Planning and the New Year

I’ve always been a reasonably good planner though these last few years have put a definite crimp in my normal routine. And just for the record, my word for 2019 is determined.

In 2017, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. We spent the whole year with surgeries and chemo and all the things necessary to get him cured. In 2018, I spent most of the time recovering myself but there was one thing I was interested in pursuing, and that was my MFA in Creative Writing.

In January 2018, I checked out the local program and was so impressed overall that I immediately submitted my application. Every time a deadline passed, I would email the office to see what was happening. Then I got wait-listed and felt I’d waited too long as obviously my chance was gone. With only six weeks to go, I was informed I had indeed gotten in and was given the dates for that July residency.

Sure, I jumped for joy, but I also knew that it would change everything as I would now have to ‘fit’ everything around my education. Fast forward to January 2019, and I’ve now completed my second semester and no longer am the stunned person I was in July 2018. I also learned that my first semester was excellent and easy to plan around. This semester, I have a new mentor who expects many different things from me, more difficult things and definitely much more polished.

After resting and getting my bearings for nearly two weeks, I realize I am going to have to plan more than ever. Last semester, I revamped older writing things to use but this time around, I’m having to start from an idea to getting it on the paper to critiques, and you get the idea.

A few years ago, I had designed a planner specifically for a writer’s productivity. While I do want to continue that project, I decided to go with a popular planner design from Erin Condren because it fit with my goals. I’m using her quarterly mini-planners as well as her goal planner.

Both of these will get me back into the habit of writing down what I need to do and when. It will also have a daily inspiration that perks me up. Today’s was: It always seems impossible until it’s done. I have space to make notes and then check them off as I complete them. I also use colors: purple is for writing and school things, hot pink is for my own writing life outside of school, and teal is for all things personal.

Every day, I can glance at it and see just how much or how little I might have to do that day from the colors alone. I’ve included a photo of my calendar, which includes today and the weekend. Notice not much is on the weekend and that is to accommodate my husband’s day’s off. Today, you will notice is full of things still not checked off. I usually go back over my daily items before writing in my nightly journal.

What do you do to combine and plan all areas of your life? Do you use separate planners for separate portions? Or do you just use one planner and try to make it work that way?

Can’t wait to hear your answers about planning and coordination of life and writing. Next month, I’ll be looking at the goal planner and how I’m using it to keep my writing, both regular and MFA projects, organized.

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job.

2019: The year of Jen

Hi, all. Jennifer here.

Ah, the New Year. So full of goals and promises. But for me,  2019 will be a bit more than checking accomplishments off a list. It will be about checking off more time for me. I feel as if I’m spent up. Not that this was a hard or bad year, but I’ve been neglecting myself a little too long without really realizing it. And now I need to concentrate on that.

Have you heard of OneWord 365? I love the idea of assigning ONE WORD that encapsulates how you want to live for the year and focusing on that.

My One Word this year is REPLENISH. Replenish means restore to the former level or condition. Yes. I need to be restored to where I was a few years ago. I need to take a little more time for myself and refill my “well” both spiritually, personally, and professionally.

That might mean  taking more time off from social media and from social commitments and even some writing commitments. But it’s just temporary. It’s only a year.

But I feel it will be worth it.

Have you set any resolutions, goals, or assigned a word for yourself this year? Please share!

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Sorry I haven’t been here much this year. Lots of things happened and I’m back on the track with writing, life and a whole lot more!

Promise I’ll be back to tell you all about it starting next month!

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves contemporary, fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest and she’s just returned from her latest adventure of living in Vienna, Austria while her husband worked his dream job.

The Perfection of the Parody

Happy December, everyone!

I’m a sucker for parody songs. Who doesn’t smile when they see/hear something funny played to the beat of a familiar tune? As a child, I’d sit with my cousins and we’d spend hours making up our own fun lyrics to existing songs. The sneaky Bunny (done to the music of Two Princes by Spin Doctors) or The High School song (done to the music of Nirvana’s Smells like Teen Spirit). To this day, Weird Al is one of my favorite human beings 😉 His work always makes me smile.

