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5 Surefire Ways to Avoid Writing

It's been a busy year. I wrote three books, one of which was co-authored by my writing partner Amber Roshay. But I'll be honest, I enjoy a little break time in between big writing projects. So I thought I'd share ideas for things you can do when you are blocked or needing a break and you want to avoid writing all together for a little while.

1. Take a Walk
It's just become evident that it's spring around here in the Portland 'burbs. The sun is out occasionally and the tulips are in bloom. I'm lucky because I have to walk to the bus stop to drop off and pick up my kiddo five days a week. So I'll just head out a little earlier and look around the neighborhood. Recently I spotted two chickens squaking around in someone's front yard. Hey, maybe that will spark a story idea, ya never know.

2. Bake
The other day I was mulling over the storylines in my books wondering if there was a commonality. And then I realized they all have some areas where food is the focus. The hero in Dating Maggie loves apple pie. And my heroine in Sarah Starting Over works at a donut shop. I started that story in the winter when all I could think about were these pumpkin cake donuts that you can buy inside our public library. I'm not even sure I've ever gone there just for the books, or if "reading" is just my thinly veiled excuse to eat something cakey and pumpkin spicy. In The Proposition, the hero makes a signature marinara sauce. Is there anything sexier than a man who can cook? Is there?

3. Play a Game 
Sadly, for my kiddo, and my sister-in-law, I'm not a big fan of games. But I will play Jenga, checkers and love a good game of Scrabble. This weekend I played Jenga with my son and though the tower didn't stand for long, that's one thing I like in a game, one that's not long. Don't even get me started on Monopoly.

4. Call a Friend
Having a family can sometimes get in the way of connecting with friends, but I think it's so important. Even though I'm a bit of an introvert, I need my girlfriends. And in the age of texting, it's really nice to just talk on the phone sometimes.

5. Volunteer
Recently I went on a field trip with my six year old's first grade class. They were seeing a play downtown based on the Bad Kitty Books. My group of five kids kept me on my toes and I felt a great sense of accomplishment when we all made it back to the school in one piece.

Now that I've done these things, it's time to get back to work, er..writing. What do you do when you need a break?

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Cake Mix Cobbler

When I need a break from writing, I bake! We have peaches on our tree and frozen berries. This is the perfect recipe for using both. Versions of this recipe are all over the internet. This is my version that is tweaked a little to use less cake mix to make it more of a crumble than a cake.

Here is the recipe:

Peach/Berry Cobbler

Grease 8X8 pan

3-4 cups of fresh or frozen peaches and berries
1 1/4 cups of yellow cake mix
1/4 cup of melted butter

Put the fruit in the pan and sprinkle the cake mix over the top.
Drizzle the butter over the top of the cake mix.

Bake for 45 minutes at 375.

If you have super tart fruit, like blackberries, feel free to toss them with sugar before adding the topping. I find peaches are sweet enough and don't need the added sugar. We like to serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Bon Apetit!


The Happy Hausfrau

One of my favorite blogs to read is The Happy Hausfrau.
It chronicles the raising of kids post divorce.  While, I'm grateful
that I can't relate on a personal level, I love her posts about momdum.
She seems like a real survivor.  If you are looking for compelling reading,
check it out, you won't regret it.