Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #16

Another week gone by in the era of COVID-19. Even as they drag by they somehow slip through my fingers. Highlights included beating Ripto’s Rage, signing up for MasterClass, and eating lots of good food.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions
  • Read Finna
  • Create and post Vengeful video review
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Yep! I edited 6 chapters last week and am actually enjoying the process so far, which is weird.
  • Read Finna
    • Yep! Finished it in a day.
  • Create and post Vengeful video review
    • Yarp. Had fun, struggled, learned some things. It was all good.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Nope. Not much writing at all. But hey, a little is better than zero!

Weekly Word Count: 228

I somehow forgot that, when I’m editing, I don’t write much. It’s hard for me to switch modes, I think. So, there wasn’t much writing, but oh man there was so much editing! Six whole chapters of Tavi and another draft of The Lament of Kivu Lacus. I’m just waiting to hear back from a couple more readers before I do any last polishing and send it out. Reactions so far have been very positive (and tearful), so that feels pretty ding dang good.

Reading is keeping a steady pace. I finished Finna and will probably finish The Last Sun in the next couple of days. And, despite a FAT stack of books (more like 6 fat stacks) I have no idea what to read next. I’m gonna just decide when the time comes.

I still have two short stories out. One is in a contest, which closes to submissions this week. I submitted it in… January? Yep. January. I’m looking forward to hearing back something soon(ish).

MasterClass was running a buy one subscription get a second one free special, and I found someone to split the cost with me! I’m very excited because I’ve always wanted to try MasterClass but was too cheap to do it, haha. So I have those to look forward to for the next year.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish The Last Sun the last sun
  • Make and post Finna video
  • Write 800+ words

You know the drill by now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This routine is working (mostly), so why make any changes? At least, not right now. Not with all the weirdness in the world.

My big focus this week will be continuing Tavi revisions and polishing Lament. I’m looking forward to more reading and making another video and watching more MasterClasses.

That’s about all I got for you today Blogland. Short and sweet. Have a great week, y’all.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #15

Hey-o Blogland,

It’s Monday. The sun is shining. And I haven’t had my coffee yet…

I’ll be right back.

 

*Jeopardy theme plays softly, as if from a distance*

 

Ahhhhh. That’s better. Nothing kicks a sunny day off quite like a glass of iced coffee.

School starts back up today in our new Distance Learning model. I technically have students, my Library Aides who get elective credit for helping me out in the library, but we aren’t expected/required to do anything for those teacher’s aides classes. I still want to connect with them, and maintain some sort of routine myself, so I made a google classroom where they can pop in and say “hi”, at least once a week. We’ll see if anyone shows up today.

While I wait for students to “arrive”, let’s talk about goals!

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish reading Vengeful
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Nope. I thought about it on Friday, and then avoided it like the plag — Well, you know.
  • Finish reading Vengeful
    • Yep. It took longer than I thought, but it still went pretty quick.
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
    • Yep! It’s up now.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Nope. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Putting a zero next to my word count tracker never feels good, but I don’t feel as bad about it as I would expect. Last week was… crazy. There was a lot of work to be done to prepare for school to start back up this week. We handed out almost 300 chromebooks in two 7 hour sessions. I worked two different shifts building printed packets for students who don’t have internet access. I largely ignored my diet and barely worked out and probably drank a little too much.

Basically, I was a mess this last week. And that’s okay. We’re living through unprecedented times, adapting to work in situations we never thought we would have to. I’m not gonna beat myself up about not writing or ignoring my manuscript right now.

The good news is that today brings a return to structure. And with structure comes routines. And you all know how much I love routines! I’m already feeling calmer and more centered as I sit here, waiting for ten o’clock to roll around so “class” can begin.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Read FinnaFinna
  • Create and post Vengeful video review
  • Write 800+ words

So, there you have it. Lather, rinse, repeat. I have some ideas about where to start on my revisions now, so that’s an improvement. I still have no idea how to finish this fanfic oneshot I’ve been working on for weeks now. I may have to scrap it and start over at this point. It isn’t making sense for some reason.

Reading and video-making seem to be my two favorite things right now. Although, I played quite a few games over the weekend. I returned to Spyro Reignited, played the demo for the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and played Wizard of Legend with the husband. So, yeah. Lots of screen time this weekend.

I also have a new episode of Ask the Bards to listen to today, which is super exciting. I love this podcast so much! I’ll probably listen to it during lunch.

