Sunday, May 29, 2016

trying to be positive

Let’s try to be upbeat and positive for a change. Um, that will be a challenge.

It has rained here most of the week, and even though we needed the moisture, I really need to see the sun. Possibly later today, and an even better chance on Memorial Day. (Speaking of the holiday, you should check out my other blog here.)

I’ve been puppy-sitting one of the grand-puppies the last two nights, so haven’t slept much. Both my 60-pound dog and the 75-pound puppy think they need to sleep in bed with us at night, but they also realize that they can’t have my husband’s side of the bed, which leaves me with about an 18-inch square space left on my side of the bed.

But I guess it’s worth it, because Buddy is just adorable. 

As far as my writing goals, I finished editing 31 chapters out of 39 of my novel, so that is 79%. I realize I have only three days left to finish by the end of the month, but I am feeling confident that I can get it done.

I do have to clean my entire house today, but not until after Buddy leaves, which should be shortly. Then Buddy, his cousin Wes and their parents (my son, my daughter and my son-in-law) will all be over on Monday for a cookout and to mess up my house again.

I’m starting to think that this thing of having only one goal per month is not working. I think I need more than one thing in my head at a time, and more than one thing to work on when I sit down at the computer each night. Otherwise I seem to just waste more time than usual.

I do think this month has been a nice break, though, and maybe I need to just plan long-range a little better. Such as, the month of June doesn’t have too much on my personal calendar, so I should be able to get lots done, right? 

Let me think about that and I’ll let you know on Wednesday’s checkin. Until then, how are your goals going? This Round is two-thirds complete. Are your goals that far along? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

waiting for the writing-train

I have had a horrible week at the day job. I don’t write about it much. I feel like I live two separate lives – one here on the computer and on the internet, where I can be the person I want to be, where I can dream and write and travel time and the world and do all those things I want to do and then there is the real world where I have to earn real money doing a real job, a job where people think they know me but they pretty much don’t have a clue. Maybe I need to embrace that mystery, that double-life more. Imagine I am a super-hero, mild mannered certified medical assistant by day, saving the world through words at night.

So, anyway, as I opened with, my alternative personality has had a horrible week so far. We are so short-handed at work, and the week after next, when a co-worker will go out on medical leave for three weeks, that will put us a total of three people short, not counting the people which management has already deemed unnecessary and have laid off. Meaning that the handful of us who are left have to split the duties of five others. And since some of those who are left barely want to do their own jobs, they surely aren’t going to take on any more work. And maybe all of this would be almost tolerable except – we work in the medical field! We take care of patients! Sick patients, hurting patients, dazed and confused patients! But at the end of the day, I am left so dazed and confused that I don’t know which end is up. And don’t even say the “i” word. (That would be “insurance”, which is the only thing in my world which is a bigger joke than management.)

Sorry for the rant. I am just exhausted.

Somehow, though, I have edited a few more chapters on my novel, having gone through chapter 21, which makes this 53% complete. Hmm, six more days to finish it. I will give it my best shot. 

How about you? Are you working a day job to pay the bills while you wait for your writing-train to enter the station? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

decisions, decisions

It’s been another fantastic weekend as far as the weather goes in my part of the woods. On Friday, I planted my vege garden and bought plants – flowers, tomatoes, zucchini and peppers – at the greenhouse. Yesterday I planted most of the flowers and today will finish putting in the flowers as well as the vege plants. Of course, with my brown thumb, it’s anyone’s guess which of these plants will live, thrive and produce and which will wither away.

I wish I could expand my farming to include chickens or even goats, rabbits or ducks. Thursday after work I went to a coworker’s house to visit her chicks and ducklings. Aren’t they adorable?

Anyway, not only is the hubby not thrilled by the idea of raising poultry or livestock, I think that my three outside cats would unfortunately be very thrilled and would taunt and torment anything I brought on the property. Oh, well, on to other things. 

I’ve edited 17 chapters on my novel, which means I am at 43%. Whoo-hoo.

I’ve also researched a few agents, and as I shared a week ago, most of them prefer to meet you at a conference or you need to be referred by an author they already represent. It doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get them to look at your stuff, though, so I will keep researching.

Lastly, I’ve been looking at writers’ conferences which I could attend. There actually are quite a few within driving distance of where I live (of course, I can comfortably drive quite a ways, I’m thinking four or five hours.). It’s just a matter of paying for it and getting the time off from the day job. I’m trying to talk Hubby into going to Ireland in summer 2017, so really need to start saving money. Decisions, decisions.

What kinds of decisions do you struggle with in your writing career?  

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Get in Shape

I wasn’t going to post an update today, as I don’t have a big update to give, but I decided that – well, that I should post an update anyway.

I edited just a few more chapters on my novel. Have gone through eleven chapters out of 39, so that means I am 28% finished. That sounds better every time I figure out the percentage completed.

Because the weather here is finally nice I have been getting outside as much as the day job allows. I went for a walk through one of our city’s parks with a friend last night and took the pictures posted here.

 Then there’s the crazy thing I am working on – an obstacle course around my yard. I know - I have lost my mind. It is nothing fancy though. I already have the trails through the woods around my house, and because they go up and down a hill, those obstacles are already built in. I just need to place some tires and get a rope up the bank of the steepest hill, set out some sawhorses to scale and I think I’m done. Will take pictures as soon as I have everything in place. I’ll try to draw a map too. I figure it is a more fun way to stay in shape. 

What are doing this spring to get in shape? 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

camaraderie and the writing life

Holy cow, how did it get to be the middle of May already? Coz where I live, we had snow on the ground yesterday morning. I bravely tilled my vegetable garden and dug around in my flower beds, but I just don’t know if that ground is going to be warm enough for planting by next weekend. The old-timers around here will tell you not to plant your garden until Memorial Day weekend, but Memorial Day is later this year, so I want to plant next weekend already. Wish me luck with that.

