Tag Archives: Time management

Clean House or Write- The Sophie’s Choice of the Writer with an Infant


I’ve been noticing that my time is at a premium lately. I have two children, a toddler and a newborn (well, three if you count the nearly six foot one I call hubby 🙂 ). Well, as a writer, I love to write. It’s part of my soul. When I don’t write, I feel grumpy and incomplete. (I’m sure fellow writers will understand this.) Because I need to write, and I was forced–by my high risk ob–to take 6 mos off, I feel the need to write more acutely right now.

Stephen King in On Writing–a book I highly recommend–said that to be successful, you have to think of writing as a business. You should have your business hours and keep them. So it behooves me to find time to write. At least two or three hours if I want to keep my goals.
Now, some things I cannot ignore for writing. There’s meals, potty training, diaper changes, and the funner play and snuggle times. Then there is evening hubby time. Each of these I can’t or wouldn’t want to give up. Which leaves the few things I can give up, in moderation of course.

Where does that leave time to write? Well, there’s sleep time. I’ve carved out two hours at night when I write instead of sleep, but I can’t miss more than that and still function. That leaves another hour I need to find at least. During nap time, I could nap, do housework, or write. Therein lies my own personal Sophie’s Choice. I don’t usually need a nap, so that is easy to give up, but oh housework in the quiet time without someone making a mess as fast as I can clean it? That’s not so easy to give up. Yesterday I chose writing. Today cleaning. I guess my Sophie’s Choice will be a daily struggle. What do you do to find time to write? What do you give up? What is your Sophie’s Choice?

Advertisements

You’ve got a brand profile and tagline. Now what?


One of the fastest and least expensive ways to launch your brand is through social networking. And what might be the best way to do that? Website? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? Can a writer do all that promotion and still have time to write? Time management is a huge concern and rightly so. Every writer has mixed feelings about how much time marketing and promotion takes away from their writing.

Might I suggest you start with baby steps? And only commit to what you can reasonably manage and feel comfortable doing.

Twitter is like a teeny-tiny blog. You get 140 characters (not words) to message your Twitter followers. Great way to announce news and drive traffic to a guest blog or website contest. I was recently told about a writer who only Twitters. That’s it. She finds it easy to bang out a few brief messages every day and stay on schedule. She is contracted to write three books by year’s end. Who wouldn’t choose Twitter?

Published or unpublished, you must consider your website launch a priority. An author website communicates to everyone in the publishing world that you are serious about the business of author/book promotion. If this is your first website, and you are not confident about creating one on your own, there are web development firms that specialize in web design and implementation for small businesses. Many of these companies have hundreds of attractive templates to choose/customize from. And do call in all your favors! Like, do not be afraid to ask for help from a tech-savvy friend or graphic designer relative.

Once your author website is up and running smoothly, you can add a blog. A weekly blog is less of a commitment, but a daily journal/blog is brief and can also be stress free. And if you find you have nothing to blog about, you can always plug in a vacation picture, video of your cat, or a new recipe! Don’t want to blog alone? A blog site concept created with a crit partner or critique group might be exactly right for you. Plus, whatever you blog can be linked to your website.

If the idea of a website or blog commitment is just too daunting, why not ease into your author brand promotion with a Facebook page? It’s a terrific way to network with other writers and romance readers. You can add fan pages and blog links later on. You can also use the tabs in Facebook to post reviews, add book cover art or trailers, and make announcements about signings and workshops.

Website? Blog? Facebook? Twitter? I would pick one or two and then add more, only if you feel like you can handle more. COMING NEXT WEEK: Advanced work in advertising promotion and the importance of testing.

G. Jillian Stone

There are fields in time that burn with desire. Meet me there.

Jillian is a 2010 Golden Heart finalist for THE YARD MAN, the first story in The Yard Men Series. Set in late Victorian London, Scotland Yard detectives have never been as wickedly sexy or as brilliantly clever. To read more about her latest work in progress, THE SEDUCTION OF PHAETON BLACK, please drop by her website: www.gjillianstone.com jillstone@mac.com


I’ve got all these words in my head that are just screaming to get out. Some are descriptive, emotional, sensual, horrifying, loving. I know you understand what I mean. For us, my dear writer, they are the heart and soul of our work.

There are the types of words we scrutinize: adjectives and adverbs. We search them out and agonize over having too many or too few. We edit, re-write and edit some more. We don’t stop there. We hunt out clichés and overused phrases ripping them out of the pages. And all the while we struggle for originality and that magic that hooks the reader and draws them into our stories. We work until our manuscripts shine with a high polish.

The readers are the witness, the hero or heroine, or whomever they prefer to identify with. It’s the juxtaposition of our words that create the pacing, paints the pictures, strikes the chord, arouses emotions and, for us romance writers, brings the story to a happy ending.

Some words we are eager to hear: the call, published, multi-published, reprint, best seller, finalist, award winning. But I’m getting ahead of myself. More often the words are strung a bit differently: I think the concept of your novel has a lot of potential …, Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read your manuscript …, Thank you very much for your manuscript which I have read with interest …, I think you have a wonderful voice … The ellipse is followed by the same word but. Different words but all with the same meaning, rejected, although I really prefer passed. It is just so much more humane.

I have worked hard on my manuscript. I am well passed my first draft. I have self reviewed and edited, my critique partner has reviewed and commented, at chapter meetings I have brought my five to ten pages for discussion. The version number on my document is in double digits. I know I have the words just right. I just need an editor/agent to love them as much as I do.

Sure I can. I can love them anyway you want them!

Special thanks to David Coverly for permission to reprint his cartoon.

Dave Coverly admits there is no overriding theme, no tidy little philosophy that precisely describes what Speed Bump, his syndicated comic, is about. “Basically,” he says, “if life were a movie, these would be the outtakes.”

These “outtakes” now appear in over 400 newspapers and websites, including the Washington Post, Toronto Globe & Mail, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Indianapolis Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, New Orleans Times-Picayune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Vancouver Sun, Baltimore Sun, and Arizona Republic as well as the published “Speed Bump” books.

In addition to his syndicated work, Coverly’s cartoons have been published in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are now regularly featured in Parade Magazine, the most widely read magazine in the world with a circulation of 73 million.

Coverly works out of an attic studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is married to Chris, and they have two daughters, Alayna and Simone.

Speedbumpcomic@comcast.net

Ruth Seitelman

Gaze into the crystal ball and glimpse the future of e-Publishing


In a 1995 article for Newsweek, Clifford Stoll, an astronomer and author, said “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

Mr. Stoll was not uninformed about the internet. Quite the contrary, he had been working on the internet for years and was one of the first ‘hack hunters.’ But the internet of 1995 was in its infancy and like a newborn it would take time to mature – make order out of the chaos. He went on to say no body would shop on the internet, it would never catch on, it was only a fade. Mr. Stoll contended the internet missed an essential ingredient, the human touch. There were other things he felt would be big stumbling blocks, dealing with money being a big one.

The issue with Mr. Stoll’s position in 1995 was one of insight. He had none.

This past February, Mr. Stoll’s article was unearthed and was the topic of discussion on several blogs including Farhad Manjoo ( Slate Technologies) and Nathan Bransford.

Manjoo presented four principles for more successful predictions about our digital future:

1. Good predictions are based on current trends
2. Don’t underestimate people’s capacity for change
3. New stuff sometimes comes out of the blue
4. These days it’s best to err on the side of (technological) optimism

It goes past people’s capacity for change and to the heart of the matter. Stasis is not the norm.  So to Mr. Manjoo’s principles I have an addition. 5. Change is inevitable

In Nathan Bransford’s blog, originally posted in the Huffington Post, he looked at the ebook controversy and saw the ‘new skeptics,’ the Mr. Stoll’s of today.  He doesn’t speak about the enabling of the technology but rather the inevitability of it. He has his own predictions.

