An Anniversary of Sorts

As March approaches, many of us are astounded/horrified/chagrined that we’ve been dealing with this pandemic for a year. I can still recall where I was when I heard first word about the schools closing (I was visiting my grandmother at my parents’ house) and the last place I went Out (to play tabletop with friends in Philly and then out for dinner to celebrate a birthday). I haven’t seen most of my friends since then and not at all since September. I live alone, with no pets. My refuge has been the barn (outside and usually masked) in the warmer months and my parents (who are in my bubble because we need each other).

I didn’t come here to talk about the pandemic, though. I started writing about my monthly goals and how they’re going…but then it seemed weird to just let the anniversary pass by without comment. It also seems weird to focus on goals when the world is in such a state around us, but it gives a sense of progress and hope, I suppose. (Or defeat when you push that item to next month again.)

So here we are. February’s goals:
1) Start Familiar revisions (huh, that sounds familiar).
2) Be more physically active.
3) Do what makes me happy.

1) I did not start Familiar’s revision yet, because I was helping a friend with her draft and I took longer than it should have taken, and then I found other excuses. I think Familiar is good, but revising is always overwhelming and I’ve been pretty whelmed to begin with. If anyone wants to read it and tell me it’s brilliant, let me know!

2) I was more active! I did some workouts and increased my walking as much as the weather permitted. It’s been good for my mental health too–because exercise is good for that, even if it can’t fix everything. If only.

3) Do what makes me happy. Heh. This is a freebie, isn’t it? So what did I do to make me happy?
– I started watching Tokyo Ghoul: Re with a friend (we watch the same episodes the same day and then talk about it). The series itself kind of annoys me because they didn’t live up to potential in a lot of ways, but I’m always interested in seeing more of the world (and I now want to create a TTRPG using the setting)
– I bought a twelve pack of Peppermint/Candy Cane flavored Chapstick. I love this shit. It makes my lips tingle sometimes and it’s only in stores in December and I missed it (something something pandemic) and this felt like a stupid purchase but I’m so excited.
– I also bought Save the Cat Writes a Novel because I heard good things (about this and the original) and I figured if I’m not writing, maybe I could hone my craft.
– I re-read Second Hand randomly rather than stressing about having to Read Something New. (I also probably shouldn’t have picked a ghost story as the Something New but that is Future Alex’s problem)

And now for March. A time for thinking about spring (and maybe the barn). A time for four birthdays in the first six days of the month (I kid you not). A time for #PitMad. A time for…well, more of the same from the past year, really. Masks. Isolation. Playing tabletop roleplaying games online (so grateful for technology).

March’s goals:
2) Do more focused relaxation exercises/meditations
3) Freestyle brainstorm for whatever creative avenue my brain wants to take.

Where Do You See This Going?

I started this year with goals, not trying anything too lofty because *gestures all around* and one of them is monthly posts. SO HERE I AM.

My Monthly Goals for January were to 1) Replace rear turn light (done) 2) start revisions on Familiar (…) and 3) Starting Watching TG: RE (>…<)

Ever set the bar so low and then trip over it?

In my defense, I did watch Blown Away (competitive glass blowing) and start WandaVision, which my friends were watching, and my watching buddy for TG: RE didn’t watch either, so….Not my fault.

I didn’t start Familiar revisions because I started the month trying to write new stuff and finished it doing revisions for a friend.

Speaking of trying to write…I didn’t hit my 10K goal this month. I wrote 4,500 words, including revisions that I did for the above project (is that cheating? I don’t care). I’m not upset about this because I was trying to write and it was grueling (fighting for the time, through the anxiety and depression, and spending the energy on making) and I decided I need to step back and let myself really rest on the creative front. So no new words are mandatory (but I’ll still track them).

Instead, I’m going to focus on revisions. My goals for February are: 1) Start Familiar revisions (huh, that sounds familiar). 2) Be more physically active. 3) Do what makes me happy.

The last one is because I wanted to give myself permission to do what I really enjoy. Because life is short, and if you don’t enjoy it, what’s the point?

Finally, as a wrap up, I finally finished my second 10-Stitch Blanket:

My mother had voiced interest in the blanket, so I gifted it to her. Hopefully it will brighten her winter. /sappy

Quietly writing…

Back in the beginning half of the year, I was working on a project I was super excited about. I was so excited, in fact, that I broke one of my cardinal rules: don’t talk too much about a project.

One of the reasons I have this rule is because it gives my audience expectations of something coming, and I don’t want to let anyone down. A few teases? People will likely forget. A tweet every day for a month? They’ll remember that (hopefully).

The other reason is the same reason I previously never outlined/plotted stories, and even now have to be very careful: if I know too much about the story, my brain decides the story has been told/heard/figured out and doesn’t need to be written. (I do not agree with my brain on this, but ultimate the brain wins.)

