Doubling Down

I took a couple of days off work this week.

So I could . . . work.


Because I party hard, y’all.

See, my husband left on Monday to go hunting with some buddies and I had the house to myself. First time overnight separation since the wedding! Woohooo!

I didn’t like it.

But I did figure I should use the extra time to double down on a project I’ve been doing on the side. You know, when I’m not writing for the radio show or managing this blog or doing any of the other million things I’ve been juggling.

Yeah, I needed a couple of completely obligation free days to get some real, solid work done on it. Before it slipped into obscurity.

So I took Monday and Tuesday off. I haven’t done any serious, focused, non-radio-related writing in a while, to be honest. I’ve done five hundred words here and eight hundred there, but most of my days I get between three and four hundred done after I finish at my nine-to-five and before my husband comes home after his nine-to-five.

Thankfully, my nine-to-five is more of a seven-to-three. So I’ve got a gap. Long story.

But what I really needed was a full, uninterrupted day to get a solid chunk of work done. So at 8 AM, I sat down with a cup of tea, my trusty computer, and a few encouraging notes from my writing ladies, and . . . I wrote.

I was kinda shocked. You know how you usually carve out time to do something and then all your inspiration goes out the window and you could care less about whether you get the thing done or not?

That didn’t happen!

I was expecting it to. Just sitting down was nerve-wracking, because I could just feel the words trying to decide whether to show up or flee and leave me to drown my sorrows in tea. But I actually buckled down and—get this—very nearly doubled the size of my project.


I mean, I was pretty close to the beginning still, but four thousand words in one day is nothing to sneeze at. I was pretty excited. I felt like a word ninja. It was awesome.

Then the next day I tried again, and the empty page mocked me and I gave up and had to make dumplings instead, because apparently you can only have one really good writing day at a time. C’est la vie.

What are you working on at the moment? Any special projects? Tell me about them in the comments!

Tea Shops and Antiques

I don’t go into town very often anymore.

Is that weird? I used to drive in every day for work, but since everything has closed down and I’ve moved my entire office to my living room, I’ve been avoiding town. We go in once a week for groceries and such, but my Saturday thrift store marathons are a thing of the past. It’s a long way to drive, I’m busier than I used to be, and, frankly, I like my house.

So why would I leave?

But recently, some of my siblings introduced me to a new shop. The Lewis and Holmes store. Technically, going to this store does not count as going to town, since ‘town’ means somewhere with a gas station and a Walmart and Peyton, my tiny hometown, has neither.

It has a drug store.

And a post office.

That’s about it.

Or so I thought. Just recently, several very cute and very classy little shops have popped up in Peyton.There’s a Mercantile with fabulous raisin pies. And a resale shop called the Barn Out Back. And a Sweet Treats, which I have not gone to yet. I’m assuming it’s a coffee shop.

And then there is the Lewis and Holmes store.

Where I spend all my money.

The Lewis and Holmes store is an antique shop. It’s styled after J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Sherlock Holmes. The owner’s a fan, which instantly made me a fan of her. She sells canes, bowler hats, caps, clothes, pipes, furniture, globes . . . pretty much anything you can think of with that old English style. I love everything there. It’s taken all my willpower to not buy myself a record player. And a pipe. And a $1500 leather bag that is way too expensive for my budget but everything I have always wanted a bag to be.

Fortunately, some of her antiques are cheaper.

But if we’re being honest—because I have a very small house and no room for antiques—I don’t go to her shop for the cool things she sells. They’re fun to look at, but I have another motive.

I go for the tea.

She has her own tea line.

Named after fictional characters.

And guys. It’s the best tea I’ve ever had in my life. I haven’t bought every single kind, but I’m going to soon. I’ve already made up my mind to never buy tea anywhere else. She gives free samples, so every time I go in, I sip on a new kind of tea while I browse through her shop.

