New Day


It’s a brand new day! It’s a new month – yay! This is the point when we get a do-over for good intentions. For instance with the blogging. Even the best-laid plans sometimes fail.

Nothing can be done for the days lost in January, it’s now a fresh month. In the past, I have taken all of my unfinished plans from the previous month and started there before tackling the items I had designated for the current month. That is a fast track to being overwhelmed and giving up before you even begin. Trust me, I’ve done it numerous times.

For instance, with my bullet journal, I had an entry on January 22, then nothing. The next day I felt nearly human again after several days of illness is January 30. Last year, I would have felt guilty. I would have made entries for each day in between, trying to squeeze something from the brain to fill in for those days, but this time I didn’t. NOPE. I simply wrote ‘And then . . . ‘ in large bold letters, with a brief journal entry about what was going on, namely, I felt miserable until my daughter took me to urgent care.

Then I made an entry for Monday with the header Moving Forward. That, my friends, in a nutshell, is my entire philosophy for the year.

Moving Forward

I have five large projects on my plate for this month:

  1. An editing job that has a firm deadline. ( I love editing for others. It gives me a chance to read their work, help with something that I am good at and also stimulates my creative brain at the same time. I am always energized to write on my own work after I do some editing for someone else and I have been anxious to  work on this one!)
  2. Rewrites on Roxy Sings the Blues, now that I have a  workable plot. (This is where my 30 index cards will be put to use!)
  3. Passing the 20-hour course for regaining my MLO license. This one has to be completed by February 28th. This is not an arbitrary deadline that I picked,  my job is contingent upon passing this course and getting licensed. I’ve done it before, I can do it again! (This is a tough class. Dry material, legal schtuff, technical mortgage  blah blah blah,  a whole lot of laws and acts and this will require inordinate amounts of caffeine in order to get through the volumes of materials I must relearn. Yes, I am regretting letting my license lapse this past year. Infuriatingly regretting it, to the point of mentally beating myself up over this decision.)
  4. Make progress in my fitness and weight loss plan. (My goal for January was to lose 8 pounds, I only lost 3. I did, however, get my behind out to the track and started back walking at least.  We’ve had mostly mild winter days. I have used a workout video that a friend referred me to during days that are cold, wet,  or the roads are bad. I’m ready to add another lap this week, and  by the end of the month I plan to double the length of that walk.)
  5. Decluttering and updating our house so we can move closer to my husband’s  work. (He has a very long commute now. )

So, of course, this is the perfect time to add something else to the mix, right? Of course, it is!

An author friend has been encouraging me to join this blog hop thing, 52-week thing. I’m already behind the curve, but I can make those up, no problemo! You’ll see the first installment for this on Friday. What’s one more thing, right?

Following the categories that I have already used for blogging,  I will on occasion – I’m not even going to say I will post every Monday because you know as well as I do that I may or may not manage every Monday. Seriously, take a look at my list above! BUT, I guarantee you that at some point throughout this month, I will give updates.

I had already agreed to share tidbits of the WIP, which will cover item number two. I will share a couple of things throughout the month on editing. This is something that I’ve thought about many times,  making editorial posts to address common mistakes that we all make and are things that you can fix yourself.

BUT, I was wondering does anyone even care about my weight loss and fitness journey? Does anyone really care about my home improvements? Renovations? Updates?

IDK –  I had thought about sharing that month’s projects with pictures of before and after, but does anyone really care?  Honestly, I am not doing major renovations like tearing out walls or adding on to the existing floorplan. We are on a tight budget here and most of these changes are simply going to update and make our house saleable.

I’m still undecided on those two points, but if you have an opinion feel free to comment or message me.

I’m heading to my editor’s desk to dive back into this book.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

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Bujo Revisions


I haven’t touched on the bujo in a while, so it’s time.

First a bit of refresher.  back in June,  I got the bright idea that I could streamline my efforts and go with a weekly spread. this was a bad idea. Not only did I feel stifled just like using those premade planners that eventually find their way to the trash bin, I didn’t stay on task and  was easily distracted. Oh, I made an effort to use it.  I  tried to convince myself that this was efficient. LIAR!

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This was the first week.  I made an effort, really I did. but as you see, there is mostly blank space on this spread. The next week was just as bad. Then I decided, I know, it just needs to be jazzed up. So, I added a few  doodles and tried to make it work.  I ended up with more blank space and not using my bullet journal at all. The only thing salvageable for the month was my graph for word count. I liked a couple of the doodles I did, but overall I will give the idea a big fat F for failure. Check out my zodiac sign and the birdcage –  not too shabby.

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In August I went back to my daily spread. I expanded the level 10 life a bit, setting a goal towards each part. It was in August that I did the one artistic page that I really liked how it turned out:

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I needed a little self-motivational talk,  some encouragement, and a means for a little artistic leeway. I’m never going to be a graphic artist,  but for my limited skill level, I thought it turned out well. Some days I managed to use my bujo, others I did not.  There are parts that seem like a redundant repeating  todo list. It’s all good, though.  After all, the main thing I need is to keep myself on task, and tackling my todo list. September’s Level 10 Life spread has noticeable improvement from the previous month. September dailies tracked my diet and water intake. I was diligent. By the end of the month, I had lost 7 pounds. It’s not record-breaking,  but it’s better progress than I have had in a long while.

My daily todo lists revolve around getting prepared for Penned Con. The last few days before the event, my bujo kept me from going into a full panic mode. The days after were jotting down note on the event, things that worked thing that didn’t,  things to remember for other events and a wish list for the future.

Which brings us up to October. I found some of my rubber stamps  that are fall and Halloween related and I’m having fun!  A two-stage stamp  of a pumpkin is replacing my usual banner shape for the day. My mini cube ink pads are adding some pizzazz to my pages. On my month at a glance,  I have  a stamp of a seashell that I absolutely love across the week that we are going on vacation. Yes, I’ve been counting down the days!  It’s strange, last year after my debut at Kentuckiana with Red Wine & Roses, we went on a cruise for a milestone anniversary. When we left Freeport Bahamas,  a hurricane was fast on our tail making for a rocking time on the trip home.  I won’t say it was a rocking good time because if I  would not have had that little patch behind my ear,  I would have been medivacked to shore.

So this year,  our vacation plans  post Penned Con  where Quotidiandose: 30 Days of Sass debuted are to Florida and guess what? Matthew is going double live GONZO terrorizing the Florida and eastern coast. What is the deal?  My heart and prayers go out to all of the folks own there and in the path, whichever path  it ends up taking.

I am mentally going through statements that I have made in the past of surviving a tornado, a flood, earthquakes, and wondering if I ever  said out loud any comment of a hurricane. Someone come give me a beat down if I ever say anything about a tsunami!

So, back to the bujo.  I  have made progress from things that everyone else was doing that sounded practical to making my own method that truly works for me.  I’ve kept the little weekly chart for tracking my word count. I like that much better than the app that used to be on Facebook.

A bullet journal aka bujo is a tool.   Mine is customized to me.  That’s the beauty of this,  you make it your own, make it work for you. If you are a minimalist then the weekly spread might be your thing.  If you tend to journal a lot then a lined journal might be your best bet. I need change. (You know, the thing yesterday that I was accused of not being able to handle?)  I need variety. There’s a bit of this and that in mine.  It’s not perfect, but it’s perfectly me.

By the way, it’s going with me to Florida.  We are both in need of some R&R. The plans consist of  wearing as little clothes as possible while not getting arrested or terrifying small children. Walking from the hotel to the beach ( A istance of about 20 feet), staring out across the ocean, listening to the waves, collecting shells, and drinking margaritas at sunset.

But before then,  I have several items still on my todo list.   You can go over to Youtube and follow me there. I would appreciate it. There isn’t much there yet,   but I will have more eventually. I better go check what else I have left to do.

Write on my friends,  write on!

Ellie

 

 

Time to Destress


The  local school district started back on their school year  on Monday which also coincides with my daughter returning for her college semester. I thought this was a good time to implement changes in my own schedule.

I had every intention of making a post on Monday, and on Tuesday, and on Wednesday . . .  you get the idea. Wow, cray cray comes out to play when you decide to make improvements. Has anyone ever experience this?  It’s like, as long as you exist in the current chaos karma doesn’t notice you.  Let me stop right there for a moment.

I know in the Christian community it is frowned upon to refer to karma however, for all intents, karma is a non-Christian way of explaining a very Christian phenomenon. The Bible clearly states that ‘whatsoever you sow, that also shall ye reap’. In other words – what goes around comes around. In still other words – karma is a bitch! Do good – get good. Do bad – get bad.  It’s a simple concept that is universal, not exclusive to the Christian community. So, if you are going to get all bent out of shape for using the term, I don’t know what to tell you.

Where were we? Oh yes – KARMA. The existing chaos. Making improvements . . .  well, trying to at least. As soon as you disrupt the status quo, it apparently wakes up Karma and her evil sister Fate, and they in turn wake up the third sister Destiny. In this particular instance, Destiny apparently said ‘Oh good for her. That will bring her closer to realizing her dreams’ and rolled over and went back to sleep. Karma was pissed about her reaction in addition to your changes and persuades Fate to her side by bribing her with caffeine.

Never the less,  I proceed with my  intended changes. These are changes to improve, to correct, to streamline and become more efficient with my time.  Once upon a time, I had a schedule that worked. I was doing great then something changed and I let my schedule lapse. I knew that the 15th of August was when my daughter returned to college. I knew that would be a good time  to put myself back on a schedule. Keep in mind,  I don’t do well with a rigid structured schedule.  It has to have some flexibility built in.  However, I don’t do well with open-ended freedom either. It’s all about balance.

I  was rather slack over the summer which resulted in  three weeks of a frantic scramble to make up for time that I had wasted. Since Monday, all hell has broken loose in our household. Some of you might think to throw up your hands in defeat and say why bother. Not me. Nope, this little grey duck thinks –  I must be on the right path if I am getting this much resistance. (life experience has proven this to be the case.)

Having said that, let’s do a quick review to catch up, then I’m going to share the coolness that I found online. Ready?  Buckle up, hands and feet inside the cart while it is in motion.

