Monthly Archives: June 2013

Conference Season Prep: Working ahead

With so many big writing conferences around the corner it’s easy to get so wrapped up in preparation that you overlook basic tasks that will make your life easier. Writing these days is about more than creating compelling stories. We also must create and maintain a web presence through blogs, social media, etc. This takes time and planning and it doesn’t have to be hard.

When I’m traveling from my home in the Middle East to the national RWA conference and other work events in the States it is going to be hard for me to focus on this blog. The news is that I don’t have to. Bloggers can easily work ahead and pre-set posts so that your web presence goes on when you’re busy.

You can work ahead on other tasks as well. Just think about what are the items of your to-do or goal lists that you can predict. Tackle those and get them out of the way now. For example, I’m a freelance journalist covering YA book to film projects, specifically Cassandra Clare’s “Mortal Instruments” series. I’ll be in L.A. for the film’s premiere but there are some articles that I can anticipate writing. I’m taking these topics and writing them now so all I have to do is fill in any blanks and publish them when the time is right.

You can also work ahead on the home front. I’ll be away from home for four weeks during conference and premiere season. My wonderfully supportive husband will be holding down the fort, which involves caring for our toddler and four furry babies. To help him I’m preparing meals and freezing them, creating household task charts and thinking of all the ways I can work ahead and help him out.

I bet there are many ways in which you can work ahead and lessen your workload and stress. What are you doing now that will help you in the end?

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Conference Season Prep: Fitness and plotting

Following up from my last post on fitness I want to stress again how fitness does not take time away from your pre-conference rush. When your stress level and health are cared for then you are more productive. As if that isn’t incentive enough your fitness time can also double as thinking time.

Before I get on my elliptical machine I always read what I just wrote and look ahead to what I’m writing next. I then think on that as I work out. I’ve come up with my best ideas during a work out.

Music such as soundtracks also helps me when plotting while working out. You can play around and find the fitness plan that works best for you and your writing career but the important thing is to find a way to incorporate the two together.

You can also read while working out though I find that this sometimes gives me a headache. Most exercise equipment has a place to rest a book or pages.

This form of multitasking is great for busy moms (like myself) or those who are juggling another job. How do you incorporate your writing into your workouts? Do you see that each benefits the other?

Gym 1

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Conference Season Prep: Staying fit

As writing conference season approaches many writers are working overtime on their manuscripts and pitches. As tempting as it is to cram every waking minute into your work, now of all times is not the time to cut back on your fitness.

Conferences are stressful. Fitness tackles your stress. Leading up to a large-scale conference I increase my fitness level in order to manage stress and be able to keep my back loose from sitting in my desk chair.

Even more so, it is important to maintain a fitness routine when at a conference. Of course it will be near impossible to fit in your usual routine because you probably won’t have access to your gym or have the time. You can create a minimal workout, which can be done in a hotel room or hotel fitness room.Fitness Apps

And like most things these days, there’s an app for that! I use the “Daily Workouts” app. There are several and they are free. There is a basic “Daily Workout,” which covers cardio, abs, butt, legs and arms. You get to select the target area for the day and time. The workouts change so you don’t get board. They also have a separate “Daily Yoga” app. Being an app, this can travel with you and can be used in a hotel room. See you have no excuses.

Staying fit affects my mood and how I feel. Don’t you want to be at your best when meeting with agents?

How do you stay fit leading up to a writer’s conference? How about at the conference itself?

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Conference Season Prep: How your pets can help

Oscar

Oscar

It’s easy to get wrapped up in your work when getting ready for a major writer’s conference. Perfecting your pages and pitches is important but I also believe that taking time out to do something unrelated to work yet something that you love will always help productivity.

I love my furry children. I’ve been told that some children don’t have it as good as my furry little ones. Pets are expensive and a lot of work so if you’re not going to put in the time to spoil them and love them, then what’s the point?

Diamond

Diamond

Jedi

Jedi

I have four furry children. Oscar is a five year-old epileptic Rhodesian Ridgeback. He runs the house and sits on my feet while I write. Diamond and Jedi earned much popularity from this blog when I rescued them during a flood in Arkansas. My bunny girls were just a few weeks old then and separated from their mother. I bottle-fed them and now they are wonderful members of our family. Now we recently added Beast, a Siamese kitten mix who is giving Oscar a run for his money at running the household.

Beast

Beast

Caring for Oscar, Diamond, Jedi and Beast is time consuming and a lot of work on top of caring for my toddler and working on my career. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Caring for them relaxes me and gives me the break I need so that I can be at my best when writing. It’s been said that pets are great at reliving stress and I believe this.

Now if you don’t have a pet, don’t feel that you have to get one in order to be conference ready. I’m simply saying that if you have a furry friend, don’t neglect them as you prepare for conference season. Your pet can help you in your preparation. So scratch an ear, rub a belly and enjoy all those kisses because you’ll miss them when you’re out of town!

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Conference Season Prep: Are you organized?

As mentioned in my previous post, I’m covering all things related to preparing for a large-scale writing conference. This will be my third time attending the national RWA conference and it can be both overwhelming and rewarding.

Last post I discussed how cleaning can help in your conference prep. Sticking with a similar theme, today is all about organization. Are you organized? If you aren’t certain about your answer then it is a NO. I always find that Help Me!being organized and even taking a day off to get that way speeds up my writing process. This can help you tremendously in your final month before a conference.

How are you to fine-tune your manuscript when you can’t easily access your notes? See this is why organization is important and valuable to accompany your pre-conference clean. I keep files of notes and contacts from each conference I’ve attended. I like going over these before I attend a conference. My notes usually instill that “I can do this” attitude that conferences are great at serving up.

Do you take time to stay organized? This is a great way to make the most of your writing time by having your work organized to the best way for you.

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Conference season prep: Cleaning time

Many writers associate summer with conference season. I’m leaving for the annual Romance Writers of America national conference in just a little over a month. This will be my third conference and I learn something new each year. Of course, such a large conference is full of great information for all writers but I always enjoy what I learn about my preparation. This is why I’ve dedicated a month to conference season preparation. I hope that readers will chime in and share their suggestions and ideas on how to best prepare for a large-scale writers conference.

I’m beginning my month-long countdown with a good cleaning. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all that you need to do.
1. Finish perfecting manuscripts.
2. Practice your pitch.
3. Plan your wardrobe.
4. Since I’m a freelance writer: pre-write articles for publication during that conference week.

And the “to do” list could go on and on. I find it easy to get overwhelmed and I’m sure I’m not alone with this. As much as I hate to say this (because I hate cleaning), the best way to prepare for anything is to start out with a clean workspace. In this month of final prep for my conference I’m going to spend a lot of time in my office. The best thing I can do is to clean and organize my office so that I can be more efficient in my work and who really wants a messy desk?

You will also appreciate that clean workspace when you return from your conference. Every time I attend a conference I return home feeling energized, refreshed and ready to dive into work. A clean workspace will only make it easier for you to organize conference notes, contacts and get to work.

Do you schedule a good office cleaning before you attend a conference? I’m tackling this project this weekend. My “weekend” here in Saudi is Thursday and Friday so wish me luck!

I’ve written here before on how important music is to my work and life in general. It seems that I can’t write, workout or cook without my iTunes playing. This also holds true for cleaning. I’ve been planning my family’s Walt Disney World December trip so with that in mind here is a fun song to jump-start your cleaning!

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