Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

Posts Tagged ‘The Writing Life’

Where Do You Write?

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 25, 2018

“Where do you write?” is a common question for writers during book talks. Readers might imagine us toiling away on an old typewriter in some attic with a tiny window. Or perhaps they see us working on a sleek laptop while enjoying the breeze from a seaside veranda. We could be creating our masterpiece in solitude while viewing a lake and sipping tea on a screened patio as crickets drone in the nearby woods. Or maybe we pound away on our keyboards while drinking coffee at the local Starbucks. Don’t you see folks there working on their laptops and wonder if they are aspiring writers?

My work environment is more mundane. I work at home. I have a dedicated home office. I am surrounded by things I love, such as books and memorabilia and gifts I’ve bought myself to commemorate my published works.

I love my corner desk so much that I don’t ever want to leave this house. As I sit here now, straight ahead is my Dell computer monitor. I use an ergonomic keyboard by Adesso that has saved my wrists. On shelves above, I have writer-related gifts from my kids and others, and a collection of trolls to represent the Trolleks who are the bad guys in my Drift Lords series.

IMG_1290IMG_1297 keyboard2IMG_1294

Looking to my left, down below are lots of drawers. One extension to my desk serves as a printer stand. Above this are my latest plotting notebooks, some books on writing, and proofs for my latest works in print. On the very top are a collection of novelty pens and a train locomotive from a fan painted with the cover from Murder by Manicure. Most treasured behind a glass door are my Flamingo Award from MWA Florida Chapter and a Lifetime Service Award from Florida Romance Writers. Behind these awards is a signed photograph from Star Trek star Jonathan Frakes.

IMG_1291 IMG_1292 IMG_1293

To my right are how-to writing books in the crime fiction field, copies of all my books in various print formats, a jeweled calculator, a world clock, and a pencil holder from Area 51. Flashlights, emergency radios, and portable lanterns stand at the ready on every surface in case we have a power blackout during hurricane season.

IMG_1296 P1020554 (800x600) P1020561 (800x570)

Bored yet? We’re not done! I have a separate mahogany desk for correspondence, and this is where I pay bills and do the household accounts. Above this is a bulletin board and various medals and framed certificates for accolades I have earned.


The closet in this former bedroom had been converted into bookshelves before we moved in and was one reason why we loved the house. The shelves are totally full. Besides my reference books on all subjects and more books on writing, I have a paperweight collection, an onyx chess set, a sword I bought in Spain, and other tchotchkes.

IMG_1303 IMG_1302

The room is completed by three more sets of plastic drawers from office supply stores, mailing supplies, two tall bookcases, and more reference materials.

I spend all day in this room. It’s my home within a home. Can I work elsewhere? I’ll dabble at marketing and revisions when away from home, but I can only create in this environment with silence for company. No background music or coffee house chatter for me. I need quiet.

I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into my work space. Now for those stacks of papers that need filing…. Until next time!


Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Tedious Tasks for Writers

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 29, 2018

Consider these tasks when you feel brain dead or are too tired to think straight. Here’s a list of jobs for writers when you want to be productive without much mental effort.

Tedious Tasks for Writers

• Organize your Internet Bookmarks/Favorites and verify that the links are still active.

• Verify that the links you recommend on your websites are still valid.

• Update mailing lists and remove bounces and unsubscribes.

• Back up your files. Email a copy of your WIP to yourself.

• Go through your online folders and erase old files.

• Delete photographs stored on your computer that you no longer need.

• Convert old file formats to current ones.

• Delete unnecessary messages from your email Inbox and Sent folders.

• Delete old contacts from your address book.

• Unfollow people from Twitter who are no longer following you.

• Sort your Twitter friends into Lists.

• Post reviews of books you’ve read to Goodreads and Amazon.

• Get caught up on listing tax deductible items for your writing expenses.

• Index your blog posts by date and subject so you have a quick reference.

• Read back issues of trade magazines and get caught up reading newsletters.

• Organize your physical book collection.

• Donate books you’ll never read again and don’t want to keep.

• Pare down your digital TBR pile. Are you really going to read all those free downloads?

• Sort through the piles of papers on your desk. Act on them, file them, or throw them out.

Work on blogs like this one.





LAST DAY to enter my contest to win one of five Effy crystal necklaces. ENTER HERE

Posted in Business of Writing, The Writing Life, Writing Tips | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Procrastination is an Art

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on August 15, 2016

If procrastination is an art, than as a writer, I must be at the peak of my career. This summer has challenged my writing goals as I seem to be revising the same books endlessly. No matter how many rounds I do, I always find more words to change. When will it end? Probably when I can’t stand to look at those pages anymore.

And yet, this never-ending revision process serves a purpose. Because once I finish these projects, what’s next? Revise more backlist titles? Embark on the next audiobook journey? Polish up my unpublished mystery? Or actually write something new?

Scary thought, isn’t it? I’ve been revising for so many months now that I’ve almost forgotten the agony of sitting down to a blank page each morning. Or maybe that’s the reason why I keep plugging away at these same books. Never mind the distraction caused by two months of bathroom renovations. That’s over, and so is this excuse. So what is preventing me from buckling down, finishing these projects, and moving on? Sit around too long, and complacency sets in. It gets even harder to budge and turn those mental gears.


Wait, I have to go shopping for new bathroom accessories. We’re running out of wine, and we have to restock our supply. And wouldn’t it be nice to meet a friend for lunch? The home improvement store is calling our names. We need to go look at faucets for our other bathroom and softer lightbulbs for the vanity light.

It’s easy to think up excuses. I need to listen to my own advice and get back to work. What is it you’re saying? I should look at the glistening swimming pool in our backyard? Yes, you’re right. I really need to get more exercise, and doing a few laps would help with weight control. After all, I sit in the chair all day and, that’s bad for the health. What else am I doing at the computer? You know…Facebook, Twitter, looking up cruise excursions, checking my Amazon ratings, writing silly blogs like this one. You writers know how it goes. So will one of you please give me a kick in the pants?


Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.

Enter to win a tote full of goodies for a fun Fall afternoon:



Posted in Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »

Story Dreams

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 5, 2016

Have you ever had a dream that sparks a story? I used to have them more often. A dream is what inspired Circle of Light, my very first published novel. I woke up and didn’t want that science fiction adventure to end. So I wrote the rest of the story and sold the book. It went on to win the HOLT Medallion Award.

Snippets from other scifi dreams have gone into my futuristic romance novels. To date, I’ve written eight books in this genre. But I seem to have lost the ability to have these dreams along the way. And never do I recall having a mystery idea dream like I did last night. Is it because I’m at a juncture in my career and seeking guidance on which way to go?

In dreamland last night, I had an experience that seemed so real, I felt a keen sense of disappointment when I awoke and realized it was merely a dream. I didn’t want to lose the wisps of this place from my mind, so I grabbed a cup of coffee and ran to write it down.

In this ethereal place, my husband and I were strolling along a shopping strip, and I noticed a store we hadn’t been in before. It was a day spa, and since the heroine sleuth in my Bad Hair Day mystery series owns a hair salon and day spa, I thought I’d drop in to see what this one offered.

It wasn’t like any day spa you’ve ever seen. This was more of a Zen-like retreat.


An attractive fortyish woman greeted us when we entered. We posed as prospective members and asked to be shown around. The place had an ultra-modern feel with open spaces and contemporary furnishings. Recessed lighting in high ceilings provided illumination along with wide windows. The polished wood flooring added to a soft ambiance.

Our guide explained that members used private trainers for physical fitness. They would help you devise a series of exercises custom-tailored to your body’s needs. There wasn’t any ugly machinery here.

Massage rooms were available, but that was the only concession to the traditional spa.

A serenity section, bordered off, was filled with water. Jagged white opaque glass pieces floated artistically over this pond to imbue a sense of peace, like at a Japanese rock garden.

rock garden

We saw a wave runner section, where you stood on a room-sized inflatable mattress. It pitched and rolled like on a ship. Our guide explained that this got members accustomed to ship motion so they wouldn’t get seasick on a cruise. As we watched, a fellow dressed in a pirate outfit rode the motion on the blue mat, clearly living out his fantasy.

