Making Progress

Now that baby boy is getting slightly more independent and I’m getting more rest, I’m working on things. I’m still not great about reading books, but I’m determined to keep on trying. It’s hard because some of them are good, but not great. For me, it’s hard to find a book that really enthralls me. It doesn’t even have to be the best well-written, just if the story is good and moves well. So if you have any MG recommendations, throw them at me.

I’ve started writing the sequel to my “Tower” book. It’s a MG Fantasy. This series has been crazy, it’s like it possessed me and I wrote outlines for several books. I have been editing the first one, but that gets a little humdrum after awhile, so I decided to start writing the second one. I had planned to do it for NanoWrimo, but it just didn’t happen. But I’ve realized I’ve got to spend time writing, even if just for my own mental health. You feel really cut off from the world as a SAHM. Especially in our covid times. It’s hard to keep reaching out when it’s not reciprocated.

I don’t blame them, it’s hard enough to reach out in the first place as a mom. Kids really take over your whole world. And it could be they have family in town, whereas we really don’t. So it gets lonely. But somehow crafting stories can help fill that void.

I just wanted to brag a little about making progress. And I’m submitting a small portion to my writer’s group again. They are so good with helpful feedback. We all critique each other’s stuff and make each other better writers and it’s so great to have that.

How are you doing? Are you meeting writing goals? Or maybe just having fun? What kinds of books are you reading lately?

A Lost Friend

For decades gone past and decades thought to come, but not now. Why? An offense. Perhaps, but seemingly small. Something so small to throw it away for. And yet, to her family, the same thing she does because alienation is somehow comforting.

Olive branches abound, but without result, and I’m left wondering: why? Is there more to try? More to abandon? More to know? But silence doesn’t yield many answers in the bitter cold. Occasionally my mind searches for clues it can’t find. Give up, give up, give up, counsels the other side of me. So mostly I do.

But every now and again, like a perfect sunset, the voice whispers again to try. How many olive branches must I send? How many olive branches do I want to send? In me old feelings rage for revenge, but pointless they truly are. After all, bitterness is merely drinking the poison you meant for another and it damages only yourself.

So, for now, I have to let it go, let it sink to the bottom, let it disappear. I hope for a better future, rooted in the reality of possible permanent loss. Too bad. Too sudden. To the next time.

Have you lost a friend due to their choice and not yours? Do you have a voice inside encouraging you to reach out every now and again? Or have you let it sink to the bottom for good?

I didn’t know what to write for a blog post. And to be honest I haven’t known what to write, so I thought I’d practice expressing my feelings for events in my life. Not always sad, but today this came to mind. I actually sent this friend a Christmas card after having not reached out for several months. The parting was this year. She’s pretty stubborn, so I think it may be a long while. And it may be that this is the end, but to quote Kermit the Frog, “Life is made up of meetings and partings; that is the way of it.

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Writing When You’re Busy

Most of us will reach a point in our lives when we feel like we’re too busy to write. Whether it’s a challenging job, parenting, or other life events, it’s going to happen. So how do you squeeze it in? I’d like to hear from you. Here are things I do to make time.

Outlining on My Phone

I’m a plotter, at least in the sense I write an outline before I write the actual story. I don’t have to have all the details ready yet, but I like to get a bare bones idea of the story before I really flesh it out. And it is writing. You’ve got to get those ideas out sometime.

Now I don’t always write on my phone. I prefer the ease of the keyboard vs. swiping ad infinitum. But sometimes you don’t have time to sit down and type. I do find myself waiting, especially in our pandemic world. Maybe it’s waiting for a pick up, or the flu shot, or a really long shopping line. So why not make the most of the time and get a few ideas down? That’s one of the many reasons I love Google Docs. You can sync up what you’re doing from anywhere. That way you can continue your idea at home, on your computer if you like. Or perhaps you’d like a long soak in the tub? Keep going on your phone (just be careful not to let it take a plunge, lol).

I don’t think I’d get as much writing done if I didn’t employ this method, because I also…

Editing on My Phone

Already have a story written? Time to polish that bad boy up. And no better way to do it than… you guess it, your phone, haha! Seriously though, I’ve heard many editors say it’s good to change up the way your story looks to edit it. What they meant was font change or print out. But I think that can apply to your phone, too, because the page spacing will be different. I’ve caught many errors that way.

And editing still counts as writing.

Setting Aside A Specific Time

Setting a goal of ten minutes a day or even 30 minutes on Wednesdays is another way to make the time. You can get a lot more written in ten minutes a day than you think. And ten minutes a day is more than 0 minutes a day. So is 30 minutes on Wednesdays. My husband is an exercise science major and he always touts the “better than zero” plan for exercise, which is even exercising 5 minutes is better than zero.

I think the same can apply to writing. Maybe you can only get that one line out today. That’s still one line more than zero. It would be nice if we could all take the time off to write the great American novel. Even many published authors will tell you they still have to keep a day job, which means time is limited. So do “better than zero.” I’m honestly saying this to myself as much as anybody.

What Do You Think?

What are your thoughts on making time for writing? Have you got any tips or tricks? Let me know in the comments.

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Keep Trying. Even If You Keep Failing.

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I haven’t been great at blogging, despite joining #Row80 to try and motivate myself. It’s not that I’m unmotivated per se, just that with a 9-month-old super energetic kiddo, and a part-time job, to the surprise of no one, I just feel tired and often I forget.

But I still want to do this. And that’s the thing. In fact, that’s what separates those who do and those who don’t. To keep going. Consistency is the real building of success. Now, in the beginning that consistency may not be so perfect. I always think of working out, I guess because it’s an easy to grasp analogy. You probably won’t get in shape if you don’t work out with some consistency. But you definitely won’t get in shape if you don’t work out at all.

I have weeks where I just have a bad week. And there’s a part of me that tells me: Well, you screwed this up, so you might as well quit altogether. Wrong. There’s more strength in dusting yourself off and trying again and again than trying hard for a few days and quitting completely.

You may be in a season of your life where accomplishing the goals you want to is just tough. Accept that and keep moving forward. I didn’t accomplish all the goals I wanted. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo, at least not the way I intended. But I have been outlining another book. I’m still creating.

There isn’t a time limit on your creativity. You may have put some on there, but keep creating even if you miss it. Now, yes, I acknowledge there are some deadlines you’ve gotta make, like if you’re submitting to a contest or an agent. But don’t waste the energy getting down on yourself for not measuring up the way you think you should. Shrug your shoulders, try to do better, and try again. And again.

I’m not giving up on you blog. And there’s no way I’d ever give up on writing. Let’s try again.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Are you more forgiving or more condemning of yourself when you miss your goals? Do you have a post about this topic? Post a link in the comments and I’ll come check it out.

Finally Checking In

Okay, here I am. Whew. I did some things though, so be proud.

  1. Blog Again. A post. Yeppers.
  2. Edit my MG Novel. A few changes, but there will be more since I submitted it to my writer’s group.
  3. Enter at least 2 writing contests. No progress here either.
  4. Regularly attend my writer’s group. I almost forgot. We were watching Squid Game when my phone reminded me. Whew!
  5. Bonus Goal: Write the sequel to my MG fantasy during NaNoWriMo. At least it’s still October, right?

An itty bitty baby does keep you busier than you think. Remember in college when you had all the time in the world somehow? I feel like I did. I could play Diablo until the wee hours of the morning and still have enough time to get my homework done. Ah, Diablo. The good old days. Ah, video games. The good old days.

What are you missing about your good old days? Are you hitting your goals? Let me know!

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