Commitments

LESS THAN THIRTY-SIX DAYS TILL TAXES are due. In addition to all that gathering of receipts (ugh … I really, really hate doing taxes), I still have an edit or three on my fourth book to complete, an edit or two on the rewrite of book one (I’ve passed the self-imposed deadlines multiple times for both), book five is begging to be worked on. Ideas keep popping into my head—I try to get them scribbled down before they vanish, but have yet to be successful at that … and I have yet to create any art (sniff …) Okay, that was one very long run-on sentence. Sorry. But, you get the drift, right?

I’m also in a holding pattern on finding out what’s going to happen with my left knee. I really did do it in when I fell (twice) in January. Sigh. I see my orthopedist at the end of March … results of an MRI arrived at my primary care doc’s office last week, and from what I read (I always get copies of the reports … handy to have a medical assistant background), it doesn’t look as bad as it initially felt. My regular doc definitely wants me to see the orthopedist. I’m hoping it’s just for PT … no surgery. At least, that’s what I read into the report, plus how I’m feeling. Hoping and praying …

Why is it, when all I want to do (now that I’ve got better vision—cataract surgery was a complete success—yay!) is to write with abandon, there always seems to be Things keeping me from it?? Doctor appointments that cut into the day, meetings, tax preparation (ugh) and my weekly commitment to help out (or even to actually creating some art, which hasn’t happened either) at Open Ground Studios … all of these vie for my attention and precious time. I write best when I have large chunks of time to let my mind go in whatever direction it wishes—remember, the characters seem to be in control. Those large “chunks” seem to be hard to find these days. The same applies to editing. And, I’m finding I need the quiet of my home for that … so I can concentrate.

I either need to “un-commit” myself a whole bunch or figure out how to work in smaller time slots. I have cut back on my commitments, but … oooh, this sounds way too familiar—it’s a repeating problem I seem to have. Balancing things that need to be done with things I’d like to do … and the things others would like me to do. None of it is going to be easy to work out—never is, is it?

I’ve found myself taking art classes that I cannot complete because of stupid injuries, doctor appointments and other time constraints that happen after I’ve made the commitment to take the classes or … well, you’ve got the picture. It is frustrating to not be able to engage in any artistic outlet, whether it is writing or creating art (hopefully that will change this weekend with a one-day monotype workshop). Sure, I am able to compose a blog weekly (most weeks), but those usually are random happenings. No serious “construction” involved—just ramblings for the most part. Fun to write (in most cases) and for you to read, but even those blogs takes me away from creating serious stuff.

So … I need to re-group, figure some things out and take a serious look at my calendar. And add (cringe) a serious exercise regimen to my schedule to help my knee heal. And start planning some book signings for this spring and summer—right?

Sniggle … even as I write this, I find that I’ve signed myself up for two art classes (hmm … how’d that happen? Insert monster grin)—one on Saturday (just a one-day workshop) and the other begins on 21March—for four or five weeks, I think. It’s hard to resist the great workshops and seminars that OGS offers! I’ve decided those two will be fine, as I’m progressing nicely on my sorting of tax receipts and I’ve actually managed to do a little editing. I’ve even made copies of my two WIPs that need editing—I do so much better with hard-copies … old-school girl, yup. But … I’ve also added another thing to my agenda (I’m not ready to divulge it as yet—I’ll probably do a whole blog about it). And it is eating into my time also, but so far I’m keeping it manageable—for the time being.

So … this isn’t the short blog I thought it would be (oopsie …), but I’m ending the week with a smile on my face, so hopefully you won’t mind. May you have a wonderfully blessed weekend and week to come.

The Tax Man Cometh …

OH … GROAN. THIS IS THE TIME of the year I dread. Every. Single. Year. I’m not exactly aces where numbers are concerned … and the older I get—on top of the math inadequacies—the less organized I seem to become. I promise myself I’ll do better. Every. Single. Year.

Yup.

At least, this year, I’m getting things together sooner—I should have it all gathered together and “handled” before the end of the month—I’m hoping, at least … or at the latest, by mid-March. Haven’t managed that in quite a few years. Matter of fact, I’ve had to do extensions the last two years due to serious cases of procrastination.

Baaad girl!

I need this done so I can get back to working on my book(s) … so Mischiefmaker can be neatly tied in a bow and out of my hands before I step onto the plane to visit the UK (including Scotland and Wales). Plus I must focus on the artwork for the book … and continue my work on book five. (There’s some serious stuff building up in my story, ready to happen—hopefully you will think it’s as amazing as I do—and I really need to carve out some large chunks of time to get it right …) That’s pretty good incentive, don’t you think? I know my trip abroad will really help my imagination gel ideas for book five (no official title as yet, but—hmm … I think Redemption sounds about right). I am getting excited … and I have no clue what’s about to happen (oh … if you didn’t already know, I do not outline my stories—it’s a seat-of-the-pants experience, all the way—insert maniacal grin here)!

I must confess: the release of my book has been pushed back till this fall, but I’m okay with that. I want to make it the very best—no throwing things together for my readers. Never! Need to keep it cohesive … and on the right path. I still don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as a finish-line for the series. My characters are keeping mum about that. I’m okay with that too. It will happen when it’s “right” … right?

In the meantime, I have to get my mind completely wrapped around numbers and organization of receipts … I’ve already found myself avoiding the pile by doing other things—including this blog. These are all things that “need doing” but, really. The priority is (shudder) tax prep. I’ll attempt to make this short and … well, maybe not so sweet a blog (ooh—I could digress to something else by the end of the week because it is only Saturday … insert huge grin here …). Um … I’ll just have to play this one by ear.

Ooh, gotta laugh, because almost as soon as I wrote the above, my allergies decided to kick in. Not too bad at first, but by Monday … ugh. A full-blown sinus infection was on it’s way to rear it’s ugly head. I did manage to make it into Open Ground Studios for a bit, but … have not laid one finger—or eye—on my pile of receipts … except to add to it. Found two more piles: stuff from the early part of 2015 and some 1099s, which Kaeli (my sweet ol’ dog) proceeded to nibble on. Heart failure, for sure! Thankfully, the important bits are still intact.

It’s now Thursday and I’m finally feeling a little better, so I’ll be upstairs finishing up the sorting, then start (maybe) the number crunching. Yes, this is the part (well, one of them) that I hate. I have to add stuff with a calculator (with tape) two or three times and hope the results are the same. This is where dyslexia is not my friend (transposing numbers from what I see to what I enter … groan). Yup. Real fun.

Whilst I was wallowing in pity over feeling so lousy, I managed to cheer myself up by starting to peruse the possibilities of when and where I will visit once across The Pond. My head was too fuzzy to work on numbers, but not to surf the web for things to do (checking prices) and locations to stay. That cheered me up immediately. Now I’m chomping at the bit to finalize my itinerary … but, that’s another blog, entirely!

So … yeah. Short and (hmmm) sweet? It’s my life and I’ve gotta live it—I’ll take the bad with the good.

…So onward.

May your day … and the week ahead be blessed with sweet circumstances.

Taxes and Death

“IN THIS WORLD NOTHING CAN be said to be certain, except death and taxes” was written by Benjamin Franklin in 1789. And before that, in 1726, Daniel Defoe wrote “Things as certain as death and taxes, can be more firmly believ’d”.

I actually think I like Defoe’s version better. It takes a much broader view of life, using death and taxes as the balancing mechanism. Franklin twisted the phrase to state that death and taxes are the only things that are certain.

These two things, basically “carved in stone” must be dealt with—in the case of taxes, with every purchase Uncle Sam takes his share and more precisely every year we must make an accounting—to pay even more or be given back what is rightfully ours. That’s what I’m dealing with right now. Taxes. Shudder. The clock is ticking and here I am writing a blog instead of working on my yet-to-be-complete tax return. Um, can we say “Procrastinator”? Yup (I’ve written about this before—insert grin). I’ve heard another word for it: Parkinson’s Law. It’s the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. April 15th isn’t here yet, so …

Well, maybe it’s not quite accurate for my “problem”. I’d rather be doing anything else rather than sifting through all of my receipts, crunching numbers (I am dyslexic and numbers are not my thing—at all!) … I can honestly say that I hate this time of year. Really hate it. Can’t I just wave a wand and have some magical fairy come in and do the sorting and posting for me? There must be one of those floating around, eager to do my bidding, right?

Every year at this time, I promise myself I’ll be more organized so it won’t be such a painful task. But I’m already a quarter into the year and look back at the pile of receipts I’d have to organize and shrug it off … “later”. And later never happens. Another year passes and I’m back to that same spot, promising myself next year will be different. Well, maybe.

So, I’ve procrastinated long enough. My accountant is waiting patiently for my pile of numbers and receipts, and the sand in the hour-glass is nearly gone, so I guess … I must move to the analytical side of my head (oh, so small … kinda cramped in here!) and get the task done.

I certainly hope you are doing better at this than I am. And for those of you just beginning to take on this daunting annual task—be smart. Keep good records, file early and stress less.

May your April 15th be sweet.