#MidWeekPOV – Finding Time To Write – #wwwblogs #amwriting

Einstein

Running slightly late today, because I’ve been having the mulligrubs, as my grandmother used to call it. Basically, I’ve been frowning, scowling, muttering, and otherwise grinching about the house, contemplating the unfairness of the universe in ignoring what I want to do with my time, and what I’m actually required to do with it. Or at least, what I think I’m being required to do, which might be different. Or not. πŸ™‚

So for my weekly ration from my Point of View, here’s this. Many, if not most, of you guys are writers, just as I am. Or just as I’m trying to be. Writing is a solitary pursuit that swallows time whole, like a python eatingΒ dinner . . . or like my piebald dachshund eating pretty much anything that doesn’t eat him first.

Writing requires hours upon hours of sitting at the computer, pounding on the keyboard (or the desk, itself, if your Muse has deserted you), and otherwise being actively engaged in doing something that pretty much looks like doing nothing to the casual observer.

What writing doesn’t require is a mile-long list of things to interrupt your day’s work. Laundry, taking the dogs out, grocery shopping, taking the dogs out, vacuuming, taking the dogs out. You get my drift. The flotsam and jetsam of household chores and day-to-day errands. It also doesn’t require having to leave town for days at a time, even when it’s for something you want to do and know you’ll enjoy. Or taking endless phone calls from people who know you are writing, yet really need to talk about their relationship problems, string theory,Β  or the meaning of life.

I’m not saying ALL of the above is happening to me right now, or even that it’s anyone’s fault that some of it is. I’m not saying I’m being made miserable by any of it, either. I’m just saying that what isn’t happening is very much writing. If I’m going to meet my goal of ten books in five years, I have to continue to produce two books a year. And I can do that. But only if I have more days of actual writing, and fewer days of life’s interruptions.

At my age, I don’t have decades to tell my stories, and I really want to tell them. So I’m trying to find a balance that will allow me to do things I must do, and at least some of the things I want to do, without feeling frustrated that my current WIP is nowhere near as far along as it should be at this point.

My question to you good readers is, how do you deal with this? And is there any way at all to convince other people you are really, TRULY, working while sitting at the computer, and not diddling around on Pinterest, checking out things on MeetYourSexyNeighbor.com, Β or playing Candy Crush? I need to find a way to mesh my writing schedule with the rest of my life, without hurting other people, neglecting my house to the point of having the State Board of Health condemn it, or leaving myself walking around with a PERMANENT case of the mulligrubs.

What say you? Inquiring minds wanna know! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

42 thoughts on “#MidWeekPOV – Finding Time To Write – #wwwblogs #amwriting

  1. Housework I ignore unless we have visitors coming over (visitors tend to be discouraged!) I only watch TV as a last resort, I don’t play computer games as relaxation, I read instead! But even I am feeling the pressure with huge piles of books awaiting review and social media to keep up with and e-mails to reply to. Then there is the boring paid employment which needs attending to too – Yikes better go….

    Liked by 2 people

    • With six animals, I can only go so long without vacuuming, I’m afraid. Otherwise, I have hairballs the size of Volkswagens, blowing across the floor like tumbleweeds. I’m good at putting off the laundry until I’m wearing things scavenged from the ragbag, since I don’t have to go out in public very often, but my husband complains if he runs low on things suitable to wear to work. I’ve given up on keeping up with my blogs, except for this one, which is my favorite, and I never, EVER watch TV anymore. I’ve even quit watching my dancing shows, which were the only things I’d continued to follow. If I have an hour in the evening, like you, I read. BUT. It’s the daytime interruptions that keep me from writing at the pace I want to. 😦 I’m just floundering right now, and making very slow progress on Harbinger, a story I really want to get told.

      There must be a better way. ???

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Rosie. It’s always lovely to see you here.

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    • I can’t begin to sympathize with you, Rosie: When I turn on my Kindle, the number of books the device contains overwhelms me…and I’m not pressed to read them, like you are. If I were a book reviewer, I’d fear that the stress might make reading a chore rather than a joy. Does that ever happen to you?

