Gearing Up For Camp NaNo

The Evil Day Job and writing don’t always mix nicely, especially when you work in soul-sucking retail. Sometimes it seems impossible to be able to unplug from work and find time, or energy, to write once you make it home — hopefully in one piece. And other times…it really is impossible.

I am going to hate myself for saying this, but I have begun to associate this work week as a third Christmas. (Easter is the second Christmas when it comes to retail, and actually Back to School could be the third mini Christmas instead, so maybe this is like my fourth Christmas.) Essentially this week is Hell Week when my boss decided it’s a great time to take an eight day vacation — for what I swear is the third time in only a couple months, throw myself and the two other managers under the bus more than once, and leave all of us to pick up her slack the final week before the biggest boss visit of our store’s life.

Thanks, bitch! NOT! I don’t care what’s going on in your life right now, you should definitely be here for this.

I do not get paid enough for this amount of stress, frustration, and responsibility now sitting on my shoulders. I should also not be going into overtime this week, but guess what? All three of us managers left to deal with this bullshit are probably going into overtime, even when we’re technically not allowed.

You know it’s time to find a new job when you’ve got to the point that you really just don’t care anymore. You do what you get done and the rest… “Well, fuck it. It is what is anymore. I don’t care.”

I get it though. You’re the general manager and you’ve adopted an “I can do whatever the hell I want” attitude because of it. Whatever though. I don’t care anymore. I’ll look for a new job unless things start shaping up as fair again, or I’ll leave and laugh while I watch you scramble to fill an already shorthanded position.

Well no wonder I’m going into overtime then when I’m not supposed to!

*Rolls eyes* Idiot…

I shall forego a longer rant about work though and move onto writing. If there’s one thing overtime kills, it’s free time at home and the energy to do anything once you get home. It also doesn’t help when you work so many messed up shifts that you have to choose between eating, sleeping, or getting things done once you finally do get home.

The bad thing about all this happening right now is that it’s the week before Camp NaNo starts for me. By the time Saturday rolls around I’m going to be so fed up and exhausted that I’m going to need all of Saturday just to recover some sanity and motivation — maybe longer than that at this rate, which means I only have Sunday left in my request off days to get a head start on Camp.

I should have taken the first three days of July off for Camp, but then again, even if I did, my boss would be taking away the approved third day just like she took away one of my approved days — approved in FEBRUARY — this week because her life took precedent over mine.

I did not do it for you, bitch, I did it for the two other managers getting stuck with your bullshit too. Don’t you dare thank me for it, or I might just have the balls to finally say to your face I didn’t do it for you. (The other two managers know straight up I did it for them.)

Despite how much hell this week is going to be I did manage to start my Camp NaNo  project on Sunday. For the first time in two months I finally picked up some of my writing and got to work. Since I’m using Camp to work on the concordance and some minor editing of Fated to Darkness, I wanted to get a head start so I could play around with the best way to go about this project.

I’m glad I did get a head start because I spent a good hour and a half just organizing pages in my concordance and figuring out what sections/categories needed added yet, and making lists for what to include in certain categories (like character sheets, and chapter summary information for easy access to arranging plot lines, and so forth).

By the time I did call it quits Sunday night since I had to be at work early Monday morning, I had a better basis for how to do things, started a rough note notebook to keep track of things for said pages above, had managed to get through the Prologue of my story with the minor editing, and created a reference and question Word doc I can consult and use when I begin the major editing.

My hope is by making this Word doc I’ll better be able to organize the notes I left myself in my rough draft. I’ll be able to use it to answer questions of past events or miscellaneous things, or note that I need a character name, or a chapter title, or that this section needs more editing, or that I need to watch my “telling words” in this section, or this scene needs more description, etc. etc. etc.. By transferring and noting where those references and questions are in my rough draft, I should be able to eliminate lots of unnecessary words and some pages so I’m not printing — or paying — as much when I start paper editing the book. (I plan to put the Word doc on a flash drive and take it to an office supply store to print it instead of using all my own paper and ink.)

I think it’s going to work based on how things started out for me, and my hope is to get up to at least Chapter 11, which is about 146 pages, by the end of July. If I want to stick to my original goal of getting through the whole book by November, that gives me four months, and there’s about 40 some chapters in this book. Roughly ten chapters a month, not too bad — I don’t think. By doing it this way I can use the minimal free time of November and December to organize the rough notes I’m putting in the notebook into my concordance, and also print my reference Word doc and the actual book.

(Wait, what free time in November? That’s NaNoWriMo! And the start of the holiday!)

The more I think about this, the scarier it is to see how far I’ve really come. At the same time it’s exciting. It’s hard to believe I’ve really come this far.

Now if only I can figure out how to regain energy and motivation in the face of work’s hell to keep pushing forward this week — I would like to get through Chapter 1 before Camp starts — and in the future at this rate… Music only helps so much sometimes. I need another way. Like maybe taping the logo of my company — or maybe my boss’ face — on my target and practice shooting my bow at it. Bet you I’d hit a bull’s eye…

How do you unplug from work to shake off it’s exhaustion and frustration to be able to focus on writing and/or editing once you’re home?

Finding Topics

summer solstice

Blessed Summer Solstice, folks!

It seems like just yesterday it was the start of spring and here we are already at the longest day of the year. I hope many of you get to enjoy the beautiful weather and extended light, I unfortunately have work. It sucks to think the days are going to start getting shorter already. Didn’t the nice weather just start?

Solstice aside, I didn’t get a chance to write and post my first helpful post last Friday. Lots of things got in the way and I lost track of time, and at that point after finally deciding what I’m going to go forward doing from this point on, Morgana struggled to come up with a topic to babble about.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it though. I’ve started a list of topics that I can use for those posts — including things like the benefits of Camp NaNo and NaNoWriMo, where to find inspiration, brainstorming and outlining and world building — and whenever something strikes me that I can use I add it on. It’s not a long list yet, but it’s growing slowly.

