Category Archives: Writing

2017 NaNoWriMo

Is coming to a close in a few short hours and I have failed. Miserably. But I did write. I’ve written more this month than I have all year. It’s different now than it was and I’m a little, ok, a lot, sad about that. I miss having someone pester me about what I’m working on or how much I got done. Even when I wanted to yell at him for being pestery, I was always glad my Dad cared enough to pester. He was my biggest support, my cheerleader, my first reader, my editor, and my fact checker. I know I have had friends tell me that I’m a fount of useless knowledge but if I’m a fount, he was a river. Writing isn’t the same now.

I’ll get back to normal eventually but apparently not this year.

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What a Difference

medication (or the lack of it) can make! We’ve started tapering my already low dose prednisone and I’m feeling a lot less … boom. I’m not exactly sure how to explain it. It’s like I was feeling things too big if that makes sense. It couldn’t come at a better time as I always get weepy in December and this year, Thanksgiving is already going to be difficult. I’m a little more sore and achy than I was before but I’m definitely willing to push through that in exchange for not flipping out over everything or feeling like I want to cry all the time.

I’m definitely not going to win NaNoWriMo this year but I will have a draft for Leilani and Blake’s second book before the end of the year and I’m really happy with that. I have a lot of projects in my head, it’s just a matter of putting them on paper. It used to be I could work five projects at once but my brain is not working with that right now so, I’m going to have to focus on just one. If I can write a minimum of 500 words every day – which isn’t really that much when you break it down – I can get all of my projects finished. I’m really excited for some of them to get out of my head and into the hands of readers. I expect to have Hunter’s Hell finished by the end of the year and Eldercynne Knight by Valentine’s Day and Gods of the Fallen by my birthday. In that order. If I keep it in that order, maybe I’ll get done a little faster because I am super excited by Gods of the Fallen – some of the ideas are just so neat to me. I’d also like to get back to my poetry a little more but I have to figure out how that will fit into my writing schedule.

I think there’s more of my anxiety and depression rearing up than I usually like to admit to. I don’t think all of my sleepiness is just RA related and I know my inner critical voice is just going bananas over every misstep I’ve ever made in my life. It’s not like this part of things is new, I should be old hat at this by now and have it under control already. Except we all know that’s not how these things work in the real world.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I’ve got plenty to be thankful for, even if this year has been just a gaping hole of I’d really rather not. The kids are awesome, the husband is awesome, they’re all healthy and that’s enough for me right now. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and get to spend some time with family and eat some yummy stuff. Tomorrow, I make pumpkin pie and a veg and that’s all anyone is expecting of me and that is glorious.

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Filed under Health, Interesting, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, WIP, Writing

Winding down

The fair is done and my whole body is feeling it today! I met some interesting people and made some good connections and even sold a few books. I have some new stuff to get up on Etsy this week but not today – my fingers and knees are hurting. I’m falling behind on the book but I’ll catch up during the week when I’m not trying to make stuff too.

I’ve got bloodwork and a doctor’s appointment this week and I’m really hoping I can get off the prednisone ASAP. I do not like it at all. I had been doing so great with my panic attacks – I haven’t had many to speak of in a long time and now they’re getting to be a little bit regular and I don’t like that at all – I’ve been there, done that, wouldn’t like to go back there. I also blame my newfound weepiness on it too – I’m crying at the dumbest stuff. I burst into tears in Krogers because they didn’t have the breakfast my youngest son requested. I cried at the end of The Dark Knight Rises, not for that movie but because I was so upset that the role of Batman did not go to Joseph Gordan-Levitt who deserved it (and the story was perfect for it!) but to the guy I don’t see as anything like Batman (so much so that I haven’t even watched it). Both of those things are upsetting but neither is really honestly cry-worthy. I’m a lot quicker to get mad too and I really don’t like it. The other meds, it is what it is. My nails are terrible, my skin is terrible, but my hair isn’t falling out and I’m not hurting anywhere near as bad as I was. I’ll do as I’m told because, as much as I don’t like one of the ladies in the office so much, the doctor himself seems to know what he’s doing and for sure he knows more than I do.

I’m going to get some words today but I am not going to push too much with my fingers today – they need some recovery time right now. I’m in an interesting place in the book though, some ramifications from the events of book one are coming to light and no one knows what it means longterm just yet (not even me!), and the new plot is getting a little convoluted and the connections are starting to come to light and it’s just beginning to get exciting. This is my favorite part of the process but I’m a little worried that I’m coming to this point too early so I might have to toss in a small distraction or two as they figure stuff out. This is the sort of stuff that makes me remember why writing is my all time favorite thing to do.

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Filed under Anxiety, Crafting, Crafts, etsy, Event, Life, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Writing

Craft Fair!

I have a craft fair tomorrow – if you’re in the area, you should come. I know a couple of the vendors and I’ve seen pictures of others. I’ll be there with weird stuff and books and some not so weird stuff too – repurposing is my new kick at the moment and I’m having fun with it. I’ll be the tiny island of odd under the sorting hat tree topper. Seriously though – there are a lot of really neat looking things on the vendor list and you should come talk to me there.

3rd Annual Santa’s Runway at the Millsop Community Center in Weirton, WV starts at 11 am on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

There are things I didn’t get finished – I haven’t had the dexterity to do much with polymer clay or even paint lately but glue and fabric and enamels, I have that down pat!

Now, I’m headed back to the book as very much doubt I’ll be getting a lot of words tomorrow or Sunday so I need to try and get out ahead of things. I’m at 16145 right now and Lei is just beginning to realize how much trouble she’s in so that’s fun. 50K or Bust!

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Nanowrimo Update

We’re a bit better than a week into Nanowrimo and I’m a little bit ahead but not like I’m used to. I’m at a little over 14k on Hunter’s Hell and I really like a lot of the elements that are coming into the story – it’s fun! It would be more fun if my hands weren’t really sore by the end of the day but we do what we can! It’s not going to be like some years where I’m done by November 14th but I’m on track to finish all the same.

This week I’ve got some other stuff going on also – I have a craft fair this Saturday and I’m putting together some last minute more Christmasy kind of crafty things so that cuts into my writing time and I likely won’t get much more than 300 words on Saturday but that’s ok. All words are good words. Every one of them counts and my biggest goal is just to get words every single day. And then, I need to keep that going beyond Nanowrimo. Every day. I have six books in various stages and I really should get them finished and get new ones written. There is no reason except being too far in my own head that I can’t get these books done I just have to sit down and do it and that’s what I’m planning to do.

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No Wrong Way

Right now, a good number of my writer friends are sharing articles on plotting and preparing for NaNoWriMo. Some of them are helpful, some of them sort of irritate me a bit. Some of them make it seem like you have to prepare in the first place to succeed at NaNoWriMo or even writing a book at all. You don’t. There is no wrong way to write a book. There are certainly people who can open a file and write 50,000 words in a month or less with no plotting, no prep work at all. Maybe it’s not the popular way but it isn’t impossible. I should know. Guardian of the Gods, Hunter’s Crossing, and Eldercynne Rising all had their zero drafts done during NaNoWriMo (Hunter’s Crossing is the only one that kept its title) and I had one sentence or one whisp of an idea in my head when I sat down on November 1.

This year is a little different because I’m writing a sequel so, I’ve got to keep continuity with the first and follow some threads I’ve prepared there already, but you absolutely can do NaNoWriMo with no prep work at all. I am not a plotter. I don’t do outlines or sketches. I do a zero draft and build up from there. My zero drafts are pretty sparse but for me, it’s more about the plot than the pretty (though pretty can happen during the zero, mostly it gets cut during drafting and edits).

If you want to write a book, sit down and do it by whatever means necessary. If you need an outline, make one. If you need that prep work, please do it. If you don’t and you just need an open file or a piece of paper – that works too. You do you and tell a good story. This world needs more good stories.

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Little Things Make All The Difference

Thumb Splint arrived!

My thumb splint finally came! It’s certainly not an all the time thing and I’ve already ordered a second one because it’s like night and day with typing. My fingers aren’t so bad most of the time but my thumbs make me feel like having thumbs is more than overrated. I’m still not up to speed but it’s definitely better than 50 words per minute! I might just make NaNoWriMo work this year after all (and be able to get back to doing some transcription stuff too maybe).

I’m doing some preparation for NaNo this year – mostly in the form of research because I have a pretty good idea of the major plot points in the story this year. Which likely means that it will go completely sideways and the book I think I’m going to write will not be what gets written. I do love the research part of writing – especially when it’s strange or mythological stuff I’m researching. This time around, it’s mostly underused monsters. I’m pulling some from wrong sorts of places on purpose but I promise, it’ll make sense that they are where they are.

If I manage to finish this book’s zero draft in November, I’m probably going to try again in January and do the second book of the Eldercynne trilogy – which is all it’s planned to be at the moment. I have about half a draft on that one which is why it isn’t a nano book.

If you are also doing NaNoWriMo and want to be buddies, I’m Shade53. I don’t spend time on the forums really because I get sidetracked and sucked in too easily and I have enough distractions with all the other stuff I’m supposed to get accomplished in a day but I’m happy to message or race.

And that’s a couple hundred words with no screaming thumb. I will, however, need to cut a little piece of fleece to cover the strap – it’s digging in just a bit on a tender spot on my wrist – but what a difference a little bit of fabric and some metal can make!

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Better Enough

Things are getting back to normal-ish at my house. I can do dishes without dropping them, I’ve only needed my cane one morning this week, I can go up the stairs like a typical person (not down yet though, I’m still going sideways down the steps), and I can type. For five minutes at a stretch and half the speed I’m accustomed to. I’m hoping that, by NaNoWriMo (which I AM doing), the medicine I’m on will be working well enough to help me finally get the sequel to Hunter’s Crossing written and not languishing in a pile of notes, snippets, and scenes.

I ordered a thumb splint that I hope will be here in plenty of time to adjust to wearing it and typing with it. Most of my problem is in the left hand, thumb, wrist, and elbow. I’ve looked into thermoskin gloves, wrist warmers, and stabilizers. I’m pretty willing to try anything. I’ve looked into speech to text but I haven’t found one I like enough to use (plus I’m still trying to get over the whole talking to myself like an idiot thing – I write because I sound stupid when I speak dang it!).

I’m having some of those moments, I can feel the depression trying to say hello, trying to sneak in and take root. This isn’t an unusual thing. In fact, it happens pretty regularly but this year it’s compounded by the RA, the weight gain because I’m struggling to be active when moving hurts (and food is my blankie), and the general feeling of uselessness. Nothing has really worked to dig me out in the past so I’m trying something new. It seems silly but it’s not not working. I haven’t worn makeup for about two decades and, being a writer,  there’s not much call to get properly dressed every day, so I’m trying to do that too. I figure, if I’m going to be healthier than I’ve ever been (and I must be as I’ve seen ALL the doctors in the last few months lol), I might as well try and look it. I’m still not leaving the house too much so no one really gets to see it but, strangely, it’s making a difference anyway.

I got tagged in those pretty picture things on FB by a bunch of ladies. I won’t do them as I haven’t taken a picture I like in more than a decade but they partially inspired the whole trying to look like a functional person thing. For years, I’ve extolled the value of fake it till you make it but I don’t always follow my own advise. I’m trying to. I’ve joined a few groups – one focusing on getting healthy and an RA support group – and I like both of them a great deal. This year has been one of the worst I’ve had but that doesn’t mean I can’t make something good come from it before it’s done.

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It’s all official now and stuff

Today was my follow-up appointment after giving most of my blood up for testing. It is pretty much exactly what I expected. I imagine I’ll be talking and writing about rheumatoid arthritis for a bit while I adjust and we look for the right balance of medications to get it and keep it in check. Personally, any combination that doesn’t have my hands swollen up so bad I have no knuckles is successful. Right now, I feel like I ran a marathon yesterday – just a little all over sore and achy and maybe a little limpy on the ankles but it’s definitely been worse. My understanding is that it’s going to take months before the new medicine can be counted on to do much so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I’m hoping that with the limbo being over and all that, I’ll be a bit more able to get back to the writing of things and the making of things. I think I have a sculpture I’d like to try and make but I need hands that are a little more cooperative than they are today. Hopefully, we’ll get this all situated on the first try.

On the speech to text software – I’m definitely not going with LilySpeech in the long run. I don’t like that I have to remember to cut and paste every two paragraphs, I’ve lost several pages worth of dictation, and if I swear, it has a built in sensor. I don’t swear a lot in the blog or on FB but I do occasionally use a word or two in my stories and certainly in my personal communication. So, LilySpeech is out and I’m still looking. Though I sort of think I’d rather not use any of them – I feel a little like an idiot talking to myself like that.

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First Appointment

Went to the first appointment with rheumatologist yesterday.  I didn’t learn anything definitive. He does say I have some sort of inflammatory arthritis. Kind of knew that already. Now we just have to figure out which one because apparently there are a lot of them. So we did blood work out the ears, well, out the arms. 13 tubes! More X-rays. And now I have to wait for a while to find out anything more. This is one of those offices that only calls when the results are immediately icky. I’ll find out all the things when I go back.

He did prescribe a new medication hopefully that will help. I don’t know yet right now it seems there are less irritated places but the places that are irritated hurt more. But we’re only on the beginning of day 2 and it could take a while.

So think I found a reasonably decent speech-to-text software. It definitely works better than what came on my computer. In fact, I’m using it to write this. I can actually type today but I’m trying to put this through the courses while I’ve got a free trial so I can decide whether or not I want to keep it. The hardest part about speech-to-text software is knowing that you sound like an absolute idiot talking to your computer when nobody’s there but the dogs. For those interested, I’m using http://www.LilySpeech.com and so far it does pretty well. There are some little irritants but definitely recognizes my speech better than the one that came on my system and it recognizes when other people are talking to me and what they are saying. However, it is not as funny as the one that came on my system that just gives me random gibberish.

I’m going to give a go with the writing today and see how far I can get with poor Leilani. Fortunately I really like writing her, unfortunately, I have to do terrible things to this poor girl but hopefully, you people will enjoy it later.

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