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.
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 . . .