Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #12

Blogland,

This was a pretty uneventful week, which is exactly what I wanted after the week of travel.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Clean the office

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
    • Nope. There was progress, but not half so much as there should have been.
  • Clean the office
    • Yes! I did this right after posting last week’s Goals Summary and it has been so wonderful to have my space tidy and… clear? It was spiritually freeing to have my room back in shape.

Weekly Word Count: 1,479

So, yeah… about this week. I honestly am not sure what happened. I just didn’t find much time. I didn’t make time. My free time was spent making delicious dinners with my husband, reading short stories, and watching Jeopardy. And… it was pretty nice.

The Walk ‘n’ Talk on Thursday was a long one, as expected, but we discussed a lot of great stuff and I think Madhu is very close to querying and getting her story out in the world. Trev and I went to video game trivia and came in 4th, just the two of us, so that was pretty neat. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the David Barker signing like I’d hoped to because by Friday I was pretty worn out.

I have a tiny bit of news in regards to submissions. My newest short story “That Which Illuminates Heaven” has been sent on to the final round of consideration at a very well-respected Professional Market! While this is insanely exciting news, it also means I’ll be waiting even longer to hear back about it, so my nervous energy has ratcheted up accordingly.

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This was a great email to wake up to Friday morning!

But, the best news I have is that I finally made the decision to quit my second job! This week is my last week working at Starbucks, which means next week is going to have a lot more free time to get work done.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 500 words/day on Tavi
  • Keep reading!

And that’s it. I’m working something like 47 hours this week and I just don’t think it’s reasonable to expect more from myself than blogging and writing. I’ll be reading a short story a day still, and if I’m focused I’ll hopefully finish reading The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders. city in the middle of the night

But, that’s it for this week. Focus, get work done at a steady pace, and prepare to bust ass in April.

I’ll be around this week with a bonus Craft Discussion, and maybe a book review if my book just grabs me and refuses to let go. Next week will be a busy one on the blog with the usual weekly update, the monthly recap, and the reading round up.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

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Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #9

Blogland,

Welcome to the first week of March! Spring is trying to make itself known, with blue skies and sunshine galore, but there’s more snow on the horizon. Hopefully it won’t impact our travel plans, because we go on vacation this weekend!

Last Week

  • Publish two blog postslies sleeping
  • Finish Tavi chapter 13
  • Finish reading Lies Sleeping

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yep! Three posts total.
  • Finish Tavi chapter 13
    • Yes!!! I had a bit of a breakthrough this weekend which led to lots of words in a short amount of time.
  • Finish reading Lies Sleeping

Weekly Word Count: 3,389

Last week started out on the totally wrong foot. Burnout from Starbucks coupled with a head cold had me grumpy, tired, and beyond frustrated with pretty much everything. I had to leave work early on Thursday I felt so poorly, and the four hour nap I took really helped.

This is the part where I give my husband a shout out, because he made sure to keep me medicated, hydrated, and fed while I was a mewling snot monster. I think he’s directly responsible for my quick recovery. So thanks, Babe!

I rode out the last few days of February with little motivation and a lot of Anthem. But once March hit I knew it was time to kick things back into gear. As discussed in the February Recap, I’ve set some rules for myself in the month of March: read a short story each day and write at least 500 words a day on my novel. So far, that’s working really well.

Granted, it’s only the fourth. But hey, I’ll take the wins where I can get them.

awkward but cool.jpg
Cool kid, but also awkward as hell.

Also, Audient Void Publishing had a little get together to celebrate and sign copies for the release of Half in Light, Half in Shadow by David Barker. You can get your signed limited edition copy today!

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write Tavi Chapter 14
  • Have a great time on vacation!

Really, as long as I keep up my word count and read a short story a day, I’ll be happy with this coming week. Vacation always changes priorities a bit, but I’m hoping to maximize the plane time for writing and reading. And if it means I get up a little earlier than Trev to snag a continental breakfast and do some writing, so be it.

fiona
Now two years old, she’s not so little anymore!

We’re going to Cincinnati, which I know seems strange, but from all reports it’s an up and coming city with a blossoming food and beer scene. And it’s somewhere we’ve never been before, so we’re excited to see it for ourselves.

And Fiona the hippo! Duh!

Honestly, at this point, I’m just looking forward to some free time spent with the hubs doing what we do best: eating and drinking. We’re intentionally keeping this trip itinerary free; we’ll go see and do whatever strikes us at the time and explore freely. I can’t wait.

Barring any writing related excitement, the blog might be pretty quiet this week. I still have the February Reading Round Up scheduled for Friday, and I will make time in Cincinnati to post the usual goals summary on Monday.

So until then, Blog-buddies!

 

BZ

The Recap – February 2019

February, as per usual, came and went without hardly pausing to say hello. It’s always a mercurial month here in Oregon, bringing rain, snow, ice, and sunshine in unpredictable turns. You learn to take a coat with you everywhere pretty quick in the Pacific Northwest. And maybe gloves, if you’ve got the nice water resistant kind.