  • Monday – new schedule in place, honored my time breaks, was quite efficient and productive. Focused efforts on beta read for a fellow author and progress made on my super secret project. (Come on, aren’t you just a tiny bit curious?)
  • Tuesday – errands, driving,  resale business, – I fell behind and didn’t get everything accomplished which  dictates that my afternoon today is going to be completing the tasks left unfinished from Tuesday.
  • Wednesday –  finish the beta read, 3600 words towards next project, review of potential covers and logo, arrangements for Penned Con, then  the internet went kaput. sayonara! Wait – no!  NOOOOOOOO! I wasn’t done putting my information in. I didn’t . . . tech is scheduled to show up on Thursday.
  • Thursday – working offline, domestic goddess duties, resale  tasks to complete, wait on tech guy, still no internet. 5600 words towards next project  – I’m on a roll!
  • Friday –    yay! We have internet again! Make up for all the work lost earlier in the week, finish domestic duties, resale business prep for the weekend. (there is always more foot traffic on the weekend)

In all of that,  I have specific things but not a rigid schedule.  As the blog posts were not at the top of the list,  they fell off the bottom and were moved to the next day.  This is just one aspect of the bullet journal that is both frustrating and  helpful. There is no sense beating ourselves up over it, just move it to the next day and it becomes the top priority. I will be perfectly honest, if I didn’t have my bullet journal I would be lost and have given up ten times over.

So, I am going to share what I thought was a creative idea in my planner.  Bear in mind, I am not an artist.

20160815_135543 The only purpose of this page is for self-motivation, a sort of self-talk when I feel down and feel like I am a failure, which is often.  I’m thinking of adding a pop of color over the eyelashes like eye shadow, but I haven’t decided quite how to do that. Feel free to copy it make your own, make something similar, laugh at my artistic attempts, whatever ripples your nipple!

Sometimes we need to take a deep breath, slow down, and realize that there is more to life than (fill in the blank). It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic pace that we set for ourselves and feel as if we are failing at every turn. This is why I love my bullet journal, it helps me maintain some semblance of sanity.

NOW –  for the cool stuff I found online. How many of you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs personality profiles?

Go HERE to find out what yours is.

That’s not the cool part.  By understanding your personality, then you can understand why you do things a certain way and what works for you. My personality type is ENFP – a campaigner. Read the description, you’ll see that it fits. This is the cool part –  a friend shared a link with me about how the personality types reacts to stress. Mine was dead on!

What stresses out an ENFP:
– Environments where rules are rigidly enforced
– Focusing on repetitive, detailed tasks
– Having to focus too much on sensory details
– Having to focus too much on the past or present
– Not being able to use their intuition
– Constraints on brainstorming or envisioning
– A lack of outside stimulation
– Being micromanaged
– Having creativity stifled
– Having to complete projects before they’re ready
– Criticism
– Lack of appreciation
– Having their values violated
– Overextending themselves for others

ENFPs tend to overextend themselves, and procrastinate, which is often a source of stress as it complicates their lives. (It’s like they know me!)When they become stressed, their naturally charming natures become more irritable and over-sensitive. (I can neither confirm or deny that this is true.) When stressed, ENFPs feel alienated and engage in deceptions to obscure what is occurring within themselves. They will feel that they are losing control over their own independent identities and feel conflicted by intruding circumstances. During continued stress, they may fall into the grip of their inferior function, introverted sensing. When this happens, they become obsessive and depressed. They will become hyper-aware of minor bodily sensations or abnormalities and interpret them as a sign of a serious illness. They may have a hard time communicating clearly, and feel numb and frozen inside. Their thinking may become cloudy and convoluted. They will feel that there are no possibilities or ways out. (This is why I am obsessed with the self motivational talks which you read here.) They may feel overwhelmed, out of control, unable to sort out priorities, and thus become inflexible. Some become obsessive about record keeping, cleaning, or other household tasks. (I should be so lucky that I obsess over something useful like cleaning!)

How to help an ENFP with stress:
– Give them space and time alone to sort out their feelings.
– Remind them that they are able and competent.
– Give them permission to “escape”
– Don’t give them advice. It won’t help right now.
– Don’t ask for details.
– Don’t try to “fix” the problem.
– Meditation often helps ENFPs
– Listen to them.
– Encourage them to exercise
– Encourage them to get enough sleep
– Encourage them to get a massage
– Be warm and kind in the way you speak to them
– After they’ve calmed down a little, ask them if they want help evaluating the situation.

I agree with all of those things except the massage.  Many people are all about getting a massage, not me.  I don’t like uninvited touching.  It kind of freaks me out to have some stranger touching me. Yes, I know I have issues. My issues have issues. Those issues have grand baby issues. Let it go. I have.

If you want to find out what it says about you, and possible ways to de-stress yourself and maybe how you can avoid your big stressors, go to psychologyjunkie and see what it has to say about your own personality!

You gotta admit, this is kind of cool!

I hope next week is better and things begin to flow like a gentle stream. No Karma, I did NOT say like a stream overburdened with rains from a thousand storms that  threatens to destroy everything in its wake.

I hope your week goes well for you! Are you making changes for the better? Trying to be more efficient? Leave a comment and share the changes that you are making.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Trailblazing on the Wine Trail!


Girl Wearing Walking Boots Hiking Up A Mountain

I mentioned last year some time that I was working on a wine tour  tie in for a book tour.  For those that don’t know, Missouri has some of the best wineries! There are several wine trails, numerous wineries,  and wonderful locations to visit.

Fall is just around the corner, can you believe it? I’m looking forward to the cooler weather for certain!

Our local town is having an Oktoberfest celebration. That centers around beer,  but we may have to participate in it anyway.

These celebrations and special events at the wineries are lining up during the cooler fall months,  which  holds a great deal of potential for possibilities. This is where my planner comes in. Just when you thought I had set aside the bullet journal, it resurfaces.

If it weren’t for my bullet journal I’d be drowning by now with numerous balls dropped. Sadly I had to admit I dropped a few even with the planner but that was because of my own overachiever tendencies. I”m juggling as fast as I can. I have made myself a promise that I can’t add any new balls to the  act until the others are taken out of rotation either by completion or being dropped. I hate to drop them. I really hate to drop them. I am doing better about not taking on new projects.

Thanks to my morning writing buddy, she has encouraged me to focus on one project at a time.  In doing so, I have been breaking down the tasks in my planner. This is really working well for me. It’s more than a to-do list.  using the calendar to schedule dates that I should accomplish specific tasks from the overall project have helped me progress forward. Ideally, I should be able to just do it but that isn’t the case. Left to my own I find  creative time-wasting activities that do not help in progressing me towards my goals.

I would think that the older I get, the more second nature these things would be but it seems to be the opposite. I can’t wing it like I used to. I have to make myself a list or I forget. I must have a list to keep myself on task when my mind is wanting to do anything else.

Yesterday I sort of spilled the beans about my latest project. In working on this, it has  rekindled the fires that I had nearly let go out.  Renewed, invigorated, and  reminded how I’ve let myself become derailed. No problem, set a new course! The only problem is I find myself in a situation akin to my first encounter of orienteering. For those of you who don’t know, orienteering is a sort of race where you are given a compass and a map and you find your way to the specific markers in a specific order in a timed event. Picture this, a fourteen year old girl, her stodgy teacher, a compass shared between us and a map. I got the map. I didn’t care about the compass. I understood maps. A topographic map of the park where the event was held with a trail marked on the map. Easy peasy right? WRONG!

Things look different at ground level than from a bird’s-eye view. We found ourselves in a thicket of brambles that blocked the direct path (a short cut because I was a newbie and we had taken a long time to find the first marker) to the second marker. No problem. We’d simply go around. Going around involved climbing up  a six-foot embankment, crossing a shallow creek then ascending the embankment on the opposite side. The opposite side was muddy. It was slippery and  we ended up going further upstream to climb up,  where the water had deepened in the small creek to about ten feet across, maybe six feet at the deepest point.. We managed to climb out of the creek bed and find the path at the top. It was a short distance to where the marker was. YAY! I ran in my enthusiasm towards it,  not hearing the yells of the teacher until it was too late and my head banged into a low hanging hornet’s nest. Literally a hornet’s nest! They were instantly pissed and on the attack. We ran back towards the creek, basically taking a flying leap from the top of the embankment. We waited out the hornets but not before several got us both. We still had three more markers to find and we were way behind schedule.

Let me just say, I have learned to listen to my teachers since then. We were soaking wet, with several hornet stings, and our map was now useless as it deteriorated in the water.  Just before dark,  the group had sent out a search party for us. My teacher had twisted his ankle climbing back up from the creek, so we were moving slower than ever. I never went back for a second attempt, I was too embarrassed at my failure.  I was fourteen. Today I would take the map and compass and find my way through their stupid maze and be done.

So how is it similar? So glad you asked.  That point where we found ourselves faced with a hedge of brambles blocking our path, then having to detour around. . . yup I’m right back there again. Well, I was.  LIke I said, in working on this project, I’ve rekindled the fires.

YOu don’t realize the fire is dwindling until you are left with just embers that are about to die out. I have to retrace some steps and find a new route. I can do this. You can do the same in your own life. It’s never to late to make changes unless you are si feet under. We aren’t there yet so there is still time to do some trail blazing!

Any day above ground is a good day!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

What Went Wrong?


This is a recap post for the month of July. What Went Wrong? My goal for the year has been to blog at least 15 times per month. Ideally, it would be daily given the name, but  time has not allowed that. (Refer to my numerous posts on Time management, or rather my struggle with it.)

At the beginning of the month, I always assess the previous month to determine what went well, what went poorly, what fell through the cracks, and  examine the new irons in the fire. I know, I said there wouldn’t be any new irons in the fire. But they are so shiny and new and . . . . thus my perpetual battle.

I have to scratch my head about July. It seems that I got very little done during this month. In that vein, I began to investigate and evaluate. My planner is not only my to-do list,  it’s a record of what happened. what I spent my time on, and when I’m serious about my  diet, a record of my eating so that I can see where I went wrong. So I started there.

Four birthdays and our anniversary. One of those birthdays was my husbands – happy birthday honey! We went out for our anniversary, it was a nice dinner. Came home too stuffed to enjoy  the dessert that I made.

We attended four auctions  for our resale business. I’m anxious for the weather to bet a little cooler so that I can stand to work in the garage creating new and renewed  items.

I have been without a car from July 6th through August 1st. THAT was a challenge! I don’t live in an area that has public transportation so a car is basically my lifeline. I live 7 miles outside of town. Yes, I’d be a lot more fit If I walked to town, but  it would take up my entire day.

I completed the manual that I had been tasked to do. (I discussed this in the post I Did It!) I finished an editing job. I worked on my own writing for Camp Nano, and won! I started doing this Level 10 Life thing that I read about.  I really like the concept of this. Google Level 10 Life and  check out Boho Berry’s blog.

I have made goals for each category, some I’ve done well with while others, not so much. The basic idea of this is to get my life in order. For those of you who have it all together great. I don’t. I thought that this might be a way to make small incremental improvements in these life  categories.

On the positive, I’ve accomplished goals in these categories: career and business,  personal growth and development, family and friends.

On the negative: I’ve made little or no progress in my environment (home office is on hold), health and fitness, and finances.

So why does it seem that I didn’t accomplish anything?  Because two of my goals were not accomplished.  Two goals that need to be my top priority.  Does anyone else struggle with this? All other accomplishments  are disregarded when  the two you really wanted to  mark as complete remain on the to do list. Which lead to the next question, how do I escape this vicious cycle?

I want to do better in August. This is why I evaluate what worked and what didn’t.  We keep what works and discard the rest. I was behind on my planner, but this afternoon I will be marking my new goals page, tracking my level 10 Life, setting up my schedule for blog posts and  general daily entries.

This seems to be my saving grace amidst a sea of turmoil. That is the reason  I sing the praises of my bullet journal. I’ve kept a planner for years, but somewhere into the year I quit on it. My bullet journal has helped me quit quitting!

Speaking of that, it’s time for me to tackle one of the areas I’ve neglected, my domestic goddess duties.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

 

Unwritten


Life is constant chaos.  It throws curve balls at you,  it throws spit balls at you,  then when you’re expecting a  curve you get a speedball.

Do you ever wonder if  there is someone up there dropping trouble into a machine like they use at a batting cage?  NO? No one but me?

I tell you what, sometimes it seems  that would be more logical than what is truly going on.

I was expecting to dodge, parry, thrust and  my thrust was misdirected due to a secondary dodge and pivot. I try to anticipate, but more often than not I end up on the defense instead of offense. This is where that part of me that likes plan and order goes nuts.

Enter the magical powers of the bujo – my sanity keeper. Well, attempted sanity keeper.

For this month, I tried a new thing.

20160527_062525A weekly spread seemed like a good idea at the time.  It’s all right there and I wouldn’t be redundant in my daily to do lists.

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But no.

As it turns out,  this wasn’t such a good idea. I entered a few things,  but for the most part, I  ignored it and fell into old habits.  Those habits that I worked so hard to break. The ones that kept me  in the same  loop time after time.

One feature that I do like however, is that little box in the middle of the right-hand page.  See that space called word count?  YES!   My weekly total for May 30 through June 5th – 7,321. For the week of June 6 thru June 12 however,  my word count for the week went up to 10,083 with a whopping 6352 for one day. This week I had one day with a word count of 6214, and a total for the week of 12,608. Do you see the trend?  Do you see the increase?  This part is working much better for me than the graph chart for the month.

Next month I’m going back to daily entries,  but I am going to figure out a way to incorporate this little gem. I like the freedom to doodle when I want. I like the idea of order and structure. It seems like the right thing to do but I find it inhibitive.  I would rather have the same to do list practically every single day, because face it –  life is routine most of the time and days blur into each other out of routine – than  have a sterile planner that I don’t use.

I think most of my friends would agree, this isn’t me.  The previous pages I’ve posted are more me. A little messy, a little artsy, a little order, . . . but all me. This is an idealistic  outline, sort of what I do with my books.

This is the backbone – the place to start.  Then we build from there. Will it have long legs? short legs? Will it have a tail?  domestic or wild?  Who knows what  it may morph into, but I can guarantee that it’s not  as simple as  this weekly layout. If you notice,  I had to  jazz it up a bit with a couple of flowers.

The section for Funky Junk –  that’s our resale business. I like that as well, as this past week I have some  great tips written down there.  I am considering  making a single page entry for our home business instead of just a little box. That way,  I can write down all those little tips and tricks and business ideas in the same place.

A bullet journal is a personal tool that can be adapted to meet your needs.  You don’t have  to do it the same way I do. Which is a good thing,  because I don’t have it all figured out yet either. I’m still molding mine to fit my hand.

Adapt, overcome, improvise!

You know the best part about a bullet journal as opposed to a preprinted planner?  It’s changeable. The outlines are unwritten. Nothing lays before my eyes but blank squares on a page, waiting to be transformed into a bright future.  You should write that down, that’s good stuff right there.

That’s all each of us have, each day of our lives –  blank squares  waiting to be transformed.

I should use that in a book!

Write on my friend, write on!

Ellie

 

Tacking


homeslide1Sailing is one of those activities that I dream of . Maybe it’s  being landlocked in the midwest, but I love the ocean and all things nautical. Except octopus. (Hence the decor ideas for my new office space – more about that later.)

In one of my speaking engagements,  I talked about goal-setting. I used nautical terms to get my point across along with images and youtube videos. Granted, most of the audience didn’t care about sailing and I knew that but by the time I had finished, a few simple terms stuck in their mind and several people sought me out at the end to share with me  that they appreciated it.

Tacking is one of those terms.  Tacking is the heading of a sailing vessel, when sailing close-hauled, with reference to the wind direction. . . one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a ship proceeding to windward. . . to change the course of (a sailing vessel) to the opposite tack.  It is a zig-zag course as opposed to a straight line. It is the constant readjustment  of your vessel to reach your chosen destination.

tackThere are 2 ways to accomplish this, through several small zags or fewer larger zags with greater impact.

Small zags would be akin to my monthly adjustments when I evaluate where I am compared to where I want to be. Larger zags would be changing careers, taking a new job.

Life will carry you downstream if you let it. Stuff happens. Disappointments happen. If you let the current carry you along, you will end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Way back when I chose my first career as a cartographer, I had a fascination with maps, mapping, exploring, charting unexplored lands. Still have the fascination,  just not the job. By the way, for those who don’t know cartography is the study of maps, a cartographer is a map maker.  I made maps. I wished for the days of the large sailing vessels and to be an ancient mariner creating those magnificent maps that are adorned with sea monsters and forebodings such as “here there be dragons”. The career choice landed me a profitable career with our defense department with a tidy income and numerous perks. Until the point when I decided to pursue an alternate career choice that turned out to be the biggest blessing and the biggest source of stress. What are you going to do, right? I wouldn’t change it for the world, though.

