My promise for 2017

writewhatscaresyouAnother year has come and gone. On a personal level, this year has been the best year so far. I’ve let a lot of my anger and bitterness go. I’ve accepted some hard truths about myself. I’ve opened myself up more than I ever have. I’ve discovered that I’m capable of loving and being loved. I’ve discovered that I am able to be happy.

However, this year has not been so good as far as my writing. I’m just not taking the time to do it like I should. Work has completely taken over everything, especially these past few months. I’ve taken on more responsibilities, and in turn, it has diminished the amount of time I have to simply sit down and write. When I have the time, I’m so exhausted that I end up vegging out in front of my laptop and while away watching videos on YouTube. I love Grav3yardgirl, in case you’re wondering.

I haven’t worked on anything other than my NaNoWriMo novel, which is no where near complete. I’ve written a lot in the way of short stories, but my blog has been neglected. I haven’t done any book reviews since February, and I promised someone I’d do one. I promise to get to it in January.

My blog is suffering. I don’t receive the number of views I was getting in previous years, mainly because I’m not writing. I don’t write much because I’m busy on a personal journey, one that I chronicle elsewhere, but not ready to share with you. It’s deeply personal, one of self-discovery and acceptance, but there is still a ways for me to go before I’ll share it here.

As for reading, I’m not reading as much anymore. I miss it. I miss sitting down and losing myself within a story, of tagging along for the journey, wondering where the author intends to take me. I miss letting my imagination run wild as I picture in my mind, the action written before me, translating words into action.

So, for my 2017 resolutions, this is what I resolve:

  1. Read more
  2. Blog at least twice a week
  3. Set aside time to write on my works in progress
  4. Love more and hate less
  5. Forgive and let go any lingering resentments
  6. Exercise my body as much as my mind
  7. Learn something new
  8. Travel as much as I can
  9. Learn to live and embrace what life has to offer
  10. Be happy

This is what I resolve. I want to improve my life, to find love, to find happiness. I want to get back to following my dreams of becoming a writer. I want to explore who I am, what I am, to write about my life. There’s a lot to do this next year. 2016 has brought me closer to the person I’m supposed to be. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me.

Happy New Year to all my readers, and keep reading!

Excuses and such

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I think the past couple of months tried to kill me. Photo Credit: Amy Ebert

I feel like such a slacker. I’ve been putting all my attention on a different project that I’ve neglected my writing. I still have those aspirations, but they have taken a momentary back seat to what’s going on in my life, both personally and professionally.

 

Professionally, I’ve been given the opportunity to participate in a leadership development program in Oklahoma City. We meet once a month for a class where we sit and learn important things regarding the business, but mostly it’s about forcing us to stand up a become comfortable talking to a group of people. It has helped a bit. I do feel a little more confident.

In fact, the feedback I’ve received so far is that I’m doing well in the program. Yay me! The class is moderated by two Store Managers, and the District Manager and District HR Manager are also in attendance. Part of the reason for the class is to bring Department Supervisors to the attention of the District team, so that they may consider us for advancement into managerial positions. I’m not entirely certain I want to move up, but it’s nice to know that I may have that option.

Personally, well, I’m not really ready to discuss it here. I well say that I feel that I’m in a period of transition. I feel that there’s a move in the future. I don’t know when or to where, but that this move will be for the better. As much as I’ve enjoyed being back home, I think it’s time for me to move on, and maybe explore who I am to a wider audience than is possible currently.

After the New Year, I hope to get back to writing. I want to finish up my NaNoWriMo project. I should say that I did win last month. I meant to write a post about that, but it got away with me. The past couple of months were busy, with my LDP class, inventory, and Black Friday, and lastly a visit from our Regional Vice President. It’s finally gotten back to normal, but now it’s Christmas and New Years. I’ll try to find my grove again.

 

Nanowrimo: Day 12

I’m so behind, it’s maddening. I’m still three days behind, but I was six when the day started, so at least I’m making up some ground. I would like to catch up tomorrow, but that’s unlikely. I just hope I don’t get further behind.

November has been brutal, writing wise. First, I had a presentation to prepare. Then I had present it, in Oklahoma City, more than five hours away from home. I wrote Sunday, worked Monday and drove to OKC, no writing done. Tuesday was the class and presentation, then the drive back to Amarillo. No writing done. Wednesday was a long day, and I ended up working a full 12 hours, spent the night in Amarillo again, then a full day on Thursday. Too exhausted to write, and the first night home since I left on Monday.

I meant to write on Friday, and I took my laptop with me to Amarillo, and set up to write at Roasters while I waited for a friend to drive in. We were going to meet for lunch, and I thought it a perfect time to get out of the house, drink some coffee and write. Nope. My computer’s battery was dead, and I left the charger at home. Crap!

I ended up going to Walmart, buying a composition notebook and a pack of pens, and sat down to write out a vague roadmap for my novel. While I’ve stated on countless occasions that I’m a pantser, I’m feeling as though having no plan isn’t working for me. I need at least a general outline of what I want to write. I may not follow it exactly, but at least it’s a guide.

