Monday, April 25, 2016


Struggling with my health and all my projects wear me down. I know I'm not exercising enough. But I stay too tired to do much. And I often lack the will. The results seem so far off. I truly need to find a local exercise buddy, but the people I know either are much fitter than me or have no interest in fitness at all. Still, buddy or not, I need to be exercising no matter how bad I feel. Easy to type, but hard to do. The story of my life.

If things go according to plan--and we know what happens to the best laid plans--I should publish Floozy Comes Back in July of this year. That's what I'm aiming for. We'll see if I have enough material for the book. Without a weekly deadline, I have not produced as much humor as I have in years past. Something about a deadline--and a paycheck--kept me pounding away at the keyboard. While some of the columns produced during that time weren't that funny, many were.

My problem is willpower or lack thereof. No surprise there. Hard to whip myself or reward myself enough to keep me at the keyboard. That's getting better, but I'm not where I should be.

In other news, I've been looking around for software to ultimately replace Windows and Word. The latest version of Ubuntu has many good qualities, and perhaps if I spent a few weeks with it, I would become accustomed to its quirks and abilities. Right now, I don't have time or the desire to do so. Particularly with all these projects going on. Today was frustrating because I messed with Ubuntu for several hours and could never accomplish what I needed it to do. I'm sure it's possible, but I don't have the hours to spend. My energy is limited right now, and I can't spend it on what doesn't deliver, even though it might in the future.

Eventually, Microsoft will make me mad enough to change over. Their policy of "change for the sake of change" is endlessly annoying. They have design people, though, whose jobs depend on them making changes, even if those changes are necessarily productive or useful. The changes will keep coming. You'd think they would have learned from Windows 8, but the lessons don't seem to have stuck.

This week:
More chores. There are always chores to be done. Always.
More dieting. Low carb. Never craved bread as much as I do now.
More writing. Floozy Comes Back and Murder by the Mile are the two projects that are commanding my time and attention. And both deserve all I can give them.
More editing. I'm trying to edit a story for a friend. It's too long, but I don't want to cut the "flavor" of the piece.

Hope you have a great week! Talk to you soon.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tech can only take you so far

In years past, I coveted the newest tech, particularly writing programs and faster computers. The idea I had was that "if only I had that writing program (faster computer, larger hard drive, etc.) I would be a successful author." Or certainly more productive.

And some of that turned out to be true. Word processing programs (WordPerfect and Wordstar--remember them?) allowed me to write two of my books (Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre) faster and with less errors than my Smith-Corona electric typewriter. And as those programs added spelling checkers and formatting, they became even more useful. Eventually, Microsoft Word out-marketed them, and I switched and never looked back.

However, eventually you come to the realization that tech has done all it can do. Oh, there are some writing programs out there that offer options for writing in various forms, but they help you only be more productive if you're writing in the first place. They automate tasks that writers do more often than other people, like creating table of contents, indexes, etc. They don't write the book or screenplay or play. Tech only take you so far; ultimately, your success in writing--or in life--is up to you.

This realization was hard for me. For one, it took away my justification for the latest and greatest computer--I had always enjoyed upgrading for the speed and sheer geekiness of it. The second reason it was hard because it placed the onus for my success--or lack of--only on me. It was...painful.

Lately, I have been reading and re-reading Your Own Worst Enemy by Dr. Kenneth W. Christian. The book has the subtitle on the cover: "Breaking the Habit of Adult Under-Achievement." As I've worked my way through the book, I've seen myself in so many chapters. It's like he wrote the book for me; I wish I had read it in my twenties. Over the years, I've read dozens of self-help and self-improvement books, but none of them spoke to me the way this book has. I cannot recommend it highly enough for any creative person who is frustrated by how they sabotage their creative efforts.

While doing the exercises the book recommends, I've also been working on three writing projects. I will publish at least one book of my own this year and hope to do two. Your Own Worst Enemy has allowed me to push aside fears and self-limiting behavior. I hope it--or something else--can do the same for you when you're stalled in life.

And besides chores and doctors' visits, that's my life right now. I hope life is treating you well. It not...make it do so!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Publishing news

It's been a long frustrating day, but many things were accomplished, some of which probably shouldn't have been, but there you go. In good news, much planning has been going on for the anthology Blackbirds Third Flight. So far, we have authors Heath Stallcup, Wendy Blanton, Jean Schara, Gail Henderson, and myself in place. We are "wooing" three others who will add new perspectives to the annual anthology. I don't know how people produce a monthly magazine, though. Just getting this out yearly takes a lot of effort!

In personal news, I also wanted to tell you Floozy Comes Back is also on track for publication this year. Yes, another collection of my mishaps and adventures for people to enjoy. It's good to know my bruises and pain are a funny thing for people. But in a loving way, I'm sure. Sort of sure.

And just because I'm sharing writing news: The first five chapters of Murder by the Mile are being proofed. I haven't scheduled that book for publication this year, but it looks increasingly likely that this will be the year of three books for me. Can't promise it, but it looks that way.

Otherwise, I spend too much time at the doctor's office. I don't exercise enough, but I'm trying. Don't eat right, but I'm trying. Don't accomplish enough, but by golly and by dingo, I'm trying.

How are you doing?