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End of November 2015 Review

I did not hit all of my final goals for last month, but seeing as it was the first month in a very long time in which I attempted some form of focus, I’d say I did decently well.

5/10 blog posts
1/5 poems
5/2 submissions

I did do more writing for the blog and on poetry than the above suggests since the count only reflects things that were completed. I’ll take it. It’s been a rough month. This month I’ve battled depression and ended the month with grief. But that’s for another post. When I can collect my thoughts.

I hope to do some more writing through December, but I think most of my focus will be on Christmas cards and catching up on a few letters to send. December is always a busy month for me for many reasons, so while I’ll not set all my work to the side, I don’t anticipate having much time for it.

I need to learn the magical balance for day job, house chores, blogging/poetry, Christmas festivities, and language lessons. Or, you know, enough balance that all of those things properly get attention at least!

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November 2015 Mid-Point Check-In

This post is not nearly as impressive as I had hoped it would be.

I did alright the first week of November. I took time 3/7 days to write in some way. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but considering I’ve been lucky to clock 3 days out of a full month lately… it’s a big improvement.

Last week just wasn’t a good week. I put in precisely 45 minutes worth of work on a single day for the whole week. And that day was yesterday.

I’ve been battling not feeling well (’tis the season for me to often be on the edge of a flare) and facing a combination of exhaustion and lack of motivation, tinged with a bit of depression. When I come home from work I don’t even want to put in the effort to watch a television show, let alone hold a pen.

I have excuses that are both legitimate and lazy. The point of this month (and hopefully the next few months to come) is to find a way to move past the lazy excuses and work around the legitimate ones.

I’m rededicating myself to this venture starting today. A day that started with a series of events that left me more than just “not in the mood”. I’m tired, overwhelmed, and yes, still fighting that bit of depression that has been trying to creep in. And that, my friends, is a tried-and-true recipe for accomplishing nothing at all.

But with the help of a friend who is NaNoing properly… I’m back on the horse and feeling better about the day. This afternoon, we have spent several 15- and 30-minute sprints during which she works on her NaNoWriMo project, and I work on blogging, writing, or other things on my creative to-do list. In the downtime between those sprints I’ve darted about the house and done a few chores. It has been a surprisingly productive day when structured in this manner. 

My progress is as follows:

4/10 blog posts
1/5 poems
0/2 submissions

Let’s see what I can manage by month’s end…

Using the Energy of NaNoWriMo to Achieve Writing Goals

I first joined NaNoWriMo in 2010. I won that year. I participated again in 2011 and 2012 though I did not win again. NaNoWriMo is how I met the girls that comprise my writing group, The Rabid Rainbow Ferret Society. NaNoWriMo is also, in a way, how I discovered I am a poet more than a novelist.

nanowrimo2015-design-by-eric-nyffeler

November 1st is upon us and the writing madness has descended once again. Only I no longer participate in the 50,000 word dash. But just because I don’t participate “properly” doesn’t mean I don’t cheer my friends on as loud as I can. And just because I don’t participate “properly” doesn’t mean I don’t participate at all. Continue reading

Writing Words That Matter and Being Proud of Your Writing

You never know how, when, or to whom your words may be important.

A little over two months ago, I wrote a post I called “I Remember, I Remember Everything”. The title came from song lyrics for the band Kill Hannah, which is disbanding this December. It was something cathartic that I felt driven to write when I had unexpectedly strong emotion over the news.

It resonated with a few people. And then it slowly faded away, like everything on the internet.

Until earlier this month, when I received a reply to a Facebook message I had completely forgotten I’d sent. Two months ago, I had sent Mat Devine (lead singer of Kill Hannah) a link to the blog on the off-chance he might one day see it and read. After all, it was him I was thanking for everything. And it was Mat who replied to me, saying he had read it, that he appreciated it, and asking permission to share on Facebook with all of Kill Hannah’s fans. I blushed all over myself, and then I said yes. Continue reading

Being Productive on a Writing Retreat

One thing I learned over this past week is that I deeply enjoy the companionship of my friends and my adventures with them, but when I work, I work alone.

The great room of our cabin

The great room of our cabin

The cabin where we spent our writer’s retreat was spacious and beautiful. We could more than easily spread out in the great room to cook, eat, write, read, chat, and more. It was a rare time (other than eating) that all five of us were immersed in the same activity, but we could still be silly and carry on conversations and I loved this. However it took me no time at all to realize I could not work in this environment. Continue reading

Answering Your Questions, Part 2

It is now time for me to get to all of the writerly questions you lovely people left me during the poetry giveaway in April.

Onward!

1) Do you have a writing schedule?

Absolutely not. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. I don’t do very well on a strict schedule. What I do need to make sure I do, however, is to make time for writing. It’s all too easy to get caught up in everything else there is to do.

2) Do you feel your poetry has evolved over time or do you have a style that you’ve stayed true to?

Definitely evolved. Still evolving. Continue reading

When Writers Say “No”

Saying no is tough. Saying no is frowned upon. The corporate world would have us be a herd of yes-men and the non-creative sector of our social world doesn’t understand why anyone could possibly say no to an engagement to pursue an often frustrating, often rejection-ridden hobby. (For more on “The Stigma of Pen and Paper“, you can check out my post on The Rabid Rainbow Ferret blog today as well!)

There is a fabulous quote by Neil Gaiman from his 2012 keynote address at the University of the Arts where he said, “There was a day when I looked up and realised that I had become someone who professionally replied to email, and who wrote as a hobby.  I started answering fewer emails, and was relieved to find I was writing much more.”

I can’t begin to fathom the demands he deals with for his time, but I can take his words and apply them on a smaller, more personally appropriate level. Continue reading

Writing is Work

Last week a started a new job. Sort of.

I never exactly set out to be an insurance agent. First I was a hostess for 3 1/2 years, then a photo lab tech/drug store stocker for 2 years. After that it sort of fell into my lap that I got my insurance license for personal lines (think home and auto insurance) and for the last 5 1/2 years that’s where I’ve been.

It’s been alright. I have more good days than bad, and it’s been a good job to me in most scenarios, so I’ve put down roots. I am not a creature who enjoys change. I prefer to stay where I am if at all possible.

Last week, however, things changed… at least somewhat. I still work in the same office, I’m still the office manager (and the ONLY consistent person in the last 6 years), but I work for a new boss. The office was sold to a new agent and we’re starting over from scratch. This is incredibly nerve-wracking as we’ve hired new people, started tons of new ‘processes’ to run the office, and questioned and second-guessed nearly everything I do.

But now, 11 days into the month, I can see that this change will be for the good. The past week and a half have been a non-stop messy roller coaster for me and I feel as though surely I have worked at least three weeks already, but it is good. Once things settle down after another month or so, I believe my bad days will be fewer and my stress will be lower.

I never intended for insurance to be my career. Even though I don’t see me leaving the profession any time soon, I still don’t intend for it to be my career. But the recent flurry of new-found structure in an office-setting has me rethinking what I want out of writing. Continue reading