Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Welcome Brenda Novak!

Today I'm so happy to welcome back my good friend Brenda Novak! Whether you're a reader or writer, a fan or an Auction junky, Brenda always finds time to support and mentor the people in her life.

New York Times Best-selling Author Brenda Novak has three novels coming out this summer—THE PERFECT COUPLE, THE PERFECT LIAR, and THE PERFECT MURDER, all part of her popular Last Stand Series. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May at To date, she’s raised over $770,000. Brenda considers herself lucky to be a mother of five and married to the love of her life.

Please say hi to Brenda today as she talks about a universal problem most women experience -- how to manage your time more productively. Today she's giving away two fan packs containing the first three books in the Last Stand series, so be sure to comment and share your ideas on time management (or in my case, the lack thereof :-D).


Time Management is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Why? Because one thing I don’t plan into my day is time to relax and just “hang,” and that’s so important to relationships. Just being available to people is a great way to build stronger ties, but being available requires flexibility which is difficult for me and other workaholics to manage.

If my kids want to go somewhere or create something, I can put it on the calendar and make it happen. But what about those times when certain subjects wouldn’t come up if you weren’t just puttering around the house together, cooking or cleaning or shooting the breeze? My weakness in this area is why I don’t consider myself an expert on this subject.

I think I’m great at getting stuff done. People ask me all the time, “How do you do it all?” But time management shouldn’t be about accomplishing the most in the least amount of time. It should be about balance, about nurturing those around us while we accomplish a reasonable amount.

So now that you know my greatest weakness (I’ve actually had to set goals to stop what I’m doing and let the rest go until tomorrow—LOL), I’ll tell you how I manage to write three books (and one novella) a year, travel, speak and promote my books, run a major charity fundraiser and raise five kids.

First of all, I do it by taking care of myself. Sometimes the hour I take out of my day for exercise seems like a waste. There are so many other things I want to do with that time. But I remind myself that if I’m healthy and have energy, I will be able to accomplish more in less time. And it’s true. If I get enough rest and exercise, I feel strong and capable, and it makes a big difference in my daily output.

Another sure-fire trick is to prioritize what must be done each day and to do the most important things first. That may sound like a no-brainer, and yet it’s so easy to let ourselves get diverted. If exercising every day is your goal, do it first thing in th
e morning. But if it’s more important for you to write ten pages a day, start with that instead. That way, when the unexpected intrudes as the hours progress, and the day begins to get away from you, you’ll still accomplish those things that are most important to you.

Keeping myself on an even emotional keel is another thing that really increases my productivity. This isn’t always easy, of course. Problems crop up, sorrows intrude, accidents happen. But developing some type of inner peace helps you withstand the emotional
buffeting that goes along with the bumps of life.

Some people use meditation. Others read an inspiring story. Still others keep a gratitude journal. All of these are great techniques. I simply close my eyes, take a deep breath, and think, “Be still and know that I am God.” This usually brings me right back to my center, and if it doesn’t, I begin counting my blessings—taking a look at what I’ve got instead of what I don’t have.

And who doesn’t like killing two birds with one stone? I print out pages from my current WIP and edit while I ride my Exercycle. I listen to research programs on True Crime TV while I clean house. I read my latest manuscript to my husband whenever he has to drive somewhere for work. And, prob
ably the best thing I’ve done to date, I’ve hired an assistant. I thought this was something I shouldn’t allow myself—being raised by a frugal mother I felt as if I couldn’t justify such a luxury—but I’ve been able to extend my reach on so many fronts, thanks to this decision.

How do you increase your productivity? Do you agree that time management is more about balance than it is about working every minute? How do you make yourself take time out?

JO: What great tips, Brenda. Thanks for the advice and thanks for joining us today.

Whether we're writers or readers, we all need to be reminded of how best to manage the hours we have. When I was a young mother, I made sure to nurse my babies (at a time when it wasn't so popular) because that way I got to read to my toddler at the same time. Or I watched TV with some sort of handwork, embroidery or mending.
What about you? What tips can you share with us. Or if you're like ME, what disasters? Come on, we all need a laugh and some of my most hilarious moments are trying to save time and failing miserably.
Be sure to leave a comment for the chance to win a fan pack!


limecello said...


limecello said...

Hi Brenda! Thanks so much for visiting with us today! :D

As for the question... Well... time management is not my good point. I seem to do everything by the seat of my pants. Like, it's nearly 1 AM, and I have to be sitting in a warehouse being brilliant for 8 hours tomorrow. Joy.

jo robertson said...

Lime!! Whatever happened to the !!!?? I know, I shouldn't encourage you LOL.

Brenda, I'm sure you remember from visiting us previously that we award the wily, wicked golden wooster to the first commenter of the day.

Really, Lime, you're going to have to explain "sitting in a warehouse being brilliant." It has shades of "Warehouse 13."

Lynz Pickles said...

Congrats, limecello. I'm with Jo on the "sitting in a warehouse being brilliant" thingie - explain, explain! (Yes, I know, curiosity killed the cat and all, but I'm really more of a dog person, so...)

I am wonderful at managing my time, unless I have to actually accomplish something related to that evil thing called "the real world". Or if I have to do something that involves other people, period. Schedule my day so that I can read three books, take a bath, and eat copious amounts of ice cream? No problem! Add in a trip to the bookstore or to buy bubble bath or ice cream? No problem! Add in doing a favour for a family member? Problem! I'm basically not so big on accomplishing stuff other than reading a lot. And eating ice cream. (Speaking of which, I've just discovered dark chocolate ice cream. Really, need I say anything more?)

Being serious, though, I agree with you completely, Brenda. Letting yourself have "you" time and staying balanced are much more effective than going, going, going all the time. It's a quantity vs. quality thing, and if you choose quantity, you'll end up burning out.

Christine Wells said...

Jo, thanks for bringing Brenda along to the lair today. She's such a favourite with us all.

Brenda, that's so wise about making a space for giving time to the family. I'm trying to achieve that balance now, myself. Writing books takes a lot of time and that time can expand ad infinitum and that's without all the promo and palaver that goes along with it. It's so easy for writing work to seep into every available space in the schedule.

I'm sure there are many instances where I've tried to save time by doing two or three things at once, and often it has resulted in a burned dinner, or an unsupervized child who has made a horrendous mess that takes even more time to clean up! More haste, less speed...

Hey, Limecello, congrats on getting the rooster today!

Helen said...

Well done Limecello and yes I want to know about the warehouse as well.

What a great post Brenda time managment what is that I get things done but I don't do things in any sort of order I try very hard to make sure I spend time with all of my family and I also make sure I have me time where I can sit and read or catch up on blogs.
Things are a little easier here at home now with only hubby and I plus the dogs but my family drop in constantly which I love I have had this week off work and my new bookshelves are coming along really well but Bec went back to work this week from maternity leave and yes the last 2 days I have minded Jake and am having him tomorrow as well but I do so enjoy my time with him.

When my kids were younger I minded my girlfriends kids and they are pretty much the same age as mine so there was a time there when I would have 4 pre schoolers watching TV while I breast feed Brooke and fed Ian a bottle at the same time that way we all got to spend time together those were the days I sometimes wonder how I ever managed with 6 kids under 5 but I did it and loved it we all had so much fun.

Brenda you are an amazing Lady and huge crongats to you for all that you have done and the success of you auction. Thanks Jo for inviting Brenda back today oh and Brenda the books sound fantastic.

Have Fun

Emmanuelle said...

I'm a regular visitor here and I'm really happy to see Brenda Novak as a guest.
I love her books and can't wait to put my hands on those 2 new ones. As for managing my time, well... being a young mother I've discovered that nap time is sacred... for the mother that is. What would I do without those 3 hours every afternoon ???

Razlover's Book Blog said...

Hi Jo and Brenda!

Great interview and tips!

Time management is one of my good points because I can schedule reading a book, eating lunch, blogging on my blog, spend time with my family and eat dinner and dessert.

Jane said...

