Review – The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters
Mitch Wilde was a smart-ass and a jokester, but he knew his eyes weren’t deceiving him when he saw some strange things in Outlaw River, Oregon. And for a while he kept them to himself.
The Outlaw River Wilde by Mike Walters is a suspenseful excursion through an X-files and Ancient Aliens genre with a few surprises thrown in. His retinue of characters are familiar, comfortable, and engaging beginning with the protagonist, Mitch Wilde, an active and young at heart middle-ager, and his wife, Mabey, who is his attractive, well-liked, common sense counterpart. Jack (Mitch’s close friend since high school) has a near death experience at a neighborhood barbecue and begins behaving oddly in the aftermath. In the backdrop is an eccentric and sage-like neighbor, Jasper, who keeps to himself, but has connected with Mitch and eventually confides some enlightening details of his own.
After a bike-ride spill in the woods, Mitch believes the cause to be an errant arrow nicking his shoulder which sets him off balance both literally and figuratively. The arrow mishap is not so unusual except for the Native American Indian on a white horse he observes across the river who seems to be watching him, and then disappears. When the strange arrow seems to dissolve, later the dots are connected when local Native Americans seem, too, to dissolve into thin air without explanation.
As Mitch and his partner in crime, Jasper, attempt to sort out all of the peculiar events that unfold, other members of the community become more fearful. Walters finally poises the reader on the brink of answers when the two men investigate in stealthy fashion the government-restricted Crater Lake where earlier Mitch recorded alien beings on his camera. A harrowing rescue and an urgency to return to Outlaw River drive the final thrilling scene toward a much anticipated sequel!
Who of us, at one time or another, hasn’t wondered if we’re alone in the universe? Mitch Wilde never had until a failed attempt at pulling an arrow out of his best friend Jack’s shoulder began a string of strange and unexpected events in the small Pacific Northwest Town of Outlaw River.
When Native Americans start vanishing throughout the country and re-appearing in strange places on horseback, Mitch is challenged in ways he never dreamed. In addition, who are the uninvited strangers ransacking some of their homes? Added to this, Jack has taken to odd nocturnal treks. The local sheriff releases hostility he has held against Mitch since high school and something—nobody wants to call them UFOs—has just crashed into several surrounding lakes.
Can Mitch keep himself out of jail? Can Mitch figure out what the strange entities emerging from the lake are and why? Can Mitch protect the beautiful life he and his wife Mabey worked so hard to create? Finally, can Mitch help his eccentric neighbor save the residents of Outlaw River before it’s too late?
Mike Walters and his debut novel, The Outlaw River Wilde, sprung from an idea while watching Ancient Aliens on the History channel. He intertwines his love of Native American culture and a passion for the Pacific Northwest, primarily his birth state of Oregon. Mike sat down one day and started writing. The characters and story were revealed each and every day he wrote.
“Every session was as if I were reading something new myself for the first time. It was a blast seeing what would happen next. This is why I enjoyed writing this novel so much. ”
Mike is a Director of Marketing & Product at Auto-Graphics, Inc. based in Ontario, CA. That’s California, not Canada. A-G makes software for Libraries, primarily public. So on your visit to the library, when you sit down to search for a book this is the software that A-G makes.
“I am very fortunate to work in an industry that has a meaningful impact on society. It makes going to work each and every day enjoyable. I mean who doesn’t think we need, and who doesn’t love, libraries?”
Mike learned photography as a freshman in high school and later took the passion and used it as a photographer in the United States Air Force. He loves to ride bicycles in SoCal year around, volunteers in Los Angeles at the Westside German Shepherd Rescue taking photos of the beautiful dogs, and has a passion for Micro-brews, particularly Porters and Stouts. You will frequently find him sampling, with his son Alexander, at Claremont Craft Ales, a personal favorite — or one of the many fine breweries in and around Claremont, CA. Mike is currently at work on the follow up to The Outlaw River Wilde, which will be titled – Still Wilde in the Outlaw River. The book should be out later this year or early 2016.
