Writing Wednesday: Autumn and the Outdoors

“What’s the autumn? A second spring when every leaf’s a flower.” – Albert Camus

Calligraphy
The more autumn-like the weather gets the less I want to stay inside and write. So for today’s adventure I think I’ll take my laptop outside and try to write. If the rain doesn’t start up, and if I don’t freeze my butt off.

Do you write outside? Or are you strictly an indoor writer?

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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?

Writing Wednesday: Autumn

“The question is not what you look at, but what you see.” – Henry David Thoreau
1114686 antique typewriter

Every Fall I have the need to write about witches, it must be the season and all the pumpkin spice in the air. But from late September through Thanksgiving all of my focus becomes witches, Halloween, magic, and things that go bump in the night. Well, truth be told, that is what I think about year-around but in the Autumn it becomes my all-encompassing thought.

So I think some witch stories will be coming up in October, if nothing else maybe a couple of short stories.

What do you see when the leaves change? Does it change your persepective? Do you have a need to write about autumn themes?

Writing Wednesday: Broken Bones

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

4886020 taking notesBroken bones and my son’s 7th grade homework has kept me so busy that writing has been non-existent for me during this last week. But today is the day the cast goes on, if the swelling in my sons arm has gone down. So if all goes well, hopefully by next week (when things settle down) I will be able to get back to my routine.

 

How do you deal with setbacks? Do you stay on schedule or do you roll with it and make up lost time later?

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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Elephant in the Room

Sometimes something needs to be said, but what do you say when you don’t know what to say? *putting pen to paper to write this blog post up* This might take a bit, but eventually you have to address the elephant in the room.

In the mean time, this blog is getting a new format. I need to keep my posting consistent so that means that if my old format isn’t working consistently than I need to change it up.

Monday will be all about magic… Maybe a picture, maybe a sneak peek at something magical, maybe even a spell.

and

Fridays will be a toss up. If I have authors to feature then that is what I’ll post, if not, then I will post my Friday Five (the five things/books/etc) I am digging right now.

I will probably still post a Tuesday Tease when I have something to share and I’m leaving the rest of the days open for whatever might pop to mind.

Bottom line– Thanks for sticking around. ❤

P.S. If you are an author (indie, hybrid, traditional) and are looking for some free exposure feel free to email me (mia.bishop (at) gmail (dot) com) and I’ll send you the info for my Feature Author Friday!