Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

When the Muse is Starving

When the muse is hungry, nothing gets written. Pretty simple. In the hustle and bustle of the daily grind, I find that it is my poor muse who is forgotten first. She is left to loll around in the corner, scrabbling for crumbs. Poor thing. I need to dig this book out again, and start living it. Big Magic with a capital “M” will only find you when you are prepared!


Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

This is an exciting month for me. Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, is being released! For those of you who are not familiar with Ms. Gilbert’s work, she is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, among other books. I came across a well-loved copy of that book the year after it came out in the lobby of the building where I work. The upper floors of our building are residences and they have a lending bookcase in the lobby. I never brought it back. 🙂 (To make up for my not returning it, I have left many, many, many books over the years!) If you have never read the book, or only watched the movie, please do yourself a favor and pick it up.


I came across Big Magic in an search for something a few months ago and had to pre-order it. It was one of those books that did more than just speak to me – it reached out of the computer screen and gave me a little slap! 🙂

The description reads

Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

That just seems to hit exactly what I need right now on my creative journey when I am looking for not so much a road map as a comrade for the journey. 🙂


To further tweak my interest, I came across an excerpt from the new book in the September issue of Health, which of course arrived before August…

“I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” Love it!

Ms. Gilbert believes that fear in life is necessary to keep us safe from harm, but fear in creativity is overkill. Yet, fear will always come along for the ride. The trick is to make space for both creativity and fear to co-exist but set some ground rules. Fear is “not allowed to suggest detours…fiddle with the temperature… touch the radio. Above all else, [Fear] is absolutely forbidden to drive!”

I think all of us, whether we are seasoned artists or just starting to explore our artistic side, need to learn this balance. As Katherine Patterson wrote, “To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”


In my journey to publish my first book, I have had moments that may seem small and inconsequential to outsiders, mere baby steps that felt huge to me. They took every ounce of courage I could muster. Contacting an editor, taking a class, outlining a game plan. Just being able to claim myself as a writer was a brave moment for me. Pushing the “publish” button on my first blog post made my nerves dance! Fear is a constant companion whispering you are not good enough, you don’t deserve this, you can’t do this, who do you think you are. Each day I learn to tell Fear to just be quiet and let me concentrate. I am trying to do something here!

What is Fear telling you? How do you combat it?

A great TedTalk by Ms. Gilbert on the elusive creative genius!! Enjoy!

and another on success, failure and the urge to keep creating!

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

Dreaming Big and Shaking in my Boots

I want to dedicate this flashback to anyone who needs to dream bigger…

Dream Big Enough to Scare You


Ok, now that I have your attention!

I saw this on Facebook awhile back. (I find a lot of great quotes on FB!) And wow, did it smack me upside the head!

But really, it’s true, isn’t it? I mean, if you are going to just dream small, approachable dreams, why bother? You can reach those with the smallest amount of discipline and effort, right?

No, you need to dream big enough to make you pee your pants just a little bit. You will feel uncomfortable; you will want to run home and hide under your bed; you will think about turning back and giving up many times. You will know your dream is big enough if the mere thought of it makes you want to throw up a little from the combination of excitement and fear of failure. You will be forced to do things you never thought you would be able to do. But you will do them, and you will feel euphoric when you look back on those moments and realize that you were strong enough, brave enough, wild enough.

Life is short. We hear that a lot don’t we? Life is short. But, really, it is. And sadly, it can be gone in a flash, unexpectedly and without warning, the rug can be yanked out from under you and wham! All that time you thought you had to go for your dreams tomorrow, or next week, or next year – it’s gone.

So I ask you, what are your dreams? What tiny steps or giant steps are you taking toward them? Are you willing to do the things that scare you a little or a lot to reach those dreams?

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, no. I can’t do it. There will be time tomorrow when I am stronger, when I am braver.

And I am here to tell you – you can do this. You’ve got this. You have the ability and the courage to do this. One step at a time. And with each step, you grow. You become stronger. You find that the step that freaked you out yesterday really was not that big a deal. Look at you now, with that step behind you!

You got this.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

A Blogger Recognition Award

I had a lovely surprise the other day when Mandy Eve-Barnett nominated me for a Blogger Recognition Award! Her site is always a great place to pop in and get some writerly wisdom and inspiration!


The recipient of the award is supposed to tell a bit about how their blog started. For me, Catching Fireflies was a leap of faith. I had been a closet writer my entire life, and when I decided to dip my toe into the blogosphere and actually put myself out into the world as a writer, I carried it around like a juicy secret for weeks before I even told my husband. Pressing the very first “publish” button was terrifying. What if people found out!? But here I am, over 500 posts and almost 5 years later and I am still here. I haven’t gone viral, but I have some dedicated followers and I have made many writer friends here in the blog-world.

It started as a place where I could share my journey from wanna-be writer to published author. Over the years, I have added some features like a Monday Morning Pick Me Up to keep us smiling, and I have talked about other areas of my life – the day job, depression, things that keep me from writing.  I have had my times when writing felt like a huge struggle, and I have ridden the waves when it has felt like the ultimate roller coaster ride! I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything. 🙂

I am supposed to share two pieces of advice for new bloggers…

  1. Don’t let fear stop you from putting yourself out there and don’t be afraid to make it personal. You never know what may resonate with your readers.
  2. Be consistent. I have blogging friends who manage to post every day. I am not one of them! I am amazed by them. But I can consistently post twice each week. When life let’s me I post three times. The only way to create a blogging or writing habit is consistent effort.

