Tuesday, July 11, 2017

8 Writerly Things to Do When Writing Isn’t Working for You



It happens to each of us at one time or another. Life gets a little crazy, the interruptions won’t quit, and we just can’t find the time and/or mental focus to settle down for some serious writing. When the work-in-progress isn’t going well AND if you aren’t faced with a pressing deadline, sometimes the best thing to do is take a mental health day (or week or month) and do something else.

That’s kind of where I am this month. As many of you know, our daughter and family (2 adults, 4 kids—ages 15, 12, 6, and 3) have been living with us since Thanksgiving as they transition to their next overseas missionary assignment. Well, their time here is finally drawing to a close, and we’re all going a little bonkers as they work through checklist after checklist and suitcases and packing boxes pile up in our garage.

So I thought I’d take today to share a few of the ways I’ve found that help me make at least a little progress in my writing life while avoiding the guilt of total procrastination. The next time you’re faced with unavoidable interruptions or distractions, these suggestions may give you the break you need and the assurance that you haven’t abandoned writing entirely.

1. Read a craft book or watch an instructional video. My personal recommendations: Michael Hauge, Stanley D. Williams, Lisa Cron, or Dwight Swain. Investing 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or whatever time you have available can replenish your writing brain cells and ready you for writing again once things settle down.


2. Do you just need to get away from everything for a while? Take a walk. The exercise will give you both a physical and mental boost. Even better if you can brainstorm an idea or listen to a writing-related or motivational podcast as you walk. Have you discovered Write from the Deep? Great for inspiration, encouragement, and motivation!

3. Pull out an old manuscript and see if it’s worth reviving. Revising and editing take some brain power but not nearly as much as writing an entire novel from scratch.

4. Try writing a short story.
Learning to “write tight” is great practice! 

5. Clean up your writing area. Sort. File. Toss. And maybe dust and vacuum while you’re at it.


6. Are your bookshelves sagging with craft books or novels you’ve had forever but don’t need anymore? Gather a few to give away at your next writers group meeting. Or donate to your library. Or trade them in for credits at the used bookstore.

7. Learn a new techno-skill. Is there some writing-related software you’ve been meaning to master? Maybe it’s time to tackle Scrivener. Or are you a closet graphics artist? Experiment with Canva, PicMonkey, or one of the other online design sites. If you’re really brave, try your hand with Photoshop and book cover design.

8. Catch up with social media. Think of it as “networking.” Or dust off that blog you started years ago and haven’t posted on in forever. Let your faithful reader(s) know you’re still alive.

What are some of the ways you’ve found to keep moving forward in the writing life even through life’s interruptions? Join the conversation and you could win an early copy of my September 2017 release from Love Inspired, Her Hill Country Cowboy. There will be three lucky winners today, so be sure to mention in your comment if you’d like to be entered in the drawing!
About the book: Single father Seth Austin will do anything for his children. So when he discovers the new housekeeper his grandmother hired for their guest ranch is a former social worker, he plans to keep his family far away from Christina Hunter. Seth once almost lost custody of his beloved kids because of an overzealous social worker. Problem is his children adore Christina and her sweet service dog—and he's starting to fall for her, too. Recuperating from an accident, Christina is determined to slowly ease back into her old life. But the more time she spends with them, the more she realizes that her future might be with the cowboy and his family.

About Myra: Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Myra is a two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards and winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction. Originally from Texas but now residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered doggies who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’re also currently harboring their younger daughter and family (six in all plus a kitty!) as they transition toward their next missionary calling. With grandkids underfoot ranging in age from 14 down to 3, there’s never a dull moment! 


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125 comments :

  1. Hi Myra:

    Thanks for some very interesting links. I've subscribed to two newsletters and am awaiting the audio download. "Write from the Deep" has a really beautiful website. Worth seeing.

    Ideas to overcome a lull in writing? I like to consider radical 'what ifs'. Like: what would happen if the hero suddenly lost his job? What if the heroine's new best friend forever turns out to be a woman the hero treated very badly? And the hero is a pastor? What if the heroine wins $100,000 in the lottery? Would she want to 'move up' in boyfriends?

    This is based on the creative ploy to think 10x bigger than you have to and that you have been thinking. Like the ad man who was told to come up with ideas to raise $10,000 for his church. He could not come up with any new ideas until he tried to come up with ideas to raise $100,000. While many of his big ideas fell short of $100,000, many were workable for raising more than $10,000.

    Do you know yet if you are going to get to make another exotic trip overseas?

    I already pre-ordered "Her Hill Country Cowboy" Your horse stories are my favorites.

    Vince

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    1. Good morning, Vince! I like your suggestion for trying "radical what ifs." Sounds like a fun way to generate some interesting ideas! That technique would go really well with a long walk or half hour on the treadmill.

      No current plans for an "exotic trip" overseas. The closest I want to be to the sea right now is a quiet beach within easy driving distance.

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  2. Many great ideas here.

    1. Take a MasterClass. James Patterson or David Mamet. This is an opportunity to access industry experts you would never normally have the chance to sit under.

    MasterClass

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    1. Great idea, Tina! Learning while recharging your writing batteries. Productive use of time for sure!

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    2. I was just checking out Mamet's class the other day. I may do one.

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  3. Well I wasn't done yet. LOL

    2. Do local research into your town or the next one over and prepare to set a book their. For me that might mean Sedona, or Flagstaff or Prescott.

    3. Put together a class and send out letters offering to speak to your local ACFW, RWA chapter and adult education department and your local library.

    4. Get a backlog of memes for social media done and preschedule theme for FB and Twitter.

    5. FINALLY learn how to do your own newsletter.

    Okay, now I am done. LOL.

    3.

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    1. More good ones, Tina! No moss is growing under your feet (or however that old saying goes)!

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    2. Tina, I love the idea of the backlog of memes!

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    3. Yes, she keeps me supplied for Twitter!!!

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  4. I don't know why that random three is there. Sigh.

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  5. I'm not sure how I can relate to this post today, but I'll try. I know when things get crazy in my life (which isn't often thankfully), I do have to take a mental and/or physical break. Our new house has a den/reading room that I can sequester myself in and read a good book. Or my neighborhood is a great place to walk or even just go for a short drive. I also love to visit my sister-in-law a few times a year just to get away from it all, especially when I really need a break from things. It really helps relax me and I can refocus when I come back home.

    Sometimes when I'm stressed, I do clean. Not that I don't keep a tidy house, but I'm talking some deep cleaning. Scrubbing is a great way to work off some steam, organizing my desk when it gets messy is another great way to get mentally refocused. I think the best way, is I turn on my Pandora online radio and blast my Christian music while doing these things. Focusing on praise music always brings peace and uplifts my spirit.

    Just a few things that helps me to refocus and de-stress :-)

    Please toss my name in the Stetson for a copy of "Her Hill Cowboy", thanks so much Myra!

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    1. Trixi! Missy sent me a message that you're interested in being a Ruthy influencer... Message me through facebook or e-mail me at loganherne@gmail.com, okay?

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    2. Trixi, those sound like good ideas for any time life gets complicated and we need to step away and regroup. Any mindless activity, like cleaning, painting a room, etc., can keep our hands busy while freeing our minds to sort through all the "stuff" going on in our lives.

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  6. I don't write but I do procrastinate in other areas. I find that if I make a note saying I will do such and such and stick it on the fridge. It gets done. Commit myself to the task.

    Count me in thank you.

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    1. Mary, I do that, too! If I make a list or a note, I give it preferential treatment. It's like the note forces me to pay attention!!!!

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    2. I need lists, too, Mary & Ruthy. If not for my to-do lists and calendar reminders, nothing would happen!

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  7. Gorgeous cover, BTW, Myra. Love and appreciate that saddle.

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    1. Laughing about the saddles!!! Did Vince notice?

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    2. Yeah, me too! It took some doing, but my editor went to bat for me with the art department to be sure they used Western and not English tack.

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  8. I am a procrastinator and have been for years. I wish there was a course to work on getting over it. I have great intentions in many areas, get started and something happens to put a roadblock in my way and instead of removing the roadblock I let it stop my progress. I must become an overcomer and get beyond this.

    I love the cover of your book Myra.

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. I forgot to mention I would love to be included in the drawing. :)

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    2. Cindy, lots of very successful people are procrastinators.... I see this in writing every day, the folks that work best when facing the hard deadline with MINUTES TO GO! :)

      I'm not like that but it sure seems to work for people who need that pressure to buckle down... so maybe it's not always a bad thing? Maybe it's just different!

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    3. Cindy, look up the Five Second Rule by Mel Robbins.

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    4. Cindy W., read "How I Get Things Done" by Robert Benchley.

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    5. Cindy, I used to procrastinate a LOT worse than I do now. In high school I would put off research papers until the very last weekend before they were due. But I also hate being late or putting anyone else out, so I am very mindful of editorial deadlines and always try to finish early and make my editors very, very happy with me.

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    6. Cindy, you and I must be sisters from another mother because we clicked on a couple of other posts, too. Right there with you, sister! Let's become overcomers together.

      Blessings,

      Marcia

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  9. Myra!!! I love this story line and that beautiful cover... Horses and kids, yes! :) My kind of story, for certain!

    I'm having such fun with my Love Inspired stories... I've finished one series and starting another and it's always an adventure to dive into a new area, new town, new folks... I think your cover draws in so much interest. Romance... family... faith... and the horse.

    Must love horses!

    Congratulations on this newest release!!!

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    1. Thanks, Ruthy! I'm hoping there will be several more stories set in this little Texas community. At least one more is coming in February!

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  10. These are all fantastic suggestions, Myra. My answer to number six...YES! Oh my, I was just looking at my bookshelves last night...scary. Lately, I've had a lot of interruptions. Aside from jumping on my treadmill with a good book, writing short stories helps to keep my cortisol level down. Congratulations on the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award!

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    1. Thank you, Jill! I'm just now trying my hand at short stories again, thanks to Tina's fantastic experiences writing for Woman's World. And I DEFINITELY need to work on some bookshelves!

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  11. Myra, I can't wait to read your next book. Please throw my name in your hat.

    I have noticed that since I have chronic health issues. Keeping the notebooks that have each writing project where I can see them helps me remember they are there and when I can work a little on one I can do it. I've learned to set realistic goals and not to sweat it when life doesn't allow me long hours of writing. My mind though is always thinking of the stories so as I have a thought if the notebook is near I can jot down the idea for when I am able to function.

    This is my rough time of the year because of all the storms or barometric pressure changes so it makes it difficult to function and I do what I can when I am able.

    I hope everyone has a great day

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    1. Keeping notebooks handy is a great idea, Wilani! That certainly helps when you have a few minutes to think about a story idea and jot some notes or work on a scene.

      I hope the weather cooperates and doesn't cause you too much trouble!

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  12. Myra, congratulations on the NERFA, I read your book and it deserved it.
    These are all good points. Life does get in the way, if you've got a life, and we need to keep our hand in. I try to do something on my writing every day, a bit of research here, a scribbled alternate ending there, the seed for a blog post. If you're not feeling creative, or the circumstances of your life (moving! helping someone else move!) don't lend themselves to creativity, you can still do stuff, shoring things up for the day the Muse comes back. I don't believe we should only write when we're "inspired," I never would have had a journalism career if I did, but I know there are times when it's difficult if not impossible.
    Because we're writers 24-7, it's not something we can turn off, everything feeds into it, even when we're not actually "writing." Maybe a night out at the movies will stimulate my thinking, or getting my teeth into a PBS drama.
    (Right now I'm doing "Grantchester," "My Mother and Other Strangers," and "Father Brown.")
    But back to Myra's original thought, yes, if we do "writerly things" here and there, it benefits us in the long run, whatever our particular "long run" is.
    It's really like training for a sport (something I only do now at gunpoint, but I hear it works). You have to put in something every day and then when the race or the meet comes, you're in top shape. Plus, with writers, doing the blogs and memes and research saves time for when we're able to create again.
    Good post, Myra.
    Kathy Bailey
    Seizing the day in New Hampshire

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    1. Yay for seizing the day, Kathy! And another "Grantchester" fan! Just watched Sunday's DVR'd episode last night!

      You're right about how we can't just write when inspired. Certainly not when we're under deadline! Fortunately, I don't have a pressing one right now, which is good since life is plenty distracting this month with the kids getting ready to move out. So it feels like I'm just putting out little fires, enough to keep on top of things until my brain is free to create again.

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    2. Yeah, "putting out little fires" is not conducive to long-term thought. But you'll get it all back.

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    3. I'm counting on it--LOL! Otherwise, I'd give up right now!

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  13. Please enter me in the drawing.
    KB

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  14. Myra, for me, it would be to read books. I guess that's a readerly thing, not writerly. (I'm whispering here) But I have a hard time finding time to read even though I know what Stephen King has to say about that. Please everyone put down their tomatoes.

    Reading other people work always motivates me and gets my creative juices going.

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    1. I agree, Connie. Reading good books inspires me (when I don't let it intimidate me, anyway!). Even watching a good movie can spark some ideas.

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    2. I do that too Connie! Usually in a genre I don't write just to get the ideas flowing again!

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  15. Myra, what a great post! I love your suggestions. I have definitely been at the point of being unable to focus and needing to find something useful to do.

    I guess the only other addition I can think of is to stay connected with your writer friends--like we do here. Or maybe with a critique partner.

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    1. I know you've had a tough couple of years, too, Missy. We're making the best of our situations, though--and with God's help, that's all we can do! Yes, staying connected with our writer friends--people who understand us--really, really helps.

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    2. Missy, you are so right, staying connected is my lifeline too.
      KB

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  16. Great post Myra. I'm so in that place myself and my writing is suffering. So what I've been doing is reading books in the genre I'm targeting. This is good to do anyway and that way I don't feel the guilt for not writing at the moment. And I think my story is gelling in my brain. Thanks for sharing your techniques. I'll save this. Best wishes on getting all that packing done. Hugs

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    1. Great suggestion, Sandra! It's always good to read the latest in the genre we want to write for.

      And I'm trying to stay far, far away from the kids' packing. I'm afraid I would only add to the confusion!

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    2. Sandy, that is a GREAT idea. Because reading is learning, and it's fun.
      KB

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  17. Hi Myra, what a great post. I love your suggestions. One thing my son has taught me about are podcasts. There are writing podcasts or sometimes I'll pick a topic I'm researching. I've listened to these on my phone while driving or walking.
    Congrats on your new book! I'd love to be entered in the drawing.
    I wish you and your family the best as they prepare for their next mission. Blessings to you all!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie!

      There are lots of good podcasts out there! The other thing I sometimes do on long car trips or when I just need a creative break is listen to a recording from a writing workshop. ACFW and RWA have some really good ones!

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  18. Myra, great post! I'd love to be entered for a copy of your book! When I need a break, I like to read other books or go for a run.

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    1. Reading . . . running . . . a no-brainer choice for me!!! I'll take the book every time! 😜

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    2. haha! I'm so glad our church did the Couch to 5k two years ago. I never knew I enjoyed running. It took me a year to figure it out though lol. Coordinating running, breathing, moving, but it's been so much fun! Clears the mind, gives me time to pray, and time alone. If I could just figure out a way to run and read at the same time...

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    3. I have had the Couch to 5K app on my phone for a few years. I tried it. Just could never work up to more than a fast walk or keep progressing with their intervals. So I have had to face the truth. I am a wimp!

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  19. Myra, great post!

    When life interrupts my flow, like others, I read, listen to music, or go somewhere inspirational - (Hello, Starbucks. Of course, the nearest one's 17 miles down the road... Bummer.)

    To make it seem like I'm still "creating," I carry a pack of notecards (I like the flip ones with the binder ring) and I jot down ideas, character sketches, etc. as I go throughout the day. Yes, I have been known to do this in the check-out line at the store. I always pretend like I'm checking things off my list, when really, I'm doing a character sketch of the guy in front of me. The one who's purchasing three six packs, two bags of corn chips, and an inflatable raft. Hmmm... ;) )

    Yes, please toss my name in the hat. Thank you!

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    1. Great tip about keeping notecards handy! You never know when something from daily life will spark an idea.

      Sorry the nearest Starbucks is so far away. I never really thought of Starbucks as being "inspirational"--LOL!--but maybe if you're people-watching . . .

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    2. Well...there IS that. But...it's that heavenly scent, Myra. The scent of those glorious coffee beans... Mmmm... They take me to heaven's portals. :) Lol

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    3. I have . . . no words . . . ☕️☕️☕️

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    4. Cynthia, I love the notecard idea. I may or may not be guilty of taking a picture on my cellphone of interesting people that I think would make great characters.

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    5. Sharee! Undercover character sleuthing! So clever!

