Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Scheduling Writing Time by Bonnie Le Hamilton

I never realized how hard it is to write consistently when you have other things taking you away from your computer, but now I’m in that place. I haven’t so much of edited my current WIP in the last several weeks. I just keep running out of time -- more like wasting time.

Anyway, I was thinking about how I had to work out some writing time for myself when I came across a blog on Pinterest. The post is on titled Scheduling for Writing Success.

The author, Shanna Swendson, says, “I’ve found that scheduling is one of the best ways to find more writing time. This applies whether you’re trying to fit writing around a full-time job or writing full-time.”

She said, if you make the decision in advance to write at a certain time, when that time comes, you don’t need to decide between several activities, but rather just between whether or not you will do as you promised yourself you would do.

She also says, “Organizational and productivity gurus suggest that you don’t even make a to-do list. You make a schedule of when, exactly, you’re going to do those things and you’re more likely to get them done.”

She also said, “I resisted keeping a schedule for non-working hours because I value my free time, but I found that I had much happier and more productive weekends when I scheduled them.”

She went on to say by scheduling her free time she was making conscious choices of what to do with her time, she was doing more things she truly enjoyed (as in not just writing) during her weekends.

She did say to schedule breaks into it, and even mentioned doing her schedule in half hour increments, even if what she’s doing wouldn’t take a half hour, so when something comes along to throw her schedule off, she has time built in to catch up. But she also says to schedule bathroom breaks. Okay, I’m not going that far, my bladder is in control there, sorry.

However, she has a point about goal setting and actually getting things done.

I can tell myself all I want I will write on a given day, but it doesn’t mean I’m not going to let little things, like playing games, surfing the web, or watching TV get in the way of writing. But if I have writing scheduled, well, so far, I’m only writing when I a normally write to do my share of the blog.

Though I do think it will help me, because today, I have actually put my phone aside to write, because it was on my schedule. Then again, my schedule got changed a couple of times.

Monday, I scheduled writing time. Didn’t manage it. I should have, once I finally got home, but I was tired. I took a nap then my sister-in-law needed some help, and I’m afraid I spent too much time over there. Tuesday was off to a bad start when my sister-in-law called saying she needed to go to the emergency room. I hadn’t managed to get breakfast yet.

Don’t worry, no broken bones, just badly bruised.

But I was about fifteen minutes late for my mission assignment at the book scanning center (without stopping for lunch). Thankfully they understood me being late. Unfortunately, the site was down. I couldn’t do my job.

Time to change my schedule, again.

Sometimes life just gets in the way. You have to be able to adjust.

In this case, the book scanning center had to adjust when I work this week.  

Actually, there was a lot of rescheduling happening, because last Tuesday, I’d forgotten I had an appointment on Monday morning (which had been scheduled 3 months ago) and I didn’t have time to go to the center before my appointment, so I ended up being about an hour and half late. Now normally, me being able to make that time up would be impossible since I normally volunteer at the visitor’s center Monday afternoons, but I had taken the place of a fellow who couldn’t do his shift on Friday, so he was taking my shift on Monday.

Meaning, I was able to make up the time. I just got home later than normal. I already mentioned the rest.

Anyway, I’m working harder at setting my schedule, but well, I couldn’t help all those wrenches which got thrown into the works so far this week. Maybe I should pat myself on the back for turning the time I should have been at the book scanning center into writing time.

