When Real Life Gets in the Way

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In the last two weeks real life obligations have completely disrupted my nice, consistent writing schedule. Normally, while I might grumble about the interruption, I just make due and get on with it. But with two projects I’m hoping are closerthanthis to being ready for submission, I’m feeling a bit more covetous about my writing time, and therefore resentful of any person or obligation that dare interfere with it.

Everyone has phases when “real life” gets in the way of writing – for me it was readying the house for a visit from family who we hadn’t seen in twenty some-odd years. Normally, I would be excited about such a visit, and believe me, the day they arrived I was very excited to see them, but the niggling, ever-present voice telling me “you should be writing,” was never far away. Neither was the guilt.

I need to write as much as I need water to live and air to breathe. It’s become a driving force in my life and when I’m not able to write I can get, well, downright cranky. I tried to placate myself by doing a few writing-related administrative tasks that I’d been neglecting. I built an author website, created a spreadsheet to keep track of my WIPs and story ideas, I even reorganized my office/writing space.

You’re probably wondering why, if I had the time to do those things, I couldn’t find the time to write. The answer, while a bit of a cop out, is simple. I operate in one of two modes. The linear thinking, executive/legal assistant or the go with the flow, creative gypsy, and only on the odd occasion do they intersect.

When I’m in executive assistant mode (which is where I’ve been for the last two weeks), very simply, things get done. I am effective, efficient, methodical and laser focused. I create and live by lists and schedules and make sure everyone else adheres to said schedules as well. Any obstacle is adapted to and overcome and the machine moves forward with little or no room for creativity or even the occasional daydream. When I’m in this mode, reading doesn’t even hold my attention for very long. And I LOVE to read.

In gypsy mode, all but the creative task before me is forgotten. Horses don’t get their snacks, dogs don’t get let out to do their business, dust bunnies accumulate and even the occasional bill goes unpaid (thank heavens for the advent of auto-pay.) In short, that laser focus I referenced above, now fueled by caffeine and a bevy of “what if” scenarios refuses to acknowledge the existence of the mundane, Muggle world, let alone allow any sort of distraction from the creative process.

So how do you cope when life gets in the way of writing?

My challenge is to somehow blend the two opposite, but equally driven personalities so that the freewheeling gypsy gets to play while the pantry remains stocked and the bills get paid.

The family came, enjoyed their visit and left, and life as I’ve come to know it has gone back to normal. The gypsy weaves her magic in the morning and the executive assistant cracks the whip in the afternoon overseeing the deep excavation of the laundry mountain in the closet and keeping my beloved, myself and our small zoo feed and watered. I’m sure somewhere down the line they will come to appreciate each other, but for now, they sneer and eye each other suspiciously when one tries to infringe on the other’s time. They’re both necessary, both needy and both 100% me.

When real life gets in the way of your writing, how do you cope? What takes precedence? Or have you found a way for each part of your life to happily co-exist? 

“But I Don’t Have Time to Write” aka The Biggest Myth Aspiring Authors Perpetuate

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 I used to tell myself, “Someday, when I have more time, I’ll write.”

Now, in retrospect, I realize how much time I wasted. All those years I was working full-time, I could have found even a few minutes a day to hone my writing skills. Not that I’m behind any sort of schedule, self-imposed or otherwise, (things happen, when they’re meant to happen), but it would have been nice to be a little further along in my writing journey.

What I have learned over the past couple of years, is that no matter how much free time you have, if you don’t focus, you’ll find more excuses than time.

Writing has become a compulsion for me. If I don’t get even a few lines down, I get cranky. I’ve also discovered the more writing I get done or want to do, the more efficient I’ve become getting the mundane, or, as I like to call them, “Muggle” chores and errands out of the way. My attitude being, the sooner I get things done, the sooner I can get back to what I really want to do – write.

I’m lucky enough at this point in my life that I don’t have to work full-time, and yet, sometimes, the old excuses of, “I’m too tired”, “I’ve got too much to do”, creep back into my head and I’m tempted to give into them and just curl up on the couch and watch TV or read. But I don’t, because what I want far outweighs the excuses. I WANT to be a good writer. I WANT someday to be published. For either of those things to happen, I have to make time to work on my dream.

No matter what your circumstances are, working full-time, part-time, SAHM-D, here are some ideas for finding stolen minutes in a busy day to work on what you really love:

 1. Keep your manuscript open on your computer. That way, when inspiration hits, or you’re put on hold for five minutes, or your baby stays asleep just a little bit longer than you expected, you can easily access and work on your book. Just make sure you’ve got your auto save set to back up every few minutes to avoid losing any work if the power goes out.

2. Give up that bubble bath, mani/pedi appointment, sitcom, or whatever to buy yourself more time to write.

3. Brainstorm and let it flow. Don’t aim for perfection, just get it down. You can refine and clean it up later. To that end, carry a note pad with you wherever you go. I’ve got a purse size note book with a pen attached that I carry with me, always. I’ve even started carrying a digital recorder with me on long trips, so I can just dictate whatever idea pops into my head.

