Tuesday, September 1, 2015

T-Minus 24 Hours and Counting …

with guest Davalynn Spencer. 

As if authors didn’t already have too little time, we lose nearly an hour of daylight in August. Fifty-four minutes to be exact, at least in North America. September is worse.

I learned this depressing fact when I was a cub reporter for a daily newspaper. In those pre-automated days, I had to find the information for, and enter on each front page, the exact times for sunrise and sunset, as well as how many cubic feet per second (CFS) the Arkansas River was running.

In a tourism- and agriculturally driven economy, those were important numbers.

Since July loses only thirty minutes of daylight during its thirty-one day cycle, and June loses even fewer minutes (about seven), we feel the crush at the end of August and respond accordingly: 

“What happened to summer?”

If you’re into numbers and want to see these facts for yourself, check out this website: Sunrise and Sunset.  

The bottom line: There is never enough time.

Or is there?

When I became a published author, life got crazy(er). Of course giving birth to a book baby was exactly what I’d dreamt of. But babies keep you up at night. And then they become toddlers. 

I was running out of time – that ethereal commodity we cannot create, hold, or harness yet we insist on measuring, saving, or killing. Gone were the days of leisurely reclining with my muse at my workstation to expand glorious images into a manuscript.


Because once you write a book, you must write others. It’s simply a matter of addiction. 


Or contracts. 

“We’ll take your book. Sign on the dotted line and give us two more in the next six/nine/twelve months.”

Wait. What?

And as everyone knows who reads or writes for this blog, we’ve gotten ourselves into way more than simply writing stories.

Social networking.
Crafting newsletters.

All while keeping our “regular” life nailed down. If we’re not careful, we’ll never see our muse again, not to mention our family.

I had to get organized on two fronts: Time and Thoughts.

There is a time for every purpose. (Eccl. 3:1)

I’m a morning person. I like to do everything in the morning: read my Bible and pray—aka listen to Him. Walk our Queensland heeler, Blue. Take photographs of every cool thing I see along the way. Water my giant sunflowers. Check email, read blogs, visit Facebook, Tweet. Write my column for the local daily newspaper. Work on my weekly blog. Make breakfast burritos and homemade caramel macchiato (every morning). 

And write. 

Yeah, right.

Trouble is, morning is over at noon where I live and I get really frustrated if I don’t accomplish a big chunk of my manuscript-writing goal before the big hand and the little hand meet at the top of the clock. 

In a perfect world, I’d write all day, every day, and hire someone else to do all the rest. But then I’d probably write boring stories.

At least I’m in good company. Christy Award-winning author Randy Ingermanson (the Snowflake Guy) recently shared his time-dissection method in one of his Advanced Fiction Writing E-zines.  He sets aside Wednesday for what he calls Administration. You can read more about his plan here.  

I liked his idea and tried it and it wasn’t bad. Give up what you love most just one day a week and focus on administrative-related tasks. The stack of stuff on my desk actually shrank.

But it wasn’t a perfect fit, so I tweaked Randy’s idea into what has become Maintenance Mornings.

Lately I’ve been limiting maintenance to ONLY mornings, and even if I don’t get it all finished, I stop. Discipline is key because I’ll never finish it all, and that fact will eat me alive if I let it. 

Now I work on my manuscripts all afternoon with a couple hours off if I have an assignment from our local newspaper editor. (Gotta pay the bills.)

But the good news is, this delegating of time-specific tasks is working!

We take captive every thought. (2 Cor. 10:5)

As I shared in a previous Seekerville post, (check it out here) I’m a binder babe, and I like to keep an organizational binder for each work-in-progress. Yup, still there and loving it. But life doesn’t fit in a binder.

When I was a young wife and mother, grocery shopping required a list if I didn’t want to make five follow-up trips to the market for things I forgot.

When I progressed from cub- to crime-beat reporter, I took copious notes and learned the value of records. “If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen.”

These acquired tendencies transferred to my book writing, but there’s only so much room on a desk/wall/computer for sticky notes. Binders saved me to a point, but what if I wrote down a really cool idea in a binder. Which one?

So I designated a document on my computer that I keep at the top of my Recently Opened list. It’s called TO DO because that’s how it started out—my to-do list. However, it has evolved into a catch-all, and I’ve simply kept the original name. 

My TO DO document is a Quick-Drop Site for ideas, notes, quotes, upcoming guest post topics, or anything I saw and liked and want to remember.

Okay, so it’s 14 pages long now, but still. I have the tendency to forget where I file an idea or quote or whatever when I’m in a hurry, so I put them in there. Perusing one long document with the “Find” feature still beats visually rifling through dozens of files or handling possibly hundreds of pieces of paper.

At first I tried separate documents for separate things like Blog Posts, Guest Posts, Newspaper Columns, Devotionals, and Story Ideas. However, many of these quick thoughts cross over to more than one area. It was easier to dump them all in one place, use the “Find” function with a key word to locate what I was looking for, and then transfer what I wanted to another specific document in files such as Books, Columns, Blogs, Marketing, etc.

(Confession: I have a particularly touching email from a reader copied into my TO DO document. Every time I scroll by it, I’m reminded why I write.)

By the way, my novella releasing today, The Columbine Bride, continues the family tale I began in last year’s Christmas novella. It started out as a “thought” in my TO DO file.

Best-selling author and editor Erin Healy said in a recent workshop on self-editing that the system she proposed was “not a new religion” so don’t treat it that way. Neither is my current organization method. I may change things up in a month or so. But for now, it works for me.

Everyone has a personal system for organizing time and thoughts. Some authors write only in the morning, at night after a full-time job, on commuter trains, or while the baby naps. Some use legal pads and pencils or smartphones and tablets. But for me for right now, Maintenance Morning and my TO DO document are my go-to structures.

Whether you are an author or not, what organizational techniques have you borrowed or developed to make your life easier during these ever-shortening end-of-summer days?

Today I'm giving away an e-copy of Book 4 of The 12 Brides of Summer with my story “The Columbine Bride.”

The Columbine Bride 

Lucy Powell is on a path not of her choosing: widowhood.  But she’s determined she doesn’t need anyone’s help to get her neglected ranch back in order and running right—especially the neighboring rancher who keeps showing up at the end of her shotgun. Buck Reiter can’t leave Lucy and her two young’uns alone. It’s just not in him to sit by and watch while someone struggles. But he ends up as the struggler, searching for a way to let Lucy know there’s a whole lot more going on in his heart than just being neighborly. 

Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, and worked several years as a rodeo journalist and crime-beat reporter, winning awards in both arenas. Her fiction has finaled for the 2015 Will Rogers Medallion and the 2014 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, Selah, and Holt Medallion. Davalynn makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with her handsome cowboy and their Queensland heeler, Blue. Connect with her online at www.davalynnspencer.com and https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavalynnSpencer or Twitter, @davalynnspencer

Seekerville has an extra give away for one commenter. A little timer to help you get in your daily word count. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.


  1. You had me at caramel macchiato!!! Welcome back, Davalynn. Are those pictures from your ranch??

  2. I set myself tasks for the day. Once those are done I am free to do what I will. It works well & I do accomplish a great deal more.

  3. My to do list is my email. I know there's tons of people that have hundreds of emails to read in their inbox, but a slight OCD tendency is I like to deal with things immediately, the more unread emails that pile up in my unread email section, the more agitated I feel.

    So, when an email comes in, my motto is, open once. So I open it, directly trash it or respond if it's easy and let it go to archive. If it's not easy and it takes effort, mentally or I have to gather info, I star it and it goes to the "important file" I regularly go through my star file when I have blocks of significant time to get those answered.

    But since I either delete, respond and archive, or star it for the important list, I have no inbox email, and I regularly check it so it doesn't pile up.

    So, if I have to-do items or thoughts on book ideas, etc, I write myself an email. And I leave it unread until I do it or until I can put the snippet of idea in the appropriate file on my computer, Unread email annoys me, so it spurs me to do it.

    In my inbox, there are no emails to answer at the moment, but the list looks like this:

    me: Mow!
    me: Call insurance agent
    Me: Call person about rental
    me: Print off the thank you postcards for daughter to send


    I'm always feeling good when that unread email to do list is below 5!

    Anyway, I don't remember anything anymore if it's not in my email! I can't even make myself post its, the baby eats it or insists it belongs in the trash or makes it into a paper airplane or something, but they can't touch my email! I can always retrieve it from the trash with a quick CTRL+F if they bang on the keyboard and mess stuff up!

  4. I love that the syrup portion of this post reflects my countertop. :) ♥♥♥♥♥ Torani!!!

    Davalynn, welcome back!!!! And you're so right, it's clutch to find what works for us, isn't it? I work days, so I write in the middle of the night, and every other spare minute I can snatch. For me, pre-dawn is crazy productive time, so that works, and I know it's worked for other full-time workers, too.

    I decided a decade ago that my writing time was my time. With a big family and a job, no other block of time would ever be just mine.

    This one is!!!!

    Of course birth, death, visiting my kids, etc. are all facts of life, but in the meantime, keeping ourselves on some sort of regular schedule is a huge, huge help. It pushes me to produce.

  5. Melissa.... my business account has 26,056 unread e-mails.

    It's our Seeker loop and I never read my own e-mails to the group, and in ten years, it's grown to 26,056.

    I think that's hysterical.

    When people see it, they go "EEEEEK!"

    Obviously, I talk too much! But now I think it's hilarious. My gmail account only has 8964.

    A baby, by comparison.

    As you can see, I have no OCD tendencies!!! I love how we're all different.

    Guess which Seeker NOTICED MY E-MAIL ACCOUNT NUMBERS right away in a screen shot????

    One Hint: We call her the Queen. :)

  6. Time is the hardest thing about writing for me! We had our third child last year, which means my sleep has decreased dramatically. I'll take any tips on how to get organized and save time that you can offer.

    Today's post was so timely for me! :)

    One thing I've learned to do is write on my phone by emailing myself. So I always know where I left off in my story and when I suddenly have 5 minutes here or there I pull out my phone and start emailing myself the next few lines or paragraphs in my story. Every little bit adds up!

    Happy Tuesday, Seekerville!

  7. I agree ,I am totally a morning person. Being a reader and not a writer I Use my mornings to do the many chores being a mom of 12 entails. I can't forget I'm a cat mom of 4 as well. I am glad they are back to school now. I'll admit I do my morning chores quickly so I can get some relaxation time in and get to my reading.To the mom that just had her third baby, bless you. It'll get easier as they get a bit older . Using your cellphone to write bits and pieces is an excellent idea.Just remember to grab rest for yourself when possible because when your tired you can't be as productive. Have a wonderful day seekerville family ! I would love to read the new book it sounds fabulous !

    Deanne Patterson
    Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

  8. Being a morning person myself, I like to write in the early hours. I do my bible study and prayer time first thing, then the rest of the day falls into order. I have a notebook where I jot things to do, I use my phone to record things, and I use an awful lot of index cards. Anything important that could be easily forgotten, I make an index card note and leave it on the end of my kitchen bar until it's done.

    I have to keep my email cleaned out. I hyperventilate when I see my friends email count of over several thousand emails!! :-) I allow only five or six to stay in my inbox at a time—we are all different and it makes for a fun world.

  9. Thanks for the great post, Davalynn! I want to come to your house. Carmel Macchiatos every morning. What a way to start the day.

    I'm horrible at organization. I have binders for print copies and notes, and I also have multiple folders on my computer with various notes and ideas. The one thing I am diligent about is keeping my email cleaned out. I can't stand to have unopened emails.

    As for time management, I'm slowly learning. Usually, I write in the evenings. I'm not a morning person, so there's no way I'm getting up an extra hour early to write before work. I tend to get more done during the school year than I do during the summer. I think it's because I work harder with the time I have when it's limited.

  10. Good morning, Davalynn! Being solar-powered, I'm definitely aware of every single minute the days grow shorter. WAH! I'm a morning person, but my writing "morning" is only 60-90 minutes long due to the day job, so things are REALLY crammed in there, especially when I have the addition of a blog to write, edits/AA's to attend to, etc. Too often the deadlines collide and the To Do List is never ending. So I do what I can--and pray I use whatever extra bits of time that come my way wisely! Thank you for additional time management ideas.

  11. Ruthy has more hours in her day. I'm sure of it! Maybe she swiped one of mine.

  12. Good morning! Thanks for the welcome, Tina. It's great to visit Seekerville again. I took those pictures here where I live - the first one on my morning walk, and the second from my front porch at the end of the day.

  13. Mary - great approach. If we don't know where we're going, how will be get there!

  14. Love it, Melissa. You're top note - MOW! Did you pull that off the calendar on my desk? Do you have a rider? I love that chore.

  15. Ruth - yes, the key is "schedule." Sometimes that concept annoys people, but hey - God has one and I kinda like it. It's called dawn!

  16. Absolutely, Annie. Every little bit adds up, whether on the phone, email, stickies, wherever. I noticed you said, "We had our third child." What a generously inclusive thing to say! Of course I'm envisioning labor, but yeah, I know it's so much more. Kudos to your hubby!

  17. Deanne - Wait, twelve? Back up the truck! My sister had seven and lunch was an assembly line. You're so right about rest. A friend told me two weeks ago, "Listen to your body and take the time to rest when you are weary." I printed that in 20 pt. blue font in my To Do document, and I take a bit of comfort every time I scroll by it. Sometimes I take a nap.

    1. Davalyn,
      Yep, 12 of them. No misprint here. A blessing to be sure . I honestly can't remember the last time I've taken a nap or slept in. I do recharge by reading though . I always bring a book in my purse for pesky appointment waiting or a long car ride if I get tired of hearing hubby talking, lol.

  18. I think it's funny how everyone uses email. I use also it to "backup" my stories, dog pics, reminders etc. It's quick and I never lose under it huge stack of papers and junk.

    Davalyn, I need to get on a better schedule. Typically I think of everything I need to get done in a day and then try to do it. Sometime. No particular order. The only goals I write down are my writing goals. (This doesn't mean I succeed, but I do write them down and have good intentions.)

    Thanks for the post.

  19. Hi Davalynn,
    I love this post as organization is my constant goal. Carmel Macchiatos are my daily coffee choice too.

    I try to go through each room and closet in my house at least once a year and find at least 100 things to donate. Something about that is so freeing.

    My office is that ONE ROOM that I could never control. I cleaned it out good this summer and couldn't believe everything I needed to give away or throw out. I came across a lot of stashed memories in the process.

    I'm putting together a box of memories for each of my three grown children. My mom did this for her five children. Baby books, report cards, art work, pictures, etc. We didn't know they existed until she passed away, but it was beyond meaningful when we found and opened our boxes and relived our childhoods.

    Enjoying all the tips on staying organized, thanks everyone!

    1. Tracey! That is brilliance as far as the box of memories! Must do this!!!

  20. Mary - don't you love the way all our different plans work for us? I allow myself one email "page" because I use it as a calendar. (I'm seeing a pattern here for the different ways I remind myself of things.)

  21. Rhonda - your comment is interesting about doing more when we have more to do. There's something to that, and as you say, I think it's management. Perhaps a subliminal prod.

  22. Take heart, Glynna. Those minutes add up. I often remind myself that Frank Peretti wrote his first book an hour at a time.

  23. Connie - I'm with you on the backup email. I send my WIP to myself every evening, confident that there's a copy "out there" I can access.

  24. Tracey - 100 things to donate. I love that! Also the memory boxes. Great idea.

  25. Thank you Davalyn. I know I'm weird so it's ok to think it, but I like the shorter days. I do some of my best thinking and writing at night. The day is filled with annoying things like my job. Writing is my reward for giving my attention all day to my work, my home and whatever other responsibilities come my way. It seems to work well and as I like to say, writing is one very enjoyable thing I can do that doesn't make me feel like I should be doing something else!

  26. See, Cindy, I knew we had some night-writers out there! And to consider it a reward - that's fabulous.

  27. Great post Davalyn! I'm very organized by nature but this writing thing has me unraveling a bit! I love the idea of setting aside a specific time to do admin tasks and to do professional reading. I always get such a great feeling of accomplishment from checking tasks off a list too! Thanks for the great suggestion and please enter me in the drawing!

    A huge THANK YOU to Ruthie for making the 696 unread emails in my inbox look manageable! LOL!

  28. Davalynn, I like your ideas. :) I hadn't thought of maintenance mornings. I try to do some work on real life stuff in the mornings, after my quiet time, but some days are just too busy. My best time is mornings, so ideally, I'd like to get to where I'm writing during that time. Haven't figured out how to do that yet. My writing time usually comes in the afternoons.

    I like how you've tweaked your organizing as your schedules needs. I find that in different seasons of my life my organizing (and lack thereof) change to work for that season. Thanks for showing me that this is normal. :)

    As my boys headed back to school, I'm finding myself writing down the essential things to get done each day. I work on those after QT and then I get to write. That way my writing time doesn't feel stolen, so to speak. :)

  29. Absolutely, Kelly. The perfume of completion is a heady scent.

  30. Davalyn, I appreciate the time and writing tips. I plan to give some of them a try.

    The one thing I have found to be most helpful is the note app I have on my phone. It closely resembles your To Do list. Any interesting names, bits of dialogue or story ideas goes on it. Periodically I copy and paste it to an email to myself and print it off so I can put all of those ideas where they go.

    I love your name! Is it a family name?

    I'd like to win a copy of The Columbine Bride or the timer! Please enter me.

  31. I hate to tell you, Jeanne, but you're seriously normal! :) Seasons are one of the things I love about living in Colorado. I thrive on the beautiful changes. So why not so much in my life? Ha - God knows what He's doing, and I have to remember my schedule isn't a religion, it's a season, and sometimes it changes.

  32. I have a binder for each of my writing projects so I can keep them all in one place. I have found that I have lost many important notes before I came up with this solution.

    Before my life changed I used to have a master to do list saved on my computer that I would print off each day.

    Thank you for this post.

  33. I really like the idea of setting aside a time for the "business" of writing. It frees us up for what we really love (even if the editor wants two books in six months). We can get so tangled up in the nuts and bolts that we can't see the forest for the trees, as a friend of mine once famously said.
    I write EVERYTHING down so my head can be clear, if not empty.
    And yes, if we do time management at all we will keep tweaking it for the rest of our lives. I raised two children 18 months apart WITHOUT TELEVISION while I worked out of my home. Now I'm an empty-nest person with a talkative husband. Well, really, the issues aren't that different, sigh...
    Kathy Bailey
    Making It Work In New Hampshire

  34. Thank you, Donna. Yes, that note app is a gem. I'm a name collector, too, but isn't every writer? My mother made mine up. Dad wanted to call me Davy Lee and Mom threatened to leave him. They compromised.

  35. Thanks for stopping by, Wilani. Binders are truly life savers.

  36. I love "the perfume of completion." It is so good to get something done. I just finished my writing goal for summer, a draft of a book. It needs a lot of work, but hey, now I have something to Work On.

  37. Kaybee/Kathy - Ha! Love it. Kids, hubby, yeah. I'm aiming for a clear head.

  38. Kaybee - you definitely need to celebrate your completion. I'll make an extra caramel macch for you!

  39. Welcome, Davalyn! We are "Maintenance Morning" twinkies! I figured out years ago that this system works best for me. I will do email, blogging, social networking, promo stuff, etc., until lunchtime. Then I flip the switch and settle into writing or some kind of manuscript work all afternoon, usually 4-5 hours.

    I do take breaks every 30-45 minutes just to stretch, walk a few minutes on the treadmill, grab a quick chat with hubby, or whatever. And yes, I also do QUICK checks of email and social networks when my writing brain needs a reboot.

  40. So . . . is it Davalynn or Davalyn? I'm seeing your name spelled both ways today. ;-D

  41. Greetings, fellow Twinkie Myra! Breaks are a must for me, too - both mental and physical. Filling the bird feeder, chasing off the neighbors' dogs, whatever.

  42. You're right, Myra. When I set up my Google account years ago, the spacing would not accept two Ns and split my name onto two lines. So I dropped an N, but my name really has two of them.

  43. Time – that ethereal commodity we cannot create, hold, or harness yet we insist on measuring, saving, or killing.

    Love this! Welcome to Seekerville, Davalynn!

  44. Thanks, Pam. Great to see you here! Seems like you have a good grip on the time-management challenge.

  45. TINA,
    after I posted about the memory boxes I realized this did nothing to create more time, but actually required more, LOL. BUT, if we are "redeeming the time" for what is most important, especially in the big picture, then leaving a legacy box qualifies.

  46. Tracey - your memory boxes are a good way to show family members the important moments in time. Some people call that History.

  47. hi Davalynn - thanks for this great post.

    I'm organizationally challenged. REALLY organizationally challenged.
    I too, read Randy's organizational ideas and thought "wow! I need to do that" Umm... haven't done it. I managed to write a book because I entered a contest and am a bit OCD about not missing deadlines assigned to me by people I wish to impress. Other than that, I have to confess to a bit of life chaos packaged in a bundle of joy that is my five year old. I'm a late in life mommy and haven't figured things out (obviously).
    I am taking notes about how everybody else does things. Hoping to implement some of the wonderful ideas soon. I need discipline. That's been my one word for the past couple of years.


    would love to be in the draw for the book or timer.

  48. Davalynn, love this post! There is never enough time. Now that I have added running into the mix, days overlap each other trying to get everything done. I make a list and star what's most important and work my way down. Sometimes I'll put something on the list I've already done just to get me started. I looked at the word count on the story I am working on and realized it is a little over 26,0000 words. That is huge to me. Just the spur I need to finish it up.

    Finished your story "The Columbine Bride." Absolutely love it! "especially the neighboring rancher who keeps showing up at the end of her shotgun." I laughed out loud. Poor Buck. But, I loved him. Even after that, he still kept coming around, helping out, letting Lucy see that it wasn't over yet. Great story!

  49. Hi Davalynn! Congratulations on your novella!
    I like the idea of maintenance mornings. Sadly, I work a day job and report @ 6:00 a.m., so that wouldn't work for me Mon-Fri. On the weekend, I must write first, otherwise, my ADD tendencies surface and the day is gone. For me, once I've reached my writing goal for the day, all the maintenance is a cake walk.

  50. Davalynn,
    History, that's it exactly! I think that's one of the reasons I love fiction so much, relationships and histories.

    I'm looking forward to reading The Columbine Bride, throw my name in the Carmel coffee cup.

  51. DebH - You make me laugh. Late in life Mom? I wonder if Sarah shared that feeling! God's timing is perfect - oooh, there's that word again, time. I once had a young woman look at me (in my late 20s) and say, "You're one of those older moms, aren't you?" I'm proud to say I did not knock her down. But finishing a book with a bundle of joy bouncing nearby is quite an accomplishment, I'd say. Here's a caramel macch for you!

  52. Sally - thank you for your encouraging words! I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. Right after I wrote the first shot gun scene, I had one of my own with some vicious dogs ... well, I won't go into that here! Starring your most important items is a great idea. I think we should star them as we get them done!

  53. Jill - your plan works, and that's the whole idea. I hear you regarding the ADD. There is ALWAYS something to do around the house, right? Sometimes blocking that out is the most difficult challenge.

  54. Hi DAVALYNN and welcome back to Seekerville. Great post on time management. The plan you're doing has worked for me for years. Being a morning person myself, I find it is best time to do the "chores" email, promotion, blog, play pickleball, etc. Mainly because my brain is going full bore and interrupts my creative muse. In the afternoon, my right brain is tired so shuts up and lets my left brain go for it. Hubby practices his Spanish heritage of taking a siesta in the afternoon so it is a perfect time to write.

    Again, thanks for the great post today and have a fun day.

  55. Oh, my. Those vicious dogs doesn't sound like a good scene. Good thing you had a gun! I think we should throw a party after getting things done. But I guess that would defeat the purpose. Just take up more time that could have been used to get something else done. So great to have you here, Davalynn!

  56. Oh forgot to mention, I love the references to sunrise and sunset. I love walking in the morning also so really notice the time changes in the seasons. So amazing. Thanks for the great links.

  57. Hi Sandra. Thanks for stopping by. Funny you should mention the Spanish-heritage siesta. My hubby has the same heritage tendencies!

  58. Develynn,

    Love your idea of a TO DO document. I may try your method. Searching through files to find that one item I need takes too much time that I don't have! Great tip. Thanks bunches!

    I've turned into an afternoon writer, just because of the way my day is structured. I try to check email and visit Seekerville prior to lunch. The rest of the day goes for my WIP, along with a quick trip to the gym, dinner prep, eating and cleanup. I'm back at my computer after the dishes are done and until I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. Would love to have more hours in the day. Wouldn't we all!


  59. Sally - to my way of thinking, celebration is time well spent. Especially after completing an important project. So - party on!

  60. Absolutely, Sandra. One of my favorite scriptures has to do with sunrise/sunset: Ps. 65:8 - He makes the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice.

  61. Debby - I am so impressed with people who actually make it to the gym. For several years my son was a personal trainer, and boy did he personally tell me what I needed to work on! But I've never been able to do the gym thing. Kudos to you! However, I do relate with falling asleep at the keyboard. I have the letter Y permanently imprinted on my forehead.

  62. Wonderful methods, Davalyn.

    And a great reminder to find SOME system that works and get 'er done.
    (Love your sense of humor!!!)

    Thank you for being here and congratulations on all your successes.
    Might see you out your way sometime. My folks have a little place in Estes Park that is nearly Heaven.

    Great for dog-walking and photography!!!

  63. KC & K9 - I LOVE Estes Park. In fact, my son's middle name is Estes because I went into labor at the rodeo there while my husband was fighting bulls. Yeah, a story unto itself. Thanks for stopping by today.

  64. Oh, DAVALYN ... I think we may be twins separated at birth (by about twenty years or so) as I sooooo related to your statement as follows:

    "I’m a morning person. I like to do everything in the morning: read my Bible and pray—aka listen to Him ... check email, read blogs, visit Facebook, Tweet, etc. Trouble is, morning is over at noon where I live and I get really frustrated if I don’t accomplish a big chunk of my manuscript-writing goal before the big hand and the little hand meet at the top of the clock."

    YES, YES, YES, that's me exactly as well, and at my age it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but Ruth Logan Herne and Tina Radcliffe have opened my eyes to habits I need to cultivate if I want to get writing done. Both of them dedicate at least two hours to writing first thing every morning (or second thing after prayers/devo) before they go to their day jobs, which I hope to do as well. BEFORE I check email, which always derails my good intentions because if I read an email, I need to answer an email, and before I know it, it's lunch time ...

    It is sooooo tough to fit it all in, but what I'm learning is that with discipline and tough love (with myself!), I can get the important things done first (God, family, writing, etc.) done first, which pares down the time I have to give to those pesky emails and social media.

    And I LOVE the story about why you named your son Estes -- SO cute, and I LOVE the name too!


  65. Julie - thanks for your comments. I appreciate the way you paired email and derail. That pretty much sums it up. But we can't cut email out of our lives. All my jobs require the use of email. Though I love the idea of writing first thing, I HAVE to catch the dawn and these days it's coming later and later.

  66. The Find feature -- brilliant!! Thank you, Davalynn. I never thought of using it for a to-do list. I'm learning Evernote and loving it, but I have a long way to go.

  67. Thanks for stopping by, Meghan. I'm not familiar with Evernote, but I love the Find feature!

  68. Great post Davalynn. I love hearing how others handle their schedules and organization. Please enter me in the drawing for the novella and timer.

  69. I am so psyched that Julie's stepping over to the wild side...

    I do prayers before I even climb out of bed because God should always be first, and I'm as guilty as anyone at messing that up... but then... my REWARD is writing time! That's my reward , my time to celebrate, to visit with my imaginary friends. This week it's Nellie and Levi and oh my stars, you'd think the common sense of the situation would occur to these 19th century young lovers, but NO... Stubborn Germans, that's what they are!!!!

  70. Me, too, Sandy. It always helps to get a few outside ideas. Thanks for stopping by.

  71. Rhonda, I agree with Davalyn, your comment is a frequent one up here: "Ask the busy person to do one more thing."

    They'll fit it in.

    They'll stretch.

    They'll accommodate.

    So that's something I always keep in mind when folks explain their roadblocks to me. The busy person will stretch to make things happen.

    The person who thinks they're busy is often less flexible. This isn't a bad thing, we're just all different.

  72. Tina, I do have an extra hour in each day. It's latitude vs. longitude combined with Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka: Grumpy Winter People)

    Here's how it works. When you live and work up north and keep a good attitude about snow, wind, sleet and rain and small children burping, God gives you an extra hour.

    I thought you knew about that!!!!

    This means you should MOVE BACK TO UPSTATE!!!!!

  73. Davalyn, what a perfect example! God's schedule, winding round the sun!


    And night owls do a great job of using their nocturnal tendencies. Melissa Jagears, Mary Virginia Carmichael, Stephanie Karfelt.... They're up half the night and it works for them. We often "pass" like ships at 4:00 AM. I'm getting up, they're shutting down.

    Very "Ladyhawke" friendly!

  74. Davalyn, great, encouraging blog post.
    Ah, time. Seems no matter how long the day, I managed to not use it wisely.
    Procrastinators R Us

    I'm in this novella collection with Davalyn, but they released it in three volumes so I'm not in the same one Davalyn is giving away. But we had fun working together and getting to know each other.

  75. Welcome, Davalyn! I'm afraid I don't have much of a writing schedule because the rest of my schedule is so erratic. Mainly this is my fault. I definitely need to do something about it.

  76. Ha! Love it, Ruth! The wild side. See what an influence you have? True, our busy-ness wants to get in the way. Just this morning I texted to a friend that I hoped she'd have a god start to her day. Of course I meant to say "good" start, but the slip o' the finger made a point for me. A "God" start of the day is a much better beginning.

  77. Absolutely, Mary. I treasure getting to know you and the other Brides - as I refer to the authors. This was such a fun project. And then there's Christmas ...

  78. Never say die, Cara. Like I mentioned earlier, Frank Peretti wrote his first (I think) Darkness novel an hour at a time. You can do it!

  79. Ruth - don't you think where busy people are concerned it has something to do with the 80:20 principle?

  80. Hi DAVALYNN, Have you been to Spain? I went a couple years ago and it so opened my eyes to my husband's nature. I was amazed and actually thrilled. Its kind of cool to see how much genetics play in our lives. I love sharing with my aunt because I didn't really get to know her until my forties and when we get together we have so much fun as we discover so many things we do exactly alike. It is really uncanny.

    When planning your time management, it really helps to know these things about your body types. My hubby does his best work late in the day. So I've learned to wait to put something on the honeydo list later. I'm the opposite. I better get asked in the morning or it just won't get done. LOL

    Great topic.

  81. I would LOVE to go to Spain, Sandra. My son, who still fights bulls, would want to run in Pamploma with the bulls, but my knees couldn't take praying on those hard-stone streets. Hubby's family is from Castille - three generations back. There's something to be said for winding down in the heat of the day.

  82. hahaha, spew alert, Ruthy. My hour was sucked dry in the Arizona heat. It now looks like a raisen.

  83. Raisen. At least the captcha didn't ask me to identify all the raisens! Thanks for a great time today, Seekers. Oops - that word again. Time.

  84. Hi Davalyn,
    Your post is a binder keeper! Thanks for sharing some of your process. Time management haunts so many of us. Good intentions don't make words on the page.

    That timer is really pretty.

  85. Thanks, Lyndee. So glad you enjoyed the day!

  86. Davalynn, I love organization tips. At writing conferences, I always attend the organization workshops because I love hearing people's tips for ways they get organized and getting things done. I've also loved reading all the hints in all the comments. As a matter of fact, I started deleting e-mails and forgot to write a comment (and I'm excited to be in the running for the timer!).

    I remember one Seekerville post where Tina (I think it was Tina) blogged about separating your to do lists into A priorities, B priorities, and so on. I've tried that since the new school year began the first week of August. Most days I'm only getting the A priority done, but I'm looking at it in a positive light: I'm taking that step to finishing my book and some days, I actually make it to B and one time, even C.

    Thanks to everyone who has presented organizational tips. Love them.

  87. Finally found time to check out your excellent blog. Did some writing yesterday but work and church activities took priority today. I have enjoyed the other books in the summer brides collections and would love to win the one offered today. Hopefully I will be able to do some writing this weekend. Football season has started and that means time alone with the computer. Thanks to football season I was able to get my masters degree homework done while two growing boys enjoyed a night out with dad every week. Now it's grown up sons still enjoying a game with dad while mom has time to herself...to hopefully write..

  88. Tanya - you took the comments as a call to action. That is wonderful! So glad you were inspired by today's posts, and I'm happy to hear you're not discouraged that you don't get everything accomplished at once. My mother used to tell me my eyes were bigger than my stomach when we were at a restaurant. I think that sometimes applies to my daily-do list, which is why I stop maintenance at noon and write. Prioritizing helps, as you've discovered. "B" and "C" will wait until tomorrow.

  89. Bettie - you know a good thing when you see it - football! Great time-management, unless, of course, you like watching the game. If the Broncos are playing, I'm there. (Sorry for the partisan remark, but we all have our weaknesses.) Nailing down a Master's degree is a challenge. Headphones helped me during those days. Here's to great weekend writing!

  90. Fantastic blog! I will be implementing Maintenance Mornings and your To-Do method today!

    Please enter my name in the drawing!

  91. I love your insights about the Maintenance Mornings and even your encouraging note copied into something you see regularly. That would keep the dry moments away and your heart in the right place. How do you cut up a huge project, like redoing a closet or that THING you've been putting off? I find I'm a "spurt" organizer so it's best to dive in deep for a while, then celebrate with seeing a friend or getting that book I've been wanting so much. I also need to set high-level goals periodically so I'm accomplishing what's important as well as what's urgent. Learned this early in corporate life and it's still true. Praying through the organizing tasks helps a lot too, to keep me in an attitude of plenty rather than being down about doing something that isn't my favorite thing! Love this website and your thoughts!

  92. Way to go, Edwina! Thanks for stopping by.

  93. Thanks so much, Elizabeth. Sounds like you've heard of "Tyranny of the Urgent." That little booklet saved my life. I also try to eat the burrito one bite at a time, rather than cramming the whole thing in my mouth at once. That's a metaphor I use with my college students as soon as I see their eyes glaze over at the thought of writing a 10-page research paper.

  94. Such wise words about time. I am going to evaluate my morning routine. I tend to keep going and not be disciplined about stopping then I am frustrated at the end of the day. I appreciate your insight.
    PS I would love to win a copy of the 12 Brides of Summer.

  95. Becky - I relate to your tendency to "keep going." I once heard a pastor tell his congregation, "There are three segments in the day: morning, afternoon, and evening. Work two, any two, but not all three." That line stuck in my head because I think God stuck it there. Thanks for stopping by!