I’m delighted to welcome J.C. Kenney back to the blog today, and grateful for his message to us all.
One Word at a Time
Hi, friends! Thanks so much for visiting. It’s a thrill returning to the Wicked Authors to hang out with you today.
I have a confession to make, though. I’m no fan of the month of February. I live with depression, having been diagnosed in 2012, and the winter months are a challenge. After weeks of cold, dark, and dreary weather, by the time I get to this time of the year, my mantra is to literally focus on simply getting from one day to the next.
While this outlook may seem bleak, for me, it’s a necessary means of self-care. I know that, as the weather improves with the arrival of Spring, I’ll start to feel better. Until then, key is to muddle through and find happiness in the small accomplishments.
In short, just keep swimming (thank you, Dory!).
I often apply that approach to my life as an author because the simple fact is some writing days are better than others. There are times that the words flow from my head through the keyboard and onto the screen like a swift moving river. It’s glorious. It’s exciting. It’s fun.
I love those days.
Other times, getting the words to come forth is like clearing my driveway of a foot of heavy, wet snow with a shovel I should have replaced two years ago. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating.
And it’s totally okay.
Because any amount of progress I make is just that. Progress.
But what about the days I simply can’t confront the snow-packed driveway and instead head back inside to watch another episode of The Brokenwood Mysteries? To me, that’s totally okay, too, because sometimes the thing we need more than anything is rest. For our body, our mind, and our creative soul.
At my day job, I work for a non-profit that provides services to vulnerable populations. Our Phrases that Pay our prominently posted around the office. They’re our company guiding principles. They’re also pretty darn helpful in everyday life. One of my favorites is this one.
In my life, the notion that change is incremental, not instantaneous is every bit as important at work as it is at home and while I’m writing. The way I look at it, every minute you spend thinking about your story, every idea you discuss with a friend or colleague, every word you type, is a change.
After a while, those thoughts coalesce into ideas which become words on the page. Then those words become sentences, then chapters, until incrementally, you’ve written a story. And that, my friends, is a huge accomplishment, built upon countless, daily small accomplishments. See what I did there?
So, do me a favor, folks. Try to set aside, even for a short while, the worry about what we need to accomplish in the coming days, weeks, or months. Instead, take a breath with me and remember that change is incremental, not instantaneous. Take pride in the small successes. I think keeping that in mind makes life a lot more enjoyable.
How about you? Do you have a strategy or mantra you’d like to share that helps you get through the day? Tell me about it. We’re all in this together, after all!
In closing, I want to thank Julie Hennrikus for the invitation to return today and to all of the Wicked Authors for their amazing work. And if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse problems, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1.800.662.HELP (4357). Take care friends, and until we meet again, wishing you sunny skies and warm breezes!
Best-selling author J.C. Kenney writes cozy mystery stories set in his home state of Indiana. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two children, and a kitty cat. He loves motor sports, so when he’s not writing, you can probably find him checking in on the latest from IndyCar and Formula 1.
His latest novel, A Mysterious Mix Up, was published on January 7, 2020 and is available wherever e-books are sold. Find out more at www.jckenney.com and Kensington Books/J.C. Kenney.
About A Mysterious Mix Up:
Allie Cobb returns home from a book conference armed with hugs for her cat and her boyfriend, and dreams of a long, hot bath. She’s also getting ready to take the plunge by hiring an intern for her expanding literary agency. But it’s one for the books when Allie finds the town’s librarian—and her longtime role model—seconds away from death on the library floor.
Who would want to poison Vicky Napier—one of Rushing Creek’s most beloved citizens—on the eve of her retirement? But it seems there were toxic people in her life, like the handyman with an obsessive crush, and a wood carver with a hair-trigger temper. The list of suspects includes Allie’s boyfriend, Brent, who’s in the running to take over as town librarian. Avenging her friend’s murder could be a trap as she goes up against a killer determined to write Allie’s epitaph . . .
One word at a time, what a fabulous mantra! Best of luck with A Mysterious Mix Up. It sounds delightful and the cover is wonderful.
Thank you so much for the kind words, Keit! I do enjoy my covers. I’m a total cat guy and love having a kitty displayed so prominently!
Welcome back, JC! Thank you for sharing that message. In writing, as in life, it’s all inch by inch, row by row. I’m glad you’ve figured out a strategy to help you through the tough times, whatever nature they are. Thanks, too, for the reminder about the coming months – I have such a busy schedule I’m already stressing about getting my writing done. Word by word, it is.
Thanks much, Edith! Life is a continuing journey of learning new things, isn’t it? And here’s to celebrating each step forward!
Thank you for these words – a good message for all of us!
Mid-way through A Genuine Fix and am really enjoying it. Looking forward to many more in this series!
You’re too kind, Jill. I’m thrilled you’re enjoying A Genuine Fix. Allie, Ursi, and I really appreciate it. Have a great day!
So true! If we only concentrate on the big picture it seems insurmountable but if you only look at the next step you can get the “I can do this” attitude. After all your attitude and belief is 90% of the battle for any chore. No matter how big or small, I go into it with the little engine motto – I know I can, I know I can.
Can’t wait for the opportunity to read “A Mysterious Mix Up” which is on my TBR list.
2clowns at arkansas dot net
The Little Engine that Could is such a great motto, Kay! Step by step is really such a great way to go. Hope you enjoy A Mysterious Mix Up!
Hi JC! Love the message “Change is incremental, not instantaneous.” It applies to so many things in life!
Loved A Mysterious Mix Up. It was my introduction to Allie Cobb – will be getting the other books in the series too.
As for my mantra – it’s “progress, not perfection” and that can take care of most things too – including dealing with nasty winter weather like we’re having today.
Hi, Rose! I love “progress, not perfection” and will remember that one. We’ve got another cloudy, rainy day here in Indianapolis, so I’ll use that mantra today. And thank you for your kind words about A Mysterious Mix Up. Cheers to better weather soon!
What good words to read first thing in the morning! Thank you for the encouragement.
Appreciate you taking time to visit, Triss. We’re all in this together! Have a fabulous day!
Congratulations on the new book. Thank you so much for this beautiful post.
Thanks for the kind words, Sherry. It’s such an honor and so much fun to visit The Wickeds. Enjoy your day!
Thank you so much for having me today, Julie! I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the opportunity to share a few encouraging words with everyone here. Have a great day, everyone!
Thank you so much for being here! I love the message of this post.
Thanks again. For the invite, Julie!
Very inspirational. I too have a hard time during this gray, short daylight time of year. I got some full spectrum light bulbs for my living room, where I read and watch tv and that seems to actually help. You are so right about accepting the good days with the bad days. Glad you have support and a furbaby to brighten up those dark days.
Thanks a bunch, Taylor. My wife got me a full spectrum light on Sunday. I’ll have to look for full spectrum light bulbs for around the house. Thanks for the tip!
A beautiful post. I believe in celebrating every little victory, even if it’s only a blog post or a call from one of the kids. I try to focus on the good stuff and deal with the crap. A close friend of mine suffered from depression and the spectrum lights helped her a lot. Hope they brighten your life, too.
Thank you, Judi! I’ve often found the small successes are the ones I often remember months later. High hopes for the spectrum light. Have a great afternoon!
Small changes. Small steps forward. I really need to implement this in my life. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks for stopping by, Mark! We all need to remember how those small changes lead to big changes, I think. Have a great one!
Thank you for an inspiring post!
I’m so pleased you enjoyed it, Brooke. Cheers!
JC, I’m right there with you. Some days the words pour forth and others, well, they don’t.
And “just keep swimming” is my mantra for a lot of things – not just writing!
High five, Liz! We’ll keep swimming and things will be okay.
J.C., this post, and your inspirational message, came at the perfect time for me. Thank you for the reminder that everything can’t happen right away!
H, Linda! That’s great to year you found the message helpful. Wishing you the best!
Welcome back to the blog, JC! It is so great to have you here with such a timely (in multiple senses of the word) message. The day a colleague told me, “You make your tasks too big. Make them smaller so you can cross at least a few off your list everyday,” was a day that changed my life.
Hey JC! I imagine winters in Indiana aren’t too different from the winters I spent growing up in PA. The seemingly endless weeks of cold, grey, and gloom definitely affected my mood in a negative way. Now I live in a spot that’s sunny nearly every day and the sun has made a drastic improvement to my winters (that, and the fact that I don’t deal with 100+ inches of snow anymore!) When I get overwhelmed, I try to stop and remind myself to just take it one thing at a time. Usually that helps. Thanks for coming back to the Wickeds today!
Thanks a bunch, Amanda! One thing at a time is so perfect. Have a great day!
So well said, my friend!
You’re too kind, Liz. Sending you a hug! 😊
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