I’m Bad at Taking Time Off: Confessions of a Workaholic

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I don’t identify as the classic type-A workaholic/perfectionist personality, but I’m a self professed workaholic. In school, I was the kid who actually used study hall to do homework. I loved the proficiency and having my afternoons and weekends free.

This habit didn’t always carry into my adult life. Before I started freelancing (and eventually transitioned into indie publishing) I’d put in just enough effort at jobs not to be noticed in good or bad light.

Now, I wake up on a morning I was planning to sleep in with a thunderstorm raging outside. I’m annoyed with mother nature and sit down at the computer to work. Then it hits me I finished the first draft of Claiming the Shaman yesterday. It’s now off with my editor for the first rounds of edits. I planned to take today and tomorrow off before starting another book or to work on the cover of the one I just finished. Sitting down this morning annoyed and ready to work I realized that somehow over the last nine years of being a a professional writer first in freelance and then in indie publishing I’ve become a tried and true workaholic. (See this blog as proof. I needed to write something this morning or my routine would be broken. Not working makes me antsy.)

I started freelance (and some ghostwriting) writing when I was 21. A weird set of circumstances brought me to it at a time of need. (That’s a story for another blog.) Then, I got addicted. I mean, I always wrote or had a story running in my head for as long as I can remember. In high school, I thought I’d eventually publish if I could. That was back before indie publishing was what it is now. But life went on and eventually I wrote less and less until I started freelancing.

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Eventually, after years of freelancing it wasn’t enough to write what others wanted me to write. No, I needed to tell my stories. I’ve written under a few different pen names over the years until I found a genre I really loved and didn’t get bored of. I’m a Gemini so bored is my number one enemy. Is that why I’m a workaholic? Maybe. Likely at least partially.

Now, almost everyday I write. I have to. It’s like breathing. In fact, it was my lack of writing over the fall/winter of 2018 that let me know something was indeed wrong with my health. I was always too tired to write. Friends told me it was burnout. Others said I was depressed. They were all wrong, but it wasn’t until my random exhaustion kept me away from the keyboard that I told my doctor about it. I figured with my luck I was probably dying. Morbid? Nah. Practical. Or so I thought. Mostly, I need to quit smoking (something I”m still struggling with) and my vitamin D was super low. I should have guessed given the symptoms, but there was a reason I became a writer and not a doctor.

Recently, I took my last medical dose of vitamin D. I’m feeling better than ever even if I’m still smoking about a pack a week when people piss me off. Why didn’t I go to the doctor sooner? Well, two reasons really. Okay, three: The first, the circumstances that led me to freelancing also left me with a distrust of most doctors. Two: I have an over active imagination. I was sure he was going to tell me I was dying. I had some sort of rare disease eating away at me. Probably related to smoking. The third: I needed to work. I didn’t want to take the time off my schedule to call and make an appointment. Then have to keep the appointment and take a morning off. Then take another morning off for blood work results and a follow up. I probably lost more time by not calling the doctor, but hindsight, you know. Eventually, I did, but not until writing 1k words a day was a problem for me. Yeah, that’s the reason I thought I was dying. Moral of the story is get your vitamin D checked before you need to. lol

Now, I’m starting a daily vitamin and made a few lifestyle changes to assure that’s not going to happen again. But it also made me realize I’m a workaholic. I write most days of the week. I am for 3k+ on those days now that I’m back to myself. I usually end up somewhere between 4.5-6k words a day. I take Tuesdays off for errands, but usually squeeze in some work anyway.

Now, with all of that said: I don’t hate my job. I love what I do. I love sitting down at the keyboard and pouring my heart out into a story. Sure, some days are harder than others. Some scenes more belligerent than others. But at the end of the day, I want to write. I want to write more than I want to play video games or have that extra time to do whatever it is people want me to do. The thing is I probably work about 4-5 hours most days. Even if I worked everyday I’d be working less than a traditional full time position. So, when people tell me I work too much I always roll my eyes. Yes, I’m a workaholic, because I don’t know how to start the day by doing nothing. No, I’m not a workaholic because I work too much.

Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’ll be off writing a few more blogs to schedule so my brain believes I squeezed in a decent word count.



N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon Updates: (August 1-10)

August 1st:

3:07 PM EST

I started Eleven Things I Promised by Catherin Clark. I plan to save it for Dewey’s but was really in the mood to read some YA. I read about ¾ of the book and plan to finish the rest tomorrow. It was slow to start, but the plot picked up about halfway through the book! Can’t wait to finish it tomorrow!

August 2nd:

7:43 AM EST

I feel like I should be writing, but after writing about 1k words I’m still dragging my feet today. I’ve written just over 26k words this week. It’s been a damn good writing week. So, I’m going to finish Eleven Things I Promised and see how I feel afterwards.

8:02 AM EST

I just finished Eleven Things I Promised. It was a decent little read. I think I would have enjoyed it more when I was in high school. Don’t get me wrong I still love YA books, but I feel some of the newish ones I don’t relate to as well.

It’s Day 2 of the challenge and I have my A (For acceptable) in Muggle Studies. (A cover that includes an actual photo element.)

I’m off to a decent start. I’ve been on such a roll with writing that it feels strange not to write more today, but I want to avoid a burnout. So, I think I’m going to read some more. I know Dewey’s doesn’t start until tonight and by reading all day today I might not want to do it tomorrow, but that’s a chance I’ll take. I’m moving onto a book I’ve had for quite some time: Comet’s Tale by Steven D. Wolf with Lynette Padwa.

I’m excited to read this book, because it’s about a rescue dog. I believe it’s based on real events. I just doubled checked and it is based on real events. The book’s about 250ish pages. I think I can get through that today. I’m currently 4 books behind on my Good Reads challenge goal. So, the more reading I squeeze in the better.

4:51 PM EST

I just finished reading Comet’s Tale! It was an incredible book. I’d recommend it to any dog lover!

August 3rd

I blogged this day separately for Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: See the blog post here.

August 4th

After participating in Dewey’s I need a day off from reading. I mostly wrote and watched Sinner on Netflix.

August 5th:

5:07 PM EST

I finished Riverkeep by Martin Stewart. That’s the A of my History of Magic N.E.W.T. (Read a fantasy.)

That’s 4 out of the 9 books I have planned. Since it’s only the 5th of the month I’m not doing too shabby.

August 6th-7th:

No reading. The real world got in the way.


August 8th

8:30 AM EST

I started reading Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee. This is my (A) for Astronomy. (Moon on the cover or anywhere in the title.)

I read the first 50 pages of this book. It’s good so far, but real life and writing are eating up my attention. I’m so close to finishing book 6 of my Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga and it keeps drawing me in. Which is good news for my readers, but bad news for my grades in this readathon.

August 9th:

Real life wouldn’t let me read.

August 10th:

2:27 PM EST

I spent some time reading Outrun the moon today. I haven’t finished it yet.

Grades Achieved

Muggle Studies: A, E, & O.

History of Magic: A

What’s Left?

3 books to fulfill my career. 5 books left for my overall goal.

Reading Stats:

Books Read: 3.25

Days I Read: 6/10.


I’m close to finishing Claiming the Shaman (Book 6 of the Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga) so finishing it will definitely take priority. Then it’ll be cover work and rewrites for me to do. I’m hoping to finish this reading challenge and meet my career goal, but I’m saying I have like a 30% chance of reading all the books.




Writing Help: A plot is a road map (With coffee spilled over some parts.)

Every time Camp NaNo or NaNoWriMo rolls around I hear the pantser vs. plotter debate. I’m mostly a plotter. I’d never finish a novel without a plot. So, maybe I’m a full blown plotter. Most of my friends are pantsers. I’ve watched how others plot their books and they start right from chapter one. I’m more middle of the road than that, but I couldn’t live without some sort of a plot to work from.

