Writing + Personal Life = Overstimulation

Since I’ve started my new contract position, I’ve started to feel exhausted, but not tired. Let me explain.

I was talking with my dear friend Abbe and was explaining how exhaustion was a good thing. I’ve started to dive back into my creative self since taking on this contract position and have found that my mind wanders in 80 different directions because the content flows so freely from my head. Sometimes I type so fast that I what I wrote would make no sense to anyone if published without a good reread. I feel alive again.I feel motivated. I want to succeed. I’m overstimulated.

The only issue with this overload of words and ideas, is my mind continues to go on and on and on. The to-do list is my head is longer than the one I put on paper and I’m starting to feel like I’m juggling to much. Then I think about cutting back on something. And then I remember that almost everything I do now I love, and the one thing that I could cut is a necessity right now.

So I ask you, my readers, how do you deal with the juggling process? Do you write a super long to-do list and not complete it? How do you balance all of your balls in the air? Leave me your strategies in the comments below! I’ll share the best ones in an upcoming blog post!

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Book Review: Let Us Prey by Jamie Lee Scott

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

grew up in a house where most of the books read were mysteries. That said, I’ve grown to love a good mystery novel. One that has suspense and twists and turns and of course a good romantic subplot. When Jamie started publicizing her book, I was like where can I buy it and can I buy it now. Needless to say I own the Kindle version and have ordered it in trade paperback.

Here’s the description for the first, of  hopefully many, of the Gotcha Detective Series:

Mimi Capurro, owner of Gotcha Detective Agency, has been hired to protect New York Times bestselling author, Lauren Silke, who was recently assaulted in the bathroom at a paranormal conference. Though Mimi is hired to act as bodyguard for Lauren’s upcoming book tour, plans change when Lauren’s assistant is murdered and the slaying is a replica of a scene from Lauren’s newest novel. A novel that hit bookstores the same day as the killing. Now instead of playing bodyguard, Mimi is cracking computer code, and chasing down vampires. These vampires come alive on the streets of Santa Cruz, as part of a live-role-playing game. Mimi must find the connection between the vampires and the author to track down the killer. This would be much easier if Detective Nick Christianson wanted her investigating the case. Nick, Mimi’s old college fling, is the lead homicide investigator. Though he wants her off the case, he also wants to pump her for information. Nick may have used her in the past, but this time she’ll use him to try to catch the murderer first.

Mimi is a great character. She has depth, an interesting history that gets weaved into the plot line and a great set of supporting characters. Her fellow colleagues at the Gotcha Detective Agency add humor. My personal favorite is Charles. He’s the computer nerd with a great sense of humor. He brings common sense into the novel, but pries a lot into Mimi’s personal life when Nick shows up into the picture.

Now Nick, my imagination had a lot of fun with him. I never like to see a screen adaptation of a book I’ve read because I think my imagination is better than the casting. Jamie does a great job of describing Nick and I guarantee you can picture his looks, his movements and his arrogance in your head as the words from the page processes through your brain.

The plot of the story moved quickly and was peppered with a few good chuckles along the way, complements of Mimi and Nick. I loved that I did not know who the killer was. I was sad when the book ended. I wanted more and was absolutely pleased to find out that another book is in the works. I cannot wait to see what happens on Mimi’s next adventure. Let Us Prey is up on my list of favorite novels ever. It’s something I know I can pick up and read over and over without getting bored.

Book Review: The One You Love by Paul Pilkington

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

I love suspense mysteries. When this book came up on my list of recommendations on Amazon, I read the sample and was immediately intrigued. I love a page turner that keeps me wanting more. I thought this book was going to give it to me.

It did in a sense. I didn’t want to keep turning the pages; it was slow moving. It was easy for me to walk away from this and then come back. All of the twists and turns were still there, but I didn’t feel they flowed quickly enough. I find this happens a lot to me when I read novels written by UK authors.

