Tag Archives: Motivation

StoryStorm 2019: May Bountiful Ideas Rain Upon Us

1 Jan

StoryStorm, the brainchild of creative picture book penner Tara Lazar, is an inspiring challenge to writers of all inclinations to create 30 individual ideas for a story/plot/concept/book throughout the month of January. To further motivate, Lazar’s site provides a daily insightful guest blog from fellow writers/illustrators.

StoryStorm is the evolution of Picture Book Idea Month (PiBoIdMo), which centered exclusively on picture book ideas, and occurred during the hectic month of November (it clashed with National Novel Writing Month). Registration is free, just make sure to post a comment with your name on the registration post, and then you’ll be able to win a slew of cool kid lit related prizes, permitting you post a comment on each inspiration guest post. Be sure to also subscribe so your inbox will be filled with daily inspiration.

Both incarnations are widely popular with thousands of published and aspiring authors as well as classrooms of students participating to develop routine muse-filled habits while embracing their inner creator. In 2018, I decided to continue on my own with PiBoIdMo in November, but am also happy and encouraged to creatively ride out the ‘Storm in 2019!


I’m already one idea in with Wood You?, a meta picture book response to deforestation and both the liberal and conservative stances on protecting the earth’s trees. Think of it as the Lorax, but less furry and more direct and analytical. I certainly need to work on my pitches, as that book (from what I just wrote) sounds AWFUL!!!! 🙂

Quote Parade: Mini Habits

12 Jan

Besides dust, I enjoy collecting words of wisdom. Whenever a catchy arrangement of words motivates, stimulates, or wraps me in a giant smile I digitally engrave it into my personal archives. These motivational quotes appear in Stephen Guise’s self-improvement book: Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. 


“Fear can’t exist if you’ve experienced something and it wasn’t scary.”

– Stephen Guise 

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

– Sun Tzu, “The Art of War”

“As I age, I realize that now is yesterday’s later, and that later is a bad plan.”

– Stephen Guise 

“If you don’t execute your ideas, they die.”

– Roger von Oech, public speaker

“Emotions will either serve or master, depending on who is in charge.”

– Jim Rohn, entrepreneur

“I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.”

– Arthur Conan Doyle from “Sherlock Holmes”

“When you never lose, you tend to win. ” 

– Stephen Guise 

“Be happy, but never satisfied.”

– Bruce Lee

Quote Parade: Best of 2014

30 Dec

Besides dust, I enjoy collecting words of wisdom. Whenever a catchy arrangement of words motivates, stimulates, or wraps me in a giant smile I digitally engrave it. These are my favorite “other people’s words” gathered in 2014.

“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.”

– Dalai Lama XIV

“Don’t take yourself out of the game, there’s already plenty of people that are willing to do that for ya.”

– ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage 

“Eventually things get tragic enough and they circle back to comedy.”

– Mandy Patinkin from “Wish I Was Here”

“I’m not gay. I’m not a cop. Just a guy who sees a guy who might need a sandwich.”

– Bill Murray from “Broken Flowers”

“Writing fiction is lying in a good way.”

– Kristi Valiant, Children’s author and illustrator

“I think that it should become some sort of rite of passage that if you sleep with someone, whoever the more experienced person is should cook an omelette for the other. Wouldn’t that make the world a better place?”

– Anthony Bourdain

“I write picture books because I have funny ideas in my head that I think would entertain children.”

– Josh Funk, Children’s author

“If you don’t know it’s impossible, it’s easier to do.”

– Neil Gaiman

Musical Motivation: Don’t Give Up

14 Jul

What motivates you? We all have our muses, our creative Jiminy Cricket so to speak. It just so happens mine is a DJ. Music manifests whatever mood I’m in the… mood for. I’d like to offer one of the many tunes that have helped me, as the Japanese say, GANBATTE! (fight/press on).

