The Day Of The Do Over!

On December 19th, anyone who decides to participate will re-post their favorite blog offering from earlier in the year, or one that you believe failed to receive the exposure it deserved. I’m posting a day early!

So as everyone hops from one blog to another, what you will be reading is the best of the best (as determined by you) from this 2014. Today, the blogosphere will be chock full of 2014 writing brilliance! Encouragement, enlightenment, knowledge, bared souls, stimulation, hilarity, insecurities, success stories! All on display… TODAY. And it couldn’t be any easier to take part…no writing necessary! Since I’m a day early, you can still sign up for the blogfest – just click on the badge!

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You are wrapped in the golden silence of a ceiling-to-floor booklined study, hunched over the oak desk on which 50-odd pages of your latest manuscript are spread out…

A cool pine-scented breeze wafts gently through the open window. From the third-floor level, you can soak in the green landscape and distant mountain peaks.

Pen poised in mid-air, you and your muse in perfect harmony, as your mind collects a myriad of images, all restless and impatient, waiting and hoping to be chosen as “the one”, the next popular idea for the epic story unfolding. You examine the next idea…


Your eyes pop open. The rancid smell from your neighbours overfried lunch assaults your senses, while the brat screaming at the top of his lungs eliminates every trace of the verdant pastures!


 Creativity gone – in a puff of smoke (and that’s from the jalopy that has backfired in its tenth attempt to get going!)

Goodbye exotic writing location!

Hello blank WordPress document…

The myriad of images scatter, scared away by the string of vocabulary which has been unleashed by Brat Mama, who appears determined to compete with the toddler, in the Who-Can-Scream-The-Loudest category. New images pop up. They flood the creative well. This includes the mouthful that may be delivered to Brat Mama, censored words that are far removed from the epic world of the “booklined study moment”. But wait. Some of these thoughts are good. Mmmm, can’t rule them out completely. There could be some gems hidden amongst that batch. Those censored words have potential. Great ideas for that scene on conflict.

Okay, back to the Word document. Type a few sentences. And then… blank. Meanwhile, the screeching contest has subsided. Desperate for a few more writerly ideas, you entertain a fleeting moment of madness… maybe the screeching contest should continue… there’s a need to wrap up the conflict scenes. Ha! The muse refuses to budge!

So what next?

I think that the essence of creativity doesn’t really take place in front of the computer, or hovering over a blank sheet of paper at the oak desk. It’s all around you, every day. It takes place in the totality of your day-to-day life, everything that has happened before you actually sit down and face that blank page.

All life experiences contain numerous creative moments, story possibilities which are waiting to be shaped into workable ideas and then put down onto paper. You have to be aware of your surroundings – all the time! It’s in the snippet of dialogue at the supermarket checkout point, that billboard image you pass everyday, a classified newspaper advert, that obituary that brings your character to life. And you need to explore different ways of doing things – for example, make contact with somebody you’ve never met before, interview a journalist, street artist, video game designer…

There are hundreds of places where characters are lurking, waiting to be found. For example, you need never be stuck with character ideas again. Find inspiration by checking out 365 encounters with strangers HERE. And remember, that’s only one example.

So watch the world go by.

Look around you.

Connect with people.

And listen.

The story ideas are there, all waiting to be snatched up.

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The above post was first published on January 13, at The Insecure Writer’s Support Group website.

I’m part of the admin over at The Insecure Writers Support Group and I’m extending an invitation to all writers… come over and join us at 
We’d love to see you there… there is something for everybody!

Our members include published as well as unpublished writers, traditional as well as indie, writers who have been writing for decades as well as newbies.
There are those who write fiction and those who write non-fiction, which include plays, novels, novellas, novelettes, flash fiction, short stories, poetry, memoirs, childrens’ stories, picture book stories, newspaper articles, inspirational/motivational writers… just to name a few…

There are many and varied types of writers in the group: “soon-to-be-published”, “hoping-to-be-published” and “will-I-ever-be-published?” and also “it’s-not-a-train-smash-if-I-remain-unpublished” writers… we cater for ALL forms of “writerly insecurities”…

We also have a Facebook group:

and the newly-formed Critique Circle:

Have a great weekend!


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on December 18, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    How many creative ways can I think of silencing that brat…?

  2. Julie K Pick on December 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I will be thinking of you as I lurk around for creative characters today! Great tie-in with the IWSG! You’ve been such an integral force of the group, Michelle! I’ll also be posting in the blogfest, thanks to you!

  3. Beth on December 18, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    ooh I loved this!! I did my first IWSG post this month and it was so nice and freeing. I had no idea how much it would help. great deja vu post (and new to me!) 🙂

  4. Shelly on December 18, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Being a mom of 5, I can write no matter what.

  5. Patricia Lynne on December 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    The post started out so calm and serene and just went to hell. That’s very writing like! I like the moral of the story too: Go live and you’ll find your story.

  6. Robin Rivera on December 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Hi, I’m stopping in from the Deja Vu Blogfest. This was a cute post, I’m glad you shared it today. I hope you have a great weekend and enjoy the blogfest.

