Saturday, August 22, 2009

Participate in the WM Back To School Giveaway

For the third year in a row, The Writer Mama, Christina Katz, is giving away thirty books in thirty days. All you have to do to participate is answer the question that Christina will pose daily. One lucky winner will win each day. There is no limit to how many times you can enter. The drawing is for U.S. residents. You don’t have to be a mom, but of course, the event is created with moms in mind, so please tell all the writer mamas you know! See ya in September at

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored."

Earl Nightingale
1921-1989, Author and Radio Announcer

Friday, August 14, 2009

Write Often = Write Well

Just read an interesting "tweet" on twitter that I thought was worth posting:

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.
RAY BRADBURY@advicetowriters

Good advice! I think there should always be more of a focus on quality than on quantity, but I think that it is very true that the more you write, the better you will write.

For this reason, I recently decided that, no matter what happened in my day (pending a real life or death emergency), I will always write at least 500 words each day. (I realize that 500 words is pitiful, but I figured that if I set a small goal, I might actually stick with it.) Since deciding this, I have seen some real benefits, especially because once I get started, it's pretty easy to keep going.

I must now get back to work, but will you leave you with a final thought.

If you want to be a good writer, you have to write. A lot. And often. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Growing Up

Yesterday I celebrated my baby girl's first birthday.

My husband and I planned a small party at home with a few friends and relatives. Everyone had a fun time, especially Baby Girl. Actually, to be perfectly honest, my 27-month old son probably enjoyed it the most. He was adorable, wearing a party hat, singing "Happy, Happy, Happy Birfday" to his sister, helping her blow out her candle, and assisting in opening her gifts. It was a perfect day.

But it was the craziest thing...looking at my baby (who was sitting in her highchair with cake all over her face and smiling a big, toothy grin), I felt overwhelmed for a moment. I was feelings of gratitude for being blessed with my beautiful little girl, sadness that all her grandparents weren't there for her first birthday (hubby's parents couldn't make it, and my dad passed away several years ago), and a little bit of fear - fear that time is going by too quickly.

I know it sounds ridiculous, but for a moment, I truly did feel afraid and a little sad. I don't want time to go by so quickly. These are such precious moments, and I don't want them to go away.

But then, I got hold of myself and realized a few things. I realized that I had felt that same fear before. I had felt it on my son's first birthday, too. On his birthday, I had wished that time could just stand still and I could live in that moment forever.

I now realize, though, that if that wish had come true, I would not be celebrating with my precious daughter...because she would never had been born. And I wouldn't give her up for anything in the world.

So, I guess the only thing to do is to cherish every moment that I get with my babies...because time does go by quickly, and if I waste time wishing to stay in one particular moment, then I would miss out on many more precious moments to come.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Productive Writing

Yesterday I learned an important lesson. Let me spell it out for you: P.R.O.D.U.C.T.I.V.I.T.Y.

Yes, I learned about the importance of productivity. Bear with me for a moment and I'll fill you in on what happened. My family and I were house-sitting for a relative recently, and were kind of on a mini-vacation. It was great - totally relaxing and just what we needed. But then we came home, and it all kind of hit me at once - all the writing projects that I left behind for the week, my husband's homework had piled up (he's currently in a Master's program), as well as laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc. Trying not to get overwhelmed, I created a To Do list, and then proceeded to tackle each item on the list in order of importance.

The good thing is that I did get a lot done. The not-so-good part about it is that I felt bad for not spending much quality time with my children. In fact, I confess to allowing too much TV time for my munchkins while I tapped away at the keyboard yesterday. Usually, I schedule my writing projects for the kids nap times or after they're tucked into bed at night. When the occasional crunch time arrives and I absolutely have to work when they're up, my hubby earns his Father-of-the-Year award by handling EVERYTHING, including cooking, cleaning, and playing with the kids...mind you, this is after he comes home from a long day's work.

Unfortunately, it was crunch time for me yesterday...but it was crunch time for hubby, too. He had two major assignments due by Monday morning. Long story short, we made it work by taking turns playing with the kids, and then getting Grandma to come babysit for a while.

So you're probably wondering what the point is of all this. Well, here it is: while I was furiously typing away on my keyboard, wishing that I was spending my Sunday afternoon laughing and playing with my son and daughter, it occurred to me that if I changed just a few things in my usual routine, I wouldn't have to be missing out on time with my kids. For example, spending just 10 minutes per day on Facebook takes up more than an hour of time every week. Knowing that I was going to be on a mini vacation and let my work build up, I could have planned ahead and cut out Facebook time during the previous week, which would have meant at least one hour less that I would have to spend working on my weekend.

This got me thinking, and I realized that latelyI have not been nearly as productive as I would like to be. So I came up with a few ways to help increase my productivity:

  • Only check Facebook once a day.
  • Only check email three times per day (morning, noon, and before I wrap things up in the evening.)
  • Set aside a specific amount of time for research, and stop when that time is up (this will prevent me from wasting time surfing the web when I already have the research I need to complete the article.)
  • Schedule "writing slots" in my day, and stick to them.
  • Start each writing slot by writing (not getting online, checking email, or researching.)
Today is my first day of implementing these productivity strategies, and so far it's working great. Do you have any tips for remaining as productive as possible in your work? I'd love to hear them!

By the way, check out this post over at The Renegade Writer Blog. It's all about the importance of productivity, and it lists some interesting productivity tricks that might work for you.

Well, my blogging time is up, so it's back to work for me now. :)