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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Filled to the Brim

Okay. Have you ever had those weeks where you’ve thought just one more thing would tip the pot? This is exactly a ‘Calgon take me away’ type of day.

Sigh. Sure I had back issues last week but those are dissipating and life is getting back on a more even keel. What isn’t is the constant tug on my time. I know, I know.

I am just like my fellow bloggers here, too committed with too little time. Here was my calendar for just today:

Wednesday, August 26
  1. Write Blog
  2. Senior Pictures (17 yo)
  3. Answer emails
  4. Contest Coordinating and Judging
  5. Writing
  6. Pick up DH at airport

Geez. Any one of those items can take a couple of hours and there are just so many in a day.

And then I remember a discussion I had with a NYC best-selling author, I can’t remember just who but it was at an RWA National Conference, years ago. She told me each of us have the same amount of time every day. No one gets more, no one gets less. Each of us has exactly the same framework in which to work our magic. Some of us excel, some of us fade. But all of us have to fit in what we want every day. The problem is just how we do it.

For me, I get days like today where I feel like a chicken with my head cut off because there are so many things pulling at me. The key here is actually take a big, deep cleansing breath and put things into perspective. There are things I can slide a little, there are things I can’t and there are other items which are dependent upon other people. Those I have to wait for.

So I made my list but didn’t follow the order today and that got me screwed up from the get go. I plan well but sometimes get off task and run around like a chicken. But all it took was writing this blog to bring it all back into focus. This is important to me. Writing is important to me. Life will always come at me and I’ll met each challenge head-on and work within my parameters.

What challenges do each of you have to meet within your lives to get your writing time in? Your family time? Your personal time? Give me your answer and get entered into the August giveaway for a huge basket of goodies which includes an iPod. Yeah!

I am also extending my book giveaway. If you purchase a copy of Giselle’s Elf before September 15, I will give you a FREE ebook copy of any my other elf books. Just send me a copy of your receipt to and I’ll email you for your preference.

And, one last exciting thing: today is the day I’m giving away a copy of AutoCrit, the program for writers! The winner is....drum roll please....the Chicks of Characterization. Come on down and claim your prize!!!

You all have a great week and I’ll see you next Wednesday with the winner of the August giveaway and another great blog!



Erin Sinclair said...

For quite a while there, I allowed life to run rampant and interfere in my writing, now I'm slowly but surely getting it under control.

Lists? What a concept! Everytime I make one though I end up forgetting to take it with me or misplace it. Hubby keeps telling me to use my calendar in my Blackberry, first to remember to do it, second to pay attention to the alarm that I've set to remind myself I have a task to do.


SiNn said...

for me i have set times for everything when im going to this then i realize some things cna just wait now i do what i can then do the rest another time my biggest challange is finding time between my better half and my extended family i want alone time with him then i want quality time with other. I am a firm believer in the live for the day not the tomarrow that and me and my better half practice the indian belief system of relative time and such

Chicks of Characterization said...

OMG, I can't believe it!!! woohoo, and I thought about ordering the program last night! How cool!!!! You can contact me at

Thanks so much,

Andrea :O)

Lynn Crain said...


Yeah, there are some days I just can't seem to get it under control at all. LOL! Geez, yesterday was one such day. I'm better now.

Believe it or not, lists have been very, very good to me. For some reason they really make me focus and stay on track. They are the only thing to have ever done so. Mostly, they are task lists on my pop-up calendar. They tell me when and where I'm supposed to be places. I've even got it to tell me I've been sitting too long and to take a break. LOL!

If I'm going somewhere, I just print it out and take it with me. It seems to work well but there are times I do forget!

Thanks for stopping's good talking to you!


Lynn Crain said...


I agree about figuring out which things can wait and which ones can't. Once you get that concept down, it's all good.

We're lucky in the fact that we always schedule time for ourselves first. The DH and I learned early on if we didn't do that, the tugs of everything else would eat away at our personal time.

I haven't heard of the relative time belief system. I'll have to check it out. Sounds very interesting.

Thanks for stopping by SiNn, I always enjoy what you have to say!


Lynn Crain said...


Congratulations!!! I will email you personally here in a minute.

You will just love this program. I was stunned when the owner of the company wrote me and offered the freebie.

Thanks for being my AutoCrit winner! I hope you come back often and tell your friends as I will be giving away something every week!


Nancy G said...

This is my year of indulgence-for this year, I'm doing things important to me (as long as it doesn't bankrupt me or turn the family inside out)and I've set my priorities as such. First on the list-Do not kill yourself trying to get everything done at work. What you don't finish today will be there tomorrow. Get the time sensitive done first and all else falls in place. If I don't feel like cooking my son (25 yrs) will do it or he starves. He's turning into quite the little cook at home now, and proud of it too. I've just decided nothing is worth the heart attack that was coming, so I'm taking care of me now.

Lynn Crain said...

That's the spirit, Nancy!

Nothing is as important as taking care of yourself. I too have learned that as I've gotten older.
The fact is, if I don't do it, no one will do it for me.

Everything will get done and things happen exactly when they are supposed to.

Thanks for stopping by...I enjoyed talking to you!


C.R. Moss said...

must be one of those time periods. i just had a fit this morning and snapped at hubby that 'i'm f**king tired of trying to figure things out.' grrr...
i keep trying to tell myself time is relative but it only seems to keep speeding up...

C. A. R. said...

Like you there are too many things pulling at me. Work that supplies my family with health insurance, two kids starting college, and for the last 6 weeks my husband has been ill in the hospital that is 3.5 hours away. I know he is getting good specialized care but I just wish I could be there 24/7. Guess if I could colon one more of me I would be less stressed.

Lynn Crain said...


I so hear what you're saying. For me right now, it's the opposite with the DH being the grumpy one.

I have noticed that as I've gotten older some things just seem to whiz by and others seem to go really, really slow.

Right now it's is whizzing and that's why I seem out of control for brief periods.

My mantra right now is 'It will get better, it will get better.' LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn Crain said...


Sorry to hear about the DH! That's stressfull enough without adding the rest.

I have a 17 yo high school senior which drives me crazy most of the time. Can't wait until he's in college but he plans on living with us. Which I'm not sure is a good thing. LOL!

Yeah, the health insurance issue is a big, big thing. If there were other ways to get affordable health care we'd all have it by now.

Thanks for stopping by. And here's hoping things will be better for you in the coming days!


catedid said...

I wake up nearly every morning a make a list of to do things. I try to follow it and get as much done on the list as possible. Some days are better than others. I always make time for a quiet period to reflect on my life and how to be a better person towards my family and friends.

Lynn Crain said...


Aren't lists absolutely wonderful?

I do most everything by lists as they seem to help me stay focused.

But like you said, some days I use it very well and others it can be hit and miss.

Thanks for stopping by!


PhyllisC said...

I enjoyed your post. It made me realize that I'm not the only one that sometimes feels like I'm out of control and being managed by life instead of managing my life. I try to make a list with the important things listed first. I also allow for my priorities to change during the day. I've also realized that it is okay if some of the things on my list roll over to the next day.

Lynn Crain said...


So very true about letting the things you don't get done rolling over the next day.

People don't realize that when you make the list, it actually opens you up to the possibility as so many of us want to complete the whole list in one day. Sometimes it takes more than that and we need to remind ourselves that slow and steady is just as good, if not better, than racing around.

Thanks for stopping by!


Bo said...

Nice Blog Lynn.


Fran Lee said...

Organization? Spell that, please. Lists? LOL! I write 'em...then I put them somewhere "safe" never to be seen again. I forget deadlines until my editor sends me an anxious e-mail...then I work through the night to finish. Ah, well...

Ginger Simpson said...

I understand "Filled to the Brim." I retired from my full-time job a few years ago, and just when I thought I might be able to organize myself, I discovered I have CRS (Can't Remember S*it). It's acute and incurable, chronic even. I make lists but then forget where I put them. I keep calendars but don't remember where they are. I'm constantly in the "do it now" mode lest something important whizzes by without notice. I have much more time now, I just have a whole lot less brain cells. What do I do now? Hey...I just remembered where my car keys are! *lol*

April Ash said...

I keep a calendar at my desk just for jotting down writing career things I need to do that day...this is different than my family calendar in the kitchen.
Family and life do interfere with writing, but everyone has to figure out what their priorities are. I write when I can, and allow time to check loops, blog, etc.
Life has a way of throwing things at you, and you need to cope.

Kealie Shay said...

I know I'm WAAAAY late... but it actually goes with this post. We had two family emergencies in the past month that required packing up and running out of town so I'm just getting caught up on reading blogs and emails. You want to see your lists go out the window when something like that happens... phew.

I have four kids, I write, I teach ballet and I have a home business (jewelry and whatnots). Some days are more insane than the others when you add in Scouts, my kids' dance classes and my hubby and my other responsibilities. I make a list of what I'd LIKE to get done, next to the list of things that NEED to get done and where we need to be that day.

My PDA gives me reminders and I've learned to at least LOOK at the reminder (granted it took me about a year to train myself). My other stuff goes on a timer queue... i.e. Writing 1 hour, Reviews 1 hour, Reading 45 min, Jewelry/whatnots 1 hour (or to fill the order). When the timer goes off, I move to a new task.

May not work for everyone, but it gets me through the day at least feeling like I accomplished something. Great questions.

Tina said...

i make lists i need them for every day, with everyone's life its impossible for me to live with out listing stuff out

Faith said...

I have four kids and now I have an "orphan" who will probably be living here too. Three teens, and 11 year old, and a 4 year old.

When do I get everything done? I dunno. LMAO! I do something, then write for while, do something else, then write for a while....

Somehow it all gets done.

Heather said...

Time is always a big issue for me. I try to have set days where I'll complete certain tasks. For example, I'll do all of my grocery shopping and cooking for the week on Sunday. That way, each day I just have a quick reheat the main dish and put together a few sides for supper instead of trying to plan and cook an entire meal each day. I do all of my cleaning/laundry on saturdays...mail/bills on mondays, etc. When I spread it out that way, I at least "feel" that I have more time in each day. I'm not spending part of each day dealing with cooking, laundry, admin stuff, etc.

Bo said...

Notes? Calendars? Yeah I write em and put em where I can see em - only some gremlin comes along and messes it all up. either that or they all fall into the black abyss never to be seen again lol

Oh yeah I do the do it as I think of it only to get sidetracked and forget to go back to it lol


Dani said...

You asked a trick question didn't ya? ;o)

At the moment I live in a house that is busier than Union Station. I have tried here lately to try to write when I go to my own home but everyone around there sees that you are home to visit and it is non-stop bell ringing and door knocking.

What I am going to need to do is find a way to tune everyone out and get busy. It's gonna be hard but that is my goal.


jennifer said...

me yeah i do lists i have a list of things i need done list of things i want done, i literally carry a notebook everywhere with my notes of everything in it. yeah my life in a notebook and god forbid i lose that. and post it notes don't even get me started. i have even color coded them. i spend most my time remembering not 2 forget 2 do

Debby said...

I have lots of challenges. I am just starting to write and find my family wants so much. I am going to write in the morninga becaue everyone elseis asleep

Carol L. said...

Hi Lynn,
I'm glad I found your web site and blog. You are new to me but that ends today. I love so many of your titles and cannot wait to read them.
Years ago when I was raising 7 kids I knew that if I didn't stop and figure out a way to get everything done I'd probably loose my mind. :)
I learned to just do all the important things, and learned if I didn't dust that day that the furniture police weren't coming to get me :) I tried lists but they stressed me out too.I thought I had to do everything on it. The best thing for me was whenever I started to feel emotionally distraught because of the demand for my attention from so many people I'd stop and let them know I needed a time out and I'd go sit and no one bothered me for about 15 minutes till I regrouped. I'd take a deep breathe and go again. I remember my husband saying to me one night about one in the morning, "You say your so tired, why are you still awake just sitting on the couch"? I looked at him and said because I need alone time before I lay down I had to know I could sit alone in the quiet before going to bed and getting about and starting again. Ah, but those days are gone, kids are all grown with their own little ones (payback is such a bit*c* :) Now I spend almost all my time reading at my leisure. I love it.
Carol L.

Barbara Elsborg said...

I wake up at the crack of dawn ready to write
Ah - take dog for a walk
Make husband a cup of tea
Time to write
UP to get myself a cup of coffee
Back to the lap top
Hunger pangs make writing impossible - two slices of toast.
Flexes fingers at keyboard
More coffee
Loo - and it needs cleaning
Back to keyboard
'What's for dinner?" says husband
"What's in the fridge?" says I
He goes to supermarket and I have an hour's peace to write
Doorbell rings - guy selling fish??
I've deleted the paragraph I've written - crap
Dog needs another walk
End of the day - I'm just planning to do better tomorrow.

So - my plan
Husband to do all cleaning and all shopping.
Dog to walk itself
Buy coffee machine that will work for an entire day and produce lovely coffee - do they exist?

Never answer the door - ever.

vickyb said...

I am almost obsessively organized, but finding time to write of late has been a challenge. But lists help. And a big calendar on the wall (enhanced with a smaller one in my purse). The ones on the phone and PDA just don't work for me. I need it on paper. After that, it's just a matter of remembering to look at them! :)

Chicks of Characterization said...

Hi Lynn, first off I want to say I am loving AUTO CRIT and am going to blog about it! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! And of course to Nina too! Anyway, my writing has always taken a back seat to my kids. I've always had every excuse in the book- no time, kids interrupt me- I can't focus- writers block- you name it I've said it and done it! Anyway, since now all three of my boys are in school- (my baby started kindergarten today! boohoo) I have no excuse. I am buckling down and am going to put myself on a schedule! Lets see how long it lasts!!! But I am gonna try! I even bought a netbook that will fit in my purse for when I am at the soccer field waiting for my son to finish soccer! I am determined to be productive!

Great post,

Andrea :O)

Ivy D. Truitt said...

I have to read to be fit for public consumption. It can only be 10 min. but I need it. I tend to be efficient and organized anyway but there are days when there's so much to do I can't tell if I'm punched, stamped, bored or screwed on. That's when I take a breath & read for a clears my brain & I go from there. It's gotten even worse now that DH is only home on wknds...3 pt. times, 3 kids, the house & life in general. Never boring I can tell ya!

D. B. Reynolds said...

I'm a big believer in lists. The best part is checking the items OFF! Unfortunately that last part happens all to infrequently. LOL

2009 has been a very challenging year, both good and bad. On the bad, I've had some health issues that slowed me down and continue to limit what I can do, but every day gets better. But the GOOD part were the deadlines I had to meet for my FIRST TWO BOOKS! 2009 was my year to finally get published, so I didn't mind those challenges at all.

My own method of coping is staying up long after my darling hubby has gone to sleep, when the house is quiet and I can focus entirely on my writing with no interruptions.


Talya Bosco said...

I am lucky, I have a part time job, and understanding husband, and tons of time. I never have to squeeze my writing in between anything.

Okay, okay, let me get to reality. I really do have an understanding husband and a part time job, so I do have more time than many people, but I still need to squeeze time in for writing many days. Given the nature of my job, I do have entire days that I can write, but that isn't every day.
So I make lists and I prioritize on those days I have other things to do.
Housework is actually one of those things I use to help me squeeze my writing time in. I turn on the laptop, write a little, if I get stuck or need to stop and think, I get up and sweep the floor, wash the dishes, empty the dishwasher, etc. That way I don't scream at the keyboard, and still get done what needs to get done in the house.
Errands I try to lump together. If I am going to be out, I try to do as much of the shopping at once, so when I come home, I can write.
Days I work I tend to try to run home to write some before dinner has to be started or hubby comes home.
I have learned that if I dont make my writing time a priority then no one else will.

Corrina Cowan said...

I have such a hard time with time management. The days just seem to get shorter and shorter. Quite a few people mentioned using a schedule and a timer and while I've tried to use timers before, I've never set them to a schedule so that may be something that will work. My biggest issue is, I'm a morning person. I'm most creative when I first wake up. Unfortunately, I'm up at 5 to get ready for work and that's pretty much the earliest I can get myself up. But I am going to try the schedule/timer thing. If it's all laid out then it's much easier to follow than just sitting down and picking at random what I'm going to work on. Thanks for the great post!

Lynn said...


Thanks! I enjoyed writing it. Glad you like it.

Take care and thanks for dropping by. Loved seeing you here.


Lynn said...

Ginger S.,

I sure love your CRS syndrome. Can't say I don't have a little bit of that going around here. LOL!

I love my digital calendar. It keeps me on time most of the time.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...

April Ash,

When I had both kids home, I had to have a family calendar versus a writing calendar as well.

Now it is all pretty much blurred since the youngest is 17 yo and can do a lot of things himself.

