Tag Archives: finding time to write

Free to Write

Well, I did it.  I had two Swap Bot packets that had to go out today and I took them to the post office this morning.  The next ones I’ve signed up for don’t have to be mailed until next Monday, so I have time to clean up my mess from this last batch (one thing about writing, it’s not nearly as messy as other crafts!) and to take my time working on the next ones (an artist trading card and a pair of bookmarks).

And maybe even be able to focus on writing.

Actual writing, as in putting words on paper (or in a Word doc).  My mind is always on writing, and it’s been working overtime these last few days. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been focusing on the story that it needs to focus on. In fact, it’s not even thinking about any of the more pressing writing projects in my life.

Nope.

Instead, it’s been fixated on when a character should first put in an appearance in Sea Witch (working title only), arguing over having her show up first in the hospital or the court room.

Not very productive.

But it’s Monday, and one of the writing groups I’m on Face Book always has a post on Monday to set your goal for the week. So mine is to finish that blasted scene I’m trying to add to Onyx Sun.

Next week it’s going to be a follow up scene to this one – one that will segue into another already written extra scene that I need to work into the story.

So.

Weekly goal.  No word count, just… write the scene. Finish it. Even if it’s just bare bones, finish it. It can be fleshed out later.

Oh, and make an ATC.

 

 

 

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So Much For Writing

On Tuesday I noticed that Riley (one of our boxers) was acting… not right. I decided to see how he was on Wednesday and the answer was “worse” so I called the vet and the got him that afternoon.

He has a slipped disc and is on prednisone. (Fortunately he’s really good about taking pills.)

He’s also now seeing a chiropractor.

He’s doing better. He’ll go down the steps to the yard now and he wouldn’t on Wednesday. He’s also starting to eat.

But meanwhile, I’ve been spending my time downstairs with him so he didn’t have to climb the steps to be in my room with me. (The dog is my shadow. Seriously. At the chiropractor’s this evening I got up to go to the restroom, leaving him with my roommate. As soon as I was out of sight he started barking, so I went back to get him and take him with me.

(Owning a boxer means you never pee alone.)

Anyhow, tomorrow I’ll be getting up early so we can get on the road to bring home two more wiggle butts (see Monday’s post). Helping them settle in will take up most of the rest of my time tomorrow and I’ll be home alone with the foursome on Monday, then Riley goes back to the chiropractor that evening, and the sisters (the new additions) have an appointment with the groomer on Thursday.

In short, the month is half over and I may never see my monitor again.

Okay, so that is kind of an exaggeration. I’m sure that it won’t be long before all four dogs follow me up to my room to hang out with me. (Riley and Jazzy already do.)

Now, with all this focus on the dogs (and considering how much I love animals) I have to ask myself one question:

Why have I never given my characters pets?

(Well, in Hedge House there is sort of a pet, although I’m sure she’d take exception to that term.)

Something to think about…

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Increasing Count

I spent most of yesterday in a car getting lost on a road trip to Ohio.  (I don’t know what Google Maps was tripping on when it gave me directions but it sure wasn’t PA and OH roads, that’s for sure.)

So word count didn’t go up, but body count did.

No, I didn’t kill my roommate.

Nope.

We were taking the dogs to a pound in Ohio. (We live in Western Pennsylvania.)

And, no, we weren’t dropping our dogs off there. Jazzy and Riley came from a shelter and have a forever home with us.

Nope, we were going there to meet Laverne and Shirley.

They are 10 year old sisters that I learned about via a boxer rescue group on Face Book (Boxer Rescue of America).   They were surrendered by their elderly owner because she was no longer able to care for them. Laverne is the fawn (on the right) and Shirley is the brindle.

The meet and greet went very well. None of the dogs showed any sign of aggression – not one hackle was raised, no flattened ears, no growls or snarls or baring of teeth, not even a guarded look. A lot of sniffing and going about their business. No cowering in submission from anyone, either.

So, we’re going to back on Saturday (sans dogs) to bring them home with us. (Laverne and Shirley are getting some blood work done this week.)

That’s going to give us four wiggle butts.  Two humans = four hands. Four dogs = one for each hand.

(My roommate wasn’t too sure about adding to the family, but Shirley kissed up to her and now has her wrapped around her little cigar butt tail. Literally kissed up to her.  She did the “Boxer Lean” and slobbered big wet sloppy kisses all over her face and Sue said, “They have to come home.”)

