December IWSG Blog Hop

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IWSG Blog Hop

I cannot believe how fast the first Wednesday of each month rolls around now that I have committed to participating in this Blog Hop. But I love that the questions make me think AND write.

December’s Question: In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?

Hand waving wildly. Pick me! Pick me! I know the answer!

I love love love this question! I am the unsurpassed Queen of Five-Year Planning. I have used this tool for every achievement in my life. And I am now several months into my current five-year plan setting out the goals for my writing career.

To wit: at the end of my five-year plan, I will be writing full-time and be published. (there’s more, but those are the high points.)

My plan for getting there: a multi-page bullet-point outline, outlining five major goals, which are broken down into bite-sized, manageable goals along the way. I generally work backwards from the ultimate goal. An example of a middle goal:

  • published story,  [requires]
  • submitting finished, polished story, deadline March 31st, [requires]
  • finished, polished story, deadline March 27th [requires]
  • Beta reader(s) input, March 1st – 15th
  • third and second drafts of story, deadline February 28th, [requires]
  • sitting down and writing first draft, deadline January 31st, [requires]
  • sketching out idea, deadline January 7th, [requires]
  • developing an idea when submission request announced, January 1st

Each of these steps are further broken down. For example, submitting a finished, polished story requires additional subcategories, such as investigating places for submission and submission requirements.

I have no shortage of ideas or sketches. In fact, I can stop thinking up ideas and sketching them out, because then I’m all “ooooh shiny! I want to write that story” and it interferes with working on the current project.

My task at hand is to sit down and FINISH the first draft of my novel. I am doing this through Holly’s HTTS course. I am on track financially to transition to writing full-time on the goal date I have set (that was another multi-page analysis which took me six months to perfect). I am making progress according to my plan.

As I move closer towards goals, I sometimes find it necessary to tweak the path. It is something akin to taking a road trip to a specific location. One does not just hop in a car in New York and head west, hoping to end up in Los Angeles. Maps, guidebooks, and planning for contingencies such as road construction and flat tires are necessary. Otherwise, as the Cheshire Cat so aptly observed:



Alice asked the Cheshire Cat, who was sitting in a tree, “What road do I take?”

The cat asked, “Where do you want to go?”

“I don’t know,” Alice answered.

“Then,” said the cat, “it really doesn’t matter, does it?”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland



Many thanks to this month’s awesome co-hosts – I’m off to find out where they, and other BlogHoppers, plan to be in five years:

Jennifer Hawes
Jen Chandler
Nick Wilford
Juneta Key
JH Moncrieff
Diane Burton
MJ Fifield

Posted in Enjoying the Journey, HTTS, Making Progress | Leave a comment

Shopping for Equality – the Real Black Friday

Suffragette Ada Wright collapses through police violence on Black Friday

I wouldn’t leave the house today to go shopping if they were giving stuff away. Crowds make me nervous and crazy-people crowds are simply unbearable. For those who love to shop Black Friday (and Black Rest of the Crazypuffs Season) bless your hearts. For me, this is a welcome time to kick back, drink wine early, and read something interesting.

To wit: In idly perusing Google on the madness of Black Friday, I learned that Black Friday was not always associated with a chaotic dash for the latest bargain. Black Friday is linked to a number of historically significant events, most of which are dark and violent.

One example is the Black Friday of November 18, 1910, on which date a protest was waged by Suffragettes outside the British House of Commons of the Women’s Social and Political Union after the Conciliation Bill failed. It turns out that the fight for women’s right to vote in the U.K. was not won with tea and crumpets.

“… on Friday 18th November 1910) a suffragette deputation to the House of Commons met with a six hour onslaught of police brutality resulting in a the Suffragettes beginning a huge window smashing campaign in protest. The attack was so horrendous, the Suffragettes remembered the day it happened as ‘Black Friday’.”

This piece further illuminates the seriousness of this civil disobedience by noting that at least two women died as a result of their injuries that day and another woman, arrested a few days later, died from her injuries after being released from prison on Christmas Day 1910.

Life was extraordinarily difficult for women in the early 1900’s, with few rights and less representation. The stories of these pioneers give pause to be thankful for the many advances we have made, particularly as a result of the willingness of others to take a stand and make sacrifices to advance the rights of themselves and others.

Is life perfect now? Certainly not. But I am reminded to make an effort to appreciate all that makes life good.

Family, friends, good books, good wine, and no shopping on Black Friday – it’s all good!


Posted in I Am Not Making This Up, It's the Law, People Crazier than Me | Leave a comment

The Sun Also Sets

How Writers Write Fiction 2016: Storied Women course has concluded, and I am happy to report that it has been the most amazing writing experience of my year! I learned so much and have come away inspired and motivated to continue working on my novel. And yes, I did reach 100 points (more, really, but “extra credit” is not allowed. Seriously? I went through undergrad padding my grades with extra credit.) I even joined two writer’s groups as a result of this class. The upside is that introvert in me does not have to leave the house to do this.

