Still loving Scrivener and trying to stay sane

I’m still using Scrivener every day, and I gotta say, I love the little bugger. It’s so convenient.

  1. I can work on my computer *if* I get a chance to sit down at my computer during the day.
  2. If (more like WHEN) I get sidetracked, I can have my book in my pocket. Even if I don’t get a chance to do any hard-core writing, I can still go back and at least review my outline to keep the story and characters fresh in my mind. For me, that’s so important. Even if I don’t get a chance to sit down and do any writing for a week because I’m so burned out, I at least don’t lose the story. It’s so hard for me to come back from that because I feel like I have to start over when that happens. Jeff Goins explains the importance of writing every day on his podcast here.

For all you breastfeeding mommas out there…this little app, Scrivener for iOS, is a godsend. It syncs with the computer and the computer syncs with my phone. Brilliant.
Yes, for me there are a few little kinks. I’ve gotten some weird “conflicts” registered on my phone and computer. This happens if I don’t sync immediately after I’m done writing and then I switch to the other device to continue writing. It takes a little getting used to, but I’m loving it. Moral of that story is to sync immediately upon finishing writing on whatever device so that it syncs to the Dropbox. From Dropbox, everything syncs and it’s all good.

Today, I got another THOUSAND words done. I didn’t think I’d have the energy. It was a long day, but a good day with my kids. I love to be a SAHM and I’m writing at night now. It’s kinda killing me because I’m up so much at night nursing the baby, but I feel better after writing. If I don’t write, I might feel less tired because I sleep instead, but I feel more FULFILLED when I write.

I know there is a balance and a breaking point. If I write and don’t  sleep, sleep deprivation will catch up to me. I pushed that yesterday. I pushed myself too hard after staying up all night with the baby. My husband gets the brunt of my bad mood when I do this. Thankfully, he’s a very patient man and very supportive of my goal to finish my book. Don’t get jealous ladies, but he cleaned the house, did laundry and the dishes for me. Because he knew I was tired and stressed.

I’m tired because I’m nursing my 9-month-old all night. I’m stressed because I’ve been fighting to find affordable health insurance for my youngest son. I know there are many families with the same or worse challenges, but I’m bummed with this. So far my search has been fruitless, frustrating and depressing. But I always feel better knowing that, at the end of the day I can go write on my book for an hour or so. If I ever make money from this book, the proceeds will likely go towards funding my youngest child’s health insurance premiums. It’s more of an incentive to finish right now than anything else.

To the end of writing-to-keep-me-sane, I highly recommend using Scrivener in iPhone app and computer program form. It’s helping me knock those words out even on difficult days like my last few days have been.

I’m finishing this post while nursing my son back to sleep. He’s so sweet.

Everyone, keep writing especially if you’re doing NaNoWriMo. The world needs your stories!

Why I use a smartphone to write my novel


I’m a mom to two small children. I understand the struggle to find time to write.

Most writing advice includes many references to “just do it” involving the phrase, “get your butt in a chair” or “sit down and do it.” This advice is all well and good, but if you DO NOT EVER SIT DOWN because you’re a mom, this advice doesn’t work for you. In fact, this advice can become downright discouraging. If you can never sit down, this post is for you, mommas!

Sitting down at the traditional “writer’s desk” to get a significant daily word count is next to impossible for me at this stage of my life. Especially since #secondbaby, my 8-month old, is still #breastfeeding. He’s up eating every two hours. #nanowrimo is almost upon us and this year, if you want to participate, I say go for it! Go for it even if you have no time to “get your butt in a chair and write.” Here’s how I did it!

I’m so busy. I still want to pursue my passion for writing and become an author despite limited time. Over the last year as I experimented with time savers I realized I needed something that would allow me to multitask. That something is a smartphone.

Over the last year, and especially the last 8 months, writing on my smartphone has helped me stay on track with my novel by enabling me to write every day, even if it’ only a few words here and there.

I am a SAHM/WAHM so I stay busy with my two kids and housework. But I found that I can use a few ten minute to thirty minute time slots throughout my day. Breastfeeding is a great example of time that can be used to multi-task. I also can write while my boys are playing quietly together (this is rare). Or, and let’s get real here, during bathroom breaks. Just remember, when you’re determined and crunching time, you gotta take time where you find it. Just sayin’…

Over the past year I’ve used my smartphone to write. Even hunched over a baby nuzzled to my breast, bleary-eyed at 3am, I can still text words into my smartphone. That’s mostly how I made it through #nanowrimo2015 (aside from my husband’s heroic efforts to buy me time. @knightsbayne ) It works.

