float_on_alright: i'm known as actually (Default)
I’ve been staring at my little phone screen playing games for several hours while listening to my book, which after hours on the computer the last few days and a lack of sleep has left them tired and a little sore. I shouldn't have strained them with that tiny screen and all those tiny Mah Jong tiles, ugh. 

I am proud of myself though because I think I made it through all the coursework and I definitely did all five of the necessary work applications for the week and I’ve still had time to read. Goodness, it’s nice being off. I know I only have a few weeks left, I’ll be back to work three Monday’s from now, but I intend to thoroughly enjoy the time off I have left. I’d like to spend time at the pool here and do a lot of reading. I hope to write as well. My brain has been in editing mode for the most part for the last week or so and that makes it hard for me to switch to creation mode writing wise. Since I’ve submitted my story to a bunch of places, I really can’t do anything else with it until it comes back to me I created a spreadsheet so I could keep track of where it was submitted. I'd hate to end up submitting it to the same journal by accident or something else similarly sucky. 

I have no idea what will happen with it or what I hear back but I’m sure that it will be good experience regardless. Rejection is part of writing and the earlier I learn that the better. 

I don’t understand why, almost a week later, I still hear fireworks going off. I mean this is ridiculous. The puppy is barking up a storm over it and I can't even be mad at her. How is she supposed to know that no one is trying to blow up the neighborhood? Plus I’m sure there are a ton of dogs barking out there… yeah, I think I hear one now… so she’ll definitely have to respond to that. Poor thing. And poor mom because I know she’ll have a hell of a hard time sleeping through that. 

Anyway, my plan is to write 4000 new words this week so I’ll definitely need to spend some time focusing on being creative. I’ve got a prompt book that I think I might try and I’m also thinking about picking up where I left off in “The Artist’s Way” since I know there are prompts in there as well. If I remember correctly, she recommended reading the book all the way through before starting on the activities so I may stick with the prompt book for now. It’s got 3 prompts per day for 366 days so there should be plenty there. 

I can’t decide if I want to go through the prompts methodically or if I want to jump around and try random things. I’m usually a jump around randomly kind of person but I’m thinking of going through them methodically to push myself. Sometimes I skip prompts because they don’t inspire me or what have you, but I think it could be really good for my creative muscles to at least do some free writing with everything in there, to really work to pull out something even if nothing comes to mind initially. Plus it’s a eBook so it would probably be easier to keep track of what I have and have not done if I went in order. I could jump to locations or pages and highlight the things I’ve done but it’s not like I can physically flip through pages and put my finger on a random prompt. 

But not tonight. Tonight I am going to listen to more of my book (I finished one and am now onto the next). I’m really anxious to get to the 6th one. I’m really enjoying the 5th one so far (it may be my favorite so far, though that’s hard to say for sure). I had picked up the sixth one and started reading it and I was loving it but then I realized that there was a ton of stuff I’d missed and if I was going to have any hope of really keeping up with the side plots, giant cast of characters, several different pantheons of gods, all the different countries and territories as well as understand the history of the two characters the book focuses on, I was going to need to read the other ones first. The series has been building these two up for the last like four books so I’m glad that I went back. Not to mention that I’ve enjoyed the books so far. All of them have had huge amounts of plot happening like so I think I would’ve gotten lost if I’d tried to just keep going. I mean I read the first two about four or five years ago so I don’t remember them perfectly but I remembered enough to be able to follow the third one well. 

Plus, they’re all so funny anyway. There was no point in not reading them when I’m enjoying them so well. I’m not sure why I didn't continue on reading them after I picked up the first two. Though I think at the time the level of violence and gore was just too much for me, for whatever reason. Granted, there's probably more of a difference between 26 - 27 year old me than 31 year old me than I cognitively recognize because I'm still making a lot of the same dumb mistakes and in a lot of the same spirals, but that’s not something I particularly want to examine right this moment. I’ll probably never want to but it’s probably something I should make myself do at least a little of before I go back to work. But again, not tonight. Tonight I’m going to read. 

float_on_alright: i'm known as actually (Default)

I think I’m going to make. I found two more places to submit to, reworked my cover letters, and fired away. I also did the next assignment which was to write the people whose opinions of your writing really matter on a 1 inch by 1 inch piece of paper. I don’t have a ruler so I had to wing it, but I figure no one can complain about me putting three people on the list. I mean, that should be short enough to fit on a 1 square inch piece of paper. Especially if I shortened their names or wrote them really small, right? Anyway, while I’m sure the visual reference is helpful, and I might do it one day, I think the message of the assignment was clear. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m a “spirit of the law” kind of girl and that ain’t gonna change anytime soon.

Part of me wants to power through the other two assignments tonight, but I think I need some rest. I think that I’ll be able to complete them tomorrow more easily and quickly having got some real sleep.

Tomorrow will also hopefully involve some writing something that isn’t a journal entry, but we’ll see. I’m also eager to finish the book I’m listening to. It’s interesting to me that the narrator of the stories isn’t a narrator I’ve been thrilled with in the past but I still think I’d rather stick with listening to the stories instead of reading them. I’m not totally sure, but I am leaning that way. Normally I find her barely tolerable and it’s not like she’s doing such a better job on these than she did on the others I’ve heard by her. Maybe it’s just that these books are so much better than the other books I’ve heard her read. Not that the other books were bad, they weren’t. It’s just that those other books were… “well, that was fun” as opposed to what I’m listening to now which is more like, how can I get five more minutes listening to this book. I know, I’ll empty the dishwasher, that way “I’m being productive” so I won’t feel guilty about how I’m spending this time but I can still listen to the book.

What I’m reading now is by one of my all time favorite writers, Shelly Laurenston. I just relistened to her “Pride” series, which is probably my favorite series by her though her “Call of Crows” series is fantastic too and I enjoyed her “Magnus Pack” series too. This series is under her pen name (I think it’s her pen name and not the other way round), G.A. Aiken. It’s Dragons and witches and warlords and shit. Where her shapeshifter books take place in modern, earth times, Dragon Kin takes place in a world of Dragon Gods and swords. Both epically fun though. You have to have an affinity for cursing, bloodshed, raunchy language, and sort of questionable or unstable main characters, but I find them hilarious and exciting. She’s one of the few authors I still read that doesn’t really pass the “But is it gay?” question. She does have an odd side character (I can think of 2 for sure and a 3rd I suspect) who turns out to be gay, but they’re not developed. Still though, I enjoy her main characters. Her female characters are especially fun to me because they’re usually vicious (though in different ways, sometimes with violence, but sometimes in craftiness) and funny.  I mean, one of her characters has the moniker “The Blood Queen” and she’s actually a queen. “The Viper” and “The Beast” are really fun too. “The Beast” is plain and bespectacled and brilliant. One of the characters in the “Pride” series is famous for her favorite saying which she got from her father, “Time to start the killing.” And Cella Malone is a former marine, a bare knuckles boxer, and a hockey player. There’s all kinds of “politics” between shifters and packs and families and it’s just fun. She’s also suppppper diverse with characters who are of a bunch of different backgrounds and descents.

And I’m officially rambling. But seriously, I love that author. She’s got another series she’s going to be doing soon, I think it’s coming out next year that has me really excited.

So now that I’ve blown off some steam writing about the author of the book I want to be reading, I’m going to go listen to the book for a bit and get some sleep.

float_on_alright: apologize in advance as I slowly go nuts (apologize in advance as I slowly go nuts)

Here’s yesterday’s list for the weekend:

  1. Give 2 more people feedback. Check.
  2. Edit “Monster in Manhattan.” Check.
  3. Edit my cover letter. Check.
  4. Figure out which other four magazines I’m submitting my story to since I’d already picked one. Picked five, couldn’t use three. Found another one I couldn’t use. Picked another story for for a flash fiction magazine only to find they’re currently closed for submissions. Found one that is a bit absurdist and submitted a story that honestly wouldn’t be appropriate for any other lit magazine I’ve ever seen but just might fit there. Two more submissions to figure out.
  5. Rework my cover letter four times. Didn’t need a cover letter for one magazine. Reworked it for my other submission. Likely two more reworks to go.
  6. Attempt to send my reworked cover letters to the correct magazines along with my story. Again, three down, two to go.

Once I get that done there are three more assignments to the online course, but I’ve looked over them and from what I can tell, they’re manageable. If I can figure out the last couple of submissions tomorrow, I feel confident I can finish the rest in time. Of course, that'll have to be worked around the fellowship thing with mom in the morning and volunteering in the library in the afternoon. I'm going to be so thankful to be shelving tomorrow and listening to my book.

float_on_alright: don't ruin my story with your logic (keep your logic out of my stories)


My goals for Friday and Saturday (I originally posted them separately but meh) were:

  1. Find something to post to Becoming Writer Workshop. Recommend doing further edits to “Monster in Manhattan” story and posting the second draft.
    Did edits to “Monster in Manhattan” Story and posted it to the workshop group.

  2. Find six more contests and journals to send off to.
    As it turns out, I had a copy where I had already added more magazines so I only needed to add a few more to get to 20.

  3. Pick a writer to contact and get clear about the contact. Ask any necessary questions.
    Spoke with a writer about their personal essay piece and about submitting, etc.

  4. Give three people feedback on the workshop website.
    I did give more feedback to one person. Two more to go.

  5. Write letter to writer.
    I guess I thought I was going to pick a writer one day and actually write them as a goal separately. I ended up doing everything all to together in typical Kate fashion.

  6. Watching the video for, and start working on the next assignment in the LitMagLove class. There is no video. The assignment is to send a story to five different magazines. I’ll have to do that by the end of day Sunday. I’d like to do it tomorrow but the stuff I worked on today took me about 6 or 7 hours and I’ll be at the fellowship thing for too much of the day to be able to do that tomorrow. Especially since I need to do a few more edits to the story and to my base cover letter before I sent it.

Still, I really productive day and I’m pleased about that.

So, here’s what I have left to do this weekend:

  1. Give 2 more people feedback.

  2. Edit “Monster in Manhattan”

  3. Edit my cover letter.

  4. Figure out which other four magazines I’m submitting my story to since I’d already picked one.

  5. Rework my cover letter four times.

  6. Attempt to send my reworked cover letters to the correct magazines along with my story.

*Sighs Deeply*

float_on_alright: books who says you can't buy love (who says you can't buy love)
So what did I do tonight after dinner instead of adding my journals and contests to my lists or writing? I watched an episode of Pretty Little Liars, which, actually I’d already watched half of, so that really wasn’t that bad and I read the second half of a book I’d started when I was laying out at this beach this morning. I wish my Kindle kept track of how long it took me to read a book. I mean, I know I get distracted or interrupted while the book is open so it wouldn’t be perfect, but I’d really love to see how many approximate reading minutes it took me to read something. I know I could time myself, but I get too distracted. I’d forget to start the thing when I was reading or I’d forget to stop it when I had to put the book down to do something else. Amazon must have some of that information right? I mean, it tells you when you open the book how long it typically takes to read. Although, they are probably basing that on the idea that people typically read so many words (I think it’s like 350) per minute and then dividing the number of words in the book by that. Or maybe the number of pages decided by a minute per page (which I think is about average?). Great, now I really want to know what they base these things on. That’s a question for Google later. 

Tomorrow is Friday and I haven’t done any of the feedback pieces I need to do and I feel like there's another goal for the week that I set for myself that I have since forgotten. That happens sometimes, I set a goal on Monday and by Tuesday I’ve completely forgotten I’ve set it. I have, on more occasions than I’d like to admit, gone to check what I wrote on Monday for my goals to see if I’ve done any of it. After getting caught on Friday way behind on my goals on quite a few embarrassing occasions, I have tried to make a habit of checking the goal list on Wednesday to help me stay on track. This week at the beach I decided to watch XXX: Return of Xander Cage instead - you can judge me if you want but I’m having some seriously shippy feelings about some of the ladies and Ruby Rose. 

I watched something else recently that was giving me a lot of shippy feelings … Power Rangers maybe. Hmm. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll remember it later. I do love shippy feelings. 

Ohhhhh, you know it wasn’t something I was watching, it was something I was reading. I got the first issue of “Spell on Wheels” a few days ago. I don’t know how I hadn’t come across it yet, but it was a marvelous opening issue. I know there are only like 5 issues so far and I’m unsure if it’s continuing any further. I’m kind of annoyed I’m just now finding out about this thing. It’s about three witches who are friends and roommates who have some of their things taken from them and they have to go on a quest to get there stuff back. Soooo many shippy feelings. I’m looking forward to reading more of that. I also read some more Lumberjanes and I just love that series so, so much. 

So my goals for tomorrow are as follows:

Find something to post to Becoming Writer Workshop. Recommend doing further edits to “Monster in Manhattan” story and posting the second draft. 
Find six more contests and journals to send off to. 
Pick a writer to contact and get clear about the contact. Ask any necessary questions. 
Give three people feedback on the workshop website.

Goals for Saturday:

Write letter to writer. 
Watching the video for, and start working on the next assignment in the LitMagLove class. 

Goals for Sunday:

Work more on LitMagLove
File for unemployment

I’ve got the fellowship thing going on too so it’s going to be a busy weekend. I won’t be able to stay up all night and work on these goals either because I’ll have to be up around 8 or 8:30 Saturday and Sunday. Those aren’t terrible times to be up but it definitely means that I can’t stay up until 4am. It’s hard enough for me to stay awake through this stuff as it is, but it will get my mom off my back for a little while at least. 

I was logging my reading on my library’s summer reading program--they have a program for adults--and I saw that the “goal” for the summer was to earn 1,000 points for reading and other activities like volunteering. They have reading lists you can do too, but none of them particularly called to me. At any rate, I’m currently at a little over 3,000 points so I must’ve made that 1000 goal a bit a go. I know other adults have kids and don’t get summers off like I do so it isn’t like it’s hard for me like it can be for other people. Still, I have to laugh at myself because I finished two books today and listened to about 2 hours of another. I know there are people who read like that all the time. I wish I could speed read, but actually the rate at which I read a page is not much over average. I just spend so much time doing it that I end up reading a ton. 

I was going to go to bed early tonight so that I could wake up a little earlier tomorrow (and by “earlier”, I mean before 11am) to get started on my goals. It would be great if I could finish the Friday list and get started on the Saturday list tomorrow but we’ll see how that goes. I honestly cannot believe that tomorrow is Friday. These days have been going by so quickly! I’m looking forward to Wynonna for sure. And Killjoys, though I haven’t watched last week’s yet. Man, I have so many things I want to do! I know I’ll look forward to having my real paychecks again when I go back to work, but I honestly don’t know how I’m going to fit all the things I want to do in before we go back. 

float_on_alright: don't ruin my story with your logic (keep your logic out of my stories)
I was doing so well with my goals over all until this past week. Looking for motivation was like hitting a brick wall or something. I just kept bouncing off something in my mind when I went to be productive. I did eventually get a good bit done but it was tooth and nails fighting. Part of it, I’m sure, was that personal stuff going on (tire, etcetera), and part of it was likely all the rain. I don’t do well with days on end of clouds and rain. I could’ve been a little burned out - there’s been a lot of pressure at work and a lot of feeling like the effort I’m putting into my job right now isn't really going anywhere (not necessarily true, but definitely how I’m feeling) and I know that will put a damper on putting work into “extra stuff” - aka the stuff I’m not currently being paid to do. 

But I think I may have also set the wrong goals or at least set my goals in the wrong way. 

When I first started writing again this February my goals were something like:

Write 500 words
Spend 30 minutes doing productive things that are not reading or writing a day and some days that should be exercise. 

And that worked really, really well. I added and morphed as I went along but I’m still basically in that same kind of mode I think. 

The good thing about that structure was it let me work on whatever project was what I either most needed or most wanted to work on that day. I wasn’t, for lack of a better word, trying to micromanage myself. I didn’t realize you could do such a thing - micromanage yourself - but as it turns out, you can and I did my very best. Unfortunately, I don’t do well with micromanagement so does that mean I’m back to the drawing board on my new goals? 

Well, yes, I think so. Maybe reverting back to previous standards might be a good way to put it. But I do want to also keep in mind that there are two things happening right now… maybe three? Maybe a trillion? Anyway…

First, I am giving up the copywriting thing and seeing if I can get my money back. That was part of deal within a year if I decided it wasn’t for me that I could get my money back so I am working on that now. It sounded like a great idea but the more I get into it the more I feel like it’s pulling me away from my actual goal which is to write fiction and get paid for it. While advertisements and sales letters take smarts, creativity, and work, it’s not my ultimate goal and if I learned anything from spending time learning American Sign Language, it’s that if I dedicate my spare time away from my job on something other than my main goals, I tend to end up either frustrated, bored, sad, overwhelmed, stressed, generally unhappy, or some combination thereof. It would be a really cool thing to do and learn and make money off of but the more I split my time and attention the less I’ll move forward on any particular thing. Then I’ll feel scattered and useless. Then I’ll get depressed. And I’ll be exhausted from the scattered effort and then I’ll get anxious about not being good enough and then I’ll get tired and more depressed. So, sorry copywriting. Maybe we’ll reevaluate at a later date. 

Second, I applied for a mentor program. Rebby has always been such a wonderful person but I’ve asked her to be friend, beta, and mentor and she’s always tried to help but I know she has massive goals of her own right now and while I hope and will endeavor to make sure that we continue to be these things to each other, I hope that finding another mentor will help make our writing relationship better. Plus, I think another perspective is a great idea. There are only so many slots available for this free program so I’m not guaranteed to get it. 

Third, I’ve signed up for a course call Lit Mag Love about submitting to literary magazines. It includes finding good fit magazines, how to write cover letters, and information that editors are looking for all which I think will be tremendously helpful. It will also involve six weeks of accountability and peer feedback. As I’ve been such a coward about going for trying to get published etcetera I think it would be so good for me. There’s also part of the program for working on setting up a submission system and I’ve read so so so much about how success is based more on good systems than literally anything else so I can’t help but be drawn to this. Plus I think I kind of love systems - at least in personal cases. I didn’t realize that this was a thing with me until recently, but there you go. 

So new weekly goals will revolve around completing course assignments and meeting with peer groups, course leaders, and any mentors that I get. Then each day I’ll need to decide what the priorities are. I still need to make sure that I’m writing or doing work for writing every day and I still want to exercise every day. But I am going to let my energy levels and focus do a little more guiding again in what I accomplish each day. 

And also, if there is anything that I am saving for the last minute, I’m going to really dig into why I’m putting it off. Is it because I’m scared of failure and success like I am with establishing my website or is it because I really just don’t have real interest in the project and it’s taking away from the things I am genuinely giddy over like copywriting? Because those two things need to be handled very differently. 

Thanks for being on this journey with me. 

float_on_alright: I don't have a plot. I have caffeine (I don't have a plot. I have caffeine)

I think one of the things I’d like to do for myself is start making better short term to-do lists. Lists that are more like 24 - 48 hour rather than just weekly and monthly to-do lists. 

I’ve read a lot lately about long term goals and “chunking” them back and then making them non-negotiable. And if you miss one set you have to add them to the next set of goals so that you'd have an even longer list in the next “time period” but you’d stay “on track”. I think having to add whatever you miss to the next section would encourage you to not put off much on your list. I think you have to make sure you’re being practical but I also know that if I give myself a week to do the task I’ll be doing it on Friday. I might do a little of it on Thursday but most of it would get done on Friday. I have a tendency - and I don’t think this is uncommon - to let a task take as long as I’ve given myself to do it. What I should really do is give myself two days to do that task instead of a week.

Part of it might be to say okay if I want to get this list of 10 things done, I need to then assign two a day to myself and that way I don’t get stuck rushing around trying to get all 10 completed on Friday. And honestly if I can complete that much on a Friday then maybe I need to be setting myself bigger goals. 

Of course another thing I’ve been reading about lately is the idea that most people give up at about 40% of what they’re really capable of - less than half of what we’re capable of is what feels like all we can do. I know that there is part of it that we just don’t want to any more. You hear about “the wall” with people who are running marathons - a place where you just feel like you cannot go any further no matter how hard you try - and most runners get past that to finish the race. I read an article that did a study on a recent London marathon and their study suggested that about 21% of the runners in the marathon hit “the wall” but it doesn't talk about anyone not finished. I suppose that isn’t anything conclusive but I can’t help but think about what this says about us as a species. 

Maybe because almost everything we do seems optional? I don’t know. Running isn’t something we do for survival any more. Sure exercise is important and life extending but we in so called modernized countries aren't trying to out run mountain lions so we don't get eaten or chasing down a deer for food (even people who hunt typically do so from hunter’s blinds - or whatever they’re called). 

Okay, I’ve gotten sidetracked I think. 

If I’m stopping at 40% of what I’m capable of, then perhaps my goals should be pushing myself a little harder too. Yes we all need rest but I do feel like I could be doing more than I have been. I’ve made leaps and bounds for sure in the last few months, no question, but that doesn’t mean I should plateau goal wise either. And all my reading suggestions that having a plan for the day makes you way more likely to accomplish goals than if you are just winging it through the day. 

I have a tendency to wing things, but I don’t think it’s serving me. I think it’s time to start being more purposeful about my time and my intentions and goals. 

I have big goals. I want to get to the point that I can support myself writing - a mixture of copywriting and storytelling. But I want “support myself” to mean the freedom of living where I want to live with the people (or the lack of people) I wish. That’s going to mean putting myself out there over and over again. It’s going to be scary and it’s going to be hard. I have a copywriting course of sorts that I’m taking and I’d like to complete most of it before I start submitting anything but as long as I make progress on it every week, I’m okay with it. 

I don’t know how long each of the parts are (I’m not looking at it right now but I think there are 6) - the first one was something like 64 pages and 2 exercises where the second part is something like 134 pages and 2 exercises. I’ve done one exercise as they’re not “do this once you’ve read all the material” so much assigned every so often throughout the material in general. So I think for this particular endeavor I’m going to need to commit to working on it so much each week. Reading or working on exercises for 15 minutes a day - surely I can work that in somewhere. 

Writing, man, writing. I’ve been aiming for 1000 words a day and mostly hitting it but I wonder if I need to dedicate myself to writing for a focused 60 minutes a day. It would probably be better to do two 30 minute sessions because I think that’s usually about where my brain starts to tell me to fuck off. I think if I practice then I can get longer sessions later. I’ve already got writeordie on my computer and iPad that I can use to help with that. It’s really awesome for helping with that. 

I never really have trouble working reading into my schedule - that happens as naturally as breathing if I’m honest. And sometimes stopping reading feels as hard as holding my breath. Even reading the self improvement nonfiction and the writing books are coming very naturally to me right now so I just have to maintain that. I want to make sure at least 15 - 20 minutes of my time is spent reading for the purpose of improving myself or my writing every day. 

I'm doing really well at scheduling time to exercise - I’ve been doing that usually when I first get home from work and that’s going well. The dog will need walks this week so that will definitely keep exercise on my schedule. I’ll need to start working on a system for cutting back on sugar - finding snacks and things that are handy enough or making time to make snacks in advance that will be handy so that when I’m hungry and I need to eat I have something that isn’t a honey bun from the vending machine. God I love honey buns. I don’t think that’s gonna be for a least a day or two because I’d need to gather a couple of recipes and got to the grocery store. And while I will have to go to the grocery store tomorrow… Well, maybe I can look for a few things at work tomorrow so I have a list ready for when I go to the store. That could work. 

Next there’s editing to do. I think I can spend fifteen minutes doing editing a day. If I’m always writing then I’ll always have stuff I can edit. As it stands right now, I have a set of stories from Reb I’m working on and both her Mrs. Claus story and mine. 

I need to spend thirty minutes a week - I think I’ll make it a Sunday appointment - to work on my public stuff - website, medium profile and posts, maybe eventually a GoodReads author page that sort of thing. Eventually I think this will likely need to be a twice a week appointment but we’re gonna start smaller since I’m also learning the copywriting stuff. 

This is going to be my schedule for the remaining four weeks I have of work until my six weeks off. I’m going to need to spend some time thinking about what my summer schedule is going to be but I think I need to wait until June 9th or so to start working on that because otherwise I won’t be able to get any of my day job work done because I’ll be so excited about my break. I’m so excited about having six weeks off. 

I’ve seen some planners and things and I am thinking about trying some of them out. Having a schedule to stick to I think could be really beneficial. 

So my big goals for next two months or so are:

Finishing the Copywriting material
Getting my website up and running
Posting to it and Medium 
Learning about MailChimp and or ConvertKit
Edit Mrs. Claus stories and submit mine 
Edit Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack Stories
Write, edit, and submit a story for Writer’s Market 
Write my manuscript/story for DragonCon
Read Story Genius and complete activities 
Read The Artist’s Way 

This week will be again:


15 Minutes Exercising
15 minutes on Copywriting 
15 minutes reading for writing improvement 
15 minutes a day editing 
60 minutes a day writing

30 minutes on promotional work 

At work I should also get a bunch of fall stuff rebooked and planned - especially August/September stuff. 

I got a ton of shit to do y’all so wish me luck! 

float_on_alright: I don't have a plot. I have caffeine (I don't have a plot. I have caffeine)
I’ve decided, after much contemplation, to quit the Story a Day Challenge. I love the idea of it and I thought it would be really good to push myself to come up with quick plots and characters etcetera. The problem that I’m running into is that all the stories are basically just “shit that happens” with the occasional amusing (to me anyway) conversation between the characters. I’ve written eleven stories, one for every day up until now, and it’s not that any of them are bad - some of them are good and most of the are okay - it’s that I’m not really connecting to the stories. I'm writing random shit happening and there isn’t anything really engaging about it.

I’ve started a book called “Story Genius” and it’s talking about developing stories from “whys” and the character - who they are and who they’re going to become and why it is that what is happening to them matters. The author talks a lot about how a good story isn't about “what happens” in the sense of this battle or that hook up, but in the connection we feel to the story and the characters. She’s really got me thinking about a lot of my stories in the past and why some of them worked better than others. Because it isn’t usually the word choice or the sentence structure or the ability to write beautiful metaphors that make a book successful or that can certain contribute. It has to be more about how the author connects the reader to the story through the characters otherwise books like Twilight and Fifty Shades wouldn’t be half as popular as they are because in both cases, grammatically and stylistically, not very good.

I don’t know if you’ve ever read a James Patterson book. I like that man a lot because I think he does amazing things to promote literature, but I am not a big fan of his writing. I’m not a big fan of mystery books in general (my genre taste tends to lean more towards paranormal), and his sentences always feel really choppy to me which I don’t like. And yet, he’s one of the best selling authors of the last 100 years. So why is he still so popular? Because there’s something else appealing happening. 

People always ask, “what’s your book/story about?” And we tend to answer in terms of the series of events that take place in the book. “A girl falls in love with a man with a dangerous secret and discovers a world she didn’t know existed.” But what’s the real point of the story, the moral if you will? What journey does the main character go through and why does it matter? And no story will matter to everyone but I think things like “even those we consider monsters can be worthy of love” are a little closer to what Twilight is about or maybe it’s “just because you don’t believe you’re anything special doesn’t mean that you aren’t” or maybe “Love and family always worth the risk.” 

Before the US election I read articles saying how much less likely Harry Potter fans were to vote for Trump. Is it because the kind of people who vote for Trump are not the kind of people who read Harry Potter? It could be. 

But I don’t think that’s the case. I think we read and we watch movies and TV shows and we tell each other stories because we’re learning something or we’re looking at something in a different way than our own and these stories become part of us if we’re really engaged with the character. I don’t necessarily mean that we have to like the character or want to be their BFF (for example, as fascinating as I find Scarlett O’Hara to be, I do not want her as part of my squad). 

I’ve never heard anyone say, “I really enjoyed this story! I’m giving this four and a half stars. I would’ve given it five starts but the main character was a bit of a cardboard cutout and I didn’t connect with them at all.” 

On the other hand, I bet you’ve read a review that went something like, “I loved the description of the book and the content but I just couldn’t get into this book for some reason.” 

I would bet you a dollar that you have put down or been severely tempted to put down a book because “you didn’t really care about the main character.” And while sometimes that might be because you disliked the character, I believe it was more likely because they didn’t seem like a person (or alien or dog or whatever) so much as they seemed like a delivery box. As in, here’s all this stuff happening and I’m delivering it to you via this person shaped box - you can fill it with whatever characters you choose. 

Have you ever read a story or watched a movie and just been like “wow, that was a lot of stuff going on there but I have no idea what it was about?” It’s probably because stuff happened but it didn't really mean anything to the main character personally - they weren’t tested, they didn’t grow (or the reverse as in “Breaking Bad”), and they weren’t shaped by the events in anyway. When we read stories, we’re looking for the effect that it had on the person, the lesson they learned because we want to learn from their experience. We want to have that experience and learn the lesson ourselves. 

When we look at characters we’re looking for mentors - people who tell us their story and what they’ve learned. They are giving us the wisdom of their experience. The same way that I have learned a lesson from not being careful messing with a hot oven, I’ve learned things from Harry Potter too. Things like, “You must stand up to bullies. And if you stand up others will stand. And if you all keep standing, the bullies will fail.” And, “There are different kinds of wealth.” And, “Everyone has value.” And, “True friendships save your life” - something I’ve seen time and time again in my own life. 

I don’t think that it’s people who like middle grade fantasy books who are not fans of Trump. I believe that those of us who loved Harry Potter came away learning the lessons Harry learned. Be brave, do your best, and aim to save the world. 

If you’re still not convinced that the focus needs to shift from building a story based on what happens verses who this person is who life is about to be upended, thing about video games that have been turned into movies. 

Video games classically make terrible movies and books (not that a few haven’t succeeded). Look at all the action! The adventure! The fun! How could that not be an awesome movie? 

When you’re playing the video game, you’re the character. Oh sure there may be a little development or background but you don’t need a whole lot of that because you are the main character and you bring with you all the backstory you’ll ever really need and you have shit to do, man. You are on the adventure. You have goals to reach. You are engaged with looking for the clues and solving the puzzle. 

Many writers have made the mistake of thinking that if the plot and the special effects are cool enough that they won't need to add much more to the characters than is already in the video game. When the movie gets to the screen though, suddenly the viewer is seeing someone else look for the clues and solve the puzzles and go into battles. 

Let’s be real. Unless you care about that person, you don’t care if they solve it. 

An example for me would be American Horror Story. I tried to watch the first season. I watched a few episodes but I didn’t connect with the characters. I didn’t like them or care enough about them to see if they lived and I didn’t hate them enough to hope that I would get to watch them die horrible deaths or somehow become better people. I had no interest in the plot whatsoever because I couldn’t make myself care about any of them. 

Many writers have made the mistake of thinking that if the plot and the special effects are cool enough that they won't need to add much more to the characters than is already in the video game. 

Lots of people talk about writing and just seeing where they end up but I think that idea is a lot like a road trip. You can go on a road trip and roll the dice to see which way you turn at different intersections and then see where you end up. I imagine that if you do that you’ll have fun for a little bit but it won’t be long before you get tired of it and you just want to be somewhere already or go home. 

If instead you go on a roadtrip with a predetermined destination and map out ways to get there and possible sights to see along the way, you’re going to have a hell of a good time no matter if you have a flat tire here or there or run out of gas on a highway. 

So for me, writing a random, “what if” story every day isn’t helping learn to build real, tangible characters and stories that really matter. 

Not to mention that it’s also been super unsatisfying to jump from place to place each day and never really dig into these random people with random names that I’ve dropped into random situations. 

The point of all of the above is this: the StoryADay challenge seemed like a good idea and I set off to do it with the best of intentions however, it is not serving me or the long term goals I’ve set for myself and as such I am releasing myself of this goal and giving myself the permission to move onto other challenges and experiences that will better suit the needs I have and the accomplishments I want to reach. I’m on a journey, and I thought this would be a good road but I can see now that it has taken me off course. 

float_on_alright: our ship is a yacht (yacht)
I need to write my story for today but I haven’t gotten there yet. I’m at the beach again this weekend, which is amazing. I’m so incredibly thankful that I get to be here again this weekend. Mom and I are both here and dad of course too. He’s having trouble with one of his teeth and he’s concerned he’s going to have to have a root canal or something which is stressful. I certainly hope that’s not the case. 

It’s a bit chilly here so I’ve got on my hoodie and a I’ve got a blanket draped over me but I couldn’t resist coming out on our little porch to write for a bit. We’re on the ocean front so while I can hear a few voices floating up from the hot tubs and the pools, mostly I just hear the waves and the breeze. There are a couple of girls (okay, I can’t say 100% that they’re girls from the balcony of a 9th floor condo but I’m fairly certain) on a blanket on the beach. They’re facing each other and it kind of looks like a picnic date. 

It’s not fair of me to hope, when I see two girls together, that they’re a couple or at least it makes me feel as though I’m devaluing friendship when I do. I don’t ever want to devalue friendship. Real friendship between women is one of the most beautiful and sacred things on this planet and I’d never want to degrade it in any way, it’s just I want to see women romantically and sexually loving women too, in happy, mutual, real life ways. I don’t get to see it in real life often and I just crave that kind of thing in my life. It’s not fair to other women, but there you go. 

The waves are incredibly peaceful and I feel like I could fall asleep in this chair which would be ridiculous because it’s a plastic porch chair you can find a Harris Teeter for $19.99 but I am a bit sleepy, I have had a drink, I am cozy all wrapped in my blanket and hoodie, and the the ocean is quite lulling so there you go. 

I do have to say that I was proud of myself today. I did make a call to my senators about the health care thing. I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I’ll know I did the best I could signing petitions and calling both my senators. I was thankful that all I had to do was leave a quick voicemail for both senators. I was so nervous and speaking with a real person would’ve made that nervousness worse, but it was important that I do it, no matter what the final outcome. 

I’m also proud that I’ve written four stories so far this month. Four. I know that’s not a whole lot or anything and I know I have a lot of days to go but I’ve never had a start to a month like this and it feels amazing. I’ve also been invited to contribute to another person’s personal development blog and I have Wordpress installed on my web domain so I can start the next step in having my very own website - how bout that? I’d like to get it going, then post the first blog post, and THEN write for SHRPA.com and their Medium presence. I don’t, however, want to put off the post so long I don’t do it at all which is tricky. 

I spent more money than my goal. Shopping has been something I’ve used to battle anxiety and depression in the past and with the challenges I’ve been putting myself up to lately, I think my subconscious decided to throw a bit of a fit. Poor thing is a bit scared. I don’t know that it recognizes who I am any more. 

I’d very much like to head to bed, but I still need to write a story. I don’t know what I’m going to write about. Maybe I’ll do my best to get over my shit and write a story about two girls on a late night beach picnic date. 

If I can do something short - maybe just enough to get 1000 words for the night (including this which is a little over 600 at this point) then I’ll head on in to sleep. 

More updates soon. 
float_on_alright: not lazy just energy saving (not lazy just energy saving)
I didn’t write at all on Friday because I didn’t have time at work and then in the evening I had a friend over and we were doing vision boards. She spent the night and we stayed up so late together that I really couldn’t stay up any later. Yesterday I did write some though I’m annoyed that I didn’t make a better effort to write more. I’ve been avoiding it today too I think. 

I decided that I would go for the writer’s workshop they have at DragonCon which means putting together 2000 - 7000 words of a short story or manuscript and submitting it by August 1st. Assuming that there is room for me (there are only 20 spots if I remember correctly), I have to have something solid put together to submit to a published author and other classmates. There will also be people in the business doing presentations. 

This is so exciting y’all but I’m also pooping my pants. I mean… not literally thankfully, but. 

I’ve been thinking lately (thanks probably to that Badass book) that the reason I haven’t really gone for writing a book is - at least in large part - because I’m afraid to fail at it. If I really go for it and fail, I’ve always believed I would be devastated. The more I think about it though, the more I think, how can I go about my life not going for what I really want? And shit, if I fail, at least I went for it. Yeah, maybe I’ll be disappointed if it doesn’t go well but how can I be disappointed in myself if I bust my ass? 

One of the things I read this year was called “The Four Agreements”. It was published a good few years ago - I remember that it was popular back when I was at Borders in like 2009 or 2010 but I didn’t read it then. I still struggled with parts of it because it’s a little more “metaphysical” than I usually go for - crap I think I’ve talked about this before but oh well. The thing about this book is that one of the agreements it says you should make is to always do your best wherever you’re at. I know I’ve talked about this, but my point is that I’ve found a lot of peace in that lately. Do the best you can in any given moment and what more can you ask of yourself?

Plus, every time I get back into writing, the universe seems to through something writing related into my path. I’ve never been much of a “it’s a sign” person, but I think I may be becoming one a little tiny bit. I also think it is time to start taking the opportunities that the universe sends my way. I also think I need to stop hesitating. There is no point at which I’ll be “ready”. There’s no point at which I’ll feel like “it’s the right moment”. I’m going to have to go for it and make every moment, the best possible moment I can. 

It’s hard. I’ve been more productive in the last couple of months than I probably was in all of last year combined but I need to start making more targeted efforts. There are some activities suggested in some of the books I’ve read that I think will help me and I may post them here too like I did for the “Tidying Up” activities. 

Sleepy Kate

Apr. 2nd, 2017 10:28 pm
float_on_alright: polite af (polite af)
I know I need to decide what my goals for the month are going to be, but I also haven’t decided how I want to organize my bookshelf. I have my picture books first organized by the author last name. But the rest of it is just basically thrown all together. I do have my bottom shelf is dedicated to my study bibles etcetera from the fellowship. But the rest. I have a few nonfiction books (poetry, self help, bartending). I think may maybe the top shelf for the picture books and nonfiction books. Then of course I have kids, YA, and an assortment of sci-fi, romance, general fiction and goodness knows what else. I can’t decide if I want to do just fiction and nonfiction or break the fiction down further than that. Also, do I separate the nonfiction? It’s been so long (ah, probably 10 years) since I was able to organize my books so I’m a little excited and daunted by the prospect. 

I still need to sort out my goals for the month and I’ll need to decide my goals for the week as well. I have started an online self-paced sign language course that needs to be completed within 60 days. There are tests/exams to take along the way and while you only have to score about 55% to pass, it still means getting through a good bit of material in a brief amount of time. Since I started about 3 days ago, I have about 57 days left to go so I really need to make sure that I get through a good chunk of the material by the end of the month. I think there are about 10 “modules” to get through and I’ve gotten about 93% on the tests for the first two modules but I have a feeling that the modules will get progressively more difficult as I go along. 

The first module is basic history and the alphabet. The second module is counting 0 - 100 and information about grammar and structure of the language, which as an English nerd is fascinating! ASL is largely based on French Sign Language and incorporates Native American signs as well as gestures that stemmed from gestures people used to communicate amongst family and friends. I always thought that ASL was basically just “American English” as hand signals but in fact the grammar and structure are very different. I’m really enjoying what I’ve learned so far and I hope that the course will give me a good foundation for using the language. I also hope that I can find someone to help me practice. It’s all fine and well and good practicing for myself, but it would be amazing if I could use it in real life at some point. 

The point behind this tangent is that I want to make sure that my goals incorporate my practice with the course. I know I still want to write. I know I still want to read and edit. Hmm, I wonder if I could consider my time studying my sign language course as reading. There is reading involved. I have read each of the first two modules twice to make sure I have a good understanding of the material before I took the quizzes and I imagine I will need that for future sections. Maybe even more. 

I’m thinking I may set my reading goal a little higher and my writing goal about the same. I did beat my writing goal by over 10,000 words so even with one less day in the month and a slightly more spread focus, I think I can still make the 15,500 word goal. I may make it 15,000 to make it even. I may up the editing a little and lower the review score. I’ll probably only count reviews for the writing.com website towards my review word goal and I’ll count reviews for goodreads or what have you as part of my writing goal. I’d beat my reading goal by so much that I actually just stopped recording how much I read the last week or so of the month so like I said I’ll probably raise that one especially if I’m going to count reading “course” material. 

Oh man, I saw the trailer for season two of Wynonna Earp today and HOLY JESUS. I am probably going to have to have a breakdown of excitement eventually but I’m still worn slam out and I’ve got an early morning tomorrow so I’ll just have to put that off a bit longer. 


float_on_alright: kate bishop with her head on a desk in exasperation (asdf)

I fought sleep for too long last night and while I did sleep in, I didn’t get quite as much as I think I could use so I really need to be headed to bed soon. I sat down a few times throughout the day to do some writing and other than editing last night catastrophes I haven’t written anything. I was productive - my bathroom looks awesome. It got a good decluttering and a deep cleaning. That felt really good. And I learned a little sign language - mostly started practicing counting and the alphabet "song".

I do need to write a “Thank you” letter to Google Drive and the “restore previous version” option because without it I would have lost not only the 500 - 600 words I wrote in my journal last night but also 13 pages of my Wynonna Earp fanfic and I was devastated when I thought I’d lost it. I was absolutely beside myself that all that work was gone especially since that was my second attempt but I had deleted the original version since I’d pulled everything I wanted from it already. The story’s beginning was just starting to flow in a way that I liked it and I’d just written part of a scene that will happen later in the story than everything else I have written so far but that I was excited to get down “on paper”. I didn’t think I was going to be able to rewrite it properly and my heart was just broken.

I know I should probably have copies saved multiple places but I tend to have a difficult time with that when it comes to things I’m actively working on because updating just gets well. When it comes to things like resumes, I am pretty good at backing those up, but again if it’s something I have in progress keeping which version is the most recent straight and which ones need to be updated just tends to mess me up. Well, I guess the point is, thank you Google.

And also, thank God I decided to search to see if there was a way to restore my documents because I could’ve just written it off and I’d be sitting here crying on my keyboard.

We were supposed to have family coming to visit tonight but traffic and conspired to make it so that driving the two hours out of their way to visit us on their way back to Maryland just didn’t work. I told mom that we could go visit them up there over the summer and that we’d just have to work around my unemployment meeting - whenever that is. I don’t think that will be a big deal. It made her so happy and it’ll be a nice a trip.

I think tomorrow I’d like to spend some time working out what my goals for April are going to be. I want to keep writing but I have editing to do so I can post that soulmates story (I have about half of it edited I think, or at least close to it) and I am working on that sign language course and I want to make sure I dedicate a good amount of time to that since it’s self guided but I have to have it completed with the majority of the exams passed within 60 days of starting it (I started it the night before last).

But yeah, I think that’s a tomorrow project. Peace y’all.

float_on_alright: claudia wide eyed (claudia the eyes)

I have made a terrible mistake. Well, okay. Maybe I should go with “I have made a very annoying mistake”. I don’t know how I did it but I somehow I managed to over-report how many words I’ve written on the progress form for Writing.com - poopy. I suppose it’s possible that I inadvertently reported the numbers as minutes instead of words? Who knows. So now the question is, do I explain that I’ve messed it up or do I just try to keep up with it? Of course, to keep up with it, I’d have to write 5,589 words by the time I go to bed on Friday which could be a bit of a challenge. That's over 1,000 words a day, and while I have made it to over 1000 words a day on several occasions, I haven’t managed it to do it with any kind of consistency or any more than two days in a row so I don’t know if I can make it. The good news is I have met my goal for the month, and I’m not getting “extra credit” for the overage - so to speak - since you only get credit for whether or not you make your goal. Part of me, though, really wants to try to make it.

It’s just after 10:30 as I write this so and I should go to bed at a decent hour tonight since I have to shower in the morning and not be late since we have corporate people in the office this week. I have my clothes and shoes laid out for tomorrow because I figure it would probably save me time in the morning. It’s not that it should take me long to pull clothes onto my body, but I often don’t have enough brain cells functioning in the morning to make smart choices that early. Sometimes it takes me seven minutes just to work out a shirt and pants combo that doesn’t leave me 1) wearing a black shirt with black pants, 2) wearing a gray shirt with gray pants, 3) wearing a dark blue shirt that - you guessed it - matches several of my blue jeans, or 4) wearing a combination of blue and black or black and brown that should just not happen. It’s better to take that decision off “morning me’s” hands. I should make a habit of this, and maybe that will be a new goal I add to my list of “Kate is going to be an adult …  like really … or at least mostly and I mean it this time” things. 

It can’t hurt me to try. The worst that’s going to happen is that I don’t make it and honestly that’s not a big deal. Or at least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself. 

Do any of you get the daily quote emails from GoodReads? If so, you probably saw this quote a week ago, but it’s been on my mind since they sent it. 
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” ~ Louis L’amour 

This guy wrote over 100 works; I think we have about 35 titles by him at my library branch alone. A lot of his works were short, and I know writers like Nora Roberts (her ‘in death’ series has like 48 titles in it) probably have him beat by now. Regardless, I think the point stands. I’ve been reading a lot about writing, and everything says write every day even if it’s crap (which is comforting). I read that Stephen King writes at least 2000 words a day.  (I would be curious to know who has written more pages: Stephen King or Nora Roberts but that’s another post.) Part of me wants to be like “Oh sure if I didn’t have a full-time job, an hour commute each way, insert other excuses here, I could write 2000 words a day.” 

How can I say that? I have very few responsibilities outside of my job - no spouse, no kids, shit I barely have to take care of my dog. How can I pretend that I don’t have plenty of time? I still have to work at going to bed at a decent hour, so it’s not like I’m committing to getting loads of sleep either. I’ve been spending my time doing what exactly? Well, obviously the last month or so has been different. I have been better at getting decent amounts of sleep, spending time each day writing, and dedicating myself to improving my environment and mind overall. It’s unfathomable how much time I was wasting to Paradise Bay, and there are still a lot of moments when I itch to play those games again. I still have Solitaire and Sudoku on my phone, but only play if I’m also listening to a book or if I’m watching TV with mom since it’s difficult to get anything written or edited while we’re together. That’s okay - I’m not going to criticize myself for spending a couple of hours with my mom though I do try to use at least part of it for something productive.

One of the things that continue to be a bit of a time suck is social media, mostly Facebook which I find odd because it’s one of my least favorite platforms at this point (of the ones that I use), but this too is on my list of “cutting back” items. The idea is just to check and see what things need responses from me and then to maybe post something funny, but I do tend to get sucked into just scrolling endlessly until I realize I have spent thirty minutes doing absolutely nothing. I think I may have to start limiting myself to 15 minutes a day. I may allow myself two sets of 15 minutes for a while because s would be good practice cutting myself off and not getting stuck in the loop. I’ll probably have to use stopwatches to start. 

Speaking of self-improvement, my quest to clean and declutter has migrated to my bathroom. I did a good bit of gutting today. The stacks of stuff are getting RIDICULOUSLY OUT OF HAND, and I filled THREE BAGS OF TRASH TODAY. Okay, it was more like two because some of the stuff was heavy and I didn’t feel the bags would survive the trip to the can outside if I filled them any further, but I think the point stands. I started going through my make up. I made an “airport travel” bag of liquids and a bag of things to replace the things in that bag as they run out. That felt good. I then separated some of my other stuff by lip, eye, foundation, etc. and I did some weeding. I’m going to have to try on nearly every lipstick again to see if I like it then wipe it off with makeup remover so I can try the next one. Needless to say, I decided to put that project off for another day. 

Tomorrow I need to go to the gym and sign my cancellation paperwork. I’m annoyed because I thought my contract was 24 months, but it must have been only 18 months, and I could have gotten out of it a few months ago. At least I didn’t decide to put it off until April or May as I had considered. I haven’t been in at least year. I don’t think I’ve been since before I had my surgery, but I could have gone once or twice after that. It’s a nice gym, but I’m not interested in running/jogging right now. Weight loss wise it didn’t do a lot for me and entertainment wise, I have more fun with the Zumba on my Wii, not to mention that it can be pretty rough on your body in general. I can’t swear to the accuracy, but it is my understanding that no matter how fast you do it, you’re going to burn the same amount of calories for a mile. Granted you can get more miles done in a period if you can do them faster, but I can listen to audiobooks when I walk, and my dog benefits too. Plus, I like walking for the sake of walking sometimes.

I need to get to bed, so I’m going to wind down for the night, but I am hoping I’ll remember to write about my AirPods tomorrow. I just got them today and have been trying them out for the first time.

float_on_alright: hardison what did i say (hardison what did i say)
It’s been a good day folks. I am tired though! I should probably get to bed earlier at night but I’m just so excited about moving my furniture and my room. And it’s basically all I can think about. I’ve been trying to write and edit but it’s just about impossible to do anything but rearrange furniture in my head and estimate furniture dimensions. I’ve also got some new wall art which I am so, so excited to get and put up. If everything works out as I hoped, which if I measured and did math correctly (questionable) I’m going to have it set up so that the love seat and the bed both are comfortable viewing for the TV which will be fun. The bed already is, but the love seat is just so so and I’m just not in love with it where it is any more. I think moving it would be better. I think it will also be set up fairly well for exercising 

More importantly, however, I think I’m going to be able to set up a nook for me and my computer so that when I’m writing/typing on my computer I’ll be tucked away with my seat situated so I can enjoy my room. I’m very excited. I just think this is going to be so, so nice. It already feels so much better in my room and I still have piles of random stuff and a few empty boxes that I’m working on filling and the TV is on the floor. Seriously, even with all that mess going on, it still feels better in my room. 

I have taken off Friday. I know I just took of Monday, but I want to get the furniture situation sorted so I can start putting things in place. I’m going to have to take a ton of stuff out of the room to be able to move the furniture around so while there is a shit on less in there, it’s still going to take me time to figure all that out. Thankfully my mom is retired and she’s going to help me with the furniture. It would’ve been nice if Dad was going to be home to help too but he’s down with the flu so he’s staying at his little condo in Myrtle Beach so that he - hopefully - doesn't spread it to anyone else. The doctor he say yesterday said he was going to be super contagious through Saturday so that didn’t sound fun to any of us. According to him, dad has like the mega flu (he’s a whiny baby when he’s sick). Anyway, I’m exhausted and I need to go to sleep.

I’m just so excited. 

float_on_alright: well when you say it like that it sounds stupid (well when you say it like that it sounds)
 Things I said I would do this month:

1) Look into agents interested in the picture book I have in mind. 
2) Start consolidating debt and work out significant plans for making payments. 
3) Ban the use of credit cards to a) paying the phone bill I split with other people until such time as they pay me and the car insurance and b) actual emergencies. 
4) Finish decluttering my spaces in the house. 

Progress so far:

1) I started working my way through the Writer's Market Guide that the library had but it was pretty cumbersome and it was the general one which meant that there were limited options for agents that worked with picture books. I found a name and started doing research to help me write a query letter and discovered that the agent had moved to a different agency. Now, that isn't necessarily a big deal, but I wasn't familiar enough with the books they were representing to feel confident writing a letter about why I had chosen that particular group for my submission. After further thought, I think I'm going to get a subscription to the Writer's Market website. It's more up-to-date and appears to have better search functions. You can get a free week-long trial for it so I could try it out to make sure that it functions as I think it does. But I'm not quite ready to turn my focus 100% to that project - which I'll get to in a few minutes. 

