Thursday, November 29, 2012

Time to Crack the Whip

Get back to work!
This is my second favorite time of year. Yeah, it's colder, and drearier. We have to rake and clean the gutters (again and again) and after that everything just looks a little bleak.

But it's still football season, and rivalries are heating up. Sundays are exciting. The girls are starting indoor soccer this weekend, which is always fun to watch. And, of course, we have the holidays.

This year, I didn't do NaNoWriMo (could have, but not in a position to start a new book). My freelance work slowed down, and the stream at my day job slowed a little, too, for various reasons. I've drifted through the month, doing what needed to be done but not as much of the non-urgent stuff as I intended.

That's got to change.

I did start Christmas shopping early, so that part isn't going to be heavy pressure, as long as I don't get cocky. :) After losing 17 pounds I got lazy and stopped counting calories, but I've still paid attention and haven't gained back even a tenth of a pound. I'm going to be vigilant over the holidays but won't worry about budgeting until we get through the difficult period. Difficult meaning I don't want to go to author lunches and family meals and parties and spend the whole time going, "do you know how many calories are in this dip?" Moderation is the rule, with a focus on not eating when I'm not hungry. More challenging with patients keep bringing in cookies, so there's one whip to be cracked.

Another is productivity. I'm struggling with my time management. Like yesterday, we had a staff meeting after work, so by the time I got home I had just enough time to do the dishes and put away my laundry before I had to go pick up Number Two at school. Then I went to the gym with Number One, came home, took a quick shower, made dinner, ate, had to go back to the school to pick up Market Day (a grocery fundraiser for the schools). By the time I got my client work done, it was after 9:00 p.m. I have to figure out what I'm going to do with that. Get up earlier, force myself to work later and hope it's not dreck because of temporary brain death, or push myself to do one page here, a paragraph there. That's always easier when you're writing fresh and can take it anywhere, though. When you're editing, you have to keep details straight, and get into the world of the story, and be locked to your computer. Minutes at a time aren't very efficient.

But where I really need to crack the whip is in the story itself. I'm working on two. In one, I don't think the big breach is serious enough. I keep going back, but until this very second haven't hit on the solution. It just hit me that I have the problem occurring too early. I just need to move it to a little later, and I think it will work out perfectly. I can stop struggling to create conflict and it will happen more naturally. Yay!

The other project is Soulflight, which was written and set aside long ago. Unlike book 1 in The Soul Series, Soul of the Dragon, I haven't updated this book several times over the years. So it needs a lot of updating.

I thought going into it that it would just mean tweaking technology references and stuff, and that's how I started. But I'm not going far enough. The fact that YouTube didn't exist then and plays such a huge role in our lives now means it is integral to the plot.

So I need to get tough and not take the easy way out, trying to fit the pieces that are there into the new reality. No, I have to dig in there and put a lot more pressure on my heroine. She has to be more afraid, more in danger, more desperate. I've always struggled with making things challenging for my characters, but now that I know what I have to do, it feels better.

So I'd better get back to it!

Is there anything you need to be harder on yourself about right now?


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

My time management has sucked too. I don't seem to have any energy. Blah. and I'm still waiting for the Christmas spirit to arrive.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

That sounds like a bad combination, Sue. :( I hope you find it soon! Any of the above. LOL

MJFredrick said...

My time management, too. I blame Pinterest. Well, my lack of discipline that has me playing on Pinterest.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I can see how hungry Pinterest would be for chunks of time. LOL

MJFredrick said...

It's not just the pictures, it's doing the projects, and shopping for the supplies to do the projects. I did cook a lot more this year, though, but some weeks I was at the grocery store 4 times!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

See, those are much better reasons for time being filled than just surfing from one bit to another. LOL

MJFredrick said...

Probably true, but I was pretty manic there for awhile, lol!