The rules of this award for my nominees:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  2. Write a post to show your award.
  3. Give a brief story of how your blog started.
  4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
  5. Select 5 other bloggers for this award.
  6. Comment on each blog to let them know you nominated them and link to the post you created.
  7. Add Blogger Recognition Award to your post

My Nominees for Blogger Recognition:

Bee Halton over at The Bee Writes (She is one of those super-prolific blogger friends I mentioned earlier!)

Lauren Xena Campbell at A Gentle Woman and A Scholar (Lauren is newer to the blogging scene but has some lovely posts)

Kate Johnston at The 4a.m. Writer (I have linked to her blog in the past – very inspirational!)

Angela Christina Archer’s Blog where I have found motivation and some yummy recipes!

and Harula at Words that Serve where I have found comfort and poetry!


Please do yourselves a favor and check out these lovely blogs! Inspiration is everywhere!

It’s Not You, It’s Me

bradburyHave you ever noticed that when you are struggling the most, others seem to be passing you at a record pace? Recently, I have felt this way with my writing. I have mentioned in a few posts that Life, with a capital L, has gotten in the way of my creative pursuits as of late. That, unfortunately, has not changed. I haven’t had the time or energy to write anything except my occasional blog entry. My muse is hanging on by a thread. Meanwhile, those around me seem to be posting at warp speed and cranking out whole novels while they sleep!


My inbox this week yielded a lovely blog post by The 4am Witer aka Kate Johnston, who I have followed for a number of years. It was about working through writer’s block, and she made some very good points. Two things that I am currently struggling with – writing anyway (write despite as Chuck Wendig says, which I talked about here), and also not letting the fear grip you and take hold.

One thing that Kate talked about though really hit home. She warned against calling it writer’s block when it was something else. I haven’t outwardly been calling my little stint in the pit of no writing a block, not even to myself, but I have been thinking that it is something outside of me that is causing it. I have blamed lack of time, stress, work, family illness, and so on for having caused my lack of energy toward my writing. And they have all certainly played a role. But, if I am being completely honest, I have to admit that the largest “block” is from within.

annetylerWhenever I am tired or stressed, I let self-doubt run rampant. I let my “what’s the point” take over my can-do attitude. I let the muse go to sleep and she is so hard to wake back up!

I have set my next book project on the back burner while we wait for the dust to settle around my husband’s change in jobs. Yet, instead of continuing to work on edits, or start the rewrites for Book #3, I have turned my back on the very thing that can help me – writing anyway.

So, now with this realization, it is time to brush myself off and get back to work. 🙂


Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

Let’s face it. Monday’s are rough. The end of the freedom that came with the weekend, the start of a long week, the return to work. To help ease you into your week, I wanted to share a little something that made me smile.

What To Write The Week After The Inauguration

post2I was poking through my tired brain for some ideas for the blog this week. As is often my habit, I scrolled through Twitter and Facebook looking for something that would catch my attention and inspire me. Sadly, everywhere I looked I found politics.

For those of you who have found yourself off the grid for the last few months, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the President of the United States last week and the celebration along with the months leading up to it have sent every politically minded person in the world into a tailspin.

Liberals are protesting and bashing Trump supporters. Republicans are bashing Trump dissenters and Hillary supporters. The media are stirring the pot by only broadcasting the news as they spin it, be-niceand no one knows for certain what is and is not true any more.

I am all for political debate. Our country was built on the freedom of speech and expression. Everyone has their opinion and has the right to state it. But go on Facebook these days and the simplest cartoon or meme have people spirally into hate-spewing name-callers within seconds. It’s no longer safe to open your mouth there unless you have really thick skin and 12,000 page dissertation supporting your views.

be-niceThe Women’s March that brought millions of women to their feet has spawned even greater discord and name calling. I know intelligent women who marched, and I know intelligent women who chose not to march. Both are within their rights. But I will say that the “peaceful” march that didn’t result in any arrests (at least in Washington, DC), didn’t play off as “peaceful” to my ears. There was again a lot of hate-spewing and name-calling going on. Even the liberal slogan “love trumps hate” seemed to get thrown out the window in the midst of all the swearing and hatred.

I will be the first to admit that I am not a very politically minded person. I don’t debate or share my political beliefs or leanings with everyone I meet. I certainly would never attempt to “educate” someone on why they should vote a certain way. Regardless of what side of the fence you land on with regards to politics or the hot button issues of the day, I am not seeing where the hate coming from either side can add anything at all to the conversation. All it does is make people angrier, and increase the tension between those on opposite sides of each of the issues.

So, what do you write about when the world around you has sunken into a spiral of hate? Scroll for kitten and puppy videos? Block everyone who has an opinion different from yours? Or roll up your sleeves and jump into the fray?


I choose to write about kindness. Kindness to ourselves and those who are like us, and kindness to those who are the complete opposite of us and everyone in between. That is truly the only thing that has a chance to heal our nation and our world.

Start small if you must. Start by forgiving your friend or family member who didn’t vote for your favorite candidate. Go to lunch, share a cookie, hug. Whatever it takes.

Stop posting incendiary memes or cartoons or tirades that will only anger everyone or make them feel uncomfortable. Not everything is a platform for a political debate. Sometimes it is just a place to go to look at cat videos and lighten your mood during a rough day.

If you come across a post such as I just mentioned, do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and just move on. I have yet to meet anyone whose opinion was influenced by a ranting response to something they shared on social media. No amount of argument is going to change this moment we all find ourselves in. People will vote how they vote and that is their right.




Kindness, people. Please.

Now where are the kitten videos? 🙂


%d bloggers like this: