Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #25

Hiya Bloggos!

Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster for me. A phone interview, prepping for an in-person interview, a hike, yard work, and a migraine meant there just wasn’t a whole lot of writing time.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Sorry about that.
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Yes! A got another revision done, and think I made some critical changes to help with pacing.
  • Work on something fun!
    • Not really? With all the resume building and interview prep, revising Ghosts was my fun work.

Weekly Word Count: 0

I hate writing that. Even when word count wasn’t a big goal, it feels bad to say I wrote nothing in a whole week. But I was busy, and very very distracted. I could very well be unemployed at the end of this week, so you know. I’ve got a lot going on in my brain right now.

One thing that helped with that was a hike at Cape Meares. Two weeks off from my weekend hikes had me winded for most of the morning, and was a harsh reminder that it’s so easy to lose forward momentum when it comes to fitness.

Another thing that helped was bingeing The Great British Bake Off and Good Omens. I love them both and found them so uplifting when my world was very suddenly dark.

Revisions on the short story continue. I think I fixed the big problem and from here I think it’ll be about streamlining the story, cutting, and making the words sing. I think placing it will be tricky. It’s a quiet story that doesn’t really fit into any one genre. But that’s okay. I believe that writing stories for ourselves is the most important thing. I wrote a story that I wanted to tell, and either I’ll find an editor that loves it like I do, or I won’t. And that’s okay.

These past couple weeks have been a big lesson in accepting the things I cannot change. You’d think, having grown up at AA meetings, I’d know how to do that already, but it’s been difficult. I like having control (who doesn’t) and when life gets out of control, I tend to panic. I’m doing a lot of deep breathing these days.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Read something!

That’s it. I want to keep it simple this week. Read something, edit a bit, talk on the blog. Pretty much just get out of my head and onto the page. I’ll be waiting for news about an interview this week, and if I don’t do something escapist I will go insane. I’d really prefer not to.

That’s it Bloggarts. This is all I’ve got for you. The adrenaline of this morning’s interview is ebbing and I am so very tired now. I’ll be around.

 

BZ

 

 

Advertisements

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #24

This week felt really long, Bloggos. And not in the best way. I got some pretty bad (and unexpected) news on Friday, and while I spent the weekend recuperating (I replayed Detroit Become Human ALL DAY Saturday) it’s safe to stay I’m still reeling a bit.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yarp. You can read my review of Knight’s Shadow now!
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
    • Nope. Still waiting on some feedback and giving the story some distance.
  • Work on something fun!
    • Yes! I wrote some tumblr prompts and worked a tiny bit on my giant fanfic series. It felt really good to come back to it after all this time.

Weekly Word Count: 1,178

I’m a little distracted today. I have a phone interview for a job I really want, and I’m trying to distract myself with writing this post. It isn’t really working. I read things, wrote some things, and played video games. That’s it.

Next.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

I think a week off is enough for me to return to this story with fresh eyes and try to iron out what the hell is wrong with it. The problem is that I like a lot of the story, so the problem areas aren’t super clear. That’s why I’ve been waiting for feedback. Maybe new eyes can enlighten me.

Sorry for the brief post. It’s really all I can manage at the moment. I’ll be back later this week, one way or another.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #23

Y’all. Last week felt long, but not in a bad way. I felt like I moved through the week like Quicksilver, speeding by and getting shit done in half the time it would normally take. I wrote a short story, edited it, watched movies, went to the zoo, played video games, and worked more than usual!  I used that momentum to my advantage.quicksilver gif.gif

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Finish listening to Knight’s Shadow
  • Start reading Revenger

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog postsknight's shadow.jpg
    • Yarp. Three actually.
  • Write 1k on In Great Need of Ghosts
    • uhhh… yeah. Like, four times that.
  • Finish listening to Knight’s ShadowYes! It was a really good listen, too.
  • Start reading Revenger
    • Yes. It’s going kinda slow, but I’m about 75 pages in so I’ll give it a few more days.

Weekly Word Count: 4,009

That word count really tells you how I spent my week. The week before was slow going for the story, with under 1k words but Monday and Tuesday I hammered out the entire rough draft. I’ve revised it to its third draft and sent it to some folks for feedback. We’ll see what they think and see if my brain comes up with anything else to fix about it.

I finished listening to Knight’s Shadow and have a full review forthcoming. I finished it just in time for a new Audible credit, so I’ll be starting the third Greatcoats book soon. I’m struggling with Revenger. I’ll give it this week, but if it doesn’t grab me by then I’ll shelve it for something else on my TBR.

There was no hike this weekend, with my hiking buddy out of town, so I arranged for my family to get together and spend the day at the zoo. The Oregon Zoo was wonderful! there’s still a lot of construction happening as they’re in the final stages of using a bond from 2008, but the new enclosures are so awesome! Elephants have a North Meadow, a central pond, a South Meadow, and an indoor area. It’s designed to encourage the elephants to move, much like they would in the wild foraging for food. All of the elephants were incredibly active, moving from place to place, eating and interacting with one another. And by interacting, I mean interacting. Seeing elephants heed the call of nature wasn’t something I ever wanted to see and now I can’t unsee it. So, hurray… There were a lot of other amazing enclosures and the plan for the polar bear, chimpanzee, and rhino habitats look amazing. I’m excited to go back once it’s all done in 2020. oregon zoo.png

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Polish In Great Need of Ghosts
  • Work on something fun!

I don’t have any major projects scheduled until July. I didn’t anticipate that this story would be so close to done so soon. I’ll spend this week hammering it out and polishing it, and see where that takes me. Last night I had a big urge to reread my long fanfic series, or to read other fanfic. I miss it a bit, so I think I’m going to spend the next two weeks reading and writing some fanfic. For once, I have the time and the motivation, so I ought to make good on it.

I should be hiking again this weekend, somewhere on the coast. So I have that to look forward to, and a week of gaming, reading and writing fanfic. What’s not to love?

I’ll be back this week with the review fo Knight’s Shadow. I don’t think I’ll be back with anything else, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. Maybe I’ll get some publishing news.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

The Recap – March 2019

March was a crazy month of travel adventures, writing, reading, and working so so much. Considering the utter derailment of my routines thanks to the Cincinnati trip, I’m pretty impressed with my output this month.

March Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read one short story/day
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • No. BUT! I got really super-di-duper close. If I take out the six days of vacation/travel in the middle of the month, I wrote 491 words a day. So… Win?
  • Read one short story/daywinning gif
    • OMG YES! This was my favorite thing about this month and I’ve screamed my overtures from the twitter rooftops. You can see the full list of stories on the What I’m Reading page.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes! Both “That Which Illuminates Heaven” and “Lifelike” went out to new markets in March and “The Cost of Rain” is still out from the end of January, so fingers crossed everybody!
  • Keep reading!
    • Yep! I read four titles in March. Not a stellar performance but on track with the rest of the year so far.

      Total Monthly Word Count: 12,276

Last month I was really concerned about the time suck Anthem was going to be. Turns out, that wasn’t a concern. The game, while good, failed to pull me in like I thought it would. I enjoyed the story, and only have one mission left before I can call it finished and mentally move on. Which is perfect timing, because Trevor and I have discovered a new couch co-op (where you play together on a split screen) called Outward and we love it so far!

The novel is coming along. I’ve struggled with this middle bit, but I’m feeling optimistic going into April. Things are solidifying in my mind as Tavi’s life unravels and she has to pick up the pieces. The end is coming, I just have to hope there’s still enough words between it and now. I need 25k more before I’m willing to say this draft is done.

Reading a short story a day was an absolute delight. I forgot how much I love short stories, and this was a really wonderful reminder that wonderful stories come in all shapes and sizes. Although, Flash Fiction still has a special place in my heart, I can’t get enough of them.

