Writing When You Don’t Wanna

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We all have those days when we’re charged with creative energy.  We’re atomic bombs of energy, split nuclear atoms of joy!  These are the days that we call off dinner with friends because we’re writing. We stay up in the middle of the night. We blow through three chapters, call ourselves geniuses, and then drop into bed.

Then there are the other days.  I’m not talking about days where we’re merely distracted or disinterested.  I’m talking about the darker, deeper days when we’re ill.  Or nail-bitingly anxious.  Or depressed.  Taking a day off or two is no big problem, but those days could easily turn into weeks or even months.  And if you’re trying to forge ahead with your dreams, two months of no writing is going to catch up with you.  You’ll see your momentum backslide.  Worse than that, you’ll hear that nasty, negative little voice that says you aren’t good enough. You don’t take your craft seriously enough, you don’t work hard enough.  Your hair isn’t shiny enough (or is that just my negative little voice?) and your commitments are building up on you, becoming more than you can manage.  If you’re sick/depressed/stressed/otherwise incapacitated, this buildup is the last thing that you need.  The more stress, the more negativity. The more negativity, the less get-up-and-go you’ll find in yourself.  And a writer without get-up-and-go is a stalled, unhappy writer.

Yeah, I’m there.  I’m frustrated that I don’t have the energy to work as hard and as efficiently as I used to.  But throwing my arms helplessly in the air only made things worse.  Instead, I have devised a plan using my trusty timer.

15 minutes a day on a project.  That’s all.

If I want to do more than that, great.  If I get inspired, even better! If I do 15 minutes on a few different projects, I’ll laud myself as a goddess.  But 15 minutes is my minimum.  It’s short enough that I’m not overwhelmed by it, but long enough that I can get to work on something.  Getting started is the hardest part for me, and once I’m going, I’m usually going for longer than my 15.   But if I plan for 15 minutes, and give myself a mental high-five when I complete it, then life goes a lot smoother.

Do you have any motivational tricks techniques that you use to keep yourself working even when you don’t feel like it?

When A Stranger Asks “What Happens Next?”

I was going through some of my old blog drafts, and I came upon this one. I wrote it three years ago and never posted it for some reason, but oh! How it made me smile! I hope you enjoy it, as well. The current manuscript I was reading was my debut novel, Nameless.

 

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Something pretty exciting happened last night.  I was visiting my daughter at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and I was reading my current manuscript aloud while I was rocking her.  (I’m finally at that stage of editing.  HOORAY!)  So I was rocking and reading, reading and rocking.  Then I hit the end of my pages, and I went silent.

“What happens next?”

It was a voice from behind me, a man I don’t know.  His baby is strapped up to every contraption that mine was strapped to earlier, and this baby won’t be held for a long time, if he ever makes it that far.

She started out with a loooooooot of tubes and wires!

She started out with a loooooooot of tubes and wires!

“I’m sorry?”  I asked.

He repeated, “What happens next?”

I can’t tell you how that made me feel.  In this crazy room full of broken children and beeping monitors, a stranger was listening to something that I had written, and he wanted to know how it ended.  It was an amazing feeling.  A beautiful feeling.  It stoked the fires of my desire and creativity.

 

Dreams of Kachinas

 

 

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I have a thing for Kachinas, those little Hopi dolls that I used to see around all the time as a kid. We stopped by a store in Kanab, Utah, and it was so much fun to look inside! Cowboy boots, saddles, cowboy hats, beautiful beaded belts, turquoise jewelery, and Kachinas. I bought my own tiny Sun Kachina who lives on my laptop now. He’s a real thing of joy and beauty.

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I grew up in the desert surrounded not by Hopi, but by the Navajo tribe. I realize now how privileged I was to grow up alongside such a rich and amazing culture. It’s funny how you take things like that for granted as a child, but come to appreciate it as an adult.

Frugality: The Envelope System

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The envelope system is something my mom taught me right before I left for college. Use cash only, take it all out at once, store it in envelopes specifically designated for certain things, and when it’s gone it’s gone.

You may not borrow from envelopes. No stealing gas for groceries. You have a budget and you must stick with it.

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It worked well for me. It taught me discipline and helped me to plan ahead. We decided to do it again this year, and I asked the kids to help me out. That worked out very well, in fact. They loved coloring the envelopes. They know that if a certain envelope is empty, we have to wait until it’s filled again in order to make a purchase. We discuss Mommy and Daddy going to work, and that those hours of work are traded in for money. That’s how we fill the envelopes. My Middlest wants to do chores to fill her own envelope. It’s an easy and fun way to teach financial responsibility.

After labeling and decorating the envelopes, we taped them on the inside of the cabinet door for easy access.

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Do you use the envelope system? If so, how does it work for you? Please let me know!

Writers on Writing is 99 Cents for Today Only!

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Brand ‪#‎NewRelease‬:

The very first volume of WRITERS ON WRITING – AN AUTHOR’S GUIDE is now available at a launch price of only 99 cents, today only!

And what a line-up:
“The Infrastructure of the Gods: 11 Signposts for Going all the Way” by Brian Hodge
“The Writer’s Purgatory: Between Finishing the First Draft and Submitting the Manuscript” by Monique-Cherie Snyman
“Why Rejection is Still Important” by Kevin Lucia
“Real Writers Steal Time” by Mercedes Murdock Yardley
“What Right Do I Have to Write” by Jasper Bark
“Go Pace Yourself” by Jack Ketchum
“A Little Infusion of Magic” by Dave de Burgh
“Never Look Away: Confronting Your Fears in Fiction” by Todd Keisling
“Once More With Feeling” by Tim Waggoner

Cover art by Ben Baldwin. Edited by Joe Mynhardt.
Proofread by Paula Limbaugh, Nancy Scuri, and Robert Teun.

Are you ready to unleash the author in you?

Amazon (available in KU, as well): http://getbook.at/WritersOnWriting
Website (keep an eye out for future releases): http://www.crystallakepub.com/writers-on-writing.php
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WritersOnWritingSeries

11866282_10155937143105634_4954520517981220047_nThe book just released and it’s already hit #1 in Amazon’s Authorship section. That’s pretty cool!

Tomorrow the price sets at $2.99, so pick it up today if you’d like a deal. :)

I can’t wait to see what the other authors have written, and I hope my essay “Real Writers Steal Time” helps one or two of you in your own personal writing endeavors.

Pimp A Nemesis Friday: Indelible Ink by Matt Betts

Indelible Ink

It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Something lurks inside Deena Riordan. She never once questioned her life in the criminal underworld as the star of Mr. Marsh’s illegal empire and his youngest assassin. Her ruthless demeanor and dark magical powers have kept her at the top of the heap for years. But one day she pushes the sorcery too far and something snaps. Only then does Deena realize she’s always been a puppet of that dark power with no true will of her own.

Now, in order to get out of the crime business for good, she needs to save her sister from Marsh’s angry clutches. It won’t be easy. She’ll have to make her way through friends turned foes, dodge determined federal agents, and stay out of a particularly stubborn fellow hitman’s sights. Worst of all, Deena will have to wrestle with the darkness inside to keep it from swallowing her up again.

Matt Betts

My nemesis Matt Betts has a new book out! And I have to say it’s pretty awesome. It’s an urban fantasy with a twisted main character and quirky side-characters. I saw it playing out in my head as I read it, since Nemesis Betts has such a visual style. I’d love to watch this on the big screen someday. Somebody make that happen, will you?

It came out from Raw Dog Screaming Press. Look here for ordering information. :)