22 Days Since my Last Confession


It’s been . . . wow has it really been that long? It’s been 22 days since my last post. Not good, not good at all.

I have no excuses. There were days when I planned on posting,  I even have half of a dozen posts in the archives because after writing them, they just didn’t feel quite right. Maybe a future day or maybe I’ll just delete them – who knows.

“Only the shadow knows.”

Stepping into the ‘Way-back’ machine for a moment, in my last post  on January 18th I shared this bit:  

I’ve been working on my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Revising, editing, rewriting, . . . and  I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t flowing.  It wasn’t drawing me forward even and I am the author! I had to take a serious look at this and step back to evaluate what I had as opposed to where I wanted this to go.

I set it aside for a couple of days as I researched master plots. This was prompted when I was trying to convey my story idea to a wonderful lady who is kind of mentoring me in my writing. OK, I was a persistent nag until she took me under her wing. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I was working through her class, had fully developed character worksheets,  even made myself character cards to stick on my bulletin board. I spent 4 days working on shaping my plot into a reasonable timeline and developing the major nine points of my plot. I thought I had it all worked out.  It seemed logical. There were twists, turns,  lovable characters, one that you love to hate. . . I thought I was ready to go.

Of course when it was time to meet,  either my computer or hers was acting glitchy and we couldn’t connect for video chat. So we went to the phones.  I have to be honest, the fan-girling had to be tampered down under control before I could get any semblance of intelligible speech out of my mouth.

Alright, enough of the flashback. So what have I been doing with myself these past 22 days that I couldn’t be bothered to post on my blog?

I’m so glad you asked!

Yeah, that part above . . . in the midst of my sulk-fest, when  I got me out-of-the-way,  the ideas came like a grand finale of a fireworks display. One day to the sulk-fest, two days to get my ideas sorted into some semblance of intelligible speech/writing. ( My poor husband, Y’all should have pity on him. He’s the one that actually had to face the many phases of creativity.) A day and a half with two friends and eventually the hubby to take the pieces of the puzzle I had and make an entirely new picture. A half of a day lost to other things –  you know someone has to cook the meals. Two more days were given to brainstorming and ordering things.

Just a note here –  one of the things I like to do, and this may not work for everyone, is to write out my ideas on pieces of paper. Ideally, sticky notes would work for this but I was out of sticky notes.  OK fine – I wasn’t out of them I just couldn’t find any right then.  There are times when you need it NOW and you don’t have time to search the office, the desk, or the box of stuff you cleared off of the table.  Now the slips of paper are interchangeable on a large board  AKA my wall,  which I moved a few around to make more sense then numbered them from 1 to 25 and added a couple of transitions in between reaching my 30 points of light, er story.

Three days to let it sit while I worked on an editing job, hoping that things would mesh. Another day to go over and move a couple more things around slightly.  A couple of days for family/ married life – don’t judge!
Then the fun began. Six days of feeling like death warmed over until my daughter drove me to urgent care where they prescribed three medications for my illness.

Oh Joy! Fun fact –  the one medicine turned my pee bright neon orange. Let me tell you if that wasn’t a shocker!  That could really be used to freak someone out if played right, but sadly I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to exploit it.

OH, don’t even try to tell me you wouldn’t do it. Alas, I missed my window of opportunity.

So that leaves us two days where I had to redo some of the edit calls I made while feverish. I have my notes transferred to index cards in a neat little numbered stack that are right here beside my laptop. Now I can move from one card to the next, not wondering where do I go from here, not bored because I already know what’s coming,  but focused on that one card before I  go to the next.

This is the best method I have come up with for me. It doesn’t inhibit my creative flow or stifle the voice of the muse,  yet it reconciles my sense of order and OCD-ness.

Most of you know I’m not a neat freak, but I do like order.

So, February is shaping up to be a better month for me. I have a plan to move forward in my writing. I have 2 editing jobs on my desk and I am excited to get busy with these three projects. ( My writing plus the two jobs I have the privilege of editing.)

