"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow." ~Helen Keller

The holidays are over, the days are still long and dark, and spring feels a long way in the future. During those times it can be a challenge to keep yourself in a positive frame of mind. It's easier to go full Oreo binge on the sofa in those PJs you've been wearing for days. (No judgement — a good pair of PJs, or as we call them, office pants, are worth their weight in gold.)

However, while an occasional Oreo binge never hurt anyone, a full season of sofas and negative thoughts doesn't help. We've collected some articles to help you put a positive spin on these long, dark days. And to be clear, we're talking about feeling down, versus being depressed. If you're struggling with depression that's a whole other challenge that you can't just jolly yourself out of. If you find you can't lift your mood be sure to reach out. You're important. To us and to others.

If having to get up in the dark (and for some of us wet) is dampening your mood, scan these 6 Steps to Transform Your Outlook. Seriously, scan the page and the step that looks the least appealing — give that one a shot first. Step into the resistance.

This post lists 21 Ways to Create and Maintain a Positive Attitude. There's probably nothing brand new to you on this list but, if you were to try one new approach every day, to test out what works, we bet you'd see a positive change, despite the cold, dark days.

You're a writer so you understand the power of words, how the right word can create the tension you need in a scene. And, as a creative, it can be hard to turn off that need to ensure there's drama on every page — sometimes even when the "page" is our life! Brian Tracy shares four ideas you can use to help you maintain a positive attitude and manage stress by adjusting the words you use to describe your situation.

~ New this week ~

New on our YouTube channel

Over the next two weeks we'll be uploading lots of great conversations we've had with authors and publishing industry pros. New this week on our YouTube channel are the following conversations:

Donna chats with Stacey Miller on the psychology of becoming an author.

Crystal chats with Angela Ackerman about the beauty that is OneStopForWriters.com.

And Eileen gets her agent, Barbara Poelle, to dish on what she looks for in a query letter, how she pitches projects to editors, and how she approaches career-building with the authors she represents.

Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a convo!

New in our free Resource Room

Crystal has been leading our members through an intensive process to whip their author websites into shape— giving weekly homework and everything! If you want a taste of that, download her Author Website Checklist. It focuses on the content, not the design, but if you're not delighted with your site, tuning up your content is the best place to start.

~ For Creative Academy Members ~

Office hours, writing sprints and special topic gatherings

In Eileen's Happy Hours, she discussed how to write to tell characters apart, tips to deal with writers block (Jan 15), character vulnerability (Jan 22), tenses and POV (Jan 23). And Donna pinch-hit one of her office hours times with a discussion about how to write affirmations that work for you (Jan 16).

In Crystal's Strategic Author office hours she discussed on-boarding emails for newsletter subscribers, and Mapping Programs (Jan 14), continued her author website intensive using the Story Brand model (Jan 16 & 23), and talked about audiobooks, connecting with readers, and publishing short fiction (Jan 21).

Donna's unrecorded mastermind groups are meeting on Thursday mornings. We've been sharing ways to get back into the writing zone when watching Netflix feels so much more rewarding, and how to adjust expectations for our work when we're in the revision stage, which is such a different creative space than writing.

Not a Creative Academy member yet? Learn all you need to know to become a member here.

~ Creative Advice Prompt ~

Consider how your character sees the world. Do they generally have a positive attitude? What in their past contributed to this world view? Does it change during the course of the book (either positively or negatively)?

Eileen, Crystal and Donna