Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Riding Two Horses

I was watching a television airing of Sweet Home Alabama the other day (don't you just LOVE that movie), and there is a line toward the end that I had forgotten about but I absolutely love it. It's at her wedding when she has this moment where she needs to decide between her old love and her new love and her dad says, "You can't ride two horses with one ass, Sugarbee."

Of course, he was talking about men, but what about the rest of our lives? People are busier now more than ever and if you're anything like me, you're always looking for a way to save time. I've picked up all kinds of ways to save time since I've been writing. The best one is: I make all phone calls while I'm driving to/from work or the airport. Traffic is usually bad anyway and that way I accomplish important business (talking to friends/family) without using up valuable writing or clean underwear time. Multi-tasking is a wonderful thing.

With all the travel I do, I have learned economies in the travel industry also. For instance, if it is only a 2 or 3 day training, I can do the entire thing with a carry-on bag. Does this really save time, you wonder? Heck yeah! I did a 5-day recently in Orlando (can't fit 5 days in a carryon) and waited one hour for my bag to show up. That's an extra hour I could have been at my hotel room and working on my writing.

My latest traveling economy is the broom skirt. I just love the broom skirt. They are cute, light material (so no hot for those of us who are ALWAYS hot) and you can match them with fun summer tops and spiffy sandals and it's still dressy looking for work. The best part about the broom skirt - they need no ironing. Well, they might, but who the heck would know?????

I bought broom skirts in four different colors and that is my new traveling gear. I pull one out of the suitcase, shake it and it's ready to go. It may only save me ten minutes of ironing time, but hey, in ten minutes I can post a blog. :)

So do you have any time-saving techniques you'd like to share? I'm always looking for new ones.


Anonymous said...

Stone Barrington keeps a separate shaving kit packed and ready to go at all times. It contains duplicates of all the grooming aids he uses, so there is no packing and unpacking of these items.
When I send a kid to camp, I use the 1 and 2 gallon zip lock bags. I put 1 complete outfit in each bag, so the kid has to only get one bag out of the suitcase and take one bag to the shower. If he/she drops it on the floor, nothing gets wet. Once the kid is dressed, the used clothing can be put into the same bag, and the smelly clothes are neatly contained. You could do the same thing for your undies and pantyhose/knee highs, and the like, pre-chosen per outfit. Your jewelry/assessories would be in a sandwich sized bag inside the larger bag of undies. When you do your laundry, you could repack for the next trip.
You could use 2 gallon zip lock bags for a "cold weather kit" and a "rainy weather kit" that stay ready to go all the time. The cold weather kit would contain warm socks, boots, gloves, ice scrapers/spray. (Maybe snackfoods) A good all weather raincoat with a zip out liner would work for both bags. Umbrella. Rain boots or shoes that don't ruin in wet weather. (suade ruins)
Carry an over the door hanger rack for your clothes and keep them in the hotel bathroom. While you are showering and shampooing, the steam will refresh your clothes and remove wrinkles.
One of the reasons why Karen Kingsbury can write so quickly is all the prewriting she does. She seems to have a lot in common with Phyllis A. Whitney in that regard. She starts with an idea, a working title, names her characters, gives them a biography, strengths, weaknesses, and figures out how the story will change them. She then writes very detailed chapter outlines. It's this kind of thing that slows one down when actually writing the book. I have read Stephen King's book ON WRITING, and realize there are many ways and we each have to find our own path. But at some point, we do have to decide these things, and I can see how the actual writing would be quicker if these things were decided in advance. Karen does not tell how much time the preplanning takes.
Do you keep a little journal on the book you are writing? Phyllis A. Whitney suggests one small enough to fit into your purse. Hers is divided into sections: characters, titles, themes, plots, items for research, etc. You might see whether you could use some of your waiting time to make notes in your journal, when you cannot do the actual writing. Sue Grafton keeps journals as she writes. Some of these are on her website for the world to read. Also, a picture of her office. Beautiful.

Jaye Wells said...

How do I save time? I've given up the frivolous things like cleaning the house and cooking.

Kelly Parra said...

Jana, I wish I could save time too! But half the time I'm just so overwhelmed with a list of things to do. :) :)

Wendy Roberts said...

Jana, you must be a master packer by now!

I love all the ziploc bag ideas! I use them a lot too. I have an essential second set of makeup in a ziploc bag ready to go.

Jaye, I'd love to stop cooking and cleaning but after a couple days my kids would be gnawing on my ankles. Of course I wouldn't be able to find them under all the debris.

Jana DeLeon said...

Ziplock bags are a great idea, unless your luggage is searched at the airport - which mine is quite regularly. And believe me - they do NOT pack things back the way they were. I do have travel vs non-travel toiletries and makeup though.

Jaye - I have someone clean the house and mostly eat out. That's why I'm fat and getting fatter. But hey, I'm selling books, right? :)

Kelly - I hear ya. Every day I wake up at least ten things behind. (sigh)

Wendy - That's what you get for having all those kids - thin ankles. :)

Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

Jana, you and I are truly soul-sisters...I too have invested in broom skirts...I love how they are just as comfy as jeans, but look much classier for going out :)

And yes, I also pay someone to clean my house and eat out every day....it's worth ir for the extra hours I get for the craft :)

Jana DeLeon said...

ah, my soul-sister, dona - lover of broom skirts and not cleaning your own house. Welcome and thanks for stopping by!

I think broom skirts are the absolute bomb and so cute. How could you ask for anything more?

And I agree with you - the money spent in trade for writing time is well worth it!

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