Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I finished typing the story that I wrote in long hand on to my laptop and have printed it out. Next up is the first round of revisions.

Quote of the week: "When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful." ~ Eric Thomas.  I think I've finally gotten to this point.

What I'm reading:  Irresistible Force by D.D. Ayres. This is part of the K-9 Rescue series. This author is also new to me.

Random things: This winter we don't seem to getting a lot of snow in my area (and believe me, I'm not complaining) but it's been bitter cold. Personally, I'll take the cold over the snow any day.

Random photo of the week: 

After living in our current house for 5 years, the cat has developed a fascination with the toilet handle in the downstairs powder room.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Goals - A Help or A Hindrance?

 This post was originally written in October 2012. Due changes in my day job work hours, I'm struggling to meet the goals I set just 5 weeks ago. I'm having to redefine what I thought I'd be able to accomplish weekly, monthly, etc so I thought re-reading this post would be helpful. I hope you find it helpful as well.

When I first starting writing, I set the most unbelievable goals for myself though I thought they would be achieved with ease.  One of them was that I would write 10 pages of new material a day, 7 days a week all while holding down a full time job, long standing commitments 2 nights a week, and another long standing commitment from 8:30am to 3:00pm on Saturdays, and keeping the majority of my Sundays for family time.  I don’t think I ever wrote 10 pages in one day during that time, or wrote 7 days a week.  As each week passed that I didn’t meet that goal, I became more and more depressed.  I questioned my desire to be a published author.  If I wanted it so badly, then I should be able to meet that goal right?  Wrong.  
A very wise friend and fellow writer pointed out that it wasn’t that I wasn’t committed to getting published, I just had too much on my plate to enable me to devote that much time to my writing.  She suggested that I not set goals or to focus on smaller goals that would fit around my scheduled commitments.   
I sat down and looked at my schedule.  I decided I needed the time to devote to my writing so I gave 3 months notice to the proper people on those long term commitments that at the end of the 3 months, I would no longer be able to do them.  During that time I tried to write whenever I could but I missed the structure goal setting gave me.
I’ve come a long way since then.  I still like to set goals because they keep me on track and help me stay focused.  I set yearly goals, quarterly goals, and weekly goals.  But one thing that has changed is now-a-days my goals are very fluid.  For example, one goal is to write 20 to 25 pages a week.  By not nailing down a set page count per day, I give myself room in my schedule if something pops up and I can’t write on a certain day.
I also set goals in my non-writing life for things I want to accomplish by a set time or date though for some reason it doesn’t work when it comes to dieting.  I wonder what that says about me…probably that my weakness for ice cream is greater than my desire to lose those unwanted pounds.  LOL.
Do you set any type of goals?  Do you find them helpful?  If you don’t set goals, why not?

Friday, January 23, 2015

This I know for sure...

It's amazing how a sunny day can affect your mood during the winter.  The last few days have been bright and sunny but still freezing cold with temperatures in the twenties. For some reason, when the sun is shining, it doesn't seem as cold as it does when the day is dark and gray or snowing even when the temperature is the same.

I've also found people seem to be in better moods when it's sunny despite the cold. I know I feel like I'm in a better mood. Or it could be because it's not snowing. I hate having to go out when it's snowing. Living in upstate NY, it's almost a certain guarantee it'll be snowing most days during the winter so on those days when it doesn't, it automatically seems like it's going to be a good day.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

I've decided to continue the "What's Up Wednesday" posts with a couple of minor changes. Let me know what you think.

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I've set aside the book I was revising. I think I'm too close to it. I've been typing a book I wrote in 2013 in long hand onto my laptop so I can start revisions on it.

Quote of the week: "Believe you can and you're halfway there." ~ Theodore Roosevelt.  Sometimes we just need to believe we can do something even when it feels impossible.

What I'm reading: Desperate Hearts by Rosanne Bittner. This is a western historical romance set in 1866. I've never read anything by this author. It was recommended to me by a friend. (The "What I'm reading" segment will just list what I'm currently reading with no opinion about the book, good or bad.)

Random things:  A sign you've lived in upstate NY too long - a high temperature of 34 degrees in the winter seems warm.  

I don't have a random photo, but will start posting those again next week.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sore Muscles and Research

Every writer wants their books to be as realistic and believable as possible. That's where research comes in. Research can take the form of reading books or diaries from the time if one's writing a historical novel. It can also lead to traveling to the location where the story takes place. There are many ways to conduct research. Me, I've always like the hands on approach whenever possible.

I participated  in a class where we were taken onto a gun range and took turns shooting different types of hand guns ranging from a .22 all the way up to Dirty Harry's .44 Magnum. Of course we all had to take a safety class first. So now when I write about someone shooting a gun, I know how to describe the feel of the grip in my hand, the kickback when the gun is fired, how the air smells. (I've also crawled out a second story window on to a roof to figure out how to get down without a ladder. I was much younger then. I don't think I'd attempt it now.)

In my current novel, my heroine has to get the unconscious hero into her car. So what did I do? I wrote the scene the way I thought she could do it. Then I tested my theory enlisting help from my nephew.

Nephew is 6' 4". He's taller than my hero and weighs a bit more - 220 while Hero weighs 190. I'm taller than my heroine (I'm 5' 10") and Nephew outweighs me by about 70 pounds so I figured we were close enough in relative size as Hero and Heroine in terms of height and weight differences between the two of them.

Nephew took on the role of the unconscious hero lying on the floor. It took me a few tries, but I was able to maneuver him into a sitting position and then lifted up onto the sofa which doubled as the car. We cracked up a few times, laughing so hard we had to start over but it was doable. (Barely.)

So what did I learn from the experiment? It was possible for Heroine to get Hero into the vehicle. I learned I had to make a few minor changes on how she did it. I learned it's really, really hard to move someone's dead weight by yourself. When we were done, I was out of breath and sweaty which told me I need to up my exercise sessions.

I learned what I needed to know to write the scene realistically so when a person reading my book comes to that scene, she/he doesn't think to themselves "that's not possible" and doesn't finish reading the book.

Oh, and I also learned Icy Hot really does work on sore muscles. :o)

Friday, January 16, 2015

This I know for sure...

It's hard getting back into a regular routine after the holidays are over. Proof of this is the fact I didn't do Wednesday's post. I completely forgot all about it. Didn't even think about it until Thursday morning when I was getting ready for the day.

The only thing I've done on a regular basis that I did before the holidays is write. I didn't get much done from Thanksgiving on through New Year's day so I feel like I'm making up for lost time instead of being on schedule.

I did learn something from last year's holidays -- don't expect to make much headway in the writing area during this time. In fact when I set my writing goals for 2015, I purposely set aside those 6 weeks or so as non-writing time. It shortens my writing calendar a bit but I feel it's well worth squeezing extra writing sessions in in the summer months than stress myself out trying to do everything that comes with the holiday season and trying to meet a writing goal by the end of the year.