All posts by katemcginn09

I am a writer who lives in Wisconsin near the Mississippi River. I write stories filled with mystery, suspense, and romance with a sprinkling of humor added to the mix. My stories are about strong women who deal with danger, heartache, and life with dignity and grit.

The Time to Write

No one likes the reason for the Stay At Home orders we have been under. Who among us is okay with 90,000+ citizens of the United States dying from an enemy too small to see with your naked eyes?  I know I’m not.

I would much rather go back in time and stop the last few months from happening, but that is the stuff of fantasy or science fiction novels and not the reality of life right now. Instead, some of us have made certain that we have enough toilet paper to last the rest of our lives while the rest of us are left pondering what items might be used in its place.

I never thought Isopropyl Alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) would be a hard to find item. Who thought it would come to this?

I did think I would get more writing done than I have. Instead, my daily routines are checking my news feeds, drinking copious amounts of coffee, walking my doggos, trying to find a mask, and searching the stores for toilet paper.  For my mask, I opted for a bright pink bandana and have dubbed myself the “Geriatric Bandit”. The staff at the local grocers are very familiar with my signature look.

I’m very fortunate to live in Arizona so I can soak up all of that healthy Vitamin D. Let’s just say, my skin has turned brown and now I stress over getting skin cancer despite applying a sunscreen with an SPF of 100.  I burn off excess energy in the pool each day.

While I’m busy with all of these daily tasks, I think about writing. I have written a few chapters for my WIP. I have recorded a short story for a podcast and I’ve started writing another short story.

The time I always wished to have free to write unhampered by outside influences is here, but I can’t help thinking about those people we’ve lost too soon. The medical personnel who leave work exhausted and in tears over what they’d seen that day.  The people who go to work in those jobs that are so necessary for our society to function but are poorly paid and never shown the appreciation they deserve — cashiers and baggers at the store, the garbage men, the construction crews, funeral directors and staff, transportation workers. The teachers putting packets together for students and families each week. The families of the workers who expose themselves everyday. The lists go on and on.

I think of you instead of my imaginary characters.  I don’t write very much right now, but I pray for you.

Writers in a Covid-19 World

It might seem like social distancing, staying at home and wearing a mask would be a dream for many writers. I have more often than not referred to myself as a introvert and chilling on the couch with a good book, listening to music and binge-watching movies have all been favorite past times for me.

I take this pandemic seriously, too. When I hear doctors, nurses and paramedics tell their stories with tears in their eyes, I believe. I was a practicing nurse for over thirty years — things are bad right now. Perhaps that is why I’ve had difficulty focusing on just one thing. I flit from project to project, write sporadically, rarely post anything of my own on social media, and keep busy doing laundry and housework.

It was easier when I was walking several days a week, but I had to take a break from my daily walks due to some inflammation that wasn’t getting any better. This gave me more time to think. Only I wasn’t thinking about writing.

I decided I’d be better off if I turned off the news. It has worked for the most part. I have completed two chapter in two months. Not a lot of progress but progress all the same. I made some friends in our new neighborhood; although, social distancing has slowed down our gatherings to backyard chats across the fence (picture the TV show, Home Improvement with Tim and his neighbor, Wilson).

It’s a reminder of how I felt on 9/11 when I saw NYC, my birthplace and home of my youth, devastated but not defeated. I was transfixed by the images, and I felt the world had changed and it had. Once again, New York City is one of the worst epicenter’s of the disease thus far and I know things will change.

Mother Nature is feeling better because we have altered our patterns.  We see clearer skies and waterways while the wildlife roams more freely than they have in years in our parks and wild areas. The world has had a slight pause, but not a reset. At least not yet. That will depend on all of us and how we look at our world and our lives.

I plan to think a bit more about how I live and want to live in future. My writing will become a daily respite and not a task that needs to be completed.

My world has been topsy-turvy for the past year — loss of a dear family member, placing my mother in a care center, having a total knee replacement, building a house and moving across the country. There seemed to be very little energy left to devote to writing. My life has to change.

I have a good thirty years left on this earth and my bucket list includes writing stories that entertain as long as I’m physically and mentally able.  Stay safe, stay healthy my friends.

What’s Kate Reading?

Just I started the book, Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah and am enjoying it very much. Birdie loves her home along the ocean and her children. Her husband was once the love of her life, but now something is missing. Birdie wonders if she’s the one whose missing out on life.

The Hair-pulling Joys of a New PC

The author’s dreaded but inevitable challenge of the old reliable laptop deciding it’s time for retirement. Oh my goodness, talk about the drama! I knew that my lovely laptop that  ushered in all three of my novels was starting to slow to such a point it was taking thirty minutes to boot.

I postponed the decision to go computer shopping. I did lament over it with comments like “I think I may need a new computer” and “I hope this laptop lasts a little longer”. The biggest challenge is reloading all of the programs I use on a regular basis.

One of those programs is my writing program. I spent a bit of change on it a few years ago and have taken it for granted that I would be able to transfer it seamlessly to the new PC. Nope, it isn’t recognizing my license number. Do I really want to buy a new program after forking over money for the new computer?

The answer is no. So, I’ve emailed the company praying they will assist me and I can return to writing my long-awaited book (although, I know I’ve kept my readers waiting too long).

The point of all of this blogging is primarily a writer’s opportunity to publicly wail and thrash around throwing words instead of physical items out there. Now, my hissy fit is finished, and I wish each and everyone of you a good day.

Getting Back into Character

Actors talk about staying in character while they are in a play or movie, and how it helps them stay true to the role. I believe writers have the same dilemma when they are working on a book.

How do you get back into character when you’ve had a long break? While I’m writing, I continue to revisit my character outline and critical, pivotal moments, especially when writing a series. I don’t want the story to deviate from a particular character’s motivations and general personality. It wouldn’t make sense to have a mild-mannered individual begin swearing like a sailor and starting bar fights without reason.

I’ve been away from writing for about six months59821893753__C4C47443-5557-4D4A-B4ED-1059187AE143 after a cross-country move and major orthopedic surgery.  Life was chaotic, and I missed the daily catharsis it provided desperately. My recent move has added some distractions I haven’t had to deal with before. I’m still unpacking boxes and getting my life organized. I’m meeting new friends and have had an increase in social activities. It’s also lovely weather, and I’m spending more time outside walking the trails, swimming, and going to the gym. Plus, my husband is around the house since he retired.

Now that I’m back, I find the voice in my head is muted. I’m re-reading what I’ve written thus far IMG_6529to recapture my creative fire. Each day, I isolate myself after my morning walk and sit down with my laptop to make some headway.  The progress is slow, but I’m hopeful that sometime soon, I will feel like writing for hours.

I’d love to hear from other writers about how they have dealt with a similar situation.  Back to writing ~~ Kate