So, yeah. That’s the week behind and the day ahead. We’ll see where it takes me.

Until later, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #14

Last week was… intense. There was a lot of work to be done in a very small amount of time to get students ready to transition to distance learning. Add in a migraine and I honestly don’t have many details on the week.

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish reading Ashlordsashlords
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep! Sent it out to some friends to get feedback.
  • Finish reading Ashlords
    • Yes. The last 100 pages or so would not let go.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yes, barely.

Weekly Word Count: 952

I don’t have a lot to say about this week. I finished reading Ashlords, immediately started Vengeful, and then listened to The Ocean at the End of the Lane over the weekend while I was down with a migraine. So, a productive reading week, at least.

I did get another revision on the short story done, and sent it off to a handful of friends for feedback. So, that’s good. Once I hear back from them I’ll make any final tweaks and then start the submission process. Which is kind of crazy to think about. Every time I start a new story, submission quality seems so far away. And then one day… it’s just ready.

It’s wack.

I did a little bit of writing on some fanfic, but not a ton. I’m really struggling with this oneshot, and I’ll admit it hasn’t had much of my attention lately. Hopefully now that school will fall into some sort of routine again I’ll be able to hunker down at the keyboard and get some words down.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Finish reading Vengefulvengeful
  • Make and post The Ocean at the End of the Lane video review
  • Write 800+ words

It’s pretty straightforward again. I’m over halfway through Vengeful already (because V.E. Schwab owns bones). I have a good chunk of time tomorrow to work on the next episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!, and I want to finish this oneshot.

The big question mark is the novel. Revisions suck. I can’t help but feel that way for a project this big. I’m not even 100% sure where to start, even though I just read the thing two weeks ago.

I think I need to just read through it again and let myself make the edits that come to me. I had some questions and notes on the first read through, so I should just make the changes and answer the questions. I need to sprinkle in some foreshadowing, get the main character’s emotional struggle on the page sooner, and iron out some details in the ending.

… Okay. Maybe I do know where to start? I might have thought about this more than I realized.

So, yeah. That’s the big project on the docket this week. And I’ll be honest, I’m not expecting huge strides here. It’s a big, super daunting task, and I need to take it piece by piece or I’ll get startled and run and hide.

But, I’ve been listening to the playlist again, which is always the first step in any writing project. I’ve been thinking about the book, about the characters, and wondering how to make every moment shine. I think I’m just about ready to try.

So, yeah. That’s where I’m at. Feeling good, if a little nervous. I’ll be back later this week with a video book review to share.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

The Recap – March 2020

How do I talk about March? What will I expect to find in this blog post this time next year? Five years from now? How do I capture the way normalcy was utterly shredded in what felt like two days, and then pasted back together in a totally new pattern? The start of March was one world, the end of March is another. Which is only weirder, because I didn’t pick goals until mid-March, when I realized I was going to be home more than usual.

March Goals

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Keep Reading!
  • Write 2000 words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep! I’ve sent it to a few people for a beta read. Once I hear back I’ll make some more adjustments and then start submitting.
  • Keep Reading!
    • Oh, yeah. That’s pretty much all I’ve been doing.  I read 6 titles in March.
  • Write 2000 words
    • Yarp. Actually, a bit more than that.

Total Word Count: 6,956

This month has been so long. I know we all feel the same way about this. I initially embraced the order to stay home, looking forward to gaming and reading time. But it only took about three weeks of limited outside interaction to realize I was feeling pent up. Trapped. Thank goodness I’ve been out of the house for work these last couple of days.

Lots of reading, quality Dragon Age time, a bit of editing, and making videos for my students got me through the last half of March. I still have two short stories out on submissions right now, as per usual. I’ll be sure to let you all know if that should change.

April Goals

  • Submit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Begin Tavi revisions
  • Keep Reading!
  • Write 4000 words

As it sits right now, I’m feeling good about Lament. Well, not really. It’s horribly depressing, and I don’t know if anyone will want such a deeply sad story (especially right now) but craft-wise I think it’s pretty well done. I like the changes I made, the risks I took. I think the story pays off and is the best I can make it without outside opinions. Which means I’m playing the stage 1 waiting game: waiting for beta readers to tell me their thoughts!

Tavi edits is a big job. Not because the book is in bad shape, I actually think it’s the most cohesive first draft I’ve ever written, but because it’s almost 90k words that I have to read and sculpt over and over again until I feel about it the way I feel about Lament. I’m guessing that’s about a three month project, at best.

There’s no shortage of reading material in this house. I still have two more books from the public library to read, and then I’ll start tucking into all those books I bought over the years but never read.

I’m not so sure about the writing goal this month. I don’t have any writing planned, other than fanfic, which has been giving me some trouble this last week. We’ll see how much output I have while I’m revising and back at work, at least in some capacity. I did have a short story I was working on, but I decided to pause on that because it’s one of those cases where my writing hasn’t quite leveled up enough. I want to play around with the timeline and experiment with it a bit, but I don’t even know where to start. Something to read of/about, and then try again at a later date.

So, yeah. Reading, writing, editing. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ll be back on Monday to talk goals, and hopefully with another review video, if I can get either Vengeful or The Ocean at the End of the Lane finished up over the weekend.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

Remote

I’m feeling it today.

So far, my isolation hasn’t been so bad. I’m an introvert, a much bigger one than many people realize. I’ve worked 10+ years in Customer Service, I can be bubbly and outgoing, upbeat and go-getting. But that’s Work Brittany. When I’m just me, things are much quieter and calmer. And I like it that way.

I’ve left the house maybe four times in almost three weeks. I’m reading more than ever, playing piano again, focusing on improving my writing craft, working out, and trying new things with these book review videos. I’ve focused on using this time to relax and engage myself in a lot of different ways. Gotta follow that intention: REPLENISH.

But, today is the first day back at work. And being at home, glued to my laptop, waiting for a notification that I’m required for SOMETHING has me suddenly melancholy. I miss my library. I miss the kids who can hardly wait for me to turn on the lights and boot up my computer before they come in to talk to me. I wonder how they’re doing and hope they’re okay and not too scared.

And I’m sorry I can’t be there for them.

I woke this morning and, for the first time in two weeks, followed my usual routine: Alarm scares the shit out of me, I grumble and get dressed. Brush hair and teeth, necklace, four rings, bracelet, two pairs of earrings. Quick check: is yesterday’s makeup presentable? Yes? Gucci. Then I shuffle my way out to the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee.

It’s supposed to give me a sense of normalcy, but the little differences are more than enough to remind me that there is no normal right now.

Instead of my black tumbler with the district logo, I’m drinking my coffee out of a small Eeyore mug that I got at an outlet mall for two dollars. It’s my favorite mug, but I’ve only ever used it at home.

I’m not wearing shoes. I know that’s easily remedied — just go put some shoes on, dork! — But it also seems weird to wear shoes when I’m just going to sit at my desk.

Outside, the sun decided to make an appearance, but it’s still so cold out that opening a window isn’t really an option. I’m feeling cooped up, as I’m sure we all are. Hubs goes to work each day (turns out, banks are essential) and I stay behind. This last week was all rain, all the time (“it can’t rain all the time”) and I haven’t been outdoors other than a trip across the cul-de-sac to check the mail. State and National Parks are closed in Oregon, so I can’t go hiking. And I’m just sitting here trying not to spiral out into thoughts of being trapped.

Because, when I don’t let myself get too philosophical, I’m actually doing all right. Reading, writing, editing, making videos. I’m keeping busy, but all of that has felt like an interim, the stuff I do while I wait to see what I’ll actually be doing when I get back to work.

I guess what I’m saying is, although I feel more connected to myself and my creativity than I have in a long time, I’m feeling cutoff from everything else. I feel like the world outside my house is unreachable, a pretty panorama to look at through the windowpanes. And no amount of FaceTime and phone calls seem to help.

I am remote.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #13

Hey Blogland,

It was a busy week of Staying Home, and Staying Safe. I’m starting to get restless, and really want the sun to come out so I can at least take the dog for a walk. But, there’s a lot of writerly things happening, so let’s get to it!

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of Bones
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
    • Yep. This round was a bit more productive as I recognized some superfluous lines and tightened things up a bit.
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of BonesTunnel of bones
    • Yep! I didn’t expect to have so many feelings about a poltergeist, but I sure did.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Oh, yes. Without even really meaning to.

