Charis Maloy: Between Now and the Next Adventure

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this fourth installment of the Being Between series, Charis Maloy talks about living from day to day while planning for future happiness.

The mad writer Copyright 2012 Charis Maloy All rights reservedWow, Sally really didn’t know what she was getting herself into when she asked me to do a guest spot about transitioning!

Most of my readers know that I’m a busy girl. Multiple jobs plus trying to write and start a small business make for chaos. What Sally wasn’t really aware of are some of the major transitions in my personal life that are affecting the way I relate to work, and the sacrifices that I am making in order to do what needs to be done.

For the last year and a half, I’ve had my status as family doormat thrust down my throat. For the third time in my adult life, I allowed a certain few members of my family to bring me to the brink of bankruptcy. All while I was working nearly 100 hours a week.

In February, the characters in my head demanded that their story be told. On a major writing binge, I began to tell their stories. Then I had to stop and start building timelines to keep them straight because I had anywhere from 8 to 10 characters talking to me at once, telling me that I had, not a book, but a series.

Last May, after nearly twenty years of hiding my true self, I finally worked up the strength within myself to acknowledge that I am lesbian. This, in a small Wyoming town where my biggest support system has always been my very LGBT-unfriendly church. This is also the place where I once put my job on the line by mentioning in an offhand comment that my brother is gay.  Continue reading

Lena Corazon: Learning to Love the Space Between

Being Between: a series about moving from our current day jobs and life situations toward our true vocations and life goals.

In this third installment of the Being Between series, Northern Californian poet, novelist and sociology doctoral candidate Lena Corazon talks about her multiple lives and shares one of her poems.

Even though I’ve been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since I was a little girl, I always considered it to be little more than a hobby, something I did for fun. The route of academia seemed far more practical, and so I decided that I would study for a PhD and become a college professor.

I was lucky enough to get my wish. I entered a PhD program in sociology straight out of college, and quickly learned that grad school, like academia itself, is one big juggling act. For the last four years I’ve been student, teaching assistant, and scholar. I slog my way through 300+ pages of reading each week, grade what feels like mountains of assignments, and look for spare time to cram in my dissertation research.

It’s little surprise that during my first couple of years as a grad student, I didn’t pick up a single novel or write one word of fiction. Why? I had a skewed fantasy in my head about what it meant to be a “serious” scholar. Serious scholars, as far as I was concerned, did not prance about in make-believe worlds. Serious scholars didn’t waste time having conversations with imaginary people. Serious scholars did Very Serious Things, like immerse themselves in social theory and write books filled with academic jargon.  Continue reading

Epub number four

Ellie’s responsible for her job, her little boys and the old man she helps when she can. Until now, she’d never realized that her responsibilities are what make her strong.

Yesterday, I epubbed my fourth short ebook to Amazon and Smashwords. It’s a short story that originally appeared in Ellery Queen’s® Mystery Magazine under one of my previous names (I’ve had too many of them).

Last night I was hoping to epub another, but I’ll take the time to go over it once more. A few points can be developed to make it more fun to read.

There’s the temptation to submit it somewhere, but at this point I feel that would only hold me back. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, but it seems that would be moving backwards, marking time, and I can’t do that anymore.

Having these five epubs available was one of my goals, and it’s almost done. Just in time, too, because I’m in Candace Havens’ comprehensive writing course and any minute now we’re going to #fastdraft. Time to clear the decks! I haven’t gotten as much done on my WIP as I’d wanted during this ROW80, but it is up to 30k. Surely I can get rid of it–I mean, finish it–in another two weeks if I don’t freeze up.

I refuse to grow old and die with all these stories trapped in my head! Isn’t that how ghosts are made?

By S.J. Driscoll

One day at a time

My third little ebook, a 3,600-word story called “Sleep,” was edited and then published to Amazon and Smashwords yesterday.

Like my story “Rage,” epubbed on Amazon and Smashwords last week, it’s in a genre I call “mommy noir.”

I find that one extra thing can get done per day. It might not be a very big thing, such as a few minutes spent on social media here and there during a brief break on a workday. More involved projects can get done during the weekend.

Yesterday I also set up my Amazon author page and did some social media. Today there’s this blog post.

This week is already filled, so I don’t know how much extra will get done. There’s an work deadline coming up, and a couple of meetings at the end of the week. On Thursday night a few of us from South Central Texas Authors are meeting in Wimberley, and on Friday night I’ll try to make it north to attend the digital authors subgroup of Austin Romance Writers of America.

Life is busy. Sometimes too busy. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not bored!

By S.J. Driscoll

Wheelbarrows have no feet

This morning I mulched the vegetable garden again. That means I lugged four 5-gallon orange paint buckets out the gate, across the concrete path, over the foot-thick live oak limb, under the fig tree, over the stone wall (duck to avoid the branch in the eye), through the rocky gullies where the rain runs down to the creek, past the deer scat, over the limestone shaped like fingermarks dragged through wet clay, around the cactus, and past the twelve-foot spiderweb (which I did not walk into) built by the green and gray spider big as a Cadbury Creme Egg. Finally, I arrived at our waist-high pile of ground-up cedar trees.

After filling the buckets, I carried them back and heaped the cedar bits around the squash and tomatoes and blackberries and mulberries.

