Wednesday, November 30, 2016

How to be a Writer during the Holidays

I am not sure if anyone else noticed but the world seems to stop normal functions during the holidays. Black Friday, while being the craziest shopping day of the year, is also the day the entire world seems to speed up (and not in a good way) . Time flies twice as fast. We are all working on Christmas shopping, holiday planning, parties, travel…the list goes on and on.

As a writer, this time of year wreaks havoc on my flow. You all know what I am talking about. We as writers are really creatures of habit and during the holidays ‘habits’ i.e. sanity, flies out the window with the reindeer.

So as this year I cannot get off track I decided to give this some thought and share my plan of action (in case anyone else is in need) It is after all the season of giving right?

First and foremost (and this is a little late in coming) do as much as possible before it hits. Black Friday is your target date….okay fine you can have until December 1st but not a minute more! Pre write as many blogs, and articles needed to het through until January. Many of us have blogs that will allow you to ‘schedule’ a post. Do it! Santa knows we will forget! Oh don’t shake your head in innocence you know you will…

Also you are going to need to add a few things to your shopping list this weekend as we are going to create an emergency kit (you know like an earthquake kit, but this one is for your muse.) Here is what I suggest…

Notebooks - I suggest three sizes small, medium and large. One to fit any scenario you find yourself it. For example, you are going to walk through the neighborhood at your Mom’s with the kids and then eat some yummy chili. Grab the small notebook, pen, and put them in your back pocket. If the muse strikes you are prepared.

Pens, pencils and a editing pen - Always, always, always…

Pocket Thesaurus and MP3 player - there are times when my muse is whispering in my ear but I just can’t quite hear what she is saying. Music always helps translate and believe it or not sometimes I can thumb through a thesaurus, see a word and lightning strikes! Great for waiting in line for Santa, or rides to and from holiday parties (as long as your not driving). Pick something small that will help cue the flow no matter where you are.

Pack of Gum/ Tic-Tacs / Pick me up Drink - these are all for various reasons, to keep you from chipping your holiday nails (if you tend to gnaw while thinking), jumpstarting your brain after too much turkey, a smack of rejuvenation after spending five hours at the mall for one present or to keep the kids sated for at least five minutes so you can think in a straight line.

Reusable Coffee Cup / Book Light - These are specifically for those of us who will be doing a lot of car shuffling. The book light is for the late night drives back, so you can jot items down or review your notes when the children finally dose in the back of the car. (again, please not while driving). The coffee cup is so no matter where you are if you see a convenience store you can run in and get some coffee. Why the reusable cup? If you are anything like me you drink a lot of coffee. This will reduce the garbage in the car you have to clean out come January. (oh and it is better for the environment, 7-11 has travel cups for 2$)

Calendar / Spare Phone Charger - we all live by schedules and most of us use a calendar to keep track of deadlines. Make sure you have yours handy at all times this time of year. I cannot tell you how many panic attacks could have been avoided if I would have brought one. Many of us have them on our phones which is awesome. Just make sure you can access it so when in doubt you can check if the guest blog posting is due tonight or tomorrow (when in actuality it is due next week). The spare charger is just in case. When things get hectic this is one of the first things we tend to forget, so keep a spare to plug in no matter where you are.

Last, a bag to put it all in. Most convenience stores are selling eco-friendly shopping bags for 99 cents. Most have handles and are pretty durable. Buy one and keep all your stuff in the back of the car so you will always have it when needed.  

If you are able, I would also recommend a mobile program called Evernote. I have this for all my devices and I love it. It is basically a thought organizer. You can put in on your phone, tablet and also have it for your desktop. They can sync and keep everything up to date. You can create new tasks, make lists, set deadlines and reminders right from your phone. You can also attach documents to Evernote so if you are on the road and need to review a document if you put it in your Evernote at home on the computer, you can bring it up on your phone and review while on the run.

So that’s the list, customize it as you will, just make sure you are prepared! You never know when your best ideas will strike and you don’t want to be writing on wrapping paper with a crayon or eyeliner from the bottom of your purse. (you know you’ve been there).

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Book Trailer - You Never Could Be

Come Read Me!

Sunday Lists

List, category, record, register, to be recorded on paper, notebook, computer, napkin, palm of hand... Any way you write them, or where, lists are a part of life and part of my Sunday routine. What did I get done and what do I need to accomplish and in what order?

Having a full time job, three kids and lots of creative endeavors, lists are the only thing to keep me on track and in line with my world, my goals and the path forward. From grocery lists, to lists of people to call, lists of what needs to be accomplished first, list of what needs more or less. One of the most important aspect of list writing for me, besides the whole ‘remembering’ thing is they give me perspective. When you can get all of the chaos loosely contained in a list of some fashion I am able to break it down, categorize, organize, and figure out how to get it done. Sometimes there is so much it is literally impossible and something needs to get bumped, delayed or cancelled.

