#ThisAndThat – And a Question for You

As some of you may have noticed (or heard me whining about), I’ve fallen way behind over the last year and a half. It started with hurricane Irma smashing our garage to the ground and destroying our roof, but it snowballed after that. Does that happen to you? Something throws you off course, and then every little disruption just pushes you farther and farther away from your goal? It sure happened to us, and we are still digging out.

Now don’t get me wrong. After seeing new footage of the devastaton in Mexico Beach, FL (near Panama City), it was brought home to me once again how incredibly lucky we were. Our house is still standing, and better yet, so are we! πŸ™‚ But I have to accept the fact that I’m still behind, and may never get totally back on schedule around here. And that’s what I really want to talk about. Schedules and deadlines, especially those we independent writers impose on ourselves.

In less than four years, I wrote & published six full-length novels, a small book of poetry, and one spin-off novella. I was on a streak. Then, it all went a little bit sideways, and between September 2017 and October, 2018, I only managed to publish one more novella. Oh, I’ve been working on novel #7–another sojourn into my beloved North Carolina mountains with Rabbit and crew, working title, The Light–and I think it’s going to be an entertaining read. But the work is going painfully slow. Somehow, there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomodate both my Real Life obligations and my writing. This distresses me greatly. I’m unhappy when I can’t do it all, and yet I know that’s just the way it is at times.

If I were 35 or 45–or even 55–I wouldn’t worry as much about getting all my stories told. But I’ll be 75 on the 17th. (That’s THREE QUARTERS of a century! OMG.) My fear is that I won’t be able to write for as many more years as I’d like, which, btw, Β would be ALL of the years I’ve been allotted! So I panic when my pace falls off the mark.Β  And yet, I know these deadlines and goals are arbitrary ones I’ve set for myself.

What I’m trying to learn is how to be more accepting of the bumps in the road that slow me down, or bring me to a complete stop now and then, while roadblocks are removed. I understand the need to be at peace with those things we can’t change,Β  but it’s much easier to quote snappy platitudes than it is to implement them.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in setting unrealistic expectations for myself. I think we all do this at times, and writers perhaps more than most. We are eager (and often anxious) to get our stories out there. (Otherwise, we’d likely be content to just let them play out in our heads.) So, my question is, how many of you put excessive pressure on yourselves with deadlines that are often arbitrary? How do you handle it when you realize meeting them is impossible? Have you learned to accept life’s disruptions rather than letting them frustrate you half to death? If so, what’s your secret? I want to be better at acceptance, while not losing my fervent desire to write, write, write.Β  Am I looking for the impossible?

What are your thoughts? Inquiring minds wanna know.

~~~

PS – today’s header is one of the reasons I love the North Carolina mountains so much. The Appalachians are the oldest mountains on the entire planet. Time has worn them down into softer forms than many ranges, and clouds meander along (and between) the tops of them. My WIP is set in autumn, 2014, amid scenery exactly like this header image.

59 thoughts on “#ThisAndThat – And a Question for You

  1. I’m floored at everything you published in 4 years, Marcia! And I’ve been working on my third book for over a year now – and still don’t have the ending. For me, I’ve kind of given into the fact that real life often gets in the way of my plans, and I have to be flexible. I’ve learned to accept it is what it is, and I just keep swimming (the mantra I borrowed from Dory on Finding Nemo). Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    Liked by 2 people

    • See, you’ve mastered what I haven’t. Yet. I try to keep swimming, but lately feel like I’m just swimming in circles! GAH. My MIND knows what you mean, and I always think I’m going to be flexible and roll with the punches, but it’s getting more and more difficult lately. If you’ve managed to reach that point, then I salute you, and guess I’ll just have to keep aiming for it, too. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and hope you have a wonderful, productive day, Teri! πŸ™‚

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  2. It’s almost impossible to stay on top of things, Marcia, but I think you’ve done extremely well with all you’ve written and published.

    When it comes to deadlines, I usually have myself a wreck. My publisher sets mine so there isn’t really wriggle room. They did give me an extension on the last book. First time ever I had to ask for one, and even then I struggled to meet the new date. It has me rethinking how I do things and the amount of pressure I put on myself.

