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January 2013

At Least There’s A Parking Spot At The Gym?

Ah, late January. All the Christmas lights are (probably) down, winter’s chill is here for real, and the pretty white coat of snow is tinged with grey gunk from all the salt. The days are getting longer, but it still feels like it gets dark at four o’clock. Junk food has snuck its way back into the cupboard, and the parking lot at the gym is finally thinning out.

Quite a difference from the beginning of the month, no? When everything was still twinkling lights and new toys and optimism about resolutions we were all finally going to really make work this time. (No, really!)

My first blog post of the year was scheduled for January 3, and for a while, I debated making like Sydney and Jenna and writing something New Year’s themed. After seeing both of them hit it out of the park, though, I decided to wait, because for me, the problem with New Year’s resolutions isn’t making them but keeping them. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

So with the beginning of the year drawing to a close, let’s revisit those little promises we all made back a month ago, shall we?

While I have some good, solid, measurable goals surrounding word count, weight loss, etc, my resolutions this year were a bit more general—more attitudes than targets. They fell into two broad categories: things to say ‘yes’ to and things to say ‘no, thank you’ to.

Say ‘yes’ to more invitations (both social and professional), to little pockets of time that could be spent writing, to vegetables.

Say ‘no, thank you’ to time-wasting web sites, to toxic people, and to second helpings.

On the whole, I think I’m doing all right. Not great, certainly not perfect, but all right. But it’s never a bad time to double down, right?

So to keep those attitudes and ambitions top of mind, now, when it’s tempting to let them slip, I’m writing them on little post-it notes and putting them next to my laptop and inside the front cover of my journal and in my wallet. They’re just little reminders that New Year’s isn’t the only time to try to be my best. It’s something to work on every day of the year. It’s something to work on right now.

(Another thing to say ‘no, thank you,’ to? Procrastination.)

Anybody else care to check in? How are you doing making this year your best one yet?

5 Comments

Pay it Forward

I still remember the day writer’s reality bit me in the ass.  I had just received my twentieth rejection – a predetermined point at which I’d decided I would re-evaluate – when the doubt started to kick in.  What if this didn’t go as smoothly as I’d naively imagined it would?  Perhaps I didn’t write the next Twilight, which I’d known for certain I had even if it didn’t have the mesmerizing Edward Cullen (or vampires for that matter).  Maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t going to be the exception to the rule.

I was terrified.

Some people might’ve quit at that point, but me?  Well, I’m a glutton for punishment.  After a few days of moping, I pulled up my big girl panties, put on a strangled smile, and responded with, “Yes sir!  May I have another?”  (And another, and another).  And as I rode this sick merry-go-round over and over again I went in search of help, finding it in my local RWA chapter, Carolina Romance Writers.

I turned into the sponge I was when I was a kid, soaking up every dribble of knowledge I could about my craft.  I learned acronym after acronym, like POV, GMC, and BBM.  I attended workshop after workshop about tension, dialogue, and character arcs.  I thrived on the stones of knowledge I was gaining, and I was grateful to those who had been so kind as to pass them on to me.  One day, I’d find a way to pay it forward.

Then it happened.

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching the afternoon workshop at the Carolina Romance Writers chapter.  I’ll be honest (because that’s just what I do), I wasn’t exactly jumping up and down at the opportunity when I was first asked to speak.  Why would anyone care what Jenna Patrick – an unpublished author with a couple hundred rejections under her belt – had to say?  And how in the hell was an introvert like me going to get through this anyway?  What if the audience threw tomatoes or, worse yet, asked me questions?

Once again, I was terrified.

But I pushed through because I realized this was just another stone.  Maybe it was time for me to work on the business part of my craft, particularly a skill I’d been avoiding – public speaking.  And in the process, I’d get to help others out who might’ve recently been bitten in the ass with writer’s reality as I once had.  I had something to share and there were folks out there who needed me to share it.

And wouldn’t you know it…there were absolutely NO tomatoes.

So today I challenge all the writers out there, no matter what stage of the process you’re in.  Think outside the box.  Take that risk.  Continue to soak up that knowledge.  Don’t except things for what they appear to be, but strive to be better.  And when asked, be sure to pay it forward.

They’re all pavers building this long road we’ve set out on.

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Do You Need Your Space?

