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The Dream

“Sometimes life is about risking everything for a dream that no one but you can see.”

I came across this quote some time ago. I’m not sure who said it or really how I to find it, but it resonated with me. Maybe because I have this crazy dream where I am going to become a published author and share my little world with everyone. But it’s scary as hell. Because first, one must pull a story from the depths of one’s soul, and secondly, because every force in the world seems to be working against following that dream and people can’t seem to understand why you would want to quit your well paying job to pursue this. I mean, I get it. I wonder myself. But I did it. And I’m still not sure if I’m better off. If nothing else, I’m committed, or should be.

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So Many Days

Honestly, it’s been almost a year since I last popped on here and said something. But it hasn’t been for a lack of general productivity or anything. In fact, when I stopped posting was about the exact time that I started really ramping up my production and got stuff done. Seriously. I’m not even lying.

Through August last year, I was starting to get all my ducks in a row and I had finally come up with a plan. I was going to use August-October to plan out my story and get everything ready to go in anticipation of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times, but for the most part, my preparation was pulling out all the various notes that I had ever made about the story and putting them in a pile that I wouldn’t reference. This time it was going to be different, because this time, I was going to use it as a jump start to get my story going. And so those three months were crazy.

I was dog sitting at my auntie’s house near the end of September when I finished planning out the final book in the trilogy. It was something like 10am because I had woken up stupid early that morning to go get the SNES classic, and then decided to stay awake and be productive. I remember wanting to cry, I was so happy to have finally got there. It was pretty special. But I didn’t get to stop there. Nope. Now that I had everything planned out on paper, well, in a thick notebook, it was time to get it typed up and organized on the computer.

I had spent some time typing characters and places up as I went, but this was the point when I really buckled down to make sure that I didn’t miss a thing. It was almost the end of October by the time I got everything sorted, and then I did something that has been incredibly valuable for my sanity and my writing productivity. I loaded my characters and places to the Staples printing site to get them put into a coiled book. And then when I saw how awesome that was, I did the same with my plot. One is 92 pages, and the other is 74, and I bring them around with me almost everywhere as a quick reference. Sure, I could pull the files up on my computer, but I really like having something tangible that I can grasp, and highlight, and mark up. It’s something I love, and I know it’s something that I will continue to do and use after I finish these books and as I move on to other stories.

Then November hit, and it was time to start running. And I did. Amazingly. Shockingly. The goal for the month was 50k. That’s the official number for NaNoWriMo. I knew I would hit that. I’ve done NaNoWriMo enough times to know that I can hit that in eight days. I don’t recommend only leaving yourself eight days to write 50k, but I now know it can be done. No, I wanted to go big, or go home. So I set my minimum goal to 50k, but my actual goal to 75k. I made 80k with a few days to spare, but traveling and all that meant that I missed out on a few writing days. It was okay, though, I was happy with the 80k.

What followed were a few months of doing nothing. After pushing myself for three months prior to NaNoWriMo, and then outputting so much in November, I was a little burnt out. Throw some year end holidays in there, and a trip abroad, and, well, you can imagine that I wasn’t super productive. But then in February, I started to get the itch again, and I decided to start setting up for a productive March. I set my goal for that month at 60k, and managed to put out just over 76,000 words in the end. April was Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set my goal for a modest 25k, something I had set before I even started writing in March. I decided not to change it, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t write much more than that. Privately, though, I had my eyes set on 60k. I didn’t reach it. But, I did surpass 40,000 words and that’s nothing to scoff about. This month was supposed to be another 50k, I think, but then things started to unravel a bit.

See, I’m still technically working on book one of my trilogy, but I’m over 200,000 words in. That makes me wonder if maybe I’m trying to put too much into one book. The whole reason that I split the books where I did was because I was so set on having three books. Now, the more I look at it, the more I think it’s actually four. And so I stopped writing for a while, and I did a bunch of thinking. While I was thinking, and trying to figure out the best place to cut the first book into two, I came across a note. This note told me where I had planned on cutting the first book off in the first place. It was the same place that I was looking at to make the division. I guess it was meant to me.

So, now my trilogy has become a four part series (at least), and that means I have a decision to make, and that’s what’s been holding back my word count lately, and also making me immensely unproductive. I don’t know if I want to continue on with the story as it is and then take care of the split later, or if I want to stop my forward momentum and get back to the actual first book and start cleaning that up. The Queen of Quantity tells me that I should just keep going and write all the words. But, I also know that I do have areas that I have to fix, because I basically just skipped them, and that will give me a chance to add a ton of words to the mix.

As it turns out, in an effort to not choose, I’ve just been kicking back and forth between the two options and not really doing much on either, choosing instead to binge watch Netflix shows. In good news, I think I’m running out of things I want to watch and also the rest of the internet has become pretty boring to me. At least for now. I think I need to jump on this and use it to be productive. At the moment, I’ve decided that I’m just going to keep writing. Tomorrow, it might be a different story. The only good thing is that I know I have the option to switch paths at any point.