Anyhow, since I’m about nine thousand words behind where I need to be today, and since I’m probably losing most if not all of Saturday (and the days that follow as I help the two new additions settle into their new home) I had really better get myself focused on increasing word count.

And I will.

Right after supper.

 

 

 

 

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Brain Dump

So far my plans for the month aren’t going too well. I’ve written approximately 400 words in one of the short stories I’m planning to submit to an anthology and that’s been about it.

Why? I have no idea, other than the fact that the evil day job has been draining and by the time I get home I’m too brain dead to do more than poke at a jigsaw puzzle on JigZone.

Remember my plan to use 750words.com for writing instead of brain dumping my day? Yeah. That (obviously) hasn’t happened.  I tried. I poked at one of the short stories in 750words and… couldn’t focus.

Maybe because I haven’t been using it for writing lately and I need to get back into the habit of doing that, so that my muse or subconscious or whatever you want to call it knows that when I log in it’s time for some creative writing.

Or maybe I’m going about it the wrong way.

Sometimes, brain dumping is necessary.  It can help clear the way for writing by getting other concerns out of your head.

The trick, I think, is to do the brain dump, and then write once the day has been cleared from the mind. I’ve been failing at the second part of that.

I was thinking the other day about how odd it is that I seem to get less written now, when I’m less than five minutes from work, than I did when I had an hour long commute each way.  But maybe it’s not so odd.  That commute gave me time to clear my head on the way home, and time to psych myself up on the way there, so I was able to be productive when I was home.  Instead, I now have to use my time at home to get myself mentally prepped for my day job, and to de-stress from it afterward.

I don’t want to go back to that commute just to test the theory, though, so I’m going to have to find a way to balance brain dumping and writing.

 

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Time Sinks

You know what they are. They’re those black holes that you fall into and before you know it you’ve lost hours of your day.

A few of mine:

Pinterest. I’m pretty good at avoiding this one, but when I fall… I look at someone’s board, then go the board of someone that they pinned an image from, and from there I find other boards and other people and… Yeah. Half a day and forty boards later I come up for air, bleary eyed, wondering what year it is.

Jigzone.  I’ll admit it. (I may have already admitted it here.)  I am a jigsaw junkie. I have been known to skip meals while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have been known to ignore chocolate cake with peanut butter icing while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle. I have foregone sleep while engrossed in a jigsaw puzzle.  I’m only semi successful at avoiding jigzone.

YouTube. *sigh* Let’s not go there.  No, I mean, really, let’s not go there. I’m currently addicted to all things Pentatonix.  And to Superfruit videos. And the comments on them. And the Moody Blues. And then I look up old songs that I used to like or wonder if they’re on YouTube.  And then I start looking at horse videos and videos of Boxers (dogs, not fighters).  I’m um… really not good at avoiding YouTube. I tell myself that I’ll use it as a reward, that I’ll watch one (just one!) video and then get back to work. And, yeah, one video becomes two hours and…

Yeah. FaceBook pales in comparison to those.

Then there are online games. I’m pretty good at avoiding them, mostly because I haven’t even thought about them recently. (Until now.  Thank you, me. Now I have to go find Alchemy and BookWorm and Hangaroo, and…)

No. Just no.  I am not going to go there, I’m just not.

 

 

 

 

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It Takes Balls

So, I’d had a crazier than normal shift at the Evil Day Job, ending with a resident who was talking to someone no one else could see – probably one of the ghost children who roam the halls. (Seriously.  Several residents are plagued by them.)

But anyhow, I was talking to a friend about it on FB, and we had the following conversation:

DM: Maybe you need to take a stress ball to work with you.

Me: I’d probably bounce it off a few heads.

DM: *Snickers* Well, that DOES help with stress…

DM: One of those isoflex sand filled are stress things wouldn’t be so bad. You can’t bounce it off someone at least. Can still throw it but…

Me: I’d rather have something hard…

That led to a discussion of various types of balls and which ones hurt the most.  She reminded me about wiffle balls, but I settled on bowling balls as my weapon of choice. (They bounce!  Sort of.)

Anyhow, we went on to other things, like my sudden obsession with Pentatonix, and I commented that I needed a topic for a blog post.

