Thursday, May 17, 2007


How many of your deadlines come from outside factors, how many are self-imposed, and how do you handle each?

The kids and I are coming smack up against the homeschool deadline for this year, which is a pseudo-flexible kind of thing. By that I mean that we're supposed to be finished with our 36-week school year by the end of this month, which gives the official correspondence teacher a couple of weeks to finish grading all the papers and assignments for the year, to get them done and grades submitted by June 15. But we've also paid for the teacher support through the end of June and can ask for additional months as we need them in case our school year needs to run longer for any reason. In the case of one kid, we may need an extra month, but in the case of the other, I hope to be done on time. We'll see. Either way, my personal deadline for this homeschool year is to be done by the end of May so I can have all summer to concentrate on writing issues, clean my house, sort through all the junk in the storage room and get things back under the illusion of control. I have no idea whether this will become reality or whether we'll end up stretching the school stuff into the summer as we have for the past two years. But I can always hope. Each summer, we gain a few more weeks of vacation time, which may or may not involve an actual vacation.

Then there's the writing deadlines. Since I don't have a publisher, my deadlines are mostly set by me and sometimes by tacit suggestions from Bob, who's a lot more realistic than I am. I have the tendency to set unrealistic deadlines, meaning I set them on a tougher schedule which I can rarely comply with in real life. For instance, I hoped to have this rewrite done by the beginning of May. Not only has that not happened, but I'm only halfway through the rewrite. Granted, there are a few extenuating circumstances, but I still feel that it should be going faster. Would I be able to go faster if I had an actual publisher's deadline to meet? Certainly it would help the family to take my writing time more seriously. But ultimately, my time management issues are my own, and I feel like I've been playing hooky. That must change, immediately. Bob can't market a book he doesn't have. And every week that goes by without the rewrite done is a week that he might have been able to make a sale for us and couldn't. So, shame on me. I must and will pull it together. I guess if that means the kids' school year drags longer into the summer, then so be it. Meshing of the schedules and getting all members of the family team to work together is a big challenge. But for me to figure out how to merge my writing into the larger family agenda is the biggest challenge yet.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I've Got a Bee In My Bonnet

This whole honeybee issue is really bugging me. I can't stop thinking about it. Every day I look at the news online, wondering what's happening with the bees. I hope they make it; I hope we all make it. But unless people wake up and begin to realize that everything we do has an effect on the environment, we may be in for a very rude awakening. I hate reading posts on the internet from naysayers who believe that they can go on spraying their pesticides, using their fossil fuels and polluting this planet without any kind of consequences. Scientific evidence says otherwise. This evidence has been available for decades. In fact, the whole ecology issue should be a no-brainer. (And yes, I did read the articles about the Varroa mites. They're getting more and more resistant to the pesticides, just like germs get resistant to antibiotics. We seem to be dealing with multiple causative factors in this bee issue, and I'm betting we need multiple solutions to solve the problem.) We've only got one planet, folks. Please, please, let's take care of it, and everything that lives on it. If we do that, then we're taking care of ourselves as well.

As to the book: no, the revisions are not finished. I scribbled as many notes as I could while talking to Bob on the phone, but other than that I'm working blind. I think I've addressed most of the issues we discussed, so we'll see what happens. I'm generally pretty strong in the revision stage; I hope that proves true this time. I guess I'm nearly halfway done. Should be closer than that, but we've had to put in some major homeschool effort in order to get finished on time. (The family got quite a bit behind while I was writing the first draft of the novel, so we've been hitting the books double-time to make up for it.) Two weeks ago both kids got sick, so we lost a lot of time there. And as part of my fifth-grader's science project, we're planting a garden. The new tomato boxes that the Huz built are going into place today, and then I can go shopping for the plants to go in them. We'll have home-grown tomatoes this year, dang it, even if I have to hand-pollinate them with a Q-tip!

Gotta go. I have assignments to make out, and maybe an hour of novel revision to do, and then I have to hit the hay because we're going to see a Spider-Man 3 matinee tomorrow.

Bee good to each other, and please send a few positive thoughts in the direction of the hives.