Wednesday, March 23, 2011

WHAT'S HOLDING YOU BACK? Part 3: No Time To Write

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I’ve heard it said “if it means enough to you, you’ll MAKE time.” Believe me, if that could be done, I’d raise a garden full of extra hours! Realistically, however, there are only so many hours in a day. Quite often we don’t call the shots on all of them--sometimes not on any of them. So the intent of this post is NOT to inflict a guilt trip, but to get a conversation going on how we can dig up writing time in an already jam-packed schedule.
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That said, of the 15 Seekers, one-third work a full-time (and then some) day job. The other two thirds work part-time, have full- or part-time care of children or grandchildren, are involved in elder care for a family member, or are juggling 1,001 demands that life brings with it. There are commitments to fulfill in churches and communities and with family and friends.
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All of us grocery shop, cook meals, do laundry and house- and yard-work. Like all of you, we run errands and have endless appointments with doctors, car mechanics, hairdressers, plumbers and electricians, computer gurus and tax preparers. We do our best to schedule regular exercise. Find time to read. Rest. Sleep. Spend time with God.


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Being published didn’t make our “real life” commitments vanish. In fact, being published only adds to the time crunch—it’s difficult enough to schedule work on our stories, but now add to the mix revisions, copy edits, author alterations, art fact sheets, blog posts, website updates, promotion, networking, critiquing others’ work, judging contests--and writing proposals for our next book. And we’re doing all this while meeting our editor’s expectation to make contracted deadlines.
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Whew! Wore myself out just typing all that!
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So, how do we do it? One prayerful, determined day at a time.
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As unpublished writers we may have at one time fanaticized about leisurely, uninterrupted stretches to write. Wouldn’t most of us like to do something we love 8 solid hours a day, 5 days a week, just like a day job? But choosing not to write until we had long stretches of time to do it in meant we’d likely never be published or be able to maintain publication if and when it did happen.

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Writing is a choice. As with everything in life, it’s about choices. Doing one thing always means giving up another. We can’t do it all. If you decide you want to write, that’s a choice. And to bear fruit from that choice, a plan of action is required or it reverts to a mere wish.

Evaluate where you spend your time. This is an eye opener. For a week or two, jot down everything you do and the length of time you do it in. If you find yourself fibbing on the hours invested in an activity (TV? Internet?), that may tell you what you already know—there’s time available you’re not taking full advantage of.
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Evaluate your natural biorhythms. You’re most productive when you’re at your natural energy and alertness peak. I’m a morning person. But I have friends who do something I doubt I could do with much success—sitting down to write their hearts out at ten or eleven o’clock at night. Your “peak” time may fall into an inflexible block during your day, in which case you‘ll have to settle on writing during a less-than-ideal period.
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Experiment until you find what works best for you. Seeker Tina concentrates her writing on weekends. Cheryl diligently prepares in advance for a week-long marathon to complete a first draft. I make snail’s pace progress daily because marathons don’t work well for me and I have no time during a work day to write in snatches or to even think about my stories. .
- If possible, write at the same time each day. This tells your brain “now it’s time to write.” If I don’t set aside a time, no matter how miniscule the minutes allotted, the rest of the day’s demands will always crowd it out.
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- Set reasonable goals for your writing time and word count. Overinflating goals can lead to discouragement. Ideally I write 1000 words each morning, but sometimes must write 500 in the a.m. and 500 in the p.m. to meet my day’s goal.
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- Determine to limit or avoid email and internet until you’ve written X number of words or written for X length of time. Turn off the “you’ve got mail” alerts.

- Set a timer so you can immerse yourself in your story without constantly being pulled out of “the zone” to check the clock.
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- Adjust your “to do list” demands. By doing a few “morning” things in my low-tide evening hours (e.g., making lunches), I can “buy” 15 minutes more writing time in the a.m.
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- Get up 30 minutes earlier or stay up 30 minutes later.
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- Write in snatches. 15-30 minutes at a time here and there can add up to a significant amount of time and number of words.
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- Take a notebook with you wherever you go so you can jot down ideas, dialogue, or scene fragments. Thinking about your story every day keeps it percolating in your mind until you can sit down to write. I’m much more productive when I know where my story will be going during my next writing session.
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- Reward yourself for writing! While none of us will ever live a perfectly balanced life, it’s important to find leisure time during the week to go for a walk, read a book, work in the garden, play with the kids or the dog. You need that time to give your brain a rest, to generate new ideas.
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Take a few minutes to share with us some of the ways YOU carve out writing time. Share where you’re struggling--perhaps a Friend of Seekerville will share an idea that’s just what you’re looking for!
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If you’d like to be entered in a drawing for a copy of Kelly L. Stone’s “Time to Write,” please mention it in the comments section and leave your e-mail addy (remembering “at” and “dot”).
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Glynna Kaye’s Steeple Hill Love Inspired “Dreaming of Home” is a 2010 finalist in the “Carol Award” and “Maggie Award,” as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. “Second Chance Courtship” released in February 2011 and “At Home In His Heart” debuts August 2011!

107 comments :

  1. I used to think I didn't have time to write. I blamed it on my job and on the fact that I was caring for grandchildren. I realized that I really do have time. I now set aside a block of time each day to write. Instead of watching a program, I write for the length of time that program is on. It seems like only a small amount of time, but in that half hour or an hour I accomplish quite a bit. I would be interested in the book that you are offering.

    authorkathyeberly[at]gmail[dot]com

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  2. The coffee pot is humming.

