my new mantra. I grumble it as I leave the house to take my daughter to school or stop at the drug store or run to the post office. Usually, I’m dressed in old sweats and flip-flops, no makeup on and my hair looking like a discarded bird’s nest. If I had a clone, I could catch up on some z’s, and I wouldn’t have to leave the house without a shower.

In my fantasy, I send the clone to the day job and spend the afternoon writing my next novel at Starbucks over a chai tea latte. I’m also 30 pounds lighter and I’m eating a cinnamon roll. (Hey, if I’m going to fantasize, I might as well make it good, right?)

Anyway, in case you are wondering, I do know no one can really be in two places at the same time. I have not totally lost it (yet).

But recently, I got to thinking about this. And then I started googling, and the more I learned, the more I began to wonder….

Law of quantum physics
Scientists say it is possible to be in two places at once — if you are a subatomic particle. You see, in the world of quantum physics, which operates on a different principle than our reality, a tiny object is neither a particle, nor a wave. It is in a constant state of flux and therefore, is a bit of both depending on how it is viewed. This means it can be moving or still simultaneously. In other words, it can take two different paths at the same time. (I sound intelligent, don’t I? Thank you, Wikipedia).

Of course this does not apply in our reality — the real world, so to speak. We can’t be in two places at once…can we?

Famous saints
According to many, Padre Pio could do it. This modern day Catholic saint, who died in 1968, was widely known to have the ability to bilocate or be in two places at the same time. Many witnesses have come forward to confirm this claim. Of course, skeptics say Padre Pio was a fraud. He also suffered from the stigmata — the wounds of Jesus Christ — and was accused of using carbolic acid to create the wounds.

And yet…here I go again diving into something I never thought I would ever write about in a blog post — I have had the experience of being in two places at the same time. My mind, not my body. Let me explain.

Hot date
I am 19 and home from college for the summer. I am getting ready to go to church, a forced commandment in my parent’s home, no matter how disinterested I am at the time. My younger sister is getting ready to go on a date with a new boy. “No fair,” I think. “Why does she get to go on a date, while I’m stuck in church.”

The doorbell rings, interrupting my private pity party, and my sister begs me to get the door so she can continue to prep. I do and am surprised by the boy who is standing there — he’s quite cute — clean-shaven, blond hair and in blue jeans. I’m surprised because my sister’s choices in men are generally more rough around the edges than mine — usually a few tattoos and earrings. This boy looks like someone I might choose.

“Take a seat,” I say, gesturing to a chair in the kitchen. “She’ll be right down.”

I take off back up the stairs so I can finish blow-drying my hair. On the way up, I exchange a few words with my sis.

“Hey, he’s in blue jeans. You’d better change from that fancy dress to something more casual.”

My sister is in panic mode. “We’re going to a movie, and we’re already late. There’s no time,” she tells me, flying down the stairs.”

“Have fun,” I call after her.

And that, readers, is when the magic happened.

Two places at once
You see, I was still blow drying my hair. My mind, however? Well, my mind was curious. It was busy wondering what my sister’s hot date was thinking when he saw how dressed up she was. So, it took off down the stairs after her.

Many hours later, my sister walked through the door, blathering on about her incredible date.

“Do you think he likes me?” she asked.

“Yes, I do,” I told her. “Didn’t you see his face when you came downstairs?”

“No, how did he look?”

“He looked really happy to see you.”

I went on to describe other details. We must have talked for an hour before I arrived at a shocking realization. How could I possibly know what his face looked like or any other details when my sister came downstairs? I hadn’t been downstairs when they left. I had been upstairs blow-drying my hair.

The realization hit both of us at once, and we stared across the bedroom, our startled faces mirroring one another.

“How can that be?” she asked. “I swear I felt your hand on my shoulder as I went downstairs.”

“I know,” I say. “I remember following you downstairs. That’s how I saw what he looked like. I was right behind you.”

“But you weren’t,” she said.

“No, I wasn’t. I never went downstairs. It’s…impossible.”

That night I pondered the mystery. Years later, I am still pondering. My body never left the upstairs. But somehow, my mind did.

Maybe it has something to do with those subatomic particles?

That time a ghost followed me home from school

imageGhosts and romance are unlikely bedfellows. Ebenezer Scrooge had the ghosts but not the romance. Jane Eyre had the romance but not the ghost. The movie, “Ghost,” had both. Of course, the ghost, played by Patrick Swayze, could no longer kiss and hold his love, Demi Moore. Therein lies the crux of the problem.

Swayze needed an emissary — a middle man so to speak — or in this case a middle woman, so delightfully played by Whoopie Goldberg.

I have thought a lot about the role of mediums since I saw that movie. You might think this odd, since I write paranormal romance and talk about my own experiences with ghosts frequently on this blog, but I often wonder if mediums are authentic. Oh, I know there are people like the Long Island medium who claim to be for real, but are they actually having conversations with dead people during the day when they are awake? It seems unlikely. After all, if that were the case, wouldn’t murders be solved daily because ghosts would be pointing mediums to their killers?

Most of my ghostly experiences have come in dreams, without any act of will or desire on my part. There are the odd exceptions, though.

Ghost in the classroom
I stand in a line facing the chalkboard with six other little girls in our fourth grade class. Our mission? To see a ghost, any ghost, but preferably one that is friendly.

Ghosts have been the subject of conversation during recess. We tell each other scary stories of family or friends that claim to see spirits. We wonder if it might be possible for us to see a ghost, too.

We have pulled the blinds down low. The only light that penetrates the room is from the small crack at the bottom of the line of windows behind us.

I lead the conversation. In our little circle of friends, I am always the one in charge when it comes to the supernatural. At ten, I have an innate instinct for how to speak to the dead. “Is there a ghost in this room? If so, show yourself,” I command in my squeaky, prepubescent voice.

We watch and wait. Nothing. We can hear the sounds of other children on the playground outside the classroom walls. A car passes slowly on the street that runs by the school. The sound of its revved up engine blares through the windows. Still nothing.

“If there is a ghost in this room, show yourself,” I call out again. This time I brilliantly add, “Give us a sign. Tell us who you want to go home with.”

A shadow morphs on the opposite wall near the door. I watch, stunned as it speeds around the classroom, casts a breeze on my cheek, slides to the door opposite, and disappears.

“What was that?” one of the others pipe up.

“A ghost,” we all say, our voices overlapping in our excitement.

“Did anyone feel anything?” I question.

“I think I did,” my best friend, who is standing next to me, admits.

“I did, too,” I acknowledge. “Who do you think it wants to go home with?”

“You,” she unhesitatingly replies.

Later that night, I shiver under the blankets.
From the glow of the hallway light in our century home, I can see what appear to be faces in the Victorian wallpaper. Their unsightly mouths yawn wide, screaming silently. While I watch, the big oak door to my brother’s room opens. My eyes peer into the space beyond, waiting patiently for someone to come out. No one does. Instead, the door slams shut. The hallway light flicks on, off, and on again. Downstairs I hear the sound of muted laughter as my parents and older siblings watch T.V.

“Who is that?” my sister calls from her side of the double bed we share.

“I…don’t know,” I say, some part of me not willing to acknowledge what I have just witnessed.

“Will you sing me a song?” she asks, her voice small and scared.

As the big sister, it is my job to comfort her. I take the role seriously. My voice wobbles, but I manage to crank out Twinkle, Twinkle and then move on to Christmas carols, although it is the middle of the summer. The sound of my voice singing Away In A Manger in the dark room strengthens and calms me. I feel the Lord’s arms around me, telling me gently that it will be okay. Beside me, my sister snores softly. I pull the covers over my head and fall asleep.

When grandma comes to visit

imageThe year is 1979. I am twelve.

In the backyard of my home, there is a black telephone attached to a pole. It looks like the kind you might find in an old phone booth. It rings nonstop. I look around hopefully, waiting for someone to answer it. No one does.