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  2. Having that many animals does make it more of an issue, doesn’t it? We have 10 dogs in the house in Scotland, and that necessitates a daily sweep through, and regular mopping to keep up with the mud!
    Personally, I’m with Rosie on this one – the housework gets ignored (apart from absolute essentials) until it cannot be ignored any more. I have TV shows I like to watch, but I record them and watch while I’m eating.
    Having said this though, I’m terrible at getting books written fast – it just doesn’t work for me 😦 They come as and when I can fit them around the day job, (which is very time consuming of itself), so I’m probably not the best person to make suggestions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • As far as I’m concerned, anyone who has a day job and still finds time to write is a SUPERHERO! If I worked a regular job, I’d come home at night and pass out on the couch, I’m sure. But as it is, I am at my computer by 8:00 to 8:15 every morning, seven days a week, and I write all day long. At least, as much as I can. Sometimes I don’t leave the house at all for a week or more, other than to check the mailbox. So writing IS my full time job, at this point in my life. But sadly, not everyone sees it that way. When you are your own boss, they often think you can take time off any time you want. It doesn’t work that way, if you actually want to produce books. If I’d started younger, I could set easier goals for myself, but I didn’t, so I write like a thing possessed, instead. πŸ™‚

      Good to see you today, Deb! Thanks for taking the time to respond, and I have to say that if I had ten dogs, in or out, I don’t know what I’d do. The two I have are an enormous amount of work, especially compared to the cats. My feeling is that cats are like living with roommates, and dogs are like having children. SO much more demanding. I love them, but when we are pared down over time to a two cat family, that’s where it will remain. At that point, I will be happy to enjoy OPDs. (Other People’s Dogs). πŸ˜€

      Liked by 2 people

        • Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Exactly how we got all six of ours: both dachshunds, and our four cats. But it gets harder to afford them every year. Vet bills, feeding, and kitty litter are ridiculous. And my animals are ALL indoor animals. They wouldn’t last a day outside where we live now.

          One of the biggest problems to my traveling is that the dogs are NOT good visitors. One was abused, and has “issues,” and the other just loves the sound of his own voice. Over and over. GAH. When I’m here alone with them, all is well, as long as the doorbell doesn’t ring. But when we have company, or we go anywhere with them, Maks insists on singing the songs of his People everywhere we go. It gets OLD. Plus Potter, who rings a bell to go out, will pee anywhere he wants if no one hears it. So they can’t be trusted as guests, anywhere, and boarding them is ridiculously expensive.

          The time has come to stop replacing each one that shuffles off to that great sandbox/lizard hunting ground in the sky. πŸ™‚

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  3. Unless I’m expecting an important call I have my phone on do not disturb and don’t answer calls on my landline, as they tend to be people trying to sell me things. Otherwise they can leave me a message and I’ll reply at my convenience. I don’t have animals and leave alone, so some of the other things I don’t have to deal with or can be put on hold. If I’m writing I try to turn everything else off. For some people it might work better to write first thing in the morning, and some get up earlier before anybody else does, to ensure that they write something every day. I don’t do that regularly, but for me it works to ensure I book a specific time. The same as if we were at work we couldn’t do anything else, we have to try and protect that time. As much as we can.

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    • Thanks, Olga. All good strategies, most of which I do employ. I turn off my email notifier, and turn down the volume on the PC. I can’t turn off my phone, because I have an elderly mother in a nursing home nearby, and they have to be able to reach me all the time. But I try to check the incoming calls, and avoid any that might be sales people. However, some I have to take. I just spent some time on a call from a gal inviting me to speak to her book club. Those kinds of things are business related, and I try not to miss them, or to rush anyone asking me questions about them.

