Category Archives: Writer’s Life

Balance in the Long Run

I run long every Sunday. I know long is a relative term, but for me long is ten miles. I realized during my 36 Days of Awesome Running (and Writing) Streak that though I manage to spend time on my two great loves, I spend it disproportionately. While I was averaging 35 miles of running each week I was lucky to squeak out a dozen pages of writing during the same time.

Was the problem that I value my running more? No. I love writing. I’ve loved it since I wrote my first short story when I was nine. Is running easier than writing? Some days yes, some days no. They each have their challenges. Am I a more seasoned runner than writer? I started seriously pursuing writing in 1995. I’ve been running since 2006. So none of that explains the discrepancy in how I divide my time between my two passions.

Part of the issue is that I’m more of a plotter than a pantser (one who writes by the seat of her pants) and I’m writing a new series without having it all planned the way I’d like. Since it’s a series, I want to first know the big picture for the overall series, the main protagonists’s character arcs throughout the series and then the story lines and characters for the individual books. I didn’t have all of this completed before I started the challenge and so I ended up pantsing part of my way through my pages. I actually found this to be fun, but it did keep my output to 1-2 pages per day.

But why, when I began the first scribbles for this series three years ago, did I not have the plotting done and more pages written prior to the writing streak?

I think the real issue is fear. That blank screen is so much more daunting than an open trail, which beckons by comparison. So, to combat that fear I’m currently in brainstorm mode and working on getting all this plotting out of the way so my blank screen will beckon me the way that open trail does. After all, how scary can it be if I know where I’m going?

The point of this post is to commit myself to finding better balance between my two loves. I want to crank up my page output to match my running miles. It’s possible I may have to cut back my miles a little in order to do this, which I’m willing to do. My plan is to create a writing equivalent to my long Sunday run. I’ll continue to write during lunch breaks and free time, but I’ll also pick one day a week to sit my butt in my chair for an extended period (with proper stretching breaks, of course) and crank out the pages.

Now I’ve put it out there and will hold myself accountable. All I’ve got to do is plan my course for this series and that fear should dissipate. After all, I’m in this for the long run.

First on the agenda for my long writing day will be brainstorming and plotting. Face the fear to get over it. Isn’t that the way to do it?


Read about the dream that inspired me to write Passing RainFrom the Camel’s Mouth

Challenges of the Holidays

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and my house is clean, the refrigerator and pantry are stocked and our new coffee cart is setup, with our old coffee pot, as well as our new espresso machine with milk frother, along with our assortment of coffees and flavored syrups. We’re as ready as we’re going to be to host our feast tomorrow and brunch on Friday. So now I have time to reflect on the rest of my list of things for which I’m thankful.

With all that is going on in the world these days I’m very thankful to be living in a time and a place where as a woman and single parent I have the freedom to hold a job I really like while pursuing my writing on the side. I feel truly privileged. I live in a city where whatever I need or want is readily accessible.  I live in a world where technology eases my existence and opens new and exiting doors daily. I am healthy and well and clear of mind, so I can enjoy all this world of mine has to offer. For all of this I give much thanks.

I’m ready for the challenges of the holidays, the challenges of fighting traffic and crowds to complete the shopping and errands, the challenge of orchestrating the perfect feast and the challenge of missing the loved ones who can’t be here to enjoy the holidays with us. I’m also ready for some new challenges, issued in fun and accepted with a determined spirit on my part. A running buddy has challenged one of my running groups to join in Runner’s World’s 36DaysofAwesome run streak challenge.  I’ve added a twist to this challenge. In addition to running at least a mile a day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s I’ll also be writing at least a page a day.

What a wonderful way to see the old year out and the new year in. I welcome anyone to join me in either/or challenge. Who’s with me?


Read about the dream that inspired me to write Passing RainFrom the Camel’s Mouth

My Support Network

I can’t talk about the things for which I’m grateful without mentioning the rest of my family and friends. I’m not sure how many of them realize I’m an introvert at heart. I need a lot of time to myself and, with the exception of my girls, don’t reach out to them frequently. For the most part I think they understand this and I get in touch when I have the need and when I can. I’m still working on that balance of freeing time to interact more with the people who matter to me. Fortunately, in spite of this, friends and family have lifted me up in my times of need.

Though my siblings are spread across the southeast I keep them all in my thoughts and my prayers and they all have a place in my heart, all six of them. My parents and my oldest daughter, Rain, have passed over, but I’m so very grateful to still feel them around me at times. I think of them as my inside connections, still supporting me from the other side.

As far as my friends, they tend to fall under two categories (though there are exceptions): my writing friends and my running friends. Whether I need advice on where to find a copy editor for my indie book (which I recently received and, yes, Passing Rain is with that editor), or how to cope with the pain in my heel that only shows up after a run, I’ve got plenty of people to ask.

I’ve got a great support network, filled with positive people. What more could I want?

Who are the people who lift you up?


Read about the dream that inspired me to write Passing RainFrom the Camel’s Mouth

Finding Quiet Time

A while ago, my very first best friend in the world, Laure Taylor, nominated me in a Facebook challenge to participate in 10 Days of Gratitude, posting 3 things I was grateful for and nominating 2 friends each day to do the same. I didn’t participate in that challenge, but since we’ve rolled into November and I’ve been reflecting on the things in my life for which I’m grateful I thought this month during my blog I’d list these things.

So, obviously, the first and foremost thing I’m grateful for is my girls. I have my 25yo, whom I’ll refer to as Newt, her childhood nickname, and my 19yo, whom I’ll call my Young One, since she’s my baby. I could go on and on with the reasons I’m grateful for them, but other parents would be jealous and I’d likely embarrass them.

Suffice it to say Newt is in her final semester at Georgia Tech and gives me more reasons to be proud of her every day. I did mention earlier how she recently sold her first major painting, but she also just completed her first 5K (4th in her age group for her first race, thank you very much) and she’s going to work on the cover for Passing Rain!

I’m equally proud of My Young One, who lives with me and will be starting college soon. I watch her with pride as she grows and learns about the world, teaching me a thing or two along the way. She’s also writing and running some, too. She’s decided since she and I live together that it’s her job to be my house nanny, cooking cleaning and shopping, etc. for us. She does this in a way that frees me to spend my time focusing on the things that really matter to me, like my girls, my running and my writing. How spoiled am I?

I am so very grateful and I’m making a point these days to use this time to make space in my life for finding quiet time, where I put the world aside, focus on my breath and, hopefully, align myself with my purpose in life. It’s my goal to do this daily. I’m working to get there, but with the support of my wonderful girls I have no excuses not to do this. I believe finding time to tap into that quiet, to center myself and listen within, will not only help me with my writing, but with living my life the way I should live it.

What are you grateful for today?


Read about the dream that inspired me to write Passing RainFrom the Camel’s Mouth

Writing and Running Gear

Those of you who know me understand that I have two great passions (outside of my kids): writing and running. I’m sure whoever you are, you also have great passions you work into your lives. It may be finding the perfect time and place to curl up with a book, escaping to your favorite theater, painting, or whatever it is you do that’s just for you. These are the things that make the rest of our busy lives worthwhile, whether that time is spent at a challenging day job, caring for family and friends, or doing the sundry chores we all need to accomplish to get through a day. If you’re like me, though, even if you’re passionate about your favorite pastimes, you may have trouble setting aside the time or working up the energy for these activities. At the end of a busy day, how do we manage to work in the things that fill our hearts and lift us up?

I arm myself with the proper writing and running gear–whatever tools or accessories I need to make my transition into these activities as easy as possible and to ensure my success in accomplishing them. Whatever my goal is, whether it’s to run faster or produce more pages, I have everything I need to see me through that goal

When I run, I switch from work mode to running mode as I gear up, from my sweat-wicking attire, to my Garmin to guide my pace and time, to my Nike Frees. I’ve tried different gear over the years and through trial and error have found the combination that works best for me.

As far as my writing, I transition with the lighting of my candles for a serious I’m-on-deadline session and I couldn’t imagine writing without my AlphaSmart, which is like a keyboard with memory. I may upgrade to a Neo one of these days, though my Alphie works just fine and being my father’s daughter I make things last, but that’s another story for another day. For now, I have Alphie, my candles, and my girls to bounce ideas off. These are the things that enable my writing, just like my Nikes enable my running. And in the same way, I’ve learned what worked best for my writing over a period of time, but once I found the right combination, I’ve stuck with it.

So, however busy your life is, I hope you’ve found that special something that makes your heart sing and that you’re making time for the activities you’re passionate about. Arm yourself with whatever it takes for great success in those pursuits. Be happy and enjoy!