/*from pinterest*/
Taxes

Taxes

 
Optimist: Someone who sets aside two hours to do his income tax return.
— Unknown
 
I’m taking a break from doing my taxes. I like doing my taxes . . . about as much as I like stabbing myself with a teaspoon.
 

April 30th is the Deadline for personal income tax filing in Canada. Every year, I tell myself I’ll get organized ahead of time. I promise myself I will set up templates that I can use year after year.

I suppose I could hire someone to do this and avoid the pain. But once I get started, I find the whole process enlightening. How many workshops did I attend? How many online courses did I pay for? How many more Resource Books have I bought to add to my collection?

It’s my Year in Review. Oddly enough, each year, I also promise not to buy any more Resource Books, but it’s a guilty pleasure for a writer and I do read at least half of them.

One of the online courses I took this year was from Young Adult writer Sarra Cannon. She taught us about keeping good records and how to track expenses in spreadsheets. I’ve set up sheets for Office Expenses, Supplies, Memberships, etc and made formulas so all the info gets summarized on Page One. It’s fascinating to watch it evolve.

Now that I’ve created these headings and formulas (formulae?) it makes sense to copy the file, delete the entries (but not the formula/ae) and save it for the 2013 edition of My Taxes. Then on a regular basis, I can fill it in.

All that’s left to do is define regular.

And so, the plan? Do the taxes. Finish them TODAY. And then begin again on the novel. Even if it’s only opening the files, and spending as long as it takes to drink a hot cup of tea with them.

Got your taxes done yet? Having fun?

photo from photos.com #87758338

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

 Just in time for Resolution Making, here are the 5 things that make up “SMART” GOALS.
 
SMART GOALS are
 
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Realistic
T = Timely
 
SMART GOAL EXAMPLES
 
Specific
Instead of “lose weight”
Try
  • join Weight Watchers this Saturday
  • walk for 15 minutes every day
  • buy carrots
Measurable
Instead of “write every day”
Try
  • set the timer for x minutes and keep my hands moving until the timer rings
  • produce 4 pages today
  • produce 4 pages by Monday
Attainable
If the goal is too far out of reach, it will not motivate you.
Instead of “write a novel a month”
Try
  • write one chapter a month (or two chapters, or three)
  • something that you have a possibility of achieving
  • but don’t make it TOO easy
Realistic
Instead of “never eat sweets again”
Try
  • I can have one chocolate a day with a cup of tea at 4 o’clock
If that is not realistic, start by limiting yourself to one box a day . . .
 
Timely
Set a timeframe such as
  • by Sunday
  • by Jan 31
  • by my next CARWA meeting
  • when the timer rings
Perhaps you don’t like the idea of setting goals and/or making resolutions?
Then I can highly recommend Tami Clayton’s blog about the Un-Resolution List which you can find here.
 

I love Tami’s approach and think I will follow suit this year. I will set some SMART goals (particularly for my writing) but I will keep an Un-Resolution List to think about, and do, in no particular order or timeframe.

My Un-Resolution List

Walk in the forest
Do angel wings in the water
Snowshoe
Enjoy the moment
Read widely
Sing
Take pictures
Make photo albums
Treasure each day
Watch sunrises
Sip lattes with friends
Count stars
Learn about constellations
Dream of possibilities
Practice Spanish
Listen to ballads
Savour good wine
Talk to the dog
Encourage others
Add to this list

Do you make resolutions? Or do you prefer the fluidity and freedom of Un-Resolutions? Do you have a favourite resolution you make over and over?

Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you all you are hoping for.

I will close with the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:
 
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
 
coffee bean 2013 from photos.com #155686049
Making time to write

Making time to write

If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, you will not have seen much of me lately.

Deadlines have a way of making you limit Social Media. Besides writing, my time is spent at aquafit class, walking in the Silver Springs Gardens and meeting up with DH at nighttime for an episode of Two and a Half Men.

Are you consuming a lot of time with Social Media? Do you have TimeLine?

How do you organize your DVDs?

How do you organize your DVDs?

If I was in charge of our library of DVDs, I would organize alphabetically. But I’m not in charge. My husband is, and he’s come up with 11 categories.

Action Adventure
Christmas
Comedy
Drama
Fantasy
Foreign
Music
Mystery Thriller
Romance
Sports
Western
 
Within those 11 categories, he alphabetizes. The problem is, many titles overlap categories. Not only that, some categories are not represented.
 
What about the times you want to watch old movies?
The 1938 Robin Hood is filed under Action Adventure.
Casablanca and The African Queen are under Drama.
 
What about comic book movies?
Iron man is under Action Adventure and The X-men is under Fantasy. I wonder where he’ll put Spiderman when we get it?
 
Fantasy contains
I Robot, Lost in Space, Matrix, Men in Black.
But NOT Independence Day, Jurassic Park or Terminator. Apparently those movies are not fantasy. I have to search for them in Action Adventure.
 
Christmas seems straightforward, right?
A Christmas Carol, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Miracle on 34th Street.
 
But guess where he’s put Die Hard and Love Actually? Yes, in Christmas.
One of my favourite movies is Love Actually, defined on the Internet Movie Database as “comedy, drama, romance” and he’s filed it in Christmas. No wonder I couldn’t find it.
 
The Sports Section
has Hoosiers, Rocky and Shaolin Soccer. Fair enough.
It’s also got Bend It Like Beckham (comedy, drama, and, to me, romance) and Blue Crush (sports, but also drama & romance.)
 
And what about The Replacements? That’s in comedy. But the IMDB also calls it sports, and, for me, it’s also romance.
 
Westerns
are pretty much Westerns, though they could pass for Drama.
3:10 to Yuma, Cowboys, Fistful of Dollars, The Searchers.
 
Music
has The Blues Brothers, Hair and The Lion King. But that’s also where you find Patrick Swayze’s Dirty Dancing (drama, romance), and, get this, that’s where he put Mamma Mia! (comedy, musical, romance). I love that romance.
 
Romance
This is My Section and this is where you find Enchanted, Ever After and Sleepless in Seattle, as well as many others. But some of my favourite romances are hiding in other sections.
 
Knight & Day, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Sahara are all filed under Action Adventure. Those three movies also pass as comedy.
 
Titanic is in Drama. Speed is in Action Adventure.
 
And my favourite comedy of all time? Where did he put Stranger Than Fiction?
 
In Drama. IMDB calls that one comedy, drama, fantasy. I call it Comedy with a Capital C and, hey, it’s even got Romance, but then, being a romance writer, I could probably find Romance in a lot of things.
 
At least he hasn’t broken out DVDs from Blu-Rays. They are happily all mixed together.
 
And, unlike John Cusack’s character in High Fidelity, he hasn’t organized them autobiographically, by date of acquisition.
 
How do you organize your movies? Can you find what you’re looking for? What do you think of straight up alphabetization?
 
photo from istockphoto.com #0000147951
New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

 It’s time to think about New Year’s resolutions. Here are some of mine:
 
  • Eat less, exercise more.
  • Less treadmill, more skiing and hiking.
  • Eat excellent chocolate, or no chocolate.
  • Eat excellent cake, or no cake.
  • Avoid the near occasions of binge eating.
  • Write at least 100 words a day.
  • Learn Twitter.
  • Limit “para writing” and make sure any para writing is enjoyable.
  • Listen to music. Take walks. Dream.
  • Clean my house before it absolutely must be cleaned.
  • Balance writing time, healthy time, friend and family time.
  • Do not become lopsided.
  • Finally buy an E-reader. Read every day.

How about you? Any resolutions you’d like to share?

photo from photos.com #136382721

What do you do with all your books?

What do you do with all your books?

As writers, we can be overwhelmed with books. Not only with all the fiction books and non-fiction books we love, but with the Craft Books.

Some Craft Books get read more than once. They get underlined, dog-eared and sticky-noted. Others never get read, although, you really believe you will read them, one day. I have a very popular Craft Book still in its shrink wrap.

Craft books can be useful, to a point. But we need to put words on paper to become writers. Some people never get around to putting words on paper, because they are Readers of Craft Books. Other people are writers. I know a very popular writer who has never read a Craft Book. She’s intuitive and disciplined and driven and creative, but she’s not a Reader of Craft Books.

And then, there are the novels. Some of them are autographed. Some are written by a favourite author. We may not like all the books of that favourite author, but we keep every one of them.

The majority of our books are not autographed and don’t belong to the “favourite author group”, but they still become Keepers.

And now your prime bookshelf space gets crowded. How many Keepers can you keep? The one-time Keepers go to the garage sale. Or the recycle shelf at the grocery store. Or they are lost forever in the box under the bed.

There’s an interesting site that tells you how to release a book back into the world. You label the book with a special code, leave it somewhere, and allow someone else to find it. The finder also finds the code which they can enter on the computer, allowing you to watch your book’s travels.

I doubt that many re – releases of the book happen, but it’s possible, in theory. The site explains the process well and it’s worth a look. http://www.bookcrossing.com/

But sometimes, there just is no letting go of a book. I love this quote by Anatole Paul Broyard:

Reading a book is only the first step in the relationship. After you’ve finished it, the book enters on its real career. It stands there as a badge, a blackmailer, a monument, a scar. It’s both a flaw in the room, like a crack in the plaster, and a decoration. The contents of someone’s bookcase are part of his history, like an ancestral portrait.

So, what do you do with all your books?

photo from iStockphoto.com #000006774713