Gunther exited the Shack and slid into the city’s white Crown Vic cruiser. He pounded the dashboard with his right hand and cursed. He looked into the rearview mirror and was ashamed at what he saw. Gunther hated Wilde. He allowed the anger to flow. It kept potential tears at bay. He steadied his shaking hand putting the key in the ignition. The sheriff pounded the dashboard one more time for a final release.
He started the engine and backed the cruiser out. There was a screech as a car came to a skidding stop inches from his rear bumper. He shot a hateful stare at the driver in his rearview even though he was at fault. Gunther peeled his teary eyes from the mirror, placed the car in Drive, and pressed the accelerator with his highly polished police-issued black loafers.
He rubbed his forehead with the back of a still-shaking hand while looking up and down the street. He didn’t see Wilde’s Jeep so he flipped on the car’s blue and red emergency lights and aimed toward the mayor’s office.
Gunther plowed the police car into his private parking spot in front of City Hall. Outlaw River’s sheriff was immediately cleared through the security scanners and made a beeline for Mayor Jenkins’ office on the second floor.
When he surged through the outer office door he was greeted by Jenkins’s secretary, Trudy, greeted him. “Good morning, Sheriff. Mayor Jenkins is on the phone. Please wait a moment. I’ll let him know you’re here.”
Gunther grunted some utterance of disrespect and disdain, brushed past the elderly woman, barking, “He’s expecting me, Trudy, and won’t mind.”
The secretary jumped up from her seat and got close on the sheriff’s heels. She normally just rolled her eyes when he passed, but this time she was letting Gunther know this was her domain.
He didn’t slow or pause. Gunther pushed his way into the mayor’s office. He felt the damn secretary’s breath on the back of his neck, where the hair still stood in shame and anger over Mitch Wilde.
Jenkins was, indeed, on the phone. He was hanging up as Gunther entered. “Mayor Jenkins, I am so sorry, I tried to tell the sheriff that you were on the phone, but he barged right in.”
“It’s okay, Trudy, I’m done. Put my calls on hold for the next few minutes and please close the door behind you.”
“Yes, Mayor.” Trudy gave the door a satisfactory slam behind her.
“Jesus, Bob, you can’t barge in here like that. The sky better be falling. What the hell is going on?”
Gunther paced back and forth in front of Jenkins’s desk. Jenkins walked around the desk and sat on the edge. “Sit down, Gunther, and tell me what the hell is going on.”
Gunther swigged his foamy latte and sat in one of the chairs facing Jenkins. “That goddamn Wilde is pissing me off again. I want to make the asshole pay.”
“For high school still? I told you, it’s time to get over whatever happened. It was what, twenty-five years ago? Move on already, Bob. Jesus!”
“Yeah, whatever. He is just so damn arrogant. He threatened me at the Coffee Shack a few minutes ago.”
“Got up in my face and told me he was going to kick my ass if I didn’t back off.”
“Back off. Why would he say that?”
“He accused me of busting the taillight on his Jeep. Said he would gladly spend some time in jail for kicking my ass. Something along those lines.” Gunther took another drink of his latte with a steadier hand. He was finally calming down a bit. Just being in Jenkins’ presence had a soothing effect on him. He seemed to be the only one who understood him and cared about him.
Truth of the matter, Gunther knew deep down the mayor didn’t really care that much about him. He knew the relationship was more convenience for the mayor and staying on the sheriff’s good side made sense. One time the mayor had admitted the uniformed turned him on. Gunther set those thoughts aside hoping someday the mayor would genuinely care for him. He didn’t have many other options in this damn straight-laced little town.
“Well, if he really threatened you, go arrest him. You can’t let people get away with that.”
“Oh, he’d be out in less than an hour. There weren’t any witnesses.”
“If it’s that bad, make it inconvenient for him for a couple of hours, perhaps he’ll get the picture and ‘back-off’ as you want. First, tell me something before you go down this road. Did you break his light? Does this have anything to do with you shouting at him at the Shack the other day?”
Gunther stared out the window and didn’t respond.
The author is giving away paperback copies (INTERNATIONAL) to 5 winners of the Rafflecopter.
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Review – The Lives We Fear by Dan Otsuki – 4 Stars
“The Lives We Fear” by Dan Otsuki is an engaging collection of horror short stories that will leave you wanting even more. Each story could easily be adapted into a script for episodic television. The dialog-rich tales lend themselves to other media for sure.
Each story explores a particular fear, both real and imagined. Whether it be monsters or loss or real-life people that we are afraid of.
The common and recurring theme throughout this book challenges the characters to show us what they would really do in a fearful situation. The depth and realism will keep readers hooked through to the end.
The well-developed characters could easily be in a modern-day “Twilight Zone”-like series on AMC or HBO. In particular “Mister Jackson Monroe” and “Keepers” lend themselves to a small screen treatment. The use of profanity would be not only allowed but also welcomed on these cable networks.
Any of these tales could be lengthened with additional scenes and rewritten as a full-length novel. We can only hope that this is to come from this promising new author.
The fears suggested in the book’s title range from fear of fatherhood to fear of the apocalypse. A creepy bed and breakfast and fear of being alone are also topics covered here.
One story doesn’t deal with fear as much as it presents a scenario of how children could come to beat a man, to death, for seemingly no reason. In this case fear is transferred from the characters to the reader. It raises the stakes from playing with imaginary monsters to going after an innocent, but real, live human. It presents a commentary on how conditioned we are from being bombarded with a lifetime of violent games and stories. Some of us erroneously believe that there are no real consequences to our actions. A thrill killing becomes just something to do for fun or to see what would happen.
In all, this collection will please fans of the genre. The way that each tale is set in modern times with realistic and believable characters makes it a good read.
This collection of eight short stories evokes shades of both Stephen King and “The Twilight Zone” as well. No doubt these are some of the young author’s influences. Still an undergraduate studying in Washington State, we hope to see much more from him.
Fear. From childhood it is instilled in all to fear monsters, ghosts, and other terrors within the realm of the unknown. As adults, we easily forget about the boogeyman who lurked under our bed or in the shadows of a dark corner. Our grown-up fears take on an even more disturbing twist that frequently mingles with reality.
What happens when the things we really fear—the things we can’t bare to lose—invade our lives? The truest form of the human condition is exposed. Whether rational, or irrational, survival—at any cost—becomes paramount, morals be damned. The Lives We Fear is a compilation of short stories that examines these chilling and very plausible scenarios: what does one do when the people one loves are endangered? When life spirals from beyond one’s control? Or, even when one’s humanity is in jeopardy?
From lost loves, to lost friends, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and even getting caught amidst seemingly innocent mistakes, these stories examine just what keeps us up at night and what preoccupies our nightmares when we finally sleep, because it’s not always our own demise that forces us to shiver.
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Born on October 14, 1993, Dan Otsuki grew up an only child. As his early life found him a good thirty minutes or more away from kindergarten and preschool friends, Dan found solace in action figures and Legos, making up his own narrative of their lives and adventures. Starting in high school, and inspired by authors like Stephen King and media like The Twilight Zone, the Mass Effect video game series, and a plethora of horror films, Dan began to pursue his passion for writing. Since attending the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington—where Dan currently lives as he works on his undergraduate degree—Dan has found a passion for religious studies in addition to English and creative writing. He currently works at Diversions Cafe on the Puget Sound campus, and spends much of his free time engrossed with all kinds of movies with his close friends.
