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As part of my new year’s resolution, I have a new schedule (as anyone who knows me at all would have already guessed).  I get up at 5:00 AM, do a quick 10-minute workout (sometimes Calisthenics and sometimes stretches as instructed by the chiropractor), get dressed, do hair and makeup, grab the lunch my husband has packed up for me and am out the door by 5:45. I am in DC by 6:00 and at a Starbucks down the street from my building by 6:10, where I get a small coffee and do devotions for half and hour. Then I pack up and am at work by 6:45 AM. This allows me to take a 45 minute lunch break, which I have been using to write. I am trying to do some sort of writing exercise and then work on editing my God’s Masterpiece book.

Today’s writing exercise/sort of lesson was a common theme – making your character suffer. Apparently a lot of authors don’t want bad things to happen to their character. I have never had that issue. I have stopped killing off every one in my books, relegating it to only a few, but those few must go, no matter how much I cry while I write it.

Today I discovered, however, that when it comes to making my characters’ suffer, I am fine with emotional suffering, but I have a hard time with physical suffering. Oh, they can starve to death or be exhausted or things like that but – the book I am going through (Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine) made me write out the scene in which Red Riding Hood is eaten by the wolf, with instructions to describe exactly how she felt, what she saw, etc. etc., and fairly strict instructions that she was to actually be eaten. I did so, reluctantly – because how horrifying is it to write out a scene in which someone is eaten? Especially since you know that, in non-fairytales – they aren’t actually swallowed in one bite. I wrote it out as much as I could, shuddering inside the whole time, and probably ended it faster than the exercise wanted me to.

But that experiment taught me two things. One, which is what I already mentioned – there is a difference in physical and emotional suffering – and I may have one down, but am terrified of the other. And two, that as terrible as suffering such as that is, it is prime for description and feeling. So, while I doubt I will ever write a book in which someone is eaten, or even physically assaulted outside of perhaps being hit, I am going to work on the physical suffering side, particularly when it comes to descriptions.

And now my 45 minutes are up, so it’s back to work with that awful scene still in my mind. Thanks, Gail. Thanks.

cool-girl-phone-blanket-work

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Typical New Year Post

So, I know last year I said I wasn’t doing resolutions – I was just doing goals (ultimately the same thing, right?) More and more people do that, I think – shrug off resolutions as an overrated thing that are made and broken year and year (true enough!). Therefore, in an attempt to fit in, I occasionally refuse to do resolutions. But secretly? I love them. And you know what I love about them? Nothing too unique. Just that it’s a legit excuse for a new start. Again. While the middle of the year, it may feel silly and perhaps useless (at least for me) to be like, Okay, I messed up the last three months, I’m going to start again, no one few people ever laugh at you for doing that on the new year. It is a time of fresh starts and perspectives. My goals are the same as last year – losing weight, writing more, being a better Christian – but every year I get back that motivation that I seemed to have misplaced throughout the year and I think – Okay, maybe this time. Not saying I shouldn’t try harder during the year – but I am goal and list oriented, and New Years feels like my ISTJ/Type 1’s time to shine. I should probably just embrace the fact I love that, and move forward with the same resolutions year after year without being embarrassed to admit it.

When I think over last year, I feel like rather a failure. I did succeed in losing weight – temporarily – and then gained it back during the holidays. And I submitted nothing for publication. And I only wrote on a regular basis every now and then. I didn’t study a new language. I did move forward in my career – in a rather unexpected direction – but that is it. I don’t have an excuse for any of it except lack of discipline. (Perhaps that should be my overall goal this year – installing discipline!)

I make no false promises to myself or God this year – I know that more than likely I will fail again to fulfill all my goals – but that isn’t going to stop me from making them and from trying – again and again. And one thing I am especially going to try to commit to – is to try not to be afraid to be myself. Not to adjust my opinion to fit in with other people – but to realize that it is okay to have my own view of things. Many people don’t think I struggle with that – but every single time I hear someone express something, I instantly start to rationalize why they are right in my head, assuming I am wrong or should adjust my thinking. It is a constant struggle that I hope to someday get the better of.

So here’s to a new year, resolutions, lists, schedules, perfectionism, not being afraid, and trying again and again.

new year's resolution(1)

I was in Atlanta this week for work – three days with four hour meetings and then networking events. It was delightful for me as an introvert, as I am sure you can well imagine.

I may have gotten bored during one or two – okay, three – moments, and I decided it was an ideal time to look very involved while actually practicing my attention to detail skills. So I went around the room and wrote down a one to three line description of everyone’s ears. And for the first time, I actually understand that Monk episode where he says he can identify the bad guy by his ear. Did you know every ear is unique? Some of them you have to study hard to figure out why it is unique, but there are an amazing variety of ears out there, people.

I am sure you are sitting there, imagining me, during a meeting, staring studiously at someone’s ear. And yeah, that’s basically what happened. But I did try to wait until someone at least in that general direction was speaking so it could, at a cursory glance, appear as though I were watching the speaker.

Are you curious about the outcome of my experiment? I hope so because I’m about to post them below, word for word on what I jotted down! So if it isn’t polished sounding – that is because it isn’t. Also, I got better as time went on. It is surprisingly difficult to describe what an ear looks like.

  1. Almost elf-like ears, sticking out from the head just enough to distract. Bit of a curve as it attaches the lobe to the cheek/neck (what is that area called?)
  2. Giant ears, especially for a rather thin face that one envisions perhaps sickly, but mostly sulky, as a child.
  3. Ears that looked as though they could flap and maybe fly once given the chance.
  4. Appropriately flat against the head, and the part that might be unattractive covered by distinguished white hair. A bit on the long side, but that rather matched his somewhat elongated face.
  5. Tips of otherwise quite appropriate ears curled over just slightly in an attempt to distinguish themselves from an otherwise blase face.
  6. Hair concealed the ears, making one wonder just what she was hiding. Large, small, pointed, round? Something to detract from an otherwise dainty visage, other than the nose?
  7. Ears that rather matched the whole of his face – a bit broad and fleshy and definitely loath to smile.
  8. Rather reminded one of a curving path, with multiple venues from which to choose. The irregular lines could perhaps be a maze rather than a path.
  9. So flat that the curve along the inside of the ear peeked out like an irreverent schoolboy in a church pew.
  10. Almost kindly, when looked at alone, but become absurd once compared with the triangular face and broad side of the cheek.
  11. Almost inflamed, but actually just lots of tissue. The wrinkles on the lobes strangely matched the wrinkles across the forehead.
  12. A wealth of hair covered all but the rather large lobe, which stuck out underneath as it desperate to breathe.
  13. A significant indent did its best to separate the lobe from the rest of the ear, rather unreasonably as the only significance was in the ear itself, shaped more or less like a cup.
  14. Top of the ear curled gracefully into the ear itself as if curtsying. Following the curve of the rest of the ear led to rather unremarkable features and a broad, flat, lobe.
  15. Unremarkable if it wasn’t for the large inner ear that looked like a basin lined with a lip to keep from falling in.

I was healthy for the first two days of my new job – and then sick for a week and a half. The second week of my job I lost my voice and couldn’t even talk. Is there anything worse than not even being able to answer properly when the director/vice president of your new company comes to ask how it is going and your voice goes in and out while you  try to respond? Thankfully a long weekend came up and apparently all I needed was three nights of 12 hours of sleep because my voice came back, my cough receded, and my congestion went to almost non-existent. Then four short days of doing actual work, and everything was starting to get bad again, so apparently I just have to figure out some way of keeping up my health and getting enough sleep if I want to remain healthy while working in DC proper.

But now it is Thanksgiving week and thanks to a no-work-from-home-for-six-months policy at my new company I get the entire week off instead of teleworking. Which, based on how busy it has already been, is probably good. We started off our trip to Oklahoma by going to our second to last citizen’s police academy training class, wherein we got to practice spinning out in old cars, drive in police car, and pretend we were officers at a traffic stop. We then started our drive, and stopped at Horton Vineyards, which is our favorite VA winery, for a tasting, and finally really got on the road a little late, but still managed to get about 6 hours in before stopping for the night. We drove almost nonstop on Sunday and finally arrived around 7:30 PM.

Now, I know what you all really want to know about – how is NaNo going? Well, I’ll tell you. I am at 20,300 words. I am supposed to be at 33,340 words. So. . . could be worse, but could definitely be better. I have very high hopes of miraculously catching up and even surpassing my supposed-to-be word count this week. But – considering it is already 11:30 AM here on Tuesday, and we are going to a movie this afternoon and then shopping and tomorrow we are going shooting and then to see Daniel’s brother’s new house, and prepping for Thanksgiving, and then Thanksgiving on Thursday, and then tree shopping and decorating Friday and then leaving Saturday . . . I might be a little optimistic. But better that than giving up, right?

I am rambling something horribly in my story right now. But as long as it gets words out that is better than not at all. And I can always delete and rewrite later. Besides, it’s not as though I am as bad as Tala and Yuki!

Three Life Facts . . .

. . . that are true for me right now.

  1. I got sick my first week at a new job. Like, seriously???? It could only happen to me. Thursday and Friday – sore/swollen throat and lots of congestion. Yesterday – a not very happy cough and today lost my voice as well. Great first impression, definitely. On the bright side, I am still doing introductory stuff so I don’t have to use my brain much. I just want this to go away before I do. Sigh.
  2. My husband is the epitome of perfection. All these work days as I drag myself out of bed to go to work sick he has gotten up with me, packed me lunch, made me breakfast, laid out vitamins and essential oils, and as soon as I get home from work makes me a hot toddy. He also has kept up with the dishes, laundry, basic housecleaning, found us food, and even cleaned out the fridge yesterday.
  3. Despite all this, I have started NaNoWriMo – granted, I am a few days behind at like 6,000 words, but I have every hope I can catch up – after I get lots and lots of sleep. I am loving seeing all the inspiration on Instagram and NaNoToons and my friend is keeping up with it marvelously which makes me eager to get well enough to catch up as well because I don’t feel like I’m in it alone. It’s amazing what having writing buddies will do.

And that is life right now.

everydaymaynotbe-min2

I dedicate this perfect post from BlondeWriteMore to my husband Daniel and entreat my friend who is doing this with me to print it out for her husband as well. :p

https://wp.me/p4yGBR-lbB

NaNoToons!

Yay, I’m so excited! NaNoToons is back! I just had to do a quick share, since they are one of my favorite parts of NaNoWriMo!

https://wp.me/p2NFKH-sW