An Hour a Day

I’m always trying to get myself into a routine. I work 9-hour days and then some so it’s hard to find the time to blog, read, write, play video games, relax, etc.

I’ve set designated days to work on writing and blogging to spread the load out and keep myself organized. Some weeks are better than others, but if there’s a certain deadline I have to meet, then priority goes to that and the schedule gets thrown out the window.

Lately, blogging has been taking over my writing life. I think the main reason for that is because I have deadlines for my blog and not my writing… yet.

Anyway, it’s a new year so of course, I have to try getting myself into another routine.

an-hour

During the week, I wake up at five in the morning and go to bed between nine and ten. I’m a morning person and that’s when I do my best work, so that’s why I get up two hours before I actually have to.

But it helps a lot because by the time I get home from work I’m too tired to do anything else.

It takes about an hour for me to go through my WordPress Reader each morning and read and comment on all the blogs I follow. Plus, I read and comment on at least five blogs I don’t follow.

I can read about 100 pages of a book in one hour.

I can write about 2,000 words in an hour. Editing? Well, I’m sure I could get a good chunk of editing done if I focus enough for an hour.

Some blog posts are more work than others and the graphics can take some time to make, but again, I can get a lot done in an hour.

I’ve decided to set aside one hour each day for each activity. I have two hours in the morning before work that will be dedicated to blog time. One hour for reading and commenting, one hour for writing posts.

Then I spend six and half hours at work and then another two-or-so-hours babysitting.

When I get home, I’ll spend one hour reading and one hour writing/editing.

This will be easier to accomplish on the days I don’t have to babysit and the weekends are going to be a breeze, but we’ll see how it works out.

And of course, this isn’t set in stone. I know I have to carve out some family and friend time. I also plan to shut down my computer and such by seven each night so I can have a few hours to relax before bed and then doing it all over again the following day.

So, what do you think? I think there needs to be more hours in the day.

Once I get a good backlog of posts written for my blog, I can go back to my other schedule (only working on my blogs on Thursday and Friday). But, since I was sick the last week of 2016, I wasn’t able to get anything done for January. So I’m a bit behind.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing this week. Hopefully, it will continue for the next week or two and then I can feel caught up on everything.

Until I can someday (hopefully) make enough money to be a full-time writer, I have to run a tight-ship with myself to get this done. Nothing happens if you don’t work for it.

Do you have a special routine to get your writing and/or blogging done? What is it and how does it work for you?Let me know in the comments below!

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Plans Change

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Via Pinterest

I was super productive during the month of September. In my October Goals post I decided to be just as productive, if not more.

Well, I have been sick for the whole month of October so far. I’m better now, but I missed work all last week. It was nice being home, but I spent it on the couch resting so there was no reading, no writing.

We’re about halfway through October and I had hoped to finish my outline for NaNoWriMo by now, but oh well. Things happen.

You always plan for what you want to accomplish. You plan for what you want to happen. You assume it’ll happen because you planned it and nothing could ever go wrong or get in your way.

Well, plans change and when that happens you need to be flexible and work something else out. Because let’s face it: Life doesn’t care about any plans we’ve made.

So I didn’t get much work done, but because of that I think I’ve come up with a better solution to balance writing, reading, blogging, and real life things.

All I have to do is stick with it the best I can.

So, update:

1. I will not be writing one Short Story Sunday a day. I’m going to save that for December.
2. I am not going to “cheat” during NaNo anymore. I’m going to finish my outline and leave it until November starts. I was originally going to start handwriting, but I changed my mind. Computer it is.
3. My reading list for October changed. There’s no surprise there; especially since I had to skip a week.

That’s where I stand at the moment. I hope everyone else is moving along nicely in their own writing worlds.

Routine Is Key

Did you know that it takes about 21 days to make a habit?

I’m not really sure how true that is, but I’m willing to try it out.

I always give myself a word count to meet daily. On good days, it works. On not so good days–busy days, days I’m exhausted–it doesn’t work very well.

I work better in the morning. I’m a morning person and on days when I have work, it’s better to get anything done before work rather than after because by the time I get home from chasing around preschoolers for six hours, I’m too tired.

Coming to the conclusion that I’ve been going about this whole routine thing the wrong way, I decided to set aside some writing time for each day.

I’ve thought of doing this before, but my schedule changes a lot between work, babysitting, church, family, friends, etc. So I never gave it a shot. I think it’s about time I start doing that.

Now that I’m out of school and work is done for the summer, I thought of setting aside two hours every morning to write. Hopefully it’ll work so by the time work starts back up again, I’ll be in a good enough routine to stick with it without trying.

I’m only going to do it five days a week, though. Monday through Thursday plus Saturday when Kris and I go on our Barnes and Noble trips. Fridays will be blog days and Sundays will be for planning Sunday school for next year.

Of course, if I want to write I will. But as long as I get at least two hours in on those days, I think it’ll work out.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what works for you?

There’s Always Tomorrow

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Via Pinterest

This week has been so off from routine for me that I am utterly exhausted; scratch that–I’m super overtired. I have a ton of energy, but I think that’s because I did’t have a normal schedule this week.

Usually, on Monday my schedule consists of work, babysitting, then home. Since it was Memorial Day, I didn’t have work and didn’t have to babysit. I ended up getting some things done with my day off, but it ended there.

Tuesday I usually have work and that’s it. Instead I worked, went home, then babysat for five hours into the night. I got back late not getting a whole lot of sleep.

Wednesday I usually go to work, babysit for an hour, then come home. I had work (and it was field day for the kids so it was super busy) and came straight home because they didn’t need me babysitting.

Thursday I go to work, then babysit for four hours, then come home. Again, I only had work on Thursday.

Friday I usually have work and then I’m home for the weekend. I ended up going to work, then babysit, then straight to my friend’s house for the rest of the night.

It was a busy week and work itself was super busy because one of the teachers in my classroom was out all week. My routine was just completely thrown off.

I barely got any writing or reading done this week because of it. I tried writing one day and then my laptop crashed, so that didn’t help for the time being.

Anyway, today is another busy day, but I hope to be able to get some things done later on.

Hopefully, I’ll get back into my routine next week. My babysitting schedule will be different because the school year is winding down, but I’ll be babysitting less–not more.

I can’t wait to get into a routine for the summer. Three more weeks of work–15 days!

Out Of Routine

I love February vacation. I don’t spend six hours of my day at work, so I’m able to get a lot of things done. However, the things I want to get done don’t necessarily get done. I still have homework to do.

So today I did some homework, then went out to lunch (which was fun) and then have been doing more homework. I have two assignments left to do, but I’m done with homework for the time being. I need a break. So they’ll get done sometime tomorrow.

No writing today. I’ve having been writing or editing very much lately because of work and homework and such. I thought I would be able to get a lot of writing done this week because I don’t have work. Except I’ve been thrown off my routine so I haven’t been doing much anything lately.

Tomorrow is Friday, which means vacation is just about over. Next week I’ll be able to get back into my writing routine and hopefully gets somethings done.

Sometimes I feel like my routine gets me in a rut so I look forward to vacation. Then I get out of my routine and I feel so discombobulated.

Updates

I think it’s about time I’ve gotten myself into a routine, don’t you think? I haven’t been about to blog in a while. I haven’t even had a chance to really write anything in a while. Between school and work, life has been pretty hectic. So here are a few updates about my life. I think if I write them down it’ll help me sort everything out so I can get myself back on track.

Work:
While it’s nice that I’m just a teacher’s aide, it still saps up a lot of time and energy. I only have to be at work when the kids are there (which means I only work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon). I don’t have to do any prepping outside of work and I’m not obligated to go to any staff meetings (I still go, but it’s nice to have the choice). Once 2:30 hits, I’m done. But… I’m in the second lowest class. My kids are still learning how to talk (yes, they’re three- and four-years-old). It takes up a lot of energy and by the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to do homework, I just want to watch mindless TV or sleep.

