Just a comment on writing loneliness…

I miss writing partners, write-a-thons, all night writing sessions with other writers, someone to go to bookstores with to write, local writing friends, online writing sprint parters, etc…

Now, A LOT of that is my fault and I accept that. Not being on social media anymore takes me out of visibility in every way. I didn’t have a strong social network for a number of years as it was, so to drop away entirely just weakened it to the point of I’m pretty sure anyone that ever knew I existed…forgot me.

That was a trade off I was willing to make to get my creative brain and mental health back.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss those things I mentioned above. And that’s okay. Would I like those things again? Sure. Without a doubt.

I do still have a couple of writers I am in contact with from time to time. We check in and check up on each other and I am so grateful for them.

Anyway…

Camp NaNoWriMo starts on Thursday.

My self-inflicted writing challenge for March ends at midnight tomorrow night

And I’ll clue y’all in on what I’m doing and what I’ve done with regards to both later this week.

 

The Muddling Middle

I’ve been writing this whole month of March.

The. Whole. Month.

It’s a challenge. No, really. It’s a writing challenge I set for myself and I’ll tell you about it when the month is over, which…it’s not.

*glares at the calendar and how many words are left to write*

As you know, I work on several projects at once. I’ve never been a monogamous writer. I cheat on WIPs ALL THE TIME. There are good and bad things about this way of writing and I’ll go into that another time. However, for the purpose of this blog, one of the ways this is not so good is that multiple WIPs reach the middle at the same time. UGH.

Two of my roughly five active projects have reached the middle. Double UGH.

There’s always a book with a muddling middle being written. That’s the way this game of writing works. There’s always a moment in the middle when a writer questions why she began writing in the first place, why she thought she could write a fucking book, why she didn’t just stab the characters at the first sign of trouble and what would happen if she did that now… Writing life choices, y’all. Writing life choices.

And while I can and do work on others when I’m stumped with the need to mull things over, at some point I have to get back to the muddling middle of these two WIPs so that I can get through it and over to the other side, sliding toward the finish line.

When these two are finished, another couple will have reached that same middle ground and I’ll have the same questions pop into my head and I’ll feel extra stabby for a bit.

For now, though, the knives are still tucked away.

Are you curious about them? The books, I mean… Cool. Me, too.

What I can tell you is that one is the 3rd book in a series that has taken me millennia to finally write, and the other book is the 1st in a new series no one asked for, but I hope people will like it just the same.

Hope y’all are well, safe, healthy, and finding something to smile about.

Just Keep Writing…

Since October 12th, I’ve been down in Florida and during this time, I’ve managed to scratch out a couple thousand words. That’s much less than a week’s worth when I’m at home, but for these 3 weeks, I’ve been helping out family and having the mental energy necessary to write has been a challenge.

I’m mentally, physically, even emotionally exhausted. Being a caregiver, short-term or long-term is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not for the selfish or the ‘me’ mentality. It requires patience, kindness, and the ability to scream internally when you can’t scream externally.

Normally, I would have said, ‘I just can’t. I’ll just wait until I get back home and get my head back on straight, catch up on sleep, on de-stressing, on XYZ… And then, I’ll start writing again.’ I haven’t done that. I’ve eked out words here and there, most of which don’t make much sense and most of which will be edited out. I also not upset about it, about the lack of progress on a novella I’d hoped to have finished long before November. I’m barely halfway.

I’ve texted with a couple of friends since I’ve been here. I’ve mostly taken my mom or grandma to the Dr, the store, to run whatever errands need to be taken care of, etc… while my mom is recovering from a fall that left her with multiple fractures in one arm along with a plate and nine screws in her wrist. Her sleep schedule is way off which means that mine is, too. By the time I fall asleep around 2-3am… my brain and body have had enough.

Writing is often an escape, sometimes a joy, a lot of times very hard work. Right now it’s not an escape. I can’t think straight enough for it to be an escape and I don’t have the time to sit and immerse myself in a story. I cobble together a few words, try to figure out a storyline in the moments I may have a second to think. I crave and cherish time to myself, something I haven’t had any of for three weeks. I don’t think I’ll be taking that for granted when I return home.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am grateful I can be here and I can help out when needed because no one else in the family can come. I have the freedom and flexibility in my life and schedule that my sister and cousins don’t. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my grandma who is 95. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my mom. I am close with both of these women, but we’re all also cut from the same stubborn piece of cloth and it does pull on the nerves from time to time.

All this, though, is to say… Whatever the circumstance, writing can happen. Even if it’s ten words a day. Five words a day. It’s like the jigsaw puzzles my grandma and I do when I’m here and there’s some down time. It’s one piece at a time. It may be a total of one thousand pieces, but one piece at a time gets you one step closer. It’s the same with writing. One word, five words, ten words in a novella or novel doesn’t seem like much, maybe a drop in a bucket, but it’s one, five, or ten words that weren’t written before and it’s one, five, or ten words closer to the goal.

So, if you find yourself in need of writing but you don’t have much time, you’re exhausted and don’t know which way is up or down and everything seems to be going sideways… Just add one word, five words, ten words… They don’t have to make sense. They just have to be there.

I love y’all… And I’ll be in touch again soon.

 

A Little Update

I’m at my desk this morning with a rather large cold brew coffee which is an anomaly. Not the coffee. The coffee is never an anomaly. If I’m without coffee of some sort at my desk, someone needs to call 911 because I’m not me. But I’m not usually sitting at my desk this early. Normally, I’m taking care of some household chores, sitting out on the porch watching the cows, doing a crossword puzzle, wandering the kitchen, running errands, trying not to go back to bed, exercising… Being at my desk typically comes in the afternoons. That’s when I write and have some time to myself, but I’m at a point in a couple of writing projects that while maybe not require me to give a little more time, they certainly compel me to and so, here I am.

