Tom Petty and Doritos as a Health Food

Seasons Greetings to the loyal readers of the Seven Scribes blog!  Vivienne Ylang has graciously allowed me to post in her place.  My name is Jamie K. Schmidt and I write romantic fantasy.

My writing career can pretty much be summed up with Tom Petty songs.  “Running Down a Dream,” “Into the Great Wide Open,” “Free Fallin,” “The Waiting is the Hardest Part,” “I Need to Know,” “Breakdown,” “I Won’t Back Down,” “Stop Dragging My Heart Around,” “You Don’t Know How it Feels,” and “You Got Lucky.”

I currently have a paranormal romance out on submission with a major epub on an exclusive basis and an urban fantasy on submission with the Big Six.  I also have two unfinished works in progress that I’d like to send out “Into the Great Wide Open” in the New Year.

I was thinking about what kind of writing tips would fit in with the season and one of the biggest things I deal with around the holidays is how to find time and energy to write.  I procrastinate by doing other things, that while worthy – are not furthering my writing career.  Because my writing is solely for me, I feel selfish if I set apart an hour when there’s laundry to be done.

Here’s how I deal with the guilt:  Chocolate.

Getting up an hour early to write never worked for me.  For one, I’m pretty much a zombie in the a.m. and I’m more productive doing chores first thing.

Writing on my lunch hour is good in theory.  But there’s always some well meaning co-worker who will sit next to me and start up a conversation, or I’m running errands.  Sometimes, it’s just easier to work through lunch so I can get all my work done and go home at a decent hour.

That pretty much leaves night time for my writing.  I have a four-year-old son that I need to spend time with and then there’s the dinner hour. Luckily, my son goes off to bed and bath with Daddy so I’m officially off the clock around eight p.m.  Usually, I sit at the kitchen table exhausted from the day. I have just enough energy to play Facebook games and stalk editors on Twitter.

Here’s how I deal with the ennui:  Tea.

At this point in the day, a bracing cuppa and some Sees chocolate give me a whole new outlook.  I ask myself, “Will clearing out shrubs in Zynga games get me a publishing contract?”  Not likely.  “Will putting all the Legos back in the tub get this draft finished?”  No, but it will stop me from impaling my foot on one in the middle of the night.

The only thing that will advance my writing goes is for me to put my butt in the chair and fingers on the keyboard.  The house and my crops can wait an hour or a thousand words, which ever comes first.  I make that time and those words the priority.

So it is with a sink full of dishes and a floor that could use a good vacuuming, I’m planting myself in front of the lap top and willing the words to flow out of my fingers like Mozart on a fortepiano.  Next week, I’ll be back chatting about how to focus on your current project.

Here’s a quick salad to throw together when the family needs to be fed and you’re on a writing streak:

Salad Avec Doritos

1 head lettuce, chopped
1 sm. onion, chopped
1 lg. can kidney beans, drained
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 bag Doritos or Nacho chips, crushed
2-3 tomatoes, cubed
Catalina salad dressing

Mix lettuce and onion together. Immediately before serving, add rest of ingredients and toss with as much salad dressing as desired.  Add cooked, drained ground beef and it’s a taco salad dinner!

When is your writing time?  Do you grab it in bits and pieces throughout the day, or do you put in a chunk of time?  Do you write every day?


17 thoughts on “Tom Petty and Doritos as a Health Food”

  1. Hi Jamie! Thanks for being our guest poster today! Chocolate and tea are two of my favorite ways to relax too.

    I only write when I have a book plotted out. So I’m either plotting, editing or writing. I also take on-line classes through RWA. Lately, I’ve been gearing up for the release of Mystic Ink. And I heard from my editor for The Undead Space Initiative yesterday (so I will have to start the editing process on that book too). I grab whatever free moments I have to write (since I work full time), but I do my best writing after dinner time or early in the morning. I love the recipe. My family has a similar version which always get devoured!

    1. Hi Casey 😀

      I can’t wait to read Mystic Ink. That cover is amazing! I feel you about the editing process. I’ve got some editorial revisions to work on that are due February. And I always want to do “fresh” writing instead of it. Got any good tea recommendations? I’m currently in love with Mango black tea, but I’m willing to expand my horizon. Thanks for commenting! 😀 — Jamie

  2. You are hilarious Jamie. I love the Tom Petty references. Too funny!

    I still work a more or less full time job (if you count my commute, it’s 40 hours), but my time is somewhat flexible. With no kiddies at home and a very self-sufficient and helpful husband, when I’m here, my time is my own. (He even does dinner most nights). I’ve also hired a housekeeper that comes in once every three weeks to do all the chores I don’t have time for (It takes me two hours to vacuum this rambling old farmhouse) and she is worth every penny. She washes floors, dusts and cleans bathrooms, so I’m off the hook unless i have company coming:-) I’m still in charge of laundry and such but the homemaker end of my life is very manageable these days. (Feeling blessed and not taking any of that for granted, believe me.)

