Author Archives: jmlibby

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:

Journal2selfportrait

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!

Camp NaNo Change

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Last week I said I was working part 3 of the VC story set. Well, I changed my mind. And here’s why..

The whole goal of creating the VC set around the Wheel of the Year – pagan sabbats – was to highlight each “holiday”. We’ve just passed Ostara and Beltane is around the corner. It makes more sense to write about an upcoming event, than it does to right about the past one. At least, it does to me.

Today and tomorrow, between appointments and housework, I’ll gather research, outlines and the Beltane story already in the works. The outlines will be reworked to reflect a more cohesive timeline. It is a generational collection, after all. By the time I close my eyes tomorrow night, I should have a solid foundation for the entire set.

Who knows…I may get rolling on part 5 – Midsummer. 

Camp NaNo, Round 1

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Yup, I’m doing Camp this year. Project: VC part 3 -Ostara. 

This part is the least complete, therefore its prime Camp fodder. I’ll do prep work for the rest of this month and, outline and unanswered questions in hand, tackle this nugget on my days off in April. 

I’ve been working on a play list, too (Spotify is an awesome tool), and a lot of the music which spoke to me is being added to other projects’ play lists as I go along. The downside to a virtually neverending supply of tunes is the ability to get distracted like a squirrel. 

My word count goal is 5,000 words, which averages about 500 wpd. Maybe I’ll get lucky and surpass that. 

Fingers crossed. 

Putting ‘The Plan’ in Motion

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So each year I set a writing goal for myself and have rarely met it. This year is a different story…

While I have several projects in the works, only one will come out in December. My plan is to finish, edit and publish Viktic Crossing. It probably won’t be called that when its done, though. Hell, it will likely go through several titles before I choose one. 

Im still using the prompts from A Writer’s Book of Days to write little snippets of the story. Eight generations of story. A family lineage stemming from a chance encounter between Viking raider and Celtic priestess. Its next level Vikings shit. And it will be awesome. 

The Keeper of the Bayou story will probably end up being a major flash forward piece of that. We’ll see. The potential is there and it could lead to more in between generational stories. That way the family could be traced back about 900 years. 

As side note: I’m doing WriYe’s 31 Days of Original Characters challenge. It’s neat. Create an original character every day in January. But, because we have lives, there are tiers. I opted for 12 characters based on the number of days off I have from work. So far I’m at 8, and will finish with more than 12 (doing them at work, too….shhh).

Anyone doing a writing challenge this month? Share in comments.