Other than my brainstorming for topics, I have failed to be productive at all this past week. I’ve had the want to be productive, but not the will and motivation it seems. I suppose the want to be productive is a good start though considering my past weeks. If only I can get myself moving on the actual act of being productive now that’d be great.

I do seem to have decided what I’m doing about Camp NaNoWriMo in July though, and it’s not going to be my normal kind of decision. (I believe I’ll explain more next week about it.) We’ll see how this decision works out because I want to be able to start the project before Camp starts just to get a feel for how it will go, and if I can manage to make it work. Hopefully I’ll be able to have a chance to start before Camp, but at the same time… The rest of this month is a giant clusterfuck of things going on. If I’m not working, days off will consist of not being home to get any work done. Go figure, right?

(I’m mostly blaming the Evil Day Job because I’m about fed up to my eyeballs with all the bullshit going on there.)

As long as I have some opening shifts next week I should be able to manage it, but, you know, for whatever reason I’m getting the short stick for the past month or so and only getting closing shifts which leaves me NO time to get anything done at home, so who knows what I’ll really end up with.

For now I will do what I can I suppose, and try not to throttle anybody in the process. I should have the time to write and schedule a post for Friday this week now that I have some topics to use. I’m undecided about writing a Shard this week so I’m not sure if there will be a Wednesday post just yet. If the prompt gives me an idea by the end of the night perhaps I will write something for it and post again, but in the meantime I do have a question for my dear readers.

Whether you’re an author, a publisher, a writer as a hobby, a journalist, or a reader, or anything at all; when it comes to stories, writing, and everything in between, what kind of topics do you want to hear about, and maybe learn something about? What kind of suggestions can you give me for a topic to write about that’s a little more informative than just my rambling? It can be anything from involving characters to involving publishing to involving a certain genre or research or more. What do you, as my followers, want to see me post about from this field?

Final Days and Final Chapters

This is it.

In more ways than one.

The final days of Camp NaNo are here. Only three days left to write to get the win. Now is the time to push hard and commit yourself to losing sleep if you still have a long way to go. (I’m not the only one who does that, right?) Now is definitely the time to panic and make a mad dash for the finish line as you curse to yourself for procrastinating so much earlier in the month.

My brain to me: If you hadn’t procrastinated so much and stuck to your self-imposed day off work goals, do you realize how many words you could have had by this time? Do you realize how far you’d be in Clockwork Heart too?

*Dead stare* Unfortunately my brain has a point. I really did slack this month on Camp. If I had stuck to my self-imposed 5k word goal days on the days I have off work, I would have had 60k alone just from those days already, 70k by the 30th. And that wouldn’t be including my word sprint days or any words I wrote on work days.

Sixty thousand words! If I had just held myself more accountable throughout the month, and stopped hesitating and being so unsure about finishing the novel. But no, I essentially screwed myself this month.

The funny thing is… Okay, maybe it’s not funny, but more like a distant sobbing moment of yelling at myself. Anywho, I’ve said throughout this month I had hoped for a repeat of last year’s Camp NaNo in April where I did 61k in a month. My Facebook “On this day blah-blah years ago…” throwback post ended up showing me my win status from last year’s Camp NaNo in April today, when I did that 61k.

I looked at it and just started sobbing internally, wishing I could have done that again. I validated two days early last year, with that 61k, and somehow managed 128 pages and completed six and a half chapters, plus starting a new one.

I’m nowhere close to that this year.

I wonder if part of my reluctance this month to write was not just because I was going to finish the novel and that both scared and excited me, but also because I hate splitting my NaNo project into two separate novels. It’s weird to me to do that. I don’t know why, I’m just strange like that, and a bit of an OCD nit picker.

Even though I didn’t get to up my goal at all this month, I’m more than likely still going to run into the issue of needing a thousand to two thousand words of…something to hit goal.

Maybe…

I don’t know for sure. Right now the only thing I know for sure is I want to rip my hair out on this final chapter. It’s…ugh. I don’t even have words anymore except a fluent, colorful string of curses and some screaming.

The chapter is worse than sucking now.

It still feels fake and forced, and there’s still no bang to it or tension like I envisioned. The scene in my head is not flowing out through the fingertips in the slightest. It’s maddening, it’s infuriating. I’m so damn frustrated over this chapter that I was inches away from deleting it to start over Wednesday night.

And I don’t do that. I don’t delete to start over. That’s what editing is for.

Believe it or not on top of the this total hell week of work — no it has not gotten any better at all, let’s just say that by Wednesday I had more hours on the clock than my boss, and I’ve still got one more shift tonight — I did manage to do some writing Wednesday night with a friend, about a thousand words I think. And…

Well, the writing went something like this:

-*Is writing*
-*On the final chapter of Book 1*
-*Nothing is going according to plan or how I can see it in my head*
-*Mentally starts to throttle both my main characters*
-*Whole chapter feels forced, fake, and non-directional; hate every bit of what I’m writing*
-*Keeps writing anyways because that’s what you do*
-*Starts to think I’m finding the groove finally and getting on track*

Five minutes later….

-*One main character says something they shouldn’t, and AREN’T, supposed to make known*
-*Starts swearing like a sailor*
-*Bashes head off wall*
-*Throttles characters even more*
-*Stops writing and leaves lengthy ranting note to rewrite the whole damn thing because I give up on this chapter because it royally sucks monkey balls*

Yeah…

I’m that frustrated with Chapter 41.

Never before have I been this fed up and frustrated with a chapter. Never before have I wanted to delete something so badly and start over with it. Never before have I said I’m skipping the chapter and moving on to the next one because I don’t do that.

But guess what?

That’s exactly what I’m doing for the first time.

I don’t know why this chapter is so hard to write, but it is driving me insane. Is it because it’s the final chapter of the book? The big cliffhanger ending and the final show down? Is it because I know if the ending is no good then no one will want to read Book 2? Is it because I need it to be perfect because it’s the end of the first book?

Whatever the reason is for this chapter being so damn hard I am still ripping my hair out and screaming over it. It’s a miracle I didn’t throw something (like my laptop) Wednesday night when I got to the point of giving up on it. I was ranting up a storm.

One friend offered to take a look at the chapter and give me any pointers or opinions, and surprisingly — after a lot of hesitating — I finally agreed. I mean, I’ve never showed a whole chapter of Fated to Darkness to anyone before. This story is my heart and soul, this series is my heart and soul of writing. I was terrified out of my mind to show it to someone, especially completely unedited, and especially because it sucks monkey balls in my eyes.

But perhaps that was part of my problem. I’m so close to it and in knowing what it should be, that I can’t see what it really is. So eventually I agreed and sent the chapter to her for a fresh set of eyes. To my complete and utter dumbfounded shock, they actually liked it. That for a first draft they found it pretty good, and with coherent thought.

I was…speechless.

Hell, I’m still speechless over that.

Granted, they didn’t know the full context of the rest of the book since this was the very end, so it’s hard to give more specific pointers or opinions, but just the fact that they said they liked it and it was pretty good for a very first draft with no editing yet blew me away. I will admit it lessened my frustration and doubt a little. It lifted my confidence just enough that I debated on continuing to write the chapter as it was with my character’s blunder to see where it went, but I haven’t. I’m reluctant to let that train continue because I know she was not supposed to let known what she did.

It can’t happen. Just can’t.

So that leaves me back at square one on wondering what to do about the chapter.

Another friend suggested two things: Either keep writing and see where it leads me, or stop and write another version of it where the screw up moment doesn’t happen.

Writing a second version of a chapter is something I’ve never done before. I’ve always been reluctant too because I think that makes for a double headache in the editing phase, and I also believe that if your second version happens in the middle of the book, it can royally mess with details all throughout the rest of the book. That was a maze of confusion and editing nightmares that I did not want.

If I end up rewriting and changing some things in edits later, fine, I’ll deal with the out of place or missing details then, but I’ve never wanted the hair pulling of multiple options to edit with.

However, for the fact this is the final chapter of the novel and a second version wouldn’t affect anything more than the Epilogue perhaps, I’m toying with the idea of writing a second version just to see what happens. There’s a chance the second version and first version could both have the parts I need combined to be what I’m looking for. I think I’m starting to lean toward writing a second version just to see where it takes me.

Even if it’s complete and utter shit too at least it’s words written for Camp and provides me with more options or ideas for when I come back to it in edits. I mean, once I finish the chapter it will sit for a long time before I reach it again, and by then I might have fresh eyes on the crap I wrote and not find it as big a pile of crap as I think it is now.

Who knows, and I won’t know until I get to that point.

She also gave me another piece of advice that I think I need to print and frame and hang where I can see it every day:

BoCFoK!

Butt on Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.

(Read the link, it’s like a mini pep talk. Which is exactly why I need to print and frame it. Thank you, P.T.)

Right now though I still need 5,669 words to hit goal for Camp, with only three days left and one more work shift to go. So I better put my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keyboard as soon as I can. I’m hoping that final 5.7k of words will entail only Fated to Darkness, but I’m not sure the characters will manage that, and I don’t want to be dragging things out just to make that happen. On the other hand, I still don’t know what I can finish with if I need more words because I’m reluctant to do a thousand or so of Clockwork Heart this late in the month.

I think what I’m going to do is skip forward and write the Epilogue to see how that goes, and to put some distance between myself and Chapter 41. Depending how many words are left at that point I’ll go back and try to write a second version of that last chapter. At the very least I’ll skip the hard part of the chapter right now and write the very end of it, because I know exactly how that part goes down. I’ve known how those final pages end since the very beginning of this novel. I can at least write that part without issue I know, and then find a way to tie it all together in edits.

But as soon as I finish the Epilogue and that little bit, I have officially finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness, Book 1 of The Dark Heir chronicles.

I’m oh so close…

Now I’m just praying the Epilogue doesn’t give me as much trouble as Chapter 41 has, because I know it’s going to be a bit tricky to write as well. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck for smooth sailing on the Epilogue because this is it.

This is the final days of NaNo, and this is the final chapters of Fated to Darkness. If my next post isn’t a declaration of a win and the completion of this novel, then my dear followers, do smack me.

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.

*Sigh*

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?

Falling in the Black

Camp is…sucking.

And right now that’s putting it lightly.

So far nothing this month has really gone to plan, or even close to how I had hoped it would. The last several days are no exception to that trend.

Exhaustion has been my constant companion since Tuesday’s work shift. I have trudged through the last several days with bleary, burning eyes and a complete lack of focus in most times. Somehow I’ve managed to not royally screw anything up in my exhaustion, but I’ve definitely done and said some delirious things.

Thursday was supposed to be a day off for me, and I was looking forward to it because I could hopefully sleep and try to get somewhere on Camp again. And then… Walking into work on Wednesday morning changed everything, again. For once I can’t blame it on my boss, but I can attribute this one to my DM (District Manager).

Apparently him and my boss held a conversation something along the lines of this before I came in that day:

DM: How are you doing for Easter? How is payroll? Do you need more hours to bring more people in?

My boss: We’re in good shape.

DM: What about payroll? Do you need extra hours? What are [Daelyn’s] hours like this week?

My boss: About 30.

DM: Take another 10-15 hours and give her another day.

*Sigh* Thanks, man. I so wanted an extra day. Not.

At the very least, my boss let me choose which day I wanted to work — Thursday or Saturday. I definitely did not want to work Saturday knowing how much madness THAT was going to be, so I took Thursday and screwed over every plan I had once more. Unfortunately, I also ended up with a longer shift today thanks to those extra hours our DM gave us.

So not only was I disgruntled over that the rest of Wednesday, that night looking at my email I also received some bad news that I feared hearing one day. I’m not going to go into it yet — I don’t have the heart or decision to talk about it yet — although I will have to eventually because it does involve my publishing. I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty upset and stressed over the news. I feel like a fish out of water, uncertain and worried.

