Writing By Moonlight

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Writing By Moonlight

By Mary Anne Hahn

Four years ago, on a May afternoon bright with promise, I lived every writer’s dream – I packed up nearly a decade’s worth of office belongings, hugged my co-workers good-bye, and walked out of a secure, stable, stress-filled job to make my mark as a full-time freelance writer.

I hated it.

Okay, I didn’t really, at least not in the beginning. That heady moment of leaving a restrictive nine-to-five job behind and the weeks that followed rank up there among the top five high points of my life (I’ll save the remaining four for other articles…suffice to say they are not all writing-related…). With the wind in my sails, my pride at stake, and a truckload of excellent work habits developed during my “day job” days, I established my home office, organized files, picked up the necessary tax forms, set daily schedules and developed weekly goals. I chased after leads, sent off queries, and even landed a couple of meaty writing assignments with local companies.

But as queries came back to me stamped “Rejected,” and local projects petered out, so did my enthusiasm. Days became long and very empty. My fountain of writing ideas, which I’d once thought was endless, dried up for lack of outside stimulation. I found myself longing to be very, very busy again, with work that was being delegated to me, rather than having to go find it myself. Plus, I’ll admit, I missed making money. So after several months I went back to work part time, just to see a regular check with my name on it. And after several more months, I abandoned the dream completely, and returned to work full-time.

Now I’m writing more than I ever did.

I’m not telling you this to discourage you from living the freelance dream. In fact, like an ex-lover, I think about giving it a second chance someday, a little wiser from my first go-round. But there are advantages to moonlighting as a freelance writer that I hadn’t appreciated before, benefits that I want to share with you before you, too, decide to quit your day job. Read them and reap.

  1. Time to write remains special, precious, when we don’t have all the time in the world. In her book Writing From Personal Experience, Nancy Davidoff Kelton suggests that we view writing like an illicit love affair, savoring the moments, relishing the time. When we “ought” to be collecting dust bunnies or “should” be running errands, we can spoil ourselves instead with a few stolen moments of writing time. After all, if the world ended tomorrow, would the dust bunnies really matter?
  2. A regular paycheck frees us to practice until we’re perfect. A full-time freelancer may need to look for the sure thing, because writing literally is their bread and butter. Moonlighters can bet the long shots. You are more willing to take chances, walk the tightrope, experiment with new writing styles or markets, with a financial safety net of a full- or part-time job beneath you. Rejection letters sting less when you are not counting on an advance to pay next month’s rent. But when you succeed as a moonlighter, the satisfaction is still as sweet, and the any financial payoff actually becomes an added bonus, not a life-or-death necessity.
  3. Your day job actually can add fuel to your writing fire, rather than extinguish it. My own article and story ideas spring daily from snatches of conversation overheard in the employee lounge, discussions with friends over 45-minute lunches, or disgruntled employees who drop by my cubicle to vent. Newspaper headlines or tidbits that capture the attention of my co-workers enlighten me as to what interests them, and what could interest my potential readers. Newsletters and magazines that float around the office become possible markets for my work. When I left the office environment previously to pursue full-time freelancing, I had unknowingly severed myself from this incredible wellspring of writing ideas. Be sure you are tapping yours to the fullest.

So while moonlighting may be, for many writers, a necessary fact of life, it brings its rewards as well. Working our desire to write into a schedule that includes full-time jobs, families and never-ending to-do lists of other responsibilities forces us to truly assess our priorities, organize our time, and seize our moments. But when we get up in the morning a few minutes earlier, stay awake at night a few minutes later, or sneak out to a quiet place during our lunch hours to pursue our “illicit love affair” with writing, we have the dual benefit of exploring one of our greatest passions, along with the security of jobs and loved ones to support and accept us when we return.

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Write Better Naked

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Write Better Naked

Strip Down to Your Essential Writing Soul

By Shirley Jump

You can keep your clothes on — but free yourself to write.

Take it off. Take it all off. No, not your clothes (although if you want to compose in the nude, that’s your prerogative). Strip away those hindrances to writing, from the expectations of others to the quest for your true writing voice. Once you learn to strip away all the rules and barriers, you will write more freely and your words will have more impact.

