Habits-Good or Bad?

Each and every one of us has habits, little mannerisms set us apart from everybody else.
Sometimes they are clear and obvious things that others recognize from a distance and can say; “Yep that’s her, I can tell just by the way she’s doing (fill in the blank).”

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Your habits can be as innocent as twirling your hair, tapping your fingers, pacing, humming, or tapping your feet. There so many, the list goes on. Sometimes habits irritate another person. My personal irritation is watching somebody bite their fingernails. Look, nothing grosses me out more, but I know that my finger tapping irritates my husband. So, it’s a give-and-take with us; he bites his nails and I tap my nails.

Mannerisms and habits can describe you in many ways. They can reveal that you’re nervous person or perhaps easily bored. Your “tells” may never be seen until you’re in a stressful situation and then act almost as a self-defense mechanism; we let our stress out with these little idiosyncrasies.
Take a look around you, do little bit of people watching and see what you find.

But, you know, it’s funny – people aren’t the only creatures that have mannerisms and habits. Have you ever stopped and noticed your animals actions?

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For instance I have three cats and each one of them has her own particular habit that they do. My little gray likes to find a furry blanket to curl up and then she start sucking on the fur. My long hair black-and-white one loves to sit in the middle of the doorway, not in & not out. No, she is right smack across the threshold, as if she can’t make a decision where she wants to go. And my oldest cat, who happens to be almost 18, refuses to drink water, unless it’s out of a running tap.

Even the animals out in the wild have their own particular habits. Some birds migrate to the same exact location every year without fail, without deviation. As a child, my parents would take us while the snow was still on the ground, to see the Canadian Geese that came by the hundreds to the lakes during their yearly migration. So you see, habits are not restricted to humans. Some are natural; cause from your heredity and others – who knows why we start with habits.

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As a writer I think it’s really important to bring your characters to life by giving them habits. They can be irritating, endearing, or unconscious but they need to be there. These mannerisms give your character more depth and help reader get to know them better. For instance Megan, in my Citrus Beach Mystery series is a pacer. When she gets nervous she paces and often irritates those around her by doing this. It’s these little things that let you begin to understand the character more.

So, as you sit there on a bench and people watch, try figure out what habits strangers show without realizing. Can some of those habits that you’re watching from other people be worked into your story?

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Give your character some life, give them some interest, and give them some habits.

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Sleep? Not Me!

It’s happened again!

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I’ve  caught myself staring off into space, not really paying attention to what’s going on around me as I formed the thoughts of the next scene of my book. I’m oblivious to what people are saying and doing. I’m sure every author has gone through this: that constant state of thinking ahead of what you want to write. Sometimes the make-believe world gets in the way the real world.

Have your ever had one of those nights where you just keep thinking of something over and over and over until finally nothing is going to solve the sleeplessness but to get out of bed, sit in front of the computer and write down what’s going on in your mind? And isn’t it amazing how once you’ve written that last word and click enter, you’re ready to go back to sleep with no problems? Your mind has released what it needed for you to write and now you can relax. At least until the next compelling thought comes along!

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But writers aren’t the only ones to get caught in this maze of forgetfulness. I know many of my friends have admitted to getting in their car, driving to a destination and not remember doing the actual driving; their mind has been on something completely different. Sometimes it amazes me how we actually live and survive in this hectic world without having some kind of major accident happen to us. It’s as if our mind is able to compartmentalized itself. One part of your mind is going full throttle on working out your thoughts and ideas, while the other part of your mind is keeping you on the straight narrow and, hopefully, safe. The mind is truly a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I’ve learned from experience not to judge somebody when I see a kind of dazed look on their face, or when they don’t answer my question right away. You never know where their mind has wandered off to; it might be a better conversation then they’re having with me, you never know.

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So keep thoughts flowing keep, yourself safe and let your imagination roam. That’s what God gave it to us for, it’s what puts us on the elevation chart, higher than the animals.

And try to get a good night’s sleep!

Yea! It’s Summer.

The dog days of summer are here!

Schools out. Graduations are over. Vacations are starting. And the long days return to heat, humidity, and fun. Whether you’re sitting by the pool sipping a sweet tea, stretched out on the sand at the beach or camping in the wilderness; there some activities that just screams summer.

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The summer can be a time of relaxation, or a time to catch up and get all those extra chores and Honey-Do lists done around the house. This is also a time to start anew; to get ready for the whole new beginning whether the new job, a new home, a new town. Summertime is also the time when some are house shopping, so they can be in their new home by the start of school. This is the time for families to have reunions and catch up with each other.

 

But for me summertime is a time to relax, a time to write, a time to read, the time to just enjoy God’s earth.

There are so many things to see if you just take the time to look. Down here where we live most of the Tourists going back up north and traffic is much lighter; now is the time we will see a lot more wildlife come out in the open. It’s mating season for gators, the otters are out playing in the ponds more, the birds are everywhere, turtles are laying their eggs.

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Yes, summer time in the south takes on a very relaxed, laid back feeling. So will you spend your time lounging by the pool, trying to surf the waves at the beach, camping and getting back to nature; or you going to go in some exotic vacations and see other parts of the country or around the world?

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Whatever you do; it’s your summer-have fun and enjoy it!

AS THE PAGE TURNS…

It was unusually quiet at our house tonight.  There was no loud noise coming from the TV, no sounds of war coming from the computer games, no barking from one spoiled Beagle looking for attention and no shouts of “Get out of that fridge-you just ate!”

Instead soft jazz music played in the  background and the gentle snores from one (or both) of the cats were what could be heard.  Each of us were in our own worlds (or to be more literal chairs).  And what were we doing that kept us so occupied that we did not need any electronic entertainment?  READING!

My son has recently re-discovered Steven King and was engrossed in a book of the writer’s short stories.  My husband was reading a non-fiction about Tuxedo Park and I was finishing up a book about writing: Authors in Bathrobes (Lauren Carr).

We all took a break at the same time, and each declared they were reading the best book.  We even took time to talk about each of the books and have a conversation.  (Do you have any idea how hard that is when you have a teenager?).  When we had finished, we each went back to our book to become part of the story once more.

Before I knew it, my husband was heading off to bed and my son to the shower: the evening was over.  It was a wonderful evening too.  We survived a night of being “unplugged” and would live to brag about it.

As a new writer, I have been pouring over author forums on the internet, trying to absorb as much information as I can.  One word of advise that was repeated over and over was to READ other author’s books.  No problem for me; I’ve been known to read a book a day.  But I was surprised at this advise.  I find that they are right, you know.  When you read as an author, the written word is viewed with different eyes.  Little things grab you, and you see different styles of writing to tell similar stories.

So I will continue to READ, Read, Read and Learn, Learn, Learn.

And hopefully, as a family, we will share more peaceful evenings like tonight!

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