Good Lord! What a month. And it ends today with a post at Long and Short Reviews. Stop by for a final chance at an Amazon GC and for a little more about my journey to publication at the age of 55!
Tag Archives: Life challenges
Yesterday, hubman and I went to early Mass. Usually, we go to the 4 pm Mass Saturdays because we both like to relax on Sunday mornings, but this Saturday we were both busy so we missed the 4.
After Mass we’d planned on going to the gym together. When I typically go to the gym, I leave my house in my workout clothes because I don’t like to change in open changing rooms. Body issues come in all ages, folks, even in successful, intelligent, chubby menopausal women.
Since we were going to Mass first, I couldn’t wear my workout clothes. If you are Catholic you know why. If you are not Catholic just accept it as a fact that I couldn’t go in anything other than Church-clothes, and leave it at that.
I wore nice clothes to the Mass and then planned on changing – in the bathroom(!) when we got to the gym.
Here’s the part of this story that tells you the reason for the title.
When I went to take my blouse off in the bathroom at the gym ( body issues, remember?) I realized I had my blouse on backward. The back of it was in the front. How did I know this? The tag was sitting right under my chin line. All during Mass I felt like the shirt was tight, as if it had shrunken in the dryer or something. Nope. Fit is fine. Wearing it backward will make it seem like it’s tight, though, because there is more material in the front for….proturberances ( read, breasts!) and the back is flatter.
Yeah…I know. 57 years old and I can’t dress myself.
Seriously, I need a keeper or at least someone who can dress me appropriately for when I go out in public.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m blessed and lucky to be retired so I can write whenever I want, for how ever long at a stretch I want. This usually adds up to 5-9 hours daily, depending on everything else in life that needs to be taken care of : laundry, grocery shopping, exercise.
But….there was a time not too long ago where that wasn’t the case. I worked outside my home at a job I detested, so writing was relegated to the back burner. During that time I’d sneak a few minutes before getting ready for the day to jot down a few lines of dialogue. Or I’d bring my lap top to work me so and take a solitary lunch so I could finish a scene. My menopause insomnia ( don’t laugh. It’s a real thing!) was good for one thing and one thing only: I used my inability to sleep to write in the middle of the night when everyone else was dreaming. My first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, was completely written between the hours of 1 and 3 am.
My husband worked, my daughter was out of the house, so it should have been easy to eek time out of the day to write. But it wasn’t because, you know….life.
Balance is a hard work for some people and for me it’s one of the most difficult concepts to accomplish. I never felt like I was giving my all to anyone or anything when I was working and writing. I am in awe of writers who have small children, volunteer at their school, plus work and have husbands/wives they need to care, in addition to homes that need to be tended. And by tended, I mean cleaned! Those writers truly have super powers that I do not possess. They can write a book, bake cookies for the school fund raiser, prepare nutritious meals for dinner, and everyone has clothes to wear, even on laundry day.
These writers have found their inner balance between writing and life.
I never did. It was only when I retired from that despised job that I was able to finally devote the time necessary to each part of my day and not feel as if I was cheating some aspect of it along the way.
So the title of this piece is Managing my writing time. I’m doing pretty well now that I don’t have any place to be during the day light hours – and by that I mean I don’t have to go to a job location. All my friends still work, so there is no one I can get into Thelma and Louise trouble with during the day and the last time I went out to lunch on a weekday was way back in the beginning of the summer. I have no life, really, and I think I’m doing just fine!
Find out what the other authors in this blog series do to manage their writing time because they all have, you know…lives! I don’t! heehee
oh, peeps, there isn’t enough space in one blog posting for this topic as it applies to me!
Quick look at some of them: I bite my nails, I stress eat, I emotionally eat, I eat when I’m bored ( you get it: I EAT!) I have knee-jerk reactions to things, I’m impatient with people. The list goes on and on and…..
You get it.
So, instead of picking one of my own terrible character flaws to expound on in this piece, I’ll stick to a bad writing habit. (It’s easier and less demoralizing!!!)
The worst writing habit I have is that I am not focused. I tend to flit from project to project, book to book, plot to Pinterest, continually, taking forever to finish one thing.
Every night I make a list of the writing things I need to get done the next day. The list usually has between 5 and 10 items ranging from: finish current WIP plotline, to write Friday blog piece, to everything I have to post onto Hootsuite. Interspersed into those writing necessities are things like: do laundry, go to bank, iron. Here’s yesterday’s list:
And every day my list is completed to about 90-95 percent. I rarely have 100% done because…you know….life.
But still. 90-95 percent is great.
Yeah, it’s not, really, though. The 90-95 percent stuff that gets done, does so in drip and drabs. When I should be working -totally invested in- my current wip, I will write a little, stop, do one of the things ( or more) on the list, then MAYBE get back to my writing again later on. After errands….laundry…..lunch.
It gets frustrating at times that I can’t just sit down and focus all my attention on the one thing that I want to, namely, just write.
Is this procrastination? Distraction syndrome? Or is it just the flitting and meandering mind of a woman whose husband claims “has too much time on her hands?” HeeHee
I truly don’t know. My mind never rests, never stops, never says, “Whoa there, Nelly. Let’s focus on one thing at a time.” NO. My mind is like the genie in the Disney Aladdin, in constant motion, never calming, never taking a breath, always in motion, going from one thing to another.
And you know what else it is?
Me. That simple.
So, bad habit, curse, or just the way I’m made, my mind will continue to meander. My thoughts will continue to jump from one thing to the next with lightning speed. My focus will remain….un. (Focused, that is!)
Want to read about other authors and their “bad Habits?” click on the links below and visit them. Leave some love. Or support. Or encouragement….or, wait…is it raining? let me go look…..
I retired in 2015 when I got a book contract. I’d worked for about 150 years as a nurse in varying specialties, then as a contact lens technician. By the time I left the nursing profession I was dog tired, emotionally wrung out, and psychological drained. Having a full time job that could be at the same time uplifiting and soul-sucking was difficult. I figured retirement – and the oppportunity to write full time – would be much more relaxing and enjoyable.
What’s that old saying? You make plans and God laughs?
yeah…story of my life.
I figured writing full time would be a cake walk. Hey, I didn’t have to get dressed in professional clothes everyday any more, do my makeup, hair, and coordinate my wardrobe. I could stay in my pj’s all day and not even put on deodorant if I didn’t want to. ( I do, just for full disclosure here!)
That easy, carefree life of a writer I imagined? yeah..not so much. A few months ago I did a blog piece about a simple question my husband asks me every day at dinner: “So, what did you do today.” My usual response? “Worked.”
One night I figured he really needed to hear what I actually do under the definition of “work,” so here’s what I told him.
4am, Finally got out of bed after lying there for an hour, wide awake.
405am – 530 am Checked email, answered 16 messages. Wrote 2 blogs, uploaded one then posted on social media outlets and HootSuite for the day. Social media sites included uploads of blog on twitter, Triberr, Tumblr, Linked in, Goodreads, google+ and Pinterest. Hootsuites were posted for every 2 hours.
530-6. Got hubby up, ate breakfast. Got ready for the day. Made bed.
630-930 am Gym, followed by grocery shopping for the week, Target, the post office and the bank. Got gas and went to the dump.
930-1030am put the groceries away then started laundry, vacuumed bedrooms and living area. Started dishwasher.
1030-1pm wrote in current wip; worked on Copyedits just received for Book 3 in new cooking series.
1pm-130pm ate lunch then answered emails and checked social media sites. Changed laundry and started another load.
130-500 worked on wip; and worked on Copy edits for book 3 in new cooking series, plus plotted out book 4. ) Folded dried laundry and put it away. Ironed shirts.
