Checked Off

Last night as I’m trying to go to sleep, all I can think about is the scenes which are coming up in my new novel.  In my head, I’ve mapped out the rest of the book.  It will be interesting to see if I follow what I mapped out or if my characters will derail me.

Today I’m hoping to work on the list of things I need to get done.  Ken did the grocery shopping and I did the rebates etc once I got up.  In coupons we saved over $12 and in rebates we saved over $5.

Once the coupons were done, I made fruit salad while Ken got lunch in the oven.  Vicki got me a new purse so I swapped out purses today.  Normally Vicki swaps my purses for me but I did it this time.  She’ll probably steal my purse next time and reorganize it.  But this was on my list.

I was able to get half the scarf done last night.  I’m hoping to finish it today when Ken and I watch Criminal Minds.  Then it’s a matter of taking pictures and sending them to the editor.  Then I cross my fingers and hope they want to include it in their issue.

This still leaves me a few smaller tasks.  As I was waking up this morning, I was thinking about the wedding gift I need to make.  I think I’ve figured out what, how many of each and possible design for each item.  I’m looking forward to creating these and hope I can get the materials prepped for the project today yet but time is my enemy.

From my list, I’ve managed to finish 13 items but still have 5 items on the list.  It’s already 11 in the morning so I don’t know if I’ll get them all done today.  However, I’ll keep working on them this week.  I’m trying to balance out writing with all of its deadlines with crafting which also has deadlines.

Teeter Totter

Seeking a balance in my tasks, I’ve been trying to find the right combination among writing, crocheting, and family tasks.  I’ve been working on editing a manuscript which is now down to a final read through as I’ve finished the searches I normally do.  At the same time, I’ve been working on projects for my daughters.  I just finished two cat beds which I didn’t have patterns for the two different styles.

Striking a balance (of sorts) is good in that I don’t feel I’m so focused on one task that I get burned out on it.  I’m also able to embrace the different sides of my creative nature – making beautiful things and telling good stories.

I have a long list of crochet patterns I want to publish and at the same time I need to work on marketing.  Monday I will be home alone so I am going to attempt to get the end of year reports done for my writing and editing business and then work on preparation for publishing for the patterns I have complete.

I’m back and forth on what I’m working on but I feel like I’m at least making progress on all my interests.

Next week classes start up again.  This means my work will go from slow and quiet to insane.  Almost all of the faculty will be back in the building regularly and the students will be back.  Next week will be exhausting and fast paced which means when I get home I’ll be looking for mellow things to do.  Things I won’t have to think about too much.  This means either crocheting or maybe editing / marketing.  I have a number of books to go through to pull out quotes for posting on twitter.  Either task will be low key for the most part.

My goal this year – hopefully – is to not buy any new yarn unless I have a specific project in mind and to work on whittling down my stash and my current load of projects.  This means I want to clear out some of the bins of yarn I have for Vicki and other people.  It also means I have to find that balance so I have time for crocheting and writing.

I have to go with the flow when I’m writing – when the story is flowing I have to write.  However, I’m going to attempt to make time for both of my main interests.  I’ll see how this plays out.

Beware the Exploding Head

I spent my night reading a manuscript and editing it.  I see the weaknesses in it and know where I need to improve the story.  I did some minor edits but I’m at a stage where I need to do my searches and print it for a thorough editing. 

I have no name for the book.  When I started writing it, I just called it murder.  Now I want to think about the story and what I want to call it.  My test readers have suggested it would be good to be part of a series.  I don’t know.  I’m not confident in the murder mystery arena. 

I could not face my books last night.  I needed to work on editing / writing things.  I am still working on that scarf for Vicki.  I just made a list of the things I need to make over the next semester for student workers who are leaving me (sadly).  When they grarduate, I make them something.  I have four who are leaving, this makes a lot of crocheting for the next semester.  I got one done already but I still have three more to do. 

Plus I have three afghans on my to do list already.  It’s a good thing I have audio books galore to read.  I can crochet while I listen to all the books Vicki’s been telling me to read.  I’m going to have to juggle my time and energy. 

