March Wrap-Up

march 2016 wrap up rachel poli

Reading

I ended up in a reading slump this month. The beginning of March was crazy and I barely had any time to sit down with a book. I started reading the first book I planned this month, but it was slow-going for me. So I switched to a different book and read that in one sitting. Now I’m reading another book, bringing me to two books at once. I never do that.

So I was supposed to read five books and only read one. Oops.

With all this being said, I’m going to try to read March’s books and some, if not all, of April’s books.

For an updated list of the books I read and reviewed for March, check out my Reading List.

Writing

I didn’t get much of my writing goals done this month, either. I was supposed to give George Florence a thorough edit. I didn’t. I edited one part of it so that I could send it to my writers group for the end of the month, but that was it.

I also needed to research and outline The Lost Girl for Camp NaNoWriMo, which I did. So that’s good at least.

I didn’t submit to any writing contests only because I didn’t have anything planned and I didn’t really have time to write anything. So that kind of got pushed to the back burner for now.

Blogging

I got most of my April posts done like I was supposed to. I ended up being more blog-focused this month than I was with my writing. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I do have  a schedule to balance the two and I didn’t follow it at all this month.

If you would like to be part of my blog, go check out the Be a Guest Blogger page. I’d love to have you! Also, if you need a book review done or just have a book recommendation for me, check out my Book Review Policy page.

Overall

March wasn’t that busy of a month, though I made it feel that way at times. I had some family things going on, worked a lot, and there were two weeks during the month where I was just so tired that I had no desire to sit down and write.

The other thing about March was that I was more blog-focused, like I said earlier. Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow (yay!) so I’ve been playing catch-up and trying to get ahead.

I wanted to have my April posts done by the end of the month so I could focus mainly on writing Camp in April. Now that I’m running two blogs, my blogging work is cut out for me.

April is going to be all about Camp NaNoWriMo and my novel, The Lost Girl. When that’s over, I’ll get back into a better routine with balancing editing, writing, blogging, reading, video games, work, life, etc. Wow.

April will be busy, there’s no doubt about that. Come May, I will post an update about my writing. I realize I haven’t talked about George Florence in a while so I think I’m due to let you guys know where I stand on my goals, instead of just a quick outline like this.

Even this post turned out way longer than I expected!

So March was busy, got some stuff done though not what I thought I would get done. April will be even busier with Camp, but I can do it!

Posts to Remember

1. March/April Writing Contests
2. New Chapter
3. Writing Contest Tips
4. Guest: Travel Like a Writer
5. Guest: Mapping Out Your World (World Building Part Three)
6. Guest: Dissing the Queen: The Politics of Editing

Camp NaNo: Last Two Days

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There are two more days left of Camp NaNoWriMo. This is the final stretch. How are your novels coming along?

I hit my 50k word goal about a week ago, but the story is not yet complete. I wrote the ending, but there are a lot of scenes missing in the middle. I don’t know how many more scenes, but I do know the story is no where near complete.

Despite middle scenes missing, I know that a few of the middle scenes that are there shouldn’t exist. It got to the point that I was writing for the sake of my word count.

Anonymous Tip is the third novel in my George Florence series. The first two novels are one case with two sub-cases. This third novel is the beginning of another huge case. Same main characters, different minor characters, different plot, different cases… it’s a brand new adventure for George and Lilah.

While writing this case I realized that it might be better for me to completely edit the first two novels first. Then I’ll start working on the third novel.

So, I’m not going to finish the novel completely yet. I have a head start with 50k words (that’s decent, anyway) and I’ll get back to it when I finish the first two books.

George and Lilah can handle only so much at a time. Apparently so can I.

April: My Creation

For this April’s #YearOfHappy project the goal was to create something. It could be anything whether it’s something that will stay forever, like a scrapbook or something that will only stay for a day, like a cake.

I was thinking about using one of my novels as my creation, but I talk about my books on here all the time. Plus, I write all the time, too. They’re special, but I wanted to do something different. Something I don’t normally do.

Well, I’ve always wanted to be good at drawing. Kris was born with that natural talent like some people are. She is very good at drawing and I’ve always envied that. I try to draw and I know the more you practice, the easier it will become. However, it’s not a big enough priority for me, so I never practice. I just stick to my writing.

