Office Ready for the 3 – Day Novel Contest


This is not excessive preparation. I kid you not. Participating in the 3-Day Novel Contest with two kids is a challenge. I have stocked the office with whatever I may need to hole myself in to prevent my beautiful two and a half year old daughter from seeing me. If she locates me or even hears a noise from the office she will remember I am not with her and will hone in on my whereabouts until she is nestled in my arms. This is a wonderful trait – but counterproductive on a weekend such as this.


Thus, I am stocked with snacks: water, cup, almonds, wheat crackers, apples, oranges, chocolate pudding cups and spoons, peanut m&ms, and the always delightful Orville Redenbacher’s sweet & salty kettle corn.



Plus care and distraction objects for my newborn, who will invariably be hanging out with me while I write: baby swing, swaddling blankets, play yard and mobile, floor play gym, breast feeding pillow and change station with pad, diapers, wipes, bum cream and the all important change of clothes for life’s little accidents.



I also have a pillow and blanket for myself because you just never know, right?


The most important detail, I have cleaned off my desk of distractions – thank goodness – as I am easily distracted.



My wonderful supportive husband has moved our home phone out of the office because, lord knows, I will be brought to profanity if another telemarketer calls me mid-thought and asks if my parents are home.


My theme music for the weekend: Patti Smith and Alanis Morissette


I still must text all my wonderful family, especially my BFF mom, to inform them that I am off limits for the weekend. I know they will understand. I am a woman on a mission.


That is all from me for now. I am off to feed my newborn and head to bed to catch my last few precious Zzzz’s before the marathon or sprint or whatever it is officially begins.


I wish all other participants a writer’s-block-free weekend!

Positive Affirmations to Combat Writer’s Block


As I was telling my husband about the 3-Day Novel Contest when he turned to me and said, “This weekend is going to take a lot of discipline for you.”


My next thoughts were telling: Oh crap! What have I got myself into?


Immediately, the negative self-talk began – but I caught myself mid thought. Why am I telling myself that this challenge is going to be too hard and that I don’t think I can do it? Why am I already scheming an exit strategy to get out of it?


What I really need to be doing is encouraging myself, saying good and uplifting messages to my inner artist. Being a creative individual is trying enough, why not be my own best supporter instead?


My husband and I brainstormed phrases of encouragement that I can use when writer’s block catches me in a downward cycle of negativity. I love these phrases and wish they were all 100% true of myself – but sometimes we need to speak our hopes into being, like a self-fulfilling prophesy or a pep talk to a sports team. There is power in positive-self talk. If you don’t believe me, try these phrases out for a week and see if your circumstances or at least your mental state does not receive a pick-me-up.


Positive Affirmations for Writers:

  • “I am a brilliant creative mind and I will accomplish whatever I set out to do.”
  • “I don’t need to feel lonely; my family and friends support me in my pursuits and will be there for me when I need them.”
  • “Only those who try have the chance of success.”
  • “My ideas are creative.”
  • “My characters are dynamic.”
  • “My plot has depth.”
  • “I am in control.”
  • “I am the bully of my own writer’s block.”
  • “I have the power to write writer’s block out of my story and my head.”
  • “This time to write is a gift I give myself.”
  • “I will not sabotage or be afraid of my own success.”
  • “I believe in myself and my work.”
  • “I will get through this tough stretch. This too shall pass.”
  • “What I write will make a difference.”
  • “My audience is out there. I am writing for them.”
  • “Anything is possible for me.”


Specific encouragements for the 3-Day Novel Contest:

  • “I think of myself as an Olympic athlete. This contest is my race. It’s only three days. The end is in sight.”
  • “This is going to be fun.”
  • “If the challenge was easy it wouldn’t be worthwhile.”
  • “No matter the outcome, I will be proud of myself.”
  • “The journey of this experience will be a catalyst for even greater creativity.”
  • “I can sleep tomorrow.”


Repeating these positive phrases to yourself will shift you from negativity to a more positive outlook. Who doesn’t want that transition when stuck in a rut? I will be practicing speaking these sayings to myself as I embark on the 3-Day challenge and also as I continue my work as a writer. Try it for yourself and let me know if it makes a difference for you.

Put Writer’s Block in its Place


Here are a few little tricks can you do to overcome writer’s block. First of all, don’t freak out. Try these techniques instead. With the 3-Day Novel Contest only days away, these are the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” I will be utilizing when caught in a block.



  • Run the stairs of your home or apartment.
  • Eat a healthy snack or meal. Nothing too heavy. Fruit and veggies are great for snacks.
  • Look out the window and let your mind wander. Watch cars go by, day dream about the shape of clouds.  Breath deeply and allow yourself to simply be for a moment.
  • Draw a picture or doodle.
  • Shift mental gears by doing something (besides typing) with your hands. For me, this would be work on my wood sculpture for 10 minutes. For others, this could be laundry, taking out the garbage, vacuuming a room, peeling potatoes for dinner.
  • Do a word search.
  • Lay on the floor and stair up at the ceiling while calming yourself.
  • Go outside and take a few deep breaths of fresh air.
  • Take a short nap.
  • Go for a brisk walk or run – a sprint even.
  • Take a cold shower (not just reserved for hormone filled teenage boys!).
  • Change your clothes; get out of your pyjamas and into clothes that gear you up for work.
  • Drink a whole glass of water.
  • Stretch out your muscles (yes, I would suggest getting out of your desk chair to do this).
  • Set the mood of your writing area: lighting, music, a photo on your desk of your favourite vacation spot (your happy place), and a scented candle.
  • Get away from your computer. Leave your office. Change scenery for a brief period of time.



