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Organization is not my long suit. Or my short one. In fact, the truth is: I was born without the organizational gene. Any skills I have to the contrary have been extremely hard-won and are definitely rough around the edges. And most of my organizational energy is necessarily focused on work. And, ironically, one of the things I teach my students is–you guessed it–organization. But, I guess maybe the old adage rings true: Those who can’t organize, teach.
I’m also a complete sucker for organizational aids. Calendars, colorful Post-Its, fancy pens in multiple colors, plugins, iPhone apps, file folders, fancy accordian files, tabs, white boards…I’ve purchased all of these (and multiples of some). Through trial and error I’ve found that digital aids don’t work for me. I need to be able to write on a calendar and cross things off my lists. Erasing or scoring items on a computer (or a phone) is not only dissatisfying, but has little discernible value for me. So, even though I have the option of using iCal or the Google calendar, I don’t.
For my blog, I’ve tried a number of different things. I bought a daily planner (it color-coordinated with my blog!). I bought an erasable white board calendar (with a full array of markers!). I bought a fancy Post-It calendar (with lots of extra Post-Its!). I printed month-by-month calendar templates off the internet (Uh…where did I put May again?). Finally (and most recently), I bought a twelve-month planner, with one month per page. This has worked best for me so far and, yet…there are still many blank months.
Then there are the other Things. Like organizing my shelves on Goodreads, not to mention labeling them properly. I can do this when I post a review, but otherwise? Uh…nope. Doesn’t happen. What about weeding through my emails and putting them in different folders? Well, now I have a million-zillion folders, many of which overlap due to past, forgotten attempts at organization. And don’t even get me started on the categories for my posts. I have nightmares about attempting to deal with that rat’s nest. Seriously.
When I do fill out my blog calendar–whether it’s a week or a month in advance–I definitely know that my blogging week/month will go more smoothly. The same with task lists and file folders. So why, then, don’t I do it consistently? Laziness, probably. And the fact that I still haven’t gotten over the fantasy that I would be organized if I just had that calendar/pen/file box. I mean, seriously. I drool over The Container Store’s website.
What I need isn’t advice on how to organize, but how to stay on top of it. How to get over that mental block of “If I just had this/that/or the other thing.” Or maybe I just need occupation therapy. I hear that can help.
How do you organize? Do you organize?
What helps you stay on top of it?
On the heels of last week’s discussion on Blogging Resolutions, I decided to turn my focus on my Reading Resolutions for the new year. I don’t have many because I’m not very good at resolutions in general. Or setting goals. Or reading challenges. I’ve decided to keep it simple so I might actually be able to achieve them this year.
I know you guys are biting your nails in anticipation and hugging the edge of your seats, so here goes:
- Goal: Read one nonfiction book. If I do this, it will be a one hundred percent improvement on 2012!
- Goal: Read one classic. I have not decided which one, but I’m leaning in the direction of Wuthering Heights. I’ve been avoiding it because, well, I didn’t like Jane Eyre. I know I shouldn’t judge one Bronte sister because of another but, well.too late.
- Goal: Read a minimum of 52 books per year. So, approximately a book a week.
- Goal: To actually keep track of the books that I read via Goodreads.
- Goal: Participate in a book club, either online or in real life. I’ve got a line one of each!
That’s it! I told you I was keeping it simple.
What are your New Year’s reading resolutions?
Happy New Year everyone! I hope all of you had a fun holiday–whether it was spent quietly at home or out and about ringing in the new year. Or both. Or neither. At any rate, welcome to 2013!
As you know, the new year generally marks a time of making resolutions. We resolve to lose weight, visit our parents more often or, I don’t know, finally finish that leprechaun-themed bedspread. I suppose you could say that it’s a time for good intentions. I, personally, am the queen of good intentions. It’s just that my follow-through isn’t so hot. That’s why, this year, I’m putting my 2013 Blogging Resolutions up on the blog. I may even keep a tally on my sidebar–who knows? We’ll have to see if that’s something that will motivate me…or make me feel worse.
Anyway, here goes:
- I resolve to post more regularly. 2012 was an irregular posting year for me. I’m not pointing any fingers, but it was totally my work’s fault.
- I resolve to schedule more posts in advance. This resolution is in support of #1. I know for a fact that I can post more regularly if I can get things done in advance. In addition to completing posts in advance, I resolve to get them started earlier. For example, I can set up my review posts so they’re all ready for me to insert my thoughts.
- I resolve to dedicated more day-to-day time to blogging. I don’t do enough of this, so things build up and then I’m too overwhelmed to do even the small things. No more! Bad Ruby!
- I resolve to plan more events. I miss planning events! Small and I talk about our next big project, but we’ve both been too busy to make it happen. In addition to working with Small, though, I have lots of little projects boiling around in my brainbox. For example: The Slave to Sensation read-along I’ve been too scatterbrained to get off the ground.
- I resolve to respond to the comments left on my blog. I always resolve to do this, but it bears repeating.
- I resolve to comment more on others’ blogs. Ditto #4.
- I resolve to say “no” more often. I never, ever want to say no to a blogging opportunity, and this often gets me in trouble.
- I resolve to read more books that I want to read. I majorly suck at this, which has been a big problem for me in the last year. I’ve been feeling so much pressure from my review pile that nothing has appealed to me. I started dozens of books only to abandon them after the first couple of pages. To this end, I’ve tentatively dipped my toes back in the quagmire of NetGalley. Well, it’s a quagmire for me. I’m requesting titles, but only after serious consideration.
Those are my 2013 Blogging Resolutions. I know there are a lot of them, but I’m not expecting to have perfect success in all (any) of them. These are just areas I’d like to pay more attention to in the new year. I can do better, I know it. I’m going to try my darnedest to keep these resolutions. Though I’ll probably need a reminder or two. Er…is there an app for that?
What are your New Year’s blogging resolutions?
I’m a mood-driven person. I read when I want to (though that’s most of the time), and can’t be persuaded to even touch a book when I’m not. Usually, though, this distaste for books is genre-based. For example, there are plenty of times when I feel that, if I read another vampire book, I may turn into a violent, frenzied bloodsucker myself.
More often than lacking desire to read, though, I suffer from what I call Reading ADD. This is when I cannot settle on any one book. I’ll pick up title after title and lose interest after a chapter or two–if I’m lucky. My mind may be telling me that some fantastic books are slow-starters, or that characters change and evolve over the course of books (usually), and three pages isn’t enough to decide whether or not I like the MC, but my attention span isn’t listening. Thus does my (temporary) DNF pile grow.
Sometimes, when this happens to me, I’ll reread an old favorite. I’ll pick something that I know will capture my interest–after all, it did at least once before. And sometimes that works. Other times…not so much. That’s when I begin to think that I might need to be medicated. The only reliable cure for Reading ADD is time. Eventually–though it’s usually much longer than I’d like it to be–I’ll refocus.
Part of the problem, I know, is trouble identifying what I want to read. Am I in the mood for some steamy contemporary romance? Or maybe I want some light and fluffy YA? Because money is tight, and I have the kind of TBR pile that sometimes gives me nightmares, I no longer allow myself the luxury of buying ebooks. Occasionally, if I’m really desperate, I’ll scour the blogosphere for some recommendations on good, cheap indie titles. It’s rare for those books to have the kind of attention-grab that I need to get back on track.
So. My question is this: Do you guys ever suffer from Reading ADD? And even if you don’t, do you have any suggestions as to how to bounce back from this horrific ailment? What do you do when you run into trouble settling on any one read? Or am I alone in this phenomena? I may be crazy, but I’m willing to bet there’s at least one of you out there who can empathize…
‘Scuze me, have you entered my
Since attending BEA, I feel that I’ve discovered a new level of discomfort. Until recently, my contact with authors was limited to emails and, one on or two occasions, Google-chatting in Gmail. It wasn’t until I went to BEA that I met any authors face-to-face. And, while I didn’t meet any particularly special to me, I did meet actual, published writers. Of course, I’m shy, so most meetings were limited to interactions like these:
Me: Um, hi.
Author: Thank you for coming… (raises eyebrows in a question)
Me: Ruby (awkwardly holds out badge)
Author: …Ruby. Is this book for you or a friend? (keeping pen poised)
Me: Um, ah, er, yeah, for um, me. (shuffles feet)
Author (signing, then looking over my shoulder at the person behind me): Well, I hope you enjoy it.
Queen of Conversation I am not. While I was at BEA, I overheard many a blogger conversations about how nice this or that author was, and I’d think, How could you tell? You were in their presence for a total of 30 seconds! Within that period of time, lots of people would probably think Hitler was nice.
Granted, others clearly had more than six-sentence conversations with the authors at BEA. I stand by my assertion, though, that a quick meet and greet attended by hundreds of people is hardly enough time to get to know anyone. It is, however, long enough for me to feel a pang over the negative thoughts I had as I recently read Elemental. The things that I said in my review I would never be able to say to anyone’s face. It’s not that I think anything I said was mean, cruel, or even dishonest. I wrote the review that I felt best reflected my opinions. But, would I ever be brave enough to say any of those things to her face?
Am I fooling myself that the physical and emotional distance of the internet softens the blow of one’s words? Well, I can see some pros and cons. On the one hand:
- The internet means that the author can be alone when he or she processes bad reviews. He or she can (should he or she choose) cuss me out, throw things, punch pillows and violently knead bread dough, or whatever.
On the other:
- Those negative comments are on the internet. For the whole world to see.
I’ve weighed in on the discomfort (and importance) or writing negative reviews before, and I honestly thought I’d made my peace with this issue. I was wrong. Something about standing in front of the authors whose books I was reviewing unsettled me. I try, in all aspects of my life, to be mindful of others. Heck, it’s part of my job as a teacher to teach my students to do the same thing. So, to restate, my question is this:
Am I fooling myself that the distance of the internet is enough to soften the blow of a negative review?
The problem is that, as a person who struggles to express her opinion in “real life,” I greatly appreciate the internet (specifically, this blog), as a place where I feel comfortable saying what I think. Is it a problem that I say things here that I wouldn’t be able to say to the author in person? Am I over-thinking things? Weigh-in please! I want to know what you think…