3 Questions to Be Present and Stay Productive

*Note: This post was shared from my yoga blog: DancingFrogYoga.com

Here we are again. Early January. The beginning of a new year. Many people see the new year as a time to start fresh and "get it right." But I have mixed feelings about new year's resolutions. I don't think a new year magically resets my life or makes it any easier to grow and change.

Change isn't tied to a calendar. Change happens with effort. Every day--every moment, every breath--is another chance to slow down, look inside, and find a way to work on the changes you would like to make in your life.

Still, it's hard to avoid some added introspection at the beginning of a new year. Especially when Jan. 1 of my five-year question-a-day journal asks, "What's your mission?"

A to Z Character Name Game

Alphabet word games are a great way to get your creativity flowing. For this one, let's focus on character names.

Some people love choosing character names, others hate it. I like to get inspiration from sites like Behind the Name or Social Security's Popular Baby Names. But this writing exercise is less about choosing great character names and more about seeing how many first names you can recall when under the clock.

Thanksgiving Misgivings

I don't mean to be a downer, but I have some issues with the holiday we're about to celebrate.

On the positive side, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to gather together, whether traveling great distances or driving just across town.

Thanksgiving inspires many to donate to food drives, help out at soup kitchens, or reach out to those who are alone on the holiday. It promotes gratitude and appreciation for the positive things in our lives.

Yet, there are darker aspects of this holiday:

The Season of Giving

Stella sat on the floor, her back propped against the leather couch, a sea of color spread around her. Rolls of wrapping paper were stacked to the left, scissors and tape to the right. Papery department store bags stood tall, their curved handles defying gravity, while glossy plastic bags slumped in slippery piles by their sides.

Stella's gaze roved slowly over the array of colorful bags, trying to remember what was inside each one. Carols played from through the phone at her side, muffling the sound of snoring coming from the bedroom down the hall.

5 Tips to Meet Your Writing Deadlines

There's a rhythm to writing. A vibe. A flow. An energy. Sometimes you are in the zone: effort gives way to ease and the words pour from your fingers onto the page. But then there are the other days. The times when stringing together a single sentence feels like scaling a sheer wall of slate.

Unfortunately, deadlines don't wait for inspiration to strike. When you are being paid to deliver, you have to work within your limits and make the most of the time you have available. Here are five tips that may help you out: