Sitting up, dressed, AND drinking coffee for the first time in almost 10 days. Maybe I’m starting to adapt to the med change? Oh, I hope so. So much I want to do…

(If you’re not sure what’s been going on, check mine and Gizmo’s social media. Links at the bottom of the page.)

So grateful for the friends and family who have called to check on me, and prayed for me and with me. So blessed that Steve has handled all this craziness with such patience.

Book cover for Strange & Sweet, an anthology of short stories and poems.

This also came to fruition over the last few weeks. I’m proud to announce that two of my stories are included. (Click on image to go to Amazon for more details or to purchase.)

Before the doctor cut my meds in half with no warning, I already had a full schedule of commitments for the fall. I had just launched a Facebook group for serious writers and bought plane tickets for a big event. In the next two weeks, I’m scheduled to speak in Carrollton, TX on the 24th, have another meeting where I’m being presented as a board member nominee on the 26th, and then have a big series of surprises scheduled out of state starting the 27th.

I have until the end of September on this dosage, and then October 1 we change to another medication completely, and I have been warned it may not be pretty. And I have two big events, Writers in the Field and Bouchercon, that month and another speaking gig, so will not have time for this foolishness. I will be working ahead as much as possible, just in case.

Additionally, November is our 30th wedding anniversary, and we hope to celebrate accordingly.

The lessons I’ve learned living with my crazy body probably apply to almost everyone, but especially those who have unpredictable lives for whatever reason…

  • Work ahead. Living with chronic illnesses means that for me, things can go from awesome to awful as quick as a camera flash. I do try to work ahead for my volunteer, clients, and authorpreneur commitments as much as possible, and always have a plan B in place. Scheduling my social media posts for myself and my clients in advance while I feel well and am thinking clearly is hugely helpful. There will be unexpected, last minute things to deal with, but if the basic requirements are done ahead, that’s less to stress about.
  • Get systems in place. Having a regular workflow, or system, helps ensure I don’t forget the basics when dealing with distractions, brain fog, crisis management, etc. I keep checklists, reminders, and workflow where I do those tasks. Bullet journals, project management apps (I’m partial to Asana), kanban boards, or even online calendars can all be useful for this. Creating a workflow that works for me, and putting it where it will jog my memory ensures success. I use this for my speaking engagements, board meetings, packing for travel, and housekeeping tasks. The more I automate repeating projects and tasks, and perfect workflows, the easier it is to manage on the less than ideal days, or to delegate the task to someone else.
  • Give more than 100% on your good days. This one is tricky because there is a fine line between being a super-productive professional and overdoing it and triggering a bad day. But, knowing where that line is, allows me to plan accordingly. If clients and colleagues are aware of my value and willingness to go above and beyond, they will be more willing to assist or be flexible as needed on the days I just can’t. I also know to schedule margin and R & R. For instance, after a day of travel, especially flying, I know my body needs a day to rest and acclimate before I’m back up to full capacity. After Writers in the Field, which will be three hard days for my body, I will block out three days to rest and catch up. Find what works and do it.
  • Surround yourself with trusted people. I tend to tell too many people my story because I’m an advocate and have the big black service dog tipping off strangers that there is more than meets the eye here. But, regardless, it has been invaluable to have family, friends, and colleagues who know my situation, limitations, and how to help in a flare-up. For example, two people, whom I spend a lot of time with, noticed before I did that if I can take a time out in the midst of big events, I finish stronger. One of them will prompt me with, “Hey! You’re doing great. We don’t need you for the next hour, so go lie down in the dark and rest before you have to _____.” They don’t think less of me, they are just mature enough to know we all need to play our strengths and compensate for our weaknesses, and we all have them. In turn, I am more than willing and happy to cover in areas where they are less than stellar.
  • Use technology strategically. I’ve already hinted at this, but it needs repeating. There are so many great apps and analog pen and paper, bulletin or dry-erase board systems available that it only makes sense to figure out what works best for your needs and situation. At the same time, don’t procrastinate from getting your work done by checking out every last option. Use your free time to research, learn, and play with new tools. And if setting up a bullet journal is more stressful and time consuming than productive, feel free to say it’s not the tool for you. We all think and work differently, so find the tools and systems that work with your brain and learning style.

I hope this is helpful and encouraging, and that you are able to learn from my experiences. After more than two decades of coaching and teaching, and a decade of living as a Stroke Survivor with invisible disabilities, I have a huge toolbox of tips and tricks to make life and business more manageable. I love teaching and coaching more than pretty much anything, and have become creative in finding ways to do that outside of the classroom and boardroom.

I currently have openings for two more professional coaching clients. If you are interested in working with me, send me an email and let’s see if we are a good fit.

Also, regarding the new FB group:

Mission Statement:
To empower a diverse community of writers to encourage and educate each other to write, share, and market their words, regardless of genre.

The Unleashing the Next Chapter group exists to form a community of writers with various skills. demographics, and experiences to draw upon as a collaborative resource for writers endeavoring to become profitable professionals through mid-month masterclasses, monthly challenges, Q&A’s, and open discussion regarding various points of both the craft and business of writing.

For more info, click on the image…

Wishing us all good health, and fabulously creative and productive days ahead!