Writing Wednesday: Making Time

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard12490085 Old paper grunge background Pay attention to your dre

With NaNoWriMo on the horizon making time is crucial. And honestly I suck at making time for myself. I struggle with it in my personal and professional life. When someone tags me in a post I feel the obligation to respond immediately to the point where I actually walked out of a doctors appointment the other day to respond to posts. I felt as if I was failing if I didn’t give it my immediate attention. As soon as it was over I had a good talk with my doctor, clearly my boundary settings needed some work.

I’ve been getting better, but this incident was a step back for me. I’ve worked hard to pull myself out of my uber-people-pleaser phase and adapt a more healthy “the world isn’t going to end if I don’t answer this right now.” approach. So after some time thinking it over I went back to look at what I have been doing that is working for me, in hopes that with the oncoming storm that is NaNoWriMo I can be better prepared.

I’ve started letting people know ahead of time that I won’t be available during the day. Between all the stuff we have to do in our day it’s a wonder we get anything done at all. I know I’m not the only one out there with kids, husband, family, work, school, animals, health issues, etc. that all require my attention. The difference is that I used to put everything and everyone ahead of all of those things because I thought it made me a better person by bending over backwards for people. Now I realize that I can’t help anyone else if I don’t take care of myself first. And part of that is writing. It helps me, keeps me sane, and writing is a huge chunk of who I am. Even before I put that writing into books I was writing as part of planning my D&D games, writing out my own extensive lore for a campaign, writing back stories for characters, poetry, and short stories that were just for me to read. So I have to make the time.

This blog is a great example of how much more productive I’ve been. Before I would put off posting until the last minute because I was busy doing other things for other people (my kids, family, anyone and everyone) then at that last minute you know what would happen? Something else would come up, and my blog suffered for it. Now, for the past month or so, I’ve been fairly consistent in my posting and the blog has been a lot more active and I’m so grateful for that because I love being here.

Time sucks are also terrible for my productivity. Wikipedia, Facebook, Yahoo News. I get lost in those sites for hours. I’d like to say I’m a strong willed person, but that would be a lie. To help with that I recently cheated and got a Chrome extension to block certain sites *coughs* Facebook *coughs* during my work hours. So far that is helping as long as I keep my phone far from reach)

How do you make time for writing or your other priorities in life? Are you a people-pleaser? Do you use any website blocking software or extensions to help keep you on task?

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Productivity, Schedules, and Rituals

The other day my husband turned to me and said, “I don’t know how you get anything done while you are home.”

I gave him a confused look because the statement just came out of left field so I asked, “What do you mean?”

So he explained, “I just don’t know how you do it. I tried to do my paperwork the other night and I couldn’t do it. It’s just the house is too overwhelming. All I had to do was copy things down from one paper to another and I kept finding myself distracted and would lose my train of thought. I can’t imagine how you can write a book with all that distraction around you.”

I breathed a sigh of relief because finally someone, SOMEONE, in this frigging house gets it! Our house, as much as we love it, isn’t conducive for structured, focused work. There is just too much, everything. Too much sound, too many sights, too much smells. Everything shiny, distracting, or interesting is always within reach in our small little home. The kids, the dog, the cat, the rats, the salamander, the 4 TVs, the PS2, PS3, the xbox, the Wii, the DVD’s, Netflix, Hulu, the 3 laptops, the 3 3DS’s, the home computer, the phones, and the iPad. It’s just completely overwhelming. Did I mention the kids? Because really those two boys of mine should really count as 65% of the distraction in this house.

As of right now while I’m typing this they are both lounging around my writing nook, one on the PS3, the other on his phone, the dog in between all of us. Noises, humming electronics, etc. And before I came in here I specifically said, “I’m going to sit down and try to do some writing.” That is apparently universal code for “Let’s all hover around mom, play loud games, and argue constantly. Oh the joys of having teenagers… Note the sarcasm.

So anyway, back to my husband’s epiphany. I told him. “Now maybe you can understand why I get frustrated on days when I tell you I couldn’t get any writing done. Or when I complain that I was only able to write 500 words before all hell broke loose and I haven’t hit my goal.”

He nodded in silence. I said, “We need a better plan, our house isn’t a good place to work and you have to study for your upcoming test.” He agreed, and so our new plan since he has a major certification test to take for work soon and I am learning HTML and still writing/editing/and writing some more is this: One day a week, probably on Fridays, since he’s off that day, I will pack up my laptop and notebooks. He will grab his certification books and paper and we will go to the library.

That will be our study day. I can work on code, or write. He can study. And it will be in a controlled, quiet environment. We both suffer from over-stimulation. Having so many flashing, noisy things just doesn’t help two people with ADD. And no matter how organized I make my house it will never be a quiet place. I am okay with that, I love my kids yelling and playing (the fighting not so much, but it comes with the teenage territory), my animals mean the world to me, and we love our electronics. So getting us out of the house will benefit both of us and let us enjoy the chaos of our crazy house without so much frustration over what we aren’t getting done.

