Thursday, July 30, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 31-7-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

The main thing?  I actually hit the 30K I pledged to do for Camp NaNo!  On Monday I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it, but a bit plot twist happened on Tuesday, and the rest of the week kind of wrote itself.  I'm pretty close to the end of the book now, so I think I should be done with the draft within the next 3 weeks - assuming I can keep up the pace.  

Unfortunately I think the book is pretty terrible.  But I almost always do when I finish a draft.  And at least I have something terrible to work with.  Just not for a while.  Once I finish this draft, I HAVE to start revising last year's NaNo book.   Then it will probably be November, and time to write another NaNo book (I have an idea for it already), so this book I'm almost finished probably won't get revised until next year.

I've been enjoying the film festival.  So far my highlight has been a film called Listen to Me Marlon, a documentary about Marlon Brando using his own words to tell the story.  It was fascinating.  More films tonight and tomorrow night, plus I'm on my work's film quiz team tomorrow.

What are you celebrating this week?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Books I've Loved - Every Day

This is a really interesting book and I read it in one sitting, unable to put it down.  It's hard to describe a story where the protagonist is as ethereal as A, but even though A has no body of his /her own, A has a distinct personality.  A also has a great sense of humor which I guess you have to have when you don't know day to day who you're going to wake up as.

A is resilient enough to survive this upheaval and for the most part doesn't cary parts of previous lives on to the next body.  But Rhiannon is different, and watching A negotiate a crush while in different bodies is compelling stuff.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb…

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekly Goals 27-7-15

This week is all about trying to get to that 30K I pledged to complete during Camp NaNo.  I'm not far off (sitting at 22500 words written), and in a regular week I wouldn't be at all concerned about getting through the remaining 7500.  But it's a film festival week and I have two evenings I will be out at films.

Luckily there's no big work things happening this week (unless you count re-arranging our whole office to fit in a bunch of new people who are moving over from another organization).

I think I'll finish the month about 3K shy of my 30K goal.  Which is still good, and I'm pleased I challenged myself to do it, but still a little disappointed not to have made the mark.  On the plus side, I'm not that far from finishing the whole book, which was the point of doing this in the first place.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 24-7-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

The Film Festival started today!  It means no sleep and little writing time, but lots of good movies.  I just went to the opening night and saw a rather fantastic, extremely odd film called The Lobster.  Go and see it if you get a chance!

My WIP is going well.  With 7 days of Camp NaNo left, I have 9500 words or so left to write.  Very possible under normal circumstances, but with films most nights, I may not quite make it.  I'm anticipating being a couple of thousand words shy on July 31, but I'm not that worried because I'm heading toward the end of the book and things seem to be going okay.  There will be lots of revising happening later, but at least I'll have something to revise!

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Books I've Loved: Paperweight

This is one of those books that I couldn't put down. It's so raw and honest and real. The main character isn't always likable, but she's in the midst of an eating disorder and people in that head space often aren't the most likable people. They're not themselves at that time. Stevie is in that dark place for a number of reasons and they all make sense. Even her lying about them makes sense.

I cried reading this. On the bus. And I'm not an easy crier…

If you don't mind difficult subject matter and some heart-wrenching, this book is definitely worth reading.

If you don't believe me, here's the blurb

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things 17-7-15

This post is part of  Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things (Lexa has just taken it over from VikLit who has hosted it for the last 2 years). Head on over there to join up! 

So, what am I celebrating this week?

I have managed to get some writing done.  Not as much as I might have liked, but some.  I'm at just under 14K for the month which is behind where I want to be, but I hope to get another chunk written over the weekend.  The book is sitting around the 42K mark, which is probably close to 2/3 of the way done.  I even mapped out an ending the other day.  So I just need to get there now.

I had the day off work today to spend with the kids since it's the last day of their vacation. I wound up with my two plus a friend for each and took them to the water slides.  Everyone had fun and I didn't lose any kids (permanently  - there were a few periods I couldn't find one or two of them).  I enjoyed it, but I have a really big event at work on Monday and can't help worrying about that when I'm not there.  I hope I don't show up on Monday to discover a huge pile of crap I have to clean up.

Lots of housework and stuff to do over the weekend because the film festival starts on Thursday and once that hits, everything else goes on the back burner until it's over.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Mid-year check in

I just realized half the year has drifted by and I haven't re-looked at the goals I set for myself way back in January.  So now is probably the time to do that.  Here's the letter I wrote myself six and a bit months back.  Let's see how I'm going with everything….

Dear Me,

Before I go ahead and outline my plans for the year ahead, I feel like I need to look back on the year that has just been.  It felt like a hard year, and there was so much I didn’t enjoy about 2014, yet in many ways it has been the most successful year I’ve had in a long time.  I think my dissatisfaction was largely because I really didn’t enjoy the job I had for much of the year.  It was tiring and demanding and very unsatisfying and that left me so drained that it was hard to motivate myself to write at the end of every day.  So I haven’t produced the amount of work I’m used to producing in a year.

But at the same time, 2014 was the year my first novel was published and the year I got an agent.  And right at the end of the year, I got a new job that is already making me so much happier than my old one.

Going into 2015, I’m excited about my new job.  It’s going to be challenging, but I think I’m going to enjoy that.  I’ve been doing the same thing for so long, it’s refreshing to be going into a job where I’ll have new responsibilities and a variety of different people to work with throughout the year, as well as a variety of different tasks and responsibilities.

Still loving the new job.  It's busy and challenging, but I'm learning a whole lot and I love being at the other end of the film production chain.

With weekends and evenings free (for the first time in 23 years), I plan to set myself a regular writing schedule, with enough flexibility that I can still go out every now and then without feeling guilty about missing a writing day.  I figure a 5-day a week schedule will work because at the speed I generally write, I can guarantee 7500 – 10 000 words a week while drafting.  Revising is usually a lot slower, but I still usually manage a chapter or two a night, depending on how much rewriting and adding new scenes is needed. 

This is working for the most part.  I have had to travel for work more than I expected (which is actually really fun), and I'm often quite drained by the end of the day, but I've been managing a pretty solid 1K - 1.5K most nights, and have enjoyed having a couple of nights free to do other things.

I’m still drafting my NaNo novel, but it’s almost finished. It’s going to need a lot of revising because it’s really just a bare bones draft and so much of the story and characters have come into focus as I’ve written the book.  And the story has taken me in some interesting and unexpected directions as I’ve written it.  Once the draft is done, I’m going to leave it for a few weeks before diving into revisions.

Well, I did finish it….  I just haven't revised yet.  I ended up doing some rewriting on STUMPED for my agent and then got slam-dunked by a couple of other ideas.  But it's on the list to be revised.  As soon as I finish the first draft of the thing I'm working on now.

While I let the NaNo book settle, I plan to finish the NA I’ve been working on off and on for the last year or so.  It doesn’t need a ton of work since most of it is done, but it needs some polishing and my CP’s eagle eye over it before I will feel comfortable sending it out into the world.

I did this too, but realized pretty quickly that it doesn't work the way I've written it.  I think I'm going to go back to the original and see if I can tighten it up as the dual POV YA it started its life as.  I just need to find the time to do it.

So the plan for this year is to finish the NA and this year’s NaNo book, plus I have another story idea I’m excited to write.  Once the other two are done, I’ll write this one (it’s also an NA story, I think…)

No idea what the other NA story might have been… Oh, actually maybe I do.  It's still hanging around in there somewhere.  I have far too many great stories and characters hanging out in my head.  I need about 40 hours a day to have the time to do everything I have to do and to write all these books.

Another reason my productivity has been low in 2014 is that I’ve had other things going on. An Unstill Life published in January and keeping up with publicizing it has taken up quite a bit of my already limited writing time.  I have also been doing revisions on another book so my agent can take it out on submission early this year.  

In February my publisher closed so An Unstill Life is no longer published.  On the plus side, no more time being taken up with promotion etc.  But on the bad side, I don't have a published book anymore…  My agent and I are working on it along with the other books on submission.

I’ve found switching focus between projects is challenging for me and I have trunked a novel this year because somehow, in between editing and publicity and revising other things, I lost what I was trying to do with the book.  I need to get over this problem because if I’m going to have a writing career, this is going to happen a lot.  There will always be times when a WIP has to be dropped for edits or revisions, and I need to be able to pick back up without feeling lost in my text.  I’m not sure quite how to do this….

Again, a work in progress.  I have had to do this already this year, and I think I will probably have to again.  Fingers crossed I can make it work.

In 2014 I didn’t manage to be as present for my crit group as I wanted to be.  This year I will endeavor to be more regular with my critiques.  I love this group and they are a huge part of my writing journey, so I need to give them the same attention they give me.

Working on it.  I have been better this year, but not as fantastic as I want to be.  More work needed here.

I didn’t manage to lose any weight in 2014, so once again I’ll list it in my ‘to-dos’ for 2015.  I have a plan for regular trips to the gym and exercise during lunch-breaks, not to mention a diet plan I hope to have the will power to stick to.  I’ve managed to keep my weight the same over the last few years because my job has been quite physical, with a lot of time on my feet.  Now that my job is mostly sedentary, and the bus takes me pretty much right there, I need to really focus on diet and exercise if I don’t want to blow up like a balloon.

Haven't lost any weight, but I don't think I've gained any either, which is kind of a miracle.  I tend to finish work too late most days to go to the gym after work, and before work is writing time.  I've been going one or two times a week.  I need to make that three, but not quite sure how.

And that’s about it for 2015.  I’m sure things will come up that I’m not expecting, and some will be wonderful and others less so…  I’ll check in mid-year to see how things are tracking.

Tracking okay…  Not brilliantly, but okay.  I'm satisfied with my performance.  Let's see if I can make it to ecstatic before the year's end.

How are you getting on with your yearly goals?