Hi Brenda,
Congrats on the new release. I can't wait to read "The Perfect Couple." I've heard a lot about mediation, too. I'll definitely have to find out more about it. I'm not great at time management. I do like to map out my day the night before so that I know what and when things need to be done. If things are hectic I make sure to take a ten minute break and walk away from the desk and computer. The break will recharge my batteries and make me more productive.

Congrats on the GR, Limecello.

Laurie said...

Time Management: I'm an early riser so I get my chores: cooking prep, cleaning, etc, done before the rest of the household wakes up. NO INTERRUPTIONS!!
Works for me!!

jo robertson said...

LOL, Lynz, you're my kind of gal! One of the perks of being a retiree or a stay-at-home worker (fondly known as MOM), is you can somewhat schedule your own time. Change things up a little.

I think the burn out danger is all too real for people. Someone was just talking to me about Facebook the other day and how her life had gotten so much busier since she got "hooked" on it. Her husband's doing an intervention LOL.

jo robertson said...

Christine, I think it's particularly hard when you have young children to manage your time. So much of what they do is just . . . UNPREDICTABLE. You can't always planned for the disasters or the small needs you'll have to attend to.

My middle daughter is home with her three-year-old for the second year in a row as the other two start school. She was lamenting that she hadn't gotten anything done last year (big projects, etc). But I reminded her that a lot of what we accomplish isn't "see-able" until years down the road.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Helen, how's Jake coming along? How wonderful to be tending him. I have Emma tomorrow and haven't had her for several weeks as her mom's work schedule changed. I miss the little stinker! But I do have to plan carefully on the days I have her because otherwise nothing else gets done. Do you find it the same? Does your husband help tend Jake?

Minna said...

Time Management: don't agree to look after a dog with a selective hearing! Today Eve run off to my cousins cottage twice, chased after birds around a pond for hours and then came back as if nothing had happened.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Emmanuelle, about the naps. Nothing should come between a mom and her nap! Have you tried power naps? My oldest daughter does those and says they work very well. Me, I want a full-blown one!

And napping is a great point to add. I think many of us look at napping as being lazy or a waste of time when, in fact, I can get more done in the long run.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Razlover! I love your schedule list LOL.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Jane, good advice on taking breaks. I think we often get obsessive about what we're involved in at the moment and forget to take those little refresher breaks.

And when I don't I usually get a terrible kink in my neck from hovering at the computer!

I'm dying to read THE PERFECT COUPLE too, which released yesterday, I think. Is that right, Brenda?

jo robertson said...

Laurie, I'm impressed! I'd never be able to do that before the family wakes up. If it's quiet in the house, I want to putter, read, check my email.

Okay, you're my new goddess!

Anonymous said...

Jo and Brenda, thanks for a great blog. Brenda, it really threw me for a loop to hear someone say exactly what I've been trying to teach myself of late. I am a chronic workaholic and overachiever-- I juggle a full time day job, writing several books a year, being mommy to two young kids, and trying to squeeze in daily yoga and meditation! The thing I don't put in my schedule is down time. So I've been trying to teach myself how to prioritize doing nothing but being around with my husband and kids. It isn't easy, let me tell you!!

Jo, my "overscheduling" stories are numerous and so embarrassing. Not leaving time to hit the restroom between meetings, running to the restroom in desperation and ending up in the boy's restroom, biking to work in a hurry and leaving behind the change of clothes for the office...oy. If there's an embarrassing thing out there to do, believe me, I've done it!

jo robertson said...

ROTFL, Minna, that was my LOL moment of the day. I can just see Eve's "innocent" look as she pretends she's been behaving all day.

Children and dogs are sooooo much alike. My friend Kelly says if you can train a dog, you can handle any child!

How much time did you eat up looking for her?

jo robertson said...

Oh, Kirsten, when I first met you in person in San Francisco, I knew you and Brenda were soul sisters. She's a powerhouse just like you.

But there's a reason the flight attendants say to put on your own oxygen mask first (against all motherly instincts) before anyone else's.

We're taught not to be selfish, but (and I speak from my seriously older age LOL) we have to take care of ourselves FIRST.

jo robertson said...

LOL, Kirsten, my favorite is not taking "office clothes" after biking to work. That's just plain hilarious!

Did someone bring your clothes or did you have to trot around all day in biker shorts and a tank?

jo robertson said...

Brenda will be along shortly. It's 7:30 on the west coast and I imagine she's on her exercycle while eating breakfast, watching the morning news, and editing a manuscript, all the while giving herself a manicure!

Just kidding!

I'm off to do the dreadful treadmill, but I'll check back.

Brenda Novak said...

Ack! Finally! I really need to write down my Google account information. LOL I always think I'll remember it and never do, which means I have to go through the whole "send me my password" exercise. I have actually been reading the comments for a while.

And I could've won the rooster, if only I'd remembered it. I logged on late last night, saw there weren't any comments and logged off. LOL


Brenda Novak said...

Lime--My hubby is a seat of the pants type of person. He's SO much better at breaking away from what he's doing to help out with this or that. I HAVE to finish. It's like a compulsion. LOL Much more stressful for me to stop in the middle. BUT...if you give me and my husband the same amount of work, I'll finish it in less than half the time. LOL I guess there's good and bad to every trait.


Kim Howe said...

Jo, Brenda, fantastic post. Time is the one commodity we'd all love more of! Rather than multi-tasking (because I find that my stress levels skyrocket and I often make mistakes), I try and focus completely on each task that I'm doing, then moving on to the next one. Believe it or not, I find I get more done by tackling things one at a time.

Brenda Novak said...

Lynz--Love the line "I'm wonderful at managing my time, unless I actually have to accomplish something." That's a classic for this discussion! LOL


Brenda Novak said...

Christine--Thanks for the welcome. Notice I didn't mention cooking while talking about killing two birds with one stone. I *always* get sucked into whatever else I'm doing and ruin what was on the stove. My kids have gotten to where they won't let me go anywhere near my guest house (which is where I work) when they want attention because I get "sucked in," as they say.

By the way, we've been eating a lot of watermelon this summer. Hard to ruin that. LOL


Brenda Novak said...

Hi Jo! Thanks for having me. This is one of my favorite blogs. :-)

I guess I can quit signing these. Looks like Google does that for me. Sorry for the redundancy, folks!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Helen--

Six kids under the age of five? Oi! That would be tough. My husband's cousin just came to visit. She has seven kids twelve and under, two of which are twins she adopted from Africa. I thought it would be a zoo around here, but they were great kids. I really enjoyed them. And my two boys (which are all I have left at home) LOVED tossing them around and wrestling with them.

And did you say you're getting new bookshelves? Oooo...I'm jealous! My shelves are stuffed. I need new ones!

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Emmanuelle (pretty name to go with a pretty girl, by the way)--I remember those days well. I was distraught if someone woke up the kids in the middle of nap time. With a husband who worked almost all the time, it was my only break.

Thanks for saying you like my books. Hopefully, THE PERFECT COUPLE will be a new favorite for you. I think it's one of my personal favs.

Brenda Novak said...

Wow, Raz! Your life sounds perfect! LOL And who is that gorgeous man in the picture? You should check out *my* gorgeous man. You can download him from my Web site in 3D. :-))

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Jane--

Hope you like COUPLE.

You're very right about taking ten minutes to walk away from the computer. I don't know why I have such a hard time doing that. I always feel as if there's not enough time in the day and don't dare. I'm trying to force myself. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Laurie--I agree. Getting up early really helps. It's those few hours in the morning where we can work without guilt because the kids are sleeping, you know?

Brenda Novak said...

Yep, Jo. COUPLE came out yesterday. I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I'm offering a stylish Brenda Novak mini-tote, autographed bookplate and 3D viewer/bookmark in exchange for your receipt for THE PERFECT COUPLE, purchased this week. You can get more details from my web site (

Brenda Novak said...

LOL Minna. Good luck with the dog!

Kirsten--It's interesting how we can get compulsive about work, isn't it? It actually causes stress to have to slow down. Weird, I know, but there it is.

Minna said...

I can just see Eve's "innocent" look as she pretends she's been behaving all day.