While I was disappointed in the pace, I loved the story. It was fun to read how all of the characters end up connected to Emma, the heroine. You watch her struggle with the disappearance of her fiancee and see how the people around her play into her search to clear his name. I didn’t see a lot of it coming. That’s what makes this book worth reading.

And the end, well I didn’t see it coming.

If you love thrillers and don’t mind the pace, this book is definitely worth the read.

Day One

This post is brought to you by confusion. My confusion.

Today is the first Sunday off I have had without a personal commitment in many, many years. My first instinct is to lounge around all day and do nothing. Then I remember why I have the day off.  WORK. My own personal work that will hopefully bring my career to it’s next stage. Work that I enjoy doing.  Work that exhausts my brain because it forces me to use the creativity that had been mostly tabled for so long.

I love this.

Today is day one of a new routine, which I am sure will be tweaked as the weeks go on. Having an extra day gives me more flexibility. I hope this will end the late night writing sprints. I hope it will give me the affordability to take on more of this work I love. Hopefully this will lead to bigger and better things.

But hey, I’m not one to put all my eggs in one basket, even when the chicken produces a lot of them.

The Season of Fall: Writing Style

Today’s post was written by Michelle Timian. To read more about her, check out my Seven Questions piece. I hope you enjoy her post.

In my office, I’m a little obsessed about my plant.  His card called him a Bonsai Fichus and says he likes his leaves to be misted.  During my 3-month leave of absence from work, I had to find a good, responsible coworker to watch out for him.  I call him Planty. 

With the seasons changing, I freak out a little.  He’s losing leaves.  Not orange and red ones; he’s not a maple.  They are green leaves.  Apparently healthy leaves. 

Leaves he’s not supposed to lose.

So what does this have to do with writing?

Right now, I am editing a little novel of mine called The Elevator.  I got the idea for it originally back in 2004, when I just decided to myself ‘Let’s make a novel!’  It’s easy to say I’ve been single-mindedly writing, promoting and pursuing publication for this idea since that moment.  I wrote the entire thing in a frenzy of binge-writing.  In four months I had a completed product that I sent to any agent looking for unusual “magical realism” adventure fantasy…or one of those things.  Anything was worth a shot.

With every rejection, I tweaked my query letter; I used any and all comments about the rejection to improve my draft.

In 2009, I thought I had it.  An agent was interested, requested my manuscript…I spent a very fretful five months waiting for the “I’m going to represent you!” response.  Instead, I got one politely telling me that the agent was skipping out on the whole representation deal.

Where did I go wrong?

It’s taken me a long time to take another look at Elevator, but with my fanbase clamoring to read the book I have been talking about and commissioning fanart for years, I have made the decision to start posting chapters online.  There was no chance I was going to put up the draft that’s been with me since the beginning.  Nope, I decided from the start that I would edit this thing.  After all, I hadn’t stopped writing altogether in 2009 and my writing since Elevator had changed quite a bit.

Which was when I realized what had happened back in 2009.

Let’s go back to Planty.  I had green leaves.  Writing I thought was perfectly acceptable, even wonderful.  Hell, these words of mine didn’t look brown and orange and red.  This was good stuff, right?

But with the years between, I saw that what I had written before just wasn’t good enough.  Not if I wanted to reach the wonderful realm of published authors.  I would need to edit, change, improve every line in Elevator.

That’s the rough part about writing.  Sometimes you just can’t tell when your writing needs to be edited.  As with Planty, green leaves – the apparently good stuff – aren’t healthy, living leaves.  They need to be lost as much as the brown and orange ones, the obviously bad writing. 

But this is the exciting part, too.  Finding out where you can get better, what you need to change to make the best bit of writing you can.  And isn’t that why we write in the first place?

