On Birds and Thoughts

afterglow-avian-backlit-556663Sometimes, being alone with my thoughts is pure heaven. I string out complicated story lines in my head, recalling weird names or characters so that I can…well, invent weird and interesting characters. I laugh out loud at crazy shenanigans I imagine but I can also get myself all worked up (which is code in the Hall House for crying) over a sad scene that plays out in my mind. Hours go by with just my constructive thoughts and it’s a fine thing.

But other times, being alone with my thoughts is hellish. I obsess over an imagined or real slight, building up a resentment. Or I let worry build into a whole giant thing over what may or may not even happen! Those negative thoughts play in a loop and I literally make myself miserable, possibly to the point of getting myself “all worked up.” And here’s the frustrating thing: I probably indulge in the unhealthy thoughts more than the creative, joyful ones.

And here’s another thing: I think many of us–maybe most of us–struggle with those kinds of thoughts. It’s part of the human condition. But I heard a quote the other day –and you know how I love my quotes– that smacked me upside the head.

“You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.”   

~ Martin Luther

Hearing those words, I began to imagine a bird building a nest in my hair. But I wouldn’t just sit there, would I? Nope, I’d shoo the birds away, waving my arms, maybe even shouting. And if that didn’t work, I’d move somewhere, far away from the birds.

But when I allow destructive thoughts to build a nest in my mind, what do I do? Why, I just hang out there, watching intently, maybe even handing over more thoughts with which to build a bigger and stronger nest. Instead of actively doing something to shoo the thoughts away!

It was an eye-opening moment for me, y’all, thinking about those birds. And I’ve had a few times, alone with my thoughts these past days, where I’ve had to shoo the birds away. So thank you, Martin Luther (who has lots more fine quotes). And may you, friends, find a way to shoo those negative thoughts out of your mind and build instead a joyful nest that keeps you safe and happy.

And P.S. Almost forgot! Juniorette Hall said I always write a post that’s a plug for my WOW! posts. And I do have a post up over at the Muffin–“The Beauty of a Blog”–but it has nothing to do with birds or thoughts or Martin Luther, so there. Um… it might be helpful to you if you’re an author, so I hope you’ll take a look. (And yes, I know that’s a plug but Juniorette Hall is not the boss of me.)

Photo by luizclas from Pexels

 

 

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Blogs, They Are A-Changin’

cathy blog screenHave y’all noticed anything different about the blog here at Cathy C. Hall? Go on. I’ll give you a few minutes to think on it…

Yeah, it’s nothing earth-shattering. It’s just that you haven’t seen as much of Cathy C. Hall as you might have in the past nine years.

Nine years. NINE years, y’all. That’s how long I’ve been keeping up the blogging routine in one or two or even three blogs. But times change; people change, too. And so you can read all about my Change of (Blogging) Heart over at the Muffin.

And just out of curiosity…how many of you noticed that I wasn’t posting nearly as much as I used to post? And how many of you have changed your blogging habits–and why?

So until next week–or maybe the week after–happy writing!

Make New Friends

When Juniorette Hall was a Girl Scout, I learned that song, “Make New Friends.”

As I wrote “Making Friends Out of Blog Readers” over at the Muffin, the song kept going through my head (and going…and going…and going). The thing is, I’ve made a lot of friends because of the blog. Oh, they might’ve started out as readers, but many have ended up as friends, golden friends who’ve been a huge blessing and support through the ups and downs on this writing path.

And as a bonus, every once in a while I make a new blog friend and get prizes! Like a mug! Look how cute this mug is:

Mug1_100dpi

I won the mug from illustrator, Lori Keehner, who was over at Kathy Temean’s blog, sharing her art (and having a giveaway). If you write for children, you won’t want to miss Kathy’s blog, Writing and Illustrating. But she also shares non-children’s writing stuff, like the Peyton Prize, a no-fee essay contest. You’ll want to make friends with Kathy Temean (and follow her blog!).

And don’t forget Lori Keehner, too! She shared a lovely blog post about my mug (and I used her pic because honestly, she has mad photo skills). You’re going to want to see ALL of her delightful mugs and prints and pillows and t-shirts…well, it’s a regular smorgasbord of Lori Keehner awesome art over at her Society6 shop. I am not gonna lie; it was hard to choose which mug I liked best ’cause I liked ALL of ’em! But I have a thing for owls, and that little owl family was so cute…

So now I have the mug on my desk and I will fortify myself with a nice cuppa every day and hope that a little owlish wisdom will infuse my writing. Thank you, Lori!

