Occupy your own skin

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Something keeps happening this year, and I don’t know when this shift happened truly, but it’s here now.

When I first started writing, I felt like a girl on the outside looking in.  I felt like I was playing in a space I didn’t truly belong in, and that I didn’t know the rules of.

This year it started with Ad Astra.  Before I would compliment people and make small talk, but there was this feeling of trying.  I wanted so badly, and I felt like I was trying to get into a space I didn’t quiet belong.  This year though, it felt natural.  It felt like I owned some of that space.  That I wasn’t renting it, but that is was mine.  I knew who I was in it, and what I brought to the table, and the conversations where truly connective.

That catapulted into a richer online experience on twitter.  Even with twitter being the trash fire that it is, I still felt closer to these people I had met at this event.  I felt like they where more than people I admired, but people I knew and related too.  Friends.

I went to Can Con, and it felt like a reunion of old friends, in a new location.  Even though I had never been to Can Con before, it felt familiar.  We had an impromptu after hours panel in our hotel room about makeup, and tea, and we grabbed people on the elevator and invited them back, and it was all around a solid experience.

In the past as ML I would stress about the numbers.  Who showed up?  How could I make everyone feel welcome?  How I could engage more people for next year? I’ve hosted the overnight write in for several years now at my place, and each year, I worried about it from an ML perspective.

This year, I think we had the lowest turn out, and yet, it felt to me like the best overnight write in I’ve ever hosted.  It was like having an intimate gathering of your closets friends, who all brought food, and good stories, and we wrote.  The fireplace was on, my tree was up, the ambiance was solid, and the company was amazing.  It was cozy.  It felt less like hosting, and more like connecting.

Maybe it was the best overnight write in, because I didn’t take any of the stresses as ML in it with me.  I was there to write, but I’m not worried about 50K.  I was there to host, but I’m not worried about number of people who show up.  I left all those worries at the door and just enjoyed the people I had over.

The differed I would say this year, is that I know who I am as a writer, and feel comfortable in my own skin about it.  I feel less like I’m trying to be something, and more like I am the person I’m meant to be.  Less like I’m trying to impress people, and more like I’m connecting with them.  It has been an amazing feeling.

So even though I’m not where I want to be in my career, I still feel like this has been a breakthrough year for me.  I feel like I own the space I want to occupy, and that I’m comfortable in who I am to be their.

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The trifecta of why my writing has come to a grinding halt in the middle of NaNoWriMo.

Remember how I said that life had a way of happening in November? Despite my best intentions of only focusing on writing, life once again found a way to make things complicated.

First my poor old doggo Rosco is having issues walking with his hindquarters. He’s pretty much bambi on ice right now. We took him for a vet appointment because he was having the yowlies in pain, but while the yowlies have improved, the walking has not. I’m worried. But he’s not dying, and the vet said as long as he still has come muscle control back there, we are going to work on it rather than put him in a doggy wheelchair because we don’t want him to lose the use of what he has. Still it’s hard, and there are no walks being had. I have a follow up vet appointment this week, so I’m hopeful we will have more information at that time. Cowboy almost bought him a wagon, but we’re trying to be positive that he’s going to be able to go out for walks again eventually.

It is hugely emotionally stressful dealing with a sick dog. He’s old, and I’m constantly worried that this is the end. It’s not, but it’s still a huge looming concern, because they are old. They are my babies, and I will absolutely be heartbroken when it happens. I’m heartbroken even just thinking about it.

Second thing, I caught a cold. Colds have a way of absolutely nocking me out. I made it into work for most of it, but it has not been conducive to getting any writing done at all. Though I did have a breakthrough with a scene that I’m eager to get to. Mostly I was a sore throat, snot nosed, and brain fogged mess. I’m nearing the end of it, but I’m using all the energy I have to get the basics done.

Third, I started my period. Normally a period would not prevent me from writing, but add that on top of the other two, and I am an emotional shitbag right now. It’s literally all I can do, not to have a complete melt down and bawl my eyes out. I can feel the anxiety clawing at my insides, trying to drown me.

When I was younger, I thought being an adult would mean having all the answers. I would intrinsically know how to deal with life, and I would be good at it. I would complete all the necessary steps in the correct order to get to adulthood, and I would not feel this way. I would not constantly be questioning my ability to do the thing, or make a decision about the thing. Being an adult is the most stressful thing I have ever had to do. I am constantly worrying about one thing or another. It is an emotional rollercoaster of second guessing yourself.

Anyways, this week’s post is to say I’m tragically behind in my word count. I wish I wasn’t. I wish I could get caught up. I doubt that’s possible. But I’m going to start writing again.

A little bit of pep from an unknown…. NaNoWriMo

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I love NaNoWriMo.  I feel like I need to open with this, so you understand that i am not at all bashing this event.  I feel like I need to quantify my love for it, with stated examples of how I met my writing community and friends, and everything has steadily grown writing wise from that very small beginning of deciding to do the writing thing with NaNoWriMo, to going to con’s and knowing published authors.

So I’m here to tell you that who I was as a writer when I first started doing NaNoWriMo, is not who I am now, and that is okay.  At the time, I was very much a rule following girls.  Rules made you safe.  If you followed the rules you get from point a to point b successfully.  Rules are there for a reason. If you don’t break the rules no one can be mad or disappointed in you. My rule following way is a hold over from other things.

What I’m here to tell you is to to break the rules of NaNoWriMo.  Participate, but look deeper at the intention of the event, then the rules of the event.

The goal is to write 50k of a novel in the month of November.  That’s roughly 1667 words per day.  You should work on a new project, not an existing one.  You should start at 0 words on day one. You can outline, but you can’t draft before then. It should be a novel.  You should not edit as you go, all forward momentum all the time, no cutting.  I would call those the rules of the event.

Okay, but let’s dig under that.  What is the actual intent of writing 50K in one month?  What are you really doing while writing that 50K, breaking that down into 1667 words per day? Your building a writing habit.  Your pushing yourself creatively, every day, even when your exhausted to find those words and get them down.  Your working past the roadblocks you would normally stumble upon and coming at your writing from different angles, all for the sake of word count.

That 50K is there to inspire you.  It’s the goal.  It’s bigger than you, and you keep pushing towards that everyday in the midst of your chaos filled life.

But here is the thing.  I write on a work I already have started.  That means I already know my characters, and I have some world building under way, and I have some plotting underway.

I’m really bad at plotting.  I have a general sense of what I want to do in the novel, key plot points, key characters, some character background.  However, most of it comes out in the writing.  I need to be in the scene to know what has to be included in the scene.  A novel is about the details and the details come out in the writing for me.  I have to draft a scene, to see where I need to fill in the blanks.

I also need to re-read a scene to get back into the headspace of what I’m writing.  The first time I write a scene it’s word vomit. It is essentially me plotting and outlining the scene.  Dialogue, some set pieces, a little out of order, but kind of all there.  Then I go back in and massage the scene.  Give it flow, fill in the blank, make it pretty.  So by the time I’m done draft one, it might actually be more like draft two or three.

Sometimes  though, it’s about where I need to cut.  Sometimes I head down the wrong way.  Those words get put in a deleted scenes folder.  Sometimes writing is over writing. It is trying something and finding out that it doesn’t work.  You learn just as much about what works for your novel, by what doesn’t.

NaNoWriMo may encourage you to just keep swimming and turn your inner editor off.  However, I’ve learnt that my style of writing, who I am as a writer, requires that I cut as I go.  I like to have a much cleaner draft, future me appreciates the work I do to make sure the what I’m writing is on track and the best possible version of the scene.  The purpose of not cutting and just keeping on going is to keep forward momentum.  But I would also argue that it’s to push yourself creatively.  Keep all versions, so  you have the word count, but move them to a cut scenes folder.

When I look at the intention of NaNoWriMo, the creative abandon, the forward momentum, the writing habit, the pushing yourself creatively, I feel like I get that doing it my way.  The rules are there as a guideline, but what you’re really trying to do, is give you a break through creatively and have something you can build on and keep working with.

Sure my way takes longer.  As I’m aiming to get my words each day I’m realizing, I can’t get it done in under an hour the way I used to.  It takes me two hours to have something I’m happy with.  But I’m also plotting, drafting, and editing the work. I’m doing three jobs as I go.  As a newbie, I can see why they would recommend against it. It’s easy to get trapped in a loop of making something perfect.  It creates unrealistic expectations constantly tinkering over the same thing.  In this we invoke Hank Green’s 80% rule.  Get it 80%, and then let go. Not perfect, but good enough.  Something to work with later.

As an a more experience writer, I recommend breaking the rules, and finding your own version of the essence of NaNoWriMo.  Find your creative abandon, your process.  It’s about having something you can work with at the end of this.  It is after all for you, you are doing this for.  It’s about the intent, and not the rules.  You got this.

And we are off to the races

NaNo-2017-Participant-Facebook-CoverSomething strange and beautiful is brewing.  It’s November, which means it’s NaNoWriMo.  It’s days of making word count, and going over to build a buffer, that we will eventually need, because even though we planned for NaNoWriMo, it’s hard to plan for life.  Life is all like, HA! You think you can take a writing vacation from me, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!  So this year, knowing that writing a novel and working a full time job, is challenge enough, I decided to scale back a bit.

This year, I decided not to ML.

That decision alone is really freeing.  The idea of a month long writing vacation from my life, but I don’t have to plan events.  I don’t even have to go to events.  I don’t have to cheer people on.  I don’t have to put the machine of running a local month long writer event before my writing.  I can just work on the writing side of it.  That’s all that matters.  It’s leaving me a little giddy.

This year when my husband is home from work I don’t have to feel guilty because I need to run off to a writing event. I feel like with an out of town hubby for work, it’s much easier to manage NaNoWriMo as a participant than as an ML.  Because I only have to find the time to get the words in.  I don’t have to ignore him to manage everything else.  And this loves, is called balance.

That is what I’m giddy about this year.  It’s the wild abandon of NaNoWriMo and putting my writing first, in a balanced environment.  I know it kind of seams like an oxymoron.  But really it’s being able to send my hubby out to get food, while I sit at home and make my work count, but then getting to eat together, and watch a show together.  It’s being able to go to the movies, instead of managing an event.  It’s being able to walk my dogs, and still make word count, and not have to be present on social media, making sure that I cross posted about the upcoming events, on twitter, and facebook, and the forums, and sent out the required email.  It’s freedom to work on my novel, while I try not to let the rest of my life go up in flames.

There is this magical feeling that comes in November.  This excitement to create and make.  The late nights getting word count.  The pushing of ourselves.  The challenges.  All of it, turns us into better writers.  We learn new tricks.  We find our boundaries and then push it a little further.  The thing with NaNoWriMo is that it’s a time for wild abandon. It’s a time to try new things.  If it doesn’t work, it was only a month of your life.

I don’t expect after November that i’m going to be able to keep up this pace.  That’s I’m going to be able to prioritize my life like this all of the time.  I don’t expect that I get to do this for twelve months of the year.  It would be too much.  I would burn out.  Yes, I do write the rest of the year, but at a much different pace.  The rest of the year, it’s often life first, then writing. But in November, it’s writing first and then life.

Example, before I would have wrote my book reviews for Goodreads and then did my writing.  Today, I was like writing first, and if you have time, maybe you can do those book reviews.  It’s such a glorious flip.

What I’m feeling right now, is this crazy hope and magic towards writing.  I’m able to just be a writer for this month.  I’m feeling seasoned enough to know what to expect, and hopefully and wild eyed enough to really be looking forward to this crazy adventure.  It’s like falling deeper in love with someone, after you’ve been together for years in the making.  This is how I’m feeling about NaNoWriMo. I know this beast of an event, and I’m already in love with it.  I’m just falling more in love with the parts that matter most to me, the writing.