Part of the problem I am having is I need to write.  If I’m not writing, I get grumpy.  There are times I take a break from it to give my brain a break but they are few and far between.  I will have to balance out what I want to do.  This is an ongoing struggle for me – balancing out all the aspects of my life.

I guess for this it will be a matter of prioritizing and scheduling so I get everything done in time.  I already have the yarn for two of the three student worker gifts.  I also have a baby gift to make.  I have some of the yarn for that and if I go to my stash I probably have the yarn needed for the blanket I want to make.  I have a ripple book that would take stripes. I could make something nice from that. 

Ideas are just flooding my head.  I may have to write them down so I don’t forget.  That way it is just a matter of grabbing the material and getting to work. 

My Atlanta girls have requested coasters so that is my next project.  I have a LOT to get done before Ken flies out and can take them all their goodies.  That will be next week and I have until the 29th to get the stuff done.  Once I’m done with their stuff, I’ll turn towards these other projects. 

Plus I have three afghans on my list for family members.  I have the yarn for two of them.  I just have to make the time.  It will be an interesting spring while I juggle all these different projects with my writing projects.  Let’s hope my head doesn’t explode with all that I have going on. 

Unplanning My Next Year’s Goals

My year has certainly not turned out the way I planned it.  This is one of the reasons I don’t like to make long term plans. 

It isn’t that my year has been worse – quite the contrary – it just hasn’t turned out the way I planned.  I could be disappointed in myself and the events of the year but that would be ridiculous.  I was supposed to submit to contests and publications at least four to six times each month this year.  I didn’t.  I was supposed to get my poetry books, romance book, and meditation book all published.  I did this.  I did more than this.  I got eleven books and two crochet patterns published. 

In looking back at my year, because that’s what we do at the end of December, I find myself very satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and am looking forward to the accomplishments of the coming year.  I have four books in progress that I want to get done.  I’m certain these will get done and published. 

Knowing me, there are other stories rattling around in my head that will find their way onto paper and into publication. 

I keep telling myself I need more balance in my life – equal out the time I spend crocheting, writing, working, spending with family and so on.  I’m not sure that is true.  I think having the imbalance helps me accomplish things.  When I’m so focused on one or two things, I get them done.  Very little gets in my way or stops me from accomplishing what I set out to accomplish.  Sometimes it takes me a while to figure out what I want to accomplish but once I do – it usually works out in the end – even if it isn’t the way I planned it. 

When I look forward to the next year, I know I want to write, crochet, spend time with my family.  I think I’ll leave the details of how that works out to the future and just enjoy the journey I’ll be taking in the upcoming year.

No Errands Equals Lots of Writing

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day working on my story.  The other things on my list did not get done.  I’d be disappointed but I added 10,000 words to my story and got a general list of scenes that will lead to the end of the book (I think).

Pain level is still high so instead of working in my office today I’ll be in the recliner.  My classical music is on and I’m going to work on my story.  If it goes well I might just finish it today.  I noticed last night that I had discoloration on my left knee and a red spot on my right ankle.  This is a good indicator that my gout is being obnoxious.  I put a heating pad on my ankle and took a second dose of my arthritis medicine.  Today I’ll take it easy and see if that will help ease some of the pain and flaring of the gout.

Like reading a book, I got to a good stopping point last night and opted to try to sleep.  Mostly I was successful.  I actually got a large chunk of sleep.  This usually helps the pain level.

Ken watched football and I wrote.  That will probably be our day today as well.  It felt really good to write for a good eight or more hours yesterday.  My mom and one of my sisters stopped in and then I drove my van to pick something for them that wouldn’t fit in their car.  That took an hour out of my writing time.  I also chatted with one of my daughters.  Maybe there was a bit of balance in my life.

Playing on the teeter totter

Balance is important in life.  I know this but like most people I struggle with finding the time to do all the things that are important.  Like a teeter totter, balance is difficult to maintain.

It was a good day yesterday stepping out of writing mode and hanging with friends to do a double feature of movies and dinner.  I got a bit of everything yesterday.  I ran errands, worked on writing production, had fun with friends, and talked to my girls.

Last night while Ken watched football, I opened up a file of a story I’m trying to get finished.  I have two books done and am part way through the third.  The intention is to finish the story in the third book.  With all the tasks on these books, I get lost in the work and don’t make time to write.  Since I seem to be in a writing mood, I’ve started reading this series again to get back to telling the story.

I also took time out of writing mode to talk to my girls.  I video chatted with two of them and talked on the phone with the third one.

In my head, I know where I’m going but I just need to get it down on paper.  To do that I need to be less concerned with editing the second book and more concerned with finishing the third one.

Ken is working around the house today.  I’m going to work on the production of the next poetry book.  When I’m tired of that (or get stuck or my legs hurt too much) I”m going to switch to the recliner and either watch tv and crochet or work on the story.  I’ll see how the mood goes.

I’m trying to incorporate a little of what is needed in all aspects of my life.  Yesterday was a good day for balance.  I know that balance is a momentary thing.  With all that was scheduled, I managed to have some balance.  Who knows what today will bring.

The full moon is tonight and for the next three nights.  I’ll be trying to maintain some balance during this time.  I’ll also be thinking of what I need to let go of with the waning moon.  The waning moon decreases a little each night until the dark moon.  My question will be – what do I need to let go of by small (or large) increments during the harvest time?  I’m not sure I have an answer but as normally happens, I’m sure something will present itself.

Goals to Live By

The last three weeks have been filled with little sleep, lots of pain, and a lot of writing.  I started a story because I couldn’t sleep.  I worked on the story as the vision came to me of what it should be and where it should go.  The first rough draft is done.  93,181 words.  

The full moon is tomorrow.  I’m hoping that I can bring some balance into my life.  The story is done but the work to bring it forth is not.  I’ve got a rough draft which will need refining and smoothing out.  There are a thousand steps before the story can be grown into a book.  
With the full moon I’m looking for some balance in my home, work, writing and crocheting aspects of my life.  Maybe with the story out of my head I can go back to getting all the other tasks done that are grumbling at me.  
The completion of the story is exciting and a bit sad.  I have to let go of the story and move on to the next project.  Editing has to wait.  I can’t write this week and edit the same story next week.  I don’t have enough objectivity.  It’s a bit sad for me because for three weeks now these characters and their story have been almost all consuming.  I’m almost saying goodbye to some good friends.  Though I think in this case I’ll be revisiting them because I think there is another story to follow.  
Next project – the next poetry book – Moments in Life.  These will be all the poems I’ve written about life – my life. I have the cover done.  I’m happy with how it looks and I think it fits part of how I look at life.  I will be working today on narrowing down the poems and getting them categorized.  After that it is all production time – getting the poems in the order I want, cleaning up the file so they can go out there.  
Once I’m done with the poetry book, I’m going back to editing the second Defenders book.  I’m about halfway through that one and it is progressing.  The problem with the editing process is I sometimes get lost in where I am in the story.  When this happens, I have to go back and really think about what the purpose is of what I’m changing.  
It is a pay week and we are doing easy errands this weekend.  We went to Sorgs first thing this morning and tomorrow Ken will do the shopping.  I’ve had high pain levels all week and am still not at a great place for pain levels.  All I can do is manage at this stage in the game.  Until whatever is irritating works itself out of my system, I just have to keep working to get through every single day.  Some days I manage very well and other days I just want to sit in the dark and hope that I can sleep in order to escape the pain.  There isn’t anything anyone can do.  It is arthritis.  It can’t be cured or fixed.  It just is.  So I just cope.
When I have higher pain levels, it helps me to have goals.  They may be small goals like – I will sort poems or I will eat.  But these goals help me cope.  This is why my to do list is so important.  It gives me easy access to the things I want to get done so I can pick a goal and work on it without having to think about it.  
Pain level today – 8 (kinda sucky) but the goal – sort poems and finalize the cover.  Cover done.  Other goal – go see two movies to escape from life for a few hours.  I’m finally going to get to see How to Train Your Dragon 2!!!!  We are also going to see Guardians of the Galaxy.  This will be my afternoon goal.  Fun and escapism – two things I don’t often indulge in.  Today they are an important goal.  

One Final Scene

Three weeks to write 90,000 words and complete a story.  I have finally gotten through the battle scene.  I have one more wrap up scene to bring together all of my plot points and then I’m done.  I should finish that today.

