MAY the Force be with You

It’s as good a greeting as any, especially for this nerd. I tried for another pun on May, but this is what I got.  There’s a lot going on, but not much to write about.

Last week’s theme was starting over, and I do feel I have been. I’ve been trying to get used to a new schedule, one that has me waking earlier and hitting the sack earlier too. I’m trying to accommodate other people’s schedules into my own, and it is not easy.

I’m reminded why most people go to a place for a certain amount of time to do their work, then come home. It is a full time job trying to keep up with other people.

So why the Force? The Force is a living thing that flows through universe. It requires balance and attention. Why wouldn’t you want that on your side? I need all the help I can get with this new lifestyle.

Also it has been a little like forcing myself to work on some of these projects. To get up early. To remain consistent in my timing and my communications. It needs a lot more work, but this is where I’m starting:


4 to 6 AM WORK




9 to 11 AM WORK


1 to 2PM WRITE

2 to 4PM EDIT





We shall see how well it actually works. Let me know about some of the ways you’re starting over, or what you have been doing that’s working for you these days. Until next time.


MAYFLOWERS: Starting Over

Remember the old saying?

April showers bring May flowers

It’s been on my mind lately.

What do May flowers bring?




sunset ship boat sea
Photo by Pixabay on

You’re welcome.


The saying has been on my mind because we’ve had a rough month.


It’s as though it’s been raining for six to eight weeks, though the weather here has been glorious.


For the first time, I’ve noticed spring on a daily basis. I’m appreciating the difference, however short, in the seasons where I live. I’m also more aware of what people are doing, or not doing, and interested in people’s lives like I’ve never been before.


Could it be the rain has brought something beautiful out of a yucky situation?


Look around. What do you see that has improved during the past month. What are the benefits of what you have sown before the rain?


MAY DAY: Final Camp Update

Sorry about the late post.

200+ Free May Day & May Images - Pixabay

Well that didn’t go at all as planned.

Final count was just over 30k words, which would have been a more reasonable goal for the month, but oh well. For Camp, you’re even allowed to change your goal, but I feel it’s cheating to change it on the last day.

So I lost…

Events | The Uncommon Geek

…but I was only competing with myself.

I had a lot going on in April.

I tried really hard, and I got a lot of words in spite of not reaching my goal.


I’m told I’m being gracious to myself. I don’t feel that way, but I hope it’s true.

Free Printable May Day Baskets | Skip To My Lou

Also it’s May Day and we’re supposed to be flying streamers and dancing around maypoles. I doubt many people feel like doing that this year, but it’s a good reminder that life moves on with or without us.

I’m celebrating anyway. If nothing else that I’m done with Camp 🙂

I have a couple of thoughts, but I’m not sure what my May goal should be for the blog. Any ideas?




April CAMP NANO Update Weeks 2 & 3: Wait, What?

These past two weeks haven’t gone at all as planned. I’ve had a bunch of things going on and the writing has suffered, but I still have more words than I had at the beginning of the month, even if it’s a complicated setup.


I’ve been writing all over the place instead of being able to focus on a single thing. My novel has suffered since almost none of the words I’ve added have to do with the actual work in progress.

The same things happens every time I write, and every time I write, I have to remember it, but somehow it’s still surprising every time.

I tried to figure out a simple way to do a tedious thing…and thinking I should be able to travel as the crow flies…I had to accept the hard way for whatever reason. It sucked, but I finally did it and it wasn’t so bad.

Having a thing finished is also an accomplishment.

A week of good news and many wins, so it’s all right that life got in the way a bit. Camp Nanowrimo is only one of the important things in my life right now.

I’m going to have to find a new normal, like the rest of us. My routine is about to change  again in the next week or two so you can look forward to hearing about that.

That’s really all I got this week. More of an update than an actual post, but I’m doing my best over here.

Hope you are all safe and well



April CAMP NANO Update 1: All’s Well

I don’t know how many of you needed to see this again, but I certainly did.

It’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in days.

So my first CAMP NANO update is officially:  ONE O’CLOCK AND ALL’S WELL!



Things have been going pretty well, considering. I’ve had some ups and downs this week already…

I thought it had been a long week at 7am on Monday…

but I know everyone is going through their own versions of adjustment to this new world in which we now live.


I’m currently at 15,008 words and going strong. I’ve taken more time off than I anticipated this early in the process, but I also got a good strong start. I think sheltering is helping my writing more than hurting, which I know from Twitter means I’m one of the lucky ones.


man using laptop on table against white background
Photo by Pixabay on

I wanted to inject a little levity into our stay-at-home situation. I also wanted to remind everyone that Anxiety and Anticipation are the same emotion.

We’re all dealing with both right now through the virus crisis, but let’s not forget excitement is part of anticipation too. Whether you’re writing a novel or cleaning out your house, your reactions to all this are valid. It’s ok to be having some fun.

Try to look for the silver linings as much as possible.

I’ve made a lot of new friends online since everyone is on social media so much now. I also had to put myself out there to meet them. Don’t forget this can be a great opportunity for connection albeit different from what we’re used to.

Remember we have so many different ways of communicating in this day and age and we can take advantage of them. Facetime your parents. Send that text or email. Check on a coworker or a friend you haven’t heard from in a while. Just because we have to be socially distant doesn’t mean we have to be disconnected.

inspirational quotes on a planner
Photo by Bich Tran on

CAMP NANO moves into WEEK 2 and I’m ready with bells on. It may not go as I expect, but it will be fine. We all have to remember:

If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. The world will be yours and everything in it…

Rudyard Kipling


Those are my thoughts for the end of week one. Hope you are all well and safe.


Photo by cottonbro on

April (fool’s) 1st

I thought about doing an April Fool’s post, but I’ve never really been a fan of the ‘holiday.’

apricot april beauty blooming
Photo by mahmoud on

I thought maybe what we need today is a little less foolery and a little more hope.


So. Today as I embark on the first day of CAMP NANOWRIMO full of hope to see a novel through to the end of the month, I’m also celebrating and embracing a challenge:

  • MY DAD is doing Camp with me! He inspired today’s post with his comment yesterday, so this one goes out to him.
  • Today I am posting my hope*writers bio on facebook. This is a huge thing for me because I have largely avoided all social media for the last SEVERAL years, and I’m about to introduce myself to a brand new community of online writers. I feel the love and support, but I also have a bit of stage fright. Wish me luck!

As this post might have my largest audience yet, let me take this opportunity to share a message of hope from me to you:

These LYRICS: are imperfect, but I’ve included my favorites :


Love possesses nothing
Nor would it ever be possessed
Love is love sufficient unto love
And you can figure out the rest

For those of you who have children…

They'll come through your womb but not be coming from you
They will be with you, but they do not belong to you
You can give them your love but not your thoughts
For they'll arrive with their own hearts

and lest we forget…

And think not you can direct the course of
Love itself directs the course of love
Believe not God is in your heart, child
But rather you're in the heart of God

…God is Love

I pray the thought gives you peace for the present and hope for the future.




Pandemic Post

I hope this finds everyone well, staying safe and healthy and busy doing the neglected things. My good wishes go out to you all.

This month has been a lesson in things not going as planned. I don’t think I’m alone there. However, good things have come out of this month too, and I’d like to take a moment to celebrate them.

  • I met my March goal for this blog though, of course, it ended up looking different than I planned.
  • I met most of my quarterly goals, which is more encouraging than I can say.
  • I became 100% self-employed. Scary but exciting.

In the midst of this global crisis, good things are still happening.

I’m still writing. I don’t really know what else to do. Life goes on and these books don’t write themselves.

I have an idea I hope you’ll like for April.

As I said in my previous post about the NaNo Life, I’ll be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again this April.


My project is BOOK 3, which is currently about a third written. I began this project back in 2016, plotting it meticulously in PREPTOBER and writing my heart out in that year’s November NaNoWriMo.

The characters, regardless of my efforts, threw out my plan and have insisted on telling their own stories. That is something I didn’t plan and didn’t know how to handle at the time.

Tomorrow I return to writing with abandon…no editing allowed…which is both nightmarish and exhilarating. I never know what’s going to come out when I just sit down to type, and these characters have surprised me more than once.