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

To the Men in our Lives by Konnie Enos

I leave the room for just a minute to fill my water bottle knowing full well it’s almost time for the alarm to go off so I wasn’t surprised when I came back hearing it. Problem was it sounded different.
I sit down by my phone and as I’m reaching for it I realize the sounds is different because there are two phones going off.
Since I have a family of six adults living in my house we, of course, have multiple cell phones. The problem is there are only two that would be in my bed. (Mine is actually in my purse, which is on my bed.)
Now the fact the second phone is in my bed wouldn’t normally be a problem but said phone should be with its owner. My husband.
Where is my husband?
He’s somewhere between here and where our youngest daughter had to go this morning. In other words, not home.
One reason all of us have our own phones is so we can stay in contact with one another and there is safety in having access to one wherever you go. But my husband also needs one so he doesn’t get lost. Though like everything else (keys, phone, wallet, and glasses) he is constantly misplacing it or leaving it behind.
Of course there is one time we didn’t even notice he didn’t have his phone until my oldest son needed to call because he missed his bus home from school (this was a few years ago while he was still in high school). He’d called dad’s number but some gruff sounding man answered. He called twice thinking he’d misdialed the first time. Same result.
He finally called me. We were able to get him home.
He came in and asked me why a strange guy was answering dad’s phone.
That’s when we figured out my husband didn’t have his phone and wasn’t sure where it was.
I called his phone figuring if a strange guy answers I could ask him where the phone was.
Guy answers and I realize from his voice he isn’t a stranger, but he’s also not in this state. He can’t possibly have my husband’s phone. My husband had forwarded all his calls to his brother-in-law’s phone then hid his phone!
Must have taken us half an hour at least to fix the issue and locate his phone.
There are some days I have to wonder where the man’s head is because he is constantly misplacing things. I can’t tell you how many times he’s lost a pair of glasses. Once he’d just barely gotten his prescription filled and promptly lost them, never to be seen again.
I don’t know how many times he’s lost his wallet. Thankfully he has managed to find it, so far.
Most of the time I wonder if we have men in our lives to make things more difficult.
Not long ago our youngest daughter had to be somewhere and since we needed the car, someone would have to drive her. I was attempting to get dressed but my husband was talking to me. Every time I aimed for the bathroom he’d stop me again to continue the conversation.
Our daughter finally yelled at me because she was going to be late if I didn’t get dressed like five minutes ago.
I told her to yell at her dad because he wouldn’t stop talking to me and that gave me enough of a distraction to actually get to the bathroom and otherwise get ready to leave.
Then today I’m attempting to get this done before I have to get ready to leave and in comes my husband more than eager to have a nice conversation with me.
I’m glancing at the clock as it is inching closer and closer to when I have to have this posted and I have to get dressed to take middle daughter to her appointment. I don’t have a lot of time available this morning.
Husband isn’t noticing me looking at the clock.
I think I irritated him when I told him I didn’t have time to talk to him, but I’d already told him this morning I couldn’t drive youngest daughter to where she needed to be because I had to do my post. He should have realized I was busy since I was typing.
Then I think, what would we do without the men in our lives? I mean they do serve a purpose, but they either make us scream in frustration, laugh out loud or wish we’d never met them.
To all the confusing, annoying, frustrating men in your life, wish them a happy Father’s Day.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

I'm not her by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Sometimes I wish Konnie lived closer, but other times I remember what is was like when we both lived in Idaho Falls. There were a few interesting situations.

Like the time the sales clerks at the grocery store we both used were convinced one of their regular customers had two husbands right up until the time Konnie went to the grocery store, with her whole family, to do their major grocery shopping. Less than an hour later I ran into the same store alone to buy a couple gallons of milk.

We ended up using the same sales clerk to check out, and she was confused with my purchase, because she was pretty sure I bought some less than an hour earlier.

I smiled. “Tell me something, did she happen to have a very short husband with her?” She nodded, still not sure what going on.

“It wasn’t me. My husband’s a foot taller than me.”

At which point she announced to all her coworkers. “They’re twins! Its not one woman with two different husbands its two women!”

Let’s make this clear, NONE of those workers ever considered the possibility of identical twins. A female bigamist, they considered, identical twins, never crossed their minds.

Then there’s the time I was shopping in the store, using an electric cart, and a woman I didn’t know came up to me, all concerned, asking if I was okay, and wondering why I was using the cart, because I seemed perfectly fine when she’d seen earlier that day, then she mentioned the school where Konnie’s two oldest daughters were attending at the time.

“Uh, not me. But I’ll tell her high for you!”

And I think I’ve mentioned before the time in eighth grade, when a friend of mine suddenly stopped talking to me. I couldn’t figure out why so the first chance I got, I confronted him about why he no longer so much as said hi to me.

He informed me he’d said hi to me the other day in the halls and I ignored him.

“Where and when?”

“Between sixth and seventh, down by the gym.”

Well, my sixth and seventh period classes were clear on the other end of the school, which I pointed out to him. He said, “I saw you.”

“Oh, I believe you saw somebody who looked a lot like me, but strangely she wasn’t wearing what I had been wearing in our class that morning, was she?”


“I’m a twin, and she has seventh period gym.”