1. The ebook reading experience will only improve as ebook technology improves. As technology improves, new enhancements will be available, color photos and art, embedded interactive features and creative designs even in mass market books.
2. eReaders and eBooks will get cheaper as technology improves and production cost go down.
3. Finding the books you want to read will get easier, reading through the jumble of self published books to find the good books.  Many people have opined about the quality of the work being self published. Anybody can upload their novel to Amazon or other resources such as independent e-libraries, like Lebrary. New literary sites like Goodreads and Shelfari are tools readers can use to find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books.
4. People are ignoring the digital trend.  The economics of digital media is compelling. Digitization is cheaper, faster, and provides worldwide distribution. Other industries have embraced the trend (they too went kicking and screaming but that didn’t stop the shift): music, newspapers, and movies. Books are next.
5. Habits change. As people are presented with better options they quickly adapt.

Are we at the same point in publishing as Mr. Stoll was in 1995 with the internet? Will we be looking back at 2010 and see we lacked insight? Or will we look at Mr., Manjoo’s principles of predictions and reflect on those of Nathan Bransford before we put our stake in the ground?

I am more than just a consumer deciding on what device to buy or application to put on my iPad, iPhone or Blackberry. I am on the other side of this tidal wave, a writer. How do writers embrace the digital age when the skeptics, agents and published authors, advise against digital publishing? Is the argument that good writers will be tainted by the poor quality long associated with digital self-publishing real or imagined? Will the influx of poorly written books overwhelm the industry make it harder for good writers to be identified? Will good writers become discouraged and stop writing? What do the publishing professionals really think?

Jesse Glass, co-publisher of Ahadada Books, a self publishing press was quoted by Liz Worth on the Broken Pencil blog:

From the beginning of the history of publishing there have been bad writers and bad books. Though the new publishing technologies might help bad books to proliferate, intelligent readers have a sense of quality, of what draws them in, of what delights and instructs, and they will make an almost instinctive decision regarding what they will read and what they won’t. … Good work – and interesting work, inevitably – given time – wins out.

Neil Nyren, the Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Putnam was recently interviewed by JT Ellison on the Murderati Blog.  He said eReaders will not kill physical books. He believes the more formats that are available, the more accessible we make books, the more people will buy.

He went on to say that the new technology is subtly changing the way editors do their work. The publishing industry is embracing the new technology to improve their own efficiencies and make their editors and sales people more effective. Some editors use eReaders to read submissions.

It doesn’t really take a crystal ball to see the future of e-publishing. The signs are all around us.

1. Change is inevitable
2. If good predictions are based on current trends, the digital press is the way of the future
3. eBook technology will improve and provide wonderful enhancements not available today
4. eReader technology will improve and become more affordable and grow the reading market
5. Well written and edited books will not disappear. Good books will always be in demand.
6. New literary sites will emerge and provide the reading public with a means of wading through the jumble and help them find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books. The reading public will learn which imprints to associate with good, well written and edited books.

I think there will always be a need for printed books. I have a Sony Reader as well as Kindle on my Blackberry. I buy on line, I borrow from the library online, and I still buy books.

Ruth Seitelman

To Outline or Not To Outline


That is the big question…do you or don’t you outline. I started my first novel without an outline. Flying by the seat of my pants, was my idea of being creative. I thought an outline would box my creativity in, I refused to stifle myself with guidelines. That was a big mistake. Constantly wondering in the dark and lost, no idea where the story was going or how it was going to get there. I became frustrated and started to think it was my writing that was lacking but it was not the writing it was my method. I wanted to sit at my computer and hope for the best with no planning. I was writing blindly. This caused me to want to quit many times. Talking to a friend about my frustrations, she asked me where my book was going and maybe she could help me. My answer was I have no clue. In a years time I had about thirteen chapters and my story had changed a millions times. Every time it changed, I went back to the beginning and rewrote the previous chapters. It was an endless cycle; I became frustrated with the story. It wasn’t really the story but the fact that I had no bones to my story and you need the bones of the story to move it forward. You can’t just fly along on a wish and a pray.

Currently I have put that story on the back burner and started a new one. I outlined the whole thing and amazingly have written seven chapters on two weeks. The outline keeps me grounded. Knowing what should be in each chapter and where the story is going has taken all the stress out of writing. I know what needs to be in each chapter and when those key points are there, the chapter is done. There is no guessing anymore and my confidence is back. I will eventually go back to my pervious story and finish it but I will most definitely outline it and think it though before I start on it again. The outline actually gave me more freedom in my writing and didn’t box me in as I had thought it would. I still veer from the out line at times but I also know what ever I add will progress the story. I think of it like a map, if you don’t have a map how do you get from point A to point B? Never again will I try to write a story without one. The outline is an amazing tool that a writer should never take for granted.

Do you use an outline or are you a panster? If your a panster do you find yourself frustrated a lot? I would love to hear about your methods and ideas on making the writing process easier.

Happy Reading and Writing,

Tabitha Blake

About Judges


I’ve been procrastinating, stalling. Why? I wasn’t quite certain. I just couldn’t write another word. I sat down, stared at my computer. I tried to start but the strangest thing happened, my eyes would close. It wasn’t writer block. I had lots of ideas and things to say but try as I may I could not get it down on paper.

I decided to read, craft books, Donald Maass’ The Fire in Fiction and Noah Lukeman’s First Five Pages. I also read some good reads from my TBR list, Leanna Renee Heiber’s The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (actually a re-read), Tasha Alexander’s A Poisoned Season, Barbara Michaels’ The Wizard’s Daughter and Elizabeth Peters’ The Cure of the Pharaoh. I read my critique partner’s entire manuscript while she was on vacation and sent her my comments. Yep, kept me pretty busy, I didn’t write a thing.

This month I got the responses to the two contests I entered and started to analyze the results, still no writing. Alas, my story didn’t final in either contest but as I read through the comments I realized the feedback was awesome. Some of the comments contradicted others but I found a pattern when I charted the results. Here are some of the pro’s and con’s in my own words. Judges quotes are clearly marked.

Con

  • I’m dizzy from head hopping. Pick a person and stay there, at least for a scene.
  • Try to vary the sentence length. It gets boring when you don’t and builds tension when you do.
  • Sprinkling commas is not the objective. You have to put them in the correct place.
  • I am on page 30 and finally got to the story.  This is where you need to begin. Don’t throw the beginning away. Find places where you can strategically input that text.

Pro

  • “I found the storyline very intriguing. I think you have a winner here if you polish your text.”
  • “You have a wonderful voice.” (I re-read that comment several times!)
  • “Great job with your descriptions. I feel like I am right there. Very well done.” (Can you see me beaming?)
  • “I know I have given you a lot of comments and some of them may have been hard to take but this story has a lot of potential. I hope to see your story in Barnes & Nobel!”

This is what I had been waiting for. I was inspired but still so hesitant. Would I really be able to cut the first two chapters out of the story? I checked the comments once again. Several judges, not just one or two, had pointed out where the story should start. It took me only a few seconds to highlight the text. It took me several minutes to actually push the delete button. Finally, I knew I was making one publisher happy. They asked me to get the manuscript down to 95,000 words.  I was well on my way.

All of a sudden I saw more opportunities for the story. The judges had given me enough tips and provided examples to drive home their points. So judges, thank you for your comments. Please know that your hard work is greatly appreciated. While this is not the outcome I would have liked, it was have been great to final and awesome to win, your feedback is valuable to me and in helping me to grow as a writer.

One last word about books, today, Leanna Renee Heiber’s second book in the Miss Percy Parker series was released, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. Congratulations!

… Ruth Seitelman

The Three R’s


I spent my time this week re-writing. I looked at the comments that came back from judges (I entered two contests) and evaluated what they said. Overall, the comments were not consistent. Some loved the story, others did not. Some thought it started at the right place, others did not. All of them liked the voice (that felt good) and most felt the story had a great chance of being published.

I re-read my story with a more critical eye. One of the comments that struck me concerned the synopsis. I got high marks on it however, from what they read (the first 50 pages) they did not see the story coming together, too much back story.  I decided to take a bold step. I decided to cut the first two chapters as some of the judges suggested.

I loved, absolutely loved the first chapter. The judges didn’t see the value of the chapter because they only had the first 50 pages. The information in the first chapter is critical later on. But… the first chapter did not grab them. Cut. Ouch!

