Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't Forget to Play


Silly me.  I was in the middle of writing a blog post last Friday, decided I needed a couple of photos, and was immediately side-tracked by a box full of photos that had nothing to do with what I needed.  Of course I had to drag out the scanner and post a few on Facebook.  What other reason had led me to dig through a box of pictures?  I seem to forget about that blog post.

Yes, I'm sometimes easily distracted, and once distracted, I can become buried in that distraction.  ADD?  I never thought so, but females present different symptoms than males.  Female ADD and ADHD sufferers tend to be a bit spacey in their distractions.  Me, spacey?  No, that's my #2 daughter and her youngest daughter.  And I'm not always easily distracted.  Not, at least, when I'm totally focused on something.  Reading a good book completely holds my attention.

Oh, yeah, back to that unfinished blog post...  I'll find the photos, finish it, and post it this week.

Sometimes I think this being distracted thing may have something to do with not playing enough.  Oh, I'll play a few games of spider solitaire during the day, or a matching game on the computer.  They basically use a different part of the brain that what I'm usually working on.  But play?  No, not so much.  Life has it's Has-To's and Must-Do's and Get-It-Done-ASAP's, leaving little time for play.

Why is it that as adults, we forget to play?  I don't mean watching a favorite TV show each week.  I mean playing.  Going to the park and swinging.  Sitting in the grass and making daisy chains in the summer or having snowball fights in the winter.

My #3 daughter brought me a box of bubbles left over from her wedding reception.  I put it away for the grandkids to play with this summer, when school is out.  Why did I do that?  Why didn't I think of taking out a bottle or two for myself?  Right now?  I LOVE to blow bubbles!

There's something in me that thinks I always need to be doing.  We surround ourselves with Have To's and forget there's always been a little child inside of each of us.  We get older, and people expect us to act like adults.  But what's the fun in that?

These are people having fun!
The Ditzy Chix NYC 2003

How many fun-loving Harlequin authors can a stretch Hummer limo hold?
While I haven't had the opportunity to go to a writers conference lately, I haven't forgotten how much fun it is to cut loose and have a good time with friends.  And the older we get, the more fun we have when we get together!

We're never too old to have fun.

It's time to make time for fun and play!  Anyone up for a game of hopscotch?

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.  ~ Andrew Jackson

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who Me? Write?

It's been that kind of week.  You know the kind.  Shiny objects grab attention and take you away for a few minutes, an hour, or half--if not most--of the day.

Writing, you say?  It's on my list of things to do.  The list in my head, not the one written down that's there to bug me to get things done.

But I have an excuse!  Enter March 1 of this year.  I'd been pounding out words since July, tearing my hair out over revisions and the need to get it done.  Even the holidays were taken up by writing.  It happens, and the world doesn't stop spinning.  But on February 28, the veil lifted and regular life began again.

You'd think that within nearly two months I would have caught up on all the things that clamored and hammered at me for 8+ months.  But no-o-o-o-o.  Too many shiny objects.  I did sit down and make myself start a new manuscript...over a week ago.  Four pages written.  Four.

I feel like a fake.  I come to my blog and encourage others to write...every day, if possible.  And yet I've ignored my own writing for more than a few days.  More than a few weeks.  We're into months, friends.  That isn't good.

So what do I need to do?  (You, too, if you've been ignoring your writing!)  I have two choices.  The first is to motivate myself.  There's a problem with that, because at this moment, I can't think of single bit of motivation that will get my focus where it needs to be and my fingers on the keyboard.

Let me say up front that I am not an organize person.  That isn't completely true.  I'm an organized-disorganized person.  Or is that disorganized-organized?  I've never quite figured that one out.  Yes, I keep a written list of the things that need to be done, but I often leave out things for myself.  Lately, though, I've been doing those things for myself, and none of them have involved writing.