The Caesars – Spirit from the Paper Tigers album provides that little push you need when the fear of failure trips you up. This song depressingly tells the truth f how life is hard and that you aren’t going to get much help. What I love most is how it doesn’t explain why you should press on. Instead it simply asks you not to quit. That’s enough for me, and hopefully you too.

The Caesars – Paper Tigers – Spirit

I, I need some young blood
Come Friday night
Bring on the big flood
Like September’s coming on
Summer won’t be back for long

Hey, let’s start a big fire
Let’s shake it up
Let’s try to open brighter
There’s no one here to catch our fall
No one here to hear us call

Tonight, this dirty September night
We’re stuck out here
You’re caught in the starlight
Running through these empty streets
You see this filthy you and me
Running through these empty streets
You see this filthy you and me

I, I know that the road’s long
It lingers on
And Lord knows it’s uphill
Seems like you’re not getting anywhere
You give up just before you’re there
Seems like you’re not getting anywhere
You give up just before you’re there

Hey, don’t lose your spirit
Seen all along
But its there if you need
Seems like you’re not getting anywhere
But don’t give up you’re almost there
Seems like you’re not getting anywhere
But don’t give up you’re almost there

Artist’s Way: Week 12 Check-In

26 Jun

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 6/7

I had my eyes set on a clean sweep for the final week, but somehow along the line I ended up skipping on Friday. I must say, I’m no closer. If I was a pitcher in baseball, I would be pulled from the mound probably in the 6th inning. I need to work on my finishing techniques.

Night Pages 3/7

A rather weak effort considering this was the final weak. I found that it was easier to wake up determined, but given my emotional state after the death of my uncle, I typically fell apart into the evening hours.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

Sadly, I did not complete the artist date. With the funeral/wake, and a trip to Toronto for my second cousin’s 1st birthday party, there were certainly ample time for reflection. However, the artist date is rightfully strict in that it be time spent alone with your inner artist. I had planned to go on one for Sunday, but I’m learning, it’s best not to save stuff until the last possible moment. Get it done early!

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

My mind and soul were with my family this week. I basically shut down to all creative influences. I’m sure there were several knocking on my door, I just wasn’t open for business. I’ve realized, that especially during a dark time, I should turn to my imagination even more. Creativity can help guide us through difficult moments, and even lead to greater productivity.

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

I was able to pull off 2 of the tasks, but I had already let the idea of completing all of them sink into my mind. Hello disappointment!

I didn’t bring the 12-week program to close like I had wanted too. I also didn’t allow myself to celebrate. I had convinced myself that I should have FINALLY sent one of my 60+ manuscripts on to an agent or publisher. Having not done that, I allowed my evil inner critic to look at the whole Artist’s Way as a failure. I can not do that. If anything, I should be proud. I stuck with something for 12 straight weeks, regardless if I was 2 weeks late in posting the results here! Accomplishment leads to success! Disappointment in small doses may be effective, but in this particular case it was just an excuse to not continue my craft.



and so can you!!!!

Artist’s Way: Week 11 Check-In

25 Jun

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 6/7

Despite all of the distractions, it felt good to pull through and complete at least 6 out of the 7. I should be feeling disappointed that I skipped Sunday’s morning pages. but at this point, I need more encouragement than negativity.

Night Pages 5/7

I started the week slowly by skipping Monday and Tuesday, though finished strongly. Looking back, I

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

I’m so proud to answer… YES! I rocked the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College. I was only there for 90 minutes, so I felt rushed. But I loved the   current exhibit, “Artists Among Us II.” It’s filled with a range of members’ work. While I was unable to discover the artistic merit in some of the pieces, I enjoyed the showing as a whole. Specifically, 2 pieces deeply inspired 2 separate picture book ideas. One dealt with a dirty unicorn, and the other revolved around a girl who swims everywhere. Since I went later in the day, I was all alone in the gallery. Well, I shouldn’t say I was alone. I was surrounded by creativity. I LOVED IT! I need to start booking solo sessions at art museums.

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

Most of the week was spent visiting my Uncle at Hospice. While I planned to turn my emotions into creative substance, I found that myself blocked. Instead, it was a chance to let inspiration. I was too focused on Tom to isolate myself into a productive state.

At HOSPICE, on the final day that my beloved Uncle Tom was semi-coherent, he made a request. “Jokes!” It took us a few minutes to realize what he was saying, but basically I got the message. He knew his time was up, and all he wanted to do was laugh. Even if his facial muscles were too weak to express it, we made sure to make him laugh inside. It made me understand that people expect me to be imaginative, goofy, and funny. By not supplying laughs, I’m letting people down. I can’t parade around like I do, and not tell a few jokes, even when death is knocking. I respect my Uncle so much, and him calling on me for entertainment is empowering.

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

What was extremely significant was that in my 11th week, I only completed 1 task. BOOOOOO!!! “Crave, go to your room. And write! You owe it to yourself to be more consistently creative!”
With one week left, I need to go out in style! Though, a part of me still has a “get out of jail free card” in my pocket. With my Uncle’s state, and the recent breakup with my girlfriend of 2 1/2 years, I know I may not have it in me. I do believe that I will complete Week 12, I guess I lack the confidence to feel that I will accomplish more.

Artist’s Way: Week 10 Check-In

28 May

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 6/7 Compared to last week I was able to rebound. There were several mornings I just didn’t feel like it, but I pressed forward. I won’t be upset if my drive is lessoning, but I will rather be proud of myself if I press forward.

Night Pages: 5/7 For a few of the nights I was exhausted and almost skipped the night pages together, but I fought through the night to complete them. I need to start these much earlier. Perhaps around 10pm, this way I can create a more styled review of the day. I don’t want to look back at just a sloppy mess of paragraphs.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

Yes Sir/Ma’am! My dearest uncle has been fighting the end stages of cancer, and also my beloved lady of more than two years decided it was best to part ways for the moment. Consequently, it’s been an emotional time for my family and I. In order to escape and gather my thoughts, I found a window of time and drove across the border to Niagara Falls, Canada. I may claim to be “Crave the Coasterer,” but it doesn’t mean I’ve conquered every roller coaster. There is a small marine theme park just a 30 minute drive from my home town, that I’ve surprisingly never been to. I decided to finally head over there. Sadly, there wasn’t much creativity to take in. The heat and long walks took their toll. But I was able to confront my thoughts and emotional pain from the past week.

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

Just like last week, if there was any synchronicity, I was blind to it. I must open my eyes to possibilities and start to believe in myself again. I’ve lost my way, my artist’s way.

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

Sadly, none of the tasks were completed. I didn’t even read the chapter to Thursday. I need to make it a priority to read it immediately on Monday. My family needs me right now, and it’s more important to spend time with them. However, if they are able to still head to work in the morning, I can still enter my creative workspace.

Artist’s Way: Week 9 Check-In

22 May

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 3/7 I allowed the stress surrounding the GRE and a family trip to Atlanta to overcome my devotion to the morning pages. I’d like to think it’s just the circumstance, but I’m afraid my mind/body/soul was ready to surrender and just used these events as an excuse.

Night Pages: 3/7 They were sloppy this week and void of drawings or creative spins.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

I’d like to be able to count taking the GRE as well as my trip to Atlanta as an artist date, but it simply wasn’t. Sadly, I have no artist’s date to report. I can see why Julia Cameron urges us to do the Artist’s Date alone. When you’re with others, you  naturally suppress the creative intake process. You’re too busy reacting to them that you forget to pay attention to the minute details around you.

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

Sadly no. If there was synchronicity, I closed my eyes to it. I’m very disappointed with myself this week.

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

There was only significance to my de-covery. I was able to complete one of the tasks, but I’m just so upset with myself for taking the obvious excuses to skip feeding my creative self. I’m hungry and need to produce! This was by far my worst outing to date.