4. Have someone to answer to — a critique group, a fellow writer, even your dog — anyone who you’ll be ashamed to look in the eye without something new to show them.  I recently joined a local critique group. They meet once a month and ask that you bring five pages of your latest work in progress for them to review. I love this requirement, because, if I can’t generate at LEAST five pages in a month, I’m just not trying hard enough.

5. However, regardless of point number four, don’t beat yourself up if all you write is a line, or only manage to work for ten minutes a day. One line, one plot idea or ten stolen minutes are better than sitting there feeling guilty about not writing at all.

  Have a wonderful week, my friends. Get out there and write until your heart and brain run dry.

Follow me on Facebook at : https://www.facebook.com/FionaSummerville

And on Twitter at: @Fiona_S_Author

Weekend Lessons – Paying it Forward and Tooting Your Own Horn

elevator

An elevator pitch, elevator speech, or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a person, profession, product, service, organization or event and its value proposition.

The name “elevator pitch” reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in exchange of business card or a scheduled meeting.

~ As defined by Wikipedia ~

A funny thing happened to me this weekend during a Q&A/signing event for a local New York Times bestselling author. When she graciously crossed the room to introduce herself she asked if I was a member of the local writers’ group or a reader. I shrugged, almost apologetically, and said softly, “I’m a writer…aspiring writer.” I figured she’d nod and smile and move on to the next guest, but she didn’t. Her eyes lit up and the next thing I knew she was pulling me over to her table, encouraging me to tell her more about myself and what I was working on.

Oh. My. God. My mind went blank. I mumbled and bumbled my way through a short, painful (I’m sure for both of us) synopsis of what I’m currently working on and wrapped with the nugget that I wanted to pitch at the RWA Conference in July. Again, I figured she would smile politely, sign a book for me and yell, “Next”, but she didn’t. Her encouragement and support never wavered even after I’d proven myself to be a blithering idiot. She continued to chat with me and gave me all sorts of tips on how to best to handle RWA as a first time visitor.

By the end of the afternoon, I had hooked up with one the organizers of the local writers’ critique group and had been enlisted to help organize the author’s book release party in our little town in December. All in all it was a wonderful afternoon. I made new friends and most importantly I learned a couple of very important things…

I will always, always, ALWAYS pay it forward in my support and encouragement of new and aspiring authors. The time this author took out of her Q&A session and book signing to listen to and encourage me along in my journey as a new writer warmed my heart. She didn’t have to do it, she wanted to do it. And the kindness she showed to a timid, tongue-tied writer will stay with that writer forever. In my career, even if I never become a published author, if I can encourage even one person to reach for the stars and achieve their dream, I will consider myself a success.

I also realized that an aspiring author needs to have a certain level of confidence in themselves so that they can easily engage with other writers and normal people (yes, I meant to make that distinction – lol) about themselves and their writing. If I expect to pitch myself and my story at the RWA Conference in July, I’d darn well better get over my shyness and put together an engaging “elevator pitch.” While I’m not necessarily shy about telling people I’m a writer, I’m not used to them engaging further. And perhaps that’s my fault. Maybe if I took more confident ownership of the title of “writer”, people would be more inclined to delve further into what I’m doing.

So, for the next few months, in addition to refining and readying my manuscript and synopsis for July, I will be working on being a better cheerleader and advocate for myself. Which will be no easy task since I’ve never been one to toot my own horn. But just like writing, if you want to do it bad enough, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find excuses. And, since I don’t do excuses, I guess I’d better figure something out.

Here are my two questions for you. Do your or how do you pay it forward? And, how do you step out of your comfort (shyness) zone and promote yourself (as a writer or in your given profession)?

Comments and questions are encouraged and always welcome.

Slave for the Night – Part One

***Warning:  This piece contains adult themes and material ***

Photo Credit: Pinterest

Photo Credit: Pinterest

“Get on the stage, little slave.”

The whispered growl against the shell of her ear sent a liquid lightning bolt through her blood stream and straight to her already wet and wanting core.

She stared at the low stage strategically set against a backdrop of floor to ceiling windows beyond which the stars and city lights twinkled, vying for the attention of anyone who cared to look. Not unlike the bevy of women in varying stages of undress scattered throughout the room. In the center of the stage stood a, currently unoccupied, gleaming silver stripper pole.

“The stage?” She squeaked, shooting a glance back over her shoulder at Jack whose crystalline blue eyes were now dark swirling pools of desire. Grabbing her by the waist he dragged her back until she came to rest against the broad expanse of his chest. He painted up the side of her neck with a wet tongue and nipped at her earlobe as his hands cupped her breasts. She sighed and leaned into him as her knees threatened to buckle.

“Are you questioning me?” He growled again, tweaking her nipples between his thumb and forefingers for added emphasis. “Need I remind you that you are my pleasure slave for the evening? Your only objective and thought should be that of pleasing me in whatever manner I choose and right now, I want you up on that stage.”

