Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #23

Work has been crazy as we’re heading into summer. It’s my first school year and I had no idea what these last two weeks would look like. There’s a lot to do in a normal year, let alone one that was disrupted by a global pandemic.

Last Week

  • Tavi Revisions
  • HQR video
  • Read something
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I do?

  • Tavi Revisions
    • Nope. I’ve decided to press pause on this project.
  • HQR video
    • Nope. No time.
  • Read something
    • Yep. Over 100 pages of Priory.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Yes! My fanfic is moving forward. Finally!

Weekly Word Count: 880

So… Tavi. Here’s the thing. My main character is a cop. Her two best friends work for the Police Department. And she loves her job, but due to the events of the book, her job is in peril. Right now… it is very hard to work on a book that has any sort of positive outlook on police departments in America. It feels incredibly tone deaf at the moment and my feelings on the subject are incredibly tumultuous at the moment. If I continue revising the book I will gut it in fury. I need to cool down and think about how to more authentically handle the police as an entity in my book.

I’ve been working on fanfic while I simmer on all these feelings. We’ll see how long it takes to come back around to a place where I can work on the novel again. Regardless, it’s unlikely to be in the next two weeks.

What’s Next?

  • HQR episode
  • Read 100+pgs of Priory
  • Write 800+ words

That’s where I’m at. Right now, my library work is taking up pretty much every ounce of my brain so I’ll be happy to get anything on this list done. I also need to get my monthly recap post done. But… I don’t see that happening this week. Just sayin’.

I’ll be around. Eventually.

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #21

I’m running out of ways to introduce this post every week. So, let’s just get on with it.

Last Week

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

How’d I Do?

  • Tavi revisions cont’d
    • YEP! This was a major success for the week.
  • Post another episode of Mrs. Harlow’s Quarantine Reads!
    • Yarp. I hope you enjoyed it.
  • Read 100+ pages of The Priory of the Orange Tree
    • Yes! It’s moving along and pulling me in. I just forgot how… slow Epic Fantasy can be.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Maybe? Technically, I think yes, because of rewrites. But I don’t track those word counts… so no?

Weekly Word Count: ?/0

It was a very productive week. I finished the first round of revisions on Tavi, made a video, read a bit, and binged two seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender. So yeah. Life’s good.

Oh, and we’re still sheltering in place, despite the state entering Phase One of reopening. My husband and I agree that it’s a mistake to behave as if we’ve “beaten” this virus and are dreading that second wave in the coming months. But people can’t handle being cooped up for this long, apparently. After the restlessness of the first few weeks we’ve settled into an easy routine. I think it will take a long time to feel comfortable in large groups again.

So, What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Post another HQR video
  • Read 100pgs of The Priory of the Orange Tree
  • Write 800+ words

I’ll be reading Tavi pretty much all day — ironing out the timeline, assessing pacing and structure, and continuing line edits. Barring any major revisions/rewrites, this round of edits should take no more than two weeks to get through. I’m feeling hopeful so far.

I’ve got another video ready to make tomorrow, one I’m pretty excited to talk about. So that’s good. I think Priory will be a slow and steady wins the race situation. If I read ~100 pages a week, I’ll be done in July. Probably. I should probably bump up that page count if I want to get through it… damn.

Writing is… what it is, right now. My focus is on Tavi and consuming media in my down time. I did play a little Dragon Age last week, so maybe I’ll get back to writing some fic, but the summers are typically a writing dry season for me. We’ll see if the pandemic has any effect on that. Or the whole not-working-in-the-summer, thing. Because that’s new.

Anyway, I’m off to eat something and start reading my book. Again.

Until next time, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

 

Goals Summary 2020 – Wk #17

I know we’re all experiencing this “Stay Home, Save Lives” business differently, but I’m really not digging how the days are beginning to blur. What did I do last week? I dunno, when even was last week? What are the boundaries? How do I delineate time beyond archaic alarms and a white board?

Last Week

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

How’d I do?

  • Tavi revisions
    • Yep! I only have 8 chapters left on this pass through.
  • Finish The Last Sunthe last sun
    • Yep!
  • Make and post Finna video
    • Sure enough.
  • Write 800+ words
    • Ha.

Weekly Word Count: 336

I’m in a weird spot this morning. Emotionally I’m feeling pretty good, until I try to break down last week into something I can talk about. Then I feel sort of foggy and glum.

I edited pages. I read a lot. I played Spyro and watched another MasterClass. We made good food over the weekend, braved a trip to the grocery store. I talked with students, worked my two days in the building prepping print packets and accepting returns from graduated seniors. I worked out a bit.

But that’s it. Just bullet points, not even a highlight reel. Nothing stands out as particularly interesting or worth sharing. I was here. I did things and did my darnedest to stay sane. But, I’m not eating PopTarts yet, so I’m not doing THAT poorly.

What’s Next?

  • Tavi revisions
  • Make and post The Last Sun video
  • Finish Storm of Locusts
  • Write 800+ words

Yep. Lather, rinse, repeat. You know this drill. This to-do list is working (mostly), so why change it?

I’m curious to see how the revision process changes this week. So far I’ve been working with a paper copy, noting where changes need made and scribbling ideas and little rewrites. The REAL revision happens once this stage is done. This is the first book that I’ve liked enough to not completely rewrite it. I think it largely works and I just need to create some stronger through-lines and iron out a few wrinkly bits.  But I have no idea how long that will take. But I still don’t feel daunted. Maybe not quite as excited as I was a week or so ago, but no less determined.

Videos will continue as long as we’re Staying Home™ and as long as I’m reading. I’m almost done with Storm of Locusts — I’ll probably finish it today — and I have no idea what I’ll read next. There’s no shortage of choices, which sort of makes the indecision worse. But I’ll figure it out. I always do.

The writing… well. It is what it is. I’ve got some fanfic I’ve been fiddling with, and my shadow-boxer short story is still alive up in my brain, it’s just percolating. There are a lot of considerations and weirdness where that’s story concerned and it’ll make itself known when it’s ready.

Submissions continue to continue, so much so that I forget to update anyone when a rejection comes in and another submission goes out. I hardly react to rejections anymore, which is really nice. The process feels much less personal now, even though I still get that wave of excitement with each new submission.

So, yeah. That’s good. This is getting a bit ramble-y despite my claims of having nothing to say. That’s the quarantine for ya. I’ll be back this week with another video.

‘Til then, Blogland.

 

BZ

 

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 #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

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

 

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk #43

Another quick week. I feel like I got a ton of work done, both in the library and in writing, and I had an awesome weekend celebrating my BFF’s 30th birthday.  A whirlwind week to be sure.

Last Week:

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
  • Read a short story

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog posts
    • Nope.
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
    • Yes! And then some. More on that below.
  • Read a short stor
    • Yep. I read a few out of Kameron Hurley’s new collection before I had to return it.

Weekly Word Count: 119

That’s more words than I expected since I was editing, but I feel good about the changes made. So good, in fact, that I kept revising until suddenly there were no chapters left to edit. I submitted the story to my preferred market for it last night!

Social activities took up the bulk of my weekend, which for once was exactly what I wanted. We sang karaoke, went to a pumpkin patch, and played video games with friends. It was a nice, relaxing fall weekend.

I’m not reading as much as I ought to these days, but I’ve been playing some video games and catching up on Letterkenny and the Great British Bake Off.

But, the big news, the news I’ve been skirting around this whole blog post is… The Cost of Rain has been ACCEPTED! I’ve signed the contract so now it’s just a waiting game until it’s published. I’ll have more details the closer we get to the publication date, I pinky promise.

So, What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Begin outlining/brainstorming for Nanowrimo
  • Read something!

Keeping it simple this week. I’m ahead of my goals for this month, writing-wise, so I have every excuse to take it a little easier this week. Besides, I can use this “down-time” to let my Nano project marinate and start coming together. I’ve built the playlist, which is always a great first step. Now to see where that takes me.

I read a graphic novel last night, and have two more I’m in various stages with. I’d like to get them each done this week, plus start my book club book and read at least one short story. I’m WAY behind on my reading goal, but that’s no excuse not to read as much as I can.

I’m battling some serious Dragon Age cravings right now, which is why I’m reading the graphic novels and eyeballing the novel tie-ins right now. I think another announcement about the next game will be coming out in the next month or so and I am so freaking excited it’s ridiculous. So I read things and wildly theorize and wait.

So, you know. Reading, writing, gaming, lather. rinse. repeat. I don’t know if I’ll be back on the blog this week. I don’t have a book review for you, but if I think of anything else to chat about, I’ll be here.

Til then, Bloggos.

 

BZ

Goals Summary 2019 – Wk# 42

After, like, two months of inconsistent output and an inability to do much of anything in a timely manner, last week felt like coming back to the gym. Harder than it should be, but oh so wonderful once I actually got to work.

(Full Disclosure: I rarely go to the gym and never feel good about it upon any sort of return. I used the metaphor because I figured it was relatable, not because it was something I ever actually experienced.)

Last Week

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise one chapter of Exodus: Descent
  • Read one short story
  • Finish reading The First Wife’s Secret

How’d I do?

  • Publish two blog postsVicious
  • Revise one chapter of Exodus: Descent
  • Yes! It was easier than expected and I’m happy with how it turned out.
  • Read one short story
    • No. The weekend was a lot busier than I expected.
  • Finish reading The First Wife’s Secret
    • Yes. Through sheer force of will.

Weekly Word Count: 0

Again, it always feel shitty when the word count says zero, even when that was the plan. But, this was actually a really productive week. I did my editing, I read a book, I wrote a few blog posts, and went to a totally awesome library conference and even managed to sneak in some time to see some whales in the sunrise. I have zero complaints.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, twilight, cloud, outdoor, nature and water
Oregon is so freaking gorgeous.

The revision of Exodus is off to a great start. Chapter one required some obvious cleaning up (mostly those pesky dialogue tags I seem to love in my earliest drafts) but nothing that broke my brain. Hopefully this will be the case for the entire project.

I’m thinking about what to write for Nanowrimo and I think I’m going to work on the sequel to Exodus. I had a spark of an idea today while I was driving home so we’ll see if it develops into anything actionable by November.

