Thursday, July 24, 2014

Part Two of "30 Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing" which first appeared on C.M. Mayo's blog.  

by C.M. Mayo

9. Stop picking up the telephone. As Marie Antoinette might have put it, Let them send email. If you can, pay for an unlisted number and caller ID and change your telephone number at least every other year. If that little click to voice mail distracts you, why, just unplug it! And, pourquoi pas? Fling it out the window!
10. No recreational shopping. Whew, this one adds up over a season, a year, two years. So never, ever shop in stores or on-line or in fact anywhere anytime without your list. If an item is not on your list, do not buy it. Shopping malls are time- and money-gobbling maws and believe it, the marketers, watching your every move on their cameras, are more sophisticated than you think you are. Not only does recreational shopping squander prime writing time, but it tends to fill up your house with clutter-- a time-suck in itself. Go to a park, a museum, a library, the seashore, a basketball court, have fun and refresh yourself as necessary, but stay way away from the maw. I mean, mall. 

11. Stop accumulating a large and varied wardrobe based on navy, brown and/or beige. And give all that away to Goodwill. If you wear clothing that is black and/or coordinates with black, you'll be able to make fewer shopping trips, pack faster, and do far less laundry and dry cleaning. And since black makes colors "pop," your blue sweater, say, will appear brighter. Yet another advantage: black makes you look slimmer.  (Ha, maybe I was a Jesuit in my last life.)

12. Cancel the manicure. Horrendous time sink there. Plus, the polish is toxic and it flakes.

13. Quit following the stock market on a daily basis. This is a tick-like habit that achieves nothing but a heightened sense of anxiety. On par with spectator sports.

14. Quit playing computer games. On par with drugs. Or any other addiction. Including following the stock market on a daily basis.

15. Quit hanging out on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, these can be useful for keeping in touch and promoting one's books and events, but like Burger King, they're best indulged in rarely and only of dire necessity or unavoidable human frailty. On par with computer games.

16. Ignore spectator sports. 
Do not attend games, do not watch or listen to or otherwise follow games, do not discuss games, and whole weekends for writing will emerge from the sea of froth. 

17. Do not indulge in expensive, time- and space-consuming activities such as, oh, say, collecting and expounding upon various types of fermented grape juice.
Come on, folks, once it goes into a carafe, 99% of your guests won't know the difference between one chablis and the next chardonnay. Pick a reasonable brand and stick with it, white and red. For me, it's Monte Xanic-- or else it goes into the pot for coq au vin.

C.M. Mayo is the author of several books, most recently, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. She is currently at work on a book about Far West Texas, and apropos of that, hosts the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project at

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing

This is part one of "30 Deadly-Effective Ways to Free Up Bits, Drips & Gimungously Vast Swaths of Time for Writing" which first appeared on C.M. Mayo's blog.

by C.M. Mayo

Where do you find the time? It’s not so much finding time as it is prying your physical presence and attention away, either permanently or for a spell, from someone, something, someplace less valuable to you—if you really do want to write, not just pretend and fantasize and gripe. Herewith, a menu of sources-- some of which just might work for you. They do for me. A few of them took me a while to recognize, alas.

1. Give up TV, just give it up, deep-freeze turkey & freekin' forever. You may have to find new friends who can have conversations on subjects other than TV shows. Oh well, too bad for the old ones. (Feel lonely just at the thought? Then you probably shouldn't try to be a writer.)

2. Cut the digital leash, the crackberry, whatever you want to call that soul-sucking hypnotic thumb-twiddler. The price of this is that you must therefore continually combat tidal waves of exasperation from loved ones and others that you are not instantly and always available to them. Find the humor in this. Because really, how blazingly ridiculous.

3. No drugs. Duh. And I include prescription drugs here, too. Exercise, eat lots of vegetables, drink raw juice, meditate… do whatever you possibly can to avoid adult onset diabetes and joint issues and so having to take drugs, for aside from suffering from lousy side effects, you'll waste countless hours waiting for doctors to write prescriptions, then getting them filled at the pharmacy, dealing with insurance, and complications, and so on & so forth.

4. Quit your commute. If you can possibly live closer to where you need to be during the day, even if you have to sell half your furniture to fit into a smaller place, do that. Otherwise, try to get into the habit of writing while commuting. I hear some people have been able to do that. I admire them genuinely.

5. No drama. Mantra: not my circus, not my monkeys. If you relish fighting / debating / gossip because you find it entertaining, that's your writing mojo leaking like water onto the asphalt. Incessant worrying about other people's problems that are not yours to solve is also silly. You can be aware, you can be concerned, you can be compassionate, and when they are your problems, then they are your problems.