That’s not to say you can pull a Faulkner and eliminate punctuation or start reinventing the rules of grammar. The basics of good composition apply no matter what you are creating. To me, writing naked means being a writer who creates out of a sense of joy, not in an attempt to follow marketing trends or to appease the judgment of friends and family members. It’s writing in its purest form.

Let’s start with the expectations of others. If you are writing with the purpose of getting published, then you’ve probably looked at the books and articles that are out there, and decided you have to make your work fit those models. It’s like being in junior high. The “in” crowd wore the hippest clothes and those who wanted to be part of the clique did the same. But what happens is individuality gets swallowed up in the quest for sameness. Readers don’t want uniformity. They choose one author over another because she has unique storytelling abilities.

The people who have made a dent in the publishing world have made their individual writing styles an asset. Stephen King, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks, Kathleen Woodiwiss. No one was doing what they did at the time they launched their careers. They encountered many closed doors but once they made it to the rank of published, they found a bevy of readers hungry for uniqueness.

Think about your own expectations, too. You might envision your writing career following a certain path. Maybe you expected to be published in a year or two or ten and it hasn’t happened. Maybe you expected to have a literary voice and all that’s coming out is comedy. Let go of those expectations, too. As soon as you put a leash on your writing, you are restricting yourself. While it’s wonderful to be able to compose lyrical passages, or comic ones, or straight journalistic prose, don’t expect yourself to write in a style other than the one in which you write. The truth is that everyone’s writing style and writing paths are different. Only by giving your creative side free rein can you discover your own path.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that no one can tell your stories quite the same way you can. That’s a gift — a single element that sets you apart from any other writer. When you write, you do so with the express purpose of communicating your own writer’s soul. There is nothing more naked than that.

EXERCISE: Take one hour this week and write entirely for you. Don’t think about where the piece might sell or what someone might think about it. Set out to write strictly for yourself. Create anything. A story. A poem. A journal entry. Don’t worry about what it is, or what you’ll do with it. Rediscover the joy of creation for creation’s sake.

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Moving Up the Rejection Ladder

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Moving Up the Rejection Ladder

By Margaret Terhune

A few weeks ago, I received a great rejection letter from a literary journal. It was almost as exciting as when I got my first paying contract. While other people raise an eyebrow when I refer to a good rejection letter, my writing friends smile knowingly for they are familiar with the hierarchy of editor responses.

The letter began in the usual way: “Thank you for offering your work to…we regret that we cannot use it at this time.” Oh well, I thought, another one for the “no” box. Then I noticed the hand-written note at the bottom. I’ve learned to appreciate any personal touch: an editor’s signature, a post-it note with a few encouraging words, a note scribbled somewhere on the page. These are all excellent indications that your work has been read and considered by at least one person.

A quick side note on rejection letters: my husband thinks it’s bizarre that I keep these letters but they’re actually a great source of satisfaction. Not only are they proof that I continue to write and send but they are also an excellent way to refer back to editor’s names and addresses. I know of people who have papered walls with these letters; I prefer to keep mine together in a box.

“I enjoyed your poem and wish you luck in placing it,” the note read. “I’m sorry we can’t use it… please consider us again. Keep writing.” Please consider us again – these are the magical words, opening the door just a few inches wider. This particular journal only reads submissions for a short period each year, so I shall have to wait before resubmitting. Normally, I would send something else out within a few weeks, while the favorable impression is still fresh in the editor’s memory.

I still get plenty of generic rejection letters, ranging from curt notes to longer letters. Some are polite and encouraging while others give the impression that the work was thoroughly unworthy of being read. I particularly dislike the ones which contain a checklist of reasons for rejection ranging from “not suited to our present needs” (I invariably get this one) to “poorly written” (I wonder if they ever use this one?).

In the midst of all this banality, a personalized letter makes me feel that I’m still headed in the right direction. The fact that an editor took the time to jot a note is a great motivation to continue sending out my work.

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The Juggling Act

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

The Juggling Act

By Shirley Jump

A friend recently asked me, as a fellow mom and full-time writer: “How do you juggle work and being a mom and make sure you’re doing a good job at both? I feel guilty when I work and guilty when I don’t. Well, all except for at night. But the work I can get in from nine to midnight just isn’t enough if I want to do this full time….”

My answer: You don’t.

