Scratching out ten more minutes #amwriting #timemanagement #MyWana

Picking up after the A To Z Challenge has meant catching up with life off-line with little time for blogging over

By Albertyanks Albert Jankowski (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AClocks_001.JPG

the past two weeks.  I’m back now, raring to go and I’m going to start with a few lessons I learned on carving out time to get things done.

Lesson 1:  Ten minutes is enough to get something done so use it.

One of the most consistent enduring myths is that 10 minutes just isn’t enough time to get anything done, especially writing. Nah, its not true. You can write or edit a paragraph, crack a challenge, wash the dishes, send off a key e-mail. It may seem like moving a mountain with a spoon, but the more you get used to using those hidden gems, you will see outputs add up and things get done.   Ten times 3 is  half an hour.  I have learned never to let 10 minutes go unused.

Lesson 2:  Rearrange, restructure and renegotiate

My attention-loving diva decided to wake up early (my writing time) to spend more time with mommy.  After too many make-shift solutions that didn’t address the underlying  battle of wills, I restructured and renegotiated morning and mommy time.  I still wake up and write but now I have carved out time to exercise in the morning with my daughter, using the Wii.  Lets Dance can get your blood flowing, tennis and baseball flex those biceps and the diva gets her performance time, with mom populating the audience box.  Look for ways to rearrange things to use time differently, and it may mean working it out with family and friends, but it can be done.

Lesson 3:  Let it go, Don’t worry about it

It isn’t all going to get done. Accept it and move on.  Just chose what you can and can’t live with–turning underwear inside out for lack of laundry, eating take out to cover for the empty fridge, paying the kid next door to mow the lawn, kicking dust bunnies back under the bed, whatever it takes.   Embracing and owning that you can’t do it all, is empowering as all get go.

Lesson 4:  Double dip

Commuting’s my biggest time suck.  So I figured out a way to use it. I turned off the radio and started thinking through characters, solving plot problems, reworking dialogue and writing it all done when I get to work. I let the meditative state of the quiet car open a door for the muse to visit.  When good ole musie takes a vacation,  I still double dip the time.  I exercise, sneaking in a few bicep curls at red lights.

Lesson 5:  Set time limits and stick to them

It is way too easy to get seduced by cyberspace, losing yourself for hours on facebook, twitter, pininterest, blogs and the growing legion of on-line social media.  The clock strikes midnight, no writing done, laundry piled up in several corners,  half empty glasses of tea and yogurt containers scattered around the house. Trick is to give yourself a limit, how much depends on your life and needs and priorities.  For me, I gave myself ten minutes per social media per night, its all I have.  Others need more.  That’s up to you. But when you’re done, turn it off and move on.

How about you. Any suggestions for grabbing some more time, to keep writing, get the tasks of life accomplished and just have fun?

As for me, I’ve got two months of mail waiting for me to sort through it.  Ciao, gotta go sort.

K is for Kathryn (and a few others) #AtoZChallenge

K has quite a few potential kick-ass babes to choose from.

My top choice is Captain Kathryn Janeway, of the starship Voyager, the first female starship captain to star in a Star Trek series.  She was the female role model I wish I had when I was growing up.  A brave and resourceful scientist, she took no crap from anyone and could lock and load with the big boys.   Her character encapsulated the challenges woman leaders face and the benefits they bring to the table.  While Captain Kirk hopped from girlfriend to girlfriend, Captain Janeway, who started out with a fiance back home, nurtured a  love for her crew. Her restricted options for reaching out emotionally and carnally very often formed the underbelly of her loneliness, making her human and a female captain. Her ability to see the crew as a family brought two warring sides together and got them home.

She’s not the only K worthy of consideration. There were quite a few others. Please add to the list.

Kaywinnet Lee Frye or Kaylee, the heart of Serenity. A natural engineer, she keeps the ship running and snags herself the doctor. She’s more sweet than kick-ass, but rules are made to be bent.