    I think we need to cut ourselves some slack, which yes, is easier said then done. If you miss a deadline, you just regroup and set a new one. I think the reading public is very forgiving πŸ™‚

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    • I don’t think I could handle it if I had to meet a non-negotiable deadline, Mae. And you have an actual JOB beside writing, too. I don’t know how you do it! I’m agog!

      I do believe some of us have to revisit the pressure we put on ourselves. Maybe it’s a matter of improving at setting up our priorities, or more realistic scheduling, or something. I’m not there yet, and there are days lately I’ve been in tears because I wanted to be WRITING, but had other stuff to handle that wouldn’t wait.

      I suspect I need to focus on being more grateful that I finally realized my dream of being a writer at all. I mean, I went 69 years before I managed to make that happen. But am I satisfied? NOOOOOOO. I want to write more and more, all the time, every day! Ack!

      And I hope you’re right about the reading public! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • I think it’s wonderful that you’re doing what you want to do. I know I feel that way. But when stress and pressure suck the joy out of the gift it’s time to re-examine. Or so I’ve been toying with that thought myself πŸ˜‰

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        • Well, when I finally decide something’s gotta go, it’s NOT going to be my writing! I am determined to keep going with what I love. It took me too long to get to it, as it is. I don’t want to give up a single day of it, if I can help it. So that’s what I’m working towards. πŸ˜€ I just have to figure out what I’m cutting loose, that’s all. πŸ˜‰

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  3. I know the feeling but someone once told me to look at what you have accomplished and not at what you haven’t. And you’ve done pretty darn well!! I think those of us late bloomers, at least when it comes to writing, feel the clock ticking more. I published a book a year from 2010 to 2017. Then I didn’t publish one in 2018 and I felt such a loser. I actually had one finished but my publisher couldn’t fit me in. Perhaps we are just to darn hard on ourselves.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I AM happy that I managed to write as much as I have in such a short span, but I’m also GREEDY for more of the same! 😯 I’m sorry to hear that in your case, it wasn’t the publisher yelling at you for another book, but them not being able to fit you in. I didn’t even know that could happen!

      I agree that we are too hard on ourselves, but I still can’t figure out how to just smile and say, “It’ll get done when it gets done.” Workin’ on it! πŸ˜€

      Thanks for your input, Darlene! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  4. Yes I am very frustrated that I still haven’t finished my current novel. I know it’s partly or wholly because I have been busy blogging – which is also writing. I am enjoying it, especially when people respond to my articles or flash fiction. But it feels like my novel characters have been wandering on their journey for years when in the actual story only five months have passed by!

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    • Sorry that you are frustrated, but hoping you’ll realize that five months in the works isn’t bad at all. Heck, I started my current WIP in August of 2017, and it’s now March, 2019! Gleep!

      I did pause it in the middle of all the Irma reconstruction, and wrote my second novella, which was a fast, easy little tale. So there’s that. But I had sincerely hoped to have this book in my editor’s hands by January, and here it is March, and I’m only HALFWAY through the draft. 😦 However, I’m determined to beat this sense of frustration and become better at letting things play out as they are meant to. For one thing, I’m pretty sure being frustrated KILLS creativity! (At least for me.)

      We just need to breathe deeply and learn to let go of some of this stuff we heap upon our own heads. And that could mean dropping a few things that are slowing us down. Putting whatever it is that we really want at the head of the list might be a good place to start. πŸ™‚

      Good to see you here today, Janet. Thanks for making time to comment. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Marcia,
    You have a lot of strength still to do so many things and still worry about how to fit more in. What a gift.
    Maybe you should take a break in those wonderful North Carolina mountains
    and find your inner, most important longing.
    Too much stress can break any person and then you just can’t do anything.

    Miriam

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Miriam. I think my worry is how to get RID of some of the stuff I’ve got on my plate rather than fitting more in, so I can focus on writing again. A lot of the things we are going through right now are temporary disruptions, and if I can just get them OFF of the ToDo list, maybe I’ll have my weekdays free for writing again. But I need a way to work through them that doesn’t leave me frustrated about time lost. *sigh* I’ll keep practicing on acceptance, I reckon.

      A vacation in the mountains would do wonders for me, at any time of any year. It’s been way too long since I’ve been able to go. Might be about time to plan a REAL vacation again. πŸ˜€ Good idea! Thanks, Miriam.

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  6. Marcia, you have always impressed me with the amount of good quality writing you have produced and by that I don’t just mean your novels, but your blog too. Pat yourself on the back for all that you do.
    Real life is what we all have to live with whether we like it or not. In our writing, we control the world, but in Real Life, it’s not that simple. Write when the story keeps knocking at your brain no matter whether it is convenient or not. That way you control at least some of what Real Life throws at you. Good Luck.
    Marie
    PS looking forward to your new book about Rabbit – a most intriguing character.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Marie! Nice to see you here today! Thank you so much for your kind words, and I do agree that writing should take over, regardless of convenience. Sadly, some of my disruptions have been caused by issues that could not be put off for any reason. Some health things that had to be dealt with, some household crises that were causing issues, etc. But, I AM trying hard to weigh the significance of these interruptions and come down on the side of writing, whenever possible.

      I do confess, I booked an awful lot of events this year, and each slide show takes days and days to put together. I justify that time because a) it’s part of building a local readership, and many the folks in the audience buy my books, and b) interacting with these people is one of the most inspirational things I do, to keep myself energized and in a positive frame of mind. But next year, I will space the programs a wee bit farther apart, I suspect.

      Plus, I’m trying to learn better online marketing techniques, because if I can’t do a good job of marketing my books, they will languish in Amazon limbo. So, it’s critical. But it’s also time away from actual writing.

      Somehow, I will climb out of this hole I fell into and be at least a bit more caught up than I currently am. And to be honest, I’ve made progress. I can at least the the top of the hole now, anyway! Haha.

      I’m happy to hear that you’ve enjoyed my books, and that you consider Rabbit intriguing. He’s hands-down everyone’s favorite character. The boy has FANS! And they are emailing me regularly to know when this next book is coming out, which only adds to my distress at being so far behind on it.

      But, I’m working on this acceptance thing. And I am writing whenever I can squeeze in an hour here or there. Eventually, it will level out some. (It has to!) πŸ˜€ ❀

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  7. Hello Marcia,
    I think one of the greatest struggles for people is to surrender to what is. We want things and we want to control how and when they happen. Life usually has a much different plan, right? I think all we can do is move forward while letting go of arbitrary outcomes. Easier said than done. Staying mindful, being gentle and forgiving of ourselves (and others) helps me sleep better at night anyway. You are a dynamic person who will somehow get it all done. Best to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Melissa! Nice to see you here. And you are exactly right. I was trying to figure out how to do just that, which gives me a lot of trouble, because I want to be in control of my life. Sadly, once again I’m reminded that the only thing in life we can actually control is how we react to it! But I still got a lot out of yesterday’s comments. Now I know that every single writer in the whole world (and probably every single non-writer, too) struggles with this same issue. Somehow, it makes me feel better to remember that this is a universal problem, especially in today’s fast-paced world. Nothing much to be done beyond accepting that, and not letting it make us crazy. πŸ˜€ Thanks for taking the time to weigh in! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  8. Six books in four years is a lot Marcia. I aim for one a year and that seems to work okay as I also have times when I am slowed down, the boys have exams or work goes crazy. It doesn’t bother me that much as that is life and family is important too. I try to keep the momentum going and catch up when I am less busy.

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    • I think one a year is a reasonable target, and if I still had decades of writing time ahead of me, I’d be fine with that. Realistically, I think you’ll be writing long after I shuffle off this mortal coil! πŸ˜€ And that’s as it should be. But by the time you reach my age, you know there are fewer years ahead than there are behind.

      I’m NOT facing anything dire at the moment, so I hope my reasonably good health keeps me going a long time, yet. But mortality looms larger in the rearview mirror after a certain age. I’m very aware that the clock is ticking, and I have a kajillion more things I want to do yet. I’ve always believed in making each and every day count, and even more so at this stage of my life, so I’m grabbing all the gusto I can, which for me, includes as much writing as I can possibly crank out.

      The reason I was able to write so many books in four years is because I’m home alone all day long. My family is grown and gone, and Mark still goes to work every day. I had very few interruptions, and could indulge my passion for story-telling for as many hours as I wanted to sit at the computer. Right now, there are too many unavoidable things going on to allow me to do that.

      All that being said, I have faith that I will be picking up speed again with my books. It’s just dealing with the immediate frustration that wears on me. Acceptance and a firm belief that I have a few more books in me is what I’m counting on to get me from here to there. Especially acceptance. Workin’ on it!

