Merry Monday – Going After Your Dreams

merry_monday

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I took in some 2016 Olympics this morning. I’m not an avid watcher, especially of the summer olympics, but a man I went to high school was competing and I wanted to see how things went. I enjoyed watching someone else from my hometown chase their dreams. That was a bit of a pun as he’s a runner.

When I was growing up, it seemed a common belief that no one from my little hometown could amount to anything. Also, that everyone would invariably move back there. Many in my generation have refused to give that credence. Many of us are entrepreneurs, artists, top athletes, etc.

I’ll be an entrepreneurial artist soon. I’m excited about this, but I’m not in a rush. I’m using this downtime to better organize my home and personally grow. I want to be sure that I’m back in the driver’s seat.

Part of that growth has made me realize that I should be a little selective in my writing projects. One of my upcoming opportunities I backed out of because with the job changes, my novel, language learning, and other life priorities, I realized I could not get it done in time. I’m not one of those writers that can get 2000 words down in a day. Maybe one day I will be, but I’m not there currently. I didn’t have an idea for the story yet and it was stressing me out. I’ll  be happily working on the story for the next one once I finish the edits for the fall story. Editing has been an adventure. It’s teaching me a lot and I should be able to improve my writing because of it.

Anyway, I have to get back to the job stuff and the editing.

Ciao,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Another week already?

thoughtfulWell, here we are at Thursday once again. Things are looking up. I hope I’m not jinxing myself when I say that.

I’ve nearly finished editing my novel for its next submission attempt. I’m checking through the grammar before submitting it. I expect I’ll include a synopsis in the email to them.

I continue to apply for jobs, but having gone to a workshop I learned that Networking is how most jobs are acquired, not applying for them. As such, I’ve been switching tactics. The hidden job market is accessed through who you know and accounts for most of the job market, apparently. Through a friend I’ve gotten a meeting set up with a recruiter. The meeting is later today. I hope it goes well.

My severance was more than I expected. I’m hoping I won’t have to use all of it to survive and can dump some into RRSPs. We’ll see how this all goes. One day at a time.

I’m meeting with my job coach tomorrow morning. We’ll see what the thoughts are for me in the coming week with respect to job applications.

Once I’ve submitted my novel, I will take a day or two off to clean my house and then delve into the next short story as I have another deadline. Oh, I should probably let them know I intend to submit a story for that anthology 😉

Alright, it’s time to shower and have lunch. Meeting is at 1pm.

Ciao,
R~

 

Fortifying Friday – 2 Weeks Later

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What is my life looking like two weeks after being laid off?

Well, I have a job coach that is hopefully going to help me become reemployed. He’s set me up with this job site that emails me new jobs everyday. He has also informed me of a place to take French at reduced costs and I’m trying to get registered for the fall session.

I’ve had some really low moments where all I could do was cry about the unfairness of it all, but I don’t languish there because I know that won’t get me out of this situation.

There are some really good things happening for me with my writing. I have 2 short stories placed into anthologies and opportunities to write more of them. There are 10 chapters left to edit on my erotica novel before I submit it somewhere new.

I’m really enjoying seeing more of my friends and of the city. Also naps are wonderful.

My spirit is not as high as it usually is, but I’m working on it. I have always been a mostly optimistic person who sees opportunities or work arounds rather than total blockages.

My house is very slowly getting cleaner. I hate cleaning.

I better do some homework on my graphics course if I hope to pass it. This module is due by Sunday.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday – Time to Breathe

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I’m a little late on noticing this, but my calendar contains thoughtful statements. Indeed, my Josephine Wall fantasy calendar is stunning and thought-provoking. For August it says, “When we listen to a shell we hear the distant roaring of the sea: when a mermaid looks into one, does she see a scene from the world ashore? Whoever, wherever we are, whatever our limitations, all of us can make the effort of the will it takes to imagine an existence beyond our own.”

Being without employment has forced me to breathe. It has made me see what’s really important. I’ve seen more of my city and my friends in the last couple of weeks than I have over an entire quarter. I’ve seen more clearly what I have and am thankful for.

I barely looked at my calendar’s beautiful fantasy scenes each month. What did I miss in the previous months because I was too busy running in a rat race?

January: “Here dwells a very different kind of unicorn: beautiful, gentle, feminine, and unfathomably mysterious. She can talk as earthly women do, or communicate through the heavenly sounds that emanate from the harp beneath her horn.”

February: “Quite literally ‘one with nature’, the Wood Nymph or Dryad is half-human and half-plant: flowers, stems and tendrils tumble from her head instead of hair. The woodland creatures come to her because they know she is their friend.”

March: “Like the bird [magpie] from which she’s named , she can’t resist anything that gleams or glitters. We see her here festooned in ‘finds’ of every kind. Kleptomaniac or collector? She really doesn’t see what she does as wrong, picking up the brightly-coloured bits and pieces that people discard or lose.”

April: “Borne away upon the breeze over hill and dale, content to go where they are carried: these spirits [Gossamer and Thistledown] travel light, free of fears, doubts, and anxieties. We can only envy them their carefree lives – and do our best to emulate them, difficult as that must be in the hustle and bustle of today.”

May: “As the mermaid sleeps on her bed of sand and stone the ocean above her becomes a sea of dreams: she sees King Neptune guarding the gates of the great city of Atlantis with his trident. One day, she knows, she will enter within its walls and marvel at its miraculous sights and sounds.”

June: “Gazing rapidly out towards the far horizon – past the shore, past the sea, past the distant ship – the maiden sees a vast white cloud billow and burgeon into a flower. We should always allow ourselves to dream of possibilities that lie beyond our reach. Who is to say where our limits will actually lie?”

And for last month…

July: “A rose and a wish of love for the lady waiting by the river bank, though she herself is as beautiful as any flower. She seems as much a part of her scene as any plant, so perfectly does she blend in against her background with her diaphanous dress, her sumptuously braided hair.”

In looking back at these it has inspired some backstory for my protagonist as I hadn’t fully worked out who her mother was. Now it makes perfect sense to me.

Time to get back to editing the novel with new clarity.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Obstacles

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I’m fighting with squirrels. They are intent on eating my 3rd-floor balcony garden. This, of course, has given me ideas for the scenes in my novel that involve squirrels. To be clear, I already had squirrels in it, but the scene is better now.

And as I learned to shoot guns this weekend, those critters are lucky I live in a condo instead of the country. I’ll stick to shooting bad guys in Uncharted. For now.

I bought some wood to build cages with chicken wire so I can hope for something to harvest later this summer. Cayenne didn’t seem to help much in the squirrel war.

It was a tough day at martial arts yesterday. Early on, my quadriceps began to seize up in protest. Did I give up? No. I drank a bunch of water and switched to standing versions for a while. After a bit, my legs were fine and I could do it properly. Well, as proper as my current rank and fitness levels allow for, at any rate.

Today, I had an exercise stress test to check my heart out. That organ is a family weak spot, so it’s something to monitor now and then. They rubbed my skin with alcohol, used sandpaper on it, then stuck electrodes to me. My skin still burns. It’s rather like the burn after a tattoo only I don’t have pretty art to show for it, just damaged skin. Oh, and as my legs were already super sore from yesterday’s iaido class… Well, that was loads of fun running on a treadmill. My quadricep pain is my own fault for missing two classes, though.

Well, this week is a good one to get back onto my exercise schedule. Tonight is yoga, which will feel fantastic on my sore muscles. But first, groceries because I have almost no food in my house. Well, I have no meat I mean and I either need some of that or tofu to make a stir fry.

Ciao,
R~

 

Wonder Wednesday: The Call to Write

Image created using Bit Strips.

Image created using Bit Strips.

Today, I am wondering if my writing will ever accurately portray the story to the reader as I see it in my mind. I expect this is something all writers struggle with but it gnaws at me. This niggling feeling in the back of my mind says I’m not good enough.

But is it really our job to make them see every bit the same as we do? Or is it to provide the reader with enough to spark their imagination, so they can fill in the gaps?

Perhaps it’s somewhere in between those two extremes; in the Goldilocks zone.

When I think about my characters, I smile as though they are my best friends and I am enjoying their recount of the latest shenanigans we all got into. Indeed, sometimes I even laugh out loud because they feel that real to me.

I want my readers to know them as well as I do. Or at least pretty close. I like keeping some secrets.

I’m on a writing break right now, and my characters keep bugging me to get back to their story. I keep telling them to be patient because my house needs cleaning and I’m trying to wait to make more changes while the current version is being judged in a contest. They can be such brats. I bet they’ll sulk once I’m ready to get back to them. The living room/dining room/entrance/and kitchen are mostly clean. My bedroom/office is a disaster, though. Let me clean my writing nook at least!

“But writing will make you a better writer”, they urge.

I suppose I could write some new scenes while I’m waiting…

Fine, Josy, you win!

Dammit.

She’s almost as stubborn as I am.

Well, it looks like I have writing to do.

Ciao,
R~

PS. Yes, my site looks different for now. I’m troubleshooting a problem where image captions don’t display and one of the steps was to change themes. The other theme I had seems to be non-existent now but I like this one enough that I may just keep it. Hmm, I may have just figured out a workaround… Avoid using “Featured Image” and just insert the picture into the post.

