I’m a cheater at NaNo because I write my way

So on Tuesday I had a 5,000 word day. I know some writers who do this pretty often. I am not one of them, though a lot of my writing friends think I am because I do tend to knock out pretty decent word counts when I get down to business.

Dean Winchester, Supernatural, smile

Starting next week I am joining my writerly friends and participating in Camp NaNo. Yep, NaNo in July. All the same rules as NaNo in November, just with sunshine. But it got me thinking about the rules of NaNo that really cheesed me off and I thought I’d share some insight with you about my writing process and the right and wrong way to write.

The last two years I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo and have “won” by accomplishing the task of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. The first year I did it I felt pretty good about it and challenged myself try harder. So, in January of last year, I finished the MS I’d started in November and wrote the first third of another book, giving me a monthly total of 80k. I was on such a role that I finished that next book in Feb by writing 75k. It was insane. But kind of awesome because I knew I could do it.

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But how did I do it? Did I start a brand new project? No. Did I write every day? No. Did I use an outline? Yes. These three things means I was actually a cheater when it came to NaNo. In the last year or so NaNo has finally changed their “rules” about how to accomplish the 50k in one month. When I first did NaNo the FAQ’s said that you had to start a new project to participate (though there was no way for them to know this either way), and that you shouldn’t use an outline.

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I called bullshit on both those things and did it my way. I mean the only goal was to hit 50k new words in one month. Does it really matter if those 50k words started at chapter 1 or chapter 10 or 30? What if you were 30k words into a manuscript that was just kicking your ass and you knew if you participated in NaNo you would have the motivation to actually finish that MS? Why should you have to start something new if you had something that needs finishing?

Supernatural, prophet, Chuck

And no outline? Eff that. Some people write with outlines. Some don’t. Some plot out with 3×5 cards plastered to a wall or the floor of their office. Some map out a book like a screenplay with acts. How can anyone running a site that is supposed to encourage writers to hit a goal tell them they’re doing it wrong?

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But, like I said, they’ve changed the rules. Now they say:

We think NaNoWriMo works best when you start a brand-new project. However, what’s most important is being excited about what you’re writing. If you want to work on a pre-existing project, you have our full support!

Outlines, character sketches, and other planning steps are encouraged. Just be sure to only count words written during the month.

About damn time you got on the reality train, NaNo.

Crowley, cookie, Supernatural

I was so upset when I first won NaNo only to find out I was kind of a cheater with my outline and unfinished MS waiting to be finished. But whatevs, I’m not going to change my process for anyone but me and the particular book I’m working on.

So that’s the big secret folks, no one piece of writing advice will work for everyone. And believe it or not, there’s a good chance your process will change over time.

 

I wrote Earth, Air, Water, and the first two thirds of Fire without an outline. As a pantser. Then I hit a wall with Fire. Maybe because it was the first time I was going to kill a major character. Maybe because it was the first emotionally charged book I’d written yet. Maybe I was afraid to finish it. Whatever it was, I was stuck. I knew what the last scene looked like, but I didn’t know how to get there. So I broke my cardinal rule of no outlines and I outlined that last third. And then I managed to write faster than I had in months.

Merida, excited, gif, Brave

I used to be a nighttime writer. Now I write with my first cuppa in the morning. Now I can’t pants a book. I need an outline. It was thanks to my well detailed outline of chapter 2 that I managed to write 5,000 words on Tuesday. But you know what? When I tried to write my very first book, I outlined that sucker to the T. And I never finished it. I figured out that I’d lost the momentum, the urgency, to tell the story because, in my novice mind, I’d already told it in the outline.

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So see? You change. If you need writing advice, seek it out. Someone might say something that resonates with you and unlocks a secret to get you writing. But if someone says something that doesn’t work for you, ignore it. No one has the magic spell, the perfect balance of ingredients that will work for every writer.

For me, writing Monday through Friday, in the mornings, with an outline, works for me. But it works now. Maybe I’ll be a different writer in two years, who knows? It certainly didn’t work for me ten years ago.

So, don’t let rules tell you you aren’t doing it right. Are you writing? Then you’re doing it right, whatever gets the words on the page is the right way. Be a cheater like me, who cares? Screw ’em!

