Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back on 2010.

A few days ago, I was making my new-years resolution to finish an unnamed beast of an epic. The day before yesterday, I decided to close my eyes and delivered my very first blog post. Yesterday, I found a name for the epic and a little later, I finished my rough draft. 

That's what it felt like, anyway. At the same time, it feels like I've known some of you for years (even though I only started blogging on 2 August.) 

My year has been through highs and lows. The lowest being my epic failure at economics at the home stretch of my final year. But luckily that served to blunt the blow of failing to win NaNo. ;-P

But you know, this has actually been a blessed year for me. I moved in (and met) with a girl who would become the Watson to my Sherlock Holmes (really). I was maid of honour for one of my best friends in the whole wide world (and also my first blog follower.) I saw my other best friend three times this year despite her having moved to the other side of the country in January. 

And I still have all the family members and friends that I had at the beginning of the year, which makes me very blessed indeed. 

So I can easily say that this year was the best one I had in the past decade.  

All that's left to say is thank you for getting to know me and that I hope that this new decade will bring many new blessings and opportunities your way. Have a wonderful 2011!



Thursday, December 30, 2010

New music and new characters

For my birthday, my cousin's boyfriend gave me a bunch of old cds that he thought would make for good writing soundtracks. 

About ten percent of it will work for Doorways. 

The rest? 

The rest is pretty much the soundtrack for Guardian. 

It's great to finally have the music I need. To me, music is more than the backtrack of the book I'm writing. 

It helps me hear my characters. 


It helps me to FEEL my characters. 

In fact, nothing helps me to know my characters better than listening to their songs - particularly new songs. New songs tend to let me explore a new aspect of them. 


Easy. I hear a song and suddenly smile, realizing that the song fits a character somehow. Then it's my job to figure out why the song works so well. Random, but useful.

What do you do to figure out your characters?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Improvising a Poem...

Hello all!

Finally, I am back an ready to get posting. I was planning to be back by yesterday already, but three of my best friends in the whole world threw me a surprise birthday braai (similar to a barbeque). So I thought that blogging in their presence to be a tad rude.

While I was contemplating that thought, I suddenly remembered that I had signed up for a blogfest to stretch my creative mind.

As per usual, I completely forgot about it until the day it is due. So... Here's how it works.

I pick a picture from the ones offered...

And then write a scene of no more than 500 (bahahahahahaha) words in narrative-verse poetry.

Fun right?

No idea. I've never done it before. But here goes.

My convoluted narrative verse poem...

Dreaming of a Victorian Christmas

On the day before Christmas,

The heat and light darken
Into a night so cloudless
That I imagine that Star beckon
To those first three gift givers.

And as I ponder
Those three magi,
Who at great peril followed that wonder
There is a thought of where I
Wish my star would take me.

If only I could be
In London
With my family
Dressed in shirts of pure cotton
And crinolines and bustles.

I suppose I would wear
A corset if I must
If I could only get to stare
At things before the rust
Of the ages have settled.

Of course, it would snow.
In lovely thick drapes
And we would know
To cover up in mantles and capes
Before wandering out to play.

How fun it would be!
Skating and riding on a sled
And frolicking before we
Set off to home, cold kisses,
Hot chocolate and bed.

But then, clear as day
I see,
I don’t need to go away
To be right where I want.
For what I really wish

Is for all those I love
To be in good health.
This is what I want above
All dreams going to unknown places
And of worthless wealth.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.



Thursday, December 23, 2010

Today is (was) going to be a short post.

As Christmas approaches, my to-do list lengthens. As such, this post shortens. ;-P

Today will be taken up by unpacking a fridge after our one maid filled it with plates. The fridge being coffin-like in volume.

Luckily I have a slave (my younger brother) to help me move the ceramic plates somewhere else.

When that's done, I get to bake! Hopefully. I'm thinking lamingtons and more traditional treats named Jan Smutsies and Hertzoggies.

For those of you with zero South African connection (me excluded), Jan Smutsies and Hertzoggies are basically small soft cakes with apricot jam baked in between. Incredibly delicious. Ask nicely and I might even post a recipe.

But to intrigue you, I present:

Hertzoggies (the tops are made of coconut)


Jan Smutsies.

Ask really REALLY nicely and I might throw in some other kick-ass traditional South African treats.

But I digress. After that I have to pack a suitcase for a week and move into my mother's room to make space for the family. Which means I have to plan what I have to wear. For almost a week.

I don't even plan what I wear to weddings and funerals. Sigh...

But I will suffer this trial for the sake of Christmas.

Speaking of trials. I'm also very likely going to have to stay off blogger until Tuesday.

I'll try to sneak in some blogger time.

But it is beyond likely that I will drop off the face of the blogosphere until next Tuesday. Starting now.

No wait!

Have a blessed Christmas! May your time with your family be as wonderful as it can possibly be and my the love of Jesus Christ fill your house on this Holy Day.

With LOTS of love,

Kiss Kiss,

Hug Hug,

Missing you already,


P.S. Commencing drop from blogosphere in. Ten. Nine... AAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa.........



Wednesday, December 22, 2010


It's official.

My muse is just plain contrary.

I decided to take a break from Doorways and started working on Guardian. As soon as I finished writing the scene I wanted... The plot outline occurred to me, weaving James and Ward's story back into the plot as I intended all along.

I must say that I am thrilled by this. But why couldn't I just have done it while I was still in the "strike while the iron is hot"  mood?

That said, I might take a break from writing in general for a short while. Maybe just until January.

Even though I've been quite productive these past few days, it feels as if I'm wringing my already over wrung mind for whatever ideas I might have left. It's just not a fun feeling to have. Especially not when I'm doing something that I love.

I actually had a headache after I wrote only 1000 words.

Maybe I shouldn't push myself. But as I said. Now that I am contemplating taking a break, I feel that draw. That intense desire to sit down and start crafting a story. Whether it's an old one or a new one.

So I want to write. I really do. So why then do I feel such a resistance when I am writing?

Have any of you experienced something similar?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The problem with taking a break.

I decided to get my creativity going again by working on something else. Just for a while.


Optimistic thought of the century.

See... I decided to just write a single scene to open Guardian. For those of you that don't know, Guardian is the book that occurred to me a few months back. I shelved it pending the completion of Doorways.

I never stated which draft of Doorways to be completed. Yes people. I am a genius at finding loopholes.

Anyway. I wrote it out and got hit by the clearest voice I've ever had. Really. It's literally as if I'm tuning into Arian's mind. Not that her mind isn't a scary place. She's bitter and more than just a little cynical.

I know for a fact what part of me she comes from, though. Which makes it a bit uncomfortable. Like a mother looking at her child and seeing that the kid got all of her personality traits. Including the worst ones.

Still. She does intrigue me. Not as much as, say... Darrion. But then... Darrion is in a league all of his own. 

I just hope that I didn't open Pandora's box now. I still want to rewrite Doorways. As quickly as possible.  It won't do to have Arian chattering away while I'm trying to tune into Callan or the others.

On the other hand... I think it might be a good idea to rest Doorways until I can look at it without shaking. If that is even possible. But if I am to rest Doorways with a hope of getting back to it, it might be a better idea to stick to small projects like short stories and poetry. IF... I could get my brain wired that way for a while.

Fact is that my mind is geared to writing novels.

That's it. Time for a change. I am going to write a poem a day until I can say my mind is geared to anything literary.

Maybe I'll even post a few. IF... they aren't too terrible.

What do you do to give your mind a rest before rewrites?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Contradictions in my muse and me.

My muse is a wonderful lady sometimes. Yet somehow, she manages to be a complete bitch at the same time. 

For example, she believes that pressuring me to write during a time that I'm down is a bad idea, so she just doesn't give me anything to say. Of course, the one thing that can get me out of the doldrums would be... yep you guessed it. Writing.

She hits me with the most wonderful ideas.

When I'm too busy to do anything with them.

Then she leaves in a huff because I didn't get back to her quick enough. Leaving me with nothing when I do have time to write.


