This is a re-post of an old blog post. In my work world, which is K-12 grants, things are OUT OF CONTROL. All those headlines of schools going remote or hybrid or face-to-face with modifications have earthquake tremors that run through a school system because they affect EVERYONE. We have a county school system set up (as opposed to borough or township which other states have) so our school system is large (41 schools). The $21 million in restricted revenue flows through my office. Much of that requires that we submit plans to the funding agency detailing how we are spending it. Well, folks, all those grant plans we submitted in the spring need to be amended. ALL of them. So now I’m dealing with fiscal-year end AND amending the bulk of our grants. I wish I had time to procrastibake. I have a cake I’ve been dying to make.
Procrastibaking is for another day for me, but maybe you can do some procastibaking or procrasti . . . Continue reading
After twelve weeks of being cooped up in my house, I’ve been giving some thought to doing a Marie Kondo on my life: clearing out the things that don’t bring me joy. Although my house could probably use some de-cluttering (especially the basement and the kitchen junk drawers), I’ve been focusing more on streamlining my emotional life, asking myself what I want from this last quarter of my time on Earth and what is getting in the way of my achieving that.
So what do I want? Well, in no particular order:
- I want to return to Europe another time or two. I’d like to see something of Spain and Italy, for sure, but those trips are on hold at least until there’s a vaccine that makes air travel safe again.
- I want to tell more stories.
- I want to continue learning to write better.
- I want to learn more about local flora and fauna.
- I want spend more time hiking, preferably with a canine buddy.
- I want to read a bunch of books I never seem to have time for.
- I want to see more movies (versus TV shows).
- I want to see friends again. (I suspect that shortfall may be at the root of my malaise but there’s not much to be done about it for now.)
What would I like to do less of?
- I’d like to cook less.
- I’d like to spend less time doing book marketing related activities.
- I’d like to spend less time on life administration–sending in claim forms and arguing with my insurance company about whether I need to do a telehealth well-visit. (Yes, I get that Medicare pays you to make me waste an hour chatting with someone about my perfectly fine health but I don’t want to.)
More than anything, I’d like to spend less time “channel surfing” available activities. When I do get some free time, I spend so much time dithering, trying to choose what to do next, that it all goes to waste.
Maybe if I’m clearer about which activities will leave me feeling satisfied instead of frustrated I can make better use of my time.
What about you? What brings you joy? And what would you like to do less of?
Four Corners of Heaven came out March 12. (Image courtesy of Nancy Yeager)
Our own Eight Lady, Nancy Yeager, has a new book out this week! Four Corners of Heaven is part of her Harrow’s Finest Five, a period-romance set in the 1860s and 70s (see below for past posts about her series). I got the chance to read the book in beta, and it was a good read. Botany, women’s empowerment and fizzy romantic feelings!
I took the opportunity to ask Nancy three questions about her book, and here is what she said:
1. What’s your new book about? (Is it a stand-alone?)
I’ll take the easy part of that first. This can be read as a stand-alone book, but it the latest release (5th of an eventual 7) in my Victorian romance series, Harrow’s Finest Five. Regular readers of the blog might recall that the series is about “smart women, sexy men, steamy passion, and the occasional scandal.”
Four Corners is about two scientists pursuing a place in history who learn that love confounds logic every time. When their research unravels and forces them onto opposite sides of a scientific controversy, they’re forced to choose between their careers and their love .I think of it as my geeks-fall-in-love story. My goal, though, wasn’t to make them out as awkward or obtuse, absent-minded scientists. It was explore the way that two people who have single-mindedly, almost ruthlessly, pursued a goal and have their eye on the distant prize might be ill-equipped to handle or even recognize love when they trip right over it. And steamy passion. All the books in the series have some steamy passion!
2. What about the book makes you most proud? Continue reading
Writers love to talk about writing processes. We’re pantsers, or plotters, or ultra-plotters. We follow the hero’s journey, or Lisa Cron’s story genius method, or the snowflake method (no, seriously!), or one of a thousand either guru-inspired approaches. We write chronologically. Or out of order. Or by writing all the turning points first and filling in the interstitial spaces after that. We swear by writing every day, or binge-write a few times a week or a month.
By the time we’ve spent a few years on this journey and gotten a few completed stories under our belts, most of us have discovered our own process, our unique mix story theory and project organization and time management that ultimately results in a book. And once we understand our own approach, we learn to rely on it to get us through the next story deadline, and the one after that, and…you get the idea. And that can be a wonderful thing. It’s a well-worn path that becomes a shortcut to our creativity. An annotated roadmap to get us from nascent idea rattling around inside our bizarre writer brains to full-fledged story ready to go out into the world. A comforting guide to get us through the rough spots.
Until it stops working.
While every book requires tweaks and adjustments to our approach, every now and then there’s a book that so special (yes, that’s a euphemism for PITA) that we have to throw our trusty process right out the window. And so that’s where I find myself today, with the next installment in the Harrow’s Finest Five series, Harry and Adelia’s love story.
If this ever happens to you in your creative journey–and odds are, it will–it’s important to remember it’s normal, it’s surmountable, and it’s probably even good for you. After all, what good is creativity if it’s easy and stagnant and follows that same stupid rut-filled path every time, anyway? And in case you do ever hit that wall, I’ll tell you the same thing my wise writing friends have been telling me: Continue reading
I had originally intended today’s post (which is late…note the procrastination topic above) to be about another copy editing challenge you can overcome (here’s my last one on apostrophes), but this article caught my eye:
Procrastination is an Emotional Problem
Wait, what? All my life, my mother has hammered into me that procrastination is a time-management problem, and this article is suggesting otherwise?
I dove in and started reading. Because procrastination isn’t just a problem for me. It’s a skill I’ve unwittingly mastered. And I blame my procrastination on everything from attention deficit disorder to my two kids (I know, unfair, right?) to just plain having too much to do.
But it turns out, based on research, that procrastination is tied to your emotions. Continue reading
Photo: The Harris Poll
I write in fits and starts. I wish I didn’t. I wish I wrote every day, butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard, etc, etc, every day, but I don’t. Sometimes, I do write a lot and think of my story and my series a lot. And sometimes I don’t. I am in a don’t period right now. Back in the November, NaNo gave me a huge boost in word count, creativity, and energy for my story that carried me through a month or two. Then life interrupted . . . I don’t need to go into details on my interruptions, you can fill in the blanks with yours. Continue reading
I have attention deficit disorder. I’ve had it my entire life, and because of a heart condition, I can’t take medication for it. ADD makes staying focused one any one task for a long period of time very difficult (unless I’m really excited about the task — like reading a book from my favorite author).
In the past, I’ve tried setting goals in order for me to get my writing done. But word count goals didn’t work for me, especially when I was editing. Did I really write 1,000 words? No idea…too much cutting/pasting/adding. Plus, there were some days Continue reading
Sometimes I have difficulty coming up with ideas for this blog. When I do, I start with my old blog posts to see if any of them spark ideas for new ones. In today’s case, I found one from almost exactly a year ago that sums up where I am now. AGAIN.
In November I was going gangbusters on my WIP. I kept up the progress for a couple of months and then . . . ppppfffttt. The motivation fizzled out. I think part of it came from the realization that, not only did I miss the Golden Heart deadline, but I would have to miss RWA. AGAIN. (big sigh) And part of it is, of course, life interrupted. So now I’m back living in the same place I was a year ago. Continue reading
Among my many character flaws, the one that has caused me the most grief over the years is probably my impulsiveness. I’m not good, even at the ripe old age of 65, at thinking through potential consequences before I act.
Because I’m so weak on the strategic side, I’ve developed a lot of skill at tactical reaction. Most of the time, no matter how poorly thought out my original plan, I can wrangle it into something less than a total failure.
But not always.
Last fall I decided I wanted a dog. Because of my age, and because of a strong need in the community, it seemed like a good idea to adopt a rescue dog. I’ve owned a couple of Australian shepherd mixes over that years, and I’ve always wanted a full-bred one, so I applied to an Aussie rescue group. They sent a flock of pictures and my husband and I picked one out and went to meet him the day after Thanksgiving.
As so many people say, or in this case after I googled ‘write your novel in a year’, so many web pages say it. I’ve discussed Writers Write and Anthony Ehlers series called Write Your Novel in a Year. The blog very kindly consolidated all 52 posts here. I have Chuck Wendig’s infographic on my bulletin board (if you don’t like foul language, skip this one). And I’ve tried the NaNo method (although I knew I wouldn’t write an entire novel in a month). I don’t read these because I think any one of them will be the magic bullet, but I do regularly find motivation to keep writing. Here are some of the new ones I found: Continue reading