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On Subjectivity

One of the first things a writer learns is that the business of writing is a subjective one. It’s something we’re constantly told by other writers, agents, and editors, and it’s why so many rejections contain words like “this project wasn’t right for me” with the implication that it could be right for someone else. I know, at least for me, it’s often hard to accept that as a response, especially when we feel like we checked every box. Likeable protagonist? Check. Hottie love interest? Check. Compelling plot? Check! And yet…despite all that, they still say no. It’s not right for them.

I might occasionally look at the shelves in the bookstore and despair. I think, “but how did that get published! I write twice as well! My characters are three times as awesome!” or some other over-exaggeration of my writing prowess, and I don’t understand how something so objectively better can be subjectively worse.

When my mind starts down that crazy path, when I get lost in the difference between subjectivity and objectivity and how it all seems ridiculous, I stop and think about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Iron Man is by all accounts a fantastic movie. It is acclaimed, embraced by fans, and the movie that launched an extremely lucrative franchise. An objective and detailed analysis of the movie reveals a complex character played be an extremely talented actor in a tight and well paced story.

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Tony Stark, nearly blown up by his own awesomeness

Despite this, I have never particularly liked the movie. The first time someone sat me down to watch Iron Man, I hated it. I didn’t connect with Tony Stark, I was bothered by the impossibility of the Iron Man armor itself, and for all its tight-paced plotting I was distracted and bored. This is a movie lauded by millions–if not billions of people–and I didn’t like it.

Though I now have a greater appreciation of the movie and the character of Tony Stark, I can still count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen the movie. And I rarely if ever think to myself, “man, I really need to re-watch Iron Man.”

On the other hand, we have the movie Thor. This is a movie that is often panned by critics. A movie that I didn’t see for a year after it came out because so many of my friends told me how bad it was. And objectively, yes, this is not Marvel’s greatest story. Thor’s character development is too rapid and sudden to be believable. The split between Asgard and Earth is often jarring. The chemistry between Thor and Jane Foster is not strong. The plot is confusing and weirdly paced. And yet, this is my favorite Marvel movie, a movie that I have watched innumerable times. (Literally innumerable. I can’t even begin to give you an estimate of how many times I’ve watched this movie.)

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This movie! I like it!

Because where Iron Man fell flat for me, Thor resonated. The story of Loki felt like my own story, and for all of it’s Asgardian trappings it felt like I was watching my life unfold on the screen.

When I first watched Iron Man and the credits began to scroll by, I rolled my eyes. When I first watched Thor and the credits began, I cried.

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My tears probably weren’t as pretty as Loki’s

Iron Man is objectively a better movie than Thor, but if I had been an agent, and Iron Man had been a novel that had been queried to me, I would have rejected it, despite all of its objective goodness. And if Thor had come across my desk, I would have accepted it, warts and all.

It doesn’t matter how well written my story is. It doesn’t matter how awesome the characters are, how great their chemistry is, or how tight my plot is. All of those things give my story a better chance, but ultimately if my story doesn’t resonate with the reader than those things are meaningless.

And that’s what people mean when they say this is a subjective business.

I find this thought both disheartening and comforting. Disheartening because there are no amount of boxes I can check to ensure that my novel will be published. But comforting because that means my story doesn’t have to be perfect to succeed. After all, we can’t all be practically perfect in every way, like Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The Winter Soldier, blowing up the box office like it's Nick Fury's car
The Winter Soldier blew up the box office like it’s Nick Fury’s SUV

So how about you guys? What is something you love even though you objectively recognize it’s not the best?

Beauty In The Beats

The other day, my friend Amanda made a blog post about working with a beat sheet for the first time. She titled it Beating the Cat, which should give you a hint as to how well she enjoyed the process. Her exploration of the beat sheet was motivated by changes an editor requested in a novel she’d submitted. Coincidentally, I recently received a very similar request, and in part because of her example, I broke out a beat sheet, too.

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For those of you who are uninitiated, a beat sheet is a plot template grounded in Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey and constructed around a three-act structure. It’s a key part of Blake Snyder’s approach in Save the Cat, one of the best books on writing I’ve ever come across and one I think every writer should read.

(The other book every writer should read is Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon, but that’s another blog post.)

So where am I going with all this? Perhaps an erudite rehash of the material found in Mr. Snyder’s book?  (Except this blog post does it so well.) Perhaps a sensitive dissection of differing plot requirements based on genre? (I’d argue there are none. A good story is a good story, whether it’s contemporary or historical or fantasy. However you dress it up, your protagonist has to start somewhere, get beat on a little, and finish up in a better place. Otherwise it’s literary fiction. Right?)

