Tag Archives: Blogging

The Time of Turtle Steps

For the past month, every time I sat down to write a major post about goals, productivity, and other topics of interest to me, I’ve ended up tossing out what I wrote instead of posting it. Too much of it read like boring platitudes.

I was probably spouting too many platitudes because there were a couple of life crises that happened during the last two months behind the scenes, and as a result I had to hunker down and focus on using what little time I had to just write. Everything else–blogging; getting the editing done on stories to be published as ebooks; marketing plans–got temporarily paused.

I now call times like these the “Time of Turtle Steps,” because even when I keep working, I feel like a turtle surrounded by hares. It feels like everyone else is racing past me while I plod along far, far behind.

And yet, I’ve now learned enough to know that I’m wrong. Those turtle steps add up over time if I keep doing them step by step by step…the hard part is to keep going. Too often we stop out of despair.

Let me give an example from my own experience. In October, a couple of crises hit at the same time.

I wasted a lot of mental energy in October beating myself up for my slowed pace in writing and in working on my career. There was little time to write, and my final word count for the month was 23,255 words.

In November, I decided that while I couldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo since I wanted to keep working on my novel in progress, I could at least change my attitude and stop beating myself up. The crises continued to eat up lots of time in November, but once I accepted that I was a turtle, I found I could mentally relax and enjoy the writing more when an opportunity appeared to grab an hour to write, and I passed the 50,000 word mark for November two days ago.

So my productivity more than doubled once I stopped beating myself up about my writing pace and lack of time to do career tasks.

There are times in our lives when a crisis hits and we have to jettison everything but the most essential tasks. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up for the slowed pace. It’ll just make it harder to get anything done.

Be a turtle. Do each step by step by step, and keep going…and you’ll be surprised by how far you can get in a month. I certainly was.

The Pricelessness of Time, and a Couple of Great Links

There are only 24 hours in a day. That’s it. Even those people who have a natural need for only 4-5 hours a sleep a night (or even none) can’t get around this time limitation.

Several swift deaths that have happened to people I cared about over the past three years have brought home to me just how priceless the time we are given is.  Once Death shows up for you, it’s over.  That’s it. We all like to assume we’re going to live into our eighties or later, but there’s no guarantee. And people love to assume that they’ll have lots of time to put their lives in order and do those things they always dreamed about.

Death can kill you in seconds. A stroke can strike you down where you stand and there won’t be time to say, “Goodbye,” or write a couple of poems before it is too late.

Never assume you can wait until retirement to do the things you dream about. People die before they reach retirement all the time. If your dream is to go to Paris before you die, start planning out tiny steps tonight that you take to work towards making that dream a reality sooner rather than later.

I think about time a lot, since I’m in the “squeeze” years. There’s work to do, a family to raise, a house with never-ending repairs to deal with, and writing to do. Several of my hobbies had to be put aside when I started to pursue writing in a serious way–there were only so many hours in a day.

Several months ago, I decided to turn off comments on my blog, because it was either do that or stop blogging all together. I didn’t know what impact it would have, but one of the surprising results was that now my blog thoughts sometimes dig deeper into things.  The time I used have to waste wading through spam in the queue instead gets spent thinking and writing the post instead.  There is only so much time each week I can devote to a blog, and I was actually surprised at how much a help it was time-wise to have comments off.

Zoe Winters did a post not too long ago about why she turned off comments on her blog, and brings up her reasons why a writer may want to do so.  Every writer is different–one writer’s healing potion is another writer’s poison. So each of us will have to experiment to see what works best.

In other news, I stumbled across a wonderful short essay by James Lee Burke on writing, “Seeking a Vision of Truth,” that can give consolation to writers in difficult times. I hadn’t known that his novel The Lost Get-Back Boogie received 110 rejections during nine years of submission.  I’ve provided the link to get to it on his website.

Also, musician Jonathan Coulton has done a long thoughtful essay on how he became a success as an indie musician. I think what he has to say also applies to becoming a success as a fiction writer (whether traditional, indie, or a traditional/indie combo).

So, I leave you all with the question, “When Death comes for you, is there anything you’re going to regret having not done? And if the answer is ‘Yes,’ what small steps can you take here and now to change that?”

A Talk on “The Benefits and Perils of Websites and Blogging for Writers”

I’ve been asked by the Los Alamos Writer’s Group (LAWG) to give a talk, so on Thursday, March 10th from 7pm to 8pm I’ll be talking about “The Benefits and Perils of Websites and Blogging for Writers.”

Here’s the details:

Do writers need a website?  Is blogging optional?   How does one go about setting up a website when one can’t afford a web designer?  How can a website be used to market one’s work?  We will candidly talk about the benefits and perils of the internet age for writers.   Participants are strongly encouraged to bring to the meeting a device (laptop, PDA, cell phone, etc.) that allows them to browse the web so that the group can compare well-known writers’ websites together.

There will also be a drawing for a Jane Austen action figure.

The location of the talk is the usual meeting place for the LAWG, the Morning Glory Bakery in Los Alamos, NM.  Business address is:
1377 Diamond Dr
Los Alamos, NM 87544

A Mistake I Made on WordPress

I really like using WordPress for doing a website.  Great user interface and templates to use.  I like supporting them directly by being a customer of theirs.

Tonight I discovered I’ve been making the mistake of only looking at my website as a whole.  I check my blogroll links regularly, but I never had a need to click on my blog post links.  So imagine my dismay when I clicked on an individual blog post tonight, only to discover a bunch of Google ads at the bottom of the post’s page.   And then realized that every individual post page displays this sort of junk.

One ad was for a vanity press, which peeved me off to no end.

It was my fault this happened.  I ought to have clicked around my website more throughly.

Anyways, now that I know about the junk ads showing up at the bottom of individual posts, I’ve done the necessary work behind the scenes to get rid of the junk ads for good.

Question: Why Do You Post So Infrequently?

Question:  Why do you post so infrequently?

Answer:  Limited writing time.   The current manuscript always comes first, and lately there’s been no leftover time for posting.  So I try to make sure to post stuff I think will be helpful to other writers over the next few years.