|A Round of Words in 80 Days|
Round 4 2013
The writing challenge that
knows you have a life
These check-in posts will contain any commentary I have about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in and any relevant links.
Below the commentary is my current reading list for the READ CRAFT goal.
In Round 1 this year I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing. This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 in April 2012. It is now ready for beta readers. Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar. A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below. I've had one beta reader so far but would really appreciate at least one more before I take the plunge with it.
Note: I broke this up into themed sections to make updating easier. For Round 4 I've stripped Current of all previous entries, rewrote Fiction Files to reflect current goals, added AWAI Copywriting, and pruned the kudzu out of Lifequake, Self-Manage and Workstation sections.
Current Check-In --
Fiction Files -- newly adjusted goals for 10-09-13
Other Writing -- working the course involves reading, writing and research as well as videos, web seminars, and teleconference recordings
Read Craft -- several recently finished books
The Lifequake -- Life decided to give me free lessons on the art of flexibility in January of this year.
Self Management -- applying flexibility, persistance, habit rehabilitation as I learn that caring for myself is the foundation for all else.
Evolution of the Workstations -- have made no major changes since early September so I think it's working
|Friday Forays in Fiction:|
Friction 'tween Artist and Machine
Beverage Spew Alert
One of the tricks I use for hard pushes like this is to never stop typing in order to think. Rather let the thoughts out through my fingers, keeping my eyes closed or the font so tiny I can't read it. When I'm stuck on a word I'll keep typing the word association web I see in my head--all possible words and the words that associate to them by meaning or sound.
I'll write in big chunks of monologue, description, dialog, or action without worrying about when in the story they belong, let alone about weaving them seamlessly together. I ask myself questions, typing them as I contemplate: How would _____'s [interest in, tendency to, knowledge of, friendship/enemyship with, presence in, talent at,] _____ affect his decision to _____ and how would that affect his and other's choices going forward. Sometimes by the time I get the question typed I'll have a possible answer or two or three and type the all out without trying to choose one.
For this sci/fant novel I did not limit myself to the the single novel but ranged over the whole trilogy and a possible second trilogy. I let my imagination roam through their possible history--what really happened and how it is passed down in this oral culture. I contemplate what kind of stories they tell--adult to adult, adult to child--legends, myth, history, adventure, spooky, origin.
Of course I couldn't have done this 24K in 3 days push if not for the hours and hours of storyworld dreaming I've done over the last two months.
Now if only I don't let the mess scare me off like I've done most years. But I do have more tools this time. I have the Marshall Plan software and the AEON Timeline and Smart Draw and Xmind to organize the material. The first to help me structure the story and the rest to give me visual props that resonate more with the way I think.
The experiment in using the Speech Recognition ap was interesting but did not contribute much to the result. I learned it will take some time to teach it how to recognize my speech patterns. Meanwhile I had a bit of a hoot with it. That was the theme of Friday Forays in Fiction: Friction 'tween Artist and Machine and the impetus behind the LOLcat for that post which heads this check-in. Believe me, you won't want to be eating or drinking while reading it as the risk of something spewing through mouth or nose or aspirated into windpipe and lungs is high.
It also helped to have discovered several thousand uncounted words scattered among my NaNo notes and drafts. With the words distributed among two paper notebooks and two e-aps (my WhizFolders Delux note and draft ap and my review copy of The Marshal Plan software) and my new smartphone, it is easy to see how a significant number of words got missed. The highest number was in the handwritten stuff which I had estimated without counting. Those new words bring me close to the halfway mark.
OK I can hear your chuckle. Halfway with four days to go? Well I've done it before. The skids are greased with all of the writing I've done in the last six weeks between book reviews, emails, NaNo and daily posting. My typing is speedy, my inner editor is soporific, my mind is ablaze with ideas, words, scenes. The storyworld dreaming has been intense with much material right there on the tip of the neurons waiting for the signal to leap. I've already got half of today's 6.5K and assuming I can get today's blog tour book review posted before lunch I should be able to get the second half easy-peasy.
Yes it will be messy, meandering and mediocre but I'm learning to be OK with that and am eagerly anticipating the editing and rewrites of this and the previous 10+ Wrimo WIP. Besides all of the parking, unpacking, sorting, organizing, and rearranging of my physical stuff and environment in the last year has taught me that I not only enjoy it but have a gift for it so why wouldn't that also be true for the WIP messes.
I'm also ahead on on posts with tomorrows Thanksgiving post drafted and no need to worry about Saturday night's ROW80 check-in until after I've uploaded my 'manuscript' to the NaNo word count verifier and once the book review is up today I'm free of that pressure until next week for a picture book. With no posts until Saturday night (or early Sunday) and no new book to start or review to write before early next week I'm free to put all of my writing and story mojo into The Wailing Womb for 3.5 days.
gitz um 4 dey steelz ur fayc
oar bytz ur noz
Over commitment->Sleep dep->scattered mind->bad fall->no focus->late Rx refill->twisted, tumbling mood->misunderstandings->blame-gaming->stare at bubble screen saver having a pity party of one.
