Saturday, July 11, 2015

An update for July

Prison poetry

It’s been hot lately, aside from the awesome thunderstorms and rain we’ve had a few days here and there. English weather is weird – it will change every five minutes. At least in Florida, it rained for a few minutes, then went back to humidity and heat. Here, it’s cold in the morning and hot in the afternoon. You always need an umbrella, and it’s nice to keep a jacket just in case.

We went to York again last month and saw some more sights. Since the weather was better, my photos were better – even the ones of the prison as pictures above. I was also able to call my my parents in Florida with FaceTime and show them York in real time. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? I know it’s funny for most people in Europe to not imagine nativity when it comes to public transportation, but just a video call from the train is a revelation to most of us from Florida. We simply just don’t do all that. The Metro is something discussed in French language lessons and the train is a novelty item, as in, “How cute. They’re taking the train to Boston.”

Aside from that, the library has been busy-ish. I’ve had lots of class visits to get a push for Summer Reading Challenge. Having never worked at the library here over the summer, let alone this branch, I have no idea what to expect as far as event numbers. But I’ve made an effort, which is something a lot of people have told me not to bother with.

I plan on writing a whole post about the realities of working in the public libraries, but since it’s my Saturday off and I rarely get these anymore (another topic of mention for said future post) I’m going to enjoy it with Steve.

The weather is lovely and there are groceries to be bought. There’s a park to walk through, and a lunchtime excursion to be had. It is true – you take for granted all the things you miss when you’re not working. Having a day off is one of them. We appreciate these things so much more when we rarely have them.

So without further adieu, I plan on working on my current book project which is slowly but surely taking some form. I’d love to sit in an empty office for a week and just bang out half of this novel, at least, but that’s another thing I miss and took for granted when I had the time to do it.

Having said that, I did get some first drafts done when I was off work, so I can’t be too hard on myself. As always, I’m trying to have everything and it’s really difficult. I’ve at least started reading more, which helps my mental well being. After much book hopping, I finally got back to the Life As We Knew It series, which I adore.

We’ve also started watching True Detective which is as great as they say. I never thought I was big into mysteries and crime drama, but lately I’ve been into this, Sherlock, Elementary, Breaking Bad and Gone Girl, so maybe my tastes are changing.

With that said, I’ll get back to the wonders of the real world and some writing about the fictitious world for good measure.

But before I go, just to mark the occasion. Today has been an extraordinary day because of this right here.:

Go on, shed your tears of joy. I know I did.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

June means Write More!

Teahouse.

It’s my day off, so I actually have about 15 minutes to write a blog post. Imagine that.

So, JuNoWriMo is in full effect. I’ve been lucky enough to have two of the last three days of the challenge off, so I have some words down. Words that make sense. Words that actually have something to do with the original intent of my book. Yay, me.

I was also finally able to send in some edits and comments to my CP whom I hate leaving on the back burner like I have been lately. As I tell her over and over again; the dang work schedule is getting me down.

So, I have an hour commute each way to work. I spend all day dealing with customers and co-workers. For introverts, this is pretty taxing activity. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. Plus, this weekend, I got sick (again) so I spent Sunday on the couch instead of going out to celebrate Steve’s birthday. Not cool.

Actually, we had a nice time anyway because we went out for tea and saw Mad Max: Fury Road on Saturday. (The movie wasn’t my cup of tea, never mind the pun, but Charlize Theron’s character is awesome.)

Aside from the sickness, I did go back to work yesterday and will have my extra Saturday to work this week as well. Since I’m keeping up with JuNoWriMo with at least 500 words a day, I’ll have to just make time when I get home, and try to stay awake long enough to write something coherent.

I’ve tried writing on the bus. I’ve tried writing at lunch. Nothing works right. I end up feeling like I have to furiously get a word count down, so it’s usually unusable material. (Or, on the bus, I get bumped around so much, I have to retype things on my phone three times.) So, at my desk, at home, door closed, mind serene, is the only way I can get decent work done.

Starbucks, though. I’m good with Starbucks and a laptop.

Also, I have to add this ecard I found, because it’s pretty funny and especially in some instances.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May and the set up for JuNoWriMo

Double rainbow!

Once again, the promise of getting a novel written in one month appears in JuNoWriMo. I have signed up to do this so many times, and something always happens. Granted, I have done better in the summer than in autumn for 30 day writing challenges, so maybe by some stroke of luck, I’ll be able to get something done in June.

At least the JuNoWriMo has lots of pre-writing advice and tips on their blog to get me prepared for the actual writing process.

My main problem now is not the actual writing, it’s the time to do it. I work full time and have a long commute. I’m exhausted when I get home. I’m never alone during the day. Getting writing done is really, really tough.

Granted, we all have goals to be set, or a list in your head like I do (I really should write that list down every day - too much in my brain as is). When I do have some time to sit and write, I feel like I keep rehashing a scene, or adding only a small piece of the big puzzle. A small piece is better than none, and I did get my first sci-fi YA book in a first draft by just hit and miss writing that was fused together during early editing.

Anyway, I’m going to jump in with JuNoWriMo again this year, but I’m going to aim for 15k of the novel to be done by then. When you only have a bit of the story down, and have rewritten that ten times, there’s little hope for ever getting a decent chunk done, let alone the whole novel. What I’ve been wanting to work on for over a year now is a YA urban fantasy – something I’ve not done yet.

Then there’s that Middle Grade book I want to do – three, actually. Plus, I have the rest of my YA sci-fi books to do, there’s plenty of those. And my other New Adult books …

Time. Organization. Concentration. Coffee. That’s what I need to get everything done.

But in the meantime, I hope everyone who feels compelled to work on JuNoWriMo does. It’s helped me before because you have a set goal for each day and a set of deadlines that you can adhere to if that motivates you more. (Deadlines definitely motivate me.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A rainy Tuesday morning

I'll start this post as I'm waiting on the bus. I just spent the bank holiday weekend in the best way possible.
On Saturday, Steve and I went out to breakfast then met up one of his friends for a pre May 4th Star Wars LEGO shopping spree. Then we got my new iPhone 5C to use when I ditch this Windows phone. (It likes turning itself off, resetting the date and time to whatever it feels like, and can't keep saved emails for easy retrieval.) My contract with EE is over at the beginning of May, so I'm ditching their bad signal for 3. (With EE we get repeat texts from one another, or sometimes none at all.)
At Staples we bought a new Acer monitor which we greatly needed. Now I can actually see what's on the screen. I'm excited to try this out on a writing sprint.
I've started a Teaching Student with Special Needs course online to keep up my Florida Certificate. I haven't done proper homework and educational discussion for a while, so it's nice to think in teacher terms again.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Getting through a first draft

Blue typewriter

Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft…when I wrote the last page of my first draft of Lincoln’s Melancholy I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years…writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly. ~ Joshua Wolf Shenk

I’ve been working on a project that I really like, but can never get past the first section. I have changed the setting a few times, and I try to start again when the scenes all end up being pretty much the same. Basically, I’m stuck in first gear, and I can’t just get through a first draft, then clean up what I want later.

Since I’m usually busy with everything else in life and can no longer pay attention to the important writing stuff (seriously, I never have quality time with my computer anymore) I was glad that a cold snuck up on me and kept me home today. I did two sprints and worked on the outline.

Of course the original idea makes me want to jump in and start writing, but I’ve figured out the hard way that it has to settle. Different elements of the story jumped up in my head when I least expected it, so now I have a better grasp of where I want the plot to go.

Bottom line: don’t waste a bunch of time on the first part of the book. The book will change as you go, at least it does for me. By the time you get to the nitty gritty in the middle, you understand what the story is a bit better. When you’re tired and dragging yourself across the finish line of the first draft, you can go back and write the book how you think it really should go. At least with a first draft, you’ve got material to work with – otherwise, you’re punching in ideas and getting no where. Things are going to change too much in first gear.