A Garden of Delights

Posts Tagged ‘writing

Yet Another…

2018 ROW80 Check-in WWW Wednesday

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(click below an image to go to the specific section you want if you don’t want to read the whole post)

As is becoming the trend, first things last and last things first, the WWW Wednesday where, according to the rules of the bloghop, I need to answer three main questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently?  An odd mix here…  I just started an ARC of Jenna Jaxon’s To Woo a Wicked Widow.  I’m also almost done with Book #4 of the Victoria Thompson Gaslight mysteries Murder on Mulberry Bend.  And I’m delving into Cathedrals of England by Sir Nicholas Pevsner.  It’s an odd passion of mine…

Recently? I’ve set aside Gun, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond.  I just took on a beta read and an ARC (above) that I need to prioritize, and it’s a library book.  It’s back into my TBR list for another time.  Of course, I have indulged in a fair amount of escapism, having finished Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey.  By the end, I was actually glad I’d read the book, and definitely looking for the next one.  However, since I couldn’t find it (even at the local Barnes & Noble), I jumped into Victoria Thompson’s Gaslight series and plowed through books #3 and #4 (Murder on Granmercy Park and Murder on Washington Square.

Next? Let’s see, I have my beta read (sooper sekret! 😉 )to do, plus the next Molly Murphy mystery Death of Riley.  Though  went through another short in Dear Life by Alice Munro, I’m not sure I call it in my “I am reading” list because of where my head is right now.  I also picked up Tête-à-tête by Hazel Rowley at one of the local used bookstores because a glimpse of a few pages intrigued.


 My ROW80 progress has been bit less inspiring.  My 750words.com word counts are slowly increasing (averaging about 600, so I’m not on track yet, but the creative ideas are flying fast and furious).  In keeping with my theme of consistency (and because this was my week off from the Weekend Writing Warriors blog hop) I’ve posted a WIPpet Wednesday post on Many Worlds and done my best to offer some thought-provoking posts to the ROW80 blog for our check-ins.  I’m still trying to figure out the exact rhythm our writing community performs best at now that I’ve taken over the blog from Kait Nolan.

I’ve also started work toward my upcoming First Friday Photo post.  This morning offered several of those remarkable post-snowstorm captures…  and one (though not my best shot) was of a gorgeous murder of crows I saw on the drive to bring my son to school (no buses were running today).   I love crows.  Last Friday we had one sitting on our deck.  Squee!

That’s it, I guess.  Signing off from my “office” at the Glenmont Applebee’s…

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Check?

Posted on: January 16, 2018

I wasn’t going to post anything here for the ROW80, had planned to just make a brief check-in at the Facebook page.  Sometimes it’s hard to feel like I’ve accomplished anything real.  Or…  if I’ve felt any amount of excitement about things I’ve done, the fact that I was excited meant I’d already shared them somehow (such as my recent Stream of Consciousness Saturday post) or my excited FB post on Thursday about the awesome creative burst I’d had while writing my 750 words.

So…  what to write without becoming repetitive?

Well, there is the fact that I haven’t missed a day of writing at 750words.com since my Wednesday check-in.  Tr, I haven’t always achieved the full 750, but Thursday I exceeded with 803, and on no day did I achieve less than 300.  If I counted all the words I typed while blogging and visiting/commenting, I’d be well-over every day, but I don’t feel right adding those.

I’ve maintained consistency in my blogging as well.  And my reading (though that hasn’t been as fast as I’d like).  My real downfall though, is my creative writing output.

Some of this is a lack of “office”…  as in, I have a pretty nice computer and desk (and an “OK” chair), but my husband, who  works from home, now occupies the office.  He likes to listen to interviews and talk (or tv shows).  I need music…  particularly repetitive songs (usually loud) to zone out on and be with my characters.

Just a tree by a ditch

It’s not fair to ask him to leave, or even smart. He’s actually earning a paycheck with what he’s doing, while I’m struggling to connect with my characters most of the time, playing solitaire while I ponder plot points.

So…  I’m looking for that elusive creative space and working on what I can in the interim.

Consistency has been my main goal this year and especially this Round of Words in 80 Days session.  Given that common wisdom these days suggests 66 days is the average time to make a habit stick, I guess having a few extra buffer days is a good thing.  I haven’t exactly set records out the starting gate any year before this.

Nor have I this year…

Of my main goals, I’m only kicking off on three of my four cylinders, and with this cold—not just the sub-zero temps and fierce windchill outside, but the knock-me-off-my-feet-make-the-whole-world-look-funky-and-fevery beast that had me bundled up for the past two days—getting the engine going has been harder and harder.  Stalling out is an ever-present concern.

So, it’s with some relief I can say I’m still making steady progress toward most of the goals I set at the beginning of the month.  I missed two days of 750words.com (Thursday was a pen & paper day at Panera with a friend, and Friday was the in-bed-no-computer sort), but even with those misses, I’ve rediscovered my joy of free-writing and on-page musing the site offers me.

The blogging isn’t exactly where I want it to be—I still need to update the pages for our ROW80 sponsors and set up the new sponsor post.  As for figuring out how to merge Many Worlds (where most of my writing samples and art exist) with here is…  waiting.

One thing I don’t want to wait too far on…. returning to my photography.  Even if I’m not taking new pictures, I have a ton of images to process and organize.  Some of these I want to share…

So I am starting up the First Friday Photo bloghop again.  The linky froggie (below or in the sidebar, either one works) will be open for the month.  The actual posts go live on the first Friday of each month.  In the case of this session, the posting day will be Feb 2.  The linky will close the day before.

Anyone and everyone is welcome to join in.  This isn’t a contest…  just a way to share a bit of love to the art of pictures.  Here are some of my past entries: #FirstFriday

That’s about it…  for today.  😀

As I said last week, I’ve done a lot of reading lately.  Different  genres, authors, size works….  This weekend I finally dipped my toes into the ocean that in James Patterson’s body of work.

Basically, I had to test out the hype for myself.

Now, I do have to confess that these works, two of the Bookshots series to be exact, were only co-authored by Patterson; they were also of a very different style than I normally read.  So to say I didn’t find myself as enthralled as I hoped I would be by the works of this mainstream master isn’t me trying to be critical of his work.

More it was me trying to be critical of myself.

I wanted to understand why I never read any of Patterson’s work (or Nora Roberts or… insert name of best-selling author here).  I often actively avoid such books, preferring to try someone with a smaller backlist or an author I’d never heard of before when I go looking to try something new.   So, yeah…  it was definitely about understanding the hype, but also wondering what made me avoid the “popular” books.  Was it years of high school angst that made me fear messing with the In-crowd.  Did I just inherently dismiss it all as booorr-ing mainstream fluff while the read “deep” things were being done behind closed doors in band and by the kids doing AP Bio and French?

Maybe…  Though also, knowing that many of Patterson’s works were highly action-driven stories, I wanted to see some of that writing style… well, in action.

The lessons I learned, as well those from last week’s foray into Barbara Pym’s and Sir Walter Scott’s works (Crampton Hodnet and Excellent Women as well as The Talisman and Ivanhoe respectively) and my feast of Denise Swanson’s Scumble River detective stories (one a day keeps me at the library) are…

  • putting down a Bookshot book is easy, almost as easy as Ivanhoe, but not nearly as satisfying to pick up again
  • if I’d known about Pym’s works sooner, I’d be a serious Austenite instead of the half-hearted one I am now.
  • I need a series.  Seriously…  if I can’t follow characters through several books (or seasons if it’s a video thing), then it better be a very long book
  • most contemporary fiction characters do not act the way I would write them acting but many of the more classical characters do
  • there’s not much action in an action scene…  at least in a Bookshot

There’s more of course.  But this post is getting long already and I still have a ROW80 check-in to finish.

So, how’d I do?

  • I didn’t quite manage the daily note in my journal.  Some days I didn’t really write anything except texts to be honest.
  • Devouring books however was right on course.  Saturday morning I returned 18 finished books (including the four listed above) to the UHLS and two to the MHLS.  As my interlibrary loan requests were still in transit, I picked up a few books from the books sale and freebies racks to tide me over.  Finished three of those and now working on a romance by a fellow member of our local RWA chapter.
  • I think this definitely qualifies as a mini-post about books I’ve read, though it definitely can’t be called a review
  • have not set anything into motion at the ROW80 blog, though I did have last weeks posts up on schedule for a change
  • and no outline for ‘Listii’s story…  silly man is trying to urge me to return to the Swan Song Series books instead of focusing on him, so I’ve outlined and replotted that

Pretty much all my stuff so far.  This coming week is bound to be extra hectic, so I am probably not going to be posting on Wednesday.  Just sayin’.

 

For my Sunday ROW80 post, I mentioned a bit of how day seem to become a blur that I mostly note only in my travel journal and how this is sometimes a good thing.  I stand by that, though to be honest, sometimes I wish I didn’t.

For writing, the blur feels especially useful, but it only works in tandem with a solid journaling practice.  With the blur, days pass by allowing regular stresses and annoyances to fade to a dull roar at worst, and often into obscurity.   The recorded bits in the journal highlight remarkable or otherwise somehow significant moments which come to life once more in the words and images I’d created.

Pretty much like a book should come across, imho.

Yes, there are occasional great stories out there that describe a character’s daily actions in explicit detail, but rarely do even these dwell on the minutiae for long.  Once the significance of the action the author wants us to recognize is made clear, the action moves on wooshing past the little things and onto what really matters to the story.

Likewise, the journal entries record those things that matter.  The smile that stood out of a crowd and made a day feel so much nicer, the raw moment when everything seemed to just fall apart, but stuff needed to be done no matter what, so that’s what I did.

These are the things that I know I read for, be the moment as fantastic as a life or death escape from a rampaging dragon or dealing with a tween whose heart is breaking because the cute girl in class didn’t sit with him a second time in a row.

The rest is merely a blur.

Returning to the ROW80…  it’s time for a check-in.

I wish I could say everything is roses, but actually, I staggered on my daily writing (did two days of three) and, beyond some serious daydream planning, haven’t touched the outlining for ‘Listii’s new story (fortunately he’s a pretty easy-going guy).  All else seems on track.  Will see you all on Sunday.

SPAM

Posted on: June 6, 2017

Actually, I do love Spam (the canned meat product, not the stuff in my inbox ).  Though if it was the only thing for breakfast, I’d have to pass.  There’s a lot of cleanup involved in spam.  I’ve spent the last few days deleting bunches of it.

Some of it is pretty funny, and if I’m ever in need of an ego boost or am feeling poorly about the quality of my blog posts, all I need do is check the spam folder.  The fawning, often incoherent, compliments begging me to contact the spammer to “help” them sign up to my blog feed never fail to amuse.

The best spam comes when the spammer posts huge compilations of facts, most true, gleaned from around the web and offers it up like an encyclopedia of the odd and obscure.  I actually read those.  I don’t keep them or post them, but some part of me just loves fact-checking those gems.

This, however, was meant to not deal with spam, but be a ROW80 check-in post.  Though, if I’d had any sense, I’d have used one of my goals as “clean out the spam”, because it needed it, and then I could also say “Yay!  I’m getting things done.”

I am getting things done though too.  Now that JuNoWriMo has started, I’m in full swing:writing every day, sometimes over 2K.  I’m also kicking butt on the reading end of things, with my latest acquisition being Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West.  I’m not too far into it yet, but already I’m gathering some great impressions for The Swan Song Series: Marche.  Especially the opening chapter at the frontier and battlefront.

That’s about it.  I have to head out not (into the deluge) for my son’s LEGO club.  Keep writing!

April 16th seven years ago in a city called Troy

Last week I didn’t quite fulfill my initial goal I’d set for myself.  To recap, this is what I set for myself:

So, at least for this week (the nice thing about goals is that they can be adjusted), I have ONE goal:

Make a list of  ten things I dream of doing and prioritize them by how much I want them, how long they will take to achieve and what steps I will need to follow to meet each one.  And one caveat here…  no “pay bills” goals here.

We’ll see where that gets me (What Am I Doing? 4/3/17)

Last week, I bemoaned the fact that Shiny was more than just an adjective but also a state of mind as I tried to describe the cause of my failure.  I can’t say I am better off now.  The ‘new and shiny’ is still demanding more of me than I suspected.  I knew it would be hard to narrow down the list, but…  yeesh.

Still, I think I have come up with something that works as a decent starting point.  Ten things I dream of doing and how I intend to get there… and after that, new goal: to take dream from the list and start working on achieving it.

  1. I want to do something that will help others without causing hassles for the people I love.  This may seem like an odd thing for a dream.  It’s clearly not a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  It’s vague, has no defined times, and…  attainable and specific ran right off the cliff here.  But this is who I am.  I like to help, to do things that make peoples’ lives easier…  and I get into all sorts of fluff because of it.  Starting now, I want to figure out better ways to help without also becoming a problem.  Sometimes it will mean saying “No” more.  I bet sometimes I will have to say “Yes” more too.  This is not something that can be given a one-size-fits-all-(or even most) solution, but…  I can dream, can’t I?
  2. April 15th, four years ago on a road called Lower Flatrock

    The storyworld that exists in my head needs to be realized in more than one ‘permanent’ format.  I don’t want to just work on the writing—I need to get through that part, but I also want to develop the skills to also give it form in other expressions, preferably drawing or painting since I have at least half a chance of achieving it there.  I would like to someday make an animation of some of the stories, but that’s not as high a priority as more basic art.  To that goal, I need to dedicate more time to drawing and trying out how to use other artistic media.  I may start joining some of the Boodle’s art classes, as they’ve been wonderful for helping him learn how to use the different tools to achieve his artistic visions.

  3. I want to travel because, while the internet has made the world much more accessible, there is a limit to the depth of experience one can garner from 360°images, webinars, and descriptive text passages.  This is a dream in some ways…  my husband is very much a home-body.  It is also a goal that I can meet in limited forms.  Next week I will be on an airplane, heading across The Pond with the Boodle to spend a few weeks exploring England and meeting some fellow writers.
  4. I dream about living in one of those homes that is part retreat, part library, part museum and antique shop.  Sometimes this dream wobbles a bit and I actually am living in an antique shop, one that specializes in old books.  Sometimes the dream involves running a Bed & Breakfast that would have some of these elements.  Clearly I need to refine this a lot more…
  5. Sharing things that I find beautiful with others brings me exponential happiness… I need, in a visceral way, to do this. Since art and beauty are subjective, this isn’t always as easy as I would like, but generally, I have good luck with this.  I just want to keep doing it…. and maybe increase my ‘out-reach’.
  6. I know I am not taking the best care of my body that I can at the moment (as much as it likes to remind me of that fact, I am not giving up my green tea lattes from Starbuck’s though).  So I have other dreams/goals involving fitness and health…  one of them is to run again and do another 5K race, running the thing this time.  Why?  Because I had a dear friend, almost a brother, who loved to run in 5 & 10K races, and he died before we could run together.
  7. I’m putting this a bit further down the list because…  really it’s not up to me, so to speak—it is his life, and he will make these decisions on his own—, but I really want to be able to help my son discover what gives him joy and a sense of fulfillment.
  8. In little things as well as big things, I want to keep a sense of wonder.
  9. I dream of worlds where contact between two people meeting is not abrasive, but soothing.  I want people to be comforted by my presence, and to be comfortable in theirs…  I’d like to find my ‘tribe’.
  10. If we’re talking dreams…  I dream about helping grow our local homeschooling community center into a more self-sustaining resource that involves the community at large in some ways.  I know what I would do if I suddenly had a lot of money… or the skills to help operate such a place.

The Boodle and his Great-uncle measuring fish fry, 2 years ago April 16h

There it is…  I suspect this list isn’t The List. It just is The List For Now.  Seems to me, this is a process that I would benefit from participating in regularly.  So…  to Round 2 for this goal, and onto the goals for the rest of this round, starting with the new goal of ‘the week’.

A Sense of Wonder

Why?  Because it’s the goal I am in the best position to work on now and it opens so many of the other goals.


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