Archive for the productivity Category

Best Wishes for a Great 2014

New Year startNew Year’s is my favorite holiday! I love a fresh start and a chance to establish new habits and set new goals. At this point in my life, I’ve kicked most of my bad habits (except Diet Dr. Pepper), so this year’s resolutions are more about what I want to start doing rather than what I need to stop.

My personal list is pretty short and simple: I plan to dance more, maybe even take lessons. I hope to take hand drum lessons too. I’ve had the drum for a couple of years and I want to learn how to really play it. And I want to get out and see more of my gorgeous state this summer, do some hiking.

As for writing and publishing, I’m feeling pretty ambitious for the year. I plan to write and publish two more Agent Dallas books, one of which I’m working on now. The first one releases on New Year’s day and I have a great giveaway planned. I also plan to write Detective Jackson #10 before the year’s over. So here’s the production schedule:

  • January 1: The Trigger (Agent Dallas #1) released
  • January-March: Write Agent Dallas #2
  • May: Publish Agent Dallas #2
  • May-July: Write Jackson #10
  • July 1: Deadly Bonds (Jackson #9) releases
  • September-October: Write Agent Dallas #3
  • December: Publish Agent Dallas #3
  • March 1: Detective Jackson #10 releases

 

At the end of this year, I’ll have 16 books written—10 Jackson stories, 3 Dallas stories, and 3 standalone thrillers. And the only one that won’t be published until 2015 is Jackson #10. It’s an ambitious schedule but doable. My personal life seems to have settled down a little, and Thomas & Mercer is handling the production and marketing of the Jackson series. What will be challenging is doing all the production and marketing for the Agent Dallas series, which I’m independently publishing. But after this first one, it should get easier.

I will also be moving sometime in the spring, and I’ll also be working on Left Coast Crime 2015 as the co-chair…so I’ll be plenty busy.

I really hope readers like the new series. Agent Dallas has been a lot of fun for me. As much as I love Jackson, it’s nice change of pace to write about someone who is less structured and less encumbered. In other words, Dallas is a little wild, and I’m enjoying her life vicariously. ☺

Happy reading! Happy New Year! Thanks for all your support

NaNo Inspiration

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month for the first time. To hit the goal, I need 1667 words a day for 30 days. Right! But I’m in it  for the motivation to write as much as I can every day for a month and finish the draft of my novel in progress. Today I rewrote a scene because it was wrong, losing some words in the process. Tomorrow I’ll interview a SWAT  leader, then rewrite the scene again. Both rewrites will be a setback to my NaNo word count, but they’ll bring me closer to my goal of a finished Read more

A Limited Number of Words

Is there finite number of words that each writer can produce—within each week or month or lifetime? Some writers seem prolific no matter what, but for myself, I think I have periodic limits. Last year, I worked about the same number of non-novel (meaning, paid) hours as I have this year, and yet I still managed to write a novel and a half. This year, my novel word count has tapered off drastically, and I’m even blogging less too. Why? Read more

Back on Track: aka New Rules

In November, while everyone else was cranking out a 50,000 word novel, I had a pathetically low word count. Why? Shit happens. More specifically, I spent a lot of time trying to drum up freelance work, I spent a lot of time babysitting, and I let myself get into the “I’ll make up the time tomorrow” mode. Wrong! It’s always today, and there’s never enough time to do anything extra.

So here’s my plan to get back on track:

First, I unsubscribed to half the e-mails I was receiving. Who has time to read all those newsletters? Sorry to those of you who put them out, but I just don’t have time.

I stopped opening e-mails first thing in the morning. In fact, it’s now a rule. No e-mail until I’ve worked on the novel for a few hours. (Unless the e-mail is from an editor/publisher!)

Another rule: No Twitter or FaceBook or reading blogs during writing time. They all have to wait until I move on to freelance work. (This will be the hardest rule to keep!)

I’m going to give longer deadlines for the freelance work I take on, then stick to working in the afternoons and evenings (if needed). Mornings are for writing!

And my husband is going to take our niece to school on one of the mornings she’s here, so I’ll only have one morning each week interrupted by that adventure.

And for balance, I’m adopting a new motto: Experience joy every day. Get up and dance! I do not have to be productive every second of every day… As long as I get my three or four hours of writing done, first thing every day.

Listmaking vs. Goofing Off

As I drank a second cup of coffee and made a specific list of things to do today, my husband said, “Why don’t you take a day off? You know, just goof off for the whole day.” I rolled my eyes (while he laughed hysterically), then went back to my listmaking—which I may have taken to a new level.

First, there’s the life-quest master list, with all the big ideas like: Make the NY Times bestseller list, lose 7 pounds, be nicer to the husband. Nothing comes off the list until it’s accomplished. “Quit smoking” was on the list for 10 years (scratched it off 15 years ago!), and “Lose 7 pounds” has been there since college. (Maybe a nasty bout of food poisoning will eventually take care of that.)

Then there’s the ongoing writing/promoting/career list with things like: “Create a master list of character descriptions” and “Create and post a book discussion guide” (still haven’t done that). Then there’s the daily list of every little thing for that day, such as: blog, bike ride, work on novel, update website, water flowers before they die, have sex. Often there’s a fourth list of things to do while I’m out and about: bank, haircut, post office, Fred Myer. That list may include a list of things to buy at FM, or I may have a fifth little post-it note on my wallet that says: decaf, mints, meaties.

I also have lists for: books to read, blogging ideas, nonfiction article ideas, novel ideas, places to visit, websites to check out, editors, publishers, agents, and more.

So now you’re thinking, “That is truly anal.” And you are truly right.

But I get things done.

So back to my original thought: Have I ever goofed off for a whole day when I wasn’t on vacation in some place other than my home? Actually, no, I haven’t. Can I do it?

No, not a whole day.

But I recognize the need to occasionally have fun. (On vacation, I go all out and don’t even answer my phone. Scroll to the bottom of the page and see the photos for proof. ) But maybe I can sneak in a little fun now and then between vacations. But the only way it’s gonna happen is if I put it on the “must-do-today list.” Maybe I’ll give that try . . . when I get through list number 2.

PS: Did anyone notice that I didn’t use cleaning as an example on my lists? (See blog title.)
Is anyone else a compulsive listmaker? Are there support groups for the addiction?

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