    I write in snatches, but usually am most productive in the evening--or later. :)

    Helen

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  3. I've got breakfast munchies next to Helen's coffee...

    Well, I can't cut out Seekerville... We all know that... =D

    Seriously...

    I'm naturally most productive from 11-1 or so. At night. I'm never up then. I shouldn't be up now. Or I shouldn't be up then most of the time. I'm up no later than 645 during the week so 1am is bad.

    I've found 15 minute snatches are good - well, sets of 15 minute snatches. Like set a timer for 15m. Then 5m break, then another 15m. 10 is too short to really get in the groove and 20 is too long - I lose steam. I've done 750 words in a 15m stretch before - but that was a scene where I'd already thought it through a dozen times and just needed to get it down.

    After bedtime or during nap/resttime I can usually get a bit in if I'm so inclined. Getting so inclined can be hard sometimes though...

    And on that note... I have a date with some Benadryl and my pillow...

    I'll see all y'all in the morning ;).

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  4. Oops - meant to go back in the middle there and mention my Panera stretches.

    I hit Panera at least once a month, usually 2-3xs a month, for as long as 8-9 hours. It's my headphones and my laptop and the Dr. Pepper machine.

    I even have a character name coming out of it.

    Doyle Dozier

    Doyle is the manager who's usually there when I'm there. Dozier is the last name of an old friend I've lost touch with. But what a cool name =D.

    Is it bad that they're starting to know me when I walk in?

    Oh. And there's muffies.

    Did I mention I want in for the book?

    carol at carolmoncado dot com

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  5. Hi Glynna,

    Thanks so much for your post. This is probably the biggest source of writing-related stress for me.

    I'm a full-time college student at the moment, studying communications and public relations. I'm thankful for everything I learn about writing from this perspective.

    But there is the odd class that just doesn't capture my full attention (shall we say), so that's one of the times I begin thinking about my story. I carry a notebook with me and diligently record notes for my book when there are no notes to be taken for class.

    The other time I capitalize on is when I'm on the bus. Living in a big city means commuting on public transit, so that's when I bring out my cell phone and type plot and character-related memos. I'm growing a collection of memos that are just itching to be turned into a cohesive story.

    But the thing that eludes me is time at home to sit down and just write. That's when homework and all those other household and family responsibilities call for my attention and somehow writing time eludes me entirely. I'm frustrated by it.

    But I suspect it isn't only a matter of time, but also a small matter of fear and intimidation. I've never done anything like this before, so I shy away from staring down those blank pages. Any advice on this would be most appreciated.

    I'd love to be entered in a drawing for Kelly L. Stone’s “Time to Write.” My email address is childofprussia(at)gmail(dot)com.

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  6. Snatches work for me, late at the end of the day. But then sometimes a snatch turns into a good two or three hours I should have been sleeping. Like tonight!

    Not having any social networking accounts anymore, or a television (I never watched it, finally got rid of it and got an aquarium in it's prime living room space hehe.)sure helps me divide my free time between my three loves. God first, reading and writing a constant battle for second ;-)

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  7. Please dont enter me. good post. This is not just good for writing its good for other things too for people like me who are studying. I turn facebook of when I am studying as its to adictive and it is very much a time stealer much more than alot of people realise. I find for study etc I do best in the mornings so I turn tv and everything else off. Leave my email open to check when I need a break as at present alot of the study requires searching online. But dont turn facebook on except at lunch or after I knock off for the night.

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  8. Helen, my night-owl friend, you and I meet like ships passing... I'm rising just after you've retired.

    Gotta find what works for you, and then be "Nike"... Just do it.

    Glynna, great post, sweet thang! Love it, and I really liked the part about letting a story perc in your brain while you're doing other things. Mostly because I do that all the time. And then when I sit down to write, my next scenes, or next book just flow.

    Well, until they hit a BRICK WALL OF UNPLANNING and then Vince scolds me roundly.

    But besides THAT... ;)

    And I consider those brick walls just another road hazard for my Michelins.

    Hey, Widsith, long time no see! I've done that too, back when I was in a classroom or job-coaching kids which is partially a monitoring job, I'd scribble notes in a composition book or legal pad. And with the busy-ness of your life, each turn becomes a new moment to capture in a book.

    And that's perfect!

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  9. Great advice, Glynna! As you can see from the time stamp, I'm up doing writerly things late at night, or rather, early in the morning. I tried writing in the morning once and ended up staring at the cursor for 30 minutes. Doh! Now I write late at night and on a good day I'll average 1000 words an hour! It really pays for me to take advantage of my natural biorhythm.
    Camy

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  10. I get a writing day today - snow day here in the Northeast, so no school. Yeah! Snow days have been a great help to my writing this winter. But discounting them, I write mostly on the weekends when I can give full attention to it. I find that I can write in the evening after my sister has gone to bed (we share an apartment).

    Writing time hasn't been the problem. Editing time is driving me crazy! I find it takes a whole different set of brain neurons to edit than it does to write.

    Thanks for the post and the encouragement to use time wisely. Please enter me in the drawing.

    teaching by writing at yahoo dot com

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  11. Camy, I couldn't write 1000 words per hour if my life depended on it. Amazing. I'm a slow but steady writer--always slow, sometimes steady.

    Even if I had 8 hours to write I wouldn't do because my little brain is depleted at about 2 hours. That's why I don't like to leave anything to the last minutes and put myself under pressure.

