Writer Wednesday – Finding Balance

It happens to every writer,  a life event of some form or another.   Some are joyous like weddings, babies, new puppy, new home, etc.   And of course, there are those that are not; death, illness, injury and job loss.

There are also Life Events that don’t fit into either category but cause chaos.  I’ll give you an example.

In 2014 I was part of a team that helped implement a new software throughout my company.  It involved training, travel and late nights.   This proved to be a wreckage on my writing habits, which were modest at best, and I can’t say I’ve fully recovered.

About this time my family dynamic had changed as well.  I went from a mom of two at my peak of productivity to an empty nester.

I thought both events would be advantageous to my writing.  I’d have all this time alone while traveling for my job to write.   I didn’t factor in the pure exhaustion I would feel when I hit the hotel room and how appealing a bed would be.

I thought once my children moved away I would have the weekends and really add to my productivity.  I didn’t factor in how much I would miss them or how their homework and sleep habits played into my writing time.

Life events have an impact on our writing because they affect us either emotionally, physically or both.   And often create a rather large writing block for us.

PLEASE NOTE:  If you are suffering from a mental illness or trauma, please seek professional help.  As someone who has loved ones with SAD and PTSD, these life-altering events should not be taken lightly.  They require sensitivity and care, and left untreated they can have devastating effects.

Because of my experience, I look for ways to achieve work/write/life balance.  I do this by setting goals.  Not just around writing but around my life too.   Granted I make more allowances for life because its mine and I can. 🙂

Here are some:

  1. Writing – Minimum writing of 200 words a day.   Mostly because I find once I start writing I usually go to 500 or 1000.   But at a minimum, I do 200.  This is 200 on anything including this blog. 🙂
  2. Sleeping – Sleep at least 8 hours a night.  Sometimes this means going to bed early, or sleeping in on the weekends, but I try and stick to this as a goal.  I find I’m well rested and generally feel better.
  3.  Bum Day – Because I have a day job still, I find Sundays the best day to do this.  I stay in sweats all day and generally watch movies or read.  Then I feel more like I had time off.
  4. Date Night –  My husband and I try and go out one night a week.  Middle of the week works best, but last week we did a play on Saturday, so that was nice. It’s not always so formal.  Sometimes its Pizza and TV or a campfire and s’mores.   Sometimes we count breakfast after a trip to the Gym, mostly to sit and talk.  Reconnect in a way that is important to us.
  5. Reading – I actually still read romance fiction.   I think reading is like filling the creative well, and generally, I prefer a good book over a good TV show.   I’ve just started Books on Tape for my commute and I really love that.
  6. Learn new things – I’ve got a passion to sew my own clothes though I haven’t done it in years, so I bought a book to relearn the skill.

These are just a few suggestions and what works for me right now in my current life.   If I have a life event that changes things, I’ll reevaluate what will work then.

 

 

 

 

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AuThursday – Jennifer Field

IMG_1294 (002)Tell is a little about yourself and your background?

Little about myself.. Hmmmm, well my name is Jennifer Field, I’m an only child raised by a strong single mom in the 70’s (go ahead do the math). When I was in school I had trouble reading and spelling and I’m sure if I had grown up today I’d be labeled as having some sort of dyslexia. But lucky for me I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (I still can’t spell to save my life), but I can write one heck of a story.

I’ve always written, sometimes it was short stories, sometime poetry but always just for me. Then a few years ago I had read 100+ books in 1year and at some point said, “I think I can do that.”. But seriously how many people say they are going to write a book someday. So… I had this bizarre dream, thought it would make a great story, so I started writing. It morphed and changed into my first novel Twice Lost which came out in 2014.

How do you make time to write?

This is always hard but what I have found that carrying a journal ( or two or three ) with me at all times gives me time to write whenever and wherever I am. Now finding time to type it all out… that’s an entirely different question. It seems to me the more authors I get to know the more I seem to realize we all seem to have this “late night” writing thing going on.