Kyra Nerys, the Bajoran Freedom Firefighter, turned Major on Deep Space Nine.  Deeply religious, her spiritual side softened the hard edges honed from life under occupation. She grew to be capable of love, friendship and mercy.

Kara Zor-El, aka Supergirl, who gave superman a feminine counterpart.

And Katniss Everdeen of course. I must admit that when I first published this post, I had left her off.  She is so ubiquitous I missed her.  That’s an interesting little life lesson, don’t you think?  Anyone else who’s so obvious I just had to overlook?

D is for Diana, or should that be Deanna, or Dana?

Help me out on this one. I have three that top my list.  I created a poll to determine the winner, the lady who takes the D. Here are the top three contenders.

Diana Prince, Amazon Princess aka Wonder Woman, is one of the oldest and best known female icons of power.   Created in the 1940s to fight the Nazis, the duration of her popularity speaks volumes for the continuing need to see a woman with super human abilities. Cool factoid:  Our Diana merited the first stand alone cover photo on Ms. Magazine.  The invisible plane and lasso of truth make unique props for any super hero or heroine.

Deanna Troi, Counselor in the stars on SNG. Yes, her psychobabble does shed some doubt on this one, but here is what clinches for me.  In the episode “Thine Own Self,  as part of the exam to become a Bridge Officer, she orders Geordi to his death to save the ship.  What could be more exemplary or more poignant of the courage it takes to wield power.

Dana Scully, the scientist who believes in mind over magic, but always had Mulder’s back, whether she believed him or not.   Intelligent, resilient and she kept showing up no matter how skeptical she felt, that’s science kickass.

Other honorable mentions:

Diana, Goddess of the moon and the hunt, need I say more.

Dayna Mellanby, another Blake 7 babe.  Another factoid.  Josette Simon got this role but Marina Sirtis (Deanna) auditioned for it.  Anyone else who liked this show as much as I did?

C is for Charlotte (Who is this?)

C is Charlotte, the elegant lady spider who saved Wilbur. (I know I am pushing the definition of fantasy here but pushing boundaries is the spice of life. I promise to do it again,)

Kickass is about courage. Real courage doesn’t come from a sword, or a spell or a utility belt but from the skill, perseverance and courage to wield the weapons and assets at your disposal, no matter how small, usually in the face of ridiculous odds. (I am in heavy mood right now).

Charlotte epitomizes all that and more. She spun a web a web like no other and saved her little corner of the world.  In E.B. White’s own words “Underneath her rather bold and cruel exterior, she had a kind heart, and she was to prove loyal and true to the very end.” And that, my friends, is the best definition of a kick ass babe I’ve ever seen.

In case you were hoping to see a few more of the humanoid variant, how about:

  • Cally, the telepath and guerilla fighter in Blake 7.  Many may not know this show, but this typically British low-budget sci fi show got me through grad school.  PBS showed it at midnight, when I got home, from studying usually. Many fond memories.
  • Catwoman cause bad girls count in this hall of fame.
  • Cersei Lannister from the Fire and Ice series. She is badass.
  • Cherry Darling from Planet Terror, who wears a mini gun as a prosthetic leg. Zombies had ripped off the real one. No stopping this lady.

Six Sentence Sunday: What’s Your Passion?

I am continuing the conversation between Jocelyn and Jared at dinner.  At the end of last week’s snippet,  Jocelyn wanted to know the prize if  she guessed Jared’s athletic interests.  Back story reminder: Jocelyn and Jared had their suitcases mixed up and she found a sweat jacket with a soccer team logo.


“You guess my first love, you can choose the prize.”

“A gentleman, I’m impressed. Soccer’s the easy first answer, but it’s neither your first love nor your abiding passion. You sir, are, have been and always will be, a fighter. ”

Jared’s jaw dropped to his ankles.  “Jocelyn Denise Wade, you’re a woman of many surprises.”


Read the other wonderful writers at Six Sentence Sunday.

