coffee, life, progress, publishing, writing

Monday check-in

It’s been a week since I declared that it was time to get serious. Part of that process was figuring out what my week generally looks like, which days are the ‘good’ ones for working, and which ones the not so good. Mondays are pretty busy with home school activities, so it seemed like a good day to peg for a blog post and other administrative kind of tasks. I figured I’d make Monday a check in day, and then if anything else crops up that seems interesting or relevant, I can post that when it happens!

So, how am I doing? Pretty good actually! I enjoyed the task of getting organized more than I thought I would, and after freaking out about how little time I have I did something I should have to begin with*. Counted the chapters in Sun-Touched. The number is 25. When I looked at it like that I realized if I edit 5 chapters a week, I can stay on track. I achieved this within the first three days of last week – that said, those chapters had been pretty heavily edited in the past. The more in-depth edits happen a little further into the book. This works well for me though because it’s started me off feeling successful and like I can do this! I CAN do this.

I also finished the last round of edits on Catherine Mede’s next novel, started working on M.W. Griffith‘s next novel, and made some progress on a crit that I am doing at the moment. As well as, you know, house stuff and kid stuff and wife stuff. So much stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I did an interview which was posted up over at SONZA, and which I completely neglected to mention. So, if you want to give that a read, you can find the link here. I’m waiting on a guest post to go up at another site as well, but will post when that happens 🙂

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good about where I am at. Things are happening. I’m making progress. I’m still wasting an awful lot of time though and am going to work on cutting those things out.

And now I must prep for the day! So I will leave you with a pic of my coffee this morning. My coffee loves me.

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*I really need to make a list of these ‘things that work’ because I seem to forget!! *adds it to the to-do list*

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What would I do, without my to-dos?

Recently a few writer friends have been on my case a bit. Between study, and the kids, I’d lost my writing drive and was fumbling around not making much progress at all. Gah. How often that seems to happen…

Anyway, back to the point of the post. Near the end of April, one friend suggested that we make weekly goals for May and see how that helps. I have long been a fan of to-do lists, so this seemed like an awesome idea to me!

That said, I had only really done lists for a day at a time, and when I made plans, there were only ever general deadlines, rather than specific dates. She whipped up a handy little sheet that we’re sharing between us, with each week having space for 7 items. I was surprised by how quickly I could break down my tasks and balance out the weeks, and even more surprised when only one day in, I had already ticked several things off! Not even two weeks in, I have ticked everything off my first two weeks, some from week three, and even a couple from week four.

I’m already thinking about what to line up for next month…

Obviously, this is going to work for me. It feels AMAZING to be making progress again and I’m really hoping that by balancing out my tasks on the list I can finally break down the mental barriers that have seen me either writing OR studying, and not both in the same day. Fingers crossed. Or not, because I can’t really get much done that way, but you get my drift.

How do you break down the mountain of tasks in your life, whether writing related or not?

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Approved!

Well, the letter has finally arrived. Our application to home school Ivy has been approved!!! I think my hands shook for a good five hours – starting from when I saw the Ministry of Ed header on the envelope.

There have been a million emotions and thoughts swarm over me since then, and I think that the reality of it all is still sinking in. Above everything I feel relief, and excitement, and joy – especially when I see how happy Ivy is about it all.

Yesterday I took her in to say goodbye to her classmates, and while I cried the entire time, she took it all in her stride. Clearly pleased that she wouldn’t be attending school any more, though admitting that she will miss her friends. They know where we are though, and have our number, so it’s not the end of friendships, just the end of shared school times.

Afterwards we stopped in at the hospice shop and picked up a tall cabinet for storage, and so now our study room is looking pretty organized. I can’t wait for Monday. Finally feel like our long wait is over and I can move again!

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The beauty of organization

I am a lover of well labelled files and folders. Of having everything within easy reach – long gone are the days when I have to hunt around after a story I’ve not looked at in awhile.

Well, so I thought. Seems I haven’t been keeping up to date and there were a few stories languishing on google docs that had never made it into my files. I knew I’d written more, so it’s a relief to find them!

However, I am once again up to date and setting myself up for a massive organizing spree in the lead up to baby’s arrival. I know full well that time will be limited and that in order to make the most out of both my first weeks with a new baby, and my writing stuff, organization is the key to success.

My goal prior to then is to have a bunch of short stories ready for submission (I might even beat a novella into shape while I’m at it), and make sure that Lifelines is looking good still. I want to spend most of the last half of the year submitting, maybe writing a little fresh stuff but I doubt there will be time for revision or editing.

Submitting isn’t actually a quick process though, I know that now. You can spend hours searching for the right markets to send a story to and then making sure you are presenting it in the right way – so this is where the organization comes in.

My goal is to have a spreadsheet for each of my submittable stories/novels/etc with lists of markets for each, along with the basic guidelines and email addresses to send in to. In this way, I can simply submit, then if the story gets rejected, move onto the next market on the list until it finds a home – after I put in the time and effort to build a list for each story it should make things a lot more streamlined when my time is at a premium after June. Being realistic means that I know I won’t have the time later on (not only that, but I don’t want to be spending that time when I have a new baby to care for and bond with), but I know that I will want to be doing something writing related and being organized will take the guilts out of it all, and hopefully mean I can maintain being ‘productive’ while expending a minimal amount of time and effort on the writing front.

How do you do this submission thing? Find a market, submit, then find another if need be? Or make lists? I’d be interested to know. Prior to this it was a little haphazard, so I am feeling pretty good about this new approach, and have a feeling it might be continued even when I do have time further down the track.