The full moon is on the tenth so I should have this done before then.  This weekend my plan is to work on the next poetry book.  I’m hoping to get final selection of the poems done.  I also think I can finalize the cover.  Then it will be time for production.  All the fun prep work before I can put it out in book format.

My Defenders series is grumbling at me.  There are so many layers to this series I need to get back to that to do list.  I have to make some final decisions on the content of the first book.  I have to figure out what I’m doing on the art for it.  I need to work on editing the second book.  I need to finish writing the third book. 

I’m hoping once I get the poetry book done, I can focus solely on the fantasy series.  If I become a bit obsessive about it, I’m more likely to get the work done. 

On the other side of life, I need to get my craft room organized and start thinking about holiday gifts.  It is already August and I’ve not decided what I want to do.  In the last three weeks, I’ve only made a wedding gift. 

I’m sadly lacking balance right now with writing being the focus of all my non-work hours.  Even Ken has gotten the “What do you need, I’m writing.” attitude from me.


One of the things I struggle with most is finding a balance in my life.  I’m either too focused on work, school, or whatever and forget to take time for me. 
This week I had a long to-do list for homework I wanted to get through.  It involved three chapters, videos, and labs for science, three books, excerpts and comments, paper, and final project for Prose Stylistics.  In addition to that I had a long list of crocheting I wanted to get done including three graduation gifts which are time consuming. 
For a change, I think I’ve found a balance (temporarily I’m sure).  Yesterday is a perfect example.  I spent four hours working on homework.  I finished (well all except a final read through) of my paper, read the last nine excerpts and wrote comments, and I worked on some comments for science.  This four-hour session was spent at my computer and by the time I was done my legs were bothering me. 
After I was done at the computer I took my science book with the intention of sitting in the recliner and reading.  Instead I watched some TV with Vicki and then took a nap.  After the nap I worked on crocheting a grad gift.  The rest of my day was spent either crocheting or enjoying my down time. 
This morning I am working on homework until Vicki comes back with our friend.  Then I will work on crocheting because they will be playing on the Wii and it is too distracting for me to do homework.  However, I can enjoy their company while I work on grad gifts.  I won’t have to feel guilty for the down time because I will be putting in some study time before they get here.  I may finish another chapter of science or just make progress on it.  I don’t know how far I’ll get but I know I will feel like I balanced out my day by working this way. 
Without a doubt, I will struggle with having balance, but for this past week, I can at least feel like I found some semblance of it during my vacation time.  My to-do list didn’t get done – either one of them – but I did make progress on both.  Maybe that is the point, especially for someone like me who always has too long of a to-do list, I got something done on both lists and made progress.

Storms and other thoughts

The grumbling rolling low thunder reverberates through the whole house as I snuggle into my covers.  I just want to lay in bed and listen (or sleep) to the storm.  As a child, I remember being afraid of storms.  One of my early memories is of my sister Teri crawling into bed with me and comforting me during a storm.  She told me that the thunder was just the angels bowling. 
I don’t know if it was her assurances or the soothing nature of the storms but since then I’ve loved storms.  When a storm rolls through I love to watch the clouds, dance and race across the sky.  I love to feel the thunder rumble through the very core of me.  I love the surprise and beauty of the moment of lightning.  It is so symbolic that lightning is so beautiful and so quick to pass.  That is somewhat like beauty in life.  Our looks really only last a short time.
Storms are tumultuous, unpredictable, and fierce.  Yet whenever we have one, I feel a sense of calm and balance.  My poor aching joints don’t like them but my spirit seems to be able to ride storms like a well-trained horse.  The storms rage around me and others scurry for cover.  I stand and watch. 
The storms seem to engage all my senses.  The smell of a summer storm is different from that of an autumn storm.  Spring storms bring a cleansing and newness with them.  While winter storms are often crisp and clear. 
There is even a different taste to the storms.  Stick out your tongue to catch a snowflake.  It tastes different than the raindrop of a summer thunderstorm. 
People often grumble about the gray days.  I find them to match life.  There are times we are sunny and bright and there are times we are gray.  We need both and hopefully find a balance in all of it.