Back to Europe, Bye-Bye Coffee, Resolutions & Current Projects

After two days of traveling (we couldn’t come home right away because we had a class to teach in a large nearby city), we are home, sweet home! Ahhhh…. Yes! Funny enough, this morning I was dreaming that I was back at my parent’s house, waking up and getting ready to pack. When I finally woke up, I was beyond relieved. (Not to be away from my family, but that we didn’t have to start the long and grueling packing/traveling process.)

I’m a little jet-lagged, but that’s not the cause of my dull headache. In the midst of the moment, I made a bet that I could quit drinking coffee for three months! (WHAT WAS I THINKING???) So I’m on day one and fortunately, because I’m jet-lagged, I’m sleeping through most of it. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was two years old (Mom used to give us a tiny amount of coffee with milk and sugar — but hey, still coffee) and it is part of my being at this point. However, I know I drink waaayyyy too much so I’m embracing this 90 days and hoping that it will spark an overhaul with my health, too. I am quite healthy, but could definitely lose a few and make better choices with food. Kinda hard to do when the day starts with 3+ cups of coffee and enough cream and sugar to make my large dark roast taste like it did when I was two!

Wish me luck!

In other news, now that we’re well into January, I need to put my NY resolutions down, since 1) need to see it written in stone, 2) I haven’t made resolutions in a long time (I used to be obsessed with NY resolutions and would always stay home on NYE and write them out… in my new journal) so I want this moment documented, and 3) I can check back here in December and hopefully check them all off!

2016 Resolutions (related to writing!)

  1. Read 50 books this year. This comes out to about a book per week… realistic goal, I think. I already read a lot, but much of my reading in the last few years has been research for my novel, so this goal will be more about reading for pleasure, not just material for my book (which is also for pleasure, but you get the picture).
  2. To keep a daily gratitude journal. I have done this before and can say from experience that one of the most transformative times in my life occurred while keeping a gratitude journal. If you choose over and over to see the good in your life and world, you sorta just start seeing it ALL. the. time! It’s amazing. And not just in terms of what you get from the experience, but grateful people are generous people and I found it amazing how my capacity to give grew and grew and grew. So everyday, I’ll be writing this gratitude list. (And yes, I already have logged 10 days.)
  3. To complete the website building project (we’re building passive income sites) with my friend (I’m writing all of the content — lots and lots of content!) by May 1st. Big goal, but we can do it!
  4. To take two writing classes this year. It will probably be online since I live in a small European village that doesn’t have writing classes, but there are some awesome online courses that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I’ll probably take the first one this summer, after I complete the web project with my friend.
  5. FINISH MY NOVEL. As I’ve mentioned here, I need to finish this guy. And since I feel the love and feeling coming back for this project, I know it’s time to seize the moment. While I’ve been writing it leisurely in the late evenings, after May 1st, it’s all go until it’s done. YES!!!

And unrelated to writing:

  1. To complete my 90 days of no coffee (AHHHHHHHHH!!!!) seriously, I would love to be a “weekend coffee drinker” (do you have any idea how amazing coffee tastes when you don’t have it all day long? Ammmmaaaazzziiinnngggg), but it will take some discipline to get there. I’m up for it!
  2. To get into great health and shape. Last year was the first year of my life when I wasn’t active. At all. So this year, I’m going to rediscover that part of myself. I’ll get my fuel from good whole foods and exercise, not coffee and sweets! And no matter how exciting the writing is that day, I’ll get out of my chair and workout. I will, I will, I will!

There are several other, more personal ones that I think I’ll keep to myself, but those are the ones related to writing (yes, coffee is definitely related to writing!).

Writing News:

These days I’m writing content, content, content for the web project (passive income sites) I’m doing with my friend. I also picked up another job managing social media for a small business. I design and write their newsletters and make all the graphics for their Instagram account. It’s actually a lot of fun! I’m still writing, but it’s very little in comparison to the other stuff I’m doing and I get to be super creative with designing graphics — which I LOVE. It’s a nice “break” in my writing day! Each month I make an editorial calendar and that works very well for me (kinda like an outline). I have another side project of redesigning another friend’s website and rewriting all of her content. I plan to be finished with it this month. And I also write part-time for two content companies. This has been great experience for me. I will keep writing for them until the web project I’m doing with my friend takes off. Then, I’ll back away from those two. They pay, which is great, so for now it’s perfect. In the late evenings, I write my novel. Not everyday, but most, which makes me very happy!  More

2016: Rebirth & Keeping Dreams Alive

I can’t believe it’s 2016. And even though 2015 was one of the most exciting years of my life — full of very special moments, lots of travel and moving to a new home — I couldn’t be happier that it’s a new year. After all, enough already! Good times are great, but even those can cause stress.

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”               ― Anaïs Nin

And I haven’t even mentioned the years before 2015. Let’s just say… I’ve moved 5 times and 10,000 miles in the last 5 years and I welcome some peace and quiet this new year, and maybe, just maybe, an opportunity to complete a novel that I began four years ago. (Fingers crossed.)

