Tuesday, June 3, 2014

How not to waste your summer. A theory.

Summer, in my mind, should be a whole lot of sunshine and sand and books and shade and a complete sense of freedom from obligation.
Of course "should be" and "reality"have very little in common. Especially not if I intend to continue, with any integrity, calling myself an author.
If I want to reach my goal of drafting a historical novel this fall, then I need to intentionally make time to research the era. I also need to continue supporting the books already written - marketing and publicizing Bird on Fire and Glitter in the Sun through blog posts and social media, while continuing to edit and improve the as yet unpublished Dictator's Daughter.
That's actually quite a lot when tasks like gardening, childcare and normal household maintenance have a tendency to expand to fill the time available. Organizing time has always been something I've struggled with. As a journalist I realized that deadlines were my best friends. Without them nothing would get done. The carrot of pay and the stick of getting fired gave them authority needed to whip my ADD into submission.
Now as a work from home homeschooling mom deadlines and organization have become more important than ever - but the carrot and stick have been weak. I'm highly motivated to make sure my boys learn things that will be of value to them in the future - but for some reason research and writing tend to rank too low on the list of things to do.
In an attempt to keep the boys on track this summer I found this really cool tool that rewards them for their weekly chores while instilling in them a need to self-motivate. I decided to do the same thing for myself.
My daily to-do list is a combination of the simple and mundane ("make bed", "feed children" - because it's important to feel accomplished) and the literary. Some days are simply "write blog", others are "research". Crap. I just realized I didn't work "editing" into the week anywhere. I've left "social media" unwritten because I'm already on Facebook all the time and Instagram frequently.
The boys have a dollar tucked behind each daily chore chart. I'm not sure that will be a big enough carrot me. I'd love to stick a fiver behind each... hmmm. Have to see if I can fit that in the budget.

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