We do like to go to Paint Nite, though. That’s where you go someplace and there’s an instructor that shows you step-by-step how to create a certain painting. You always think it’s going to look like crap, but it never does. With the proper tools and right help, anyone can be a painter. Yours always looks different from everyone else’s (including the original), but they’re all the same picture and all look beautiful.

I went to one with Kris and our friend a few months ago and we had a blast. We decided to go again and brought my other sister along since she’s never gone before.

Here is what the original painting looked like:

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That picture was taken at the Paint Nite with the painting on a high stand, so that’s why it’s kind of far away (I’m short) and baseball is on a TV in the background (we were at a sports bar for this event). This is called Sunset Swim.

The difficulty rating for this painting was easy which was a factor as to why we decided to do this particular one.

The background was easy; the sunset and the pinkish-purple water. The foreground is when I mess everything up. However, my mountains came out pretty good and did my ducks… they look like baby dinosaurs, but they’re still cute.

The ripples and waves… well, that’s where I had trouble. My painting still looks good (if I do say so myself), but I did re-name my painting from Sunset Swim to Sunset Party because the ripples came out looking like confetti.

Here’s mine:

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And there you have it. That’s my beautiful creation for April. I hope you all made something lovely at some point this month as well.

Vacation

Friday: It was my last day of work for a week. This week is April vacation, so I get to sleep in all week! Also, I get six and a half hours more for each day. That’s super exciting for me! It was also my dad’s birthday so we went out to eat and had cake, you know usual birthday stuff. It was low-key, but nice.

Saturday: Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble in the morning where I wrote 5,514 words of my Camp NaNo novel. Kris had to bring her notebook because her laptop gave her the blue screen of death. She wrote a lot for it being handwritten, though. We only stayed for a few hours before going back home because my dad’s siblings came over for lunch for his birthday. We rarely see them throughout the year (mainly just for Christmas) so it was a fun time.

Sunday: I was lazy. I’ll admit it. I didn’t get any writing done, I didn’t try to get a head start on my homework like I planned… I just went to church and then sat on the couch. Kris and I did take Chip out for a walk around the local pond, so that was at least something. We were all tired after that. It’s a 45-minute walk and for Chip to be so small, it was a lot for her. But she made it!

This Week: Since I don’t have work this week, I have a lot more free time to do things I want to do. My homework is already just about done (it’s the second to last week, so we barely have any assignments) so I just want to focus on my writing and editing and reading and anything else I need to do this week. Kris and I are going to Barnes and Noble again this morning when it opens. It’s always a treat when we can go there a couple times a week.

My week is cut short, though. I’m getting my wisdom teeth out on Friday so that will slow me down for a few days. For Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the posts will be the same–a writing quote, a book review, and a Short Story Sunday. They’re all written, so that’s fine. Monday will probably be another quote or something. I most likely won’t be responding to comments right away or commenting on other blogs. I’ll be out of commission for the weekend. Lucky me.

How was your weekend?

Camp NaNo: Week Two

Today is day eight of Camp NaNoWriMo, also marking the beginning of week two.

Week two is known as that “slump” week. We start getting bored with our novels. Tired of writing. We don’t want to keep up anymore. People get behind on their word counts, they skip a couple of days of writing here and there regardless of whether they’re ahead, behind, or on par.

It’s still early in the month, though. So we can’t give up.

Planners, you made an outline for a reason. Use it.

Pantsers, you were born to free write in dire times. Now is the time to do that.

This is the part of the month that you just have to say to yourself:

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Six On The Sixth #4: Spring

Via Pinterest
Via Pinterest

Winter Has Gone
The frost shakes off the trees.

April Showers
Rain drips off the trees’ leaves.

May Flowers
Grass is growing and flowers bloom.

Peaceful
Sit outside, listen to birds sing.

Relax
Breathe in the warm fresh air.

Spring Has Come
The color green has come again.

Camp NaNo: Week One

Ready…

Set…

GO!

Today marks day one of April’s Camp NaNoWriMo 2015. Not only is it day one for the entire session, but it is also day one of week one.

Week one, just like all the other weeks, is important. It’s the beginning–the beginning the month, the session, and your story, and your journey through writing that story as well as your journey for getting through camp.

Week one is all about finding a routine, a schedule for your writing. For the next 30 days you will need to write at least 1,667 words a day (note: words per day varies depending on your word count goal). In order to make sure you can meet your daily word count, it’s helpful to find a good balance between writing and life.

