Friday, August 26, 2011

When Life Happens…WRITE on Sticky Notes by Guest Blogger Pepper Basham

I’ve been a friend of Seekerville for over two years now, and among the MANY things I’ve learned, there is this one BIG truth:
EVERYONE has a different approach to writing.
Some people have a set schedule.
Some have a set word count
Some wake up at the wink of dawn.
Some write into the night.
Then there are people like me.
I’m not exactly wired like most.
(Oh dear, I can hear Ruthy laughing from here. Takes one to know one, Ruthy)
What I mean by that statement, besides the obvious, is that my brain is in constant forward motion…at high speeds. Blame it on being a mom of five. Or being raised in the middle of a herd of big-time talkers. Or maybe it’s my proclivity toward ADHD but….
I thrive on activity (this does not mean I’m either fit or thin, btw).
I work better in a borderline state of hysteria ;-)
It’s a good thing too, because there aren’t too many episodes of slow motion in my house or at work. (God knew, of course) Long spans of free writing time are as elusive as…the other match to a child’s white sock on a school morning with five minutes left before rushing out the door. (Anyone ELSE know that feeling?)
Or as elusive as a pair of pantyhose that DO NOT have a run the size of the Mississippi river in them? (I do NOT expect Vince or Walt to understand this dilemma – and I really don’t want to know if they do ;-)
That’s the writing life for me.
So – how do I write a novel in the midst of this pandemonium?
Let’s look at a Pepper-equation (be afraid, you’re entering MY mind. Fasten your seatbelts, grab some chocolate, and think in ‘pages’.)
That’s right! Being a writer, I measure time in terms of pages.
Some people have 5 subject-notebook times (about 200 pages). This is a person who writes full-time. Long spans of hours and days, where writing is a central focus and ½ a novel or an entire novel emerges after a few weeks of writing.
Weeks of writing….sigh
I dream about those moments. But dreaming is as far as it getsJ
Others have 3 subject notebook times (about 150 pages). This is someone who may have regular 3-5 hours of writing time on a consistent basis (Ruthy, is this you?), or a jag of focused weeks/months of only writing (I think Cheryl works kind of like this, and maybe Tina)
Then there are little 1 subject notebook times (about 80 pages) which make up an hour or two here and there each day. Lunch break for some of us. The wee small hours of the morning for others.
Finally, there are those little snippets of time which really can’t fit on a page – a few minutes crammed in between a chore or in carline, or several seconds at a stoplight. A nook-moment while the chicken simmers on the stove or you watch the kids play on the playground at the park.
Those are called sticky-note moments.
My life is made up of sticky-notes. Most days, that’s all I get.
To help you visualize this mental chaos, here’s an idea of what one of my Saturday mornings looks like (I work Monday-Friday as a university instructor, so those days are a bit different. If an actual lunch break happens, I might try to write- otherwise, it’s back to the sticky notes).
Let me give you an example:
Load of laundry, wash off breakfast dishes, type a few paragraphs… back to the dishes, check on kiddos, switched clothes from washer to dryer, type another paragraph or two. Help kids straighten up rooms. Fold laundry. Type another paragraph.
I wrote 500 words over a period of 4 hours this past Saturday with this method, which may not sound like much – but it matters.
Why? How on earth do sticky notes make up a novel?
Simple addition, my dear Watson.
Scattered moments strung together make a story.
For those of you who feel discouraged about ‘life’ crowding out your writing time, this is especially for you!
I KNOW what it feels like – usually on a daily basis.
But here’s a hint:
There are little opportunities all around us – God-given sticky note moments every day.
Where, you might ask?
Here’s a glimpse where I find them:
- On my lunch break (when I don’t have a lunch meeting or I’m not counseling a client (or family member)
- Five minutes before leaving my car to go into work
- In car pool line (that might even total 10 minutes or more)
- Notepad in the kitchen for those inspired moments while cooking (you can usually guess what I was cooking from the stains on the paper ;-)
- Voice recorder for inspired moments while driving
- A 13, 11, or 9 year old who will take dictation when their mother is driving them to or from school in the mornings J
- A treadmill desk to type a few ‘breathless’ notes
- Five minutes between chores or appointments
- A fabulous group of encouragers – who keep me going when I’ve fizzled to a stop
Even if you do not have writing induced ADHD like me, the lesson is this:
‘seize the moment’
‘snatch the opportunity’
Unless I’m engaged in active evaluation, teaching, counseling, or family-life, I stay in a constant state of daydreaming. It gears my brain for writing whenever there is a moment to catch J
Do I get bummed when sticky note moments happen instead of a 3-subject notebook moment? Oh dear, yes! But…
As He is ever-faithful to do, God is teaching me to trust him with ALL of my moments – big or small.
Life happens and even those moments come in short supply. Some of the Seekers and Writers’ Alley Gals have been privy to my insecurities, whining, and “I’m giving up’ tirades. But if I truly believe God has called me into this amazing writing world, while still having me live in the one I do, then there is a method to his ‘apparent’ madness in my life. J

Here’s the main things God’s taught me through this process:
1. Perseverance
Yeah, a fancy word for stick-to-itness (perfect for the sticky note mentality, don’t you think?)
2. Patience
Which really just means keeping life in the right perspective.
(Mind you, I’ve not mastered either one of these beautiful qualities, but I’m a work-in-progress)
Sticky Note Moments Tips For Your Sanity:
1. Make the most of them
2. Keep an attitude of forward motion – even if that means sssslllllloooooowwww motion.
3. Trust that God knows what He’s doing in your life (His timing, His calling, our perseverance)
4. To everything there is a season (Ruthy likes to remind us of that verse from Ecclesiastes). Right now the season of my life is sticky notes. Life is happening all around me, from kids to church to work to a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s, to parents grieving the loss of their mothers within six months of each other. Lots of stuff. What do all these moments do?
5. Refine – we are being refined for a greater purpose. Not just so we’ll improve as writers, but most importantly so our souls will glorify the Lord. There is a phrase from one of my songs of which I love to remind myself:
“May Your glory fill my common days, with uncommon mercy and grace
So that all the souls who meet with me get a glimpse of Your beautiful face.”
The hallmark of who we are comes down to the attitude of our hearts and ‘attitude’ is not measured so much in time, as it is in action. We all are given the same amount of ‘time’. 24 hours a day. It’s the action we take (combined with the attitudes of our hearts) that make that ‘time’ matter.
Whether we have notebook moments or sticky note moments, it all comes back to our hearts – as everything in life always does.
God made this moment.
Just as it is.
Just where you are.
Just where I am.
I can take it and squeeze 20 words out of it, or allow it to slip away.
I can look at my writing nooks and crannies as meager food for the writer’s craving – or as an opportunity for creativity.
We’re all on a journey – in life, in love, in writing - and God is the author. That’s our greatest hope!
Because we’re not the authors, we’re not struggling in our own strength to write an autobiography. God’s got a story planned, one that ends with an amazing finish, and he’ll use all of our moments big or small. to get us there.

About Pepper: Pepper D. Basham is a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, pastor’s wife, and university instructor. When she’s not sleeping, she’s creating fictional worlds where good defeats evil, laughter reigns, and adventure thrives. She won the Award of Excellence at BRMCWC in 2009, the inspirational category of the TARA in 2010, and is a double-finalist in the Genesis for 2011.

Here is her current motto: “Three things are necessary, four are required: God’s grace, a sense of humor, children’s hugs, and good chocolate. Everything else is secondary.”

She writes stories (in various genres) that are peppered with grace and a dash of humor.

You can learn more about Pepper from her personal blog, Words Seasoned With Salt or at her group writing blog, The Writers Alley.

Today in Seekerville we're giving away a pack of Sticky Notes, a surprise Seeker book, and a Five Page Critique to one commenter to celebrate Pepper's post and her double Genesis final!! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


Carol Moncado said...


Here's some Panera breakfast goodies because that's where I get my blocks of writing in :D.

But you knew that.

We are so much alike it's scary, Pepper dear. I'm not in a sticky note phase most of the time right now though there are certainly days/weeks when I am, but right now, I'm a bit more like a one subject notebook, with flashes of three subjects and the occasional five subject day thrown in [those are the Panera days].

Saw so much of myself in you describing yourself.

Except right now I'm a bit green because of the whole 'Pepper's a guest blogger on Seekerville!!!!' thing. I think that may be even cooler than 'Double Finalist' in Genesis ;).

Love ya lady!!!!

carolmoncado at gmail dot com

Erica Vetsch said...

Woohoo! Getting to call you about the Genesis was the BEST! :D

Love your sticky note moments. I think that requires more discipline than setting aside great blocks of time to write.

Helen Gray said...

Dear Pepper:

I'm not too much like you. For one thing, I'm much older!

I admire your ability to write in the midst of so much life.

I have three ring binders, in varying sizes. I require quiet and solitude to write. Guess that's why I finally put the writing away years ago when the kids were small and hubby was pastoring full-time.

I've been a friend of Seekerville for about three years I think--and learned a lot here.

I also acquired coffee making duties, which have been sadly neglected this week. Family "stuff" has had me bogged down.

Here's plenty of coffee to go with Carol's Panera breakfast goodies.


Natalie Monk said...

This is so encouraging, Pepper. It really is all about His timing and plans for our lives and I forget that so easily, especially when I'm wanting to get things done on my time table. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

KC Frantzen said...

PAWSOME Pepper! We're celebrating with you!!!


This is also AKA - kick in butt, no excuses post! Wow, the Lord has really called you to this life. Wshew. You're wearing me out!

Ok ok I NEED those sticky notes. No really. I am doing my best to plot book 2 - yee gads - and that's how I'm doing parts of it, stickies or anything else I find so I keep the thought!

I'm big time admiring you. Bee-YOO-tee-ful, great wife and mom, blogger, writer, Seekerville friend and poster... Chocolate-lover AND TN girl! /waving east/

Thanks for the goodies Carol. Oooh Erica, how much FUN was THAT? Helen! Welcome back!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Pepper!! So delighted to have you back hosting Seekerville.

