the latest… and a progress report

So, dear reader, remember how I was being all vague and shifty? The moment of truth has arrived… For the last few months I was anxiously awaiting news on a job that I applied and interviewed for… and I got it! I wanted to tell everyone at work before posting about the offer, so now I can stop with the cagey antics. 

Can I just say… ain’t no job interview like an academic job interview. The process is harrowing, mind-blowing, nerve-wracking, *insert additional hyperbolic descriptors here*. But really, it is a process like no other. Academics like their folks well-rounded and they’ll stick you in all kinds of social and professional situations to see what you’re really like. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable talking to people I’ve just met, but it’s still draining after nearly 8 hours of being chatty. Right now, I’m just trying to process all the changes that are coming my way. However, if any library students want to know more about what its like to interview for an academic library position, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’m happy to divulge.

In other news… my NaNoThon Saturday was completely hijacked by my mother. Just when I was settling in to write–all my notes, floor plans (yes, there are floor plans now), and chapter outlines were spread in their proper order–my mom called as asked if I was ready to go out. Needless to say, my day of writing was at an end. On the bright side, I did need a break and it helped me admit that my rewrite needs rewriting. The ideas were there… but at this point I’m writing for quality not quantity. If I’m going to take this seriously, I have to put in the effort to craft a narrative that satisfies me as a writer and reader… not just toss a bunch of words together to reach a word count. It’s a setback, but better to face it now that the flaws are in sight. The only major drawback–my rewrites are splattered all over the page like some cryptic code. I’ve had to number the pages and draw arrows to tell myself how to read it all. 

and things take a turn

The end is in sight, friends. The end is in sight. Writer’s block is unblocked and the possibility that I might finish draft 2 by the end of April is looking much more possible. Hooray! Lovely CampNaNo inspiration.

And I finally got the call I was waiting for! And I said YES! And I realize this is incredibly vague, but I will explain as soon as it’s all official. Just don’t want to make the announcement yet on the off chance that someone who knows me might be reading this before I’m ready to spill. I’m nervous about what it means, but it’s a happy sort of nervous.

March madness indeed

Somehow, time got away from me and March seemed to pass in a blur of unexpected opportunities and activities. I’m waiting on news and hoping for some good to come of it. Don’t want to dwell on it though. What will be, will be, and some things are just beyond my control. I’ll wait.

Writing is coming along… a few kinks, but it’s flowing again. I read some good books, ate some good food, and took part in a nice run on St. Patrick’s Day. It was a good month now that I can look back and see it objectively.

another day, another check-in – on not writing

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.

Friday feelin’

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.



a tour of the hobbit hole (re: my tiny living space)

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].

everything belongs to Didymus photo 100_5027_zps4f9ddd0a.jpg

Little things everywhere…

the small stuff photo 100_5032_zpsa220135c.jpg

lucky cats photo 100_5031_zps543a0b6d.jpg

details photo 100_5030_zps27febad4.jpg

My kitchen counter still needs work, but at least I have a table now and can shift stuff around.

cookery corner photo 100_5029_zpsd6217ab7.jpg

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.

a little sharpie art photo 100_5022_zpsb9631249.jpg

a G to announce my presence photo 100_5019_zpsfb5681e4.jpg

Don’t mind the off-centeredness of the type in the framed quotes, I’ve never been known for managing straight lines while drawing.

quotes photo 100_5023_zps9b0298fb.jpg

My writing and reading corners are both in my bedroom (it’s not a short desk, my bed is just ridiculously tall).

the sleep and brainwave station photo 100_5015_zps57f934df.jpg

the writing corner photo 100_5016_zps9382875c.jpg

and the reading nook photo 100_5018_zpse1df732d.jpg

Yes, that is an ancient iPod from many moons ago atop the shelf. I’m cheap and careful with my stuffs.

looking forward to a new year

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:

  1. Because I had two major foot injuries during the summer (prime race season, apparently).
  2. 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.

November is really kicking my bum

Egads! November has thrown me way off course writing and life-wise. There is just too much stuff happening at once. And I want to do it ALL! I’m trying to avoid spreading myself too thin, but seems unavoidable lately.

Some good things…

  • My gaming day event was a huge success by my standards (small library/campus, more than 50 people equals lots of fun).
  • I totally failed at keeping my New Year’s Resolutions (re: let my hair grow out). I got a pixie cut. I love it. So there.
  • The Book Fair!!!! OMG! BERKS!!!!
  • The WIP is coming together nicely. It’s become more of a rewrite than a revision, but I’m going about it in a different way this time and rewriting scene by scene, rather than doing a full-scale rewrite. Cassiel needed the works (new setting, change of characters, plot, etc.), Anúna just needs to grow into the action.

The not so good…

  • I’m definitely not near my NaNo goal, but I’m no longer aiming for it. I’m back to my original goal of complete 2nd draft by February. I can’t remember how I came up with February… but I think it has something to do with Camp NaNo in April.
  • Commitments, commitments.
  • I need a vacation. I feel it.

it is what it is… or, another random update

Yes, indeed, it’s another random update! Hurrah! And gadzooks!

Ok, enough of that.

Things are better than they were earlier this week. I gave myself permission to just be and enjoy the small stuff, so here I am. I have to say, you Twitter peeps are the best and excellent when it comes to virtual hugs and support. Thank you!

My NaNo rebellion is coming along well, despite some minor setbacks (re: laziness) on Thursday and Friday. My characters are being their usual wicked selves and taking me for a spin, but the plot is developing into something resembling a real plot and some of those minor characters are becoming less minor in a pleasantly unexpected way. I think I will be able to get through the first full draft at this rate and be able to start on the next round of edits by December. *fingers crossed*

Life wise, I’ve also been sticking to my health and fitness challenge and feeling all the better for it. I’m such a sucker for goals… keeps me motivated and stirs me up just when I need stirring.

I even did some gardening today and took care of the rooftop shrubbery. I surprise myself every time I see how nicely the plants have been coming along. My catnip is positively invasive.

My next plan, is to save some monies for home improvement projects and finally make this place look decent. I shall start by closing the hole around my AC unit. Yes, I’m going to turn into a DIY-er for the holidays and am really hoping for some Lowe’s cards for Christmas. My Pinterest is going to explode with paint and decorating ideas. 

Off I go…

doing it for myself

I called in sick (technically, I texted in sick, but so it goes). I did it because I needed it. I did it for myself. I did it because I needed to distance myself from everything that happened yesterday and because I barely slept a wink and was scared of driving and falling asleep at the wheel. I did it because I needed to take care of things that needed taking care of before they became worse. And I did it because I need to stop feeling guilty for needing to take time off. I have the privilege of actually getting paid sick leave, but I always feel such guilt for taking time off and letting my overworked coworkers down. It’s probably a remnant of the days when it was work or don’t get paid, but I also think it’s something that has been so ingrained in many of us–the idea that we have to take it for the team, keep plodding on or else–that taking time off, even when it’s allowed, seems a huge ordeal. 

I drank some tea, rested, took care of those things I mentioned, and then had a long nap. I’m still tired, but I’ve managed to get some writing in. I took a walk to Starbucks and indulged in a latte and a good book. And now I’m here. Trying to find some peace.