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Happy Insecure Writer’s Support Group Wednesday. Thank you again to Alex J. Cavanaugh, the creator of the group. The first Wednesday of every month is dedicated to this group of supportive writers. If it’s something you’re not familiar with, then please click on Alex’s link above for more information and to sign up!

February was a memorable month for my family and me. My son was born on the 21st and it has been a rewarding, yet exhausting past week and a half. Everything went really well, so I couldn’t ask for much more. He and his mother are in perfect health. His older sister (4 years old) is absolutely in love with him, so that’s been exciting to see because I didn’t really know how she’d react. She says she wants to hold him “every time” (which wasn’t about to happen) and that she’ll change the clean diapers (mommy and daddy are in charge of the dirty ones). She’s already a little negotiator.

It’s quite an adjustment having a baby in the house again. With the irregular sleep, I’m back on caffeine (after kicking the addiction three years ago), but I guess there are worse things. I’ve gotten absolutely nothing done in the past week and a half since he was born (author related). My head’s been lost in a fog (though the coffee helps a little). Today will be my first day back to work, and I know there will be a ton to catch up on.

Earlier in the month, for two weeks before my son’s birth, I had the best writing weeks of my life. I was still having difficulties finishing my outline, so I just decided to jump into the story. And I did this by dictating on my 2-hour daily commute. It is not an efficient way to dictate, but it gave me uninterrupted time every day and forced me to get some words on the page. So in that two weeks I wrote 22,000 words, which isn’t much compared to the writing productivity books I’ve been reading, but it’s a record for me. So that’s a huge win. Now if I can finish a more in depth outline so I know exactly where I’m going for the few thousand words before I get in the car, then I can spend less time thinking and more time dictating.

I know safety is a concern when discussing dictation while driving and I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t recommend it. And if I had more available time outside of driving, I wouldn’t recommend it either because it’s difficult to get a productive word count. But I am using a hands free setup (required in the state of California) and the dictation process is not much different than talking to someone on the phone (which almost everyone does). The nice thing is that I find myself driving slower and not changing lanes often to minimize distractions. I’m also less frustrated with heavy traffic since I’m using my drive time in a productive way instead of racing to get home. I don’t know if this is something I’ll do long term, but in the short term, it’s helping me get my writing time back. Now with the baby and my perpetual exhaustion, I probably won’t be able to do it every day. So I’ll be making adjustments over the next month so I can be there for my family, keep my sanity, and still chip away at producing a new novel.

What successes did you have over the past month? I’m ready for a nap, but since that’s not an option, I better go grab another cup of coffee.


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