Focus

Focus

 

Today is a good day to do nothing. It’s cold, it’s raining, it’s just all around “bleh.” I slept in until 9:30 this morning (I never do that) and I am still in my pajamas…it’s 12:45 right now. Christmas Eve is tomorrow and my shopping and wrapping is all done. The semester finished about a week or so ago so I don’t have to worry about homework and I’m out of a job currently, so I don’t even have to worry about that. Well, other than finding a new job. Anyway, just because it’s a good day to do nothing and I don’t have anything to do, that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do anything. Right?

Yet, I was reading last night and I went to bed when I had about 35 pages left in my book…why? I have no idea. But I decided to finish reading it this morning and I read a page when Hunter jumped on my lap and purred and stared me down while batting my face with his paw. I knew I should have told him that the world doesn’t revolve around him, but instead of doing that, I put my book down, turned on Psych on Netflix, and the two of us cuddled on the couch for a really long time. When he finally decided that he had enough cuddling, he left me in front of the TV all alone. So I turned it off, turned on Lucy, and decided to get a little writing done.

Kris and I have been doing a great job with our writing lately. She started something new that she’s been doing very well with and I’m continuing Detective Florence. I had planned on finishing that novel by the end of November, NaNoWriMo, but I never did. So I was hoping to finish it by the end of December, but I just started writing it again. I don’t know if I’m going to finish it in the next week; especially since Christmas is in two days. I know I’m getting Pokemon X and Pokemon Y among other video games, so I know for a fact that video games are going to be my life at least until New Year’s, if not longer.

Last night I hit 65,000 words on Detective Florence and got up and over 200 pages. I was proud of myself. But then I look at my outline (which I am making as I write the novel), I have such a long way to go. I think this novel is going to go above and beyond 300 pages, I have no idea how many words that’s going to be. It’s getting to the point where I just want the novel to end.

So I’m trying to write as much as I can every day because the next semester for school doesn’t start until January 21, 2014 and I have no idea when work is going to start up for me again. So I need to take advantage of the free time I have right now.

My only issue is that I need to focus on it. Which I have been doing well on, but I know it’s only a matter of time before I get distracted.

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Happy December!

Where Did The Year Go…

NaNo Winner 3

 

Well, it’s December first. I can’t remember anything that happened this year and we still have a month to go. Needless to say, November was a busy month, but it’s all a blur to me now. The first 17 days of November I wrote…a lot. And I won NaNoWriMo. I had planned on going above and beyond the 50k mark because I wanted to finish the entire manuscript. However, I think I got a little too tired from all that writing before. I hit about 52k and then stopped. But I got a nifty certificate to go with my Camp NaNo ones!

The best part is that Kris won NaNo, too. This was her very first year winning and last night she got home from working 8:30-5:30 and wrote about 5,000 words in order to hit the 50k. She finished around 10:30 at night, but she made it just in time! She and I are going Christmas shopping today. If we find anything we want, we may treat ourselves for winning.

In other news, I started a new project. Yeah, I know…I have too many writing projects going on at once. But I figured that for the month of December I can go back and forth between that one and Detective Florence. I’m hoping that I will be able to finish that novel by the end of the month so for my New Year’s resolution I can say I want it to be completely edited by the end of 2014. Heh, we’ll see what happens.

Anyway, this new project is a collection of silly poems for kids. Random? Totally. Friday night Kris was writing her NaNo novel and I didn’t feel like writing mine. I was in a bit of a hyped up mood and ended up writing a poem about a fat dog named Sit. I would post it to give you guys a sneak peek, but I submitted it to Chicken Soup. They have a new book coming out called “The Dog Did WHAT?”

Now I’m sure most of you have heard of Chicken Soup for the Soul. Most of you probably have a few of their books. The stories and poems submitted are non-fiction, heart-felt, inspirational. Some make you laugh, some make you cry. Kris thought this poem was so adorable that she begged me to submit it. I don’t think it will get published as it’s obvious that it’s a silly fictional poem. But like Kris said, “The worst they can do is say no.” So I sent it in anyway, but I highly doubt it will get published.

The deadline for entries for this particular book is January 5, 2014. So it’s going to be a while before I hear back (if I hear back at all…I don’t think they contact you if it’s a rejection). So I will post it eventually. But I’m also shooting to make a whole book of these poems and maybe get that published someday. I have four poems so far. Go me!

So I was going to post an excerpt of Detective Florence today, but since I never finished the full manuscript, I’m going to wait. When I finish the novel (hopefully by the end of the month) I’ll post an excerpt of it.

Congrats to all those who won NaNoWriMo this year! 🙂

More Than Halfway

30,000 Words…

 

Warning

 

 

Today was a fantastic, productive day for me! I wrote over 6,000 words on my NaNo novel and I got this week’s homework all done. The homework didn’t take me as long as I thought it was going to. Yes, it took me a few hours, but I probably would have been able to find time during the week to get it done before today. Then I would have had more time to write. Ah, well.

I didn’t plan on writing as much as I did today. But I learned a lot about my novel today and I think that’s why I kept on going. For example:

1. A few new characters were introduced. One of them being George’s brother and one being George’s former partner–I say “former” because George was laid off from the police department. Let’s keep in mind that George’s former partner, Detective Xavier Barron (this name was pulled out of my rear on account I was writing with the timer going), was never supposed to be in the story.
2. Speaking of Xavier, he is apparently now George’s rival. Every good protagonist needs a rival, right? Well, George has one now. Even though they used to be good friends and again, this was not planned…
3. Not only are the characters learning more about Lilah’s father, but I’m learning a lot more about Lilah’s father. This is good because Lilah’s father’s death is major plot point for the story.
4. Lilah’s elderly neighbor’s husband is deceased. The characters (and again, me) are learning a lot about him–his personality, his background, his death–when he’s not supposed to be a big deal in the story. In fact, this was how much he was not supposed to be in the novel: I didn’t come up with a name for him. But now that he apparently wants his story to be told…I still don’t have a name for me. I wasn’t able to pick a name off my back as easily as I was able to Xavier (and honestly, I think I only thought of that name because X-Men has been on my mind).

So there you have it. It’s the beginning of week two for NaNo and my characters have completely over-run the entire novel. Right on schedule. In other news, my left wrist is in pain. Even though it confuses me because it’s usually my right wrist, but again, right on schedule with week two.

Tomorrow is Sunday, which means I’m going to double-post. I’m going to update my progress and also post a tid-bit on my novel. Last Sunday I posted the summary for my NaNo novel, Detective Florence (Book One). Tomorrow I am going to post a character profile for my male protagonist, Detective George Florence. I hope you guys will look forward to that.

If you want more Writing Buddies, my NaNo profile is: Fiery_Sapphire and my sister Kris is: Winged_Spirit. We have very unique names (to say the least). 🙂

Today’s Word Count: 6,785
Total Word Count: 30,091
Today’s Page Count: 21
Total Page Count: 96

T.G.I.F.

Thank Goodness It’s Friday…

 

Keep Calm

 

 

Today is Friday. You guys have no idea how good that makes me feel! I am so exhausted from work, it’s not even funny. Tomorrow is going to be tough because I have to work on my bedroom and my office…the office is officially all set. Kris and I just need to organize it and such and the electrician is coming in next week to finally give us light in there. We’re painting our bedroom soon so we need to go through all our stuff and clean up so it’s less stuff to walk around while painting. Oh, and I guess I should work on some homework, huh? Fun stuff.

But Sunday will be good because I have church in the morning then Kris and I are going to go to Starbucks and spend the entire day writing. I’m hoping to get a lot done. I haven’t written much the past couple of days because I wrote at night instead of the morning. Kris and I worked on our office this morning while it was light out so we could see.

Then Monday is Veteran’s Day so I don’t have work. I again have the entire day to write and get other things done. Like homework…which may or may not happen. Who knows?

But today marks the first day of Week Two for NaNo. Yay! We all made it this far together! Pat yourself on the back if you’ve only gone slightly insane since the start of this thing.

For those of you who are behind, keep going! You still have time to catch up.
For those of you who are on par, great work!
For those of you who are ahead, fantastic!
For those of you who have already won, I hate you. No seriously, if you’ve already hit 50k, that’s wonderful and I applaud you for such speedy work. But I still envy you people for having so much time to write.