Do you believe in writers block?

Oh you bet and it can happen at any time. You think your just whizzing along with a story then BAM, none of your characters want to speak to you. I usually have a couple of story lines going on (hence the 2 or 3 journals I carry around) and I have found that if I start to write something else, they come back.

Tell us a bit about the genre you write and why you love it?

I mainly write Paranormal Romance but I have also dabbled in Sci-fi, contemporary romance and straight up erotica.

But my favorite is always going to be Paranormal because I can make a world that before I put it down in writing never existed. I pull from a variety of mythology when writing and I always have some hidden gems in ALL my stories. For instance in the Harbinger Series if a character has a last name it will give the reader insight into who they are, Jenna Thanatos in Twice Lost… Thanatos is Greek for death.

How are you publishing your recent book and why? ( *e.g. Indie, traditional or both )

Currently I am under contract with Forever Red Publishing for the Harbinger Series. They are a small publishing company and really … because they gave me a chance.

Are you and introvert or extravert? How does this affect your work?

Both I guess. I think I’m an introvert until you get to know me then I’m an extravert. As an introvert it makes me the worst self-marketer ever.

What is your favorite motivational phrase?

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. ~Judy Garland

Just be the best you.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Keep writing, even when you think everything you’ve typed is complete crap. We all read our own writing and think… “WOW, this is pure genius.” And five minutes later while reading the same thing we think “Who wrote this crap, oh right… I did.”

Oh… and BACK UP YOUR WRITING. Twice Lost got its name because of 2 separate and total hard drive failures. So now every few chapters not only do I back up to the cloud but I email them to myself… just in case.

Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

My website is www.JenniferField-Author.com  (sadly it is in desperate need of an update like yesterday)

You can also follow me on Twitter @sexyharbinger

And on FB Jennifer Field Author  https://m.facebook.com//JfieldHarbingerSeries

Instagram: Jennifer_field_author

Join me Saturday when we read an excerpt from Jennifer’s First Book in her Harbinger Series. ~Tina

Writer Wednesday – Retreats

My apologies for missing last Writer Wednesday.  I’d returned from an annual Writing Retreat for the Founders of Writer Zen Garden, and found myself forgetting.

I’ve attended this Retreat annually and the theme or tone of the meeting varies from year to year, depending on where we are at in our lives.

This year before meeting, one member suggested more writing time, and I’m so glad she did. 

We routinely do Morning Pages, Free Write and a CRAFT.

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WZG 2017 Craft

This year we added in Writing Prompts, Mind Mapping and Creative Journaling. 

The Mind Mapping and a prompt on setting were exactly what I needed.  I tend to write dialouge heavy, so this was very helpful to help me find a balance. 

If you are planning on hosting a retreat, Even a self-retreat, there are a few things I would recommend: 

  1. Have goals – This is reason for the Retreat.  Finish a book, commune with like minded writers, relax.  Whatever it is, even if each writer has different goals, this will help with making a plan, so everyone walks away with what they want. 
  2. Have a plan – Get input from all people attending your retreat.   Pick a location. Create a schedule.   Share it.   A plan will give you framework for your retreat to ensure everyone has fun. 
  3. Have Fun – So you can’t hit the park, because your location has suddenly been deluged by rain.   You spent more time chatting and less time writing – been there.  If you think of the plan as a framework and not a schedule, you can better roll with it. 

Last year I hosted the WZG Writing Retreat on my Farm.   I’ve toyed with the idea of coordinating a spring retreat for local authors at my farm or at The Smokey Hills in Minnesota. 

The goal for me has always been to catch up with authors about what they are writing and trying to re-energize my own writing.   This is for both retreats and conferences.  Before investing time and money into any event, be sure you have a goal.  My goal helps set the expectations and I can measure sucess from it. 

My goals were met, so I would call the retreat a success. 

