Too Much to Do?

5 09 2014

Here’s some great advice to fit the most important things into your days,


Some of the best advice ever for becoming successful.

Making Time for Writing

18 05 2011

I stumbled on a new blog today that has some great tips for writers. Called Literary Crush, it’s by a fellow Vermont College (can’t help plugging my alma mater) grad, Bethany Dellinger.

I particularly enjoyed her Guiding Principles. If you’re struggling to find time to write each day, you’ll want to check these out.

Procrastination Day

9 03 2011

alpsMy overflowing to-do list resembled this mountain to the left. And as new snow piles up on the old, that weight compresses the older snow underneath. (which is how glaciers form–they become hard-packed ice underneath.) I was afraid I’d soon have an avalanche if I didn’t start chipping away at some of that ice that had been forming since the last Ice Age.

So I declared a Procrastination Day. OK, so maybe it sounds more like I planned to spend to spend the day procrastinating. That does sound rather appealing. Instead, I took a whole day and did nothing but complete tasks I’d been procrastinating about doing–some for months, others for much, much longer.

All day long I tackled dreaded phone calls, long overdue emails/letters, chores I despise, and unfinished projects that I’d shoved to the back of the closet or buried in the “someday” pile. At the end of the day, I’d completed 22 items that had been moldering on my to-do list for ages. Wow, did that feel good!

So now I’ve decided to hold Procrastination Day again today. Anyone want to join me?

Think Spring and Goalsetting

7 03 2011

daffodilsThe crocuses (or are they croci?) have popped their colorful heads above ground, the Bradford pears are budding, and the rhododendron are adding a splash of yellow to the side yard. Next will be daffodils. Then I’ll know for sure spring is here.

And with that, I’m looking back over my New Year’s resolutions. Two months have flown by already. I’m still on track for all of my goals, but I’m not progressing as quickly as I’d envisioned. I discovered something along the way, though. I started putting realistic time estimates beside the items on my to-do list each day.

The first time I tried it, the items on my list for that day added up to 46 hours. No wonder I never got through the list. I was exhausted, discouraged, and mentally berating myself for falling short of my goals. So I’ve eased up on myself a bit. Now I only try to squeeze 32 hours of work into a day. Obviously, this is an ongoing project…


9 01 2011

I began a totally new project in December–ghostwriting a romance. I’ve ghostwritten nonfiction, but this is my first attempt at working from someone else’s synopsis. That’s been a challenge.

I find that my brain starts popping out kernels of ideas until I have bowls full of popcorn, but I have to sweep more than half of it in the trash because it doesn’t fit the outline I’ve been given. I’m convinced that my additions would make for a better, stronger story, but they’d take the book in a totally different direction.

I guess writing to a preset outline is good discipline, as is setting aside several hours a day to work on fiction writing, but I wonder if my creative brain will suffer if I constantly ignore its ideas and directives. Any thoughts?

Guilty Pleasures

29 10 2009

journal with penOften writing is an opportunity to free yourself from the chains of the past. To loose the bonds holding you captive, preventing your spirit from soaring. But for me, that freedom always comes with a price tag—guilt. Writing is fun. Losing myself in another world, becoming brave and strong, fearless in the face of danger, is a guilty pleasure. I avoid writing because I enjoy it so much.

When I indulge, my conscience whispers, “Anything that feels this good must be a sin.”

So I put duty before pleasure and crowd out the siren call of the empty page. It’s easier to clean closets or scrub toilets than to pour out my soul on the page. It’s easier to meet deadlines for copyediting or to critique other people’s work than to free my heart. It’s easier to engage in busywork or to cross off items on my to-do list than to let my imagination soar.

Now what’s your excuse?

Want to Channel Past Lives?

3 09 2009

Book Three_The Scorpions StrkieCool cover, huh? Makes you eager to pick up Book 3, doesn’t it? Wonder what it’s about?

Well, if you want to find out, go to:

Written by C.L. Talmadge, this is the third in the series Green Stone of Healing®, a speculative epic that features four generations of strong-willed female characters who inherit a mysterious green gem ultimately revealed to mend broken bones and broken hearts, protect against missiles, and render its wearers undetectable.

And check out the other terrific covers below.

I was lucky enough to snag C.L. Talmadge

for an interview. So you can learn more about her vision, her writing, and the therapy that has allowed her to capture these stories on paper.

Book Two_Fallout So here’s some intimate information on C.L.:

When did you first dream of being a writer and what steps did you take to follow your dream?

I had dreamed of being a writer since about 1966-67, when the mother of my best friend put a Taylor Caldwell novel in my hand and told me, “You can write a book like this.”

After college I decided to become a journalist, just like a lot of other graduates in the mid-1970s, immediately following the Watergate scandal. But I eventually found work on newspapers, magazines, and even a newswire. I honed my skills at writing on deadline. That has been very useful in writing fiction because I know how to write the most possible in between working a “day” job. It helped cure me of “writer’s block,” a luxury you don’t have when your editor is glaring at you just minutes before deadline.

What do you find most challenging about being a writer? What do you love most?

The biggest challenge in writing fiction is to convey the depth of my characters’ feelings. Words are so inadequate when describing the intensity and range of human emotions. That is always my greatest struggle.