I have however started work on my goal for the month. I have edited through chapter seven of my novel, “Finding the Way Home”. Right now it has 39 chapters, so that means I am 17% done. Hmm. That’s not so hot. Oh, I don’t have too much on the personal agenda for the next two weeks, so I am hopeful I can do this.

The other thing I really wanted to work on this month was to try to find a home for “Finding Home”. Either a publisher or an agent. I wish I could fit a writers’ conference into my schedule, but besides the cost, I can’t get much time off from the day job. I don’t understand why you need to pretty much meet an agent in person to get them to look at your stuff. It has to be totally impossible for some people to make it to any writers’ conferences, between cost and distance. It hardly seems fair. It’s one of those things I’ll never figure out. Which is why it will probably take a long time to get this novel published. So I guess I will just keep editing it.

What about you? Have you met any agents at any writers’ conferences? And have you heard as well that that is the crucial step to getting an agent?
Another reason to go to writers' conferences  - the camaraderie 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

trying to stay accountable

Yeah! Finally a mid-week check-in, and one with something to report.

I have pulled myself out of my funk. I've been worried about what I've heard about several friends from high school. Well, all I can do is pray for them and their situations, I can’t take on their long-distance problems. I will always be there for them, but it’s not my job to pick them up when they fall. I have enough falling of my own to take care of.

My one main goal for the month of May is to do a thorough edit of my novel. I finally dragged it out again and have edited the first three chapters. That to me is success at this point.

I need to figure out a way to schedule only so much time every day for my daughter’s nonprofit. It continues to consume all of my waking hours, and some of my sleeping hours as well. I may have to drag out the white board again so that I can be more accountable.

Other than that, I am back on track blogging on the Dino Chronicles as well. My only current downfall is that I haven’t recommitted to the exercise regimen. Again, maybe something on that white board will hold me to it.

Are you staying committed to your goals? What kind of system do you use to keep you accountable? 

I didn’t feel like searching my pictures for the one shot I have of my white board and didn’t want to take another picture of it, so here is a photo of Hubby and me from our “escape for the day” ride up north last week. We really need to do this more often. 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

still in a funk

My goal for the month of May is to do a thorough edit of my novel, “Finding the Way Home”. I have not looked at it yet this month. I am still in a funk.

Last week I wrote about the death of a friend from high school. I met with his sister on Wednesday and we spent an hour reminiscing about the old days, visited her brother’s land and my sister’s and her parents’ graves. Our time together was overall more upbeat than that, except for when she shared about what another one of our friends from high school has going on. I can’t share it, but it has left me in even a deeper funk. Oh, well, life so they say goes on.

The most important project I had going on for the last two weeks was working on the 33 email accounts I am responsible for through a state group I am a member of. I have finished the most important aspects of that clean-up and only have to tweak a few more accounts. That may or may not get done this week.

I really and truly plan to start editing my novel this week. For the next two weeks, I should have a bit of a break from the day job, so I should be able to get home on time each night and maybe even get a lunch hour.

How about you? Has anything thrown you into a funk this Spring? 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Saying good-bye . . . to April

At the start of this Round, I reported that I would have just one main goal per month for the next three months. My April goal was to write the memoir of the lives of my sister and I, the stories of growing up and one of us not growing old. I was shooting for 30,000 words.

Last week, in the flurry of other things which I needed to get done, in the back of my mind, I kept constantly thinking about that memoir and the stories I wanted to yet add. I thought back to me being the tag-along little sister, going everywhere with my big sister, whether she wanted me to go or not. I think most of the time she didn’t mind. Her friend Laurie had a younger brother Darwin who was my age and he tagged along too.

I wanted to write about some of those escapades. Such as when we all went roller skating (circa 1976?) and they announced “couples only”. The rink cleared out, until only couples hand-in-hand circled the floor to some love song. Darwin gave me the look, rolled his eyes, and offered me his hand. I thought, “seriously?” I was around thirteen years old and thought all boys were yucky. Yet I took his hand and we started skating around the room, until one of the wheels came off one of his skates, he dropped my hand and coasted on one leg into the wall.

I haven’t seen him since our 20 year class reunion, must be 16 years ago.

Earlier this week, after thinking about writing that story, I pulled up Facebook to show a coworker a video my daughter had posted, and there was a post from Laurie saying that her brother Darwin had died the day before. What? What? What had I just read? I was in shock.

I messaged Laurie and asked what had happened. She said they didn’t know for sure, but it sounded like a sudden heart attack.

A few days later, I found his obituary on-line. Last I had heard he was living about 200 miles away, but had moved to a nearby town just last fall. I could go to the funeral, but I kept asking myself why would I want to. It always seems hypocritical to me to show up after someone’s dead when you never bothered to see them when they were living.

But all week I kept getting little signs that I should go, ending with reading a blog post from Eden Mabee yesterday morning. So I went to the wake, saw Laurie and her other brother Donny. Met Darwin’s wife (isn’t it too soon to call her a widow?).

It wasn’t earth-shattering. It was like in the movie “Field of Dreams” where Kevin Costner’s character is trying to figure out why he was sent somewhere else. Sometimes the answers pop right up and sometimes you have to wait and see.

With all that being said, I didn't write a word this week on my memoir about my sister, but those stories are forever etched in my head. It is the first of May and time to start this month’s goal – do a thorough edit of my novel about Jenny – not sure on the title yet, either “Finding the Way Home” or “Going Home” or something like that. I need to figure that out this month as well.

How about you? Are you setting new goals for the new month or sticking with the old ones?