  • Answer the phone if you are in the middle of a thought. Better yet, turn the ringer off. That’s what answering machines are for.
  • Update social media.
  • Check and respond to e-mail.
  • Watch TV (It could turn into a longer break than you had anticipated).
  • Eat junk food. Avoid artificial sugars and salts.
  • Give in to negative self-talk.


I will very likely refer back to this list myself in the heat of the moment as I participate in the 3-Day Novel Contest while battling the block. If I come up with any more ideas I will be sure to post again.


Do you know any good techniques you’d like to add?


When trying to overcome writer’s block, the most important point of both the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” is to not give in to negative self talk. It truly is in the fragile ground of our mind where the batter over blockages is either won or lost. Maybe you do not even recognize your negative thoughts. They are subtle for sure.


Be attentive and listen to the messages you tell yourself. If you are genuinely a self-nurturing and self-encouraging person – good for you! If not and you start to realize the words you use that defeat your own mojo, come back to Artist Reborn tomorrow. I will be posting an uplifting list of positive affirmations for writers.

Don’t Stare Directly at Writer’s Block


With the 3-Day Novel Contest less than a week away writer’s block is already trying to psych me out. The contest is a 3 day challenge to write a novel at sonic speed. It takes place the September long weekend and provides the ultimate writing sprint. This is my first year participating so I don’t fully know what to expect.


Apart from the actual writing itself, my sneaky writer’s block already whispers in my ear:

  • Your newborn will cluster feed and cry all weekend, you won’t be able to get anything done.
  • Your two year old will miss you; she’ll bang on the office door and scream the undeniable call, “Mommmmmy!”
  • You’ll grow lonely while all your family and friends are hanging out enjoying the last of the summer sun and eating tasty BBQ.


Then my writer’s block moves on to pre-emptive strikes against my writing process:

  • There is not enough time – you are too much of a perfectionist.
  • You don’t have enough experience. Who are you? You think you can write a novel?
  • The plot you are imagining has holes.
  • Your characters are flat.
  • Your fingers can’t type fast enough!
  • The jokes you write are only funny in your own head.
  • If you chicken out, no one will know.


That’s the catch, though, I will know. I will know if I don’t give it my all or fail to finish the race. This scenario would mean defeat at the hands of my nemesis. I am aware of what I must do: Wage war on the writer’s block that attempts to floor me before the 3 days have even begun.


My technique leading up to the weekend: Don’t look writer’s block directly in the eye. If I distract myself from the practicalities and instead focus on preparations, day dream about my characters and lose myself in imaginings of plot and structure – then somehow I can actually avoid thinking about the writing itself, the part that really gets my nerves quivering.


I am sharing my fears and telling everyone I know that I am in the contest because I need the accountability. If I write about writer’s block here on my blog, somehow its evil whispers wither in power. I am choosing not to chicken out before or mid-race –but it helps to know that everyone else expects me to push through as well.


Please ask me, come next Tuesday, “How did it go?”


Over the next three days I will be posting ways to combat writer’s block. Check back for helpful ideas.

3 Day Novel Contest

The 2012 Olympics will be followed up with another competition requiring the highest form of mental athleticism; it is the 35th Annual 3-Day Novel Contest which will take place over the September long weekend. It is called “The World’s Most Notorious Literary Marathon” and I have registered and paid my dues. The contest is less than a month away and my mind is already swimming with characters, lost in in exotic locations, and formulating an ambitious plot for the 72 hour race.

The challenge: write a complete novel in three days.

Challenge: accepted.

How am I feeling about this intense competition? Nervous but excited. I am antsy to begin and am already visualizing how the long weekend will play out. Will I sleep in my desk chair? Have a reserve of non-perishables and water mere arms reach away? The biggest challenge will be my newborn.

Yes, that’s right; I am embarking on this grueling competition with a two month old. He may get the best of me while I am in the grove of a scene OR could provide the needed break every two hours forcing me to stretch my legs and take a breath. I foresee us both spending the weekend in the office and doing the dance of feeding, sleeping and writing together. He may offer valuable advice at 4 in the morning. It’s a good thing I am already accustomed to waking at all hours to feed him. All I can say, we’ll see how it goes!

I will be tweeting as the contest progresses so follow me on Twitter (@_Alexis_Marie) to stay abreast of the action.

You can learn more about the 3-Day Novel Contest at:

Wish me luck! Hopefully I can finish and share my completed work in the not too distant future!

One of my Tree Photographs in Photolife Magazine

Pick up a copy of the August / September issue of PhotoLife Magazine to see one of my photographs featured in the Showtime gallery. I have not found a copy yet myself as many shops still have the June / July issue on stands. I’ll have to be patient to find my copy. The Showtime theme: Trees.