In the wee hours of Saturday morning I grabbed the mouse, sending the bubbles away and, I supposed, the pity party. But I think it trailed after me for the commentary I still needed to add to the silly LOLcat already heading Friday's post turned silly as well. But not fun, mood-lightening silly like the kitteh fretting over which bubble to swipe at first. Rather silly as in ridiculously maudlin and morose. The pity party had crashed the kitty party.
Saturday was given over to a 12 hour sleep that seemed to be of little help other than making the time disappear. I woke feeling worse and it took me six hours to stop feeling like going back to bed. Got little of substance done. And none of it was this post slated to go up at bedtime or at worst first thing in the morning. And here it is past my bedtime on Sunday and neither this or Sunday Serenity is up yet. I think SS will have to wait til morning. Even tho I've got both a book review to post before lunch and clinic appointment after.
At least I have finished the book ahead of time this time. That was one of the few things of substance I accomplished this weekend. It was like I watched all the balls fall and bubbles pop and decided to let them lie there while I fiddled and fussed with this and that or gazed and goggled at every shiny thing that caught my eye--like the bubbles on my screen saver.
Will I ever get this figures out?
But I got sidetracked.
It started with thinking it a good idea to go ahead and get next week's two review books set up on the Blaze smartphone so they would be at my fingertips for those odd moments of time. If I'd left it at that I'd have been OK but the feeling of extra time allowed me to justify returning to one of the review books for reviews I'd posted without having finished the book. I lost half an hour to it. Not too bad still. But then a notification from my phone reminded me of one of the yet unsolved issues I'm having with it. Won't go into that here. Lost another hour to fiddling with that.
Next it was a search tab open with an unfinished search I'd been doing and the several tabs I'd opened from it. I needed to start the day's work with a fresh browser and before I could close it I had to bookmark all those tabs including the search itself. As I checked the rest of the tabs to make sure nothing else might be lost by shutting it down I found a couple of emails I needed to read and one needed a reply as well....
And so the morning went. By lunch time all I'd managed to do for either of the posts was to get their unique set of tabs open in separate windows. In the last hour I'd been interrupted by outside forces several times--Mom, the cats, nature... I was just getting my head into the ROW80 project when Mom started ringing her bell in the living room. Turned out I was an hour late getting started on lunch prep and she was famished.
So I rushed* around preparing her lunch piecemeal. Instead of fixing both our lunches and preparing both trays to be served at same time I focused on her sandwich first and served it on a paper plate, returned to kitchen to get her lunchtime pills and brought them to her and was returning to get her Cheez Its when I stubbed my toes on a box of books and launched myself into the dining room where I played pinball with the bookshelves on the right and the dining room table and chairs on the left. I landed amid a shower of items off the shelves--pens, pencils, scissors, tweezers etc and the mug holding them, loose paper, photos and cards, a vintage lamp, knickknacks, and a large plastic piggy bank full of coins.
Yeah it was so sidesplitting funny the piggy, landing right beside my head, split open from ribs to hips spilling its guts across the kitchen floor.
There are more than a dozen points of impact on my limbs and torso. The three worst are:
- the right big toe which is severely bruised and sprained if not also broken and with a nail that came a whisker's width of getting ripped off
- the left knee bruised and abraded.
- a whiplashed neck
This happened at 3 and the entire rest of the day and evening was devoted to its aftermath. It took me a half hour to get on my feet again, another to finish fixing my own lunch, another to eat it. By this time the drowse effect of the Ibuprophin had set in. As I took the last bites my sister returned home and saw the mess I'd left on the dining room floor. I'd only managed to sweep the coins and pens, and pencils out of the kitchen. To do more I'd have had to get back down on my knees, one of which was bruised and abraded, and feared I'd not be able to get back up.
We needed to talk about it, looking at my visible bruises and discussing how to prevent this from happening again. Another half hour gone.
A few minutes later I heard the sounds of dinner prep begin. I headed for the hot shower I knew needed to be a higher priority than nearly anything else. By the time I got done my dinner was already only a whisper's worth of warm and my husband was messaging his readiness for vid chat.
What does all this have to do with ROW80? Well for most of this month I've been observing my track-switching tendencies with an eye to figuring out how to minimize them and/or their negative effects. That will directly impact everything to do with goals whether for writing or any other endeavor. I've already had some insights but am not ready to spell them out yet. Too amorphous.
