Tag Archives: time management

Living Deliberately

Maybe that headline is little too much, but I’m making a point to be a more aware of my time second semester.

It’s super easy to get caught in work and to live in the newsroom. I like it there. It’s fun. I like the kids. We do great work. The students like 80s music and will jump into a dance party on demand. I mean, yeah. It’s AWESOME.

But I need to reclaim my time. And they need to reclaim theirs.

Yes, after school deadlines are part of my world. No, staying after school every day is not healthy, wise or a good lesson for my kids.


I have a signup sheet on the table. If kids need to work after school outside of designated work nights or past the 30 minutes I’m always here, they have to sign up on Monday for the week. They can’t stay after Friday. We’ll see about Saturday mornings. They’re fun but they make the weekend short, and that’s not good for any of us.

This live deliberately goal will require all of us to plan better. It will also encourage us to do more outside the classroom.

I want my room to be vibrant and alive and exciting and fun. But I want us all to be healthy with the time we spend.

We’ll see how it works. 😊👩‍💻👏

An aside: you guys, Quest chips are LCHF heaven.

What I’m Loving: coffee, Diet Dr Pepper, these temperatures, Quest chips, LCHF, our yearbook cover, the scene I just wrote in my WIP, getting all my electrolytes in, the Daily Calm

What I’m Writing: So Much For Happily Ever After

Sometimes the Story’s Bigger Than the Work

Image by Clyde Robinson. Used under Creative Commons License. http://www.flickr.com/photos/crobj/2930997855/

I was horrified when I heard about the Sikh temple shooting in Wisconsin. My prayers go out to those affected. I hope the media can figure out a way to cover the story without implying the shooting would have been understandable had the temple been a mosque. I don’t think that’s what they mean to be saying but it’s sure coming across that way. Salam Aleikum. ***

At the mid-point of today’s writing I tweeted that my new normal was stuck between thinking what I’d written was genius and horrible. I was being silly, but usually that’s somewhat true. Usually I like a lot of what I’ve got on the page and hate a bit. Not so much this go around. Working on The Guardian Book 2 (Sharlene Gallagher), started fast because of Fast Draft. If you don’t know Fast Draft, I can’t say enough good things about it. (It’s a class run by Candace Havens. Look it up!) I finished a book draft in two weeks. Notice I said draft. I know some people can write fast and have something amazing at the end of that process. I wrote fast, have a great collection of plot twists and characters and an interesting story, but the magic isn’t there. I’ve struggled for a week trying to figure out what’s wrong. I broke down scenes, took notes, found all those repeat works and worthless verbs, but the STORY was missing. I killed Sharlene’s voice. That’s what I kept saying to myself. But FINALLY at the end of last night’s revising session, I found it. And I found the conflict that’s central to the theme of the book. It was there all along, buried in the words, hinted at from scene to scene. Jennifer Crusie calls that kind of thing the Girls in the Basement. It took me 10k words to finally see those girls! Hopefully revising will be easier now. When you work and rework and still know something’s missing in the story, it really messes with the ability to keep moving forward. At least it does for me!
I meet with my editors today. I guess it’s school kick off time and time for me to figure out how I’m going to write, stay healthy and advise. I know I can do it, but it’s going to take work.
If you’re a praying person, please pray for us this week. DH and I have a plan. On Thursday that plan might come to fruition. If you’re not a praying person, please send positive thoughts. ###
If you like my blog, I hope you’ll look at my books available in print everywhere and in eformat for kindle. I write YA as Elizabeth Lee (Honor and Lies, Dead Girl Walking: The Guardian Book 1) and christian fiction as Mary Beth Lee (Grace is Enough, Letting Go). Find out more on my Amazon author’s page.

What it takes

One of my favorite classes to give at conferences is Time Management for Creative People. It’s usually packed because I speak at high school journalism conferences and those kids tend to be a lot like me. My desk is crazy to the non-creative thinker, but to me it’s perfect. Stacks coordinated by class, by importance, by the need to get to something quickly. I know where everything is, and amazingly, most of my editors do too. But Lord help if I have to be absent.
I start my time management class by telling my students all about priorities and how important it is that we have them. That we can build an entire time management system around priorities.
For years I’ve gotten thank you’s from kids and fellow teachers who wanted me to know I was right.
So how come I’ve been neglecting my own list of priorities?
It’s nothing new really.
When I first started writing, I threw myself into the idea of being published. For two years my family gave me all the space I needed and I took it. I forgot all about being mom and wife and me. I was focused on being “Published by Harlequin in Whatever Line Would Take Me.”
Two years later I was multi-rejected by Harlequin in all lines except the ones in London. Not quite, but almost. I also had five complete manuscripts and one incomplete. All revised and revised and revised again before getting the big R.
I took a year off after that. I didn’t really mean to, but I did. One day I was chasing the dream, the next I’d forgotten the dream and settled back in to the Pretend to be Writer by sending out previously rejected material. My family was thankful and I read a bunch of good books of fiction and a few thousand How to Get Published books. I learned all about Scene and Sequel and GMC and Beginnnings, Middles and Ends. I glommed SEP and discovered Deborah Smith and I rolled in the floor as I read Jennifer Crusie’s Tell Me Lies. And every day I called myself a writer even though I wasn’t writing anything.
That year I toyed with not renewing my RWA membership. DH called it an expensive club. That’s when I realized somehow I’d quit. I can’t stand quitting. I don’t know why. But I opened my documents folder and realized I hadn’t written anything new in a year and decided I’d had enough of that. I went to my first National conference that summer. I spent the next three years writing all over the place. I finished several manuscripts, reacquainted myself with the rejection-revision-rejection-request-rejection merry-go-round. I discovered I had voice, and I liked it. The books I wrote were fun or turbulent. I had fun. I thought I’d discovered the road to publication. I was sure I’d find an editor who would love my work and then I’d know the secret.
Then this year hit. Dallas National was great. I was sure I’d sell the suspense action adventure I’d written. I started a new suspense. I had the kick butt heroine down and I loved her and she loved me and we were going to find the success I wanted together.
Only we didn’t.
Once again rejection came knocking.
About the same time the school year from heck kicked my butt.
It wasn’t a great combination for dream chasing, and I found myself back on the old road to pretend writing, resending things already rejected.
For months I played at writing. My critique group practically shriveled up and died. Somehow we stayed together, but only one of us really worked.
And then a few weeks ago a new idea came knocking. I pushed it away at first because it was different from anything I’d written before. But it didn’t go away.
Now I know I’m going to write that book. It scares me because it’s different, but it’s a challenge too.
Just sitting down in front of my computer and writing is going to be a challenge. I have a list of priorities for this summer. At the top of the list is writing. But that’s nothing new.
It’s been at the top of my list for almost eight years.
The key to time management is taking that list and working it, step by step, minute by minute, day by day.
If I don’t work it, it’s just a list and nothing’s going to happen simply by making lists.
I’ve got work to do.