Tag Archives: finding time to write

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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… 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:



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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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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Making Dreams Come True

In a way, I love working part-time. I love the extra free time (although I need to develop the discipline to use it more effectively for writing) and, being an introvert, it gives me the time I need to recover from being around people for eight hours straight.

On the other hand, more money in the bank account would be a happy thing.

The other drawback to part time work, though, is losing track of time, especially if your schedule changes from week to week.

For instance, I was certain that I had yesterday off, until I looked at the dry erase calendar on the refrigerator on Wednesday.

(Seriously, that dry erase calendar is one of the best things I ever bought.  The dates are written in black, my schedule (work and otherwise) is in blue, my roommate’s schedule (work and otherwise) is in red, and stuff that applies to both of us is in green.)

(I love color coding almost as much as I do lists.)

So anyhow, yesterday I was thinking it was Friday (because in my head that’s when I had to go back to work) and I could wear jeans.  Nope.  Thursday.  I laid out a pair of scrub pants so I’d remember to wear the right clothes.

Now, today it’s Friday and I keep thinking that it’s Saturday.

I don’t think I’m ever going to catch up to myself.

At least, not until Monday when I’ll be off for four days again.

Meanwhile, I’m feeling overwhelmed by projects that are piling up. (Have been piling up.)

Even my normal method of making a list doesn’t seem to be helping.  (Of course, I made my list far too long — it’s a general “to do” list — so I really need to make another one of just writing projects.  Er, make that, just current writing projects — if I included the stuff in the “Novels I’m Ignoring” folder it would be even more overwhelming than the general to do list!)

And then I need to prioritize it. Except they’re all priorities. Every. Single. Thing.  on the list Needs. Done. Now.

But the main thing that needs done is developing the discipline to do it.

Because no matter how big or how much you dream, they don’t become reality by themselves.

So this is a wake up call to myself — and to anyone else who needs it — it’s time to do it!

“All ya gotta do is put your mind to it
Knuckle down, buckle down, do it, do it, do it.”

So let’s do it!

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Okay, this time I really did know that it was Friday and I had to write a blog post.  But I got kind of sick at work last night and was really tired and dragged out when I got home, plus I wasn’t sure what to write about.  And today was “Exchange Day” and after I exchanged over half my paycheck for necessities I had to go run some errands/do some shopping.  (And, of course, eat lunch.  Food will draw me out of my hermitage.)

Then once I got home I had to catch up on stuff online and find a candle holder. Well, two candle holders.  It’s amazing really – I have somewhere in the neighborhood of an uncountable number of candles of all shapes, sizes, and colors, but do you think I could find a holder for a single taper?  Not without tearing one entire corner of my room apart.

But anyhow… holders have been found, newly created chaos has been beaten back far enough to allow passage through my room (if you’re very careful and walk sideways) and a topic (of sorts) has materialized.

Well, two topics, and now I can’t decide which to write about.

*flips coin*

And the winner is…


We owe this topic to my friend Danielle, who has decided that she’s crazy enough to do the 1K-a-Day Challenge with me, and who said that she needs to clear off her desk.

And that got me thinking…

I’ve been looking at pictures of writing spaces, and there are some pretty awesome ones out there.  But some are too… sterile.  I wouldn’t be comfortable at an empty desk that held nothing but the computer.

So what is your writing space like? Cluttered? Neat? Out of control? Total chaos? Orderly? What would you change about it? (Without having to move to a different house/state/country/planet/galaxy/universe/reality?)

My writing space is cramped and cluttered and sometimes I use some… er… creative language (*cough* swear like a drunken Klingon sailor *cough*) when papers start a landslide, but for some bizarre reason I need to have stuff around me when I write. It doesn’t distract me — I just sort of tune it out and don’t really see it, but having it there is… comforting somehow. (And when I get stuck I work through a pile of papers and go “Hmm… I wonder what that note was supposed to mean?” and then get back to writing.

