Tag Archives: work

Sunday Snapshot: All Moved In (Almost)

It’s been a truly hectic week, but I’m happy to say, I’m almost all moved into the new place! We officially moved on Wednesday, but ran out of elevator time (this is something that can happen when you move from or to a condo). So it’s been a mad dash to get everything out of the old place by today; we’re able to keep using the locker at the old place for a little while longer, thank goodness, and basically all that’s left to be moved is in that locker.

I am nowhere near unpacked, but I LOVE my new room; it feels good to have “my space” like this, and even though we’ve already had an argument, I think there’s a good chance that this new post-separation arrangement will work out. Dylan loves the new place, too, which is nice—he’s definitely all settled in, even though most of his toys are still in boxes. Kids today don’t need too much—a power bar to plug in their laptop and their iPad and they’re quite content.

It’s been hard even thinking about blog posts lately, so I thought I’d start doing more Snapshot posts, but on various days, not just Tuesdays. So here goes!

Time: 1:24 pm (and I was extremely grateful for that extra half hour today; yesterday was a gruelling day)

Feeling: Tired but good

Eating: A ham sub on flat bread. The low-carb diet worked really well for me and I’m at my ideal weight now, so I’m slowly adding more carbs back into my diet.

Drinking: A decaf latte from Second Cup.

Reading:

blackhouse

I haven’t read anything at all this past week, other than browsing Facebook links during the brief snatches of downtime I took. But before that, I did finish up the first two books in Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy series; these are mysteries set in the Isle of Lewis, in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. I enjoyed both of them, although I did like the first one, The Blackhouse more than the second one, The Lewis Man. Unfortunately, my library still doesn’t have a copy of the final book in the trilogy, The Chessman.

Listening: I did manage to get some listening time in last week, finishing up two of Robert Parker’s Spenser books written by Ace Atkins, Kickback and Cheap Shot. It’s tough to step into the shoes of a grand master like Parker, but I think Atkins does a fairly good job, and it’s great to be able to keep getting my Spencer fix.

Writing: It’s November 1 today—and I don’t know if I’ll be able to do Nanowrimo! It’s been so busy I haven’t even had time to think about my writing, and the next two weeks are so busy, filled with both work deadlines and, of course, unpacking. If I do participate, I will keep working on Sweetness & Dank, so that will make me a Nanowrimo Rebel, since I won’t be starting a new story. I’ll keep you all updated.

Working: Too much. It’s my busy season, and I have so many deadlines coming up. And a surprising number of rush indexes. So November will be all about juggling everything. I’m so thankful for my coworking space, because when I go there to work, I have this laser focus and I’m incredibly productive.

Creating: Nothing! And I don’t foresee doing any arty things anytime this month. But I’ve been looking at recipes, though, and collecting simple ones that I can make easily. So maybe I’ll be able to write a Weekend Cooking post soon.

Looking forward to: Finally getting all unpacked, whenever that may be.

Snapshot: July 26, 2015

Time: 8:20 pm

Feeling: Productive, even though I really haven’t done much today. But I FINALLY got around to getting some pictures taken so I can have a decent social media picture, instead of either the one that’s years old, or the one where I’m hiding behind my 12-year-old Dylan or the one where I’m on the edge of the picture with all three of my kids.

It turns out I was using a different picture on different social media sites. Once I uploaded to Facebook, it took me another ten minutes to log in and change my pictures on all my other social media accounts and all my email accounts, too. Phew! But I’m glad I finally got it done.

It was quite the family affair. I got Dylan to take several shots of me, and then today when I met my daughter Hayley for an early dinner, I got her to select the shot she liked best.

This was actually the picture I personally liked, but I guess it doesn’t work well as a social media profile pic, does it?

Me trying to grab the phone

Eating: I went with Hayley to Queen Mother Café here on Queen Street West. They had a smaller menu than normal when we went, but Hayley was very pleased with her Ping Gai (boneless chicken marinated with garlic, coriander and black peppercorns, grilled crispy and served with a spicy lime and coriander dipping sauce, salad and  jasmine steamed rice) and I was quite happy with my arugula and smoked cheddar cheese salad (baby arugula, toasted pumpkin seeds, pickled red onion and  grape tomatoes, in a lime spinach and Dijon dressing, topped with grated smoked cheddar cheese). I also added grilled chicken to it so it would be more substantial.

Reading: Maybe it’s a summer thing, but I seem to be drawn to chunksters right now. There’s Atlas Shrugged, which I want to read for the #AtlasRAL. And there’s my book club read, The Name of the Wind (I know! It’s so exciting—I’m in a science fiction and fantasy book club!).

What’s really gotten my attention lately, though, is Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings. What a great book! I’m about a third of the way through, and I’m really liking it.

Listening: I haven’t had a chance to get back to Ernest Cline’s Armada, which makes me quite sad because I’ve really enjoyed the few chapters I’ve listened to. I find I haven’t had as much time for audiobooks because when I’m not doing something I’m trying to keep noodling over bits and pieces of the story I’m working on. I used to do this all the time—I’d go off on a daydream about whatever book I happened to be writing, any time, any place—but it’s something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing over the past four or five years. Which has been detrimental to my writing but very good for my audiobook stats.

Writing: Yes! I am still writing! Although I’ve now written all the scenes I’ve thought up, so the past few days I’ve been brainstorming instead of actually writing any new scenes. But I’m brainstorming in a “writing journal” file specifically for this book, so I’m counting it even if the word count can’t be added to my actual writing word count. Because really, while actually writing the words of your novel every day is a good goal, there’s some prep work that needs to be done and if I didn’t count it as “writing” I’d feel pretty down on the days when I didn’t “write” even though I was still working on my story. Right?

Working: This is a bit of a heavier week coming up for me. I’ve got three deadlines to finish up, plus it’s my older son’s birthday this Thursday. The tabletop board games I ordered for his birthday did arrive in time, which is good. He wants to have biscuits and sausage gravy for his birthday dinner, so we’re trying to find a restaurant around here that has that on its menu.

Creating: Nothing yet, but I’ve got a nice big stash now of adult colouring books, and I’m just waiting for a bit of time so I can pull out my Prismacolor pencils and start colouring!

Snapshot: June 25, 2015

Time: 1:05 pm

Feeling: Revved up and motivated—yay!!

Eating & Drinking: I have fallen in love with savoury green smoothies. Last week we bought a NutriBullet blender/liquifier and I’ve been having a blast with it. I searched for savoury green smoothie recipes, then ended up making up one of my own based on seeing what other people are using in theirs.

Basically I throw in a tomato, some cucumber, a handful of cilantro, a cup of plain kefir, a quarter of a small onion, a clove of garlic, a tablespoon of flaxseed, a half a tablespoon of potato starch and salt to taste. Zap it for about a minute, and it’s the most delicious veggie drink ever. And the bonus? It’s pretty filling, so easily substitutes for a light lunch.

Reading: I’m in a reading slump. Yes, I figured I should just bold that for good measure. I think it’s because I’m feeling both productive and busy, and I’m scared if I pick up a good book, I’ll end up sucked in for hours on end.

Whatever the reason, though, I haven’t picked up either a print book or a physical book for a week, other than continuing with my reading of Patricia Highsmith’s Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction. It’s not really a “how to write” book, but rather more a memoir type book in which Highsmith describes how she came to write several of her works.

But I’m headed to the library later today to pick up some holds, so something enticing might get my out of my slump. I can hope, anyway!

Watching: On the other hand, maybe what I just wrote above about being scared that picking up a good book will blow my productivity right out of the water is just an excuse. Because I started watching season 2 of “Agents of Shield” on Netflix last night …

Listening:

audiolistensJune.jpg

I’m skipping around between a bunch of things (which is often what happens when I’m in a reading slump): Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny (I have the omnibus in print version in my TBR stack—all the books in the series will be rereads for me); The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, another reread/relisten; and Bryant & May: The Burning Man by Christopher Fowler.

