Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What's Up Wednesday



What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme, started by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, that helps readers and writers touch base with blog friends and let them know what's up. Join by visiting their blogs and signing in on the widget.

What I'm Reading

I'm well into In Search of Goliathus Hercules by Jennifer Angus. I love Henri, the boy who speaks to insects, and his adventures. There's a mystery a-brewing... and I can't wait to see how she resolves it. 

I'm also still plugging away at Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen. He makes such an effort to support his points that the writing is dense (not in a bad way, in a way that's absolutely appropriate for a historian arguing about misinformation in history). I can tell I'll be pouring over this one for several weeks. 

I finished The Ghosts of Ashbury High by Jaclyn Moriarty over the weekend. Damn, what a fantastic book. I have loved everything I've read by Ms. Moriarty (and her sister's book What Alice Forgot was one of my favorites last year). I love the characters, her skill at writing from multiple POVs, and the way she adds layers to a story that make it leap from the page. 

Which Witch? by Eva Ibbotson is our current family read-aloud. I read so much and I'm often trying to incorporate MG books that I personally want to read into the family read-aloud for my 5 and 7 year olds. It is always surprising to me what does and doesn't click with the kids. In some cases it can simply be that the book (while I enjoy it or even love it as a personal read) just doesn't capture the boys' imaginations. Not so with this one. I started reading it Monday night to general grumbling as they did not like the last book I tried to read aloud. But after just a few pages both boys were enthralled. YAY!  


What I'm Writing
I created a chart to help me organize the work I'm doing this summer. I have a to-do list/schedule where I keep track of all the things I need to do-- divided up into sections on teaching, research, writing, art, and family... but sometimes it gets so long that it is overwhelming. 

Because I'm working on three projects for Ready. Set. Write! I wanted to:
     -balance the time I'm spending on different things
     -divide the work into manageable chunks
     -be able to visualize what I'm accomplishing  

With all of this in mind I made up this handy excel sheet that breaks down the work I'm planning into several steps. I can also count each cell and estimate my completion rate (so, for example, I'm 20% finished with the tenure packet, 12% on one re-write, and 0% on the other). 
A big part of organization is planning for me, because it helps me transform my ideas (often unrealistic) into a solid game plan. Like any game plan, it's all subject to change. :0)
That being said, this really helps me get things done without feeling like enormous projects are looming over me (which I find crippling). 

What Inspires Me Right Now
So many things. Friends who are resilient and amazing. Family that keeps me laughing and enjoying life. Being outside. And of course reading, working, and creating. 
 
And Now It's Your Turn!
What's up with you?

22 comments:

  1. Impressive excel sheet! I think I need to make something like that for myself - I've been feeling a little unmotivated lately.

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    1. It helps me feel like I'm accomplishing things, Jennifer. :0)

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  2. Friends and family are wonderful insperation and your spread sheet looks amazing! Good luck on your goals.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. I love a good spreadsheet--and good luck to you, too!

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  3. Your Excel spreadsheet is such a good idea! It's easy to get overwhelmed by the tons and tons of little things to do, but once I see everything outlined, I'm calmer. I hope your spreadsheet helps you accomplish your goals! :)

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    1. Yes, Kaitlin, exactly! It really helps me to break things up into smaller manageable chunks. :0)

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  4. I love your excel spreadsheet! I've also used excel to stay organized--it's really helpful! Good luck with your goals this week!

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet-- isn't excel great. I use it all the time. :0) Good luck to you, too!

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  5. Being able to visualise achievements sounds fantastic. I think I need to give that a go myself. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Cool, Miss Cole, I hope it works for you, too. I noticed it first while reading on my kindle-- that little "57% finished" notation makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something. I was aiming to have something similar with my own to do list.

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  6. Gosh, you are SO organized and efficient! I'm inspired! Enormous looming projects cripple me too.

    I hope you have a wonderful writing week!

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    1. I try. I have the personality-type where organization is key. Anal-retentive I think it's called! :0) I hope your writing week is great, too, Alison!

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  7. Cheering for you this week and absolutely loved your excel spreadsheet - awesome! I will definitely be eager to hear your MG book recommendations too. There is nothing like seeing a kiddo fall in love with a story and so happy that your boys are enjoying Which Witch.

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    1. Thanks Temre-- I love to keep things organized. I will keep the MG book ideas coming, and I hope you will, too. :0)

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  8. I absolutely LOVE your excel spreadsheet! I am such a fan of excel - and I love being able to track goals and progress in it! Now you've inspired me to come up with something for my writing goals...hmmmm, will need to think about this more. :)

    And all those things you mentioned that are inspiring you - I so agree. Friends, family, signs of better weather, reading, writing...and so on. Love it all and I hope it all continues to inspire!

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    1. Thanks Erin-- YAY for inspiration in all its forms.
      If you do try excel I'd love to hear how it works for you. Just to see things mapped out helps me so much.
      As for inspiration, this is my favorite time of year, and the weather has such an impact on how I feel. :0)

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  9. That is such an impressive chart! I only wish I was that organized. I'm sure you'll get a lot done on all three of your writing projects with that approach! Good luck with your goals for the coming week!

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    1. Thanks, Erin! I really enjoy being organized. Otherwise I get very, very cranky. :0) Good luck with your goals, too!

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  10. I love the Excel chart! How awesome is that? Anything super organized like that makes me clap my hands with glee. It appeals to the list-lover in me. :) Good luck meeting your writing goals this week, Kat! :)

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  11. Lies My Teacher Told Me is STILL on my mind and I read it a long time ago. Much food for thought! And that excel chart - oh, the organization. I'm envious and impressed!

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    1. Yay-- so glad you like my excel chart, Adrianne!

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