If you missed my little freak out moment the week before, I got a note from one of the magazines that my story “That Which Illuminates Heaven” is being held for consideration by the Co-Editors. That is very exciting news, for a couple of reasons:

  1. The Assistant Editor liked my story enough to recommend it for consideration. They even used the word “enjoyed”. In reference to my story. A human being that reads and evaluates fiction professionally enjoyed my story. As the Assistant Editor for The Audient Void, I know what that means. I’m pretty critical, and a story needs to impress me if I’m going to send it to Obadiah. And that’s at our super niche, if high quality, market. This is a giant, award nominated professional market… *screaming*
  2. This ups my odds of acceptance at least a fraction. While I’m fully aware that receiving a rejection is still MUCH more likely, the story is competitive at this level and could be accepted. *more screaming*
  3. But, the most exciting part is that my odds of getting a personal rejection is MUCH jd faints gifMUCH higher now. And personal rejections are the gold mines of bad news. I LOVE personal rejections. They are so valuable and life-affirming and often lead to tweaks and edits you couldn’t see on your own. Did I mention I love personal rejections? *faints from all the screaming*

I’m trying not to hang all my hopes on this, which is hard because I do believe that this story is something special. There’s a gap between it and other stories I’ve written so far, like I took a giant leap skills-wise when I wrote it. And it’s very dear to me. It’s very much a part of me, I’m there, in the lines in a way I haven’t been in my other works. I took risks and I’m really hoping they will pay off.

So, yeah, I’m a little bit excited anytime I see love for “That Which Illuminates Heaven”.

Reading last month was slow, mainly because I spent most of my reading time with short stories. I managed to read four titles, which I’ll tell you all about in my Reading Round Up later this week.

April marks the true start of spring here in the Pacific Northwest, which means it’s officially hiking season! Expect to see lots of pictures and hear me complaining a ridiculous amount as my friend Laurel drags me across the state in search of wild beauty in remote locations.

Now, then. What comes next?

April Goals

  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Read 1 short story/week
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Another straightforward month. I need to focus on this novel and give it the time and attention it deserves, especially in the later stages. Like I said, I’m hopeful going forward and am excited to see where this thing takes me over the course of April.

I’m adding in short story reading because I liked it way too much to stop now. But a short story a day really did cut into my long form reading, so a story a week going forward ought to be a good compromise.

As ever, submissions continue. And as ever, I could hear back about any of them any time now. Although, it’d be really nice if something could sell so my stress level could drop at least a little. Please?

That’s April. I’ll be around with the Reading Round Up later this week, and hopefully have a book review for next week!

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

An Introduction, of Sorts

I realized last night, as I read The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman (highly recommend, btw) that it had been a really long time since I’d talked about who I am and what exactly this blog is for.

Like. A really long time. Like, maybe never. When this blog started, way back in 2011, I had a viewership of zero and expected it to remain that way. I also had no experience or expectations to guide my posts and the content I shared. 2011 was truly the Wild West of this site. I was 21 and still coming to grips with the reality that I wanted to write fiction for living. I was young, in so many respects. So, so young.

Now, almost ten years later, allow me to introduce myself.

Hofbrau Pretzel
Ah, Munich. I miss you and your pretzels.

Hi! My name is Brittany, but if we’re friends you probably call me B or BZ, and this site is my home in the virtual cosmos of the internet. I created my WordPress blog back in 2011 after a guest speaker visited my Planning and Structuring the Novel class. He suggested that having an online presence would make us more visible to agents and editors, help keep us accountable to our goals, and that having consistent blog posts where we discussed our writing could help protect us from potential plagiarism and theft.

Just as I do now, I thought the plagiarism bit was kind of funny, because that implies someone has read my work and liked it enough to steal it. But I liked the sound of all the other bits. Visibility? Accountability? Sounds great, sign me up!

Almost a decade later and I’m still here, and I can tell you that you’ll only get out of your blog what you’re willing to put into it. Like so much else in life, time and energy are the keys to making anything successful. Maintaining a blog is no different.

So, what does this blog do? A lot of things actually. Mainly, it holds me accountable. I talk about the things I want to do, the goals and dreams I’m striving for, and then I either get to tell you how I succeeded or how I failed. Guess what? It’s a WAY better day when I can say that I’ve succeeded. And that’s motivating as heck. If you’ve been a reader here for long, then you’ve noticed the weekly, monthly, and yearly Goals posts, where I talk at length about my various projects and how I intend to complete them. It took years to get to this level of routine and habit, but I think I’ve finally found a system that works.

april whiteboard
My whiteboard is the linchpin of all of my productivity, and the blog is my virtual whiteboard.

