In today’s society, and especially for women, every person has to be a master of time. We need to figure out how we can fit in everything we want to do, everything we should do and everything we need to do. Sometimes those can be in diametrically opposing directions.
This year, I have come up against this far too many times and like the song suggests, I have had to let a lot of things go. Things I love have fallen by the way because of events and circumstances that were way beyond my control.
In January of this year, my husband of thirty-one years was diagnosed with colon cancer. And while this changed a lot of things for him, for me, it made me dig in my heels to keep something of myself within the spiraling chaos that might surround us. He was surprised but I wasn’t because of symptoms and problems he’s had for three years. But we all know how hard it is to get a man to admit there is something he can’t control.
So when we were driving home, I basically laid down the law. There were things he had to do and there were things I would not give up. Now, that might sound rather harsh but I have seen too many women cater to their man’s every need and lose themselves. Even more so, I’ve seen men who don’t even know how to load a dishwasher because their wife did everything. I’m really not trying to say this is wrong on either side but it’s never been the case between us.
Still, more than even enumerating what I would and would not give up, I knew I would need to become a master of time. Sure, there are only 24 hours in a day and at least 8 of those are needed for sleep and that left a mere 16 to do my thing and make sure he got to his appointments or work.
Here are a few ways to make sure you can do it all.
Keep a calendar. – Yes, we’ve all purchased a calendar for the beginning of the year. Some of them are cute and fun and it’s meant to track everything. However, if you can’t keep up with those things or accomplish any of them, what good is it? One of the best calendar’s ever is the one in your smartphone. Wait a minute – that’s too easy. Yup, it is but you can program every appointment, every book release, every promo gig in it and accomplish them all because it’s alarm system is amazing. Frankly, if it doesn’t go in my calendar, it won’t get done. And don’t get me wrong, I still do paper calendars when scheduling promotion because I need to see the big picture.
Don’t over book yourself. – We’ve all done it, thought we could slip that extra writing time or promo item when in reality, we truly can’t squeeze one more minute out of the day. If you are too tired, can’t think straight or even remember with the calendar exactly what’s happening, you’re doing too much. Do items and other things in small measured doses. Overdoing is just stressing yourself out and if you’re like me, if I’m stressed not much gets done.
Schedule your writing time. – One of the best pieces of information I’ve ever had is if you write it down, you’ll see it in black and white then it becomes real for you. People will do this with writing goals all the time. Same thing goes for scheduling. If you schedule your writing time, that time is blocked off for you and your writing needs. Sure, it might have to go around doctor appointments and chemo treatments, but at least you will have time to do the writing.
Learn to say no. – Recently, when my sister was having a difficult time getting it together to move, I had to say I wouldn’t be coming to help her no matter what. While it hurt me to do so, I just didn’t have the time between all the trips and scheduling conflicts plus she lives two states away. I did have my promo and royalty money and I said I’d hire a moving company to help her because it would be easier than her begging all our friends. It wasn’t expensive since she was only going about 3 miles between new and old place. Yet, the piece of mind I go in knowing I helped the only way I could while saying no, made me happy. You can’t do everything and that’s something every writer needs to realize. Sometimes you have to figure out what’s more important and do that thing.
There are things that are just more important than others. Family will always come first for me, next is friends and writing is third if I had to put them in some sort of order. But that’s overall priorities. Sometimes, the priority for the day can be totally different. When I know that my family and friends don’t need me, writing and anything to do with my writing career becomes the priority of the day. There is nothing wrong with juggling things as long as you keep your priorities straight.
Now, I’m no super-woman and there were days that I thought I had to be going mad. But we’ve made it to the other side with both husband and my writing career intact. There’s nothing better than that!
Hope this has helped you in some small way.
About the Author
Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job. She loves hearing from her readers at email@example.com.
I’ve always enjoyed romance—reading it, that is. Growing up, my mother would trade paperback romances with her best friend, and I would get to rummage through the giant bags of books that appeared on a regular basis, selecting out my favorite and tearing through them at a rate of a book or two—or more—a day.
As I started showing an inclination to write, my mom suggested, “Well, you’re a fast writer … why don’t you write a romance?”
It seemed like a good idea, and so I decided to try it, only to run up against the wall of not knowing what in the heck I was doing. I didn’t know about tropes, I didn’t know about the “HEA” (happily ever after), and I sure didn’t know about the rules for point of view, alpha male, etc. Worst of all, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and so that first attempt petered out at around the six-page mark and eventually got lost when my hard drive burnt out.
Although I continued to enjoy reading the genre, my writing meandered slowly through the world of military journalism, then epic fantasy, then urban fantasy, science fiction, and a little dab of literary fiction. As I kept writing, I learned important things about character, plot, narrative, and how each genre had its rules that it was best to learn in order to meet your reader on happy ground. I even delved a little bit into erotica, with two stories published in charity anthologies.
I wouldn’t say I knew the ropes of romance, but I was learning how to write, and becoming a better writer brought me to the attention of my writing and romance mentor, Emmy Curtis, author of the Alpha Ops series. She invited me to her house, plied me with wine and Aaron Sorkin shows, and then repeated the same question my mom had once asked: “Why don’t you write a romance?”
When I explained I had no idea how, she told me about romance tropes—how each story followed a certain genre convention, and that stories could have more than one. She explained the HEA, and that you couldn’t write from one POV—you switched between the male and female protagonists (and no one else!) to get the reader into their heads and emotions. She talked about the three-act plot structure, as well as the huge market for romance.
It might have been the wine, or my tendency to get caught up in my friends’ enthusiasms, but I woke up at two o’clock in the morning to jot down the plot and characters for what eventually became my first attempt at romance.
