Monday, August 25, 2008

Note to self: interview

The Coffee-Stained Writer has posted a list of self-interview questions and her own answers, and has encouraged other writers to post their answers as well.

It's a thought-provoking way to get the creative juices flowing and a great idea! I'll post my answers here tomorrow.

In the meantime, be sure to check out the blog of a fellow coffee-drinking writer!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Success with summer break scheduling (finally)

Just as I suspected, I've got my summer break work schedule figured out now that it is time for the girls to go back to school.

Earlier in the summer I was having a terrible time getting everything done and mainly, getting a handle on the stress level. Mondays were extremely overwhelming: it was my first day taking care of five kids by myself plus it was my big work day. On Thursdays and Fridays I just have my three kids, and on Saturdays and Sundays my husband is around to help with all five. Taking care of everyone plus getting the work week off to a good start was just too much for me. I just couldn't handle all of it.

Although I have always scheduled a large portion of my work on Mondays (to get the week going with a bang), I took my little sister's suggestion to not plan to do so much on Mondays but rather, spread it out over the entire week. It took a week or two to figure out how to do that, but I finally got it together.

I actually start working on Sundays. I plan my week, look up phone numbers, email addresses, etc., all the information I need to contact people and set up interviews. I contact as many people as possible by email, which is getting easier because most people have email addresses now and most of the people that I need to contact can be found on the Internet. Before I would do all of this on Mondays. Now when I get up on Monday morning inundated with five children and all that entails, all of my Monday work is done for me. I am still doing a bit of work on Mondays but if I don't get it done, its okay. It almost feels like I am getting an extra day in the week!

I am leaving days later in the week, like Thursdays and Fridays, open for more work. Those days are quieter and much less hectic with only three kids around. After you take care of five kids for five days in a row, three seems like not very many kids! I am also being more open to working in the afternoons.

This schedule is working out wonderfully. I feel much more in control of what is going on, and I feel like I am accomplishing more.

I may keep this schedule with a few minor modifications when the kids go back to school. While I can't work after they get home (it's homework time then!) I can still get my week started on Sundays and spread the work out more evenly over the entire week.

It's exciting to finally get a handle on things although they are going back to school in a week and a half. I hate that it's taken me all summer to figure things out but better late than never. I seriously doubt I could have handled another Monday without totally losing it! Now I like to think I skip them altogether. That's a great feeling.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Story ideas

The Working Writers Newsletter at has an interesting piece on generating ideas for writing.

There are some really interesting ideas in there, and many of them are geared toward using technology and the Internet.

Whenever I need some story ideas I just ask my husband! ;) I skim through a lot of print publications and a few online ones as well.

I'd love to hear how some of you get your ideas for writing.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Resources and reference sites for writers

Here is a great list of assorted resources and references for writers that I recently came across.

150 Writing Resources

Some of the categories for the sites are:

Almanacs (like Answers and Black Facts Online, a good starting point for research though not listed as credible enough to cite as resources)

Business matters

Citation styles (like APA or Chicago)

Dictionaries (I love my Webster's dictionary and thesaurus that is installed on my hard drive but online dictionaries are very useful as well)

English language skills (like "The Elements of Style")

News digests

News media resources

Writing skills

Writing software (like Blogger and Open Office, both of which I love)

Bookmark this list for future reference!

Connect with other writers

Freelance Write at has a nice list of writing blogs, forums, and other networking groups.

Let's get together!