Artist’s Way: Week 8 Check-In

14 May

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 6/7

I’m sad to report that I fell short this week and only completed my morning pages 6 out of the 7 days. I neglected to complete them on Saturday morning. I had barely slept for a few hours dealing with a personal crisis of someone dear to me. By time I finally woke up around 11:00am, I knew the clock was ticking to take full advantage of the stash of free comics available at the local comic stores, so I showered and head out the door. Later in the afternoon when things slowed down, I felt I could do my morning pages then, but for the first time I realized that was cheating. It wasn’t fair, and I had to take a loss. I’m ok with it. Sometimes you have to let yourself carry a wound to remind you the dedication it takes to be consistent.

Night Pages 7/7

I’m happy that I was able to hit the night pages out of the park. Looking back I see a great deal of creativity in the writing, a few sketches, and more substance. I did cheat a bit on Sunday as I wrote them in the early evening so I could wrap up the week early and get a head start on next week which includes a dreaded GRE test, and a nice trip down to Atlanta, Georgia to spend time with family and yes sneak in a few coaster rides while I’m there.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

My artist date was something we can only do once a year, and that’s if you happen to be in America and aren’t working that day. In its 11th year, Free Comic Book Day occurs on the 1st Saturday of May and is a celebration of comic books. The public is invited to local comic book shops and to walk with 100% free comic books. This is a way for comic book companies and shop owners to thank repeated customers and to encourage kids and adults to enter the shop for the first time and get into comic books. The books are from the major publishers DC, Marvel, Image and also from smaller independents. While the books are free for the public, each shop has to pay for each book (usually less than 50 cents). It’s not just a grab and go event, it’s more like an indoor BBQ. Comic Fans adorned in costumes and hero laden tees all stand around snacking on pizza or hot dogs talking about their favorite characters and stories. I just started getting into comics a few weeks ago and I felt welcomed into this exotic paper rich world. I went to 4 shops in the Buffalo, NY area, and in all came home with 29 FREE comic books. I ended up buying 2 comic books, mostly because I felt guilty and wanted to give back in a small way to the generous shops. The winner by a long shot was Seeley & Kane’s on Elmwood Avenue. They allowed every customer to grab one of each comic. I didn’t arrive until after 1pm, but even then I was able to grab 19 comics. This shop has my respect and whenever I purchase a comic from a physical store, they will have my business. Halley’s Comics was nice enough to offer 5 comics, and I could tell this was a small operation, so I appreciated their kindness. Any store has to be commended for giving away free comics, with that said Queen City gave away 3 comics, and Don’s Atomic Comics which allowed 2. In between each shop, I blasted powerful beats on a custom mixed CD and snacked wherever I pleased. I downed a DQ cherry dipped vanilla cone ( a personal favorite), a cheeseburger, mac and cheese, and even my first Cherry Coke in over 2 years.

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

One of the items I’ve placed in my journal was the batmobile from the 1966 TV Show… it’s one of those “dream purchases.” Well… today I just looked at flier for the Niagara Falls Comic Con, and that very batmobile is rolling into the area on June 9th. Will I be able to buy/steal it. No, but this is no coincidence. The universe is putting me closer to something I desire. It’s only a matter of time, before I connect with it.

Also another name of interest, Dustin Diamond, Screech from Saved by the Bell will be in town as well. It’s almost as if the universe is throwing many wrestling related stars into the area just so I can interview them for RingWriters.com or for future articles.

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

Creatively, this week was empty. Nothing was created, though I’ve been taking in. It’s been an uneventful week, though it’s mostly due to horrible sleeping patterns, and ample time spent studying for the GRE, and visiting my uncle in the hospital, who I wish a speedy and healthy recovery. I did get a nice bike ride in this week, was able to watch two new movies, one at the midnight premiere of the Avengers and one at home with Svengoolie presenting the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Svengoolie continues the time honored of tradition of low budget horror hosts, and I thought it was about time I spied this classic horror movie. The comic book obsession continues as I read four different graphic novels (in this case, a graphic novel is a compilation of typically 6-9 individual comic books).

