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?

Now What?

On Sunday I finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness and since then…I have felt like a lost puppy. I’ve sat on my desk chair spinning in a circle because I haven’t known what to work on. I’m so used to working on FtD for so long now that it feels weird to not be working on it, to not be pushing for that end scene yet.

I feel so lost.

There’s still a very palpable sense of grappling for straws on the reality of completing this novel right now. The “now what?” feeling as I try to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s been five days since I finished the novel, but I’m still staring somewhat dumbfounded at the binder that holds my concordance for FtD and at my other WiPs with an “aaaaahhhh….” kind of expression. I could almost just flip a coin to try to figure out what I’m doing.

Granted, there are many, many things I could be doing now.

For starters I could get back to working on Clockwork Heart like I wanted to use part of Camp for. I could use the rest of the year, or however long it takes, to work on that novella/novel. Or I could go back to the very first novel I ever started writing, Breaking Point, and continue that. (The more I look at that novel though the more I need to do some outlining and brainstorming and probably a title change too. To what though I have no idea…sort of.) I could even start outlining Shapeshifter Wings and start work on that. Then there’s the option of starting one of the plentiful, new novel ideas kicking around in my head — like Alice in Court, or Book 2 to The Dark Heir series, or the horse ranch storyline that’s been kicking around up there since I was little that actually has a title and subtitle already.

Or, I could forgo novel work for the time being and start on some short stories. I could write the sequel to The Black Lake, or redo that story altogether to make it better then do the sequel. Or expand and fix up The Beast. I could also poke around at Seductress and see if it leads me anywhere beyond the vague storyline and grand ball scene it has.

On the other hand, I could refocus my efforts to editing instead of writing. I don’t mean editing Fated to Darkness. No no. That is going to sit and wait until I can come back with fresher eyes. I mean that I could take this time now and focus on re-editing, polishing, and maybe expanding Rivers of Black more. The thought has crossed my mind to try to publish the story, but I’m not going to explore that spurt of consciousness any further yet. I don’t want to think about publishing right now…

The fact I have finished the first draft of Fated to Darkness doesn’t mean it’s not going to be touched at all until I’m ready to edit though. I won’t let it collect dust for a couple months. I still have a binder concordance I need to flesh out and finish, and there are multiple notes within my book that I need to find a way to organize and put together in a notebook or something so that as I go along and edit and answer the questions I left myself I’ll be able to avoid plot holes or errors.

There’s still quite a lot of work to do on FtD before I get to the true editing phase. So while I spend the rest of the year — I’m hoping to be done before December, because…holiday — finishing the concordance and finding a way to organize those notes and questions to myself, I am going to be working on something else as well. I would like an entire month of letting FtD sit completely ready for edits before I do dive into full on scrutiny paper edits, but until then there’s lots left to do.

My tentative plan right now as I start to get the ball rolling again is to get working on the concordance and an organization technique for the notes/questions I left. In doing that, I will be reading through my entire novel, which also means that while I’m reading I can minimally fix light edits. Say a missed word, or the wrong version of a word, missing quotation marks, and so forth. The things that won’t require me stopping for an hour on one paragraph to make it sound the best it can possibly be. Doing this will make the paper edits a little less daunting in red marks.

That’s the plan for Fated to Darkness from here till December. *Prays I can be ready by then*

Because I don’t want to lose the next six or seven months with no writing to show for it — well, that wouldn’t have happened anyways because of July’s Camp NaNo and November’s NaNo — I am going to work on something alongside the next stage of FtD. I believe that “now what?” feeling is going to be geared toward writing Clockwork Heart and trying to finish that story this year, as well as re-editing Rivers of Black.

Actually, my original goal of May was to re-edit Rivers of Black finally since I kind of failed on that one last year. Perhaps that will actually happen now that FtD is done. Then again, I had expected Clockwork Heart to only be a short story and already be done by this time too, but…

Yeah, the universe hasn’t been kind to me this year in more ways than one.

But that’s the plan for now. I guess I’ll see how it works out, though I don’t have many expectations for it. I’ve learned better at this point. The hardest part I think is going to be finding a balance between these three projects now when my life is already so screwy and unpredictable.

