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2016 Goals

  • write to my grandmother every six weeks or so
  • call my moms every month or so
  • cook/eat better
  • clean out and organize my writng/craft room
  • re-institute the cleaning plan
  • publish six books by September 2017
  • reach 120 to 125 pounds
  • walk the dog three times a week

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The countdown begins...

...to the weekend. It's not just any weekend for me. It's conference weekend. My writing chapter is sponsoring a conference for writers. As president of my group, I feel like I have to be there, though I'm not officially attending the conference itself. I did go buy some new clothes, something business casual and nice and more professional looking than I anything I owned. I'm quite pleased.

But I'm spending the weekend with other writers and specifically my critique partners, sharing a room with one of them in particular. I can't wait. I have wine and snakcks and treats, though there's not going to be a whole lotta time for socializing. I'm packed as much as I can be at this point. Friday morning after I get up, I'll pack up the rest of the stuff (toiletries and electronics) I need and my CP will pick me up and off we'll go.

In other news...

The blue bonnets are blooming here in Texas. Spring is official I guess. The weather's been perfect for sleeping. I can sleep with the windows open and enjoy the coolness that happens only for a few weeks each year in the spring and fall.

Most importantly, one of my other CPs was offered a contract for her book. I don't want to go into more details right now, only because I don't the status at the moment. But it was very exciting and she was thrilled. Congrats, girl!
Monday, March 26, 2012

Almost a man, and yet...

...sometimes still a little boy.

My Sonshine turned sixteen last December. It's an interesting age. Anyway, I was collecting towels off the clothesline yesterday when I spotted a feather lying in the grass. It was almost an ordinary little feather, maybe three inches long and only a quarter inch at its widest, but it was yellow on the end. I have no idea what type of bird it might belong to.

So I picked it up and called to Sonshine. I showed him and he thought it was cool--for being a bird feather an all--and then he took it and went into his room and stashed in the container containing the rest of his feather collection. That really tickled me, both that he still has his collection and that he knew where it was.

I have I told you lately how much I love my Sonshine?

And it was beautiful weather this weekend. As mentioned, I utilized my clothes line. I love towels and sheets that have been line-dried. I even did a little writing outside, sitting in the sun, soaking up some vitamins D and E. I had to use pen and paper as it's too bright to see the laptop screen, but that's okay too. It was helpful to do that.

Speaking of writing, I barely eeked out last week's word goal, but I did make it with 32 extra words. Yesterday was the start of the new week, requiring a word count of 1K. But I didn't make it. I'm at the point in my manuscript where I have few new scenes left to write, a few decisions to make, and a lot of revising. I'm at 18.8K out of the 25 I'm shooting for.

That's still a lot of new words you say.

True. It is, but many of those words are going to be needed during the revision process where I'll be layering in emotions and internal narrative--the things I usually gloss over during the first pass. I've even begun cutting words and phrases that sound nice, but don't really add a lot to the story. Which means I'm now losing word count too. Argh!! But I'll need those words in the serious revision stage.

I wrote 1700+ words last week summarizing my story. It really was very helpful in pin-pointing a couple of problem areas and the turning points for my heroine. Now I have to get to those revisions, fixing the problems and smoothing out the rough edges. Culling the useless words, adding the important ones.

The next step, I think, is to print out the manuscript and read it hard copy. Mark the pages with notes--like where the heroine's turning points are and what they need to encompass. Reading hard copy also helps you find misspellings and missing words. When I read aloud, I can catch any flow issues.

I have my work cut out for me. Better get to it--

Have a good week.
Friday, March 23, 2012

Another birthday...

DD's birthday is Sunday. We're doing the birthday dinner and presents tonight, which means I'll be leaving work soon to go buy said presents. We really are terrible about waiting to the last minute, but what can I say? (We'll see how the change of date for *my* birthday goes. Moving it up by a month is going to throw some people for a loop.)