The second chapter really demonstrated (show) our heroine’s qualities. It was much shorter when I just told you (tell) but other critiques said to put the words in to actions and scenes. I deleted this chapter too. Double cut (it was longer). Ouch!

The more I read chapter 3 the more I realized I had to add a scene to set up the chapter. I have re-read it several times. It moves the reader quickly into the story (the entire point of this exercise) and to be honest, it may even be better. I am still a bit prejudice about the original beginning. I have not thrown out the chapters. The information they contain still needs to be threaded through the story. It’s a challenge to decide where to put these little nuggets, but overall I am actually enjoying it.

So, I am Re-reading, Re-thinking and Re-writing!

… Ruth Seitelman

Is An eReader In Your Future?


In a 1995 article for Newsweek, Clifford Stoll, an astronomer and author, said “The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

Mr. Stoll was not uninformed about the internet. Quite the contrary, he had been working on the internet for years and was one of the first ‘hack hunters.’ But the internet of 1995 was in its infancy and like a newborn it would take time to mature – make order out of the chaos. He went on to say no body would shop on the internet, it would never catch on, it was only a fade. Mr. Stoll contended the internet missed an essential ingredient, the human touch. There were other things he felt would be big stumbling blocks, dealing with money being a big one. The issue with Mr. Stoll’s position in 1995 was one of insight. He had none.

This past February, Mr. Stoll’s article was unearthed and was the topic of discussion on several blogs including Farhad Manjoo ( Slate Technologies) and Nathan Bransford.

Manjoo presented four principles for more successful predictions about our digital future:

1. Good predictions are based on current trends
2. Don’t underestimate people’s capacity for change
3. New stuff sometimes comes out of the blue
4. These days it’s best to err on the side of (technological) optimism

It goes past people’s capacity for change and to the heart of the matter. Stasis is not the norm.  So to Mr. Manjoo’s principles I have an addition. 5. Change is inevitable

In Nathan Bransford’s blog, originally posted in the Huffington Post, he looked at the ebook controversy and saw the ‘new skeptics,’ the Mr. Stoll’s of today.  He doesn’t speak about the enabling of the technology but rather the inevitability of it. He has his own predictions.

1. The ebook reading experience will only improve as ebook technology improves. As technology improves, new enhancements will be available, color photos and art, embedded interactive features and creative designs even in mass market books.
2. eReaders and eBooks will get cheaper as technology improves and production cost go down.
3. Finding the books you want to read will get easier, reading through the jumble of self published books to find the good books.  Many people have opined about the quality of the work being self published. Anybody can upload their novel to Amazon or other resources such as independent e-libraries, like Lebrary. New literary sites like Goodreads and Shelfari are tools readers can use to find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books.
4. People are ignoring the digital trend.  The economics of digital media is compelling. Digitization is cheaper, faster, and provides worldwide distribution. Other industries have embraced the trend (they too went kicking and screaming but that didn’t stop the shift): music, newspapers, and movies. Books are next.
5. Habits change. As people are presented with better options they quickly adapt.

Are we at the same point in publishing as Mr. Stoll was in 1995 with the internet? Will we be looking back at 2010 and see we lacked insight? Or will we look at Mr., Manjoo’s principles of predictions and reflect on those of Nathan Bransford before we put our stake in the ground?

I am more than just a consumer deciding on what device to buy or application to put on my iPad, iPhone or Blackberry. I am on the other side of this tidal wave, a writer. How do writers embrace the digital age when the skeptics, agents and published authors, advise against digital publishing? Is the argument that good writers will be tainted by the poor quality long associated with digital self-publishing real or imagined? Will the influx of poorly written books overwhelm the industry make it harder for good writers to be identified? Will good writers become discouraged and stop writing? What do the publishing professionals really think?

Jesse Glass, co-publisher of Ahadada Books, a self publishing press was quoted by Liz Worth on the Broken Pencil blog:

From the beginning of the history of publishing there have been bad writers and bad books. Though the new publishing technologies might help bad books to proliferate, intelligent readers have a sense of quality, of what draws them in, of what delights and instructs, and they will make an almost instinctive decision regarding what they will read and what they won’t. … Good work – and interesting work, inevitably – given time – wins out.

Neil Nyren, the Senior Vice-President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief of Penguin Putnam was recently interviewed by JT Ellison on the Murderati Blog.  He said eReaders will not kill physical books. He believes the more formats that are available, the more accessible we make books, the more people will buy.

He went on to say that the new technology is subtly changing the way editors do their work. The publishing industry is embracing the new technology to improve their own efficiencies and make their editors and sales people more effective. Some editors use eReaders to read submissions.

It doesn’t really take a crystal ball to see the future of e-publishing. The signs are all around us.

1. Change is inevitable
2. If good predictions are based on current trends, the digital press is the way of the future
3. eBook technology will improve and provide wonderful enhancements not available today
4. eReader technology will improve and become more affordable and grow the reading market
5. Well written and edited books will not disappear. Good books will always be in demand.
6. New literary sites will emerge and provide the reading public with a means of wading through the jumble and help them find well written, critically acclaimed, prize winning books. The reading public will learn which imprints to associate with good, well written and edited books.

I think there will always be a need for printed books. I have a Sony Reader as well as Kindle on my Blackberry. I buy on line, I borrow from the library online, and I still buy books.

… Ruth Seitelman

Voice: The Story’s Music


This week I spent a lot of time reading. I reacquainted myself with Leanna Renee Heiber’s The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker as well as Elizabeth Peters’ The Curse of the Pharaohs.

I have read both books before. This time I wanted to read them as object lessons in good writing. There is a lot to learn from award winning writers.

From the very beginning, I was once again swept away. How easily I got engrossed in each story. Why? How? I started over and realized that each story had a unique voice that drew me in.

Ms Heiber’s Gothic, romance, fantasy, ghost story’s dialog and exposition never step out of character. From the opening sentences until the climatic ending, each word is wonderfully placed, thoughtfully chosen and keeps you in the moment. The story she weaves is filled with personal pain and somber sensations outside the Athens Academy that is juxtaposed to everything that is enlightenment and safety for Ms Percy inside the Academy walls. The picture she paints never falters.

Similarly, Ms Peters’ first person, Victorian, mystery, adventure, (romantic elements included) keeps her readers entranced. Amelia Peabody’s passion for Egypt cannot be denied. Her descriptions of Egypt are a riot of sights, sounds, smells, color, and tactile sensations as opposed to the gray watery England that she depicts. She too holds her reader enthralled passionately attending to every detail.

The voice of each story is consistent and true to their time and place whether in narration or dialog. Donald Maass said it best in his book, Writing the Breakout Novel.

“…not only a unique way of putting words together, but a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world, an outlook that enriches an author’s oeuvre… An original. A standout. A voice.”

The eighteenth Amelia Peabody story A River in the Sky, was released April 6 this year. The second in the Ms Percy series, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, will be released this week, April 27. In addition, The Strangely Beautiful Take of Miss Percy Parker has been optioned for a musical theater production. I can’t wait!

… Ruth Seitelman

Happy Birthday


Dear Diary ~

It has been one year since I started my new adventure. Looking back I cannot believe all I have accomplished. Looking forward I am only starting to understand all I have to learn.

Last March, my friend excited and a bit anxious, told me she was going to write a book, a romance story. I was surprised and a bit envious. For a long time I had stories that played out in my head with characters that talked and emotions that flared.  Inevitably, I would get involved in something and wouldn’t get back to my story for a few days. When I did they were never the same. Well, let’s just say there were some pretty great stories that are lost forever.  So, when my friend mentioned she was writing a book, I told her I would love to also.

I enjoyed the prospect of telling my story but, here’s the scary part, my stories have always been just mine. Committing the stories to paper, giving them breath, exposed them (and me), but I was ready.

In late March my friend and I met at a diner and began to make plans. She presented me with my very own secure notebook for capturing those stories that were in my head. We laughed at the ‘secure’ notebook idea. All it had was an elastic strap but it was precious and a place to put my ideas. Before the week was over we started writing. She wrote a futuristic story about Lisabeth and Zane and I wrote a time travel story about Rebeka and Arik.

