Tag Archives: schedules

Life/Time Management

Another new week is beginning, and the sun is shining here. It looks (fingers crossed) like it’ll be a lovely day. The weekend was more or less restful – I was attacked by an idea on Saturday lunchtime, which is currently languishing in scribbles on the back of an envelope, and my husband and I had a Serious Discussion about the opening chapters of ‘Eldritch’ yesterday. So, I almost had a break from the words that like to linger in the corners of my mind.

Not, of course, that I’d like them to give me a complete break. That would be like the bereft, cold feeling of having the blankets pulled off you in the middle of the night. It’s just – sometimes – I wish there was more space in my brain. Space into which I could put, for instance, all the other things I have to do. Space to remember everything I need to remember, and arrange my life in the most time-effective and efficient way.

So, not like this guy. Image: smallbizmodo.com

So, not like this guy.
Image: smallbizmodo.com

Now, normally I’m not too bad. I’m usually pretty well organised. I get up early, I attack the day long before most people (I think anyone who does the sort of work I do would do the same), and I generally know what’s on the schedule from one day to the next. But there are times when I slip up, and that’s a real pain. I’ve been entering competitions, as you know, and trying to submit work to as many places as possible in the hope it might be suitable for publication. And I’ve mentioned before that there are lots of places to submit. So, it’s inevitable that, at times, stuff is going to slip through the cracks. I realised on Friday, for instance, that I’d allowed time to slip away from me, and that a competition deadline was approaching – and that, even if I acted fast, chances were I’d miss it.

This was a shame, because it was a competition I really wanted to enter. I’d noticed the call for submissions a few weeks ago, and I’d had an idea. I kept this idea on a particular shelf in my brain, ripening like a fine cheese; every so often I’d turn it, tend it, and check how it was getting on. Unlike a good cheesemaker, though, I allowed too much time to go by – I left it too long on the shelf. By the time I hurried it out into the light, I fear not only did I spoil it, but also left myself too little time to get it out into the world. The competition is in the UK, and the closing date is early this week. I sent my entry, but I have a feeling it will be too late. I also know that I should have spent more time on the story, if I’d had time to spend.

I got very side-tracked with ‘Eldritch’ last week; I really allowed it to take over all the space I had in my head. So, other things (like checking up on a contact I hadn’t heard from, sending a few emails re. an upcoming publication, and – of course – sorting myself out for upcoming competitions) fell by the wayside. I don’t want this to happen again, because it makes me stressed. There are, of course, a few simple steps that can be taken to avoid a recurrence – first among these is ‘not relying on your holey brain to remember everything, and getting a calendar’; second would be ‘not forgetting to take a big red marker and write the stuff you need to remember on the calendar.’ I’ll probably end up writing notes on my hand to remind me to write on my calendar, which will devolve into tying pieces of string onto various extremities and leaving myself Post-It notes all over the house… I can see it turning into a total disaster, but it’s better than nothing. At the moment, I normally put reminders on my phone to help with time management and organisation, but I think the poor device is going to raise the white flag shortly and beg for parlay. Plus, if I lose the phone, my whole life goes with it. That, naturally, would be a disaster.

Whatever way I choose to do it, there’s a job to be done. It’s (besides the physical action of putting words on pages) the most important job I have to do, which is making the most of the time I have, and doing as much as possible in every working day. I have a lot of ground to cover in a reasonably short space of time, and so every second is important. So, today’s agenda looks like this: my (wonderful) husband gave me some interesting and useful feedback on the first 10,000 words of ‘Eldritch’ yesterday, so I’m off to rethink the opening sections. I’m still determined to get the book submitted to agents, but this time I want to make sure I don’t send it until it’s as ripe, tasty and perfect as I can make it. If I’m to keep to my schedule, then, I’m going to need to have the most efficient working week I’ve ever had!

Determination, organisation, motivation… and a lot of perspiration! Hope your week is shaping up to be fun, creative and (happily) busy, too.

Writing Up a Storm

Yesterday, the weather was terrible. Not hurricane-terrible, or tsunami-terrible (I’m often thankful for Ireland’s reasonably clement climate!), but dark, cold, with really heavy rain and hail storms. So, I kept myself pretty much housebound.

Sort of like this, except worse.Image: disastersafety.typepad.com

Sort of like this, except worse.
Image: disastersafety.typepad.com

That’s not to say I didn’t do anything useful, though.

I set myself up on http://www.authonomy.com a few days ago, and one of the things I did manage to do yesterday was upload just over 10,000 words of a Work in Progress to the site. Its working title is ‘Eldritch’, and as I said yesterday, I envisage it as being the first book in a trilogy (currently titled ‘The Astolat Conspiracy’), aimed at readers between the ages of maybe 8 to 12. Of course, I’d hope older readers would enjoy it too! If you’d like to check out what I’ve done, please feel free to visit the website – you can search for my book using the word ‘Eldritch’. You can read it without logging in, or giving details, or any of that craziness, and best of all – it’s entirely free. So far, I’ve been made very welcome and I’ve (at time of writing) managed to gather four kind reviews, complete with some useful critical comments. Even though it’s early days yet, my impression of the site is very positive. I’ve also read some wonderful work by other users, both people who’ve reviewed my work and people whose work I just liked the sound of, and it’s been an education to say the least. There are a lot of very talented people writing in the world today; I’m trying to take that as a good thing – in other words, the genre I love, and the stories that I love, are alive and kicking – instead of ‘oh my goodness, look at all the competition!’

It’s not as easy as it looks, you know, this positive thinking malarkey. But I’m doing my best.

Following a dream is a bit like feeling your way around an unfamiliar room in the dark sometimes. As well as the inherent insecurity of chasing something intangible, though, I also know I only have a limited time in which I can indulge myself, so I really hope I can make the most of the time I’ve got. I suppose, then, what I’m doing at the moment is more like feeling my way around that unfamiliar room in the dark, all the time knowing there’s a really wonderful treasure to be found somewhere in the unknown – and, like the hailstones that fell yesterday, the treasure won’t last forever. Eventually, it will melt away and be gone, leaving no trace that it was ever there at all. However, I am determined to do the best I can, and write as much as I’m able, and do the best work of which I’m capable. If other people read and enjoy it at the same time, then it’s a bonus.

In other news, work on ‘Eldritch’ is going well. I also spent some time on an even older WiP yesterday, one I started so long ago that I’d forgotten the story of it. I’m not sure it’s salvageable, but I know that I loved it dearly once upon a time, so perhaps I’ll find a useful nugget in there. And, of course, ‘Tider’ is bubbling away in my subconscious all the time! I feel like a circus plate-juggler, sometimes. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Since the competition ended, I’ve felt a little bit unfocused – the central point of my writing life has gone, you might say. But I’m making new goals for myself, and new milestones and deadlines. I want to have ‘Eldritch’ out on submission by the end of March, for instance. That’s a goal I can meet, I think. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to work on ‘Tider’ during that time, too – the two books are very different, so working on them simultaneously should not only be possible, but maybe even beneficial.

(Sometimes I read back over things I write on this blog and say to myself: ‘you crazy fool!’ I just had one of those moments. However, I suppose those moments keep life interesting.)

So, today I’ll be embarking upon a marathon ‘Eldritch’ writing session. I’ll let you know how it goes. Stay warm, stay dry, and remember to keep searching for that treasure!