Feeds:
Posts

Archive for the ‘Goals’ Category

I’ve decided to actually start checking items off of my bucket list. My Pinterest page has a long list of things I would like to do, some of them quite complex. For example Build a tiny house and live in it for a full turning of the seasons is going to take a little more work, time, and money than Get a tattoo.

At the top of my list is of course Complete a submission worthy manuscript. However my bucket list is somewhat longer than that.

I’ve begun directing my day with an eye toward activities that will help me complete my goals one small step at a time; which in the case of Walk to Rivendell is literal.

My big push though is the goal Sew myself a wardrobe.

This goal for me has taken on loads of extra meaning in terms of promoting body positivity and self-love. I love that it challenges me creatively but also delves into a lot of other things that I want to explore like personal style, body image, and the politics behind where clothes, and by extension so many of our inexpensive goods, come from.

It has become so complex with so many interesting facets to explore and research that I decided to turn it into a blog. Partly because I already want to pictorially document the experience but also because I’ve been so inspired by many of the fat fashion bloggers that have helped me look at clothes and bodies with different eyes.

Pinterest is how it started. It is frustrating to be a size 24 and have to guess what plus size clothes will look like on your body because plus size models are often a size 14. So I sought out images of actual plus size people. Google was not helpful but Pinterest introduced me to a new world of plus size fashion and body positivity blogs. I’ve been reading for so long that now I’m kind of itching to get in on the fun.

I’m trying to get a three or four week cushion written before I begin to publish and I’m currently about half done. I’m a little intimidated by how big this project seems to be growing and I’m getting a bit paralyzed by it. It’s easy to get into a rut and let it all pass by unfinished. That’s why I decided it was time to take concrete steps to use my time to do the things I actually want to do.

I’ll be posting the Fashion stuff to a separate blog so that this blog stays properly eclectic but I’ll be sure to boast about it here when it’s up and running and include a link for anyone who might be interested in following along.

Now I’m off to do some editing. Wish me luck!

Read Full Post »

On Monday I added a Blog Schedule widget over there on the right. From now until the end of the year I will be posting according to this schedule with possible interruptions during November. I’ll still be posting but it might all be Nanowrimo related.

I’ve thought a lot about what I want to do with this blog and what I’ve decided is that its current incarnation will serve two purposes. 1)A place for me to write and talk about my writing journey and 2)A place for me to talk about books.

For anyone looking for a little more information here is a breakdown of what I’ll be blogging about from now until the end of the year.

Monday

Reading Challenge – I am currently committed to an A – Z Reading challenge. Every two weeks I will post my progress including books I’ve recently finished and what books I still have to read.

Anecdotes – I like to write little hyperbolic anecdotes about my life. Usually I try to be funny and entertaining. These mini slice-of-life writing exercises are great fun to write and hopefully to read. These will be posted on Mondays opposite the reading challenge updates.

Wednesday

“Waiting on” Wednesday Meme – This ia a meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. in which participants talk about a book they can’t wait to come out. I follow a couple of blogs that participate and it seemed like a lot of fun so I joined up a few weeks ago.

Friday

Book Reviews – For the time being these will be short to mid-length reviews on the books I read for the A to Z challenge. Occasionally I might include a longer review if I really have a lot to say about a book. These will be posted the Friday after I do a Monday challenge update.

On Writing – Thoughts on writing techniques, challenges, advice and other lessons I’ve learned while trying to write. These will be short essay style posts.

Sunday

Personal Goals and Updates – These are exactly what it says. Updates on my writing journey. Specifics about word count, plot snarls, character tribulations and anything else I happen to be dealing with in my writing journey. Unlike my On Writing posts these posts will be more informal.

Read Full Post »

Back on June 15th my writers group set goals of what we’d like to accomplish by the end of the year. Now that we’re halfway there I  thought it would be a good time to remind myself what those goals were and check in on my progress.

June 15th Goals for Year End

1. Finish Nano 2010 first draft

Done!  I finished the first draft on June 30th and it felt great! This kind of concrete progress is really good for the old self-esteem.

