Thursday, April 27, 2017

Finding Time to Write

This blog is called LDS Mommy Writers. The staff has allowed this LDS grandma writer to join in with a monthly post. You might think I’d have all the time in the world to write—no children to interrupt, no carpools to drive, relatively little laundry to do, only one other person to cook for, no homework to help with, the list goes on and on.
I remember laughing at (not in front of her) at my older sister when she and her husband retired and she said she was as busy as ever. She’s eighteen years older, and I was in the middle of raising our eight children.
I’m not laughing any more. I serve the mid-day shift at the temple on Wednesdays, babysit grandchildren, serve as an assistant compassionate service leader, substitute teach on occasion, have Toastmaster speeches to write and practice, and more.
Yes, most days I do have more time to write than a busy mother, but it’s easy to find distractions—books to read, okay; I’ll admit it; Face Book to check out, blogs to read, needlework to create (TV while doing that), I'm only up to 1999 on scrap booking my pictures along with the normal cooking, errands, and cleaning.
I need to find my writing time during the day and early evening. I can look over other writers’ projects later in the evening, but can’t work on my own stuff after 7:30-8:00 pm or I’ll have problems sleeping because my mind won’t turn off.
It takes self-discipline to make myself sit at the computer, especially when I hit a brick wall in my WIP. I think of other things that need to be done—oh dear I haven’t watered and cared for my vegetable garden in a couple of days. Gotta run.

A Day in the Life of an Indie Author

An ideal writing day is one where I sit at home and tackle my WIP, and I’m not interrupted by errands or life. I try to set aside the hours between ten a.m. and two p.m. to write a rough draft, revise, or edit.

So what about the rest of my life?

I wake in the wee hours of the mornin’. I have two and a half hours from the time I wake until the time I send the last nugget off to school. In those hours, I accomplish amazing things.

I eat. Wow. I pack lunches and wake kids. I either load or unload the dishwasher. Counters and floors are wiped down (everyday). Within those bustling minutes, I make time to stretch and tone and time to read spiritually uplifting material, often a religious magazine or book. Somehow I get dressed and ready for the day.

I slink back to the house after carpool and give myself an hour of electronic housekeeping. This is updating my blog and the two other blogs I post on. I clean out files and make memes or graphic images. Emails are dealt with.

It’s ten o’clock. Lunchtime. I’ve been awake for four hours. Need to fuel up.

Now I dive into my works in progress. I set a timer for forty-two minutes. In the middle of wherever I might be, when that screaming bomb goes off, I jump up and hightail it to my kitchen. “Not to eat again?” you ask. Nope. To dance. I crank up the music in the room that has the most open floor space and shake out the stiffness in my body. This is great and energizing before I get back to the grind.

My dance-a-thon happens three more times.

Then the best part of my day happens. A steaming hot shower followed by an hour-long nap.

Crunch time has arrived. If I haven’t thought of what to make for dinner, I palm through the frozen foods in my freezer and invent something. I usually preheat my oven and prep before running off to scoop kids up from school.

We’re all home. Dinner ensues. Now it’s me time. I either catch up on my shows or curl up with a good book while interspersing time with the kids and homework.

But this is a best-scenario day. Often anything flies.

What does your writing day look like?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Rejuvination



Everyone needs a break: writers, moms, hospital staff, kids, teachers, doctors, garbage men, artists, etc. You get the idea. 

Spring Break came really late this year. This means a couple of things: warmer weather at the beach and less school until the end of the year. 


Image result for image of the outer banks



Back to that beach. I LOVE the beach. All times, all weathers, all seasons. A bad day at the beach is 
still a day at the beach. 

Flying kites, Duck donuts (if you vacation at OBX you know what I'm talking about), eating out, beachcombing for shells, watching movies, board games . . . you get the picture. 

Of course, I still have writing/publishing deadlines to meet, which I'll squeeze in between everything else. 

Rejuvination is part of balance and promoting creativity. 

Maybe you can't take off a whole week to go to the beach. So take a day to do something that rejuvinates you: a museum, art show, hike in the mountains, visit a garden, see a movie, have lunch with a friend, paint that room or furniture piece you keep putting off, etc. 

Can't take a day? An hour will do. Read a book. Watch an episode of your favorite show. Talk a walk and chat with a friend. Yoga. 

Rejuvination is only limited by your imagination (and sometimes your budget ;) ). 

Even Christ took time to be apart from his disciples and demands for balance and peace. If the Savior can find the time to do it, so can you. 

What will you do today, this week, to rejuvinate your life?

                                                                    

Monday, March 27, 2017

Being Steadfast and Immovable

by Lisa Rector

I’m a firm believer in being able to find a lesson or reason for every chapter of scripture in the Book of Mormon, even the war chapters. It’s the same with fiction; only write the parts people want to read, so there must be a reason God wanted some parts included in the scriptures, even if we think they are boring. If we prayerfully seek, we can find hidden meanings.

I had to look carefully to find the meaning for me in Alma 1. The chapter is about Nehor, who goes about teaching false doctrine. His teachings led many in the church astray, and they started persecuting their own brethren of the gospel because of their pride. The hearts of many saints hardened, and they withdrew from the church. 

Did the trial of their persecution cause their hearts to harden because they were unable to bear their afflictions? What could have been done to prevent this?

Many saints remained steadfast in the faith. How?

Alma 1:25 says, “They were steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments of God, and they bore with patience the persecution which was heaped upon them.” The rest of the chapter goes on to tell how the saints were blessed for their selflessness and obedience.

We can have peace, despite persecution. Our steadfastness will lead to blessings and prosperity, but our persecutions can harden our hearts if we are not careful and don’t humble ourselves.

The key is being steadfast and immovable in keeping the commandments. The saints also worked hard, laboring to have the necessities of life. And through their efforts, they were blessed.

I feel comfort in knowing that, though trials in life may come, my determination and diligence in keeping the commandments of the Lord gives me peace. Everything I do is an extra buffer of protection; my heart is less likely to harden when faced with overwhelming adversity. And patience with persecution is not something to frown upon. It is a blessing beyond measure.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Even as I Am

by Lisa Rector

While struggling with my own shortcomings, and feeling as if I fall short of the mark every day, I was touched by a video I recently watched in church.

The video begins with this scripture.

“Therefore, what manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am.” 3 Nephi 27:27

The video goes on to list the attributes of Christ.

Humble                      Obedient                       Healer                 Kind                 Teacher            Courageous            Servant               Submissive                Selfless                       Full of love

 As I watched the Savior in all these roles, which the video portrayed, one thought crossed my mind. He’s genuine. In every role, in displaying whichever attribute, the Savior was Himself. He always expressed His true feelings, which were based on true motivations and love—Christlike love, which is charity.

And I realized that in my life, I only ever want to be genuine, even when I fall short and despite my shortcomings. I want to exhibit these Christlike behaviors with all my soul. I don’t want to grumble through life. I don’t want to complain when asked to do something. I don’t want to wallow in my sins. I want to be happy when I serve.

I want [to] “come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [myself] of all ungodliness; and if [I] shall deny [myself] of all ungodliness, and love God with all [my] might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for [me], that by his grace [I] may be perfect in Christ . . .” Moroni 10:32

I might have shortcomings, but perhaps the good in me can outshine the bad as I “come unto Christ” and be “even as [He is].”




Thursday, February 23, 2017

Writing Life

Writing is something we do alone, at least most of the time. The Internet has changed that a bit. We have writing groups, UTube videos, research options, and other helps earlier writers couldn’t imagine.

Gone are the days when publishers picked up stories they liked or loved then cleaned them up for the author. Today we are expected to have “beta readers” those lovely writers that look over our work and suggest changes, correct grammar or spelling, and improve our work immensely. A word of caution here, we can’t make all changes anybody suggests. That came into clear focus in a short story writing class I took. We had seventeen in that class and everyone critiqued each others’ three stories. More often than not, what one person liked, another one disliked. Yet when taken as a whole, when the author saw a majority agree on some point or the other, he or she needed to take notice.

I can’t speak about UTube writing videos, I haven’t used them very much, but I’ve heard some mentioned from time to time, and I’m sure some are helpful, and others not so much.

I’m not going to delve into the glories of researching on the Internet, except to say—be cautious. It may come as a surprise to some people, but not everything on the Internet is true. There is as much misinformation as good information out there. Cross reference, and double check.

I’m especially sold on writing groups on-line or in person. I still have a few friends I’ve never met from the old days of AOL’s Writers’ Club. That was a well oiled machine with many controlled weekly chats. I’ll admit I went to too many of them and they did steal writing time, but I got good information that helped me in various aspects of writing.

I currently belong to a fantastic writing organization. We have monthly meetings. I belong to an on-line chapter, but there are live chapters also. This organization has an annual writing conference where writers of all types get to learn from those who have gone before.

In short, today’s writers have it both harder and easier than ever before. Harder because we have to perfect our work more before being published, but easier because we have the tools to do so.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Working Resolutions Your Way

by Lisa Rector

I’m pretty sure the root of all my problems is lack of sleep.


Actually, I am absolutely sure.





I suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). If you have it, you know exactly what I mean. My legs run in my sleep, wearing holes in my sheets; I go through two sets of sheets a year. My legs spasm during the day if I don’t get enough movement or if I overwork my legs. I have to have the perfect amount of exercise. My legs will “tweak out” on long car rides. How do I describe that? Because car space is so tight, even in the front passenger seat, if my legs can’t move how they want, they freak out. The sensation is much like ants using my blood vessels as a highway. Sometimes the sensation is like mild electric jolts.

And don’t get me started on plane flights. I take nerve medication to dull the pain.
Even though I take medication at night, getting a restful night’s sleep is still a miracle.


What does this have to do with my resolutions? 

Number one resolution is to get enough sleep. Why? Because if I don’t, I am a serious disaster, and my brain is foggy. I was worried I was suffering from short-term memory loss. I leave notes right in the middle of the counter so I can remember things for the next day. Sometimes the next hour.
Yeah, it’s that bad.

But once I made the connection of my irritability and my poor memory to my lack of sleep, I felt hope.

I can work with this.

Number one is to take my medication regularly. I don’t like taking prescription pills, but I have to suck it up and just do it for my sanity.

Number two to counter my foggy memory, make a lovely graphic of the things I want to accomplish every day, but also realize that I don’t have to do all of the things on the list every day. With the list, then in those moments when I stand there thinking I should be doing something but I can’t remember, I can consult the list.

Many of the things on my list are non-fiction books I want to read, mostly pertaining to my spirituality. I was getting discouraged with my scriptural reading and with keeping up with Sunday school lessons. I feel more power with a list. Plus, instead of feeling as if I need to do a marathon sprint with any particular book of scripture or other religious material, I can read a little of each every day.

I’m doing this with my writing education as well. I really want to read Chicago’s Manual of Style and my Emotional Thesaurus and Character Traits books, but just a few pages each day. That way I feel like I am moving forward.

Another thing about my resolutions. A few years ago I ran a half-marathon. The marathon destroyed my body and triggered an all over inflammatory response where my body attacks itself. My body still is and, I’m pretty sure, will always be messed up. An excess of anything, including inflammatory foods and too much exercise makes me swell, and my body shuts down. What? Yeah. How do I overcome that?

It sucks. I feel like I have an autoimmune disease. And who knows, maybe I do. I don’t plan on going to the doctor to find out. But I have noticed that tasks I could accomplish are growing more difficult. My husband has to dig the holes in our hard clay soil for me now when I garden. I can’t walk as an exercise for more than twenty minutes. Thirty minutes pushes it big time, and by the end of the day, I am nonfunctional. I can’t go clothing shopping or grocery shopping for more than two hours. And I have to come home and rest for half the day when that’s over.

But at least I know my limits.

What does this have to do with resolutions?

I discovered what works for me. I sit a lot, but I have to get up and move because of my nerve pain in my lower back and neck and my lymphedema in my ankles. But movement relieves all of these. Whenever I know I am going to be sitting for a while, I set a timer for forty-two minutes. Why forty-two minutes? That’s the length of a TV show or that’s how long it takes me to pluck out a scene. That’s also how I break up my reading tasks. Read Chicago for forty-two minutes or read my church materials for forty-two minutes. It’s a perfect amount of time. I read just a few pages, an article, or a whole chapter if it’s short, but I break things up if sections are too long. That way I don’t feel overloaded by spending too much time in one particular area.

And then I jump up and either tackle a chore like vacuuming or

I crank some music in my kitchen and dance like a crazy fool (while incorporating some hand weights). The dancing is my preferred form of movement. The Lindsey Sterling tracks I listen to are anywhere from three to five minutes and get my heart pumping. Plus the music inspires my writing, and I sit down ready to dive back in.

So, in the end, what matters is that you set up your resolutions so they work for you.

I have a mantra I like to follow. It’s posted on my blog side bar. “When you cannot do what you have always done, then you only do what matters most.”