Tag Archives: Writing

2011 Goals – An Update

Picture I made for my goals article

Image via Wikipedia

Oy.

That’s the update.

Half the year done, and I haven’t done JACK.

Let’s go over the list, shall we?

Work on being a better photographer.  I’ve barely taken any pictures, those I have taken have been on my cell phone, and I haven’t charged my digital camera in months.

Strive to write every day.  I wasn’t doing well with this one previously, but in the last three or four weeks I’ve been doing better.  I have been writing every day.  And I feel much better.

Delightfully Happy blog – now defunct.  I really wanted to succeed with this one, but I just couldn’t keep it up.  Not because I couldn’t find something to be happy about every day, but because I had so much going on I didn’t have time to post.  I kept a list in MS Word for a while, hoping to post as I had time, but I got so far behind I finally gave up.

Do not keep Netflix movies longer than 2 weeks.  Miserable fail.  I’ve had one for at least two months, I swear.  But now, with Netflix’s new pricing, I soon won’t have any DVDs from Netflix to keep, so…Win?

Use new veggies.  Um, yeah.  I did Baby Eggplant.  And I think I did another veggie.  But yet another massive fail.

Watch more hockey.  Fail.

Visit 5 places in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die list.  Nada.  Yet.  I plan on going to Charleston in a couple of months.  I looked into the Spoleto Festival, and it wasn’t quite what I expected (or was interested in, to be honest).

Watch movies from the AFI list.  Count:  0

Read 12 books from the BBC 100 List.  Now, I did try, I swear.  I read Wuthering Heights, and hated every second of it.  Then I tried reading Love in the time of Cholera, and I wanted to dig my eyeballs out so I couldn’t read it anymore.  I didn’t finish.  And that’s when I gave up.  (Although, I have started reading Pride and Prejudice, and am so far enjoying it.)

Overall, as you can tell, massive fail.  But I did so well last year – do I get credit for that?

How are you doing on your 2001 resolutions and goals?

You’re blogging wrong!

I love my blog.  It’s kind of my baby.  I admit to getting a little thrill from seeing my words in print.  But more than that, my blog is my release.  It’s my therapy, my way of getting my emotions and thoughts out of my head.  I love if people read it.  I love if something I write touches someone, makes them think, makes them feel less lonely.  And I love it even more if someone comments on my blog.  It gives me some validation.

I wouldn’t say my blog is “successful.”  I get plenty of hits, most of them random, hitting posts that I happened to keyword well.  I’ve looked at all the ways to get more people to my blog, to get more hits, more regular readers, more comments, more publication.  I’ve read numerous articles on how to blog successfully, and I know what’s “good” and what’s “bad.”

Doesn’t mean I want to do it on mine, and it especially doesn’t mean I want to annoy people with the things that annoy me.

For instance:

I know that when linking, it’s best to have a parent link – that is, a link that opens a new window (like this).  This is best because it keeps people on your page.  If you have a blank link – one that opens in the same window (like this) – the reader has to use the back button to get back to your blog.  Obviously, you want to keep people on your page, not drive them away from it.  But it annoys me when that happens to me, so I rarely do it.  I evaluate each link, the likelihood of a reader clicking on it, of coming back to my blog, and I will do a parent link occasionally.  But usually, I don’t.

The best thing to do is have a limited RSS feed.  You give the reader a little sample, but force them to view the full page to read the full post.  Obviously, it is easier to get comments on a post if the person is on your page, rather than reading on a feed.  If they can read the full post on a feed, it takes extra effort to come to the blog and comment, so it has to be something they really want to comment on.  I get it.  But it annoys me when I can’t see the full post in a feed.  I’m actually less likely to come over to the blog.  So I don’t limit my feed.

Every “Blog Success” article I read says “Have a niche.”  SewingSouthern PeopleDatingMotherhoodLegal mattersPhotography.  And while at times my blog could be classified as a Dating Blog, it’s really not.  It’s my life.  It’s what I’m thinking now, today, about this, or that.  It’s how I feel, and more importantly, it’s how I think.   I admit, I’m scattered.  My brain is usually in twenty different places at once.  I sit down to meditate, and I’ll have words coming out of my mouth, but I’m thinking about what I saw on TV last night, and I’m wondering how the cat is doing and if his new food is working, and I’m conscious of the fact that the neighbor is doing laundry and there’s a stray cat walking by outside, and will my cat see him?

I saw something the other day that said most blogs fail because all you talk about is yourself.  But…that’s kind of the point, right?  I mean, yes, there are great blogs out there that are as informative as CNN, Wikipedia, and Youtube put together, with quality, usable information.  But the whole point of a blog is an online diary.  That’s kinda how it started.  This is my life.  Deal with it.  Of course I want you to read it, and obviously I expect you to enjoy certain posts more than others.  But I don’t want to “niche” myself, why would I “niche” my blog?  I don’t have a focus in my life, why would I have one on my blog?  Which, of course,  begs the observation, “Maybe if you had focus on your blog, you would have focus in your life.”  Yeah, whatever.  Bite me.  😉

They like me! They really like me!

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached to do a guest blog.

Yes, me.

I was honored.  Surprised.  Amazed.  Stunned.  Excited.

And scared.

Actually, I wasn’t scared until I suddenly couldn’t form any coherent thoughts on the subject of choice (dating).  I could not come up with any words.

But I finally did it.  Two hours in a mechanic’s waiting room was all I needed.  Must have been the oil fumes.

You can read my post, What’s in a match.com username, on Life in 3D.  Stick around to read some great posts from Charlotte J.

And thank you, Life in 3D people, for choosing me!

Another day, another…unemployment check

Well, I’m officially dipping into savings.  I went almost four months without having to do it, so I guess I did pretty well.  Doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  And I’m afraid it won’t last long.

Of course, in the meantime I’ve also put about $800 on my credit card – Christmas stuff, health insurance, groupon deals, the dinner or two out when I suddenly realized I may not have enough in my account to cover it.

I’ve been fairly good about living on budget – even this month, which was a surprise.  Other than my bills, I’m living on $15/day.  That’s groceries, gas for the car, and “extras.”  I’m going to see if I can go down to $14/day in February.

I’m sure you’re thinking – $15/day?  That’s easy!  I only spend $7 on lunch each day.  But think about how much it takes to fill up the car – that’s several days worth of budget there.  And the grocery store – that’s a couple of days.  I should be spending less than that, but, hey, I was at $25/day a year ago, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

It sucks, though.  I’m in one of those vicious cycles, where I know I need to get out of the house more, but getting out of the house means spending money, even if it’s $2.50 for a cup of tea at Panera.  So, I stay home all day, and I’m slowly driving myself crazy.

Okay, not completely crazy.  Some days are better than others.  But I’ve had more than my fair share of alone time at this point.  If you read my How to Be Happy post, you know that the happiest people get 8 hours of social interaction a day.  On a good day, I get about two.  And that’s about once a week.  So, yeah, there are days where I can barely move I’m so depressed.  I’m working on that, though.

I know I need to start volunteering, but most places I’ve looked want a 6 month commitment, and I can’t give that.  I hope to have a job soon, in which case I won’t be available during the week.  I’ve had “Go to Humane Society” written on my to do list for several weeks now – I just can’t pull myself out of my fog to do it.  But I’ve got a volunteer thing tonight, and I’m going to start helping my friend out with her non-profit, so hopefully that will help.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get the book revised and edited.  It’s slow going, because I’m having to go back and do a lot of research.  And I’m still not sure how I want to work the ending.  But I’ll get there.  And I have another book idea in my head, and I’m dying to start that, but…one thing at a time.  I’ll never get the first one done if I start on another. I’ve done that before, and currently have two half-finished novels (not including the current one) that are just sitting there…waiting for some TLC.

I’ll get there…

In the meantime, I feel like I’m ready to start doing match.com again, to finish up my subscription, but then I worry about the money I’ll spend on going out.  It’s great if the guy pays, and a lot of the time he does, but can I afford to take the chance?  We’ll see.  And then, of course, there’s that fun “So what do you do?” question.  I hate saying I’m unemployed.  I think my new answer will be, “I’m writing a book.”

Must…write…more…

At the Vancouver Pen Shop 92/365

Image by Carol Browne via Flickr

I had already decided to do National Novel Writing Month again this year, and had specifically taken the first week of November off and booked a trip to the beach in an attempt to get a jump on my word count.

(We interrupt this irregularly scheduled blogpost to explain.  NaNoWriMo challenges people to suck it up and finally write that book they’ve always said they would one day write…but you have to do it in 30 days, and it has to be at least 50,000 words.  It’s all about getting the story out of you and onto paper.  You can’t take the time to edit yourself during this time, because there isn’t enough time.  Just get it out and fix it later.  Now, back to our blog-)

Then I got laid off.  And I thought, “Great!  Now I have no excuses!  This will be my ‘job’ for the time being.”

Well, the time at the beach didn’t give me a good jump.  I had hoped to get around 20,000 words done in that week, so I could do less when I had less time.  I think I came home from the beach with about 5,000 words.  A good part of that failure was probably the mentality that I would have more time on my hands now, so didn’t have to get as much done in that week.   

In the time since, I have also not done fabulously well.  I’m at about 21,000 word right now.  Which means I need to bust out 3,000-4,000 words a day for the remainder of the month. 

Oye.

I did finally figure out the best way for me to write, though. 

  • I prefer headphones and music I don’t know very well, because if I know it too well I start singing along.  Ever try to write fiction while singing someone else’s words?  Yeah, not easy.  Also, the headphones help block out all other noise and thoughts.  Works pretty well.
  • I’ve learned to split up the words.  A thousand words in the morning.  Get up, do a few things, think on the scene, sit down a few hours later, do another thousand.  Get up, do a few things…  So far most of my scenes have been right around a thousand words, so it’s working out well.
  • I was introduced to Scrivener.  And it is…the coolest thing I never knew I was missing.  It’s evidently a Mac program, but they’ve come up with Scrivener for Windows, currently in beta.  I love it, and it’s so much easier to write in it than in Word, when when you’re writing 50,000 words, at least.  Scrivener for Windows is being released early next year, and they’re offering anyone who completes NaNoWriMo a 50% discount.  So, that’s definitely incentive.

Okay.  I’m 1500 words in today, have stopped to do a blog post, and now I’m going to go shower.  I’m planning on going for a run, then more writing.  Then dinner with the Fam, and more writing.  And hopefully I can hit my goal.

Anyone else doing NaNo?  What’s your word count?  Any words of wisdom or writing recommendations?

Wham!

It’s hitting me today.  I knew it would happen sooner or later.  Over the last 5 days, I’ve had brief freak-outs, but it hadn’t really hit me.  Now’s the time for that, evidently.

I paid bills this morning.  And I looked at what’s left.  And I thought, “This is it, this is all I have.”  Of course that’s not exactly true.  I still have my severance check coming, and unemployment, so I know that’s not really it.  But it feels that way.

(Side note – while writing, WordPress suggests tags for the post based on keywords.  My recommended tags are:  University of Oklahoma, Landry Jones, Colleges and Universities.  Now, why on earth would they recommend those tags?  Do you see anything in what I’ve written so far to suggest I tag this post that way?)

Back to my freak out.

Holy crap, I don’t have paid health insurance!  Not that I’m a sickly individual, but do you know how much COBRA costs?  Anyone want to get married and add me to their health insurance?

On the bright side, I did start writing last night.  I have a story idea, and I wrote down some plot points, lines of dialogue, scene ideas, etc.  Did some research.  I think it’s a pretty cool idea – we’ll see how the final product turns out.

Still working on bulldozing my place.  I wasn’t quite as diligent last week as I intended, since I ended up with far more time on my hands than I thought I would.  I need to buckle down and get it done, though.  Clear out the clutter so I can breathe.

I think I’m going to go take some happy pills now.  I think I need them.  (Don’t worry, it’s just Evening Primrose Oil.)

And then, before publishing this, I went to check my email and got some bad news about a friend.  Breakdown complete.  Going to go take a shower so I can cry as much as I want.  I’m sure to feel better after that, right?

My soul too bare

Well, I’ve been working on a blog post for over a week now, one of those painful, soul-baring, emotional ones, but now I find I’m hesitant to post it.  Throughout the life of this blog, I’ve known that this blog is public and anyone could read it, and particularly within the last 9 months I’ve been aware that The Pilot and/or his girlfriend could read it, but I regarded it as a possibility, not a probability or a definite.  Plausible deniability, if you will.  But now I’m aware that The Pilot’s friend reads it, and I find I’m not as willing to bare my soul.  Odd, huh?

I don’t know, I may still post it.  You see, I’ve always thought of the internet as this wonderful thing, giving proof that you are not alone in the world.  Whatever problem I may have had, I have almost always been able to find someone else going through the same thing.  I’d like to feel like I may have done that for someone else.  Plus, as I always say, this is my form of therapy.

There’s a short story by Sandra Cisneros called “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes.”  In it, she says, “I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.  I write it down and Mango says goodbye sometimes.  She does not hold me with both arms.  She sets me free.”  I’ve often felt that way about writing and blogging.  That’s why I consider it therapy.  Instead of paying someone to listen to me and nod their head and offer paltry non-advice, I type it out and get the input of my peers (for free!).

So, what do you think, Peers?  Should I post what I was going to post anyway, or no?

What Is a Man?

I stumbled across this post this morning and got a bit of a giggle out of it.  Some thoughts:

  • “That’s why Mark McGwire is not a man.”  Hee!
  • I’ve never been told that my wrist is “thrilling.”  In fact, I don’t think anyone has ever mentioned noticing my wrists.  Or the crease of my knee.  I may have gotten a shoulder mention, though.
  • “A man gets the door.  Without thinking.”  Amen to that! 

It reminded me of another article I read last summer and got a kick out of:  75 Skills Every Man Should Master.  Although, I don’t know that every man should be able to “understand quantum physics well enough that he can accept that a quarter might, at some point, pass straight through the table when dropped.”  Maybe it’s because I am NOT a science person, but…huh?

Funny thing – I really did “stumble” across that first article (it was on the Yahoo home page), and it really did remind me of the second article, but both were written by Tom Chiarella for Esquire.  Makes me want to see what else he’s written.

  • The Lazy Man’s Product Guide  Including OneDerWear, the “single-use skivvies” that “provide as much comfort and support as wearing a hair net around your nut sack.”  (I’ll let you read about the Slightest Touch erotic stimulator yourself.)
  • How to Talk to Her Father  “…in those early meetings, he is Mr. Miyagi and you are Ralph Macchio.  Get humble real quick, Danielsan.”
  • How to Treat a Nipple  “At the nipple, you power up or you rest or you work your ass off to compensate.”

He also has some great articles (check out Influence, or The Need-to-Know Basis), and I’ve heard his interview with Halle Berry was particularly good.

Looking for more?  Go to www.esquire.comand search for “Tom Chiarella.”

National Novel Writing Month

I decided to do NaNoWriMoagain this year.  So, of course, I’m starting out the month by procrastinating and writing a blog post instead of actually starting my novel.

NaNoWriMo challenges you to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30.  I tried doing it a couple of times, but would only get about 2000 words in before giving up.  Except for 2006, when I “won.”  It actually didn’t turn out half bad, if I do say so myself…now if I could just buckle down and edit the thing, fill it out, and submit it to a publisher. 

Winning doesn’t get you a publishing deal, or a monetary reward, simply the satisfaction of being able to say you wrote a novel in 30 days.  Oh, and it makes you actually buckle down and write, rather than saying, “I’ll get around to writing someday…” 

Anyway, I’m going to work on it again this November, see if I can’t write another novel, and maybe actually do something with it.  Interested in trying it out yourself?  Let me know, we can be writing buddies!

One Word

Kill time.  Juice your creativity.  www.oneword.com  One word.  Sixty seconds.  Go.

Soothe:  The soothing melody of the guitar lulled me to sleep, and I wondered if he would soon join me.  He hadn’t the first two nights.  But maybe the third time was the charm.