Nearsighted, farsighted, astigmatism—I have it all. There have been days where by 1:00 p.m. I can’t even see the words on the computers screen. Everything is just blurry, and my head is aching.
Adjust the Colors On Your Computer to Help Your Eyes
These are mostly days when I’m not using my glasses as much as I should. I have to take my reading/computer glasses off to do other things around the house, so it’s a challenge to remember to put them back on.
In addition to glasses, I’ve found adjusting the colors on my computer screen can help, especially combined with having a well-lit office space.
When I can’t take looking at the computer screen, I whip out the old-fashioned notebook and pen for a bit of handwriting.
The Amount of Stuff Going on In My Head Can Get a Little Nuts
Staying focused [has been my biggest mental challenge]. I’m a typical Sagittarius. I need to have half a dozen projects going at the same time.
When you add a full-time job and taking care of a family, the amount of stuff going on in my head can get a little nuts. The challenge of completing projects requires a lot of mental stamina, and it’s taken a lot of practice to keep myself on task.
This is where handwriting can do double-duty because I’m unplugged from the Internet. It’s doubly effective when I put on earphones to further reduce the distractions around me.
I also make lists, so I don’t feel like new ideas will be forgotten. I set aside time with other writers to write together. Since I’m an extrovert, working with others seems to help keep me on task. I’m a runner, so a bit of exercise will help clear my mind when I get too many thoughts buzzing around.
I Always Feel Blessed that I Have Another Day to Write
My father was an artist, and I’ve always seen him as a role model to my creative aspirations.
Five years into his battle with cancer, he told me he was no longer pursuing his art—time for that had passed.
I’m not usually a melancholy person, but hearing that broke my heart.
He was right though; he was focused on taking that final journey. Like all authors (I imagine), I’ve had rejection letters and contracts fall through, but I always think of that and feel blessed that I have another day to write.
Seeing Goals on Paper Makes Them Feel Real
I have short-term and long-term plans. I live in the present, so seeing future goals on paper makes them feel real and therefore more attainable.
My husband is my best business manager. When an opportunity comes along, especially if it deviates from my plan, I bounce ideas off of him.
He keeps my feet on the ground in regards to fitting deadlines into the rest of my life.
Advice for a Young Writer: Check Your Ego at the Door
There aren’t 4-year-old writing prodigies. It’s not that kind of skill. But I do believe there are people who have a calling to be storytellers. The hardest part is learning how to write those stories down.
You have to check your ego at the door.
You have to be open to every kind of criticism.
You must always be practicing.
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Rebecca Halsey is the author of historic and contemporary romance. Her debut novel, Notes of Temptation, is set in Jazz Age Hollywood. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Georgia.
When not writing, she works as a cybersecurity researcher and reporter. She enjoys running, cooking, travel, and painting portraits. She resides in Maryland with her husband and three children, all of whom tolerate her immersion into jazz music and black-and-white movies.
Oz has the rare ability to “see” music as brilliant colors, but nothing has ever dazzled him like Carrie’s pure, choirgirl voice. With a mob debt hanging over his head like a guillotine, he organizes a revue that will launch them all to stardom.
Mired in Hollywood’s underbelly, caught off-guard by their growing attraction, Carrie and Oz must consider the cost of success. Or their one chance to make beautiful music together could be their last.