* big mistake rushing when both attention and vision deficits are in play
|wurdz! wurdz! buzzz n mai braynz|
I'm struggling to get any wordcount at all for NaNo and am so far behind I'm starting to panic. But the wordcount I generated for Friday's book review was at a level that reminds me it is still doable. The word count I put in the goals sheet for that review is around triple the words that are actually in the posted review but two or three times I'd deleted huge swathes of text--2 to 3 screens full each time which I'm sure was in the neighborhood of 1K. So it wouldn't be stretching too much to say the unexcised draft would have surpassed 4K.
When I'm really into a piece it's more likely for my hyperfocus to kick in and keep me riveted to the page. Though it seems to help when there is a deadline too. And when I woke Friday I'd still not finished the book and then didn't start working on the review until 11am. I'm embarrassed when my tour reviews don't go up before noon. But this one was even worse. I didn't publish until 2 minutes after midnight. But for most of that 13 hours I was planted in front of the keyboard and for once my focus resisted the track-switching predilection.
With the way I've been dreaming the storyworld as I do physical tasks--prepping food, decluttering, crocheting, showering, dressing, exercise, and while falling asleep or sitting quietly in a waiting room or car--I feel the words for my story percolating and building up pressure. They're ready to burst free. I just need to give them attention equivalent to what those tour reviews get. But there won't be many days where I can give them a 12 hour slot so I need to find another way. The next one is Tuesday and I've not started the book.
Note all the Ys for READ FICTION. This also is due to the tour reviews. 8 total for November and another 8 spread across September and October. I can feel a shift happening from this. It feels like reading fiction is more powerful than reading on craft. The LOLcat to the left of this entry was made to reflect that feeling.
Another thing to point out on the spreadsheet is that I finally got a Y for AWAI and FICTION FILES on the same day. I can thank my Blaze smartphone for that. As I continue to learn my way around and get it set up with the aps and files I intend to make use of on it, it becomes more and more useful. This past week one of my focuses has been to load all the ARCs. I'd made sure I had the readers last weekend. And today I finally got the AWAI copywriting installment 1 loaded and as I set preferences and looked for where I'd left off I actually reread from the beginning and beyond where I'd left off.
So I've been reading a lot more. I can fit it into the interstices of time like waiting on downloads, waiting for text message replies, waiting on the microwave, waiting for Mom to traverse the hall so I can get to or from the kitchen, in the car, waiting rooms, bed and any other place where I find myself sitting or standing with nothing but monkey brain chatter to occupy me. Of course that's where a lot of the storydreaming time has been coming from too.
|Google Doodle wishing me Happy Birthday|
on November 13th
After my grand insight early last week see November 6 check-in below this one) I got right back on the early bird schedule and maintained if for... Wait for it now... Drum roll...
Cymbal clash. Horn groans. Heckles
Many of my daily posts are not going up before I have to go to bed. Which is what happened to this one
I've only got NaNo words 2 days in the last week. Nowhere near quota either. Am so behind I'm loosing hope.
Tomorrow is another blog tour review and I've just started the book while eating lunch today.
So what have I been doing with my time? Organizing. Clothes, books, papers, room, HABA, purses, files--tree and e and...
My new smartphone. My first cell phone ever. My birthday present from Ed who added me to his plan and will carry the payments. It has more computing power and more memory than my first ever computer--the Tandy 1000 Ex in 1987. But even so it has limitations compared to the two most recent computers--the Acer Windows 7 Netbook with nearly 300G that was nearly maxed after 2.5 years of being subjected to my hoarding instinct and the Acer Aspire Windows 8 with over 900G and more than 200 in use after 2.5 months. After one week with the Galaxy Blaze I have 150M left of the 1.9G on board but still have all the 3.9G on a SD card which came with the phone but didn't get inserted until late on the 13th. Now I need to figure out what applications I want to uninstall and which files I want to transfer to the SD card.
The picture gracing this check-in entry is the first photo I took with my Blaze smartphone. The pic of the kitten behind my breakfast tray is an old calender I propped up there to hide the clutter on the desk. The full story was in Saturday's post where I usually put up the Sunday check-in. But it was so late I decided to do a quick and easy post and put up ROW80 early Sunday Morning. And then the Sunday Serenity post which is currently a series featuring items on my Bucket List. But Sunday was another day marked by track switching.
So my 56th Birthday was today, Wednesday. (Yesterday as I type this tho) It was full of extras. Extra events, extra interruptions, extra track switching. I had a counselor appointment at 11:30 so the whole morning was invested in preparing for it. Lost morning computer session. Then arriving a minute or two ahead of time I stood in line for 7-10 minutes to get checked in only to have the counselor once notified of my presence say there was not enough time to do it justice so reschedule. So I had to wait an hour for my sister to return to get me.
On the way home we were approaching the city center circle on which the post office and library face each other across the round R. A. Long park and from which the streets of Longview radiate out like spokes of a wagon wheel, and I spontaneously asked if I could be dropped off for a couple hours. But she reminded me about Mom's lunch and said she wanted to take me out for coffee for my birthday and how about if after that we picked up lunch and took it home so Mom could eat and she could drop me off at the library on her way out of town to run errands in Vancouver. Errands about which she was vague.