Perhaps this post should be an analysis of my own experience using the beat sheet concept?

Sure. Let’s go with that.

It’s not difficult for me to understand the bullet points on a beat sheet. The names are a little goofy, but I know there needs to be an opening image, and early on someone needs to state the theme. The protagonist needs to be confronted by a challenge, and they need to spend time dithering before finally accepting it.

All that is just fine. The hard part for me is figuring out which moments in my plot fit the bullet points on the beat sheet. For example, differentiating the bullet points leading up to the final conflict can be tricky, though I find it helps to keep in mind whether the bullet point has to do with internal or external conflict. (All Is Lost refers to the external conflict, while the Dark Night of the Soul is internal, the emotional response to events. I think.)

I’m pretty good with language, with making sure the voice of a piece is fresh and fun. I’m getting better at making sure there’s goal, motivation, and conflict built into each scene. It’s hanging it all together in a coherent narrative that gives me trouble. I mean, my plots tell a story, but they don’t always have the emotional impact they could. And that’s where the beat sheet comes in.

Last week I received a contract offer for a novella I wrote (and here’s a huge shout-out to #TeamAwesome for helping me get those words on the page). The publisher loved the characters and the setting, but felt the project needed a stronger central conflict. Now, I wrote this story as a Christmas present to myself in the end of December 2012 – beginning of January 2013, and I love it hard. I’ve actually had a couple other publishers offer me contracts for it. So why did I turn those offers down and wait for one with surgery attached?

Perhaps because, on some level, I sensed there were weaknesses, and knew that the changes suggested by the previous publishers wouldn’t address them.

Either that or because I’m essentially a masochist.

Yesterday I sat down with the editor’s comments and a blank beat sheet and got to work. Figuring out what went where, and filling in the blanks between key scenes – either by recycling existing material or creating something new – was PAINFUL. But you know what? The end result is going to be a lot stronger.

Now I just have to finish the re-write, though at least I know where I’m going.

What about you? Ever used a beat sheet? Or are you more into herding cats?

Peace,
Liv

 

 

Where Did You Go, Mojo?

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You may not know, but I’m quite the fiber obsessive freak enthusiast. I knit, I spin, I’ve been known to dye. I listen to a bajillion knitting podcasts, and, until recently, I hadn’t experienced the loss of what they all call knitting mojo.

It exists for all hobbies, all projects, all creative endeavors. Sometimes a marathon runner loses the mojo for any run longer than the distance between the house and the mailbox. Writers know it well, and crafters across the world have experienced it. One day you wake up, and you just don’t feel like doing whatever it is you’re supposed to be doing. It’s not really like writer’s (knitter’s?) block: you know what you should be doing, maybe even have it planned out, but you would really rather just sit on the couch watching old episodes of The Vampire Diaries while, say, painting your toenails, than doing all those lovely things you’ve assigned yourself.

bored cat

The cause of this phenomenon remains unknown. Is it boredom with your projects? A sudden desire to organize your cabinets? Simple exhaustion, mental or physical?

We may never know.

Happily, knitters everywhere have been trying to cure this sad condition for years, and, like writers, we’ve come up with a few ways to lessen the pain of mojo-loss.

1. Start a new, small project. Both of those modifiers are key: the project needs to be new, and it must be small. If you’re a writer, write a short story for fun. Hell, write a haiku! Anything to pique your interest. Knitters know that the best way to break up the enormous, fingering weight, cabled sweater you’re making for the 300-pound man in your life is to knit a baby hat of bulky yarn. A new, small, completed project will give you a sense of accomplishment, and sometimes that’s all you need to get yourself moving again.

2. Pursue a related endeavor. For you sportsy people, if you’re sick of your chosen activity, try cross-training with something new and exciting, like, um, cricket? If you’re a writer, read something so fabulous it makes you want to be a better writer. Spend your afternoons Pinning photos that inspire you. You can give your mojo a break, but exercise creative muscles you might not otherwise have used, and sometimes that will give you the motivation you need to pick back up where you left off.

3. Try something so difficult, you’ll want to get back to your original project. In other words, turn your mojo-lacking project into a vacation. For a knitter, this might mean starting an intricate, pattern-on-both-sides lace shawl the size of a bedspread. For a writer, it could mean starting a huge, 10-plot epic that won’t see the light of day (or readers’ eyes) for at least a decade. The idea here is to make it a relief to return to the project you’re avoiding.

