Posts Tagged ‘taking time off’

The veil is growing thinner…and a poem

Dump: a word with many meanings. Today it’s referring to the fact that I’m down in the dumps…and about to dump on the readers of this blog.


Maybe i just need to build more lego structures, when Other Systems was first published I created this.

Honestly it’s been one of those weeks.  One would think I’d be used to the routine.  I try to stay upbeat and busy when I await feedback.  I am waiting for two manuscripts to be read. One is The Light Side of the Moon which is at 48Fourteen, the other is the few folks who are beta reading The Martlet.  I hate waiting. Waiting makes me irritable. Waiting on a rejection makes me feel worse. Little things annoy me.  I’m getting frustrated with conversations with people who aren’t even here.  I’m half-afraid to go to writing group because I can’t stop rambling. This week, I snapped at a friend over something stupid —and now I can’t remember if I apologized or not—I’m hoping I did or he just isn’t mad at me. The veil that covers my crazy grows thin.

Now I realize I can be a bit intense and high strung, but my hiking companion said, “You’re creeping towards level 10 neurosis.”  Thank Goodness, we’re really good friends and she is willing to put with me. This is the part of the job, I am not good at–dealing with the intense emotions.

Now I want everyone to know, my neurosis is not because of the work. I love the work.

It also doesn’t help that I am busy preparing for the autumn cluster of appearances and classes which is ratcheting up my intensity even more.

Each time I encourage another writer to keep going —often in public—and follow their dreams when my own nervous stomach/critical part of my brain is telling me to quit. That I am never going to be published again.  (Which is total BS, I know logically, but try to tell my stomach that!)

Of course, this feeling is the key to my next “project” I decided to create a small collection of poems and short stories. I don’t know if or when they will be published. They might honestly all suck. That’s not really the point. The point is to allow me to experiment. I decided to see what happened if I did not put any restrictions on my creativity for a few weeks.  I know not every idea I will have over the course of the experiment will be great, but I feel it’s important not to censor or ridicule myself. So far I have written ten poems, rewrote a short ghost story, and wrote a piece about vampiric aliens. Each one has illustrations.

So here is a short poem I wrote. It is the kindest and most gentle of the poems which is why I chose it to share.

Dangers Real and imaginary

She warns of dangers real and imaginary.

So I take pause before I jump in the icy water

Obscured with mineral dust.

Algae clutch to rocks and squirm under my bare feet,

My toes grow pink, Then my calves and hips

No further.

I could see minnows in the emerald abyss

Nibbling at mosquitos.


Yes this poem is about a swimming in alpine lakes and why certain people don’t swim in them.

PS Before anyone thinks I am moping about physically. Nope. I still exercise each day. My tummy & brain are moping, but I’m going hiking to Lake Valhalla today and yes I’m going swimming!  Which leads to the most important advice I can give: If anyone can stand your company, it’s important to stay busy with friends while manuscript waiting occurs.

Time Management #1: Making time for one’s self even though you became an author

Since the publication of Other Systems, I found myself constantly battling taking time out for myself until pure exhaustion would knock me out. I was getting irritable and more than a little crazy. Any given week, I work 40 to 60 hours. That’s just the gig, but especially on convention weeks, I was working 80 – 90 hours.

I have ideas for other books I want to write, plus connventions, plus promotional stuff, plus social media, plus…well you get the idea.

Something had to give: for me it was my weight. Other Systems added 30 pounds to my bum and tummy. Some people can put on 30 pounds in good places. Not me. Still I don’t really care about the weight–what I care about is my writing and artwork.

Here are a few tips that I have found if I follow, my work is actually stronger, plus I feel better too.

1) Make time to exercise. In the middle of the day Monday through Friday, I walk my and my neighbors dogs. I also try to do either in the afternoon or at night time, an exercise DVD as often as I can. Yes, I know its an on going joke, but I really do like Sweating to the Oldies.

My favorite breakfast: this quiche has red peppers, artichoke and parmesan cheese. (

2) Garbage in/garbage out. I’ve a terrible sweet tooth but I make sure I eat fruit and vegetables each day. I also take my Flintstone vitamins — yes I realize they are for the kids, but I hate to swallow pills.

Most importantly, I have begun to always eat breakfast. I used to skip breakfast until I realized I was crashing at noon and shoving anything halfway edible in my mouth. My favorite is quiche or  scrambled eggs with cheese, but even if it is just a croissant with jam, I force myself to sit down and eat. My diet is certainly not perfect, I also drink a latte each day.

3) I admit I ignore my own good advice with this next one.  When I am stuck on something, I know if I walk through the neighborhood, I normally see something that triggers my mind. Yet, I tend not to do it. Instead I try to powerhouse my way through the problem. Then I am no better off than I was. It is important to get up.

4) Now if the above doesn’t work for you–this next one might. Clean your house. So if I can’t bring myself to leave my house for a walk, generally I will take 15 minutes to vacuum my apartment, load the dishwasher, or some other small chore. Personally I feel the pressure of the unclean house. My husband and I live in a one bedroom apartment. There is no where to hide the mess. Plus it is our mess! We should be the ones who clean it.

5) I try to take at least one full day off during each week. Generally this will be a Saturday or Sunday for me so I can spend time with my husband, but after a convention it will be a weekday. Maybe two.

6) Find yourself a hobby. I build lego castles, bake, and sew. I like to go stargazing and in the winter I enjoy snowshoeing. I also try to take an hour at least to read the news and ongoings of the world.  It is very uncomfortable moment for an author to go to a party and realize they have spent so much time in their made-up world, that they have no idea what is going on in the real one.

Sometimes Rosie gently suggests I take a break and give her a snuggle. Now.

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