That would mean a three hour stay at the library pretty much getting us back home in time to start dinner. I realized this meant I would not have ROW80 up before dinner or the following vid chat with Ed which is supposed to close out both of our days. But I was all dressed up for that appointment that never was and found myself reluctant to just go home and change out of it without having had a real outing of some kind. And it had been nearly four months since my last visit and it is hard to get it on my sister's schedule. So of course I went. And between those three hours wandering the library of my childhood and browsing the stacks collecting books and the birthday dinner my sister prepared that evening with the song accompanying the serving of the Pumpkin Pie Cheese Cake, it finally felt like my birthday.
Her Vancouver errand was to Costgo after ingredients she needed for the fancy nacho dinner and the cheesecake topped with marzipan. Both of which I'd requested. Except the marzipan. I'd never had it before. Like eating maraschino cherry flavored icing. Dinner was served just as Ed initiated chat.
So I started this post after 9 Wednesday night but had to walk away from it at 1am and it is now after 10 Thursday and this still isn't up. I started work on it several times and got interrupted which each time triggered a new attention track switching lasting minutes or hours.
See tomorrow's post where I'm going to give a partial play-by-play of Thursday's track switching to give an idea of what I'm up against most days. I just cut it out of this post after realizing that it was about Thursday and written on Thursday so it had Thursday Post written all over it. Just need to find it an illustrative image which might wait til morning.
I must stop fudging on my meds and sleep schedules. No matter how much I still need to do when the time comes. If you are new here you might need the context from Self-Manage below.
I was planning on sharing that insight and the mental acrobatics I did to reach it in a well edited piece based on a freewrite/journal musing. But I'm running out of time. So I'm going to do something I hate to do but have done here a few times. I'm going to paste the minimally edited excerpt here. I've already shared it with three people anyway--husband, sister and friend. It's the only way I have a hope of getting this posted before I go to bed.
This was spurred by a second missed 6am vid chat with Ed in a week or so and a blog tour book review that was going to go up well past noon for at least the fourth time in a month:
I've been very frustrated with how often this is happening--both the late reviews and the missed vid chats--which of course raises my anxiety and makes it harder to stay on track. So I recently returned to the advice from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg which I read over a year ago and began observing my behaviors and their fall out.
6-8 weeks ago I began fudging on my sleep schedule, pushing towards and past midnight two or more times per week to try to stay on on schedule with the reading and writing commitments and there has been a ripple effect I'm just starting to trace. At first I would sleep the full 7.5-8 hours anyway, exchanging the early AM hours for the late evening hours. But then Ed and I added the 6:15am vid chat and I set a timer for 6 no matter what time I lay down. So I started racking up sleep dep again with all its bugaboos. I'd realized all of that weeks ago and have been struggling to get back on that hard won early bird schedule and only getting more frustrated. Then just in the last week I noticed two things related to my meds which has taught me that my sleep schedule is dependent on the med schedule which I kinda understood already. The two things I noticed helped me understand why I'd been fudging my med schedule and why it doesn't pay off. First the bedtime Trazadone will be strong in my system for 8-10 hours but once I take it I have 30-50 minutes before my brain and eyes start going offline. Pushing it later to get a project finished makes those early bird to night owl hours exchanges a far from equal exchange as the quality of the morning hours are diminished by the level of Traz in my system with the use of my eyes and brain comparable to dial-up with Windows 3.0 rather than High Speed Broadband with 64bit Windows 8. Second Welbutrin was added to my day meds in September and the starting dose was recently doubled and I soon discovered there was a significant effect on my vision for 3-4 hours starting with the 2nd hour--blurred and doubled and sometimes weird color effects like looking through a kaleidoscope. I don't remember that from the previous times on W. Wonder if it's the generic brand? Am hoping it will settle out over time. So of course I started messing with the timing, pushing to after lunch towards mid afternoon which affected my readiness for sleep. Between the Traz, and Welbutrin my windows of opportunity for visual and brain work are severely constricted. Oh how I miss my 24-36 hour days med free. This is almost counter intuitive but I'm thinking of reversing the direction towards the early morning when i first wake instead of waiting for breakfast. it would only work if i also get my bedtime back to 9:30pm and traz to 9. Would also have to give up goal to have that large six hour block for brain work. switch some of the afternoon activities to early morning and some of the brain work to after lunch which I'm already doing which pushes exercise off and hygiene to after dinner or bedtime or altogether off so by giving them the early morning right after vid chat they might start to stick and start my days with a whole new spirit.
I'm fading fast and my eyes are staging a rebellion. So if I want to get this up before I go to bed so it is off my plate for tomorrow, I need to be snappy.
