Tag Archives: Time

If it Light’s Up…USE IT! Don’t be Afraid of Technology

We live in amazing times. We have computers, tablets, even phones that allow you to write your manuscript on them….between software and hardware writing has become a streamlined practice for a lot of people. You don’t have to worry about spelling, word processors do that for you…and grammar programs improve every day. Hell, before you know it technology will take the writer out of the equation altogether! WAIT! WHAT?!

Okay, don’t get excited…writers will always be needed because a machine can’t do what we do. I know that there are a lot of old school writers out there who refuse to embrace new technology for fear of being replaced but I am not one of them. For me if it lights up and makes my life easier…whoo hoo! I know that writing is an intimate and personal practice so the concept of machines replacing us…well it’s just not going to happen so I take advantage where I can.

Technology saves you one thing that all writers complain about not having…enough time. I like the fact that I can take my tablet everywhere I go and I can write wherever I want to. If I have downtime because the spouse is shopping…I can write. If I am stuck in traffic and it’s at a standstill…I can write. If I am at the in-laws and I want to drown out my mother-in-law…I can write. (not that I would EVER do that…)

Technology should be seen as a way to enhance your writing, not take away from it. I would encourage all of my fellow writers to explore the technology out there and discover new ways to by you time, editing services and even have a little fun along the way.



© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on November 13, 2022 in Writing, Writing Tools


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Why is it sooooooo Hard NOT to disturb the Writer?

Writer-at-workI have four kids. The two oldest kids live out on their own and the middle son is in transition in terms of being between home and wherever else it is that he hangs out most of the time and our daughter is home. (she is 13) One would think that with kids who are mostly out of the house I would have all the free time in the world to write…I’m here to tell you it ain’t true.

When you are a parent there is never a time when you get to just stop being one. My kids always need something…encouragement, a loan (well they call it a “loan”, we all know I am just giving them money because I will never see it again) a ride, the list is endless and it would appear that the very time they need something is the exact time I have sat down to work. It is frustrating.

The kids are not the only interruptions either. There is the spouse who calls to remind me of stuff I have to do, there are the friends who seem to be able to create more drama than a soap opera on any given day, there are the dogs who are embarked upon a marathon to see how many times they can get me away from my desk to let them out and there is the cat who seems to think that my desktop is a little kitty race track. It just never ends.

As a writer I have learned that there will be times when folks just will not leave you be to write. When you work at home you tend to end up being the go to parent or the go to spouse because everyone else thinks….well they are home so why can’t they. I have spent over 30 years and many, many published works trying to convince my family and friends that I need time to work but today my daughter is playing loudly on the Wii, my middle son needs help filling out papers, my other middle son needs to talk and one of my friends just called to declare that she is leaving her partner again…for the 17th time and that’s all there is to it….

I could tell you to unplug your phone but then you would worry about no one being able to get ahold of you. I could tell you to ignore the spouse but its winter time and the nights are too cold to sleep alone. I could tell you to ignore the kids but any kid of 18 years old will show up anyways and if you ignore the ones who are still minors….well…you could get arrested for that. The truth is there is no perfect time to write that is quiet and worry free because, frankly, we don’t live in that world. We just have to continue to steal time where we can even if most of the time it’s between Top Ramen soup fests and opening the back door for the barking dog who appears to have a bladder issue. Life happens and for us writers if often tends to happen all over us so muck up kids and steal the time where you can. Maybe someday you can sell that novel and purchase an island from which to write…or at the very least cages for the kids…..

© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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You Can’t Write, We Have Company

4e9b4afcDamn it! That seems to be my favorite phrase this time of the year when it comes to my writing. Just because it’s the holidays shouldn’t mean that I have to give up my writing time right? Still, for some reason it is a requirement that I stop all creative activity and hobnob with people who will ask me incredibly stupid questions about my writing. (i.e. “So do you think you’ll ever get a real job?” or “Where do you get your ideas, is there a place you get them from?”) Is there a way to balance things out so that I can write and be a good host?

The holidays are especially tough for writers because everything is so fluid. People are coming and going, the spouse is hollering come help me and the kids are all out of school. Just to find a minute to write goes quickly from really hard to damn near impossible. There is only one way to overcome this and get through the holidays without resenting your entire clan….you have to set up some agreements and everyone has to stick to them.

Agreement 1 – Your writing is important, holiday or not: You have to make this agreement with both yourself and your family. Everyone knows that your writing pays some of the bills but because you work from home it is easier to shove you aside so that Aunt Millie can be picked up at the airport. Agree with your family that things have to be scheduled around your writing, not the other way around.

Agreement 2 – Your office is off limits: I don’t know about you but for some reason everyone feels that it is okay to sit down at my desk and do random stuff. My brother-in-law sits there to make phone calls, one of the kids needs tape so they search my desk, my mother-in-law needs a quiet place so she sits at my desk and is suddenly snooping through my stuff…make all of this stop. Declare your office or workspace off limits…it’s okay…it’s yours.

