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Holding it Together When Things Get Busy, Part I

When Things Get Busy

Have you ever found that all the projects you have on the back burner came to a boil at the same time?

It is exciting when projects move from potential to production. But, the transition can require some adjustments. When more than one project makes the switch, your routines may need more than a little tweaking. Changing habits is hard, and especially so with the pressure of imminent deadlines. How do you do manage the transition without tearing your hair out?

Everything in my life has been in overdrive in November except this blog. I have been working behind the scenes to set up several projects.

Coming in 2013, in addition to my writing and theatrical activities, I will be:

  • Training as a writing circle facilitator and setting up a new circle
  • Teaching InterPlay workshops at a new facility
  • Setting up a new business as a creativity coach

All of this started coming together at once. And although it has been an adrenaline-filled rush, it has had me drawing on all of my tools for managing a multivalent life.

If you have been reading this blog for long, you know that my favourite life-management tools come from InterPlay, improv, and theatre.

Coming up over the next few posts, I will share some of the tools I have been relying on heavily over the last month. But first, a quick look at getting started.

Show Up and Start Anywhere

It doesn’t really matter where you start, but you must start. When there are too many things that need doing, just pick something and do it. Activity builds activity. And it doesn’t matter if you could have made a better choice. Getting started will often reveal what needs to be done better than any list-making preparation.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, pick one small task you know will move a project in the right direction. Now go and do it.

On Silence: Or Why I Sometimes Stop Blogging Out of the Blue

There is a great post from Jen Merrill over at An Intense Life today about how she retreats into a very quiet space (so quiet she calls it Quiet) when her emotional intensities are over-stimulated.

I, too, retreat to a Quiet mental space from time to time to regroup, often after a big project has finished and the adrenaline that pushed me through the final stages of the project is no longer literally coursing through my veins.

I wrote a previous post about my irregular output, which applies to this blog as well as to my other writing projects. In that post, I wrote about my need to balance big projects with small projects and about how a big project can expand to take up all my available time, preventing me from engaging in more ongoing projects, like blogging.

And that is part of the truth, but like most truths, it is partial.

The other part of the truth is that big projects take an emotional investment and require a recover period afterwards, a recovery period much like that described by Jen in her post.

I have a few things running around my mind that will turn into blog posts soon. But probably not today.

But, not to worry.

I’ll be back to more regular ramblings soon. I still have plenty to say.

And for those of you paying attention, I got an email a couple of day ago letting me know that I correctly predicted which book would be sent to the big time editor.

 

 

E-Books and the Browsing Problem

I use my Kindle often. I read books using the Kindle app for my iPhone more.

But, I don’t like shopping for books in the digital world.

You see, I am a browser. I always have been.

Not only do I judge a book by its cover, I judge it by the weight of the paper and the tone of the ink and the books that are near it on the shelf.

And that last one is the kicker.

When I go to the bookstore or library looking for a book, I am rarely looking for a specific book. If I want a particular title, I order it from an online seller or place a hold on it at the library from the comfort of my living room.

But, if I have a gut feeling that I want to learn something about a particular subject, I like to wander over to a cluster of bookshelves and browse. I have no easy way to browse digital books and this bugs me.

Are you a browser? If so, how is the move to digital publishing changing your book-finding habits?

Performance Poetry and the Politics of the Marginalized

WARNING

Unlike most of what I write, this is highly political. If you don’t want to go there, stop reading now.

There is a war on women being waged in the U.S. and women are losing.

If you haven’t been paying attention, politicians are using doctors to abuse women in the name of protecting life. Laws that require unnecessary medical procedures or pyschologically harmful processes and laws that protect doctors who lie to their patients are already are on the books or being debated in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arizona, Virginia, Tennessee, and more. These are more direct attacks on women than the debate about insurance coverage of contraception because they avoid the issues of separation of church and state.

I have not found a way to express the depths of my outrage.

But, performance poets are doing what I have not managed. The combination of rhetorical skill, poetic attention, and persuasive public speaking is hard to beat. This video of Lauren Zuniga’s To the Oklahoma Lawmakers: a poem crossed my path earlier this week. And, I felt a need to pass it on.

The only possibly positive thing I see coming out of this is a class of women who have complacently assumed that feminism had succeed and was irrelevant are realizing how very wrong they were.

What Do You Want From Your Blog?

I have been asking myself this question frequently over the past few months, and there was a NaBloPoMo prompt earlier this week asking whether you would prefer more blog readers or more blog comments, so thought I would take some time to reflect publicly.


I started blogging 4 years ago.

The Mom Blog

My first blog was personal. When the triplets were born, friends and family all over the world wanted to know how we were doing. We had moved away from all our friends and family during my pregnancy, so all news had to be delivered by me – and I was swamped and exhausted. When the fog from the initial nine months lifted, I started a blog to provide a glimpse into our world. It was anonymous, but public, with descriptions of little snippets of our lives. My goal was to update it at least once a month with posts that conveyed a sense of both the challenge and the joy of our lives, to serve as an explanation for why nobody was hearing from me directly. The blog plus my mother’s photos (I was too busy to take many) provided the extended family with reassurance that we were surviving.

I stopped writing that blog as my children started experiencing challenges I did not want recorded on the web for all time. It no longer felt fair to them. By then, I had completed my first NaNoWriMo and was stretching out into the writing world, discovering a publication goal.

Flailing

For about a year, I kept coming up with ideas for niche blogs, signing up for free accounts with Blogger and WordPress, and coming to the conclusion that I had neither enough to say on the topic nor enough passion to pursue the topic for long enough to be worth the effort to build and monetize them.

I started and dropped blogs on

  • Eco-Parenting
  • Parenting Triplets
  • Suburban Sustainability
  • Cultivating Enthusiastic Living

This Blog

In 2010, I started this blog as a way to keep myself accountable during NaNoWriMo. I had failed the previous year and I really wanted to succeed again. A blog someone else had written daily during a previous NaNo inspired me to start writing about writing as a way of forcing me to write. I had a few readers, mostly other NaNo participants who cheered me on, and it served its purpose. I ended that November with a complete, 50,000+ word first draft of a middle-grade urban fantasy.

And then, I started the process of revising what is still my current work-in-progress.

Although my commitment to the blog wavered in the following months, and the focus of my writing changed, I continued to find that writing about my writing process forced me to keep writing my novel. and gradually I grew to my regulary Friday post.

In the current publishing world, writers are expected to have a blog, a Twitter presence, a Facebook page, etc. as part of the marketing package they are expected to bring to the table. And, I have explored those social media. On Twitter, I have connected with writers and with advocates for gifted and twice-exceptional children. On Facebook, what used to be a purely personal fora has expanded to include my contacts in the world of gifted and talented advocacy.

This blog has become one of the places that I connect personally with other writers.

I know from watching my Twitter mentions and my blog statistics, there are many people who visit this blog and don’t comment. I do get feedback indicating that the number of commentors on the blog is not an indicator of the number of people who read the blog. And that’s nice.

But, I feel a real connection to the people who come by, comment, and come back and comment again. I love the camaraderie and conversation that can develop across blogs when we read and discuss each other’s blogs. It is great to know that people are reading my work, and I love seeing my subscriber numbers increase, but without an increase in comments and people to chat with, those statistics are not emotionally satisfying.

So, if you like this blog, please comment.

And, please let me know what else you would like me to write about. I’ve written to prompts the last few days. There are still a lot of days left in March. Some extra prompts would be great. Leave them in the comments and see what I do with them.

I interrupt this blog to…

Bionicle in the Bathtub. Luckily, he wasn't there until after the purchase offer had been made and accepted.

Two short announcements this week.

1) The reason for this is that we sold our house this week and the final stages of that process have thrown everything out of whack. This is a good chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

2) I have joined a team of writers who will be blogging about all things gifted from various perspectives. Christine Fonseca, author of Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students and 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids, has put together a great group of writers, including Jen Merrill from Laughing at Chaos, whom I mentioned recently. My first post will be up next week. In the meantime, head on over to An Intense Life to see what is going on. There is also news on the site about Christine’s gothic YA novella Dies Irae that has just been released. I am in the middle of it and am enjoying it tremendously.

Out of the bathtub, ready for action.

What To Write In Your One Wild and Precious Life?

Lost time is never found again.

Benjamin Franklin

Time is precious. What will you write with the time you have? If you are like most writers, you find ideas everywhere and the challenge is choosing which ideas to follow.

Advice is easy to find.

Fiction writers are frequently told not to worry about what subject matter will sell well because something else will be hot by the time you finish your manuscript, and lots of people find ways to argue either that what you love is what you know or that what you know is too restrictive to use as writing guidance.

I have been struggling with a variation on the ‘What should I be writing?’ question. Should I really be spending my precious writing time learning the craft of writing quality fiction? Or should I concentrate on writing non-fiction? In the realm of fiction, I am still working on my million words of dreck. But, in several areas of non-fiction writing, I have already put in a lot more time. I am probably more likely to be published if I focus on forms that are closer to what I have already learned how to do well.

But, and I think this is crucial, the fiction is demanding to be written. So, I write it because I love it, because at some level I must to satisfy my soul.

I invite you to do the same.

Even if you write what you are good at to make a living, making space to do what calls to your heart is important. Even when it means going back to the start and being a beginner again.

Mother Boils: 5 pm

On the 30 Days of Creativity website is this prompt:

I created this by using Picnik to modify a quick sketch. You can read the text better in the full-size picture than the thumbnail. Click on the picture for the enlarged image.

Mother Boils: 5 pm

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