Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I have reached an epiphany:

All this time, through years of writing, I have been distracted from doing it by countless other things. Sometimes work pulls me away, sometimes household chores, sometimes family needs… in reality, EVERYTHING seems to conspire against me, to pull me from writing.

Now, as my husband begins his second week of chemotherapy, after a month of surgeries, recovery, weakness, and countless adjustments and upheaval, the epiphany has come to me.

All these things--my husband's cancer, the house, homeschooling, cleaning, etc.--will kill me if I don't have a distraction. And that distraction, my dear friends, is writing.

Walking Man says I shouldn't write if I don't need to. "When you need to write, you will," more precisely. And now, caught up in all these things, I need to write. You will notice that my novel progress has been moving steadily. I wrote nearly 3,000 words over the last two days, despite trips to Tallahassee for chemo and countless other errands.

Writing has always been my therapy. I can only hope it works that way now, keeping me sane in an insane world.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Don't Forget NaNoWriMo--or Find Your Goal

Although I'm going through a BUNCH of unplanned stuff this year, I am also planning on participating in National Novel Writing Month (November 1-30)! And you should too!

Even if you don't write novels, sign up for it. It's FREE, and you can use the e-mails and inspirational articles from the Office of Letters and Light to use for any of your efforts--from painting to music to drawing to reading to weight loss to pretty much any goal for anything you have in mind. Just sign up, and everything comes to your e-mail… and it's more helpful than you might realize.

I have found it hard to keep going without goals, without a plan for the day, for the week, for the month, for the year. Without goals, I am unsure what to do next. With goals, I have specific tasks automatically ahead for me.

Remember, too, that we are 2 1/2 months away from the new year. Why wait until January 1 to set a goal? Why not begin that resolution soon?

My resolutions (BEFORE January 1):

1. Finish my mermaid novel.
2. Lose the weight I've needed to lose for more than a year.
3. Find a happy place with Richard's cancer treatments.
4. Sew several costumes (three planned so far--Elsa from Frozen, Queen Elizabeth I, Antebellum dress)

Not a lot, but one of these would probably keep me busy. What are YOUR resolutions before January 1?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Time to Focus

I have not been able to focus in some time.

Wow, one sentence in, and I'm already lying. OF COURSE I can focus… I can give fifteen minutes to loading the dishwasher, without losing focus. I can sweep the house (takes about 30 minutes) and only lose focus when I find a piece of trash too big to sweep up. 

I can watch a TV show for 45 minutes (that's skipping the commercials, since I rarely ever watch shows live). I can even manage to read the kids a story at night, which might run 10 minutes, or might go as long as an hour. And I can read, too, late at night, before sleeping.

But so many of the things I love DON'T happen because focusing on them for 15 minutes doesn't get me anywhere. 

WRITING: I really need a good HOUR to work on my novel. Microsoft Word has an awesome button on it, though--down at the bottom left. It looks like a black screen with white corner bars, and it's called, of all things, "Focus View." Click on it, and everything on my screen disappears except for the page I'm working on--no icons at the bottom, no distracting stuff, not even the toolbar. Just text, as if I'm reading the novel page by page in real life. But it only works if I have the TIME to focus.

PLAYING PIANO: Time is not my real enemy here, for my hands ache if I practice more than 45 minutes at a time… but it's been hard to do lately for other reasons. The hubby's been home recovering from major surgery, so he's been sleeping a lot, and when he's not sleeping, he's vegging in front of the television. And the piano gets in the way of his sleeping, AND it drowns out the television (if you don't have a piano, you may not realize how loud an instrument it is). Besides, I usually don't have time to play until late at night, when the kids are in bed and trying to sleep (or looking for any excuse not to sleep). Fitting it in while not annoying everyone is the challenge here. And this activity invites interruptions like talking on the phone. Suddenly people sit next to me, ask me questions, ring the doorbell, call, hug, and otherwise keep me from focusing on the sheet music in front of me. 

SEWING: This one is hard, for I can sew for days at a time, but I always have a ton of repairs and alterations stacked up, which I have to address before the fun sewing can begin. Right now it's altering the hubby's new suits when what I really want to do is make my Halloween costume. I'm slowly getting the alterations and repairs out of the way. Another problem is that the sewing machine is portable, and I don't have a dedicated sewing room, so I always have a big mess on my hands when I'm sewing things, and the mess makes me feel guilty and stresses me out.

PAINTING: The hardest to focus on time-wise. Set up alone can be complicated, especially if I'm working on more than one canvas at a time (I'm painting a five-canvas panorama right now). Stopping is hard, too, for paint dries, brushes might get ruined, water cups need to be dumped and refilled, etc. At least my kids know to leave it all alone--such was not the case when they were younger. 

So there they are… all my stupid excuses. I've put them all here, and now I need to get started on something despite them. Time to focus on projects, not excuses. 

Would love to know what gets in the way of your focus… what excuses you make…