Deadlines: A Writer’s Best Friend, or Worst Enemy?

deadline looming

Since this is the final stretch for July’s Camp NaNo session — only three days left! — I figured I would talk about deadlines and how they either help a writer or stress them out, depending on the type of writer you are.

No matter what kind of writer you are in the face of deadlines, there is one thing that you can always count on happening:

That deadline sneaks up on you way faster than you thought it would!

When I think about deadlines, I find there’s a few different types of writers that I have encountered: the jump starters, the pacers, and the procrastinators.

The Jump Starters

If you’re a jump starter, you’re the type of writer who looks at that deadline and immediately gets to work with everything you’ve got. It doesn’t matter how many days, weeks, or even months away that deadline is, you hit the ground running from the getco and you don’t stop until 1) you’ve burned yourself out, or 2) you’ve finished the project early.

Jump starters try to get everything done as soon as possible so that they won’t stress over it last minute, or run out of time. They take that intense amount of work and tackle it like a bull fighter. The sooner they get started on it as well, the sooner they can get it off their plate for the next thing life throws their way without having to rush too much. And if they’re done early with the project than that means either more free time to relax without worries, or jumpstart the next project! They are the motivators and hard workers who never stop (for the most part).

I am not a jump starter, not really at least. I start out as a jump starter sometimes depending on the project, but then burn myself out quite easily and become no more productive than a puddle of stagnant water.

To a degree, jump starters have solid reason behind starting that project early and getting done with time to spare. For one it always leaves room at the end to double check your work and correct any other errors so it’s the best it can be. Being done early also leaves you with time to add to it if something better or new strikes you. Not to mention the sooner you finish something and possibly hand it off to other hands for review, the sooner you’ll probably get it back with feedback, right? That is, providing the fast pace work to get it done quick doesn’t leave your work a little too rushed and require more attention down the road.

For a jump starter writer with motivation and energy to spare, that deadline on the horizon is a huge motivator to get moving and get it done, making the deadline their best friend who likes to give the kicks in the ass, gun-to-the-head-kind-of-muse style.

So to you jump starters, I say keep plugging along on the productivity line and watch your accomplishment list grow and grow! Just remember to take a break sometime before you burn out from the constant go, go, go, write, write, write, edit, edit, edit, go, go, go. Breaks are a good way to recharge.

The Pacers

If you’re a pacer, then you’re the kind of writer who plans everything out evenly from start to finish. You don’t push yourself too hard, but you don’t slack off either. You have a set goal to reach each day (or week) and you stick to it without issue. This means you normally don’t burn out from overworking yourself since you have small breaks to do other things, but you also don’t normally finish early. You tend to finish up with one last glance over right on time.

Pacers are great list makers and schedulers. They’ll break projects down into smaller parts and plan each one out before jumping into the thick of things. They are the kind of writers who can make a routine and stick with it every single day. The better the plan they come up with, and the more spread out it is to handle the workload without being overwhelmed, the easier it is to accomplish, crossing off one small part at a time until the project is complete. They might take the full length of the deadline to get it done, but you can be sure they’ll get it done on time.

I am definitely not a pacer. Sure, I’m a lover of lists and I have started to break bigger projects down into parts to better manage them and my time, but I am not a pacer. I fall off the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race wagon way too easily.

Like the story of the tortoise and the hare though, slow and steady is sometimes the best way to go. It leaves you time for other things as well so you don’t become bored and frustrated, and it allows you to take your time and focus on the project as a whole when you go part by part, putting your best effort into each and every piece.

For pacers a deadline is a frenemy. It’s a good thing because they can take the allotted time given and plan out each and every phase accordingly, never having to burn themselves out or stress too much. However, it can also be their enemy if the time given isn’t enough to fit their steady pace. In those cases bring on the stress and the plea to extend the deadline. With pacers you can be sure the work will be top quality to the best of their ability though, making for a lot less editing woes. (Or so we hope.)

To you pacers, I think you’ve figured out the best system out there to writing and tackling projects, and your steady perseverance is both admired and maybe a little envied. You get to smell the roses along the journey when us jump starters and procrastinators may not. Keep it up!

The Procrastinators

If you’re a procrastinator, then you’re the type of writer who always waits till the very last moment to start everything. You think you have all the time in the world to get the work done and kick back in the beginning, either not doing any of the work, or doing a bare minimum to start. Then that time flies by way too quickly and you find yourself scrambling to start and finish the project before the deadline.

Procrastinators are kings and queens of the saying, “eh, I’ll do it later”. They don’t plan too much and like to have their free time instead of worrying and working at projects that look so far down the horizon you have plenty of time to worry about it later. Sometimes they just don’t have the motivation to get it started earlier, or work in shifts on it like the pacer. Procrastinators are either great under pressure, or testy under pressure when it comes down to the wire.

I am the procrastinator for the most part. I love to tell myself I’ll do something later, or I have lots of time, and then realize “oh shit, I really don’t have a lot of time”.

If working under the pressure of an immediate deadline gives you your best work, then a procrastinator is the kind of writer you probably are. For others though it doesn’t help the quality of the work and perhaps you need to adopt a new style. The procrastinator is truly the one type that can go either way — friend or foe — with a deadline.

If you are the kind of dragging-feet-writer that does better under pressure, then those deadlines are your best friend to light the fire to your heels. However, if you are the kind of procrastinator that waiting till last minute stresses you out too much to do any work half decent, those deadlines are your worst enemy. At the same time though, without those deadlines, wouldn’t you just keep saying, “eh, I’ll do it later” and never even start it at all?

For the procrastinators there is a fine line between helpful and harmful in deadlines, and depending on which side of that line you stand on, it may be time to find a happy medium.

No matter what kind of deadline writer you are, I find there is always a degree of panic…

keep calm deadline

Personally in the end I am a combination of two, if not sometimes all three, types. I’m more a strange mix of the jump starter and the procrastinator. I’ll look at that deadline with glee to start a new project and get right to work for about a week in the beginning, then I’ll fall off the wagon and end up procrastinating until the end where I again scramble to finish like a chicken without its head. Most of the time of at least. There are a few blue moon times that I manage to start strong and finish strong, or pace myself out, but I mean they are blue moon times.