I wish you all a creative fun filled month, regardless of word count.  Take the time to find the magic, and push your boundaries.  I promise it’s worth it.

ALL OF THE THINGS!!!!!!!

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OMG sooo many things.  ALL the things!! Clearly we need lists.

PART A)

  1. Cowboy and I went to New York for the first time ever for three days.
  2. We planned the trip in an hour over the phone, less than a week before we where leaving.
  3. Because he had been away at work for about six weeks, and had one week off, and we missed each other, and just needed to do something grand, because sometimes life is pressing down on you so hard, and you are constantly looking on the bright side even when it’s fucking hard, and you just need to run away together.
  4. it was 100% the right move to run away together.  I still can’t believe we did it.
  5. We saw EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. We paid for Hamilton tickets, a Yankees game, Subway passes, and to go up the Empire state building.
  7. Otherwise we walked around and saw everything else for FREE. Staten Island ferry that drives by the Statue of Liberty = FREE!!!  New York Public Library = FREE.  Central Park = FREE. Times Square = FREE!! The Flat Iron Building = FREE.  Selfies in front of Carnegie Hall and Juliard = FREE.  Trade Centre fountain memorial = FREE.  Brooklyn Bridge = FREE. The Bull and Girl = FREE.  For More of my New York Adventure I suggest Instagram.
  8. Everywhere is within walking distance on the Island of Manhattan.
  9. Coblestone are nothing like interlocking driveway stones.  They hurt.
  10. Try the Subway, because you will feel super accomplished that you did something like a native new yorker.

Part B)

  1. I started a new job, and it pays better.
  2. I was offered this job two hours before I planned the New York trip.
  3. It was a crazy overwhelming day of awesome things happening.
  4. It is a one year contract.
  5. I don’t know what happens after that year to the job, but if it isn’t extended or permanent, I go back to my old job. So I still have job security.
  6. I was practically recruited for the position.  It was to the point that if I didn’t apply, they where going to have my manager ask me to apply, because I was wanted for this job.  When I did apply and the job posting closed,  they cleared it with HR to ensure they could offer it to me, without an interview.  However, let’s consider my years of work in the office, and job performance as the interview, because I have been busting balls and doing amazing things, I swear.
  7. I am learning so many new things in this new roll.  SOOOO MANY THINGS! It is both overwhelming and immensely satisfying.
  8. I am thankful for all of my transferable knowledge, otherwise my manager going off on sick leave for surgery would be even scarier than it already is.
  9. Except that I have solid notes, and resources, and I at least know where my fire extinguishers are now.
  10. Have I mentioned that I had a week of training, and am now left to figure it out for the next 6-8 weeks.  It’s going to be okay.  I’ve got this. I LOVE the challenge.

Part C)

  1. Another job came up that I could apply for.
  2. I did not apply for it.
  3. It would have been permanent at the same pay as this new job, which is slightly better pay than my old job.
  4. I could have slid into the position easily, having already covered a leave in that department it January/February.
  5. I didn’t learn anything new though on that leave.   I stepped in and rocked it.  But I didn’t feel challenged.  I need challenge in my life.
  6. I decided I liked the learning opportunities and the challenges of the new position more, despite the fact that it’s not a permanent job.
  7. I also have a strong sense of loyalty, and it would be a real shit thing to do, to apply for the other job, while my manager is away on sick leave.  I let her know before she left, that I would not be applying.  It felt like the right decision.
  8. And if I regret it, I know that someone else is looking to retire in the next 5-7 years.
  9. If this writing thing doesn’t make me J.K. Rowling rich (and let’s face it those odds are not ever in my favour), I know I’m here for the long haul and that there will be plenty of interesting things that come up, that I could apply for.
  10. I feel really really good about this decision.  It feels right, no matter what happens at the end of this year.

