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Taking Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

I am learning the best tool for meeting my goals. It is in using deadlines. Last week I decided that I would finish editing my book A Coward’s Solace and publish it in a form to give to my first beta reader. That is exactly what I did. Because I had that project to do, I was pressed for time. I wasn’t sure that I would be able to get this blog out. Rather than giving up and making the excuse that I didn’t have time, I decided that I would take advantage of Parkinson’s Law and go ahead and try to see if I could finish the blog after all. I figured that I could at least get started on it. So here I am.

What is Parkinson’s Law?

Parkinson’s Law – work expands to fill the time available for its completion

Creating Deadlines Makes Me Focus on Meeting My Goals

Because I am limiting the time that I have to complete this project by using this deadline, I have to focus on the project. That was why I finished editing my manuscript last week. I decided that I would have it edited and formatted by the time that I went to work Thursday afternoon. That was exactly what I did. I have one major goal off the table thanks to the deadline that I gave it. If I didn’t have the deadline I would probably still be editing.

This week I will have several other deadlines that I intend to complete. For instance, this week January ends so I have to have both this blog and the one for next Thursday finished along with the remaining Bubblews that I want to write. I also am working on an on-line marketing campaign for my book: Simply Vegetable Gardening. Last year I got the book out a little too late for the gardening season, so I want to focus on that market. In addition, I need to do some research for my February Affirmation which will be: I am Energetic, Fit, Strong, and Healthy. More on that subject later. Oh, yes, I also have the covers for A Coward’s Solace to work on. If I can get all that done, I will start working on the next novel that I intend to publish this year: Sailing under the Black Flag

What about you? Do Deadlines Help you meet your goals?

 


What should I do now?

What should I do now?

My Book is Ready for my Beta Reader

During the past three days I have been working diligently on the final draft of of my manuscript of my novel A Coward’s Solace: The Locket Saga Book III. This morning I formatted the book then went to Lulu.com and published a copy of the book for my first beta reader. When she’s done with it and tells me what she thinks is wrong with it, I will make more edits and pass it onto my second beta reader to discover her opinion. Again I will make edits. Then the book goes to get proofread by yet another person. In the meantime, I will have to determine the final cover for the book  I am going to do something that I have not done before and allow my readers to help me choose that final cover. Once the beta readers work their magic and I have the final cover in place, at that point, the book will be ready for the general public to read.

The Lesson I had to Learn the Hard Way

In my first book of the Locket Saga When God Turned His Head,  I thought that I could do all of my own editing and formatting, create my cover and everything would be perfect. That was certainly not the case. I discovered that no matter how many times I tried to edit my own work, I still missed errors that I had made. After reading and working with my manuscript for a long time, I was seeing the book as I thought it should read rather than the way that it actually read. I really needed another set of eyes to read over my work.

So now I use other eyes to show me what I missed. That is why my books are now going to beta readers. Rather than doing what many others do and send their books to beta readers who are far away, I am having local friends beta read it. I am also having the book printed out for the beta readers to read so that they can mark right on the page what is wrong. I am using one beta reader at a time as well so that I can consider one reader’s input before going to the next.

Not that I Get A Break Now

Just because my manuscript of A Coward’s Solace has been sent to my beta reader does not mean that I am done working the novel for now even. My next task will be to design four covers to share with my readers in a survey. This will not only allow me to get the best cover for my book, but it will also act as advertising that my book will soon be coming out. Another tip I have learned along the way about marketing my books.

In addition the work I still have to do on A Coward’s Solace I want to get ahead on my other writing projects on Bubblews, Hubpages, and here on my blog. Also, I want to start my newsletter up again.

Finally, if I want to write those other two books  (and write the first draft of another on NaNoWriMo) this year,  I will need to get started on them as well.

I Did Celebrate Though

To celebrate reaching this milestone, however, I ate a bowl of yogurt with fruit and lots and lots of whipped cream. After all, it is a time to celebrate! I finished editing my novel!

 


The other day, I hear someone say something about productivity that was so profound, that I had to remember it. I was listening to a video and the man on the video said that before he started doing a task or project, he asked himself if there was anything more important that he should have been doing at that moment.

What should I do now?

What should I do now?

  Is there something more important that I should be doing rather than doing what I am doing right now?

If I were to be doing something, and I were to come up with an answer that was not no, then I would have to ask myself why am I not doing the thing that is more important? The answer to that question, if answered honestly would probably give you a reason for your procrastination of the reason that you are not doing the more important project.

That can be said about anything that we are doing. If I am tired, is working on that project the most important thing I should be doing? Probably not. Sometimes, getting a good night’s sleep and working on that project in the morning might just probably be the most profitable thing I can do both in the standpoint of the project and my health. I have learned that sleep is a high priority on my list of things to do.

My Most Important Project: Finishing and Publishing A Coward’s Solace

I am coming close to finishing my novel A Coward’s Solace the third book in the Locket Saga. In a few days I will be publishing a private copy for my first beta reader to read. She will read it and give me feedback on what she thought of it.  In the meantime I will be doing a survey on what one of four covers others would like to see on the book.

My Next Big Project: Sailing Under the Black Flag.

I am looking forward to working on my next novel which I call Sailing under the Black Flag. I have been reading lately about the editing process, and like all good writers, I will try to streamline my editing process and put out a better product with each book that I write. Fortunately, I know most of my main characters and I have finished much of my research, and I have finished my first draft. To streamline my editing process, I am going to edit my first draft before moving onto my second draft of 80 thousand words. I will determine what works and what doesn’t work in the first draft so that I am not tripping over poorly written, unnecessary words just so that I can get word count. This is what slowed me down in writing A Coward’s Solace. I didn’t want to lose my word count. The swift knife of editing before moving on will take care of that.

While I am working on my edits of Sailing Under the Black Flag, I am going to create an on-going writing and editing strategy for getting my books written and into my readers more regularly. I have four first drafts of novels in the Locket Saga written and I have the ambitious goal of getting three of those books out this year. If I develop a strategy to get it all done, and actually put in the time every day to make it happen, there is no reason I can’t complete this goal.

Developing an On-going Marketing Strategy

This is one area where I have to admit that I have not done very well when it has come to writing my books. What good is writing the best book ever written (I know, that’s pretty grandiose, but then what is authorship but a grandiose experience?) if no one knows its out there. Its like asking the question: If a tree in the forest falls to the ground, but no one hears it, does it actually make a sound. Of course it does, but there is no one there to care.

As it stands right now, I have a couple of ideas for my first three books that I need to implement right away. These ideas should also help me develop my marketing strategy for both A Coward’s Solace and Sailing Under the Black Flag. More on this as my marketing strategy unfolds.

Planning Ahead for February

I know that we are just over half way through with January, but I am already thinking ahead and planning for my affirmation and posts for February. Here’s what I am thinking. My February Affirmation will be: I am energetic, healthy, and fit. Rather than taking one specific action each day, I am going to change it out a bit and create a checkoff sheet of healthy things that I will do or not do every day of the month. I can even include on this sheet a place to write down how I feel that day about checking off or not checking off the items on the sheet. In order to get this done by February, I will definitely need to have created the sheet before the beginning of that month. Again, more about this later.

Planning for the Rest of the Year

I have a document that I created at the beginning of the month that outlines a little of what I might want to accomplish during the coming year. These include affirmations that still need work. I am also going to start working on some ideas for bubblews that I want to write during the year. (So far I have most of this month’s bubblews written). (Check out my bubblews entries here) During the remainder of this month (January), I intend to work on this document so that I am better able to focus on the other projects that I intend to have done by the end of the year.

If the remainder of the year is as fruitful for me as this month has already been for me, I believe that I will have a successful year indeed.


Affirmations are Statements of Faith

Romanian Monastery

Romanian Monastery

Some Christians believe that affirmations that people set in front of them and meditate on are new age concepts that Christians should not participate in using them. This however cannot be further from the truth. The Bible tells us to meditate on scriptures. Scriptures which are statements of truth. That is all that an affirmation is, a statement of what we believe should be true. An affirmation directly out of the Bible that individuals who are sick should read is from Isaiah 53:5: “by his stripes we are healed.”

Another word for affirmation is intention. This affirmation or any affirmation says something about how I intend to grow in character. I use the statement rather than putting this affirmation into a desire. Rather than saying  I will be organized and productive, I say I am organized and productive.This statement is in the present tense rather than the future tense because I intend to reinforce  this affirmation  with action today.

Affirmations like Bible memory verses should be meditated on throughout the day. The first thing I do in the morning is read the affirmation. I have the affirmation posted in numerous places and read them at various times during the day. I have a card that I carry with me in my purse. Before I go to bed at night, I read over the affirmation. Sometime during the day I do at least one (often small) action that reinforces the affirmation.

Affirmations Are More Effective if Backed Up with Action

Faith if it has not works is dead being alone. Yes, a man may say you have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. James 2: 17&18

I have read studies that state that affirmations on their own do little to change an individual’s behavior. I know that is true with me. If I read an affirmation, if I do not really believe it, I cannot make myself read affirmations until I believe what I am reading. No matter how loud or how many times I read the affirmation, there’s still that little voice in my head that says that there is no substance to the affirmation.

Other studies, however, say that when affirmations are most effective when backed up by actions. Actions give affirmations are given substance. For instance, since the beginning of the year, every day,  I have been putting action to this affirmation. I wrote out the affirmation card (organization). I cleaned my closet (organization). I wrote a Bubblew for every day so far this year (production). This is my third Blog for this year (production). I have worked on the final edit of my newest book A Coward’s Solace. I write down all the action that I have done so that I can visualize what I have already done. This also adds substance to the affirmation.

Using Streaks to Maintain Momentum

Jerry Seinfeld said that when he was writing jokes, he would write so many jokes per day. As soon as he had written that many jokes that day, he would put an “X” on his calendar. Once the “X” was on the calendar, he determined that he would then be done for the day. He knew that it was more important to write jokes every day than it was to spend a lot of time on one day writing his jokes. When he looked at his calendar, he knew that the streak of “X”‘s on his calendar indicated that he was being productive and was making progress. He would get bummed if he had to start over because he broke his winning streak.

I have a couple of .projects that I too am using streaks to move ahead. One way that I am using this method is in learning the Spanish language. I am using Duolingo as the program that I am using because for one it is free and  two it is easy for me to use. I don’t have to do anything accept do one ten point lesson per day and I have a streak some days I do more, but all I require myself to do is one lesson per day. To this date, my winning streak is 33 days. For more information about this program, check out my article Learn a Language for Free.

The other way that I use it is for keeping track of the days that I am working on current work in progress in The Locket Sage Book 3: A Coward’s Solace. I have to admit, I have not been as successful with this because my streak is currently only 3 days long.

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step

As was stated earlier, it is not as important to do a lot every day as much as it is important to do at least a little every day. By focusing on the affirmations and the consistent daily action, My goal this month of being organized and productive is being realized. It is not even as difficult as I thought it would be. It really does take a goal and the determination and faith to do the work required to make the goal a reality.

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