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Welcome to the DebiLyn Smith blog site. If you like what you read here, check out her website at

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A New Years Time Crunch

Every New Year's Day I have a ritual I perform. No, I don't slaughter an animal or drop to my knees in prayer. But you're close if you're thinking that way. My ritual is symbolic in that it makes this addled ADD brain sit and contemplate what I accomplished, messed up or got distracted with my goals in the past year. Then I try to figure out some REALISTIC ways of bettering my program. Maybe I could have applied myself more with getting my anti-cancer message out to the world as intended, maybe I could have listened to my husband's council more often because when he says left, I go right. Not intentionally, but it's the way I'm wired.I should be more structured like he is, more rigid with my time.

I think for people like me, it's about routine and how I schedule my days. It needs to start with an alarm clock because on these dark mornings, I want to stay in bed until 9. A waste of 2 good hours to get before the computer screen and accomplish something.

I need to organize my time at my desk better because the social media aspect of the writing life seems to take over. That means consolidating the Twitter, FaceBook (3 pages!!)e-mail and Pinterest somehow. One message needs to go out to all the followers.I'll have to search for a program that can do that.

I need to make a schedule up and try to stick to it. Like 7-8:30 social media. 9-11 in town for swimming and errands.Lunch. 1-5 writing. Prep dinner. Hot tub with husband.7-10 editing. Or something like that. You can already see how life gets in the way. Hot tubs and town. Of course, none of that will work when we're at the ski cabin. It will go more like 8-9 prep for skiing (breakfast, washing, dressing, listening to weather reports and ski hill chatter about conditions we'll be facing) 9:30-4 ripping up the fresh powder or touring the mountain on special skis that enable us to walk uphill with furry "skins" on them before skiing back down again in the powder still untouched in the out-of-bounds areas. Light snacks from 4-5 before dinner 6-7 and then usually it's entertainment time to mosey to another cabin for laughs or to the lodge for ??? You can see there is a great need for me to set aside more time when I'm on the mountain! Some fun will have to go. The tobogganing? The Thrilling Thursdays with the free appies and prizes? The surprise drop-in guests?

This will be harder than I thought. It's funny that writer's can apply to be secluded for weeks or a month at a time in rustic settings (like log cabins on a  mountain) People pay big money so that they can get away from life buzzing continually around them and get to the task of typing out something the world will want to read. It takes concentration to flip into the story you are creating and an interruption flips you back to reality. You are momentarily puzzled at where you are at before you answer a question about where someone's cell phone is (in MY purse of course) or where his keys are (yes, check MY purse) or a yap with someone on the phone. Flipping back into the story takes less than a minute, but then you have to find where you are and get that stream flowing again. You have to remember what it is you are setting up because every word must work to moving a story forward. A well published author told me this year "You have to be prepared to defend every word," and I have already found that to be true.

So I have plenty of peaceful seclusion, but I still have the ability to let life (like searching for a brie cheese seafood pasta sauce recipe for 2 hours) sidetrack me.

So, I am going to try and let less distractions get in my way this year. Now that my two books are on shelves, it's up to me to see that the buzz around them increases and  keep the momentum going forward while editing my second Mystery to come out in 2014 and writing the book on ADD. What time slot should I pencil that in?

I'm thinking I should simply not go to sleep. That would give me 8 hours of quiet time to produce pages of gibberish I would have to fix in the morning. Sigh.

No, I'm thinking 2014 will be a year of compromise. Same amount of life, yet more writing. With two more children engaged this year, a hip operation for my father back east sending us across Canada, more cancer relays, fundraising for a portable MRI (more on that in a future blog) for the north (including Smithers!) and exercise, my time for writing is going to have to be "whenever possible."

So if you see me hunched over my lap top while in the lounge on the ski hill, or writing notes on a napkin at your home, popping out of the pool to say "aha! That's what that character should do!" please don't label me. It's a New Year's Resolution in action.

The problem is it sounds suspiciously like the exact game-plan I followed in 2013?

But hey, I published not one but two books, got them out to BC through two cross province book tours, two CBC radio interviews, CFTK TV, PG TV the Georgia Strait, countless newspapers and audiences I presented to on top of a trip to Kaui, hiking trips, a wedding in Revelstoke and sixty days of skiing, so maybe the old plan wasn't as bad as I thought?

 I'm thinking a few less days of skiing will be enough change to let me get my balance straightened out.

And now, by looking at the clock, I see I'm off to start the year on the right foot. Time to get dressed and continue my day!
Writing starts in exactly 34 minutes!

Wishing you the ability to find a little more time to challenge yourself in 2014. Happy New Year everyone!

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