Friday, October 9, 2015

8 Reasons why ‘No Limits’ is Bad for You



Yeah, yeah, I’m a rebel. I couldn’t think of anything on the topic of No Limits—besides the opposite. Because I’m contrary like that.




So if this turns all Negative Nelly on you, I blame it on Tina.

So, why is ‘No Limits’ bad for you?

#1 - No Limits=Bad Physical Habits

Successful writing takes a lot of time in the chair. If you’re not in a chair more than most anybody in the world, you’re probably not writing enough. But that means we’ve got a problem fitness-wise, bodies need to be active. If you sit and do all your writing responsibilities without limits, you’ll be in trouble. 

And if you don’t believe me, would you believe people at Harvard? Too much sitting linked to an early death.




And of course if we don’t limit the chocolate/sweets intake while we’re sitting in that chair infusing emotion into fake people…




You need to set yourself some physical limits. Get up!

#2 - No Limits=Bad Mental Habits 

If we aren’t careful with how we spend our time in that wannabe electric chair we write in, we can also gain some bad habits of the mind. Social media marketing can suck you into a black hole of wasted time.




Without time limits, unimportant things can spiral out of control. Our brain needs direction, otherwise it’s going to take the easy way out. Writing is difficult, but liking things on social media is easy. Or perhaps you find editing, reediting, and fiddling with words much easy than writing, or maybe writing that scene in your head for your next book feels easier than fixing that scene your critique partner didn’t buy.

Don’t let your brain get lazy, limit the time sucking activities and get to work on the hard stuff.

#3 - No Limits=Failure

How’s that saying go? ‘If you shoot for the moon and miss, at least you’ll be among the stars?’

Nonsense. In a regular spaceship going 17,600 mph, it would take 165,000 years to get to the nearest star. (I’m not counting the sun since that’s not what the saying means if anyone wants to get technical on me.)



Not to mention that if you shoot for the moon and miss, you essentially failed. Big Fat F for you!

If you believe you have no limits, one day you may be really disappointed to realize you’ve gotten nowhere. Narrow down your targets, then aim, shoot, and move toward the ones that matter most.

#4 - No Limits=Potential Untrustworthiness

Deadlines are Limits. You can’t get rid of them. Even in self-publishing, if you hit that preorder option on Amazon, you’ve got yourself a limit on how much time you can spend on a project. 

Ignoring deadlines will not gain you favor in the eyes of publishing professionals. The more times you fail to make your deadlines, the likelihood a publisher will give the next contract to someone else who can be trusted rises.

Constantly pushing back promised release dates will not gain you the favor of readers awaiting your promised book. And the longer it takes you to get out the next book, the likelihood your readers will find another author to patronize goes up.

#5 - No Limits=Exhaustion

I’m not good at this one either. When people ask me how I get everything I’ve got going done, I like to joke that when I had my first baby, I got used to being sleep deprived and just went with it.

Those deadlines can kill you if you don’t set up your time properly. 

This is why I’d suggest that no one try to get their first book published until you have a handful of books under your belt. I doubt you sat down with that first book every day and pounded out words systematically. You likely stopped and started while chasing the elusive muse. Hopefully while you wrote that first one, you realized you needed to learn/increase your knowledge of craft and story, then rewrote or moved to the next book with your newly acquired skill set. 

So how can you know how fast you can produce a book? The more books you write, the more familiar you are with your writing process. If you’re put under contract with that first book, how confident will you be to say, “Sure, I can turn in a quality book in 8 months”?

You do have limits. Producing a good book in a few short weeks can be possible for some, but are you sure you can do it if you’ve never been limited by time before? You may end up one very, very exhausted writer trying to make that first deadline.

#6 - No Limits=Panic

Practice your limits. When I was writing my first book, I listened to a few published authors and noted that most were writing a book while editing and marketing. So I decided to start then and there by practicing having 4 projects going at once. I was plotting/brainstorming one book, while writing another, while editing another, while working on my marketing platform all at the same time. Could I do it? How long did I need for each task? 


I’m very thankful I started doing that early. I don’t think I’d be capable keeping up with my current publishing schedule as well as I am if I hadn’t practiced, because frankly, the publishing schedule is even more demanding than what I demanded of myself.  I could have easily become an emotional wreck, sitting in a corner, sucking my thumb with the amount of work expected of me.

My acquiring editor cares about me, sure, but the publishing machine doesn’t hand me exemptions just because I homeschool with three children at home. 

I’ve had to drop a lot of things—a lot of good things—from my schedule, like television (though I’m not sure anyone can convince me that’s good anymore), church choir, a particular homeschool curriculum that was too time consuming for me, crafting hobbies, etc. because I indeed have limits.  If I thought my capabilities had no limits and tried to do everything, I’d end up in the loony bin.



#7 - No Limits=Unable to handle criticism well

 If you believe you can do it all, you’ll be ill-equipped to cope when someone very publically claims you failed. Very few writers are going to put out an award-winning piece on their first try. And even if it is award-winning, some people will still hate it. Actually, my first piece was award-winning (And still free as an ebook!), but it wasn’t beloved by all….
If you don’t realize people’s reading preferences will limit what they enjoy, those one star Amazon reviews can feel like a deflating sucker punch to the gut. 

Or you might think you can address ALL. THE. PROBLEMS. in negative reviews in your next book. However if  you start fixing everything reviewers hate, you’ll likely lose your voice, your intent, your unique niche in the genre because you’re trying to make everyone happy. Limit yourself to making your target audience happy, not everyone in the world. 

Appeasing all of my one star reviewers would be completely impossible, especially since some of them claim that I did the opposite of what another reviewer claims. If pleasing people is high on your list of character attributes, trying to do so writing fiction will likely make you feel like the biggest loser ever.

However, if you realize you have limits, you can focus on the right bits of criticism and focus on one at a time. 

Do you hate draggy books and you get a lot of comments that your book drags in the middle? Then on the next book, focus on whittling down that middle. Whittle until it hurts. Then whittle some more. Let it sit and when you return to read it after some time spent away, if the book still works, you can thank your reviewers.  

Do people criticize you for being all angsty and letting the  romantic tension drive them crazy until the end of the book, but YOU sadistically like it when a book has you in agony with the “will they or won’t they” question? Check if anyone else likes that angst, and if they do, FORGET THOSE CRITICIZERS. They’re not your target audience—you and those 5 star reviewers who liked that about your book are.

#8 - No Limits=Unrealistic Expectations

Do I dare say that if you don’t recognize the limit of the talent you possess, you could waste a lot of time and money on that sky-high goal you’re doomed not to hit? 

I can work on dancing all I want—and I will get better—but if I believed that with hard work and determination I could become a world class champion swing dancer, I’m going to waste a lot of time and money. (I found out that I do not have the talent of rhythm when I was required to clap and sing at the same time in show choir, the only possible way for me to do so was to sing while mindlessly mimicking the person clapping next to me. Otherwise, I’d have turned our uptempo version of the Magnificat into the MagnifiCAN’T.)



If you want to write, do so! Have fun! Grow!  I don’t even believe you need a lofty calling to write and seek publication. If you want to write, do it. 

But if you’re expecting to write something about a snail and produce a poem like Oliver Wendell Holmes’s, The Chambered Nautilus, but your poetry talent is more suited for a piece like Shel Silverstein’s, Warning, you’re going to be disappointed that you never get appointed as Poet Laureate.  Or if you’d rather be Silverstein, but your talent lies in intricate poetics like Holmes, then you’ll be disappointed when no middle schoolers ask for your autograph.

Don’t go through life disappointed about your limits, work with them, take advantage of them, grow within them, and if you happen to conquer one, rejoice! 

Use limits to your advantage and become the best kind of writer you can be! 


Melissa Jagears limits herself to homeschooling, writing, editing, bookkeeping, and keeping the house clean enough that Hazmat suits aren’t required to enter her house. She, however, needs to get out of her chair more often, eat less sweets, and really try to stop writing long before 4 am.....but well, she’s a bit overweight and exhausted at the moment for a reason. You can find her online at melissajagears.com, Facebook, Pinterest, and Goodreads. Here newest book is A Bride at Last, which was written while caring for a newborn—do you know how limiting those are to productivity???? And the next one for up for preorder is with our very own Seeker, Mary Connealy, With This Ring?


Seekerville is giving away an ecopy of the winner's choice of one of Melissa's Unexpected Brides series books. Just let her know how you feel about #nolimits VS #limits in today's comments.

Winner announced in the Weekend Edition!



Comment today for a chance to win!


111 comments :

  1. Yay, I think I might be first and I have hot chocolate with or without whip! Help yourselves.

    What a delightful post, Melissa. Love the baby pics. Ahh, those were the good old days. Hold them tight. That part will be over way before you realize.

    Love the lazy cat graphic. There's a limit to laziness - I'm sure someone is working on figuring out the optimum laziness levels at some university somewhere, lol. For me it's called winter. I have a hard time functioning that time of year. I can watch snow fall, no problem, as long as dogs are snoring at my feet and the fireplace is roaring. Gonna work on that really hard this coming year!

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  2. Lyndee, until my kids grow up, I'm afraid winter is tons more hectic since I can't kick the kids outside! But you painted an oh so nice picture there....I can kind of remember when it was quiet enough in my house to hear a dog snore during the day.

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  3. Very interesting post Melissa and full of good advice! I really identify with numbers two and five!

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  4. You know, I sure get a lot of bad raps around this place. Why, one might think I was the resident VILLAIN.

    Oh, and welcome, Melissa.

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  5. But I like you Tina, you are my favorite villain.

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  6. Melissa, have you secretly been filming me? You just blogged my life!

    I recently gave up one writing group and a church small group. With a full time day job and numerous activities every evening I didn't have any writing time left.

    Now being the church librarian, I love that as much if not more than writing.

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  7. So much fun to read through. I'm exhausted though.

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  8. I laughed! Especially at the exhaustion part. As the mother of 9 month old, I get that!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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  9. I am putting on my Super Optimist Cape and bringing sprinkle covered cupcakes to this Reality Check Party. (Melissa doesn't like cupcakes--okay big red flag right there. I mean come on, who doesn't like cupcakes.)


    I am sneaking #NoLimits spray into all the vents too.

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  10. #nolimits VS #limits I guess I'm a limit kind of gal.. I like to get things done so if I have no limits.. I don't finish as well :) Enjoyed your thoughts today.. Toss me into the dish, I'm headed for that coffee & cupcake!

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  11. We are in total agreement! I knew we would be!

    :)

    This is an amazingly wonderful post with so much good advice, and I like that you practice things ahead of time, too. I've always done that, and honestly, doing that, and envisioning how I would handle time struggles and juggles got me ready for the merry-go-round while I watched folks around me slide off at the second turn.

    Writing is work. It's work I love.

    But discipline is the cornerstone of that work, so I put that first every day, before my day job.

    And I love that you juggled multiple things, I'd gotten that advice from Karen White and Madeline Hunter and it WORKED. It set me up to handle the roller coaster side of publishing, and not throw up! :)

    I'm all over the cupcakes and the coffee, well done, Jagears!

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  12. And I love the giving up advice... I don't watch TV except for 3 DVR'd shows and Dave watches baseball.

    I stepped away from choir this year with too many small children, books, and babies in the family.

    I say no to lots of things because I need to work.

    I assess all aspects of writing, mostly because money has always been tight here, and I've got a humongous family. So I'm frugal, and that's of necessity and choice.

    Snuggling baby time is huge.

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  13. Melissa...an excellent posting...loved it!

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  14. Ha, #NOLIMITS? Two days ago I was so starved for time to write, I jumped in the shower, fixed my tea, and headed up to my office. I told myself I'd dry and style my hair when hubby woke up. I got so caught up in my writing time, my hair dried on it's own, and I didn't have much time for damage control. That may be the worst hair day ever for me at work. But it was worth it.

    Thanks for sharing today!

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  15. Melissa,

    This is a good post with GREAT advice. We all have to learn what works for us and our life in order to be as productive as we can be when we sit down to write.

    Tina, you aren't the villain...just the antagonist that moves our 'writing story' along so we can all get our happy ending(published!)

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  16. HELLO MELISSA! Thanks for the informative post. BALANCE can be so hard to achieve but SO necessary. As long as the chocolate and Chai tea are in LIMITLESS supply while reading amazing INSPIRATIONAL books, I'm very happy. Thanks for sharing.

    Please put my name in the hat for one of your FANTASTIC books.

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  17. Melissa, you gave us a lot of wisdom! Loved your post! I'm impressed with all you accomplish so I'm clapping for you in rhythm to my inner song. No idea what that means. But I can sing and clap at the same time so I'm feeling pretty good about myself. We do need limits, sure, but we also need to dream big. To live in both realms requires balance. We all need a little Nik Wallenda in us.

    Janet

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  18. Great post, Melissa! I have limits. I can't get everything done. I've learned to say no and not feel bad about it. Congratulations on your books! I love reading them.

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  19. I needed this today.

    My husband and I were just discussing this very thing last night.

    I'm homeschooling two teens (and another one is in public school). I have 2 litters of puppies that we're trying to sell/deliver to customers. (Did I mention earlier this week I got a pup loaded in my car to take her to the airport and she hit the door locks w/the car running? Yep. My husband hurried home to the rescue 'cause he's great at breaking into cars.) Both my parents have health issues and I help take care of them. I'm trying to stay healthy because I have diabetes and my blood sugar doesn't like it when I quit exercising or start eating too many desserts. And writing makes me want to eat. A lot.

    My husband was questioning me what he could do to make it easier.So we got a plan worked out and you mentioned several of those things today.I never watch tv until late at night.
    Melissa, I ought to practice the different stages of writing all atonce. That's a great idea. I do it sometimes, but I feel guilty for it. Not anymore!

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  20. It's hard to find that sweet spot (like just the right amount of chocolate). I often feel like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other...no chocolate or cookies then once I start I eat the whole thing!

    Thanks for your post!

    Stephanie

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  21. Ohhhh -- this is so much fun and scary at the same time!!! Love your quirky humour, Melissa, and the sound advice. It's a balancing act for sure -- and keep dropping things! So I definitely take this to heart.

    Now -- for the comments -- Lyndee's hot chocolate comment reminded me that I actually have whipped cream in the fridge and cocoa in the cupboard and it's cold and rainy so guess what I'm going to do as soon as I hit send? And Connie has puppies????? Two litters worth? I want a puppy!!!!

    Don't enter me in the draw 'cause I have all the books! (and loved them! No one star reviews from me!)

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  22. You have great insight, Melissa, and an amazing ability to multitask! I admire all mothers who write with babes and toddlers. I put my writing on hold during that time of life. Perhaps I didn't realize how importent writing was to me...or perhaps my creativity was spent on keeping everyone fed, clothed and happy. :)

    Love your mention of working on 4 projects at a time. You ARE Wonder Woman! Tina and Ruth are as well, so you're in good company!

    Congrats on your success...and God bless you and your beautiful family!

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  23. MELISSA!!! See? This is what I LOVE about you -- you are sooooo wonderfully quirky and different, just like this wonderful guest blog today! This is SUCH a fun post and SO are you, my friend, so thank you for the EXCELLENT advice!

    You said, "Appeasing all of my one star reviewers would be completely impossible, especially since some of them claim that I did the opposite of what another reviewer claims. If pleasing people is high on your list of character attributes, trying to do so writing fiction will likely make you feel like the biggest loser ever.

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!! This is the #1 lesson I learned out the gate and am STILL learning (what can I say -- I don't write about snails because I AM a snail!).

    YOU ALSO SAID: "Appeasing all of my one star reviewers would be completely impossible, especially since some of them claim that I did the opposite of what another reviewer claims. If pleasing people is high on your list of character attributes, trying to do so writing fiction will likely make you feel like the biggest loser ever.

    However, if you realize you have limits, you can focus on the right bits of criticism and focus on one at a time."

    BINGO!! That is perhaps some of the BEST advice I've ever read in a writer's blog, girlfriend, so THANK YOU for tossing it out there.

    I have to admit, I am utterly amazed at all you accomplish with three kiddos and homeschooling -- WOW!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  24. When I see No Limits on Seekerville, of course I think there's No Limits to the amount of Novels coming out of here! Loved your post, though, Melissa and heard your voice come through a sit does I your novels. Little revert, you

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  25. I'm sharing Kav's rain across the big pond called Ontario, and I'm having coffee instead of hot chocolate, but raising my mug in honor!

    Life can be a conundrum. We are pulled and pushed, but when I want to whine, I think of the colonists, the brave souls who risked everything for religious freedom.

    And then I think of the pioneers and how they sacrificed to obtain a stake for their families. People with nothing, became the cornerstones for something big.

    They're who I see when I think "No Limits" because they risked everything.

    But then LIFE sets limits like Melissa mentioned.

    But I look at those early settlers and pioneers and what they packed into a day and it makes me think we've got it pretty darned easy by comparison.

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  26. Great post, Melissa!

    And yes, I can attest to the fact that a writer should have a few books under her belt before trying to get the first one published. I didn't wait, and I feel like I've been trying to play catch up ever since.

    But it's working.

    Good reminders to limit our non-absolutely-necessary activities, though.

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  27. I can certainly attest to having no time with children. I love your humor in placing limits because it's originally seen as a good thing to 'reach for the stars' .

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  28. Kav,
    YES, I have puppies. Great danes. Still have 4 left. But everyone should have at least 2!

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  29. Connie, I love Danes. They're really such gentle giants. Seth and Lacey had a Dane until last year, a big, husky German-style broad shouldered fellow. Gorgeous.

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  30. Oh...oh...Let me catch my breath!! I am laughing SO hard on the inside that a few chortles escaped. Brilliant post, Melissa!

    And BTW, I really enjoyed reading LOVED BY THE LETTER! People who give one-star reviews should be shot by a firing squad at dawn. They probably loved reading Beowulf in school and got an A on their book report and now live in tiny apartments in New York writing bad poetry.

    Please throw my name into the dog bowl for a copy of Book #2 in the Unexpected Brides series, A Bride in Store. I've already read A Bride for Keeps. Keep writing!

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  31. As I get older I have found my own limits. Of course, I've also found, as the Bible talks about, that there are seasons in life for everything. When I was in my season of being a homeschooling mom, I had to limit certain activities to make homeschooling a priority (of which I so miss now that my children are grown). Now my nest is emptying and it's yet another season. Yes, I do have more free time and I could probably write all day but I limit my chair time in order to get a little physical activity and keep my hand out of the cookie jar lol. It's all about balance and, like everything else in life, we learn what limits keep us on an even keel as we go along. Great post!

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  32. Don't forget to pray for Vince's eye surgery when you take a break from burning your Superman/woman outfits!!

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  33. SPEW ALERT ON BARBARA SCOTT'S COMMENT!!!!!!!!

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  34. Christina, I agree wholeheartedly with that chair-limit time. Writing is too sedentary, and I do twenty-minute exercises OR an hour of farm work to keep the heart and lungs happy.

    Can't be havin' no lazy organs!

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  35. I loved this post, Melissa!
    "Limit yourself to making your target audience happy, not everyone in the world." This is such sound advice...thank you.
    As for social media, I couldn't agree with you more. I've learned the writing comes first...ALWAYS!

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  36. Oh, Melissa, this was just too, too clever! And so RIGHT ON!!!!!

    Then I just looked up and saw RUTHY's comment about BARBARA's comment and had to go look! Oh, my, writers are a violent bunch, at least inside the confine of our own imaginations!!!

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  37. Thanks for the reminder to pray for Vince's eye surgery, Tina. Suspect he'd love to be here, nodding and agreeing with Melissa's No Limits rebuttal.

    Janet

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  38. Barbara, you are a hoot! And right on!

    Janet

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  39. Hi Melissa:

    I just loved hearing your voice of reason!

    While the siren song of nolimits is among the sweetest of sounds, it's also the surest path to destruction.

    I believe one should have no limits to one's dreams while at the same time using limits as stepping stones to achieve those dreams.

    Thank you so much for your post. I just love reading well reasoned arguments that I agree with. I think it is a guy thing. I think I'm within your target audience.

    In honor of Seekerville's 8th Birthday, I've come up with 8 lighthearted expressions of ideas inspired by your insights.


    1. #nolimts is a pernicious plot by pantsers to undermine the philosophical underpinnings of plots and synopses.

    2. #nolimits is a manifestation of adult-onset adolescent rebellion.

    3. #nolimits is a denial of death rather than an awareness of its role as the passage price into eternity.

    4. #nolimits is actually aggressive goal avoidance.

    5. #nolimits veils a fear of failure stronger than the desire for success.

    6. #nolimits sooths the conscience of these who cannot say no.

    7. #nolimits removes goal lines to forever postpone failure.

    8. #nolimits creates the greatest limits to incremental improvement.


    I hope these 8 comments will get me into the drawing for an ebook copy of "A Bride at Last"*.

    Vince

    P.S. YES…even Tina has limits -- even if they are well beyond anyone else's.

    *The bride is not a shoemaker is she? Just looking for crystal clarity. : )

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  40. Melissa, I LOVED this post. Your humor and your truths were refreshing to read. I loved your take on #NoLimits. I agree with each of your points, and your practical applications. I think the one thing that I have let limit me on this journey has been fear. So, as I look at No Limits, I'm working to not let fear limit me. I'm doing the work, every day, in spite of what fear tries to whisper in my thoughts. That's what has to happen to make a dream come true. Right?

    And for the record, I've given up most of my once pressing activities so I could open up more time to write. Being a wife of a traveling husband and a mother to two active boys, time is a precious commodity. I'm learning to use it well by LIMITING outside activities. :)

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  41. VINCE IS DISSING PANTSERS AGAIN!!!!!!

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  42. Terri, I was secretly filming me! :) And being church librarian sounds fun, I don't think I could give that up either.

    Tina, what is no limits spray? A dastardly plan to gassing me into optimism? Won't Work!

    Limits=Finish Well. That's a good thought Deanna.

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  43. Ruthy, didn't yell at me? Pshew! The learning how to juggle multiple things is pretty key to surviving.

    Jackie, the hazards of the writing life, bad hair days. That's why I wear my hair long, it's just wash and dry and brush. I always wanted curly hair, but the way I fight with time, it's probably a good thing I wasn't given curly hair.

    Oh Caryl, the limitless chocolate has become a problem for me, but I agree to all the rest! (Not that I don't want limitless chocolate.....)

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  44. Janet, I'll make sure that I stand by you in any choir we find ourselves together in then.

    Sally, I'm getting better at not feeling bad about saying no, mainly because I just really really can't, it's not even me being "selfish" with my time. It's now just plain impossible.

    Connie, my husband is great at breaking into cars too. Was his job at one point. If you ever lock yourself out and he's around, no need to call pop-a-lock, he's always got his gadgets in the trunk. And definitely don't feel guilty about practicing all at once, you should feel smart about it!

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  45. S Trietsch, Oh, I am so bad about finishing off things. It's good for work projects, not so good for bags of chocolate.

    Kav, it rained here last night, hot cocoa with whipped cream sounds good, and since I'm moving, I need to empty the cabinets/fridge anyway.....so I think I shall. Yay for no one stars! :P

    Debby, I've heard someone say people who tried to write with little kids were insane, I think that just might describe me.

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  46. Julie, lets just say, when the kids grow up some more and are more independent....I won't complain! :) And I'm all glowing now that I got a "that's the best advice ever" comment; I'll just hop on over to my one star reviews and take a few spoonfuls of humblesauce, that'll get me down out of those clouds real quick.

    Marianne, I'm always actually wishing I could be more me in novels, but I think the historical setting sort of dampens it. Glad you can hear me anyway!

    Ruthy, I agree, most of us have it so easy compared to others, I try my darnedest not to complain (well, to anybody but my husband and Naomi, you gotta have vents or the poison build up)

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  47. Melissa. this is a great post. Leave it to you to turn "no limits" on its ear. Of course we're limited! By our physical abilities, our gifts and talents, and our particular situations. I don't have little kids any more and I never homeschooled, but I have two jobs, one full-and one part-time, and an adult child with a disability who takes a fair amount of time. Balance Is Everything. Wasn't that our "word" a couple of years ago?
    But we do have to want it, want it, want it, or it won't happen. So we have to make it work within our particular limits.
    I did write when my children were little, and we didn't have TV. I don't know how I did it so don't ask.
    Writing is worth it.
    I know what you mean about historicals. I have trouble letting my voice shine, or at least show, through. It's an art.
    Thanks for the post. I may check in later.
    Kathy Bailey

    I missed Ruthy yesterday because I was out of town.

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  48. Jan, you just got to do the crash course. :)

    Katharine, they suck time, don't they...and food. I just fed each on of them two bowls of oatmeal apiece for breakfast! I don't even eat two bowls of oatmeal.

    Barbara, some of those one star reviews might give the tone of their reviews a second thought if there was a firing squad awaiting! And funny thing about Beowulf, my sister never liked reading until she read that in High School. A funny thing to spark one's reading interest, but whatever it takes! And yes, I always shake my head at the people that complain that my romances aren't 'good' literature and they knew they'd get together in the end at the very beginning. Um, yeah, because it's commercial art and a romance is supposed to do that.

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  49. Christina, I'm going to have to banish my cookie jar in its entirety, my will power flies out the window when I'm trying to procrastinate writing jobs I don't like....bad me.

    Jill, I'm very bad about doing social media first....because it's easier. I'm preaching to myself in this post.

    Janet, ha ha, you're like "Vince would love to be here" and then he pops in right after you. You summoned him up, his ears were burning! :)

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  50. I agree with you MELISSA and RUTHY. I'm not published yet, but I know that when I am, I'm not going to have LESS time. Ever. So I plot and plan one, go through and edit another with my crit partner, and try to market a third. Which is really the first, if you know what I mean. I haven't dropped a lot of things, but I keep them in their place. I run a tight ship, lifestyle-wise, and examine my choices.
    I can retire from my secular job in a year and three months, and I'm going to reassess then and see where I'm at.
    Going away for weekend, probably will not be online, thanks for everything you do.
    KB

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  51. Vince, here's a secret (shhh, don't tell anyone.....in a crowd of talking females, I sometimes wish I could pop on over to the guy's table instead.) And I really liked "#nolimits is actually aggressive goal avoidance."

    Jeanne, fear of failure is a huge thing for me. **Read with Inigo's voice again** "I hate failing." But it's going to happen anyway, so "Fail again, Fail better."

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  52. kaybee, I'm not sure I can conclusively tell you how I do it, besides not sleeping enough and probably not doing other things well. Well, I definitely know the housekeeping isn't done well....or at all. And yes, there's no reason to limit your dreams, but if you're going to actually go for one, you gotta go in stages and limit the things that aren't helping you toward that dream. You also have to limit HOW MANY dreams you have. I could dream of being an author, the president of the USA, a Nascar driver and a brain surgeon, but if I thought I could be all of those at once, I'm doomed to failure, we have finite time. So you have to decide, limit, pursue.

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  53. Look it posted a blank post! Vince left me speechless!!

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  54. Ha!! Vince I love well reasoned posts that I disagree with too!! May the Pantser be with you!

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  55. Melissa, if it make you feel better I have no idea what #nolimits means and I personally am so far beyond my finest hopes of being an author that I am frantically delighted.

    But since I am always trying to boost sweet Tina and whatever she is thinking of, which always amazes me, when she gets an idea like No Limits I always agree with her.
    Especially since she's former military which means 'trained to kill'.

    Also I've spent most of my live under-exercising, at least now I'm being PRODUCTIVE while I do it.

    PS I'll stop now and go take a walk. :(

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  56. PS, no walk yet 'cuz I thought of something else to say.

    To me #nolimits means risk. Get out of your comfort zone.
    Say yes to maybe outlandish requests. (I'm doing a video teaching lesson with a book club in Pennsylvania in a week or two. With no idea how to do the video and no idea what to say--I still said yes.)

    Take a chance. Take a risk. Get out of your comfort zone. Be brave. Be open to wild ideas (not involving say....rock climbing or parachutes) To me this is No Limits.

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  57. "Trained to kill" is right! Has anyone seen TINA's Facebook photo of herself at Writers Police Academy and her kill shots at the shooting range?????

    When Tina says #NOLIMITS, we know she means it.

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  58. Vince now has the world record alliteration post of all time, P Centric

    1. #nolimts is a pernicious plot by pantsers to undermine the philosophical underpinnings of plots and synopses.

    I will try now to top it.
    1. #nolimts is pleased to prove a pernicious plot by pantsers to pulverize the (problem alert) >>>philosophical underpinnings of plots and plans, provided people prove perversely persistent in their prose.

    You're welcome

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  59. I think you're all whacked.

    But I can totally see Melissa at the guy's table.

    And when it comes to business, I'm kind of there, too, but I blame my sons and their savvy business sense and hiked eyebrows.

    :)

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  60. limits are so good! what an entertaining read :) I so enjoy your style!

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  61. The comments are almost as good as the posts here in Seekerville. Trying hard to not laugh out loud as I read during a break at work.

    Melissa, I like your take on #NoLimits. Very good list of things that are practical and noteworthy.

    I agree with Barbara Scott's comment wholeheartedly (along with which Jagears book I'd like).

    LOVE "Fail again. Fail better" - that's a post-it on my computer screen now. (I tend to be failing a bunch of late, but the fails are less cringe worthy)

    I've always been more comfortable at the "guys" table. No qualms about getting up and going over there either. The conversation is more interesting to me. I'm not very girly-girl.

    Now, to get off my dupa and walk a little since my day job is too much sitting...

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  62. p.s. Connealy, I'm with you on the perceived meaning of #NoLimits. Take more risks.

    laughing at your alliteration. glad you worked it out. i'm not smart enough for that.

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  63. I don't like the guys table. I usually end up wanting to hit someone.

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  64. DebH it's not that hard if you become comfortable with it making NO SENSE. Then the words flow.:)

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  65. Just to be nice to Tina, I'll admit that there should be no limits put on you by others (well, except your family because ignoring their desires/needs is not a good thing) but your dreams should not be limited by naysayers. And I have seen Tina's shot group, and I want to keep her happy. :)

    Mary, as much fun as I find your comment that you're making your non-exercising time more productive--please get out of your seat a few times at least, we want more books and more you. Don't die! And I'm afraid Vince will be back with some more P's, face off at noon at the OK Corral. Perhaps with BBs this time. :)

    Ruthy, okay, I take back the guy's table comment if they're talking about sports or vehicles. They have to be talking about something interesting THEN I'll head over. But I'd rather talk about curtains and coo over babies than talk sports. But then, I think that might be the time you'd actually head over.





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  66. Beth, I'm glad you enjoyed it, thanks for coming by.

    DebH, I don't remember who I heard Fail Again, Fail Better from, but it sorta helps when you know you're not going to hit it out of the ballpark on the first try. As the other saying, all professionals were once amateurs. Gotta start failing sometime if you're going to start succeeding later.

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  67. Melissa, some might disagree if they heard me sing. But I think we'll make a good team!

    Fun to think I actually summoned Vince. Feeling powerful today. :-)

    Janet

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  68. Melissa, I'm impressed with your graphics and wondering how you did some of them.

    Janet

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  69. Melissa, Love your post and I love your writing. Keep up the great work. I have all your books so I don't need to be in the drawing.

    Today at Walmart I picked up Mary Curry's book along with Glynna Kay's latest book. Now to squeeze them into my already full reading pile which also includes several Seekers books.

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  70. Janet, I found free photos that would suit me (I like to use Morguefile a lot, not because it's the best stockphotos out there, it's a lot of junk but hey, you can sift through and find some good stuff) and made them in photoshop.

    Wilani, the TBR pile just grows and grows, doesn't it?

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  71. Melissa, I have to say I'd be equally happy with the coos/house talk and the sports talk.

    But when the guys get too loud because some of them are always right... I go bake something.

    :)

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  72. Wilani, thank you so much for taking the time and spending the money to buy those! You are the very reason we do this, sweet lady! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  73. I need to learn to use photoshop. Loved how you put words within the body of the picture and made math facts using pictures. Clever!

    Janet

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  74. I just came back from a walk, Melissa.
    Actually I am walking every day.
    Now I will walk farther, hearing your admonitions in my head the whole time.

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  75. I think I have single-handedly achieved all 8 of those bad habits today.

    Next year, you'll need nine... So, heads up. Bad habit #9 ... It is not good to stay in your PJs all day.

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  76. JANET, Canva is another easy-to-use tool for social media graphics. They have a lot of free images, or even more for like $1 each. Or you can upload your own photo and use Canva to add extras and text.

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  77. Meant to add it's an online tool. www.Canva.com

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  78. What??? No PJs all day????

    Wait. That can't be a REAL rule, can it, PAM???

    No. You just made that up.

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  79. Whaaaaa? If there's a rule against PJs all day, then I just homeschool anymore I mean That is THE perk of that is it not? JK But um, I got dressed around 11am today, that's not all day, so we're good.

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  80. That would be I "just can't homeschool anymore" I don't know where 'can't' disappeared to????

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  82. Oh my but I love this!!! I'm an avid reader (ain't no writer here, lol)...but I can see where many of these points can be related to my own personal life! For example: I set a goal to achieve this much cleaning/cooking for the day (I even have a nice list)....but say my computer (darn that Facebook) calls my name. Do I answer that call or do I stick to my goal and get done what needs to be done for that day? Now most of the time, I stay the course. It's rather satisfying to cross off each thing off my list as I get them done. I feel good about myself. But there are days that I succumb to the temptation of checking my email or Facebook....before I know it, almost my entire day goes by and nothing is achieved! I feel like the worst person in the world, as I look around at the dishes still sitting on the counter unwashed, or my carpet with bits of this or that on it because I didn't vacuum! There are many times where I NEED to be more disciplined with my day.

    Secondly, I absolutely love this statement right here: "However if you start fixing everything reviewers hate, you’ll likely lose your voice, your intent, your unique niche in the genre because you’re trying to make everyone happy. Limit yourself to making your target audience happy, not everyone in the world." Now, I can apply this as a non-writer to my own life. If I start making everyone else happy around me or become a yes-person or stretch myself so thin doing things for everyone else....I WILL lose me somewhere in all of that(my target audience)! Not that doing things for other people or making them happy is wrong, but there HAS to be limits. If I am so tired and exhausted & busy doing for others, than it's not beneficial to me at all. I NEED time to recharge myself. I need to get back to who I am...and yes maybe pamper myself a bit :-) So I must realize my own limits, in that way, I won't lose myself, my voice, my uniqueness as a person! Wow, such a profoundly simple statement....It immediately caught my eye, Melissa!

    Such a great post! I think I needed to read this today, so many good points for my own life. Amazing! Thanks for this, you really made my day :-)

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  83. Limits are some of my closest friends! They help provide purpose, standards, stronger relationships, and can lead to better health and more happiness :-) However, I don't think we should ever forget the beauty of being limitless, because it is during that time when we learn more about ourselves, the importance of having limits, and how having the right limits can enable us to be our best self!

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  84. Hi Melissa, Welcome to Seekerville and what a fun post. Wow, what insight and I really love your sense of humor. Go girl.

    Congrats on those books out there. And super congrats for managing the writing with the homeschooling and all the other things you do. Woohoooo.

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  85. Ruthy Agree with the spew alert on Barbara Scott's comment. Too funny but it fits with this post.

    I needed a good laugh today and there are some great comments as well as Melissa's post.

    Happy and must go write.

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  86. Deb You're my kind of gal. I always liked the guy table talk better also. And I really enjoy writing coferences with mixed genres because then there are guys there too. We need them to round things out I guess. smile

    And like you, I'm laughing so much from the comments as well. Too funny.

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  87. Thanks again Melissa for brightening up my day.

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  88. Trixi, I'm so glad something I said helped you today. Cultivate yourself so that you are somebody others enjoy rather than somebody's door mat. And I'm REALLY avoiding thinking through my post with the idea of housework, for I bet I would fail at all 8!

    Heidi, no limits is good to teach us that we need them, yep yep.