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  12. Thanks Glynna! Timely post. And love the artwork too. Made me smile. :)

    It's encouraging to read what others do. I'm usually a night owl, but up early today. Sigh.
    I don't even have a rhythm and am working on finding one. This is giving me ideas though so, once again thank you!

    (Can I just share that the illustrator is doing a fantastic job AND he is going to the Bologna book fair - the largest children's book fair in the world? Soooo excited! Wish I could stow away. Perhaps next year!)

    Thx for coffee and munchies y'all! I have more Norwegian chocolate next to the coffee. Oh yum!

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  13. Good morning, Kathy! Sounds as if you've found a good block of time in which to write! It really does help to have an "appointed time." I always look forward to mine. Even a relatively short amount of time can be productive if you know where you want to go story-wise.

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  14. Hi, Helen! Thank's for putting the coffee on for us! Ah, a night-time writer. As much as I wish I could do that so I could sleep in a LITTLE bit later in the morning, I'd have keyboard prints on my face from falling asleep on it! :)

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  15. Hey Carol M! Sounds as if the "snatches" method is an effective one for you. We don't have a Panera around here, but I have a few writer friends who camp out at Barnes & Nobles' coffee shop to write every month. When I worked a few blocks from a state park and could slip away from the office for my lunch hour, in good weather I'd sit at one of the picnic tables and write for about 45 minutes. Sometimes a change of scenery is very energizing creatively.

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  16. Good morning Widsith! Sounds as if you're in one of those "seasons" where you have a lot coming at you all at once. So you probably need to set your writing expectations to something manageable that won't be so frustrating.

    I well remember trying to find time to write anything but papers for class when I was in college and I didn't have a family to take care of like you do. I was a "snatches" writer back then for sure, then attempted to put it all together during Winter & Spring breaks and any available time between Spring & Fall semesters. Not surprisingly, I never FINISHED anything except short stories while in college.

    Sometimes now when the "blank screen" is staring at me, I write free-hand on an unlined pad of newsprint paper (the kind you can buy for little kids at Walmart or the grocery store in the office supplies section). For some reason it's not so intimidating so it's conducive to breaking that mental 'block.' I think it helps, too, to have a "set" writing time. Even if just 15-30 minutes each day.

    Do any of the rest of you have helpful suggestions for Widsith?

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  17. Loves 2 Read Romance - LauraMarch 23, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    What a great article and good point that if we take the time we can find the time to write. I am defiantly going to take a good look at where I spend my time.

    fantum2004ATsbcglobalDOTnet

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  18. I tend to be very laid-back and I also have ADD, so adhering to a schedule is difficult for me. My husband is constantly getting on me about beginning a task and then drifting away to start another one before the first one is finished! This post was very relevant for my needs and very helpful---Thanks!

    jprivette1(at)roadrunner(dot)com

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  19. Hi, Nancy! Amazing, isn't it, how sitting down with the intent for "only a few minutes" can break the log-jam? I know if I can just get myself to SIT DOWN and START TYPING that's sometimes enough to kick off hours of work.

    Like you, I can count the times on ONE HAND that I've watched TV in the past year. I was previously "addicted" to HGTV and TLC. :) Amazing how much time you gain when the TV goes belly up and you don't replace it!

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  20. I am more creative in the early morning or late at night. What Luck!
    Cause that's the only time I have to write, plus Saturdays. Don't mess with my Saturdays!

    I do not watch any tv and I only watch movies when I'm making a big meal or cleaning. I do wish I had more time to read--Two books a month is a big accomplishment for me.

    I'm really blessed to have the chance to focus only on writing when I'm home! So I can't complain. God gave me back the hours I sacrificed my writing time for other things. For writers who are full time employed AND raising a family... I honestly don't know how you do it!

    I bring editing work to my job or any appts I have. I agree we can choose what we do at least part of the time. I think about my WIP all day while I'm away from it. Is that a good thing? I don't know.

    Thanks Glynna!

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  21. Good morning, Jenny! (Every time you visit Seekerville, I'm always trying to figure out the time in Australia!)

    Yes, time management and finding "best" times applies to anything you hope to accomplish, like your studying. Sounds as if you're very disciplined!

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  22. Good morning, Ruthy, my early-morning writing pal! Now you're THREE HOURS ahead of me, though, with the time change so by the time I get started you're finished for the day--except for the story percolating stuff. :)

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  23. Hi Camy! I was thinking of you when I mentioned the late-night writers! I have several non-Seeker friends who start at 10 o'clock at night. Writing goes so much more smoothly if you can find those ideal times that coincide with your inner clock.

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  24. Christine -- great plan to write on snow days and after the rest of the household has retired for the night. No distractions. Yes, editing is another "animal" altogether. I happen to LOVE the editing stage--it's the first draft that's the killer for me.

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  25. Good morning, Cara! IF I know ahead of time what I intend to write, I can often write 1000 words an hour--but not for LONG stretches of time. I can't keep up at that rate. Even on weekends, I try to restrict my writing time to Saturday morning as if it goes into the afternoon it gets slower and slower and slower.

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  26. Good morning, KC! It must be so exciting to have an accomplished illustrator bring your story to life!

    And oh, my, Norwegian chocolate!

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  27. Hi, Laura! I think it just takes some time and experimenting to find your "sweet spot." Things change over time, too--I used to have to be at work at 7 a.m., so found accommodating my morning person rhythms pretty difficult, especially in the winter when I needed to get out and shovel and leave early for travel on hazardous roads. So I think flexibility in all this and trying to find a time that's closest to your creative peaks in the day is really helpful.

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  28. Hi Mary B! Even without ADD, that getting distracted and drifting off to something else is something I have to guard against. There's so much to do, always something that needs attention staring me in the face. I try to periodically straighten up my work area to keep it relatively neat and uncluttered by 'stuff' so at least my immediate writing area has minimal distractions.

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  29. Debra -- Lucky you to be an a.m. OR p.m. writer! Alas, I'm a gonner after the sun sets. If you can think about your story all day long, that's a great bonus, too! Your subconscious can do amazing things!

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  30. I'm a stay-at-home wife (youngun's in college now). Once I began concentrating on writing novels, I tried to treat it as an unpaid :-), full-time job. It takes me all that time during the day to make progress.

    I am totally in awe of writers who work all day at another job, have children at home, volunteer, and still find time to complete a book. How do you do it?

    Like Cara, I'm a slow writer. After three years, I'd be up to about Chapter 16 of my first manuscript, instead of polishing my third.

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  31. Hi Glynna, Yes, this is early our time. But those back East are almost to lunch time. smile

    This post is so helpful. You always have the best advice that hits me between the eyes. I know what you're saying is truth, but I need to do what Ruthy says and JUST DO IT.

    Mornings are best for editing and left brain stuff. Internet, blog, etc because that is my most productive time. But creative writing is best for me in the afternoon which is my down time. But the down is good because it slows my left brain enough so I can let the right brain creativity finally flow.

    Its important to know what works best for us and then use our time wisely. Thanks for the post.

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  32. Hi, Glynna!
    Whoever said time flies was right on the money.

    I'm a late night writer. But I have to curtail it some because I have to be out the door for my day job at 5:45. So, I usually start writing at 8 and try to shut it down by 11.

    I also have a notepad with me at all times to scratch down notes as ideas surface throughout the day. And some days when things are slow, at work, I get breaks when I can get a few words down (this is okay with the boss).

    --Kirsten

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  33. Oh, Glynna, you make me feel like a slacker! I don't have a part-time or a full-time job, and my kids are at school most weeks from 7:45 to 3:00. I am blessed to have a lot of time, but it's still a challenge to write. There are still things I'm committed to. But I am very blessed, I know that.

    One way I make extra time for writing is that I don't watch TV. No prime time shows period. No news. No nothing. I hate the distraction of it and hate feeling like I'm wasting my time, so I don't watch. But I do watch a movie once or twice a week with my hubby.

    Another thing I've found is that I can write in the car when my hubby is driving. We have a 35-minute commute to church, and we go to church at least twice a week. I don't write on Sundays, but on Wednesdays or any other day we happen to be going, I can get around 1,000 words in the car in that hour! I don't know why I can write in the car better than I can at home. It's weird. Partly because I have no internet or email to distract me!

    You really have to be driven to write a book. That's what it comes down to.

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  34. Great post, Glynna! With your demanding job, you have to be a master at time management.

    Figuring out what works for us is smart. I'm not good with early or late. I try to write between 10:00 and 4:00 with a break for lunch. Camy writes in one hour what I usually accomplish in a day. Just thinking about Cheryl's first draft marathons make me want to cry. LOL

    When a deadline looms like now, I work long days. I continue to walk--often my only time outside--and do my devotions but that's about it. My d/h is great to take over the cooking and whatever else needs doing. I try to get six hours of sleep. Then pray for health.

    Janet

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  35. I know I work best in the early morning, so when I decided I needed to spend more time writing I changed my evening routine so that I could get up an hour earlier than I had been. I combined that with starting school an hour later (we homeschool - the boys didn't complain at all!) and I gave myself two solid hours of writing time. Just enough to be productive.

    And I have non-writing related news: After six months we finally sold our house in Kansas last Friday, and bought one in South Dakota on Monday. We move April 11. It's going to take a lot of discipline to keep to my writing schedule with that huge distraction looming! But being able to live with my dear husband again will be worth it...

    Please enter me for the drawing:
    jandrex(at)juno(dot)com

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  36. Omygosh!!! I didn't notice the pun on the word "driven." HA!!!!!

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  37. Sure, Glynna,

    make me think of time. To be honest, just about the the time I start whining that I need more time to write. I realize how much I waste.

    Yes I work, but that's slowed. Yes, I watch grandkids. Yes I'm a homemaker, who does those homemaker things. and I have been doing a few edits if late. Not all my own unfortunately.

    But I do like certain shows on tv. I like the history channel. I tell myself I am researching, and while I learning, it probably more true that I am procrastinating and should be writing.

    I set a goal of a 1000 words and make it for a few days with extra words, then I start to miss and frustrate myself.

    Thanks for the new encouragement to write more diligently.
    Please put me in the hat for today.

    tina_pinson at yahoo.com

    Blessings

    Tina P

    I could make better use of time

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  38. GLYNNA SAID: "All of us grocery shop, cook meals, do laundry and house- and yard-work."

    Uh ... well, not ALL of us, if I can help it ... :)

    Hate grocery shopping and housework, gave up gardening (and humongous ten berms in my yard that won me a garden contest), bought enough clothes for hubby and me that I only need to do laundry once every two weeks or so and love to cook but don't even get me started on the meals ...

    People who work full time and write (like Glynna, Pam, Tina, etc.) absolutely BOGGLE my mind because I quit my part-time job four years ago to write full time and STILL have trouble getting it all done!! My hat is off to you ladies!

    I REALLY need to take this post seriously, Glynna, because I am a "groove" writer, meaning I HAVE to be in the emotional groove to pour out on the paper, which is fine if I have long stretches of time, but DUH, who has that uninterrupted??? I might have a full day of that but not be in the groove yet, which normally takes me a few days to get into. Without fail, right when I hit the groove like I'm greased lightening, life happens to pull me away and BAM ... it's another two to three days to get back into the groove. Which tells me one thing -- I am NOT a professional writer but an emotional hack who needs to be WAY more disciplined in my writing.

    And, Camy, 1,000 words an hour??? Okay, I'm going back to bed right now ...

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  39. SANDY -- great idea to treat writing as an unpaid, full-time job. Good discipline prep for when you DO get paid!

    I'm not even sure, because I've had to write in compact blocks for so long, if I COULD write 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I'm doubtful I'd be productive as the day progressed, so I'd probably make all morning (6 to noon) my undistracted writing time, then the rest of the day do all the other stuff that has to be done. Hopefully SOME day I'll get the opportunity to try that! I'd love to see just how fast I could write a book if I DID have longer stretches of time available.

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  40. Hi Sandra! Our biorhythms are definitely different--you're thinking creatively at the time I'm ready for a nap!! :)

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  41. KIRSTEN - Another night writer! Isn't it interesting how our inner clocks all geared so differently? I can get TEN TIMES more done in an hour in the morning than I can in four hours at night.

    My job isn't conducive to thinking a single personal thought throughout the day and I usally work through lunch. But when the weather gets better, I hope to park my car under a tree when I get to work, then go out for 30 minutes for a change of scenery while I eat my lunch. Take a notebook or maybe my netbook. I can hardly wait for warm weather!

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  42. Now, now, MELANIE! The post isn't intended for guilt trips, remember? Writing or at least brainstorming while you're riding in a car is something I like to do, too. I don't know if it's the change of scenery, the rhythm of the tires on the pavement or what, but it seems conducive to generating creative thoughts. I'm not real good at actually writing IN the car, but it's great for letting my mind wander to my story.

    And yes, I caught your pun! :)

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  43. Good morning, JANET! A master at time management? In my dreams! :) I guess I just know that my fairy godmother isn't going to come in and write my book for me so I'd better figure out a way to get those words down in what time I do have because I'm not a fast writer. I'm pretty restricted to the time available to write. Not a whole lot of flexiblity there. But I'm still learning how to better plan my stories upfront so I can make maximum use of my limited time. A lot yet to learn, but with each book I learn lessons I can apply to the next one.

    Sounds like you've got your natural "best" time figured out, and that can make all the difference. Prayers that you'll make your deadline!

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  44. Hi JAN! Like you, I'm learning to push myself a bit harder at night to get non-writing things done even when I'm tired so I can clear the decks for writing in the morning.

    Congrats on the house sale! Slow market right now, so what's wonderful news!

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  45. Good morning, TINA P! Sounds like you have a LOT on your plate. So you don't frustrate yourself, you might try backing off to 500 words a day for several weeks. Let yourself experience a sense of accomplishment for a change. Then gradually increase the word count--add another 50 or 100 words every few weeks.

    I try my best to write 1000 a day--but sometimes when I have to go into work early or something else comes up that I can't control, I can't write the 1000 in the morning. So I split it up -- 500 a.m. 500 p.m.

    Just don't set your goal too high or you'll begin to not look forward to your writing time as it will seem too overwhelming. May even make you avoid it altogether.

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  46. Good morning, Miz JULIE! You are NOT an emotional hack! I happen to know some of the stuff you have going on in your life right now that are uncontrollables.

    And some of that even includes writing-related things, like promotional efforts that publishers expect. Very time-consuming.

    I know for myself, I get thrown off when edits or AA's or art fact sheets have deadlines. They pull me out of the current story I'm writing and it can take days or even a week or more once I'm done with those writing-related chores to get my head back into the current story.

    So NO BEATING YOURSELF UP! Experiment and see what you can do to get yourself back "in the groove" more quickly after those unavoidable interuptions. I think a lot of these "tricks" just come with time. This is all so new to us and we have to find out what works best in our individual situations.

    The main thing I'd encouragement everyone is DON'T GIVE UP. Keep experimenting. Find what works FOR YOU!

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  47. Well, I have to be out-of-pocket for awhile! Will check in later in the day!

    HAPPY WRITING!

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  48. I know I need to weed out TV and Internet. I'm a night owl, but I usually spend those hours watching TV with DH or surfing while he sleeps in his chair.

    I seem to get a lot of ideas in church. The last two Sundays I've had great ideas while listening to my husband preach. I keep a notebook in my Bible case for sermon notes. I've used it lately for a story notebook as much as anything.

    Maybe I should have DH practice his sermons on me at home. I'll just sit at my computer and let the ideas flow. :)

    "I don't have time" is my biggest excuse. This post stepped all over my toes. But I so needed it.

    Thanks Glynna! I'd love to win the book.

    andeemarie at gmail dot com

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  49. thanks for the writing tips:)
    I can write for 30 min. but then need a 5-10 min. break, then back at it again.
    I sometimes get to thinking about other things that are on my to-do list. Which is a huge distraction. How do I eliminate that 'wasted thinking' time? I think I need to focus more...learn how to do that. Any advice on that?

    thanks for the advice, I'm going to add this to my bookmark:)

    I would love to be entered for a chance to win Kelly L. Stone's book "Time to Write"!

    lornafaith at gmail dot com

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  50. Oh mylanta, 49 comments and who knows HOW MANY LURKERS!!!!

    Cookies.

    We need cookies!

