Friday, December 19, 2014

Lists Not Resolutions

People often ask me how I manage to find the time to do all of the things that I do.  In addition to my teaching classes each week, I also manage to run regularly, and get a painting in now and then.  In the first six months of this year I illustrated, designed, formatted, made final edits, did a Kickstarter campaign, fulfilled rewards and thank-you notes for over a hundred backers, and released my book.  That was the easy part.  With the daunting task of marketing, I’m navigating unknown waters.  From the outside it might look like I’m highly productive, but internally I feel like I’m spinning my wheels.  As my son keeps reminding me, frequent blogging is a very important part of market visibility.  With Christmas less than a week away, I’m writing this while my eggs dry.  Every year since 1984, I’ve been making these intricate painted eggs as gifts.  No shopping for me, just egg-making.  At one point I was cranking out 48 eggs for the people on my list.  This year I tried to whittle down the list and made a dozen to sell and another 30 to give.
So, people ask, “How do you do it?”
I awoke this morning with the answer: Lists

I dream up my lists in my sleeping hours, wake up, and jot down the stuff I dreamt about. I even have a list to make on my list!   My list today includes:
  • Make holiday food list (from planned recipes for beef Wellington, lava cake, duxelles, bordelaise…)
  • Grocery shop - that can wait until Monday
  • Finish eggs (that means personalize the eggs, put the final finish on, let them dry, pack up the ones that need to be mailed, go to the post office, and move forward into the holiday)
  • Get Phoebe’s gift, wrap grands’ gifts, pack and mail
  • Call Perry’s – order 2.5 lb tenderloin (no silver)
  • Horn Book award submission
  • Order art supplies from Dick Blick
  • Vacuum and wash floor – doubt that’ll happen
  • Write blog post
Never before have I put blogging on my list, and when I woke up this morning I knew the only way I’d get it done is to put it on the list.  The list gets triaged, and some things can wait for another day.
The photo shows how I operate. 

There’s my egg list, today's list, art supply list, calendar with student list.
All the while I’m dreaming up my list for the New Year.
  • Get a companion curriculum prepared for Nelson Telson
  • Make a piece of really compelling collateral for the book that includes curriculum
  • Make a reservation to the IRA convention in St. Louis in July (airline and hotel, too)
  • Figure out how to engage educators and home schoolers
  • Get the book in schools
  • Sell the movie rights to Pixar, Disney or Spielberg
  • Sell a million
You get the picture.  Now I can check that one off the list

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – no resolutions here, just lists.

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