It’s the Love/Hate Time of the Year

I’ve always had a sort of love/hate relationship with the last couple days before the official new year begins.

It’s the best of times (I can finally relax since most of my work was completed before the Christmas holiday, and the house gets quiet after the crowds exit, leaving me long periods to ponder)…but it’s also the worst of times (the house is a little TOO quiet and after a good, long ponder, I’m pretty shocked, eyeballing that bottom line on my writing income).

Anyway, as I’m wrapping up the old year, I’m passing along a few writing-related gems that might help you wrap up things and get ready for the new year, too.

First, there’s my post over at the Muffin with tricks for cleaning out your inbox. Not to brag, but they’re pretty fine tips, I must say, even if I forgot to mention them last week.

Next, there’s one of my favorite sites, Literautus, for calendars and such, geared specifically to writers. And if you have trouble with little ones (or even big ones) bothering you during writing time, check out the “Do Not Disturb” sign you can make and hang on your doorknob. Get it ready to hang by January 1st!

And finally, I came across Jami Gold’s post of a plethora of worksheets (Worksheets! Yay!) to help you with plotting and characters and scenes and…well, you’ll really have to check it out for yourself; there’s entirely too much good stuff to list.

As for the depressing pondering over the bottom line of your writing income, let me suggest a nice, long movie instead. (I saw Into the Woods and completely forgot that I was broke.)

What Trumps Writing?

2014-10-10 19.03.18You know how you return from an energizing (and dessert-filled) writer’s conference and you’re all jazzed up and rarin’ to go? You want to write–and if you have a blog, like me, you want to share some of the amazing stuff you’ve learned. And really, that was exactly my intent. I returned from WIK’14, the Southern Breeze SCBWI conference in Birmingham late Sunday afternoon, itching to tell you all about it! Itching to get fingertips on keyboard!

But I hadn’t really slept in four days so I needed rest. No worries, I thought. I’ll just get up Monday morning, all refreshed and get ‘er done!

But first, I had to wash clothes because I promised my dad I’d come for a visit this week. And then I had to take care of all the SCBWI business because I promised all those Breezers that I’d send out handouts and such. And then Junior Hallette called.

“I’m sick,” she said.

“Plenty of fluids, cough medicine, and chicken soup,” I said whilst sitting at my laptop, fingers poised. “Mexican Chicken Soup is perfect and I know you have the recipe because I very carefully wrote it down and gave it to you.”

“But I don’t have the stuff for it…maybe you could make it?”

“But then you’d have to come all the way out here…” Notice how I’m very concerned yet noncommittal. (It’s a Mom trick.)

“Oh, I’ll be in that area anyway! I could be there around 5:00.” Notice how that backfired on me?

So then I had to go to the grocery store because I didn’t have the stuff for Mexican Chicken Soup, either. And then I had to actually fix the Mexican Chicken Soup and lend a sympathetic ear to daughter because, in her words, she hadn’t talked to me in forever (It had been a week.).

Okay, not a problem. I pushed helped her out the door following a delicious repast and still had time to get some exciting work in–right after I called my dad and then Juniorest Hall because he was coming along with me. But then Gotham was just about to start–and oh. My. Gazooks. Have you watched that show yet? And then came Blacklist, and the Beneficent Mr. Hall and I have to watch these shows together so that we can explain what’s going on to each other.


I would just bring all my notes with me, I decided, and then I could share the wonderful stuff I learned at WIK’14, and while my dad and youngest played golf today, I’d get some writing in. Still rarin’ to go, I was!

But I forgot the notes.

I forgot the notes from all those wonderful speakers and I forgot the notes from my wonderful critique re: the new and sparkly manuscript I was itching to hit. So this post is my writing for today. Because in just a bit, my dad will be back and he’ll want to talk, and we’ll need to eat, and tomorrow morning, I’ll be in the car all day, driving home.

But the least I can do is share the link to Kirsten BakisNine Exercises to Help You Draft a New Story. She wasn’t at the conference, but still, these are excellent exercises for those of you who actually…well…carve out a couple hours to write.

As for me…I guess sometimes, people you love trump what you love doing. And you know what? I’m fine with that.