Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Update

Sunday Summary

I haven’t been posting much lately.  Evil Day Job has been nuts and I’ve thrown myself whole hog into National Novel Writing Month.

  1. I cleared 18k words last week.  My secret?  When Daylight Savings Time left…I kept getting up at the same time.  So 5:15 I sat down for my first writing sprint of the day.  Every weekday.  I regularly cleared 700-900 words every morning last week using Write or Die.  I’m forced to concede I actually can write before I’m conscious.  Getting that extra session in made a huge difference.  And just using Write or Die has been kicking my productivity up enormously.  Evidently I spend a lot of time otherwise just staring at the screen when I don’t have something to prompt me to KEEP WRITING.  It’s like Speed but with words.  DON’T STOP!
  2. Part of that 18k was a new Meet Cute.  I’m not using NaNo traditionally, just working on multiple things at once and counting the total number of words for the month.  Once Upon A Setup is a companion story to Be Careful, It’s My Heart, following Piper and Myles–who will, themselves, get another novella following.  So cleaning that up is on the agenda for the next week or two, and doing a cover and all that jazz.  Then I’m diving into plotting the novella.
  3. I’m also in a brief burst of research mode for some details on the Sooper Seekrit Project.  I’m hoping to get rolling on that again next time I sit down.
  4. I also bought Dragon Naturally Speaking.  I haven’t done more than set it up, so it didn’t play a part in my word count.  I want to do an “out of the box” sort of post a bit later.

5 Tools to Increase NaNoWriMo Productivity


Whether you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month or not, chances are, if you’re a writer, you suffer from procrastination and having the attention span of a squirrel on crack.

When your writing time is limited, it’s important that you make the most of it!  Here’s a collection of my favorite 5 tools to increase NaNoWriMo productivity.

  1. Moosti.  This website is a timer based on the Pomodoro method–you know that thing where you work in 25 minute bursts, with a brief break.  You can dial the time up or down, according to your personal preference.  I tend to need a little longer than 25 minutes to really get going.
  2. StayFocusd.  This one is a browser extension that allows you to nuke the internet.  This one’s fantastic for those of us who compulsively surf the web when we hit a snag or just because it became IMPERATIVE that we find out what’s going on on Twitter or see what our friends had for lunch on Facebook.  There’s a safe list for sites you need to access regardless.  I have all my favorite ambient noise channels listed there.  Now unless you install this on ALL your browsers, you can still get around the restriction, but this works for most people, I think.
  3. Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator.  If you don’t want to nuke the ENTIRE internet, this one is good for locking down most of Facebook.  You can still leave your own statuses and still access chat (handy if you’ve got word sprints going with buddies there), but you won’t lose hours to Buzzfeed posts or LOL Cat pics.
  4. Momentum.  I actually just installed this this morning.  It makes each new tab you open a pretty zen picture and reminds you of your daily goal.  Good for giving you that extra bump to focus.
  5. Write or Die.  This is not something I use on any regular basis.  The lack of formatting bugs me (even though really that’s something that may slow me down, which is the point of it not having it).  I actually have Write or Die 2, the desktop edition (paid version–worth the $20 if this kind of thing works for you), which has a lot more bells and whistles (I prefer being able to reward myself with puppies rather than punish myself with spiders or other creepies).  You can still access the old, free web-based version here, though it is definitely not near as feature rich.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Check-In

Sunday Summary

  1. I had something of a crisis of writer faith this week.  One of those panicked points where I worry that nothing I’m working on right now is…well, working.  This makes me particularly paranoid because the last book I was this invested in was Daughter of the Hunt, which was a hot mess and I didn’t realize it until I’d spent a year on it.  For nothing.  (Someday I might come back to that one).  Something’s Gotta Give is giving me fits.  I KNOW the plot is solid from the FPP on.  I just need to work out the right place to enter the story and the best way to present Act 1 and I just…haven’t found it yet.  Rather than keep beating my head against a wall, I’ve been focusing on the Sooper Seekrit project book 1, which is going okay.  A few hiccups just because I’m overwhelmed.  And I’ve got a Meet Cute I’m also planning to start this week.  So I’ve got plenty to keep me occupied.
  2. Part of what has me overwhelmed is that I’m being required to take a month long class for part of my teaching certification.  I didn’t know I was going to have to do this, didn’t know it would be a month, and I have several other things going on (like a 6 week obedience class for Huck, among other things) that’s just jam packing my days.  And this class is making me realize how very much I am not an educator.  I don’t give a crap about pedagogy.  This just happens to be a thing that I do.  I keep looking at all these things that they consider “Best Practices” for online education and thinking “You’re all smoking crack.”  And unless my university suddenly starts mandating it, I will never, EVER include group work in one of my classes.  I’m not penalizing anybody with that.  All group work ever teaches is how much people suck.  And in an online class where people are taking it because they have limited schedules to begin with…I guarantee it would suck worse for the people who waited til the last minute.  That’s a great big nope.  Anyway…one week down.  Three weeks to go.  And not that I was in any way interested in going back to school, but this would’ve killed it.  I’m so done.
  3. I’m also about to be back on the road traveling for work again.  I’m less than enthused about this since I already did a bunch of this over the summer.
  4. With all that going on, I don’t know if I’m going to do NaNo.  I actually did sign up before all of this hit, and I’m sure I’ll participate in some sprints and absorb some of the enthusiasm (which is why I am always seduced into NaNo, even though I know it’s not practical for me, like, ever), but I’m definitely not going to beat myself up over it.  If I even have one of my normal 25-30k months, I’ll be quite happy.  And part of that chunk, I’d like to be this Meet Cute.
  5. I made it through October without any candy.  I usually allow myself one bag of candy corn a year, only during October.  This year I decided the attendant reignition of my sugar addiction wasn’t worth it.  I didn’t have any other candy either, so I’m going into the Holiday season without having the pump primed for sugar, as it were.  I figure this puts me a leg up.
  6. I fell off the 30 Day Yoga wagon when I got sick a couple weeks ago and haven’t gotten back on.  I need to get back on for my sanity.  But it’s that thing about time.  I need to find the time to carve out…but when?
  7. Possibly, I’ve completely lost my mind.  Since Daylight Savings Time just rolled back today (thank God), I am considering (at least for a week) trying to get up at 5 instead of my usual 6, in order to TRY to get in some words in the morning.  I’ve done this in the past with little to no success because I am generally a wordless zombie until I’ve been up a few hours and had caffeine.  But every productivity program everywhere talks about the importance of doing stuff for you in the morning before anything else has a chance to interfere (this is why I work out in the morning…doesn’t require words and then it’s done and I don’t have to think about it again).  So…worth a try for a week.  If I can crank out at least 500 in that chunk of the day, I’ll call it worth doing.   My hope is that I can keep my head more solidly in the story all day by starting then, which might allow me to get in a few hundred over lunch or on breaks as well.  That’s particularly useful on days I have TKD and not much time to write.  We shall see.
  8. I’m waiting on my new washing machine to be delivered.  Ours started leaking from the bottom last weekend.  It was used when we bought it 8 years ago, so I figure it had a pretty good run.  I got a stupendous deal on the new one when I went to Lowes yesterday.  They had a display model of one of those fancy pants Samsung HE top loaders, normally $899 marked down to $599.  Plus another 20% off of that.  And I got another 10% off THAT by opening a Lowes card.  So, grand total, I ended up getting it for 52% off.  With free delivery.  I hate that we had to get one, but I’m stoked about the deal.
  9. I just realized the latest Nora comes out this week, so I have to find time to fit that in around everything ELSE.  Because…la Nora.

Ashamed of My Shame


*Image by Carlos Portos

Y’all, I kind of hate myself this morning.

I need to back up and give context.  So one of my evil day jobs is as an online college instructor in psychology.  I’ve been doing this for…nine years now?  Anyway, from time to time, the university requires that the teachers take a class to be all up on the latest and greatest in online instruction.  And I’m starting one of these courses today.  Yeah great, whatever.  No big.

So we get to the introduction where we have to post about who we are, what we teach, and they ask us what book we’re reading.

And I hesitated.

Because this class is full of other instructors and professors at my university and I’m me, so OF COURSE what I’m reading is romance.  For a few seconds, I actually felt shame over the idea of sharing my favorite books with this particular audience because they might judge me.

After I got through the shame that I’d even FELT the shame in the first place for loving a genre that I will happily defend to detractors in virtually any conversation, I had a great big WELL SCREW THEM moment and posted the title WITH LINK to Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis, which I just started.

But the whole thing has left me unsettled.  It’s like how you think you don’t have a problem with something and then some circumstance pops up that proves…well, yeah you kinda do.  And it changes how you see yourself.  That.

Romance is NOT my guilty pleasure.  I love this genre.  I love reading stories of hope and triumph and happy endings.  It’s a genre I’m proud to write in (no matter how many times well-intentioned family members say I should be writing something else because they have their own issues with romance).  And I don’t like what it says about me that I’m still affected like this, that I still hesitate and worry about what other people will think or say or do because I love something I love.  Because I KNOW this wouldn’t be a thing if what I was reading was mysteries or horror or ANY OTHER GENRE.  I HATE that I’ve internalized the denigration of this genre, that my instinct is to think about THEM and THEIR opinions first because mine, as a woman, is somehow less or not okay?

SCREW THAT.  And SCREW THEM and their baseless judgement (if they’re actually being Judgy McJudgerson and I’m not projecting).

So, Romance, I’m sorry.  I love you.  Forgive me for being weak.


Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Progress Report

Progress Reports

  1. I am officially ready to move into a bubble.  After last week’s cold, I ended up with a 24 hour stomach bug Thursday of THIS week.  I have since bought more probiotics and immune booster vitamins in gummy form (because I’m a lot more likely to take my vitamins if they’re gummies).  Also got my flu shot and started diffusing thieves oil to kill the funk.  I am TIRED of being sick.  Hubby’s cold is still hanging on with a cough that won’t quit.  Of course, this would be rectified (probably) if he actually took the medicine I gave him or reminded him to take.  If he doesn’t do it RIGHT THAT SECOND, the concept leaves his head and it doesn’t happen.
  2. I’ve been working on getting back in the groove on Something’s Gotta Give.  This has been going slowly, though I’m at about 7500 words since last week.  I’m not hung up with a gut level “this isn’t right,”  but I already know most of the front end is going to get rewritten in revisions.  Which is fine.  That’s what revisions are for.  I’m finally up to the inciting incident today, which I’ve been looking forward to for months.  I’d love to knock it out and get the next scene in my secondary project done (it’s been languishing), but I’m not holding my breath on getting to both.  I’ve still got All The Laundry to do, menu planning, and some cleaning.  I lost most of yesterday to trips to Walmart and Kroger (OMG SO MANY PEOPLE) and to Huck’s first day of obedience training.
  3. So, yeah, baby boy has started obedience school.  I think he’s going to end up doing quite well.  We’re going to introduce him to clicker training next weekend.  I’m working on implementing some of the same methods with Callie (who is going to be 8 in February) and she’s totally looking at me like I’m insane. “Mom, this is not how we do things.”  Hubby found out that our trainer has her own dog trained to recognize the difference between beer, water, and Coke (and can therefore fetch one), and totally wants to train Huck to do this.  I do not trust him not to eat something else out of the fridge.
  4. October is nearly over, which means the DREADED DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME IS NEARLY OVER!  This time next week, we’ll be an hour closer to my actual natural body clock!  Whee!  This makes me unbelievably happy.  Getting up in the dark is for the birds.  I’m still on a night owl kick, having a hard time getting sleepy any time before midnight without a hefty dose of melatonin, but I blame that on being off for such a large chunk of time last week.
  5. I’m currently sorting out the best way to implement a referral program for my newsletter sign ups.  The two options I’ve got are this: a) Person doing the referring gets a free book (this would be pre-selected for automation purposes, so no choice involved) and person signing up gets a free book (right now a copy of Be Careful, It’s My Heart is the reward for signing up) or b) Person doing the referring gets entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card (monthly drawing) and person signing up gets a free book.  In this scenario, the more friends successfully referred, the more entries into the drawing.  I might do a combination of both to implement it (as a lot of folks on my mailing list have probably read the book I’d be offering to the person doing the referring) in the first place, and then automate moving forward.  Anybody have thoughts on this from the subscriber perspective?
  6. I’m starting to think about Christmas shopping.  I used to have such fun Christmas shopping.  These days, other than shopping for my friends who all like the same stuff I do and ergo are not hard, I find it to be this huge pain in the butt.  Why can’t all people everywhere love books like I do?  I was much better at remembering stuff people mentioned they liked or wanted back before I had to do all this adulting.  Now it tends to go in one ear and out the other.  I try to remember to write it down, but I’m lousy at it.  The fact that MSU is having a cheese shortage this year (Mississippi State University is famous for its cheese) is really throwing a kink in some of my recurrent gifts.  No edam?  No vallagret?  Dude! (Sorry Mom, there will be no birthday cheese this year.  Blame the university).  Plus it’s hard to think about the holidays being not that far off when it’s STILL HOT OUTSIDE.  But I’m trying.  I would like to not be sailing on the Good Ship Failboat for gifts this year.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Progress Report

Progress Reports

  1. With the exception of a couple of forays out for supplies, I have been in my pajamas, sitting in my favorite chair with a cold.  Usually when I’m home sick, I end up binging on period drama–it’s how I got through the first three seasons of Downton Abbey.  But that wasn’t what I was in the mood for this go round.  So instead, I’ve been binging on cowboy romance.  Because I have discovered Maisey Yates.
  2. I’ve plowed through five of her books in as many days.  Shoulda Been a Cowboy, Part-time Cowboy, Brokedown Cowboy, Bad News Cowboyand Unbuttoned.  The first four were everything that exists so far for her Copper Ridge series, which will absolutely be on my autobuy list.  Unbuttoned is from the earlier Silver Creek series.  I can tell she’s grown a TON as a writer (I spent most of that one wanting to beat both the hero and shero over the head).  The Copper Ridge series (thus far) mostly revolves around the Garrett family, and I love the crap out of that kind of thing.  Seriously well done.  Can’t wait for more.
  3. I also did some writing.  Got the next scene done in my seekrit project and the new opening chapter down for Something’s Gotta Give.  It didn’t come out exactly like I expected, but I think it came out better.  I got about half through another scene today but because of some of the changes I made in the second scene, I needed to change directions.  But that’s fine.  Once I hit the inciting incident, things will settle into a groove.  They’re beating a lot louder in my head than they were a few weeks ago.  About 3500 words over sick days seems like a significant accomplishment.
  4. Finally feeling like a human again.  The pajama days have been nice, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting back into routine and being dressed like a human fit for public.  I’m sure there are about a thousand things I’ll need to catch up on  at work when I get there tomorrow, but I won’t think about that until tomorrow.

Midweek #ROW80 Progress Report

Progress Reports

I feel like I’m a good cautionary tale for “Be careful what you wish for” today.  As I was going to sleep last night, I was thinking about how it would be nice if I could just take the rest of the week off and avoid trying to do this thing my boss wants done that’s totally a squeezing blood from a turnip activity.  And right around midnight the fever hit.  As both my husband and my work wife have been sick with the general sore throat/congestion/crud that’s going around like wildfire, this is unsurprising.  But totally not what I meant.  :glares at Universe:  So I’m home sick and somebody else gets to try to squeeze blood from a turnip, which is a win in my book and worth the sore throat and sludge.   Blew my limited allotment of energy on a grocery run for sick supplies and doing half a load of dishes in the sink.  Otherwise, I’ve been snoozing or camped out in my chair reading.  I just blew through Kate Perry’s Tamed By You this afternoon.  And I picked up all of Maisey Yates’ Copper Ridge Cowboys series with a handy dandy 20% off coupon for the Harlequin site, courtesy of a survey I completed for them.  When I got to the question about how many books I read in the last year and the highest it went was “20 or more”, I just laughed.  I think 80 was my total for last year.  I’m actually behind the curve with only 55 at this point for this year.  Anyway,  I’ve been on the hunt for a new contemporary western author to love since Candis Terry’s Sweet, Texas series wrapped up.  :still crying over that:  I liked the sample I read of Yates, so we’ll see how it goes.

On a writing front, I did get started afresh on Something’s Gotta Give.  That opening scene is so often the hardest.  I’m not quite finished with it, but I feel like I’m off to a good start.  If I can stay awake, I might knock it out tonight.  Because of a character detail that came out in it, I’ve been changing some events that happen further down the timeline, following the threads and seeing what needed to be adapted.  I think I’m on the right track now.  My gut isn’t jangling the alarm any more.  Maybe I’ll have enough mental acuity to actually make some progress on that the rest of this week.  I also did a fresh read through of my secondary project, which has sat for a while, and I think I’m ready to pick back up on that as well.  I’m just going to take it easy the rest of the week and see how things unfold.