Or, maybe, the hardest part is going to be finding the heart that says it’s worth it again…

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…

Indecisiveness

What do you do when you have a topic(s) to talk about but you have no idea how to start? Do you just start rambling and hope it brings you along to tie everything together? Or do you hit the ground running and see how much it may or may not suck, and/or work out?

That’s my dilemma.

Both for this blog — as I have a topic, or two, to talk of — and for some other news I received a week ago but only pieced together a couple days ago.

Remember me talking about the new short story I was working on, Clockwork Heart? And remember me saying it was going to turn into another submission for VTP’s spring anthology?

Yeah… About that…

There’s no more spring anthology to submit it to.

Turns out, VTP is switching up their submission and anthology releases this year. Instead of doing four separate themed anthologies, they’re trying their hand at a boxed set of stories centralized around a specific setting. In other words, you write a short story in that specific setting regarding this specific place, and your story may tie into another author’s story a little bit. It’s like trying to intertwine the characters and plot lines of four, or more, different books and to me that sounds like a headache and a half to try to get right.

Not at all something I’m interested in. I like being able to control and create my worlds and settings considering I love fantasy and paranormal, and with it being a specific place I have to include, it limits what kind of characters I can create as well.

So, Morgana is out of an anthology she was going to submit to. Which both irks and disappoints me. I was looking forward to completing the story and sending it in for another chance.

Of course, this doesn’t mean I can’t complete the story. I’m still going to write it and there is an option for me to submit it to PbRJV or someone else as a stand alone story, but now I don’t have the same motivation to work on it. Now there’s no deadline looming over me pushing me to work.

Granted, that’s both a blessing and a curse.

In some ways it’s a blessing. I don’t have to worry about my word count anymore which means I could even expand on the story a bit more than I anticipated — which means I also need to do more playing around with it. Since I’m not worrying about a deadline I don’t have to rush or stress over completing it in time. That also means I can pick up on working on Fated to Darkness as well and sort of hop between stories instead of focusing solely on Clockwork Heart.

However, it also sucks because without that deadline, as I said, I’m less motivated. I do still want to finish the story, and while this messes with planning my goals for the year, I think I want to finish it and submit it to something before a certain time. I’m just not sure if that something is going to be PbRJV or a different company. I’m also not sure of that time frame now. I guess I’m going to be doing some researching, though right now I’m not sure of much regarding the story and how I’m going to change course now.

As long as I keep myself writing somehow…

Speaking of which, a new idea for a plot bunny popped into my head today thanks for a coworker. Well, it’s not a fully developed bunny in any way, more of just a really cool idea I could use in some mystery or secret adventure/action kind of scene.

Did you know that if you draw on yourself with a fluorescent highlighter and wash it off, you can still see the residue of it under a black light because it will glow, even if it’s no longer visible?

I did not know this and I’m suddenly fascinated by it! Imagine writing a message on a wall in highlighter, and then washing it off because it must remain secret. However, your partner could come and hold a UV black light over it and read what you wrote yet. Or you could write something on your hand, like a ticket into a secret night club that no one could see. Or a tattoo for the same purpose or for a secret organization or gang that you can only see with that kind of light.

It has so many possibilities! My brain is running wild with ideas!

I’m rather sure my face lit up like a Christmas tree in excitement when my coworker showed and told me about the trick.

So, yeah, now my brain is running wild with ideas for this awesome little fact. I also now want to write a story in which I can use this. In fact, I might have one I can use it in already from a dream I had awhile ago. Or maybe even that new Halloween plot bunny that’s kicking around my head…

Hmmm… So many decisions to make for so many things.

And certainly not enough made-up-my-mind answers to them yet.

The Clock’s Ticking

I’m running out of time.

There are eleven days left to the first Camp NaNo of 2016 and I have completely fallen apart.

I don’t think I burned myself out on writing, I just…don’t have any heart or motivation to write right now. I was doing really good and then as always emotions got in the way — as did work — and I haven’t regained my momentum.

So now I’ve got eleven days to write 18,810 words to hit my 60k goal. Unless I suddenly get my second wind, I’m not going to hit my desired 70k. It bugs me that I won’t reach that probably when I had set my heart on it.

