Progress Makes Profit

How do you know if you’re really making any progress? This is why it’s important to have measurable goals. Some things aren’t as easy to measure though. Like whether or not your writing is improving. You can easily measure progress in terms of word count, but that doesn’t equal quality. All it means is that you are getting closer to a completed first draft. And that is a really important step. You have nothing to work with unless you create that first draft. Nothing to improve upon. So any words are better than no words even if all you can manage is a handful.

Some elements are harder to quantify. How do you know your dialogue writing is improving or your ability to write conflict? All you can do is measure against what you wrote before. You can also check it against your favourite authors, but that is dangerous. You don’t want to outright copy their style. You should want to be more than a mimic because your voice is every bit as important as those you idolize. And we often forget that they are far from perfect. Perfect shouldn’t be the goal for us either.

I think it’s hard to know if you’re really improving until you start making some sales. Beta readers can help, but a lot of them are afraid your feelings will be hurt, so they sugar coat or just say they like it even if it’s terrible. That doesn’t help. The readers that help you improve will say things you don’t want to hear. The best ones will say it in a nice way.

Progress also looks like chaos at the start. This is easily seen when getting a home organized. Sometimes you have to destroy what is in place to change the underlying structure before you can have things organized. I experienced this recently when changing out my shoe organizer in my hall closet. Previously, I had a horizontal shoe rack that was taking up the bulk of the floor space. I realized that with a vertical one instead, I could also have space to hide my recycle bin, which would clean up more than just my closet area. First though, it meant things had to get worse before they could get better. They did, and I’m working on the rest, but my recycle bin having a home that isn’t in my dining room feels great!

Writing is like that too. Especially when the editing stages come about. It often feels like it’s getting worse and moving toward hopelessness rather than ever being the way you know it can be. I often feel like the movie in my head is too wonderful to fully express. I expect there is a stage of painting a picture that is like this too. The point is that you have to keep trying to bring that vision about.

Progress makes profit. Profit doesn’t necessarily mean money. It could mean knowledge. It could mean the peace felt in a cleaner living space. Profit could even mean cookies.

Goals Update

Fitness: I did 20 squats and 10 lunges on the weekend. My legs hate me. I’m not where I’d like to be, but at least I didn’t overdo it to the point of having torn muscles. This is a reasonable level of sore post workout.

Shads: I’m making a lot of progress on this project. I’ve honed in on my concept and I’m working with it.

Home: I took some items to donation. I have several new whiteboards to keep track of things better. I also cleaned up my closet. I’ve been focusing on small things, so to me it feels like I’m progressing slowly, but I’m seeing the benefits. Some things have been just putting old hydro bills in with my tax folders and getting them off the floor. No, I’m not normally in the habit of keeping my papers all over the place, but I do create stacks on the floor when organizing to try and get everything together that goes together. I’m going to stop doing it that way though unless I have no idea what to do with something because I get busy and it lingers. It’s better to put things away as I come upon them instead, so it can’t get as messy. I also got my last kitchen drawer back together after about a year of it being apart. It was a fight the whole way, but it’s together. Hopefully I’ll find the right drawer knob for it soon as I can’t remember where I stored that for safekeeping. Isn’t that always the way?

Anyway, I’m going to go relax tonight as I brace for snowmageddon here in Ontario. I hope everyone stays safe!

R~

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Slow and Steady

I’m behind this week on my posting. Sorry. There’s been a lot of personal stuff to deal with lately, which is making me exhausted. On the upside, I’ve refined some of my goals.

The Page & The Magician: I want to get this one up to 80,000 words minimum to meet a publisher’s requirement. They almost never take less and I’m not stupid enough to think that I’ll be the exception. I was fearing how to do this without screwing up the flow and plot. I ended up at a cafe on the weekend and ran into a young man who was having a terrible day. He chose to open up to me. Lucky for him I have a social work diploma. Anyway, long story short, I was able to help him figure out what he should do and he gave me some ideas for my writing predicament.

Shads: I made a lot of progress on this screenplay this weekend, so I’m pretty happy about that.

The Blood Waitress Club: There has been no movement on this one, but there definitely will be soon. I want to finish my current draft and get it to beta readers.

Home: My cleaning is coming along nicely. I’m sad I have no idea where the missing puzzle piece is to my completed Wave puzzle. I think it was sticking up too much and I removed it and put it somewhere “safe.” I suppose I’ll have to try and make a new one out of putty or cardboard and paint it to match.

French: I’m doing some online reading and learning as many words as possible. I’m currently going through anything I can find for free that is at the ultimate beginner level. I take about 5 little kid books, write down the words I don’t know, find their meaning, then use them in sentences with other words I know to try and get them into my brain. I’ve learned la perruche, le gland, le maillot de bain, and a few others this week. I have an idea there is a better name for a swimsuit than that in Canada, but at least I have something more than swimsuit to use.

Martial Arts: I’m sucking hardcore at this one. I’ve just had too much else going on and the constant weather changes are making my tendons angry. I’ll be glad when winter is over.

Music: I haven’t been doing enough of this. I think I need to revise my schedule as it’s too packed and I’m getting way less done than I had hoped to. Maybe I just think that out of impatience though.

Gaming: I’m slowly getting this into my schedule. I found a game I’m liking right now, which is Overlord II. You have minions and the goal is to be evil. It’s got a dungeon crawler feel, which I like very much. My gaming credibility is important if I ever hope to write for one. Also, they are a fun way to de-stress. I realized recently that I don’t really like Assassin’s Creed. I felt like a bit of a gamer failure because of that, but my friend Jagtress counseled me through that. You can find her Facebook page here, which links to her blog and her Twitch channel.

Reading: I haven’t done enough of this either.

The new WordPress Online editor is fun. I should have tried it sooner!

Well, I’m off to work on The Blood Waitress Club.

Rae~

Speech is silver; but silence is golden.

According to Encyclopedia.com, this saying dates back to the mid 19th century. It means talking should be a tool that is used discretely. In other words, less is more. More than even the most beautiful words as many of the most wonderful things in life aren’t meant for words. Those things that are simply meant to be felt. Like that awe-inspiring feeling I experienced while standing next to the Rocky Mountains years ago.

So too are many of the saddest things.

It’s a sad week for me. My contract is ending and the people I work with are amazing. I’m going to miss them. There are other sad things, but I’m choosing to leave them off of this blog. Suffice it to say, I have a lot of free time on my hands. Time to breathe. Time to rediscover myself. Time to spend on the activities and people I cherish most.

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Goals Update

I’ve made myself up a new schedule that will allow me to accomplish everything I set out to do this year. I’ll also be reducing my time on social media to protect myself, to replenish my energy, and to better focus on my goals.

The Blood Waitress Club: I found my way through my blockage and am getting back on track with this project. Reading about conflict is one of the best things I could have done for my writing at this time.

Home: My cleaning is coming along nicely. There is still a lot to do, but it’s getting better. It’s amazing how much just passing the broom can do to the atmosphere in a room. I’ve been hemming my curtains and putting them up. While gazing at my work later, I noticed that my kitchen curtain rod was hanging significantly lower and it turned out that it was almost falling off the wall, so I fixed it before it could fall on my head. My farm style door track has arrived, so I’ll be trimming it soon. I’ll have to put some rustproofing paint on the areas I cut to help keep it nice before it can go on the wall. I probably also need a piece of wood to attach it to. I haven’t picked up my door yet as I want to check out the ReStore place whose proceeds partly go to charity. Also, I’m not sure it will fit in my little car.

Music: I’ve started doing the lip buzzing. The first night, I just buzzed what ever came into my mind. Things like Rocky, a very poor attempt of a bugle call, and more. I think I’ll structure it better in the future by buzzing along to songs as I listen to them. That way I’ll be working on rhythms more at the same time. It was fun though and I felt like I was getting used to my mouthpiece again.

French: I’m trying very hard to get registered in the next session. The website isn’t the most clear, so this has been a challenge, but I have faith I’ll get through it. The session doesn’t start until the end of March. I plan to do a lot of self work before then to improve in the 2 months until then. I’m following several French pages on Facebook and I don’t let myself share a French meme unless I’m pretty sure I understand what it says.

Job: I’ve been doing interviews. No word yet, but hopefully something soon. I’ll be getting back in to see my job coach soon too.

Sandan: I still haven’t decided if I’m going to do it, but I’m getting my butt back in the dojo starting in February. I have another fitness day added to my schedule to help me lose unwanted weight.

Self-Care: I’ve also been meditating each evening to help me unwind after long days of work and commuting. And I’m making some time each morning to sit with my HappyLight to help chase away the winter blues. With my home getting cleaner, I have space to exercise too. Part of this is also getting back into gaming. It’s one of those things I can lose track of time while doing because I enjoy it so much.

I don’t know what else is coming my way this year, but I’m looking forward to the adventures.

R~

A Case of the Mondays

full moon

Photo by Alex Fu on Pexels.com

Did you know that Monday is named after the Moon? This particular Moon Day is following a lunar eclipse with a blood moon. It’s also Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. It’s called that because it’s typically when everyone gets the credit card bills that have their Christmas time expenditures on them.

In Ottawa, we’re experiencing colder than average temperatures with wind chill making it feel like -36 Celsius. Back home around 4 AM today it felt like -45. And I heard it felt like -50 in Timmins, Ontario today.

But I finally found dairy-free yogurt that doesn’t taste something that shouldn’t be eaten (Daiya) or like alcohol (Yoso). It’s Silk plain yogurt. I mixed it with some berries and a little maple syrup and it was yummy. Only the barest hint of coconut flavour was found. I’ll probably try it out as a sour cream substitute sometime too.

Back to the cold. This morning’s commute was awful. We got both frigid temperatures and a snow storm yesterday and the sidewalks still haven’t been plowed in many places, which made the walk effortful. In addition to this, I waited for the bus for more than 20 minutes in this cold. My feet wanted to mutiny. I seriously wondered if I was getting frost bite.

But I’m thankful I found yummy yogurt.

Goals Update

I’ve mainly been focusing on getting a job and cleaning my home. My writing table has been cleared off once more and I’m enjoying writing this post in a more ergonomic position than I have been lately. I blame the allure of the couch and lap desk on my sore neck.

I feel like my interview went well. I have another one this week for the same position at a different site. I’m a little worried. Who wouldn’t be? But all I can do is keep trying to line up my next position.

I hope everyone is staying warm and remembers that Blue Monday is almost over. You can have Taco Tuesday tomorrow to help you feel better ๐Ÿ˜‰

R~

Updates for the Week of Jan. 12th

bitmoji_goalsI’ve been quite busy, though I’m not as far along in some goals as I’d like, but I’m okay with it.

I finally finished my antibiotics. This is great for two reasons. One is that I’m tired of being awoken in the night because of the bad taste they put in my mouth. Two is that it’s just in time to celebrate a friend’s birthday tonight with Escape Room fun and drinking.

Goals Progress

French – I did a crazy thing and joined a free course on Coursera that is advanced. Right now, I’m in way over my head and it’s frustrating, but I’m hopeful I’ll understand more by the end of the course. It’s much like how I felt in Statistics in University, only I at least know a little bit of French. By the end of that course, I was able to get 80% on the final exam.

Career – I have an interview next week! If I get this job, I’ll be with the same company, but at a location closer to home, which means I’ll have a little more time for my goals and life. It’ll also mean a return to doing coordination, which is something I prefer doing.

Home – As far as following the official challenge, I’m doing horrible. But I have been making progress cleaning this place up, just not in the order they suggest in the challenge.

The Blood Waitress Club – I haven’t done anything on this in a bit. I really should get back to it and will this week. I kind of forgot about my 250 words a day plan…

Trumpet – I reached out to Adam Zinatelli of the Calgary Phillharmonic Orchestra. There was a story about him that a friend had shared. He had to take time off from playing after having surgery. I asked him if he could suggest a place for me to restart my playing. He got back to me the next day! He suggested I start with lip buzzing and not rush to pick the actual trumpet back up. Specifically, he suggested 5-10 minutes a day until I feel comfortable with the mouthpiece again.

Songwriting – I’m taking a course on this, which is really helpful in managing the frustration of the French course. There are a lot of familiar concepts. Also, homework is partly listening to music, which is awesome.

Lots to do before tonight with writing, homework, and cleaning. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend despite the cold weather.

R~

Happy 2019!

2010_05_19_giantatsunriseI’m starting off 2019 with an ear infection. It’s not ideal, but it could be worse. I’m thankful for generic medications! When I was finally able to get to a clinic, I had to wait about an hour and a half, which isn’t terrible. I’ve had much longer waits in my youth.

When I last left you, I had a deadline. I met it. Now I’m waiting for the next step to happen.

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Goals Progress

French – I downloaded a ton of podcasts.

Career – I applied for a position on the 20th and am waiting to hear more.

Home – I’ve decided to do Clutterbug’s 12-week challenge. This week is the bedroom.

The Blood Waitress Club – I’ve been plugging away at this. It dawned on me that since life is hectic lately, it might be best to give myself a reasonable daily word target of around 250, since I should be able to meet that even on busy days.

Puppy Chow – I’ve made a list of producers and even reached out to one.

Reading – I’m halfway through one book already: Crimes of Grindelwald.

Business – I attended a webinar today and learned some things.

Crisis – I decided I’m going to turn this into a screenplay.

Trumpet – I played once the other day.

The Page & The Magician – I made a list of agents.

FB_IMG_1514131512643.jpgChristmas

Christmas with my family was decent. My dad wasn’t feeling great, so I spent part of it worrying, but he’s going to be okay. He has to change his eating for a bit and has some antibiotics. The drive there was easy, the drive back was horrible. They had plowed the passing lane on my side, but not the main one, so no one could pass.

Christmas with my boyfriend’s family was a little overwhelming. They spoiled me. A lot. They’re really loving people. I guess that’s where he gets it from.

I was pretty exhausted by the end, so we spent New Years Eve binging on Game of Thrones as I got several seasons for Christmas. My ears were bothering me then, but all the clinics had closed, so I treated it with vodka and a warm compress in the interim.

All right. It’s time to do those 250 words.

Happy 2019!

R~

 

Awakening

โ€œThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.โ€

โ€• Maya Angelou

Indeed.

Around 2:00 AM this morning I was happily sleeping away when I was startled awake by my dream.

“Write me down,” it said.

“It’s two in the morning,” I whimpered in protest. “Can’t you tell me about this later?”

It stared at me pointedly.

I gave in because I knew there was no way I would remember it hours from now.

Somehow, I managed to punch it into my phone despite the glaring screen burning my eyeballs in the dark room.

As a writer you can expect to lose sleep as stories grip you and pull you into their world, so you can share them with others. If you choose to follow them that far. Many don’t.

Part of me is annoyed at the loss of sleep. Mostly, I’m annoyed that it’s a new story instead of a piece of the one I’m stuck on. I want to finish my current one before moving on!

Yes it looks shiny and fun like they all do in the beginning.

I have no idea when I’ll fit that one in. I have a deadline for a secret thing coming up that is my next high priority item. I’ll be briefly pausing work on The Blood Waitress Club while I work on this thing. No, I can’t tell you anything about it right now. It may be a long time before I’m allowed to talk about it.

I have a growing stack of other ideas too. It’s not a bad problem to have.

I’ve run into a number of people who want to write, but have no plans to do it until they’re retired. My life is packed and hectic at times because of it, but I figure I’ll be 20 or so years ahead of them.

If you’re a writer, you need to get the words out if only to get the stories to give you some peace.

Tonight’s plan is chores and the current novel. I need to finish the minor edits to figure out where I am in the story, so I can get back to drafting it.

R~