So, 2012? You gonna play nice, or do I gotta put my Docs on?

1 01 2012

Weather: WINDY OMG SO WINDY! Temps in the low 30s, nary a snowflake in sight.

So the New Year is here, and as per tradition, we’re supposed to make our Resolutions for the year. Meh.

I made the decision this year to eschew that tradition, and instead make plans. Plans have a bit more concrete around the ankles and tend to require a little more commitment. Okay so maybe I’m just being prickly about things, but resolutions seem to have failed me for many years and plans seem to work out, so there you go.

So my plans for 2012 are thus:

  1. Finishing Book#1 & getting it published. : Deadline: End of February
  2. Write Book#2 & outline Book#3 : Deadline: August
  3. Get in shape. Like a healthy weight, better blood pressure, etc. And get my flexibility back.
    GOAL: 50 lbs by New Year’s 2013 ;
    ALSO: All doctor appointments made by end of February
  4.  Mosaics: First series of tiles done by end of February.
    Second Series done by end of March
  5. Moving. Bri and I agreed to move before end of summer this year. It’s in concrete now. Seattle here we come.
  6.  Simplifying: Started last night. Purging anything that isn’t necessary. Paring back spending to necessities & business related expenses.  Bills paid off. Savings built up.
  7. Here’s the vague one. I may be changing my employment situation in the near future. This decision will be made in March. Based on several variables that will be monitored over the next couple months.
  8. Online presence:  New website, new FB and more consistent with my online posting. More focused, better content.
  9. Time Management: More work on art & writing. Less time suckage by TV, interwebs and general woolgathering. Create better scheduling of my time. I work better with a calendar & deadlines. Nebulous plans don’t get results. Concrete plans do.
  10. In general, going to adopt a better attitude towards all things. Being negative and cynical has resulted in precisely zero accomplishment. Yes, the world as a whole is kind of a mess right now. Being depressed and angry about it doesn’t change it. So, I’m going to support causes that are trying to DO something. I’m going to vote for candidates that are trying to DO something and I’m going to do my best to promote things that will offer solutions & make at least an effort to be positive. Kicking the Drama Llama to the curb, so to speak. No more whining, more action.

So there they are, my plans for the year.

I’m going to be turning 45 in a little over a week. That realization has sort of crystallized a few things in my mind. That my time to make significant changes in my life is getting shorter. That reshaping my body and getting healthy are going to take more time and more diligence than I initially thought.  That a lot of things I thought were necessary for my comfort and happiness are no longer that important.  I’m finding a weird zen peace in having less things and more space. More time for art and less full schedules. I like being busy, I enjoy hard work. I’d just rather be exerting effort on things I find worthwhile. I’ve worked in jobs for years now where I spend 8 hours a day being insanely busy…producing NOTHING. Literally I have nothing to show for the effort or stress or time invested. I may never make the money I do now doing what I want to do, but at least I’ll have concrete results to show for my efforts.

On last thing I’m going to quit this year is punishing myself for mistakes or not meeting a goal. As we all know, the best laid plans can get derailed by life events out of your control. The important thing to do is not dwell on the failure, but course correct and get back on track as quick as you can. Bumps in the road should be expected, even if we can’t anticipate them. Also, stop waiting to do things until X event happens. I lose so much time putting things on hold until after some future event. Time is a very finite quantity. Every minute you waste waiting for other things to happen, you lose. Forever. You don’t get that time back later. So, work on things even if you don’t have time to finish them right now. Chisel away at projects in increments. Cherish the times you have big blocks of time to work, but don’t waste the smaller increments inbetween.

Ultimately, this year will be better, because I won’t allow it to be anything else. It’s gonna require some serious focus, effort and meticulous decisions to be made, but I’m willing to put in the time. Here’s to a 2012 that will be exciting, productive and ultimately, satisfying. 🙂

 





Ahh….2011. Clean fresh slate!

4 01 2011

Weather: After a freak anomoly of upper 50s on New Year’s Eve,  we’ve settled back into ZOMG COLD as the gods intended.
High: 36º & partly sunny with possible flurries later.

So, it’s been an elephant’s age since I posted and a lot of mental shakeup has happened.

When last we saw Ms. Heidi, she was lamenting the writer’s block on book #2 and trying to figure out a way to escape Indiana without having to go bankrupt or chewing off an arm .

