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Monthly Archives: January 2015


Janurary’s Affirmation: I am Organized and Productive

What should I do now?

What should I do now?

What I have accomplished in January

My total life makeover is off to a great start. The past month has been a productive a month where I have focused on getting organized and developing my productivity. In the process of getting organized and more productive,  I have been developing my strategy for next month’s affirmation, posts and Bubblews. I have even thought about a few hubs that I intend to add to my list, but as I see it right now, I have pretty much completed most of the hubs that I intend to do on Hubpages. Oh, I will update each of the hubs that I have written and will probably add another hub from time to time, but I pretty much have all the hubs I want. For now, I am going to work on Bubblews and my blog for adding content on line and perhaps I will find another venue upon which to write, but mostly I want to focus on getting my books published, getting them publicity, and growing a following for them.

I am amazed at how much more work I am able to finish every day. I have finished my editing of A Coward’s Solace and have sent off to get a physical copy of it for my beta reader. I told her that I am giving her a month to read it and tell me what she likes and doesn’t like about the book, and especially where she sees holes in the story. I am mostly interested in where I could use improvement. I like considering myself a good writer and a good writer wants to improve on a regular basis.

My next project regarding A Coward’s Solace will be finishing four covers for my followers to pick their favorites. More on this soon. Which brings us to the fact that this month is ending and the beginning of February means a new month and a new affirmation.

February’s Affirmation: I am Energetic, Fit, Strong, and Healthy

This is the body that dieting got me. Let's see where a healthy lifestyle leads.

This is the body that dieting got me. Let’s see where a healthy lifestyle leads.

What I hope to accomplish in February

February will not be about dieting. Even though I do expect to drop weight, February’s affirmation will be about getting healthy and staying healthy. It will be about educating myself about and creating lifestyle changes that positively affect my health. Over the month I will research, examine, and share what I discover, and I will also be living out the lifestyle changes that I endorse.

As I did in January, I am going to be focusing on my affirmation and acting on that affirmation. What will be different however is that instead of doing one thing every day and building on that, I have a checklist that I go by and utilize on a daily basis. On that checklist I include what I eat, what should be eating, the exercise that I get on a daily basis, how much sleep I am getting, and even how I deal with the stress of the day. I may tweak my checklist over the month or it might stay the same.

Continuing with January’s Affirmation

Just because I am adding a new affirmation in February, does not mean that I will stop doing what I started doing in January. In February, I will continue to affirm what I did in January. I  continue to be organized and productive, but I am also Energetic, Fit, Strong, and Healthy. I am love the fact that my life is getting better every day and that is what this blog, the affirmations, the goals, the plans, and the actions are all about.

Was January as organized and productive as you wanted it to be? Will February be just as good or even better?

 

 

 

 


Taking Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

I am learning the best tool for meeting my goals. It is in using deadlines. Last week I decided that I would finish editing my book A Coward’s Solace and publish it in a form to give to my first beta reader. That is exactly what I did. Because I had that project to do, I was pressed for time. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get this blog out. Rather than giving up and making the excuse that I didn’t have time, I decided that I would take advantage of Parkinson’s Law and go ahead and try to see if I could finish the blog after all. I figured that I could at least get started on it. So here I am.

What is Parkinson’s Law?

Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion

Creating Deadlines Makes Me Focus on Meeting My Goals

Because I am limiting the time that I have to complete this project by using this deadline, I have to focus on the project. That was why I finished editing my manuscript last week. I decided that I would have it edited and formatted by the time that I went to work Thursday afternoon. That was exactly what I did. I have one major goal off the table thanks to the deadline that I gave it. If I didn’t have the deadline I would probably still be editing.

This week I will have several other deadlines that I intend to complete. For instance, this week January ends so I have to have both this blog and the one for next Thursday finished along with the remaining Bubblews that I want to write. I also am working on an on-line marketing campaign for my book: Simply Vegetable Gardening. Last year I got the book out a little too late for the gardening season, so I want to focus on that market. In addition, I need to do some research for my February Affirmation which will be: I am Energetic, Fit, Strong, and Healthy. More on that subject later. Oh, yes, I also have the covers for A Coward’s Solace to work on. If I can get all that done, I will start working on the next novel that I intend to publish this year: Sailing under the Black Flag

What about you? Do Deadlines Help you meet your goals?

