Monday, April 1

Happy April Fool's Day!

I tend to forget this is a writers' blog. The other Wranglers have been friends for so long--even though I don't think any of us have ever met--D'Ann, Kristi, have you?--that often when I post, I'm just talking to "the gurls." However, the past eight months or so, I've had horrendous problems with writing, most of which you've read about ad nauseum. And I do thank you so much for listening, patting my back, and empa- and sympathizing. Thank you for the advice, much of which has been helpful and much of which has been funny.

Now is the time, since it's April Fool's Day, that I should say something like, "I quit! I can't finish this book! Ever!" But, no, I'm not going to say that. I may have thought it many times, but I truly believe if you've never thought about quitting, you just haven't written--or suffered--enough.

Instead, I'm going to tell you what I'm doing that is working. For my psyche if not for the manuscript.

As you know, I retired two years ago. (Of course you knew--it's all I talked about for months. Weren't you listening?) I was ready, after over 40 years on the clock, to work without a schedule, to take afternoons off sometimes, to work whatever hours I wanted. I've done that. And I've loved it. But productivity has been...well, unproductive. I promote, I spend way too much time on Facebook, I write blog posts, but something hasn't quite clicked as far as the writing goes.

When I was in Florida--yes, I know, I talked about that a lot, too--I got even less done than before. I began to consider going the "I quit!" route. I whined. I read advice but didn't take it. Read lots of books and loved them and knew quitting wasn't yet an option.

A few weeks ago, I sat down at the computer on Saturday morning, like I always do, and stared resentfully at the manuscript, which had only moved about 50 not-publishable words since Friday morning at the same time. And I thought, I'm old. I'm retired. I don't have to work Saturdays and Sundays.

Just that easily, I went back to a semi-day-job schedule. On the weekends, I read without guilt, sew without guilt, and write blog posts because they're owed or just plain fun. While I'd love to say I'm writing 20 wonderful pages a day, I'm not, but I find I'm looking forward to Monday mornings and that there are always more words at the end of the day than there were at the beginning.

I'm a routine, linear type person--I need a schedule. I don't know what ever made me think I didn't.  Have a great week. Happy writing.


  1. Oh my, Liz, you may have hit on it. I'm so there with you, but sadly, I'm not retired. However, your idea may well work for me too because, as a freelance editor, I work everyday. Maybe that's a mistake. None of my clients work weekends, why do I feel the need to "prove" myself by working 7 days a week? And working at the lake is really quite pointless because my focus sucks when I'm there. I want to be outside playing, not stuck inside staring at a computer screen. This is it--this is how I'm going to keep from getting overwhelmed this year--by not taking on too much (please be prepared to remind me of the "n" word [no!] and by not working weekends. You're a genius! Thank you!

  2. I'm glad you're finding your way, Liz! I'm a schedule girl - if it's written down or blocked of a calendar the words/writing time flow so much better! This week will be a struggle - have about 10 things on a To Do List (and I hate lists!) and bebe's on Spring Break... I'll tell ya later how it's working out. lol

    PS: nope, never met any of my Wrangler Gurls in person...but I have hopes that one day we'll all go on a brainstorming or writing retreat together...

  3. Liz, Please continue writing. I love you writing "voice" and look forward to all of your books. I understand the need for structure. Right now I am working on a dissertation and it is so hard. I need someone to make me meet deadlines rather than structuring my own schedule. Keep at it! It sounds like you have found what might work for you.

  4. You make an interesting point, Liz. I've worked from home for many, many years. As great as it has been, I always have a nagging guilt that I "should be working." Our entire family was off for spring break last week. For once, I admitted that I was off, too. The break has done me good. After I boot the college kid out this evening, I am looking forward to work time.

  5. Liz,

    A list, do this, do that, written on a to-do pad and kept on my desk helps me. And don't forget, you are writing - blogs, etc. But, there is no question, routine helps. You might want to start a different book. The book I started wouldn't go anyplace. Staring at the computer didn't help, nor did my list. I started another book. That worked for me.

  6. @Nan--you absolutely need some time off! As to working at the lake, why don't some of us have a work day there this summer. Brainstorm, write, eat lunch out, go to the winery...sounds good, huh? :-)

    @Carolyn--I can't quit. Don't even want to most of the time. I think dissertations are meant to be hard, so good, good luck with yours!

    @Cathy--I can't imagine the discipline of working from home when the rest of life is so busy, and kudos to you for being able to do it! I love it now, but would have failed at it when I was younger.

    @Allison--Sometimes you HAVE to start a new story, don't you? I know blog-writing is writing, but it's also fun and undisciplined (other than having to show up), so I never consider it work.

    Thank you all for stopping by!

  7. I think it's good to give yourself the weekend off---gives your brain some percolating time.

    I've had trouble focusing on my writing schedule the last couple of weeks because my day-job schedule has been in total flux. When my day-job is steady every week, it's a lot easier to plan my writing times.

  8. Nope, Liz, never met any of you gals. Want to, though!
    I'm a dealine girl. If I have one, I work. If I don't, I mess around.
    Good for you, working! Looking forward to seeing it!

  9. @Hi, Margie. I don't see how you do it with your schedule, but you sure do it well. :-)

    @D I agree--deadlines help, don't they?

  10. I never stick to a schedule. I'm totally undiciplined. I work a fourty hour week, and most I'd the time, when I get home from work, I just want to veg. Especially when my job takes me far from home. Spending two hours in rush hour traffic just sucks the creativity right out of me.