Of course, first I scrubbed the kitchen sink, did a load of laundry, sent belated birthday cards, and read a “Be Kind to your Kidneys” article. All essential stuff – when you’re supposed to be writing your current book…

YakIs it ‘Yak Shaving’ again? For those of you who weren’t there: ‘Yak Shaving’ is when you find yourself doing something as irrelevant as shaving a yak (don’t ask!), instead of the goal you set out to accomplish. MIT student Carlin Vieri invented the term and blogger Seth Gordon, explained, “the seemingly unrelated, endless series of small tasks that have to be completed before the next step in a project can move forward.” Hmmm.

Don’t get me wrong. I have increased my writing accomplishments ten-fold.

I started a strange mystery about a young, dark-haired girl (so not autobiographical!) in London climbing out of a window to escape… you get the gist. I’ve written many pages of another new mystery set in a small, Greek coastal village. A 60-year-old widow returns to the site of her honeymoon, hoping to find some direction in her life – but finds mayhem instead…I wonder where that ideal came from? Perhaps I should go back and do some more research in that village. What a great idea! Then there’s a World War Two mystery – only six pages done on that one. I’m also still fiddling with my Lottie Topaz Book Two. I’ve written several chapters, know where I’m going – I thought. But the rest is still foggy. So, I took Jackie Vick’s advice and moved away from that book to focus on another project. All these other new storylines. She’s right about the insights you get as you write the draft of another book. Answers to the one you were stuck on filter through whilst writing the next.

As you can see, I’m all over the place. I share this with my fellow writers and readers, not as a cry for help. Well maybe a smidge. More as a warning. Don’t do as I do!

When I see what fellow blogger Linda Johnson accomplishes – she’s a prolific novelist, meeting deadlines with her strict writing schedules. Gayle Pool, Jill Amadio and Miko Johnson all do it. And Jacki H. continues to promote all of us and write children’s stories, as well.

I ask myself, what is wrong with me? I know better. I think I’m missing a gene…

Pushing RockSometimes I feel like  Sisyphus – the Greek Mythology, evil sinner Sisyphus was condemned to an eternity of pushing a boulder up a mountain. Once he got to the top, the weight of the boulder forced it to start rolling down to the bottom, wherein he had to start again.  According to Albert Camus, the Greek gods felt that there is no more dreadful punishment than this futile and hopeless labor for Sisyphus. Hmmm.

So,  I’ll stop whining! I think this is the way writers’ lives go – seasons of fruitfulness and seasons of distractions.

Stephen King said of writers: “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” And I’m certainly not afraid of hard work. Just sometimes need a push in the right direction to get over that hump!

When you think of it, we’re really lucky. This is what we choose to do: write. Yes, most of us have ‘day jobs’ – other ways to survive, whilst we feed our muses. Or they feed us. I think most of us have managed several careers – often simultaneously. Which become wonderful sources of material for our writing. And I can’t complain.

It’s not as if we have to study for years, as doctors, nurses and medical professionals do in order to improve and save people’s lives. Or go through really tough, brutal training and then, literally, put ones’ life on the line every day as our police officers and military do, in order to protect us all.

Computer filesWe sit at our computers – or with pad and pen – and spill our imaginations onto the page. We aim to entertain, to educate, to inspire, to elevate people’s lives and show them different possibilities – escape into other worlds. Or perhaps just to make them laugh. Everyone needs to laugh. Charlie Chaplin said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted.”  And then some of us write because we just want to.

And so I get back to the writing. To the completion of writing. Of getting unstuck and moving forward with all the storylines and characters coursing through my brain and – sometimes – tumbling out onto the written page. Hooray!

Fortunately, I’m not alone. As very successful and prolific author M.C. Beaton  – author of the Hamish Macbeth and the Agatha Raisin series – once said when asked her worst habit – “Procrastination!” she replied. Yay! There’s hope for me yet! The interview continued with her philosophy: “Stop projecting. Tomorrow’s a mystery. This is not a rehearsal. I’m on stage now.”  Although my favorite was her answer was to the question, “What do you collect?” M.C.’s immediate response: “Dust. I’m a lousy housekeeper.”

Thankfully, after this cathartic Blog, I’m ready to get going again. Move to the next stage. Be disciplined. Finish one book before moving on to the next. Get going.

Someone once said, “Move forward. Aim high. Plan a takeoff. Don’t just sit on the runway and hope someone will come along and push the airplane. It simply won’t happen. Change your attitude and gain some altitude. Believe me, you’ll love it up here. “

I’m ready for my take off. How do you get unstuck and move forward?      

