I’ve never been this excited for school to start.
Don’t get me wrong, I have been and always will be an unrepentant geek, but eight years of teaching high school will temper even the most avid scholar’s enthusiasm. No, I want my writing schedule back, and I’ll have it just as soon as my youngest starts preschool next week.
With all of the necessary preparations for school and all of the schedule juggling currently happening in the Kilpatrick house, I realized now is the perfect time to reassess my writing goals and habits. Sure, most people wait until January 1st, but at that point we’ve all been on vacation and it’s difficult to envision a new routine when you’re still trying to convince yourself to do whatever insane diet and exercise regimen you’ve concocted. School gives you structure. You might not always like that structure, but it’s there and it’s relatively unchanging.
Here are my helpful hints for getting it all together now:
1. Reevaluate your schedule. Are you writing at your most creative time? Can you juggle some of your activities to squeeze more time for writing? Now that the kiddies are wrapped up for a while maybe you can take advantage of the time they’re away. If you’re going to class, now’s the time to find time for writing and, oh yeah, homework.
2. Is your DVR clear and ready to go? I know, I know there’s a new season of television on the way, not to mention college football and the NFL. DVR is your friend. With DVR you can watch Castle or Leverage anytime you want. With DVR you can record the game and finish your writing then fast-forward through commercials as you watch to see who won. If you can’t tell, DVR has changed my life. (Imagine a slight catch in my voice here.)
3. Look at your goals. How are you doing for 2009? There’s no need to give up because you have almost five months to go. Reassess and get that nose back to the grindstone. Don’t forget the Golden Heart--it’s coming up fast! And you entered the Finish the Book Competition, right? Figure out how many pages are going to make that dream a reality.
4. Celebrate your successes. What have you accomplished that you set out to do for this year? Give yourself a well-earned pat on the back for achieving your goals. If you haven’t achieved any of your goals yet, find something to compliment yourself on. You’ve certainly done something this year.
Oh, and let’s not forget Moonlight and Magnolias! This is crunch time for the conference. Have you. . .
1. Registered? If not, go now. Don’t pass go and find a way to pay your $200 because it‘s worth every penny. There’s an article in the September issue of Writer’s Digest where at least one agent recommends getting face time with editors and agents as the most effective way to get your work seen. Which brings us to. . .
2. Signed up for your editor/agent appointment? Let’s go people. Priorities are based on when you registered until September 15th. Sign up for your favorites now so you can get your pick.
3. Made your business cards? You’ll need those to network, so go get them made.
4. Picked out your outfits? Remember professional attire, maybe business casual--last year Nicki picked out her outfits at least two months in advance. And don’t forget the Maggie Ceremonies--it’s dark, bad, or fun. Or it could be all of the above.
5. Finished your manuscript? Remember it’s bad form to pitch something that isn’t finished. I’ve done it, but I’m not proud. Even if you still have 200 pages to go that’s only 5 pages a day. Divide what you need by 40 and you’ll get an approximate estimate of how many pages per day you need.
Now, waltz into the school supply section of your favorite store and inhale deeply. Smell the paper, crayons and glue. Feel the prickles of anticipation of new classes and reuniting with old friends. Pick out some new pens and a spiffy new planner. Absorb the possibilities through your skin and remember that August, too, is a time of rebirth, a second chance to get serious about the promises you made in January. Let your inner bell ring and get to work!
It’s your turn. What have you accomplished this year? What do you still have to do? Don’t forget to add any other suggestions you have or any other feelings you have about the beginning of the school year.