Monday, March 30, 2015

Are You In or Out of Control?

Are you out of control? I confess that in some ways, I am. In others, I'm not. 

Take for example, my dog, Rascal. I devised a system to get her to go out to do her duty. I put a treat or two on the floor leading to the door, and then she willingly trots into the backyard. So, I've trained her to go out, or have I? Maybe she's trained me to give her treats.

One more animal example. Once again, this year in Illinois, we had a cold, snowy winter. In the morning, I'd let Rascal into the yard, then I'd venture out and feed the birds and squirrels with crumbled up, unsalted corn chips placed on the patio and under the tree. It's now spring, and the snow is almost gone. I'm guessing there's more natural food around now for my yard buddies. Still, the birds come to the patio in the morning to get their chips, and I  can't resist feeding them.

Then, the funniest thing of all, when I let the dog out, one particular squirrel dashes across the phone wires at record speed, then down the post, into the backyard, and over to the tree. It's figured out that once Rascal appears, food will be near. I can't bear to disappoint the critter, so I toss around some chips for it. So, I ask you, have I trained the squirrel, or has it trained me?

Enough about animals. Now, about writing. I self-publish, which affords me control over when, where, and how my books are released. I can make my own covers, choose my editor, my venues, what kind of books I write, and how long they are.

However, am I really in control? Often, I spend too much time on Facebook, Twitter, and e-mails, and not as much time writing. Also, when I feel a self-made pressure to get down to writing, suddenly I notice projects that really need doing around the house. Believe me, there are plenty, since my control over the house also fluctuates.

Yes, I often veer onto other paths, instead of writing. Now, I ask you, does that mean I have no discipline, and am out of control? Or, does that mean, I'm actually in control of my writing life, and have the liberty to do what I wish? This week, I'm racing to get Easter Basket, my latest novel, ready on time for Easter.

Will I make it? If I don't, I still have the option of changing the text on the cover and making it a Mother's Day book, which would work just as well in this case. That's the beauty of self-publishing.

Why am I mentioning all this? You may not know it, but today is National I Am in Control Day, a time to take stock of how much in control we are, and what we can do to gain a semblance of control in our lives.

Are you in or out of control? I'd love to hear your examples, either about writing or otherwise.

Experience the diversity and versatility of Morgan Mandel. Romantic Comedies: Her Handyman, its sequel, A Perfect Angelstandalone reality show romance; Girl of My Dreams.  Thriller: Forever Young: Blessing or Curse,its sequel: the Blessing or Curse CollectionRomantic suspense: Killer CareerMystery:Two Wrongs. Short  and Sweet   Romance: Christmas   Carol.  Twitter:@MorganMandel Websites: Morgan Mandel.Com    Morgan Does Chick Lit.Com.

22 comments :

  1. That is both the pleasure and the pain of the Indy route. You are in charge. You hold the carrot and the stick. With the traditional route, once your first book is purchased, the pressure is on to continue to produce, not only a next book but related short stories and promotional efforts. I set deadlines, but it is too easy to ignore them as they pass.

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    1. I do enjoy the freedom of being an Indie, but as you say, it does come with a price. It's not always easy to make decisions.

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  2. As those who know me would probably attest to, I've been out of control since 1963.

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    1. I'm curious what happened in 1963. Is that when you started writing?

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    2. I don't know, it maybe just a coincidence ... but that was about the time I started noticing girls.

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  3. For the first time in ages, I am in control of my writing life....because everything else is totally out of my control. I'm housebound after surgery to repair a broken bone in my foot and I'll be off my feet for many weeks. There's nothing to do here but read, write, and do computer stuff. I'm even thinking of doing Camp NaNoWriMo to help keep my word count up. Sometimes blessings come in mysterious disguises.

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    1. It's a good thing that you have writing to fall back on, Patricia, or you'd go stir crazy!

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    2. Mysterious and perhaps even painful, I imagine. Take care, Patricia!

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  4. I have to say I think the squirrel has trained you. My writing is semi under my control but having children leaves my personal life not quite under my control.

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    1. My husband and dog are my children, and both keep my life out of control. Never know what to expect next, but that's the fun of it!

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  5. We are "owned" by our animals! They are smart and know exactly which buttons to push! Good post, Morgan.

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  6. Yes, we are owned by our animals, Heidi. I'm continually surprised about their savvy, and sometimes wonder who is smarter.

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  7. Every time I think I have things "under control," I am often humbled by things spinning off in a different direction. It just takes me a while to re-orient myself and then I have the illusion I'm in control again.

    I'm a hybrid author, with publishers and my own indie label, so I often put pressure on myself to get tasks accomplished. I've been not as focused lately as several projects hit marketability at the same time. I keep telling myself the marketing is part of the deal, but I'd rather be writing. Also, the deal with marketing is trying to evaluate what's working and how you spend your time and your marketing budget.

    In truth, sometimes I think "control" may secretly be a 4-letter swear word.

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    1. Yes, I wish I knew the secret of exactly what's the best way to promote.

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  8. And just when you think you're in control, your browser will go into crash mode, or you'll get a call from your tax guy saying he needs more information, or you have to explain to the dog why the UPS truck drove past the house without stopping.

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    1. Your poor dog must have been waiting for something very good from the UPS guy, Terry!

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    2. She gets a biscuit with every delivery. The UPS guys are really nice up here

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    3. Most of the time I go online now and click to leave my UPS stuff at the front door, unless it's something very important, but still I don't believe our guys have treats up their sleeves!

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  9. Oh my, I am so out of control it isn't funny; of my animals, my house, my writing, my marketing. My husband used to laugh and shake his head wondering how I could get so much accomplished and be so out of control.

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  10. I can control me just fine (from my perspective, of course), but the people in my life are totally out of control. Rarely do they do what I want them to -- but then if they did, they would be ever so boring, which I assure you they are not.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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