Part D)

  1. I am not going to be an ML for NaNoWriMo this year.
  2. Being ML at the level I like to be ML and doing all of the extra that I like to do, is like working a full time job for free, on top of my full time job I get paid for, on top of trying to write my own novel.  It’s overwhelming and exhausting and crazy making.
  3. I really really really wanted to focus on my own writing.  I really really want to get published some day.  The only way that happens is if I do the writing. I need more time to write.
  4. It looked for a bit that no one was going to step up to ML this year.  I almost caved, but then I had to remind myself that while I love the event, and love everything NaNoWriMo has done for me, I needed to let go, and let the community pitch in.
  5. It might actually be better if everyone got to vote on the events they wanted, and had a hand in planning them.  It would create more of a personal investment and ensure more participation.
  6. Someone stepped up to ML.
  7. I may have a wish list of things I hope get done, but I’m also trying to be okay with whatever balls get dropped or demolished under the new regime.  Sometimes we need to tear down before we can build up.
  8. I will be handing off the ML boxes tomorrow.  There should be a ceremony.
  9. NaNoWriMo is where I met all my current friends.  I am forever grateful for the connections I have made, and since made from doing this.  I would never have my writing group, or my best friend, or gone to Ad Astra, or met authors at Ad Astra if not for NaNoWriMo.  It is a snowball of change that has worked it’s way through my life.
  10. NaNoWriMo will always be a special magical month of writing.  This year, I can do that, and focus on that, and not have to worry about all the details.  Learning to let go, is good and healthy for me.

Just a crack in the wall

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So I started writing this new project.  (shh don’t judge me.  Sometimes you just have to give yourself a week or two to get something out of your head.)

As I’m writing, I’m playing with this back and forth timeline.  Present day, to past day reflections, to build this complete scene of the book unfolding and connecting to this over here, it occurred to me that where you start writing the book, is not actually the beginning of the book.

I was having this same issue with Paris Above.  For the longest time (to be honest, let’s say four years at least) I thought my story started in this one particular place with this one scene, just because it was the first scene I thought of, and had written.  Don’t get me wrong, if the story was going the way I first thought it would go when I first thought of it, then that was the beginning.  But now that I have a better handle on plot, wear the book needs to start is somewhere else entirely.

Have you every read how Stephanie Meyer came up with Twilight?  (stop rolling your eyes at me, I’m both a romance junkie and a lover of YA).  Yes, it was a dream.  But the particular dream was about Edward and Bella in the meadow.  So Stephanie rights from that scene to the end, but then has to go back and write from the meadow scene to the beginning.

Now I work a day job that is customer focus, and deals primarily in customer communication.  I communicate in person, on the phone, and by email.  In this case I use logical progression.  First you must do this, before you can action this.  I walk people through on a step by step basis on how to proceed.

Writing is not like that.  I mean I certainly wish it was, but it’s a much more chaotic experience.  Being inspired for this scene over here, and then seeing how it ties into the rest of the book, doesn’t happen all at once when I want it to.  It happens as I’m walking too and from a lot of the time.  I go, oh if I did this, then I can do this.  And then a funny thing happens when I start writing.  How I thought I saw the scene coming together, is a little different when I start going from the big brush strokes, which are ideas, to the fine details of fleshing out a scene.  Those details, can offer so many clues to other things, and I don’t even get those until I’m drafting, not just plotting.

Starting your story, that’s like seeing a crack in the wall and looking at the wonderland on the other side.  But it’s just a crack. Just a way in.  And that is okay.

After that you get your pry bars, and your blasting powder, and you dig into that story, and you muck through it, and eventually, maybe sometimes only in hindsight, do you truly know where your story starts.  Sometimes you write the beginning only after you’ve written the end.  The great things about a book, is that you can do it this way.

And just like that, the cure. 

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Is a love or romance a sickness?

We hear the terms Trashy Romance and I wonder how much that influences our perspective on the genre?

We hear people around us look down on the genre, and I wonder how much that forces us to hide our love of romance, keep it like a dirty little secret?

