29 November 2011

The Dead Body That Claims It Isn't.

To quote Monty Python:
I don't want to go on the cart.
Oh, don't be such a baby.
I can't take him.
I feel fine.

You may have been wondering if I have succumbed to some sort of plague, zombification or otherwise loathsome and horrible end. The truth is: I haven't.

Two weeks ago work pretty much became this huge black hole of death, originating inside my brain and threatening to throw my universe out of alignment.  This would happen, of course, in the middle of Nano.  On top of that, I fell ill.  Nothing life threatening, I assure you, but on top of stress at work and sickness, I decided to bench nano for the year, much to my displeasure.

Of course, writing should be fun, and it's something I enjoy tremendously.  And I wasn't having fun.  I dreaded the thought that I would have to leave work to do MORE work and just the fact that I was looking at writing as work should tell you how sick I was!

I spent 2 1/2 days on the couch, watching Dr. Who and playing Lego Star Wars.  Then I had to go back to work.  I'm still suffering from some unfortunate sinus congestion.

Anyway, Nano this year just wasn't my year, it seems.  I still plan to continue writing my novel, though.  The story of Rex LaBeau will be told.  It just won't be told in one month.

Work is still stressful, unfortunately, which is why it's taken so long to update you all on my very much alive condition.  Hopefully that will change soon, though.  Very soon.  And of course there's some exciting things in the future -- Europe and others among them.

Oh, and I got a new phone! FINALLY.  The fabulous iPhone 4S. I pretty much love it.  And it's global ready, which is one of the reasons I chose it.  It makes it so much easier to go to Europe now that I don't have to worry what I'll do for a phone and how I'll organize everything that I need. Thank you, Apple.

So, anyway.  I've finished book #53 of 50. Yes, I have continued reading.  I'm over my goal for the year, which is nice. I'm now re-reading the Harry Potter series because... well, it's been a while and I really enjoy the books.

My most recent literary conquest is a book called Deadly Games by Lindsay Buroker.  You can check out her blog here.  The book is #3 of her Emperor's Edge series.  I believe they are only available online right now -- so if any of you have a Kindle you should check them out.  They're a mix of light steampunk, science fiction and fantasy.  The characters are interesting and witty and the story is intriguing and well written.

I think that's about it for the update.  I'm probably going to wait until after the holiday's to continue writing about Rex.  Well perhaps not.  I just need things at work to calm down a bit so that I can realign myself with my writing goals. My department is soon to be down to 1 -- just me.  My closest coworker quit to follow a new opportunity, one coworker is being transferred, another is going on maternity leave any day now, my bosses boss was fired and my boss quit.  So yeah, it's been nuts. But never fear, her story will be told. Little by little, piece by piece. 

And thank you to those of you who stuck around through my rambling (or lack thereof!).  I'll be back to posting more regular updates now, methinks. 

Stay shiny!

10 November 2011

Nano Update

So I was way ahead, right?
Yeah, not so much anymore.  I'm at 16,122 words.  I was going to get up early this morning to write, but that didn't happen, unfortunately.  I didn't sleep well. [insert sad face here]

On top of that, work has been super ridiculous nutso stressful yesterday.  Pretty much the entire team is bailing and either quitting, trying to get fired or going on maternity leave.  All of this in the middle of this huge opening we're having where we're doing everything different and the support is needed more than ever and guess who is left holding the torch.


Yeah, not cool.  So I'm mega stressed at work and I just haven't had time to write really this week, which makes me sad.  I'm going to try to write some tonight to make up for it, and tomorrow morning I WILL get up really early and write write write until my fingers BLEED.  Unfortunately I have too much work to do to write when I'm there... not that I would anyway...

But, on the bright side, I do get to see my boyfriend this weekend, which I thought wouldn't happen because he's not feeling well and I'm a crazy combo of stressed and pms.  I should have some time to write Sunday afternoon, so I'll just have to button down the hatches and DO IT.

Plus, Thanksgiving is coming up soon. I'll have a whole two days off of work, plus the two days of the weekend afterwards, to write.  I'm going to cook a chicken (yes, a whole chicken) on Thanksgiving, but I'll still have time to write.

Ok so, here's my checklist:
  • Deep breath
  • Get up early and write on Friday
  • Write all Sunday afternoon
  • Find percocet for work

I just threw that last one in there... just in case, ya know?
Stay Shiny! Keep Writing! DO NOT GIVE UP PEOPLE, I MEAN IT!
I'm not giving up, so neither can you. So there.

07 November 2011

Dear Life: Butt Out!

My life is getting in the way of NaNoWriMo.
I know, whodda thunk, right?  But it's not all bad.  I had a super weekend... I just didn't get as much writing done as I would have liked.

My total word count is: 13,011.  Not bad, not awesome, still ahead of the game by 3,000 words.  I've decided that I'm awful at multitasking too many goals at once, so I'm not going to track all those hours or cups of coffee or anything remotely requiring an excel file.

This weekend, in a nutshell:
  • I was going to go hiking with my BF Saturday morning, but as soon as we got to the mountain it started dumping rain.  Thanks, weather.
  • Went shopping with my BFF and spent far too much time at the mall -- but I got some cute winter clothes, so it was worth it.
  • Went to dinner with the BFF and a bunch of others for her b-day -- ate, drank and was generally merry.
  • Got home at 10.30 and passed out with intentions of getting up early and owning that hike that I was rained out of on Saturday. 
  • Did not go hiking Sunday morning because it was far too cold -- went for a jog instead.
  • Ran errands -- chief among them THE GREAT JEAN HUNT OF 2011. It was unsuccessful.  I hate buying jeans.
  • Ordered a new phone since my current one thinks that taking a phone call or checking voice mail is too much work.  Alas it won't come in until later this month.
  • Went home, had lunch and did laundry like crazy.  Seriously there was a pile in my closet at least a month old.  I'm pretty sure if I'd let it go on any longer it might have eaten me alive.
  • Finally had time to sit and write.  Wrote about 3,000 words, then had dinner.
  • After dinner I got distracted by cute cats, cozy warm blankets and Netflix and didn't write any additional words.
  • Woke up this morning annoyed at the weather and wishing I'd written more last weekend, but totally happy about how things went anyway.

Now I'm enjoying a cup of Earl Gray (because it's cold and rainy outside) and wishing I was at home writing, because rainy weather is the perfect writing weather, you know?  It's cold, so you snuggle up in your PJ's and make a cup of tea or a cup of cider or a cup of hot chocolate.  You don't want to be out so snuggling up to read or watch TV or write your Nano novel is the perfect activity.

I want it to stay rainy and cold ALL day so that when I get home I can throw everything in a pile and just start writing.  I'm going to see if I can get up to 20k today, and 30k by the end of the week.  My week isn't anywhere NEAR as busy as last week, which was somehow out of control, so I expect that's viable.

Also, my BF informed me that he's going to be in the area for Thanksgiving*, instead of up with his family.  This is very exciting.  I was hoping to spend Thanksgiving with him, but he usually goes up to see his family in Kingman.  It would be more than just a day thing, so I said I couldn't go.  He's planning on being in the area now, and I was planning on cooking an entire chicken** anyway.  Unfortunately he's also going to have to put up with me writing almost non stop those few days.

*For those of you who are unaware, Thanksgiving is an American holiday where we celebrate the fact that we pretty much destroyed the entire native civilization of America -- the American Indians.  Propaganda would have you believe that we're celebrating our union of them, but we all know that we're basically celebrating our dominance.

**Traditionally a turkey is cooked on Thanksgiving, but that's a huge hassle.  Also, I can't fit a frozen turkey in my freezer, so I'm going to cook a chicken instead.  I considered Cornish hens, which are tiny and cute and I want to make dance, but I'll probably eat those before Thanksgiving rolls around.

So I have a lot of words to write and some work to do, stay shiny!

03 November 2011

You Can Call Me...

Fire Fingers.
NaNoWriMo day 3, word count: 10,004

So far...
I'm almost through act one of my nano novel.  I'm into chapter 4.  Rex and Turq have tackled a killer robot history project, reprogrammed it, discovered her parents have been captured by the Empire, been invaded by the Empire, battled Empire soldiers, sabotaged the Empire ships, nearly drown themselves, manged to successfully collect Rex's father's data and escape to her ship and are now preparing to leave the planet for the very first time.  They're looking at possible Empire ships that could attack as they try to leave, plus a large Empire ship orbiting their home-moon.  Rex has decided to rescue her parents and is contemplating infiltrating the larger ship.

My goal for this week was to reach 10,000 words by midnight on Saturday.  Spurred on by the fact that I have an intensely busy schedule this week, I pushed myself to write 5,000 words on day 1. I had to wake up early to do it, and then write some more after I'd finished with my boot camp, but I did it.

Day two brought new challenges.  Netflix delivered a DVD and I planned to make Ceviche for dinner -- a time consuming, but delicious dish.  Plus I had to do laundry and the dishes.  Suddenly my full evening of writing turned into just a few hours in the late evening.

But somehow I managed to push out another 5,000 words.

Mostly, I type really fast.  I have a good, strong outline for my story that tells me where I need to go, but I'm also really into my story, which is good.  The writing may not be spectacular... I'm embracing the whole first-draft thing that Nano should supply me with.  I've sent my inner editor to Romania, where I blindfolded her and dropped her off in the middle of a forest.  I'll go pick her up in December.

For the time being it's just me, my super speedy fingers and the story, which will hopefully not suck too badly once it's all said and done.

Scrivener has also been instrumental in helping keep me organized -- I love the cork-board feature! LOVE IT.

So my new challenge to myself is to see if I can double that number by midnight on Saturday.  Let's see if I can write 20,000 words by the end of week one.  Maybe I'll get there and maybe I won't, but based on my track record, 5,000 words a day is my average, so I'm pretty confident that I can do it.

I've also decided to track a few things for Nano.
Cups of Coffee: 2
Days Up Early: 1
Days Up Late: 0
Hours of Writing: 5
Days of Writing Missed: 0

Cups of coffee, hours of writing and days of writing missed are pretty self explanatory.  On a typical work day I get up at 5am, so getting up prior to 5am with the intent to write before work would constitute an early day (on day one I got up at 3.30am so I would have time to write).  A typical evening puts me to bed anywhere form 9 - 10pm, so any night spent staying up late would be any time after 10pm, with the express purpose of writing.

The plan tonight is to head home and have a snack after work, get in an hour or so of writing (another 2,000 words, perhaps?) and then head to boot camp.  I'll get home around 7.30, shower, have dinner, watch one episode from one show, then write until bed time.

Stay shiny!

01 November 2011

Dear Nanowrimo,

I Own You.
Yeah, that's right Nano, give me all that you got, I'll take it and still have room for more!
 Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo 2011. So far, my day has been successful.

I got up this morning at 3.30 am - I was not happy about it, but I did it anyway.  I had breakfast (scrambled eggs, avocado, salsa, 1/2 a home-made bison burger [side note: I don't suppose my UK friends have those, eh? No bison roaming around Ireland or England or Germany? If you ever come to the states and are one of the lucky ones that eat meat, find somewhere to try it - they're amazing. And Bison are strictly regulated - they can't be grain fed, so it's a healthier, grass-fed animal, just fyi.] and a banana), showered, got ready and then made my coffee.  Mmmmm, french press and coconut milk!

I sat down to write my Nano novel shortly thereafter, and I wrote until I had to leave for work at 6.30 am.  In about an hour and a half, I wrote 3,027 words.

Yes. I. Did.

Not only does that blow the daily goal of 1,667 out of the water, but it defeats my challenge daily goal of 2,000 words per day.  Of course, it pretty much has to.  I have a busy week, and I don't think I'll have any time to do any writing on Friday - which SUCKS.  I'm going to have to MAKE time.  So my plan is to make up as much time this week as I can.  To write and write and write just as much as I can to make up for the days when I won't have time.  I want to reach 10,000 words by midnight on Saturday, and by golly I'm going to do it!

I'm nothing if not persistent.

Now, some of you may be wondering, what am I doing writing a thousand (or more) words in a blog when I should be writing those in my nano novel?  I'm also kind of crazy, you knew that, though, right?

I won't have time to write again until tonight after boot camp and dinner... so about 8pm.  Which should give me a solid hour of writing time before bed.  An hour and a half if I inhale my food.  Two hours if I stay up past my bed time.  We shall see what the night brings.  Maybe I can get to 5,000 words tonight.  What do you think?

Nano isn't about something being AMAZING... it's about a first draft, and it's supposed to be fun.  So I'd like to post my first paragraph for you all here - don't judge me too harshly, remember I won't be editing until December / January.

The Memoirs of Rex LaBeau Chapter 1 Paragraph 1:

It’s not every day that I get to take on a somewhat deadly, runaway robot. In fact, Turq was openly opposed to the idea. But the only alternative was to tell my parents, and they were stressed enough already without worrying about my runaway experiment. Besides, it’s not as if I let it go – it escaped, a totally different snafu, albeit one that Turq and my parents are uncomfortably familiar with.

Stay Shiny - and best of luck to my fellow Nano-ers.  Make sure you own it, too, and not the other way around.

