Sunday, December 30, 2012

What did I accomplish in 2012?

As you all know, I published my memoir in 2012. I suppose that is the biggest news, not only for the year but for my entire life.

But what else did this year bring? I haven't talked about my family at all on this blog, so let me quickly introduce you to my kids.

Nick will turn 27 in a few weeks. Last March he finally got his dream job - working as an electrical engineer in southern Wisconsin, surrounded by his friends and within driving distance of his family. In November, he even got health insurance through his employer. That's a huge accomplishment.

My daughter Val, 22, just moved for the third time in 2012. She started yet another new job back in February I think. She is also making plans to return to Africa. She is a work in progress and I don't know that her goals will ever be met because she keeps moving them out there. Maybe life isn't about achieving our goals but continuing to chase them.

I have always asked my husband what his dreams are, what he wanted to do with his life. Being the sap that he is, he told me recently that he has achieved his one goal - to be married to a wonderful woman. Gag me. Yes, he is my soul mate, but really?

Anyway, this week I will be formulating my goals for 2013 and will be sharing them soon. I wish for you all great success and happiness in the New Year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The crash and burn of a sugar high

Ok, it has been a busy week and yet I don't feel like I accomplished a thing. Here is my list of goals and how sadly I achieved them this week:

1) write nine hours a week - umm, if you count the Christmas program, I come up with about three hours at the keyboard, none of which was particularly creative - 3 points
2) post three times to the Dino Chronicles - yup, got that one done even if Thursday's post came out on Friday and was ubber short - 3 points
3) add to social networks twice - I usually go way over on this, putzing on Facebook and LinkedIn way too much. This week I didn't have time to do much more than a few hours - 2 points
4) do research on the other books I am trying to write - nope
5) research markets and agents to approach with my other work - nope, again
6) comment on at least three other blogs - I don't remember, but I am pretty sure that I did this - 1 point
7) market my book - um, I don't know. I can see how women get post-partum depression. I have been so hyped up about the book for so long, and then I get a letter from my publisher saying something like, well, now that stage one is done and your book is published, it is time to move into stage two and start selling it. Yes, I know I have to do that, but I really just want to hibernate. With three cases of books staring at me - well, yes, I am very excited, but I also feel like I have eaten too much candy and my blood sugar is going to crash.

Ok, so anyway, how many points is that? Ten, I guess, but they weren't real pretty points. Next week is another week, and a new year!
Have a Merry Christmas in the meantime, and spend some time just hanging with the family and enjoying the Christmas lights and music.
 The books have arrived. 
 Dino the Wonder Dog is mildly interested. 
The dog has totally lost interest when he realizes there is no food in these boxes.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Can I count everything I write?

I feel that I have been shorting myself here the last two weeks. I've come to the realization that my numbers are not nearly as bad as I have reported. I have not maybe been working on my novel and I am basking in the glow of my finished (being printed as I type) book, but the creative juices are churning. Just before Thanksgiving, I got roped into helping with our church's children's program. OK, it didn't take much rope. Someone said, "if I can find someone to help with the Christmas program..." And before she finished her sentence, I chimed in "of course, I'll work on it with you."

In my little dream world, I would love to write the Christmas program myself. Not to bask in more glory, but just because I think it would be fun. Instead, however, we found a ready made program which we tweaked to better fit our very small group of kids. I've put a few hours into it, but I'm sure not complaining. One of my fondest Christmas memories has always been the Sunday School program.

One year, when I was six or seven, as we were leaving the house, I slipped on the ice and fell. I don't remember any physical pain, just the jarring pain of ripping a hole in my new white tights. Yeah, I don't care what decade you live in, little kids should get all dressed up the night of their Christmas program at church.

So where are my goals for the week?

* 3 points - I posted to my other blog three times.
* 1 point - I commented on at least three other blogs.
* 2 points - I added to my social networks at least two times.
* 1 point - I don't have any idea how much time I spent marketing my book. It has mostly been Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn posts. The other day I set up a date for a book signing here in town. That's a new one for me; it should be fun and hopefully I sell some books.
* 3 points - I typed something. OK, as I explained above it was all working on the Christmas program, but I only counted the approximately three hours I spent at the keyboard.

That gives me a total of ten points out of 18. Very good for this time of year, don't you think? Hey, and I got my Christmas cards done and didn't count that.

Oh, and my book is out on Kindle, available for $4.86 right now, but will be offered for free from December 25 through 29.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

What am I holding in my hands?


Let's see. It looks like another week of slacking for me. I achieved eight out of eighteen goals. I posted three times on my other blog, worked on my novel for one hour, added to my social networks twice, submitted comments to at least three other blogs and once again spent countless hours marketing my book - or at least thinking about marketing it. And how is that book coming along?

My Book

Yes, here it is in my hot little hands. This is my proof copy and it needed a few corrections - of course. My poor publisher must be so sick and tired of me. I am constantly apologizing for being so picky, and he always patiently answers that there is nothing wrong with striving for perfection. Life Sentence Publishing has been wonderful to work with and I truly cannot say enough good about them.

The publisher has made the latest changes and is once again printing up another book for my approval. I believe that this time we got it right - God seems to be telling me that at least. So, very very soon, the book will be released. That makes it sound like I have been holding it hostage in my basement. I guess I have. Wish my baby luck!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Where was my book one year ago?

Wow, this is where I was a year ago

I had just finished the story of my trip to Africa. Wow, that's all I can say. I had an idea of where I was with it a year ago, but didn't realize this until I was looking through my other blog to see what I wrote about during the Christmas season last year. I am so sorry to go on about this but sometimes these things, which some would call coincidence but I am convinced is God at work, these things still blow my mind.

So, let me try to focus and tell you what I accomplished this week. Ok, I  can't focus because THE BOOK IS FINISHED!!!!! Yes, it's true. Everything is done, everything is edited to death, everything has been ok'ed and given the stamp of approval.