I’m not trying to be flip about this, just realistic. There are going to be times, NO MATTER how hard you try, when you feel like you are only doing a good job at one or the other, times when you feel you should get the “World’s Worst” award for both. It never balances out-ever.

But here’s the kicker. It doesn’t matter what you are doing with your time during the day, whether it’s baking cakes or working a job or writing or mowing the lawn. You are ALWAYS going to feel like you can’t balance both equitably.

Nora Roberts, who is probably one of the most prolific writers in the world, started out writing when her kids were very young. She is often asked how she managed to balance both. She said that in the juggling act of life, you have to decide what things are glass balls and what things are rubber balls. The rubber balls you let drop so you can catch the glass ones. The glass balls are obviously the most important things in your life: children, husband/wife, writing. The rubber balls are the Tupperware parties and the pristine house and anything that smacks of Martha Stewart.

In short, you have to let some things go in order to attend to your priorities. I’m not telling you anything you can’t hear on an “Oprah” rerun. This makes sense, and it works.

But it doesn’t solve the problem of feeling guilty for working when the kids are around and feeling guilty for playing when you should be working. That isn’t going to go away. I battle it daily. Guilt has a starring role in my house. Heck, I’m even thinking of giving it a bedroom of its own.

A few things that I do when the balance is tipping precariously in one direction or the other:

  • Let the kids fend for themselves: I know, it sounds cruel. What do you mean, not make them a sandwich? Not bathe them? Not put away their laundry? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. My daughter, at nearly 8, is pretty proficient with the microwave and knows how to make soup from a can. My son, at 3, has attempted his own sandwich. He can change his own clothes. They do many things for themselves. To me, it’s not a bad thing. It teaches them independence and makes them feel proud that they can “do it themselves.”
  • Pass the guilt trip to someone else: Think you feel guilty? Think about your spouse, who is probably working more hours than you and spending even less time as a parent. Share that guilty burden. Don’t be a martyr.
  • Involve them: My daughter and I play “Mancala” while I answer e-mail. My son colors at my desk while I work. It doesn’t always work out, but if my task is light, their company is nice.
  • Walk away from work: I do this when the kids least expect it (keeps them on their toes 🙂 There are times when I have to say no to playing a game or watching a video, but I try to temper that with just as many yes times. I counter this by sleeping less and working during their sleeping time, but it works out okay.
  • Show them you love them: I leave notes in lunchboxes, put lipstick kisses on hands, bring home the occasional treat, dispense hugs no matter what I am in the middle of, and tell them I love them all the time. It’s not a substitute for being with them, but it reminds them that I think about them all the time.

Last of all, accept that you will NEVER have that perfect balance. If you weren’t writing, you might be at a full-time job, or going to school, or spending your time knitting. Everyone needs something for themselves, whether it’s a job or a hobby. That time is time well spent because you are investing in YOU.

And isn’t that a great lesson to teach the kids?

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Pop Quiz: Who Are You?

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Pop Quiz: Who Are You?

By Shirley Jump

When I first started writing, I thought I wanted to be the next Jane Pauley. I could just see myself, leaping after the big story, landing the big headlines and the cheers of the newsroom. Then, after a few years at a city newspaper, I realized I didn’t have what it took to be an investigative reporter. I didn’t like butting into people’s lives, I didn’t like stirring up trouble and I especially didn’t like hunting down a story that didn’t want to be found.

It was an epiphany that shaped my life from there on out and changed my career course. I started freelancing, instead of being a staff reporter, and like Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman,” I had the power over who and when and what I wrote about. It was great. It didn’t pay as well 🙂 but it worked out much better for my conscience and my heartburn level.

It may take you a while before you figure out what kind of writer you want to be. To help you, try this “Pop Quiz.” Take some time with these answers – give them some thought. You might find you are a different writer in your heart than you are in your head.

POP QUIZ ON YOU

If you’re having trouble figuring out your roadblocks to success, take this quick quiz. Ask yourself:

  • What are my strengths and weaknesses? Am I procrastinator? Am I good at research or concepting?
  • What kind of articles do I like to read?
  • Do I have the personality to write investigative journalism pieces, personal essays, think pieces, research articles, or lighter features?
  • Do I enjoy research and statistical work or am I happier interacting with people and learning about their stories and adventures?
  • Am I willing to try my hand at a number of different article genres until I find what works best for me?
  • Do I see writing as a regular part of my life or just a temporary endeavor?
  • Am I interested in writing articles as a full-time or part-time job?
  • Do I have the courage to put my articles in the mail? To face the inevitable criticisms and rejections? To meet the challenge when my work is accepted?
  • Am I willing to put in the time to study the market, research my article ideas, and study the craft of writing?
  • Do I have the discipline to do this on my own? Would I be better off collaborating with another writer or expert?
  • What kind of writer do I want to be? When I close my eyes, where do I envision my work appearing?
  • Most importantly: Do I have the persistence, dedication, and drive to make my dream come true?

