Lori Robinett: {Creating} My Path

musings of a wife, mother, writer . . .

Archive for the month “September, 2013”

Attending Ozark Romance Authors’ Conference (#ORACon2013)

ORACon2013 Attendees

ORACon2013 Attendees

I attended ORACon 2013 over the weekend and had a wonderful time. Besides the social aspect of seeing old friends and making new friends, and the educational aspect of learning new things, the most important thing for me about attending conferences is the intangible boost of energy I get from being around a group like Ozark Romance Authors. Next time I go to a conference, I hope I can take at least a couple of afternoons off to write immediately afterwards while the juices are flowing.

Here are a few quick takeaways from ORACon2013:

  • Book covers are important (thanks to Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes for sharing the manchests of Hot Damn Designs and the Killion Group).
  • Editing can be learned – there is a process that I can use to approach editing (thanks to Tish Beaty who shared 50 Shades of Editing . . . yes, THE Tish Beaty connected to 50 Shades of Gray. Google her. Or be lazy and follow the link I provided back there. Go ahead. I’ll wait.).
  • Worldbuilding is created through layers – and the deeper layers are what makes a reader connect with the world (thanks to Shawntelle Madison and Jeannie Lin for sharing how they build their worlds).
  • Set a goal and make it reachable (thanks to Leigh Michaels for this gem – as she pointed out, as little as 250 words a day gives you a rough draft in less than a year).

Have you been to any conferences lately (writing or otherwise)? If yes, which one & what did you think? If not – what conference would you LIKE to go to?


How to stop worrying and start writing

This post got my attention right from the get go – I constantly struggle with worrying and let it get in the way of the creative process. Great post.


Many of us just know we have it in us to produce some good writing of value. Yet, either anxiety doesn’t let us get there or makes us so slow that there’s no progress over long periods of time.

English: A photo of a cup of coffee. Esperanto...

Some of us lose ourselves in the rituals we develop around writing–getting coffee, cleaning our desks, decorating a study room. Others wait for the perfect moment when writing will appear with the muse.

I’d say the only thing that can exorcise writing anxiety is a few pages of writing itself. And the only thing that can make you better at writing is more writing. Lots of it.

So how do you stop worrying and start writing?

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Vacation: Gas Stop (2)

Gas Stop (2) - Atlanta Illinois

Gas Stop (2) – Atlanta Illinois

This is the 2nd page of a 2-page “Gas Stop” layout about our stop at Atlanta, Illinois on our first day of vacation. Of course, I’ve always heard of Route 66 and we’ve driven on parts of Route 66 before, but actually standing on this little stretch of road – this piece of American history – was pretty cool. The murals in the town were amazing. The Palm Grills Cafe mural was one of my favorites. Oh – and see the smiley face on the sign above? Watch for a post about it and a picture of it in an upcoming post!

Vacation: Gas Stop

Route 66: Atlanta IL

Route 66: Atlanta IL

We stopped for gas in Atlanta, Illinois, and stumbled upon a Route 66 gold mine! What a picturesque little town! Loved the Route 66 park with all the beautiful painted highway signs. My favorite, though, was the bullet-riddled sign. Of course, everything on this stretch of road is “Route 66” – including a local mechanic!

Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

Creativity Takes Courage

The subject matter of this page is a few years old, but it still makes me smile. I started participating in National Novel Writing Month in 2004. I’ve won several times. The first couple of years, if you won, Lulu (a POD publisher) would print your book. They published Denim & Diamonds, which was my 2004 winner, and I released it to the public. As part of my NaNoWriMo responsibilities as a Municipal Liaison, I sent out press releases. In 2009, Megan Murphy, a local television reporter, contacted me and asked if she could do a story about our group. She brought a videographer to my house and they filmed my story in my scrap room! It was really, really exciting. I asked if she minded if I took pictures while they were filming and these are a couple of the shots I got. It was beyond exciting to have her here, talking to me about my writing. Even though the photos are not the best in terms of lighting, they tell a story.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been enjoying the CSI site (Color, Story, Inspiration), and when I saw the most recent case file, I knew exactly what photos I wanted to scrap. Take a look at the inspiration and you’ll see why I chose to do the layout above.