Alien Home Design

Designed by Frank Lloyd WrightWhen we hitch a ride on a space ship or walk through a dimensional gate, we expect to be transported to exotic new lands, drenched in colors and odors that have me weeping in awe or gagging in disgust.  We want to drown in these new sights and sounds and learn everything about these new “people.” Are they blue or bejeweled?  How many limbs do they have?  Will their body odor switch on a human libido or send it comatose with its toxicity?  How do they reproduce?

Lately, I’ve been obsessing about where they live. How is their relationship with their world mediated (or not) through the built environment?  Do they have to deal with housing  markets?  Maybe because my home got gouged in this on-going, never ending housing crisis, I’ve come to realize just how important home security and design are and what it tells us about our lives and ourselves.

Houses, living spaces, however they are conceived, can be a fun and fabulous tool for world building. So the game for today is to design alien homes or future homes that, tell us something about how people or Martians or even Tribbles live.   Do the homes we build reflect the characters we’ve created to reside in them?

Here’s one of my favorite examples of when it all works–the Tardis, Dr. Who’s time machine/space craft which becomes his only home with the destruction of Gallifrey    The design and decor—a kind of nouveau homeless full of gadgets that one could easily push around in a shopping cart—reek isolation and displacement, like he’s living in his car. It’s a cold, lonely place that’s as incomprehensible and as utterly foreign as he is—no matter how recognizable he and the telephone box of his both initially appear. This is the only place he could live.

Any other examples of homes by their very design reflect a particular character?

Here are a few designs I have been toying with but have not run into—yet of homes that tell us something about worlds.  If anyone has ever used these in a story/book/film etc.. or know of someone who has, please share in the comments.  I would love to read about them.

Multi-dimensional housing

Imagine purposely sharing a house with built-in dimensional gateways that can be opened by the mirrors or light bulbs or specially designed tiles for the floor or some nifty skeleton key.  This might come in handy on:

  • An overcrowded, overbuilt planet desperate for living space
  • A destitute world trying to earn alien currencies (you can rent the same room over and over again)
  • A university world with dorms and classrooms across dimensions as part of their education mission.
  • love to hear your ideas here!

Personal Pods

The Tardis meets Martha Stewart.   These pods offer a small living space that, like the Tardis, doubles as home and transport. Users can pick an interior design or program their own (think blog themes).  They can park in a lot similar to zip cars, and recharge or refuel depending on the energy source of that world.  The downside, you probably could not have more than one buddy over for coffee at a time.  They would be true to size, unlike the Tardis which defies the laws of physics and be useful for:

  • A workaholic planet where family units are not required for survival comes to mind, particularly where labor intensive work is required.
  • An overcrowded world requiring housing that uses space efficiently and inhibits connection and family planning.

Your turn. Any favorite alien houses or ideas you are chomping at the bit to share?

Six Sentence Sunday 3/11

Now, we get to meet Jared, our hero and his reaction to Jocelyn after they have had a little time to get to know each other.

Jared could barely think.  His jeans chafed and tightened, his mouth watered to taste that long, creamy neck, those full, scarlet lips. He ached low in his gut for her, in some hidden place he thought long buried where an emptiness screamed for her to fill it.

He followed Jocelyn to the elevator, drawn by her rose and lime scent. She took his arm, her breast pressing against him, sending heat scorching through his veins. He was going to devour her, slack his thirst with her passion and relish the ripe, honeyed memory that once, he loved a woman.

Read the author wonderful contributions to Six Sentence Sunday here or follow the conversation on twitter at #sixsentence

Kick up your feet and set a spell

Hello and welcome to my journey.  Jump on board for the ride.  I have done many things, lived many places, and I  keep learning the same lesson anew.  Moving forward, grasping life in all its glory and making it your own, is not a list of things to do.  Rather to reach each new step,  achieve each new goal, I have always needed to ask myself  the question who do I need to become.  So here I am, writing, blogging, musing, becoming….