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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Struggle is Real week 5: A Day Late and a Dollar Short


Well, I am a day late posting this.  And not a lot has changed since last week.


Life still continues to hammer away at my writing time with the intensity of a nor’easter in mid-winter. 


Once again, I won’t bore you with details. Basically a “same stuff/different day” scenario.  But despite my best efforts to get back on track this week, I fell somewhat short of my goal.  Well more like a few miles, give or take a hundred.  😏


I did get in a couple of good afternoons of writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed the time with my characters.  So the issue is really not writer’s block or not making time.  It’s just other things getting in the way. 


It helps, to a certain extent, to look back at the week and realize it is not entirely me, there is a lot of demand on my free time and some days, that “me” time comes at an hour that’s just too late –my muse is not a night owl, after all. 


So as I continue to move forward and try to wrangle some time for me (are we, as moms, wives and caregivers even allowed to think about me time?  Sometimes I think not!) I will keep myself accountable and keep you updated.


How did you do with your writing goals this week? Did you meet them? Or did you fall short, or like me, miss them by a mile or more?


I’ll be back next week with another update!

Monday, January 23, 2023

The Struggle is Real - Week 4: Identifying Your Procrastination Triggers


Have you ever started to sit down to write and found yourself distracted by half a dozen little tasks that you absolutely must do right now?  Even if you’ve been neglecting them forever?


The sudden need to clean off your desk, clean out your email inbox, straighten the throw pillows on the living room sofa, sort the mismatched socks. Yep I am guilty of all of those this week.


For some reason we allow these things to suddenly become more important than the thing we want to do the most.  Procrastination: it isn't just for breakfast anymore LOL (okay some of you will get that but I am definitely dating myself).  

I struggled again this past week. Some of it was life induced, some of it was brought on by too many ponies on the carousel going round and round.  

But a lot of it was just me ... sabotaging!   

I can kind of understand putting off a task that you are dreading or that you feel will take a long time—cleaning the bathroom, changing the kitty litter—But I am not sure why we do it when presented with time to do something we love. 

What are we afraid of? Failure? Success?  Doing something for ourselves?? 

So this week I tried to take stock of and identify my triggers, those things that stop me in my tracks, including the thought that I will write “after” I do whatever that one task is that suddenly cannot wait another moment. 

If this sounds familiar, then take a moment when you are in the midst of struggling to ignore those pesky tasks and take note of what they are.  The goal is to get on top of those at a different time of day, maybe before bed at night, or after dinner--whatever time is not your ideal writing time.  Getting those triggers out of the way ahead of time will save you stress and struggle down the road.  At least that is what I plan to try for the next seven days. 

Meanwhile keep in mind that some say a cluttered desk is the sign of creative mind.  Well, let’s allow our desks to be cluttered. Let’s allow our minds to be creative.  The mess can wait, and yes when we come up for air, chances are there will be more of a mess than what was there before.  

There will always be a mess somewhere.  

But there is not always time to write. 

Seize the moment and just do it.



Monday, January 16, 2023

The Struggle is Real Week 3: Crash. Burn.


Well, this past week saw me crash and burn with regard to touching base with my story every day.


What happened?




First an unexpected appointment.  Nothing serious, just something I had not planned my schedule around that day.  

The next day it was arguing with the power company over a $900 utility bill my FIL got in the mail.  The man has one TV and a couple of lamps he uses for a few hours each day.  He is old school Italian and will turn a light off in a room while you are still in it.  I don’t think he uses that much electricity in a year, let alone a month.  Turns out I was right, but it still took a full day and a half and 12—I kid you not—12 phone calls to get it all sorted out.  Such is the life of a caregiver. 


Weather.  I’m a migraine sufferer.  Not the whiny kind who uses the word “migraine” as an excuse to take to her bed and retreat from life.  The kind that powers through no matter how bad they are, but on the really bad days, knows when it is time to quit.  Well by the time I was able to quit, it was bedtime and I was not about to go sit at my desk and write.  Nope.  Just not happenin’.  Thank God by the next morning things were better but the roller coaster temperatures of this mild winter have not been kind to my head.


Then came the day when I just plain forgot!  Yep.  Got busy and forgot all about it.  I have been working a couple of hours in the evening each week to try to stay on top of my daily work and just as I was gratefully switching off the bedside lamp to go to sleep –oopsie.  I forgot to write today.

So I definitely sat at my desk and made up all this missed time over the weekend, right?  


Nope.  I worked a lot and by the time I was done for the day writing was not on the radar.  I hate that I let myself--and my characters--down but it is what it is.  Sometimes you just have to do what will pay the bills.  

