Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Did I hear a collective groan?

I made the mistake today of cataloging all my upcoming deadlines:

1. Projects at work, moveable at rush jobs appear
2. Get supper on the table
3. Continue writing book 2

2-3 Times per Week:
1. Laundry
2. Work out at the gym

1. Grocery shopping

Within the next 4 Weeks:
1. Copyedits for book 1
2. Two birthdays

Within the next 16 Weeks:
1. Christmas
2. Author events (no idea, yet, how many there will be)

This looks way too much like part of my kid’s physics homework: If writer A has X minutes to complete task B, how soon will writer A’s head explode when tasks C, D, F, and G are added at a rate of Y per hour? This is my instinctive reaction to that formula:

Then again, this is where being an anal-retentive type comes in handy. I’m a pretty good hand at multitasking, and I’ve become more efficient at it over the years, when I learned how to take advantage of Found Time. Those are all the little bits of “hold time” while waiting in line, waiting for dinner to finish, waiting at the soccer field.

Like many of us who write and maintain a Day Job and (often) household, if I didn’t monitor my schedule daily, I’d drown. Hooray for phones with a calendar function. And Post-It Notes. Those little sticky pieces of paper have rescued many a plot point from oblivion.

Today’s tasks aren’t done, and there are tomorrow’s to prepare for. And the next chapter. And the laundry… I think I’ll lay down with a cool cloth on my forehead for five minutes. No; wait. That’s not on my schedule. Guess it’s time for this:


Lois Winston said...

Alice, I consider myself a very organized person. I have to be, considering I juggle 3 careers. However, I'd love to know the secret to only going to the supermarket once a week. I've never been able to master that one. I'm always dashing off to buy something we've run out of, or something I forgot to buy (even if it was listed on my phone shopping list!) or a missing ingredient for a recipe I'm making. I don't think I've ever managed less than 3 trips per week and it's often more.

Terri Bischoff said...

If I tried to catalog my upcoming deadlines, I would probably have a nervous breakdown. This morning on the way to work I picked up a large coffee and an even larger cinnamon roll from Panera. Sugar and caffeine...

And I'm with Lois. I end up stopping at the store all the time for stuff I forgot to pick up.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I feel your pain, Lois. Boy, I feel it. This posting made me examination my own deadlines and now I have heart flutters. I'm currently 6 days away from a manuscript deadline. By the end of October I have edits for the 6th Odelia book and galley proofs for the 2nd Granny Apples due, then I start my 3rd Granny book ... and then there's B'Con coming up. Oh yeah, and we're in the middle of a big closing at the office, needing longer hours there this week. AND L.A. is in the middle of a blistering heat wave and I don't have AC.

If I had a husband and children they would shoot me, or me them. Thank goodness for Lean Cuisine and take out. Now if I could just teach the cats to clean and vac the apt.

We're all in this together, mates. Whaddaya say? Let's have lunch and a spa day. Who's in?

Lois Winston said...

Oh, I am so in for a spa day, Sue Ann! Where do I sign up?

As for cleaning, a long time ago I decided my time was too valuable. One of my big splurges is a lovely woman who comes once every 2 weeks to clean my house.What she gets done in 2-1/2 hrs. would take me an entire day, and I can't afford to devote a day to cleaning.

Beth Groundwater said...

Here's the trick for only going to the grocery store once a week: write out your menu plan for the week with your grocery list next to it and add items as you go along. Also, train your family: each time you use up a staple, like a jar of peanut butter or a tube of toothpaste, write it on the grocery list (and always have an extra one in the pantry or linen closet).

Like Lois, I splurge on a cleaning lady, but mine comes once a month.

Sue Ann,
I've already scheduled my massage--for next Monday after I participate in Author Fest of the Rockies and as a reward for hitting the halfway point in my WiP, which is very close. That reminds me, why am I here instead of writing fiction!?

Darrell James said...

Whew! I think I'll have a beer and go take a nap (guy response).

Seriously, Diana and I mapped out my 2011 travel schedule, just last night. It's so tight it will take only one leaky faucet to fix, or one drain spout to clear, and the whole thing will unravel. I'm thinking about becoming a minimalist.

Lois Winston said...

Beth, plan a week's worth of menus in advance? LOL! My standard greeting to my husband when he walks in the door is, "Is it that late already?" because I've gotten so caught up in my work that I've totally lost track of time. I'm lucky if I remember to defrost something ahead of time!

Keith Raffel said...

Alice, you know what they say.... If you want to be fed quickly, go to a busy restaurant. I'll bet you're a little more efficient than you are letting on. Darrell, anything with beer (good beer, that is) and I'm in.

G.M. Malliet said...

I read Darrell's comment not an hour after having dropped the shampoo bottle cap down the drain. I am not saying Darrell, clear over there on the West Coast, caused this by thinking "expensive plumber jobs." I'm just's damned odd.

Darrell James said...

Sorry, Gin. I should have stayed with the beer line and left it at that.

Alice Loweecey said...

Sue Ann--I have the husband and kids add ons. :D When's that spa day?