Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, April 6, 2023, or: Carving Out Time to Read (and Other Challenges)

AI-created images via

Hi, there, Dear Reader. It’s late morning here in Lithia, Florida, on Thursday, April 6, 2023. I just finished my second – and last – cup of morning coffee, and even though I have caffeine in my system, I’m still a bit sleepy. Clearing the cobwebs up in Brain Central is not as easy as it used to be; back when I was in high school and even later, all I needed to do was have a small but satisfying breakfast, take a quick hot shower, brush my teeth, shave, and get dressed, and, Presto! I was ready to face the day’s challenges, whatever they might have been “back in the day.”

A writer’s most daunting challenge – facing that blank screen. (In this case, turning on that laptop would be a great first step, right?)

Maybe it’s because – sigh – I’m getting older or maybe it’s because I stayed up a wee bit longer than usual to get Bing AI to write a sonnet based on my novella Reunion(which I posted at 11:23 PM, well past my usual blogging time!), but my two cups of coffee have not been effective. I’m still sleepy and struggling to make an effective plan for the day. I must figure out how to set aside some time to read, plus I need to write at least 730 more words for my first draft of Project X, which I started writing yesterday afternoon.

“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction can be difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.”Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Currently, Project X is still embryonic – I started writing a scene with two characters in a specific locale. The scene includes a bit of dialogue and some stuff about the milieu in which they meet, but not much else. Some of the interactions between the Main Character and the Co-Protagonist show promise, but otherwise, like most rough drafts, what I have is still, ahem, “rough.”

I need, for instance, to get the characters’ actions to match the setting, which is important if I’m trying to get the reader to believe that these two people are real people, with real feelings and motivations. Presently, though, there is a bit of a disconnect between “setting” and “character,” mainly because I’m not thinking about the story in screenplay terms but in prose story ones. I’ll work on that later today.

The notion that a writer has a Muse (and it’s usually a beautiful Muse) is romantic and charming. Alas, it’s only a notion. AI-generated image via starryai

The most pressing need right now, though, is managing my time better, especially so I can read a bit more like I used to in the years before my mom’s health declined in the early 2010s.In that vanished Land of Ago, I used to go through my “TBR pile” at a fast clip; I could read a Star Wars novel in less than a week (if it was good, anyway), a non-fiction book about World War II battles in about a week and a half, maybe two weeks if it was a book along the lines of Rick Atkinson’s An Army at Dawn, and a novel by Tom Clancy in three weeks or so, depending on what other titles/genres I was reading at the same time.

After my mom got sick in 2010 and well after her death five years later, my reading habits changed. I still buy an average of 8-10 new books a year, much to my detriment, since I then have to figure out where to place them, especially in a house that’s not mine.

Photo by Pixabay on

However, owning new books doesn’t mean I read them as soon as I get them from Amazon. In fact, there are quite a few titles – mostly the Tom Clancy-branded novels written by other authors (such as Mark Greaney of The Grey Man series) since Clancy’s death in 2013 – that I have not touched since I placed them in the “Tom Clancy” section of my IKEA Billy shelves. (I eventually stopped buying “new Clancy” novels in 2017 or so, partly because I don’t read them as avidly as I read the real Clancy works, but also to save money and bookshelf space.)  

I stopped buying “New Clancy” (or “post-Clancy”) novels after True Faith and Allegiance. The last book Clancy co-wrote is Command Authority, which can be (barely) made out as the second book from the left, third shelf in the center of the image. Photo by the author.

I also spend way too much time at my desk. A vast chunk of that time is spent productively, of course, even if there are folks out there who don’t think writing is work, or that blogging is a waste of time cos the ad revenue is not as good as, say, the money you could make working as a greeter at Walmart or stocking grocery store shelves at Publix. I write every day, especially on this blog, and critics and naysayers be damned, that’s productive.

But…I also waste too much time mucking about on social media. Mostly to socialize and keep up with my friends (especially since I no longer live in South Florida), but all too often to get into pointless arguments with total strangers over politics and silliness related to the pointless “culture wars” in the good old U.S. of A. I can’t totally wean myself off Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, but the intelligent part of me realizes that I should try to reduce my time on those sites.

Anyhow, yeah. I need to get going. That reading time is not going to carve itself out on its own, you know. So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

3 thoughts on “Musings & Thoughts for Thursday, April 6, 2023, or: Carving Out Time to Read (and Other Challenges)

    1. Ideally, I’d like to be able to start writing as soon as I finish breakfast, between 8:30 and 9 AM, work till noon or 1 PM, then read from then till the evening, then relax from 8 PM to bedtime.

      Alas. Sometimes I CAN begin a blog post THAT early, but that’s as rare as snow in Florida. My usual start-time, though, is between 10:30 and 11:30 AM, and I usually publish between 1 and 2 PM. And that’s when I’m not working on anything else.

      Since the only one setting a deadline for the new story is…me, and because I don’t want to put this blog on hiatus, I will work on Project X in the late afternoon, even though that will not yield 1,000 words a day. (It’s not, after all, as though “Reunion” is a best-seller and everybody and his cousin is clamoring for a new story. But I really, really want to write one, so that’s what I’m going to do.)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunately, because I have to play taxi service in the house as well as deal with everything else, writing is usually on the back burner. I get up, check work stuff over a cup of coffee, get Boo ready for school and drive her to the bus. Then I usually have breakfast and take Danny to work. If I have any errands in town, I try to do them then. Meanwhile, though, it’s already close to noon by the time I get home. Then there can be more work stuff or other things I have to get done…

        I have been trying to do more getting a post ready the night before so I can just post it in the morning. That way I don’t feel the pressure in the morning or the early part of the day.

        Liked by 1 person

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