There’s been a lot of things going on lately, and my brain doesn’t deal well with the distractions like it used to. I used to be very good at compartmentalizing things, but my focus is definitely lacking, which makes sticking to goals and routines difficult. Not impossible, but much harder than it used to be, and I find myself struggling to do the things I want to do now, even if I carve out the time specifically for them.
But, it’s spring, and spring is a time of renewal and motivation for me. The weather’s usually mild which motivates me to work in the yard (though this year even that is heavily fluctuating – we’re supposed to hit the high 90’s later in the week, and it’s barely June…very, very odd). And I generally renew my business license, which motivates me not only to write, but to get my oft-neglected business affairs in order. Things like bookkeeping and sales and new covers/blurbs.
So when I paid my business license fee last week, I got that jolt of motivation, and during Friday night’s “business hours”, I started downloading sales reports. I wanted to import them into TrackerBox, which is the program I’d been using to aggregate sales data, but alas, it hasn’t been updated for the new Amazon spreadsheets yet (which are very difficult to come by, unfortunately). I thought maybe it was time to upgrade programs, so I went looking at what was available for writers, and…nothing out there does what I want it to, which is to upload sales reports from all the venues I sell through.
So naturally, at two in the morning, I decided the only thing to do would be to build my own database. After all, that’s what I do for the day job, and I have plenty of knowledge/expertise in that area. A lot of authors use spreadsheets, but I hate spreadsheets, and I don’t want to do all that entry manually. I downloaded the database platform I’m most familiar with (SQL Server), and started building the database I want Saturday night. I may switch it to something more portable if I ever decide to create a pretty front end for it, but for now, this should suit my purposes nicely. Once I finish it, that is.
I also signed up for Holly Lisle’s Summer of Writing, which starts June 1st (today!), and includes a free Flash Fiction class I think I’m going to enjoy. I have a bunch of Flash I want to get written, so that should serve my purposes nicely, and hopefully I can get back in the habit of daily writing with homework to complete. I also have several Teachable classes already paid for that I need to take. Much to learn and I need to get writing again.
My spring motivation tends to wane fairly quickly…so it’s a “strike while the iron is hot” sort of situation. But if I can create some new habits early in, and stick to them, I have a much better chance of success. Fingers crossed!
It’s been a few weeks, hasn’t it? Things have been a bit crazy, to put it mildly. A quick run-down, for anyone who doesn’t follow me on social media:
– Got my second covid shot and immediately got a norovirus the same day, so that was super-fun. I was sick for a week, couldn’t eat for a good 24 hours, and couldn’t eat anything substantial for the next five days after. Good times. Bonus: I have no idea if I had side-effects from the shot or not.
– My dishwasher broke, and is still broken. I finally got an appointment to have someone look at it…Tuesday. Have I mentioned I hate, hate, hate doing dishes by hand?
– I broke my 100 daily words for 100 days streak when I was sick, and with the dishwasher being broke, I haven’t picked it back up because my writing time is late at night after the kitchen is clean, and the kitchen takes me twice as long as it used to now.
– I got my hair cut for the first time in a year, and that was a far better experience than I’d hoped for. I like the new stylist, she was very thoughtful and careful with how she cut my hair given my grow-out goals, and I can let it grow for the next six months now and it should grow out very nicely.
So. Lots going on. Ironically, I feel a lot better overall since the norovirus/full-body-purge…some other health issues I was having seem to have magically gone away/fixed themselves since, which is actually pretty awesome. So much so that I’m considering doing a planned 24 hour fast every so often, just to sort of “reset” my physical systems. Gotta do a little reading up first, but it seems like it might be a good idea. Anything that keeps my body running smoother as I get older is on the table, as far as I’m concerned.
I am getting somewhat faster at doing the dishes (and eating out an extra night or two per week), and my writing issue is more of a “pouting” issue, so there’s really no reason I can’t sit down and whip out 100 words and still get to bed on time, other than attitude. So, I need to give myself a stern talking-to, and get my butt back to writing. I have a very nifty new planner that’s basically just habit tracking for writers, and it actually makes me want to write so I have something to record daily. Whatever works, right?
