Goals Summary 2021 – Wk #10

Uhhhhhh… Whoops?

Look, we’ve been down this particular road a lot lately. Life’s crazy. We’re mid-pandemic, school is slowly making a return, and my writing life is in constant need of resuscitation. I’m happier than I’ve been in a while, which is good. I’m thinking about writing more than I have in a long time, which is also good. I’m reading a TON, which is really good.

I’m not gonna make any promises, because we all know how that’s gonna go. But, I’m here tonight. I can say hello and let you know I’m still around, at least some of the time.

I didn’t revise Abbie. I didn’t prep Tavi. I wrote a little bit in January, and wrote even less in February. I still have four short stories out on submission. It’s March 8th and I’ve finished reading/listening to three books! I’m catching up on house chores and dreaming of hiking. It feels like sticking my head out from the cave I’ve spent all winter in and wondering if it’s safe to come out yet.

The jury’s still undecided.

The podcast continues. We launched our second episode on Friday so if you haven’t had a listen, now’s your chance.Top Shelf Logo

And yeah. That’s that. I’m working, reading, considering writing, and dreaming of hiking. Basically my whole life is a parade of gerund’s — passive as fuck.

Anyway. Good chat. I’ll see ya when I see ya.

 

BZ

The Top Shelf Librarians Podcast

Blogland!

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I had a super secret project. Well, it’s finally here! Top Shelf Librarians is a monthly podcast where four library professionals talk about all things booze and books. It’s vulgar, it’s funny, and mostly it’s sorta weird. 

If you like books, booze, or just listening to four friends shoot the shit, maybe give it a listen?

If you enjoy it, check out our site and follow us on your preferred listening platform. Or follow @Liboozians on twitter!

I hope you enjoy it!



BZ

Goals Summary 2021 – Wk# 3

Hiya Blogland,

The long weekend threw off my groove in a big way. It sucks to have your routine thrown out of wack when you’re just starting to stick to it. But I didn’t let that hold me back!

Last Week

  • Revise Abbie
  • Write 1k words
  • Finish Harrow the Ninth
  • Finish listening to The Changeling
  • Read (at least) two parts from The Kick-Ass Writer
  • START READING TAVI

How’d I do?

  • Revise Abbie
    • No.
  • Write 1k words
    • Yes! I’m slowly but surely creeping to the end of this haunted house story.
  • Finish Harrow the Ninth
    • Yep. If you follow me on Goodreads, you know I had a lot of feelings about it too.
  • Finish listening to The Changeling
    • Yes! I knew I liked Victor LaValle from his short fiction, but I was (mostly) presently surprised by this book.
  • Read (at least) two parts from The Kick-Ass Writer
    • Yarp. Easy-peasy.
  • START READING TAVI
    • YES! Finally! I read like six chapters, noting small changes and asking questions, but mostly just remembering how much I like this book.

Weekly Word Count: 1,696

On top of these writing and reading related goals, I also did yoga every day and did an hour of cardio every other day (Saturday’s rest day). So, I’d definitely say that this past week was a success and feeling good, if a little tired.

What’s Next?

  • Revise Abbie
  • Write 1k words
  • Read two parts from The Kick-Ass Writer
  • Read The Blade BetweeThe Blade Between: A Novel: Miller, Sam J.: 9780062969828: Amazon.com: Books
  • Finish listening to Witchmark
  • Read/Revise Tavi

This looks familiar because it is. I’m a firm believer in not fixing what isn’t broken. I’m doing well so far this month across a multitude of projects, so why change my approach? I need to focus a little more on Abbie this week and get another solid revision in. It can be tightened up a bit more, I’m sure, once I’ve really focused in on the emotional beats. I want to get it done this month, and January is going to be over before we know it.

My reading life is going VERY well right now. But, starting this week I’m doing two different book studies for my work, so personal reading might slow down a notch. AND I have a super-secret, bookish project in the works that will also start sapping some of my free time in the near future. 

And, it’s nearly Valentine’s Day, which means it’s that time of year for my favorite prompt event on Tumblr, #14DaysDALovers. Basically, there’s a different prompt for each of the days leading up to Valentine’s Day and the Dragon Age fanfic community spams fresh content. I wrote a TON for this last year and hope to do so again this year. Which means I need to get crackin’!

Basically, I am wicked busy for the next few weeks, at work and otherwise. But I’m feeling good about it all. Nothing seems daunting. Everything is within my grasp and I’m going to ride that feeling for as long as it’s here. 

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today, methinks. Making steady progress on all sorts of endeavors. Feeling good. I hope you are too!

Talk soon, Bloggarts!

BZ

Goals Summary 2021 – Wk #2

Hey-o Bloggos,

Here I am, two weeks in a row. Feels like a pretty big deal from here.  I have a Monday Night Write, which is what I call an informal writing Zoom call that happens every Monday, so let’s make this quick.

Last Week

  • Revise Abbie
  • Write 1k words
  • Read Harrow the Ninth
  • Begin Tavi read through

How’d I do?

  • Revise Abbie
    • Yep! Draft one is done. There’s gonna be a lot of drafts on this story. I wanna get it under 5k, and there’s a lot of poetic waxing slowing things down. I need to tighten up and rewrite a bit of it.
  • Write 1k words
    • Yep! All fanfic but I’m not complaining.
  • Read Harrow the Ninth
    • Yes? Maybe? Probs not. I did, in fact, read Harrow the Ninth. However, I did not finish Harrow the Ninth, which I think was my intent in setting this goal. Wah-wah.
  • Begin Tavi read through
    • Haha, no. I am a big ol’ ball of nerves about this project, for some dumb reason.

Weekly Word Count: 1,167

The biggest focus for this week was revising Abbie. That’s likely to be the case this month. I want to get it polished and ready for launch. And by “launch” I mean yeeting it out into the publishing either until some poor, unfortunate editor falls head over heels for it.

Beyond that Harrow took a bit of my time. It’s a weird book y’all, which I expected. I made good progress this past week and will finish it this week. I’m also riding a major audiobook kick at the moment, so lots of story consumption happening.

I also fell into a research trap. I already have a novel idea for Nanowrimo this year, and it is pretty desperate for my attention already. I spent a good chunk of time placing holds at the library on books of a few select topics to begin research. Except I’m not scheduled to formally research until late spring at the SOONEST. So I’ve told myself this is “preliminary research” deciding which resources to flag for future use and which ones to pass on. It’s a convenient little excuse, and since I’m so hyped for this project, I’mma let it slide. For now.

But Tavi MUST be finished — as in ready to query agents — before I start writing a new novel. I am finishing this project, dammit. Which brings me to the biggest letdown of this week. I didn’t look at Tavi at all last week. I mean, technically I did because the printed manuscript is on my desk, staring up at me starting with Chapter 10 (no clue why). I even touched the page, like I might read it, and then shied away like a ding-dang coward.

For shame.

Discover & share this Shame GIF with everyone you know. GIPHY is how you  search, share, discover, and create GIFs. | Funny gif, Gif, Giphy

What’s Next?

  • Revise Abbie
  • Write 1k words
  • Finish Harrow the Ninth
  • Finish listening to The Changeling
  • Read (at least) two parts from The Kick-Ass Writer
  • START READING TAVI

That’s it. That’s where I’m at and what I’m thinking about. It looks like a lot, all bullet-pointed out like that, but I read from The Kick-Ass Writer and finished listening to Mexican Gothic last week. There’s no reason to think I can’t do it this week. I have a lot of work related reading coming up in the next month, so personal reading might slow down. That’s probably why I’m going so hard on the audiobooks at the moment — I can read them at work.

Abbie continues to be a priority. At minimum I want to get it into its third draft this week, though I’d like to see it go a little faster in the next couple rounds. I want to get it in the hands of Beta readers (ideally by Sunday) sometime next week.

Writing-wise I’m focusing on my haunted house story. If I’m very lucky and productive at tonight’s write-in, I might get it done. But, that seems honestly quite unlikely. I think there’s another thousand words to go, at minimum. AND I think the ending is going to be hard to land. This one will simply take the time it takes.

And then there’s Tavi. I think I’m gonna spend Saturday with it, just read it through and see where that takes me. My “block” on this project isn’t the quality. It’s a good story, I know that. I’ve enjoyed every moment spend reading it. But it’s not a good book yet. And it’s going to take a lot of work to get it where I want it. I’m anxious about that work, about how absolutely gut-wrenching it might be. Which is dumb. Writing is rewriting and I’d better damn well get used to it. No time like the present!

I’ll be around Bloggarts. Until then,

BZ

The Recap – December 2020

Hi Blogland,

I’m really here to talk about January, but it’s kinda hard to talk about what comes next without touching on what came before. So let’s talk a little bit about the month of December.

December Goals

  • Revise Nano stories
  • Submit to Timberline Review
  • Work on Santa Sarita
  • Keep Reading!

How’d I do?

  • Revise Nano stories
    • Kinda? I revised one because I wanted to submit it, but I didn’t touch any of the others.
  • Submit to Timberline Review
    • Yep! I won’t hear back about it until April, so I’m putting it out of my mind entirely.
  • Work on Santa Sarita
    • Nope. This story is basically dead, with an occasional heartbeat that calls me back from time to time. I don’t have any major hopes of finishing it, and that makes me sad. I still love it, even unfinished. 
  • Keep Reading!
    • Yep! I finished reading five books in the month of December. Not too shabby!

Total Word Count: 4,802

I don’t think I ever formally shared my December goals. The month was a blur as was much of the year. I worked and came home and played video games. I read a little, and then winter break hit and I really got to hit the “reset” button. I read and wrote and played games and binge-watched TV (which I rarely do) and generally recharged my proverbial batteries. It was nice. 

So what next? If you haven’t read my goals for next year, they’re up now. As are my goals for this week. I’m posting things willy nilly it seems. There is no order here —  haven’t you heard? It’s 2021!

January Goals

  • Revise & Polish Abbie
  • Write 5k words
  • Read four books
  • Prep Tavi for revision

I really need to work on my WIP titles. They’re just names of characters. Nice and vague for all of you 😉 . Compared to last year this month’s goals seem ambitious, but I don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated. I feel challenged but capable. What a fantastic change of pace. 

In addition to writerly and readerly goals, I also have some personal goals. This month I’m doing 30 days of yoga again. I’m getting back on track with my eating and working out in order to get ready for hiking season come March. I’m building a routine and sticking to it. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

  • Daily yoga before work (@5:30am)
  • 1 hour of Beat Saber after work, 3-4x/week (cardio galore!)
  • Listen to audiobooks or podcasts when possible at work
  • Read for 30 min before bed, nightly
  • Write/edit in the evenings when I’m not playing Beat Saber

This is what I did last week and it was awesome! You all know I love a good routine. I’ve deleted (most) social media from my phone and suddenly I have all this time on my hands. I get up early, do yoga when my brain is mostly empty and it feels more meditative, go to work, then come home, make dinner and then workout or do writing work. I feel like I have SO MUCH time. All because I’m not wasting it endlessly scrolling Facebook or Twitter.

I want to get Abbie ready to submit, although I have no idea where to spend it. It’s a mundane fantasy story, which as a sub-genre doesn’t have much of a market. It’s soft and sweet and a little sad, but the magic isn’t the big player. The people are. I’m not sure where I’ll submit it, but it’ll be ready to go whenever I do find a place. 

For writing this month I’m working on some Dragon Age fanfic and stewing on my haunted house story. I’m close to the end of it and am on a Horror kick reading-wise right now, so hopefully I’ll get to the end soon. The biggest question mark for me is if I’ll actually get to Tavi. I think I’m a little afraid of it, to be honest. I feel so far away from. it — what if I hate it when I go back? Even as I write that, I know it’s silly. I loved writing that book. And I loved reading it. I don’t see why that would have changed over the last 8 months or so. I’m just scared. Which means I should jump in with both feet, doesn’t it?

… Damn.

 

BZ

 

 

Goals Summary 2021 – Wk #1

I won’t lie. A few weeks ago I thought I might never write another goals summary. But, the husbando gave me a new whiteboard for Christmas (with a slew of new expo markers!) and I find myself falling back into the old habits.

I didn’t have any goals last week. Shocker. At least, not any writerly goals. I had house goals, chore goals. And I accomplished them, so that was nice. But that’s not what we’re here to talk about. What’s on the docket for this week?

This Week

  • Revise Abbie
  • Write 1k words
  • Read Harrow the Ninth
  • Begin Tavi read through
Quitting Social Media – Jeremy C Kester
Literally these are the platforms I deleted.

I gave up social media for the month of January, so I find myself with a lot of extra time these past few days. It’s been nice. Weird, but nice. I didn’t realize just how much time I let waste scrolling aimlessly. I reach for my phone whenever there’s a calm, spare moment. Only now there’s nothing to engage my brain.

So I’m reading more. I’ve finished one audiobook already, have started another, and am making decent progress on Harrow. My butt is in the chair tonight because I had spare time and didn’t feel like watching a movie. I think it’s pretty clear that my phone addiction was eating away at my productivity. I’m very curious to see how I feel at the end of the month and if I want to reinstall my apps.

(Prediction: Twitter is the only one I’ll want to reinstall. Anyone wanna place bets?)

I’m also doing 30 days of yoga this month, so I’m back to waking up in the 5 o’clock hour to get my stretch on before work. There hasn’t been any poetry yet, but I won’t rule it out. I’m also eating better and doing cardio three times a week because March will be here before we know it and I refuse to let a single weekend pass me by. There. will. be. HIKES.

And I’ll be ready for them.

Tonight I want to write a little bit more on my Dragon Age Modern AU fic (don’t worry if that’s gibberish to you). I’ve got a scene in my head that’s clamoring, but once that’s done, I want to return to my haunted house story I started in November.

Abbie is a short story I finished in November, as part of Nanowrimo. I remember it being long and winding and unwieldy, and thus a lot of work revision-wise. I’m excited to see what I think of it when I read it in the next day or two.

And then there’s Tavi. I’ll be honest, I’m more than a little intimidated by the prospect of returning to this novel. It’s a lot of work. And it’s deeply satisfying and simultaneously gut-wrenching and exhausting work. But, I don’t have to rush this, I can take my time and do it right. Right?

Right.

Anyway, that’s where I am at. That’s the state of the author. Feeling oddly optimistic and energized and ready to do… things. Thanks for coming along with me.

I’ll be back soon to talk January goals. Until then, Blogland.



BZ

Good Riddance


2020.

Honestly, I don’t really know how to talk about this year. Part of me feels pretty damn bitter about all it took away. I also feel like, though my posts were fairly scarce, the ones I did write were generally about the year. About how I was feeling and coping and all the rest. I don’t know if there’s much else to say.

I’m trying to think of positives. Things that were good about this trash-fire year. I spent a lot of time with Trevor, and we never once felt like murdering each other, so that’s good! I went on quite a few hikes despite social distancing requirements and forest fires. I spent a weekend at the coast. I snorkeled for agates in the river. I volunteered at The Willamette Writers Conference.

That’s probably the best thing to come out of this year — I’ve really established a sense of writing community that I didn’t have before, because I am introverted as all hell. In person I am the wallflower chilling with the pets and watching everyone else have a good time. But online? I am so much more myself talking through a webcam in the safety of my own home. And that allowed me to really branch out and meet new people.

Hopefully I won’t clam up once I meet all these people in person.

Now, let’s get to the good part. What the hell did I WANT to do in 2020?

First, we can’t talk about the year without talking about the intention. Last year’s word was REPLENISH.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. There was very little about 2020 that was relaxing or replenishing. It was mostly exhausting, but I did my best. I took my rest where I could and I guess that’s something.

2020 Goals

  • Revise Tavi
  • Read!
  • Submit two short stories
  • Write book reviews

How’d I do?

  • Revise Tavi
    • Kinda. It’s on the second draft and I’m feeling just about ready to dig back into it. I’ll probably have to start over at this point because it’s been so long, but I’m feeling okay about it.
  • Read!
    • Yep! I read 41 books (maybe 42 if I finish The Ten Thousand Doors of January tonight) this year. Not too shabby since I didn’t really have a “goal” this year. I just wanted to read whatever sounded good. Standouts were The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, Middlegame, Destroy All Monsters, and The Starless Sea.
  • Submit two short stories
    • Yep! Technically I think it was three stories submitted this year if I count Unforgettable. So, that’s nice.
  • Write book reviews
    • Uhhhhh. Not really. I think I wrote one or two this year. I did video book reviews for the first time, which was fun but super time consuming. I’m not sure I prefer them to blog posts.

Two out of four isn’t bad. It isn’t great, but considering the year we had, I’ll take it.

2020 Total Word Count: 103,989

I’ve noticed a trend with my word counts. I tend to write most November through April, which makes sense since those are the months that I’m stuck indoors thanks to the long, wet Oregon winters. As soon as the weather turns somewhat decent I’m restless to get outdoors. I want to use this info to play into my own rhythms and tendencies. So, I plan to draft new works in the fall and winter, and revise and research in the spring and summer. Honestly, I think I’ve probably already been doing this, but adding some intention to the behavior should help.

Right?

That’s what I thought.

Honorable Mentions

I had two short stories published this year! The Cost of Rain and Unforgettable both pubbed this year, and in a nice change of pace, I was paid for both of them! Not much payment, nothing near pro-rate, but it’s better than the token publications I’ve had in the past.

I went on seven hikes! Not nearly as many as I’d originally hoped, but I am so grateful for the time I spent outdoors this year. Nature really saved me when nothing else could.

Also, I just want to shout out Willamette Writers in general. Their “Coffee at Your Kitchen Table” Zoom meetings were the highlight of those early lockdown days. That highlight turned into making new writing friends, volunteering at the conference, and co-hosting the Saturday “coffee” meetings that drew me in the first place. In this one respect, 2020 was an awesome year.

So, now what?

First things first, what’s the word, the mantra, the intention? That word that will steer me straight when I feel lost.

COMMIT

After a year of replenishing (haha) and generally feeling a bit aimless, it’s time to reorient and decide what my goals are and what I really want to do. Then I dig down and DO it.

So, what do I want to do?

  • Revise Tavi
    • I want to call this book DONE no later than October 1, 2021. That’s nine months to revise and rewrite and polish. I feel like that is plenty of time
  • Read 52 books (1 writing craft book/quarter)
    • Pretty straightforward. I want to read more this coming year and refocus on my craft.
  • Submit 3 NEW short stories
    • This seems big, but I spent this November writing short stories. I have two ready to revise and polish, and two more in various drafting stages. I should be able to do this no problem.
  • Start Roxana Lewis novel
    • I had a new idea for a book this year that tried to run away with me in November. I need to do a lot of research and brainstorm a bit, so I don’t want to work on it until October. I’ll spend the month consolidating research and outlining (or something like it) and then work on the book for Nanowrimo.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. This is where I’m going. Thanks for joining me.

Talk soon Bloggarts,



BZ

The Recap – November 2020

Hahahahahahahahahaha. What even are goals in this shit-heap of a year? I definitely didn’t set any (official) goals going into November. But, I still managed to get quite a bit done. Let’s talk about it. I basically have to thank Willamette Writers for all of my success in November. I signed up for their Month of Mastery program, which was a virtual community support for Nanowrimo. Basically, throughout the month of November they offered three workshops and weekly “cohort” meetings. There were several cohorts with various themes that met at different times each week, and you could go to any of them. This meant that I was thinking/talking about writing at least three days a week, and actively writing two days a week, beyond any discipline I managed to dredge up myself. Now, I didn’t have a novel to write this Nano, and I didn’t want to do a Nano Edmo (editing/revision month), so I decided to set a custom goal for the month. I had five short stories in various states of doneness. I wanted to get at least three of them done and/or write 20,000 words. Thanks to Willamette Writers, I achieved both of those goals! I finished three stories and very nearly finished a fourth. Plus a little bit of fanfiction sprinkled in.

Salt Bae GIFs | Tenor

Total Word Count: 20,795

Thankfully, Willamette Writers is considering doing more of these Months of Mastery, so I look forward to participating even more. I made writing friends and acquaintances, and even have a new weekly writing group, where we join a zoom call for two hours just to write together on camera. It’s awesome! All because I was willing to spend a little bit of money to get my writing butt in gear again. And it seems to have worked.

So, thanks Willamette Writers!

What else can I catch you up on? I have a story being held at a pretty big name magazine and I’m slowly dying from the anxiety of waiting to hear back about it. Like, the fact that it’s made it to the Editor-in-Chief’s desk (“awaiting final assessment” was what the email said) blew my mind. This is a magazine that has published Rebecca Roanhorse and Sam J. Miller (among many many others). A magazine that has won awards, and so have the stories its published. I. Am. Freaking. Out. But in a very very calm way. It’s all internal. Outside I am the coolest of cucumbers. So, in order to stop thinking about this, let’s talk about December!

December Goals

  • Revise Nano Stories
  • Submit to The Timberline Review
  • Work on Santa Sarita
  • Keep Reading!
Yep. You read that right. I’m working on my giant Mass Effect: Andromeda fic series again. I’ve already written two new chapters, so I’m hoping to just keep busting those out until I can finally put Sara and Reyes to bed. That way I can get back to Dragon Age, haha. I have about 500 words to cut from a short story to get it in shape to submit by the end of the month. I’m making good progress and expect to have it done by the end of the week. I’m basically giving myself a week with each of my Nano stories to revise them and see if there’s anything worth submitting. Kinda fun. I also only have another scene or two in another short story and it’ll be done drafting. I’ll be able to revise it in January. So lots of writerly things happening! And I have less than two weeks left of work until winter break!!!!! Hell yeah! Things are looking up, Blogland! Until next time. BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk Who the Heck Knows?

Can I just say something? I really hate the new WordPress editor. I don’t want to have to select the “Classic” block every damn time I want to write. It’s WORDpress motherfuckers. Let me do the thing with the words!

Anyway I’m here to talk about some goals I set for myself, quite unofficially last week. 

Wk #???

  • Write
  • Read The Silent Patient
  • Enjoy my birthday!

How’d I do?

  • Write
    • Yeah, a little. And a little is better than none.
  • Read The Silent Patient
    • Yep! Got it done in like two days once I actually sat down with it.
  • Enjoy my birthday!
    • You know it! It was a wonderful weekend full of loved ones and relaxation.

Weekly Word Count: 324

Well, will you look at that. I did things. Writerly, readerly things. That’s… novel. 

(insert eye-roll gif here)

Yeah. I’m sorry about that one. I couldn’t help myself. Anyway, I’m being productive again for the first time in a long time. Or, at least consistently productive. I’ll have another post up soon talking about November and December goals, but first — what’s going on this week?

This Week

  • Edit A Lullaby for Mattie Barker
  • Write
  • Read something

So, yeah. Keeping things simple. I want to submit Mattie Barker to The Timberline Review by the end of the month, but I need to shave off about 500 words, so I have my work cut out for me. I cut over 200 so far tonight, so it’s going well. 

I’m working on Santa Sarita again, which was wildly unexpected. I’ve written two chapters in the last week and hope to hammer it out and finally put a big ol’ DONE stamp on this fic series. You know, so I can get back to writing Dragon Age fanfic. 

Reading-wise I’m a little adrift at the moment. I just finished a craft book, and now have a couple of weeks before I need to pick up The Ten Thousand Doors of January for my work book club. I should finish reading Harrow the Ninth, but for some reason I’m hesitating. Probably because I want to read anything and every Dragon Age at the moment, because I am OBSESSED and need serious help. Also, I’m waiting to get Sam J. Miller’s new book delivered so I might pick that up instead. Who knows. Point is, I’mma read SOMETHING this week. 

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. Nothing too crazy, nothing too ambitious. Just around, typing things and crossing out things until it all gels into something vaguely story shaped. And reading things. 

Until next time Bloggarts,

 

BZ

 

Birthday Brightness

It’s my birthday today and I’m feeling… Mixed about it.

On the one hand, it’s already been a great morning filled with laughter and love. I’m in a great mood (a first for the week) and I’m ready to face the day.

On the other hand, I’m mourning the birthday that could have been. The karaoke, the friends, the food and drinks and general merriment of celebrating in a public space. Of DOING something.

It’s yet another burden to stack on 2021’s shoulders.

2021: The year of the dinner party. The year of celebrations. The year of shopping small. The year of hiking and camping and partying. The year of making up for everything 2020 stole from us.

I’m afraid it’s a burden too great for a year that promises nothing.

But for now, there’s a brightness in my day. A hope and wonder at what it will hold in its own small way. Little joys I’ll seize with an iron grip.

I hope you’ll find a few of your own.

Until later, Bloggos.

BZ