Lynette Sowell

Lynette Sowell works as a medical transcriptionist for a large HMO. But that’s her day job. In her “spare” time, she loves to spin adventures for the characters who emerge from story ideas in her head. She hopes to spread the truth of God’s love and person while taking readers on an entertaining journey. Lynette is a Massachusetts transplant, who makes her home in central Texas with her husband, two kids by love and marriage (what’s a stepkid?), and five cats, who have their humans well-trained. She loves to read, travel, spend time with her family, and is a green-thumb-in-training. Come visit her at or her Blog

It’s Not a Juggling Act

Have you ever tried to juggle? I tried a few times. I did well just tossing one or even two balls from one hand to the other. But forget keeping a third ball in motion. To juggle successfully, I’d have to keep track of at least one ball constantly in midair. No way am I coordinated enough to do that.

I’ve come to believe that the idea of juggling everything in our lives, including writing, isn’t accurate. We can’t devote our full attention to the main task at hand if we’re juggling, because we’re always thinking about the other tasks we’re tossing around.

Like every writer in the world, I have but twenty-four hours in one day. Unlike some writers, I work a full-time, nonwriting day job, eight hours per day, five days per week. Subtracting those eight hours per day and seven hours of sleep (on a good night), I’m left with nine hours for family and activities of daily living. Oh, and writing.

Since 2005, when I received my first novella contract, through December 2008, I’ve written four 20,000-word novellas and four novels, all while working full-time. At first when people asked how I was able to write so much, I told them I didn’t know.

Then I read a statement about time management that resonated with me: When we say yes to something, we’re saying no to something else. At last, I realized how I accomplished my writing in addition to working full-time.

To write, I’ve had to sometimes say no to many things: Television. Movies. Internet. Running around with friends. Cooking supper every night. Extra church activities. Enough sleep. To write, I had to say yes to research, attending conferences, plotting, brainstorming, character development, and writing whether I felt like it or not.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop juggling and pay attention to what we say yes and no to. I recommend sitting down with a cup of coffee and a notepad. First, make a Yes column on one side of the paper and a No column on the other. Write down everything in your life you must say yes to, even occasionally. Not that you’d like to say yes to. We’re talking must say yes to.

On the other side, write down activities you should say no to. Maybe that includes items like extra Internet surfing time, hours spent on Facebook, reading e-mails, or playing spider solitaire. I’m picking on the Internet because I know that’s an Achilles’ heel for many writers.

Occasionally, items in the Yes column drift to the No column, as they should. Suppose you have “spend time with my friends” in your Yes column. You don’t have to say yes every time a friend invites you out, or make plans every weekend. But beware of the No column items spending too much time on the Yes side.

For example, pay attention to how much spider solitaire ends up on your Yes list. You might not intentionally believe you must spend an hour playing a computer game, but isn’t it funny how we don’t think about our actions? It’s a matter of giving yourself a checkup every hour or so: What am I saying yes to right now?

Have I perfected my time management skills? No, I’m still working on that. For example, when my husband turns on the television, I know he would love for me to spend time with him and focus on the show. It’s easy to do. Hours later, my synopsis still hasn’t written itself. And I’m left wondering where the time went.

We can never add more hours to our day, and if we could, we’d still run out of time. Writers can be productive even when working a full-time job and tending to a family. It’s all a matter of learning to say yes and no at the appropriate times. Leave the juggling to circus performers!

The Wiles of Watermelon

Newlywed Andi Hartley is not at all sure she’s ready to look like an over-ripe melon. In fact, she’s still getting used to being married. But her husband, Ben, wants to start a family right away. Gulp. Their family plans are put on hold, however, when Andi’s kitten runs from the house to their watermelon field and digs up a bone attached to the remains of a thirty-year-old skeleton. Buried secrets come to life . . . and then the colorful owner of Greenburg’s best eatery is murdered. As Andi unearths more and more of the suspicious history surrounding the skeleton, she realizes both deaths are related, and someone wants to keep those secrets buried.

The Wiles Of Watermelon