4. Make it sexy again. Maybe you’re just plain bored with your project… and that’s probably the easiest problem to fix. Knitting? Add some beads. Writing? Kill someone off. Running? Go run on some trails. Seriously, mix it up in whatever way you can. This is partly about breaking up the routine that is boring you and partly about challenging your brain and body to work in new ways. Add some new interest, and you’ll be able to get it up for your project again in no time. (Oh, come on, you knew that metaphor was coming. *rimshot*)

5. If you achieve epic mojo-loss, just take a break. This final trick is a gamble. Sure, you’ve got your outline, or half your shawl knitted, but you’re bored to tears every time you pick it up. The easiest, riskiest solution is to just tuck the damned thing into a drawer somewhere and ignore it until it’s interesting again. Of course, the gamble here is that you’ll never return to the project. You have to wonder, though, if the project is this mojo-deadening, do you want to be working on it at all? Sometimes a break will give you the space you need to finally quit that albatross of a project.

How do you get your mojo back, folks? Have you ever experienced the Melty-Man of projects? How did you fight him off?

bored otter

Don’t Stop Believin’

There’s a video that’s been floating around the interwebs these past few weeks that touched me to a surprising degree. Actor Jim Carrey is mostly known for his over-the-top comedy, but it turns out he is also capable of heart-felt poignancy, as you can see in this clip from his commencement speech at a recent graduation:

I think many creative types–especially writers on the journey towards traditional publishing–will relate to the sentiment at the heart of Carrey’s speech. Sometimes, the path towards whatever you’re passionate about seems impossibly twisting and muddled, a constant uphill slog pocked with unseen pitfalls and unexpected backtracking. Taking this “road less traveled by” (as per Frost) is a perilous gamble with terrible odds. And sometimes the temptation to give up can become almost overwhelming.

I am by no means exempt from these dark thoughts of failure and I often wonder if I ought to have chosen a more “practical” path, like Carrey’s father in his speech. Because doing something different is frightening, and lonely, and often discouraging. But I thought I’d share some of my own methods of coping with these worries, and why they work for me.

1) Accepting the fear and examining it.

Nothing chases fear away like staring it square in the face and saying “I know who you are.” Fear is natural, but to a certain degree it is also a choice. And when my fear gets so overwhelming that I’m ready to give up, I take a step back and try to think about what exactly I’m afraid of. Am I afraid that my life choices will leave me homeless and starving? No. Am I afraid that they’re making me a bad person, or denying some truth within myself? No, and no.

Usually, when I really think about it, the things I’m afraid of are so incredibly unimportant. I’m afraid of people not respecting me. Or I’m afraid of people laughing at me. Or I’m afraid of my voice not being heard. These are not real fears; at least, not real enough to make me give up my dreams.

“Sisyphus,” by Titian

2) Commiserating with people in similar situations.

The world is full of people trudging down the same tough, frustrating road that you are. Some of them may be behind you on the path, and others may be far ahead of you. But it’s still the same path. And wherever they are on that path, they can relate to what you’re going through, and may even have some tips on how to keep moving forward. While being a creative can sometimes feel isolating and lonely, no one is alone, and sometimes all it takes to chase the fear away is to reach out to others in similar situations.

3) Looking to those who have succeeded on your chosen path.

For every author with a tale of an agent deal on their first query or critical acclaim on their very first book, there are 100 authors with stories of multiple rejections and years and years of struggle and woe. Stephen King, J K Rowling, Agatha Christie, George Orwell, William Faulkner, and even serial best-seller Dan Brown had multiple manuscripts rejected by multiple publishing houses before their writing ever earned a cent. Some of the rejections were quite harsh, too: one editor told Vladimir Nabokov that his now world-famous novel Lolita ought be “buried under a stone for a thousand years.” Yikes.

But regardless of the onslaught of rejection they faced, these writers never gave up. And eventually, they all proved themselves to be worthy after all.

“Because when it comes to dreams, one may falter, but the only way to fail is to abandon them.” –Words of wisdom from NBC’s adaptation of “Dracula”

Are you ever tempted to give up on your dreams? How do you keep going when things get rough? Share you thoughts in the comment section below!

Transition and Creative Lives

Nature, caves, stalactites, stalagmites, spelunking, rock formations, rocks
Photo credit: JS Nature Photos, CC license.

I read recently that there is a difference between change and transition. Change is something inevitable that happens to you and around you. It can be a surprise or it can be something you seek, but it’s the external impetus that stimulates internal shifts. Transition is a whole other beastie.