      Thanks for stopping by today, Robbie! I appreciate your input! (Wait until you see what I have planned for Riverbend #4. By the time I get to it, maybe you’ll be caught up and ready to jump in with both feet. The water’s great in Riverbend–if you don’t mind the gators. πŸ˜€ ❀ )

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  9. Marcia … Oh, dear, I am having the same issues, though I certainly haven’t been as productive as you. I am 69, and trying to get back in the saddle as far as writing goes. My first and only novel was over twenty years in the making, and though I have made minor starts on a few others, I’m sure I don’t have twenty more years. I find myself experiencing a lot of stress, trying to be with my hubby and dealing with both of our medical issues and family issues. I think I was wrong to try to set the goal of writing one post a week, because, despite the wealth of partially finished articles I found among my writings, I think the stress of a self-imposed deadline is wreaking havoc with my system. A teacher once told me that I had two speeds – flat out and halt. It’s that middle ground that I’m searching for. It’s hard for me to just sit down and forget about the writing. It’s good for me, but hard to make happen. I’m hoping that once the bad weather is replaced with lovely spring days, I will find what I need in long walks with Mo.

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    • I can identify with Flat Out and Halt, too. But, when I think of setting priorities and what needs to be cut, writing isn’t on the side of the ledger marked “Can Go.” I just refuse to give it up. Cuts may have to be made elsewhere, but the writing is NOT optional. I’ve waited too long to pursue it already, so I’m hanging on to it as long as I can. πŸ˜€ Good luck with those lovely spring walks, Donna! They sound very restorative and healing! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  10. You’ve done an amazing job, Marcia! We all write at our own pace. I have friends who regularly write 5-10 thousand words a day while I’m lucky to pull/drag/squeeze a thousand out and that’s on a good day.
    Cut yourself some slack and enjoy those mountains of yours. The rest will work itself out. πŸ™‚

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    • I plan to cut myself some slack, Jacquie, but I will soon be back to writing at my normal pace, and I’m NOT giving up one moment of that. It’s all the other stuff I want to get rid of. And I only wish I were in those mountains. It’s already 90 to 95 degrees here in central Florida, which is why it’s taking so long to rebuild the garden Irma smashed. I can only work outside for short spans of time in this heat, which is only going to get worse, otherwise, I’d have finished the yard work, and my life would be SO much easier.

      To give you an idea, we are still putting anywhere from 5 to 7 big containers of yard waste out every single week. This past weekend, we made a HUGE push to restore some of the backyard beds, and to finally clear out bamboo canes that have been hanging in the tops of the 70′ clumps since the hurricane. It was a HORRIBLE JOB. Took Mark about an hour (or more) for every broken cane that was wedged in the clump. (The canes only have about 3″ clearance between them, and working out the dead ones was a nightmare.) We will have about 14 more cans of yard waste Wednesday!

      We’ve had an enormous amount of work to do inside, too, that was in progress, but had come to a halt after the storm, so we’ve been spending our weekends on that, too. I painted the front of the house last weekend, and Mark hung all new lighting fixtures, because the old ones, while they still worked, looked awful. This weekend, I pressure washed the awful looking driveway, the garden benches (that had grown LICHENS on them during the rainy season), and some lattice-work dividers out back.

      The list seems endless, and combined with a barrage of small health issues that had to be dealt with, every day has been full of interruptions. GAH. And then Mark had a car accident, so our new car is in the shop, and he’s driving my old P. T. Cruiser for now. One car complicates things, too.

      But honestly, I know you go through spells like this in life, and compared to many, we are VERY lucky. I just need these things to get done, so I can reclaim my writing time. I need it like I need air to breathe!