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  20. Myra, thanks for writing this. I go back and forth through that empty nest thing too.
    I just went through the whole purge the office thing (procrastinating) and it really feels good to be organized again. I love messing things up but become unproductive with the clutter reaches ankle depth. (kidding- I really don't like it if my pencils aren't sharpened)
    My suggestion, if a person can manage the time, is to take a short vacation away from or into a place that will give you ideas for your stories. A day trip to the lake, a trip to a small village, or new community. Or an afternoon to a museum or exhibit- we have something called Missouri town, a living period community. Just moving into another world for a few hours can change a person's out look.
    Blessings and I'd love to be in the drawing

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    1. That's so true--a change of scenery can work wonders! Missouri town sounds really interesting. What era is it from?

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    2. Missouri Town is life in 1855. It's people living life in that period children and adults, men driving oxen, women feeding hogs , chickens and all of the other activities.

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    3. Sounds interesting! It would be excellent for historical research! Sounds kind of like a place Janet took us to when ACFW was in Indianapolis a few years ago. Connor Prairie, I think it was called.

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  21. Myra, these are great ideas for staying in the "writing game" when life gets in the way or our batteries need recharging! I'm going to check out your Write from Deep link.

    Right now I'm revising a story and praying for God to give me the next step, the next story. I'm open to His will. My step into the Jordan River so to speak is to sit down at the keyboard ready to receive what He gives and see where that leads.

    Janet

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    1. Janet, I know you and so many other historical authors are facing a lot of uncertainty with the changes at Harlequin. Praying for insights to come and doors to open!

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  22. I love this, Myra. I usually think of those things as procrastinating, so it's nice to have permission. :)

    I guess really it's all in the mindset. If you have time to write, and do other things instead, that's not good. But if you are squeezing other writing-related tasks into bits of time, that's a positive thing.

    Maybe.

    Best of wishes going to your daughter and her family as they set off again.

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    1. Thanks, Cate! I don't think very well, at least creatively, when there are a lot of distractions happening around me, so I'm trying to make the best of this confusing time by checking some random writing-related things off my to-do list.

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    2. I understand that completely, Myra. There are certain times during the school year that I'm hard pressed to accomplish anything creatively because there are just too many other demands on my emotional energy.

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  23. "It isn't procrastinating if something's getting done." #loveit

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    1. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! πŸ˜‰

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    2. "It's not procrastinating if something's getting done."

      I don't agree with this. All my procrastinating involves getting lower priority stuff done that is less painful to do.

      "No matter what you are doing or how hard you are working, it's still procrastinating if you're not doing your top priority work."

      I'm procrastinating right now! I should be working on my RPP book but at least I'm doing something that may help others.

      To point:

      This morning I've listened to one David Mamet class, two "Write from the Deep" podcasts, (Karen Ball, part of "Write from the Deep" is a Deep POV guru, btw.) I've read the 11 Top Takeaways from Story Genius, I've posted to Seekerville and I did food shopping during senior day to save 20%...and its all still been procrastination!!!

      There are a lot of busy hands in the devil's workshop, too. :)

      Vince

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    3. Well, we do what we can, Vince. These days, my brain can't handle much more than this kind of "proactive procrastination." So I'm telling myself these little odd jobs getting done mean they will be off my mind when I finally do have the creative energy to actually write.

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    4. Well, you are entitled to timeouts. And that's a horse of a completely different color. I'd say you're doing fine.

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    5. I appreciate the reprieve! :)

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  24. Myra, I love this list! Thanks for sharing.

    I must admit, I'd accomplish more if I did all the things on the list except social media. It's such a time drain. I tell myself I'll just check in for a few minutes, and before I know it, hours have passed. :)

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    1. Social media is definitely a mixed blessing. You have to exert a lot of self-control. Not easy, I know!

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  25. Great post, Myra. During the school year when I am substituting and working at the book store, it can be hard sometimes to keep up with my writing. I try to write at school when I can. I also find going for a walk to be a good way to work through writing issues. Reading is good or also doing marketing type work, like looking for new markets for stories already written.

    Please enter me for the book.

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    1. Yes, I have been doing some marketing odds and ends during this crazy time. Any little thing makes me feel like I'm not being totally unproductive. I should take more walks, though. It would get me out of the house while everything is in such chaos!

