And… Done

Well, it took months, so long that I can’t even remember how long it’s been, but I’ve finally completed the re-plotting of Fighter One and the four potential sequels.  Now that I know where the story might go, I can be sure to leave just the right foreshadowing in the first story (the only one I’m likely to write, unless it’s as good as I hope/think it is).  I’m actually very pleased with the way that it turned out, and the plot even surprised me until the very end.  My subconscious and I are apparently a very good team.

 

Now all that’s left (hah) is to update my list of scenes and edit the novel.  It’s in pretty good shape already, but there are a few minor changes that I need to make and some things that I want to add/show.  All told, I’ll probably add 10,000 words.  Which brings it up to well over the length of a typical YA novel, but then I’ll cut it back down.  Or I might just leave it as it is – I’m starting to think the story is more NA than YA, though it would probably fit each category fine.  I guess I’m going to have to do some research!  (Boo hoo, I have to read a lot of books in the name of research, how sad).

 

Next on the list though, is sending what I’ve prepared to my critique group to make sure the plot is as solid as I think it is.  I hope it won’t be a huge blow to the ego!

Phone The Media

I’ve been writing again.

 

Newspaper of New Zealand

 Photo from here

 

Slowly, to be sure, and not terribly effectively, but I’m writing again.

 

I haven’t talked about it much here, but I’ve actually been really struggling to write lately.  I haven’t had the mental and physical energy that I’ve needed to really devote myself to the task.  In part, I think it’s because of the day job, which has some really unusual hours right now, and often gets me home well after 7:00 three days of the week.  After then, by the time I eat and settle in, it’s bedtime.  So those days aren’t writing days.

 

But I’ve also found it hard to settle into a good sleep on those days (only having two hours at home isn’t what I’m used to).  Since the long days are usually Monday and Tuesday, sometimes Wednesday and rarely Thursdays, that means I’m exhausted by the end of the week and I need Thursday/Friday to catch up.  Then comes the weekend, which will be very busy now that it’s summer.

 

I’m probably not struggling with anything that’s terribly unusual to most of my colleagues out there, but I’m finding it difficult right now.  I’m also training for a 5K run at the end of June, trying to lose a little of the weight that I put on over the last few years (the side effect of some medication that I really needed), and attempting, however ineffectively, to spend some time with friends.  Writing time is at a premium these days.

 

Which is par for the course for summer, really.  I should be used to it by now, but this year it seems to be more of a struggle than usual.  All the same, I did a little bit of writing/editing this weekend.  It was mostly planning, since my motivation was stronger for that, and getting back into working again on something that I was motivated to do seemed logical, but at least I did it.  Now I just need to sustain it.  I should be good at this, since squeezing in bits of writing is all I preach during November, but I’m finding it harder to just edit for fifteen minutes like I could if I were writing.  What I’m working on needs a bit of conscious thought and sustained effort.  So I’m just going to have to experiment, I guess!

 

What are your tricks for writing when you don’t have much time?

 

 

 

 

Winner… Again!

So…

I’ve been working a series of rather long hours at the day job (the price one pays for having clients 16 time zones ahead) so this will be a short update by necessity.  But guess what?!?!?!

 

 

 

 

 

Did you guess?

You didn’t, did you?

 

 

 

I’m disappointed in you all.

Seriously, though, I’m pleased to report that I finished and WON the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo on Sunday April 28.  I celebrated with my fellow Wrimotaurs at our usual restaurant haunt by purchasing and subsequently eating the entirety of a caramel brownie bacon sundae.  It was delicious: although one wouldn’t think that those flavours go together, they totally do!

 

In typical me fashion, I have done absolutely no writing since that night.  Mostly because of the aforementioned long hours.  And my weekend was completely full of social-type events.  But things are slowly growing manageable at work as I get used to 45-50 hour weeks again, along with the hour commute each way.

 

And, as fun as gaming, cleaning the entire house, shopping and prepping for a party, watching Iron Man 3, and entertaining at said party were, I’ll be glad for some quiet time.  Which is kind of the exact opposite of summer, but there you go.

 

But now that Mark and I got the spring cleaning done in advance of entertaining last night… well, there’s going to be some more time for writing in my future!

