What’s Up Wednesday?

Back around again for another week of Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk‘s wonderful bloghop!

What I’m Reading 4a45a-buttonsmallnoborder

Well…The Girl Of Fire And Thorns was due back at the library yesterday, but I’m going to suck it up and pay the fines on it until I finish. No way am I sending this one back unfinished. I LOVE this book! I’m less than halfway through, but it has been nothing but stellar. I can’t remember the last time I liked a main character this well!

What I’m Writing

Believe it or not, I almost skipped the bloghop this week. Because…I didn’t write a thing. Not a word. I didn’t jot down an outline, rattle off a scene, nada. I didn’t even get a chance to open the document. Sigh. This was not my best week.

3513d-readysetwritebuttonI don’t think it was the fault of my goals, though. I still want to train myself into writing each day, but I can’t commit more time than that half-an-hour chunk. This week it got stolen by [What Else I’ve Been Up To], but I’m going to try again. Half an hour a day. Every day.

What Inspires Me

Last week I didn’t manage to comment very much, but I still read every single post. If nothing else, the enthusiasm is encouraging. There’s nothing quite like hanging around people who are passionate about what they love to do. Thank you, fellow writers!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Friday through Sunday got stolen by an impromptu trip back to my hometown. My track record with traveling is terrible; I got caught in very heavy rain driving out and back, and Sunday’s bout involved hail. I haven’t had a trip back this year that didn’t involve bad weather of some sort! Other than that, I got some much-needed sleep, and a lot of planning and prep done for the debate workshop I’m teaching there in August. Plus, my sis and I managed to sneak in time to see Red 2, which I loved even more than the first one. I’m a sucker for action movies, and it’s always fun to see retirees kicking butt.

Otherwise, my writing evenings were individually usurped by my mom’s birthday, three hours of volleyball, a children’s program at church, time with my grandparents, and being engrossed by The Girl Of Fire And Thorns. But, I’m starting to handle my work schedule and only pulled one 10-hr day last week. Yes! Being home earlier will help with the life-is-crazy thing, I think. 🙂

What’s Up on your Wednesday? Check out Jaime’s blog to join in! 

What’s Up, Wednesday?

I think I’m in denial. Is it the middle of July ALREADY??? Time for another What’s Up Wednesday, hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk!

What I’m Reading 4a45a-buttonsmallnoborder

I finally finished Siege & Storm, which left me in a puddle of feels and completely incapable of reading anything else. I love Leigh Bardugo’s world, and I wanted a bit of time to digest it before I started on The Girl Of Fire And Thorns. But, I’ve got a library deadline breathing down my neck, so I have to have it read by next Wednesday. Y’all’s comments have convinced me that it’s going to be fantastic, so I’ve got the sequel on hold at the library.

What I’m Writing

I had half-an-hour-a-day as my writing goal last week, which was sort-of-but-not-quite a success. It meant that I was constantly thinking about my WIP, plotting it out during the day in prep for my writing time in the evening, but there were a number of days that I didn’t get to sit down and write. The constant brewing was SO MUCH FUN, and gave me some strange and fantastical ideas for it, but the actually writing only came out to around 2K, again crammed into only a few days (2, I think?) of actual writing. But, I liked the mentality it gave me. There was more of an urgency when I wrote, because of my time limits, and my writing time was more thought out and 3513d-readysetwritebuttonintentional because I had planned throughout the day to make the most of that time. So I’m going to try for it again this week, and see if I can get in front of that computer a few more days: half an hour at a time.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Music, most definitely.  It does NOT really fit the timeline of my WIP, but I’ve been looping Ian Franzino’s “Holding On” and “Something Inside” for some of my scenes, and the energy of the songs has really translated well into my writing. I feel like I should be listening to something orchestral and/or exotic, but I can’t give up my dubstep love!

Otherwise, I’d like to say thank you for the comments on the snippet I posted last week. One of my favorite parts of Ready. Set. Write! has been reading (and enjoying!) the excerpts from y’all, and it definitely helped me post a tiny bit of my own. Thank you!!

What Else I’m Up To

Every August, some other debate alumni and I run a 3-day debate workshop that kicks off the school year/debate season for Midwest-area debaters, the majority of which are involved in my old debate club. It’ll be my fifth year in leadership, and while I absolutely LOVE teaching and writing the curriculum, I HATE our topic this year. It changes every year, and this year it’s federal election policy. One of my roles is giving the students an overview of the topic, which involves massive amounts of reading. Hate to say it, but federal election law isn’t that exciting, and while I should be used to/okay with reading Supreme Court decisions and the minutiae of congressional bills…I’m dragging my feet. I put a countdown on my phone to remind me of the quickly-dwindling days, but I’m not really motivated yet.  2-3 hours of my day are dedicated to prep, which is why my writing time is so limited, making all this work seem infinitely less fun. I’d rather be writing! Right now, my mantra is something along the lines of “just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” Very motivational! 🙂

What’s Up on your Wednesday?

To learn more about this fantastic bloghop, head on over to Jaime Morrow’s blog to find out more or see the other links!

What Up, Wednesday?

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Back with another What’s Up Wednesday, the fabulous meme that lets you check in on a few basics.

What I’m Reading

I love Siege And Storm…but believe it or not, I’m not done yet. Yeah, I had a holiday weekend, but family took precedence over everything else, and I didn’t read a thing. But, I’ve got a few books coming due at the library, so I’ve really got to get going.

What I’m Writing

I managed to sneak away for an hour on Thursday and Friday, and stuffed my entire week-long goal in: 2,500 words. And then I didn’t write.  Strange, to have everything stirring around and not writing it down, but I really enjoyed the satisfaction that came with meeting my goal, and it helped me put it aside and spend some much needed rest time with my family. We don’t get that very often anymore, and I love[d] every minute.

3513d-readysetwritebuttonThis week, everything is sort of off the charts, though. So I’m just going to try to dedicate half an hour every day to writing. No word counts, scene expectations, nothing. I never take very long to settle down to writing (usually because everything stews in my head all day so I’m ready/dying to write in the evenings), so I’m not worried about half an hour being too little to get into the story. But I want to try to schedule that time in order to make sure that I’m fitting it in. I’ve got some other deadlines to meet, and I just want to regain that writing-something-every-day consistency.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Do you ever get inspired by your own story? Your WIP? When I’m writing consistently, I start to reach that point where everything is connected to my WIP.  I see interactions between people and wonder how/if that would translate into my story. Food, family, friends, grudges, gifts, sunshine…with this story as my constant background, it’s easy to find inspiration in even the little things. And regardless of how slow the writing is, I’m finding myself getting excited over this again.

What Else I’m Up To

I need a new synonym for swamped/busy/in-over-my-head. 10 hours in the office every day, and it’s starting to wear. I love my job, but acquiring two people’s jobs in addition to my own at the end of a quarter and crammed into two weeks of training…whew. I’m really, really, really hoping that things will settle down. And that I won’t forget important things, like payroll and taxes and bills due.

And life in general is sort of hectic. Trying to plan a trip to fly out and see my sister. Trying not to think about huge August deadlines. Making decisions on commitments for this fall. Too much to do. o.0

So that’s my Wednesday! What’s yours like? Add it to the link on Jaime’s page!

What’s Up Wednesday

Who’s ready for it to be Wednesday again? *gulp* Not me! But, Jaime’s blog says it is, and since WUW is the weekly meme hosted by her and Erin and they’re really nice and usually right…I guess I’m not allowed the change the weekdays just to accommodate my schedule, huh?

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Yeah, believe it or not, another week has gone, and here we are on the third week of Ready. Set. Write! I’m still wondering how long I can use the excuse that I’m still “settling in” to this whole idea of goal setting. It feels like my excuse for being directionally challenged: “I just moved here.” Please don’t ask me how long ago.**  At least I’ve finally figured out where WalMart is.

What I’m Reading

I finished Defiance, but a review is still in the rough drafts. I was going to begin The Girl Of Fire And Thorns…but Siege And Storm came in at the library, and I sort of maybe sat out in the car reading it…and I can’t quit while I’m in the middle! I was surprised to see how many of you loved The Girl Of Fire And Thorns, so it’s still next on the list. Yay for a long holiday weekend!

What I’m Writing

Note to self: Word-counts-per-day are a great idea, but always include that overall goal. I missed anything until Sunday…but between Sunday and last night, I got in my 2500 words. Whew!  I’m still stuck refining and mangling this first half of the book out, since I’m finding myself running into the same traps as the original draft. Improving the characters and eliminating the extraneous ones is only half the problem. The 2500 counted towards some rescribblings of the opening scenes that are plaguing me, but even with a few ugly scenes cut in my edit-on-the-fly writing style…I’m finally over 5,000 words!  So different than my previous 1K-A-Day summers, but I think it’s because I’m thinking about this one so much more. Thinking about plot, about follow-through, about raising the stakes and wondering why on earth would the MC do that? The writing may be messier, but the plotting is getting far more detail than I’ve previously managed in a first draft.

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So, new goals? I liked 500 a day. While it didn’t work out perfectly, 2,500 words for my week was a manageable goal. And I’m going to stop stressing out about this first half of the story. I need to write some of my favorite scenes to remind myself of some of the pivotal character points and get excited about this. It always feels like cheating to jump so far down the timeline, but I’m well-armed with “adequate causality” in my defense.

What Inspires Me Right Now

Music, for one. Balmorhea? I’ve got “The Winter” on infinite loop right now, and when I get tired of chucking the scenes that aren’t working, I play me some “Lament”, have another cup of tea, and move to a spot of sunshine and keep writing.

Otherwise, I’m loving the enthusiasm of this community. Why are you all so wonderful? I’m also excited to see the YA Buccaneers, which looks like an amazingly fun venture. And the website is so pretty! I’ve seen hints of this on a number of blogs, and the reveal is very much living up to the hype. Keep it up, ladies!

What Else I’ve Been Up To

Frankly, I’m swamped. I usually have time to break up my workday with all of your lovely WUW posts and comments…but I’m pretty sure that that is not going to happen this week. I love what I do and where I work, but June just finished, and that means End-Of-Quarter/Half-Year reports for my company, and that means really long hours for me as Controller. If I got paid overtime, I’d be making enough money this week to buy me some serious something(s). I’m really looking forward to the extended weekend, but I may sleep through all of it to make up for the the two weeks’ worth of work that I’ve crammed into the first three days of this month. Except I’ve got family coming in to town, and they’ve planned a canoe trip on Saturday. So…sleep all the other days? Hope so.

What’s up on your Wednesday?

**almost five years.

What’s Up Wednesday: Rainy Day Edition

 

(check out the links to learn more about What’s Up Wednesday or Ready. Set. Write!)

This post is brought to you by Midwest Thunderstorms, wreaking havoc and stealing electricity since…forever. (Seriously, though, it’s been raining since Sunday. I love the rain, but the only things these cloudy days have brought are mosquitoes and humidity, which I do NOT love. On the plus side, electricity outages got me a shortened work day on Monday.)

WHAT I’M READING

I finished The Lucy Variations, and reviewed it last Friday. Contemporary isn’t half bad! But now I have three fantasy picks that came in at the library and YAY! First one up is Defiance, by C.J. Redwine, which I have refused to read any reviews on so I can remain unspoiled. I’m going to try not to speed-read through this one, even though I have The Girl Of Fire And Thorns waiting for me when I finish. *happy dance* I’ll give my daily weather one plus: reading is so much better during a thunderstorm.

WHAT I’M WRITING

I’m pretty sure this is the part where I say I’ve reached my goals…if I did. Does partially count? Last week I wanted to work on some character and worldbuilding, while writing my first chapter through to completion. The former two happened, and I had a crazy good time with it.  The latter…not so much.  I wrote around 1K (in one evening, natch), but that was the only time I actually was able to sit down and write.

So, I’m going to try to do word-count goals this week. I’ve never had much success with these, but part of that is because I’m stubbornly unreasonable when setting word-count goals, and because I’m a perfectionist and have let word-counts mess with my head at times. But I’ve been trying to work into that over the last two weeks, and I’d like to give it a go. This is a first draft, I’m allowed to be terrible, and my goals don’t have to be lofty.

500 words in five days. 2,500 for the week. That’s the goal. *pats self* Now shut up and write.

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Family. Friendship. Photography.

Family. My family members are some of the most supportive and loving people…I couldn’t ask to be surrounded by better leaders, mentors, friends, and buddies.

Friendship. I’m continually amazed by the writing community and the way they enthuse and encourage everyone involved in this [occasionally terrifying] thing called writing.

Photography. Okay, so I’m biased because I know some of the people and places involved in some of these shoots…but for the most part, it’s simply the gorgeousness of Wyn Wiley’s photography that sucks me in. So much emotion in a single photo.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Well, sister’s surprise grad party was a roaring success. She had NO CLUE, which was unbelievable and a total answer to prayer. But possibly the biggest surprise was an old neighbor who came, a lady who used to hate us, warmed up to us after six years of Christmas carols and cookies, and became a hesitant friend shortly before we moved.  We hadn’t seen her since we moved nearly five years ago. It was a wonderful time, culminating in a water fight and group pictures.

On Saturday I have my first training session (8 hours!) to get my gun permit. I’m interested to see what it’s like to shoot a pistol vs. what I’ve read. I could pretend that this is author research…but the truth is, where I [have] live[d], you learn how to use a gun properly, you don’t dismiss the hurt that people have caused with guns, and you don’t step on anybody’s toes about it. I’ll admit that I’m excited to learn, but I am glad to be learning from a trained professional with the proper equipment, rather than taking potshots with one of my neighbors. o.0

What Up on your Wednesday? Check out Jaime’s blog for more links!

What’s Up Wednesday

 

It’s Wednesday again, and the end of the first week of Ready. Set. Write!

WHAT I’M READING

Barely started The Lucy Variations, by Sara Zarr. This is mostly because I took a small detour and read Mind Games, by Kiersten White…and I didn’t regret it a bit. Loved it! This week’s schedule didn’t give me a chance to review them, but I’m working on it.

WHAT I’M WRITING

My goal last week was to write the first chapter of my WIP, a total rewrite of a five-year-old project. I didn’t finish the first chapter, but after experimenting with several different beginnings, I’ve finally found where I want to start. Not a first-chapter-completion, but  the writing is coming well simply because I’ve found a point to begin with.

This week’s goals are different, though. I thought that I had enough memory of the old project to be able to simply take the barest skeleton–main characters, basic geographical world, and five or six tentpole plot points–and start all over. But despite my success in finding my beginning, I’m feeling very behind on my worldbuilding. Yeah, way to do things backwards…but this week I want to write character sketches, and do a little bit more research on my world. It’s a fantasy in the vein of The Blue Sword, and I write best when I have specific images and descriptions in mind, regardless of whether those make it into my writing. I need to rebuild some of the visual, cultural, and moral aspects of my characters and countries. So the goal(s)?

1. Finish writing Chapter 1

2. Write a character sketch for each of the main characters

3. Pull out the old country maps I created and answer five basic questions about each of the three countries involved

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

Friendship. And God’s faithfulness. I drove to see my best friend over the weekend, a chance for us to spend time together after only brief meetings in the past six months. Five of the eight hours driving were through severe thunderstorms and hail (hello, hail damage on my car. Great to see you again…), eventually adding an hour and a half to my original travel time, and nearly killing myself on a lonely gravel road in the middle of nowhere at 1 AM when sleepiness and hilly roads took over. Not kidding: somewhere in rural Kansas there are impressive swerve marks, the alternative to flipping my car as it went airborn on gravel at 60 mph. Sometimes you have moments where the only explanation is the hand of God, and that was one of them. I was able to enjoy one of the most refreshing weekends I have had this year. On Sunday we sat at her kitchen table and talked. Just talked. For five hours.  This was after four hours doing the same thing the night before, and countless hours together with her and her family during the rest of the day(s). Some people wear you out. I have been blessed with a friend that fills me up.

WHAT ELSE I’VE BEEN UP TO

Last preparations for my sister’s grad party. It’s this Saturday, which means yet another weekend away from home. But I’ll get to see hundreds of people from my hometown whom I haven’t seen in years.

Swamped at work. I love my job, truly, and while I’m enjoying the added responsibilities, there’s a lot to be nervous about. I’m struggling to find the balance between having delegated authority over people and respecting the innate authority they have that comes when they have 20+ years on me.

Settling into summer. Finally running consistently again, playing volleyball, and getting into the full swing of summer. Sunsets are still my favorite, and while I have to walk half a mile to get where I can see them, it is totally worth it!

Check out Jaime’s blog for more links on this bloghop! 

What’s Up Wednesday

And welcome back to What’s Up Wednesday, the weekly blog hop hosted by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk. This week also kicks off the beginning of Ready. Set. Write!, included under the “What I’m Writing” section.

What I’m Reading

I just finished The Rules For Disappearingby Ashley Elston, and next on my list is The Lucy Variations, by Sarah Zarr.  I can probably count the number of YA books that I’ve read that would be classified as “contemporary”, so I’m interested to see if I dislike them as much as I used to. Okay, so maybe dislike is too strong…forget, maybe? Contemporary tends to be a *shrug* genre for me, without many books that get filed away for a re-read. And while it’s also the opposite genre of my WIP right now, I’m sort of in the mood for it. Plus, they’re library books. So I have to get through them before they’re due. (Yay for reading motivation!)

What I’m Writing

Writing goals! Yes! My WIP (which is thoroughly untitled and will be until something drastic happens) is actually a total rewrite of an old project from 5 years ago. I’m starting out simple this week: Get the first chapter done.  This is way easier said than done, as my original opening involved a prologue and several flashbacks. I have to find out where the story actually needs to start. For the record, I’ve written three different openers already. Phooey.

What Inspires Me Right Now

I didn’t list this book above, but I picked up a copy of Bird By Bird, by Anne Lamott, this weekend. I’m only a few chapters in, but I’m really enjoying her writing style, and what she shares is funny and accurate. Reading it feels like taking a walk as a writer and clearing my head of a lot of things. Or listening to a friend and nodding and saying “you, too!”, like we’ve both uncovered the same secret and it’s been put into words for the first time.

What Else I’ve Been Up To

I’m driving out to visit my best friend this weekend, which is part of the reason I started out so simply with my writing goals. Time is going to be in short supply! I’m also planning a surprise grad party for my sister in our hometown, and I’ve got prep work starting on a debate workshop I run every August with some fellow debate club alumni. This is our sixth year organizing it, and I find myself spending more time planning sessions and writing about advanced debate theory than I spend doing homework doing the school year. Um, what is summer break, exactly?

Check out Jaime’s blog for links to others on this blog hop, and feel free to join in!  What’s up in your life?