I do more work in NaNo months where there is a stuck in stone deadline that I cannot change, with a set goal I cannot change, then I do out of the entire rest of the year combined. It’s pretty sad actually. Perhaps though I am starting to find my happy medium in trying to become more like the pacer. Then again, I don’t really do planning everything out into detailed parts. I break things down into smaller bits now, but to go detailed and scheduled out? Nope. I know life gets in the way too easily to stick to set schedules all the time, plus I’m still too much a pantser writer.

Now there’s a different topic for another day…

What about you? What type of deadline writer are you? Are deadlines your best friend, your enemy, or your frenemy? What tricks have you found work best for you in meeting deadlines?

(Footnote: To anyone, author/blogger/writer/reader/so forth, who has other ideas or topics they would like to see me cover or talk about, please feel free to drop a comment below. I look forward to hearing your interest.)

Five More Days

Five more days.

There’s just five more days left to the first Camp NaNoWriMo of 2017.

Remember on Friday I had said I had a huge writing sprint of 8.2k words and had caught up to par and even surpassed it again, even finishing the chapter I was on? Remember that I was excited and confident that I’m oh so close to the end now?

Heh, yeah, I’m not excited anymore. And I’m no longer at par. Once again I’m 2k below, and my odds of getting any word count added until possibly Saturday or Friday night is slim to nothing.


It’s been a rough weekend, and yesterday started five days of work hell. (Our assistant manager is on vacation which leaves three of us to run the store, and more hours than I want because of NaNo.) What makes it even worse is all the shifts I got are the long ass early afternoon till close. The shifts I don’t ever get a damn thing done at home with. Why I get all the closing shifts and the other keyholder gets all the openings is beyond me. I don’t see how that’s fair but whatever.

I am ending up with one opening shift instead of five straight days of closing, only because they needed to switch shifts with me due to previous commitments that were overlooked. But switching the shift also leaves me with even more hours, as well as two long ass back to back close and open shifts that always kill me.

So, yeah, I’m not expecting to get any words written until Friday or Saturday, which then leaves me three days — not even — to write 6,811 words.

I know it’s doable for me if I can do 8k in a day, but I also know from experience by Friday I am going to be so worn out that my motivation and energy to write is probably going to be non-existent. Which means Saturday will pretty much be a bust day more than likely, and I’ll have to write all that on Sunday.

And did I mention there might have to be some other things I do that weekend to help get ready because there are only three free weekends before the camping season starts for me.

In other words, I’m starting to worry, and stress — more than I already am over too much shit, and panic.

Five more days, and 6,811 more words.

And four more work days of hell. If they’re anything like how yesterday’s shift went, I am done.

It’s not just the stress and frustration dragging me down on writing again either. I started the final chapter to Fated to Darkness on Sunday — not the Epilogue, but the final number chapter — and I could see it in my head as this tension-filled, edge of the seat, drama and action extravaganza. I could see it perfectly right after I had finished Chapter 40 last week, when I was on a roll.

I should have said fuck sleep and kept going when I was on the roll last week.

This chapter is…sucking now.

It feels like I’m pulling teeth and everything feels almost…fake. There’s no real tension to it, I can’t even tell where the damn dialogue is going. I’m essentially drowning in this chapter and not getting where I wanted it to be. It doesn’t have an ounce of the bang I wanted, and I want to rip my hair out and throw it across the room.

Quite honestly, I want to just skip it and go write the Epilogue, but I don’t do that.

Maybe it’s the last few horrible days getting to me that has stunted how the chapter was supposed to go. Maybe I’m writing crap because my emotions are crap right now.

I don’t know, but the frustration and lack of excitement to it now is certainly not helping the fact I’m running out of time to get the NaNo win.

I’ll be glad when this week is over. I think I’ll be glad when NaNo is over, too, and I don’t normally say that. And I’m about ten seconds away from just hitting delete on his post instead of publish. Am I just ranting instead of talking about NaNo and writing because I’m fed up and have no one to talk to?

Rough Starts, Outlining, and a Cackling Plot Bunny

I can’t believe it’s already the 10th of January. Time is already flying by, which is a scary thought for the rest of year, and for all my plans.

The first week of January was pretty brutal on me. Mentally and emotionally at least. With my history, that combination is a rather large detriment to accomplishing goals and staying on top of my plans. If my mindset just isn’t there and I can’t shake something, I go nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. That was my entire first week for the most part, which is not a great start for my attempt to reclaim my life this year.

I think I made it through the first four days of the New Leaf 30 Day Meditation Challenge before I gave up under everything going on. I haven’t sat down to meditate for probably about a week now. My will to either work out or do yoga once a day has also gone down the crapper pretty quick. I think I managed to do it twice so far this year, and that was really only because I got lucky enough to have the house to myself so I could use the living room.

As expected, I’m beating myself up over letting them both slip so quickly as well. I’m trying to tell myself “you had a rough week, now turn your chin up and push forward to try again” but that’s not always the easiest thing to do. I may not be good at practicing positive thinking, but when I can manage it, I do see the difference it makes.

Which, now that I’m thinking of it, I do have a serious question for anyone and everyone willing to answer. I could use all the insight provided.

How do you keep yourself motivated and hold yourself accountable to the things you wish to accomplish? How do you get yourself moving on goals or to-do lists or even daily tasks? How do you keep yourself from wasting time away and saying “I’ll do it later”?

Any answer is a great answer to me, for I just simply need to find something that works for me that will keep me going. The more ideas I get, the better chance I have at finding something that works for me.

I know for starters my goal of working out in some form every day will become easier when the weather warms up and I’m able to go outside to do any kind of work out, but until then it’s going to continue to be a struggle on me. I’d almost be better off getting a gym membership, but I do not have the want to be going somewhere almost every day. I would rather be able to do it in the comfort of my home and on my own whacky time schedule. What would be really great to have would be a treadmill, but…unfortunately I don’t have that. Yet.

So, yeah, so far 2017 has pretty much tanked, but it’s starting to look up a little bit again.

After hitting rock bottom at the end of the week (part of the reason there was never a Friday blog post) I’m beginning to claw my way back out of the darkness. Things have been worked out and a shred of motivation is starting to return. Yesterday I managed to straighten up my room and get caught up on a lot of things. Today I kept that momentum rolling and got the Sunday Snippet blog hop out of the way and continued catching up to the things I ended up neglecting last week.

It’s not much yet, but it’s a start. There’s only two things I need to finish to be back to where I had wished to be.

Okay, wait, maybe three.