I mean, I still have eleven days, if I tried I could reach it. I did 40k in about a week, so another 30k would be possible. I just don’t know if I can find my motivation with enough time to still hit that 70k.

It is possible, I only work six of the those eleven days now that I’m no longer needed to help out another store. So that’s five days completely free to writing.

It’s doable. I know it is.

But there’s still the problem I’m struggling to come up with the next few chapters. I mean, I have a sort of idea on how they need to work, but I’m also wondering if I forgot to involve a different character. The more I think though — and the more I confuse myself — I come to think I need to leave this character for the next book. Except that screws up the view I thought I had about an outline when I look at things down the line. So I’m really not too sure.

I also think I might be rushing the end of this book a bit. I can fix it in edits, I know, but I feel a little confused on how I’m supposed to be proceeding.

I really need to get working on those planning chapters. I seem to keep getting sidetracked though…

The clock is ticking down to May, so I better light a fire under my ass soon. Or maybe I need to pull an all nighter to work on everything and just grab a Dr. Pepper or Monster the next day. It’s tempting…

Planning Ahead

I am really bad at planning ahead.

Okay, wait, let me rephrase that: I am quite capable of planning ahead, I do it a lot. In fact, I planned out how my entire year was going to go goal wise and writing wise. What I’m really bad at is seeming to stick to that.

Either I underestimate how much time I actually have or how long something really is going to take me, or I just overbook myself.

Really, none of this planning is me piling too much on at once, I spread things out. It’s just getting behind or getting distracted is a problem for catching up. If I stay on track and things go my way without any hitches I’m perfectly fine. However, very rarely does life not throw a wrench at me. And since most of my work days I don’t get anything done until I come home late at night, and sometimes I don’t even get anything done then now because I can’t, it’s beginning to be a struggle for the days off. My days off don’t normally go much better when people don’t get the hint of ‘go away and leave me alone’, but…

I don’t know, the idea of either starting to drink more coffee and energy drinks to be pulling all  nighters to get caught up is starting to sound like my only option. Either that or faking my own kidnapping so I can finally get some real peace and quiet that won’t be interrupted. (Now there’s a plot bunny!)

I’m going off on a tangent! What I really meant in the planning ahead spectrum today was Camp NaNo.

Yes, I am already thinking about. I have been, for weeks now.

And yes, as soon as I got the email a few days ago about it, I made a happy little squeal and went to sign up my book and get myself into a cabin already. The same cabin I’ve been in for three runs of NaNo now, and it is a great one. Lots of encouragement, lots of laughs, lots of s’mores and drinks, lots of juicy tidbits and ‘doh!’ moments that we come across while writing. The cabins are the best part about Camp I think. Well, other than writing and watching your story grow bigger and bigger, and seeing that little graphic chart reflect how far you’re getting, creeping up on your goal.

That’s the real kicker for motivation along with the friends cheering you on. Well, that and the deadline. I need deadlines to work, and not deadlines I set myself, I tend to break those. I need deadlines that I can’t change and people aren’t going to let me back out of. I don’t get many of those though.

So Camp NaNo is going to quickly roll around, and I’m already sitting here doing an excited little dance because I simply cannot wait. (Can you tell I got addicted to NaNo? I blame you, P.T.) The book is already set up with a goal of 31k, or 1k a day, since there’s 31 days to April. If I manage that and start to get close to that goal before the end of the month, I am going to up the goal to 50k like I did in last year’s July Camp.

I’m really hoping I can hit that 50k goal again, because that’s another 50k closer to finishing the novel. And I reaaaaaally want to finish this novel this year.

Although, I seem to have run myself into a dilemma that I can’t remember if I wrote into the scrabbled outline of this book. I mean, I’m pretty sure I included this character, but I can’t quite remember where her entrance is yet, I have to go back and look. I know it’s not just yet, but I think it’s coming soon.

When it comes to planning ahead for NaNo, I think I have no problems whatsoever though. It’s just too exciting and fun. (Which means, yes, I am taking the first day of April off from work, that request is going in today and my boss already knows I’m a total addict to Camp.) There isn’t too much planning I have to do either this time around since the novel I’m working on is already going steadily. I might just have to plan ahead a few more chapters and get some things sorted and I am fully ready to roll. Now I’m just anxiously awaiting that first day of April to begin the plunge into madness. I can’t wait.