I think, instead of abandoning the blog this month, I will share some of what I’m doing. Would you like to see fiction samples? See more into the writing process? Something else?

You tell me.  

NaNoLife: Scheduling a Writing Year

I wasn’t planning this yet, but the post about ROUTINE and the current global scenario prompted the topic.

I’ve been working on this system a while (at least 2 years) but this is the first year I planned to put it in practice. So far it’s going swimmingly.

COVID19 is not stopping my writing process.

I needed a system flexible enough to roll with the punches of everyday life, but rigid enough to show me what I needed to be doing any given day.

Here’s how this came to be:

I realized, one day in November many moons ago, I had the ability to sit down every day (or nearly every day) for a MONTH and do a thing.  A focused thing. Namely write a story.

I may have mentioned before this is not AT ALL a strength of mine.


I could do it for a month…

and if  I could do it for 1 month out of the year…

what if I could do it for 3?

what if I could do it for 9?

Let me introduce you to NaNoWriMo, also known as


They’ve been changing things around as of 2019, so even if you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo before,  you might be surprised at some of the new features.

I may be the first one to figure this out, but I doubt it:
NaNoWriMo runs on certain months that are for writing. They emphasize editing and rest in other months throughout the year. I decided to take a leaf from their book and plan my writing, editing, and resting schedule around what they are doing on the website.

Let’s start with the WRITING MONTHS:

APRIL and JULY: CAMP NANOWRIMO This is a spin off of the November writing month, which we’ll get to,  and has a little more flexibility in the word counts. You can set your own goal and winning is easy.  You can even adjust your goal halfway through the process and still win. Camp is a great way to jump into NaNo if you’re a newbie, and a great way to dust off an old work if you’re not. 

Here’s some information about camp:

I use the camps in APRIL and JULY to reorganize or restructure projects I have worked on in the past, probably for another NOVEMBER NaNo. For example, I start a new project in NOVEMBER, leave it alone until MARCH, then start prepping it for the APRIL Camp.


If you’re interested at all, shoot me a line. I’m working on my cabin for April 2020 and there’s still PLENTY of time for you to jump in.

NOVEMBER: NAtionalNOvelWRItingMOnth: 50 thousand words in 30 days.

This is the contest I started back in 2013, but I didn’t win until 2015.

Winning is only completing the 50k words.

You get goodies and discounts, but no publication leg ups or anything like that. You don’t store any of your writing on the site, you just update your word count. The site has all kinds of new features now that I’m looking forward to using this year. Features that track your writing time per day, when you usually write and how many words at a time. I’m really excited to learn more about my writing process.

Next come the BREAK months: so far only DECEMBER.

But, I hear you asking, AUGUST and MAY are after Camps! Why don’t they become break months?

The short answer is because I don’t need them to be. I need a break from writing, sure, but I don’t need a break from my whole process. If I need a break I’ll take it, but a break from writing can also mean an editing month.

Here’s a secret: I often write in December.

I believe I’ve mentioned I’m compelled to write. It’s hard, once your story has been on your mind for a month, to stop thinking about it, but it is necessary to take a break from a project for at least a couple months. The exception would be if I did not finish in NOVEMBER, but that is becoming less of a problem the more times I compete in NaNoWriMo.

That brings us to EDITING MONTHS:

This year MAY is an editing month because I want to be done with BOOK 2 draft by JUNE 30. That makes JUNE an editing month this year as well as prep for Camp in JULY.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY are always touted as NaNoWriMO editing months, but the organization is doing more now to promote that.

AUGUST and SEPTEMBER will also likely be editing months this year as I have two new projects in the works as well as a number of blogs.

PREPTOBER: OCTOBER becomes the month to prep for NaNoWriMo in NOVEMBER. I always start a new project in November, and I always use this month to plan out what I’m going to write about and how to plot it into something resembling a story. I all but write, in other words, flesh out an outline until the day comes…November 1st…


This is by far the most challenging part of my year. Not only do I have Thanksgiving and the holidays to contend with, but I’m starting a new project which is always a challenge. I come up with everything from the very beginning, plot, outline, and development of the characters.

This project really sets the tone for the whole next year.  It’s what I will work on in at least one of the Camps and what will be on my mind for at least the whole year and possibly those that follow.


So, let’s do the year in order:













Thanks for going through this year of planning. Even if writing is not your passion, I hope you’ve found some tips to help your workload, especially working from home.

Blessings and stay safe!


ROUTINE: A (week)Day in my Life

I had a request for the successes with my routine and how it is structured.

man in black suit holding smartphone and sunglasses
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I know, right?

Yes, me.


was asked to write about my routine.

You better believe it! Cause now I have one and it makes my life a lot easier. 

Guess what else? When it gets messed up, I feel it. Like a lot of you this week, I’m facing unanticipated time at home. I was supposed to be traveling. It was supposed to be my vacation week. Instead, I find myself at home struggling with all the feels.

In light of my recent canceled travel, and for those of you who may find yourself at home more than usual, I’ve decided to give you a peek at my routine.

This virus is affecting everyone. My trip has been cancelled and, like many people’s, my routine has been disrupted.  I struggle with creating a new routine from a broken one. I know I’m not alone in this. I also know there are people in the world dealing with bigger problems than we have currently. That’s ok. If this post helps even one person feel better about their unexpected time at home, I’m happy.

silver macbook pro on tabletop
Photo by Andrew Neel on

Very often 24 of my hours are spent at home so I have to break them up into some kind of order. I might as well be in control of that order.  The way I see things.

I can only take partial credit creating this routine. I’ve had a lot of help from an app called The Fabulous. I highly recommend you check it out if you’re in need of a routine. [Let me know if you want to know more about the app, but it’s pretty self explanatory.]  I even recommend the paid version though I’m not getting paid to say that.

You can be assured as soon as I can get paid to say something, I will say it. I’ll also tell you all about it.

Also, remember, I didn’t make this routine in a day, and I don’t follow it perfectly. It’a guideline.

white ring bill alarm clock
Photo by Joseph Redfield on

My Week//Workdays: 4AM to 11PM


Some days it takes a while to wake up as you may imagine. Others, I spring out of bed ready to go. On those mornings it’s nice to have a task to go to with all that energy. Reading the things I have written or am planning to write (notes or outlines) can help propel me into the next hour. A book I’m already reading or something non-fiction can be just as motivating. If I’m not recovering from being alive, I’ll be reading or writing or planning. This first hour is free time for those three things, and I almost always spend them alone. 


I start working on my current writing project. For February it was this blog, and I did ok. For March it’s:

  1. another work of fiction [officially BOOK 3] that needs to be about half written [I do NOT expect to finish it in March but may end up prepping it for April, which is Camp NaNoWriMo]  UPDATE: I’m definitely doing this one for Camp next month. My goal is FIFTY thousand words. I might be insane, but I have a lot of material already to work with. Very excited about it.
  2. my thesis which desperately needs to be completed.
  3. this and two other blogs [you’ll hear about them later].

That’s enough writing projects for me to pick one. I kinda like to alternate one month on just one project and the next month on multiple projects or whatever suits my fancy day to day. The NaNo Life works that way too. I hope that’s a future post…

At some point in this or the next hour I will usually talk to R on the phone.


My editing project for the moment. These go on as long as they need to rather than alternating months. I just finished the second round of edits on my FIRST NOVEL so beta readers could have it. Now I’m proceeding to the next novel [BOOK 2]as of March 1st. I’ll be editing it for a while. I’ve not yet determined how long I need to finish, but I’m planning to be done with first round of edits by the end of June. That’s about the time I’ll pick up FIRST NOVEL again for final edits.

I am trying to get done with as much as possible before April, because that’s a writing month with Camp Nanowrimo, and there’s no editing allowed in writing months (April, July, and November). This is also part of the NaNo Life I plan to write about in the future.


This is social time as well as exercise. I often get caught up on issues in the community, the weather report, and top news of the world all in addition to the physical and mental exercise. I am able to express myself and tell other people about my projects. It’s a place to complain and celebrate the daily little things. I love it.

