Pneumonia and other disasters

My youngest has pneumonia — they diagnosed it on Monday. My family of five had four dentist appointments and one doctor’s visit scheduled this week even before that happened. We’ve been to the doctor every afternoon this week besides that. I still made it to a critique group on Tuesday and led a lesson on the Snowflake Method at the public library group on Wednesday. My eldest son sat with the smallest so I could go. Other than that it’s been pills and breathing treatments and trips to the pharmacy over and over. In one five-minute window, while sitting in the doctor’s office and overseeing a breathing treatment, I spoke to one other doctor’s office about how the scan from last week showed that my thyroid was “super enlarged”, the dentist about my husband’s recovery from minor dental surgery, and the endodontist to schedule an appointment for my abscessed gums, all while texting with the flute teacher about her own bout of pneumonia and the French horn teacher to say that we really couldn’t make it this week. Today I had to reschedule two other appointments because of bad schedules at the places I was going (how do they manage to schedule people onto days the doctor won’t be there?). All this to say that there has been no writing this week, other than the four-page document I wrote about the Snowflake Method. *sigh*

Critiques

Here’s what I love about my critique groups:

  1. We have so many kinds of writers, so everyone has a different way of looking at stories.
  2. Everyone has a different thing they’re serious about, too. One hates adverbs, one obsesses with having enough romance, another is super descriptive about what she likes and what doesn’t work, one loves my sticky words, another one tells me every time I have a good hook…
  3. I can go through all four critiques and still have things to work on by the time I’m on the fourth one. It’s amazing how that works.
  4. No one can tell me why transferring from Scrivener to Word destroys half my apostrophes and half my italics. No one knows. It’s a mystery. I look at it in Scrivener, and they’re fine. Move stuff into Word, they’re not. WHAT EVEN IS GOING ON?!?!?!
  5. They would all get onto me about my excessive use of exclamation points and all caps in the last point. I can’t help it –I’m excitable.
  6. People in my groups know the difference between all three dashes and can talk about it. I have to have it in a file on my desktop and remind myself every day. I still don’t remember. Also, the shortcuts for them vary across apps and that drives me insane.
  7. Sometimes people draw pictures on my critiques. I love that.

Trying to Keep Up

I’m sure you’ve been wondering where I’ve been lately. Here’s the scoop:

Toward the end of 2018, just before my mother passed away, I joined a local professional writing group. I’ve spent the last year waiting for a spot in one of their critique groups to open up, and meantime I (and my friend E from NANOWRIMO2018) started attending a weekly writing group at the public library as well. The library group has writers from many genres, but doesn’t critique the work we bring in. Mostly we do several writing prompts for 10 minutes each. It’s been fun stretching my writing skills with them.

In December, a spot finally opened up. Two, actually. I brought my friend E with me to this group. We got started and then a week later, our library group started an off-shoot group for critiquing as well. E and I both have multiple novels in our back pocket needing critique work, so we joined this group as well. Both groups meet every other week. One group has five ladies and one has just three for now. One group has no other speculative fiction writers, the other is all about that.

I also joined two book clubs. One with the Unitarian Universalist church my mid-kid and I have been attending. It meets in person once a month and they have a full 12 month schedule plotted out—most of the books are some historical fiction or something similar. Last month it was The Secrets We Kept. This month it is Rules of Civility.The other book club is a feminist book club with an old college friend and some of her other friends. It meets online twice a month, and is covering an Audible book Warriors, Queens, and Intellectuals: 36 Great Women Before 1400.

In between all that, there’s been the usual PTA/BPA stuff, family events (Board Game Extravaganza! SuperBowl!), and the kids had band All Region events. We visited an event at NASA that my dad’s cousin spoke at (he was one of the Gallaudet Eleven) and got to spend time with him, then went back to BCS and visited with my sister, her new girlfriend, and my best friend.

I lost my planner sometime in the middle there. Finally gave in and bought a new one, so now I’m back on schedule. Literally. I wrote out a new schedule. Expect more blog posts, FB, IG, and Twitter from my author accounts. I even set up Hootsuite to help me keep track of it all.

Hope everyone’s doing well out there. Drop me a comment if you’re interested in seeing any photos from the NASA event. 🙂

Writing Group

This week I joined another writing group through my public library. The library had advertised it as a new group, but once I got there I found out that it had actually been a group that had met for a few years in another location and been transplanted over to the library, much like my book club was more than a decade ago (that one I quit going to because they changed the time on us and wouldn’t let our breastfeeding mothers feed their babies during group time? Yeah, that was a long time ago). I love my ETWG, but they only meet monthly and I wanted something more regular than that.

In any case, it seems like an interesting group. Most of the other writers are memoirists, which was initially disappointing, but the idea of meeting and having people to read my stuff is invigorating. We wrote some 10 minute writing sprints with prompts, which is not in my wheelhouse. I did awful at it the first time. The second time was marginally better. We shall see how it goes.