in which I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck

This post was going to be about something completely different but I feel like I’ve reached the Pits of Despair! All that energy I had last week? Well, it’s gone. I’m totally riding the “I need a nap” stage of the Whole 30. I was floating along and then BAM! Everything hurts and I just want to crawl back into bed. Not much else to report. Sticking to it, but really hoping this wave will wear off soon.

Writing wise, things are progressing and I’m making good time with my revisions. I have a conference to attend in June (and my birthday!), so my goal is to be done with this draft before then. I don’t want to even look at Scrivener during that time.

I’ve also been looking into tips and tricks for vlogging. I have a rather nice camera, but it does not have a flip screen, so I’m going to give the mirror trick a try. If anyone has any other suggestions, let me know in the comments :). I would like to improve and avoid the weird staring into space face that I make when I use my iPad.

looking back on 2015

The time has come to speak of many things… or something like that. I usually do a recap post in December, so it seems about right to start looking back on 2015 as the holidays approach. It’s been a strange year, productive in some ways, terribly slow in others.

I published several academic pieces: one book, a journal article (with another accepted for publication), and a dozen or so book reviews. I attended three professional conferences and spoke at one; gave a book talk and a lecture on writing, accepted a supervisory position (with all the duties that entails), and finally convinced the library administration to let me purchase bean bags for student use (they’ve been a hit). I read over 50 books (surpassing my original goal of 30) in several genres, including non-fiction and self-improvement.

I KonMari’d my home (still in progress and still as effective) and bought a couch (much to my family’s delight, visitors can now actually sit beside each other). I tried and failed to create a capsule wardrobe, realizing that I already have a strong sense of what I like to wear, so why try to limit my options; and weeded my TBR pile to a sustainable little collection of books that I actually intend to read.

I completed the third draft of my primary work in progress, the as-yet-untitled Anúna (maybe soon to be titled?), and have a nearly finished draft of this year’s NaNo novel, along with a working plan for Cassiel draft three and Anúna draft four. There have been a lot of words in my life this year and many more to come.

I lost my cat of 14 years, a loss that still resonates, and gained a new little friend who requires more attention than I anticipated, but makes me smile with his silly antics and sweet meeps.

Midway through the year, I found myself turning more and more to yoga as a way to relieve stress, pain, and just find peace. It’s become a regular part of my week, and I hope to continue to grow my practice as I gain strength and flexibility. I haven’t been as disciplined about my diet or my savings, but I look forward to a fresh start after taking some time for myself.

Here’s looking to a restful holiday season and bright new year.

wrapping up, July

on life

It’s been a miserably hot month, but I’ve managed to stick to my workout schedule despite the unrelenting heat and humidity. Speaking of miserable heat, a couple of weeks ago I had a thought regarding my lack of energy during the last few months… I was refilling my weekly pill-box and noticed that the bottle of Synthroid was surprisingly warm. Now, it’s been hot year-round, but especially since my last refill. I decided to test my theory by finding a different place to store my meds, and I think it’s panning out, as I’ve started noticing some real changes in my mood and energy levels. I never really gave it any thought when I lived at my mom’s place, since the house was generally cool, but my apartment features wall A/C units that I only run while at home, so the place warms up during the day, especially during the summer months. Given the extreme temps this year, there hasn’t been  a cool day since winter. If the heat altered my meds, it would explain why I’ve been so drained for the last few months. Some days it’s been nearly impossible to work up the desire to do more than the minimum, which has really put a damper on my writing and exercise routines. I’m not entirely back to normal; I feel the way I felt when they were first trying to get my thyroid to normal levels, but I do feel better. Tired rather than bone-weary on most days. I hope this means that my energy be back to normal after a few more weeks, but I’m trudging along for now.

on writing

Day 100 has come and gone and with it two more chapters revised. All in all, some good work this month. Once the words started flowing, the words started flowing. I wanted to get a third chapter finished before the end of July, but that’s likely not going to happen until I can sit at my computer for an all day writing marathon on Saturday.

The book is out and an article I co-wrote with some of my fellow library gals is in pre-pub, so all is well in the world of academia.

on books

I’ve been in a trashy romance sort of mood. After reading the Grisha trilogy, I had a hard time finding anything that really sparked my interest, so I started making my way through the adult manga section of the library and weeding my way through my TBR shelf. I found a few gems and some fun reads, and then I picked up a used copy of Teresa Medeiros’s Yours Until Dawn that I purchased at some long ago library friends’ sale and was instantly hooked. Thus began my foray into romance novel binge reading as I devoured several more of her books. Sometimes I just need some sexy fluff in my life. I’m cool with that.

taking it as it goes

It’s been a bad week for writing. Have been in a blue mood and didn’t make much progress as a result. Revised half a chapter and wrote up some notes to work with, but that’s been it. I’m not too far off target for the month, but I wish I could say I had the drive for it. C’est la vie (or, at least, ma vie). I may or may not write today, and that’s ok. I’ll get back to it tomorrow and feel better for it.

embracing changes and moving along

Looks like the change of season is just what I needed. There’s something about Fall that always makes me feel refreshed and energized after the agonizing heat and lethargy of the summer months.

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I’ve accepted that the reason I’m having such a hard time sticking to my editing schedule is that I’m still having trouble deciding on which of two deciding moments should come first. I’ve mulled this over for a few weeks and have plotted out more than one sequence of events, but I’m still going back and forth on the order of events. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, I find a reason to reverse the order again. I think I’m leaning towards one particular sequence, but either one will have a major impact on the rising action and I really don’t want to get it wrong. It’s all self-doubt. In my mind, one series just makes more sense, but it goes against the original sequence of events that lead up to the second half of the novel in the current draft…. I’ve been steaming ahead, keeping in mind that I will have to go back and mostly rewrite two major chapters, as well as several subsequent scenes. It feel like an impasse–if I don’t decide, I really can’t continue, so something must be done. I’ve been trying to leave myself a trail of notes throughout the manuscript to remind myself where I need to go back and make changes when I do make a decision, but the moment has come to make it stick. I just hope it’s the right choice. I think it is… Urgh, so many thoughts.

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I’ve been pinning like mad in anticipation of holiday cooking and crafting. (Yes, I’m one of those people who actually makes stuff). I’m about 95% sure that I’m going to have to buy a new car (or a new used car) this December and I’m hoping to mitigate the cost of holiday spending by making presents for the family and the office. I’m trying to stick to a $50 budget for my small list of loved ones, but I foresee practical/useful presents for all.

This will be my first time buying a car and I am so anxious about the whole loan, haggling, sales person situation. Ugh. Wish I could just use amazon.

Work is going well, though I don’t think I will ever get used to the 2 hours I spend driving to and fro every day. I really do miss the luxury of a short commute and a 7 hour work day (though not the pay).

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Gave up my first foray into Scott Lynch and Henry James. I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind for them, so I’ll have to give them a shot some other time. Meanwhile, I’m woefully behind on the Reading our own tomes challenge with 15 of 30 books read. I really don’t see myself reading 15 books before the end of the year, unless I “cheat” and read all the manga and comics on my TBR shelf. I’m taking a nice breather with Lauren Willig, whose books always manage to make me smile.

and September arrives without warning

Egads! September is upon us and the highs are still in the 90s! Ugh. Bring on the fall breezes please. A lot happened in August (a little too much, if truth be told), but not all of it worth lingering on.

on writing…

No writing happened. None at all. If you’ve been reading the blog for a few weeks, you’ll know why I had little desire to do much more than sit and be still.

on books…

There were books. And there were some wee tumblr reviews. I was in desperate need of a good, fluffy, sugar-coated read to take my mind off things, so I read Jenny Colgan’s Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams–which had been sitting on my TBR shelf for at least a year. I tried to finish The Winter’s Tale, but just plain lost interest and gave up on that, so I finished the rest of Sakura Hime instead.

Also read an ARC of Windows on the World: 50 Writers, 50 Views by Matteo Pericoli, which proved to be the perfect mental getaway.

I started the month off by reading Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, which was interesting, but not the satisfying continuation I was expecting.

on life…

Shit hit the fan. It’s a fact. It’s starting to get better and I’m finally starting to feel myself again.

everything else…

I’ve been doing a lot of walking and thinking. Also yoga. Yoga became one of my passions this year, and after years of thinking myself highly inflexible, I’m finding that I can bend further and feel more centered than I ever have. It really helped during the turmoil of the last month.

what’s the story morning glory?

on writing…

On Monday morning, I reached what felt like a natural ending to my great climactic scene 🙂 so it’s all downhill from there… not that that’s a bad thing. It’s about time. I’m feeling the urge to start tinkering with a new plot… perhaps even a side story to help me refresh. I find that it helps me to think of something completely different between drafts. It keeps me from wanting to throw things in frustration every time I think of another element that needs changing. And there are plenty of them (I am more than aware of that), but there also comes a point in my writing when I need to be willing to step back and let go before diving in for another round. My intro (+ the first five chapters) need another look, but I’m going to avoid making any major changes before getting some reader feedback. I don’t want to muddle it up before having another set of eyes go through it.

on books…

In other news, I recently shuttered the book blog. It was time and I’m ok with that. Needless to say, there is no way I will stop talking about books; it just means that my posts will be more like random comments and side posts on tumblr than full reviews.

I’m currently reading the second in the Finishing School series by Gail Carriger, Curtsies & Conspiracies. I’m enjoying it more than the first one and will definitely read on when the third and fourth books come out.Next in line is Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire, which just arrived for me from the library and which I did not expect for several weeks yet. This means I’ll have to speed my way through to finish before it’s due.

In the meantime, I continue to stare longingly at Diana Gabaldon’s Written in my Own Heart’s Blood, which arrived in the mail several weeks ago and has been resting on my nightstand while I read through the sudden deluge of library requested books that I’ve received.

on life...

My dad is still not well and there’s not much we can do for him but wait and hope the therapy makes a difference. It’s terribly worrying when you’re parents are older and in poor health. My mom, meanwhile, is not handling it very well and that’s equally concerning, as well as stress-inducing for me as the person in the middle.

everything else…

I kind of like this subheading thing… may start using it as a regular thing.

the latest, a list

These are the things that are making me think…

  • The ending.
  • The thought of letting go of writing for a while and taking care of my body rather than my mind.
  • My dad is a stubborn man and I wish there was more I could do to help him.
  • My grandfather is surprisingly similar in temperament and situation.
  • My car may or may not be ready to clonk out of existence in the next six months (re: I may or may not be ready to pony up the money to buy a new car in the next six months).
  • Someone is racking up the water bill at my complex and the landlord is threatening to raise the rents 😦 😦 😦
  • I may have snitched in order to avoid the above scenario and this makes me feel like a total narc.
  • My insurance plan finally kicked in. Better start saving for the copays.

welcome May

May is here! And lots of changes with it–I’ll be speaking at a conference, starting a new job, figuring out a new schedule, and more.

What’s new? Well, I’ll tell you what’s not new… I did not reach my Camp NaNo goal. Not even close. Not that I really expected to, even after lowering my initial word goal of 20k, and later deciding to call it done if I finished Draft 2. Nope. The song remains the same. Still rewriting. Draft 2 is turning into a highly unmanageable little beast that just keeps growing, and with all the stuff happening in the coming weeks, I can’t see it being finished by the end of May. Still, it’s the driving desire for reader feedback that keeps me going. I know I need it before moving on to the next round of editing and I want to see it through before then.

I did, however, manage to acquire a nice little head cold. Right now, I’m doped up on just about every home remedy, cough concoction, and herbal tisane claiming to dislodge the germ colony invading my system. *sigh and cough*

the latest… and a progress report

So, dear reader, remember how I was being all vague and shifty? The moment of truth has arrived… For the last few months I was anxiously awaiting news on a job that I applied and interviewed for… and I got it! I wanted to tell everyone at work before posting about the offer, so now I can stop with the cagey antics. 

Can I just say… ain’t no job interview like an academic job interview. The process is harrowing, mind-blowing, nerve-wracking, *insert additional hyperbolic descriptors here*. But really, it is a process like no other. Academics like their folks well-rounded and they’ll stick you in all kinds of social and professional situations to see what you’re really like. Luckily, I’m pretty comfortable talking to people I’ve just met, but it’s still draining after nearly 8 hours of being chatty. Right now, I’m just trying to process all the changes that are coming my way. However, if any library students want to know more about what its like to interview for an academic library position, feel free to leave a comment or email me. I’m happy to divulge.

In other news… my NaNoThon Saturday was completely hijacked by my mother. Just when I was settling in to write–all my notes, floor plans (yes, there are floor plans now), and chapter outlines were spread in their proper order–my mom called as asked if I was ready to go out. Needless to say, my day of writing was at an end. On the bright side, I did need a break and it helped me admit that my rewrite needs rewriting. The ideas were there… but at this point I’m writing for quality not quantity. If I’m going to take this seriously, I have to put in the effort to craft a narrative that satisfies me as a writer and reader… not just toss a bunch of words together to reach a word count. It’s a setback, but better to face it now that the flaws are in sight. The only major drawback–my rewrites are splattered all over the page like some cryptic code. I’ve had to number the pages and draw arrows to tell myself how to read it all.