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HAPPY BOO JEER!

Wait…

*drinks coffee*

Happy New Year!

No, I wasn’t out partying last night. I spent a quiet night in with my parents (who are visiting), my husband and my kids. Also assorted cats and dogs, and friends via Facebook.

And that’s my kind of party, really. I’ve never understood why anyone would want to start a new year off with a hangover*. Also, crowds make me uncomfortable, so parties aren’t really my thing.

No, I spent the first part of my evening making grand and impossible plans in my new desk calendar, only somewhat disappointed that I can’t use all of my new highlighters until I have a better idea of when things are going to happen.

Still, pencilling things in was GREAT fun.

It’s time for a few more plans. Not writing and publishing plans. We’ve covered those already. I’m talking about other things.

Things like:

 

Reading

These plans never work out as I want them to, but it’s worth a shot. My goal for this year is one novel and one non-fiction book a month. Not much for some, but I don’t get as much reading time as I’d like. And within that goal, I’m setting another. I want to read more books about people who aren’t like me. More people from other cultures. More people of different genders, sexual orientations, and experiences. More memoirs and autobiographies from people who have experienced things I never will. More from genres I’m less familiar with, even if I have to approach them like a kid coming at a plate of broccoli, nose pinched shut and eyes closed.

We only get to live one life, but through reading we can experience more of the world, gain empathy for those with different experiences, and hopefully learn to love other people more fully.

Also, I just think it will be more interesting this way.

 

Blogging

I’m going to get back to WIPpet Wednesdays as soon as I can, and continue to avoid spoilers as much as possible. It might not be every week, especially through January and February, as getting Torn edited and out in March is the top priority.

I’m going to get to every post on those weeks I participate and read, like, and possibly comment. If I don’t have time to read, I don’t have time to participate.

I’m going to spend more time reading blogs, both those I learn from and those of people who comment here. You’re all important to me, and I feel like I’ve been so busy this year that I’ve done a bad job of visiting. I’ll be better about that.

I’m also going to start re-blogging some of my older posts that as still amusing, relevant, or worth reading. I now have several years’ worth of posts, and I don’t expect anyone to go back and find the good ones.

Should be fun. We might do that on Mondays.

 

Productivity

This is kind of work-related, but sort of not. My big goal in this area is to learn to focus on what I’m doing at any given moment. If I’m working, I want to be immersed in that, not jumping back and forth between that, Facebook, Twitter, doing the dishes, checking e-mail, etc. When I’m with my family, I’m going to try to focus on them, not on my phone.

I want to be present in what I’m doing.

Some of you know how hard this is for me. My brain seems to be wired to crave distraction. I can’t just be where I am. I have to be planning something for work, or imagining another time and place, or working through a plot issue, or considering the pros and cons of a book promotion. I can barely focus on a real-life conversation because I itch to grab my phone and check social media, even though I know there’s nothing there that can’t wait.

I would rather scroll through Facebook posts I have no interest in than do something productive. I feel anxious if I’m cut off from any of my distractions.

It’s not a fun way to live. It is an addiction, and I’m having a hard time breaking it. I’d go cold-turkey off of social media, but my job doesn’t currently allow for that.

So I guess I fight it. I put the phone away when I’m at home, and hope my husband isn’t trying to text me when I can’t hear it. I turn the internet connection off when I’m working, even though I find word sprints with friends motivating. I’ll set timers for tasks, and try to focus.

Maybe I blog less, because that’s the work I’m able to do when the kids are home.

I will *gulp* try to focus on playing with the kids.

I’m not a bad mom, but I really hate playing trucks. :/

 

Health

Yeah. Okay. I did better in 2014 than in 2013 or any year before that. Even in the winter, I got the dog out for regular walks when I was able. My bad back (and newly developed hip pain–yes, I am eighty years old, thanks for asking) made that impossible for weeks on end, but I always got back to it.

I can do better. This year I’m going to start waking up earlier to do yoga or pilates in the morning (the only things I can think of that don’t get me all sweaty. I hate sweating). I wake early anyway and generally spend 30 minutes in bed before I get up. That’s another bad habit I need to break.

Also… Ugh, I hate to think about it, but I’m going to go to the doctor. It’s been *mumble mumble* years since I saw anyone about my headaches. Back then, there wasn’t much they could do for me. My brain scan showed nothing (ba-dump-PSSSHT!), and migraine medications knock me out far more than is acceptable for someone who’s responsible for small children.

So it’s Advil, tea, naps, and not much fun.

But maybe there’s something they can do now. New drugs, or better yet, some suggestion on things in my life I can change as a preventive measure.

