The Balancing Act

In the past year, I have gone through so many life changes — good life changes— that sometimes learning to balance a new career, my writing and enjoying actual time off is a real balancing act.

I have never had more than a week off at a time. This year, I have the whole month of May off, and pretty much June and July off except for teaching one night a week. This leaves me with a lot of free time. I spent the first two weeks of my time off visiting New Hampshire and my 8-month-old grandson. Those two weeks flew by. As I return home to Tennessee, I find myself wandering around my house aimlessly, starting a few projects only to be distracted by something else. I am usually a well organized person with my time, but I have always had little free time so it was required to keep my time well managed.

There are plenty of projects to keep me busy, but staying focused in the problem. I need to unpack my office (home office), and yes, I have been living in Tennessee for about three and half years nows and it still isn’t unpacked. That should be high on the proriority list. I also have 2 books that need finishing — Book #2 in The Rules Series, Making the Rules, and LIzzie, Book #1 in The Copycat Chronicles. Both books are half done and need to be finished. And then there is preparing for my mythology class that I’m teaching this summer, as well as looking into developing a mythology class for eCampus.

So how does one balance their life when they find more free time on their hands then they are used to? My middle daughter suggested leaving my house and working at a coffee shop or my school office so I’m not distracted as much. That is a good idea and one I am going to be trying next week. In the meantime, a little extra sunshine can’t hurt to help start my summer tan.

Behind the Screen

There have been many changes in my life over the past few years. As most of you know, I had taken a three-year hiatus from writing. Between selling my home in New Hampshire and moving to Tennessee, starting a new job and grad school, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Last November I released a new book for the first time in three years. It felt great to be back to writing. So, with my coming back into the writing world, my website has been given a new look and I’m going to be doing more blogging and getting out a regular newsletter.

You will get a glimpse into the life changes that have brought me to where I am today and all the wonderful changes that have gone on in the past year or two. Stay tune for the first installment of my journey back to writing.

Oh, The Excitement!

As writers we all have days that knock us down. Days where we are filled with self-doubt about our writing, our ability to walk this career path and how will we find the time to do everything that needs to be done.  I was having one of those days today.  I was overwhelmed by the amount of writer things I needed to accomplish today.

When this happens, it sets me upon procrastination mode.  So instead of digging in and just writing, I started looking over release schedules and what had to be done for marketing.  And, yes, this is all writing stuff, but it's finishing A FINE LINE.  In the meantime, I received an email giving me some fabulous news on my writing, which has turned my "my writing sucks" day around into "good things are coming from me in 2015".

It's amazing to me how quickly things can turn for a writer and their mindset.  So now I have good news and anticipate very good things coming just this spring.  So look forward to the details that will follow shortly and if you haven't signed up for my newsletter, please do so here.

Writing Schedules

How important is it for a writer to have a schedule?  In my opinion, extremely.  If you plan to make writing your career and want to write full time, you need to treat it as a full time job.  You need to work set hours and put in the effort and time into what you plan for your career.  I don't know how many times I heard my grandmother say "You get what you put into it".  How true that is especially with writing.

If you follow my blog, you will know that I have a very set career path of writing full time within the next year or so.  In that vein, I need to set my writing work hours and treat my writing as if it was a job that I had to answer to someone else for.  I set how much time I spend a day writing, and although I love the flexibility of changing the hours if I need to day to day depending on what is going on in my life, I have to remain rigid in the fact that I need to have at least three to four hours set aside each day for writing.

As I progress further into my writing career, I need to also set time for marketing and updating social media.  And let's face it -- social media is a necessary evil for writers.  It helps us connect with our readers, other writers and gives us the opportunity for networking, however it can be a huge time sucker from your day if you get caught up in it.  I have found that I need to allow myself so much time in the day for social media and I use it in small chunks.  Morning with my coffee -- check social media.  After a writing chunk and I need a break -- I allow myself another social media check in and then again in the evening when my day is winding down.

What kind of writing schedule do you have and do you struggle with sticking to it?

Another Step Towards the Future

Two Fridays ago I went to a writers conference hosted by one of my writing groups, MCRW in Nashville, Tennessee. It was on plotting and Cherry Adair was there leading away with her color coding in her writing and plots.  It was very good, however the one thing it reiterated for me -- I am NOT a plotter and will never be one. Plotting a book for me is a huge source of stress. I much prefer to sit down, open a blank document and just start typing. When I sit down, I do have character sketches and a general idea of what needs to happen with my book, but I allow the characters drive the story. To me this is much more enjoyable.

