Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IWSG: May Version

Today is the day writers of all skill and experience share their woes, insecurities and even some triumphs to give us all encouragement. The Insecure Writers Support Group monthly blog hop is Alex J. Cavanaugh's child and it is growing up. Please join us and add your name to our members and visit more writers from this list.

Some of us are still reeling from April's A to Z Blogging Challenge. If you wonder if you should join, read some of the reflections posts and check out how the participants feel about it. The experience is awesome.

But onto insecurities for the month. I've had many thoughts over the last few months that I've taken on more responsibilities that take time from my writing. I took on the role of co-host for A to Z this year and it took a lot of time. As co-host of IWSG, I have another role to fill for this group. Earlier this year, I was asked to take on the job of secretary to Pennwriters, the state-wide writers group I belong to. The work associated with that position ebbs and flows but a big requirement is coming up a week from now when we have our annual writing conference in Pittsburgh, PA. And I try to post on my own blog three times per week and visit my friends' blogs. And I'm starting a new science fiction romance series. Yikes! Have I taken on more than I can handle? At what point does social networking hurt my writing career rather than improving my online presence?

I know there has to be a balance, except in April, but most of the overwork I've suffered from is of my own doing. At many times during the A to Z, I thought I just can't do this next year. But the Challenge is like childbirth. While in labor, you swear you'll never go through that agony again. But once you hold that baby in your arms, you forget how bad it hurt. Until you're there again. Normally I have a pretty good memory, but I did give birth to four children, so maybe not.

I'm dedicating May to writing. Non-crazy blogging will be my norm and I'm going to relax as much as I can at the writing conference. My daughter is attending also, so I'm expecting a good time and to learn something that will help my writing. And we'll have fun on the four hour ride there. We travel well together.

"He who asks a question may be a fool for 5 minutes; he who asks no questions stays a fool forever."
Chinese Proverb

I won't be posting Friday as I'll be driving to Boston to pick my daughter up from Boston University. Another fun 7 hours in the car.  I'll be so thrilled to have her home for a few days before she starts off on her next adventure.

Have you felt over-scheduled? Did you do it to yourself? Is it interfering with your writing? Is the pain from A to Z fading into a maternal or paternal glow? What are you insecurities for this month? And does anyone want to help me spread some tanbark? I offer all the ice tea you can drink and dip in the pool that has warmed up to a balmy 63 degrees.



91 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Reading this post, I smiled. The A to Z Blog Challenge has become a priority in my life also. Last year, I said, okay no more and when the time rolled around, I was back at it. It takes discipline, energy, and reprioritising to make it work and that is what I found out from this year's challenge. So there were projects that I let sit on my desk, and I did only what had to be done to stay afloat, because the challenge had moved up my list of priorities.

    Now, we're into May and I am doing a one to one editing on my novel with one of the best writer and editors that I know. She's a tough woman. She knows the business and has worked for at least five of the big publishing houses as acquisition editor. Am I nervous? Yes. Scared? That too. Not because I lack confidence in my writing but because I want her work with me to be so productive that she will go to bat for me and suggest agencies that would consider my book.

    Finally, I have no idea what tanbark is because I'm a lousy gardner, but I suspect it is something from trees. If I were somewhere near Pennsylvania, I would drive up and drink a cup of hot Earl Grey tea with you. Unfortunately, it pretty difficult to drive their from Europe.

    Have a great day and a very good month of May.

    Shalom,
    Patricia

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    1. LOL. I would love to have you for tea. Maybe you call tanbark mulch over there. I'm always nervous working with a new editor. The tough ones are the best. Good luck with it.

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  2. Thank you for co-hosting the A-Z - it would probably fall apart quite quickly without so many people volunteering to keep an eye on things. And the IWSG too!

    I hope you get the nice calm May you need. I know I'm looking forward to getting back down to some proper writing :-)

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    1. May is crazy for me but it feels calm compared to April. And I'm trying to do some 'proper' writing too.

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  3. Susan, definitely, I felt over scheduled after last month's A2Z challenge and am now finding it hard to get back into my daily posting grind. So, I decided to not stress over it and just go with the flow until I feel up to it again. The whole A2Z affair raised questions in my mind on the direction I need to go with blogging and I'm trying to figure out where to go with it now, but I'll get there. Oh, I laughed at your comparison of childbirth and the A2Z challenge. I am so right there with you! lol

    Blogging is my form of writing. I'm not a literary author, like you (I wish I were sometimes). I just want my words read by other interested bloggers and am content with this for the moment. My biggest insecurities with writing literature is this unseen wall I can't get around. I write a little and then I hit it and ouch does it hurt. I mean, my brain seizes up and there's nothing. Maybe, I don't try hard or want it bad enough to find a work-around. I guess until I can find a way pass this wall then I'll always be hitting my head against it.

    Thanks for the offer of unlimited tea refills and a dip in your pool (that sounds glorious with our temps here in the upper 70s to mid-80s) in exchange for spreading tanbark, but I think I will have to decline since we aren't neighbors or heck we don't even live in the same state.

    Enjoy your trip to and from school to get your daughter and find time to relax this month to get your mojo together. :D

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    1. I was waiting for someone to agree with my comparison of AtoZ with childbirth. I hope you find a way around that wall. We all run into them now and then. Joining a writers' group helped me take the plunge into publishing. I'll miss you for tea.

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  4. Since I was in the same boat as you last month, with a book release on top of it, I know exactly what you mean by over-doing it.
    I'm sure you will rock that conference. Very cool your daughter is attending.

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    1. I feel guilty even complaining when I know what you handled last month. Can't wait to spend that time and experience with my daughter.

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  5. Yay for mommy-daughter bonding!

    At least you're getting out there and participating in stuff. I'm such a recluse, I go crazy if anything takes away from my writing time. But good for you and all you've accomplished. You should be proud :)

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    1. I think I could happily be a recluse too but belonging to two writing groups gets me out of my writing cave. Thanks for the encouragement.

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  6. I hear you. I spent the entire month of April on the A to Z challenge and while it was worth it, I'm dying to dive back into writing and just immerse myself completely. But that's not my only responsibility. I need to keep in mind that I have a short-story collection at a reduced price this month and have a duty to get the word out. (whine)

    Have a great time with your daughter. This week I'm hardly seeing my eldest as she is in rehearsals for her school play (Alice in Wonderland). I can't wait to see it this weekend.

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    1. I heard someone say once that as soon as your children get old enough to be interesting they get so busy in their own lives you don't get the time with them you want. But it's also so great to see them being successful and following their dreams. Enjoy the play. I'm diving back into my writing too.

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  7. I hear you. I spent the entire month of April on the A to Z challenge and while it was worth it, I'm dying to dive back into writing and just immerse myself completely. But that's not my only responsibility. I need to keep in mind that I have a short-story collection at a reduced price this month and have a duty to get the word out. (whine)

    Have a great time with your daughter. This week I'm hardly seeing my eldest as she is in rehearsals for her school play (Alice in Wonderland). I can't wait to see it this weekend.

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  8. I...don't even know what tanbark is. I just had a 4 hour drive w/ my daughter (bringing her home from college) and it was so lovely. Have a great time with your girl.

    It's important to know when to say when---and it sounds like you've hit that point. But it's also good to keep lots of pots boiling. For me it feeds creativity and also makes me look at the blank pages on my laptop longingly rather than with dread.

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    1. I agree that it feeds creativity. Being around other writers always gets my muse going. Tanbark is what we call it in PA. Mulch? And we will have a fun drive.

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  9. I think this is such an important question - "At what point does social networking hurt my writing career rather than improving my online presence?" I think the answer is different for each of us, and even that answer changes on occasion.

    Have a good time with your daughter and at the conference!

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    1. The answer may be different according to where you are in your writing and trying to build a platform.

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  10. I feel for ya. That's a lot going on. Best of luck getting writing done this month and I hope you and your daughter enjoy the conference. Those are so much fun and a great experience.

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    1. We will enjoy ourselves. I'm looking forward to experiencing a conference for the first time.

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  11. Social networking can take up a lot of time, that is why I streamline where I can. Soooo much easier. Enjoy the conference and your long drives with your daughter

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    1. I strive to be even a percentage of your efficiency. I'm learning a bit at a time.

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  12. Age has helped me say no, not gonna do that. Time for someone else to step up. b/ut, yes sometimes I find it hard to balance what I want to do vs what I think I should do. But, am getting better at it. Popping round to say thanks to all for their sweet supportive comments. Happy travels.

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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    1. I seem to be getting worse with age. I keep saying yes.

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  13. Yes, yes, and yes. I, like you, am going to try and focus on writing this month. It's taken a back burner for far too long.

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    1. I've been managing about 1000 words per day in May but I'd like to do twice that.

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  14. I've had that same thought recently but it seems you have a lot more responsibilities than I do. I am also going to dedicate the rest of May to writing. Good luck to you, Susan! :)

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    1. I'm planning on doing that in June. May is still a crazy mess for me.

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  15. I read about many writers getting in their own way, nothing new there. And really, does the AZ have to be so bloody draining? No, it doesn't. But that's the choice that people keep making over and over.

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    1. I feel a bit anemic myself but improving every day.

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    2. I know you are. Hoping you keep improving. If I could, I'd have you over, make you your favorite meal with dessert. Then we'd chat, laugh and I'd send you home with the leftovers.

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  16. I feel bad when I overbook myself, and then I feel bad when I drop off the blogging planet, too. I'm trying to find a balance...

    Enjoy the tine with your daughter. Writing conference together--how fun! :)

    IWSG #134 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. the magical balance point. And the darn thing changes daily.

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  17. Re: ...but most of the overwork I've suffered from is of my own doing.

    And that's it in a nutshell. Most of us have a hard time saying no, or thinking we have to do this or that for our career, friends, or family, but really things are a lot simpler than that. I think sometimes we're the ones that make it complicated, piling tasks on ourselves like laundry.

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    1. And it can become a habit. I would like to sit back for a while and watch others do the work.

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  18. Now that co-hosting for April is over, I'm dedicating May to writing too! Good luck with your work!

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  19. After last month, yes, I'll be taking a break! I usually only blog once a month for IWSG. I should re-think that:) Have fun with your daughter!

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    1. I'm going back to my regular schedule though lots of interruptions are likely.

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  20. Hi, Susan,

    Wow, you are a busy lady. But with all writerly things. HOW FUN!!!! I wish I could say that.

    Life is to hectic for me to even write one word... nothing for months.. As you know, just trying to sort my home life out and the obstacles are many. I build up plans only to have to change them and at considerable financial cost. Oh, well. Life goes on...

    ENJOY the rides and the writing fun! You'll get through it all because it is a passion we all share!

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    1. Thanks, Michael. And thanks for taking time away from your business to visit.

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  21. Over-scheduled? What on earth do you mean?? ;) Um, yeah. I hear you. And this is why I didn't do the A-Z Challenge this year! It was the right choice, by far. My time is so limited anyway, I really have to protect my writing time.

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    1. I may have over done it this year but there's a light at the end of the tunnel when May ends.

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  22. I think you are wise to making May a writing month :) Sometimes we just need to shift our priorities a bit and it seems like you have yours for the month ahead in a good place!

    betty

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    1. All it get done in May is a bonus and June will be clear sailing.

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  23. I must learn that word Mom told me not to use when I was three. NO. Sorry, I can't do that. We do this to ourselves for sure.

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  24. That's why I was on the sideline this year instead of participating in the A to Z. It was more relaxing and I had fun visiting the blogs in my section twice a week.

    Now that it's over, you can focus on other things.

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    1. There were many days I envied your choices.

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  25. Yikes, you are crazy busy. I took part in AtoZ as part of a group the past two years. I'm getting better at saying no.

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    1. The group thing is a great way to do the challenge. All the fun but with a fraction of the work.

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  26. You sure have a lot to do! They're lucky to have you :). And I'd gladly help with the tanbark for some iced tea.

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    1. Just made a fresh batch of ice tea but I didn't get my tanbark yet. All rainy outside.

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  27. Loved having you as a co-host this year :)
    I wasn't sure about doing it again this time last year, but here I am having survived another. It's just such a rush!
    Here's to a productive May for both of us <3

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    1. It is a rush. Cheers to getting things done in May.

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  28. I have been suffering from the same thing. I signed up to be fiction editor at the literary journal at the university where I'm working on my MA. This involved reading 70+ short stories and going to lots of meetings. I got to the point I couldn't read another story. I'm starting to think my graduate school adventure is taking time away from my writing. I can see some benefits but wonder if I wouldn't have already written 3 more books by now if I hadn't taken that path. And on and on. Happy writing in May. I'm going to get back to fiction tomorrow (after working on creative nonfiction since January).

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    1. That's a tough one to weigh the good against the bad. I'm sure in the end it will have been worth it.

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  29. I've been feeling this way since the beginning of 2013. I'm slow at making changes. But I think things slow down and speed up for a reason. Maybe it's our time to get back to writing. We should set some challenges to see who can write the most words. Could be a great way to stay motivated. Or not.

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    1. My local writing group does that twice per year. They're in the middle of it right now but I didn't join in this year because it started at the same time as A to Z.

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  30. Yes, over scheduling is a bad habit. I used to go by the "ask the busiest person" quote to try and make myself be okay with the load I carried. Then I wised up. I am trying to only do things that I think will not only benefit others, but myself as well. I'm starting to get the hang of it, I think!

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    1. When you work from home, people seem to think you're not busy. But that's not how it works.

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  31. I've definitely felt over-scheduled lately. I'm planning on getting things in focus this next month.
    Have fun with your daughter and at the conference!

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    1. I'm getting things prioritized the next two months. And the conference is one of two highlights of the summer.

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  32. Ooh, I love LOVE that Chinese proverb. My son is *always* asking questions and his classmates find him irritating. He loves to learn, so guess who will be the fool forever and who will excel? xD

    ♥.•*¨Elizabeth¨*•.♥

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    1. I hope your son keeps on asking those questions. He sounds like a long way from a fool.

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  33. Wow, you're doing a lot. Tome--or the lack thereof--is often a focal point. I love the quote, which reminds me I need to ask more questions. I too often keep them to myself. Enjoy the conference and happy writing!

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    1. Thanks, Michael. Seems like I've been out of touch with you for a long time. But I see you've been busy with new covers and new books.

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  34. Yep, busy busy. But sounds like you know your limits, and know you need to check out sometimes just to enjoy life. Have a good time at the conference :)

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    1. I know I'm close to my limits. I just have to decide what's most important.

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  35. The conference sounds awesome. Enjoy the time with your daughter.

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    1. We always have a good time together. Thanks.

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  36. Life is always busy, but it does feel like an especially overwhelming time, doesn't it. April's been non-stop for me, and I'm still needing to recuperate, as May marches on.

    Have a wonderful time with your daughter.

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    1. I feel like June will be my best time to rest up and catch up. May is still way too busy.

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  37. Yes, I often feel overscheduled and yes, I have only myself to blame for it. When I don't allow myself time for quiet reflection and instead spend it internet surfing or running around like crazy, it hurts my writing in many ways.

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    1. At least you get to be overwhelmed in a beautiful, warm setting.

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  38. Overscheduling, and committing myself to adventures, is the only way to get material to write about. So, painful though it might be in the moment, I'll be back for next year's A to Z. I've even got my theme picked out already ;) Thanx for the inspiration.

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  39. I'd say you were a bit busy! I used to blog MWF but now I just do Mondays. Be careful of burnout. And have fun at the conference with your daughter!

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  40. Despite the blogfests major schedule of highs, visitors and writing, the challenge produced another exciting and creative month. It felt like I've been making new friends as I discovered new blogs and read their amazing stories. I'm thrilled you stopped by and high fived! Enjoy the conference, Susan.

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  41. Hope you and your daughter enjoy your time together.

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  42. Yes, always too much on my plate with the grandboys. Have a fun time with your daughter!

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  43. I always take on too much and know this. When I slow down it freaks me out a bit because I'm conditioned to being overwhelmed. how sad is that? It's like Pavlov and I promise to break the cycle every month/year to no avail. Enjoy your daughter and have an awesome weekend

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  44. Popping round to let everyone know there's a contest!

    Sandy at Bridge and Beyond

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  45. Hi Susan - have a great trip ... hope all has gone well - and then enjoy the time with your daughter ... and that Conference with her helping out too ...

    I haven't had children - but I'll share your experience re the A-Z - it hooks us and we so enjoy the process, new friends (not babies!) and generally getting our posts done and dusted and then can watch our blog grow ...

    Congratulations and see you around - cheers Hilary

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  46. I understand what you're talking about.
    The thing is, I'm a sucker for the A to Z Challenge. I can't imagine NOT doing it. The childbirth analogy is perfect...
    I'm always over-scheduled. Yes, I do it to myself, but I'm learning to say no. It's quite difficult.
    Creativity is fueled by having a few manageable projects going at the same time. The keyword is MANAGEABLE.
    Enjoy the time with your daughter, Susan.

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  47. I think you're taking the right approach by treating things as fun and seeing what is to be learnt. There is a reason for doing all these things and it's good to be busy but finding a balance is hard. Hope you get to slow down a bit soon!

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  49. Wow, you have been busy! Thank you so much for all the hard work you put into the challenge :). I think you deserve a couple of days to relax and recuperate :). I didn't get any writing done during April, so I'm looking forward to getting back into in this month. I loved taking part in the challenge and I can't wait for next year! Hope you have a great time at the conference :)!

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  50. May is concert month at school so plenty of stress for me. But... I can almost see June from here. June is good.

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  51. And then, when I'm feeling really overbooked and blaming myself, I read a post about how much more someone else is doing and my schedule seems almost empty.

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  52. Yes, always too much on my plate with the grandboys. Have a fun time with your daughter! happy quotes

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  53. Yes, always too much on my plate with the grandboys. Have a fun time with your daughter! happy quotes

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