      Family members are a pressing issue for me, though. My daughter and family have just moved to Charleston, and need help with some things in their new home. I WANT to visit (though six animals makes it problematic) and I ENJOY visiting them, very much. Especially my 2-year-old grandson. But it means both my husband and I taking off from work for five days. He gets paid time off. I don’t. And there’s boarding expenses for the animals, etc. So even the things I want to do are difficult. And I feel guilty telling my daughter I can only do it so often, due to my workload. She says she understands, but I still feel guilty, and I want to go see her.

      So, it’s always something, it seems like, and this morning, I was feeling very frustrated about it all. It’s good to hear what others do. I do have one question, though. Land line? What’s that? πŸ˜€ (I can’t even remember when I had one, I’m afraid.) πŸ˜‰

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  4. Marcia, try not to put yourself under so much pressure. Stress is the death of creativity! Life should be about “balance.” There are some things we can let go; others we cannot.

    A dear friend of mine is dying from cancer. Her illness has given me a fresh perspective on what truly matters in my life. Yes, writing is important to me…but I don’t want whatever time I have left to be consumed in pursuit of that solitary goal.

    “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get,” remember? Or as Orson Welles, the spokesperson for Paul Masson, used to say: “We will sell no wine before its time.”

    We wear many different hats. “Writer” is just one of them. Enjoy yourself, whatever cap you’re donning!

    Big hugs,
    Linda πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda. Normally, I ascribe to just that theory, but the truth is, I need to help fund my husband’s retirement. He’ll only be working a few more years, and then he’ll be living on the dreaded “fixed income.” My social security is miniscule. So my five-year plan is a goal designed to augment our income at that point in time. And I can’t put it off, if I want to help contribute, which is something we will need. Hence my frustration when I get distracted from my work. This is a short-term plan, and I very much want to make it work. It isn’t the way I approach life in general.

      The truth of the matter is, that I’ll be 75 by the time the 5 years are up (I’m counting from when I published Wake-Robin Ridge in 2013). At that point, I’m pretty sure I will only want to continue writing as it suits me, and not on a schedule. So think of it as my having taken a job somewhere planning to work to that point, only. And frankly, I’m very lucky I have this particular avenue available to me, because I have been out of the regular workforce for years, and with certain health issues going on, I doubt seriously I could find any job, anywhere with as much potential for an ongoing monthly return.

      So, I guess that is what fuels my frustration when I’m not making the progress I expected to make. My creativity doesn’t seem to be bothered by the dilemma very much. When I sit down, the story still comes pouring forth, as usual. But I’m not sitting down enough. 😦 And I’m still not doing a good job of marketing. Double 😦 .

      However, I’m determined to get there. And I think I must not have done a good job with this post today. What I really wanted to know was how other writers handled folks who don’t realize you are truly at work when at the computer, and how they balanced the necessary chores of daily living with writing a book. I should probably rephrase a bunch of it, but I don’t have time now. I’m busy writing CH 17 of Harbinger. πŸ˜€ So, at least today, I’m making progress. πŸ˜€ Thanks for your comments, though. Very good philosophies of life, for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One more thing I should clarify. I really WANT to be writing. It’s pretty much ALL I want to do right now, even though trips to see family are fun. I wake up eager to get to the computer, and frustrated when I can’t. I love…LOVE…sitting there telling my stories. It’s the most fun of anything I’ve ever done in my life that only required one person. πŸ˜€ So that might help explain my dilemma a bit better. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      • Marcia, you’re frustrated…and that’s understandable.

        Up until a few years ago, I had a high-stress job at Prudential (marketing assistant and health insurance broker). When I wrote, it was before work, on my lunch hour, or after work–and I was exhausted all the time. It was a struggle financially for my husband and me, too, after he lost his career in the newspaper industry. Not to mention I had “health issues,” and I still do. So, I know where you’re coming from. It’s not easy. I also know that you will come out on top. You’re an ambitious, determined person who has accomplished a great deal already. I’m in awe of you myself!

        Lay down the law during the hours you’d like to write each day. Turn off your cell, lock yourself in your office–do whatever it takes. Don’t drive yourself crazy, though, by setting unreasonable goals for yourself. Keep moving forward…and you’ll get there. If anyone can do it, you can!