As for my hair…I’ve got some new routines forming due to both the longer length and the silver growing out. I watch YouTubers who are growing out their gray hair too (judge all you want – everyone likes company when embarking on a new adventure), and one of them mentioned that something she wished she knew before growing her gray out was that makeup will get in your white hair, and you can *see* it (because…white), and you can’t get it out. So you have to put your hair back when you’re doing your makeup, which is something that never crossed my mind, but makes total sense to me. So I’m changing up my routine since I do already have a lot of white right up near my face. I used to shower, then do my hair, then do my makeup (and my hair would often get in the way, because it’s “poofy” when I blow it out). I’m switching it up, and after a shower, wrapping my hair in a hair towel (women and long-haired men, have you discovered hair towels yet? If not, do!), go do my makeup and get dressed, and then do my hair last. Voila! No makeup in my white hair. It’s the little things…
Also, the new cut has taken away the worst of the “flips” at the end of my layers that forced me to take a shower and wash my hair daily for work, so I could tame those silly flips with the blow dryer. Now, I find that my hair just flattens out a bit on the second day after a shower, so I can skip the shower and hair wash every other day, which is far better for my scalp, my hair *and* my skin! Huzzah! I celebrated by ordering a flat iron and a heat-resistant mat for the bathroom counter, so on days I don’t need to shower, I can either straighten or curl my hair (or leave it alone) as I feel like it. It’s a new era, which is awesome, and exactly what I was hoping for. So yay!
In other news, we’re back to yardwork again, and I tell you what – nothing gets those muscles screaming again like shoveling a bunch of wheelbarrows and buckets of dirt to fill garden beds and pots. I am *sore* today, I tell you what. But we got a bunch of tomatoes planted this past Saturday, and I moved my hardy geranium into the brick planter in the front of our house. It’s a start.
In any case, things are slowly getting back on track *again* (though the to-do list is longer than ever), and with any luck, they’ll stay that way for awhile this time. One can only hope, eh?
The front yard landscaping is done! Huzzah! We’ll spend the next several years paying for it, but it looks great, and is very low maintenance, which was the main goal. The neighbors have had favorable comments so far. But we haven’t put our pink metal flamingos out yet. Who doesn’t love pink flamingos, right?
Yes, we are going to be “those” neighbors – the ones with the beautiful landscaping broken up by all manner of kitschy lawn art. Pretty *and* fun, all in one spot.
I need gnomes now. Ones that scream when you pick them up. There has to be a way, right?
Needless to say, with the front yard done (or as done as it can be until the last frost date, which here is May 15th), we’ve turned our attention to the back yard. We have much to do and very little time to do it in – our spring motivation wears off very quickly once temperatures are above 80 or so for any length of time. We’ve started refinishing the old patio swing with a new coat of paint (we ran out – need to get more soon), and I have new cushions/covers for it that I bought two years ago just hanging in the basement waiting to be put on.
We have a new gazebo in boxes in our driveway to be assembled on the patio, which will give us some much-needed shade back there when the sun is frying everything for hours on end. Before we can put that up, we need to disassemble and remove a shed we have sitting on the patio at the moment.
I started a project to raise the two rose beds just off the patio a couple years ago. I need to finish that project, replace some roses, and spread out the plants with better spacing.
We ordered some new veggie bed kits with compost towers in the center to help with feeding. They’re also sitting in the driveway, and we need to assemble them and get those filled (before May, hopefully!).
And we need to rake and overseed the backyard again, to continue our weed abatement/grass revitalization project. Eventually we’ll probably have all that just ripped out and redone, but for now, we’ll just take care of it as well as possible. And maybe this year I’ll finally get the hang of using the hose-based liquid fertilizer spreader for using the organic fertilizer I get from the company that picks up our compose each week. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but apparently it kind of is.
By mid-June (at the latest), I’ll be sick of yardwork and outdoor projects (I’m not really a “play outside” kinda girl). So it’s important to get as much done early as possible.
Inside, we’ve been rearranging furniture to accommodate a couple of wire dog crates for our little four-legged hoodlums. Because sometimes it’s just too hard to be good. Especially for younger pups who are still very impulse-driven and eat everything. Including things that might harm them. And things that cost a fair chunk of change to replace. *sigh* I’m not sure if we’ll be able to crate them while we’re gone or not yet – they’re still getting the hang of the whole “sit quietly in the crate” thing. But we’ll see. It’s good training, no matter what happens.
Last but not least, I’ve instituted a writing goal for myself, to hopefully get that habit ingrained again. One hundred words a day for one hundred days. That’s the goal. Ironically, I had five days down, and then missed Sunday so I could get this blog done and posted. So, I’m starting over (again) at zero. I’ve ordered some word count stickers and black certificate covers to post them in, so that each day I’ll have a record of whether I hit 100, or went higher. It’ll be fun, as long as I don’t start over too often. There’s really no reason to – 100 words takes very little time (five minutes or less when I’m on a roll).
So, busy busy around here. At least until it gets hot, and staying inside to write is the only thing I actually *want* to do. 😉
Hair is such an oddly complex thing, mentally speaking. It’s one
of the first things people see when they look at us, and an integral
part of our personal identity. Many of us hang on to a certain style
or color for years just because we can’t see ourselves any other
way, and others of us cycle through hairstyles and cuts like seasonal
Our hair often defines us, either by style or cut or color, and while we’re all told not to judge other’s appearances, for some reason, we generally do just that, at least at first. I’m betting that actual first impressions are often made subconsciously, before we even realize what we’re doing, which is probably an instinctual/survival thing.
I was thinking about this and how it relates to my writing (or
should), and I’m annoyed and kind of embarrassed to say that…I
really don’t know, because this is the first time I’ve given any
thought to it. And that’s really not a good answer, because given
how important hair is to real people, I think it should have at least
a similar amount of importance to my characters and decisions they
make. It certainly will going forward, for sure.
I’ve been growing my own hair out for about eight and a half months now, and it’s gone from a short pixie cut to just barely shoulder length at the back (the sides and top layers are still pretty short). It’s a process that has included a lot of ups and downs, both physically and mentally, but the experience isn’t so different from when I first cut it off. I still have days when I just want to chop it all back off, and days when I wish it were mid-back length, and days when I feel like it’s fine just the way it is (not often at the moment – it needs a tad bit more length to pull the flips into nice waves for that).
When I decided to grow my hair out, several people assumed I’d
also be letting it go natural too (salt and pepper with a lot of
pepper on the bottom is my “natural” color now). I wasn’t ready
yet, so I said ’no’, and have spent a lot of time since trying to
figure out how to successfully dye my roots, not just in the front,
but also in the back so I can pull my hair up without white showing.
Alas, I finally figured out that not only is it nearly impossible to
color all my roots every time, but they grow out so quickly that I’d
really have to touch them up weekly to avoid them showing at all
against my dark brown/chestnut dye job. Also, my hair is thinner than
it used to be in some spots, and while it doesn’t stand out so much
against the white roots, it’s a rather stark contrast with my
darker dye when my scalp peeks through.
Needless to say, there’s really only two good, easy-maintenance
choices since I have so many more white roots than I had when I
started dying my hair. One is to cut my hair off again, so that it’s
easy enough to just dye the whole thing every three weeks, and since
there’s only one real style to that, it doesn’t matter if the
underside gets missed.
Or I can grow out the henna/indigo as I’m growing my hair longer,
and let my natural color take over. That’s the choice that feels good
to me right now, so that’s what I’m going with.
I wish I’d been ready to make that decision last year when I
stopped getting my hair cut. I’d have pretty much grown out the dye
by now, and the process would have been a lot easier. I was already
dealing with flippy, annoying hair, so different colors would have
just been one more thing.
But I wasn’t ready then, and this isn’t something you can
really rush, so I’m starting the color grow-out process now. It
could take as long as two years, or quite a bit less if I decide to
chop my hair off as soon as the gray is long enough for a shaggy
pixie. We’ll see how long I can stand that sharp demarcation line
that will be evident on top of my head soon enough. I could just dye
the top/most visible roots with a color conditioner too, and I might
do that, depending. I just need to see what it looks like when a
decent amount of the roots have grown out, and for that…well, it
just takes time and patience.
I don’t regret dying my hair for the last…12(?) years or so. I
think that and the short hair cut gave me a lot of confidence, and
people definitely treated me differently than they had before (that
was a lot of what gave me the confidence), which certainly worked to
my favor, at least professionally. I think it was very attractive on
me, and made me look a lot more outgoing and approachable than I
actually am, which served me very well.
But, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I needed to with that
look, and that maybe I can afford to be more authentic to my original
sense of style and color now (more natural, low-maintenance). I like
longer hair (I can always put long hair up, can’t take short hair
down), and while the salt and pepper look will undoubtedly make me
look older, I’ve looked younger than my age for my whole life, and it
might be refreshing to have people not question my age or experience
for a change.
It’s going to be another long wait as my roots grow out and
look…well, not great while they do. But, a lot of women did the
same thing when the salons closed last year, so I’m a year behind the
trend is all (story of my life). I think it’ll be a change for the
better, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the new ratio of white
to brown to black will be when the dye is finally gone.
Updates here and there, as the grow-out progresses. Another adventure begins, and with it, a character or two in a story who has to deal with gray roots, demarcation lines and conflicting emotions about hair.
You know how when you set up a bunch of new routines that are
almost guaranteed to be successful just because you’ve done the
research and testing and everything is finally ready to fall into
place and then…it’s like the universe knows you’re on the cusp
of something really, really good, and takes it as a challenge, and
suddenly in the space of a few hours everything falls apart due to
one completely random event that has to take precedence over
That’s how my week started last week.
Monday was a horrible day, from the minute I crawled out of bed,
and just kept getting worse, culminating in a trip to the emergency
vet after work so the Murph could get diagnosed with “old dog
vestibular disease”, which is basically the worse case of vertigo
you can possibly imagine.
That led to two days at home making sure he was on the mend and
safe to leave with Athena the Cyclone. Thankfully he was able to walk
again within around 16 hours or so, but it was shaky (literally) for
a good while there (and still is occasionally).
Even so, my new routines have been proving themselves mostly
worthy, though I’m not getting as much writing done during my late
writing time as I’d like (despite moving it up by half an hour).
I’m just not awake/alert enough at that time, and I need to figure
out how to wake myself up enough to get a good hour’s worth of
writing in, while not keeping myself up much longer than that. But
otherwise, things are working. Which is a nice change.
I didn’t meet my publishing deadline for this month, but considering I didn’t set the deadlines until mid-Jan, I’m going to cut myself some slack on that, and focus on meeting February’s deadline. I have a plan, I have motivation, and I’m pretty confident that everything should work the way I’ve set it up. I just need to show up at the keyboard and do the work.
In non-writing related news, I’m definitely getting better at dying my longer hair, and it’s getting to a place where I’m going to need to get it cut soon. Which means picking out a new hair stylist. I was hoping to hold out until we were closer to the end of the pandemic, just because it seems like a bad idea to have someone who can’t see the bottom half of my face figure out how to cut/style my hair, but…well, we’ll see.
I also figured out my hip issue and have almost completely
rehabbed it. Huzzah! Now to just keep getting my body into better
shape, and strengthen the muscles in that area to protect against it
happening again. That’s the key, really. No being lazy, no skipping
workout sessions. It’s important.
The only other thing really bothering me at the moment is my eye,
and that is going to require a very up close and personal exam, new
glasses, and probably a referral to a cornea specialist. I’m still
trying to wait that one out, but it’s probably contributing more to
my productivity problems than I realize, and it might be better to
take the risk and make the appointment sooner rather than later.
It’s a new month, and despite everything, I feel optimistic about what the next few weeks have in store. Here’s hoping.
Changing routines is hard. I am trying rather valiantly to switch things up, with moderate success, but it’s slow going considering I have to rewrite neuro-pathways (essentially muscle-memory for the brain) and also actual muscle memory/kinetic energy. But! I was able to get back to the office at 11pm every night this past week, and after comparing the time it takes me to transcribe with the time it takes to just write, and the editing time required after each…I was able to determine that for me, writing the initial draft instead of dictating it, and then transcribing it later is definitely more efficient.
So, no more dictation, though I may use that just for capturing random thoughts to set the scene or details I want to include later. We’ll see.
It also means (given the editing component) that I have a lot of rewriting to do from last year. *sigh* But I can use my dictations as outlines of sorts, so all isn’t lost.
In other news, I’m trying to figure out how to motivate myself to keep up with daily/weekly chores so small issues don’t become big issues. Like the fact that I had to clean out my fridge yesterday and it was completely gross. Or that I routinely let non-dishwasher-safe dishes pile up in one of my sinks, and they sit there for weeks simply because I hate hand-washing dishes so I don’t do them right when they’re “generated”. And there’s the recycling that I don’t take out to the garage, so then I have empty cans and bottles piling up on my kitchen counters making it more difficult to cook.
Laziness is the only reason I don’t take care of these things right away, before that pack of celery becomes goo on a fridge shelf, or before there are so many cans on my counter I don’t have room for a cutting board. I know it needs to be done, I just choose not to take the 5 minutes to do it because I don’t feel like it, or I’m too tired, or just unmotivated.
I’m not sure how to motivate myself to do these things right away instead of waiting until they get to the point of no return (which then requires several hours of time to catch up rather than 5 minutes). I know routine is part of it, so that even when my brain doesn’t feel like it, kinetic energy and muscle memory just pull me into getting it done. I rely on that a lot for daily things, and it works well, once it’s coded into my brain. Re-coding though is…often problematic.
But I need to do something. Keeping up on these things gives me more time overall, and that is what I covet most…more time not doing housekeeping or cleaning chores. I also really hate cleaning veggie goo and moldy leftovers out of my refrigerator.
Am I trying to change up too much, too quickly, between the writing and household stuff? Possibly. I’m impatient with the fact that I can’t make quicker progress, mostly because I’m finally motivated to fix these problems, and it’s stressful going through the change. So I’m anxious to get through the transitional period and to the other side where this stuff just “happens” without so much mental effort.
Alas, “extra mental effort” seems to be the theme of the past 12 months and continues on. So I don’t know why I expect personal growth to be any different.
I did make some monthly goals for writing/publishing, and a plan for reaching those. I may have made them too late to hit this month, but it’s still a solid plan going forward. So there’s that.
I’ve been working on rehabbing my hip too, with good progress. Slow and steady with that…Friday was the first day I could do three sun salutation sets with zero pain. So this week, I start strength training for the muscles in and around my hips, in hopes of keeping any future damage to a minimum. Yet another change where patience is required (or a lot of damage could occur).
And my hair has hit another awkward point of growth…I really am going to have to find a new stylist soon, if only to even up the back and then sort of calm down the flippy-ness of the upper layers. That will be a February project, I guess.
Change and patience. Patience and change. Two things I am quite weary of at this point, but with enough patience and time, things will stabilize and get easier. It sometimes takes awhile, but they always do.
For this first Fiction Friday (Fiction Friday continued? Whatevs…), I thought I’d share a quick bite I wrote for the writing class I took in December. Partly because it’s about snow, and we’ve had virtually none this year. I miss snow. *sigh* Enjoy, and Happy Friday!
tucked his chin and nose down into the thick woolen scarf his
grandmother had knit years ago, and fought to steal a full breath
against the cruel wishes of the icy sideways snow that pelted his
skin with microscopic needles. Tiny pellets tapped at his rough
canvas coat, and stung his legs through not-thick-enough acid-washed
jeans. He hadn’t wanted to bother with heavy boots and thick socks
for the drive into town, a decision he regretted as he dragged one
tennis shoe after the other through two-foot high drifts, his feet
already numb and clumsy.
old Toyota had gone on strike in front of the Meadowlark County
Courthouse, an imposing, three-story square stone building to the
north only just visible through the fierce flurry biting and
whistling at Nick’s ears. A single illuminated globe hanging from a
small stone awning cast a wide, reflected glow over the stately
stairs and double wooden doors that led inside. It was the tallest
building in Juniper Falls, and also one of the least likely to be
populated on a Sunday.
town Montana had seemed like a good idea last spring. He leaned into
the storm and trudged forward to forge a path where he thought the
sidewalk went, wishing the cell service didn’t suck.
California was probably nice right about now. Hawaii, too. No storms
howling like a wolf through the night, just waiting for its prey to
nod off before making a final attack.
his head to the south just slightly, Nick peered through the ice
flakes on his eyelashes across the road at the shadowy outlines of
buildings almost completely hidden behind the gauzy static. One
church-shaped with a prominent steeple, another flat and squat like
an oversized shipping box. Both dark, without even a curl of smoke to
wish on. Closed for the winter.
cold wind-wolf snapped at his head and he stumbled, falling sideways
into a deep, soft bank that cradled his body as he sunk deep and
rolled to his back. It was quieter inside, the cold not so sharp, the
smell of fresh ice reminiscent of snowcones. He stuck out his tongue,
tasted the snow-slush, not so cold as he’d been just seconds before.
should get up, keep moving. Someone would be at the bar.
Words for the Week: sigh, social, depressed, frustration, birthday
Yes, only five words this week…I missed a couple of days. Remembering to choose a word on Friday and Saturday nights when I’m not reading/writing may take some time.
Last week was very frustrating just due to the slow speed at which things I needed to get done were getting done. But I did fight to make progress, and the little I did make was good and solid, so there’s that.
I turned 46 yesterday, and it’s the first time I can remember that I actually felt like I aged over the previous 12 months. I think the near constant stress and change of pandemic and election year living, coupled with my body going deeper into perimenopause certainly contributed to that. And then there’s my stupid hip which has been hurting for the last six weeks or so, and miraculously fixed itself Saturday night (a somewhat painful process that felt like a tendon or ligament slid fire-like over my hip bone to get back to where it needed to be). Hopefully that’s on the mend – I’ll be careful with it for awhile and work on building up the muscles in that area to stabilize, if I can.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been low in iodine, as a couple sheets of seaweed daily seems to be helping with some other problems I’ve been having. Problems or changes, I guess, depending on how you want to look at them. Either way, I’m game for whatever helps me feel the most normal, relatively speaking.
I’m still trying to figure out a good writing workflow, and that’s frustrating me more than pretty much anything at the moment. Mostly because the workflow I have, which is to dictate on my way to and from lunch at noon and then transcribe during my late-night writing hour feels like it’s just too slow. I don’t really feel like I’m making enough progress, which is annoying and frustrating.
All this means I need to either figure out how to be more awake at that late hour, or I need to figure out how to prioritize my writing for earlier in the evening. I’d prefer not to do that, because that’s my unwind and relax time with the dogs and hubby, but…if I want to be on track for the 10 year retirement plan, I need to step up my publishing game. And to do that, I need not only to write, but to finish things on a reasonable timeline.
I think for this week, I’ll try getting off the couch at 10pm (instead of 10:30 after the news, or 10:45 after Colbert’s monologue), getting the kitchen cleaned and making sure I have a full hour to write before midnight. It means skipping the news, but…do I really need to watch it when I get news and weather all day long via the internet? I like it as it’s kind of a “end-of-day” signal for my brain, but it’s certainly not necessary. And it’s the least difficult thing to cut out of my evening – I still get dinner, gaming and TV with the hubby, and a walk/time with the dogs.
So, that’s the plan. Alarms are set. Here’s to more words this week!
I was planning to post this Monday (the 4th), which tells you how
my year has started off so far. I’ve had all sorts of issues, both
organizational and mental, so I’m off to a bit of a slow start.
That said, the “mental” part of it was mostly trying to decide on
my “big three” resolutions for the year. I wanted to choose
things that would really positively impact my life over the long
term, but were well within reach without straining too much.
Given those parameters, these are the three Resolutions I chose:
– Get 5.5 hours of sleep daily – Write 12 flash fiction pieces and publish as a collection in December – Read a minimum of 12 books this year.
The first and third will take some time
to…well, set aside the time on a regular basis. Routines need to be
redone, and honestly, I’d prefer six hours of sleep, but I made the
resolution for what I thought was actually doable. Getting enough
sleep is really the resolution that will have the most impact on
everything else I want to do, simply because when I’m rested, I
make better decisions, I manage time more wisely, and I perform
better no matter what I’m doing or trying to do. Sleep is the
cornerstone of everything in life, but it’s also the one thing I’m
most willing to give up when I want to do something else. Sleep is
boring and feels ultimately unproductive. But it’s vital, and I
need to give it much higher priority than I do.
I haven’t been making time for reading at all – whenever I get a
quiet moment, I’m generally either decompressing or writing. Quiet
moments are unfortunately hard to come by. But I have a ton of books
I really do want to read, and I just need to set aside time to do
that. I want to make it a priority. So I shall.
As for writing…man, I feel like I’ve been drifting in this
story wasteland/dreamscape for the last several years. I lost
confidence, I lost ambition, and while I’ve been writing all this
time, I haven’t bothered to publish anything in way too long. I
knew I needed to learn and grow in order to gain confidence, but a
lot of writing “instruction” tells you what to do, but not
exactly how to execute it. This leaves people like me, who need
things broken down to base elements in order to learn, floundering.
But I recently took a chance on a writing class called Depth in Writing by Dean Wesley Smith, and he broke things down in such a way that I got it. And my writing improved dramatically in a short time – noticeable even to myself. That was a huge confidence boost, and I bought several more of his online classes to take throughout this year.
Sometimes with learning, it’s not the subject matter so much,
but the best match in teaching styles and learning styles.
So now that I have some confidence back, I need to establish a
writing workflow that’s conducive to daily progress. I also need to
come up with some deadlines, so that those twelve short stories
aren’t the only things I work on all year. They need to be strictly
flash fiction (1k words max) so I have time to work on the longer
novels and short stories I’d really like to publish this year.
In addition to these “big three” resolutions, I also have some
other goals I’d like to work towards. Things like cleaning my
makeup brushes more often, and losing ten pounds, and keeping my
kitchen sinks cleaned out better. And definitely writing and
publishing more books.
I’ve also decided to do a journaling project of sorts. I bought
myself two journals, one small, and one a more comfortable writing
size, though still not too big. The small one is for a
word-of-the-day. Instead of picking one word for the whole year, I’m
picking one word for the day, and writing it down in the small
journal each night. No commentary, no explanation, just the day’s
date, and the word. It takes very little time at all (though I’ll
admit I have not hit everyday just yet – creating new routines takes
time), and at the end of the week every Sunday, I’ll go back and
grab all the words for that particular week and put them in the
larger journal. I might write a story, I might write an entry that
includes them, I might just right down the list of words and close
the book. I think it will be interesting to follow my daily whims and
moods, and see what becomes of the practice at the end of each week.
So that’s the plan for the year so far. Three big resolutions to
sleep, write, and read, some smaller goals that I’ll get to if I
get to, and a word of the day journaling project.
I know we’re starting out on a bumpy note, but I have a feeling
it’s going to be a very clarifying year overall. And that’s not
necessarily a bad thing.
Do you make resolutions or goals? Or are you just winging it and
hoping for the best? Either way, I wish you luck, good fortune and
I kind of feel like we’re all at the same point with the year right now…which is:
“Goodbye and good riddance. Go ahead and let the door hit you on the way out – you deserve it.”
Something most of us can agree on in a mostly disagreeable, disjointed, and socially schismatic time…yay!
Personally, my year started pretty well. I had a plan, I was ready to go, I was writing regularly, reading again, and feeling good about things.
Then I got sick (like, sicker than I’ve been in a long time) at the end of Jan/early Feb. Work was crazy, I couldn’t get rested, I wasn’t writing or doing anything else…and then just when I was finally starting to recover…pandemic! Civil unrest! Election year! Seriously. The crazy just wound right up and spun out of control and that was that.
Needless to say, many of my resolutions were pretty much left in the dust with my personal motivation and focus this year. Which sucks, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. I have been starting to claw my way up from the rubble, and I feel like I’m in a pretty good place at the moment. I have some health issues to address in the new year, and some book business decisions/issues to address, but nothing that seems insurmountable, at least not at this point.
Some good things actually did happen this year though, including a new fridge and stove, curtains instead of blinds for the living/dining room windows, and the promise of new, easy-care landscaping first thing in the spring. I’m writing again, and I’m taking a writing class at the moment which I think is really helping me to improve as a writer, so that’s exciting.
I’ve discovered new ways to grocery shop, including our local food hub, which is great. I discovered a few more local shops that have become favorites, and I started using Instacart, which doesn’t work for everything, but does work for main grocery shopping and saves me a lot of time each week. I will probably have to go back to shopping for myself next summer, just due to the amount of box and bag waste that not taking my own reusable bags creates. But at the moment, I’m enjoying having that time to do other things. If reusable carrying media was an option, I’d probably keep getting my groceries delivered indefinitely.
I’ve gotten a much better handle on my finances, and feel pretty good about being able to control them going forward. That was one of the goals (in a more specific way) that I did meet, and arguably one of the more important ones. I am stalwart in my weekly budgeting now, which is a very good thing. There are a few other things I need to get to that point with as well. One thing at a time.
All in all, aside from ten extra pounds I don’t need (and five more I should lose just for good measure) and the aforementioned health issues, I don’t feel like I’m in too bad of shape going into the next sun-cycle, but…time will tell, I suppose.
I’ll be setting my goals for next year later this week, and will post them next Monday to start the new year off on a hopeful note.
Until then, I hope your Christmas was bright and merry, and that the first day of the new year will bring feelings of peace and hope.