Doing this kind of self-analysis helps you understand your own weaknesses and strengths. By knowing yourself well, your writing and publishing efforts will be far more successful because you can adapt your approach to fit your particular forte.

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The Literary Food Chain

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

The Literary Food Chain

By Sharon Horton

In the world of acting, the Food Chain is well defined. Theater actors look down upon Movie actors. Movie actors look down upon Television actors. Television actors look down upon Commercial actors and I suppose Commercial actors look down upon Infomercial actors. Everyone has an opinion as to what is legitimate within the Thespian World.

It is the same within the Literary World.

How often I have encountered the curious and intrigued expression when I announce I am a writer. And, how often I have encountered the “looked down upon” expression when it is discovered I am an unpublished writer.

The first question after they learn I write is always, “Are you published?” They don’t care if I’ve written a charming tale about an artichoke that talks and teaches the meaning of life to children, or if I’ve written a complete manual on how to split atoms over a campfire. All they care about is whether they can enter a bookstore and see my name in print.

Will seeing my name in print validate my craft? Maybe. Will it ensure I am a writer? No. I am a writer pure and simple and struggling with the best of them. The dream of creating our stories and characters is what makes us strive to perfect ourselves. The dream of being published keeps us striving. And yet, we are all still writers.

As the well read person may have seen in print by another writer- ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ Those who are actors, act. We, who are writers, write. If the reading world views the unpublished me as being at the bottom of the Literary Food Chain then I shall accept it proudly, for I am in good company.

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How Not to Procrastinate

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

How Not to Procrastinate

By Shirley Jump

I have a confession to make: I procrastinate as much as the next person. I’ll avoid a pending deadline by cleaning out the bathroom cabinet, taking a trip to the mall or simply overdosing on junk TV. The problem is that I’m a working writer, and I’m responsible for a sizable chunk of the household income, so procrastination is not a good idea.

Still, I do it. And I’m not alone. “I procrastinate about almost everything, even though when I do occasionally do something right away it always feels so good! If something is going to be unpleasant I will procrastinate,” says writer Holly Gumpher Fawcett.

How do you overcome procrastination and learn to move forward with your work? After a writing career that has spanned more than twenty years, I’ve developed a few tips that have worked well for me.

  • Accept that you are a procrastinator: If you know you have faults, you can work around them. Understand that your tendency is to put things off and work hard to encourage yourself to do the opposite. Just be careful to build in enough extra time to accommodate your habits. “I’ve learned through experience how long certain projects take, and I procrastinate accordingly,” says humor writer Jennifer Doloski. “I have, however, been burned by procrastinating under the assumption that my sources will be available when I’m ready to work, and it doesn’t always happen.”
  • Take Baby Steps: If you need to get three queries out this week and feel overwhelmed by the task, do one tiny thing at a time. Just outline the first one on Monday, then write the opening paragraph on Tuesday. Wednesday, finish it and outline the second one, and so forth. “You know that analogy about the eagle with the branches in its talon?” asks Melanie Gold, a freelancer and Associate Editor with the National Association of Colleges and Employers. “Singularly the branches are weak, but together they’re unbreakable. I reverse that. A seemingly impossible project can be done if you break it down into parts.”
  • Take the work with you: Often, the problem is in your environment. Some people feel all their self-doubts and fears come back the minute they sit in front of their computer. If that’s the case, then pick up your pad of paper, your pen and some Post-its and journey to wherever you feel most comfortable. I’ve worked on the couch, in the library and even in a coffee shop as a reward and a break from my office. A change of pace can also restart those creative juices.
  • Get the beginning done: When I have a huge article to write and only have a minute to work on it, I’ll often write just the lead. For some reason, once that opening is done, the rest of the article easily falls into place when I come back to it later. Even though I’ve only composed a paragraph, it feels like the bulk of the work is done and the project isn’t so overwhelming anymore.
  • Put a mental boss on your shoulder: Working at home or on your own schedule is too much temptation for most procrastinators. It’s far too simple to opt for baking cookies over writing essays or sending invoices. Writer Cheryl Duksta pretends she has a To-Do list from a boss. “What helps me is to create a list and pretend that it’s my boss. I don’t think; I just follow my list.”
  • Do the icky stuff first: If you have a long list of projects and have a couple that you are dreading doing, do those first. Author Melissa Hill says she uses a prioritized list and deals with the unpleasant jobs early. “If say, number 1 is no fun, [say to yourself] I’ll just do it for ten minutes. After ten minutes, you’re kind of in the flow of the thing and you end up just finishing it up.”
  • Make bargains with yourself: I’ve set all kinds of rewards for myself to get dreaded projects done — from a Hershey bar to a walk around the block. The key is to find something that motivates you enough to get your work done so that the reward is worth the effort.

You can learn to overcome bad procrastination habits and make yourself a much more productive writer. The key is knowing who you are and finding the right approach for your style of work. Before you know it, you’ll be getting ten times more work done than ever before – and seeing ten times the results of your efforts.

Resources Menu

Fun Inspirations 2

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Fun Inspirations 2

When you find yourself deep in the grip of writer’s block, sometimes it helps you kick back and relax.  Enjoy these fun inspirations.

I cannot look at the world seriously. For me, there is inspiration in humor, and the funny things that happen to me along life’s path. I am a muse in training, or at the very least, I have been put upon this earth to be God’s comic relief. The only sound I could hear after getting hit by a train while horseback riding was a deep, haunting laughter. Surely it couldn’t be the fact that I, literally, had ants in my pants  (split my pants open on a red anthill – insult to injury). I know, as long as I can laugh at myself, life is worth living and writing about. I hope you enjoy these items and that they inspire and encourage you. 

I hope when you are struggling, you can read these and find some relief. 
Deanna Lilly

You Just Thought You Were Having a Bad Day

http://www.home-schooling-uk.com/

A father passing by his son’s bedroom, was astonished to see the bed was nicely made, and everything was picked up. Then, he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow. It was addressed: “Dad,”

With the worst premonition, he opened the envelope and, with trembling hands, read the letter…

“Dear, Dad. It is with great regret and sorrow that I’m writing you.  I had to elope with my new girlfriend, because I wanted to avoid scene with Mum  and you.  I’ve been finding real passion with Stacy, and she is so nice, but I knew you would not approve of her, because of all her piercings, tattoos, her tight Motorcycle clothes, and because she is so much older than I am.

But it’s not only the passion, Dad. She’s pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods, andhas a stack of firewood for the whole winter.  We share a dream of having many more children.

Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn’t really hurt anyone. We’ll be growing it for ourselves, and trading it with the other people in the commune for all the cocaine and ecstasy we want.

In the meantime, we’ll pray that science will find a cure for AIDS, so Stacy can get better. She sure deserves it!

Don’t worry Dad, I’m 15, and I know how to take care of myself.  Someday, I’m sure we’ll be back to visit, so you can get to know your many grandchildren.

Love, your son, Joshua

PS. Dad, none of the above is true. I’m over at Jason’s house. I just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than the school report that’s on the kitchen table.

If anyone knows who originated any of the above items, please email me (writingcorner@biznessconcepts.com) so I can give them credit.

Resources Menu

Fun Inspirations 1

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Fun Inspirations 1

When you find yourself deep in the grip of writer’s block, sometimes it helps you kick back and relax.  Enjoy these fun inspirations.

I cannot look at the world seriously. For me, there is inspiration in humor, and the funny things that happen to me along life’s path. I am a muse in training, or at the very least, I have been put upon this earth to be God’s comic relief. The only sound I could hear after getting hit by a train while horseback riding was a deep, haunting laughter. Surely it couldn’t be the fact that I, literally, had ants in my pants  (split my pants open on a red anthill – insult to injury). I know, as long as I can laugh at myself, life is worth living and writing about. I hope you enjoy these items and that they inspire and encourage you. 

I hope when you are struggling, you can read these and find some relief. 
Deanna Lilly

Battle Hymn of the Rejection

by Emily Hoffman

(Sung to the tune — “Battle Hymn of the Republic”)

My eyes have seen the mailman in the distance bringing mail;
His hands are full of letters as he marches up the trail;
I’m running down to meet him, hoping editors won’t fail,
Oh, hope is marching on.

Chorus:
No, no, no it’s a rejection! No, no, no it’s a rejection!
Oh, no, no, not a rejection!
No, no, no it’s a rejection!
But I will still write on.

In the early morning hours I work on at my PC;
I am typing, knowing this time, that the editors will see;
All the talent I have bursting, all the energy set free,
Oh, next time they will buy.

(chorus)

The Writers War Cry

by Iris Leach
DETERMINATION IS THE NAME OF THE GAME. Think abut writing with the same determination you use to have that extra helping of chocolate cake!

ORDINARY PEOPLE ARE SANE. So you’re crazy — mad as a hatter in March. Why else would you slip into something more comfortable and sit in front of a computer?

NEGATIVE THOUGHTS ARE NOT ALLOWED. Your brain surgeon lifts the scalpel — he hesitates! Can I do this, he thinks. What if I fail? should I have taken up horse training like my uncle Bart?

TRUST IN YOURSELF. Deep inside you know you’re a writer and you will, one day make it. Your name will be in lights — well, on a paperback cover at least.

 

ENTHUSIASM LEADS TO SUCCESS. What if Newton’s mother had said, “Keep your feet on the ground, son. You get much too excited over falling apples.”

VICTORY ABOVE ALL ELSE. Don’t waste those rejection slips. Recycle them into ho-to books.

EVERY WRITER HAS A GOAL. To be published. To be a bestseller. To finish the damn book.

REQUIRED ENERGY. You can find energy from hardy sources. Drinking milk twice a day. Green vegetables. A walk around the block. Or if desperately in need of a boost — stick finger in light socket.

 

GREAT BOOKS COME FROM EVEN GREATER CHARACTERS. Do you remember your weird Aunt Mabel? The one you mother refuses to talk about? Or that girl from school who was never allowed to play and always wore chiffon blouses under her uniform.

IDLE HANDS MAKE MISCHIEF. Of course active hands lead to arthritis. Take your pick.

VIRTUALLY NOBODY SUCCEEDS WITHOUT TRYING. Hmmm, maybe the royals.

EGG IS WORN ON THE FACE. Maybe because we’re constantly searching for the bacon.

 

UNDERSTAND THIS — NOTHING TASTES SWEETER THAN SUCCESS. I read this somewhere so it must be true.

PEGASUS. If a damn horse can fly, surely we can get published.

Walk on the Moon

On July 20, 1969, as commander of the Apollo 11 lunar module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” were televised to earth and heard by millions. Then, just before he reentered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs.

Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky” statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

On July 5, 1995, in Tampa, Florida while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had died, so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

In 1938 when he was a kid in a small Midwest town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit the ball, which landed in his neighbor’s yard by the bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. “Sex! You want sex? You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!”

This is NOT a true story – confirmed by Snoops.com – but still worth repeating.

Seeing Through Your Character’s Eyes

Forrest Gump died and went to Heaven. When he got to the pearly gates, Saint Peter told him that new rules were in effect due to the advances in education on Earth. In order to gain admittance a prospective heavenly soul must answer three questions.

Name two days of the week that begin with “T.”

How many seconds are in a year?

What is God’s first name?

Forrest thought for a few minutes and answered, “The two days of the week that begin with ‘T’ are ‘Today’ and ‘Tomorrow.’ There are twelve seconds in a year. And God has two-first names; they are ‘Andy’ and ‘Howard.’

Saint Peter said, “Okay, I’ll buy Today and Tomorrow. Even though it’s not the answer I expected, your answer is correct. But how did you get twelve seconds in a year, and why did you ever think that God’s first name is either Andy or Howard?”

Forrest responded, “Well, January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd, etc…”

“OK, I’ll give you that one, too,” said Saint Peter, “but what about the God’s first name stuff?”

Forrest said, “Well, from the song, ‘Andy walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am his own..’ and the prayer, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven, Howard be thy name…’ ”

Saint Peter let him in without further ado.

Ignite the Spark

You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you walked. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim. Did you hit the ball the first time you swung a bat? Heavy hitters, the one who hit the most home runs, also strike out the most. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.. – United Technologies Wall Street Journal ad.  –From the motion picture “Like Water for Chocolate”

Literacy?

A chicken walked into a library and walked up to the librarian and goes “bok.” The librarian thought it was really weird, but she handed the chicken a book and he left.

Then the chicken came back in a few minutes later and went to the librarian and goes “bok, bok.” This time the librarian thought it was really hard to believe, but she handed the chicken two books and the chicken left.

Then a short while later the chicken came back and walked up to the librarian and goes “bok, bok, bok.” This time the librarian had a plan, so she handed the chicken three books and followed her out the library. The chicken went down the road and to a pond where the chicken met a frog. The chicken held up the three books to the frog and the frog goes “readit, readit, readit.”

Every Woman Should Have

  • One old boyfriend you can imagine going back to and one who reminds you of how far you’ve come.
  • Enough money within your control to move out and rent a place on your own, even if you never want or need to.
  • Something perfect to wear if the employer or man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.
  • A purse, a suitcase and an umbrella you’re not ashamed to be seen carrying.
  • A youth you’re content to move beyond.
  • A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
  • The realization that you are actually going to have an old age and some money set aside to help fund it.
  • A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill and a black lace bra.
  • One friend who always makes you laugh and one who lets you cry.
  • A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in your family.
  • Eight matching plates, wineglasses with stems and a recipe for a meal that will make your guests feel honored.
  • A resume that is not even the slightest bit padded.
  • A feeling of control over your destiny.
  • A skin care regime, an exercise routine and a plan for dealing with those few other facets of life that don’t get better after 30.
  • A solid start on a satisfying career, a satisfying relationship and all those other facets of life that do get better.

Every Woman Should Know

  • How to fall in love without losing yourself.
  • How you feel about having kids.
  • How to quit a job, break up with a man and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.
  • When to try harder and when to walk away.
  • How to kiss a man in a way that communicates perfectly what you would and wouldn’t like to happen next.
  • How to have a good time at a party you’d never choose to attend.

Rules for Writers

By PPW (Panhandle Plains Writers) in Amarillo.

  • Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  • Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
  • Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  • Be more or less specific.
  • Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  • Also too, never ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • No sentence fragments.
  • Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  • Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  • Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  • One should NEVER generalize.
  • Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  • One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  • Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  • The passive voice is to be ignored.
  • Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  • Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  • Kill all exclamation points!!!
  • Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  • Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
  • Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  • Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  • If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not on writer in a million can use it correctly.
  • Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  • Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  • Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  • And finally .. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Rules for Writers

By PPW (Panhandle Plains Writers) in Amarillo.

  • Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • And don’t start a sentence with a conjunction.
  • It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  • Avoid clichés like the plague. (They’re old hat)
  • Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
  • Be more or less specific.
  • Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
  • Also too, never ever use repetitive redundancies.
  • No sentence fragments.
  • Contractions aren’t necessary and shouldn’t be used.
  • Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
  • Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  • One should NEVER generalize.
  • Comparisons are as bad as clichés.
  • Don’t use no double negatives.
  • Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
  • One-word sentences? Eliminate.
  • Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
  • The passive voice is to be ignored.
  • Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
  • Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
  • Kill all exclamation points!!!
  • Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
  • Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth shaking ideas.
  • Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit it when its not needed.
  • Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.”
  • If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not on writer in a million can use it correctly.
  • Puns are for children, not groan readers.
  • Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
  • Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  • And finally .. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Play On Words

If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed and dry cleaners depressed?

Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and depleted! Even more, bed makers will be debunked, baseball players will be debased, landscapers will be deflowered, bulldozer operators will be degraded, organ donors will be delivered, software engineers will be detested, software beta testers would be debugged, the BVD company will be debriefed, and even musical composers will eventually decompose.

On a more positive note, though, perhaps we can hope politicians will be devoted.

Real Life vs. Fiction

“The difference between real life and fiction is that fiction must make sense.”

— Tom Clancy

Rejection Statistics

  • John Grisham – 28 publishers rejected “A Time to Kill”
  • Golding – 21 publishers rejected “Lord of the Flies”
  • Pearl Buck – 14 publishers rejected “The Good Earth”
  • George B. Shaw – first 5 novels rejected
  • Saroyan – first 100 articles rejected
  • Mary Higgins Clark – first short story rejected 40 times
  • Louis L’Amour – 350 rejections

Never give up. Learn from each rejection. Fix the problems in your manuscript. Hound them relentlessly and you’ll get there.

