• Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

    Ordinary people. Extraordinary romance.

How do you kickstart your muse when you're stuck writing?

#Throwback Thursday

This post originally appeared October 25, 2009. None of the advice to kickstart your muse has lost its relevance. . .

I’m back from a weekend writing retreat and feeling recharged. It’s one thing to say “If I just had a chunk of time. . .” and actually sitting down and writing. I pushed through and finished my latest W.I.P.

How can you kickstart your muse?

How do you kickstart your muse when you're stuck writing?


  • Don’t get out of the habit of daily writing.  It’s easy to do. Life intrudes and “I’ll write tomorrow” can become a mantra. Instead, set your alarm for 10 minutes. You’ll be surprised how much you can write in that time and how much over the limit you’ll go.
  • Turn off your inner editor. Don’t search for the perfect word. I’m a fan of XXX. When in doubt for the best word, the name of that character in the 2nd chapter, or whatever it is that you’re stuck on, insert XXX. When you come back to it during your edits, it won’t seem as important.
  • Don’t reread what you’ve written. In preparation for this retreat, I printed off the last ten pages of what I’d written. I never looked at them. I started from the last sentence and pushed on from there.
  • Even if you think you’re writing dreck, it’s good dreck. Not every building can be the Taj Mahal. Sometimes you have to start with a straw hut and make a lot of improvements.

Now that my book is done, I have a week to go through it and make my first cut of edits. On Nov. 1st, I’m starting a new story. I won’t be shooting for the full 50,000 words, but I’ll be participating in my own version of NaNoWriMo http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and taking my own advice.

Happy writing!

****2017 Cheryl returning****I’m not sure which book I was stuck on as I don’t keep a book diary (bad me), but from the MSWord doc files I have stored, it might have been Tall, Dark and Slayer. Buy it here.

Thank you for joining me in the WayBack Machine.

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Weird good luck rituals include repeating the words "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit", "white rabbit" or any variation out loud upon waking on the first morning of a new month will ensure good luck for the rest of the month.

What’s your good luck ritual?

Today is September 1st, and I remembered to say “rabbit, rabbit,” the very first thing when I woke. It’s one of the good luck rituals I know will bring me good luck the rest of the month.

Weird good luck rituals include repeating the words "rabbit, rabbit, rabbit", "white rabbit" or any variation out loud upon waking on the first morning of a new month will ensure good luck for the rest of the month.Per English tradition, repeating the words “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit”, “white rabbit” or any variation out loud upon waking on the first morning of a new month will ensure good luck for the rest of the month.

How did I pick up this strange tradition? I read it in a book when I was younger. I know of only one other person who is familiar with this good luck ritual.


Railroad good luck rituals

Counting the cars in a train is an old good luck ritual. The total cars will equal the number of years you'll live.When my children were younger, they had two good luck rituals involving railroads.

  • When riding in a car, lift your feet off the floor while going over a railroad track.
  • If you count railroad cars, the total will equal how many years you’ll live. Obviously, you only want to count the really long trains.



Cemetery good luck rituals

One good luck ritual is to hold your breath while driving in a car past a cemetery.When in a car, hold your breath while passing a cemetery to avoid the spirits entering your body. I disagree with this one as I grew up living across the street from a cemetery. It was a quiet neighborhood.

Counting cars in the funeral procession—the number of cars equals the days left until your own death. Best stick to counting train cars, eh?



Salt superstitions

Good luck rituals include tossing a pinch of spilled salt over your left shoulder to ward off the devil.If you accidentally spill salt, one good luck ritual includes tossing a pinch of spilled salt over your left shoulder to ward off the devil. The devil evidently hovers behind you to the left and a salt shot in the eye will send him away.

The superstition traces back to the time of the Last Supper. Judas Iscariot spilled salt on the table, and we all know the bad luck that caused.


Ladybug superstitions

  • Finding a ladybug is a sign of good luck. Killing one is bad luck.
  • The number of dots on the back of a ladybug equals the number of years of good luck you will have.
  • A ladybug landing on your hand indicates good weather is near.Having a ladybug land on you is a sign of good luck.


Other good luck rituals

  • A horseshoe nailed over your front door will bring good luck, but only if it’s open side up. If it’s open side down, your luck will run out.
  • When eating any fowl, save the breast wishbone. When it dries, with a friend, each of you pull on one end of the wishbone. The one who gets the bigger piece will have good luck.


These are some of the weird good luck rituals I learned growing up. Do you have a different ritual or belief in your family or culture? Leave them in the comments below.

