TAKE A GUESS

Writing and don’t want to stop, only at 1156 today. Running late, so sharing an interesting post I enjoyed the other day. See how many of these you can identify.

Goodnight and enjoy.

http://mashable.com/2013/11/01/national-novel-writing-month-advice/#Yj74SxN9.Oqy

 

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MAKING A PLAN AND KEEPING TO IT

Thought it would be a good time to share my management tools since I read and hear a lot about them on other writer’s blogs. Have a friend, Eric Beaty, in our local writer’s group that swears by Trello, a management app that is available online. I think it’s free since I signed up for it and usually only sign up for things that are free. Clicked on it just now, and it opened up with the same board I created back in September 2015. Have about ten postings on it, then I gave up. The trouble with management tools is you have to visit them and use them before they help you manage anything.

If I have to figure out what I’m going to do, break down all the steps, write them down, and record my progress, or the lack thereof, I’m probably not going to be using it. It works great for him and might work for you too. I’m just clearly too lazy, or too undisciplined, or both.

Have one simple tool I use every day.   Jerry Seinfeld did a funny rift on how to be productive and called it not breaking the chain. Print off a sheet with 365 days and try to put a check or x over each one for that day if you did your creative work.

Simple, because you feel like “s–t” when you break it.  Tried it and made several months before missing a day.  You do feel really bad when you’ve worked so hard and been so good and then break the link.

Modified it a little. I use a free bank calendar with big empty squares. Each night before I turn off the computer, I record the number of new words, current total on the book. If I’m editing, I put the page count for those days. Working on a book cover, I make a note of it and how many hours I worked. Simple. It works well for me.

I also enjoy these challenges. Favorite is Nanowrimo and variations. Doing second Camp NaNoWriMo now, 9179 words so far this month. Pretty good since my goal is 30,000 words. Thought I might slow down since I missed last month’s Junowrimo goal by a few thousand, and it is summer. I like this because it is just posting my word count on one other site and there are people to talk to and whine when you have an off day or to ask questions if you hit one of those can’t move forward days.

The second challenge this month is the Ultimate Blogging Challenge, one of these postings every day for a month. They have a little sheet, UltimateBlogChallenge-31DayTracker, where you check off a list of four things: write it, Tweet it, pin to Facebook, comment on other posts. I’ve not had to miss one yet this month so it does help. Honestly, would not post if it weren’t for the challenge. Hear it’s good to blog and I always want to be good. Would never Tweet or Facebook my progress unless I were doing this challenge.

If you have something that you use, please share.

THE PATH TOO BROAD

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Shared images of intriguing roads yesterday, but the one I’ve been on today is certainly the broadest and most prone to lollygagging. I’ve fallen into surfing the web. Although I love company, I spent more time cooking, talking, watching films, and none watching television news. In catching up on current events, I’ve read and watched the last three days in wonder. Too late, coming to my senses and writing.

Mere 1056 tonight, although may write more after I post this.

I gave up cable about six weeks ago because I’d become obsessed with the continued climate of political warfare. In book three tonight, I’m in the prelude to the Civil War, when heated debate, a hard-fought political campaign, and the direction Americans believed the country should take were so different it led to five years of war and the loss of lives and destruction of much of the countryside. Probably would be better off if I were writing a contemporary mystery or one of my quieter, Mountain Wives stories.

The parallels are too troublesome. Most of what I read, fortunately, was about Europe and the G-20 conference. Enjoyed reading the speech to Poland by the President, and was impressed by the warm reception he received there. In Germany, the sessions seemed to be productive and for the most part positive. But then the Antarchist destruction and mob riots in Germany all under the guise of protest were shocking. We are definitely living in strange times.

Three days of the current craziness in the news is far too much and I’ll try to go cold turkey tomorrow and get more work done on this book. Still reminded as I write how extreme language is divisive, words can and do have consequences, and a nation so divided cannot long stand. Miss the days of objective reporting instead of editorialized presentation of viewpoints. Too many people trying to tell us how and what to think.

Praying that sanity and unity are soon restored and we make progress on the harsh issues that confront us. Would love if there were harmony and love among all as we work as one people, one nation, to solve our current problems.  Praying for all hearts to open and share love and charity and that the hate groups remain in Europe and never return to this land that we love.

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BACK ON THE PATH

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My company is still here, but I made my word count for the night and feel back on the path. It’s a long road with no end in sight, but one only reaches a goal by moving forward one mile at a time.

Since I’m still writing and pushing to get a blog post in also, will close with a few inspiring images of roads and gateways. I like this one best because of the rainbow up ahead. It is our first day without rain this week and we are looking forward to a couple of rain-free days this weekend. My husband is actually looking forward to having a chance to mow.