Here are some other great blogs on planning retreats:

http://rawdogscreaming.com/8-things-learned-planning-writing-retreat/

http://www.alexrwhite.com/how-to-plan-a-writing-retreat-part-1-goals-and-rules/

https://www.janefriedman.com/value-writing-retreats/

https://jenniferlouden.com/create-your-own-writing-retreat/

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/do-it-yourself-writing-retreats

Join me next week as we continue my query journey.~Tina

Teaching at Writer Zen Garden

wzgI’m teaching my FEARS workshop this weekend at Writer Zen Garden if anyone is interested. Classes are free to members. Membership is free.

http://writerzengarden.com/forums/

Feel free to share with any writer friends.

AuThursday -GD Ogan

Please welcome back Guy (GD) Ogan to the Clog Blog.  GD – How long have you been writing?

Well, of course, there is all the “writing” required by schools and while in the military. But I feel sure you’re talking about fictional and non-fictional books and articles. My expressing things using the written word probably started when I was running long distance, cross-country events in high school and college while living in Northern California. There were a few magazines dedicated to running sports that published some of my submissions about the races I ran. One was “The Long Distance Log” where I described the trials and tribulations (tongue-in-cheek) of the dusty and sometimes dangerous courses the race promoters provided for us. Much later many of my photographs and stories were published in “Cruisin’ Style” a car magazine. I also had a book published while at Hardin-Simmons University titled, “Can Anyone Help My Child” about diagnosing and finding various treatments for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

Q: To date which of your books was the hardest to write and why?

A: I’ve always had a very fertile imagination. Perhaps that is one reason that “story telling” has come easily for me. I never felt that any of the series was difficult to write. Maybe I’ll answer by saying not writing the forth book in the series yet, because I wanted to wait until I had more readership, has been the hardest. My characters always press me to continue writing their story.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your IMMORTAL RELATIONS series?

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A: After my mother passed away, five years after my father did, I finally felt that I had to clean out my father’s file cabinets. My father had worked for the Federal Government with industrial, heavy duty, seven and eight drawer security file cabinets. By the time I was through, over fifty of the largest 55-gallon trash bags were filled to overflowing. In the oldest cabinet, in the back of the bottom drawer, I found a very old and yellowing envelope I thought was empty. But when I picked it up to throw it in the trash it felt heavier on one end. When I ripped it open an old black and white photograph fell out. The photograph was of my late father as a young man in his late twenties or early thirties standing in front of an extremely old building with a clock face on it. On the back, in a very feminine hand was written: “I’ll always be waiting here.” Finding that message on the back of that photograph is what started me writing, “Immortal Relations.” It confirmed what my late mother said about my father when I was a very young child…that I didn’t understand at my early age. A copy of the photograph is shown on page two of the first book in the series.  I’ll use an excerpt below (Saturday)to give a hint of my mother’s concerns.

Q: When you are writing, who is in control, you or your characters?

A: Unquestionably the characters are in charge although they are kind enough to allow me to discuss “options” with them. However, I’ve tried to no avail to reduce some of what I call the “explicit togetherness” (sex) they are routinely involved in.

Q:  You’ve set some of your stories in foreign lands, which country would you most like to visit and why? 

A: The Czech Republic would be my first choice to visit. When I was in the military I’d visited England, Japan and even the (then) British Crown Colony of Hong Kong and what was called “The New Territory” (the latter two are both now part of Communist China). Off limits, to me, while I was in the service was Czechoslovakia as, at that time, it was controlled by the (then) Soviet Union. I’d also like to visit The Russian Federation since much of the action in my books take place there.

Q: What are you doing to promote your book?

A: Aside from being on blogs provided by friendly authors, I’ve been part of muli-author book signings at libraries and other venues throughout West Texas and had my novels on consignment at our local Hasting’s Books and Entertainment Store (Hasting’s is sadly now out of business).

Q: What books can we expect to see in the near future?

A: Book four in the series is ready to be typed up as soon as I get more readers. I have the cover ready for it as well as books five and six and my characters are chomping at the bit. In June I had a marvelous and funny comment left by Pat G. that she had read all three of the current series out of sequence and she attested that they were “stand alone.” She said it was the top vampire story she’d read and among the best in sci-fi (the third book has a sci-fi component).