  7. Lexa Cain on December 19, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    I agree it’s awfully hard to tune out your surroundings and concentrate on your writing. At least you have a sense of humor about it. (I often lose mine…)

  8. DL Hammons on December 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    And there’s the rub! As writers we spend our days and nights hunched over well-worn keyboards…but what we need to be writing about is out there in the world at large. HIP-HIP-HOORAY for Google and Wikipedia! 🙂

    Thank you for re-sharing this today! 🙂

  9. C. Lee McKenzie on December 19, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Yep that’s exactly my plan. It seems we’re on the same path. So you’re posting Deja Vu early and I’m posting it late. Between the two of us we’re just right.

    Merry Christmas.

  10. Chris Fries on December 19, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    Get re-post!

    Managing distractions can be extremely hard. Creativity is rarely a force that can be constrained to operate whenever we want it to.

    But the good news is that I find creativity is really like a short explosion that leaves shiny little nuggets of inspiration scattered around as residue — the “creative” moment comes and goes quickly and then the grunt-work of sweeping up the nuggets begins.

    That grunt-work CAN be constrained to operate when and where we demand it, even when uninspired. In spite of distractions.

    Just keep sweeping up the nuggets until the next explosion. 🙂

    Happy Deja Vu!

  11. Krystal Jane on December 19, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    So true! There’s no such thing as “I have no ideas.” You can get a story idea walking to the mailbox if you’re open to it. *high five*

  12. S. Katherine Anthony on December 19, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Beautifully written! Every single life experience does offer possibilities, I missed this the first time around so I’m glad you chose it for the hop. 😉

  13. dolorah on December 20, 2014 at 2:51 am

    Permission to be nosy, thanks 🙂

  14. Damyanti on December 20, 2014 at 3:06 am

    I can write about anything at all :).

    Beautiful post, Michelle.

  15. Murees Dupé on December 20, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I have come to dislike my neighbors noisy kids. I have had many aha moments, only to have them disappear. Have a Merry Christmas and I great New Year!

  16. Hilary on December 20, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Michelle – great ideas for creativity and those ideas are all around us – but breaking into our space, when we’re in the middle of something is a pain!

    I’m lucky I seem never to run out of ideas .. and appreciate others creativity that I can then write about ..

    I may join the ISWG next year later on … cheers and am glad you’re keeping your beady eyes open for ideas … have a happy pre-Christmas week – Hilary

  17. joylene on December 21, 2014 at 1:24 am

    I agree! Not that it’s a surprise. Your posts always make me smile and think, YES! Live in the now and all things become amazing and inspiring and incredible. Great post, Michelle. And the idea of the hop is excellent.

  18. LD Masterson on December 21, 2014 at 6:03 am

    No, it’s okay. That screaming mama works for me. Of course, I write murder mysteries so…

  19. Michele Truhlik on December 21, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    So true. Creativity is everywhere! And how often we forget that when we’re staring at the blank page. You mentioned supermarket and it made me think of my strange encounter at the grocery store that had me coming home to sit right down and write about blog post about it. (you can check it out if you want: it’s here at
    The gems are out there every day, aren’t they? Thanks for the reminder!Thanks also for including the 365 project: very cool idea. I’m so glad you brought up all the great things about the Insecure Writers Group: you make it sound so inviting. I’ve thought about joining in the past but was always too insecure to make the move. I think I’ll go ahead and take that step now, thanks to you.
    Hope you’re enjoying the Deja Vu blogfest weekend. Meeting so many great bloggers!
    michele at Angels Bark

  20. Trisha on December 22, 2014 at 1:16 am

    Yech … screaming brats! I might not be able to handle that too well 😉

  21. J.L. Campbell (@JL_Campbell) on December 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    That was a great post, Michelle.
    Creativity is indeed contained in the business of life and the things that surround us.

  22. Medeia Sharif on December 22, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve written in the heat and cold, in complete silence and while neighbors are loud, alone and in airports and restaurants…that first visual is very lovely, though.

    Happy Holidays.

  23. Michael Di Gesu on December 25, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    EXTREMELY well written, Michelle! You so nailed it!

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, MICHELLE…. Hope you are enjoying ALL you gigs and having a blast!

    ALL the best for 2015! I can’t wait to read what’s next!

    Take care,

    BIG HUGS, from the US!

  24. Jemima Pett on December 27, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    I really enjoyed that, thank you! And I’ll be joining you at the ISWG this year… I hope you’ll let me in!

  25. Nick Wilford on December 27, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Great repost! We all need to keep our eyes and ears open. Have a great 2015.

  26. Suzanne on December 29, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    I posted on the day, but it’s taken me this long to find time to work through the list! It’s all about the taking part 🙂 Thanks for the link, had a browse around his site, not sure I could approach a stranger every day and ask for a photograph! Will stick to people-watching from a safe distance LOL! x

  27. Anna Simpson on December 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    And a great post it was/is. Have a great New Years.

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

    I was expecting something around Dec 15th. Didn’t get it. I hope it’s because you changed your mind and not because it was lost in the email. 🙂

  28. Guilie on January 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Loved it! Indeed, inspiration is wherever life is. We just need to keep our eyes open, pen and paper handy, and understanding friends that don’t mind us interrupting conversations to jot down a cool comeback overheard at the next table 😉 Thanks for resharing, Michelle!

    Guilie @ Quiet Laughter

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