Especially since I believe I got two other friends addicted to the NaNo months and they might be joining me. I’m starting to see a pattern in this…

New Month, New Start

Yeah, I know, it sounds so cliché, but that’s essentially what it boils down to anymore.

January actually went pretty decent for me, for once. I got through some journaling, got all my goals and such set up, made a tentative time frame that I believe I can work with for the rest of the year, got myself caught up and crossed off some never-ending to do things that have been sitting on my list for ages, etc. etc.

So yeah, I’d say January went fairly well. Though there are a few things I need to work on yet. Like writing more consistently.

I have kept myself to writing a short flash fiction piece every week on Wednesday. (Granted it’s only been three weeks so far… But hey, that’s three weeks I haven’t slacked off, I will pat myself on the back for that considering my reputation with follow through.) The fact that I have begun to post them to Wattpad along with here is helping me to stick to that goal. Now I just need to keep myself going on working on Fated to Darkness. I don’t care if it’s a hundred words a day, I just need to plop myself down in the morning before friends trickle on to talk to me and I get sidetracked, or late at night when friends finally fall off to bed but my night owl ass is still awake…

You get the picture.

Depending on the day of the week and other things I do at times manage to get some stuff accomplished in between chatting and other distractions, but I get more done without those “oh! shiny object!” moments popping up as notifications. Not that I really mind. In fact, I don’t mind at all the notifications, as they normally always pertain to good friends to talk to.

Anywho!

So how is February going to go for me then?

Well, there are a few things I have on the monthly to do list. (I have really started making lists and tentative plans for everything this year. So far, it seems to be helping.)

This month’s focus is finishing the long overdo camping entries in my journal so that I can be ready for the new season come May. I got the first of five entries done yesterday — a day late on my schedule, but it’s done — and now I have four left. My plan was one a week.

Manageable, right? It’s not that hard. One entry every week that ranges anywhere from five to seven-eight pages handwritten. Not hard.

Since I have today off yet, I plan to get the second entry knocked out today so I have the rest of the week to focus on writing, reading for a friend, and blog hopping. Oh, and did I mention I got all Sunday Snippet posts set up and scheduled for this month? That takes one more thing off my list to do for each week. All I have to remember to do now is edit to put the link in for last week’s snippet — because I can’t figure out how to get the link for something scheduled but not actually posted yet — and then remember to share it to the Facebook group.

The other major thing I have noted as a goal for this month is to go for a yearly physical again so that I can go take that blasted permit test next month sometime and be on my way to completing one of my yearly goals. I kind of have to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment though… Might be helpful to do that first.

Those two things are the goals of February though: Finish the camping journal entries and go for that stupid physical where I’ll listen to the doctor nag once more at me just for a signed piece of paper. (Can you tell I hate any kind of appointment?) Oh, and of course there’s keep writing. Keep writing consistently. Always keep writing.

(Well, the major goals that go towards my yearly goals at least. Of course there’s other menial things, like cleaning my room…)

But there it is, laid out on the table once more for all to see and hold me accountable to. It’s a new month, time to hit the ground running again.


 

(Oh, and just one last thing… a Blessed Imbolc to all who celebrate! Winter has finally reached its midpoint! Let Mother Earth begin to reawaken! I cannot wait for Springtime.)

blessed imbolc

One Thing at a Time, One Step at a Time

So earlier I sat down to try to work out my thoughts better on the goals I made for 2o16. I journaled it out, going into more detail on what I would need to accomplish them, and the type of time frames I could be looking at.

(Seriously, journaled isn’t a word according to auto-correct? Well, it is in my books. I’m a writer, I’m allowed to make words up.)

Truthfully, I’m not sure if writing it out made me feel better about the goals, or a little intimidated. I mean, it doesn’t really look like TOO much, but when I think about it harder, I realize I set a lot of goals, some easier and smaller than others.

I believe I’ve started to work with a time frame I can deal with. Maybe.

