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Guest Blogger: Gemma Juliana
Thursday, June 27th, 2013

MAKING A WRITER’S LIFE EASIER – REALLY?

tdThe Sheikh's SpyI admire writers who produce novels while working a full-time job. I have no idea how they work their time management, but they clearly have a level of self-discipline I have never even dreamed is available to tap into. Then they come home to take care of little children, do homework, make dinner, put on a wash, participate in their marriage… and write a novel or two.

I do not work outside the home, but wear many hats from bookkeeping to overseeing a homeschool teen, to being a new grandma, to making jewelry, to providing astrology sessions. I’ve left out a few of my regular gigs but you get the idea.

I should be producing three times more finished books than I am. Although I don’t believe we are all born equal, we each have just 24 hours in a day to do with as we choose. I’m on a mission to find out what works for other authors when it comes to increasing productivity.

The latest story in my Sheikhs of the Golden Triangle series, The Sheikh’s Crowning, should be available on Amazon and other e-platforms right now. But it isn’t, and won’t be for another six weeks. It’s not the characters giving me a hard time, although Rick is a tough undercover agent who likes doing things his way, not mine. And Yasmine lets me write a scene and then tells me she’s a widow, not a virgin. Or is it the other way around? I can take things like that in my stride. My problem is time management.

tdChristmas SpiritsFor months I saw incessant ads on television that made me drool for a particular voice activation software. There was this fellow, laboring at an ironing board with kids running circles around him, oblivious to everything as he dictated his hot romance into headphones. I was convinced that if I got hold of that incredible wizard’s tool that worked like a magic wand, I could pump out a book a week. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but surely a book a month?

Lo and behold, my son called and told me I could get that very software discounted to half price, but only for twenty-four hours. So I punched in my credit card info as fast as my fingers would fly over the keys, and within about three days the coveted green and white box arrived.

My first go round with the software, I stayed up until 4am trying to teach it to recognize my accent. I am not from Transylvania, although I have a slightly unusual accent. I was ready to throw the thing across the room when it occurred to me that maybe the headphone that came with the software wasn’t working. I plugged in my old headphones to see if that would work. It did. I went to bed, still bristling.

My laptop melted and I had to buy another. I uploaded the software onto the new one but have still – one year later – not successfully used it. When I whisper sweet nothings into the mic, my words and the words that show up on the page are galaxies apart.

Noise is a big factor. With a stay at home retired husband and homeschooled teen in a small house, there is only so much concentration time available. I’ve tried coffee shops and the library, but can’t ‘get into it’ the same way with strangers surrounding me.

tdThe AmuletI don’t recall having had quite such a problem when I wrote The Sheikh’s Spy, The Amulet, or Christmas Spirits, all novellas in the same series. I didn’t use the magic software, either.

Back to The Sheikh’s Crowning… Rick and Yasmine are becoming impatient, as are my readers. They want their story written. I’m even considering renting a room in a sleazy motel, and taking just my laptop and enough food and drink to survive a week of nothing but writing, editing and sleeping… no car outside the door for a joy ride!

That’s an extreme measure to take, so I hope you’ll leave a comment and share some tips that work for you. If you use voice activation software, have you got a tip that might make using it feel like a natural thing to do? Is there a way to bribe it to actually display the words you said?

Please don’t tell me to just put my butt in the chair and stay there. I am in the chair probably twelve hours a day… hence I’ve got a lot of butt to park in the chair! Much of that time is spent looking for promo for the books I have finished writing. Now there’s a time suck… but that’s another blog post for another day.

Enjoy the blue sky of summer, and I’d be thrilled if you decide to read any of my spicy sheikh novellas while you take some time out to smell the roses… and chase dragons.

If you enjoy sizzling desert princes and passionate heroines in exotic settings, check out my website.

Delilah, thanks again for having me!

Gemma’s books on Amazon. Visit GemmaJuliana.com for direct links to other platforms.
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13 comments to “Guest Blogger: Gemma Juliana”

  1. rbeeyswan
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    1
      · June 27th, 2013 at 10:05 am · Link

    totally groovy Ms. Juliana :lol: SHEIK’S R Hot :-P



  2. pam howell
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 12:14 pm · Link

    Pretty men – sorry – what were you saying?
    NICE abs :oops:



  3. Gemma Juliana
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 12:32 pm · Link

    No kidding, Pam and rbeeyswan, hot sheikhs are very distracting!



  4. Paris Brandon
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 2:43 pm · Link

    I have a friend who taped a note to her office door that stated unless they were bleeding and in need of a ride to the hospital: do not disturb. It worked for her:)

    With a a retired hubby and a noisy neighborhood, I’m thinking about trying an MP3 with earphones and zoning out to some background music while I work.



  5. Rose Anderson
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 3:01 pm · Link

    Not from Transylvania eh? :lol:

    The only time I can actually get some traction on my novels is when the house is quiet. If it’s not, I go into housekeeping, either actual housekeeping (blah) or blog stuff.

    So what do you think about voice software?

    Love sheiks by the way…especially Victorian sheiks. Best luck with yours!

    Rose



  6. Gemma Juliana
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 4:28 pm · Link

    Great note, Paris. Unfortunately my guys ignore notes. What note? LOL! Good idea with the earphones. Music usually distracts my focus but maybe I haven’t tried the right kind ~ will give it a try again with something mellow.



  7. Gemma Juliana
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 4:32 pm · Link

    Hi Rose,

    Thanks for stopping by! :-)
    Housekeeping? Now that’s a scary alternative!
    My thoughts on voice software – I need to wait for a day when my patience is high and try again. I think there’s a lot of value to them IF they work. Hope to hear from someone who uses it to pump out material. Have you tried it yet?

    Victorian sheiks… would love to read about them. Can you tell me more?



  8. Margaret Taylor
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 6:02 pm · Link

    Hi Gemma,

    I’m sad to say, there is no magic wand, read: software, that will make this thing we’ve chosen to do any easier. You’re always going to have time sinks – be they family, Facebook (my nemesis thank you very much) Twitter (Facebook’s twin brother) or just life in general.

    The real key is having the self discipline and support around you to manage them.

    Now, for me, it’s easy. I’m single so save for the five cats and one dog, I don’t have humans to distract me. But, I do have a full-time job, bills to pay, errands to run, food to buy, school to finish and so on. (Oh and a washing machine who’s cold water is going ppppffffttttt at me right now!)

    Plus, I have marketing to do, covers to discuss, editing to finish, formatting to send off…well, you get the picture I know.

    My trick is delegating. I have 3 solid support people, a cover designer, a formatter and an editor, all of whom are wonderful and take those particular chores off my hands when the time comes. But, I still have to write the actual work! And for me, I have found over the years, I can do that much more effectively with a chunk of time. For example, next week I have four days off (Thurs for the holiday, Fri is a furlough day, Sat & Sun) So, what am I doing? Turning off my phone, the TV, shooing the cats away if they dare to get close and just writing…

    It works for me. But, if you’re struggling – which you appear to be – I would sit down and talk to your family. Let them know how very important this is to you and ask them to help you out! Your kidlet is home all day, so, he/she can take on an extra chore or two around the house – say the laundry or the cleaning up of various rooms and that will give you some time to write! Hubby is retired, ask him to do the same. Just a thought!

    And for the record, I did try that little green & white box and I never could get it to work either. And I don’t have an accent…well, ok I do – but only if I’m reallllly tired or reallllly drunk and I start sayin’ things like Ya’ll and You’ins and Ya’want’ta. (Yes, I are a redneck and proudly so! When I’m tired or drunk at least :D)

    I hope that helps!

    Margaret



  9. Cara Marsi
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 8:01 pm · Link

    If anyone can come up with a way to get everything that needs doing done in 24 hours, please share. I worked fulltime most of my writing life. I wrote every lunch hour at my desk, eating alone and refusing co-workers’ lunch invitations. I was so discplined in those days. I wrote every Tuesday night, went to critique one night a week and wrote Sunday afternoons. I managed to write six novels (four of which were published) while working. I’m a slow writer. It took 10 years to sell my first book, in 2003. Sold my second in 2007. Two others I wrote while working were published after I retired.

    Since I retired in 2008, discipline has flown out the window. I do have more time to write but I have no schedule and no organization. I started writing short stories in addition to novels and novellas after I retired. Since 2008 I’ve written and published 22 short stories (one to be published later this year). I’ve also written and published one novel and two novellas. My problem is I can’t organize my days. If I could only get up early, allocate a certain amount of time to promo, which is a huge time suck, then spend the rest of the day writing, I’d feel better. But I can’t get up earlier than 7, not after waking up at 5:30 every morning for over 40 years. I exercise an hour a day, I have housework. And I have a husband who isn’t real supportive and expects me to talk to him once in awhile. I’m sure I could get everything done if I had some discipline.



  10. Cara Marsi
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 8:02 pm · Link

    PS to my previous comment. Closing my office door and putting out a “do not disturb” sign doesn’t keep my husband out. He’s retired and home all day.



  11. Gemma Juliana
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 9:38 pm · Link

    Hey Margaret! You raised some excellent points. My time suck is promo, apart from family matters. It’s time I tell the guys I’m taking two half days a week with the door closed and they’d better leave me alone until I open it. That will help if it works. Another person who has tried the software! Still hoping to hear from someone who has figured out how to master it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!



  12. Gemma Juliana
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      · June 27th, 2013 at 9:43 pm · Link

    Hi Cara~ So nice to see you here! You exercised incredible self-discipline for so many years, it’s time you can be a little freer with your schedule. You are an incredible writer.

    I think having an ‘at home spouse’ — or kids home for the summer — can be a real challenge to our productivity if we don’t stick with a plan. I’m starting a new writing discipline on July 1st. Thanks for stopping by today!



  13. Virginia Kelly
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      · June 28th, 2013 at 8:36 pm · Link

    Hi Gemma,
    I meant to drop you a note and tell you how much I loved Christmas Spirits. You really pulled on me. What a lovely surprise. Thanks for a great read.