Agreement 3 – It’s okay if you need to write: I know the holidays are a busy time. And I know there are extra people in the house, but here’s the thing….you still gotta pay the bills. I would say that it is reasonable that you don’t work ON Thanksgiving or Christmas Day but the rest of the time you should be able to work a bit. Last year I tried to work ahead but stuff came up and I ended up behind. Work some, it’s okay, it’s your job.

These are just three agreements that you can make with your family to ensure that you get something done AND you don’t lose your mind. Writing helps me relax and without it I might punch someone in the face, and although that makes a great holiday story years from now…I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. Set down your agreements and then stick to them and demand that everyone else do so as well. It may take a few holidays but if you are consistent, after a while folks will get it and they will just flow into it on holidays after. You set the tone and the pace and get some writing done.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on November 27, 2022 in Healthy Writers, Writing


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Procrastination – 1….Motivation – 0

As I sit here with my coffee it occurs to me that my computer cursor is mocking me. There it sits blinking…”failure…failure…failure…. Of course it isn’t actually “saying” or “blinking” any actual wordage at all, however, because this morning procrastination appears to be winning in the battle over my writer’s soul…it seems to be blinking that.

Getting started in the morning is often the bane of my day. I have a ritual, I get up, check e-mail, complain to my journal about the previous day, light the candles in my Himalayan salt crystal candle holder, grab a cup of coffee and then sit for several minutes before the urge to write strikes me or I have to force it…either way, I end up writing. More often than not, during the summer months, I have to force the start. I think that summer is just not my time to feel inspired but regardless, write I must. Often times the writing begins with that little blinking cursor…like this morning.

Here’s the thing though…just because I have trouble getting started, it doesn’t mean I am a failure as my dark alter ego would have me believe. Writers have to be very careful of self-talk because it can take something like the urge to procrastinate and turn it into a battle between good and evil. This morning my self-talk spent some time trying to convince me that procrastination was winning the contest so  I should give up for the day, grab a box of Twinkies and hit the remote control. I had to fight to leave those Twinkies in the box…and that is how strong self-talk can be…good or bad.

So then rather than allow your negative self-talk to rule your day…we need to turn it around. I do have to force myself to begin this morning but at least, in the end I won. It’s like road trips for with my family. My spouse has a hard time getting out of the house. They want to go on that road trip but actually getting up on a day off, stocking the car with snacks and then actually getting into the car is the battle. Once on the road, we are all glad we did it. Your writing has to go that way sometimes.

So whatever you are feeling put it in a box and write anyway. I guarantee that once you begin you’ll be two pages in before you know it and wondering why starting was so hard in the first place.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on July 22, 2022 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools


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Reset Sunday- Pick Up A Darn Book Please….

ws_Read_a_book_1024x768It’s been a while since I have written a Reset Sunday…my apologies; I’m back at it now. For today’s Reset column I wanted to mention a thing or two about how Sundays are the perfect “reading day”. You aren’t, after all supposed to do any writing…you are “resetting” right? But you can still read which is what I plan to do for a good part of today.

Yesterday I started keeping track of the food I eat and the activities I do for the purpose of weight loss. (stay with me…I have a point) I am discovering quite a few really disturbing things about my own habits. For instance, I snack (or graze as they call it which makes me feel sort of like a cow) a lot. I have to stop that. I don’t drink enough water…I have to fix that. And, perhaps the most disturbing of them all, I watch way too much television. I didn’t think I did, I mean I write all day long and knock off at 5 or 6 in the evening but then I have dinner and sit down in front of the idiot tube telling myself that I am “spending time with the family”. On Saturdays I knock off work at 3. So yesterday I sat down in front of the television to watch some movies with the family and I didn’t go to bed until 11 p.m. Can anyone tell me how long that is in front of the television…please raise your hands…you, there in the back with the funny hat on…what’s that? Yep, you are correct, that’s 8 HOURS!

I was shocked. 8 hours of mindless TV. I could have been doing anything else at all but there I was, snack in hand, sitting like a lump in my easy chair contributing to my early demise. It was quite the wake-up call. I hadn’t always watched television like that. I use to read more, get out of the house more, play more but at some point, over the last 10 years I had migrated into that easy chair.

So I said all of that to say this….don’t watch television today….read, then get up and do something, then read some more, then get up and do something. We as writers sit all the time anyways so more sitting time in front of the television can’t be good. And once we give up our souls to television replacing reading we are giving up our imagination, our will to create story in our minds and our sense of self replacing it with the lives of actors. So today….pick up a book and turn off the television; this is your Reset Sunday mission. Who knows maybe you will once again discover the joys of books and find that it is much easier to put down that remote control.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on April 7, 2023 in Reset Sundays


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Use Your Past…That’s What it’s There for….

Move-On-QuoteSometimes we have to see things through new eyes. We have to take a giant step back and ask ourselves, what am I doing and why am I doing it? Then, once we have answered those questions, we need to take some kind of action in order to step towards our goals. Recently I had to do that myself and you know what…it feels pretty good.

Several years ago I went through a very traumatic experience. We aren’t talking, “OMG I’m out of beer” but the kind of traumatic experience that redefines who you are.  In 2005 I became a whole new person…problem was, I didn’t realize that until very recently. I went from being a carefree, generally optimistic kind of person to a brooding, wow everything-kind-of-pisses-me-off kind of person. It was subtle so many of my friends and family didn’t see it at first, but my spouse who has to look at me every day, knew something was off. As for me, well I think I knew but I was sort of in denial. I kept up the façade of being the same old me but inside I was a wreck. But I wasn’t the only one suffering…my work was too.

Without boring you with the details let’s just say that the change in me was directly related to my writing. My writing was the cause of the traumatic experience so, of course, deep inside, I sort of blamed it. Because I blamed it I became almost paralyzed with fear every time I even considered finishing a project. I could start it and I could work on it for a while but send it out into the world to get recognized? No way….that would mean attention and my fear would have none of that. I had to figure out something though and soon, my spouse was simply getting tired of the excuses as to why I couldn’t work. Then, recently, I had a heart attack and when one of my writing friends came by to visit me in the hospital she said something that very well may have saved my life and my writing….she told me to get over it and she explained how I could do so productively.

Our past, she explained doesn’t define us unless we allow it to. That, she said, was what I had been doing. I had taken this traumatic experience and allowed it to handcuff me to the fence. I had the keys to those handcuffs along but I was refusing to use the key, worried about what might happen if I allowed my writing back into my life in the same intimate relationship we had shared before. I argued of course…it’s what I do…I whined that I was afraid and that my writing had gotten me into trouble in the first place…she stopped me, shook her head and told me that my writing hadn’t gotten me into trouble living in my past did. Confounded about what to do in order to pull out of it, I sat in my hospital bed feeling a mixture of guilt and fear. Then my friend offered the simplest of solutions….write about it.

We all have a past. Some of us lied when we were kids, some of us weren’t kind to our parents, some of us divorced cheating spouses and some of us were the cheating spouse…whatever your demon is, it doesn’t belong in your way, it belongs in your writing. The best way to get rid of what ailed my writing was to use it. I use everything else in my life after all. I write about my kids, I have friends whom I have based characters on, hell I even used my mother as a serial killer once…why not use this really bad memory too?  I’m not going to say that it is easy going…that fear is still there but I am working through it now and I am actually beginning a new project, something I haven’t done in a long while. So if you have a past memory that is interfering with your work, why not put it where it belongs…into your writing. You are a writer and what makes you a good writer is that your work is authentic and that only comes from experience…good and bad…use your past….that’s what it’s there for….

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on March 19, 2023 in Healthy Writers, Inspiration, Writing


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Procrastination vs. Finding Your Groove

1356720728_6008_Procrastination-procrastination-263982_750_644(Writers’ Note –This is the Friday column)

I know a lot of writers who whine about being procrastinators. They put writing off, find it hard to get started or just plain don’t ever start on the next project because, “they aren’t feeling it”. My friend Kal asked me just yesterday if I thought he was truly a writer because he tended to put his writing off for so long. (Kal is a deadline guy…give him time on a project and he will wait until the last moment every single time) I asked him if he was procrastinating or if he just didn’t understand his groove and he looked at me, head sideways and made the Scooby Doo sound…(Wrut?)

We writers are creatures of the groove. What’s “the groove”? The groove is the result of a set of things that allow you as a writer to do your thing in the correct fashion. For instance, one of my non-writer friends recently asked me if I write all the time. I don’t write all the time because I don’t “feel it” all the time. I have to be in the groove….you writers understand what I mean.

So what then does a writer do to ensure that he/she is experiencing a “in the groove” issue and not just procrastinating? You have to know your writer self. First off you have to understand when you peak writing time is. I know that a lot of new agey folks talk about biorhythms and such but I happen to think that there is something to it. I know that personally, I have some times of the day when I can sit down and churn it out and other times I just fizzle. I think there is a natural rhythm to things…find your rhythm.

Second, how’s your focus? We live in the age of instant everything and it is easy to lose focus. My oldest son is very fond of the little dog on the movie “Up” because of the scene where he is talking but when a squirrel comes into his view he instantly loses focus. That is many of us.  You have to focus on the work in order to get it done.

Finally, do you have a plan? As many of you know, I am not a fan of outlines and such but I do make lists. I have to, I am creating a whole new world, community, actual people…I have to have some kind of plan or I lose sight of the story and I suddenly don’t want to move forward…it’s too overwhelming. You have to have some kind of plan even if it isn’t detailed.

If you are finding yourself reading through this column and tilting your head sideways like Kal did, you may not be a procrastinator…you may just be missing the groove train. So take a few minutes and ask yourself these questions. If you discover that you really don’t know when your peak times is, aren’t focused or don’t have a plan, maybe procrastination isn’t your issue….




© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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Posted by on February 23, 2023 in Writing


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