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  • Writer's pictureElaine Marie Carnegie

When Life Happens

Isn't she beautiful? That is my sweet Mama. Eighty-Three years old, widowed and in excellent health with a mind of her own. She left this hospital bed and after recuperation, went on a Ski trip to Colorado with my brother's family and then toured Canada for another month. I'm so proud of her. I come from good stock!

Today, I’d like to discuss life events and distractions when you write as a profession, and how to find your space. First, most people don't take you seriously unless you are already famous.

People will ask you the most outlandish questions because there is a stereotypical image of a "writer." If you are a writer you have heard them all by now, so I won't waste our time repeating them. It is a distraction. Time is a precious commodity, and irreplaceable.

Many life events are distracting...

When you work from home, the temptation to throw your hair up in a bun every day and work in your PJ’s is tremendous, but it's not good for you. I suffered from depression on some level during the first year I worked from home. I love what I do, I am passionate about it and I think sleep is a grievous waste of time. (JK...a little) I found myself driven. Finally, there was time to accomplish all of the things I had ever wanted to do. I continued setting steeper and steeper goals until I realized my productivity was slipping... Time to regroup!

I try to hold myself accountable for my habits today. Self-care is important when you work from home. So... ideally, I now spend the first hour I am awake, getting ready for my day. A glass of lemon water before coffee. A real breakfast, vitamins, a walk (weather permitting) and I get dressed, make my bed and put my house in order. One hour... Only then do I start my workday.

In addition, I get out and do something besides buy groceries; once a week. Within six weeks, the difference was amazing! This was a life event distraction, I had never practiced my craft strictly from home and it took a little while to find my center.

My greatest battle is that my brain has a mind of its own... It will misbehave all day if I allow it: From a FaceBook post on some archaeological discovery that grabs my attention in far-flung Tanzania. (Read it) Then, I have to look up Tanzania and see where it is and what it's like... Oh! They export Coffee. I love coffee. I wonder what kind it is and how it grows? (Look it up) Maybe I can use that in Chapter Two... How do they harvest coffee now? (Look it up) Then an hour later... on to Twitter, etc., etc. If I allow it.

To be prosperous, we must be active in social media today, and I love it. There are some extremely talented people in the world with great minds and big hearts. Shout out to my FB and Twitter Communities. I have learned so much from so many. I am grateful.

However, I limit myself and I interact, speak with and learn from those wonderful communities, within a limited amount of time. If I choose to waste time chasing mice down rabbit holes, then I have lost productivity and a chance to connect with other authors and writers. I have learned to save those excursions for free time. Necessary distractions will take over your life if you let them. Discipline.

The beautiful lady in this picture is my sweet mother. We recently spent a week and a half at St. Luke’s Hospital/Houston. (She will probably kill me for this post)

Before: I was busy, working hard and bringing everything up in my new social media platform, including my website and my Author’s page... on schedule and on a roll! My manuscript was with Beta’s and I was working on edits for the final copy when I got the call. I met my brother at the hospital and as I can work from anywhere. I stayed with Mama.

After: Did I get any work done... No. Do I feel bad about it... No. Am I caught up yet? No. My best intentions to blog three times a week seem to be following the old adage... “The streets to ... well, you know... Maybe it was a little optimistic of me. My deadlines will have to be extended, but my conscience is clear. My mom’s sweet smile and the fact she knows with her entire being she can always count on us... is important to me. She is, after all, my biggest fan.

There is a difference in the daily distractions and distractions of real life. I had ample time to work and everything I needed, but my focus was not on work. There was so much I needed to accomplish but I had something more important to do. I love my mother. She was worried and sick... I was just worried sick. (We’re almost to the other side of that now with a happy ending!) No Regrets!

For Writers... The moral of this story is that each of us is individual and unique. As much as I would like to have the magic formula to give you... it does not exist. What works for me will not work as well for you and vice-versa. We live and breathe outside the box, our minds and hearts work differently. You must discover the art of living while you write and writing while you live... for yourself.

Sometimes the two are grossly incompatible. Some days you just can’t get it done... The muses are sleeping. Then there are those glorious days when the writing is fluid and perfect... amazingly the words flow from the images in your mind to your heart and outward until they magically arc from your fingertips onto the page... What magnificent days those are!

Never quit! Write every day!

“Whenever I have endured or accomplished some difficult task -- such as watching television, going out socially or sleeping -- I always look forward to rewarding myself with the small pleasure of getting back to my typewriter and writing something.” ― Isaac Asimov

Many of you will recognize a kindred spirit in this quote... Till Next Time!

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