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The Homestead looking Wondrously Wintry.

February Goals

  • Write 8k on Tavi
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Write 1k on Sanctuary
  • Keep reading!

How’d I Do?

  • Write 8k on Tavi
    • Nope. I wrote a total of 3,628 words on the novel this month. Much less than I wanted, but I’m not wholly unhappy with it.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Sure did. The stories sat in queue for the majority of the month. I’m still waiting to hear about two of them, though That Which Illuminates Heaven received a rejection yesterday. It went out to the next market before I sat down to write this.
  • Write 1k on Sanctuary
    • Narp. Not even a little bit. I think I read a little bit of Sanctuary, but that’s it.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes! I read five titles this month, which is a little insane when I think about it. It’s the shortest month of the year, but I put the time to good use, despite my Anthem addiction.

Total Monthly Word Count: 8,273

I wrote about 4500 words for a Valentine’s Day fanfic exchange. Not pertinent to my goals, but still incredibly fun and it allowed me to flex my writing muscles a little as I explored a very complex character from the Mass Effect universe. I’m pretty proud of how it turned out, and I wrote it in two days, so I’m not going to feel bad about it.

Anthem continues to be absolutely addicting, but I’m almost done with the main story and so my time spent playing should slow a bit soon. Another hurdle to this month was a head cold that walloped me this week. This whole working-two-jobs thing has left me tired and vulnerable to illness and stress, which really puts a damper on my personal and writing goals.

My reading is progressing nicely, though I’m barely keeping up with the Reading Challenge goal I set for myself. This may be the first year I don’t reach my goal, but I love the challenge! Which is the whole point, so yeah.

What else happened in February? I attended an author event at the library, spent way too much time on twitter, and rollercoastered along my work weeks with more emotions than I knew what to do with. I won’t be able to do this for much longer. I need to find a better solution to the library’s unreliable hours.

But, that’s a conversation for another day. For now, let’s talk about what’s to come. Let’s talk about MARCH!

March Goals

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

Here’s the deal. I love video games, but they are HIGHLY addictive for me. I get trapped in them for months. In the case of Dragon Age, sometimes even years. I cannot let that happen with Anthem; I have too much that needs to get done. I need to get this habit under control and set firm boundaries. Which is something I am good at. So, here goes:

I CANNOT PLAY ANTHEM UNTIL THE FOLLOWING HAS OCCURRED:

  1. I have written at least 500 words on my novel
  2. I have read one (1) short story

This is a deal I’ve made with myself. I’ve thought on it a bit and I think it’s not only doable, but necessary. This is a contract, a binding agreement between my gamer self and my writer self. The gamer self will recede to the background until the above is completed, at which point the writer self will cease guilting the gamer self and allow unshackled joy to commence.

That’s the rule. So it is written, shared on social media, and so it will be done.

Why short stories you ask? Well, I’m writing a Library Picks column about Speculative Fiction Anthologies, and I want to at least be able to recommend a story or two out of each one. Plus, I like short stories. I like writing them and reading them, and I’ve been neglecting that part of the market for too long. So I’m taking inspiration from Sam J. Miller, who is reading a short story a day in 2019, and reading a story a day in March.  I am a little worried that this might impact my reading goal for the year, but I still have some titles queued up and waiting, and with travel plans in March I should have some extra reading time.

As always, the short story submissions continue until something sticks. I had a moment at the beginning of the month where I began to feel claustrophobic about the whole process. You know, that feeling where the stress churns in your chest and you’re compelled to pace the room or fiddle with your hair or your nails just can’t seem to avoid the magnetic pull of your teeth. Or some combination of all three. That was me on February first.

wasteland babyToday I’m listening to the new Hozier album, the snow has almost all been washed away by a steady drizzle, and my head cold seems to be on its way out. I feel alert and peaceful, with a mug of hot coffee and the promise of some breakfast after this. February was a big breath that stemmed the tide of burnout, and no I’m ready to move on and get some work done.

I’m sure I’ll have some more ups and downs this month, that I’ll find something new to stress about in the weeks to come. But right now? Right now I am chill as fuck. And I’m going to ride that feeling for as long as I can.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the book review for Lies Sleeping, and then next week will have the usual Goals Summary and the Reading Round Up for February.

Until then, Bloggarts.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #8

It’s a snowy day here in Salem. Well, as snowy as the Willamette Valley ever gets. There’s little flurries in the air, and while the roads and sidewalks are clear, there’s a gentle dusting of white on all the trees and rooftops. Days like this, I really appreciate the change of pace from the Sonoran Desert, although it’s seen some snow too over the last few days.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 12
  • Write one tumblr prompt

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope. Sorry about that.
  • Finish Tavi chapter 12
    • Yes! More on that in a second.
  • Write one tumblr prompt
    • Nope. Not even a little bit.

Weekly Word Count: 2,567

This week went by super fast. Like, I’m sitting here trying to remember what the hell I did all week, and honestly, I have no idea… Oh yeah! Tuesday night I went the monthly Salem chapter of Willamette Writers meeting and listened to Sage Cohen speak. She’s written a few books, but I’ve only read The Productive Writer, which I really enjoyed. Her talk was good, and came with a little mini-workbook, which was fun.

But, the best part was that it led to my breakthrough with The Chapter™. If you’ve been around the blog lately, you know that I’ve been struggling with this one scene, and how this chapter just seemed listless. Well, I finally got through it, and even started the next chapter! So, HUZZAH!

I read a bit, getting about halfway through Lies Sleeping, and went to trivia on Thursday night, where my dance-off skills won my team 2nd Place, and then had a mug club event at our favorite brewery.

And then Anthem came out and all productivity ceased.

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You could say I’m a little obsessed.

I’m having a really great time with the game so far, exploring ruins, finding lost treasures and ancient history, and shooting ALL the things!

I can already tell I’ll need to enact some rules around the game, otherwise nothing else will get done. But, I’m willing to give myself the remainder of February to get it out of my system.

In other news, all three short stories are still out, patiently awaiting news. Anthem helps me forget that I have pending submissions, which is a nice change from my constant fretting.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 13
  • Finish reading Lies Sleepinglies sleeping

That’s about 2500 words to write this week, and about 150 pages to read. I think I can do it, if I can unplug from Anthem long enough. Real talk? That’s a big if.

Regardless, I’ll be back on Friday for the Monthly Recap, so keep an eye out for that. There might be a book review if I can buckle down and focus on the Peter Grant book for a couple of days.

I have some big plans for March and I can’t wait to share them with you! But first I have to get some quality work done in the next few days.

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #7

Hey Blogland,

Yet another week has passed us by, with absolutely no regard for my feelings on the matter. As usual. Damn inconsiderate of it, really.

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

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

Weekly Word Count: 4,492

That’s an awful lot of words for no progress on either of my projects, so what gives? Well, back in December I signed up for a Valentine’s exchange in my Writer’s Discord, where we would basically be a secret admirer for another writer the week of Valentine’s Day and celebrate by creating content for them and generally making them feel loved. I ended up writing a Mass Effect oneshot (fandom speak for short story) in two days. I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out.

Honestly, I think I needed the break. I’ve been pretty stuck with Tavi this month, and feeling pretty down due to the lack of writing. Busting out this story in such a short time and liking it as much as I did was a big ego boost. I needed it.

Between that, a bit of reading, and lots of working hours, that was my week in a nutshell.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Finish Tavi chapter 12
  • Write one tumblr prompt

Given my rocky, stumbling steps this month, keeping things simple and straightforward is really all I can do. As of this moment I’m feeling upbeat and hopeful. I’m reading, I wrote a bit last week, and I finally have some clue where the heck this scene of the novel is headed. Add some caffeine and sprinkle in a playlist or two and that should be a recipe for success.

But, Anthem releases on Friday. I have zero expectations after that. This is the first new IP from Bioware since… Dragon Age? That was 2009 y’all. It’s been TEN YEARS since Bioware made something completely brand new. And it’s beautiful, and the hype is so so so real. I’m warning you now, I am going to go silent for a while and that’s okay. I’ve planned for this.

plan gif

So. Yeah. Reading, writing, and video games. That’s the week ahead. Hopefully in that order. If so, I’ll be back later this week with a review of Lies Sleeping.

Until then, Bloggos,

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #5

Well, last week did not go as planned, at all.

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 1,500 words on Tavi
  • Write something Santa Sarita related

How’d I Do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Yes! Actually, I published three blog posts. So there!
  • Write 1,500 words on Tavi
    • Nope. Not even a little bit.
  • Write something Santa Sarita related
    • Nuh-uh.

Weekly Word Count: 0

What the heck did I do last week? I worked 52 hours and did the only thing that sounded the least bit of interest to me: played video games. Between Kingdom Hearts and the Anthem demo, my limited free time was booked solid. And I am okay with that. I knew going into this month that 12k was a stretch, and that video game releases would prove problematic.

Submissions continue to continue. I was a little down about this yesterday when I wrote my Monthly Recap for January, but I know there’s still a big mountain to climb in this regard. I’ll keep going until there’s nowhere left to submit. That’s the plan.

What’s Next

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Write 2k words on Tavi
  • Write something Santa Sarita related

That’s it. I’m keeping things low key in hopes I can climb back out of this little funk and get back on track. But, I’m also unwilling to guilt myself for decompressing with things I enjoy, like video games. I’m working a lot, and I want/need to make progress on this novel. And I also need to stay sane. Sometimes, escaping into a good video game is the only thing that helps.

I’m still reading, slowly. I’m still writing. I’m still posting here. The world is not crumbling around me, no matter what my brain says. I’m here, I’m only a little bit behind schedule. Nothing is beyond the point of no return.

Breathe.

… Better?

Talk soon, Bloggos.

 

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