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Yankee Daughters -- Recipes
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"Roundheads and Ramblings"

procrastination

NaNoWriMo Update: In Which I Award Myself a Badge






This year, the NaNoWriMo head honchos have made a bunch of new badges available. Some of them we earn by passing certain milepost word counts. For the others, the writer is put on her honor to award herself. So far, I have only had two -- a "Planner" Award for starting the month with an outline, and a "Tell the World" badge for blogging about my intentions. This week, I've earned my third -- the "Procrastination" badge.

I've now gone two whole days without writing a word, which has put me below the bar of expected performance. After today there are only six days left,  if I want to win this silly race, I will have to write 2,012 words or more on every one of those days.  That's doable, once I figure out how to stop this procrastination train I've been riding.

My "new and exciting ways to procrastinate" have included:

1. A search for a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau -- the first French wine to come out of this year's crop. The traditional release date in France -- practically a national holiday -- is the third Thursday in November (this past 19th). American distributors have always been quite good about having their supplies ordered so that they could be on the shelves on the required day. But not this year. My search had become increasingly frantic, until this morning, when I found cases of the stuff ready to be cracked open for Thanksgiving. One simply cannot write without the assurance that a glass of Nouveau awaits the completion of the day's production.

2. Weeks ago I had scheduled a "deep cleaning" of my kitchen and bathrooms. When the crew arrived Monday morning, I shut myself into my office to read page proofs while they worked. An hour so so later, I emerged to see how things were going, and discovered that "deep cleaning" includes the INSIDES of all cupboards and cabinets. Dishes, pots, pans, and foodstuffs were piled everywhere. "Don't worry," the head woman assured me. "We'll put everything back, except for stuff that is obviously dated "-- and she pointed to a package of grits marked to expire in 2004. I retreated to the office. But when they were gone, I couldn't find anything! And when I did an inventory of things I will need in the next couple of days, I discovered that they had discarded my newly-purchased bottle of pumpkin pie spices, along with the cloves, ginger, and cinnamon I always have on hand. So that required an emergency trip to the grocery store if I wanted pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving.

3. The third procrastination was the most fun. I received a check in the mail for a percentage of all the items I have purchased at Costco in the past year. It wasn't an enormous amount, but it counted as "found money" and therefore eligible to be frittered away, so long as I spent it at their store. So while on my wine hunt this morning, I stopped at Costco for "a minute" and spend a LONG time deciding what to buy. I ended up with a fuzzy bathrobe, a box of Belgian chocolates, and a huge Christmas wreath for my front door. And the afternoon was spent trying to figure out how to hang the wreath on the door.

The days have not been a loss. I have a  clean house, two bottles of French wine, the chocolates, and the wonderful smell of real pine every time I open the door. But tomorrow, I'll have to get back to work!



Tracking Progress

I've never liked the idea of making New Year's resolutions. Like most people, my good intentions lose strength and focus after a few days, and then I just end up feeling guilty for failing to follow through. If I made any resolution at all in the last few years, it was "I will not make any resolutions!" But this year, coming off a two-month hiatus dedicated to mending broken bones, I felt a need to do something to shake my productivity back into gear.

At about the same time, I converted my Yahoo home page to their latest format and found that it had a prominent "To Do" block above the calendar.  It was always the first thing I saw when I turned on the computer. So I decided to give it a try.  I didn't list all the little appointments I had in my desk calendar.  There were too many of them and most of them were supremely unimportant.

Instead, I used it to list my major publishing goals for the year.  There were four of them. First came a campaign to reclaim the electronic rights for my first book, followed by a complete rewrite and re-format of A Scratch with the Rebels in preparation for publishing a second edition of the e-book. I set a due date of the end of February. 

Second was an effort to find out how to go about putting out an audio version of Beyond All Price.  Under that heading were a couple of bullet points about auditioning narrators, choosing the best one, and getting the cover redesigned to fit the square forma of an audio book. The deadline there was April.

Third was finishing the first draft of Damned Yankee.  I was feeling real pressure there, because I had left the story hanging when I went into the hospital on Halloween and had failed to look a it for the whole two months.  I had lost the momentum, and also the clear road map of where the story was going.  It just sat in a computer file, rather like a dead fish. I gave myself until June to finish that one.

And finally, just to round out the year, I projected starting to work on an audio version of The Road to Frogmore

Last night I looked at my "To Do" list and was shocked to see how far I had come.  A Scratch with the Rebels is finished -- claimed, recovered, rewritten, and reformatted -- and available on Kindle and all of the Smashwords channels. I have a narrator for Beyond All Price, and we are in the production phase.  My work is done until early March when she finishes the recording and sends it to me for checking.  And yesterday I sent my editor the completed manuscript for Damned Yankee.(YAY)

Does that suggest that keeping a list of goals really works?  Maybe so! But my list is looking pretty empty. It must be time to come up with some new ideas.

When Your Imaginary Friends Won't Talk to You




I haven't managed to write more than 800 words of the last three chapters of Damned Yankee. Writer's Block still reigns. But otherwise I've been very productive.  Here's what I accomplished in the last 24 hours:

  • Finished the re-write of A Scratch with the Rebels, including a final proofreading
  • Arranged to have that manuscript professionally formatted, paid for that service, and shipped it off to the formatter.
  • Went out to dinner
  • Had a good night's sleep
  • Sent off a bunch of emails to folks I had been putting off
  • Went to the bank 
  • Went out to lunch
  • Spend too much money in Staples
  • Cleaned off my desk
  • Emptied the trash
  • Sorted all our receipts for 2013 taxes
  • Figured out how to print 250 name tags for an April Lions Conference
  • Planned a September vacation
  • Cleared all e-mails and Facebook postings

Now what am I going to use as an excuse?

Fussbudgeting the Time Away


I have the month of September carefully planned.  Now if only I were as good at executing as I am at planning!


This is the week my husband has jury duty.  So in order for him to beat the interstate traffic getting to downtown Memphis, we get up at 5:30 A.M. (Gah! It's still dark then!) By 7:00 AM he is on his way, and I have a whole day to get "things" done. I just never realized how many "things" need doing. In the past 4 hours, I've redone my hair, run a dishwasher load, printed off minutes and newsletters for a meeting tonight, read e-mail and Facebook (of course!), placed 2 business phone calls for missing husband, read the morning paper, and read several chapters of a book I need as background for finishing my next novel.  I've also set up automatic tweets in hopes of building interest in my upcoming edition of short stories (Left by the Side of the Road), cleaned all Angry Birds games off my iPad, and updated 44 other apps. Oh, and I had to answer (diplomatically, I hope) a request for academic advice from a former student.

What did I think I was going to do this morning?  I meant to write Chapter 35 of "Damed Yankee." Sigh! I know where the chapter is going.  The research is done. The outline is ready. It's just a matter of applying seat of pants to seat of chair, but that's harder than it sounds.  Having time all to myself is bringing out out all the latent aspects of my persona.  There's a closet that I want to tear into, filling donation bags with perfectly serviceable clothes that never get worn.  There's a recipe for blueberry streusel muffins begging for oven time. I could be making packing lists for three trips coming up in the next three weeks.  Five kitties are vying for my attention, and one really needs a comb out. Oh, and a nap sounds nice, too. 



Do I have writer's block? No! I just need a secretary -- or maybe an extra day or two to fill with the non-writer tasks I've been procrastinating about.