So a month of following a hashtag and answering questions about my story and plotting it out…

And I found a little plot hole in my planned outline, and I tried to think of a solution. And I thought and thought and eventually wore that story out in my brain. It’s not dead, I don’t think, but it’s also not in an exciting part of my brain where I have to write it down.

So I set it aside (and barely wrote for several months….), and when I started my new piece, I’ve said not a thing. I know it’s silly and superstitious, but that seems safer than risking it, right?

The new piece was mostly started on a lark, a “what would happen if I took this setting that takes place in a Victorian-esque world and put it in the modern day?” And I started writing, just throwing whatever I wanted at it. No plotting, just adding pieces as they came. Some plots have begun to appear, but I’m not thinking too far in advance.

It was supposed to be a straightforward “MC meets LI” story, but then the LI has this friend and the MC has a weird connection with the friend as well, so now I have no idea where these folk are taking me. This is a truly magical world 😀

So we’ll see where it goes, we’ll hope that I’ll be more diligent on working on my revisions, and if everyone could send me some positive vibes to get through this dark, cold season with my depression, I’d greatly appreciate it.

Full Steam Ahead

With the recent release of Ties That Bind and my pet project done round one, it’s time to focus on this month’s goals!

One goal is to make a newsletter and get it on my site for people to sign up. We’ll see how that goes. I really need to set aside a weekend to do it, so it’s not going to be this weekend. (I’m helping the local 4H club re-paint their show jumps.)

My second, arguably more important, goal is to revise my most recently finished historical fantasy. I’ve gotten good feedback on it, but the end needs a bit of an overhaul, so I’m avoiding it like the plague. But I really love this story and I hope readers will too. Kind of a coming of age tale / road trip. With horses. But it’s also about emotional growth, finding love, forgiveness, and making amends.

So PR and revising to do this month. Two of my favorite things….

Being Busy and Playing Real Life Pokemon

The second-ish week of the month is always hard, as in addition to riding twice and getting together with friends on Friday, I have a 4-H meeting (horse club, go figure), and writers’ group. So it’s super busy, and my scheduled “I need to work on revisions” this week fell through hard. Ah well, there’s always next week, right (you know, the one with two barn trips, writers’ group, and two social nights…)?

I currently have my fantasy novella shipped off to another batch of beta readers (for another set of eyes), so now I’ve (hypothetically) begun edits on my trans cowboy story. Deep breath.

My current WIP is the same story I’ve been writing for the past forever (it feels like). I like the story, but it’s fighting me tooth and nail, and since I’m sticking to “write one story at a time” rule, I’m eagerly looking forward to finishing it. Both characters are sort of angst-muffins, and I love them dearly, but they are a heck of trouble to write!

In other news, all of my friends are playing Pokemon Go, so I started sharing pictures of all the real life pokemon I caught.

Ponyta (aka, my gray pony who rolls after I bathe him)
Meowth (aka black barn cat who is a love muffin)
Pidgey (aka, chicken at the barn)
Real-life Pokemon Go is fun 😛 I encourage everyone to participate.


I hope you all survived the holidays. I’ve been having a very busy year (and yes, it’s only 10 days in)!

So in November I mentioned the short story I was writing for fun. Well, I sat on it a week, then returned to it…and felt a little conflicted. One, it was sorta similar to Second Skin. Two, the conflict felt…unfocused. Like, the conflict was definitely there, but I was avoiding actually showing it. Three, there was just something wrong.

I spoke to my friend about it, just giving her the general outline, and she agreed it sounded similar (in summary) to Second Skin, but that it obviously wasn’t in other ways. And then she offered some possible solutions, one of which was to make it more romantic comedy.

At which point I glared, because I don’t DO romantic comedy. My humor is not like other people’s and it’s just not something I’ve done a lot of. At least not on purpose. But we talked a little, and I tucked the ideas in my hat and thought on it.

One, I realized if I wanted this to feel very different from SS, I needed to change POV (AGAIN). Two, I needed to actually have the conflict on screen (which is, like, no duh). Three, I think the only way I’d survive this conflict is if I aimed to make it more rom-com. Give myself the leeway to not be aiming to rip people’s hearts out, but rather to make them smack their foreheads in frustration. I have NO IDEA how that’s going to go, but that’s the plan. I’m allowing myself to be a little goofy with descriptions, going more in depth in the sex (or the lead up), and just kind of playing with the scenes as I work them.

I have the plot written down in a notebook, so I don’t need to focus on how I’m getting to the next plot point. I’m already over 6K, so this is probably going to break out of the short story length (theory: I’ve lost the ability to write really short stories). I’m okay with that, since the deadline for the prompt has passed. But I’m also excited to see where this story goes.