 

After I mow the lawn and get the gardens in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well… I’m back!

Hello friends!  I’m back!!

Yes, I was gone for a rather long time.  And I do apologize for that absence.  I have plenty of excuses, but that’s all that they are, so we’ll just leave them unsaid, shall we?

 

For the last half of February, I devoted myself to finishing the re-write of Fighter One.  Of course, I failed somewhat spectacularly in getting it done before we left for vacation on March 2.  I feel a little bad about it, but life exploded right before I left (when the client is visiting from Australia, you work late, because he’s only there for a limited time and there’s lots to do).  In fact, thus far I’m 3/3 on clients visiting the week before I go on holiday.  So clearly, if we need the client to come at a specific time, I should book a trip for the week after.

 

Vacation was a wonderful break, although it had some challenges of it’s own.  Not, as I expected, to do with hoteling right between mom and dad, and my sister and her boyfriend: traveling with the whole family actually went surprisingly well and was a lot of fun.  No, the challenges had to do with wi-fi being slow (which in itself was okay, as I got a nice break being forced to disconnect), a fire at the resort, and the cold Mark and I both caught right before we left to come home.

 

Yes, we caught a cold.  And there was an electrical fire at the resort, which  was just an adventure for us, but ended up shutting off power to half the rooms.  The worst part for us was that the pool bar had no blender, so we could only get drinks on the rocks there.  Sad.  Seriously, though, everyone was okay, although a few people had to go to the hospital for observation, and several people were displaced for a night or two.  My sister and her boyfriend bunked with us so that a family with two young girls could have their room rather than having to leave.  And our new friend from Calgary (we met him at Carribean night!) and his wife got to live in their ‘bat cave’ (what they termed their powerless hotel room) for a few nights.

 

I will say this: the resort and the staff were wonderful, the food was amazing, and everyone handled the fire with good humour and maturity.  Although it made things hard for people, it also pulled some people together, and I think we made better friends of our resort mates because of it than we would have otherwise.  I can’t wait to go back!

 

Now that I am home, I’ve spent the last week recovering from the Mexico cold that still hasn’t left me (fortunately it was only a cold and nothing worse) and I think I might be on the mend.  Writing will be slow for the rest of the month as I catch up with house chores and other things that got put off for the frantic novel finishing spree, and then by the cold.  So hopefully I will be back in the saddle come April, for Camp NaNo.  Who knows?

Blue Monday

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Image by Ron Bennetts

 

So, today was apparently “Blue Monday”.  The most depressing day of the year where the holiday bills are starting to catch up and the resolutions are starting to be broken.  And yet, I feel pretty good today.

 

Some of that is undoubtedly because I just got off the treadmill and I always feel better when I exercise.  I didn’t do much, just a slow walk while watching some TV on my iPad, but since we only just got the treadmill set up yesterday, it seemed to go pretty well.  So far I’m pleased with the setup – it’s got internal speakers and a perfect platform for my iPad, is nice and smooth for walking/running on, and even has flat armrests that I can use to support a walking desk!  No more sedentary clicking around on Facebook for me!

 

Some of it is also because I again got more positive feedback at work today and, although the job is proving challenging, I do feel like it is kind of something that I can do.  It means juggling priorities and personalities, but at least I’m starting to feel like the team likes me and is supporting both me and the project.  Also, positive feedback right before a three month review is a good thing!

 

But really, I think the main reason that I feel pretty good is actually a more general one.  I haven’t done much writing in the last three weeks, although I have made a point of working a little more on my goals of spending more time planning and editing and I have a couple of semi-secret projects I’m working on (one of which I will reveal shortly), but I’ve also made my health my priority as well.

 

The term “blue” has meant a lot to me for the last couple of years, as I’ve been struggling on and off with Depression and stress.  My health has been generally not all that good as I’ve been less conscientious about my eating and a lot more sedentary.  And I feel just gross because of it and my whole self is suffering.  But the changes I’m making (including the aforementioned treadmill and a new standing desk I’ll probably blog about later) are making me feel positive even if I only started them in earnest today.  It didn’t hurt that I managed to eat “right” with little to no temptation today and that my partner has issued a walking challenge to get me a little more active during my days.

