Category Archives: Time management and goals

One of those God Says Ha weeks (#SFWApro)

Not in a drastic way like where the car blows up or the a.c. runs down. Just in little ways.

The project for Leaf wrapped up this week, but that did consume some time. Plus as usual, Screen Rant, this one concerning people who got their powers from Captain America’s super-soldier process, like the Captain America of the 1950s (seen above grappling with Steve Rogers, art by Sal Buscema, all rights remain with current holder). It was pretty much done by Wednesday, but then I got a call from GoBankingRates, another website I do stuff for. Short article, $125. I said yes. That took up a few hours Thursday (the information was easy to gather, but fitting it to their format is tougher).

And then late Thursday my Screen Rant editor emailed to ask if I knew anything about the Golden Age Captain Marvel (seen below with the Marvel Family and the wizard Shazam; art by C.C. Beck, all rights remain with current holder). They just announced this week that the Shazam film is the next DC movie to start filming, so SR wanted a story ready by end of day today. That consumed some of yesterday evening and all of today. Though it may not go up tomorrow, if it looks like there’s bigger news coming up that would make for more page views.

Plus I have another GoBanking article due Monday. But after that I’ll be free to focus on fiction the rest of the week. That will be fun.

So outside of the various articles I did this week, I submitted a book proposal (superstitiously I’ll keep mum about it until I know if it’s a go or not) and I finished reading Backlash for my Undead Sexist Cliches book, as I mentioned yesterday.

I had several house and paperwork tasks to do this week, but most of them didn’t get done. Among other things the transition to a new insurer is gumming up getting some prescription refills; I need some records for TYG to file some of the paperwork; but I did get a couple of stuck drawers in the living room unstuck, so yay (didn’t do it myself. Contractor took care of it).

Oh, and I sold a couple more copies of Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast. Kind of cool.

But now it’s all done. I plan a relaxing weekend. Have fun, y’all.



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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Sex for Dinner, Death for Breakfast, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Goals for June (#SFWApro)

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on vacation, so there won’t be a “week in review” post this afternoon (can you soldier on?). Details of my week’s fun will come some time next week.

I came out with 48 percent of my goals accomplished, which I’m reasonably happy with. A lot of the stuff that didn’t get done was due to being full-time doggy daddy five days a week with no break (due, as I’ve mentioned before, to an outbreak of canine flu in the area). That affected lots of little things — the extra bicycling I normally do on daycare days, juggling practice (I’m a lousy juggler but I do enjoy practice. Only not when the balls can land on the dogs), cleaning time (dogs + cleaning chemicals is a suboptimal mix). Plus our surprisingly busy weekends kept me from some of the little activities I might have done during the same period. That suits my fine — social events are way preferable to ticking off stuff on my lists.

I finished a draft of Southern Discomfort, which is a big check mark for me. I did not, however, make it to the after-writer’s group bar to hang with everyone. Next month, for sure! I accomplished several other writing goals though with the Leaf project I worked on, didn’t get much in the short story vein done (but paying gigs are paying gigs). I caught up with a friend of mine whose health I was concerned about and kept up a reasonable exercise schedule. Though it’s possible the health benefits were neutralized by all my anniversary chocolate.

With things back to normal this month, I’m hoping to do better. And I’ve had a week of vacation to contemplate what I want to do and how to organize my time. We’ll see if that helps.

For illustration, here’s a Madonna by Titian, from the North Carolina Museum of Art’s Venice exhibit. Photo by me.

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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

On the plus side, I slept well (#SFWApro)

And I did finish Southern Discomfort, which is a big win. I also got more articles in for the Leaf project, which will put a little more money in the bank. And as usual, submitted a Screen Rant, 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Spider-Girl (cover by Pat Olliffe, all rights remain with current holder). I even found a little time to work on a short story, though it got squished between talking to a contractor and taking care of the dogs.

And sleeping well is a very sweet thing. I’ve found that if I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll go back to sleep once I lie on the couch. This hasn’t always worked in the past and may wear off at some point, but for the moment it’s great.

Unfortunately, I’m still spending lots and lots more time than usual with the puppies, and as I said last week, my sense of personal space has evaporated. It’s not affecting the way I treat them, thank goodness — I still have no trouble cuddling and petting them, etcetera. But they leave me with zero space and zero privacy, and that leaves me feeling very uncomfortable a lot of the time (I can’t quite describe it, but it’s a very physical sensation). And that cuts into my ability to work and concentrate. Fortunately Screen Rant and Leaf don’t require as much creativity as working on a short story.

It doesn’t help that they’re really demanding of attention when I’m done for the day (I think it’s because they’re used to TYG coming home to play, and so if she’s out late, I’m the designated petter). So I can’t really do anything that gets away from puppy care. I’ve been compromising this week by putting in a movie so I have my hands free for petting and playing.

Another bright moment, there was an identity theft incident (someone took out a Verizon account in my name) and I got it successfully resolved this week. Kudos to Verizon’s fraud department and the Durham PD for being so helpful.


Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

The week in which the effects of various things caught up with me (#SFWApro)

One of them being last week’s lack of sleep. This week I actually slept well. Unfortunately as my sleep got more normal, I started to get tired — as I’ve noticed in the past, it’s like my body wants to make up for the sleepless periods I was doing without slumber. So that slowed things down.

The other being the constant puppy care. After two weeks without the usual day off, I feel like my personal space is nonexistent (when I was at my writer’s group Tuesday night it felt incredibly crowded — which it is, but that doesn’t normally bother me). You might not think that would make such a distraction, but it really lowers my ability to concentrate. I got some help this week, though, by finally getting Plushie to take longer walks. He’s been unenthused (to put it mildly), but it seems if I feed them lunch before going out, then simply stand and wait when he gets stubborn, he’ll walk. That means less time to write, but getting outside for thirty minutes or so really reduces some of the stress of being stuck in the living room most of the day. Though I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep it up into the summer — it was really uncomfortable for us today.

(Plushie practices his flirtatious head toss)

So after Wednesday’s day off, I found it very hard to get back in the swing of things. I couldn’t get my brain to work on Southern Discomfort at all, but I’ve still got enough time this month to finish it. I finished a second Screen Rant (not out yet) and clarified some questions before starting on a new book proposal (details to follow). I did get a couple of thousand words done on Discomfort earlier in the week. And I corrected the proofs of my Atlas Shagged short story collection, so it should be out next month.

And as another Leaf Media gig opened up, I jumped on it — writing informational articles for the Career Trend website. It’s another temporary gig, so I’d hoped to squeeze several in this week. I managed two, but that’s still money I didn’t have, so yay.

I wound up putting in more hours than I’d planned, but more of them were research reading or blogging than I would have preferred. Useful things, yes, but more actual writing would have been good.

Hopefully I will back up to full strength next week. Positive thoughts welcome.


Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Short Stories, Southern Discomfort, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Writing

Strangling in the arms of Morpheus (#SFWApro)

Sleep and I were strangers this week.

Monday morning, I always wake up early.

Tuesday morning I woke up early because TYG had rolled across the bed and into me (she never wakes up. She’s a much sounder sleeper than me).

Wednesday morning we got a very early morning phone call that could have waited until after daybreak.

Thursday Trixie decided she wanted to go out. Didn’t need to go out, just wanted to.

So by Wednesday I was slowing down. Thursday I just ground to a halt after lunch.

Despite which I did complete my next Screen Rant, 15 characters whose origins have never been explained. This was a surprisingly tough one, as there are very few characters left who don’t have an origin. And some of the ones I picked did have explanations, it’s just they were subsequently retconned away. But I think that’s a forgivable fudge.

The Phantom Stranger (the original rather than the New 52 version) is one who’s never been definitively explained, although there have been lots of suggestions, hints and possible origins (the New 52 version did have an origin. Trust me, he’s better without one). The image (all rights remain with current holder) is by Jim Aparo, who will always be the definitive Phantom Stranger artist for me.

I finished 7,000 words on Southern Discomfort which was my quota for the week. I’d have been happy to complete more but if I keep up that pace I’ll have this draft done by month’s end. It’s not going as fast or as smooth as it did at the end of May, but it is going. I’m definitely veering further into Terra incognita more, but this the point at which my previous draft was really struggling, so that’s not surprising. A lot of it’ll have to be heavily fixed, but I think I’m generating some ideas I can use.

And that was pretty much it. Plans for work on short stories didn’t pan out, due to the sleep-deficit slump. Still, as long as Southern Discomforts moves ahead, I’m entitled to feel satisfied.

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Filed under Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Writing

Like sands through the hourglass … (#SFWApro)

I only rarely feel that “How did it get to be May already?” sense that a lot of people (TYG, for instance) express. Maybe because my writing keeps me mentally busy and includes lots of deadlines? It is a little remarkable to realize we’re almost halfway through the year, but it’s not like I don’t know where the time went.

Time on the weekend went to a fair amount of fun stuff including a time-intensive lasagna recipe (well worth it) and a trip to the North Carolina Museum of Art.

This is one of my favorite paintings there, though I don’t remember the name of the artist. All rights to image remain with current holder.

We’d hope to catch the Museum’s Ansel Adams exhibit, but we were a couple of weeks late. Still, I think I had more fun with the collection of Venetian paintings that’s there now as a special exhibit. Some striking stuff including a couple of Titian paintings — I hadn’t even realized he was Venetian.

And we got in an hour bike ride, which wasn’t as long as I wanted, but if not for the three-day weekend we wouldn’t have managed that much.

The work week went pretty well. Despite the four day week I got 6,000 words done on Southern Discomfort and I haven’t run into any fatal plot problems yet (as I worried last week). I submitted a new Screen Rant (17 Most WTF Alternate Versions of Wonder Woman) and proofed Atlas Shagged.

I finished the first draft of Undead Sexist Cliches — The Book, and gave it a quick reread, mostly to note any major points I’d missed or any places where I’d repeated myself (there were several). It’s only around 30,000 words — not a fatal problem if I self-publish, but I would like a little more material.

I’m also entertaining the possibility of writing another film reference book. I did a little research on the topic this week (I’ll detail it when things get further along) though not as much as I’d hoped. Due to a couple of early risings and the dogs only wanting short lunchtime walks, I wound up, despite taking Monday off, only about 1.5 hours short of my regular week’s hours.

I attended my writing group Tuesday, but despite plans did not go out with everyone afterwards. We switched from a place that was relatively close to the meeting, but had execrable service, to a better one that’s farther away. Which has been a problem for me because I’m so not a night owl, and the drive cuts into the amount of time I can spend. So if I’m feeling a little out of it for any reason it’s easy to say, naaah, not worth it. However I’m tired of that attitude, so I’m going. It’s in the goal list for June.

And here’s a Monet painting to wrap up with.



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Filed under Nonfiction, Personal, Screen Rant, Southern Discomfort, Time management and goals, Undead sexist cliches, Writing

Goals for May (#SFWApro)

I’m pleased to see I did much better than April, hitting 63 percent. That’s about where it’s been every month except April and January (79 percent).

In addition to my Screen Rant articles, I delivered a finance story to the Go Banking website, pitched column ideas to some big markets (no go), kept up my exercise and meditated. It’s only one or two minute chunks, and so far ineffective (I have serious monkey-mind issues) but if I keep practicing, hopefully I’ll improve.

I did not get most of my fiction goals done, but my #1 goal for the month was to reach 55,000 words on Southern Discomfort and I did that and then some. This month I intend to actually finish this draft.

Outside of writing, my top goal was to get back to bicycling regularly with TYG on the weekend. It’s erratic (her job is crazy) but we succeeded a couple of times in May. Too bad it looks like a really hot summer — I’m not sure I’ll achieve my goal of once again making it to the trail head in Raleigh (28 mile round trip) this year. As we have to walk the dogs before we go bicycling, and that’s the only chance to give them a long walk when the weather is hot, we can’t leave as early as we used to.

That was pretty much it. So here’s a photo of Trixie encountering a strange alien life form.


Filed under Personal, The Dog Ate My Homework, Time management and goals, Uncategorized