Desire Map: New paper planner for 2015

For the first time in I literally don’t know how long I am going to use a paper, physical planner for next year. (I’m sharing this with you now in case you want to get your own before the beginning of the year!)

After seeing Kristin’s Filofax, and looking at a bunch of different options, I’ve decided to use Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map Planner.

Desire Map Planner 1

I suppose you don’t *need* to go through the Desire Map book to be able to use this planner, but I would still recommend it.

The very basic premise is that you decide how you want to feel, instead of definitive specific goals. For example, maybe your goal is to finish your book to submit to agents. But the Desire Map program has you look at WHY. What do you want to feel by finishing that book? Is it that you want to feel accomplished because you finished? Or you want to feel intelligent (because look at how much you know), or that you want to feel …. you know, whatever?

One of the things I really liked about this planner is that it’s got a spot on every single day to write your Core Desired Feelings. I love that repetition, and I love having the reminder every single day.

Desire Map Planner 2

I love the month-views include a spot to note the goals and intentions for each week.

Desire Map Planner 3

And at the end of each week — the Sunday of any week — includes different reflection questions than the other days of the week. I need that pause. I’m really trying to set better work boundaries and this should be awesome.

Desire Map Planner 4

I kind of don’t want to write in it. Which is silly, of course. But it’s so pretty and new and clean. But I made myself write in it, reading the beginning/intro bits, putting in dates and events I knew already.

This first beginning part includes room to write your major goals and core desired feelings. A good overview spot as you begin (and a little cameo by my OLW for 2015).

Desire Map Planner 5

You can see more photos, watch a video and order your planner here.

Do you have any good tips or resources for 2015?

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Coming soon: January Reset project

I love the new year. I love the fresh start. I love the annual feeling of resetting. Yes, you can absolutely set new goals at any time of the year, but I love the special-ness of re-evaluating at the same time every year.

So this January I am starting something new — the January Reset project — and you are 100% invited to join me!

January Reset

 You don’t *need* anything specific to join me — but this is what I am using:

Supplies pictured:

You will LOVE the kit that Allie and I are releasing. You don’t *need* it to participate, though. No worries.

We’ll be launching the digital kit on January 1 (at my blog party) and I will be posting throughout the month of January.

Can’t wait!

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‘Follow your passion’ is usually nonsense

Quick: What is your favorite thing to do ever ever ever and always?

Mine is reading. I’ve been a reader since I could pick up a book. My grandmother used to work at a bookstore and bring my bags and bags of paperbacks with the covers ripped off (it’s a weird publishing industry thing). I would read 2 or 3 books a day during my summer breaks. Those silly Pizza Hut reading challenges were a joke to me because I read that much and more all the time. I read basically any genre and I will gladly recommend you a book in any genre and my to read list on Goodreads is completely out of control.

I love reading with all my heart. It is essentially my only hobby.

But, did you catch that? It’s a HOBBY. Not a job.

Go read this post — How to choose a business — and learn all about why Naomi decided not to become a prostitute. It’s brilliant and funny and lays out 7 very smart reasons why turning what your friends say you are good at into business is not always wise.

I especially like #2 and #5. Both reasons why I am not a full-time developmental editor and don’t really want to be.

Following your passion, while it sounds like a good idea, and you certainly don’t want to pursue anything you’re not interested in, is not as cut and dry as you might like.

I didn’t really pursue marketing because I’m passionate about it….. although I do find it fascinating. If I was being honest, I am PASSIONATE about learning. Reading every book I can get my hands on. The non-teaching part of academia. But I can’t make a living going to school and haunting the library.

I can, however, make a living learning about things and translating them into useful products and services for other people.

I can offer myself as a developmental editor and make an income reading novels. But even then, not 40 hours a week.

Just because you love it with all your heart, does not mean it would make a good vocation.

Of course, there are exceptions. And of course if your passion really is small business accounting or teaching 2nd graders, then godspeed. But I know for most of L&R readers that is not the case.

P.S. For a probably better-said clarification, check out this post on why passion shouldn’t drive you.

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Resources: Balancing work when you work from home

Ever since I quit my day job a year and a half ago, I have been incrementally improving my daily schedule, productivity, etc. Apparently people (me) over-estimate how much they can get done in a day and under-estimate how much they can get done in a year. I’m fighting against that :)

But, as I fine tune and tweak, I’ve been collecting a bunch of posts about working from home, balancing your work and life responsibilities and the best way to keep from going crazy. I’m no expert (I actually love spending all my time at home and not seeing people), so here are some articles from people smarter than me.

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L&R Book ClubOur last book of 2014!

I thought since so many of us are memory keepers AND since NaNoWriMo begins in November, this would be a great selection.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I learned to live a better story by Donald Miller

Blurb from Amazon:

After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller’s life stalled. During what should have been the height of his success, he found himself unwilling to get out of bed, avoiding responsibility, even questioning the meaning of life. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself launched into a new story filled with risk, possibility, beauty, and meaning.