Maybe there’s a certain time a day that you usually have free. Maybe that time of day is the when your best writing happens. Maybe you write better if you write a certain amount of words, take a break, then write again.

Whatever it is, week one is the time to find that routine so you can do the best you can with your writing and meet your goal by the 30-day deadline.

By the end of week one, if you have the standard 50,000-word goal, you should have about 11, 669 words written.

Good luck, everyone. We’re all going to need it.

One More Day

Camp NaNoWriMo officially starts tomorrow… or tonight, if you want to get technical.

Are you ready? Because I feel like I’m not.

April is going to be a busy month for me. I have to take my Spanish final exam today and then my Spanish class is all done. So, I’ll only have three classes to worry about during the month of April. Yet, I’ll still have work six and half hours a day, plus that small bit of homework, plus blogging, reading, critiquing for my writing group as well as editing my own stuff to send in… oh, and I’m getting my wisdom teeth out towards the end of April.

That will certainly put my life at a stop for a couple of days.

Also, that doesn’t even include Easter, my cousin’s birthday, and my dad’s birthday.

April is going to be ridiculously busy when it’s usually not. But I can’t worry too much about it.

Aside from my Spanish exam, I already finished all my homework for this week. So starting tomorrow I won’t have school to worry about so I’m hoping to get a great head-start on NaNo.

Good luck, everyone!

Birthday Weekend

Friday: Friday seemed like a long day. I was anxiously awaiting to get out of work not only for the weekend, but so I could get to my friend’s house. My friend had a baby about a month ago and I was just meeting the baby for the first time. It was a good afternoon because I got to hold a baby (it’s been a long time) and I got to see my friend. I haven’t seen her since her baby shower back in November. I have school and work to thank for that.

Friday night I came home and worked on my writing group’s critiques. They were due Saturday morning, so I naturally left them until the last minute. It’s funny how deadlines creep up on you.

Saturday: I had my first writing group meeting. Technically was the second one, but Kris and I missed the first due to a prior commitment. We were nervous, but it went really well. Including the two of us, there’s seven of us total. Small, but I like it that way. It was good to have my work being read and critiqued by others than family. I got great feedback, both positive and negative. The next step is to edit that part again so I can edit the second part and send that for next month.

My cousin had a birthday party to go to so I went with my mom to drop her off and then we were food shopping. For once, we finished shopping in a timely manner and then had an hour to kill while we waited for my cousin’s party to be over. Once we got home, my mom thought it would be a good idea to go out to dinner. Kris and my dad didn’t feel like going, so Mom and I went to Panera. I was barely home on Saturday and wasn’t able to get anything done I originally planned. However, I spent the majority of the day with my mother (and we don’t get a lot of time to do that often) so it was good.

That night we gave my mom her birthday gifts early. We got her a Blu-Ray player and a new iPad. So I think she was pretty content.

Sunday: It was my mother’s birthday, plus Palm Sunday. So we went to church, which was extra long because the service was an extra half hour and then the Sunday school kids had their annual Easter egg hunt. We ended up being at church for an extra hour.

I took my Spanish quiz (that again, I left until the last minute) and then we went out to dinner. There was 11 of us for dinner and the waitress was slow and not very good, so we were there for a little while. We went to The Outback, so I can’t complain–the food is always awesome.

Then we went back to my house for cake for Mom’s birthday.

Overall, it was a great weekend. Busy, but relaxing at the same time.

This Week: I need to outline a bit more for my Camp NaNo novel. Camp starts in two days. With that being said, I need to finish my homework in a timely manner. Plus, I need to work on my Detective Florence manuscript for my writing group.

April is going to be a busy month; especially when it comes to writing. I hope I’m able to get a routine down and stick with it–even if it’s just for the month.

How was your weekend?

Failure Equals Success

Failure

So, it’s May 7th. Seven days after Camp NaNoWriMo ended. Did I win? Nope. Is that okay? Yes, even though I don’t want it to be. I tried and that’s pretty much all that matters. At least I wrote something, right?

The end of April approached fast before I realized it was coming. I had about 20k words when I realized there was less than a week left. I wrote 20k in two days due to that. My final count for Camp NaNo was about 40k. I had one day left to write 10k, but by that time I had written so much in the past few days that I was sick of it. So I never finished.

I still plan on finishing the novel, it’s just a matter of actually writing it.

The good news is that school has finished for the semester (but the summer session starts on the 19th…), so in the meantime that’s one less thing that I have to worry about. All I have to do now is get myself back into the routine.

Congrats to all those who won Camp! 🙂

Distractions

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My Camp NaNoWriMo word count is now 4,032. Yay! This took my three and a half hours. Can we discuss this? I mean, I wrote 2,002 words yesterday in about two hours. Today I wrote 2,030 words in three and a half hours. Want to know why? I will tell you why…

I was distracted. *Gasp!* Yes, I was very, very much distracted. I was distracted by my turtle (as seen in the picture above), my cat who wanted to look out the window so I needed to make him a giant step (I moved the ottoman and put a bin on top of it), my dog (who always decides it’s a good time to play when I’m writing), and the internet. Yes, Lucy decided to give me internet on a day I did not need it.

Speaking of the internet, I found wonderful things on there. I was on Twitter (if you follow me on Twitter, you probably know Twitter was a very big distraction for me) and someone posted a link to a site called Noisli. There are different background sounds on there to listen to as you write. It’s great! I used the coffee shop one.

Yet, I will admit the internet did come in handy at one point. As you know, I’m writing Diary of a Killer and my protagonist apparently has anger issues. Like, really obnoxious anger issues. He explodes at literally nothing. He’s in therapy for it. So I was looking up anger management; symptoms, treatment, etc. I found one helpful site, but if anyone has any information on the subject so I can compare, that would be muchly appreciated!

Anyway, I had an iced coffee and I’m wired right now. It’s probably the reason I had such a short attention span. However, it’s going for 9:00 pm and I unfortunately have work tomorrow, so I need to go wind down so I can go to bed soon.

I hope everyone else is having a productive Camp NaNo. 🙂

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

Camp NaNo

 

I have been anticipating this day since the first day of March. I told myself I was going to edit a novel during the month of March and I did! Hunter is in the process of being re-typed as a second draft. So, that’s that.

I wanted to have plenty of time to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. I knew what novel I wanted to write, but I didn’t have it planned out. I literally finished editing Hunter on March 30. Then I spent all day yesterday (March 31) doing homework. I worked until 2:30 then got the majority of this week’s homework done because I wanted the first week of Camp to be a productive one.

Would you like to know something sad, though? I went into work yesterday and they asked me, “Are you available every day this week and next week?” I said yes because I need the money, but of course it would happen during NaNo…not to mention this month I have my cousin’s birthday, my father’s birthday, Easter, planning for my sister’s upcoming wedding, homework, and now work on top of it. But, it’ll be good to practice my time-managing skills.

Anyway, I’m writing Diary of a Killer for Camp. I’m sure most of you know I have a completed novel called Diary of a Lover. No, this is not a sequel. It’s a complete different set of characters in a different setting. The only similarity is the title because they are both written in “diary” format. Each chapter is a new diary entry. Oh, they have psychology in common, as well. Of course, I know nothing of psychology so a lot of research will be required, so…this will be fun.

I didn’t get a chance to plan it so when I started writing after work today all I had was the title and that was it. I didn’t even have the protagonist’s name…I didn’t even know the gender. In case you’re all wondering, it’s a boy! Yay, congratulations! As I wrote the first chapter, I started coming up with ideas for the novel, so I’m hoping everything will work out. I’m also summarizing each chapter as I write them to help keep the plot in line as well as for when I finally edit it. Hopefully that will do some good when I research things, too.

I will post a summary soon…ish. I have to actually write one first. 😉

For all of you doing NaNo, good luck! And I hope you reached above and beyond the word goal (I got 2,002 words today). If you guys are participating, feel free to add me as a buddy on NaNo (Fiery_Sapphire) and also let me know your word count and what you’re writing. I’m very interested! 🙂

Three Squares

I finished another square for the Reading Bingo! I actually finished it over a week ago, but completely forgot about it until now.

I, Robot

I read I, Robot by Isaac Asimov for the square that says: “A book that became a movie.” I had to read this book for my science fiction & fantasy class this semester. Honestly, it’s not a book that I would pick off the shelf and read because I wanted to. I have seen the movie plenty of times and I like the movie, but I never thought about writing the book. Maybe it’s because Will Smith isn’t in the book…

Anyway, it was nothing like the movie. Or, the movie is nothing like the book, I should say. Then I realized this is a series, but I don’t think I’m going to continue reading it. The book was good, but it’s not something I would probably read again.

