Now you're saying to yourself "Oh my gosh, it's Ruthy again, is she going to yell at us??? I love it when she does that!!!!!"
:) I am sparin' your sweet feelin's today, dearly beloveds!!!! There is no berating, chastising or scolding in this post, a possible new RUTHY-RECORD!!!!! Huzzah! Huzzah!!!
"Or maybe she'll wax sentimental and make me all gooey eyed about my dream of becoming an author????"
Umm... not likely today. Read on.
"Mayhap she'll beguile us with sweet stories of babies and toddlers and teachable moments and how easy it is to fall in love over Gerber baby cereal-stained bibs and dripping sippy cups..."
Touching! But.... no. :) Good try, though!
Today we're not even talking work ethic, because heaven knows I've waxed on ad nauseum about that from the beginning of mere mortal time: Write, Write, Write.... or as Nora says, "Butt in Chair". (She's a bit more direct in her phrasing than I am, but you get the picture!)
Today we're talking time and money management, and because this is serious business, I'm putting on my SERIOUS RUTHY HAT.
Stinkin' cute, right?
Miss Martin, the "Good Morning, Miss Dove" type fifth grade teacher in my kids' elementary school, taught time management as part of her 5th grade curriculum. SHE MADE A LOT OF KIDS CRY. Gosh, I love that about her!!!! :)
She cut them no slack as the year went on. She was tough, no nonsense, funny, industrious and loved God... Guess which teacher more kids come back to see as adults, more than the rest of the staff combined? Miss Martin. Because she inspired them to be successful at age ten.
We all have to find the timing that works for us, but I'm sharing the strategy that has brought me to the edge of donning my Full Time Writer's Hat... NEXT YEAR... And how stinkin' exciting is that? Goal setting is where it's at, and to make that successful, I do time-management planning. Honestly? (and I'm being wretchedly honest here....) I never spin wheels.
If the wheel isn't taking me (or someone I love) someplace, or if the "plate" isn't holding something important? I chuck it. Because focusing on the important things helps me see clearly. Respect for time is something I had to acquire at a very early age, and I've carried it through the years. Ya' wanna' annoy me?
Waste my time. That'll do it! (Wait, I said no scolding, oops!!!!! Back to goals/time/successful strategies).
Short range goals: (current annual goals for 2014, think about the goals you set in January and let's see how far you've come! Mine are below.)
Professional: Expanding my readership, publishing four books, re-organizing the second floor of my house, working my full-time job and soliciting work with my agent to help expand my readership by way of contracted work from varying publishers, writing four books.
Personal: Time with grandchildren, family and friends, to help more charities quietly, and to continue church ministries at my local parish while baking delicious things to share with others because I love baking!
How am I doing? Well...
Four books are being published, a possible fifth if it's not contracted by next month, new contracts with SEVERAL!!!!!! publishers (how cool is that? I love being a hybrid author!!!) an independent novella in the Seekers' "Hope for the Holidays" novella collection, three books and two novellas written, working on fourth book now, the second floor is 80% done (I need to contract a part of one room, that's in the works), I see many of my grandchildren each week, others once/month and the distant ones we're seeing three times this year. (This was a big priority for ol' Dave and me, to be able to get to North Carolina and laugh with these far away grandchildren. Love it!!!)
Still lacking time with friends (sigh...), charity work is going well, I switched from singing in our beautiful choir (practice time keeps me up too late and then I can't write the next morning) to being a reader (Liturgy of the Word) and extraordinary minister of Holy Communion.... and possibly starting a pre-school Sunday school, but that's in the air right now. Baking is done in collusion with watching sweet babies, LOL! So I'm pleased with what's happening, but you're probably saying HOW DID YOU DO THAT?
Honey, I hired help, that's how, LOL! No one can do all that, and catch a nap. See more about that trade-off below!
|Peachy Cheese Pie at YANKEE BELLE CAFE TODAY!!!!!!|
To become a full-time writer/author and part-time daycare provider, to publish two indie books each year from 2014 until I can't write anymore, to continue publishing 3-4 contracted books/novellas/year for the next three years (leaving myself open after that), to get a fresh coat of paint on this sweet old house, and to hire someone to fix my yard (don't ask, yes, it's THAT BAD except for the corners I photograph to put on facebook, LOL! I call it strategic positioning.)
I don't separate my personal from my professional goals in real life. They have to co-exist. From the beginning I've had the encouragement of my children and they love that I might be able to fund my own old-age home now! A win/win for all concerned!!!! (laughing, come on, they'll be nice to me when I'm archaic. I hope.) Personal and professional goals go hand in hand for me. If I don't respect my writing time and my work time, no one else will.
When I first got the call from Melissa Endlich five years ago (and it is STILL the first message on my voicemail, I've kept it there for five years!!!! Thank you, Melissa!) I developed a new five-year plan.
I wanted to be a full-time author by the end of the five years. With the quick take-off of my indie books last year, I could see it was time to implement the plan I'd made. Making money is all well and good, but there are only so many hours in a day which meant I needed help to meet my goals. (Asking and/or paying for help should never be considered a bad thing!)
My inspiration for this was the Chinese grandmother "Nyuk Tsin" (aka: Wu Chow's Auntie) in James Michener's "Hawaii". (The first link takes you to a sermon that examples Nyuk Tsin's love for American and freedom. I wasn't the only person deeply touched by this well-drawn character's sacrificial life! The second one goes to Amazon for the book, one of my "keepers":
I loved that character, a poor, plain woman who saw the beauty of freedom and independence and worked tirelessly to build the family's education and fortune by exemplifying her work ethic and frugality. If she spent ten cents to do a job that gleaned her fifteen, she NEVER WORRIED about her hourly wage.... she considered herself .05 to the better. And that example stayed with me all these years. It's not about how much you make, it's about using Return On Investment to strategize what you can do!!!!
1. I hire my covers and formatting done. I love to write beautiful books, I have no burning need to teach myself graphic arts when God made amazingly clever graphic artists BY HIMSELF with no help from me. Oh, that God!!! So I spend about $350/book but I'm happy with the results and readers identify with them. When you subtract that money from the overall sales ("Running on Empty" has been in the top ten (averaging) of its categories for almost a year. The others have been in the top twenty in at least one category and often three) my return on investment is solid.
2. I hired two of my kids to come help with little ones, one day/week each. I pay them to help because I'm getting paid to write. I use one day to write (on top of my early morning, 4:00 AM writing time) and one day to work on the second floor bedrooms. Working on those fun, old, antiquated bedrooms is my gift to myself after years of um... okay, I'LL SAY IT!!!! TOTALLY NEGLECTING THEM!!!!! The bedrooms, not the kids! :) Anyone who saw the stuff I pulled out of one closet last spring understands that I saved way too much stuff! Oy!
3. I hired an after-school helper because when I go to part-time daycare next summer, I wanted someone experienced to help me with homework and lessons after school. It was worth it to me to hire Casey because maintaining good school habits and homework habits with kids is a huge part of their success in middle school, junior high and high school.
|Casey, snuggling Ayden|
So if I go to a conference every few years, that's plenty. I have two kids in Manhattan and one in North Carolina. As much as I love the glitz surrounding the fun of conferences, I have no idea how much time God has in my allotment barrel. Seeing my kids and spending that money on travel has to come first... and doing the major fix-ups this old house needed.
I prioritize everything as part of my planning overview. I'm meeting with my oldest CPA son to set up retirement accounts.... LOL, my kids are planning to retire by my age, I'm just setting up accounts, but that's okay: I'm on target to make my dreams come true!
What do you dream of doing? What have you done today to make that dream come true?
1K1HR is your best friend if it gets your butt in the chair. That's a lot of words in a year!!!
Starting TOMORROW 8/15 "Running on Empty" will be FREE ON AMAZON for the weekend!!!! Grab your friends, call your family send it out on social media, because I love this book and it delights me to see it touching hearts and souls! HERE IS THE LINK!!!!! This highly acclaimed book is available on Kindle and anything that takes a Kindle "app".... or you can use Amazon's free "Whisper Net" download to download the book to your computer!
"Cromwell, I charge thee. Fling away ambition. By that sin fell the angels." (Shakespeare)
I agree that unbridled ambition can be a wicked master, but kept in stride, and planned for accordingly, hard work and ambition have built our amazing country. God bless America!
I've got several copies of my current LOVE INSPIRED RELEASE to give away today! "His Montana Sweetheart" is such a lovely story of old wrongs and new beginnings... and dedicated to a man I love very much, my late father-in-law Floyd G. Blodgett.
Stop in, grab some coffee and donuts fresh from the apple store and we'll chat about goals... plans.... using time wisely... God.... food.... chocolate.... and the hope that we're all doing our best to use up every stinkin' bit of talent the good Lord gave us!