If you don’t adjust your compass heading,  tack starboard or tack port, you’ll end up dashed on the rocks.

I find myself diametrically opposed however, to certain individuals who  believe –  make a plan and stick to the plan. Keep working on THAT plan.  But what do you do when that plan is snatched from your grasp? What do you do when the company that you have  worked for twenty years decides  they need a cutback? It’s nothing personal, they just need to cut their workforce by 15% and you happen to be on the list? How does that figure into THAT plan?

It doesn’t. That’s when life  has dealt you a bad hand and you can’t even bluff your way into a winning round.

So you adjust, overcome, improvise. Pull up your big girl pants, put on the  steel boned corset and chart a new course.  It’s far easier to make minor adjustments on a regular basis than end up in some strange land where you don’t speak the language and discover that you have lost your way.

Today is that day for me.  I evaluate where I am on my projects and determine my plan of action for the coming month. Last month I started on the massive project of  caring out an office area in our basement.  I shared pictures of the unfinished but mostly clean area. Another project moved into top priority and I lost some ground. The temptation to put stuff in an empty space is too great for some people to resist. I’m not going to name names as I am guilty myself. I don’t even have an office yet,  but I have shelves of my writing related stuff moved in. It would have been so much easier to  get flooring, walls, lighting, and all that painting business done first but it didn’t happen that way.  I needed it out of my kitchen and living room where it was in the way.

Anyway,  tacking to the starboard. The plan for June  on the office front is ramping up  this project and  focusing on existing writing projects. I’m not taking on any additional editing jobs until I get the ones I have completed. I hate falling behind and these will go back to the author  with no charge.  I’ve edited her entire series and I can see growth and improvement in her writing from the first one to this one. This is encouraging to me as a writer and as an editor because it means that my own writing can improve. It also means that it doesn’t have to be perfect to release my babies into the world.  It’s not like the old days when  the only means of publication were the big seven.  It provides a moment of opportunity to tack starboard or port in my writing as well and adjust my course to reach my destination.

Take a few moments today to check your headings. Where are you in comparison to where you want to be? What adjustments can you make in the coming month? year? What goals are you working towards? Do you need to set a new course entirely?

I plan to start  tomorrow on the right foot, the right headings, and make every day count.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,

Ellie

 

Odds and Ends


Wow, this week has been crazy! Anyone else having one of those weeks? OR is it months?

My TODO list seems to be growing exponentially while the check marks are scarce. Every time I mark  one thing off of the list, it seems three more are added.  I’m beginning to wonder if there is a light at the end of the tunnel or if I have entered a one-way cavern that leads to the pit of hell. Currently, my vote goes for the latter.

How do you dig out from under a mountain of work when it seems to grow daily?  It’s not like I was slacking, I’ve been diligently working on several tasks. For one project, I was greatly relieved that  my supervisor decided that I didn’t have to import everything from Word to InDesign.  InDesign is an awesome software system, but this particular manual has numerous graphs and charts in it.  When importing files,   it doesn’t hold formatting and when you add images to the mix – graphs charts, diagrams – it has ten kinds of fits. (Fits as in temper tantrum fits via digital means.)

However, my relief was short-lived when I found out the conditions of not having to  re-invent the wheel. *headdesk* Thus we come to the point of the story  of where the mountain of work came from.

I am behind  on an editing deadline,  I have an author chomping at the bits to get her book back. I must say, so far this one is the best one yet. I’ve edited the previous books in the series and   there is a marked improvement from the first to this one!

Sales in our resale shop have doubled this past month, which means  more work for me to stock inventory. That is a good problem to have aside from the additional demand on my time.

I don’t know whether to scream “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” or double up on the coffee and ignore the caffeine addiction. At some point, I have to come up for air to catch my breath but in the mean time, I’m  going as fast as I can.

The only saving grace  for even halfway getting these irons attended to is my bullet journal.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about  it. My friend Dana has  tagged me in her blog a couple of times  pertaining to  bullet journaling – hey girl!

At the beginning of April I started a new bullet journal in a Leuchterm1917.

SAy hello to my new BUJO! and it's red! Also, this fountain pen is amazing.

SAy hello to my new BUJO! and it’s red! Also, this fountain pen is amazing.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I set up my monthly spread as I had done for March, then quickly realized I  should have made some changes.

April

April

The calendar is ok,  but I put it on the wrong side of the page.  Oh well,  no biggie I just put my tracker on the left.  The next page spread is the month at a glance, and my Photo a day challenge for the month of April which was totally freaking awesome!  I don’t know if you guys enjoyed it but I sure did.  I’ve used dailies since I first starting using this system in January.  I added a monthly todo and monthly goals on the next page, which left a blank page on the facing page. It was blank until I saw a cool thing on Pinterest, so I made this.

20160527_063435

I’ll  color it in with red when I get a free moment or two.

HAHAHA! That’s funny, that’s real funny.

Anyway,  between writing, editing, administrative job, and  room shuffling my entries have been repeated todo lists. A little journaling,  a little artsy stuff,  some washi tape here and there, but most of all the daily reminder of what needs to be addressed.  Here are a few that I liked.

20160527_062306In cleaning up downstairs I found  some of my rubber stamps that I had been missing. They were stuffed into a box and carried downstairs to be put away later. *hangs head*.  The roses in the corners are stamped, the background script is a large stamp.  What can I say? I’m a big kid at heart. I find a misplaced toy and I have to play with it.  The numbered  items (11,12,13) are from a challenge from a bullet journal group, and as you can see, I have way too many arrows to forward items. I got tired of putting a P for partial completion and just left it  open.  If I had an arrow from the day before, it was the first thing I addressed the next day. Well, with the exception of reading that book. I still haven’t read it. It’s still on the to be read pile.  It’s not fiction so it keeps getting shuffled to a lower place in my stack.

Of course, while I had the stamps out, I used them for another craft project – coasters.  These are stamped then handpainted on tumbled quarry tiles. I’ve made several, sold just as many, and have a backlog of orders! Which is a good thing, right? 20160421_093650I’m trying to be positive, hence the quotes and bolded expressions. The next spread, which is the next page after this one is this:20160527_062321

A couple of things I like about this page:

  1. The blue banners that I use for date are  from paint chips. I really loved this color blue –  and I had apparently picked up a paint chip in this color every time I went into Lowe’s or Walmart. I had a bunch! Anyway, I cut them into pieces then made banners. 🙂
  2. My happy little cup!  I really like him!!
  3. My fleur de lies stamp –  found treasures.
  4. The beauty of scrapbook paper –  you can hide your mistakes!  I tried to do some fancy calligraphy writing and  botched it.

Things I don’t like – you see those blank squares? I thought I’d do a doodle a day challenge. It didn’t happen. I got to day `10.  Forwarded arrows. Hate them!

In May, I used pink ink and it was waaaayyyyyy too much pink. I’m talking  hurt your eyes pink.  I did like this page however – 20160527_062421I got to play some while waiting for a phone call.  It was a matter of not starting anything because I knew any minute I could get the call and have to rush out the door. BTW-  got to drive a big honking truck which was COOL!

 

OH, and  on the 13th I made a drastic change.  I went from long thick hair –  20150911_120026to a new style!

 

 

20160516_082823No makeup here, sorry. I guess there should have been a warning.  No that’s not pulled back, it’s gone.  It’s all gone. 12 inches of hair – gone. Plus the amount that she cut after that!

While I’m changing things, I’ve made a  plan for June that is different. I’m going with a weekly spread. We’ll see if I like it or not.  I can always change it back, I’m only doing one week at a time.  I am excited though for one nifty little feature I added –

20160527_062525

You see that box in the middle of the right side? the one that isn’t labeled? I decided to put a word counter there.  I made myself a little chart to track my progress and hopefully keep me on track.

I’ll send updated photos later, and admit my true word count – eep!  I realize this seems utilitarian, but it’s the start. Who knows what doodles or whatnot may find it’s way onto  the pages.

Write on my friends, write on!

Til next time,

Ellie

Conflicted Much?


Let’s see . . . where was I? The past few weeks have  had me in a whirl. Life is like that at times,  but then at others, it slows down for a moment or two.

I went back through my planner for the previous month and this month evaluating where I am in my goals. I discovered back in April that I wasn’t doing so well on my yearly goals as I would like to  but,  my daily goals were getting marked off the list.

I have a long way to go before I can boast about my pages, they are for my use not for the beautification of the internet. I am pleased though that I  have made a modicum of success in productivity. I know that I have too many irons in the fire.  I think it goes with my personality.  But the secondary part of me protests at every opportunity.

The  hard driving task master Type A over-achiever barely allows enough time after completion of one task before pushing me to the next while the Party Princess  gets excited about an achievement!  Do you realize what an achievement means?

It’s an opportunity for celebration   .   .   .

“YAY! Party! Party! Party!  I can make a cake. We’ll fire up the grill,  barbecue, and have some people over. Corn on the cob, potato salad, chips, margaritas, mac & cheese . . .  or maybe watermelon!” *Party Princess is lost in thought deciding what to do for decorations, appropriate celebratory foods, games, activities, who to invite*  

“Stop! We don’t have time to arrange a party. We need to move onto the next task at hand.” Taskmaster states firmly before purchases occur.

*Party Princess pouts while giving death glare*

“Well, maybe a small celebration. Just the family.” Taskmaster back pedals to avoid a halt in production and appease the Party Princess as she recalls the last halt lasted several days.

“No party? No decorations?” Party Princess’ jaw clenches tighter.

You can decorate a cake.  Keep it simple. We need to move on to the next project or rather get back to the office downstairs.”

Princess sighs.  “I don’t want to work on the office. You pushed all of my ideas aside to focus on cleaning out the daughter’s room and said I can’t paint.”

“Yet.  I said yet.  We still need to get the wiring done, the  light fixtures installed before the drywall can go up.  Then you can tape, spackle and after that, paint.”  Taskmaster enunciates the words in irritation as she glances  over the  long list of things yet to be accomplished.

Princess  opens her Kindle and begins playing Aquarium game. “NO. I don’t feel like working. NO party. NO work.”

Task master’s head sags in defeat. 

(This is the part where the task master debates the consequences of giving in to the inner child and allowing a bit of celebration. Without the party, the princess will pout, mope and not cooperate with anything productive.  The balance of  time lost in production opposed to time lost due to pouting and the latest shiny make the decision an analytical decision while the Princess solely operates in the emotional realm.  If not resolved, it quickly can cause  the chakras [I know I may not be using that right, but I hope you understand what I mean] to be out of alignment and chaos will ensue. This is a delicate situation.