2. Finish first edit of Nano 2010 first draft in time for Nano 2011

Perhaps I ought to have checked those goals back in early July. Instead of taking a short time away from the big project and returning to edit as planned I’ve started on a whole new project. I don’t have any regrets on this decision; I’ve learned too much from my chosen course of action. What this calls for is a revised set of goals for year-end.

Instead of finishing a first edit of a draft I will work to finish the first draft of the July Novel in time for Nano 2011. That’s about six weeks to write what I estimate will be about 60 to 70K.

This leaves a question hanging. When Nanowrimo begins this year I will possess two first drafts waiting for revision. Will I want to put them both aside to pump out yet another one? I have three novel length story ideas waiting to be written but at some point I need to take the next step.

I have enough to do now that a decision can wait. Come October 31st I trust I’ll know which path is right.

Read Full Post »

In the wake of finishing my WIP first draft I was high on the rush of accomplishment. It felt great (to be honest it still does) and that first burst led me to set some lofty goals.

The July novel. The plan was to write roughly twice what is required by Nanowrimo but in half the time. Just two weeks. I know I am capable of 10k a day when I work hard so two weeks would give me an extra four days, weekends off if you will. I knew this was a nearly impossible goal but there was a sliver of possibility and I was high on success.

In those two weeks I wrote less than 1000 words of draft. But that was okay because I ended up using the time to write a detailed 16 page scene-by-scene outline, something I’ve never done before. I extended my deadline to the end of July and kept going.

2000 words later I was stalled again. I had my main character set up but it was time to introduce the supporting cast and suddenly I needed to know who they were. For the first time I needed to write scenes where multiple important characters interact. This meant being able to differentiate their voices and since not all of them would make it out alive and it behooved me to make them matter before I killed them. I needed to know more so once again I closed up scrivener, picked up pen and paper and got busy. I wrote 10 character sketches of varying complexity.

By this time it was the end of July. I looked at what I had and then checked a calendar and set myself yet another  goal. I would finish by August 15. Another “write a book in two weeks” deadline but this time armed with an outline and character sketches. How could I fail!

Today is the morning of the 11th and I admit it. It is just not going to happen. This book is different in tone and content from my earlier works and writing it has been a painful struggle for each word and sentence. With every step and detour I have tackled new techniques and learned new skills. I have struggled to meet my impossible goals and have failed.

Except I haven’t failed. The entire slow, winding, painful process has exhileratd and excited. The draft I am writing is, so far, the best first draft I have ever produced. It is the most cohesive, it has the least amount of diversions or talking head placeholders and it already resembles a real story. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still just a first draft but I can see already where I have improved between writing the last book and writing this one.

I am ready to push back the impossible goal to the end of August. At that point it won’t be an impossible goal anymore just a difficult one. If the draft doesn’t get finished by then I might even put it away unless I am very close to the end. This July Novel was never supposed to be more than something to do while the real WIP first draft simmered at the back of my brain. I have already gotten more out of the process than I thought possible.

Whatever happens at the end of August I know something else I’ve learned. Setting impossible goals makes me reach harder than setting easy ones. Impossible goals inspire me and that assures me that I am a writer. After all to write is to strive for the impossible goals. It’s a tough industry. Bring it on.

___________

Next post: That book review I promised.

Read Full Post »

I have two To Do lists at any and all times. The first is a general list. For example:

  • unpack boxes
  • clean the cat litter before the cat stages a coup
  • dishes (for previously stated reasons this pretty much never gets crossed off as I tend to lap loads)
  • sort laundry
  • buy cat food, see above
  • write

That last item never really gets crossed off either, it recycles daily and is really only there to remind me that it is the most important item on any list (except the cats food and litter, she gets cranky).

My second list is dedicated to my creative goals. For example:

  • Edit latest flash fiction
  • Write ‘X’ number of words by ‘date’
  • Outline characters for WIP
  • Do Celtx tutorial in preparation for Scriptfrenzy
  • Learn flash
  • Make 10 second flash cartoon
  • Rough draft art for next webcomic installment (unpublished and on hiatus, like so many projects)

I like lists and I like tracking my progress and crossing things off. I have notebooks dedicated to my lists where items from yesterday can be brought to the next page and you can see the progress (or not) of my industriousness like layers in sedimentary rock. I have such a poor memory that I couldn’t really function without them. They keep me on track.