I should write a review for The First Wife’s Secret, but I’m kinda afraid to. I hated it. Like, the worst Goodreads rating I’ve ever given, hated it. And I’m not sure what the point of a review like that would be. It’s liable to turn into something pretty ugly and I don’t want that. Regardless of how I feel about it, the author put a lot of time and effort into her work and I don’t want to be a jerk about it. I don’t trust myself NOT to be a jerk about it, because I have a lot of feelings. So… there may not be a review this week, despite finishing the book.

What’s Next?

  • Publish two blog posts
  • Revise two chapters of Exodus
  • Read a short story

I sat here for a while struggling to come up with a fourth goal for the week, but figured if it was that hard to figure out, I probably didn’t really need to make it a goal. I sort of want to work on brainstorming and outlining the Exodus novella I want to write for Nano, but I really think I need to spend a bit more time back in the world first. Which editing will do nicely.

I have a bajillion books out from the library right now, one of which is Kameron Hurley’s new collection of short stories. Which I am DYING to read. So, yeah. I’m gonna read one of those ding dang stories this week. Pinky promise.

This weekend is my bestie’s thirtieth birthday, so I doubt I’ll be much use on Friday or Saturday. Thankfully Sundays seem to be my best day for writing work right now and I never have plans on Sundays. What a coincidence!

I may be back later this week with some news, which if you follow me on twitter or tumblr you already know about because I screamed it into the ether-net. But, I want to cool my jets a little and give this post its space before I share anything else.

Until then, Bloggarts!

 

BZ

The Recap – July 2019

July is a blur. Not even a blur, really. More a collection of images stamped in my brain, flashes of days spent wallowing and letting myself off the hook for my lack of productivity. I read a lot, watched a lot of TV, and played a lot of video games. I gave myself permission to immerse myself in the misery of sudden, unexpected unemployment.

Not my finest month, by any stretch.

July Goals

  • Polish Exodus: Descent
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read one short story a week
  • Finish Whale Song rough draft
  • Keep reading!

How’d I do?

  • Polish Exodus: Descent
    • Narp. I did revise one chapter, but there’s like, eight of them, so… not what we’d call a success.
  • Continue short story submissions
    • Yes. I at least didn’t allow my complete lack of motivation keep my stories from getting work done. All three are still out.
  • Read one short story a week
    • Nope. I did read two from Transcendent 2 though.
  • Finish Whale Song rough draft
    • Nope. I did make some great progress, all things considered. Maybe about halfway? I’m calling it Whales in my head, but the actual title is The Lament of Kivu Lacus.
  • Keep reading!
    • Yes! I at least managed to do this! I read six titles in July, most of them Nonfiction about running libraries. But it’s still reading! I did a thing!

Monthly Word Count: 1,720

I’m working really hard not to be too critical of myself for this past month. When I look at all the inconsistency, how I ghosted on the blog a couple of times, how I couldn’t rely on myself to put my ass in the chair and get work done… it feels bad. My office door was closed most of this month, and almost all of my computing happened from the couch. Granted, some of that was fiction writing, but still. It feels gross.

But, I also know that summer is not a great time for me, historically. I’ve never been let go from a job before, let alone one that meant so much to me, and it was a serious blow to my self-esteem. Which is ridiculous since it was a city-wide layoff. But, my brain can tell me how ridiculous I’m being all damn day, my heart won’t hear it. At least not until it’s wallowed and had entirely too much ice cream.

Stomachaches provide clarity, apparently.

So, what did I do all month? I read a lot, taking notes, planning displays and programs, planting seeds for some networking, and doing the HR on-boarding sort of stuff for the school district. I binged Veronica Mars, The Great British Baking Show, watched more movies than I have in years, and played Red Dead Redemption II. I did a lot of chores. There was a weekend in Bend too, to celebrate our anniversary.

For some that looks like a nice summer vacation. For me it reeks of depression. All that downtime and I only wrote 1700 words? Yikes. I didn’t even apply for the Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship. I couldn’t muster the energy.

But, today I opened my new planner (July 2019-June 2020) and wrote in all my holidays and non-working days (school schedules are whack, y’all), and I’m feeling prepared and dare I say inspired?

Well, not quite inspired. Maybe intrigued. There’s a little simmer of interest bubbling up in me. I don’t know what it will lead to, but I’ll do my best not to smother it.

August Goals

  • Polish Exodus: Descent
  • Continue short story submissions
  • Read one short story a week
  • Finish Whales rough draft
  • Keep reading!

Yep. Those are the goals from last month. They’re good goals. All things I really want to work on. I don’t know how realistic it is to try and do them all the same month I’m starting at a whole new job, but I doubt it could be a worse performance than July. It’s worth striving for.

That optimism alone is refreshing. I just may be on an upswing, Bloggos.

I’d really like to get back into hiking as well this month. July was just such an oddly social, yet so very shut in month. It was all contradictions and self-guilt and escapism. I’m ready to leave that all behind and get back to work.

I’ll be back around with either a reading recap or a book review or something tomorrow.

Until then, Blogland.

 

 

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