Glad that you’ve stuck with me so far,  things are going to get better.  I still haven’t  gotten my pizza fix, but maybe that’s for the best as I am serious about losing the weight I have gained. One bad thing about being a writer is the backside spread which has been complicated by the back injury.

Objects at rest tend to want to stay at rest and resist exercise. Regardless, I’ve laced up the New Balance and hit the track despite the cool weather. SIGH – ain’t nobody going to do it for me.

Nobody is going to write this book for me and nobody is going to whip this dough girl back into shape but me.

I’ve got a lot of work ahead. I hope you’ll join me in the upcoming weeks as I share tidbits of this new improved tale along with my usual sagacious wit.

You know you love me,  that’s why you keep coming back, right?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Maintaining My Voice


I’m still here guys. Let me catch you up to speed:

I’ve been working on my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Revising, editing, rewriting, . . . and  I just wasn’t happy with it. It wasn’t flowing.  It wasn’t drawing me forward even and I am the author! I had to take a serious look at this and step back to evaluate what I had as opposed to where I wanted this to go.

I set it aside for a couple of days as I researched master plots. This was prompted when I was trying to convey my story idea to a wonderful lady who is kind of mentoring me in my writing. OK, I was a persistent nag until she took me under her wing. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

I was working through her class, had fully developed character worksheets,  even made myself character cards to stick on my bulletin board. I spent 4 days working on shaping my plot into a reasonable timeline and developing the major nine points of my plot. I thought I had it all worked out.  It seemed logical. There were twists, turns,  lovable characters, one that you love to hate. . . I thought I was ready to go.

Of course when it was time to meet,  either my computer or hers was acting glitchy and we couldn’t connect for video chat. So we went to the phones.  I have to be honest, the fan-girling  had to be tampered down under control before I could get any semblance of intelligible speech out of my mouth.

She was pleasant enough about it,  but basically, I needed to start over. Maybe not over,  but my starting point was 13 chapters into the story. Hangs head. She was right of course,  it will make the story better. Tighter.

I spent a day sulking and fighting the urge to pig out on pizza. I didn’t have anything to make pizza,  we live in a rural area where there is no pizza delivery so I avoided the pizza. I sulked some more while eating celery. Not as satisfying but I am determined to regain my curves from what has become more of a  Staypuff marshmallow woman blob.

My wonderful friend Misty talked me down off the ledge more than a few times. She encouraged me to not give up. Even while going through an emotionally draining stressful time with a family member, she  offered encouragement. This is the kind of freind everyone needs! You can’t have Misty, she’s mine! Go get your own. I jest, in part.

While sulking I  snuggled up under a blanket with my kindle and a good book, and of course turned on the TV as well. Netflix, . . . that evil bottomless pit of time suck, that shiny den of temptation pops up with a movie I hadn’t seen that had an actress that I like in it and I thought why the heck not. I’m already pouting about my story,  and about not having pizza,  why the heck not?

Best decision I made. Well, maybe going to the gym would have been better but I didn’t choose that because I was sulking ok? Geez – small steps here. Anyway, it got my mind out of the infinite loop of what I had been thinking, because when I  get something in my mind it’s like it’s carved into my gray matter. In the middle of an angsty part of the movie my brain says  ‘What if . . .’

I honestly couldn’t tell you much about the movie as my brain kicked into high gear, working out details to fix my story. It’s not quite there yet,  but  I’m on the right track now and out of the sulking phase. Never did get my pizza fix.

I’m going to focus on this for the rest of the night after dinner and tomorrow I start tackling this again.

That’s what I’ve been doing, trying to maintain my voice as an author without being formulaic but also establishing a good story and writing well.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Phase 1 – Master Plan


Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Quotidiandose does not own this image. All rights reserved to the original artist.

Welcome to Operation Rockstar.

2017 is going to be my banner year. How do I know that? Because I am going to make IT happen!