I need to get at least two Sunday Snippet posts scheduled for the rest of the month since my next two weeks after this one will be nightmares with inventory. (I might as well do all three for the rest of January.) I need to finish writing out my goals in my secondary planner and update that for this week. And lastly I need to finish outlining Clockwork Heart so I can hit writing hard on it.

The first two are easy enough to finish, it is the outlining that may take a bit of work.

But wait!

In all the darkness that was the first week of January for me, I did manage to have a brief spot of light Wednesday night!

With a couple of friends we revamped our version of NaNoWriMo without the NaNo and had our first virtual sit-in writing session. And do you know what I used that writing time for?

Yep, you guessed it! (I think.) I used that time to begin the outlining for Clockwork Heart and so far it’s coming along nicely.

Normally I don’t outline very far or at all, but since this is a short story and because I have a deadline and word limit on it, I decided I needed to do some sort of planning so I would  both be finished on time and remain within the word limit allowed. If I just let myself run with this one I might have ended up rambling on for too long, or I would end up leaving myself way too many notes that would require way too much editing. Keeping this story below 20k might be a challenge even with my outlining, however.

We’ll see how it goes though.

I’m about half way done with the outlining and I plan to do some more work on it tonight. Last night as I finally laid down for bed my brain became a live wire and start rapid firing answers to questions I had for the story and a lot more. Needless to say I was up and down hurriedly grabbing my phone to jot things down before I could forget for a good fifteen minutes or so.

Speaking of outlining and planning, earlier last night my brain decided to spring another plot bunny on me out of nowhere. I was putting away decorations from Samhain finally — I know, way overdue on that one, blame the holiday season in retail — and I suddenly had the thought “what if Halloween decorations came alive for one night out of the year?” Then…


Suddenly this new, shiny, little black plot bunny was hopping around my head, cackling away madly. At that point I could do nothing but sit down on my bed and follow the little bastard around my head until I found out where the idea was leading me, as well as swearing at it and banging my head off the bedpost because I didn’t need the little sucker. You can bet your arse I wrote down the idea though and have filed it away for my next Halloween short story.

It’s quite amazing where ideas can come from when you think about it. I mean, all I was doing was putting away decorations and staring at a black, glittery plastic spider! But alas, that’s all it takes for an author it seems.

I’m thinking perhaps once I get Clockwork Heart finished and submitted, and I finish writing Fated to Darkness, if I have words left to be written in April’s Camp NaNo I’ll work on the Halloween story because, for a reason I still have yet to determine, it’s nagging at me to be another VTP entry just like Embermyst, and Clockwork Heart.

Really, brain? You do realize I have a novel, a series I’m trying to work on and finish, right?


It doesn’t listen to me, just like my characters don’t listen to me. Although, the new addition of plot bunnies and ideas reminds me of something I saw on Facebook yesterday that I’m not even going to try to lie my way out of. It went something like this…


Here’s my question to that though: Do fictional friends count? Like, the ones in our stories? If so then I might be able to dispute this one with a straight face. LOL. Ah, oh well, we all know I’m an introvert anyways. I guess I better just head back to the drafting board and create some new characters to go along with those new ideas.

Planning A Year


It’s officially 2017. I hope everyone’s New Year so far is shaping up as they had hoped. I’m sure there’s lots of new goals and resolutions and hope out there. Whatever you’re aiming to better or do this year, good for you; and if you have no resolutions, well, then, good for you too.

After talking about my accomplishments, half accomplishments, and failures of last year’s goals on Friday, I spent the last couple days thinking over goals and resolutions and trying to organize myself for the new year. Normally I don’t do resolutions, I just do goals, but this year I seem to have written a few things off as resolutions.

Which brings me to something interesting I saw. The other day I was searching Google images for something relating to goals and resolutions. In a lot of images I found they were crossing out the word “resolutions” and replacing it with “goals”. Or they were simply saying “goals, not resolutions”. That took me a little be surprise and I wondered, “why?” Why do they say goals not resolutions?

Naturally, I looked into it a bit and found that the meaning behind those images were to set goals that you could physically work toward, a plan, not a resolution that you don’t know how to go about. Think about it…

Say your resolution this year was to get fit. Okay, great. You want to get fit. Now if I were to ask you how are you going to do that, would you have an answer for me right away? Would you have a plan? Maybe some of you do, but when you list something so vague and broad, it can leave you fumbling.

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That’s why they say make goals, not resolutions. Goals can be specific, goals can have a path you can follow toward. Goals can make you plan how to go about achieving it in tiny steps so it doesn’t look so daunting a monster to conquer. I’ve learned that over the past year, and now I’m really starting to see why it’s so much easier that way. Even so, it can be easy to overbook yourself on goals if you feed them too many growth hormones. Never forget though that goals can be broken down. Even the most humungous and fiercest of them all can be broken down into tiny little pieces, limb by limb, stage by stage until the monster you built can be seen as tiny little monsterlings that are more easily conquerable.  And each monsterling you conquer you can put back into place, now tamed, and watch how your goal is shaping up and building until you are so close to achieving it and becoming the master.


That gives you motivation. To watch it grow, to watch yourself actually achieving the steps toward that monster of a goal. No matter your goal, it can be the same process, you only have to be careful you make the goal realistic in the time frame you set yourself for it, otherwise your monster will become too scary and seem to grow bigger and bigger day by day until he crushes you instead of you taming him.

And that brings me to the goals I’ve been putzing over the past couple days. I found myself labeling some things as resolutions, but only because they are something I want to make habit in a sense. They are still goals in a way that I have a plan on how to go about them, but for the sake of organization I labeled them as resolutions because they aren’t a one-and-done type of goal. They are constant.

Once I finally had my goals listed out and I had begun to shape out my planner, I tried to work out a timeframe that I could work with for each one. To do that I grabbed notecards — one for each month, and one simply for daily things — and started mapping things out.

While I may have a rough time frame worked out now, I still do not have a detailed, written plan of every goal. That was today’s plan, because it is much easier to type it out as I think in a post and then copy it down to my secondary planner, then it is to write it once on paper — in pen — and be perfect. I work it out in head here and then I’ll be good to copy it all to paper and get to work on achieving things.

So here we go. Down the rabbit hole for a look into the way my mind thinks. Hopefully you don’t get scared off by the monsters that are my goals.