Usually, I’ve bounced the story around my brain for quite some time before I ever sit down to write. I’ve zoned out while doing chores around the house or stayed awake playing and replaying scenes in my head tweaking small parts. Then it’s time to sit down and write. At this point I’ll know my main characters and their major conflict. I’ll also know the ending. Then I just need to fill in the gaps.

To start this process I write the first few chapters of the book. This helps me get a grip on my characters and how their personalities will change my ideas. I know some people say we control our characters and others say they lead themselves. Once again, I’m middle of the road. I find that if I start by letting the words flow and the characters just do their own thing in the first few chapters the rest of the book is easier.

After I get to a point where I feel comfortable with them and what the story should be I plot. This point can vary drastically. Sometimes it’s at chapter 4 and sometimes it’s at chapter 12. As a general rule it happens after the true-mates meet in person and respond. I usually know exactly how my guys meet up before I ever write a word of the story.

Now with all of that said I do recommend plotting in one form or another to anyone struggling with writing. It’s a road map. Sometimes knowing what happens takes the stress out of writing. Recently, a very creative and ambitious aspiring writer friend of mine told me having a plot stresses her out, because she feels stuck to it. But not having a plot makes it hard to write too. Yes, she was having one of those days we all know so well.

Yesterday, I killed two characters off. Their deaths weren’t plotted. I was writing a battle scene for the 6th book of my Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga . It changed some other things for the book. Today, I decided not to kill them. Yes, I resurrected them, because I might need one of them for a future book. Other changes stuck, albeit, brought about in other ways now. I still have the draft where they died. I learned a long time ago when a huge unplanned thing happened to save two copies. One for prosperity and one for working on. Later, once my caffeine kicks, I need to rewrite the last third of my plot. I’m okay with that. The changes make the story more exciting and suspenseful.

For me a plot is a roadmap with coffee spilled on it. There’s plenty of room for detours and the stain creates new little interesting places to visit. I haven’t written a single book where I haven’t tweaked my plot at some point. So, the moral of the story is: Don’t be afraid of plots. Unlike characters you’re fully in control of them. If it needs changed – change it!


Family: A Definition

This blog is going to be a little different from most of mine. Usually, I plan them out ahead of time and they set on a to-do list for a while before they see the light of day. This one has been brewing in my mind for years not as a blog, but as a concept.

Readers of my books will know family is something I examine and work with a lot. My Hemlock Wolf Pack Saga circles around the Hemlock Wolf Pack and their struggles to hold a large territory safely together while looking for their true-mates. It’s not always easy and there is a lot of drama that can and does happen. Families aren’t always perfect and I get that.

That’s not the sort of family I want to talk about today. Fiction families are easier to deal with. I assign their traits and give them their complicated back stories. I’m talking about flesh and blood today. That’s what most people mean when they say family. I live in a region where this is supposed to be more important than anything else. You’re supposed to be willing to do anything for your family no matter what they do. I’ve called bullshit before and I’ll do it again, because I know I’m not the only person who deals with this.

Before anyone says but what about X? X is usually cancer, disabilities, mental illness, etc. I’m not talking about things people can’t control. If someone I loved got hurt or cancer or something I’m a ride or die bitch, okay? But there’s a difference between those X arguments and someone who is a constant toxic presence in your life. That family member who’s an addict that refuses to get help and shows up high at 3 AM looking for a place to crash and steals from you when you let them stay. That aunt who puts you down for everything. The parent who always finds fault in everything you do even in your successes. That abusive partner, parent, sibling, grandparent. No, we don’t owe them anything because we share a blood line.

I know there’s a lot of talk about being the bigger person, but that doesn’t mean you continuously put yourself in those situations out of some abstract family obligation. This comes from tribal days where being alone meant certain death in a harsh wilderness. Sure, we still need people, but we can choose not to let those we’re born with drag us down. We don’t owe them our happiness or our sanity.