Once when I was still in Tacoma, while Konnie was away at Ricks College in Idaho, a friend of mine and I were heading into our church to attend a dance. Well, there were several people standing just outside the entrances chatting. We didn’t know any of them, so we started to move past them toward the door.

But as I passed one of the guys grabbed my arm and said, “Don’t I know you? Weren’t you in . . .” he named a class, “at Ricks last semester?”

“No, but I’ll tell her hi for you.” I think it was actually the first time I used that statement.

I might add, my friend had never actually met Konnie, but I’d told her about her, so she knew when the guy mentioned Ricks what was going on; she had a hard time containing her glee while I explained to the fellow why the girl who had been in his class wasn’t me.

Between her giggles she said, “I know you told me about her, but I never thought . . .”

Though I’m not quite sure what she never thought because she couldn’t stop laughing long enough to spit it out. I’m telling you, every time she tried to finish her sentence, she cracked up again. I gave up. However, I think I can guess.

She never considered we were so identical that someone could mistake me for her.

Come on. People who know both of us can get us mixed up! Including our dad, who relied on our stepmother to tell us apart until we grew up and married when he told us apart by our husbands.

Which was easy because they were as different as night and day, or rather, a cat and mouse. My nearly six-foot man was Tom, and her barely 5’4” man is Jerry. Yip, that’s right, their names are Tom and Jerry. Dad got quite a few chuckles from it.

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

To Change or Not to Change by Konnie Enos

Last week my sister wrote about the title of her current WIP.
Personally, I think the title she has fits the story perfectly and her beta readers are being too nit-picky. Sometimes you have to know when not to listen to critics. And just because several people agree doesn’t mean they’re right. You also have to remember not every critic knows what they are talking about.
I left one crit group because one of them commented that I had a grammar error and every single one of the other members agreed with the problem. So did I, in fact. BUT each and every one of them completely agreed I had to end my sentence, in fact my paragraph, with a COMMA.
See the problem here.
They also refused to listen to me when I explained the actual correct punctuation for my sentence. I left the group. How can they help my writing if they don’t know you can NEVER end a sentence with a comma?
Of course that’s my experience with most of the crit groups I’ve tried. They refused to do much beyond correcting grammar and they don’t even know all the grammar rules to begin with. They most certainly can’t identify echo or redundancy, and I have my doubts about them spotting any flow issues. They also don’t understand info dumps or telling.
If they are not going to recognize their own writing blunders they certainly aren’t going to help me with mine.
So choose your critiquers carefully then take what they say with a grain of salt. Just because a beta reader says something is unclear, or has negative connotations, or is worded in a confusing way, doesn’t mean it’s so.
True if most of your critics say you have a problem there probably is one, and you should certainly verify if any comments have merit but you don’t have to take all comments as gospel.
I had one guy after listening to a reading of part of my first chapter of my opus make the comment that I should change some references to more “dog appropriate” wording since ALL my characters seemed to be a “dog like” species.
In all of my opuses over 1700 pages, I don’t have a single dog or even a “dog like” species. I do have aliens (it’s sci-fi) but the ONE species, which IS based on an animal, had CAT like features. The other alien came closer to fitting the description of a TROLL than anything else. AND most of my characters are indeed very human. ALL of my POV characters are.
I can understand how he might not have picked up on the clues I gave that one alien species had cat like rather than dog like features. I however don’t understand how he missed that most of my characters are human. They have very human names and the two supporting characters from an alien species clearly have names I created.
I got another comment from the same reading that I didn’t make it clear WHERE they were and proceeded to give me ideas how to show they were on a military base on some planet.
Sorry, no cigar.
Yes, it is a military base. Yeah, you caught that detail. Exactly where that base is isn’t a detail I feel I need to expound on in the first chapter. I don’t want info dumps giving such minute details of this world. Suffice it to say, I DO give more details as the story unfolds.
My point is sometimes comments from the critics are way off base. Either they missed an important detail or they simply weren’t paying attention. Or maybe they want unnecessary info dumps.
I know one writer who insists you have to give minute detail on what they were eating every single time they eat, even if it was just a brownie. I read her work. She didn’t just say they had brownies, she described, in minute detail, the flavors and how they were cooked!
Excuse me, I know what a brownie is. I don’t need the detail to get the picture. And she did this every time they ate. It was totally redundant and unneeded. Yes, sometimes you need that detail, but unless you’re writing a cookbook, it’s over kill to do it every single time they eat! As my sister would describe it, a wall banger.
Don’t be the writer who changed how they were writing their story because of one comment, only to have the next person make it clear they would prefer the story was written how they’d already had it.
Stay happy. Write what pleases you and cherry pick what crits you listen to. Remember they might not know wherewith they speak.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Rose by Any Other Name by Bonnie Le Hamilton

What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. Right? And why am I asking this question?

Simple. Some of my friends in my local writing group think my title “Forbidden Connection” sounds like an erotica novel. Since my story is YA, I can’t have a title on it which is that suggestive. Back to the drawing board, title choice number five!

Any suggestions?

Needless to say, it’s the “forbidden” part that suggested bodice rippers to my friends, and “connection” is a vital part of the story.One of my friends suggested I try “Wrong Connection”, but the word “wrong” implies there is a right connection other than who Mathias connects with, which isn’t any truer than this being an erotic novel.

“Unexpected Connection” better suits the story I have started for the sequel, so I don’t want to use that this time around. Let alone that I find it disconcerting that anyone would think a title of one of my stories sounds erotic, especially since it was Konnie’s youngest daughter who came up with that title for me.

Yeah, you got it. I’m terrible at titles.

As I’ve said before I generally call a story by the main character’s name until someone suggests a better title. I have only a handful of titles I’ve come up with myself, most of mine still have the main character’s name as a title. In fact, at first, I had considered using Mathias and Mary (the two main characters) as the title of Forbidden Connection, but I prefer two-word titles, so for me that is too long. So I tried “The Outsider” but that sounds like “The Outsiders” and I didn’t want anyone to confuse my story for that one, so I tried the “The Connection” until my lovely innocent niece said “Forbidden Connection” is more evocative of what the story is about than simply “The Connection.” Evocative is right. Maybe a little too evocative.

And yeah, I know that publishers generally do change the titles, but I have to consider how any publisher, who gets my query will feel about the title it currently has. I can’t have anyone thinking I sent an erotica novel to a YA editor or publisher.

Okay, using the Thesaurus, other possible word choices instead of “Forbidden” is “Prohibited, Outlawed, or Illegal” while the only viable alternate for “Wrong” is “Unsuitable”, but I’m not at all sure which would be the best choice to rename this story.

So, I guess what I need is a poll and have everyone vote on which choice they like best. The word with the most votes wins.

Vote in the comments.

A.   Prohibited
B.   Outlawed
C.   Illegal
D.   Unsuitable
E.   You say something else

Please remember, the sequel is “Unexpected Connection”, so don’t suggest that one. And for those of you who haven’t read it, “Connection” is the most important part of the story, which is why I’m using it in the title for the sequel.

I’d give you the blurb, but I’m still working on that too.

In other words my writing group didn’t like that either, but they gave me some really good suggestions, so I think I can fix it, just haven’t had time to do it, yet, because, as I mentioned two weeks ago I got called to serve a service mission for my church. The thing is when I went to get “set apart” for that position I also received the call to be an indexing worker for the church.

That call was made official this past Sunday. So, my Sunday was pretty busy. After our meetings I had to get lunch then meet with the sister who was to train me on doing the indexing at the Family History Library, then when I was done with that, I had to go home and get dinner before I went back to the church for a missionary fireside.

Yeah, I was tired when I got home, but Monday wasn’t much better, since I had my mission work from 9 am – 1 pm and volunteering at the Pocatello Visitor’s Center from 3 – 6 pm Monday. Tuesday, I wanted to go a concert some friends of mine are in, but by the time I got home from doing mission work, I was too tired to do more than fix dinner. I missed the concert.

I’m glad the only thing I have on my calendar for today is getting this post up, because maybe I’ll be able to get some chores done, and possibly finishing a birthday present for a certain someone. 
And I’m not going to tell you what it is, because obviously, she reads my posts :D

Happy writing everyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Sleepy Mom by Konnie Enos

