About Me

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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rountines for Scatterbrains

I fully admit that I am an easily distracted spazzo when it comes to keeping up with daily routines and “to-do” lists. I can walk into the kitchen with the intent to do the dishes, make a sandwich instead and never realize I forgot to do the dishes. It’s a sad state of affairs. I try to pass it off as “too busy”, “free spirited”, “creativity embodied”, some times even just plain “lazy”, but in reality I’m just a big scatterbrain. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal.

Sadly, that’s not how the majority of the world runs and it’s not how things get done. The fact of the matter is that I have a lot of things to get done and can’t discipline myself enough to stick to a plan or routine. May be some day I’ll be rich enough to afford one of those personal assistants who can remind me to put on shoes, dust the piano, get my deadlines all mapped out on a timeline and hound me to finish all of my daily goals. In the mean time, what’s a scatterbrain to do?

Oh, I keep the lists. My husband sees my many lists as a defining trait of who I am. I make the schedules and plot the routines. I love to get absorbed in the whole planning process of how to take control of my life. But, when it all comes down to it the lists and plans go flying out the window as I get distracted by something else entirely. My intentions may be good, but the fact of the matter is that it should have been more important for me to hem my son’s dress pants before the next Sunday and I cleaned the fridge instead. The pants were dutifully listed and scheduled, the fridge distracted me.

I’ve read plenty of books. I’ve made oodles of different plans to reform myself. Yet, here I still am: running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Then again, maybe I’m just the chicken head, aimlessly rolling around the floor wondering what could have happened to my body. It was right here a minute ago…

There has to be hope out there somewhere. I call for all the scatterbrains of the world to unite and write the how-to-book I need to save myself. Oh, wait, that would require organization again wouldn’t it? Scratch that. In the mean time I guess I’ll just keep going the way I am: living my life 5 minutes at a time. That’s about how long I’ve got to complete any given task before I’m completely distracted again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I forgot I was running water to do those cursed dishes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Adding To My Reading List

My reading list is sort of like a sacred cow in my home. My husband has learned not to ask questions like "why do you want to read all those anyway?" or calculate for me that if I read a book every day I still couldn't get through the entire list in a year. He just sadly shakes his head when he sees me add another entry.

My list is almost always over 400 entries long. I search my libraries and book stores for the titles and generally keep a stack of 10-15 books by my bed at all times. There are probably 3 of those titles that I'm actively reading at the same time.

I jot down titles that interest me, authors I want to look into, and books that have been recommended to me by others. Yes, it's a long list but I'm always happy to add a few more notations because I love the written word in almost any form.

This past week I got to add a few more titles. I love LDS fiction; but, since I don't live in an area that has a huge amount of Latter-day Saints in it, I have to read these books much slower than I would like.

The Whitney Award Finalists have now been announced. I was happy to see how many I had already read and even more excited to read those that I hadn't.

Go check out the list and see where you stand. If you need to, start your own "to read" list. I promise these books are worth the effort.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Choosing What to Write

Blogs, Newspapers, Magazines, Copy and Books.

There are as many different media types to write for as there are writers. How do you decide what to write and where to focus your efforts?

For me, the first step was just proving I could actually write. I needed to prove that when I sat down at my computer I could put thoughts and words together to create something beautiful.

Then, it was about proving it to the world. I wanted to let everyone else know I was a writer. In other words, I wanted to be published.

Next, I must admit that my thoughts turned to money. I love the books that I write, but their nature isn’t long lasting enough to actually pay the bills consistently. So I began tapping markets that paid a little better and a little more frequently. I may only produce 1 or 2 books per year but I write almost every day.

I write blogs, I write for magazines and I write a lot of copy. True, it makes it difficult to sum up what I do when someone asks me to tell them about my writing, but I can actually pay a bill or two each month. For this, I’m extremely grateful.

On the other hand, I have noticed that my thoughts about my writing have been turning more frequently to money than joy. I am concentrating most of my time with the bottom line and often neglecting the things that tug at my soul. There are things I write for money and there are things that I write because that is what my Heavenly Father needs me to do. My writing and my spirituality are deeply connected. I feel His love most when I’m honoring the Spirit by pursuing His works rather than the world’s. Sadly, these are the things that have been neglected lately.

I have been pondering this development for several weeks, wondering what I could do to free up more of my time for the things that bring me joy rather than a steady paycheck. It seems to be more difficult for me to figure out than it should be.

What I find interesting is an experience I had yesterday morning. Since the weather here is now too cold for me to walk while my daughter is in her early-morning scripture class, I wrap up in a couple of blankets and study my scriptures in my car.

Yesterday’s topics were peace and charity, as I needed some information for another project. However, I kept running on to verses that spoke to me in a very different way. It’s funny how that happens sometimes. So, I thought I’d share them with you.

“But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.” 2 Nephi 26:31

“But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.” D&C 59:23

“For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God;…” 2 Nephi 25:23

“For I command all men, … that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written.” 2 Nephi 29:11

“And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. And how blessed are they! For they did publish good tidings of good; and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.” Mosiah 27:36-37

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, reconcile yourselves to the will of God, and not to the will of the devil and the flesh;…” 2 Nephi 10:24

“O Lord, I have trusted in thee and I will trust in thee forever. I will not put my trust in the arm of flesh;…” 2 Nephi 4:34

Um, I think He’s trying to tell me something. What do you think?

Well, needless to say after reading these things I had a long talk with my Heavenly Father. I told Him what I wanted, that I felt I had been neglecting the greatest blessings available to me because of my talent. I told Him I wanted to put Him first in my writing as well as my life. If need be, the paying assignments would take a back seat until I had fulfilled what He needed me to do. I told Him I was worried. He understood.

I’m still struggling to find my way on this forgotten path, but I know the Lord is pleased with my efforts. I’ve been missing that lately. I’m beginning my day with His work, then filling any extra time with other assignments instead of the other way around. We’ll see how it goes.

Interestingly enough, when I arrived home that morning, and logged in for the day, I had two more paying assignments waiting for me. He understands.

Friday, January 4, 2008

My Favorite Time of Year

Some people choose a holiday, or other well known event, as their favorite time of year. For me, I'd have to say my favorite definately comes in the spring.
It's not Easter.
It's the LDS Storymakers writers conference.

This may seem a little strange if you don't know me. If you do know me you'll realize I live for my religion and my writing (well, ok, my family is in there somewhere). To me the very best things that can happen are when I get to combine those two elements.
I am proud to be a member of the Storymakers. I've met some of those I consider my dearest friends among their presence. They understand and share the values and dreams I do. It's an awesome experience to be able to rub shoulders with them once a year at this conference.

There are many types of writer's conferences out there. Some are better than others. But, really, where else can you begin your confernce experience with prayer and come away being filled not only with new ideas and inspiration, new knowledge and techniques, but also with your cup filled spiritually as well. To me, no other group of writers understands how closely related the talents of writing and the seeds of the gospel can be.

So, here's my pitch. If you want to spend the best Easter weekend of your writing life. Join us in Utah for the LDS Storymakers conference. I'd love to see you there!