So far, I’ve always left with a packet of the tea I sampled. I might fund the existence of this shop all by myself. Just to fuel my tea obsession.

I’m thinking of trying the Moriarty blend next.

I’ll let you know how it comes out.

Do you have a favorite tea shop you frequent? Tell me about it in the comments! 

New Article!

Hey all!

Here’s an article I wrote on how to deal with criticism and feedback like a writing pro. Enjoy!

5 AM Wake-up Call

I was listening to a podcast the other day about a writer. He was talking about his morning routine, and he said that the first thing he does in the morning, before he’s even opened his eyes, is grab a word processor next to his bed and write 100 words. Or 500. Or 1000.

When I heard that, I laughed.

I hope it works for him.

Because I will never do that.

Lately, what with COVID and working from home and stressful things happening in every corner of the world, my mornings have become increasingly important to me. I’ve discovered that I need time to recenter. To give my tired brain a break from constant stress and planning and working.

In other words, I need my morning routine.

Unfortunately, when you’ve got a full-time job, mornings feel scarce and hurried. So, my alarm goes off at 5 AM. Because at 5 AM, the world hasn’t started spinning uncontrollably fast yet. The sky is still dark, the stars are still out, and everything is still.

Except my cat, who has decided that if I am awake, it means I should be feeding her.

We compromise. I let her outside so she can slip about in the darkness and feel sneaky, and I get an hour of peace to spend in my bible and on my yoga mat. Yoga with Adrienne on Youtube has been my go-to lately. Her 25-30 minute videos are calming, challenging, and invigorating, which is basically everything I need in the morning. I might be a complex mixture of sleepy, anxious, grumpy, and scattered when I step on my mat in the morning, but by the time I step off again, I feel centered and ready for another day.

Which is good, because by that time, it’s light out, my husband is up and packing for work, and I have 30 minutes for a shower and a quick breath left before my me-time turns into work-time.

And once work-time starts, I have stories to tell. And plot holes to wrestle with and conquer.

And so, so much thinking to do. Sometimes, my brain hurts.

But before all those things start flying at me, needing attention and solutions and concentration, I have my mornings. Which, to me, will always be worth a 5 AM wake-up call.

What is your favorite morning routine? Tell me about them in the comments!

Who Has Time To Read???

No, really. Who has time to read?

And can I borrow a little bit from you?

I promise to pay it back the next time I have a few spare minutes.

Which will probably be next year sometime.

Actually, I’ve had more time to read lately than I think. I’ve finally finished with wedding planning, I’ve been married for more than a month (!!!!!), things are starting to settle, and life has found a rhythm.

I have afternoons again.

And evenings.

And time in the morning before I start work.

Of course, most of those times are taken up by personal writing, working out, and time with the husband, but I’ve gotten a few pages in here and there. I finally, finally finished Dracula while we were on our honeymoon, and let me tell you, that book had me panicking right up until the very last page.

Not to spoil anything, but I thought Dracula was gonna come after me.

Freaked me out.

But that book has been added to my ‘read’ list, and I’m on to the next classic. Which happens to be Les Miserables. So, I’m going to take my time with it. There’s something extremely comforting about a book so long that you can linger through the pages, enjoying the writing and the story, because you just know it’s going to take you a few months to get all the way through.

At the very least.

In the meantime, I picked up a fantasy novel at the library. My husband and I were on our way to purchase his new car, and I realized I neglected to bring a book. Or my phone. Or writing implements. So I panicked and we stopped at the library, which turned out to be a good decision.

It took us hours to finish at the dealership. I plowed through 150 pages, and read an entire magazine to give my brain a break.

I almost starved too, but that’s another story.

In short, I am venturing into the literary world again. My books aren’t caked in dust anymore, and I can tell you, it’s a relief to be able to find refuge in a book after being much too busy for so long.

I’ve missed them.

What are you reading now? What were your Halloween/Fall picks for this year? Tell me about them in the comments!