2) I consolidated most of my credit cards to a lower interest, lower APR loan. One of my credit cards has a better rate than the unsecured loan so I left it as is. I'll be making low monthly payments (in comparison to what the minimum payments on four credit lines were totaled up per month). The whole thing is terrifying, but I think it was the right move. 

3) This has been a huge change of pace for me but I think it's been helpful in watching my money. I realize it's only been about a week and a half but there were a lot of purchases I didn't make because I knew it would come out of my checking account instead of just showing up on a credit card statement. I know it's completely irrational, but it feels like I'm not really spending money when I use credit cards, when in fact, the exact opposite it true. Knowing I am spending my immediate funds rather than funds "I'll eventually have one day" (or something), is a powerful motivator and I should've changed to this method a decade ago.

4) I didn't feel good about taking a day off last week due to territory concerns so instead, I took off yesterday which worked out perfectly. I was also able to leave a little early on Friday which was immensely helpful as well. I'm still not done. Three days of fairly solid effort and I'm still not done. As I talk about this, I expected that I would feel disappointed that I wasn't able to complete the whole project this weekend, but honestly, I feel really proud if a little ... tired. I thought I might be frustrated but I'm not really that either, just ready to have the final product. In "The Four Agreements" one of the agreements is to always do your best - with the caveat that your "best" will vary due to things like health and circumstances. I can say sincerely that I did the absolute best I could to accomplish as much as I could while still being thorough. I did take a few breaks when I needed to rest or eat but I didn't binge a TV show when I should've been working. I didn't draw my lunch out an extra hour before dragging myself upstairs. I worked steadily and thoroughly for about 12 hours every day. And I got really did an enormous amount of work.

I can feel that I'm getting close to being done, though when I started to ask myself if I could stop decluttering at this point and just move onto organizing and rearranging, the answer was a swift, emphatic, non-negotiable, "no". I really want to have this 100% done before I dive into any more big projects. When I have my space clear and comfortable it won't "fix everything!" but I think it will help me focus and I don't want to spread myself too thin over too many projects. If everything is a priority, nothing is.

So close!

Mar. 20th, 2017 10:36 pm
float_on_alright: i'm known as actually (Default)
Holy Shit I’m exhausted. I have been busting my ass on my room for the majority of the last three days with only a few breaks here and there. I’m freaking sleepy that’s for damn sure. 

I’m close to my goal. I can feel it in my bones that I’m almost to that place I want my spaces to be. I’ve stacked up a ton of boxes in the garage to give a way and I have a couple of things in my car I’m going to see if I can sell or at least get some credit at a local media spot. We’ll see what happens on that, but it can’t do more than take a little of my time and gas to try. Either way the stuff should be out of my hair soon. I’m hoping to get some decent cash out of the Xbox. Not that I expect to get more than a small fraction of what I paid for it, but still it’d be nice to get enough to buy myself a nice Blu Ray player. 

I listened to a book while I was working so I did finish a book today, “Please Don’t Tell My Parents I’m a Supervillain”, and it was cute so I’m thinking I may eventually pick up the next one. It’s definitely going on my audible wish list if I can’t find it on like Hoopla or on my library OverDrive account. … Actually, I’m gonna look at that now. 

Woohoo! They’re on Hoopla! I can’t say for sure it’s the entire series but it looks like all of the ones released so far. 

I’m really, really trying to do better with money. It’s not easy to break habits 12 - 13 years in the making but I’m determined to make big changes in my life and I won’t get there without some discomfort. 

I need a nap and a half for real. Or maybe just to go to bed. Yeah, that’d be a good idea. 

float_on_alright: leverage mischief managed (leverage mischief managed)

I have about 15 boxes full of stuff in the garage right now. I also took my old, dilapidated laptops to Best Buy to recycle (thank you Best Buy). I’m thinking that I’m going to take my XBox One and the Kinect piece (and the controller obviously) to a local nerd shop. I’m hoping they'll buy it off me. The only thing I use if for is playing BluRays (rare) and that thing is way too expensive to function as a BluRay/DVD player. Not to mention how big it is and how many cords there are and how it is completely ridiculous that the Kinect piece is taking up space too when I don’t use it either. 

I did some vacuuming today and I am not kidding when I say that I was vacuuming my walls. I took the small places/extension thing and used it along the parts of the wall I could reach without taking down furniture or moving pictures as well as the doors, door frames and parts of the ceiling and my curtains. I also did this as much as possible in my closet as well. There was sooooooooooo much duuuusssstttt, dust everywhere so it felt really good to vacuum a lot of it up (y’all if you haven’t tried the vacuuming approach to dusting, I highly recommend it just be careful not to knock over anything valuable and definitely use the attachment with brushes on the end). Anyway, bye bye cobwebs! Not that I could see them, see them before, but I could see how much better my walls and ceiling looked after I did it. It felt really good but I also wasn’t sure if this is the most in control of my life I’ve been or the least, lol. 

When I was reading “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” one of the things that stuck out to me was that she said that there is a number or an amount of possessions that will feel right and it’ll just click for you. There is no generic perfect number as it will differ for everyone, but that you will feel it when you get there. It really resonated with me and the more stuff I put in boxes, the more I can feel the approaching “amount”. I know I still have a while to go but I can also tell that I’m close to getting there and I don’t think I’ve ever been there. Or at least not that I can ever remember. I’m really excited about getting there because I think it’s going to feel tremendously good and I think it will help me cement in my mind the financial choices I want to make going forward. 

She describes folding in her book but I was listening to it and I couldn't really understand what she meant so I’ve put it a physical copy on hold at the library in hopes that I’ll be able to understand better. She says if you can fold properly it will solve all your storage needs and that once you get the hang of it that you will love to fold. I don’t know if I’m going to fall in love with folding, but I am hoping that it will feel good and be a good way to store some of my clothes. I have more t-shirts hanging than I’d like and I'm also hoping a few of the other things I currently have hanging could go in my drawers instead of hanging up - not that I don’t now have a ton more hanging room than I did before. It's seriously amazing the difference. 

I’ve still got to figure out the comic collection thing. I’m thinking what I’ll do is go through all of them and just pick out the ones I really love and the rest I’ll take to a local comic shop. Anything they don’t take I’m not sure what I’ll do with but I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. 

Alright, I have to go clear off my bed enough to be able to get into it. Wish me luck!

float_on_alright: I have no idea what i'm doing out of bed (no idea what i'm doing out of bed)

I counted and I have written at least 500 words for the last 37 nights in a row! Goal to write 500 words a day for 30 days? Met and succeeded. Booyah Bitches! That feels pretty damn good. I don’t know if I set having an actually daily goal for the month of March passed the 30 days and getting to a total of 15,500 words so I may set my goal a little lower for the next week or so while I work on the decluttering project especially for today, tomorrow, and Monday when I’m hoping to get the majority of my decluttering done. I’m exhausted today after spending about 7 hours on the project - maybe more. I told my friend that the more I get done the bigger the project feels. I swear, my closet is bigger on the inside. It’s unbelievable how much stuff I’ve collected over the years. I took out about 6 boxes, three trash bags, and some odds and ends like an old light up globe that still has “Czechoslovakia” on it and is melted in one place. I also got rid of an ass ton of posters I don’t enjoy any more and bag of recycling. There is still a long way to go but my closet is MUCH improved. I want to do a little dusting where I can of the baseboards while the floor is clear or as clear as it ever gets with my dresser and the bookcase I turned into a shoe rack in there too. Oh and a bit of vacuuming maybe too. 

I am seriously wiped out - I busted my butt today. There was a lot of up and down the stairs and on top of the fact that I’ve been going through every article of clothing I own and separating them into keep, donate, and discard piles, I also did laundry and some cooking. I wish I’d had the energy to walk the dog as well, but I just couldn’t manage it. She didn't seem too upset with me so she must have had fun with the neighbors. Most of the day it was nice, minus the thunderstorm in the afternoon, and I imagine that she was having a great time running about and barking.

Five hundred words a day is a lot and I’m really, really proud of that. I’m not certain that I’m ready to give it up as a goal, but again, I do have some other big projects I want to get done so maybe I do need to give myself a break for a couple of days. I don’t want to get out of the habit of writing though either so it’s a fine line to walk. 

I think what I’ll do is tell myself I need 250 words a day for the next few days while I’m doing major work on the decluttering - maybe for the week. Writing is definitely not something I want to give up again but I think getting this cleansing project done is really important in the long run and worth a few days of a relaxed goal. As much as I was confident yesterday that I could get close to completing by the time I go back to work on Tuesday, having been in the trenches today, I’m not sure that is as true as I would’ve liked. I guess we’ll see. 