I am toasting you with a sticky note. Hot pink even.

Vince said...

Hi Pepper:

Your voice is so happy and entertaining that I felt your post ended all too soon. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before here! Especially at nearly midnight! : )

Your voice reminds me of Ruth of two years ago when I wrote in a post that with Ruth’s creativity, when she did get the call, it would be for multiple books. The same will happen to you. I know it.

It’s said that if you really need something done, ask a busy person. I think you already have the work habits to handle deadlines and all the rest.

T.S. Eliot wrote in a famous poem, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”. Perhaps you’ll speak of measuring out your writing life with post-a-notes.

I see a book here:

God's Post-a-Notes For The Writer's Soul

Wonderful post.


Mary Connealy said...

I think you need to teach a class, Pepper.

Plan that out in all your spare time!!!!!

Angie said...

Ah, my fellow Alley Cat! Such wise advice. I love how you think. Sticky notes are all over my counter right now, and I find scraps of paper tucked in places with one-liners, sentences, paragraphs...tis the season of motherhood! But besides that, I have finally accepted the sssslllloooowww pace God has me on right now as far as writing goes, and the peace that comes with understanding is amazing!!

Nancy Kimball said...

Pepper, can I just say I love your name? And congratulate you on the double final of course =)

MaryC said...

Hi Pepper!

Love your notebook analogy. I'm not sure where I fit into it but maybe sticky notepads - you know those slightly longer ones. Sometimes it's napkins though. Recently I was cleaning out a file cabinet and it was such a hoot trying to make sense of all my various scraps of papers.

Keli Gwyn said...

Pepper, I love your post. What fun. What wisdom. What a busy life you lead.

I'm an Empty Nester, so I'm a notebook writer. I think I knew that about myself, so I didn't begin writing until our daughter was in high school. Interruptions mess with my creativity. I need big chunks so I can immerse myself in the story.

I have great respect for those of you who are busy parents juggling family and work responsibilities and still find time to write. I salute with you with a sticky note in hand--a blue one since that's my favorite color.

Christy LaShea said...

Hi Pepper!
You just described my life, except with 3 less children.

I usually keep a small journal with me and use that. I've started taking walks at lunch and find I can talk out my story during those quiet times. When I've had 30 minutes of solid thinking on the story, I was able to rationalize some things.

I like your use of the sticky notes and thinking in forward motion.
Good luck to you in the Genesis! Obviously you've accomplished a lot with your methods and madness!

Vince, you may be on to something here....

Pepper said...

Wow, I'm already late to my own party! :)

Hey Carol,
Great minds.... ,nough said

And I am all for that Panera so bring it on!

Pepper said...

You created a 'moment in time' for me. loved that call! I still get giddy thinking about it.

Pepper said...

I'm so glad you picked up the pen to write again. There have been loads of times Ive wanted to toss in the towel. Ruthy, Mary, and my Alley Cats will tell you so. It's tough when the kids are small, but God seems to be using my chaotic efforts so I'll keep going.

Pepper said...

I need to write my own advice on my hand for continual reminders. It is all about His timing....there is a lot of comfort in that, especially during times of emotional drama or mental distraction. :)

Pepper said...

You are a BONE E FIED wonderful gal and such an encouraged. Thanks so much.
Waving back and sooooo glad for another TN girl

Walt Mussell said...

Good morning, Pepper.

I did make a tart. Enjoy a virtual piece everyone!

I know the sticky note feeling as there are sticky note reminders all over the house. They annoy my lovelyl wife, but she gave up on trying to change me. She found out that my brother-in-law has the same issue with my sister (my sister leaves sticky notes everywhere) and now figures it's a family trait.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Hey just want to add that we are praying for all the SEEKERS and SEEKER FRIENDS in the path of the hurricane. Lots of sticky notes!!!!!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Pepper said...

Kids are off to school.
I am off to work- but I'll check back in soon.

Tina - Thanks for the reminder of those in the path of the storm. We have lots of family in VA - where they are evacuating.

Blessings & thanks.

Cara Lynn James said...

Welcome, Pepper! Great post. I'm in awe of all you do with so much going on in your life.

I can't write in the midst of chaos, but I admire anyone who can!

What do you teach?

Rose said...

Hi Pepper,

Congratulations on your double contest final! THAT is awesome!

AND this is great advice....I jot snippets of conversation down all the time but it's not always on post it''s usually on whatever paper I have at hand.

I am not a big notebook writer unless we're traveling, then I'll write in a notebook while my hubby drives.

RRossZediker at yahoo dot com

Kav said...

Reminder to self: Don't forget to number the sticky notes! I didn't and now I'm trying to figure out just want I was thinking at two in the morning three weeks ago. :-)

I love those little notebooks too. I use them to write on the bus. I start a new job next week and the commute is an hour and a half each way. Ugh!!!! Multiple transfers so that's going to eat away at my writing time. I'll have to make sure I have a supply of sticky notes on hand!

Audra Harders said...

Pepper, you are truly an inspiration.

Audra Harders said...

Just reading about your life and schedule made me want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over my head, LOL!

I'm still in awe over the many genres you write, too. How you do it mystifies my mind.

I love your sticky notes - VERY Julie - but it works. I know when I finally result to scribbling on sticky notes, it's a divine inspiration I had better not forget!!

I love, love, love your enthusiasm and dedication, Pep. I'm going to stick to you like glue in St Loo and hopefully some of your endless energy will rub off!!

I'm off to work. Packing hot pink stickies with just never know when inspiration will strike.

Laney4 said...

I'm a reader - not a writer (well ... except for a few poems here and there for friends and family), but I learned a lot reading your blog post today. So you see, you inspire not just writers!
I now think I need to use colorful sticky notes around here more often! I currently write on used envelopes, backs of mailed and home-printed pages, and basically anything with empty space on it. Post-it notes sound much better, although I might be tempted to write on the backs of them too!
Best of luck in all that you (and your family) endeavor!

Julia M. Reffner said...


This is a totally awesome post that already helped me! You have been so much encouragement to me...and once again I needed this message!!

P.S. I carry little notebooks in my purse now. I guess that's my sticky note.

What a nice good morning :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning to our very own PEPPER! Wonderful, inspirational post.

Now that I have contracted deadlines, I get up before dawn in an attempt to write for 60-90 minutes first thing every morning. But the rest of the day is majorly sticky note time--or anything else my pen will write on! I keep index cards by my bed. And little spiral notebooks in my car and purse in case I arrive a few minutes early some place or have a long wait for an appointment. It's amazing how much you can get done in snatches when you finally have time to type it up!

Amanda said...

You are amazing Pepper!!! I too have those sticky note weeks, months, and years J

Right now I'm probably in a one subject notebook, but I sure do know those sticky note days.

Congratulations on your win in the Genesis contest!!!!!!! You most certainly deserve it!

Amanda Barratt

Missy Tippens said...

Pepper! What a fun, beautiful and inspiring post!! Thanks so much for sharing with us today.

I'm a crazy sticky note person. I keep two sizes beside me at all times while working. :)

Also...loved the photos!

Missy Tippens said...

You know, I think maybe I said this before. The opening lines of my first book that sold (Her Unlikely Family) were jotted on a tattered receipt I dug out of my purse while chaperoning an elementary school field trip for my daughter. :) We were riding on a school bus. I later taped it into a notebook. And those lines stayed in the book almost exactly as written. :)

Vince said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
essay writing service said...

Thanks for sharing! Post is great.

Sarah Forgrave said...

Sticky note moments...Love it, Pepper! Now I've gotta come up with an answer to my son's question, "Mommy, why are you always on your waptop?" :)

Myra Johnson said...

Pepper!!! Your life would make me crrrrraaaaaazzzzzy!!!!

But I'm SO glad it works for you!

Seriously, busyness and confusion just sort of makes my brain numb out. I need quiet and lots of it.

Speaking of sticky notes, I've heard and read so many raves about the Evernote program that yesterday (in a migraine-induced haze) I downloaded it to my Mac and iPhone. Now I just have to figure out the most efficient ways of using it.

Ah, technology, the bane of my existence. I love it but I have too much fun playing with it and thus it's often just a HUGE distraction from "important" stuff I should be doing.

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Pepper!

You are such an inspiration! Thanks for taking the time to write this post.

Can't wait to meet you at the conference. It will be so fun to have someone to cheer for at the awards.

I've read snippets of your writing and you are truly talented. Please don't ever give up - your time will come when you're ready!

sbmason at symaptico dot ca

Cheryl Wyatt said...

Pepper! This is a WONDERFUL post!

I loved everything you said but THIS ---> (I can take it and squeeze 20 words out of it, or allow it to slip away) is getting printed out and Sticky-noted to my computer.

I think we go through seasons with writing and I'm so glad you're seizing your moments.

And hey, by the way...NEVER give up! You have what it takes. Rest assured.


Pepper said...

Making a quick stop with some FABULOUS pit-smoked bbq from my neck of the woods and some blue cheese dressing with crackers.
The BEST blue cheese dressing EVER!!!
(and I'm not a fan of blue cheese, but I'll eat this stuff by the buckets)

Anonymous said...

Every time I see that pix of you writing with kids in your lap I am flabbergast@!!

Tina at work on break in case anyone from work is checking

Pepper said...

Your comment made my YEAR!

"Your voice is so happy and entertaining that I felt your post ended all too soon."
Love that! Now just imagine it with an Andy Griffith accent and you have me in a nutshell :-)

And comparing me to Ruthy?!?
I take that as a compliment (but please don't tell her, it will probably go to her head)

Janet Dean said...

Welcome to this side of the blog, Pepper!! Wonderful, inspiring post for using the snippets of time God gives us to accomplish our dreams and His plan. You're an inspiration as you keep centered in the chaos of wife and mother of five, fulltime job and obligations as a pastor's wife.

I love this line you wrote best:

God’s got a story planned, one that ends with an amazing finish, and he’ll use all of our moments big or small to get us there.

Beautiful. Prayers for your journey.


Jackie S. said...

Great post, Pepper! You are an amazing much on your plate! Keep being an inspiration to all. I'd like to be entered in the drawing. Thanks.

bgmac said...

So, so true, Pepper! I totally identify. Thanks for helping me realize some more "sticky note moments" I could be taking advantage of! And yes, to echo Carol M.: Definitely a little green because of your big Seekerville entry! Keep up the great work. ~Bethany Macmanus

Julie Lessman said...


If EVER a name fit, girlfriend, yours definitely does because you sprinkle spice and tang and a little bit of heat on everything you do!!

GREAT blog, my friend, SOOO very you, which should give people a sneak peek at how fun your books will be when they can finally order them on or Amazon. And THEY WILL, mark my words!!

LOVE your sticky note mentality because I am a HUGE sticky note gal, but mostly with prayers and sometimes with ideas for the book or dialogue that pops in my mind.

Other than that, I fall into the 5 subject-notebook times (about 200 pages). I am that person who writes full-time with long spans of hours and days, BUT ... in NO way, shape or format does ½ a novel or an entire novel emerge after a few weeks of writing. What, you think I'm Mary, Ruth or Cheryl???? I wish!!

BUT I am learning from them and am almost halfway done with book 1 of The Cousins McClare, which I hope to complete by December. The good news??? It's not due to my editor till April 2012, so that gives me three delicious months to crank out a Marcy & Patrick prequel, which I fully intend to do ... with LOTS and LOTS of sticky note prayers, of course!

Fun post, sweetie, but then I didn't expect anything but.


Julie Lessman said...

Oh, and SUPER CONGRATS on the double Genesis final, sweetie -- SOOO well-deserved!! I'll be cheering you on, as well as all the other Seeker friend finalists and, of course, our own Mary and Ruthy!!


Pepper said...

(snicker) Right, Mary!
I already teach FOUR!
But, I love the idea of teaching an encouraging writing class some day.
When I have some 1-subject notebook time ;-)

Pepper said...

Love you!
And love that you are in the thick of the writer-mom-chaos with me, girl friend.

Can't wait to see you in a few weeks!

Pepper said...

Thanks so much!
I love my name - but since I've become a risky writer (actually submitting stuff), I've realized that having a memorable name is both good...and not so good.

Pepper said...

That's amazing! My filing cabinet looks the SAME WAY!
Some of my best ideas come out on napkins. I think eating must encourage good creativity.

(I'm sticking with that excuse, btw)

Pepper said...

I can't imagine having an empty nest!
Boggles my mind to think about 'quiet'. I'm sure I've heard it before, but it's been a while.

And, might I add, that you are one of the MOST encouraging people on the planet.

PatriciaW said...

Congrats on your Genesis double final, Pepper! I'm definitely a "sticky notes" kind of writer. I think I've written in most of the places and ways you mentioned. Another one I'd throw in is the voice recorder that's built into your cell phone. I've used this while taking walks, when some of my best ideas pop into my head.

Pepper said...

Congrats on forward sticky note thinking ;-)
It's sometimes really hard to keep that perspective and not get 'stuck' with the wrong mindset. Especially when we're tired from taking care of other people or working all day.
I think one of my favorite things is to remember that God's placed me right where I am - and He's in the middle of it with me.

He just so happens to also fill up my space with some WONDERFUL encouragers and hilarious kids - both at home and work :-)

Casey said...


This is scary, weird and SO writer-sister-odd.

I have the EXACT same cartoon sticky notes! Is that WEIRD or WHAT??

AND we have the SAME computer!

That is just too weird. ;-)

Aside from that, awesome, awesome post. I loved the nuggets of inspiration and insight you scattered throughout the post. It's our COMBINED moments if we will only use them properly.

I'm trying to do that this year with my writing. I've plotted a calendar view for the rest of the year with my self-imposed deadlines for editing, new story writing and starting edits for book 2.

I feel I have something to work towards now and since I do so much better under a deadline, that really helps!

AWESOME post, girl! :D

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, Pepper - can I EVER relate to this!! Those "in between times" are short, but can be amazingly productive. Thanks so much.

Tracy Krauss said...

Sticky notes might just be man's greatest invention ... Loved it!

Andrea Strong said...


Tears came to my eyes as I read parts of this. I'm reaching the end of the stage where I think I'll just "find" time to write, and entering the stage where I know I have to MAKE time to write. You are light years ahead of me with your sticky notes.

It was inspiring.

Edwina said...

Hi Pepper,

A HUGE congratulations on being a Genesis finalist and as a guest blog on Seekerville! Oh look, I think my skin is green!
I LOVE sticky notes, have them close by all the time and use them for all types of purposes, including brain storming ideas for a book.

connie said...

I'm a lot like you, Pepper, except I don't work outside the home.

And I've noticed I write in little bursts between housework, phone calls, errands, etc even when I have the house to myself. I just think that way.

Write a paragraph, unload the dishwasher. Write a couple of paragraphs, switch the laundry.

Congrats on the double final in the Genesis. Awesome!

Jan Drexler said...

Hey Pepper! Oodles of congrats on your double final in Genesis! I just wish I was going to be in St. Louis to see you win.

My first thought when I read about your schedule and your life was that I'd never be able to do it - then I realized I did (how quickly we forget!) - except for the writing. That got put on hold until the children were older.

But hang in there. I'm with Vince. Not too long from now we'll all be able to say "Pepper Basham? Oh yes, I knew her when..."


Vince said...

Hi Pepper:

I deleted that second comment because a writer once really got after me for suggesting story ideas to another writer. “No one wants to write other people’s ideas!” I can still hear her voice. Sorry I was sleepy. I had just woke up.


Virginia said...

Wow, what a great post! That picture of you with a kid on your lap- that's me, but there's usually a baby nursing. (If I get the pillow just write, I can type with BOTH hands.)
LOVED the sticky notes because that's where I fit. I was organizing my notes one night after everyone ahd gone to bed, and my husband walked in. He said, 'Are those our year-end receipts?' Ha! Okay, he didn't have his glasses on, and it sure looekd like a little snowstorm in there.
Can't wait to read these comments!

Virginia said...

P.S. I got Mary's book in the mail today and I was SO excited! My kids were all standing around and I read them the inscription, hardly containing my enthusiasm!

They just mmm-hmmmm.

Sort of looked around.

Then as I opened the book, the bookmark dropped out and they got ALL EXCITED! Isn't that funny? I got a signed book, inscribed to me, and they got all worked up about the free book mark...

travelingstacey said...

Pepper, what an inspiring post! I definitely don't have your energy level, but while I was reading your words I was completely drawn in. I can see that you are so driven to make the time to pursue God's calling of writing. I love that. I want that! Press on!

Sheri Salatin said...

I LOVED this post. Thank you so much for sharing. So many times I think that I have to have a big chunk of time set aside to write. I love how you elaborated. We don't need this to keep moving forward.

Thanks for the encouragement to move ahead! :)


Pepper said...

Checkin in while cooking supper! Hope everyone is staying safe!

Thanks for the sweet-tart ;-)
It's nice to know that your wife has accepted your sticky note addiction :-)

And congrats AGAIN!!!!!!

Pepper said...

Hi Cara Lynn
I am a college instructor for undergrad and grad students on the track to become speech-language pathologists.
My areas of specialty are:
school-age Autism Spectrum Disorders/social language
Traumatic Brain Injury

But I also work with post-stroke clients and kids who sound like Tweety Bird :-)

Pepper said...

And I understand - you take what's available in the writing-snippet department.

Like right now-
Noodles are boiling and I'm answering emails :-)

Pepper said...

Kav, I will be thinking of you on the new job. Tough.
And your hint about numbering stcky notes...oh yeah. A must.

Patsy said...

Oh my goodness, I love sticky notes. If I don't write it down I can't remember it. I write a list of things to do some days too. It keeps me focused. I like marking them off when I finish one!


Sherrinda said...

Pepper, you've outdone yourself, girl! This was a fabulous and soooo YOU! I always feel like I'm talking to you when I read your stuff. :)

And I wanna know where you got those autographed sticky notes? What line do I get in to get some of those? Special order?

And buckets of blue cheese? Really???? Bleh....

Anonymous said...

We should take pictures of Pepper and have them made into Sticky Notes. I love that idea!!

Tina still at work

K. Dawn Byrd said...

I'm always so amazed at your positive attitude, girlfriend! It's been such an amazing journey since we met and I thank God for you. We must, must, must do a looonnnngggg lunch togther again soon!

Patty Wysong said...

Okay. This is fantastic, Pepper! And one that I totally get! =] Right down to the five kids (but mine look a little older than yours).

Loved this, Pepper. =]

Pepper said...

Audra - this is turning out to be a fabulous day!
Vince says I remind him of Ruthy
You say I'm Julie-esque
AND you want to stick to ME at the conference.

Sounds perfect to me, because I tell you one thing - you are one of the sweetest people on the planet! You touched my first ACFW conference with an element of grace and gentleness that I will never forget.

And you're a born encourager.
Thank you!
Anticipate lots of hugs in 3 weeks :-)

Pepper said...

Without readers, there'd be a whole lot fewer writers! :-) (how's that phrase? Southern enough ;-)

And thank you for the well wishes!

Pepper said...

Thanks for stopping by.
We writing-moms are all in this thing together, right? And we all need the encouragement.

God knew it took a 'village' to keep a mom's mental health somewhat intact ;-) We need each other :-)

Pepper said...

I'm defintely a spiral-notebook carrier- but NOT a early morning writer.
My brain has too many things to do to get the day started - but once it wakes up? Well, it's good to go (for the most part ;-)

And I love the sound of "our very own Pepper"
Sigh...that's sweet!

Pepper said...

Thanks so much!
I'm honored to be a Genesis finalist - that alone has been my reward.

And since I take my demotivational lessons from Mary Connealy, as any good student of Connealy should do, I don't expect to win either category.
But I'm going to have SO MUCH FUN just being there!!

Pepper said...

Love the story, Missy! Wow, how great that it turned out to be almost the same as in the published version.

And yes, not only are we similar in our southern-ness, we are also sticky note fans.

Btw, you are pretty amazing too. It was AWESOME sitting at the table with you at ACFW last year!

Pepper said...

Btw, As promised:
Here is a link to my Ode To Seekerville.
I wrote it quite a while back, but it will show you what a die-hard Seeker-fan I am :-)

Btw - I don't know how to hyperlink it.

Pepper said...

Hmmm, don't have an answer for waptop. ;-)
I do however have a big hug for you in 3 weeks.
Are you sure you're ready for it?

Pepper said...

I think it's funny how your organization just amazes me! I use as few charts and graphs as possible- but I'm sure (if I had time) I could learn how to make them work for my crazy brain :-)

I think my writing-life works for me because...well, it HAS to work for me right now.

In the future, I can look forward to charts that beautiful plan out my novels - right? Yes! Please say I'm right?!? :-)

Pepper said...

THANK YOU! And I can't wait to see you in St. Louis! What a TREAT! You've been such a great encouragement along our contest journies together.

Pepper said...

Thank you! This writing life is a lot about perspective, isn't it?
'stick-to-it-ness' (pun intended) and perspective :-)

Pepper said...

Hi Tina,
Are you home from work yet?

I write when I can - kids in tow, on the treadmill desk (where we've had a few chats ;-)

I see that you're sneaking a few sticky note moments at work?

Pepper said...

thanks so much, Janet.
And can I just say that you are ONE CLASSY LADY!

Pepper said...

Jackie and Bethany,

Thanks so much.
And green is my favorite color! ;-)

Pepper said...

Can't wait to see you again! Of course, I will have to fight your followers to get a peek of you, but what can you say? Your personality attracts (kind of like your characters ;-)

Thanks for all of your kindness to me, Jules. I hope we get a chance to chat more in ST. Lou

Pepper said...

Ooo, PatriciaW
There's a new idea.
Love it! :-)

Pepper said...

I love you!
You're like the little sis I never had.
And you are SUCH a sweetie.
I would almost sing "you're the inspiration" but you are too young to even know that song.

I canNOT wait to see you soon! And compare sticky notes.

Pepper said...

Joanne & Tracy,

LOL - thanks!

Pepper said...

And Joanne,
You are right - it's amazing what you can do with 5 focused (or semi-focused) minutes :-)

Pepper said...

Praying for you, girlfriend.
God is big - and He is the giver of Big dreams.
Of course, we might have to take those BIG dreams in small steps for a while.

It's good. It teaches us to rely more on him than ourselves. A very hard lesson to learn for stubborn folks like me :-)

Pepper said...

Waving to Edwina!

Are you going to ACFW this year?

Pepper said...

You might have the same diagnosis as I do:
Writer-ADHD :-)

I tend to think a little better when I feel pressured. I'm hoping that's a good sign for if...(deep breath) when I get published some day :-)

Pepper said...

Thanks so much for your faith in me!
And I wish you could be in St. Louis too - not necessarily to see me win, but to get a hug.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

That was fabulous Pepper!!!
You are blessed with a beautiful family :)
A great post to reread for anyone who cannot seem to get enough time in the day to write :)
Remembering the seasons of life is great advice!

Tina Radcliffe said...

Friday. Friday. Friday is my favorite day!!!

I love home.

Thank you so much for being such a wonderful guest Peps!!!

Pepper said...

You will NOT bother me.
I lOVE story-ideas
And, btw, I really like your blog and writing style. I've visited it several times, but it won't let me leave a comment.
(and I wanted to leave a comment about the runaway bride scenario - SO FUNNY)

Pepper said...

Oh Virginia,
A Connealy Classic? Now I'm a little green with envy. I have ALL of Mary's books and don't have even ONE signed.
Wait... I'll have to go check. I might have one. Maybe.

Btw - been there done that with the whole baby and typing thing. It's so funny what we'll do to get in that little bit of writing time. It's another indicator that we're addicted to writing :-)

Pepper said...

Thank you for the wonderful compliment!
"while I was reading your words I was completely drawn in"

WOW- Words straight to my heart!

Ausjenny said...

Pepper thanks for sharing.
Love the way you describe writing styles. I use postnotes to leave notes to an employer where I clean.

Cathy Shouse said...


This is a great post. When I was part-time at the newspaper, I job shared with a college student. We shared the same desk. She would put the names of her assignments on one sticky note. and stick it to our computer.

So wise. I tend to have huge to-do lists. I do that with writing, too. will set way too big a goal for the fiction writing and then get discouraged. I can see using them your way and also making my writing to-do list very short.

I admire your accomplishments at "work," home and writing. The ADHD had to make it challenging to do all that! Or do you just have a slight tendency? Amazing.


Mary Connealy said...

Wow, wild day on Seekerville. I've been away from the computer most of the day and I missed most of Pepper's party!!!!

Glad it's all here for me, though. :)

Audra Harders said...

Wow, Pep! You know how to host a day!

Don't you just love Fridays filled with fun and...bleu cheese???


Whitney said...

I know I’m late, but I enjoyed you as a guest blogger, Pepper! Actually, I stumbled onto your blog before Seekerville and I fell in love with the picture of the Blue Ridge Mountains (I’m a mountain girl—Rockies or Smokies). And, of course, being a writer myself, found your name to be both unique and meaningful. Is that the name your parents gave you, or a nickname? It’s lovely, either way.

I relate to your post—I think the hands on the clock do double-time when I’m at home and come to a near standstill when at the day job. Finding time to write is difficult, and I love to read how you all make it happen with jobs, children, spouses, and need I say, life in general?

And I agree with Julie—we’ll be able to buy your books on Amazon and CBD someday (soon!) and I look forward to it!



Pepper said...

Isn't it a 'freeing' thought to know God can use ANY time that we have?
It's such a relief to me - because both my writing moments and my devotional moments have to happen in spurts or in motion :-)

Pepper said...

Hi Patsy,
Yep, I have that memory trouble myself sometimes.
Sticky notes are definitely a must around here.

Pepper said...

Did i write it with a southern drawl?
Just curious ;-)

Autographed sticky notes? woohoo! Actually, I keep those two quotes (Ruthy & Mary's) up on my computer as reminders.

Love ya - Alley Cat

Pepper said...

COUNT ME IN! We had such a great time at our last lunch, I think another one should happen in October (after ACFW)

Thanks so much for your encouragement, Roomie!

Pepper said...

So nice to know another writing mom of 5.
Crazy and fun, isn't it?!? :-)

Pepper said...

Thank you for inviting me. It is such an honor to be on 'this' side of Seekerville.
Great view, btw.

I got to know Cpt Jack in a whole new way ;-)

You Seekers are SUCH an inspiration to me! Definitely a God-send.

Pepper said...

Eva Marie,
Thanks so much. I get kind of tickled when I read people's posts about the 'seasons' of life, because my hubby often calls me the 'spice of his life'.


Pepper said...

Thanks so much, AusJenny.
Post it notes are handy in so many ways.
I also use them in 'high traffic' places for devotions. I'll place 2 or 3 verses in places I frequent and meditate on them while I'm there (or passing by).
There is one by my kitchen sink
One on my dashboard of the van
and sometimes I'll keep one on my bathroom mirror

Pepper said...

I have a mild case of ADHD - just enough to get me fidgety if I'm still too long (in body or mind)

Pepper said...


NOW the party can really start!
You're here! ;-)

Pepper said...

I love Fridays in any shape or size! With any food item, btw :-)

But I especially like Fridays that I can spend with writing buddies. This has been such a blessing to me.

thanks for allowing me to come!

Pepper said...

Let me say FIRST OF ALL- I'm a BIG Lizzie Bennet fan, so you are already a friend of mine!

Secondly, thank you for your kind words

Thirdly, YES - 'Pepper" is my real name. My mom's name is Ginger-so we're both a bit spicy (she's sweeter, of course)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Sorry I'm so late, Pepper!!! I came over here a couple of times but didn't get far before I was interrupted by the urgent. My life has been EXTRA CRAZY lately. Usually it's really quiet compared to your life! I would love to have your energy and ability to thrive in chaos. I don't have it. Completely missed that gene! Completely.

So, until I can get a gene transplant, I'll just keep praying that God makes my life nice and quiet and less chaotic again.

My hat is off to you, Ms. Pepper (soon to be Dr. Pepper)!!!

Jan Drexler said...

PEPPER! You are so talented! I just went to read your Ode to Seekerville - what fun!

Now all you need is Bob and Larry dressed in island gear and a bit of a rumba beat...

Pepper said...

That is perfect!
I tried my best to make a piano tune for it, but a Jason Mraz sounding classical guitar (with some drums) would be SO. MUCH. BETTER!!!

Vince said...

Hi Pepper:

Sorry about the blogger comment problem. It is not something I do. Blogger will not even let me leave a comment on my own blog unless I sign in as Name/URL. If I do that, I can leave comments. I have this same problem on many blogger websites.

I’m always happy to have you visit my site. Thanks.

Good luck on your contests!


Janet Kerr said...

Congratulations Pepper,

And thanks for the encouraging ideas...with humor too!


Tina Pinson said...


Boy it sounds like things are easy breezy in your world. LOL

I love sticky notes I used to write on napkins, receipts and scraps of paper and have to tape them up. Sticky notes made life easier.

Writing Blessings and time to post more sticky note to you

Tina P

Tami Brothers said...

This is great. Describes me to a T! I often wondered what type of writer I was and you have shown me the light.

Thanks you. :)


Tea said...

Enjoyed your article. Thanx.

Lauren said...

Pepper - I miss you and I miss your crazy life!!! Happy sticking and I cannot wait to hear all about your conference! Btw, I loved the article.:)

Pepper said...

Thanks so MUCH!!!
And thanks for stopping by Seekerville for your very first time! It's a wonderful place for crazy people like you and me!

Hope to see you soon!
I'll send you pics from the conference :-)