CSI: Case File 88

CSI: Case File 88

Life Planner

Day Planner Cover

Day Planner Cover

I mentioned on a layout last week that I am a planner. When I was about 8 or 9 years old, I began planning – creating a schedule for each day. Never stuck with it, but I tried. The problem was that I tried to plan every single minute of the day – down to timing how long it took me to brush my teeth. In 1990, my boss sent me to a Franklin Covey class and so began my adult foray into planning. The thing I liked about the Franklin approach was the idea of a common planner, a single calendar to hold everything, personal and work related. I used a Franklin up until just a couple of years ago. Oh – one of my favorite things about the Franklin planner was getting my new refill and working through the goals section. It felt so good to start fresh each year, and to look back and see what I accomplished, then look forward and decide what else I wanted to accomplish. I haven’t done that since I stopped using a Franklin. The reason I stopped was that the way I approached my day doesn’t fit within the Franklin parameters, so I tried DayTimer, and D*I*Y planners.  By the way – I have to give a shout out to Douglas Johnston – his D*I*Y Planner site is amazing. Definitely check it out. Go. Right now. I’ll wait. <whistling> I used to use the Hipster planner for NaNoWriMo every year, and liked it so much I created Hipsters to give to all the folks in my group that came to our kickoff.

I finally created my own planner. Here’s what I found works for me, at this point in my life:

  • 5 things I NEED to get done today
  • Morning Routine (inspired by Flylady)
  • After Work Routine
  • How much water have I drunk?*
  • To Do List

My format is set up in blocks, with a visual representation of 8 water bottles so I can just X them off as I drink. I also included “Create” in my after work routine, to remind me that I need to make creativity a part of my daily routine. It is just as important as doing laundry and washing dishes! The planner prints two to a page, so I can print them out on plain 8 1/2 by 11 copy paper, then cut them in half. I use my Bind-It-All to spiral bind several pages together, then I insert them in a reusable cover (that’s it pictured above). If you’d like a copy of the daily planner in Word that you can adjust to fit your own life, feel free to send me a comment (below) and I’ll send you a copy.

*I have kidney problems, likely related to having lupus. I’ve had several kidney stones and have ended up in the hospital more times than I care to remember. The easiest way to keep from suffering another bout is to drink more water, but I don’t get thirsty, so having a visual reminder in front of me keeps me hydrated.

Wander: Our first night in Michigan

Stepdaughter and I wading at Long Beach

Stepdaughter and I wading at Long Beach

I tried something new recently – entering a scrapbook challenge. It was fun, and I enjoyed it enough to browse around the internet for other challenges. I came across one called CSI. Does that just scream “ME” or what? The idea is “Create Story Inspiration” and the site is all crime scene themed. It’s a brilliant concept – wish I’d thought of it myself! Ha! Anyway, the layout above is my first attempt – the photo is of Jodi and me looking for tiny little shells for her stepson. We had been up since 4:30 and driven 8 hours to get to the beach . . . tired, but happy!

This was the challenge inspiration from CSI:

CSI: Case File 87

CSI: Case File 87

This challenge was so good for me, because one of the inspiration words was Wander. I’m not good at wandering. I want to plan everything, but this past summer has been very stressful and this vacation was all about healing and relaxing and reconnecting with my stepdaughter, who is now an adult, married, with a stepchild of her own. I allowed myself to wander. And I found a new, adult relationship with her, which was unexpected and so much fun.

Robinett Home Theater


Since our daughter moved out of the house a few months ago (and cleaned it out), her old room has become my hubby’s new man cave. That means the old man cave is going to be reclaimed as our new home theater! I’m pretty dog gone excited about that, even though we will probably never afford to do all the things I want to do in there. But I thought I’d get started with a sign. What did Kevin Costner say? If you build it, they will come. Maybe the same holds true here – if you put up a sign, it’ll happen. It’s worth a shot, right?

This is my first try at the sign and I think I’ll have to redo it. But this works for now. I took a sheet of poster board and folded it in half, then cut black cardstock on my Expression in the shape of the sign. I then cut red paper in the shape of the sign to make the “outline”. The wording was also cut on my Expression, and is adhered with pop dots (by the way – I’m out of pop dots now. How does that happen? It seems like I had packs and packs of them at one time. Perhaps I have a pop dot addiction . . . ). I have to say, if you use a Cricut or an Expression, investing in a Gypsy is a smart move. I used 3 layers to cut this sign, and it saved me a heck of a lot of paper. I think I’ll have to choose a different font for “home”. My hubby pointed out that it looks like homo and now that’s all I see when I look at the sign.

I wanted to run real lights around the edge of the sign, but that didn’t work out well. I tried hot gluing .22 shell casings (bet you never heard of that being done before, huh?) between the black and red layers to use as guides for the rope lights, but the rope lights were too heavy. Then I decided that I really want to run the rope lights around the casing of the pocket doors, so I just glued the red paper directly to the black. The look isn’t as dimensional as I had wanted, but I’m going to have to give it a little more thought to figure out how to actually light the sign.

In the foreground you can see one of our popcorn buckets. We have an actual popcorn cart, which sits just outside of the new Robinett Home Theater. It features a flavor bar with seasonings of all sorts. I have to admit, movie night at our house is pretty fun. :o) But I think we need a candy bar next. I’ve been picking up some movie candy when I go to Wal-Mart each week. Any ideas for how to display candy? Perhaps something retro . . .

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