What's On Dena's Plate This Month

A friend who reads my blog said to me yesterday, "I can tell you're busy, but what exactly are you working on?" Since I'm bereft of any clever ideas for today's blog, I thought I'd give you a run down of what I'm up to these days.

  •  I just received an assignment from Motorhome magazine to write a tips article for traveling with pets. So I'll spend the next few days looking at RV list-servs and e-mailing friends and family, searching for people who travel with their pets in their RV to interview.  I also need to find a vet or pet expert to glean advice from.  The article is due in 3 weeks.
  • My Art Jewelry marketing column is due Feb. 24th.  This month, I'm showcasing business success stories from our readers, touching on new artists, mid-way artists, and established artists.  I have a list of readers websites to look through and today's job is to contact the 3-5 people I think I want to focus on and arrange interview times.
  • My humor columns for U Manatee Magazine is due March 6th with the theme for this issue being "The Great American Outdoors."  I've scribbled down a few thoughts but need to rough out a column so it has time to sit and be polished before I send it off.

Those are the "must-do's."  I also have an assignment for Toastmaster magazine to write a column about whether or not speech content should be evaluated.  I don't have a deadline for that, but I need to get cracking.  My goal was to submit it in January and I haven't started work on it yet, so you can see how that's going.  But I'd like to send that out by early March as well.

Then there's always sending out query letters for new work.  It can take anywhere from 1-8 months to hear back on an assignemnt, so it's best to always have numerous letters in the works. 

I also have on-going projects that pop-up in seeming random patterns.  I do work on them, they go away for a little while, then reappear with a new flurry of activity.  Those projects include:

  • Working with a Life Coach to help her pull together two 3-hour workshops on Empty Nest Syndrome and general Life Coaching.
  • Ghostwriting a newspaper column.  I could tell you who and what about, but then my contract dictates I would have to find and kill you.
  • Writing a bi-monthly networking column.

Next are groups and meetings.  These include:

  • Wednesday morning networking meeting
  • Children Writer's Group Critique meetings the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month
  • WGOT Writer's Critique Group the 3rd Thursday of each month
  • WGOT Board meeting 1st Wednesday of each month 
  • Toastmasters every Wednesday at noon
  • Writing time with friends every Wednesday, 9-11:30.

At the moment, I have a Toastmaster's speech I'm due to give in two weeks, plus I'm entering the International Speech Contest and need to come up with a topic and write a speech for that and start practicing for what I think is the March 15th contest date.

I also have some classes I'm teaching soon, including a three-hour magazine writing class at UNC-G on the 18th.  

The critique groups require I read and comment on people's work (that never feels like work as I'm in really good groups with great stories to read) and for the WGOT I'm in charge of planning and organizing community workshops so I spend time finding facilitators and locales and coordinating dates.

Then there is the "Misc." group and what bothers me is that so much of what is in this category I feel should be priority.  I just haven't quite figured out how to make that happen.  But here they are:

  • Continue writing my middle-grade novel.  Right now, I'm only looking at it about once a week, which is ridiculous and nothing is going to get done that way. I'm mulling over options to overcome this.
  • Market Lessons In Stalking.  This is a huge category unto itself and includes research, publicity, pulling together the long overdue press kit, seeking out gift store distributors and so many other tasks it makes my head hurt to think about them which is probably why nothing ever gets done here.
  • Mentoring.  I'm working with two young women as they start their own businesses.
  • Editorial work for NC Careers Magazine.
  • Journaling.  Huh?  What's that? I'm supposed to do it every day but find it too is becoming a once-a-week thing.
  • Working with a friend on her book project and speaking career.  Another area I enjoy working on but can never seem to find the time.
  • I met a dynamic woman in my Networking group who has given speeches around the world and we met to discuss pulling together a Women's Speaker Bureau for our region.  I'm supposed to be doing some research for that but (ahem!) haven't touched it yet.

And of course, I'd like to exercise and see my husband and friends and family every now and then and maybe occasionally clean the house. Blair and I haven't been out to our land in months.  Partly because I've been traveling and he's sick, but also just can't seem to find the 2 hours to go.  BLAIR said last night we need to sit down and do some evaluating on our time.  BLAIR.  So you know our schedules are getting out of hand.

Honestly, I don't know what to give up.  The networking and Toastmasters and public speaking and teaching classes all feed into the promotion of the writing career.  I can't give up writing for magazines because that's my income, and I want to do my novel writing but can't just do that in a vacuum.  My critique groups are my creative lifeline as is my writing time with friends, so I'm not touching that. Come August, I'll rotate off the WGOT board and give that up. And if I get enough speaking engagements on my own, I could give up Toastmasters.  But, I just love the people in my group and it's a perk going there each week so I'll probably continue.  I just think it's a matter of FOCUS and better TIME MANAGEMENT.

Like maybe not spending 20 minutes typing out a blog entry.   Color me embarrassed.  Bye-bye!