I don’t know where they came from, or how they got inside my house, but I have a couple of pesky mosquitoes that have taken up residence in my home office. They may not have planned it that way, but I think they stay around because they see a free meal…

The first day they showed up, uninvited and unannounced, I got eaten up, badly. Within an hour, I had huge welts on my legs, arms, neck, and hands. It wasn’t just exposed skin they were going for, as I recall from past experience, these mosquitos also bit me through my shirt!

The fact was, I needed to work at my computer. It was in my office. And, so were the intruders.

I needed a plan. I needed to be proactive.

I tried the fly-swatter method. They seemed to know I was armed and waiting, so they laid low. It was only after I put the swatter down and started working that they ventured out, again.

If I wanted to get any work done, I had play defense: Type. Swat. Type. Swat.

Finally, I  went down to the corner drugstore and bought insect repellent. I sprayed the air, the carpet, my clothing, and doused all exposed skin.

Finally, I was successful. I repeated this every four hours, making it possible for me to get my work done every day this week.

Proactive. That’s the name of the game.

The same goes for writing. I have found I have to get proactive. I have a writing plan and as long as I stick to it, I can get a lot accomplished.

If  something or someone comes around to disrupt me, like say a phone call from a friend, I end up not being very productive—if I don’t follow the plan I put in place way back in January (no answering the phone or emails between 9:00 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day). And, that hurts.

I have to be proactive: answer emails, start the laundry, straighten up the house—BEFORE 9 a.m. If I do that, the next six hours are productive. If I don’t take charge of my writing life, there are always little mosquitos that buzz around with only one goal in mind: to suck the hours of productivity right out of me!

M-  Mom and Dad (they are older, now, and I need to check on them every day).

O-  opening emails and physical mail.

S-  snacking (the refrigerator and pantry are just a few feet away).

Q-  quiet (every little noise can be a distraction).

U-  up and down (the dog wants out, I need to stretch, change to laundry from the washer to 

      the dryer…)

I-  ideas that pop into my head at the most inopportune times, distracting me from the work at


T-  telephone (a temptation to answer every time it rings…I put it on silent mode).

O-  opportunities (little things that seem to come up every day; seemingly “good” ideas, but 

      really nothing more than distractions in disguise.)

E- energy—lack thereof.

S-  social media. Need I say more????

How do you handle the “mosquitoes” in your life?


I”ve Gained Weight on a Steady Diet of Writing

I have come to the conclusion that writing and dieting definitely do not mix.  If you have been writing for any length of time, you may have found this to also be true in your own life. If you have an answer for this problem, please let me know—seriously.

First of all, I find that when I am heavy into writing—especially when writing something that is very exciting—I find it difficult to get adequate sleep. I’ve tried 1) staying up late so that I am very, very tired when I lay down  2) stopping writing at least an hour before I go to bed so that I don’t have my story on my mind.

Both of those help…sometimes.

I also find that I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about my characters, and cannot get back to sleep. I give it a half hour. If I don’t fall asleep, I just go ahead and get up. What’s the use in tossing and turning for the rest of the night?

What does sleep have to do with weight control? The latest research says that getting a good night’s rest helps with weight loss. The reverse is also true. Not enough sleep results in weight gain.

Secondly, writing—again, this is especially true of writing something exciting—causes me to snack. The faster I type, the faster I shovel it in. The more suspenseful the writing, the more I am likely to go for something small and easy to pop into my mouth. My favorites are popcorn and nuts.

Finally, writing is a sedentary activity. We writers need to get up and move around every hour or so to clear our brains, stretch our muscles, and burn a few calories (especially if we have a snacking problem to counteract).

I belong to an exercise group which meets, daily. I feel successful if I get myself there twice a week. Because it meets at the beginning of the day, I often find myself skipping it and going directly to my writing, thinking that it is wasting precious time, when I know, in fact, that it is good for both my body and brain.

I guess I will never write a cookbook. I can just imagine what might happen to my weight if I focused on yummy recipes all day long!