After working on the aforementioned novel religiously for 2 years, I took a break — mostly due to life circumstances and a change in living arrangements, compounded with new work commitments. Well, that was the physical part of the break. But on another level entirely, I guess I broke that golden rule of keeping ones dreams to oneself.

My Mom used to always tell us, “Be careful who you share your dreams with — when you allow someone into your precious world, you can become susceptible to their opinions.” And the other side of that is that if there is even an inkling of doubt about a dream, sharing it with the wrong (aka doubtful/pessimistic/not on the same page) person, it can vanish faster than a blink. —For more, hop over to my site www.EllieLewis.com

Libraries of the World: Ireland

Trinity College Library, Ireland

Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Back to one of my favorite posts, Libraries of the World. When I was putting together the first one on libraries in the United Kingdom (you can see it here), the Trinity College library in Ireland caught my eye, so for this next edition, we’re not venturing too far from the UK, but you’re in for a treat. Ireland has some breathtaking libraries!

I’ll go ahead and start with the one that caught my eye to begin with!

To see pictures from 9 gorgeous libraries in Ireland (and Northern Ireland), please click here.

Post NaNoWriMo: New Music, Inspiration & Marc Chagall

Inspiration comes when you leave the door open.

Inspiration comes when you leave the door open.

I don’t know where my parade walked off to, but it’s back! No, I didn’t catch NaNoWriMo this time and no, I haven’t been working on my passion project, but I found inspiration where I least expected to. And I’m back! To read more, hop over to my new site here!

Words of Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

I’m not going to bore you with another boring analysis about Elizabeth Gilbert. You won’t hear me talking about whether I’m in the “Eat Pray Love camp” or not. I am, after all, in all of her camps: the Eat Pray Love one, the ambitious novel, Signature of All Things one (yes, it delivered big time for me), and the other camp she belongs to.

Which one, you ask? That one, I say. The one being that camp of people who are able to deliver likable, feel-good, uplifting and inspiring messages in a unique way that brings a greater depth to what your original understanding may have been on a subject. And I love that there’s a down-to-earthness in her messages, but they’re still sprinkled in fairy dust!

Obviously, I just started reading Big Magic which I pre-ordered months ago. And with NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I couldn’t have asked for greater inspiration and permission (yes, permission!) to just create while preparing for November’s marathon! Not be perfect. Not get it right the first time. Not hit the 1615 words per day everyday. Just permission to create and be my nature: that of creator.

I was going to save the book for next month when I’m traveling a lot, but I stumbled upon an interview she gave on Think Out Loud podcast that made me change my mind and open the book not 10 minutes later. (Her interviews are equally as compelling as her stories.) Anyway, what caught my attention is when she said this:

“It doesn’t take much. It’s incredible what a kitchen timer set to 30 minutes sitting on a desk will make you do if you do it every single day. I still feel like the humble kitchen timer is the most important tool in a writer’s arsenal.”

And that is the kind of statement that will cause even the busiest, most overwhelmed, most burned out writer walk to their kitchen and reach for their timer.

I had already put quite a few words on the page yesterday, so instead I opened her book. And I didn’t know what to expect when I flipped open the pages since the topic of creativity is as vague and me telling you I went to a new city and had fun one day. But, in her classic style, she starts with a brilliantly inspiring story about an even more inspiring man and poet named John Gilbert. It just pulled me right in. Page 3: I was hooked!

I’ll sign off with one of my favorite quotes fo far:

“Living in this manner—continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you—is a fine art, in and of itself.

Because creative living is where the Big Magic will always abide.”

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert

That’s all for now… I’m still slowly making my way through The Night Circus, which is delightful, by the way! But it’s going to have to share my time with Big Magic, too.

What about you guys? Anyone reading Big Magic? Any other inspiration books you can share? Please drop a line in the comments section if you’d like to share!

More soon,

Ellie

             Articles, Links, Books and Music for Inspiration:

Pirates: Tides of Fortune, by Jesper Kyd

Phantasm, by Jesper Kyd

Sparta: War of Empires by Jesper Kyd

Big Magic (is magical!)

The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern

Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Skybrary” at her old Frenchtown, NJ residence (WOW!!!)

Link to the awesome interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on Think Out Loud (will make you grab your kitchen timer and pen!)

You can visit my new site here for this article and many more!

Why I Love Adult Coloring Sheets (and Think They’re Great for Writers)

To read this on my new site (and have access to the links), go here. Otherwise…

A is for Adult Coloring Sheets

love this new craze: adult coloring sheets! Always been a pen junkie (you can have the fancy clothes—I’ll take cools pens over them any day). And I’m a paper junkie (yes, I’ll take Paper Source, Kate’s Paperie, or any other stationary store for that matter, over a mall any day of the week). And now that the two are combined (awesome paper + cool pens), it’s like I’m a kid again. Coloring was, after all, one of my favorite ways to pass away a rainy day as a child.

I might be a little late with catching on to this new favorite adult hobby. It was about a month ago that I was listening to a talk on YouTube, when the speaker mentioned adult coloring sheets. My interest was piqued. Then about a week ago, I flew to my Mom’s house and told her about them. She laughed and left the room, only to come back with a bag of adult coloring books! WooHoo!