 


What should I do now?

What should I do now?

My Book is Ready for my Beta Reader

During the past three days I have been working diligently on the final draft of of my manuscript of my novel A Coward’s Solace: The Locket Saga Book III. This morning I formatted the book then went to Lulu.com and published a copy of the book for my first beta reader. When she’s done with it and tells me what she thinks is wrong with it, I will make more edits and pass it onto my second beta reader to discover her opinion. Again I will make edits. Then the book goes to get proofread by yet another person. In the meantime, I will have to determine the final cover for the book  I am going to do something that I have not done before and allow my readers to help me choose that final cover. Once the beta readers work their magic and I have the final cover in place, at that point, the book will be ready for the general public to read.

The Lesson I had to Learn the Hard Way

In my first book of the Locket Saga When God Turned His Head,  I thought that I could do all of my own editing and formatting, create my cover and everything would be perfect. That was certainly not the case. I discovered that no matter how many times I tried to edit my own work, I still missed errors that I had made. After reading and working with my manuscript for a long time, I was seeing the book as I thought it should read rather than the way that it actually read. I really needed another set of eyes to read over my work.

So now I use other eyes to show me what I missed. That is why my books are now going to beta readers. Rather than doing what many others do and send their books to beta readers who are far away, I am having local friends beta read it. I am also having the book printed out for the beta readers to read so that they can mark right on the page what is wrong. I am using one beta reader at a time as well so that I can consider one reader’s input before going to the next.

Not that I Get A Break Now

Just because my manuscript of A Coward’s Solace has been sent to my beta reader does not mean that I am done working the novel for now even. My next task will be to design four covers to share with my readers in a survey. This will not only allow me to get the best cover for my book, but it will also act as advertising that my book will soon be coming out. Another tip I have learned along the way about marketing my books.

In addition the work I still have to do on A Coward’s Solace I want to get ahead on my other writing projects on Bubblews, Hubpages, and here on my blog. Also, I want to start my newsletter up again.

Finally, if I want to write those other two books  (and write the first draft of another on NaNoWriMo) this year,  I will need to get started on them as well.

I Did Celebrate Though

To celebrate reaching this milestone, however, I ate a bowl of yogurt with fruit and lots and lots of whipped cream. After all, it is a time to celebrate! I finished editing my novel!

 


The other day, I hear someone say something about productivity that was so profound, that I had to remember it. I was listening to a video and the man on the video said that before he started doing a task or project, he asked himself if there was anything more important that he should have been doing at that moment.

What should I do now?

What should I do now?

  Is there something more important that I should be doing rather than doing what I am doing right now?

If I were to be doing something, and I were to come up with an answer that was not no, then I would have to ask myself why am I not doing the thing that is more important? The answer to that question, if answered honestly would probably give you a reason for your procrastination of the reason that you are not doing the more important project.

That can be said about anything that we are doing. If I am tired, is working on that project the most important thing I should be doing? Probably not. Sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep and working on that project in the morning might just probably be the most profitable thing I can do both in the standpoint of the project and my health. I have learned that sleep is a high priority on my list of things to do.

My Most Important Project: Finishing and Publishing A Coward’s Solace

I am coming close to finishing my novel A Coward’s Solace the third book in the Locket Saga. In a few days I will be publishing a private copy for my first beta reader to read. She will read it and give me feedback on what she thought of it.  In the meantime I will be doing a survey on what one of four covers others would like to see on the book.

My Next Big Project: Sailing Under the Black Flag.

I am looking forward to working on my next novel which I call Sailing under the Black Flag. I have been reading lately about the editing process, and like all good writers, I will try to streamline my editing process and put out a better product with each book that I write. Fortunately, I know most of my main characters and I have finished much of my research, and I have finished my first draft. To streamline my editing process, I am going to edit my first draft before moving onto my second draft of 80 thousand words. I will determine what works and what doesn’t work in the first draft so that I am not tripping over poorly written, unnecessary words just so that I can get word count. This is what slowed me down in writing A Coward’s Solace. I didn’t want to lose my word count. The swift knife of editing before moving on will take care of that.

While I am working on my edits of Sailing Under the Black Flag, I am going to create an on-going writing and editing strategy for getting my books written and into my readers more regularly. I have four first drafts of novels in the Locket Saga written and I have the ambitious goal of getting three of those books out this year. If I develop a strategy to get it all done, and actually put in the time every day to make it happen, there is no reason I can’t complete this goal.

Developing an On-going Marketing Strategy

This is one area where I have to admit that I have not done very well when it has come to writing my books. What good is writing the best book ever written (I know, that’s pretty grandiose, but then what is authorship but a grandiose experience?) if no one knows its out there. Its like asking the question: If a tree in the forest falls to the ground, but no one hears it, does it actually make a sound. Of course it does, but there is no one there to care.

As it stands right now, I have a couple of ideas for my first three books that I need to implement right away. These ideas should also help me develop my marketing strategy for both A Coward’s Solace and Sailing Under the Black Flag. More on this as my marketing strategy unfolds.

Planning Ahead for February

I know that we are just over half way through with January, but I am already thinking ahead and planning for my affirmation and posts for February. Here’s what I am thinking. My February Affirmation will be: I am energetic, healthy, and fit. Rather than taking one specific action each day, I am going to change it out a bit and create a checkoff sheet of healthy things that I will do or not do every day of the month. I can even include on this sheet a place to write down how I feel that day about checking off or not checking off the items on the sheet. In order to get this done by February, I will definitely need to have created the sheet before the beginning of that month. Again, more about this later.

Planning for the Rest of the Year

I have a document that I created at the beginning of the month that outlines a little of what I might want to accomplish during the coming year. These include affirmations that still need work. I am also going to start working on some ideas for bubblews that I want to write during the year. (So far I have most of this month’s bubblews written). (Check out my bubblews entries here) During the remainder of this month (January), I intend to work on this document so that I am better able to focus on the other projects that I intend to have done by the end of the year.

If the remainder of the year is as fruitful for me as this month has already been for me, I believe that I will have a successful year indeed.


The Fallacy of Time Management

A fallacy exists concerning time management. Time cannot be managed. It goes by whether we do anything constructive with it or not. Every day has 24 hours. Every hour has sixty minutes. Every minute has sixty seconds. It is not therefore time that is managed, it is what we do during the time allotted to us. The more we focus on specific projects during a specific length of time determines how much we get done during that time.

The Edges of our Routines

summer in the Ozarks 001

An example of an edge between a forest and a field

Lately I have been studying permaculture. Permaculture is a concept that integrates farming practices with how nature does things without any help from man at all. In permaculture, land does not produce less per acre than commercial farming practices but in fact produces exponentially more per acre. The acreage simply does not produce as much of any single crop as commercial farming practices do.

Transitional areas between pasture and woodlands is called “the edge”. The edge is the part of the land where most of the action is taking place. It is at the edge of the forest that there is the most variety of plants and most of the animals live, breed, and raise their young.

Our daily activities are similar in that we do the most activity during transitional times during the day. For instance, our morning routine is an edge between sleep and work. Mealtimes are an edge as is the time in which we leave work and return home. Our final edge is at the end of our waking hours when we are preparing for sleep.

To make the most of our edges to our days, we develop routines containing numerous habits that we perform. It is in these edges of our day that we can remove bad habits or add the new habits that we want to create.

Changing My Days to Make Them More Productive

I am currently analyzing my day to determine how I can make each and every day more productive than the last. I am going through each one of my transitional edges to give me a better edge for making each day better. The edges or transition periods of my routine exist in my wakeup routine, bedtime routine, during meals, and between work and afternoon home time.

So far, I have determined that during my waking routine,

  • I need to begin adding several minutes of exercise.

At the end of the day transition between being awake and sleeping,

  • I need to include time for a brain-dump.
  • I also need to spend some time thinking about all the things that i am grateful for.
  • In addition, I need to spend more time the night before determining what I am going to do the next day. In my mealtime routines.

I believe it is important  to complete the mealtime routine.

  • I need to set aside the time to prepare the meal, sit down to enjoy the meal, and then take the time right then to do cleanup of the meal.
  • In addition, I would do well to write out a weekly meal schedule so that I make certain that I have all the food available for that meal by going shopping just one time per week instead of several times during the week.

I plan to have a definite end to my work day schedule and offer myself time to relax and rejuvenate at the end of the day.

  • All work and no play can make Cygnet a dull girl, therefore I am going to plan a rest time at the end of my designated work time.
  • I could get a bite to eat, or drink a glass of water.
  • I could do some relaxation exercises.
  • I could just lie down for a few minutes
  • I could do some meditation or prayer

Although I have yet to implement these intentions into my day, I have identified different ways I can better utilize these transitional times during my day. Many of these things just take a few minutes to do, but could make a mountain of difference in how productive I can be day in and day out.


When we're cleaning out the closets in our lives, it is easier when we have friends to help us.

When we’re cleaning out the closets in our lives, it is easier when we have friends to help us.

Every month I have a different affirmation that I am following up with daily action steps. This month my affirmation is: I am organized and productive. One of the things that I have done to fulfill the first part of this affirmation is to clean out my closet.

Closets are Catchalls

What is it about closets that they become catchalls for anything and everything? I think part of it is the fact that we can throw our stuff in there and shut the door and not have to deal with it for the time being. It is so easy just to put them into a box and leave them. We decide that we will deal with them later.

Emotional Clutter

When I was cleaning out my closet, I came across a photo of my mother, my siblings and I at my Dad’s funeral. We didn’t realize it at the time, but it was the last photo that the six of us kids would ever have together. Six weeks later, my brother Allen died and six months later, my sister also would pass away.
As I was cleaning out the closet, the emotions of the loss came flooding back. Three close family members gone within six months. Add to that, I felt the feeling of loss concerning the fact that my husband and I separated after thirteen years of marriage. Emotional pain that I thought I had dealt with came rushing back.

Dealing with the Emotional Clutter

Just as it is hard to part with things that might be in my closet, I am having difficulty letting go of emotional baggage as well. As painful as it is to deal with, like cleaning out the physical closet, I need to clean out this emotional closet in my mind. Before I can get rid of it, I must recognize this emotional clutter for what it is.  Cleaning out my physical space is helping with that.I am going through things in my closet that are reminding me of things that I have hidden away in my heart that I need to face. By facing those fears and hurts, I recognize that I still hold them and they are affecting my ability to move forward.

In addition, knowing that I have friends and family who care about me, helps too. I am very grateful for all the emotional support that I have had. My son loved me enough to try to find a place for me and although it was not ideal for me, I am grateful that he cared enough to help in the way that he did. I am also grateful to my current roommate in that she gave me a place better suited to me. I am grateful to my church friends for not only offering your support, but also helping me get the awesome bed that I sleep in every night. I am grateful that when my other friends hear my story, you voice you support for me. That means a lot. I don’t know what I would do without all of you.

Finally, I have learned that probably the most important lesson of all. I have been talking with my creator. I believe that this is where true healing happens. I find that the one who created me to be the person that I am sympathizes and empathizes with my current circumstances. It is in those situations of loss of loved ones that we realize that God grieves when he loses loved ones sin. He gives me strength when my own strength no longer exists.

Dealing with Your Emotional Clutter

“You Don’t have to Face it alone”

How do you deal with your emotional clutter? Your emotional clutter may not be the sorrow of the loss of loved ones or the grief of pending divorce. Your emotional clutter might be something else. Perhaps you are angry with God and think that he does not care about you. Perhaps you doubt his existence. Perhaps you are angry and unforgiving toward yourself or someone else who is close to you. Perhaps someone has hurt you so deeply, that you simply cannot face the pain that you feel.Help exists, you just have to look for it.