As a result of those extra hours, exhaustion, and now more stress, I’ve finally fallen below par for Camp. Yesterday I was only 13 words above par, and since I didn’t manage to write anything in my bleary-eyed state, I’ve officially fallen below as of today.

I know I’m not going to get anything written today with work, and right now I have no idea how tomorrow is going to go. There’s other things I need to address now.

The bad news also shook my enthusiasm for writing, and its taken my heart out of it right now. In a way, it affects the tentative plans I had for Clockwork Heart, the other novella I was going to work on this month. The one I wanted to finish and release this year. But now…

Now I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with it again. For the second time this year. (It’s like the universe is trying to make me doubt myself, and it’s working.)

Right now I guess all I can do is force myself to write for Camp and figure out what options I have left, but that doesn’t bring back my motivation and confidence, that doesn’t help me make a decision. A decision I don’t have all the time in the world to think over and make. A decision I really don’t want to make during Mercury’s Retrograde, but will have to.

None of this now is going to help me figure out where I’m going from here. I think I’ll be lucky if I make my Camp goal this month, no upping it this time. Or if I find my heart for writing again. I can’t even honestly describe what I’m feeling and thinking now. I’m falling in the black.

Struggling Through Camp

You know what’s a major distraction from writing?

Sunshine. Warm weather. Eighty degree weather.

An all around beautiful day in which it is too nice to stay inside with your butt glued to a chair writing.

I had all the plans in the world to take my day off yesterday and just write. Simply go dark for the whole day and write. I hadn’t touched my Word doc since last Wednesday when I managed only about 600 words and I was getting close to falling below par. I knew the rest of the week was going to be draining with the holiday and work, and I needed to get another cushion built up. Just another 5k or more, definitely doable if I sat down and didn’t touch one ounce of social media all day.

In a way it would have been a nice break of peace and quiet too because Sunday wasn’t a good day for me. I’m blaming Mercury going Retrograde for that one, and the fact I was drained in more ways than one after three long, crazy work days. (Easter madness has officially begun.)

That was the plan.

And that plan then went out the window when I found it was eighty degrees of beautifulness outside yesterday. Warm, bright sunshine. A nice breeze. Considering it dropped to the thirties and snow on Friday, I was beyond happy to have a perfect day again.

Instead of writing my day ended up consisting of being outside most of it. Which is, of course, counterproductive to writing and meeting word goals.

Eventually I did manage to pull my ass inside to sit down and write, but…I was still a bit distracted. Part of me is still dragging my feet on finishing this novel, but I’m trying to force myself to write. I didn’t manage nearly as many words as I would have liked yesterday, but I managed enough to keep myself just above par for today as well.

Today and tomorrow are going to suck though and be a struggle. Gotta love retail, where you can close the store one night and then have to be back to open it again early the next day. So much for sleep, or enough time to regain some energy. Which means I’m going to be dragging to try to get my Shard done tomorrow too.

Unless I just stay up late after today’s shift and lose even more sleep. If I do that I’ll probably end up napping after my shift Wednesday. At least I have Thursday off so I can crash that night and sleep in. Actually, after Wednesday’s shift I should be able to sleep in till at least next Tuesday because Friday I work a late shift, Saturday I’m off, Sunday we’re closed for Easter believe it or not, and Monday I know I have off. Yay!

Anyways, I’m getting off topic.

For right now I’m holding above par by about 200 words, but once Wednesday hits if I don’t manage to write anything today I’ll fall below for the first time this month. I don’t want to fall below, I hate falling below. It’s easier to try to stay above than it is to try to catch up.

However, considering how these next two work shifts may go, I could very well fall below by about 1.5k by the time Thursday rolls around. I hope not, but I’m not holding my breath either. I’ve learned my lesson before on getting too hopeful I’ll have the energy to write after back to back shifts like this, especially in busy seasons.

With any luck, Thursday will go a lot smoother in writing and maybe I can get a lot more completed. I’d still like to up my goal from 30k to something else, at least 40k, if not 50k, but that means I need to get my butt moving a little faster, and start being more productive. I’m really struggling with this Camp NaNo though. On all fronts from excitement to writing in general.

We shall see I suppose. My fingers are crossed at the very least because pretty soon we’ll be half way through Camp already. I wonder if upping my goal now could be the kick in the ass I really need. Hmm…

And I should keep writing now, but, headaches are also major distractions to writing.

Ready Or Not, Here Comes Camp NaNo

Does anyone remember me mentioning several times throughout the last three months that my plan was to finish Fated to Darkness before the start of Camp NaNo so I could use Camp to write Clockwork Heart?

Well, regarding those plans, Camp NaNo is only three days away from starting now and…

Holy shit there’s only three days left till Camp NaNo starts.

*Panics slightly for a moment*

Okay. Okay. I’m calm. I’m very calm. I also have nothing ready for Camp NaNo and only three — and a half technically — days left to plan, all of which are swallowed up with horrendous work shifts and…

Crap. Crap crap crap crap. Or, as a friend would say, slertha!

(Yes, I just swore in a made up language from another book. I’m allowed to, I’m good friends with the author. An author who also created another made up curse word on behalf of a monster plot of mine, which Facebook so kindly reminded me of from two years ago today. LOL.)

Right. Plans. Camp NaNo. Getting back on track here.

Anyways, my original plan was to finish Fated to Darkness before Camp rolled around, because, dammit, I’ve been working on this novel for far too long now. Like, four Camp NaNo’s and one NaNoWriMo. That’s two and a half years! ARG!

When I set that as my plan I knew it was doable because I only had roughly five chapters left to write. And I’ve made progress! I’m down to three and a half chapters, pending a possible epilogue too. I don’t know. I want to do the epilogue, but I’m worried how spoilerish it might be unless I can leave a huge question to it so readers don’t guess something major that comes down the line. I want an epilogue either way, somehow, because I’m using them to show what is going on in other important character’s lives, or what’s going on in the realm period. I need them for added information and buildup.

