So Far This Year

Right now, it is catch up time with the Brit guys motor show. They make me laugh. They also make me feel young again because they are older.

A slight deviation for me from my schedule due to illness, it wasn’t planned yet there it was. A kink in my works. It made me rethink my tight schedule and plans. Once I felt better it was time to rework and put in a wee bit more of fudge room.

So while I was busy moving my schedule around, I mentally compared my driving skills to this Brit guys. Sometimes they make me feel like my driving is not so bad after all. They also make me feel somewhat sharper than I think I am.

It makes me wonder who comes up with their tests and races. I am in awe most of all of the camera crew that film the show. They rival any car movie that I have seen. The bickering is amusing.

So what if my schedule is revamped again. That’s process normal, also why I like watching the Brit guys. So often they start on a journey and something goes wrong and they have to make adjustments midway through, or in some cases all the way through.

So far this year, it is going pretty good, even with some distractions. How’s your year going?

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So, back to workout routine. Well, its more like attempting a routine. Problem is that while most of my range of motion has come back, my stamina level is still lacking. Being older, the recovery pace is a gazillion times slower than what my expectations are. This does not help with motivation.

On the bright side, my illustration schedule is on track. Learning to color them is off track a bit, but my production schedule should still have it ready in time for Christmas 2017.

These new fangled phones have given me the low down on my sleep cycle, which since my phone upgrade and accident went from sleeping at 2 hours a pop to nearing a more functional normal of 5-7hrs. Decent rem sleep went missing for several months (my sympathies to those insomniacs among you). The return has been most delightful.

Weather, another topic on my mind. It really hasn’t been much of a winter this year. Which has helped fuel my push to get back in running shape; if the weather was really awful it wouldn’t bother me so much. My happiness at staying in, bundled up would outweigh any desire to get outside until warmer weather. It has been in the 20s overnight and by the next day up into the 60s and 70s. Weird.

Writing habit is back, now if the words would flow a little more freely more headway would occur . . . or maybe not. That is still a toss up, until April when the backstory work and research has to be complete and story writing should be in process.

Then there is the illustrations. Some weeks are easier than others, and some extra times is needed to work the skill more than the necessary drawing. Right now adding in adding color to the drawings. This is very new to me using acrylics, but I am learning.

Stilted Progress

Haven’t we all?

Leaps and falls, up and down from one day to the next. Sometimes life is like that. Recently a long time family friend passed away unexpectedly.

This threw a curve in my day, week, and life. It made me aware of how families relate and over time can twist the end of one’s life, leaving so many others touched by the deceased hanging waiting for word of when and how they can pay their respects.

Personal, yes, but also something that made me delve a little deeper in the psychology of relationships and how we deal with lack. It isn’t just when relationships aren’t answering our needs that we struggle to cope, it also hits us hard when they end.

Each relationship depends differently on the source and circumstance that the failure to meet exist. Relationships are complicated. Not being in the middle of this recent one, gave me a broader perspective.

Losing a friend that was like family, difficult. Losing a family member that is a friend is downright painful. Losing a family member that isn’t even a friend crushes any opportunity for amends to be made.

Everyone has a perspective and opinion on death and relationships. What are yours?

Sleep

Sleep is often a luxury but for health and happiness, a necessity. How much maybe arbitrary and individual (there is a general consensus, that somewhere between 6-8 hours on average).

Being ill and recovering, the need for sleep is even greater. Unfortunately not all health issues make getting decent sleep easy, much less obtainable the needed extra that healing requires. That is something, personally, that has become very apparent to me.

Finding a comfortable sleeping position has been an adventure as well. Pillows, no pillows, ice, heat, and an assortment of NSAIDS, (initially after surgery prescribed pain medications) were at one time or another apart of my arsenal. Then herbal remedies (after research and medical consult) were included in the mix.

Not everything works all the time. Progression and regression of getting enough sleep, as each week passes, the overall the amount of quality sleep has grown. Presently, am nearly back to normal and no longer needing pain relief.

However, the exhaustion from not enough and poor sleep made everything a struggle. Cranky doesn’t cover it. Communication was difficult sometimes. My thoughts and actions were fuzzy. Memory, at first, was hit and miss. The first couple of months it was all extremely frustrating.

Until experiencing it myself, even for a short time, my imagination wasn’t even close what those with chronic pain and insomnia deal with. Now with sleep returning and painful days rare, my journals will be a resource for my experience. They will help me remember and be compassionate with helpful to others.

From my experience, being heard and acknowledged was important. Being able to vent when necessary, helped release the frustration and gave me the space to turn the whining into a more positive perspective. My husband never complained but am sure he got tired of listening to me, his kindness meant a lot. (Often I felt bad for not being able to be more upbeat about it all, and that only added to the frustration.) Looking back, I am grateful for the wisdom.

Asking if there was anything he could do to fix it was nice, the best thing often was just listening to me bitch and whine. Thanks, babe, for letting me complain when my patience was gone. My being able to sleep, as well being out of pain makes him happy as well.

Moving at a Snails Pace

It was 60 degrees this winter when it should be in the low 30’s. I took a meandering mile long walk in just a hoodie.

After attempting an outline for the next children’s book (struggling with the story and the dialogue) more research might help me flesh out the story. Efforts so far have included recording myself telling the story, but that sounded murky. The story itself is muddled. Truth is the story isn’t clear in my own head. Maybe some more back story work is necessary before it can really be told.

Over on the blog for my children’s books I wrote about Lauren Graham’s recent memoire, Talking as Fast as I Can. She wrote about Don Roos and his kitchen timer method. I have been trying that as well. That’s when I realized that my previous work on the story has been haphazard, leaving holes.

All of these projects are helping me learn about not just writing but book production. Believe me, there is still a lot left for me to learn. But along the way, my grandchildren will have personal gifts that I have made for them.

All this has slowed my progress at finishing Sinister, which has stalled; not because I quit writing, but am currently writing something entirely else. You see, I have five (currently) grandchildren of varying ages.

Living by my grandparent rule: “What I do for one, I must do for them all.” The first book finished and published was an early reader chapter book Snowball, for one of my granddaughters’ tenth birthday. One down, four more to write.

Now working on illustrating a picture book, number two in the works. The current writing project is a second picture book. The first should be completed in time for Christmas 2017 and beta reading the second picture by summer so while I am marketing and selling the first, work on illustrations for the second can be started. This should make the second picture book ready for Christmas 2018. Numbers two and three done by end of 2018.

The last two books are in concept and backstory stage. One will be an older middle grade chapter book and the final will be a young adult. That YA may end up being a sixth book instead of the fifth, a bridge book from all the children’s work back into the adult mode. Maybe, my mind isn’t quite made up yet.

Last year going back to college to study creative fiction threw another kink in getting all the projects currently in play complete. Truly, this path for me has been a meandering, lost in the woods at times, awkward journey.

Thank you to those of you who have been with me from the beginning. Keep hanging in there. I will get back to finish Sinister posted here and it will be a much better book from all the experience I am gaining.

While it looks like I have been stagnating, I have been growing as a writer, publisher, and now novice artist. In order to complete goals, it really helps to be in touch with a strong motivating source. I found my source to help me conquer my fears and lack of confidence. Writing for my grandchildren was and has been the contract I could sign and the motivation to finish.

I also found a source of strength and encouragement in my husband. He contributed untold hours and conversations cheering me on, as well as doing what he could to help me make this all happen. My grown children have contributed as well, helping me directly and indirectly with the follow through actions. This has been a family effort.

I thank my grandchildren for the inspiration. My kids for the umph to carry me over the doubt. And my husband for the belief.

This may be a snail’s pace, but it is progress towards my goal.

Inept

When I finally reach my level of potential, it will be like the meme of sliding into Heaven sideways with a well used body. The difference will be that my arrival will be backward as well as sideways and upside down, most likely as a loner, straggling far behind the back of the pack.

I am not the best candidate for conformity, especially where my writing comes into play. Other things, where I can see the benefits of being stickler for details, yes, I can conform. My creative writing? Ok, writing in general? No flipping way, and while I am at it, let me acknowledge being the worst possible example of a rebel.

I can say this because a marvelous friend described me as a bad riddle because I couldn’t quite be figured out. When they thought they had me or my motivation figured out, I threw a curve ball from the dugout.

Yes, my pitch is physics defying because it would be over home plate and in the strike zone despite where it originated. It might seem backwards to those who pound the keys and make headway, but it dawned on me – I am go ass back ward all by myself.

This is my path to becoming a better writer. That isn’t my biggest hurdle. Neither is putting myself out there. It is in conforming to the tried and true marketing techniques that work for others. They are foreign because I am not ready yet, and mostly because I don’t feel comfortable doing that.

The public can be cruel. I know that. And I can be one of them. But to stand up against that cruelty and judgment with strength, you have to have conviction. To be at the place where I am convinced that this is my path and this is my way to progress as a writer, I have to know this is what will lead me to being the writer I want to be.

Then, and only then can I market the hell out of my work. I am not there, yet. But, buddy, believe me, I am getting there. And it is going to be good when I get there, or I will die still trying, very old and gnarly.

Before Re-Reviewing

Before I re-review the Gilmore Girls reboot, I am going to divert your attention to Lauren Graham’s (aka Lorelei Gilmore) first non fiction Talking As Fast As I Can. As a fan, it was a fun book to read. Well, I didn’t read read it, I listen to Lauren, herself, read it to me. Audio books are great for things like this. It was most enjoyable to hear her voice, it made the diary entries more personal and intimate; like listening to your bestie confess all over the phone.
Besides being a fan thing, this book also speaks to writers. Graham divulges into her other creative side, writing. She shares with us her secret to finishing work in progress on time—actually it is Don Roos’ secret. A method in-sync with some creatives and our natural weaknesses; it is genius. So, I am sitting here now, as I write, utilizing this method.

The Kitchen Timer
There are various sources on the internet should you choose to search it. However, if you are a fan, and love Lauren Graham, aka Lorelei, just buy the book. You will get far more than just a lovely connection to a beloved television show that was timely and honest. And if you are a writer, you get a copy of Don’s method. Really, this is a big deal here.
I personally loved the show and spent many episodes watching with my daughter. We even watched A Year together. So a fan before? You betcha. About midway through the book, Lauren herself made me an even bigger fan of her written work because, as a writer, she gets it. An English major in college, this is no wanna be writer like myself who is still struggling to get that BA under my belt. She has the education, experience as an actor and author of both fiction and non fiction. Lauren has worked on creating screen plays for tv as well. By the time this piece is exposed on the web, no telling what else her creative mind has brought to fruition.
So, no, I am not just mentioning this in passing. It was refreshing to hear her talk of her writerly struggles. It was beyond that, it was encouraging. I send a big thank you to Ms Graham and Mr Roos for sharing how to get writing work done in a method that not only sounded good, but as of this moment is working pretty well for me. The difference between it and my methods of the past is this is written down and has firm guidelines. Something I hadn’t quite come to on my own.

Now it is time to write.

Catching Up

How do you catch up? How does anyone catch up? I know that I take time to catch up which seems to put me even farther behind because time was used up doing things that should have already been done, but the things that are currently waiting to be done now become overdue things to be completed. Is that clear enough?

Like for instance sitting here and writing a future post so that I stay on schedule after this morning’s unexpected deviation from the norm. The day of this writing isn’t going well. Unexpected events occurred and I am dealing and trying to keep on track. Nothing overtly major, just life.

In the past, I might have let them blow my whole day’s plans, because after all current my job is writing. I can do that, right? Let stuff get me off track of my work schedule. That’s what working at home and stay at home parents get all the time. We have this built in flexibility.

Yeah, I bought that concept. But you know what? That just isn’t the way it works. Not for stay at home parents and sure as heck not for work from homes. It doesn’t. We get more behind, I think, than those that work outside the home. Why do I say that? Because most people who work outside the home are working with others. I know that when I worked outside the home and someone took a day off it because they were sick or they needed off. Myself and co-workers picked up the slack that an absence created. I worked overtime to cover a shift, sometimes working a double, or at least sharing the extra load with the other workers that showed up.

When you are a lone wolf on your own, there is no one to pick up slack or cover your shift. You get behind. I mean B-E-H-I-N-D. And it takes days sometimes weeks to catch up if you are keeping to a schedule. Or you have to cut out things, just simply not do them or forgo planned down time and work instead to catch up.

Well, I am working through the momentary chaos that has interrupted my routine flow. Here I sit, working at a blog post for the future because that is what I am supposed to be doing. This is going to be a long day today, because it has more in it than was previously scheduled. More things to handle and do because of an unforeseen event.

Oh, well, can’t say I just “phoned this one in.” I have made use of the predicament as best I could. Still sat and wrote for an hour. Yeah, Me!

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