The first of the year found me and the husbeast in a fiery mood. Contemplative & reflective be damned, we were more of the mind to burn bridges than philosophize on future endeavors.  It’s an interesting mindset to start the year off. We aren’t angry or resentful, merely frustrated at our lack of forward motion and the turning of another calendar year with little to show for the time passed.

So we did the best thing possible: Instead of flailing and blaming the sundry usual scapegoats for our lack of success, we decided that the fastest way to force us to focus on our goals was to remove any and all distractions. So we purged our closets and dressers for clothes, compiling 3 large bags of donations. That felt so cleansing, that we are doing our books & media next.

For myself, I’ve taken the tact that the reason things have gone so pear shaped in past few years is twofold: 1) Making things so complicated that it became impossible to manage, and 2) trying to re-establish a life path that hasn’t been working for me.

So firstly, simplify. Really, there are only 3 things I want to focus on this year. 1: My health. My weight is ridiculously out of control & being 44 in a couple weeks, I can’t justify letting my health get this out of whack.
2: My writing. I need to stop worrying about the extraneous things (getting published, negative feedback, finding an audience, faling behind my friends in their publishing careers) and focus on the stories. Just write the stories. Finish them. Polish them. When you love them, get them out there. Traditional routes may not be for you. And that’s OKAY.
3: My Life Path: You know that definition of insanity? The one where you keep doing the same thing over and over & expecting a different outcome? That’s what I’ve been doing every year for the past 5 years.  I kept telling myself “get back on the path” without taking the time to see that the “path” has been going nowhere. Time to forge a NEW path. With NEW goals, NEW outlooks &  NEW energy.

Ultimately, what has happened is my brain has finally kicked the old ways of doing things out of the mental shack & has brought in some new untried ways of doing things. Most of the people I look up to, who’ve made a decent success of their lives, have bucked the traditional route on a lot of things. I know I’ll get lots of people telling me, but what about this or that benchmark of success? Isn’t that what you’ve been striving for? Recognition? Money? Legitimacy?
The truth is yes, that is what I’d originally made the goal of my pursuits. Lately, though, those things seem less important to me. Would they be nice to have? Sure. But I’m done wasting my time & energy trying to pursue them in absence of a way that makes sense to me. They’ll come. Eventually and maybe not in the ways that most people expect.

Brian’s kind of in the same boat. He’s realizing that the marketing & sale of his niche of product doesn’t fall into the neat business plans of other products.

We’re both kind of in this whole new perspective towards our art. There is a surge in the DIY type of business plan.
It’s not easy.
It’s not going to replace the Traditional way of doing things.
But the truth is there is becoming a need for an alternative way of life & doing business. It lies completely within the commitment & passion of the artists to make it work with any kind of success. There’s no books or plans or websites of how to do this. You can’t get a paint by numbers on how to make it work. You just have to do it and keep adjusting your methods until it starts working for you.

I have the greatest respect for people who make a success of their particular art or business the traditional route. I’m just saying it doesn’t work for me or the husbeast for that matter. We are both rapidly approaching a point where we are going to say, to hell with our current methods of income & throw ourselves into our individual art full time. Will this be a challenge? Oh HELL yes it will.

I’m working on an essay, a writeup I’m calling “No Option B: Living without a Safety Net”. It’s a philosophy I’m beginning to embrace wholeheartedly. If you have no backup, you will be extremely focused on making your chosen path work, right?

Mind you, I’m not saying this plan will work for everyone, nor am I saying it’s a better way of doing things. But it appeals to me because every  time I’ve taken a leap of faith, something good has come of it. I may not have landed on my feet squarely, but at least I’ve moved forward. It’s when I start second guessing my intentions or work that things get hairy.

Some of the best success stories in this world started in bad economic times.  But the people who made leaps in this kind of environment were those who stepped away from the well-worn path, and blazed a trail that to everyone else seemed foolish or just plain crazy. The reason why some fail isn’t the path they’ve taken, it’s their inability to commit to the path once they’ve gotten on it.

So there it is. My New Year’s Resolution, for lack of a better phrase.

I have other friends making similar pacts with themselves. We’re starting to create a network of artists, writers & craftspeople. Sometimes a community of like minded people can motivate you more than the pursuit of material gain. And maybe that’s a hippie-ish artsy kind of way of looking at things, but I really don’t have a problem with those kinds of labels.

Blogging will be more regular this year. I’ll also be cross-posting these to Twitter, Facebook & LJ.