I tried using a laptop computer while breastfeeding but the “clack, clack” of keys as I typed one-handed woke up the baby.

While I looked for ways to get extra word count for #nanowrimo before the baby was born, I used Google Docs for iPhone to write. Now, since I find myself using my smartphone more and more for novel writing, I’ve explored several apps. There’s a lot out there. I will cover what apps I found most useful in my next post. The app I use now for novel writing is Scrivener by Literature and Latte. This is a link to a FREE TRIAL. I DO NOT get any money for sharing this. It’s just a great program.

I’m a mommy and I’m a writer. Mommy-writers, especially of small children, need all the help they can get to achieve their goals. I know I do. While I have far from mastered writing or time management, I hope to help in my small way by sharing my experience, even if only to provide encouragement. Writing can get done even when you have no time to “get your butt in a chair.” You just have to think outside of the “box” where the traditional writer’s space is concerned. Maybe even if your writer’s “chair” is a “white throne.”

The Perfect Stay-at-Home Mom

Ah, the perfect stay-at-home mom. The fictional woman whom we all hold ourselves up to as the standard of motherhood. The mom who has perfectly dressed kids, a clean house and managed to apply mascara. The embodiment of a completely attainable dream, right? *insert sarcasm*

We’re moms at home all day, we should be able to be the perfect moms, right? Well, that’s kinda what I thought for a while.

I thought that I should be able to do it ALL if I could just be home with my kids.

When I was working outside the home, I would day-dream, surely I would be able to (insert fantasy SAHM scenario) if I were home all day!

Boy, was I delusional.
I’ve worked either part or full-time since my now three-year-old was born (with a brief stint as a work from home paralegal somewhere in there). Through it all, I always wanted to be a SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom). I finally got to be SAHM with my second baby boy thanks to the generosity and sacrifice of my long-suffering husband to whom I will be forever grateful.
I have been home two months with my newborn baby. And I love it! Truly and completely. It is absolutely my calling and vocation. But… it’s not at all how I pictured SAHM life would go for me.

As a newly SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom) and aspiring WAHM (Work-At-Home-Mom) romance writer, I’m still figuring things out. Like how to open a bottle of water with one hand while breastfeeding. Or how to get the infant car seat straps to tighten without trying it five million times (!!!!!). However, to my credit, I have mastered the 6 minute shower.

Some days I feel like I have it all together. Other days, I feel exhausted and behind. And, despite the undeniably challenging circumstances surrounding being a SAHM mom to an infant and a toddler (including a long stint of c-section recovery), I’m actually surprised at myself when I feel exhausted by my efforts. I’ll even feel guilty for being exhausted. Being at home is supposed to be easy, right?

There is no doubt that I am happier now than I have ever been before. And I’m certainly happier now that I’m not working full-time and leaving my babies with someone else, regardless of how caring the “someone else” is. A couple years back, my loving mother-in-law kept my first baby for me when I had to go back to work. She’s amazing, but that didn’t stop the tears and panic attacks I experienced every work day by leaving my baby for a desk job.

Even though I now have my “dream job” of being SAHM (along with writing my romance novels) there are challenges that I did not fully anticipate in full-time-mommy land.

I did NOT anticipate what I would expect of myself versus what I could feasibly do.

I Expected to Keep a Perfect House

The table was going to be set every night with a home cooked meal and a table cloth. My floors would be spotless and the toys would be put away.

Yeah right.

Fast forward to reality…forget a table cloth and insert leftovers for dinner. I’m lucky enough that my husband loves to cook. But, we can’t even eat at the table most nights because my half-folded mountain of laundry is piled on it!

I Expected My Parenting to be Perfect

My kids would sit quietly on the couch and listen as I read Watership Down from a pristine library book. Then we would all go outside where they would help me plant my seasonal garden. My baby would coo happily at me from his place in my hip and stylish baby-wearing wrap.
Newsflash!

