Quote of the Moment

"Magic comes from what is inside you. It is part of you. You can't weave together a spell you don't believe in." - Jim Butcher

Friday, October 26, 2007

4 Months

Yes, it's been 4 months since I posted anything on my blog. I'm not going to berate myself though because I have an excellent excuse.

The couch has been my home for many weeks, when I'm not at work (which I am even working less hours now). I tend to avoid the comp at home a lot, and I am just starting to use it more often (hey, I even wasn't playing hardly any Everquest...maybe just logging in one day a week and going afk as I crawled back to the couch).

So, why you ask? Or maybe you don't ask since likely no one checks my blog anymore since it's been so long since I posted. :( Well, I'm pregnant! And all day sickness (morning sickness is such a misnomer) had me wishing I didn't have to move from my curled up position on the couch. I watched far too many America's Next Top Model marathons, horrible horrible, among other bad TV. I mean, I didn't even feel well enough to concentrate on reading a book!

Yes, this means that since I got pregnant, writing has been on hold. And now that I am starting to feel better, I am getting the itch to write, but mostly when I'm at work and trying to get to sleep at night (not writing for this long makes me feel like I'm missing a limb!). Hopefully soon I'll be able to get something down, but the disaster of a house needs to get cleaned and organized, or my baby will be surrounded by squalor when s/he is born.

I did sign up for NaNo, but I am only going to use it as a word count tracker for that month - don't plan to stick to one novel, let alone starting a new one fresh (I have too many rough drafts that need to be completed first).

I promise to post more often now, since I don't feel like throwing up at every twitch of an eyelash, but I also will likely be posting some stuff about my pregnancy, since my little one is what's on my brain most of the time nowadays. So, you might get more "life of a writer" than "talking about writing" over the next few months. ;)

Oh, and my due date is late March/early April if anyone wants to know! I am restraining myself from putting a pregnancy ticker on my blog - heh. That would REALLY be off the subject of my blog, wouldn't it?

Happy writing, all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Post-Retreat

I got back on Monday from the Writing Popular Fiction Alumni Retreat. It was fun (although I didn't get as much writing done as I wanted to - Shepherd must be continued - grrr). It was also a nice break for my hand. I am currently at work now, though. :( Lunch break. Figured blogging would be more productive after eating, since I am stuck in a big battle in reading Clash of Kings (did I ever mention I'm not a huge fan of ongoing war in fantasy - this book has been tough for me to get through, but that is just my taste).

Anyway. The retreat. :p One week was a tad too long away from home, so if I go next year, I think I need to shorten it by a couple days. I did get "Bloodstains" revised, and e-mailed that out to a contest. Did a brief crit session with Chun and Heidi.

Oh, and Heidi has been doing a Pick Six on her live journal, where she has writers choose 6 questions to answer for an interview. She does a fine job with it (and I wonder where she finds all the time and energy to do it). Mine went up last week: Click Here to take a look at it. Also, don't forget to take a look at the rest of her live journal - some great Pick Sixes all around.

Back to the retreat (so, I'm not consistent today, phooey to consistency). I had a chance to pitch to an agent during the retreat - I felt like I stumbled over my own tongue too much, but she did request 50 pages and an outline. Speaking is NOT my forte...I mean, I AM a writer. ;) She was nice, though, and the session she had about choosing agents was informative (and funny - lol). I like seeing agents that say they will only take on clients whose work they love. That's what I want, above all, is to find someone that loves my writing and is willing to find the right spot for it out in the scary publishing world.

If I detailed the rest of the retreat, this would be a long blog indeed. It was fun, and something I think I needed.

Yesterday I sent out those 50 pages, as well as 3 short stories to different markets. I have 5 things out in circulation now! Yay for getting my butt in gear. It took a while to research the short story markets, so I didn't get the short story on my list revised, or any scenes written for Shepherd. If I didn't have this brainless part-time-feels-like-full-time job, I would have been working on those today. Hopefully tomorrow I won't be too exhausted. maybe once some bills are paid down I can kiss this job good-bye and concentrate more on my writing. It could happen, right?

Okay, see, I've been productive. Always a good sign. I need to keep it up. I will keep it up? Yes, I know, ditching the ? would make it sound more optimistic. I'm trying at least. A little.

By the way, I am leaving Critters.

Happy writing all!

Friday, June 01, 2007

You Don't Need To Ask Because You Know I'll Tell Anyway

It's been almost 2 months since I blogged last. I am not going to chide myself this time. It's actually taking a lot of will to blog right now.

Shortly after my last blog, I went to the doctor because my middle finger on my right hand felt numb for most of the waking day. This had gone on for a couple months, so I forced myself to the doctor. Turns out, I have carpal tunnel. This is not an affliction a writer ever wants to hear they have.

Needless to say, this bad news has made me not want to blog. At all. I feel like I shouldn't even be in front of a computer most of the time, even though I of course still am, constantly.

The carpal tunnel has derailed my writing, to say the least. The pain is the worst when I'm at work (don't ask how many weeks it's taking me to get a keyboard tray put on my desk so my hand is below my elbow, instead of the other way around - they don't seem to take medical condition as a hint to speed things up). Supposedly it's a mild case and could get better (not with how I'm working right now, though - totally pisses me off, if you can't tell). I have a splint and I'm supposed to ice my wrist.

So, my usual routine that was getting my Shepherd novel done scene by scene was, work, then write until the husband picked me up. Since I am in such pain during work, I need a break after finishing work, so no writing done in those nice slots that were working. I am blogging at work right now, and it is numb, numb, and I should be shutting this computer down and reading or something - but I felt obligated to post and stop putting it off.

I am also at the point where I feel Critters is not giving me much for the effort I have put in. If I'm so back and forth on something, I think it might just be best to cut it out. I mean, I haven't heard from my one dedicated reader for over a month, and I only got 2 crits on my second set of chapters when I posted them...and since they hadn't read the first few chapters (even though I included a brief synopsis), about half of what they said was really irrelevant. Two days ago I got a 3rd, late critique, also with a lukewarm offer to do the dedicated reader thing. I think I will politely decline, go to inactive status after giving the one disappeared reader credit for the 8 chapters she did, and then beg/plead/bargain with some writer friends whom I trust to exchange critiques with. I want to be critiquing others' work, but not the Critters people at this time - I like critting for my writer friends much better, especially since I know them better and know who can take a joke. :p

That's what's up with me. I want to be writing again. I hate the carpal tunnel immensely (and yes, i have cut back on EQ - barely play during the week because of needing breaks from the pain I'm in at work). In about 2 and a half weeks I'll be heading out to Seton - I am looking forward to that and hoping I'll get some quality writing time in, which will get me back on the rails, even if the wheels are squeaky.

There you have it. Wish me luck with my hand improving. And happy writing!

Friday, April 06, 2007

First Quarter Report

Friday again, right after work. I really have to stop blogging at this time, the exhaustion just clings to me. I'm sure I'll be embarassed at the amount of typos I find in this post at a future date. Oh, well. I don't have enough brain power to actually write (haven't had any all week, and my word count of 0 is proof), so I figured I would blog. I intended to do a quarterly progress report of my goals at the end of march - so, I'm a week late.

So, let's look at my goals and what the progress has been (I won't address the ones with dates further out):

  • Finish the rough draft of Shepherd of Dreams novel by April 30 - I am not at the point I should be for this one - little over 25k in, have made some progress, but no where near enough - hopefully I'll be done by the end of May, if not the week I am taking in June to write should get it done - if I don;t finish by June 30, I'm in trouble with myself
  • Set up a monthly word count/productivity tracker - as mentioned when I posted the goals, this was created, and I have used it every time I write - there are some adjustments I need tot ake care of - it has shown me that I am progressively writing more each month - a good sigh, in my opinion, even if my numbers aren't at where I want them to be
  • 10 hours a week OR 5k a week of new material - already said my count isn't where I want it to be - I'll get there, I hope
  • Begin and complete 6 short stories - yea, well, I haven't worked on any shorts - been concentrating on Shepherd, which I might need to work on a short just to have a breather soon
  • Revise the backlog of short stories that have been waiting to be looked at, and possibly get more feedback, then revise again - nope, haven't touched them - bad me
  • Keep all completed short stories in circulation - another no - I did finally recieve a rejection I'd been expecting about 2 weeks ago, though
  • Start querying agents and editors again for The Mind Behind the Mind novel - alas, I have not queried anyone because I still can't find that list! - I did revise my query letter and synopsis, and I have been planning to make a shorter version of the synopsis and send a particular query out, but I keep running out of time on my days off
  • Critique 1 to 2 items a week - I was doing this, until I got urked at the Critters situation - I'll be starting this up again next week again
  • Reactivate Critters - yes, I did this, and if you've been reading my blog, you know the trials, and I have an update - Wednesday the head person of Critters FINALLY contacted me (responding to the first e-mail), and I e-mailed him back asking for credit, and he gave it to me, since it was the writer that broke the rules first, not me, the reader - OK, so it took a while for him to respond, as he had spam and more spam to weed through after his vacation, so I will continue critiquing there for a bit, but I doubt I will ever want to do a RFDR for someone for quite a while - as far as the person that is reading my novel, she critted the one section, and now I haven't heard from her for like 2 weeks :/
  • Blog and Update my Website once a week - well, you know how successful I've been at this one
  • Keep up with my writing groups, newsletters, magazine subscriptions, and writing books - hahahahahahaha - I'm still behind on a million e-mails, and this is pretty much on my list AFTER e-mails

That's it. Am I proud of my progress? Well, it's not exactly where I wanted to be 3 months into the year (where exactly did those months go?), but here's hoping I'll get better. Maybe if I get the house cleaned once and for all, my brain won't slam the door on any productivity when it looks at the mess and doesn't want to deal with it.

Okay, the middle finger on my right hand is numb, so it's time to stop typing. Hey, at least I wasn't yelling or overly depressing in this post. It's the thoughts of spring, I think (even though winter decided to come back for a time where I'm at - bleh). Happy writing!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

People

Warning: Bad language ahead

I think in general, I believe the human race is inherently selfish and greedy. I am not saying I totally lack levels of these two quailities (don't think that). I am just pissed off right now.

Interacting with people most of the time reminds me why I enjoy being a hermit. Playing EQ, you have jerks that kill steal, ninja loot, barge into your camps and push you out because they are fucking cocky and just because they are better geared than you and can kill faster and more efficiently, think it's their right to do as they please.

No, right now EQ isn't what set me off (although if this was last Wednesday and I was typing this, it would have been EQ). It's Critters. And I am seriously wondering why I ever went back. I actually had an offer (a week after my novel was out of the queue) to crit Shepherd, but that's going fine so far. That's not the thorn in my paw. I was doing an RFDR for someone. Going along, sowly getting through it - about 4-5 weeks in. Then I find out the person has another novel in the queue. You are not supposed to have anything else in the queue until all you readers are done with the first one. I was not done.

He claimed ignorance of the rules. And I think, an editor wouldn't buy that - "I'm sorry, I didn't know I shouldn't send my entire novel in single spaced, hand written," wouldn't fly. Ignorant people are a mondo thorn. And this just makes me wonder how many people are sending through more than one thing, getting lots of readers, and taking away readers from people that do follow the rules, like me.

So, I e-mail the head person, as I am now to pissed off to critique this person's work, and I know my anger will be blatant in the crits if I continue. No response. E-mail again. No response. Say, fuck it, and tell the person I will no longer crit it because I was too upset with his actions, and ask nicely if he will give me partial credit for the 25-30k I did crit. And spent a lot of fucking time critiquing. Then I e-mail the head people again, this time through the Help form (which I have used twice before, and twice before never got a response from). The person e-mails me back, said they won't give me credit for anything, if I want credit, I have to talk to the head person at Critters. Which I have. A number of times.

See why I hate the world right now? I spend all that fucking time, and now I am being fucking ignored by the people who run Critters. Is that fair? No way in hell it's fair. The person I was doing the RFDR broke the contract first by breaking the rules - I shouldn't have to slog through 30k more of writing for someone who I don't think deserves it after trying to get more than their share of readers.

What does all this mean? Life is unfair and I hate people. I wish I could just seal myself up in my house for the rest of my life and not deal with anyone. And I wonder why I have social anxiety disorder (undiagnosed, but I'm pretty damn sure that's what it is). Oh, it also means that once my one reader is done, I think I will be saying goodbye to Critters for good. The unresponsiveness I have been getting for the last two weeks is enough frustration, and I don't need it.

I guess I should eat something today...maybe that will make me feel better. Not. I hope everyone else's writing lives aren't as fucked up as mine.

Friday, March 09, 2007

It's About Time...

...I blog a little at least. Please bear with me, as I may seem more down than usual (I know, can I be any worse, you wonder), but I am tired and that tends to make me blah.

Last few weeks I've been working extra hours, which end right now, as I blog (just finished work today, even though I'm still here waiting until the husband can pick me up). So, I wrote nothing.

I have happily made a dent in my piles of papers. Still can't find that list of recommended agents though.

I should be registering for the writing retreat in June, but I am not sure how I would get from the airport to Greensburg at this point (I wanted to do the whole come early with a few others and have some writing time before the retreat - I still want to, but the others are another matter). So, I'm kind of frustrated with that because I don't want to take the train - 2 hour layover in Chicago does not appeal to me or my laptop.

Another reason why I haven't been encouraged to write is the lack of having anybody to critique my current novel project. It's like after graduating, the fake floor opened and I fell through. You think that you'll have the friends and critique partners you had for Seton, but then you realize, they're too busy, and without the carrot of school deadlines, they barely have time to write their own stuff let alone exchange things to critique. I do feel kind of abandoned, but then again, I've always had self-esteem issues. I need the feedback on my writing, so I can improve, and it always amazes me when some people can comment on certain things, and then my mind can latch onto a comment and it just blossoms other ideas - crits are my spark. Not to mention, if I know someone is expecting words to critique, I don't want to let them down, so it's way more encouragement to actually get it out. So, yes, I did mention I joined Critters, to try to get critiques from somewhere. Critters seems to be worse than I remember it. I'm not sure if it's just morphed since I was last part of it, or if it actually was always that way and I see it differently since I've been through the WPF program. I'm not saying its bad writing or that every comment given is horrible. What it is, is a crap shoot. Last week my RFDR was up (Request for Dedicated Readers). Do you want to know how many offers I received to critique my entire novel? Zero - exactly zero. How many crits of the chapters that were posted with the RFDR request? Two. The first one made my jaw drop as they obviously didn't read past the first chapter, and every note was pretty much saying my grammar sucked (not in those words, but pretty much saying they didn't understand what I meant in almost each and every sentence was a bit disconcerting). I mean, my grammar can't be that atrocious if I was able to get through the program (and I know Tim would have cut me a new one if it was that horrible!). The second one was a decent crit. He at least read all four chapters and made some good points. SO. No dedicated readers, and only one decent crit. Needless to say, if I wasn't in the middle of doing an RFDR for someone else, I think I'd leave Critters to continue on its merry way without me. Or am I really that bad of a writer that no one thought the novel was worthy enough to give feedback on and everyone is afraid to tell me?

Yes, a tad depressed right now. And feeling no one understands me. I try to explain my feelings and am pretty much just told they aren't valid. I think I'm in the No One Cares mode right now - self-pity is the pool of scum I'm sitting in. Bleh. See, I probably shouldn't have blogged. I wanted to at least let the few people who still read this know that I'm alive.

I hope everyone else's is going far better than mine (I swear, I sound like a broken record, to use a horrible cliche). Until next time...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Time To Go Back To Bed!

For the rest of the week...or month. Bleh.

First off, I'm now working more hours. This will leave no time for my usual write before the husband picks me up. So, I don't want my writing to suffer, but one day into my extra hours, and I see that it will likely suffer. I haven't written anything this week so far. Heck, I have A LOT to critique today as well.

I've searched high and low for that list of agents Diane recommended I query, and I can't find it. I am so upset. Words can't describe how upset I am. I just want to take a nuclear bomb to this messy house (and possibly my brain).

My eyes are puffy and nose is stuffed up (perhaps I'm allergic to the messy house), and I cracked my head on the corner of my husband's monitor.

This IS NOT a good week.

And I hate winter. Have I mentioned this before? It's cold, and more cold. And we had a week without water in the kitchen, and our already long commute to work yesterday was longer because of snow and unplowed roads.

I am not in a very positive mood. Sorry, nothing good to report in this week's blog attempt. Oh, I did switch to the New Blogger - that can't nessicarily be termed good or bad. It's neutral. Neutral is as far as I can move right now.

Hope everyone has more luck this week - I'm going back to bed.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Has It Been That Long?

Oops. Yea, okay, please yell at me for not blogging so long.

Last month I was sick half of the time, so that made me not want to do anything. Just what I need, is for things to pile up even more! Joy.

So, I didn't write much last month. I've written some this month at least. Shepherd is coming along slowly, but surely. I'm redifining my word count meters. The weekly one will still be actual word count (calculated by Word Perfect). The full novel one will be the "editor's calculation" though - page count times 250 (words per page when in Courier New double-spaced). Makes my goal more realistic, as that's the word count that will er, um count in the end.

I've rejoined Critters - yay. Well, I had to. Everyone else abandoned me for critiques. :( I hope to mostly do RFDRs (Requests for Dedicated Readers - i.e. novels) for people. It's what I'm most comfortable with. I plan to send my own RFDR out for Shepherd soon.

I also revised my synopsis and query letter for Mind - unfortunately the list of agents I had from Diane is MIA in my piles of papers (and it's likely in the ones in my study which are hard to get at because of piled up, unboxed Halloween decorations). See why I should clean before I worry about writing - heh?

Okay, I think that's all I have to report for now. Lots of critiquing I need to do right now. :p Happy writing all!