Sunday, December 18, 2011

And the Countdown Begins...

To Christmas of course!  Only one week left and I am slowly but surely crossing things off my list. I got started late, but by going out and picking up gifts and needed supplies before work, I am getting closer to the finish line.  The only hiccup so far has been that I found out Christmas Eve festivities will be at my house.  That was not in the game plan, but nothing I can do about it now. I got the menu together and now, all I have to do is head to the grocery store to make sure I have everything I will need.  Should be interesting to see how it all goes, but well, first time for everything, right? 

As for writing, I've been slowly getting back into the game, writing a little bit each day.  Not as much as I would like, but baby steps! I also have come up with the cover design for my short story thanks to a friend of mine so that will be going up for sale by the end of the month.  (Thank you Sunhi!) And, as an added bonus, as I was working on the cover, I was hit smack in the face with an idea to expand on this story by creating a companion piece.  I kept thinking about my main character and how, in the story I wrote, she only really tells her side--the motivations for her actions and emotions in the relationship and events she recounts.  The other side isn't really explored, and even though he is kinda, well a douche bag in many ways, he still has his own reasons and motivations for how and why things happened the way they did.  So I have decided to write his story as a follow up/companion short story to hers.  I even came up with names for each one which I think fit really well.  

Don't even ask about my working out goals...they have not been going well.  I really really really need to get back into that this week.  I actually MISS it...yes even the getting out of bed a half hour early to do yoga, or stretching, or whatever workout is on the calendar for that day.  So yeah, tomorrow it is back to hitting that weekly goal.  I hope my yoga mat will be happy to see me...

So, lots on my plate but things are looking up after that crazy month of November and early December.  I look forward to checking in to see how everyone else is doing later this week. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!     

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I Fell Off the Bike...

Not literally of course.  I don't ride bikes since I have very little balance and it usually ends with some sort of physical injury. I fell of the bike in the sense that I mucked up my ROW80--and NaNo--goals.  This is truly kinda embarrassing  because I had been doing so, so so (yes that is three so(s)) great on my goals and on NaNo.  I had just over 20K words, and then all hell broke loose...something  just had to give. I had 4 projects to complete in November for my classes and major headaches at the office, so I had to step back from the writing, tweeting, blogging etc to get all that done.  Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel in that my last final is Wednesday.  I will be done until mid-January and things at the office are back to the normal level of chaos I can handle, and should be for the next few months.  

Throughout all the craziness that has consumed me the last month, I did learn a few important things.  Those lessons are:  I can't do everything all at once; that organized or not, there are only so many hours in the day; and sleep is necessary for some of those hours.  Sometimes we have to make sacrifices, even with the stuff we love to do, and prioritizing is key.  Knowing that I had to take some time away from writing, to get done what I needed to, and would eventually get back to my writing once things settled was key.  In the past-and pre-ROW80- I would have wallowed in my 'failures' and got frustrated and let the writing gather dust, but not this time. ROW80 has taught me that having a life, is just as important as meeting my goals--and even though in this instance that 'life' consisted of work and not fun, that's okay.  I had to prioritize and I did.  Now I can get back to my regularly scheduled programming so to speak, without worry that I missed something or stressing out (and ultimately burning out) that I was falling behind as I tried to juggle a hundred million things at once.  Instead, I will take this as a learning experience, sigh, and hop back on the bike.  I can still make it up this next hill by the end of the Round.

As for NaNo--as I mentioned, I didn't 'win' in the sense that I did not reach 50K words.  My final count for November ended up being 31,543, but I didn't even have a chance to update it on the website by the 30th.  However, despite not hitting the 50K mark, I still feel like a winner. I know, it sounds corny right? But seriously, I have a WIP that I am so proud of, I've already knocked out a pretty big portion of it and know where I am going with the rest of it!  Once finals are over, I plan switching up my goals to write a minimum of 1K words a day, 5 days a week and get back to my routine. That should set me on par to complete it and be in the revision process, or close to it anyways, by the time I am ready to hit the books again.  After all, it's all about how we look at things right?  And there is always next November to finally conquer NaNo!  

Hope you guys did great with NaNo and are kicking butt with your ROW80 goals.  I'm so glad to be back and look forward to checking in on everyone later this week!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ROW80 Sunday Check-In

So today is going to be a somewhat short post on my progress so far as I am absolutely swamped with class work, grading essays and house work that has to get done today.  This week I know is going to be insane given my schedule so I am trying to stay ahead of everything.

On my WIP for NaNo I am at 14,589 words, which is above where I should be.  I am loving the sprints during the afternoon with fellow ROW80-ers.  Unfortunately this week I probably won't be around to participate in them until Thursday.   The stats counter on the NaNo site says I need to write just over 1300 words a day to get to my goal by the end of the month, which I think I can do.  I am really liking where this WIP is going and the rough outline I had prepared before NaNo started is really helpful in keeping me on track and organized.

My commenting goal has been surpassed for the week and then some, though this week I expect to be around a lot less given my work load.  However, working out has been sporadic and life keeps interrupting whenever I try to make this goal. It was 4 out of 7 days last week.  This week I really want to try and hit the 5 day goal I set for myself.

I finished the first in Karen Moning's Dark Fever series yesterday and already bought the second one on my Nook. That was a really good book, and in parts I was totally laughing out loud, so I am anxious to read the second one. But today I have to read "As I Lay Dying" by Faulkner for an essay.  Blah....But on the plus side, my goal of reading one book a month is done.  I may have to think of upping this in the future but for now, one is good.

On an unrelated note, and after reading many a blog this past about social media and the blahs about blogging, tweeting etc that can creep in (if you haven't already, check out these fantastic posts by Susan BischoffJami GoldRoni Loren and Kait Nolan, among others), I have decided to go back to having my blog be an all purpose place for me to talk, converse, rant, vent, and share what I find interesting, or funny or noteworthy etc.  I have gotten away from just blogging for fun, which is one of the reasons why I started. So when I can, my posts will be about whatever I want to write about at the time, whether its a movie, music, a TV show, an issue that has me all riled up, or something in a WIP that has be stuck (or given me an epiphany!).  Hopefully people will want to read it or comment, but that is okay if no one does.  My focus now is going to be on the act of writing and putting myself out there.  After all, all writing, in the end, is at the very least practice towards my ultimate goal of becoming a better writer. So no more worrying about stats or things like that at this point.   I just want to cheer my fellow writers on, have fun, and focus on my WIP(s)!

I hope everyone had a great week and has kicked butt with their goals!  Good luck this week and see you at the next check-in, or on twitter!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

ROW80 Check In for Wed. Nov. 2

Welcome to November!  I really wonder where October went, because I don't remember much of it really.  It was here one day, and then gone the next it seems. But, I can't focus too much on that--I've got too much to do this month.  So for the mid-week update, here goes:

I've been able to keep up with writing 1 hour per day on my WIP.  I did this through a combination of the notes and scenes I've been jotting down in my notebook (and all my attempts at sketches and maps!), and the writing I started yesterday. First day of NaNo word count--3029.  Hopefully I can average about 2000-2500 daily throughout the challenge so I can have a day off on the weekend.  Oh and bonus--my outline for the NaNo WIP, which was a ROW80 goal, is done! One less goal this round; Woot!

As for my other goals, it's a mix as far as where I stand at mid-week.  I've blogged once a week per my goal, and also have been having a great time checking out other ROW80 and NaNo blogs and commenting.  Y'all are some awesomely talented and interesting people.  On the downside though and for completely unrelated reasons, I have only worked out twice this week.  Between fighting a cold, work and homework, I just haven't had the energy to fit this in.  Hopefully I can get back on track tomorrow and workout the next three days.

I've set out to read a new book as well, Kait Nolan's Red (Check out her blog here).  I love it and it has been hard to put down.  I stayed up later than usual to read a little more before I went to sleep last night,  hence why I am a little bleary eyed at the moment, but nothing a little cinnamon tea can't fix!  (And besides, reading the book is well worth the bleary eyes!)

Oh, and one more mini-goal has been crossed off my list--I now am on twitter!  Look for KatMorrisey on there if you'd like.  Though, be warned, I am pretty new at the twitter thing and am a little bit overwhelmed.  And I also feel awkward intruding on other people's conversations, so yeah, expect me to be a little bit timid for awhile, or just providing random tweets about things I see or that happen, find amusing articles or funnies, recipes I like, or things like that.    Be warned though--I sometimes have a dark, sarcastic and/or quite snarky sense of humor (check out Lord_Voldemort7 for an example of what makes me grin sometimes.  I adore him for his snarkiness!  His tweets almost always make me giggle...The Onion too is another fave of mine, among others)  My friends say it is just quirkiness, and due to my love of satire. I don't know where it came from--all I know is that it is part of who I am. (Hence the warning, so people know where I am coming from if I re-tweet something from one of those sites or another)

Anyways, that's all from me.  Hope everyone's week is going well and see you on twitter, at the Friday Fun Not Fear check-in and/or Sunday!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday ROW80 Update

NaNo starts in two days! I can't believe it is almost here.  Today is just a quick update as I have a lot of homework to get done this afternoon.  I want to get it all done by tomorrow so when Tuesday comes I can just focus on NaNo.  So, here goes:

  • Writing 1 hour a day on my WIP(s); Outline for NaNo by Oct. 31—Over the week as a whole,I put 4 hours in, not 7.  And most of that was the end of the week.  Wednesday I had decided to work on notes and the outline for my NaNo book.  Well that kind of happened but not how I expected it to.  On Friday morning I was standing in my kitchen, drinking a chai and staring out the window, when I had an idea hit me.  And it hit me hard.  Suddenly, I had this character in my head, and then that character turned into an amazing idea for a setting, and well, since Friday I have been scribbling notes and ideas down in my notebook, and on my computer.  I had planned on doing NaNo on a totally different story idea but this one hit me out of the blue, and I just have to write it. I'm itching to start right now, that's how excited I am.  But I've held back, instead sticking to just jotting notes and scene information down. I even drew a map!  A MAP!  Now, this is pretty significant, because I have absolutely NO artistic talent but I needed to visualize the town and surrounding area where this is going to be taking place. It's definitely not something I would hang on the fridge, but it is good enough for my purposes. I can't wait til Tuesday when I can officially start! 
  • Comment/respond to three blogs per week—done, done and done!  I actually exceeded the minimum.  I am really glad I put this as one of my goals this round.  I am learning so much from all of you! And, more importantly, it keeps me engaged. Reading everyone's check in(s) and blog posts, motivates me to keep chugging along.  So thanks everyone--you are all such an inspiration! 
  • Blog once a week, minimum, whether ROW80 update and/or otherwise—Met this goal too!  And, in fact, I even did a non-update blog post yesterday, link is here.  I wrote it based off an experience I had this week in a class I teach, and that evolved into an interesting facebook discussion about teaching students to write and communicate.  If you are at all interested in that, feel free to check it out.  Would love to see what fellow writers/readers think about it.  
  • Read one book a month.  I read, for October, 4 books in total.  Of course, that includes the 2 books I read while I was on my vacation, and another one that was for a class I was taking. Hopefully I can get some reading in this next month but I am not going to push it given I will be writing like a mad woman for NaNo.  
  • Moving 5 days a week—Only did 3 days, but 3 is better than none so I guess I can't beat myself up too bad!  On the plus side, I've been cooking since yesterday--soups and a casserole, so I should be good for all my lunches and dinners this upcoming week.  My week always ends up being so busy that I rarely have time to cook, and then I end up eating like crap.  This way, I can grab and go, and at least my choices will be the healthier ones I cooked, as opposed to fast food or pre-packaged foods that end up making me feel all blah.  
Happy Halloween!!  Good luck this upcoming week and see you Wednesday!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Maybe a Zombie Invasion Wouldn't Be So Bad...

They never read “The Tell Tale Heart”. They never read, or even heard read aloud, “The Raven”.  When I asked them who Edgar Allen Poe was, the response was “…some creepy dude.”  For a moment I couldn’t breathe.  All I could do was stare at them and just…blink.   I might have even felt a little faint (or that was my exhaustion taking over….no way to know for sure.) But whatever it was, I just 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect every student who walks into my English 101: Composition class to have read, or even KNOW all the classics. I get that elementary and high schools can’t teach it all.  But not one of the 23 students read or knew Poe?!  I read “The Tell Tale Heart” for the first time when I was 12.  I thought Poe was the biggest bad ass ever, and he is why I got into reading Stephen King, among others.  Maybe 12 wasn’t the right age to read him, but I was reading at a 10th grade level at the time and they had to give me something other than the Babysitter’s Club and Nancy Drew. I was bleeding my parents dry with trips back and forth to the public library, and bringing me to the mall to go to Waldenbooks!  (God I miss that store; So many memories of me sitting on the floor going through a huge stack of books, deciding which 3 I could get…and then always getting to go to the Ground Round afterwards as a special treat.  *gets all nostalgic for a moment*)

But I digress.  I had them read “The Tell Tale Heart” for Monday’s class, and then had them listen to it here.  We talked about the story afterwards, and I introduced them to basic information about the author, the basic plot “triangle” (which I learned in 5th grade but they didn’t know, and oddly I went to the same public school district that most of these kids did.  I don’t know what the hell happened since I graduated high school in 1996!), and how to do a plot summary, and defined key terms (with examples from the story) like theme, motif, symbol, etc.

I did think, for a moment, that perhaps they were just saying they had never heard of this.  That maybe they just didn’t want to participate.  But after 8 weeks or so of class, I know these students.  When they know about something, they participate.  Discussions of readings and participation in this particular class are not ever an issue.  So I take them at face value when they tell me they have never read his work and did not know Poe. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ROW80 Update--Oct. 27th

Better late than never...right?  I hope so. I was just going to skip the post for yesterday, but then I thought to myself, "no, then I will get used to that and that could result in a downward spiral, where one skipped post leads to another and then another, and then somehow that could all wind up leading to a zombie apocalypse!"  So, yes, I am posting this even though it's late.  I don't want my brains eaten.  

Anyways, this is what I woke up to this morning.   

Sorry for the blurry-ness of the picture, I took it with my phone.  That little fur ball is my 10 pound, 11 year old, Siamese mix, Dutchess.  (I believe she may be descended from the evil Siamese cats in "Lady and the Tramp" because, well, she has a bit of evilness in her.  I swear sometimes when she looks at me, I get the feeling that she is plotting my demise.  But that is a post for another day.)  She was nestled under the covers, and somehow I had been nudged to the edge of the bed--talk about a total bed hog.  I have to admit that, if I were to guess, I think she is trying to tell me its too fricking cold in the morning!  And it was freezing this morning.  Freezing as in the air felt like ice when I got out of bed and my fingers and nose felt frozen.  Upstate New York can get pretty darn chilly in October (case in point--we are supposed to get a little bit of snow today) but I always try to wait until November to turn the heat on.  I think though, after this morning, I have to break down and turn it on. 

Enough about that four legged fiend, and my grumbling about turning the heat on earlier than planned. Here is my update for the week so far:

  • Moving 5 days a week—3 down so far.  By Sunday I should have hit my goal since I carved out time tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday for that purpose
  • Writing 1 hour a day on my WIP(s); Outline for NaNo by Oct. 31—um,yeah this sadly is not getting done. I've hit the daily goal twice so far, and am planning on putting in the rest of the afternoon today on the outline.  I was going to do some homework today, but after working on my project for three days in a row for Bibliography class (which thankfully is done and submitted--woot!)  My brain needs a break to just write and plan, and plan and write.  That relaxes me, and I need it.
  • Comment/respond to three blogs—Doing that now!  Time to check in on all my fellow ROW80-ers and  NaNoWriMo victims…I mean, err, participants!!  I am getting pretty nervous as we get closer to the start date.  Also, anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo, check out Fun Not Fear!  for an awesome site done by fellow writers and ROW80-ers Em and Lena.  It has a TON of helpful information and links for NaNo and writing in general!
  • Blog once a week, minimum, whether ROW80 update and/or otherwise—I am meeting this goal!  Yay!  I would like to try to write more non-update posts, but, it all goes back to time.  And I don’t have much of it lately. Sometimes I combine my update with whatever I am posting, because I have set aside the time for that and well, that is me being efficient!  However, as I write this, I am also editing something I will be posting later today or tomorrow morning which I'm pretty excited about.  It will be an interesting topic I think, and I've already had a spirited facebook conversation about it, so would love to see what you all think about it too!
  • Read one book a month.  I have to read one this weekend for a class and am close to finishing the first book in the Darkfever series by Karen Marie Moning.  I love to read and ever since getting back from Hawaii, I always am sure to make time for it.  It keeps me sane and really is a nice way to end the day--just relaxing with a book and some hot apple cider. I think this goal will be the least of my troubles this round!! 

That is it for me so far.  Good luck the rest of the week and see everyone on Sunday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

ROW80 Update and A Quick Movie Review

Let's get the bad news out of the way.  This week I sucked on my goals. Despite my new found organizational skills,  Thursday I looked around at the piles of work on my desk and just set the writing goals aside in an effort to get all caught up.  I had been treading water, slowly getting through the piles, but not as fast as I'd have liked to.  I am not ecstatic about not meeting my writing goals (or my workout goal since I haven't done that in like 3 days) but, there came a point where I had to prioritize.  And I did.

My plan for this week is to finish this upcoming week's homework  and grading, which should be done by tomorrow night, and then Tuesday get back into my regularly scheduled programming ( i.e. working on my WIP(s)--specifically my outline--for at least an hour a day).  I think that is do-able, and it will definitely put me ahead of the game when November 1st comes along. 

So, all that being said, I mentioned a movie review--so here it is.  Last night while I working on my bibliography assignment (oh, what an exciting life I have!), I decided to put on a movie that Netflix kept recommending to me via instant streaming.  It's from 2009 so I may just be late to the party, but it was…in a word…eccentric.  It is called "Malice in Wonderland" and stars Maggie Grace and here is the description from Netflix:

 This intriguing, updated take on Alice in Wonderland is set in modern-day London, where             American law student Alice (Maggie Grace) suffers amnesia after being hit by a taxi and           awakens in a bizarre, gritty netherworld populated by all manner of unsavory characters. With   motor-mouthed cab driver Whitey (Danny Dyer) as her guide, can Alice regain her memory and      make her way back to the real world in one piece?  (

Thursday, October 20, 2011

ROW80 Update

Wow.  I can't believe it is already Wednesday--time is just flying by! This is gonna be a short post since it is almost midnight and I have early day at work tomorrow. So here goes:

I haven't done as well as I would like to since last check in on my daily writing, or my outline (though I have been hitting my workout goals--yay!).  In fact, other than a few random notes here and there, I haven't done much at all. Instead I have been focusing on getting caught up on homework, regular work projects and things I'm trying to get done around the house. I think, okay well more like I hope to be all caught up by this Sunday.  After that, things should settle down some. I know that November is gong to be insane with it being the start of NaNo and I also know I will have two projects due for the classes I am taking, so I want to be on track, and perhaps even a little ahead, by the time Nov. 1 roles around.  Getting ahead is especially important with regard to my class projects (one in Bibliography and another in Modern American Novelists).  I want to get ahead of the work this time, and head off any procrastinating on my part which I sometimes (okay, well a lot of times) do.  I am trying to take the work "procrastinate" out of my vocabulary!

I will be checking around the ROW80 blog-o-sphere tomorrow and Friday to see how everyone else did--hope everyone's week has been great!  Good luck the rest of the week and see you Sunday!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Time Wasted Is Time Lost

So since my last ROW80 update, I’ve come to an important realization about myself.

I am the most unorganized person I know.

This was kind of a shock, because I really thought I was more organized than I, in fact, actually am.  Since Wednesday, I’ve been updating my calendar, keeping tabs on how I spend my time, and yeah…I waste a lot of time.  Take for example, yesterday. I woke  up at 730 am, which is crazy early considering I was up until like 230am the night before (an anomaly in and of itself!).  But when I woke up, I could have gotten things done…but I didn’t. Instead I lazed around in bed, watching a little TV, and then fell back to sleep until a little after 9.  It wasn’t a good sleep since it was only for a short period of time.  It was, well, I guess I would call it more of a “waste of time” sleep.  And wasting time isn’t an option.  I mean how the hell I am going to get crap done on my list if I’m sleeping for no apparent reason!  I was wide awake at 730.  I could have gotten my butt up and used that time to write or workout a little longer. Or get some homework done.  But, in the end that  was an hour and a half wasted.  When I pondered that for a bit, that was when the second realization hit me. 

I don’t get to rewind the clock.  I will never get that time back.

I mean, I knew that, but I don’t think I really ever understood that.  Guess I must be a little behind when it comes to learning life lessons.  In looking over all my goals, and all the other work I have to do, and my desire to still have some semblance of a life, I realized that I don’t have the luxury to waste time.  But then, none of us do, do we? 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ALOHA! I Have Returned...

1.      Hawaii was AMAZING.  I have never had such a fun, relaxing and stress free 10 days in my entire life.  And I miss it.  Not only the place, with its incredible scenery, amazing beaches, wonderful ocean and laid back atmosphere; but also the fact that I did not take ONE work related phone call while I was away.  I didn’t return a call, heck I didn’t even listen to my voicemails!  This was the first time in (7) years that I took a vacation and didn’t call in for a tele-conference, or return calls, or have to email the office.  Being mostly unconnected from work, and even my life in general, was incredibly freeing, and I really, really needed it.  I even went places without taking my cell phone!  I mean, I haven’t done that in…well since I got my first cell phone!  Being almost entirely unplugged from technology was scary at first, but I quickly got used to it.  Don’t get me wrong, I missed talking to friends and family, and I missed blogging and reading other people’s blogs; but I did NOT miss being unconnected from work.  I think I need more vacations like that.

As you can imagine, coming back to work after all that time away has been beyond difficult.   I find my mind wandering way too often to the days I spent laying on the beach in the sun, or swimming in the ocean, or having my afternoon happy hour of pina coladas, mojitos and whatever else sounded good at the time.  Those were the days.  And it doesn’t help that my job is just as I left it—emotionally draining and just a whole lot of ‘blech’. 

If this trip has confirmed anything I already knew before, it is that I so need a job change…But that is what I am doing all this for right?  I mean, the going back to school to finish my Master’s degree; the working less at the job I hate; and taking on more classes to teach (which I love).  I’m doing all of that to get to my ultimate goal of getting out of the current job I have. So I just have to suck it up and deal with it a bit longer.  The writing I have been doing since I started this ROW80 adventure has been helping me a great deal to handle the stress from work too.  It helps me relax and forget about it, for at least a little while, and gives me time to focus on what I enjoy doing.  After all, we all need, and deserve, a little down time! 

So, all that being said, I have made my list of goals for the next round of ROW80.  The goals for this round are similar to the ones from the last round.  The difference is that I have a lot more at the start.  After finishing the previous round, I decided to combine the goals I had started with in Round 3 with the ones I ended up adding and revising throughout.   Ultimately, this round is going to be about organization.  I need to get organized in all aspects of my life—my full time job, the part time teaching I do, homework, and with my writing.  So by setting up these goals the way I did, I can work the time I need to put into those parts of my life (i.e work and school)) around my writing goals.  My calendar is going to be a rainbow of colors; I can just see it now.  Bring on the highlighters!  Maybe blue for writing, red for full time job, yellow for teaching…the possibilities are endless! 

So, without further adieu, here are my ROW80 goals:

Sunday, September 18, 2011

ROW80: One More to Go

The end is near.  No...I'm not talking about the end of the world.  I'm talking about the end of this round of ROW80.  I can't believe that this part of the challenge is almost over.  The amazing thing is, even though towards the end I haven't been as diligent with my goals, I have still accomplished way more than I ever imagined.  So, that being said, here is where things stand:

1.  I have definitely been writing every day.  Even though some days it may not be writing on my current WIP, it is writing of some kind other than work.  It's usually revising, editing, or working on other WIPs I have started.  I even have started sketching out my outline for the novel I'm going to start for NaNo.  I can't believe NaNo is almost here.  About a month and a half and I will typing my bloody fingers off!    

2.  In the last few days, the only creative writing I've really been doing is in regards to my short story.  Word count is about 8K, though at the rate I keep adding and moving things, it could get a bit higher.  Though, last time I checked, I was pretty happy with where it stands. It's been formatted and edited to be sure it meets the Smashwords formatting guideline, and now it only needs one more thing.  A cover.  Although I can use GIMP (which is a kinda open source version of photo shop) to do the basics, I'm not that artistic.  I got a D in 8th grade Art and that near Art-fail has stuck with me ever since.  So I need to find someone who can make me a cover.  My goal is to have the cover done by Oct. 15th or so, so I can upload it and...well, I guess just see what happens from there!  I have no idea if anyone else will like it, but this step is more for me to get over the fear of just putting something out there for people to read.  

3.  School is hard.  I'm not used to having homework--and this 8-10 page critical essay on Swift's A Modest Proposal is kicking my butt.  I'm totally and completely stuck.  That is one reason I am blogging at the moment and not working on homework.  But, despite how hard it is, I know in the end it will be more than worth it. I've wanted this Master's degree for too long to give up on it just cause it's hard.  I just need to keep my eye on the prize.

4.  If school is hard, this working out 4-6 days per week is killing me.  My muscles have at least stopped screaming at me every day, and are slowly deciding to come along for the ride.They only scream at me every other day now! The upside of it all?   I've definitely had an increase in energy level and I've been sleeping better. Haven't had a sleepless since the end of August--talk about amazing!  Good-night insomnia!

5.  Some friends and I had our first book club on Wednesday.  It was so much fun.  I didn't realize how tense and stressed I was until I actually had 3 hours to just relax and talk about books, eat good food, and have some equally awesome drinks.  It was definitely needed and I can't wait til October 26th when we meet again!

6.  FALL IS HERE!  Okay, sorry for shouting.  But fall is my favorite season.  Halloween is my favorite holiday.  So yeah, hence the shouting.  Hello fall with your apples, apple cider, crisp cool days and nights, and the leaves changing colors. Goodbye summer with your bugs, bees, mosquitoes, and poison sumac.  Good riddance, especially to you poison sumac.

Not too bad a list I guess, given the craziness in my life lately.  Later this week I will look more closely at word counts and just how far I've come on the WIP that I've worked on most during this round of the challenge.

Lastly, this week I will be heading off on  my first real vacation in seven years in which I take zero work with me.  (Though I will take a little bit of homework--I don't count that as work since I prefer homework over work for my job!).  The downsides?  I hate flying; I am not a big fan of ships (clearly I watched Titanic one too many times when it came out) and I would rather see fish--especially sharks--through glass at an aquarium.  However, despite all of this, I am packed (well mostly!), and ready to go.  In four days, I will be getting on a plane and flying to Hawaii, where I will then be boarding a ship for my first cruise.  This was planned over a year ago, when I said yes in a moment of temporary insanity.  I can't believe it's finally here. I now know what it feels like to be terrified and excited all at the same time.

But now I have to stop thinking about Hawaii and concentrate on the things at hand.  I unfortunately cannot procrastinate any longer and must get back to work on this paper.  Good luck to everyone on the last few days of the challenge!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blog Update: Walk of Shame

I feel like I'm doing like a 'walk a shame' here with regard to my daily goal failures.  I've missed more than a few updates. I was doing so well with all my goals and blogging, and then it was like a pile of bricks fell on me.  Between my two jobs and school, I've barely had time to do anything, other than well, work and school.  As a result, my writing has fallen behind.  Now, don't get me wrong, I've been getting writing in everyday, it just hasn't been on my WIP.  The only plus side I can possibly make out of this whole debacle is that I did so well in the beginning of the challenge, I am not that far behind in the larger scheme of things.  But it's still frustrating and weighing heavily on the back of my mind.  It's like I have an unfinished to-do list and it's driving me bonkers that I'm not checking things off of it like I should be.

There has to be an upside though right?  Things can't stay hectic forever, can they?  My hope is that, once October 3rd comes, my life should be settling down and things won't be in perpetual upheaval. When that happens I can get back to my regularly scheduled blogging and writing. Now I'm off to check up on some blogs.  Hope everyone has a good week!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Super Quick Update...Then Back to Homework!

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but I am starting a master's in English program and my financial aid and all that fun stuff didn't get finalized til over the weekend.  Classes started Monday, which was the day I was able to register for classes.  So I've been a ball of anxiety trying to get things in order and keep up with the work.  I also started teaching a writing class one night a week, which I've been doing for about 7 years, but this on top of my day job and the school thing has been wiping me out, energy wise.  Because of all this I haven't gotten any writing in since Sunday. I actually don't think I'll get any writing in until this coming Sunday, but I am okay with that. I need to get myself organized and then, once I have filled in my day planner with highlighted areas (in different colors of course!) for "work time", "school time", "working out time" and "fun time", I will add in that one hour a day for writing.  With everything on my plate, I know that organization is going to be key to my success here.  I hope everyone has a good week and I look forward to checking out everyone's progress in the next couple days! Now back to reading This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

ROW80 Update and A NaNoWriMo Decision

This is going to be a ROW80 update and blog post combined in one.  It's just easier to do it that way today since I am heading out to brunch with my best friend to hash out some major decisions I'm in the process of making in my life.  I need to bounce some ideas off of her and I know she will help me find which direction I'm heading in, instead of flailing about.  

First, I'll get my update out of the way on the ROW80 goals.  I continue on target for the activity goal, 6 days of activity out of 7, on top of the 6 out of 7 before that!    Woot! *pats myself on back*  Sundays are my day off, and thankfully so, because my muscles are screaming for a little R & R.  Though, I may sneak in some belly dancing later this afternoon--I'm trying to get this one move down and its driving me crazy.  As for writing, I'm plodding along, but this part of the WIP is going slower than the first half.  I think because the work has taken such a different turn than what I initially expected.  I need to adapt the ending I had planned for the twists and turns the WIP has decided to go in.  But…slow and steady wins the race right?

So with ROW80 going well, on to the next question that has been stirring in my head recently:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Halfway there….ROW80 Update

I'm going to be upfront here.  I was doing so damn well.  But…Monday and Tuesday I didn't get my writing in.  Work was just way too busy and there weren't enough hours in the day to fit everything in.  However, despite not meeting my goal, I've decided to look at this recent misstep as not necessarily a bad thing.  As I mentioned in my last update, I have been chugging right along on the longer WIP.  I'm a little more than halfway to the end which is both exciting and scares the hell out of me.  So missing two days in the scheme of things--well I am okay with that.  I think also, it gave me time to let step back and breathe.  I needed time to think and go over my notes and outline, and especially stew over the "how I am going to get this to the ending I had planned" thought that has been poking at me at random times in the last week and a half.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Quick but Late Update

So here is a quick and dirty update on ROW80.  The reason it is quick is because I have a another blog post here, Blocking Out Meanies and Kill Joys.  Read it over if you'd like and please leave a comment if you choose...I'd love to see what people think on the topic. I could be completely off-base, or crazy...or maybe both. But any thoughts would be appreciated as always.  But anyways, here goes for the challenge update:

Blocking Out the Meanies and Kill-Joys

*Block out the negative…block OUT the negative…block out the negative….*

Seems like I've been doing a lot of that in my life recently--saying that mantra over and over again, in many parts of my job and personal life.   So what type of negativity am I pushing out exactly?  Constructive criticism?  No.  Not that. I need that.  In fact, I LIKE constructive criticism.  It's hard to hear sometimes, but I take that over just plain ole meanness any day.  I guess what I'm talking about are the negative attitudes, thoughts and comments of certain people in my life, that seem to pop out to ruin a good thing at the worst possible moments.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not expecting all things to be rosy and perfect.  That would just be delusional.  But I don't want the 'You can't do that(s)', the 'you shouldn't try that(s)', the 'why would you ever think of doing that(s)', and the 'what the hell did you write about this for(s)' kind of people in my life anymore.  And I'm especially done with people who think everything in life is a competition and it's all about "winning".  I'm not going to fight and try to claw the eyes out of these people anymore--even if they keep trying to do it to me.  I'm just done.  I'm turning my back and walking away…

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It's Been Too Long Since My Last Update...

To quote the white rabbit, "I'm late I'm late, for a very important date."  Things have been crazy hectic lately in my life, and I haven't blogged in well, way too long in fact.  I've been lax in my challenge updates and haven't had time to do anything other than work, get started on this grad school venture and try to keep up on my daily writing goal.  In terms of the ROW80 challenge the only thing I've stuck to is the writing a minimum of an hour a day.  The plus side is that I have come a long way towards finishing the book I've been working on.  I have actually surprised myself in the turn it is taking plot wise, but am super happy and excited by it.  For me, there is nothing that gets me to want to write more than when suddenly the story I'm writing takes a zig, when I had planned to zag.  The downside of this is, I have had little free time between that and well, work,  to actually blog.  That changes today.  

Monday, July 18, 2011

Update: Missed a Post & Sunday Summary…A Day Late; With Some Soccer On the Side…

I was doing so well, keeping up on the blog reading, writing every day, updating my blog.  And then life got in the way. I hate when that happens. The good thing though, is that, although I missed an update and have to catch up on the blog reading, I DID write every day.  So looking at it from the glass half full perspective, I guess one out of three can’t be too bad. 

My current WIP is coming along really well and I have definitely found a direction that makes sense for my character.  Saturday I went back and read what I'd done so far and changed some things around again, added a bit of back story to a character who I thought would just be in the periphery but is turning out to be much more, and did some editing.  I am really liking what I have so far.  Now, whether anyone else will like it, well who knows.  But at this point, as long as I do, I'm ok with that. 

That leaves me with my other WIP, the short story that I have mentioned in previous posts.  It's still sitting here, and has gone through another round of editing. I'm still stuck with what to do with that one.  But I've collected a lot of information on e-publishing and so making a plan for that will be next on my list.  Maybe I can get something done before I go on vacation at the end of September.  That would be an incredible weight off my shoulders.

And on an unrelated note, the US Women's Soccer team lost in World Cup Finals.  I was sad about that, but all in all I couldn’t be disappointed with the U.S. team overall in the tournament.  I mean, after all, they did make it to the finals.  And talk about some exciting games!  My blood pressure has been through the roof  during every game just about. I can't imagine the pressure they were under.  Kudos to them for their amazing abilities and skills, their fighting spirit and their grace.  As for Japan, well, if the U.S. team had to lose, I'm glad it was to Japan.  Japan was consistent in their play throughout the tournament and talk about an amazing technical game.  They can pass that ball like no other team I've seen--at least not in awhile anyways.  The best part I think, was that it was a good, mostly clean game.  It wasn't about who was more aggressive or dirty plays, nor were there any controversial calls by the referees.  They were barely noticed as a matter of fact, which is the way any good referee is.  Instead the game was about pure skill.  The only change I hope for is that eventually FIFA gets rid of that silly penalty kick rule.  Just keep having extra time…ties are silly and penalty kicks are a crappy way to end a game, in my opinion anyway.  Soccer is a team sport, so let it have a team ending.

With that, I am off to get some writing in for today…continued good luck to all with your ROW80 goals!   

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stressed but Surviving (ROW80 Update)

Let me start this off by saying that I feel very unmotivated today. It's hotter than Hades outside and so I'm cooped up inside with the blinds drawn and the fan on, trying to stay cool. On top of that I'm dog sitting for my sister--her dog is huge and she is hot and miserable (the dog, not my sister; though my sister might be too, considering she is camping in this furnace).  So I've been a nervous wreck, putting ice cubes in the dog's water dish to keep it cold, and keeping a fan on for her.  Perhaps a bit overboard, but I blame the news--they keep freaking me out with stories about pets getting sick from the heat.  Add that on top of stress from work, waiting to hear whether I got into grad school and just some unnecessary drama I'm dealing with, well  it is no surprise to anyone who knows me that I've been wound tighter than a spring of late.  But...almost happily, I will end my rant-fest there, because despite the craziness, there has been a bit of a silver lining, at least in regards to my writing and the ROW80 goals.

Yes, I have found time to write every day for a minimum of an hour (yesterday it was four!) since last check in. I went through what I'd written earlier in the week and re-arranged some things, even added about three scenes that I find are necessary to fit the expanding story.  Writing, for me, is a great outlet to get stuff out and off my chest; an opportunity to just vent through the lives of my characters.  And I have definitely needed to vent.   It just feels good to just shut myself inside, turn the phone off and  just write for a little bit each day.  

So overall I am pretty darn proud of myself with the progress of my ROW80 goals.  Now, I turn my attention back to my WIP and set the clock.  Onward I go to the next goal post!   After I refill the dog's water dish, adjust the fan, and perhaps do a rain dance for good measure.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Success! ROW80 Update

So here is the first update for ROW80 challenge.  Given that my goals are somewhat modest--writing a minimum of an hour a day and perusing the blogs of others doing the challenge at least twice a week--I can thus far say I'm  a success.  But then, it's only been a couple days.  The real challenge will be later this weekend and next week when work picks up.  Will I be able to stay on track then?  I hope so.  Cause I'm loving the progress I've made so far.  With one small hitch--the short story that is done and itching for the next step in this process.  That had me stumped most of yesterday and for part of today.

Monday, July 4, 2011

ROW80: Round 3 Goals

So here we go, I'm diving right in, getting ready to start ROW80, round 3. I am  really glad I found this challenge, because this will really jump start the works in progress (ie. WIPs) I have in a stack on my desk, and in my nightstand.  My goal for this round:
  • Write, or work on my stack of WIPs and/or my blog at least an hour a day, whether that be actually writing, editing, or revising or a combination thereof.
  • Check in on the other blogs twice a week, both the ROW80 blogs and the ones I follow, to engage, discuss and hopefully, stay inspired.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Letting Vulnerabilities Inspire Creativity and Writing

I just read an amazing blog post, How Vulnerable is Your Writing? | Jami Gold, Paranormal Author . In deciding to make a comment, I started making some notes and scratches on a pad, and realized that I had way too much to say, and so, hence this blog post, about her blog post. I know, confusing right? But well, I find myself having so much to say about this subject, that I just have to post a blog on the topic.

This is the comment I made in response to her blog:

“In looking back at my writing--from the time when I refused to let me, the writer, into my stories/characters at all--to now, where I've learned to open myself up a little, the transformation is quite shocking. My stories and characters are more alive, more tangible to me, and I hope will be others, when I peek over the walls I've so skillfully built up over the years. I need to bookmark this, so whenever I forget to open up as a writer or feel my works are stunted and distant, I have a reminder to really crack open my characters, as well as myself.”

I think this issue of letting ourselves, the writer, become vulnerable and to not be afraid of it in our writing, is something that so many writers deal with way too frequently, but don’t necessarily address often.