2015 is Slipping Away . . . Getting Ready for 2016

Dec 15, 2015 by

I just checked the calendar and noticed that it is a mere ten days until Christmas.

And a week after that is New Year’s Eve . . . that time of year to begin making resolutions and goals for 2016.

Fortunately for me, I had an early nudge from my instructor, Kristen Fulton of Nonfiction Archaeology, who asked each of her students to set up goals for 2016. read more

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The Road to Success – Paved with Self-Care and Self-Love

Nov 7, 2013 by

What Weight Loss and Writing Success Have in Common

I just read an article about a woman who managed to lose over 100 pounds over the course of a year and a half. She said she didn’t really add much exercise to her routine and she didn’t diet.

So how did she succeed?

I continued to read about her journey and it finally hit me. She began to take time to take care of herself. She added the practice of “brushing” before her daily shower…I’ve never done this. Some days, I hardly have time for that shower.

The Pajama Club

When I first started working from home, I loved laughing with my other friends who were also working from home. We called ourselves “The Pajama Club” because…well…we always wore pajamas.

I worked hard.

Ask my friends and family, there were days when it seemed like I was ALWAYS working. And I was pretty successful. But it was as if there were some kind of wall that prevented me from achieving even greater success.

One day, I had a video-conference with my sister who also works from home many states away. I remarked at how nice she looked. Actually, I teased her about getting primped up just for a call with me.

“I didn’t do it for you,” she said. “I learned a long time ago that I have to get up, showered, and dressed as if I’m going to work so that I can be ready for anything that comes my way.”

Was that the difference? Merely thinking I was working wasn’t enough?

I know, some of you won’t agree with me, and there is a part of me who still resists that theory.

But when I read about the woman who had such stellar weight loss, I had to re-visit that conversation I had with my sister.  Perhaps it is more than just being ready for anything that comes my way.

Perhaps, instead, I need to treat myself as if I matter.

 

Working Alone

People who work alone (all you writers out there) often don’t get a lot of encouragement through the day. My husband will come home and tell me about a rough meeting he had and I commiserate, but then when he shares some of the IM’s he shared with his colleagues during the meeting, the level of my sympathy wanes…he had support during that time.

What happens when my last proposal got rejected? I told Jake, and he looked at me with great sympathy, then licked my hand and curled up on the floor at my feet. How about when my greatest bit of writing ever gets swallowed up in the innards of a computer that usually seems friendly, but from time to time has to eat something important.

When we work alone for a good part of our professional life, the way we view ourselves, the way we treat ourselves becomes very important!

Yes, even those of you out there who say, “But my writing time is precious!”Hand holding the heart

Of course it is!

But so are you.

Without a little self-love, self-care what you produce might be empty, trite, unusable.

I want to be the best at what I do, and if I don’t take care of myself…that isn’t going to happen.

 

Adding Self-Love and Self-Care To Your Regimen

You know, I don’t care what you think is important to your self-care routine as long as it means something to you.  I remember telling a make-up artist at the mall who was trying to sell me some cosmetics.  “Everyone has time for eye-liner and mascara.”

“I don’t,” was my flat response. At the time I was juggling a new enterprise, a family with three young kids, and I felt my time was so limited that there wasn’t time in my life for 30 seconds of self-care in the form of make-up.

Today, I still don’t usually put on much make-up. But that isn’t the point. The point is that I dismissed her suggestion because I knew so much better than she did how much time I didn’t have. but anyone can find 30 seconds to put on a little eyeliner and mascara.

Or a minute to practice meditative breathing.

Or fifteen minutes to walk the dog, you can think about your project while you walk, but both your brain and your body will thank you.

Now, I might think twice before I think, “You don’t need to do that, it takes too much time.” Whenever possible, I’m going to eat lunch sitting down at the table, without working. I’ll take time after my shower to put on lotion.

Success isn’t about the number of seconds, minutes, and hours you spend working. It’s about how many of those precious moments you’re working at your best.

What’s the biggest thing you will change in your routine now?

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Time Management for Writers

Jan 30, 2013 by

Track Your Writing Time

How many of us have gotten to the end of the week, feel as though we’ve been working for ten straight days, but when someone asks, “What did you get done?” you look at them with stunned amazement.  You know you got things done, but unless you keep track, you forget what you’re working on.

Most writers have a tendency to have a little trouble focusing on everything that is going on in their lives, so to maintain that focus, you might want to use a tracking system.  Many of us have used different systems, and until now, I’ve journaled on a pretty daily basis keeping track of things that way, but when I get to the end of a month and have 50 single spaced pages to weed through, I knew I needed another method.

Enter “A Writer’s Year 2013”

I found Moira Allen’s Writing-World.com in my recent searches and about a third of the way down the page is a little section entitled “It’s Back” A Writer’s Year 2013. Intrigued, I opened this up and found a full year of daily schedules as well as a submission/query tracker available in both PDF and Excel format.  AND it’s also available spiral bound from LULU.COM if you want a fully prepared book.

Because I’m impatient, I downloaded and printed the first month’s worth of pages and started filling them in.

What a revelation.  Keeping track of your time by the half hour keeps you honest. It also shows you what you ARE spending your time on. At the end of the day you can determine if you wasted time on something, need to allow more time for a project than you’d planned, or how to better estimate a bid because of your time spent researching a project.

Submission Tracker and Query Tracker

This is a simple, single sheet, but what a powerhouse!  You can keep all your queries and submissions in a single place with dates, the name of the market, and the status all in one place. Again, having everything in one place helps you to know if you are doing a good job with your queries/LOIs or if you need to reevaluate your approach. Maybe you need to do some research on new markets if your present ones aren’t doing the job.

Check out these free and simple tools and see if they don’t make your writing life easier and more productive.

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