Granted one day a week isn’t going to do much for my daily writing strategies, but I’ve got some other plans in mind for that too. Starting Monday I’ve got a couple of rituals I’m going to start:

My little writing corner

My little writing corner

  • Gather up everything I need for my writing sessions. Always the same things (so that my brain can learn to associate these things with “writing time”):
    1. tea
    2. snacks
    3. water
    4. notebook
    5. pen/pencil
    6. writing binder
    7. Noisli App on my iPad (background noise and color generator that I downloaded for free. If you like having background noise like rain, ocean waves, wind, nature, white, pink, or brown noise I highly recommend this app)
  • Next I’m going to make sure my kids (if they are home) are well aware that unless it is life threatening they need to entertain themselves. I mean they know how to feed themselves, so it’s not as if they are neglected.
  • Sit down at specific times during the day. I’m already pretty good at this. I take a daily walk at 8:45 every weekday, so I’m home by 9:30 and sitting down to write by 10.
  • Outline on paper what it is that I will be working on so that I have some direction and I’m not just staring at my screen wondering what I should write. I swear I waste more time on that than anything else. (Which is probably why I do much better during writing sprints because I don’t have time to dwell on things, I just have to write by the seat of my pants.)
  • Keep a log of the specific times I write for each session, my total word count during the session, and my words-per-hour. I have a table printed out for this.

So that’s my Monday thru Thursday plan. Then I have the Friday plan. And as usual Saturdays and Sundays will be reserved for family time and if I get to squeeze in some writing time that will be great, but if not I won’t beat myself up over it.

Do you have a writing ritual that helps you stay focused? Do you have a place other than home where you are more productive?

Winter Writing Festival: Two Weeks Down

Amazingly I’m still on target for the RSSWWF. I’m pretty damn proud of myself.

*insert throwing confetti here*

Staying on track hasn’t been the easiest thing with my youngest sons basketball season starting, all the end of the year strings that need to be tied up, the beginning of the year stuff that needs to be figured out, my husband starting a new schedule at work after six years of the same ol’ routine. All in all, it’s been a crazy 28 days, but I’ve stayed on track with the Writing Festival.

Today is the first day that I’ve had a chance to write all week but for the RSSWWF I set my goals for either writing or editing and I’ve gotten in a bit of edits everyday regardless of how busy things get. Writing today was a much needed release though. I don’t realize how much I’ve missed writing until I get a chance to pound out some words. And it always feel great to see the word count go up-up-up.

Beyond that not much has been happening which is why the blog has been so quiet. I’m compiling a list of New Releases for February which should be posted on the 1st and maybe that will become a thing around here to show some love to other authors. ❤

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Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival

I love the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood and their Ruby-Slippered Winter Writing Festival or RSSWWF for short. I’m all signed up, had internet problems yesterday so I had to delay signing up until this morning. I have my goals set and I’m ready to go. This is my second year of doing the winter writing festival, but it is on it’s 5th year (so I was a little late to the game). If you are interested you can still sign up, just click here for the details.

RSSWWF Participant 2015

RSSWWF Participant 2015

Now, I’m ready to get some progress made. My goals (to earn me points) are:

-write 500 words a day (or if life gets crazy 3,500 a week)

-join in on writing sprints at least twice a week (the RSSWWF site has a schedule for all of their sprints)

-deep revisions on what I have already compiled for my WIP for 30 minutes a day.

My goals are low, because I’m cutting myself some slack and not trying to join the over-achievers club this year. I am my own worst enemy, I set extremely high goals to keep up with others and end up falling behind and giving up when I can’t achieve perfection. So this year my motto is “Slow and steady wins the race.” I am a tortoise to the hares of the masses.

Anyways, wish me luck and if you sign up for the festival I’ll see you over there.

~Happy Writing!

Slumps and Sadness

Slumps, the blahs, whatever you want to call them… We’ve all had one bad day, one very bad week, and sometimes even a bad season or two.

I really hate that feeling of “blah” it’s uncomfortable and itchy. It makes my head hurt, my eyes burn, and I become the 5 headed Hydra-Mia who can breathe fire, spit acid, and glare laser beams at anyone within a ten mile radius.

I usually get my blahs near the change of the seasons. Not just the cold seasons, those are actually my favorite time of year. Something about the changing of any season seems to send me into the blahs. In every other aspect I welcome and enjoy change. I am one of those people who rearrange all the furniture in the house four times a year (yes with the seasons). The rearranging gives me some sort of solace in this melancholy that I face every three months. I often think I’d be better off moving to a place where the seasons are less defined, and constantly rainy if I had my choice.

What does this have to with writing (since this is a blog about writing)? Everything. When I am in these slumps of depression I can’t write very productively. It takes a lot of effort on my part to stay focused and work. I’m still working though, as tough as it might be. Usually I take weeks to recover, I mope and refuse to write. This year I cannot allow myself such luxuries. I have deadlines, this girl is getting published and I’ll be damn if some mild depression, trouble in my personal life, or anything else is going to stand in my way. Time is the one thing that I have to utilize.