School:
I think I could discuss this forever. I think the topic of my school should be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you the boring details. I’m taking five online classes all of which give me a lot of homework. Well… it’s actually not bad and the assignments are “easy”, but a good amount of the them are very time consuming. I have to sit down and split my assignments into five days so I can finish my homework by Friday (even though they’re all due Sunday) so I can have the weekend to myself and also not feel like the homework is never-ending. My psych class virtually gives me no work, which is kind of nice. My Authors class (Tolkien and Rowling) gives me a ton. Most of it is reading, but if you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings, you know how heavy that book is. Add Harry Potter and other online reading to that plus written assignments and you’ve got a pretty good idea of all the work I have to do for that class. My Place class is a normal amount of work, but I have no motivation to do it. My Spanish class is a decent amount of work. However it’s an accelerated class. So that ends the beginning of November instead of the middle of December like my other classes. This week is Week Five out of 14 and I was bummed. Then I realized for Spanish, I’m already halfway done because that class is only ten weeks long. So school should calm down in a little bit at least. I got a new professor for my Fiction class because my other professor had surgery. The professor is the guy who I had last semester for my Creative Writing class. He’s great, so I’m happy with the change. My homework level might dwindle down with him being in charge, which is a plus.

Sunday School:
Sunday school started up again with me as the director of the program and also one of the teachers. We’ve had two classes so far and I still need to write my lesson plans. So, that’s how that’s going. I’ve been more focused on my homework, so I haven’t really had time to work on Sunday school, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Babysitting:
I’m babysitting twice a week immediately after work. Two hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Thursday. Thursday I’m basically in the car the entire time, so that’s wonderful. I try to bring some homework with me to do while the kids do their own homework, but I don’t really get that much done. Then I go home around dinner time and crash.

Blogging:
I’ve started putting together a schedule for myself to make sure I keep up with this blog. I was doing pretty well until school and work started… I have a few ideas and changes for Spilled Ink, but that won’t be coming until 2015. Until then, here’s to trying to post a few times a week!

Writing:
Remember I had that schedule for myself? It was for editing Detective Florence, the first novel and the second one? Then outline the third one and write that for November’s NaNoWriMo? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten very far with that at all due to homework. I tried waking up early to write/edit for an hour each day, but I became too exhausted to keep that up. So I need to figure something else out. I’ve slowly been trying to figure out a schedule for myself, so there will be more on that later. (In other words… stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.)

So there you have it. This has been my life lately and I didn’t even include the fact that my house looks like it exploded because we’re painting four rooms and also the last minute things I have to do for my sister’s wedding, which is about three weeks away. Fun stuff going on over here! So, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a new routine for myself; especially since October is creeping fast and I need to figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. This will be interesting.

Why I Do What I Do

Quit

This quote doesn’t exactly pertain to what I’m about to say, but it still makes sense. It’s not the quitting part I want to focus on because I have no intention on quitting what I do. It’s the “think about why you started” part.

There are so many situations that I say to myself, “why did I do this to myself?” or “what possessed me to agree to this?” Lately I’ve been asking myself those type of questions a lot because my life has been so busy. I went from a summer of writing all day, relaxing, and getting things done around the house. Now I blink and it’s time for bed and I can’t remember what happened during the day.

Last week I started back to work and that’s when the ball started rolling. Here’s my schedule:

Monday: Work 8-2:30 ; Babysit 3-5 ; Homework
Tuesday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Wednesday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Thursday: Work 8-2:30 ; Babysit 3-6:30 ; Homework
Friday: Work 8-2:30 ; Homework
Saturday: Homework
Sunday: Church ; Homework

I started back to work full-time because I needed to. I needed to get out of the house (even though I would rather stay home all day) and make a little money. I love the place I work at. The kids are great and the teachers are fantastic. I’m really learning a lot.

