Balancing Act

With all the things going on in our house with the remodel, we’ve been discombobulated in the rest of the house. This means my crocheting has been stashed away. So I haven’t really been crocheting at all.

Love a great yarn sale…

Now there are two things which sooth me – crocheting and writing. There’s nothing better than having a movie weekend and working on a crochet project. Or to have a week off work and spend as much time as possible writing.

July I released Through Destiny’s Eyes. In August I was part of Into the Dark anthology and To the Moon and Back anthology. I loved both opportunities. They tapped into different writing challenges for me. Saturday I release Paranormal Investigator Files and I’ve been prepping for this event. I also have a release a month through February.

That’s a lot of marketing and promotional work. It’s detail work which is often repetitive. This is not my favorite thing to do but if I don’t then no sales. So it’s an essential activity I must do.

The opportunity to be part of another anthology came to me. Pushing myself to finish a short story in about a month made me realize how much I love writing. Pumping out anywhere from 2K to 5K or more in a night satisfies me in a way I don’t know that I can describe. It takes me to a place I rarely go. I feel fulfilled and satisfied with me. I get the same feeling when I crochet.

Clearly I need to find a balance. I’ve struggled with blurred and double vision and headaches because I’m spending so much time on the computer. So tonight instead of feverishly trying to get promotions done so I can squeak out some family and writing time, I spent tonight with family and not looking at my computer. I started designing a new pattern for crocheting and have really enjoyed crocheting – playing with colors and stitches and figuring out what works.

This was one of my best purchases

Tomorrow night, I’ll be working on the short story to edit, rewrite and see if I can squish it down to 15K. In my head, I’ve accepted I will end up publishing it myself. Don’t get me wrong – I want to be in the anthology. I just like a backup plan. So when I’m revising and editing, I’ll be looking at how to revamp it so I can expand it if I need to publish it myself if needed.

I need a little bit of all – practically I need to have time to promote my books, time to write and time to crochet and design. So I’m working on it. This weekend, a bit of promoting and crocheting. Then later this month I have a week off and I’ll spend those days juggling all three activities. My hope is I’ll be able to finish a project or two for writing. But also work on crocheting and designing. I have gifts to make for the holidays and biographies to watch (or movies or ???). Intertwined with those activities, I’ll work on promoting.

Which End Is Up?

My goal has been to get more patterns published.  I submitted three patterns and one got accepted!  Yeah!  Last night I worked on a pattern and the pattern is complete I need to finish the crocheting so I can take a picture and submit the pattern.

I have so many ideas for patterns right now but I’ve got a plate and a half full.  I’m going to have to keep myself in check and be cautious about what I start.  I’d rather look forward and make attempts.  I am working on a blanket for one of the issues – I am really liking how it is turning out.

We are building a new pantry in our kitchen.  Ken tore out the old pantry today.  Hopefully by next weekend we will have new ones.  Under normal circumstances, we are usually pretty frugal.  However, we are spending a little more money on the shelves because we want specific things in this pantry.  If we’re going to the expense of redoing the pantry, I don’t want small shelves in there or ones I’m going to have to replace every few years.  I want good sturdy shelves which will hold up and expand my space drastically.

I’m in the middle of projects, not just crocheting but writing, editing, and others.  I’ve got a chapter to review in the next Wayfarer novel.  My beta readers have told me what I already knew – this one section of the book was rough and needs work.  I’m giving it work.  I don’t want to rush publication and have readers be unhappy.  I have a manuscript I’m making progress on.  I was not getting the scenes clear in my head so I wasn’t writing but then it occurred to me what needed to happen.  Now I have to make the time to write the scenes while they are in my head.  I’ve got one more manuscript waiting in the editing box.  It also needs work so it will be slow going on the edits I’m sure.

I’m hoping I’ll be able to finish the two freelance projects fairly quickly.  It will bring in money to cover some bills and pay for the pantry.  Then I’ll move on to the books.  I’m feeling overwhelmed right now but I know this will pass as I get things done.

Royal Undercover is still on tour.  I am quite excited about it.  I hope this improves sales and awareness of my books.  Only time will tell.

On a Roll

The words flow from me and I’m working hard on a number of projects.  I finished and published Wayfarer Evolution.  I’ve got other manuscripts edited and I’m hoping to get them on the computer soon.  In the meanwhile, I’ve started – or restarted – this story I’ve had in my slush pile.  I’m 55K into the manuscript.  

Over the weekend, I wrote 21K words to pull the story along.  I can see later scenes and see how the story will unfold.  I’m not sure on the climactic scene yet or if this will be a series.  I am sure I like the story.
All week I’ve been adding to this story by leaps and bounds.  Tonight I crept along rather than leaping.  I stopped at one point because I wasn’t sure where the story was going.  I came home and normally I’m opening my computer and shooing the people away.  Tonight it was more – okay I can write.  
The problem – I still wasn’t sure how the scene was going to go.  Instead of leaping into it, I opted to go back and read through the story.  I updated my character list as I had missed some.  I corrected misspelling, grammar, typographical errors and so on.  
I got to the end and I still wasn’t sure but I started writing.  Every other night I could tell you I added 3K or 4K or whatever to the story.  Tonight I added about 1500.  I aim for a minimum of 50K and I’m past that.  Now I’m going to write till the end of the story.  If I’m any judge, I’ll probably end up with 15 – 20 K more.  If I write this weekend, it is probably the amount of work I can get done in the weekend.  However, I never know where the characters will take me.
This is the time I want three or four of me to be able to do all the tasks I need to do.  Some of my other tasks are creating patterns to submit to the magazine which pays for them; editing; publishing; marketing as I’ve been adding my books and patterns to Mogul, Ravelry (just patterns), and Pinterest.  I should be putting out review requests but I am struggling at this point because I feel like I’m not getting enough writing time.  
I keep reminding myself I can only do what I can do.  I’m hoping I’ll keep this juggling act going and get it all done.  It’s June and I have to think about the goody bags and the basket for the raffle.  I may have to edit tasks to get everything done.  
It’s my hope I can keep moving forward and not get stressed by the long to do list which is rattling through my head.  I keep reading the list and crossing things off.  One thing at a time – it’s the only way.  

Crossing Off

Last night I wrote until 2 am.  You would think I would be able to sleep in.  Nope, eyes popped open early and while I attempted to sleep some more, I only dozed.  I was still up by 7:30.  I was determined to get things done today.

I tackled my desk.  I organized paperwork by filing a bunch and stacking in a pile more.  This pile I have to figure out a solution for.  I’m handling all of my mother’s paperwork so I need to figure out where I’ll keep it.  I have it in my top drawer in the file cabinet next to me but the drawer is full.  It’s difficult to put more in there.  I’m going to have to figure out where to go with it so it remains convenient.

I paid her bills, ordered items she needs, and sent a text to my sisters to ask them to check her stock when they visit.  I’ve been a bad (ish?) daughter as I haven’t visited her.  It started six weeks ago with laryngitis, shifted to a kidney stone (not contagious but I was in too much pain), flu and now upper respiratory crud.  I’m toxic and am not visiting my mother.

I worked on my bills, sales info and facebook for writing discussions on this new group I’m on.  I wrote two book reviews and sent them to the person who requested them.  I wrote a blog posting for Witches & Pagans.  I updated my sales spreadsheet.

My daughter made lunch so I had lunch with Ken and Vicki.  It was nice to put my feet up and kick back for an hour though my eyes thought they should close and my brain thought it should sleep.  I made it stay awake.  I put the dirty clothes down the laundry chute so Vicki can do laundry.

Then I tackled posting eight crochet patterns on Ravelry.  I’m writing this blog and then I get to go back to the story I was working on last night until 2 am.  I’m hoping the flow continues as it was working nicely.

My list got handled!  I got a lot done and as I read this I think I deserve a nap… nap or writing… hmmm I’ll have to see if the writing goes well.

Now I still have a long list of crocheting, writing, editing, and other things to get done.  I’m trying to savor the moment.  I got to throw out two post its!

Tomorrow will be prep for breakfast and lunches and then back to my list – I hope.  I’m going to try to take it easy tomorrow and see what mischief I get up to.

Winter Projects

Marketing is a necessary part of writing.  I’m realizing that I need to have marketing tools in place before I normally do.  I’ve been posting to social media in an attempt to get my work noticed.  I’ve been getting published in other places to draw in people outside my social media.  I’ve been trying to get reviews (though I could work harder at this.)

Has any of it done any good?  Some has and some hasn’t.  The thing is – with marketing what works today may or may not work tomorrow.  It’s something I have to constantly think about.

I’ve got a weekend without anyone home besides Ken and I so I’m hoping to get some work done in the writing arena.  I have marketing, publishing, and writing to do.

Having said that – I’m definitely in a crochet mode.  I’m working on the projects I had going before I set them aside to do holiday stuff.  I want to get certain things done while I’m still in the mood.  I’m on the down side (or nearing the finish) of one project which means all I really want to do is work on it and have been every night.  Behind this big project, I have one more in progress and at least four more in the wings pushing at me to work on them.

I don’t know if it’s the cold weather or the pile of containers in my craft room but I feel the need to get things done – crochet wise.  I’ve got ideas in my head for projects and patterns I want to try out.  I’ve got ideas for articles on crochet.  I need to get focused and get things done.

Wishing for Two of Me

Tomorrow, Ken and I are going to work on a plan for the closet.  I’m hoping we can get a plan in place so the closet can be a more useful space than it currently is.  I’m also hoping we can spend as little as possible on the closet.

After lunch we are going to take a bunch of my books and drive around to pop up libraries.  I’m hoping this will be a good marketing tool.  I’ve got a flyer to go into each book which shows the books I have available.  We also have a family commitment in the afternoon.

My Saturday is shaping up to be busy.  This means I have a lot to get done on Sunday.  I’d love to get the edits entered on the computer for Wayfarer 10.  If I could get it done and start the publishing process that would be wonderful.  I have some crochet patterns I have to organize and put through the publishing process.  Though, I just got submission guidelines for a crochet publication, so I may look at those to see if I can submit anything there before I publish it independently.  I wrote a new article which I want to edit and get out there.  Last night when I couldn’t sleep I turned on my app and recorded what may be part of that article, a blog post, or a new article.  I couldn’t sleep and just spoke what was on my mind so I’ll have to see about that.

I have several hand towels to make up.  Each one takes me about an hour to do just the crocheting on it.  The prep work is already done which was time consuming.  There are 16 left to do and I’m hoping I can finish them off this weekend.

Additionally, I have to make some phone calls, deal with the checkbook and a few other personal business things.  I’m hoping to get these tasks done today after work.  If we have the funds, there are a few things I want to pick up.  So I’m going to have to find the time to go shopping as well.

I was hoping for a quiet weekend but as I’m writing all this down, I realize it is going to be a crazy busy weekend again.

Where does the time go?

I’ve been working on getting excerpts from all my novels to use for marketing the books.  I’ve gotten through all my poetry books, meditation book, Wayfarer series and a few others.  I have to go back through and get links on this page so everything is in one place and makes it easy to copy / paste. 
Last night I finished editing Wayfarer 10 and reread 11 making edits as I went.  I couldn’t believe how fast paced 11 was.  I like that as I think it makes for a quick read.  I also was concluding several storylines with the opening scenes.  The next step is to start more storylines and see how the characters move forward. 
That took up a good chunk of my night last night but I was still done by ten which is too early for me to go to bed.  I decided I’d take a half hour to wander around on Pinterest.  Big mistake!  I spent an hour and half on Pinterest and Facebook.  I read some interesting articles on batch cooking for freezer meals, looked at some crochet patterns, read up on some of my friends activities and pretty soon it was 11:30.  It was crazy – where did the time go?  It got eaten up with surfing Pinterest and Facebook. 
Tonight I’ll be entering edits from the hard copy to the computer for Wayfarer 10.  I’m not sure how long that will take but I’m going to try to stay off Pinterest / Facebook so there will be no time suck again.