Today I ended up hitting my word count because I ended up adding onto a scene from the very beginning of the novel. I was a certain point where the main character needed to know this person very well and…he didn’t. So I needed to cheat and edit a little even though we’re technically not supposed to do that in NaNo. Shhh!

Anyway, we have three more weeks to go. We’ve lasted this long, I think we can stick it out if we really put our minds to it, don’t you think? But I feel like I’ve been doing NaNo for a lot longer than eight days, though…this is going to be a long month, isn’t it?

Today’s Word Count: 2,113
Total Word Count: 23,306
Today’s Page Count: 6
Total Page Count: 75

Monday Morning

Two Hours Of Writing…

 

Keep Calm

 

 

Yesterday was a very productive writing day for both my and Kris. We wrote our NaNoWriMo novels together and she was able to make it up to par while I was able to get myself way ahead. It must have been all that Starbucks. 😉

Anyway, I think what really helped us out was that we weren’t looking at the word count in the bottom left screen on Word. I took my Donny, my iPod, and Kris took her phone, and we leaned them up against the computer screen right in that spot. Then I took my phone, set the timer for 30 minutes and we kept going until the timer went off. The point was to see how much we could write in that amount of time. We ended up writing a lot more than we thought–we each banged out about 1,000 words. It made the writing process go by a lot faster and I think we got more work done that way than we would have if we were just typing while staring at the word count slowly going up.

We continued to do that after realizing how well it worked. But every time I wrote for 30 minutes, I realized that I wrote exactly five pages, too. I decided that if it only takes me 30 minutes to write five pages, why not try to get my goal to be “write five pages a day?” (yes, I know the picture says one page…)

I decided that’s going to be my New Year’s resolution. Yes, I know that’s two months away, but I thought I might as well get started on it now. I can get myself into the habit of it so it might be easier to accomplish next year. Especially since it’s NaNo right now, I’m going to need all the pages I can get to boost my word count.

So I wrote for about an hour and a half to two hours this morning. I wrote while my cousins got themselves ready for school and I wrote after they left. I have about an hour or so in between the time they leave for school and the time I have to start getting ready for work.

But it was productive nonetheless. I wrote about six pages and 3,398 words. It was a good morning. I had to have two cups of coffee, but I can blame part of that on the weather (I think it’s in the 40s…ew).

Anyway, if you want to read the summary of my NaNo novel, here it is: Detective Florence (Book One)

Also, I stopped posting my NaNo username at the end of my posts, but lately a lot of people have been asking for it. You can find my NaNo profiles on the “Come Find Me” page of the blog or you can look me up: Fiery_Sapphire (you can also click my username to be brought to my profile). I love having Writing Buddies, so feel free to add me!

 

Today’s Word Count: 3,398
Total Word Count: 14,028

Sunday Updates

Super Productive Things Going On…

 

Start Writing

 

 

During NaNoWriMo, Kris and I decided that we were going to spend every Sunday not having a life. We’ll go to church in the morning, go to Starbucks immediately after, then go straight home to write until we decide to go to bed. Today is the first Sunday of NaNo; therefore, it was the first day of this plan.

We went to church, went to Starbucks, then came home and goofed off a bit. Great start, huh? Due to everything going on at my house (we’ve had to sleep in the living room for the past three nights because the insulation guys were in our room and are still not done), we needed to clean up the living and make our beds in our bedroom so we could sleep in our own beds tonight. We decided to hold off on that until we wrote for a little while. Then Kris says, “What time are you babysitting tonight?” Well, crap…I forgot I was supposed to babysit tonight. So we had to stop writing earlier than intended so we could get our room straightened out, I could post on here, and then get ready to go babysit. I have leave in about a half hour.

So here’s a quick post to update my progress on NaNo. I wrote 6,950 words in about four and half to five hours today. Yay! Kris and I were both super productive. I’ve also been following my outline, so it’s been easy to write. The words keep flowing out of my fingers (does that make sense?) and I haven’t gotten one bit of writer’s block…yet.

Kris and I are hoping to keep this streak up every Sunday during NaNo. I’m also hoping to keep up with writing 1,667 words a day every day (even though I’m ahead), just to get myself into a good routine. But tomorrow is Monday, which means I’m going to have new homework as well as work. So we’ll see how things go. But at least if I can write for an hour or so in the morning, I should be good.

I also decided that during NaNo, every single Sunday I’m going to post something about the novel I’m writing. Today, I posted the summary. I already posted it before this post, you can read it here. I hope it sounds interesting to all of you. I’ve never been good at writing summaries.

Right now my fingers keep making typos because they’re tired from typing so much. I’m going to give myself carpel tunnel. Yep. I’m a writer.

 

Today’s Word Count: 6,950
Total Word Count: 10,630

All About Sacrifice

Ten Minutes Here, Half Hour There…

 

Novel In Progress

 

 

Let me start off by saying: I wish I had that doorknob hangy-thingy like in the picture above.

*Ahem* It’s day two of NaNoWriMo. We are no where near the end, yet the 30th will be here before we know it. And because of that, we need to find all the time we can to write. You can’t say, “Oh, it’s only day two. I can write double tomorrow,” or “It’s only day two, I still have 28 days to get it done.” No. it doesn’t work that way. If you procrastinate today, then it’s inevitable that you’ll procrastinate tomorrow.

Being a writer is so much more than just writing. It’s all about sacrifice. Sacrifice time, sacrifice social life, sacrifice your sanity.

Let’s talk about time because that’s been my biggest issue lately. I was happy that NaNo started on a Friday. I work eight hours a day so my only real time to write is in the mornings. Because when I get home from work I need to do homework and I’m exhausted. But it’s also hard to find time in the morning. If I don’t wake up really early, then I can’t get as much writing in as I want to because I get my two cousins ready for school in the morning. Now they’re both old enough, 9 and 11, so it’s not like I need to get them dressed or anything. But I do have to remind them every once in a while. If I don’t shut off the TV when I tell them to start getting ready for school, then a half hour later they will still be sitting in front of that TV.

But since it was a Friday, I only had to worry about that one day. I didn’t get as much written as I wanted to, but I was over the word count goal with 1,717 words. It was a good start. Then Saturday, today, I could write all day. And Sunday I can write all day after church. It’s a good start to NaNo.

I try to write for at least one hour every single day. I was really good at doing that in the summer, but when school and work started I stopped. And I really shouldn’t have. I’m hoping NaNo gets me back into the routine and I carry on with it through November and beyond. But it’s tough to find time when there is no time. The thing is, there is always time.

I like to write for at least an hour. I can bang out about 2,000 words in an hour (depending on my caffeine intake and how early/late it is in the day) and to me that’s a job well done. If I sit down and write for ten minutes, well…what good does that do?

It actually does a lot of good. I finally understand the meaning, “slow and steady wins the race.” Even though it’s not as much as you would like, you’re still writing. You are still getting something written down on the paper and that’s ten less minutes that you need to get done the next time you write for a decent length of time.

The reason I’m talking about this is because I thought this weekend was going to be a breeze. I probably could have made it to 50,000 words this weekend if I could. But plans got changed. And because of that, I’m finding it hard to find time to write.

These guys were supposed to come in the middle of the November to add insulation to the upstairs and basement to our house. Now the upstairs is my and Kris’s bedroom and our office/video game room. The only two places in the house we can hang out, write, have some privacy. Well, these guys had a cancellation so they came Thursday and Friday (Halloween and the first day of NaNo). Where are we going to write? When are we going to write if the guys are in the house and we need to babysit the dog and the cat so they don’t bother the men working?

The basement and the entire upstairs looks like an episode from “Hoarders.” Kris and I have been sleeping in the living room for the past two nights because we can’t get to our beds. By the way, this was supposed to be a two-day job and they’re still not finished. And they can’t come back until Wednesday. Yipee…

Kris and I planned to write every single Sunday in November together. Go to church, go to Starbucks, come home and write until we have to go to bed. We can’t do that tomorrow because we don’t have any place to go. Not to mention that we need to try to clean up the place a little bit.

This is what I mean about finding time. I thought I had all the time in the world and today I have to work on cleaning the rooms a bit and go to my friend’s birthday party later tonight. Tomorrow, I have church, continue cleaning the rooms, then I have to babysit from 6-midnight. It’s tough, but guess what? I did it. I made the goal yesterday and I made the goal today. I will make the goal tomorrow, too…I am determined to!

So ten minutes or a few hours, it makes no difference. As long as you’re writing, you’re getting something done.

Then you need to sacrifice your social life, too. My boyfriend and I haven’t had a chance to see each other a lot lately due to work, school, and other things going on in our lives. We used to see each other practically every single day, too. But even though we don’t see each other as often as we would like, I told him that I’m not seeing him every Sunday during November. I need to write. He understands as this is something I love, something I want to do. I have to do what I have to do in order to make my dreams come true. I’m very fortunate to have someone so understanding and supportive. So on Sundays my only form of human interaction will be with my sister…and the workers at Starbucks.

I can’t come up with any examples of sacrificing your sanity…I don’t think I had any sanity to begin with.

But that’s what writing is all about. Sacrificing everything here and there to do something you love. Something you want to do. It is difficult to find time; especially when you already made plans to write straight through the entire day.

This is why I think NaNo exists. It’s not about whether you can write an entire novel in 30 days. It’s whether you can take on the pressure, the anxiety, the frustration, the sacrifices, and the ups and downs of being a writer. It’s a much deeper test than we all make it out to be. So the question is: Can you handle it?

 

Today’s Word Count: 1,963
Total Word Count: 3,680

It’s Thursday

Thriving Thursday AKA Halloween…

 

Pumpkin

 

 

Instead of some awesome quote about Thursday, I decided to be festive and post this pumpkin. Yesterday, my mom and two cousins carved this pumpkin. The hat, added this morning, is from one of my cousins’ costumes. One is being candy corn (thus the hat) and the other is being a ladybug. I’m assuming Jackie is the ladybug (her mother always associated her with ladybugs) and Kat is the candy corn, but I never actually asked them. So I guess I’ll find out tonight.

Today at work the kids are going to “trick-or-treat” in each classroom. We got them Halloween pencils, erasers, spider rings, spider necklaces, pumpkin bubbles, the works. And we’re giving them pizza for lunch. In order words, work is going to be hectic because not only are the kids going to be hyped up with the thought of it being Halloween, but we’re also giving them treats. Good thing we only have seven kids today and not the usual 12…

In other news, I have also deemed today Thriving Thursday. Why? Because when I do get home from work I am going to be NaNo prepping with Kris. I’m going to be at work late, despite it being Halloween, but when I come home (which will probably be between 5:30 and 6:00…) we are going to bust out our ideas! I’ll have to show you all a picture of my poster board tomorrow…I didn’t want to post a picture yet because it’s not finish. And truth be told, it may not get finished. But at least I’m going to try. My novel is a murder mystery so there’s a lot of planning involved.

I never told you guys what I’m going to be writing for NaNo, have I? It’s the first in a series (of course) and it’s called Detective Florence. I’ll post the summary of this novel up here soon, but long story short it’s about a laid off detective who decides to go freelance and open his own private investigator office. However, no cases doesn’t pay the bills. But just when he’s about to close his office doors for good, he gets the biggest case that will make or break his career as a detective. With the help of an annoying assistant, of course.

You may or may not have heard of the Ace Attorney games? The fifth one just came out called Dual Destinies. Before this one, there were games based on Phoenix Wright, Miles Edgeworth, and Apollo Justice. If you’ve heard of them and played them–fantastic! Kris and I are addicted. These games are actually what inspired this novel in the first place. Let’s hope it goes well like in the games.

So that’s that. Teacher by day, writer by night! Kris and I are going to (hopefully) stay up until a decent hour to write. Lately we’ve both been in bed by 9:30…it’s sad.

Happy Halloween, everyone! 🙂

It’s Wednesday

Wonderful Wednesday, AKA: Hump Day…

 

Hump Day

 

 

I’m sure most of you have seen this commercial with the camel calling to Mike asking what day it is. If you haven’t, the go check it out on YouTube because it’s hilarious. It’s a commercial for Geico, but I don’t think anyone actually remembers the true meaning of the commercial. We all just like the camel.

I’m deeming Wednesday as Wonderful Wednesday because I wanted to continue on with my alliteration theme. However, today is most commonly known to people as Hump Day. So I will allow both.

The reason I’m calling Wednesday “Wonderful” is because of the fact that it’s Hump Day. Confused, yet? Once I get through today I only have two more days of work. Today’s an early day at work for me as I only have three kids in the afternoon. I should be home by 4:45-ish, as yesterday I did not get home until closer to 6. But today should be a good day and it should be easy (I probably just jinxed myself).

But when I get home today I have a lot of things that I need to get done. We started this new way of progress reports on the kids. It’s in collaboration with a website and we need to do observations on the kids. We observe the children doing anything that ties into their development — math related, science, social/emotional, physical, etc. — and we need to plug it into the website to see if their at the appropriate level for their age. Well, it’s my turn to plug in the observations this month (the other teacher and I alternate months so we can both get familiar with the set-up as this is brand new to both of us) and more than half of them did not save. Angry, much? Yes, I was. I had plugged in over 70 observations and none of them really went through even though I hit the “save” button. So I have to do that.

I also should work some more on my homework. I don’t have too much more that I have to do, but one of my teachers assigned two essays. One is due in November and the other is due December 2. Should I do them? Should I at least start them? Because I already don’t have any motivation for these classes, when November starts forget it. It’s NaNo. But I only have today to do it.

Tomorrow is Halloween. Kris and I aren’t doing anything special, but she has the day off from work. So when I get out of work (most likely around 5:30), we’re going to finish prepping for NaNo. Maybe do a couple of writing prompts or something. Then come Friday…Friday is the big day!

I’m anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time! I feel like I’ve never done NaNo before, but I’ve never officially won before. I’ve won Camp NaNo a few times, but never the original November NaNo. I really feel like I can make it work this year, despite the amount of homework, working eight hours a day, and all that fun stuff. I have a plan and I am determined to stick to it.

Look me up on NaNoWriMo: Fiery_Sapphire

It’s Tuesday

Tedious Tuesday…

 

Coffee

 

 

Tuesday ends with the letter “Y.” Enough said.

I’m calling today Tedious Tuesday for a number of reasons: School, work, writing, video games.

Okay, I guess the video games isn’t a very big priority. But Kris and I got the new Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies game and we’ve been dying to play it. Due to our conflicting work schedules (and I have homework), we haven’t been able to play it as often as we want. We need to beat it before NaNoWriMo otherwise…our NaNo novels will most likely suffer.

I need to get all of my homework done because I’m not going to be able to do it starting on Friday. Friday is the beginning of NaNoWriMo and I need this weekend to get ahead in my word count. I’m going to have more homework next week which means less time to write. I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish this week’s homework and maybe attempt to jump ahead into next week’s homework, too. I don’t care if I’m ahead, behind, or right on par: I am determined to write at least 1,667 words a day. I think it would be nice to attempt to get in a good writing groove that will maybe carry on past November.

I work 10-6 Monday-Friday. Not really…I leave work when the last kid leaves (provided everything is set up for the next day, which it always is). This year, the kids have been getting picked up early (yay!) so I’ve been getting out of work between 4:30/5:00. The nice part is that I still get paid until 6. Anyway, Tuesdays and Thursday are late because one kid doesn’t get picked up between 5:00\5:30. Not bad, but still prefer to get out that extra hour earlier.

Next is writing. I have gotten a great chunk of planning done on my NaNo novel, but I would still like to see it finished. I can’t really do that if I’m busy doing homework and all that fun stuff. Again, I have today, tomorrow, and Thursday to finish planning. Granted, I don’t need the entire novel planned out. I at least have the beginning and a good chunk of the middle, but I want to make sure that I don’t get stuck anywhere. We all know how terrible I am at editing later on.

Thus, I deem thee Tedious Tuesday! I have homework for five classes, it’s my late day at work, I would like to get an hour or so of NaNo prep done, and because both Kris and I are going to be home today it would be nice if we could also play our game for a little bit.

It will be around 5:30, but I am seriously debating on whether or not I should go to Starbucks after work.