The blog is also a place where I can write down my thoughts when they get to be a little overwhelming. This happens less and less as the years go by, thankfully, but occasionally I just need a way to clear my head, and writing has always been there for me.

I also share book reviews and my observations on writing, editing, and publishing. I’ll admit, the latter posts are fairly few and far between, mainly because I’m not sure I have much authority on the matter. I’m in the thick of it, learning and growing with every experience, and that’s what I share here on this site. I’m building a writing career, slowly but surely, and I’m documenting every step along the way on this blog.

If you want to know more about me, or to contact me, you can click on any of the links in the upper right-hand corner of this site to find my various social media pages. You can also find these links and my official author bio on the About page of this site.

Thank you so much for stopping by. After all this time, it was really nice to meet you.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #1

Bloggos,

I hope you all had an awesome first week of the year! I know it felt incredibly long to me and especially exhausting. I spent yesterday doing some shopping and meeting friends at the local board game cafe to play some really interesting new table top games. I wanted my weekend to be focused on turning my brain off and recharging for the week ahead.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whalesspying on whales
  • Write 1k on Tavi
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep. Although that’s easy to do during the first week of the year. There’s a lot to talk about.
  • Finish listening to Spying on Whales
    • Yes!
  • Write 1k on Tavi
    • Yes! I wasn’t sure this would happen, but I ended up writing about 1300 words and finishing chapter 8!
  • Outline/Brainstorm for Santa Sarita
    • Yes… and no. So, it turns out, I had already done some brainstorming and outlining back in October. I have no memory of this, but that’s cool since I no longer agree with the route I had planned. I’ve made some new plans, but nothing concrete. But, I did do a tiny bit of writing on this so I’m counting it a win!

Weekly Word Count: 1,477

The first week of the year is always a busy one on the blog. Goals Summaries, Monthly Recaps, and the blog overhaul and Yearly Review. Lots of writing about writing, collating the stats and accomplishments of the year and analyzing my failures and successes so I can make the most of the year to come. Honestly? It’s one of my favorite times of year, when I can really dig deep into my process and figure out how to tweak for even more efficiency and output. It’s like giving my mind a tune-up!

When it came to listening to Spying on Whales, I didn’t know if I’d really be able to finish it. The book is great, and Pyenson’s passion really shines through the narrative and his narration, but I am not great at reading/listening to nonfiction. Even something as interesting to me as the past, present, and future of whales (I freaking LOVE whales) still had me zoning out for large chunks of text. I frequently had to rewind a segment and figure out where my brain had turned to white noise.

But, I still finished it last night, and really enjoyed it. I don’t think the problem was the book, but more my short attention span. If you like nonfiction, or want a broad overview of the history and lives of whales, I highly recommend it!

I jumped back into writing my urban fantasy novel this week after ignoring its existence during the whole month of December. As expected it, it was sort of slow going. It’d been long enough away from the text that I didn’t really remember where I’d left and felt pretty distant from my narrator’s voice. So, I spent a lot of my “writing” time reading the manuscript over from the beginning. writing gif

Now, that’s always dangerous with a rough draft because it makes me want to edit. I see the repetitious sentences and the clunky passages and I cringe. But, that’s not the point of this readthrough. I needed to get back in Tavi’s head, so I could tag along with her on the crazy journey of this utterly pantster novel. And it worked! In fact, it not only worked, but got me excited about this project again. With rough drafts I’m always terrified that I’m going to hate them when I read them again for the first time. I fear that I’ll read the first few pages and wonder what the hell I was thinking, writing this garbage? But Tavi really surprised me! I think it’s really good. In a few places I even managed to forget I wrote it, I was so enthralled with the dialogue and the narrator’s voice.

So, that’s good.

Santa Sarita is percolating. The characters are taking up space in brain again and I’m almost ready to sit down and really hash out some words on this fic. I think it’s going to be much different than I originally planned, and that’s probably for the best. There’s a reason my first attempt at this story flopped, after all. In the meantime I’m going to write some small tumblr prompts and get used to writing these two once again.