And while it's true I veered off course this week, I am not done yet.  I am going to right the ship, turn this bus around, get myself back on track, place the gerbil back on the wheel etc and do better over the next seven days.  Stay tuned.


So how was your week? Did you hit your writing goals?  Or like me, did Live have other ideas?


Monday, January 9, 2023

The Struggle is Real - Week 2: Purging Procrastination and Ditching Distractions


So this week I will share some of the small steps I am taking to keep myself on track and adding writing back to my daily routine. I am following along with author Kim Turner’s blog and her Time to Write series.  If you have not already seen her posts, mosey on over and check it out!


Right now I don’t have the hour to give that she recommends, but even I can do 15-30 minutes. 


This past week I refreshed myself on the story and wrote a few lines each day, just to sort of jump start the ol’ muse. I had some days where I wrote a lot, and days where I wrote somewhat less than "a lot".  But I made up the time to myself and only had one day where lifus interruptus got in the way of me finding time to work on my story.  


I have shut off notifications on email, IM etc and my phone during this time.


I’ve also gone through my email and unsubscribed to a bunch of marketing emails—I don’t know about you, but when my procrastination hits, I will dive down those rabbit holes and get lost for hours. Do I really need to browse sales in stores that I don't ever intend to shop in?  And I certainly don’t need the temptation of clearance sales!  And who needs a cluttered inbox anyway?


One other thing that is beneficial in more than one way is walking a puppy.  In November we adopted a 4-month-old German shepherd mix puppy.  He is a busy boy, and as a rescue, he comes with a bit of baggage and needs lots of reassurance—and lots of walks.  A tired puppy is a good puppy, after all!  And I am really enjoying those daily walks.  Because I am still training him, I don’t use my phone while I am out walking him, my focus is entirely on him and what we are doing. That somewhat mindless activity gives my muse time to come along and start … well, musing!  I find this is really helpful in sorting out plot issues and has even allowed a new character or two to come into my head.


And all that walking certainly isn’t hurting my health or stress level any...


So in a nut shell—

  • avoiding distractions
  •  taking care of my health and stress levels 
  • scheduling time to write. 
Small steps in the progress this week, but all steps in the “write” direction!

Monday, January 2, 2023

The Struggle is Real


Have you been struggling to write recently?  Well, you are not alone.  Sometimes it’s lifus interruptus, sometimes you just cannot get your head in the game, and sometimes the character you most want to talk to you just doesn’t have anything to say.


Yep, that’s me.


Like so many of you, my life changed in 2020.  I am blessed in that we did not lose any loved ones but my life still changed drastically.  In late February of that year we were looking into having my FIL placed in a nursing home.  He could no longer care for himself, and it wasn’t safe for him to be alone.


Well, we all know what happened just a few short weeks later.  But that did not change the fact that my FIL still could not be left alone.  Which meant we had to change our lives around in order to take care of him 24/7.  My house is not big enough to fit one more person, and there was neither time nor money to build an in-law apartment on.  So we had to make the decision to divide our time, with the help of a couple of family friends, and care for him there.


I never imagined that three years later we would still be doing this.  But life has changed, financial pictures have changed, and we have not yet found a way to get my FIL the full time long term care he needs.  So we struggle and juggle.


That struggle has taken a toll on my life considerably.  Now along with working two jobs I care for my FIL in the mornings. 


Add to that the usual worries about the cost of groceries and gas and the heating bills, my FIL’s merry go round of doctor appointments, lab work and other needs and life isn’t just busy it’s scary busy.  And if you’ve ever been a caregiver you know there are no days off, no sick days, no rest, no end to the endless stress and worry. And if I am honest, resentment.  This is not a man who was kind to me when I first joined his family and while most days I can separate the man I care for now, who has dementia, from the one who was so nasty to me in the past.  Most days.


And he has a daughter and grandson who could be helping but offer nothing but excuses as to how busy they are and then don’t hesitate to tell us what we should be doing.  So my husband and two sons and I carry the load along with one remaining family friend.


Where to find the time to write in the midst of all this chaos?


Join me here each Monday—hopefully—for an update on my progress as I fight to reclaim the very thing I have spent my life wanting to do, my therapy during sad or hard times, the thing that brings me joy and fulfillment.  


Currently there are at least a dozen characters pushing, shoving and elbowing one another out of the way to be next in line to tell their story.


Will I make it and get back on track with writing?  Or will I fail miserably?  Only time will tell.


The struggle is real.

The Struggle is Real Week 8: When Life Hits Back

  It’s been nearly two weeks since my last post. Did anyone notice I was missing?   But I have good news/bad news.   The good news. I wr...