Yeah. Too bad for her I could hear her splashing around and the noises the birds made when she chased them. Eve took an early start there. It's not hunting season just yet. Waiting for Eve to show up again ate up more time than actually trying to find her, since I knew where she was.

Brenda Novak said...

By the way, for those who are interested, I'm blogging over at PubRants today, too. It's Agent Kristin Nelson's blog, and there are a lot of publishing officials who read and post. We're discussing "When cover art goes bad..."

I don't think I've mentioned it here, but when I received my author copies of THE PERFECT COUPLE and pulled the first book from the box, I realized that there was a serious problem with the cover--you couldn't read my name or part of the title because they'd used foil that was so dark there wasn't enough contrast with the black cover. It sent me and my publisher in an immediate tailspin (since all the books had been printed and shipped), trying to figure out what to do about the problem. I tell the whole story at Pub Rants, if you'd like to hear what happened and the resolution.

jo robertson said...

Too funny, Brenda! I don't think we've ever had a guest win the rooster. You could probably use his services, hmmmm, but Limecello's doing something brilliant in a warehouse that may or may not involve him.

jo robertson said...

Brenda's husband Ted is a sweetheart. I can totally see him pitching in and helping out around the house.

Do you think writers are by nature more organized and keep to a schedule kind of people? It seems so at odds with the muse.

jo robertson said...

Good tip, KJ! I must confess that I get distracted easily and try to do more than one thing at a time. Sometimes it works, but often it backfires LOL.

jo robertson said...

What a cool gift, Brenda!

So, if you've bought or are going to buy THE PERFECT COUPLE, be sure to check out Brenda's website for the free mini-tote and goodies for the receipt!

jo robertson said...

Arrggggh, Brenda, a bad cover is a writer's nightmare.

My friend and I were just having this discussion the other day: How much does the cover art affect your desire to buy the book? How important do you think it is for sales?

Beth said...

Welcome back, Brenda! One of the previous times you blogged with us, I asked you about time management and you mentioned doing the most important thing first. That has really stuck with me and I've been able to get more writing done so Thanks!

I love all of your tips and I definitely agree about time management being about balance *g*

I don't multitask anymore because I found I had lots of projects going but didn't complete half of them. And right now, I'm focusing on being present.

This really hit home for me when my husband and I were taking our 3 mile walk and I realized I was plotting my story while he was talking to me! I felt horrible so my new goal is to stay in the moment :-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Lime, congrats on the chook!

Brenda, welcome back to the lair. We love you to visit! And it was lovely to see you at Nationals, even if only briefly. Congratulations on your THREE books this summer - I'm hyperventilating at the idea of writing three books and a novella a year. You truly are superwoman - either that, or you've got some really keen elves in the basement!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Brenda!

WELCOME back to the Lair! We love having you as a guest and BIG THANX to Jo-Mama for inviting you.

I'm afraid Time Management and me are in a constant wrestling match (I'd much rather wrestle Dwayne The Rock Johnson, btw)! I'm afraid I'm one of those people who would never finish anything if not for "The Last Minute!" Oh well, I'm afraid I'm too old to change at this point.

Your cover issues sound like a real NIGHTMARE! So glad it was all resolved and in a positive way.

Can't wait to read Couple!


Brenda Novak said...

Hi Jo--

The cover thing has definitely been a concern. Not the way I wanted to start out a new trilogy--that's for sure. But my fans are being super supportive, so I hope it will all turn out to be just fine. We'll see. It's out of my hands now.

Ted is good to help, when he's home. He's also a workaholic, but he's better at pulling off task and juggling. He can talk to me while carrying on a conversation on the phone while cooking a meal while tinkering with his lap top and listening to TV in the background. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

I think cover art affects my decision--but only so far as instantly identifying the genre, you know? Author name weighs more heavily with me, but the goal is to get someone who has never tried one of your books to pick up a copy. For that, even though its a secondary factor for most people, the packaging becomes important, don't you agree?

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Aunty Cindy--

Thanks for the welcome. The cover issue has been resolved to the point we can resolve it. None of the new books are out yet. They won't be out until August 3rd or 4th so what's out there is the old stuff. I'll be interesting to see how it sells.

