A New Project

21 01 2013

school supplies
This has been a month of major deadlines–a YA historical due to the editor mid-month, 60 articles on children’s and YA authors, and a 3-sample-chapters request from a book packager. Plus NaNo–which got a bit sidelined with all the traveling for the holidays. I met all my deadlines and am now ready to start on a new project.

It’s temporarily under wraps, but I’ve started some research and hope to get a lot done on it over the next month or two. I’m working with a great collaborator (it’s actually her idea that we’re working on). It’s great to work with someone so enthusiastic and supportive!! Can’t wait to see what we produce together. And thank heavens for the Internet and cell phones as we live on opposite sides of the country.

Right now I’m in the fun stage of the project–the preparation. It always reminds me of getting ready for the first day of school. The blank pages of new notebooks and smell of sharpened pencils and unused crayons. The anticipation part of the process. The adrenaline charge when everything is fresh and new and anything can happen.

So much of writing is just showing up to the page, churning out word counts, ignoring carpal tunnel syndrome and stiff necks. So before the newness wears off and the dull dailiness sets in, I’m taking time to revel in the broad expanse where anything can happen and usually does. This is when magic happens.





Too Much to Do

3 03 2012

Raindrops on Green LeafDo you overcommit, thinking you can get everything done, then always feel as if you’re trapped under an avalanche of unfinished projects? Are you always racing toward deadlines, never finding time to enjoy life?

Maybe it’s time to slow down and ask yourself some challenging questions. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What do you hope to gain? And more importantly, what do you hope to give? Is what you’re doing really that important in the scheme of things?

Once when I was extremely stressed out, a friend asked me to describe how I felt. I told her it was as if I were at the center of a cogwheel. I had to keep spinning and spinning and spinning, or the universe would screech to a halt.

“Are you really that important?” she asked.

Of course, I had to laugh, but I did feel as if I didn’t stay in motion, I’d be responsible for the rest of the world’s ills. I did have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, but if something happened to me, others would step in and fill the gap. Yes, I’d be missed, but the world could function quite well without me.

Sometimes I think we place way too much importance on our role at work or in the family or even in the community. We think we’re the only ones who can do what we’re doing. Or we’re the only ones who can do it well. That’s a heavy burden to carry because we’re always aiming for perfection. And that means we can’t relax because–heaven forbid–something might turn out less than ideal.

Does it matter? You might think so at the moment. But place it in perspective: Who will remember you did this (or didn’t do it) five years from now? If the answer is no one, then maybe it isn’t as important as you think. What will be remembered five years from now? That you were too busy to have fun? To spend time with people you love? To laugh? To cherish the present moment?

I chose the blog picture for two reasons. One: The raindrops on the leaf are fleeting, but they’re vital to the plant’s survival. Water your life with fleeting moments that will nurture you deeply.

Two: How much time do you spend marveling at the little things in life? If you’re too busy to notice the way raindrops bead up on leaves following a spring rain, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities. When was the last time you took a leisurely walk to enjoy nature? Not a power walk to lose weight or a run on a treadmill, but a meander through the woods? A gambol through the park? When was the last time you did something just for fun?

No excuses. No putting it off until you meet a deadline. No shirking your duty to the child inside calling you to come out and play. Just do it. It will feel as refreshing as that rain on the leaf. And you’ll go back to your to-do list with renewed vigor. Guaranteed.





I’m Off…

13 07 2009

My itinerary has changed, so I’m off to San Francisco much sooner than I’d planned. Now I must rush around and get ready to take off early Tues. morning. I thought I’d have a lot more time to get things done. Instead, I’ll need to squeeze a ton of chores into a short time span.

Whenever I have lots of time, I get little done. Conversely, when I’m pressed for time, I usually manage to accomplish an almost superhuman amount of work. Hmmm… If there were a way to put myself under practically impossible deadlines every day, would I get all those tasks on my to-do list done? Or would I collapse with a heart attack or stroke?

My procrastination stems from a habit I developed in school. I hated homework, so I avoided it until the last minute. I often did it in the class before it was due. And I never started term papers until after midnight when they were due that morning. I usually studied for tests by going to class a few minutes early and asking one of the studious early birds what questions they thought would be on the test. They were almost always right. And I’d had a refresher on the answers shortly before the test started so I generally aced the exam.

Now that I’m older, you’d think I’d have learned to use time more wisely. My freelance writing life has become rather predictable. I know, for example, that from mid-December to early February, things are slow. But from May to August, it’s hectic. So why did I ignore my own writing during the winter months and plan an extended trip during the busiest months of the year?? And why did I decide to start a new business at the same time? Am I crazy? A glutton for punishment? Or is this my subconscious’s attempt to force me to get a lot of work done? Hmmm… that subconscious may be much trickier than what I thought.