This summer, I’ve taken up a remote job. Should be interesting. I’ll either get a ton written, or nothing at all. Time will tell, but I’ll get more into that later. Actually, the job is kind of the reason that I’ve decided to get back into this blog, other than the fact that I kind of missed blogging. See, I usually daily vlog, but out in this remote place, internet is scarce, so I can’t exactly be uploading a gig or two of data every day. Gotta adjust to the environment, so look forward to more of this.

A Change of Scenery

I feel as if I’ve been quite remiss in all things social media for the last few days. My vlogs have been lackluster, and I haven’t been posting here. I do have a reason for it, at least. I was “moving” into my auntie’s house over the last few days and getting to know the ins and outs of the pet schedules so I can keep them alive for the next three weeks or so. Plus, on both Saturdays for the last two weeks, I’ve made a trek down island and back up in the same day. That’s a bit exhausting! So those are my reasons for being lame and not posting.

I know I mentioned this before, but in the past, when I used to blog on a daily basis, I would get so stressed out if I didn’t post, and the quality of the blogs would suffer because of it. Now, I don’t get stressed out and I think that’s good growth for me. Granted, I’m not sure how great the quality is still, but at least I don’t stress out about it. This blog is supposed to be fun for me and to talk about my writing progress. In case you were wondering, there has been very little since I finished the plot document for book two. Mostly because I finished late last week and had some trips and then the moving bit. Plus I’ve been working more than I want to in my retired life, and that just takes up time.

I am, however, very excited to be at my auntie’s for the new couple of weeks. I am hoping that I will just have all the time in the world to write with the only life distraction being the dog and some cats. Cats who are refusing to get near me, by the way. My cousin will be in and out, too, but she works a lot, so I expect that I won’t see much of her. But when we do, we’re already decided that we are going to make forts, like the good old times. When my cousins were growing up, I spent almost every weekend over at my auntie’s house, playing with my cousins, hanging out with them, and building forts. Now that we’ve all grown up and gone our separate ways, I think it’ll be nice to have this time. I actually had my oldest, younger cousin stay with me for a few months a few years ago, and that was awesome. So I’m hoping these next few weeks with his little sister will be just as awesome.

But I should go now because airport bound people are about to leave and I need to go say bye. Hopefully I’ll be back before long.

Welp, I Did It Again.

It turns out that I’ve gotten really bad at writing my blog. I’m going to go ahead and blame it on my not using my agenda. I don’t think I wrote anything in it for this week, and last week was a half job. Oh well. I’ll get back to it. With finishing the plot for book two, I’m re-invigorated to work on the story. Which means that maybe I’ll start actively using my agenda again.

In any case, I did start on the third book today. I’ve had a few pages written for a while, but they’re nothing fancy and not set in stone. So I don’t really count those as real pages. I should probably read them over first, just to make sure, but I’ll get to that. In any case, I hand wrote about three pages today, it wasn’t a lot, but it fixed some of the issues with the end of the second book, so that’s good. It makes more sense now, and the reason that I’m plotting everything out in advance is so that everything will make sense. Because I haven’t really planned out book three, it’s wide open, and that means that I have a whole bunch of planning and plotting to do. And I’m not really sure where I’m going. I mean, I know what I want to happen and where I want it all to end, but the little parts in between are questionable. That’s fine, though. I’ll get there. I think there’s a few things that I need to put into book two to make things work in the third book, but that’s fine. I’m like super positive and zen-like. It’s just all gonna work out, I’m sure.

A Reason To Celebrate!

After weeks of slogging away and procrastinating like the best of them, I finally have a reason to celebrate. And not a small reason, but a HUGE reason. I finished writing out the plot for book two of my trilogy! It’s so exciting! Especially because that book has some of the harder parts of the plot that I had to work out. It’s definitely not perfect, and I’ll obviously have to revise it, but I am so happy with the way it turned out. I think it’s got good pacing and exciting things that happen, but most of all, it has a good ending. I’m a fan of that.

And now, here’s so issues that I know off the top of my head. The document for book two is almost 10,000 words and about fifteen pages. I would say that it’s quite detailed. I would say that it’s the right amount of detailed. Granted, there is something that I need to add to it, that isn’t super important in book two, but that starts to come up a lot more in book three. Now, let’s compare that to the document for book one. It’s eight pages and just over 4,000 words. I can’t remember when I wrote it, but I do know that it is not nearly detailed enough. But this is why I’m plotting everything out right now.

Next step is book three.

Book three is the one that I am most concerned about. All along, I’ve wondered if I have enough story to do a trilogy. This is part of the reason that I’m trying to flush everything out right now. Right now, all I have is three notebook pages of scribbles, which is not going to be enough, obviously. I have to make sure that book two flushes out a few things to round out book three. If I can manage that, then I think it will all work out find. However, I do have a contingency plan. If I don’t have enough to write a full third book, I will just re-examine what I have and shuffle it all to be two books.

BUT! I’m going to ignore that all right now and just focus on how awesome it is that I completed this step!