I’m way too exhausted to fight for a lengthy story time. My infant is crying and my three-year-old kid keeps turning the pages on the picture book I’m trying to read to him. I can’t get out the two whole sentences printed on each page before he turns each page on me. I’m too tired from being awake every thirty minutes the night before with a nursing infant to fight him, but I give it a try. Then, the baby poops. While I change him my toddler wanders off having listened to what amounts to about twelve words of book.

And a keeping a garden? *phbtt*

I can’t keep one pot of flowers from dying much less a garden of vegetables.

I Expected Myself to Have Perfect Time Management

I would be up and ready to go promptly at 6am and get 500 words of writing in before my baby woke to quietly breastfeed as we stared lovingly into each other’s eyes.

Hola, chica!

6am was when I finally got the baby to go back to sleep. No way was I dragging my sorry butt out of bed. I could make to my 8am appointment it if I slept til 7…right? *snore*

I Expected to be Perfectly Organized 
I thought I could leave paperwork behind at my desk job.

Nope!!!

I’ve done so much paperwork every day for my kids in addition to regular bill paying, taxes and insurance junk that I’m starting to wonder if I’m their mother or their secretary! I have a huge pile of unsorted various papers piled in boxes waiting to be filed and my desk is always covered with papers associated with a mile long to-do list.

WAHM/SAHM life is not easy. It can seem like you’re spinning your wheels or even spinning out of control.

In the middle of the craziness while listening to both kids screaming at once, I took a breath and remembered something crucial.

Even on the hard days, being a WAHM/SAHM allows me to be there for my kids and my family when they need me most. And I deeply appreciate this gift…

This SAHM/WAHM gig may not be easy, it may be 24/7, and it’s certainly not something I will ever achieve perfection with, but I wouldn’t trade with anyone.

It’s not about perfection. It’s about being there for the people you love the most. 

Have you ever felt overwhelmed as a SAHM? Comment below…

Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #2

Scout Semmes here! Writing early this morning

After doing the #makoveryourmornings course with @crystalpaine I’ve been in the habit of getting up early and I want to get up early to finish my book! Today, I went through my manuscript and made templates for each character. They are still blank. All I have is the character’s name, but I will be able to go back and fill in the details later.

My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

My #nanowinner2015 novel in Scrivner

As you can tell in the side bar, I have separated 8 chapters so far as I’m going along and I have A LOT of characters that I need to flesh out. But I’m really LOVING this program. You can also see that the main story is in the top pane, but I can still manipulate a character template in the bottom. This has already been incredibly helpful as I go through. I’m making notes on revisions too as I go.

Day with #firstbaby

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Husband, @knightsbayne had a guy’s day today, so it was just me and my little man. We did great! He usually cries when daddy leaves, but today I guess he wanted to spend some time with mommy! Yay! Daddy is usually his absolute favorite person. But today he spent an awesome day indoors with mommy.

We did a lot of activities after I got back from the grocery store. We ate lunch and he actually said eat. : ) He’s still learning to talk and communicate his needs. He’s doing super super well!

He likes his quesadillas that mommy makes for him. It’s corn tortillas, buttered, with melted cheese between them on a skillet. Nothing super fancy or complicated. Thank goodness! Did you notice I’m referring to myself in third-person? LOL #mommyproblems

He loved coloring today! He usually doesn’t have that much of an attention span for that, but today it was rainy and cold outside, so we opened up his bag of markers and got to drawing. He kept saying, “I did it!” Super, super cute.

#firstbaby, my 3-year-old toddler, fell asleep finally on the couch after I had tried to get him to take a nap for an hour. He also pooped his diaper right before falling asleep lol. When I walked by, tiptoeing (no small feat with me being 32 weeks pregnant with #secondbaby), and smelled that, it was in that awkward deciding moment…

My thoughts: Change his diaper and risk waking him up? Or let him sleep in his own poop?

Ah, #motherhood. When you have to make the hard decisions. I did go ahead and change him and by the grace of God, he went back to sleep. I tried to sleep with him, since I had been up since 5:45am after a late date-night last night with husband @knightsbayne. I don’t know why I couldn’t fall asleep…I at least rested for about an hour.

