Update on the Writing Game

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I haven’t written anything new since mid-August. Been busy, had a lot going on. So, instead of writing I’ve been reading through what I wrote (again). Revisited stories I started, ideas for stories that need fleshing out. All counted, I have nearly a dozen WIPs. Only one has a completed first draft, and man doesn’t it suck.

That’s the point of a first draft, right? It’s sole purpose is 1) to exist and 2) to suck.

Here’s a funny for you. As I was going through all the WIPs, I realized I’ve been working off the same drafts of stories without adding edits. The last print of anything was September of last year. My computer tells a different story. I’ve got 6 months of content (I think I mentioned this before) to plug in because I didn’t write in a linear fashion. No, I meandered through the stories picking what part to work on. That is one hellacious double-edged sword. On the one hand, meandering gets writing done. On the other, linear writing without motivation/inspiration leads to no new content.

Last week I attended a webinar put on by Gabriela Pereira over at DIYMFA. I bought the book last year and signed up for her newsletter. Strongly encourage the purchase, because it’s solid with great advice and some exercises. The webinar was all about building the author platform and connecting with readers. It was a scaled down version of part of the book with Q&A, and worth the time. And it taught me something important. This blog needs to be revamped. Hard. There will be some changes happening over the next few months, but I won’t make huge, glaring changes all at once; they’ll be gradual.

For the rest of this month and October I’m going to focus on what passes as an outline for the 3 most-complete WIPs and pick one to work on in November for NaNoWriMo.

I could choose VC because that thing is 8 parts with minimum story for 7 of them (and already has a loose outline structure), and would easily eat up 50k words. When that project is complete, it will likely be over 200k words. Possibly close to 250k, depending. If that’s the case, it may be released as individual stories instead of one single publication. I mean, really. Would you rather have 8 individual stories at 40k words released roughly every 6 weeks, or a massive digital tome at 240k? I’ve been working on this bitch for close to 4 years…

 

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The Diabetic Legacy

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I come from a long line of diabetics on the maternal side of the family tree: mother, grandfather, several great aunts and uncles. It was a contributing factor in their deaths. In my mother’s case, it was the official cause of death.

No official diagnosis has been made for me, but I’m not stupid. Glucose readings hovering 200-300 all the time isn’t good. When my fasting is over 150, I have a problem. When it is over 250 2h after eating, I have a problem. On the low side of things, 60s-low 80s at anytime is bad. So, here I am. Trying to change so it’s no longer a problem.

My last soda was July 4 and I basically quit cold turkey. That day I drank 2 cans at home and another liter at a bbq. Yes, that’s a lot of sugar and caffeine. I’ve had a couple on “special occasions” (eclipse weekend and last Saturday night), but it’s not daily, which is great. A typical day now: After 2 or 3 cups of coffee, it’s water only. No, my sleep schedule hasn’t adjusted. Most nights I don’t go to bed until around 1 and sleep until 9:30 or 10. I’m also trying not to eat after 9. Most days I test first thing in the morning (before coffee), 2 hours after lunch and then again 2 hours after supper.

We’re working on adjusting our diets to be more healthy in general, too. He isn’t diabetic but feels he’d benefit from a better diet. I’ve been scouring the webs for food lists – most food to avoid is common sense – and really not coming up with the information I need. I printed one I thought would be promising but after looking at it closely, it’s not.

Recently I bought a cookbook (put out by the American Diabetes Association) and a what-to-expect book (recommended by the ADA). Once they’re in-use full time I’ll write some reviews, etc. So far, the what-to-expect book is great and is similar to a book on grieving.

Plus, there’s a ton of “advice” for the newly-diagnosed and I have to share one piece. I don’t remember where I saw it or who said it but it’s this: “To save money, it’s okay to reuse your insulin needles and prick sticks.” Um, what? No, no, fucking no. Don’t ever reuse your needles or sticks. Ever. Ever. Ever.

I’m consistently logging diet and glucose readings. Some food is common sense, though, about sugar content. One of my favorite things to eat is chips. I’m trying really hard not to eat them when they’re in the house, and sometimes times I do really good. Sometimes I have to force myself to put them away or not touch them at all. We have an air popper for popcorn, and my man recently got me dill salt (we can thank a local shop for this idea) to put on it. It’s pretty good.

And we bought an air fryer and use it over the stove for most fried/baked things. Instead of breading chicken fingers in panko or breadcrumbs, I used a mix of almond flour and parmesan cheese. The thing came with a ton of recipes we want to try; some will have to be adjusted but that’s cool. We’re always experimenting with food.

Exercising is another hurdle. Hell, I can get a workout just walking up and down the stairs or up to the main office (that’s a 1/2-mile round trip). With the weather cooling down (ish), I really do need to get off my ass and get outside/moving. Walk the circle, yoga on the balcony. Something.

One step at a time, right?

Next time: writing update

Pagan Friday

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Happy Pagan Friday, everyone!

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It’s been an eventful couple weeks cosmically speaking. If anyone was lucky enough to be within the direct path of the solar eclipse on Monday, you got quite a show! Where we live had a 85-90%, but we drove 5 hours to the St. Louis area (his mom lives just outside of St. Louis) and were able to experience the full, 100% totality of the eclipse. 100%. The entire neighborhood was outside, enjoying the moment. When it hit full eclipse, the neighbors hooted, shot off fireworks and really just had a little party. It was amazing.

We did a little touristing for me while there. I got to see deer being hand-fed at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (the second largest military cemetery in the country – second only to Arlington) and we visited his father’s burial site. It’s truly humbling to see the stones for those who fought and died in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Even if you don’t know of anyone who may be buried there, I recommend visiting if only to show respect and appreciate the sheer number of souls who died for their causes.

I also recommend the Mastodon State Historic Site. Part little museum, part nature hike – It’s pretty cool to see how the park came into existence. Make a day of it and take sneakers to walk the trails; there may even be an excavation in progress. My guy told me stories of him and his friends as kids, finding bones and teeth in the creek. So, in a way, he was part of the discovery and establishment of the park. Cool, huh?

Kimmswick. You have to go to Kimmswick. And, you have to eat at The Blue Owl. Then you need to walk around the tiny village and check out all the shops. It was hot as balls out so we didn’t do any walking around, but with cooler weather comes another potential trip.

While we didn’t see any metaphysical shops anywhere, you may come across some pathfinders in your travels.

I did realize something today. With the move 300 miles north, I can feel the (miniscule) change in climate. My body is going nuts and wants to get all the Fall decorations out. i realize it’s still 6 weeks away, but try telling my instincts that. come Sept 21, though, look out…

Thanks for hanging out for a few minutes! I’ll be here next week with a rousing discussion on T2 Diabetes. I know; it’s too much excitement!

Online Courses Are Fun!

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Hi, everyone.

So, with the time I’ve got on my hands, I figured I’d do some online courses through FurtureLearn and Coursera. If you haven’t tried these, you should. Pretty much anything you want to learn about, they’ve got a course for it. For you NaNopeeps, Coursera is partnering with Wesleyan College for a series starting in a couple weeks – you may have seen an email or FB post about it.

I just finished two on diabetes fundamentals and medieval magic. Right now I’m working on 2 on Coursera – Healing with the Arts, and De-mystifying Mindfulness. The art one has really helped with my writing and I’m diving into more creative pursuits like drawing and painting. Positive Psychology starts at the end of the month. I’m signed up for four others from 9/4 through the end of November on FutureLearn (Social Wellbeing, Heart Health, The Diabetes Epidemic, and Improve Your Cultural Competence – in that order).

Here’s a self-portrait I did for the art course using pastel pencils:

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These courses are free, but some can be upgraded for a small fee to receive a certificate if you’re taking it for continuing education purposes (like for work) or want to do a specialization (like with the NaNo one, which we can supposedly do for free). If I come across one that I absolutely love, I’ll share it.

You can always go on the sites and search for the courses I’m taking if they sound interesting to you. Many will repeat. And, no, I’m not affiliated in any way with Coursera or FutureLearn other than taking the courses.

That’s basically it for now. Next week I’ll give y’all a writing update.

Have a great weekend!

Happy August!

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And blessed Lughnasadh to my pagan pals!

Just a quick update on the writing front. I hit and passed my CampNaNo goal! Yay! I finished early with just over 7,800 but added to it after validation and finalized a smidge over 8k. Not too shabby, eh?

Today I’m working on an honest-to-goodness outline for the VC collection. My brain likes order and wants to have a finite plan: Eight parts representing the Wheel of the Year. Totally doable. Each part broken down to eight chapters (repping the sabbats), with eight scenes per chapter. Again, doable.

Here’s where I’m stuck.

My opening story – Yule (pre-Christmas-ish), featuring Niall and Adara – begins roughly around Mabon (beginning of Fall), but it needs to start around mid-December. It doesn’t flow the way my brain sets up the whole collection. Major clash between order and historical fact over here. So, I’m having trouble reconciling the two pieces. This is what I get for working on one collection for nearly 4 years, and not having any sort of outline beyond the Wheel of the Year and character sets.

CampNaNo 2.1

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Hey, y’all. How’s Camp going? Hopefully you’re slaying your goals!

Me? My goal is 7500 words and I’m sitting at just over 2k. Like last time, I’m using daily prompts from Writer’s Book of Days as my guide, and just plunking existing characters in where they fit best. 

If they don’t fit, that’s cool, too. I can use them for a story later on. 

I also went over Jan-June prompts and discovered a ton of material for existing WIPs. Plugging them in will be so much fun. Who knows the direction the stories will go! 

Let me know how you’re Camp adventure is going. 

Next week: Pagan Friday – with pictures.

Pagan Friday on Saturday 

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We had a gorgeous Full Moon this month!

One of the first things I did when we moved was to find a local group to join. It took about a month, and I’m hoping it works out. From what I can tell, they’re not a card-carrying, membership dues type of group, and it’s mostly a social thing.

There was one group I found but they don’t look like they’ve been active for a couple years. Sad, too, because they were hard into PPD participation. According to the lapsed Facebook page, anyway.

Facebook and Meetup pages are good, but how about an actual website. Nothing fancy, just someplace for general information, etc. For example, if your group has nearly 800 members and they are all looking for shops or legit sites, wouldn’t it be prudent to have a central place for them to find what they need?

On to a more personal aspect of the path. I’ve set up an eclectic altar on the giant bookcase.

It’s a hodge podge, I know. With time it will be thought out and refined. I may create a couple minis in the bedroom and on the balcony, and keep a more cohesive set up here. With things settling down I can rededicate myself to the this path.

Next week is the Shamanism Global Summit (free – 7/25-27) that I signed up for. There are 23 “workshops” total and I’m interested in 9 of them. One of them is about medicinal plants, another is centered around Ragnarok. Who doesn’t love a good ole Norse discussion?

Next time: CampNaNo Wrap-up 

2 Planners and A Notebook: OCD Love Triangle From Hell

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Happy Saturday, everyone! 

Let’s get to it.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know how much I love planners. If you’re new, this should catch you up.

The stickerfied zipper case is the all-inclusive “bible”. It holds everything, basically. Tasks, any appointments, events, etc. I’ve had this for, I think, 8 years. Only wish: customizable. 

Next we have the Witch’s Datebook from Llewellyn. I got this in hopes of it replacing the “bible”. Um, no. I like because it has valuable info I use in my pathwork, but it does not hold up to my level of use. At all. Only wish: more room to write.

Lastly, a little notebook I use for logging food and glucose readings. While I’m not diagnosed, my mother was insulin-dependent and I’m making an effort to change that particular aspect of my life.

So, now you see what I mean by OCD love triangle. In a perfect world, the 3 would live in harmony and I would have fewer books to write in daily. Well, I have a plan to make that happen, and I’m gonna share it with you.

The “bible” will always be just that. My base of operations in need of a renovation. It will be a hybrid – planner and bullet journal. I’ll get to the bujo part in a sec. 

My plan is to disassemble the Datebook ($12) and use it in place of the traditional layout ($30). There will be some finagling to this, which is fine. Then, I’ll create inserts to record food and glucose each day (totally worked on that earlier), and writing goal pages – that’s the bujo part. I’ve got everything I need to put the creative touches on it, so craft supply costs should be little if any (because, stickers).

Hasta la taco, June!

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Much has happened since we last saw each other. May and June were…busy.

We moved to Arkansas and that took about 3 weeks to finalize the logistics. Housing, utilities, movers, etc. Oh and if you want your cat to ignore you for several hours, I can offer tips. Moving also means looking for work: I’m putting out resumes and submitting applications M-F. The last couple days haven’t been very fruitful, but I know I can’t be picky, either.

Here in the States, May 14 was Mother’s Day; the day after was the 1st anniversary of my mother’s passing. Add to that moving and Mother Nature being off her meds…I had a really rough week. Rough month. We both did.

June bought us a 9-day stint in Memphis for him and a 4-day excursion for my daughter’s graduation for me – simultaneously. He got back the day before I did. Things are finally starting to settle down, I think. Maybe. Fun thing: we discovered our bluray player is 3D compatible (the TV came with glasses)! I highly recommend Star Trek: Beyond and Doctor Strange in 3D.

Since tomorrow is July I figured I’d share my upcoming writing goals.

In the NaNoWriMo world, July is Camp 2.0. I hit April’s goal of 5k words, so I’m upping July’s to 7,500. Naturally I’m not sure which project to work on, so I’ll likely work on more than one. I spent this afternoon digging through current WIPs and story nuggets. So. Many. Projects. I also printed off June’s story/journal prompts to coordinate with WIPs. The bonus: I can insert these lil blips into nearly all. So, really, I do create new story content and hope a scene or backstory pops out of them.

We’ll see.

I’m going to try and post at least weekly from here out.

Thanks for sticking with me 🙂

Camp, take 3

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So as of today, I met and exceeded a couple of writing goals for this month. 

I “won” CampNaNo although I haven’t validated it, yet. 

I participated in Full Moon Madness, 5k Weekend and New Moon Challenge sponsored by WriYe – the 3 biggest writing challenges in the community. And I met the goals. The full WriYe year goal is 75k words. Guess what. I actually hit the monthly minimum. 

Did I combine all smaller challenges to count toward the monthly goal? Um, yeah. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them.

It’s amazing what one can accomplish in 3 days off!