Or are you a clingy writer who just can’t let go of a manuscript, who can’t bear to send your baby out into the cruel world, no matter how many times you’ve told yourself it’s finished? And how do you even know it’s finished, anyway? As I’ve learned and improved as a writer, that question has become harder and harder to answer—and my manuscripts have become harder and harder to let go. I bet you’re getting a pretty good idea of where I am on the spectrum by now. Submit? A partial? A full? But it’s not ready! You’ll have to chase me down and tear it from my cold, dead hands first! Yep, that’s me. But, in my experience, agents and editors don’t seem to be that desperate.*

*Tip: if an agent does indeed seem that desperate to make your acquaintance and read your work, you probably don’t have an agent. You have a stalker.

Many times, I’ve heard the advice that it’s a good idea to let a manuscript cool off for a few weeks or so in order to read it with fresh eyes before submitting. It’s good advice. Sound advice. I know it. But in practice, I follow the dog-with-a-bone method. So how the hell do I ever get anything out for submission? Ummm…. Yeah. Not so easy.

Fortunately, my life has conspired against my obsessive ways and forced me to see reason. My manuscript (the one I resolved to have polished and out on submission by May 1st) has cooled so much now that it would shatter if I dropped it on the floor. My eyes are fresher than a truckload of Tic-Tacs. Frankly, I’m a little scared. What if I don’t emotionally connect with the characters or story anymore? What if it seems stupid? What if I’m simply sick and tired of the whole thing?

Beginning my final polish filled me with dread, but you know what? Dread aside, these doubts are good—they mean that my story will need to suck me in, to win me over just like it will need to do for an agent, an editor, and ultimately my readers. Honestly, I’m not sure if my doubts are just unfounded insecurities. Maybe the story won’t stand up to scrutiny. But I’m taking that brutal step, and following it through to the end. Whatever I find may make me wince a little (more like a lot), but I know I will have a product that is better for it, and I will finally be able to answer the question of “is it ready?” with a yes.

So, if you’re contemplating wrapping up a project you’ve left too long and it’s giving you the heebie-jeebies, you are not alone. Let me know how it goes and we’ll compare notes!

Sydney

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Your Right To Paaaaartay!

 

fireworks

I believe in celebrations. Birthdays, Anniversaries, milestones of all sorts, successes – they’re all worth a squee. I’ll even celebrate for the sake of celebration. Dionysus wasn’t all wrong.

If you’re a writer, you have to celebrate the little things because it can take years to reach one of the biggies – not to mention the rejection and moments of le sad that come with this biz. Luckily, I’m part of a critique group that also believes in a little Rah-Rah-Rah for the cause or they just humor me because I love any excuse to cheer. We celebrate writing THE END of a manuscript, sending off queries or submissions, getting contracts, requests, etc. etc.

This past week & weekend, I was able to celebrate some writer successes for myself and others:

 1) I sent off my completed rough draft (the somewhat edited and hopefully coherent version) to 2 crit partners.         <–Success!

2)  I managed to write this rough draft in just over 3 months.  For people who don’t write, this seems like eons. To put it in prospective, my first book took me about a year to finish the rough draft.  This is major progress! I’m sure some other book may take longer, but this was cooperative. This is big for me! I’m learning my Process and what works. <–Success!

3)  EMichels wrote The End of her MS too. <– Success!

Because I don’t live locally to anyone in my critique group, often the celebrating is postponed.  It’s no big, but everyone likes real time, immediately gratifying Woo Hoo!s  In life, you’ve got to improvise and never, ever pass up the opportunity to celebrate your successes.  I suggest the following for all you writing badgirlz that live at large or can’t get together immediately to recognize your accomplishments:

1)      Skype video chats. These are awesome things. I love to skype! You can sit on your couch with your facial peel and/or glass of beverage and jibber-jabber away. It’s the next best thing to meeting up for happy hour.

2)      A phone call full of Squee! with your crit partner(s).  If you can conference call, it’s even better. Not that email isn’t great, but nothing is better than quality chat time with your girlfriends.

3)      The group text of chaos. Mayhem might ensue b/c everyone is texting at once, but that’s part of the fun.

My point is, no matter how small you think it is, when you get good news or conquer a task, do not keep it all to yourself. Share with your people, connect, and do the flailing run around the room dance together. I promise it will keep you bolstered the next time something or someone tries to take the wind out of your high flying sails.

What are your recent successes, big or small? Let’s all celebrate! *breaks out dance music*

dance

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The Big One Liner!