Some have just really cool designs, like mandalas. Others are specific (say, all cats for instance). I was immediately drawn to the one with butterflies. You can see it here.My Work in Progress

I thought the images would be similar to a kid’s coloring book, but more detailed and soon found out quick: that is an understatement. The adult coloring sheets are way more detailed! Here’s a bit of my sheet after about 30 minutes:
adult coloring sheets

And another hour’s work:

adult coloring sheets

As you can see, they take time! But are soooo fun! One coloring book will last a long time.

Buying Adult Coloring Books and the Cool Pens You’ll Need

You can find a huge selection at Amazon, Barnes and Noble (and probably most books stores), or at your favorite stationary store.

Staedtler triplus fineliner pens

Now, for what you’ll use to color them. Obviously crayons are out unless you intend to go outside the lines. My mom uses very fine colored pencils which you can see here, but I have a set of really cool pens by Staedtler that I’ve been wanting to use for a while and they are perfect for the job. You can get a 10 pack like mine, or 20 pack, or 36 pack! For some of the larger sections of the picture, fountain pens or very thin markers work nicely. If you’re looking for markers, these are lovely. And no, they’re not Montblanc, but you can find awesome fountain pens for sale by Pilot here (and they’re disposable).

Free Adult Coloring Sheets & Cheap Pens for Sale

There are plenty of free adult coloring sheets online, but you’ll probably want to invest in your own book if you’re planning to pursue this new hobby. However, looking to try it out? Parade magazine has free adult coloring sheets, such as this one here.

And plenty more that you can download here. Just do a google search—you’ll find many more online.

And while I can’t offer you free pens to complete the job, you can find some pretty fine-tip crayola markers for a little over $5.00 here and 50 colored pencils from Sargent for $10.00 here.

Benefits for Writers

You’ll notice that many of the adult coloring book covers mention stress-relief; it turns out that therapists are recommending this hobby to their patients and apparently it’s a great way to let go and relieve stress, and take your mind off of things. For me, it’s a wonderful escape as a writer—an awesome way to step away from my characters and book to get a new perspective and some fresh inspiration.

I often find that doing something that’s mindless, but that also requires my attention (and adult coloring sheets do since they’re so detailed!) is the best remedy for getting over a hump in my writing.

And, well, any excuse to buy a set of nice pens and visit your favorite stationary store, right?

I’m curious, have any of you ventured into the adult coloring book craze? Thoughts? Do you have another favorite hobby that helps you decompress or step away from your writing project? Please leave in the comment below if you like!

Ellie

My New Site Has Launched!

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks. - Yo-Yo Ma

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.
– Yo-Yo Ma

Hello there,

Thanks for reading! So I’ve finally done it (waving arms and jumping up and down). After two weeks of steadily working…

My new site (www.ellielewis.com) is up! And you can find here

I’ve transferred all the old posts, but added some new ones as well. There’s a new series called Author’s City Maps: Where They Wrote, Drank and SleptThey’re city maps that have been marked with all the spots where the great literary giants lived, mingled and wrote their famous works. It’s an ongoing project, so by no means complete! I’ll be adding to it here and there and, of course, welcome your input too. The first one is New Orleans since the Big Easy has been an inspiration (a “spiritual home,” as Tennessee Williams put it) to so many.

Authors of New Orleans: Where They Stayed, Drank and Wrote

Authors of New Orleans: Where They Stayed, Drank and Wrote

In preparation for NaNoWriMo I’ll be continuing my journey through Your Book Starts Here, by Mary Carroll Moore, which you can read all about here.

For all the categories on my new site, visit How to Use This Site.

If you want to subscribe to my new site, you can drop me a line on the contact pageor just visit my homepage, go to the right hand column and just enter your email address!

If you’re interested in being a guest blogger on my new site, get in touch!

Happy writing and see you at the new site!

Ellie

Poll: What Types of Posts Interest You Most?

Hi there, I’m curious what you guys enjoy reading about most. Would you take a moment and pick your favorite three topics (or write your own if you don’t see it listed)?

I’ll update you on the top 3 next week.

Thanks a bunch!

Ellie

 

Welcome to Ellie Lewis Blog

Thanks for visiting my blog!

“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.” ― Galileo Galilei, The Starry Messenger, Venice 1610: "From Doubt to Astonishment"

“It is a beautiful and delightful sight to behold the body of the Moon.”
― Galileo Galilei, The Starry Messenger, Venice 1610: “From Doubt to Astonishment”

I’m a writer, reader, dancer and lover of life. Obscure historical tidbits and the unsung heroes of generations before keep me daydreaming about what could be. I’m obsessed with productivity, organization and processes—particularly how they apply to creative projects. If you have a favorite tip, I want to hear about it, so please share in the comments section.

What will you find here?

A little (and maybe one day a lot) about writing: the craft, the process, and the favorite processes and writing spaces of authors both current and past. There will be historical tidbits: some related to writing and some to other areas that intrigue me. There will be lists because I love making them and I love reading them if they’re good and interesting. There may be occasional musings about art, dance, travel, food and gardening because those things inspire me a whole lot.

So happy you’re here and I look forward to connecting with you,

Ellie