Other writers frequently ask how I somehow manage to get a lot of stuff done, despite my having the attention span of a fruit fly…with a bad crack habit. Here are 10 ways to help you be productive even if OOH! SHINY!
…even if you tend to be a tad ADD. The following tips are what help ME stay focused. I am NOT a doctor or psychologist or ADD expert. I’m a Jedi master, warp engine inspector, and WRITER so you get what you get.
1. Make lists.
I get distracted easily, so a list reminds me of what I need to get accomplished. I make separate lists—housework, fiction, non-fiction, business stuff, global domination using sea monkeys. Then, once I have the list, I do the hardest thing on my writing and business lists FIRST (housework can WAIT).
Like Covey says, Never mistake the urgent for the important.
You ever get those days that you just feel like ditching stuff? Or maybe you’re in a funk? Or intimidated by picking up where you left off? Or maybe – as with me today – there’s other stuff that you can do that will give more instant gratification? Yeah, totally one of those days.
My ‘stuff’ today was posting more items in the shop (a couple new bracelets). And yeah, I felt instantly gratified when I was done. It was a ‘Check it off the To Do List’ moment. I wanted to get more and more checked off my list (using the Any.Do app, btw, for Android for my Note 2 and loving it!!). I wanted to feel productive and I felt stuck where I left off.
But I couldn’t. The ‘not writing’ was nagging me, as it always does. Sure, if you ignore that little voice long enough, you can pretend it doesn’t move you. You can shove it down really deep under things like “Pay the Bills” and “Read to relax” and “Just another try at/level of Candy Crush”. But it’s there.
For me if I don’t persist I get depressed, anxious and I cannot sleep. I begin to wonder what I am doing with my very short life and even turn to mindnumbing activities like phone games, tv and the spirit lifting ability of alcohol.
I’m not saying these are bad things, but in excess anything can be a negative.
The thing about loving to write, getting high off writing, is that when you’re not writing, you’re still aching for it in a way. Even when you don’t want to write!! That is what the guilt you feel for not writing is… That’s there because your brain, your body needs it. Craves it. It’s chemistry baby!
When you get lost in your writing, in the characters… well, there is little in life better. Maybe a good steak, a romantically intense moment with your loved one, a fantastic film or book, etc. But writing is something you can do yourself at anytime for free and still get CLOSE to all that awesomeness.
My point is that I did NOT want to write, but I kept my long term goals in mind (I’ll do another post on those soon) as well as the very simple daily word count goal of 750 words.
I told myself, “Just get through it. It doesn’t matter if those words are the worst you’ve ever written; you can cut or edit them once you finish writing. No one else will ever have to see this.”
The word can be little whores nagging you, the point is to get them done (heehee) and move on.
So I sat my AIC (Ass In Chair) and wrote. Next thing I know I’m drunk off these two characters and bam, I’ve crossed the 1300 mark. On a day I felt like skipping. On a day I just didn’t want to write and my brain kept throwing up excuses at me.
You never know until you try and that is with writing you.
You never know what your day will bring until you take a step to greet it.
I have been putting my 750 words first in the day, after breakfast and meditation, but today I just seemed to forget and was working on my Etsy shop (see the ‘Day Job’ tab for more info about that) before I realized that, OOPS! gotta get my words in.
So I hit the word processor. I am now up to 4525 words with ‘Beauty and the Biker’, 847 of that from today cruising through that halfway mark.
I need to find a work count widget for this blog so I can keep the word counts updated daily without having to make a post solely regarding the word counts.
Before I go here is a raw, unedited total first draft snippet of what I am working on.
“Maggie.” The voice was a low growl and sounded as if it took real effort to get the syllables out. “Go change.”
She looked down and felt herself pale. She jean shorts she had were practically daisy dukes but now thanks to the rain they weren’t just short but plastered to her skin, not hiding anything. Her thin, yellow t-shirt now looked painted on and the material was leaning towards translucent, her pink lacey bra underneath visible, nipples stiffened by the chill.
