Life and Other Complications

Saturday I’ll be at the University Wisconsin Whitewater vendor sale from 10 – 3 signing and selling my books and some crocheting.  I’m concerned because the reader event I went to at the beginning of the month was a bust financially so I’m hoping this event is better. 

I’ve almost got all of my mom’s stuff divided up.  A few more days for people to look at the pictures and then I’ll print.  Next Saturday there will be a physical dividing of things. 

Mom had a lot of jewelry so I’m working on that next.  If I can get it all organized, I’ll be handing those things over next weekend.  But it’s a lot of going through and figuring out so I’ll have to see  how things go. 

A friend contacted me last night to ask about a book contract she was offered.  It wasn’t a bad deal but in reading the fine print I suggested she contact a lawyer to have it clarified.  Some of the terms were not the best. 

My author I’ve been helping has updates she wants me to make.  I’m hoping Sunday but I’ll have to see.  I need to finish the slippers I’m working on so those may have to take priority.  I have one and a half socks for the paid ones.  I have one pair to finish for the requested (from my niece).  There’s one more paid project to work on so I’ll have to see how my time goes.

At some point, I need to get mom’s paperwork all together and organized.  I’ve got it in piles so I need to organize those piles.  Then it’s a matter of hanging on to some of it for a year and then discarding.  Some of it will have to be kept for longer. 

There are times I feel like I’m drowning in tasks.  My day job has been super busy and life has been the same.  This leads to a lot of stress for me.  I’m hoping for the holiday break to clear up a number of things. 

Christmas is always hard for me and this year it is more difficult.  I find myself teary and emotional – defaulting on irritable because it’s easier to cope with.  I know this is grief but part of me is very impatient with myself because I have so much going on right now I don’t have time to fall apart.  I’m coping.  I’m tackling one thing at a time – though I have my moments.  I know it will all get done and I know people will understand if it takes longer.  Most of my deadlines are for me – I’ve already put off editing / publishing a book because of all the chaos in my life.  It’s a matter of giving myself time and reminding myself to take a step back when I need to. 

I know when I accomplish a task it helps ease my stress.  Right now I’ve got photo albums galore in my office.  My task – scan all the good ones and distribute to the family.  The problem – the clutter is driving me crazy.  It’s a constant reminder of all the tasks not done yet.  But if I get mom’s stuff and jewelry organized, I’ll have time to work on the next step – the photos.  Behind the photos I’ve got thousands of slides which are going to need converting to digital.  I know this next year is going to be busy – very busy.  One thing at a time and checking things off my to do list.

Creative vs Business

And now for a slight break from the drama and stress of politics…

Writing is a dual process.  You have to be creative to create the product but you also have to be business minded to market your work.  The creative side sort of takes care of itself in my mind.  There are times I sit down and say – let’s try something new.  I’ll pull out my poetry book and try a new type of poem.  Or I’ll go to a publication I don’t normally write for and try their style.  Flash writing for me is quite the challenge.  I LOVE words so I’m not likely to tell you there is a blue sky.  I’m going to tell you about the clear cerulean endless expanse dotted with puffy billowy white clouds.  Flash writing is typically a very small number of words – 500 or less is very common.
Marketing and the business side of writing is a bit more difficult.  You have to find the places that publish the work you produce.  Then you have to follow their guidelines (don’t bother sending if you aren’t following them).  After an interminable amount of time you find out whether they accept your work or not. 
You also have to put your creative self away when you get the notice because most of the time it is NO.  They don’t tell you why – they just say no.  You have to have a thick skin here because I’ve had rejections from sweet and kind to completely bitchy.  One of the things you have to realize is that in a magazine there is a limited number of spaces they fill.  If it is a big publication maybe ten, for these ten slots, they get hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of submissions.  You are one very small submission.  Your article, story, poem – whatever – may have been perfectly lovely but there were a lot of other ones that were just as lovely.  The lesson here is “do not take it personally”.  It is just a business decision.  Move to the next publication that fits the item.  Keep trying – even if it seems hopeless. 
The problem here is there are only a finite number of hours in the day.  If you are like me – you have a day job, family and other obligations.  Sleep is important… I guess.  You have to find a balance between your writing tasks.  For me this is one of the hardest things to do.  Sometimes I’m just in the mood to write and to hell with everything else.  I just want to work on what I want to work on.  I don’t want to deal with the editing, marketing, etc. 
This means time management is a key skill to employ.  It is one I’m still working on.  One thing I do is when I have very limited time, rather than start writing when I’m not going to want to stop, I’ll work on those marketing tasks, editing tasks and so on.  If I’ve only got an hour, I’ll look at my submission guidelines and try to find a piece that will fit without me having to write.  If there is one then I work to make it fit the guidelines.  If there isn’t one – I put it in my to do pile (which is WAY too big). 
I have a day job so my breaks / lunch time activities sometimes include editing and other writing activities.  Because it is a shared break room I often end up doing more of the business side of the writing during this time.  I try to make the most of my time but really there are just times I want to be a veggie and hit my recliner…