Hi. My name’s Liz and I’m a procrastaholic. appointment-15979_1920

I start out with really good intentions to sit down and write, or plan, or edit. I have the tools I’ll need at the ready. I have a gigantic cuppa coffee to keep me fueled up.

But then I lose focus.

Usually it starts pretty innocently. I don’t quite know where to start, so I’m looking for inspiration. Or I feel stuck on a particular project and I’m trying to decide what to do about it.

So I sit there. Thinking. Processing. And I’m inside my head, knowing I really should be doing something rather than just mulling it over.

And that makes me feel guilty. So to block out the guilt I try to think of something to do. Then I’ll make the mistake of opening my email. Or Facebook. I’ll go to check something out on the internet.

Once that happens, it’s all over. Ten minutes of email turns into, “how the heck did it get to be 4:00 in the afternoon?” And as much as I hate to admit it, there are other things I have to do besides staring at my computer. There’s housework and a husband and dinner to be cooked and eaten. There are the other commitments I have that I can’t simply blow off for more screen time. There are books to be read. There’s a dog to be walked.

Far too often I find that the time I have available for writing simply slips away from me, like mist across the water.

But I have a plan. That plan is to learn how to plan.

No kidding.

I’ve always been more of a pantser. That’s a writer who writes by the seat of her pants, for the uninitiated. One who sits down and just writes without necessarily having a concrete idea of where a story might be going ahead of time.

Pantsing feels more creative than plotting. Plotting feels too structured, too organized. Plotting will suck the life out of my writing. Pantsing seems so much more free.

Now is when you might ask, And how’s that working out for you?

Clearly, it ain’t. It’s fantastic for developing my procrastination skills, and terrible for getting any actual words on the page.

So this coming week my goal is to create a plot outline for at least one of the stories that have been percolating in my brain or languishing on my computer. The good news? I have plenty to choose from!

I’ll probably start with something relatively short, but not too short. One of my short story or novella ideas should work. I’ll create a basic structure for it, fill in a few details, and know what story I want to tell.

pen-994464_1920And from that, hopefully, I’ll be able to sit down with my coffee and my blank page and fill up the one while I empty the other.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

On being a professional

Every now and then I say something that makes me think, Yeah. That was good. Today is one of those days. So I turned it into a meme.

Presented here without further comment…


Writing podcasts

I’ve got to admit it – I have mixed feelings about podcasts.

On the pro side, you can be entertained, get some education, and dive into interesting subject matter, all without spending a penny or leaving your house. And since there are so many podcasts out there, you could theoretically listen indefinitely without ever running out of material.

On the other hand, sometimes it can be hard to find the specific material you might want. And because there is so much out there, occasionally things do get repetitive, you can end up with conflicting facts, and, worst of all, podcasts can eat all your time!

Still, I have a couple of writing podcasts that I listen to that I thought I’d share.

Writing Excuses

WXFirst and, in my opinion, King Of All Writing Podcasts, is Writing Excuses.

Writing Excuses boasts the combined knowledge of Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal, all of whom are fantastic and successful authors, and who each have a slightly different take on various topics, primarily relating to the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. Of course, a good story is a good story, regardless of genre. So even if you’re writing in literary, romance, western, or some other sector of the fiction world, you will find takeaways from this podcast that will make you a better writer.

Each episode runs in theory around 15 minutes, as noted in their tagline Fifteen minutes long because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart. Of course, they actually are that smart, so from time to time they do exceed their self-imposed time limit. But, on average, most episodes are under 20 minutes and I don’t think I recall them ever having gone over 30.

Because this podcast tends to be quick, entertaining, and packed with useful information, there’s almost no downside to subscribing. Episodes air weekly on Sunday nights.

Rocking Self-Publishing

RSPI’ve been downloading this one for a while, but only recently started actually listening. The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast has a much different format than Writing Excuses. It’s one guy, Simon Whistler, who interviews a guest each week on topics of direct interest to indie writers. He’s much more likely to cover topics related to marketing than craft, and the episodes run a little long for my taste. But he’s a good interviewer and he’s covering subject matter that is actually pretty vital for self-publishing authors.

Recent topics have included getting a hook for your book, long-term planning for indie writers, and career building for self-pubbed writers. He asks good questions, and with his British accent, he’s easy to listen to.

As I mentioned, the episodes run a bit long – roughly an hour, give or take. But because he’s going fairly in-depth with his guests, he can cover some detailed information that would otherwise get missed. Episodes air weekly on Thursday nights.

