Raise the Stakes


So, it’s been an interesting week. I woke up two Sunday’s ago with very red eyes. I had some concerns with my eyes on the Friday and Saturday night when my eyes progressively got red throughout the evening. I thought I had dry eyes from work or something. But I ended up in a clinic on Sunday afternoon with pink eye and corneal ulcers from my contacts that I had been over wearing. Double whammy! Ouch!


Without much to say the eye specialist I had to see for the ulcers said I needed to be off from work for at least 10 days due to the pink-eye. Ouch again! 10 days, that’s a long time for me for not being on vacation, and believe me this was no vacation. I will spare you the details of my symptoms of both ulcer and pink eye, just know it wasn’t a pretty picture, even today after the ulcers have almost healed I still have hints of pink in my eyes and when I blink it feels like a million pebbles rubbing up against my eye lids.


Fortunately I was able to do some work on the computer for short periods of time. I kept up on work emails and regular correspondence that was needed. I was able to work on my manuscript for short periods of time as well, which was great, I was and very grateful that I was able to do some personal growth throughout this eye ordeal.

New-Growth_art                 Kelly Simpson

I did some other personal growth during my healing time, I used the Observation Desk by Naomi Epel and Law of attraction/Intention cards by Dr. Wayne Dryer a few mornings to set the creative tone of the day. The universe, maybe my muse had another plan. I drew cards on two separate occasions, and every message was pretty similar. The two cards that really spoke out, no need to pussy foot around message:

  1. Raise the stakes
  2. Explore the underside

I was working on my manuscript the day before and felt a little panicked about the direction and then I felt something was missing. Maybe it was ego talking, but the universe heard me and the next morning I get these two cards.


Raise the Stakes: How can you raise the stakes in your story? Is the conflict between characters too tame? Have you shown your nonfiction readers what they have to lose if they don’t accept your argument? Make your readers gasp for air as your paint a picture of the world in twenty years…

Novelist Georges Simenon began to work on each of his books by placing two characters in a location and asking himself, “What can happen to them that will cause them to reach their limit?”…Imagine a situation that would push a character of a set of characters to the limits of their endurance…Whatever troubles you’re describing, make them bad and then make them even worse.

Simply amazing! I needed this reminder to raise the steaks of my own memoir, what am I hiding, because you can’t hide in memoir.

AYRYW1 Hand of a child opening a cupboard door

Explore the underside: Examine the realm that lies beneath the surface – the world that is usually unseen. Discover the dark side of your hero, the soft side of your villain…Every positive characteristic has it’s negative side. The generous woman may have a hard time saying no. 

Write a scene that reveals an unexpected aspect of a character. Show the goodness of your bad guy, the badness of the one who seems so good…Take a look at the actual underside of an object…By forcing your attention on the details that reside below the surface, you are training yourself to write with greater depth…Find what is hidden in the closet – the closet of a character or the closet you’ve neglected in your home. You may find forgotten treasures or powerful skeletons to expose.


Yes! This is exactly what I needed – thank you universe, thank you muse, thank you guardian angels! Everything happens for a reason; getting pink eye was not the worst thing to attract, but nonetheless it happened because deep down I was thinking I needed time off to heal, not only heal from this eye virus, but heal from the time I lost, to be completely honest; for the time I let myself lose. I once again gave up my time to focus on other things than the one thing that needed me the most. Me! The creativity! The story! Now, here I sit filled with compassion for myself and honor the balance that I know can happen that must happen to maintain the creativity. What a blessing!

What a-ha moments have you had recently? Where do you draw from for creativity, for answers?

Until next time, keep on typing….



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