Motivational Monday: Revisiting Old Friends


bird chirping

It’s Monday–and the last day of March! Spring is here, and no matter where you live in the U.S., whether the temperatures are unusually cold or hotter than normal, the earth is abuzz with new life. And so is my brain.

A few days ago I pulled out an as-yet unpublished book I finished sometime back. A book I’ve been itching to clean up and either sell or self-publish. It’s amazing how the characters have stayed with me, and how they’ve changed since I first typed The End. I feel as if I’m visiting old friends. I’m loving all that I’m learning about them, and what I’ll be sharing with you, my readers.

This is where my head and heart will be for a while, delighting in and being surprised and sometimes stunned by these three closer-than-sisters friends. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

Until Wednesday,


Ann Roth

Hump Day Wednesday: Exercises for Thinking Out of the Box

get out of the box

In my search for thinking outside the box, I came across this terrific eHow website, .

These folks claim that with practice, practice, practice you can learn how to think outside the box and offered the following exercises. Here are three exercises taken directly from their site.


Set aside time for these exercises. Fifteen minutes may or may not be enough, but it has to be an  uninterrupted fifteen minutes. No phone calls, no co-workers, no family.


Creativity Exercise One:

Look around you . Pick a familiar object, and study it. Touch it, pick it up, smell it. Keep studying it until you have learned something about it that you didn’t know before. Maybe it’s the varied thickness of even the smoothest paper, or the fact that your cat only has four toes on each back foot.

This is what it means to think outside the box. The box is what you know.


Creativity Exercise Two:

Pick up a book. Close your eyes, open it to a random page, and stab your finger at the page. Look and see which word your finger landed on. If you don’t like the word, you get one do-over. Now get a paper and pen or pencil, or type at your computer, and come up with 25 ways that word relates to your life. If that’s too easy, make it 50.

When you do this exercise, you will come up with a few items right away. They are the obvious things you already know. After that, this exercise will suddenly get very hard. That’s the wall of the box. This is the place where you must press on. Think outside the box. When you get through that wall, those new ideas will come easier. You’ll come up with things you never thought of before.


Creativity Exercise Three:

This one will take longer than your fifteen minutes, but that’s part of the point. Now  you have to learn to think outside the box all the time, not just within your isolated creativity exercise.

This time you have to come up with a list of 100 things to consider before making a certain decision. What decision is up to you — it can be who to vote for, or whether to buy a new TV, or even where to take someone special for a romantic dinner. An important decision will probably be easier, but not necessarily.

You won’t get this done in fifteen minutes, but get as far as you can. Then make it a hobby. Think about it each day. Try to come up with just one more consideration or reason when you’re on your break, or in line at the store.

You’re not going to get to 100 without getting silly or ridiculous here and there. And that’s okay, because the wall of the box here is made up of your assumptions of what is right and appropriate. To think outside the box, you have to start considering things you thought were wrong.

Feeling challenged? I do!

But there is a payoff, the folks at eHow claim. Once you get the hang of each of these creativity exercises, you can start applying them to your real projects and goals. Study an element of your project until you learn something new. Pick a random word and think deeply about how it relates to your goals. Make a hobby of thinking up new considerations to understanding the problems.

Thanks, eHow!

Guess we all have homework, huh? Or not… Maybe you’ll opt to think outside the “eHow box” and try something totally different instead. LOL!!!

Remember that your comment automatically enters you in a monthly drawing for a free, autographed copy of an Ann Roth book!

Have fun, and until Friday,



Motivational Monday: More on Thinking Outside the Box


It’s Monday, and my efforts to think outside the box continue. Over the next few weeks or months, I plan to alternate between multiple projects: the workshop I’ll be presenting in San Antonio at the annual Romance Writers of America conference in July, a women’s fiction novel already completed but in need of editing, a short story and a novella to go with the women’s fiction, and new stories for my Prosperity, Montana miniseries.

The first two projects are complete and awaiting revisions. Rather than simply reworking the material, I’m going to dig deeper. I’ll turn the conference workshop on its head and make it fresh and fun. As for the women’s fiction novel, anything goes! My three heroines are going to venture into places from which I’ve held them back. I can’t wait to see what unfolds.

These changes won’t come easily. They’ll take time and work, and I expected to be challenged and stretched considerably. I’m open to that. In fact, I’m excited to see where thinking outside the box takes me.

And those new stories for the Prosperity miniseries? Even now, they’re forming in my subconscious, gaining enough heft to pique my curiosity. When the time is right, I have no doubt that they’ll hop over to my conscious mind.

How are you planning to think outside the box, or are you happy with your current way of thinking?

Remember, your comment automatically enters you in a monthly drawing for a free, autographed copy of an Ann Roth book!

Until Wednesday,


Sunday Musings: Thinking Outside the Box


I’ve been away for a while, working on a book. Finished yesterday-hooray! Now that I  am finished and have rejoined the living :-), I am making a commitment, right here in writing, to bring you a blog three to four times a week. I expect you to hold me to it. I welcome comments. Your comment automatically enters you in a monthly drawing for a free, autographed copy of an Ann Roth book!

This morning while I enjoyed my Sunday-morning bubble bath and listened to the Sunday puzzle on NPR, Will Shortz, the New York Times puzzle editor, reviewed last week’s challenge: “Take the brand name of a popular grocery item, push two consecutive letters together without otherwise changing the name in any way, and the result will be a make of car.”  The answer: Mazola.  Push the o and l together and get Mazda. Clever, isn’t it? I sure didn’t figure it out.

Which got me thinking. How often do I think outside the box? Sure, I can develop fictitious towns, come up with interesting plots and create memorable characters, but is that actually thinking outside the box? I don’t think so.

My challenge for the coming week: Think outside the box. Turn “what-if” on its head and look at life from angles I’ve never even considered. I’ll report back. I’d love to hear suggestions on how to think outside the box. What do you do?

Until next time,