DM: Talk about balls. That would be interestingly hilarious.

Our conversation cycled back to Pentatonix, then back to my lack of a blog topic.

DM: Hey I gave you a suggestion, you didn’t like the balls.

Me: My mind slipped into a different direction when you said that and I almost replied “It’s not that kind of a blog.”

DM: ROFL! My mind’s already down that gutter. Why do you think I said it like that?

Me: Well, it’s still not that kind of balls.

DM: *Snickers*

Don’t you mean blog?

Me: Balls, blog… at this point, they both start with a “B”

DM: Good point.

Me: Okay, balls it is.

And, that, dear reader, is why you are now reading a blog post about balls.  Blame it on Daelyn Morgana.

(And it’s still not that kind of blog.  Nor is this post about that kind of balls.)

Writing novels while working an Evil Day Job is a lot like juggling a bunch of balls. (Not that kind of balls!)

(Although, there are days…)

Anyhow, there are all the normal writerly balls: the writing ball, the plotting and outlining ball, the editing ball, the revising ball, the promoting ball (I drop that one a lot), the wrangling of plot bunnies ball, etc.

And then there are the normal non-writerly balls: the stuff to do around the house ball, the keeping up with the rest of the world ball, the errand running ball, the cooking and eating ball, the laundry ball, the pets ball, etc.

And then there are the EDJ balls: the getting dressed to go there ball (hey, I’m an introvert and a would be hermit – leaving the house just isn’t my thing, okay?), the dealing with people ball, the pulled in seventeen directions at once but still need to get tasks done on time ball (welcome to the wonderful world of nursing), the keep everyone alive and safe until the end of shift ball…

And then I come home and stare at my computer wishing I had the energy to juggle the writerly balls.

So, yeah, when they say it takes balls to be a writer, they don’t necessarily mean that kind of balls.

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Ti-i-i-ime

… is not on my side.

Halfway through the month already?  Didn’t we just celebrate New Year’s?

I’m doing pretty good on my writing goals.

Sort of.

I finished the first round paper edits of Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord and have Book 7 in the editing binder. I should probably stop and work on updating the writer’s bible for the series but I don’t think I can get that three ring binder to fit in my current backpack and I don’t feel like dragging out my MOLLE pack.  I think I’ll have to break down and carry an extra tote bag if I want to work on the bible. (Not that I have a lack of tote bags, mind you.)

I also have less than 2000 words to go to hit my writing goal for the month.

I’m not doing so good at getting changes entered to Onyx Sun (and haven’t even touched the changes to Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord).  I was actually doing pretty good on it, then hit a snag the other day, one of those things I talked about on Friday where, instead of fixing it as I was going through, I left myself a note “Westin? Intro him here instead of later” in the margin.

When I came to that point I didn’t have time to do it because I had to get ready for work, and then the weekend blog hops happened, and…

And here it is, Monday, and the same page is sitting here staring at me.  I have figured out how to work him in (and add description and setting to the scene as well) so all is not lost and I might have time to get it fixed before work today.

I’m hoping to make some headway on getting those changes entered over the next two days (my “weekend”) but tomorrow is going to be packed with errands.  (Dog to groomer, dog licenses, dog food, bank, post office, Aldi’s, Sam’s Club, Wal Mart, Dollar Tree, getting stuff printed, and taking the dogs to the nursing home to visit because I am not leaving the house on Wednesday after all of that.)  Fortunately, all but Sam’s and getting stuff printed can be done here in my town: for those I’ll need to make about a half hour drive. (The printing can actually wait, and just might.)

Maybe if I get started and on the road by 8:00 in the morning…

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The Hundred Word Solution – Part Two

So, on Monday I asked:

So with all of these fun and wonderful projects, why haven’t I been writing?

Probably lots of reasons: feeling overwhelmed, lack of motivation, miserable summer heat…

Lots of reasons, but only one solution:

Write.

Daily.

Even if it’s just a hundred words.

In fact, when I set up my non-NaNoWriMo Month word trackers I think I’ll make that the daily goal, at least until I get back into the habit of daily novel writing.

In fact, I might even start tomorrow.

After I clean the rat cage, run errands, catch up on blog hops…

A hundred words is still doable.

But which WiP do I add them to?

I’ll let you know on Friday.

Well, it’s Friday.

