Muse-Inks: Weird mood stuff

So here’s the (first) thing: I’m freaking out inside (about my upcoming trip), but I’m trying not to freak out. I’m so excited I can barely stand it, but … if I let either of those two particular cats out of their respective bags, I won’t be able to function.

And I have to function. I have to be able to work. I have to be able to write. I have to be able to do normal, day to day stuff like laundry. And I have to be able to organize my shit and pack for the trip. Which, of course, loops me back around to freaking out.

Can I tell you that all this restraint is exhausting (and not have y’all think that I’m a whiny baby)?

Anxiety is real.

I may appear calm. I may speak quietly. I may smile.

Meanwhile, my heart’s beating a hundred miles an hour, I feel like I’m having hot flashes (and I’m of the age when some of them may be legitimate), I’m dizzy and feel like I might faint, and sometimes my extremities go numb. All of these reactions are the result of adrenalin release. Though I’m not actually experiencing anything that justifies fight or flight, my anxiety triggers the hormone cascade.

It also messes up healthy sleep, which means I’m perpetually tired.

Most of my effort centres on remaining clam. If I can prevent the cascade from happening in the first place, I’m good. So at the day job, I’m laser-focused until breaks and lunch and then I dive into one of the several novels I have on the go and I immerse myself in words.

I avoid talking about the trip, because that, in itself, can be a trigger. I can’t be rude, though, and once the topic comes up, I try to focus on the practical, the logical, the real. I’m not always successful. And once my anxiety kicks up, I can only ride it out, go for a walk to burn off some of the nervous energy, or focus on my breathing until my hands stop shaking.

An anxiety attack passes. That doesn’t mean it’s not hell while it lasts.

So, yeah. That’s the first weird mood thing going on.

The second is introspective weirdness.

I’ve written before that I used to dream vividly when I was young. I had nightmares and night terrors, somnambulism, and somniloquy (talking in your sleep). I’ve had out of body experiences, near death experiences, and other experiences of the universe that would be considered uncanny.

I’ve delved into meditation of various stripes, wicca, and European shamanism.

From my mid-twenties into my mid-thirties, I was what I would call a seeker.

After all the reading and the research and the exploration, I ended up settling on the uncertain ground of the agnostic. My experience of the universe defied definition. I didn’t want to force-fit it into a category. I let it be what it is, tell me what it wanted to, and I’d respond accordingly.

The problem is, as I get older, I’ve heard, or felt, those universal nudges less and less. And I don’t know what the cause is.

Have I, like Susan Pevensie, outgrown my sense of wonder? Recent events have led me to believe that this is not the case. Am I close enough to where I need to be that I don’t need those universal nudges anymore? Possibly, but why do I feel so … lost, then? Have I shut down my intuitive side? Again, it’s possible, but how can I tell?

I’ve been working on the assumption that all of the uncanny stuff has channelled itself into my creativity. This part of my life continues to blossom, but it’s a flower in a private conservatory. What’s the point if no one gets to see it?

I guess that’s what everything comes down to. I know what it is I need to do, and I do it. I write. I study craft and literature and story of all kinds. My life revolves around that central principle, sometimes to an unhealthy extent.

To date, however, I haven’t been able to produce a lot of objective evidence of the work that I’ve done.

I know that the writing is its own intrinsic reward. I will still be writing for the rest of my life, regardless of what does, or does not happen. I just keep missing, or messing up, opportunities to get my words out there, or my efforts proceed without significant results.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The universe seems to be out of lessons. I need to find another way forward.

Maybe my big Baltic adventure will provide some answers.

In the meantime, I’m going to make the effort to remain open, to recognize a universal nudge if I get one, and to act on it accordingly.

There you have it: I suffer from mental illness (depression and anxiety), and I have an unorthodox view of the universe. Maybe one leads to the other? Or coaxes it along? Who’s to know? Unless the universe is interested in sharing … ?

I shall leave you on that ambiguous note.

This is my last weekend post until after Helsinki WorldCon.

I don’t know how active I’ll be on social media, though I’m sure I’ll be posting a scad of photos 🙂

As ever, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

It’s time again to pop the mental corn.

Romeo Dallaire and Alex Neve: Canada failed Omar Khadr. The Globe and Mail

Sean Kilpatrick says Indigenous youths keep taking their own lives, and we keep looking away. The Globe and Mail

Lauren Dake reports on the mass eviction of hundreds of Yakama people: the quiet homelessness crisis. The Guardian

Jamie Catto says real is the new sexy. Elephant Journal

Dan Stelter lists 26 things that people don’t know you do because of anxiety. Anxiety Support Network

Tim Hollo: Elon Musk’s big battery brings reality crashing into a post-truth world. The Guardian

David Wallace-Wells runs the gamut of apocalyptic prognostication: the uninhabitable Earth. New York Magazine

Eqbal Dauqan may be the most unstoppable scientist in the world. Michaeleen Ducleff for NPR.

Science writers share the books that inspired them. The Guardian

Marcelo Gleiser: is the universe conscious? NPR

Phil Plait shares Juno’s photos of the Great Red Spot. SyFyWire

Jacob Dubé: ravens are so smart, one hack this researcher’s experiment. Motherboard

I riden så. Myrkur.

 

More Nordic folk music on nyckelharpa from Myrkur Ǿskemorder.

 

On that lovely note—ha!—I will bid you farewell until the weekend.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 9-15, 2017

And here we go with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

Sophie Masson expounds on the joys of writing in an unfamiliar setting. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft says you need to earn the backstory by raising a question. Writer Unboxed

Becca Puglisi teaches subterfuge in dialogue. Writers in the Storm

Jenny Hansen shares … a story of balls. Writers in the Storm

Chuck Wendig: so, you’re having a bad writing day. Terribleminds

Roz Morris stops by Writers Helping Writers to improve your suspense in stories with … the big tease.

Angela Ackerman looks back: why we must invest if we want a writing career. Writers Helping Writers

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series: creating the characters. Fiction University

Kristen Lamb explores the creative benefits of being bored.

Terri Frank joins the DIY MFA team: five ways to use the library to nurture your reading life.

Gabriela Pereira stops by Jerry Jenkins’ blog to teach us how to write dazzling dialogue.

Then, Gabriela interviews Ann Kidd Taylor for DIY MFA radio.

Gary Zenker returns to DIY MFA: how to get the most out of a critique.

Elise Holland offers five poetic tools to enhance your prose. DIY MFA

Jane Friedman explains how to pitch agents at a writers’ conference.

Chris Winkle lists seven ways to bring characters together. Mythcreants

Nancy Kress looks at the science in science fiction: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tor.com

Richard G. Lowe Jr.: how better world building will keep you out of trouble. AutoCrit

Brandon Taylor: who cares what white people think? Literary Hub

Emily Van Duyne wonders why we’re so reluctant to take Sylvia Plath at her word? Literary Hub

Jane Austen comments on love and happiness. Oxford University Press.

 

David Barnett: how traditional British folklore is benefiting from modern culture. The Independent

Emma Watson interviews Margaret Atwood about The Handmaid’s Tale. Entertainment Weekly

Nancy Kress shares seven things she’s learned so far … Writer’s Digest

Karen Grigsby Bates: how Octavia Butler wrote herself into the story. NPR

Charles Pulliam-Moore reports that after four years in negotiation, HBO and George R.R. Martin are producing Nnedi Okorafor’s Who Fears Death as a series! i09

Marc Snetiker gives us a first look at A Wrinkle in Time. Entertainment Weekly

Charles Pulliam-Moore: the reason publishers rejected A Wrinkle in Time is the same reason Ava DuVernay is making the movie. i09

And Cheryl Eddy shares the A Wrinkle in Time trailer! i09

It’s been an exciting week for series and movies. So looking forward.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty!

Until then, be well.

tipsday2016

Series discoveries: Highlights

Last week I said I’d do a series discoveries post, and here, as promised, it is 🙂

I watch entirely too much television. It’s true. But I enjoy it. I also get a lot of writerly goodness out of watching television series because I never just watch passively. I discuss what I watch with Phil, try to predict what might happen, plot-wise, and think about the story structure of the episodes and the seasons or series overall.