Anyway, Crazypuffs Season [otherwise known as the Festive Holiday Season] is upon us and my plan is to burrow under and live in my imagination. I worked on Latent Image through the last three weeks of the class and so much came into focus in terms of character development and world building. Also, in digging through my old notes, I found an entire handwritten section (yeah, I still do that) that had not been added to the manuscript, so the 14,000 words already on paper has another whole perspective.

I have made incredible progress these last few weeks and hope the momentum keeps me moving. Now, it is time for Hemi nuzzles and wine.

Posted in Enjoying the Journey, Making Progress | 2 Comments

The Sun Also Rises

November 8. I voted.

November 9. The sun came up.


I am back on track (after falling two assignments behind) in the Writer’s Write course. And I will finish it with 100 points by November 21st. (mind you, only 75 points are needed to receive a “complete” score and I already have 84.8 points. But I’m going for the additional points. Because . . . crazypuffs.)

I did not submit my story to the anthology. It is not finished and I refuse to slap something together and put my name on it. In working on this piece through the writing class, I realized that the POV is not first person protag present, but, rather, first person bystander past recollection. This requires considerable rewriting, which I have simply not had time to do. But, the story is in progress and will be finished and perhaps I will even be inclined to submit it somewhere once it is revised, polished, and proofed.

In other time-sucking news, my neighborhood is embroiled in a zoning dispute and I have agreed to be the main neighborhood spokesperson to address the city council. In my spare time.

On the less whiny side, my fall trip to Chicago was fabulous. The palette of autumn colors burst everywhere outside [annoyingly, inside, just a little too much Christmasy already], perfectly accented by the crisp fall leaves pirouetting to the streets. A light rain appeared just before we entered the Chicago History Museum. When we stepped back out two hours later, the skies had cleared and the sun appeared. This provided a gorgeous venue for a leisurely walk to our lunch destination a mile away, the always amazing Le Colonial. Next stop: French flea market, P.O.S.H. And finally, we strolled to the corner to POPS Champagne bar, where we always end the day.

I’m taking the week of Thanksgiving off and I expect to make considerable headway getting back on track with HTTS. I’ve been scribbling notes furiously through the Writer’s Write class for my WIP, as well as having to other stories percolating. Despite the chaos of these last weeks, I’m writing.

All things considered, it’s all good.

Posted in Enjoying the Journey, Making Progress | 2 Comments

November IWSG Blog Hop

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeInsecure Writer’s Support Group

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by ~ Douglas Adams.

Douglas Adams has taken me on wonderful journeys in the galaxy and oh, how I love his quote. Right now, my deadlines are whooshing by at the speed of light.

Another favorite quote, frequently, but controversially, attributed to John Lennon, is “life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” Life is certainly getting in the way of my writing plans.

Did Virginia Woolf try to pen Mrs. Dalloway while the main bathroom was under construction? Did Nick Carraway coax The Great Gatsby’s story out of F. Scott Fitzgerald, while the contents of three closets lay scattered about, awaiting the fantabulous-my-life-will-now-be-organized-forever closet organizers? Did Hemingway abandon For Whom the Bell Tolls for three days, searching high and low for one of his beloved cats, as I did for my own Hemingway this past weekend?

I ask you.  [ok, I’m not really asking, so please, historical experts, do not leave me a comment saying, “yes that’s exactly what happened to Ginny/Scotty/Ernie.”]

I am now Officially Behind on the Writer’s Write class. I did NOT get my story finished in time to submit it to the Anthology. It is, in fact, nothing short of a Halloween miracle that I am not being held in jail without bail for murder. Which would have been completely justified, but then one is required to deal with the lawyers and the mental fitness hearing, lining up the alibis, and the trial. All further excuses for Not Getting Any Writing Done.

Which brings me to this month’s Blog Hop question:

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?

My favorite aspect of writing is that no matter what chaos surrounds me, when I can steal a few minutes or an hour, I can immerse myself back into the world and characters I am creating. My characters don’t care that I’ve been gone for two days or two years.  Their personalities and life stories continue to percolate whether I am paying attention or not. When I come back, they are more than willing to talk, to pick up where we left off, or to let me know they have gotten divorced or had a baby or moved to a new planet. I love immersing myself in the worlds I create, where I have some semblance of control over lifelines, plots, outcomes. These are places where my opinions matter and my vote counts. And at least for a time, I am untroubled by the insanity of the real world that surrounds me.

Plus Hemi is home safe, so all is good in my world. All of them.

Our awesome co-hosts for this month’s Hop are:

Having managed to at least meet today’s deadline, it is now wine o’clock. Time to enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir, a book, and catch-up nuzzles with Hemi.


Posted in New Ways to Waste Time, The Opposite of Making Progress | 22 Comments