Ever have small stuff interfere with getting things done? It seems every time I boot up my computer I have seventeen different updates that need to be done. In the past month, I’ve also had a few electronic malfunctions. First, the batteries in my mouse exploded, leaking battery acid everywhere. You’d think that would have been an indication that I should check all the batteries – especially given that I purchased the computer with the mouse and keyboard at the same time. But, alas, I did not. I sat down a few weeks ago to finally get Katie Freeman wrapped up only to find that the batteries in the keyboard had also exploded… I had battery acid slowly expanding out of the battery cover and power button slots. Definitely not a good sign.
It’s funny, really. Neither the mouse nor the keyboard were even slowing down. They worked one day and the next day…nothing. Just acid, slowly eating away at my productivity…
Today, I finally replaced the keyboard (the mouse was replaced instantly) with a brand new Mac Magic Keyboard. And to my utter delight, the new keyboard is even better than the last. My first keyboard was just a simple, small Mac keyboard. Now, at my “pay-the-bills” job, I am forced to use a PC. But what I love about it is that there are “Delete” and “End” keys on the keyboard – one of very few advantages the PC had over my Mac.
I never really noticed how much I used them until they weren’t there. It was the biggest downside to using a Mac…those two simple buttons. I know there are keyboard short cuts for those two functions. And I am a HUGE keyboard shortcut person. But for some reason those shortcuts just wouldn’t stick in my brain and I found myself reaching for the mouse.
But now…I have my keys back. And productivity is back underway! Let’s work some Magic!
The most difficult thing in the world for me is naming things. I blame this on my father – after all, he was going to name me Walter if I’d been a boy. Now, that’s not a bad name, per se, until you combine it with my last name. Walter Mellon – I’d have been the laughing stock of the playground! So, you see, I think I inherited the inability to be creative with naming things – people, places, pets – basically anything that needs a title.
As a reader, I always notice naming trends in books. You know what I mean – matching characters “Adam and Amanda” or “Chris and Christa” – even when siblings have the same letter to start their names (19 Kids and Counting, anyone?). I have to admit that I’m guilty of this as a writer. Sadly, I know real families who have done this to their kids. I guess that means that even if it sounds corny, people do this in real life.
My new series has a family of eight – yes, eight! – siblings, and they are all named for nature. It makes sense when you know more about the history of the story, so just hang tight and you’ll be able to read about it soon!
In the mean time, have a laugh at one of the most creative names I’ve run across in a while. This is a hotdog stand in East Nashville – I Dream of Weenie…a romance author’s sense of humor can be a little warped.
I have struggled this week with self-motivation. I have always been a procrastinator – the one who waited until the night before a paper was due to write it… the one who waited until the final deadline to submit a project. Honestly, it drives my mom nuts! Which, of course, is why I originally liked to do it. But there comes a time to break the habits formed in youth. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit and I detest change. How do I manage to complete a book, you ask? Well, mostly through determination, bribery, external influences, and character persistence.
First, is my determination. I have always enjoyed writing. I have an overactive imagination and can easily get lost in a daydream for hours. Now, I make myself write down those daydreams. They become the stories that you will hopefully one day read.
Next is bribery. Sometimes, it’s a matter of ‘finish this chapter and you can have a brownie.’ Other days, like today, it’s ‘write 500 words and you can have a gummy bear.’ My bribes are not always food related. Sometimes it’s watching television, or going for a walk, or going out to dinner with friends. My goal today is 10,000 words. When I’m done, I get to have dinner and see The Martian at the movies (and let’s face it, Matt Damon is a reward all his own!). Great motivation, except that it’s taking the gummy bears to get me there.
External influences help as well. I can tell myself, “You have to have this book done by Oct 15, or else.” But that doesn’t always work. So I usually make a reservation with my editor to have the book to her (or him…) by a certain date. Of course, it needs to go through the beta readers first, so I try to leave a little room for that – sometimes that gets close. Having someone else waiting on me keeps me motivated to hit that deadline.
Finally, my characters tend to be persistent. Once I have dreamed a character to life, they aren’t happy being left to languish in whatever state I previously left them. They like their HEA and are downright demanding that I get them there as quick as possible. Sometimes, I have dreamed several characters at once and I have to take a little time to write down the basics of one while I develop the other into a story. But I know if I don’t write it down, the character will pester me until I go slowly insane…
That’s pretty much how my books get written. Of course, I am supposed to be writing a story now, instead I’m writing this blog… do these 500 words count toward a gummy bear? I think so!