I just… Ugh. Right now this epilogue is giving me a headache thinking about. And don’t even get me started on the prologue I wrote for this book. It’s suddenly been bothering me that I wrote it in first person instead of third and I’m now wondering if that was a good idea or not.

I’m having difficulties here!

And I’m getting off track, again. I do that a lot…

ANYWHO!

Unless I can write three and a half chapters, and figure out the epilogue, within three and a half days on top of horrendous work shifts and a large lack of sleep coming up thanks to work shifts, I am not going to finish Fated to Darkness before Camp starts like I had hoped.

I am writing though. I went dark last night in hopes of finishing the chapter I’m on, but it’s not moving as quickly as I had expected it to end. I did add 2.2k words to it though. So it’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing but walks and yard work. I’m banking part of my boosted motivation and productivity on the fact it’s finally Spring and warm out with sunshine and birdsong and color and… Oh Spring; how I missed you. It’s amazing how much Spring uplifts me and kicks me into gear again. No wonder I hate Winter so much, other than the snow and cold.

Since the odds of me finishing this novel in three and a half days is about the same odds of perfecting time travel right now, I’m going to have to start Camp with the project of finishing this novel. I’m hoping it’s maybe about 20k from the end. I’m horrible at estimating length though soooo… Fingers crossed it’s about 20k, because this novel is going to make me cry in editing. (Do not ask me how long it is, I will lie.)

My tentative goal for Camp NaNo right now is 30k because there’s thirty days in April. I will see how the first couple weeks go of Camp and if I’ll make that goal and blow it away as I did last year in April, or if I’ll struggle and need to lower it. Once I see how close I am after the first two weeks, I adjust to something else.

One month I did 61k, the next Camp I only managed 35k. (This was last year April and July.) So it all depends on what’s going on that month for me, and how much I feel like killing myself. Considering Easter falls in April this year, and work is now shorthanded for this season because we lost a manager, I’m betting I will not have a lot of time to write for the first couple weeks. Even after that things might be fucktastic because one less manager means more hours that I really did not want right now.

I want the time off this year to be able to really focus on writing and reach further for my dreams, not extra hours. Sure, the paycheck is nice, but when I look back at the end of this year to see if I accomplished what I wanted and I might not have thanks to work, I’m going to resent the paycheck instead. I’ll also probably end up tossing around the idea in my head that I need to quit my day job to focus solely on writing and trying to make a name for myself. Believe me, that idea has been kicking around in my head this year already.

Although, for the sake of my writing, I have started putting in requests for days off in which I can focus on just writing. I don’t feel guilty about doing that anymore. I took the first three days of April off to get started on writing, and now since the manager thing and horrible shifts today through Friday, I’m really wishing I had asked for four days off instead of three. I’m gonna need the first of April just to find some energy again at this rate.

I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Getting off track that is.

Okay, so the start of NaNo is going to be finishing Fated to Darkness, which hopefully will be about 20k and no more. In comparison to my goal, that still leaves me with 10k to write. I hate to do more than one project during NaNo, but once I finish Book 1 here I’m going to use the rest of NaNo to work on Clockwork Heart. Maybe between the end of this NaNo and July’s NaNo I can finish that novella/novel — whichever it turns out to be — and then spend most of the rest of 2017 editing it and submitting it to be published. By the end of the year.

That is my goal. To hopefully get Clockwork Heart published by the end of 2017.

If I do finish that novel before November rolls around I honestly have no idea what I’m working on for the big NaNoWriMo. Maybe Breaking Point, or Shapeshifter Wings, or… Okay, now I’m really getting ahead of myself.

I think Breaking Point needs a new title too but I have no idea what to call it and…

OKAY! Enough random tangent thoughts!

Sheesh! There’s way too many tabs open in my head right about now.

What was I talking about? Right. Camp NaNo plans.

Thankfully I have the rest of Fated to Darkness planned out already so I won’t get stuck on “what’s next?” with that novel. Hopefully I can get as much as possible finished on it in the next three and a half days before I use Camp to wrap it up. (Seriously can’t believe I’m saying that yet.) Then with whatever word count I have left to accomplish, and whatever goal I end up settling on after Easter craziness, I will spend the rest of April’s Camp NaNo writing Clockwork Heart. I do have parts of Clockwork Heart planned out with a general direction so hopefully I don’t get stuck there either.

30k words next month is the goal, along with finishing this blasted novel finally. I would love to do more than 30k again but we’ll see what happens.

Just three and a half more days before the next plunge into madness is upon me…

Pranks Vs. Harassment

(Warning: Some strong language ahead.)

Everyone loves a good prank, right? They can be quite a laugh sometimes and all in good fun. I mean, that’s what April Fool’s is all about! (Well, other than the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and the sneaky leprechaun you can try to catch.)

But when does a prank go too far? When does a prank constitute as harassment?

That was my issue today, and it’s been one hell of a day.

I’m sure the majority of you have done a prank call at least once in your life. Maybe it was to someone you knew or maybe it was just a random call asking someone if their refrigerator was running and that they should go catch it. All in good fun then, right?

For the most part.

But what about when it interferes with someone’s job? What about when you waste their time by acting as a disgruntled and angry customer, before ending on brash questions that are a slap in the face?

That I consider harassment.

So it was fun to you. You thought it’d be a good laugh to call my place of work and fabricate stories regarding my product that had me repeating myself for five minutes on policy and possibly solutions, scream at me for “not listening” to the point I can’t even understand you, demand to speak to the manager when I have told you six times I am the manager on duty, laugh hysterically in the background with your little group of teenage girl friends because I’m trying to appease who I believe is a disgruntled customer that I don’t want giving us a complaint because that is part of my job, and then decide the game is up once I realize it’s a prank call by asking me “do you like dicks?”.

You know what, fuck you. You just wasted ten minutes of my time when I was supposed to be clocking out and ending my shift.

So you’re proud of yourself for tripping me up that long, well good for you. But you know what else? In the end, your little group of friends was nothing more than a bunch of little bitches who obviously aren’t going anywhere in life. You are part of the problem of every generation coming after me, a world where no one respects anything or anyone. And it disgusts me.

