Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Indie Life: Disruptions

Last month, if you visited my blog on the second Wednesday of the month, you read a lovely post about my favorite knitwear designer. Not a post about indie life.  I had every intention to write a post, but I couldn’t.

I had a migraine.

I have suffered from migraines since I was a teenager. I used to have about one a month but lately I’m having two to three a week. Depending on their severity, they are debilitating and I can’t do anything but lay in the dark and pray for my meds to kick in quickly.

My migraines are a huge disruption to my life and I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve had to completely change my plans because of them. Like my post last month. Most times I don’t know when I’ll have one or how long they’ll last.

That makes planning difficult. Difficult but not impossible. I can plan, but I have to have an emergency migraine backup plan. I have a back-up plan if I have a migraine and for when I have to take my prescription migraine medication (which is quite lovely in dealing with the discomfort but knocks me out for 8-12 hours).

Last month highlighted the fact that life is full of disruptions. Maybe not migraines, but everyone has unforeseen issues arise in life. A sick child. Storm-related power outages. Broken vehicles. Computer problems.

With my migraines, I have found that the best way to minimize the disruptions of life is to be proactive. I avoid my triggers. When I know I’ll be unavoidably exposed to one of my triggers, I’ll pre-medicate. I try and keep chocolate on me (the caffeine helps) and I’m finding that it’s helpful to keep sunglasses around.

Being proactive also translates well into your writing life. Here are some tips to be more proactive:

Build in extra time on goals and deadlines. Plan to take longer than anticipated to finish a project. Since my migraines normally knock me out for a day or two a week, I only count three days of a week going towards working on my goal. Pad your goals so if you do have a life disruption, you won’t fall to far behind.

Do write more on your “good” days. We all know that flow that comes when we’re in the zone. When you’re there, keep going. Maybe you can write 2000 words instead of your daily goal of 1000. Maybe you can work out the next point on your plotline. That will give you an excess towards you goal.

Use scheduling tools. Every blog has the ability to schedule posts in advance. Hoot Suite allows you to schedule your tweets. Take advantage of these tools. It may save you for not having your indie life post ready (sad face).

Invest in voice recognition software. This is something that I sorely wish I could master. Most times I’m still awake and mostly alert during my migraines and can still talk. I could still talk/write during those times. And think of all the other uses for it. Someone might think you’re a little weird sitting in your car talking to yourself during your child’s baseball game or while you wait for your prescriptions, but we’re indie authors. We’re used to being a little weird.

How are you proactive in minimizing life’s distractions? What tools have you found useful?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tea & Read: Flight of Earls

Title: Flight of Earls
Author: Michael K. Reynolds
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Rating: I’d throw it against the wall if it wasn’t on my Kindle ()

I have a method for selecting the books I read. I read the back cover blurb first and then a few sample pages. I almost never buy a book from the reviews. Sometimes, after I read a book, I look at the reviews to see how my assessment of a book falls with everyone else. For this book, however, I did the reverse. I read the reviews of this book first and decided based on the reviews.

I’m never doing that again.

It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America.

Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes.

Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.

This book was so unlike the reviews I read that I initially thought I was reading for the wrong book. First, let me say that the writing (I’m mean grammar and sentence structure) is not terrible. As a matter of fact, there are many passages with incredible imagery. There were times that I could almost smell the scenes being described.

Unfortunately, that’s as far as my admiration of this book went. The plot was slow and disjointed. At times, I felt I was just reading a random bunch of scenes of Clare and Semus’ life.  I found myself not caring about the characters. Since the story started with the potatoes famine, I found myself wondering about that plotline that the rest of the story. I skimmed quite a bit, and sadly, it didn’t appear that I’d missed anything in the story development by doing so.

I guess I’m just going to have to go against the tide of great review with mine.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Birth-month Celebrations 2013

Little girl me.
It’s June. Yay! Time for my birthmonth celebration. And it's a milestone year. I'm turning 40!

For the past couple of years, I have celebrated my birthday for the whole month. Some might think it takes a strong dose of narcissism to celebrate for the whole month, but I assure you I’m not celebrating out of vanity.

I started celebrating my birthday for the whole month because I realized I put myself last the rest of the year. I focused on the needs of everyone else in my life and didn’t really pay attention to my needs. I think women, particularly moms, are prone to this. We’ll do for our family before we do for ourselves. And when we do something nice for ourselves, we end up feeling guilty about it.

Celebrating my birthday for the whole month takes the guilt of splurging on myself. And because I look for free or inexpensive ways to celebrate, it’s not a big drain on my budget. Even when I’m celebrating my birthday, I’m a cheap date.

Each year, I look for events that appeal to one of my passions or likes. My list is pretty short. I want to do something:
  • Spiritual
  • Musical/Arts/Writing (normally a dance production or a book fair)
  • Knitting related
  • Jane Austen related
  • Almost 40 year old me
  • Something my family will enjoy doing with me
So here is my schedule so far (subject to change as I find more events):

Knit in Public Day. June 8. This is always an enjoyable event. What’s not fun about knitting in public (although I do this more than just this day). My LYS is hosting an event in Old Town Alexandria. I hope to remember my lawn chair this time.

Air Force Band Concerts. Every Thursday in June. I’m not going to them all, but I hope to at least catch the one at the Air Force Memorial. There’s also one featuring the Singing Sergeants on Fort Myers. Need my lawn chair for this one, too.

Folklife Festival. June 26-July 7. This is my go-to family event. The presentations and exhibits are great because they’re not just some speaking. There is dancing lessons, musical performances and exhibits. I’m looking forward to the Dare to Adorn exhibit, which is a historical treatment of African American fashion. Plus, it’s always great to be down on the National Mall. If I get tired of the festival (which I won’t), I can always hit the National Museum of Art.

Writing a Draft of My Next Novel. The Whole Month. My writing activity this month is to write a draft of Love Simplified 2 (unofficial title). What better way to celebrate my birthday than to do what I love.

As I attend each event, I’ll be featuring reviews and pictures on my Facebook page.
Happy birthday to me!