I think: Maybe, if I wait long enough it might stop ringing?

It does not. Instead the ringing persists, growing louder. After staring at the telephone a moment, I pick it up cautiously.

“Hello,” I say.

“Hi! Tell me about yourself,” an older woman speaks with enthusiasm.

“Who are you?” I ask.

“Never mind that. Just tell me all about yourself. What do you like to do for fun?”

“Who are you?” I say again, feeling stubborn. Why does this lady think I’ll answer her questions if I don’t even know her name.

“Hurry. I don’t have much time. Do you like school? Do you have a boyfriend? I want to know all about you.”

“Listen, lady,” I say,” annoyed. “I’m not answering any of your questions unless you tell me who you are.”

“It’s…it’s….,” she struggles, clearly torn. Eventually, she realizes that she has no other option if she wants to continue the conversation. “It’s grandma,” she finally sputters in my ear.

I stare at the phone dumbfounded. Both my grandmothers have been dead for years. I never knew them.

I hear a click, and the telephone is disconnected. I awaken to the sound of a dial tone in my ear.

When dreams speak
This is obviously a dream, but I can’t shake it. It was nothing like the nightmare I’d had the week before, which featured Bigfoot on a white horse. (It was the late 1970’s, remember. Bigfoot was all the rage:)

Could I have been speaking to the spirit of my long-dead grandmother? And if I was, what did she mean when she told me she didn’t have much time? Why would there be a time limit to our conversation? Wouldn’t a ghost have all the time in the world? And couldn’t she spy on me from the other side to know if I had a boyfriend or not?

So many questions, but for me, the dream remains elusive — staying just out of reach of my logical and enquiring mind. As much as I want to ignore it, I can’t. It disturbs me, forcing me to deal with questions that lack satisfying answers.

Despite all of our scientific advances, little is really known about our dreams. It is believed that most of us dream every night, although many people don’t recall or pay attention to them. That’s a shame because psychologists say that dreams can reveal many aspects of our lives. They can bring to light and offer solutions to our problems. They can help us understand and accept deep emotions — the kind that are so painful to contemplate, we bury them deep within our subconscious.

Maybe, this is why I find myself exploring dreams in the Mind Hackers series. Although the heroines would prefer to ignore them, like the ghost of my grandmother, their dreams haunt them — engaging them in compelling conversations and hinting at clues to mysteries that must be resolved along the way. Clues that cannot be unearthed in any other fashion.

Getting back to grandma
When I recount the strange dream to my parents the next morning at the breakfast table, they find it oddly entertaining.

“Now doesn’t that sound just like your mom,” my mother tells my father, giving him a strange look. She turns to me and adds, “Your grandma was always asking her granddaughters if they had a boyfriend. She loved soap operas and romance. If she were here right now, that’s exactly what she would ask you.”

Their acceptance lends validity to the visit.

Many years pass, and I dream of grandma again. This time, she hands me an antique movie camera and has me peer through the lens to see still photos strung together of other long-dead relatives. She has a message, too.

But that’s a story for another day…nothing like a good cliff hanger, right?

I’d like to think grandma with her love of soap operas would approve.


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Let your little light shine

image“This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine.”

Sing with me now.

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine.”

Great little gospel tune, isn’t it? It was written by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes around 1920. Most claim it takes its source from the bible when Jesus tells his listeners, “You are the light of the world.”

I heard it often as a child and always thought of it as a metaphor for our spirit or soul — a nice idea or sentiment but not meant for listeners to take literally.

BUT (and there’s always a big BUT when it comes to the paranormal), what if there is a light that shines forth from each of us, unseen by the naked eye, but real, nonetheless? And what if YOU were one of the few that could see it?

That’s the difficulty facing the heroine in my current work in progress, CROSS WAVES. Not only does she see lights around everyone she meets, but each person’s light gives off a different color that helps her make sense of what they are thinking and feeling. And she is so talented at this particular skill, that she can track missing persons by drawing their light to herself. Sound intriguing?