So go right ahead at the expense of me and give yourself a high five with your friends. Go ahead and laugh over the clueless manager you fooled and upset. But I don’t care now, I’m letting it roll off me, and you know why? Because in the end I realized you don’t matter, you little attention seeking twat, and I was the adult. I didn’t scream back at you, I didn’t curse, I stayed level headed even if I was mentally throttling you, and I didn’t hang up like I had wanted to a couple minutes into the so-called conversation until you blatantly asked your rude question.

I only have a few words for you now: Grow up, get a life, and actually strive to achieve something. Learn to be the bigger person for once instead of the bully, because the day you find the shoe on the other foot, I will be the one laughing while you are sorely surprised to find you’re on your own and the world is cruel. The jokes on you in the end.

Just remember, next time the person you prank may not be as strong and dismissive of your hurtful nature. And don’t forget, we can get your number and call the police on you for harassment.

So to whichever group of dumb teenage girls that decided to prank call my place of work today… *Sweet smile* Have a nice life, bitches. Karma is an even bigger bitch in the end, and I’m done being a victim because of your insecurities. You aren’t tearing me down this time.

Reflecting On 2016

I’ve been quite absent here the past week or so. Last week was a total madhouse of things going on with the holiday season. The week before Christmas is the final and worst Hell Week when you work retail. Since I had my own things I had to finish to be ready for the holiday on top of working I was going non-stop and a lot slipped my mind, like blog posts. I hardly slept last week with the final rush of things.

(I know I’ve said something similar to this before but roughly ten hours of sleep in a matter of three days is not recommended. I crashed for about 18 hours after that little doozy of a nightmare.)

Things have finally begun to quiet down now that it’s over. At least, work has quieted down from the chicken without a head rushing, there’s still lots to do though. Home life, on the other hand, has not taken the memo to quiet down this week. After putting in two weeks of overtime, I somehow managed to score four days off this week and I was so looking forward to it because this introvert needs about three weeks of calm to realign after the last several weeks before she has to hit another two or three weeks of madness due to inventory.

Unfortunately that calm has not worked out.

Monday into Tuesday morning was my sleep for about 18 hours spell. Tuesday was my first day off (other than Christmas, I didn’t exactly count Christmas as off since there was still no relaxing about it) and I had completely planned for it to be a “fuck it all” kind of day where I was simply going to just sit around and relax finally. I didn’t care if I got anything done or not, and I was not planning to go anywhere.

Right off the bat that got screwed because I had to go out to finish an errand that I couldn’t do on Monday since the post office was closed the day after Christmas, and of course, other people wanted me to do things that day. I said no. The relaxation also got a little cancelled by a bummed out and irritated mood thanks to certain events. Thankfully, by the end of the night I was pretty alright though.

Wednesday I worked and upon getting home I began to hear the news about the company All Romance eBooks closing its doors at the end of the year quite abruptly without warning and basically screwing over its authors and publishers. It gave me a mini heart attack because for a moment I couldn’t remember if my publisher for Embermyst had used them or not. I got lucky, but many others haven’t, and just hearing about it is making me reel and shaking me off center a little.

Now Thursday into today has pretty much been an irritating hell in which nothing has gone to plan thanks to uncontrollable circumstances that don’t even involve me but end up effecting me. I even had off today and, yeah, nothing has gotten done.

At this point, all I’m praying for to whichever god or goddess will hear me is that the rest of this night goes more calmly and that tomorrow mellows out into a good day since I’m again off. Tomorrow better be a good day because it’ll be the first time I get to spend one on one time with someone I hardly see. I don’t want anything to ruin it, not the slightest hitch. You hear me, universe? Not one hitch. No ifs, ands, or buts. That’s my one and only warning. I need something good to end this nightmare year on.

Speaking of this nightmare year, it’s just about over. I think a lot of people are saying “fucking finally” and will be jumping for joy when this year ends tomorrow, or they’ll be flicking off the ball as it drops. Myself included. There have been a few good spots to 2016 but there’s also been a lot of bad that has left a shadow of darkness hanging over this year forever. I honestly believe it will be a year that goes down in history as one nobody ever wants to speak of again.

As I sit here with six candles to light my room, my diffuser running with a blend of essential oils to try to ease my stress and relax, and a CD of hammer dulcimer instruments playing softly, I can’t help but look back on 2016. (Can you tell I was meditating before I began this post?)

A lot has happened this year, and a lot also hasn’t happened this year. Some things were amazing, others were horrific. Some things were half started and never finished, others were never began, and others still were huge accomplishments. It has certainly been a royal roller coaster of a year, and not just for me but for a lot of the world.

The world was rocked by terrorist attacks on Paris. Outrage flew out over the Pulse shootings in Florida. The world reeled at the results of the US Presidential Election. So many influential and amazing actors/actresses, singers, songwriters, producers, and authors passed away this year. DAPL’s heinous acts have gotten little media coverage and left many people outraged by greed and fighting back with the risk to their lives by this point. The Zika virus outbreak caused much panic in women and over the Olympic games. Let’s face it, no one was happy where the Olympic games took place either.

There were spots of light amongst the darkness though.

Thanks to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge of oh so long ago, the gene responsible for the disease has been identified, giving us new ground to work toward an effective treatment. Scientists learned how to link robotic arms with the part of the brain linked to intent so that they may use them just as we use our own limbs, just by doing. Endangered species’ numbers are growing, like tigers, and pandas, and manatees. World crime is still declining — even if it doesn’t seem like it after this year. A bank firm paid the college tuition for children of employees killed in 9/11. After the Pulse shootings, the Orlando Shakespeare Festival showed up at the funeral for the victims with angel wings to block the view of anti-gay protestors from the proceedings. The world of Harry Potter has not ended with a new book and movie out.

2016 has seemed bleak and despairing, but if we only look at the bad, we will never see the bits of good that have bloomed out of the darkness against all odds either.