I am loving my digital calendar I have on this new computer. It tends to keep me straight if I make sure to enter the event.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Life does have a way for making it all go to hell in a handbasket...doesn't it?

I love your idea of the like versus need lists and I occasionally set up my PDA to remind me. I have a Blackberry Storm which is a great little computer.

Now I do love the timed writing idea and other things timed. I used to do this and it worked well for me.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Yeah, I just love the lists. They are fantastic!

Glad you could drop by...hope to see you here again sometime.


Lynn said...


Yes, family is very, very important as it should be. And if what you're using works for you, great. I'm all for not reinventing the wheel.

It was good to have you here. Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


You bring up and interesting idea.

My mother used to do things by days as well. She worked graveyards for most of her life and she did the Saturday cleaning thing as well as the cooking on Saturday and Sunday as her shift was Sunday through Thursday. Once I was old enough to help, I did.

It does give one the good feeling of getting things accomplished. MOF, I have been talking to the DH into going back to the Saturday cleaning day as we tend to be a little haphazard.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Yeah, I've had an infestation of gremlins as well recently. Don't know why and I wish they'd go back to where they belong. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Yes, it can be so very, very hard to tune it all out.

At my house my office doesn't have doors at all. And it needs to as it seems to be the main through-fare for everyone going to the kitchen. My family will actually walk through it just to talk to me. And it doesn't matter if I'm working or not. This is a major problem. MOF it's made me have many, many late nights as I like to be alone with my thoughts when I write. I so have to get doors. LOL!

And it's a good goal to work toward. Tuning things out is a learned art. Most of the time I'm good at it but here recently, it's not so good.

Thanks for stopping to see me!


Lynn said...


That is so cool that you color code your lists. I know that I can do it on my digital calendar and then print it as well.

And I so understand about carrying around a notebook. I have a bag big enough so I can do that very thing. LOL!

Good to talk to you...thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Yes, family's can be needy if they feel you are taking any of their time away. And don't ask me how they know, they just do. LOL!

I tend to stay up late, like now, and do a lot of quiet time writing. Which means I stay up way too late for the DH. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...

Carol L.,

Thank you very much for the compliment. I appreciate it! You are so sweet!

I do a lot of the same. Take care of the important stuff first, the rest will come. LOL!

And I so understand about the quiet time. It is really, really important to me.

Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again soon!


Lynn said...

Barbara E.,

Love your schedule. I will really have to track my this way someday.

I also love your plan to management. I know that when I scheduled myself this way, as long as I put in time for writing, it always got done.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...

Vicky B,

Lists are great! I can also see the advantage of your big wall calendar. I know personally if it's in my face, I will acknowledge it. LOL!

I would have to say regarding paper over digital would be what I was doing. If I was away from my computer, paper obviously BUT since I'm at it all the time, digital. Now I have been known to print out the digital copy to take with me. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...

Hey Chicks!

I knew you would love it, Andrea...glad you got everything set up correctly...yippee!!!

Yes, now is the time to schedule your writing since you have more tools in your arsenal. There are days I have to time it as well.

Hope to see you here next week!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...

Ivy D.,

I am so glad reading clears your mind. It does mine sometimes if the book is really good.

I sure wish I could be as organized as you.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


I'm a believer in lists as well. And so understand about the health issues. They can be a bummer.

Congratulations on getting publishing in 2008! That is always a special thing!

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


Your husband sounds like mine. I get to write and basically do what I need to do with this career.

I used to have a part time job but got laid off last October. Writing is filling most of that gap.

Now, the part about writer's block and doing housework to get rid of it...whoa...I didn't realize that's what I was doing. I just thought I cleaned because it needed to be done. LOL! I know better now!

Yes, writing does have to be a priority or it never gets done.

Thanks for stopping by!


Lynn said...


I understand your struggle with time management. It is something many of us struggle with...and I'm no different.

Using timers works on certain things and not others. I like it for timed writings where it forces me to time myself to write without distraction for a short period of time.

Glad you loved the post. I aim to please.

Hope you stop by again sometime...good to have you here!


Lynn said...


I almost missed sorry...I just couldn't copy down my list correctly today! Sorry!

And yeah, I so have a stack of lists somewhere that are hiding together like cockroaches, I swear. Did you notice they breed too? LOL!

Still, I like my lists and use them all the time.

Thanks for stopping by...good to see you!


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