October Catch-up

I really don’t know how other people keep up with all the social media, blogging, etc, AND do actual writing. I can’t juggle that many things and still arrive sanely to the end of the month.

Here’s what October looked like:

Week 1: I took my midkid to the East Texas Fair and heard the TJC Jazz Bands play, spent many hours watching marketing videos with Marsha, screwed up my courage and went to the post office to mail things to my sister and my best friend, go set up to do business as Wee Little Dog Publishing with Marsha (more about that later) and got a post office box together so we can both have a non-home address for our newsletters, wrote a couple thousand words on Caro’s Quest, and did all the usual things I do (ETWG, ODWG, UUFT Spiritual Practices, driving kids everywhere.) Started working on NaNoWriMo Prep with my Lady Air Pirates story idea from a couple years ago (the one that I started outlining, but only got two scenes written for), and went to my youngest’s football game marching show on his birthday and took him out for ice cream afterward.

Week 2: Attended Writers in the Field, which deserves a post of its own. It was fantastic! ๐Ÿ™‚ Also went to the pulmonologist for lung testing, which after all the craziness turned out that my lungs are just fine. Started tearing all the romance out of Caro’s Quest because it just felt shoehorned in, no matter what I did, and I really hated it. Taught a class for Spiritual Practices, read “The Invisible Wall” for book club, added dangly sparkle lights to my writing studio, and added another couple thousand words to Caro’s Quest to make up for the scenes I’d taken out.

Week 3: I didn’t do too much writing. I made a Scrivener file for the marketing class notes, organized my ETWG files some more, and spent hours trying to re-outline Caro’s Quest now that the romance was gone and I could re-focus those portions of the story on more magical stuff. I wrote a bunch of magic related fluff for my files so I understand the magic rules better now, but none of that will go in the novel, so it doesn’t really count, right?

Week 4: I realize this was just last week, but my brain is gone and I can’t remember what I did yesterday, much less last week. I do have a spectacular bruise on my right forearm, though, from where the phlebotomy tech thought he knew my veins better than I did and he didn’t just blow my vein, but absolutely collapsed it. It’s about the size of a business card right now, but it keeps spreading, so we’ll see. (I was there for more lung testing, to see if I had hidden blood clots. I did not.) Honestly, I probably just worked on Lady Air Pirates, locating all my old files, which were everywhere because I’d done a little bit in Word, a little bit in Plottr, a little bit in yWriter, and a little bit in Scrivener. Oh, and the link dropped for the podcast that I was on over at Authorpreneur’s Unleashed. Click here to go have a listen.

Last little bit of October: Wrote about 1,000 words on Caro’s Quest, exported my church membership database into my personal address book, and talked about joining my church’s worship team because they need more people and I’m good at standing up and talking in front of people now. ๐Ÿ™‚

NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and usually eats my brain, so at this point, I’ll probably just see you at the end of next month. Hope you have a happy November! ๐Ÿ™‚

Back to School, Back to Work

This whole summer was one big logistical nightmare. We got the kids all moved, got my writing studio space all finished, and I mostly sat around and tried to breathe like a normal human being. I couldn’t, so I started seeing all the doctors and having x-rays and heart testing procedures. I ended up not doing any teaching at the library at all and quit a couple of other volunteer board positions that I just couldn’t physically handle as well.

I spent a lot of time just sitting and scanning or taking photos of my old journals, digging through and purging old files of art and school notes from when the kids were in elementary school, and making Scrivener files for all of the random writing I found within every stack of paper I touched. It was all very interesting to me from a “I’m always writing something, even when I shouldn’t be” perspective. I enjoyed that project a lot, even though my family got sick of me asking them to lug boxes around or to take another stack of papers to the recycle bin or “Can you read this thing that I wrote a decade ago that I can’t quite make out?” In the end, I counted 76 used notebooks and planners, plus two giant 3 inch binders full of loose-leaf paper and page upon page of stuff written on the backside of something else.

The floor plan of the house for one of my stories written on the backside of a page of PTA notes from 2013.

Summer band started a month ago and I’ve spent all of my time either taking two kids back and forth and back again between high school and college campuses for band practices and student orientations or in doctor’s offices letting them take yet more of my blood or more pictures of inconceivable places inside my body.

Now everyone’s back to school. My youngest started his sophomore year in high school last Monday and I thought to myself “Oh, I’ll get so much done!” But our black cat had other plans. I ended up taking him back and forth to the regular vet and then the emergency vet and then his regular vet again. Once he was better, my youngest slipped on the band field and had to go to Urgent Care for a sprained ankle. So this very wet Monday morning my midkid started his freshman year of college, but I was walking my youngest into school, carrying his enormous amounts of stuff while he swung in on crutches. My eldest took the midkid to his first day of college. I did get a “first day of college” selfie via text, so there’s that.