I’m sure at one point or another we’ve all been in that situation when someone comes up and gives us their best pick-up line. That one liner is so important because it can tell us a lot about a person in just a matter of seconds.  I remember once this CUTE cowboy came up to me and said, “Hey Darlin, I really want to dance but the only person I know in this place is my friend and he’s just too ugly.” I turned to his friend who tipped his hat in my direction at that precise moment. Unfortunately we were in Virginia Beach, not Texas and it was clear that the guy was no more a cowboy then I was. So instead of coming across as cool and coy, he came across as corny.

I remember many, many years ago during my single years telling my friends that I was going to write a book on the best and worst pick up lines:

“Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?”

“Tonight’s sky is missing two stars because there they are in your eyes.”

“Are you from Tennessee, cause you’re the only ten-I-see.”

Some good, some bad, some really bad and some that just make your mouth fall open in complete shock.

Like this one:

My girlfriend and I had worked our way through this crowded club trying to find a seat at the bar but the place was packed. I turned to her and shouted over the crowd, “All the seats are taken.” This guy spun around on his bar-stool and gave me his big one liner. “Honey, as long as I have a face, you’ll have a place to sit.” True story! I can’t make this up.

Let me get to my point, which really has nothing to do with getting hit on in bars. It’s to bring to your attention how important that first line truly is. I went to a workshop a couple of weeks ago where our guest speaker was a literary agent whom graciously agreed to critique the first pages of our WIP’s. As the pages were read aloud, every once in a while the agent would shout out, “That’s a great first line.” Sometimes the reader would be a few paragraphs in when the agent would yell, “There’s your first line right there.”

She was very honest with us and told us if the story was something she’d be interested in or if it was something she’d pass on. It didn’t take me long to notice that she seemed to have a pattern. If the story didn’t start with a good first line or if she didn’t find a good first line somewhere in the first page, she passed.

This got me wondering. With the fierce competition in the writing world due to hundreds of submissions being sent daily, are there agents out there that never make it past the first line? If that first line doesn’t sweep them off their feet do they even bother to go any further? I hope that’s not the way it works but let’s face it, it could be. Sure sounded like it with this particular agent.

I bet every writer out there can recite by heart the first line of their manuscript without having to look at it. I can. Two of my one liners, I decided were worth an agent reading on, two, not so much. Then I had that ah-ha moment when you see something in a completely different perspective. Typing that first line is such a monumental moment. It’s more than just the first line of your manuscript, it’s when the story that has been spinning around in your head for days, months, years, finally meets paper.

This is HUGE! Of course it should be great. In fact, it should be fantastic. So I challenge you today to go back and look at your first line. Remember, this is your big pick-up line. Is it great? Is it fantastic? Will it keep an agent reading? Then once you figure out your awesome one liner, do everything in your power to make the lines that follow just as good.

Give me your best one liner.

Don’t forget to Dream Big!

Lori

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Adjust, Adapt, and Soldier On

We make plans. It’s part of what we do. As human beings, we think about what we want to have happen this week, this month, this year, this decade. Life, however, finds ways of mucking everything up.

The idea of adjusting expectations and moving on is top of mind for me at the moment because, recently, my own near and short term plans have been thrown off track by things as big as picking up and moving to another part of the country and as small as four inches of unexpected snow. The move screwed up my writing mojo for about five months. The snow lost me an hour of my day to shoveling and sabotaged my plans to tick off a few to-do list items that required actually leaving the house. (Groceries? Who needs groceries? Canned soup and crackers are sort of like food.)

Regardless, we don’t give up on our plans. We re-evaluate them and see if they fit the new circumstances. If so, great, and if not, we adjust. We adapt. We soldier on. We come out better and stronger on the other side.

As writers, we make entirely different kinds of plans.

We make outlines for our stories. But if our characters are the kinds of fully-actualized people we hope they are, they throw monkey-wrenches into everything. In the first chapter, the hero hints at a character flaw we never saw coming. A third of the way through, two characters decide unresolved sexual tension is for the birds and decide to tear each other’s clothes off. Near the epic finale, the villain reveals a whole new layer of motivation and dastardliness.

It’s a challenge for any writer, and doubly so for a die-hard plotter. We examine the changes and compare them with our plans. Sometimes, we decide our characters were totally out of line. We delete a chapter or a scene and we shepherd everyone back on track, and our outline survives.

Sometimes, our characters are doing precisely what they should in this situation, and we have to work around them. More often than not, things work out better than they would have if we’d followed the script. A new level of complexity emerges, or a we’re able to build a new resonance between our themes and our plots and our characters.

But those aren’t the only kinds of plans we make. We make plans for our careers, and more often than not, at least in the beginning, they involve not a little bit of wishful thinking, magical dust, and the ever-popular, “Oh, no, I’ll be the exception,” and, “Then a miracle will happen.” Reality smacks us around. Writer’s block rears its ugly head, rejections come, sales underperform. We don’t give up.

Let me repeat that, but without the contraction: we do not give up.

We adjust. We adapt. We soldier on. We work through the block. We revise our query letters for the eleven millionth time, and consider either putting the book away or querying a small press. We start a new manuscript. We learn from the experience and come out of it with a better understanding of the industry and of ourselves and of our craft.

We soldier on.

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The Nasty “C” Word (and no, it’s not the one you think)

Be honest.  Had I not added the disclaimer, how many of you would’ve thought I was referring to the four-letter slang word for the female genitals?  It’s okay.  I won’t judge.  Had I read the title I would’ve assumed the same.  And since I don’t offend easy, I would’ve clicked right on through the link just to see what Jenna Patrick had to say about it.  (Did I just talk about myself in the third person?)

Had I not added the disclaimer there would’ve been people who didn’t read this blog simply for that reason.  Hell, I probably lost hits because I did add the disclaimer!  Maybe it was that specific “C” word you would’ve drawn a line at.  If I’d used the “P” word would it have bothered you less or bothered you more?  Or maybe it wasn’t the word at all that would’ve bothered you, but the subject itself.

While that wasn’t the “C” word I was referring to, it gave me a great little segue into the one I was – Censorship.

Webster’s Dictionary defines Censorship in the following way:

1:  the act of supervising conduct and morals: as

a: an official who examines materials (as publications or films) for objectionable matter

b: an official (as in time of war) who reads communications (as letters) and deletes material considered sensitive or harmful

That seems fairly cut and dry, I suppose.  After all, who wants to read something they might find objectionable or harmful, right?

Well…I do, actually.

I haven’t been a fan of censorship since junior high when I read Fahrenheit 451.  Who were these people who thought they had the right to decide what was appropriate and inappropriate?  That takes balls, doesn’t it?  To assume they knew best for everyone?

But that’s the beauty of living in America.  You have the freedom to speak your mind about whatever subject you feel passionate about in whatever way you see fit.  It’s one of the core reasons I wanted to become a writer in the first place, because I have a lot to say and I believe there are people out there who want to hear it.  In the same breath, you may choose not to read a book at whatever point you feel uncomfortable with it or for whatever reason you feel offended.  But people have the right to hear all sides of a topic and then choose for themselves which side they fall within.

Recently we had a bit of a disagreement between the bad girlz about what was an appropriate and what was an inappropriate blog.  I tell you this not to cause a stir or ask you to choose sides, but because I feel it’s important to be completely honest with our faithful readers.  Besides, I don’t believe in ignoring the pink elephant.

If you follow the blog regularly, then you may know which blog I’m referring to and you also know we made the decision to remove it from the site.  I’ll admit, though in the end I voted for the removal, I wasn’t 100% on board with this decision for two reasons:  1.  I happened to agree with most of what was stated in the blog.  And 2.  I don’t believe in censoring anyone’s speech.  So why did I vote to remove it?

Because in addition to my aversion to censorship, I also believe in a little something called democracy.

There are seven of us.  Seven women with completely different backgrounds and completely different objectives in life.  Seven women who feel strongly about those objectives and have different ideas on the best way to achieve them.  Seven women who understand and respect the views of each other, even if they don’t always agree.

We’re not always going to be on the same page.  Frankly, I’d be a little concerned if we were.  But what is important is that we debate and respectfully listen to each other’s views before coming to a decision.  Maybe the reason I write is because I want the world to know my views on any given subject, but that might not be the reason we all write.  Maybe I’m willing to accept that I may lose readers because of my opinion, but that doesn’t mean all of us are.

Whether we like it or not, there is such a thing as guilty by association.  Maybe as an individual I didn’t find the blog harmful to me, but collectively I could certainly understand why some feared it may be harmful to them.  In the same way, I would hope the girls would understand how posting something extremely religious might be harmful to me – a liberal who’s made her position on freedom of religion very well known.

Lets talk about another “C” word:  Collaboration. We should all have the right to express our opinions in whatever way we see fit, but when you’re part of a group blog you have to do what’s best for the majority.  You win some, you lose some.  And here’s the thing – that doesn’t mean any of us are wrong.  It just means we’re different.

Ironically, this is also what makes our group so strong.  I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Stay strong and speak up!

Jenna P.

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Secrets of the (Recent) Past

I’ve been on a reading kick lately, as life has supplied me with lots of late-night and early morning opportunities in which my mind isn’t good for much else (thanks, baby growth spurt!). I’ve always been all about Kate Morton, and after finishing her latest two back to back, I’m a true fangirl. Seriously, if you haven’t read The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper yet, do it. Like, now. They’re probably the best books I’ve read in the past year.

Both of these novels were partially set in WWII London, which made me notice something: I read a lot of historical fiction, but it’s recent history–twentieth century, usually. In romance, historical settings outside of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are typically seen as “hard sells.” In literary fiction, twentieth century time periods are more common, but even then, there’s usually a tie to the present day, generally in the form of “story within a story.” The present-day narrative is typically thinner, sometimes serving as just a framework to the “real” story.

From time to time, I’ve wondered why that is. Does it make these novels Historical, or Contemporary–or both? Do readers (and publishers) not see these as historical enough to stand alone? Or is it more about the extra layer of mystery, and the thrill of uncovering secrets from the past? Maybe it’s a bit of both. Either way, it’s a style I love and find myself returning to again and again. If you could sneak a peek at my Kindle, at least half the content would be somewhat set in the twentieth century past. The other half consists of rock star/groupie memoirs…and no, I am not embarrassed to admit this to the entire internet. But wait a minute–these are all about the recent past, too! Boom. That was my mind just getting blown.

So what the hell’s your point, Syd, you may be asking. The point is this-or a question, really: is there an untapped genre of recent-historical, or past-contemporary fiction waiting to be written and enjoyed by people like me? Nostalgia Lit, if you will. Standalone novels set in the forties, fifties, seventies, eighties–whatever–would they be marketable without the present-day framing of the story? Hell, it works on Mad Men–why not in literature? And I, your fearless friend, am going to try it.

So, what time periods do you most like to read about?

 

 

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Writing a Series – Part 3

This post wraps up my series on Writing a Series. It’s fitting that it worked out to be a three part feature, since I tend to write in trilogies. =) The last thing I wish to discuss is weaving your series together so it’s one tight knit story. In order to do this you need an overall theme and at least one overarching story line

For the intent of this post, I’m talking about the kind of series that if you read the books out of order, you’re lost. I don’t mean a series of stand-alone books all set in the same town or with cross-over characters. While I love these books too, they’re not what I think of when I say trilogy or “quadrilogy.”

First, THEME:

  • Each book may have the same theme or each may have its own with one master theme binding the all the books together. (One ring to rule them all…sorry, I had to.)
  • Theme is often intuitive. You might finish your book wondering “What the heck is my theme?” You can find your overall theme by looking at the Goals & Conflicts of the book.  You will find your theme in the GC of your GMC. If your MC’s Goal is freedom of choice and the Conflict is family or society’s morays, your theme may be independence or the quest for self reliance.

Second, OVERARCHING STORY:

  • At least one story line should develop over the entire series.  The pace of that arch should be steady, build with each book, and never drop off completely.
  • The resolution to this arch must pay off for the reader. Pay off BIG. If it’s in all of your books then it will be a big deal to the reader. Make the resolution count.

As examples of the above (because I always learn better if there are examples), let’s look at two TV series – currently showing and very popular: Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead.

 

Downton Abbey

Theme: There are a few themes that pop up again and again, but one could argue the main theme is adaptation and survival. If you watch the show, you know something is always happening and there is no such thing as peace and quiet. Change is always in the air.  It’s so keenly highlighted because the series is set during a time when British aristocracy was on the endangered species list.  The few that survived did so because they changed with the times. For old British families, steeped in tradition and ritual, this was not an easy concept. And there’s your conflict!

Goal:  Survival of Downton Abbey and the Grantham family in it.

Conflict: The fast-paced ever changing world around them.

Theme: Adapting to change to survive and flourish.

Overarching story: Wars come and go, relationships change, there’s always some sort of family drama, but the one story arch that continues over each season is why the creators titled it Downton Abbey. The aristocratic British household is the overarching story. Every episode shows the household surviving, overcoming, adapting, muddling through, mourning loss, and celebrating triumph.  Heirs may die, daughters may run off with the chauffer, but how does Downtown Abbey as a symbol survive? What does it represent to those within the walls and in the neighboring town and how will they protect that?

 downton abbey

 

The Walking Dead

Theme: Guts.  Ha! No I’m kidding. 

Let’s break it down…

Goal: Personal Survival of the MCs (Hmmm, I’m starting to see a theme with my favorite TV shows…)

Conflict: The world around them – both zombies and most of the humans – will stop at nothing to either destroy them or take everything from them.

Theme: Staying alive, persevering in this new world, without losing their sense of humanity.

Overarching Story: There are several, but I’ll pick just one – Rick’s arch as a leader.

His journey from trusting family man and stand up Sherriff’s deputy to hardened, suspicious, take no sh*t “Ricktator” is one of the best character developments I’ve seen on television. *pause for fangirl flail* OHMIGOD IT IS SOOOO AWESOME! Eeeeeeeeeeeee!

Sometimes he rocks it as a leader, other times he screws up royal, but he’s a character you care about. Viewers are invested in his arch as a leader and whether or not he’ll make it or crack up completely.

 (Cue gratuitious Rick Grimes pic spam…)Rick-Grimes

RG season 3

So, there you go. Theme and overarching story. If you plan on writing a series, I hope this helps.  If not, I hope it will get you thinking about the series (book or tv) you enjoy and why. I’d love to talk shop about it in the comments.  Chances are good I’ll fangirl again.

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Bad Girl For A Day: Jenna McCormick – “Work-Life Balance”

Jen head Shot

            Thanks for having me here, Bad Girlz! Always a pleasure to chill with you. And man, I need to chill in the worst way.

       No Mercy     In 2012 I wrote 365,000 keeper words. That translates into four full length novels and one novella. I e-published one book, serialized another with monthly releases and the rest were sold to my publisher with accompanying deadlines. Writing, editing, promoting, maintaining two public profiles, along with my indie imprint, Captiva Heart. Running the Sanibel Moon website, twitter feed, facebook page as well as critiquing and beta reading for other writers. Somebody order me a mimosa, stat!

            In some ways, it was my best year ever. Sales went up, my production way up. I just released the final installment of my Caught Up In You serial on January 2 and have one of my all-time favorite heroes, Zan the Space Pirate’s book, No Mercy coming out later this month and my first anthology in March. I traveled the galaxies in my own mind, visited alien worlds and got up to some kinky hijinx with Daisy Dominatrix and Baily and Connor from the Edgeplay serial.


Daisy

            Unfortunately, I now feel like something stuck to the bottom of someone’s shoe. Part of it is the sedentary nature of what I do, but the other part was me, pushing too hard and not stopping to smell the roses. Since October I’ve been rehabilitating my neck and shoulder, which is all jacked up from way too much time hunched over my keyboard. The monthly trip to the chiropractor wasn’t enough to offset the damage I was doing with my crazy schedule.

            The repetitive injury drove one point home. Something’s gotta give. And if I don’t choose what now, that something will be my neck snapping like a twig. Having pre-arthritic symptoms at thirty three bites, but not as much as being unable to function ten years down the road will.

            So my New Year’s resolution for 2013 was to achieve a work-life balance. The first step was to get my priorities in order. Caught up in you part1

  1. Health—involving cardio as well as stretching exercise and adjusting my diet. Healthy meals take longer to make. It’s time consuming but I’ve got places to go and pounds to lose, so it’s a necessary evil.
  2. Family— I’m fortunate that I don’t have to have a day job. But I still have two very active little boys and a husband that deserve some of my time and attention. Not to mention the world’s neediest beagle.
  3. Writing— In saner doses. One to three thousand words a day including blogging, promotion, tweets, Facebook posts and all that. Just like the diet, I’m sure I’ll have moments where I’ll cheat on this, but overall, I’m determined to keep it within reason. And to take actual breaks throughout the day, of the up and moving around kind, not the facebook kind. I’ve got three books planned out for the year, none with immediate deadlines, which takes some of the pressure off.
  4. Everything else—This is the something that is going to give. The time vampires like Facebook, Twitter, yahoo groups and online forums that deplete my reserves. The in-person commitments too. Yes, I want to repaint the living room but not at the cost of any of the above.

            I know this won’t be easy. It’s going to take dedication and commitment on my part. Then again, so does writing a book. And I’ve managed to do that a few times so I know I’m up for it.

            So tell me, have you managed to achieve a work-life balance yet? And how’s it working out for you? One random commenter, chosen by the Bad Girlz, will receive a free ebook in Kindle, Nook or PDF format from my backbreaking backlist. Happy New Year and happy reading!

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