Baby Steps…

I find that as I get older it takes me longer to do things, with work and my other activities it cuts into my actual writing time. Because of some health concerns, I have had to look at losing weight and getting more fit. I have made getting fit a priority whether I wanted to or not. I am working on finding a balance between fitness and writing that will enable me to succeed at both. I have learned to say no to some foods and I am learning to say no to things that are keeping me from my writing goals.

Here are some of the things I do that feed my desire to write:

  • I belong to a couple different writers’ groups and have for a while. I think meeting regularly with writers gives me the outlet I need to want to continue. I watch their success and it feeds my desire to succeed. Two of our members, who write as a team, had their first book published, ‘Desperate Housedogs’. It is the first of four that they sold and the second will be coming out some time soon. It is titled ‘Get Fluffy’. You need to check them out.
  • I am critiquing with another member of IRN and that has helped feed my desire to write. My critique partner Kelly writes so well, it truly is a pleasure to read her stuff. The story I am currently reading has been chosen as a finalist in a writing contest from an RWA chapter in Texas. I am looking forward to seeing her win.
  • The one thing I am doing as part of Iowa Romance Authors is a weekly post to the members to motivate and encourage. It is just a small piece and doesn’t take long. I do well with deadlines so this is a good fit. I know they expect it from me and I hate disappointing people. Now if I could only get that attitude with my own writing.
  • I have a 40 minute commute daily for work and have been listening to the Craft CD’s from RWA as I drive. If you have ever been thinking about joining the organization, these alone are worth it.  This week I listened to Suzanne Brockman and Lee Child do a workshop. They discussed how to draw both male and female readers. Sounded like Lee had a good time with the mostly female audience, he had some great ideas. It was really entertaining. Another one was with Alexandra Sokoloff. She is a Hollywood screenwriter turned novelist. She had some great suggestions for the planning process.

A few things I have given up:

  • Last year I served on the Iowa Romance Novelist’s board as Treasurer and Secretary of the local Sister’s in Crime chapter. Granted it wasn’t real time consuming but it was two more items on my ever growing to do list. I decided to step back from board activities this year to focus more on my own work.
  • I use rewards for my weight loss. When I reach 5, 10, 15, 20 pounds lost, I plan to reward myself. I am doing the same thing with writing. Television is a reward. I will not watch garbage just to avoid writing. I am not a saint; there are some shows I really love. Have not become a fan of Downton Abbey yet but I might down the road. There are so many bad shows on television I have turned to Netflix. I order the DVD’s and then I can watch exactly what I want to watch, when I want to watch it. That is the trick. That little DVD can sit there forever until I’ve written what I need to write for the day. Then I can reward myself with an episode of ‘Supernatural’, ‘Haven’, or whatever older series I’m currently trying to catch up on.
  • Books – I confess, I am a bibliophile, I love books. I use them as rewards for both weight loss and writing. I save buying them until I have earned them.

I admit I get discouraged because I wish I had longer periods of time to sit down and actually write but in reality I don’t. I have to learn to be happy with the 10-20 minutes at a time I get most days and just push forward instead of thinking it’s not worth the effort. Anything in the right direction should be worth it.

Writing is more than sitting down typing words. Even when I am not actually writing, I am usually thinking about the story as I go about my everyday business. That can pull me into the story when I do find the time.

I have continued to work out the details of my story and characters and though it’s not exactly the story I thought it was with the first scene that came to me, I think it’s a better story for having taken the time to let everything percolate. It’s like digging for stuff in the sand at the beach, most of the time you will get someone else’s smashed pop can or cigarette butt but occasionally you find a sea shell or a sand dollar, or if you’re lucky the diamond ring someone lost 50 years ago. I think I’ve let it stew long enough. This is the week that I will get back to my novel. I just have to have guts enough to write a crappy first draft to get it done.

I keep working toward my weight loss goals and feel I’ve met with some success. My goal is 1.5 lbs. a week. So far I am down 6 in 4 weeks. They may be baby steps but they are in the right direction. I will use that attitude toward my writing goal.  Baby steps can get me to The End.

What keeps you motivated to write when you can’t sit down for long periods of time each day?


Two Weeks Down

I continue to follow the Loseit plan and am finding success. So far I have lost 5 lbs. Not bad since I set it up to lose 1.5 lbs a week. I feel like I have a little more energy and do not feel as if I have been deprived.

No food is totally off-limits but I do look at portions. I hate getting to the end of the day and feel I have cut myself short for dinner. Even if I overdo one day, I don’t dwell on it, I stay positive, tomorrow is a new day and I get all the daily calories again.   Watching calories does make you more aware of healthier choices. Fruits and vegetables are lower in calories and help fill me up more than some of the junk I used to eat all the time.

