Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I bet you all think I'm going to talk about the strong advice not to offer an agent an exclusive of your manuscript, don't you? While that's probably sage advice, or so I've heard, this is another topic entirely.

I am possibly the most mellow person with ODC you will ever meet. I don't get stressed about clutter, I've never once gone back to check that the stove is turned off, I have been known to kiss rather indiscriminantly... I'm not actually terribly picky about much.

But MAN can I get obsessive!

My current obsession is multifaceted and one many of you can probably relate to. I write. And write. And write. I not only write, but am committed to the idea that I'd like to publish one of my books, preferably sooner than later.

And therein, possibly, lies the problem.

There's this wise Wench I know... (the only one of you I actually saw in person yesterday, I'd venture), who on my Blog Slut post  from a few days ago commented that she was TOTALLY behind the idea, but then listed her obligations and asked where she should find the time. She is part owner in a business and a realtor, so her day job is even more demanding than mine, and her husband works full time, which mine isn't at the moment, though he IS still recovering from pneumonia (3 weeks without smoking! Woot woot!)—so her problems are worse than mine.  I tried to answer in a 'within limits' sort of way, but the thought struck home.

I think I was in denial that in my case there WAS a problem.

Not any more. Never let it said that the Tart doesn't grab her problem by the balls *cough *


We should start with my diagnosis of FOMS which any long time reader knows: Fear of Missing Something means I don't do anything half ass. If I am IN, I am IN, because otherwise I might MISS SOMETHING and there is nothing worse than that!!!

The problem though, is I have too many writing related activities I am in fear of missing anything on and it has become a time vacuum.  I'm trying to do everything right, and it DOES take a lot of time.

And it's causing me to neglect some things that can't really bear neglecting: My day job, and my children. I work at work, but I find I am doing it in a distracted way, so I'm not as efficient as I NEED to be. I've got a number of deadlines coming up, and I need to put my nose to the grindstone, so to speak. On Parenting, it is more that I am not doing the extra. My daughter has a tendency to neglect her academics if we don't ride her, but because my husband can get sort of mean about how he rides her and because I am more computer savvy for making sure assignments are in and communicating with her teachers, that is my job. It's not a great job for an optimist who likes to believe her child will just pull out whatever gumption she needs and do what she's supposed to, because it hasn't ACTUALLY seemed to work that way. I need to just do it--no matter how time consuming and distasteful it is. I am also the homework help, and the resource finder when things aren't working.

So where do I get more time for those things? Let's see, how am I currently spending it?

The WiP: I am writing again (thank goodness!) at a reasonable pace—the work is flowing. This is a 'from the bathtub' activity and only interferes with anything when my husband and daughter are fighting over her approach to homework and I feel the resentment boil up that I have to get OUT and intervene, but in fact I can hear neither of them is any longer rationale, so really, that is just what needs to happen.

But PAST WORKS: I've sent LEGACY to first readers (got first feedback from Michelle today--Thank you!!!)—that is a waiting matter and no problem. CONFLUENCE is entered in the Amazon contest, also a waiting matter and not a problem. So why am I suddenly so obsessed with getting ILLUSIONS typed up? You've got me there, but I've been acting like it's urgent: note to self: If I ease up here, there is a little time to lend to the other home stuff. So only type on it on the weekends unless the family and the below networking things are met. At this point, it is NOT urgent.

Blogging: The blogging itself is really only about a 20-30 minute affair. I usually (like now) write it between showering and leaving the house in the morning. Sometimes I save it instead of posting because I don't have time to look for good pictures—a five minute break from work type activity (again, like now), but it's DONE. But I could get sucked into reading and commenting on other people's blogs all day long if I let myself.

SO I AM SETTING A TIME LIMIT: 20 minutes of daytime (work break) and then 40 minutes in the evening if there are no contra-indicators (read: children's sporting events, teacher conferences, etc.)

CHATTING: This is a biggie for a FOMS sufferer. I've been okay with Facebook lately, but I've met some really fun people on the ABNA circuit and actually find myself LOOKING for what they are talking about, trying to find the good conversation.

LIMIT: One mid-day, 10 minute catch up, one half hour catch up in the evening. I've made some friends, but some of them are also blogging or on facebook, and I think that is as much weekday time as I have to give it.

I, the Watery Tart, solemnly swear I will try my best to stick to that schedule on the weekdays, and will do laundry and clean the bathroom before I give way to the writing gods on the weekend...

13 comments: said...

I'm Helena -- the author of the becominglayla blog. I really gotta thank you for leaving an encouraging comment. And I'm really impressed with your blog! No wonder you get so many readers. As far as I know, other than a couple friends I only have one stranger who regularly drops in to have a look. Funny thing is, that one stranger is enough to keep me motivated.
I'll be reading back through your blog when I have time this weekend. I'm especially interested in your take on self-publishing, since that's a route I'll be undergoing in the next few months.
Take care and keep writing.
P.S. I'm also grateful for the ABNA community that you mention. Very new experience for me.

Watery Tart said...

Helena-great to meet you, and WELCOME! Your blog really IS such a fabulous premise!--it reminded me of Julie and Julia, only with interesting activities (can you tell I don't cook?)

If you are curious on building readership, I blogged last week on Being a Blog Slut and think there is definitely some useful stuff there--you have the content thing DOWN, now it is the process of getting your name out there, which means YOU getting out there.

Tonight, in my designated blog reading time, I will go read some of your stuff more closely.

M.J. Nicholls said...

Ah, but the best thing about schedules is breaking them. The best thing about deadlines, too, is the whizzing sound they make as they drift by. :)

Watery Tart said...

Okay, Mr. Devil Spawn, stop dangling temptation in front of my. Your danglage is EVIL!

jenny milchman said...

Wow, it's great you have this broken down like this, Hart, and I wish I could do the same. Right now I feel like great gobs are eaten up by, well, you probably know, and the only times I feel like I really am attending and in-the-moment thoroughly are when I am with my (young) children. Somehow they slow down time and glue me to the spot. But otherwise I am a harried, torn apart mess. I will be checking back to see how your schedule pans out...

Jan Morrison said...

ah, yes. This many things much fatter than container of time problem. I get. use less words to get point across my new thing..and less time looking for thingamagig word correct or placement just throw them all air up see what falls on blank spot thingy.

Liz said...

Wench Weighs In (ahem):
and note that I am a day late here because I was trying to stay OFF blog sluttishness for a day or 2--I break it down like this:
25% to self promoting blogging for beer and for my current obsession with John Mayer and his New Life Goals and blog whoring around (making useful and note-worthy commentary)
25% to actual writing (finding contests I don't have time to enter and dashing off "quickies" for said entries) (SHAMELESS PLUG: OR for naughty minds
25% to editing/polishing current Massive WiP
25% to pretending to notice that I should sell a house and make some money
25% to setting up the Tap Room and managing Annoying and Useless Distributors
25% to noticing the kids need clean clothes and to be fed
25% to Mr. W's needs and finally
5% for exercise. . .
well--gotta run!

Liz said...

And I just got to type the following to prove I am NOT a robot spamming computer:
"Beerbons" NO LIE!
like Bonbons on WAY better!

Liz said...

OH- and sorry I couldn't talk yesterday Tart! Mi casa es su casa.
Trying to sell a condo to a hot new Borders dude (I'm getting a bunch of them 'cause I made the shiny new CEO happy in--I mean with--new penthouse condo!
*salacious wink* off to the tour!

Watery Tart said...

Jenny-at the very least you seem to remember you have childen, which is something I periodically forget, though having a teen and a tween, often that is intentional... Welcome!

Jan-nice way to put it... stuff is fatter than the time container... But I'm a graduate of the Art Gropp School of Packing, so I REALLY ought to be able to get it all in there anyway, yes? What? You mean there really IS too much? Drat! (Art Gropp is my step dad and can fit absurd quantities of stuff into tiny spaces and I learned well--hubby frequently disbelieves, but I PROVE HIM WRONG...)

ET BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! I want one of those days that has 180% of the time!

Beerbons!? Excellent! (I even gave you an interrobang over the matter! Where do I get one! At the pub I worked at in Portland we used to make something called a 'firecracker'--2 ounces of stout and 6 drops of tabasco--drunk as a shot. do you think there is a market for petit beer treats?

Good luck with the condo sales! I know that... erm... special service thing of yours ought to close it!

Liz said...

yes, Hot Borders Executive apparently (heart) The wench. . . but of course they all just rent as one would if one worked for Borders. . .

hope101 said...

Kudos to you for giving yourself a time limit for being on the Net. I'd just break through mine, and then feel guilty for the indulgence, which would fuel more WIP avoidance,... and there you have the root of my problem.

When my writing is going well, you won't see me much on-line. I move to my laptop and become obsessed. When my writing is giving me a headache, it's a whole 'nother story.

Watery Tart said...

Jan-that may be why I'm really glad I do most of my first draft long-hand--when I'm in the tub, I CAN'T get online, and therefore the WiP stares at me more intently.

I'm only having limited success though, with these limits... I INTEND to keep them, but am sure having a rough time!