      It will happen over the next few months, I’m sure. But in the meantime, I’m trying to learn patience and acceptance, two skills I haven’t been very good at practicing. Thanks for stopping by, and taking the time to share your thoughts. πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • Marcia, I just came across a post about saving time and scheduling social media posts. Not sure how you’re handing that, but if you aren’t using something like Buffer, you might be able to save some precious time. The things you are doing to clean up after the hurricane will last, I don’t think there’s any doubt that you will soon be back to your writing. Here’s the post:
        How to Schedule a Week’s Worth of Social Media Posts in 30 Minutes – Written By Jenn Hanson-dePaula – Writer’s Treasure Chest
        The original is at:
        https://www.mixtusmedia.com/blog/how-to-schedule-a-weeks-worth-of-social-media-posts-in-30-minutes?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks so much for sharing the link, Donna. I will definitely check it out. I actually don’t spend TOO much time on blog posting, but I like knowing about what’s out there to help, in case I need to give it a try at some point. I’m usually done with my email and blog posts in an hour or so each day. It’s the other things going on in my life right now that are the bigger problem, but as I say, I like to save links for things like this, because things might be totally different for me tomorrow. I appreciate your taking the time to share! *hugs*

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      • Goodness! Do you have a large yard, then? We have a small bamboo plot, but it’s in a container so it can’t get away from us, lol.
        I hope your Mark wasn’t injured in the accident, so scary!
        Summer is me time- I love gardening so writing takes a backseat. I try for a page or two at night and call that good.
        Hope you get a handle on everything and can enjoy your passion soon {{hugs}}

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s just impossible for me to garden in the summer down here. Temps are often in triple digits, and I’m a person who hates it when it’s more than 75 degrees outside. That’s how we got so far behind on cleaning up the yard. Once the reconstruction was done and the contractors gone, it was too hot for me to even consider going out, so I’ve been working on other projects. It just so happenend that the storm hit when we had our living room floor torn completely up, for instance. We were doing some remodeling and taking care of a bit of deferred maintenance.

          We live in a small subdivision that went up in the 1970’s, with typical 1/4 acre lots. Ours is bigger, because we’re on the corner, so about 1/3 acre. But we don’t like grass and the back was all beds, with brick pathways between them. We had a gazebo on our patio and a “Bali hut” in a shaded corner, both of which took a hit in the storm. Mark loves bamboo, so we have it along the edges, and it’s a terrific screen. But it does require cutting new canes when it gets too wide. (He would happily let it take over the yard, but I HAVE to have my rose garden. Or I did, until it got stomped, too.) So, while not a large yard, every inch of the back was planted with all sorts of things. Now that we are starting from scratch (14 years’ worth of labor gone), I’m aiming for low maintenance plants, so I can still enjoy it all, but with much less work.

          My typical schedule is the opposite of yours. Gardening in the winter is much nicer here, and roses bloom every month of the year. But after I started writing, I wasn’t maintaining the garden the way I’ve always done. Now, I’m forced into redesigning and this time, I’m allowing for the fact that I won’t be spending as much time on it as I used to. I want to WRITE! πŸ˜€ And that’s my “ME” time. πŸ˜€

          What I’m really trying to get a handle on is how to be at peace with what’s landed on us, until such time as we get these bigger, physical projects whittled back a bit. And then, watch out, world. I’ll be back at the computer 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and loving it. πŸ˜€

          Thanks for the well wishes! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  11. I can soooo identify with this. I started my second novel just before my mother’s dementia took over our lives. That was three years ago and I’m half a chapter away from finishing the first draft – I sat down to write it and saw your blog…
    You’ve accomplished already more than I ever will. You also freely give your time to people like me who need guidance. This means you produce less of your own work but earn genuine gratitude and affection from those of us you inspire to keep going.
    Some friends of ours were daunted by the work needed on their new garden. They threw a ‘garden’ party and we had a great day clearing, digging, planting and sorting and then sat down to an al fresco meal afterwards. Perhaps you can rope in others to help with the tasks you don’t want to do, so that you can focus on your writing instead?
    I s’pose it all comes back to that ‘the serenity to accept the things I cannot alter’, but you do need to be fairly serene in the first place to follow that one!
    And you’ve had a full-on couple of years and still managed to smile through Irma and then the danger to your family a few months ago. I’d say you were doing way better than anyone else I can think of. In fact, I’m quite envious of how well you’re keeping all those plates spinning. (It’s ok if you drop a few.)
    ❀ See, I can do hearts now thanks to you. Genius!

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    • Oh, Trish! You always make me smile! And it’s lovely to know I have you fooled so completely. (I hope you never wise up to what an addlepated doofus I really am!) πŸ˜€ It has been crazy for a while, but I have every hope it’s going to ease. I just don’t want to keep getting so frustrated while we’re wading through some of this. And I want my WRITING time back, doggone it!!! I’d love to rope some folks in, but the kids all live elsewhere and our neighbors are all old fogeys like us. Except that we still do our own work, when possible, instead of hiring it out. We always have, and I dread the day when we have to admit we can’t keep that up any more.

