Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to Eat an Elephant

Disclaimer: we are not talking about literal elephants here. If you want to literally eat an elephant, you have clicked on the wrong link.

As a professed writer, I get asked this question a lot: How do you find the time to write?

I didn’t find the time to write.  I had to MAKE the time to write. There is a difference. 

And the difference is one of priority. 

In your daily schedule, do you find the time to make your bed or comb your hair or do your laundry?

No. You MAKE the time to make your bed or comb your hair or do your laundry.

You MAKE the time to write.  

Just as you made making the bed or combing your hair or doing your laundry a part of your schedule, you have to make writing a part of your schedule. 

When my boys were younger, while they were in Cub Scouts on Monday evenings, was my time to write. 

Writing on Monday evening between seven and nine eventually become a habit. On the Mondays that the Cub Scouts didn’t meet, I still wrote even though we were at home. 

So how do you make writing a habit?

That is when the old saying comes in play (and incidentally, the title for this post). 

“How do you eat an elephant?”

“One bite at a time.”

Create a time in your schedule. It can be anytime, morning evening or night.  Jot it down in your planner.

Mine said Monday 7pm-9pm Cub Scouts/WRITE.

And I stuck to that schedule. And writing became a part of my Monday evening. 

When the boys joined Chess Club on Thursday afternoons, guess what I did. 

That’s right. While the boys were in Chess Club, I wrote. 

So now I had two spots in my planner that said WRITE. 

But, you might say, I don’t have two hours in the whole week to write!

Do you have ten minutes a day? At ten minutes a day, you are looking at writing for an hour and ten minutes a week.

How about twenty minutes a day? At twenty minutes a day, you are looking at writing for two hours twenty minutes a week.

Do you see how that adds up?

But, you might say, I can’t find twenty minutes each and every day! Do you have a day off? Say Saturday or Sunday? 

Make writing your priority for Sunday.

No children, no husband, no TV, no books, no laundry, nothing. Let the house go to the dogs. Let the husband and the kids know they will have to fend for themselves.  Now can you find two hours on Sunday to write?

My kids are so used to my writing days, they will ask me what I want for dinner just before I close the door to my bedroom.  I will hole up and write for however long and when I come out, viola, my kids have dinner ready for me.

Writing has now become a family priority. 

So when can you write? Make a note in your favorite colored pen on your schedule in bold, capital letters: WRITE.

Then, do it. 

Do you already have a writing habit?  Tell us how you reached that point.

Sunday, September 18, 2016


“You drove four hours!” seemed to be the general consensus among the retreat goers at the Oklahoma Romance Writers of America (OKRWA) Fall Retreat the second weekend in September. 

Yes, I did.

Why did I drive four hours one way to be at the OKRWA members Fall Retreat?

For one, it’s not something I do often.  More times than not, I miss the OKRWA monthly meeting.  DH works out of town and very rarely do the dates align wherein he is at home (and, thus, can take care of the chickens and rabbits and dogs) and I can go out of town myself without worrying about the house and the animals. 

Two, I planned on being in the OKC metro area that Sunday anyway for the OWFI Board Meeting. 

But the most important was the fellowship. 

Fellowship, to a lot of us, sounds like church jargon but it neatly fits what went on at the retreat. 

An experience that cannot be duplicated at just anytime.

Forty-eight hours of catching up on my fellow writer’s lives, their kids, grandkids, husbands, etc.

Forty-eight hours of studying and working through and talking about writing techniques and accomplishments and disappointments.

Forty-eight hours of being around people who understand me in a way that the non-writer people in my mundane life almost never do. 

Christmas morning and Thanksgiving Dinner and Sukkot and Diwali all rolled into one. 

Fellowship. Friends. Family.

So, yeah. I drove four hours each way to be a part of that fellowship with my writer friends and felt like I belonged to a family once again. It filled a hole in my soul that I didn’t even know I had. And it will keep me writing on those days when I wonder why I thought I could do the second toughest job in the world. Write.

Tell us about your last experience with fellowship and how it energized you.  

(Picture dedicated to Debbie Fogel's friend Kay for giving us the phrase "peanuts and wine". ;) )

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Lemon Pickle


4 quart jars

5 lbs. lemons

4 tablespoons chile powder

4 tablespoons turmeric powder

8 tablespoons split mustard seeds

4 teaspoons salt

24 whole cloves

1 teaspoon cayenne powder

4 cups of extra light olive oil

1)      Sterilize Jars.

2)      Dry lemons with a kitchen towel. Cut into one inch cubes.

3)      Mix the chile powder, turmeric powder, split mustard seeds and salt in small bowl.

4)      Bring olive oil to an almost boil. Remove from heat.

5)      Make sure jars are dry. 

6)      Place six whole cloves in each jar. 

7)      Add lemon pieces until jar is half full. 

8)      Add one tablespoon of dry spice mixture. 

9)      Tamp down lemon and spice mixture until most air spaces are eliminated.

10)   Add more lemon and spice mixture.  Tamp down.

11)  Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder to each jar.

12)  Top with one cup of hot olive oil.

13)  Leave on counter until the olive oil is room temp.

14)  Cover with lid and place in a sunny window for 14 days.  Turn jars, mixing spices and oil, at least once a day.