Other Podcasts

There are a ton of other podcasts for writers out there, but I really can’t tell you anything about them because I’m not listening to them. So if you have a podcast that you think is can’t-miss for indie fiction writers, share it in the comments with a brief description of why it’s useful. At some point I may post an update to this post and I’ll give you credit for recommending something if I find it useful. 😀

How did this happen?

blonde-1296489_1280Here it is – more than 2 weeks after the end of April.

2 weeks after completing the AtoZ Blog Challenge.

3 weeks… THREE!!!… after participating in an outstanding short story intensive.

And what have I done in the last two weeks? Not write. That’s what I’ve done.

It’s not that I didn’t have very good intentions. There are a couple of short stories that I started and want to finish. There is the novella that began on my blog. I want to keep practicing with the techniques learned in my class so my writing continues to get better and faster.

And I haven’t done any of it.

I could enumerate the reasons. Some of them are actually good.

But I won’t.

Because the reality is that no matter how good my reasons, if I want to be a writer, I need to write. It needs to take priority over Facebook and other time wasters, for starters. It needs to be at the top of my To Do list on a daily basis.

I struggled with that and (mostly) won during the blog challenge. There were days that I had a lot going on, but I’d made a commitment and I followed through.

But as soon as the challenge was over, I gave myself permission to take a couple of days off. A couple of days became a couple of weeks, and here we are, more than halfway through the month and this post is the most I’ve written.

So, effective immediately, I’m making a new commitment to myself. My commitment is to write.

  • I will work on fiction at least 5 days a week.
  • I will post on this blog at least once a week.
  • I will not allow myself to make excuses for putting off my dreams.

I might not always win the struggle… and make no mistake, for me keeping any kind of routine is a struggle. But I will continue to do this thing that gives me so much pleasure. I’ll continue to create and lose myself in interesting worlds filled with interesting characters.

I will write.

And hopefully you’ll be glad I did.

Shouldn’t I be writing?

Really I should print this out and keep a copy right by my desk at all times…. as a reminder.

Yes, that’s the reason. It’s a reminder.

Wordy Wednesday – Loided

It doesn’t happen often, not when I’m reading fiction anyway.

I got hit with a word this week that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. And, silly me, I thought it might be a typo, so I stopped immediately and looked it up. Had I kept reading to the end of the sentence, I would have gleaned its meaning from the context.

But still, it was a surprise to see a completely unfamiliar word tucked into the pages (pixels actually, but whatever) of a paranormal romance. (Real paranormal, by the way. Ghosts. Mind control. Things going bump in the night. No sparkly vampires to be seen!)

I don't think you can loid this door.

I don’t think you can loid this door.

The word in question: Loided.

According to, Loid means to open a locked door by using a piece of celluloid or plastic to spring the latch.

In other words, it’s using a credit card to jimmy the lock!

The term probably originated in the late 50s, and obviously comes from a shortening of the word celluloid, that old-fangled stuff we used to call film. It’s a little like plastic, but made of entirely different materials.

Apparently, some kinds of film are (or used to be) stiff and heavy enough to pop a latch on a door. Who knew?

So next time you’re writing a heist story set in the 60s, you have a great new word you can weave into your story.

You’re welcome.

Remembering What’s Important

I’ll admit it. I’m one of those people who can sometimes get way too easily frustrated.

It’s not that I’m a jerk or anything–at least, I don’t think I’m a jerk. But I like things the way I like them. I am a creature of habit. I thrive on routine.

 I tried to deny it for years, but over time it became all too obvious to me.

I don’t like change. Not even small changes. Not really.

Change bugs me. It throws me off my game. I am the most productive and creative when everything going on around me is absolutely predictable. I know it’s not that way for everyone, but it is absolutely that way for me.

Anyone who has ever experienced life at any level can now guess why I get easily frustrated.

Change happens. You can’t stop it. It is all around you all the time. And, intellectually, I totally get that change is good.

It still irks me.

But this isn’t a post about change. Not really. It’s a post about getting over the frustrations of life and getting on with it… even if things aren’t going perfect, or I’m distracted, or my usual routine gets disrupted. Because, you guessed it, those things happen. Sometimes they’re planned, and sometimes they’re not. And either way, you just have to roll with it.

Today (Monday) is one of those days when I have a planned alteration in my routine. I could let it frustrate me. I could use it as an excuse to not get things done that need to get done. I could decide that losing several hours in the middle of my day means that really the whole day is shot.

But I won’t. And part of the reason is that tomorrow’s disruption is also a huge inspiration.

I’m driving a friend to her doctor’s appointment. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in January, and has just finished 5 rounds of chemotherapy, with the next phase of treatment due to take several weeks, and her physical recovery expected to take the rest of the summer, if not longer.

