Design your own creative habits

Less sleep = certain doom.

I’m just going to say this, because maybe you will understand: sometimes I go about things all wrong.

I get caught up in the must-try’s, the should-do’s, the best practices, and I forget to filter them through the lens of what makes sense for ME.

Those things might work in general, and they might be great for someone else. But most of the time, what I learn by trying to do what works for someone else is that I’m not someone else.


We’re talking about designing our own creative habits at The Gift of Writing this week:

I have this idea, every once in a while, that I need to improve my habits. I need to drink more water, get more fresh air, walk the dog. I don’t even have a dog.

So you can imagine what happens when I read a blog or a book or a helpful message telling me I need to get up earlier to write first thing in the morning.

My best intentions—having shiny good habits, being an early bird, getting all the worms, etc—turn into burning the candle at both ends, and that much fire will turn your life into a disaster zone right quick.

If you’re a writer (or any sort of creative person, really), come on over and read the whole story, and tell us how you create sustainable habits that work for YOU.

1-Design creative habits that work for YOU.

new father’s day reading

Up the Ladder short ebookHey look! I have a new story for YOU!

Last year, Father’s Day was not our best holiday ever, involving, as it did, a dead bird, a bicycle, and a very tall ladder. Up the Ladder tells the story. And this week only, it is ENTIRELY FREE to download.

(Don’t you love how I sound like an infomercial? CALL NOW! OPERATORS ARE STANDING BY! Except with clicking instead of calling, and there are no operators. Which makes it… not so much like… an infomercial…)

The official product description looks like this:

Up the Ladder.

A short, true story (20 pages).

When they wake up on Father’s Day to discover that a large bird has made its final resting place upon their roof, blogger Melissa Camara Wilkins and her husband are at a loss.

Between her visceral reaction to roadkill and his concern over heights, they’re never going to get that thing down—which might be fine, if it weren’t situated directly over a skylight. As it is, they can’t live under the shadow of the bird forever, and before long, their five small children are going to want to get involved. Or at least to climb the ladder. There is not even a Father’s Day card for that.

What I am telling you, basically, is that in comparison, your upcoming Father’s Day is going to be awesome. And wouldn’t you like that added confidence, going into the weekend? I know I would, if I were you. Thus: free story. Enjoy!

(I hope you will enjoy! And laugh. I also hope you laugh. At us, mostly. We will understand.)

Up the Ladder can be read on a Kindle, on the Kindle app for your phone or tablet, or on your computer using Cloud Reader.

And, just a reminder: in case you don’t have enough to read (who ever has enough to read?) my other short e-books are also free this week! Five Novembers, Outnumbered, and It Won’t Be Yoga. LOTS OF FREE STUFF, right here, right now. FOR YOU.

Happy almost-Father’s-Day.

secret project: revealed!

I am having the kind of day where my preschooler corrects my grammar. (ME: “Where is your…uh, your clothes?” HER: “You mean ‘are,’ mama. ‘Is’ is for one thing. ‘Are’ is for more than one thing. Where ARE your clothes.” And then she runs off. One assumes that was meant to be a clever distraction technique.) (P.S. She has dress-up clothes on anyway, fear not.)

Apparently my brain is moving slowly still. I blame the time change. I can get away with that for at least another week, yes?

[Let us all pretend there is a logical transition HERE.]

So! HEY GUESS WHAT! Secret project, no longer secret!

Check it out:

It Won't Be Yoga short ebook

Outnumbered short ebook

Five Novembers short ebook

Reading for you, now available at Amazon. Did you know you can buy and read Kindle books on your computer, your smart phone, or basically any device ever? See: Kindle Reader app or Cloud Reader.

So let me tell you all about it!

It Won’t Be Yoga: an essay

Think Kindle Single length. (5000 words, 20 pages, like that.) The Product Description reads like this:

“The first thing I learned was this: yoga teachers all have great haircuts, or at least really perky ponytails.”

Blogger and mother of five Melissa Camara Wilkins is not the kind of person who raises backyard chickens or cooks gourmet meals or power walks before breakfast. She does not iron the pillowcases. She hardly ever vacuums the ceilings. And she does not work out. (“If I could invent an extra hour in the day, I would spend it napping. Which might, come to think of it, be the opposite of making time to exercise.”)

But Wilkins, who recently gave birth, finds herself overextended, and not just in the scheduling sense. Her ever-helpful midwife really wants her to take up yoga, so she’s going to try. With all five kids in tow.

This should end well.

It Won’t Be Yoga is brand-new, never seen anywhere else before, and I hope you’ll love it. I wrote it especially for this e-reading format. It contains the word “groinward,” which I do not think I had ever typed before, probably because it is not really a word.


Outnumbered short ebookA collection of short essays, previously published at Literary Mama and Mamazine.

Remember when I used to write a column for Mamazine? Ah, good times. Also, if you remember that, you have already read this, though there’s a new introduction and I did rewrite the ending of one essay. Digital publishing: a tinkerer’s dream!

Five Novembers

Five Novembers short ebookThis is a collection of blog posts from this very blog. If you have been reading this very blog since forever (and by forever I mean 2007), you have already read this! If not: check it out!
But wait, what are you still doing here? Please, go! Click! Read! If you would like to! Which possibly you would! Because YOU ARE AWESOME. The end.

blogging to the rescue

light fixture

One bulb is burnt out. Also: see those specks in front of the bulbs? Dead bugs.

ME: [la dee dah, writing writing writing. dum dee dum, editing editing editing.]

ME: [quiet.]

ME: You know what drives me crazy?
DANE: Yes.
ME: Oh.
HIM: Tell me what else drives you crazy.
ME: This light fixture. It has THREE bulbs, but FOUR prongs. So the shadows from the prongs aren’t symmetrical.
HIM: The nerve! That is poor design.
ME: The fact that it’s a bug catcher makes it poor design. But still. Three bulbs! Four prongs! Why would they do that?
HIM: What were they thinking!
ME: Exactly.
HIM: Mmm-hmm. So… how’s the editing coming?
ME: [small voice] what?
HIM: Aha.