Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lorrie Struiff Asks: How do you do it?

Please tell me how...

How do you do it, authors? How do you keep up with all you must do?

By the time I get on my computer at 10 am, check my emails and answer them, it’s lunch time. Next, I have FB to contend with to make sure I tit- for-tat for the comments I’ve received on my guest blog spots from my dear friends. Now it’s time to post the material I’ve been sent for my blog. It takes time to format and make them look appealing.

Note to self: don’t forget to critique the pages your critique partners sent. Meanwhile more messages pile up in my mailbox. Oops, all the digests have just shown up from my different publishers. The authors reading digest, the readers reading digest, and the gab room digest. About nine of each and they come more than once a day.

Now it’s time to start dinner. I’m away from my computer for a couple of hours.

After dinner, I’m pooped. My eyes are blurry, burning, and I feel like I need a nap.

Wait! I haven’t worked on my story. But I’m sooooo tired that my brain isn’t making the right connections.

There are many of you who work and raise a family.

I don’t.

So…how do you do it, authors?


Whoo-hoo. Winnie’s back with more troubles. This time she is “Goin’ to a Double Header.” And I’m not talking baseball.

Do you know Winnie? Do you know what she does with her life? She is a spook-speaker who grants one last reasonable request to a corpse in a funeral home. What begins as reasonable usually turns out unreasonable for Winnie.

I’d like to introduce my next story in the COD Club series. COD #3 “Going to a Double Header” from BooksToGoNow.

Stories 1&2 are combined in the first download. All of the Winnie stories are a stand-alone.


Poor Winnie protected her new perm by hugging a cherry tree during the rain.

Lightning shot from the sky and cracked the cherry tree in half. Winnie woke after her near-death experience with a gift. She could see and talk to the dead in funeral homes. She wasn’t a happy camper about it. Fat Phil got wind of her gift and inducted her into the Call on the Dead Club. Now Winnie must grant the last request of the spirit so they may move on in peace. Can she fulfill her duty? Let’s say she gives it a good try and leave it there. But, you can read the current adventures of Winnie in her series now. If you like Winnie, she’ll be back soon with another adventure.


While reading the local obituaries, I slurped my morning tea. Being a member of the Call on the Dead Club, I hoped I didn’t have to do any spook-speaking for the next few days for my assigned district. With my head cold, I felt miserable.

“Good Lord,”I gasped. The cup dropped from my fingers, shattered, and sloshed tea over the floor. My breath caught in my throat. Mr. and Mrs. Richard Bickerson had a fatal car accident. They lived four blocks over from me with their twin sons.

What a terrible tragedy. I grabbed the broom and dishcloth and, after cleaning up the mess, went back to the paper. I hardly knew them, but the Mister owned the Bickerson Computer Center at the mall. His wife was a teacher at the elementary school. The visitation started tomorrow and both laid-out in the same room. Yep, in my district. Oh, crap!

Ever since I had hugged that darn cherry tree in a storm, got zapped by lightning, and had a near-death experience, I’ve been stuck with this unwanted ghostie talent.

The oath Phil Phillips coerced me into taking, granting the last request of the deceased for the worldwide COD club was not always an easy job. I should know, even ended up in the slammer once.

My bones ached, and a slight headache throbbed behind my eyes. I shivered and pulled my flannel robe tighter. This drastic change of weather from warm to chilly had me coming down with something. What a ducky way to start tomorrow. Two stiffs and the sniffles.

I grabbed the phone. No way was this gal doing double duty when I felt like death myself.

Fat Phil answered on the first ring. “Yeah, yeah, Winnie. I’m reading it now, and you’re gonna beg for help.”

“Your Caller ID’s annoying. You should get rid of it.”

“Sure I will. Well? You gonna beg?”

“Hey! You’re the president of our chapter. It’s your job to find me a partner. You know I can’t work two last requests at a time.”

“But no one else is available.”

“You are. I see your assigned district is clear. Come on, Phil. This’s heavy-duty stuff and you know it.”

He sighed long and hard. “I guess I got no choice.” Paper rustled. “I see they’re going to have viewing for two days.”

“Yeah.” I sneezed and snuffled. “I guess since it’s a double header.”

Fat Phil’s voice grated in my ear. “You sound horrible.”

“I’m not feeling well.”