That brings me to choice #2:  Just do it.  Give it two hours, four hours, whatever it takes.  I've already set a goal of five pages (pitiful, isn't it?) for this week's BIAW.  (Hint:  That's how I managed those previous four pages, which were two pages short of my 6-page goal.)  I know it's possible to write five pages in one day.  I've done it more times than not done it.  Well, except for that past almost-two months.  In fact, I hit a new high last year of 28 pages in one day, and several days of 24 pages.  Yes, I can do it.

Yes, I will do it!  Want to come along for the ride?  Passengers are long as they're writing.  No daydreaming, no shiny objects demanding our attention.  Just writing.

For the curious, check back tomorrow.  I'll comment on whether I reached my goal or not.  And those who are along for the ride are welcome to do the same.  After all, we're in this together.
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Dreary or Dreaming?

 From a collection of photos of origami boats by Victor Eredel.
Spring.  Rain.  And in my little corner of the world, that can also mean storms and possible tornadoes.  We're keeping an eye on the middle of the week for those.

Somehow we escaped the original forecast of a rainy Easter.  I spent the day inside anyway and found the top of my desk.  I now have a box of papers to sort and file.  The truth is, I need a system to make finding things easier.  With three of my four daughters and their offspring and hubby/SO off to share the day with their dad and his wife, the house was silent.  I don't mind the quiet.  In fact, I invite it.

In fact, the entire weekend proved semi-productive.  I started work on a new website design (for myself!), but shelved it.  The ideas weren't coming as easily as I'd hoped.  Much of both days tended toward learning and introspection.  No deadline is looming--except for the need to dive farther into a new book proposal--and family demands were at a low.  It was a Me Weekend, for the most part, and although I didn't do anything earth-shattering, I'd rank it at an 8 of 10.  There aren't a lot of those.

Having a day or two without demands and requests from others is a gift.  It doesn't happen often, so when it does, I start out not knowing how I should spend the time.  While I didn't get everything done that I should have, I also didn't scold myself for the things left undone.

I caught up on the TV show Cosmos and watched last night's episode of Game of Thrones.  The two are on at the same time, but where there's a will, there's a way, and I watch Cosmos later online, when time allows.  Yesterday allowed it.  Another gift to be thankful for.

I finished the weekend with a short list of "me" things to do this morning, the first being this blog.  The other two are personal things I've begun working on, such as making time for myself, making life more positive, learning how to become a more positive person, and simply enjoying a small part of each day.  A phone call from a friend completed the evening.

All in all, the weekend was enjoyable, and I look forward to the next one.  Plans for that one include the possibility of rearranging my office, which will eventually lead to painting my desk and purging the myriad of boxes of who knows what that fill much of the space in the room.  My mother's habit of hoarding got its hook in me at an early age, but that story is for another time.

The sun is peeking through the clouds, so maybe the chance of the rain sticking around is over, at least for a while.  The day is new and bright.  Let's make it a special one.
As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round. ~ Ben Hogan

Friday, April 18, 2014

Counting Our Blessings and Joys

It's been a busy week.  It's been a crazy week.  It began with waking to snow on Monday morning, after a weekend of beautiful, but windy, Spring weather.  Temps in the low 80s were a blessed relief from the colder temps.  I was finally thawing!

Because my youngest granddaughter would soon be arriving for me to take her to Pre-K, but I couldn't find the ice scraper (the snow had obviously started as freezing rain), I used my fingers and fingernails to clear the snow and ice from my windshield.  Not a smart move.  Ten minutes later, my fingertips were so cold that I couldn't feel anything except the burning.  A bit of frostbite?  Maybe, and it took until the next day before they felt close to normal.  Lesson learned?  Yes.

Tuesday was Tax Day, and my focus all day was on that.  My taxes were filed and the first of quarterlies were sent.  But before I knew it, the day was over, and I went to sleep exhausted.  Mental work is exhausting!  Add my tendency to be math-challenged, and...  You get the picture.

