Too Busy for Anything?

Busy, busy. Market in Mexico. My photo.
Busy, busy. Market in Mexico. My photo.

So since September has started, generally my life has turned upside-down-crazy-town. This particular crazy-town is relatively friendly, and I’m fairly sure that I’m the resident lunatic, since part of the reason things are so busy is that I keep volunteering to do more.

And while I’ve been so busy, I’ve been considering if I’m actually accomplishing anything.

Now, this isn’t the case where I’m going to tell you not to multi-task, since you’ve probably made up your mind about that already, haven’t you? No, instead I’m musing about the fact that sometimes you can be too busy for anything, which leaves you wondering: so what the heck am I doing anyway?

My answer has been to examine what’s frustrating me (ie: not getting as much time writing as I’d like and I’m used to) and balancing this with first, what needs to be done, and second, what I’ll regret if it doesn’t get done.

The result, for someone who thrives on counting how many new words I’ve added and loves checking off things on a to-do list, is that I’m checking off less items, and writing less words … but I think what I may be doing is more important.

I’m making sure that the time I spend with the kidlet, since there’s not as much just-us-alone time with her in playschool, is sacred time. And sincere time. I try not to work on the computer or something else (unless it’s in front of the tv), and instead, we’ve painted pictures together, played with playdough and made endless “peas.” And she’s happier and more placable. And I appreciate and love my little miss all that much more.

I’ve also tried making a bit more time for me, which means I’ve started to go to the gym (and we’re way to early for the feel-good stage – I’m only at the “ow, it hurts” stage). I’ve also been reading more, things that are fun and just bring me pleasure. Anything dark gets the boot about now.

So what have I accomplished? I’m starting to get past the panicked feeling of running out of time and behind everyone else. And I’m starting to feel maybe, that there are things more important than those to-do lists and productivity lists (though who can resist the list or two? They’re so adorable!).

And such ends my round-about-apology for not posting last week. I’ve been too busy for anything. But I’m working on that, and making sure that instead, I’m busy, but focused on what’s really important.

What about you? Has back to fall meant back to craziness? Ever have that feeling you’ll never catch up? Love to hear from you. 🙂

Thanks for reading, Happy Thanksgiving from here in Canada, and have a great week. 🙂

The Journey to Publication

On Life as a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist

So no post last week, since it was Victoria Day Long weekend, which means I ran around battling mosquitoes and planting fresh young seedlings for the slugs to eat.

This week, I thought I’d share a touch of life as a 2014 Golden Heart Finalist. We’re all getting quite excited with the conference coming up quickly, and opportunity abounds. 🙂 Essentially, the Awards Night Gala is like the Academy Awards for romance. The Rita finalists (published authors up for awards) are the real belles of the ball, which makes us Golden Heart Finalists a bit like the little sisters who get to come, too.

Over these last few months, I’ve finally come to think that maybe it wasn’t fluke I’m amongst these other very talented writers. After much discussion, we’re now the Dreamweavers. And the close connections I’ve formed with some of my sister Golden Heart nominees is marvelous benefit I’d never considered. I’ve discovered some stellar CPs, the kind I’ve been looking for a long time.

I also didn’t anticipate the pressure the nomination places you under. Good pressure, certainly, but even still, there’s a feeling of wanting to live up to the nomination, to make the most of the opportunity, to “waste” nothing. I think I’m starting to understand the advice to hang on tight. 😉

Other than that, it’s been fun to actually blog hope a bit. Check out GH sister (and historical finalist) Jillian Lark, who’s been featuring the various nominees. Tomorrow (Tuesday), she’s featuring the paranormal and suspense nominees, so please stop by. 🙂

Otherwise, for me, I’m off to get back to writing. Since I’ve finally reached that part in this WIP where I can hardly wait to add new words each day. Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙂

The Journey to Publication, Writing

Sink or Shine: If life is a grindstone, can it obliterate you?

“Life is a grindstone. Whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.” – T.L. Holdcroft.


Let’s face it: sometimes life is hard. Choosing to take action, to take risks, to take the road less traveled … well, you have to know the path will not always be easy. Even if you don’t

Flowers in my garden - a good place to run away to.
Flowers in my garden – a good place to run away to.

take risks, life always has its ups and downs.

The journey towards publication and self-defined success is no different. For some – especially when seen from the outside – the path will seem easier, more direct. For others, ridiculously hard. For ourselves? I think we like to dream our path will somehow be made easier, but know it probably won’t be. And maybe it shouldn’t be – or maybe that’s just my parents’ mentality talking.

Sometimes, you will hate your job – no matter what you do for a living. Your boss is cruel and sadistic. Someone else got the promotion. Your friends seem to have easy cash-flow while you scrimp and save.

But here’s the thing: it’s your choice. All of it.

Or at least, how you choose to react to it.

There are some people who we think have it all. They have been given every opportunity. Perhaps luck and circumstance dealt them a great hand. And then these same people gripe and whine, are never satisfied – and never will be. They may not even realize their good fortune because things have always been so good, they take that for granted, too. Until they choose to change their outlook, things will never be better for them, as life is in the eye of the beholder, and quality thereof entirely subjective.

Life can indeed be a grindstone. But you only get ground down if you let it. If you’re not made of sterner stuff. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, try to overcome weakness, and try to move forward in a positive (or at least useful) manner.

Reality says that sometimes things will be difficult. Beginnings, Middles, and Endings – as in plot – are inevitable. But how we deal with them makes all the difference.  The greater pressure we’re subjected to, the greater the opportunity for strength.  We can be like gemstones, made stronger because of what we’ve survived. We WILL shine because of our perseverance, our strength, our outlook.

Or, we can wilt and say we’re soapstone. Let the grinding stone obliterate us.

Which would you rather be?

Thanks for reading – stick with those goals! Have a great week.

The Journey to Publication, Writing

It’s a Mad World – In the Real and Fictional World

Last week I finished the rough draft of my latest WIP; it’s a total mess. Today was a doctor’s appointment for the kidlet, meaning I had to drive into town, braving the idiots on the road who clearly place a higher value on their own time – and lives – above all else. Then I check out Yahoo news and there are articles about a school selling an art text book for $180 that has no pictures, and the now-defunct company, Zellers, looking for a new home for their mascot, Zeddy. Oh, and don’t forget the woman who was arrested in Texas for letting her kids play outside.

Lego store in the Disney Marketplace in Orlando, Florida – taken by me, August 2010 – art imitates life?

Looking at this, just how bad can my fictional world be? Or, how confused and bizarre does it have to be if art imitates life?

Oh, sure, in my initial revision notes I have questions like: “define her species here,” and “assume by this point that hero is completely unlike what he was supposed to be at the outset.” But at least I can change and revise – and make that world have an order and logic.

The real world doesn’t seem to want to play by those rules. Or maybe we just take too great an interest in the surreal and the bizarre – which means this is what we make note of, what makes it into top news, why people report on it in the first place.

Which leads back to fiction: do we have a need to find order in fiction? If we’re writers, to create that order? Are we searching for it in our reading? Should art reflect life, or does it have to be something else, possibly something better?

I wonder if perhaps this depends on where you are in your life and what you read. I love happy endings and romance because I’m not entirely convinced that happens in real life. I don’t want to read about horrible things continuing to happen to people until they finally succumb because I can turn on the news or read a newspaper to hear about that – and unfortunately, those people can’t be saved in revision.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading. Have a great week.