31 October 2011

The Storm Before the Storm - No One Here Is Calm.

I am not calm.
Oh no, I am far from calm.  NaNoWriMo starts in roughly 16 hours and I am so not calm.  There is no calm before this storm. There is no blissful moment of thinking you did everything right.  No zen moment where you sit lotus style with a cup of tea, waiting for the clock to chime midnight.

Somehow, I feel like I haven't prepared enough.  I'd do well to remember that I am super prepared, but somehow, on the eve of nano, I just can't bring myself to feel calm.  I'm going to write 50,000 words in 30 days or less - I MUST BE INSANE!

But you know what?  I couldn't be more excited!  I was thinking about staying up, but I know I'll never be able to stay up that late.  I pass out at 8pm normally, so that just won't work.  So instead I'm considering getting up early.  Very early.  Like, 3am early.  But now then, if I don't get to bed early enough, that won't work either.

So here's the plan: I'm going to pass out as early as possible tonight.  7pm, 8pm... it won't be too early! Even if that means I have to run 8 miles and totally exhaust myself.  Then, I'm going to get up as early as possible.... we're talking 3 or 4am here people.  I'm going to have an excellent breakfast, shower and get ready.  I'm going to brew a delicious french press of coffee (I'll need it!) and then I'm going to sit down and write until I have to go to work, and hopefully... with some luck and fairy dust... I'll reach 1667 words before work.

If not... well, I have boot-camp tomorrow night, so I won't be able to play catch up until after 7pm.

I think it's worth it to go over some of my Nano goals again.

Overall Goals:
Finish 50,000 words in 30 days or less
Finish my Novel (which is, btw, more than 50,000 words so this is like a bonus)
Continue my fitness regime (so important)
Write every single day (even if it's just one sentence)

Week 1 goals:
Write 8,335 words
Challenge: Write 10,000 words this week (that's 2,000 words a day!)

So, those are my goals. 10,000 words this week... I think I can do it!  I have a busy week ahead of me, though!  2 boot-camps (Tues/Thurs), a night out with my man on Friday (we're going to see Puss in Boots - we're so refined) and my best friend's birthday party on Saturday night where we're going to see Anonymous and have dinner at P.F. Chang's.

What does that mean for my writing?  It means I have to write early in the morning on Tues & Thurs because I won't have time in the evenings.  It means I have to write like a mad woman on Wednesday night, because it's the only night where I don't have plans.  It means I have to get some writing in before my boyfriend comes over on Friday night, and spend a few hours (at least) writing on Saturday before my best friend's party.

I'm excited.  I'm nervous.  I'm elated.  I'm apprehensive.  I'm jittery and far from calm...and as these emotions clutch at my heart and mind and soul, permeating me with some kind of funky, hyped up pre-Nano-NoS, all I can think is: Holy Mother of Pumpkin Pancakes, what have I gotten myself into?

Stay shiny, friends. And Good luck!
(oh and ps: I finished book #50 of 50 for the year earlier last week - GOAL MET! I'm now reading book #51. Yeah, I'm an over-achiever like that)

28 October 2011

Coconut Oil, A Juicer, Lazy-Sneaky Cat & More Nano Prep

HEY EVERYONE! Did you miss me? I bet you did.  I'm sure you're curious about what I've been doing...

I bought a juicer. THIS ONE. It's amazing!  I juiced oranges and a grapefruit last night and I can't wait to juice more this weekend! I plan on juicing some limes for Margarita's tonight. Yeah!

In case you're wondering, I haven't just been juicing things.  I also purchased coconut oil. It's pretty much my new favorite thing to cook with.  Last night I made some chili-pepper coated fish and I cooked it in the coconut oil and it was so perfect. I mean... just absolutely perfect.  Think of a unicorn covered in dark chocolate romping through a marshmallow forest. That's how perfect it was.

Also, I've been trying to coax my cat, Aries, to come into the bedroom.  He hates sleeping in the living room by himself but my other cat, Aibell, has laid claim to the bedroom so Aries won't go in there anymore.  They're fighting, in case you're wondering.  So Aries has been getting vocal whenever I go into the bedroom at night, because he's jealous.  The only solution is to get him to come into the bedroom, without picking him up and dropping him in there - that just makes him angry at me.