Although I don't plot the story, I have new ideas (with character sketches) planned out for another three books to write.

However, one thing that did become very clear to me. The plan I have set in motion for my future is a good one, financially and career wise. So I look forward to changes coming, excited about a career in which I will be able to write full time, and anticipate an exciting move to a new city, new state and be surrounded with writers that get the craziness of this business. Once I made the decision and put together a plan, the stress I had been feeling just lifted.  Sometimes half the battle is just making a decision.

Adventure Time



As I write this blog on Thursday night, I’m so excited to head out tomorrow for Nashville, TN for a writers conference. This conference will be a bit different than others I have been to. The fabulous Cherry Adair will be there presenting on plotting and I have acquired one of the spots that was available for a one-on-one plot session with her for my next book.  This next book that I will be plotting out is near and dear to my heart. I can’t give out any details of it just yet as it will probably be a book that will be slated for release in early 2016.

Not only am I excited for this conference, but I will be able to catch up with some dear writer friends from the Nashville area.  I look forward to brainstorming new book ideas, marketing ideas and just catching up on life.  These women have become very dear friends of mine since I joined the MCRW group in Fall of 2011. I took my first journey down to their writer’s retreat in February of 2012 and quickly felt like I had found my home among like minds.  Well, that’s kind of a scary thought…

So I am packing, and double checking that everything is done while I am gone on any deadline fronts.  I am always excited to start a new book (even if I have 2 to finish before being able to start this one) and am excited for this leg of this journey I am on.  I will give updates next week on how the conference was.

Where Do I Go?





What a week it has been.  I have spent the past week recovering from a fall.  Not sure what happened, but I just fell last week landing hard on my elbow and hip.  I do have to say out of the experience, my son’s face when he saw me go down was absolutely priceless.  But the bruising on my elbow and open wound made it difficult to type therefore not much writing really got done.  Being a writer, as with anything else, if you take a few days off it can be difficult to get back into the groove of doing it daily again.

Though a week after the fall, with some slight discoloration still, the wound is healed and my arm is finally pain free. Now it’s time to get back into the writing and finish up this book I’m in the process of. I did get out a newsletter this week, which I’m sorry to say it was way overdue. If you would like to be a part of my newsletter, sign up here.

Further my journey, while I wasn’t typing much this week, I was researching different areas in which I am looking to possibly move to next summer. I want to be somewhere warmer with no snowstorms every other day as New England receives.  I’m getting more and more excited at the prospect of moving and starting a new journey in a new place. 



I love the Tennessee area, Nashville especially, but I’m also torn because I absolutely love to be near the ocean.  So I will continue to research along with my busy, busy writing schedule the next few months.


 



 
Where are your favorite places to live?  Why?

Old Cemeteries



What a week it has been!  Last weekend I took a drive to Pennsylvania with a friend.  I had the opportunity while I was down there to peruse an old cemetery.  I just love old cemeteries!  I love looking at the old headstones, seeing names that haven’t been used in years and just letting my imagination go wild with thoughts of what their lives were like.  This cemetery had a lot of headstones from the late 1800s.  While I was there, of course, letting my imagination work, I have come up with another plot for another book, not to mention some really cool character names.

After we return from the weekend trip, I sat down to start planning out my writing schedule for the next few months, or what I thought would be the next few months.  Well, as it turns out I have enough writing projects planned to keep me writing until early 2016!  On top of that, I will be shooting for three releases in 2015. This will mean 2015 is going to be incredibly busy as I not only keep my writing on track, but my son will also graduate from high school, I will be putting my house on the market and planning a move. Deep breath…..I can only think about this in small increments or it is extremely overloading.

But for now, I am racing on deadline to finish A Fine Line, hopefully by the end of October.  I have a special conference I’m going to in October where I will have the chance to meet Cherry Adair and have a one-on-one plot session with her for another book.  More details on all my coming projects in an upcoming newsletter.  If you don’t receive my newsletter and would like to, feel free to check my webpage for the opportunity to sign up for it.

Continuing the Journey



This week I have been battling a head cold. I love the fall in New England, but getting a head cold is just plain miserable.  However as I have rested on the couch, I have spent time reevaluating where my writing is going and where I want it to go.