So I'm going to direct you to my last two posts for edification and entertainment as they are both about writing and refer to some of the same goals I talk about here:
- NaNo Kick Off. I'm Going to Miss It. :( For the first time since I joined I missed the midnight kick-off on the 1st. My streak lasted from 2005 to 2012. And I also forgot to tally up words and enter word count on my NaNo profile.
- Friday Forays in Fiction: NaNo Tip #1 (A Quote) Tip is in the quote from John Irving placed on the LOLcat also to the left here. The funny is in kitteh's take on it. I also went into a long muse on the effects of going back and forth between my NaNo Novel and organizing this room as I found the success in one foster success in the other. Or as I put it latter on fb and twitter: story world building and room organizing are in a relationship--on stimulating the other
Now I really need to skedaddle as I've already nodded off several times as I typed these paragraphs.
|moar kittteh kapshuns|
When I signed up for them I seriously believed I'd have all but a couple of the books read and even all the reviews ready to go but for the part I write myself and thus imagined that it would free me up from having to worry about posting for two days a week during NaNo.
Cue the maniacal laughter here.
Today while reading the ebook for tomorrow's review I was having such severe issues with eyestrain I had to crank zoom up toe 200%. I've never had to do that before. I suspect it is the doubling of my Welbutrin dose last week that is contributing to this--in conjunction with needing an updated prescription for my glasses. But the fact that I'm only needing 125% for working this post now several hours after the worst of the blurring in the afternoon indicates the Welbutrin is playing the bigger role.
So now I can read easier. Just in time to go to bed. Am trying to get back on the pure early bird schedule which means I'm supposed to be in bed already. sigh. I fudged it too often in the last month and started accumulating sleep deprivation again. Was really messing with every other aspect of my life.
I just reread Saturday's comments below and realized I forgot to mention the incredible session I had with my NaNo Novel prep on Friday. I had my counselor session at 2pm but my sister had forgot and scheduled her own orthodontist appointment in Portland 45 miles away. So she had to drop me off at the clinic at 12:30 and then after my appoint I had to wait until nearly 4 for her return so I took a big bag of stuff to do--including my Aspire but I'd also taken paper notebooks and pens and pencils . I started with them.
I had one special notebook cover set up especially for handwritten notes and drafts for my NaNo Novel with three different tablets, Postit Pads and both a fine line ink pen and a clicker lead pencil. Every thing but the decorative cover was new, bought at the Dollar Tree back-to-school, art and office supply sections. The cover was brown embossed to look like leather. It is loaded with nostalgia for me as it was my Mother's ToDo list notebook when I was a child.
The whole thing gave me that first-day-of-school feeling. I started jotting down thoughts about my Wailing Womb story--things I remembered from the previous world building thirty years ago and new thoughts I'd recently had. At one point I zeroed in on an upcoming scene. Smack in the middle of it as I'd started to 'hear' a new character's voice and knew at least three things she would be saying during the scene.
I started writing, lost in my storyworld and now oblivious to my surroundings--conversations at the reception desk, the front door opening to let people in or out either way letting traffic and parking lot noise in, mothers soothing fussy babies, scolding rowdy preschoolers, restraining an angry toddler wanting to lay on the floor and kick a yellow 'wet floor' cone against the wall, men conversing with voices raised to be heard over that and other men and women talking into their cellphones. This kind of cacophony is one of my major anxiety triggers and it was blowing past me like dry leaves on dry ground. White noise.
I had decided to set up this dedicated notebook for two reasons--the inevitable appointment and waiting in the car occasions, possible travel; and because all of my work on the original worldbuiling for this trilogy had been done by hand close to a decade before my first word processor and I hoped that by working by hand again I might encourage more memory retrieval of my original plans. That was obviously happening within half an hour of initiating.
But I had not expected to feel the old-shoe-comfort of it, the ease with which I slipped back into hand written notes and scene drafts, the way having the pencil in my hand, maybe tapping my cheek while I contemplated ramifications forward and back on the story timeline helped me think. Even just thinking about it as I tell it now is bringing it all back along with memories of how all of my writing was begun before 1989 and my Tandy 1000 EX. Even tho I got my first typewriter at age 13 I continued to begin everything on paper in pencil not typing anything until the rough draft was well along, returning to the paper and pencil for every new paragraph.
I'm definitely going to have to do some more of this. Especially with the FOS story world which was also begun that way.
|My NaNo Profile|
One of those interruptions was my sister wanting to vac in here and having to get movable stuff off the floor by piling on my chair and mini-tramp. Then while putting stuff back one of the sidetracks kicked in as I began prepping my desk area for the photos I wanted for this ROW80 post. Got a lot done with it but didn't finish and didn't get the pics.
Notice in the spreadsheet that the last four days are the same as the four before them. I still can't seem to fit bothFICTION FILES and AWAI into the same day. And I'm beginning to wonder if the goals for everything else where I always get my Ys are too easy. Should I be expecting more of myself? Or am I just uncomfortable with evidence of success?
As for yesterday's Friday Forays in Fiction (which didn't go up until 7ish this evening) I presented Chapter 1 of Book 1 of the sci/fant trilogy I began working on in my 20s. I won't be counting those words for NaNo of course.
While I was working on that, I also updated my profile at NaNoWriMo. The link below the pic to the left will take you there.
All the Ys on the spreadsheet for the past month represent the bare minimum of 15 minutes of time invested. I'd had once worked that up to at least double and on some more than that last summer.
The Ys on FICTION FILES represent the the time spent referring to my notes and drafts as I contemplated which WIP to make my NaNo Novel for 2013 and then for the prep of last Friday's post announcing my choice.
Sunday and Monday were devoted to prepping for Monday's blog tour review.
I had held out as reward for getting that done early on Monday morning some hours of working with the NaNo prep for that novel. But instead between Sunday afternoon and Monday late night I got stuck in an OCDish hyperfocus on the task of searching for an important missing email and never finding it. Another gift from sleep deprivation.
So then I lost my whole morning brain work sessions both Tuesday and today to an attempt to catch up on sleep. I'd got less than four hours before our 6am vid chats both morning and my husband all but ordered me to go back to bed.
|moar Lit Krittrz see share caption vote|
I finally got the the FICTION FILES section below this one edited to reflect my goals for Round 4
So since this post was supposed to go up last night and I had to walk away before it was ready and now it is already after noon on Sunday, I'll leave you with that and the following 3 posts since the last check-in with relevance to ROW80:
- Qualities of a Writer -- a captioned cat and author quote
- Got the Grumps -- re Thursday's tooth extraction the latest aftershock in the ongoing lifequake.
- Friday Forays in Fiction: Time for NaNo Thinking Cap -- self-explanatory no?
That poem and a couple others, plus emails, text messages, book reviews and other daily posts and an assortment of scribbled notes are the extent of my word count so far this month. I'm constantly having to focus exclusively on the next deadline and once finished the clock has already been ticking on the next one. There is no time to get ahead on the things coming up days or more down the line.
I feel like I'm chasing my ponytail around the block but can never catch it as it moves faster than I can. Chew on that Paradox.
Several unplanned for events have caused my already bursting at the seams schedule to shed its corsets and believe me when I say there is no Super Woman costume underneath.
I've already described some of the events I'm referring to in yesterday's It's Monday! What are You Reading? post so I'm going to just quote them here. I had mentioned that I had 11 blog tour reviews scheduled between now and Thanksgiving and a few paragraphs later:
One of the tour reviews is for beta testing a new writer's community web site. That was supposed to go up by Wednesday but I'm going to have to ask for an extension as my schedule in the last two weeks took several unexpected wallops.
Among them Dewey's Read-a-Thon this past Saturday which I discovered only the Saturday before. So sadly I didn't get to volunteer as cheerleader or mini-challenge host which I've done one or the other or both nearly every thon since fall of 2008. My schedule was already over committed with a dentist appointment on Monday, a counselor appointment on Wednesday, a tour review on Thursday and an AWAI copywriting webinar on Friday. Which reminds me--I missed part 2 of the Webinar at noon today as I was sitting in the dentist waiting room waiting for my sister to return from errands to pick me up.
The wallops continue. Last Monday's dentist visit was for an extraction. I went again today for an x-ray on another tooth and will be returning on Thursday for another extraction. Here's hoping that once we eliminate the low grade infection and chronic pain that has been plaguing me since 1995, my energy and mood levels will pick up and my blood pressure will drop. I don't dare get started on the why's and wherefores that happened. Besides I've already covered it in my rant on the current state of dental care, You Know the Drill.
Plus the Dentist appointments have all been before noon which destroys my morning brain work session (reading, writing, research, study, email and posting) as the morning is all about getting ready, getting there, getting it done and getting home to fix Mom's lunch.
My inbox is flooding and the things I need to see and deal with pronto are getting pushed off the front page before I see them. I've spent hours and hours over the last several weeks refining the organizing of it--creating or editing filters and labels, using skip inbox for news, newsletters, blog subscriptions and similar recurring things that are primarily read only, designating category tags so that the Google tab system is taylored for my needs, and attaching emails to Google tasks or Google calendar.
But now my Google Task list is overflowing and unorganized so I'm going to have to start creating topical lists for it. And the Google Calendar email alerts are just as likely to get lost as anything else so I put a label named 2DO on it and try to remember to check that label several times a day. But I have to remember to input appointments in the calendar. Came close to missing two appointments in the last week because I'd put the appointment cards under my mouse pad the day I brought them home.
I'm so overwhelmed. It seems there is always a tine sensitive task needing attention right NOW and I have to focus on it until it is done and there is another one waiting in line with the clock ticking.
