Originally posted February 12, 2012 (before the disaster)



Photo from Dreamstime


A little like the gibbon above, I was clinging to my sanity this week.


It’s not that I’m a particularly unstable person, but every so often (once or twice a year), things combine to create the perfect storm of stress in my world.  I don’t always handle stress very well or, rather, I handle it well until it builds up to a certain point after which I just can’t take more of it.  Here’s what hit me this week:

  1. My day job is very stressful and involves working with people (both teammates and clients) with whom I don’t always see eye to eye.
  2. My writing life wasn’t going very well.  I was anxious about the critiques that I sent out last week, and was beginning to feel like the novel I’m currently re-writing just wasn’t going the way that I wanted it to.
  3. I wasn’t sleeping well, so was tired and a bit depressed.
  4. My boyfriend was busy and not sleeping very well either, meaning that our quality time together was… lacking.
  5. My cats are little brats who like to try and trip me and pee on my clothes.


When I write it all out like that, it doesn’t seem like much, but each of those items had been building for a month or more.  Items 1 and 2, with some “help” from item 3, managed to bring me down this week.


Unfortunately, item 1 isn’t something that I can fix very easily without changing jobs, although I am working with management to try to improve things within the company (one of the perks of being with a small company for nearly four years is that management are friends and tend to listen to what you’re saying).  I hope that things will get better soon, but in the meantime, it’s also the stressful time of year in my industry, where everyone’s trying to get everything done right NOW.


Fortunately, item 2 seems to have resolved itself (for now).  Most of my critiques were positive, although one critiquer in particular had some very thought-provoking things to say about the structure of my novel.  Given that I’m currently at “that point” in the novel where I’m questioning its direction and purpose, that hit me a little harder than I’d been expecting.  Still, the short story that I submitted gained some rave reviews, and I’ll probably start sending it out to publishers once I’ve tidied it up a bit.  That’s exciting, and heartening, even if “Fighter One” isn’t going quite the way I want it to… yet.


Items 3 and 4 seem to slowly be sorting themselves out as we make more and more positive changes to our lifestyle (more on that in another blog post!)  And item 5 will probably never change.  Cats will be cats!


Although writing may be stressful in and of itself, with characters that never do what you expect them to, plots veering off in unexpected directions, the dreaded Writer’s Block, and the stresses associated with an unpredictable but particular audience, I still maintain that I could manage them better than the more immediate and personal stress of my day job.


It remains my dream to figure that out one day.


What about you?  What is your major source of stress?

An Apology


For the non-gamers among us: an explanation


I wish to apologize to my readers, as well as any of you who follow me on RSS feeds.  I had a bit of a blog crisis when I followed some ill-thought out advice in an attempt to “optimize” my site.


I optimized it right into oblivion!


I also found out, through the same accident, that my backup program wasn’t working nearly as well as I had thought.  So I’ve been doing some testing and I think I’ve figured that one out as well.


My apologies to anyone who’s comments were lost or who received a bit of spam in their RSS feed.  All technical issues should be accounted for.


I’ve managed to recover my content and I will be slowly re-posting it as time goes on.  In the meantime, look for something new and exciting in the month of April!

When Good Novels Go Bad


Image from Dreamstime


As you may have noticed from the sidebar, I’ve put my current novel on hold for now.  I did this after a lot of very careful thought, and it certainly wasn’t because the writing wasn’t going well.  Actually, the writing for this project was going extremely well – I knew exactly what I was writing and I was even ahead of my schedule.


Unfortunately, the more I wrote, the less I liked the story.  I still loved the characters and the setting (partly because I’ve been working on this series for over a decade) but the plot seemed a little… thin.  The driving actions of the plot weren’t believable enough and the beginning dragged on and on (and on…).  I forged ahead because I wasn’t quite willing to admit that the story I’ve been working on for so very long was so very broken.  But the more I thought about it and the more people I talked to the more I realized that the story needed work.


A lot of it.


So I’ve decided on a complete overhaul!  I’m still re-working the details, but I’ve moved the entirety of the plot line “back” in time (earlier in the timeline of my world).  Unfortunately, it means basically throwing out everything that I’ve written to date, but it gives a lot more opportunity for action and conflict and tension and all those good things.  It can now involve fights and political intrigue and conspiracy and treason.  I think it will not only be a more exciting read, but a lot more fun to write.


Now I just have to get to that point (again)!


What do you do when a project stalls out?

Hello world!

Hello everyone!  Here I am, writing my first ever blog post.


You are probably wondering a little bit about me.  Well, to start off with: I’m a writer.  I have been writing on and off for at least the last decade and, as I became more and more active with NaNoWriMo, I’ve decided to become a little bit more serious about my craft (more on that later!).  I love NaNoWriMo so much (both because of the enthusiasm and friendliness of the people there and for the dedication and focus it’s taught me) that I have volunteered as a Municipal Liaison in Calgary for the last two years, and am only enjoying it more and more every year.


Writing at a NaNo Event

In order to pay for a computer, internet, and warm home in which to work on my craft, I work full-time as an engineer with a small engineering firm in Calgary.  It’s interesting work, sometimes a stretch of my skills (and sanity), but I’m growing ever more confident and respected.  It certainly does pay the bills!


I am owned by two cats and one honourary nephew.  Most days it’s tough to tell who’s cuter.


Saffron (left) and Socks

That’s really about all that I have to share about myself (I try to save all of the excitement for my writing, after all), so I’ll be signing off now (and posting this, just to make sure it works!).


Stay tuned for much, much more.  See you again soon!