Weekly Word Count: 2,314 

This was a very bookish, writerly week. I worked on some fanfic, edited my short story, read a bunch of Ashlords and finished listening to Tunnel of Bones. I released two episodes of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads! I discovered and listened to all of the Ask the Bards podcast. It’s Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne talking all things writing and publishing, which is rad. I started Wonderbook, which I’m treating as a sort of class. I’m reading a chapter or two each week and doing the associated Writing Challenges. It’s fun, challenging, and is really kicking my brain into “Craft” gear. Which is good because, well, I did a thing.

I finally read the Tavi rough draft. You know, that Urban Fantasy novel I finished last spring? I’ve been avoiding it because revising novels has been a highly unpleasant experience so far. I was terrified that it would be even worse than I imagined and so just kept glancing at the printed manuscript on my desk like it might reach out and bite me.

But, on Friday, I decided to dive in. And, you know what? I loved it! It’s fun, and there are a lot of elements that I’m incredibly proud of. The pacing is generally good, I kept reading, not out of a sense of duty, but because I was genuinely enjoying my story. In fact, I couldn’t put it down. I read the entire thing in basically one sitting. From about 9am to 7pm, and was absolutely thrilled with it.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. There is definitely work to be done, but nothing so daunting that I’m hesitant to get started. I’m actually looking forward to spending time in this world and with these characters again. Crazy, right?

What’s Next?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish reading Ashlordsashlords
  • Write 800+ words

This looks familiar on purpose. It’s worked for the last two weeks, so why mess with it? Especially when polishing and submitting Lament is my top priority right now. Finishing the rough draft of The Shadowboxer is priority number two. Once both of those are done I’ll start revising Tavi. I’m hoping to have it “done” before July. We’ll see how that goes.

And then I have a new novel idea. Which is a dangerous thing, but also a very motivating one. I can’t work on the new idea until all of the above is complete. And I really want to write the new thing, so I’d best get to work.

Speaking of work, I start working remotely this week. I still have no idea what that’s going to look like, so who knows if I’ll be able to keep this routine I’ve just established. I’m trying not to think about that too much just yet.

Be on the lookout for a couple more Quarantine Reads this week. I’ll have Ep. 5 up either this evening or tomorrow and then Ep. 6 later this week.

Until later, Bloggos!

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #12

Hi Bloggarts!

It’s a little weird jumping into the blog so late in the year, but late is better than never I suppose. By now you know that I’m not working (at least not in the same capacity) because of Covid-19 and this sudden addition of unstructured time has led me to re-examine my routines. Which reunited me with my trusty whiteboard…

Last Week

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus rough draft
  • Read Dragon Age: Tevinter NightsTEvinter Nights
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus rough draft
    • Yep. I’m sort of struggling with this one because I like it so much. I know better than to submit a story that hasn’t been extensively revised, but I don’t know what else to do to it…
  • Read Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yep. Pretty much right away. Some things clicked into place and my writing brain kicked into gear.

Weekly Word Count: 1,618

So. Yeah. First week “back” and I accomplished all my goals… That’s weird. But, not only did I accomplish all my goals, but I started a new YouTube series for my students. I’m screaming about it here on the blog so I’m sure you’ve seen it. I won’t blather on here about, but I do recommend you check it out.

Beyond video-making and goal-reaching there really isn’t much going on. State Parks closed today so I’m feeling pretty down about that. The nice weather finally gave out and we’re back to cold rain and grey skies.

I’m still playing Dragon Age, because y’know, I’m obsessed. I’m still writing fanfic and working on original projects. I’m here. Home and working and trying not to wonder too much about the future.

So, What’s Next?

  • Edit The Lament of Kivu Lacus
  • Finish listening to Tunnel of BonesTunnel of bones
  • Write 800+ words

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Right? Last week’s successes don’t need to be built upon just yet. I want to get into a rhythm and used to working again before I start getting ambitious. Besides, this week is officially Spring Break. There are no work expectations for me right now, but starting the 31st I’m expected to be available and may have work to do. I don’t want to plan goals based on my time constraints now only to have them change in a few days.

That’s about it, Bloggos. I’ve already made another video to share later this week. I’m still listening to Tunnel of Bones and reading Ashlords. I’m playing Dragon Age and pining for a hike, and seriously missing my bi-weekly karaoke sessions. Luckily our Dungeons and Dragons group has agreed to video conferencing our sessions so we don’t have to sacrifice that. A little normalcy will be nice.

I’ll be back later this week with another video! Until then, Blogland.

 

BZ