Realize that you don’t have to face it alone.The one who created you wants you fixed and he will help.If you don’t know your creator, ask him to reveal himself to you. He is just waiting for you to ask.

Your creator has placed around you people who want to help you, if you will seek them out. Perhaps there is a family member or friend. You may also seek out a member of the clergy or other professional help.


Affirmations are Statements of Faith

Romanian Monastery

Romanian Monastery

Some Christians believe that affirmations that people set in front of them and meditate on are new age concepts that Christians should not participate in using them. This however cannot be further from the truth. The Bible tells us to meditate on scriptures. Scriptures which are statements of truth. That is all that an affirmation is, a statement of what we believe should be true. An affirmation directly out of the Bible that individuals who are sick should read is from Isaiah 53:5: “by his stripes we are healed.”

Another word for affirmation is intention. This affirmation or any affirmation says something about how I intend to grow in character. I use the statement rather than putting this affirmation into a desire. Rather than saying  I will be organized and productive, I say I am organized and productive.This statement is in the present tense rather than the future tense because I intend to reinforce  this affirmation  with action today.

Affirmations like Bible memory verses should be meditated on throughout the day. The first thing I do in the morning is read the affirmation. I have the affirmation posted in numerous places and read them at various times during the day. I have a card that I carry with me in my purse. Before I go to bed at night, I read over the affirmation. Sometime during the day I do at least one (often small) action that reinforces the affirmation.

Affirmations Are More Effective if Backed Up with Action

Faith if it has not works is dead being alone. Yes, a man may say you have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2: 17&18

I have read studies that state that affirmations on their own do little to change an individual’s behavior. I know that is true with me. If I read an affirmation, if I do not really believe it, I cannot make myself read affirmations until I believe what I am reading. No matter how loud or how many times I read the affirmation, there’s still that little voice in my head that says that there is no substance to the affirmation.

Other studies, however, say that when affirmations are most effective when backed up by actions. Actions give affirmations are given substance. For instance, since the beginning of the year, every day,  I have been putting action to this affirmation. I wrote out the affirmation card (organization). I cleaned my closet (organization). I wrote a Bubblew for every day so far this year (production). This is my third Blog for this year (production). I have worked on the final edit of my newest book A Coward’s Solace. I write down all the action that I have done so that I can visualize what I have already done. This also adds substance to the affirmation.

Using Streaks to Maintain Momentum

Jerry Seinfeld said that when he was writing jokes, he would write so many jokes per day. As soon as he had written that many jokes that day, he would put an “X” on his calendar. Once the “X” was on the calendar, he determined that he would then be done for the day. He knew that it was more important to write jokes every day than it was to spend a lot of time on one day writing his jokes. When he looked at his calendar, he knew that the streak of “X”‘s on his calendar indicated that he was being productive and was making progress. He would get bummed if he had to start over because he broke his winning streak.

I have a couple of .projects that I too am using streaks to move ahead. One way that I am using this method is in learning the Spanish language. I am using Duolingo as the program that I am using because for one it is free and  two it is easy for me to use. I don’t have to do anything accept do one ten point lesson per day and I have a streak some days I do more, but all I require myself to do is one lesson per day. To this date, my winning streak is 33 days. For more information about this program, check out my article Learn a Language for Free.

The other way that I use it is for keeping track of the days that I am working on current work in progress in The Locket Sage Book 3: A Coward’s Solace. I have to admit, I have not been as successful with this because my streak is currently only 3 days long.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

As was stated earlier, it is not as important to do a lot every day as much as it is important to do at least a little every day. By focusing on the affirmations and the consistent daily action, My goal this month of being organized and productive is being realized. It is not even as difficult as I thought it would be. It really does take a goal and the determination and faith to do the work required to make the goal a reality.

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