Still in love with Pinterest. Sometimes when I’m wool-gathering, I enjoy looking at striking pictures that lead down a secret path or road and imagine who might be tempted to follow it all the way to the end. It’s always intriguing to follow along on their adventures.

BEING BAD

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Turned a year older today. Daughter visiting baked me a wonderful cake, chocolate with chocolate icing. Not enough of it left to take a picture, but prettier than this. Also, mine didn’t have any candles, since we didn’t want the fire department to break in.

I cooked one of her favorites, cabbage rolls, and we overindulged all day. Continued the movie fest and conversations. My husband ate nearly half the cake, so I could have been worse, but not sure how, since I ate mine with ice cream. As I told her, it’s not something I normally make, try not to make anything that can’t be consumed in one meal. She promised to take some of the cabbage rolls home with her, so it doesn’t count. Love female logic.

With movie binging, between the thunderstorms that swept through off and on today, the cooking, eating, and talking, I did very little work.  A few over two hundred words and this self-indulgent blog. Since retiring, I try to push to maintain a writing schedule. It always gets broken for family, travel, or editing. I know editing is part of the process, but it is the slowdown and run through the wet concrete phase for me. Want to finish the current novel, but just had to stop and be a little bad today.

Without the guilt, I’m not sure there would be half the pleasure. What about you? Do you ever overindulge in things that just make you happy, then feel guilty about it? Would love to hear from you and what hobby or duty drives you.

Find retirement to be its own special challenge. I’ve always believed persistence and hard work provides the greatest satisfaction in a job well done. Maybe it was the way I was raised. We were taught to believe everyone has a purpose and a reason on this earth, and the main one is to contribute to making the world better and safer for others.

Doesn’t seem to be true for many young people. Read in the New York Times the other day that there are thousands of young men who have never joined the workforce, many are happy staying home and playing video games. Maybe if there were someone to bake the cake and bring me a slice, I could try it. No, probably too much guilt.

 

are-gamers-losershttps://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/12/upshot/the-rise-of-men-who-dont-work-and-what-they-do-instead.html

MOVING FORWARD

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As a nonathlete, there are few things I admire more than those who shape and chisel their bodies to perfection. Bruce Lee always seemed like that to me, the way he could jump and chop away at any opponent, moving with a grace and speed that was magical. The other thing I admire about him was his philosophical nature. He tried to codify and define what he believed and was trying to teach to others. Love this quote. Wish I could be this flexible, at least in my mind and view of life.

Instead, I’m pretty much the opposite. I fret and worry about the inconsequential and often lose my mind over something I see or read tweeted somewhere. Not a good thing for a writer. Tonight, after watching movies (two of which were cartoons), I’m back in my restful frame of mind enough to write.

A few words over twelve hundred tonight which puts me over 5600 for this month’s challenge. Last month as I mentioned before, I fell short of writing 50 K by eight thousand. Instead of writing 1667 every day, I averaged about 1400. So this month, I’ve set my goal at 30 K and am trying to write at least one thousand a day. More relaxed and manageable. Like last month, I intend to write every day.  We’ll see.

I’m a little old, as is my daughter, to be watching cartoons, but in the great debate over what to watch there seemed less to offend one or the other of us. If you haven’t seen it, Moana is a wonderful film. The gorgeous ocean scenery and great music made up for the usual Disney trope of the woman as the hero. Would love to see a film again where boys and girls are allowed to be equally heroic. Realize that’s not pro-feminists, but I think we’ve probably seen enough of men as idiots who need a strong, smart woman to guide them. My daughter took the opposite view and thought films are finally depicting real life. Oh well, so much for becoming like water.

Hope your summer is going well. We had the usual heavy rain in the middle of the day. Not forty days straight yet so I’m not building my own boat.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY

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Nice day with lots of heavy rain. My daughter arrived home to visit for a few days and got here just before the rain started. When we went out to eat sushi for supper, it had finally stopped.

Didn’t expect to get to watch the fireworks. We watched a little television instead while we caught up on life.  When we heard them popping off, the two of us drove down to watch from a parking lot about half a mile from where they were launched at the Fairgrounds. As usual, I enjoyed watching the people more. Not sure if it was too damp, but the fireworks didn’t seem as noisy or bright as last year. Did enjoy watching a family eating watermelon and it brought back a lot of memories.

When we were young, my parents worked hard, but being part of a large family, there were no long vacations or amusement parks. Instead, living near the Smoky Mountains, our getaways were to drive up the cool windy roads under the overhanging lush green trees into the National Park. Sometimes it’s good to remember how lucky we felt to have a good car and parents who wanted to make the trip.

We were crowded, sitting four across in those high bench seats, no seat belts, wanting to hang our arms out the open windows. But if you stuck even a finger out you were reminded about the kid who lost his arm to a passing truck, cut off clean at the elbow. Everyone would fight over the window seats (always went to the oldest), and talk and look for bears along the way. By the time we arrived, we would be hot and sticky with sweat.

Like the people in this shot from a melon eating contest, Dad would slice the melon and we would dive into our section face first, laughing and spitting seeds to see who could finish first. That first bite of melon was so sweet and cool and wonderful. Afterward, we would wade carefully into the creek over all the rocks and stand barefooted in the water for as long as we could stand it. We’d wash our face and arms clean so sweat bees wouldn’t follow us home, stinging along the way. Of course, we stayed and played a little, before driving on up and through Gatlinburg to look at the sculptures the Sandman might have made that week.

On busy days when the traffic moved at a snail’s pace, we were sometimes given enough change to buy a bottle of coke. The oldest again were the ones to get out, race to buy and open the drinks and walk carefully but quickly back to catch up with our car.  Those bottles were held between their fingers, dangling and dripping chipped ice with the promise of being cold.

Those are the kind of summer days that made us feel rich.

Hope you enjoyed this fourth with loved ones. If not, I hope you remembered the great summer days you’ve had in the past.

May there always be freedom, joy, peace, and sunshine for you and yours. Happy Birthday, U.S.A.

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BOOM DAY

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Not the fourth until tomorrow, but neighbors have been setting them off since it turned dark. Wish the rains had made it instead. Still big booms, but at least they have a purpose. Really, I’m just grousing because I’m trying to write and only 112 words tonight.  Anything for a distraction.

Twitter and the Internet have caused my downfall. I’ve been at my desk nearly two hours,  wasted time checking and tweeting, then reading and following links. Finally noticed the time and here I am, a little too little and a lot of time wasted. Y is closed tomorrow so will just sit and plink out more, at least a thousand more before I yield. Procrastination, it’s not just a disease, it’s a way of life.

I have no idea what the proposed length of a blog should be. Think it used to be 300 to 1000 words. Believe that was before people ran out of patience to read long ones. Most I read are short like this. Not trying to teach or offer training, just share my journey as I struggle to create another book. Often feel like I have a butterfly net with really fine cloth and I’m using it to capture dreams which I struggle to keep real and alive as I pin them in the pages of a book. Another analogy I like is the one below.

For all you writers and dreamers out there, happy writing and happy and safe 4th of July.

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INDEPENDENCE DAY

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Since the rain stopped, people have been setting off fireworks again tonight. Guess we get four days worth around here. They are pretty, but our cats hate them and run under the deck.

Must say I love all holidays. There’s a music festival in a nearby town, Smithville. Not sure if we’ll make it this year, the family may be home, and then there is the chance of bad weather.  It’s always worth attending, love the blue grass music from the best musicians anywhere. Also, always enjoy the clogging groups.

Continuing to work on the third book in my Civil War Wives Series. Slow progress today so will work on it a little more tonight. Did create a possible cover, and that took most of the day. Will post it at the bottom of this short blog. Had to alter the title I had been using, but it says the same thing. A Picnic to Start the War: Katherine of South Carolina,  is about the first fight in the Civil War over Fort Sumter at the port of Charlestown. Another love story and a challenge to research and write. The research is always the part I love. More tomorrow. Happy Fourth of July, stay safe.

Renewed Challenges

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I have just finished Junowrimo, a 30-day writing challenge on the Facebook page with the same name. I tried to write 50,000 words on my new novel, Katherine of South Carolina: Going to War With a Picnic Basket. I didn’t finish the book or complete my goal, but I did write 42,101 words and put some down each of the thirty days.

I find these goals, whether I reach them or not, increase my productivity. One of the wonderful things about retirement and being a senior (turn 69 this month), is not wanting to do that much anymore, and to only work when and if I want to.  Since my lifelong goal has been to be a successful author, that kind of schedule doesn’t lead to very many books. I’m pleased to have twenty-five up on Amazon since retiring and hope to add one or two more this year. This, if I finish it, will be the third in my new Civil War Wives series.

Two challenges, which I’ve accomplished in the past, but may do me in this year, will be the Ultimate Blog Challenge (31 daily posts) and CampNaNoWriMo where I hope to add at least another 30,000 words to my current project or as many more words as it takes to complete it.

I’ve given up on three lifelong goals.  Staying young, losing weight, and becoming super fit. Just trying to maintain, not increase my round shape, and stay active and mobile. My husband assures me I will not become any younger and I’ve had to agree he is right about that.

Hope you are still challenging yourself with whatever your goal may be. Good luck to us all and have a safe and Happy 4th of July weekend.

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