Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Welcome Guest Roxanne Rustand

I attended an excellent writer's retreat this year, and one of the topics--time management--really hit home. Time management is not an easy skill with the Internet just a click away, and e-mail, eBay, Craig's List and YouTube beckoning so seductively. If a paragraph isn't going well, it's just too easy to turn to Craigslist and go horse and pony shopping (I've been looking for something small and very gentle for the grandkids for a long time.)

Being a little jaded about the whole topic of time management, I wasn't expecting to gain much useful information at the retreat. But the presenter was wonderful and I am trying to turn over a new lea
f. :) Here are several of the principles she covered:

1. Do important things--not the urgent things--first. Example: how many of us actually do get on our treadmills or go for thirty minutes of brisk walking per day? Americans are a sedentary lot. Exercise is critically important for good health. But its something all too easy to put after day.

2. Use the military's philosophy of "hurry up and wait." If you have an hour and need to take care of a task requiring thirty minutes, how many of us procrastinate until the last minute? Do it first--and you'll feel far less stress, guilt and panic. Apply this to the bigger projects in life, such as book deadlines, and it can free you up for all sorts of other opportunities that might come along.

3. Set a timer for productive work time. Turn off e-mail. The telephone isn't your boss--don't feel obligated to answer it. Anyone with important reasons to call will leave a message or call back. Set quotas for your tasks, and think of meeting it as a way to earn permission to have fun later. This is actually something I've done, in part, for some time--I downloaded Mac Freedom and can now turn off access to the Internet for any length of time I select, up to 480 minutes...and there's no way to circumvent the software. None! It's wonderful!

4. The speaker also talked about the myth of multi-tasking--how trying to focus on too many things at once can make it impossible to do well at any of them. In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield said, "There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time. This steady an
d undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genuis; as hurry, bustle and agitation are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind."

A weak and frivolous mind. That's me!

By the way, I have a new release out right now--WINTER REUNION, for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line. After selling twenty-nine light romantic suspense novels to SuperRomance and Love Inspired Suspense, it's my first non-suspense ever. It's also the first in my Aspen Creek Crossroads series, which centers around a quaint bookstore in the St. Croix River area near the Minnesota/Wisconsin border.

And if you have a nice quiet pony for sale, do let me know!

I would absolutely love to hear your thoughts about time management and productivity -- and what tips you might have!


Helen Brenna said...

Hi Roxanne, welcome and congrats on the new release? Interesting that it's your first non-suspense. Did you find it harder/easier/no difference to write? And the setting sounds lovely.

I have a bone to pick with productivity these days. She seems to have deserted me for the first time in my life. Or is that writer's block? lol

In any case, I needed your tips today!

Cindy Gerard said...

Roxanne - I'm so happy to see you here in the vert! Welcome! And what a beautiful cover. You can almost hear the sleigh bells and the runners crunching on the snow.

As for time management - you amaze me with the volume of work you get done and the multiple other balls you keep juggling in the air.
I think I need to know more about that software! I, too, am determined to get my act together and manage time better. For one, I want to get in better shape and like you said, that ain't happenin' sitting behind this desk. HAVE to take time for the treadmill and other exercise and I'm working on b oth.
so ... I'm out to buy BOTH bools!!

Cindy Gerard said...

ps - is that internet block program only available for MAC?

Leanne said...

Roxanne, great blog! I think I need to permanently be in a time-management class! I sometimes find I have the cafeteria syndrome. You know what that is, don't you? You go through the cafeteria line and you want everything! Your eyes are bigger than your stomach! So I try to get more done than is really possible. That cover is just gorgeous. It makes me feel Christmassy (in a good way) all over. It sounds wonderful!

KylieBrant said...

Rox, I used to be sooo much more disciplined. But then I found pogo. Who knew ten bridge games could take that much time???

lois greiman said...

Welcome Roxanne, and thanks for joining us.

Love the cover of your new book and I'm sure the actual writing is even better.

By the way...and this is weird...I do have a fannnnntassttic pony for sale. Email me, I'll send pics.

RoxanneRustand said...

Helen, this non-suspense was the most difficult manuscript I've ever done. It was such a challenge trying to find the big turning points to make the story "move" without guns and dead people. The suddenly, things started to flow, and I merrily made it to The End. But when my editor read it, she said she started laughing midway--because I'd subconsciously turned it into a suspense. There was quite a learning curve while revising!

RoxanneRustand said...

Thank you so much, Cindy!

The Freedom program is only for Macs, so I guess Kim and I need to turn you into a convert. I wish I had listened to Kim years earlier!

RoxanneRustand said...

Hi, Leanne,

I love the cafeteria analogy. So true!!

And Lois--I am serious about finding a good pony!


Christie Ridgway said...

I have something I used to jumpstart me when I was going nowhere on the pages...Dr. Wicked's Write or Die (google it). You start typing in his word processing box and you can set it for a time or for a number of words, and then a warning level. It will urge you to keep going when you stall (and gets worse from there).

I really need to start managing my time better. I have a hankering to work on a second project in the evenings and that means a new mindset for me. I usually turn off my brain around 5 pm.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Hi, Rox!

Oh, you've chosen a great setting for WINTER REUNION, as that lovely cover attests. Whenever we feel like taking a leisurely drive, we head for the MN-WI state line and drive south along the mighty Mississippi in one state and head back up in the other. No matter what the season, it's beautiful and relaxing.

I'm saving your list of time management tips. I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for riding with us today.