Sunday Summary and #ROW80 Progress Report

Progress Reports

    1. Nothing like sitting down to write a PROGRESS REPORT and having to say “I cut 5,500 words of the 7,000 words I had on this new novel.”  But that’s where I am with Something’s Gotta Give.  The first act JUST WASN’T GELLING.  I’ve reached a point where if I have trouble for more than a couple days, I trust my gut that I’ve done something wrong.  I went a little longer than that this time since there’s been so much distracting me at the Evil Day Job that I haven’t had my brain fully on the book.  But I pulled out one of my tarot decks last night (Paulina, which is lovely and has glorious and beautiful artwork) and asked if I was going in the wrong direction.  And I pull The Fool reversed–aka making foolish decisions.  Well okay then.  That just bears out my gut.  So I ask her (the deck has a distinctly feminine vibe) if I can just start at the inciting incident (which is one of my candy bar scenes and the point at which things get interesting)–4 of Pentacles reversed–aka  girl, you’re being greedy.  Le sigh.  So I did some more spreads to figure out the new direction and came up with some stuff that will, I think, be better.  I’ve got 4 of the 5 scenes I axed sorted out in the outline and now just have to figure out the details of the opening scene where we meet Judd, which I hope to knock out tonight when hubby heads in to work.
    2. I’ve been out of my groove and routine the last two weeks, so this week is all about GETTING THINGS BACK TO NORMAL.  My wrists are finally feeling much better after a hideous carpal tunnel flare that kept me out of the gym, so it’s back to the grindstone there tomorrow.  I was back to taekwondo this past week after missing 3 classes.  I’ve been so-so with keeping up on the 30 Day Yoga Challenge.  I’m on Day 14, but I’ve missed the last 3 days because we’re trying to limit our streaming at home, as we’re on fumes for our internet bandwidth this month.  It occurred to me this morning that I could probably do it on my phone since I still have my grandfathered in unlimited data.
    3. I did some epic cleaning out and organizing of our master bathroom and the guest bath on Friday.  Now I’m totally in the mental space where I’m ready to PURGE PURGE PURGE and clean out closets.
    4. After making some changes to the website, I’m starting the slow and very long process of updating each of my 530+ recipe posts–one-by-one–in order to ultimately have a nice, browseable thumbnail gallery.  When I merged everything into one site, I didn’t think about HOW MUCH stuff I had from both, so I’ve been trying to simplify things to improve the user experience.  There’s a lot of stuff on the site that people looking for recipes won’t care about, and a lot of recipe stuff that writers or readers may not care about.  So…Maybe I’ll get that done by January.

Organized Life, Organized Mind


Dear God is it ever a two cup morning.  It’s all gray outside, such that I expect it to be winter and cold enough for a nice cheerful fire.  Which it SO IS NOT.  It is, however, 63, which is a heck of a lot better than the 85 we had all week.  I’m satisfying my crackling fire desire by taking advantage of one of my ambient noise stations and hanging out by the fireplace in the Griffyndor Common Room.  Bet you didn’t know you could do that, did you?  You’re welcome.

I’ve been quiet lately.  This is largely because I’ve been hella busy at the Evil Day Job.  I went on the hunt for a project management/productivity software/website that would help me take control of my professional life again, which descended into chaos back in January when the university insisted that our department wasn’t allowed to do it’s own thing with all Google products–which actually WORK properly–and instead forced us to go to the craptastic Microsoft Exchange platform, which has a non-functional spam filter, terrible interface, and generally has caused me to lose things left and right.  It’s made me disorganized and since I fully believe an organized life leads to an organized mind…this is a problem.  I tried out Producteev, Asana, and Azendoo (and a few others I can’t remember), before finally going back to Todoist, which I used a few years ago and moved away from (I THINK because the lists don’t remain accessible on my phone without an actual cell connection, which meant I couldn’t get to my grocery list while in the black hole of service that is Walmart or Kroger).  They’ve added a lot of bells and whistles since then.  I went ahead and upgraded to Premium ($29 a year) for the ability to send myself reminders about stuff, along with several other bonuses.  By far my favorite feature is the plugin for Outlook, which enables me to easily make an email that comes in a task on my list, which is then linked to said email (which I would’ve lost before as soon as it fell off the main screen).  So I spent a fair chunk of this week laying in the entire 3 year timeline of the current project at work.  And now I don’t have to think about various bits until they pop up.  So I’m feeling a lot more positive and in control of the situation (control being a good thing since I’m the project manager).

