About those to do lists….

cloudy desert sky
View from my morning walk. We had clouds, then thunder, lightening and rain yesterday.

I make myself a list each day of what I need to get done. It includes my writing tasks, bill paying, laundry — whatever is on my plate. Why do I list things like grocery shopping and laundry? Because it’s satisfying to cross items off the list with my red pen. I feel like I accomplished something when I get through my list with every single thing completed.

But last week and this week one glaring item stares back at me without a single red line through it. I must be avoiding it. Or to be honest, I feel stuck. So, I put it on the next day’s list where it then floats over to the following day.

I’m not exactly procrastinating. It’s more like I don’t know what to do. I decided to try NaNoWriMo this year.

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November.

https://nanowrimo.org/what-is-nanowrimo

I’ve heard about it for years. I have writer friends who have done it. I never have before. I’m working on NaNo Prep 101 so I can start November off and running and write 50,000 words. On my to do list is NaNo Prep. Each day. But I haven’t gotten through the task at hand.

I’m going to try a new strategy. I’m moving NaNo prep to the top of my list. Where I can’t avoid it. Also, I think if I tackle it earlier in the day, tiredness and a lack of motivation won’t take over. Maybe I’ll get it done when my energy is better. It takes energy to make decisions about what to write about and to develop characters. I have an inkling of what I want, but then I second guess myself and chicken out.

Have you ever tried NaNoWriMo? If so, how did it go? Have you written a novel? What did you find to be the easiest and hardest parts?

3 Tips to Manage a Hectic Life

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Have you ever had one of those weeks where you are literally running from appointment, to meeting, to work, to hosting a party, to watching your kid swim at the year-end championships meet?

And while you’re racing from one end of town to the other, you realize left your left rear fender somewhere?imgres-3

That was my week. I was planning a party with a friend, had to race to the next town for a meeting about a program for a gala event, then my husband called me and asked what was for dinner. One car is in the shop, so we’re juggling and struggling. (And it’s the season-end high school swim meet week.) When I left the meeting to rush to the grocery store for take-out food, I noticed I lost a fender! I raced home with food for the family then I squealed the car out of the driveway to backtrack and criss-cross town to all my previous stops to look for my missing fender! Yes, I found it.

images-11When I feel crazy and out-of-control because of too many conflicts and demands on my schedule, I do three things:

  1. Make a list. I have to write every little thing down. Or, I know for a fact I will forget something. I update the list several times a day.
  2. Breathe and walk. I start each day with a walk to clear my mind and figure out my game plan for the day. It’s amazing how much better your day will turn out with exercise in the a.m.
  3. Be realistic. I’m human and I will not accomplish it all. Nor, can I do everything that people in my life demand of me. Don’t beat yourself up about it, but  add it to your list for the next day. Like a good friend told me this week, “You can’t dance every dance.”  What do you do when your schedule gets crazy and out of control?