As she looked up from under her lashes at Lance, her eyes wild, her mouth opened to say something, anything… but it was too late. She saw his resolve to stand there like a statue – to be a gentleman – snap.
In two large strides he met her, one hand sliding into her loose bun and yanking out the hair tie, the other simultaneously pushing against the small of her back, bringing her closer to him.
That’s it for today. I have a huge ‘To Do’ list that I need to get to so have a great day, all!
My daily goal at the moment is 750 words. Yesterday I got 796 and today I got a whopping 1429. The only bummer was that they weren’t on the same story.
I’m going to try and keep a tab somewhere on this blog of my daily word counts. Anyone wishing to join in, just leave comments or better yet, go see if Holly Lisle is doing her “Write a Book with Me” game. I know when she had migraines she took off from that, and she’s got a ton of new lessons up and coming so I am not sure she is, but if you’re a member on her forums (some are free) then you can catch up with some games going on there. Or you can just run over to Twitter and play some word wars – there are almost always some going on.
The other thing I marked off my ‘To Do’ List today was to gather up my current open stories (with more than 1000 words OR part of a series, a full plot and mainly erotic content) list where I am with them and put them in plain view.
So far I’ve got only a handful that meet that exact criteria, though I also have two that I started writing in notebooks while I was at work, and those two I need to start typing up soon.
All titles are working titles.
“New Territory” (Corrine’s Adventures): 501/3500
“Lessons in Sharing” (Corrine’s Adventures): 0/3500
“Full Submission” (Corrine’s Adventures): 0/3500
“Leo & Mariana” 3537/5000
“Beauty and the Biker” 2908/8000
Rook City Fire Fighters: 20,979/30,000
My goal is to have set deadlines to have the first drafts finished, sent off to my betas, get my cover artist to work on covers, then get them back to format then publish. I’ve got more goals than what I have listed on the board, but this is how I am keeping things covered for now.
I am hoping to be able to get another story published by mid to late July.
For the past few months I have been cutting down on other hobbies, jobs, obligations, etc in my life. I have drastically reduced the stock in my shop and plan on shutting it down completely soon, maybe just leaving up the How-To Book. I have cut down on personal hobbies and things I tend to spend my time on.
2013 is going to be the year of WRITING for me. So my resolution for writing this year is simple: Write Every Day. I am thinking of making the minimum allowance 250 words. But even when I am at work I can write 250 words of a scene, plotting, character development, ideas, etc. I have individual writing goals that I want to reach (stories published, novellas submitted, a screenplay finished and sent off for acceptance, etc) but the important thing is dedicating myself to consistency. To self-discipline.
So I am off to finish out a few orders I still need to make and get out, then I’ll get on my writing today. And I’ll also be printing out and framing my 2013 Resolutions (there are only three, all daily: ‘Write’, ‘Make my Husband Feel Loved’ & ‘Clean Something’; stop laughing at me with that last one, okay?) and putting them by my work station where I sit every day.
What do you consider your most important goals? Even if you don’t “do” resolutions, consider setting a couple of intentions for the year, someway to grow and make yourself better at things you consider higher purposes.
(Photo is a little blurry, sorry. I waited until the last minute to think of asking anyone and then I didn’t give her time to adjust to the non-automatic focus).
Yesterday was so hectic. My husband had to take a skills test for school, then we had to rush to make it in time to do the Toys for Tots run.
It was my first time and it was so much fun! I met a lot of people and have to tell you, that group of varied individuals is like an idea tree, ripe for the picking.
Motorcycle or not you should really take yourself down to your local Toys for Tots run and walk around. The bikers are so friendly and always willing to talk about their true loves – the bikes! You get insight into personalities and now I have several ideas brewing. (I also got a huge Buddha head statue for $10 from the local mart, but that’s totally OT.)