And thank all of you who keep coming back to read blog posts and share your ups and downs, both the writing and non-writing ones. I so appreciate the friends I’ve made over the years, and if you want to know how you can make friends out of your blog readers, then zip over to the Muffin to read that post.

Oh! And sorry about that song that’s stuck in your head now.

About Blogging: Just Do It (And Here’s Why)

ImageWhen I attend writer events, I bring along my cards and pass them out willy-nilly. The card’s pretty basic: my name and my website/blog. Invariably, I’m asked the same basic questions about blogging. 

What in the world do you blog about?

Why do you blog?

Do you really think blogging’s worth all that time and effort? 

So after nearly six years of blogging, I have my answers down pat. To wit: (And skip ahead if you’ve heard all this before.)

I blog about writing–my path to fame and fortune along that glorious, challenging road to publication. That’s what I said in my very first post and I think I’ve stuck to the topic. (Well, Fun Friday posts can be a little whack-a-doodle, but all work and no play make Cathy a dull girl.) So far, I haven’t run out of things to say about writing. Which isn’t surprising because I love to write. Isn’t that a serendipitous way to move on to the next answer?

I started blogging because I thought it was something serious writers did. And though I make my living, more or less, in writing funny stuff, I’m pretty serious when it comes to the actual writing. I didn’t know that I’d refine my writing voice, or that I’d meet so many other writers. I didn’t even realize that blogging was an exercise that was building my writing muscle. I’m kind of like that ugy duckling hack that turned into the beautiful swan writer. (Um…beautiful swan may be a stretch, but I’m going for the metaphor here, people.) Which brings me to my last answer.

I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t written that first blog post–and made the time to stick to blogging. And sure, there have been times when it was an effort to blog. I mean, I love writing, but sometimes, writing doesn’t love me. Pushing through has made me a more disciplined writer.

But maybe I still haven’t convinced you. Yes, you–the writer I meet who smiles and says, “I don’t know…it just doesn’t seem worth it.” Maybe you should read agent Mary Keeley’s post about writers who begin as bloggers. She makes lots of excellent points about the value of blogging.

But I think she may have left out one that’s not so quantifiable. Probably because it’s just impossible to measure influence.

It’s true that I wouldn’t be where I am today, writing-wise, without blogging. But I wouldn’t be where I am today, Cathy C. Hall, writer-wise, without each of the bloggers who’ve taken the time over the years to comment, encourage, to laugh or commiserate along this up-and-down path to publication.

So yes. A thousand words, yes. Totally worth it.

 

 

 

For Me? You Shouldn’t Have! (But Thanks for the Compliment!)

sunshineawardToday is National Compliment Day, and I’d just like to say that I think Margo L. Dill is grand! She gave me the Sunshine Blog Award because she thinks I’m a “blogger who positively and creatively inspires others in the blogosphere.”

Now, that’s quite the compliment. And I have to admit I’m feeling pretty warm and fuzzy inside right now. But there’s more to this award than a warm and fuzzy feeling. There’s favorites to ponder!

Favorite Things!

 

  • Favorite color: Okay, that’s tough. Really tough. I love SO many colors. But I’ll say blue, as in a Georgia blue sky on a summer afternoon in July.
  • Favorite animal: SO much easier. Dog.
  • Favorite number: I’m tempted to say my birthday number, but I’m rather fond of 5. I don’t know why.
  • Favorite drink: Oh. My. Gosh. Favorites are hard. Okay, Coke. No, unsweet tea. (Yes, I know. But it’s still unsweet.)
  • Facebook or Twitter?: Facebook.
  • Your passions: My faith, my family, my friends, my writing, my sports teams. Not necessarily in that order if one of my teams is playing.
  • Giving or getting presents: Giving is probably the nobler answer, but…
  • Favorite day: FRIDAY! I work at home now, but old habits die hard. I still get excited when Friday rolls around.
  • Favorite flowers: Why must you torture me with this favorites thing??? If I must choose, I’ll say hydrangeas. But now I feel bad for wisteria and bougainvillea and daisies and magnolias and camellias and forget-me-nots.

And now it’s time to pass along the lovely compliment. I’d like to give the Sunshine Blog Award to Debra Mayhew and Lisa Ricard Claro. Their blogs always brighten my day and make me so very glad I stopped by for a read.

But honestly, all of you brighten my day. And I’d say that even if it weren’t National Compliment Day.