Four more sleeps until Christmas

Coffee and mince pie.

For the first time in a long time, I’ll be working the week of Christmas. I have Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (Christmas Eve) to make my appearance at the library. Luckily the agency staff all got a couple of extra days off as well, so I’m free to hang out at home with Steve. (We may actually have a change to drive somewhere and do something outside of town!)

Today the Christmas turkey arrives so we can put that in the fridge. We may also brave the retail mall for some big TV shopping. On Monday we’ll have to get the rest of our Christmas necessities: biscuits, milk, oranges, and kitty litter. Tuesday is the late night at the library, and Wednesday I’ll be donned in my Christmas jumper. At least we close early that day.

My new job is turning permanent next year, so the boss in the process of getting my contract sorted. This means chasing up references, and producing a proof of address in order to get the ball rolling.

Lately, as I’ve said more than once, I’ve just been busy doing my daily routines. I finally was able to get my hair done last week, so I don’t look like some ragamuffin who looks in the mirror and think everything’s okay. I’m also done with the Christmas shopping (aside from the television shopping today). Of course, every time I think I’m done, I think of or see something new to add to the stack of presents in the closet that needs wrapping.

That wrapping never ends!

I haven’t been reading as much since I discovered that looking at an electronic device on a bus makes me sick to my stomach – bummer. The same goes for my writing, even though I have a set plan of events for my YA sci-fi series. I’ve been editing the first book with my CP and writing the second book slowly but surely. (Very slowly.) Since I’m not in the midst of the Twitter/PitchMad fever lately, I’m not as worried about getting things done in a rush and it, inevitably, ending up sub-par.

I also have my NA Thriller that still needs publishing on Smashwords. Maybe I’ll get to it early in the New Year. My schedule will change soon, so I may end up with half days on Wednesday and every other Saturday off so I can catch up on the book stuff much easier.

Anyway, with that update, I want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas. Hope you have a great holiday!

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Being busy and being productive

Mad Tea Party.

Busy. We’re all busy. We feel guilty if we’re not busy, but we have to pace ourselves.

Now that I’m working full time, I’ve decided that I do want it all – work and writing. But I work late hours and only get one day at a time off (usually). So I have to give myself time to do all the other things I want to do when I can and in whatever increments I can handle at the time.

I read on the bus during my commute. I’ve tried writing on the bumpy bus, and it’s more bother than it’s worth with the typos.

Steve and I have given up on going to the grocery store on Sundays. We want to sleep in, eat breakfast, drink tea and coffee, and chill out. Since stores close at 4PM here on Sunday (even “24 Hour” stores aren’t legally allowed to be open late) we simply don’t have time to get the shopping done.

I’ve figured out that if I do the laundry right when I get home on Saturday night, I have a better chance of dry socks and work clothes by Monday morning. Before, I was trying to do that and shop and have family time all on Sunday. It just isn’t feasible.

So, I’ve adjusted my schedule. I tackle what I can each day.

We’re so worried about word count, but I really need to take the time to edit too . Now I know that the editing is the hardest, most time consuming process and I just can’t think about submitting to a publisher or Smashwords before I do some editing and rewriting bit by bit, when I can.

I have a list of things to do every night when I get home: eat dinner, take a shower, talk to my parents, visit with Steve, pack Steve’s lunch, and get into bed by 11PM at the latest. It doesn’t look like much as a short list, but everything needs time and with only 4-5 hours each night to get everything done, there’s a lot of other things I’d like to do, but I just can’t.

I started to believe that busy was productive, and the opposite of lazy. The “no excuses” opinion of the masses is that we should have time to do everything , every day. If I have errands, I can’t go to the gym. If I go to the gym, I can’t get errands or shopping done, plus get writing and editing done. There just aren’t that many hours in a day. Plus, if you run yourself ragged, you never have time to recuperate from the rushing around you do the rest of the week.

So, take your time, do what you can, do your best, and don’t let the world pressure you into being on half empty all the time.

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Making time to make NaNoWriMo your own

The Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne, 1961

Today is my Saturday. That means I can eat sausage rolls, drink coffee, and get things done around the house. It also means that I have time to sit at my computer and get some writing done. (Obviously, I’m not doing it right now because I’m typing this blog post, but whatever.)

As usual for me with NaNoWriMo, I am otherwise engaged with a new job. That means working at a busy library, and a long commute to and from. No, there’s not a lot of time to do anything at home other than hang out with Steve, eat, watch TV, and pass out for the night.

However, I have found that the commute is handy for reading. I really like sitting on the bus with my Kindle for the better part of the journey, letting myself relax with a book first things in the morning. If I can find time to read, surely I can find some time to write.

I know right now that getting 1,667 words per day is going to be too high of a goal, but as I’ve found out the hard way, rushing to get a project done really isn’t always the best way to go about doing something.

So, I’ve made out another handy list of articles devoted to finding time to write. Even if you’re like me who just wants to get something down each day, you can do NaNoWriMo in a way that suits your current situation.

There’s always going to be the debate between plotters and pantsers too. Whatever works for you is fine. Personally, I do better by just writing out notes, then letting the story take shape on its own. Too much planning makes me feel stifled (sometimes, not always).

Bottom line is to enjoy the journey. We’ve all been through the same issues of finding time, or having so much time on our hands that we procrastinate. Just get what you can done because in the end all you have to really do is write.

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Libraries, jobs, reading, and writing

Sign in the morning clouds.

I came back from our Florida holiday on 7 October. That night I applied for a rare public library job through an agency. Steve went to an interview locally that Thursday and while I waiting on him in the car, I got a call saying I was to start my library job on Monday. Friday Steve was offered the local job which he eventually took and has already been working at for a week.

We get to stay in Newcastle. Both of us are working. Hooray!

I have a bit of a commute, which works well for reading. So far I’ve been reading The Princess Diaries and Harry Potter because I really don’t want to tackle something heavy like Gone Girl at 7:30AM.

Since I’m not able to have sit down time to myself as much, the writing is going to be sporadic, but I will definitely treasure it more.

This means that, once again, NaNoWriMo is not something I’m going to have time to do. It’s always the way, so I’m not really that gutted about it. I’m working Saturdays as well, but this means my one weekday off gives me the much needed Zen-like state to be alone at my desk, or with my word processor at a Starbucks, getting some words down.

I have too many ideas, notes, and outlines to give up on my writing projects now.

It will leave for a much happier Christmas too, if I have cash of my own so – yay! Things are going well. The blog won’t be updated as often (unless I do short, on-the-go post but, honestly, isn’t that what Twitter is for)?

So with that, I wish you all a very Happy Halloween. Good luck on NaNoWriMo. Make us proud!

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An update for September


There’s been a lot going on over here at Pick Manor, so I wanted to post a quick update about our crazy goings-on.

Yesterday was our 4th anniversary. This is the first time we’ve spent it at home, so it was nice to take a late night walk through Newcastle. We ate at El Torero for Spanish tapas. It’s been ages since we were there, so it was that much more pleasurable to have a nice dinner for a special event. We even drank a pitcher of sangria. Yum! All in all a very romantic evening to celebrate four years of wedded bliss.

In the spirit of our anniversary, our yearly Florida holiday starts tomorrow! We’ll be doing the regular holiday-type things for the last two weeks of September like visiting with my parents, celebrating my birthday, enjoying the beach (we want to get bikes this time!), hanging out at Disney, and doing the oh-so important American things like drinking Slurpees, driving on wide roads with a distinct lack of roundabouts, and buying DVDs at Target while sipping on a pumpkin spice latte.

I get to swim in a big, outdoor pool again. Hooray!

Jake has the cat/house sitter to keep him company while we’re gone. I always feel bad leaving him, and I do miss him when we’re in bed at the hotel without a fat ginger cat snuggling up between us. At least I know he’s well taken care of at home.

When we get back from holiday, we very well may be planning for a move. Steve was suddenly let go from his new job (after they told him over and over how he didn’t need to worry about his probation and it was perfectly fine.)  He’s applied for lots of jobs that are in other parts of England (not America or Canada yet) so we very well may be exploring the rest of the country for a new place to live.

If we are going to be moving, I’ll have to finish up three sections of my Teaching Assistant course in order to get a Support in Learning at Schools award for getting at least half way through the curriculum. It’s kind of a bummer, but I see this as a big opportunity for me to look for work somewhere else.

As Steve said, we’ve kind of exhausted our job prospects in the North East.

I stopped volunteering up at the Primary School too. I enjoyed working up there last term, but now that school’s started with new students and a new teacher, I was doing more physical work (cutting paper, putting stickers on workbooks, etc.) and no sitting down with a group and helping with assignments. Being on my feet like that was killing my back. We had no extra chairs in that classroom, and even when I’d try to go to the library to work, I’d be kicked out because a class was going to use it. Oh well, we are staying here in October, I can always look for another school to go to – one with a place to sit down.

With the writing – I’ve been submitting and getting rejections, but the rejections are much nicer lately, so that’s a good thing. I wrote a New Adult thriller that I’m trying to get represented.

In the meantime, I’ve started this book project that I fought with a lot last year around this time. I finally just started somewhere and got in a few NaNoWriMo-type sprints. Those 1700 word sprints are such an easy way for me to stay on track, no matter what the month or project. Anyway, I’m just going to run with the silly thing and aim for a higher word count.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in September. In October, I’ll be working on homework, a possible move, and the new YA light fantasy book so I can aim to get 20k words in before starting NaNo in November.

Right now I have to finish my edits for my CP partner before I get my suitcase packed. I have to charge up my Kindles. I’ve acquired lots of contemporary New Adult romances, just to change it up a little. I love that a lot of them are set in Florida, like all of my books are.

Of course, I always have my Princess Diaries books to keep me entertained. I never get tired of those.

Holiday photos on Instagram will be showing up shortly! Enjoy!

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