Our stories were as different as our lives. She’s involved in marathon running and visiting college campuses with her daughter. I walk on the tread mill at the gym and visit the grandchildren. As for writing, she is well on her way with her story. I finished mine.

Finishing the story, while a monumental accomplishment, was only the beginning. There were tools that I needed to add to my writer’s tool kit, the synopsis, query letter, log line, and pitch. To validate the story, I entered contests.  I pitched it to agents and editors, and queried others.  The feedback has been very encouraging. More work has to be done. It is such an accomplishment when  the sentence/paragraph/chapter sounds just right.

There are times when I feel I can do anything and other times when it all seems so overwhelming.  But I have met some pretty awesome people who are encouraging and inspiring. We share similar experiences and provide support and camaraderie. This year was a year a learning and experimenting, of digging deeper and finding golden nuggets, and in believing in myself.

So, a year has past. I am encouraged, excited and looking forward to the next one. Happy Birthday! As I make my birthday wish know it is for, no, if I tell you it won’t come true. You will have to use our imagination. The cake certainly looks yummy!

… Ruth Seitelman

Fre-net-ic adj. wildly excited or active; frantic; frenzied


My day is hectic rushing from one thing to another. I start at 6am and finish at about midnight. Like many of us, the major part of my day centers around my day job, getting there, being there and getting home. While there are definitely pressures at my office and the traffic gods are not always cooperative, that part of my day runs pretty well. My problem is between 7pm and midnight, when my day gets frenetic.

How do I cram writing my two blogs, critiquing with my crit partner, keeping up on Facebook, Tweet, reading my favorite blogs, going over material from the online class I took, talking to my friends, commenting on their blogs, reading a books in my stack of TBR (to be read), and oh writing, when will I find the time to write. Let’s nor forget my family life. No wonder I feel like the white rabbit, always running late.

At first my writing goal was all about, well, writing. To my surprise, that was the ‘easy’ part. In December my son gave me a book that opened my eyes. It’s Christina Katz’ Get Known Before the Book Deal. The essence of the book is to build your platform to develop a fan base (following) for yourself and your writing before publication. I’m not naïve. I knew that once I was published I would have work to do. I thought an agent and a publisher would be my mentors and help me along. Hmmm, maybe I am naïve.

I’ve spoken to writers, published and unpublished, and I have watched what they do. I took a course in social networking and re-read Katz’ book as well as began following her blog. I could not deny the importance of developing my platform and self promotion. It was almost more important before securing an agent or editor. So, things were not coming off my plate. I had to find a way to do it all, effectively. I decided to take a critical look at those five hours I have each week day night and see how I could better structure them so I would get my work done. I made some small adjustments to my morning routine and continue to find tune the rest.

Morning routine: My usual routine is up at 6am and watch the morning news while having breakfast.  Adjustment: I watch a bit less of the morning news (it repeats every 15 minutes anyway) instead I go through my email, update Facebook and begin my Tweets. If time permits, I start drafting my blogs (which I continue on my commute rather than only listen to my iPod).

Mid Day routine: I eat at my desk and continue to work.  Adjustment: I have taken my lunchtime back. While eating my lunch I read my favorite blogs and make my comments. I also bookmark and put them into a special weekend folder to read more thoroughly on the weekend. Tweet if I have something to say and update Facebook. The added benefit is I return to work refreshed.

Commute routine: I talk to the kids.  Adjustment: Talk to the kids (no matter when they call). If not talking to the kids, I read for pleasure. I carry my eBook with me everywhere.

Evening routine: Paul and I watch TV. I catch up on email, read my favorite blogs, update Facebook, Tweet, put the notes aside from the class I took for another day (I have no time to review them), comment on friend’s blogs, look longingly at my TBR stack, open up my WIP and try not to fall asleep at the keyboard.  Adjustment: I record my favorite TV shows to watch during the weekend, without commercial interruption. I talk to the kids (no matter what time they call). I go over online class materials on the weekend. I have reserved weekday evenings for writing. As a result, I feel a sense of accomplishment. I close my computer at 10pm, or so, and read (from my TBR pile) for an hour before going to sleep. It gives my characters time to settle down for the night as well as me time to catch up on a good read.

