Coffee and Conversation: Writing Process Blog Tour

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again - time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my familywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

This week, I’ve got something different, because my WANA friend Gretchen Wing tapped me for the Writing Process Blog Tour. I highly recommend Gretchen’s blog, Wing’s World – it’s full of travel and life observations offered in a slightly quirky, upbeat way.

Thanks, Gretchen! This was fun, and I learned some things about me!

1. What am I currently engaged with?

  • I’ve been writing Star Trek fan fiction since my early teens. It’s evolved with me; now there’s a strong original fantasy element. I ‘m writing a fanfition/fantasy double series, Trueborn. Each stands alone, but there’s a richer story when read together.
  • I also blog regularly, and have poetry and short stories in various stages of development.

 

No, this is not how I write …but she’s definitely inspirational!

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

  • For me, writing is delicious play. I think that makes my writing different – the more I embrace the notion of writing as play, the more individual my writing becomes.

  • I tend to see things differently than many people do, and that perspective appears in my writing. Children in my stories are independent and capable; many, like my own children, do not go to school. They don’t have much need or patience for adults who interfere in their lives. The life I live with my family isn’t a parents-as-bosses-of-children model, and neither are many of the families I write about. Even when the parents think they are in control, the children have their own definite goals, and ideas on how to go about achieving them.
  • Oh, and there are Vulcans(even though sometimes well-hidden). I do love my Vulcans!

3. Why do I write what I do?

  • I write what I write for simple reasons -it’s what I love, what compels me, drives me nuts, makes me laugh, cry, ponder, or seethe.

  • It’s what fires my imagination…

  • I write to touch you, know you, share myself with you, and invite you to share, too!

  • To make statements about things that fall under a code of silence that break and shatter lives.

  • I find strength and healing in honesty.

  • I write the people who populate my mind, the places I imagine between the scenes in shows and movies, the threads my fancy weaves between disparate things, the things I’ve noticed and discovered in myself and others.

  • I write the journey of my life, and how it connects to the wider world. It’s my breadth and my depths, and how I live…
  • I write what I write because it’s who I am – as a writer, and a human.

 

Creative process…writing and editing.

4. How does my writing process work?

  • I like to noodle around for a while before writing. Many ideas come while I’m doing unrelated things, especially taking a hot shower, driving, hometending, being with my family, playing games…you know, living.
  • I often jot notes and random snips of what I’m thinking of before I begin planning.
  • I use Rock Your Plot, to develop ideas. It’s open-ended, so the story can go where it will, and structured enough that I don’t wander around aimlessly, waiting for something -anything! – interesting to happen
  • I like 750 Words for my initial writing – it’s an expanse of plain white screen, with no containment field. It’s a playground for my raw ideas.
  • I move the rough draft to my word processing program, and mark it up with color-coded highlighters – bright, playful and useful. After a rest, I start revising, and continue until I’m pleased with the result.
  • Larger projects – anything that might become book-length – move to Scrivener, where I can develop them in subsequent drafts.
  • I enjoy participating in writing challenges. I like the stretching, and use these to advance projects and ideas I’m toying with. This month, I’m advancing WIPs that have been waiting for CampNaNoWriMo, and giving shape and substance to Kifo Island, a locale that’s been tickling my imagination for a year.
  • Overarching all other challenges is ROW80. I arrange my writing projects around the four 80 day rounds. Twice-weekly updates keep my focused on my goals, so that I have something to report. It is also a wonderful community of writers, at all levels of ability.

LIfeWriting. =D

For next week, I’ve tapped my just-about lifelong best friend, and partner-in-crime for those first fanfics, Eden Mabee. Here’s a bit about her, but, trust me, she’s way more than this!

Eden Mabee is slowly making a life out of finding the creative and the enjoyable in everything. She collects feral cats, odd do-dads, historical trivia and lots of books–all of which she uses to build fictional worlds. Her blog Many Worlds From Many Minds follows her creative journey in prose and photography. You can find her pictures on Imgur and Flickr under her Twitter name @Kymele. She lives somewhere in New York State where her husband and son to inspire her almost daily.

How about you? Whether it’s writing or any other goal, how do you approach it? What makes it special to you? Why do you do what you do? Let me pour you a cuppa, and let’s chat!