I’ve also been quiet because I’ve been making some changes to the website.  If you’re getting this in your inbox or directly through a link to this post, go click over to the homepage and check it out.  When I opted to go self-hosted back in January, I merged both my main blog and my cooking blog.  And, quite frankly, I have a lot of stuff.  This made for very confusing, multi-nested navigation and just a generally overwhelming user experience.  So my landing page has now been totally simplified to link to my three main areas: Books, Bites, and Blog.  I got rid of the nested navigation entirely for the books section and now visitors can click on the books link, get to a page that shows all my series and stand alones, and go from there into pages that describe each series, and from there, each book.  It’s all the same info that was there before, just a more obvious pictorial navigation (I hope).

I’ve still got more to do.  The food blog side is going to take quite a while, as I’ve got to go into each individual post to make some changes that will ultimately allow me to make a handy dandy thumbnail archive that’s much more easily searchable and user friendly.  I also need to update the SEO for each post, and insert the recipe card through my EasyRecipe plugin.  As I have well over 500 recipes…that’s just going to take a while.  So, for now, the recipes link goes directly to that tagged category and the nested navigation remains up top.  I also plan to put up an RSS link so people can subscribe JUST to my recipes rather than the whole blog because I know that quite a few people are just interested in that.  I also need to do an update for all my writer extras related to the downloads, classes, services, and my stuff for A Round of Words in 80 Days.  But…there’s that whole time thing.  So, it’s a work in progress.

I carried over the organizing motivation to my house last night.  Hubs and I got into a ridiculous fight yesterday morning that was, at the root, over space on the bathroom counter (as in there’s not enough and I was encroaching on his side and inadvertently getting my blush and powder on his contact case, which was then getting into his eyes because he’s blind as a bat and can’t see that there’s anything on it until his contacts are IN).  Our bathroom is something of a challenge.  It’s big, but it has virtually NO WALL SPACE.  It’s all doors–bedroom, both our closets, the powder room, the shower.  There’s not even a place for a towel bar near the shower.  We had to get an over the door rack to stick on hubby’s closet.  So…it’s a challenge.  Naturally the solution to this involved a solid hour trolling Pinterest looking for ideas.  In the end, I spent $5 on some plastic shoeboxes and drawer organizers at the Dollar Tree and came home on a mission.  I tossed 3 Walmart sacks full of expired or never used crap that I’ve been lugging around for YEARS.  I am so over the whole “But I might use it.”  It felt really good to clear all that out.  Once I’d done that, I got rid of 2 existing drawer organizers that weren’t really working in that space, and reorganized beneath the sinks, so that I finally had room in the drawers for a lot of what was being stored in a big basket on the counter (and therefore taking up half the counter real estate).  Then I went on a safari around the house for other containers and whatnot.  My mom mocks me for my obsession with baskets and boxes and containers of all sorts, but they come in handy!  I ended up having a 3 tiered decorative shelf that’s been sitting in the guest room floor for a year since it got replaced by a new painting I got as a gift from my mom.  That was JUST the right size for the lone 20″ of wall by my sink, where I had a little apothecary cabinet holding purfumes, nail stuff, and makeup.  I swapped stuff out of the packaging and into mason jars and other containers and managed to clear EVERYTHING off the counter but a small collection of use all the time things that I corralled with another basket I robbed from elsewhere in the house.  Then I ended up taking the little cabinet and putting it into the guest bath to hold my essential oil collection.  So, now I have two organized bathrooms.  Hooray for the purge!