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years chronicles Miller’s rare opportunity to edit his life into a great story, to reinvent himself so nobody shrugs their shoulders when the credits roll. Through heart-wrenching honesty and hilarious self-inspection, Donald Miller takes readers through the life that emerges when it turns from boring reality into meaningful narrative.

Miller goes from sleeping all day to riding his bike across America, from living in romantic daydreams to fearful encounters with love, from wasting his money to founding a nonprofit with a passionate cause. Guided by a host of outlandish but very real characters, Miller shows us how to get a second chance at life the first time around. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years is a rare celebration of the beauty of life.

I remember liking this book when I read it a couple years ago. I’m looking forward to the re-read!

Grab your copy on Amazon, the library, your personal bookshelf or your local bookstore. Reading begins November 1.

Note: This book is categorized under Religion and Christian Living on Amazon, but I don’t remember it being religiony at all. That categorization MAY just be because of who the author is, his previous book and the business decisions behind ranking in a small category. I could be wrong or misremembering of course. That said, you’ve been warned.

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For the long run

Every day for the last few months, I’ve been getting up at 6am and writing fiction for 2+ hours (usually more). I have spent lord knows how much money on learning about fiction writing and the self-publishing industry.

I am not going to lie to you guys, it is HARD work. Just yesterday (Sunday), I wrote 2400+ words and it took me until about 1 in the afternoon. Today I woke up and I have to do the same thing all over again. And tomorrow. And on and on until I’m done. Because I have a deadline and I have ambition and I don’t want to embarrass myself I have standards.

I have yet to earn a single dime from all of this time and money invested.

But I don’t even care, because this is a long-term game. I am in it for the long run.

(I feel bad for my husband. I apologize to him regularly that I am spending all this time without a way to help pay the bills. Fortunately he understands and is totally behind this plan.)

Twyla Tharp has a chapter in The Creative Habit about doing creative work for the long run. Steven Pressfield breaks it down to just getting on base and worrying about it from there. Malcolm Gladwell talks about the 10,000 hours.

It doesn’t matter what you call it, but spending hours, blood, sweat, dollars, tears and love on projects that may not pay off for a long time is what helps us grow as people. Instant gratification is for 1-minute rice and microwave popcorn.

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have at least the next 15 or 18 months of this planned. Who knows when it will pay off?

 What is your long-game project?

P.S. I was interviewed recently about my fiction.

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October is for realizations

For the last few years, October has been a time of reflection and realizations. I’m not totally clear why, but I think it comes from a mix of the weather changing (and my favorite season really making me super happy) contrasted against all of the build of frustration elsewhere. It’s hard to describe:

In October 2010 I realized that I want to do work that matters and my day job at the time wasn’t it. I got a phone call at home, 6 hours before I was supposed to be there, about a comma. Completely unnecessary and very frustrating.

In October 2011 I was told my work schedule would change to Sunday – Thursday against my will. That was the only time I have ever cried at work and was seriously depressed. I realized I wanted to be some place where I’m not taken for granted and merit means something

In October 2012 I got physically ill (severe headache, dizzy and nausea) and then nearly immediately better after I called out sick. It’s incredibly powerful when you recognize how something negative in your life is really affecting you.

In October 2013 I decided to quit my long-time personal blog Those Crazy Schuberts, for many reasons. I freed up several hours of my week, and relaxed some of my personal anxiety by making that decision.

This year, October 2014 …. Feels like a sea change. For both Andrew and I — this October is for realizations for Team Schubert.

As I mentioned yesterday, Andrew’s work schedule has been ridiculous this year and we are starting to see what our lives can look like once all this hard work pays off. He is getting recording clients from literally all over the world. A band was just here from Oregon, but earlier in the year a band from Toronto came out to work with Andrew and a band from France hired him to mix a song.

That, combined with my projected new career as a fiction writer is going to change the entire structure of our lives.

It’s still far away; we both still have a lot (a lot) of work to do to make this new life pay our bills, but we are on this path together. We are each fully behind each other’s individual goals, as we work toward a better life together.

Having someone like Andrew on my team, supporting me spending hours (and hours) every day writing with nothing yet to show for it is the best. Knowing how I can help him work toward his goal of being 100% freelance has changed so much about how I spend my days.

This October has been hard, but so awesome so far. Can’t wait to see what the next year brings!

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planning the end of 2014

We have fewer than 100 days left of the year, so I’ve begun to plan. I’m a planner. I can’t help it. I like to know what direction I want to be headed. Even if my path ends up veering off, I like to know roughly where I want to end up. Knowing my big-picture priorities helps me establish my daily to-dos. There are things I want to finish, things I want to reassess and (yes) things for the future I want to plan.

This is the perfect time of year for me to review my tasks and my priorities, because I am beginning to feel overwhelmed. How did my year get so full?

Oh, that’s right. I said ‘yes’ to some amazing opportunities and didn’t quit anything else to make room. I remember now.

I just recently finished doing developmental editing for all 20+ stories in a short story anthology Beyond the Gate (releasing soon, for free). It was difficult and extremely time-consuming (one story alone took me 10 hours), but I loved it so much. I am hoping that it leads to more developmental editing clients, because good lord did I love it. Reading fiction, flexing my critical analysis master’s degree muscle, but also helping a writer to shape their story into its best form. LOVE IT.

I work part-time for a portrait photographer, and this time of year my work load doubles and triples. Already. Maggie was basically completely booked by last week, and now we are pushing her associate photographer. It will be like this until probably mid-December.

And then, on top of all of that, I am trying to write a book so it is ready to be published by March 1 (for larger world and marketing purposes). Complicating this are the facts that A) it is the first book of a series, so I need to do at least some big-picture plotting and B ) I didn’t actually know what happens in the book when I started writing it. As of the writing of this post I am still flailing a little, but certainly doing better.

It is all I can do to keep up with my self-imposed deadline. And I must keep that deadline if I want to produce something at least reasonably close to my own standards by March 1.

So, for the rest of 2014 I will be….

Keeping up with L&R: Blog posts, a couple more webinars, and creating a lot of content for my annual blog party on Jan 1 (email me if you want to pitch a guest post). I am being modest in my L&R-specific plans for now, since I’m not entirely sure how much time I will have to spend doing photographer-customer-service, or how much time getting a book ready to be published will take. Once I have a better handle on my schedule and limitations, I have tons of fun ideas for L&R (and US History Class and TravelScrap HQ and others)

Writing book 1: The goal is to have the first draft of book 1 done by October 31, and revised and ready for beta readers by Jan 1. Somewhere in there I also want to plot book 2, so I can start writing it on Jan 1. I also need to start marketing for this series (once I have a title and figure out what it is really about), source a cover design, etc. This is my fifth book (in first draft), but I have not actually finished one all the way to being published. All learning for me.

Fiction Unboxed 1.5: My friends at Sterling and Stone are writing a book live again, and I will be following along. Partly because I think it is fascinating, particularly their story meetings and brainstorming together. But also because I am writing in the same world, 20 years earlier. If they set specific world-building details (like, length of the prime minister’s term, for example) those are things I need to know for my own books. They are running it in conjunction with NaNoWriMo, so you can still sign up.

Date nights with Andrew: His freelance schedule has completely out of control since about May. Mostly because he is so good at what he does and so many people want to work with him, and he can’t say no. To the point where he sleeps at home only about once a week. True story. But, we are going to try to have Friday nights set aside just for us. He still might have his day job interfere, but he won’t be scheduling any sessions or concerts or anything on Friday nights. I’m so excited!

Read books: Because this is where my heart is. At least a few minutes every day. It’s really my only ‘hobby’ — everything else is work of some kind. I’m on track to read 100+ this year! Reading will always be a priority. It makes me sad all the writers who say things like, “I used to read, but now I just don’t have time.” I don’t want that to be me.

What direction are you headed in? What does the rest of your year look like?

SHIFT_free creativity guide

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My chalkboard wall of goals

I like to see things. I need the visual set up. I’m a visual person and will re-write something that I already have digitally just so I can change the way it is laid out. I’ve got this big chalkboard wall in my office that is just begging for a chart or list or goal-setting visual of some kind.

Especially now that I have embarked on this ridiculous venture of writing novels, I find myself deep in the weeds of an enormous project with little idea where I am, how much I have left, what else is going on, etc.

So now I can just check my chalkboard wall:

 chalkboard

The ‘titles’ on the left are obviously not the actual titles. The 3 stages across the top are obviously not the only things on my to do list. Admittedly there is WAY more to self-publishing a novel than these 3 steps, but seeing all the projects I’m in the middle of and where I am in the process definitely helps me schedule and be realistic about what I can finish in a given period of time.

Eventually, I may even fill in some of those blanks with target dates, but since I don’t yet have a handle on exactly how long something should take me that bit is for later.

I’m starting the first book in the Alterra series today. Hoping to finish the first draft by the end of October. And then after that we’ll see! But I know I’ll get to mark an X in the box on my chalkboard wall of goals!

How do you keep track of your projects?

P.S. My week long free productivity workshop

P.P.S. See also Sarah’s wall o’ goals

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Your job is to FINISH

“What you do for a living is not BE CREATIVE. Everyone is creative.
What you do for a living is SHIP.” — Seth Godin

‘Ship’ as in get it out the door. ‘Ship’ as in ready for customers. ‘Ship’ as in finished.

I don’t care how long you worked on that blog post if you didn’t finish it and hit ‘publish.’

I don’t care how much brainstorming you have done on your new fancy app if it’s not ever going to become available.

Creative work is fantastic. It is essential. And there is a lot to be said for the value of the process….

But if we are talking about work, business and making a living, your job is to FINISH. If you are building your online platform, you need to finish planning and get to work. If you are working on quitting your day job, you need to finish that first ebook, and release it so it can make you some money.

As creators we are constantly fighting against……apathy, the lizard brain, distractions, the Resistance, fear …. All of these things are fighting against us finishing our creative work. Arm yourself in order to finish your creative work.

The Finishing Manifesto will help you do that, of course.

But mostly you just need to look yourself in the eye and make yourself FINISH. Like it’s your job.

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