Of course, every good fantasy novel has some basis in reality. In the real world, proponents of the little light call it an “aura,” and they claim that certain gifted individuals can see it. Others say the lights are caused by a medical issue, such as a migraine or neural disorder, and are not magical or mystical.

I would call it all hogwash, accept (gulp, out with it Amanda), I have seen them frequently myself. When I first noticed the strange lights hovering around my teachers and classmates in grade school, I referred to them as my “bad eyes.” I figured I would stop seeing them when I received my first pair of glasses and contacts in high school.

BUT… the lights didn’t stop
Rather, they grew in intensity, and as I got older, I saw them more frequently and in strange venues — conference rooms, restaurants, rock concerts, etc.

To me, the lights appear to correspond to an individual’s energy level, which is why I think I tend to see them around public speakers, who typically are energized. Often, they are colorless or white, but I have seen the lights as blue, green, orange and black.

Is it the shape or construction of my eyes that cause the lights? Do I have a medical problem? Or am I being fanciful in imagining there is something more?

Maybe, it’s a little of each. Whatever the cause, I hope I’m fanciful enough to produce a novel that will keep your interest and stay with you long after the final pages have been turned.

So, let your little light shine. But remember, someone could be watching.


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I don’t like to write. It’s work.

The day I finished writing my first book I was flying high. I mean that both figuratively and literally. I was in an airplane on a vacation to visit family in Arizona.

This was not the first time I had attempted to write a novel. I have five unfinished novels in files on a flash drive somewhere. Over the years I found one excuse after another for why I couldn’t find the time to finish them. I was too busy. I had too much responsibility. I was too tired.

I blamed my job, my kids, my kids’ activities, my husband, groups I chaired, how I felt, a messy house, my inability to focus. Sometimes I blamed other books…it was so much easier to read them then to write them.

I wasn’t even sure I liked to write. I mean, I had to do it all the time on my job, so why the heck would I want to write when I got home?

Then I would be inspired by something – my children, a love song, something I read or watched on TV, a winning baseball game. The urge to capture the moment in words was strong. I would drop everything and start writing. Until I ran into writer’s block, and then the excuses started all over again. It was just easier to quit then to keep writing. So I quit. Over and over and over again. Time passed. A lot of time.

Then one day, I heard a bit of advice from a successful author. I was listening to a self-help CD on a topic that had nothing to do with writing. The CD was actually meant for someone else. The woman on the tape was talking about her struggle with anxiety and stress and her method to overcome them. But in the course of conversation, she said a funny thing.

She said she had struggled to publish her first book because she was afraid of failing. Her fear made her anxious. She lacked confidence. She didn’t know if she could write or particularly liked doing it. She worried she wouldn’t be successful.

Then she had an epiphany. What if writing were like exercise? She didn’t like to exercise, but when she went to the gym on a regular basis she felt better, which motivated her to keep going.

Two years ago, I started feeling bad. My job was really stressful. I had gained weight. My hair fell out in clumps. I had to go to the dermatologist for a skin disorder. I suffered from terrible heartburn and acid reflex that had me up at night. I needed to do something to change things and fast. So I began to run. At first I could barely run around the block. But soon I was running a mile and then two. I joined a gym and began working out with a trainer. I lost 10 lbs. My hair stopped falling out. My skin disorder cleared up.

I wasn’t getting any younger though. The words of that author came back to me. Did I really want to write? Wasn’t that my dream? What if I treated my writing like exercise? A little bit every week, consistently. Don’t stop, no matter what. Keep on going, no matter the distractions.

I decided to give it a try. I wrote in bits and pieces and snatches of time. At my kids swim meets and during volleyball tournaments. Late at night when the rest of the house was asleep. On that airplane.

Nine months later, not only did I finish the book, but I learned something about myself. I like to exercise. I like to write. And the more I do both, the better I feel.

In Arizona, celebrating the completion of my first novel.

In Arizona, celebrating the completion of my first novel.

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