It felt like a movie: the extras standing in the background, overacting their sense of excitement, or sorrow, or terror; the sound seeming to distort, as though the editors wanted the shot to drown out the world, make the audience focus on what just happened, to give them the sense of how important and terrible what they just saw was. There was blood, too, and not the cheap stuff they get for bad indie films, but the kind that looks real as it spreads through the victim’s clothing like a cancer, then falls with the body. The victim, bless his role, should get an award for his performance—bags dropped to the ground, chest and shoulders shuddering from the impact as he fell with a gasp and nothing more. The shooter should at least be nominated for something, his face cold enough to cut himself from the scene, as though he could see it all unfold as a bystander. Maybe he’s the director. If so, he knows exactly what he’s doing—no ad-libbing. The victim falls, and the boys in the editing room know exactly how to work slow-motion, milk it. They really want the audience to see him fall, his head smacking the pavement, and the red wine in one of his bags falling out and cracking open and mixing with the blood around his head and that spilling from his chest (they’ll call it a symbol for a halo). The audience will cringe, maybe shriek, but after the climax, the falling resolution will leave them feeling satisfied, like that was bound to happen. Peaceful. Because a movie isn’t real. Even those “based on real events” aren’t really real. It’s just a bunch of actors, sets, props, directions—but none of it’s real.
Daniel swayed back and forth, gun trembling in his hands. He wished it was a movie. In the movies, it always works out for the good guy. Right? Wasn’t he the good guy? Wasn’t he? It sure wasn’t Jackson. Jackson’s dead.
Really dead. Not like the movies.
The author is giving away e-copies of THE LIVES WE FEAR for 4 winners of the Rafflecopter.
Review – Facade – Unveiling the Masquerade by J Kahele
When Liam Sheldon is summoned to Chicago, to testify for the prosecution against Kate, and is again reunited with Ally, he realizes he can no longer hold back his feelings for her and his want to be with her, takes over his complete existence.
He reveals to Ally that he has made a terrible mistake, leaving her, that he loves her and asks her to take him back. But Ally is reluctant, afraid he will break her heart again.
I am a married mother of three teenage girls and live in south eastern Michigan. I have one flaw that could rightly be considered the worst flaw possible. I procrastinate constantly, which gets me into a little more trouble than I like, especially with my girls. I love to swim, ride horses, relax to a good book and spend time with my family. Writing has helped me to calm down the very hectic life I have and release the scattered thoughts that often run through my head,(no I don’t hear voices), but I do envision characters of my books, when I see people interacting around me. That’s pretty much sums up my life!
After months of hard work and dedication, the Maryland project was finally ready for sale. With over five hundred business owners bidding for the new improved company, Liam sat in on negotiations for weeks before finally choosing a buyer.
The project not only proved to be the most profitable one, but it also defined his company as one of the most sought-after investment companies in the world. His email constantly swarmed with potential customers begging for him to buy them out.
He should be ecstatic, proud that he had finally accomplished the one feat he strived for—success. But the triumphant prosperity was bittersweet. Selling out his heart to a life of loneliness was not worth the price.
Sitting at his desk, he glanced fondly at the Polaroid, snapped by a photographer when he traveled with Ally to New York to see the play Les Miserables. He frowned as he saw the dingy yellow cast surround the fading picture, a common consequence of the cheap film. His lip quirked up on one side slightly as her reflection caught his eye, her shiny dark hair framing her face elegantly, bringing attention to the gold flecks in her amber eyes. She is so beautiful.
Even after eight months, his heart still ached for her every breathing moment.
Sliding his hand into his suit coat pocket, he pulled out the folded paper that he carried with the Polaroid everywhere he went. It was his reminder of a happier time, the only thing that helped him make it through each agonizing day without her.
A lump began to form in his throat as he carefully unfolded the note she had left him the morning after they had made love for the first time. It read:
I wanted to thank you for an unbelievable night. I know it may be a one-time thing, and I don’t expect more. But I need you to know that it was very special to me and a night I will always remember.
Memories instantly flooded his mind: her invisible scent tingling through his nose; her smile playing tricks on his eyes as he envisioned her staring down at him.
“Ally,” he muttered, and instantly the vision disappeared. The illusion devastated him and he grunted, squeezing his eyes closed tightly as a soaring fleet of mixed emotions shot through his head, making him restless and shaky. God, I miss her!
