Lately I’ve been having some minor back and neck pain, so I went to see a physical therapist to see how I can work on alleviating the pain. When she asked me what may be causing it, I explained that I work on a computer 8 hours a day at my day job and then come home at night and work on a computer writing my books. And she gave me the ‘well, duh’ look.
So every couple of hours I am doing exercises to make sure I help reduce the tension in my back and neck. My physical therapist has been showing me how interconnected things are in the body. That you have to introduce movement, and work on posture, and not let yourself stay in the same position for HOURS…
So a change of philosophy is in order. And I think this philosophy can be used for far more than back pain. I can apply it to my life, whether it has to do with my writing or just my way of thinking. I need to be willing to move, to rethink things, to try new ways of doing things so I don’t let ideas or stories atrophy.
And that is a big lesson to continue to work on, so join me in reworking your own ideas or way of doing things – I could use to company!
Recently I posted a blog called Writer’s Crossroads about deciding on what to write next. A month later I am still struggling with that decision. I’m not sure what my hold up is exactly.
I have actually written the first couple pages of the sixth book in my paranormal wedding planner series which means that I am heading in that direction, right?
Maybe. Because then I wrote the first couple of pages of the potential first book in my Mind Sweeper shifter spin-off trilogy.
And as amazing as I try to be at balancing my day job with writing and publishing, I can’t write two books at once. So I really, really, really need to make a decision and settle back into my writing process once again.
Do I roll the dice? Ask my magic eight ball? Shuffle the deck?
Any suggestions on decision-making would be greatly appreciated!
So this past week I took a vacation. An actual, honest-to-goodness vacation that was not a writers’ conference. I saw the ocean, scrunched my toes in the sand, ate ice cream on a daily basis, and spent quality time with two of my writer-besties, Miranda Liasson and Sandra Owens.
We headed to the low country of South Carolina. You can tell by the picture that we were in the tidal marsh. We could see this from the back porch of the house we stayed in! What a view, and what a way to unwind. There is something magical about water. Sandra says that water is ‘her peace.’ And I can understand that.
So we spent time by the beach, and we walked along the sand several times as well as traveled the island on bike and golf cart. And we had some amazing food there too.
And when you get writers together, we’re going to talk books – whether it is what we are reading or have read that is ‘really good’, or talk about our own stories to see if we’re heading in the right direction. Brainstorming, synopsis writing, beta reads got tucked into the trip as well.
And of course we’re there to support each other too. All in all, it was an amazing adventure.
I got home today and what did I do first? Write about it, of course!!
Writing is an interesting job. It’s part part project management, part marketing, part story-telling. The list goes on. And because of this, it takes creativity as well as mental and emotional strength to create an engaging story.
And for me, sometimes writing can be compared to the tortoise and the hare. I am currently writing my second paranormal wedding planner book this year. FOR BETTER OF FOR WOLF, book 4 of the series, is an eighty-one thousand word book that I wrote in two months. I wrote the last twenty thousand words in about ten days! Definitely reminiscent of the rabbit, or hare, right?
FOR WITCH OR FOR POORER, book 5 of the series, is chugging along at a ridiculously slow pace. The book is going to be a bit shorter, around fifty thousand words (or at least that’s the plan) and as much as I try, I can’t seem to up the pace. Tortoise vibe going on here.
Neither is necessarily a “bad” way to write, it’s just different. Sometimes it depends on where we (the writer) is in our lives. How much energy we have to expend at any given time when our real world (not our made up worlds) also need our attention as well.
So for now, I’ll move forward and finish this book. Whether I plod along of hop, the important thing is that I’m moving forward!
Tonight I came home from work and worked out. The exercise DVD I used had me huffing and puffing and sweating, but when I was done it gave me a boost both psychologically and physically which I definitely need for my evenings.
For writers, we have to exercise our “writerly muscles” as well. Sometimes that means we brainstorm – like stretching our muscles so that we can get to the heavy lifting part of the exercise/writing.
Other times it means digging into the characters and plot – which is equivalent to the warm up part of the routine.
Then it’s all about writing those scenes. The crux of your workout, where you are chugging along and sometimes you’re flying high and other times you are wondering when the heck you’re going to be done.
Then there are the special scenes that just seem to “click” – that is the boosted part of the workout where you are really getting that heart rate up.
Finally you finish by jotting down some notes for tomorrow’s scenes. That’s your cool down period.
And so the cycle continues as I write my stories, stretching and conditioning my writerly muscles.
As an author, I have to find time to think about my books. For me it’s not just sitting down and writing it, it’s also thinking through some of the main points of the book. Even though I’m not a true plotter that outlines the story, I still have to pick a direction and go!
Thinking about the characters and the general plot is often done when I have a spare moment – in the shower, on my daily commute, etc.
But I have found for me that the best time to come up with those great character developing moments and pivotal scenes is first thing in the morning when my alarm has gone off and I set it for snooze, or I know that I can stay in bed a little bit longer on the weekend.
That is when the ideas come to me since I’m not bogged down with to do lists, and social media, and my day job. My psyche is free to explore options I wouldn’t think about if I was fully awake.
I call it my sleepy author time. And I treasure it.
So if you’re trying to work through something, try thinking about it when you first wake up. You never know what you might come up with!
This past weekend in my neck of the woods it snowed. I spent Saturday in my PJ’s and robe doing laundry, and dishes, and adding more words to the new novel I’m working on.
As much as I’m not a fan of snow (I’m not the outdoor skiing, skating, snowboarding type), I do find benefits to staying inside. I call it my “hunker-down time” and it usually lasts through January and February. A time for me to write my stories (and read some as well). To explore worlds in my imagination that are more interesting and less frigid than my current world.
Sometimes I think we all need to hunker-down and relax especially after the craziness of the holidays. Take some time, maybe even squeeze a nap in here and there, and enjoy the snow…through your window while you sit on your couch drinking hot cocoa. With a good book, of course.
Intrigued? Let me explain. I think that the holidays can be a wonderful time. But they can also be a difficult time for those of us who are now “grown up”. (Whatever that is supposed to mean…)
Even for me, a writer who spends time creating characters who come to life on the computer screen, I need to take a leap of faith.
It ultimately comes down to attitude. Something my friends and family will tell you I have in abundance.
In this instance, I’m talking about that extra special “Holiday Attitude”. Case in point – the saying I have on my mantle!
It’s a funny quip, but I think we can learn from it. We all have to believe in something or someone. Whether that’s Santa, or a friend, or neighbor, or ourselves for that matter.
Find it in your heart to believe, believe, believe.
And maybe it will help you remember what it’s like to be a kid again – a kid who doesn’t get underwear for the holidays!
Last week I lost track of days. Maybe it had to do with only having to work three days before Thanksgiving. But Monday came and went last week and I didn’t think about posting my Monday blog. And when I woke up Thursday morning and turned on the Macy’s day parade for some reason that jogged my memory that I hadn’t posted anything!
I had planned on writing about being thankful – very appropriate for the holiday. And I realized that it is NEVER too late to talk about being thankful. I think it is something we should think about every day of the year, not just on Thanksgiving.
I am so thankful for my family – my dad, especially. And my friends who have been with me for years and those I have met recently as a writer.
And I am thankful for my writing. It has opened up a world for me. I have met amazing people and readers! I am so thankful for my readers – you jump into my world and understand my characters and keep reading! How blessed and thankful can one writer be?
Very, very thankful!
You might have noticed that last week I missed posting my blog. I had just returned from RWA’s national conference and by the time I realized I missed my blog last Monday, I decided it was Fate’s way of telling me to take a blog vacation for a week. So I did.
But I didn’t want to forget to share my conference experience with you. For me, the national conference gives me the ability to regroup, both mentally and emotionally as a writer. I attend sessions and find out what is happening in the world of publishing. But even more importantly, I catch up with my writer friends. Many of whom I only see at conference. Sure, I may email or talk to them since they are located all over, but there is something special about spending actual time together.
When I am with a group of writers, my sense or rightness (or “writeness”) returns. I gather with people who understand my language and have stories that won’t stay silent in their brains. Powerful friends to have.
So I got to spend time with my peeps to gear up for another year of writing and publishing. Batteries have officially been recharged.