 

Without getting too introspective, I think that Blue Monday is a good day for me to change my negative mental, physical, and emotional states that have kept me from enjoying life as much as I might like.  And if I feel better, sleep better, and look better, I’ll be happy.  Besides, I might just find that I get more inspiration for writing too!

Four Years and Four Weeks

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Four years and four weeks ago, I sat down at a table in a local family restaurant, not knowing for a moment that my life was about to change.

 

It had been a rough year for me, you see: I had moved from Grande Prairie back to my hometown and I was struggling to fit back in.  I was still living out of boxes in parent’s basement (until I found a place of my own) and my former high school friends had their own lives.  A lot changes when you haven’t lived at home for seven years.

 

I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo that year.  I had decided it.  It was too much trouble and too much stress.  The last two years had been marginal successes, at best.  And I didn’t need that kind of stress in my life.  Or so I had told myself.  Of course, my friends, and fate, had other plans.  When I expressed the above to a good friend, she immediately shut down all of my rational excuses why I wouldn’t be writing a novel in a month.  Instead, she gave me a new challenge: “write 5,000 words and meet new friends.”

 

I wrote 5,000 words that first weekend and just kept going.  You see, for the first time since I had started NaNo, I was spending a significant amount of time around people like me: other Wrimos.  That changed everything, including my outlook on writing.  Of course, I was writing a horrible Mary Sue fanfic that shall never see the light of day… but I was writing.  And having fun.  And meeting people!

 

And then, November 14, 2008 came.  The day when I innocently sat all alone at a table at the Ricky’s.  You see, fate had plans for me that day; thank goodness it’s more clever than I was.

 

I wasn’t alone for long.  One of the other Wrimos that I had sort-of-befriended came to keep me from feeling too lonely.  Then the Municipal Liaison at the time sat two “shy” girls at the table.  Of course, the four of us ended up singing songs from Harry Potter Puppet Pals, but who cares?  We were having fun, and I was hanging out with people that got me.  I was smiling.

 

And then someone else joined the table.  A young man with an amusing shirt, a hat, and an engaging smile.  I don’t really remember much else about what he looked like then, but I do recall that I couldn’t seem to stop talking to him.  I still haven’t stopped.

 

Three weeks ago, four years and one week to the day that we had met, that man asked me to marry him.

 

Of course, I said yes.  The last four years have been among the most amazing and life changing years ever.  He has laughed with me, cried with me, grieved with me, and grown with me.  He has challenged my beliefs and everything I thought that I wanted from life without ever making me feel like less of a person.  He has supported me without question no matter what was going right or wrong in my life.  He stood by my side when my world crumbled around me, and he was still there when the chaos stopped.

 

He constantly inspires me to aim for new heights, both as a writer and a person, mostly without even trying.  He pushes me to be better, to do better, and to set goals that I never would have otherwise considered.  He always listens to me vent when I just need to vent, but offers amazingly insightful advice when that’s what I need.  He likes my friends and loves my family (and I love his).  He completes me in nearly every way that it is physically and emotionally possible to do so, and I find myself loving him even more every day.

 

I don’t have the words to express how honored and humbled I am to have found him and I cannot wait to celebrate the next phase of our lives together, in front of the family and friends that have helped to shape us and our relationships.  I love him more than any mere words can say, and I cannot wait to see what other plans fate has in store for us.

So… This Happened

So…

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This happened.

 

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Then this happened.

 

All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing week so far (and it’s not over yet!).  Some highlights include:

  • Tea with friends new and old
  • Meeting an adorable pair of newlyweds and some newcomers at the Meet and Greet
  • Writing in a neat little bagel shop we discovered
  • Reaching my 50K in NaNo (and promptly doing nothing for 48 hours afterwards)
  • Overdosing on candy
  • Finding the perfect gift for my ML Secret Santa
  • Petting a shark and a ray
  • Eating my first sushi boat
  • Visiting the Office of Letters and Light and learning that I look great in a Viking hat
  • Watching a beautiful Pacific Octopus charm the employees of the aquarium
  • Baby Ostriches!!!
  • Dim sum in China Town
  • Meeting colourful characters on the streets of San Fran

 

Watch for more pictures and updates next week, as I’ll have more to share soon!  Tomorrow, we bike across the Golden Gate.  Wish my rear end luck (it’ll need it).  Until then?

 

Have a baby ostrich.

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Sorry, it’s been a while…

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Image from Dreamstime

 

But I have been BUSY!

 

It’s NaNo season, which around here means I’m trying to keep order at meets, frantically trying to confirm events with venues, bemoaning how they keep losing our reservation, and spending my work days overcaffinated.  Also, writing.  I have to do that somewhere in there.  At least I’m on track with my goals and the story is even starting to turn into something I kind of like.  It’s not proceeding exactly as I planned (what story ever does?), but I like some of the twists that it’s taking.  Lots to consider for the re-write.

 

NaNo is a different energy every year, and I’m still trying to figure out this year’s energy.  Personally, it’s been a year of fits and starts – I started my new job on November 5 so I spent the first four days getting my word count to 25K.  It’s a good thing that I did, because apparently working for 8 hours a day is something I am no longer used to.  But I think it’s going well.  My Project Engineer advised me to “sparkle”.  I think I can do that… where’s my glitter?

 

Seriously, the new job seems like a good move so far.  I’m learning a lot already, mostly about the specifics of the project and the team, and it’s a very exciting project to be involved with.  Fraught with challenges of the non-technical sort, of course, which is not something I’m necessarily good at solving, but I’ve done it before./  I’ll be working under a Senior Project Engineer and the Project Manager, and they both seem very reasonable to work with.  A lot like people I’ve worked with before, so I feel like I already know what they expect of me.  Right now, I’m still getting my feet wet and learning all that I can.  I get to meet the client next week!  Should be fun.

 

Anyway, you can sort of see how I’ve been busy.  Busy and tired.  And I apologize for not checking in here more regularly.  I wasn’t foolish enough to try the Epic Month of Blog posts in addition to NaNo and MLing.  I think the idea is really cool (write a blog post a day during the month of November), but I did something like it in April along with Script Frenzy, and it was too much.   So you’ll have to live with the little bit of me that you have here!

 

I promise to try and find some time next week to come back here and update you all.  I’m hoping that I won’t/shouldn’t be quite as worn out by the day job, now that I’m starting to get used to using my brain again!

Welcome to the Batcave!

… okay, not really.

 

But since NaNoWriMo is on the way, I thought I would take you on a quick tour of my writing lair/office (I prefer lair).  Mark and I have been preparing the house and our lives for November, so I actually spent the last few days tidying it up and making it workable.  I expect I will be spending a lot of time here over the next few weeks.

 

Here we go!

 

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My office!  From the doorway you can see (from left to right) the cat house, my shelves, my cupboard and my desk!

 

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A closer view of the shelves and all the books that I have (not so many as you’d think, and recently pared down) and some of my precious treasures.

 

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My desk, with my bulletin board of writerly motivations.

 

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My crafty zone (with all my knitting) and my sewing machine (mostly used for now as a holder of tea things and, apparently, my lightsabre).  Also, my filing system that needs a better home.

 

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And my cleverly hidden printer and writing books!  The drawers are filled with more craft stuff and other things that still need a home.

 

And that’s my lair!  I hope you like it as much as I do.

I am a “Real” Writer

Tows and ropes

Image from Dreamstime

 

I forget where I read it, probably because I’ve seen it in several places, but I’ve seen lately that “real writers ship”.  Which means, to send writing out into the world, to be read and to change lives.

 

Well, I haven’t shipped very much to date.  I’ve submitted to a couple of contests, but otherwise, nothing.  Fortunately, that changed last week!  I’ve been working on  a short story for an anthology that I heard about in July, and on Tuesday, I sent it out!  I’m proud of the little story, although I have no illusions that it will actually be accepted.  I think it’s a neat concept though, that I can recycle or re-use if it doesn’t get accepted.

 

In the meantime, please cross your fingers for me!  I should hear by the end of the year, and it will be my first “real” published piece (and will pay!) if it gets picked.  If not, I might just share it here!

 

Are you a “real” writer?  What have you shipped?