Ok, well maybe not EVERYTHING. As we speak the publisher is getting the final proof - but an actual book this time - printed up. It will be mailed to me next week. I have to analyze the entire package one last time, give it one last stamp of approval and then those books will be rolling off the press.

YIKES!!! Do you really want to know anymore than that? Coz I don't care what ROW80 goals I met this week (nine out of eighteen) or where I finished with NaNoWriMo (11,0557 words, way short of 50,000).
Yup, I could still have that nervous breakdown. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why shouldn't I take on one more task?

How is it possible that I am so inconsistent with my writing? I had been doing fairly well, meeting at least half of my goals and then all of sudden this week - I stink. I even had two days off from work. I know one of them was Thanksgiving, but we celebrated that this year on Saturday and not Thursday. It seems that the crazier my schedule is the more I get done. When I have a slow week, I just plain get lazy.

Maybe that is why I took on another project. Am I totally crazy? But you know how it is, when nobody else steps forward, all it takes is a little nudge for you to jump up and say, sure I'll do that! So I offered to help with the Christmas program at church. The woman who asked me to help her has never done this before and I know that as much as she is fired up about it, since I have done this in the past, a lot is going to fall on me. But that's ok. If this other woman and I hadn't stepped up, there would be no program and even though we only have a handful of kids, it just doesn't feel like Christmas without getting the tots up in front of church dressed like shepherds or angels to sing "Away in a Manger". 

We are planning on keeping it simple. Or we were. Now I'm saying to myself, "hello, writer in there, you don't have to just sprinkle the Christmas story straight from the Bible in between songs. Write a whole program for this." Yes, I answer myself, because I have nothing else to do!

It will all work out. I am not going to sweat it.


This week I met eight out of 18 goals. Like I already said, I didn't do much this week. I posted to my other blog twice, added to my social networks twice, wrote on my novel once, actually did some research on my novel, commented on at least three other blogs, and marketed my memoir a couple times. 


I have written a total of 10,924  words on my novel this month. November is slipping away and I don't see how it is possible to write 39,076 more words in the next five days. Sure that's only 7800 a day, while writing a Christmas program!!! Piece of cake, or piece of pie, considering the time of year it is.

My Book

I got my business cards in the mail. How sweet is that! One thousand of them fills a good size box! I would post a picture of it, but decided that was too much work.

I also received my press kit from my publisher and the final proofread draft. Sounds like my publisher has been doing all the work this week. I did look over the final draft and should be able to e-mail that back today. Then it is more waiting while they format. I never knew there was this much to it. It's all right, though, because I happy to have this much control over my "baby".

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What is a girl to do?

Friday morning, I brought the laptop upstairs from my basement office. I was tired of the lousy internet connection and thought maybe it was because the office is at the furthest point in the house from where the internet connects with the desktop computer in the living room. Actually, my wireless connection has been much better, so maybe that was the problem.

Here is the new problem. There are way more distractions in my living room than in the basement. I thought I had attention deficit before. You would not believe all the things there are to do in my living room that I can’t do in the basement. I even have a view out the window up here. Not to mention that the pets seem to prefer this big comfy chair I’m sitting in to my old creaky desk chair. The refrigerator is a lot closer too.

Arrgh. What do I do now? I don't know. Anyway, here are my stats for the week.


I scored a nine out of 18 points.

This week I posted to my other blog three times (3 points), worked on social networks twice (2 points), commented on at least three other blogs (1 point), worked on my book for two hours (2 points) and worked on marketing for my book at least one thousand hours (for which I give myself one point). Seriously, I pretty much eat, sleep, and breath getting the book out there.

And on to the book

I submitted my ideas for my business cards, got the prototype from my publisher, gave them my ok and should have them in my grubby little mitts fairly soon. I wrote up all my ideas of what I think should be in my press kit and submitted them to my publisher. That should be coming back to me by mid-week. I set up an author's Facebook page and my publisher is going to be tweaking it so it looks better.

And did you hear that earlier this week, my publisher posted my book on their website and they are now taking pre-orders. That is like - ummm - now there is no turning back. People are giving up their credit card information to get in line to have my book shipped to them as soon as it comes off the press. Yikes!

As far as NaNoWriMo? Yeah, no. Not happening. I figured this would happen, but what's a girl to do?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Have I got too many numbers in this post?

As I have lamented in the past, I work full-time at the medical center in my town. For the past twelve years, I have been scheduled from eight to five Monday through Thursday and eight to noon on Fridays. Considering I never get a full hour lunch and I rarely leave at five, I've been working close to 40 hours a week, though 36 is considered full-time. With recent scheduling changes, I am now working eight am to seven pm on Mondays, still eight to five Tuesday through Thursday, with Fridays off all day.

The building I have been working in for just over ten years.
I've been looking forward to this day for twelve years. When I was working Friday mornings, I never got out of the clinic on time and then I usually would stop at my mom's or else I had other errands to run, so that I never got home before two. Then I pick up my kinship kid at five for the evening. Meaning, it never felt like I had much of an afternoon off.

Now, though, yikes! I have an entire day off! This past Friday, even though I had a noon appointment, visited at my mom's for about an hour and then visited at the kinship office before heading home, I still got a ton of stuff done on the computer. How much you ask? Here are the stats:


- Spent seven hours this week working on a book - either more edits on my memoir or writing my novel - 7 points
- Posted three times on my other blog - 3 points
- Worked on adding to my social networks twice - 2 points
- Commented on three other blogs - 1 point
- Did stuff to promote and market my book for one hour - 1 point

I think that would be a record, at 14 points out of 18.


I am up to 6388 words on my novel for this month. Again, I am not sure how many were written in the last seven days. I knew going in that there was no way that I would make 50,000 words this month, with all this other stuff going on, but it is still good to be pursuing the dream. And I love how the NaNo website, when I post my word count, gives me all these fun stats, like how long it will take me at this pace to write 50,000 words (sometime the first of January).

My Book

Let's see. I sent in my final round of edits. My publisher got back to me that everything looks good. This week they will be formatting it, to see how it will actually look in book form. I contacted three of my potential endorsers and asked them if they could, if at all possible, get their endorsement to me by the end of the week. Next thing I need is to do is get my PR and marketing thoughts to the publisher. Each day is another day closer to having that book in my hands, and hopefully in your hands.
God blesses me each spring with these beautiful trees just outside my windows at work.
Too bad it will be many dreary months before I see this. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Which way do I go?

Another Wednesday of ROW80 and it sure doesn't feel as if I have done much.

ROW80 goals

- posted on my other blog twice - 2 points
- edited my book probably two hours and wrote on my novel for another 2 hours - 4 points
- and that's about all it would appear. Hmm? So a whole 6 points out of 18


I've written about 4946 words on my novel this month for National Novel Writing Month. I have enough to keep track of, so I have no idea how many of those words were this week and how many were last. I apparently have bitten off more than I can chew, but I will continue to mush it around in my mouth as best I can until I can swallow it or have to admit defeat and spit it out.

My book

Monday morning, I received my edits back from my publisher. I read through three chapters last night. I think I may be taking this editing process to the extreme. Does anybody else read through their entire manuscript every time it comes back to them? Or do you look for the places where they made changes to see if you agree with it?

Every time I read it through, I still find things that should be tweaked. Am I just being a perfectionist or is that being anal?

Also on the book, I wrote and submitted my dedication and also sent a message to Carson asking for permission to use his poem. I still have to get permission to use some lyrics from a song, but other than that I think right now it is about the edits. Oh, yes, and by the end of the week, I think I should contact the other people who have said they will write me endorsements to see how that is coming for them. I think the publisher is going to want that pretty soon.

Things are going in every direction?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What did I accomplish this week?

My book 

Friday night I e-mailed the first round of edits to my publisher. I didn't accomplish any of my earlier proposed goals, but I did work on promoting it. My publisher put a plug for my book on their facebook page, which I reposted to mine and it went viral - or at least, over 40 people liked it and a whole bunch commented on it. Three people shared it, even though one of those is my husband and I went on his facebook account and shared it for him. An author has to do what she has to do.

And also, as you can see, my publisher sent me what the cover is going to look like. It didn't take too long for me to approve it!


This week I:
- posted to my other blog twice. That Thursday post seems to be elusive lately, I need to work on that. 2 points
- worked on my social networks twice. 2 points
- commented on three other blogs. 1 point
- marketed my book. 1 point
- worked on those edits for my book for six hours. 6 points
For a grand total of 12 points out of 18.


I wrote 773 words on my novel. I knew that I would get a slow start on NaNoWriMo so I am not sweating it too much. This week, with my book sitting on my editor's desk, I am going to charge into this latest project.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Where am I going now?

Ok, so what is the new month going to bring and where am I going to be at the end of it? And why did I say I would do NaNoWriMo when I have all this stuff to do on my book before it is published the end of the year? Because I am CRAZY!

Ok, so what have I done so far this week? I posted twice on my other blog, worked on my book for three hours and added to my social networks once.

Ok, so what do I have left to do this week? Finish the edits on my book, get permission from Carson to use his poem in my book, get permission from the Newsboys to use lyrics from one of their songs in my book, let my publisher know exactly what I want to do for a pre-sales promo of my book. Ummm, what else? Oh, drag out my novel and start to finish writing it. I am on chapter 20, so that is a reasonable start, but I haven't worked on it for months, so it will take a couple days to bring myself up to speed. Oh, and I have to bake a pan of bars for a funeral luncheon on Friday. And Saturday night I am going to a retirement party for one of the doctors I used to work with many years ago. It will be great getting together with all my past co-workers. I cannot wait. And as you can guess from the kind of schedule I keep, I don't get out much.

Gotta go.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Am I ready for next week?

Since last Sunday I have accomplished 14 out of 21 writing goals. I posted to my other blog three times (3 points), I commented on other people's blogs three times (1 points), twice I added to my social networks (2 points), I worked on things for my book for at least three hours (3 points), I researched markets for shorter pieces I have written (1 point), and at 3:30 this morning when I couldn't sleep I came down on the computer and submitted a short non-fiction piece to one of the on-line magazines I had researched (I get 4 points for that because submitting stuff is kind of a big deal for me right now).

I had signed up to do NaNoWriMo which starts in just a few short days. Then I got the edits on my book back this morning. I am hoping that I can get it together enough to review my manuscript and make all the necessary changes by Wednesday night. Then I can drag out my novel Thursday night and start throwing down a thousand words at a sitting (in between the new edits which my editor will be sending me along with more stuff from my publisher) (and you know that I work full-time in a medical center, right?).

I am lucky to have a husband who supports me fully and children who don't live with me. And a dog who walks himself.
 And my garden will be dormant now for six months so that helps too. 
(I just still want to give you a picture to look at.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Do you recognize this flower?

Does this guy look familiar? 
Yes, he and his brothers are my opening blog picture. This blog is just so boring without posting a picture each time. And these flowers are too perky to ignore. And it has only been the last bad frost that finally killed them off out in their planter.

Anyway, what have I done so far this week? As far as my book goes, I revised my pictures and submitted them to my publisher, I wrote and submitted the acknowledgements page and I wrote and submitted a page regarding donations. I worked with so many charitable organizations on this missions trip, but I narrowed it down to two, HEART and CSI Ministries, which I will donate to from proceeds of the book. I also contacted two more people asking them to write endorsements for the book.

For my regular weekly goals, I score an 8 out of 16 so far this week. I worked on the book for three hours, posted to my other blog two times, twice I added to my social networks and I commented three times on other people's blogs.

Home stretch for the week is coming up. Will you meet all of your goals or let a killer frost stop you in your planter?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How do 57 post-it notes become a book?

How do 57 post-it notes become a book? Good question. And even though I apparently pulled this off, I don't quite know how it happened. It had to do a lot with the grace of God.

So have I accomplished everything this week that I needed to? 

1) signed, dated and e-mailed the proposal
2) signed, dated and snail-mailed the publishing agreement. 
3) signed and e-mailed the Editing and Proofing Cover Sheet 
4) composed and submitted my ideas for the front cover and back cover, along with picture for the cover
5) submitted a short bio for the back cover and a longer bio for inside
6) submitted 17 pictures to be used one for each of the 17 chapters. Then realized I messed something up and have to redo them and re-e-mail them the first of the week.
7) submitted my facebook and blog information for marketing
8) submitted the versions of the Bible I used
9) researched the whole copyright process for some song lyrics I want to use. I still have to figure this one out. Something for next week. 
11) contacted six people asking if they would write an endorsement for the book.
10) agreed on the price for the book. $14.95 for paperback and $4.85 for e-book

 Is that all? So, what about the weekly goals. I tallied 7 hours for all of the above mentioned work (I didn't count all the time spent laying awake in bed or reading e-mails from my publisher during my lunch hour). I posted only twice to my other blog (what a slacker). I invited people to join my LinkedIn network and I commented on three other blogs. Which is 11 out of 17 possible points. I can't really imagine having done much more

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

there are 26 hours in a day, right?

For the next few weeks - or months - this blog may take a different spin, as I travel down the road to publication. Monday afternoon an e-mail arrived from my publisher, with six different attachments. It was very overwhelming. There was the contract, the publishing options agreement, the editing and proofreading cover sheet, the book cover design questionnaire, the book cover work sheet, and the tax exemption form. In addition to going over all of these and filling them out as best I can, I need to organization my photos, label them and e-mail them. I also have to write my bio and pick out a picture of myself for the back cover. Was that all?

And once that whole ball gets rolling, I am sure I will be hearing from the editor and the proofreader and all these other people. And I will have to make a lot of decisions. I knew all along, I guess, that writing the book really wasn't going to be the hardest part. The writing was the fun part, where I had all of the control, now it is like my baby has gone off to college already and my guidance is only going to go so far. Sigh. But it will be worth it in the end to get the book out there and to have it look it's best.

Oh, and I need to come up with a title. Apparently, my working title has been used several times, so I must come up with something more original.

With all that said, my goals are hanging on by a thread, but I will still tell you what I have accomplished.

So far this week, believe it or not, I have managed to post to my other blog on Sunday and Monday. (I got so excited about the publishing stuff that I wrote up a story and posted it without realizing what day it was.) I worked for five hours on all the stuff from the publisher. And because I totally enjoy pain and suffering, I added a new goal to my already hanging by a thread list of goals. I would like to comment on other people's blogs three times per week.

There are 26 hours in a day, aren't there?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is this exciting or not?

All in all, despite a migraine late in the week, I have remained productive. I scored a 14 out of 20 points.
I posted three times this week on my other blog (3 points), I worked on my social networks twice (2 points), I recorded five hours of work on my book (5 points, but I still truly think I worked on it more than that. I need to check my clock in my office more often or remember to set a timer).

And of course, you already know if you read Wednesday's post, I sent a revision of my memoir to my publisher. (Everyone seems to agree that garners me an additional four points even though I had submitted it once already.) I heard back from him yesterday and he would like me to give him a call so we can set up an appointment to finalize some things. Yes! That is so exciting, albeit, scary. I know that there is still a lot of work to be done on it. I do what the book to come out the best that it possibly can so I rather not rush things at this stage. We will have to see how it all turns out.

I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Have I rambled yet for you?

Ok, so let's start with how I did with my goals.

I achieved eleven out of 20 so far this week. That is amazing since most weeks, for the whole week, I barely ranked an eight. In the last four days I have posted on my other blog twice (2 points), invited people to join one of my social networks (1 point), worked on my book for four hours (four points) and re-submitted my revised manuscript to my publisher (4 points). Maybe some would say that submitting the same thing to the same place for a second time shouldn't count, but trust me, I am going to take all the points I can (kind of like when the substitute refs were running the show during the Packers/Seahawks game a few weeks ago).

I guess I have a lot on my mind right now with my book - not just any book, but my memoir, where I bare my soul to the world, or to the three people who will read it - so close to actually being published.

A guy I know here in my hometown just had his memoir published. I am so happy for him. It has been a life-long work for him, or so it seems. I hope his book does well, but it kind of makes me feel like I missed the boat, you know? He beat me to it. Granted he has been writing his book longer than I have, and it's not like he doesn't deserve this as much as anyone. Or that the same tiny Midwestern town can't have a whole bunch of people with books out there.

See, from the start I thought that maybe this blog would be a place for me to ramble and vent. There's another goal I seem to have finally achieved. Please go check out Mark's book and Larry's, too. I'll try to nip the rambling in the bud.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is it really a new month already?

So here we are another month and another ROW80.

Here is how I did on my goal-a-meter for the week:

1) Write for nine hours - Ok, I did 3
2) Add to social networks twice - Give myself 2 points
3) Do research for a book or other project - A big fat zip
4) Research agents, markets, etc - I'll squeak out a 1
5) Post on the Dino Chronicles three times - this is usually the easy one, but somehow I missed Tuesday, so I only score a 2

Grand total for the week is an 8. Not too shabby since I got off to a slow start this week, and then the laptop took a dump last night, so that brought me to a screeching halt. If the laptop cooperates later today, I hope to work on my final edits of my memoir. My goal is to send it off to the publisher by Tuesday. I still cannot believe that it might actually get published, that sometime in the next three months or so, I might hold MY book in my hands! That the entire world may have access to my written words. Yikes, that's kind of scary.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are my new goals?

Or do I really even have new goals?
As I explained a few days ago, I'd like to stick with my current goals. Whether they will ever be attainable is another story. Here's the list with a few changes:

Weekly Goals
1) Write nine hours a week, one point per hour. Goal per week to actually reach     9
2) Add to social networks twice a week, but spend less than an hour a day wasting
     time on line                                                                                                            2
3) Do research for books or other projects once a week                                          1
4) Research agents or markets once a week                                                           1
5) Post on the Dino Chronicles three times a week                                                   3
Monthly Goals
1) Submit something somewhere                                                                              4

So that means my weekly goal total is somewhere between 16 and 20. Hmm? I got it all figured out.
One other thing. I want to do the NaNoWriMo again this year. And this time actually finish my novel.

Ok so year-end goal is to finish my novel. And by let's say, February have my memoir published. Umm, and get an agent by spring, maybe . . . . I could go on, but it's time to get to work.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So, what's next?

So, whoever it is who sets up the ROW80 says that we are done with this round, and that the next round starts October 1. Well, if you have ever read this blog, you know that I don't need an excuse to be a slacker for a week. I can pretty much slack around for any old reason. But not this time.

I have got some goals rolling around in my head that just can't wait a week. I am on them now like rain on the Fourth of July.

First of all, what have I done this week? Accomplished nine out of 17 weekly goals. I posted three times right on schedule on my other blog, I networked twice on the internet sites (does anyone network in person anymore?? just wondering), I researched markets, I worked on my book once (sad face), I worked on a devotion for publication, and then (drum roll please) I submitted that devotion to a paying market. Yeah me!

I may tweak those goals this week, but I think my system works for me even though scoring a ten is the highest I've gone. Here's a thought - let me show you that system. Kind of like deal-a-goal.

My immediate goal for the upcoming week, however, is to submit my memoir to a publisher! Yes, I'm going to do it Monday night. That gives me tomorrow to do a speed-read through my manuscript just to make sure it looks nice. If I slow-read the thing one more time, I may throw up on my laptop. Yes, I know that it needs more editing, but hopefully this publisher sees the potential and their editor will work with me. I know, I know, what a dreamer I am!

OK, so I talked to the publisher, Life Sentence Publishing, at my writer's conference last month and promised him I would e-mail this thing. He sounded interested, so that helps. Oh, yeah and it's not a traditional royalty publisher, so I am paying for this thing.

There are a lot subsidy publishers out there and a person could go crazy researching them all. Since I have met the guy who runs Life Sentence, and got a good feeling from him, I feel more comfortable throwing my money his way. But we will see what they think and what kind of feeling I get after that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Will I ever stay down for long?

My numbers maybe do not reflect it, but I feel like I am in a good place with my writing. So, I only achieved four goals out of 17 for the week. It is only Wednesday.

It may seem like all I have is this.
But with a lot of this kind of activity, 
I can achieve this!
(Last weekend, I toured this castle just north of my hometown. It is very cool. And a work in progress, which I can sure relate to.)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Have I fallen apart?

No, not really, or at least I think I am back together. This might be too much information, but maybe I am just menopausal.

I was pretty much done with the whole writing thing this afternoon. Went to a quiet place in my little woods and took a nap and reflected and waited for a sign from God. Nothing. So there you have it - no more writing, right? Then I came in the house and watched a commercial - one of those commercials, the kind that always make you cry. And well, sometimes God speaks to me through my sister who passed away thirteen years ago. So I can't quit. I have to keep writing for my sister. She never quit and she won't let me quit.

So, if you want to know how else my weekend went and why this isn't being written until so late, read my other blog.

You may have guessed, but the goals this week stunk. Five out of 17. Didn't I write last time about stumbling? That was my week, one big stumble. Or a whole lot of splinters.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Is stumbling a good thing?

"Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down." Charles F. Kettering

I can't believe it is Wednesday again already. And guess what? I haven't done much of any writing so far this week. I wrote posts twice this week for my other blog, did a little social networking and worked on my book one time (I always say every time I work on my book it was for one hour, but in reality? Who knows?  I used to set a timer, but I don't know what happened with that.).

So have I stumbled this week? Or have I sat right down and just plain been lazy? And after such a good week last week? Does that make sense?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Have I broke the barrier?

It would appear that I have finally broken the single digit barrier on achieving my weekly writing goals.

Since I haven't listed all my goals in a while, here they are:

1) Work on my book nine hours a week. That's one hour a day and two on weekends. Doesn't sound like so much, but this is the toughest one to do it seems, with only three hours this week. I did also write a short story though so that raises this score to a 4.
2) Add to my social networks twice a week. This one is always easy, as I continue to waste time on the internet. Give myself the usual 2.
3) Do research on my novel for one hour. Zero for the week.
4) Research agents, markets, etc. for one hour. Zero.
5) Post on my other blog according to my schedule of three times a week. Another fairly easy and regular goal, so give me a 3.
6) Submit something somewhere, anywhere. Yes, I did this this week. A biggy. As much as I want to be published, this goal still eludes me the most. But I did it yesterday. I submitted a short piece to Reminisce Magazine. That is one big happy single point.

Which all means that out of 17 points, I get 10 for the week. Now, can I go for 11 next week?

(Oh, and I took the picture at Judson Tower, at the Green Lake Conference Center last month.)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Can I really let some stuff go?

I love to take pictures. I always have. With the advent of digital cameras, it became even easier to feed my habit. I took 296 pictures last week at my writers conference, mostly of the grounds of the beautiful conference center. I have just started editing them.

Just like in my writing, some of these pictures need to be straightened or the color needs to be tweaked or they need to be cropped. And some pictures just have to go.

It's tough though. Every time I snap that shutter, I am creating another baby. It is hard to just delete even one of them.

Same thing with the words I write. You mean I have to crop every "just" and "only"? I have to rewrite that scene? I have to delete that scene all together?

Such is the writer's life, I guess. Seek and destroy!

This week I accomplished nine goals out of 17. Seems I can't break that single digit mark. There is always next week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

How Could I Forget?

I was just about to head upstairs and get ready for bed, when I remembered that it is Wednesday. How could I forget to post to ROW80?

I came home from my writers conference naturally all fired up. I have tried to keep that going, but man, it's Wednesday already and I have no clue where the week is going.

Oh, that's right there's the garden thing. Froze six bags of beans and a bunch of tomatoes last night. Made some tomato sauce the night before. Anybody living in northern Wisconsin want to stop over and pick up some squash? I have no clue what I am going to do with them. And they are simply huge! I told someone the other day they are the size of two microwaves lined up. This person thought that was a rather comical picture. But it's the truth!

So, what have I done in the world of writing? Five out of 17 goals so far this week. I wrote for two hours - but that doesn't seem possible. I know I have been at the computer longer than that this week, and I have totally been going cold turkey on the social network drain, even though I did invite some people to join me on LinkedIn. I also am up to date on posts for my other blog.

It's late and I seem to be rambling, so will head to the kitchen now (it's 9:30) and decide whether or not to do more battling with the garden produce.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How was my week away?

I spent the week at the Green Lake Christian Writers Conference learning lots, making new friends, renewing old friendships and absorbing the serenity of the conference center. Oh, and I wrote some. 

I give myself a ten out of 17 on the goal-a-meter this week. I wrote one post on my other blog (and cheated coz it was about the same thing I posted here. Oops.), I added to my social networks one time only, I wrote on my novel and other various projects for seven hours and most exciting of all, I talked to a publisher who wants me to send him my memoir. So, I really have been mostly re-editing that the last few days.

I don't know how anybody does it. There just are not enough hours in the day. The house needs to be cleaned, clothes need to be washed, and not only does the dog want to be played with, but the cat does too. I thought that's why we had cats - so we wouldn't have to play with them! I won't even mention the day job. 

Writers Feet, 2012. Note that I have not bared my toes in this one. I took this right after I had a great haiku running through my head and had nothing to write it down on. I thought about writing in the sand along the trail and taking a picture of it. Then it dawned on me  - duh - that I could record myself saying it with my camera. That's something which won't be posted any time soon.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Where am I going?

Today I head off to my third annual Christian Writers Conference at Green Lake. I’m so excited to reunite with the friends I have made over the last two years, as well as looking forward to learning lots about the elusive craft of writing. The beautiful grounds of Green Lake Conference Center are also calling to me. I can’t stress enough to anyone living anywhere nearby (less than two hours northwest of Milwaukee) that you need to go spend some time there for exploration and in quiet reflection. And don’t forget your camera.

While at the Conference Center I won’t have a regular internet connection. I know, really? Yes, really. So I won’t be checking my e-mail or social networks as frequently as usual, and won’t be blogging til next weekend. It’s time for me to seriously write.

As far as my goals this past week, I scored a nine out of 16. I wrote three posts for my other blog, I wrote for three hours, I did research on my novel for one hour and I worked on my social networks twice. This coming week, it's going to be all about writing, writing, writing.
I call this picture "Writer's Feet". I took it last year at Green Lake, while I was outside trying to write. Don't look too close for toe-jam. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Did I have to add another goal right now?

In January of last year, I started writing a book about a young boy living in the Bush of East Africa. In 2006, I spent a week in Kenya working with the tribe that he is from, so being naive, I thought I knew everything I needed to know. Wrong. Oh, so wrong. And then of course to really make it a novel, I had to add a few more plot lines, which has added up to more stuff I don't know.

Needless to say, I have found myself spending more time doing research than on writing this past week. Shouldn't I get some sort of credit for that? So I added another goal, that being I spend an hour a week actually researching my WIP.

This new goal brings my goal-meter for the week to six out of 17. So far this week, I have posted two times to the Dino Chronicles, have worked an hour on my book, researched on my book for more than an hour, worked an hour on a devotion which I am sharing with the attendees at a writer's conference next week, and added to one of my social networks.

It always sounds like so much when I write it like that, but really, those are some poor figures. Then I tell myself that it is only Wednesday. Big sigh. Never give up, never surrender.

The boy second from the right is the boy I am using for my book. Isn't this a great picture? I gotta get back to Africa some day. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

How high do my numbers need to get?

Practically everyone is talking about the need to grow your social network. I understand the rationale for that, the importance of reaching out to others and getting your name and your brand out there, but when does it stop? How many people do I need in my networks?

I have 259 friends of Facebook, 264 followers on Twitter, 77 connections of LinkedIn, 61 friends on Goodreads, 55 followers on Pinterest and somehow I am even on something called SchoolFeeds, which I do not even pursue, but I guess former classmates are finding me. 

I know that those numbers aren't great compared to a lot of people, but really? That all takes time and sometimes I feel like a pest asking strangers to friend me or follow me. I realize it is all about marketing, and I don't know if I told you this, but at one time in college I was working towards some sort of marketing degree. But still sometimes I wonder if it would be time better spent standing on the street corner.  

On the flip side, I am hopeful that the one-thousandth person I befriend on Facebook is going to be that literary agent who falls for me and wants to see everything I write get published. It could happen, right?

In the meantime, this past week, I scored a eight out of 16. I posted three times on my other blog, I researched my book for a couple hours, I wrote on my novel for two hours (that stinks) and I worked on the elusive social networks for two hours. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Is that momentum still going?

My week got off to a slow start because the hubby insisted we buy me a new vehicle before the old one blew up. I hate it when the car blows up, so I had to agree with the hubby that it was time to go shopping. Needless to say, much of Sunday and Monday were spent in a car buying frenzy.

I still managed to do ok on my goals, scoring a five out of 16. I posted twice to my other blog, did an hour of research on my novel, added to one of my social networks and worked on my novel for one hour. The chapter I wrote last night is one of those scenes pivotal to the entire story, so that was pretty exciting to write.

For the rest of the week, no more taking useless rides in the Dodge and more time with my fingers on the keyboard.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Am I on top of the world?

Well, finally I have made some progress, scoring a ten out of sixteen on my goal-a-meter. This week, I posted three times on my other blog, twice I added to my social networks, I wrote on my novel for three hours, I did research for my novel, and last and most impressive, I submitted a short story to Glimmertrain magazine. It still would appear I have to get down to some serious writing on my novel, but for once I have made progress.

Have I reached the top yet? I sure hope not. There is always more to do

The picture was taken from on top of Brockway Mountain in Michigan's UP while we were camping up there last week. Isn't this a beautiful view of Lake Superior?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Am I finally on a roll?

Or at least if I'm not on a roll, maybe I'm on a muffin or a cookie? I know that I promised I wouldn't post any pictures on this blog, but I just can't help myself. Maybe I should be a photographer instead of a writer.

So have I accomplished any of my goals this week? For mid-week, I score a five out of 16 points. I posted two posts on my other blog, I worked for an hour on my novel, I added to my Linked In contacts and most exciting of all, I submitted a short story to Glimmertrain magazine. I consider that being on a roll for an old lady like me.

(The picture is our purchases last week from the Jampot in Eagle Harbor, Michigan. Yummy.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Did I really not accomplish anything this week?

Here, we are at the end of another week. I was on vacation all week, camping off of Lake Superior. Didn't have any internet access, but I had my laptop and electricity, so you would think I would have written SOMETHING. No, not really.

I can only give myself a three out of 16 for reaching my goals this week. I did however attend a one day writer's workshop yesterday, so that should count for something. I learned lots about the business of writing, as well as making new contacts. 
 There really were people at this conference. Everybody must be at lunch.
I tried to make friends with the alpacas. It was held on an alpaca farm so I had to take in the atmosphere. And honestly, there really were people at this event

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How does your garden grow?

I know I said that when I started this blog that I wasn't going to post pictures, because as fun as they are they also are time consuming and I just do not have enough hours in the day to get all my goals met as it is, without added pressure. But today I just had to give you a visual as to why I have once again not met my goals this week.

This would be my vegetable garden, mainly the beans, which have exploded in the past week.   
 Usually it is another week or so before they are in full swing, but since we had a mild winter, I was able to plant my seeds by mid-May. Each year I seem to feel the need to plant yet another row of bush beans. The yellow wax beans are really good.
 And this is what I have been picking every night. And you know they don't take care of themselves at this point. These guys are just hanging out waiting to be cut and washed and thrown in a pot of water to be blanched so they can go in the freezer til winter.
Did I do any writing this week? I scored a six out of sixteen. Amazing that I even got that far, but I promsie I will not give up. Next week is another week and another chance.

Wish me luck with the beans. And head over to my other blog to see another of my gardens.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Where did I end up by week's end?

Despite all of the other issues I have been encountering for the past week and a half, not to mention the migraine that plagued me for four days, I scored an eight out of 16 on my goal meter for the week.

I wrote for four hours, added to all of my social networks, posted two posts on the Dino Chronicles, hmm? and that seems to be about it. Next week, I have to, have to, have to submit something! I have a few leads on magazines where I could send a couple short stories and non-fiction pieces. I just have to get on it.

I also have to do some research for my novel. I have discovered that it may be harder for my protagonist to track down the baby she gave up for adoption than I had thought it would be. Oops, hope I didn't give away too much of the story. Oh, well. It will keep you waiting on the edge of your seats for the book to come out, right?

I also have got to call the police department to see if those kids next door can really be running their ATVs up and down the side road all day every day. The noise is making me crazy!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where did the past week go?

Oh, I know where the week went. If it wasn't one thing it was another. Not only did my computer at work give me grief, but a storm took out the internet at home - I think I wrote about that somewhere already. Then there has been the usual hassle over everything at work and my home life has suddenly turned soap opera.

Today, however, seems to have seen an upward swing. All the computers in my life are currently functioning properly. Both the children are coming around, to the point that I have put one of them back on the Christmas list, and I am holding onto hope for the other one. And my mom - well, I have always promised her that I would never write about her, so I can only say that I am optimistic about where she is at right now.

Somehow I have still managed to work on my novel an hour a day. I really messed up yesterday, however, by not posting on my other blog, but sometimes I have to give in and not write one if I know it is not going to turn out well. My masses hopefully understand that.

So, even though I had a few setbacks this week, I am hopeful to slug out my goals by the weekend.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Did I reach my goals this first week?

I think I did pretty good this week. In the crazy system of goal-reaching that I have, I scored ten points out of 16.

I posted on both my blogs, I added 18 contacts to all my social networks, I tried really hard to not waste time on the internet. On the downside, I only wrote for five hours - it sure felt like more than that, but that is what my figures show. I also did not submit anything anywhere.

But do you know what they always say? You gotta leave room for improvement. If you start out at the top, you have nowhere to go but down.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How did I spend another holiday?

Except for the family holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving, where you really are obligated to spend some time with the family, I greet many holidays as a day off of work, which means a day to get in some extra writing time. I mean, really, what else is a person to do on Memorial Day, Labor Day and the Fourth of July? I wake up on those days, say "yes I don't have to go to work" and jump on the laptop. Well, or I try to.

Today I had a two hour commitment to Kinship, which is an organization here in town which matches disadvantaged kids with mentors to give the kids extra one-on-one time with a caring responsible adult. So I helped out at a Kinship fundraiser, visited with a few people, took some pictures. It was an ok time.

Then I bought fourteen dollars worth of junk food from other fundraisers in town and headed home to the hubby who had been mowing the lawn when the temperature was pushing 90 and the humidity was 95%. Did I tell you that it was warm where I was at too?

ROW80 progress: I did get in two hours of writing - actually I'm rereading and doing minor editing on my book, getting back up to speed before adding to it. I had written up to Chapter 17 on the really rough draft and in the past week have reviewed up to Chapter 7. As far as my other goals, I think I am on track. More figures will be coming out on Sunday.

Hope you had a safe and productive Holiday.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What are my writing goals?

I've tried different ways to focus on my writing and to actually be productive. I gave myself daily word count goals. I used a timer, forcing myself to keep writing for an hour at a time each day. Just recently, I came up with a longer list, something for me that was more doable, as there was more variety. Not only was I going to write a certain amount each week, I wanted to grow my social network as well as do research for my current novel and spend time researching various markets. I wanted to strive to submit something somewhere each and every week.

Trying this for the last month, I've been somewhat of a failure. July 1, however, was my new starting point, from which I would jump into all of my goals.

