(This post may include affiliate links.)

Recently, I’ve been trying to synthesize my writing routine. Last week, I blogged about the rituals that get my engine revving. But what comes after the “start rituals”? I mean, novel writing is a big task and I’m more of a “tiny steps” kinda gal, so obvs, I break everything down into small, manageable steps. As a result of my need to be more efficient, constraints of the pandemic, and the need for space, organization, and increasing my word county, I’ve been timing my writing sessions.

pomodoro – it’s “tomato” in Italian

Turns out, there’s a whole trend on this called Pomodoro.

Named after the Italian word for tomato, it harkens to the little tomato-shaped kitchen timers. Of course, any timer will do the trick, or you can plug “Pomodoro technique” into youtube and you’ll get a nifty little timer pre-set for twenty-five minutes. And that’s it. You write for twenty-five minutes, then take a five-minute break. Of course, you can set a timer for longer periods. Work for an hour and take a 10-15 minute break, but my physical therapist told me I should get up and move more often, so 25 minutes it is. And, in all honesty, my 5-minute break often expands to 10-15. I use my break to take a walk around the yard.

So for me, it’s 25 minutes of writing, 5-15 minutes of walking that has evolved into gardening/landscaping, one little corner of the yard at a time, and wouldn’t you know it, it has had a positive impact on my yard as well.

So today, I bring you my relaxation project – the pathway that I’ve carved around the perimeter of the yard. It’s easier to show that than it is to show the writing which, honestly, is just 145 pages of type, much like this, only without the pictures.

On top of the walk-about every 25 minutes, yesterday began the launch of the house renovations. There’s nothing grand going on there and honestly, it doesn’t photograph well, but as it comes to fruition, I’ll start sharing the reno project that takes place in the late afternoon, when the writing sparks are all petered out.

Until then, I hope you find some benefit from Pomodoro, whatever your big project may be, and enjoy the pictures of my writing downtime. In the meantime, I hope you make some art, read a book!


Never mix plaid and floral?

The Magic of Space…

Whether it’s world building in fiction, or the physical space in which we work, I believe it can have an impact on what we do, who we are…

In continuation of the Friday tour of the Word Crone Cottage, this week, I finished the double doors on one end of my office. The doors are… were… the standard cheap double doors, treated plywood construction, that come standard in those little pre-fab sheds. There were not a lot of windows in the building, so when I thrifted four used windows, it was my plan to install them in the plywood double doors like full-French doors. Unfortunately, the bottom windows would cut into too much framing, so I decided against and opted to insulate, panel, and paint the bottom halves. The plaid is a work-in-progress. I underestimated the amount of time it takes to tape, paint, remove tape, wait for paint to dry, before doing it all again with the next color. I’ll add two more accent colors and next week’s tour will include the new, improved plaid panels, as well as the gable over the doors.

It’s the journey…

Familiars or Muses?

Every writer needs a muse. And this is my muse. Or is my cat a familiar?

Today, I’m talking about the difference between a familiar and a muse, but mostly, it’s an excuse to finish up a little project that’s been underway in the Word Crone Cottage: The installation of a cat door that will prevent my having to get up every half-hour or so to open the door for Scout.

Author, Joanna Bourne says, “a familiar is a muse with teeth.” 

Oxford Languages describes a familiar as “a demon supposedly attending and obeying a witch, often said to assume the form of an animal; a close friend or associate.”

Okay, I can embrace the notion of Scout being my close friend and associate, but attending and obeying? I think, by that definition, that makes me HER familiar. Either way, she does keep me company… on occasion.

By equal turn, Oxford tells me a muse is “one of the nine daughters of Zeus… who preside over the arts and sciences; a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.”

Yes, I think, in this case, a muse is the better description. She is definitely a force, a source of inspiration.

So she splits her day between her true confidant, my adult son and in-house animal whisperer, sleeping on her 6ft. cat tower that sits in front of the window with the nicest view, (obstructing the aforementioned mountain view from us lesser beings) and lastly, occasionally blessing me with her company across the yard in my office. So would I call her my writing muse? Hmm. That would depend.

Can I claim a muse as a tax deduction?