Monday, March 21, 2011


Lesson one of the 10-Minute Solution workshop on my website talks about motivation.

I don't think any of us realize how much motivation drives our lives. I laughingly use the example of my weight (and having no motivation to lose so I stay fat) but I'm only joking a little.

I met the editor who bought my first book at a conference. After a short conversation in the hotel lobby, (not an editor appointment) she asked to see my next book.

I raced home from the conference, soooo ready to write that book because I had someone truly willing to look at it.

But what about all those other writers who get requests for manuscripts at conferences? Why don't they race home, finish the book, get it in the mail?

Motivation again.

You see, I was on my "last chance" as a writer. I genuinely believed if that book didn't sell then I wasn't destined to be an author. So with that demon driving me I didn't just race to get the book done for her, I also gave it my best, my all...because if this truly was my shot I was taking it.

If you really, really want to do something you will do it. You will find a way. You will slay the dragons and squeeze out the minutes.

But that's another problem with time management, isn't it? There are some things for which we would slay a dragon but minutes aren't enough...Or are they.

Have you ever tried working on a project in ten minute increments that you could squeeze in throughout the day only to discover you'd acutally accomplished a lot?

So I guess today's time management thought is two fold. Figure out what you really want to do is life and you will motivated to accomplish it. And, second, if you can't seem to find a big bushel of time to accomplish your goals, try looking for little ten minute bites!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Retired with Children

Do I look like Al Bundy? Probably not...or maybe I should say, Please...I hope not!

But this week I began to understand how poor Al felt about the whole dealing-with-a-situation-he-hadn't-signed-up-for thing.

When my husband and I decided to have three kids in four years, we were only thinking diapers and formula. We forgot about Little League games being at the same time on opposite ends of town. We forgot about parent/teacher conferences, never-ending snacks, dual proms. Heck, let's just cut to the real money chase. We forgot about college!

There's nothing like the arrogance of the ignorant! LOL

Fast forward lots of years and we survived. What got us through most of those years was knowing the end was in sight. We made a pledge to stick together, no matter what the issue. We knew that if we divided they would conquer. After all, they had us beaten in numbers. So we stuck together. We hung tight, all the while whispering in bed that someday soon they would graduate and move away.

That didn't mean we didn't love them. Exactly the opposite. It was because we adored them that we wanted them to fly the nest, make something of themselves, experiment, try, fail, succeed. Child rearing is hard work and the mark of success is independent children.

Unfortunately, nobody explained any of this to the economy!

My poor daughter would kill to be able to afford her own apartment...well, maybe not kill but you catch my drift. Who wants to live with her overly creative mom who sometimes sings her conversations because she gets a song stuck in her head? Or a dad who still likes to jump out from behind doors and scare her the way he did when she was thirteen and loved horror movies?

I sometimes think our situation would be a fantastic sit-com. Except when I really think it through my daughter would be the normal one and my husband and I would be the crazies.

But, oddly, there's a part of me that likes that. I think Kathy Bates would make a really great me. She could play me the same way she plays Harriet in Harry's Law on NBC on Monday nights.

And Hulk Hogan could be my husband. (Except my husband is unapologetically bald. Which I think is sexy...Another reason my daughter would dig a tunnel under her bedroom if she could.)

Have I scared you yet? Taking that cold, hard look at my daughter's situation I've actually scared myself. Kathy Bates and Hulk Hogan? Good Lord, it's a wonder she doesn't have post traumatic stress disorder! Or maybe she will if the economy ever turns around enough that she can move out!

So maybe we'll behave. Well, I'll behave. I can't speak for Hulk. He is his own guy.


Monday, March 14, 2011

What to Do When Life Surprises You

I'm a little late coming to the blogging party today. Why? Well, it's good news for a change. On Friday morning I was asked to participate in a continuity series for Harlequin Romance.

This is really good, you say. Why would this affect my Monday morning ritual?

A couple of reasons. First, I'm a person who lives and dies by routine. I like to be at my desk by a certain time of day. I like to first read emails, then twitter, then get started on that morning's projects. Having a new project thrown into the mix doesn't throw me for a tizzy, but I have to get it firmly into the schedule and off my brain before I can be creative.

So to get it off my brain, I had to add it to the schedule...squeeze it in actually. Using a crowbar and a Swiss army knife, I managed to edge the final book of my current contract into June 2012, giving me March through May 2012 to write the continuity.

Once my brain was happy with that, I then had to quickly write today's pages.

Now, I have time to blog.

So what does this have to do with time management?

If you read this post closely, you may have noticed something kind of ... well, interesting. I really know myself. I knew getting an extra book would hit my panic button about my schedule. I knew I couldn't just say, I'll squeeze it in and get back to work. I had to actually, physically put it on a schedule so I could forget about it, until I need to think about it! :)

The second thing is...Having a schedule that you look at regularly, that guides you from day to day, week to week, month to month, takes a lot of stress out of my life. I don't have to "remember" so many things. All I have to remember is to look at my calendar!

So...two tips for today. #1 Know yourself. If you know you're a busy person, or even someone who needs to "handle" things to get them out of your way before you can work, then do what you need to do to clear your head. Know yourself so you can accommodate yourself.

#2...get a good calendar and use it. My system of month-at-a-glance might not work for you. You may only be able to handle one day at a time or one week. But find the calendar system that works for you and use it.

You'll be glad you did!


To Structure or Not to Structure

Last week after writing about how much I like routine and order in my life, I walked around my house and realized my wonderful routine had really taken a hit in the past year.

First, my son was declared disabled. He has a seizure disorder which means he doesn't require constant care...but he can't drive and gets bored. So after I work in the morning, I drive him around and play games with him for a few hours to alleviate his boredom.

Then, my husband decided to retire. He has so many vacation days that he will lose if he doesn't use them, that he's been taking them in groups of three or four...and guess where he is...Right behind me, in the living room, watching TV. With the volume loud enough that the neighbors don't need to subscribe to cable, they can simply listen in on ours.

I seriously hadn't realized how much this had disrupted my life until after last week's post, but once I had I realized something had to change.

And you know the cardinal rule about chance, don't you? You can't change anybody if somebody's got to's you! LOL

What did I do?

1. Reinstituted by 6:00 am wake up. I'd gotten away from that because ... well, let's face it. It's lovely to sleep in. But, being a person who likes routine not having a regular wake up time is a recipe for disaster. Plus, if my husband and son want to play Wii or cards from noon to suppertime, then I had better get my work done before then.

2. I set a regular time for supper. No more of this, we'll eat when we're hungry. Having to cook something quick five times a week doesn't merely make me also results in dinners that are too high in calories.

3. I made a to do list from my calendar. Really? You need a to do list AND a calendar...sometimes. Yeah. LOL

So this is the beginning of me getting back on track. It worked really well for the past week. I feel as if sanity is returning. Let's see if I can keep it up (translation: Keep my husband and son working with me).


Friday, March 11, 2011

Contest at The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Every Monday this month I'm giving away a copy of THE BABY PROJECT on The Romance Reviews.

Stop by for a chance to win!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Food Truth -- Wednesday March 9

Happy Ash Wednesday--

Is that an oxymoron? LOL I think so!

Anyway, I belong to a faith that encourages members to "give something up for lent." For years I struggled with this concept, because, crazy person that I am, I didn't just want to give up candy and then whine for six weeks when I couldn't have a Peppermint Patty. I wanted my "give up" to have meaning.

This year, as I pondered the "what will I give up" question, it suddenly dawned on me how much I eat just for entertainment.

Actually, my son sort of hastened my discovery. He will not eat my cooking anymore. I make roast beef; he wants chicken...and off he goes to Kentucky Fried. I make chicken; he wants fish. Off he goes to Long John Silvers. This is sort of the curse of living a hop, skip and a jump away from a bustling shopping center. Food abounds.

But isn't that true for a lot of us? I wake up and generally don't eat breakfast -- unless we have doughnuts or M&M peanuts handy. I eat a small lunch and a small supper so I can have snacks while watching TV. While millions of people in the world are just happy to have something to eat. It never even dawns on them to be picky. While we live a lifestyle of wanting what we want and only what we want. And sometimes using food as entertainment.

Examining my eating habits and my son's it was easy to see we've totally misconstrued the entire pupose for food.

So this year, I'm going to spend my lent doing what I call Food Truth. I'm only going to eat when I'm hungry...and then I'm not eating doughnuts or the M&M peanuts. I'm going to realize food is fuel and I'm going to look for nutritional content on the labels. order not to go overboard in the other direction...I'm also going to recognize that eating is supposed to be pleasant. I won't eat cardboard boxes. I might even learn to prepare a new dish or two.

I don't expect to understand the plight of the millions of people in the world who go to bed hungry...but I do expect to put a little reality back in my eating habits.

Food truth.

Want to join me? Want to eat when you're hungry and actually give more than a passing nod to nutritional content?

Oh, and...if you've got a recipe...low fat or just plain really nutritious, I'd love to see it. Actually, I'd love to post in the Homecooking section!


Monday, March 7, 2011


Last week, I finished a book and turned it on Tuesday morning...via email. That is so cool and so convenient!

Wednesday morning, I could have rested. Lord knows, I wanted to. But I have a huge schedule of work this year. 4 books to write and about 8 short stories to go up on my website. Prologues for books I have coming out this year...and promotion for the Babies in the Boardroom series.

So I knew I couldn't rest.

I did the obvious things first, things on my to do list that need to be done. (Like taxes!) And completing the tasks for "obvious" things took most of the rest of the week.

But today I decided it would be Someday.

What's Someday? Well, have you ever looked at the things on your desk and said, "Someday I'm going to weed through that pile of articles?" or "Someday I'm going to organize my calendar?" Or someday I'm going to make lasagna...clean the closet...write an email to a long-lost friend?

On my Somday, I do all those things. Well, not all. I do the ones that pop into my head. On Someday, every time I think or say, Someday, I'm going to...I drop everything and begin the project, the letter, the lasagna...whatever.

At noon I have to stop "starting" projects because I usually need wrap up time. If I start something every time I think "someday" I can have between four and ten open projects by noon...and let's face it, it's not wise to have a "Someday" if none of your someday projects actually get completed.

So in the morning I start the Someday projects and in the afternoon I finish them.

Why do I do this? Because life shouldn't just be about the have tos or the urgent things. Life should be about the "someday" things. The things you want to do. Want to do.

Life is just plain better when you make those phone calls to friends, prepare lasagna, clean your desk...or whatever it is that calls to you.

So create a Someday. Do the things you want to do one day a month...or every six months. Just give yourself one good day!