 

Word, words, words!

 

 

Saturday’s Share: Flowery Girls and Writing, Too!

A slice of happily blended life…

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

I love this photo. I was writing and making pre-revision notes on my bed, where I’ve written since my pre-teen years, when Annalise, who’d been puttering around outside, brought me this basket of flowers from our little cottage garden. She stayed a while, to hang out and visit, and we chatted.

I’m reminded of this picture, this month, as I move through two writing challenges, and prepare for a third, while still being present as a wife, mother, and companion on this journey of life.

I do want to write – as often as I can manage. Writing is more than a passion for me – it’s the way I live and process my living, my best means of sharing my life and experiences with others.

I’m not as happy a person when I’m not engaged with writing. Things that I would write about, and thereby work through, stay within me, where they can fester. That, as you might imagine, isn’t good for me – or anyone around me.

Yet, here I am – the housemate of three other people. More than that – I’m someone’s wife, and two more someones’ mother. There are times I need to drop everything and give someone a hug, a snuggle, a canoodle, a conversation. There are laundry and dishes and places to go. There are things to learn, explore, and do. There is clutter to clear, food to buy, pets and people to feed, and homeschool reports to prepare and file.

It’s less a matter of balancing than it is blending. I’ve found that the more I stop thinking of writing as something that I need to balance with the rest of my life, and instead see my life as a whole, a blending of various ingredients in varying amounts. Sometimes I write while chatting with a girl fresh from her adventures i n the backyard. Often, I plot while washing dishes, doing laundry, or showering. Places we visit can become story fodder (certainly, they’re often blogging fodder!).

During this busily creative season, this way of seeing my life is especially important for me. Rather than choosing between writing or other things, I can blend them, and have elements of both.

How do you handle varying pulls and parts of your life? Are you a balancer or a blender? Do you have a different approach? I’d love to hear about it – after all, Saturdays are for sharing!

Please allow me to share a bit more – one of my all-time favorite songs, in honor of the flower girl in my life! =D

Coffee and Conversation: April CampNaNoWriMo and A Lot to Chew

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again - time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my family was driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

Hey there! Ever feel like you’ve maybe taken on a little too much, and as though you’re constantly juggling, in danger of losing track of something?

Yup, that’s where I am right now.

It wouldn’t maybe have been this way -except…

Isn’t there always an except?

Mine is that I spent more time sick during this long hard winter than I usually spend in an entire year. It slowed me down, muddled things up more often than I had hoped, had me scrambling to get back to the place where I thought I should be…

Kristen Lamb talked about this in her post today, and it struck a chord with me.

I’m scrambling, now.

In a little less than three hours, I’ll embark on two marathon writing challenges, and I’ll do another next month.

When I decided to do it, I thought it would be, if not a snap, at least doable. I could draft the A to Z posts ahead, reread the first of the WIPs I intend to complete this year, for CampNaNo -and I could get the house into a better state, and queue some blog posts so that there’d be no pressure while I explored a new project, and wrapped on one I’ve kept waiting longer than I intended.

Only, now there’s only a few hours before the challenge begins, and I’m typing this on one computer, with a novel draft on the other (my attempts to move the file having been thus far fumbling and non-productive- at one point, I even thought I lost it!). My first of 26 A to Z posts is still in revision and hundreds of words too long.

And blogging-well, I have a list of subjects to write about, but nothing written, nothing queued.

Beyond that -I have a family, and a house, and  dishes, laundry, homeschooling, leaky roofs, car repairs, and all the other large and small details that make up a life…

So – am I going to give up? Or lock myself into my study, and write as though there’s nothing else in the world?

No, to both.

For one thing, my study is in a state of unlovely chaos. I began several projects designed to make it more embracing – and left them as other parts of life beckoned.

And, as I said, I have a family. I won’t be writing when someone who depends upon me needs a snuggle, a chat, or a canoodle. I won’t be letting clutter pile up three feet deep – at least, not everywhere at once!

For another – I chose these challenges because they feed something within me, and help me to focus on projects I want to explore, carry on, or wrap up. I choose them because there’s always things to learn in them, and because they feed my creative needs.

So…what’s a woman to do?

