Tag Archives: organization

Downs and Ups

It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Due to some confusion at the garage I got my new muffler Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning, which freed up all of Thursday for a trip to a town (DuBois) about an hour and a half away to go to a craft store (Pat Catan’s) that I’d heard great things about but had never been to.

And a trip to DuBois isn’t worthwhile without a trip to Dutch Pantry for lunch – and an Apple Fritter Sundae for dessert.

Only it wasn’t.  Horrible service there this time. Definitely not the norm but definitely beyond bad.  Sort of ruined the day.

Which means that I wasn’t in the mood to explore the craft store.  Which means that I’ll have to go back to the craft store another time. (Such a sacrifice!)

My Work Box 3.0 was, according to tracking, scheduled for delivery today but apparently that only means to the freight carrier’s hub, so I’m not getting it until Wednesday, which means I have to take another (unpaid) day off work. I’m not a happy camper because I was looking forward to getting it today (since I was already off) and having all weekend to get it assembled.

So I emailed work to request the day off (because by that time talking to people was probably really not a good idea). I got a reply (that gmail, for some unknown reason, decided to hide in my spam folder so I didn’t find it until the office was closed for the weekend) stating that I can’t call off via email.

Um… Okay, but I’m not calling off.  I’m requesting a day off, in writing, just like I did for the 31st and first.

So I called and got the on-call supervisor who was as confused as I was and agreed that wasn’t calling off.  I’ll reply to the email (when I get my snarkiness under control) and will also call on Monday when the regular people are in the office.

So, anyhow, I’ve kind of not been in the mood for much of anything creative lately and I swear the universe is conspiring to piss me off. (And succeeding quite well.) It’s enough to make me want to log into Materia Magica and kill things.

But on a brighter note, I have tentative names for the two main characters (and one secondary character) for my NaNoWriMo novel.

And on an even brighter note, I have figured out how to use Asana to manage trilogies and beyond.  Name the project for the trilogy (or series) – The Other Mages, for instance. Then, instead of adding a task, add a section (it’s kind of hidden next to the “add task” button), and then add tasks below that.

This means I have no excuse not to enter the Academy of the Accord series into it now. (That’s going to be a task and a half!)

 

 

 

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Goal Tracking App Update

On Monday I talked about a couple apps I was going to try out to help with productivity: Habitica and Asana  . Since then I’ve come across another one (WordKeeperAlpha which I found via Rachel Poli’s blog (and she found it via Skye Hegyes’ blog).

Anyhow, I promised you an update on what I thought of them.

Mostly I’ve played with Habitica because it’s fun and addictive. Is it the time sink I feared it would be? Not quite. Yes, I spend time there that I probably shouldn’t, but it is productive time. I’m already up to level 4 and halfway to level 5 and it’s keeping me on task for habits, daily (also weekly) goals, and to do lists. However, I find that I’m using it more for mundane things than for writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I really enjoy using it so I’m going to keep on using it, and maybe find a way to revamp my writing goals to put into it. (Right now the only writing things it has are daily goals to work on Onyx Sun and The Academy of the Accord (which currently means my outline for November) and I’m not sure exactly what (if anything) I should change for it. I think I’ll let it go as is at least for now and rethink the writing aspect of it after NaNoWriMo.

(Fun notes: you can get “pets” in the game. The first one I hatched is a red wolf. Red Wolf Inn plays a key role in some of the Academy of the Accord novels. The second one is a purple tiger. Purple Tiger is one of the things that “P.T.” is rumored to stand for.)

I haven’t fooled with Asana much but hope to do more with it over the weekend. Right now it looks most useful for tracking progress on several different WiPs. With Asana you create a project and then set tasks under it.

For instance, Onyx Sun is a project. Tasks under it include:
Finish Space Battle Scene
Add scene where Soraine “pays back” her rescue
Change “More Araxians” scene to passengers
Put additional scenes into main manuscript
Print for paper edits and revisions
etc

Academy of the Accord hasn’t been entered into it yet because I’m not sure if I should make it one project or make each book of the series a project.

But what I really want to do with Asana is create a project for each Work in Progress, even if it’s just a “story start” (sort of an advanced plot bunny), that takes it from outlining through writing and editing and into publication. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but wasn’t sure how, and Asana looks like it might be the solution I need. Hopefully I’ll have time to play with it more this weekend.

Then there’s the newest discovery, WordKeeperAlpha. I just registered on the site so I don’t have much in the way of first hand feedback for you yet, but I love the fact that it has graphs to track your progress and if you set goals it will tell you how many words you need per day to reach it. (Yeah, some of the stuff I miss having in non-NaNoWriMo months.) And it lets you post your progress directly to FB if you want.

I’m still trying to find my way around the site (it seems to have eaten the project I entered to test it out for this post) but it’s kind of cool and I see it becoming really useful in the future – probably in December.

So there you have it. All three are pretty cool and have (at least in my mind) different uses, all of which are things that I’m finding helpful.

Now, if I just knew how to code I’d create a website that combines all three.

 

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Goal Tracking? There’s an App for That!

A friend introduced me to a role playing game (sort of) this weekend. It’s called Habitica and it’s a combination of a goal tracking app and a role playing game. The basic gist of it is that you list your goals and click them off as you accomplish them.  Clicking them off earns you experience points and gold. There’s more to it than that (Guilds, Groups, Parties, Quests, etc) but I’m still learning about it so I’m not going to get into that here.

I’m rather nervously giving it a try. It looks like fun and it looks useful, but it also looks like a time sink.

You can play on the computer or with a phone app, and since my phone’s memory sucks I’m doing it on the computer. So far it’s cute and it seems to be effective. (But I just signed up for it yesterday so it might be a bit too soon to tell yet.)

Is it a time sink?  Well… I don’t know yet. It takes some time to set up your goals and the rest, I suppose, depends on how involved you get with guilds and parties and groups and such.  (There is a writing guild, so of course I had to join it. I’m not entirely certain what it does yet.)

Also, the FAQ leaves much to be desired and a good tutorial would help a lot.

The same friend also told me about Asana. It seems to be more work-team focused. (When you sign up it nags you for a work email, teammates, team name, etc.) I like the idea that you create projects in it, with individual tasks under that project to break it down.

Then again, I love that same basic idea in Scrivener too, and, um, yeah, well… Let’s not talk about me and Scrivener. I should probably just delete it from my computer. (And I would, but I’m too stubborn. I want to like it. I know it could be useful for things like… oh… organizing the disaster known as The Academy of the Accord.  But it’s just too much.)

I’m thinking that Asana might be useful for organizing all of my WiPs and ideas and starts. We’ll see.

So, that’s part of what I was up to yesterday. Let’s see if I can keep up with at least one of them through Friday.

 

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Interruptions, Distractions, and Annoyances

Predictably, no writing over the weekend.

I seem to have done an awful lot of running around on Saturday so pretty much nothing at all got done.

Most of yesterday was spent doing paper crafts. I have one more artist trading card to do to finish this swap and it’s almost done but it still needs… something. I just don’t know what that something is.

I had to cancel my car inspection for Saturday – it’s been rescheduled for tomorrow morning.

So today I have to:

  • do the Rainbow Snippet blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • do the Snippet Sunday blog hop I didn’t do over the weekend
  • write the thrice cursed space battle!

And deal with the day job that is being super annoying as I’m trying to write this.

(I got a text that they didn’t get my time card so I scanned it and emailed it, and in the process of doing that I got a phone call that they didn’t get my time card. So I sent it and got an email that they got the emailed timecard but could I scan and email my log as well. Seriously? You couldn’t have asked me that when I was talking to you? I just got my scanner and program shut down. They’re gonna have to wait because now I’m more thoroughly annoyed than I was before.)

(On the plus side, I’m gaining a lot of villains for future stories!)

Off to find my logs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m Freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

It was a crazy busy weekend but I got my swaps finished and in the mail –  including two that don’t have to go out until later this week. My next ones aren’t due until September 11th or thereabouts so I’m free to work on writing related projects now.

Sunday, when I had to push to finish stuff, I found myself really wanting to just read stuff I’ve written so I could get back to work on them. I was hoping to do that today but still had a couple things to finish up before the post office closed, then my dog had a chiropractor appointment, then a trip to Tractor Supply where the checkout lady fed him treats. We dropped him off at home then went for supper and for my roommate to do a mystery shop at a frozen yogurt place. I’m stuffed and too tired to do anything else tonight.