On my last trip, muscles taut, gut sucked in, Huck Finn straw hat damp with sweat, a neighbor driving to her retail job number two stopped her car and ran toward me. Continue reading

Da Voidick

On Monday I didn’t read. Instead, I carried around a clipboard and wrote longhand a bit at a time. On Tuesday and Wednesday I wrote like “work” and read during the in-between times of my job and meals.

The verdict? Two days with reading and with writing done during a specific period: about 250 words a day. One day without reading and with writing fit in here and there without any special effort: 650 words. That couldn’t be clearer. Continue reading

Killing Audrey II—again

Yesterday @DeidreKnight of The Knight Agency, literary agent and romance writer, held a Q&A session for Austin RWA. She was inspirational—at least I found her so. She approaches the business of running her agency in a way that’s both very creative and very directed. That’s what’s so inspirational.

Creative as well as directed… that’s what we all want to be, isn’t it?

So my question to myself this Sunday is whether I can be more creative and more directed. That’s why this time I’m assessing my goals in a different way. How do the goals affect each other? Am I letting my priorities have priority? Seems like I’m doing okay… but am I still approaching what I want to do in a self-defeating way? Continue reading

Mostly tooth

Yes, these last couple of days have been about a tooth. Nothing like visiting the dentist for a regular checkup and being told you need a crown. Immediately. So I got one. That was yesterday.

Not that this was unexpected. And my dentist is excellent. But having even an excellent dentist hammering away in your jaw for an hour could ruin your day, or your next couple of days. And that adrenaline rush that comes with the local anesthesia? I crash every time.

Lucky for me my goals were set up a couple of weeks ago. They’re just about habits by now, and I sure needed my new habits. No stressing about what to do next—I just look at the list. Continue reading

Magic how new habits take hold

1) My eyes now start to close as 10 p.m. approaches. Stayed awake in bed until 11:30 last night, though, playing with the new electronic toy. Made me remember reading LITTLE WOMEN by moonlight when I was little, while the rest of my family slept. Gorgeous weather and I’m not getting out as much as I’d like, but my office windows open onto our huge live oak so it almost counts as being outside. Still keeping up the garden and doing a few minutes on the elliptical, just not yesterday. Seems like I can do every other day. [Real goal: Health: sleep (lights out at 10:30 p.m.), move (get up from desk every hour, spend at least 20 minutes outside morning or evening, gardening, walking or looking at forest).

2) Worked about 24 hours in the last two days to make the monthly issue deadline while fitting in other work odds and ends. Surprisingly, that left little to do toward it this morning, though I thought I’d be jammed. Happy! Now to get a head start on the Continue reading

Goals

Adjustment and discovery as I begin to work my goals.

Since one of my underlying goals is to become more aware of time but wearing a watch is too galling when I type all day, I spent some time (too much!) looking on line for a device that would chime softly every hour without constant resetting. Ended up ordering an iPod Touch because some apps look like they may help with goals and time management. If not, back it goes.

1) Sleep started off with a major fail. I went to bed at 10:30 on day 1. Spent an hour staring into the dark, got up, read until 2:30 and was up at 5:30. But last night I slept 9 hours. This must be evened out. Got outside for 15 minutes this morning to check and water garden, which should really be listed as a “fun” goal. It’s snake boot time! And there was an 8-inch centipede in the kitchen this morning, which my husband kindly took care of. Continue reading

Crossing the chasm from here to there

My initial 17 fantasy goals are now realigned into what I believe can get done during the next 80 days. The original fantasy goals are in italics behind the achievable goals.

1) Health: sleep (lights out at 10:30 p.m.), move (get up from desk every hour, spend at least 20 minutes outside morning or evening, gardening, walking or looking at forest). [17) Take better care of my health—for instance, get up from my desk, spend time outside, go to bed before midnight (fail!).]

2) Work only 8 a.m.-5 p.m., 1 hour for lunch, no evening or weekend work. [1) Maintain the quality of my science editing and other job obligations while meeting my deadlines and not stressing out.]

3) Write 250 words/day on my current novel, Continue reading

Goal fantasies versus realities, part deux: self-sabotage

The extensive list of goals that I posted after midnight this morning has got me thinking.

If all these goals have been on my mind for a long time, what has kept me from finishing them?

I woke up with two answers.

1) Though I can usually tell time without a clock to within a few minutes, I have no sense of how quickly time passes. When I’m engrossed in doing something, whether it’s editing for work or digging a hole in the garden, I’m there in the moment, and the moment extends indefinitely. That’s why I sometimes don’t push away from my job until seven at night, and why I can sit on our back stone wall for an hour, just watching the forest.

2) I have no sense of becoming tired. It’s as though the more tired I get, the more focused I become on the task, so my focus becomes tighter and tighter,  Continue reading

Goal fantasies versus realities

ReachIt’s time to separate out my fantasy goals from the goals I can really accomplish.

Not counting spending time with my husband, keeping my new blackberry, fig and mulberry plantings from being overrun by weeds, plotting about finances, and generally keeping up with daily life activities, here’s what I want get done—in my fantasy life:

1) Maintain the quality of my science editing and other job obligations while meeting my deadlines and not stressing out.

2) Clean up and format three short story anthologies, create covers and publish them to Amazon and Smashwords.

3) Create and implement marketing for the anthologies. Continue reading