Another section was for folks working with their personal trainers, practicing yoga or whatever else they were instructed to do. Young men and women worked hard to condition their muscles and control their breathing. We didn’t see any older clients around. Where did they do their cardio? Outside, perhaps?

As we moved along, our guide pointed out a chair where you sit strapped in and your body temperature is lowered to acclimatize you to colder temperatures. This was popular with Floridians who were traveling north. Left alone in the chair, you could freeze to death. I feel my eyes light up and my face brighten. I nudge my husband. “You hear that? A person could freeze to death.” He knew exactly what I meant. Here was how the victim in my next mystery novel would die.

A shop by the front offered a dazzling array of items but nothing that appealed to me. The selections included wine glasses and accessories, New Age crystals and incense, jewelry and tchotchkes from around the globe.

Voices coming from the rear led us through a narrow corridor to a large hall filled with members eating like in a cafeteria. I overheard one fellow say to a friend, “You’d better sit on your towel in the corner like ordered, or you’ll forfeit your passes.” What did this mean? Was it a form of discipline? They had to get passes to leave the premises? Did these people live there?

An undercurrent of something not quite right pierced me before the owner found us and led us back to the front section.

This is great, I am thinking. Somebody can freeze to death in that electric chair. Sounds like a great way to commit murder.

Once a writer, always a writer.

How can I ever think of quitting? Stories are everywhere, waiting for me to pluck them out of the air. They beg to be written and read by the multitude.

This story wouldn’t suit a Bad Hair Day mystery. Marla has already been to an athletic club in Murder by Manicure, and a murder occurs at her day spa in Facials Can Be Fatal. But this would be a neat place to set my other mystery heroine waiting in the wings for her chance at fame. She could go stay at a retreat like this one if I set it in a more isolated location.

spa pool

And then I remember one of my earlier unpublished stories takes place in the exact same type of setting. Could I adapt that mystery to a new series? Possibly.

You know what this means, don’t you? I answered it for myself in the dream. Retirement isn’t an option. As long as I breathe, there are more stories to tell.

Do you ever get story ideas in your dreams?

Contest Alert!
Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners.


Posted in Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Living with a Writer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 1, 2016

My husband and I took a walk on Saturday, since we finally had a break from the rain and cold weather in South Florida.

Plantation Preserve

Our conversation went something like this:

“I finally figured out the murder weapon,” I said. “Now I just have to determine whodunit.”

“Oh, and I thought you were looking at knives on the computer to use on me.”

“No, I found the perfect blade with a special handle. It’ll help lead to the killer’s identity. But I’m not sure how I’ll get there. I have to eliminate each suspect one-by-one to reveal the bad guy.”

“I don’t know how you can do all that. It would give me a headache.”

“Me, too. I haven’t figured out what Marla will do next. Her stepdaughter just had an emergency. We have to get past that, and then….”

And so on. You get the idea. Our imaginations are always active. I tend to zone out at times and have to remind myself to live in the moment. But it’s hard when you’re in the middle of writing a novel to stop thinking about it. We need the momentum to keep going, until the final page where we can write The End. Then it’s like a great burden lifts off our brains…at least until we start revisions.




Contest Alert

Enter to win a mini iPad from Booklover’s Bench in our Anniversary Celebration.

Also, we have a new Facebook Page. Please visit us and Like the page today!


Posted in Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »


Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 19, 2015

You can’t complete a full-length novel without a strict code of self-discipline. Imagine all the distractions we have throughout the day. How can a writer put these aside to focus intently on a book? How can we face a blank page each day, knowing we have to fill in the words? How can we concentrate day after day, month after month, on the same story until it’s done?

It takes immense self-discipline. You can train yourself to do it. First, you must set an attainable goal. Don’t think about the 300 page manuscript you have to complete or the 80,000 minimum word count. Consider how many pages you can reasonably complete each day. Set a daily goal. Determine what time of day is your most creative and set your starting hour. You will complete your pre-writing rituals and get down to business each day…when?

Now consider how many days per week you’ll be able to get this done. Do you want a five-day work week with weekends off? Or do you have a day job, so you have to binge write on weekends? How about allowing for doctor appointments, lunch with friends, and business meetings? Now set a weekly goal.

Use your tabulations from above to figure out your monthly projections. Then set monthly goals.

Beyond all this is the deadline you set for the first draft. Always leave leeway for sick days or vacations or unexpected visitors from out of town. When is your expected completion date?

Keep in mind that these deadlines are somewhat variable. Let’s say you’ve set five pages per day as your attainable goal. One day you might write two pages. Another day you might write seven pages. But your overall goal is twenty-five pages per week. As long as you reach the weekly goal, you’re okay.

Now comes the hard part. You need to practice BICHOK: Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard. You must do this day after day, no matter how tedious it becomes. Progress may seem slow, but even if you complete two pages a day, you’re moving forward. That’s the important thing. Do not stop to revise your work. You can fix it after it’s done. Keep moving ahead.

woman computer

Non-writers don’t realize how hard it is to accomplish these goals. It’s easier to make plans with friends, play on Facebook, or do the household projects you keep putting off. You’d rather do a hundred other things than stick to a writing schedule. But the only way you’ll write that book is through sheer determination. You WILL do it despite temptation.

So set your goals, grit your teeth, and get your butt in the chair. You’re allowed to take an exercise break, but then sit back down and finish your daily goal. When done, you can have the reward of checking your email and social media and going out to have fun. The next day, it starts all over again. Put on those blinders while you write and keep going full-speed ahead. Many people say they want to write a book. Only a true writer at heart will finish one after the other.

What’s your method for getting the work done?

Posted in Business of Writing, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 14 Comments »

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 9, 2014

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Go there, Like my page, then click on Photos. Next click on Albums and then SleuthFest 2014.

“What I Wish Someone Had Told Me” with Spotlight Speaker Hank Phillippi Ryan at SleuthFest 2014


Approach your writing one page at a time. Just do it and follow your dreams. Be ready for the 40,000 word slump. Somewhere in the middle, we all have a slump. “I’m just not sure if I can finish it.” You will if you want to. So how do you get rid of this panicky self-doubt? You don’t, but know that you are not alone. Power your way through your first draft. Just tell the story. You can fix it later. Go word-by-word. Everyone has doubts. But it is never that bad, and it might even be good. So before you crash and burn your manuscript, make a copy. Also remember when you first had the idea for the book and fall in love with your story again. You’ll have renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

Don’t waste time seeking the Holy Grail. There is nothing. There is only your way. If it works for you, that is the right way. If you stall, there is another way. There is always another way.


Get yourself into the real world and put yourself in a community where you can talk to people about the same things. You are not alone. You write alone, but we are all here with each other, and we all have the same goals.

Don’t underestimate how hard it is to take criticism. Listen with an open mind. You don’t have to do it the way they suggest.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? There is no writer’s block. Open your mind to see what’s wrong. Don’t panic. Listen to your inner voice.

Don’t rush. Wait until your book is ready before submitting. Then get ready to be rejected. Every “no” means you are one step closer to a “yes”. Nothing in the world takes the place of persistence.

Be careful of the Internet. Write first. Ask yourself, What is the most important thing for you to do today? Don’t forget to celebrate at every turn. Be happy. We all want more, but be happy with the journey as it’s full of wonders.


Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Electrical Wiring Can Be Hazardous

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on May 14, 2012

It’s been a hectic week at the Cohen household. The fun all started when I was preheating my oven. I heard two or three popping noises in quick succession and then the stove went off. It had tripped the circuit breaker. As I had done when this happened a couple of times before, I switched the circuit breaker back on and put the oven to a lower temperature. My critique group was coming over and I had to bake our meal. However, this time I called the appliance repairman. Something was definitely wrong. Previously, I had called the electrician who did our kitchen renovation but he said it didn’t sound like an electrical problem.

Later that afternoon, the appliance guy comes. He tests the range and says it’s working fine. Now, the entire range is shoved out into the kitchen but is still plugged in. He puts the circuit breaker back on, which he’d turned off while he ran various tests, and I tried to recreate the problem by putting on the oven and a burner. Pop! Pop!

