Friday, March 28, 2014

One down, nothing to go

I finally finished that big editing job! Well, the first round, since the author has a few queries to respond to, but thank the baby jeebus that it is at a stage of completion that gets it off my desk for a while.

I may be hearing about a translation job from a professor next week, but that is in the future. For now, I am free!

John and I have been tag-teaming the laundry today. That's what happens when one of us--not me!--runs out of drawers. We've actually made a sizeable dent in it.

Tomorrow we are supposed to participate in a volunteer day, cleaning up around town. Getting Hannah out of the house on a Saturday morning when there is no cute boy or fun girlfriend to bribe her with is not going to be pretty. You may hear the shrieks of agony (mine or hers?) from over there.

I started a Dropbox account on my seestor's suggestion. I had actually been meaning to do it for a while for my teaching materials but had not managed to get around to it. (I am the master procrastinator.) When I finally did get around to it, it took about 10 minutes to sign up and get my big-ass file of materials uploaded. Fairly painless, as far as technology stuff goes.

Once I had the account, I went back and typed up pretty much all my notes on my story at the end of the text. I'm up to about 15 pages of everything at this point. I may go back and separate it, but for now, it is all there for Kee's enjoyment in one handy document.

I think I may do a little puttering now. It is 4:15 p.m., and I have nothing on my schedule until 9 a.m. tomorrow.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Word count update. I know I'm creeping along, but any progress is something.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Mosey-ing along

I'm trying to work on that editing I mentioned, but every time I hit up against a snarl of prose, which is almost every paragraph, I find it hard to keep going and end up turning to the Internet to distract me. Not a good mode of working, I must say. (Also, the reason I'm here right now.)

Yesterday I had to go into town for my office hour and some errands, and I ended up having a relatively productive day. I got my errands done, I got some course-related work done (not all, but a satisfying amount), and I managed to put some time in on the train writing on my story. Well, not "writing" in the sense of "prose stylings conveying a plot, etc.", but "writing" in the sense of jotting down several important things that have to happen in the story and ideas for scenes that could possibly manage to do that. It wasn't as highly structured as an outline, but in that direction.

That bit of blocking, planning, whatever you want to call it seemed to get my brain moving again, and the next bit of the story--I already knew *what* I wanted to happen, but not *how*--got jiggled loose, so I was able to put some actual story-words down on paper.

But now I need to get back to my day job and see if I can't get more knocked out before making a metric ass-ton of pesto from John's denuding of our garden.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Almost caught up

When the semester was over, I turned to a bunch of stuff that had been on the back burner and got it all done. But then it was really hard to turn back to the pile of grading that was waiting for me. I had a deadline, but I ended up working right up to the deadline, staying up late and getting up early, just to get done. (Which is my usual m.o. *sadface*)

I woke up on Friday, I think, and thought, "I am done with everything! I don't owe *anyone* *anything*!" And then I remembered that I actually promised to edit a self-published book for a friend. *Crap!* But I have some time before the semester starts, and I am planning on spending all of next week working on it.

After that, I have some plans for my classes next semester to work on, etc.

I have been having a hard time getting back into a headspace for writing. I keep going back and rereading what I've already typed up, trying to get back into the swing of the story, but it feels like it is just beyond my reach at the moment. Part of the problem is that I had a flight of fantasy in one direction, but it occurred to me that my original direction is probably more do-able for this story. I think I need to keep it tight, so to speak, and not let it run wild like a weedy garden. But anyhow, I may take my notepad downstairs (away from the siren call of the Internet) while John is off hiking and Hannah is studying and try some brainstorming of plot elements. If the words come, then, fine; if not, I will still have some ideas to work with.

Monday, March 03, 2014


1237. That's how many words I have written on the novel I've taken over. Right now I'm mulling over what it is I want to write next, but I definitely have ideas about backstory and setting. The problem is plot. Some of the plot is going to remain the same as the original, but some will change. I don't know if I have enough ideas to fill in the holes, but maybe I need to start jotting the ideas I already have into some kind of outline.

Speaking of jotting, I've already filled over a dozen pages out this notebook with notes and actual words (well over the 1237 I mentioned above, but lots got chopped out and/or revised).
(The other stuff in the photo is for scale.)