Right now I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin for the Reading Bingo (and for school as well). You can keep track of my progress through my GoodReads profile if that’s what your heart desires.

On that note, I’ve been doing pretty well this month. I’ve been writing 1,000 words a day, but not on any novels. I’ve been doing prompts and such. I don’t want to start anything new with Camp NaNoWriMo coming up in April. I’ve also been editing at least one chapter a day on Hunter.

Yes, just one chapter. It’s takes me a long time to get through five pages let along a 20-page chapter…editing bites, but it will all be worth it in the end.

A New Month

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Well, today marks off March 1st. From a teacher’s perspective, it is known as the longest month of the year. From a writer’s perspective, it is known as the editing month.

Yes, l have been writing four days a week and editing two days a week. However, since it’s an editing month, l decided to do more editing than writing. I’m still going to write Monday-Thursday, but l’m going to try to edit at least one or two chapters on those days, as well. I’ll edit big time on Fridays and Saturdays.

So, even though no one asked (and the above picture basically orders you not to ask) l’ll answer the question, anyway (in the editing sense–not writing). I have no idea when this draft will be finished, but l’m hoping by the end of the month.

One reason l want to edit more than write this month is because next month is April. Yes, it’s that time of year again…Camp NaNoWriMo! So, l will edit as much as l can, but l want to hold off on the carpel tunnel a little longer so l can get another 50,000 words in of a new novel.

New novel? Apparently l decided to write something new…that’s news to me. Well, l have a whole month to decide what to write.

The thing is…April is going to be here before we know it.

Back To Reality

I Can’t Type…

 

I disappeared for a week, yes. I can’t remember if I mentioned it or not, but I went away on vacation. It was very nice to get away. We had a cottage by the lake, but we didn’t swim very often. The weather was not on our side last week. But it was all good because Kris and I stayed in our room most of the week playing Pokemon and watching movies. We watched Wreck-It Ralph twice, Tangled about four or five times, and the Winnie the Pooh movie about four or five times. It was a good week. That, and we finally got our two cousins into Pokemon. They’re 11 and 9 and we’ve tried to get them into it before, but it never worked because they didn’t understand anything that was going on. They still don’t, but they’re getting through it.

It’s funny because Jackie, the one who is 11, pesters us with questions. She wants to learn everything about Pokemon and wants to do it right. If we tell her to do something differently, she hears us and tries not to do it anymore. For example, leveling up only one Pokemon instead of her whole team. Whereas, Katherine…she’s just going to have to learn the hard way. No matter how many times Kris and I try to tell her that she needs to level up all her Pokemon…let’s put it this way: she was in a battle with an NPC trainer for about two hours. Her highest level Pokemon fainted and the rest of her team weren’t at a high enough level. Not only that, but she does’t understand that she needs to go to the Pokemon Center before they faint. She thinks she’s not allowed to go there unless she entire team has fainted.

This just goes to show that slow and steady does in fact win the race. Whereas Kat is farther along in the game than Jackie, Jackie will probably be the first to beat the game because she’s actually going about it the right way. But at least they’ll both learn…eventually.

Anyway, the sub-title says “I can’t type.” Seriously, you have no idea how long it has taken me to write this post so far…being away from a computer for a whole week really takes a toll on my fingers. I checked my FanFiction e-mail and I have a lot of stories to catch up on for my beta-reading. I didn’t open a single one. I can’t type. How am I supposed to correct stories if I can’t type?

There was no wi-fi at the cottage, but my phone still gave me internet. It was great because I ended up playing my HeartGold version of Pokemon all week and I left the guide at home. I brought my Ruby and Sapphire guide because I had just started playing my Ruby over again. Apparently, I changed my mind. But I had my phone to look up the levels of the gym leaders and such. So I was saved.

But that’s not really the point. I was on the internet a great deal, but it was only my thumbs doing the typing. My other fingers got a vacation and now I’m paying the price. I have a lot of correcting to do for FanFiction, I have my own FanFiction to write and I have my own original novels to write. Of course, none of this is going to happen until tomorrow (at least) because my fingers need to get back into the groove of things.

Speaking of writing…Camp NaNoWriMo? What is that again…?

Ugh, yes, I know. I fail. But at least I got something written. Something is better than nothing, I guess. There’s always November…then April…then July again…and so on and so forth.

Well, I’m home now and it’s back to reality…starting tomorrow.