Here they are:

1) Write for a total of nine hours a week. I know it doesn't sound like much, but that is an hour a day plus two on weekends. Did I tell you I work fulltime? That takes a chunk of time out of my week. There's lots more to the writing career than writing, though, so keep going down the list.

2) Add to my social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Good Reads, Pinterest) twice a week.

3) On the flip-side of #2, don't spent more than an hour a day social networking. This is my biggest time-drain. Do I really need to know that Jess just came back from a ten-mile run or that Pat is going to take a shower? Do I really need to look at all those pictures of flowers from Portugal? Or horses from Bolivia? Really?

4) Research markets, editors, agents, etc, for one hour a week. Unless I want everything I write to stay in my laptop or file cabinet, I have to find places to send it and people to read it.

5) Submit something, somewhere once a week. Same as for #4.

6) Continue posting on my original blog, The Dino Chronicles, three times a week. Post my writing progress twice a week on this blog.

Is that enough to keep me busy? The worst part is that it is summer here now, and our summer is so short that all I want to do is sit outside in the sun. Doesn't help either that my writing space is in the basement, except that it is the coolest place in the house.

And away we go...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What do I write?

As I already mentioned last week, I have written a lot of different things.

First it was mostly short stories, sappy poems and pathetic excuses for novels. As my life evolved and I began having more stories of my own, I started writing more about my life. It appears that there is inspiration everywhere.

I don't think I have mentioned it much, but I have also always been drawn to photography. With the advent of digital cameras and USB ports, it became sinisterly easy to down load pictures and write about them. That is where my other blog often times ends up.

When not blogging, or otherwise rambling on the internet, I am currently working on a novel inspired by my mission trip to Kenya in 2006. This book tells the story of a lonely boy and the people he crosses paths with. I know, why is he lonely if all these people are coming through his life. Maybe that is the take of the whole book. But I don't know yet. And probably won't until it's finished, in maybe another 25,000 words.

I have written a 40-day devotional based on the Christmas story and have also finished my memoir of my  trip to Africa. That particular book still needs a lot of work, but I have put it away to ferment for a while. 

I have about four other ideas for books rattling around in  my brain. In the meantime, I continue to work on snippets of my life story. There are not enough hours in the day...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Where do I write?

I know that I said I wasn't going to take the time to post pictures on this blog, but I had this picture handy, so  I thought I would throw it out there. Even though this isn't a very inspirational picture, this is currently where I do my writing.

In 1993, after my first husband moved out, my sister and I built two rooms in my basement. One was designated as a playroom (and still doesn't seem to be finished), and the other was to be my office. We moved my computer down here at the time, but somehow the computer moved back upstairs in 1999 when we remodeled.

Eventually I got a laptop, which made it convenient to write where ever I wanted. Which also meant that I was always easily distracted where ever I was writing. For a while I parked in the living room and watched more episodes of American Pickers and Pawn Stars than I care to admit to. I finally moved to the dining room table, which worked for a while, except we could never eat at the table. Actually that was a good excuse for my husband as he prefers eating on the couch in the living room. I moved for a time onto the bed of my daughter's old bedroom. The cats and the dog liked that because then they could lay on my feet as I wrote. I decided that was not a very ergonomically sound place to be.

I got ambitious and cleaned up the office in the basement. And that is where I am right now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How did I get here as a writer?

When I was in high school and college, I wrote a lot of short stories and a few poems. When a husband, two  kids, a job and the mortgage swamped me, I didn't write too much at all. Probably sappy poems were all I wrote for many years. A few women I worked with were always consigning me to pound out personalized poems for them, to celebrate a wedding or birthday or some other life event. I was often paid in candy bars.

For a short period of time in the late 80's I belonged to a writer's group and worked quite a bit on what I hoped would some day become a novel. When all I could get out of it was 25,000 words and a lame ending, I shelved it. 

At some point during all that writing, I heard of the Green Lake Christian Writer's Conference. But never seriously considered going to a conference at the time. 

In November of 2008, I wrote 40 days of devotions for the Christmas season, mostly for my then college-aged children. I came up with the idea for a whole series of devotions, but didn't have a clue what to do with it. I was inexperienced, had lost all contacts with other writers and didn't think anyone would read anything I wrote. 

In the spring of 2010 I started writing a blog, The Dino Chronicles, at the suggestion of my kids. My daughter had started a travel blog because she was going to Kenya for six months, and they thought that since I had always wanted to write, I should start one too. 

When my next door neighbor found out that I enjoyed writing, he told me he was going to a writer's retreat in California that fall (even though he had never done much writing, had only thought about it). He said that I should think about going to it also. A quick internet search told me what I already knew - it was going to be way too expensive for my budget. 

But then I remembered having heard of the Green Lake Christians Writer's Conference. That seemed to be within my financial means. The conference was great. I was able to connect with other writers and learned a lot about not only writing but the business of writing. Mostly, I became inspired. 

The rest, so they say, is history. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Have I lost my mind?

OK, first question. Have I lost my mind by starting a second blog? Probably. But I have been thinking about it for a while.

My original blog, The Dino Chronicles, follows the stories of my life, past and present. I share all kinds of crazy thoughts and insights, random happenings and the like. I've wanted to write more about my writing journey, but wanted to keep that separate from my life. So here we are. New blog.

I plan on using this space as more of a journal of my quest towards publication. Naturally, it is a public space, but I hope to share my personal thoughts and dreams as well as boring things like word count and how long I managed to keep my fingers typing on any given day.

I discovered ROW80 (round of words in 80 days) and that is the biggest motivation towards starting a second blog. ROW80 asks that writers blog about their progress on Sundays and Wednesdays, so that is my plan here. Also, no pictures! As I've complained about in the past, posting pictures is very time-consuming for me, so if you've stumbled on this and are disappointed that there are no cool pictures, go back to my original blog. (You know that you can do that by clicking on the highlighted words you just read, right?)

I think that is enough to get me started. I'll be back on Wednesday!