Goals Summary 2018 – Wk 7

Hi Blogland!

Sorry that I didn’t post last Monday like I thought I would. Prepping for our trip was pretty much all consuming until late Tuesday evening. Then we flew off into the dry “cold” of the Valley of the Sun, otherwise known as Phoenix. The weather was fantastic while we were there, high 50s/low 60s and sunshine. So much sunshine. It was wonderful.

Gert's Wedding
What a nice day for a white wedding.

Since we were on vacation there were no goals for last week, but I didn’t get to discuss week 7 at all before we left!

What was I supposed to do?

  • Publish two Book Reviews
  • Start Sanctified chapter 33
  • Finish reading The Stone SkyThe Stone Sky
  • Edit 2 chapters of The Steel Armada


  • Publish two book reviews
  • Start Sanctified chapter 33
    • Yep! Got a little over 600 words down. Not anything too crazy but a solid start.
  • Finish reading The Stone Sky
    • Well… Yes? I didn’t get it done during week 7. But, I did finish it Tuesday night before we left on our trip, which was what I really wanted. I’m calling it a win.
  • Edit two chapters of The Steel Armada
    • No. Not even a little bit. Not even close.

Weekly Word Count: 648

Anything else?

I did manage to read Dark Deeds during our flights and in some of the quieter moments in the evenings. I finished it on the flight home yesterday, so that feels darn good. Also, I applied for a scholarship to attend the Oregon Writers Colony 2018 Writer’s Conference!OWC logo The conference is in April, held at a book themed hotel on the coast. They’ll announce the winners sometime mid-March. Also, Madhu and I agreed to start sharing our revisions with one another again at the end of the month.


So, what’s next?

  • Publish two book reviews
  • Finish Sanctified chapter 33
  • Finish reading SemiosisSemiosis
  • Edit 2 chapters of The Steel Armada
  • Edit Lifelike

That’s a big list and it’s already Tuesday! There’s also the end of the month looming, which means I’ve got today and tomorrow to get some major work done! Expect to see me back here on Thursday to discuss how February went, and then again throughout the weekend with the book reviews for The Stone Sky and Dark Deeds.

Until then,



The Homestretch

Sometimes I think I should be a little more structured with my blog. When readers come here, they never really know what they’re going to get.

One day I may have some insight into writing itself, but most days I just blather on about my personal life until I can feel the writing juices are flowing.

This blog is my equivalent of Vonnegut’s scribblings. Except he had the decency to throw them away. Here I am posting them for all the world to see.

But, I’m not too motivated to change the way I blog, because it works. I’m not here to have thousands of followers, or to try and make a living. I don’t even understand how that works. How do you make money from putting your personal musings on the internet?


This blog is here as an outlet. A place where I can sit down every morning and talk about whatever strikes me, in order to wake up my brain and prepare for the hours of fiction writing ahead of me.

And let me tell you, it works.

Yesterday I wrote 3,727 words. In one sitting. I finished chapter 18, considered ending the day there, and then wrote another 800+ words for chapter 19.

And I am so excited about that! You see, my book is only 20 chapters, plus an epilogue. Today I will finish chapter 19. Do you see?

I am almost done with my second novel! And this one is actually a novel length! Well, it’s still small, but publisher’s would actually look at this one!

It’s going to cap out at about 60,000 words.

So, a week or so ago, I knew I was getting close to the end of my journey with ‘Cards’, because I started thinking about the next project. I want to work on a large fantasy piece, that’s set to be a trilogy. There are a ton of characters, all with their own point’s of view and plot lines, and I’m really excited to start it.

But, I know from previous experience that once I’m done with ‘Cards’, I’m going to need a break. Last time, I went into a sort of writing hibernation. I disappeared for the better part of six months, and I don’t want to do it again.

It’s just such a waste of time.

So, in my ‘non-writing’ time, I’m going to finish the first round of edits of ‘Vessels’. I remember liking how they were going, I just got distracted. And, if I’m not writing, I should be editing 3 chapters or so a week.

I want to get it done before the wedding. We’ve got just over a month until we say “I Do”, and I want to have this novel, and the edits for ‘Vessels’ done, so I can honeymoon guilt free.

And I still have wedding stuff I have to think about! Gah! So much work to be done!

But, I’m feeling good about it all. I finally think things are under control.

I’m off to work on this novel. I’ll talk at you later Blogland!



Fitting in the Fiction

Today is already a brighter, happier place than where I left you yesterday. Both mentally, and literally.

It’s just past 11am, and it’s 75 degrees with no clouds in sight. You’d best believe I’m in a tank top and shorts. And I am soaking up every bit of UV I can. Sunburns be damned!

I’ve given yesterday’s mindset some serious thought, and here’s what I’ve come up with.

I think that my perceptions, thought processes, and general outlook are different when I’ve been up since 3 in the morning.

Yesterday’s haunted ramblings came from an exhausted brain that fought several brutal rounds in order to write 2,299 words. But, they’re good words. I like them.

But today is much brighter, and I’m feeling energized and a little scatter-brained. Add to it that my best friend just interrupted me for about an hour, and I’m probably not going to get too much done.

But, I should have just enough time before my dress fitting to finish this chapter!

Wish me luck!



The Wedding and the Dark Tower

Tuesday was a success. I finished chapter 13 and went to the library. Apparently the Salem Library either has no hardback copies of ‘The Gunslinger’, or they’re all checked out. Either way, I went home with this beauty.


And I am bewitched.

It’s an odd book, to be sure. It’s this jilted, and stilted view into the world of the Dark Tower series. Nothing really makes sense yet, although I’m gathering the pieces in the hopes that it will all come together.

I have a feeling that this is literally just the foundation for the rest of the series. It’s laying groundwork for all that’s to come, but it’s not making it easy on me.

I’ve talked about learning curves here before. I used to think that ‘The Way of Kings’ had a steep learning curve. Yeah… That was gradual compared to this.

I’ve always considered Stephen King as a dialogue/language powerhouse. His books all have this blunt, hard-nosed edge, and yet they flow and can even be beautiful.

But in ‘The Gunslinger’ he’s outdone himself. The characters speak in this dialect that you can tell has it’s basis in English, but the words…. they’re hard to follow. And there are no explanations. You figure it out purely from context. And yet, the actual language of the exposition can be lofty, and I’ve had to google a word or two, which is rare for me.

The world-building is sparse, and done almost exclusively through character, but it works because the world itself is sparse.

I’m excited to see where this ends up, and how the rest of the series progresses.

Anyway, Tuesday was good. I’d planned on Wednesday following suit, but I received a text that derailed that plan.

Trevor’s mom works for a textbook company. They rent and sell textbooks to students all over the country. When those textbooks are sold back or returned, it’s amazing what people will send with them. All kinds of books that they just don’t want anymore.

And so, her boss finds the good ones, whether by content or condition, and stacks them in his office. He sells them all for a dollar a piece, and then the company matches it and donates it to a local food shelter. It’s a pretty cool thing.

Anyway, she put in her notice, and this was my last chance to raid the office, armed with my tip money. So, I left the computer in the car and headed over.


For $7 this is what I came away with. Minus ‘The Gunslinger’.

And so I’m here before work today, trying to make up for the sacrificed time. But, wedding stuff has absorbed a lot of my time. The invitations we ordered were delivered yesterday, so I’ve been messaging the masses for their addresses, and then writing them all down once and for all.

Then I looked into a friend’s registry because she’s getting married exactly a month before us. And then emailed the photographer about our Engagement photography session next weekend. Then I emailed a potential caterer back.

My to-do list seems to be growing instead of shrinking.

Pay off and pick up wedding bands, as well as have my engagement rings cleaned this weekend. Pick up some more registry cards and then mail ALL invitations by Monday. Dress fitting this coming Wednesday. Manicure next weekend before the photo shoot. Photo shoot itself. Then I need to write and mail Thank You cards from the Bridal Shower.

Oh, and we’re moving on the 20th!

So, I’m sitting here writing this in hopes of warming up my brain to bust out Chapter 14 before 2:30. Probably not gonna happen. But, I’ll get a good chunk done.

I hope.



The Lie We Tell Ourselves

Hey. Long time, no see.

Let’s just say that the wedding has finally made itself known. I’m emailing caterers, booking appointments for all kinds of things, and with frappuccino happy hour at work, I don’t really have time to breathe. And my silence here is a symptom of the silence on my computer. I haven’t written a word for the novel in two weeks now, nor have I edited a single page. It makes my stomach all knotted. I hate it. And it shows in my attitude. It’s like when you’re really hungry and so you’re extra irritable, except I do that with writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I get Hangry too, but the writing version is worse because it’s subtle.

It’s not just an irritability. It’s a total fraying of the nerves. I handle stress much more poorly. I cry more, and I do get angry more easily. It gets to where Trevor starts to hint, “maybe you should do some writing, babe.” Which then makes me angry, because I obviously know I should be writing, I just don’t have time!


The writer’s excuse. We all know it. We’ve all dealt with it. And we all see it for what it really is. A lie.

My ideal schedule of closing and writing the four or five hours before my shift is no longer mine. I’ve been opening and working days, and so I go straight home, and usually to sleep or to make dinner. I haven’t adjusted and made time for my writing, and I feel incredibly guilty for it. I’m still going to try and get some work done today though. I have the time and the scene has been percolating now for a while. It’s ready.

But, what’s my plan going forward?

Well, we’re moving in about two weeks. We’ll be getting rid of this bulky desk I’ve had since my childhood, and using a more streamlined piece. A small one to fit in our smaller apartment, and with less desk space so we can cut down on clutter. But, we’re also going to get a dining room table, and I think that’s where I’ll make my base. I need to train myself to work at home, that Starbucks is not synonymous with writing. At least not solely. That way, time spent home alone can be productive time too.

It’s a tentative plan, so don’t judge me if it fails!

I hope to see you soon, blogland.



Goals-ish, and Metaphorical Acrobatics

Oh, Mondays. Usually a day off, the last couple have been busy. Today is no different. Today we have another shift meeting, and then I’m closing.

Really, let me be honest with myself. I am just busy.

In order of events:

Tomorrow- getting a tattoo, plan first dress fitting, purchase wedding invites
Sunday- Bridal Shower
the 29th- catering appointment
May 17th- final payment/pick up wedding rings, manicure appt., engagement photography
May 31st- have to be out of our current apartment

So, my every waking minute is filled with a torrent of wedding ideas, moving plans, and somewhere in there I’ve carved out space for writing and editing, and then within that is my personal time.

In short, I need a vacation.

So, last week’s goals. I wanted to finish chapter 12, and edit chapter 5. I finished chapter 12 on Monday, which worked out nicely, because I was a busy bee most of the week. I made a halfhearted attempt to edit chapter 5, but didn’t get very far.

So, this week I want to write chapter 13, and finish the edits on chapter 5, and maybe even edit chapter 6 while I’m at it.

But, the closer we get to July, the less time I’m going to have.

What’s left you ask?

I still have to solidify catering, though I think we’ve got it nailed down. Have to purchase invites, and then send them out. Need to make appointments for the dress fittings. Need to taste and decide on cake. We still need to book every aspect of our honeymoon(s).

I can’t think about it too much or it sort of downward spirals.

And the wedding isn’t the only stress in our lives. Trevor should hear something about the 911 job later this week, and we’re moving. There’s a lot of money heading out, but not quite enough coming in. But, I don’t want to make it about money. We’re doing well, better than a lot of people our age, and I won’t complain about finances here.

It’s been quite a few weeks since I’ve had a real weekend. It’s not anyone’s fault, but I’ve been switching a lot of shifts and requesting a lot of weird days off. And it’s only going to be worse as hurtle toward the wedding day.

If I could get a real weekend off, you know Saturday and Sunday, it would give Trevor and I time to really pack and clean and plan out wedding stuff. And it would give us some quality time together.

We’ve done well with the time we have together, and I love it. But there’s nothing quite like sleeping in together on a Sunday morning. Or going out on a Friday night, when neither of us have obligations the next day.

I want to have a normal person’s schedule. But, I can’t have that and write. At least not while I depend on Starbucks for a paycheck. Now, if I could write full time… talk about a dream.

Anyway, I should try and get some work done. Though, I’ll be honest, I’m not really feeling it right now.

It’s like I’ve been hurtling, blind, through this bog of work. And because I couldn’t really see it, I could continue. But, I’ve had several people ask me about my workload lately, and their shock at my output has made me stop and consider.

Am I working myself too hard? Probably. But I’m getting the results I want. Mostly. I’ve proven that I can take a four hour block and bust out a chapter, start to finish. I can take a chapter from rough draft to 2nd draft in two hours. It’s not a lack of ability or determination, or even discipline.

It is genuinely a shortage of time. I could write 20,000 words a week if I didn’t have a day job. But, I can’t afford not to work, nor can I afford to work part time. So my life has become a balancing act. How many things can I juggle while walking a tightrope with one arm tied behind my back?

More than I would have guessed. It’s the longevity I’m worried about. I just have to make it to August, after that I will suddenly have a lot of free time. I hope.

This post is getting a little ramble-ific, so I’m going to end it here. Wish me luck for this week. There’s a lot going on in the coming days, and I still want to make my goals. I’m in need of the good vibes.



Not-So-New Year’s Resolutions

It’s been a busy new year. I’m sorry I’ve been neglecting the blog. That tends to happen when I neglect my other forms of writing. I did get some work done on the new novel, about 300 words so far. But, it’s not even noon yet, and I don’t work until 3:30, so there’s plenty of time to get more work in.

I wanted to just give an update on my life and writing, and get rid of some of the mess clogging up my brain. Namely wedding stuff.

The venue is reserved, we are officially getting married July 26th at 5pm!
The officiant, a friend of ours, is booked.
The Save the Dates are ordered, and would have been here today if the FedEx guy had waited five minutes for me to get to the door at 8:20 this morning.
The rings are set aside, payments are being made.
The dress is paid for.
My vows are on a tentative fourth draft.

And despite all of this being done, there is so much left to do.

We still have to register.
I’ve scheduled a Floral Consultation. Luckily one of my coworkers is also a Florist.
We’ve narrowed down potential caterers, but still need to schedule consultations, and get a solid budget for food.
And we need to do the same for the Cake.
I need to officially book my photographer, one of my regulars at work.
Invitations need to be bought.

Add in all the little details like table linens and decor, and I’m officially swamped. But, we are attending a Bridal Expo this weekend, and hopefully registering on Sunday. Things are getting done, slowly but surely.

Other, non-wedding things have been taking up a bit of my time as well. Like our phones. We were on a family plan with my mother, which cost us next to nothing. Not really fair to my mom, but we offered to pay her more and she always turned us down. Well, she decided to switch carriers, and we didn’t want to, so now we’re on our own line, which costs a lot more than what we were paying. But I got a sweet new phone out of the deal, so it’s not that bad.

I’ve accomplished some of the “new me” things I talked about back in November.

  • I got my cartilage pierced, which hurt like hell. But, I love it, and can’t wait for the day when it’s not tender anymore.
  • I stopped biting my nails, mostly. I’ve relapsed a couple times, but generally I’ve stopped and my fingers look much healthier for it.
  • I got my epic haircut, which I’ve probably already talked about. It’s grown out some, which I like on the long side, but the short side is in need of a trim. But since that’s the side with my cartilage piercing, I’m going to hold off for a few months.
  • I got another tattoo, my Doctor Who one on my left forearm and am planning another one for sometime in April.
  • I’m also planning to get my doubles done after the cartilage piercing has calmed down.
  • I’ve lost some weight, which isn’t something I’m really trying to do, but I’m generally eating better, and less. Portion awareness works wonders apparently.

So, it’s been a productive new year in nearly every aspect of my life. Except for writing. And it’s eating me up.

Nearly every day I find myself thinking about writing, but not making the time. My mind wanders to the new story far more frequently than it does ‘Vessels’, which is good. Though occasionally I’ll see something that will make me think of Val, as if she’s an old friend to reminisce about. I think that means the distance is growing, and sometime soon I’ll be able to begin editing.

But, not today. Today I’m working on ‘Cards’. Slowly. The story feels like a trickle in my brain. Something constant, but not demanding. Maybe Whit’s just a little more patient than Val.

I don’t know. With ‘Vessels’ I didn’t know where the story was going, and that kept me focused on writing to find out. But with ‘Cards’, I know where we’re going, and I feel decidedly less excited to write it. But, that’s not fair to this story, because it’s good. It deserves to be told. So, I’m going to keep working on it, even if it’s just a chapter every few weeks.

I don’t think it will be like that, though. I just think I’m not in the habit of writing, and so the writing is slow. But once I come up with a schedule and adhere to it, the words will come, no problem.

I just have to make the time. And I know that. So that’s what I aim to do.

I’m going to finish this novel, hopefully before the wedding. But definitely before Thanksgiving!

Thanks for following along on this journey blogland.



Week 10 Summary, Pt. 2

Before I get into full swing on Pt. 2, I have a couple things to talk about.

1. Sorry for this post being a day late. I started a new blog yesterday, The Disney Honeymoon Challenge, and all my spare time found itself wound up in designing and posting over there.

2. I wanted to talk a little about audience. This blog, for instance, has a pretty limited audience. It’s intended for writers. Whether they write blogs, fiction, or nonfiction doesn’t much matter, but the blog focuses on writing topics, so that’s who it’s geared for. I imagined that, on WordPress, writers would be quite a broad audience. But, the new blog has already seen more views in a day than this one has ever seen in one day. And here’s my thoughts why.

First of all, it’s Disney. Disney is a huge, extremely recognizable name. It also is generally loved. Millions of people are obsessed by all things Disney. Myself included.  So, there’s that. But it’s also about relationships, love, and marriage, and how these things are reflected in Disney films. Suddenly I have a blog that is relatable to just about everyone. And it shows.

Already I’ve had several people ask me if the new blog’s initial success makes me feel bad about this blog. The answer is, ‘no’. They are two totally different animals. And the writing blog is more for my own well-being and understanding of my craft.

The Disney blog is for fun!

But, having two blogs is definitely time consuming. Already I’m wondering if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, but I’m not one for giving up. I’ll find a way to balance two blogs, writing, editing, wedding planning, and 40 hour work weeks…

…I think.

Now, back to Lecture #10!

We left off talking about Agents. What they do, and what to look out for when you go about acquiring one. But now, let’s talk about the Arguments Against Agents.

The Eternal Rewrite.
—-> How much time do you want to give to this Agent? If you’re editing before they’ll agree to represent your work, you’re not getting paid. So set limits. How many rewrites are you willing to do for this Agent? Do you agree with what they’re saying about your manuscript?
—-> Send to other Agents while you revise for this one. Don’t limit yourself.

Incentive to Go Bigger.
—-> They might not fight to get that extra money.
—-> You need to know the business, demand rejection letters, know where and to whom they’re sending your work.
—-> Be proactive, work with your Agent

Remember, an Agent is there to give you advice, NOT manage your career.

Getting a good Agent is about the same as getting published. But, keep in mind that Sci-Fi/Fantasy Houses tend to do their own quirky stuff, an Agent may not even be necessary.

Brandon then realized that we probably don’t have much understanding of the Book Market, so he broke it down for us.

Nonfiction > Fiction
Children’s > Adult
Romance > Everything Else
Thrillers > Everything Else

And Sci-Fi/Fantasy is WAAAAAAY down here. But, Sci-Fi/Fantasy tends to be very open to new authors.

You need to be an expert on Publishing Houses and Genres. The more you know, the better your chances.

And then there’s a little tidbit: 40% of people who buy a book online have looked at a physical copy in a bookstore.

So, Brandon lists Sci-Fi/Fantasy Publishers:

Del Rey/Bantam/Spectra
Simon & Scheuster

Look up Editors, look at the books they’re producing—-> Buy them, read them, learn what they’re looking for. Also, pay attention to Book Labels. Who are your favorite books published by? Read the acknowledgments.

Knowing specific editors at TOR is very important, they are basically autonomous, and publish things they like.

So, how do you get to know editors and agents?

Go to conventions!
—-> see them at panels
—-> ask them detailed questions about what they’re working on

Big cons that you need to start attending are:

World Fantasy Convention
The Nebula Weekend

See if an Editor you like writes a blog, if they do read it, leave comments!

Also, there are submission guidelines for a reason. Read them, understand them, and adhere to them. Don’t get your manuscript tossed without being read because you didn’t use the right font.

Someone in the class asked if they should register a copyright before sending their manuscript out. Brandon laughed. Basically, your work is NOT going to get stolen in New York. Publishers want your skill, not your ideas.

Remember, ideas are cheap.

So, don’t register a copyright, it immediately labels you as a noob.

And then Brandon said something that made me happy. He said we should be doing it all. We should be writing short stories and getting them published, while submitting our longer works to Publishers as well as Agents. Do it all!

I then wrote, ‘Google this shit. This is hard, but you have to do it.’ Obviously, Brandon didn’t drop the S-word in his lecture, but occasionally, I leave motivating messages to myself.

Anyway, I’ve ignored ‘The Portrait’ for a few days, and I need to get back to it.

Have a great day, Blogland!