Just printed out a copy of the last two chapters I wrote before taking my temporary writing detour… the plan is to read them, make some changes (because I really can’t keep my hands off), and reconnect with the action before moving on to the next scene. I hate taking such a long break mid-chapter, but it was necessary. I’m toying with the idea of joining Camp NaNo, if only for the motivational push, but my main goal is to finish this draft by May and send it to a couple of readers (still on the lookout for reader 2… any takers interested in reading a somewhat messy urban fantasy novel draft?), get some feedback, and polish during the next draft.
I haven’t written this week and that’s ok! It is. Instead, I’ve been reading and planning and creating a strategy (re: another one of my lists) for future edits, and to target all those little things that overwhelm me whenever I think about them for more than a few minutes. I’m going to take it in pieces and save my sanity. For inspiration, I read James Scott Bell’s Revision and Self-editing for Publication, which offers plenty of excellent advice on managing a major rewrite with as little pain as possible. It helped me think about some of the kinks I’ve been having a hard time figuring out. Very good indeed.
Andrea Hannah has also posted a great article over on The Secret Life of Writers on incubating rather than procrastinating, which you should all go read. It’s spot on and much needed advice. Seeing my week of reading, thinking, and planning as incubating rather than putting things off makes it all better.
Other things I’ve been doing while not writing:
Finished reading A Dance with Dragons… leaving me shattered and yearning for more.
Worked on important, secret things.
Played with contact paper–fancied up a side table and made cheap girl decals to spruce up a mostly empty space.
Learned some Photoshop tricks.
Gave Evernote a second chance and became addicted.
Hallo lovely readers. So here’s the latest on the shelf situation…
I give you *drum roll* the EXPEDIT! YES, ALL CAPS! FEEL MY EXCITEMENT! I LIVE FOR SHELVES!!!
Actually, the boy noted that I do have an awful lot of shelves now, to which I said, “One can never have enough shelves.”
There are still some books to haul over from my mom’s place, but most of them are now home. I’ve made a major overhaul to the collection and parted ways with most of the leftovers from grad school. Such is life, some books need new homes. I’ll take a better picture when the shelves are filled.
I also put up my curtains a few weeks ago. There was much ado about putting up those curtains, but now that they’re up, I am finally able to block out the light that was filtering in from the street lights across the way.
And here are the pretty string lights I added to the bedroom window. I mostly use them while writing in the evenings. They add a touch of magic to the room
Happy Valentine’s Day to all my dear readers (you know who you are *wink*). I’m a total sucker for Valentine’s Day… commercial, made-up holiday it may be, but I love me some heart-shaped tchotchkes and, other than Halloween, this may be my favorite of the candy-themed holidays.
It’s been a rough week and I need me some joy and joyness. There have been good moments, of course–plenty of them actually (a successful crafting event at work, some fun dress-up time)–but it’s been slow on the writing and terrible on the time to relax front. My mind has been racing lately, but I’m too drained to do much more than try to look after the little things like tidying up the apartment and minding the cat fiend. It’s been a blur. My dear friend lost her mother last Saturday and attending the funeral did not put me in a good state of mind. It’s one of those life moments you know will happen but there is NEVER any way to prepare for the death of a loved one. I’ve come terribly close too many times and I know the moment of truth will come some day (it’s one of those things you are more aware of when your parents are older than all your friends’ and never seem to be able to do as much), but just the thought leaves me a little broken. I wish I could do more for her, but grief takes its time and no one can ever really make it better.
I’ve also been feeling some serious pain beneath my right shoulder blade. It just started last night about two hours after I went to bed and it was so bad I could barely find a comfortable position. Had to get up and take some pain killers and slather on muscle run in hopes that it would fade away, but it’s still aching away. My attempt to self-diagnose (I’m a sucker for that too) has turned up gallstone pain… but that can safely be ruled out, as I lost that little part of me about two years ago. So where does that leave me?! sigh.