So why am I sharing this story? First, to show that romance isn’t a genre you can just dabble your way into. There are very specific intentions behind the development of characters and the twists and turns of the plot. Romance readers love the genre and they have certain expectations that you need to meet.
Second, I wanted to share my particular journey into the genre. It’s not the same for everyone—some people start out knowing that they want to write romance, and go for it immediately. But for every writer, there is a journeyman/woman period of learning the craft, including how to write within genre conventions. These are not restrictions—rather, they’re the ropes to guide you where you need to go, and help you get there.
Third, I highly recommend finding yourself a writing buddy or mentor within your genre. I found Emmy at my local writers’ group, but I have also found buddies online in Facebook groups or conventions.
Last but not least, I hope this post has inspired some of you to dust of the keyboard or open the notebook and start writing. That story I started in Emmy’s guest room? It eventually became my first romantic suspense novel, Negotiating Her Release, published this spring by Boroughs Publishing Group. If you’ve ever wanted to write, and maybe you, too, shelved your first couple of pages, I encourage you to get them out, do some research, go meet some authors, and above all, keep writing.
And then send me your ARCs, because I still love curling up with a great HEA!
This message is for any authors or aspiring authors who might be interested in some intensive help developing their next stories.
Don’t let that word “intensive” scare you away; I’ve led newbies, as well as multi-published authors, through our plotting process numerous times. Everyone comes away with new knowledge and insight, or at the very least, some terrific brainstorming support!
While lessons and exercises will be posted throughout the month of September, this is truly a self-paced class. We all have busy lives, and the workshop is designed to accommodate any schedule. Enjoy the pitch below!
Back by popular demand!
ROSE’S ONLINE PLOTTING BOOTCAMP
Dates: September 4 – 29, 2017 Last date to register: September 4, 2017 Cost: $50.00—cheap, considering everything you get! Your DI (Drill Instructor): Delilah Devlin
Offered through: www.rosescoloredglasses.com
What you can expect: LOGLINE (Lunges) PREMISE (Pushups) CHARACTER (Strengthening exercises) CONFLICT! CONFLICT! CONFLICT! Breaking through the STORY STRUCTURE stronghold Battling the PLOT LINES
We do more in one month than some people do all year! Get tough! Get motivated! Get plotting!
Join your Drill Instructor, Delilah Devlin, to learn a methodical approach to harness your creativity in order to produce an in-depth plot for your next novel.
Sound scary? It is!!!! Especially when you’re staring at an empty page without a compass and a map to guide you through the novelistic jungle. Your DI will lead you through four weeks of tactics, exercises, and training that will help strengthen your abilities. Delilah will accomplish this with weekly lessons, bi-weekly chats, and daily online communication. Join her for bivouac in September!
Join this elite force now!
For those who don’t know, my sister and I co-founded the website for writers called Rose’s Colored Glasses in 2004. From that site, we run a critique group and provide workshops—some free and some for pay. In September, I will be leading a month-long plotting bootcamp. It’s a great time to join—something you can do for yourself to get ready for NANOWRIMO in November! Join me if you can! ~DD
How’s our workshop different from every other one out there? I’ll provide feedback and brainstorming every step of the way!
There is something wickedly tempting about the thought of a one night stand. Throw away your inhibitions, be somebody else for a night, go a little crazy. More often than not, the one night stand is between two people who already know each other—that forbidden friend moment when you ‘try’ them out to see if there might be a spark of something more. It either explodes into the beginnings of a full-blown relationship, or feels like you’re making out with your brother. Blech.
With nearly fifty percent of the adult population admitting to participating in a one night stand, what is it about these three seemingly innocuous words that turns the average, self-controlled human being to a lust-fuelled predator stalking their prey. While alcohol is often used as an excuse, it’s not the only reason we shake off the last of our restraint and get down and dirty without the emotional connection.
Perhaps that is part of the answer too, the lack of attachment which is the only real difference between a first date and a one night stand. There is no promise of on-going affection, no declaration of love. It is sex, pure and simple. And with less than twenty percent of one night standers admitting to having regrets, it is no wonder the one night stand is still a popular way for people to meet their happy ever after.
So, have you ever indulged in a naughty one night stand? In the deliciously erotic One Night Stand Series, our heroes and heroines explore the many of the reasons for an illicit night of pleasure. Who knows, it may even end in love.
One Night Stand Series
Who will break first…
Abby Harkness believes sex is a full-contact sport to be played by the rules.
Rule #1? One night only.
That is, until she meets the one man who makes her body scream for more. Instinct tells her to run, but Abby is determined to exorcise the demons of her past and prove she can handle anything he has to give.
Marcus Brookhein is competitive to the core, and he will bend the rules to win Abby’s heart. Its all-out war . . . and it’s about to get dirty.
Toni J Strawn is the author of the super-spicy contemporary One Night Stand novels, which include His Rules, The Rebound and Her Release, with His Redemption coming soon. These can be read on their own, or as a trilogy.
Toni loves everything romance. Hot, bad, crazy, out-of-control romance. In the One Night Stand series the characters are set up for ultimate one night stand, before turning it into happily ever after—no matter how much they have been through. Because everyone deserves to find love. Right?
While not locked away in her Romansion—a tiny writing shed at the bottom of the garden—Toni can be found with super-hubby Chris and the kids, or feeding her addiction to reading…you guessed it…romance.
This is a huge travel day for a lot of folks here in the U.S.! If you’re sitting in the passenger seat, and you’re bored with the company or the scenery ( 🙂 ), I have a fun little puzzle for you. I’m trying to find games I can embed in my posts, because I’m addicted, and don’t addicts love leading their friends into the same addiction?
Let me know whether you enjoyed it! And share your 4th of July plans!