Yay for brain stimulation as much (if not more) as for erotic stimulation 🙂
Imagination keeps hope alive. It keeps the blood pumping and dreams running on more than steam. Imaginative ideas are born from inspiration and lead to breakthroughs in science, technology and the arts.
Here on paper and tape, are ideas, plots, plans, one word sentences, whole novel series, trilogies, ideas for shorts; all for fiction – either novels or screenplays.
I have many more on the computer and you cannot see how many small notes and loose papers are there. Imagination is not only part of what keeps my will to live strong, but also the thing that gives me hope for my future, a smile for my past, and a thrill for my present.
(for more of these photo posts, follow me on Flickr).
I’ve always enjoyed writing since I was a young girl. I took creative writing in high school, and I loved it. But writing a novel had always intrigued me. I’m impressed by the way some people who just seem to have a knack for telling a story, creating interesting charters, and coming up with plots that make their story sizzle. I didn’t think I had the ability to even attempt such a thing. After putting some time and energy into learning some of the craft of writing, the time came when I suddenly wanted to dive in and give it a whirl. Voi-la, I birthed my first novel. The journey and self-discovery has been amazing.
Do your family and friends know you write erotica? If so are they supportive?
Only my spouse, a cousin, and a few friends. They are supportive, but I have chosen to keep my writing in this category separate from my “real” life. I know my mother would be horrified, as she simply does not care for the subject matter of erotica. I think if my other friends and colleagues knew about it, they would definitely be surprised. To them, I’m just not that kind of girl! Since I’m not a full-time writer, I don’t need employers raising an eyebrow at what I do on my off-time.
Do you see writing as a career, either current or future?
I would love to make a career of writing–anytime–the sooner the better. But I do see how this is so hard to accomplish. The problem I have right now is that I’m not an especially prolific writer, one who can push out book after book. I have to muddle through things and look at everything from all kinds of angles, so it takes me a little more time than it might take other authors. I find this frustrating because I keep hearing how important it is to have several pieces of work under your belt before you can even begin to think of being successful.
Do you have a message or theme you want to get across? Is that something that is in all of your work, or just a particular line/series/piece?
I don’t have a particular theme or message captured in my work. For the Pleasure House Tales, there is the theme of the asylum and the twist I give by making it an erotic place–or one side of it anyway. I have always been intrigued by asylums and what went on in them. They were such horrible places, and I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to create an asylum where the staff care
d about and indulged their admits (or patients, rather).
Where would you like to be 5 years from now?
I would like to be an entrepreneur, running my own business, and writing would definitely figure in there. I love being my own boss and taking control of my life. In this scenario, I want to be the dominant one, not the submissive.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Oddly enough, I adore the Anne of Green Gables series. Far from being erotic, the tales are sweet and wholesome, and the writing is incredibly beautiful. I’ve enjoyed the Castle of The Hidden Grotto series, which is erotica, by the way. The writing style and the stories win on both sides of the equation. The characters and world the author created are just amazing.
What was the best advice you have ever heard, read or been giving regarding writing?