“Take a few Coldquils. We gotta stick to our mission. Maybe it’ll be an easy one.

* * *

(But…does Winnie ever get an easy request? Find out in her new adventure.)

How would you like to win a free pdf download of either the first/second story or the third? Leave a comment and I will pick one name out of Winnie’s hat and give that commenter the choice of which book they want free. 

Again either Winnie 1&2, or Winnie 3.

Winnie #1 and #2 Amazon buy site
Winnie # 3 Amazon buy site

Where to Find Lorrie On-Line:

Lorrie's Amazon Author Page
Leaves and Thorns Blog


  1. Welcome Lorrie. I hope some folks can give you an answer. I sure can't.

    Even if nobody has an answer, they can leave a comment to snag a freebie of one of the C.O.D. books. Guaranteed to put a smile on.

    1. Thanks again, Marva, for hosting me on your blog. It's always a pleasure for me to be here.

  2. Honey, when my first book was accepted, I tried keeping up with all that. Blogging myself, reading everyone's every blog, guesting wherever an opportunity arose. (And yes, I work at a day job, I'm a career paralegal specializing in litigation. And I do have a family, kids are grown, but grandkids are ever present.) And I discovered something. You can't overload the boat. Or everybody drowns. Usually you first. And that if I kept up that pace, I'd be dead before my first book ever published, let alone the second one already accepted, the one I was writing, and the ones in the closet I needed to re-write. So I stopped. And I started writing and re-writing. I do drop in on blogs when I can but I don't sweat it. I don't blog much myself. I glance at Facebook maybe once a day. But I have a good many books up and several I anticipate being up during the coming year. Or in other words, of course your day job (if you still have one) and your family have to come first. As to the other things that come with being a "professional" writer -- I fit them into my writing, not my writing into them. And if they fall by the wayside for a few days--or weeks--or even a few months--the world's not gonna stop turning in its orbit.

    1. Oh, Gail, I love the analogy of the boat. And it's so true. Thank you for that. My writing is the last thing I get to do because I'm all over the place trying to keep up with blogs and FB.

      What great advice. I'm going to take it.

  3. I know just where you're coming from Lorrie, and I find that my writing often gets shunted aside, like a railroad car, while the locomotive pushes through with other cargo.

    I try to assign priorities for what needs to be done and do it then move on. I need to find more writing time, though, seriously. Without that, what does the rest mean?

    Oh well, there goes the cleaning I meant to do today, it just pushed to the end of the list lol

    J/k, I wasn't going to do it anyway. Just some dishes to keep up on that.

    Good question, Lorrie. I guess the answer is we just keep on truckin'! (now I'll have the image of that poster in my head for awhile lol)


    PS If I should happen to win, book 3 please, as I have 1&2 :)

  4. Hi Julie, I intended to clean my kitchen today. No kidding. When I get out of bed in the morning, I run my priorities through my head--sort of make out a schedule. What a joke. Well, I'd rather be on the computer than clean anyway. lol.

  5. TG, my hubby helps with most of the cleaning, so that frees me u to concentrate on my writing....Tabs...

  6. Would you lend me your hubby for a few months, Tabs?

  7. Gail nailed it, but I'm not very good at doing it. Have to remind myself that the world still turned before the Internet came on the scene.

  8. Yes, Gail did nail it, Cheryl. I have to start following advice to get more rewriting done.
    Thanks for stopping by.

  9. Thank you Gail for the wonderful advice. I'll be finishing my first novel soon and there are times when I get stressed just thinking about all that will need to be done to promote my book. I know a few authors who, after being published, barely have time to write. I don't want that.
    And Tabitha, I, too, am fortunate enough to have a husband that helps me around the house. If he sees me writing, and stuff needs cleaned, he tells me to sit and he'll do whatever needs done. He knows how important writing is to me and gives me whatever time I need. Ha! I am blessed!!! :)

    Congrats on the new release Lorrie! I love your COD series. I already have both :) so I guess I'm out for the freebee. :(

  10. Oh, you and Tabs have it made. Thanks for dropping in Darla, and thanks for the compliment.

  11. I don't manage it all, including the day job and online teaching. Just do what I can when I can. I have to schedule computer breaks, and sometimes the novel doesn't make the topi page of the list. Note that I didn't mention housework or such nonsense.

