Monday, February 16, 2015

Another prayer request.

I'm still alive, but I'm reaching the end of my tether.

Yes, I know that I never had a long one to begin with, but I've been doing as best I could to burn through it slowly. To be honest, I think I did quite well.

But now...

Let's just say that when living in two caravans with one's family isn't too bad when you know it's only for two weeks to a month.

It's a big problem when it's running into two months.

It's a huge problem when the electricity we're supposed to live on isn't even strong enough to keep a printer alive (never mind the equipment needed for an internet connection) and when it's so dodgy that it's blown (to date) two freezers, four chargers, a dishwasher and (possibly) my tablet.

It's a massive problem when it's starting to become winter and we don't even have a geezer.

But what makes the problem epic is that our landlord, but I'm not going to go into that for legal reasons.

In short, though, I need some serious prayers for me and my family, because unless things turn around as soon as tomorrow, 2015 will make 2014 look like a cake walk and I seriously seriously don't want that.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Update on my Great Big Goal.

Hi all! I'm still without Internet, but it's good, because we delayed getting Internet pending us moving into an actual house in a few weeks. Yep, I'm currently writing to you from a caravan.

But since this is my own bloghop, co-hosted by Beth Fred, it wouldn't do for me to skip, would it?

For those of you who aren't familiar with this bloghop, we're a bunch of people who set some crazy big, crazy important or just plain crazy goals with the view of actually achieving them. To keep ourselves motivated (and to make it possible for us to encourage each other), we post updates on our progress on the last Friday of every month, unless otherwise arranged. If you have a goal that you're going after, you're more than welcome to sign up. Just click here for more info, or to see who else is taking part.

Let me just say that I'm in some excellent company.

And now, on to the meat of this post.

How did I do?



These were my goals for January:

Writing:


1) Get back to sorting out the covers for Wo6C1, Wo6C2 and BvB1.
Didn't really get to this, mainly because of my lack of decent Internet. 

2) Finish final edit rounds for at least one of the three above mentioned books.
Done, with Wo6C2.

3) Finish rewriting ES1.
Done.

4) Rough draft 15k words.
I rough drafted over 16k words.

This should be what I wanted my January to look like, writing-wise: 


It really looked like this: 


The reason for the changes: 

I finished the rough draft to MDtS. 
I realized that P isn't really where I want it again, so I want to put some thinking into it before trying again. The same with DD. I was supposed to start writing it this month, but it simply won't go beyond being a concept and I just can't really see how I'll be able to turn it into a story this year, so I moved it down the priority list and swapped it with a Science Fiction project I'd planned to do next year. I didn't get to it or StW, though, because I was on a roll with BvB2. (There's a reason for that, but it'll take up  a post on its own, so I'll explain later. Preferably when I have Internet.)

Reading:


Continue reading L’Etranger by Albert Camus.
I finished it. 

Start reading Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
I finished it. 

Read 4 other books
I'll finish my eleventh book for this month (counting the above-mentioned two) today. 


Social Media:


Still having to postpone, pending me gaining access to reliable Internet.


Life:


Survive first month of building a house while still editing and writing.
This one I did, but granted, there wasn't much active building done, because legislation had kicked in (that we didn't know about) that complicates building on farms. We've worked around this, but the way we're doing it requires research and testing. Luckily, though, it looks like we got a house near to where  we live, so we might move into it in the next few weeks. 

So yeah, I did pretty dang good for January. 

My goals for February:


I have a LOT of stuff I want to do, but I'm figuring that even if I do some of it, I'm happy. 


Writing:


1) Sort out covers for Wo6C1, Wo6C2 and BvB1. 
2) Finish copy-edits to BvB1.
3) Rewrite Wo6C3 and my entry into the Untethered Realms Anthology.
4) Start with revisions to ES1.
5) Write 50k words total, rewrites included. This means about 15k words toward my rough drafts. 

So this is what I hope February will look like, writing-wise: 


Reading: 


1) Start reading Mansfield Park. 
2) Start reading King Lear. 
3) Read four other books. 

Social media: 


Survive until I have proper Internet again. Seriously. This sucks. 

Life: 


Right now, most of my life is in limbo, which I'm using to get a ton of writing stuff done. But February might bring me some more stuff to do that isn't writing, so the goal here is to juggle as best I can. 

What about you? Got goals? How are you doing with them? Do sign up and let us know! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Just a quick check-in

Yay! I'm so excited I can hardly sit still. All because I'm going to have proper Internet again real soon. 

Think I'm being stupid for being so ridiculously happy? Try not having Internet for a month. It's sorta nice in week one. It's really nice in week two. In week three, there's a sense that you're cut off. In week four, it feels like you're going to die from withdrawals. 

Fortunately for me, the funny season is about to come to an end, which means that I'll have Internet by the end of next week at the latest. That's probably the soonest I'm going to get it too, since I now live on a farm that's more than a little remote, so ISP is collecting jobs so that they don't have to drive out for one unless they absolutely have to. 

Still, it means I'll be back to blogging soon. And visiting you all. I really can't wait to catch up with all of you. Those visits are more than a little overdue. 

In the meantime, I thought I'd let you know about how my goals for January are coming along. 

By yesterday, I've finished rewriting the Western/Romance, and finished drafting all of the books I'd been working on last year. I've also read two books. So I can safely say that progress is being made. 

Right now, though, I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have that short story for the Untethered Realms Anthology to write, but about a quarter of the way in, it's still not moving past the concept stage. As in, I have an awesome character, but the story just ain't happening. 

Which sucks. I really really want to have a story to send in, but my goals puts a wrinkle in it. Because let's face it, if I want to finish at least half of the goals outlined, I can't waste time on stories that just won't come. It's happened to two of my drafts from last year. The concept is awesome, but the story isn't there. 

What's the point on trying to force it out when I could be writing something that's got all the aspects in place already? Or rewriting. Or editing. Or even starting a new concept and seeing if I can form a story from it already? Because that's the thing. I never know unless I try it first. 

If I put something aside for now, it gives that story months, years even to incubate. Yes, I will write every single one of them, for as long as I see the merit. 

The thing is, this short story is messing with me now. It has a deadline which isn't my own. That means I either find a way to write it this week, or I don't publish in the anthology this year. See the big thing is that my brain isn't wired for short stories, but I'm proud of the few I have written in the past few years. I want to be proud of the work I create. 

All of the work I create. So I'm not just going to put a story together that's below my standards. It's either there, or it's not. And if it's not by Sunday, I'm moving on. That is my goal for now. (If it's not a goal, I might end up clinging to the story when it's really just wasting my time.) 

Everything else going on in my life is on hold pending either the return of Internet or the end of the holiday or both. I do feel like I have a lot to say this year, though, which bodes well for my blogging. Soon. 


How are you doing? 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Update Day: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Me and some awesome bloggers have set some big/huge/crazy goals and we have a monthly bloghop where we let each other know how we’ve been doing. You can click here for the list of participants and to see what their goals are.

But before I get into that.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

May 2015 be full of blessings for each and every one of you. 



My goal is the one stated at the top of the blog. Earning $7500 in royalties per month, every month for a year, within the next five years. In other words, I need to start earning $7500 per month in January 2018 at the latest. To further explain, this isn’t about money. It’s all about getting me motivated to produce a long list of books that I’ve had pipe-lined for almost three years now. The idea here is that the more high quality books I produce, the more likely I am to eventually hit that $7500 a month goal. I picked the number that high, because the way I see it, I’ll still be happy even if I fall short.

Knowing this, I set a ton of goals for 2014, because I also figured that the sooner I published more, the better the odds of me earning that goal amount. Really, it’s quite sensible if you think about it. And I was sensible. I knew I wasn’t going to achieve most of the goals I set. The plan had been to maybe achieve five or six of them.

What I hadn’t expected, though, was that 2014 would be a year straight from hell. The publishing deal I’d had for two books (on of which had been published in 2013) went sour so spectacularly that I’ve had my trust in the publishing industry shaken to its foundations.

My personal/work life has pretty much shaken my faith in humanity at large.

I was so busy with surviving all that, I couldn’t ever really focus on my writing career like I’d wanted. Which means that of all the goals I’d set, I’ve achieved exactly two. I’ve managed to cut the majority of refined carbs and sugars out of my diet. Along with processed foods of all sorts. And I’ve been doing some needlepointing and crocheting. (The goal had been to do some crafts other than writing too.)

The diet one, I have to say, is a huge achievement. Doing other crafts… not so much. It was my survival mechanism. Infinite repetitions of the same motion, leaving me free to drain out some of the bad thoughts and emotions that had been bothering me all year.

So all and all, it could have been so easy to call this year a failure and mourn everything I’d lost. (And I’ve lost a lot.)

But I won’t.

Because even though my goal score for this year looks pathetic, I know I’ve achieved a lot. Let me list the ways:

Reading:


Despite my life often sucking so much that I often couldn’t even concentrate on the words in front of me, I read twenty five books this year.

Writing:


I fought for and succeeded in regaining the rights to both the books that had been with my former publisher.

I still wrote over 150 000 words into rough drafts this year. I also wrote over 60k this month alone, although 40k of it was rewriting the western I’ve been working on.

Most of those 150 000 words were written by hand.

I finished five rough drafts out of the seven I started with.

I finished rewriting about two thirds of the above-mentioned Western. For those of you who've been around for a while, this is the book I’d lost a few years ago.

Life:


I’m still here, and I’m looking forward to tackling the new year’s challenges.

Which brings me to this coming year’s goals:

Writing:

I want to finish as many of the following as possible:

(For simplicity’s sake, I’m going to list my projects by the Acronyms I use for them, since that’s what I use on my year planners as well. Also, I haven’t gotten around to revealing some titles yet, and now seems like the wrong time.)

Publish:


Wo6C1

Wo6C2

BvB1

ES1

My Untethered Realms Anthology Short Story.

Publishing Edits (possibly for publishing in 2015):


Wo6C3

BvB2

Revisions and Rough Edits


O1

VD

Rewrites:


Wo6C4

SS1

P

MDtS

Rough Drafts (The ones I do by hand):


DD

ES2

CdW

HM

StW

In Addition:


Basically, I want to stick as close as possible to the year plan I have. This is what it looks like right now.




Reading


I want to read 75 books next year.

The minimum amounts of which must consist of:


5 books or plays in a language other than English.

5 plays by Shakespeare

5 classics other than Shakespeare, of which one must be Chaucer.

5 non-fiction titles.

5 books by some of my blogging friends.

Social Media:


I seriously need to sort out my Social Media stuff. I haven’t been near active enough last year. What this entails, though, is something I still need to wrap my head around.

Life:


Help my family build our own house. (Yep, brick by brick.)

Sort out some sort of business that I can do on my own terms. (SO over trusting people to help me when they only help themselves at my cost.)

Seriously. I need to get back to singing.

Also, I really really want to paint this year. Other than the above-mentioned house’s walls.

Then, I want to continue with my more healthy diet, since it makes me feel good and gives me a lot more energy. (Useful when I’ll be lugging lots of bricks around.)

Last of all, and probably most importantly, I need to get past all the stuff that’s happened this year, so that I can get through 2015 with as little contamination as possible.

Okay. Who’s still with me? You’re awesome.

Now, the last thing…

Goals for January


I think in 2014 I made a bit of a mistake not to draw more of my life into my goals. After all, I don’t think success will come without balance.

So…

Writing:


1) Get back to sorting out the covers for Wo6C1, Wo6C2 and BvB1.

2) Finish final edit rounds for at least one of the three above mentioned books.

3) Finish rewriting ES1.

4) Rough draft 15k words.

This should be what my January looks like, writing-wise: 



Reading:


Continue reading L’Etranger by Albert Camus.

Start reading Twelfth Night by Shakespeare

Read 4 other books

Social Media:


Still having to postpone, pending me gaining access to reliable Internet.

Life:


Survive first month of building a house while still editing and writing.

Wow. That was a lot! Thanks to everyone sticking with me for the whole post. Now tell me. What’s your big goal for the year? Do you have a big/crazy/crazy important goal or dream that you’re working towards? Why don’t you sign up?

Monday, December 1, 2014

One more hiatus for the year...

Yeah... This one isn't one I have a choice about, though.

Remember when I said I'd move house in November? Well... that move is coming up tomorrow. And I'll be stuck without a reliable internet source for a while.

I say a while, because it's unclear as to how long it will take for me to get internet again.

No matter. This girl is planning on getting a TON of writing done this month.

Being me (and knowing that I'll have more time on my hands than I've had in almost six months), I've set myself the slightly insane goal for December of rewriting two novels (y'know, to get them on the computer) and rough drafting over 60k words. (Daily goal: 2k per day.)

The idea behind the 60k goal?

Well... I estimate that's what it's going to take to finish the five rough drafts I have left before year end. And then in January, I'll have a glorious time editing.

Also, if I can only finish two or three projects now, it can have a huge impact on what my next writing year will be like.

So wish me luck!

I hope to see you all again before Christmas.

X

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Update Day

Hey all. I was going to do the update yesterday (as we're supposed to), but I only got home at around midnight, so the update would have been today whether I liked it or not.

For those of you who don't know, this post is a part of a monthly bloghop (hosted by me and Beth Fred) where writers get to post their weird, huge, or hugely important writing goals and talk about them. It's really a nice way to see if you're making any progress toward that goal. If you'd like more info on how to join, click here.



I'd hoped to get to about 30k this month (even though I was taking part in NaNoWriMo), because that would have been equivalent to 1000 words every day.

But, I haven't made 20k yet. I'm almost at 19k.

It's not all depressing, though. I finally finished the rough draft to the western that I had to redraft. And I think the story will be awesome. Then I also found the beginnings of a space opera that I will be adding to my five year plan list for next year.

Also, after many many times of promising that my schedule has opened up, I do believe it truly has.

Which means I'm going to do some catch-up.


If you look at the green bits in the December Column, those are all the rough drafts I have in progress. Those are the ones I technically want to finish by the end of this year. I suspect, though, that this won't be possible. Ideally, I'd like to finish two of these projects. 

My projects are listed here according to priority. My mystery project is the highest priority draft I have unfinished at the moment. After that, it's SS1, which I'll give a catchier working title, I promise!

I'll be pretty happy if I can finish those in December. I'd be ecstatic if I could do so while finishing a rewrite to either VD or ES1 (which is the above-mentioned western). But I'll see. In theory, I'll also be editing the three yellow projects, but as I mentioned, I won't be able to publish this year. So now it's more me sitting around waiting for various people to send me things. Which is good. Gives me time to clear my to-draft list a bit. 

As always, I'll let you know how I'm doing. 

How are you? Did NaNo? Did you win? 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three things I liked about Brandon Sanderson's Pep-talk

It's so funny really. Pretty much ever since the incident of the light, things have been happening. Big things, small things. Nice things... shit things. The strange thing about this, though, is that it's as if there's one theme to all of it.

PROGRESS.

Yes, after spending most of this year with wheels spinning, things are happening. And whether they're good or (almost bone-crushingly) bad, it feels like all of it is heading somewhere. Almost like all my blessings have been dammed up somewhere, and now they're flowing over.

Yes. Even though there have been some really bad moments. Especially last week. And no. This isn't me putting a bright picture on things. Not after I came to this realization.

