Back to School, Back to Work

This whole summer was one big logistical nightmare. We got the kids all moved, got my writing studio space all finished, and I mostly sat around and tried to breathe like a normal human being. I couldn’t, so I started seeing all the doctors and having x-rays and heart testing procedures. I ended up not doing any teaching at the library at all and quit a couple of other volunteer board positions that I just couldn’t physically handle as well.

I spent a lot of time just sitting and scanning or taking photos of my old journals, digging through and purging old files of art and school notes from when the kids were in elementary school, and making Scrivener files for all of the random writing I found within every stack of paper I touched. It was all very interesting to me from a “I’m always writing something, even when I shouldn’t be” perspective. I enjoyed that project a lot, even though my family got sick of me asking them to lug boxes around or to take another stack of papers to the recycle bin or “Can you read this thing that I wrote a decade ago that I can’t quite make out?” In the end, I counted 76 used notebooks and planners, plus two giant 3 inch binders full of loose-leaf paper and page upon page of stuff written on the backside of something else.

The floor plan of the house for one of my stories written on the backside of a page of PTA notes from 2013.

Summer band started a month ago and I’ve spent all of my time either taking two kids back and forth and back again between high school and college campuses for band practices and student orientations or in doctor’s offices letting them take yet more of my blood or more pictures of inconceivable places inside my body.

Now everyone’s back to school. My youngest started his sophomore year in high school last Monday and I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll get so much done!” But our black cat had other plans. I ended up taking him back and forth to the regular vet and then the emergency vet and then his regular vet again. Once he was better, my youngest slipped on the band field and had to go to Urgent Care for a sprained ankle. So this very wet Monday morning my midkid started his freshman year of college, but I was walking my youngest into school, carrying his enormous amounts of stuff while he swung in on crutches. My eldest took the midkid to his first day of college. I did get a “first day of college” selfie via text, so there’s that.

After that, I had nearly four hours to myself. I checked in with my Accountability Partner, and then I got to work. I made myself a more reasonable schedule of writing and writing related work (for those non-writers among us: finding short story and poetry markets, matching already written work to those submission guidelines, editing those pieces to fit word counts or to play up a theme, then writing cover letters and packaging my work so I can send them off, communicating with publishers and/or editors, doing edits for the places that bought my work, looking over proofs before things go to print, making images for new things and updating my webpage – hahaha – and my social media with images and links to the new books that have my work in them, etc.). I put everything into my Google calendar and Tasks list, but also wrote them into my paper planner, which helps me remember things better than the online stuff does (but the online versions keep me from getting too paranoid about losing a planner again, like what happened 5 years ago).

The Goals corkboard above my writing desk. I have two corkboards, but the other one is filled with things I like to look at, which I do not own the rights to for posting purposes, so we’ll leave that one just for me. πŸ™‚

All of the planning now out of the way, I can get started with the first goal on my list: make a list of markets currently buying the kinds of stories I write. Off I go!

I also worked out weekly goals for the last six weeks of this quarter and all of the final quarter of the year. I’m hoping that I added in enough rest and recuperative time. I basically doubled the amount of time that I gave myself for similar things last year. We’ll see how that goes.

Several Quick Things

  1. I am not dead, just super busy – still teaching at the library, running the ETWG, on the church board, etc – but also we had all the visitors in March, then Easter and now all the birthdays, too.
  2. I also have pieces in three books coming out all at once this week.
  3. Go look at my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more info about all that – posting there is quick and easy from my phone, but the blog? Not so much.
  4. I have also been writing this week, finally, after months of drought.

Next Chapters Unleashed available now for pre-order

https://books2read.com/nextchapters

I am so excited to announce that my first published short story is available as of today as a pre-order. You can click the link above to order from any of those fine establishments right now. Seeing the book here was really nice and pretty and I clicked each one of those links to see the book in each of the stores, because I’m extra like that.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60422120-next-chapters-unleashed

This is the image that made me cry. I have been shelving books I read into Goodreads for 15 years now. Read a book, shelve it. Read a book, shelve it. All this time I’ve been scribbling away all these little stories of my own in the background, but I was too scared to do anything with them. Last year I decided that I wasn’t going to hide my words any more. And now one of my stories is there on Goodreads. Goodreads! I’m crying again, y’all. It is a wonderful feeling.

Boy Mom anthology news

Last year was a kind of a banner year for me because I finally took charge of my very large folder full of unpublished writing and started submitting my work various places. I’d never done it before and it was hard and scary to get over just the fear factor of it all. The banner part came because publishers started accepting my works.

This morning I head back from the Boy Mom anthology people, who accepted my memoir-style essay about raising my boys sometime last fall. They revealed the cover and told us that it will be going out for sale in time for Mother’s Day!

I’ll let y’all know when I know more, of course. But for now, rejoicing! πŸ™‚

Here’s the silly mock-up I made for myself one day. The photo really encompasses the essay I wrote for the anthology.

My mailing list: Lisa’s Literary Landings

I’ve been working hard to get my writing business set up this week, since I have several pieces coming out later this year: a time travel story in a multi-genre beach themed anthology, a memoir-style essay in an anthology about parenting, and a couple poems in a literary journal. Today’s set-up involves getting my mailing list started. So, if you are interested in keeping up to date on where to find all my publications and to get a free short story, please visit this page: Lisa’s Literary Landings

Happy New Year!

2022 definitely started off with a bang for my family.

I promise we wet the ground and the trees first.

It hasn’t stopped moving since. January first was technically a “rest” day from writing for me, but because we were hosting our Board Game Extravaganza on the second, January first was all about cleaning and setting up my dad’s Tyler house for the party.

You didn’t want a photo of me cleaning, did you? No. There was a gorgeous sunset on January first, though. Bonus: my husband nearly ran me over while I was taking this photo because I was standing in the middle of the road. πŸ™‚

So January second came and only one party guest arrived. We usually have around 50 people at this event, but a) Covid sucks (so many people were exposed the week before), and b) cold weather sucks (I am not leaving my warm house for you), and c) (the most entertaining response) an owl attacked some chickens. But still, we played a bunch of games with our new friend, who asked when we were doing this again.

My dad asking a question about the Lords of Wonderdeep.

January third was a blur of me trying to do all the things that had been piling up, undone, in December. Imagine me whirling around with laundry, binders, notecards, glasses, and eyeglasses in hand while pushing a shopping cart loaded with cleaning supplies and you get the general idea. No writing occurred, but much planning and tidying at my own home. Plus leading my first East Texas Writers Guild Board of Directors meeting as President of the Guild.

Today I am working on typing up note from last nights meeting, writing scenes 2-5 in Chapter 11 of Caro’s Quest, and booking a photographer for my headshots for the UtNC Anthology.

Off I go! Hope y’all had a happy start to your new year.

The Last Day of 2021

I’ve spent literally every day in December feverishly trying to finish a) writing the time travel short story for the Unleashing the Next Chapter Anthology, b) editing some poetry for the Moms Who Write Anthology, and c) writing a new end for Caro’s Quest, which is why you haven’t seen me around here much. Everything is due tomorrow or the next day. To say I’m stressed is an understatement. I have slept, ate, wandered through words, and hugged my family, and that’s about it this month. Hope y’all have had a wonderful end of 2021! See you in 2022.