5-545 walked on treadmill and read current NetGalley book for review. Folded the remainder of done laundry, put it away.
545-630 cooked dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, set table, worked on copy edits.
630-7pm dinner and conversation ( questions!) with Hubby. Cleaned up the dinner dishes.
7-830 worked on wip, answered email, worked on blog posting for the morning. Did a few pages of the copy edits for book 3
830-10 read Netgalley again
Midnight-2 am. wide awake in bed, reliving yesterday, planning today.
Now, mind you: I have no children at home who need to be tended to, ferried places, or shown love and attention. I don’t currently, have a pet. My friends all work at full-time jobs out side of the home, so ladies who lunch is not on my menu. I don’t get manicures, pedicures, or have spa days. The last time I went to a mall my daughter was in college and I had a panic attack from the crowds. I simply write all day long.
But there’s nothing simple about a day in my life.
So, how do you think the other authors in this blog challenge spend their days? Find out by clicking on the links below
We’ve become a society of label-ers. You know what I mean: everything, every person, every action, has to be categorized and labeled. For instance, who ever heard the term “Dad Bod” until a few years ago? I’ve heard it hundreds of times recently. The latest was on a fashion tv show. The hostess said to one of the male models, “You’re really rocking the dad-bod.” I know she said it as a compliment, but it had just enough snark and dig to make it really an insult.
Mom-jeans is another one of those labels that blows my mind. Again, I don’t think it’s meant to be insulting – just a descriptive word for high waisted jeans usually worn by women other than size zero teenagers – but it comes across as being so snide, you know it really is an insult.
Here are a few other labels for people and things that I’ve heard in my lifetime, and again, they are just this side of nasty when said:
going postal // chill pill // chick flick // playa // wife beater // cray-cray // Barney-bag // hippy // preppie // yuppie // D.I.N.K
How many of you recognize and know those?
How many of you wish you’d never heard them?
Yeah, me too!
Why do we put labels on everything and everyone? Why can’t we just say, things like, “Oh, yeah, Jennie” instead of “Oh yeah, Jennie. She’s that preppie chick, right?”
Why can’t you have a bad day and have someone ask, “How are you feeling?” Instead of saying, “You’re acting cray-cray today.” Or even worse, “You’re going postal, babe. Take a chill pill.” That one really burns my hide!! ( See what I did, there?! HeeHee)
I realize that these catch phrase labels are ways to shorten really in-depth thoughts and descriptions. I get that (did it again!)We’ve become a society that communicates in letters (BTW, WFT, TTFN, LOL) and shortens our verbal interactions to pithy descriptors. I know I’m getting older – and hopefully, wiser – but I long for the days when I could have a real conversation — a face to face conversation — that was a true imparting of words and information, not a drive by shooting ( Did it again!) of quick blurbs and bullet points.
Maybe I am getting just older and not wiser. I don’t know. Think I just need to chill? (heehee)
My facebook page has been deluged for the past two weeks with happy pictures of graduations, both high school, and college. I love sharing in the excitement and joy of all my friends and their families at these monumental achievements.
These young people have so much in store for them, ahead of them, and concerning them, their futures, their successes, and –let’s be honest — their disappointments, too.
I can clearly see the days I graduated from high school, nursing school, college, and then from my Master’s program. Clearly! At each, I remember certain emotions of the day that seem almost prophetic now.
High school: “Thank God I can get legally get out of the house now!”
Nursing School: “Thank God I can get a good job now!”
College: “I did something no one else in my family has ever done – graduate from a school of higher learning! Thank you, God, for giving me the strength and fortitude to do this.”
Masters: “Done! Now I can get married knowing my formal education is done!” ( I never wanted a Ph.D., so I knew I was stopping here.)
I was 27 when I got my Masters degree and married the man who gave my life meaning.
I’m now 57 and all I can think about is how fast those 30 years went by.
Marriage, moves to different states, childbirth, back to work, family obligations, deaths, more births… yadayadayada. Those 30 years flew. Really. Flew by. If the insurance statisticians are correct and the average American born woman lives to 79 years of age, I’ve already lived more than half my life. Way more.
People call this The Second Act of your life. What you’re supposed to do now, since you’ve gotten all the obligatory things out of way, are the things you’ve always wanted to do. Travel, invest, take up those hobbies you never had enough time for before now. Retire, learn to do the things you’ve always dreamed about learning to do. In the great scheme of things I shouldn’t be writing – that should have happened in the first act. But…it didn’t. The writing career I wanted– the one where I could financially support myself with my writing and have it be my primary job, my career, my way of existing — didn’t happen when it was supposed to. No. It happened when I turned 55. Way after graduation. Way after my life was already settled.
At my college commencement, the speaker asked the graduates to evaluate their education. Did it prepare us for the future we wanted? Did we feel we were adequately informed and prepared for what was in front of us? Did we feel we could go out into the world and change it?
My answer was a resounding NO to all those questions. Looking back now, I’m changing that to “HELL, NO!”
Life is longitudinal. You keep moving on that line, having some success, having some failure, reformalizing goals and aspirations, but always moving. Sometimes the line moves up, sometimes down. Sometimes it just moves straight and steady from one point to another without fluctuating. But it always moves and we are always learning.
Our education doesn’t end simply because we’ve been given a piece of paper that says Graduate. No. We are lifetime learners. I learn something new every day. Every friggin’ single day. And yes, some of it I wish I didn’t know!
If I was giving a commencement speech the one thing I would emphatically tell the graduates if this: This is not the end of your education, of your learning, your schooling. Nor is it the beginning. It’s simply part of a continuum. Meet every day as a new challenge, a new learning experience. Keep your eyes, minds, and hearts open to new things, new thoughts, new ways of doing something. Don’t be static. Be dynamic instead. Embrace the new while learning from the old. Plan for the future, yes. Please do that. But don’t forget about the present. Enjoy it, don’t just look at it as a means to an end. Don’t NOT do something you dream about doing because you’re worried you might fail. Do it anyway. Failure is a form of learning; people tend to forget that.
Learn something new every day. Every. Day. You don’t want to get to a certain age in your life and think: “I wish I’d done that. I wish I’d gone after that dream. I can’t now because it’s too late.”
It’s never too late, especially for a dream.
I really think Mother Teresa said it best:
I’ve been radio – or in this case, computer – silent for a few days as I try to get my life back to normal after my week away. Seven whole days to be gone from home is a long, long-ass time. In addition to all the day-to-day stuff I had to catch up on (grocery shopping so we wouldn’t starve, doing piles of laundry so we’ll be clothed and not naked in society, paying bills so our electricity and internet won’t go out) I also had to get my writing back on track.
Deadlines to honor. Editors to appease. Words to put on the page.
I wrote a little in my WIP while in Atlanta, but I mostly just penned my daily blog and did some LIVE videos on facebook in between workshops and networking and traveling. Check out the videos portion of my Facebook page to see what you missed.
But now it’s back to work. Literally. I need to get two books finished by the end of July when I head off to Orlando for RWA 2017 and hopefully have both ready to be presented to my editor. Plus I’m writing a new wedding series and trying to eek a little room in for that on most days. And it wouldn’t kill me to get back on track with getting Planet Fitness every day again. My butt is starting to get chair-spread again. Oh, and I knowknowknow I’ll be getting two books back any day from two editors for final and galley edits.
And please, I don’t want to think about all the books I’ve got to review for Netgalley and Goodreads.
Does this sound like I’m complaining? I hope not. I really love my life. Lovelovelove it!!
I just wish, sometimes, there were 30 hours in every day instead of 24.
I’ve been going at 120 miles per hour the past 3 months – ever since the New Year. I’ve got two books in final edits and galleys, I’ve got three more I’m working on for release at the end of this year and hopefully the beginning of 2018. I’ve committed to blogging more and am going to the gym 5-6 times per week. I’m doing a presentation at a conference next week, in addition to traveling 4 major times this year ( airplanes, people!) to other conferences. I’ve got a brand new book out TODAY and am doing promo for it as well.
This is all in addition to my normal life stuff. You know: cooking, cleaning wife-ing
Oh, and I’ve got Dancing With The Stars in 15 friggin’ days, so practice, practice, practice!
It’s only the beginning of April, but I feel like I’m burnt out already. Or I did, that is, until this past Saturday. Saturday night I did something I haven’t done in a long, looooooooooong time: I went out with friends.
Thank God and all that’s Holy for friends.
These friends don’t write.
These friends are all my age ( give or take a few months).
These friends all have children the same age as I do.
I have a history with these friends that doesn’t include plot lines, story arcs, or Capezio dance shoes!
And these friends keep me grounded while at the same time recharging my soul.
It was so wonderful to spend a few hours just talking about nothing and everything. I didn’t think once about how terrified I am of giving my presentation to a (hopefully, fingers crossed) large audience next weekend. I didn’t for one second agonize over a line of dialogue that I just couldn’t get right. I didn’t think about my feet, sore, and huddled in Merrel’s because they were so swollen from dance practice.
I didn’t do anything other than simply be, have fun, and laugh.
My hermetic existence is a given. I accept that I need to spend long stretches of time alone just so I can get my stories on the page. I know I let world changing events float by me without so much as even a comment or a consideration just so I can finish a chapter. I get that sometimes I’m grouchy and pale and my eyes look like they’re bleeding because I spend countless hours staring at a computer screen. I accept all this and I go with it.
But it felt so blessed GOOD to not think about anything other than the conversation drifting around me.
God gave the world so many wonderful things. Free-will; faith; chocolate; wine. But the best thing he gave us was each other. People. Friends.
If you haven’t talked to or seen a friend in a while, call them TODAY! Not email, not a text, Actually put your mouth to the phone and speak to them. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.
And as an added reminder, TODAY is the day COOKING WITH KANDY is released. If you haven’t gotten your copy yet ( and that begs the question “why not?”) here are the links:
I’m pretty confident I mentioned in a previous blog that I’m participating in the 2017 Project Graduation event DANCING WITH THE KEENE STARS again. This is my third year. Year one, I was the STAR. Last year I was a judge. This year, I am the partner to a Star.
Three years; three different roles.
Year one was fraught with anxiety, anger, and a little angst. Anxiety because I thought I knew how to dance but when I was shown how to really do it, I didn’t. Not even close. Anger because my partner was, well, let’s just say we weren’t perfectly matched, and leave it at that. And angst, because I truly was mentally tortured about falling down on stage or being a laughingstock.
I survived. No falls.
Year two I was a judge. This key role filled me with nervous tension so tight I thought I was gonna snap in two at a moment’s notice. Since I remembered how terrified I was standing center stage and being critiqued, I was determined to give nothing but positive and kind feedback. I didn’t say anything negative. I hurt no feelings and offered no critical analysis. Everyone did fabulously, to hear me tell it.
I survived. No hurt feelings. No snapping.
This year, year three, I am a partner and I was initially filled with dread. I have to make the Star look good. I am, after all, the professional ( for lack of a better word) and I’m expected to know the dance, the moves, and to radiate calmness for my Star.
If you know me you know I NEVER radiate calmness. But I have nothing to worry about. My STAR is, well, a STAR!! He is patient, committed to winning, and loves to rehearse. He came into the dance studio filled with ideas and they’re good ones!! He will win this competition. I am merely his prop, and very happy to be one!
I will survive without feeling dread, for sure!
Keene Dancing with the Stars is scheduled for April 21 and 22 and you can order tickets here: tickets
Hope to see you all there. It’s guaranteed to be a great night of dancing, fun, and a few laughs.