Here is Pat’s comment

immortal-relations-25 Stars The best vampire novel I ever read. By Pat G. June 16, 2016, Format: Paperback This novel rates number one in vampire writings, and close to the top in science fiction. Ogan is an excellent writer. There is an occasional misspelled word, but it does not detract from the quality of the book. Ogan shows a deep knowledge of warfare and weapons perhaps from his service as a major in the USAF. The killing of others is handled very well and realistically. It is heavy on sexual content but again done well. I shared the book with a friend who came back to me and said, “I think this writer has overdosed on Viagra.” I laughed. I also liked the writing in (the) first person since it showed each person’s involvement and participation in the main theme of bringing the story to the front. It is not necessary to read the books in order unless you are one of those people who prefer it that way. The books stand alone. I read the second, the first, and the third. Loved all three and look forward to number four. It depicts vampires as friends of humans rather than monsters. It also shows a great love for animals.

Q: Is there a question you would like to answer but it wasn’t asked?

A: I hadn’t thought about it, but perhaps “Are any of your characters based upon real people?” The answer is yes, Gary Logan is based upon my own years of military training, knowledge, and experience. There are others, especially in book three, but that is for the readers to determine.

Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

A: A lot more information about the books can be found at http://immortalrelations.blogspot.com and I do have Facebook and Twitter accounts (but I don’t look at them all that often).

Please join me on Saturday when we read and excerpt from GD’s book Immortal Relations.

AuThursday -LT Kelly

Please welcome my fellow Resplendence author, LT Kelly to the Clog Blog.   Welcome LT!

Hi, Tina, thanks so much for having me!

Q:  Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I was in the Royal Air Force from the age of seventeen. I loved that life up until I had children, it was fantastic career that provided a story rich environment. I left when I was pregnant with my second child.

It was when I was home with the children that I started revisiting my love of writing. I hadn’t really done anything much since I left school, but I’ve always been an avid reader and that has never and will never fail to be a part of my life. I took a level 3 qualification in Fiction Writing and the rest is history…

Q:  Where do your ideas come from?

All of my ideas come from experience. It’s so difficult to write what’s not in your heart, whether it’s good or bad.

Q:  Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?

I would love to write 5 days a week, but the reality is much different. I have 2 kids and 2 dogs as well as a full-time job. I write as and when, but when I do it seems to flow because the story is continuously writing itself in my head.

Q:  Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I used to plot to the letter, the problem is my characters always seem to ignore me and do what they want. Much like the aforementioned children and canines! So, I draw up initial loose plot and don’t beat myself up over changes or developments.

Q:  Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Honestly, I don’t believe in it. I think I spend so much time thinking about what I’m going to write and sitting there appearing to be in another world that by the time I eventually sit down and start typing it simply flows from my fingertips.

Q:  I see you write two book series, FALLING and KISSING, can you tell us a bit about them?

The Falling Series is about a woman called Teagan Lewis who just so happens to be a vampire. What I mean by that is that the two books don’t merely reply on the paranormal aspect to get by. Book one, Falling to Pieces is set in London and has a Romeo and Juliet forbidden love theme. Book two, Falling into You is where intricate plotting and twists and turns came out in my writing style. So, I’m not going to say too much about what happens.

The Kissing Series is entirely different. The series is contemporary romance, and they are standalone books. Both of them invite the reader into fantasy land in the form of making your desired Hollywood movie star, favorite model, or rock star assess-able in the realist of situations. Kissing Cassie for instance is a story about a British high school teacher who bumps into her movie idol on a European beach and he refuses to let her go. Whereas Kissing Katie tells a moving tale of the war widowed single mother who learns to love again with a rising rock star.

Q:  What are your thoughts on writing a book series?

