April Showers

posted in: Life Happens, REFLECTIONS, SEASONS, writing | 1

In SW MO, we have more than “showers”, we have flooding at this date. Rivers are brown with mud, sheets of gray rain and big, big lightning and thunder storms.

But the rolling hills are filled with new green, a contrast to the dark cedars. Not a good time for those who are allergy challenged. And the dogwoods are blooming, the roses and everything is just–grand, is the word. Grand.

My knockout roses have started to bloom and I can’t wait to see what else I’ve planted–not an organized gardener. If I can find a place for a bulb, there it goes. 🙂

It gets really hot and dry here in the summer, so my porch has lots of succulents. They are new to me and I’m enjoying them. Meanwhile, these beauties are along our highways:

I’m writing heavily and unplug during high storms, which can really stop a story rolling along, coming thru my fingertips. I’ve been waiting to spend time working with my last contest “Happy4Me” and it was more difficult than I supposed. The question was: What do you do when you’re down?

The range of answers was tremendous, and most entries listed reading. I am truly inspired by all the ways people try to work with their I’m down-mood. Uncommon, thoughtful answers that included volunteering, video games, crafts, remembering good times, etc. Terrific thoughtful answers and I loved each one. I’m announcing the winners soon in my email list, so if you haven’t yet, SUBSCRIBE HERE.

If I can–remember, I’m writing heavily–I want to write more about my Happy4Me contest which has ended. You’ll know when I do write about it.

I am humbled by the people facing real challenges, either emotional or physical or both, and by the simple joy and appreciation of life people hug within them.

Enjoy!

Cait

Organized or Stressed?

posted in: DIY, REFLECTIONS | 2

! The multiple winners of my Cradle Contents have been notified via email. I am so hoping this cover is going to be super and you’ll see it here with its mates. I have some idea I’m going to draw a logo for all 3 books, but we’ll see. 🙂 

Jan/Feb are my really hard working months and right now I’m amid organizing for 2017. I am not using the new snazzy hot pink planner I bought. It did not note Pearl Harbor, which is important to me–truly disappointed in that. I am a planner-snob.

This is the first year I’ve tried working ahead, with a planner. I opted for making my own to which I could add pages, pockets, etc. I love these smaller 3-ring binders for almost everything. This one is my work book, where I keep notes about projects, etc. Love, love this notebook. Then my brand new homemade planner is white. Homemade works better for me, where pages can be added or removed. These notebooks are handy for just about everything. And it’s fun DIY.

Sometimes I think that with all the electronic gizmos, it still comes down to paper. With these DIY notebooks, you can have sticker-fun. Who doesn’t love stickers? And happy cups. That’s my happy cup on my notebook, btw.

I’m just starting a new book/series and marking total words written per day in my DIY notebook. This is where the goal setting comes in. Some writers want so many words per day. I don’t. I write more in scenes and go with the flow, but I know to make a deadline, I need to be midpoint by a specific date. I approximate. I’ve written enough to know when it’s time to stop, to take a drive, walk, and generally get away.

SIDE NOTE: In case you didn’t know, laying out a new book, the possible start of a series, is an agonizing process. Character names have to be matched, selected carefully. Where to start, etc. are big mulling items. Generally, I just write and worry about getting the set up down, then re-edit those first pages and take off.

Is this current planner rage more beast than help? Is extreme goal-setting creating even more stress to our everyday lives? We are actually pressuring ourselves. Some days, I am disappointed that I didn’t get whatever done, most frustrated. On those days, I make a list of the things that I did and it’s quite a long list. I forgive myself. There are only so many hours in a day, so much of my energy.

And then, life comes along and interferes, disrupting the whole planned ball game. Demands on an individual are huge, encompassing care for our families, work routines, maintenance of car and home and health, plus huge amounts of paper work and daily business.

This year, I am taking more time off Internet, especially the holidays. Many writers are not on Internet on Sunday or a chosen day, and that is a good plan, to back away for just that one day and do something else. Refreshing, nurturing ourselves is very important. We’re not machines, programmed to run constantly.

My question is: Are we planning ourselves into stress, rather than relieving it by planning ahead? Are we too goal oriented? What is our individual time and energy vs the goals we set, the plans we make?