Settling in

I have a cold.  My head feels gloopy inside, but it didn’t down me until today.  Which is good.  I got to enjoy every minute of Nate’s visit.  He left late yesterday afternoon to drive to Indy to see his brother one more time before he flew back to San Diego today.  Even when he was here, though, I got to sneak in a little writing time–when he was visiting old friends, etc.   And I started working on my mystery again.

It’s January.  Winter.  And 2018 started out COLD.  Below zero temperatures.  Time to stay inside and settle in for long hours of editing the three-fourths of The Bodies in the Wetland I got done before the holidays started.  From Thanksgiving to New Year’s day is hit and miss on writing for me.  I still plop my fanny in my office chair.  I still put fingers to keys, but I might only have an hour or two in the morning or a pocket of time in the afternoon.  No regular schedule.  And I’m ready for that again.

I worked on the free romance for my webpage during December, because I knew I’d be distracted, and the romance is easier for me to keep in my head.  I had the luxury of doing that since I’m ahead on the deadline for my mystery.  But I got so far away from the mystery, it took me a while to get back into it.

I do most of my rewrites as I go, but I’ve been even pickier since I’m giving this book another sweep through.  I have to.  When I signed to write three cozy mysteries, I didn’t realize they had to be SQUEAKY clean.  No cuss words at all, and I seem to have more of a potty mouth than I realized.  Damn.  Oops, I mean darn.  I was never a whiz kid at sex scenes, but everything stops at the bedroom door for a cozy.  Even internal dialogue has to be circumspect:)  So,  I’m going through the entire manuscript to censor myself.

For my next mystery, I’ll know the rules and abide by them.  Lusty thoughts between Jazzi and Ansel will be monitored.  This time, I have to find them and think of creative rewrites.  Once I get through the pages I already have, then I can finish the manuscript.  That’s another 20,000 words where everything builds to a climax, then gets solved and wrapped up.

I’m ready to be a boring person, sitting in front of my computer for hours a day again.  It feels good to settle into my writing groove.  However you write, I hope you find your flow.

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Twitter:  @judypost


Managing your time…your life?

I’m a procrastinator, but I know it.  I’m also driven, and I’ve come to terms with that, too. I have discipline…sometimes.  So it’s always a challenge for me to find balance.  I try to cram too many things into too small a time frame, and then I get frustrated.  So I try to come up with ways to manage my time and life, to work everything in.

I do better in life, as well as writing, when I have structure.  I’m not saying it always works, but it gives me something to aim for.  And when I fail, I don’t beat myself up.  Life happens.  But now that two sets of kids have grown up and moved on, I have the luxury to write every day of the week.  I start out with a half hour or hour on social media while I sip my coffee and let my brain turn on.  Then I rewrite whatever I wrote the day before, and then I start writing the new stuff for each day.  I’m not fast.  I’m slow, so it might take me most of the day to hit ten pages I like.  My friends write faster.  Some of them write better.  But I’m me, and I plug away.

Everything else in my life follows pretty much the same pattern.  I clean the house and piddle around in the yard on Saturdays or the weekend.  I love to cook, so I cook suppers almost every night.  And I have a method for that, too.

A friend, who had moved away and moved back recently, reminded me that I’d taught her my method for meal planning.  “I still use it,” she said.  My menus came because my daughter had 37 allergies (some mild, some not), and I had to be careful of everything she ate.  They also came because my husband is spoiled.  (He spoils me back). But he doesn’t like to eat the same meal twice in the same month.  So if I cook chicken piccata on the 3rd and I cook it again on the 27th, he says, “Didn’t we just have this?”

I love it, because I get bored cooking the same things, so I started saving recipes, buying cookbooks, and making menus–but I have a method that makes it easier for me.  Most Saturdays, I cook beef.  It can be ribeyes, skirt steak, hamburgers, meatloaf, or roasts. Doesn’t matter.  It just has to be a different recipe every Saturday. On Sundays, it’s pork–chops, tenderloins, roasts, Italian sausages, or ham; Mondays are ethnic–Italian, Mexican, or Chinese, etc.; Tuesdays are chicken; Wednesdays–soup/salad/sandwiches/or one-dish meals; Thursdays are fish or seafood; and Fridays, I DON’T COOK.  We go out.  If company comes over, I can switch things, trade one night’s meal for another.  I make a grocery list while I plan the menus, so I have all the ingredients I need.  The thing is, I have a starting point to work from. And that makes it easier, and I end up with variety and new recipes to try.  Just like when I make plot points for my writing.

Menus don’t work for my daughters.  They like spontaneity, surprises.  I’m not a big fan of suprises.  I  think they can go either way.  And plot points don’t work for most of my writing friends.  I might be a little too security minded, a little too cautious. Whatever. But to each, his own.  And however or whatever you do, happy writing!



Off Schedule

It’s possible that I’m a creature of habit.  I love holidays, friends, and festivities, but then I’m ready to get back into my daily routine, a comforting rhythm.  This year, I lost my rhythm so much, I’m only now starting to feel my way back into it.  It’s the middle of January, and I’m just now taking down my Christmas tree and decorations.  Did we have fun?  Yes, from Halloween to Martin Luther King Day.   We took a trip.  We had house guests.  But I had work to do.  I tried to write more than usual, hiding in my office at odd times.  I’m making an effort to learn to facebook and twitter–foreign forms to me.  My daughter changed jobs…   Schedules went out the window.  And now, I’m trying to regroup.

I don’t think I’d make a good adventurer.  I like padding out to the kitchen in the morning, getting my cup of coffee, and plopping my fanny in front of my computer.  I like writing at least one scene a day, ten pages if I can manage it.  I like cleaning the house and doing laundry on Saturday.  In the winter, when the snow falls, I try to cocoon.  I’m a hibernator.  I look out my windows and thank the heavens I’m inside.  I feel all warm and fuzzy making big pots of soup.  It’s not until late February that I tend to get restless.  I crave sun, a vacation, a trip if I can afford one.

I have friends who leave Indiana and flee to parts unknown every year.  They celebrate Thanksgiving with friends and family, then say their goodbyes.  I suppose that becomes part of their routine.  Life is change, and that’s good, but for right now, I’m not quite ready to make that jump.  It’s January, and I want to burrow in.  Nest.  I want to write until my brain runs out of juices.  Which it does.  Usually close to four-thirty or five.  After that, I can’t think of simple words in sentences.  It’s time to quit.

But the work hard/take time-off mode isn’t really my thing.  I like consistency.  I’m a plodder at heart.   I have friends whom I think of as throughbreds.  They write in great gushes of inspiration and energy and turn out manuscripts bursting with passion.  I’m more like an Amish draft horse, the tortoise instead of the hare.  Just like everything else in my life, I like the steady-as-you-go approach.  Not that life gives you that luxury.  It bumps you and jostles you and MAKES you grow.  There’s no way around it, but as soon as I can, I return to routine.  Maybe it’s part of being a Libra.  I like balance.  Every day.  Until I get bored.  But short doses of change are more than enough to make me yearn for the tried and true once again.