The guilt and regret still lay heavy on his heart, igniting the suffering and agony that seemed to haunt him since he had left Chicago. Breathlessly he grabbed the sides of his head, yanking at his hair, attempting to quote his mantra, the one that made him better, stronger—but the words dissipated from his mind and only visions of Ally and the last time he saw her lingered behind his eyelids.
Her eyes—those beautiful eyes, glazed with hurt and pain that he had cast upon her, after he selfishly shattered his promise to never break her heart.
“We were no good for each other,” he mumbled under his breath. But even as the words floated out of his mouth, he knew there was no real truth to them.
The Tramp (The Bound Chronicles, #1) by Sarah Wathen
An artist turned author, Sarah Wathen is a storyteller by trade and a painter at heart. She was trained in Classical Painting at the University of Central Florida, then completed graduate studies in Fine Art at Parson’s School of Design in New York City. Her first step into the world of independent publishing was as an illustrator, and Sarah quickly realized she wanted to write her own books rather than illustrate others. That reinvention came as no surprise to family and friends, who remember her as a child always ready to turn a tale. Hours spent under the backyard stairs with her sister—dreaming up imaginary friends with outlandish names like Afisha and Pekins, and designing social networks called the Plant Club and the Tutu Group—were recorded and illustrated, too. Copies still exist under lock and key!
Sarah currently resides in Florida and runs the indie label, LayerCake Productions. Look for her first novel, a paranormal mystery due for release in April 2015: The Tramp, Book One of the Bound Chronicles.
More on LayerCake Productions: www.layercakeproductions.com
Join Us for Our Mother’s Day Event! Bring Your Mothers, Daughters & Sisters!
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DR. DONNA FRIESS’ PROGRAM
GET HAPPY: SIX LIFE CHANGING HABITSWOMANSAGE CONNECTS MAY 12TH
Psychologist Donna Friess will inspire and share with us Six Life Changing Happiness Habits!
Her poignant story of being forced to take legal action to stop her father from abusing his four year-old granddaughter, reached 50 million people worldwide.
With appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and others, her autobiography, Cry the Darkness, became a best seller, printed in seven languages.
As an advocate for women and children, Donna is highly aware of the serious issues women face.
Her gripping debut novel, The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest shines a light on some of those issues.
It recently placed in The Pacific Rim International Festival of Books.
Signed copies will be available for $12. GREAT GIFT IDEA. All proceeds will help fund our philanthropies. Donna has donated her cost of the books to Womansage.
Special pricing for Spring 2015 & Fall 2014 Transition Ladies.To learn more about Donna, to listen to her podcast on KUCI, and to register for this event go to our website www.womansage.org
When: Tuesday, May 12th
5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Where: At the beautiful newly remodeled Center Club650 Town Center Dr.Costa Mesa, CA
Take a Look at The Stunning Cover of
The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest
by Donna Friess
Title: The Unraveling of Shelby Forrest
Author: Donna Friess
Genre: Women’s Fiction > Contemporary Women >Domestic Life >Parenting & Relationships > Adoption
“As someone who has adopted children, I found this emotionally charged, complex first novel, written by award winning author, Donna Friess, draws you in immediately and holds you in its’ thrall from the first page to the last. The author explores the grief, guilt and pain of giving up a baby for adoption and the secrets that can tear apart a marriage.” Leanne A., CA
“There are surprises and tears, smiles and laughter, when I finished the story I was asking for more. The characters are complex and the story delivers the harrowing and heart-wrenching story of so many women that have had to make these impossible decisions. It is a must read for any parent.” -Micki Harris, CA
“We see the gentler side of humanity here. The message of both hope and love was inspiring. I LOVED this book.” Kriss M., CA
“Written with love and warmth, the book draws you in and keeps you eager to learn the outcome, which is satisfying, yet surprising.” Catherine M., Florida
About the Author
Across The Pond by Michael McCormick is the story of a young American who fights for his country during the war in Vietnam, only to be rejected when he returns home. The author, based the book on his personal experience as an infantry squad leader who served in combat. In the foreword for the book, author Ron Kovic wrote, “This little book grips the reader from the very beginning and does not let go.”