Breathe. Relax. Just looking forward to some time with the boy tonight and shelf-hunting at IKEA with my mom on Saturday morning. I’ve been going through the books I left at her place after the move, culling those I want to keep a little closer and deselecting the ones I’ve been holding on to for sentimental reasons… I mean, really, when am I ever going to read my old literary theory books again? I love my books, but time and space (or lack thereof) have taught me to let go. EXPEDIT, I need you now.
‘allo there dear readers and fellow writerly types! How was your January? Because mine was pretty productive… at least, that’s what my writing calendar says. I started keeping a writing calendar last year–just bought a cheap desk calendar from the Target $1 bins and started noting every time I wrote, even if it was just a 10 minute quickie. It’s a great motivator and makes me accountable to myself… kind of like logging work hours with visual appeal and stickers (!).
February is coming along well. Reminding myself that I’m doing this for me and only me at this stage keeps the self-doubt to a healthy minimum, so I’m not turning into a puddle of anxiety on days when I don’t have the time or energy to write (again, calendar shows those instances aren’t as often as I fear). At this pace, I should be finishing up the draft sometime within the next 2-3 months. My revision has evolved into a major rewrite with plenty of new characters and plot elements. My world-building is all the better for these changes and I find myself learning more about existing characters’ motivations and personas. Of course, I worry that I’m going in too many directions, but outlining each chapter helps me stay on target even when surprises turn up.
On a side note, I’m also working on a chapter for a potential future academic publication on writing. It’s a collaboration and I was invited to write a piece on editing and revision… because I do an awful lot of that on a daily basis (and not just for my writing). It’s forced me to really consider how revision works, which has proven useful for my current project.
Here’s looking to mad writing and strong plots.
Another weekend crafting project complete! Crafting helps me relax and refresh my brain for writing, so I’ve been incorporating more of it into my weekend routine. This Saturday, I made a run to Michael’s for some poster supplies, but ended up finding a nice wood wall plaque instead. This is a quick project, but the results are lovely. All you need is a wooden plaque of your choice (cost: $1.99)–they come in various shapes and sizes–and some craft paint. If you want to get fancy (ooh la la!) you can varnish to make it shine and protect the finish. I used Martha Stewart high gloss and glitter craft paints, Painters’ markers (for the gold and silver outlines), a regular black Sharpie, and a coat of Dermacoat satin varnish.
I painted on two coats of the base color, wrote out my quote, outlined it in silver and gold (smearing it while wet to create the gilded effect), then traced it in black. I had the stencils lying around from an old project, so I used those for the design on the side (tracing and filling it in with the paint markers and sharpie). The border was painted in a light lavender before applying a coat of glitter paint and outlining it all with a gold paint marker. Varnish and done!
A quick and easy weekend project. For inspiration, look to the Romantics. They’re full of inspiring words.
Or, what happens when I go on a painting and crafting frenzy. Really, apartment therapy and DIY goodness was the goal of my holiday break and I think it was a task well done. Some of you gentle readers may recall last year’s post on moving out and moving in… and all the IKEA fun that ensued. Well, I’m not planning on moving anytime within the foreseeable future, so some decorating and freshening up was in order. My color scheme: Valspar paints in Exaltation, Paramount White, and Brushed Lavender.
This whole project required more paint than I imagined, but that was due to the highly porous nature of my walls, rather than the actual size of the rooms :/ oh well, work with what you can.
It’s small and a bit cluttered (a bit? ha!) but it’s full of comforts, books, and kitty cat love [note: kitty cat rules all. just look at all those cat toys... and by cat toys, I mean random junk he enjoys playing with in the middle of the night].
Little things everywhere…
My kitchen counter still needs work, but at least I have a table now and can shift stuff around.
I’ve been painting stuff I already owned and adding personal touches on the cheap to perk up the decorating, which led to a round of Sharpie-inspired crafting. The & is on the door to my tiny linen closet, while the G hangs outside my bedroom door.
Don’t mind the off-centeredness of the type in the framed quotes, I’ve never been known for managing straight lines while drawing.
My writing and reading corners are both in my bedroom (it’s not a short desk, my bed is just ridiculously tall).
Yes, that is an ancient iPod from many moons ago atop the shelf. I’m cheap and careful with my stuffs.
I think of my resolutions as life goals that need improvement. I accomplished most of the goals that I set last year, with the exception of a couple that didn’t quite pan out… namely, 1) I didn’t run the three 5ks I said I would run:
- Because I had two major foot injuries during the summer (prime race season, apparently).
- Because I was broke when I could run and the races that were left were too expensive.
This year, I would still like to take part in some 5ks, but my real goal is to improve my mile time. Yes, my mile. It’s small, but now that I can actually run one without stopping or feeling like my lungs are about to burst, I think improving my time is the best goal to go for… distance will follow.
And, 2) I didn’t finish the second draft of Anúna (though I did finish the rewrite of Cassiel).
My other major goal is to get back on a limited, fixed budget. I was very good at doing this while I lived with my mom, and I managed to sustain a budget during the first few months while living on my own, but then there were those injuries and several unplanned expenses involving the move, and too much time shopping at Target, and that budget caved in. So, this year, I’m working on a fixed, tracked budget using Excel and the cash envelope system. I’m also planning on focusing on my savings again and want to consider my retirement options (I’ll be 30 this year, time to act the part.). My Pinterest is experiencing a rise in budgeting pins as a result.
Writing is a given, but I want to focus on not beating myself up every time I miss a self-imposed deadline because something happened to set me off my schedule. Life is busy and full of surprises. I need to stop sweating the small stuff and keep going. For now, I’m shelving Cassiel. It’s my pet project, but it’s a pet that needs time to grow. Anúna is my main objective and I want to focus my energy on writing the best novel I can.
Other goals include:
- Making more things! – I miss being crafty and creative. I’ve let it go in favor of doing other things, but making is a great way for me to de-stress and produce something useful. This includes cooking, baking, DIY household and beauty products, and artses for the home. I’ve been making the stuff I pin and I’m finding it’s a great way to refresh and relax after a busy week.
- Strengthening and toning are still top priorities for me. I want to feel stronger and more energized, and I enjoy the exercise. My main fitness plans involve yoga and pilates, running, and walking, as well as body-weight exercises such as planks and more.
- Cutting back on my sugar consumption. In my daily meal-planning, I tend to control my sugar intake, but surprise sugar strikes when I least expect it. I need to control the urge to give in to sweets. Not good for me with my family history.
So there you have it… 6 do-able goals that I hope to turn into long-term habits.
I feel guilty when I don’t write… which only makes the whole writer’s block thing that much worse. I’m stuck. I’m berating myself because I’m stuck. I become even more entrenched… I’m not even stuck plotwise. I know where it’s going and the rewrite is making my narrative that much stronger, but I’m emotionally drained and tired. Just sooo tired all the time lately. Ugh, I hate thinking about it because then I feel even guiltier. Then there’s this sense that I should be doing what Writer X is doing and waking three hours early to write before going to work and la di da. It’s not the way I work… and I know it’s not healthy to compare, but it doesn’t mean I don’t fall into that trap.
Part of it stems from the fact that we’ve acquired a writer at work. Now, I never ever tell anyone I work with about my writing (with one exception) because I don’t want to mix work with what I do outside of work. I’m strictly about keeping these two worlds separate. I have enough nosy stalkers as it is. But this is a person who is ALWAYS writing . ALWAYS. For HOURS. ALL DAY! And I can’t do that. Whether it’s lack of drive or lack of concentration, I’ve never been able to spend all day in front of a screen or notebook working on a single task. I’m dedicated, but my body just can’t handle being that dedicated.
This person’s fervor makes me feel lesser. Like I’m not doing enough. But then I start to think about it and realize that she also doesn’t work an 8 hour job or seem to do anything other than write. As far as I can tell, she has no other obligations. She’s made this a full-time job of her own… which brings me back to the need to stop comparing and move past the guilt. I’m trying to balance too much as it is and feeling bad about not meeting some vague ideal is not helping.
Anyone else feel guilty when not writing? I often find myself wishing I had a local writer’s group to meet with (for that extra push), but most of the writers in my area are memoirists with a will of their own.