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Stephenie Hovland
01-06-2005, 08:16 AM
Are you back for awhile? I do miss reading your posts.

Betty W01
01-09-2005, 11:07 AM
I'm trying to be back... RL is still kicking my butt, and now I'm thinking seriously about getting another day job (it would be my third...) but meanwhile I'm trying to make time to drop in at least a few times a week. Gone are the days of 2-3 times a day, though... sorry. I miss all y'all.

Stephenie Hovland
01-09-2005, 07:36 PM
So, how do you get any real writing done? I went from working about 10 hours a week to working close to 60 this school year. I feel like I have no time to clean the house or write or anything. After I spend some quality time with my kids and hubby, I'm exhausted.

Betty W01
01-10-2005, 10:06 AM
Really. It's LONG!! Go take a potty break and grab something to drink - you'll be here a while...

Letís see - how do I get any real writing done?

One thing that helps me at this stage of my life is being past the phase of kids who need me 24/7. They are often gone for days at a time or busy with their own lives, and although they do still ask me for rides once in a while or for a favor (ďCan you throw my laundry in the dryer when itís done?Ē, ďCan you make sure this letter gets mailed today?Ē), they really donít take a lot of my time right now - except for answering the #$%& phone and taking messages. Argh.

Sometimes I miss chauffering them, since that was often primo chat time, with a captive audience on both ends, but phases come and go and at least now, I can get more done at home.

DH works full-time and goes to class four nights a wk, so when heís gone, I can do a lot of writing without being interrupted. Weíve been married happily for almost 33 yrs now, so we can keep our love affair going with a few hours of quality time each week: dinner out together on the one night we both have class (at the same college), dinner together at home the rest of the week (I wait and we eat together when he gets home at 9:30 at night), some TV or DVD watching while cuddling on the couch, and so on. And after all these years, he has become really good at helping me when I need him to - washing his own clothes for work, cooking dinner on weekends to give me a break, asking me when he goes out if he can pick up anything for me, cleaning part of the house in preparation for a dinner party. (It took years to get him to this point <grin>!)

I spend as much time as possible writing when the house is empty, since cleaning (what little I do <blush>) can be done with a house full of people, but not writing. Although... one of my gifts from my dear husband was a whole room to my writing, a door that locks (and he and I are the only one with keys), lots of shelves, and a computer and comfy office chair, so I can lock the world out when I need to.

I do a LOT of multi-tasking: never leaving a room or floor without looking around to see what needs to go with me; folding clothes and matching socks during one of the few TV shows I watch a week; cleaning the kitchen while talking to my mom on the phone; catching up on my reading with books on tape while driving, doing dishes, or crocheting; keeping list of errands and shopping that needs done and keeping stuff in the car (library books, mail, and so on) that can be dealt with on the way to do something else, and never leaving the house (especially during the winter, when bundling up, scraping the windshield and shoveling the driveway can add 30 minutes to prep time) without asking ďWhat else can I do on this trip and what needs to go out with me?Ē

I use my PDA religiously, to track my schedule, to-do lists, errands, addresses and phone numbers (handy when waiting in the car, with a cell phone handy), Xmas shopping ideas, article notes, and so on. I take notes and work on articles on it during snatches of free time (using my folding keyboard if I know Iíll have a chunk of time and space to set it up) and then once I get home, I hotsync it to my PC, copy what Iíve done to the hard drive, and can continue working on it without doing any rekeying.

*Everything* goes into my PDA. It took me weeks to get everything entered that needed to go into it (out of a paper dayplanner that weighed 5 lbs!) but now itís a breeze to keep up, weighs almost nothing, can be used as an alarm, a calculator, a game, and to answer e-mail... I do not know how I managed so long without it.

I also keep books everywhere - next to every chair I sit in, at my desk at school (for reading during downloads or virus checks), in my car, my purse, and on the kitchen counter.