Blessings to you,


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My Alexa score is 8,327,471,810,543








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Writing tools, 26 ways to improve your writing is now available as a free download

Announcing the release of Writing Tools: 26 Tips on How to Improve Your Writing: Writing and Marketing Better Books.

Release day for Writing Tools

Writing tools, 26 ways to improve your writing is now available on Amazon.comWhen I accepted the task of participating in this year’s AtoZChallenge, I didn’t know what I faced. I almost didn’t enter, as I found out about the annual event at the last minute. I had no idea the twenty-six blogs I wrote as a way to train myself to blog more often would turn into my latest release, Writing Tools.

My New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to blog twice a week—Mondays and Thursdays. Like all good intentions, it quickly fell apart. When I saw a Tweet in late March about the AtoZChallenge, I thought, Why not? If nothing else, blogging every day would (almost) be the same as participating in NaNoWriMo, which I’ve done several times, officially, in my old writing group, and on my own.

Writing Tools: The Challenge

I’m not going to lie, it was a challenge. Not only did I have to write every day, I had to publish every day. And find appropriate images (thank you Pixabay and Canva), and spread the news through various social media outlets.

Editing for Red Riding Hood and the Lone Wolf was pushed back a month. Thank goodness I’d published Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf In March, so I was “between” books and had time to spare.

The most challenging aspect of blogging every day was finding subject for those awkward letters—Q, X, Z, but I persevered. (maybe with a little cheating when it came to J).

I banked a few days and pre-scheduled blogs as I faced a four day grand-babysitting job in the middle of the month (my son and daughter-in-law celebrated their tenth anniversary with a trip to California). At the end of the month I’d proven I could write 1,000-1,500 words on random subjects, publish and promote them.

A Big Thank You to BlogChatter

For unknown and mysterious reasons, when I signed up for the challenge, I did so under the umbrella of theblogchatter.com, a blogging powerhouse based in India. I received awesome support, met brilliant writers, and received free promotion on their website.

In May, they announced they would host our books if we wanted to compile our twenty-six blogs into a book. Heck, yeah, why not? I formatted my blogs, made a cover (thank you Canva) that complemented my other non-fiction book, The Plot Thickens: 21 Ways to Plot Your Novel (what is it with numbers in titles?), and sent it to blogchatter, which hosted it as a free giveaway for two months.

The Next Step

With encouragement from blogchatter and using the experience I’ve received from publishing my other books, I’ve uploaded Writing Tools to Amazon. I hope you’ll download it and benefit from the tips, techniques, and tools I’ve discovered over my eighteen year writing career.

From the blurb:

” . . . a valuable collection of tips for all aspiring authors, content writers, digital marketing students and anyone who wants to know the precious tools in the content marketing world.” —soulmom.in

If you’ve written a book and seek ways to improve it and, once published, how to market it, Writing Tools has the answers.

Writing Tools, 26 Tips on How to Improve Your Writing explores writing, marketing, and social media knowledge and shortcuts, making you a better writer. In this instructional ebook, author Cheryl Sterling delves into her eighteen years of experience to share:

  • How to set up an effective Amazon Author’s page.
  • Character development using Myers-Briggs and Numerology.
  • Scheduling of social media using BoardBooster and Hootsuite.
  • The benefits of Facebook groups, Goodreads, and Pinterest for writers.
  • The effective use of writing scene and sequel.
  • 3 and 4 act structure, which is best for you?
  • Improve your writing speed and how to revise your rough “vomit” draft.
  • Outlining and The Hero’s Journey
  • The importance of back-links and universal book links
  • 26 essential tips on writing and promoting your best work

You are a writer. Ensure a quality book and your best marketing practices with this how-to guide.

Click on the “Buy Now” button and start today.

Praise for Writing Tools, 26 Tips on How to Improve Your Writing:

It has all the necessary points for non-fiction writers and fiction writers. And the most important of all . . . to promote your published work.

It is easy to read, has some great insights with a dash of unexpected humour, and a ready-made cheat sheet to help you market your book better.

A Special Thank You

In conjunction with the release of Writing Tools, I’m re-releasing The Plot Thickens at a special price of 99 cents (down from $2.99). The book has been re-formated, re-indexed, and I’ve added images. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book but didn’t know where to start, The Plot Thickens offers 21+ ways to plot your book and get you started on the path to publication.

Please consider buying either or both of my books. And, as always, if you do purchase, please leave a review, however short. Reviews help Amazon bring better books to you.

Thank you and many blessings,










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