Writing tip

Don’t Let Time Pass You By

As writers, we each face our own struggles.  I tend to think a lot of my issues could be alleviated if I had more time in the day. Seeing as how I don’t have access to a magical hourglass, I had to consider other options.  The one that screamed for my attention was time management.  My situation is not unique.  Like many of you, I work full time.  That leaves a few short hours a day to take care of my home/family, exercise, write and grow my audience.

Building my author platform

It’s hard.

Who knew there would be so much effort required?  I thought writing the novel was supposed to be the most difficult part. Imagine my surprise when I realized I needed a twitter account, a Facebook author page, a blog, etc.

It’s time consuming.

Each plank in the platform comes from the connections we make.  Those connections take time to cultivate.  That means we reach beyond ourselves.  We engage others.  We listen to their ideas. We share ours.  In short, being a good neighbor requires being social.

But – here’s the catch

Building my platform was taking too much of my writing time.  Seriously.  It was so easy to get caught up in reading the posts on certain Facebook pages.  And then there was Pinterest. My goodness – I was on my way to becoming a “Pinning” junkie.  I have boards dedicated to my blog, to interesting faces, beautiful places – things that may or may not inspire scenes in future stories.  There’s boards dedicated to my books.  I’m sure you get the picture.  😉

I needed to get a handle on my socializing…

I love my blog.  I love the blogging community.  I decided that my blog would become the hub of my social media/platform building efforts.

Blog Hub

This is still a work in progress.  But it has helped ease the stress of coming up with so many new ideas for posting to the different social media sites.  Take my Facebook Author page – I guess I’m a bit ambivalent when it comes to this page.  I hate feeling as though I’m shouting Look At Me! and my Facebook author page makes me feel that way.  By sharing my blog, I have activity on my page without bashing people over the head with Buy My Book posts.

There’s still the Time Management thing…

This requires discipline and lots of it.  I’m not the most disciplined person.  I have a tendency to fly by the seat of my pants – which is probably why I’m a pantzer and not a plotter.  To help keep myself on task, I came up with a schedule. It’s helped by making me more mindful of my time.  I decided to limit my interactions to about 30 minutes an evening.  That means I have to choose which sites/communities I am going to visit.  Take Mondays, for example.  I’ll visit blogs that I follow as well as Twitter.  Tuesdays will be G+ communities and maybe a stop at my Facebook Author page.  It’s not a perfect plan but it is helping me stay focused and freeing up my time.

schedule

Not sure where the lines that separate Thursday, Friday, and Saturday went…

I’m always looking for new ideas… What are you doing to maximize your writing time?

Traveling Back In Time

Paul Nigh's 'TeamTimeCar.com' Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine

Paul Nigh’s ‘TeamTimeCar.com’ Back to the Future DeLorean Time Machine Image: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TeamTimeCar.com-BTTF_DeLorean_Time_Machine-OtoGodfrey.com-JMortonPhoto.com-01.jpg

In the summer of 1985, Back to the Future was released.  I loved that movie – still do. So, it’s probably no surprise that I’ve considered the possibilities of time travel.  And I have to answer the question:

What would I do if a time traveling DeLorean landed in my front yard?

I’d climb in, shut the door and press the gas!

My first stop would be in 1977.  I’d talk to a much younger me.  I’d explain that those bumps in the night were products of a very active imagination – something that will serve me well in the future.  I’d also explain that yes, Darth Vader did look scary, but he would become a favorite character as I grew older.

My next stop would be 1983.

Every Breath You Take by The Police would probably be playing on MTV.  I don’t even want to think about my feathered hair and tight stonewashed jeans.  I’d explain that big changes were about to happen – but I’d be okay.  I’d advise myself to embrace opportunities, to have faith in my abilities – that my teenage dream of writing wasn’t unrealistic.  It’s achievable but only if I have the courage to pursue it.

If you stumbled across a time machine, when would be your destination?

Spicing Up Our Fiction With A Little Truth

officeThe phone rang.  I answered.

Caller:  (voice of an older man) Somebody from your office called me earlier.  Who called me and why?

Me:  I don’t know, sir.  If you give-  (I’m interrupted at this point)

Caller:  What do you mean you don’t know?  Does your office randomly call people for no reason?

Me:  No sir.  If you’ll give me your name-

Caller:  Hey You

Me:  Sir?

Caller:  That’s my name.  Hey You.  So why did your office call me?

Me:  (Rolling eyes) If you give me a last name besides You, I should be able to look your name up in our system.

Caller:  (Laughs)  You didn’t call me.  I’m just calling around trying to aggravate people.

 

It happened today.  True stuff.   And yes, I thought it was a tad bit creepy.  But that’s what made it interesting.  Things like this happen all the time.  We just have to remember to jot down these crazy occurances.    As much as we’d like to believe we won’t forget certain incidents, the fact is we very well may.  Trivial things can get buried beneath an avalanche of our daily doings.   By taking the time to record the event, we can reference it later.  After all, we never know when a story or character we’re working on could benefit from a little “truth.”

 

A Crock Pot Can Be A Writer’s Best Friend

chefIt’s Sunday and that means we’re one day away from Monday…  That’s kinda depressing…  The work week begins again.  If you’re like me, your day is something similar to this:  At work by 8:00.  Off by 5:00.  And then, you go to work again – but this time it’s at home – laundry, dinner, dishes, kids…  The time between 5:00 and lights out – goes by too fast – and there’s not a lot of time left to write.  So, I thought I’d share a Crock Pot Recipe that I found from Fix-It and Forget-It.  Maybe it will help free up a little time for you to work on your story!

Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/2 lb. deli-sliced cooked ham

1/2 lb. baby Swiss cheese, sliced

10 3/4 can cream of chicken soup

1 oz. dry stuffing mix, prepared according to box direction

 

1.  Layer all ingredients in the order they are listed into your slow cooker.

2.  Cover and cook on Low 6-8 hours, or until chicken is tender but not dry.

 

Happy Eating!  Happy Writing!