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael McCormick is the author of Across The Pond. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps just out of high school at the age of 17. Soon after, he found himself in battle in the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam. He was nearly killed on several occasions, but managed to survive and return home at age 19. After the war, Michael earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in clinical psychology. He lives in Oakland, California with his wife Gina. You can contact him at: email@example.com.
Across the Pond: An emotional story of a young soldier in the Vietnam War
“Across the Pond” by Michael McCormick is not just another book about the Vietnam War. The author puts us in the shoes of Shawn McBride, known as Mac, an enlisted man in the U.S. Marine Corps. We get a first-hand account of what it was like to actually be there.
Not enough has been written in book form about this particular war, as very few, if any, veterans are willing to tell their tale. Students of all ages could benefit greatly from this short readable story.
Heart-wrenching moments when a soldier cannot tell if a boy is just a child or Vietcong, are almost unbearable. And some of the violence and inhumanity are hard to take. But, this is a story that needs to be told and is well worth the read.
The book begins in the heat of war in Vietnam and takes us through the first chapters detailing what happens to Mac. A quick flashback to the family farm reminds the reader of how simple life can be. As dangerous as farm work is, it is a world away from the jungles and rice paddies of the front.
Mac was a driven young man and yearned to get out into the world. So much so that he signed up with the Marines just for a chance to “cross the pond,” known as the Pacific Ocean and do his part in Vietnam.
Anyone with a father, grandfather, brother, or other loved one who served in Vietnam would enjoy this book.
The background of the author adds much weight to this tale. Like the protagonist, he also served in Vietnam and hailed from rural Ohio. Michael McCormick also earned a Purple Heart and a Silver Star Medal at the ripe old age of nineteen upon returning home.
All this is packed into an easily readable 54 pages. The tale will make the reader experience a range of emotions, but likely reduce any feeling person to tears by the end.
McCormick literally takes us to hell and back in this book. Readers will live and breathe this war as a shared nightmare. The detailed storytelling puts a genuine human touch on the events that occurred, making this a very important read.
“I think war is a crime, if you don’t believe me, ask the infantry, ask the dead.”
“With this work, McCormick takes his place among the other important chroniclers of this period.”
“Sean McBride had survived his war in Vietnam. At the age of nineteen, he was about to be decorated with the Silver Star Medal, the third highest military award for gallantry in action.”
“His experience in war had shaped his thinking in unique ways. He knew he was different from other men.”
The author is giving away a paperback copy of ACROSS THE POND to one winner of the Rafflecopter.
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Take a Look at the Beautiful Cover for The Tramp
When John was seven, he found Candy dancing in the neighboring yard wearing a yellow polka-dot bikini and red rain galoshes, splashing and dancing and singing at the top of her lungs. She saved his throat from getting ripped out by her grandma’s guard dog. Good thing she did, too. It was John who raised the alarm that day, when the man who smiled with his mouth but not his eyes drove off with Candy in a cloud of dust. The police stopped whatever might have happened next in a seedy motel—a place Candy doesn’t dare remember. John rescued her, creating a bond between two friends strong enough to awaken…something.
About the Author
Writing, for Busy People
We’re all busy. It’s almost a competition these days, talking about how much you have going on and how little sleep you get.
So, if you’re living life and working a job and raising a family, adding something else to the mix – like, say, writing a book – might seem impossible. And, sometimes, it’s true: there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But, for a lot of us, a lot of the time, we can find that little bit of extra energy and focus to devote to a creative project if we make it a priority to do so.
I’m incredibly lucky to have honed my writing skills as a newspaper reporter with a daily deadline. There is nothing better for building the muscles you need to write quickly (and, eventually, maybe even well) than the simple necessity created by the blank screen in front of you and the ticking clock over your shoulder. The thing you learn this way is that, like so much in life, the key to writing is to just do it. You just have to get words on the page. They don’t have to be perfect. They don’t even have to be good. But they have to be there. You have to have a place to start. As a reporter, I’d start with my notes. If I couldn’t think of anything better to write, I’d begin by just transcribing the handwritten scribbles from my spiral-bound reporter’s notebook, typing them out and reading them back to myself as they appeared on the screen. Inevitably, a phrase or a quote or a really interesting fact would reveal itself and I would know I had something. Anchoring my hopes on that single scrap, I’d bite my lip and start really writing.