Sleep Schedule

I tried to get to sleep early last night, but it was too hot. It was not happening. There was a lot of tossing and turning, pulling blankets off and putting them back on. I always have to sleep with some sort of covering on, so it’s terrible for me when it’s hot. I did finally get to sleep, but it was about three hours after I intended to. Which, when you have to work in the morning is not fun. But, I woke up when I was supposed to and all that jazz, so that was a good thing.

I think I need to try to get on to a sleep schedule here soon, though. I know I keep saying it, and I’m overly conflicted about it all the time. But I need to do something. In about a week, I’ll be dog/cat/house sitting for three weeks and that should do something to my sleep schedule. I hope that it will fix it, but it might make it worse. Because it’ll just be me and my little cousin. My little cousin who definitely doesn’t need me to take care of her. She is old enough, is what I am saying. She’ll be sleeping in like me, too, if I chose to sleep in. So maybe that won’t help me at all. We’ll see. I am hoping to use the time to write more. Petting a dog and writing all the time. Yes. But until then, I’ll pretend that I’m going to go to sleep right now.

It’s Been A While

Today I woke up and I didn’t feel like I immediately need to go back to sleep. That’s progress in my books. Lately I’ve just been so fatigued on a daily basis. I wake up and I’m tired. I go about the day and I’m tired. I try to go to sleep at night and then I’m not tired. Alas. But today was a good day. I woke up refreshed and I had so much energy for the entire day. Awwwww yeah.

Did I get any writing done? Nope! I definitely did not. Am I working tomorrow, which means that I can’t devote the whole day to writing? Yep! But I have hope for the rest of the week. I mean, I always do. If I didn’t have hope, then what’s the point? I haven’t set up my planner for the week yet. I don’t know if I will. I did almost nothing from last week, so I think I might just go through that and start crossing things off of that list.

I spent a useful three hours of my life yesterday texting with a friend. I’m saying useful in a very sarcastic way. I enjoyed it, that’s for sure, but I likely could have been writing during that time. It did, however, motivate me to write a bit last night. And more importantly, it made me feel like I was on the right path, and that’s always nice. I wouldn’t say I need validation, but it’s nice to have someone let me know that maybe I’m not that crazy.

Last year, I started taking online writing classes. They were video game writing classes to be specific, and the best thing about that was that I was able to get advice and constructive criticism from someone who has been writing for a long time and who has worked in a creative field. It was nice. Prior to that, I had only really had friends take a look at my stuff and it was hard to tell if they were being complimentary because they were my friend or because they actually thought it was good. So it was nice. I’ve been thinking about taking another course sometime soon, but I’m a bit torn on that because it does take up quite a bit of time and I think my time would be better suited to writing my story. The thing about the classes is that I can’t always use what I’m working on in the class. Oh well. I think it’s just the time of year where I get to miss going back to school. I just like learning and stuff!

Excitement And Letdown

I believe I mentioned it previously, but besides writing, one of the reasons I retired was so I could buy a van or bus and convert it to eventually live in it and travel around. Even before I retired, I was keeping an eye out for options. In the last few weeks, I’ve even reached out to a few people about their vans. Today, four of us piled in a car and drove for four hours to look at a van. It was a 1979 Chevy motorhome van. I mean, I guess that’s the best way to describe it. It was partially converted already, and definitely something I could work with. It was priced well enough to make the drive. And we brought four people so we could caravan back with two people in each car. We were as prepped as we could be. The question was, would the van compare to the picture.

Answer: not really.

It wasn’t a trash heap, that’s for sure. It looked relatively similar to the pictures, save a decent amount of rust that was strategically left out of the pics. I get it. And aesthetically, I wasn’t too concerned. The rust would be repairable and anything else could probably be fixed with some elbow grease. What truly mattered was “is it safe? And will it last?”

We tried to get it into a shop to get a mechanic to look at it, but after calling six or so shops, it was not meant to be.

It might have been safe. There were some dodgy issues with the brakes and that could have simply been low brake fluid, or could have been worse. The exhaust smell penetrated the inside a little more than one would like. And there were a bunch of odd noises that we could really account for. There were enough small things to make it questionable, especially without having a mechanic check it over.

I don’t think those were major deal breakers though.

The point of this van, for me, is to last and last and last. And to let me go anywhere and everywhere I want without worrying. I think I could have driven this van around town with no problem. And maybe for the odd trip, but I’m not sure I would trust it more than that.

Would I have loved to drive home with a brand new (to me) van today? Absolutely. So I’m disappointed about that. However, still excited overall and now I’ve got one van under my belt. It was the first time I had driven something that big, and I loved it. I didn’t even feel like I struggled backing it up, thanks to my grandpa teaching me the importance of backing up using only your mirrors. And this is great. I was afraid that I would get in something big and panic and freak out. But it was okay. Now I don’t have to worry about maybe leaning towards smaller vehicles just to make myself more comfortable.

So again, sad that I didn’t get my future home today, but at least I made progress towards the goal.