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  26. Myra, such a great post! I've char a summer of crazy schedules, and it's discouraging to want to spend time with my characters but not having the time/mental capacity to do so. But, your other ideas? They make a to. Of sense. I'm taking a blogging break this month. Maybe I can use part of this time to implement a better social media plan.

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    1. Jeanne, I totally get it when we theoretically have time time to write, but because of everything going on around us, the mental capacity to concentrate and create just isn't there. That's where I am this summer.

      So we have to do whatever works for us in the situation we're in. And no guilt allowed!

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  27. Myra, I know you must have mixed emotions with your family leaving. My mother's heart feels your struggle.

    We spent last week with our family at the beach. I tried to work but with four little ones who are the apples of my eye, it was hard to focus on anything except them! But I did relax, laughed and played and came home tired but happy. I'm calling that a win-win!

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    1. Definitely a win-win! Family time is irreplaceable!

      Yes, lots of mixed emotions going on. I wish they were moving next door instead of clear across the ocean.

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  28. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), I think I've done every one of these tasks this week, and then some. lol

    The only thing you didn't mention was to finish taxes on that extension you filed months ago. Ahem.

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    1. Taxes??? Now, THAT does NOT sound like fun, Pam!

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    2. Well, Myra, you didn't say it had to be FUN. lol

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  29. I have enjoyed listening to Michael Hauge while going to and from work. He is an incredible resource for plotting. But when I get home, it is nose to the grind. Not much time to write, so I must buckle down. Of course, getting up to walk around the flower bed, or change a load of laundry always helps me refocus when I've been at the screen too long. ;)

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    1. Good tips, Sherrinda! I need to make myself get up from the computer more frequently during the day. I've gotten into some unhealthy sitting habits over the last few months.

      And I agree about Michael Hauge!

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  30. Thanks for such a timely post, Myra!! This week I'm leading a group of squirrely, whiny, needy almost-first-graders at church day camp, and my brain is FRIED. Thank you for giving me permission to put the WIP on the back burner and tackle the TBR pile guilt free.

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    1. Oh, Amanda!!!!! My 6-year-old granddaughter is all the almost-first-grader I can handle at one time! You are sooooo brave!!!!

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    2. Yeah, I'm learning the almost-first-grader set is not my bag. I led my older son's second grade group last year, and they were squirrely, but most of them had been there before and knew what to expect. Not so with the first graders. Only 3 days to go...

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    3. Good luck! Honestly, the age group that about did me in was when I attempted to teach the 8th-grade Sunday school class several years ago! NEVER AGAIN!!!!!

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  31. I was going to stress reading but see that a lot of people already added that! :)

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    1. The perfect escape from reality!

      Actually, I read this as "stress-reading," as in reading when under stress. Which might be pretty accurate at times.

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  33. Oh, Myra, GREAT TIPS, my friend!!

    The thing that works for me every time is to listen to worship music on the treadmill. I swear, it's the best way I can clear writer's block. Uh, that and going out to dinner! ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Julie, FOOD. Yes FOOD is a wonderful brain motivator. :)

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    2. Glad you found what helps you, Julie. My problem right now isn't exactly writer's block. It's fried brain from so much going on around me. But dinner out sounds like a good plan!

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  34. Myra, I love these suggestions. I love brainstorming with my CPs when I'm stuck whenever possible.

    If I start to stress about how much I'm not getting done, the creativity shuts off. So sometimes I binge watch Gilmore Girls. It makes me happy. Happy thoughts lead to creative ones.

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    1. I'm definitely in a creativity slump with all the chaos at my house. I've never watched Gilmore Girls, but my daughter and pret-teen granddaughter love it.

      My guilty pleasure this summer is binge watching Heartland. We're about to complete the second season. Such a cute show, especially if you love horses!

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    2. I love HEARTLAND, too, Myra! Horses give me goosebumps! They are certainly one of God's finest creations.

      Marcia

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    3. I really miss riding. It's been over 11 years since I've had a chance--ever since we left Houston and my friends at the therapeutic riding center.

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  35. Myra, congratulations on all your awards...you certainly deserve them. I can tell you put everything into your Seekerville posts, and your books reflect that, too.

    Since my WIP features a cowboy, I'd love to be entered in your giveaway.

    I usually drag out all my copies of posts on the craft that I've printed out over the years. I have them all organized in to 30 notebooks! I read the posts on the part of my story I'm having the most trouble with. This usually sparks my brain, and I can get a few words down.