I hang out with a lot of "last minute" sorts and love them. My hubby is one, as I've probably mentioned. I can't put things off or I panic that I won't finish in time. I'm the early bird type. LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Beth--So glad the tip was useful. I had to laugh at your story of plotting while walking with your husband. I tend to do that type of thing, too. Now when I zone out he'll say, "What are you doing? Plotting?" LOL

Brenda Novak said...

Hi Anna--

It was definitely a pleasure to meet you at national.

Thanks for the kudos on my books. Doing so many in one year is definitely a lot of work, but it's great when it comes time for them to be released (except for all the concerted promo effort--LOL).

Becke Davis said...

Great to see you here, Brenda! It was great meeting you in DC. I am struggling with balance right now. It's too easy to skip the exercise when you're hot on the trail of a turning point. I'm forcing myself to get out and go for more walks, even when rain limits my options. I really hate that treadmill.

jo robertson said...

Glad you re-mentioned doing the important things first, Beth. This is something I've just learned to do with regards to my writing. I usually get up, eat breakfast, exercise, shower. And then, I'm too tired to think!

Now I try to get at least an hour or two in writing before I do the physically demanding things.

LOL, it's so easy to let your thoughts on writing take over your attention to others. I've been so guilty of this with Dr. Big, especially when he tells me about him getting another eagle on the golf course.

jo robertson said...

Seriously, Anna, I think Brenda has a clone in the basement! No elves, I know, because we hardly ever have basements here in California LOL.

But you're awfully busy too, Anna. Any time management tips for us?

Helen said...


Yes Poppy helps lots actually he will be looking after Jake the days Bec works beacause I am at work and he is so good with the grandkids he loves spending time with them all.
Corey will be here today as well and don't they grow up so quickley I bet Emma is turning into a little Lady

Yes I bought 3 new bookshelves I really needed the room all of my kids have left home now so I have 3 spare bedrooms and I am turning one of them into a "library" for me.

Have Fun

jo robertson said...

I guess I do agree with the packaging being important. I've gone by word of mouth mainly. If someone I respect says, "You've got to try this author," I'll him him/her a chance.

I have to admit that some covers turn me off, some of the ones that are really "busy," which seems to happen a lot in sci-fi or paranormal.

Oh, we're calling it Syfy now on television, aren't we? LOL. To me, that's "siff-ee."

jo robertson said...

Hey, Cindy, who wouldn't rather wrestle with the Rock? Drool, drool.

I can do last-minute pretty well, comes from having raised seven children, but I've paid a price to my health with the stress it brings me.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Becke, it's all about the balance, isn't it.

Have you tried saving your favorite TV shows for running or walking on the treadmill. That's what I do, and trust me, I would NOT exercise at all if it weren't for the Winchester boys or BURN NOTICE LOL.

Maureen said...

Time management is definitely not my strong point. I find that I get more done when I write it down because then I realize what needs to be done for the day.

jo robertson said...

Hehehehe, Helen, are you sure you don't want to turn all THREE extra rooms in libraries?

I love the name Poppy for a grandfather. That's so sweet he loves to help with the grandkids.

jo robertson said...

Maureen, I definitely have to have a list. I don't think I can give up my lists; they're my security blanket!

Brenda Novak said...

Becke, great to see you, too! I have your card right here from national. It was fabulous to meet you.

Helen, I'm jealous that you'll have a library. That's my dream (so my living room pretty much looks like a library--LOL).

Brenda Novak said...

Maureen--I LOVE lists. Not only do they keep me organized, they give me a sense of accomplishment when I can go back and cross off a bunch of stuff.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Good morning (my morning) everyone! Welcome back to the Bandit Lair, Brenda. It's always a pleasure to have you stop by.

I love how you equate getting the important stuff done, especially making time to listen to others.

When my kids were schoolage and teens, we had a wild child, so it was important to me that her sister and brother not feel they needed to act out in a bad way to get my attention, too. Often I'd schedule a day just for them. I'd take my son out to eat. (Always easier to get a guy to tell you what's going on in their lives while they're gnoshing on burgers!) My daughter would get a trip to the mall just to look around. Both instances gave me time to bond and listen to them.

As for all the other stuff in life. My writing time is fragmented...because of the nightshift schedule. But there's always a pad of paper in my work bag and a book. If I have a patient, then I read while they're sleeping and between trips in and out of their rooms. If no patient, I may write long hand a scene I'll tweak and expand later.

The Bandit blog takes up a good deal of time. I try to post my monthly blog early. It's the same day every month, (the 28th), so that helps. And if I have guest blogs, like all the other Bandits, I try to get that set up early, so things will run smoothly for me.

Donna MacMeans said...

Brenda Novak! My Hero!

I was in your emotion workshop at National and loved it. Thank you for doing that.

As for time management, I'm afraid I need to crack the whip on myself for letting the writing slide while spending time with other writer friends on email. I do believe maintaining quality of life is extremely important and one can't forget to be there for the kids when pursuing a deadline. Of course, my kids are grown, so I can ignore them a bit more (grin).

Thanks for visiting the lair today and I promise I'll do better with getting the writing done first.

Emmanuelle said...

Brenda you're so sweet ! Thank you ♥♥♥
I'm sure I'm gonna love those books (you've NEVER disapointed me so far !!)

Donna you're so lucky !! I wish I could be an american romance author... so I could attend those workshops everyone is raving about ;-)

catslady said...

I seem to be one extreme or the other. I'm either very busy or don't want to do anything lol. I've always tried to do two things at once, especially if the TV is involved. That when I do my crafts or when I'm at my computer. I always take a book if there is going to be any waiting involved.

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, one of the things I had to learn when I sold was that I had to be really organised about time management. I'm still not fantastic but at least MOST of the time, I feel I've got a handle on things. One thing I picked up was from Margie Lawson who loves lists. I have a master list and I have a daily list. And I always try and put something from the master list on the daily list. And I try not to overbook the daily list as if there's stuff left over, it just makes me feel like I've failed whereas often, I've just been over-ambitious. And you always put the most important stuff first!

Brenda Novak said...

Suzanne, you sound very wise. I'm afraid my diabetic son has made my other son a bit jealous--just because he gets so much more of my attention. I didn't really see that dynamic (since I have five kids) until my third child just moved out. I've gotten so much closer to my non-diabetic son and am really working to make it up to him that he felt a bit left out when he was younger. My youngest is just so much more demanding of my time, even when it isn't related to his disease, that my older quit trying to compete. It's much better now. They're both doing great, but you really hit on something, girl!

Brenda Novak said...

Donna, I'm so glad you enjoyed my workshop. I like giving that one because it encompasses so many aspects of writing. I think I'm going to be giving it again to the New England chapter in March (they're currently trying to decide on which topic they'd like me to address).

Brenda Novak said...

Catslady, I *always* take a book or something with me, too. I hate to wait when I'm feeling so pressed for time already. Having something I feel is worthwhile to do while I wait makes a huge difference.

Brenda Novak said...

Emmanuelle, you'll definitely have to plan a trip to the states, so start saving those pennies. National is not to be missed!

Brenda Novak said...

What crafts do you make, Catslady? I always ask--but watch out. I might ask you to donate one of whatever it is to my annual online auction for diabetes research. LOL

flchen1 said...

Woot! Congrats, Lime! Great to see the GR with you again! And uh, count me in with the others--what's this warehouse deal??

Brenda, you're amazing!! And thanks for the tips on time management--I'm terrible at that, so I can use all the help I can get! ;p

Louisa Cornell said...

Congrats, Lime! You obviously took the time to manage to get the GR! Lucky you! (I think!)

Hello, Brenda!

You still sound like Superwoman to me.

My time management involves a 40 hour a week job as a bakery manager, the care and feeding of a herd of rescued dogs and cats, and trying to finish my third novel at this point while still trying to sell the first one!

When I was in undergrad and grad school people laughed at my little time management / date notebook, but it got me through! I had the same sort of thing during my singing career to keep track of rehearsals and performances, and costume fittings and massages and trips to the spa. Man, I miss that job!