Writing: I’m finally working on those first 20 pages of my dark fantasy, for my summer writing workshop class with Kelley Armstrong. Memory gave a me some great developmental feedback, and my older son also read my first draft and pointed out the things which puzzled him or weren’t clear. I’ve got lots of good points to work on now, and both of them tell me what I’ve got so far is very interesting, so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Working: I’m back on a productivity binge. I’ve decided to try doing a daily braindump to-do on Trello and so far (for today, anyway), it’s been working. Doing the braindump turns out to be quite the relief for my poor brain which has been trying to juggle everything.

And having a list of things, big and little, seems to be helping, too. I pick and choose depending on my mood. Like this blog post.

I’ve already moved several things to the “done” list, which feels great.

Kijiji: Ward and I finally got around to listing something on Kijiji—a computer desk we no longer need or use—and I can’t believe how easy the whole sales transaction went. I listed the desk late Monday night, and someone emailed us at 7:00 in the morning the very next day. The desk was gone by early afternoon!

I have a friend who recently downsized from a huge house to a condo; she had a blast selling her too-big furniture on Kijiji. She told me it becomes addictive. I can certainly see how that could happen!

So that’s been my week so far. How’s your week been? Any tips for battling a reading slump?

Snapshot: June 16, 2015

Time: 6:26 pm

Feeling: Ready for a nap. Mainly because I’ve been up since 6:30 am—although sadly I didn’t end up gong for a walk because (a) it was raining, (b) I decided to get some social media work done first and (c) by the time I finished up the rain had stopped and things were looking too hot outside for a walk.

Eating: We’ve been eating out too much. Or so says the latest credit card bill. Sigh. I want to spend some time looking for crunchy summery salads with a dash of protein. Maybe I’ll have a cool new recipe to link to in next week’s Snapshot …

Drinking: I’ve started making kefir smoothies! I add spinach and whatever fruit I have on hand and feel rather nutritionally virtuous as a result. On the days when I remember to make them, that is.

Reading: The reading’s taken a bit of back seat because I just haven’t had much time for it lately. *sob*

BUT I’m really excited about this:

Armada.jpg

Ernest Cline’s Armada is being released on July 15 and what’s even more exciting? Wil Wheaton is narrating the audio version! I already have an Audible credit earmarked for it.

I’m also eyeing the Atlas Shrugged (#AtlasRAL) Readalong that Ti’s hosting over July and August. I’ve not been doing so well with my readalongs, though. I didn’t finish a single readalong book from last month, and this month I’m definitely behind with the #MiseryRAL readalong.

Listening:

burningman.jpg

I’m having much better luck with my audiobooks. I’m listening to Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May—The Burning Man right now. It’s always nice to slip back into the world of Bryant and May (I want to say they’re octogenarian detectives, but I’m actually not sure exactly how old they are. But May is four years younger than Bryant. I think.)

Writing: The deadline for submitting my dark fantasy for the workshop class I’m taking from Kelley Armstrong next month is June 29, so I still have some time left to make my revisions. Whew.

Working: I finished up an index on Sunday night, and this week I have five articles to write. Work on the book marketing for Booktrope is going well.

I also got started with my big readers’ site project—well, sort of. I’m still developing the site, but I finally got the Twitter account up and running: @bookstormcafe! While of course it would be lovely if you’d give it a follow, I should warn you that it is simply chockful of tweets about book news, book giveaways, new book releases, book reviews and author interviews. I’m not kidding—the tweet stream is loaded. It’s been fun diving into all this bookish stuff on the one hand, but on the other hand, let me just say there’s an awful lot of book news, book giveaways and new books out there!

Playing:

creeperandlordoftherings.jpg

We’ve had the Lord of the Rings board game for a while, and finally opened it up last night. It was a lot of fun (once we figured out the rules) but there was a certain cat who kept wanting to join us.

Looking forward to: The weekend! For once I’m actually getting out and about. We have tickets to see Titanic the Musical this Friday night, and then on Saturday a friend of mine is holding a girls-only birthday bash, which should be fun.

What about you? How has your week been so far? And what are your plans for the rest of the week?

Snapshot: June 10, 2015

Time: 9:26 p.m.

Feeling: Pretty good. Probably a good thing that I didn’t write my Snapshot yesterday, when I was feeling rather bummed out. Today? Much better.

Eating: Nothing spectacular to report today. I do have an organic steak defrosting right now. I had a mostly-veggie dinner earlier and sadly, this is my later-in-the-evening snack. Sadly, because I’ve been trying to kick the late-night eating habit but it’s too hard.

Drinking: It’s too hard because of the wine. I like to have a glass of Malbec at nights, but I don’t like to drink wine without food. Quite the dilemma, no?

Reading: I’m still reading Misery for #MiseryRAL but haven’t gotten too much further into the book yet.

I spent some time today reading a bit more of Gideon by Alex Gordon. I’m past the historical chapters, so just diving into the present-day scenes. It’s been very interesting, and so far I can see it living up to the blurb on the back of the book:

Gideon blurb

Listening: I just finished Peter Clines’ The Fold this morning and all I can say is: go read it if you like sci-fi thrillers!! It was so good. I like how Clines gives us the science without it being too academic or overwhelming. And the ending! I was on the edge of my seat (actually, I was running/walking at the time—even though I haven’t been bringing an audiobook with me on my walks, I decided to this morning because I only had about half an hour to go and I just had to find out what happened. Luckily, I finished the audiobook before it got dark and cold and the skies started spitting rain …)

thefold

I really liked the protagonist, Mike Erikson, and I’m hoping we’ll get to see him in another book. Ray Porter’s narration was stellar. I definitely recommend this one in audio.

Writing: I finally “got” the short story i was working on way back in April when I was trying to write a short story a week (and then my mom broke her hip and my time and daily schedule went out the window). I’d written down the first paragraph a few weeks ago, and yesterday the rest of it came to me, so that was nice. I haven’t had a chance yet to write it out, but I did capture notes so I wouldn’t forget anything.

I still have to get the first 20 pages of my dark fantasy ready for my workshop course with Kelley Armstrong next month … I’m definitely procrastinating!

Working: I’ve got an index due next week, some more articles, and I’m working on the book marketing stuff, of course.

I’ve also decided to work on something fairly large as a complement to the book marketing: a site for readers. Not a Bookriot-type of site, but one for those readers who aren’t already blogging about books or a part of the online book community, but who do like to go online to get information about books. I think a site like that would be excellent for featuring book bloggers too, so I’m working on incorporating weekly features that will promo book bloggers somehow into my ideas as well.

Since I tend to try for too big too soon, which just overwhelms me, right now I’m developing the features I want to have, but I’m going to begin implementing them a bit at a time so I don’t get overwhelmed. Wish me luck, because I’m going to need it!

Stress Relief: I’ve been doing quite well! I think the walking has a lot to do with it. I’m juggling a lot of things but so far I’ve been quite good at keeping the overwhelm at bay. Hopefully I can keep it up!

Snapshot: May 26, 2015

Time: 8:08 p.m.

Feeling: Pretty good – yay! This early morning walking has really been making a difference. I love it, and I feel so energized for much of the day. Mind you, I end up going to bed earlier than normal, but that’s a good thing, since it’s something I’ve been trying to accomplish for a while now.

Eating: I’ve got spinach and ricotta sausages in the oven. Will pair them with stir fried cabbage and stir fried spinach.

Drinking: Water! Loving my water. But also looking forward to my nightly glass of Malbec.

Reading: Lots of things! I’ve been peckishly bookish all day—ever have that, when you find yourself jumping from book to book? So I’ve basically read a little bit of everything I’ve got going.

the damned

Sped through the first part of Andrew Pyper’s The Damned this afternoon. Very readable, although things kind of slowed down a bit towards the end of part I. I’ll probably finish this one fairly quickly, as long as it picks up speed again.

disclaimer

I’m also reading Disclaimer, by Renée Knight, for a book tour scheduled for next week. The story is compelling. The writing? Not so much. Still quite readable though.

Listening: I finished Jurassic Park in audio last week, so I moved on to Lost World this week. Unfortunately, I fell asleep while listening to it the other night, so a whole lot of rewinding is in order. My falling asleep while listening to it shouldn’t be held against it—I was just really, really tired that night (all that walking, right?) So far, though, it’s as interesting as I remembered.

Writing: Well, I’ve been thinking about it, so that counts, right?

Working: Finished off an indexing deadline last night, and have four articles to write this week and next, but otherwise the deadlines are light. Which is great because it gives me time to work on the book marketing stuff for Booktrope. And I still have to create a website and Twitter account for that particular hat.

Exercise: I’ve now gone for my early morning walk five days in a row! I’m really really excited and pleased and happy about this new routine. The best part is, I’m even sneaking in some running!

I don’t love running enough to wake up in the morning eager to go for a run, but walking’s a totally different thing. So what I’ve been doing is running just a little bit when I start my walk—and when I say a little, I mean a little! Like, maybe two minutes! Okay, I might be up to three minutes by now. What I’m doing is going just a tiny bit further every day. Building up my stamina bit by bit. Eventually I’d love to be running for half of my walking hour, but I’m quite willing to take it slow.

Learning to say no

schedulePhoto credit

One of the things I needed to do this year was learn how to say no.

As a freelancer, I find it difficult to turn down assignments. In all the years I’ve been freelancing (and I’ve been a freelancer for a long time, from the time my daughter was born, and she turned 21 back in December), you could count the number of times I turned down assignments on one hand.

But so far this year, I’ve turned down several assignments – more than I’ve done in all my previous years as a freelancer combined. The easiest were those that offered a fee far less than I usually charge. The hardest were the ones from favourite clients, people I enjoy working with. I’ve also had one failed attempt, where I said I could, but the deadline had to be extended by a few weeks. Unfortunately, my client did exactly that.

In previous years, I would have just said “yes” to all of them, and then did the whole grin and bear it thing while I slogged through all the deadlines. But I’m finding I can’t do that any more. I seem to get burnout a lot quicker these days. And I can’t seem to handle the stress of too much work very well now, either. My back hurts, or my neck hurts, or my stomach hurts, or my head hurts.

My body’s been trying to tell me something.

And I feel like I’m finally listening. Yes, it’s taken me a while.

When 2015 came I said I was going to stop the insanity of continuing to do the same things and expecting a different outcome. Learning to say no is part of the process. There are other steps to be taken: with the type of work I’m doing, it’s often feast or famine. But I’ve mentioned before, I’ve noticed things smoothing out over the past two to three years. When I look back, I see that the “famine” periods have been more like dinner, or lunch, or sometimes, a snack. Never just a coffee, though.

And there are things I can do to continue this trend away from famine periods. It does feel counter-intuitive to me sometimes, but turning down assignments when my schedule’s already filled to the brim is the first step. Doing so let’s me keep my health, my sanity, my energy, so that when the deadlines slow down, I have the ability to focus on getting new clients, getting new work, launching new ventures.

Saying “no” is hard. But I’m finding I learn a little something more each time I do.

Snapshot: January 20, 2015

Time: 4:58 pm

Wearing: Black pants, black short-sleeved top, black cardigan (I detect a theme going on here).

Feeling: Tired. A little stressed. (This one’s a recurring theme …)

Eating: Maple pork breakfast sausages

Drinking: Green tea followed by two decaf hazelnut coffees

Reading: I finished two books yesterday!

First was The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll. Since I’ve been busy, I’ve been trying to read a bit from it every day, so it’s taken me a while to finish it. I turned to the last page and said, “wow”, because I hadn’t expected that last paragraph. This is an older book – published in 1980 – and it’s kind of surreal and quirky. I enjoyed it, and will definitely read more of Carroll’s work.

The second book was Saga, Volume 1. When I finished The Land of Laughs, it was around midnight, and I decided to keep reading Saga until I finished it. It was so good! I can hardly wait until I get volume 2.