Granted, I would like to find a happy medium between imminent danger and total order, but time spent doing that is time spent not writing.

And, you know…


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Back to Work…

All in all, it’s been a fairly productive three days off.

First of all, I came up with some potential cover images for Sanguine, so please go vote for one if you haven’t already.

I did some editing of Sanguine using Sarah’s comments, and I fixed a name change that I missed. (Thanks, Danielle!)

I’ve been posting chapters to Wattpad, but I still haven’t tackled Goodreads.  (But I’m blaming that on the fact that it suddenly got too hot to think again. Ugh.  I can’t wait for cooler weather!)

I’ve added words to my current WiP (Book Two of The Other Mages trilogy).  Only a couple thousand, and a lot of them are probably going to be cut, but sometimes the important thing is to just keep writing, because sooner or later something that you write is going to show you the way to move forward.  And yesterday something did so I’m excited about the project again.  I’m not sure how to segue to it, but since this is just a first draft I’m perfectly content to write [SEGUE NEEDED] and get on with it.

And I’m working on outlines for November.

Yes, outlines.  Plural.

No, I’m not planning on doing two novels in November – I did that once and swore to never do it again – but I’m having trouble deciding what to write.   Sarah wants a sequel to Sanguine, but Rowland has been patiently waiting for a sequel to Song and Sword.   And then there is Book Twelve of The Academy of the Accord series that needs to be written (along with Books Six, Seven, and Ten, but they’ve been sort of started so they don’t count).  And of course, there are a few other plot bunnies hopping around nibbling at the edges of my mind…  It’s getting crowded in there and will be worse by the end of October.

Oh, and I got the email from HQ that the 2014 Municipal Liaison kits are ready, so if I hadn’t already been thinking about NaNoWriMo I would be now anyhow.  But now I have to plot and ponder how to use this year’s “theme” for my region.  And start putting together a calendar of events.

But, now it’s time to go back to work at my day (well, evening) job, so…

Other than more work on the outlines, which I’ll print (on reused paper) and take to work with me, I doubt I’ll get much done for the next week or so.  I’m working five days in a row, get one off, work one, get one off, and then will be working at least three days.  (I haven’t seen that schedule yet.)  I’m hoping that during my next run of three days off I can get Sanguine formatted, but I know I’ll be too wiped out to do it next week.

I might also start working on a blurb for Sanguine.  If you hear a lot of swearing coming from Western Pennsylvania it will probably be me.  (I hate writing blurbs.  I would rather edit than write blurbs…)





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Camp NaNo Recovery

So I am slowly getting my life back from Camp NaNoWriMo, or will be when I’m done feeling like I was dragged behind a runaway rhinoceros.

I’m still doing the page a day writing challenge, usually using 750words.com to get my pages done, unless I’m too tired when I get home from work, in which case I just babble.  (Crazy night at work last night so my 750 entry was all over the place, jumping from subject to subject to squirrel! back to a previous subject to a squirrel! to… Yeah.   No sense trying to write when the mind is working like that.)

My days off will be focused on editing Sanguine, and I’m off for the next three days, so here’s hoping I can make it through at least one more round those days.  (I suppose I should try to do a chapter of it every day before work, too.)

Actually, tomorrow may be dedicated to writing, cleaning the rat cage, and working on making a path through my room, unless I take my editing bag and go hide in a library, but that requires leaving the house so I might just get some other stuff done instead.

See, I don’t normally have trouble finding time to write (or edit, if I have to):  it’s finding a balance between writing and everything else that seems to elude me.  Things like work (well, I do find time for it), housework, shopping, etc, all just seem to take a back burner in my life.  I think it’s time to get a kitchen timer and write a page, then clean for 15 minutes, write a page, clean for 15 minutes, etc.

Anyhow, by Friday I hope to have finished another run through of Sanguine – and to have a room I can more or less walk through.  We’ll see…

Meanwhile, does anyone have any tricks for balancing it all?

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