What Happened When I Stopped Running

This past year has felt a bit surreal. As if the world was unplugged and we are collectively holding our breath, waiting for it to be plugged back in and spring to life like my laptop after a hard shut down.

Some writers I know have been absolutely unable to write. Their worlds disrupted understandably.

I was not one of those writers.

Continue reading “What Happened When I Stopped Running”

Finding the Focus to Write

Finding the time to write isn’t always as hard as finding the focus to write.

My house is full of distractions—animals, chores, deliveries, laundry, phone calls, the list goes on and on especially since this has become as much our bunker as our home.

And then there’s the other inhabitants who are currently working from here instead of where they have always worked for most of my writing career. I am never alone at my house. And even if these people are on a different floor, doing their own thing, not paying a lick of attention to me, their presence stifles my writing.

And yes, I know that makes no sense.

Continue reading “Finding the Focus to Write”

No Matter the Results, We’re Stuck with Each Other

Today writing seems like a better option than watching the news. But then again, that’s probably the better option most days.

And yet, the news informs our writing. It’s hard not to let political opinions and party affiliations slip into our prose. I consciously censor myself. Never wanting a snap judgment of my politics to keep a reader from hearing my story.

That wasn’t always the case. I am deeply passionate about my own political beliefs, and there was a time I knocked on doors and watched polls and wrote op-eds.

As politics has gotten more divisive, I made a conscious decision to keep it out of my writing community. I want to be an open-minded person who can handle hearing beliefs on both sides, but these days it’s so very hard to have a civil conversation. There is too much judgment, too much assuming and blaming and generalizing.

So, right now, while the future of my country hangs in the balance, I know that speaking my mind won’t change any hearts or the outcome of the election. It will only alienate friends and invite argument.

But as we move forward from whatever happens, I wish I could find the words to share my absolute desire that we learn to listen to one another. That we lead with our hearts, informed by our heads, but without the knee-jerk judgment and the hate mongering. We have to—there is no other way to save the soul of this country.

In my stories, even in my ‘dogoirs’, I always, always stress the positive. I believe in happy endings. I write them into my fiction and I advocate for them in my work with shelters and rescues.

I believe that the heart of this country is good, and that most people would rather choose love than hate. Hate leaves a bad taste on your soul and poisons your days. It makes the world darker, heavier, and so very sad. It isolates you, even when you join forces and hate something together. Somehow we need to learn to disagree without hating.

That’s my own challenge, and one I am wrestling this week while watching the election returns. We will never, ever move forward and tackle the bigger issues of this world until we stop hating each other and start agreeing to disagree on some issues, while working together to tackle others. We cannot let hate and judgment and the crazy need to be right or to win, dictate what comes next.

What comes next will impact the lives of our children and our grandchildren. Maybe we need to remember this as we face our ‘foes’.

I don’t know what comes next for this country. I can only control my response to the outcome, and no matter the outcome, I plan to choose love. I will acknowledge my own frustration or disappointment or even my joy at the outcome, but I will also remember and respect that at least half my country wanted a different outcome.

It is a great temptation to disengage, to bow out and retreat. That seems the easier path. And maybe one I will take for a while. But the lessons of this election season will inform me; they will inform my writing.

I hope I can move forward gently, with calm acceptance and genuine curiosity of other people’s views, allowing for respectful disagreement, but knowing that a heart is a heart and one is not worth more than another.

Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.

Honored,

Cara

If you live anywhere near the PA/MD border, I’d love to meet you this Saturday when I’ll be supporting my favorite locally owned shop, Soulshine Boutique. Stop by to see me and ALL of my books between 10am and 2pm (the shop is open until 8 and I will likely stick around longer than 2, but the books will definitely stick around longer because Lisa carries them in her shop). I’ll have special gifts for anyone who drops in to see me.

If you’re curious about what I’m up to, check out my website, CaraWrites.com.

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

And If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog. And if you want to know what is really happening in the animal shelters in this country, visit, Who Will Let the Dogs Out.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at carasueachterberg@gmail.com.

My latest book was recently released from Pegasus books – 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues is available anywhere books are sold, but if you’d like some help finding it (or want to read some lovely reviews), click here.

SHOW YOUR WORK A Week Later

Okay, okay, so I kind of fell off the SHOW YOUR WORK daily bandwagon, but I have great excuses.

Excuse #1: I was getting tired of me, me, me.

When you have a new book coming out, you have to promote yourself. I always struggle with this, and that probably Continue reading “SHOW YOUR WORK A Week Later”

It Must Be Magic

magicI don’t understand the internet. Or my computer. Or my phone for that matter.

I’m pretty much convinced that it’s all magic. Mostly a good magic, but magic still.

My son is a professional ‘coder’ but I don’t really understand what that is beyond Continue reading “It Must Be Magic”

I’m Just a Distractible Girl

“The more willing we are willing to separate from distraction and step into the open arms of boredom, the more writing we will get on the page.” -Ann Patchett

#truth: Writing is boring.

IMG_7302
My assistants waiting for me to write something

It’s very easy to find a suitable distraction to Continue reading “I’m Just a Distractible Girl”

Is Your Life a Good Story?

I’m reading a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller. I’m not sure how it landed on my bookshelf, but I’m making a concerted effort to read the books I have, so I recently picked it up.a million miles in a thousand years

This one surprised me. I knew Don Miller wrote Blue Like Jazz, so I figured the book would likely Continue reading “Is Your Life a Good Story?”

How One Small Terroristic Threat Can Really Ruin Your Day

In fiction, it’s the conflict that generally drives a plot. It’s what keeps us reading – wondering if a character will get what’s coming to them, survive the threat hanging over them, or have a fight with the crazy ex-girlfriend.

butting heads

But in real life, it’s human instinct to avoid conflict. Sometimes, though, conflict finds you.

When I got up yesterday, I was in a good place. Continue reading “How One Small Terroristic Threat Can Really Ruin Your Day”

It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!

Promoting your writing can sometimes feel like you’re waving a flag in a crowd of deaf and blind people with better things to do.

crowded street

Really.

It feels like that.

It also feels like the physics homework I had back in eleventh grade where I regurgitated all the stuff the teacher told me but I never understood.

physics problem

I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to do and ever hopeful that this will bring about the desired result. And yet, Continue reading “It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!”

Blog On, My Friends, Blog On

I can while away entire mornings reading and commenting on other people’s blogs.

And when I consider the number of bloggers out there blogging away, it baffles my mind.

Some of them post every day, a few more than once a day.

I’m tempted to think that these are people who have too much time on their hands,

wasting time

but then I realized Continue reading “Blog On, My Friends, Blog On”