Mid Week of Vacation

Monday was all about finishing writing Wayfarer 16.  Tuesday was all about organizing stuff.  Today is all about getting book work done.

Yesterday with help from two people, I got my craft room looking like a craft room rather than a storage locker.  I can find things and get to them more easily than before.  Things are labeled and stored appropriately.  I put several boxes of things out for our sale.  I weeded out some yarns (they went into my remnants crock).

Today I made some calls, paid some bills, and worked on the computer.  I updated my spreadsheets.  It doesn’t sound like a lot but it’s time consuming.  I got my sales spreadsheet caught up with the change in the month.  I have to look at the vendors I sell through and see what sales were.  Depending on the vendor depends on the ease of doing this.

When I’m done on the computer, I think I’m going back to reading.  I started the Wayfarer series and am working my way through them so as I edit, I can make sure the flow is right and refresh my memory on characters, story lines and such.

Many things have gotten checked off my todo list and I’m happy with the progress.  I’ve gotten covers made for some of my novels and I’m working on editing.  Fingers crossed I’ll be able to get Wayfarer Convictions out this week.  Then I start the process all over for the next one.

I have all these ideas floating around in my head for crocheting.  I’m hoping to get to some of them this week.  I’ll see how my time goes.  Tomorrow is pay day for me, so more bill paying and computer work but hopefully not as long as today.

I’m taking it one day at a time.  The progress made yesterday is good, though it did clutter up parts of my house as we shifted.  Now we have to make harder decisions about things.

One Down…

This week a friend came over to spend the morning helping me get my living room cleaned and organized.  Things got shifted, cleaned and rearranged.  The living room looks wonderful!  I’m very pleased and can’t thank my friend enough for helping me.

My stress level goes down every time something gets organized.  When I can move through the house and not be banging into things, I feel better and less stressed.  Now I have to work on the other rooms.

In my office I have a bookshelf which has random stuff all over it.  There’s no organization and in reality, I’m not sure what the heck is on there.  In the closet, I want to make a shipping center so when I have a package to send out, I can go in there and easily find what I’m looking for.  There’s three or four boxes of genealogy stuff to go through.

Genealogy always takes longer.  I started with a stack of papers less than an inch thick.  It took me two hours and I didn’t get all the way through.  It’s a lot of data to process, research to do and then where does it get put?  I have a file cabinet full of folders by last name.  If I have a folder, it’s easy enough to file.  If I don’t have a file, it gets more complicated.

Some of the work I can do on my own.  I need to start sorting through what is on the shelves and figure out what to do with it.  The closet I’m going to need help.  My biggest frustration is I used to tackle a room and get it done in a day or less.  Now with my limitations I struggle to get through a day unless I have someone else to help me.  I keep reminding myself, I can only do what I can do.

Reader Conference

Vicki and I attended a readers’ conference over the weekend.  It was interesting as I looked at it from a reader’s perspective.  There were lots of free gifts – post its, pens, gadgets, and so on.  Books of course were high on the gift list.

I wanted to take aside the organizer and say – listen there are some basic things you should have going.  First an agenda of events – either handed out to people or posted in the hall.  Second, a map of where rooms are.  Third, set up early and be prepared for the long lines.

Something I want to say to hotels and conference centers.  I get they make the most money by jamming as many people into one room as possible but let’s be realistic.  People are not child size.  They range in size from small to large.  Additionally, handicap people with walkers, wheel chairs, and scooters need to be able to get through.

One of the events was a signing.  In order to get to the signing, we had to go from a lunch to another room.  I told Vicki to go without me because there was no way my scooter was getting through the crowd of people and tables.  Skinny people were struggling to get between tables.

As a writer, I soaked in all the things readers seemed to enjoy.  I wonder if at some point I would do an event like this.  At the same time, I wonder if I would be able to do an event like this with my mobility issues.

My daughter suggested I donate items to one of the reader conferences.  I’m going to see if I can do this.  I can crochet something and add some of my books to a basket for one of the giveaways.  I certainly don’t have the funds from my writing to be a guest author at an event but I can start small and go from there.

Small talk is not my forte but is definitely needed at an event like this.  I’d rather have a meaningful conversation than do small talk.  Yet small talk abounded at this event.  Whether it was between fellow attendees or with an author, you have to be willing to talk about common topics which won’t offend people.  This is quite a feat for me.

It was good to spend time with my daughter.  I didn’t know any of the authors, don’t read any of them.  But it was interesting to talk to some of them and to see the event.  As normal for me, I was not in love with the large crowd or the noise.  This is my introverted self screaming in my head to run from so many people.  I like the one on one or small group.  I’m glad I went.  If my daughter asks, I’ll probably go again.  I should probably read some of the books by the authors who will be there before I go to the event.

Crochet Savior!

My middle daughter moved home.  March was chaotic with her moving.  April is turning into chaos with getting our house organized – or reorganized and integrating her stuff into our house.

I’m finally tackling my office.  Currently it’s in that state of extreme messy because I’ve been going through papers, shelves, drawers in order to sort out what we need to keep.  There’s an ultimate goal in mind but for now, I want to get rid of one piece of furniture and move two others.  These means I’m taking decorations down from the wall as the furniture is going to cover up the wall space.

I’m not certain the way I want to rearrange the furniture is actually going to work so I need to try it before I decide whether it is how I actually want it.  Also all the stuff I want to put on the furniture is sitting around my office making it seem more cluttered.  I swear there is an organized method to the chaos at this point.

I started yesterday and made good progress but today I’ve spent running errands and prepping for the week.  There are some things I don’t want to get rid of.  I look at them and the organizer in me is saying just let it go.  But the writer / mom / creator in me is saying NO!!!  I’m working on it.  I’m also looking at a row of books – reference type – which sit by computer.  Do I want to weed through them?  No but should I?  Probably.  I know some of them will stay.  I can look at at least six of them and know they stay but there’s at least three times that many.  So reluctantly I’ll look through these books to weed out any.

Then there’s the recycle / garbage, sale piles to contend with.  I’ve got a box of stuff for a sale we’re hoping to participate in later this summer.  Also while I remove and rearrange what do I do with all the stuff.

It’s definitely been a weekend of chaos.  I’m not sure we’re making it any better.  However, at the intermediate phase, it is so chaotic I’m not sure it’s getting better.

We’re doing all of this while I’m at my most busy at work.  Registration and scheduling for spring 18 are going on.  Lots of changes, problem solving, and stress at work means I need peace at home.  Right now, no peace just chaos.

This is where my crocheting comes in.  I’ve been working on a number of projects.  I finished an afghan, several headbands, and started a bandana.  This keeps me sane (ish) as it takes me away from the stress of both work and home.  It allows me to escape into my creative mind and work on patterns.  Right now I have several which I want to publish.

I keep telling myself it will get better.  I keep reminding myself it is the first weeks and I need to be patient.  However, the clutter is starting to wear on my nerves.  After I’m done in the office, I plan to hit the recliner and work on another pattern or three in order to calm and ease the stress of life right now.


It’s FALL!  I love fall!  The cooler temps, the changing weather and the harvest.  While driving over the weekend, I loved seeing the fields and farmers working hard to bring in their crops.  I know from growing up on the farm they are in a state of constant work – long hours, hard work, and worry over whether the crops will sell well.

Fall has always been about canning, freezing, and prepping food for the winter.  At this point in my life, we aren’t doing this as often.  In fact this year, we aren’t doing any canning at all.  I did get apples but we will probably eat them as apples rather than making applesauce or slicing to freeze.

This has made me wonder what I’m harvesting this year.  What have I done, created, and so on that I’m going to harvest.  There’s nothing in my life which has to be grown and harvested at a particular time.  I’ve published many things this year and still have a few to get out.

I’m in the middle of making holiday gifts.  I’ve been working on several for the past couple of weeks.  My sister asked me to work on some blankets for her – she has fleece which she wants a crocheted edging around.  I have one or two other things to finish which should be done tonight or tomorrow night.  I’ll move on to doing the crocheting for her before I work on my next group of projects.

My craft room is in chaos and in need of a good cleaning.  I’m hoping to get it organized again and move forward with all these projects.  If I get my sister’s stuff done, it gets two or three bags of things out of my craft room.  After that, I’ll be working on my own holiday gifts which will empty many things out of my closet.  Then it’s back to the skirt and afghan I’m working on.

I think for this year, this is my harvest.  Getting all these projects done before it’s too late is a good goal.  One I’m hoping will be accomplished.  On top of this harvest, I have several things which still need to be published and finished.  Now things have calmed down a little with my middle daughter, I’m hoping to spend my weekends working on projects and publishing.  However, I’m aware that the best laid plans…. generally don’t get accomplished because of life…

Organizing or Writing?

I have absolutely no motivation for cleaning my office.  I worked on it on Friday when I got done with work and got through a couple of piles but gave up once Ken got home.  I’ve sorted and resorted.  I need to make decisions and get things organized but mostly I look at the piles and think I’d rather be writing.

I have these great intentions of getting through all the mess and getting it organized.  I’ve bought the right things to help me with this but somehow I am still struggling with getting the work done.  My mind wanders from where do I want this to whatever scene I’m writing and pretty soon I’m off writing rather than organizing.

Today I’m going to attempt to work on cleaning.  Reality is my office will probably still be a mess and I’ll wander off to work on one of the stories I’ve been writing.  I am struggling with one large scene which involves several villages and about two hundred characters (not all named) and I know some of the people on the good side are going to have to die.  There are so many questions in my head about who, what, where, when and so on that I’ve not been able to put it down on paper.

I did map out how the villages and encampment look.  They are ridiculously horrible.  However, it gives me a visual and I’ll spread out these maps to figure out how I’ll be using them once I’m writing the scene.

I’ve also been playing with a character development which may be turning into an actual story.  It seems like every time I wake up or put it away another scene or a fix to where I’m at comes to mind.  I currently have five manuscripts that I’ve finished writing.  I will shift them to the editing phase but I need a bit of time to be able to edit thoroughly.  If I edit too soon, I get more involved with writing than I do with actual editing.

This is why I get distracted from cleaning and organizing.  It is much more interesting to work on the writing then it is to work on the cleaning.  I have to get both done and stop stalling I guess.  Anyone want to take bets on which will get done today?  Stop laughing – I know it will be more writing than organizing.  

Pick One

In talking with an artist last night, I realized I’ve been very scattered in my work.  I’ll pick up this project and do a tiny bit, then move on to the next one and do a tiny bit.  This is probably because I’m trying to get a little bit done on everything. 

However, I’m wondering if this is the wrong approach for my writing tasks.  I do have several things to do for a good seven or eight writing projects with at least four or five projects barking at the door. 

Right now my to do list is organized by project.  I’m wondering if I should be grouping like tasks together – like I want to review the front and back material for all three of the books I have in publication.  This would be a task for three different projects I could do at once. 

Unfortunately, not all the tasks can be grouped like that.  I am working on editing the second fantasy novel.  I have other editing to do but grouping the tasks together wouldn’t work.  First, editing takes a certain mindset and focus and if I do it for too long then the quality of the editing slips.  Second, editing a fiction novel vs a poetry book is very different.

I just finished reading Wrede on Writing where she talked about the different levels of tasks.  It might be worthwhile to identify the type of task as well as the project it is supposed to be for.  This might help me organize my time and make me more efficient with getting items crossed off my list, which is the whole point of making a to do list. 

Here are my books:

Secret Past

Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moon-affirmations-eileen-troemel/1119387496?ean=2940045859738

Moments in Nature

Available at Barnes & Nobles:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/moments-in-nature-eileen-troemel/1119566668?ean=2940045940085
Available at:
Available on Amazon:

Mentors and Supporters

As a writer I’m often stumbling around trying to figure out how to do different things.  For instance as I’m looking at covers to assess which one I want, I try to look at them in different ways – across the room, on the computer, asking other people.  A writer friend of mine suggest I look at them at a smaller size (1 x 1.5) as that is how they will appear in a search on Amazon.  Changing the size creates a different perspective and one I hadn’t thought to do.  It changed my perception of the covers. 
Another writer friend told me how she organizes her to do list.  She is an editor / writer and uses a datebook binder to keep track of all of her tasks.  This is of course another area I struggle with.  I always have a long list of tasks I need to complete. 
The writer’s group I belong to has been helpful in knowing some of the tricks of the trade.  You can read tons of books but I’ve never seen a book written on these type of practical functions in the writing field.  Mostly I think you have to figure out what works for you.  It is nice though to have mentor type people who help you along as you learn and grow.
The flip side to this is I always try to be very careful to not take advantage of my mentors.  Time is a precious commodity and if they take time to help me I don’t want to infringe on it more than is necessary.  I prefer to give as to them as much as they give to me.  Obviously we are at different places for experience.  I happen to be wonderful at software so I offer up my experience in that area when they need assistance. 
There are also people who aren’t in writing who encourage, read, and kick my bum when I need it.  These people offer encouragement, read and comment on work, look at covers, and give me a good kick in the bum when needed. 
Without this support system, I don’t think I’d have accomplished all I have at this stage.  Often I find myself too close to a project to see what needs to be different.  A perfect example of this is a short story I wrote.  I wrote the story with the sole intention it was going to be just a short story.  A few thousand words and then I was going to enter it into contests and so on.  Several people told me I should develop it into a book.  I kept saying – no it is just a short story.  I was determined that I’d told everything that needed telling in the story.
When I took my Fiction Writing class, I submitted it for critique.  Almost the entire class thought it should be a book length with more development.  I grumbled at my daughter about it and she very nicely gave me a good smack the back of my head (I call this a Gibb’s smack).  Essentially she told me to stop and think about what people were suggesting to me. 
I did this and it is now in my development pile.  I was able to split it up into chapters and have even started filling out more details of each of the chapters.  As I thought about how I would split it up into chapters, I got more excited about the story and I could see where there was more story to tell. 
My process is very much let the story tell itself.  When it is done, I switch hats from creator to editor.  The problem with this – particularly in the case of the short story is sometimes I don’t see the additional potential in some of the work.  This is where my supporters and mentors come in.  They help me take that step back to a more objective place.  

New Ideas

I love being organized.  I feel if I am organized I can be more efficient and better prepared to do whatever tasks I need to.  Recently two people have really helped me get better organized.  My youngest daughter, Stephanie, set me up with a new budget spreadsheet.  I think I like it better and just need to finish filling in the information for it.  Then I’ll copy it into my current spreadsheet and use it.  I have to keep the old one though as it has historical info I might need.

Tia, one of my new faculty members, gave me an idea on how to use a spreadsheet to track progress on projects.  She told me how she lists the projects on the left and the tasks in the columns.  I loved the idea.  I could see where I could use this to stay on top of the tasks I needed to get done and just keeping track of where I was with all the projects. 
Then today she tells me that for the bigger parts of the projects she has separate sheets for the details of the tasks.  Now I know this is beginning to sound geeky and maybe a bit compulsive (woman after my own heart).  As I looked at one of the tasks there are at least 25 tasks that go into it.  On my main sheet I just call it Formatting.  Then I linked it to the sheet where I talk about all the formatting tasks. 
Back to what Stephanie gave me, she incorporated conditional formatting in there.  I’m just using it to highlight the cell when I put my little x in it.  However, it gives a wonderful visual cue that look this is where I’m at. 
My new spreadsheet isn’t quite done.  I have tasks on my list that I’m not sure what it will entail because a few of the tasks I’ve not done before.  As I move through the process, I’ll continue to develop this spreadsheet.  I can also see this new spreadsheet having other purposes like in my genealogy, projects around the house, and even in developing the writing aspect of my writing projects – especially ones that include research. 
Perhaps I’ve taken my geeky compulsion of to do list a bit far with this latest development but I don’t think so.  I think it will just help me be better organized and maybe use fewer post its to keep track of everything.  To the two women who helped me out – thank you!  I’m thrilled to have the new tools that you shared with me.

Savers…A Rant on Hoarding

I get that people like to keep things that are near and dear to them.  I have things I’ve kept that others would look at and say HUH?  However, when your space can’t hold one single thing more, it is time to GET RID OF SHIT.
I’ve been in my job for seven months.  In that time I’ve shredded a forest of paperwork.  I’ve cleaned out, condensed and organized three offices of outdated and broken items.  I’ve sent things to surplus for sale.  I’ve thrown things out.  I’ve rearranged furniture.  I’ve made electronic all sorts of files. 
Multiple copies of the same document really do not need to be kept.  However, the people who had my job before me seemed to think they needed three, four, five, and MORE copies of the same thing.  ONE – really you only need ONE copy. 
The last few days I’ve been sorting nasty dusty awful files.  I have a stack of about 10 inches of papers / files that is old.  It is from the last century – mostly 1994 and early.  I found things from 1967.  That is just three years younger than me.  There is no way we need to keep documentation from that far back.
I’m hoping my boss will approve that all this stuff can go to the archives.  This will clean out another two file drawers.  It will allow the department to have a record of the past even if something happens to the paper copies. 
I’ve spent several days wandering through these files.  I’m now congested from all the crappy dust.  I’ve had headaches from trying to figure out if something was worth keeping.  I’ve listened to student workers grumble because they have spent HOURS scanning and sorting right along with me. 
Here is my advice to people.  If you haven’t used it in a year and it isn’t of legal significance, get rid of it.  Now IRS and legal stuff you have to be more careful with.  Seven years is the length of time to keep anything financial except perhaps mortgages and such.  If you are the family historian, then organize and keep all pertinent items.  Note the word PERTINENT.  You do not need to have every scrap of paper a child has brought home from school. 
More is not more.  Less is more.  When you have an organized and uncluttered space you are able to enjoy what you do have.  Stop keeping so much crap – no one appreciates it.