If I tried to say even a few words about all the shows I’ve watched since I last posted a series discoveries … I’d be writing a book (!) I’d rather save all those words for my novels.

Here are some of the year’s highlights.

Stranger Things

Of course this would be on my list. Isn’t it on everyone’s?

A lovely cast of young geeks and social misfits, Dungeons & Dragons, a mysterious series of disappearances, enough 80’s nostalgia to make me feel warm and fuzzy, Winona Ryder in her first solid role in … like forever, Mathew Modine as the villain, the awesome Eleven, and The Upside Down.

Assholes saw the error of their ways. Friendship triumphed over fear. The crazy lady was proven right (and not crazy).

And the storytelling was top notch. ST was a master class in foreshadowing and revelation. It wasn’t backstory heavy. The pacing was just right.

Travelers

Of the three new time travel series, I enjoyed this Showcase/Netflix collaboration the most. Both Timeless and Time After Time got tangled up in paradox (in my opinion). And not in a good way.

The means of time travel in Travelers was the transference of consciousness of the members of a future team of specialists into people in the past at the moments of their deaths. It’s a little hand-wavy, but it’s a clever way of trying to circumvent paradox.

Like many of the more enjoyable time travel tales, it doesn’t attempt to explain how the transfer of consciousness works. It’s not the story. It’s simply the vehicle for the story.

In the future, the world is in terrible shape. Teams of specialists, known as travelers, volunteer to have their consciousnesses transferred into people of the past in order to complete a series of missions in an attempt to avoid the catastrophic future. There are many teams, but no one knows any other travelers outside their team. They can’t. That’s half of the attraction of the show. The audience learns about the story world as the characters do.

Everything is organized by The Director and nobody knows who that is, either.

I found it fascinating because the travelers had to infiltrate the lives of the people they take over. These “normal” lives were the main complication for each of the travelers.

It was very well done.

The Crown

This was another well done series. It looks at the life of the young Elizabeth from before her marriage to Phillip and the death of her father through the first year of her reign as Queen Elizabeth II.

The acting was fabulous—John Lithgow as Winston Churchill was a-MA-zing! And Matt Smith isn’t half bad either 😉

Though I know the events of Elizabeth’s life have been dramatized for the series, it felt true. The characters were all human, all flawed, and all struggling.

It was a great character study.

Vikings

SPOILER ALERT!

Ragnar died. I have no idea where things are headed next season.

I still love the show. And Lagertha.

That is all 🙂

The Last Kingdom

This adaptation of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories continues to be compelling, despite a short second season.

It’s set a generation after Vikings when Alfred is king of Wessex (he’s a child in Vikings). Uhtred, the main character, was captured by the Vikings as a child and his uncle usurped his father’s lands. While it shares several of the same themes as Vikings, it’s a very different take on the historical era and its political intrigues.

It’s all about Uhtred’s survival and eventual rise. His ultimate goal is to retake Bebbanburg castle in Northumbia from his uncle.

I, Zombie

When Shomi closed up shop last year, Phil and I were disappointed. It was the only place we could watch I, Zombie.

Admittedly, the show struggled a bit this year with several characters switching sides, and then switching back, turning into zombies, getting cured, and then becoming zombies again. It was all very make-up-your-minds-already!

It retained its light feeling and comic book inspiration. It was still clever, but now that the zombie cat is out of the bag, I’m not sure about the future of the series.

13 Reasons Why

I am loving this series based on Jay Asher’s book. I think suicide is an important, if uncomfortable, topic to address, and I think the series has done it brilliantly.

The tapes are an effective (and analog) MacGuffin, and I wanted to hear the next one (or not) as much as Clay.

It’s a revealing look at the hell that is high school.

I honestly don’t know if I’d have survived high school if social media had been such a powerful force back then.

Sense8

Phil and I LURVED season 1 and were distressed when there was talk of not renewing the Straczinski-Wachowski series. We rejoiced when the Christmas special promised season 2 in May.

If anything, season 2 was even better than the first.

And then Netflix cancelled it.

It’s a beautiful show about difference and bonding, and how we can all bring the best out in one another, if we choose to. And, yes, psychics.

Like the time travel in Travelers, the sensorium (the bonded group of psychics) is merely the vehicle for a wonderful and uplifting story.

I really hope Netflix reconsiders.

Game of Thrones

GoT redeemed itself last season with some of the best episodes I’ve seen in years.

I can’t wait for tomorrow night’s season premiere.

Outlander

I’ve been a fan of Gabaldon’s novels for ages and what Stars has done with the series is excellent. I know a novel has to be reconceived for television. It’s a different medium and requires different writing. Unlike GoT, which has been hit or miss over the life of the series, the Outlander cast and crew have consistently made all the right decisions.

As I said to a friend after I saw the first season, it’s like Gabaldon had the chance to rewrite the novel given her current level of craft and experience. The series has been that true to the spirit of the books.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next season.

And that’s all I’m going to write for tonight.

Next week will be my last weekend post before I’m off on my grand adventure 🙂

Series Discoveries

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 2-8, 2017

It’s a small but mixed bag of thoughty, this week.

So a couple of months ago, Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids came to Sudbury. It’s absolutely hilarious.

The Decolonial Atlas covers the Great Lakes from the Ojibwe perspective.

No one is stopping Tomson Highway from having a happy Canada Day. Brent Bambury’s Day 6 on CBC.

Nature’s fireworks. It’s okay to be smart

 

Kathryn Nave looks inside the startup that wants to mine asteroids and transform space travel forever. Wired

Zaria Gorvett: the massive volcano scientists can’t find (after 700 years). BBC

Sarah Kessler says we’ve been worrying about the end of work for 500 years. Quartz

Brigit Katz reports on the Chicago library seeking help transcribing magical manuscripts. Smithsonian Magazine

Brian Resnick explains the weird power of the placebo effect. Vox

Awareness Act lists 15 habits of people with concealed depression.

Shayla Love: how do you treat a dog with OCD? BBC

Popping the mental corn, it’s what thoughty Thursday’s all about 🙂

Be well until the weekend!

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, July 2-8, 2017

It’s time for your dose on informal writerly learnings 🙂

K.M. Weiland continues her most common writing mistakes series with part 60: flat plots. Helping Writers Become Authors

Later in the week, Kate continues her series on the do’s and don’ts of storytelling according to Marvel with a look at Guardian of the Galaxy, volume 2: how to ace the first act in your sequel.

As a follow up to her last post on critiquing, Jane Friedman helps you recognize patterns in the way you respond to criticism.

Then, Gary Zenker guest posts on DIY MFA: a new approach to critique.

Larry Brooks stops by Writer Unboxed to discuss the big lie about writing compelling fiction.

As a follow up to Larry’s post, Anna Elliott asks, what’s your truth? Writer Unboxed

Donald Maass explores characters light and dark. Writer Unboxed

Parul Macdonald uncovers the world of a literary scout and international rights. Writer Unboxed

Abigail K. Perry joins the DIY MFA team: how to make you character descriptions do double duty.

Stacey B. Woodson shares five writing lessons from thriller master David Morrell. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Sarah Dessen for DIY MFA radio.

Marielle Orff shares five ways to get to know your characters better. DIY MFA

Emily Wenstrom offers some email marketing tips. The Write Life

Jami Gold gives us one simple trick to avoid the opening page infodump.

Janice Hardy continues her birth of a book series with testing the idea. Fiction University

Then, Janice visits Writers in the Storm: what do you want your readers to wonder about?

Chris Winkle covers five more dualities that can replace good and evil. Mythcreants

Bryan Hutchinson explains how to become a prolific writer while holding down a day job. Positive Writer

Sophie Playle: where is your budget for book editing best spent? Liminal Pages

Sarah Fox shares seven things editors wish authors knew. Well Storied

Jeremy Szal shares his tips for writing a successful query letter. Fantasy Faction

Caroline Leavitt: when the writing mentor becomes the mentee. The Millions

Anne Lamott: 12 truths I learned about life and writing. TED Talks

Jarred MGuiness says writing is the only magic he still believes in. TEDxEaling

 

Folklore Thursday takes a look at how iron became the enemy of the fairy folk.

