Thursday, October 4, 2012

How I Balance My Writing Life with My Real Life

Today's featured author is
Charlene Tess

I find myself writing all the time in my head. The trick is getting those ideas recorded before they are scattered around amid all the other thoughts swirling throughout my mind like what to fix for dinner, or what errands I need to run.

Just ask my husband how often he has to repeat himself because I am daydreaming or “mind writing,” and I don’t hear him the first time he says something. I am truly not ignoring him, I just can’t snap back into the present fast enough to respond in an intelligent manner. He is used to it, so he doesn’t get offended.

I am happily retired from teaching after 35 years, and writing full time. Blending my real life with my writing life has become much easier thanks to Steve Jobs and his Apple products. 

I usually do most of my writing in the early morning hours. I wake up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00 am, prop myself up on pillows and  type any ideas or remnants of dreams into the Notes App on my iPad while I drink two cups of coffee. Before I was lucky enough to have an iPad, I kept a yellow legal pad and a pen on my bedside table. I still like to write in long hand, and if I am stuck in a scene, or my ideas are stalled, I reach for that yellow legal pad. Somehow the right hand to left brain connection frees my mind and gets the words flowing again.

To make sure that the latest version of any article, story, or novel is available to work on, I use an app called Dropbox. I have the app on all my devices, and when I work on something, I open Dropbox, work on the document and then leave it there so I can access it from anywhere. Dropbox stores the documents in the Cloud and syncs them seamlessly. The documents are instantly updated. 

I try to take a long walk every morning. It is on this walk that my best ideas are formed. I put on my earphones and speak into the tape recorder app on my iPhone. When I get home, I listen to what I have recorded and type it into my computer. I am usually at work at my desk in my study by 8 am.
I stop working at 11 to have lunch with my husband and then go back to work until 3 pm. I have found this schedule works for me, and my writing life easily blends with my real life as a wife, mother, and grandmother. 

Charlene Tess taught English and creative writing to high school students and adults for over thirty-four years. She is listed in Who's Who in America. She has worked as an educational consultant helping other teachers use her grammar books, Simple Steps to Sentence Sense for High School, Simple Steps to Sentence Sense for Middle School, Simple Steps to Sentence Sense for Elementary School and ESL Students.

In 1998, she retired from teaching to devote her time to writing fiction and teaching fiction writing to adults. All of her novels are available as Kindle eBook in  She has also published short fiction and articles in magazines and in short story collections. Visit her blog and subscribe to her newsletter for freebies and updates.Charlene and her husband Jerry spend their free time traveling and visiting their two daughters and their three grandsons.

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