        Behind you 100%…

        Linda πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you, Linda. Whether I emphasized the things I wanted to in this post or not, we sure generated a lot of discussion. πŸ™‚ I’m off to play for a couple of hours today, my INTENDED break for the week. Later! πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Annoying humans are easy. Rules: don’t bother me during working hours (9 am to 4 pm) unless you’re dead or dying. That, plus caller ID and not answering the phone unless it’s my mother, works wonders.

    Animals: the cats have their own door. Yes, I know, it’s nicer if I open the big door for you. Deal.

    Housework: what? πŸ™‚

    Grocery shopping: husband does that

    As you can tell, I’m firm and mean about my writing hours. That’s how things get done, though. πŸ™‚

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    • Oh, and now after reading all the comments and your answers to them, I would add: sometimes fewer hours means more work done. I really only write in the morning, with the afternoon devoted to other non-writing work. Knowing I have three hours until lunch means I don’t let anything interrupt that time.

      It also helps to take a walk in the morning before “work” to plot out the next chapter. If I’m so much in the flow that I can’t bear to even check email, distractions seem much more minor.

      Finally, when I feel like I’ll never fit all the writing I want to do into the time allotted to it…I take a day off. Counterintuitive, but it seems to work. If I’m stressed, I don’t write very fast or enjoy it when I’m writing. A day of rest gets better words flowing faster.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Interesting approaches, Aimee. As always. πŸ˜€ I made a sign for my front door that said: “Unless you are someone I love dearly, or have cash in hand to give me, do NOT ring this bell. I’m working. Don’t make me come out here!”

        That worked well. I turn off my email notifier, and check caller ID, choosing not to answer most calls. So I’m good on that, too. But I think I write differently from most people. I know where my story is going before I tell it, and all I really want is to be left alone to write it all down. I’ve yet to suffer from writer’s block, though I’m sure that will happen eventually. But these stories are fighting to get out of me. I don’t write plots so complicated that I can’t decide what to do next. Mostly.

        My biggest problem is simply trying to ignore the laundry and housework, and worst of all, the dreaded grocery shopping, which means I have to put on actual clothing and leave the premises. I can get away with ignoring those things for a while, but sooner or later, at least a couple times a week, I’ve got to take care of them. I don’t WANT to. I want to write. Period.

        If left to my own devices, I can sit here writing for eight or nine hours, without even knowing the time has gone by. I only get up for bathroom breaks, and I can’t wait to scoot back in here and pick up where I left off. But I find it distressing that so many people don’t understand that what I do is a REAL JOB. Maybe if I installed a time clock somewhere, and punched in every day, it would help. If I were sitting in an office somewhere doing this, they’d get it.

        Oh, well…told you I had the mullygrubs today. Tomorrow will be better, and I’ll have more tolerance for the interruptions that can’t be helped. Probably. πŸ˜€ Oh, and tomorrow, I’m actually going to lunch with a friend. That’s my answer to taking a walk. Every other week or two, I drive the 15 minutes up to DeBary–the main inspiration for Riverbend–and have lunch with one of my beta readers. It’s a two hour escape that leaves me laughing. And twice a month, I have various Meet the Author Readings and slideshow events that rev me up and get me excited again. So I really shouldn’t complain. I just think we, as writers, deserve to be taken more seriously than we are. Not necessarily our books, as mine have no redeeming social value at all, but that we are, indeed, working damn hard at a real job!

        Thanks for commenting, Aimee! Always good to see you here!

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        • Eight or nine hours at a stretch sounds like a really long time to write for me. My wrists give out after about four, and my brain sometimes after as little as two (especially if I’m editing as I go.) What’s your goal word count and hour count for the week? I go for 10 – 15 hours of writing and 10,000 words written and edited to second draft level per week. I *can* do more, but unrealistic expectations tend to stress me out.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Honestly, for me, I don’t even know that much time has gone by. I set out to write for a couple of hours each morning, and I look around and it’s 2:00pm. I grab something to eat, take a bathroom break, and can’t WAIT to get back, because I’m usually enjoying what I’m writing so much, I want to get going again. Four books in a row were written that way, from opening lines, through revision and then editing, to uploading to Kindle, in 8 to 9 months, each. I never think about hours or word count. THAT seems like work. I figure I’ll write until I want to quit. And that’s what I do. If I stopped BEFORE I wanted to, I’d get mad, sooner or later. Which is the problem. I find myself having to stop when I don’t want to.

            If I ever woke up NOT in the mood to write, I wouldn’t do it. For sure, it wouldn’t be what I wanted, and I’d probably have to rewrite most of it. But as soon as my eyes open in the morning, I think to myself, “Do I have to be anywhere today? No? Hooray! I can write as long as I want.” Then I grab my cup of Earl Grey and head for my computer, continuing to hope every step of the way that nothing gets in the way of the story I’m trying to tell.

            Once in a while, I hit a point where I think, “Okay, I’m done for the day.” Usually it’s around the time I need to start supper. Other times I’m so into what I’m doing, I don’t even hear Mark come in the door. My ONLY problems are the things that get in my way, and people who don’t believe this is really work. Honest. πŸ˜€

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        • Yep, I do so much better in the mornings. That said, I read somewhere that if you want to really hit outside-the-box creativity, you should write at your opposite hours — the evening if you’re a morning person or the morning if you’re an evening person. It’s a handy trick to know…but I tend to not sleep if I write after 7 pm, so I don’t. πŸ™‚

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  6. I know what you mean. I fought with TIME and everyone who stood in my way in 2015. I finally worked out a better schedule for 2016 and guess what, I am tied to things I must do every single morning during the week (except the weekend)–not something I can avoid. Two mornings are shot to driving to and from and engaging in physiotherapy; two mornings I pick up a friend and we go walking (I sit far too much to scratch this one off my list); one day every week I volunteer at a charity bookstore. This year feel worse than last.
    Forget housework. If company’s coming, I go mad and clean. o_O

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha! The “OHMYGODCOMPANY’SCOMING Cleaning Program.” I’m very familiar with that one. There are some chores around here that would never, EVER get done unless someone was coming over. Gleep.

      I can see why you don’t want to change your morning routine, since those are all important things. But at least you can factor those into your day, since they are a constant for you right now. What really makes me insane is when I have nothing scheduled at all, plan to write the entire day, and then end up putting out one fire after another, instead. GAAAAH.

      I’m glad to know time management is a problem for lots of us. It feels better to think it isn’t just my own personal failing. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by, Let’s. Always good to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Now THAT’s the kind of thing I hate. I have my plans for the day laid out: WRITE. Then things come along and snatch me away from that, and I start getting mad. 😦 After enough time, a bad case of the mullygrubs comes along, and you get a post like this one. I hope you area able to grab BACK some time for what YOU want to do. Good luck!

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    • The best laid plans… Ha-ha! Housework is at the bottom of my list. I only cook because I have to eat. Oh, and I’m on a restricted diet. The biggest time drain on my writing? My migraines. Ugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. All I can say Marcia, is that you’re not alone. My sentiments exactly. We’re always writing, even when we’re not writing. We’re consumed and wish all that other life stuff would stay out of our way. We all ask the same questions without resolution because there are only 24 hours in a day so we can only do what we can do. And of course we need to structure our writing life with deadlines to keep on top of things, but the main thing is that we set those goals, but don’t beat ourselves up when we don’t meet all of them because, after all, life does happen! So it may take you 6 or 7 years Marcia to get those books out because you have to cook or clean or lend an ear, That’s Okay! πŸ™‚ ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Six or seven years is far too long, I’m afraid. My physical strength will be sagging, and my brain will be tired. I do not want to be working on a GOAL by the time I’m pushing 80. By then, I’d like to still be writing, but at a slower pace, on some stand alone books I just feel like doing. My main thrust over the next three years is to finish the two series I’m working on now by the time I’m 75, so I can slow down a bit, and still have a little check each month from amazon, to augment my husband’s retirement. That’s a goal I plan to achieve, if the bridge don’t go, an’ the creek don’t rise, as they say. πŸ™‚ But after that, I’ll be happy to work at a more relaxed pace.

      Luckily for now, I’m still enjoying striving to meet my ten book goal. It gives me something important to aim for every day, along with the sheer pleasure of writing. And even when I complain about things going slower than I like, it’s usually not ME I’m beating up. It’s all those dadgum interruptions from everywhere else! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

      Thanks for weighing in. As always, it’s great to see you here. Have a wonderful Thor’s Day!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, that’s the BIG question for anyone who writes at home. Wish I had a brilliant idea for you. But let me start by saying I admire your writing all day, every day. I try for a morning or afternoon, then time off to do other things, including spending time with my husband, who’s retired.

    My goal is to produce one book a year––and I haven’t done that yet! My middle grade novel, for which I will write the final scene tomorrow, promise––has been in the works for eighteen months. Why so long? One reason is that there’s no one waiting with a deadline, so I can easily move it forward. Another is that I lost months this summer, one to travel abroad (including getting ready and recovery) and the other two to time up north with family, especially my three beautiful grandkids.

    Right now, though, I now have a deadline to get my novel to an editor, so I’m getting better at applying my rear to a chair and keeping it there. Sometimes it helps me to work in a quiet corner of the library for a morning or afternoon. It keeps me from doing the wash, straightening my desk, cleaning out my files, answering the phone etc. All that said,YOU are doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Liz! Nice to see you here this morning. I think having a goal is important, but obviously, our goals won’t all be the same. One book a year is a great goal. There are a lot of very well-known writers out there who don’t manage that. And the first one is always the hardest, I think.

      I had very specific reasons for laying out my five-year plan of two books per year. And having done 4 in two years, I’m confident I can handle this pace a bit longer, if I don’t have any major problems crop up, like serious health issues and the like. And, as I’ve said, I really WANT to do this. It’s not a chore for me to sit here all day, lost in the world I’m creating. In fact, I quite like my alternate universes lately . . . whether my own, or the epic fantasies I’ve begun to read in my old age. πŸ™‚

      But in no way would I want to carry on at this pace long-term, nor do I think it’s the right approach for everyone. Writing is such a unique, personal endeavor, and I think we each have to find what works for us, and still leaves us time to do the other things that are important. The only thing I regret about my current schedule is that my beautiful garden is now a weedy, overgrown jungle. So this spring, I’m planning to factor in some time to put it to rights again. It’s good for my soul, both the act of gardening, and the pleasure of escaping to a comfy chair on the patio, surrounded by roses and honeysuckle.

      Thanks for stopping by, and hope all is going well for you. Have a great weekend.

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      • Enjoyed your note and can’t wait to read Swamp Ghosts. Right now, it’s # 3 on my list, as I have two book club books to read first. Should get to in a another week or too.

        Thought I’d let you know that I FINALLY wrote THE END of my latest book, Pairs at Nationals, the sequel to Pairs on Ice (both for middle grade). Not that I’m ready for the editor yet. I have two pages of notes of things to change, a list of scenes to cut or rewrite, and three endings! They’re all in the same vein (nothing major changes) but different wording to give the end a slightly different feel. Still, I plowed through and finished the story. I want this to be a trilogy, so I can’t believe my mind is already spinning with ideas for number three (and I refuse to take 18 months to write it). Maybe I’ve been inspired by you, so thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Way to go, Liz! Good for you, and I wish you much success with your trilogy. Hope you enjoy Swamp Ghosts, when you get to it. πŸ™‚ OH, and just in case you didn’t realize it, this isn’t a private email. It’s a comment on my blog, so be sure not to give away any dark, family secrets you don’t want the immediate world learning about! πŸ˜€ (I only add this because I know you are new to a lot of social media).

          Have a good weekend, and hope to see you visiting here on The Write Stuff often. πŸ™‚

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