 She got me though the first draft of Doorways. And promptly started ignoring me when I wanted to get stuck into the rewrite.

Now she's nudging me towards writing again. Except that the idea floating around in my head has nothing to do with the rewrite. 


I'm actually contemplating putting my rough draft aside for a month so that I can approach it with an open mind.  I think a big reason why I'm getting so stuck is that I'm co close to the current version that I just can't possibly imaging changing anything to the storyline. Even as I realize that huge changes are necessary.

But even as I say so, part of me is completely balking at the idea. After all. I spent so much time on Doorways that the idea of doing something else for a while is completely alien. Sigh.

My muse is refusing to give me any advice on this one. So now I'm asking yours. Do I take a break or don't I?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Po-TAY-to Po-TAH-to. SA-lary PIT-tance

Sigh. You know, for all my promises of regularity, I really am being pathetic at it.

Time really flies when you're doing... nothing.

I'm serious. The whole time, I considered getting my butt moving, but by the time it came to serious consideration, it was night.

The one thing worth mentioning is the job interview.

It went well.

Really well.

They offered me the job.

But I was laughing so hard at the salary they offered me that I didn't get round to posting about it.

I mean. An eight hour (or more) shift. At night. Managing a restaurant that for all intents and purposes were blown out of the water by the previous manager. All the stresses associated with turning the place around...

For R2000 per month. That's roughly $285. In South Africa, it's below the minimum wage for waitrons. For a managerial post, I'd have been insane to take it. In fact I think the restaurant owners were either nuts or desperate when they made an offer - given that I made it abundantly clear that I wanted to pay at least a portion of my tuition next year. Plus rent. 

Goes to show you. Humans, for all of their eccentricities and quirks, might in reality just be fundamentally stupid. I hope that that's the case. Otherwise my mind would go to more sinister conclusions. After all. I'm young. They might have had exploitation in mind.  And I really (for all my cynicism) really want to believe in people. 

But exploitation or no. With or without the idiocy/insanity that arguably makes us all human. Offering the one person who had been willing to come to their rescue next to nothing a few hours before they really needed that person.... Not even remotely smart.

Anyway... I have a thought skittering through my brain about the restaurant. But I'm still deciding whether I'm insane enough to give it any attention.

But I know that something good is waiting just around the corner from me. I just need to be patient...

What's going on in your life?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rock Bottom and Sky High.

So sorry for my unannounced absence these past few days.

Monday kind of got lost between research for that other WiP of mine and I promised to write an awesome post on Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I hit rock bottom. As in, if I was through dynamite and a shovel, I'd have found myself in China. I don't know whether it's due to staffing problems, laziness or just plain insensitivity, but my illustrious Tertiary institution decided to let me know by TEXT MESSAGE that I would not be allowed to continue my studies. No reason. Nothing. Just one hundred and sixty characters' worth of soul destruction.

By this morning though, I came to an interesting realization. I had hit the bottom of the hole, so there was nothing else to do but salvage and/or move on. The time had finally arrived for me to tough it out. So I drove to my University and asked for an explanation from the admin. See... I could not grasp how I could be kicked out on a single subject. The message made me almost doubt in myself, since I started to think that I could have failed another one or two of the subjects. Funny how quickly that came up.

But then I made a funny decision to a) Trust God in where He was going to make me go and b) refuse to believe that I could have done so badly after I had written so well for the other modules. c) Find a job that would be worth my while. I might not have a degree, but I would not let that ruin my life. By gum! (I should mention that I get very blustery when I tough things out. When I start gritting my teeth, people should run for their basements.)

So I walked into the lady's office and asked quite nicely for an explanation. (See, for all my bluster, I also know that it's much easier to get things done by asking nicely.) And here it is. One of my module's marks have yet to be confirmed. They had turned the entire process of admissions over to a computer program that reads an unconfirmed mark as a 0% performance. That, with the economics was just enough to put me on the so called blacklist. 

But basically, I had nothing to worry about until 10 January. But I was much too relieved to be annoyed. 

In fact I was almost in tears. 

But I stuck to my job decision and started looking. I found a job as a restaurant manager close to my home and applied. The owner called me back a few hours later for an interview! So if everything goes well, I might be employed by the end of December. 

I'm thrilled! But I'm still praying about it. If I'm meant to get the job, I will. If not, I know that something better is on the way. 

That's my news. Anything big happen since I was around last?

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Love Me! You Really Really Love Me!

Morning all! I've been reading your comments for my last post and I was staggered at how many of you offered to help.

Thinking back, I shouldn't have been, since I always knew that you are all beyond awesome!

I wish to give all of you who have ever left comments on my pasts the Fair Dinkum award. (Thanks for giving it to me Nancy!) Every single comment as been hugely appreciated and loved.

To me, fair dinkum is a aussie slang word meaning that something or someone is nice, cool, appreciated in some way. And yes. Absolutely positively awesome.

To claim this reward, you need to comment to me, explaining what the phrase fair dinkum means to you. Do you know any fair dinkum people? Tell me about them. Then you also need to suggest reasons why L'Aussie chose this image for her award. Can't wait to hear what you think.

Then, I also want to give away a versatile blogger award. (Thanks Blogger!)

So, to receive this award, I have to tell you seven things about myself before passing on the award to seven more people.

So seven things about myself...

1) My birthmark is a spot of freckles on my stomach.
2) This year, I have read over a hundred books and seen around fifty movies. (My two great passions except for writing.
3) My fencing nickname is Scaramouche - due to my dramatic flair. Incidentally, the name comes from an awesome book by Rafael Sabatini. (He also wrote Captain Blood.)
4) My favourite quote (also a sort of motto for me) comes from that book: "He was born with the gift of laughter and the knowledge that the world was mad."
5) I play a mean game of table tennis. If I'm on form I can serve so fast that the ball will fly out even if the player only touches his paddle to it.
6) I have drawn blood in a broadsword battle. The guy was twice as big as me and thought I wouldn't be able to get to him. So he didn't wear a mask. Big. Mistake.
7) When I read books with larger casts of characters, I tend to love the Best Friend more, since he/she is usually the deadpan snarky borderline psychopathic person - and as such gets the best lines after the villain.

And the winners of the Versatile Blogger Award are:

1) Gary
2) Meridith
3) Rachael
4) Hannah
5) Jessica
6) Golden
7) Nancy

With a special mention to Blogger.

They all are busy with their WiP and blogs, but still took time to offer advice and/or help when I needed it.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A plot... A plot... My kingdom for a plot!

Hey all! I've gotten so many awards since the last award page update that I feel overwhelmed. I will get to them all though as soon as I can. Thanks for my award, Blogger!

So... I'm in a little bit of a dilemma at this stage.

I realize the need for a plot outline. After all, I need to get the book going from point a to points b, c,d and e.

My rough draft left so many plot holes and loose strings that I don't know how I'll ever get them worked back into my book. Sigh.

yWriter has this awesome thing where you open chapters and scenes in the chapters. In other words, you can build an outline and then write in them. Brilliant.

Except that this pantser is drawing a complete blank. I know where the the end goes. Sort of.

I made a nasty little discovery. Since I'm a pantser, I was  merely concerned with getting my characters to the end of the book. They had that end in common.

But now, since I decided to change the end, I've basically split the entire story into two parts. The two main factions involved have nothing to do with each other - and for a brilliant reason. So the fact that they don't have a common goal until the end of book two...

The thing is that I want to write the entire series, but I want all of the books to be good enough to be read alone. And if viewed alone in the current shape, half of the entire storyline is going to look redundant.

In short... It's a mess. A huge one.

I never thought I'd say this, but...


And so... I need help. Lots and lots of help.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Challenge Continues

As the name suggests, this writer has found herself a far too catchy a tag-line for her to drop it just because the original challenge came to a premature end.

After all, I have rewrites. And roughly thirty pounds to lose. But now, instead of saying that I will do both before 31 December, the challenge will lie in the fact that I must both exercise and write diligently.

For the rewrites, I decided to try out a (from what I read) nifty program called yWriter. It's freeware, so it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of your average novel writing program. Still, it was designed by a SciFi writer who has face pretty much the same challenges as I have. So I'm hoping that the program will help me keep track of the story.

Also for the rewrites, I have started with ponderings. Things related to the story that didn't necessarily go into the main part of the story. World building, basically. Last night I got stuck into the History. I am still far from the present, but I have already learnt a lot of things that are going to work beautifully in all of the stories. Once I'm done with the History, I'm going into Geography. After that the Population, Cultures, Economics, Technology etc. When I get tired of that, I'm going to do something I really really enjoyed.

Character interviews. And this time, I might just chain Darrion to the table until he starts talking. Kidding. I doubt that will help. Sigh.

Weight loss wise, I plan to adapt my eating. Not so much what I eat, since I'm not particularly unhealthy. But rather how much I eat. No... Not starvation dieting, but rather smaller portions aimed at keeping me satisfied instead of glutted. Then, I want to get back to running. Not jogging. Running.

Jogging is boring and exercises the legs. Running keeps me challenged while giving me a full body work out. Why? Have you ever tried to sprint with bad posture? If I run, my entire body has to work in order to get me to my goal point as fast as possible. And... no. I won't get a heart attack, since I'm running in short bursts followed by recovery walks, followed by short bursts... I found it a lot less painful than jogging, which says a lot. One of the main reasons why I stop jogging within days of starting is because my legs seize up from day one. Running? Nope. Not even a little.

Finally, I'll ease myself into muscle toning exercise...

No. I lied. Finally, I'm planning to drink lots and lots of water.

But this is pretty much how I want to live my life from now on. No limits to what I can eat, but rather when and how much. The water will curb the cravings that make me reach for that extra bite.

What about you? Have any of you tried yWriter? What did you think of it? And exercise? Do you do anything to burn away those problem areas (thighs and tums)?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Good day all! Firstly I wish to apologize for my absence yesterday. My data ran out due to multiple failed attempts at downloading novel planning software.

Yes. The pantser has gone plotty. More on that later.

Anyway... I want to apologize for the fact this and any other posts until I can buy data will be in this pale grey. My Blackberry seems most unwilling to specify text color.

Finally, but first on my mind is a thank you to Nancy for my newest reward. It really made me feel special.

Right. Admin's done. Let's get back to the post.

So why have I been trying to download a story planner? It's kind of a good news bad news sort of thing.

I've been struggling for days, wondering why it felt like I was starting with a new book instead of finishing Doorways. This has been bothering me for days until I lost patience with myself and sat down with the thought the entire day.

Nothing leapt out at me, except for a well worn notebook. This was the notebook I used to write random scenes that I had edited out of the second version of the story.

I'd completely forgotten about it, so imagine my surprised I was when it struck me that these scenes fit into the version I'm busy with.

But I still needed to figure out where they were supposed to go. So I started looking at the bigger picture. There I saw two things. One, I more or less know where books 3 and 4 are going, but that book 2 has nowhere to go except to book 3. Everyone I know hates a filler, so the thought of me writing one is far from appealing.

Two, if I looked at the book schematically, I should have noticed a huge problem. I'd been writing the book toward two climaxes- both of which are equally huge. This can be good, but not if there's an equivalent to a book in between. This scenario reminds me of the new version of the movie Casino Royale. Good, but lost quality because of that entire part in Venice. To my mind, the climax had already taken place, but I was forced to sit through a long bit of waffle until the story reached the "real" climax. Arguably the sequal was better off because of it.

And that, I realized, was where the similarity ended. See I had this awesome character who was going to die...

I won't say anything more, except to say that that character alive will make book 2 awesome.

All this made me realize that anything after climax one has to be moved either to earlier in the book or to the sequal...

The good news? Guess up to where I have written.

The bad? The fact that I've finished my first rough draft hit so fast that I don't feel like celebrating. I really wished I thought of this before.

The ugly? Imagine a puzzle of thousands of words and images that I have to whip into shape.

What about you? Ever get broadsided by the knowledge that your story was finished? How is your writerly life going?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 2

So... That is why I am avoiding the use of daily goals.

The moment I logged off, I got sucked into the black hole known as chores. By the time I got back, I dropped onto the bed and fell asleep. The town I live in has summer winds - which means that at night, all the windows rattle and wake me up.


Anyway, my writing is a bit behind what I wanted to do. So today I want to get a lot of writing down. Will I be able to write enough? No idea, but I'll take a whack at it.

Then of course, I was reminded yesterday of the fact that the industry standard word count has been lowered. So... 80k words.

Not a chance.

There is really no way I can write this story in half the word-count I planned on when I started. This leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. I might finish and fail to sell the book.

On the other hand, as far as I know, the word count cut has to do with the number of pages the get printed on. In short: the Recession.

Good news? The recovery should come some time, bringing back my word count.

Bad news? I have no idea when that will happen.

I hate not knowing when something will happen.

On the up-side, my story doesn't exactly follow current trends found in the Fantasy genre. So I can pretty much take my time... The only thing that keeps me in a hurry is me. I really want to finish Doorways.

When I do, I'll leave it simmering for a month before starting the rewrite. In the mean time, I'll finish my other WiP (which is almost halfway) before getting stuck in with Guardian. Both of these is sure to fit nicely into the 80k word count, since the story lines aren't remotely as complex as those found in Doorways. 

If the rewrite on Doorways is done, I'll check the market and check the book. If it is still necessary by then, I'll see about splitting it in two. Still, I hardly find this option attractive, since Doorways is intended as part of a series of four books. I don't enjoy the idea of forcing a fifth book into the start. 

But then I think, I am getting waaaay ahead of myself.  After all. I need to get Doorways done first...

Any of you in the same boat? How do you deal with it?

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Great December Writer's Challenge Day 1

Thanks so much to everyone that commented on yesterday's post. They certainly got me to thinking about two things: Cooking and Writing.

Cooking-wise, I am now trying to figure out how I will whip up my masterpieces while getting someone else to do the clearing up. Yes. I am a) that lazy b) that evil.

Writing-wise, the comments got me to thinking. Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I technically have no idea how many words I need to finish the book. I'm currently approaching 40k words, while the word counts in Fantasy novels lie somewhere between 150k and 200k. So... I'm roughly a quarter of the way through. But how many words I need to finish the story?

I chose 4000 words per day arbitrarily since the goal sounds both challenging and nearly doable. If I successfully get that many words done, I'll hit 100k by the 31st. While that still lets me fall short on the word-count, it should be enough for me to finish the story. I'll make up the rest when I rewrite and write in the details.

But... As Nevets pointed out, daily goals puts a lot of pressure on the writer. He pointed out that it only worked for him for a month - technically all that I need - before it crushed him. I really don't need to be crushed. After all. I have another book to write. But heaven knows that I have been writing Doorways for two years now. It's time I finish it. Next year brings many changes to my lifestyle - which will only make finishing the story more challenging. So if I'm going to get the draft done, it will be in this month.

But then... I thought. Instead of making it feel like a job, I'm going to dress it up as something else. I'm calling it the Great December Writer's Challenge. My goal: finishing the beast by New Years Eve. Word-count: whatever it takes, but roughly 4000 words a day.

But then I thought... Surely I'm not alone here. Surely there are people who made New Years resolutions this year to finish that book - only they didn't. Or people who want to finish their edits in time to submit their work to agents in January. Anything.

If you have anything writing related that you want to finish by 23h59 on 31 December, please join me in the challenge. Set a goal, let me know and let's get it done together.  

That said... I think it's time for me to go kick some word count butt.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A bit of advice?

That is it. I have come to the realization that I can't spend my holiday moping around.

It's such a damn waste of time.

Not to mention boring.

I have to start doing something, since my recovery state is immobile. If I don't start getting things done, I am going to end up wasting more or less three weeks that could have been spent toward reaching my goal(s). But I'm still planning how I will get everything done.