ROUTINE @ 8:08

  • I FEEL GREAT TODAY 5 MIN [this is a declaration as well as a signal to  transition into work day stuff… so get coffee & notebooks etc. and head for the office//computer]
  • BE GRATEFUL 5 MIN [I rarely have bad days when I stop to acknowledge my gratitude]
  • CREATE A TIMELINE 5 MIN [plan the day]
  • MORNING PAGES TIL 9AM [quick writing I do about my work day and what I’d like to accomplish. could be my feelings about the work and/or a pep talk]


Doing the work I get paid to do.  Depending on the project or the job I’m doing,  it can take a while for me to get settled, then I can focus intensely for a while before I need a break. For reference, I used to be unable to sit still for even fifteen minutes, and now I can do a 25 minute task without breaking focus. That’s a huge leap for me. If I don’t already have a project to work on, I apply for new jobs during this time.

ROUTINE @ 11:11

  • POWER NAP TIL NOON [I also use this time to finish a cleaning job or work on a household project]
  • BREAK//NAP AT NOON [I don’t always sleep, but I do always stop working]


Somewhere in here I will eat for the first time. I’m planning a post on the Intermittent Fasting method in the future too.

 ROUTINE @ 15:15

  • YOGA//WALK 20 MIN [I try to get some kind of movement]


Alternately go back to work to finish early. Depends on the day and my needs. If I need the rest or skipped a noon nap, I might lie down for a while.



Finish. Plan the next day. Whatever needs to be done so I’m finished at 20:02

ROUTINE @ 20:02

  • LET GO 2 MIN 
  • GET INSPIRED 10 MIN [for tomorrow. plan tomorrow. or plan the writing project that’s coming down the list]
  • WRITE TIL 2100 [this is the other dedicated writing time to my current writing project]

EDIT AT 2100

This is the other dedicated editing time for the current project.


ROUTINE @ 22:22

  • READ 20 MIN
  • LIGHTS OUT AT 2300

I’ve got a nineteen hour day going here and I think I’m handling it. Some days are better than others, and not every day goes according to plan. It’s nice to have an outline of the kind of day I want to have so I can get back on track for days things don’t go according to plan.


I’m as stable as I’ve been in years, especially for the season we’re in. I’m doing all the right things and some of the wrong ones, but whatever I’m doing seems to be working. It’s worth a shot, if you’re life is feeling a little out of order, to exert some control over it.

I’ll be getting back to this routine next week. I’m still treating this as a staycation week as much as I can. I’d love to hear your comments or answer any questions you have.

Until then, try to enjoy your time at home, be honest about your feelings, and start creating a routine you love.

remind your life who’s boss.

xxx linsey

PACKING: A 4 Day Process

globe on shelf
Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

I know some of you inwardly groaned at the title. Let me guess the reason:

  1. either you can’t stand the idea of packing for anything, ever

  2. or you think 4 days is way too long to prepare for any adventure.

Maybe both. Some of you can accomplish everything in this post in less time than it takes to read it. If you’re that person, not only do you not need my help, I don’t need help fixing my system. You have permission to stop reading. 

I hope you’re curious enough to stay.

I know one of you is at least AS paralyzed as I am by the thought, much less the activity, of packing for even the shortest trip. You may benefit from this.

Also my mom asked about it.

This just so happens to be the perfect time to write about my packing system because I am planning short term (2 days) and medium term (7 days) trips at the same time. I’m using the system for very different visits and the details are fresh in my mind. 

So now you’re wondering, why 4 days? Am I right?

fashion art camera office
Photo by OVAN on

Let me say first it doesn’t always take me 4 days. I’ve proven to myself I can do it quicker if I need to, but that’s because I have this system in place.

My system is really only 4 steps that can be completed in any amount of time you have.

As I said before, I used to be completely paralyzed by the packing process (it still makes me super anxious). It took hours or days for me to pack for even an overnight trip. I was horribly inefficient.

The problem was this: I couldn’t focus on the task itself (packing) without trying to do all kinds of other related but currently unnecessary jobs instead. Things like:

cleaning my house
waxing my eyebrows
re-organizing all my projects
doing. ALL. the laundry
painting my nails

Usually these things need to get done. Sometimes they need to get done before I leave. They do not need to get done while I am packing, especially not if it’s the day of or day before I’m supposed to leave. Giving myself at least four days cuts down on the distractions from packing, and I am also able to accomplish those other things on my mind before leaving.

Not to mention the fact of my exhaustion from all these extra tasks, anxiety about their various levels of completion, and supreme anxiety about all the things I was invariably forgetting or messing up because I couldn’t keep my mind on the task at hand. I was never sure about taking the right or enough or too many things. I would be sure I had forgotten something important and believe nothing could undo any kind of mistake I made.

See? Even after I’d done the dreaded packing part, my mind would not let it go and call it done. I would chide myself on taking so much time, doing so many unnecessary things, wasting my resources and energy. Pretty heavy stuff, huh?

So basically everything having to do with travel and packing had me an anxious mess of conflicting negative emotions instead of anticipation and excitement or ENJOYMENT of the trip itself. Plus I did usually forget something.

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by VisionPic .net on

I devised this 4-part system that does two things for me:

  1. allows me to focus on only one part of the packing process at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed

  2. allows time to get all those other tasks on my mind taken care of

I’ve recently been reminded that anticipation or excitement and anxiety are really the same emotion. Our thoughts surrounding whatever it is influence how we feel. In other words, I can choose to replace my anxiety with anticipation for the fun I’m going to have and the people I’m going to see or meet. I can choose to keep myself calm about the packing process and direct my anxiety into energy.

Without further ado, here is my 4-part packing system:

PLANNING: (I’ve also called this PREPACKING in the past, so feel free to use that term) This is where I plan what to take, do any laundry I need to do, and plan my dogs’ care: I  make lists and send texts about the dogs and plan my finances.  This is the area that’s seen the most growth, if not improvement. Now I know it’s crucial to my mental health and anxiety level to know ahead of time what is going where and when. I may complete this step up to a week before I leave or longer if I need to plan a longer trip.

I dispensed with the term ‘prepacking’ because I put my PREPACKING list in my bullet journal.

That’s a fancy way of saying I have a list of things I take on every trip and a list of things I might need for this trip.

Here’s my list for EVERY TRIP:









I have a separate list for THIS TRIP:






PACKING 1: Now I have a general outline of what I want to take. If not, or it’s a short trip, the PLANNING happens at this stage. By this time I definitely know WHEN I’m going and WHERE, so I know what kind of weather to expect and what events I’m going to be attending. Ideally, I have a bunch of clean clothes and a list of anything special that’s going with me.  I can go ahead and pack the special outfits/accessories/shoes for those events, any swim or cold weather gear I might need for the climate, and workout/activity clothes. I should know how many outfits I need, including travel outfits, so I can pack the clean things and wash anything that’s not laundered. I can also pack the appropriate amount of underwear, any extra shoes, and my travel toiletries.

TRAVEL TOILETRIES is another area I’ve significantly improved. Basically I have an extra set of everything necessary (toothbrush, deodorant, bodywash, etc.) that I keep in a separate bag and use only for travel. Having the extra toiletries and bag has reduced the anxiety of packing, using, or forgetting these important items by 150% or more. All I have to pack is the toiletry bag, with modifications for flying.

PACKING 2: This is where I pack my reading books and work materials and anything else I don’t need before leaving. I take a reasonable amount of work I can expect to complete, then I usually take a little more as productivity encouragement. Depending on the length of the trip, I take an extra reading book in addition to the one I’m currently reading (which goes in last). Next is all the laundry items that weren’t clean before. If it’s the night before then I can usually pack my medicine and reading book

PACKING 3: This is all the necessaries in the bags, bags zipped, and everything ready to go. It’s bags in the car and things in the house settled. Like the dishwasher loaded and running or empty and the water turned off. Turning on the right lights and the gas off and the alarm on. All these things I have down to DEPARTURE.

That’s it. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. This system has made my life easier and travel more fun, and I’m happy for the opportunity to pass it along.

Happy trails.

woman in blue and brown bikini sitting on brown wooden folding chair on beach
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on


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