In which we turn the page

Welcome to 2014, chickens! First, a TREMENDOUS bouquet of flowery thanks to all the guest bloggers who shared their posts in December. Didn’t they do a fabulous job?? I turned in my latest manuscript on November 30, so with the blog in such capable hands, I was able to completely relax during December. It was an absolute treat for me to let the guest bloggers come out to play, and I hope you enjoyed it just as much! Now I’m rested and raring to go with lots of good things coming along in 2014. I’ll be blogging Tuesdays and Thursdays, and newsletters will continue to go out monthly, so if you haven’t already signed up, we have a brand new beautiful sign-up widget right on the front page of the website. It looks like a vintage postcard!

Anyway, I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season and are looking forward to 2014. Right now I’m feeling a very strong urge to nest and tidy up and clear out–all very normal for this time of year. And I’m working hard at being smarter about my organization. For me this means working WITH my tendencies rather than against them. As many times as I’ve tried, I simply cannot work with my iphone calendar. I need to physically write the engagements down. (I’m far more visual than I realized, which is why I’ve finally given into the fact that my revision notes have to be posted on the walls of my study along with graphic representations of the settings.) I’ve also figured out that I need to see the big picture as well as the detailed bits, and since I couldn’t find a planner to do it for me, I’ve made my own.

I’ve used a 3-ring binder with travel doodles on it in a smashing shade of turquoise–chosen because it reminds me of the vintage Barbie Viewmaster I had as a child. When it’s open, the left side is month-at-a-glance with any deadlines or travel dates or phone conferences jotted down. The right side is week-at-a-glance with my to do list for the week–emails to send, blog topics, notes on upcoming projects and works in progress. When I finish with the week, I’ll tear that page out to reveal the following week–and carry over any unfinished business. Then when the month is out, that left side page will get torn out as well to reveal the following month’s page behind. It’s simple, it’s workable, and I think it’s going to be EXACTLY what I need. I also just realized I need to consolidate my notebooks. I have about five large spiral notebooks going right now, but I need to separate them–one for business details and one for the current book’s research notes and plot/character ideas. Keeping them separated will make things infinitely more streamlined.

So, as much as I’d like to be the sort of person who is organized electronically down to her fingertips, I just can’t. I’m dipping a toe into paperless travel–last time I flew I used an electronic boarding pass although I will confess to printing one out too just in case!–but the mish-mash of systems I use, half electronic and half old school, seems to satisfy both sides of the Gemini.

What about you, chickens? What are you doing to get yourselves ready for 2014?