This isn't to say that everything that's happened this year has been undone. But that pin-prick of light I'd been glimpsing down the tunnel all this past year does seem to be growing. Which is telling me that set-backs aside, I'm moving forward more than anything else.

Then I read this NaNo Pep-talk today (see, I'm still in the writing related zone), and thought that it might encourage you all as well. Go ahead and read. I'll wait.

Back? Good.

So the things I adore about this pep-talk:

1) To know that Brandon Sanderson used to struggle to sell books. It just makes me feel like publishing really is just a matter of luck and not giving up.
2) Knowing that, no matter how long we've struggled to get ahead, everything can change for the better with zero prior notice. (Which was nice, because I actually experienced a version of this at work today.)
3) Just generally thinking that although I'm still to (re-)publish anything this year, I might be working on the one that garners me a million readers. Nice thought, isn't it?

And that's really the beautiful thing about life. Yes, things can be difficult, but lucky breaks often seem to come from nowhere. We only have to keep going so that we can be there when they happen.

Anyone else catch a lucky break lately?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This self publishing thing isn't as simple as one would think...

I realized this weekend that I’ve now passed the point where I’ll be able to publish this year. There’s simply no way for me to edit, format, get the cover and register for copyright before the end of the year. Or maybe it’s possible and I don’t know it yet. But for now, I don’t think I can be practical and say that I’m still going to get everything together.

Sure, I can still rush and get it done. But where’s the point in that? I know that in order to stand even a tiny chance of success at my big goal, I have to deliver high quality goods. Given that this will be my first attempt at self-publishing, I simply don’t think I’m capable of pulling everything together in less than six weeks.

Which means that once again, I’m having to postpone. But you know what? I’m okay with that. The way I see it, I’ve tried my best to get everything done with the time and resources I have. Beyond that, though, things happen as and when they’re supposed to happen.

No amount of planning, worrying, working or stressing will change this.

I’m not giving up, though. I’m still editing. I’m still writing and I’m definitely still putting together the grand plan of how I’ll be writing and publishing somewhere between 12 and 25 books in the next five years.

I still think it’s doable. And missing this first year in order to get everything in place isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because really I’m close. I’ve basically got to wait on editor’s feedback on Birds vs Bastards. Once I apply the necessary edits to that, there’s only formatting left. The Vanished Knight is basically ready for formatting, but I’m waiting on the cover. (Which I could have had, but I got thwarted by the shoe biz yet again. So I have to wait for my cover designers to return from vacation.) The Heir’s Choice is the furthest from finished, but it’s still not impossibly far from done. I’ve got a few more CPs needing to finish the last few chapters. Then it’s the editor’s final pass and then formatting. Which, given that I can do edits to a book of THC’s length in a week or less, really isn’t an impossibly long time. And I can start registering all three for copyright as soon as those last edits are done.

No point to panic or anything though. However, this has told me the value of planning ahead a little more than I have this year. Which I will definitely do for 2015.

How’re your writing/editing/publishing endeavors going?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oh look! Another finished draft.

Although I'm still way behind on NaNoWriMo, it has had an interesting effect. Although I haven't touched one of my books since July, I finished it today, because when I read it to continue writing, I actually realized that I could actually start rewriting it now. (In fact, I already have the plan for it as well.)

Which is great for me. I've finished two rough drafts out of seven. Would be great if I could maybe finish one or two more before the end of the month. We'll see, though. 

Anyone else doing NaNo? How's it going? 

Before I go, just want to give a shout-out to Cathrina Constantine.

**Happy Release Day** **GIVEAWAY**
Wickedly They Dream
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy
Publisher: Black Opal Books Grab it today for only 99 cents!  HERE How Far Will Jordan go to rescue her mother. It will cost her everything--even her angel, Markus!
Buy Links: Amazon
Author Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York. When not with her family, you'll find her in the forest behind her house walking the dogs and conjuring a new tale.
You can find Cathy Here: