Tag Archives: support

Fighting the Adult A.D.D. Monster to Success

In an effort to find some kind of normal in my life right now, I sat down this week to examine exactly what it is I do all day every day and to find a way to improve my efficacy. Figured it should take about 15 minutes.

Okay, realistically, a couple hours. An afternoon, tops.

I am now on day five.

My goal was to somehow, find some digital miracle that would tell me exactly what needs to be done every day. Automatically. No rifling through stacks of files and papers every day trying to decide what’s next. When I started Romantic Shorts almost two years ago  – it canNOT be that long, but yes, I checked, and it is – I had the good fortune to bump into a publisher from Chicago online. (Lesson learned, I now do my utmost to keep track of the many wonderful people who spend so much time helping me along – alas, I do not know her name.) She spoke to me on the phone for more than two hours, talking off the top of her head, giving reams of advice and warnings. It was probably the single most productive conversation I’ve ever had.

The highlight of the mounds of information I gained from her expertise, was her idea on how to fight the A.D.D. that has always plagued me, leading me to the beginning of project after project, yet never allowing me to focus on any one in particular long enough to accomplish anything. So many great ideas. Such a tiny attention span. It is indeed a curse.

She told me to draw a bicycle wheel. In the hub, I was to write/draw/cut and paste the object of my focus. In this case, it was my website, RomanticShorts.com. In each of the spokes, I was to write in all of the tasks involved in bringing Romantic Shorts to life. That took a fair bit of time to compile. Eventually, I had a comprehensive list, sorted tasks, colour-coded for my unique Type ‘A’ personality. And finally, in the tire area, I was to list all of the reasons I wanted to do this. The finished product looked like this:

Romantic Shorts Focus Wheel

Staying on track is easier with the right wheel.

The idea was that any time I had some time – 5 minutes or 6 hours – I could go to my Focus Wheel and put some work into the task/area that both needed the most attention at the time, and that fit the time available. With this simple tool, I was able, for the first time in my adult life, to work with an idea long enough to see growth and the passing of several milestones. The feeling of accomplishment is more than a little satisfying.

But reviewing my schedule this past week brought about an enormous revelation:

I have outgrown my focus wheel.

While much of it still applies, my efforts have now become far more reaction-based. I am no longer making up things to do. There are definitive areas that require my attention. Regularly. Daily, weekly, monthly, hourly. And the list-junkie that I am, needs some structure.

Enter Google Calendar, the miracle digital tool that now emails me a to-do list every morning at 5am. (How did they know?) And so I am now learning a new routine, tweaking and growing as I go.

And so far this week, I can’t say that I’ve conquered my to-do list any better than I ever have. But I must admit, I am far more aware of all the things I didn’t get done today.

Ah, this, too, shall pass, I’m sure.

But seeing as how this post was on yesterday’s list, I’m feeling a little better now that it’s done!

Do you have any suggestions for staying on track and getting things done? What’s your secret? How important are routine and scheduling to you as a writer? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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Filed under For Writers, Just a Thought

This Romantic Cowboy Is The Real Deal

What kind of example would Romantic Shorts set if we didn’t do something special for Valentine’s Day?

Let me introduce you to Reid Lance Rosenthal, a rancher from Wyoming who also happens to write romance. And quite well, in fact, if the first book of his Threads West: An American Saga is any indication.

I met Reid on my Twitter travels a while back and was instantly taken by his warmth and generosity. He offered to write a guest post for Romantic Shorts’ authors, and in our emails back and forth, I came to learn that he is an accomplished writer with a genuine heart. I did, however, get to thinking that I should probably read one of his books before actually posting his words. One never knows…

I ordered a copy of Threads West, the first of Reid’s eight-novel saga. It arrived sooner than I’d expected, and, as any other eager reader, the packaging never made it past the front door. I didn’t really have any expectations, good or bad, I just like starting a new book.

One glance at the cover took me to the America of the mid 1800’s. A quick read through a heartfelt dedication and intro – I get back to those later – and I jumped right in. For the better part of the rest of that day and the next – I think I heard one of my kids mutter something about throwing a pizza in the oven “…’cause Mom’s reading again…” – I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Reid’s people, getting to know them, and travelling with them through the beginning of what promises to be one hell of a journey. I recommend the read highly – reluctant to give away any details (book reviews have never been one of my strong suits). The only fallback is the ending because it is not an ending, but a beginning. And you have to wait for Reid’s pen to work its magic again.

On the plus side, as of today, there’s only another month or so to wait. The second book in the series, Maps of Fate is due out in April 17, 2012.

That should be enough time to squeeze in a second read of the first…

And in the meantime, I’ve decided to publish his guest post as a Romantic Short for our readers instead of just keeping it to ourselves. Reid sent me a post about writing romance from the male perspective. It talks more about romance than writing, but, after all, that’s the point.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, Reid’s words go a long way towards reminding us about what it is we’re actually celebrating on Tuesday.

I invite you to stop by our Reading Room and read Reid Lance Rosenthal’s This Cowboy Knows Romance. You’ll be glad you did…

Alex.

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Filed under For Writers, What's New @ R.S.

Next Steps in Publishing

You know, you can post pages on your website all you want, but if you don’t keep an eye on them, the next thing you know they’re out of date and irrelevant and you’ve got a big embarrassing splotch on your face. You can tell yourself that no one noticed. But, deep down, you know the truth.

And so it was with our FAQ’s page. The ‘frequently given answers’ were a good year old and many either didn’t apply anymore or were now, well, I’ll admit it – wrong.

Reworking the entire page is a fair bit of code, typing, editing, and rechecking, not to mention thought, genuine inspiration, and effort. Personally, I think it ranks right up there with drywall taping.

And just like drywall taping, the finished product is worth every calorie expended in its creation. Our FAQ’s page is now not only up-to-date but crisp and efficient. All of the links work. (Although if someone wanted to shoot me a quick email using the link under “MANUSCRIPT SUBMISSION – How long does it take to receive a reply to a query or submission?” I’d appreciate it, as I don’t use an offline email program for any of my communications and can’t check it myself.) And for the most part, the page includes pretty much every question that’s ever come our way, even if it was a little less-than-frequent.

Heavy sigh. A job well done deserves a cup of coffee.

And then, on to the next challenge. So much to do to get the stories online. It’s a bigger process than I’d imagined and I’m struggling a bit with both the process and the comfort levels. But because I have a goal in mind – I know how I want this to look/work in the end – staying on the right path is a lot easier. Trudging through the snow drifts on the path can be a little tiring at times, however.

Welcome to the life of a new publisher. Ignore any grumpy complaining. Truth is, I’m having the time of my life with this! Who could have ever guessed that my love of reading would lead to a love of writing that would lead to my intense and insane desire to inspire the love of writing in everyone else?

Let’s get some stories published!

Alex.

 

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Filed under For Writers, What's New @ R.S.