Today, as a novelist, I try to apply that same method to writing fiction. Almost everything I do begins with longhand notes – ideas, observations, snippets of overheard conversations – that I jot down in a little composition book that’s always in my bag. That way, when I find the time to actually sit down at my computer to really work on my manuscript, I always have a place to start. I begin by just typing my notes. Sometimes, the best I can do with them is to find “homes” for them within my very detailed outline. (I use Storymill software for maintaining a database of scenes, keeping a plot timeline and tracking details of my characters’ lives. There are lots of tools out there to buy or make that can help you do the same.) Other times, I can take some little moment and begin to craft it into an entire scene. Either way, when I do sit down at my computer for writing time, I still hold myself to a deadline: I will work on this until 5:30.
For me, planning and measuring out my writing time is essential to being productive. I keep a ridiculously detailed calendar that includes my work commitments, my kids’ activities, personal appointments, social plans, my husband’s travel schedule, dedicated blocks of time for running and exercise and even the two TV shows that I consider to be required viewing (The Good Wife and Parenthood). When I have a realistic and comprehensive view of how my time will be used in a given week, I then identify a couple of blocks of time that I can take for writing. These precious hours need to come when the rest of my family is occupied and when I’m not completely exhausted. Some weeks, I can only manage to find 90 minutes like this. That’s not a lot, but it’s not zero, either.
As I said, I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had a chance, in my journalism career, to develop the kind of discipline it takes to write when you have very limited time. For those who haven’t had that chance, I think there are a few ways to cultivate the same mindset and skills.
First – and, in my experience, this was the very hardest thing – you have to give yourself permission to do this. Writing a novel and having it published was a lifelong goal for me; truly, what I’d dreamed of doing since I was a little girl. But, somehow, on a daily basis, other things always seemed more important. I was either working a job (first as a journalist and then as a media consultant) or building my business (the legal PR firm I now run) or taking care of my kids or spending time with my husband or managing our house or running or cooking or cleaning up …. Well, you get the picture. The idea of walking away from any of that in order to work on a creative hobby like writing felt just utterly selfish to me. I have 3 kids less than 3 years apart in age. There were several brutally sleep deprived early years when I simply could not fathom having “alone time” or “me time” that did not involve also getting the groceries. Still, at a certain point, something clicked with me and I recognized that I was really losing myself in all those responsibilities. I needed to write creatively again to find myself. And, ultimately, I believe that my family is better off for having me happy, fulfilled and (not least) a role model for following your dreams and ambitions.
Second, it’s important to be realistic and clear about your goals and priorities. Sit down and honestly assess the amount of time you can devote to writing. For most of us, there is some amount of “lost” time we can reclaim for things that are important to us: the time we spend zoned out on the Internet or in front of the TV or flipping through magazines. It’s important, though, to recognize that you do need some of this down time, just to give your brain a break. For most of us, a plan to write for three hours each night after the kids go to be just isn’t going to work. If writing is important to you, try to start by finding 1 or 2 hours a week to devote to it. Maybe it will be your lunch break one day a week or maybe you’ll declare one night a week as “pizza night” and use the recovered cooking time for your project instead. Or maybe you’ll escape to a coffeehouse on Sunday afternoon. The point is: find some time and start there.
Third and finally, finding some kind of external accountability for being productive in your writing is key. Whether you sign up for a course, join a writing group with weekly meetings, or try something totally off the wall, like NaNoWriMo, having other people invested in your work, and waiting to see what you produce, is a tremendous motivator. If these options feel too social, you might also find an online forum or a personal writing coach, with whom you can agree on a schedule to deliver a certain number of words (of any quality) or a certain amount of time to devote to your project.