The world has seen its massive ups and downs this year, that much is for sure, but what about for me?

With the year ending tomorrow I have found myself reflecting back on the goals I had for this year. Some I had actually completed, others I tried but didn’t quite get very far. A few fell through, and still 2016 held a couple surprises.

Does anyone remember what my goals were? (No cheating by clicking on the link. Lol) Well, I suppose I’d be surprised if ya’ll remembered what my goals were. Somehow I managed to remember them, maybe because I wrote them all down in a nice little journal entry at the beginning of the year.

And ’tis the season to take a walk down memory lane from the whole year so I might as well start walking to see what I accomplished — or didn’t accomplish — this year. Care to join me?

THE GOALS

Write Consistently
I suppose my only resolution of this year was to simply write consistently instead of my jumping around in writing this month and doing nothing the next month and so forth. Unfortunately, I still failed pretty miserably at that resolution. I need more discipline to make it work. Something I’m not at all good at.

However, this was the first year I successfully managed a win for NaNoWriMo in November, so I call that an accomplishment. (I tried for it in 2015 too but I had computer issues that rendered me unable to do it.)

After three NaNo sessions working on Fated to Darkness and my short story Embermyst, at the very least I wrote 156,792 words this year. And that doesn’t even include all my Shards of Imagination flash fiction writing or any other writing I did in non-NaNo months. So it’s safe to say I did at least write over 200k this year. (It’d be pretty cool to see what the actual number was if I could ever figure it out.)

*Couple minutes later*

Okay, I did part of the math. If I add in all the words I wrote for Shards of Imagination, I get 203, 177 words. That doesn’t include any of the little bits of writing I did on Fated to Darkness in non-NaNo months so I am definitely over 200k for the year. I wish that number was higher, and I wish I could know just how much I wrote, but I’m not sure I could figure it out exactly. Well… Maybe if I went back through my email to find where I kept leaving off in writing I could get pretty darn close to the exact number. As cool as it’d be to find out I’m not going to try. The 203k also doesn’t include any editing or rewriting I did on Embermyst either.

That’s still a lot of words though.

Re-edit Rivers of Black
This had been one of my “dammit do it already” goals for 2016. I’ve been meaning to re-edit this story for quite some time because I believe it will get some better reads on Wattpad if I clean it up more. (I wrote it years ago at this point.) However, this was one of the goals I failed to get to. I started to get ready for it, I got everything I wanted organized to begin editing it. I just never actually started on it.

Fingers crossed this is something I can actually get to in 2017. (Someone better nag at me to do this.)

Complete 2015 Camping Journal Entries
This goal really should have been completed in 2015 after every single trip I had, as I did the year before. Obviously that didn’t happen in 2015 if it was a goal for this year, and I still haven’t learned my lesson on that one for this past season either, but I did get them done. Almost on the same time frame I had hoped to have them done too: one a week until they were completed. I think I finished about a week late on them but that’s pretty damn good for me that I stuck to it!

Hooray for that accomplishment at least, but I still need to learn my lesson on those entries, because, um, yeah, I did it again this year. Guess who still has all six entries of this year’s season to still write? I’m an idiot.

Obtain My Driver’s License
Yeah… About this one…

This goal had been one of my big, big ones. I’ve only been putting it off and putting it off — for multiple reasons — for a few years now.

To my credit, I got half way to this goal. I did manage to get my permit by the deadline I set myself, which was back in March. However, I’ve only been out to drive less than ten times and haven’t been out in probably five months. Part of that is because I hardly see my dad, who is the only person I trust enough and am comfortable with to teach me to drive; and part of that is simply because the idea of driving on the road still scares the living shit out of me.

Okay, let me rephrase that: it’s not the driving on the road that scares me. It’s the driving with other cars around that scares me. Last night, coming home from work at 3am when the roads were empty I would have been perfectly fine to ask my dad if I could try driving home, even though it was snowing lightly. In fact, he almost thought about asking me that, and if he had I’m 99% sure I would have said yes. But if you ask me to drive on the road during the day… I freeze up.

Sadly, the year limit on my permit will be up in a couple months and I’ll have to go through this whole process again because I know I will not have my license by then. Not when I’ve begun seeing my dad even less than the beginning of this year. Who says next year is going to be any different either with our jobs?

Start Horseback Riding Again
At the beginning of the year, I had really missed riding and had wanted desperately to go back. After talking with a couple friends, I was encouraged to pursue it again because it could have been that one thing that helped me get through each week in a life I was beginning to deem miserable for eternity.

Well, a few months ago I finally took that step and went back to riding at the academy I used to attend. However… While it started out great and I was beginning to gain the confidence I lost three years ago due to my fall, riding rapidly began to lose its charm.

The horse I normally rode switched to a different one that I enjoyed at first but then began to get frustrated with because I was spending more time trying to slow him down from running into the rider in front of me (I ride in a group of three or four per lesson) than I was having fun. I also tended to work every morning before riding and by the time I was getting home I’d have to change and leave. It became exhausting, it became more of a chore than something I enjoyed doing and looked forward to.

Now I haven’t ridden in probably a month and a half between the lesson itself being cancelled or me deciding not to go because I’m exhausted or have had too much to do. I’m to the point now that I’m honestly thinking of dropping the lessons once more, because it really isn’t doing what it used to for me. Perhaps it would be less of a chore if I could get those days totally off work, or if I could get a different horse again, but riding a different horse isn’t up to me, and I had enough trouble the first month or so with my boss screwing my schedule up. I can only imagine how much it’d be screwed again if I asked for Wednesday’s off completely now.

So I accomplished the goal, I went back, but I’m on the verge of giving it up again.

Organize Closet
This was one of my major goals of 2016. At the beginning of the year I didn’t actually believe I would accomplish it. I surprised myself though.

Not only did I organize and clean out my closet, I organized and cleaned out my entire room. I even held a yard sale to try to get rid of the stuff I no longer wanted. To my dismay the yard sale hardly panned out and wasn’t worth half the stress and sleepless nights I put on myself over this goal. Even now I’m still sitting on half the stuff I couldn’t sell because I have had no time to go through it and do something with it since then.