It's definitely challenging, though.  Especially when Aibell is poised and alert, hiding in the hallway and ready to pounce!  And by poised and alert, this is what I mean:

Yeah, she's a force all right!  For some reason, though Aries is scared out of his fur of her.  She's easily got 5 pounds on him, and yeah, she can be evil, but they've lived together peacefully for 4 years. Until apartment cat came along.  Sigh.  So this is an ongoing project of mine.

I've also been up to my ears in Nano prep.  Scriviner released a new beta update (045 - what what!) so I had to download that.  And I've been entering in some research info about Transhumanism (it's an underlying theme, don't cha know) and collecting my thoughts.  Nano is in 3 days! EEP!

I'm spending Saturday night finishing up my prep and doing any last minute stuff I need to.  I haven't decided if I'm going to get up super early on the first and write, though.  I kind of want to, but then I won't be able to stay up late to write.  Plus, the first is on a Tuesday!  I have boot camp on Tuesday's!  I can't be tired for that!  On the same note, I won't have much time in the evening.  Boot camp is at 5.30 and lasts until 6:15, then I go home, shower (because I'm super sweaty and gross) and have dinner. I suppose I could write after dinner.  What an ill-timed start of the month.  Curse you, November!

I suppose I'll have to get up early on Tuesday to start writing. I'm thinking 4 am.  Hopefully I'll get my 2,000 words in before I have to go to work! Though, considering the hour, it'll probably just be ramblings.  I'll make sure to have some coffee ready...

I hope everyone is prepped and ready for Nano! I wish the buddy list function was back online! Or the Novel Cover feature! Geeze! lol Nah, those nano folks are doing their very best and they're doing a great job! love 'em!

Stay shiny!

25 October 2011

Yeah, I know I've been MIA

So, it's been a crazy week or so here.  Last Thursday and Friday were nuts at work and then Saturday I was domestic and Sunday I was deep in Nano research mode all day. Finalizing things and taking down notes and ideas etc.  That's all I did, all day.  Literally.

Now, I'm pleased to tell you all that today's blog post is already written.  I am the guest blogger on my friend's blog, and you can view my guest post HERE.

It's about Nano, as you may have guessed.  Stay tuned for my regularly scheduled ramblings tomorrow, and stay shiny!

19 October 2011

Great Space, 12 Days, Distractions

I am easily distracted.
That's a fact, yo!  Whether it's at work or at home when I'm supposed to be writing or.... shiny thing!

See what I mean?

I really need to work on eliminating my distractions.  I need to put on head phones or play music and just go.  I need to make sure I have my snacks all lined up, a full bottle of water, mug of tea or cider and that my cats are either exhausted, eating or attempting to catch a bird.

How do you eliminate your distractions when you write?

Only 12 days until Nano!  Buddy lists and novel cover's still aren't online.  I'm hoping against hope that the clever Nano staff will have those up and running before the first.  I'm also crossing my fingers that my buddy list will remain intact... no way will I remember everyone's screen names!

Speaking of distractions, I had to move desks at work yesterday.  One of the international guys wanted our white board (apparently its an 8,000$ white board) so we got the boot.  Our new space is kind of nice, though.  It's an enclosed, 4-up cube in a relatively untraveled area of the office.  The only real distraction is the printer, which is right outside of the entrance to our cube.  [side note: I feel like a Borg saying "our cube" - resistance is futile...]  The printer get's a lot of traffic but it's nice to have it so close - I'll no longer have to worry about someone else grabbing my files!

The new space is also pretty great for writing... not that I would do any of that at work. Nooooooooo.
I feel very good energy here, and I like my new desk.  Plus, no one can sneak up on me, which means I am about a million times more relaxed.

I'm still considering getting a laptop for writing, but it won't happen until after Nano.  If I do purchase a laptop, it will be on Black Friday (for those of you outside the USA, that's the day after Thanksgiving and one of the biggest and scariest shopping days of the year).  I have never shopped on Black Friday before - nope, not once!  But I am going to this year.  I have a few things I want to get - both for myself and gifts - but I don't want to spend the full amount on them because... well... I'm cheap. 

This Black Friday I'm hoping I can also find a really great deal on a laptop.  Ideally, this laptop will not only be great for writing, but it will also be fast enough for me to watch Netflix / Hulu+.  I have a few that I'm looking at that are decently priced (nothing HP or Dell because I think they're over priced) and sexy, but I'm just not sure what will be on sale.  I'll be trolling online because there is no way I'm going to drive my ass to a store at 3 am and wait in line just to push and shove my way to the laptop I want. No Way.

Anyone have any laptop suggestions?

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.  Stay shiny friends, and happy hump day!