Mini-Achievement

Audio Edition Coming Soon!

So, I actually had a semi-productive day yesterday! I wrote an article for the online magazine Fellowship and Fairydust, which will be released with their Spring 2021 installment, and I started rewriting my short story “The Undead Midwife” over from scratch. I’d only gotten a little ways into it the last time I tried to start, but it didn’t feel right. But after taking a walk and actually allowing myself to think rather than be distracted, I realized that I needed to write it from the midwife’s POV in first person. It isn’t done, but I at least started on it and was able to maintain focus for longer than a few minutes, which is a massive achievement these days. The rest of the day was spent giving my kitties lots of cuddles while lounging in the sunlight with the windows open, enjoying the breeze and the smell of spring. Hooray for mini-achievements!

Today, of course, is grey and cold and pretty much all the creative energy I had yesterday is gone. (But I did clean my bathroom, a major chore I’d been putting off for far too long.) This last week or so I’ve been strangely drawn to horror, a genre that I am not usually very fond of. But to date I’ve reread the story “SCP-087”, watched Markiplier play through both versions of the video game based on that story on his YouTube channel (SCP-087 and SCP-087-B), and rewatched both Alien and Aliens. I’ve also been eyeing the game Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, but can’t justify spending $80-200 on a video game that I probably will only play once. (I might just watch a playthrough instead.) So yeah, I don’t know what that’s all about. I prefer more subtle, psychological horror than gore-fests, so things like Hitchcock films and The Twilight Zone appeal to me far more than the majority of the modern horror genre. Maybe I’ll read some Lovecraft next…

I’m still struggling with what to do with The Cat’s Cradle. I’ve been writing this blog faithfully for ten years now with little to no engagement and I feel like I’m running out of things to talk about, especially since I haven’t been, like, writing. And it seems like the entries that I spend a lot of time time that delve into deeper topics get no engagement at all, while fluff updates like this one get far more attention. I don’t really know how to feel about this. On the one hand, I suppose entries like these are more personal, perhaps connecting better with people. But it feels pointless and self-indulgent to whine all the time about “poor me, look at me not writing, boo hoo hoo.” It makes me feel disgusted with myself for not having something more substantial to say. At the same time, it also feels like I’m a failure if I just… stop.

So, at the moment, I’m leaning towards the idea of having The Cat’s Cradle go on hiatus after June 2021 and only post when I have an actual writing update on my novels or short stories or whatever else it is I’m working on. The Cat’s Cradle will become more like Second Unit Reviews, which I only post on when I have something I want to write about. Maybe if I get my mojo back, I’ll be more enthusiastic about the blog and return to the bi-weekly schedule. And I can always use the time off from writing new entries to make Audio Editions of the old ones. But after doing it regularly for ten years, I think I’m due for a break and reevaluation of where my time and attention should be focused.

If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Making Things Happen

Click HERE for the Audio Edition!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

While the New Year gives us a measurable marker for change and the passing of time, it doesn’t fundamentally mean anything. The calendar may have changed, but we have not. I’ve overloaded myself before with grandiose plans and meticulous lists that end up crushing me and coming to naught. That’s pretty depressing and I really don’t need any more of that right now. With the pandemic and unsettled political climate still raging, I can’t expect the chronic, low-level stress and anxiety to go away with the turn of a page.

I need a plan.

But I am also very bad at planning.

Continue reading “Making Things Happen”

NaNoWriMo 2020 Recap

So, if any of you read my last Cat’s Cradle entry “Writing During Covid-19” or follow me on the Legendary Novel Writing Challenge blog, you’ll already know that National Novel Writing Month did not go very well for me this year due to a variety of factors. However, I did finish with 40,000 words out of my 50,000 word count goal, and the majority of it did stay on topic. Many thanks to everyone who followed along with me, giving likes, comments, and encouragement!

Also, there was something kind of fun that I did want to share in the aftermath:

I work in a public library, and because of the pandemic, all of our programs are currently virtual. For November I ran a series of NaNo writing events on our Facebook page, and while I got almost no engagement on the posts, it was something that I did keep up with every day during the month. Our library Facebook page is changing soon, so I wanted to preserve those posts and their pictures here for posterity. (Note that “LTN” is an abbreviation for my library, so “LTNWrimos” refers to folks from my library who are participating.) All pictures that are not personal photographs came from either Pinterest or the National Novel Writing Month Pep Talks.