So now, finally, Saturday comes, and I can write. I should have written more, but I’ve played too much online. Damn Facebook. I’m still please with what I have so far, the outline giving me some direction on where I need to go with the story. I decided as I was outlining that the story needs to be organized into three parts. So, maybe planning is helpful.

I have a long way to go before the month is over, and longer until I get to the end of the novel. I wish I didn’t have so much happening to distract me from my writing. This coming week is Inventory Week at work, and it’ll be long days and nights until Thursday. The following week is Black Friday, again a lot of long days to prepare. The last week of November has me going back to OKC for another project. I need to be beyond the 50K mark before then. I don’t know if I’ll have time to write on the 29th or 30th!

 

Counting down

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participantI have no idea what I’m going to write about. Does that surprise you? It doesn’t surprise me, but it does have me worried. Maybe something will come around, but what if it doesn’t? What if this is the year I lose? I can’t lose. I have to write 50K words. I can’t fail!

NaNoWriMo starts on Tuesday. 30 days, 50K words, which is what many consider the minimum word count for a novel, hence the name, National Novel Writing Month. I think it’s madness to attempt it, but I can’t help myself. It’s a personal challenge to just sit and write with abandon, foregoing any thought of scrapping what I’ve written.

As I sit here trying to write this, I can’t help but wonder what I’ll write. I have no clue. Hopefully something will be sparked between now and then. Probably a million ideas will come and go, none holding my attention for long. Though I’ve always thought of myself as a pantser, I wouldn’t mind having some time to at least think about what I’m going to write, some vague roadmap that’ll take me from beginning to the end. I want a complete story, and not my usual collection of stories abandoned halfway through.

It won’t help that November is a horrible month to begin with. I work retail, at The Home Depot, and our inventory is on the 17th. On the 8th, I actually have to go to Oklahoma City for a Leadership Development class with the district team. Why did I agree to that!? Oh, and let’s not forget Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and the start of the Holiday season. Let’s write a freaking novel! That’s not at all insane! I hope to be back to normal come Tuesday, and then it can go out of whack again as I try to pound out something somewhat coherent.

 

 

A month of dedicated writing

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantNational Novel Writing Month is less than a week away. In six days, people from around the world will start their goal to write fifty-thousand words in thirty days. That’s around 1,666 per day. That’s a lot of words. That’s a competition wherein you compete against yourself to see if you can do it.

I’ve managed to win every year since I started back in 2011. That’s five years of writing. That’s 260,137 words that I have tallied since I first discovered it on November 1st of that first year. I logged on to my computer at around 6:30 in the morning, saw NaNoWriMo on the trending box on Yahoo, and decided to investigate. I’m glad I did.

A little history: I had always wanted to write a book. How many of us have said that, either to our friends, or even to ourselves. I had countless times. I even started several aborted attempts, giving up even before I had written that first page, often even before that first paragraph. Writing is hard!

But that on that cold, November morning, as I sat there glued to the monitor at my desk at my work in the hospital, I knew that I had to do it. I needed something to take me out of myself, to pull me out of the pain and loathing I had fallen into. My marriage had unraveled back in January, ending in my filing for divorce and being finalized in August. A second relationship had just fallen apart at the beginning of October, and the weight of it all came crashing down on me. I was heartbroken and miserable. I needed a way out!

So I signed up immediately. I told my friend about it, and she signed up for it, too. Unlike her, I began to write in earnest, writing with abandon, not bothering to care if it made sense. NaNoWriMo gave me the permission I needed to give myself to write, just write. I watched as a story came to life. I sat there in shock that I actually had the potential to write anything longer than a few measly paragraphs.

I came is at 52,395 that first year. I was proud of myself. I had done it. Though it would take months, years to get over that heartbreak, NaNoWriMo had given me my first outlet. I spent the next year writing one story after another, clearing my mind, purging my soul. It was the catharsis I desperately needed. The page was the vessel into which I poured my misery, emptying even the most desperate and intimate suffering from my being.

I had planned on publishing my books, but I haven’t. I keep saying I want to, but here I am, five years later, and nary a book in sight. I keep saying that what I have written deserves to be read, but I’ve kept them locked up, out of sight, fearing to let myself fall victim to the worst critics among us, scared to inflict further damage on my already fragile self-esteem.

But what did it matter? I’d written something. I had proven to myself that I can do it. I had proven that I had the capability to put into words the often confused images in my thoughts. It hadn’t been easy. Sometimes I had to force myself to write, but I had done it, and I was glad.

Will I do so again this year? I think I will. I haven’t fleshed out any ideas yet, but that doesn’t concern me. I’ve always been a pantser rather than a planner. I’ll start to write the moment I’m allowed to write. I settle on an idea and go from there.

Ultimately, I would love to publish something, but that’s no longer my end goal. When I write something worth sharing, I will. Until then, I’ll continue to write and post the occasional short story, continue to hammer out what I’ve written, working and reshaping until something moves me to either seek out a publisher, or publish it myself.