Friday, July 22, 2011

Ten Ways to Keep Sane While Writing

Today, Karen Walker from Following the Whispers is going to amuse you!

Her book, Following the Whispers, came out as an eBook recently and I downloaded my copy last week. I confess, I’ve never really read a memoir before, but so far hers is really powerful! This is her final tour stop, so please show Karen how much the Ninja Army rocks!

Karen would like to share with you 10 Ways to Keep Sane While Writing

Alex, thank you so much for hosting me on this, the 10th and last stop on my book blog tour. I appreciate all you do for other writers. Here are 10 ways to keep sane while writing:

1. Even if you feel like it, don’t pull your hair out during revisions. You will need it while waiting for responses to your query letters.
2. Keep a journal of your feelings as you write, re-write, query and wait. Your family and friends will be forever grateful that you have another outlet for your whining and crying.
3. Even if you think you are finished, remember either a critique partner or an agent or an editor will most likely find more revisions, so don’t throw away the valium just yet.
4. Did I say valium? I don’t drink or take drugs, so I stay sane by stuffing my face. Oops, no, I don’t do that anymore either. Sheesh, I’ve run out of addictions to keep me sane.
5. Do take mini breaks throughout the day. Not kidding here, folks. Mini-breaks really do preserve sanity and help creativity and energy flow.
6. Honor your distractions: TV, blogging, computer games, doing laundry, defrosting the refrigerator, whatever will keep you from pulling out your hair because you want to listen to #1 above.
7. No matter what anyone tells you, Spider Solitaire is not an addiction. It will keep you sane. I promise.
8. Listen to your inner voice, but make sure it’s the wise one, not the one that screams at you, “Who do you think you are that you believe you can write?”
9. The way you know which voice to pay attention to is your insides feel calm when one is speaking and they usually churn upside down when the other shouts.
10. All kidding aside, get yourself a good, solid support system--this online community is great for that. Sharing with others is the best way to keep sane.

Visit Karen at Following the Whispers

Any other suggestions for keeping sane? I vote Hot Tamales and lots of them!



Thanks Alex for hosting Karen.

Good tips on keeping sane while writing, will bear that in mind in the future though it dosen't help taking a break for a while and commenting on the blogs only to find one gets insulted.

Have a lovely week-end Alex it's Harry Potter crazy over here at the moment.

Ellie Garratt said...

Awesome list of tips, I shall be putting them to good use soon! Thank you, Alex and Karen.

Ellie Garratt

Old Kitty said...

Hi Karen!! Thank you for these wonderful tips for keeping sane when revising one's wip!! I am all for addictions!! Mine are chocolate and coffee with a dash of vodka. Ahem.
Take care

Christine Rains said...

Great tips, Karen! I'm happy someone agrees that solitaire isn't an addiction. It's therapy.

Unknown said...

Funny! But oh so true. I do firmly believe we have a great support system here.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yvonne, who insulted you? That's just wrong.

Kitty, don't forget your Charlie addiction!

Clarissa, we do!

Beverly Diehl said...

Great tips - but there's one flaw here. You're supposing that anyone who chooses to write has any sanity left to keep. I think mine left the building a long time ago. :-)

Maybe a few more hands of solitaire will see it return... Writing in Flow

Lisa said...

hi alex, and hello karen, i enjoyed the tips, hot milk calms me down:)

Samantha Vérant said...

Ahhh- I just go with my crazy!

Jeremy [Retro] said...

10 golden and great helpful prompts.... though i think i went crazy now it's pulling myself back from the brink oh and the voices in my head.

SharleneT said...

I have a strong belief in taking mini-vacations with gaming or whatever. Most ideas need a gestation period awaiting from internal brainstorming that will reduce it to just a thought. If I really like the idea, I'll start up one of those Hidden Object games, and let my subconscious work it out. Sometime, in the middle of the game -- Eureka! idea enlarged, plot thickens, and there's more work for my editor... Excellent points, all -- thank you. Now, if somebody could explain the blog tour thingy, to me, I could leave this world.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Great list of tips, Karen!

Suzie F. said...

Thank goodness there are 10! I need all the help staying sane I can get! Great list, Karen.

Memoirs of Me & Mine said...