Enjoy!

Continue reading “NaNoWriMo 2020 Recap”

NaNoWriMo begins in 3…2…1…

Hi everyone! Yes, a random bonus entry in the middle of the week because I’m actually really excited about NaNoWriMo this year and want to keep up the momentum. I’m trying to get everything ready so I don’t have a bunch of loose ends hanging over my head on November 1st. Which means I’ve been cleaning and organizing while trying not to get sidetracked by episodes of Sapphire & Steel or by the cuteness of my kitties:

Chaos found a new bed while I was cleaning the NaNo Sanctum (a.k.a. my library).

So, to keep myself on track and accountable, here is my goal sheet for National Novel Writing Month 2019. (Note that a “session” consists of writing at least 500 words.)

Date:  10/30/2019

Top Priority:  Spells in Sepia (NaNaWriMo 2019 project – urban fantasy novel)

Action Steps:

  • Write 1,667 words daily (or as much as I can and make up for the shortfalls on other, more productive days)
  • Limit social contact (mostly meaning don’t talk to anyone before writing is done or I get derailed)
  • Get up at 7am daily (although I have no idea how I’ll pull this off since I’ve been having trouble getting up even by 8am)
  • Exercise Sunday-Friday (mostly light weights since the weather’s gone cold, but I’ll try to work some swimming in)
  • Saturday = rest day (I give myself permission to veg out and do whatever I want, even if that means not writing)
  • Complete chores regularly (meaning do the dishes right after I dirty them so they don’t pile up)
  • Update LeNoWriCha Logs @ 10pm (do I’m sure my writing is done for the day and can go to bed)
  • Limit social media (so I don’t spend all my time at home being distracted by the internet)
  • Rewards!
    • 1 small (7 oz) can of Dr. Pepper during each writing session
    • 1 small (fun-size) bag of peanut M&Ms for completing each writing session
    • Final reward for completing the month: binge-watching Good Omens!
  • This is a project for FUN! Don’t overthink it!

On The Radar:

  • Write With Focus:
    • Keep up with bi-weekly Cat’s Cradle entries
    • Be ready to continue writing or start editing in December
  • Read With Purpose:
    • Urban fantasy
    • Chinese myths
    • Photography techniques (especially forensic)
  • Build Your Community
    • Check HUB weekly
    • Check NaNo site/forums weekly
    • Write at Writers Mastermind on Mondays
    • Write at Waldo’s on Wednesdays (not sure if I’ll do this or not)
    • Write at “Come Write In” at library on Fridays

Goal Sheet courtesy of the DIY MFA program by Gabriela Pereira.

 

To all my fellow writers this November… good luck! Tally-ho!

Low Battery

Hi folks!

Sorry about the late and rather short entry this week. Summer schedule at the day job has kept me on my toes and I keep using up my free time to rest and recharge rather than getting anything substantial accomplished. My goal for Camp NaNoWriMo this month was 31 hours of editing, but I only managed to reach 10, and most of that was typing I should have gotten done in June. So I’m about a month or more behind everything, but the forward motion does continue, albeit at a crawl. And as summer winds down, hopefully there will be enough opportunities to recharge my low battery, at least enough to get me through to the beach in September.

I hope to give you a more substantial Cat’s Cradle entry and better report of my artistic endeavors in August.

Writing Is A Full-Time Job (Even If You Don’t Make Money From It)

Click HERE for the Audio Edition!

hardworking-writer-from-huffington-post-article
(Click image for source)

This might sound like a broken record, but it bears repeating. I still run into or hear about people who don’t seem to get why writing takes so long or how it could be so hard to just fling words onto a page in some coherent order.

Despite my eye-rolling and exasperation, I do understand that, for a non-writer, it’s easy to just assume that books magically appear out of thin air because very few people see the actual process of writing them. Artists of all stripes tend to be self-conscious about unfinished work, so we keep it secreted away until we feel it’s “done” enough to see the light of day. And thus if I tell someone that I’m working two full-time jobs, they tend to look at me funny because writing doesn’t seem to contribute in a concrete, monetary fashion. (At least, not yet.)