      Mark is the electrician, the plumber, and the builder. (Seriously, he’s the chief engineer for a fairly large company and knows ALL this stuff.) I, on the other hand, do all the painting and cleaning. (He can’t be trusted with a paint brush or a leaf blower, that’s for sure, but don’t tell him I said so.) We’ve just always done it all ourselves, but this has been a LOT to try to take on. Even without some of the other of life’s issues, like all the things that start going wrong when you reach a certain age. But we’re still making progress, and at some point, it should ease off a bit, and let me get back to what I want to do. Yes, the serenity thing is what I had in mind when I posed my question. But I’m beginning to think most of us don’t really have any secret way of achieving that. So I’ll just blunder along this way and that until things level off again. I had four pretty smooth,productive years there, and I’d like to think I’ll have a few more ahead.

      And YAY for you! Only a half a chapter left to finish that draft? That’s worth celebratiing, my friend!! I’ll raise a cup of Earl Grey in your honor. But not until morning. I’ve had my caffeine limit for the day. πŸ˜€

      And look at your go with your hearts! πŸ˜€ I’m happy you didn’t give up! ❀ back atcha!

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    • After reading everyone’s comments, I’ve decided there is no secret recipe for learning acceptance and serenity in the face of life’s obstacles. Oh, well. It was worth asking about, anyway. I’ll just keep slogging along, occasionally shaking my fist at the sky and shouting imprecations at the universe. πŸ˜€ And then I’ll get back to padding towards shore. Thanks for stopping by, Mary. It’s always good to hear from you! πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • Don’t forget it is not so long ago that ladies of a certain age would not be doing much ( except for those working on the land who would not have had time to write ) except crafts and cooking and enjoying some leisure time. Is it the digital age that has sent us all into a post menopausal creative frenzy?

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        • I believe many “well-bred” young ladies in times past were taught to paint and write. The “arts” were considered a fine way to spend an afternoon (along with needlework) for “the fairer sex.” Some continued to do so to a lesser degree, even after becoming wives and mothers.

          Of course, none of these women would have been encouraged to any of the above professionally, though we do have our Jane Austens and Emily Dickinsons, etc. You have to wonder what they would make of this digital age where the “mechanics” of writing and publishing are so vastly different. (Along with the attitudes about pursuing it as an actual career.) We may have lost some of the simple pleasures from that seemingly more romantic time, but overall, I think we’ve gained quite a bit as well. And since there’s no turning back the clock, I’m planning to be a part of this approach to writing for as long as I’m able. πŸ˜€

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    • Well, when you put it like that, I sound all kinds of wonderful! hahahahahaha Seriously, if I’ve inspired you in any way, I’m very happy. I do think I’ve managed to convince some folks here and there that it’s never too late to pursue your dream, and that makes me feel great, for sure! But I’m really looking forward to some long, slow days of nothing but writing for a change, hopefully soon!

      And thanks for the birthday wishes. We’re having a family get-together on March 30 for a joint celebration of several spring birthdays, mine included. (I hope there’s a prize for the OLDEST celebrant! I have it on good authority that it’s ME! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ )

      Off to get dinner started, and even though I didn’t get any sure-fire tips on acceptance or avoiding frustration, I feel better just having had all these conversations with others who face the same kinds of issues. You guys ALL rock! πŸ™‚ ❀

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      • Yes, after working and study hard all my life, then came my cancer. Only 5 years after remission that I started having some energy to do something fun and got my first book published. I hope will do a few more before slowing down.
        Have a super birthday party on March 30. πŸ™‚ ❀

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        • Now talk about inspirational! It’s wonderful to know you beat it, and even if it took some time to get your energy back, you got that book out there! Hurray for you, and I hope you get a bunch more done, too! It’s knowing that people are finally starting to win these battles that gives us all hope! Much continued success in your writing career, Miriam! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  12. Oh, I can relate, Marcia. I didn’t start writing until I was 50, so there’s this feeling of “being behind” and needing to catch up. I put pressure on myself – lots of it! But I also know that it’s self-imposed and missing deadlines is no biggie. Life happens and I’m not going to fret over the number of pages written. And honestly, I don’t want to spend the rest of my life stuck behind a screen anyway. My parents are moving this month (or I should say, I’m moving them). All my writing goals for the month are smashed. But it’s okay. I’m going to give this new chore my full attention and enjoy the opportunities it provides. The key, for me, is to be mindful of where I am, not where I’m not. ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I like that last line. I can tell you, I was plenty mindful that I spent SIX HOURS Saturday pressure washing a driveway that looked like it had been covered in black asphalt to get to the pale concrete underneath. That’s the kind of MILDEW we grow down here! 😯 My arm still hurts!! But seriously, it’s a good line and sums up exactly what we should all be doing.