    "Box of kittens, STAT!!!"

    Sorry, "Scrubs", if only every ill could be cured by a box of kittens.

    Chocolate sandwich cookies today, home-made with vanilla buttercream OR chocolate gloss frosting from the Hershey cookbook.

    I love the Hershey cookbook.

    And I'm ignoring the 1000 wph....

    My head is throbbing imagining such a thing, it's got to be youthful vigor that makes it possible. Hats off to the Camster.

    If I WROTE 1000 wph I can guarantee you, no one on the planet would care to read it.

    I'm like Cara. We're turtles. We plod with the 1000 per day. More on weekends. And that gets me 4 solid books/year + or - AND...

    Time for the full time job and home, marketing, etc. And I don't mean grocery marketing, I mean the book marketing stuff.

    But I will not let you in my house with white gloves. EVER.

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  51. Great post, Glynna - - thank you! I so admire writers who work full-time AND write - - whew! When I was still teaching school, there was no way I could've written during the week (those kindergarten children were precious but exhausting,LOL) and weekends were packed. Now that I can write "full-time" I sometimes struggle with discipline--staying seated and writing! But I'm working on that and happy to say it's improving. ~ I'm still in awe of Camy's 1000 words in an hour--WOW! Blessings, Patti Jo :)

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  52. Julie, one great trick that works for me to help get back into the emotional state conducive for writing is music. Pick something that's romantic but not distracting. I recommend Andrea Bocelli. He sings in Italian so I'm not distracted, but oh, his music is so romantic!!! I listen to his "Best of" CD and it helps.

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  53. Lorna - I keep my "to do" thoughts from distracting me by keeping a paper handy to write them down. Once they're written down, I can put them out of my mind until my writing time is over.

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  54. Hi Glynna:

    Here are a few things that a business will consider when doing a time management study:

    Buying Time. Can you buy some time? When money is less important than writing time. (More productive time).

    What jobs can you pay someone else to do? What convenience items would save you time? (Cooking, cleaning, driving.)

    Delegate. Can you delegate time consuming jobs to someone else? (Outsourcing.)

    I’ll do it myself. Do you discourage people from doing things for you? (“I don’t trust you to do the wash.”) Take time to teach others to help you.

    Stop! What things can you just stop doing? A lot of time management economies come from finding things that really do not need to be done.

    The Gift of Time. Can you ask for time as a gift -- a weekend retreat – a night at the library. You have to ask for it. Then you have to take it. You must be serious.

    Missing meetings. Could you miss any meetings once a month (for a weekly meeting) or once every three months (for a monthly meeting). Let group know you’ll be missing these when you join. Then miss them and go to the library or some place and really write.

    Change Jobs. Can you change jobs to one that will let you write on the job? This is easier for part time jobs.

    Bite Size Jobs. Always have a set of bite size jobs that can be finished in 15 to 30 minutes. These jobs should not be done during prime extended writing time periods. For example: character names, checking historical facts, character bios, ideas for replacing common clichés (toes curled) with something fresh, and so on.

    These are a few ideas. I hope someone can be helped by any of these.

    I’ve read your book already and the best gift would be for your next book to come out sooner!

    Vince

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  55. Last year, I had a notebook with me ALL the time - and I wrote A LOT during those "between times" - waiting for doctor's appointments, in the carpool line picking up my kids from school, etc. etc. etc. (this year I'm using the time to read, by the way - something ELSE I decided I didn't have time for LOL). These are fabulous suggestions!
    Please enter me for the book!
    joanne(at)joannesher(dot)com

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  56. This was a wonderful post full of some really great ideas. I especially agreed with the 'write at the same time each day' suggestion. I took the NaNoWriMo challenge last fall and this really helped me to reach my goal.

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  57. I love your blog, so I've awarded you the Versitle blog award on my blog. http://wordsharpeners.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/versitle-blogger-award/

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  58. Totally inspiring and absolutely timely but, alas, I have no time to reveal any of my timeless secrets because I'm out of time! Gotta run!

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  59. Tracy -

    I <3 Nano! I've finished 4 years in a row now. ACFW's NovelTrack is a great incentive to get words on page too.

    Went to Walmart today and they didn't have the new LIs out yet :(.

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  60. I'll say here that I went about ten years,when my girls were little, without reading a book, much less writing one.
    Well, unless you count Dr. Seuss.

    So sometimes we need to think in terms of 'seasons of life'.

    You write what you can, when you can, and don't begrudge those precious (and irritating) interruptions. Because trust me, they kids grow up.

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  61. Vince you are a time management genius.

    All of those are really practical, solid solutions to time management.

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  62. I really need to work on time management, I realize that now.
    That was a very helpful and real-life post. Thanks!

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  63. In grade school, we were graded on "Uses Time Wisely." I always got an N - Needs Improvement. No body's grading me on it now, but I still need improvement.

    I was nearly 30 before I made the connection between my grade school report cards and my sorry time management skills today. I'm slow to catch on sometimes, but I'm working on it.

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  64. Glynna in about a week or so i will be about 16 and a half hours difference (we go off daylight savings in just over a week YEAH)
    Its now 8.40am Thursday and another dull wet day by the looks.

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  65. Thanks Jan for the advice...I need to be diligent with writing down my 'to-do's'...I'm sure that would get most of that 'out of my head':)

    Thanks Vince for your helpful ideas ~ especially the one about missing a meeting once a month or so. Got way to many meetings and more on the way:(

    Thanks for your help!