Today I’d like to share a couple of my favorites in hopes of making you smile!

This parody of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty” is one of my go-tos when I’m feeling low. I’m big into gaming and this video is just pure awesome. 🙂

 

Another favorite is Dark lord Funk (an Uptown Funk parody)

I’ve got no video skills, and trust me when I tell you, you wouldn’t want to hear me sing–but I still love to write my own parodies.

Since I’m currently in the editing phase of the book I’m working on, and it’s the holidays, here’s one I wrote a few years back (because, for some reason, I always seem to be editing something during the holiday season…).

The Twelve Days of Edits

On the first day of edits, my CP gave to me a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the second day of edits, my CP gave to me:

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the third day of edits, my CP gave to me:

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the fourth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the fifth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the sixth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the seventh day of edits, my CP gave to me:

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the eighth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

eight too many hotties

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the ninth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

nine more swoony scenes

eight too many hotties

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the tenth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

ten sharks jumped

nine more swoony scenes

eight too many hotties

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the eleventh day of edits, my CP gave to me:

eleven weak descriptions

ten sharks a jumped

nine more swoony scenes

eight too many hotties

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

On the twelfth day of edits, my CP gave to me:

Twelve cheesy villains

ten sharks a jumped

nine more swoony scenes

eight too many hotties

seven subplots hanging

six clichéd themes

five pointless scenes

four repeated phrases

three crutch words

two mismatched loves

and a plot hole as big as the sea

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday, and a very awesome new year!

 

About Jus Accardo

JUS ACCARDO spent her childhood reading and learning to cook. Determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps as a chef, she applied and was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America. But at the last minute, she realized her true path lay with fiction, not food. A native New Yorker, she lives in the middle of nowhere with her husband, three dogs, and sometimes guard bear, Oswald.

Going Christmas Tree Crazy #christmas2018

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Well, I finally did it. I bought a second Christmas tree.

So why two Christmas trees, Jen? Two very good reasons

WHITE LIGHTS   For over 20 years, I’ve wanted white lights on our Christmas tree. I always get shot down by the family every year. Is it too much to ask?

HOMEMADE ORNAMENTS  So, last year when I was about to hang all the homemade ornaments my daughter had made when she was younger, she wouldn’t let me. WHAT?! Yes, she thought they were ugly and ruined the tree.  Um…THEY ARE VERY GORGEOUS TO ME!!!

That’s when I decided that I would buy myself a little tree to house my white lights and homemade ornaments. Actually, it’s not that little. It’s 7 feet. But still.

Here it is:

 

I love it! Fits just right in my dining room and makes me so happy. I just need a few more ball ornaments to get and then it’ll be perfect.

And for the record, here is the family tree:

Honestly? I’m thinking of getting a third tree and decorating it in all seashore ornaments!

(Somebody stop me!!!)

Merry Christmas and happy tree decorating!

How many Christmas trees do you have in your house?

 

 

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a USA Today bestselling sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. 🙂

Stuffed

I began this week, thinking… uh, oh. Diet Sabbatical, here you come. With all the foodie inspiration popping up on Facebook, this holiday week is bound to be filled with every amazing dish known to mankind. And it was true… we had turkey and baked dishes filled with cooked down veggies and creams and sauces. Pies like you just can’t even do more than once a year!

I’m stuffed. My buttons are tight. I’ve run in an effort to balance, but let’s be honest…ain’t no running enough to counteract the Diet Sabbatical!! haha.

You know what else I’m stuffed with?

Good ideas.

I’ve had a great week of pulling back, spending time with family, and just listening. I’m returning home from Florida today, feeling refreshed and ready to go. Excited to end the year on a good note and carry it through to 2019. I hope this Thanksgiving has found you doing the same: eating, enjoying life, relaxing, and filling your soul with the next best selling idea!! Whether that be the burnt fried turkey…the fight Uncle John had with Aunt Maude…Cousin Frankie’s new tattoo…or your sister’s announcement that she is pregnant with number 12 [she does know how that happens, right?].

What’s one thing that happened this week that will definitely end up in a book someday?

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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