Rosie and sister 2 cropped……………………………

Author: gbpool

A former private detective and once a reporter for a small weekly newspaper, Gayle Bartos-Pool (writing as G.B. Pool) writes three detective series: the Gin Caulfield P.I. series (Media Justice, Hedge Bet & Damning Evidence), The Johnny Casino Casebook Series, and the Chance McCoy detective series. She also penned a series of spy novels, The SPYGAME Trilogy: The Odd Man, Dry Bones, and Star Power. She has a collection of short stories in From Light To DARK, as well as novels: Eddie Buick’s Last Case, Enchanted: The Ring, The Rose, and The Rapier, The Santa Claus Singer, and three delightful holiday storied, Bearnard’s Christmas, The Santa Claus Machine, and Every Castle Needs a Dragon. Also published: CAVERNS, Only in Hollywood, and Closer. She is the former Speakers Bureau Director for Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles and also a member of Mystery Writers of America and The Woman’s Club of Hollywood. She teaches writing classes: “Anatomy of a Short Story,” (The Anatomy of a Short Story Workbook and So You Want to be a Writer are available.) “How To Write Convincing Dialogue” and “Writing a Killer Opening Line” in sunny Southern California. Website: www.gbpool.com.

12 thoughts on “I’M READY FOR MY TAKE OFF…”

  1. First, that photo of you, Rosie, at the most magnificent place anyone could possibly dream up at which to write, is totally unfair. How envious I am! Secondly, you echo most of us writers’ moaning. Yes, procrastination can be deadly but also a prelude to writing. I play solitaire on my laptop as a way to get my hand around the mouse and start clicking. This leads to telling myself, okay, I’ll play three hands. then, of course, I give myself two more. Eventually, after reading the online headlines in UK and US news outlets, I finally open my WIP. Not a struggle by this time, thankfully. Giying myself a deadline is not helpful, by the way, but often works if a cuppa is promised after an hour of writing.


    1. Ah yes, writing in Greece. A tough job – but someone has to do it! And of course, Jill, a cuppa is often one of my tempting rewards, too… and your other evasive tactics will be taken on board! Cheers!


  2. Oh Rosemary, I have spent more time in your position than you’d think. Call it procrastination, writer’s block, or yak shaving, we’ve all been there. When I moved to Washington and spent ten days without human contact, I found a local group called “Just Write.” They met weekly at a coffee house, sipped their brew of choice and just wrote for two hours before heading to a pub to socialize. I always accomplished more in those two hours than I ever could have imagined because I ‘just wrote’ without concern if it was perfect, or even good. When I reviewed what I’d written I always had at least some worthwhile pages. I also made friends I have to this day. “Just Write” became my way to break the ice in every sense.


    1. Wow! what a great idea, Miko. I had imagined that when you moved to your island you would find more tranquility and hence more writing productivity. So I am comforted to hear that you do procrastinate/yak shave still… but that two hour block to “just write” sounds a great idea. Thank!


  3. Ah, Rosie. The writer’s dilemma, but you have the beginning of an answer in your latest post. You mentioned several short pieces you have written, but not completed. You might have been going for another novel, but you might actually have several short stories lurking in there. People today don’t seem to want to sit down and read a long novel, but they have time for a short story and then another one and another one. As I say in my writing class, short stories are like h’orderves. Each bite has a little bit of everything we want in a story: plot, character, dialogue, setting and the meaning of the piece, just in a small bite. Give that a try.


    1. Gayle, that is such a good point. Nobody seems to have time – or attention span – to read whole novels. I, too, have been buying books of short stories, when I’m rushed off my feet and promise myself just 30 minutes reading before sleep. I only wish you lived closer so you could teach your short story class again. I have the book, but in person is so much better. Maybe we can persuade you think about an online class? Pretty Please?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love what you said, Rosie! And yes, I write a lot–but I also procrastinate a lot. As far as what you should do? Just do it! Do it when the mood hits you, and also when it doesn’t. Challenge yourself even more! That’s kind of what I do, although I also face lots of deadlines that keep me moving… some of the time. Thanks for a stimulating post. And I also love that photo.


    1. Linda – you procrastinate?!! Never!!! You always produce so much writing. I am always in awe, and envious, of all the books you complete and see published. Well, that makes me feel that I am not such a total waste of space! Thank you, for those heart-warming words! And glad you like that picture. My siblings and I were in Kardamyli, just south of Kalamata, where the olives come from, enjoying a drink while watching the ocean. Now that sounds like a good setting for a mystery…


  5. I can absolutely relate, Rosemary. I have countless unfinished short stories on my computer, but my WIP is a novel that’s the start of a new series. I agree about Gayle starting an online class in short story writing. The book is great, but in-person (online is in-person to me) would be fabulous.


    1. So glad it’s not just me with my unfinished stories! I shall keep encouraging Gayle to teach her course again – online. I think it would be so helpful. Thanks, Maggie


  6. Your picture at the end is loverly! You are not alone, I’ve just gotten back to writing, been ages…so you aren’t alone. Recommended MC Beaton’s last Hamish to book club…alas.


    1. Mad – so very delighted that you’re finally getting ‘unstuck’… You’re too good a writer not to share your talent! I’m still awaiting another Agatha Raisin TV series….


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