2019

You know what bugs me? That October is the 10th month, and not the 8th. The other ones not so much, but yeah. This is to the point where I confuse August and October when writing down the date. Just thought you all should know that.  Alas, we are not even there yet. First month of the year! Six days in. And I have already read two books. Sometimes you just need that break in your life. I went from nothing in November/December, and now I am hoping to get through four, maybe even five books this month.

Recently, I just finished The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. It was wonderful. I love that other cultures are entering the sci-fi/fantasy realm. There are so many creatures and stories around the world, and yet the genre seems to stick to the same old stuff a lot of the time. I tore through this book in two days, and am happy to hear I did it at a good time– the second book in the trilogy comes out this month. And it has been motivating toward my writing. Reading is honestly the best cure for writers block. Not a block in the sense of what to write, but more where to start fixing things in my draft. Or how to better approach the scenes I have been wanting to work on (exposition will be the death of me).

I also acquired the Alice Network by Kate Quinn on audiobook from the library. Depending on timing, I may have to return to that one at a later date, as I now have two books being released this month I desperately want to read. But so far I am really enjoying it. Trying really hard to jam in all the reading/writing/running I can into this month. February is looking, torturous. For my work-life balance that is. So right now I am sucking up as much life as humanly possible. Hopefully a vacation is on the horizon for early March. A little sun, wine, books, and Mom. A recipe for happiness.

It Was a Rebuilding Year

My Dad taught me this saying when I brought up how bad the Buffalo Bills were doing (I’m a Patriots fan. Yes, I know, you hate the Patriots). But I thought the saying really fit 2018 for me. perspective is everything and really, it wasn’t that bad of a year, it just left a lot to be desired. And for some people very close to me it was a bad year, and that clouds my judgement. I also have been pretty lucky to have some much more exiting years precede this one, so yeah, 2018. Bye. *Cough* Thank you, next *cough*

Honestly, it is already 2019 in my books. Christmas is over. All that excitement and movement, and now it is all done. Which I am okay with. I feel refreshed now. Did some cleaning, started my first book of next years goodreads goal, and planned out a few pages in my notebook/wannabe bullet journal. I am starting this year off the same way I did last year- with a depressing novel set during the Japanese occupation of Korea in WWII. Last year it was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, which I LOVED, and hated, but loved. So sad. But this one may top it sadness wise. I am reading White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lin Bracht. Told from the perspective of two sisters, one who is trapped by their body, and the other by their mind. So far I am really enjoying it. Ashamedly, this was not a party of history I really knew anything about. There is a lot about the worlds’ history I don’t know though.

2019 is going to be full of changes. This is not me being all resolution-y. A lot is going on with my job, not bad, but, ehhhhhh, not really good. For me. For the company it is good I’m sure.  I just Googled quotes about change. I really wanted to put something super inspirational here. If I was feeling smarter I would write my own. Then I found this. I’ve never heard of its author, but man, does she hit home.

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” – C. Joybell C.

People make fun of resolutions. I personally am a fan. The key is, to make a bunch of them, and the one is bound to come through, right? And you know what? So what if you don’t follow through. You tried. That is a step in the right direction. And maybe you will try again. And again. And one day, one day it will stick.  Like writing. Maybe, if I keep trying, it will stick 😛

 

Whooo Boy

What a week. What a month. So much has happened and none of it is the most exciting of things. Bus broke down on a NYC trip. Got a wisdom tooth out. Had a cold that turned into a sinus infection after said extraction. That turned into a three day migraine. But we are here, and for the most part healthy. At least I can finally think. That’s what I hate most about migraines, the fog. I can get some minor tasks done, and usually push myself through work. But that’s it. No reading and definitely no writing. And I can only really watch things I have seen before because I go in and out of focus.

I feel like I wasted a whole week, but I try not to meditate on that. Here, let’s have a throw back to my trip down to the city.