Talk about change and distraction. That’s that kind of disruption to your life that could ruin everything.

And yet, she keeps on fighting. She keeps going, one day at a time, with a very real reminder that, under different circumstances, she might not have had these days.

 The good news is that it’s looking good that she will make a full recovery.

The bad news is that life was interrupted. She was distracted from her job, her routine, her whole life, and had no choice but to keep moving forward or give up and die.

She kept moving.

And with an example like that, how could I choose to do anything different? So in the face of the kind of routine, ordinary, everyday frustrations that I know I’ll be facing this week, I will keep moving forward.

Will I still get irritated at interruptions to my routine? Of course I will. But I won’t let them stop me from doing what I’m supposed to do.

AtoZ Blogging Challenge – Final wrap-up and the Future

atoz [2015] - BANNER - 910

A to Z Wrapup

The bookWhew!

That was a busy month.

I have to admit, I’m glad it’s over.

Developing a fresh story on a daily basis was harder than I expected. But I’ll also admit, it was also easier than I thought it would be in some ways.

Hard because, as I mentioned last week, it takes a lot of mental/creative energy to write a complete story, even one that is very short.

survivor-atoz 2015 - sm_zpsmfnq4uovEasy, though, because I made the commitment to just do it. I didn’t expect perfection. I didn’t really even expect to like every story. My commitment to myself was just to get it done. So even when I didn’t feel like I had a “good enough” idea, I would just write. I got it done.

And with the exception of my U-is-for-Undecided story (I admit it… that was a bunt…), every story I posted holds the potential to be polished, expanded, fixed, and repurposed.

None of it was complete crap, even though I gave myself permission for it to be crap. That’s kind of a big deal.

So here I am, after a sometimes exhausting month. And instead of burnt out and tired, I feel completely energized.

I’m ready to take on the world… or at least my next writing project.

Look out, world. Here I come.

Looking Ahead

pen-622037_1280Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this month as much as I have.

Maybe you’re wondering what will come next.

Here’s my reality – as much as I’d love to keep up the story-a-day format, it flat-out ain’t gonna happen. I have other work I also need to be doing, and I can’t keep up the pace indefinitely.

However, I do still intend to be posting on this blog regularly. Here’s my current plan, subject to tweaking as I work out any potential kinks.

  • Monday – Personal updates/what I’m doing kind of stuff. Hopefully you’ll get to know me a little better—my other hobbies and interests, my family, my work process.
  • Wednesday – Words! I’m thinking maybe a weekly post about words themselves. Either the definition and etymology of a specific word I’ve come across in my reading, or maybe something about using words, inventing words, how words change over time. Whatever. I admit to being a little bit of a word nerd (not nearly as bad as some I know) and this would just be fun for me.
  • Friday – Flash Fiction! I don’t want to give up posting stories on my site altogether. I figure one new story a week might keep natives from getting restless. If I’m working on a longer story or a novel, you might get a scene or snippet from that instead. But maybe not – keeping up the short-short writing is just good practice.
  • Occasionally – Book reviews! I want to get back in the habit of keeping a personal commentary on books I enjoy or find useful. This will usually take the form of recommendations, but I might also weigh in on books that aren’t worth the trouble.
  • Other stuff – I will post other things on my site as they come up. Special offers or bonuses. Publication information when I have new things coming out. Eloquent narratives about the amazing pizza I ate last week… who knows what might come up if the fancy strikes me.

I don’t know exactly what this looks like yet. I guess I’ll figure it out as we go along.


  • Did you you have a favorite story from my challenge? Something you’d like to see expanded into something bigger? Or even just a type of story that you would want to see more of?
  • Suggestions? Is there anything I haven’t mentioned that you want to see on this blog? Is there particular information that you want me to share? I really want to know what you want!

Answer either or both of these questions by leaving a comment or shooting me a message on my contact form!
I hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

Do what you love

I haven’t been posting here nearly enough.

The good news is that part of the reason is because I’m working on planning a short story series set in the same world as Watch Night! (Wait – you say you have never heard of Watch Night? Go sign up for my mailing list to get your free copy!)

The bad news is that, well, I haven’t been posting here nearly enough. Ahem.

But today, I am posting.

I heard a fantabulous quote from the fantabulous Jim Carrey, and I can’t resist. I have to share.

I’ll be honest – I cringe a little bit at some of his overall comments. He has a very different belief system than I do. That said, wisdom is wisdom, no matter where you find it.


Thank you, Jim Carrey, for reminding people to reach for their dreams.

You can hear just this piece of his speech on YouTube.