Listening: I’m still listening to The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, but I’m at the part where he’s talking about different technology you can use to automate your life. This is the expanded edition, published in 2009, I think, and a lot of the programs he’s talking about are on the obsolete side. So I may just fast forward to the next chapter to see.

Writing: I’m mostly finished with the first draft of Lakeview Legacy – there are several scenes from a secondary storyline that I added that need to be written, but I need to sit down and brainstorm those scenes before I can write them. So three days ago I started making lists for the new mystery I’ll be writing next. The brainstorming’s been going well – I stretch myself by making myself list 100 points for each topic I’m considering. Today I’ll be working on motives.

It does feel odd not to be adding a word count to my word count tracker. I’ve been putting in a “B” instead, to indicate I’ve been brainstorming and planning.

Working: Still working through a slew of indexing deadlines, across a variety of subjects, plus I have two articles due tomorrow.

Creating: I’ve been working slowly but surely on a doodle quote. I figure if I add a little to it every day, I can still say I’m being #creativeeveryday, right?

Photo of the week: I was really too busy this past week to take too many photos. If I had to pick, I guess it would be this one of Creeper making himself very comfortable on Dylan’s laptop, while Dylan’s trying to play a game. He’s so comfortable, he’s napping!

Creeper on laptop

Discoveries: When I’m busy, it’s more of a struggle thinking up a blog post topic. Even the stash of ideas I started back in November, which I added to all through December, feel lacklustre to me. I never realized this connection between getting ideas and being overworked/overwhelmed before!

Looking forward to: February (I think that’s going to be the tune of all of this month’s snapshots). Also looking forward to the decaf Americano I’ll be getting from Starbucks later tonight, when I take Dylan to dance.

The rest of today: I’m taking Dylan to his dance class – I’ll do some writing at Starbucks while I’m waiting – and then back home for more work.

A Quiet Grateful Celebration Tonight

I’d intended to blog about the final five books from my TBR stash that I want to read next year, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

My heart is just so full right now, and I want to let it all spill out. My blog seems like the best place for the words to go.

For the first time in over fifteen years, I don’t have to work through the holidays.

This is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time. As a freelancer, it can often feel like feast or famine, and during the feast times, you acquire the habit of saying “yes” to everything, because after you finish that last project, it may well be famine. Because most of my indexing clients are textbook publishers, traditionally the busy season for me has been from November to February, with the worst of it being in November and December. As a result,  I have had too many years where I was only able to take Christmas Day off work – and I felt thankful that I could.

But this entire year, it’s been different. Partly, it’s because I’m not doing as many indexing projects as I used to. Three years ago, one of my major clients decided to outsource all its editorial overseas, indexes included, and since then, while I still do some of their indexes via the overseas editorial firms (and when they do keep anything in-house, I often get the project), I’m now preparing only a fraction of the indexes for them that I used to. Each year that number has dwindled.

The publishing industry is in a state of flux, and outsourcing overseas is a very real possibility with my other clients too. So with this in mind, I’ve started to focus on freelance writing and social media management.  I started out this year with one client, thanks to my good friend Brette Sember, and then I added another client (thanks again to Brette). I think that’s helped in terms of a steadier workload.

And it’s funny the way life works. Instead of having to deal with a big empty hole in my work schedule because of the dwindling workload from this one major client who’s outsourced all its editorial, my other clients began filling the gap. In fact, two of them in particular have kept me steadily indexing throughout the year, so that this year and last, I never really felt that “famine” part of the freelance life. While I have a little less work, it’s spread out much more evenly through the year.

The best thing is, this is the first year I’ve been able to take so much time off for the holidays. I have one writing assignment due next week, but that’s it. Even better, my time off isn’t at the expense of my bank account, either (if it was, I wouldn’t be feeling so happy!).

 

Photo 2014-12-19, 2 56 19 PMI even had time to take pictures at the mall!

So I’m really really looking forward to the days leading up to Christmas. Today I took my youngest Christmas shopping, and we had such fun! He’s a great kid to take to the shops, because he really gets into it. In the past, I’d have to scramble to find an hour in my schedule to whisk him to a store to pick a present for his dad, but today we spent the entire afternoon wandering the mall, browsing and having a great time. This year, we had time for him to pick presents for his older brother and sister too, as well as for his dad.

Photo 2014-12-19, 4 14 16 PMHard to see, but shimmery beauty decorates one of the mall windows

And tonight, it’s just the two of us. Christmas music is playing, the tree is lit, and we have wrapping plans. I feel so rich, so abundant, so grateful.  I want to keep pinching myself to make sure this is real.

A steady workload and the ability to take time off, without any guilt or stress. More of the same throughout all of 2015, please!

Snapshot: 12-16-2014

Wearing: My pajamas and a hoodie, because it’s a bit cool in here.

Feeling: Pretty good. I still have some deadlines before Christmas, but they’re on the lighter side, so I feel like I have some breathing space.

Eating: Just had a bowl of savoury oatmeal, with salmon chunks in it. I prefer my oatmeal to be savoury rather than sweet – kind of like a Western version of congee!

Drinking: Homemade mango kefir and a cup of green tea.

Reading: I started Jackaby by William Ritter last week. It’s been good so far, although I haven’t read enough of it yet to be feeling that “can’t put this down” feeling. I have high hopes for it, though.

Listening: Still listening to 14 by Peter Clines. Just finished a really exciting scene last night – I think I was holding my breath through much of it.  I have about two and a half more hours of the book left.

I also downloaded the Eckhart Tolle bundle onto my iPhone, and have been listening to his talk on Manifestation. As always, the focus is on being and the practice of presence, and it’s always such a good reminder for me, especially around this time of the year. Lately, despite daily meditation (or attempts at it), my mind is usually going a mile a minute, and Eckhart always manages to slow me down to the speed of presence. I just wish I could get there easily when I’m not listening to him!

Writing: Other than blog posts and freelance articles, nothing. I may be able to get back into a regular fiction writing habit before Christmas, but this time of year can get crazy, I’ve decided to be okay if I don’t start until after the holidays.

I’m excited, though, because my writing buddy Memory is currently doing an alpha read (it’s more like pre-alpha, if that’s possible) of my children’s book WAVERLEY, both the new, finished version and my first, incomplete version. The feedback she’s given me so far has been really good, and I’m planning on revising WAVERLEY beginning in the new year.

Working: I have two freelance articles due tomorrow, and I’m also finishing up an index for a very interesting book. I like this, because I rarely index interesting books (most of my projects are university textbooks, with the occasional high school book thrown in). This one is on the cooperative business model and servant leadership, and I found the concepts rather breathtaking.

Creating: Another big zero here. I know this is something I need to make into a daily habit or it will never get done, so it’s probably not going to happen until after the holidays. Things I’m thinking about doing in the new year are more drawing and more sketchnoting. We shall see.

Photo of the week: I took this last night, of Dylan and Creeper:

Photo 2014-12-15, 7 29 30 PM

I’ve also been having a lot of fun this past week on Instagram with the #SeasonsReading challenge. I think I’ll be doing more Book-a-Day photo challenges in the new year – they really make me think more creatively about the pictures I’m taking.

Discovery: Now that I can comment on blogs from my phone, I’ve developed a new morning routine: blog reading! (I used to read the Toronto Star quickly followed by the New York Times (not as quickly), but I much prefer blog reading). So I’ve been coming across a ton of “Best of the Year” lists. They make me weep sometimes, though, as my TBR now feels even more out of control than ever.  Kristen’s list at We Be Reading has probably done the most amount of damage so far in this regard.

Looking forward to: The holidays! Doing the final bit of gift shopping! Actually having time to have fun wrapping this year (instead of doing it all in a crazed, two-hour, frantic blitz as I’ve done in previous years)! And some nice big blocks of time for reading (fingers crossed about this one).

The rest of today: Dylan and I are headed out to the library, where we each have a large stack of holds to pick up. Plus our library cards need to be renewed. And then work. But I kind of feel like I had the morning off, so it’s not too bad.