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New Tool, New Focus

For anyone who missed the news on FB, my covid test came back negative, so yay! I’m back at the office for work (well, not today, since it’s a federal holiday, but generally speaking), my friend is also back at work, and…life goes on.

Today is undoubtedly one of the most important and pivotal elections in US history, so I hope if you’re a US citizen, you have voted or will vote. Yes, I did vote, early and absentee, as I always do. It’s convenient that I work at the county courthouse, so I just have to bring my ballot to work and drop it in the box.

Being a government employee does have its perks, one of which is getting Federal Election days off. So I have today off, and fully plan on *not* watching any election news or results. I’d planned to finish fixing the toilets, but…with the way my day started this morning (not exactly “good”), I decided to scuttle that until the weekend.

Instead, I spent the morning emailing a friend and frittering too much time away on Facebook. I also finished taking the rest of our Halloween decor down. And after I finish this post, I shall grab my new, beautiful writing tool, the Freewrite Traveler (which I ordered off a Kickstarter campaign around 2 years ago – it just arrived in the mail yesterday), and get a belated start on a NaNoWriMo novel. I haven’t done NaNo in a few years (not seriously, anyway), and I’m not terribly serious about it this year either, but I need something to grab my focus and hold it for awhile. Something that’s not work, and not politics and not covid and not…well, any of the other “2020” themed chaotic rabble.

The whole reason I ordered the Traveler is because it has something my laptop will never have – an e-ink screen. Like a traditional Kindle or Nook and my reMarkable tablet, the Traveler doesn’t have any backlighting at all to burn my already-stressed corneas out. I can stare at the screen for hours, like a print book, without any discomfort (other than, you know, that general “eyes need sleep” thing).

It also has a beautiful full keyboard that I do wish was a little more “clicky”, but it’s better than average, and it’ll do the trick. I also really wish the keyboard was pretty much any color but white. The oils in my hands are going to make that look dingy very quickly, unfortunately. But, as long as it works well, I’ll be happy. I wrote 56 words on it before bed last night, and it was comfortable, for the most part, so…I’m excited.

This year has been one of the oddest, most chaotic years I’ve ever lived through, and I find myself with the perspective that since everything is in a period of change, I should take this opportunity to make some personal changes too. From how I look (I mean…hair!), to what I wear, and how I structure my days, it feels like it’s time to just sort of flip everything into a giant Yahtzee cup and shake it up. Some things will come out the same, and other things will be vastly different, and this year, that feels okay. Maybe that’s exactly what’s needed.

In any case, more on that later (along with a rant about appliances and my new microwave). Until then, don’t forget to vote, be polite and civilized to those you interact with during and after, and be kind. The world (or our country, at least) could use a return to kindness and civility at the very least, in my opinion.

Now, a story is calling me….


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Confidence Amidst Chaos

Something very interesting has happened this year, amidst the chaos and change. I finally reached a fascinating milestone that I’d heard some women hit in their 40’s, but others don’t, so I wasn’t sure if I would or not.

That milestone? Not being so self-conscious of myself. Literally not caring what other people think of me, just because I am who I am and I don’t need to make any apology or excuses for that.

For example: before this year, I would have been extremely nervous about people seeing the interview our local bookstore did with me recently. I may have shared it, but with apologies for any number of things I did or didn’t do, and I would have shared it at some obscure time of night so less people would see it, etc. When I was interviewed by our local paper quite a few years ago, I did exactly that. I wasn’t happy with how my picture looked, or how it turned out, and that was all just a lack of self-confidence and extreme anxiety about being in the public eye.

This year, totally different. Were there things I could have done differently? Sure. Am I worried about them or how they affected the final product? Not at all. Because this year, when I’m watching the video, I just see me. That’s who I am, and who I would be if people ran into me randomly on the street. So it’s all good. Some people will relate, some won’t, and it’s no big deal. I wasn’t nervous for it to come out, and I’m happy to post it here for anyone else who wants to catch it. It was fun! Which isn’t something I would have said even a year ago.

Something else happened last week while I was preparing for the interview, and it was something I’ve needed for a long time. I’d chosen to feature The Biker’s Wench, because while it isn’t my latest book by any means, it is available in print at the bookstore, and it’s also just a fun escape, which I think we could all use this year. I opened a copy to a random spot just to refamiliarize myself with it, and…I got sucked in. I wanted to keep reading. It was entertaining and engaging and rather than finding a million things I wanted to pick apart and redo, I just got pulled back into the story and kept reading longer than I had planned.

This may not sound like anything major, but it really, really is. I often suffer from confidence issues with my writing – “imposter syndrome”, as it were. I often feel like I’m a “talentless hack”, so to speak. So getting sucked into a book I wrote quite a few years ago was a really affirming thing for me. I *liked* it, and I was worried I wouldn’t (that’s a more “normal” reaction when reading older works, and not just for me, for a lot of authors).

I needed that, and it infused me with a fresh motivation not only to produce, but to start publishing again. I’m still fighting with my schedule to find time for editing, but I’m determined, and I have a renewed sense of purpose when it comes to my writing that I haven’t felt in quite a long time.

It feels good. Really, really good.

So strangely, this chaotic year has been one of the better ones for my writing, and my perspective on it.

I suppose that makes sense, in some karmic-balance sort of way.


Support your author:
This House of Books (my local bookstore!) | Bookshop.org
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iBooks | Audible