What Have We Here?

typewriter1Links to writing resources. A touch of my opinions. A dash of inspiration along the way. As the tagline says, I’m “writing to inspire, inspiring you to write.”

Posts go up Monday (“I Do Declare” blog of whatever is currently striking my fancy), Wednesday (“I’m a Fan” recommendations), and Friday (“Good Cheer” memes, original comics, haikus, other fun stuff in general). Plus the occasional breaking news or announcement in good time.

Check out the About page for more about me, my works, and how to get in touch. Enjoy!

I Do Declare: Checklists are my life

storm-0914-icon-check-13I confess. I’m something of a to-do list fanatic. Give me some lines with checkboxes and I’m in heaven. This is how I keep track of everything in my life.

Over the years I’ve looked into a lot of different systems. And while I haven’t ever found one system that works, I have discovered that I can pull pieces of many different systems and make them work for me.

And that’s what it all comes down to – what works for the individual.

I offer here what’s been working for me (i.e., my compilation of various systems) in the event any of you out there want to take this and incorporate pieces of it for yourself.

This is what it looks like:

MITgrid1

I track six days’ worth of activities, and my week is Monday–Sunday, so Saturday and Sunday are lumped together.

After keying in the specific dates (i.e., WEEK OF 8/10 – 8/16), I list in order of importance:

Row 1 – Most Important Things (MITs). These are, as stated, most important. They’re the things that will move my career forward, win the deal, give me a sense of accomplishment, etc. If I accomplish nothing else during the week, I want to hit these.

Row 2 – Tasks. These are not as mission-critical as the MITs, but they’re things that must be done, so I don’t want to lose sight of them.

Row 3 – Routine Items. These are everyday things that I might forget if I get too busy. Plus, I like checking them off. On my list, I have things like doing blog posts, exercising and taking vitamins. (Yes, I am prone to forget to exercise and take vitamins. Seeing it in print is a good reminder.)

Below the three to-do rows is where I list info on my current projects to keep them in front of me.

At the bottom are two “parking lots” where I keep track of things that need to get onto the calendar (i.e., usually into the MIT or Task rows) eventually and the list of long-term projects (e.g., pruning the berry plants, which I won’t do until the Fall).

The page is laid out on 8.5×11, landscape. The gap in the middle of the grid allows you to fold the paper without creasing over any text.

For some people this might look like overkill to the Nth degree. But it’s a system that works really well for me.

Want a free Word version of this to tinker with on your own? I’m happy to share. Just send me an email at: info <at> gowriterightnow.com (with the @ symbol instead of “<at>”).

 

Mike and his spaghetti models keep us all even-keeled

Huge shout-out to www.spaghettimodels.com (on Facebook as Mike’s Weather Page and on Twitter as @tropicalupdate). I recommend following him everywhere you find him.

It’s not necessarily something to help with your writing, but it’s definitely a sanity saver if you live on the coast and see a hurricane heading your way. As was the case this week with Hurricane Isaias.

Mike’s web site is a treasure trove of graphs, charts, and models curated from weather sources. Seriously – this screen grab (below) is showing only a tiny piece of all the site offers.

Mike typically gives live updates on Facebook to explain the different models and charts – and he does it with a dash of humor, which, let’s face it, one can use when the weather gets crazy. He often features his two sidekicks (French bulldogs), Hurricane Louis and Hunter.

spaghettimodels
http://www.spaghettimodels.com

 

I Do Declare: We need to do something about this month’s lack of holidays

augustcelebrate
You go, August!

Welcome into month number eight of the Craziest Year Ever. When I was casting about for something nice to say about this month that we can all agree is the hottest, most humid, and most conducive to hurricanes (we have one off the coast even as I’m posting this), I realized that August is the only month without an official holiday.

It’s true. You can look it up.

  • January has New Year’s Day and MLK Day.
  • February gets all the love with Valentine’s Day and President’s Day.
  • March goes green with St. Patrick’s Day and a lot of basketball madness.
  • April gives us Spring, Easter, and tax day (except when it’s a crazy year like this one).
  • May is remembered for Mother’s Day and Memorial Day.
  • June celebrates Father’s Day.
  • July waves the Independence Day flag.
  • August – ???
  • September touts Labor Day.
  • October has Columbus Day and Halloween.
  • November revels in the Thanksgiving four-day-weekend.
  • December gives us Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

See? No holidays for August. It’s also one of the months with 31 days, which only adds insult to injury: More workdays without a break. No parties for you, August. It’s like the month is constantly in trouble.

Helpful Wikipedia informs me that August was originally called Sextilis – which might explain why it’s always in trouble … haha, kidding … no seriously, sextilis actually means “sixth” in Latin (back then it was the sixth month) – and then around 700 BC it became the eighth month when January and February were added. (Wouldn’t you like to see the minutes of that meeting? “We don’t seem to have enough months, and that’s messing up my PTO. I move that we add two more and put them at the beginning.” “Second!”)

Years later, Julius Caesar, whose ego required him to name things after himself, created the Julian calendar (see?), added two days to August (a-ha, I bet that’s why they stabbed him!), and renamed it August (again with the ego). Apparently he chose this month as his namesake because that’s when he enjoyed most of his triumphs, including the conquest of Egypt.

Which still doesn’t count as a holiday.

Fortunately, in my quest for something praiseworthy about August, I stumbled across a site (nationaltoday.com), which has quite the list of celebratory moments for each month.  (It’s a fabulous site. Go bookmark it.) One in August is National Just Because Day on August 27, which pretty much sums up the whole month.

Here are some of August’s more interesting festive features. Plan accordingly.

Food and Beverage

  • August 1: National Mustard Day
  • August 2: National Ice Cream Sandwich Day
  • August 3: National Watermelon Day
  • August 7: International Beer Day
  • August 16: National Rum Day
  • August 18: National Fajita Day
  • August 19: National Potato Day
  • August 23: National Sponge Cake Day
  • August 24: National Waffle Day
  • August 28: National Red Wine Day
  • August 31: National Trail Mix Day

Pets

  • August 8: International Cat Day
  • August 10: National Spoil Your Dog Day
  • August 17: National Black Cat Appreciation Day
  • August 26: National Dog Day
  • August 28: National Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day

General Interest

  • August 1: National Coloring Book Day
  • August 9: National Book Lovers Day
  • August 12: National Middle Child Day
  • August 13: International Left-Handers Day
  • August 16: National Tell A Joke Day