  12. Wow, Charlotte, that is a heavy load. And here I am moaning about all I have to do. You need a clone. I admire you for all you are doing.

  13. I've been in Lorrie's situation for sometime. I thought that was the way to market my books....virtual book marketing is time consuming. But I also wasn't getting any new writing done. I'm having to rethink everything I do....Thanks to Lorrie's blog here. It's a big wake up call....Writing first. Marketing next. Email and blogs last.

    1. Yep, Janie, I've made a new resolution myself. Don't even get online. Keep the modem shut off until I actually get some writing done.

      This may be a wake up call for a few of us.

  14. Have to shut off email and FB at times, or no writing gets done. Guilty at first. No guilt now. Just do it, my friend.

  15. I don't get everything done. It is a dedicated, strict author who does, and I envy them. I try so hard, but I find that if I get a lot of writing done, then my reading of key magazines and articles suffers. If I read everything I should, then I'm itching to write, because I haven't had the time. But, I'm not saying anything new or different. Time is precious--at least we have goals and positive things to do.

  16. Yes, I have goals. My problem is that I never reach the goalpost. I take care of everything else and put my writing last. Then I'm too pooped to write. That is going to change. It has to.

  17. Say what? You guys are not super writers? super marketing gurus? super moms? super workers? super housekeepers? super surfers? I am shocked!

    1. Hi JQ, lol, I thought the same about the other authors, only I wasn't kidding, until I wrote this post.
      I felt as if all were super women and I was the only one lagging.

  18. And I think JQ just nailed it. Nobody's superwoman. See, the thing is, I basially write for me. Can't do anything else that much fun for free. When we turn "professional" that sort of tends to get lost. And when it began to get hazy for me, I went back to the "roots". Why do I write? Because it's fun. So don't do the things that make it not fun. (Besides, I've never been rich and have no illusions writing's going to change that. Just being published, having an immortality of a sorts, so that my grandchildren can read my books when they're grown and exclaim in mingled horror and disbelief, "Grandmama?!", that's riches beyond price.) Also -- haven't we all heard that the very best promo is the next book? And the next? You can't write that next book if you're always writing something else.

    1. You make a lot of sense, Gail. Even in your first reply as stated. You nailed it gal.

      And it's true, the fun goes out of writing if you're too busy doing everything else. I do want the fun back.

  19. I think it's essential to remember the 90/10 (or 80/20) rule -- that generally speaking, 80-90% of your effort will result in only 10-20% of the results you want. In other words, track the results of what you do and concentrate on the things that really bring you results and toss the rest. And I know, just the tracking to analyze this takes time, too! We just have to work smarter, not harder, but we Indies are a smart, resilient bunch. Indies rock!

  20. Balance is one of the hardest parts of the writing business, especially when you have multiple publishers. I try to keep up with everyone's news on various social media, but it's difficult. You just do what you can.

    1. I know how busy you are, Cate. And it amazes me that you can put stories out as fast as you do.

      Lend me your brain for a month or so. lol.

      I have to acquire more disipline.

  21. I know quite a few Indie writers. And yes, they do rock. I don't know how to track results, except on my Amazon author page.

    Thanks Melissa.

    1. Might try Google Analytics to track traffic on your web page, and if you have a fan page on Facebook and get over 30 likes, your traffic-tracking there kicks in and you can see how much exposure you're getting. It's never easy to deduce where the sales are coming from, but these things will help give you an idea of how much reach you have.

  22. Great question Lorrie. Like so many others I guess I fall into the category of "I do what I can." I fall short all the time, but as long as I pick myself up and keep moving forward I don't feel too bad. Now with me I'm balancing working, writing, blogging, family, and illness, but I won't stop writing and I currently still need a day job. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

  23. Good for you, Toi.

    I should make that my motto. "Do what you can."

    Thanks for stopping by today.

  24. Big thanks to Lorrie for getting my blog so many hits and comments. She doesn't realize how fabulous she is.

    1. Marva, you're making me blush again. I'm just an ordindary Joesephine that likes to yak it up.

      Tell me when it's winner time.

    2. Oh, it's winner time now. So many great comments and such wonderful advice. Thank you all again, so much. I did do the names in a hat thingie. And instead of one winner, I picked two.

      And the winner are, ta da,
      Gail Roughton and Janie Franz

      Pick your poiso, er book, ladies, and it will be on the way.