No Jammies Today

It was supposed to be a stay in my jammies day and do little to nothing.  That didn’t work.  I got up to an email from Joann with one of the things I wanted for a project being on sale.

After spending part of the morning on marketing, I got organized and Ken and I headed out to Joann’s.  While I was looking at things online, I got a notice to text Joann’s to get a coupon.  I did.  I got a 20% off coupon.

The items I wanted were already 50% off so we went in, found what I wanted and picked them up.  At checkout, they used my coupon and I spent nearly $10 less than I had budgeted.  I spent $42 and saved $60.  This is good shopping as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve spent the last two hours working on getting marketing stuff organized into a One Note notebook.  This is the software I just learned how to use.  I have to say, I’m finding it useful both at work and with my writing things.  I’ve created two notebooks to make my marketing tasks simpler.  I’m still gathering quotes from different books but it’s coming along nicely.

Looking to move on to the next thing – will it be more marketing, work on the project I just got the materials for, or something completely different?  I’ll have to see how the mood strikes me.

Balance Out My Week of Writing

As is normal for me, I couldn’t jump back into writing having just finished one novel.  I spent my day doing admin and marketing things yesterday.  I combined, updated, and entered information into a spreadsheet.  I worked on a crochet pattern, which is turning out lovely.  My hope when I’m done is to produce the pattern for sale.

Last night I watched Midsomer Murders while I crocheted and putzed.  It was relaxing and let my mind rest from all the chaos in it.  Today, Ken and I have to run some errands and are going to the movies.  Last time we tried to go to the movies, we bought a car so I’m hoping that won’t happen.

When we get back, I’ll see how I feel about writing and pick between crocheting and writing.  This week is quickly coming to a close and I’ve got to return to my normal routine on Monday.  It will be good to go back to work and have the routine but I’ve enjoyed my writing insanity.

In the hour or so before I leave, I’m hoping to get some more marketing done.  I’m trying to get more people to review my books.  My oldest daughter gave me a nudge on one thing I should do which I will.  Aside from her suggestion, I’m sending out my work to different reviewers in the hopes of getting some hits.

Monday with my return to my day job means I’m back to juggling what I want to get done each evening with going to bed at a reasonable time.  At the same time I’ve got test readers asking me for sequels.  I swear I need an assistant but sadly I cannot afford one.  I guess that makes me my own assistant.  Lots to do and so little time to get it all done – as is normal.

Times Awasting

I need a clone.  With all my responsibilities, I need a clone or a longer day or to somehow stop time so I can get more done.

This morning I spent two hours working on the business end of writing.  Mostly I compiled data about sales so I could see how that would help me for marketing.  I told Vicki yesterday that I’m getting steady sales with an average of about 45 books a month for the last three months.  This is great as I’m just getting started but at the same time I have done very little marketing.  The thing for me is to figure out how to market and where to spend my money for marketing.

This led to another analysis of sales – which books are selling the best.  By knowing which book is selling the best I can either choose to put more money into marketing that book (because it is popular) or I can choose to let it grow on it’s own (because it is popular).

When I’m done with this blog, I’ll be heading to the recliner to put my foot up because my foot is doing better and I want to keep it that way.  While in the recliner, I can write and listen to music or crochet while I watch tv or listen to a book.  I’ll probably write for a time because I have a new book going and there are scenes I want to work on.  If Ken and I opt to watch something together I’ll try to pull out my crocheting but we usually do that when we’re eating so I might be busy eating.

If only I had a second me, I could work on all of it at once.  I have three crochet projects started and several in the works.  I have a half dozen writing projects started and actively working on plus all the other ones that aren’t being actively worked on.

It promises to be a full day one way or another and that is with only the writing and crocheting demands.  Two of my daughters just bought a house so they are calling with questions.  My sister is writing a paper so she will want me to edit it for her.  I’ll slide those in because it’s family and they are important.

We’ve been watching West Wing and in their they’re always saying – “What’s next?” That is my life right now.  I’m done with this so what’s next.