I rebounded with the tasks this week and completed 6 out of 10. Thankfully, they were all written tasks. These exercises struck the heart and truly made me visualize my now and later!

That’s it for now. I do realize I need to step up the productivity game. I feel it’s happening with the coming of summer and my ability to now concretely map out my goals. Cheers imaginators!

Artist’s Way: Week 7 Check-In

7 May

1.) How many days this week did you do your morning pages?

Morning Pages: 7/7

It felt good to have to begin a new journal, asthe former was full. That was a journal I didn’t know what to use it for and I thought it was too big to fill, and now just six weeks later, every single page is breathing with pure stream of consciousness. It feels good.

Night pages: 6/7

I didn’t feel the connection with the night pages this past week. I wrote them too early or too late… and often just used them to schedule the next day. I need to tap into my inner conscious and release my emotions so I can sleep peacefully.

2.) Did you do your artist date this week? 

Given my lack of a date last week, my inner artist needed a romantic experience, and pronto. I’ve grew up in Buffalo and have spent many a summer there, but have never visited the Botanical Gardens, until Tuesday morning. The exterior is a gorgeous array of glass domed structures. The inside looks rather worn; probably the victim of state budget cuts. Though nonetheless, a leisurely stroll, oodles of photos, and a convenient nap on a bench allowed me to spend my 2 hours in style. The motivation for the trip was to get “inspired” for writing a picture book set in a Grandmother’s garden. I wasn’t able to immediately come away with more ideas, but they will come. I did however, use my down time on the  bench to sketch out a set of “Imagicises” themed to plants.

For those who aren’t aware, I have an addiction. “Hello my name is Crave, and I’m a roller coaster-holic.” CraveCoasters tells the story. Well, money is tight right now, specifically speaking I’m sitting on a small hill of cash, but not currently bringing any in. Consequently, I was on the fence about getting a season pass to Canada’s Wonderland (a massive 16 coaster strong park north of Toronto) so that I could take advantage of the free Sneak Preview Night on Friday, April 27th and be one of the first people on the planet to ride Leviathan, the park’s new 306 foot tall scream machine. The first task this week advocated taking the mantra “Treating myself like a precious object will make me strong.” So I went, and because of it I was able to create 4 new posts at CraveCoasters which generated over 1,400 hits since then. One was more like a true article than just an opinionated blog entry, which is productive for me sine I need to develop my journalistic skills. It may not further my writing career, but as I’m learning in Week 8, every step counts. And a little ego boost… it never hurts!

3.) Did you experience any synchronicity this week?

Synchronicity flowed through the night at Canada’s Wonderland. By chance I met Ken Jones, a fellow coaster enthusiast and president of the Amusement Park Historical Association of Niagara Falls. His words helped add substance to my article about opening night, and it’s always a pleasure to meet someone who’s also actively pursuing their interests. I also bumped into a 15 year avid coaster efficinado. I was envious of his upbringing for his father purely supports his love of coasters by buying a $250 plus dollar seat as part of an auction to be one of the first to ride, he’s also taken him to IAAPA (define it)

4.) Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? 

I’ve been trying to watch movies that I’ve neglected to see for years. Two weeks ago for the first time I saw Groundhog Day, and this past week I finally watched Pay it Forward which is odd considering I’ve owned the DVD for 6 years. These two films in particular are wonder workers. They not entertain me for a couple of hours, but they speak to my soul. And well… I’m ready to listen. Anyone know some other “powerful” films I should spy?

I slacked off once again in the task department, but managed to just barely pull off the recommended 5 out of 10. I still can’t believe I’m more than half way through. Twelve weeks seemed like a long commitment, but in actuality it’s just a short trip.

My lady has received her copy of the Artist’s Way, and my best friend will start venturing into the course this week. I encourage this course/book to anyone who feels they have a gift and want to share it creatively with the world.