Keeping busy and checking up on family

It’s been a busy couple of days. We’ve been out and about, running errands, meeting people for lunch, and generally ignoring housework and other chores. In my free time, I’ve been editing some documents for a friend and stayed up late last night trying to figure out a sidebar issue with WordPress. (I never did figure it out.) I’m not sure where the time goes, but I rarely get to bed before 1am. I am really trying to get to bed “early” tonight. I don’t have much to show for these late nights, but I like to think progress is being made with something, somewhere.

Little J and I went to Casa Grande to visit family today. By the time we got home, it was time to put Little J to bed. I almost felt guilty about wasting a day, but we don’t see my grandparents often enough considering how close we live to them. I used to go to their house every morning for coffee before heading to work, and now I hardly see them. So, when I started feeling guilty, I just told myself that clutter in the house won’t matter in ten years, but all the visits to see my grandparents will. It’s easy enough to put things into perspective with that attitude, although, I do need to spend some time cutting the clutter tomorrow.

Geography and your novel

Didn’t mean to let a few days lapse between posts. I did start this one yesterday and wanted to let it sit for a bit before publishing. Then got swamped with editing a document for a friend and am (once again) rushing to publish something. Such is life!… and now back to the post.

I’m committed to making at least a little bit of forward motion every day. I’m currently trying to get my outline together and am using the Novel Idea Summary Sheet as one of my tools, but I got hung up on setting – not just “Dragonfly Inn” type of setting, but the actual geographic location and time of year. Can’t have my main character taking a Christmas Eve skinny dip in an unheated outdoor pool in Alaska, can I?

Initially, I wanted to write what I know best and place my main character in Arizona. After all, I’ve lived here my entire life. But I’m reconsidering because Arizona doesn’t have that allure that Paris, London, or New York have. Not that I want to be formulaic, but I’m writing chick lit, and how much chick lit takes place in Arizona?

Although I’ve traveled a bit, I don’t have a significant second location of which I know oodles about, unless you count the summer camp I worked at for eight weeks in Starrucca, Pennsylvania. I remember every little bit of that place. Next best would be London, which I know really well as a tourist but not as a resident.

So here I am, muddling through my latest obstacle. It’s good, though. I feel like I’m making progress.

The good news is I’ve come up with a very rough outline that details a few scenes.

Creating an outline using the Novel Idea Summary Sheet

While searching for outlining methods, I kept running into this Novel Idea Summary Sheet. It looks useful, but it wasn’t in a usable format. So, I tossed it into a word doc and uploaded it to Scribd for anyone who wants an editable version of it. It was my first time using Scribd, so let me know if you have any issues.


My version: Download from

Living an organized and clutter-free life

Before I get on to the business of working on my novel, I have several projects I want to finish. The biggest one is cleaning my office. It is a nightmare of papers, boxes, wrapping paper and ribbon, more papers, scrapbooking odds and ends, more papers, toys, and more papers. It is a giant mess. But really, it’s not my fault. I blame my mother. Twice she’s gotten motivated and hauled a truckload of things up from my old house. The first time, I got everything put away, including the EIGHT garbage bags full of clothes that came with the boxes, books, and other paraphernalia she hauled. The second time, most of the boxes just sat in my office. Then they started to grow.

I think dust and neglect breeds more boxes and clutter, like Gremlins and water, you know? The boxes my mother brought encouraged other boxes to move in, then the baby gear and mail took up residence. It didn’t take long for my lovely office to become a big dumping and storage room, and now I try not to go in there too often.

But I miss my big monitor, my desk, and being in my own room. This is why one of my pre-noveling projects is to clean my office. When I do get back to writing, it’ll be nice to have my big monitor and my lovely work space.

I won’t be able to clean and de-clutter in one go, so I’ve developed a (very unsophisticated and open to interpretation) strategy.

Krista’s Cutting the Clutter Strategy

  1. Create a clutter conquering plan. (Check!)
  2. Every day, use one of the following methods to de-clutter:
    • Spend 15 minutes/day de-cluttering.
    • De-clutter until you have a bag full of garbage to toss (could be 10 minutes or an hour).
  3. Go for the bang. Put away the biggest items, the ones that will make the office noticeably cleaner and more organized.
  4. Keep a box in the office and fill it with items that shouldn’t live there. Bonus: Use a nice fabric box that will make the job more pleasant.
  5. At the end of every cleaning, toss the trash and put away the items in the relocation box.

I don’t want to get too bogged down with rules and techniques, so I’m sticking with this simple strategy and will improvise as I go.

Now, I know some people think that even when I complete this project, another project is going to come up and keep me from writing. Some people think I just need to drop the distractions and focus. With my daughter requiring so much of my time, I have very little of it for any projects. But this one I have to finish. If I’m going to get back to writing, I need my office.

Reading unrecommendation – Eat, Pray, Love

Wow, I can’t believe Eat, Pray, Love is going to be a movie. I’m halfway through the book now, and it’s terrible. It hijacked my reading streak (I was at 30 novels at the end of July and haven’t finished a single novel in nearly two weeks), so now I’m behind. I don’t know if I can catch up. Is it going to take me another two weeks to get through the stupid thing?

I used to be one of those people who had to finish every book she started. But this year, I decided I wasn’t going to get derailed on my quest to read 52 books (one book per week). Plus, I decided I didn’t want to waste my time reading books I didn’t like when there are so many amazing novels out there. This stood me well for a couple of novels, one of which I lent to a friend with a warning via sticky note about the overuse of exclamation points.

I should have put Eat, Pray, Love down, but I liked the writing and thought it would get better. Who knew the author would whine about her life, depression, divorce, inability to meditate for so many pages? The author is so whiney and pathetic that I just can’t sympathize, and that’s the real problem with this novel. I’m only halfway through, so maybe I should reserve final judgment till I finish the blasted thing. I’ve only gotten as far as I’ve gotten because I read it to my daughter for ten minutes a day (I like the writing and vocabulary).

I’m just amazed that so many people liked this book that it’s now a movie.

Here are a couple of reviews: