Time Management in the Word Crone Cottage

Time management is always a struggle for me. Lots of ideas. So little time to actualize. Okay, actually a lifetime of time, but if I am living every day as if it’s my last, then that’s not a lot of time! 😀

I do try to tackle large projects by breaking them down into tinier projects. It’s a skill that I guess every novelist learns to employ: plot novel, breaking it down into plot points that show character growth, write one word at a time to form sentences into paragraphs into pages into chapters into a novel. Slash and burn, edit, repeat.

So after posting my Friday post on Thursday night, I got the big idea to move my fish ponds. You know the type – hard plastic, 6ft X 4ft, amorphous with a deep center so the fishies can over-winter outside. I’ve never really liked where I put those ponds.

Breaking down a big task into tiny tasks…

So I broke it down into tiny tasks. Day 1 – empty water, rocks and wildlife out of pond 1, move pond 1 across the yard and refill with water, and rocks. (Gotta wait a day to make sure the water is the right temperature for the critters. Day 2 – migrate critters to pond 1 in new location. Booyah. Done. Day 3, empty pond 2 of water, rocks and any critters I may have missed. (I’m talking about you, Mr. 7-inch salamander and four bull frogs. How did I miss four bull frogs?) Day 4 – look at both ponds in their new potential location. Decide I hate the new location, and begin the process all over again to the new new location on either side of the foot bridge over the dry stream bed. Move pond 2. Dig the massive hole in the yard and refill original holes. Day 5 – move fishies, frogs and … where is that salamander? Day 6 – move second pond to new new location, digging another massive hole. Day 7 – edge with brick and later decide that looks weird. Start the process of replacing with stones from around the yard, then realize you’re due to finish a blog post in a few hours.

Reflecting on a week of pond moving…

I didn’t manage my time very well, with the one set-back of moving both ponds to the wrong spot before finding the perfect spot. Sigh. Oh well, such is gardening. You try a plant in a spot, it dies or doesn’t thrive or looks silly in that spot, and you move it. It’s the same with writing. You write a sentence. You let it stew and grow ugly hairs and warts, you re-write it, shuffle it to another scene, fix it again, trim it and sometimes you just throw it in the trash. I shuffle things in the yard as often as I shuffle furniture in the house, and believe me, I shuffle furniture… a lot!

Speaking of shuffled furniture. I “shuffled” an entire wardrobe right out into the yard. I tried to give it away on Marketplace. Afterall, it was a serviceable, solid walnut wardrobe. Sadly, no one wants to move a solid walnut wardrobe, not even after you’ve moved it outside to the edge of the driveway, so I think that will be my next project requiring some time management. My daughter is getting married in two months, so my blog posts until then will be filled with awkward tie-ins to writing, of course, but lots and lots of wedding-related projects. And if the wardrobe transformation is a fail, well, it won’t make it into the blog post next week. Or maybe it will. You’ve gotta be willing to kill your darlings, in writing, and furniture flipping.

Did I mention that I also managed to move the firepit this week? Oh, and I was able to construct a sort of make-shift step into the gable door of my office. The hope is, when the weather is nicer, I can swing those doors open for a fresh perspective.

Hope you have a great, productive week. May you master the art of time management and make some art. Read a book!


Cozy Southern Mystery: What’s Behind Curtain Number 3?

In the vein of blogging and stretching the topic to encompass that which I write (Southern Gothic Cozy Mysteries) and setting a weekly goal toward completing my pandemic project of converting my garden variety (pun intended) shed into a writing studio, I’m back again this Friday with the near-completion of the fourth side of the Word Crone Cottage.

This wall consists of all shelving – unattractive, plywood and 2X4, potting shed grade shelving. It was tough to make it look fancy, so I painted it, divided it into three compartments with extra shelves, partitions, and some gnarly porch posts I had on hand. (Doesn’t everyone have gnarly wooden posts just laying around?) Their purpose in all this is to just cover the crap behind it with curtains made from drop cloths.

So, what is behind curtain number three? I’m a compartmentalist. (Is it a word? It is now.) Curtain number one hides everything related to the business of writing – a printer, tax documents, books on grammar and story structure. Curtain number two houses all things artsy. In addition to writing, I whip out the odd illustration. (More on that in another blog post. It’s all storytelling.) And curtain number three houses the recording studio. (Very dark, so it doesn’t photograph well, thus all the closed curtains. (Maybe I’ll share an audio short story in the future. I should write down these blog post ideas.)

I loved the ceiling solution of covering the insulation with a dropcloth. Unfortunately, Scout has decided that it and the wood slabs that are currently stored in the rafters are there for her own enjoyment. Her new favorite napping spot is either on the wood slabs (that’s fine) or in the drop cloth ceiling covers. (Not fine.)

Next week I’ll share the last bit of renovation – the loft over this wall of shelves, (thus the reason for the theater ladder.) Woo hoo. I’m really looking forward to wrapping up my pandemic project, but is anything ever truly finished? Well, we can hope to see an end to the pandemic someday.  I’ll have some painted accent pieces to share along the way, but I’m already planning the next project, so please join me on Fridays… and in the meantime, enjoy this little “before” view of the next project.

Until then, make some art, read some books!