Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Guest - Stephanie Rowe

Good morning all! We have Stephanie Rowe visiting today. Stephanie will be talking about living your dream. Her publisher is offering one copy of her latest, Hold Me If You Can, to one lucky Star-Crossed commenter. You'll want to read my review here and, seriously, we have to keep Wookie, my alien kitten, happy. She likes lots of entries to choose from ;-) Check out how to enter down below.

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Finding Space to Live Your Dream

I have a dream, a big dream, of a way I want my life to be, or of something I want to do with my life, but the reality of my day-to-day responsibilities suck all my free time from me. Every night I go to bed, I think "Tomorrow, I'll start to work on it. Tomorrow I'll make time." And then tomorrow comes, and time for me never appears. I don't know what to do. I can't make it happen. Tell me your secret.

I receive emails with that question, I get tapped on the shoulder at book signings, I get asked that by friends and family. It's not always phrased that way. Sometimes it is simply, "I want to write, but I don't have time. How do you make time?"

It's not only aspiring writers who have dreams. Many people, most people, have secret dreams of things they want to do, be, accomplish, but sometimes it's really to find a way to fit it in! So we sit there, hoping for a break, for a window to act, and yet time slips away.

The truth is, there's no easy way to find time. There's no Magic Time Fairy who will wave her sparkly wand over your head and make time stop for three hours a day so you can go do your thing and not have the world waiting on you. I sure wish there was!

For me, the first thing I did to make time to write was to decide that it was of top importance to me. At the time, I had a full-time job with a high level of responsibility. I was exhausted at the end of every day, so I knew I had to work in the morning. I started getting up before work to write, and as time went on, I kept getting up earlier and earlier, so excited by the idea of writing. Eventually I was getting to the computer at 3:30 in the morning and working for almost five hours before the day had even started! To do that, however, I had to make choices. I stopped playing tennis for four years, I gave up television, I stop going out at night (hard to do that when you're getting up at 3:30) and really streamlined my life. The elimination of those other activities was gradual: I started simply by getting up a half-hour earlier and making time for my writing. We can all manage to get up a half hour earlier, right? Sure we can. There's your half-hour, there's your start. That half hour when the rest of the house is asleep is all yours. Love it, embrace it, and dance it in guilt free… and DON'T use it for ANYTHING but pursuing your dream, whether it's writing, getting fit, knitting, building furniture, baking desserts, or whatever it is.

The second step, and this is a biggie, is realizing that you can make steps toward your dream in little increments. For example, I write in seven minute increments. If I have seven minutes, I will write. There are so many snippets of time in a day that are just waiting for you to grab them. What about when you're cooking dinner and waiting for the water to boil? Or when you're waiting for your kids to finish getting ready for school in the morning. Or when you're waiting in line at the doctor's office. Or if you get to lunch a few minutes early—whip out your laptop and get to work. Even if your dream is to build cabinets, you can still accomplish things in those seven minute increments in the parking lot: look at your designs, study photographs of your work-in- progress to figure out next steps or changes you want to make, make phone calls to find out what store has the wood you want, slap some stain on some samples and see what you like, or simply whip out your notebook and start making a list of things you can do in your seven minute snippets of time.

It takes creativity, determination and a peaceful, strategic mind to carve out space for your dream, but you can do it. The first step is to make that decision, the next step is to figure out those little openings you have, and the third step is to seize those openings for yourself with great excitement, no guilt and a sparkle in your eye. One you pry open that door, you will discover more and more opportunities to pursue your dream will open up. Little by little, it will happen. Be patient, be kind to yourself if it seems to take a while, and tell yourself that you deserve to take those little moments for your dream.

Each step might be small, but when you put enough of them together, you can make it all the way to the moon.

What is your dream? What steps are you taking to get there? And if you haven't taken any steps, what is going to be your first one? Did you ever have to make it through tough odds to get what you wanted? Share your story in the comments, and a winner will be randomly selected to win a copy of HOLD ME IF YOU CAN.



BIO: Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty published books with major New York publishers, including HarperCollins, Grand Central and Harlequin. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher's Weekly. Stephanie writes romance (paranormal, contemporary and suspense), teen fiction, middle grade fiction and inspirational non-fiction. A former attorney, Stephanie lives in Boston where she is actively working on her next projects, which include a re-release of her sexy Alaska Heat romantic suspense ICE, as well as the dark paranormal series The Order of the Blade, which will be launching in February and March with a trilogy.  For more information on Stephanie, visit www.stephanierowe.com.

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-- Lynda Again
    To enter the drawing,
     1) Leave a Comment for Stephanie
     2) Send an email to me at Lynda@LyndaKScott.com with 'Hold Me If You Can' in the subject line and your snail mail addy in the body
    3) On Friday, January 20 I'll let Wookie select the winner. We'll announce that lucky person here :-)

    Have a Blessed Day!

16 comments:

perisquire30 said...

Hi Stephanie!

I looooooved your series of books that began with Date Me Baby One More Time!!! I recommend them to everyone!
When it comes to writing, I find I can go through lazy periods where I don't capitalize on my spare time. Reading your 7 minute increment rule is a kick in the butt! Thanks!

~Roni Lynne
YA Adventures in the Paranormal...and Beyond!

Stephanie said...

What an eye catching cover! It really is beautiful. I can't wait to read Nigel's story.

Every day is a struggle for me as I have health issuses to deal with but that's just a part of my life, I don't let it rule me...well as much as I can anyway. I'm an editor for a small epub so helping writers get their dreams out to the public is fulfilling my dreams by aiding them. Some days are better than others word count wise but I can rely on my friends and co-workers to have my back when I need them.

Thanks for the great post.

Pauline B Jones said...

What a wonderful post for a new year! It is easy to have time slip away from you, no question. I fight on many fronts to protect my writing time. Great cover and teh book sounds fun! Congratulations!

savannah said...

Great post :)

Right now I'm a stay at home mom so I pretty much take it one day at a time... but when my kids go to school and don't need me as much I would love to write not sure what yet books poetry anything... steps I have taken is I try to write now whenever I can nothing worthy yet of being published but its small steps :)!!!

brandon_savannah@yahoo.com

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Stephanie,

Excellent advice for aspiring writers! When I worked fulltime, I also got up extra early to make certain I had time to write. I'm retired now but I still get up early and work before the demands of the day begin.

Best,

Jacqueline Seewald
THE TRUTH SLEUTH
THE INFERNO COLLECTION
THE DROWNING POOL
TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS

Andrea I said...

I don't write. I'm just a reader. My dream was to travel for the first time outside the USA on vacation. I did that this past September. I planned and prepared for several months to accomplish it.

Jolie said...

I lost a lot of writing time when my kids were younger (I have six), but I finally reached a point when I had to commit or let go of the dream I'd had since I was in second grade. I made the time to write whenever I could, especially at night while they were sleeping. Something I still do. If I go without a little sleep to achieve something important to me, then it's well worth it. Another thing I did when I was blocked was get a hotel room for one night to plot while my husband handled the kids. It was a simple, affordable room, but I had all the privacy I needed and I broke through my block and had a fully plotted story when I came home.

Stephanie Rowe said...

Hi Roni! Wow, thank you so much for the kind words on my books. I'm so glad you enjoy them! I have good news, too! A Immortally Sexy book will finally be coming out in late 2012, so you will get to visit Satan and Mona and Rafi again! I'm glad my blog helped you. Sometimes it is tough to get motivated. Good luck!

Thanks, Stephanie. I love the cover as well. Sourcebooks did a fantastic job on it. I'm so sorry to hear about your health problems, but it sounds like you have done a great job finding ways to focus that bring you satisfaction. You sound like am amazing woman (and it's not just because you have such a great name…).

Hi Pauline. Good job on fighting to protect your writing time. Sometimes, you really have to take the offensive. Good luck!

Hi Savannah. Being a stay at home mom is challenging, especially with little kids. My daughter just started kindergarten this year, so I know exactly how hard it is. As for what books you would like to write, just play around with anything that strikes your fancy. Eventually, you will find something that makes you sit back and say "Ohh…. That is awesome!"

Hi Jacqueline. I think you are spot on with getting up early even though you're retired. I am so much happier if I get some good headway on my work early in the day. It is hard to start up later in the day when you're tired and it feels like you still have so much to do.

Andrea, that is excellent! Congratulations on accomplishing your dream! I hope you had a wonderful time.

Hi Jolie, good for you. It really is tough to find time to follow your dream, and congratulations for making it happen. That hotel room is a great idea. Sometimes taking the time to be able to focus without distractions is a great gift.

You all are so inspiring! Thank you for sharing your stories!

Tamara Hoffa said...

I'm not a big dreamer, I always wanted to be a wife and mother, boring I know, But, I accomplished that and am now a grandma too! I mostly love my life. I love to read, and this past year started reviewing and beta reading and it has added a lot of enjoyment to my life.

Nancy Crampton-Brophy said...

When Stephanie lived on the West Coast she and I were members of romance writers. She used to talk about the things she did to be published. I was amazed. She's one of the hardest working writers I know

Katie said...

I am so looking forward to The Order of the Blade series! You are one of my favorite authors...and I appreciate the advice...though I am thinking I would rather toss my alarm clock in the toilet rather than get up any earlier than I do! lol

Melissa P said...

I love the cover.
I am needing to get caught up in your books. I am a few behind in this series. B-( I will get caught up..especially being home with a little one who just wants to cuddle on the couch...he watches cartoons and I read my books..My to be read pile is starting to shrink... B-)
Thanks for the contest.
Loved your books on Alaska Bush pilots..waiting for more. B-)

Linda Andrews said...

Very nice cover and some wonderful advice. I struggled most with making time for me. Oy, the guilt. How could I take time away from my kids to indulge myself? Fortunately, I'm a morning person and yes, I do get up at 430 but it's to walk the dog and get ready for work, but I snatch those minutes when I can and my husband is very supportive by taking the kids and sometimes making dinner (or ordering in). Do you write full time now?

Stephanie Rowe said...

Hi Linda, Thanks so much for your nice words. I hear you on the guilt. It's super tough. I have the same issue, especially as a single mom. I do write full now, and it's really great. But as a single mom of a young child, I'm still having to squeeze out work when I can, and I write until midnight most nights.

Hi Melissa! Thanks for stopping by! You're the best! Yes, yes, catch up on the books! :) I'm going to try to get another Alaska Heat book out at the end of this year. We'll see how the year goes!

Stephanie Rowe said...

Hi Katie! You are so funny with the alarm clock! I hear you! I got up ten minutes earlier today to get some things ready, and I was not happy! I'm glad you're excited about the Order of the Blade. Me, too!

NANCY!!! It's so good to hear from you!! BIG HUGS!

Tammie, you are such in inspiration. Being a wife and mom is so beautiful, and a grandma too, and it makes me so happy to hear how happy you are. You deserve it!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Whew! I've been chasing Wookie who had the winner's name in her cute little teeth, up and down stairs, around the tables and chairs, into the kitchen, into the living room, over Zuzu (who managed to open one eye in a mild sort of interest) and finally, I rattled the Greenie treat bag. Wookie dropped the name and meowed for her treats.

So finally I can announce the winner for A Demon Does It Better...

Melissa

The lovely Beth at Sourcebooks will get your book to you asap!

Thanks for visiting us here at Star-Crossed Romance!