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. You can find her hanging out online at www.lynncrain.blogspot.com, https://www.facebook.com/LynnCrainAuthor, and on Twitter, @oddlynn3. She loves hearing from her readers at lynncrain@cox.net.

New Year, New Word #oneword365

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

Happy New Year!

I don’t know about you, but I love starting the new year with a fresh slate of goals and dreams. I’m not really one for resolutions though. A few years ago, I was introduced to a new concept when creating goals for the new year. That concept was to just pick ONE WORD.

Yes, one word.

You’d be surprised how focusing on something so simple can impact your life. Start by choosing a word that speaks to you. Check out one word for word choices.

What do you feel you lack or need to work on? What is a word that describes how you want to be or live?

For me, the word I chose for 2018 is DISCIPLINE.

Why? 

I hope to be more disciplined in my writing and in my eating and exercise habits. It’s a word I will think about a lot when I’m making choices this year.

How about you? Have you made a resolutions or goals for the new year?

Or will you choose a word for 2018?

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. Check out her latest sweet romance: CATCH HIM IF YOU CAN

My Lists Have Lists

Resolutions as such, just don’t do it for me. It’s just another list. If your life is like mine, it’s already full of lists. Right now, I need a list to keep track of the lists, and no doubt there’s an app for that. And I have so many time saving apps I don’t have time to use half of them.

One of my many lists involves my writing goals for 2017. Yes, in spite of the fact that I often hear the whooshing sound of a self-imposed deadline as I see it in the rear-view mirror, I still have goals. And I still believe they are attainable. And no, this is not a good way to build a writing career, but it’s authentic.

For the past several months I’ve been working on simply being consistent. That sounds easy. If it were easy, we’d all be living our dreams without effort. Life is good at curve balls and often they can derail the best of intentions.

Right now, I’m dodging curve balls and showing up. And doing the work as best I can. Sometimes it’s not as much as I planned, but it’s something. So, I cut myself a little slack, and consider the progress. Rather than simply quit or lose focus because I didn’t reach that big goal yet, I’m concentrating on I what I have accomplished, not what I haven’t.

And you know what? I don’t feel so derailed. That’s been a big one for me. It eases the frustration immensely. It also really helps the motivation factor and keeps the writer’s block at bay. Instead of thinking, ‘I’ll never get this book written’ I’m changing my self-talk to ‘Look what I managed today. I’ll get this book written!’ I confess, I’m cautiously optimistic about what I may be able to accomplish this year.

Do you have any tricks to keep the motivation humming along?

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.

The Same Old Trap

Are you writing? Working on your current WIP, or trying to decide which of your many stories should be completed this year? Or maybe writing every day is on your 2015 resolutions list. If so, yay for you!

This year I haven’t made a single writing resolution. I had to spend some serious time away from the computer through the fall and end of the year, and it really gave me time to think. Did I want to continue to do this writing thing? The answer was and still is, an unequivocal ‘YES!’

That being the case, with a limited amount of time on the computer, I had to change the way I approached writing and everything associated with it. I used to do a ton of writing related things, lots of social media, and feel really good about them, yet never get actual words on the page. Over and over again I fell into the trap. The deceptive line of thinking that doing anything associated with writing means you’re moving forward. Any successful writer will tell you the words come first. Everything else related to writing is secondary.

So I made a couple small changes in that I don’t do anything until I’ve spent thirty minutes writing. No email, no social media, zip, zero, nada. Also, no social media until evening, and then only if I’m up to it. It proved to be way tougher than I thought. Letting go of social media made me feel disconnected. Some days it still does. Then there’s the changing of a morning routine that’s been years in the making.

But after thirty days, it seems to be working. I’ve got some chapters of a new WIP. And that’s more than I had before. I’m moving up to forty-five minutes next week. Eventually I’d like it to be an hour. We’ll see how it goes. The sense of accomplishment is turning out to be worth the struggle. I’m going to have a new story!

With working, families, small children, we’re all short on time for different reasons; do you have any tricks that help you get words on the page?

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.

Are You Ready to Get Lucky?

March is a fun month. I mean really. What other time of the year are you not considered crazy for talking about four-leaf clovers, good luck and drinking green beer? Okay, I don’t drink green beer but I do admit to enjoying a pint of Guinness from time to time. It’s as close as I can afford to get to Ireland at the moment.

Fairy Dust Small

See how easily I get distracted? What I really want to talk about today is luck. I confess to being firmly in the camp of luck is when hard work meets opportunity. Doesn’t that sound easy? Just keep working hard and an opportunity will just fall into your lap. Hmmmm, I don’t think so. I believe there are a couple tricks to that statement.

First off, do you absolutely have to work hard? Yes, I believe you do. But you can’t work hard at a bunch of things, constantly shifting your expectations and goals like sand in the desert and expect spectacular results. You need to stay focused on what your ultimate goal is. It’s easy to get sidetracked by doing writing things, like editing, social media, reading, so we feel like we’re making progress, when in reality we’re just kidding ourselves because we’re not actually producing pages and doing the writing itself.

The other trick is being able to recognize opportunity when it presents itself. Usually we have an idea of what our perfect opportunity will look like. But what about those times when things happen that aren’t according to our plan? And maybe they don’t quite look like what we thought our opportunity should appear to be? What if we get rejected? How can that be lucky? And what about the opportunity of self-publishing? That’s a big one.

So in a sense flexibility is also a key to being lucky. I do believe in luck, but you have to be ready for it. I don’t believe it ‘just happens’ to very many people. Having been involved in the writing industry for nearly ten years now, I can tell you from experience and observation that some of the writers that I know that are having large success today may have had some luck with their timing. Although to some it appears that someone just sprinkled lucky fairy dust all over them.

But that being said, every one, without fail, has single-mindedly stuck to her goals, stayed the course, been writing and putting out work when others were bemoaning the ups and downs of the industry and ‘taking breaks’ from writing. Or in some cases had illnesses or other personal issues beyond their control that took them away from writing.

It’s the people who haven’t given up, who’ve kept at it year after year, stayed focused on their goal, refining their craft, managing their networking, and building a body of work who have become successful. And that to me is the best luck of all.

Have you gotten lucky lately?

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.

Eat more chocolate and bedazzle all my jeans

When the clock ticked from Dec. 31, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014, did you make a list of resolutions or goals? If so, I hope you are well on your way to achieving them.

The talented ladies here at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses have given us lots of information and motivation this month regarding resolutions and goals. Thank you!

I, on the other hand, am not much for observing traditional resolutions or goals. Mine always fell into one of three categories anyway: weight loss, organization and productivity. As my younger sister oh, so sweetly reminded me via a cutesy Facebook e-card, “My New Year’s resolution is to write 2014 instead of 2013.” I’m hovering around 50-50 on that particular goal.

So, in keeping with my No Resolution New Year and just for fun, here is a list of ten (mostly) fake resolutions.

Eat more chocolate.

Sleep in more often.

Don’t clean the house so much.

Avoid doing the laundry.

Buy more shoes.

Cook less.

Eat more pasta.

Spend more time on social media.

Do fewer dishes.

Bedazzle all my jeans.

Did I miss any? 😉 What fake resolution would you make?

Don’t forget to leave a comment and be entered into the January giveaway…a $10 Amazon gift card from Lori Sizemore!

 

 

 

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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