    My biggest challenge now is balancing writing time with production schedules and marketing. This DIY publishing gig is definitely not a one man show and I’m trying to figure out ways to reverse my 80/20 ratio of writing time vs. business requirements (80% of my available time is spent on work other than writing). Right now, I’m working on revisions for Savage Cinderella coming out in March. I tend to do things in big blocks of time. I spent about ten hours yesterday and got through a hundred pages or so…yipee!

    Since things like sleeping and eating are also required, writng something new on a daily basis is not likely to be in the picture any time soon. I see a personal assistant in my future, but I’m gonna have to sell a lot of books before that happens. In the mean time, the Sees chocolates sounds like a good plan! Thanks for being here with us.

    1. Oh Paula, Savage Cinderella sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Wow! 100 pages in 10 hours! You’re officially my new hero. Holy smokes. That sounds like my perfect day! (with tea and chocolate natch!) I’m avidly watching everything you’re doing with the self pub because I’m fascinated. I think at the end of all of it, you can probably put out a how-to book, like Jennifer Fusco’s “Market or Die” Series. Thanks for commenting!! Oh! Handy tip, the only two places I’ve found to get Sees chocolate in Connecticut is the Danbury and West Farms Mall — and then only until the end of December. I went in on a surgical strike Saturday after the MargaRITA’s to pick up some boxes. I was alone. I was like Rudy the Wabbit, bobbing and weaving through the crowds, past Neiman Marcus. .. . looked at the shoes .. . focus! To the kiosk and I squirreled away a few boxes.

  3. Hi Jamie,

    Love the post and the recipe – my family LOVES taco salad night.

    Trying to find the energy, time and concentration to write at this time of year is definitely a struggle for me. I’m not a morning person, maybe not quite a zombie, but the stage before it for sure. I like the idea of tea and chocolate and boy are you talking to the California girl in me when you mention Sees (which is available year-round there). Right now since I can’t seem to focus enough to write that next scene, I’m working on revising what I’ve got so far. Hopefully after the holidays I can get back on track. After all, Fiction Fest is only 5 months away…must have MS finished, polished and ready to go.

    1. Hi Gail!
      Thanks for stopping by! Yeah there are days when I’m just like, I can’t wait to get back to normal. But there’s the fun of the holidays too. It’s strange Nanowrimo seems to kick off the holiday season for me, so there’s always a bit of extra writing done in November allowing me to coast a bit in December! I was bummed that the Sees kiosks don’t have the apple pie/pumpkin pie/pecan pie truffles. But not bummed enough to pay shipping and handling for them! I discovered Sees many moons ago when I was working a trade show in California. Now, they’re a once a year special tradition. 😀

  4. Writing at the day’s end is magical for me. All the other “stuff” is out of the way, so my focus is unblemished. I am a morning person, but that’s when I do all the other jobs. I would say after dinner is usually the best time for me.

  5. Ah, Tom Petty. Back in the day I had a not-quite-boyfriend who looked just like Tom Petty! It was very cool at the time 🙂 I recently ate that Dorito salad somewhere — where the heck was it? — and was very surprised how much I enjoyed it! As for chocolate, that goes withoug saying around here. And tea? Katy Lee got me hooked on chocolate mint (Stash is the manufacturer I found). I have to do most of my writing at night.

      1. I can’t say enough about the chocolate mint tea! Harney and Sons is another brand, but I think Stash can be bought right at Ocean State.

        Thanks for being here, Jamie!

  6. LOVE the post, Jaimie. And kudos on using french in a recipe for Doritos and salad, it just makes me happy. In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and admit that anything involving Doritos tends to make me happy, but hey.

    The description of the writing/publishing journey using Tom Petty songs is genius. So perfect.

    I write whenever I can grab a few minutes, and it sure isn’t easy these days with the whole holiday thing. Haven’t written a word today and I feel awful about it. Maybe will try for half an hour after this. Anyway, I am a big fan of STASH’s double bergamont earl grey and also Harney and Sons Ginger Peach. Yum Yum

    Thanks for making me smile, girl.

      1. The ginger peach saved my life. No joke.
        We were in Disney World and I had terrible pains in my abdomin. It turned out to be a ruptured cyst, but I didn’t know it at the time. We went into the Brown Derby Restaurant because I just couldn’t stand up, let alone walk anymore and I ordered a pot of the ginger peach. By the end of the meal I was perfectly fine. It’s now my “feel better” tea!

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