I have written a follow on series, a standalone series, and a standalone so far. If I’m honest the standalone has killed me the most because the ending leaves no series potential. I felt a little bereft at the end of it. For the most part we grow to love our characters and to leave them behind is a struggle. I especially struggled with Teagan. Alas, we must let go and move on to avoid the sluggishness writing a long series can bring.

Q:  Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors.

As I said previously, I am an avid reader. Although, now I’m a writer I admit I find it less enjoyable than I once did. I have a total girl crush on JK Rowling because I never thought I would like Harry Potter in a million years, but I was completely and utterly captivated.

Another writer whom I adore completely is MK Meredith. She’s a writer of contemporary romance, and I adored the books in her Malibu Sights series.

Q:  Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

I’m usually found on FB. Please feel free to tell me to get off it and get some work done. You can go ahead and like my page here:

https://www.facebook.com/authorltkelly/

I run a review blog as well. I’m always happy to help other writers with getting their stuff out there, as well as enabling readers to find their next new treasure, so please follow along:

https://ltkelly.com/

Find me on twitter here:

https://twitter.com/@ltkelly2

Kelly

Join me for a new author, next Thursday.   ~Tina

AuThursday- Sean Michael

Please welcome my fellow Resplendence Writer, Sean Micheal to the Clog Blog. Welcome Sean.

Thank you very much for having me, Tina!

Q: You’ve written so many books, how do you make the time to write?

Writing is my job, so I do it every day. I have set times when I sit down and write, but I love it so much that I will often be writing outside of those set times as well.

Q: Where do your ideas come from?

Sometimes they come from the call I’m writing for. Other times I’ll see or hear something that will spark an idea. Or I’ll be in the mood to write something kinky and the guys who need that kind of thing will pop into my head.

Q: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

I tend to have a general idea of where the story is going to go, but the characters are in charge and will often go left when I think we’re headed right, so I need to be flexible or it stalls the writing. I did try outlining once because I thought I ought to be more organized and when I had finished the outline, I couldn’t write the book – like my brain said what’s the point of writing it if you’ve already told the story albeit in point form.

Q: What is the hardest thing about writing?

The business of writing is the hardest part of it. Prepping stuff for submission, filling out all the various forms the publishers need, the editing. It’s surprising how much time gets eaten up by things that aren’t actually writing.

Q: Do you ever get writer’s Block?

Sort of. I usually have anywhere from four to six documents open at any one time and I work on each of them every day. I try to give each story the same amount of attention, however sometimes there will be one or two that are ‘hot’ and easy to write, and one or two that are ‘cold’ and the writing just doesn’t come easy. So I’ll write more on the stories that are popping than the ones that are not. But being able to switch keeps a block on one story from becoming a total block.

Q: You’ve written a lot of different series, can you tell us a bit about your favorites, and what

you find appealing about series writing?drawingstraws1

I hate choosing favorites, in part because whatever I’m working on at the time is the current favorite, but when people ask about older books and I think back on it, I always say oh, I loved writing those guys, because truly I did. The Drawing Straws guys for instance were so much fun to write because they were a foursome full of kinky goodness (and then they went and plotted on me!)

The thing I like best about writing series is being able to revisit the characters. And I enjoy both kinds of series – the ones that follow the same characters through all the books and the ones that follow different characters with each book, but that are set I the same world and have appearances by the characters from other books in the series.

Q: What are you working on at the minute?

Let’s see what’s open today. I’m working on a kinky demons story, the second in a series I can’t talk about yet, the next Iron Eagle Gym story, the next Windbrothers book, a ghost hunters book, and a Velvet Glove book.

Q: Which writers inspire you?

I love words and how authors put them together. Off the top of my head I’d have to say Stephen King, Michael Ondaatje, Timothy Findlay, Anthony Burgess… I honestly could go on and on.

Books are wonderful things.

Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?

Website: www.seanmichaelwrites.com

Blog: http://seanmichaelwrites.blogspot.ca/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeanMichaelWrites/

Twitter: twitter.com/seanmichael09