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  • Beth McMullen

I can't concentrate. Can you?

Just a month ago I moved my things back into my newly refurbished work space. It was clean and delightful and comfortable.  I saw us doing great things together, me and all this shiny newness. But right after lunch, my phone pinged and buzzed and my laptop blew up with messages. School for my kids was suddenly on hold until...forever. 

Well....we all know what happened next. The world dropped into chaos. Everything stopped. We hit the dirt in an attempt to forestall a pandemic that was coming at us like a tidal wave. Things changed.

But my deadlines did not. The second Lola Benko, Treasure Hunter book is due May 15th. The first Cats & Dragons (I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE) manuscript has a date of December 1st.  I'm a 'one book a year' kind of a gal so this was a challenge in the best of circumstances, which these are not. I do not work well at home. There are distractions. So. Many. Distractions. (Plus the lazy coworkers like this furry one).

So the question is HOW to concentrate when the world is going to pieces around me? 

It's a tough one for everyone. I fall back on a practice I've been using since I first got the crazy idea to write a book. I call it microprogress or setting microgoals. Sometimes the big picture is too daunting to face head on. Writing an entire novel? Are you kidding me? No way!  

BUT if the goal is, simply, I will write 500 words of this story today, that doesn't feel like much. That's not even a page! I can do THAT! 

I always blow by that goal and chances are you will, too, no matter the specifics of the task. The hard part is starting and once you figure out how to trick yourself into it, the rest goes easier.

My pandemic microgoal is 500 words. Today, I wrote over 2000. These are uncertain times. Be kind to yourself and trust that you can accomplish what you need to.

What's Coming Up/What's Going Down

My new middle grade series - Lola Benko, Treasure Hunter - arrives this summer - August 25th - and I can't wait. This book was so fun to write! And I'm just wrapping up the sequel, which has been the best distraction from reality that I could ask for. (remember: books are great escapism and we need that now!) 

Check out the fabulous cover by artistFiona Hsieh. I love it! I have gotten so lucky with covers and I'm grateful for that. (check out Fiona's amazing work here). Preorder now and I'll be sure to send you some bookmarks when I get them.

Normally, I'd be gearing up to roll out launch events for Lola but right now everything is on hold. That being said, I hope to see you when things are not so crazy.

In the meantime, stop by and say hello on FaceBook or Instagram @BethMcMullenBooks or follow me on Twitter @bvam

Stay safe and do some reading,


What I'm reading: Fleishman is in Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (adult) -I'm confused but in a good way and waiting to see how she brings it around in the end.

What I'm listening to: Wait Wait Don't Tell Me! No audience and they broadcasting from their closets but it is still hilarious.

What I'm watching: The Good Place. Forking excellent!

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