How do you manage to get everything done in your day? I am always looking for a better way.

Ruth Seitelman

P.S. I wrote today’s blog listening to my iPod while on the train to my RWA meeting.

Time: Is There Ever Enough?


Okay, so I did one of my dumb blonde moves, and I’m not even a blonde. And for those blondes out there, I still love ya. LOL
This post was supposed to go live last week, but somehow…somehow…it didn’t because I forgot to simply publish it. Yeah, really, really smart move, huh?
So here is my post once again. I probably forgot to mention I’m technologically challenged. So any problems I can’t explain, it was the computer’s fault. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 🙂
I’ve been so happy to be blogging every week at A History of Romance. I try to be a good little blogger and post my blogs a few weeks in advance, but this week, I came in just under the wire if you’ll pardon the cliché.
That’s not like me at all. I’ve been working very hard at not procrastinating, since it can get me into some trouble. However, with a five-day workweek, writing and other commitments, it’s been difficult to stay on task.
I honestly didn’t have a clue what I’d blog about until I sat down and just started typing. Time’s been on the forefront of my mind. I’m working so much, (with a workload that keeps getting bigger), singing, (the Easter holiday approaches), and writing, (this book won’t finish itself.) My mind’s a jumble of thoughts, ideas and tasks. I feel like the little engine that could is running out of steam. *g*
I want to accomplish as much as possible in the twenty-four hours I’m afforded each day, (wishing I didn’t need sleep of course, and food? Ha, uh, my fellow super human beings of the world, we can sustain ourselves with pure mental strength). LOL
Therefore, if you’re pressed for time as I am, here are some tips to help you not go too crazy. These are some things I do to remain organized while plowing through the chaos that is my life. I’m expanding somewhat on the blog Tabitha Blake posted earlier this week on how she uses a schedule to help get her through her week. That’s not something I do personally. I use lists to help keep me organized among other methods which I share below.
Keep a calendar or date book on your person and near your writing space. I always have a calendar handy. It helps keep me focused as to what needs to be done each week. I have annual goals that I break down by weeks and then into days. It’s easy for me to see the big picture
Have a note-taking device or pen and paper close by. Who knows when you’ll have an idea for the next bestseller, or when your boss will call you with an important assignment. So it’s best to be prepared.
Make to-do lists. Some of you are probably shaking your heads if they’re not spinning already, but making lists for writing, shopping, even lists within lists works. I don’t throw anything away or delete any kernel of an idea that I jot down, because who knows when it might come in handy.
Wake up early or stay up late to help take items off your to-do list. I don’t care how exhausted I am, I write at least a page a day. And when I don’t, it’s rare. I’m a night owl. I get a lot done when my house is quiet and there aren’t any interruptions. If you’re an early bird, more power to you. *g* Seriously though, if you think you don’t have any extra time, make it. You’ll be surprised what freeing up five minutes can do for your creativity, (and sometimes, in my case, my sanity). *g*
Relax and reward yourself! Be sure to take time for you too. That is important. Stay healthy; eat right, exercise. Go get a manicure or pedicure, a facial or massage. Go to the movies or lunch with a close friend or two. Read a book. Your mind and body need a breather. Going non-stop will only make you feel tired and stressed out, which in the end, won’t allow you to achieve all your goals/deadlines, whether they’re yours or someone else’s.
Have a strong support system. This is my last point, but it certainly isn’t the least important. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with time management. I have many people who add a sense of fullness to my life. Family and friends, (both ones I’ve never met and those in person), enrich my life by doing more for me than I could even begin to express. They’ve all made me the person I am by their support. Whether it’s my critique partner encouraging me to keep pushing forward with a particular project, or a family member pulling me from my cave and dragging me out for a drive or something fun. All these people are my biggest cheerleaders. They hold me up when I want to fall, and push me on when I want to give up. They help me live day-to-day, help me manage my time and take the twists and turns life throws me.
I have several techniques that assist me in managing my time effectively. Maybe some of these tips will help you too. Or, perhaps you have your own methods for achieving your goals and meeting your deadlines. If so, I’d love to hear them!