M.J.’s Mismatched Month

February is short on days, and I’m short on time.

Instead of the blog I’ve pondered on throughout the week, Sawmills and Sappy Characters. I’ve decided to go with MJ’s Mismatched Month. Mismatched, in what way? Well, my to-do list has expanded past February’s 28 days, allowing mayhem to trample, twist, and tug my schedule out of alinement.

Taking a step back and reorganizing my wanna-dos into open blocks of time is like playing Tetris. A game I’m good at until those cubes slide out of the chute into a WYSIWYG pileup. To take back control of that mess, I’m playing a game of pick up sticks, (one stick = a single to-do) and laying them straight.

Who knew a 1780’s nursery rhyme could help with time management?

The first step is to pick up sticks by making a list of all commitments and would-like-to-dos. Second, without any particular order lay them down, write a short narrative about why it’s on your list. Follow up with the third and final step of making those hard decisions, being honest with what you can or can’t accomplish.

Write a weekly blog: A resolution I made in 2019. I’m enjoying the challenge of capturing what’s caught my attention and it keeps me on my creative toes.

Submit writing to Becoming Writer every Friday: I’ve turned in a chapter or short story, once a week, into this online writer’s community for three plus years. It’s this community that cheered me on to finish my first novel, The House on Moss Swamp Road, and now, Veiled Horizons.

Read and critique at least three other Becoming Writer submissions: If you submit a story to the group, you are requested to at least critique three others. Which I do and more, if I have over three writers comment on my post.

Manuscript trade critique: This is my first time to give feedback on an entire novel at one go. Another author and I agreed to swamp books. She’ll provide an overview with chapter summary’s and yadda, yadda, yadda on my book and I’ll do the same for her. (No deadline – probably will take a month)

Taking a Margie Lawson online writing class: Lots of reading, lots of assignments, lots of great teaching points.

Bought a sawmill (really): My husband and I are learning to become sawyers. After losing many trees to storms, we had to do something. Take a look. We spent the weekend getting familiar with the Wood-Mizer.

Maryland Writer’s Association: I’ve taken on the responsibility to keep our local chapter’s pages up-to-date.

This list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning my Knight In Shining Armor, and I are celebrating our 37th wedding anniversary.

My sticks are laid straight, (not counting my regular employment), not sure I can juggle them all, without one taking a fall. I’m certainly stretched thin. Which ones remain on the ground, and which ones do I pick up?

Can’t skimp on time with the love of my life! My online writing partners can’t have me lagging on homework assignments. Need to update the MWA chapter pages. Weekends are promised to outdoors activities, weather permitting (hmm, maybe a chance to catch up on a rainy afternoon). If worse comes to worst, skip a week of Becoming Writer and slide a new weekly blog past the seven-day mark. Could work.

What sticks are you trying to keep in the air?

P.S. Starting March 2019, once a month I’ll spotlight an indie author (fiction) and review one of their books. If you’re interested, leave a comment. So far, Andrew McDowell is on track to being March’s Indie Author in the spotlight.

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