Can I Embrace the Future by Relinquishing the Power of Paper?

Future Yesterday's Junk Tori Kayson

It’s that time again. When I purge last year’s files to make room for the new year.

I’m not a hoarder. Really, I’m not.

Dora Hiers organization

Ready for the attic

But I’m beginning to think I’m a dinosaur by keeping copies of paid bills. Who does that anymore? And I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I still maintain a checkbook register. Stop chuckling! lol. At least I don’t carry it around with me anymore. Most bills I pay online, so why keep a paper copy? And, nowadays, debits and credits are so immediate, the need for a register is almost obsolete. Hmmm…

What about you? Do you still hang on to paper copies?

“You cannot embrace your future if you continue to hold on to yesterday’s junk.”

Annoying or Divine? You choose…

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. I just wrapped up my Christmas novella, Christmas in the Rink, and behold! Edits for two other books, Beck’s Peace and Burk’s Surrender, arrived in my inbox within seconds of each other. 

I expected Beck’s Peace, but I was rather surprised to receive both books. Since I’m fairly single-minded, I don’t usually bounce back and forth between books, especially when they feature identical twin heroes, Beck and Burk. Hello! Anybody see a problem here? Although these twin heroes, polar opposites, were so much fun to write, it was torture keeping them straight. I was afraid that somewhere along the way Burk would end up romancing Beck’s heroine or vice versa.

Typically, I stop whatever I’m working on to dig into edits, but last weekend, we expected our house to be bursting-at-the-seams with family. My parents were coming, and it was the last opportunity to visit with them before they made the trek back to AK for the summer. Also, several of  our male family members were excited about heading to the NASCAR race in Martinsville, and our house made the perfect landing spot for all.

So what to do? Clean and shop for a full house or work on edits for two books?

For me, the decision wasn’t too hard. Family takes precedence, and I had ten days to turn in the edits. But what if I was backed up against a tight deadline and losing a couple days in my schedule really mattered? 

Well, don’t you know that very same weekend our awesome pastor preached on…divine interruptions. Kinda timely, don’t you think? I won’t go into details of the message, but later that week God really hammered me with this particular passage (and it wasn’t even part of the sermon!). 

Do I consider the interruptions in my daily work schedule as God-appointed? Or am I more exasperated that I’m not reaching my word count goal? Ouch.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying schedules and daily goals are a bad thing. After all, God prefers organization over chaos. (1 Cor 14:33) But, since God sees the big forever picture, His plans for my day might be a bit different than mine, and if I’m praying for God to direct my path, shouldn’t I be open to the opportunities he plants in front of me? 

You know how amazing God is? He stretched my time as only He can do, allowing me to accomplish all the tasks, and my editor received the edits way ahead of schedule.

What about you? Do you tend to get frustrated or annoyed with interruptions? Or do you treat them as the divine encounters they might be?

God, help me to acknowledge that You order my day, not me, and to recognize these interruptions as divine appointments. Fill me with Your joy, and allow me to be a beacon for You.

Organizing a Pantser

So, you’ve made the decision to migrate from Pantser to Plotter. Now what?

As a Pantser (not under contract), you have flexibility in your schedule. You may have a daily word count goal, but with no deadline, it doesn’t really matter if you reach your goal. You can make up for it the next day or just extend the length of time it takes to write the book.

But what happens when you become a Plotter and submit a proposal for three books that aren’t yet written? A component of the proposal requires a completion date. How do you come up with a time frame to complete the books?


A calendar?

Not the ideal solution. Especially when you’re working on multiple books. There’s just no easy way to adjust.

A timeline would work. One with the capability to insert tasks by book and keep a running word count total.

You can google timeline and and find hundreds of timelines. Please be sure to pop back over here and let me know if you find something that works for you. I didn’t.

Instead, I chose to create a fairly basic Excel document with the month, date, book, task, words added, and a running total. I mapped out each book with the targeted word count, taking into consideration vacations and holidays. I used “fill color” to highlight different books, so that I can easily decipher the transition from one book to the next. I add my word count for each day, and adjust if necessary. According to my timeline, I should finish Book #5 by early 2014. And now, I have completion dates for my proposal.

It’s not ideal, either, but it works for now.

It’s your turn.
If you’re a Plotter, which organizational software works well for you?