If you are anything like me, you’ve got your goals written down. Writing down your goals is an important step towards getting them accomplished. But, how do you move them from written down to actually accomplishing them? It starts with planning.  By making a plan, then working the plan, you can move items from your to-do list to checking them off and moving onto the next item. In order to do that, though, you need to take your goal, or goals and make a plan of action.

Let’s back up a bit for a moment and take a peek at the Master List. The Master List to make 2017 the year you become the rockstar!

  1. Be your best every day.  No matter what you do, do your very best at it.  If your best for that day is to say thanks to the person caring for you, like if you have the flu and they are bringing you hot tea then be thankful. If your best is running a marathon that day, then run like your life depends on it and give it 100%. Your best fluctuates from day to day. There are days we are unstoppable. There are days when it’s a trial to get from one minute to the next. Whatever your best is, do it. Know that it is your best. If you can’t with a clear conscious say inside your heart that you gave your best effort then do more. If you are running the marathon and you gave 100% and didn’t win then be at peace with yourself that you gave your all. If you only exerted 85% effort,  then evaluate and learn from it,  and know that you are capable of more so that the next time you will know that what you thought was 100% was only at 85%. Are you with me?
  2. Make your goals crystalline. For some, this means one goal. Just one. For me,  it means a few. You know, an overachiever and all. I’ve narrowed it down to just a few. A few years back, I had 50 goals. Yeah, who was I kidding?  I did manage to accomplish a few of those things but for the most part, they were on the wish list, not the master list. This is where you write them down. Post them on your fridge, on your bulletin board, wherever it is visible for you to be reminded often.
  3. Become a Rockstar! Become amazing. Become the best version of you that you can be. Become the you that you want to be. Become the you that you want to see in the mirror.  How?  Small steps. That is how we get from the not so hot mess to the total rockstar that everyone is going to take notice of. Look, I don’t expect to be on par with Gina Carrano, or Sophia Vergara. Those women are hot! Those women are amazing but I’m not them. I am ME. You are you. That sounds like a duh moment but if you think about it,  it’s a profound revelation. My job is to be the best ME I can be. Your job is to be the best YOU. Each of us is a one of a kind original masterpiece. Don’t be a copycat of someone else when the starring role of YOU needs to be filled! Take a few moments every day to contemplate your life,  what your hopes and dreams are, who are you?
  4. Get it done! Take your master list, and break each item down into bite size steps. For instance, a top priority goal for me is to lose 50 pounds. How am I going to get there? It seems like an insurmountable task when it has been such a  problem for me. How? I am going to take steps to do that. 1. I am going to follow a healthy, portion controlled, carb controlled diet plan. 2. I will increase my physical activity for improved cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health. (Say that 3 times fast!) 3. I will use daily meditations, prayer, and motivational material to improve my mental state of being because the battle is in my mind. 4. I will break it down to smaller increments of ten pounds with nonfood rewards when I reach those smaller goals. 5. Work those steps until the goal is completed.
  5. Work the Plan! You have to stick to it.  It gets hard. It gets dull. It gets tedious, but don’t give up. This is where a vision board might help you. I am creating myself a vision board this weekend. A vision board can be a very personal thing. It is what motivates you. The point is to make your dreams visible in order to achieve those dreams and make them your reality.  If anyone is interested in me sharing the vision board, leave me a message and I will take a photo of it to share. I haven’t done one in a few years,  but it really did help when I did it. It also helps to have an accountability partner. Work with someone that will encourage you, that will celebrate your wins, give you the pep talk when you are in the pits,  scream at you like a drill sergeant when you’ve been a slacker,  someone who will call you on your bull! Just for the record, an accountability partner is not someone who is simply going to be your cheerleader.It’s the coach making you drop and give him twenty, the drill sergeant that sends you out for a five mile run to clear your head, it’s the personal trainer that pushes you to do more than you FEEL like doing because our feelings are liars. It’s the person that knows when you are honestly sick and should rest for two days, then gets you back on track for 363 days to achieve your goals.

There you have the master plan. 5 easy steps to make this year a great year!