Excellent post. I can't wait to read it now.

Liza said...

Sometimes I think writing is how I stay sane...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Way to go, Karen. It's good to see you letting your funny side show for a change. AND with truth, too! Reading and music keep me sane. (assuming I AM still sane, that is ...)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What about computer Scrabble? Is that an addiction?
Great tour, Karen.

Nancy said...

Karen,I had to give up Spider Solitaire but I'm still dependent on support groups and laundry!

Congratulations on completion of a marvelous tour!

Unknown said...

This was awesome! I loved the tips on revisions... I need a break a lot of times and it really helps to be reminded to take a break!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Beverly, you have a point!

Sharlene, I'm all for gaming.

Susan, she's funny and just doesn't know it!

Jen - yes!!

Luanne G. Smith said...

Excellent advice, and so true!

Very funny.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i partake of the occasional memoir, so i may have to check out her book

Aleta said...

I'm not a writer, but my cousin is in the process of finding a publisher for her book and writing another one. I'll have to share you 10 ways to keep sane, because I think she's on the brink! Thanks for sharing your wisdom! :)

Ciara said...

Thanks, Alex and Karen. Great tips!

Jeff Beesler said...

As a writer by default and definition I'm already insane. So I've just learned to embrace that crazy side of me, and instead focus on loving the process for what it is. The only part of the process I'm dreading right now is getting started with that day's project, as I tend to let so many other things get in my way.

Karen Walker said...

OMG, it's only 8 am here in New Mexico and there are already 25 comments here. Alex, you and your Ninja army really do rock! Sorry I'm late to the "party."

Yvonne, someone insulted you in a comment? Sheesh, Alex is right, that's just wrong.
Ellie,hope it helps.
Old Kitty, maybe I'm lucky I can't do caffeine and chocolate -I'd be buzzing around so fast.
Christine, spider solitaire as therapy - love it!!
Clarissa, this is one of the best support systems I've encountered.
Beverly, don't all writers think they're insane?
Oceangirl, hot milk? hmm, love hot chocolate
Samantha, more power to ya!
iZombie, yeah those voices can get you if you let them.
Sharlene, a blog tour is simply asking some other bloggers to allow you to guest blog on their blog to let other bloggers know about your book.
Theresa and Suzie, thanks
Rebecca, that's awesome. Thanks. But don't expect the memoir to be funny
Liza, it's definitely one way I keep sane.
Susan, yes, those things help me, too
Diane, there's computer scrabble - no, don't tell me how to find it - I'd never stop playing
Nancy, thanks so much
Jen, thanks a bunch
L.G. this is a first - I've never been called funny before!
Sarah, thank you in advance.
Aleta and Ciara, thank you both
Jeffrey, I so relate to this - I've tried writing before everything else, but then the everything else stays in my mind so I can't focus.

Simon Kewin said...

Most amusing - but great advice. #10 especially ...

Matthew MacNish said...

I keep my head shaved. It helps with the first one.

Laila Knight said...

Great interview with Karen Walker. Awesome! Jotting down important info. Keeping hair...would look horrible in pictures. Write down my feelings. That is great advice. I'd love to find an addiction that's good for me. Mini breaks are good...specially if they involve sleep. Does Netflix count as a distraction? I do love socializing with other writers. Thanks for posting. :)

Alex, I'd be happy to send you the pic of the baby eating the kitten's tail if you really liked it that much. :D

Karen Walker said...

Simon, without #10, I'd never make it thru #1-9.
Matthew, now there's an idea!
Laila, Netflix definitely counts as an addiction - ask Alex!!!

Charles Gramlich said...

Great advice. I try to do most of these things but I don't always succeed.

Paul Joseph said...

I keep a short buzz cut, so hair pulling is never an option. I wonder if this was subconsciously my reason for doing so....

Stuffing my face is ALWAYS an option. And I forgot how much I used to love playing Spider Solitaire. Thanks for the reminder, Karen!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sarah, so far it's really good!

Aleta, don't let her go over the edge.

Karen, I warned you they rock!

Matthew, only perfect heads can do that...

Laila, NetFlix is research, not a distraction! And no, one time seeing it was enough.

Paul, maybe!

Karen Walker said...

Charles, neither do I!!
Paul, you may get mad at me later for the reminder.
Alex, just confirming how right you are!

Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks for the advice Karen :D I'll keep some hair aside especially for pulling out during queries :D

Nicki Elson said...

Humorous yet wise tips, Karen. Thanks. :) I especially like #9---that's exactly how it happened for me. Whenever Bad Voice told me to stop, my insides churned, just like you said!

And Alex, thanks for continuing to provide the most excellent distractions.

Empty Nest Insider said...

Thanks Alex and Karen for all the great tips! Chocolate gets me through the day!

Karen, I've read at least 3 of your posts on your blog tour and I love how you manage to keep them all fresh! Julie

Karen Walker said...

Jamie, that sounds good.
Nicki, glad I'm not the only one
Empty Nest Insider, thank you for that!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Lololol! You forgot chocolate, Karen. How could you forget that?

Spades, canasta, and Hoyle's Word Double cross aren't addictions either. Nope. Just something that occupies the screamer in your head so the wise can speak. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Sia McKye's Thoughts...OVER COFFEE

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great tips, Karen! And I think I may need to follow some of these. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nicki, as long as I'm amusing you!

Karen Walker said...

Sia, I left out chocolate because, sadly,I can't eat it anymore - it gives me heartburn. Breaks my heart. And I agree with the story you're sticking to..
Elizabeth, what are you doing here - you're supposed to be on vacation!!!!
Alex, you amuse all of us!
Karen said...

Karen, so sorry you can't have chocolate. This is a great list, though, and I've never heard of Spider Solitaire (though I'm sure it's not an addiction since there's no 12-step group for it).

Thanks, Alex.


Karen Walker said...

Robyn, every once in awhile I just have to have it anyway and suffer the consequences. But oh, it's divine. Isn't there a program for gambler's? It might qualify, cause it's all about playing till you win.

Golden Eagle said...

LOL. Will remember that about the hair. :P

Thanks for the tips!

Lydia Kang said...

Hi Karen! I like your list, especially the part about the hair loss and valium. :)

Suze said...

That was really cute, Karen. :)

Karen Walker said...

You're welcome, Golden Eagle
Lydia, my hair is very thin now. Sigh!
Suze, thanks

M Pax said...

Fabulous list, Karen, thanks for the chuckles. :) All success on your book.

I spend my summers at the observatory to stay sane. Lately I'm on a gum kick. Shrug.

Karen Walker said...

M Pax, thanks and you're welcome.

Alex, just wanted to take a minute to thank you for giving me this opportunity to hang with you and your Ninja army. It's been a blast. I'll be going out for the evening pretty soon, so I wanted to make sure and let you know how much fun it was. And thanks everyone for the great discussion.


Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

I have another comment for keeping sane. Just look at the cover for your book. It's very soothing!!!

Thank you for having Karen as your guest, Alex!



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Robyn, you have a point there - no group, no addiction!

Mary, my wife's chews gum when she's nervous.

Karen, it's my pleasure! Your post will be front & center all weekend.

Monti, it is soothing.

Susan Oloier said...

I love #7! I am going to tell myself that throughout the day :-)
Thanks for hosting Karen. I am a huge fan of memoirs, so I will have to check out her book.

Anonymous said...

Karen: What a perfect place to end your blog tour. And this is truly a humorous list of ways to stay sane!
Alex: I know you're not a memoir man, but I think you'll enjoy Karen's book. For one thing, it's written so well!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Memoir, A Memoir of Shattered Secrets

nutschell said...

Love this post!Great tips! Thanks for hosting Alex and thanks for the tips< karen! Hmm.. I don't know about not having addictions. For some reason, when I'm writing I need to drink a cup of tea or something every hour. It's a great excuse to get up and stretch, mind you-- as I also have to go to the restroom for breaks!

Jennie Bailey said...

Jell-O Temptations French Silk Pie! I love suggestion #2! I think my family is sick of the whining already!

Rusty Carl said...

Thanks for the list. I'm all over number 6 - I got that one down.

Michelle Fayard said...

