Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Donna DeLoretto Brennan. She’ll be talking about one of my biggest issues and the jumping off point for her contemporary women’s fiction book Forget the Mess—It’s time for a Story! There’s also an excerpt. Welcome, Donna!
Confessions of a Procrastinator
By Donna DeLoretto Brennan
I often get overwhelmed with all the things I have to do as a wife, mother, author, and procrastinator.
It’s like a speeding merry-go-round that I can’t step off of. When I’m overwhelmed it’s easier to procrastinate; when I procrastinate for long periods, the other stuff piles up and becomes even more overwhelming.
For example, the lunch dishes need to be washed and I have to edit the next chapter of my novel; but I’m hitting a slump. So I take a break to do something a little more enjoyable—but it has to be something I can convince myself has a beneficial purpose. Facebook, I reason, is just such a thing. It helps me reconnect with old friends and maintain contact with new friends.
But Facebook can be like a black hole. You go on it for twenty minutes and when you look at the clock four hours have gone by. And now it’s time to make dinner, but first I have to empty the sink and I forgot to defrost the roast I wanted to cook, so I need to find something else fast. And that next chapter of my novel goes unedited today.
My solution is to “procrastinate in bursts”. Alexia is my friend in this endeavor. When I go on Facebook, I say, “Alexia, set a timer for thirty minutes.” Then, when thirty minutes have passed, she chimes at me. And, hopefully, I log off Facebook and start being productive again.
Reading a good book is another type of break I’ll allow myself. Usually, at the beginning of a book I can put it down after a chapter or two and get back on task. (Returning to it later, of course.) But sometimes, especially near the end, the book is hard to put down. All those hooks at the end of each chapter and the tension and pacing—I love the book and the world it transports me to, but the stuff in the real world that I have to do keeps mounting up while I’m away.
One solution is to read short stories or articles in magazines. It doesn’t take as long, and it’s easy to put down (for now) and finish later. And the short break does help me to relax from the overwhelm and get back on track.
That’s the idea behind my collection of short stories. Each story is intended to take you away from your current stress and worries, but they’re short, so you aren’t gone that long. You can either read another story right away, or put it down and pick it up later when you need another break.
Forget the Mess—It’s time for a Story!
Genre: Women’s contemporary fiction
When life starts to fill with mindless chores and endless to-do lists, take a mini-break to relax and reenergize. This book contains six stories to help you forget about the dishes that need to be washed or the laundry that needs to be put away. Forget the mess for now, and enjoy a story. The mess will still be there, waiting for you, when the story is finished.
- My Good Son – The son she remembers is missing; and who is this man calling her “Ma”?
- Pretense – Sister-relationships can be complicated, especially if you’re afraid to tell the truth.
- Another Day – Clara looks for a way—and a reason—to keep going.
- Spectator – When watching other people’s lives is more interesting than living your own, maybe you need to take some action.
- Taking Care of His Wife – Brad promised to take care of Megan forever—but he never said exactly how he would do that.
- Love Your Frenimies – When Jesus said to love your neighbor, he couldn’t have meant Gina’s neighbor, Anna.
Excerpt from Love your Frenemies, the last short story in the collection:
Finally, after almost an hour of fussing and whimpering, Ella is sound asleep and I can lie her down in the playpen for her nap. I take a moment to wonder at her small figure lying there so peacefully and content, her tiny lips curved into a soft smile that melts my mommy-heart and makes me forget the screaming fusspot she was less than thirty minutes ago.
I glance at the clock. Oh, no! It’s three-fifteen.
I rush to the side door to bring Fritz in before the neighbor kid, Peter Jacob, starts tormenting my dog into a frenzy. Just as I reach for the doorknob I hear that little Yorkie barking his head off outside. Before I have the door fully open, Ella’s screams cause my shoulders to tense and my temper to flare. I see little Peter Jacob scurrying away from the chain-link fence. He glances over his shoulder and we make eye contact. I am certain that’s a smirk on the little bugger’s face.
“Peter Jacob, what did I tell you about agitating Fritz?”
He doesn’t respond. He just hurries his chubby little legs up his driveway to his front door. He pulls open the screen and hollers, “Hey, Mom! I’m Home.”
The door slams behind him.
Fritz is still yapping away, and Ella is exercising her lungs at full volume. Just another day in the neighborhood.
Want to read more? Forget the Mess—It’s Time for a Story is available in paperback form at Amazon. A kindle version will be available soon.
About the Author:
Donna DeLoretto Brennan was a technical writer for over ten years before becoming a computer programmer. Since leaving the corporate world after her twins were born, she’s had short stories, interviews, and nonfiction articles published online and in print magazines. She’s speaks at writing conferences and other events.
She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group (GLVWG). She’s served in various capacities on the GLVWG board, including several terms as Conference Chair. She’s always looking for opportunities to encourage others and to share what she’s learned.
Donna’s website is http://www.degunkinglife.com/.