As I said above, I am simply labeling daily things I wish to make more habit in my life as resolutions, but they are still goals I can work toward and achieve in order to make them habit.

This is something I began to try my hand at last year and it never really worked out. That was partly due to the fact I wasn’t entirely sure on what I was doing. I had always believed that in meditation my mind was supposed to be utterly quiet, not a single wisp of thought. In just three days alone since this new year began I learned that isn’t quite true, and it’s already begun to help, because now I’m not so frustrated that I’m yelling at my mind to be quiet and I’m actually getting somewhere. (Yelling at yourself in mediation doesn’t exactly help you relax.)

So this is something I wish to become a daily habit, even if it’s only for a couple minutes a day. It certainly helps to have someone doing it with you, too, both for support and for making sure you did it. It also helps to follow a 30 day challenge to get yourself some instruction — if you’re a bit of a beginner like myself — or to simply remember to do it.

Do Yoga/Workout Once a Day
Another thing I wish to make a daily habit. Once again, I started doing both yoga and small workouts last year but it’s hard to have any free or alone time in my home to be able to do it. The only open enough space I have to work out is in the living room, and with a constant hovering patron of this house, it’s extra hard to get any alone time to simply do this. If I get lucky enough to score the house to myself, great! Either yoga or a small workout session is the first thing I’ll go to downstairs. If not, then I might be waiting until midnight to have the chance to be alone downstairs.

Granted, I can do some minor things that don’t require space in my own room, but it isn’t much I can do. Also, once the weather turns to spring, I can easily go outside to get away to complete this daily. I think the best thing about this one is I’m giving myself some leeway with it. Perhaps one day I’ll get to do some yoga and the next two or so I won’t be able to due to space constraints, but I’ll still be able to do some easier workouts that don’t require the same space. Or perhaps once it warms up I’ll count my workout as going for a walk, or a run. It won’t always be the same, and that’ll give me flexibility so I don’t get bored with it or tired of it quickly.

I won’t need to join a gym or spend a ton of money to do this either. I could grab a couple things from where I work that I can workout at home with, and there’s always YouTube to look up any kind of workout video imaginable. It’s not the same as a gym, but it’s still better than nothing and easier to fit into an ever-changing work schedule.

Be Awake By 11am
Everyone knows I’m a major night owl. In the past month or so I started to really, really sleep in late. My day wouldn’t really start until one or two in the afternoon because I wasn’t getting up until noon or later. I partly blame that on work and just being exhausted over the holiday season, but it’s also cutting into the ability to manage my time.

To help that, I’m trying to make myself be in bed, lights out, by or at 3am. That way even if I need to be up around eight or nine for work I’m still getting five to six hours of sleep, instead of my two or three I did a lot last year, and the year before. The reasoning behind this is to hopefully have somewhere between six to seven hours a night and still be able to get things done as I hope to since I’m most active at night. That’s the hope at least, we’ll see how it works out, especially if I start getting the ungodly shift of 5am again.

Better Time Management
I royally sucked at this last year and let a lot of things slide until last minute that left a lot of scrambling, a lot of stress, and a lot of weight on my shoulders. I hope to change that this year.

At one point I asked a friend last year how she did it. Her response was a simple one, but it stuck with me.

“It’s easier to stay caught up than to play catch up.”

Alright, so that may not be the exact words of months ago, but that’s the concept. It’s never left my mind, and I’ve realized just how right she is. It’s much easier to simply stay on track than to be running to catch up, especially when you have so much going on.

So this year I am going to try to manage my time better. Part of that ties in with being up a little earlier. As things come, I’m going to try to complete them. For instance… The Snippet Sunday blog hop always happens on Sunday (though it technically starts Saturday with a couple), so by Monday night I want to have gone through all the blogs so I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the week. If I work the long afternoon to close shift on a blog post day, I want to try to complete that post before I go to bed, or at least have a draft of it so I’m not scrambling the next day to write a half-assed one. As mail comes in, junk or otherwise, I want to have it gone through, paid, replied to, pitched and/or filed away within a day or two. If I shop at all, I want to put things away in a timely fashion instead of leaving them sit in the corner of my room as I started doing. Keeping my desk clear is going to be the same concept. Scheduling my Sunday Snippet posts will be something I take one or two at a time, so that doing four or five at a time doesn’t take so long.

In all I just need to keep on top of things instead of simply shrugging them off for later. “Later” is a word I want to stop using this year.

Use My Planner
This is what’s going to help with my time management. I started using a simple, kind of stupid planner last year. After the first two months maybe I just kind of stopped looking at it. This year I bought a new one, a better one, and the hope is to keep at this year.

The best things about this one are I can actually flip to a certain month via tabs, and it has both a monthly calendar and pages of day by day to write things in. The calendar itself will allow me to write down events, birthdays, mercury’s retrogrades, deadlines, what days need posts, and so forth. The day to day pages will help me plan out my week with everything else.

I used to keep a simple lined notebook that I would write down “Week of January 1st” at the top and then list the things I wanted to do that week. I never broke it down further though. Now, since I still use that notebook to help organize myself — and that’s actually the notebook I will copy these goals down into — I can organize even further by breaking that week page down into daily by writing them into my planner.

Now so long as I stick to that and actually open both my planner and notebook, I should be good.

Write Consistently
This was a goal I held last year as well, and pretty much failed on. This year I’m going to try once more to hold myself accountable to writing at least something each week, even if it’s simply a 100 words a day, even if it’s fifty words a day. I don’t care if it ends up being a 100 words a week, I just need to stop letting myself fall off the wagon during non-NaNo months.

This year, I hope that the support of friends will help hold me accountable to doing this. If they are expecting a snippet of something I wrote that week then I have to deliver every week for the group to see my proof of creativity, or be pestered until there is a fire lit under my ass. Even just working with them to make us all write should make it that much more manageable and easy to accomplish.

The goal of this group is to take the NaNo out of NaNoWriMo. That way every month simply becomes a Writing Month, even if the word count isn’t as huge as actual NaNo months. Just so long as I am doing something every week toward my goals of writing and publishing, whether it be writing or editing. And if we can make it more interactive with each other like NaNo then there’s motivation.

The only problem in this is that we all have to make the commitment to not slack off on each other, and then actually stick to the commitment, no matter how hectic life gets.


So while all my resolutions are goals in a way, they are not the one-and-done type of goals as the rest of these are.

Read Two Books A Month
Alright, so this technically could have counted as a resolution to simply read more. However, as I talked of, the goal to simply read more is vague. Which is why I came up with the goal of reading two books a month, at least.

Ever since I started working and writing more the time for me to read dwindled further and further. As an author, reading is a must no matter what you think. This goal will help me get back into reading. It doesn’t matter what the book is, how long it is, what it’s about, as long as I am reading something. For instance, my first choice of this month was a book called Meditation For Beginners.

I did, however, give myself a little bit of leeway again in this goal. During the three NaNo months, I let myself slide on only needing to read one book that month.

The easiest way I’m going to accomplish this goal is if I set aside a specific time to read. I came to the conclusion that best time would be at night. If my goal is to be in bed, lights out, by 3am, then by 2:30am I need to be off my computer, phone, whatever I’m working on so that I can sit in bed for half an hour and read. Doing this might even help me sleep, it’s been proven that reading can help you sleep.

Revamp Blog Layout/Info
This is something I should have done last year. I want to go back through my pages and update any information in the About pages so that it is current and reflecting of me. Since, you know, I haven’t changed any of that since I first made this blog…two years ago now I believe. (Wow… Doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.)

I also want to rework the pages that hold information on my stories and books. Instead of being one long list of books on the page, I want to turn each book into a tab under the page. On top of that, I wanted to create a separate page (and hopefully one day more tabs) for anything that is physically published and available for purchase, not my freebies on Wattpad.

I plan to have this completed by the end of January, so if you start seeing things changing a bit, that’s why.

Finish and Submit Clockwork Heart
This is one of my bigger ones that I’ve broken up into two parts. The first part is to simply outline and write the story; the second part is to edit it and submit it with all necessary information.

I have until February 20th to do this.

If the title Clockwork Heart rings a bell that’s because it was the title of one of my Wednesday Words last month. Just like with Embermyst, the story sprung into a full on plot bunny and I’m going to be submitting this to VTP’s Spring Anthology for another chance at publication. That deadline is obviously February 2oth.

By working out a timeline on how to go about this, if I can outline and write it — including a dreaded blurb — by the end of January, that will give me about two and a half weeks to edit and polish it before sending it in. I plan to have it outlined and begin writing by the end of this week.

Complete 2016 Camping Journal Entries
This goal looks very familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because, like the year before, I failed miserably at staying on top of those entries during the camping season. So once more, I have six entries to write before May, and I think maybe one or two sets of notes to complete in order to do so again as well.

Since I have Clockwork Heart to focus on right now, I’m not going to plan to start these until the week of February 19th. Like last year, I will do one a week and I will complete them just in time for the start of April’s Camp NaNo.

The other side to this goal is when the 2017 season starts I need to stay on top of them this year so this goal doesn’t become something that happens every year. I believe I’ve figured out how I can do that too. The last few years I’ve only taken off work the days of the trip, this year I am going to take off the day after each trip as well. That extra day will allow me to catch up on lost sleep, get organized, and also sit down to write the entry while it’s fresh in my mind, as well as loading any pictures I took of that week to my Facebook. If I can do that, I won’t be scrambling at the last moment to write or finish an entry before the next trip rolls around right quick when they are normally only two weeks apart.

Obtain Driver’s License
Alright… This one was on last year’s list as well. To my credit I got half way to it last year, I got my permit. I just never got out much to practice due to circumstances beyond my control.

It’s nearly certain I will not get that dumb little plastic card by the time my permit runs out, so once more I have myself listed to re-acquire my permit once this one runs out of time. Just like last year, I hope to have gotten my license sometime before the snow falls. Say maybe by the end of October.

Providing schedules can work out better this year, I can hope that this goal will be achieved this year.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This goal is also quite familiar if you recall my last post. Re-editing this story was a goal I set myself last year and I just never quite started to edit it. I’m going to try again this year and I plan to use the month of May to edit it and re-release it on the Wattpad world.

I figured May would be a good time because it’s coming off a maddened induced month of writing for Camp NaNo and will be a little bit of a break from writing. Granted, I’ll still try to hold myself accountable to writing, but my focus will be on editing that month.

Finish Fated to Darkness
Yes, this was another goal I held last year as well. I got close to completing part of this goal last year, but my lack of follow through in non-NaNo months is what became my downfall on the goal.

Now that I’m only about six chapters away from the end of this book, I can definitely finish it this year. If I don’t, there’s something wrong with me. However, it is more than just completing the first draft that I want to accomplish with this novel this year. I also want to have the concordance completed so that I have something to look over in editing to help keep me straight. Lastly, I want to have this rough draft printed and in a binder by the end of the year to be able to begin editing next year. That print out may also include a print out of a list of notes and questions I left myself within the Word doc for when editing comes along. I haven’t decided if I want to simply print them or copy them to a notebook to have handy. Printing might be easier.

To do all this, I planned to have completed writing the book by the end of May. Honestly, if I don’t finish it by the end of April with Camp NaNo or even before that I’m going to kick myself. The more time I have to work on the concordance and print outs, the better. Because, you know, I only have 500 some pages to read through to make notes of and stuff.

If I finish writing hopefully by the end of April, then I will focus on completing the concordance by the end of October, before the holiday madness begins. That gives me time to worry about nothing else but NaNo in November and then gifts and work for the rest of the year. Printing everything will also be easy to do when I’m already out running errands during that time of year.

That’s the detailed goal, now I only need to stick to it again. I’m itching to get to work on it, but Clockwork Heart is going to take precedence right now with a looming deadline.

Get Rid of Yard Sale Items
This goal is the result of one of my goals last year. I had cleaned out my entire room and held a yard sale to sell what I no longer wanted or use. Unfortunately, the yard sale was less than successful and it left me with more than half the stuff I wanted to get rid of sitting around here with no time to do anything with it.

The goal this year is to simply get rid of it all. Whether it be by donating it, craigslist to try to sell more, a Facebook group to sell it, throwing some stuff out, or trying a thrift shop. This will be a good thing to do in June when camping will start to take up some of my time. Simple and easy, as long as I don’t start cleaning something else out in this house. Like the spare room.

Meet a Friend
I only have this listed as a goal because I have a couple online friends I have never actually met face to face. Well, one I have half met face to face thanks to a lovely thing called webcams and Skype, but I still have yet to meet the other.

It doesn’t help when both of you are such introverts that you talk of making plans to meet but then just never follow through on it. I’m totally guilty of that.