So, what’s next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 3k on Tavi
  • Work on something Santa Sarita related

This looks really thin to me, but jumping up from 1,000 words to 3,000 is going to take some serious effort. And even then, I’ll still be about four thousand words behind my monthly writing goal. Which is okay. The point is just to write consistently again after so much time off. The words will come.

knight's shadowI have a backlog of tumblr prompts to work on, the majority of them for Santa Sarita, so that should be an easy one to knock out this week. I also have a nebulous idea for a blog post, but we’ll see if I go with that or something else I’ve been sitting on for a while. Don’t expect a book review this week. Sadly I have zero interest in writing reviews for nonfiction, and my time with Knight’s Shadow has been really limited lately. Honestly, all of my time is limited lately, so if I’m going to make my writing goals expect my reading to slow down.

Thank goodness for audiobooks! I just downloaded Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and though it’s pretty far over my head, I figure I’ll still know more about astrophysics by the end than I do now.

In other news, I received my rejection letter from Oregon Literary Arts. I was not a recipient of a fellowship this year, but better luck next time! I also received a rejection on my horror short story Lifelike last night, and it’s already off and onto the next magazine. Getting two rejections in one week feels bad and it feels kinda good. It means I’m working hard and eventually one of these emails will be an acceptance!

Talk to you soon, Blogland!

 

BZ

The Recap – December 2018

Hey Blogland!

So, I’ve done things a bit backward this week, but I really wanted to get the blog updated and share my successes and challenges of 2018. With that done, I can finally share how my December went, and what I want to do in the first month of 2019!

December Goals

  • Write 10k
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read three more titles!

How’d I do?

  • Write 10k
    • Nope. I did write some though, mostly fanfic oneshots that intrigued me and actually spurred my writing muscle into limited action.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes… technically. The holidays are a rough time to have submissions pending. Everything slows down and I’m still waiting to hear back on each of my stories.
  • Read three more titles!
    • Yes! I finished four titles in December, sending me just past my reading goal for the year!

Total Monthly Word Count: 3,902

This month was really a month of rest. I underestimated just how much juice Nanowrimo took. My brain felt wrung out. Numb. Capable of nothing more than the autopilot routines that ensured I navigated my day-to-day with moderate success. I didn’t pressure myself into anything. I read when I felt like it and wrote when inspiration struck. It was slow and meandering, until it wasn’t.

A migraine, complete with nausea, gave me the opportunity to listen to a couple audiobooks I’d forgotten about on my Audible app, and Skyward was good enough that I had to buy it so I could finish it before the end of the year.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 9.23.00 PM
I’m dying… 

All three stories are still out, waiting to hear back. It’s tough to be patient, but it IS the holidays, and I don’t want to be THAT guy. You know, the nagging harper that irritates an editor into a rejection. I am not that person.

Yet.

January Goals

  • Write 12k words on Tavi
  • Write 1k on Sanctuary
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Keep reading!

Okay… That’s a lot of writing. I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to write that much on my Urban Fantasy novel. I want to. Very much so. But it’s going to take some serious discipline to carve out the time necessary to do so. And, really, I’ll be happy if I even get close.

I did the math on my goal of finishing Tavi by April and that means I have to write about 16k words a month on it. I don’t think that’s going to happen, so I shaved off a few thousand and told myself that would have to do.

Sanctuary will come along in its own time. I need to read through what I have so far and spend some time brainstorming and outlining, figuring out what I want and need this story to accomplish. Once I have a map, I’ll know what to do. I’m confident that 1k will be the minimum I write on this project this month.

The beatings will continue until morale improves. Wait… Submissions. I mean, submissions will continue until these stories find homes. Yeah. That’s it.

knight's shadowAnd I’m reading. I’ve got an audiobook about whales and the second Greatcoats book in my bag, following me along each day. Reading will probably slow down a little as I focus back on writing this month.

So, yeah. That’s January. I’m optimistic, but a little daunted by the high expectations I’ve set for the first month of 2019. We’ll see how it goes!

This should be the last post of the week, barring anything that demands sharing. I’m trying not to think too much about the fact that I will hear from Oregon Literary Arts sometime soon about whether or not I was selected to receive a grant. Because, as if waiting for short story responses wasn’t stressful enough, I’m also waiting for a letter to find out if I’m getting a check to write for 2019.

Yep. I’m going crazy over here. And it’s only the first week of January…

 

BZ