Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Post: Dear Dragyn (gift guide & giveaway)

One of the best things about grad school was the friends I made. One such lovely, talented lady is here on the blog today.
Welcome her with hugs and warm cookies, friends!
Miss Dana, or as the inter-webs knows her: Dragynally, has worked her dragyn tail off to put together the ultimate Holiday wish list and giveaway. She's the real deal, y'all. She works hard to review a variety of products, while giving honest, down-to-earth evaluations.
So, do you enjoy finding fun new items to fall in love with? Do you love giveaways?
Then check out her Dear Santa...Love Dragyn gift guide!

DragynAlly has been really good this year and she's sharing her wish list with the world in the "Dear Santa...Love Dragyn" holiday gift guide. Featuring over twenty giveaways from brands that are good for guys, dolls, adults and kids the Dragyn's Lair is coming at you with fun and exciting products for all ages! Products from the likes of Safari Ltd, May Designs, and Playmates Toys. Starting today you can have the chance to win books toys and personalized gifts. There's even a resort stay at the Valley Forge Hotel and Casino. A fan of more "grown-up" fare? Then you can win a gift certificate to go towards a bottle from Plagido's Winery or a cool product from Curvy Bride NJ. From now until December 11th you can enter to win these great products and even a giftcard for $100! DragynAlly wants to help you find the hottest, coolest, and sexiest gifts for the holidaze season in time to make your shopping list before Black Friday even rolls around. Now you'll know what to ask Santa for this year or have the perfect idea for a gift to make a special someone's wish come true! So come on over to the Dragyn's Lair to see all the fun!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Writer Accountability

A friend and I decided to make a yearly creative map to keep us on track this fiscal year. The maps did not have pirate marks, cartoon drawings of mountains and oceans, or treasure at the end. But, they did plan out our goals for finishing numerous projects (drafting and revisions and queries), and the like, as well as family/health/life goals.

Since I'm on a strict budget, and I needed more than a centimeter worth of writing room, I made my own planner. I started with the back-to-school clearance items at target: Five-Star poly prong folder ($2)*, Smash-Book elastic w/pen holder ($.99), box of binder clips ($.50), and star stickers ($1 - not on clearance).

*The poly folder was a 'luxury' item as I knew the paper prong folders would not last long in my chaotic world. 

After gathering supplies, I sat down and rummaged through google images for templates that tickled my stylish fancy. This is something I want to be excited and intrigued by for the next year. I needed it to be colorful.

There are tons upon tons of printables out there. If you'd like to take a look at the free ones I found they're listed at the bottom of this post. But here's a peek at what I came up with.

TaDa! Life Planner DIY. I'm in love, y'all.

Once I had my map planned out (goals marked, templates filled in) I started my journey. As for the writing accountability I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I made a daily word count goal (6 days a week) and the stars are to reward myself when completed. I've heard of many people doing this before and I finally decided to see if the system alone was enough to keep me focused.

I love it. It is gratifying, and encouraging. It also points out, with its blank squares, when I'm falling behind.

To my credit I did all of this on September 1st and jumped into the words on a brand new WIP, Monday September 2nd. So, I have two stars at the beginning of that week. Guess what happened the rest of the week? I had no idea where to take the story. I'd been trying to not over-plan this idea, but I fell short as a panster. So, I took a few days off and yesterday I fleshed out a rough outline. My excitement for the story is high and I've written yesterday and today!

I wanted to share this Life Planner DIY because it has already proved to be a wonderful creative tool for me, and a great motivator. Plus, I saw yesterday on Twitter that the hugely talented, Victoria Schwab made a youtube video all about writer-calendar rewards! How cool is that? And she even adds more stickers for different types of rewards - which I'm definitely picking up at the store the next time I'm out.

PS: We totally have the same star stickers. So, I obviously make good choices ;-)

I'm attaching Victoria's Video. And below that is links to where I found some free printables.
Happy planning and motivating and rewarding yourselves!


Tina's Dynamic Homeschool - (Year At a Glance w/code box, Goals, Planner Cover - though I used a student planner template instead of the teacher options.)
Picklebums - (Monthly Calendar sheets)
Kyla Roma - (Weekly fill-in sheets)

These are what I used, but trust me there are seemingly endless freebies on the webs. Even planning for menus, blogs, activities, finances. It was A LOT. Kudos to everyone that is uber organized. My little planner is all I can keep up with right now, even though the other templates are sooooo tempting.

Happy writing, y'all!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Getting back into my groove

Many things happened this summer. Some good. Some not so good. Many of both were chaotic! Sorry for leaving you stranded, Interwebs. I'm back in the real world now and I'll be dropping by on the regular.

Without making this post my longest in blog-history (and if you've been around before you know I can fill up a page like nobody's business), I'll highlight the important Sessoms' Summer Happenings:

1. My writing fell apart. There was much anxiety and stress about desperately wanting out of our tiny townhouse, and some ugly financial matters. My creativity just ran away, y'all. I thought it was hanging out under the couch in our living room/bedroom (the townhouse was itsy-bitsy), but when things calmed I realized I'd been completely abandoned by the ever elusive muse.

2. We moved. WooHoo! This was the most fantastic happening. For reals.

3. My Mom Wagon started to fall apart. Almost literally; electronic window buttons popped off the door, the locks started locking themselves 32 seconds after I'd unlock it and climb in - even if the keys were in the ignition... any guess why this would be a problem? yep, my car locked me out all on its own... the AC stopped working. Oh, and my horn sounds like a biblical plague of locusts flew through the grill and nested in there.

4. After moving we realized Babygirl was no longer in the same school district. Littleman's middle school district hadn't changed, but this was her fifth grade year - the last of her elementary school days. She was devastated. There was much pre-teen angst in our house for the better half of the summer while we waited to hear if she would be allowed to transfer back to spend the last year with her friends.

5. Not only did everyone have their own bedrooms, with door knobs (read living room/bedroom situation above), but there was an extra room* for me to turn into an office. Sorry, Future Company, you'll have to check into a HoJo down the road. I spent almost three weeks going through all the writing stuff I'd saved over the years, and crap that had collected around my cluttered writing corner in the townhouse.

*lest anyone think I'm super selfish, there is an extra living area in the finished basement that is now the kids play room, which is outside of their already spacious rooms. And all Mr. Sessoms wanted was a living room separate from our bedroom that he could put a recliner in and watch football. It seems moving into a larger space made him a Man's Man. 

6.  Babygirl was granted permission to return to her home school for fifth grade! I don't know which of us was more ecstatic.

7. After much non-writing induced moping about in my new office, I pulled my ish together and started writing again.

8. I took the Mom Wagon to get inspected (croaking horn, broken AC and window buttons, and all). It passed inspection. Woot! Then, as the mechanic went to back it out of the bay, it wouldn't fire. The motor cranks and cranks and cranks, but there is no GetUpHorsey igniting in the cylinders. Went in for an inspection and left without a car. Fun times, I tell you. (it's being repaired as I post this)

9. I discovered Florida Georgia Line's whole CD and fell madly, deeply, lustfully in ear-worm love. There is not one song on that CD that doesn't hold a special spot in my heart and writer-soul. It's all small towns, summers, sunsets, party crushes, and possibilities. Every thing I write about. If anyone would like to take me to one of their concerts, or arrange a meet and greet between THubb and I, I'm game. And I'd totally bake you cookies.

10. And at the end of an exhausting summer, I'm happy to say, "I'm writing". That felt so good to type. Here, let's do it again... I am writing.

And although I love my office, sometimes I still have to kick it old school and write like a mom whose kids are dying to go play tennis:

Guess my attempt to keep it short failed. Can't win 'em all, y'all.

Here's to your summer being less obstacle filled than ours!