Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Refueling the Tank

90 Comments

001Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. ~ Mark Twain

Yes, I did all of these puzzles over the past couple of weeks. You might wonder why someone would waste her time puzzling. I’ll tell you why…I was procrastinating or so I thought.

My goal at the start of November was to enter two writing contests this month. I knew the two contests I wanted to target and I had familiarized myself with the guidelines. I had plenty of time…no problem.

Turned out, there was a problem. Each evening I planned to write, like a hummingbird to the sweet nectar, I was drawn to the puzzle. With my iPod set to shuffle, I searched for connecting pieces. Eventually my mind and body relaxed and in what seemed like a few minutes, an hour had passed.

This continued night after night until it dawned on me the month of November was half over. That’s when I panicked. What about my goals? Why had I wasted time working those puzzles when I had goals to reach? I should have been connecting words to create a story, not pieces of cardboard.
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In the end, I submitted my contest entries. I discovered what I thought was time wasted puzzling was actually feeding my writing tank. Few activities work both sides of your brain simultaneously.puzz When puzzling, the creative side works to see the finished product, while the logical side works to fit the pieces. Relaxing and listening to the music allowed my stories to come to life in my mind. By procrastinating, the stories traveled with ease from my mind onto my computer screen.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate?

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, will release in March, 2017. It's now able for pre-order on Amazon. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

90 thoughts on “Refueling the Tank

  1. impressive blog with greater images that tells your blog like a journey!

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  2. I think time spent not writing is way underrated in the writing community. There’s a lot of emphasis put on writing every day, and I know it’s a must for some, but it’s never worked for me. I’ve always found time away from the keyboard allows me to recharge, and as you so aptly put it, refuel my writing tank. For me the magic elixir has always been running. It’s not procrastination, really. It’s something I do almost every day for cardio health, but something about being out in the fresh air with my earbuds in place generates so much creativity.

    What will you do with the jigsaw puzzles now? Good luck in the contests, Jill. And an early Happy Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Gwen! I agree, running is a great way to let the stories fire up in our mind. After my Kindle purchase, I get an hour a day of reading time while running on my treadmill, with an extra large font. The time flies and my own stories have to wait.
      Recently I saw some runners, along Lake Michigan, being interviewed about running in the cold. I was looking for you. πŸ™‚
      We used to glue all of our puzzles and hang them in our garage. After the burst pipe flooded our house last year and we had water damage in the garage, we no longer glue and hang. We’ll leave them on display on the dining room table and then I break them down and donate them to the Disabled Veterans.
      I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! xo

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  3. I love puzzles. I think creative outlets like scrapbooking, photography, decorating, sewing, playing a piece of music feed our confidence, help us connect to things important to us, and raise our level of contentment launching us into the task at hand with renewed energy.

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    • Hi Georgette! I agree, these activities definitely renew our energy. I find jigsaw puzzles extremely addicting. Often I’ll sit down to do a piece or two and so quickly a half an hour has passed. Sewing…well, that just frustrates me. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your weekend!

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  4. CH loves to do puzzles. I take PROcrastination to a whole new level.. an olympic event! Favorite way to PROcrastinate is to watch the Tinykittens kitten cam.. πŸ™‚ I am happy you got your entries submitted!

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  5. I love jigsaw puzzles! When I was growing up, my mom would get out the card table and spread out a jigsaw puzzle. We would all take turns working on it. My mom and me especially. I have a jigsaw puzzle app on my iPad and it is addictive, but not as much fun as actually moving cardboard around. I totally agree that you were not procrastinating, you were not wasting time. The same thing happens to me when I’m working on a puzzle or knitting or walking. Getting away from the keyboard relieves pressure, the task occupies one part of your brain while the other part gets to dance around with ideas and solutions. Even at work, if I’m stumped with a particular problem, I’ll often pull out my iPad and do a puzzle. The solution often come to me while I’m doing the puzzle. I know some people would think I’m procrastinating, but, in effect, I’m saving time because just staring at the screen doesn’t get me very far πŸ˜‰

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    • Hi Marie! Thank you for taking time out of your frantic NaNo writing to comment. I totally agree, when faced with a problem, turning to a puzzle or another relaxing activity can bring clarity to the issue. I’m completely addicted to puzzling. Aside from exercising, it’s the only way I can truly relax my mind. I hope you’re getting close to the finish line so you can enjoy a restful Thanksgiving. I’m really enjoying your story, Marie…keep up the good work!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love working on jigsaw puzzles. Like you say, it’s a great way to challenge our mind, and at the same time, free it up for reflection. Going for a walk does the same for me, but thanks to the early blast of winter, I won’t be doing that today…