I also wanted to touch base with you. It’s been a couple of weeks and I’m sorry for that. I didn’t mean for that much time to go by without connecting and talking.

I lose track of time. Not in the way I used to lose track of time when I was still scrolling social media (though I may have a bit of a YouTube issue…), but in a general I find other ways to occupy my time kind of way.

I’ve become a bit more of a movie person again. I used to have movies on all the time when I’d write or shows like Law and Order, but I got out of that. Now, I’m back to it. It’s kind of strange, too, my choices of late…

While working on a Christmas novella… It’s been The Expendables (all 3), The Equalizer (both movies), and I’ve moved on to Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon, and Mission Impossible (4, 5, and 6).

While working on some erotic shorts… John Wick (2 & 3) and Red (both).

I’ve put on The Lord of the Rings while working on some writing other projects as well.

These are all movies I know and like and love and I don’t have to pay strict attention to them. They’re just a moment to look up and recite dialogue or watch someone get their ass handed back to them.

Strange for writing romance. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know what others do. Maybe they chat with other writers. Maybe they do write-with-me videos. Maybe they listen to music or dictate or…I don’t know. I do listen to music a lot, as well, when I’m writing.

But I’m more than halfway into the Christmas novella. I’ve finished one of the erotic shorts and am almost done with a second one. A third and fourth are started and beginning to take shape.

We’re coming up on football season and I’ll be writing while watching a lot of college football, too.

I’ve been working on some racing romances here and there for next year and with the end of the current racing season coming over the next few months, I’ll be starting to pick up pace on them.

Aside from what I’m working on writing wise, once a week, the Spouse and I go for a drive into the mountains or into a little town we haven’t been in before. Last weekend we found Blue Wall Preserve. It’s twenty minutes from our house and that I have things like that all around me, all within 20-30 minutes of where I Iive now… Just…grateful.

Anyway, it’s called Blue Wall because it’s said that when the Cherokee used to hunt the land here, they called the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Blue Wall. And there are places leading into the mountains where they just loom ahead and you can totally see why they would be called that. And when the blue hue is just right… It steals my breath every single time.

These hours we take to see something, breathe the air, find a new coffee shop (for me), marvel at nature… They renew me and I’m learning to take it all in, to watch it all, to savor it all without thinking that I should post it or what hashtags can I use or… These are moments that are precious and special and I missed too many of them, wasn’t present for many of them the way I should’ve been before.

Which is also to say…

I’m still enjoying this time away from social media. I’ve been thinking I should check messages on Instagram, but honestly y’all… I’m a bit nervous. I don’t want to fall down the scrolling hole again, but I know myself well enough to know that it’s a possibility. I even told the Spouse that if I log in, he’ll probably have to come take the phone from me and delete the app again. This is how much I don’t trust myself and my behaviors. How sad is that?

However, as I’ve stated a few times before, being away from social media has been good for my writing and my mental health. I’m occupying my time in other ways and I’m learning who I am again without all that noise and I’m liking myself more. I’m not sure I’ll go back and I don’t know what that means for me as a writer, as someone who once published books and intends to publish more. I don’t know what not being on social media for connection and marketing will do to sales. Though, honestly, I didn’t have many sales before leaving social media, so… I guess I’ll see when I start publishing again.

Anyway, that’s about all I have right now…

 

 

Ho-Ho-Ho

So, I’m sitting at my desk… A Balsam & Cedar candle burning, a little 100 year old ceramic Christmas tree lit, and a Hallmark Christmas movie (Two Turtle Doves) on in the background.

And I thought maybe now would be a good time to show y’all the cover for one of the stories I have been chipping away at the last few months.

I don’t know when it’ll be out and I don’t want to speculate. It could be November or December this year, or it could be January. I know I’m supposed to set dates and have goals and to be quite honest, I burned myself out thinking about all of that instead of doing the thing that would really get me anywhere at all and that thing was and is…writing.

The writing doesn’t burn me out.

It’s all the other stuff that comes with the writing as a business that does.

But… That’s not what this post is about. No, this post is about giving us all permission to look at a cute cover, imagine what the story is and who the dapper guy is, and indulge in a little holiday cheer. At least, it’s permission for me to indulge in a little holiday cheer since last year I was moving in December and we didn’t really do any holiday…anything.

I don’t know if I’ll do more than watch a few of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies and drink some hot cocoa or make a gingerbread latte, but sometimes those few comforts are enough.

The latest news to come from Wall Street is that Billionaire Brett Randolph has bought a small town. Not just any small town, though. Nope. He bought his hometown of Gumdrop Valley.

Now, I know many of you have never heard of Gumdrop Valley before and I hadn’t either, but the story goes that in the Spring, the wildflowers that bloom look just like gumdrops and at Christmas when all the houses are decorated and lit, the town looks like one of those quaint holiday villages people set up on every available surface in their homes. So, when the town was facing bankruptcy and businesses were beginning to close, Mr. Randolph stepped in and purchased all the land in the county along with everything in it.

Gumdrop Valley was saved and with the influx of money and the hiring of advertising and marketing firms by Mr. Randolph to help turn things around, his investment looks like it will pay off by the holiday season.

This isn’t the blurb, this is just a little something I wrote at the beginning of the story…

Anyway, I’m going back to my movie and I’m going to find some breakfast.

I’ll talk to y’all soon.