Wonder Wednesday: Extreme Editing

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Image created using Bit Strips.

Prescheduling this one as I think I might be incapable of much on Wednesday.

The day before I submitted my manuscript to the Half the World competition, I signed up for Grammarly Premium. Grammarly found nearly 2000 issues. This was bad, yet good. Bad because time was so short and good because there was time to fix things before sending it out.

It was submitted on the morning of Tuesday, June 7th.

What I learned:

  1. I had messy battle scenes that I was convinced I needed to print out in order to cut up and move the pieces around. Well, my printer was out of ink. I was about to head out and buy a better printer because I actually hate inkjets. Then I said, “Don’t be stupid. All you need are your brain and fingers.” I hunkered down and it was way easier than I thought. I’m still going to replace my printer with a laser printer but it’s not pressing.
  2. I used to have excellent grammar skills. I used to tutor others. Somewhere along the way, I forgot proper comma usage. Indeed, nearly half of the 2000 errors were related to commas.
  3. I like the word though quite a lot.
  4. It seemed my manuscript had a lot of repetitive words but they were all located near each other. Like my brain locked onto a word for the day or week and it was going anywhere it could.
  5. Editing both battle scenes on the same day helped me fix both of them even though they were very different from each other.
  6. Somehow I can function on very little sleep without caffeine. I have had about 3 hours of sleep. I edited for the bulk of one day before going to sleep then the novel beckoned me to wake at 2AM after closing my eyes at 11:30PM. I continued to edit for about 2 hours. Then I tried to sleep but I doubt I fell asleep. I rose with the alarm and continued to edit. Then I submitted and hastily showered before going to work. I am now wondering if I am really human.
  7. I learned how to write a synopsis while driving in my car. “Oh god! I have to write a synopsis. I hate those things! Whatever shall I put in it?” I asked myself. “Just run through the story, include the main plot points and the ending.” My brain is wonderful sometimes. Other times I wonder how I managed to put my laceless shoes on my feet.
  8. I write rather lazily because I know there’s no point in making it perfect before I’m sure I have the right words. I get the idea down and it might be in simple language. “Josy was hungry. Josy ate food.” Later that may turn into, “The hunger pangs disrupted Josy’s ability to concentrate. She retrieved a yogurt from her little fridge and mixed it with some granola.”
  9. I’m neither a pantser nor a plotter. I’m a weird hybrid.
  10. My book is currently as good as I can make it on my own. After the contest is done, I’ll search out an agent and try to get it published. The winners are supposed to be announced about a month from now.
  11. I’d like to try a relaxed writing pace of about 350-500 words a day or about 1 page. After 1 year of that, there is a complete manuscript.
  12. Don’t bother with the free version of Grammarly for MS Word. What happened? I used it first and it created more advanced problems. If you just use the premium one, you avoid that issue. Sign up for a month then cancel before renewal.
  13. Work on my grammar, writing skills, and vocabulary. These will make editing less painful. Especially learn to use the damn comma properly.
  14. Grammarly premium gave me pretty good editing advice. I got shown my issues one at a time, almost like find and replace. It was slow at times, though. There were some suggestions I ignored as they were just wrong for my fantasy novel. For example, it would suggest plant should become building when I was literally talking about a green leafy thing. It suggested best word pairings. It informed me I was using the same words too often and I could work with one problem sentence at a time. It usually suggested words that were helpful or I would realize there was a problem, but I had a better idea of how to fix it. I often chose to rewrite a sentence and eliminate the issue entirely. I imagine this to be part of an editor’s job. Now, when I get a professional edit done, it can be focused on story rather than grammar and spelling.

I’m now on a writing break for at least a month. After that, I’ll probably work on the roller derby one unless the alien conspiracy takes hold of me first.

For now, I’m catching up on sleep amongst gardening, cleaning, guitar, and video games.

Ciao,
R~

Merry Monday: Brief Update

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Image created using Bit Strips.

Hi, readers!

The weekend was packed. Saw the Rideau Valley Roller Girl travel teams take on those from Tampa Bay Florida on Friday. Ottawa, unfortunately, got crushed but I think they learned a lot. They should be proud anyway. When you’re ranked 60 and you go up against a team that is ranked 17… Well, you have to have some gumption to even try that. Tampa had many phenomenally skilled skaters. Seriously, some of their jammers looked like ballerinas because they were tiny and extremely light on their feet. Perhaps we’ll see the Vixens catch up in the future. Watching Roller Derby on a Friday messed with my brain as it’s usually on a Saturday. When I realized I still had tons of weekend left, well that felt pretty awesome.