      I’m lucky that I love computer work, and don’t feel stuck here, yet. That might come at some point, but for now, I feel blessed on the days when I can sit here and pour my heart out all day long. Ask me again in 5 years, and it might be a whole different thing.

      And deadlines don’t bother me because they’re deadlines, since they are my own. They bother me because I wanted to be on to the next book long before now, and I’m not. I get frequent emails and messages from readers asking when the next is coming out. I hate disappointing them. I know how I feel when I’m waiting and waiting for the next book in a series I love. (Hear that, Jim Butcher?????) But I can only do so much until they invent more hours in a day. *sigh* I wish they’d get right on that!

      In the meantime, more yard work for me tomorrow. Beds to continue weeding and mulching. (The dreaded, misbegotten bidens are six feet tall!!) I sure hope it’s COOLER!

      Liked by 1 person

        • OH, we’ve already left spring behind. It was February 12 this year. πŸ˜€ It’s mid 80’s to 90-92 now. We’ll have one or two more coolish days here or there, but summer is well upon us. 😦

          Yes, it’s wonderful to love what we do, and I’m bound and determined to finish up all this backbreaking work so I can focus on it once again. SO looking forward to the long, hot days of summer, which I’ll spend inside the air-conditioned comfort of my house, writing, writing, writing! πŸ˜€ ❀

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    • Diana, I agree with you to be mindful of where I am, not where I’m not. IN fact, I forgot where I was before cancer. Right now I only have energy to do things, I would say, half of what I did. But, I’m glad to be alive.
      Taking car of your parents is important too. Come to think of it, the little ones and the older folks can’t wait. The little ones grow so fast and the older folks won’t be around forever. My friends talk about taking care of the generation after and the one before ours.
      You did have a writing project in mind to share. We’ll still be here. ❀

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  13. You’ve done very well getting so much published in such a short amount of time. My current WIP has been neglected the last couple of years because real life has gotten in the way and kept me from having much time to devote to it. I hope to remedy that soon, but we’ll see how it goes.

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    • Darn that Real Life!! It’s always coming between us and our fictional characters, isn’t it? What nerve!! I hope you soon have more time to indulge your creative passion, Jeanne! That’s my goal, too, so I’m wishing both of us luck in that regard!! πŸ™‚

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  14. It seems that many of us are or get on the same page here Marsh. I feel like I’m you in this post – sans the hurricanes, but plenty of other disasters. I was so distracted with life last year I had no desire to write a book. I too put out 6 in less than 5 years. I think with all our efforts and concentration in our work and life’s pile ups, we have to cut ourselves some slack and have a timeout. I think of it as writer’s burn out. I was quite content doing interviews and being in blogworld last year, but the desire to write a book wasn’t there. So I just got back this past weekend from our 2 month getaway where I restrained myself not to work, read 12 books and wrote book reviews and lots of notes on things to post about when the mood struck. I didn’t worry about blogs. I didn’t post. When I got the urge I visited a few blogs and social media but that was it. And now I’m back and although there’s always going to be life stuff going on, I feel more motivated to get back to a book I started over a year ago. Does that help? ❀

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    • Yes, it helps, though my problem isn’t not having a DESIRE to write. I’m eaten up inside with the desire to do nothing else. But the TIME element has been against me for a year and a half, and falling behind is something I haven’t been able to deal with well. Hearing from you and all the others has made me see that one way or another, I’m not alone in any of this. In fact, I’m guessing it’s a universal thing for writers. Probably somewhat for everyone, though folks with a “regular” job are probably faced with the just the opposite. It’s the other things in life (besides their work) that they don’t have enough time for.

