It’s A Crazy Time…that’s why we have nutcrackers, trees, mooses, and bears in wreaths on our mantel.
The holidays are upon us. The year is rushing to an end, and our thoughts are on the right present for the right person, yummy food (overeating at parties), dieting (next year), exercise (please God let there be time AND no injuries), and all those projects we didn’t get to this year, along with the guilt for not getting them done.
And then there’s the writing schedule, as well. I’ve been looking at my year, and trying to plan my writing/publishing schedule. I mean, down to the word count per day. I’m ambitious, I admit it; but for the first time, I’m convinced that I can do this writing gig. I just took a class by Delilah Devlin and Elle James titled Writing 50 Books A Year (yeah, it’s a tongue in cheek title) and they gave me SO MANY DETAILED spreadsheets, I’m in geek heaven.
Those spreadsheets have given me permission to plan. Permission to plunk down big chunks of time (conferences, vacations) and littler chunks of time (see Dad) and all the projects I want to complete next year, and figure out just how I’m going to do it all.
I’ve decided I’m not going to share my desires for next year’s publishing schedule; I know people who publish a heck of a lot more than I do, and some who don’t publish as much as I do, so there’s really no point in sharing those details until next New Year’s Eve Retrospective on the year.
For the first time, I’ll be planning – really planning – my writing year. With months up on the wall, and inputting my daily word count, and everything. Life is exciting, and my dreams are within my grasp. It’s just a matter of pushing aside fear, that little voice that says “you’re going for too much,” and forging on anyway.
In other news, I’m over at Linda Carroll-Bradd’s blog, where she interviewed me. Go on and take a look – I’m still popping in every now and then, though the blog was last week. (My friend Mary Beth Bass wrote the most awesomest comment ever!)
I’ll try to get some wine picks in for you for the holidays, and a garden post. I know I’m behind on those here, but I was on a deadline, you see. Right now, I’m deadline free (but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing!), and I’ll be back on deadline at the first of the year, so I’ll try to stockpile some blog posts.
One last thought to leave you with…even though it’s the holidays, and even though there are a million and one things to do and things that can (and do) go wrong, and even though there’s never enough time or money or energy to go around, do yourself a big, huge favor. Let go of the guilt, whatever kind you’re carrying. Live in the moment. Grab hold of and hug those you love. Express that love whenever possible, because you never know when it’s all just gonna go wrong.
Sending love and big, tight, shoulder-to-knee, rocking side-to-side hugs. And here’s our tree…
Have you read Christmas Star yet? If not, grab it…”A modern day, sweet as hot chocolate fairy tale…” And if you have, would you please leave me a review? Thanks! And my thanks to those who already have reviewed…you know who you are! xo
Hi there! Yeah, it’s me. Sorry I’ve been absent. There’s been SO much going on that it’s going to take me a while to get everything organized in my brain. But first off, my dad was given a Lifetime Achievement Award for everything he’s done for the San Diego Book Awards and Read-4-Fun programs (both groups live on donations, by the way). He started those two groups twenty years ago, and they’re still going strong. My husband and I, as well as my brother Greg and his lovely wife Tina, were all there to cheer him on.
Yeah, so everyone stood in front of the projector – but that didn’t lessen his savoire faire.
A couple more photos from that night…
Mark A. Clements is SO TALL (about 6’6″ or 6’7″…) and my dad so short, lol! Below, Daddy rocking his Cunningham tartan hat and beard.
The San Diego Book Awards ceremony was held about four weeks after he was flooded out of his house. (You can read the first installment and see the photos of that here). On June 21, 2014 I wandered through the house I’d been born in, and it seemed so small. Bare of everything. Stripped down to the cement foundation, the house looked awkward, old. It felt chilly despite the warmth of the day, as if everything I’ve grown up with and known is gone forever. But I had to face it. Seeing it that way, while my dad is alive, was sad, yes; but not devastating.
(The above photo is also by Greg Cunningham.)
As of this writing, Dad’s still not back in his house, but the carpet is in and all the painting is done. (We thought we’d be moving him back in last weekend but it didn’t happen.) As he keeps saying, he’s writing 2K a day because there’s nothing else to do at the residence hotel he’s been staying at (for almost two months now). He’s discombobulated and just wants to get back to his garden, and who can blame him?
(I’ll have another post later about the 4th of July in Tehachapi – wonderful day!)
As for me, I’ve got lots on my plate. Finishing up a Fairy Tale on spec, editing my ballet novel, working on book 2 of the StarTide Talent Agency series, plus coming out with new editions of my Demon series books (plus book 3, finally!). Busy, but that’s the way I like it.
Plus there are some short plays I’m working on. Busy, it seems, doesn’t begin to describe my life…please add in there the Day Job and family. Whee!
Next week, if you’re in San Antonio, come see me…
I’ll be at the Romance Writers of America Annual National Conference. There’s a HUGE book signing that’s open to the public on Wednesday, July 23rd, from 5:30pm to 8pm – I’m not signing, but I’ll be there helping the authors who are. I’d love to see you! So grab me and tell me how you know me, because I’m terrible with both names and faces, and I promise you a big squishy hug.
Here we are, in the middle of summer. Hope yours is going swimmingly! Hug your loved ones and keep positive. Life just keeps on getting better.
I know, I’ve been sporadic on my blogging again, so sorry. But something in me (or the universe) has shifted, and the words are getting demanding again. Projects are piling up, and I’m carving more time out of my downtime to getting the words done.
This time around, I’m hitting up coffee shops after work to grab an hour (or two, or more). It’s strange to come home after a session and be high on caffeine when I should be winding down for the night.
Here’s the skinny. I’ve got two more books in a brand new contemporary romance series that I need to write this year. I’ve got two shorter, short novella-length stories I need to finish because they’re just cool – those are more along the paranormal lines. Plus, I have two more pieces – one novella and one novel – to finish to complete the first Caine Brothers series.
Hence, hiding in coffee shops. The JumpCut Cafe is in Studio City and is one of my favorite places to write, because I’ve been going there to write or talk about writing for over ten years, back when it was Lulu’s Beehive. The only bad thing? It closes at seven.
So for now, I’m haunting various Starbucks and Coffee Beans, looking for a non-chain cafe that stays open past nine.
In other news, I really need to start a Street Team…anyone interested out there? If so, let me know. And sooner or later I need to start a newsletter, too…there is just so much to do beyond the writing it’s scary, somewhat.
So if I miss posting here, you know why. Words. I’m getting them down as fast as I can.
Street Team! Interested? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re not interested, that’s fine too – I know how busy we all are. Squishy hugs to you all!
Have you been ignoring your work in progress for the last few weeks for any number of really good reasons? I’m here to tell you that you are not alone; but it’s time to suck it up, buttercup, and get the work done. And while I’m focusing on writers here, this is also true for anyone in the arts who has a dream.
It’s the end of April, and the first quarter of the year is over. Hey, writer. Yeah, you. How are you doing on that latest book of yours? Are you writing at all, or have you burned out? Where are you in your goals that you set up in January? In other words (here’s that dreaded question), how’s the writing going? Or is it going at all?
You are what you consistently do. If you want to call yourself a writer, then look to what you do every day. If writing isn’t on that list, then maybe you aren’t a writer.
Before you get mad or defensive, take a good hard look at your schedule. If you say you don’t have time to write, then take note of how much TV you watch, how many hours you tend to family members by doing things they can do themselves, or how many hours of Candy Crush Saga or Farmville or Bejeweled that you play in a single day. If you turn even half that time into writing time, then not only can you call yourself a writer, but you may actually finish that book that’s been lurking on your hard drive, taunting you. Once you finish it, you can edit it. Once it’s edited, you can submit it (or begin the self-publishing process). Rinse and repeat.
The truth is, those who want to write, write. There is no other answer. So if you aren’t writing, the only person you have to look to for answers is yourself. Why? What’s holding you back?
For many people, it’s doubt. Doubt that you can be any good as a writer. Doubt that anyone will want to read what you write. Doubt that success on any scale is possible for you. But you know what? If you don’t write, then success as a writer ISN’T possible because you don’t have a product for people to read. SLAY THE DOUBT DRAGON. He’s not your friend. The only way to do that? Sit your ass down and write. Every day. No matter what, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes.
For others, it’s stress. You’re worried that your next book won’t measure up to your last book. Or that your editor won’t give you the next three-book contract. Or maybe, it’s been ten years and you haven’t made your first sale yet and you don’t know how much more energy you can put into a career that doesn’t seem to be paying you back either emotionally or monetarily. What then?
Take a break.
Sometimes, a break from writing is just as important as a break from your Day Job. Instead of feeling guilty that you aren’t writing, which can make you resentful, give yourself a day or two off each week. If you haven’t set writing goals (okay, I’ll write for the next fifteen minutes or, I just need a hundred words today), then try that, too. But most of all, be good to yourself.
The writing life is one of discipline. Without it, your books won’t get written and therefore, your words can’t inspire others. If you have the guts to be disciplined about your writing, then you’ll get the work done.
The writing life is one of bravery. You’ve finished the book, edited it, and now comes the time to send it out into the world. Whether it’s a publisher or a contest or putting it up Amazon by yourself, getting your book out there for others to read and judge is an act of bravery, no matter which way you look at it.
The writing life is yours to claim. There’s no secret handshake, no formula, no Blue Light Special at K-Mart that will show you the way. The only thing you need in order to be a writer is to write. Write consistently. Write diligently. Write bravely.
So. What’s your TODAY goal for your writing/creative endeavor? I’d love to know! (Mine is getting 500 words done before my head hits the pillow tonight.)
This article was first published in the Los Angeles Romance Authors monthly newsletter, the LARA CONFIDENTIAL, in August of 2013.