So to put it simply, I just want to finally make that meeting happen sometime during this year. Maybe after the snow stops flying though.


That’s it then. That’s my year in a nutshell. 365 days of planning down to one rather long, detailed blog post. Now I can be held accountable to these goals. They are officially written down in some form. All that’s left to do is copy them to my notebook and start getting to work.

Although, I have one last parting thought. If you were to consider one word as your attainable goal this year, what would you pick? What would you strive for? If I had to choose, my word would be creativity. Simply because it can cover such a wide variety of my goals in writing. Or it would be time management, since that is what I need to work on.

If I accomplish even half of these goals, I will be happy with myself. If I make nearly all of them happen, I will be ecstatic. If by some chance I am able to check off every single goal at the end of this year, and will proudly be able to say I didn’t give up on yoga, reading, meditation, writing, and working out, I will be without words. My hope is that this year I finally begin to take my life back in my own hands after years on end of struggling, and that in making new daily habits I will no longer be sitting around lazily or scrolling through my phone because I’m bored.

Here’s to a better year than 2016, and a brighter, better, happier me.

Rearing Plot Bunnies

It’s been an interesting couple of days. Not just with work and life, but with writing as well. My mind has been quite brain dead lately thanks to the holiday madness and the fact I think I burned out slightly after NaNoWriMo. I haven’t been writing because I’ve both been so busy and exhausted due to those things.

Well, the relative quietness that was my plot bunnies for the past two weeks suddenly turned into roaring lions again demanding my every sliver of attention on Wednesday.

As anyone who follows my blog knows, I do a piece of flash fiction writing every Wednesday. Last week I accidentally got a glimpse at this week’s prompt and had already figured out a storyline and all for the word combination. Of course, said storyline then had to wait a week because it was the wrong week, and I told myself I didn’t need to write my idea down because I’d remember it.

You can bet your last dollar I didn’t remember it come two nights ago.

I swear that is the biggest lie a writer ever tells themselves. “Oh I’ll remember this, I don’t need to write it down.” Ha! Yeah, right! Do yourself a favor and write it down anyways, because we normally forget. Maybe it’s the curse of a writer. (Now there’s a plot bunny in that one.)

Anyways! I finally came up with a different idea than what I originally had in mind and as I started writing my flash fiction piece, it started growing. And growing, and growing. It has now turned into a short story idea. Well, the basis of a short story idea with a few choice scenes and instances. It’s still brewing away up there though and developing further.

It’s screaming for my attention now, begging me to write this little steampunk-fantasy-hint-of-romance short story. The problem is I don’t have the time right now to toy with it, and I also don’t have enough to work with just yet. I have a few ideas and questions to answer that I wrote down, and all the little tidbits I thought of, but I have no real rhyme or reason on how to start it just yet. Somehow I know the ending, just not the beginning, or very much of the middle. Go figure.

I want to be sitting down and mapping it out, playing with it and shaping it by some rough outline, but I just have too much to do yet with only a week before Christmas.

There’s still a few gifts I need to get (if I can make it back out to shop since, you know, the weather is shit right now and I work six days next week) and I still need to make a few gifts. One of which will be quick and simple, another few will be easy but will take time, a different one is easy just takes maybe an hour or so, and the last one will take me forever with a lot of hand cramps. Then of course I’ll need to wrap everything, and at some point in the next couple days I need to do my laundry on top of all of this.

So, yeah, right now I really don’t have the time to be working out story ideas and plotting a short story. However, this short story also has a deadline of February 20th. And do you know why?

Because this little plot bunny is turning into a submission for Victory Tales Press’ spring anthology. So not only do I have to write it, I have to edit it and all that fun stuff like I did with Embermyst. And I have two months, on top of the holiday season and inventory.

Granted, I had only twelve days when I wrote, edited, and submitted Embermyst for the Halloween anthology, but still…I was less busy then.

And if all that isn’t bad enough, Fated to Darkness started rearing its head at me on Wednesday as well because suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to be writing something. Anything. So now I’ve got two stories screaming at me, as well as a bunch of gifts and craziness. Which is exactly why my novel isn’t getting done, because everything else steals the spotlight, including other plot bunnies.

I think it’s time to raise the white flag. Or hit big and quit my day job so that I have the time to write all these plot bunnies.

Stressing For A Win

Sooo… I may or may not be rather far behind on NaNo again…

Alright, there’s no maybe about it. I am.


I was supposed to write Tuesday night after I finished my blog post, and, well, yeah. I got sidetracked and I was tired already. I don’t think I actually got any words down on the page that day. Then Wednesday my mood was just completely ruined and in another slump that I couldn’t pull out of so you can guess I didn’t get anything done that day either.

I had wanted to be at 40k by Wednesday night too, because I figured 10k would be an easy enough final count to reach within the last week of NaNo.

Well, 40k didn’t happen. 36k didn’t even happen by that point.

I’ve written maybe 600 words since Monday.

*Sighs again*

And even now I don’t have any will to write, and there’s five days left to NaNo. Three of which are pretty much shot to hell thanks to work shifts and other stuff going on. I only have one more day off for the rest of November too.

Right now I am currently 14,426 words away from a win. I need to write 2,405 words a day to reach that win.

Well, I know that’s not going to be possible on at least three days so I guess that means I better come up with 14.5k in three days, since my last three days of November are shot. Go figure.

I’ve not been able to stay on par or stay above par all month. I haven’t even been as excited for NaNo as I would be the Camp NaNo’s. Maybe because of the holiday and work madness as well. Or maybe it’s stress. I don’t know. Whatever the reason I hate it.

Looking back, there’s only been a total of 7 days this month I’ve stayed on or above par. That sucks. Four of them were the first four days of November because I took off the 1st to try to get ahead.

At this point, I’m thinking I should have taken off the last day of November too, because I don’t think I can do three 5k days to get this win, not on top of working two of them.

Now I’m also pretty sure I won’t be getting much, if anything, written tonight because the alone time to unwind to write was just taken away. *Sigh* I hate being an introvert with nowhere I can call my own space.

Goal Crunching

Another weekend has come and gone, and with it comes the end of August. Where has the time gone? Didn’t August just start?

With the end of August also comes the deadline of all the goals I had for August, and, er, well…

*Clears throat, looks off innocently*

Can I skip talking about that? Let’s just say I did horrible.

In truth, not one of my goals was accomplished. *Sigh* I know I still have two days left to August but none of it is going to get done more than likely. I mean, unless I can write 15k in Fated to Darkness, two sets of notes for journaling, and five entries for that journaling in two days time, it ain’t getting done. In fact, it’s more like one day because my Wednesday is shot to hell between work and riding until about 8 o’clock at night.

What fun! Not!

I actually could get the notes done in time, and probably should before I forget any more of them.

I guess it’s not too bad that I didn’t get any of those goals done, though. I mean, I did write an almost 10k word short story, and submitted it for a chance to be published, and I am getting published. I did write it and edit it in the span of 12 days, and then had to putz around editing it once more when I got it back for a look over.

(Which I just finished that yesterday and sent it back so we’ll see what suggestions, if any, come back to me this time.)

So it wasn’t like I wasted the whole month. I was busy. Work drained me a couple weeks, I worked my ass off writing this story and submitting it. I did do about 5k worth of words on Fated to Darkness before I got sidetracked on the submission.

I did write then. I did do something in the world of a writer. It just wasn’t the goals I was supposed to be doing.

Go figure.

Not to mention right now I’m a week behind on blog hops thanks to work and a lot of other stress… Yeah, that’ll be my later today goal, plus some writing and whatever else needs done, like scheduling Sunday Snippet posts for September. My villain and hero of FtD are feeling quite neglected, too. Yet I’m still struggling a bit to get back into them, I’m managing a few hundred words at a time, that’s it.

So now that August is coming to a close, what are my goals going to be for September? Well… Maybe I’ll save that in depth topic for Friday’s post. (Mainly because I’m not quite sure on them just yet.)

Emotions-5, Daelyn-O

Well I did it.

I took the biggest plunge of my life in my writing so far and submitted the short story to the anthology at about 1am on Saturday. (To me it was still Friday but according to the clocks it was Saturday.)

I am still terrified.

Literally, after setting up the email and attaching the Word doc, I stared at the send button for a good ten minutes unable to breathe before I finally managed to hit that little button. I’ll admit, I had to close my eyes and hold my breath to do it, along with a little kick in the ass from some friends, but I did it finally. I’ve been freaking out off and on ever since then.

Yesterday I had a panic attack over it when I got an email from the coordinator (after I had been asking a few questions so they knew I was submitting one) asking me if I had sent in my submission. For some reason, her email wasn’t showing it at all. It was in my sent mail, it was the right email address it went to and all, yet somehow she didn’t get it. Thankfully, I was allowed to forward the email a second time and she got it after a few hours of panicking on my part.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact I’m still freaking out.

You know how when you submit to something like this you think it’s going to take maybe a month or so before you hear back about your submission? Seems logical, right? They have how many submissions (I really don’t know how many they have and I don’t want to know unless I’m accepted) to read and their own personal lives and such. So I thought a month would be a reasonable amount of time before hearing back.

Ha, yeah, nope!

Imagine my shock over the email I got back in saying they received my submission and I’d hear back by the end of next week, if not sooner, if I was accepted. End of next week! If not sooner! I was not ready to hear that, I think it only made me more terrified.

I expected I’d have a month of waiting with baited breath and now I kinda just got flipped upside down in shock. (I was at work when I read that email to, soooo…) I’m both excited and nervous as all hell to be checking my email for the next two weeks. Excited and terrified are pretty much my two dominant emotions in this.

Well, there’s also the fact this feels so, so surreal. Yes, I still can’t believe I’ve done this. I’ve been one whack-a-doodle since I hit that send button. One minute I’m terrified and repeating “oh my god” to myself while holding my head, the next I’m laughing and smiling like an idiot with giddiness, then I’m left day dreaming and I feel like I want to squeal, then once more I’m terrified and I can’t seem to breathe right, and then… Yeah, it’s just a repeating cycle of madness and roller coaster emotions right now.

In an attempt to get my mind off it and stop freaking out, I tried to dive back into Fated to Darkness on Saturday. You know, since it was neglected while I wrote this submission. I’m having trouble getting myself back into it. I was so focused on this submission and so panicky over it, that now that it’s actually over I’m thinking “now what?”.

Seriously, now what?

This is the first time I’ve ever put so much focus and work into writing and editing something. Alright, yeah, I’ve put A LOT of writing and focus into Fated to Darkness, but I haven’t done any editing on it yet so this feels…bigger.

Who am I kidding? This IS bigger.

At least, at the moment it is. I’m sure when I get around to editing FtD and then looking to get it published, it’ll be ten times bigger than a simple short story for an anthology being as this series is my absolute dream, but… Until that day comes along, this is bigger.

So now I just kind of feel…stuck. Lost. Grappling for what I’m supposed to be doing. I know what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m supposed to be blog hopping and writing and trying to make my goals for August. And instead I’m just…bleh.

It’s been a really funky two days with a lot of unknown reasons for mood switching. As well as a lot of headaches. I don’t know what it is with me right now. Maybe it’s the shock and nervousness and terror of this submission that is screwing with me, but something is screwing with me majorly. I’m getting absolutely nowhere in everything, my emotions and life are winning every round right now, and beating me down into the ground.

Right now I just hope I find my equilibrium again and get writing on FtD, because I had wanted to get 20k added to it this month, and I’ve got about 4.5k instead so far. And because I was supposed to be writing a lot of journal entries for camping and I haven’t done a single one. And I hope I get accepted into this submission, because it would be a dream come true. And… *Sigh*

Why do I always seem to fall apart just when I think I’ve finally got myself on a good path? Am I psyching myself out? Just…why?

This Is It

The moment of truth. The big and scary “holy shit” moment. The “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this” moment.

If you’ve paid attention to the past week and a half of my posts, you’ll have noticed I’ve been talking about a submission I’ve been working on for a Halloween anthology. The deadline for that submission is tomorrow.

And I’m actually ready for it.

I’ve spent the last two days working my butt off on editing and writing for this submission. My brain hurts, but now I’m finally reaching the tail end of all I need to do. And let me just say right now this feels unreal.

I don’t even have a guaranteed chance of being chosen and published in the anthology, but I feel like I’m walking in a daze. I cannot honestly believe that I am giving this a shot. I never thought I would actually do something like this, or at the very least follow all the way through with it. I’m probably one of the least known and not even remotely published authors out there submitting to this, and somehow…I feel as if I have a shot.

I’m terrified. I’m nervous. I’m going “oh my God” every five seconds. I’m staring at my screen like my world has slowed to a stop.

If this is how I feel for simply submitting to the anthology, I do not want to see what my reaction is going to be if I get an email back saying I was accepted.

(I’m getting way over my head here, aren’t I?)

Anyways, getting out of the feelings department, I finished editing this afternoon. Well, let me rephrase that: I finished editing a first round paper edit last night, and spent until 1am or so entering the changes into the Word doc before I sent it off to a friend for a second pair of eyes. (That alone was nerve-wracking to me for some reason.) This morning as I got it back I read through again and tweaked the awkward sentences — with lots of growling and swear words on my part at times — clarified things, and even ended up adding a hundred words or so based off suggestions.

I’m happy with how the story turned out. Really happy, actually. I hope that’s not a bad thing.

So after that was done, I started tackling the dreaded blurb. I. Hate. Blurbs. I swear these things are the Achilles’ Heel of every author out there. How do you put 22 pages worth of story into about eight to ten sentences? How? It never works out nicely the first time, or the second time, or the third, or…

Catch my drift?

Finally after some help in that department as well, I managed to come up with a blurb that I could live with and hopefully has the aspect of appealing. At some point within the blurb writing I finally stopped to eat since I had ignored food the entire day while I was editing.

Once those two things were done, I only had the information side of the submission left to complete. An author bio, placing the story in a genre, recording the word count, writing a dedication since I decided on one, gathering the links to my websites.

Now… Now I’m nearly done.

I’ve completed the author bio and all the other necessary information, the editing is done, the blurb is done, I’ve mostly formatted the Word doc now, the dedication is done.


I can’t believe I’m saying that.

The only thing I have left to do is add the website links to the Word doc and send it in. Ho-ly crap.

That’s a half lie though. I’m not fully, fully done.

One of the links I could include was a Facebook author page. I don’t have one yet. Well, I do now, actually. I had been tossing around the idea of making one for awhile now, but thought I was going to wait for the release of the Dark Heir book. I mean, I’m not published yet so I can’t put any links up to it, no real news. But then again, I do have Wattpad and I do have this blog so I might as well start utilizing a Facebook author page now.

So, in light of this submission, I decided now was a good time to make one. That way on the off chance I am accepted, I have that link out there.

Of course, because I spent the last hour putzing around trying to create my author page, I totally forgot about this blog post. Then again, creating that page is also what reminded me I needed a blog post… Irony is a bitch.

Getting back on topic now… This is really it. By tomorrow afternoon I’ll have sent in my submission and I’ll wait with quiet nervous and a pounding heart to see if I hear back about it at all. I think the story is going to get one last read through and then that’s it.

My heart is pounding just thinking about it now.

(And should any of my followers here be interested in following my author page on Facebook, feel free to come drop me a like. I’m still in the process of setting it up, but the basics are there.)

Scarping Versus Scraping

Alright, so I didn’t finish writing my short story submission for the anthology by Saturday like I had wanted. I got close, but I was hitting blocks and I was a real cranky bitch for a couple days so not a lot of writing happened. I did write every day, but I didn’t finish the story like I wanted to.

Sunday I kind of took a day off, even though I know I shouldn’t have. I was trying to make myself write but I was still just so tired from a long work week that I couldn’t get myself moving. I had my laptop out and everything, I just kind of never opened it to start writing.

So yesterday before work was when I finally finished writing this short tale. As usual, I’m a horrible judge of how many more words left I have to write. I thought it’d be around 7k words or so in total, and, nope. I ended up finishing out at 21 pages and 9.5k words.

I’m not complaining about it. I like how it ended and I think it’s befitting. Though I did have a new character decide to waltz their way in at the end of the story. More like clip-clop on in. But I love them so much so it’s all good.


Since I finished writing the story yesterday, that had left me with about four days to edit this and send it in. The deadline is this Saturday. I want to send it on Friday just to be safe. I had really wanted more than four days to edit this, but I think I’ll be okay.

Before I went to work yesterday I printed it out and hole punched it, then put it in my short stories binder for editing. (Which still has Rivers of Black sitting in it staring at me expectedly going “when am I finally going to get my re-edit?”) I hauled my editing bag out yesterday before I left, too, and had sorely wished I could have stayed home from work and started working on it.

Unfortunately the evil day job just does not allow me to do that. I gotta make money some other way until my dad keeps saying I hit big with publishing. (He’s more confident than I am over that fact.)

So I started editing earlier tonight then and I’ve gotten halfway through the story. I’m up to page 12. I would have been editing all day but I had a dreaded bathroom to clean finally, and I still haven’t gotten to my laundry since someone else stole the washer for the day. I swear that happens every time I’m off and need to do my laundry.

I’d still be editing if not for the fact I remembered I needed a blog post before midnight. Whoops.

This editing round is honestly my first try at printing out what I write and editing the old fashioned way with a red pen and a bunch of other office goodies. (You should see what my editing bag holds.) I used to just edit right from my computer screen but after being told printing it out seems to help a little more, I decided it was time to give it a try.

So far I like it. I really like doing it this way. There’s a bunch of papers and colorful pens strewn around me, but it works well doing it this way. I’m going to stick with this.

Part of the problem is this is also sort of my trial and error editing method. Since this is the first time I’m editing on paper, I’m not quite sure how I want to color code things or stay organized so I’m kind of testing the waters as I go. Thankfully this story isn’t a mess so I don’t have a lot of sticky note options or more than one color pen options, but it’s still a bit of trial and error. I think Rivers of Black might be a bit more in depth than this is.

So far so good though. It’s coming along well, even if I’m sitting here muttering to myself and reading aloud. I also discovered that scarping is a word in this process. I apparently meant to write “scraping” and it came out as “scarping”. I had never heard of that word before and since Word didn’t obviously yell at me for it with a red squiggly line, I didn’t notice it till now. And yes, I did go look it up when I realized what I wrote to see if it was even a word. I don’t think I would have caught that if I was staring at my computer screen instead of a piece of paper. So, yay!

My hope is to have finished paper editing it and entering the changes into Word by tomorrow night. Then maybe get another set of eyes on it just to be safe and give it one last read through before I send it off on Friday.

Wish me luck, but I’m sure you’ll hear about that come Friday anyways.