Everything is tumbling around in my head yet and I might be slightly overthinking and being a little bit too unrealistic. Not that any of my goals are unrealistic, they aren’t. It’s just me and my problem of follow through and such…

Anyways, I figured if I can get through catching up on some journaling from last year, doing one entry a week, I will finish around mid-March. (I have six entries and I was thinking one a week to give me some leeway depending on work schedules and other things, so I’m not so overwhelmed.) If I finish by mid-March, that’s just in time for Camp NaNo in April, and I plan to do all three NaNo sessions this year — pending computer cooperation.

That will allow me to focus on NaNo and my novel during April without worrying, then I’ll have the beginning of May to set up the next set of journaling for this year before it starts. Of course, I plan to work on my novel all year, my goal is to finish the first book by the end of the year, and that will be my biggest challenge.

However, if I keep my goal to write consistently, I should have no problem getting it done, and then I can focus on the notes for it. I don’t plan to edit till next year, after taking a few months to focus on a different project so I don’t dive into it with a clouded conscious to it. That goal to write consistently also brings me to writing a short flash fiction piece each week, a small piece (anywhere around 500 words) that I will be making sure to post to Wattpad to keep myself going — and maybe draw some more attention to myself.

So those two kind of work themselves together in that time frame of early 2016, up till say May. Minus the novel, that will be all of 2016. And the flash fiction pieces, that will be every week, though I might give myself wiggle room during NaNo months.

Once spring rolls around (it can’t come soon enough with this weather) I can focus on some spring cleaning/organizing and also getting back into horseback riding when I don’t have to worry about the snow and ice to get there. The other goal is going to be a long process, but will need to be started soon and carry through till probably summertime.

A lot of this seems focused around the beginning and middle of the year. Which, that really isn’t all that bad considering come October in retail, the rest of my year is shot to nothing but work like mad until the end of January.

So maybe this will just work out. Maybe I’ll keep things in order and make out okay with these goals if I can just stick to it.

Of course, those goals don’t factor in the ever-growing to do list either though…

But — one thing at a time, one step at a time, right?

Journal Your Heart Out

How many of you writers out there journal as well?

A few of you? A lot of you?

I do at least.

I find that sometimes it just helps to get everything flowing again, or that it helps to just clear what’s on your mind so that you can focus on writing your novel, story, poem, etc.

Of course, I also do more than one type of journaling.

I have one journal that I use for the everyday write-the-problems-and-thoughts-in-my-head out. Though I sometimes also use it for writing down sparks of inspiration or things I find that I like; and once or twice I have used it to write a few scenes for my novel at work. Otherwise it is mainly for the purposes of pent up frustration or something wrong that I can’t talk to anyone about, or for the use of getting my thoughts into some sort of working order.

I have been meaning, however, to journal out my New Year’s goals. I know I blogged them on New Year’s Day, but I want to put them on paper that I can view as well. I feel like it will help me to stick to them and start to form out some sort of plan or timeline for said goals.

I have yet to do it though.

The other bit of journaling I do is a record book of campgrounds since my family is big on it. I rate them based on the facilities, the activities, the upkeep, and the attractions around the place. Then write out in detail about the places to better help us later in years to know where we want to go back and where we say no thanks to.

And, um, well…

Let’s just say I am severely behind on that little bit of journaling…

Like, last year kind of behind.

One of my goals for New Year’s was to finish those entries though — there are six of them. I have all the notes and everything else done, I just never actually wrote them.

My goal had been to do one a week until they were done. By those calculations, I’d be caught back up mid-February. Not a bad goal, right? It was paced out around everything else going on, gave me some wiggle room to work with. It wasn’t like I was saying write one a day or every other day.

(And believe me when I say these things are never short. They range from five to eight pages for me, depending how much the place has to offer to do. I do not know the meaning to short and sweet, remember?)

So it wasn’t a bad goal, but tomorrow is Saturday and I still haven’t written the first one for this week. Nor have I written that other journal entry. Nor have I…

I should stop there before I dig myself a bigger hole.

I guess this means I know what I’m doing tomorrow. Writing, writing, and more writing.

However, the question is going to be:

Will I get the alone time and motivation I need to do it without getting distracted or screwed over?