It’s difficult trying to balance two jobs, and this lack of understanding about how writing truly is my second job can make the whole enterprise that much harder. For people who don’t have much support from their family or loved ones in regards to their craft, that difficulty increases almost exponentially. So, I wanted to lay out the kinds of things that I’m trying to consider, plan for, and tackle as I try to build a career as a writer in between all the other day-to-day tasks that require my attention:
Continue reading “Writing Is A Full-Time Job (Even If You Don’t Make Money From It)”

Schedule Snapshot

SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:

We still need your help to save Green Lantern: The Animated Series and Young Justice from their untimely cancellation!  While online petitions are great, writing letters, sending e-mails, and making phone calls are much, much better.  If you would like to help save Green Lantern and Young Justiceplease take a look at this site to learn contact information, Twitter hashtags, and more.  Together we can make a difference!

END SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT.

Okay, now that that is off my chest, we can get into the meat of this post.  Although I’ll admit that my entries have been a little lean lately.  Nearing the end of a project seems to slow my momentum rather than increase it.  But I did want to create a companion entry to “Page Counts, Words, Rosemary, and Time.”  “Page Counts” dealt with my own schedule and how I use daily word counts or time spent to move forward.  While writing that entry, I wondered if any other fantasy authors, or authors in general, did something similar.  Did any of them measure their progress by counting pages?  Or did they set aside specific blocks of time to work?  Or did they just write all day long?  I know each author has their own way of doing things, but I also like finding trends.

Continue reading “Schedule Snapshot”

Page Counts, Words, Rosemary, and Time

First post of 2013!  Here’s hoping it’s better than 2012.

On my last entry, I asked my readers (or any other random passers-by) to ask me questions.  What kinds of topics would you like to see me write about?  The first is paraphrased as follows:

A)  How do you write consistently every day?

B)  How do you decide to measure your progress: with word/page counts or time spent?  Which is best? 

Continue reading “Page Counts, Words, Rosemary, and Time”

2012: The Year In Review

I can’t believe I started this blog back at the end of June 2011.  I thought I’d only started this year!  Time sure does fly, doesn’t it?  Maybe it only seems like I started this year because I had to step back and write every other week rather than every week.  I’m glad that I made that decision, although it seems like I’m still writing my entries the day they are “due.”  (No doubt a holdover from my school days when I procrastinated absolutely everything.  Even my senior paper I wrote the night before it was due.  But I got a “B” so I call that a win.)

I’ve covered a lot of territory this year.  In some ways, I wonder if I have anything else to say about writing.  Sometimes I look back and wonder, “Well…what else can I talk about?”  Sometimes I feel like I don’t really have the authority to talk about some subjects because I’m not good at them, have little experience with them, or simply because “I’m not published.”  But I’ve realized that being published doesn’t mean you have all the answers or know what you’re talking about.  I might not be published yet, not even by a vanity press, but at least I’m writing.  I really took to heart Chuck Wendig’s admonishment of “aspiring” writers:  “If you write: you are a writer. If you do not write: you are not.”  (Whether you write well is a whole different story.)

Continue reading “2012: The Year In Review”

A Writer’s Mantras

The first week of National Novel Writing Month was glorious.  I was consistently ahead of my daily word count, I had a routine that not only allowed me to write, but encouraged me to write.  It got me off to a good start so that when I flagged in the middle of the month, I could still grind through and reach a total 50,065 words.  I’m not entirely satisfied because a significant portion of my NaNo entry was fan fiction and various rants about life, but it achieved its purpose:  it established habit.

I have never felt quite as focused on writing as I have in that first week.  Writing became all-encompassing.  My world.  My life.  And while everything else crumbles around me or changes at lightning speed, I have created some rather intense writing mantras.  They may not be for everyone.  But these mantras are what give my life structure, my existence meaning, that keep me moving forward when all I want to do is break:



This is my life now.  There is nothing beyond this computer in this room.


The rest of my life is nonsense; writing is the only thing that matters.


THERE IS NO LIFE!  THERE IS ONLY WRITING!


This is the point.  This is it.  This is the reason I exist.


Write every day.


Everything else is my life is fluff.  It’s extra.  This, writing, every day, is what matters.  Not my day job, not socializing, not even my family.