Breaking Up, Part Deux

So following up on my break-up with social media, the second “last straw” came when the internet attempted to crush me with an email inbox jammed with new messages, for the day – THE DAY – exceeding 100.

Email-Inbox

After a long day at the office, the very act of watching those damn emails load was enough to send my blood pressure through the roof. Clearly, unsubscribing from social media was not enough. Yet, this problem is completely self-inflicted.

Normally, I just hit delete delete delete and hope I don’t accidentally erase an important communication. But this time, something snapped, and I decided to put my annoyance to work.

I opened every single email (except the obvious spam), and unless it was received from some essential life source (like my bank statement or bill) or an actual communication from a live person with whom I wish to communicate (yes, I still use email for that purpose – so last century) I scrolled to the bottom of each message and hit unsubscribe.

Again and again and again.

Gone, newsletters I get for signing up for “free books.” Gone, RSS feeds telling me when someone has a new blog post. Gone, last chance sales for crap I can’t live without. Gone, newspaper alerts and headlines and and magazine subscription offers. Gone, coupons for stuff I don’t need to buy. Gone, that Amazon Daily Kindle alert. Everything I don’t want in my inbox – gone.

Most of these emails are the result of me subscribing to newsletters, blogs, contests, free books, etc. I really was interested in following the authors and reading their blogs. But there isn’t much sense in signing up for a free book if the resulting emails are going to take away all of my reading time, much less distract me from my own writing.

It pains me to admit that my inability to find writing time was solely the result of my own folly. Having dumped social media, aimless surfing, and useless email, I have spent dedicated time every day on my WIP. It really is a work in progress again.

And now, a glass of wine awaits on the porch for the “great book I’m reading” time. Just finished Lori Rader-Day’s riveting suspense novel, The Day I Died. Next up is Brad Parks’ The Good Cop.

Salute!

Posted in Killer Reads, Making Progress, Technology is My Nemesis | 2 Comments

I’m Breaking Up with Social Media

I’m not even using the fakey “it’s me, not you” line. It’s definitely them. And they are sucking the very soul out of my writing life. To wit:

Get off the internet

Pulling up the book featured on my daily calendar and related suggestions on Amazon.com  – 15 minutes

Scrolling through Facebook – 10 minutes

Pulling up books on Amazon.com that other people are raving about on Facebook  – 15 minutes

Scrolling through Twitter – 10 minutes

Pulling up books on Amazon.com that other people are raving about on Twitter – 15 minutes

Checking out Cake Wrecks – 5 minutes

Surfing for information about some inane point in my book and calling it “research” – 10 minutes

Checking out I Can Has Cheezburger – 5 minutes

Googling “writer’s resources” found Hemingway and a bunch of other stuff useful only if I actually finish a manuscript – 20 minutes

Pulling up daily Kindle specials on Amazon.com – 15 minutes

Hmmmm. Two hours. Two hours of my life that I could have spent writing. Pretty much every single day. Not to mention the cost of all those books on Amazon.com.

I’m not a moron. I just play one in real life. And even a fake moron can recognize real moronic behavior. So ten days ago, after my last whine-fest about not being able to get any writing done [sob] I gave social media and internet surfing the boot. I don’t miss it and I’m positive it isn’t missing me.

Coincidentally, without all the social media distraction, I am back together with Bob. I recently finished reading Chapter After Chapter (a schizophrenic ride, to say the least) and one of the resources the author mentioned was The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery by Robert J. Ray and Jack Remick. I didn’t even have to fight the urge to fire up Amazon.com, because this book is already languishing on my book shelf, half read. I gave up working through this a couple of years ago, but I pulled it out and decided to give it another go.

Voila! Now that I’m not surfing the best hours of my life away, I’m back into my writing groove. And enjoying a glass of Cline’s 2012 Red Truck, red blend, a budget-friendly, delightful summer porch wine, and some white cheddar cheese.

Posted in Making Progress, New Ways to Waste Time, Weekend Novelist, Yes I Need More Books | Leave a comment

Like the Sands Through the Hourglass . . .

HourglassSo are the Days of My Lives.

Right now, life is like one of those ridiculous soap operas (is that redundant?) where it’s just one damn thing after another. Sooner or later, someone is going to get a brain tumor and be written off the show.

But not by me. I haven’t written a word in three weeks (I don’t count the notes I scribble when I think of something brilliant while driving or doing housework). I only finished reading one book last month (Chapter by Chapter, by Heather Sellers), and that was for the IWSG book club, for which I have no time to participate. I am positive that I am the only member of Goodreads with only one book on her shelf because it is One More Thing I do not have time to do. I’m only counting this posting as writing because at least I put some words to paper and hit a deadline. And it pays as well as any of my fiction writing has paid.

