Thursday, November 14, 2019

Leftovers





Do you like leftovers? I am not so much a fan typically. Lately, however, my life seems to involve a lot of leftovers; at least, my writing life seems to be getting a lot of the leftovers--of time, energy, etc.

I've often spoken previously of my need for an organized life and work zone in order to be functional and productive.  I do frequently feel the need to complete all I want/need to accomplish in a day before moving on to fit writing into the leftover time--and energy which is often nil.  So, how does one cultivate the mindset to do the opposite, especially as the chaos of the holidays is quickly approaching?

Good question, you might say! For me, I am going to:

1) Prioritize what MUST get completed during a given day and tackle that quickly.
2) Keep my to-do list reasonable and move things that are not essential to a later time or get rid of them altogether.
3) Make time to write and to hell with the clutter, laundry and dirty dishes during that time.
4) Enjoy my reading time and don't feel guilty about it. After all, it is important for writers to read.
5) Try to get enough sleep and eat well.
6) Make time to exercise and say my daily prayers as both keep my mind sane.
7) Spend quality time with my family as this is, ultimately, the most important part of life.

And, finally...

8) Save some time and eat the dang leftovers rather than cooking a new meal on occasion!

How about you? Care to share some of your best time management strategies in the face of a crazy holiday season?

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

St. Thérèse said...

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

I love this! It hangs on my living room wall and speaks to me on so many levels, both personal and professional. However, I've not really before thought of it in terms of my writing life and don't know why. Every sentence and thought applies extremely well. Struggles and rejection require peace within. Every now and again, one needs affirmation that he/she is where he/she is meant to be. We, as writers, definitely must believe in the possibilities and gifts we have and certainly should celebrate those gifts afforded us. I just realized how very applicable it is to all walks of my life as I was reading my sign. If you haven't read this before, I hope you love it as well.

Are there specific quotes that speak to you and help govern your life, writing or otherwise? I'd love to read them!


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Floods

Image Credits
Copyright:(c) Ellende | Dreamstime.com

Here in Southeastern South Dakota, we've had large amounts of rain throughout the Spring and Summer months and, most recently, 10-14 inches of rain in two nights (10 of which came in a few hour span one night at my house resulting in a flooded basement).

The countryside is flooded, roads and bridges are washed out and many people are suffering damaged homes and ruined fields in the heart of the farming communities. The overwhelming devastation is rampant and gut wrenching, and it is difficult to know what to do to help, especially when one is dealing with one's own issues.

As water ebbs and flows, so, too, does much in life. While the impacts are far reaching and more important than my personal problems and writing time/efforts, it has all recently led me to think of it in terms of my writing as well. Ideas ebb and flow; words ebb and flow, stories ebb and flow; edits ebb and flow, etc. As of late, I've ebbed far more than flowed in my writing life given I've been dealing with things on the home front; however, there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel, so I'm ready for the words and stories to begin to flow once again.

For all of you dealing with floods, tornadoes and/or other natural disasters, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Keep plugging along, one step at a time, one day at a time. Wishing you more flows and ebbs.


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Never Forget

Today, we remember the day our world changed 18 years ago with the worst terrorist attack in the history of our country.  My heart aches for all those who lost lives or loved ones, those who experienced that day first hand in any capacity as well as all those who continue to experience the affects of that day.  May God Bless you all!

Monday, August 26, 2019



So, my last post was about lack of time versus lack of direction. Clearly, I've suffered both lack of time and direction as of late as it has been a month since my last post. I could make all the normal excuses...family vacations, getting ready for the return to school and work, taking my daughter to school for the start of her freshman year in college, preparing to send my oldest off for her senior year in college, etc. And all are true. And all have impacted my writing time. Or shall I say I have allowed all to impact my writing time. I have very much enjoyed my family focused time this summer and feel somewhat renewed but know it is high time to kick it into gear and get busy again.

Most imminent are finalizing edits on my current WIPs and preparing for our regional SCBWI conference in September as well as getting back to regularly reading and blogging. 

How about you? Did you find yourself veering off course this summer? If so, I hope you enjoyed the diversions and also feel a sense of renewal; however, I would love to hear your strategies for re-grouping and getting back on course for better productivity and writing focus. Please, if you are so inclined, do share what works for you.

Happy writing all!

Monday, July 22, 2019

Time Vs. Direction

I read a Zig Ziglar quote on Twitter the other day which said...

"People often complain about lack of time when lack of direction is the real problem."

Now, don't get me wrong, I do really believe lack of time can be an issue, particularly for those working many hours and/or multiple jobs while raising a family, etc.  Getting spread too thin with little time for anything but sleep can be a big issue.  For the rest of us, however, it isn't always about the lack of time as much as it is the efficient use of what time one does have or make. It is also said that life is a balance, and, for me, lack of direction can definitely be a factor in my balancing skills.

I often find myself going in circles doing a little of this, a little of that and then back for a little more of this...fiddle farting around is what my husband likes to call it.  I would definitely have more focus and better use of time with improved direction. But how does one find the best use of time and direction when life often feels like a cluster of chaotic moments? 

Prioritizing the most important and starting there? Letting the unnecessary things go to carve out more time for what is truly important? But who determines what is and is not "truly important" when everything seems that way? Get up early or stay up late to get some writing time in? But what if one is already operating on a slim number of hours of sleep to begin with? Health and well-being do need to be a consideration or all will come crashing down eventually.

So, do you see my point? How are we to decide what direction is best in the time we have and where to most effectively focus our time and direction to achieve the best/hoped for results? Sometimes I feel like I have a good handle on making a smart plan of action and other times I just fiddle fart my way about never accomplishing much of anything.  Oh, how it pains me to agree with his view of my actions at times!!!

Having said that, I have actually had a pretty productive last couple months with two manuscripts revised and submitted and another two rough (very rough!)  drafts completed and in the works. I think this is because I am trying to focus on starting my day being productive with my writing before moving on to other things (whether important or not) which helps; however, I am also getting better at letting it go when life gets in the way as it often does and not letting set backs derail me.  As the old saying goes, "this too shall pass."

I would love to hear how direction, or lack thereof, impacts your time and production level if you are so inclined to share. Perhaps we can all learn from one another!

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Terrific SCBWI Conference Opportunity


Calling all writers and illustrators.  Registration is open and time is winding down for the early bird registration price for the upcoming SCBWI Dakotas conference which looks amazing! 

Complete information about The 2019 Dakotas Regional Conference: Harvesting Our Stories is now online. There are limited spaces for Intensives, Critiques, and Pages, so sign up early.

The conference will be held in Fargo, North Dakota, on September 13-14. The Early-Bird price (good until July 31) is $125 for the conference with additional charges for optional intensives and critiques. 
From August 1 onward, the cost increases to $150.00 and critiques will no longer be available. 

We have a great line-up of speakers:
  • Sara Sargent, Senior Executive Editor at Random House Books for Young Readers
  • Alexa Pastor, Editor with Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Timothy Travaglini, a literary agent with Transatlantic Agency
  • Claudia Mills, an award-winning author
We'll also have critique and consultation opportunities and the chance to connect with other writers and illustrators throughout the region. 

Click here for speaker bios and conference schedule.

One of this year's highlights is the Jimmy Jet Award for Excellence in Children's LIterature, a prize of $350 for the best manuscript submitted for critique. We will also feature a Bookstore of our member's books. During lunch, you may choose to read the first two minutes of your work in progress and receive dozens of written responses if you sign up for Pages. We will have Intensives on Friday afternoon: Anatomy of a Picture Book and The Cult of Personality: Writing Character-Driven Fiction. Don't miss out on this great opportunity.

Invite friends to join us. Members of SCBWI as well as nonmembers are welcome.  
Questions? Email dakotas@scbwi.org