Inquisitve Minds


apple-tree-image

 Writer’s are innately curious, you do understand that, right?  It’s an insatiable drive that urges us onward constantly asking why. If your child is asking you questions like “What did little red riding hood have in her basket? Did she forget her glasses that she couldn’t see that it was a wolf instead of Grandma?  How did Peter fit his wife in the pumpkin shell? Was she a fairy?”

My mother quit reading me fairy tales quite early, relegating that task to my sisters. I was a wiz at reciting my nursery rhymes just like I was taught.

Little Boy Blue,
Come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow,
The cow’s in the corn;
But where is the boy
Who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack,
with little bo peep! 

Wait, that isn’t how you learned it?  Yeah, my sister’s had a wicked sense of humor. When I started asking questions of why, my mother deferred me to my siblings who are much older than me. They were quite creative in their answers and the more inquisitive I was in a line of questioning, the more abstract the answer would become until it satisfied my mind. At times I was slow to catch on because as a child I was naive and trusting.

I learned rather quickly that the things I had been taught, the answers I was given were rarely the correct ones. I also learned cynicism and sarcasm at an early age as well.

Why is the sky blue? Because God ran out of green after painting all the trees.

Why don’t apples grow in the garden like cucumbers? Because if they did, the rabbits would get fat. 

Why do fish eat worms? Because they like their insides tickled. 

Seriously, who does this to a child??  The thing is, most of the population accepts things on blind faith. Creatives, on the other hand, question everything. My mother had little tolerance for questions of any sort. The most common answer was ‘because I said so that’s why’.

In this vein, I made a point to answer my kid’s question to the best of my ability.

So what does this have to do with anything? It has everything to do with writing. If the person can’t ask questions,  they will never come up with original story ideas. You have to know facts before you can deviate from them. For instance,  gravity makes everything fall down towards the earth. So, if some alternate force were to be in effect, then objects would either float in the air or accelerate towards the sky.

From asking why is how abstract thinkers get strange, unique ideas for science fiction and fantasy. Romance writers have a different angle in their creativity. We have to come up with relational issues, not alternate laws of physics. Any writer takes the opportunity to ask what if, creating chaos for their characters.

Which leads me to my current WIP, Roxy Sings the Blues. Originally posted on Storytime Trysts as Oral Dilemma, I’ve been revising that hot mess to be something a little more substantial than serial posts to fill a time slot. I’m fairly pleased with some of the scenes as I hope you will be also.

Last year, I participated in a snippet share on Sundays with some blogger friends. I decided that on Tuesday I would share teasers from the WIP as those Sunday posts seemed to be a big hit but I am often not online on weekends. Here’s a little teaser for your pleasure:

“You’re up next Ms. Winters. Can I get you anything while you wait? A water with lemon? Hot tea?” David motioned a stagehand over towards us then instructed him to bring a chair for me while I waited. “Have a seat while Cameron finishes his set.”

I gladly took the offered seat, my legs were like jello in the platform heels. I was about to achieve a long time dream and to top it off, Devon was by my side. If I died today, I would die a happy woman.

What does all of that have to do with what I’m about to do now?

Everything! It’s not the string of bus stops along the route, it’s the entire journey. Allow me to share from the point where it really started.

I know, it’s just a teaser. Let me know what you think. Are you curious to read more? Would you like longer teasers? stick with short? Talk to me!

I’ve got a  schedule for release in my planner, a date that I am shooting for. I am really trying to focus on one project to completion this year. Hopefully, it won’t be too painful of a transition for me to actually be productive.

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie

 

New Year, New Plan


man-looking-up-at-stars-milky-way-and-galaxy

Just when you thought I had fallen off the face of the earth . . .

Between colds, flu, and a bout of food poisoning December took it’s toll on me. I”d like to say it was reflected on the scale,  but I can’t. That would have been a desirable side effect so we can’t have that, right? That’s how it seems at times.

I fully intend to get back on track with my blog, with writing, with my fitness goals . . . which brings us to that time  – the New Year – when I make my new list of goals.