Sometimes though, I use my lists to procrastinate. I especially use that first list to procrastinate on the second.

Which is crazy right? I look at that second list and there is not one thing listed which fails to get me excited. Just sometimes the steps are a little too large and I get daunted or more often I get everything ready and then my self-doubt kicks in. So I wander off and do something else and if that something lets me cross something else off of a list, any list, then I get to feel like I’ve accomplished something. It’s not the same high I would get from a submission-ready final draft of that flash fiction but it’s easier than facing all that fear and self-doubt.

In my defense I usually come back to the second list and get some work done but I’m certainly less productive artistically than I could be. Than I SHOULD be.

Today I procrastinated by making what I thought would be a time intensive fancy dinner that turned out to be quick easy and delicious. I was done and fed in no time and got a lot of little things crossed off my creative to do list. So to celebrate that quick return to my word processor I’d like to share another author recipe.

 

Vichyssoise (Leek Soup)

This soup is more delicious than you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 4 medium potatoes, diced
  • butter 2-3 tablespoons as desired
  • 3 cups chicken stock (veggie stock for the vegetarians)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups half and half cream (10%)

Optional Extra Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons bacon bits, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 cup of Mushrooms, thinly sliced, I like a blend of crimini and mini bellas (technically these are all the same mushroom at different ages)
  • Chives, chopped

Instructions
Steps involving bacon and mushrooms may be omitted.

  1. Saute chopped leaks and potatoes in a large saucepan (mine is 12 inches with high sides) for several minutes. Until it is nicely aromatic.
  2. Once the smell of leeks and butter are making your mouth water add the broth, salt and pepper, and optional bacon.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While simmering broth sauté mushrooms in butter until they develop a nice colour. Do not crowd.
  5. Remove both broth and mushrooms from heat and allow to cool.
  6. Add cream and half of mushrooms to broth and mix.
  7. Puree in blender (fills blender twice)
  8. Serve cold or reheat in pan.
  9. Garnish with chives and mushroom.

Serves 6.

Tips

  1. Don’t forget to reheat the garnish mushroom if serving the soup hot.
  2. Keep in mind if you use bacon bits they might be made with dye to achieve their bright colour. You could see this as a disaster or pretend to be Bridget Jones and serve pink soup!
  3. Omitting the mushrooms and bacon I think this would be a highly adaptable recipe. I intend to try several variations.
  • Add citrus and fruit with the broth (veggie), lemon and cranberries perhaps. Nothing too sweet, it should be light and summary. This could turn out horribly wrong. Either way you’ll probably hear about it.
  • Walnuts and almonds, blended into a paste and then blended into the soup. Definitely served cold. It would be so rich and decadent!
  • Stir in some cooked wild rice to the finished basic recipe to add flavour and texture to the creamy soup.
  • Use 35% cream and blend the soup until it stiffens.  Serve as savory mousse appetizer.  (I really want to try this!)

Read Full Post »

So far this blog has been primarily used for writing updates because I am working on my skills as a writer. Word count updates have proved a challenge to do in a way that’s interesting. So, though I will continue to do updates about my goals, progress and achievements as a writer, I will also be including some new kinds of posts.

I have a couple of narrative posts lined up. I’ve just moved and I’m experimenting with narrative, especially humorous narrative by recounting stories about the quirks one encounters in a new home. I will also be doing some book reviews both fiction and non-fiction.

Between a hectic school schedule and an unexpected change of residence my word count has been flagging this semester. Plugging away at the novel has gotten harder. I’m hoping by switching it up now and then with fun blog posts and book reviews I’ll be fresher to work on my larger work. I also intend to keep working on poetry as well. Oh so many aspirations!

Of course all of that wonderful planning might go out the window come April since I’ve committed to participating in Scriptfrenzy this year. It’s like Nanowrimo but instead of 50,000 words participants have to write 100 pages of script which should be around 20,000 words. This sounds easier but it’s got to be all dialogue!

I’d call myself crazy but since I got excited about Scriptfrenzy I’ve done some pretty nice outlining for my script, written and polished two and a half future blog posts, hacked away at an old short story (okay that was more of a warm-up to the other stuff) and pulled my novel out after a month without even looking at it.

Things are looking up!

So, to announce my first book review which I hope to post before April begins.

I’m currently reading How Not To Make A Short Film: Secrets from a Sundance Programmer by Roberta Marie Munroe.

It was a birthday present from my best friend who took me to the bookstore and let me pick whatever I wanted. How awesome is that!

There are two reasons I chose this book. One is that it will be really helpful with Scriptfrenzy because it has some excellent chapters on Script Story and Script Structure which I hope will come in handy come April. It is also on my bucket list to make a short film.  So to recap by reviewing this book now I:

  1. Will be doing research to help me write a better script for Scriptfrenzy
  2. Will be learning to analyze non fiction for a review.
  3. Will be producing what I hope to be an interesting new type of entry for this blog.
  4. Will begin to learn film making skills that will help me cross an item off of my bucket list.

Multitasking shall be the key to achieving my goals.

Now back to my novel!

Read Full Post »

2010 is almost over and I’m looking forward to 2011.  I’ve spent December undoing a knot in my novel and now it’s back on track.

I’m getting ready to submit some poems to Event Magazine.  I have a list of publications I’d like to see my work in but I think this is a good place to start.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Years!

Read Full Post »

Writing Update

Looking back at my archives and seeing how my last post was October ’09 I’d very much like to blame Nanowrimo for my failure to update but that would be unfair and untrue.  It definitely contributed to a lack of posting in November (that wonderfully hectic bliss that is Nano) but after that was all me.

Not to fear it hasn’t been an unproductive year!

So without further delay here is an update since last year:

  • 4 finished stories
  • several more being worked on
  • 9  story submissions
  • 7 form rejections (may your work find a home elsewhere)
  • 2 rejections with personalized feedback (We liked it enough to tell you what we didn’t like, submit again)
  • 45 poems in various stages of editing (probably a third or less are polished)
  • 2 poetry submissions

I’m pretty proud of myself!

Nano ’09 Update

I completed 2009 Nanowrimo successfully.  However unlike 2008 my story wasn’t finished in 50,000 words.  I take it as a good sign that my story writing is becoming more complex.  That I’m able to sustain a richer world and plot that requires more meat on the bones of my idea.   Or I got better at padding.   I haven’t looked at last years novel since November ended but I don’t regret leaving it incomplete.

Nano ’09 was a sequel to Nano ’08 and before I could write the sequel I had to go back and look the first.  And it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  There was some good things going on.  Sure, it needed work and a lot of it, but it could be good with a little love and surgery.  So Nano ’09 will go unfinished until Nano ’08 gets it’s due because who knows what a rewrite will do to the world and the plot and especially the characters.  The ideas in the sequel will still be there ready to be saved or discarded when I’m ready.

Nano 2010!

Here it is coming up on November 2010 and I’m looking forward to it like never before.  I have a real idea!  In the past I’ve begun the first day of Nano not knowing what I would write.  I just sat down and started putting word to page.  It was exciting!  It taught me so many things about writing and about myself.  I certainly don’t regret my past Nano novels but they were spontaneous in a way that made it hard to make them cohesive.

This year I have an idea, a plan, a plot even.  I’ve been developing it using the snowflake method.  It seems really simple but it’s not, trust me.  When he says you take an hour to do the first step he’s not kidding.  An hour to write a sentence?  Impossibly pull-your-hair-out frustrating but completely worth it for the focus it gives to the project.  I’ll admit I dashed out a 15 word sentence and thought “Ha, simple.” Except then I read it again and saw how vague it was.  So I tried to tweak it, tighten it up, say more with less.  I sharpened the vague idea drifting in my mind into something strong and concrete.  An hour was barely enough for that one sentence.

So my prep for Nano this year is going to be to continue building my snowflake.   I already know it’s going to be difficult because fleshing out the details of a novel can be difficult and I’ll be trying to do the heavy work all at once.  The payoff will be when I get to hammer out my nano with ease because I’ve made myself a detailed road map to get me to the end.

Will it work?  I don’t know but I can’t wait to find out.  Either way this is going to be great!

A Note On Poetry

Under accomplishments poetry is definitely new this year and a real change for me.

I used to write poetry regularly but I stopped in high school because, honestly, it was terrible stuff.  Teenage poetry thy name is angst and cliche.   I still enjoyed reading it but only from a book, preferably by someone I never had to meet.  A good poet can create much with little.  A good poem is full of raw expression; it can be evocative and inspirational.  I’m a little too shy to share myself so openly so poetry reading was done in secret.

Then I met a poet and we got to reading some poetry together.  I had a poetry partner if you will and I was not just okay reading other people’s poetry in public and sharing that enjoyment but reading my friends poetry and discussing it with them.  It was a revelation and I loved it!  It was short step to writing my own poetry again.  Words became so much more fun.  I have a bunch now that are finished and I believe decent but will never see the light of day because of their personal nature.  It can be a cathartic endeavor.   Much better are the poems, coming more and more frequently, that are more than just veiled therapy.  I’ve shared some and I’ve had some really positive responses .

I’ve started putting together a collection.  I try not to write love poems or breakup poems but they happen and some are even clever and fun so I’m going to get them out of the way.  It’s working title is Because the World Needs Another Volume of Bitter Love Poetry but that’s kind of unwieldy so I’m looking for something a little more pithy.  It will be interesting to see what comes of this endeavor.

Wrap up

So that about brings us up to date.  I’ve got some good ideas brewing and some good ideas on page waiting to be brought to life.  I have some plans for eclectophilia too.  I’m looking to share some work here, snippets and teasers, maybe the occasional poem.  So I’ll be back soon.

Ta.

A.

Read Full Post »

Big News

I’ve submitted for the very first time!!  One of my flash fictions is now in the hands of Flash Fiction Online and I wait their 10 week average turnaround time for reply.

It’s an exciting thing.

Next goal, submit something else before I get a reply.

 

What I’m Working On

Most of my writing of late is more in the planning stage.  A lot of ideas for Nanowrimo and also a lot of other ideas.

I did have an idea for a longer story, sci-fi, apocalyptic, but done in the form of a series of vignettes.  Letters, news reports, radio broadcasts, political speeches, etc.  Basically something that would work as a serial over several issues of a publication.  It plays up my new enjoyment of writing flash fiction as well.

It might even work for nano if I can come up with enough disparate parts to reach the 50,000 goal.

 

An Idea

I do a lot of brainstorming at work and tend to jot it down on small slips of paper.  There is a growing pile of them on my desk that is starting to look alarmingly like kindling.   I’m going to get a shoebox, tart it up with arts and crafts and into it will go all of these slips.  It shall be my treasure box of ideas.

Read Full Post »

Current Projects

I’ve been slogging away slowly at my pieces.  I finished “The House on The Hill” but am going to try and give a major re-edit to the ending before passing it along for critiquing.

I have started incorporating the critiques I received on “The Last Laugh”.   I’m toying with a new title that will let the reader’s know the story is about superhero’s.  This is either a clever way of killing two birds with one stone or laziness on my part.  Only time will tell.  After that I have a plan for the first two places I will submit it.

So lots of editing in the near future.

Writing wise I plan on working on f “Fuck”  (it might need a new working title).  It’s been slow to move forward, very challenging.

I’m also going to finish “Tool Shed”.  I’ve got it mostly mapped out now and I know where I want to submit it.  It’s just a question of getting the words out and then edit, edit, edit.

I’ve set myself firm dates for these projects:

  1. Re-edit “The Last Laugh” and submit to Flash Fiction Online – by September 24th
  2. Finish “Tool Shed” first draft – by September 24th
  3. Finish “Fuck” First Draft – by September 30th
  4. Edit  “The House on the Hill” so it is ready for critiquing – by September 30th
  5. Edit “Tool Shed” so it is ready for critiquing – by September 30th

Flash Fiction

Finding a place for “The Last Laugh” has led me to a lot of information on Flash Fiction.  This stuff is bright, challenging, and an exciting way to exercise writing skills.  I’ve put together a few pieces and edited a few snippets sitting in my writing folder so they are tiny little flash fictions of under 100 – 200 words.  I’m still not sure I’m doing it right or well but it’s a lot of fun and gives instant gratification.

Read Full Post »