Posted in Computers and Internet, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, What I Love, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2021, Day One

I am doing NaNoWriMo as a rebel this year. I am working on adding about 35000 words to the second draft of my current novel, writing a 3500 word short story, and restarting what I’d quit working on during last year’s NaNoWriMo. You can find my profile for NaNoWriMo here.

Today I felt exhausted after a super busy weekend chaperoning my kids band at Area Marching Contest and the whole Halloween extravaganza. I didn’t think I’d get much done.

I only opened the first file for editing just to let myself stare at it while I finished my tea. Then I was going to get up and reheat my breakfast burrito. I noticed a couple things to fix, then a couple more. Next thing I knew, my tea was gone, so I took my burrito out to warm it up and when I glanced at the clock on the microwave it was three hours later.

I ate some lunch with my husband, who came home about five minutes later and told him about my magical morning. Then I told him about my plan to go to the gym in the afternoon. He left for work and I went back to the bedroom (which is also my office) to use the restroom. While in there, the computer made a weird noise, so I stopped to investigate for a moment before leaving for the gym.

Next thing I knew, it was 3:30pm and time to pick my kids up from school. So I stopped to do that and went back to writing while they were working on homework.

In all, I wrote 2,200 words on the current WIP. Of course, I also edited out about 1500 not so great ones. So I’m at 684 for the day. This is the last editing day this week, so I should still be able to make it up with just a hundred extra words a day this week.

It was a good start to National Novel Writing Month.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Organizing, Writing

Writing and Waiting

Today’s Spiritual Practices class discussion was so apropos. It was on “Waiting.” There was so much good commentary on that. My favorite quote of the night was this one:

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
—Anne Lamott

As a writer, waiting is the hardest part of the story process. I mean, yes, some days writing is a slog and I want to quit, but that is nothing compared to waiting to hear back from another author or editor. Some days it feels like writing is all waiting – waiting to get the research done so you can start writing, waiting for the critique group to reply to your manuscript so you can see what else needs work, waiting for cover art, etc. I have tried to improve my patience over the years, but am still not proficient at waiting.

Yesterday I finished most of the edits on Caro’s Quest Chapter Nine, which wasn’t as dire as I’d believed it to be, thank god. I have a few last little bits, but should be ready to send the chapter out to the Pineywoods Critique Group on Friday afternoon.

Today I edited, then submitted three short stories and four poems various places for October 31st deadlines. I have a few more short stories to send out tomorrow and probably even more poems. My list of tabs opened for submission guidelines right now far exceeds frivolous tabs, which is saying a lot. Some have said I’d hear back just after the first of November, but others had dates as far out at the end of January 2022. Ah, the wait is upon us.

Posted in Computers and Internet, Organizing, Speaking, What I Love, Writing

Today’s Speaking Engagement at TPLWC

I spoke today at the Tyler Public Library’s Writing Club Facebook Group on “How to Do a Writing Check-Up.” I spoke about what to include in the check-up and how to use the results to make goals and improve yourself and your writing business. I included some exercises geared towards that and then also some regular writing exercises, just for fun. It went really well! If you are a member of the group, you can see the replay of the live video here: {link}

Posted in Computers and Internet, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

NaNoWriMo 2020

Another year, another NaNoWriMo. I prepped all October to finish up the rewrite for last year’s Nano novel (Caro’s Quest) but then there’s been this other story this last week (Lady Air Pirates steampunk thing) that I cannot get out of my head, so I changed courses this morning and started on that instead. I’m in a mood, what can I say?

I’ve written 1711 words so far on the weird steampunk thing. It’s really weird, man. I had to stop for lunch (frozen cheese pizza for the third time this week – Greg’s trying to get it out of his system before he goes back to in person school tomorrow), but I feel like there’s more story in me and I’ve already done all the other personal life stuff I needed to today, so I think I’m going to write some more while my brain is still good.

I am still working on Caro’s Quest, though. I have thirty days of re-writes planned out, so I’ll do those and use this new story as a bargaining chip. As in, “do your rewrites, Lisa, and then you can write the crazy lady air pirate story after.”

