Sometimes I wonder

I read a lot online. Blogs, articles, forums, humour sites, random research. I spend a lot of time on my computer, and have for most of my life. Wouldn’t trade that for the world, either, because the kinds of opportunities which come from being on the internet are incomparable.

But sometimes, I’ll be reading something. Often of the writing/publishing nature, since we all tend to get a little obsessive over that at times. And I will think to myself, “Why am I reading this instead of doing something productive?”

I love learning. Acquiring knowledge. The reason I spend so much time online is because there is so much available. I’ve been known to spend days straight consuming a good blog, or disappear a six hour block following links around Wikipedia. Funny enough, while I do check on things like Facebook regularly, I don’t spend a whole lot of time there (unless someone catches me on the chat function while I’m not looking).

But there are little triggers. I’ll read something, and for a myriad of reasons, it will make me wonder why I’m not doing something else. It’s not a guilt complex; everything I do has its reasons, and I’m okay with that for the most part. It might be partly an avoidance technique; I’m in the middle of a lot of things, and what I should work on isn’t necessarily what I’m most drawn to. But really, I suppose I just want to have something tangible for my time and brainpower. Knowledge can’t be tallied like words or stitches added to a project, so even while I value what I’m reading and experiencing, I feel I will have nothing to show at the end of it.

Which is ridiculous. If I didn’t have all this knowledge accumulated, these observations of humans and their thoughts and behavioural patterns, I wouldn’t be able to apply that to my stories. Which is pretty integral.

All the same, I’m going to draw a line this weekend. Get some serious work done and knock out a few of the smaller projects I’ve been dragging my feet over. I will say I have enough information to cover me for those two days, cut off my reading of things until Monday.

~A

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Oops

I guess it’s been a while since I updated. I have a perfectly valid excuse! No, I really do.

I spent the final four days of 2011 editing. Almost non-stop. Thursday and Sunday both came and went in a flurry of words. Reading, cutting, adding, cutting, changing, reading reading reading. For me, editing fiction is a very particular activity. I have come to terms with the fact that it will never be a tidy process.

On New Years Eve, I ran around outside with some sparklers at approximately 9pm, Perth time. I have more of a tradition of celebrating New Years with Sydney, who are three hours ahead of us at this time of year, than anything else. This is simply because I would normally be asleep for any celebration here! This year, I greeted the turn of midnight in my hometown still editing. Approximately twenty minutes later, I touched the last line and declared it a success! I’d reached my goal!

I woke to the first day of 2012 with my mind buzzing; I knew something I needed to go back and modify more. I often wake up with story ideas, since my subconscious is very well trained in making adjustments and working through problems in my writing. My sleeping mind was totally right, and I spent all of yesterday editing even more.

Last night, I provided my beta readers with their copy of the story. I hope to hear back from them pretty quickly about their initial impression, and just hope I haven’t overlooked some kind of atrocious error! But honestly, I am confident in the place my story has come to, and I am really looking forward to getting right back into drafting book two.

At the end of the second draft, traditional means of word count estimation puts TDM at 54,500 words. Yes, that breaks free of being a novella by 14,500 words. I knew when I began editing that this story would stretch to become a short novel, and I simply had to accept the fact. It changes what I will do with the series, slightly. I haven’t made any firm commitment to how I want to publish TDM, and won’t until the final edit is complete!

In the meantime, I have a sequel to write.

~A

The Versatile Blogger Award

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award state that I must:
Thank the person who gave it to me and link back to them in my blog.
Share seven things about myself.
Pass this award on to 5 other recently discovered blogs and let them know.

Look at that! One of those blog award dealies!

My thanks:
I was unexpectedly awarded the Versatile Blogger by my awesome friend, Natasha McNeely. We’ve been in contact for just a few months, but she is a super lady with some excellent ideas and perspective. It’s always great to talk to you, Natasha. Thank you for the award!

Seven things:
How do I decide the seven interesting tidbits to share? I don’t know. Let’s babble and see what comes out?
1. All my life, I’ve found I get along better with men in general. Yet by a vast majority, my blogging buddies and writer friends are women. In this fascinating instance, I relate incredibly well with these select ladies who share their thoughts and experiences.
2. I don’t like tomatoes, capsicum, or celery. I enjoy eating most vegetables, and if pressed, I will still eat those three in other dishes, but I don’t choose them for myself.
3. I own four Tarot decks (and a Goddess Oracle card set). They are a generic Rider-Waite clone which was my introductory Tarot deck many years ago, the Morgan-Greer deck, a Manga deck, and the gorgeous Shadowscapes Tarot made by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. I have my eye on several other decks, for both appreciation and collection purposes.
4. Getting my tattoo didn’t hurt much at all. It felt mostly like being mauled by an angry cat for a while, and I’ve been subject to that experience plenty of times before. Nevertheless, just when the needle went directly over my veins (on the inside of my wrist), that pain shot up my arm and made me cringe.
5. I was a figure ice skater for seven years, and a ballet dancer for four years. These activities helped make me as self-confident as I am today, but caused me joint problems (especially in my knees), which I will have for the rest of my life.
6. At its longest, my hair was around three foot long. I got it all chopped off in one go, and still have the plait of hair. I’m going to donate the whole thing to Locks of Love.
7. I really like calendars, and usually have at least one in every room of my house. I have a lot of difficulty with judging the passage of time, so having calendars readily available enables me to be aware of the date, and day of the week.

Five blogs:
Woohoo, the fun part! I chose these lovely people because I enjoy their blogs a lot, and because there’s a good possibility they haven’t already received this award! Sharing the love, people.
Write Your Own Story from Nina Martinez
Written Not With Ink from Barb Reily
Spiritual Strudel from Shelby Eaton
Stuff from Sherry Stanfa-Stanley
And because I’m a rebel (or can’t count), Katy-Rose Hötker AND Joseph D’Lacey

Awesome!

~A

Skip another Sunday

Isn’t it amazing how you can get an absurd amount of things done, yet still feel completely unaccomplished? Welcome to my week. I can’t even tell you what I did, I don’t remember most of the specifics! All I know is I’ve been very busy, lots has happened, and family have been thoroughly visited, though we haven’t wrapped up those activities just yet.

Somewhere in the last few days, I’m assured a Sunday occurred and I missed blogging. I doubt anyone else noticed any more than I did at the time, since we’re all being drawn away from the usual internetly duties. Christmas break, when will you be relaxing? As usual, I need time off from my holidays.

At least with the change of pace, I can’t really get bored. That’s not to say I’m ever especially without things to do; I might get bored every now and then, but I’ve always got a new project, or something exciting to research if nothing else! But there’s something to be said for being dragged into unusual activities and being less of a hermit than I am for the rest of the year. That may or may not be a good thing.

As much as I love cooking, I don’t normally spend nearly as much time as I’d like baking tasty treats, but Christmas brings out the best in cooking delights. You better believe I am chief taste-tester, too. Mmm. Then there’s always the double batches; some for gifts and sharing, some for home. The fridge is full of snacks. It is very delicious.

I also enjoy visiting with family and friends who don’t live locally. They all troop into the greater Perth area to see us and other extended family, and it’s just pleasant to catch up. Some of them are folks we won’t see again until next Christmas, so making the most of the time they’re in town is important!

And I’ve always loved wrapping gifts, and the excitement of seeing people open the presents and find their surprise inside! I’m sometimes a bit sneaky with wrapping; if I don’t want the recipient to guess what’s inside, I’ll often hide the present in a deceptive cover first. Towels, bubblewrap, and oversized boxes are only some of the “normal” ways I’ve disguised the real gift. There have been the odd occasions of cobbling together mismatched boxes to make a very odd shape, or using an interesting basket or even a small suitcase before Christmas wrapping is applied. Hey, I have to keep myself entertained.

Of course, on the subject of skipping blog days, blogging will also be cut back this week with Christmas day falling on Sunday! But don’t worry, I’ll still be around, even if my brain is too fried to remember to comment! After surviving the rest of this week, things should return to normal, somewhat.

~A

Six month blog-o-versary!

Yessir. Way back on May 17th, I got the mad idea to start blogging in earnest. Look where that’s brought me!

I guess this, coupled with my previous post about half ways, is a great time to take a look back over the last six months and what they mean to me…

I’ve met some AMAZING people through blogging and writing in general, and I cannot thank you all enough for being so bright, supportive, funny and intelligent. I love reading your blogs, your comments, and knowing that you’re following along with my funny little journey through life. Hooray for all of you!

To that end, I guest blogged a couple of times, but I’ve been especially lazy about doing more of that since June. I have ideas! I just haven’t put forward any of my proposals to the blogs I’m eyeing off.

I received my first fiction publication contract in July. It’s a modest piece, but it’s a huge step for me. Having something creative accepted and coming out in an awesome physical book is so very different than the non-fiction I’ve previously had published. They cannot compare. Any time I think about my story coming out in April, I still get so excited! It’s only a few short months to go, really. What’s that compared to my to-date lifetime of writing?

Toward the end of July, I completed the full first draft of a novella. I had never intentionally written a novella before, and it was a very different experience to writing a short story or a full novel. August and September swirl together in some kind of terrible hole; one of my lovely cats died, and I caught what was probably swine flu. Bleh. October brought about a rush of creativity in both writing and crocheting, then I got right into editing my novella.

And now? Well, I’m meant to be finishing up that edit, but I got carried away with another little piece today. It’s pretty awesome. I just need to find it a home! I think I know where I’ll submit it, at least to begin with. I’ve even had two of my betas read it already, and they gave thumbs up all around! Awesome!

So. Six months of serious blogging, and I think I can say it’s been successful for me – after all, I’m still doing it! I’ve gotten to say a lot of things, meet great people, and generally share lots of interesting things in my life. That’s an experience I’ve enjoyed, and will continue with. Thanks for being here with me!

~A

Of all the best intentions

I make plans to blog on Sunday, and that’s fine. I forget it’s Sunday when it is. I remember, and half-write a post. I get distracted and irritable, then watch anime for four hours (finally got around to watching Darker Than Black, and it’s all kinds of awesome). I forget it’s Sunday again, or forget I meant to blog, I’m not sure which happened anymore.

Monday morning, and I look back over the past week of taking a break from most major writing. I’m feeling the urge coming back, but I still have a handful of other responsibilities. I ignore half of them, and read the internet to see what other people were doing while I was asleep. Then I remember to blog, and come to write this post.

After walking beside the beach yesterday, I want to take a little more time. Relax, hang out. We’ve got something vacation-like booked in a week or thereabouts, but as with all organised holidays, it’s never really that chill for me. There are Things that we Will Be Doing. It’s planned. I enjoy going to new places, and it’s awesome that my husband gets so excited to be doing something different, but it won’t be the same as just sitting around outside.

Some people write long blogs, and I could do that. Keep going, talk more in-depth about my thoughts, my work, whatever comes to mind. But I write short, as just a window into my daydreams. As with all the best intentions, I’d like to go laze about under the rain, but I’ll probably get back to writing a story soon. I can feel it building.

~A