Monday, February 28, 2011

Increments and Little Bits

Tomorrow morning, I have to email my latest manuscript to my editor. Normally, I'd be happy dancing about now. After six weeks of staring at the same characters, I'm usually ready for the two week or so break I'll get while Sally, my editor, reads it.

Today...not so much.

Why? Because I'm supposed to do a final read through on the last 80 pages and after two hours of reading I only got through 60.

Not only that but I found two places/scenes that need some serious tweaking. (Read: revisions!)

So after reading 60 pages of hard copy, I have all my little grammar and sentence structure changes to input into my document on the computer.

2 major scene revisions.

20 more pages to read and fix in the computer.

And I have a sinus headache.

I was sitting here thinking, "how the heck am I ever going to do this ..." when I remembered something from my time management workshop THE TEN MINUTE SOLUTION. Increments and Little Bits.

What the heck is that? Simply put, it's dividing up your work into manageable bites.

I can't sit here for the two hours it will take to finish inputting the changes on the 60 pages I read and fix those two scenes. But I can sit here to six 20-minute clips. Or even 12 ten-minute clips of time.

In other words, I'll do 10 minutes of inputting, then go wash my breakfast dishes. Once my eyes are rested and my shoulders aren't so tight, I'll come back and do another ten minutes.

Then I'll vacuum. (For those of you who don't know, cleaning relaxes me. Lucky, huh?)

Then I'll come back and do another ten minutes. etc. etc.

It won't be the quick, easy finish to the manuscript that I had hoped. But it will get the book done in an organized fashion. I will meet my deadline and everybody will be happy.

So the next time you're faced with a big project that you worry you can't finish, try cutting it up into manageable bites of ten-minute tasks.

I'll bet you get it done!

And, if you're interested in the whole ten-minute solution idea...the workshops on my website, click workshops.

Happy Monday...


Happy PS...the cover for A BABY ON THE RANCH is up on Amazon! So all three covers for the Babies in the Boardroom series are up! THE BABY PROJECT will be released in April, SECOND CHANCE BABY in May and A BABY ON THE RANCH in June!

I can't wait! I think readers are going to love these stories! And I've posted a prologue for THE BABY PROJECT in the What Came Before section of my website...There'll be a Happily Every After for that one posted around April 15.

We're gonna have some big fun this year!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Managing Life -- Or maybe juggling

I finished my hospice training last week. I know I'm really going to enjoy volunteering! The only problem is time management.

Oh, I'm fine with squeezing in a four-hour shift every week to work in the unit. It's invigorating and rewarding and the unit employees are some of the nicest, smartest people I've ever met.

I'm still having trouble managing my writing life!

I'm actually going back and reading the tips I wrote ten years ago when I penned THE TEN MINUTE SOLUTION! (If you're curious, go to the workshop section...the book has been divided into installments and posted for easy reading.)

Today I read the tip about breaking big tasks down into small ones...I tried it...and it worked.

Nothing like embarrassing yourself by forgetting your own tips!

So in the weeks that follow, as I work to get 4 books written and 3 prologues and 3 Happily-Ever-Afters posted for the BABIES IN THE BOARDROOM series, I'll be going back, reading my own workshop and trying to get my writer's life organized.

Hopefully, the tips will help some of you too!

Happy Monday!


Monday, February 14, 2011

Cataromance Reviewers' Choice Award

It was a fabulous Valentine's Day gift to receive news from Donna at that MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE won a Catromance Reviewer's Choice award!

Thanks, guys!


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Tomorrow is my mom's 80th birthday. Seriously. Eighty. Doesn't that just blow you away? Imagine how much history she's seen, how much life she's much coffee she's consumed!

My mom wasn't a superstar. She was not a career woman...unless you appropriately call raising 11 kids a career! Good lord! It seems more like an insurmountable task. One that, literally, took a lifetime.

Anyway, she stayed home most days. She'd get us all onto the bus for school then start a batch of bread because we could go through bread like nobody's business. I remember whining about having to take homemade bread sandwiches to school -- instead of the nice, neat thin bread other kids had. Now I'd pay good money for just one slice.

While the bread was rising, she'd start laundry. Every day. With the wringer washer. We whine about having to toss things into an automatic then into a dryer. But imagine doing the laundry of 11 kids every day, then hanging in on a line -- even in the winter? Imagine how much she spent on "soap powder" -- which was what we called it back then.

We probably kept the Tide executives in silk shirts.

Over the years she became one of the best cooks in the world. Seriously, she can take nothing and make it into dinner. Her gravy is to die for and what she can do with a dumpling would make most chefs jealous.

But we also had "invented" foods ... like Klepka. (Which is Slovak, I'm guessing, for fried bread dough.) She'd take bread dough, stretch it until it was the size of an apple fritter, and put it in hot grease for a few seconds. Then we'd either slather it with butter or roll it in sugar.

For those of you who are wondering ... yes, I did have a bit of extra weight before I got married and moved out to my own [bad] cooking. Because delicious food is frequently fattening food.

But, oh, it was worth it!

My mom wasn't one of those women who needed to go shopping every Saturday. I'm guessing she didn't have time. She didn't do lunch or call her friends to gossip. She liked True Detective magazines and Peppermint Patties. And she loved to read. In the summer, I'd walk to the Bookmobile that came around every other week and get books for both of us to read. When she was done with hers, she'd read mine. Which was why it never surprised me to discover that as many adults read young adult books as teenagers. True readers will love any great book.

I credit my mom and her love of reading with my own love of books and the career that I wouldn't have were it not for her love of reading.

I also credit her for showing me that life isn't lived in the grand moments when you're speaking at a conference or chatting with New York Times bestsellers over a glass of wine in a four-star restaurant.

Life is lived in simple moments, enjoying simple pleasures, like a Peppermint Patty or a glossy new magazine.

Work is necessary. She didn't whine every morning that she had to bake bread and do as much laundry as a the local dry cleaner. She simply got to it. Which is why I get up every morning and put on coffee and turn on the computer.

And family is love. Husbands are to be cherished. Kids hugged. Babies coddled. And everybody else enjoyed. Even now we play cards a lot (used to be Pinochle or rummy now it's UNO) and Yahtzee...because you don't have to be chatting or drinking to have a good time.

But most of all, you have to be yourself. If God put you on a farm with eleven kids and a dreamer husband...enjoy it. Don't try to be somebody else. Don't worry what anyone says.

Your days are your days. Your life is your life.

Enjoy it.

And that's what I've learned in my fifty-something years of being my mother's daughter.

Some days I'm sure my husband wishes I'd learned the cooking part of my mom's life a little better, but most days I'm sure he's glad I also decided just to be who I am...

And enjoy the ride.