Well -I’m going to take a deep breath -

And do what I can, with the understanding that real people come before fictional ones, and that I may not get exactly where I wanted to go.

Will that make me a loser?

No.

Because every word written, every idea explored, will be mine. It will be a commitment to my writing, and to myself. That’s something. If I don’t complete the challenges perfectly, I will still have made an effort, and I’ll have what I create – the words, and the experience of their creation.

And, in the times that I’m not writing, but engaged in a moment of living, the creation will still be happening, in the back of my mind, simmering away while I do other things. Even if the words and ideas come three months from now, they’ll be mine to develop.

And that’s why I’m doing them.

So, here we are. Less than two hours until the challenges begin. I’m finishing up this post, and working on setup, while I watch Castle.

This month of challenges will be what it will be; sometimes exhilarating, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exhausting.

Sometimes, I’ll be doing something completely different…

And, in 30 days, I’ll be on the other side, with things learned, and stories to tell…

How about you? Do you take on formal or informal challenges? Why or why not? If so, how do you approach them? Is it an all-or-nothing, pass-fail proposition? Or are you more interested in progress and growth, even if you don’t complete the challenge?

I’d love to hear what you think! I’ll see if I can find some fresh cups, and take break. Let’s chat!

Playful Pause: ROW80 Round 1 Review

Curious? Click the icon!

Hi, there!

No, you’re not just seeing things, and I do know this is a ROW80 break!

But, since I set annual goals for 2014, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give myself a little break from my A to Z plotting, and evaluate how far ROW80 Round 1 carried me toward my goals.

I made considerable forward progress, especially in the editing and blogging arenas. I’ve started most of my larger projects, and have a couple of things crossed off the list.

A few things will be bowing out in Round 2, to return later in the year, and a few will be given more intensive focus, as I shift more toward writing and planning new material, this round.

All in all, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made…and I’m enjoying a bit of a slower and more focused pace, now, as I gear up for my April challenges…

I’ll be posting my Round 2 intentions next Sunday….until then, may you have peace, passion, and beauty in your lives! =)

My life is rich in blogging inspiration!

2014 Blogging:

  • Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan. Setting aside, awaiting Kristen Lamb’s Jedi touch later this spring.
  • Add all useful bits, templates, links, etc, for each feature to Master Resource File. A success!
  • Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely. Becoming a habit, keeping for Round 2.
  • Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home. Again, setting this aside, for a while. Other ideas are emerging; more are sure to come.
  • Visit five writing websites; consider what I do and don’t like about them. Informal, here-and there success.
The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

2014 Writing:

  • Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream. Not much this round. More focus in Round 2.
  • Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects. Some basic groundwork laid for the first. Plotting will be a Round 2 focus.
  • Freewrite on the ideas I’ve had for the unwritten portions of the story.Did a little; Round 2 will include plotting the first, and early development of the second.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

  • Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge).Moving along; obviously a major early focus for Round 2.
  • Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).Also moving along.I’ll finish prep in April; write in May.

Cozily editing….

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Work through Chameleon’s DishPre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. Done, and into the revision process. Carrying over to Round 2 as a secondary goal.
  • Check out NaNo Now What Months features in preparation for MarchNaNoEdMo.I got what I needed, there.
  • Complete pre-editing notes for Bounded by a Nutshell. Done! Next step in Round 2 or 3.
  • Reread Blood and Breath silently .Completed! Read-aloud later in Round 2.

Revise all poems for QOMIS, until satisfied with the results. Not much happened here; will reappear in Round 3, when some larger things are completed.

Complete Deep Revision process with my three short story WIPs. Same progress.in play; revisiting in Round 3.

Life in progress on the family room desk…

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

  • Continue the family room reset. Moved forward; visible progress made. Carrying forward to Round 2.
  • Spend time daily in my study. I did well, early on. The room is now the embodiment of Lovely Chaos. Carrying forward into Round 2, adapted.
  • Clean up homeschooling files by February 15. Some progress. In the mix for Round 2.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity. Yes, and no. Reshaping my concept of ‘organization’ during Round 2.

  • Experiment with play project schedule. Target attained! I have ideas to carry forward to Round 2.

Research small business establishment /administration.

Some things are really important!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • Select and complete projects from my Play Jar. Resuming in April, even if slowly, for Round 2.
  • Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect.No, not so much. Revisiting for Round 2.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

  • Choose one playful motion for each day in January; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. This goal shifted with each month, as intended. Adapting a new version of this goal for Round 2.

That’s it for me!  Round 2 starts April 7.  See you there!

A Not-So-Playful Wrapup: ROW80 Update, 3/26/14

 

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Hi there! I hope this finds you well and happy, indulging in things and people that delight you!

Here we are – time already to put ROW80 Round One in the record books, and ramp up for Round 2. My, that first quarter of the year went fast!

On Sunday, I will be posting my progress on my annual goals. But for today, I give you my final Round 1 update

I’d hoped to get more done, but…

Sometimes life gets in the way. Sometimes unexpected things happen (and, in the odd perimenopausal place I’m in, ‘often’ can be substituted for ‘sometimes’). Sometimes, decades after puberty, I get clusters of acne. Sometimes I get them in places I never had them before…and sometimes, that’s incapacitating in the way childbirth was, or that time I fell on the hot wood stove because I didn’t want to step on the dog…

Enough said. Monday and Tuesday were days of excruciating pain, and I am happy to report that today is much, much better. I can move and sit, stand and walk, just like a regular person! Hooray! =D

 

I lost some time, during those two days, and so, for the rest of the month, I’ll be playing catch-up:

  • Write and schedule five A to Z posts, to cover Week One.
  • Write my guest post for my friend Flo Gascon‘s lovely blog, and my ROW80 Sponsor Post for Round 2.
  • Queue some blog posts to cover the April creative bonanza without ignoring my followers.
  • Move To Be or Not to Be to Dropbox, and reread in preparation for April CampNaNoWriMo.
  • Set my intentions for Round 2.
  • Indulge myself, and gear up for the creative surge of April and May.
  • Continue revisions for Chameleon’s Dish, and plotting for “The IDIC Romance” stories.

My main focus areas (other than pain management) :

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;
  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.
  • Preparation for ROW80 Round 2.

A break in the clouds….

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. On target.

  • Behind, due to pain affecting focus – oh, and happily, more comments these days!

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.  Target attained!

  • I think so. A little foggy.

Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature. On target, mostly.

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge)On target.

  • This will be my major focus, until completed.
  • I will begin posting stories on Tuesday, April 1.
  • Hope to have 5 stories (for the first week) completed by then.

Create premises for all stories; write POV character’s GMCs . On target.

  • Premise:12/26 Completed; nearing the halfway point at last!
  • GMC:11/26 Completed.

Write brief character sketch for each MC.  On target.

  • 9/26 Completed.

Set Plot and Pinch Points for all stories.  On target.

  • 3/26 completed.

Write story summaries. On target.

  • 1/26 completed.
  • Write story Cheat Sheets. Pending.

“The IDIC Romance”Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May):Create premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1On target.

Write character sketches/bios for both POV characters. On target.

  • Completed Habits and Mannerisms.

The promise of spring.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.  On target.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • In progress: 8/60

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during MarchTarget exceeded!

  • 3/23: 1 hour; 30 minutes.
  • 3/24: 50 minutes.
  • 3/25: No revising.
  • Month to-date: 63 hours, 20 minutes.
  • This will be a lesser focus through the remainder of the month.

2014 Hometending:

  • There was little that could be called hometending this session. I was in debilitating pain.

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body. Uh, no – not after Sunday.

  • Marching in place; yoga sun salute.
  • Does “seek out ways to move my body that don’t involve excrutiating pain” count?
  • No workout or walking yet – those were impossible, before today.

Sponsor Visits:

 

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

I hope the close of the round finds you in a place of joyful productivity. What are your plans for the coming days? For the new season? Will you be part of ROW80 Round 2?

 

 

 

Playful Preparation: ROW80 Update, 3/23/14

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Why, hello there!

 Well, here we are, at the second-to-last update of the round. It seems like we just started – but, no, that’s the first hints of spring playing tag with the patches of snow left over from a memorably wintry winter.

Yes, we may get more snow next week, but the air and ground are softening. Robins and rabbits are frolicking in our yard, the ducks and geese are back at the local pond.

The cold can’t grip us as it has the most of the winter…

 And yes, it means that the first round must be nearly done.

I’ll be posting my end of round evaluation on Wednesday, and an interim plan on Sunday (I like to keep the rhythm of these twice-weekly updates…and, although I do tend to relax during breaks, I don’t stop writing altogether – it’s too much fun).

But, for now, we’re still in Round 1, so let’s get on with it.

My main focus areas :

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;

  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.

  • Continuing with home embetterment.

  • Continuing with life embiggening.

  • Preparation for ROW80 Round 2.

Something brand new….Pandora’s box, perhaps?

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. On target.

  • After several days off, while I learned my new computer, I’ve gotten to some comments on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Caught up both main blogs over the weekend. There may be a few strays; I’m happily getting more comments, of late. =)

  • I’ve popped in at both Twitter and Facebook this session, and responded to some comments at each.

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.Target attained!

  • Yes. For now, visiting immediately after responding is working well.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target, mostly.

Shiny. New. Powerful…and pretty!

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge). On target.

Create premises for all stories; write POV character’s GMCs. On target.

  • Premise: 11/26 Completed; nearing the halfway point at last!

  • GMC: 9/26 Completed.

Write brief character sketch for each MC. On target.

  • 6/26 Completed.

Set Plot and Pinch Points for all stories. On target.

  • 1/26 completed.

  • Write story summaries. Pending.

Sign up for the challenge! Target attained!

  • All signed up; with the banner and badges page tagged in my Pocket file for later use.

“The IDIC Romance” Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May):Create premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.On target.

Write character sketches/bios for both POV characters.On target.

  • Both Personality sections complete – with some background stuff, too.

In the beginning…

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • Completed scenes: 7/60

  • In progress: 8/60

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March. Target exceeded!

  • 3/19: No revising.

  • 3/20: 4 hours, 5 minutes.

  • 3/21: 3 hours.

  • 3/22: 40 minutes.

  • Month to-date: 61 hours.

Artful clutter….or, life as I know it.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.On target.

  • I’ve emptied the cabinet that will become the pantry.

  • Next up – giving it a thorough cleaning.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

  • I’ve been busily learning my new computer. Soon, I’ll begin a major organization of what I’m moving, and begin the process.

Our long and winding road..well, not so much long as steep!

2014 Lifetending:

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week. On target.

  • Moving firewood; t’ai chi breathing; light in-house jogging; walking with kids and dog.

  • Used my new pedometer, and added

  • Y workout done on Tuesday.

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

C’mon, spring…we won’t make you jump through hoops!

Saturday’s Share: Am I a Computer Cheater?

The “Other” computer in my life….

 Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Ahhhh, change.

Some people thrive on it. Others avoid it at any cost (Sheldon Cooper, for example!).

We all have our place in the comfort spectrum of change, maybe.

I fall somewhere in the middle. As a family, we live a life that is more about flow than schedule; being open to possibilities rather than planning each day out ahead of time. I’m reasonably able to roll with punches and shift gears. Having lots of options in my personal plans means I can flit or linger as the spirit moves me.

But there’s change, and then there’s CHANGE.

I am in the midst of all-big-letters personal CHANGE -

And I’ve spent the last week or so a little overwhelmed, in general.

The odd thing is that, from the outside, it probably doesn’t seem like a lot of change. Surface stuff, maybe, but certainly nothing like having a baby, getting married, divorced, or the death of someone beloved.

Or is it?

As the picture up there shows, I have a brand-new computer in my life.

I know. #firstworldproblems, right?

It doesn’t sound like a very big deal, or a tricky change to adapt to -

And certainly not a moral dilemma…

Except that my computer is a huge part of my day-to-day existence. I use it for writing, homeschooling, managing, editing, and sharing photos, blogging, gaming, shopping, connecting with friends all over the world, keeping track of things, sharing things, learning things…

My Sweet L’il Lenovo was my companion for over two years. It was the instrument of my shift from “I write things, and I wanna be a writer”, to “I am a writer, and I write -need proof?” It helped me to create several novel drafts (pantsed and plotted), more than 30 poems, a dozen or more short and flash fiction stories, and hundreds of blog posts.

My former life of domestic contentment….

It was instrumental in my forming many valued online friendships – some of which have become in-person friendships, too. It’s allowed me to lend an editing eye to a writing friend in the United Arab Emirates, and beta-read a novel draft for another in Australia.

It was there for many of the most dramatic inner changes of my life…

I could find the keys I wanted almost without looking, even in very low light…my fingers knew the way…knew it so well, in fact, that the character symbols were worn off more than one oft-used key (oh, ‘A’, I did love you once….).

I knew what to expect, generally how long things would take, how to navigate the increasing quirks that I always forgave it for…

Because it was my buddy, my partner in my writing crimes…and just a part of our lives, here.

How can I do this to the children?!?!

And then the folks over at Microsoft decided to stop supporting Windows XP – and my Sweet L’il Lenovo was ready for retirement, and a new Lenovo Yoga 2, equipped with Windows 8.1, came into my life.

So, here’s my question:

If I’m in love with my new computer, does that mean I’m cheating on my old one?

Because I LOVE my new computer. There, I said it.

It’s flexible (I can use it as a laptop, a tablet, in tent or stand modes.). The operating system is smooth, and, as I get the hang of it, it’s increasingly intuitive. The keys are a better fit for my hands – already, I’m learning to touch type – not as quickly as I could with my Sweet L’il Lenovo, but getting closer all the time, with fewer mistypings and missed letters.

It can do so much that technology couldn’t, a few years ago. Its touchscreen is a smooth, sweeping vista , and my documents look lush and crisp on it – a treat for my forty-something eyes.

I’ve been a faithful wife for 16 years and then some, but I imagine this feels something like cheating on a spouse might. The terrain is new, different, exciting, enticing. I feel as though I could spend forever in getting to know my new Binary Companion...as though this fascination will last for all eternity -

And like I’ve left my old love to sit alone in the shadows, loveless and forlorn.

Computers are soulless collections of cards and circuits and components….so it can’t be cheating.

Right?

What do you think? Am I a computer cheater? Do you ever feel this way with a new device?  Have a story, advice, or confession of your own to make?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!

 

Learning Playfully: ROW80 Update, 3/19/14

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Hi there! Are you ready to ROW? Okay, grab your paddles, and let’s get underway…

I am coming to you from my brand new Lenovo Yoga 2! Yes, that’s right – income tax time afforded some purchases we’d been anticipating, and it was time for me to upgrade my extremely-well-used Lenovo IdeaPad S9, still running Windows XP.

I bought my older machine as a returned lease; I have no idea how much it was used, before I got it. I’ve worn some of the characters off the keys, and written hundreds and thousands of words on it. It’s earned a leisurely retirement as a backup machine – and now I have a brand-new, flexible, powerful machine as I get ready for the next phase of my writing life.

I set aside many of my regular projects this session, as I set about getting to know my Yoga, and began the process of moving files and learning Windows 8.1 (vastly different than Windows XP!). Oh, and I spent all of Monday night playing Cake Mania 3 in tablet mode; it’s so much more fun than the desktop version I had been playing. So much fun, in fact, that I kept going until I finally lost a round at about 10am.

Somewhere during that time, I had a clear inspiration about my Round 2 sponsor post, and several sub-language story ideas began to coalesce…

This update reflects that I did little revising and no blogging. I’ll be making them more of a focus through the latter half of this week.

So, anything new with you this week? =)

My focus for the balance of the round:

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;

  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.

  • Preparing for Round 2 (sponsor post, assessment, new targets)

  • Continuing with home embetterment.

  • Continuing with life embiggening.

You’ve done well, my small and sturdy friend!

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge) by March 25. On target.

Write brief character sketch for each MC. On target.

  • Sketches: 3/26

  • Write GMCD for each scene.Pending.

  • Write story summaries.Pending.

  • Sign up for the challenge! Pending.

“TheIDIC Romance” Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May):Create premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.On target.

Write character sketches/bios for both POV characters.On target.

  • Basic info: names, role in story, and occupations.

  • Physical descriptions.

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • 6/60 scenes complete; scene 7/60in revision.

  • One-tenth through revision run; all Inciting Incidents complete.

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March. On target.

  • I didn’t make my two-hour goal on Monday, since I spent most of the day and all night exploring and orienting myself to my new computer. Tuesday, I had a great workout and a few hours with my bestie, Eden Mabee, on just a bit of sleep – by the time I was home and settled, I was just plain too tired to even open a computer.

  • Overall, though, I’m still above my average, and, now that I’ve begun the process of shifting files and adding Scrivener to this machine, I should be able to return to my two hours each day by Thursday.

  • 3/16: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

  • 3/17: 0 hours, 55 minutes.

  • 3/18 N/A – No revising.

  • Month to-date: 53 hours, 15 minutes.

  • Sweet L’il Lenovo has been a big part of our lives, these last years.

 

2014 Hometending:

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

  • Clean up all email files; find a good timeframe for regular purging.Pending.

  • Begin using Google address for professional business.Pending.

  • Continue learning new computer and integrating writing files. Pending.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • This session was given over to learning my new computer, and making it a writing home, and to physical pursuits.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week. On target, more or less.

  • Lots of good stuff to report here.

  • I got a good workout: four weight exercises; caught up those ten laps from last week, four with a one pound weight in each hand; lot of stretching; and pedaled 6.13 miles on the recumbent bike, using various resistances.

  • I bought a pedometer, and plan to give it a workout tomorrow. =)

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

A very hard worker, ready for a life of relaxation!

Playful Diversity: ROW80 Update, 3/16/14

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Sooooo…..are you ready to ROW?! I am!

 It’s been a bit of a wild ride, the latter half of this week. We went from Winter Storm Vulcan (still love that name!) to weather warm enough to go swimming (in an indoor, heated pool, but still…). Annalise has a new-to-her computer. There’s a new microwave in the kitchen. The long winter is shifting into something that will become spring…

And my plot tribbles are definitely multiplying, all hopped up on that quadrotriticale someone left in my study…

Life is embiggening, and I’m throwing my arms wide to embrace it – when I’m not feverishly typing, that is!

Note: Several people have mentioned that my Enterprise posts have piqued their interest. This week and onward, if you click the episode title, you can stream the video free on Star Trek.com.

 I’m just Trying to Keep My Customers Satisfied…!

 

My focus for the balance of the round :

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;

  • Submitting the children’s homeschool reports; Target attained!

  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.

  • Continuing with home embetterment.

  • Continuing with life embiggening.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Target attained!

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.Target exceeded!

  • Creating a habit of visiting as soon as I respond to the comment. That’s working well! =)

Set aside time on comment days to catch up if need be. On target.

  • Did this late Thursday and early early Friday.

  • Didn’t manage it on Saturday – we were out part of the day, and I had blogging and editing priorities.

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

Trip’s not feeling so well, for rather “Unexpected” Reasons…

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge) by March 25.On target.

Create premises for all stories; write POV character’s GMCs. On target.

  • Premise: 9/26

  • GMC: 6/26

Write brief character sketch for each MC. On target.

  • Sketches: 1/26.

  • Write story summaries.Pending.

  • Sign up for the challenge!Pending.

 Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May):Create premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.On target.

  • Completed premise testing.

  • Both GMCs complete.

  • This project now has a tentative name “The IDIC Romance”

  • Write character sketches/bios for both POV charactersPending.

Continue watching episodes under consideration. On target.

Anybody up for a little comet walk?

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • 6/60 scenes complete; scene 7/60 in revision.

  • One-tenth through revision run; all Inciting Incidents complete.

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March. On target.

  • 3/ 12: 2 hours, 10 minutes.

  • 3/ 13: 2 hours, 15 minutes.

  • 3 /14: 3 hours; 25 minutes.

  • 3/ 15: 2 hours; 0 minutes.

  • Month to-date: 50 hours, 10 minutes.

Okay, so we needed some agitated blue guys with attitudes and antennae!

2014 Hometending:

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Complete and submit both children’s reports by March 15. Target attained!

  • Completed and submitted! *takes bow and does happy giddy little jig!*

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week. On target, more or less.

  • Moving firewood; t’ai chi breathing; shadow crosses; yoga tree pose; jogging in place, echappe.

  • Annalise and I swam and played at the Y pool; I’m counting this as a yes.

  • Walked 4 laps on the track. Also parked around the side of the department store, we visited. I probably managed a mile, or a little more, all told, but I still haven’t gotten a pedometer.

  • I’ll add 10 laps to my goal for next week, to compensate for this week’s low count.

Maybe I should apply the Rules of Acquisition to walking?

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

And now I’ll leave you with a laugh or two, until we meet again!

A Playful Finish: ROW80 Update, 3/5/14

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Hey there, #ROW80 peeps and interested, potentially innocent bystanders! How’s this first week of March treating you?

Round here, it’s been cold. I was pleasantly surprised to walk outside last evening and find that it wasn’t yet dark at 5:30, and that the air was not trying to slice through me like I was a loaf of bread.

Hmmn,” I thought. “It feels downright balmy. It must be 30 degrees out here, at least!”

A bit later, I passed a bank sign that told me the cold hard truth. 19 degrees.

But there was no wind.

Yeah, it’s been cold here. I’m personally thrilled with a balmy 19, once in a while! =)

Welcome to a bit of my world…Systers’ Night Out!

In other news, it’s been a session of almosts. I’ve almost finished a rough draft of Henry’s Plot Point #1 (then I need to do a LOT of revising; this scene is, in many ways, a beast!).

I almost got in a workout on Tuesday, but I picked a hugely busy time to go, and my body just wasn’t ready, especially after walking through two malls on Monday night, because I forgot which one the Build-a-Bear Workshopwas in (for future reference, it’s Crossgates Mall, and not, I repeat, NOT, Colonie Center. Happily, we found a very cute shop or two, met a wonderful and generous stranger named Charlie. Twilight Sparkle, aka Cutie, has joined the eclectic plush critter zoological garden that is Annalise’s bedroom.

I’ve tried twice to complete a certain Play Jar slip, only to be foiled. Well, third try’s the charm, right?

And Jim’s vacation is now over. It seems at once like it was longer and shorter this year. We spent the first week sick. We managed to do some of the things on our agenda last week, and over the beginning of this one. We had lots of time together, and in groups.

It’s happy and sad early evening, as we readjust to days as a threesome, rather than a foursome. Different energy, different flow…

May the rest of the week delight and inspire us all – no almosts about it!

My focus for the balance of the round :

  • Revising Chameleon’s Dish;

  • Submitting the children’s homeschool reports;

  • Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.

  • Continuing with home embetterment.

  • Continuing with life embiggening.

A light and delicious meal shared.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. On target.

Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.Target attained!

  • Continuing with these visits, and making some cool new discoveries! Win-win!

Maintain regular posting schedule; queue one post for each regular feature.On target.

Me! Photo credit: Eden “Kymele” Mabee

2014 Writing:

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge).On target.

Create Scrivener file; list basic facts for each protagonist (name,age, gender, physical characteristics) by March 10. On target.

  • Scrivener file created; all characters named.

  • Letting the names play with my mind for a bit before moving on to basic details.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May). On target.

Create timeline, premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.On target.

  • Considering. I’m leaning toward writing all the stories playing in my mind; some will be a series, others single pieces.

  • I’ll use these later as the foundation for plot development, or as backstory, but they all are demanding some of my attention, and I think resistance is futile, so…

Love my Bestie! Eden, as she is! =)

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.

  • 2/60 scenes complete; scene 3/60 in revision.

Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March. On target.

  • 3/ 2: 3 hours, 30 minutes. (corrected from last update).

  • 3/ 3: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

  • 3 /4: 5 hours; 5 minutes.

  • Month to-date: 16 hours, 35 minutes.

2014 Hometending:

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

Complete and submit both children’s reports by March 15. On target.

  • Completed Annalise’s Sciences; Social Sciences in progress.

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week. Getting closer (and have another cold, this one thankfully minor).

  • Air punches (cross, jab, uppercut); walking in two malls; dancing; stair climbing; moving firewood.

  • I’ve likely walked at least a mile while at those two malls; will get a pedometer this week.

  • 2 laps )1/7 mile) walked at the Y- a knee brace may also be in my plans.

Sponsor Visits:

See what the other ROWers are playing with this round!

The magical courtyard at The Desmond, a local hotel.