I’ve written just over a thousand words, which isn’t all that much, maybe, but it’s far more than what I had been putting out.   (The real test is coming up over the next couple days – can I do this while also doing the weekend blog hops? I think I can – I’ll just make it part of my daily/nightly 750words.)

Anyhow, I’ve been working on another scene to insert into Onyx Sun. The scene is clunky and awkward but that can be fixed in editing. And it’s getting less clunky and awkward the more I write.

And I’m starting to look forward to writing. Somehow writing had become a chore, not something that I looked forward to doing and couldn’t wait to get back to, but I find my mind drifting back to this scene in odd moments. (And I haven’t even gotten to the fun part of it yet.)

I don’t know if it’s the low expectation (“just a hundred words”) or something else, but the important thing is that I’m writing.

I’m reminded by a quote from Louis L’Amour:

Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.

I think I should print that out and hang it over my computer.

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Plans? What Plans?

Well, so far nothing I’ve planned to do writing-wise this month has happened.

(I have done a bit of editing of Book 5 of The Academy of the Accord, and discovered that it’s a much bigger mess than I remembered it being. I have no idea how I managed to completely contradict myself in less than three pages, but I guess all things are possible when you’re a writer.)

(Not to mention that the prologue to Book 6 potentially screws up half of Book 5… Although I could maybe find a way to still make it work… Hmmm… That might really make it work better, actually…)

I haven’t even looked at Onyx Sun.  Well, I opened the file last night because I was tagged in the 7-7-7 Challenge on FB. (You go to page 7 (or 77) of your current work in progress, count down 7 lines, and post 7 lines.  My problem with these challenges is always trying to decide which WiP to post from.)

Oh, and I haven’t finished last Saturday’s Rainbow Snippets blog hop and this week’s goes live tomorrow.

Let’s see where this month went wrong.

First and Second: Work was horrendously draining, pretty much sapping any energy I had. Plus, on Sunday (the 1st) I had to run to another town to pick up a rat that I was transporting across the state.  That chunk of my morning threw me behind in the weekend blog hops.

Tuesday (the 3rd) I was off, but I was off on a 14+ hour road trip to drop off the Naked Man I’d picked up on Sunday, and pick up five more (non-naked) males that I’m adding to my own mischief.

Wednesday was spent recovering from the 14+ hour rat related road trip and trying to do some of the stuff that I normally would have done on Tuesday.

The new rats were rescues that someone else took in but needed to find new homes for.  They are not very trusting, but I’m working on it.  Three of them are coming around (slowly) but the other two are going to take more time.

Yesterday was back to work, and the outlook on the writing front isn’t improving much – we got word that our landlord is selling the apartments (again) and (far worse!) will “need access” for the real estate company.  I do have until next Thursday (at least) for that to get sorted as far as a mad dash to make the place look semi presentable.

Can we pretend this month hasn’t started yet and start over?

On a happier note, I’ve been asked to write a guest blog post about The Academy of the Accord.  More news on that later.  Right now I have to medicate the brat rats and get some serious blog hopping done before work.  Oh, and do at least a couple cleaning type things.

 

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Weekends

I’m giving up on weekends.

Okay, so I can’t really take them out of the calendar or anything, but I’m going to have to reconcile myself to the fact that I don’t get anything accomplished on Saturday and Sunday.

For one thing, I work weekends. This by itself would not be a problem, at least, no more of a problem than working on weekdays, but (as you’ve no doubt noticed) I now participate in two blog hops on weekends.  I try to keep up with them as people post (so I’m not trying to finish them at the end of the week) so that kind of puts just about everything else on hold.

Remember that fifty word paragraph I was having trouble with in Friday’s post? Well, I rewrote it Friday night and tried to type it into Word on Saturday.  It took over an hour because I didn’t want to fall behind on the blog hop.

On a brighter note, I had a really good night of doing paper edits on Saturday, and I’m almost done with the first round on Book Two of The Academy of the Accord.

But, yeah, I’m going to have to lower my expectations of productivity on Saturday and Sunday – and probably most of Monday, too.

This wouldn’t be so bad if I could count on making up lost time on my days off, but I’m afraid I’ve been slacking then, too.  Sometimes it seems that the more time I have to do something the longer it takes me to do it, and I’m actually more productive on work days.

No, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start working seven days a week. I need my weekends – even if they aren’t the same as everyone else’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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