As long as it’s not cutting out caffeine, we’re cool. I’m scared that someone will suggest cutting something else out of my diet, but I’ll try almost anything.

I should also ask about why it frequently feels like there’s ground-up glass in my right hip, because that’s an almost-literal pain in the ass.

 

Moving

Yeah, I have to put this one in this year. My husband has a good job, but it does mean we have to move every 3-5 years. This spring will mark three years here, and it’s half-past time to scoot. We’re still waiting to hear where they’re sending us (NOT a fun wait), but it’s going to happen.

When the time comes, I’m going to be more organized about packing. I’m not going to freak out if we have to buy our first house**. Above all… I’m going to try to make friends.

After almost three years here, I have two local friends (for reasons not worth going into here). In our next community I’m going to reach out more to neighbours, get involved at the school… anything else will depend on where we are, but I’m going to make an effort.

It’s a start.

 

So tell me: What are your grand plans for this year? Any suggestions on learning to focus (without drugs that inhibit creativity, please!)? What’s on your reading list for the year?

 

 

 

*But hey, whatever floats your boat. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, have fun with that!

**Yes, I am. I totally am. Hold me.

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WIPpet Wednesday: Awkwarrrrrd

Okay, let’s start with a confession: I’m sharing from a project that’s technically on hold. Much as I love Cat and her story, I have worldbuilding issues there that I need to work through, and I promised my editor I’d try to get some more pre-editing done on Torn, so that’s what I’m doing.

Sparrowhawk & Son is still a work in progress, though, so here we go. Catalen has been forced by her new employer to have a medical exam done. She’s not too happy about the idea, but she’s been promised that she won’t be poked or prodded.

6 paragraphs (3+1+2 for 3/12)

 

No poking or prodding, my ass. I should have specified that personal questions make me as uncomfortable as physical examinations do. My eye isn’t the only secret I’d prefer to keep.

This room is cold, and not exactly private. Sure, the doctor pulled a curtain around the bed so no one can see me, but the nurses’ hushed murmurs drift through from outside. They can sure as hell hear me.

“Are you sexually active?” The doctor is this roundish old guy with a skinny neck who reminds me of a turkey I once saw.

I shrug, and the open-backed gown they’ve got me wearing slips down my shoulder. “I’m not sexually passive.”

He looks at me over the top of his glasses. “I’ll just mark yes. Any chance you’re pregnant?”

“I’m promiscuous, not stupid,” I tell him. He gives me that look again, and I sigh. “I’m always careful, okay? Always.”

 

For anyone new here, WIPpet Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by KL Schwengel where we (the WIPpeteers) share a snippet from a work in progress that relates to the day’s date in some way. For more entries, see here–there’s usually a good range of genres, and often work that’s more polished than my first draftishness here. Want to join in? Post to your blog, link back on the linkamajigger, and be sure to visit and comment on other people’s posts.

Apologies to anyone I missed last week (which is everyone who posted after late Wednesday afternoon, I think). Not having my laptop stinks, especially when we’re away for the weekend. :/

—–

ROW80 Update

On to A round of Words in 80 Days, which I keep forgetting to link back to on their blog. Oh, well. Still nice to have some accountability, even if it’s just in my head.

It’s been an interesting week.

Writing:

First thing: I pulled off that NaNoWriMo win before we went away. Just barely, but I did it. Between that and my insane month-and-a-bit before that of drafting Bound book 3, I’ve written about 130,000 words of first drafts since the end of September. Not a lot for some people, but I’m pooped. Never mind the two weeks of editing I did in there… yeah.

Editing:

I’m not sure how to say this. We’ve hit a series of small snags on Torn. Nothing to panic about. It’s just that my editor can’t take it until a bit later than estimated (not his fault, just the way things worked out. These things happen). On top of that, I might not even be able to see his notes until the new year. Why? Remember how my laptop died, so I have to use my old desktop? Turns out it’s too old to run the current version of Microsoft Office (or the current version of Windows), so I can’t put Word on it to see Track Changes. No, I didn’t have Word installed on it before, because I use Scrivener and kind of hate Word.

I can’t get my laptop fixed until I get it into FutureShop (hi, pricey service plan!), which means a 4 hour trip to St John’s. I tried to order a mac laptop (which I need anyway) as a replacement. It would have been perfect. Delivery by December 10, a more reliable computer, everything I need…

OOPS, they won’t deliver to a PO box, and we don’t have home delivery. Wait… I need to find out whether I can get that with expedited shipping.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

Just frustrated. And none too happy with Microsoft, either. *glares*

BUT… I’m still moving ahead, and currently using AutoCrit to catch repeated words and other issues to try to save time on editing later. You’d think at this point that I’d notice when I’ve used “hideous” twice in one paragraph, but it’s all a blur to me. And it’s so rewarding when they tell me “nice job!” for not having any dialogue tag-related adverbs in a chapter.

