Personal

Organizing 101. Or Maybe Just 01.

I’ve been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. I can’t tell you how many times in the course of a single day I stare at the wall or my computer screen and wonder how I’m going to even keep track of everything I need to get done.

Photo from Unsplash

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I’m not. Not really. Once upon a time, I was a pretty prolific writer and my career was on a trajectory to success. Editors said kind and complimentary things about my writing, and people at my various publishing houses told me that I was earmarked for success. 

And then something happened. I didn’t know what it was, but writing became hard. Instead of writing fast, I wrote like molasses on a cold winter day. Word didn’t come easily if they came at all. I started missing deadlines. Lots of deadlines. 

I blamed my flagging efforts on lots of things. Service on the board of directors of a large writer’s organization, my daughter’s depression, my age, moving across country, worries about money, time spent with grandkids when I should have been writing. But no matter how many times I thought I’d figured out why I was failing, nothing ever got better. 

For the past several years, I’ve felt like my career was limping along, on life support, and I had no idea what to do to make it better. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my health was suffering and as a result I was in such a brain fog, I couldn’t even figure out what I needed to do, much less work up enough energy to actually do it.

In the past few months, since being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in early August, I’ve started feeling a little better–which is great! I’ve also updated and released 4 of my old books in Kindle format and 3 of my writing workshops, also on Kindle. I’ve even managed to put together a publishing schedule for the rest, a task I couldn’t even begin to tackle before.

To make things even better, I recently discovered that 14 (count them, 14!!!) of my books that I thought were dead and gone are actually still alive and well in e-book formats. And I’m feeling well enough to actually work on re-establishing a web presence for all four of my identities. So far, I’m only able to show up on blogs once a week, but hey! that’s better than once a year…or so.

Yesterday, while answering an e-mail from a writer who is interested in buying more of my books on writing, I realized that at my current rate of production, I’ll be roughly 932 years old when I get all the workshops on Kindle. That may not be a good business plan, which means that I probably need to work faster.

Photo from Unsplash

And that’s where the overwhelm comes in. All this good news (6 more books to re-release now that I have the rights back, 14 books to promote and breathe life into, and roughly 20 writing workshops to turn into book format, release and promote, not to mention actually writing new stuff) means lots and lots of work on a still-limited (but admittedly higher than before) energy level on days during which the brain fog descends again and leaves me scratching my head and wondering how to put one foot in front of the other.

I’ve started using Hootsuite to organize tweets and Facebook posts for my public profiles, and that helps, but I still have to spend hours every day coming up with Tweets and posts for all three author names, not to mention trying to stay connected with friends and family on my personal account. And just how do I decide which book to promote on a given day, or in a given hour. And blog posts. I need to write them, schedule them, and then promote them.

So I’ve been busy creating lists. There are links to find and save, pages to add to blogs and websites, excerpts to cull from books, covers to make, boxed sets to plan and create, blog posts to write, guest blog posts to write … again all good. All good. Happy, happy, joy, joy. Seriously. I just hope I’m up to the challenge because I don’t want to drop the ball. I don’t want to get halfway there and give up because it’s all too much. I want to appreciate the blessing of all this work and all these opportunities, and I don’t want to become remote or distracted around family and friends. 

Photo from Unsplash

But organizing it all is a challenge for me. Just thinking about organizing it is a challenge. I click around on Pinterest, looking for suggestions, and see all these great, color-coded ideas, but the idea of keeping the color coding straight or spending the time necessary to plan my days threatens to send me right back under water. 

If I can’t even wrap my foggy head around the concept of organizing everything I need to do, what chance do I actually have of getting on top of it all? 

That’s where my faith comes in, I guess. Joshua 1:9 says:

 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

That’s a promise, not just for Joshua, but for you and me. Whithersoever I go–even into the disorganized place that is currently my brain. It gives me hope, and hope is a good thing. 

A very good thing. 

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