What is it about getting all cleaned out and organized that makes me feel like I can take on the world?  I kinda want to take the next week off and do the same to my whole house, but that’s not possible.  But I probably could manage to take a day off every couple of weeks to tackle a closet a day.  It’s so long overdue.  We’ve been in this house for 3 and a half years, and it’s never been done.  And due to the speed at which we ended up moving, it wasn’t done properly before we moved or when we arrived.  Plus all the stuff our various parents divested themselves of as soon as we had more square footage than a cracker box.  The clutter is not adding to my life, and all those things I’ve held on to for YEARS because I might use it–I haven’t.  So, I want to go through and toss anything I can, sell anything that’s worth a few bucks, and donate anything worth donating.  And if I can’t get what I want for something I’m trying to sell, well, hanging on to it isn’t doing me any good and isn’t adding value to my life or bank account.  Stuff is only worth what somebody’s willing to pay.  Getting something is better than nothing and getting it OUT OF MY HOUSE is worth something to my sanity.  So.  Yeah.  I’m on a mission.

#ROW80 Round 4 Goals


I feel like all I’ve been doing for the last month is spinning my wheels, constantly behind and trying to catch up, without a lot of success.  This is…not a good thing.  I get All The Things done because I have a carefully balanced system of spinning plates.  When new elements are introduced, that balance is disrupted and I get…um, not nice.  I tend to bite. Being behind on things stresses me out.  Having lots of new elements foisted on me that are out of my control stresses me out.  Having extra work dumped on me because of other peoples’ ineptitude really stresses me out.  Given that I’m dealing with all of these things at the Evil Day Job and have been for a while, the stress and anxiety has been building like a pressure cooker.  I despised group projects in school–my teachers always stuck me with the slackers and idiots.  Like I was going to trust my grade to THEM?  Screw that.  I was getting an A.  I still despise them as a grown up.  Doing things by committee takes forever, it’s inefficient, and leads to all kinds of problems.  Yeah, yeah, I need to be sporting a t-shirt that proclaims Does Not Play Well With Others.  It cracks my mother up that my job is as a project coordinator (really, I’m great at it as long as I’m allowed to play God–which is the norm…just not for our primary project right now).  Anyway, the last few weeks have not been awesome.

I’ve been on a crusade the last two weeks to find some kind of Get Things Done/Project Management app/software where I can lay everything in, set dates, get reminders, snooze anything that’s not relevant yet, and have a record of completed tasks at the end (because it would make compiling my annual review SO much easier).  I’ve tried Asana, Producteev, Azendoo, and have finally come back to Todoist, which I’ve used in the past but now has more robust features than it did baack then.  I found an IFTTT recipe that’ll add a line to a spreadsheet for each completed task, giving me that list of what I did.  I can email a task directly to Todoist and have it added to my list, which will be great because I lose things in Outlook all the time.  I just have to learn the tagging system for all of it.  My boss is about to be out of town for the rest of the week, so I’m taking the opportunity to screen my calls at work, get the new system set up, and TAKE BACK CONTROL OF MY LIFE.  Which brings me to my goals for this round.

  1. Get Todoist set up to manage my work life.  This reduces my stress, makes me less likely to miss something or drop some of those spinning plates, and puts me in a frame of mind where I am able to waste less brain power on this kind of thing.  That leaves more for writing.
  2. Write at least 20 days out of 30.  Oldie but goodie.
  3. Write and release a Meet Cute Romance.  I’ve got  a new one plotted out, I just need to buckle down and write it.
  4. Do the 31 Day Purge.  I’m not concerned with getting it all done in 31 consecutive days, but I’d love to have my house seriously purged of excess crap by the end of the year.
  5. Do yoga at least 5 days out of 7.  I’m working my way through a 30 Day Yoga Challenge now, and I’m just…not good at working out on weekends.  But I am enjoying doing just a little bit of yoga a day–15-20 minutes, especially after work, while supper is cooking.
  6. Get my class updated for spring.  I don’t even know WHICH class I’m teaching yet (my department head hasn’t told me), but almost all of them need updating to go along with new textbooks.  This is a monstrous pain in the butt, as it means re-recording almost all my lectures.  Ugh.  I’m so over wanting to do any of this.  So…that is, unfortunately, what I will be doing over Christmas holidays.

There are some other things I’d like to do, but this is all I’m committing to.  Because I’m splitting my writing between multiple projects, other than the Meet Cute, I don’t anticipate finishing any of them before the end of the year.  But we’ll see.  I’m off to taekwondo to work off some of this frustration.