“YAY, ME!” she shouted shoutily. Oops.

Please wish me luck in either getting my computer fixed, getting a new one, or finding a hard copy of an old version of Word.

 

Reading

Started Deathmaker (Dragon Blood Book 2) by Lindsay Buroker, and I’m so glad I did. I’ve been having a lot of trouble really becoming immersed in books lately, but this one did it for me on a long car ride in a way that nothing else I sampled over the weekend did. It’s book 2 of a series (not sure how that happened, but it was on my Kindle), but I didn’t have any trouble getting into it. Good story so far. I did have a moment of “Aaaah, crap” yesterday when they announced something to do with gem power (which is what they use in Sparrowhawk & Son), but hey. It’s all been done before, and I’m sure there are major differences. It’s just a jolt when you see a concept/idea/familiar bit of action from your work in someone else’s.

Anyway, I think I’m going to need to pick up more of Lindsay Buroker’s work if the story ends as well as it starts. Really great stuff. And for writer types, especially independent authors (or author-publishers, or whatever term you prefer), her blog is a fantastic resource.

I also wish I was as prolific as she is. Maybe some day, but I don’t think I’ll ever be “finished first draft at beginning of November, publish the book by Christmas” fast, even on shorter books. I need more time than that. So jealous, though…

More ROW80 here.

 

 


What, Me Worry?

Here I sit… accomplishing nothing at all.

I generally consider worry to be a useless state, a waste of energy and imagination. I’ve had enough to worry about in my life (though by no means as much as some), and I’ve learned that freaking out over what might happen makes absolutely no difference in the outcome.

If you can do something about it, stop worrying and do it.

If you can’t do anything about it, worrying is only making it worse.

…or so the theory goes.

About a month ago, I went to a doctor who specializes in… okay, you know what? Just avert your eyes if you think girl stuff is icky. Walk away. I’m not going to get graphic, but I’m also not going to act like I’m ashamed of having lady bits.

I like my lady bits. This is not really about them.

I went to see an OB/GYN about some issues I was having, and we discussed treatment options. We decided on an outpatient surgical procedure that would allow my condition to be treated without long-term drug use, because I’m sensitive to medications. If it has side-effects, I’ll probably get them.

Before I left, he had to do a test. Take a sample. A biopsy, but not a scary “we think you have cancer, let’s check” biopsy, just a test to make sure everything is okay. He said to remind him the day of the surgery to check on the test results, because I wouldn’t hear any more about them otherwise. I got into the least-dignified position imaginable in front of a complete stranger, he made me cry*, it was all good.

A week and a half later, my family doctor’s office called. “She wants to see you for an appointment. I’m going to book you in for Tuesday.”

What?

Um… okay.

That didn’t work out (my husband has to be off work to be home with the kids when I do the 45 minute drive to the doctor), and today was the soonest I could get in.

I told myself not to worry, because that’s useless, and I figured out reasons I shouldn’t worry. She probably just wants to see me about the test results because…

Hmm, I don’t know. She doesn’t book appointments when PAP test results come back negative (though I take some comfort in the fact that THAT was all normal last time).

But she probably just wants to talk about the treatment I decided on, right? And the fact that it was okay to add 2 weeks to the appointment wait time means it’s not an emergency.

I’ve hardly thought about it since I booked the appointment. Still, I HATE this. I hate not knowing. I’m distracted, I should be working right now, but I just keep looking at the damned clock.

I understand why doctors can’t give test results over the phone, even when everything is fine, but there has to be a better way to do things than “she wants to see you, imma book you in like, right nao, mmmkay? Kewl?”**

My fault for having to wait, I know.

So anyway, I’m sure everything’s fine. I’m not worried.

I just want to get this over with.

UPDATE: I tried to beta read to distract myself, since I might as well use this time for something productive. Kobo died, can’t find the charge cord. Not amused.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Chief Risk Officer and Executive Director of China Gungfua Bank in Hong Kong wants to present me as owner of $49.5 million dollars US. Now it’s the BEST DAY EVAR!

*For the record, not everyone finds getting their innards scraped as painful as I did, and if your doctor says the words “endometrial biopsy,” you should not freak out… Unless you’re a man. Then you can smile, nod, and back right out of that quack’s office, ’cause you don’t have a uterus. Unless you do, in which case, good for you! (PS: I am not a medical professional, never listen to me. Ever.)

**Also for the record, this is not how my doctor’s receptionist talks. I have nothing but respect for that poor, overworked woman.


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