And I'm dropping the balls more and more often:
- Several of the blog tour reviews in the last two months I had to put up before finishing the book.
- I missed Saturday's ROW80 check-in due to the Read-a-Thon Saturday
- Several times lately--this post for example--I've not been able to get my daily post up before going to bed and had to timestamp a draft and work on it the next morning. So this post was supposed to go up last night but it is already after noon and it still isn't up. Google Docs had not saved my work on the spreadsheet last week and I had to use the screenshot I took for last Wednesday ROW80 and recreate a half dozen rows of data.
- I've overslept several times in the last two weeks and missed my morning vid chat with Ed.
- I've played fast and loose with my med and sleep schedule for a month or more now. See Life Management section for context.
- I missed 2nd and 3rd of the three part AWAI webinar this week.
- Forgetting to put appointments in the calendar
- Forgetting to call in a Rx
- Forgetting to activate the debit card issued for my SSI payments so that had to send a check
- I've disappointed Mom several times by not having time to read our story aloud after dinner.
- and on and on and on
- And right now I'm pushing the envelope on when I'm supposed to be in the kitchen preparing lunch for me and Mom.
A Word Wrangler's Lasso
Crossed Eyes and Knotty Thoughts
You Know the Drill
Of Grumps, and Dumps and Triumphs.
Fall 2013 Challenges
I Have a 2Dos Pileup
My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs
- work at cleaning up the Wrimo messes
- get Blow Me a Candy Kiss prepped for self pub
- target a second finished short story for the self publish route
- work on the FOS storyworld -- add events to timeline, add characters sketches, do mind maps, clarify specific research needs, edit existing scenes and add new, target one of the POV character's stories to focus on [this will be set aside until after NaNo except for noting stray thoughts about it]
- NaNoWriMo -- I've began prep in mid September for the 2013 NaNoWriMo novel using my new review copy of The Marshall Plan software and book.
tentativelyselected a YA sci/fant story called The Wailing Womb meant to be first in a trilogy called The Ward's Prevailing that I started while in my 20s that continues to haunt me. I'd lost all the world-building notes and all the rough draft work except for about five pages of semi-polished scenes in our 2001 move and lost heart.
I imagine I'll be working some in books 2 and 3 since I'll need to pin down the main story arc of the series and some of the unwritten scenes still vivid in my mind after decades are in those. The titles: 2) The Travailing Woeful and 3) The Availing Word
OTHER WRITING TASKS
- AWAI Copywriting course work: working the course involves reading, writing and research as well as videos, web seminars, and teleconference recordings and networking.
- keep on top of the upcoming blog tour reviews
- tackle the backlog of book reviews for ARCs and the upcoming blog tours
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller Net Galley a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels. Since this discusses writing and techniques of fiction
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff In late February I lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me on the 22nd.
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious as well as research for a character who is a Tarot reader
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last January and has been the one I've spent the most time with ever since. Friday's post was a quote post for this one.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick. Found this while spelunking the stacks looking for the Smiley book. Who knew. Dick was a mystic. I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception. My Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. Also a Longview library book.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf Review for blog tour Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent. Found on my shelves while packing books. I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007. It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that.
AWAI Copywriting Course materials
A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg Just finished this last fall and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned.. This is where I've been getting the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.
Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular by Rust Hills onetime fiction editor at Esquire. A tiny little paperback published in the mid 70s. I pulled this off my own shelf a couple months ago as just the right size to prop the netbook keyboard at a better angle but then I pulled it out to read while waiting on my computer to finish updates and a restart as all the ebooks were unavailable and it was the only book I could reach without getting up. Lazy me. But it
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors. many of them self-published)
|Ed and I April 2nd|
5 minutes before leaving
The most important fact affecting ROW80 goals is that my 5 week visit at my Mom's begun in early January has been extended indefinitely. It has been a huge disruption in itself not counting all the disruptions of life, thought and emotion behind the whys and wherefores.
I spent the next two days shuffling boxes and bags and stuff around between van and house and my areas at Mom's. The four days after that I wallowed in the pain of missing Ed, loosing our house and not knowing when the next visit will be now that there are no more loads to go after and no house to call ours.
As Round 4 begins there has still been no visit. He's living with his folks in the same tiny room we shared for ten years but we both agreed that environment would be unhealthy for me and our relationship. So we're waiting for him to find a place before I come back for a visit bringing a van load of household miscellany and Merlin our cat who came back with me in May.
Before I can come home for good my meds need to be stabilized and healthcare assured. I have to be separated from Ed in order to qualify for health care. We had a lot of hope pinned on the implementation of Oregon Care, Oregon's answer to the Affordable Care Act, slated for October 1st. But the government shutdown has put that on hold. So much for those wascally wabbits and their so-called concern for the sanctity of marriage.