See, writing is far from the only thing I want to do this holiday. I want to take up the last two artistic pursuits I have never put my hands to: cooking and sewing. If I'm honest, I see cooking as just a notch above alchemy. I really haven't a clue as to how people can take a bunch of raw ingredients, dice them, mix them etc, toss them into a pan et voila... One masterpiece served on a plate. It boggles the mind. Clothes are another thing though. That's just me being far too impatient to practice.

Anyway. Well... maybe I lied, but I can't see a single art other than those two that I have not tried... But if anyone has any suggestions, feel free to enlighten me.

Back to the point. I therefore have to cook, sew in addition to me taking up jogging and exercise again. Then there are my friends and just taking some breaths of fresh air. After all. It's summer and the beach is now 500 meters away...

Oh and picking up that other art again: Languages. In particular, French and Mandarin.

Did I mention that I don't do schedules?


Why not? Well... it started when I was in high school. It once occurred to me that I would get more done if I scheduled my time. That way, I could control time, so to speak.

As it turned out, I had committed myself to things of such a permanent nature, that I was left with no openings until after seven in the evenings. And then I had choir practice until nine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. No amount of scheduling was actually going to create time. A fact that left me rather depressed and had me tossing my diary into the bin. I never took up the habit again.

There is no way I'm going to schedule my December. These are the last responsibility free weeks I'll have in my life. I'm not going to work myself into office hours or worse.

So... Here is my question. Who of you set daily writing goals? How do you attain them without it feeling like work?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Aaah bliss...

I have to make an embarrassing confession today.

I had my first day of holiday, with the thought clattering in my mind that I should have posted something. Well....

I had no idea what to type. Go figure. Anyway...

Today I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time (yes... I know.) and moved on to a Jeffrey Deaver. I'm nothing if not a varied reader. I'm contemplating setting myself a huge daily writing goal a la NaNoWriMo, but with more words. If I'm going to have a snowball's hope to finish Doorways by 31 December, I estimate that I'll need to write about 3000 words per day. Factoring in my mom's birthday, family visits, my birthday, socializing and Christmas, I'm going to have to aim for 4000+ words just to average it out...

But hell, that sounds steep. But the satisfaction beckoning me should I succeed is really tempting. But the disappointment should I fail... Sigh...

You know, in September, I thought I'm the kind of person that saw scary situations, took a deep breath and walked straight into the thick of them. Well... I did. I was warned about Economics, wasn't I? And I saw all my options, feared boredom and picked the worst possible option for a person seeking a sure degree.


See... My mom and I actually talked about these things. She also tackles the most impossible projects ever. Sometimes she wins, sometimes she doesn't. Either way, she did something that no-one else dared. I tend to do that too. Me? I either win huge or get spanked to within an inch of my life. So badly that I suspend making choices as to my next project until the sting goes away. Then, I guess because no one remembers the feeling of pain, I put myself through it again.

What wire is loose in my head that I would actually put myself through all this nonsense? Adrenaline addiction? Masochism? Too much optimism?

Bahahaha! No.

In fact, my Gran often comments that she's glad she doesn't have to move through life with my bleak world view. Actually, I'm not bleak, but that's another story.

No. Rather, the common trait shared between my mother and me would be the Jack Russel syndrome.

Ever noticed that Jack Russels will fight dogs twenty times their size for dominance? Sometimes they beat Rottweilers and Great Danes to become top dogs. Sometimes they get eaten, give the big dogs indigestion and get spat out again.

That's us all over. We have NO sense of size. There's something wrong with the part of the brain that says: "Girl, you're picking the wrong fight. Tuck tail, turn around. Run." Nope.

I used to think that studying Actuarial Science would be a technicality before I got to earn my way to retirement.

I believed right up to four hours before my economics exam that I had my studies under control.

The former very nearly destroyed me. (A tip for parents: Unless your child likes being punished, loves not having contact with humans and has a sense of self preservation, DO NOT let them consider that career. EVER.) 

I refuse to let the latter hurt me as much. But I'm licking my wounds before taking on the next big dog in my way. 

Which is why I'm waiting until Monday to decide. I really don't want to set myself up so soon. The scrapes I got still burn and itch. 

Any advice for me? How are you doing? Anyone else with scope issues? How do you deal with it?