I’ve made myself a crazy excel spreadsheet of all my projects and am going to track and see how many words I write a month overall. (A kid came through just now and wanted to know how many projects that is and I’ve counted four fantasy novels, one mystery, one memoir, all the short fiction I do during my writing group times, and this blog.) I’ve been curious about what that number would like for a while now. Maybe I’ll share that with y’all later. 🙂

What are y’all working on this month? Doesn’t have to be writing. What’s your passion project? Tell me about it in the comments.

Posted in Around the House, Lifelong learning, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, The Past Comes Back to Haunt Me

Keeping the Sabbath

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

So this week in Spiritual Practices class we covered “Keeping the Sabbath.” If you know me well, you know the phrase “keeping the Sabbath” weirds me out. I spent a long time trying to shove my big round self into the little square hole of my husband’s religion and “keeping the Sabbath” and “keeping the Feasts” where big phrases in his church community. It really makes me shudder.

With the Unitarian Universalists, keeping the sabbath seems to be an easy affair. It can be done any day or any time. It doesn’t even have to be all day, apparently.

What is a Sabbath practice? The Hebrew root of Sabbath is a word that means “to cease.” So the big question here is: What do we want to turn off in our lives to make a Sabbath? What do we change from our regular lives?

For me, a Sabbath looks like turning off a lot of my responsibilities. I don’t do PTA or volunteer work on a Sabbath, nor do I attempt to get any serious writing done. If a great writing thought comes to me, of course I’ll write it down, but I won’t sit in front of my screen with my mind on my plan and my plan on my mind.

In thinking about it a while, what I realized is that I need more than just not doing things, though. I need things to do. So I thought about it a little more and decided that the things I could do that would make the Sabbath a little cozier were adding in good music, making gratitude lists, reading from my spiritual books, and spending time on self care that I don’t usually get to during the main part of the week (like fun nail polish or teeth whitening or other spa like treatments).

What are some things you do to make your Sabbath a great experience?

Posted in Around the House, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

Organizing all the things

Over the weekend, my family cleaned out our garage. All four of us at once. Usually it’s just me and one kid or the other, dragging things out and throwing them in the trash. It takes all day, sometimes two. This time I put my foot down and made everyone work together at once. Two hours later we were nearly done. Two dumpsters were filled with trash, the van was filled with donations, and more donate-ables were put out at the curb for people to take. Later that afternoon, I pulled some memory boxes inside, one by one, and dug through them. More papers were added to the recycle bin, old bills were shredded, and folders were made and labeled with dates and kid names. I knocked out 3 of the 7 that were left before the end of the day.

While I was going through all that paper, I found 6 new poems, notes on two novels that I’d never seen before (one which tied up a plot hole I’ve been edging around for months), and a rough draft of a short story I cannot remember writing (but it’s in my handwriting). And all that doesn’t include the four notebooks I found that I hadn’t had a chance to dig through yet.

This afternoon, I typed all that into the computer. Between the random sheafs and the notebooks, I ended up with 14 poems across the last decade. While I was putting those in order, I discovered 22 other poems that had been mis-foldered at some point in the past. Since I was on a roll, I went through all the rest of the notebooks in the bedroom and checked for poetry. Found 5 more pages of one novel, written longhand, and three pages of notes on another one.

After all that nonsense, I opened up my old yWriter files from the current novels and translated a bunch of character/location/item templates into Scrivener, then updated my three current Scrivener novel Outliner Columns/Keywords/Custom Meta-data so they all had matching information to work with.

(I also went to the doctor and shopped at three stores today. I’ve been hyper-productive.)

Posted in Around the House, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Writing

New Writing Planner

I always intend to blog more than I end up doing. I type up my morning pages and then think “I’ll add to these and make a blog post.” And then I end up dumping the info into a post and don’t edit it or hit publish until a couple weeks or month or so later, when I do several at once. I do that with a lot of things. I think “I’m going to do x,y, or z” and then don’t plan well around that thing, so not as much gets accomplished and then I feel bad about it. I decided to get better about planning writing things.

On Sunday I got out my new HP Classic Planner, the Welcome to the Book Club one. It’s super fun and has lots of book themes dividers and pages. I got the accompanying planner stickers, too. What I failed to notice in my buying spree was that this is a horizontal layout, not vertical, and I converted to a vertical process for regular life stuff several years ago. I had no idea how I was going to use this one. I had initially decided I was going to chuck July through December and start it in January. I’d have a plan by then, right? But on Sunday a beautiful plan came into my mind and I had to try it.

So here is my new writing planner for July.

Rainbow themed calendar pages from the HP Classic sized planner. Calendar Month is July 2020

I have only included writing goals, writing related events, and the odd regular-life event that impedes my normal writing time slots. Blue ink is for writing, purple for revision, green for events (like writer’s guild meetings, library writing class, other writing-related classes, conventions, etc.) and pink for impending due dates.

Weekly view looks like this:

I’m using the left side for planned scenes to write and # words needed for that day, the middle for word sprint counts, and the right side for events that might impede the schedule. The bottom right provides a place for overall word count for my main project, things I love this week, and what writing related guidebook I’m reading this week.

I started using it on Monday and it’s working out pretty well so far. (these photos are from Sunday when I first started filling it out) I like being able to just get up andstart on work I already know needs doing. I plan on updating it weekly on Sunday like I do my regular life planner and meal plan. 🙂

Posted in Organizing, Writing

MPTA notes

I mapped out all the new scenes I need for Chapters 1-8. That took a while and one change I made affected several other scenes, so there’s new things to add into already written ones as well. It’s all good and I think it will make for a better story and some better flow.

I need my brain to cooperate and actually push out the words and scenes now. I’m having a bad hand month, it seems, so my typing is more erratic lately than it had been. I really have to concentrate to hit the right keys and that frustrates me.  Tomorrow I will start back to the actual writing.

Posted in Organizing, Writing

MPTA notes, Day 53

All my notes on this story that live in the computer are labeled with a number that corresponds to the book “90 Day Novel” because that’s the method I was using when I started this particular novel. I have other notes, of course, in longhand in a notebook from days when I was out and about in meetings or riding in the van on the way somewhere or otherwise trapped away from the computer – those are not numbered by day. So the system is…flawed. Ah well. Today was “Day 53” in the computer and here are the notes:

“I haven’t done any character building for this novel, outside of Sharon and Minerva, because that’s what the 90 day Novel focuses on – the hero and the antagonist. Today I am working on details for the main character’s daughter Katie.

From Katie’s POV:

  • One thing you still need to know about me is…
    • Beginning: I’m the middle child. Sometimes I feel left out. Nell is the oldest girl and she is nearly perfect. Jake is the only boy. I’m just in the middle and it frequently sucks.
    • Middle: I’m so jazzed about being the center of attention now. Mom is really paying attention to me. I’m special for once and it’s great. I’m mean, it’s still not how I dreamed it would be, but still better than how it was.
    • End: I don’t want this gift. It’s too hard. I have to make too many choices now. How does anyone live like this? Mom was so excited for me, but Grand-Deb wasn’t.  And Grandmother Minerva is just scary in so many ways.
  • The lie I continually tell myself is…
    • That it doesn’t matter that no one pays attention to me. That it’s my superpower: Unnoticeable Katie.”

And then a huge amount of research on Middle Child Syndrome in case that comes into play. I’m not sure it will.

Posted in Around the House, Computers and Internet, Crafts, Exercise, Family Time, Friend Time, health, Lifelong learning, Music, My Own Personal Weirdness, Organizing, Parenting, Television & Film

Huge List of Activities to do with Kids during Covid-19

I started this document ages ago and have shared it with many friends, family members, and FB forums already. It’s compiled from many, many different places: lists on facebook, travel websites, space websites, family websites, school websites. It’s broken down into categories for ease of use: The Arts, Books, Celebrities, Coding, Crafts, Disney, Exercise, Food, Movies/TV/ Mental Health, Museums, Music, School Related, Travel, and Non-Internet Things to Do.

Hope you enjoy it. Here’s the link.