Some of you are already aware that I’m going through a divorce. I recently separated from my husband and moved out with my two adorable kitties. Change.

I have a book coming out in less than three weeks. Change.

I now have a thirty minute commute to work instead of ten, though I have my car back after two years. Change.

Those are a lot of big things. Some are positive. Some are at best mixed.

In periods of intense change, it can be really difficult for your mind to adjust. For the past two or three months, I feel like I’ve been running on a hamster wheel. Spinning through copy edits, tangoing with Craigslist, every day a welter of emotions that range from ecstatic joy to complete bewilderment to rage to grief to hope to relief to overwhelming sadness to terror.

That’s one of the hallmarks of transition.

I’ve found myself thinking at least once a week (often once a day or more) that I just have to get through this week. I just have to get through today. I just have to get through this month. Next month. This summer. This hour.

Transition, ultimately, is coping with change.

There are many ways to cope, and for creative people, change and periods of transition can have several different effects, all of which fall into the category of “normal.”

1. Creative constipation.

Sorry, I couldn’t help the alliteration there.

Sometimes when life is in upheaval and your mind is struggling to keep up with the influx of stress and various stimuli, your creative battery gets depleted. Things you normally do as an outlet may not come easily. Which is to say that they may feel like you’re chasing a dragon with a pair of pliers in an attempt to remove its molars.

This can be compounded if you do something creative professionally and have to contend with deadlines.

One way to cope could be trying something else to get your brain working in a creative fashion. If you’re a writer, draw or paint something, even if you think you suck at it. Build something. Hell, open up Paint and scribble. Bead. Knit. Crochet. Macramé. Weld something (probably take a class or so first).

2. Creative catharsis.

Sometimes you’re able to funnel stress through a creative lens like a sunbeam through a magnifying glass. Making your art can become a coping mechanism in and of itself, helping you work through feelings and emotions, problems and solutions.

Or you might have tried the above suggestion and found a new love of weaving or chain mail manufacturing. Sometimes just finding a focus in the midst of chaos can be enough to sustain you through a difficult time.

3. Creative chaos.

You want to write a D&D based novella. And paint a picture of railroad ties. And sculpt a life size Misha Collins. Maybe you want to take up dip candles. Or beeswax rolling. Or blacksmithing.

Yeah, that is a lot to juggle.

When there’s a lot going on in your life, sometimes the creative part of your brain can take a cue from the outside world and make you temporarily curious about ALL THE THINGS until you have a half dozen unfinished projects scattered around the house and Gorilla Glue stuck to the bottoms of your feet and you can’t remember what project you were even USING Gorilla Glue for.

Take a deep breath. Make sure you’re not under water first.

4. Creative cutoff.

It can help sometimes to do something uncreative, a completionist task that allows your brain to see one thing through from beginning to end that will have an objective sense of beginning and end. This could mean washing the car or other mundane jobs that might seem tiny, but sometimes it helps just to know you can finish things. That life keeps going even when each text message makes you cringe and you want nothing more than to bury yourself in your comforter and eat gelato all day.

There’s no one way to transition when change shifts the fault lines of your life. Most people don’t even have one set thing that happens. You might bounce back and forth from catharsis to constipation to cutoff to chaos — that’s just part of your mind coping.

The only real catalyst to transition is time and a healthy sense of cognizant engagement with whatever is going on in your life. Time plus sticking your head in the sand does little but prolong the process. Time plus engagement means you can rejoice in the small victories each day while recognizing that there will be setbacks. The important thing is to allow yourself to hear your own needs and listen as much as you can. You won’t always have the ability to take a week off and hide in the woods. But you can take a few hours and go to a park to sit and recharge.

And if that fails, maybe throwing pots can help — on a wheel or at a wall.

Just try to make sure there aren’t any people between you and the wall. 😉

 

Seven Tips for Finding More Time to Do What You Love

I mentioned I;m German, right? Therefore, I get to use a cuckoo clock. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
I mentioned I’m German, right? Therefore, I get to use a cuckoo clock. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve had a few people tell me in the last few days that my drive and ambition in writing are impressive. This got me to wondering what makes me any different from anyone else. The only thing I’ve been able to come up with is that I choose to focus the vast majority of my free time on something that I love and am trying to build into a full-time career.

