It started as a simple idea, one I shared on my Facebook page last week: a herb garden.
I have been trying to cook for my family and myself in a more healthy way, and trying to fight that conception that minus fat equals less flavor. I had a very small container herb garden before and loved being able to step out on my deck and grab a pinch of oregano or basil, so I discussed the idea with my husband.
He was fully supportive of the plan but took it a step further, wanting to add a few tomato and pepper plants.
Do I have that much time to take a way from my writing right now and I do NOT want to can in the fall were two of the first thoughts that went through my head. I do love being able to grab a some fresh vegetables at a whim, but feared a little plot in my backyard would suck massive amounts of my time — time that was already stretched way too thin.
But I set those fears aside, remembering how much I’ve enjoyed spending time outdoors, tending for plants. So, my husband and son built a raised garden area during my writing time on Saturday and we made a trip to various garden supply stores picking out plants and then planting them later that ady and Sunday.
One project led to another and I also replanted some of my flower pots, refilled bird feeders and did some general yard clean up. One thing the fix-it up project reminded me is getting a little dirt under your fingernails is good for the soul. Not only did it enhance the look of my backyard, but the activity worked muscles in my body that are often stagnate while I’m writing and filled the creative well.
We’ve had plenty of rain in the last two days to give the flowers and plants a good start, and it shouldn’t be long before everything begins to grow. I hope to share pictures here next week.
If someone was to look at my calendar for just May and June, you would think I booked dates for the Energizer bunny.
From RT to the Lori Foster Author Reader Get Together, from Pony Club Rally to a local women’s conference, I’ve been running at top speed. When I do take a moment to sit down and catch my breath, I don’t feel right unless my laptop is on my lap and I’m spinning stories.
I know I’m not the only one who has a multi-page to do list and in the spirit of doing all of this together I’d like to share some of my tips for sanity and ask all of you to share some of yours.
1. Limits – Sometimes it’s okay to say no. When I noticed early last week that I had double booked myself this weekend, my initial reaction was to try to make it all work. My mind began spinning for a way I could be two places, that were about seventy-five miles apart. Then I remembered some recent advice from a good friend, and had to say no to one. Sometimes, for our sanity, we have to remember we’re not superman. We can’t do it all.
2. Make a schedule. When life gets out-of-hand you absolutely, positively need a written schedule. Keeping it all in your head just doesn’t work.
3. Give yourself permission to stray from the schedule. Just like what happened with me last week, schedules can look good on paper, but when it comes to real life…well it’s just not manageable. At that point, see number one and remember it’s okay to say no.
4. Breathe. Sounds obvious, hu? I mean, we have to breathe to survive, but I’m not talking about the physical act. Part of my to-do for Saturday was to go watch my son at Pony Club Dressage Rally. I can’t tell you the lasts time I spent time sitting in the grass, under a tree, and visiting with friends. The weather was beautiful and the sun on my skin was invigorating. It seems my battery is a solar one and can be recharged by the sun (okay, that’s not NEWS to me, I knew that already.) That time helped make me more productive with my writing when I got home.
Do you have any tips for surviving a crazy spring/summer schedule? I’d love to hear them. Share below in the comment section.
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours of my Mother’s Day at a movie with my kids. They took me to see Iron Man 3.
For anyone whose scene any of the Iron Man films — or any suspense or thriller movie — knows how they tend to speed toward resolution. The hero (in this case Robert Downey Jr.) speeds against a ticking clock to save the day.
Not only is the audience on the edge of its seat because of the battle between good vs. evil, but the element of will the day be saved before the final sands slip through the hour-glass adds tension.
I used this technique in my newest release Resurrecting Harry. A built-in ticking clock, Erich had one month to achieve his goal. Not only was he trying to reason with Bess and figure out who was manipulating her, but he also had to do it before time ran out.
This lesson struck me in a particularly poignant way, because in order to enjoy the very special time with my family yesterday, yet stay on track with my current writing deadline, I had to plan out my time to the minute. I had to take advantage of every fifteen or twenty-minute stretch of “me time” and make it productive time.
And I was reminded how, for me, a ticking clock forces me to bring my A game.
It’s not a new lesson. I’ve spoken on the blog before how much I enjoy doing what’s known as writing sprints. Setting a timer for an hour and doing my best to produce one thousand words or more before the bell goes off. For some reason they work for me. Knowing my time is limited, seems to dial in my focus. Saying, “I only have an hour” pushes me to do the best I can, maybe because I know in a short time I will be able to get up from the desk, walk around, and refresh my coffee.
Or maybe there’s a part of me that likes feeling like Robert Downey Jr. in the final scenes of an action movie.
It’s hard to go to Romantic Times and not notice the hand full of cover models scattered amongst the hundreds and hundreds of women. While it may not be the best part, it’s certainly a noteworthy part.
Today, I’d like to share a few pictures of the men of Romantic Times. (Few words are necessary…)
Harvey Gaudun-Stables and DeLonn Donvian
Me with Harvey Gaudun-Stables
Susanna Ellis, Me and Len
I will be sharing some of my pictures and experiences from last week’s Romantic Times Convention over the next week!
Very early last Tuesday morning, three woman began their journey into parts unknown. Having never been to Romantic Times Convention, but hearing so much about the several daily events and the dances every evening, they decided they needed to be sure they had everything necessary to live for a month a way from home….Even if it was only for five days.
I have to say, I absolutely love traveling with my best buddies and MVRWA chapter mates. Even with nerves twisting our stomachs and questions about what we were getting ourselves into, we never stopped laughing. From the moment we were all together until our wheels touched down in Kansas City and through out the convention – the fun didn’t stop.
It was so wonderful to finally get to meet fellow Crescent Moon Press author, Shawna Romkey!
…And Sara Hubbard
And get reacquainted with Aaron Ritchey…even if he didn’t recognize me at first. <grin>
Tune in tomorrow for more pics, and more stories.
As I mentioned here earlier this week, I am not one of those people who can travel lightly. So, my upcoming trip to Romantic Times Convention is turning into a packing nightmare, even with shipping many things ahead to the hotel.
I’m a worse case scenario kind of person.
I’m someone who has to make sure she has all her bases covered.
I also know I’m likely to put an outfit on, look in the mirror and suddenly hate it.
Stress makes these things worse on me.
And as much as I love going to conferences and conventions and meeting people, I get a little stressed over the whole traveling thing.
But in this day and age, packing everything — including the kitchen sink — for a four or five-day excursion can hit a person in the pocketbook. Airlines now charge for extra suitcases and overweight bags. Some airlines even charge for the first bag. This is one of the reasons I’m loyal to Southwest Airlines, I can get two bags free — but it’s very hard to maneuver airports, shuttle buses, and hotel lobbies with multiple bags.
So, I’m asking all of you seasoned travelers for help.
Those of you who can go to a conference for a week with no more than a carry on, how do you do it? Please share your travel tips in the comments below.
By this time next week, I will be jetting toward Kansas City for this years RT Convention, but I’m still amazed at what goes into preparing for a conference.
As I mentioned yesterday, this will be first Romantic Times Con, but I’m a long-time conference and convention attendee. So, I can’t really blame a lack of know-how or first time jitters to explain my need to pack two to three outfits a day, several pair of shoes, and enough cosmetics and hair care products to last the average person a month.
Admittedly, half of what goes into my suitcases will come home unworn. Yet, the daughter and I are heading to the mall in a little bit for one last shopping trip. (Okay, maybe not last.)
But aside from shopping trips, and salon appointments, I also have a dozen other preparations to complete while working, and not to mention my everyday responsibilities.
BUT, I know it will all be worth it when I get there and get a chance to talk to old friends and make a bunch of new ones.
Today, if you’ve been to RT before, can you give a must-do tip or share an experience in the comment section for this newbie?
Also, if you have not followed me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/CPhillips) or liked my author page on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ConstancePhillipsRomanceAuthor?ref=hl0), you’re going to want to get that done. I will be holding several giveaways while I’m at RT that you will only be able to find there.
You don’t have to dig too far through the archives of this blog to know I’m a fan of 80s music. So it wont surprise too many people that the recent commercial that been airing on TV for an upcoming concert.
The only problem I have is the line-up for said concert has me singing that song engrained in my memory from my days watching Sesame Street: one of these things is not like the other.
The lineup includes Styx (who my husband and I caught a little over a year ago and really enjoyed), REO Speedwagon (whose music always takes me right back to my high school days) and … Ted Nugent.
Now, don’t think the point of this post is to slam any of these artists. They all have merit and were a huge part of the music of my favorite decade, but it’s very hard for me to draw a link between Styx and Speedwagon to Nugent. Their music is not similar.
I can’t imagine Amazon recommending a Ted Nugent based on my purchase of a Styx album.
What do you think? Have you ever seen a concert line up where you say I wonder if band x will perform first or last so I can go late or leave early?