6. No more ruminating over the past.  Regrets, nostalgia, whatever, writing gets done in the now.

7. Less fantasizing about the future. Again, writing gets done in the now.

8. No nursing grudges against editors / agents / other writers / 

reviewers / readers. This one can vacuum up untold hours of yammering in workshops, at conferences, and over sad and grumbly cups of coffee. But listen here: the so-called gatekeepers and the clueless readers and half-literate kids glued to their handheld devices, they’re just doing the best they can, too. So are the peasants wading through their rice paddies in Burma. You are luckier than a lottery-winner to even be able to write at all. So strive to always improve and write for those who appreciate what you do, knowing that, of course, even if you one day win the Nobel Prize, only the teensiest portion of the population of Planet Earth will have heard of you, never mind actually read anything you wrote. Bottom line: If you can’t stay focused on doing your own best work, you’re not writing, you’re back to ruminating.

C.M. Mayo is the author of several books, most recently, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. She is currently at work on a book about Far West Texas, and apropos of that, hosts the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project at

Check in tomorrow for part two of this excellent list!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July Member News

Congratulations to all on your new publications!

Deanna Dickinson McCall’s “Desert Dreams,” is included in the anthology Broken Promises (La Frontera Publishing). The West was built on a handshake and a promise. But sometimes those promises were broken, and the consequences could be fearful. Whether it was the nation’s broken promises to tribal leaders, or a vow to revenge a wounded heart, the price would have to be paid in blood and tears.

Diane Sward Rapaport Home Sweet Jerome: Death andRebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City. When mining left the town in the early 1950's most thought the town would close down all together. But Jerome was too stubborn to die and it has become Arizona's most famous ghost town and a notorious and loveable hippie hideout. A history of the inhabitants who stayed, or moved in and out during the 60's and 70's and the rebirth that took hold in the 80's and 90's making Jerome a celebrated art and history destination now visited by more than a million people each year.

Sarah Byrne Rickman, Flight to Destiny, Annie Gwynn joins fellow Tennessean Cornelia Fort flight instructing over Oahu the morning of December 7, 1941. Both are chased from the sky by the marauding Japanese Zeroes that arrive to wreak havoc on Pearl Harbor. Nine months later, Cornelia joins Nancy Love’s WAFS squadron to ferry Army airplanes. She sends word to Annie to apply. Former stunt pilot and flight instructor Clare Varsky joins her friend Nancy Love’s history-making squadron. And Jacqueline Cochran readies her administrative assistant, Midge Culpepper, to qualify for the WAFS, to spy on Love’s rival program. The three women pilots meet, share their joys, sorrows, loves, and lives, and come to rely on each other. Each, in turn, encounters her own flight to destiny. To purchase, email Sarah at

Carolyn Niethammer The PianoPlayer (Oak Tree Press) 
In 1882, Frisco Rosie, the saloon piano player, and Nellie, upstanding boarding house owner, form an improbable bond that takes them from Tombstones desert, to imprisonment in a Mexican jail and eventually to Dawson City's frozen creeks in the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. Challenging society's norms for proper womanhood, they each pursue their own dreams for success, postponing romance with the men who love them, until for one, it becomes too late.


Teresa Lynn Little Lodges on the Prairie: Freemasonry& Laura Ingalls Wilder is now available on Kindle. Little Lodges on the Prairie: Freemasonry & Laura Ingalls Wilder is the first book to comprehensively detail the involvement of Laura Ingalls Wilder and each member of her family in the ancient fraternity of Freemasonry and the related Order of the Eastern Star. Complete with rarely seen and previously unpublished documents and photographs, this book offers a new and unique perspective on the beloved author of the Little House on the Prairie series of books.

Heather Buchanan, And Then You Fall. Ben Rice recognized her as soon as he saw her sitting at the bar. Liv, that was her name, and fate kept putting her in front of him. Used to getting what he wants, Ben pursues the reluctant Liv, who’s busy following her own dream of becoming a competitive barrel racer. When a devastating accident changes the course of her life, Ben is forced to choose between his band’s long-fought meteoric rise to international fame, and the woman he believes is the love of his life.

Susan Nunn, Song of the Earth has been called a journey into our consciousness, both as a people and a nation. It is the love story of Jessie and Clay, a journalist and a federal agent.  The story grows out of a flash flood that roars down a ravine to encompass many of the issues these historic Borderlands present to us today.