I also need to take off my “Procrastination Crown” and stop dragging my feet, but I felt that airing my depression-woes might do me some good and act like free therapy.

On the plus side, Twisted Revenge for Ellora’s Cave is coming along, I’m on the second round of edits although the ending isn’t wrapping up like I’d hoped but I should be able to get it to behave this week.

Current Works-In-Progress:

Twisted Revenge- In edits

The Brass Circle (Steampunk Short Story for submission)- Writing

Waking Up In Bedlam- In edits

(Everything else is on hold)

By Ernst Rosca from Moscow, Russia (sadness) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Cover Reveal, Waking Up In Bedlam Excerpt, and GIVEAWAY!

I promised yesterday I would do this today since I missed the bloghop. I still wanted to put my efforts out there and give away a $10 amazon gift card. Instruction are at the bottom of this post on how to enter.

Waking Up In Bedlam by Mia Bishop: Excerpt (unedited) and Cover Reveal

Release Date: TBA

PROLOGUE

Jessa blinked —White sheets tangled around long, bare legs— this wasn’t a dream. It was another vision. As much as she wanted to turn away she couldn’t, she had to watch and see what Fate was once again showing her.

The man’s  head popped up and the woman giggled. Jessa‘s stomach clinched. This was the same man she kept seeing in her dreams, every time she closed her eyes, seeing his escapades with other women. She squeezed her eyes shut, knowing that it wouldn’t make the torment stop. She would see him whether her eyes were open or not.

The man threw the sheets off their sweaty bodies, Jessa hated the way her mouth watered when she saw him completely naked. His body was perfect, fit, lightly tanned, tattoos trailed down his arm. His hair was always messy enough to give off that “I just rolled out of bed” look, and his eyes were as icy blue as a glacier. He was the walking picture of sex in faded jeans, not that Jessa saw him much in her visions when he was fully dressed. She didn’t complained about his lack of clothes either for that matter. What hurt was watching him take various women to his bed, she had to watch them cling to him, scratch his back, wrap their legs around him. Jessa gripped the sides of her head and whimpered, “Please make it stop.”

But Fate was cruel, the vision wouldn’t stop. The female in his bed leaned up and nibbled on his ear and the man moaned. His hands went to her hips, lifting her slightly as he pistoned his hips. He was always thorough, he would make sure to leave his partners completely satisfied and exhausted. Jessa had to admit to being more than a little jealous of the women he bedded.

His mouth captured the woman’s, kissing her deep as the bed thumped against the wall with every powerful thrust. Jessa moaned and squeezed her legs together trying her best to stave off the arousal that was building. Her cheeks burned red. It was embarrassing enough to have to watch someone else have sex, it was ten times worse for Jessa to find herself turned on by it. Her petite fangs bit into her lip as the woman in her vision threw her head back and called out Ryder’s name over and over. Her body shook, Jessa’s did the same, as if she could feel the waves of ecstasy cascading over the man’s latest conquest. “Let this torment end, please,” Jessa whispered.

Finally the vision stopped, Jessa collapsed back onto her bed and breathed a ragged sigh of relief. This was pure torture. Even worse was the fact that she could not bring herself to admit what it meant, she told herself it meant nothing, it was a fluke, a false connection. Fate could fuck up, right? Fate made mistakes. A nagging voice at the back of her mind tried to remind her that Fate never made mistakes, but Jessa ignored it. She rolled over and buried her face in her pillow, sobbing uncontrollably. Her heart felt like it was broken into a million pieces every time she had to watch him.


Cover Art by: Something Wicked... Covers By Jamie

Cover Art by: Something Wicked… Covers By Jamie

Now on to the giveaway. Here’s the rules: All you have to do is comment on this post and you are automatically entered in the drawing for (1) $10 giftcard from Amazon. This will be open all weekend from 7/26 until 12:00am 7/29. A winner will be picked via Rafflecopter and will be announced in a post Monday, 7/29 before noon (Pacific Time). Good luck ❤

 

Missed Opportunities

Gotta love a good ol’ fashion fuck up. That said, sometimes life gets in the way of what you had planned, you miss a deadline, an important date, miscalculate your checkbook, etc… We’ve all been there and done that. So this is mine, I was supposed to be part of a blog hop but due to power-failures which have been happening all week I missed the boat so to speak. But how can I make this negative into a positive?

Well for one, I was going to do a cover reveal and excerpt from Waking Up In Bedlam which is still in edits and I was going to give away a $10 Amazon gift card. I think that will still be my plan, no reason to not do it just because it’s not part of a planned event.

Beyond that, the only thing to do it is move on, there will be other opportunities to promote myself and get my name out there. So while it sucks that I missed it, it is another lesson learned. And I’m moving on.

So… Friday, July 26th (tomorrow), I will be doing my cover reveal and posting an excerpt from Waking Up In Bedlam and I will be having a drawing. All you have to do is comment on the post tomorrow and you are automatically entered in the drawing for a $10 Amazon Gift Card. A winner will be picked via Rafflecopter.

❤ Mia

All problems are opportunities in disguise.

All problems are opportunities in disguise.