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  7. I have two favorite ways to procrastinate (and you’re right; both of them fuel my creativity, that’s why I do both every day!) 1) a soak in a hot tub with a good book; 2) cooking!
    Great insights, Jill. Creativity can’t be forced, it has to be nurtured. Congratulations on meeting your goal. πŸ™‚

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  8. I love jigsaw puzzles too. I haven’t done one in awhile but have a few boxes stacked up waiting! When I start one, like you, I am drawn to them. Congratulations on submitting your two pieces and thanks for reminding me I can take a break from writing and come back to it refreshed and ready to work!

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    • Hi Geralyn! You’re very welcome…breaks are a necessity. I hope when you return from your trip, you’ll break into those boxes of puzzles. Once I spread one out on the dining room table, it’s like a magnet. I can’t walk past it without stopping to do a couple of pieces. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the weekend!

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  9. I love making pictures. Jig-saw puzzles are fun, but it upsets me when they have to be put away. Maybe I should use super-glue πŸ™‚ My next project is to make a cross-stitch picture.

    Congratulations on meeting your goal. Now you can relax and enjoy your weekend.

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    • Thanks Rajni! We used to glue our puzzles and hang them in the garage. Now we keep them on display for a while and then break them down to donate to charity.
      Wow, I admire your ability, patience and eyesight to cross-stich. I get frustrated sewing a button. Have a great weekend!

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  10. My sister-in-law does a lot of puzzles. When we spend time at the beach everyone comes in and will pop in a piece or two then return to the sunshine. I don’t procrastinate unless you call bonding with my cats procrastinating. Depends on your point of view.

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  11. Puzzles are great for stimulating the thought processes. I make jewelry and planning a creative piece and working the details out is much the same. When I really need to relax and let the right brain take over, I pull out the paints.

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  12. Doing puzzles is a great way to relax, recharge, and refuel. Glad you got your submissions in on time and to your satisfaction. Good Luck!

    I’ll send you a list of ways I procrastinate . . . later. πŸ˜›

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  13. I love the fact that you “puzzled out” how putting puzzles together helped you in your writing, Jill.
    One of my favorite nonwriting activities is crocheting. It’s like a puzzle too. You have all of the pieces in your hands (yarn, hook, tapestry needle, pattern). You just have to put them all together. It reminds me somewhat of building a fantasy world. You have the basic elements in your hands. Now you have to make something of them.

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    • Hi L. Marie! I knew you would be able to relate to non-writing activities stimulating the creative process…and Hallmark movies. πŸ™‚
      I’ve been the lucky recipient of your crocheting, it’s all over my house and my office…it makes me smile. πŸ™‚ Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

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  14. Well, it’s not my favourite way to procrastinate Jill, but I find myself doing household chores as an excuse not to get down to some creative writing. Sometimes my house looks immaculate …

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    • I’m guilty of the same, Jenny. Often I’ll have a Saturday afternoon open for writing and I’ll clean and dust, when it’s not really necessary. It seems the more time I have, the more ADD I become. Enjoy the weekend!

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  15. I write short stories to clear my mind. Seems strange but it is refreshing and my novels benefit.

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  16. I know just what you mean Jill. And this goes to prove that either we are writing or thinking about writing! I find that 90 percent of my writing is formulated in my mind when going about my day, walking, listening to music, even watching TV, so that, as you say, the words ‘travel with ease onto the computer screen’. I haven’t done a puzzle for years, I used to enjoy them, and I can see why you found this activity so beneficial. I’m so glad you met your goals for this month and submitted your entries. I wish you every success with them. Have a great weekend πŸ™‚ xoxo

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    • Thanks Sherri! Okay, this is the third time I’ve tried to respond and have lost the comment. Let’s try again. I agree, our writing stays in our mind no matter what we’re doing. After your weekend celebrations with Nicky, you should break out a puzzle. Puzzling, it does a mind and body good. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the weekend! xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I would never have dreamed that the puzzles would help in that way! I hope this is true of Candy Crush and Solitaire, too, Jill!

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  18. I have recently realised this very thing Jill! Whilst continuing to berate myself for ‘not getting to work’ on my painting [I wonder if this is a case of the dreaded ‘Protestant Work Ethic’ ] I also know that when I do ‘get on with it’ it will flow relatively easily. I look at the work in it’s current state all the time and even though I don’t know how it works, something is going on that I have to trust.

