Highlights of 2005: Part 1

Jan. 1, 2005

Welcome to a New Year

Happy New Year, everyone!

For the most part, I’ve spent the last two weeks recuperating from a very hectic and exhausting November and December, which involved a great deal of travel (including a whole bunch of presentations and a wonderful Geek cruise), finishing and submitting the manuscript for High School’s Not Forever, the flu, and the holidays— with much overlap in all of the above.

It’s not unusal to feel a little let down and unfocused after wrapping up a project that has occupied such an enormous amount of my time and energy, and that has certainly been true since Eric and I wrapped up the book, especially with this event coinciding with the end of the semester and year! I’ve been moving slowly and in terms of productivity, don’t have much to show for the time I’ve been home (a precious two whole weeks). This is probably a good thing!

So what I’ve been up to has been mostly a lot of fun and restorative stuff— reading, knitting, renting movies, cooking, walking, hanging out with Jerry and Shadow and a few friends here and there, getting my hair cut or my nails done, and managing to work in two massages in the last two weeks! I suppose I have caught my breath, and while I am excited about the upcoming workshops, I’m not sure I’m entirely ready to head back to the airport again so soon!

As far as resolutions go, I’m still seeking balance and moderation in my life— things that have never come very easily to me. I find myself thinking more in terms of goals than resolutions and also find that specifying my intentions in writing seems to really help make them manifest. So here are a few things I would like to accomplish in the coming year:

• Clear out the rest of the “closeout inventory” as part of our efforts to narrow the focus of our business. We’re currently down to about 15 titles (from the 350 we had in our last catalogue), many of them with only one or two copies remaining.

• Create new products. I’ve been wanting to get my Teacher Tapes on CD, bring out the CDs for counselors, and put a number of our products (“Pads” on the Back, TeacherSaver Memo Pads and the article, “Positively Positive,” among other things) on a CD as well.

• Create a dedicated Web site for our new book, High School’s Not Forever to include additional stories, resources, questions and answers, feedback, and testimonials and other information relevant to the teen market.

• Set up a shopping cart on this site.

• Create an account with Pay Pal.

• Create a link with Amazon.com. Maybe…

• Create a data base and site map for this site.

• Bring out a new version of the formerly-retired Book of Article Reprints for people who want to purchase all of my articles in one place!

• Clean out my office files, my garage, my studio.

• Get my studio files up on this site. Make time to do more craft work. Maybe now that the book is done…

• Keep walking (I love shooting for 10K steps a day!) and avoid eating stupid when I’m on the road.

• Enhance and improve the Links section of this site and actually set up the idea sharing sections in our various Forums.

• Settle copyright and ownership issues with two of my books, 21st Century Discipline and Being a Successful Teacher with possible revisions for each.

• Write more articles.

• Revisit the possibility of revising Parents in a Pressure Cooker, an oldie-but-goodie, as they say, that’s been out of print for the last couple of years.

There’s more, I’m sure, and I’ll add them as I think of them, and note my progress on the ones I can actually get to. So stay tuned and as interesting things happen, I’ll update this blog accordingly!

Jan. 10, 2005

High School Book

I’ve just updated the page on which I promised to keep track of our progress on this book. I am not in a good space about it right now, anticipating having to cut a lot of good material (which ultimately will end up on the web site, whenever I get around to putting that together) and very anxious about trying to figure out how to reorganize what we’ve got.

We’re waiting for more specific input from our editor, but this has really created a lot of stress for Eric and me. An hour before the call, I had been sitting at my desk barely able to breathe trying to figure out how I was going to get through all the crap on my desk. And now this…

They need these revisions done in a month, which would be hard enough without me being on the road for four of the next five weeks. Wonder why I’m up at 4:30 in the morning? Again?

21st Century Discipline, Being a Successful Teacher

These books were acquired by McGraw-Hill when they bought out Frank Schaffer Publishing and, as often happens when old titles end up in new hands, were immediately overlooked and ignored! That’s hardly the first time that’s happened with these books, each of which has been in the hands of at least 9 or 10 publishers since the first contracts were drawn up!

When this happens, I’ve learned that it’s time to move on. The new publishers have been unbelievably difficult and unresponsive to work with, and frankly, that really told me it was time to get the rights back and move on— either seeking out a new home for these books, keeping them in print myself or letting them just die out. (This last bit, letting them go out of print, is definitely not an option with the discipline book.)

I’ve been writing and calling since September, just trying to get some sense of the publisher’s intentions for these books. And today, I finally got a letter confirming that the books had, indeed, been dropped from their “in print” list. In another lifetime, that might have really saddened me, but all I felt seeing their letter today was an immense sense of relief!

Over the last few months, we’ve managed to buy out all remaining copies of both 21st Century Discipline and Being a Successful Teacher. Unless something unusual happens with sales, we should have enough to last for another year or two. It will be at least six months before I can think about pitching these titles to another publisher, if that is what I want to do with them, or revising them to republish on my own, but for now I am simply content to have the rights back—for whatever I decide to do.

On the Road

I’m just back from four days in Wisconsin and Illinois. Despite some really nasty weather between Madison and Chicago, and a whole lot of snow, the week went well.

I’m definitely running into increasingly angry and frustrated teachers, and a lot of people who feel really stuck and disempowered sometimes. My heart hurts for them, and for what they are dealing with right now, and I hope that some of the ideas I’m sharing are helping.

I had some rather large— and lovely— groups on this run. Lots of really nice people, participants who got my jokes and seemed, in general, to be open to trying some new things. And while the turnout surprised me for being so early in the semester, the truth is, for me, it was way too soon to be back on the road.

I’m very much committed to keeping my schedule clear between mid-November through mid-January of next (school) year, and sometimes think that the promise of this break is all that’s keeping me going right now, and an important part of what might just get me through the next few months.

Need some Z’s…

I’ve decided that about 90% of what is NOT working in my life would be a LOT less of an issue if I were getting more (and better) sleep!

It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’ve been up for over an hour, though this is after getting nearly 5 hours of sleep, which is actually a pretty good stretch for me. The good news is that I’m home this week, so although it ends up messing up (and shortening) my day, I do have the luxury of going back to bed and getting some more sleep after I finish working on this site or reading some more.

This has really been a problem for me for the past few years and none of the alternative therapies seem to be helping much (although I suppose it could be worse than it is). I suspect this is hormonal, although I’m sure that, at the moment, anxiety is playing a part as well.

Bottom line, I’m depleting the reserves faster than I’m restoring them, and that makes me really nervous— which, I’m sure, is having an effect on my sleep. Damn…

Feb. 6, 2005

High School Book

I just turned in the revisions on the last chapters. Eric and I have completely overhauled the the organization and structure of each chapter. Hopefully, these will be the last major changes to the manuscript. We expect to move a few chapters around, but that’s mechanical— and a whole lot simpler than these major conceptual changes have been. See our progress page for more details.

I also expect that my role will be, in the next few days, responding to feedback from my co-author and editor. This is far less imposing (or intimidating) than where we were six weeks ago, facing a major reconceptualization. I really do hope that that part of the process is done.

The latest version of the reorganized structure (with sub-categories within each chapter) is listed on the contents page. Note that the current sub-category titles are simply for our benefit in reorganizing the content. I expect that we’ll eventually be renaming these with more teen-friendly titles. (Eric is way better at this than I am.) Stay tuned.

Closeout Books

Wow! On my last few speaking engagements, the coupons for these books were scarfed up quickly and we sold out of another six titles. As our supplies dwindle (I think we are now down to 10 titles out of the original 350!), I decided to consolidate all the remaining supplies onto one closeout sale page, rather than dividing them up into resources for specific markets. Get ’em while you can. In many cases, we only have one or two copies left.

Immediate Goals

With the major revision pretty much finished, I am really looking forward to sinking my teeth into a few other projects I’ve had on deck for a while. I just received a number of handouts and materials from The Parent’s Little Book of Lists and Parents, Teens & Boundaries in Spanish! I am hoping to have the text of these pages entered and added to this site in the next couple of weeks.

There are so many other things needing attention! New projects, Web site updates (I really want to get to the Forum ideas people have shared, add to the Links section, and improve the materials for Staff Development Coordinators) and still a number of clerical details related to the book. I’m leaving tomorrow and will be gone most of February (I have LOVED this past week at home!!) but will update from the road.

Mar. 9, 2005

High School Book

It’s been edited and is moving toward production. For more details, click here.

Other Stuff

I’m in Rochester, NY (as opposed to Rochester, MN, where I was three weeks ago), in the middle of a week that started in Burlington, VT and ends on Friday in Buffalo. (I’ve declared this to officially be my last week of winter!!)

I’m waiting for about a dozen pages of parent handouts to come back from the Ann Worthington, who is proofreading the Spanish translation and translating a few links, references, and additional material on those pages.

I’m excited about finally having some of my material available in Spanish. I’ve had many requests for some Spanish-language materials over the years and should have these handouts up by the time I post this, even if only in draft form.

I’ve been approached by a couple of people who might be interested in translating these pages into French. Pending their proposals, I am looking forward to being able to offer these pages at some point in the near future.

Speaking of translations, I’ve got about 10 extra copies of The Parent’s Little Book of Lists in Turkish if anyone is interested.

OK, that’s about it for now. It’s actually Friday, 3/11, and after five back-to-back, full-day presentations, I’m a bit fried.

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