    Lorna

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  66. Great post, Glynna.
    It hit a home run in my heart.
    I'm a 'snatch' person :-)
    Writing doesn't happen as quickly, but every word is a step forward. That's where my mindset has to be right now - and God knows it :-)

    As tempted as I am (and boy am I tempted) to take those hours I work on research project at work or article summaries and transform them into moments of fictional delight - I can't. (but it'd be a whole lot more fun ;-)

    I think for any of us who get bogged down with all the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys' - there is such comfort in knowing God uses our moments.
    Moments.
    And moments stack up on each other to make something meaninful.
    Whether in writing.
    Parenting
    Worship
    or LIFE.
    All we have are moments.
    So, for me, there's a lot of encouragement in the knowledge of what I can do with THIS moment.

    Okay - sorry for the devotional.
    Blessings,
    Pepper

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  67. Ah, this article could be written just for me.
    I love reading all the different ways everyone uses their time. I still haven't found the way that works best for me. I don't get near accomplished what I should.

    And Mary, I love your point about not begruding those little interupptions.

    Please enter to win the book.

    Connie

    bcountryqueen6 at msn dot com

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  68. Hi, ANDREA! Sounds like you have a plan -- let your husband practice his sermons for you! I've heard a number of people say they get ideas in church--either from the sermon or because that's the only place all week that they have peace and quiet to search down deep.

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  69. Hi LORNA! I find it helps ME before I start to write if I make a list of the things I need to do AFTERWARDS. Otherwise it seems like I keep coming back to them mentally, afraid I'll forget them. You're already making a To Do List, but it doesn't sound like that's helping you. When that happens, I find that setting a timer for the length of my writing session helps. Telling myself NO to anything outside of writing during that period and then I just have to keep bringing myself back to what I need to be focusing on. Sometimes if something nags really bad and I'm getting very restless because of it, I get up and do that ONE thing and then come back to my writing.


    It's still late afternoon here in the West and most of you are already well into your evening!

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  70. RUTHY -- I still can't figure out how you write 4 books a year and run a daycare to boot, yet you claim you're not a fast writer. Do you EVER sleep? :)

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  71. Hi PATTI JO! I think we're ALL in awe of Camy's 1000 words an hour. On a "good" day I can do that on a limited basis, maybe for ONE HOUR, but not hours on end!

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  72. MELANIE -- Great idea about the writing to music. Until my hearing abruptly went haywire and music became discordant, I always wrote to soundtracks, classical music, and other instrumental music. It got my right brain "in the groove." Having done that for so long, it took me several years to learn how to write without music.

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  73. Hi, VINCE! Those are some GREAT ideas! There are all sorts of ways to give yourself a little wiggle room!

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  74. JOANNE -- Finding time to read is SO imporant! I heard that Nora Roberts once said: “If you don’t read for pleasure, you’ll lose your edge as a writer.”

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  75. TRACY -- You brave soul! I'm amazed at how many of you here in Seekerville have taken on NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure I'd be able to write more than a few coherent sentences. I've heard so many wonderful things about it, though, that it would be fun to try!

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  76. WOW Tamera! Thanks for the "shout out!!"

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  77. KAV -- LOVE your "timely" humor... :)

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  78. MARY -- I'm like you, I very much believe there are seasons in life. We can make ourselves miserable and miss out on the things we shouldn't be missing out on if we don't pay attention to those often too-brief seasons.

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  79. FAYE -- I think time management is life-time learning thing. Just about the time we think we've "got it," here comes something new to add to the mix!

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  80. JENNY - Amazing that you're heading into your winter soon!

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  81. PEPPER - Great points! Like the "seasons" of life, every day is filled with moments. Moments that we want to be doing what HE has in mind for us to be doing.

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  82. CONNIE - I think the key is not to get discouraged and give up. To keep experimenting until you find what works best for you. I'm ALWAYS trying new things--what I HOPE are better ways. Sometimes I have to step back from my writing (or anything in life) and re-evaluate. Ask myself what's working and what isn't. Then launch in and try again.

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  83. Glynna please do not use the W word! I hate winter autumn is bad enough. its wet again we have had a week of it now and am not looking forward to the cold days and wood gathering again.
    (right now im frustrated with my study.)

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  84. Well this is going to sound rediculous to most folks, but I didn't enter the laptop age until August of 2010. What a wondrous transformation!

    No longer do I have to waste valuable time handwriting then transcribing copy. I can use my two 15-minute breaks to type straight into my manuscript. And I can go sit in Chick-Fil-A on a Saturday morning and plug away.

    The other way I have wasted time is sitting there doubting myself--"I can't write this novel. What if I don't do enough research? Or the right research?" and a million other time-wasting doubts. Not until January, when I set a high word count goal for myself, was I able to squelch that doubting nonsense and write that dadgum draft.

    I sometimes feel I must have wasted more time than anybody on the planet by doubting and fretting, but I bet I have a lot of writing compatriots who have experienced the same.

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  85. This is very timely for me as I need to get back into the workforce full time after years of part time - just can't afford not to work so am job hunting, with some regret (although I wont regret being able to put a dent in that debt!) I've been kicking myself I could have got more done - I had two week days spare a week which will be luxury soon!! - but then, I still have to wait hear back from the editors on my submissions, so I'm actually going at a good pace.
    Some terrific comments here!!
    janeoreilly62 at gmail dot com

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  86. SORRY JENNY! I'll try to be more sensitive in the future! :) I'm just SO delighted to be on the downhill run of "W." Probably another 4-6 weeks and and we'll be wrapping up the odds of having any significant snowfall here. YAY!