Walk a Mile

Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.

That way, when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them, and you have their shoes.

If anyone knows who originated any of the above items, please email me (writingcorner@biznessconcepts.com) so I can give them credit.

Resources Menu

Finding Time to Write

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Finding Time to Write

By Shirley Jump

Hi all,

I have become the queen of finding time I didn’t think I had, LOL. I’ve pasted a few tips below, that always work for me:

Get up earlier. I drag myself out of bed at 4:30 every morning. I don’t like to be up that early and would much rather be in my bed. But I also know that is my only quiet time during the day (I have two kids) and if I don’t write then, I won’t get another chance.

At that time in the morning, I write 3-5 pages.Then I print them out and take them EVERYWHERE I go. In the car, in the bathroom, at the kitchen counter. When I’m waiting at a long stop light, waiting on water to boil, grabbing my five seconds of solitude before the kids start banging on the door– whatever — I read over/edit/mark editions to those chapters. I can skeleton out at least another three pages, usually in dialogue, just bare bones stuff.

Then, after the kids go to bed, I input those pages. This is when I flesh them out, add a little here and there, pop in some description. I almost always get another 2 pages from that. In the morning, I start with revising that work, then writing the new stuff. I can do 8-10 pages a day with that system. They’re not always a good 8-10, LOL, but they keep it progressing. Just taking the pages everywhere gives me oodles of time in little increments.

Then, after the kids go to bed, I input those pages. This is when I flesh them out, add a little here and there, pop in some description. I almost always get another 2 pages from that. In the morning, I start with revising that work, then writing the new stuff. I can do 8-10 pages a day with that system. They’re not always a good 8-10, LOL, but they keep it progressing. Just taking the pages everywhere gives me oodles of time in little increments.

Make it easier on yourself. I have a coffee pot with a timer. When the alarm goes off, I know the pot is ready and waiting for me. Just knowing the caffeine IV is ready makes it easier to get going.

Make the crockpot your friend. I use a crockpot 4 days a week for dinner. Five minutes of prep, turn it on in the morning and by 6pm, dinner is done. Join slowcooker@yahoogroups.com for tons of great recipes. I gain all that prep time for dinner, have one pan to clean up, etc. I’ve done it all — baked potatoes, roasted a chicken, cooked ribs — all in the crockpot (I have three so I can usually do a veggie and a side at the same time).

Let go. The house doesn’t have to be perfect, the cookies can come from the Pillsbury Dough Boy. This is all part of prioritizing. Or, if you can afford it, hire a cleaning service. I sat down and did the math for my husband. The cleaning service SAVES me five hours of time but only COSTS me one hour of my time (at what I figure for my hourly rate). The stress savings alone in knowing I don’t have to worry about the bathroom is worth every dime.

Set daily, weekly, monthly goals. Report them to someone. It’s easier to let your writing fall by the wayside if you don’t have anything to shoot for. This incentive helps you stay on track.

Turn off the Internet connection. HOURS of time can be wasted on the Web (trust me, I know this one from personal experience). When I am working on fiction, I don’t connect my e-mail until I’ve hit my page count. Some days, its torture to wait, but it keeps me moving on those pages.

Reward yourself. Chocolate works for me. For you, it might be an hour in the garden or a trip to the movies. Once you achieve something, it’s okay to pat yourself on the back.

Don’t lose sight of the big picture. When you are looking at how many pages there are left to go in your novel or how insanely long the publishing process takes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and quit. Never forget that you are creating for you as much as you are for other people. You are investing in yourself and really, there’s no better priority than that.

Let the kids fend for themselves. Too often, we as women feel we have to do it all – make the sandwich, feed the dog, wash the floor. It is OKAY to let things go and let people take care of themselves.

Get a Quickpad or Alphasmart — my QP goes with me everywhere, too. If I feel like typing, I can. I take it to bed, wham out a few pages, etc. I find that because I can’t see the QP screen so well, I write without editing. It goes faster, is sometimes better writing, and takes the pressure off.

That’s all I can think of for now. Off to get some work done.

Shirley

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