Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
When you have a big job to do, how do you get in the right headspace to do it? Does it come naturally to you or are you easily distractible (like me!) and need to have a set, quiet place to do your work?
There are so many things that decide what is and isn’t productive at any moment of the day, and I usually don’t care whether my productivity is writing based or not. Until it needs to be and I can’t get myself into a headspace to actually write.
Luckily I have several ways that help me out (and most of them work in the end):
1) Start diffusing Peppermint or Lemon Oils to get my head clear and happy. There isn’t anything magical per se about these two oils beyond the fact that they are my favorite smells, but Lemon is known for its relaxing properties and help with memory loss.
2) I open a window and let fresh air in. Yes, I do this while diffusing, too. It drives my husband crazy, but the smells and presence of fresh air relaxes me.
3) I put on noise cancelling ear buds. No music. No audio at all. Just blessed silence…or the sound of me talking to myself as a work my way through a scene.
4) I start word vomiting. It isn’t my favorite method of writing, but sometimes I just need to get my fingers moving. I’ll pick a scene that isn’t connected to the last thing that I wrote and give myself ten minutes to just write as many words as I can on that scene. Afterward I’ll go back and look at the place I was before and see if I’ve got my writer’s block out of my system.
5) I use Freedom. It’s an App that Julia Quinn turned me on to a few years ago. It turns off all or some of your internet accessibility for a set amount of time so you can just focus on writing. I have found that this comes in handy for solo word sprints as it uses a hidden timer function that only pops up when the timer goes off.
Now that you all know my secrets, I am off to use a few of them to coax my muse out of hiding.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Friday, March 22, 2019
And that was where I was wrong!
Sometimes, the hardest part about writing is giving yourself enough room to fail without actually giving up. Unfortunately, I miscalculated that balance last year...BIG TIME! I was frustrated with how hard the story was coming, and how quiet the characters were being. I had a lot on my plate personally, so I decided that giving myself a break would be the right thing to do.
But then I didn't come back.
I made excuses as to why I needed more time away. I set other priorities and busied myself with trivial matters that led to unhealthy habits. Sadly, it wasn't just my writing that started to suffer, it was my own identity. I started to question who I really was and what I wanted out of life. I was in a full blown depression spiral.
Now a couple things about me personally really quick. 1) I have major anxiety. 2) I am probably on the Autism Spectrum, though I am not interested in being diagnosed. (Both my kids have been diagnosed, so it really wouldn't change my life) These two elements combined means that I don't do well with chaos. And that was exactly what my life had become.
Jane Charles (whom I had only met a handful of times, but had become a kindred spirit over the years), visited Oregon and we went on a self-guided Winery Tour.
During this tour Jane asked the very blunt question I needed to be asked.
"Why haven't you written anything new in over a year?"
I had no good answer. So her response to my mutterings was, "Finish the damn book!"
So that was the commitment I made. I was going to finish the "damn" book. But first I had to figure out why I stopped writing it to begin with.
And the answer was actually pretty simple. I HATED my outline. I felt confined by it and it was exhausting thinking about how to go about fixing that. But as I had made a commitment, so I was going to fix the problem whether I liked it or not.
So I set aside all of my previous work and started from scratch. I tweaked a couple of plot holes and reconstructed a road I had originally wanted to take with my story, and pretty soon, the words were flowing again. The outline had been a dam, and tearing it down was the difference I needed.
By the time Nanowrimo rolled around I knew that I had an outline I was going to conquer. This year for Nanowrimo I made my goal less about reaching my 50,000 words and more about just finishing this work in progress.
And I did it!
Granted, I was far from done, but the largest hurdle was behind me. It took me a couple more months to get through my edits and get it out to my Beta Reader, but in the end the results were encouraging. I was back where I wanted to be and reinvigorated to write more. My Beta Reader even told me that I couldn't wait as long as I did to finish the next books (there was something about my health being at risk...but I think she was joking...I hope.)
Thank you all for your support through all of this, and don't forget to leave a review if you pick up a copy of my book!
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Thursday, May 11, 2017
There was nothing wrong with my old laptop. It wasn't bogging down, or crashing, or dropping my work left right and center. The screen wasn't cracked (as my previous laptop was), nor was the mouse jumping all over the screen like a crackhead on the first. In fact I still loved it and probably would have been happy with it for years to come.
So why did I need to get a new one, you may be asking?
Well, here's the thing. I wasn't the one who needed a new laptop. I wasn't the one who's cracked their screen by placing an earbud on the keyboard, forgetting about it, and then slamming it shut. I wasn't the one running an outdated operating system that barely supported Minecraft and crashed every time Roblox was loaded.
Are you starting to guess who the biggest benefactor of this new computer is?
That's right. The Spare. My adorably brilliant youngest son will be inheriting my old laptop, which DOES support Minecraft and DOESN'T crash on Roblox. He'll now be able to watch videos, play games, and do his homework on his own dedicated machine instead of having to share time with an older brother that sometimes likes to play the dictator over everything that he sees as HIS.
Don't worry, Mr. Postman is getting a new machine, too. So the Heir is actually getting a gaming laptop for his personal use. No feelings will be hurt in this upgrading of technology.
Now the downside to getting a new laptop is setting it up. You have to meticulously go through your old laptop, find all of the programs that you use, set them up on the new laptop, and hope to God that you remember the password to that one program you use religiously, but haven't actually used the password in three years.
And then we've come to the real productivity killer...file transfers. You start combing through all of your old pictures and documents, making sure you actually need them all, and suddenly you are sucked into a time vacuum where all you do is re-read story ideas you haven't thought about in five years, or look at baby pictures from that time your oldest peed all over your mother's new sofa after a bath (yes, I took pictures...don't judge me!).
After you've finally gotten all of that done, you've flashed your old laptop to factory default, and you've set up your browser to exactly how you want it, the time has come to actually write something. So you sit down at your desk...
AND NOTHING LOOKS FAMILIAR!!!!
I serious spent ten minutes looking at the keyboard like it was a foreign entity. It wasn't like I bought the computer sight unseen. I actually sat down at the store and typed out a hundred words on three different laptops before settling on this one. I researched everything I could understand and then had Mr. Postman research everything else. I spent two days looking at laptops in the store after extensively looking for them online for over a week. We still spent over an hour before making the final decision. So this laptop was not supposed to be foreign to me.
Yet, it was always going to be. This was not my old, familiar laptop that I had written nearly all of my books on. It didn't have the familiar feel or the B-button that sticks. It didn't make the familiar whirring sound or have the overly worn-out click pad.
But I only gave myself ten minutes. Then I got to work. This post is actually the first thing I've written on this computer, and I've found it a good introduction. So...yay for new technology, boo for distractions, and woo hoo for getting back to work!