Tag Archive for: juggling tasks

“Use Your Imagination”

Like many authors, I have a day job that keeps me far too
busy. Right now, I’m scrambling to handle everything that was deferred due to a
giant deadline. (Said deadline meant 12+ hour days for weeks and weeks – ack!)
One of those deferred items is making sure all the slides
for my teaching assignments (next week’s adventure) were appropriately timed, logged, approved, and all
the jazz that goes with having your class qualify for Continuing
Professional Education.
And because clearly I don’t have enough to do, I was assigned
a presentation about another service line (to present, fortunately, to just our
group rather than all partners and managers). I say ‘fortunately’ because the
partner who assigned this task made the mistake of saying, “Be creative! Think
outside the box! Use your imagination!”

Those clichés should give you a clue – tossing out phrases like that is throwing down the gauntlet for an author.

So instead of developing a wonderful blog post for you, I spent the afternoon on The Extremely Unlikely [Service Line Redacted]
Case – a Murder Mystery.

There’s a dead accountant.
And cops.

Lots of cops. 


Several suspects. 

And the boring stuff about the Service Line.
Tune in next month to see if I still have a job. 
Have you ever done anything completely silly or off-the-wall
for your day job? Please share!!

Cathy Perkins
started writing when recurring characters and dialogue populated her day job commuting
daydreams. Fortunately, that first novel lives under the bed, but she was
hooked on the joy of creating stories. When not writing, she can be found doing
battle with the beavers over the pond height or setting off on another travel
adventure. Born and raised in South Carolina, she now lives in Washington with
her husband, children, several dogs and the resident deer herd. 
Currently she’s employed in a financial day job. 

Juggling by Debra H. Goldstein

I’m not a writer’s writer.  If I could claim that distinction, I would follow a schedule – perhaps coffee, exercise and writing before and after a short lunch until so many words or pages are completed.  I marvel at writers who live a pre-ordained lifestyle that produces a specified number of words or pages stopping only when “The End” is typed.  Me, I’m a juggler.

Jugglers balance balls, oranges, bowling pins, or whatever comes up in life in the air.  When we watch a juggler, we hold our breath hoping nothing breaks the cycle by falling.  Invariably, at some point, there is a miss, but the juggler grins or grimaces and tries again.

My writing is exactly like the juggler’s act.  Sometimes things go smoothly and the words flow in an easy timely manner, but more often, I add one more ball and my rhythm gets out of kilter.  This week was going to be simple:  two blogs to prepare, a rewrite of the book I am working on, a couple of contest entries if I had spare time, and the beginning of a two week online course with daily homework.  A piece of cake.  That is, until I lost a few hours to a medical appointment, an old friend called to catch up for an hour plus, my husband had the audacity to want to have dinner and conversation, all of the kids checked in, I had to spend hours on the computer and phone purchasing airline tickets for some upcoming trips and wrangling with the television, TV, and internet provider because my bill took a funny jump.  My goals for the week all came tumbling down.

Frustrated, I prioritized.  1) Get homework for class done; 2) smile…this is a guest blogger week on “It’s Not Always a Mystery” and Paula Benson sent me a great piece for Monday, April 14, explaining “What the Bar Exam Taught Me About Writing” (why didn’t I think of that?); 3) Do more class homework; 4) rewrite two pages; 5) write my Stiletto Gang blog; and take a deep breath so that easing in a few extra balls marked as the distractions of life didn’t cause me to drop anything.  Will I finish all the words and pages I hoped for this week?  No.  The contest stuff may have to wait until closer to deadline, the book rewrite may take an extra week, but I’m sure managing to successfully keep a lot of balls in the air and I’m grateful for that.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Debra H. Goldstein is the author of 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue, a mystery set on the University of Michigan’s campus in the 1970’s.  Her most recent short stories, “Who Dat? Dat the Indian Chief!” and “Early Frost” can be found in the anthology Mardi Gras Murder (2014) and in The Birmingham Arts Journal (April 2014).  Contact Debra through her website www.DebraHGoldstein.com or through her personal blog, “It’s Not Always a Mystery,” http://debrahgoldstein.wordpress.com.

Me time???

by: Joelle Charbonneau

While talking to a friend the other day, I was asked the question, “When do you have time for you?”

Time for me?

The question stopped me dead in my tracks. Perhaps it shouldn’t have. But it did. Which probably isn’t good. Most days, I’m so busy taking care of my son, making sure the house doesn’t dissolve into complete disarray (notice I didn’t say keeping it pristine), teaching voice lessons, getting dinner ready for my family, spending time with my husband and somewhere in the middle of all of that getting writing done. Who has time to take time for hair cuts or movies or anything else that might be considered “me time”?

Now that I think about it, I realize that the time I’ve always considered “me time” is actually writing time. For years, writing felt like a hobby. I sat down and wrote stories. No one was paying for them. Heck, aside from my family and a few brave agents no one read those stories. Was it work to create them? Yes. But the lack of income made me rationalize that the time spent on those stories was time spent on me. It made me feel less guilty when I was writing instead of cleaning toilets or scrubbing the floor. Good plan, right?

Then. Yes. Now…not so much.

Almost three years ago, I transitioned from writing as a hobby to writing as a job. But I never transitioned from thinking about my writing as time spent on me to time spent on my work. And that’s a problem. I mean, we all need time to recharge our batteries. Right? We need to get a haircut (which I only remember to do one or two times a year) and a manicure (which I’ve only done once because my mother insisted I had to) or a massage (which some day I plan on doing). No matter what job you are doing, and how much you define yourself by that job—you need time away from it in order to be the happiest, healthiest person you can be.

Of course, now that I’ve worked that out, I have no idea how to set aside time to spend on me. This is where you come in. I need help. Lots and lots of help in figuring out how to make this happen. How do you do it? How do you spend time with family, do your work, make sure the house doesn’t disintegrate into chaos and still carve out moments to do something you enjoy just for you? Trust me when I say, I will be waiting anxiously for your thoughts!