Even as a person who loves the genres, I find myself also critical of it.  I find myself thinking, is that a healthy relationship?  Is that a good example of what a functioning couple looks like?  Is that sort of possessiveness healthy?  Is that all consuming burning fire, going to set them to ashes?  Can one person really heal another?

Actually the answer to that last question is yes.  From personal experience, I can tell you that having someone give you the time and space you need to learn to grow past your experiences, to keep trying to be better, to treat each other fairly with love and understanding, that that can help you heal.  Not all at once, but slowly over time.  Romance novels do it on a shorter time frame, so I can see how that makes it hard to believe.

I can also see how the writing can be criticized, because I do it while I’m reading it.  Now that I read most of my romances on an ereader, I make notes every time I think the writing is lazy, or a description pulls me out of the narrative, or every time a writing tick pushes my buttons the wrong way.  I like to think of it as learning from what’s out there.  How would I do that better?  I think that some of this comes from personal style.  As a reader, I find myself consuming an authors works all at once.  Which is vastly different then how they are written.  Looking at their career as a whole, I can see how they grew as an author, or stagnated. I can see their ticks, how they describe certain things the same way.  How they treat certain aspects of a relationship.  What their overall style is.

I also wonder if the pace of which the romance genre is published, that authors aren’t given the same amount of time to get the next book out, to really push it to be the best that it can be.  Fantasy novels are given more time.  Romance, it’s all about keeping up on the production so you are not forgotten.  That too can affect the overall quality of the book.

There is also something to be said about the readers too.  We are all looking for that addictive style of book, that hooks us, and makes us feel.  However, what works for one, doesn’t work for another.  There is a lot of personal taste in there, that effects how one relates to a book.  For a long time I hated the word pussy.  Now I’m more inclined towards that word than any other feathery language to describe a woman’s sexual region.

However, as the weather changes, and I start to think about fall, I think about magic, and witches.  About things that go bump in the night. I want more magic in my romance.  I want things like A  Discovery of Witches, Daughter of Smoke and Bone.  More meaty with their writing, but still with that epic romance, although still sexual, far less erotic.

I’m never not going to want to read a romance.  But it turns out that I need different types of romance to indulge in.  Purely contemporary, and I find I burn out.  The same can be said for big meaty tombs.  It’s about finding the right balance and the right medium.  Sometimes it takes burning out, to realize a change is needed.

So I’m off for a re-read of a Discovery of Witches.  It’s good company, and its the type of book that I can sink into, and get more out of from each experience.

A much needed vacation

I feel like I have a lot to post here, but don’t know how to tie it together in a coherent post.  Basically I unintentionally took a break from writing and blogging, and keeping up on social media for the month of June.  I had a friend in from out of town for the month.  I had a Cowboy home from work.  I took some vacation days from the day job.  I read a lot of romance novels.  I did some colouring.  Watched some Asian dramas, and a few American dramas.  What that really translates to is that I needed time to fill up and feel full again.  Slow down, disconnect from online, and not feel like I wasn’t doing things now or fast enough.

So here are some observations from that time off:

  1. A lot of writing advice or lists you’ll see online tell you to turn off the tv.  But I’m going to tell you that movies and tv they are stories told in a different medium.  Authors don’t just write books, they tell stories.  We are story tellers.  Why would I not want to pay witness, observe the art form from a different angle?
  2. I am a Romance Junkie.  I’ve read about 15 Romance novels in this past month.  Just tore through them.  I found a new favourite author.  I love the emotional connection of the books. Also the sex is hot too.  I can’t believe I have fought myself so long on my utter adoration of this genres.  Why am I not trying to write romance?
  3. Which leads me to… Don’t get me wrong I love my WIP Paris Above.  It’s a long time in the making.  It was founded on the idea of a romance after all, but it’s not being held together by romance.  It’s being held together by a rebellion.  It’s a thing that has been ticking about my mind as I have consumed a lot of fantasy and scifi, and dystopia.  The how to build back up after you break the system. While I’m in love with the style of writing this book takes, and I am so pleased with how this is coming out, it’s also not easy.  It’s a long drawn out process.  It takes a lot of time.
  4. Which also leads me to, this realization, do I want to lead my writing career with Paris Above?  I think the idea of it, and the execution of it are amazing.  Some of my best work yet. However, it’s a deep read/write kind of project.  It requires vast expanse of time to sink into.  I’m also the type of reader/writer who likes quick writing.  Down and dirty, about raw emotions.  First person love stories.  I’ve read some rough notes of Paris, done like that, and I was like, that’s my voice.  That’s who I am as a writer.  I guess the question is can I be both?  Can I do both the quick and dirty romance, with the heartbreaking emotions, and can I also do a world builder/world destroyer fantasy?
  5. I want the answer to the above to be yes.
  6. I’m also going to give in and write the romances.  I need them.  I have to stop fighting who I am deep down in my soul, and that is and forever will be that I am romance junky.
  7. America as a culture is fascinating and scary.  Seriously.  Being in Canada we get so much of our media from America, and I used to think that my template for life was based on the media I consumed.  When prom wasn’t the be all end all of the world, that’s when I first started to shift this perspective.  That perhaps the media I consume is not the culture I live?  I thought we where so much the same when I was younger, but the older I get the more I see that divide.  We don’t have the same gun culture, sports culture, or religious culture.  We don’t place the same emphasis on prom here.  Even the military romance novel’s I read this past month that cut my soul open, I had a hard time imagining the same in Canada.  It was so clearly an American military experience.  I appreciated getting to read about it, but I could see how our mindsets were different.  I’m finding this fascinating as I watch tv shows like Nashville, Scandal, and Friday Night Lights.
  8. That life is not a perfect set of ups or downs.  That you can both happening at the same time.  That life doesn’t just start to happen when everything is going right.  That it is often our downswings that teach us the most about ourselves.  What we do to turn things around.

It’s been a good month to be away.  I needed it.  I didn’t know I needed it though till I got to the other side of it.  At first I was still trying to squeeze in writing, because I felt I HAD to.  But the more I let it go, I feel like getting back to is, is because I WANT to.  And that right there means that it was worth the time away.

I’ll try to be more regular around these parts again.  Aiming for an every wednesday vibe for the future.

However, this is your PSA that sometimes, you need to take the time to refill, before you can poor more of yourself out there.

Vacation

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Oh man.  Guys.  What a week.  Sorry I missed our regularly schedules Wednesday, but I had holidays this week and literally have been away from online.  It was so nice.  So very very nice.  It started off super stressful, but after that road bump we are still working on, I’ve let go and am in the just wait it out camp of things.  Sine then i’ve had some time for family and friends, and sleeping in and dogs, and hubby and colouring, and a new tv show, and music, and reading.  It was great.  So great.

What I didn’t do as much of was writing or larger house projects.  Originally I thought that was how I was going to spend my time, but then honestly, it kind of gave me anxiety, trying to complete a to do list a million miles long.  No instead I just relaxed and it was amazing.

I did however, spend a Saturday morning/afternoon, at a coffee with a good friend working on plotting a novel.  Not the novel I should be working on, but still a novel plotted in an afternoon.  That’s amazing.  It helps to ask the questions. I used to think that plotting was about knowing the answers, but sometimes it’s about asking questions.  Like who are their friends?  What is their family background and dynamic?  What do they like?  Write the questions down, not just the answers.  Come up with multiple answers for those questions.  Write yourself notes, like research this more.  Research will spur ideas for inspiration.

So I think the reason I’ve been struggling with Paris so much is because it lacks direction.  I think I finally found that direction, but I also need to figure out how that direction affects everyone in the novel and what their goals are in relationship to the problem and how they play together.  What is each of them striving for?  That will help me figure out where I’m going, because right now I have some great writing, and some amazing scenes, but we don’t have a goal.  We need to make the goal very apparent right from the beginning.  Do we add a ticking time bomb?  I don’t know.  I just know I need to make the issue known so we have a goal to work towards and keep turning the pages.  Discovery writing is fun, but it lacks direction and now feel like I have a sea of words, that might not serve the story.