She sighed softly. He was right. When she had agreed to accompany him to Club Masquerade this evening, she had also assented to be his pleasure slave, and all that title encompassed, for the evening. But honestly, short of insisting she wear what amounted to be little more than an oversized gossamer scarf and a delicately woven silver slave collar, with matching leash, she only expected to be a voyeur to the evening’s events, not a participant.

Apparently he had other ideas.

A firm hand to her backside propelled her forward as he, leash held loosely in one hand, followed close behind. Sensing their approach, the crowd parted, both men and women lasciviously sizing them up as they made their way to the stage. One woman, a gorgeous, statuesque blonde winked and gave her an encouraging smile. She knew the encouraging look was meant to quell her nerves, which were no doubt splayed across her face, but it did not. If anything it made them worse. The thought of all those people, watching her on stage…

A curious warmth spread through her and her pussy pulsed. No…that couldn’t be right. Her nerves were obviously wreaking havoc with her body. There wasn’t one part of her fairly introverted soul that should find any of this exciting, especially in throbbing aching sort of way. Was there?

As the tip of her stiletto came into contact with the first step, she stopped and cast one last questioning glance back at him. She knew it was too late to turn back, but maybe, just maybe, he’d take pity on her inexperience and call her off this decadent folly of his.

The quirk of his brow told her otherwise and on a wave of resignation and nervous excitement, she slowly ascended the three steps leading to center stage. There she stood, feet frozen in place staring out across the panoramic view of the San Fernando Valley, trying desperately to ignore the gleaming pole in the foreground and the hundreds of hungry stares behind.

A shiver of anticipation skittered up her spine only to be smothered by Jack’s warmth as he circled closely around her once before coming to a stop directly in front of her. The unique clean, lime scented cologne he wore mingled with warm traces of whiskey and lust. His need for her was palpable. As he took a step closer, the heat of his desire washed over her, and she gasped softly as her knees threatened to buckle.

Unable to meet his heated gaze she kept her eyes averted, focused on the red flashing beacon of the radio tower just down the hillside. Firm fingers pinched her chin as he forcibly turned her eyes to meet his as he leaned forward and gave her a kiss that demanded her undivided attention. She felt herself sway toward him and he tugged at the silver links of her leash bringing her the rest of the way.

Her hands slid up the front of his suit jacket and crept underneath as she wrapped her arms around his waist.

“Jack, please…don’t make me…”her whispered plea trailed off as he captured her lips once again.

“Do you trust me, baby?” He murmured against lips, as his hand trailed down and his fingers slipped between her lust slick folds. Her clit danced in pleasure as his fingers teased. She shuddered and moaned softly, thrusting her hips into his hand.

“Yes,” she whispered vacantly.

“Do you want to come?” He questioned, fingers delving deep into her core.

“Oh yes,” she moaned louder, taking a vague notice of the hushed murmur of approval that rolled through the crowd.

“How badly?”

“Very…”

“Enough to do anything I ask?”

“Yes,” her shuddering whisper floated across the room and was greeted by another muted buzz of approval by their audience.

“Yes, what, little slave?” He demanded. His voice soft, but insistent.

Her body was a mass of fiery nerve-endings all screaming for release…all screaming for him. Her eyes fluttered open and locked with his and in that instant she realized this was no longer a game, for either of them.

He wanted her full acquiescence. And she wanted to give it to him. Mind, body and soul.

The room and its occupants fell away. Only they existed.

She held his gaze and smiled up at him softly.

“Yes, Master. I’ll do whatever you ask of me, just please…Make. Me. Come.”

His eyes lit with triumph as he swooped in for another soul searing kiss. His fingers teased her one final time before he brought them to his mouth, and savored her essence with delight.

“Oh I fully intend to, my beautiful little slave.  But first, get on your knees…”

***To Be Continued***

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Sunshine Award

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It’s always such fun to receive notification that I’ve won a blog award. Author Abryne Mostyn presented me with the Sunshine Award last week, which is presented to those who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere. Thank you so much Abryne!

Check him out at http://www.abrynemostyn.com

As a recipient, I’ve been asked to tell you the following about me:

Favorite Color:  Purple

Favorite Animal:  Cat (Wild and domestic)

Favorite Number:  7

Favorite non-alcoholic Drink:  Water and Coffee

Facebook or twitter?  Both. I have my Facebook page linked to my Twitter account.

Passion:  Too many to list, so I’ll just say life.

Giving or Getting a present:  Giving. 

Favorite Day:  Every day. There’s always a new adventure waiting.

Favorite Flowers:  Roses (Black Velvet and Sterling, being my favorites)

 I’d like to take my turn and pass this award on to an aspiring writer who you will all want to be on the lookout for…she’s doing some great stuff!!

Sarah Lazowski:  www. http:/sarahlazowski.webs.com/