To give you some perspective, here’s my world: I work a full-time job (which involves a lot of writing and creative thinking), write (and research) historical fiction (and some women’s fiction), write book reviews for three organizations on a volunteer basis, blog on two sites, read, do social media (mostly Pinterest, and Twitter, but I’m getting better with Facebook) and am in bed by 10:30 p.m. during the week. Lately, I’ve even been managing to squeeze in a workout.

I’m fortunate not to have kids or a husband to worry about (although having someone else to help with the domestic stuff would be great) so I know I’m not in the same boat as everyone else. But, being only one person, I’ve also had to give up a lot to be able to focus on my “other” job with gusto. I am not a morning person, nor do I consume caffeine or drugs. I guess you could say I’m high on my hopes and dreams (and exhausted most of the time). Here are seven tips on how to find more time in your day. They aren’t for everyone, but they’ve worked for me, so maybe at least one will help you, too.

  1. Be passionate about what you do. Find what it is that makes adrenaline run through your veins and you’ll magically find time to work on it. I promise. I write. It’s my thing. It’s my compliment to breathing. I can’t not write. That’s what gives me the energy to crack open a research book or bang away on the keyboard after eight or nine hours a day of writing in my day job. Sometimes I only last an hour or two. Sometimes the words blur before my eyes or what I write is crap, but at least I’m moving forward. I don’t make myself write every day, but I’ve found that if I can do something (even if it’s just thinking) toward my goals, I feel like I’m taking baby steps forward.
  2. Turn off the TV. This has been the single best thing I’ve done for my writing career. When I started out, I had cable and watched about four hours of TV a day during the week, much more on weekends. Now I’m down to Amazon Prime and over the air local channels. I rarely turn on my TV. I watch the local news for 30 minutes in the morning while I’m waking up, then watch a show while I’m doing my hair and makeup. Sometimes I watch 30 minutes of something on my Kindle while I’m eating dinner. But that’s it. The rest of my night is reading, research or writing. I got into that habit when trying to finish a manuscript on a self-imposed deadline and have never looked back.
  3. Learn to multitask. I’m German/Austrian and a Virgo, so that means I am a natural efficiency machine. You’d be surprised what you can combine. For example, I’m famous for tweeting from the bathtub. (TMI, I know.) But it combines relaxation time with social media time. I talk to my parents on the phone while I ride my stationary bike. I listen to audio books while I cook and clean. For me, meditation can even be a multitasking situation because my storylines often reveal/resolve themselves when I meditate.  There’s not much you can’t combine with something else. But my writing/researching time is sacred; no multitasking there.
  4. Limit your social media time. I’m BAD about this one. I like to make sure I check Twitter every night or at least every other night and I’m a Pinterest junkie (it relaxes me, honest). But I’ve found that using Twitter lists helps me control that part. If I’m pressed for time, I can check the few lists that really matter (my agent/agency, Team Awesome, my fav authors) and still feel connected without devoting hours to it. I use my personal Facebook sparingly, and only check my author page and profile on the weekends. Pinterest…well, there’s no hope for that one. I make myself not check it if I know I don’t have at least an hour to devote to it.
  5. Cook on the weekends. It may sound counter-intuitive, but spending two hours or so on a Sunday cooking up food for the week actually saves you time. It allows you to devote more time in the evenings to what you really want to be doing. Plus, it makes packing a lunch easier in the morning. (I know you could always eat out, but cooking your own food is healthier and cheaper.)
  6. Know what you’re willing to give up. In order to focus on my writing, I don’t date and I have pretty much given up my social life over the last few years. I’m slowly gaining it back again (I have to set boundaries or it will eat up all my time) and I’d date if someone worth it came along, but for me right now launching my writing career is top priority. And no one can do everything.
  7. Let some things go. As my friend musician Lee Safar once told me, “If you are truly inspired and want to make something happen, you will. The laundry and house can wait. No one will notice but you.” I’ve seen a distinct trend on Twitter that the closer a writer gets to a deadline, the more likely they are to mention a dirty house and piling laundry. In the end, will anyone die if that waits a little longer? I’m betting no. And I’m a Virgo. We love clean.

I know I haven’t said anything truly original here. You could probably find the same tips on a thousand different web sites. But at least you know these are coming from a real person with real experience and success with them. I wish you all the best of luck in finding more time to do what you love. After all, what we truly love is often tied to our purpose in life and that’s why we were all born in the first place.

Your turn: What tips do you have for adding more hours to the day? What works for you? What do you think about my tips? I want to learn from you!