I limit my outside involvement to things that I really believe in and that donít take too much extra time. Iím on our churchís worship team, but Iím only scheduled once a month, we practice early on the day of service, and only have information meetings twice a yr (all info comes via e-mail the rest of the time). I am on the food pantry board (4 mtgs a yr), am VP of our local writing group (2 planning meetings a yr, five regular meetings, and a seminar once a yr that I usually teach at), and am taking a creative writing workshop once a wk. at the same time and place as DHís classes, so we can drive together and chat on the way and have dinner afterwards. I attend a church dinner once a
wk to get fellowship while DH is in class, but Iíd have to eat anyway and itís only $3, for food I donít fix or clean up after. From time to time, thereís a Bible study for an hour afterwards, and then I have to spend an hour or so studying during week, but it makes me spend time in the Bible that I might not do otherwise, so itís good for me in a lot of ways.

Otherwise, I do a lot of one-time projects, that I can fit around the rest of my life: I participate once a yr in CROP Walk, to raise money for the hungry, send packages to overseas soldiers I know, bake pies for the International Dinner our church does once a yr for the international students at a nearby college, collect mittens and hats at Xmas for local needy kids, run a fund-raiser for the school my kids went to for years and at which I still work, and so on.

And starting tomorrow, Iíll be going to the gym 3 times a wk, for at least 45 minutes, to build back up my energy and health, and will probably do it with a friend, so I can get social benefit from it, too.

And last but not least, I spend as little time as possible looking for things, by keeping each area of my life organized into a briefcase or totebag - school (papers for teachers, books to return, meeting notes), board meetings (notebook, pen, current agenda, binder of meeting minutes, book I borrowed from fellow board member), public library (books Iím done with that need to be returned, list of books to look for, notebook and pen for taking notes, can of soup for ďFood for FinesĒ drive, discarded CDs to donate to the upcoming childrenís room summer reading club project), class (notebook and pen, PDA keyboard, manuscripts to be critiqued, map of campus, change for pop machine), social visits (current craft project, including materials, directions, tools), church (Bible, book weíre studying, notebook and pen, birthday card for pastor, tithe check, note for church secretary about coming event).

That way, when something needs to go somewhere, I know where to put it until I can take it there, and when I need to go to an event, I can just grab the appropriate bag and I know Iím all set. Occasionally, this means a few duplications (a notebook and pen per bag, for example), but itís worth it! Most of the bags are stored in the front hall closet or in my office, so theyíre out of the way, and most of them are free-bies that came from conventions or book club subscriptions, so they didnít cost me anything. I do have a nice briefcase for press trips, business meetings, and job interviews, though. I also keep certain things packed in my suitcase, ready to go: small bottles of toiletries, toothpaste/brush, flip-flops, reading light and extra batteries, and so on. It makes spur of the moment trips easier to do, and makes press trips easier to get ready for.

Life still throws me curves that derail my writing (recent ones include family drama, death of a dear elderly friend and time spent at subsequent funeral and wake, as well as cooking for wake, another friendís surgery and needed assistance, and a migraine that put me in bed for two days), but I keep plugging. I try to make sure I get all my deadlined assignments done and sent off at least a few days before they are due, to allow for crisis times, and I spend a little time every day writing and reading unless I absolutely canít (like the migraine day).

Things were different years ago, when I had four kids at home (ranging from toddler to teen), a hubby who was too busy (and disinclined) to help, a country home that required a load more housework than does the newer house we live in now, and no space of my own in which to work. I did do some writing then and some selling, too, but not nearly as much as I can do now. Life is all about phases, isnít it?

Stephenie Hovland
01-10-2005, 06:42 PM
Wow. You are Ms. Organization. I'm closer to Misorganization. But, good point about this being a phase. I know I could write like crazy, if I only had more time to myself. However, I am NEEDED in the places that pull me away from the computer.

I'm really not THAT unorganized - I just feel too busy some days. It's quite a difference from staying at home, teaching a few piano lessons from my living room, like I did the past several years.

Check in when you can.

DrRita
01-13-2005, 05:47 AM
WOW! :eek I read that and had to go take a nap! You are definately ms. organization. I admire your tenacity and perservance. And I thought I had a busy life.:\

Betty W01
01-15-2005, 02:10 AM
Noooooooo... don't say that word. You know, NAP!!

ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....