The dumbest thing I EVER did to save time was the day I decided to bathe ALL of the dogs in one day. I have a couple of dogs in each dog run. Have you ever tried bathing one dog and then try to catch the other dog because he KNOWS you are going to bathe him? Try that five times. I ended up soaked to the skin, filthy, eaten up by mosquitoes and I had to bathe the dogs all over again because they rolled in the mud while I was trying to catch the runaways.

I do like the idea of prioritizing and taking some time to exercise and get centered. There are times I feel like I am trying to force myself to just hurry up and write! Not a good feeling!

jo robertson said...

LOL, Louisa, you're a hoot and a half. You've done so many things in your life I'm not surprised you kept a good notebook.

My friend Kelly has five dogs and she's careful to stagger their bath time. Cats are a lot easier!

jo robertson said...

Yeah, Flchen, I'm waiting for Lime to weigh in about the warehouse too!

Honestly, Brenda makes fun of her "weaknesses" in time management, but she never neglects her family. She's a super mom, too. I wanna be her when I grow up; trouble is, I'm older!

Pssst, shall we just string her up right now? LOL

jo robertson said...

That's a great tip on the daily list and master list, Anna. I'm going to start that right away. What a great idea!

Honestly, when I have too much time (it's all relative of course), I waste more of it. Since my kids are grown, I do find I have chunks of time where I don't accomplish anything productive. I never used to waste when I was a young mom, couldn't afford to.

Maybe the master list will help me focus.

jo robertson said...

Suzanne, I knew you were the bestest kind of mom. How wise!

Dr. Big (Boyd, Pops LOL) used to take the kids out all by themselves for a "date" as often as he could. It's really hard to do that when you have seven kids.

I've noticed he's continuing the tradition with the grandkids.

jo robertson said...

Suz, I know it must be hard to keep up with your writing with the nursing nightshift. I'm surprised you get so much done!

I try to keep a pad and pen by the nightstand. I find myself having these brilliant ideas, scenes, and lines. I'm always sure I'll remember them in the morning, but I never do unless I jot it down.

jo robertson said...

Donna, you're such a happy person. I'm sure your connection time with friends and family contribute to that.

Sometimes we just have to replenish the well with good friends, chats, emails.

Boyd says, "Time you ENJOY wasting is not wasted time." LOL, the man knows how to waste time, like every day on the golf course!

Brenda Novak said...

Good to "see" you, flchen! Thanks for the welcome.

What a great mental picture, Louisa. I wouldn't know how to bathe one dog, let alone five. So far, I've drawn the line at five kids and a cat. Well, I did get a chinchilla once, which was the coolest thing ever, but it broke my heart when it died and I've since decided that animals don't live long enough for me.

Brenda Novak said...

Thanks, Jo. It feels great to hear that you think I'm a good mom. That's the most important thing in the world, isn't it? I'd hate to fall down there.

And I LOVE Boyd's line. I think I need to print it out and tape it up in my home! LOL

Thanks for having me Banditas! It's been great. Who picks the winners? Jo, can you do that and forward the names/addies to me so I can get the goodies sent off?

Brenda Novak said...

One last thing--someone just wrote me to say they spotted my book in Target! I've never seen one of my books in Target. Woo hoo! LOL

Suzanne Welsh said...

Thank you Brenda and Jo. I like to think it made a difference. The wild child has finally settled down, and the other two? They are two of the most happy well adjusted young adults I know. A pleasure to be around most days.

jo robertson said...

Thanks again for visiting, Brenda. I just checked our Walmart and couldn't find your book (see me pouting?). But my local Walmart is small, so maybe one of the great ones?

Thanks everyone for your time management tips and for joining us today. Stay tuned tomorrow night for the two random winners of Brenda's fan packs!

limecello said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
limecello said...

Jo, lol I don't know what Warehouse 13 is! But - O_o I don't know if I'd be into it. So it's not actually a warehouse - or wasn't. More like an empty convention center? For the bar. People likened it to taking the exam in Sam's Club.

Heh. And Don't worry - I'll be bringing the "!!!" back - usually I delete my first fluff comment, but the GR is hard to get!