I've found that a notebook this size is a lot easier to tote around than a full-sized notebook, and I can pull out pages after I've typed them up (which I find to be a very satisfying ritual while writing).

Not pictured: my Kindle, where I put the updated pages and earlier versions to refer to while I am writing the next section. I love writing by hand but have to admit that having an electronic version handy is more useful for referring back to previous work, as you may be able to tell from this sample:
 photo f5204341-ebe7-4fa7-9d67-0abefd6e41dd.jpg

So that is why I didn't manage to update here--I was actually writing!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How do I write? Let me count the ways... 2

Wow--if it is going to take me 3 weeks to make a new entry, this blog is not going to be very active. Not that it had been very active...

When I last posted, I was starting to have that writing "itch". Part of it was the need to siphon some of the thoughts out of my head; part of it was the need to feel like I could still put words on paper in a coherent manner; but part of it was a novel Kee had written and put in a drawer, lo, these many years ago. Her characters started poking me in the brain last fall, and they had been stewing in there ever since. So I put on my big girl panties and asked her if she would mind if I took a stab at revising her novel. She was generous to say yes, and that went into the stewpot, too.

Like I said, the stewpot bubbled for months before I had time to turn to do anything about it. I still have a bunch of grading to do, but now the stewpot is starting to boil over, and I am afraid that if I don't get in there and work on it, it will boil away. (Not the best metaphor ever, but work with me here.) Yesterday I actually got words on paper--the train is the best place to write, I must say--and I kind of got a high off it. Yes, I scratched things through and moved things around--it wasn't a Romantic outporing of inspiration, it was hard work, but that hard work was *so* satisfying.

Now I am trying to decide if I want to keep writing longhand straight through, or if I should type up what I have each day before starting on the next bit, or if I should wait for a chapter break, etc. So many decisions! I'm just afraid that some premature typing would derail me. And there is the answer--as long as I can keep the plot of what has already happened in my head, I'll just keep writing. If I reach a sticking point or can't remember what I've already said, I'll go back and type it up to refresh my memory and give me a chance to think ahead.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

How do I write? Let me count the ways... 1

I've been dragging around a paper journal for quite a while now, but I mainly use it for 2 things--complaining about myself and making lists.

I like making lists, and making them makes me feel in control, so that is not actually a problem. But on the other hand, if I put more on my lists than I can reasonably accomplish, I beat myself up about the lack of accomplishment rather than try to figure out what is a reasonable amount to accomplish in one day and how to schedule the other items on other days.

I bought a book, Getting Things Done by David Allen, that was recommended to me to help with organization, but a lot of it is aimed at managers, so I haven't actually finished it yet. One thing that was somewhat helpful, though, was his argument that unfinished tasks--whether big or small--prey on our minds, even when we are not consciously thinking about them; to counter this, he suggests making a master to-do list as a way of siphoning off this unconscious worrying. I have to admit that this has actually worked as promised: I don't feel like I am flying apart all the time. But I am not good about going back and reviewing the list on a regular basis to see what must or can be fitted into my upcoming schedule.

The other problem with the master list is that I don't know where I should put it. I mean that literally--I have been keeping it in the back of my paper journal, but since I am not actually reviewing it or updating it on a regular basis, there is really no need for me to be dragging around those extra pages. Also, whenever I fill a journal, I have to copy those pages into the new one or cut them out and tape them in. I tried putting the master list on index cards in a filing box, but I have not opened the box even once since I spent a whole afternoon arranging it.

I like it when I can approach things in a systematic way, I just have not been able to work out a good system yet, and that is what drives me crazy. I really like the feeling of writing things out by hand, which is one of the main reasons why I drag around a paper journal, and I also want to have something that is readily available for my note- and list-making. But searching back through my notes is made that much harder by having everything jumbled together on paper. I am too lazy to go back and type up my journal, and frankly, most of it is moaning, so I don't really want to type up most of it.

And now I seem to have lost control of any argument I might have been trying to make.


Obviously, this blog has been defunct for a *very* long time now. I don't think either of us has done much writing to speak of, or none that we are ready to talk about yet, so I am going to highjack this space for my own purposes, which are mainly to get back in the habit of expository writing. So don't expect much entertainment value.