Happy-olas 2

Gladiolas are one of my favorite flowers. Chris knows this and, as a surprise, he planted a dozen in front of our house. Aren’t they pretty? When I discovered them, I said, “Thank you, honey! They make me so happy!” To which he replied, “I know they do. That’s why I call them Susan’s Happy-olas.”

When I’m sitting here, doing my best to cobble together a few hopefully funny sentences, I glance outside and think, 500 more words, and you can take a break and cut a bunch! They’re a great incentive, and they smell a whole lot nicer than the wet dog flopped at my feet.

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I always go to my desk dressed as if I’m at the office. Hair, makeup, heels, and today, this really fun ring I bought when we were in Napa. Or maybe it was Sonoma. I can’t recall. What I do remember is thinking it was a neat piece and it would come in handy (ha ha) for when I finally got back to writing and needed something to inspire me when I got stuck. It’s working pretty well. As I’ve previously confessed, I’m easily distracted. But at this moment the laundry is still in the washing machine, the dishes are still in the dishwasher, and my butt is still at my desk.

What do you do to help you stay focused on your work?




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Hoping there’s a manuscript in this mess


On one hand, I’m proud that this coming Labor Day will mark four years since 500 Acres And No Place To Hide came out. On the other hand, I’m really disappointed that I’ve yet to write another book. I used to be rather prolific, really organized, and hyper-focused. These days I’m the poster woman/wife/mom for manic. One minute I’m at my desk writing, the next I decide to get more coffee, become distracted by the dishwasher, start to unload it but stop because I have a thought I need to write down before I forget, race to my office, pass my son’s room, remember his rugby shorts are in the dryer, dash down to the basement to retrieve them, throw in another load, fold everything, race back upstairs to put it all away only to discover a dirty bowl and spoon on my son’s dresser that sends me back to the kitchen where the half unloaded dishwasher awaits and I smack myself in the head for forgetting about it.

It’s tough to get a book written in this condition.

I have, however, filled dozens of notebooks like those pictured above with essays, snippets of conversations, and random thoughts, and have book ideas, lists of titles, chapter notes, and even entire chapters written and saved in more than two dozen files on my computer. I was looking at a lot of it this morning when it crossed my mind that there might be enough material for a new book. Of course I suddenly needed more coffee, went to the kitchen, decided I’d be much more inspired drinking out of my favorite orange and white coffee mug, couldn’t find it, realized it was in the dishwasher, began unloading the dishwasher and, well, you know the rest.

I’ll look at it all again tomorrow. I plan to make my coffee in my office so I don’t have to go to the kitchen. This should work until I need to use the bathroom, decide the towels need to be washed and if I’m doing them I might as well gather all the laundry, run down to the basement, and, you know, never come back.

S. xo

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Teen Writers Boot Camp

teen writer

Attention teen writers age 12-17:

Don’t miss the

Fresh Ink Creative Writing Boot Camp!

 Saturday, March 9th, noon to 5pm AND Sunday, March 10th, 10am-4pm

At Lord Fairfax Community College, 6480 College Street, Warrenton

This two day boot camp is designed to help you develop your voice, hone your craft, and push past your comfort zone. You’ll write, share your work, and gain important tips and techniques to strengthen your skills. Writing prompts will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring pieces, (short stories, poems, personal essays, etc.), in progress to work on.

Saturday, March 9th, noon to 5pm
Sunday, March 10th, 10am to 4pm (please bring a lunch on this day)
Bottled water and nutritious snacks will be provided.

Fee: $95

Registration: Please call the LFCC Workforce Solutions office at 540-351-1524 or click here.

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