As I wrote last week, I have started on this new journey of self-discovery. I have found that I have missed me, missed having the confidence that I used to have and the insane ability to think I could do anything I wanted. Well, maybe not anything….but my life goal now is to be a full time writer.

I have three books out now. As I finished my fourth book in June and am about a third away through my fifth, I have come to realize that my writing has changed as I weave myself on this journey of self discovery. My writing has become strong, much like myself. I find my female characters becoming stronger women, and although they want love and romance, they are independent and strong. They have a quiet inner strength that only comes from learning in life.  Please feel free to check out my books here.

My writing goals have expanded into having projects planned for well into next year. There will be new releases coming from me regularly, whether I continue to indie publish or continue on a path of hybrid where I will continue to work with traditional publishers as well as indie publish.

So where does this new journey take me in my personal life? Well, I continue to look for a day job that will supplement paying the bills as I am once again out of work for the third time in two years. With businesses closing, my employment has been a challenge with my last two jobs ending due to a business closing and one selling. Although I am in need of a job, my heart longs to just write full time and fill my day with filling pages with my stories that spin around in my mind.

So with another job interview tomorrow and then a road trip for some book research this weekend, I am taking notes furiously for the next few books, one of which I am dying to get started on. As soon as I finish the current one, the next one will start flowing which already I know will be a story that will be near and dear to my heart. Stay tune for more updates on the journey of my life and finding myself.

A New Journey



I have been remiss in keeping up with my blog in the past couple of years.  So today I start on a new journey, a journey that I hope you will take with me. What goes into a writer’s life? How does a writer keep up with their writing when their life is falling apart around them?

Well, I’m going to open up a bit of my life to you, my readers, to share how the passion of writing stays with me even through the curveballs that life throws at me. Two years ago I went through a divorce. It was not an easy thing to go through, as anyone who has gone through one will know. Not only did my life seem to be crumbling around me, but my future and the plans that we had made for down the road were suddenly ripped out from under me. So in the aftermath of that divorce, I found myself in a place of questioning many aspects in my life.

It was about that time that I also lost my job. So with all the curveballs being thrown my way, I took a sabbatical from writing for about a year. I just couldn’t focus on the stories within me beyond the overwhelming stress that seemed to be hitting me on every side.

As I slowly took stock of my life around me and the fact that I had a couple more years until all my kids were graduated from high school leaving me with an empty nest, I realized I had lost sight of who the real me was. For the past year I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my past and how much I have lost the joy I had in living. Don’t get me wrong. My children are an amazing source of joy to my life on a daily basis. But I had allowed myself to lose sight of ME, of what made me happy and being able to see my own strengths and abilities. I had lost myself in two bad marriages where I walked on eggshells to keep the peace. I spent so much time trying to keep an even keel in my house for the sake of my kids that I lost who I was.

In the process of coming to the realization that I need to find myself again, I have started on a journey in the past year that brings me to a place of wonder and fear. I am amazed at how much I forgot about myself and yet I am fearful for what the future holds for me as I move forward. 

So join me on this journey as I blog through finding my way back to my true self and the trials I will face over the coming year as I prepare myself to sell my house and find something smaller, as I move forward with my writing career and I find my path in this newly forming life of mine. My hope is that maybe one of you, my readers, will relate to things that I am going through and know that you’re not alone.

When Heroes Fail

Has your hero ever failed you?

There are times as we are writing that our heroes miss the road we want them to go down and decide to take another route. Is that a failure in your writing or do you allow the character to take over and change the plot? In real life sometimes our heroes miss the road you want them to take. Is that a failure on that part or an expectation that is just too high to reach?

If you love your hero, whether on the pages or in real life, the unexpected turn won't throw you completely off track.  On the pages, you will be able to run with it and continue the storyline -- sometimes a much better storyline that you had anticipated in the beginning.  In real life, if you love that hero, you will continue to love them regardless of failed expectations.

On the pages of your story, you strive for the happily ever after. Do you strive for that with your hero in real life? The one thing I have learned over the past few years is that real love doesn't fail us. Regardless of life circumstances and failures of the people we love, we continue to love them unconditionally. The road may not take you where you had expected to go, and even if you don't feel it is a better storyline, you go with it. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a better storyline if your love is unconditional and true.

On the pages, you can correct that failure of your hero. In real life, when your hero fails you, continue to love them anyway.

Has your hero ever failed you?