Update

Writing Update – March 7, 2017

I would like to say I’ve made a decision about what I’ll be working on, but that’s only somewhat accurate. What I know for sure is it’s time to work on my fantasy trilogy. Where the indecision comes in is what part I’ll do.

There are two choices. Revise the first book or write the second. I have the last two books partially plotted. The problem is I don’t want to do extra work. If I write the second, then revise the first, I could end up not using things I write. I could destroy a plotline or add something that requires a lot of change to book two or three.

However, I am almost terrified to come out of creative mode. I’ve been putting off revising several books because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get back into the making stuff up part of writing. Really it all comes down to fear of finishing. I know this logically, but I’m having trouble anyway.

So, I’m going to treat this as a challenge to myself. My tentative plan is to work on book one, and if book two takes over occasionally, that’s fine. If I’m honest with myself, I know if I start writing book two, I won’t stop until I’m done. Then the regret will set in, writer’s guilt will attack, and I’ll shut down. Or I’ll go on to book three and potentially screw everything up.

I wrote a few scenes from the two and three back in October and I know I’ll use them, but I think I should leave well enough alone.

Hopefully, I will stay on track. Discipline skills are a lacking in this writer! The desire is there, and effort will be forthcoming. I’ll keep everyone updated on my progress or failure. I might keep writing flash fiction during this process but I can’t guarantee I can do both. We shall see.

Wish me luck!

 

 

Everything Update – February 6, 2017

Deaths in the family: My aunt Janice passed away last week, which is why I haven’t been posting, nor writing, much. The night it happened I got the call at 10:41 pm. When you get a call at that time of night, you know something is wrong. Add in I saw my cousin post on Facebook about her mother being in the ER earlier and I knew when my phone went off exactly what I was going to hear.

Still, when my mom said my aunt had died, I sat up quickly (and painfully) and said “What?” I guess I hoped against hope that nothing was wrong. She explained what happened and abruptly got off the phone.

Janice had major surgery a couple of weeks before. Everything was looking good until Sunday night of last week. She got a blood clot in her lungs and there was nothing that could be done.

I was so upset and so shocked I was basically numb. I think I was staring at the ceiling after trying to convince my husband he needed to go to sleep since he worked the next morning when I got a text maybe ten minutes after the call. It was my mom asking me to call my two brothers to let them know.

It was the first time in my life I had to do something like that. Normally my mom did it but this time she needed me. So I made the calls and eventually I fell asleep.

The next morning I called mom and she said her, my grandmother, and my two cousins were going to the funeral home. I invited myself along and met them there. This was also a first for me. I wasn’t involved in the planning, besides speaking up for my cousins when they answered in whispers and I was the only one who heard them. Moral support was all I could offer. My mom had to deal with several other funeral arrangements so she stepped in when needed and eventually it all got done.

Then I picked up lunch for everyone and went to my grandma’s house. Everyone was mostly calm, the shocked calm that can’t last. It was hard but for the next couple of days, I did whatever I could to help. Anything from vacuuming to helping my husband (he’s the muscle, I’m the director) clean out my aunt’s garage to make it easier on her daughters when they have to go through it all.

Sometimes I simply sat on the couch and chatted with my grandma and the other women in my family. We told funny stories about Janice and comforted each other by being together. Seeing everyone’s pain was so hard.

I cried at the gym the day after I found out then at both the graveside and the memorial service, many times but otherwise stayed in my numb calm state. I suppose I was in ‘get it done’ mode.

Friday was hard because I stayed home. I didn’t cry because my husband was also home and I didn’t want to upset him. You see, last Sunday was only the beginning of the bad news for my family. The next day my husband got a call from his dad letting him know his grandmother had passed away. She was such a great lady and we’ll miss her a lot. I feel so useless because I can’t do a thing to help since I’m so far away. I couldn’t even do much to comfort my very stoic husband because I was such a mess waiting to happen.

Her funeral will be in New Jersey and we can’t make it. I wish we could. A family needs to be together in times like this. I’m hoping my brother-in-law can set up Skype for it.

My son also got bad news. A really close friend of his died of cancer. This kid was twenty-two years old! What a sad week.

I’m not sure I’ve processed it all yet. Grief on grief is terrible. My house has been filled with a somber gloom all week. Not to mention one of the kids has the flu and strep so we’re all avoiding each other.

Today, everything is hitting me. Writing this is hard but helping me.

Writing: As for writing, due to the above events, it’s been on the back-burner. Yesterday was the first day I had any creativity come out of me.

