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

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On the Edge of 2009

Here's hoping the astrological stuff going on tonight bodes well for 2009. It better...maybe. =/

Anyhow, it's of course that time of year where I post my goals for the year and hope I don't fall flat on my face like every other year. I know my problem is that I set too high of a bar for myself, but I just can't help it. One of these years I'm going to force myself to only have one goal - that would be a feat!

Well, out of my two pages of 2009 goals, here are my writing ones:

- Write 4k words (about 16 pages) each week of rough draft material, continuing and finishing started novels and short stories first
- Critique one thing per week, 30 pages or less worth of material - if I have nothing to critique, spend the extra time either writing or revising
- Spend 3-5 hours each week on a combination of revising, story submissions, query submissions, and newsletter/listserv/magazine reading
- In accordance with the above listed goals, spend 10-15 hours per week doing writing related tasks
- Finish rough draft of Shepherd of Dreams by April 30
- Finish rough draft of Daina’s Dance by December 31
- Track Word Count/Productivity
- Revise 12 short stories that have been in the revision pile for ages - then possibly get them critiqued and revise again (hopefully submitting half before the end of the year)
[Ancient Ways, Cold...Oh So Cold, Dreams in Shadow, Hell Hath No Fury, Ode to Buses and Libraries, Path of One, Petals and Blood, Sunset Street, The Awakening, The Game, This is Where I Stand, Trophies]
- Complete rough drafts, get critiques, and revise 8 short stories/novella
[Blood and Souls (novella), Flaws of the Fin, Grinka 3, Love (Fate - Two of Cups), Slavery, Sorrow (Fate - Three of Swords), Tala, Unlikely Hero]
- Once above two goals are completed, work on 1 to 6 more Fate stories
- Keep all completed short stories in circulation
- Continue submitting queries for The Mind Behind the Mind
- Keep up with reading Broad Universe newsletters, F&SF, and Realms of Fantasy
- Start reading/interacting and keep up with WPF and Broad Universe listserves
- Blog every other week
- Update website every other week - maintain MySpace page once a month
- Back-up files once a week, flash drive after each writing/revising session
- Read one novel every other month at least
- Clean and organize my study by January 31 (so I have somewhere to hide when I need to write!)
- Hope I have enough money to at least attend the WPF alumni writer’s retreat this year

That's the scary list. Here's hoping tomorrow I start off running and can keep the momentum going all year! I hope everyone else has decided to make a more realistic list of goals, unlike this crazy writer. =) Happy writing!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

No More NaNo (obviously - heh)

This post is GREATLY delayed. About 13 days into NaNoWriMo, I realized there was just no way I was going to be able to hit 50k in a month unless I sacrificed my health - as in if I didn't get any sleep and wrote when the baby was asleep at night, I was going to get myself sick, and I couldn't get sick because I have to take care of her all day and she's still breastfeeding.

So, at the end of the 13 days, I at least felt successful in greasing up the wheels and having written almost 15k, the most I've ever written for a NaNoWriMo attempt. I also knew what I could likely handle writing amount wise in a week.

This is what I decided: when in rough draft novel mode, I should write about 4k per week, which equals about 16 pages - the pace I was going when I wrote for NaNo, on a good streak I can write almost 1k in an hour; one critique per week of about 30 pages or less; and about 4-5 hours worth of either submitting stories, sending out queries, and revising the endless pile of to be revised stories.

This was my plan.

I wanted to implement it starting on the 17th.

The baby did NOT want me to implement it.

She was extremely fussy the week of the 17th - I think that was the week tooth number five finally emerged. And we went to Madison for a family trip and baby toy Yule shopping that Saturday, and I finished a 50 page critique by the following Monday afternoon at least.

Sadly, no one has given me anything else to critique right now!

But that's not the bad part. Remember the thing I didn't want to happen because of lack of sleep with NaNo? Well, that Monday night I started to get a sore throat and got sick! I blame the Madison trip. Thanksgiving I was brainless, and the following three days, all friggin' weekend, I had a fever come and go. Miserable.

This week I have been recovering, and so I now finally get around to posting my plan, only two weeks after I originally planned to post!

Monday, I will attempt to implement my plan, but not the whole thing. My husband will be away for work until late on Thursday, so I will be on full-time baby duty with no husband to take her when I want to get some writing done. Most likely it will be fully implemented after the crazy holidays, but I hope I can at least get some writing done. I have to continue Shepherd. =)

As long as I don't get sick again - humph.

That's the deal right now, and one year I'll finish NaNo, but first I need to finish all the other novels I started. *insert maniacal laughter*

Happy writing!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

NaNoWriMo Novel - Eater of Angels - Progress Meter

Below is my progress meter (since the official NaNoWriMo ones don't seem to be working). It also has the ability to reflect my mood as I'm writing the novel. I will update this blog post everyday to at least adjust the meter, unless I have a horrible day and get nothing written. Below the meter I will add dated comments when I feel the need to say something. Happy NaNoing. =)



11/6/08 - I've eclipsed the total word count I managed to get in 2005 and 2006 - well, and 2007 since I didn't take up the challenge at all last year.

11/8/08 - I've made it past the 10k mark - woo hoo!

11/10/08 - It was one of those days where it may have just been better to write the word crap 2,500 times. BUT I made it past my 14k total from NaNo 2004!

11/12/08 - The total lack of sleep last night because of an unusually fussy baby is seriously making me think of throwing in the towel for NaNoWriMo. I think my normal creativity pace is slower anyhow (by at least half...4k a week sounds like the perfect amount right now). I had very little sleep the night before because I was trying to get 10 pages done. There is no way I can afford to get sick because I'm still nursing, so not getting hardly any sleep is a bad thing! We'll see what happens. Today is looking like a 0 word day, though.

Monday, November 03, 2008

NaNoWriMo 2008

So, I decided to take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo again this year. The roadblocks to 50k words this year abound - namely baby ones. And this baby is trying to make that point by slapping at the keys while I type this blog entry. =p

I am determined to win at least one year - mine as well make it this year! Yes, I have tons of other projects I need to finish, but I decided I need to polish away the rust on my creativity and fiction fingers. This means I'm starting a whole new novel, just so I won't feel so bad when some of the chapters, scenes, paragraphs, sentences...words...just don't come out all shiny and pretty. Then when NaNo is over I'll have gotten rid of most of the nasty rust and can continue to write Shepherd.

The working title of my 2008 NaNoWriMo novel is Eater of Angels. I hope to post an excerpt in my NaNo profile sometime soon. For, yes, I have actually written the last 3 days. I have 20 pages already - over 5,000 words - woo hoo! The first scene had been brewing in my head for a couple weeks, and the words flew off my fingers. it was awesome, and it made me all giddy.

I also intend to add a NaNoWriMo word count bar to my blog (and maybe my website) if the NaNo website ever frees up. It is overloaded with people going to it at the moment, I think. At least that prevents me from wasting time in the forums. Heh.

On another note, I am all caught up with my critiques, and I hope to be critiquing regularly again once November is over.

Now, it's time for a walk in the unseasonably warm Wisconsin November - I still have to make some time for my family! Happy NaNoing everyone. =)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Report From Baby Land

OK, let's see if I can do this with a baby trying to smash the keyboard. =)

A few weeks ago, I managed to follow up on a query I sent. The agent requested a partial, and then in a couple days after I sent the partial said no thank you. Every time I manage to move up an inch, I end up right back at the beginning. But that's the way the publishing world works. =)

I also sent out a bunch of my stories. A couple have come back with rejections, but some are still out there.

Yes, this means I actually accomplished SOME writing related things. I also managed to read the book Word Work.

Notice I didn't make any excuses for not posting. Anyone who knows me or who has read my last couple rare posts knows I am lost in Baby Land most of the time, so diving right in to my updates is the best for me.

I also plan to be crazy in November, allow the house to become even more disarrayed, ignore my husband at night and on the weekends (making him watch the little one), and try to do NaNoWriMo! Yes, I'm nuts. NaNoWriMo and a baby don't really mix, but no one ever said I needed to be sane to be a writer.

That's what's going on with me right now (among other annoying money things). Now back to Baby Land...seems I have a poopy diaper to change...

Happy writing!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time and Weight

Yes, it's been ages since I've posted again. I know I tend to try to stick to writing topics when I post, but this time, I'm going to allow myself to go off topic.

Life has been piling up on me - the shit has hit the fan (might be a cliche, but a fitting cliche nonetheless). First it was the unexpected medical bills from the c-section and transfer to a hospital for Alexa's birth. Those won't be paid off for a while. We had already slotted our tax refund for a new comp, which in hindsight, we really shouldn't have gotten the new computer (or the PS3 that I had promised my husband for Father's Day - he won't be getting a Father's Day present for another 10 years!).

The car had some trouble and I'm still paying that off...and we don't even have that car anymore now! Last week Tuesday my husband was rear-ended. The car was 10 years old, so it wasn't worth much to begin with, and the damage was $3500 so it was considered totaled and we would have gotten hardly anything from the guy's insurance even if he would have admitted that the accident happened (my husband was not too smart and didn't get a police report - the other guy claimed he called 911 and they said they wouldn't come out unless there were injuries). So, this past weekend, we spent all Saturday at a dealership about an hour from home - they had a deal going on where ANY trade-in was worth $4200. We left the place with a 2006 Kia Spectra for $12k after taxes, and a new monthly payment that we really can't afford.

And my student loans kick in in October - did I mention that?

Oh, and I am funneling money into stuff for my best friend's wedding - dress, shower, shoes, hair, make-up - argh.

AND the siding on are house would set us back $23k. After the car fiasco, there's no way the siding can get done, and I don't think we could even get a home equity loan for that much even before the car fiasco. We need to get the roof done though, and the rest of the windows in the house will cost $3.5k. I don't know what the roof will cost yet.

I hate money.

Money gives me heart palpitations.

Worrying over if we can pay all our bills each month exhausts me. I don't get anything done. It is a horrible inducer of writer's lack of motivation (because remember, I don't believe in writer's block).

To top things off, yesterday morning I found blood droplets all over the house (at least we have mostly wood floors for easy clean-up)...it turns out our oldest cast, Pikachu, was bleeding - her front, right paw. It kept breaking open, and she was still bleeding today, so we took her to the vet. My initial thought was, great more money - how did she hurt her paw - the credit card is really going to feel this. When we finally got her in, the vet said it was a tumor that had gotten so big that it finally broke the skin. They could have attempted to remove it, but half her paw would have gone with it, plus if there was one tumor, there were likely more inside her. After my husband talked to his mom (we needed a level head), he decided we would put Pika down. Needless to say, I had started crying right when I found out about the tumor, and I'm still having a hard time not crying. We are going to have her cremated so we can keep her ashes.

Things have been horrid. Miserable. Writing is just not possible right now. I feel numb, lost, like I'm stuck in the worst nightmare.

I know I should be happy for what I have - our little girl is healthy. But I just keep thinking that the shoe is going to drop again and wondering when it will.

Before I close this entry, I'd like to list some things I remember about the Pikachu, in hopes that if I forget anything in the future, I can at least come back here to remember:

- when she was younger and slimmer, she loved doing her quick attack down the hallway
- she was our Squeaky Piky, Princess Pikachu (she was Peasant Pika for a while since the baby is now Princess), Fat Tabble, Poopy Pika, Tabble Cat, Waddles
- she LOVED marshmallows (I even made her a bowl that said Got Marshmallows?)
- she used to sit up like a bunny on her haunches
- she also loved cotton balls (and supposedly my husband's sister's barbies' underpants)
- when she was tussling with the Roland, she'd always fight dirty and go for the crotch!
- she was our lap kitty and our foot warmer in bed
- she loved attention from us (but she wasn't too happy with strangers)
- when my husband brought her down from up north, she was under his car seat most of the way
- She had this one whisker that curled weird
- she also loved yarn/yarn balls (she had to be a little cliche - the marshmallows were weird enough), but we had to stop giving them to her because Roland would chew it in half, right down the middle, and then chew in the middle of each new piece

I also have a picture. This will take me a while to get over - she will be missed a lot.

And I don't promise that next time I post it will only be about writing. I don't think my life is stable enough right now to make such promises. If anyone knows of any good work-at-home job, let me know! Sigh.

Happy writing to everyone else.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back from the Dead!


OK, maybe not from the dead, but definitely from baby-brain pregnancy land. :p

The end of my pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster - I won't get into it, as I'm sure the long-winded telling of it would put everyone to sleep (if anyone visits my blog anymore - it's been so long since I've posted!). To sum it up, I'm now a mommy. :D Here is a picture of my little girl.

Now, back to writing! In between taking care of the little one, I've actually been starting to get my feet wet again. I'm participating in a critique group (and I am also trying to get a short story critique group going for SHU-Writing Popular Fiction people, but that doesn't seem too successful right now). I also managed to write 900 words to the beginning of another Fate story - which I then promptly decided I need to revise it before I move on, which is something I never do, but I am just THAT rusty.

So, little by little I'm getting back into the swing of things (is this a cliche ridden post today, or what?). Hopefully I'll start submitting queries again soon, as well as circulating my short stories. I still have one query I never received a response to, and a short story that didn't get a response either (or a response to the query of the status after it was sitting there for 6 months...now it's been 9 months...). I also need to work on Shepherd of Dreams some more, including figuring out a better title!

My life right now is taking care of the baby girl, trying to squeeze in some writing time, and attempting to clean this house so my study no longer is a storage room and I can actually use it to write. Ha! I'll update more often, I promise...unless catastrophe strikes. We'll hope that it won't. :p

Happy writing all!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Been Sick

So, the weekend after my last post a nasty cold took over my body. =( I still have the cough and some fluid in the upper part of my lungs, but I'm getting better.

This means, I haven't gotten any writing stuff done. Boo. Eight more weeks left of my pregnancy too, and trying to sleep at night has become a chore! Some of the house has been picked up, but still a lot to do so it's in decent condition when the little one comes.

In other words, my goals are pretty much getting pushed back. I should have seen it coming. I'll do what I can, when I can, but I know I need to rest up now because when the munchkin is here I will get none at all! I know I shouldn't feel guilty - writing just has to take a back seat for a bit since I'll be a mom soon. That doesn't mean I won't try to get writing done - just that I need to not feel bad if I don't. Being pregnant is no picnic, to use a horrible cliche - lol.

Of the three queries I sent out a few weeks ago, I have already received back two rejections. I should probably send more queries out soon.

I hope everyone else's writing life is going well - happy writing!

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Little Progress

So, I didn't get 20 hours worth of writing stuff done this week. I think I tend to expect too much of myself - really need to start making those goals less daunting.

I'd say I spent about 2 hours this week preparing 3 query packages and sending them out. One small step. =) I'm happy to have some queries out there for Mind. I also sent a follow-up e-mail asking about the status of a story I submitted 6 months ago. And I'm actually posting on the blog - a little obvious, I know.

It seems every time I look at the house and think of what needs to be done, I freeze up. Then I spend far too much time reading pregnancy/baby forums and doing small research things for when the little one is here. So, the house is still a disaster. The ever expanding belly and exhaustion don't help either. =/

Since the house is still a cesspit, next week I likely won't meet all those dated goals I had posted (this weekend I have natural birth class and it's hubbie's b-day...plus I must make my peppermint ice cookies before the peppermint ice really is on the iffy side - lol). I hope to at least get some of my completed stories into some slush piles, and update my website.

I also wasted some time this week learning how to make blinkies - I made 2, and probably will only use them on the pregnancy forums I'm on, but I think they look neat. And they are more writing/fantasy related! This will be the only time I annoy you with them I promise:


OK, that's all for this week. A little at a time, right? Hehe. Happy writing!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year! - Goals and Status Update

Yes, I promised updates more often, but I was working my butt off to make up for time missed when I had the morning sickness. The wonderful thing is, now I'm done working! As of December 21, done, done, and done. I didn't want my third trimester to be even more agonizing with even less sleep from getting up so early and the long commute. Need to get as much sleep as I can now before the little one comes!

Anyway, since I am done with work, I now have about 2 months at home. Which means I can hopefully get this house in some semblance of order. And it also means I can get some writing done! So, I'll be cleaning, and once the house looks halfway decent, I'll work on writing - will take a bit to get back in a rhythm - have to oil the gears. Then when the little one comes, I'll be allowing myself a 3 month reprieve from writing until I can work around the munchkin's routine. =) I will be baby-wearing, so I predict most writing will be done with little one in a sling or my Moby wrap.

I'll try to update once a week again (if anyone comes here anymore...). Here are my current writing goals for this year (yes, I still haven't finished those novel rough drafts):

- Finish rough draft of Shepherd of Dreams by March 15
- Finish rough draft of Daina’s Dance by November 1
- Finish 2nd or 3rd draft of Shepherd of Dreams by December 31
- Track Word Count/Productivity
- 20 hours a week of writing related things - Starting January 7, up to a 3 month break when the little one comes
- 5k of new material each week (when working on rough drafts) - Starting January 14, up to a 3 month break when the little one comes
- Begin and complete 6 short stories
- Revise current short stories
- Keep all completed short stories in circulation
- Query agents and editors for The Mind Behind the Mind
- Critique 1 to 2 items a week - Starting January 14, up to a 3 month break when the little one comes
- Blog once a week
- Update website once a week - Starting January 14, up to a 3 month break when the little one comes
- Rekindle writing groups
- Maintain writing groups
- Keep up with writing listserves
- Back-up Files once a week, flash drive back-up every hour
- Read writing newsletters, magazines, and books

Only a few edits from last year, really. My priorities are pretty much going to be the little one first, then writing second. The hubbie will be working full-time, but he's already said he'll try to help me get some writing time in (and some house cleaning assistance - lol).

That's all I have to report for now. I hope everybody has started the New Year off with a bang (mine was spent being woken up by a naughty kitty - pfft). Happy writing!