Monday, April 27, 2020

The Little Things

Do you have an idea what I am going to say after reading the title? Are you twiddling your thumbs waiting for me to get to it? You just know but...but...he is taking so long. I think I heard you say something about getting to it already. It may not have been such nice words, but we have to keep it PG here. Now you are saying I am rambling. Now you are trying to remember what it was you were going to say in the first place. And now I have proven my point. What point? The...never mind. I don't want to make you forget twice. That's just mean.

Have you ever had a great idea or new scene or one of a dozen other things come to mind and then ran to the computer to add it to your manuscript? The answer is probably yes. So let's move on.

Have you ever waited and waited and waited for your computer to finally load up, open the program, etc. to do it? If yes, did you forget like my example above before it finally loaded? If yes, even if no, it is time to look at the little things.

Ways to Speed Up Your Computer

1. Programs - find what programs you no longer use and delete them. We can collect dozens and then forget they are there. They each take up space.

2. Startup - This can sure bog down your computer's loading upon booting up. Take all programs off startup that don't need to be there. Do you really need Tetris to load at startup?

3. Running - Don't open anything that doesn't have to be opened. If it isn't to do with your writing during your writing time then don't open it. The more programs and windows you have open at once, the slower your computer will go.

4. Power - Check your power settings. Usually if you have "power saver" mode as the setting it will slow down your computer.

5. Clean - Do a little spring cleaning no matter the season. Whether it be your hard drive or just your browser. Having them super bloated with useless sites and programs can slow things down.

6. Pull the Plug - If all else fails, shut your computer off. This will close processes and programs that you never even knew were still running. The longer you have had your computer on, the more likely it is you have lots of unnecessary things running.

Yeah, this could all be voided by writing it down on a piece of paper. But sometimes the cat has stolen your paper or you just want it in the manuscript. Sometimes you may have to do research. Not only could that send you down a rabbit hole, but you could spend extra hours digging that hole because your computer is so slow. That is time you could be writing.

Sometimes you have to make time to write. Other times you just have to not let your computer waste the time you have to write. By doing a little cleaning of the little things, you could give yourself more time to write. And isn't that what all writers want?

Have you ever forgotten an idea by the time your computer loaded? Do you have a slow computer? Have you tried to make it faster? Have you got any other tips to make it faster?

Monday, April 20, 2020

#IWSG Admins share their coping skills during the global shut-down.


Im fortunate that I am still working, so my daily routine has only been disrupted by the closure of my gym. I walked before, but now I am doing a lot of walking! Im a homebody anyway, so Ive had no trouble staying at home. My current manuscript is with my test readers, so while Im not writing, I have been working on home projects. And Ive always been a compulsive hand washer, so that part is super easy. Plus we have toilet paper – score!

I try to limit my news time though, because I know so many are less fortunate and facing not just a health crisis but a financial one as well. I feel blessed. We are still ordering stuff online and getting take out, doing what we can for the economy. And I promise, when the ban is lifted, Im going to stuff myself silly at my favorite restaurant!

Mini-Alex says – stay safe.


What am I doing? How am I coping? Doing what I do and coping how I cope. That wasn't very eye opening, huh? Always something to do at my place. Whether that be puppy training, cat wrangling(stuffing a pill in a cat can be a pain in the butt...sometimes literally), or writing away. Actually released a novel, too. Finally! So the world may be going crazy, but it still keeps spinning away and so does each day that I fill and continue on with each new one. And as for my spot in the world, people are still being dumb and going out for no reason other than to chat. We haven't been hit hard yet. Give it time though. Such people will see to it.


Admin from Northern California checking in and hoping this post finds you and yours well. I have to admit that this long period of isolation has been a challenge for me. I’m used to being alone, but I’m also used to inviting friends for dinner or working out and  practicing yoga with others at the gym every day. When none of that was available, I decided to set a challenge for myself to stay active. I set a goal of 4 miles of walking daily. I thought that would give me the exercise I needed and also keep me semi sane. So far I’ve only come up short of reaching my mileage goal three times, and three days I went over that goal by a mile. The interesting thing about my challenge is that I began to enjoy the slower pace. Instead of racing around in my car, I was walking. I was seeing the place I’ve inhabited for many years. Once this pandemic has run its course, I’m hoping I don’t lose the perspective I’ve gained.


Greetings from Eastern North Carolina!
Since my office is in our house, the shutdown feels like a normal day. My husband still goes to work as they consider him “essential.” (He says – “Apparently the military will collapse if the drawing monkey doesn’t show up. You’re all welcome.”)
But since it all feels surreal and a heaviness is thick in the air, I’ve been coping by just focusing on what needs to be done for Dancing Lemur Press and her authors. I tried working on my own story, but that felt forced. Working on edits, researching promo opportunities, and preparing for our next release, the IWSG anthology Voyagers: The Third Ghost, keep me going. 

Plus, I have two cats to keep me company!


Blessings from Wild, Wonderful West Virginia! That’s my state’s welcome sign motto. Unfortunately, with Covid-19 hovering at every border, we’re barely moving, much less running wild. My boys are all home. Two were released early from college, two are working from home. No one brought clothes. Or the food from their cupboards or fridges, but they all remembered their Xboxes and televisions which they’ve used to take over my living room. Since there’s no risk of guests dropping in, I decided it didn’t matter where they set up gamer central. 



Blessings from Washington State! Our motto is Alki, which means I'll see you in the future, by and by. In the first state in the US hit by COVID, I feel like I've been on the COVID roller coaster long enough. I'm ready to get off this ride! One of my daughters did not come home from college because her college town has not been hit hard by COVID. Both of my daughters are doing classes online. My husband works from home now. Several people from his work tested positive. I tutor students online via Zoom and I am a property manager, which means I do need to travel to the property to deal with some issues like unsafe decking, bird's nests in dryer vents, etc. and I know people who are out of work, struggling to make ends meet. We know doctors, nurses, firefighters, and police officers who are facing this firsthand every day. Yet, we keep living, working, dreaming, even singing. I've been part of a worship team for my church and we've recorded worship sets in small groups, six feet apart. I am still writing. I walk every day. And, when it doesn't rain, I live in a pretty amazing place so I feel blessed, even in all of this. As I tell my students, we are living history. Our journal entries could create living history for students in the future. So, I'll see you then, by and by. Alki. 

One of my walks near the Narrows Bridges. T.M.


My daily life has not changed a lot as I am mostly homebound due to mobility issues. Luckily we had about three weeks supply of TP when our part of the world went crazy. At the end of April if this continues that may be a different story. We are four adults sharing residence. All still working outside the house, three in necessary jobs: fireman, trucking dispatcher (gotta get those supplies delivered), and Pet Smart dog trainer which yes a pet store with dog food is apparently considered a necessary job like groceries. Pet Smart does close two hours earlier than normal. A lot of businesses have shut down, while others have gone to delivery only. The Governor has officially issued a stay at home and no traveling except necessary things. They are checking vehicles. Our curfew is 11 p. m to 5 a. m. I already had my food delivered but the store is out of everything so it is hit and miss whether what you need is available, but we good for now. It is just a wait, watch and plot game now. Yes I am working on writing. Attending Zoom get togethers, and praying everyone I know and don't know stays well. Everyone here, except me, are people who go, go, go everyday of the week. They are a little stir crazy, but are already planning to take cruises starting in June if Covid19 lets them.


"You must be loving this lock-down thing! I bet you're writing all the time!"

Nope. Not a word. But, I'm thinking. A lot. I think about writing. I think about ideas. I think about stories. I think about characters. I think about plot. And, even though I haven't written one word of any of this down, I know that I can, because I've been thinking. Writing in my head is going to get me to that next step of writing on my computer.
Stay safe, stay sane, stay sassy!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Writing In The Time Of COVID-19

Truth is stranger than fiction. We all know that saying, and we’re certainly living in strange times, where it’s becoming increasingly difficult to accept the facts that are staring us in the face. As writers, we need to seize the moment. Now is the time to document this.
We have more than enough hours in a day, don’t we?
There is no excuse. Right?
Maybe, maybe not.
For some people, stress serves as motivation and their productivity remains unaffected. They continue as per normal. Others are not so lucky. They are paralysed by stress and productivity grinds to a halt. That’s understandable. We are all different.

Artists, writers and creatives offer hope in these trying times. Our stories are more important than ever, so we need to keep moving forward. We need to hang in there.
One writer referred to this period as The Great Pause.
It’s deep. Its dark. It’s profound.
But it can’t last forever.
We can use this time to pause... and reflect. At the end, something great has to be waiting on the other side. Agreed?

So while the world pauses, and we hold a collective breath, let’s remember the importance of artists and storytellers in these dark times.

Tap into the creative forces at your disposal.
Dig deep.
Write that story, poem or article, the one you’ve put off for a long time; the one that scares you.
Write like you’ve never written before.

When it’s time to unpause, and the darkness subsides, your stories will be there, waiting to entertain, to empower and assist readers as they try to make sense of it all; as they move into a “new” normal.

Stay safe and keep on writing.

Monday, April 6, 2020


By Nancy Gideon

I’ve been doing this for a long time, a really long time like back when typewriter keys roamed over bond paper and White Out was my best friend. Before online groups, Social Media or algorithms. Back when a wannabe got info from the library and had never met an author in person, let alone a group of them. I wrote because I couldn’t not write. I submitted because I didn’t know how impossible the odds of publication were until I got a call from an editor in New York . . . wanting to buy my book and to see anything else I’d written.  That was in 1985, 69 titles and 20 reissues ago.  I’ve come a long way, baby, and oh, the things I’ve seen.

Back in the beginning, there were eight NY publishers and I worked with most of them. I published in romance when it was HUGE in the ‘80s. I couldn’t write fast enough, and at one time was contracted for eleven books in one year for three different NY houses. Revisions for my third book were due on the same day as my second child—both were early. For two decades, writing was my occupation and it paid well. 

Who knew a crash in the publishing market could be as devastating as one on Wall Street? Mid-list died a sudden death (not once, but twice in my career) and authors like me were homeless. Many never sold another. So, taking my cue from Sean Connery’s famous quote in The Untouchables, I asked myself, “What are you prepared to do?” My answer, whatever it took. Learn, research, adapt, survive. It meant stepping back from the whirlwind of bus tours and big promo budgets, stepping down from the big leagues to recover in the minors—those wonderful small presses who were just getting noticed.  

Rebuilding a career took more than writing that good book. It meant learning how to manage all the behind the scenes things that a big house’s publicist had done for me, things like getting reviews, making graphics, learning to manage my limited budget as a new animal – a hybrid author. I discovered I wasn’t without resources. I had a back list to reissue through non-traditional avenues, and . . . I could publish them myself! It was hard and time consuming, but my name got out there, my books were reviewed, readers found me again and my love for what I was doing returned, thanks to those new skills.

But not all hard work iss done at the keyboard. A lot of it happens in the psyche. It’s tough to be a writer: Isolated, vulnerable, at the mercy of things out of your control, with no paycheck or insurance, and often no at home emotional or practical support. You’re alone with the voices in your head and sometimes that self-talk isn’t pretty. You struggle to justify time spent out of the work force, away from the family with no reward in sight. That’s when you have to step out, like Indiana Jones, on faith. If you want it, believe it, and make it happen. Do what you gotta do and don’t make excuses to others or, especially, yourself. Find support (like here at IWSG!). Join a critique group, a writers’ chapter, a word count challenge—anything that makes you accountable and applauds your efforts.

Work hard but smart. If I could go back and reason with my ‘80s self, I’d have foregone that truck for the now-ex and hot tub in favor of deposits into an account for my future. Save it while you got it!

I’m OCD/ADD. I live by lists to realize my dreams.  Here’s one I’ve followed:

  • Embrace your dream. Own it and live it.
  • Share your dream with those who’ll support and cheer you on.
  • Update your dream.  Like hairstyles and hemlines, dreams change. Don’t throw anything out – it’ll come back into style!
  • Go with the flow. Be willing to try something (or someplace) new if the old isn’t work or selling.
  • Persevere! There’s no giving up in writing! Power through those rejections and disappointments.
  • Never stop learning! If this old dog can text, you can handle technology (or hire someone who can!).
  • Pursue your dream.  Dream it AND do it! No one else wants your career as much as you do. Go after it.
  • Realize your dream . . . then dream BIGGER!

I’ve had three mantras for my career that are still true today.

“Be Prepared” from years in Scouting

“Suck it up” from author pal, Thea Devine

“It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ’n roll” from AC/DC

They’ve been around longer than I have, so who am I to argue?


Nancy Gideon on the Web