    Sandra, glad to be of service. :)

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  89. Only you would take that moon/star quote and rationalize the life out of it. ;-) Now as for the PJ thing, I'm pretty good a getting dressed in the morning, but I don't want to count the number of times I've gotten breakfast ready, started homeschooling, and then turned around at noon to realize I hadn't brushed my hair or teeth yet. In my experience, newborns are very bad for personal hygiene habits.

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  90. Naomi, and deodorant, for the life of me I can't remember it after baby 3, probably because the second I go in to brush teeth or hair I only get half way through that before there's a crisis and then I never get back to the bathroom. Like until the end of the day and then I go "oh, yeah, I forgot that."

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  91. Look at all these pictures! I just love a post that includes lots of pictures -- especially Inigo Montoya :-)

    Thanks for this: "You are in your target audience. If you're not happy, your target audience isn't happy."

    Nancy C

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  92. I think both ways have valid points. What is important is discovering what works for you as a writer. And I totally admire how you are able to know your writing ways and know what you have to give up and what's too important never to give up. Television: not that many great shows anymore anyway. Family and yourself: priceless. If that means you get up in the middle of your writing day and go for a walk, that might help free up your mind and make you more production anyway.

    Thank you for the straight talk.

    Oh, and Tina? You're never my villain. How can anyone who brings sprinkle cupcakes be the villain?

    One more shoutout. Ruthy, thank you for your comment yesterday. Thank you for all the time with those critiques.

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  93. Chill N, when the reviewers come clamoring, it's hard to remember you're the target audience.

    Tanya, good point about the sprinkles. What villain bothers to use sprinkles!

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  94. Limits are some of my closest friends! They help provide purpose, standards, stronger relationships, and can lead to better health and more happiness :-) However, I don't think we should ever forget the beauty of being limitless, because it is during that time when we learn more about ourselves, the importance of having limits, and how having the right limits can enable us to be our best self!

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  95. Great post, Melissa! Thanks for the advice. I shall heed it!

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  96. Melissa, I love this post. And I think it's wonderful proof of the strength of your voice. I would have known this was you even without the attribution.


    Spot on and yet so amusing.

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  97. Loved your post, Melissa!! I always enjoy the humor you put in your posts. Limits aren't always fun, but they're a necessary part of life. The sooner we recognize that, the more productive and rewarding life we will have.

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, please enter my name!!

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  98. Just saw your post, Wilani. THANK YOU!!!!!

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  99. Long day....please throw my name in for the books. Interesting article. ...amazing young lady.

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  100. Thank you for reminding me about limits. I can get lost in a book, the computer, the internet, how-to shows; then at the end of the day NOTHING has been accomplished, unless it is a bigger disaster!
    Appreciate the iveaway.

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  101. I'm late! But what a fun post!! And you made some fantastic points. I actually put a limit on the work and spent the day planning a rehearsal dinner for my son's wedding, buying groceries to prepare for my daughter coming home, and then driving to pick her up for fall break--her first time home since she left for college in August. I'm having fun!!

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  102. Mary, always glad to hand out the chuckles.

    bonton, strangely enough I do think recognizing limits produces more results, more of the kind you want anyway.

    Bettie, Hope you have a restful night! I think I might go take a nap before I write. Yep, I nap at 10 pm. Crazy am I.

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  103. Jennifer, books...yeah, I can't stop if it's a good one. That's one limit I shred through without a thought, then it turns into "if I just finish it then I can get back to life." It's always best not to start a book if there's anything of importance to do in the coming day or two.

    Missy, I have to be moving and packing and transferring utilities right now, your life projects sound tons more fun than mine. Enjoy the kids!

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  104. Love it! Always good to mention the balance. Because there is always someone out there who whines "I can't do that." (envision Urkels voice). Thanks for the excellent tips and reminders. I can so relate to making those choices.
    Cindy Huff

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  105. In my mind I'm cheering and screaming "YES!" I love your post - it felt like being let out of a box-
    I've a few more to add, if I may: Email needs limits. One little pellet of alfalfa and I'm off hoping down the bunny trail which can lead to all sorts of time consuming, vacuum filling, online endeavors, such as - Forums that are meant for voicing opinions. I succumbed to a forum last evening and am regretting it this morning. I need to learn to limit voicing my opinions.
    Another activity that squishes me back into a box? Reading. My iPhone is loaded with ebooks. I take it to the bathroom. I've read it while watering my horses, during commercials if I ever watch TV, waiting in line to pick my granddaughter up at school. I find myself reading on my phone into the wee hours with all the lights off. I LOVE to read but too much doesn't allow my own thoughts to percolate and develop. (My daughter just introduced me to audio books...Uh Oh.)
    Personally I love the way you write. Thanks for writing. Your books on my iPhone have accompanied me frequently while I multi task!

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  106. jubileewriter - Never thought Urkel's voice would invade my head again!

    Barbara - And yet, getting your reading in like that might be better than my version--read and ignore the world, even the children needing fed for as long as possible. :)

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  107. About to take off on 1st of 3 flights to New Zealand--just checking in and then will read everything in-flight. ;-)

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  108. I love your post today. The best thing is definitely the one in between so there is balance for both.

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  109. I am glad to see Naomi R. posting here! I don't do Facebook so have wondered (and prayed) so much about her pregnancy, delivery, etc. I have been downloading her new Eagle Harbor series.

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