In a perfect world, I begin my writing day after eight hours of sleep, a large cup of my favorite coffee, a clear idea of my story, a perfect outline, and an uninterrupted day.

It’s not a perfect world, but you already knew that. The overwhelming reason why my perfect writing day went out the window (or down the toilet) had everything to do with the world around me. I don’t want to enumerate anything. It’s too depressing.

It’s been difficult to write since March. My focus seems to be everywhere but on the page. Are the kids all right? Jeez, I yearn to hug and kiss my son and daughter-in-law in Boston. But, travel is out of the question for now. I’d be glad to say it’s procrastination, but it’s not. And I still have deadlines to meet. I usually have my work done well before the due date. But now I look at the page, I read the words I’ve put down. I know they need some emotion, introspection but… well, it’s not there. Maybe tomorrow.

Book blogs and writing seminars stress that writing every day is key to sharpening your craft. I understand the rationale. Every day you don’t write makes it easier to not write tomorrow. My point is I try to write, but the more I try, the more difficult it is to focus. My mind wonders, I get caught up in social media, I visit the kitchen, or I just nod off. There is no sense sitting at my desk. I’m not accomplishing anything but watching my deadline loom closer without any progress, which creates more stress.

I needed to figure out how I could help myself. Determined to move forward, I made a large glass of lemon iced tea then sat down to put something on paper. I came up with 5 action items and found that each one helped.

#1 READ

After a few days of not writing I found the intimacy I had with my story and characters was gone. I decided to read my work from the beginning and get back into my character’s head. In truth, after I finish a first draft I usually step away from the story for a few days to get some distance. That way when I edit the story it’s with a fresh eye. Here I read from the beginning to ignite the fire that made me write the story in the first place. I was on my way.

#2 OUTLINE

I outline all my projects to keep my direction and stay organized. After I read the story (#1 above) I was working on, I found things that need to be added, deleted or moved around. I also realized I needed to get a bit more information. Rather than put off research, I add comments noting what’s needed, Ready to do my research, I look forward to getting excited and finding a burst of energy. It worked. I like the story so far (I will hate it when I get to the middle, but that’s what editing is for) to go on.

#3 WRITE

Now, I was ready to write. I began by tackling the notes I made. This didn’t require massive changes, but there was enough. With my head back in the story, I was ready to move the story forward. I still wrote in short spurts but I felt a sense of accomplishment. Several short spurts were better than none.

#4 WORD COUNT

I keep my daily project word count on an Excel spreadsheet. I calculate when I want the book finished and polished and estimate how long the story will be. I take family time and vacations into consideration. From there it is a simple math calculation, number of total words divided by the number of writing days. I enjoy working toward short goals and I try to be realistic. There was no way I would be writing my usual amount of daily words right away, so I started with a lower than usual daily count and gradually increased my goal.

#5 REST

Sometimes, no matter how much you plan or how diligent you are, your body tells you to stop. I realized that when I found myself asleep at my desk. That was not a pretty sight. Pushing myself was not going to help me produce a good story. So I put a nap into my schedule. The short rest did wonders. I woke refreshed and eager to write.

BONUS

One other thing you can do is keep a journal. Think of it as research for writing under difficult circumstances. Note down how you feel and record how others respond around you.

If you can’t sit at your computer or pick up a pen, think about recording your story ideas on your cell phone. Plot out your story and when you’re ready to write, it will be there.

I hope you, your family, and friends are healthy and please, stay safe.

Oh, I did make my deadline. My story is the third and final book in a trilogy, Donald: Sons of Sagamore part of the Pirates of Britannia Connected World. It is currently in pre-order with release October 28.

He surrendered his heart and would give his life for her to succeed.

Andrea Ricard, an inquisitive scholar of antiquities travels with her uncle to help him with his trade business. When she finds her mother’s family name on a piece of a map associated with the location of a rare relic, she is compelled to find it. Nothing will get in her way to unearth its secrets.

Donald MacDougall Tyler Eden has enjoyed a carefree life, but over the last year he has found satisfaction working with his brother Hugh, who has a successful investment business. He has forged a close relationship with one of their business partners, Andrea’s uncle. On a visit to Hugh, Donald meets Andrea and is smitten. When Andrea finds that an antique in Hugh’s collection contains another piece to her mysterious map she is more determined than ever to find the relic. Donald is drawn into her adventure and volunteers to accompany her on her quest.

Andrea has only told Donald half-truths for fear he would not join her. The relic is surrounded by mystery and prophecy. A disgraced soldier with hopes of repairing his relationship with the king has found out about the relic and is just as determined as Andrea to secure it for himself.

Andrea and Donald’s belief in what’s right as well as each other will be tested on a journey filled with adventure and hardships as they race across the vineyards of the Champagne region in France, up the east coast of England to an ancient church in Bamburgh.

Can Andrea and her MacDougall warrior resolve the mystery, face the prophecy, vanquish the villain… and find their happily ever after.

Pre- Order Link Amazon KU http://bit.ly/Donald-SonsofSagamore

Here are Donald’s brothers!

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