Tag Archives: organization

Slowing Down

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December 2018 ~ A December of “Yes!”

“Don’t wish your life away.”  Among dozens of quotes I remember from my grandmother, that one sticks with me and forces me to keep going.  Lately, I’ve realized I’ve been rushing around so much, trying to do everything all at once to the point I am not as effective as I could be.

I know what I want out of life:  why don’t I have it already?  I’ve put in the hours and made the sacrifices.  It isn’t enough.  I am so busy keeping it all from falling to pieces that I’m going too quickly to the next big thing:  A squirrel trying to beat a blue jay at its own game at the bird feeder during a February deep freeze.  It’s time to slow down and get it right.

So, what does it all mean?  It means I am old enough to realize that some things take time to get right.  There are times when shortcuts hinder you.

This past fall, I decided to say “yes” to as many things as possible.  Even though I haven’t read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes yet, the concept would not let me go.  I took it to the next level in December in an attempt to stave off seasonal depression and recapture all of what I love about Christmas.  The results were … mixed.

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I loved every minute of each and every thing I did in December.  I cherished every minute with my niece and nephews, my siblings and their significant others, my parents, extended family, and friends.  But, there comes a time when you question your sanity. Are we doing this because we “should” or are we doing this because we truly want to?  It is a legitimate question – and it deserves a full answer.

So, did it work?  Yes, I had a ton of fun.  Yes, I made a tons of memories with my family. But, I also came to the conclusion that less is more at times.  Maybe I don’t need to go to two Christmas teas – although I probably will again next year.  In the end, certain events were skipped.  None of us can do it all.

Ever since January 1st, I’ve thought long and hard about how I want to approach this experiment going forward.  As much as I disliked having so many snow days this year and sitting around being unable to work for a good chunk of January and February, it forced me to slow down.  It forced me to rethink how I want to approach things this spring and moving forward.

Now, of course, I have the opposite problem – and probably will each spring the rest of my working life.  Everything seems to happen at once.  We are in the midst of getting ready for season #60 at the canoe livery, I’m subbing every day, and I will soon start a long-term subbing position that won’t end until early June.  In midst of it all, I am ramping up the job search – a teaching position for next school year – and trying to once and for all get writing.  I can do this.  It is time to get intentional and concentrate on what truly matters.  I need to slow down.

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Organization and Patience

Flat lay with glasses, keyboard and cactus candle on colorful ba

I’ve always been obsessed over organization. If I’ve learned one thing about myself through the years, it is this: I work best when I am completely organized. When one small thing is out of place, I find myself easily distracted. A simple task that should take only a few minutes looms large and threatens to upset everything. Silly, I know.

As a teacher, even as a substitute teacher, I try to be as organized as possible. There is nothing worse than walking into a classroom in disarray as a substitute teacher. Endlessly searching for the sub plans constitutes a nightmare in my book. Even worse, walking into no sub plans at all.  Fortunately, that happened to me only once.

As a student, my favorite teachers tended to be those who were more organized, or at least attempted to be organized. Knowing what is expected of you as a student goes a long way toward meeting high expectations. I loved being able to easily know precisely what I needed to accomplish to do well in a class. It didn’t matter at what level. Teachers that allowed for creative freedom – and time to exercise that freedom in class – were among my favorites as well.

So, where did I go wrong?

Right now, I feel anything but organized. Maybe it is just the chaos of creativity and everything happening at once. I never seem to be able to get far enough ahead to make a difference. I know this spring and summer will bring massive changes in my life – and for the better. But what about tying up all those loose ends and meeting deadlines? How do I make it work?

I am slowly trying to make it all work. Unfortunately, I inherited impatience from all sides. In some ways, my procrastination at times is downright rebellion. Growing up, my parents were always working, whether teaching (Mom), running a business, or raising kids. My parents may have been understanding in most cases, but neither one could be described as patient. After spending time with Mom, I realize it is something I will have to work on for the rest of my life. Ultimately, it is my impatience that makes me so disorganized at times. I need to get things done NOW. Putting things away can wait. I am trying – and that is about all I can say at the moment.

Ben Franklin Quote

Creating A Daily Writing Routine

I am finally at a point with my writing where I need to establish a daily writing routine and invest in some software to keep everything organized and running smoothly.  Over the last few years, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Scrivener that I am finally going to take the plunge.  I plan to use it to organize most of my writing intended for future publication.  I have several pieces already that could easily stand alone or become an integral part of much larger projects.  Unfortunately, much of my work is scattered all over my computer.  It is time to organize it all.  It is my hope that Scrivener will help me do just that.

In my quest to make writing a part of my daily routine, I am also testing Freedom.to, which is a program that will block social media or any internet access for a designated period of time.  It is designed to help writers concentrate on writing itself.  We’ll see just how helpful it will be.  While my first instinct is to say it is silly there is a need for an application that will temporarily disable internet access, I also recognize just how distracting social media – Facebook in particular – can be.  There is a time and place to use social media as a writer.  I’m hoping that Freedom.to can help me firmly establish those boundaries.

The final piece of software I plan to use in my attempt to organize my writing and create a routine is RedNotebook.  It is a simple journal interface that includes several templates for various types of journals.  I originally downloaded the program thinking I would use it as an electronic personal journal.  It can be used as so much more.  I can see how useful it may be in tracking my writing efforts and simply entering ideas.  The possibilities are endless.  I admit:  When I first viewed the program, I was a bit disappointed.  It is fairly plain.  However, it has so many features and is customizable.  You can truly create what you would like in an electronic journal.

What my routine will ultimately look like may take some time.  The best part is that thanks to several creative writing courses I’ve completed over the last few semesters, I have hundreds of writing ideas waiting for me.  If I finally run out, I have even more writing prompts.  No more excuses!

I also thought I would include a couple of lists of highly rated writing software and resources.

Literature and Latte – Links for Writers

This is an extensive list of resources for writers.  It is divided into several different categories, including by operating system.  Check out Literature and Latte for Scrivener as well.

Best Free Software for Writing – 10 Programs to Unleash Your Creativity (Techradar.com)

This list includes 10 free programs for writers.  Check here before you decide to pay for writing software.  Often the free alternative is just as good as the expensive option (and sometimes even better).

The 10 Best Creative Writing Programs for 2016

If you are looking for paid creative writing software beyond Scrivener, this list is your best bet.  It provides the consumer with details comparing and contrasting different aspects of a creative writing software package.  Know before you buy.

Happy writing in 2016!

hemingway quote