ROW80: Shuffling Along, but A-MAZEballs

This has been another less-than-stellar week, goal-wise, in which I’m not unlike a zombie.

But mostly, it’s felt like shuffling cards. Last week, my attempt to bring my burgeoning to-do list under control involved simply culling a bunch of stuff, sort of like pulling the twos through eights out of a standard deck of cards before playing Euchre.

I put the deck away each night, and each night, it seemed that gremlins were intent on finding those extraneous cards and shoving them back into the deck. So each day, the deck grew until it was back to being a standard 52-card deck.

No royal flush here!

The other thing I tried doing was shuffling. But shuffling doesn’t remove any cards. Likewise, moving a task that didn’t get done on Monday to Tuesday only increases the Tuesday list. The only solution I can see is to give up the to-do list for lent cut down the list even more, to the bare essentials. I even had a little reprieve last week, when I found my daughter had a band concert I’d forgotten about (i.e., not looked far ahead enough on the calendar). I rescheduled the meeting with the accountant, so I didn’t need to have the taxes done until this week. I was hoping to get them done anyway, but that didn’t happen. So now they’re definitely on the “bare essentials” list.

Last week’s results:

  1. Review Time’s Fugitive beta reader feedback (yes, it came back from the third beta)
  2. Collect remaining tax stuff for accountant
  3. Complete interview questions for guest blog
  4. Read nonfiction book for research
  5. Pick one task from marketing list, and implement it
  6. Three interval workouts plus two short workouts (Did two interval workouts and two short workouts)
  7. Track food intake every day (wow, I ate out too much last week!)

The good news is, that this beta read confirmed for me that I’ve found my Ideal Reader (as described by Stephen King in On Writing). This is the person who totally gets my work and loves it, but is also critical enough to see where I’ve screwed up something, left out something that needs to be put in, or left in something that isn’t needed. And she’s a good enough friend and writer to point all of this stuff out (or, when there isn’t much, to note that fact too, so I wouldn’t think she just fell asleep reading the long passage with no comments). And she didn’t have many comments, something I attribute to having put this book through the Holly Lisle “How to Revise Your Novel” wringer. And she said Time’s Fugitive is “EPIC” (yes, in all caps!) and “totally aMAZEballs!” And that she hated me because she stayed up until 5 AM reading, which is what we all want to be hated for. 😀

The other good thing is that I went through her comments and the other two beta readers’ (they are wonderful, too!) and made most of the changes they suggested, or at least considered them. I have just a couple more to address, then Time’s Fugitive is off to my awesome copy editor.

This week’s plans:

  1. Finish Time’s Fugitive beta reader changes and send to copy editor
  2. Format Hangar 18: Legacy for Kindle and send to beta readers
  3. Collect remaining tax stuff for accountant
  4. Read nonfiction book for research (it’s due back at the library this week)
  5. Three interval workouts plus two short workouts
  6. Track food intake every day (keeping this one on the list, because I’m still going back and entering this stuff the following day, which means I’m probably forgetting a few things)

How did you do this week? Do you find yourself still putting too much on your list to accomplish without burning out? Or have you mastered the shuffle that keeps the unneeded cards out? Or are you shuffling like a zombie? And for the authors here, on the good side of things, have you found your Ideal Reader?

14 Responses to \

  1. One of our goals is to make readers stay up late to finish our work. And the words “EPIC” and “aMAZEballs” are definitely good to hear about your work! 🙂 Way to go!

    I’ve found two ideal readers. They each bring different things to the table, so I get two totally different perspectives.

  2. Wow that’s AMAZing that you found your Ideal Reader!!! Great work, I’m a tad jealous I’m still way back in the trenches. One day I will have beta readers, one day! 🙂

    P.S. Since when did we get a new ROW80 logo…..I thought it was still the passport one. Going to ROW80 blog now…

  3. Wow! I’m so happy for you. How did you find your beta readers? It’s neat you found an ideal reader. What is the point in having someone read if you can’t get good criticism out of them.

    You mentioned on my blog about a word document you use to track your time spent so it’s less of a tada list. (I think that is so cute). Do you have a template you would consider sharing?

  4. I’m so glad you found a great beta reader! That is so important. I am blessed to have a group of wonderful ladies in a crit and goals group who are incredibly encouraging but also super helpful with their critiques and corrections. I feel like I grow as a writer every time I share with them.

    I definitely have better luck when I have a few goals to concentrate on vs. many. I am a perfectionist who can experience paralysis on moving forward if I perceive that I can’t do one of those things “just right,” so paring down my to-do list helps me a lot. Good luck on your goals this week!

  5. LauraLynn – you’re very lucky to have two Ideal Readers! I have other beta readers and my copy editor who also get my work, just not as thoroughly as the aMAZEballs reader! They do love my work, though, and catch stuff she doesn’t. Thanks!

    Nicole – I’m very lucky to have my wonderful beta readers, and my copy editor! Don’t worry, you’ll get there. I had to finish a couple books before I found it was the best way to work. The logo is not the official one, I swiped it from “Daring Writer” Camille LaGuire – it goes better with my website. 🙂 The real one’s still on the sidebar, though.

    Louise, thanks!

    Ali, I’ve had some wonderful critique partners in the past. Most of them, plus the current beta readers, are friends in my local RWA chapter. I know people have found awesome crit partners and betas through online groups, too. The Weekly Status report helps me track my goals and progress over the year – I’ll put it up and write a post sometime, maybe next week.

    Jessica – I think you nailed what’s part of my problem – if I can’t do it all in the time I have allotted, it becomes paralyzing, so I don’t do anything at all. Hopefully paring down my list this week will help!

    Raelyn – isn’t that what we all want to hear? 😀 Thanks! And have a good week, too.

  6. Well, I hear shuffling’s all the rage now with ROW80 (rock party anthem from LMFAO – “Every day I’m shufflin'”). 😉

    Hope you have a wonderful week, Jennette! It sounds like you’re doing some great reevaluation so that you can prioritize and get the most important things done. Good for you!

  7. I ALWAYS put too much on my to-do lists, but there’s so much fun in crossing things off, right?

    Good job on taking a moment to really look at your goals and see what’s doable. Enjoy the next week!!

  8. Great comments by your beta reader! What a wonderful thing to hear! And I agree with Holly Lisle’s revision method. Ok, I didn’t buy the complete course, but I found her plotting and revision articles extremely helpful when cleaning up the first draft of Shadow of Stone.

    Congrats on all the progress and have a great week!

  9. Julie and Jenny – thanks! And good luck on your goals this week. 🙂

    Ruth – Holly’s revision course is absolutely awesome! I totally recommend it. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. If I don’t have a to-do list written down, it only makes the running one in my head get more garbled. But the good thing about to-do lists is that you can use them to prime the pump of success, so to speak. Success breeds success, and even if the only thing you’ve done all day is cleaned out your kitchen sink, dagnabit, you can pat yourself on the back because you’ve got a Clean Sink. If you have trouble finishing things, get yourself into the habit of crossing them off a to-do list because it does make a difference to your subconscious.

    On the other hand, if you have “analysis paralysis” where too much on your to-do makes you not-do, make a rolling one. List only time-critical ones, or cluster them together in related areas, so you’re not overwhelmed. If you only have five things to do while you’re in the car, you can relax and not worry about the other fifteen that need to happen once you’ve returned home.

  11. Athena, that’s exactly what’s happened to me if I try to do without the to-do list – it just gets garbled and keeps me awake at night for fear I’m forgetting something important! Analysis-paralysis (love that term!) is what’s happened more recently. Your solution is what I’m trying out this week, and so far it’s helping. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Pingback: Friday Feature: Jennette Marie Powell, Author of The Saturn Society Books | Athena Grayson