“Fire!” he yells. “Cut the power!” He grabs a glass of water and tosses the liquid into the electrical box in the wall. He’d seen the wiring arc in an actual flame. We retrieve our fire extinguisher from the adjacent laundry room and he sprays inside the hole. Whew. One disaster averted, but I’m still nervous about the house catching on fire if the flames got up inside the wall and reached the roof.

He suggests we call an electrician. Someone (i.e. like our kitchen renovators or the range installer) had spliced aluminum wiring with copper wiring in the wall. “That’s a fire waiting to happen,” the savvy appliance man said. The aluminum has to be replaced with copper.

I call my former electrician, who had worked on the kitchen. He answers the phone himself and sounds reluctant to respond. Says he’ll come over tomorrow. We go to sleep, reassured that we’d recently put in new smoke alarms. I kept my purse and iPad handy in case I had to dash out the door in the middle of the night.

After not hearing from the electrician the next morning, we look in the Yellow Pages and pick out an electrical service that sounds decent and is on the BBB site. They give free estimates. The foreman comes over and gives us the bad news. Not only do we need to replace the wiring behind the stove, but the a/c units are also running aluminum wires from outdoors to the circuit breaker box. Those wires have to be changed. But wait, our house isn’t grounded because of the screwy way someone put the wiring in the panel. Oh, this and that are loose and the whole thing isn’t up to code, not to mention being hazardous. So for $4400, we got an entire new circuit breaker panel and copper wiring the next day.

Another problem came to light. The panel had to be moved, because the a/c people had put their indoor unit partially over the panel cover. That was another no-no. But the panel can’t be moved over sideways because the wires come through fixed pipes. The only option is to cut a new hole into our breakfast room portion of the kitchen and put it there, then patch up the hole.


P1010616 (600x800)

P1010617 (600x800)
As our door was open for much of the day to let in the light (the power was turned off) for the workmen, now we share our house with a happy group of mosquitos.

Next on the list is a painter. And a big picture to cover up the ugly gray panel door facing the kitchen. We still have to wait for the city inspector as we did get a permit (for an extra cost).

Oh, and we had to get our fire extinguisher recharged, so that was another expense.

Haven’t you heard that expression, “When it rains, it pours.” That applies to house repairs.

Our kids came home for Mother’s Day weekend, so I could relax a bit with them, if you call dining out and shopping relaxing. Buying them clothes put a further dent in our budget. Now they’ve left, the house has quieted, and I’m hoping I can get back to writing one of these days.

Don’t you love house repairs?

The moral of the story is: Don’t mess around when it comes to electricity. Get a qualified electrician to evaluate your house’s wiring. And get a permit when required by city ordinances.

Posted in Florida Musings | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Lost Skills

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on April 16, 2012

I’ve been sorting through a box of memorabilia dating back to congratulation cards my parents received when I was born. In the interest of decluttering, I’ve thrown out all greeting cards except the ones from my immediate family, old report cards, menus and certificates that are no longer meaningful.

I’m more hesitant to discard letters. Some are written by me to my parents describing my travels and experiences. Some are letters that my parents wrote to me. And some are from my husband in our early acquaintance days. What a treasure these represent! And what a sad loss to society today that we no longer receive hand-written letters like these.    Letters

Emails and text messages are so much more impersonal, quick paragraphs in abbreviated language that don’t describe events with the depth found in a hand-written letter. A person had to take the time to compose their thoughts, write them neatly in legible script, and mail the letter. These missives had emotional impact sorely lacking in today’s form of communication. One used to find such a letter in the mail and open it with anticipation and joy. Pages of handwriting would unfold, and we could share the scribe’s life albeit vicariously.

In this age, end of the year holiday letters might summarize events in typewritten form that goes out to all the people on a sender’s mailing list. It’s not personal, directed to the receiver. Nor is an email a keeper. Sure, we can print one out, but it lacks the personal touch, the ink on paper, the crinkly feel of a real letter on a piece of pretty stationery. When’s the last time you used old fashioned stationery? Sent a real greeting card? In schools today, cursive writing is no longer being taught. I am sad for this loss. I am sad that we no longer get letters that are worth saving in our time capsule boxes of memorabilia. Writing letters is a lost art, subjugated to the progress of technology. Or maybe it’s just one less thing for our heirs to throw out some day.