Meanwhile we make do with several emails and one or two vid chats each day.
It looks like I'm going to have to pull the winter stuff back out before that happens.
|Reading and crafting corner|
One of her concerns about leaving me there for a whole week was the tenuous nature of my ability to stay on my med schedule, sleep schedule and food and water intake schedule without outside monitoring. That is one of the repercussions of an unmanaged mood-disorder.
As for the mood-disorder, the med nurse has been careful because of my history of atypical reactions to meds. She adds or subtracts one thing at a time. She started with changing my Trazadone from an occasional sleep aid to the primary antidepressant, upping the dose and making it daily. Over the spring and summer she raised it from 50 to 300 mg.
She was for a brief time looking at the possibility of bipolar because of my intractable insomnia that often had me awake for 24 to 72 hours at a stretch. But careful observation and family history led her to suspect that it was my severe anxiety coupled with ADD creating the appearance of bi-polar.
There have been enough improvements in my ability to function that I've been able to commit to making and serving lunch for me and Mom every day since August.
In response to my Lazy Daze post in early June in which I muse on why I am still planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp after four days and unable to put action where my mouth is on any of my stated goals and priorities my husband surmised that I was experiencing a mini-burnout after having pushed too hard on too many fronts for too many days in a row, allowing myself little recreation. He added that I had too many high priorities and several of them were in conflict which I was possibly unconscious of. Then at my request during our next video chat in used his skill-set as a supervisor and experience with time-management on the job to show me how to triage my stated goals.
For the triage he laid it out there that anything touching on my health or safety was non-negotiable. This included sleep, med schedule, food schedule, exercise, hygiene, all those appointments, and recreation--which last I had been denying myself until I ended up planted like a turnip on the mini-tramp.
My reassessment after the triage talk with Ed, led me to a radical decision to switch myself from night owl to early bird having identified the larges block of time least likely to be interrupted as those between dawn and lunch. It was a struggle until mid July when I added Melatonin to the evening med mix. As of mid August it became my new normal.
One of the fallouts from the stabilized sleep schedule has been an increase in those intense, creative, colorful and story-like dreams that have often contributed what I call the storyseeds for my fiction. This augers well for the future work with my fiction files--both editing and new writing. And is a sign the depression is lifting.
Ultimately the goal is to use the pre-lunch hours for brain work--reading, writing, blogging, research, netbook maintenance, daydreaming story world and the afternoon for active/social tasks like exercise, sorting/organizing, chores, hygiene, family interaction, vid or text chats with Ed. But so far I've nearly always gravitated back to the brainwork after lunch and once engaged in a task it is hard to break away for another.
Meanwhile I'm trying to learn patience with myself and flexibility. One of the new skills I'm honing is the ability to analyse what is working and what isn't and then apply a likely fix and observe what does and doesn't result. I'm trying to keep a vision of what success looks like in my head so that I'm always aiming for it.
WORKSTATION WOES AND WOOTSThe evolution of the writing and workout room:
|2nd Workstation and |
Indoor Workout Space
The time best suited (I thought until the mid June reassessment) was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed. The space was trickier. But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room. So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell. I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.
Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it. Not indefinitely. Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement. After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end. But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that. I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk. That became one of the goals as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van the first week of April.
The reference books are now on that cabinet above the tramp. The 1999 World Book set and the Britannica Great Books set I bought from the library in 2005. And writing related misc.
|Cubby desk May 25|
After yet another workstation tweak, solving desk height and other irritations, I had a few productive sessions at it but what seemed minor issues at first became deal breakers and I found myself more and more back on the mini-tramp.
|Looks more like a nest|
But on May 24 I decided it was not working. I'd gravitated to sitting on the mini-tramp that first weekend because there was so much upheaval everywhere else. But that had unwanted repercussions--I stopped working out because the tramp was always piled with cushions and for some reason I can't pin down my productivity dropped both on and off the computer. Maybe that is partly due to not working out. But it might also be because the setup was more conducive to daydreaming, watching videos or surfing than serious work. The clue is in the caption I gave the pic: Looks more like a nest.
|standing desk May 21|
|Bradley Desk Inpector|
Finally room to spread
out books and paper
I've continued to tweak. Of course. Am resigned to that being something of a comfort activity for me. Besides as new commitments move onto the agenda new accommodations must be made. Right? Like when a new, larger computer enters the picture and the older one cannot yet be set aside so the computer desk aka tray table gets pushed to the right until it is blocking the tramp. Oops!
Or when the 'brilliant' front burner project box turns out to be a clutter collector rather than efficient use of space.
Will try to post a current pic of the tweaks that resolved those issues soon.
Once he knocked my netbook off the desk. I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.
|Merlin nesting with me|
But for over a week after Merlin got paroled I hung out on the tramp again so he could hang out with me.