After we woke up, we played and had dinner. We read Narnia tonight for about 30 minutes. He wandered off after listening quietly. He was super quiet, so I followed him to his bedroom…

#firstbaby put himself to bed! He was down at 8:45pm tucked himself into his covers. It is 10pm now and he only just actually fell asleep after playing with his toys for a while, but he was ready to get into bed without any fuss at all. Considering how much he has resisted going down for naps and bed time for the past few days, I was shocked. Especially since he had a late 2 1/2 hr nap today.

Grocery shopping and couponing

Sure, you might not think it’s all that glamorous. But hey, a writer has to eat! And as a writer about to quit her part-time day job, it’s even more important to score those deals baby! It took me about two hours this morning to sort through gathered coupons from the past two weeks and pull the ones I needed for the #Kroger mega sale. Many thanks to @krogerkrazy for all their hard work to gather deals for me to look up! It saves me SOOOO much money and time to have a blogger specifically for my favorite store, especially since she does the unadvertised deals which few bloggers do.

I also made a list for Albertsons to get the sale produce. Apples, onions, carrots, tomatoes, pears and bananas. I consider anything $0.99/lb and under a good price for produce.

My #kroger haul today included stocking up on diapers for #secondbaby! Ended up spending $40 on two bags and two boxes of diapers for both boys. Saved myself about 50% on diapers thanks to coupons, sale, and a Huggies catalina generating at #kroger for diapers!

We also needed the normal stuff, toilet paper (scored @ $0.21/per roll!), cereal ($0.89 per box), Tide laundry detergent pods ($1.50 each bag), bread (FREE Friday coupon, NLA), discount canned pumpkin ($0.49/can), discounted Heinz gravy ($0.69/jar.) Also got some salad making stuff: lettuce, cucumber and spinach.

Also, scored a sweet deal on our favorite pasta sauce, Classico, which is usually the more expensive brand of sauce. I stocked up 5 jars for $0.99 each! We has just used up our LAST jar of pasta sauce when my husband @knightsbayne made me some delish spaghetti the other night. Just in time!

I had already cooked for myself for the week using what we had in the pantry. See my recipe reviews HERE

But, we have plans for everything I bought. I mostly practice very loose meal planning because my son is a picky eater and my husband mostly likes to cook for himself.

The red pasta sauce will end up in spaghetti and on pizza. I use a slightly different recipe, but @crystalpaine has a recipe for breadmachine pizza dough. I roll mine out, top with cheese and pepperoni and sauce, etc. before I freeze, but I do make my own frozen pizza.

The white Alfredo sauce I plan to use for a chicken alfredo and spinach pasta for an at-home date night with @knightsbayne. Nice thing about the recipe is it is totally a freezer meal!!!! I love this recipe by The Virtuous Wife.

We’ll be eating a lot of salads because I’m trying not to gain more weight than I already have with this pregnancy. Stocked up on fruit for snacks and for #firstbaby who eats fruit at each meal.

Exercise

I am SOOOO sore from yesterday’s workout that I could barely move my legs this morning. So, I’m taking today off. I’ll get back to it tomorrow though!

Editing #Nanowrimo2015 novel – Editing day #1

Last night, I was too tired to get much of anything done on my novel. We had a very long, but productive day.

Accomplished yesterday:

  • Spending time with my husband
    • I will absolutely admit that my husband is head-and-shoulders hands-down a better cook than I am. Totally. So, my husband cooked for me last night. Yay!My husband made us an awesome tuna steak and shrimp dinner. My parents, for Christmas, gift us with food we would otherwise not be able to afford. Like TUNA STEAK. Omg. So delicious. my husband made this marinade concoction for the steaks and I ate almost the entire thing. It was amazing. Also, my husband can boil shrimp like nobody’s business. So, we had an at-home movie-and-dinner date after the little guy #firstbaby went to bed. : )Husband @knightsbayne and I are obsessed with the Amazon Prime tv show, The Man in High Castle. I love alternate realities, dystopian of course. This one is one of the best I have ever seen! Anyone else a fan? No spoilers!!!!
  • Getting food ready for the coming week
    • I have been experiencing pregnancy-induced pleurisy, so I’ve been trying some home-remedy type foods. Since, you know, I’m pregnant and can’t take ANYTHING. So, I’ve made this Indian spice tumeric chicken recipe, with a little modification. I subbed coconut milk for chicken broth and diced tomatoes for tomato sauce. I’ve never made it soupy before. I usually just omit everything but those ingredients. This time it turned out like soup. I also made it in my crockpot. Delish…
    • I also made this lentil taco recipe in my crockpot yesterday omitting just the salsa. Also amazing. Beef seems to aggravate my condition, but I LOVE burritos. So this seems to be a great alternative. I had this topped with cheese in a  tortilla yesterday. A+
    • I tried making my own pita bread in my bread machine using a recipe that wasn’t exactly FOR a bread machine. Eh…They didn’t come out with the big air pockets I was looking for, so I’ll be trying this recipe later. What’s good Indian food without pita bread? I love pita bread, so any excuse to eat it. Also, I don’t know what it looks like in your area, but in Louisiana at least, premade pita bread it SOOOOO expensive. That’s why my quest for a good recipe.
    • You probably noticed that I love my crock pot and my slow cooker…a lot.
  • Getting the house cleaned and ready for #secondbaby
    • My husband and I are doing some organizing and purging of our bedroom to make way for our #secondbaby crib. We cleaned up A LOT yesterday, so the spot for our baby’s bed no longer looks like this…
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    • Sure, it’s not finished yet, but it’s progress! We’ll moving the cabinet soon and have space for #secondbaby in our bedroom!
  • Spending time with my #firstbaby, my three-year-old
    • I try to do fun and educational games with my three-year-old. We played and went for a walk yesterday after he INSISTED that he did not need a nap. Then, promptly at 6pm, fell asleep on top of me. His bed time is at 8pm, so of course we had to keep him up and awake for 2 hours. Oy! Children, so contrary. LOL
  • Excercise!
    • I tried out this preggy exercise video. It uses yoga and pilates (which I have never tried before) and seems like a doable routine for very pregnant me. (32 weeks guys!)
  • A little writing time
    • By the end of the day, I was pretty tired and sore from my new exercise routine. But I managed to get a little work done on Scrivner in the form of playing with the character templates. Hopefully, my writing time will be more productive tomorrow!

Goals for 2016 – Becoming a Writer WAHM

By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl

Artwork By Morgan Paige Allain aka The Inkling Girl


Hi! This is Scout Semmes. 

The new year is only two hours away at this point. I’m so excited for the new year, 2016. This is the year of change for me and my family. We are taking a leap, my husband  especially is taking a leap of faith…in me.

This year, after #secondbaby is born in March 2016, I will be a WAHM (for those who don’t know this acronym, it’s Work at Home Mom). My husband believes in me, so much, that he wants me to write from home instead of working part-time. I’m so excited for this new stage of my life. I don’t have to start from scratch either.

In November 2015, I participated in in #Nanowrimo2015, so I’m working with 50K+ words of story. This is a lot of “something” to work with . My awesome husband also bought me Scrivner!!! I’m incredibly excited and I’m writing in the program RIGHT NOW. It’s something that I have been wanting for so long, to be a writer. And I have an opportunity to be a writer.

My writing goals for 2016:

  • Write 30 minutes per day, 4 days a week
  • Post one blog post every 2 weeks

I’ll be posting about my progress with #editing my book from #nanowrimo2015.

What are your writing goals for 2016?

Decluttering is Part of My #nanowrimo Novel Editing Process

CONTINUED FROM Part 1: 3 REASONS DECLUTTERING IS PART OF MY #NANOWRIMO NOVEL EDITING PROCESS

I’ve made it a goal to reduce clutter and get organized so I can have room in my life to write. I need to write! Here are the goals I’m working towards to make it easier for me to accomplish my writing goals. #wordcount!

My goals:

  1. Reduce Physical clutter
  2. Reduce Mental clutter
  3. Improve Organization

GOAL #1 REDUCE PHYSICAL CLUTTER:

I’ve made some progress with physical de-cluttering as you can see below…

Before:

declutter part 1

 

And after:

 

AFTER DECLUTTER PHOTO

 

This is kind of reminds me of those games they have. With the two pictures and you have to spot the difference? Yes. I know the progress is small, but it is forward progress! Our house is lovely and small, so we store stuff where we can. Including a baby mobile and a stroller behind my writing chair! LOL We’ll find better spots for these as I work on cleaning out, reorganizing and tossing stuff. But progress is just that…progress. And I’m 31 weeks preganant. So, GO ME!

As is somewhat obvious from the photos, I’ve gotten rid of some stuff. I’m not finished, keep in mind, but I’ve made progress with reducing physical clutter. Here are the highlights:

  • 2 large bags of shredded documents
  • Old envelopes
  • Outdated coupons
  • Blank recipe cards
  • Kid’s toys

GOAL #2 REDUCE MENTAL CLUTTER:

My husband came through for this one! He bought me Scrivner for Christmas! Yes, this is a writer’s dream-boat program used to write ANYTHING and it can be used, unlike regular word processors, to write in a non-linear fashion with ease. Hence reducing mental clutter.

I don’t write in a a very linear fashion. I like to move scenes around and follow characters around. Somehow, I ended up writing in a more or less linear fashion for #nanowrimo2015, but I can assure you that I will not be #editing in a linear fashion. No way…I’ve only had the program downloaded for a few days and I’m already in love with it!

In addition or organizing my writing with Scrivner – thank you@knightsbayne! – I’ve organized my 2015 paperwork in preparation for tax season. So that’s a weight off my chest! I’ll be getting to that in January. I have to think ahead since I have #secondbaby due in March2016!!! And seriously, who on Earth wants to deal with taxes while trying to nurse a barely-month-old infant? Show of hands? *hint* (not me!)

GOAL #3 IMPROVE ORGANIZATION

I got some some super pantry organization tools for Christmas!

One for cans:

One for small food items:

My husband also built me…AN HONEST TO GOODNESS PANTRY! We had been using a bookshelf to store all our pantry items, but my husband crafted me a pantry. This was especially necessary since I’m in my second year of couponing and stockpiling is, well, a thing now. LOL

My new pantry in progress:

 

pantry in progress

 

Finished product:


As part of improving organization, my next project is to make room for #secondbaby, which means clearing out stuff.

Where our baby bed is “supposed” to go!

As you can see, I have my work cut out for me! Wish me luck and check back to see how I’m doin’!

What are your declutter and organization hurdles?

 

 

 

 

NaNoWriMo Winner 2015

I won #NaNoWriMo!

I won #NaNoWriMo!

This year, after trying since 2008, I finally won #Nanowrimo. It was a long hard month, but after 7 years of failed attempts, I was able to finish. It felt so amazingly wonderful to know, even if it is absolutely terrible, there is a completed 50K book waiting for me on my Google docs.

My husband @knightsbayne was absolutely my cheerleader for this venture along with my very good friend Stuart White. It helps to much to have people to encourage you, especially when you don’t feel like going on.

I would sit at my computer some evenings (and 5am mornings) and just wonder if it would be worth it in the end. But my husband, by turns (helpful)slave driver and lover/cheerleader would always encourage me to sit my butt in the chair and get ‘er done. Even when I was a day behind. I can tell you, facing that blank page in mid November was very difficult. After skipping a day, because I was just feeling so sick, I was facing completing over 3K words in one day in order to stay on track. Word sprints did help, but mostly it was just sitting down, sometimes with a timer, and not letting my fingers stop going on the keyboard.

And Stuart White was always incredibly encouraging telling me what a great job I was doing despite obstacles like pregnancy, husband sickness, toddler’s sickness and my own weekend where I felt like I was so sick I was going to curl up and die.

Thank you also, to my wonderful local #nanowrimo participants who welcomed me to their write-in. : )

Now, it’s on to editing. Happy writing!

When Dialogue is Your Bane

I’m Learning to Write Dialogue!

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Those following my Twitter feed, @scoutsemmes have probably noticed that I’m really into Jim Driver’s, How to Write Dialogue that SparklesAccording to my Kindle Fire, I’m 29% through the book. And ALREADY it’s more than worth the $3.99 I spent to buy it.

As I read Dialogue this morning and this afternoon, I bent over my kindle and found myself reading and rereading passages. I sat on a hard plastic chair waiting for my son to get out of his class and instead of focusing on how incredibly uncomfortable the chair was for my butt, I connected the dots. I was doing a lot wrong with my dialogue. I started ticking things off, things that he listed as “wrong” as I read the book. And I thought, my dialogue sucks.

I’m Learning to Format Dialogue

I wasn’t even formatting it correctly. I have a BA in English and I was not using the ellipse right. That’s just sad ya’ll. Did you know that you do not use an ellipse to signify interruption of the speaker? Man, I had no idea. Maybe I learned at one point. But does anyone else feel like they’ve forgotten more than half of what they learned in college? Or was I just too sleep deprived and brain-crammed with testing material to make what I really needed to remember fit?

Why I Don’t Like to Write Dialogue (but I love to read it.)

As I read, I realized more and more why I don’t particularly like writing dialogue in my novel. It’s because I really don’t know how to write dialogue. But, for most of us, a book that really draws you in has a lot of dialogue. It draws you into the story and into the character, right?

Exceptions to the “more dialogue is better” rule

For me, I usually like to read more dialogue in a book than paragraphs of dense text. There are a few exceptions. For instance, the very successful Dean Koontz does not really use a lot of white space in his books. In my opinion, he stays inside of his characters’ heads a lot and does a lot of description. But here’s the kicker. The descriptions are out of this world amazing. It makes me feel like I’m there. And he writes killer suspense. The Odd Thomas series comes to mind.

My Goal

I’m going to finish, Dialogue. I resolve not only to learn the correct way to format dialogue, but to use more of it in my book. White space is king.

I’m sure there are a lot of people with more experience than me with writing dialogue. How do you do it?

p.s. I also love his Jim Driver’s book, How to Write a Novel the Easy Way, Using the Pulp Fiction Method

3 Ways to Write in the Morning

Lets get real here. If you’re not a morning person to begin with and and you have stuff that keeps you up at night (ahemmmm…small child) how are we really going to get up in the mornings? Especially to write. We all love to write, but it’s just so hard to sit down and do it. Especially for neurotic mommas (ahem…me) who try to do everything. Sure, that sink of dirty dishes you left last night REALLY CAN wait the 20, 30 or 60 minutes you allotted to writing.

I can tell myself, “NO, you did NOT get up at 5am to do the dishes, damn it! ” But…*sigh* what do I find myself doing at 5:30am? Dishes…omg And that’s if I actually roll out of bed long enough to press the coffee button.

Here are my 5 tips that help me to get up and get moving so I can meet my #wordcount #goals.

#1 Let it goooooo….

Cue the Frozen sound track that we all have a love/hate relationship with…

I’m getting better one day at a time at letting things go. That’s really a numero uno, especially if you are a parent. It seems like there is always, always something else that needs to be done right now or the world will end. Somewhere you have to go, etc.

Trying to create time (notice, I said create time, not find time) to do what it important to you is a challenge. As Crystal Paine has said, in her amazing book, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode there are seasons in your life where anything beyond the basics, and many times THE BASICS (*ahem* can anyone say laundry?), seem to be a hurdle over which you have no energy to jump. You sit and stare blankly at your to do list that is longer than your car and just wonder, what…the…hell.

But, you can just let stuff go. You can. I can. We can.

#2 Give yourself a reward

Sure, this might not be the best solution…Shouldn’t we just want to get up to write so we can fill our souls, better our lives and finish what we started? Sure….But then life happens. When the SHTF, what are we really going to think about? I know what I think about: How am I going to survive the eternity that is the hours before bed time so I can crash from exhaustion?”

But really. Establishing a reward has helped me out. Here’s how…

I’m a grocery budget drill sergeant. If it’s not essential or healthy, it gets struck off the list. We have a tiny grocery budget and we do what we can with it using coupons and a strategy. (here, I must say thanks to Crystal Paine, Dave Ramsey and KrogerKrazy) But, at the end of the day, there’s just not that much to work with when it comes to grocery money. And we hardly ever have money for things like fancy coffee creamer. My amazing husband (@knightsbayne), for Mother’s Day, gave me a huge bottle of my favorite fancy coffee creamer. He’s an amazing, wonderful, sexy man. And I love him.

I’m a giant coffee fan. Love, love, love. So, I reward myself with coffee + coffee creamer in the mornings when I get up to write. Delish.

Sure, it’s nothing huge, but sometimes it’s just the little things in life that can make a hugely positive difference.

#3 Remind yourself, “why.”

Why are you doing this? Ask yourself, and then answer your own question. When my phone alarm goes off at 5am so I can get up to write, I have a reminder programmed into my phone that pops up. It’s more like a challenge actually: “1,000 words, Don’t you want to be a writer?”

So, that’s what helps me out. Share what helps you in the comments below. Happy Writing!!!