Off to do Day Job work now. But my brain is already formulating ways to replace the mundane with the creative.





Monday musings….

29 03 2010

Weather:  Sunny & High: 48º but warm up on the way.

Writing and life have kept me from properly blogging, but maybe I’m too worried about posting something substantial to keep up with it daily. Hmmm.

Well, a lots been going on around Chez Ellis . My husband has finally landed a freelance position that has the potential to become a full time gig. This is good news of course, because we might actually get to build up the moving money sooner rather than later.

Seattle is still on the horizon, and no further away because of this development. Our house needs to go on the market sooner rather than later.

We just had to have the big sewer line dug up and routed.  $$$$ later, and we’re realizing the Universe is kicking us in the pants. I told my husband, we should have moved last year. He was firmly in agreement.

On the writing front, When the Lights Go Down has received a massive overhaul. As in I’ve rewritten over a third of the story. That’s why it’s not done yet. I’ve radically changed some scenes, and slightly tweaked others. Luckily I’ve had some fantastic editing help from my friend Jill.  I’d originally hoped to have the MS done by end of February, but it’s looking more like mid April now. Better to have it done right than done fast, I guess.

It’s funny how I can see the whole book as a movie running through my head. I’m actually looking forward to sitting down and just READING the MS all the way through from start to finish post edit. There’s a small naggy feeling in the back of my head that the story may need culling and streamlining. It’s over the word count limit I know most publishers have in place, so yeah, some cutting will be necessary. Another concern I have is that the tone of the book has changed over the course of the story. Granted, it might work since the whole point of the story is taking a normal girl with a normal life, and following her spiral into a darker more dangerous world. And this book is the springboard for the universe I’m creating over the next 13-14 books.  We’ll see.  I just want to get the last bit written, then I can get all flaily over theme and structure and length.

I’m finding more and more that the moment I’m able to, I’m going to jump into full time writing with both feet. This catch as catch can, trying to slip in a paragraph here and there between lunch hours, commutes and housework is just not helping. I could get so much more done in longer stretches if I had them.  My brain goes a thousand miles a minute, and trying to get the story bits down and into the flow when you’re trying to transcribe something you only have rudimentary notes from three weeks ago to work from, well….it doesn’t make for optimum storytelling.  I realize this is not a realistic possibility for right now, but that doesn’t stop me for yearning for it.  In the meantime, I’ll do my best to attend the muses dictates  during lunch breaks, keeping my moleskine at hand when I’m unable to write properly, and take copious notes when I can. This is how a lot of people are relegated to writing, and I know it can still be done.

The thing is, I love my characters. I sometimes wish I could some how make them real through a combination of alchemy, black magic and Silly Putty. Would love to sit down and have a drink with them . So it’s hard to say goodbye to them when the story’s done. I watched “A Year in the Life of JK Rowling” over the weekend, and I am totally of the same mind as her, when it comes to her characters. She knew the life story of each character  for several years after the books ended. Knew their family trees, knew what happened to them and also could rattle them off at request. She’s not going to write it though. I’m exactly the same. I have side bits, and back bits and future bits, that won’t be in this book.  But I have them written into my moleskine. It’s like a bit of comfort. An Epilogue for the stories that no one will get to see. But as Jo says, and I’m paraphrasing here, it’s giving the writer the comfort of making the characters entirely hers. So that even if fanfic writers or other authors want to take up the subsequent plots, she alone knows what REALLY happened to them. I like that.

Ah well. Need to get back to the writing on the MS now.

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Now playing: three days grace – TV
via FoxyTunes





::blows the dust of the blog::

4 03 2010

Weather: High: 40 º & sunny.  Yes, the giant yellow hurty thing is back. Le Sigh.

So it’s been a while since I blogged, mostly because what spare time I have has been entirely soaked up with rewrite & editing on the WIP.

Received an entry form for a writing contest yesterday, and for the first time in a long time, I’m actually planning on entering. If nothing else, to give me the impetus to write something shorter than a novel. There’s an entry for a 4K short story and I think I’m gonna make the attempt. If nothing else, it will be something to put on my writer’s resume if it does well. 🙂

And yet again the day has gotten away from me. I’m on a roll with the MS so I’ll be doubling down on it again tonight.  Can’t believe I’ve set myself up for 13 more of these. OY. But the Universe is huge and the arc is complex, and I have a lot of characters to torture before it’s done. 🙂

More tomorrow.


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Now playing:
Three Days Grace – Get Out Alive
via FoxyTunes





It’s get annoyed at your manuscript Thursday!

5 11 2009

Weather: High 53º and SUNNY. Like BURN YOUR EYES OUT OF THEIR SOCKETS SUNNY!

Yeah. Even with sunglasses, the sun was a tad FLAMING BALL OF EVIL this morning.

NaNoWrimo Morning Wordcount Total: 10033 words. Aiming for 12K today.

UPDATED: Only managed another 500 words over lunch, so I’ll need to do 1500 between the commute home and this evening. Brain seems to have thrown a coil. May need to to work on something else tonight or just take a breather. The story is there. It’s not writer’s block, just malaise has set in. We’ll see if I get a second wind on the way home.

Supernatural/Vampire Diaries Thursday -WOO!  It’s silly how much I’ve gotten addicted to these two shows.

Brian has an interview today. Not saying any more so I don’t jinx it. Could be a VERY good thing for us if he gets it.

And a picture of the cast of Being Human, snurched from Here:
http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/40665774.html

66515967

Lenora, Russel, Sinead and Aidan ❤ !!!

CANNOT WAIT FOR SECOND SEASON!

Have a good evening all!





It’s Friday. And I’m talking about writing stuff again.

23 10 2009

Weather: High: 58º and RAINY. Like SEATTLE RAINY. Seriously.

It’s been rainy this week, but mostly a light drizzle. Today its been RAINING. With some volume and force. I love this weather, just not on a work day. I’d rather be home with the laptop, sitting by the window and letting the sound and visual of the rain falling envelope me while I’m writing. Sigh. But this is not to be, at least not today.

What sucks additionally is that my cube here at work has NO access to a window. I can’t even see the rain. Just the migraine inducing fluorescent lights over head (hisses) and the soul sucking burgundy walls of my cube. Which, thank the gods, are wallpapered in pictures of musicians, family photos and the Muses. 🙂 Oh and several snarky signs. Makes my life much happier. 🙂

Not recent, but you get the idea.

Not recent, but you get the idea.

And no, my desk is not as messy as it seems. TRUST ME.

Laura Anne Gilman posted on twitter about how a proposal was using every bit of her history degree & added that  she was glad she saved her textbooks.  It’s funny how many writers I’ve spoken with have made similar comments. I’m a book pack rat and I’ll tell you, like Laura Anne, I’ve found more often than not that it’s been a boon. My college degree is something of a bizarre Frankensteinian mish mosh (I started out pre-med, then switched to communication. My electives are…well, ECLECTIC.) Needless to say I have a ton of biology, chemistry and statistic books nestled in among the mythology and esoterica.  I went through a phase where I collected books on epidemics (The 1916 flu, the Black Death, Ebola outbreaks, you name it!). Then I started picking up books on genetics, both 101 and more advanced versions of the topic. Amusing anecdote: These were all for a vampire novel I was working on at the time. It’s still on the back burner and will hopefully see the light of day, so to speak, in the future.
I also have a ton of books on the occult, supernatural and almost a library unto itself on paganism & witchcraft. (Kinda the go to area for me and the husband on the High Holidays. 😉 ) The reason I’m pointing all this out is that sometimes, the inter-webs may be the most convenient way to research things for your novel in progress, but I think we forget that we might have better sources in our home libraries, or the public libraries, or even in our own heads.
Wikipedia can be helpful, but honestly? Use it as a stepping off point. Try some books from the time period you’re writing about. If you’re looking for a neat little known fact about a place your setting your story, contact their chamber of commerce or the tourist center. Sometimes they’ll have brochures or fact booklets to add some color to your story. (Thanks to Terri Osborne for that one!)

Writing is one of those phenomenally unique endeavors where we can get source material from virtually ANYWHERE.  So I guess what I’m  suggesting is step away from the computer once & awhile and pester your local reference Librarian. Believe it or not, they actually wish MORE people would. And you might find out those old college textbooks have more interesting things in them than you remembered.

Some websites that actually have electronic copies of useful texts (Not pre-digested information) :

www.sacred-texts.com Has an AMAZING wealth of electronic texts on almost any area of religion, spirituality and philosophy you could ask for.

Project Gutenberg Another great source of electronic texts. (nearly 30,000 books here for FREE)

Perseus Digital Library More digitized scholarly works

Medieval Sourcebook Lots of full texts from the medieval period

Sometimes reading the actual source text is more revelatory than someone else’s Cliff’s notes analysis of the text. 😉

So. Weekend is splayed out in front of me. In between going to look at bridesmaid dresses (OY!) and the usual housecleaning, I have a bunch of writing goals planned for myself. Also, next Friday is my 4th Wedding Anniversary, so I’ll be incommunicado on Friday and Saturday. Saturday night I’ll be handing out treats to the wee children. And NaNo starts on Sunday. ZOMG! I’ll be updating my wordcount here daily. Even if that’s all I post that day.

If anyone reading this wants to be a fellow masochist writing buddy, my writing handle over at the NaNoWriMo site is Fairygothmother.

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NOW PLAYING: Bleeder (industrial Strength Mix by Seb) — Zombie Girl





Back on the blogging horse again..

22 10 2009

Weather: Has been unseasonably cool, mostly in the upper 40s. Not complaining. For today: High: 57º & rainy. And foggy. Perfect weather for writing.

It’s been a couple weeks of non-writing and other health issues. I broke a toe and am hobbling around, cursing intermittently. Add in a dollop of PMS and financial chaos and yeah. Been a little distracted.

But enough of the whining and flailing.

Writing had hit a bit of a wall for me. The WIP was stalled and I was getting NOWHERE on planning for NaNoWriMo. So, I did the smart thing and set it all aside for a couple of days and went on a research binge. And caught up on some reading. (Got Laura Anne Gilman’s “Flesh and Fire: Book One of The Vineart War” and was hooked in the opening pages. ) Fantastic story and using a unique magic system, wine, which in turn makes it even MORE interesting. Great book and highly recommended. Also been catching up on the Dresden Files. (Reading Small Favor at the moment with Turn Coat, to be ordered and Changes to be PRE-ordered. Oh and a Dresden Graphic novel in the wish list as well. )

Research for NaNo has actually yielded some good little “What if…” thoughts so that I can get a serviceable plot brewing. Thank the gods that Norse Mythology has enough loose ends and loopholes that I can concoct a lovely urban fantasy from the question marks. 🙂 Love that there is no definitive myth on whether Ragnarok has a) already happened, b) is YET to happen, or c) is happening in cycles. Lots of open ground to mine there. That and the fact that some gods & many of the Svartálfar (Dark Elves) & Ljósálfar (Light Elves) escaped to Midgard during the fighting…well. That also leaves some stones unturned. VBEG. I have an abandoned story from a few years back that will need to be completely re-written, but the seeds of a good story are there. It will have new characters and a completely re-worked plot. Nice thing is, once I got a few salient points down on paper, the bits of dialogue started cropping up. And stray scenes. I’m only jotting down notes so I don’t actually cheat and get started early.

Been spending a large chunk of the morning chatting with my lovely writerly friends about topics as diverse as vampire canon (which DOES NOT EXIST, KTHXBYE!), writing software and whether or not committing ourselves to NaNoWriMo when we have books on the burner (and on the back burner and hanging from the ceiling and stuck in little boxes under the bed) makes us masochists.  (I, for one, believe I have lost touch with my pain threshold and am just doing it because I like the taste of insanity in the morning. Burns so good!)

On the home front, Bri and I are getting the house prepped. We’ve crunched the numbers and are slowly getting the few cosmetic things fixed so the house will be ready for the market come March of next year. Seattle or bust, baby! We’re actively looking for places to live out there and, of course, looking for jobs. Along with about a bajillion other people. Sigh. Remember what I said about my masochistic tendencies. Yeah. Right there.  But we’re full bore dedicated to getting the hell out of  here. Sooner rather than later, thank you very much.

Been compiling writing mixes again. And with NaNo coming up, I need to start formulating soundtracks for my characters.  My writing mixes lately have been made up of predominantly the new Three Days Grace, AFI, Muse and Editors albums. All of which are conveniently fitting to the storyline of the WIP. (“Last to Know” off off the new 3DG is so perfect for the epilogue, I swear it was written with pre-knowledge of the storyline. Which would just be weird & creepy.  ::makes note to send those boys a fruit basket or something for the inspiration::)

All righty. Got to get back to work and then head home for a writing session. No telly tonight (Supernatural & Vampire Diaries are both repeats. So vexing.)

More tomorrow, my sparkling ferrets of delight.

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Now Playing: Fly on the Windscreen — Depeche Mode