Category Archives: Housekeeping

Checkmarks

Or, A long overdue update that got held because I was waiting for news to actually report.

Back around New Year’s, I made a checklist of goals to achieve this year. 2016 has reached its final quarter, and I have finally crossed off enough of the items to warrant an update regardless of desire to resume blogging (which has, coincidentally – or incidentally, perhaps – finally returned).

Let’s see how I am faring:

  1. Get divorced
  2. Sell the house
  3. Move home
  4. Clock my last day working as someone else’s employee
  5. Formally start my own business (website up, registered as LLC – to be done only after I am divorced and back in the state where I will be living for the foreseeable future)
  6. Finish updating my wardrobe
  7. Figure out the proper make-up
  8. Find at least a couple scents to start my “perfume wardrobe
  9. Finish writing Anything But a Gentleman 
  10. Write at least one non-romance short story

The list is more than half complete. And, other than item 4, literally everything else on it is both within my control and within my ability to attain yet this year.

No longer having an external employer is still a goal I intend to work toward, but it is going to take longer than this year. My thought was, use proceeds from the house sale to invest in me. As things outside of your own control tend to do, things played out differently in the real world and the amount left over was…if not insufficient to support me not working externally for a few months, insufficient to give me long enough to guarantee a clear answer about whether I *could* generate a sustainable self-employed income. So instead I am going to moonlight with my freelancing on the side of a day job. I should know within a year or so if I will be able to find sufficient work to justify scaling back my external work hours.

I have added at least one goal to the list, which is:

11. Make my first art-sewing project.

Over the course of this year, I’ve realized that I want to do more than sew clothes and costumes. Those are enjoyable and satisfying and often represent genuine challenges I set for myself. But they are also a little unfulfilling. A sort of minor league game, when I am capable of playing for the majors – and want to play at that level, at least some of the time.

That leaves me four goals on my list for the last 82 days of the year.

  1. Finish ABAG
  2. Write a non-romance short story
  3. Start my freelancing business
  4. Sew a costume piece fabulous enough to count as art

Not impossible. A lot of work, yes, and crossing all of them off will require planning, dedication, and discipline to achieve, yes, but not impossible.

And for the first time in a long, long time, the only impediment is…me.

(I’ve been here less than a week and have had approximately 2 days of near-relaxation. And this is the to-do list I make for myself. So INTJ it’s painful.)

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Overdue update

Sorry for the long silence. It’s gonna be hit and miss with posts here for a while. I am (as some of you know and the rest of you can probably guess from my post directly previous to this) in the middle of a serious life upheaval. Time and energy for blogging are in short supply.

Writing update: The part of me where the words come from dove off a cliff into the abyss of my soul on Labor Day and has yet to climb back out. I am certain it will, sometime, somewhere, but I am not psychologically in a place to force it or even attempt to throw it a rope. It’ll come back when it comes back. I am focusing on things other than writing right now.

So where does that leave this blog, since it’s a writing blog but I’m not writing, and I said a long time ago it was never going to be an open diary confessional type of space?

Reviews, article type posts, and probably a fair amount of reflections about art and media and their role in life and emotional processing and so on and so forth. In a word: stuff.

I have three four different posts started in other tabs as I finish typing this one. Perhaps I will get back to them sooner than later and actually start posting semi-regularly again. And if not – well, at least y’all know why the lights have gone out in Georgia.

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Focus

Just a quick word to say I’m still here.

I’m still stuck in the mud, though I have a nerdgineered plan for getting out. Just have to test it before I can know if it will work.

In the meantime: probably going to stay quiet here unless I have a true update or a big essay post. I am working on several of the latter. It might be the way I roll with this blog for a while, since I seem to have so little time/energy even for quick little thoughts.

We’ll see.

How’s your weekend, my lovely?

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Mudding

I am still stuck in the middle of the middle of this story. I think my subconscious is just taking its time to work through some things. Basically what I am struggling with is what I have always struggled with on this story – getting a handle on the whole thing in my mind at once. It’s like the magnitudes of magnification skip over what I need, where I can see all of it at once but in enough detail to be useful. It’s either too close or too far out.

One of the issues I did notice is that all the side characters who come up important for the end of the story had gotten pushed out of the middle. They don’t just disappear from the hero and heroine’s lives, so why did they disappear from the page?

Another issue I have found is a bit more of a major one: why, exactly, do the hero and heroine fall in love? I think most of what’s really got me held up is that I don’t have a good answer. I knew in the first draft that their dynamic was a little lacking, but I figured by the time I got to the end and then cycled back, I’d have a better grasp of why everything happens between them and therefore how to focus the view on that a little better. Apparently I am still in the same boat of not knowing everything that happens therefore not knowing exactly what threads to pull to the front.

I feel like my imagination went mudding and got stuck. Waiting for the tow truck, or the surge of desperate ingenuity that will show me how to dig myself out.

mud meme

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Twenty- Twenty- Twenty-Four Scenes to Go-o-oh

I wanna be sedated

I suppose I should have said chapters, not scenes (but, of course, “chapters” would not suit the rhythm of the Ramones). I think the actual scene count is more like 30, and a soft 30 at that – inevitably I will find gaps that need to be bridged, pushing that number higher – but I think 24 is a fairly safe estimate for number of chapters remaining. I have currently written 22, and my word count is just shy of 50,00, so by both of those measures I am pretty much exactly halfway through (re)writing this novel.

Not bad, I suppose, considering I didn’t really seem to hit my stride and start working in earnest until April.

I suppose I should also count myself lucky that I have reached 50% of the book before hitting the “mushy middle” wherein I realize that I have a not insignificant gap between where my narrative is and the point at which my next string of events starts happening. I am debating whether I ought to tighten up the time by literally moving the events that have already happened forward a month or continuing to pluck the various storylines one by one and hope that one (or more) of them shakes down a couple events that are of narrative importance to happen to my characters in the next month of their lives.

From a word-count perspective the mushy middle also amounts to a small section of the whole…the point in my original draft from which I don’t expect much to change events-wise in this re-write to the end is 61,848 words. Even allowing that I will cut a third of them (leaving roughly 40,000 to be grafted to my current 50,000), with a projected total of no more than 100,000, this little gap in my outline can comprise no more than 5000 words, since I assume I will need to add in at least that many across the 40K to make everything flow smoothly. So as far as mushy middles go, this one is the shortest, quickest, and easiest to solve yet.

Unless, of course, the point from which nothing much changes is a mirage.

Unfortunately I feel like I need to parse out which direction I’m taking (shift the calendar or add events) before I move any further. The hero and heroine have established a good momentum. I don’t want to crash that by giving them nothing to do for a month except more of the same. I want the snowball to keep rolling down the hill and getting bigger and bigger – but I also want it to have enough rolling time that the point of no return is also believable (since one of my biggest complaints about 80% of current romance novels is the short time frame in which they take place).

At least the writing is still coming easy. At least there’s that.

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Progress Report

I am finally at the part of my novel revision where I am done writing entire scenes and chapters from scratch and am able to integrate part or all of a given segment from my original draft. There will be a few new scenes to write, simply because the current of the story changed a little from its original course, but for the most part the new words are generated. Now on to the endless evaluation, trimming, and restructuring of the 75,518 words left in my doc of the original draft that is not yet integrated into the new one.

I have no idea how long it will take me to make this revision a cohesive whole. Hopefully not too much longer.

The last few weeks (month, even? Basically since I kicked the bronchitis finally and recovered my life equilibrium) I have moved things forward at a good clip. Keep it rolling, keep it rolling, keep it rolling.

Last night I was trying to remember when I actually started writing on this revision draft. Had to check the create date on my Word doc, because I didn’t make a good note of it inside the doc, nor did I make a note of it here anywhere. January 7, for the curious. Basically 5 months ago.

I’ve written 35,000 in five months. Okay, fine, SOME of them were already written, but I am sure at least 20,000 were brand new words. Which is, yeah, okay, not fabulous, but also not that bad when I consider just how little time and energy I have had to devote to this project. I will be happy with my stat’s if I can finish revisions on the rest of my first draft by the 6 month mark.

July 7.

That’s 23 days from now. If I do the same amount of work every day, that’s 3283 words a day moved from the old draft to the new (with necessary trims, additions, and reworkings). If I count it by chapters, it’s a little more than one chapter per day on the old counting (because I am up to Chapter 15 of 42 in the old draft).

Those measures are not unreasonable. They are not unattainable – provided I touch the project every day.

Eye on the prize. Keep it rolling. Come on, muse, just hold your shit together for 3 weeks and 3 days….

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Not Yet Integrated Countdown

The new graft point dropped the number of words not yet integrated into my revision from 90K to 75K. Considering that I am already at 30K, the prospect of adding 75 is much better than that of adding 90. Alas that even the 75 is really going to be, in aggregate, adding about 50K of previously written words and writing 25K new ones because the first version wasn’t right.

There is a segment of the darling section I’m debating keeping in. I don’t think that I will, because I don’t see the narrative function that it serves, but reading back through it, I enjoyed it quite a lot. Perhaps it can be a “deleted scene” that I can post somewhere (here, probably) as an extra to the book when it comes out.

I thought I had it in me to write the next scene tonight, but I made the mistake of reading the not one but two prior iterations of it, and now they are reverberating inside my head too loudly for the actual character voices I was hearing before to be intelligible.

If I want to finish by the end of the month I have to integrate about 2500 words per night, inclusive of any rewriting. Ten thousand word deletion sprees are easier.

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