Well, I better get some sleep. I’ve got another big day tomorrow!
float_on_alright: we prefer intellectual badass (we prefer intellectual badass)

I am beat tonight. It’s been a good, productive week - hopefully tomorrow will be an extension of that too - and I have to say I’m pleased overall with my progress. 
The decluttering project is kind of overwhelming and the more I get into it the bigger it gets but I am also really tired of being such a cluttered person. 
I spoke about my adventures in decluttering with a couple of the ladies from work about it earlier this morning and one of my coworkers immediately talked about how “I know who you’re talking about” and ‘that lady is CRAZY” and that her system is totally impractical. I get to an extent where said coworker is coming from - if you aren’t reading the book or taking her seminar. 
So my coworker says something like “She wants you to drag out all your stuff and lay it on the floor and then touch all of it to decide if you want it!” 
When you put it like that, as if you are going to bring down every single one of your possessions from every corner of your house and lay them all out on the living room floor and just start grabbing stuff then yes, I absolutely agree that the method sounds like a terrible plan. 
But that’s not how it goes and that’s not what she is recommending. Yes she wants you to get things out and touch them and feel them and interact with them. But only ONE category at a time. She has a particular order that you’re supposed to do these in and yes, she does want everything of a certain category laid out in front of you so you can pick through things and really decide what you want. 
There are several things about her system that appeal to me and make sense to me and that I think will really help me. 
  1. Getting everything together in one category helps you see if you have sixteen lipsticks where the color is basically the same. Or you can see how many t-shirts you have that you’re not wearing. Or you see how many half used bottles of conditioner are currently taking up residence in your life. If you don’t get everything of a certain group all together you won’t really know what you have and if you don’t know what you have there’s no way of telling what you need. 
  2. Interact with the things so that you know how they make you feel. I know it sounds crazy, but I’ve always felt like some objects have a personality. For example, I was having trouble with my last car - it wouldn’t start. I called rubbed the dash and called it all kinds of pet names (baby, sweetie, etc.) and finally when I called it ‘Princess’ it started. It took me years to let go of it because I felt such a close bond with it. I had to say goodbye to it when I did swap it out for a newer car. But saying “goodbye” out loud, if softly, did help me part with it. And I’ve found that saying “thank you” to the objects who have all served me in some form or fashion before letting them go made it easier to part with some things that I didn’t think I’d be able to part with. She may have even set me free of the majority of my book collection - I haven’t gotten to start truly weeding my collection yet, but I did get boxes from the ABC store today so that I could start putting books in them to donate or what have you. And I think I may actually be able to part with the majority of them now which I never thought I’d be able to do. This has yet to be proven true, but I feel fairly confident that this is going to be much less of a problem than I anticipated. 
  3. She doesn't let you use the “but I might need it ‘someday’!” excuse. You either use it, legally need it, love it, or you get rid of it. And you don’t just pass stuff off on other people. 
  4. No getting super fancy about storage. Just put everything of one kind together so that you always know what you have. 
  5. The purpose is to focus on the things that make you happy and releasing yourself of the things that you don’t. So instead of agonizing over what you should get rid of which is stressful for me, you focus on what you really want to keep. It may not sound like a big difference, but for me it is. 
  6. You must finish the “toss” portion before you start the “organizing” project. Which makes perfect sense, but I’ve often found myself trying to figure out how to keep everything or more of my things out of “just in case” or “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings”. When I do that, I don’t end up getting rid of much and before I know it my clever storage is overflowing and I’m back in the boat I was before. 
It’s still a massive undertaking but it has already helped me feel freer in my own space. I have a long way to go but I’m planning to make significant strides this weekend. I don’t know that I’ll ever be as passionate about folding clothes or the proper way to store socks as she is, but just listening to her talk about things has been immensely freeing in my own mind. While the project is overwhelming because of how much I have to go through and how much time that will take and the effort in gathering everything in a certain section together in order to examine my choices, what no longer feels stressful and scary is the process of choosing. I know there will probably still be some tough things, but I think that reading this book is really helping me heal my attitude towards stuff, having stuff, and buying stuff which would be, just as she promised, life-changing. 
float_on_alright: officer haught (officer haught)

I mentioned previously that one of the activities that Marie Kondo recommends in her course and with her clients is to really focus on the reason that you're tidying up and why it's important to you. She says you really need to visual the life you want and what your space will look like in order to do things properly and it make sense. If you don't have a specific goal how will you know if the actions you're taking are going to produce the results you want?

There is an exchange in "Alice in Wonderland" that I think makes the point well:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

This is exactly the point that Kondo is making here and which several other authors and coaches have expounded upon in their works. 

I love the next bit because it says so much about my life so far:

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

Isn't that just how I've been living up to this point? "I'm not sure exactly where I want to go so I'll just walk around until I end up somewhere and hopefully a street sign will strike me and I'll decide that's where I want to be."

I don't want to live that way anymore because it is exhausting and not rewarding with the exception of the occasional moment of stumbling into something every once in a while (a clock with a dead battery is still correct occasionally). I know that's been a prominent theme in my journaling these last few weeks. 

So, why did I decide to tidy up and what do I want to get out of it and why do I want those things out of it? Or something. 

I have a large bedroom and a spacious walk-in closet and yet I don't seem to have a lot of room. I have lots of containers to help with organizing my belongings not to mention several bookshelves, desks, and a massive chest of drawers. I've been allowed to keep things in the loft as well. Further, I have the cabinet space for two sinks but with only one sink so that I have that entire section of counter that can be used for lotions and potions etcetera. On top of that, I have a medicine cabinet and an over-the-door organizer hanging down. There are two of those on my closet door. There are crates and boxes and giant plastic tubs (I think one of them is 50 gallons). I have stuff in the loft closet as well. 

Somehow, with all that space and all those containers, my stuff is nowhere near contained. It's spilling over everything. It's piled and toppling in every corner of space I own. Including out from under my bed. 

It's too much. It's just too much. 

I didn't think I felt this way as a kid, teen, or younger adult. Choas suited me fine and I knew where everything was because "I had a system". Maybe that was a lie, maybe it wasn't. I can't say with any surety. 

What I can say is that I have gotten to the point where I absolutely cannot breathe in my own space anymore unless I'm sleeping and I can't promise that it's not disturbing that too. 

I want to come home and just be able to relax without moving a pile of clothes to another portion of the room or precariously balance my books on the edge of an already too full bookcase and hope nothing falls down. I want to be able to rearrange the furniture in my room and maybe get rid of a piece so that I have more floor space for doing Wii Zumba or wrapping presents in front of the TV at Christmas. I want to know what I have and where to find it. 

I think a lot of the shopping I've done has been out of the idea that shopping makes me happy and that having stuff makes me happier. I'm sure there is, to an extent, truth to this. There are sometimes that looking for a new pair of shoes or a great outfit or a power lipstick is fun and exciting. There are times that having these things and using them have brought me joy. The thing is a lot of these things are just taking up space now. I don't use them but I don't throw them out when I buy something new because "what if I need it". But if I don't use it at least once a year, how can I possibly justify keeping it? 

I've mentioned it before, but I also get caught up in the idea that a particular person gave it to me and I don't want to dishonor our friendship or their memory or some other similar bullshit by getting rid of whatever thing it is. Mementos are great and I should have some. I should keep most pictures and a few other small things, but I think that's the key here: few other small things. 

I feel like if I can tidy my space that I will be able to tidy my mind. I used to think that was an absurd idea and maybe that isn't how I used to function as a person, but now I know in my bones that if I'm going to change my life I'm going to need to change my environment. I don't need a new place, I just need to make my space like new. I have a lot of habits I'm changing and breaking and replacing but in order to continue, I have to have a space clear of junk. I have to be reminded that it isn't stuff that makes me happy. I have to have a safe, relaxing space to recharge. I have to let go of the things that are holding me back literally and figuratively. 

So again, what does that look like? Anything visible in the room will be something I use several times a week at least or is there because it's visually pleasing. My bookshelves will be tidy. I will be able to get rid of at least one piece of furniture. All my clothes will be hung up or in the dresser. I will have a reasonable number of shoes that are all at least semi-functional - as in they would be worn at least twice a year. There will be nothing piled on the floor with the possible exception of dirty clothes in a hamper or bag. I will have room to do Zumba. I will have a designated space for writing or otherwise being creative and it will be comfortable and inviting space with only those things which are creative aids, inspiration, or for comfort. My room will be fairly easy to dust and vacuum. I will have a fan I like to help me keep the room cooler. I will have things on the wall I enjoy and that are empowering.  I will feel good about being in the room and find it peaceful and enjoyable. 

I think that about covers it. Wish me luck.


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