Organized or Stressed?

posted in: DIY, REFLECTIONS | 2

! The multiple winners of my Cradle Contents have been notified via email. I am so hoping this cover is going to be super and you’ll see it here with its mates. I have some idea I’m going to draw a logo for all 3 books, but we’ll see. 🙂 

Jan/Feb are my really hard working months and right now I’m amid organizing for 2017. I am not using the new snazzy hot pink planner I bought. It did not note Pearl Harbor, which is important to me–truly disappointed in that. I am a planner-snob.

This is the first year I’ve tried working ahead, with a planner. I opted for making my own to which I could add pages, pockets, etc. I love these smaller 3-ring binders for almost everything. This one is my work book, where I keep notes about projects, etc. Love, love this notebook. Then my brand new homemade planner is white. Homemade works better for me, where pages can be added or removed. These notebooks are handy for just about everything. And it’s fun DIY.

Sometimes I think that with all the electronic gizmos, it still comes down to paper. With these DIY notebooks, you can have sticker-fun. Who doesn’t love stickers? And happy cups. That’s my happy cup on my notebook, btw.

I’m just starting a new book/series and marking total words written per day in my DIY notebook. This is where the goal setting comes in. Some writers want so many words per day. I don’t. I write more in scenes and go with the flow, but I know to make a deadline, I need to be midpoint by a specific date. I approximate. I’ve written enough to know when it’s time to stop, to take a drive, walk, and generally get away.

SIDE NOTE: In case you didn’t know, laying out a new book, the possible start of a series, is an agonizing process. Character names have to be matched, selected carefully. Where to start, etc. are big mulling items. Generally, I just write and worry about getting the set up down, then re-edit those first pages and take off.

Is this current planner rage more beast than help? Is extreme goal-setting creating even more stress to our everyday lives? We are actually pressuring ourselves. Some days, I am disappointed that I didn’t get whatever done, most frustrated. On those days, I make a list of the things that I did and it’s quite a long list. I forgive myself. There are only so many hours in a day, so much of my energy.

And then, life comes along and interferes, disrupting the whole planned ball game. Demands on an individual are huge, encompassing care for our families, work routines, maintenance of car and home and health, plus huge amounts of paper work and daily business.

This year, I am taking more time off Internet, especially the holidays. Many writers are not on Internet on Sunday or a chosen day, and that is a good plan, to back away for just that one day and do something else. Refreshing, nurturing ourselves is very important. We’re not machines, programmed to run constantly.

My question is: Are we planning ourselves into stress, rather than relieving it by planning ahead? Are we too goal oriented? What is our individual time and energy vs the goals we set, the plans we make?

Building Stories

posted in: writing | 7

This is my painting in my daughter’s home. I’m hoping to do a bit of painting during my break at the end of the year.

Thank you for subscribing to my blog. I’m learning as I go on this new website, so look for changes (what gizmos work or don’t) and please let me know what I might post that interests you? Just write.

I’m a very visual writer, and I like color, though the two–painter and writer–cannot work at the same time. It’s a choice.

For those who have followed my books through the years: Thank You.

I’m “nesting” right now, building a story, building a series, taking notes, developing characters and story lines. Life amid Missouri’s Ozarks gives me lots of visuals for ideas.

One book in particular–Sleepless in Montana–centered on an artist, and I found myself very much involved in his art, feeling the colors move around me, feeling how Hogan would feel about objects and lines.

Another book, Be Mine, a Western Historical romance, came from a country drive. An Amish girl, bonnet/long dress, was riding a paint pony beside the road. The pony was galloping, her long skirt lifted to expose jeans below. That visual caught me. I understood much of Emma, raised in a strict German family, her neat, waste not/industrious nature. I understood because my parents were of German descent, so I had a model for Emma.

Nesting is really difficult. This is where it may get weird for you, btw. 🙂 Nesting is like some big nebulous haze with little sparkles of ideas floating around. Some will work; others won’t. I can only explain it like this: Tails/tales are out there, floating, tantalizing, and if I can grab one and hold it as a good idea for a story, that’s good. But the next idea (tail of one) floating nearby, will not work with the primary. This is difficult/straining work, believe it or not, just thinking, pushing, waiting for a basic idea to gel.

It sounds all very mystical, doesn’t it? But then, I was/my writing was studied in some college course somewhere as an author who uses myths and legends as basics. True. But not on purpose. I have read a lot of Roman/Greek/Viking mythology and epic sagas, so that comes out, I guess.

Basically, I incorporate my experiences and life into my stories. Writers need experiences and a story is grown, much like a baby grows. Someone once said, paraphrasing here: A Writer must get out from behind a desk to experience life. (Yes, my life experiences about. I have thrown a tomahawk, btw. :))

It is so hard to cut that umbilical cord from one story to the next. After my Basket Series last book, The Bride’s Basket, I wrote a short story (not published), about one of the characters to help tie off that attachment to the series. Have no fear, readers who asked for more, I have another story planned for the series, but at this time, I’m wanting a fresh start. Creative minds move on to keep fresh.

I’m at that point now, starting a whole new series. Some writers can repeat the same story and that is their style. But I am one who needs diversity, and you can find that in my Printable Book List (on my website).

And that is how I get my stories, but what is in me–my experiences, my interests, visuals and whatever else is in the package, like a traveler, a mother, a friend, a cook, etc. Most writers are intimately connected with their stories. And I was originally contracted and worked with by top editors to get those stories out of me. I asked about that once: why the editors worked so intensely with me. They replied that I had a lot of stories in me and they wanted to get them out. That hit me so strange at the time. Now it doesn’t.

Wish me luck on this new story I’m starting? And please let me know what you would like to see in these posts? Thank you for subscribing.