    I'm an undercover picture taker, too! I've been known to snap photos of sports figures right off the TV screen! I do this with my tablet so as not to arouse my hubby's suspicion...he thinks I'm reading on my Kindle!

    Thanks so much for your daughter's family service to God and country. We are in such a need for goodness and mercy in this world.

    Blessings,

    Marcia

    p.s. I just purchased Michael Hauge's class from Udemy. I'm going to listen to it after dinner to see what all the fuss is about. (Thanks, Tina!!)

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    1. Thank you for your sweet words, Marcia!

      Wow, 30 notebooks??? You are diligent! Great that you have them organized by topic so you can find what you need. And I promise not to tell anyone you're secretly taking photos with your tablet!

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  36. Great post, Myra! Love all these ideas. I need to work on #5 for sure. Thank you, and congratulations on your recent awards!!

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    1. Thanks, Laura! I will have to spend a little time reorganizing my office after the kids leave. Right now, it's hard to even get to the door!

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  37. Great advice. Blessings on your daughter's work.

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    1. Thank you, Boo! We are very proud of them, but it's always hard to send them on their way.

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  38. Oh, Myra, I'm beginning to think interruptions are the norm in my life. That's a great suggestion about reading a craft book, even just a few minutes a day.

    I dug up an old story (from 2013) and, to my shock, totally enjoyed reading it. It was one of those 'did I really write that?' situations -- and I mean that in a good way. As you said, it didn't take as much brain power to do a final edit. Now it's off to beta readers.

    I will definitely buy your new book. I love the Hill Country. I go there every chance I get. The peaches in Fredericksburg are great right now!

    Nancy

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    1. I know what you mean, Nancy. The interruptions always seem to crop up in one form or another.

      Great that you enjoyed your older ms so much and were able to polish it for your beta readers! I hope good things come of it!

      Oh, Hill Country peaches--yum! The Carolina crops got hit pretty hard with a late-season freeze, so they're not doing so well. My brother still lives in the Hill Country, not far from Kerrville. Haven't been to see him in a couple of years now.

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  39. Myra, thanks for your post about distractions. When I have to take my daughter to the eye doctor (she has a rare condition that requires MRIs and frequent eye surgeries), I usually go to my B & C list and bring along my critique partner's latest chapter as I can easily read some of it in the first waiting room, then critique a couple of pages in the second waiting room, and so on. Thanks for more ideas about how to keep writing in those times.

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    1. Tanya, that's smart taking something along that you can easily work on while you wait. So sorry your daughter has to go through all these tests and surgeries, though!

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  40. My writing area is a bit in use, as my son is home from college (and I'm glad to have him home). However, I do try to keep it clean.

    I best like #7, as I'm woeful in technical items.

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    1. Oh, I know the feeling. We miss the kids when they're gone, but when they're home, they sure turn life upside down!

      We're never too old to learn something new, Walt! I've been attempting to broaden my Photoshop skills. Very challenging but fun!

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  41. Great ideas! Thanks for the links you included - I can't wait to start listening.

    Please enter me in the contest for the book. It sounds like a winner!

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    1. I forgot to add that I like to go to the library or local museum when I'm 'stuck'. I live on an island (that doesn't feel like an Island) & we have a great little museum with lots of juicy ideas for stories. :)

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    2. Thanks for stopping in, Iahlah! Libraries and museums can be sources of all kinds of inspiration, can't they? Your island sounds delightful!

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  42. Love your suggestions. My favorite is probably "read a craft book" but "take a walk" and "clean up your office" are second and third. When I'm resisting writing, I also love to read Seekerville novels, so put me in the list, please!

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    1. Dana, we're always delighted with "read a Seekerville novel" is on the list! πŸ˜‰

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  43. Just found your excellent post. Thank you. I like the idea of doing something when the mental focus just can't be found. I hope your house is large! Would love to be entered in your draw.

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    1. Hi, Linda! Unfortunately, my house isn't exactly built to accommodate eight people, but we've managed somehow. At least I can close my office door and (sort of) block out (most of) the chaos. Earphones and white noise help a teensy bit.

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  44. I'm not an author but all of us have moments when we are distracted and find it hard to finish the task at hand. I often go for a walk or take time to read my Bible or a devotional. I would love to be entered in your drawing.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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