    I used to do real jigsaw puzzles when my girls were little – we all loved them and often there was a puzzle in progress on the giant coffee table that anybody could contribute to.

    Congrats on your realisation and on meeting your goal! πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks, Pauline! Having a puzzle in progress just feels like home to me. πŸ™‚ I hope the berating has stopped, as you’ve accomplished so much…your talents are endless. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs to Siddy and Orlando. xo

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  19. Oh Jill I wish I was good with puzzles!! I am absolutely terrible. Hubby is really good with puzzles. Anyway I procrastinate (and not sure this falls under procrastination) by walking, cleaning the house, taking photos and daydreaming. I feel I need this time away from the laptop and my writing to let the threads of the story come together – if that makes any sense πŸ˜€ Congrats on submitting to those contests! xo

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    • Hi Yolanda! Well, I think the more you work puzzles, the better puzzler you’ll become. Start with a 200 or 300 piece, you might not be as overwhelmed.
      I’m with you on procrastinating by cleaning. I’m the worst with that. I’ll have a two hour block of time to just write and I’ll dust every table and vacuum every room, even if it’s not really necessary. You’re right though, all of the mindless chores do provide time to think about our story.
      Thank you for your sweet comment on Pauline’s blog…it made me smile. xo

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      • You should see my house today – gleaming from top to bottom πŸ˜€ And that’s because I set a goal to write 1000 words today…guess how much I got done so far? 300. Ah well. I meant every word of it Jill, you are a fairy godmother ❀

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      • You’re so sweet…I wish you weren’t so far away.
        Ha ha! Well, I guess there’s always tomorrow to get in those additional 700 words, Yolanda. I’ll be checking in with you. xo

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  20. Jill I love to do puzzles and at christmas we usually put a giant one on my mums spare table and everyone has a go. I find I have too many hobbies that distract me from my WIP’s too. Life is too short and we want to do everything. Yet I need more productivity. But now I want to do a puzzle lol.

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    • Hi Kath! Ha ha! Sorry if I gave you the urge to work a puzzle rather than focus on your drawing. πŸ™‚ I find puzzling extremely addicting, but you’re right, life is too short and we want to dabble in a little of everything. That is how my weekends are and then I go to work on Monday exhausted. πŸ™‚

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  21. I’m not really a puzzle worker, but I do love doing crosswords, and that little puzzle in the newspaper where you make as many words from a given word as you can….
    I procrastinate by spending WAY more time on the internet than I should….

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    • Hi Dianne! Ah…so you solve the Jumble too. Is it the puzzle in the paper where you unscramble the letters? We love that! All of these types of puzzles are great exercises for the brain. My mother loves to work Sudoku puzzles…I’ve yet to figure that out.
      Oh yes, the internet, the biggest time suck out there. Happy Weekend!

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      • I’ve always done better with words/spelling than numbers, so I’ve never figured out Sudoku.
        I’m not sure what they call the puzzle I like: each day, they give you a word, and tell you how many words you SHOULD be able to come up with made from the letters in that word. The next day, they show all the words; I’ve never gotten them all…

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      • Me too, Dianna. Sudoku has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. Your puzzle isn’t Jumble. Now I’m curious because it sounds like something I’d enjoy. πŸ™‚

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  22. Playing guitar is a nice brain rebooter for me.

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  23. Jill, there are so many ways to procrastinate! Reading. Research. My computer’s Mahjong game Crosswords. The evening news. Commenting on blogs (ha!).
    But like you wrote, sometimes my brain is churning while I’m doing something else. The best ideas come like lightning bolts in the shower. I just have to remember them until I’m dry.
    Theresa

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    • Ha ha! I can relate, Theresa. Whether it’s the shower or while laying in bed to fall asleep, scrambling to write down that thought is a challenge. I remember you’re a fan of Mahjong. I’ve had to train myself from not opening that program. If I do, hours of my time disappear. It is fun though! πŸ™‚

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  24. What hope you just gave me, Jill! I am slated for a solo show in
    April of 2016 and I have to work on it. Instead I have been doing what I love: blogging. Now, maybe I will do better work, after a break! Who knows. Good inspiring post!

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    • Hi Hollis! How exciting, a solo show! You should blog about this exciting news…when you have time. I highly recommend taking some time to do what you enjoy and what relaxes you, it will work wonders for your creativity. Happy Weekend and congratulations!