This is not a lecture on listing. This is to say YOU are not crazy! Make your endless lists. Create a list of lists if you have too, just make sure you are checking things off, moving forward and LIVING your Best life!

Here's a tip, while we have all kinds of lists for things we have to do! Why not start a list of things we want to do. Just one or two will work.

Things I WANT to do this Week

Walk 6,000 steps every day this week
Watch Suicide Squad

I will check in next week to let you know what happens!

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Holiday Excerpt - A Snowflake's Chance in Hell

Two hearts drawn by hope, linked by love.
All Quinn Lawson wanted was to find her brother. Separated after their parents perished in a drunk-driving accident, Quinn has been searching for him since she became eighteen. She is closer now than ever, but it is her last lead.
Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McCaluson has a choice to make, stay in the military or step away and try life as a civilian. With no family and no prospect of one, Kevin wonders if he can leave the only family he has ever known for the life he’s always dreamed.

Gunnery Sergeant Kevin McCaluson reread the letter a dozen times. For some reason he thought by reading it over and over it would spark an answer to his problem. It was his commission letter promoting him to Master Sergeant, stipulating his decision to go career military. He had spent the past eighteen years in the Marines, and truth be told, he wasn’t sure where his hesitation was coming from. Maybe because it was all he knew and that felt suffocating. It wasn’t as if he had anywhere to go outside the word he knew. He enlisted as soon he was legally able and kissed the world goodbye. The Marines challenged him, made him a man, and gave him a sense of honor. He felt it a privilege to defend his country, so why would he ever want to walk away.
That was the question preventing him from accepting the commission as soon as it landed on his desk.
A knock at the door pulled him from his thoughts. He looked up to see a wisp of brown hair peeking through the door. A tanned, heeled foot followed by a navy suit followed.
“Excuse me?”
The voice was sweet but did not waver, and he rose from his seat. “Can I help you?”
She stepped fully into the room, holding out her hand. “My name is Quinn Lawson. I am looking for Sergeant McCaluson?”
Her deep eyes swirled in a pool of color and a touch of sadness. “What is this in regards to?”
“It’s private matter.” Her expression tightened, her voice sharpening in tone.
He really wasn’t in the mood for this. “Well you can leave him a message if you like, concerning your private matter.” He hoped that the excuse would shut her down until he was better prepared to deal with her private matter.
“Do you have a copier?”
The question threw him off. “Pardon me?”
“Do you have a copy machine?”
She is certainly tenacious. “Yes.”
“May I use it?”
“Of course, follow me.” He led her to an adjoining mailroom. He held the door open for her and she moved past him. The soft scent of cotton candy filled the air surrounding where she passed. He watched her pull a letter out of her purse. She made a copy, wrote on it and folded it neatly. She silently handed it to him before moving past him and out of the office. He tossed the letter on the desk, his mind lingering on the woman who decided to invite herself into his office. Absently looking back, he became curious about the copy she so carefully folded and laid in his hand.
He groaned, knowing his best friends voice anywhere. “Clarkson.”
“So where are we going to celebrate?”
“What are we celebrating?”
“It is not every day my best friend becomes a Master Sergeant.”
“Yeah well, hasn’t happened yet.”
Turning the chair across from his desk and sitting down. “Oh please it is as good as done.”
“Not sure I want it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Exactly what I said, I don’t know if I want the promotion.”
“It’s a career. It’s what you’ve been working for.”
“Yeah I know, it is just a big decision.”
“What’s so big about it? It is a steady job for the rest of your life.”
“Exactly, what if I don’t want all this for the rest of my life?”
“What else would you do, if not this?”
“I don’t know, travel, work TSA or the Fed, buy a house, have a few kids and a dog. Not live on a military base for once in my life.”
“Sounds great in theory. Do you have any idea what it is like out there?”
“No, that is part of the problem.”
“Seems like a good problem to have I guess.” Clarkson snagged the folded copy off his desk. “What’s this?”
“Some woman barged in looking for Sergeant McCaluson. I informed her he was not currently available so she left a note.”
Clarkson opened the note, a grin spreading across his face.
“Oh man, you’re dead in the water. She is on to you, dude.”
McCaluson took the note from his hands. “What are you talking about?”

Gunnery Sergeant McCaluson,
Call me when you give a damn.
Quinn Lawson

He couldn’t help but chuckle at the directness of the note, “Crap.”