So tomorrow I’m going to clean up the disaster area that is my bedroom and try to organize craft supplies.  And I’m going to do writing related stuff.  I’m thinking of maybe setting up some sort of rotation, maybe 15 minutes of craft clean up and then write a set amount of words (unless I really get on a roll with one or the other).

Tomorrow and Wednesday are my last “free” days as I start my new job on Thursday, and I have the feeling that Wednesday is going to have a bunch of errands attached.

Still, the future is looking pretty promising at the moment as far as getting some writing and such done.

And I’m going to be careful not to take on so much stuff that’s all due at the same time.

(Yeah, yeah, I know. We’ve all heard that before.)

But The Academy of the Accord is calling (but I should work on Onyx Sun first) and I want to get back to work on the sequel to Song and Sword (which is now tentatively titled Song and Sight).

What was I saying about not taking on so much?

 

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The Best Laid Schemes…

(of crafters and writers)

… gang aft agley.

Remember on Friday when I said that my plans for my weekend home alone involved rearranging some stuff in my craft room? (I believe the phrase I used was “editing my living space.”)

Uh-huh.

A plot was outlined. The characters (myself, the dogs, and an absent roommate) were developed. The scene (a craft room that looked like an episode of Hoarders) was set.

In short, plans were made.

The gods laughed so hard they had hiccups.

Cue inciting incident on Saturday morning in the form of the panicked voice of my not-done-packing-yet roommate yelling, “Paula! The washer’s overflowing!”

Sure enough. Apparently the washer had decided that “full” wasn’t “full enough” and kept on filling… and filling… and filling…

There was about half an inch of water covering roughly half the (carpeted) floor in my craft room.

So, instead of just moving the buffet table and the bins of yarn, I spent the weekend running the shop vac and moving over half the contents of my craft room into the back half of the basement and then back to where they belong.

I really didn’t lose anything to water damage because most of the stuff on floor level was in plastic tubs. (I learned that lesson a few years ago when the hot water tank declared war on the carpet.)

Epilogue to the weekend:

The carpet is a lot cleaner than it used to be.

The new washer comes on Wednesday.

My craft room is still a disaster but there is more room in it now. Not because there is appreciably less stuff, but because it’s better organized. (I “tightened the writing,” so to speak.)

There is still a lot to do.

The carpet is still slightly damp. (I think water is leeching back up to the surface.)

There is still a lot of unsorted stuff in boxes. But at least the mad rush on it is done, although I do need to still make more room by Wednesday. (Mostly I just need to move some stuff that is rather precariously stacked so it doesn’t get knocked over by the guys bringing the new washer.)

And the sink needs cleaned out – I was emptying the shop vac into it and it’s kind of full of sludge.

Let round two of the edits begin…

 

 

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Maybe I Should…

I think I should just give up on ever being fully organized.

The other day while digging through a drawer of craft stuff I found a small bunch of index cards.

Hm, I thought. What’s this?  So I glanced through them and wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. They were ideas for novels. Some I already had on index cards and some were ones I’d forgotten. Some are probably better left forgotten, but all have been merged into the index card project.

(I never did find the blank white cards and envelopes for making your own cards that I was originally looking for. I know I have some. Somewhere.)

I really need to get everything into a central location. Or locations. Writing stuff in one, paper crafts in another, counted cross stitch in another, crochet in another, miscellaneous other crafts in another…. As it is now it seems that every time I think I have everything rounded up I find more stuff that I had forgotten about lurking somewhere else.

Maybe next month… I should have more time and less stress next month.

Of courses, next month is also Camp NaNoWriMo, but I’m coming up with a plan…

I still don’t know what I’m working on for sure (probably Onyx Sun and the Elven Bard novel) but I’m thinking that I’ll write 500 words, then go do some decluttering or organizing or cleaning or something for 15 to 30 minutes, then write another 500 words.  My goal is currently set to only 31k but if that method pans out well for me I might up it to my traditional 50k.

So maybe July will be the month I finally start getting back on track with writing and clearing clutter and even doing other crafts.

Because I’m just too stubborn to give up.