After that, I had nearly four hours to myself. I checked in with my Accountability Partner, and then I got to work. I made myself a more reasonable schedule of writing and writing related work (for those non-writers among us: finding short story and poetry markets, matching already written work to those submission guidelines, editing those pieces to fit word counts or to play up a theme, then writing cover letters and packaging my work so I can send them off, communicating with publishers and/or editors, doing edits for the places that bought my work, looking over proofs before things go to print, making images for new things and updating my webpage – hahaha – and my social media with images and links to the new books that have my work in them, etc.). I put everything into my Google calendar and Tasks list, but also wrote them into my paper planner, which helps me remember things better than the online stuff does (but the online versions keep me from getting too paranoid about losing a planner again, like what happened 5 years ago).

The Goals corkboard above my writing desk. I have two corkboards, but the other one is filled with things I like to look at, which I do not own the rights to for posting purposes, so we’ll leave that one just for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

All of the planning now out of the way, I can get started with the first goal on my list: make a list of markets currently buying the kinds of stories I write. Off I go!

I also worked out weekly goals for the last six weeks of this quarter and all of the final quarter of the year. I’m hoping that I added in enough rest and recuperative time. I basically doubled the amount of time that I gave myself for similar things last year. We’ll see how that goes.

Putting This Off

This morning I woke up, light streaming in from the edges of the blackout curtains hitting my eyes. I swore, stumbled to the bathroom, and heard the car engine start outside. I ran out and tapped frantically at the window of the small red car. My husband rolled down the window, a look of concern on his face.

“This life we lead is unmanageable.” I croaked, my voice decomposed from the lack of sleep.

“I know. You should go back to bed.” He reached a kiss from his lips to my arm with his hand.

“I can’t. I have to take the child back to work for opening shift. He had keys they need in his pocket when he left last night. No, this morning. ” I brushed my hair back.

“I have to go. The beef needs to be traded out. My sister is waiting.” His eyes are tipped down at the corners, stress of the day already pulling them down. It’s 8:05am.

“I know. Say hi to her for me.” I smoothed down the edge of last night’s dress as I turned to go inside.

I heard “I love you” simultaneously with the rolling of the window and the crunch of the tires on the driveway.

Rough Week

I had that one really great writing day last week and then it all dried up. When I say “dried up,” I don’t mean that no words came to mind…not exactly. I was just too cranky to find the words and let them out.

It started with a migraine that wouldn’t go away. I woke up migraine free this morning after 7 days of migraine. It was not one of those all-encompassing-bad migraines, but one of those where your head hurts and you feel dizzy and things look weird and nothing seems right.

Then I joined a reading group for next year where you try to read a book a week all year, only you fit the books into categories that someone else makes up. It sounded fun, but led me down the deep dark path of “what did I read this year?” I only had like 20 books in GoodReads and surely I’d read more than that, right? Turned out I had 38 books in my “Currently Reading” list that I’d never gotten around to finishing. So I’m making my way through the ends of those now. I do the audio book of “Becoming” when I’m in the car waiting for kids, a fun kids book “5 Children and It” (from the Top 100 Fantasy Books list that came out not too long ago) in the morning when my brain isn’t awake yet, and “Thinking Fast and Slow” when I have more brain.

Then my sister told me that my dad caught Covid. Seriously? He goes nowhere and sees no one. He doesn’t even feel bad from it. He went to the doctor for something else and they tested him for it any way. So now he’s super perky because he’s on good drugs. This did not make me feel better about life, though, because now our carefully laid out Thanksgiving plans are not going to happen. We were kind of all depending on having a few lazy days somewhere that wasn’t this house for the first time in seven months. It made the crankiness worse. And a cranky Lisa is not a writing Lisa.

A few days into this “no writing” phenomena, I just decided I hated everything and I was done writing forever. I cleared off my desk, took down a bunch of art, and decided to work on some other projects. One of those was clearing out my hard drive. So I spent a solid day combining all my photo files, deleting the randomness out, and making those nice. Then I spent a day sorting out my documents folder into places where things actually went. That led to me shoving all my poetry into a Scrivener document, like I’d always planned. Which led me to looking for poems that I couldn’t find, but knew I’d written. Which led me to tidying up my writing from the TPL writer’s group and putting it all into the right Scrivener files.

Which sneakily led me back into real, actual writing again because I kept finding things that just needed a little tweaking here or there to fit into place in their own main storylines. So I’d tidy this bit up over here, and change the time of this piece right there, and bam: a whole new scene just appeared. MAGIC!

Sinus surgery – Day 18

I am thankful for smaller pains. You know how when you have a deep papercut on your finger and you realise that you use that finger for a LOT of things and every time you use it there’s a stabbing little pain? Imagine that in your nose every time you breathe in and every time you breathe out. That’s been me the last few days. Before this there was too much big aching pain in my face to notice this smaller irritating pain. So I’m thankful for this smaller pain today, my friends.

Sinus surgery – Day 17

Longer than the facebook version….

1. Had my surgery follow up doctor’s appointment today. Only one small spot still looks infection-y. The rest is coming along nicely, whatever that means. I’m healing slower than he’d expected. I’m to be on the look-out for green snot & headaches, both of which I currently have. Yay? He said to check back once my antibiotics are done if I still have those things in my life. I don’t want those things in my life a week from now.
2. I am still feeling completely irritating bouts of exhaustion. If I do anything at all (for instance: try to fold laundry, wash some dishes, leave the house), I require a two-hour nap in the afternoon. It makes me less happy than I might appear here on facebook (which is a story in and of itself. Someone told me I seemed really happy and healthy on facebook. Umm. Okay. I do try to keep my facebook page relatively upbeat.)
3. The more the swelling goes down, the weirder my face looks. Everyone I’ve seen in person has been complimentary, but I still am finding it weird. My nose tilts a different direction than I’d ever remembered it doing. I spent literally an hour staring at old pictures and new ones comparing them back and forth and back and forth. It turns out that the longer you stare at yourself, the weirder you look.

4. Nick comes home tomorrow! Yay for tomorrow! Here’s what I’m hoping: I hope that him being home will help me heal faster. I’ve read that people do heal faster when they get to talk to and, more importantly, touch their loved ones. I’ve had lots of little people touches…I just think big ones are better for this kind of thing, maybe? ย I don’t know what I’m saying. Little people love is great! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sinus surgery – Day 16

Went out to lunch at Bruno’s with my lovely BSF ladies today. First time out being social that was not funeral related. God was definitely holding me upright for the funeral. Now I know. Oh so tired.

Lunch was interesting in that so many things that I was used to tasting seemed differently flavored. I like Bruno’s, I’ve been there a decent number of times, and their food isn’t known for big changes. But things tasted different and it’s the second day in a row that I’ve really noticed that. The Dr. Pepper was way more vanilla flavored than it was before surgery and I’m pretty certain I don’t like it better than before. The marinara sauce was more tomato flavored (and that is still icky to me). Still loved the rolls, even though they were difficult to eat while I was out. Came home and broke it into chunks and devoured them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Tried to feed the rest of my food to kids, but it was a no go situation. Oh well.

Spent the rest of the day directing kids to do laundry from the comfort of my own bed. When I said I was tired….oh my….

Sinus Surgery – Day 14

1. It’s been two weeks…. out from surgery & I am on my second round of antibiotics because I can’t shake this infection. Inside of my nose feels like fire because of an altercation with a toddler with a hat at a funeral. These things you just can’t make up. I called the doctor about it and they said that as long as there wasn’t fresh bleeding or new levels of goo coming out that I shouldn’t be too terribly worried.

2. I’ve got fire ant bites all over my foot from standing on the side of the road yesterday helping point out the accident victims belongings floating in the ditch. “The funny thing is…wait…I’m still killing fire ants on my shoes…the funny thing is….I can’t think of anything funny while killing ants.” (I still don’t know what I was trying to say there. It was something funny, that’s all I remember.)

3. Please don’t tell me I should have stayed home this weekend. I will bite you. I don’t regret being with my best friend when she needed me.

4. The hip/back pain that plagued me from Thursday til Sunday is finally gone. I can walk without limping! I was in serious pain all weekend…not just my nose, but my back and my hip. It was really weird. Laying down made it worse, but I couldn’t walk very well, either. It was a weird combo.


5. I can smell again! Yay for scents! Things I am loving smelling: my kids heads, the dryer sheets as I pass the laundry room, the scented wax in the master bathroom and living room, my shampoo, my soap, the bathroom hand soap….the list is nearly endless! (I could live without the kitchen trash smell, though.)

Sinus surgery – Day 11

I am not well. I just want to point that out in case later someone wonders. There’s still icky stuff draining from my nose. Really icky stuff. It looks like Hershey’s syrup, brown and goopy. I have talked to the doctor’s office and they have prescribed yet stronger antibiotics because I am still all one with the infection.

My best friend’s mom died this week and the funeral is tomorrow. I need to be there and I need to be here and none of it is good.

That being said, later today she will drive the 2.5 hours to my house and spend the night here and tomorrow we will tackle her mom’s funeral together. Or something. I am not sure I will be useful to her at all, actually. I still need people to help me out of the couch on a regular basis and bring me tea and make me easily edible food. ย So we will see how that all goes.