Shane Koyczan: the weather.

 

And that is how we Tipsday.

See you on Thursday for some mental corn popping thoughty.

Be well until then!

tipsday2016

Muse-Inks: Still striving for balance

Greetings all you writerly people!

July is off to a good start. My plan seems to be working. By focusing on one revision and one short fiction project, I’ve been able to get back on the horse, so to speak.

On Thursday evening, there was a special meeting of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild to attend, so I took that night off revision and writing, but made up for it on Friday.

I’m also busily drafting my next piece for DIY MFA. Like the last one, it’s going to be a bit long, but I have a strategy that will hopefully keep it manageable and leave me with material for a second post on the topic. Stay tuned 🙂

Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good week for quality sleep. I guess I have to take the bad with the good.

Looming (less than 3 weeks away!) is my great adventure to the Baltic. Yes, early, early, on the morning of July 27th, I’ll be flying down to Toronto in enough time to find the Air Iceland kiosk, get through customs, and board my flight to Hamburg, via Reykjavik.

The Writing Excuses Cruise will be visiting Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallin, and St. Petersburg, with tonnes of writing workshops in between, from July 29 to August 5. Then I hop a short flight from Hamburg to Helsinki on the 6th, rent a car to run up to Marttila (yes!—isn’t that awesome?) on the 7th, tour around Helsinki all day on the 8th, and then take in the amazing that is WorldCon from August 9 to 12 (it runs to the 13th, but my return flight takes off early that day … ).

It’ll be my first time outside of continental North America. I’m excited and nervous, and, let’s just be honest here, scared out of my wee gourd. I know I’ll have a fabulous time. This is a bucket-listy kind of writerly adventure, after all, but iz still escared.

I’m not afraid to fly, or of the plane crashing, or anything like that. I’m afraid that I’ll miss one of my connections, and therefore the cruise, altogether. I’m afraid my boarding passes, which, to this point, are all virtual, will not materialize, or that my embarkation form for the cruise won’t arrive. I’ve received confirmation that some of the forms were late. I should be hearing about my embarkation form soon.

Oh, and did I mention? I’m going by myself. Sweet baby Jesus.

I’m getting jittery just writing about it.

Went out for dinner with a dear friend, Kim, on Friday night and she says the trip will empower me. I don’t doubt it. But I’ve travelled on my own before. Just not such a big trip so far away with so many moving parts.

In other news … we’ve been enjoying the fruits (and vegetables, and herbs) of our labours. The strawberry harvest is just about done, and the raspberries are about to start. Friends have been dutifully decimating the rhubarb, and we’ve been harvesting greens for salads and sandwiches. And lots of herbs. Chives, parsley, lemon thyme … We’re almost overrun by the sage. And our beans are starting to climb the trellis.

GardenJuly

I’d show you the patio garden, but I haven’t finished weeding it yet and so it mostly looks like purple clover. *blushes*

Inside, I’ve been enjoying my orchids. I have no idea how, but I’ve managed to get two plants to flower. I’ll take it 🙂

OrchidsBloom

That’s it for this week in the writerly life.

Next week, I think I’m going to do a series discoveries post, just to shake things up a bit.

In the meantime, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories 🙂

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, June 25-July 1, 2017

I found some articles that might get your mental corn popping 🙂

Clayton Drake: about that arena … A thoughtful article about potential development in Sudbury. Medium

Regan Burden: looking white but being Indigenous. CBC

Amy Larocca explains how wellness became an epidemic. The Cut

Stephen Buranyi wonders, is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? The Guardian

Ian Johnston says the human brain is hardwired for rural tranquility. The Independent

Deep Patel lists five brain training techniques to cultivate your creative genius. Entrepreneur

Psychics who hear voices might be able to help schizophrenics. The main difference seems to be the first reactions of others to the confessed phenomenon … Joseph Frankel for The Atlantic.