I think I’m going to turn into a plotter.  I know it’ scary. but I think that’s what I need to do.  Read through my notes, and then plot the Beetlejuice out of that.

Anyways, this is just a quick check in.  Hope you all are having an amazing summer.

 

P.S. I did not get to chill on a beach like that with chairs like that.  I wish.  but still, a most enjoyable time off.

Crushing anxiety and a haunting pile of TBR

How Out of Control Is Your TBR PileI was writing a blog post in my head on my way back from lunch to work, and low and behold I forgot what it was. Then I go into my feed for blogs, and there is one by Epic Reads and its 16 must read books releasing in July.  And I was just like, OMG, like I know I read more than the average reader, but 16 in one month, that’s a LOT!  That’s a book read every 1.875 Days.  There are no book hangover days in there, you finish a book, you pick up the next one.  No wonder I feel overwhelmed when it comes to reading.

And then I remembered my blog post idea.

It was about reading.

So at home, I have bookcases, like any good reader does. Notice that it’s plural, more than one bookcase.  My dreams is that all my walls are covered in them some day.  My dream is that I’ve read everything on my shelves.  My dream is that when a new book releases I can concentrate on that book, and not feel like there are a million books I haven’t read haunting me from my TBR shelf.   Seriously if unread books that I own where ghosts, I would have a serious problem.  I would be like Hogwarts dudes.  And I’m not sure all those ghosts are friendly like Casper.

However, sometimes I like to think of my bookcase and all of the books I haven’t read as comforting. I could literally finish a book, and I have soooo many options for what to read next.   Especially by favorite authors. Sometimes I like to keep a book as unread, because once you read it, then you don’t have more.  But sitting on the shelf unread, the author is an old friend, but the book is a new friend yet to be discovered.  There is a certain comfort to that.  I can curl up and know that I’m in good hands.  It’s kind of magical knowing all the worlds of possibilities I have yet to slip into.

But new book releases. Those things are the devil. I want to read them right now, but then I think at all the books I’ve shelved.  And I feel bad.  But read it now!  But old books!  It’s this infinite loop.  I try to balance an old book by a new book.  It just feels like this slow avalanche of never winning, even though I literally read 50+ books a year.

I don’t know how other people do it.

At some point though it’s like looking at your life at all the things you haven’t done, and being completely overwhelmed by that, but not taking into consideration all the things you have accomplished. Or it’s measuring everything you have done as being not enough compared to what you have yet to do.  At some point you need to sit back and be like, dude, stop with this madness.  Appreciate everything you have done.  That’s big on its own.  Relish in that.  It’s the same for the TBR pile.  Think of all the books you have read!

I need to stop and consider everything I have done as being enough. I need to enjoy that.  This driving myself crazy by looking at the list of never ending, it’s adding anxiety I don’t need in my life.  I think that’s also where I’m feeling panicked in my writing.  It’s all the things I want, and feeling like I should be doing more, and being paralyzed to act by how much there is still to accomplish compared to where I am.  Getting to where we want to be starts off small, and we have to learn that effort is worth it.  We have to appreciate the effort we put in, and we have to stop being so damned hard on ourselves.

This post started off inspired by my TBR pile bur really it’s about anxiety that we give ourselves over the things we haven’t done yet. You have to start somewhere.  You have to praise yourself for what you’ve done, instead of heaping on the pressure about all the things you haven’t yet.  We have to stop being so damned hard on ourselves. We have to appreciate where we are, and tell ourselves that as long as we are working on it, that has to be enough for now.  Our journey is our journey.  We have to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else, and only measure ourselves against ourselves.  The other way lies crushing anxiety.  Trust me, I’m on the other side with the anxiety pile on, trying to come back to the self-appreciation of I am enough.

Repeat after me. I am enough.

Let that be your mantra.