Writing vs. Life

Do you set goals? For your job? For writing? For health?


Well, I have done that for many years. In the past I wrote about strategies to help with goal setting and carrying out the actions to meet those goals for this blog.

Those of you have publishers get your writing goals set by them. Those of us who are Indie Published, set our own goals. Or maybe you don’t. 😊 I’ve always had a date I was shooting for when I planned to release a book. (I pretty much need to have a deadline on almost anything I want to be sure to do—otherwise it just doesn’t get done.)

For the last several years I’ve published one book a year. Not nearly as many as some of you. Perhaps not as often as my readers would like either, but that schedule has worked for me. The goal for 2018 was to release Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL. I started writing it last year, but really struggled with the story.

Lone Star Love 200x300

Then I put it away to write the short story, “the Colonel & Her Major” for my writing chapter’s anthology in honor of our 35th Anniversary. Now it was only a 3500-word short story, but I’d never written a short story before. I discovered it had to be a romance and not a romantic suspense, which I write, because I couldn’t work the suspense into the limited words. So besides never writing a short story before, I’d never written a story with only romance before. So, it took a lot longer than you’d think for such a short piece. I just barely made the deadline. But I did make that deadline. 😊

Anyway, all of that pushed the book into the beginning of this year. The story is set in Wichita Falls, TX, where my husband and I went to college and where we have family living. One of our visits in the spring helped me with the setting. I plugged away until I now have about 35 thousand words. I know. Nothing on a 70-80 K book.

Then we got into the situation where we were selling our 75-year-old church building and buying a new (to us) one. Bob was the lead lawyer on this project and it’s almost complete. We are Presbyterians, and we operate from committees. We have a Session that’s the governing board, on which I sit, and then lots of committees. Well, I’ve taken on the role of the chair of the Relocation Central Commission. We have six committees working on various aspects of the move. It will take a lot of time, but it’s such important work, and I have the skills to do this job. Not everyone does.

IMG_5437 Current church, built for 1500 membership. Like so many main-line churches, our numbers have dropped to about 400.

That is not to say I’m doing this on my own. We have an awesome group on the central commission and people jumped at the chance to serve on the six committees. But I’ve taught meeting leading and chaired or been president of lots of different groups and organizations over the years. This process started several year ago when out of the blue a development company approached us saying they wanted to buy the building. Thus, began five years of wandering in the desert so to speak as deal after deal fell through. At any rate we’re a go now and have about three to four months of intensive work to make the move happen.

IMG_7683 Inside of new facility, a bit of a fixer-upper. 🙂

I gave myself permission to move the deadline for the release of ACT OF SURVIVAL from early fall to late December to even maybe early next year. I write best when I have big chunks of time to dig in. That just didn’t seem like it would happen over the next several months. I will eventually finish writing this book, get it edited, formatted and released. But likely it won’t be in 2018.

The three books in the series are:


Have you ever had to push your deadlines? How do you feel about doing that? What kinds of things made you push the deadline? As a reader, how important is seeing a book from your favorite author yearly or more often? Love to hear from you.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Hi Marsha, Staying flexible is key. Some books flow easily while others require a longer birthing period. Best of luck with Act of Survival. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Joanne. Loved your wording of a “longer birthing period.” That’s certainly the case with this one. LOL Of course, one of the things different about this book, is I have none sitting in the wings. I guess up until the book before, I always had a book I’d already written that needed polishing. Now there’s no back list. Interesting since writing this, I’ve actually been able to ping out some words. Maybe I just needed to get off my own back about the book. Thanks for stopping by and for sharing. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    Wow, sounds like your plate is very full, and good for you to be flexible with your deadlines.

    Until last year I was a stickler for deadlines, and then life happened. Between family health issues and other complications writing lost its priority status and now it has been over a year since I published a novel–although I have managed to get out one of my short story collections, but it is under 25,000 words.

    The key, I found, is to stay flexible, and open, so when there is a window of opportunity, and the muse is feeling friendly, new words happen.

    I now have two novels in the final editing stages (whewf!) one of which was originally scheduled for a December 2017 release and the other for an April 2018 release.
    Life happens. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Oh, Kathryn, you make me feel so much better about all of this. I had noticed you had new books coming out close together, but I didn’t realize I’d missed a year of new book. Maybe because of your shorter cat books. And yes, life just does happen. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Penni Askew says:

    Have you tried Scrivener? I have one friend who writes most of her books on her phone using Scrivener. She edits on her computer, but she can get the words down during the day when she’s at her day job…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Penni. I know folks who use Scrivener, I’ve just always seen the learning curve as being so tall as to defeat me and take too much time. But as I said, I know folks who swear by it. We’ll see. I need to write in short time periods. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  4. Marsha, I totally agree with Kat on staying flexible. I have no choice. The higher paying non fiction must have the priority. I get what you were saying about the difficulty of writing short. I had those same struggles. Look forward to your next book.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, McKenna. Yes, I need to learn how to jump on those thirty minutes to crank out words. Don’t know that I’ll ever do another short story. LOL So tough. I really admire authors who do that. Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Vicki says:

    Sometimes, stuff happens. I just don’t even try to write when traveling for the company conference, etc. Days are long and exhausting. I also don’t write on weekends as those days are when I hang with Handsome.

    I love writing short. Marilyn Baxter offers a great class on writing short stories. She taught us how to write one by looking at a picture and saying “what if?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Vicki. I can usually write some on Saturdays. My husband goes to work then, too. Love the idea of looking at a picture and asking, “what if?” Never used that process with a picture, but have with locations. Thanks for stopping by and keep on cranking out your shorter pieces. There is such a hunger for those. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Your new church looks lovely, Marsha, they’re lucky to have you! Congrats on the new anthology, did you find a new interest in writing romance from your experience?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha R. West says:

      Hey, Jacqui. Thanks. It’s very warm and welcoming and that’s before we do any redecorating. It’s an exciting time for sure. And how often does this kind of thing come along? Not often. I’ll get back to the writing, but I kind of had to go public on this, to give myself permission to do this. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

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