Michael Slepian reveals how secrets are bad for your health—even after you tell them. Quartz

Rebecca Hersher: coping with the other ills of Alzheimer’s. NPR

Amanda MacMillan discovers how exercise can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s. Time

Ed Yong: what if (almost) every gene affects (almost) everything? The Atlantic

Megan Molteni: you can get your whole genome sequenced, but should you? Wired

Erin Carson explains how a “cutting edge” Confederate death trap inspired the modern submarine. CNet

Sarah Slean – every rhythm is the beat.

 

Laurent Ballesta reports on the deepest dive ever under Antarctica and the discovery of an amazing world. National Geographic

Tomorrow’s Friday, folks, so have a good one.

And be well until next I blog.

thoughtythursday2016

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, June 25-July 1, 2017

Happy Independence Day to all my friends in the US!

Here’s a new crop of informal writerly learnings for you 🙂

K.M. Weiland helps you calculate your novel’s length before writing. Helping Writers Become Authors

Then, Kate hops over to Writers Helping Writers to share her three step plan for outlining a novel.

Back on her own site, Kate asks six questions to help you choose the right POV. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman unpacks the advice to follow your passion: what does that even mean?

Kathryn Craft: four times inaction can help your writing life. Writers in the Storm

Jamie Raintree extols the virtues of camp nano on Writers in the Storm.

Jami Gold explores chronic problems: writing and burnout.

Janice Hardy continues to share her process: clarifying the idea. Fiction University

Elizabeth Foster visits Writers Helping Writers to discuss overcoming negativity bias.

Susan Spann explains the truth behind popular copyright myths. Writer Unboxed

Gabriela Pereira interviews Karen Dionne for DIY MFA radio.

Emmie Mears visits Terribleminds to share what writing the Alaya Storme series taught her about mental illness: you have comrades in this trench.

Jenna Moreci: how to write antagonists and villains.

 

Eleanor Wachtel interviews Arundhati Roy about love, war, and the fragility of happiness. CBC

John Pfordresher explores the possibility that Jane Eyre was written as a secret love letter. Literary Hub

Denise Frohman – Accents.

 

Fran Wilde convenes an engineering in science fiction and fantasy round table. Tor.com

And that’s it until Thursday.

Be well until then.

tipsday2016

The next chapter: June 2017 update

Hey all!

It’s been a weird, but busy, month. No wonder I’ve been struggling with burnout (at a most inconvenient time).

There was Graphic-Con on June 10th, the Sudbury Writers’ Guild picnic on the 13th, a DIYMFA meeting on the 14th, the Poetry Walk on the 17th, CanWrite! On the 24th and 25th, and on the 29th, The FOLD presented Publishing in Canada at the Sudbury Public Library. And that’s not even counting the non-writerly stuff.

That included a union election, Public Service Week celebrations, and a pre-Canada Day 150 pot luck.

Needless to say, I’m bushed (!)

First: the fun stuff

I eschewed my post last weekend because I was down in Toronto volunteering for and participating in CanWrite! 2017. I drove down on Friday, after work.

On Saturday, I attended J.M. Frey’s Culture Building Workshop (insightful and thought-provoking), the Publishers Panel, Richard Scrimger’s structure workshop (don’t solve for angle A), and the CAA Literary Awards Gala, all at the lovely Humber College Lakeshore Campus.

JMFreyPubPanel

RichardScrimgerAlissaYork

My bonus: I won a door prize of shortlisted works, including Alissa York’s The Naturalist, which won the fiction prize and, since she was also the key note speaker, I got her to sign 🙂

DoorPrize

Alissa’s key note was inspirational.

On Sunday, it was the AGM where some important professional organization stuff was decided, and then I was on the road home.

Last Thursday, I attended Publishing in Canada, hosted by The FOLD and Jael Richardson, with a panel of publishing experts who included Christie Harkin of Clockwise Press, Heather Campbell of Sudbury’s own Latitude 46, and Jennifer Knoch of ECW Press.