      Bottom line is, none of us have time for everything we want to do and we just have to accept that and keep on truckin’! The acceptance part has been pretty hard for me lately, but reading everyone else’s experience has somehow made it easier. Yesterday, I put aside everything else and wrote all day long. Finished a new chapter that I feel pretty good about, and feel much less stressed about behind behind. Maybe I’m NOT to old to learn! πŸ˜€ ❀ Good luck to you moving ahead, as well.

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      • I think this post was therapeutic for you Marsh. You’re getting feedback and finding we all just want to write but life gets in everyone’s way in different ways. We just have to learn to deal, take a breath and keep on truckin’ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, it was very therapeutic, Deb! And I have been feeling much better for the last three days. Hearing everyone’s thoughts helped tremendously, and thought I’ve always been pretty good at rolling with the punches, I’ve never been good at accepting I’m not really in control of my life. But I’m making progress now, I think, and even got a full chapter written Wednesday. Off tomorrow for a presentation on Backyard Birds Part 2, and I think it’s going to be fun. And being around the wonderful folks who come to these events will really lift my spirits. There will be some of my readers there, along with a few old friends, and a few new ones, and I’ll come home all inspired to write like crazy next week. (Assuming I survive another brutal day of yard work Sunday. 😯 ) Thanks for all your comments. I appreciate them very much! πŸ™‚ ❀

          Liked by 2 people

          • I’m so glad to hear Marsh. Sometimes us writers just need a boost of inspiration, and all you had to do was share your feelings here. What a community we have! Enjoy your weekend and keep up with the optimistic buzz! πŸ™‚ xxx

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    • For sure, Jacquie! And had I started writing a few decades earlier–in my 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s–I’d probably worry less about how many more productive writing years I have ahead. But when you don’t START writing until age 69, you are painfully aware that you no longer have decades ahead of you in which to tell those stories bouncing around in your head. HOWEVER, I know I’ve been incredibly lucky to have started my writing career in the age of self-publishing and other high-tech advantages that would have been unavailable to me in my younger years.

      I’ve just been in a bad mood because it is taking so dang long to get our lives back on track. All I really want to do is WRITE! πŸ˜€ I’m going to put some other things on hold and do just that, here shortly. So what if all the yard clean up isn’t done by March 30, when I’m having a family gathering here. It’s not like my family will be horrified that there are still chores left undone. (And if they are, I’ll just hand them a rake and some pruners and tell them to have at it! Hahahahaha.)

      I’m in a much better place today, thanks to you and everyone who responded to this post. Thanks so much!! And good luck to you on your newest book! πŸ™‚ ❀

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  15. Good that life is starting to settle back down, but your post has reminded me of a couple of posts I have notes on, that I intend to get around to writing when I find the time!
    As usual, these are both based on my sports performance coaching, and things I have to enact myself, when I’m the competitor.
    One is how important it is to look back, and allow yourself to be pleased with where you’ve come from. That’s really important, as it helps put frustration into better perspective, and puts you in a more positive frame of mind (essential for competitors, and in a way, you are a competitor, even though you are measuring yourself against yourself, not anyone else). Any negativity will lower your potential for achievement, as you won’t perform at your best without a positive mind set.
    The other is the importance of accepting the necessity for a flexible approach. In any sport, and mine in particular, where you have two living components, not just one, injuries happen. They might be catastrophic, meaning you need to start again with a new partner (been there, done that more times than I would have liked), or you need to back off and adjust your goals, with new short term goals (such as getting the injury fixed) and different long term goals as a result, such as a championship not this year, but next. This flexibility is essential to keep forging ahead – no competitor gets to the top without setbacks, it’s how you cope with them and not let them defeat you that makes for a champion in the long run.
    Try letting yourself be pleased with what you’ve done so far, and simply accept there are things you can’t change (I know that isn’t easy, but it IS reality) and adjust your goals accordingly.
    75 isn’t old these days – lots of time for tons more books yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your insights, Debby! I think you are exactly right, and that’s what I have been trying to do, but failing miserably to accomplish. But after posting this and reading everyone’s comments, I do feel much better. At least I know I’m not alone in this frustration, and somehow, that in itself was enough to help me let go of much of it. I’m practicing acceptance and being grateful for having been able to accomplish what I have. The last three days have been much easier, so I may have turned a corner in learning how to be at peace with whatever comes my way. And I appreciate your sharing these lessons with me! Thanks a million! πŸ™‚ ❀

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