What an amusing and wise post, Karen. I’m just sad it’s the last day of your blog tour, as I’ve looked forward to reading your uplifting advice each day. Maybe Alex’s army could persuade you to do a comeback tour? :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, I think you'll really like it.

Ann, I am enjoying it so far. Yours is waiting in the wings!!

Nutschell, that's probably good. I tend to stare at the screen for hours...

Rusty, I think for most men that one's a no-brainer.

Michelle, the door is always open for Karen!

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice! I find Chai Tea and chocolate help too :)

Nancy Thompson said...

The one thing that helps me most? Having close friends who are in the exact same boat I am.

Carol Kilgore said...

Great list. Except Spider Solitaire and any computer game IS an addiction for me. I'm happy it works for you :)

Happy Weekend!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Oh, yes, bring on the hot tomales, junior mints, and licorice. And, since it's screaming hot summer, an occassional rootbeer float. I find the best way to keep sane is talking to friends, especially over coffee. Your memoir must be fascinating, Karen.

Manzanita said...

Alex and Karen,
Thank you for the list Karen. A lot of us can't afford to lose any more hair. Great tip :)
You've given some good information on this tour. Thanks.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Nancy, you said it.

Mary, it's really good.

sweetsue said...

These are wonderful tips. I copied them on put them near my keyboard. Thanks!

Karen Walker said...

Oh my goodness, just when I think things are winding down, I come home and find a bunch more comments here. Alex, we've said it before, but your army is the best ever!
Monti, thanks about the cover - the photo was taken by hubby and I at Lake Louise in Banff, Canada. It is very peaceful there.
Susan, I think I might have lied about #7 - it probably is an addiction, but who cares?
Ann, thanks, and so is yours! It's a mutual admiration society we have here.
Nutshell, that's a great idea to get up every hour. Thanks.
Jennie, #2 helps me keep my relationships happy.
Rusty, me, too
Michelle, I think Alex's army is quite happy to have Alex - it was very gracious and kind of him to have me here today. Love you, Alex
Jemi, I have a chai tea every afternoon - it's delicious and a real treat
Nancy, without close friends I wouldn't be on the planet!
Carol, it probably is an addiction, but it does keep me sane.
Mary, the memoir is pretty intense, but ends well.
Manzanita, thanks, hope it helped.
Sweet Sue, glad it helped.

Alex, glad you like the memoir so far. Thanks again for hosting. I'll check in periodically over the weekend.


Arlee Bird said...

This was a fun post with some underlying serious tip. Well done, Karen.

Tossing It Out

ali cross said...

Great tips here Karen. I especially loved the advice to listen to your inner voice--and how to identify the RIGHT voice. Congrats on your book!

Anonymous said...

This has been a great post to read! I couldn;t agree more. I do honor my distractions. Fantasy Baseball and Football are mine. I don;t sweat the breaks from writing.

And I do trust my gut. Often, its smarter than me.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Karen, those are gold for every writer! Thank you for sharing the wealth!

Alex, glad to see you're still the king! ;)

Happy Friday, guys!

Click here for my Darkspell giveaway--entries a no brainer. Hurry, ends July 31!

Sue said...

Brilliant! Loved it all! I'd add learning to stand on your head, it keeps the blood circulating. Sue

Glynis Peters said...

Great tips from a great lady! I love Karen's book, it is an amazing read.

Enjoy the weekend, Alex.

Karen Walker said...

Lee, thanks so much for these kind words.
Ali, out of all the writing tips, that's the most important one, in my humble opinion.
Stephen, good for you!
Elizabeth, thanks. And yes, Alex, is king.
Sue, now that's one I don't think I'll be able to incorporate at this point in my life.
Glynis, thanks for that endorsement.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ali, because if you listen to the wrong voice, things could get weird...

Stephen, I think us guys are better at taking the breaks. We know how to chill!

Thank you, Elizabeth.

Sue, I would probably hurt myself...

Thanks again, Karen. You've amused the Ninja Army - well done! said...

Excellent points. Thanks for making me laugh :O)


I see I've lost a friend.

Thanks for your help have gone legal.

Take care

Unknown said...

These are some great tips, Karen. I'll have to remember them when I am in the midst of my writing fits.

Alex this was a great post, one I could really use.

Helen Ginger said...

I am so happy to read #7. Now I know it is not an addiction, although it has done nothing to keep me sane.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yvonne, I'm sorry! Glad you're taking legal action with your book. That was just wrong what they did.

Melissa, glad you enjoyed it!

Helen, addictions are good.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, thank you - it's been a blast!
Madeleine, I still can't believe I made anyone laugh.
Yvonne, so sorry. Good luck with that.
Melissa, glad it helped.
Helen, I think it's controversial whether it's an addiction or not - but I know it helps me when I'm stuck.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I had to laugh at #7. Are you sure? ;) I'm actually going to ask my hubby to remove the games on my laptop because Hearts and spider solitaire have become terrible distractions when I should be writing/revising.

Karen Walker said...

Lyndia, that's my story and I'm sticking to it - because when the writing isn't happening, Spider Solitaire saves the day!

Julie Musil said...

Yay for Karen! You totally cracked me up with this list. Glad to know my hair will still be needed in the future. And I like the idea of writing in my journal instead of boring my husband with every gory detail of my writing life.

Joanne Brothwell said...

Great list, Karen. So funny, and so true!

Ella said...

All great tips; thanks so much Karen for sharing! Alex sane for me is walks,popcorn and thought I'd say movies! Okay, movies, too~
They distract me and take me to another world~

Michael Di Gesu said...

You have a delicious sense of humor, Karen... Congrats again on your finished memoir. I LOVED your ten ways to stay sane while writing.

Alex, always a pleasure to stop by. Have a great weekend.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

Alex! Guess what? You won! Woooot! <3

Denise Covey said...

Thanks for visiting my blog while I was away Alex. And thanks for hosting Karen today. These are great tips.

Talli Roland said...

Fantastic tips, Karen. I can't wait to read your memoir after all the great blog posts I've read on your tour!

Alison Miller said...

Excellent words of wisdom! Thanks for sharing.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Julie, be he will appreciate that.

Ella, they are great distractions for me.

Elizabeth, I won?

Denise, you're welcome!

Karen Walker said...

Julie, the journal has saved many an eye-roll on the part of my husband.
Joanne, thank you
Ella, thanks - and movies do it for me as well
Michael, L'Aussie, thanks
Talli, that means a lot to me
Allison, glad they helped
Alex, thanks for asking me to be funny!

Rhonda @Laugh Quotes said...

Thanks Alex and Karen. Fun post, although you clearly have not met my dad. Spider Solitaire can be an addiction.

Unknown said...

This was so neat to read : )

Weird question, Alex ... is it hard to get a "guest blogger"? I never really thought about it until I saw Karen here, but it seems like a neat change in pace :-)

dolorah said...

I just cut all my hair off, so there is less to pull out :) I'm always stuffing my face during writing; I try to stick to carrot sticks and celery, but those Ruffles keep sneaking into the dip.


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I do find comfort in the online community when I feel overwhelmed and frustrated. I also prefer Free Cell to Spider Solitaire.
Good luck with your book.

Li said...

Agree with others about the online community support - since my family roll their eyes and wonder when I'll grow out of this "writing phase". :)

Amy said...

Thank you for sharing Karen - those are really great! :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

KLo, all you have to do is ask. A lot of my guests ask as well.

Donna, sneaky Ruffles.

Li, you just keep writing.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex and Karen .. only 100 comments so far - wonderful ..

1. - you need your hair to dye it red too!!

Agree with all your points and laugh and smile your way through the day .. and I'm so looking forward to your book arriving ..

Cheers to you both - enjoy the week .. Hilary

p.m.terrell said...

Love all the tips on staying sane - obviously keeping your sense of humor is right up there! Something else I force myself to do: get out of the house. It's too easy for writers to become solitary creatures. Having a social network that takes you out of your head works wonders.

Gabrielle Evelyn said...

Great idea and unique words.I think we're learnt a lot here.

Karen Millen dresses

Donea Lee said...

Thanks for hosting Karen, Alex. These top 10 tips are awesome! So fun!! I need to visit her now and tell her so ~ :)

Tina said...

Great advice, delivered in the cheeky manner that I love. Nice to meet you, Karen!
Tina @ Life is Good

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks again Karen - you were a big hit!