Simply: Just write. One well-know author indicated that it was silly of someone to ask her about writing advice because all a writer had to do was simply write. I find that most people talk more about writing than actually sitting down to do it. What surprises me more is that I feel many “writers” are lazy, in that they don’t want to invest some time in learning the art and craft of writing and learning punctuation and grammar as well. They just seem to dive in with no idea of how to put a story together. When it’s suggested that they invest some time into taking a course in writing, they seem to blow off this important piece of advice. My learning some of this to start with helped me in getting a book out there to the public.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Defying Gravity, by Caroline Myss, which outlines all the spiritual graces and how to invoke them. I love reading books on spirituality because I always need work in finding my highest potential or trying to understand my own divinity. I like understanding how cosmic laws work and how we all are a part of that. On the flip side, I finally purchased a copy of Selena Kitt’s “Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed.” I’d heard that it was controversial enough for Amazon to pull it off their shelves. So I went to Barnes and Noble and purchas
ed a Nook copy. It was an interesting read, but the ending had a very unusual twist. And I love twists.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oddly enough, I usually don’t find myself necessarily favoring a particular author. I read a book based on the type of genre I enjoy as well as the subject matter. If that author happens to hook me enough and writes several books, I’ll most likely purchase other works of theirs.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Interesting question! Probably this one: “Does writing erotica make you feel like a sexaholic?” The answer: “Somewhat.” Let’s face it, when I write in this genre, I’m constantly thinking about the sex and how I can present this subject in a more interesting light. I’m trying to discover how I can weave it into an interesting, fun story. I still find it fascinating that someone can take the subject of sex and write about it for many, many pages, weaving it into a story that captures your attention.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? (OR) What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing is, again, being a prolific writer. I seem to have a hard time being creative and coming up with fabulous plots. I have to work hard at it. Some people just seem to do it so easily. Unfortunately, I’m not one of them. I spend a good part of my time looking at the different angles of a particular scene, and trying to pick which one would work the best.
Do you ever experience writer’s block? If so how do you get through it?
I do experience writer’s block, and I find myself at times struggling just to get simple sentences just the way I want them. Sometimes I just write out the closest thing I can to get to it, and then I come back later after I’ve thought through the situation more. Sometimes I just get quite, go lie down on my bed for a while, and really think about my scene and what I want to accomplish. The most fascina
ting thing I find is that just right before awakening from sleep, I get some of the most clear writing ideas.
How do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from life, people, situations, and just riding through a new town or parts of a neighborhood I’ve never ridden through before. Sometimes I get inspiration from finding a piece of wrapped candy on the sidewalk. Many times viewing a beautiful tree or rolling hills can be inspirational. Things just come out of nowhere, then everywhere. I’ll tell you where I don’t get inspiration: from writing prompts. I hate those!
How do you keep the love of writing alive?
I keep thinking of the next thing I can write. I’m learning to keep notebooks on ideas and jotting down different character types, plot lines, and the like. I actually enjoy the feeling I get from being in the middle of writing a novel. It’s difficult to describe, but I like knowing in the back of my mind that I’m working on a project. I’ll be driving down the road and trying to work through a particular scene or trying to come up with a new chapter.
Have you learned anything from writing? What was it?
I’ve discovered that yes, I can put a story together from start to finish. I’ve learned to be more creative and how to work my way through tough spots. I’ve found that I can keep a secret! I mean, I haven’t shared with the world that I have written an erotica novel. I like keeping it as my own dirty little secret. So readers will only know my work through my author name.
What do you feel are your strong points? What about things you’re working to improve?
I’m very organized, dedicated, and determined. That helps me realize my dream and get my work done. I’m trying to improve my speed, coming up with the ability to put out a story faster and faster. My first book took me a year, so I’d like the companion novel to take at least half the time or less. As far as what I’m working on to improve: concentrate more on writing when I’m at the computer and stay off the Internet.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
My advice is to first learn the craft of writing and how to plot, create characters, and simply learn how to put a story together. Take some online courses, read some books–anything. My second piece of advice would be to learn punctuation, especially comma usage. Other than that, put your nose to the grindstone and just write. Don’t just talk about it: DO IT! The other thing I suggest is to not be so attached to your work that you can’t take suggestions from beta readers or editors. I love the challenge of writing most of all, so I don’t get too easily attached to the work. I’m simply trying to fulfill a challenge.
Do you write an outline before every book/story you write?
Not formally. If I’m having a hard time putting a timeline together or trying to figure out how I want the story to go, I will get a notebook and start jotting down characters and what I want them to do, as well as include ideas for scenes.
The problem is I don’t have a full complete story in my head at any given time, so I wouldn’t be able to create a full outline anyway.
How do you come up with characters that are not only real to you and your readers but continue to intrigue you through the life of their in-book/series time?