Family isn’t defined by bloodlines. It’s defined by those who lift us up, call out our bullshit, and want to see us succeed in life. It’s those who are there in our darkest moments and never hold it above our heads. Family is the group of people you can’t wait to tell good news to. It’s those you want to see win and they want they same for you. Keep those people in your life and never live down to a toxic person just because you happen to be related.


Dewey’s Wrap Up

To keep this blog simple, I’ll be tracking my reading as I go. As well as any puttering around the house I do. I’m not aiming for any huge number of pages, hours, or books read. I’m just tracking to see how much I actually read.

3:48AM: I beat my alarm up by almost an hour this morning. I’m tired and groggy, but excited to start reading when my brain catches up.

4:00 AM: Started my normal morning routine. Popped in a piece of nicotine gum. (Yes, I fell of the wagon. Now I’m back on it with the gum.) Checked Amazon for updates on my book sales and turned on the episode of the Sinner I left off on. I’m starving this morning but have to wait until after my gum for breakfast. ☹

4:45 AM: Had breakfast. I’m moving a little quicker than I do most mornings, because I’m excited to do nothing except read all day.

5:10 AM: Started reading Willow Trees Don’t Weep by Fadia Faqir

5:52 AM: I’m 69 pages into this book and it has the song Xanadu stuck in my head. I had to move around for a bit to shake the sleep off my joints.

7:09 AM: I’m on page 229. I’m almost finished with my first book of the day, but I need to move around a bit. I’m ready for a snack but holding off just a bit longer. Quitting smoking makes me want to eat the house. Lol

7:23 AM: I just finished my first book of the day. I thought I’d finish at 7. I’m only 23 minutes later than I thought. Lol I’m off to grab a quick shower and a snack!

8:47 AM: That took longer than I thought. Lol Anyway, I’m starting my second book of the day: RiverKeep by Martin Stewart. This one’s a fantasy and will fulfill my A requirement for History of Magic for the N.E.W.T.s Readathon.  

9:46 AM: I’m on page 106, but my brain is starting to slow down from all the reading. I’m going to play some games on my phone and watch some Youtube videos for a while.

11:55AM: Somewhere along the line I started reading again and forgot to jot down the time. I’m on page 326. I have about a quarter of the book left to read, but it’s time to order lunch. Depending on how long it takes to get here I might finish the book while I wait.

2:07 PM: I’m on page 344. I still have a bit of the book left to read, but I think my brain’s had all it’s going to handle of reading for the day. Just over 600 pages isn’t too shabby for me. 😛 If I get a second wind before I head to bed I’ll read some more, but if it not I’m happy with they way today turned out.


Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: One book finished!

I’ve only been up a little less than 4 hours and have finished my first book of the day: Willow Trees Don’t Weep by Fadia Faqir. I really enjoyed unraveling the mystery of where the main character’s father was.


I’m using today to get a better jump start on my N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon books too. As of right now I have my O in Muggle Studies. Since, I’m studying to be a writer/journalist in the Wizarding world I only needed an A, but was in the mood to go above and beyond.

I’m off to grab a shower and a snack. Happy reading!


Good Morning! Happy Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

Happy Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon!

Back in April I participated in this particular readathon for the first time. I had a lot of fun and couldn’t wait for it to circle back around. Recently I’ve been off to bed before 8PM (I live in EST) so for it starts now. I woke up about 4:00 this morning. I’m not aiming for any certain goals today page, time or book wise. I’m just looking forward to chilling out and getting some reading done. I read 2 books yesterday, though. So, we’ll see how today goes.

When I first made my TBR list for Dewey’s this time I had planned to start the day with Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark, but I read that on the first and second, because I couldn’t wait any longer.

So today I’ll be starting with Willow Trees Don’t Weep by Fadia Faqir. It’s the last book I need for my O in Muggle Studies (O: Read a book written by a person of color.) for the N.E.W.T.s readathon this month!

I’ll check in soon! Happy reading!