What’s in Your Office?

I — somewhat — recently rearranged my house. My dining room and office, to be specific. We have a very open floor plan in my house, and quite frankly, I hate it. But I love my cozy little cubby hole in the house. There’s no door, but I’m still isolated from the rest of the house without hiding in my bathroom. Continue reading

The First Click

By Milli Gilbert

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” We hear it all the time, just not in regards to books. Unless you’re an author. Not only do we hear it all the time, we say it all the time. And we mean it quite literally.

Except here’s the problem. A book cover is so much more than just the picture on the front of the book with the book’s title and author on display. It tells a story. The right images, or lack of, gives us a glimpse into what the book is about as much as the blurb on the back and the title. It’s the first line in marketing. Continue reading

Wait, What?

Has it been two months already? It’s my turn again? Wow. Okay. I have something to write. I had a brilliant idea a month ago, and decided, “nah, I don’t need to write this brilliant idea down. I’ll just make sure to write it in the morning.” So the next morning, chaos broke loose in my house, like it always does, because kids and school. And I said, “I’ll get to writing my blog post later.” And then I didn’t. But I remembered what I was going to write about. Continue reading

A Team Sport

No, I’m not talking about the Olympics. I’m talking about collaborative writing.

I honestly never thought I’d write collaboratively. With anyone. Ever. But… in the last few months, I have been. Quiet effectively, actually. Misty Carlisle, one of my best buddies, and I have been on a tear with it. Continue reading

My First Convention

By Milli Gilbert

I recently – like over the weekend recently – had the chance to attend my first “nerd convention” as my husband calls it. It was, and I won’t deny it, but… I can no longer say I’m a closeted nerd. I’ve officially outed myself, and in a big way. Because I had a fantastic time.

Continue reading

Out of Order

by Milli Gilbertout of order

No, not that kind of out of order. The out of order that doesn’t have its ducks all lined up. We’re talking non-linear out of order. This type of order doesn’t mean it’s broken. Just… rearranged.

For some, myself included, I write like a squirrel with ADD. I have all my nuts scattered around in my head, and I need to go dig them up. Sometimes, I find the one labeled “14” first. Sometimes I find the one that says, “The End” or “Epilogue” on it. But most of the time, I find the one labeled, “1” first. I write whatever comes up when I find my nuts. *makes a note to change the analogy to something like a raffle drawing instead, to avoid the euphemistic/dirty pun that just popped up*

I pull the raffle ticket out of the hat. I write the scene. I pull another scene out of the hat, then write that as well. I go through this process on repeat until I’ve written the entire story. Thanks to Scrivener, this method of writing has gotten much easier. I write each scene on its own card, and I can just move the card to get it in the right place. This process will happen several times before I get things in the right order. You can imagine how hard it is for me to write things in order. Sometimes I get two scenes that are back to back in the timeline and were written back to back, but mostly, nothing lines up until I lay them out straight. It’s torture for me to intentionally write the book one scene at a time, in order.

Linear writers are very different from me – and I know because I used to be one of them. I used to write in order because I needed to write what was happening “now” because it was the direct result of what “just happened” or “happened a while ago” and the precursor of what’s going to happen next. I needed to write “now”, not “then” or “next”. And I get that it probably improves productivity, by doing everything together, by having a plan and sticking to it. In all honesty, I have more completed longer works that were written this way than shorter pieces. It is cruel and unusual punishment, to make a linear author write something that is not linear to the story’s current position.

My guess is that a majority of us fall in line somewhere in the middle. Most of the time, I don’t write with any kind of an order decided on, other than maybe a couple key plot points in the story, but even those, I might not write in order.

***

Milli Gilbert is a stay-at-home mom who loves to play with words almost as much as she loves to play with her kids. All of her stories involve romance, and maybe a little bit of mystery. She loves to write about cowboys, shifters, and dragons. And smut. And can usually be found trying to find interesting ways to combine them. She just took off after a cowboy-dragon shifter in search of his one true mate… Don’t worry. She’ll be back. Or you can find her on:Twitter, FacebookGoogle+, and Pinterest, and of course, on her blog, Hairballs of Genius.

Be S.M.A.R.T

By Milli Gilbert

No, really. I know it sounds silly, but… when’s the last time you set a goal? Let’s up the ante a little bit, and ask when’s the last time you actually met a goal you’ve set for yourself?

I know. It’s hard sometimes, especially when life happens. Kids are going crazy, a pipe breaks in the basement or the toilet floods. Maybe the dog is loose, somewhere, in the neighborhood. I get it. There are distractions.

But goals. Be S.M.A.R.T. about them. Continue reading

What a Jerk

by Milli Gilbert

My muse is a two-faced jerk. Well… he’s multi-faceted, I guess, really. I get the impression he’s hot, but I really don’t know. He runs around all the time with a nylon stocking over his head like a bank robber. Kinda makes me think of Lord Voldemort’s creepy face – kinda featureless, but when you see a picture of what the guy really looks like, holy dang!

But he’s still a jerk. He threw this amazing story idea at me when I wanted to be writing something else. I’m on a deadline – one self-imposed by other events I want it ready for, the other by the publisher. Continue reading

Editing is… Tedious by Milli Gilbert

And I hate it. Oh, yes, I do. Especially when the story was so hard for me to write in the first place. I don’t think it had anything to do with it being a paranormal story about shape-shifters. It certainly didn’t have anything to do with it being a romance, or a short story for that matter. The characters were likeable. Both were secretive, even though I knew what their secrets were. But months of writing to get less than eight thousand words of story took it’s toll on me.

Continue reading

Timeless

This is a crazy busy time of year for me – this year in particular. After having emergency surgery in June, my summer got completely screwed up as far as the things we were going to do in the first half of summer. This last half, I’m not quite sure how we got here, but it’s going to go fast. I don’t have but one free weekend all month – and I can’t exactly get out of any of it either. It’s all family stuff. Both of my girls have/had birthdays this week. The adult-sized girl was on the sixth, and the pint-sized one is actually today. Today, she turns the big THREE. And today is the party. At first when I was informed that this was my weekend in the line-up to post, I might have panicked a little.

ACK! I DON’T HAVE TIME! NOT ENOUGH TIME! So I asked around (very little) to see if someone would switch with me. Demi said she would if I needed her to, but then I started thinking about it. Even though I have a million other things to get done for this weekend, I could still do it. What’s a few hundred words after all? I wrote about 300 just a few days ago while chatting online with a couple of friends who were highly distracting. And it only took a few minutes.

So what did I do in the midst of doing the deep clean? Every couple of hours, I grabbed my laptop, and told my husband, “Five minutes. Time me!” and then buried myself in the bathroom for silence.

Trying to find time to write in the chaos of life can be tough. Sometimes, all I can get in are a few minutes at a time. Sometimes, not at all. Writing under any circumstances isn’t exactly easy. Sometimes the words flow like a raging river, sometimes more like a dried up lake bed that hasn’t seen a drop of water in over a hundred years. But… I’m still going to try and find those words in the time that I do find to squeeze in between making lunch for the kids, vacuuming up the spilled frosted flakes, and separating the screaming machines. But sometimes, all it takes is those few minutes. Waiting for the coffee to brew. It’s amazing how many “little moments” there are to hack out a few words on the keyboard. On the bus or train, if you ride the rails so to speak. At the bus stop or train depot while you await your version of the chariot. Sitting in the parking lot waiting for preschool to let out so you can bring your little one home and be bombarded with a million and one questions you don’t have an answer to.

But then there’s Tuesday nights. My NaNo MLs and I meet (almost without exception, except basically the month of June due to varying ailments – both human and transport) at a gamer shop to do nothing but write. Supposedly that’s why we go anyway. We often spend time chatting and giggling and having a fun-fest, and recently, because we’re all trying to lose weight, we go for a walk as well. But while we’re there and focused on the writing, (and gee, look, I’m already over 500 words!) we like to do timed bouts. We go for forty-five minutes, and then talk about it after. If we’re paying attention to the time, we’ll talk for fifteen minutes, and hop right back into another bout. We keep each other motivated, we keep each other honest. And sometimes, we have to say, “Stop that! You’re making the rest of us look like a bunch of lazy bums!”

I would do this on my own, but every time I say I’m going to, I forget to set the alarm, or get bored with it because the entire thing about the bouts that works for me is the competition of it. Or maybe not necessarily the competition, but rather the accountability. The other reason I don’t do them on my own is because I’m home and have two kids who demand my attention. Any time I sit down with the laptop, I feel like I’m in an interrogation cell being grilled by some disgustingly handsome detective. Or an absurdly awful looking one. I’m not sure which would be worse. But I’m off topic now.

Otherwise, even if I don’t end up doing timed bouts online with my NaNo pals (because if someone is on while I’m trying to work on a WIP, I’ll see if they’re up for a bout as well) I do still have my nights. I have some time scheduled in for writing every day. Mostly I take advantage of it. But when the rest of the house is quiet, after everyone else is in bed, I write to my heart’s content. Provided I don’t get distracted by what I like to call research but is really just scrumptious looking men on Pinterest.

But really, there are a lot of different ways to make time to write. Timed bouts with friends online – or alone. Regularly scheduled time. Whenever you can squeeze in a few minutes. Not bad for half an hour, including editing, huh?