Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012


Procrastination, with me, for a while now, has been almost a vocation. Probably you could call it a Vacation, as well. (This doesn't include the time, 4 years ago, when I slipped on wet grass and fell, doing something drastic to my right arm in the process. I'm right-handed. Things still aren't quite right, there). Back the actual Vacation from promptly entering and filing:
1.  Handwritten notes, on scraps of paper, into the notebook where I record info on favorite writing and artwork sites, blogs of other writers and favorite authors---all that really energizing stuff.

2.  Computer education info, on papers large OR small. Research for later art/writing projects. Relevant motivational and inspirational material.

3. The Institute Of Children's Literature's valuable newsletters and their apt, well-written website pieces that buoy me up as I learn more about writing for children.

So. Within these 3 categories we see that, topic by topic, eight binders with dividers are needed if everything were filed logically. Or if the Vacation had, very sensibly, not begun at all. Oh! There's also:

4.  A schedule of artwork deadlines: all the work needed for 2 fairs in September and October of the coming year. Here are (always!) notes for drawings and paintings in various media, sized from 4x5" to 18x24", to be finished and framed for exhibition/competition in the exhibition halls of both fairs, plus all that is needed to fill the walls of the space I rent at one fair. A serious matter.Deadlines missed, mean that I go back on my word at one check-in table, as my entry form has been received by them a month ahead of check-in date. It also means disappointingly few pieces to exhibit at the other fair, where I don't need a written document. Either way, it means fewer ribbons and cash prizes. Not good. The only other penalties actually incurred are by me, in my heart. I like to keep my word.

And so: Unfiled papers grow into orderly piles, then become sliding stacks on the computer desk and long, low storage cabinet; the dining room table; the large book case; the so-comfy easy chair and the couch. (In the smaller living room is a second couch. Unfortunately. If I had only one couch, the Procrastination Vacation would possibly be less likely to start, much less continue. Keyword here: Possibly). Fortunately, the middle grade novel has been finished months before this. Actually, completion of the novel and all that it involves, is one very big reason there was a Procrastination Vacation in the first place. But I wouldn't have traded the writing experience for the world! I'll start another, soon.

In late winter, a version of Murphy's Law glides shockingly into the mix---right before I am to begin the Big Paper Organization Push (and we all know Murphy's Law always works like that)!  The (not so) simple existence of all this physical and mental disarray immobilizes me. Without the information buried in the sliding stacks, vital computer expertise goes unmastered. Writing projects go unfinished. Not to mention the artwork! A constant lament: "I know I wrote it down. It's around here somewhere..." Yes. Where? Who knows? Not I. Meanwhile, artwork goes undone. The chickens are home to roost. Come September, they appear in my rented fair space as well, when, due to my allowing my stated deadlines to fall on deaf ears in previous months, I have much less inventory than usual. Although giclee' prints of my original art, in all sizes, are abundant, people are wanting small, more affordable art. If their shoes were on my feet, in this economy, so would I. Profits decrease acordingly. Of course! Why not? I'll apply wisdom gained, to next year.

Comes the day---finally, this past December---that I search out every looseleaf binder, in use or not, in this house. I rifle through each, tossing obsolete papers, freeing up great quantities of page protectors. Then, beginning each morning and continuing until mid-afternoon, for over a week, each stack in turn is sorted. Info for each category goes into its own pile. Now needed: big binders. To Staples I go. On sale: big binders.

Filling, indexing and labeling binders, takes the rest of that week. When finally the piles get down to really manageable size, there's room on the large table for a cup of green tea. The filled binders stand side by side with my writing notebooks in their new space, in the base of my six-foot-long book case on one wall of the room where I write. They occupy the right hand side, to the middle. Art/photography binders are nearly completed. They'll fill the left side by the time this is finished. At last count, there are 21 binders, all sizes.

And here is my first longer post in many weeks, spurred on by the Intentional Blogging course I'm taking and which I love. Though a ridiculous amount of time has passed, I can't call this anything but a victory. Considering.

Intentional Blogging students were told, "Write something dangerous." For me, (who loves to be organized--
--is that grammatically correct?) writing about how I allowed such disorganization to whack me upside the head, feels dangerous enough for now. The only thing more dangerous would be if I blamed my secretary, but I don't have one.

Lessons learned:

     1. Don't SAY 'I have deadlines.' DO "I have deadlines.' Be responsible.

     2.  Learn to say, for the day, the week, or whenever it's true, 'I'm working then.'

     3.  Daily, without fail, place any new information into the binder or notebook already prepared for it.
          Leave the entire workspace clean.

Actually, I like chickens. Once we owned some wonderful varieties. I miss them. But, in my life and in my workspace, no chickens home to roost.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Murphy's Law

With my last War Horse post, I promised more to come in the next post. Murphy's Law went to great lengths  to sabotage that idea! And, too, the previous post, the review of Jeff Goins' book, You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), absolutely had to go onto my blog. As soon as I read it, I knew that! This is one book that no writer ought to be without. The very next post, within-the-Next-Few-Days-I-promise, will deal with Procrastination.  Then we'll have more about War Horse. That's a promise too.

A New Book On Writing---Well Worth Reading

No sugarcoating, no wasted words. Tough, yet kind. Tough love, I would have to say. This is the essence of Jeff Goins' book, You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One), which is now available on and on . Jeff has written from the heart, obviously. He shares what it took for him to become a real writer, and shows us that we can do the same. You Are A Writer is a fact as well as a title. We just have to write. Focus. Persevere. By following Jeff's example, putting his book to use, we will surprise ourselves with the progress we will make.

Jeff doesn't tell us to do anything he hasn't already done, himself, and he doesn't hesitate to tell us what it took to get over the obstacles in his way. The same ones we ourselves face each time we sit down to write. By practicing, we will find our voice and more.  I can't think of a book I would rate any higher than this one.