I’m going to school to get a good education in doing something I love: teaching and writing. Five classes is a lot, yes, but I’ve done it before. The homework isn’t really a lot, but a few of the assignments are time consuming. Therefore, it’s hard to be motivated to do it. Plus, once you start you can’t stop so I need to make sure I have enough time to complete the task.

I hated Sunday school when I was a kid, but I’ve always wanted to be a Sunday school teacher. Don’t ask me why… I guess it’s just more of the “teaching” aspect. This year I’m not only teaching a class, but I’m the director of the program as well. That’s a step up from what I originally wanted, but I’m proud to do it and excited to give it a shot.

I babysit because I love the kids. I’ve been babysitting for that family for five years now. It’s been amazing watching them grow up and being an “older sister” to them. They look up to me so I want to be the best example I can be.

In addition to school, work, babysitting, and sunday school, I have to think about my sister’s wedding (a month and two days), the upcoming bachelorette party, and just getting other things done in general like… you know, blogging? I haven’t been able to post in a week or two.

It’s tiring, but I enjoy it. I like to keep myself busy. So why am I complaining, “why did I do this to myself?”

I haven’t had the time to write. I did well last week writing for an hour every morning, but then I was too tired after work (and then babysitting) to do any homework. I got really behind on my school work last week and crammed it all in Friday night since that was my first free night all week. I would come home and relax saying, “I got my writing done this morning so I’m all set for today” completely forgetting about homework.

Unfortunately, at this point in my life, homework has to be priority over writing.

So I think I’m going to try to get some homework done in the morning. However, I still haven’t been writing. I think I’m going to have to keep playing around with different routines until I can fit everything into one day.

If I could add more hours to the day, I would. In the meantime, I have to make do with what I have and everything will work out in the end.

I love everything I do even if it’s hard to fit it all in one day. That’s why I started.

Reality Checks In

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Yesterday we arrived home around 1:30 in the afternoon. It was good timing. But, when I say “home” I mean my cousins’ house. Kris and I waited there for two hours for our uncle to pick us home on his way home from work to bring us home. After traffic we didn’t get back to our own home until about 4:30. It was a long day and I was tired, needless to say.

When we walked into the house we were greeted warmly by our mother and father and our dog Chip was ecstatic. Hunter pretended he didn’t care, but he kept going through our luggage and meowing at us. He’s been following me around this morning. Raph came right out of her box house when she saw me, which made me feel good. Mikey… well, he’s a fish. He came to the front of his tank, but he was most likely just swimming or looking for food.

After discussing the trip with my parents and showing them photos and souvenirs we bought them, I sat on the couch for a few hours before turning in early. I slept well, but I had to get up early this morning because I have to babysit soon. Why I agreed to babysit the day after my Disney vacation is beyond me. Kris was smart and took today off from work pretending she was just getting home today. I should have done that.

So I woke up at about 7:30 this morning. I rolled out of bed trying not to squish Chip in the process and then proceeded to make a small tent with my blankets. When Chip has the bed to herself, she likes to be under the covers. So, when I have to ditch her in the morning I try to make her a fort of some kind. Sometimes she stays, sometimes she doesn’t. It’s been over an hour now and she’s still sleeping under there.

I went down to the kitchen, made myself a cup of coffee, took out a pea from the freezer to feed Mikey (he got sick a few weeks ago so I have to feed him peas now), went into my office, opened the blinds and one of the windows, turned on my computer, fed Mikey, woke Raph up and took her out of her tank, and then I sat down at my computer to blog, surf the web, sip at my coffee, etc.

While waiting for my computer to finish loading, I felt as though I had never left. The routine I just described is the same thing I do every single morning. It’s going to continue to be that way because work starts in a week and a half. The only difference will be that I’ll be waking up about an hour earlier to do it all.

School starts a week from today, work starts a week from Monday, and Sunday school starts on a Sunday in September (I’m the director now and I have no idea when the first day is going to be… great, huh?). Not to mention I have to babysit today, tomorrow, and Friday. My cousins start back to school a week from Thursday and I have to get them ready because I have to drive one of them on my way to work. I also have to find time to write in all of this, as well.

I write better in the morning, but I have to be at work by eight. I have to drive my cousin to school which means I have to leave a little earlier than usual. If I want to write in the morning then I’m going to have to wake up at four in which case I would have to go to bed at about seven or eight. I’ll probably end up writing at night or in the afternoon after work, but then I’ll be tired from the day and then when am I going to get my homework done?

Listen to me ramble on. It truly is like I never left. I’m immediately back to my old routine that has never changed and I’m back to my old ways of thinking… or worrying.

One thing I failed to mention was the fact that I’m sipping my coffee out of the brand new mug I bought myself in Disney. It has the picture of Peter Pan on it and it says “Never grow up.” This reminds me that I did in fact go on vacation and that it wasn’t just a dream. I did get my break from reality, even though it doesn’t seem like it. My break lasted 11 days (granted four were spent in the car…) and through that my biggest and only concern was that I wanted to meet Peter Pan. And I did.

So, yes I do have a lot on my plate. I have a lot to think about and to worry about (even though I worry over nothing most of the time). The summer will be officially over sooner rather than later. It’s sad, but it was the same amount of time I get every summer. It just went by too fast, which is always how it goes.

I turn 21 in less than a week, so unfortunately for Peter Pan (and myself), I’m growing up. I never wanted to grow up (and I still don’t), but age is but a number and considering the fact that I cried after I met Peter Pan, I’m going to say I’m still a kid at heart and that is one thing I hope will never change.

I hate homework, but I’m excited for my classes this upcoming semester. Depending on the professors, I should have a good experience with school this time around. I’m starting a new job in a place I love surrounded by awesome people. While the kids can drive me nuts, they’re great as well and I enjoy their company. Directing the Sunday school will be a challenge, but it’s something I always wanted to do ever since I myself was in Sunday school. I may not be ready, but I’m willing to get through it. I’ll be writing every moment I can now that I told myself what I wanted to accomplish with my writing for the next few months.

So, I guess if it’s something you love and you want it, growing up isn’t all that bad. But, as I stated earlier, my mentality is growing up, but not my heart. I guess you really can have the best of both worlds.

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Daily Word Count

Writing

 

 

I posted this picture from Pinterest because this is how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s gotten to the point when I’ve started asking myself, “Why am I doing this to myself?” again. You all know my answer as I have explained it once or twice before.  As writers we’re not allowed to make excuses, but we make excuse after excuse anyway. Here’s my current excuse:

School started.

You know how I was writing 5,000 words a day? I was doing fantastic at that! Well, since school started I have been more preoccupied with that (as I should be) so it’s gotten to the point where I’ve said to myself, “It’s already 8pm, I’m not going to hit 5k…I’m just going to go watch Seinfeld.” …My sister and I have been on a Seinfeld kick lately.

Anyway, I decided that I’m going to shoot for 1,000 words a day while school is in session. During winter break, summer, Spring break, etc, I’ll go back to the 5,000 words a day. I’ll update it on my To Do List whenever I change the word count, even if it’s just for a week (like for Spring Break).

Now this bothers me because I assumed by taking three classes I’d have more time to write as opposed to taking five classes like I did last semester–not to mention I’m not working full-time anymore. But here’s the thing: I’m taking three classes and have 14 books for it. Mind blown, right? You have no idea how much reading I have been doing in the past two weeks since school started. I’m not saying this is a bad thing because it’s certainly helping me on GoodReads (I’m three books ahead of my 20-book 2014 Reading Challenge goal!) and I’m using a few of those books to fill up some squares on the Reading Bingo. So even though a few of the books are boring (no offense to anyone who likes Gertrude Stein and/or Ernest Hemingway), it helps. Plus it’s good for writers to read books they like and books they don’t like, right?

So today I pushed myself to get back into that daily writing routine. I wrote 1,259 words and I am happy with that. However, I will admit that I am looking forward to Spring Break in the middle of March so I can not be too exhausted out of my mind and will be able to write 5,000 words again even just for that week.

Not Productive

Today Was A Bust…

 

Today my sister and I went to Barnes and Noble. We went about our normal routine; we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast, Starbucks for drinks, and Barnes and Noble to write. However, we weren’t there for any more than an hour when my dad called. We switched from Verizon to Comcast today and with Comet and Chip at home, he didn’t want to shut them in the bedroom and listen to them bark all afternoon. My sister and I ended up going home and taking the dogs to Nanny’s house where we stayed for about an hour and a half. They have no wi-fi, either so we couldn’t work on our writing at all.

By then, the guy was still at our house, but I had to go to work. So we went back to my house, leaving the dogs, I grabbed my things and went to work. When I got home from work, I had to re-connect the internet and now my laptop is being extremely slow. I assume it’s just trying to get used to the new connection, or I’m hoping so anyway. However, I am in no mood to write now.

While we were at Barnes and Noble, I did write a tiny bit, but it was under 1,000 words. And I never wrote yesterday, so I feel like I’m a bit behind. And because of that, I’m beginning to get annoyed at my writing. I have three novels completed and never bothered to edit any of them.

Well, that’s not true. I’m on the seventh draft of Diary of a Lover, but I never once edited Hunter, which I finished back in August of 2011. Saving Each Other I just finished less than a month ago, so I’m not going to get back into that just yet…I’m kind of sick of those characters.

However, I do have three children’s books that are completed, edited and all, but I don’t bother trying to get them published. Why? I don’t know. That’s what I think I’m going to do when I finish this post. I think I’m going to try searching for publishers and such. At least if I get those three children’s books out there, I would get my foot in the door for whenever I publish a novel, the extra money would be a plus, and maybe it would motivate me a little more to get something else out there.

I asked my sister to edit Hunter the other day. She hasn’t started, yet, but I’m hoping that once she edits it, it will motivate me to edit it and keep at it. Honestly, I wrote that so long ago I don’t even remember what happens in the book. It’s quite sad.

I told myself that, because I’m so into The Blank Page right now, I’m going to finish it. Then once I finish it, I’m going to work strictly on editing for a little while. I know my new year’s resolution was to write more, but editing is a big part of writing, even if I’m not adding word after word after word. It’ll suck because I absolutely hate editing, but if it needs to get done, then I’m going to get it done.

I’m not going to write anymore tonight because I am just not in the mood and I know if I force myself, I’m going to mess up the entire novel. Hopefully, I’ll get back into it tomorrow morning. I had a good routine going: I woke up early every morning, worked on my websites for a bit, wrote for an hour, and then posted on here. I have not done that since Tuesday…but Tuesday I had no school and no work and nothing to do, so I kind of wanted to take advantage of the fact that I could have stayed in bed for the entire day. With all the crap I have been doing lately, no one can blame me for that.

On a good note, I did start my resolution about reading more. Does everyone know the series Warriors by Erin Hunter? Well, there are so many books that I have lost count, but I do have most of them. I have read a few, but I decided to re-read them…especially because one of my RPG websites are based after this series. Last year, I read the first five books, so I decided to start reading them again starting with the sixth book. If I didn’t have work or anything else going on in my life right now, I would have finished it the day I started it. But we’ll take baby steps.

I’ll talk to you all tomorrow…hopefully after I write for an hour. I have work at 1:30 tomorrow, so if I get up early enough maybe I can do a little extra. That would be nice!

 

2013: 13,645 Words Written
2013: 183 Pages Read