I’m not sure how much of this is frustration rather than insecurity. I am going to be writing full-time in the near future (although not nearly “near” enough). I suppose I should just draw up a new timeline, set some goals, and stop kvetching.

 

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Something much more interesting than my whining is this month’s IWSG Question:

What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Arcology. Weird and cool. I have an unfinished manuscript set in a dystopian near future, in which I wanted to rebuild the city above the poisoned earth. It is not a unique concept, having been utilized in other works, but I wanted to put a twist on it. When I launched my research for this I was completely unaware that Arcology is an actual cult phenomena. I was blown away by the depth and philosophy of the real-world application. My muse sidetracked me with more than one trip down this fascinating backroad.

Many thanks to our awesome co-hosts for this month’s blog hop. Be sure drop in and see what weird/cool thoughts they share today!

Nancy Gideon
Tamara Narayan
Liesbet @ Roaming About
Michelle Wallace
Feather Stone

and everyone else here!

Posted in New Ways to Waste Time, The Opposite of Making Progress | 12 Comments

Dead Bodies. Because Today’s Letter is D

Murder by group

 

The First Wednesday has rolled around again, and members of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group address the April Question posed:

Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

The short answer is no.

The long answer (because I can never leave simple and succinct alone) is that I had not even heard of the annual A to Z Challenge. Ever curious, I made the ubiquitous supplication to Google for enlightenment.

Enlightened was I (thank you, Yoda). This gist of this blogging challenge is to post every day, except Sundays (double-except the last Sunday, when you do post, or Z won’t get a day), during the month AND to thematically craft your daily post from A to Z, as in April 1 is A; skip Sunday, April 3 is B, etc. (Did Martha Stewart have a hand in this?) Today is letter D, hence, my clever thematically matching graphic!

But wait! That’s not all!

Then you visit and comment on other blogs participating in the challenge. There’s badges, too. And complicated instructions for getting it all just perfect! (Again, I suspect Martha Stewart – cranberry Christmas wreath, anybody?)

It’s just like IWSG First Wednesdays, hopped up on steroids!

Seriously, I’m dragging myself through the weekend in a valiant effort to keep up with the flurry of activity for the first Wednesday posts. Trying to do this every day would send me careening over the exceptionally narrow ledge of sanity, upon which I teeter. And cut into my wine time. Because combining commenting with wine time has proven itself to be a very bad idea. Or so I’m told.

So I’ll poke around and read some real answers to this question. And marvel at the many creative ways writers develop to connect and communicate, while enjoying a lovely D’Arenburg Shiraz Footbolt. Martha Stewart would be proud.

Be sure to visit our awesome co-hosts for today:

and everyone else here!

Posted in Criminal Intent, New Ways to Waste Time | 8 Comments

Far From the Madding Crowd

art2-2


Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Excerpt from Thomas Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, lines 73-76.

I always forget how much I love poetry until I come across a beloved poem like this one. Recalled are hours spent dissecting, discussing, diagraming, and otherwise wallowing in words in an English lit class. Memories seep into my consciousness, filling me with warm lies about how wonderful life was then. But I long ago learned that if I tarry too long in the misty archives of memories, the chilly truths of the madding crowds of days of yore eventually assert themselves, like a blinding light in a mirror.

No need to recall the madding crowds of the past – they are the bane of my existence of late. Long hours at the day job (mostly crisis management, which leaves me exhausted), an ER visit (spoiler alert – I didn’t die and I didn’t have a heart attack), misplaced financial documents (no – not for taxes, already filed), and a bathroom under construction (2nd of 3, this one is mine). To say that I’d like to tuck myself away in a cool sequestered vale, stocked with few a few dozen books, a few cases of wine, and no internet provider, does not even begin to describe how very much I need a vacation from life involving contact with other people.

Otherwise, in the Mindless Musings department, I’ve “discovered” the Brad Parks Carter Ross series, so I now have another excellent author to catch up with from book one. Some recent revelations on my own WIP as I developed scene cards on the third victim:

Me: The killer being able to arrange for the victim to be at the spa at that precise time seems . . . soooo coincidental. I hate coincidences.

Muse: Well duh, it wasn’t a coincidence. She planned it, not the killer. She was ABC . . .

Me: But wait – if she was ABC, then she must have known about XYZ and that completely changes why she took up with Rick!

Muse: Well duh.

Me: But wait – that would make her a character with good motives, not bad, like everyone thinks.

Muse: Hmmmmmm, ya think?

Me: But wait – do the cops know about this?

Muse: Are there any Oreo cookies around here?

So.

A little more of the puzzle has revealed itself. Clearly, a little more is yet to be revealed. I’m curling up with a good book and a glass of wine, and patiently waiting while the Muse finishes her snack. Perhaps then, “with incense kindled at the Muse’s flame” [line 72] we will learn whether or not the cops know about this.

Posted in I'm Just Making This Up, Killer Reads, Making Progress | 4 Comments