The intent of this goal was so I could finally start to reclaim my room as my own after about four years. Needless to say, it hasn’t really worked out. The only way it’s going to work out is if the spare room is cleaned out as well. Which shouldn’t be a problem since I just did one room, right? Wrong. Not when half the stuff in there is your lazy mother’s who can’t hold a single penny to her word and who is pretty much useless and disrupting if I were to do it anyways.

So while I managed to accomplish the goal of cleaning my closet and room out, it left a mess of things I still have to find a way to work with. I need to get onto either a Facebook group or Craigslist to try to sell the rest of the stuff, and start either donating what I can or throwing the other stuff out.

Finish Fated to Darkness
This… This was my most major of goals for 2016. The one that if I would have completed it I wouldn’t have cared if I accomplished nothing else all year.

Now, this goal included finishing the first draft of the novel and working out the concordance so when I began to edit next year in theory I wouldn’t be so lost. So there was a lot of work involved in this goal.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get all that work done.

To my credit, I nearly accomplished half of that work. The first draft is about six chapters away from being completed after writing feverishly on it for every NaNoWriMo month there was this year, as well as in between at times. I put in over 150k to this story this year, and no, I’m not going to tell you how long it actually is. (I’m hoping editing takes it down in word count a little, the length is even starting to worry me.)

It’s been quite a ride with it this year. Some chapters I stared at my screen slack-jawed in shock with what I just wrote. One in particular I did. Others I wanted to tear my hair out. I got stuck a few times and other times I was on fire, but now I really do see the light at the end of the tunnel after almost two years of working on this novel.

I’m oh so close to the end of the first draft.

And while I wish I could have made it — I probably could have finished it this month if not for work madness — I’m proud of how far I came in it. It’s got a long way to go, and I would be much further if every other month was a NaNo month, but I’m proud of how it — and my writing style — have grown over this year.

Not only that, but I can also proudly say while I didn’t finish this goal, I did accomplish something else completely unexpected and huge:

My debut publication with Victory Tales Press for my story Embermyst in their Halloween anthology, Paranormal Pleasures.

This publication quite honestly made up for not finishing Fated to Darkness. It’s a foot in the door on a dream I hold, it’s the beginning of making a name for myself, and it’s also credibility for when I try to publish my series. So it was huge. Beyond huge even.

END OF GOALS

Overall, I think I came out about fifty-fifty on my goals. That’s better than I thought I would do, and probably better than any year before too. So I’ll take that as not so bad. Other than my publication I finally passed 100 followers on my Wattpad account, and I even passed 100 WordPress followers here. I call those two things accomplishments as well.

Looking back I think the way I laid out my goals and organized them worked fairly well. It could maybe use a little tweaking for how I do next year’s goals, and I also need to set up my calendar and planner for next year, but I think it’s going to be something I try again. Of course, that would work out even better if I knew what next year’s goals were yet. Because I don’t have a list of them yet, maybe a vague idea, but not a list of them.

That’s the next thing to tackle tonight and tomorrow. Well, that and organizing Christmas gifts I got, as well as setting up my Sunday Snippet posts for January. I think I need to just start with making a list of everything I want to do and go from there.

Hopefully by Tuesday’s post I’ll have an idea on my goals and how I’m laying them out. See ya in 2017, folks. Happy Freaking New Year a day early. Let’s hope this next one doesn’t suck as much.

Four More Days

Just four more…

Four more days of holiday madness and it’s finally over. (Technically three since I’m off tomorrow, although I won’t be able to just chill, so yeah, four more.)

I’m so ready for this season to be over, I’m exhausted. Then again, as soon as this one ends I have to deal with another three weeks of inventory madness, sooo… I guess the four more days doesn’t matter. I won’t get a breather until at least January 17th.

And if I don’t start getting downtime until then, I am going to be super screwed on writing that submission kicking around in my head. I still haven’t had a chance to just sit down and brainstorm or outline anything for it. If I don’t get to start on it till the middle of January that only leaves me a month to write and edit it.

Granted, that’s more than I had for Embermyst, but I think this one is going to end up being a bit longer than Embermyst was so I’m gonna need more time. Plus it’d be nice to not be stressing over the deadline.

Hopefully once this week is over and done with, and next week probably, I’ll have a little more time to myself. At least after this week I won’t be worrying about being ready for Christmas.

Speaking of which, I’m so not ready for it. I mean, I’m ready for it to be over, but I’m not ready gift wise.

Yesterday I got screwed in doing one of my gift projects. I was going to do it before work so it could sit and dry until tomorrow morning. Well, just as I’m about to start it I get a text asking if I can come into work early because we had two call offs. So I went in early to work, and also ended up staying late because I was short handed and the boss’ boss’ boss was supposed to be in today. (Needless to say, he never showed. Go figure.) By the time I got home it was after 1am, and I still had to do my project so I stayed up till almost 4am for the second time this week.

Hopefully since I lost a good twelve hours drying time it’s still ready to be jarred up by tomorrow morning or I’m going to have a problem. I need it to be dry by tomorrow morning because it’s my only day off and pretty much last chance to run errands before Christmas considering my Thursday shift may be screwed now too. (Gotta love last minute changes by corporate. NOT.)

I still have a few gifts I need to get; which will again be done tomorrow. Then I still need to finish two other gifts. And I still need to wrap everything. Then tomorrow is also Yule so I want to switch decorations around, and bake cookies, and I have to wrap at least a few gifts to give out tomorrow night. And, and, and…

And I’m ready to wave the white flag. I think I’m going to have very little sleep the rest of this week, and probably most of next week too from what I know of that schedule already. I guess I better go get moving on finishing Christmas gifts, like the giant poster I need to color that will take me forever.

Never any rest for the wicked, er, weary.

Four more days… Just four more days.

Crap, that also means I only have four more days to get all of this done.