Wednesday was spent catching up on what didn't get done on Tuesday.  It also brought a bright spot I nearly missed, if it hadn't been for an email.  My critique group met, and three of us shared our writing, and our thoughts (and complaints and woes) on writing.  To help one of our group, who hasn't been writing as much as she should, we decided that meeting every two weeks wasn't enough, and we'd be meeting weekly, at least for a while.  To be honest, it's as much for us as it is for her.  We all often need a push to do the things we've been putting off.  I'm certainly guilty of that.  The bonus of this is seeing friends more often.  Aha!  A blessing!

Then along came Thursday, and another day was gone before I knew it, and now Friday is here.  I ask myself what I've accomplished this week.  On the surface, it doesn't seem like much--except for those taxes finally getting done.  But looking back, I've been reading more than usual.  More non-fiction than fiction.  I've been learning...about myself, who I am, and how to make life better.  By better, I mean more positive than negative.

It seems that too many days go by without memory of what happened.  Nose to the grindstone sometimes means not seeing or experiencing the small joys in life.  And once that happens, we lose ourselves, seeing only the negative things or simply being relieved that we made it through another day without disaster striking in one form or another.

We all struggle with something.  I've been allowing myself the pleasure of reading, done while waiting for grandkids to be released from school and less than an hour before my go-to-sleep ritual.  I'm learning how to deal with things I struggle with.  I'm learning that I'm important.  I'm learning to focus on the good things and expect those struggles to right themselves, if only by turning some of them to blessings.

There are many joys in life.  Sometimes we forget to notice them.  The opportunity to read is one of mine.  Like the little girl in the image above, I've been a reader all my life.  As an adult, it's been my go-to reward, many times. It's also a gentle reminder that time spent reading is a blessing for my soul.  It lifts me up, takes me to places I've never known, and expands my understanding.

If you haven't given yourself the gift of reading lately, pick up a book and start reading.  Even if it's only for a few minutes, it's a blessing.  Blessings are our Joy.

What blessings have appeared in your life lately?  What has brought you joy?
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Monday, April 14, 2014

Still Hooked (Spoiler Alert)

"Holy Krypton, Superman!"

Oops, I've muddled my comic book superheroes, but you get the idea.

Three years ago, while channel surfing one night, I accidentally caught a glimpse of Game of Thrones one TV.  I was as hooked then as I am now.  In fact, nearly a year later, I blogged about it on my now defunct Scribbles blog.  That blog post, entitled, I'm Hooked--GoT Got Me, tells how I was immediately drawn into the award winning series.  I haven't missed an episode yet, and it would be difficult to tear me away from it each spring for the few weeks it runs.

As a rule, I'm not a fan of bloody battles and naked bodies, but GoT grabbed my interest (hint:  it was the dragon eggs) and has kept it for over three years.  From the very beginning, I've been waiting for Joffrey to get his just desserts.  Would that moment ever come?

If you saw last night's episode, you saw that "just desserts" is exactly what Joffrey got.  What a weaselly little king!  The character you love to hate.  I've been hoping that something atrocious would happen to Joffrey.  Something like being tied to the side of a mountain, where the birds would pick him apart, much like Prometheus.  Or maybe flamed by Daenerys's dragons.  Sadly, it wasn't quite so dramatic, but the demise of Joffrey was still delicious.  Kudos to Jack Gleeson's amazing acting talent on making it that way.

Naturally, Tyrion Lannister has been accused of the deed--by his sister Cersei, of course.  As far as amazing acting talent, Peter Dinklage rules, no matter what character he plays.  As I commented on Facebook, I'd watch him eat a potato chip, he's that good.  Such a wide spectrum of emotions his face shows in every second of film.  But there isn't an actor on the series who isn't completely believable.  Such an excellent cast!

I'm break down and buy the books.  The first three, to begin, and the others when I get through those three.  Reading time is limited, and I already have more than I'll be able to read in the next ten years.  But I have no doubt I'll enjoy the books and hopefully be able to keep all the characters straight.  Thank goodness for cheatsheets!

What's your secret, guilty pleasure?  Your favorite book or TV series?
"A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” ~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Who We Are

In case you haven't noticed, I like inspirational quotes.  I like them so much that when I finish a blog post, I search for a quote to add to the bottom.  I also have a folder where I've saved far too many like the one on the left that I've grabbed from Facebook and other places.

Why?  I'm not sure.  I find many of them inspiring.  Wow, what a concept!  On those days when nothing seems to be going right, one of those quotes can change at least a few moments of my day.

How much time do we spend on figuring out who we are?  We simply are, right?  We change and evolve as we grow, internalizing somewhere in our subconscious everything we think and experience.  Every thought, every action, every word we speak, hear and read make me ME and you YOU.

This morning, I was reading my Facebook timeline and came across another one of those links to silly tests.  With those, I have a little more constraint than I do with inspirational quotes, but this one, What Religion Should You Actually Be?, drew me in out of curiosity, just as far too many do.  I knew that, more than likely, none of the optional answers to the questions would be my answer.  But, hey, it's Saturday, why not give it a try?

I took the test and, as I suspected, very few (one or two?) questions gave me the choice of the answer I needed.  As it turned out, the outcome of my test was Buddhism.  O-o-o-kay.  If you say so.  But my first thought was to think how sad it is that people's beliefs are pigeonholed into one or another.  I am who I am.

Admittedly, I was and still am considered weird.  The number of times people told me so is infinite.  Is weird good or bad?  And just what does that mean?

From on weird
adjective, weird·er, weird·est.

  1. involving or suggesting the supernatural; unearthly or uncanny: a weird sound; weird lights.  (No, that isn't me, although I do think about those things now and then and even try to learn more about them.  Knowledge is power, right?)
  2. fantastic; bizarre: a weird getup.  (I like fanastic.  Who wouldn't?  But is bizarre the right word?)
  3. Archaic. concerned with or controlling fate or destiny.  (I'm iffy on this one.)
Maybe it's simply that I'm not pigeonhole-y enough.  Those online tests tell me exactly that.  I don't fit anywhere.  And that's okay.  We're each individual with our own view of everything, including ourselves.

My philosophy?  Be who you are and love whatever that is, as long as you don't hurt others physically or emotionally.  Add to that to be the best you can be and continue to improve yourself in all ways throughout life.  Ol' Will Shakespeare's quote in today's image pretty much says it all.

Who are you?
I don't pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do. ~ Johnny Depp

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting to The End - That First Draft


Wow!  What happened to Monday and Tuesday?  LIFE
One of the easiest things about writing is the ability to give up.  I've done it.  Everyone has done it.  But what does giving up get you?  Not a whole lot.

This time--THIS TIME--and every time after, giving up will not be accepted.  Why?  Because you can do it!  With a little help and some tips and tricks, you, too can finish that book!

What does it take to write that first draft?  Writing it!

Whether you're a panster or a plotter, the writing must happen.  We all obsess about our every word.  Why?  Because we want our writing to be perfect.  But nothing and no one are perfect.  Still, we strive to do our best.

One of the biggest things most successful writers will tell you is to Just Write.  Sounds simple, doesn't it?  It isn't, but we can make it easier.

Many successful writers will say that the key is to write a fast first draft.  I agree with that.  But what, exactly, does that mean?  It means No Editing.  That's right.  You don't write a few pages, then go back to pick it apart and polish it to what will probably be changed later.

If panic sets in at the mere mention of No Editing, take a deep breath.  There are ways to make that first draft with no editing easier.

  1. Have a fairly solid idea of where your story is going.  Does this mean you have to plot the entire story?  Not necessarily.  It depends on what works best for you.  Simply put, have an idea of your opening, an inciting incident that shows the conflict of the two characters (hero and heroine in a romance), the mid-point aka main turning point, the black moment (when all seems lost), and the resolution aka the happily ever after in a romance.  Cooking Up a Story
  2. Know your characters' GMCs.  If you don't know what GMC (Goal, Motivation, Conflict), you can do a search on the Internet.  There's an abundance of information out there to help you.  A quick explanation is Goal (what the character wants), Motivation (why the character wants the goal), and Conflict (what's keeping the character from reaching his/her goal).  Each main character should have his or her own GMC.  Check out my blog on Building Characters and blogs and articles by others.
  3. Do as much research as you can pre-writing.  Whether contemporary, historical, or even futuristic/dystopian/other, they all take some research.  You want to write a cowboy book, a doctor book, or even a setting you're unfamiliar with?  Research.  Again, the Internet is a wonderful tool for this and many other things.  Use it.  Talk to people who can help.  You'll find more than you need, but that's okay.  What you don't need you may need with another book.
  4. Plan and use your writing schedule.  Set aside time to write every day and also set a daily goal for pages or words to be written.  And stick to it!  Check out my 4-part blog series on Goal Setting for some ideas.
  5. Think about what you're going to write before your fingers touch the keyboard.  In whose POV will the scene be?  What is going to happen in a scene? If it helps, instead of writing one scene and stopping for the day, stop in the middle of a scene--especially an exciting or tense point--and start there the next day.  Once you're in the scene, writing it, let the moment and the characters carry you along.
  6. If you find yourself stuck...  Don't panic.  It's amazing what our subconscious does for us.  Try sleeping on the problem.  Brainstorm with a writer friend or group of writer friends.  We often get too close to our story and characters that we can't think "out of the box" or beyond our preconceived ideas.  If those things don't produce results, write whatever comes to mind. Don't worry that it isn't quite right, just get down the idea.  But don't edit now!  Remember, we're on the No Editing plan.  Write a note (sticky notes work well), along with the page # and chapter/scene if needed, and refer to it later, after the first draft is finished. Or highlight that section and go back when you've finished the first draft.
  7. Write it down!  Ideas come to us at the strangest times.  Have a notebook where you can write them down.  Put a notebook in your car, your purse, or wherever you can grab it.  While driving, DO NOT write notes.  This is where a small voice recorder can really come in handy!
Once you have that first draft written, it's time to put it away.  Let it sit for a while, if possible, and work on something new or whatever it takes to get you away from the story.  Once you've had some distance, go back and start editing.  That's the time to refer to those notes and make changes.

Now that your first draft is finished, feel proud of your accomplishment.  Many people want and hope to write a book, but a large percentage of those people never do.  You have!
Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Refilling the Well

We all have responsibilities.  For women, that often includes the usual human things, such as eating, cleaning, looking out for our bodies and more.  Some women are married and stay-at-home wives, while some work outside the home, in addition to the usual in-home chores of life.  Some women are single and look out for themselves.  They clean, they shop, they cook, and they are responsible for only themselves.  Some women, single or married, add children to the equation.

We are nurturers.  We take care of others--husbands, children, parents, siblings and friends--while juggling all the other facets of life.  Sometimes we become so immersed in those things that we forget about ourselves.

Being a single mother with grown children and young grandchildren, my attention is focused on them, while still finding time of my own, as I try to balance work, play, and the inevitable checkbook.  It's easier, now that my four daughters are grown, but once a mom, always a mom.  I do what I can, when I can.  If I can't, I worry that I'm not being the mother I should be.  And then I remind myself that it's my time.  Not all of it is mine, but the others can take care of themselves.  After all, they're the moms now.

The first time I heard the term Refilling the Well, I was already writing and in the midst of working toward publication.  I was married, with four children, so demands on my time were natural for any woman in that same place in life.  We give of ourselves and often forget that we need time to regroup, to kick back for a little while and become who we are, other than wives, employees, mothers, cooks, cleaner-uppers, caretakers and all those other things we do because that's who we are.  After all that giving, we sometimes feel depleted of energy, time, and--dare I say it?--giving to others.  We need a little time to take a breath and think of ourselves and find way to remind us that we, too, are special.  That's what Refilling the Well is.

Why do we need to refill our wells?  Because if we don't, we might fall into the trap of not caring about ourselves.  If that happens, we might endanger our caring for others.

So how do we refill our wells?  We give ourselves the gift of time.  Our time.  No rushing Junior (or Juniorette, in my case) to ball practice or spending every spare minute that isn't taken up by all the have-to's in life by giving to others.  We don't fill those spare moments with organizing the pantry or polishing the baseboards in our house.  Well, not unless that's something that makes us happy and takes a special place in our hearts.

5 Ways to Spend Time Alone (And 14 Inspirational Quotes about Solitude)

Make a list of the small things you can do for just yourself.  A long bubble bath?  Reading?  Watching a movie we've always wanted to see?  Kicking back and listening to music we enjoy?  Spending time with a close friend or several friends?  Taking a long walk in a peaceful spot?  Watch the water in a pond or even something as simple as sitting outside on a nice day, enjoying the weather?  What one thing can you do for yourself that will take you away from everyday life and, especially, make you smile?

I used to be an avid reader.  I could read 3-5 books a week, depending on the length of them.  Reading is still what I do when I have a few minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time to put aside the demands of work, family, and home.  But too often theses days, I find myself not reading for pleasure, only for knowledge and instructions, even though my Kindle and bookshelves are filled with all kinds of fiction!  Guess what one of the things will go on my list?

With luck, I'll also be spending time with friends this weekend.  I'm looking forward to and excited about our writers group's upcoming mini-retreat this weekend.  Eight hours of talking writing, brainstorming, helping each other, laughing and sharing.  I'll spend the day with people who share my love of writing.  (The photo above was taken at our Fall Mini-Retreat last year.  While the mini-retreat is "job" related, it never feels that it is.  Many of us in the group are friends, outside of the group.  We're there for each other when times are bad or when we have something to celebrate.  We might get together for dinner out, and we've even been known to take in a movie together!

How often should we refill our wells?  As often as possible!   Ideally, that would be every day.  That's not often possible, so let's go for once a week.  If that doesn't work, how about once a month, or quarterly?  Or whenever the opportunity presents itself and especially when we're feeling depleted. Don't say no to an invitation from a friend to do something together or simply get together, unless it's absolutely necessary.  Don't feel selfish or that you're wasting your time.  We all need to do things we enjoy, in addition to the requirements in our life.

Why You Shouldn't Feel Guilty About Stealing a Little Time for Yourself (Psychology Today)

Refill the Well whenever you can.  Whenever the opportunity presents itself.  It doesn't have to be planned out in advance.  It can be done on the spur of the moment, when a small amount of time is presented.  Leave the dishes and vacuuming for a little later.  Give yourself the gift of time.

Enjoy your weekend, and if you get the chance to refill your well, take it!
I think you have to refill the well at some point. ~ Skeet Ulrich

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Finishing the Dream

We all dream of things, and especially of doing things.  Writers want to sell a best-selling book.  But without a book to sell, the dream will never come true.

Instead of dreaming, let's start doing.

The first key to the writing dream is to write.  Yeah, you probably already knew that. ☺  But it bears repeating.  Keep telling yourself WRITERS WRITE, and it will become so ingrained in you that you'll start writing, hopefully on a regular basis.  If that means an hour each morning or evening is all you have for writing, do it.  Write.

The second key to to the writing dream is to finish a book.  Hey, isn't that your dream?  Well, a huge step toward your dream, at least.  So what's keeping you from doing it?


  1. I have a family to care for.  Having been a wife for twenty-four years, and a mom for thirty-four, I understand how hard it is to find the time to do the things you dream of doing.  But hard isn't the same as impossible.  Mothers--and fathers, too--often find their lives filled with nothing but catering to others.  There's nothing wrong with fulfilling responsibilities, but you also should have responsibilities to yourself.  You should give some time to making yourself enjoy the things you want (and need?) to do to be a well-rounded person.
  2. I work long hours at my day/night job.  Yeah, I've been there and done that.  Now I work at home, and I still find it difficult to find the time to do everything.
  3. I don't know where to start.  You are not alone.  Most people don't, at least in the beginning.
  4. I don't have the knowledge to know how to write a book.  Nobody knows everything.  If you have children, do you remember what you knew about babies before having one?  Did you know everything about your job when you were first hired?  Probably not.
  5. I don't have a place to write.  Very few do, in the beginning.
Basically, the above are cop-outs.  Excuses.  A way to not fail, because if you don't try, you can't fail.  Here's another:  Don't have a computer or typewriter?  Countless books over the years and up to this moment are written by hand.  There's always an answer and a way, if it's what you truly want.  Miracles happen.  Let them.

Let's take a quick look at the above excuses.
  • I have a family to care for.  Yes.  It's "difficult" doesn't mean you can't do it.  Get up an hour earlier in the morning, when the family is still sleeping.  Or stay up an extra hour at night.  Or write when the children are napping or after they've gone to bed.  Write while dinner cooks.  Write while waiting at the school for the kids to emerge, all full of energy.  Write during their sporting events.  Not the entire event, especially if your child is playing, but during the warm-up at every other game?  You don't need huge blocks of time.  Smaller ones work as well. They're there.  Look and you will find.
  • I work long hours at my day/night job.  Do you have a lunch hour or half hour?  Write.  Or at least think about your story and take notes.  Yes, we all want to chitchat with our work friends, but two or three days of the week, take take for yourself and your writing.  I'm also familiar with the rest of this.  "And I go home to care for my family."  Do you watch television?  Cut out one to three programs a week and use that time for writing.  Go into an empty room, shut the door--after explaining that you are not to be bothered unless there's blood involved.  Or flames. Or flooding over six inches.  We have to be real about this.  Delegate.  Let the kids or hubby clear the table--if they aren't doing it already--and do the dishes.  Let hubby or oldest child who is responsible watch the others.  And DO NOT feel guilty about taking time for yourself, whether it's writing, spending time with friends, exercising, or taking a walk.  Give yourself the gift of time.  If needed, ask family members to brainstorm with you about how you can find some time.  Remind them that a fulfilled mom is a happy mom.  (This all includes dad-writers, too.)
  • I don't know where to start.  This one is hard for me to understand.  If you want to write, there must be something you want to write about.  The answer is at the beginning...of the story, of an idea, of a character, a snippet of conversation or internal thoughts, a snippet of scene playing in your mind.  All of those and others are the beginning.  Your beginning of an idea.  If they aren't coming together, write them down.  In time, they'll evolve, especially if you give them a read, now and then.
  • I don't have the knowledge to know how to write a book.  Then I have to believe you've never read a book.  Ever.  It's a story of a person...or two people...or a family...or an incident...or...  My advice?  Read more books!  After that, find books about writing.  There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of books out there about writing.  Or try online.  Look for the basics, at first.  Worry about the details later.  Join a writers group.  You'll immediately discover that you are not crazy, or if you are, you aren't the only one.  People in writers groups, both live and online, can be the door that opens your world of writing.  The plus is finding new friends who won't put you down for wishing and dreaming.
  • I don't have a place to write.  I chuckle at this one.  Why?  Because I have a place, but not a day goes by--or an hour--when someone doesn't step in to tell me something or ask a question.  And if I'm home alone, the phone will ring.  Oh!  You mean a real place?  Then make one.  A corner in your bedroom, the attic, the basement, the kitchen or dining room table, although that does mean that when mealtime comes, you'll be moving your things elsewhere.  Go outside and write.  In your car, if necessary.  Even the library!
Excuses are now gone.  Start writing.  Don't worry about what it's about.  If this is your first time to write, revel in it.  Enjoy it!  You're writing!

Now that you're beginning, don't worry about finishing quite yet.  We'll really take a close look at that next week on Writing Wednesday.  You're dreaming of writing and you're making that dream come true!  That's what's important right now.
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying. ~ Michael Jordan