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  87. Hi, I just wanted to drop by again. And say thanks again for the tips. They were very helpful and put things into focus better for me. So thanks!

    Oh, and I would be interested in the five page critique.

    Thanks.

    Faye

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  88. Recently it seems I have an 8 to 5 job, and that doesn't include writing time. Is the spring always this busy?

    I'm freshest in the AM, but often find I'm working late at night to catch up.

    I need a class on time management! :)

    Can't wait to read your newest book, Glynna!

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  89. Welcome to the computer age, BK! Isn't it wonderful? I can't imagine trying to write (and complete!) a book any other way now. In fact, if computers hadn't come along, I very much doubt I'd be published now. I marvel at the writers who not all that long ago hand-wrote their manuscripts or typed them on standard typewriters with carbon paper copies!!

    I think self-doubt is VERY common among writers, whether unpublshed OR published. I think we're a VERY BIG "club" !

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  90. JANE -- I feel your "pain" with the return to a full-time day job. I've actually heard some writers say, though, what when they were working full-time they were forced to manage their time better and were more productive writing-wise than when they weren't working outside the home.

    Hope you get some good news on those submissions!!

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  91. Hi, Debby! You ARE up pretty late tonight and still going strong! I think maybe we should get Vince to teach a class on time management--he has some great outside-the-box ideas, don't you think?

    Anybody want to volunteer to do all my cooking? :)

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  92. Oh I fully understand I hope your spring is better than the one we had (the one we seemed to miss or was that what we had in summer)
    Summer was extremely mild and with this weeks weather besides its not as cold you would think it was winter already. I really need to go find a photocopier to examine and write a procedure manual for but object to getting soaked yet again.

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  93. Thanks Glynna:) I will set that Timer and say NO to everything else during my writing time! Thanks for the great advice!

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  94. Thanks, Glynna, I think that's good advice -- to experiment with tricks to get back into the groove, which I will do, especially since I'm hoping to release more books more frequently in the future, so I definitely need to get on the stick.

    Mel, thanks for the romantic music suggestion -- I actually do find that worship music helps kick-start me, so I bet romantic music might really do the trick! :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  95. Great post, GK. And I thought that book "Time to Write" looked so good I ordered one for ME and it came today!!

    Awesome book!!!!!!!!

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  96. Would love to win "Time to Write." I am going to look and see where my time is going and I'm sure I'll be not too happy with my priorities.

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  97. Oh man, Glynna! I just couldn't NOT comment on your post today. You've got my life down pat : )

    Like you, I work full-time, too. Juggling mental responsibilities is tougher on me than the getting up half and hour earlier and later concept.

    I find it tough to switch gears to creative mode after dealing with concrete issues all day long. Also, I'm a relative introvert and my day job requires that I serve the public. I come home beat.

    Glynna, I often feel for you and the demands on your time. I know your day job asks a lot of you, and then then dealing with the weather and other forces of nature! Oh my, I have NOTHING to complain about!

    And you're absolutely right that only the writer can make the choice to write in the time you have or wait for the perfect time to write.

    Are we crazy or what??

    I wouldn't trade it for the world!!

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  98. Great post! I like the idea of taking a notebook around to jot down ideas. I think it's a great idea. These days I need to take one with me to jot down "to do" things so that I can remember what I needed to do five minutes later when I enter another room and ask why I am there. Tough growing silver hairs...

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  99. I forgot to mention I would love to be entered to win a copy of TIME TO WRITE. Thank you for the opportunity.

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

    countrybear52[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  100. AUDRA - It IS so hard to turn off the "work mode mind" as neither of us have jobs that you do until completion and then walk away from until the next day. I don't have a single second to think personal thoughts while there, let alone let my mind mull over my next story scene or jot down ideas. You're in the same boat. Which means when we DO sit down to write, it's pretty "cold turkey," not transcribing ideas all warmed up and ready to fly from our fingertips.

    I've heard it said that God asks us to do hard things--impossible things--so that our faith is stretched and we must rely on him. That's certainly the case here!

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  101. CINDY W - I'm a big one for keeping lists. A "long term" one that captures all the projects I want/need to do but that don't have an immediate deadline and another for each week's projects that MUST be done.

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  102. I'm relieved I'm not the only one who writes in small increments. 2 or 3 hours is all I can manage before the creativity disappears. I guess that's a good thing since I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. I used to try to get up before the kids to write, but it's like they have an inner radar and can sense when Mom is awake. So that only worked a few times. lol But I do try to write every single day. If I miss a day or two, I start getting frustrated. I bought a CrockPot to help with the meal preparation. But we still end up eating out more than I'd like.
    Loved your post, Glynna!

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  103. This was great. I struggle so much with it, and feel so guilty when I can't find time to write.
    Please consider me for the drawing.
    katyleeATcoxDOTnet

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  104. Writing in small increments is a skill I need to master. I do, but it's frustrating to get in, only to have to get back out.

    Evenings and weekends are best for me, but even then, it's important to choose to write over all the other things that fight to fill my time.

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  105. Glynna, I'm sorry I'm a day late. But thanks for this wonderful post! You gave some great ideas that'll really help all of us!

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  106. Thank you for keeping me on track. I get emails from Flylady.net that breaking everything down to 15 minutes of work. One email was about writing a novel in 15 minutes a time. Whew!
    Thanks Seekers!
    justin_autumn(at)msn.com

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  107. looks like a book I'd love to win thanks

    ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

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