As I create the story and the characters, they seem to pop into my head, and from then on, they slowly begin to come alive as I build the story. It’s interesting because I did a blog posting about how totally unique my characters are to me. So much so that I cannot find any images of people who resemble the way the character looks in my mind’s eye. In Pleasure House, Daren is actually my favorite character, but no other reader ever points him out. So perhaps I missed the mark in making him a compelling character to others. That’s what I wonder. And sometimes, the main character may not always be my favorite, and the villain seem to be a favorite of others. Everyone notices Joe, though he didn’t figure much in the novel until near the end. The characters become real to me as I write about them, developing their personalities, their physical features, and their ways of thinking. They each have their own personal style.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily/weekly writing goal?
Usually I write in the evenings at home or on the weekends in my place of business. Day jobs have a way of interfering with writing, and with the job I have now, I don’t even get the hour lunch break. Too bad, I really miss those.
What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us? (it will be linked to as a PDF)
I’m working on the companion novel to Pleasure House. The work is: Pleasure House: Tales From The Isolation Chambers. I’ll be addressing characters who reside on the “other side” of The House. In the first novel, the readers are exposed to the erotic side of The House. In the current novel, the good Dr. James has a project he wants to try, so he solicits the help of the characters in the first novel. For the first time, they are exposed to regular people who had the misfortune of ending up in an asylum–and on the other side of The House. They are forced to put their clinical skills to work and try to find ways to introduce their admits into a different world they’ve experienced so far. In this novel, some of the characters, such as Joe, will get more stage time. I’m having fun writing this companion novel.
Something a little different for this blog, a little something personal, hopefully every day. And happy Thanksgiving, by the way!
Gratitude for the Day: I am thankful for firefighters, but particularly volunteers. Most have no pension, no health or life insurance, little to no pay, and none of them that I know of have a day off. Every day there is a fire, they go to work. Today my husband spotted a fire in the woods on his way out to get milk for our Thanksgiving dinner. He called it in and was gone for roughly 2 hours putting it out.
So thank you, volunteer firefighters. You are awesome.
Note: Due to the recent crash of my laptop (and subsequently the loss of many images, programs, writing, passwords, emails, links, Freehippie info, etc) all images are likely to be SOOC for an undetermined amount of time.
Life has been tough recently. It has been getting better and is, by far, much much better than it was June 15th of 2010 when we first arrived here. Tony is going to school. I have three sources of income and I am working on bringing that down to two, but a better ROI from both.
I keep noticing, however, the bad things, and I have completely forgotten the power of gratitude. Being thankful for the good in life can make the best of your worst day. Daily reminders to be grateful can lead to big changes in your life, a better outlook in general and much better health.
I was perusing Flickr this Thanksgiving day and really missing how I used to take pictures all the time. I am missing Florida so much and even people and situations. I miss my best friend, Lacey, as well – very very much. She was something I never took for granted though.
This morning I was looking at a couple of different streams, thinking about how much I used to share my life with strangers through words and images (much like one of my favorite Flickrites, Steph). How much a good Flickrite and real life friend, Baubcat, used to inspire me with his stream. Also Al’s absolute commitment to the 365 project is astounding and has come up with some of the most memorable self portraits out there – not just in image but in simple words describing a day and giving you a sense of not just Al’s life but life in general.
So, this holiday has given me an idea. I sit here with my husband, watching Dune, drinking egg nog, happy to not be working on what has become (thanks to my husband and our traditions) one of my favorite days of the year. I have a lot to be thankful for and I used to get a lot more out of life.
So I am committing to a full year of images and something to be grateful for on each day. I have finished a 365 before, though I think I have started it like 4 or 5 times, ha. My purpose in this set is to change my life with a better outlook. I want to see where I am next Thanksgiving. I am not expecting to be a best selling author with three houses, a kid and a blockbuster movie, but I am hoping that by reminding myself everyday to find something to be grateful for, I will also remind myself of where I want to be, reinforce my goals and just be happy.