For those who are new here, I am not truly bipolar or split personality. I am not making light of those things either. Within everyone’s personality are dualities and traces of sometimes a third minor aspect to make you who you uniquely are. My personality goes back and forth between these two.

This was  an easy way to share why I don’t  get more done. Not making excuses because sometimes the Taskmaster wins, sometimes the party Princess wins and sometimes on rare occasions when the moon is waning, the  stars are in alignment, and the jet stream is flowing in a general west to east direction without a major trough, they work together happily.

The rational parts of my brain are screaming to  the task master that if she allows celebrations for the small steps,  the general morale of Party Princess will  be at a higher level thus, production rates will increase.  Party Princess is a fast worker when motivated.  Hence the importance of deadlines!

Meanwhile, while I am  working on a truce between the two I am going over my planner. Some adjustments need to be made for the coming month.  This month has looked like one of my old planners with appointments, meetings, daily tasks and not much else.

The inner child must not feel oppressed while the adulting task master must feel like something is getting accomplished. Take some time to celebrate your small victories because life is a journey.

One step after another, along the path that leads to your destiny. Enjoy everyday life along the way to  get to where you want to be and don’t wait until you’ve arrived because tomorrow is not  a guarantee.

Write on my freinds, write on!

~~~~

Ellie

Procrastination Station


How many of you are procrastinators?

 Oh, come on don’t be shy. 

I admit,  procrastination is my arch nemesis.  Has anyone ever  visited Wait But Why blog?  Tim Urban  states it succinctly. He is quite brilliant but difficult to  follow at times.  I imagine that many of you probably think the same about me when I change directions without signaling.

There are a couple of truths that hit home with me.

  1. The 11th hour push. The deadline is 6 weeks away – I have time.  The deadline is 4 weeks away – I have time.  The deadline is 2 weeks away –  I should get on that, . . . right after  the YouTube  video, then the next one, and the next one . . .ooh, shiny!  The deadline  is  HOLY CRAP IT’S 2 DAYS FROM NOW – Work like a madwoman, writing 65000 words in 48 hours skipping meals and sleep, contemplating depends as a means of cutting down on interruptions. I’m just joking.  About the depends anyway.
  2. Procrastinators are ingenious at inventing ways in which to procrastinate. Like, making a blog post about being a procrastinator instead of writing that next chapter in my current WIP, or doing that online class that I must have to renew my  MLO license but instead going down the rabbit hole of Pinterest.  Here’s a short list of  procrastination vices: YouTube, Google, Sudoku, blogging, bujo (ironically both a tool for procrastinating and keeping me on task to avoid procrastinating), Facebook, crafting, binge watching TV series, shopping, planning – just about anything from writing an outline to planning the menu, to planning projects.*
  3. Whatever the THING that is most important, now becomes the least fun. Think about it, it’s true. a) I am an author. Top priority should be writing my books, yet when I sit down to write my mind races with the NEXT book idea. It’s not a matter of writer’s block for me,  it’s a matter of focus on the project at hand. b) I made the commitment  to rent space at our antique mall to sell some of the many  things we own and sell some of my handcrafted items.  Making the stuff is far more fun than tagging, logging and tracking the stuff. c) Much needed housework is not fun and becomes  an easy to put off task resulting in clutter until the point that I can’t stand it and it’s all out war. these are just a few examples.
  4. Being an authorpreneure  leaves an open-ended schedule.  I need deadlines. (Refer back to item 1) I try to set my own deadlines, really I do. But it just isn’t the same. My deadlines are more like guidelines, like the Pirate’s Code – more of a guideline. OOH, maybe we could watch that this afternoon since it’s rainy and . . . NO, I must have stuff ready  for the booth by Friday! See?  I have a deadline.  This isn’t a self-imposed deadline, which is a guideline. This is a hard date deadline set by someone else, in a business that I have paid  hard-earned money to. 
  5.  I had a Fifth point, really I did.  Otherwise known as the squirrel, the rabbit, the shiny. Distractions are a procrastinators kryptonite.

So what do you get when you combine a Creative, a writer, an idea person, and procrastination?

ME, you get me.  You get a creative person that struggles with time management needing a firm deadline in order to stay on task.

The good news is that procrastination can be  overcome. YAY!  IT’s not easy, but it is possible.  Breaking the procrastination cycle  takes hard work and constant vigilance.  I haven’t achieved that yet, just so you know.

  • I mentioned the planning projects as means of procrastinating. This is where the bujo is a double-edged sword. I will elaborate more in a post about  my bujo, but briefly : I am in a group on Facebook for bullet journaling. In this group, many of the people share pictures of their gorgeous planners. I look at my planner which is mostly writing and I get journal envy. I have to remind myself that it’s a tool, not a plaything.  Many of the women in this group (there may be men that this applies to, but I have only seen women.) spend hours decorating their bullet journals, working on their  writing, tracking everything  you can imagine. I found myself trying to decorate my bullet journal to make it prettier, and falling behind on my to-do lists. So the very thing that I began using for  the purpose of keeping me on task became a distraction to accomplishing those items on my to-do list.  It only took me about a week to realize what I was doing and get back on track.

Procrastination enables us to waste valuable time on things that don’t move us towards our goals, but instead keeps us in a waiting station on the ride to nowhere.

Make a choice today to move towards your goals!

Write on my friends, write on.

Ellie