This morning I woke up with a start. The sun was already up and I could hear that someone had used the bathroom already. I grabbed my phone and confirmed the time.
Yep, I had pretty much slept for approximately twelve hours.
I was cognizant enough to talk to my married daughter, which was about the time I needed to take my nightly pills, so that’s a good thing, I didn’t miss them. I even managed to wake up long enough to know my son called his father asking where he was because dear husband forgot to go pick him up from work. This is because I was asleep and didn’t remind him.
But other than that I was asleep.
For about twelve hours.
I didn’t remind my husband to take his nightly pills.
I didn’t check any of my emails yesterday.
I didn’t do any grocery shopping and we’re out of milk, again.
But most importantly I didn’t work on my post. I didn’t come up with a topic or even open Word so I could write anything.
I slept.
I don’t know why I was so tired yesterday but after running three of my four kids where they needed to be and taking care of my own appointment, I was just exhausted. When I get to the point it hurts to sit up and my whole body is either aching and/or I’m itching everywhere it’s time to lie down.
Now I assumed I could stretch out on my bed and do something on my Kindle but the next thing I knew it was nearly two hours later and my daughter woke me up by calling me.
As soon as she was off and I’d taken my medicine, I was right back to sleep.
When my husband came to bed he woke me up and hand me my glasses which I apparently left in the bed. He nearly laid on them.
Now that I am awake, I have places to go and things to do. I’m so busy today I won’t be home when my post goes up nor do I have time to actually write a post.
So here’s to sleepy moms and getting things done anyway, somehow.
Smile. Make the day a brighter day.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

My News by Bonnie Le Hamilton

Have you ever gotten a call from someone in authority asking you to meet with the person over him?

I honestly thought this wouldn’t be happening to me anytime soon, but Monday evening, as I was leaving the grocery store, I got a call from the stake president’s executive secretary to set up an appointment on Tuesday evening for me to see the stake president.

In all my years in this church, I have never before been called into the stake president’s office. Needless to say, I was kind of scared, but I hoped it had something to do me serving a service mission.

That was it. My call had come through. Its just eight hours a week, and here in town, so I’ll still have time to do everything else I have on my plate, but it means I need to be better organized and stop staying up late!

I need to set a better schedule because I still have chores, and helping my sister-in-law, and a pile of new books to read, and of course, writing.

Which is another thing. The local library had its annual book sale last week so I have lots of new books to read. And no, I don’t have enough books. I could still buy more. I will buy more. Books are my friends.

Though I’ve been reading so much lately, I haven’t been editing. I still haven’t finished editing Forbidden Connection, I didn’t even manage to edit 100 pages during the month of April. Oh, well. I know I need to concentrate harder on my writing.

Plus there's the issue of giving rides to my sister-in-law now that I have a car again. So, I am out and about most days of the week, at least for an hour or two, with my mission call it will be longer. Most of the time it is only for an hour or two, but I get little else done in between.

This past Monday was a case in point. When I got up in the morning, I had dishes to finish, laundry to gather, sort, and wash, and the living room to clean before I headed to the Pocatello Visitor’s Center to volunteer for three hours. By the time I needed to leave, I hadn’t even finished the dishes. I’d done quite a bit, including cleaning out the freezer, and reorganizing a cupboard (so I could actually get everything in there), I didn’t gather laundry or straighten the living room (still haven’t done either one, actually). I need to prioritize better, which is something I’ve had a hard time doing. Another reason why posts have been last minute for the last couple of months. Not this time.

This time I managed to get it taken care of early, but that’s what I have to start doing with all my writing. Set a time to work on it, and actually do it.

The thing, I also have to do that for my chores, because they haven’t been getting done consistently, either.

I do keep trying all sorts of tricks to get me to do what I have to do before I do anything fun, but right now I feel like my “To Do” list is way too long, mostly because of all the crafts projects I have supplies for. I should point some of those projects are gifts for family members, so I really do need to get them made, but I also need to finish editing Forbidden Connection.

I also had company for dinner last night, before my appointment with the stake president. Meaning getting the chores done was a must.

All I can say, is be careful what you wish for. Back before my accident, I was wishing I could stay home all day more often than I was. Then my car was totaled and I was without one for just over two years, and all that time I was wishing I could find rides to more of the things I wanted to be able to do.

Well, here I am back to getting out of the house more days of the week than not. Sometimes several times a day. I’ve even added joining one group and volunteering at the Pocatello Visitor’s Center. I swear, if Konnie were to look at my calendar, she’d ask me what I do with all my free time. I really don’t have that much on it, just something every day.

Anyway, I’m hoping I can get better organized so I can get my editing done, along with everything else.

Happy writing everyone!