Saturday had me at Prose in the Park. The weather was excellent. I should have drunk more water as I felt a little awful at the end of the day after running around in the heat all day. I bought three books. Two are award winning and I’m looking forward to seeing how an award-winning book differs from the rest of the stuff I read. I capped Saturday off with work on my novel.

Sunday was filled with novel writing and a break for Iaido. Partner practice in Iaido was fun though I didn’t really want to be there. It helped with my writing to take the break and get in the right frame of mind for writing battle scenes. It dawned on me while editing that I should change the title and luckily a natural title came to me.

As of this morning, I have two chapters left to edit.They are both of the battles because these are the messiest things to write. I can’t really stick to just one character as they all have to come together at some point. If I stick on one character too long, it gives away part of the rest of the battle. I’m going to print these out and cut each sentence out so I can literally move each sentence around. Sounds silly, but I feel this is the only way to work with these two chapters.

Oh, my word count is currently 66, 594.

This start of this week will be finishing the book and submitting it. Then I get to chill and play video games as a reward. Also, clean my place.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: Week of June 3rd

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Image created using Bit Strips.

What’s been up this week? More than enough.

Personal

  1. Happy: There’s a new member of my extended family. A healthy 7lb boy.
  2. Worried: The mom of the baby had a tough time delivering and is in ICU. Many moons ago she was my flower girl. Hopefully, mom and baby will get to go home soon.
  3. Stressed: My writing deadline is fast-approaching and I keep finding major issues in my manuscript! They’re all near the end of the story. My word count isn’t high enough either for the genre.
  4. Well: I’ve done some trials with yeast and dairy. So far I haven’t been reacting to them. One major change I made recently was to go completely gluten free.
  5. Tired: Been working so hard on my book it’s probably wearing me out, but it must get done!
  6. Excited: My new boss likes meetings way less than the previous one.
  7. Nervous: I haven’t met my new boss yet. That happens next week. I’ve worked with him a tiny bit but have little idea what he is like as a boss.
  8. Anxious: I put one of my tomato plants outside overnight. I had bad dreams of it being torn to shreds by the wind. There are a few battered leaves, but it mostly made out OK. The other isn’t big enough yet. I guess I’ve spent so much time nursing them over the past couple of months that I care what happens to them. Silly, right?

Ottawa

  1. Ready: Prose in the Park is tomorrow! Come to Parkdale Park between 11am and 6pm to meet Ottawa-area authors, listen to interesting discussions about a variety of topics (some writing specific), and buy some good reads. It’s free admission and the panels are free too. I’ll be around. It’s a small park, so I shouldn’t be too hard to locate. There’s a poetry night tonight for those who can make it as well at Origin Studio from 6:30-9:30pm.

World

  1. Sad: The gorilla thing made me upset. My first reaction, like many, was to ask why the parents didn’t keep a closer eye on their child particularly when he said he was going to go in and tried several times. But I’m not a parent. I do know how hard it can be to keep a toddler from running off with several adults watching. It only takes one very brief moment for them to get by. And they run fast despite their short legs. My next reaction was that they should have just knocked the gorilla out. Since then, I’ve read a lot about the issue. People who have extensive experience working with gorillas have stated a tranq wouldn’t have taken in time. The boy would have died because despite what it looked like to the untrained eye, the gorilla was not protecting the boy and it was not happy that the boy was in its cage. The public is to blame for this. Why? Because the only reason the boy could get into the cage in the first place is because any more stringent measures to keep people out will diminish the “natural” view of the animal by onlookers. In other words, we’d see more of the cage. People have stated they don’t want to see the cage. A lot of people say zoos shouldn’t exist at all. I’m not weighing in on that one. The few I’ve been to operate as rescues for animals people tried to have as pets, but couldn’t handle once they got bigger.
  2. Relieved: Precious art is being moved from the Louvre to get out of the flood zone. Hopefully, people are too?

Well, I’m off to get ready for work. Roller derby bout tonight. And Prose in the Park is tomorrow. Somehow I’ll manage to get this book done before Wednesday.

Ciao,
R~

Funky Friday: Long Weekend Recovery

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Image created using Bit Strips.

I’m completely oblivious to what has been going on this week outside of my own world.

Personal

  1. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were seminar days that involved a lot of hard training and partying. I did well at the auction and came home with an entire outfit for $50, which normally costs around $200 at least.
  2. I was reunited with Scarlet (my guitar).
  3. Trying to finish the edits on The Page & The Magician before June 8th, so I can submit it to a contest.

Ciao,
R~