Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Finding the Time to Write what You want to Write

You'd think working at home would give you more time, right? NOT!!! Sometimes I yearn for the company office just so I don't have to do all the extra stuff around the house. And... all the 'tasks" my husband assigns me. Let me give you an example. This week, he's writing a chat program so that he and I can chat on our computers between his office and me at home. The company he works for has a firewall that won't allow conventional chat programs like ICQ to operate. So, while he's writing the program, he has be doing the design document, designing the interface, and doing research on appropriate icons. All of that takes TIME. Lot's of time.

And, if that isn't enough, he sends me versions via e-mail to test. It's copy this file to my desktop, or put that executable in the directory, or go shutdown the program that is already running on his desktop, then start the new program, no not version 1.7, version 1.8. Moreover, when it's all done, page him and let him know the program is running so he can test it.

All of which takes time. And, then it's schedule meetings with pool heating companies, call for prices on door locks, organize our equipment manuals, etc. You name it; he's probably already thought of it; from scan these invoices and bills to make copies and mail.

Now, you not only run your own business, but you are a full-time office assistant!!

And of course, how can you avoid the dirty dishes in the sink or the laundry basket. I mean, come on, it only takes 10 minutes or less to throw a load of clothes in, or load the dishwasher, right? But, what about all of the other tasks that distract you when you tell yourself it'll only take a couple of minutes? Those minutes add up, and fast!

Am I just ranting or is there an end in sight?

Well, to be honest, a little of both, I guess.

First of all, this probably doesn’t happen in all households. Ours is a little unique as both my husband and I are technical geeks. We are also a perfect match personally and professionally. He is a Vice President and manages a team of application developers and programmers and I am a technical writer/fiction author/business analyst. He's stable and realistic, deep in details, while I'm full of visions and new ideas, and ready to take on any new task. 

Ready to take on any new task? Well, now we're getting somewhere. 

I am always ready to take on new tasks, as a matter of fact, I enjoy it. But, there has to be a better way of organizing those tasks. 

Prioritize, Prioritize, and Prioritize.

Sounds easy, right? Of course, there is, and it won't take hours of planning but it does require some amount of commitment. 

I’ve changed my priorities over the last 11 months. I’ve closed several businesses so I can concentrate more on studying the Bible and biblical history. I spend more time keeping my household together and my mental and physical health on track. 

Over the last 11 months I’ve been on bed rest three times, and each time wasn’t fun. Just think how much worse I would have been if I were still overwhelming myself with the workload I used to carry? 

My suggestion to you is create a column of all the things you want to accomplish, and then give them a priority number. You can’t give more than one item the same priority number, no cheating!

Then, see how each of those top 10 or 15 items fit your lifestyle and your life goals. You may have to prioritize again.

That’s okay.

If you choose to work at home and write, set yourself specific hours and make sure nothing else interferes with your writing. It’s your JOB. 

As for me, I don’t spend 8-10 hours in my office anymore. I have a memoir to work on, blogs to upkeep, and the rest of my time is split between: church, friends, family, pets, home and myself. Not necessarily in that order. 

Figure out what works for you and if it’s important enough, you’ll find the time to do it. But, remember, not at the expense of your own physical or mental health. 

Maintain your sanity, always!

And, if it’s not fun or enjoyable, then why are you doing it?

Think about that.

It’s your time. You only get a finite amount. Use it wisely.

And, remember. Take each day one at a time. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Choosing the Right Point of View for your Story

Determining point of view (POV) for your story may seem like an easy thing to do. You pick a view and start writing. However, understanding that choosing point of view is one of the most important decisions you will make when writing your story. Choosing your point of view affects how much the readers will believe in your story and in turn, how much they’ll continue to read of your story.

So, choose well. You are going to choose the eyes the reader is going to view the action of your story. The point of view character is going to be whose head the reader is going to be inside of and whose feelings they will experience as the character experiences them.

There are basically three points of view: First Person, Second Person, and Third Person. However, when writing a story, most authors wouldn’t use the “Second Person” POV because “you” aren’t going to be a character in your story and the reader is smart enough to know that “you” aren’t a character in your story.

So, that leaves us with First Person and Third Person POV to choose from when writing your novel.

First of all, whose head do you want to be in during this story? Which character has the most interesting story to tell? Consider your POV character background and traits when determining the right Point of View. The most interesting character and the one who will provide the most interesting outlook on your novel should tell your story. Use this character to make unique observations that will keep your reader reading.

If you choose First Person, you’re choosing a great way to tell your story. It promotes an almost instant connection between the reader and your POV character. However, not every story can be told from First Person. What if there is information you want or don’t want your reader to know? How do you keep it from them, if your First Person POV character knows everything and shares it with the reader?

That’s when you choose Third Person point of view. With this POV, you are able to get in the head of various characters, share or not share information with the reader, depending on whose point of view is forefront. You are able to describe your characters from the outside, not just as seen from them, as in First Person. One of the best reasons for using Third Person is you can use multiple viewpoints. This is when you use more than one POV in your story so you’re not limited to a one narrator’s view. Best of all, you can withhold important information that will help keep the reader in suspense. Because, when it comes down to it, it’s all about keeping the reader reading and keeping those pages turning. 

Here is an infographic to help you determine the right point of view for your story.

And here is a writing challenge for you.

Which POV do you like to write in when creating your stories?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday Writing Prompt - Obituaries

Here we are, it's Friday again and time for the Friday Writing Prompt. Today we are going to write about Obituaries. Use the following "Obituary" prompt to stimulate those writing juices and maybe even come up with a possibility for a short story or essay.

Write about someone learning something shocking from an obituary.

Did this prompt help you? Why or why not? Were you able come up with a response for the prompt? Did you find it easy or hard to come up with a writing piece about someone finding out something shocking from an obituary? Did you have to come up with something made up or did you use a memory? What kind of exciting details did you add? Was it more or less interesting than real life?  Why or why not? Did you find this exercise easy or hard? Were you able to expand upon it into a short story or essay? Why or why not?

Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Writing!

Monday, January 5, 2015

2015 Authors Conference and Book Fair

I am currently scheduled for workshops for 1:45 pm to 2:45 pm and 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

I'll also be selling books in the bookstore, so please stop by.

My workshop will be Character Development & Motivation

South Florida State College- Highlands Campus 
Friday February 27th, 2015
Building B
8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Let's get to know your characters, inside and out. What makes your character do what they do? 
What stops them? We'll answer all these questions and more. We'll figure out how to build your 
character throughout your story. We'll figure out what it takes for your reader to understand your character.