Are you a saver of memorabilia or are you a minimalist? Do you miss the days of hand-written letters and personally penned greeting cards?

Posted in The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 21 Comments »

Avoiding Writer Burnout

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 13, 2011

Karen McCullough is the author of eleven published novels in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy. She’s also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. Her most recent releases are MAGIC, MURDER AND MICROCIRCUITS, a paranormal romantic suspense now available in most electronic formats; her Christmas vampire story, A VAMPIRE’S CHRISTMAS CAROL; and A GIFT FOR MURDER, published in hardcover by Five Star/Gale Group Mysteries.

Avoiding Writer Burnout by Karen McCullough                                            Karen book

In a long and varied series of careers, I’ve burnt out of more than one profession. Right out of college I took a job as a social worker. I was too young and naive to realize it was no job for a tender-hearted, workaholic-leaning introvert. I actually lasted three years, which was longer than most people in the agency I worked for remained on the job.

After a return to school for a further degree, I moved into computer programming, which turned out to be a much better fit for me. I worked for a number of different small companies, and they tended to go out of business or be bought out by megaliths, so I changed jobs fairly often. The last time was with a small company under a lot of pressure. Changes in the computer industry were eating away at their niche. They’d had to let people go, with the result that they leaned harder and harder on their remaining staff. My stress level grew with each day. I knew I was burnt out when I realized I was dreaming lines of code. No kidding. Lines of COBOL or Basic would scroll through my dreams.

I’d already started writing short stories on the side, so I moved into doing freelance writing and editing. I was hired by a magazine as an associate editor, but ending up running their newly formed web department. Then a larger publishing conglomerate came calling and lured me to the same job on a bigger scale. Pretty soon I was a corporate bureaucrat managing a bunch of websites with the associated stress and high blood pressure.

All this is just a preamble to my real point and meant only to show that I know what burnout feels like and have some understanding of what leads to it, since I’ve been there more than once.

Most beginning writers laugh at the idea of burnout. They’re so excited to discover the way writing opens up new worlds and to find the satisfaction of creating something completely (dare I say it?) novel and uniquely theirs that it’s hard to imagine it could ever become old, even a burden or a drag.

But authors who’ve been at it a while no longer laugh. As with any activity you do too long and/or too intensely you can become overwhelmed by it. I know of at least two multi-published authors who felt that they’d written all they could and were done with it. I don’t want that to happen to me.

I’m sharing a few things that have helped me in hopes that they might be of use to you, too:

First, and most important, know yourself. Assess your habits, your work style, your motivating factors, etc. Are you the sort of person who needs deadlines to keep you moving and who works well under pressure? Great! If you’re published, your publisher will help you with those deadlines. If not, set your own goals and resolve to stick to them.

But if you tend, as I do, to be a bit too driven at times, be sure to schedule some down time for yourself. That includes days off from writing, too. Yes, I know a lot of authorities will tell you that if you want to be a serious writer you have to write every day. No, you don’t.

You have to have the discipline to write enough to get your story done. You have to keep moving forward with the story you’re working on. If you’re under contract you have to meet your deadlines. But you need to figure out what pace and schedule works best for you.

If three hours a day every single day doesn’t stress you out, fine. Or if setting yourself a word count goal for every day works, so be it.

If those don’t work, don’t beat yourself up over it. Instead figure out what does work for you. Personally, I can’t write every day, but I do write for several hours on Saturdays and Sundays and for an hour or two on days I can manage it.

Still find yourself getting tired of writing, reluctant to face the blank screen or even think about your current work in progress? If you can, give yourself a break from it. Try writing something different. Because I write both mystery and paranormal/fantasy, I like to alternate genres. It helps to keep me fresh when I come back to one after completing a book in the other.

Finally, sometimes you just have to stop and remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. For me, I began writing because it was fun to turn my fantasies into stories to share with others. It satisfed a creative urge that had no other outlet.

If you’re not enjoying the process anymore, stop, back up, and figure out why not. Then change whatever needs to be changed so you can get that feeling back.


Karen invites visitors to check out her home on the Web at and her site for the Market Center Mysteries series,

Posted in Business of Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: