Sanity Savers

Image courtesy of Pixabay

When I do a reading or other author-y event, I tend to hear the same questions:

“Where do you get your inspiration?”

“Is Maggie based on a real person?”

“Where’s the bathroom?”

I think my favorite is, “With work, author duties, and a family, how do you not go crazy?”

I laugh maniacally at that one, causing the question-asker to back slowly away as if I might be dangerous. But I thought it might be fun to share some of the things I do to stay sane. Ish.


Okay, okay. Let’s put images of leg warmers, sexy Jane Fonda stretches, and this ad out of our minds. Today’s Jazzercise is SERIOUS business. Yes, it’s dance-based and yes we occasionally do jazz hands and spirit fingers. But(!!) it’s a demanding workout that employs cardio and weights in equal butt-kicking measure. It’s also a great community of people who celebrate and encourage each other. What’s not to love?


I admit it: I’m an endorphin junkie. Exercise is the number one way I keep stress at bay, and running has long been part of that formula. The older I get, the slower I run and the fewer miles I log. But that’s okay. I still love the mind-emptying magic that comes with each beat of my heart and fall of my foot. Plus there’s always the possibility that I’ll stumble over a body like joggers do in pretty much any episode of Law & Order.

Reading is de rigueur for the novelist. It’s great for inspiration, education and honing our craft. However, I find that I read for pleasure more than “homework.” For me, nothing beats the joy of being whisked away by a great book. The best part? I’m lucky to know so many amazing writers whose work I can turn to for truly wonderful reading.

The Screen
For the past couple of years, we lived more or less sans TV. It’s a long story about how we ended up there, but the small screen is now back in business chez Valenti. I’ve rediscovered television, and I’ve gotta say, I love it. There are so many fabulous series out there with fantastic writing and exceptional plotting that I feel as if I’m learning, right along with escaping. I’ll always be a movie gal (and a bookaholic), but TV has become one of my sanity-savers.


How can it be that the people who drive me the craziest are also my rock of reason, wisdom, and rationality? Dunno, but it it’s true. These guys, along with my husband, keep me grounded. I look into their sweet faces and whatever seemed so important (but isn’t) melts away. This is especially true if they’re handing me cookies.

Ah, yes. Friends. I have a wonderful band of sisters and brothers, including my sibs in the crime fiction community, both on the reading and writing side. I love my friends for their kindness, humor, support, and willingness to get a little crazy in the best possible way.

How about you? What are your sanity-savers? Please share!


27 thoughts on “Sanity Savers

  1. My cats are probably my number one sanity-savers. If something is bothering me I only need to ask the cats if it’s worth dwelling over in order for them to put things in perspective. (Their answer is always “no,” by the way, unless it has to do with what I’m serving them for their next meal.)

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Cycling is a big one for me. I have a hate-love relationship with it, because it’s hard and exhausting (especially when climbing the hills we have around here), but it gets me outdoors, and allows me to think about other things for a while. Okay, so maybe I do use the time to brainstorm plots, but that helps take my mind off my burning calf muscles pumping up those hills…

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    1. Love it! I’m not much of a cyclist, but admire all of my cycling friends’ endurance. It is HARD. My former creative director did his best thinking while running. I do my best NON-thinking while exercising, although I wish I could plot like you do! My brain just doesn’t cooperate.

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  3. These sound like some of mine. Yes, I read to review, but it is a pleasure, and I love it. Of course, if I fall behind my reading goals, it does become a bit of a stresser, but that just means I spend a few hours reading to catch up. It’s usually a win/win.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Love this! My de-stressors are reading, needlepoint, power walks with neighborhood friends, and dance classes at the gym. No Jazzercise but Dance it Out and Zumba. Oh… and wine. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I quit kung fu maybe 15 years ago. I got tired of hauling myself off the ground and the boys wouldn’t let me grab them anymore because I was going through a wrist-leverage phase which is kind of painful. For them. Funny seeing grown men flap their hands like penguins trying to keep me from grabbing them. Anyway, I switched to yoga. First, you’re supposed to be on the ground. Second, there are much nicer ways of getting to the ground and off again. Third, load of endorphins. As a happy side effect, it also decreases my appetite and I might be a little nicer when I hit the office on the days I do it.

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    1. Kung fu! How cool is that?! And I admire your yoga ways. I tried yoga once but had a traumatizing experience when asked to demonstrate downward dog in front of the class. (It involved too-sheer leggings over white granny panties.)

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  6. I couldn’t run to save my life, but I love to hit the ice rink. A few opening notes from the organ and I’m off. I also love baseball and football (watching, not playing). But my biggest stress buster is a quick trip to The City That Never Sleeps. No Broadway shows—just great food, shopping, people watching, and coffee shop writing marathons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ooooooooooooo! That all sounds incredible, Lisa! And I MUST see you skate!! I wanted to be an ice skater so badly when I was younger. I even had the Dorothy Hamill haircut. The only problem? I was terrible. Like, can-hardly-stand-up terrible. But I love-love-love watching it!


  7. I think writers have to embrace a certain amount of insanity! Spending time with my husband and talking to friends help when things seem a little too crazy. Books and old movies are my escape mechanisms of choice. And naps!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Love this! What TV shows are you loving? I’m like you and have watched almost no TV over the past few years and recently downloaded the Amazon Prime app on my phone and it’s dangerous!

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    1. Right now, I’m super-into Sneaky Pete. (I think we’re way behind on everything.) It’s definitely not everyone’s cup of tea, but I find the storyline addictive and the uber-flawed characters fascinating. What are you watching and loving, Marie?


  9. LOVE this! You are an inspiration.

    Have always wanted to try Jazzercise, but it seems intimidating for some reason. And I’m sure I don’t have the right workout gear for that. Same with Zumba. (I do have a Zumba DVD but number of times I’ve tried it = 0. No excuse, really, sigh.)

    Is Sneaky Pete good? I have had it on my watchlist forever but never seem to get started…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like Sneaky Pete! I have a good friend who absolutely hates it, so it’s definitely not for everyone. (Maybe I’m a little–or a lot–twisted?)

      Jazzercise: do it!!! No equipment necessary. Just show up. It may take a couple of weeks to “get” everything, but if you like music, like to dance, and want to work up a sweat while being in the company of great people, you’ll love it. Make a friend go! That’s how I got started. Now i can’t stop.



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