The biggest challenge in writing nonfiction is to be as clear, concise, and lucid as possible in laying out my case or making my arguments. Book One_The Vision

What do I love about writing? To me, writing is sort of like breathing. Got to keep on doing it to live. I don’t know if that qualifies as what I love most about writing. It’s much more like an obsession.

In addition to writing, what are your other passions and why?

Healing and politics are my other passions. I regard them as closely connected. Being emotionally and spiritually wounded for so much of my early life, I always had an interest in healing. Western medicine has nothing for anything but physical wounds, and I wanted answers for the non-physical, or metaphysical. So I looked for them for myself, found ones that made sense to me, and they are very much a part of my fiction and nonfiction alike. For politics, I write columns syndicated by North Star Writers Group ( and I blog as StoneScribe (

Candace-large What characters in your books are most like you and why?

Certain characters in my books are me. I mean that most literally. I believe in reincarnation, and I believe I once lived a life as Helen Andros, the first-generation heroine of my series, and another subsequent life as Helen’s granddaughter. As the friend of Helen’s mother says about her in the second book, “She can keep her legs shut, but not her lips.” Ditto for me. Just like Helen, I always have an opinion. Unlike Helen, I have learned to deliver my opinions with a bit more tact these days. Just a bit, however. Don’t want to take this tact thing too far.

What stumbling blocks have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

My major stumbling block to become a fiction writer was my own emotional and spiritual wounds. I spent my early adult years looking for healing and found it in a powerful method called Sunan therapy. I co-authored nonfiction about this approach to healing emotional and spiritual wounds called Hope is in the Garden: Healing Resolution Through Unconditional Love. After 12 years of Sunan therapy on an as-needed basis, the past-life memories that form this series came roaring back to my conscious mind, and I started writing.

What comes first in your writing process? A scene, characters, title? Are you a plotter?

Character comes first, last, and always for me. The first rule for all writers of any kind of fiction: Know thy character(s)! If a writer does not know her characters intimately, she will not know how they will react to meeting the hero or in any other circumstances. Not knowing the characters is the problem behind so many poor movies/novels that are all “high concept” and no substance.

I knew the ending of this story when I first set out to write the series back in 1998. So what plotting I do involves determining what events I am going to include in the books and how to order these events into chapters. I have far too much material in my head ever to use completely.

Where do you get your ideas? And what do you do if your muse decides to take a vacation?

My ideas come from my experiences, both in this lifetime and others. Past lives are a rich source of ideas for novels. I believe that writers like Taylor Caldwell tapped their own past lives for some if not all of their novels, too.

My muse does not dare take a vacation. It has too much deadline training to do that. If I stop writing, it’s because I am having emotional difficulties with the events I am about to put down on paper. I have run into this a number of times because the lives I lived as Helen and her granddaughter were very painful and powerful. Their power has affected me to this day. The pain I resolve through an alternative approach called Sunan therapy (mentioned above). It’s an ongoing process that shapes my life and my writing every day.

Can you tell us a bit about what you’re working on now?

I am finalizing the series’ fourth book, Outcast, for publication on Oct. 1. I am two-thirds of the way through the first draft of the fifth book in my series. Its working title is Treachery.  And I am always churning out weekly political columns and occasional blogs.

Here’s  some exciting news and a special offer from C.L.:

The fourth in the series, Outcast, will be published Oct. 1. Vote for the first book, The Vision, through Sept. 25 and get a free e-book on healing, love, and spirituality. Details at C.L.’s blog:

Thanks so much for joining us today, C.L. The series sounds wonderful. And I’d love to learn more about Sunan therapy. Maybe you could pop back again sometime to enlighten us. I also forgot to ask one important question. Who is the artist of your fab covers?

Readers, you also have an opportunity to win the books. One lucky commenter on C.L.’s blog tour will be getting a set of books. Interested? Why don’t you tell us: do you ever feel as if you are channeling a past life as you write?

I’m Off…

13 07 2009

My itinerary has changed, so I’m off to San Francisco much sooner than I’d planned. Now I must rush around and get ready to take off early Tues. morning. I thought I’d have a lot more time to get things done. Instead, I’ll need to squeeze a ton of chores into a short time span.

Whenever I have lots of time, I get little done. Conversely, when I’m pressed for time, I usually manage to accomplish an almost superhuman amount of work. Hmmm… If there were a way to put myself under practically impossible deadlines every day, would I get all those tasks on my to-do list done? Or would I collapse with a heart attack or stroke?

My procrastination stems from a habit I developed in school. I hated homework, so I avoided it until the last minute. I often did it in the class before it was due. And I never started term papers until after midnight when they were due that morning. I usually studied for tests by going to class a few minutes early and asking one of the studious early birds what questions they thought would be on the test. They were almost always right. And I’d had a refresher on the answers shortly before the test started so I generally aced the exam.

Now that I’m older, you’d think I’d have learned to use time more wisely. My freelance writing life has become rather predictable. I know, for example, that from mid-December to early February, things are slow. But from May to August, it’s hectic. So why did I ignore my own writing during the winter months and plan an extended trip during the busiest months of the year?? And why did I decide to start a new business at the same time? Am I crazy? A glutton for punishment? Or is this my subconscious’s attempt to force me to get a lot of work done? Hmmm… that subconscious may be much trickier than what I thought.