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  25. Puttering around the house would be my guilty procrastination. Put the picture frames in a new place, change the flower pots, rearrange book shelves. Nothing important. Yet, I can see immediate results, unlike staring at the computer screen….

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    • Hi Renee! You’re right, we see immediate results when we clean, rearrange, organize…but sitting down at the computer, results are slower.
      I finally got your book onto my Kindle, it’s next on my list and I can’t wait! Enjoy your weekend!

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  26. Blogging is my way to procrastinate! I think I will give it 30 minute and before I know it, hours have gone by and I have forgotten the rest of the world. I love your post Jill. You remind me that writing is like completing a puzzle by finding the right words to fit. Your reflections are wonderful and full of insight into the writing process.

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    • Hi Dor! Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate it. I agree with your thoughts on blogging and time passing. This morning as I rushed to get out of the house to visit my parents, I thought I’d read a couple blog posts as I ate my breakfast. Well, an hour and a half later, I was heading out the door. If I had your view, I’d be gazing out the window 24/7. Enjoy the weekend! xo

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  27. Did someone say puzzles??? I love these, Jill! You really kicked *** on those. I would have been right there with you. Once you start a puzzle that’s it, you cannot put it down. I always stay up way past my bedtime when I do puzzles and I ignore everything else in my life. No question it’s addictive. How great that it helped with your creativity, nothing bad can come from “puzzling”. πŸ™‚

    I haven’t done one in a while because I have been doing some of my jewelry instead. I don’t consider it procrastinating. I think of it as living! :0) Good thing Christmas is coming up so we can get new puzzles in our stockings. πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Maria! I knew you of all people would relate to the puzzling addiction. I really think puzzles should be used as a weight loss method. I’ve been know to sit down at the puzzle and hours pass without thinking of food or drink.
      I’m happy to hear you’re working on your jewelry. I hope you’ll post some photos of your masterpieces.
      By the way, did you ever work the Duck Dynasty puzzle you received for Christmas last year?
      Have a great weekend!

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  28. I love the title, Jill.
    My mom always called it putting on her thinking shoes. She came up with many topics and ideas as she walked or worked in the yard.
    Unfortunately, I have more excuses for not writing than I have ideas for really getting up and buzzed about writing. But when I find a good contest with a reasonable deadline (at least 3 weeks), I can really get into it.

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  29. Happy weekend, Jill. I don’t do puzzles often, but when I do, I lose track of time and forget that I have other things to do. I’m glad that your puzzle time set the mood for your writing to flow and meet your goal. What is my favorite way to procrastinate, hmmmm….I’ll have to think about about that and get back to you. See, I’m procrastinating right this momentπŸ˜„

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    • Hi Elaine! Ha ha…it’s so easy, isn’t it? This afternoon, as I cleaned house and took care of some things, I was drawn to my puzzle like a magnet even though it’s frustrating the heck out of me. I do have a contest entry with a Nov 30th deadline, so I’ll have to peel myself way from time to time. Enjoy your weekend!

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  30. Now I’m waiting for the post that says you were successful in the contest, Jill πŸ™‚

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    • Hi Jo! Ha ha…well, you might have to wait a while. These contests like to keep you hanging. I won’t know anything until after the New Year. Speaking of contests…you need to enter some of your amazing photographs into a contest or two. πŸ™‚
      Happy Weekend!

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  31. Congratulations on getting your contest entries in. Also congrats on learning to procrastinate. πŸ˜€ I recently purchased some jigsaw puzzles for this winter when I can’t procrastinate outdoors as usual. Gardening, cycling, walking , or anything outdoors on a sunny day is my favorite form of procrastination. I’m also doing it right now instead of what I should be doing, like fixing dinner. Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.

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    • Thanks, Elizabeth! Isn’t procrastinating fun? I’m starting to think it’s the way to truly enjoy our life. Yes, there are things we need to do and take care of, but putting that aside and doing what we enjoy…ahh…that’s nice. I’m happy to hear you’ve purchased some puzzles for the winter, it’s a great activity when it’s cold outside. Enjoy your weekend! xo

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  32. I haven’t done a puzzle for a long time. Since I live alone, the best way for me to take a break from writing is to talk to a neighbor or take a walk in our small downtown where I can pop in and talk to the shopkeepers. This afternoon, my sister and I and a couple of friends saw a play at the Seattle Rep, “All the Way,” about LBJ’s rise to power. Then we went out to dinner. It was an excellent play and a good break from my usual routine.

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    • Hi Nicki! I highly recommend revisiting puzzling. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy it. On a busy day, I look forward to having some time to sit down and do a few pieces.
      I’m happy to hear you had a nice afternoon out with your sister and some friends. It sounds like a good time. I wish my sister lived close. Enjoy your week!

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  33. You answered my unasked question, Jill – I had been wondering what type of puzzle pictures you liked. Interesting, colorful, transporting.

    While I think of it as being ‘productive’ rather than consciously ‘procrastinating,’ I clean and organize. Not the kind of clean that one can sit back and admire the sparkle afterward. The kind of clean that takes and hour and a half to remove everything from a cupboard or drawer, toss out things not used, clean inner surfaces, and replace the surviving items in an orderly way. While the rest of the outer chaos remains undisturbed. If each folded shirt were a written paragraph, my novel would have been completed in the 90s.

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    • Hi Shel! Typically I like to work puzzles that are real photographs of scenic spots. Once in a while, I do enjoy working a cartoon type puzzle. I’m currently working an HD puzzle with various fluorescent colored cans of paint and it’s driving me insane. πŸ™‚ But, I won’t give up on it.
      Ha ha…you must have a lot of skirts! I love to clean and organize too. It’s amazing how fast the time will fly.

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  34. Just in case my English-teaching sister reads this, I want to state that I KNOW it should say “was” and not “were” after “shirt.” Whew! I can sleep now!

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  35. I too procrastinate with the best of them. It’s often called busy work. But if I’m truly ready to get writing, a nap is the thing that puts me in the write place. As soon as I start to drift off, the thoughts come and the pad had better be at my fingertips. It happens at night when I start to drop off to sleep or first thing in the morning. I keep a lighted pen on my headboard and a notebook in bed. I do my best writing asleep. :))). Fear is usually the cause of most of my procrastination. If I want to puzzle things out, I sew. A pattern is just a different puzzle to me. After that, writing looks easy.

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    • Hi Marlene! Very interesting that drifting off to sleep sparks the ideas and you do your best writing asleep. Perhaps that’s my problem. I haven’t taken a nap in ten or more years and my sleeping at night is very broken. I give you credit for sewing, I don’t have patience to sew a button. πŸ™‚

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  36. So glad you got the two entries in and you are so right, our minds can be relaxing while still figuring out how to finish another project. I was going to write about the brain being active even as we sleep. That is why some people say they will ‘sleep on it!’ Jill, I am a big puzzler, from way back when my family used to set up a card table and work on them together. Fun times and memories. Thanks for bringing this one up!

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    • Hi Robin! Believe me, I know my brain must be active while I sleep…I wake up exhausted. πŸ™‚ Ah…the puzzle on the card table, those are great memories aren’t they? Working a jigsaw puzzle is one thing that will keep me planted in a chair when I’m in one of those ADA moods and I want to clean everything. πŸ™‚

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  37. Puzzles are addictive. They are also cool activities for thinking about other stuff. Like yourself, I’ve got to get to writing. A lot more, 2014 hasn’t been a productive writing year, gotta change that,

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    • They sure are…very addictive, but a good addiction. Now is a great time to start setting some goals for 2015, just start small so you don’t disappoint yourself early into the year. Good luck with your writing!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  38. My parents went through a puzzling stage when they first retired. My dad became obsessed and kept buying them. They put them together on their huge dining room table that they only used on holidays. It was crazy for a while there! But I agree with you about the fact that when you are doing other kinds of creative things, your mind is fueling your writing tank. I have found that to be true as well. Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving, Jill.

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    • Hi Patsy! Well, we’re not retired, but we are going crazy with the puzzles. Actually, we’ve settled down a little. We used to glue and hang them in the garage, but we stopped that. Now after we work them we break them down and donate them. It’s very addicting, but also very therapeutic for me and my hyperactive tendencies. πŸ™‚ We had a great Thanksgiving and I hope you did as well.

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      • Hi Jill. Oh I know you are far from retired! My parents ended up taking almost all of them apart and donating them, too. I have a few small Christmas ones I got several years ago that we did, but they are in the garage, back in the box. We just don’t have extra space to do it any more.

        You, hyperactive? Wow! I didn’t picture you that way for some reason. πŸ˜‰

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  39. If I entered a procrastination contest, I would probably create a new record. πŸ™‚ I know that I’ve a serious case of “the crasts” when the laundry starts looking interesting. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your visit and the follow, too. πŸ™‚ Yes, I think that Jenny is great!

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