My writing group does a weekly picture prompt. When it was posted in our FB group I thought it was amazing but didn’t think for a moment I’d be able to write anything. I was wrong. I started getting ideas within minutes. It was problematic because I had two paths I could take with one character. I’m not sure which to pick so I’m writing both, hopefully today. I’ll decide which I like better, or see if one takes over the other. Maybe I’ll combine them.

Unfortunately, it’s as likely I won’t be able to write a complete story. It doesn’t matter, though. Creativity happened. I’ll ease back into writing but it would be nice if I could lose myself in it.

I have a couple of pieces of flash fiction I need to polish a bit before I post here. Expect those soon, tomorrow or Thursday.

Medical: I’m in a lot of pain but it’s from all my activity last week and I think I’ll be okay soon. I need to schedule an appointment with my neurosurgeon and get a CT scan done next month. Fingers crossed it looks good. I’m worried about the rod and screws in my back. I’ve been in pain for quite a while. During the last visit, there was concern about me healing so slow. The CT scan is to make sure nothing loosened because of it.

After what happened to my aunt, and finding out my grandfather also died the same way after surgery, you can imagine how much I fear another surgery.

Everything else: There isn’t much else. We’re all trying to move forward. I’ll try to post another update late in the week. Hopefully, I’ll not have anything else bad to talk about.

 

 

 

Everything Update – January 23, 2017

Writing: It’s all about flash fiction. I’ve been utilizing word prompts almost every day and I’m happy to report they are working for me. In the last week or so I wrote several super short stories. Some I shared and some I held back. (Click a title if you would like to read the ones I’ve posted: The Smudge, Ashes, The Cycle, & Peaches).

There are two I’m not sure I like. One of them is simply ridiculous and the other is not quite a story, but I still find it interesting. I might put them up together. Another is still only bones but I’ll add the meat to it today before trying to write a new one.

My goal is to write as many short stories this year as I can, at least one a week, preferably more.

I’m completely out of novel mode but I’m okay with it. Burnout was on the horizon and I needed to do something different. Besides, with all these short stories, I might end up with one growing into a book length story.

Reading: I’m still reading The Sword of Truth Series. Book six is…challenging. I don’t like what’s happening. I’m unhappy about the development of one of the main characters and I’m bored with the excessive world building. If I see the words ‘wayward pine’ one more time I might scream. That’s a lie, I’ll probably only groan.

The biggest problem I’m having with this book, and the two before it, is the female main character is becoming unlikable. No matter how many times her husband is proven right, she never agrees with him, never believes he’s making good choices, and always wants to do the exact opposite of what he says they should. There are scenes where she acknowledges that no matter how odd his decisions may be, he’s been in the right every time. Yet she still argues!

It’s driving me nuts. The husband, who is the overall main character, almost always gives in to her wishes, even though he feels he’s right, and he’s the leader of a country. He’ll have a ton of inner dialog about how he just wants her to be happy, but he worries he’s making the wrong decision by giving in. He is. Every time.

How can I like these characters if they don’t learn and grow?

Still, I’m sticking with the series because I am doing this for research. Already I realized I have a character who always feels sorry for himself but doesn’t do anything to fix it. I might not have noticed how extreme this problem is if not for the flaws I found in the characters in these books.

As writers, we should always read and learn something about writing from every book we pick up.

Medical: I went to the pain doctor for a follow-up from my nerve burn procedure. It didn’t really help. Before they could offer I said I had no interest in pain medication. They said in that case, all I can do is wait until March, when I have a CT scan and see the neurosurgeon again. The suspicion is I’m healing very slow from my spinal fusion surgery and/or one of the screws could have loosened. Scary and frustrating stuff.

I still go to the gym almost every day. I’ve upped the intensity on a few things but still don’t push too much. I wish I could workout harder. I’m only keeping steady, not making real progress. I shouldn’t complain. Going to the gym does help with the pain. I just wish I could do more. I’d love to be more fit, toned. I don’t want to get giant muscles, but I would like some definition.

One thing I’ve been negligent about is the home exercises I learned in physical therapy. I’m getting back on track though. I just need to accept that I will be doing this forever.

Everything else: I’m obsessed with Rogue One and The Force Awakens. As of Friday I’m the proud owner of a Jyn Erso Funko Pop figure. She stands in front of my other Funko Pops: old Han Solo and Rey. Behind them is my Pez Death Star tin. Soon I will frame my 8 x 11 prints of C3PO, R2D2, and BB8.

I want to make one wall in my house a nerdy wall. The whole family would be welcome to put whatever franchise stuff they want on it. The only problem is it would soon be covered with Adventure Time and Stephen Universe (which I despise). I’ll have to give in though. It wouldn’t be a family nerd wall if it was only the stuff I like. Maybe I’ll divide it into sections. Once we have stuff up, I’ll take a picture and post it.

We got an old, but new to us car. My ex-husband bought himself a new car and didn’t trade in the old one because he was hoping one of the kids would want it. My oldest has a car and the others don’t drive. Seriously, one is 21 and the other just turned 20 but they don’t drive. My daughter has zero interest. She didn’t even finish driver’s ed. The other is almost interested but it will be a slow learning process.

So, the ex brought the car to me to use until one of them decides to adult. It has its problems. One of the seat belts in the back is broken. The brakes are squishy and need to be fixed. We had to replace brake light bulbs. Toothpaste and elbow grease fixed the foggy looking headlight covers. The outside looks fine, but the inside is torn all to hell. But, a free car is a free car.

My husband’s car is junkyard bound so he’s driving the ‘new’ one for now. The ex said he’d rather it be driven than sit in someone’s driveway. Regardless of the condition, it’s pretty cool. I’ve never been given a car before, so I’m not complaining.

I’ve been organizing. Normally this means I’m making a giant mess while making things better eventually. Not this time. I’m doing it slowly and just skipping to the better part. I reserve the right to still make a mess when I tackle the closet though!

There’s not much else going on. Just life. I’ll update again soon and post a few more stories sometime this week.

 

Flash Fiction – The Cycle – (and a short writing update)

Thunder always brought the pain. The agony let her know she still existed so she welcomed it. She had lost herself, that much she knew, but little else.

From her high perch she would see the parched ground and exult. It seemed her exultation somehow touched the clouds. They would gather near her and loosen their heavy burden on the earth below. As her delight grew, the clouds shared her excitement and become massive storms. Then with each lightning strike she would scream in empathy for the stricken ground.

For a time she would remember she was the thunder, the lightning, the clouds – all of it. Then the skies would clear and she would be lost, forgetting her nature. So she would resume her vigil and wonder when the thunder would bring the pain again.

Rough draft 134 words


The above piece is a result of one of my goals for this year. My plan is to use various writing prompts to write something everyday. Well, it’s more accurate to say every day I write since I’m not always able to do it daily, though I intend to try.

My prompt sources are numerous. I have a couple of books, tons of blogs to draw from, and the prompts I come up with for Write Anything Wednesday. There are also many different types of prompts to use. One word, a phrase, character ideas, settings, even picture prompts. I have no interest in the ones requiring me to use several words in a story. If this kind sparks an idea, I’ll write it but I won’t force myself to use the actual words. I won’t be searching for these.

For the flash fiction I wrote today (in eight minutes), I used a one word prompt meant to get you warmed up. It’s not much of a story but it woke up my muse so I have no complaints. The story I wrote on Sunday was also the result of a one word prompt. They are working for me so I will keep trying them first before moving on to other types.

I will probably post most of these efforts, even when I don’t love them, because it serves as self-accountability for me. Perhaps I’ll group them up in twos and threes and post them together so I don’t overload everyone.

Any thoughts about any of the writing I post are always welcome.


Photo by Ryan McGuire

New Year, Same Me (But With New Goals)

So it’s 2017. This is a time of making resolutions and writing the wrong year on everything requiring a date. Lasts year sucked so we all hope this year is a fresh start. I keep seeing posts about a ‘new year and a new me.’ I wish I could say that but the only real change for me is a new deductible for all the potential medical junk coming up.

Did any of you make resolutions? I didn’t, not exactly. I have goals and hopes but New Year’s resolutions are too easily said and broken for me to go that route.

I do intend to make this a better year. It’s as good a transition time as any. A couple of good things have already happened. I won the scholarship to the West Texas Writer’s Academy. I’m not sure anything can top this one, except actually attending. I hear it’s a great writing recharge, which I desperately need.

The other good thing has to do with a free car. It’s a long, complicated story but boils down to a temporary fix to a major problem my family has dealt with for a while. It’s a used car with many problems and eventually will go to one of my adult children, if they ever decide they want to learn to drive (I’ll never understand).

Onto my plans for the year. I’m calling them goals because, as previously mentioned, I feel resolutions are too easily broken. It’s easy to not take them seriously. Goals, on the other hand, especially writing goals are important enough to try my hardest. They are more permanent (until completed), more real.

Goal time. Most of these will be writing related but not all, here goes:

Writing:

  • Write often. I want to say write every day but with all my back problems I don’t think it’s feasible. So I will write as often as I can. If it ends up being everyday then I’ll mentally jump for joy.
  • Revise/edit. All of them. I have five finished novels (first drafts) and two almost completed ones. I want to take the time to fix/rewrite what needs it. I included the two partials here because I need to revise some of what I’ve written to fit in some side story, which both desperately need to be full stories.
  • Write books two and three of my fantasy trilogy. I have the first one done, minus revisions. My plan is to revise book one before I write the other two because it makes sense not to waste my time writing something that could/will be changed. I believe it’s possible to get both first drafts completed. I don’t know if I will be able to revise both this year with all the other projects in line before them.
  • Blog more often, and read (and respond to) other blogs more often too. I love reading others’ work but with all the stuff I’ve been through this last year, I’ve barely been able to keep up. I read them as much as I can but haven’t been able to comment very often. Still, I want to get back on track. As for my own blog, expect some changes in the next couple of months!
  • Write a lot of short stories. I intend to write as much flash fiction as I can but I also want to spend some time crafting longer short stories. It’s one of my weak points. I can write really short stuff with little in the way of details but longer stuff I struggle with. It really does come down to description. I despise reading pages worth of how a forest looks and it causes me trouble in my own writing. Once I have my mental image I don’t need any more words on it. I feel like too much is boring and too little doesn’t give the reader a clear enough picture. The trick is to find the happy medium. Unfortunately my medium is too close to not enough. I’m working on it.
  • Finally put together a collection of flash fiction and publish it. I need at least three more stories I love for it. I’ve written many pieces but only some have made the cut. As any other writers out there know, it’s hard being your own worst critic.
  • Also finish up another project for publication. I’ll explain this one at a later time.
  • This one requires a confession. I want to write on Wednesdays again. It was always my day to write, no matter what. Then life happened. I generally don’t write when my husband is off. Not only would I rather spend time with him but also I’m easily distracted when my family is around. So my day off from writing is whatever day off he has. It was never Wednesdays, until it was. His schedule changes every six months or so. When he eventually got ‘my’ day off it really messed me up. So I haven’t been writing on Wednesdays. Then I got used to it. He went to Thursdays off and I still couldn’t write in the middle of the week. That made two straight days when I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. Now he’s changing back to Wednesdays off. My goal is to write a little in the morning, then spend the rest of the day with him. I know it sounds complicated but the real goal is to teach myself to write even when there are a lot of distractions, just like I advocate on this blog.
  • The most important goal I have is to break out of this writing funk I’ve been in. I will find a way.

Everything else:

  • Work out regularly. I mostly do this one now but I’ve found when things go south it’s too easy to let it slide for a while. Getting back on track is hard so I’m going to try to not mess this one up.
  • Get back on the physical therapy wagon. I’ve been neglecting my home exercises and yes I’m an idiot.
  • Watch more TV with my husband. Odd? Well, I’ve never been the type to spend every evening parked on the couch. I don’t want to become that person but I do miss the weekly TV times with my honey. It will be easier when the shows we watch aren’t on break.
  • Read the books on my to read pile, while not adding to it for a while. Is that laughter I hear? Maybe I should just say I’ll read as much as I can and leave it there.
  • Bring my bags into the grocery store. I wish Texas would pass a law banning the use of plastic bags. If I was required to use my own then maybe I would remember to grab the twenty or so bags in the back of my car when I go shopping.
  • Make more lists and look at them. I’m a list person. I need them and love them. The problem? I write things down because my memory is shot after all the pain meds I was on and hormonal changes (damn thyroid and all the rest) but I also forget to look at some of the lists. I need to come up with a system. Maybe have a spot specifically for my multitude of lists so I always know where to find them. I don’t know how to force myself to remember to look at them though. I’ll figure it out though. I have a thing for clipboards too so I imagine they will be part of my solution.
  • My desk. This one is too complicated to explain but I’ll say I need to keep my desk(s) tidy.
  • Talk to my doctor about my allergy issues. Shots will not be allowed.
  • Cook dinner more often.
  • Yell at my offspring about the kitchen table daily. For some reason the table is a catch-all. NO MORE!
  • Ditto on my daughter’s bedroom.
  • Eat a bit more healthy.
  • Cut back on iced tea. Don’t ask.
  • The typical lose weight thing needs to make the list.
  • More date nights.
  • No more getting on the floor with the dogs. It hurts, I do it anyway, it must stop.
  • Photography, period.

 

I’m sure I could add a million more things to both lists but I don’t want to overwhelm myself. I wish everyone well with their goals or resolutions. All it takes is belief and effort. We’ve got this!


WR

Everything Update – 12/26/2016

Writing #1 (the bad stuff): Apparently my muse is a Grinch. I’m sitting in my favorite writing spot trying to find some inspiration for flash fiction stories. Nothing came to me at first so I looked at writing prompts. That was when my muse made her true nature clear.

All the prompts in the reader are Christmas related. UGH! I like the holidays and all but I don’t want to write about it. I already wrote a Santa story (click here to read it). I’m ready to move on!

My real problem is a bad case of writer’s funk. It’s different from writer’s block because I can write, but there is nothing I want to write about. I’m not even sure I want to write. I know I should so I keep trying but I only have tiny spurts of creativity. Otherwise, my muse is hiding (and waiting for the holidays to end).

This is not to say I’ll have better luck once all the decorations are taken down and everyone stops blogging about Christmas. This funk won’t simply disappear on a certain date.

To be honest, I’m not sure what to do, what I want to do. My plan for now is to try to write flash fiction. No ideas have hit me so far today but I’ll have some eventually. Or I’ll make them. Ideas are cheap when it comes down to it. I just have to find a way to make some work for me.

What I’m really fighting is apathy, brought on by burnout. I know I’ll get through this but for now it sucks!

Writing #2 (the great stuff): I will be attending the West Texas Writer’s Academy (WTWA) next year. I’ve wanted to go for a long time now and finally it will happen. In October they offered a chance to win a scholarship. I had to write an essay, under 200 words, on why I wanted to write.

The essay was so hard to write! If you’ve ever read anything on my blog, or even just this post, you know I’m wordy. The idea of keeping it so short terrified me. Then came the fear i wasn’t saying anything right. I wrote one and thought it was silly, then changed it. The next attempt was too serious, more changed. Finally I simply started over.

I wrote about the things and people who stopped me from writing for too many years. I spoke about how my experiences, especially the bad ones, made me more determined to write now. I called those years my writing boot camp. Then I said nothing would stop me now and I want to learn everything I can and add to my toolbox as much as possible.

After I wrote it, I edited the hell out of it. I remember at one point I hit undo a bunch of times and in the end, most of this third attempt stayed intact, with only minor changes. I was surprised but shouldn’t have been since it came from the heart. The words poured out with no fears or concerns. I emailed it then sat there and cried and shook, in the middle of Starbucks haha.

My nerves were a wreck! Not once did I think I would win the scholarship but I desperately wanted to. So I spent the rest of the day freaking out then tried not to think about it much. The deadline was December 15 (my birthday) so I had plenty of time to ‘forget’ about it. There was no sense in stressing for almost two straight months.

On my birthday I thought about it for a moment then shut it away. I knew by this point they weren’t announcing the winner until January so I tried not to get worked up.

The on December 20 I got an email. The notification popped up on my screen. It showed a small portion of the email and who it was from. I thought my heart would stop. My hand hovered over the mouse, too afraid to look at it. Logically I knew what it said and why I received it but I was too busy calming my nerves to be logical!

As you’ve probably guessed, I won the scholarship. I read the message at least ten times before I moved. Then I burst into tears! I took a picture of the email and sent it to my husband because for once I didn’t have the words to tell him what happened. I sat there crying for a few minutes then went into the living room and told two of my kids. They didn’t know what to do because I was crying and laughing and trying to explain. They got the explanation but they rarely have seen my cry so didn’t know how to handle it, haha.

When I started talking I was having difficulty. My sixteen year old daughter was staring at me with a look of horror/concern until I said they were good tears. It made me laugh when she visibly relaxed. I must have looked like I was having some kind of breakdown.

They congratulated me and I left the room but I couldn’t sit back down, I was too…something. Excited isn’t quite the right word, though I felt it too. Shocked is a closer description.

My other daughter heard the story shortly afterward, once I realized she was awake. I guess I didn’t say it very quietly because my oldest son heard it at the same time, as I woke him up talking near his door.

Eventually I told the people in my writing group and called my mom. I know I talked so fast she barely understood me!

As I came down from the high of finding out I won, weird things started happening. I wondered if I deserved it. I kept thinking my essay wasn’t good enough for me to be picked. I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I tossed those stupid, destructive thoughts out the window! I didn’t just win, I earned it! I wasn’t about to let anyone, not even myself, ruin it.

So next summer I’ll attend a week-long intensive writing class. I know how to write, but like I said earlier, I’m eager to add to my writing tool box. I can’t wait!

Medical: My back hurts, so nothing new. On Friday I’ll have the second procedure I’ve talked about before. A couple of weeks ago they did the right side, now they’ll do the left. There has to be eleven days between the two procedures and my doctor was on vacation for Christmas week. Otherwise I’d already be done. Thankfully this one is happening this year so I don’t have to mess with a deductible.

This won’t be a permanent fix but any relief is welcome at this point. I’m sure this is part of why I’m in my writing funk. Chronic pain drags a person down. It doesn’t matter how sunny your personality is, eventually it all gets to you.

Hopefully I’ll be back to normal soon. My mother (and the rest of my family) would laugh at me using the word ‘normal’ to describe myself so maybe I should say I’ll get back to myself again.

Reading: I’m doing this a lot more than I planned on lately. With my back giving me so much trouble, I’ve been forced to spend a good portion of every day lying down, which I hate. So I read in twenty-minute increments then get up.

Also, hot baths help relieve the massive muscles spasms my back gifts me with so I read in the tub too. This I don’t mind at all!

I’m re-reading The Sword of Truth series. It’s not my favorite but I’m enjoying it anyway. It’s so complex, with a million side stories and enough twists and turns to make your head spin. Just how I like it. I feel like I’m learning a lot from how the author writes.

His transitions are really good (so far) and most of the time his descriptions are delightfully sparse. Unlike this blog post, he doesn’t overdo it with adverbs. I’m not sure how I feel about his characterizations but overall I’m glad I chose to read this series again.

I’m afraid to read anything new since I’m already having trouble writing. If this were a new to me series, all I would do is read it. Books are my catnip (I can’t say they are my drug because I hate drugs).

Everything else: Christmas was good. We went to my mom’s house on Christmas eve for lunch. It was nice because there was family there I see only once a year or less. The rest of my extended family I only see a few times a year because I’m a homebody these days.

My husband had to work that day, which sucked. He was off on Christmas day though. It worked out that the kids went off elsewhere at lunch so I spent the whole day just hanging out with the hubby. We did a whole lot of nothing and it was perfect. I needed a nice relaxing day and so did he.

Right before Christmas I saw Rogue One. My review is simple: I loved it.

My youngest daughter (my clone) got me into watching Chuck so I think it will be my new binge. The first day of her vacation from school I sat in the living room for hours watching it with her. My back was killing me but we were both happy.

There’s nor really anything else to tell for now. I’ll post an update again after my procedure. Not that day, as I’ll probably be asleep. Hopefully I’ll have a writing update, or new piece of fiction posted before then!

 

 

Everything Update 12/16/2016

Writing: Sadly, I haven’t written much lately. Only a piece of flash fiction (click here to read it), and a bit of revision. It seems my muse is on Christmas vacation.

I picked up an older story, my Nanowrimo project from last year, and started on revisions. Then I stopped. In all fairness to myself, I’ve been busy, but I’m also reluctant. I don’t know why. Part of me is afraid to step out of creative mode. The problem with this attitude is there is not much in the way of words coming out of me. So I’m already mostly out of creative mode anyway.

It could be my rebellious nature or fear or stupidity but I can’t get into editing/revising even though I feel I should.

There are a few issues, besides the above, stopping me.  One is pain, more on this later. Another is the scariest. Burn out. I have writing fatigue and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’ve considered changing mediums because I still have the urge to be creative. I could do photography, which is unlikely due to the pain issue, or draw. I’m a beginner at both but I like to think I have potential. The problem with doing either of these is I tend to switch off all other creative outlets.

If I’m into sketching then I don’t touch my camera or the computer. If I’m taking photos, no stories come to me and I lose interest in drawing.

The darkest side of this is writing is a business. If I’m not writing then I’m not finishing books to sell. I’m not in it for the money but, like every writer, I need the money to be able to keep writing. The bright side of changing my focus is when I go back to writing I seem to be more creative.

I do need some kind of recharge. I wish I knew exactly how to get it. At this point I’m just guessing.

Another option is to change what I’m writing. This could be a change in genre or a different word count. I’m considering working on only short stories for a while. If I do, I would only write these, novels would have to be put aside completely.

It wouldn’t be a bad thing to write a lot of pieces of flash fiction. The sense of accomplishment from finishing a story completely should not be underestimated. Part of my issue with writing is I sometimes feel I’ll never finish anything.

It’s great to write a complete first draft and I’ve done exactly that with four novels. However, a book isn’t finished on that draft. There are revisions and editing still to come. I wonder if I’ll end up revising all my novels in a group, one after the other. Actually, this is one of my fears. I get into whatever mode and stay there until something jerks me out of it. Financially it would be great. Creatively, it would be devastating.

I’ll decide eventually and get to it. For now, I’m going to continue with this semi-break from writing.

Medical: I had a procedure recently and will have another on December 30. They are burning off nerves and can only work on one side at a time. I’m sore from the needles but I feel a difference. Unfortunately, it makes the pain on the other side seem worse. So I’m kind of better but still miserable haha.

Working out helps a lot so. So did the exercises I learned in physical therapy. I haven’t kept up with them but I’m going to start again today. I’m an idiot for not doing them all along.

I’ll update again after my other procedure. It will take a couple of weeks for me to know how successful it will be though.

Reading: There were many novels I planned to read but I ended up picking up something unexpected. I’m rereading The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I’ve only read it once and I didn’t love it the first time. The reason I’m reading it now is partly research. Book one was the author’s debut novel and it shows. Still, this book is pretty amazing.

It moves a little too fast in the beginning and the words ‘that’ and ‘had’ are everywhere. The sentences are overly long at times and quite frankly there are times I don’t understand how it made it through an editor’s hands in its end form.

Grammar and sentence structure aside, the story is great. It’s hard for me to put it down. I feel I can learn a lot from reading it with a critical eye. The series is long and the writing gets better with each book.

My biggest reason for reading it is description and transitions. He does both in an interesting way. The first book is long and there simply isn’t room for too much description. So in most cases, he keeps it compact and only uses the details needed to give the reader a solid picture.

Transitions are hard. If you’re not careful as a writer, you will bore a reader into putting your book down if you spend too much time on how a character gets from place to place. Unless getting there is important to the plot. So far, Terry Goodkind does this well. I remember he gets a bit lazy in later books but for now I’m happy with what I’m reading.

I want to write transitions like he does. I don’t want to write like him but I do want to see good examples of how other authors tackle things we all struggle with. My real problem is I don’t write enough with transitions. I’m trying to find the happy medium.

So reading right now is as much for writing as it is for pleasure and I’m okay with it.

Everything else: Yesterday was my birthday and my husband said we could do whatever I wanted. I couldn’t do exactly what I wanted so I did the next best thing. I wanted to see Rogue One but I don’t do opening nights. I’ll have to wait until next week. Since I wasn’t willing to be around a crowd but still wanted to go see a movie, I decided to go to Alamo Drafthouse for the first time.

We went to see Moana. It was great. There was more singing than I would have liked and one of the songs was so grating I wanted to cover my ears, but I liked it. They serve food and I got my old standby: chicken strips. The food wasn’t great but was tolerable. I don’t have any interest in ever eating there again but I liked being able to pick my seats.

I might go back but I live practically next door to a better theater so I’ll probably still with it.

We decorated out Christmas tree differently this year. There are some plain ornaments on it but mostly there is non-ornaments all over it. I told my offspring it was time to we made it more fitting for our family.

So now it’s covered in nerdy stuff. There are Pokemon stuffed into the branches. My Star Trek and Doctor Who key chains have become ornaments. There is a Harry Potter luggage tag and a multipass (bonus points to anyone who knows what that is). I even hid the alien from Aliens against the trunk for the kids to find. I bought a BB8 ornament too. Everyone is happy and making plans for buying more franchise ornaments for next year.

There probably won’t be anymore updates until after Christmas but I hope to write some short stories and I’ll post them when finished.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Nanowrimo 2016 Update #5

My word count for the month is 36,328 with one more day to go. Today I wrote 6311 of those words. It may sound impressive but it doesn’t get me to 50k.

I don’t think I’ll be able to write thirteen thousand words tonight and tomorrow so I won’t win. However, I don’t see this as a fail. I wrote when I could. There were some days I wrote over 3000 words. There were also plenty of days where I only wrote a few hundred words, or none at all. But I still wrote.

Pain and feeling down plagued me this month. My motivation fled and my muse went into hiding at times. I complained bitched and moaned often but I kept going.

Frustration abounded. Anger hovered. Negativity intruded. I wrote through it all.

Today I wrote an unexpectedly large amount of words (after several days of not writing) and right now my back is paying for it. But hey, the words are on paper!

No, I probably won’t win Nanowrimo but I was able to write in spite of all the bad stuff, so I sure as hell didn’t lose.

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Everything Update

Writing/Nanowrimo: I’m still behind on Nanowrimo. I’ve been in a lot of pain and my writing motivation was nil. My muse is in hiding and my I don’t know how to coax her out. I’m going to try though.

It is unlikely I will win Nanowrimo this year but I’m almost positive I don’t care. What I do care about is not giving up. If I say I’m not going to win and just stop then it’s a problem. If I say I’m so behind I can’t see the end in sight but still try then I win. So I’m going to put as much effort into it as I can.

I realized I’m an idiot last night. Forgetful is probably a better description but whatever. I spend a lot of time lying down. I hate it, every second. If I’m in bed I can’t write. Except I can. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is a dictation program. After reformatting my laptop I never got around to reinstalling it. Which is dumb on my part. I can’t physically write when I’m forced to lay down but I can talk. Hell, I can always talk, unless I’m sleeping and sometimes even then!

I feel silly for not thinking of this earlier. It’s not as easy to ‘write’ this way for me but it’s possible. I’m sure once I get in the habit again things will go well.

I’m not at home at them moment but when I get there I’m going to install the software and start using it. I will have to close my door because I can’t do it in front of anyone else, not even my kids. I’m the type who wouldn’t even order a pizza in front of my husband. (Ordering online is the best thing ever!).

Hopefully it will work out the way I think it will. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. At least I’ll get more story out of my head during a time I haven’t been able to. Even the lessening of the irritation I feel when having to get into bed should help. Maybe my muse will come out and play again.

As for my new Nano project, I’m happy with it so far. Since picking it up I’ve already made major changes but none of them changed the flow of the story in a bad way. It’s still going to end the same way but getting there is much stronger now. I’ll have to replot a bit but I did a sticky note outline so it won’t be hard.

The main change is with a young boy introduced in the beginning of the story. He’s an important character but not the main one. Originally my main character (MC) rescues him and takes him to a nearby garrison. He was going to show back up later and his identity was going to surprise my MC. Now she’s going to keep the boy with her. She still won’t know who he is until late in the story. He’s going to be a handful and this kid is full of it but with good reason.

Protecting him adds a sense of urgency, on top of her hiding from the bad guys. Dealing with him adds some small conflict and the byplay between the boy and a man who joins them later will add more depth.

None of this changes the last act except when the boy does his part, it will mean more to the reader. I’m still developing this character but I decided to do it as I go because I’ve already stalled out too much this month.

I’ll update more about this story as it goes along.

Medical: My pain management doctor is awesome. His PA is not. A while back I went to an appointment and saw the PA. She told me I should get an injection to help with my back pain. If it didn’t give me enough relief then she thought we should burn off the nerve. This would require a nerve block, which is basically a test to make sure they get the right nerves. Then the actually burning if the test worked out.

After first losing my paperwork and lots of confusion and many calls I finally got an appointment for the first injection. Except it didn’t happen. Oh, I did get an injection, but it was the nerve block. The PA basically forgot a step. I’m irritated with her but to be honest it works out for the best. I thought doing the first injection was a waste of time because it was clear I’d eventually have to do the burn procedure.

Because of her mistake I’ll probably be able to get the burning procedures done before the end of the year. They do one side, wait two weeks and do the other. This is good because if it’s done before December 31st, I won’t have a pay a dime. I’ve had so many medical things happen this year that I met my maximum payout. Money things aside, I want the relief now so I’m not complaining about the PA’s dumb move.

However, this could have easily worked against me. So I’ll have to be careful with her and make sure I write everything down and keep on top of everything I’m told and make sure stuff not only gets done, but gets done in the order it should.

Unfortunately the nerve block procedure only lasts a day so I’m still in tons of pain but at least I have hope. The next procedure will actually cause me extra pain for a while, probably a few weeks but I’ve done it before and it’s worth it.

I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Reading: I am rereading David Eddings. I started with The Belgariad, then read The Mallorian. I moved on to The Elenium and now I’m on the second book of the Tamuli. The first two I mentioned consist of five books each and follow the same characters throughout. The other two are both trilogies set in a different world. I reread this books at least once a year. I shouldn’t be reading so much during Nanowrimo but it’s what I do when I can’t write. I didn’t want to start any new books because I would get too distracted from my own work.

I’ll finish the last trilogy before November is gone so I might pick up one of the companion books to The Belgariad. One of them is very long so hopefully it will get me through the month. There is a new book tempting me but I’ll resist for as long as I can.

Gym: I haven’t gone every day but I do go most days. I’m still trying to find what works for me. There are certain exercises I can’t do and others that I have to be careful with the amount of weight I use. I’m not progressing, as in not increasing the intensity, but I’m staying steady. Maybe after my procedure I’ll be able to work harder.

That’s all for now. I’ll post a Nanowrimo update soon.