PubInCanada

It was a very well-attended event (the library staff raided storage to find enough chairs and still people were standing about) and they even fed us pizza 🙂

The balance experiment

Despite all the events in June, I started the month off trying to revise not one, but two works in progress, finish one short story, revise (rewrite, really) another, keep up with blogging, and compose my next column for DIY MFA.

I don’t even try to do that much in a month without tonnes of writerly events to attend.

I have no earthly idea what I was thinking.

You’ll see the gap in my writing and revision. It was about a week. And still, I figured, at the end of it, I could just resume the juggling. Head, meet desk.

As you can see, my efforts were partly successful, but by the end of the month, I gave my head a shake.

The month in word count

While I didn’t hit most of my goals, I made a decent showing, all things considered.

I finished the most recent run-through of Apprentice of Wind in the first three days of the month and moved on to Wavedancer. Even with the break and sporadic revision thereafter, I exceeded my revision goal on the project for the month.

Although I had a much better beginning for Reality Bomb in mind, I couldn’t seem to execute. This only confirms for me that I can’t work on multiple projects in the same phase of the process at the same time. I can’t switch my focus quickly enough.

Even halving my revision goal for RB, I didn’t come close.

I did better with the short fiction, but didn’t complete the story. It’s a good thing that the deadline was extended to July 15 (!).

I didn’t revise a word on the other story I was hoping to work on.

Blogging was fine. I exceeded my writing goal even though I missed out on a weekend.

JuneProgress

Here’s how the numbers worked out:

  • Ascension series: 62,394 words of my 60,000 revision goal, or 104%.
  • RB: 1,889 words of my adjusted 45,000 revision goal, or 4% (yes, you may laugh—I am, honestly).
  • Short fiction: 770 words written of my 2,500 word goal, or 31%. I took out the revision goal from the month.
  • Blog: 6,187 words written of my 5,800 word goal, or 107%.
  • Total words revised: 64, 283
  • Total words written: 6,957

Yeah, I’m a dope.

Moving forward

I’m going to focus on the revision of Wavedancer and get that done before moving onto RB again.

I’m going to finish my new story before turning my attention to revising the other one.

My hope is that simplifying things will keep me from going crazy. Crazy Mel is no fun.

I have nothing planned, event wise, this month—doh! I do have one: a special meeting of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild on the 6th, but that’s it—until I depart for the Writing Excuses Cruise on July 27th.

I’m all about finding my happy place again.

I even submitted another poem for the Rainy Day Poetry Project. My friend, Kim, the Poet Laureate for Sudbury, has obtained the necessary permissions to put poems in invisible, but water-proof paint, on Sudbury’s sidewalks. They’ll only be visible when it rains. My submission isn’t a poem so much as something someone walking along in the rain might appreciate seeing.

In non-writerly news

After losing all its flowers, my fuchsia phalaenopsis (say that five times fast—oh, it’s not that difficult—blushes) orchid has bloomed again, and the one that started growing a stem at work (another phalaenopsis, white, though, I think) is setting blooms!

LatestOrchidMoreToCome

Phil and I have been enjoying our strawberry harvest this past month and are looking forward to raspberries shortly. The tomatoes, lettuce, and beans have been planted and are growing well, but are puny compared to my mom’s.

Phil built her a series of three raised beds and her tomatoes and cucumbers are going wild!

I hope that tomorrow the weather is clear. It’s been rainy/stormy lately and I’m looking forward to finally getting the rest of the weeding and some transplanting done.

And that’s it for the next chapter until September (combined July and August update). Since I hope to be somewhere on the Baltic Sea the first of next month, I will be taking another blogging holiday. Though Thoughty Thursday should still post on the 27th, that will be the last blog post until I return from Helsinki on August 13th.

I wouldn’t depend on seeing anything until the weekend following, and that will probably be devoted to the cruise.

Until the 27th, however, I’ll continue my regular blogging.

So until Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends (but don’t be afraid to ask for help, or to re-evaluate if you’re feeling stressed).

Love y’as all!

The Next Chapter