 

 

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Still Trying

Anyone and everyone who knows me knows a few things about me:

I love lists.
I love “things to put things in.” (My tote bag collection is not up for discussion.)
I am totally addicted to office supply things. (I can’t wait for “Back to School” sales to start.)
I am an expert avoider of housework.
I will, someday, find the perfect way to organize everything.
(And by “everything” I mean craft stuff. And that includes writing stuff, especially plot bunnies.)

Followers of this blog have been subjected to bouts of enthusiasm about a variety of organizational methods:

A photo album that is just about perfect for holding index cards
3×5 index cards divided by genre and by status (how far along they are)
a bullet journal devoted just to writing
a traveler’s notebook devoted just to writing

And probably a few others.

The latest brilliant idea involves page protectors.

The idea is to put labels on them with the project name, put them in a three ring binder in alphabetical order, and drop notes into the sheet protector as I get ideas. I think that might work for the stuff that’s not well developed yet, and for stuff that’s sort of on the back burner.

(Like Hedge House, for instance, because I got a great idea for a scene to put in it and since it’s not being actively worked on at the moment I would love to have a place to put it for safe keeping.)

The sheet protector idea actually started as a way to organize stuff for paper crafts. I thought that they might be a good way to organize stickers. Or at least store them and keep them all in one place.

Now if I can just find my sheet protectors.

And white sticky labels.

 

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Grapevine

This is probably going to be a non writing related blog post.  At least mostly.

I came home from work Friday night and was letting the dogs out and noticed that the majority of the grapevine on the back porch was gone. I asked my roommate what had happened to it and she said that our neighbor had cut down the dead part. I asked if she was aware that he had cut down living vines – vines with flowers that would turn into grapes. She said she hadn’t really looked at it.

Well, I got a better look at the damage Saturday morning and all I want to do is cry. It’s gone. All of it. What I saw still hanging on the rails the night before is just a handful of vines not attached to anything.

The neighbor came out while I had Riley out and said it will grow back. I finally got up enough nerve to go down to ground level (instead of looking from the porch) and it’s worse than I thought. There’s nothing there. Nothing. I can’t even see where the vine was. I don’t think there’s anything left to grow back.

I am heartbroken.

Heartsick.

And even if does grow back, it’s not going to be the same.  That lovely ancient twisted and gnarled trunk is gone forever. (This house was built in 1905. I don’t know when the vine was planted, but the original owner made wine from its grapes.)

I feel like I lost a friend.

So, yeah, it wasn’t a good weekend.

I have been invaded by a couple new plot bunnies though.  *sigh* I can’t keep up! I am doing pretty good at writing them on index cards but I think I’m going to need to get another flex binder (I’m pretty sure I don’t have one on my avalanche prone office supply shelves) and use it to keep outlines in.  I think this project may have outgrown any hopes of fitting in a traveler’s notebook.

Anyhow, one of the plot bunnies is a shifter story.  I have characters (with no name of course) but not much plot yet.

The other grew out of the grapevine butchering and is something that’s going to make me change some stuff in another novel (semi-finished – it needs to be expanded and edited) and create a whole new… not really a series but…

What do you call a bunch of loosely related books set in the same universe?

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Rounding Up Plot Bunnies

I’m still not making much progress toward my writing goals but in a moment of insanity I decided that it would be “fun” to make a list of all the books that I have started or planned.

Off the top of my head I listed 50.

Then I came home from work and poked around a few file folders (with helpful names like “fantasy starts” and “story ideas”) and I’m pretty sure I’m up to over a hundred now, and that’s not counting the “plot bunny bag” beside my computer hutch.

A friend told me I’d better create an immortality potion so I could live long enough to finish them. I told her I’d just make detailed notes and outlines on all of them and leave them to her in my will so she could finish them.

Seriously, though.  What do you do when you have more stories to write than years to write them? (Well, aside from “write faster” which was my friend’s other advice.) If I could write a book a month – consistently – it would still take me over 8 years to clear my backlog of ideas.

Anyhow, listing my projects and potential projects actually sort of ties in with my writing goals for this month, as one of them is to set up a bullet journal for my writing, and part of that is to have a list of all projects so I can track progress on them.

As to how I’m going to track progress, that’s a good question.  Once I get some free time (ha!) I think I’m going to poke through the files section in the bullet journal writers group on Face Book to look for ideas. I might even dive down the Pinterest rabbit hole.

I will find a way to get my writing organized. I will!

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