My December contest is live, so be sure to check out the contest page and see what the prizes are this month! There will be three lucky winners this time! Congratulations again to Jillian S. of Dayton, OH, who won the November contest. Just as soon as I dig myself from under this deadline, I'll pop your goodies into the mail!

I'm still working hard on the sheikh story. I only have a few days left to get it done and turned in. I'll get there, because failure is not an option, but man can it be tiring during the trek to the finish line. I love what I do, but sometimes I just want to take a break and do nothing but sit on the couch in front of the fire and read all day.

Since that's not an option, I keep my nose to the grindstone and keep working. I admit that I spend a little more time than I should online, but I also think of it as a way to keep my sanity. 🙂

Have you ever seen “For Love of the Game” with Kevin Costner? I don't like sports very much, but I love sports movies. I like the story behind the events whereas I don't actually like to watch real games all that much. Give me a character in crisis, and even if he's a sports hero, I love it (I also feel this way about SEP's football romances and Rachel Gibson's hockey romances).

Kevin plays a great character in this movie, and one of the things he does, while pitching this huge game of his career, is tell himself before he throws the ball to “clear the mechanism.” Then the crowd noise fades and there's nothing but him, the ball, and the batter on the other end. I think of my online forays during the day–or even the times I get up and do something else, like throw in a load of laundry or fix lunch and watch 15 minutes of TV while eating–as clearing the mechanism.

It's necessary to the way I work. I can't go away for long, because that interrupts the flow too much. But a short break where the brain is engaged in something else entirely? That clears the mechanism and I find when I sit back down that I might see the path I've been trying so hard to find.

This blog post today is clearing the mechanism, too. I decided I needed to write something other than the story, and I wanted to share this process because it's one of the things that helps me. It may not help you. You may need to focus completely, so I can't guarantee this will work. (But if you try, you must resist the temptation to wander down country lanes, so to speak. Quick breaks, get back to work, etc.)

So now that I've spent the last fifteen minutes writing this post, it's time to get back to work. What tricks do you use to clear the mechanism?