I try not to overdo two days in a row but if I do, I have a safety net, exercise. I pop in the Wii fit DVD and workout. That usually gives me the added calories to make up for overeating.  At first I was really pushing to do something physical every day and that did help kick-start the weight loss but I started feeling like maybe my 15 minutes to relax at lunch could be better spent relaxing and reading instead of rushing to walk the skywalks of downtown. I normally have to walk several blocks every day between the parking ramp and the office anyway. So to balance it out a little, I have decided to use my Wii fit every other day at home, except on Saturdays when I do my housework. I feel like I get a pretty good workout doing that, with lugging the vacuum up and down two sets of stairs along with everything else that needs to be done.  I look at cleaning in a different light now. It’s not a chore, it’s a workout and when I’m done, I get immediate gratification by having a clean house.  As soon as spring really arrives, I plan to add walks around a lake near home. For now though, I have decided to back off a little during the day at work and actually take a break.

The most frustrating part of last week was the pound I kept floating. One day I was down a pound and the next day I was up. I did that most of the week. I tried not to get too excited about it.  I just kept doing the plan and eventually this Monday, I broke through and dropped 2 pounds.

So far, this feels like something I can do for the long-term to meet my weight loss goal. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s an app for your smart phone. I use it on my Nook. The website is It’s free and that makes it even better.

If any of you have decided to do it, be sure to friend me on the site. I will do my best to help motivate and encourage.

I plan to post a writing blog this weekend.


Weight Loss For Writers – and Everyone Else

Last weekend I made the decision to do something about my weight, again. I have tried weight Loss programs at least three times with real success only once. Right before Christmas, I decided to try one again. I signed up for the on-line version. I lost 3 pounds in two weeks. At the time, I thought anything in the right direction was good. Then came Christmas and New Years and I gained back a pound. Still I thought I could do this. After New Years I just couldn’t get myself into the mindset to make it work and I hated spending the money to use a program on-line knowing that I would have to depend on myself to keep motivated. I think they make it difficult to connect to people on-line so you have to go to the meetings. I started doubting my ability to keep myself motivated.  I know me, I would cheat. I really didn’t want to do the meeting thing either. Never got used to weighing myself in front of other people. Besides I don’t have the time especially since the only meeting place in my area closed and if I wanted to attend, I would have to drive across town to do it. Then the points, could never get the hang of counting them.

Then one day, I was playing around with my Nook. I found an app on there for weight loss. There was also a website and it was free. It’s called It does everything I wanted the other on-line weight loss program site to do but didn’t.

Lose It has a daily food log with a search engine that pulls up any kind of food you could imagine, including restaurants. It also has a place to add your exercise. There are also forums where other members can discuss and share information about their journey toward weight loss. You can also friend those people who will then be there to help motivate you with little messages of encouragement. They also send you badges when you reach certain goals.  And maybe the best part is there are no points. It’s based solely on calories.

It takes about five minutes to sign up and you decide how many pounds you would like to lose a week. You choose from half a pound up to two and it will automatically adjust your calorie level.   I use the app during the day listing what I eat and it tells me what I have left for the rest of the day.  I eat pretty much what I want but I have caught myself making better choices because I want to be able to have dinner at night.

There is one safety valve just in case you go over a little. You just move. There is a huge list of activities you can choose from, including house cleaning and vacuuming, and the one I really like is the Wii fit program. Go burn up a few calories. That adds to the calories you can eat, either giving you more or allowing you to stay under your goal.

Okay, so after my first week, you are probably wondering how I did. This past week included my birthday. We always go out to eat as a family on birthdays so I couldn’t get out of it. I ate my favorite, prime rib. I chose a smaller portion and made better choices with the rest of my meal. I did go over my calorie allotment that day but I didn’t let it sidetrack me. The next day was a new day and I started over.  By the end of the week, I had lost three pounds. My goal was 1 1/2 pounds. I moved everyday, even if it was just a short walk at lunch.

I think this is a great program. If you have been wanting to lose some weight and get fit, I can say that I highly recommend it. If you decide to join, friend me. I truly am a great motivator and will work to keep you on track.

I’ll check in here each week to let you know how it’s going and share some of my secrets along the way.

Until next time,


Lois Greiman – Guest Blog

My guest blogger this week is Lois Greiman. Lois lives a bit further north than me in Minnesota on a small farm. She sold her first book to Avon in 1992. Since then she has sold 22 romances, six mysteries, and the first in her ‘Witches of Mayfair’ series. I am a huge fan of her Chrissy McMullen mysteries and am thrilled to find out she has a new one coming out. Lois has been kind enough to blog about her writing process. Writing is an interesting creative outlet. We all end up with completed projects, eventually but when asked how they do it, they all have their own process.  Lois has been kind enough to share hers today.

Soldering on…and ummm free jewelry!

Okay, I’ll admit it. Writing is difficult. If someone ever tells you, “Hey, you should just write a book, cuz’ that’s easy money,” you pop them in the eye for me, will you? Because seriously, getting published may be the hardest thing I’ll ever do. It took me five years and a couple hundred rejections to sell my first novel. That’s right, a couple HUNDRED. And I don’t take rejection well. It’s not like I go looking for it or anything. But here’s what I’ve learned: Publishers don’t generally come knocking on your door looking for that diamond in the rough (you) who has written that potential best seller (your half written manuscript).