Seven Questions with your Favorite Blogger/Writer: Jeanne Bowerman

I’ve always been curious about what inspires my favorite writers. Whether they are bloggers, freelancers, scriptwriters, TV writers or novelists, they have to draw inspiration from something.  I want to thank all of you who contributed your questions and I hope you enjoy the first of my new monthly Q&A series.  Look for this new feature on the first Thursday of every month. If you want to see your favorite blogger/writer interviewed, contact me.

Name: Jeanne V. Bowerman

Profession: Writer of Things

Blog:  http://jeannevb.com/

Twitter: @jeannevb

Her impact on me: I “met” Jeanne in an online class.  We connected on Twitter.  She’s been great in connecting me with awesome people. She’s a truly inspirational person. 

Person of Letters: Why did you start writing/blogging? Was it for personal or for professional reasons?

Jeanne V Bowerman:  My blog was conceived after I started using Twitter. I noticed so many other writers sharing their work via their own websites that I had to jump in. After I started the blog was when I realized all the potential it had to showcase my work and help me gain exposure.

POL: How long do you think about what you are going to write before you write?

JB: I mull it over for a  few hours and either jump in or change subjects entirely. With my crazy schedule, as well as a weekly column, I only have time to post once a month. (Note: You should check out her Balls of Steel Column and her Ask Jeanne column, especially if you’re into scriptwriting)

POL: Is there something you carry with you at all times to write ideas that may pop in your head? If so, what is its? A notebook, your smartphone, a scrap of paper?

JB: All of the above. I also use a digital recorder when I run – thought it’s tough sometimes to understand the playback of my thoughts while breathing heavily!

POL: How do you battle writers block?

JB:  Running or just getting out of the house. Nothing helps me more than simply either moving my body or living my life.

POL: What is your favorite book/blog? Do you draw inspiration from it?

JB:  Jane Friedman’s blog is by far one of the best sources of information and inspiration. But my greatest inspiration truly comes from observing people, not from reading.

POL: Along the same lines of the previous question, which writers from the past have inspired you? (more points for naming obscure writers)

JB: One of my favorite books is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – 624 pages of pure edge-of-my-seat reading. The story follows four people who live in Inda, examining the caste system and political upheavals of the time. Fascinating, gripping, and heart-wrenching read. It was reading that book that made me realize I didn’t just want to write stories; I wanted to move people with my words.

POL: Tell us something about you and your writing that we might not know.

JB: When I was a freshman at Cornell, studying at the Hotel School, I was required to take a writing course. After the class was over, my professor begged me to change majors to Creative Writing. I gasped and stared at him as if he had twelve heads, saying, “Who would ever want to read what I have to say?” I wasn’t ready. Not by a long-shot. It took me until my 40s to finally let go of that fear and share my words. Honestly, I have no regrets. I needed to live my life before I had enough experiences to share and the confidence to share them.

 

It’s All About a Schedule

Since I’ve taken on this new project, I’ve realized that now more than ever I need to make myself a schedule. I talked a bit about the balance  in my Balancing Multiple Hats post. This contact position is more content and social media heavy than I have taken on prior, but I’m ready for the challenge and I think that the key to success is how I schedule my time.

While the time I have to write varies daily, I’ve sat down and made myself tangible goals to ensure I complete my tasks and that I’ve made the progress I need to stay on track.

  • Writing Sprints: The best thing about Twitter is having a strong community of writers on my side. I completed my first of what will probably many more with the help of Jeanne (@jeannevb). Tuning out of social networks for a while and keeping the TV turned off resulted in a quite productive hour.
  • Google Calendar: I am a huge fan of my tiny little pocket purse planner. I’ve decided to move into the technical age and input all of my meetings into the Google calendar that syncs with my Android. The automatic reminders of meetings are helpful.
  • A Blank Journal: I love having one of these with me to write down my notes about a project, keep track of information and have with me at all times to write outlines and ideas on for pieces. It’s a great compact item to have with me during my commute because it fits in my bag. It enables me to utilize available time during a commute.

What are your favorite tools and tips that you use when you are working on a project? Give me some ideas in the comments!