Plus I have to take the dog *back* to the vet. She had an aural hematoma on her right ear. Meaning basically, the little blood vessels in her ear broke and filled the layers of skin with blood. The vet drained as much as she could, but couldn't get all of it. Then Wednesday, I noticed that her poor little ear flap is like a balloon again. So back to the vet with the dog for another consult and some steroids. The vet said Monday she wasn't keen on surgery for anything as this dog is like a hundred years old. So we'll see what she recommends.

The rain has ceased for the time being and it's a bright sunny cheery morning. A great day to be running around, me thinks, rather than stuck in my office.

I have a few things to get done here and then I'm off! Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I have a yard!

We severely neglected our backyard over the winter, and because it was such a mild one, the grass and weeds continued to grow rather than go dormant. Most of the yard was three feet high. So last week I decided to tackle it a section at a time. This also meant weed whacking since the grass--and I do use that term lightly--was so tall. Weed whack first, then mow over it to pickup what was whacked down and cut the rest. I've been using the bag, too, because that's just too much to leave lying on the lawn.

We've had a terrible habit of leaving the lawn and leaf bags (the paper kind) out and inevitably we forget to drag them to the curb and then it rains leaving them soggy on the bottom. Then they tear and we still have piles of yard waste. But not this time. Thank goodness--we hauled all the bags to the shed. And thank goodness we had the foresight. It rained for over 12 straight hours Monday night. And after all the rain we've had recently, our yard is saturated. Anyway--the point is our yard bags are still dry and intact for hauling to the curb this evening or tomorrow morning.

We actually have our patio back as well. It all still needs some work, but at least it looks like a yard should. The best part is that DH has taken over some of that work and I haven't had to carry the load on my own.

I also finally have new outlets with outlet covers in my writing room. Of course, my writing room may well become my Brown Eyed Girl's bedroom again, but that's okay. At least it's all fixed up and looks nice should she decide to come live at home for a while.

The quest for new words continues. But it's getting harder. I'm running out of story, which means the story's almost finished. Which means revisions. Which, actually, I don't mind all that much. As far as my writing incentive goes (the charm bracelet from my writing group) I have earned the bracelet and the first charm. This next month (from meeting to meeting) will be adding the last scenes and the rest of the words, and the month after that will be hard core revisions. After that, I don't know. Either another month of revisions, along with new words on the companion story, or submission time (along with new words on the next book).

Along with all of the above, is dealing with the issues of a recovering drug addict (my aforementioned Brown Eyed Girl). DH and I will be going to see her tonight to discuss her wants/needs/expectations about her living arrangements once she's released from the halfway house.

But we're halfway through the week and that's a very good thing. Hope your week is going well!
Monday, March 19, 2012

What's new, pussycat?

Well, the week's new. But that's about it.

The weather's odd, but that's not unusual for this time a year, although it's a wee bit early. Normally, we see this stuff in April, rather than March, but I think our whole weather pattern has shifted by a month or so. *shrugs* I dunno. --It just rained! And now it's done.--

We had our office A/C worked on last Friday and it seems to have finally worked. Last year we have three or four different A/C people come out, poke around, and give us song and dance about this that or the other. But none of them fixed it. We made it through the summer by the skin of our teeth. Since summer may come upon us sooner than usual, we decided to call back the company that had helped us out when the heat wasn't working.

One of the previous A/C people had *unhooked* the heater wires thinking that was the problem. *guh*. The tech who came out said to monitor the differential (that's A/C jargon for something) and call them back if things get worse again. We'd gone from a four degree differential to a ten. Higher is better. He also said, due to the age of our system, the max we'd probably see would be 12 to 15. Another contributing factor is that our ducts are full of gaps, so we're going to have someone fix those up. After that, I'm hoping we'll be good to go for this summer. I think they're expecting temperatures just as hot, though I certainly hope not for 80 straight days. :(

Sonshine got his glasses last week. They said 7 to 10 business days, but he got them in like 2 or 3. But that was fortuitous because then he had all the rest of spring break to let his eyes adjust to wearing them. And he looks quite good in them, too.

My Saturday went well. The regular chapter meeting was awesome as was my confab with my CPs afterwards. Everyone has reported back that are feeling rejuvenated or inspired, so YAY! As for me, I'm feeling the same--doubting my abilities to pull of this thing called writing. But I shall...

Keep calm and carry on!

Have a good week.
Friday, March 16, 2012

Potpourri, Part II

I forgot to mention, Venus AND Jupiter have been visible for the last several days. Well, I don't know about last night as it was too cloudy. But, yeah, right up in the western night sky, about 9pm Central, about 45* between the horizon and straight up. Wicked cool. If it were not so far away, Mars would have been visible as well in the Eastern sky.

My back yard is like a jungle--I started mowing last night, but could only mow that which was short enough to be cut by the lawn mower. We're gonna have to weed whack the rest first, then mow. Except there was this one spot where the dog likes to go and roll around. Every day she does this, so that was the only spot that didn't need mowing at all. :)

I've slept in several times this week since it's spring break and Sonshine doesn't have school. It's been delicious and the mornings have been perfect sleeping weather. We've been able to have the windows open too. Mmmm....

Whether because of spring break or the economy or a combination of both, this week has been extremely slow in my office. Which means I've had a boat load of time to write, and I have. So much so that I've been able to crank out 3K words AND play Zoo Tycoon AND get all my work done AND surf the Net.

And because of all those words, I've experienced a new phenomenon--swollen, achy fingers in the morning when I wake up. It goes away almost as soon as I get up and start moving around, but it's kinda cool on the one hand. On the other, it might be a bad omen. Dunno.

Except for phone calls and TCCDLA store orders that may come in (I process them) the day is mine, so I'm gonna get started...

Have a great weekend!
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Potpourri

First off, Marching Band Boy is now a wearer of glasses. Turns out he's near sighted. Maybe his grades will average a little higher. :)

Second, it's pretty much spring now. It's interesting that some trees are taking longer to leaf out than others. Same species, same place. It'll soon be apparent how many we actually lost from the drought last summer.

Third...um. No third I guess. Nothing exciting is going on around here. It's been very slow/quiet around the office and I've been fighting boredom by writing or playing Zoo Tycoon. Fun, eh?

Saturday is writers group day, so yay. Gonna hang with my critique partners after our meeting. Can't wait.

Hope your week is going well so far.
Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Break

It's spring break week here in our neck of the woods. DD is off on a mission trip with the church and Sonshine is here at the office with me this week. (Yes, he's old enough to stay home by himself, but he's not always trustworthy enough, though I do think his GF is out of town visiting her dad.)

We had several lovely days of rain and now it's bright and sunny again.

I must confess that I am getting old and I can no longer add. I have no idea what my problem is. I finally realized something yesterday--aside from the whole being unable to add thing...

I'd set my writing goals about a month ago: 1500 words each on Saturday and Sunday and 200 words each day during the week. For the past two weeks, I've been touting that I've reached my weekly goal of 3K words and then some. Except 1500 and 1500 and 1000 equals 4K. DUH!

Regardless of my math skills, I still reached the goal, though by considerably less of a margin. :(

But four thousand words seems so much more daunting to me that I'm adjusting my Saturday/Sunday word goal down to one thousand.

I did eek out my 1500 words for yesterday, though, even with my realization. It was tough going there at the end, but I did it. The words will need a lot of work come revision time, but I don't mind that process so much.

I'm hoping it'll be another slow week since it is Spring Break and I can get my words done and the revisions started.

Happy Monday, y'all.
Friday, March 9, 2012

Words on the page...

I have met my word count goal for the week. I did that last night actually. I may not get a chance to write on Saturday and because the weekends are high word count days, I pushed myself to get the words done ahead of time. As of this morning, I am 516 words ahead. It feels good.

Yesterday, I had hours and hours to write, but didn't. After critiquing six or seven chapters for one of my critique partners, I was overcome with a bout of "my writing sucks" and spent the day reading instead. When I lamented about my problem last night online, another good friend pointed out that this new story is in a different genre and outside my comfort zone. Of course, I'm going to struggle a bit. That made perfect sense to me and I was able to eek out my last couple of hundred words to reach the appointed goal.

There was a lot of crap in the first hundred words as I had to work past my lack of direction for that scene. But with the help of two writing friends I finally decided what I wanted to do and was able to at least get the ball rolling. There will definitely be some de-crapifying during the revision process.

I also hope to meet with one of my CPs and do a little brainstorming on a couple issues I have. Then I'll be primed to meet next week's word count as well.

Have a great weekend.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hump Day

I'm very glad it's Wednesday. I'm sure you can guess why.

I'm making a dent in the words I need for the week. So far 1573 of my 3000 word goal. Saturday might be something of a bust so I want to get as many words written beforehand as possible.

Also, I'm in training for Book in a Year, which begins March 17. My writing group will celebrate its 30th anniversary in March of 2013. As part of our celebratory events, we are doing book in a year again--we did it when we celebrated our 25th anniversary in 2008. The idea is to finish a book in a year by meeting a specific monthly goal.

In our case, it's 25 pages or 6250 words. Well, obviously, if I can produce 3K words in a week, I should be able to achieve the goal easily and with some wiggle room should something come up. As an incentive, those who meet the monthly goal receive a charm and a bracelet with the first one). Those who meet every monthly goal will earn a special custom charm as well. So, not only do you have a finished book at the end of the year, but a lovely charm bracelet as a reminder of what you accomplished.

I can't wait to have a finished book and a charm bracelet. :)
Monday, March 5, 2012

Whew...

It was quite the weekend. And I'm so definitely glad it's over so that things can return to some semblance of normal. But it will take a few days...

Jazz on the Hill this past Friday night was a success. The kids played great. The food was pretty good and I left the auction with four soccer tickets and two zoo tickets. DD and I have been wanting to go to the zoo for something like six or seven years now. The last time we went to the Fort Worth Zoo was before we even moved to Texas. Twelve years ago. Sad, huh?? And our zoo is like the fifth best attraction in the Metroplex and the 19th best zoo in the nation.

Professional Bull Riding was fun. I wish I could have actually watched this event. It was quite exciting. I might have to scope out some local rodeos or hit the county fairs when they come around. Alas, there was a Dierks Bentley concert before the bull riding so our night was considerably longer than expected.

Sunday was filled with shopping and then wrapping and then visiting. Shopping is one of my least favorite tasks. On top of that, I didn't get any chores done save a bit of laundry done this weekend either, so all that is going to spill into my week.

On a more exciting note, last week I added more than 4100 news words to my two current works in progress. Unfortunately, I'm 1500 words behind for this week since yesterday was a bust for writing. So I'll have to be cranking out some words over the course of the next five days.

So how was you're weekend?
Thursday, March 1, 2012

It's Thursday...

Anything I say would just be whining, so I am going to take advantage of the fact that I'm at work alone and have nothing pressing to do, and I am going to write. I'm going to lose a lot of hours this weekend in which to do so, so hopefully I can get my word count ahead of time.

Have a good day!

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Jen FitzGerald
Thanks for stopping by one of my little corners of the world wide web. So, a little about me...My husband and I have been married for twenty years and we have three adult children although our youngest is still in high school. We've lived in Texas for fifteen years and for the rest of the story, click here.
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Jen's Glossary of Terms

  • DH = my husband
  • my Brown Eyed Girl = my oldest daughter
  • DD = my Darling Daughter (the younger one)
  • Sonshine or Marching Band Boy = my son
  • NT = the North Texas chapter of RWA
  • RWA = Romance Writers of America