Winter checklist 4

1. I got out of bed. I’m honestly proud of that. The way I felt when I woke up, I really, really, REALLY wanted to pull up the covers, burrow under the pillows, and hide in bed all day. Instead, I got up and did some things. Slowly. Stiffly. Painfully. In a haze.

But I got up. Yay.

2. I made more words in Ghost Town. Not as many as I would’ve liked, but lots more than I expected given how slow my brain and body were moving.

3. Got my revision ideas for Sharp Edge all organized & answered some emails.

5. Went to a library meeting and didn’t feel entirely useless. Mostly, but not entirely.

6. Organized a bunch of DVDs (Part of the larger ‘putting DVD into binders’ project) I’m so comfortable with the breakdown structure of alphabetizing it’s now a soothing, meditative activity. Reminded me of the best workdays at Borders.

7. Did searches on dyspraxia, ADHD, epoxy resin chemistry, eagles of Asia, and sage propagation. Because internet.

8. Reworked yet another page of the brain-bending present-tense short story. Only a few pages left now.

9. Did some reading and jotted notes for reviews. I love the idea floating on Twitter right now of doing 30 reviews in a month, but I don’t read that fast, and don’t have a backlog of already-read-books I want to review.  I keep forgetting to mention it anywhere, but I do post a fair number of reviews. I dunno why putting “I REVIEWED THIS” on social media feels like bragging, but it does. I mean, I say I liked things here on the blog and so forth, but I don’t specifically mention that I also said I liked the thing on its selling site.  ANYway. Enough about that.

10. And I wrote down my doings here. It’s always meta fun to put the list as an item on the list.

Third Winter checklist

1. Put some pondering time into a tagline for Rough Passages. Current front-runner: “Super-powered grandmothers, elemental Marines, and extraordinary teens.”

2. Added loads of 2019 commitments to the Master Calendar so I don’t forget them.

3. Sent in days-off requests for my  recovery days for my confirmed conventions. (Concoction, WisCon, GenCon & Dragon Con)

4. Finished a scene in Ghost Town WIP. Yes. I wrote.  How many words? MANY.

5. added accountability tasks to my Habitica dashboard for Sharp Edge revisions. because I’ll be starting that soon <cue flailing>

6. Did NOT take ibuprofen in the middle of the day. First time in a week. That counts as an accomplishment. With any luck I will be able to stop consciously thinking about chewing every time I eat by next Monday.

7. Did research on cheap, quiet treadmills. Because I am a dreamer and hope to have both a bit of floor available in the basement and the $$$ to cough up for equipment.

8. Reworked another page of the short story. Bending verb tenses makes my brain hurt.

9. Decanted some movies from their cases & organized them. A very zen way to spend evening time after my brain turned to mush after work.

All that, and a walk, but I also feel like it was NOT ENOUGH. Bah.

2nd winter checklist

Today I’m featuring things I did yesterday, because sitting back down to the ‘puter after supper was one of the things I did not do. That’s a thing on my habits to-form list, one that’s a struggle to achieve on nights I work.

Anyway.

1. Commissioned a new cover for my holiday-ish novella Joining In the Round (THANK YOU RACHEL BOSTWICK) It’s going to be so much prettier and match Turning the Work much better.

1.5 (because it’s also an authoring thing)  Applied for an online ad in case I want to do a holiday promo for Rough Passages.

2. Remembered to water the plants.

2.5 Realized I now regularly sit in a chair I never used to use. A chair I recently moved it next to the plant stand. A chair near the grow lights. Evidently I am a plant.

3. Worked on the present-tense revisions to my short story so I can submit it before year’s end. (the one that could expand into a novella someday if I’m not careful)

4. Sorted out the DVD collection so they can go into binders instead of taking up a wall of shelves. See, binders can go next to the TV so I can browse movies there instead of surfing channels. Then I can watch more things without commercials when I need a sensory distraction to help my creative focus.

5. Made microscopic progress on the section of the Ghost Town WIP (work in progress) that I have to finish before I ‘m allowed to dive into revisions on Sharp Edge.

 

First checklist of December

Today I:

  1.  made blueberry scones, popcorn & cheater’s cherry cobbler
  2. clipped the cat’s claws & gave him many pets
  3. followed yet another awesome librarian on Twitter
  4. shut off FB & Instagram for the week (sorry, FB frenz)
  5. re-read Joining In the Round, which was was written at, about, & for this time of year. Because I’m a dork who re-reads my own books.
  6. took a lovely long rainwalk w/ Spouseman and discussed the ongoing ever-growing Basement Organization project.
    #excitinglifeofawriter #writingcheckin #winterchecklist

This is how I get through the annual darkdays struggle: I lean heavily on lists to prove to my brain that I DID SO DO SOMETHING IT ONLY FEELS LIKE NOTHING.

And since one of the other things I’m doing this year is throttling back to zero FB &  a half hour of Twitter on workdays (thank you Spouseman, for being the trusted holder of my passwords) I’ll be dropping even more random thoughts & all the lists here on the blog.

Can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Random thoughts from today

Goldfinches announce every bite of seed they take from the feeder with loud cheerful chirps like bright peeps of sunshine. I will never stop enjoying the sound of them.

Still growing: the list of states in which at least one of my books is in at least one library. Woot!  Up to five. WA, CA, IL, WI, and OH.  There may be more I can’t see, because not all libraries use the same systems, but hey. That’s 10% of the states out there.

Open suggestion: when offering your name to someone who has to type it or write it down, please say it first as a whole word before you spell it out. It can’t hurt and often helps. Context improves accurate interpretation. Listening is hard.

I broke down and bought a second bird feeder today. So I have finches & mixed-species sparrow flocks in the front yard AND the back.

Sorry for the silly post title. I haven’t found a clever phrase that boils down to a good abbreviation or acronym. Random Thought Not Posted Elsewhere? Nah.  RTNPE still doesn’t roll off the tongue.

I’m an author, so it’s necessary to let people know about my work, but wow, I get tired of saying, BY THE WAY, I WRITE AWESOME BOOKS, YOU CAN BUY & READ THEM. It’s exhausting. Maybe a tee-shirt might be the way to go. Maybe “Ask me about my books,” on the front, and “Can I show you my books,” on the back?

My. Cat. Is. HOWLING. Again.

I’ve crossed 45k words in my Ghost Town WIP (Savvy Chicago detective & her great-great-great grandfather reconnect when she moves back home to become police chief of the small Illinois town he once governed. Tagline: she’s new, he’s dead, together they can solve any mystery.  It’s the first book I’ve figured out how to pitch before finishing it.

Still aiming for 70k by the end of the month. <falls over howling with laughter.> If I even get close it’ll be in large part because I impulse post here rather than elsewhere.

Movie night: Rampage. So much silly fun.

Annnnd, that’s a wrap.

Hello, it’s me.

(No, I don’t have a new kitten. I just like cat pictures.)

As soon as I got home from Dragon Con, I put my Facebook & Twitter passwords into the hands of my trusted Spouseman. If anyone noticed a drop in activity on Twitter or my near-total absence on Facebook (I doubt it, but I want to be thorough) that’s what’s up.  I’m getting a lot done offline these days. TONS. It feels great.

I’ve also been thinking a bit about my social media presence.

Fair warning to recent followers: I’m not good at “Maintaining a Social Media Presence” in the ways most book marketing gurus still recommend.

My feeds are not well-curated.  I put online whatever filters through the unreliable sieve of my impulses. I take loads of unmodified food, yard, and cat pictures, post moody observations about my writing fails and flails, log in whatever I’ve collected from pop culture, and indulge in random outbursts of joy, frustration, and/or existential angst.

My Personal Brand, such as it is, might best be described as Flaky Eclectic.

Yes, I have been asked the question, “Why spend time on social media at all, then, especially on a blog, if not to aid in your authorial endeavors?”

Simple answer: it’s what I do. I am a diarist. Not a regular nor a diligent one, perhaps, but the shoe fits. I think things, and I record them. I was blogging for years before I tackled the wacky task of publishing a novel.  This website blog is still more of a life record than a promotional tool.

I’ve been writing random notes to an invisible, possibly imaginary audience a lot longer than that–ever since the day I was living independently and nothing I wrote could be used against me (The potential for judgment horrified me–the idea of my ideas or my emotions being corrected was unbearable.)

ANYway. I’ve been over that fear for a long time. Pretty sure my dad reads my blog, even. (HI, DAD! LOVE YOU!)  My me-ness is well settled in ways that it wasn’t when I was younger. The field in which my fucks are sown is barren, etc, etc, and all that.

BUT I DIGRESS. As I do. Short form: I post stuff online because it’s my way of affirming my existence. No more, no less. I write, so a lot of my posts are about writing, but this is not and never will be a writing blog, nor will it be a pretty one full of promotional perkiness.

My life is not interesting. I rarely have vibrant insights. I won’t solicit much interaction online–too much social contact, even at a distance, even online, wears me out & leaves me paranoid even though I crave attention as much as any other creator. So I will come and go, flit and hermit, all quite unpredictably. (Contradictions-R-Us, hello.)

In short, and belatedly, you’ll be disappointed if you expect me to be entertaining. My books  are entertaining. They’re full of really cool people having exciting, amazing, occasionally painful adventures. Me? Not so much.

This brings us to the end of another mostly meandering post.  Next one will be all about media consumption. I’ve gotten loads of reading done!

 

 

 

 

What I did while I wasn’t gone

I took myself on a writing retreat last weekend. It was mostly a mental trick to take advantage of physical preparations for travel to a convention I ended up not attending.

Since I had planned and prepped be away from home for a four-day weekend, I figured that meant wasn’t responsible for anything at home those fourdays. I could ignore my whole Regular Life guilt-free and wander off to my computer any time the urge hit.

I finished a short story I’ve been tinkering with for over two years and published it for my email list subscribers (I also set up that process from scratch, a post in its own right.)

I also made headway on a second short story and wrote about 5000 words in Ghost Town, my current novel in progress. I write slower than a Galapagos turtle walks, which is why I rarely post word counts (and loathe them as motivational tool)  For reference, that’s about a usual month’s worth of writing. In 4 days. Yeah. So mental writing retreat as a working trick…definitely helped. I plan to do it again. Sometime.

But writing isn’t all I did. This is a media consumption post too, so here’s what I took in.

Throne of Glass series. Sarah A Maas. Finished all the books currently published (yay!) now have to wait until at least October to read the one that’ll wrap up the current series. (BOO!)  There’s a lot I could say about her books, but I said most of it in a previous post. One thing to add: the things that bugged me in A Court of Thorns & Roses series are less overt in this one. No idea which came first, don’t care, just liking them more.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach. Kelly Robson. SWOON. So good. Go read it now. It’s a short book, (novella) but it will stick with you in the best of ways. I inhaled it over two meal breaks and a walk.

Yes, I read on walks. I was tripping off curbs and veering towards lamp posts long before it was trendy with Pokemon Go. Don’t worry, I’ve never run into anything, and I always pause at roadways to watch for traffic. But I digress. As usual.

Gods, Monsters and the Lucky Peach reminds me of Connie Willis & Kate Wilhelm ( two of my SFF favorites) at their very best. Not because it had time travel, although it does, nor because of the science, which it is ALL ABOUT,  but because of the way both those elements were presented: brilliantly, elegantly, and enjoyably.

Time travel was an essential element but not a pitfall of paradox or an excuse to wander into theoretical physics for far longer than the narrative could bear (Woo!) Science was at the center of the plot without ever stampeding over the characters or dragging the story into a slough of exposition, (WOO!!!) Plot & characters were also amazing.

Basically, if you want fresh, new classic-style SFF relevant to and written for today’s world, this is it.

A Divided Peace. Tanya Huff. Happy sigh. Always a joy to read her words.  Aaaaand now I have to go back and re-read all the Confederation novels. If I could write military science fiction a tenth as well as she does, I would do a whole novel about Mercury Battalion. But I don’t have the chops for making the Corps a realistic centerpiece. Maybe if someone with experience wanted to co-author…yeah, I would totally be up for that that.

ANYWAY. Onward.

In the viewing circle, I watched a fun season of superhero television show, Black Lightning, and a serious movie about a real world hero. Marshall. (it’s a biopic-style movie  about one of Thurgood Marshall’s early cases.)  

I enjoyed the drama of the movie, but it seemed bizarre to me that the titular character, an AMAZING human being who was part of so much civil rights history–who MADE so much history, was not even the narrative center of his own movie. (A white guy was.)  I am not surprised that was the angle Hollywood took, just angry and aggravated. They could have done so much better.

But I’m loving Black Lightning, so I’m batting over .500 in viewing satisfaction.

Still haven’t seen Deadpool 2 or Ocean’s 8, but they’re on my list. And Jurassic Park Episode whatEVER is next up in Major Hollywood Kaboom Movies.

So until then, it’s back to writing-writing-writing.