Three things that you should know about me if you haven’t already gleaned this info:

1. I’m an overachiever. I know it and yet I find myself compelled to continue in my overachieving way. Doesn’t mean I always accomplish them, in fact, it’s often to the contrary.

2. If I don’t plan, I will drift aimlessly along never accomplishing anything, then beat myself up mentally over my lack of focus.

3. I’m seriously ADD and find it difficult to focus on much of anything for very long, hence why I change my themes regularly, digress in the middle of a five hundred word post, and am easily distracted by the next shiny.

So I have multiple categories,  varied topics, and the most consistent stream of conscious seems to be random madness. I didn’t do so well on this past year’s  goals. 2016 was not my best year in any stretch of the imagination. On to the new year, right? It isn’t going to do much good to keep pondering my failures. Learn from them and move on, which brings us to the present. A new shiny!

2017 Goals for Ellie:

  1. Publish 4 books. I’m not restricted by any small publishing house’s  whims or schedules. I have multiple files sitting in my folder with finished projects that are ready for an editor. Valkyrie’s Curse was finished  – so long ago I don’t even remember when. I went back over it in April of last year, making revisions and realized that I hadn’t really wrapped the story, which led to expanding it into a series. Revisions put it’s completion in July, and I was supposed to hand it off to Eclectic Bard at Penned Con before my contract ended.  I am really going to try to focus on one project at a time until completion so the order of release will be: 1)Roxy Sings the Blues, 2) Valkyrie’s Curse: The Awakening, 3) Eerie Isles Chronicles book 1, 4)The Piano.
  2. Blog 12 Times per Month. Goal 1 transitions into Goal 2 because after discussion with other authors, one of the  ‘hits’ of my categories was shared snippets of current writing. ( To include revisions as well.) I’m planning to be back on a regular blogging schedule and do NOT plan to be sick for five weeks straight ever again if I can help it.  But that’s just one topic, right? I mean there are so many other things –  bujo, food, fitness, current events,  and a myriad of things that may pop into my head from time to time. (Trust me, it’s better if you read them one at a time instead of the rapid-fire barrage that  exists inside my cranium.)
  3. Read 30 books. Down from my usual 50 but I still have to read. Consider it research and a job requirement.
  4. Lose 50 pounds. I hate where I am. I never wanted to be here, and yet here I am. This goal is the top priority and if I accomplish nothing else this year,  this one is a MUST. Fifty pounds doesn’t even get me to my goal weight,  but that’s  nearly a pound a week. If I lose more great, but I am currently not at any semblance of a healthy weight.
  5. Build my author’s website and integrate my blog there.
  6. Get our house ready to sell and move. This is a major undertaking as we’ve lived in the same house for 23 years and my husband is a packrat. I tend to procrastinate and avoid dealing with the stuff. We are surrounded by stuff and I can’t take it anymore. The austere living is becoming more and more appealing.
  7. Get my office set up. We’ve been over this so many times. Last time I shared pictures of the area that I worked my butt off ( unfortunately not literally) clearing out only to have that area filled with more stuff. It was disheartening. I haven’t made a lot of headway since then. It’s like getting your feet cut out from under you. Not just having the rug pulled,  but someone hacking your feet off and then having to continue. How can I make myself focus on a writing career as a business when I have to keep moving my laptop off of the table every single night? I need certain writing tools and stuff when I am writing. I need my reference materials, resources, notes, planner, and my to-do list. These end up stacked on the shelf that tops the short wall of our stairwell. For a visual, it’s a stack of clutter in the kitchen of an open floorplan home. This sets off my OCD-ness every day.

Seven goals for 2017. Streamlined tremendously from my 50 a couple of years ago. Should be simple enough to accomplish right? Simple but not easy.

It’s going to take a concerted effort in order to accomplish each one. It will require effort, a great deal of effort. I could use some encouraging along the way. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll cheer you on with your goals if you help me with mine. Deal? So what are your goals? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?

Write on my friends, write on!

Ellie