So what’s my secret for writing thirty plus novels? It’s pretty simple really. It’s called the Put Your Butt In The Chair Method. Okay, maybe it’s not quite as simple as it sounds, because, yes, I do realize that there are a lot of things that can be done while your butt is in the proper location. Solitaire, for instance. I know several authors who are addicted to Solitaire. Email. Email’s a bugger. In fact, the entire social network thing can be fatal to that ever-elusive muse. That’s why I don’t believe in her. That’s right. I said it, I don’t believe in the Muse. What I do believe in is butts…and chairs…and butts in chairs. So here’s what I do. Every morning after feeding the horses and going for a run, I brew myself a little tea, chant, “I don’t suck, I don’t suck, I don’t suck,” four hundred times, and settle into my work chair. That’s it. That’s the entirety of my secret. I sit down, I put my fingers on the keyboard and I write something.

Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t write anything good. Nothing noteworthy or hopeful or even remotely creative. But I do write. I have a goal for the day and I meet my goal. Generally, it’s 10 pages of rough draft every twenty-four hours. And when I say rough draft, don’t underestimate the roughness. That first attempt is barely legible. If someone read it, I would, in fact, have to put a gun in my ear. But day after day and week after week it gets written. I don’t edit. I don’t second guess. I don’t whine. (Okay, that last one was a total lie. I whine all the time. But nobody listens anymore so it hardly even counts.) What I do is soldier on…through the terrible dialogue that makes me want to weep for my lack of creativity, past the nonexistent scenery, over the plot holes as big as battle ships…on. And voila, after about forty days of this dogged but totally uninspired soldiering I am rewarded with 400 pages of …drivel. I mean seriously, did you expect it to be good? No. It’s awful. Worse than awful. It’s nonsensical. Because without fail on page 77 I discovered that I hated my hero’s name. Who ever thought the male lead should be called Kismet? I’m obviously deranged. But do I go back and name him something manly and dynamic like…King George? I do not. Do I add the gun on page 83 so that Kismet can shootLeonon page 122. I do not. What do I do? I soldier on. Until finally, after approximately two months of misery I have the backbone of a book. Granted, it’s a weak backbone. It has scoliosis and rickets and some osteoporosis, but it’s still a backbone and once I have that, well…I can move on. I can add flesh and muscle and pigment. I can shape and hone. I can change my poor misbegotten hero’s name for God’s sake.

So there it is. I wish I had something more hopeful for you. I wish I could tell you that if you try these three simple but magical steps the muse will appear in a puff of fairy dust, but that’s not the way it works. Not for me anyway. And if it works for someone else…well, sometimes I’m willing to pop people in the eye on my own behalf.

To celebrate the online release of Uncorked, ( I’m giving away an adorable heart necklace and earrings. If you’d like to throw your name in the hat, please send an email with the word Valentine in the subject line to

Now…what are you waiting for? Go forth and read!

follow loisgreiman on twitter

Thanks Lois, look forward to reading ‘Uncorked’.


Birthdays – Goals – Life

Today was my birthday. Used to get depressed thinking about another year older and no closer to my goals. If I could choose what I really wanted to do with my life, I can tell you it wouldn’t be working in a call center. Before you start feeling too sorry for me, it isn’t like I have been doing it my whole life. I have done many things over the years. Worked at a local grocery store in the gifts and cards area in high school, a one girl office, a purchasing department, three different insurance companies as a commissions clerk, assistant underwriting tech, and  administrative assistant in a wellness center. On top of all that, I was a REALTOR for 15 years. It just about broke my heart to give up being my own boss as a REALTOR to do what I’m doing now but it’s just another chapter in my life.

That said, if I could do anything that I wanted, I would be writing full-time. But you know what they say about people in Hades and well, you know.

As if my writing goal was not enough, I have decided to lose weight and become a little more healthy.  My life is way more sedentary than it used to be. Being a REALTOR  is more  physical than most people think, unless you have assistants, and I didn’t. Besides the usual meeting with buyers and sellers you had to service listings and that meant putting signs in yards and taking them out. This time of year was dreadful. The ground is frozen and it involved a lot of lugging hot water in milk jugs and yanking and pulling on signs and lock box stakes. I don’t miss that. You also had to tour houses every week and that meant rushing through maybe a dozen houses in a short period of time, usually within 2-3 hours and that is a lot of going up and down stairs. I don’t miss that either.

Most days now are spent sitting at a desk moving infrequently. When I am not at work, I spend more time in front of my computer at home, writing and moving infrequently.

So I have decided to add another tab to my blog and write about my adventure in losing weight and getting fit. I will try to post as often as I can about what I am doing and the results. Don’t cringe, I will not share any fat photos. I will share my journey and encourage anyone else out there to join me. I know there have got to be a few writers who are struggling with weight gain too. Feel free to share your secrets and encouragement. I will need it.

Watch for Lois Greiman’s guest blog on the 9th. If you like romance or mystery. She’s got you covered.


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