Some delicious coffee and hotteok (Korean doughnut/pancake full of wonderment). This was from Grace Street Cafe. I had wanted to venture there for a while now for this doughnut-like treat, but every time I am in the city it is usually such a rush. This time, all we did was eat. Had some delicious fried chicken, some traditional doughnuts, french fries, yakitori, dumplings, you name it. We also ventured down to The Strand, a pretty famous bookstore to boasts 18 miles of books. It is a fun place to get lost in. I didn’t buy anything, but a few special editions caught my eye.  Oh, can’t forget the Whopper Jr. I had at the rest stop while we waited for a new bus. I regretted that one as you can imagine.

The year is coming to a close, and I don’t know about you, but I can feel it. There is a lot of potential change on my horizon and I have my fingers crossed that it all works out (good changes!). I think the break from writing was needed, I am feeling super motivated, and hope a can get some work done tomorrow morning. I also have added a few books to my next years Goodreads challenge. I have pre-ordered the Wicked King by Holly Black, because she is one of my first loves, and I read everything by her. I also want to read the Alice Network by Kate Quinn and Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Those two have a lot of buzz going on about them, and though they wouldn’t be typical picks of mine, I will take their great reviews for something. It is also good to branch out into other genres. I did borrow Artemis by Andy Weir from the library, but, I don’t have much expectations for any finished books for the rest of 2018. Who knows, maybe I will surprise myself.

Halfway There

Through the month, that is. Don’t get me wrong, I am no where near my 50k words. I had a feeling that it was a pretty unrealistic expectation from the beginning, but the point is I have been making good (but slow) progress. I am at about 15k words right now, and my goal is to be at 25k at the end of the month. I also had the unrealistic goal to have my Christmas shopping done by before Thanksgiving. I have yet to get one gift. You ask what I am doing in my spare time? Beats me. But I am always busy. It is like that meme, bills, bills! What are we even paying? We don’t know! Except replace bills with doing.  Busy, busy! What are we even doing? We don’t know!IMG_20181116_122201_227

Yesterday I did this. I couldn’t help it, the snow was perfect. It was my alternative workout as I didn’t really want to go to the gym. At this point I am sure the roads were fine, but hey, less people on them the better. I think one of our deer stole the nose.

I did finish the first workbook in my language learning adventure though, and I am pretty impressed with myself on that. Usually I peter out come future tense. I think because this is the most difficult language I have tackled this far, and that it being nothing but hard is actually a benefit. Often at first everything is really fun and kind of easy, and then you get to the hard parts and it just kid of turns you away from the whole thing. This has not been the case. I am a little behind on vocab recognition, but a lot of the grammar I have down. If I keep going with it all I am going to attempt to take a proficiency test in the summer. Not that I need it for anything other than my own measurement of learning.

The rest of the month is going to fly by. I have been listing to a new YA release, What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. It is not bad, but I don’t think it is for me. I know a lot of people really liked it, but, I don’t know. Maybe I have finally outgrown the YA genre. Or just need a break. That’s alright. I have plenty to distract me. Like the fact that Ralph Breaks the Internet comes out next week. I cannot tell you how long I have waited for this movie. Wreck-it Ralph is one of my top 5 favorite movies. I even dressed up as Vanellope von Schweetz for the Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon a few years ago. Needless to say, I will be there opening night! Happy Thanksgiving.

Day One

For those of you who don’t know, yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am attempting to participate with my current WIP. The challenge is to write 50k words in the month of November. This would really get me close to a full draft. I have been procrastinating the last 3/4ths of my story. My first quarter is pretty strong, and has been for a while. The rest of the story, not so much. There is a decent amount written, but I have changed  the subplots so many times that I am basically starting fresh. Hence that outline.

Did I write anything yesterday? Sure did. But first, let me tell you everything I got done before sitting down to write (It was my day off yesterday). Let me say, the house is sparkling. I think I did every chore under the sun, even some more obscure ones like cleaning out the fridge. Then I studied for a solid two hours (teaching myself another language). Then, finally at around noon, I sat down to write. On and off till about 10pm. I got a little over 3k words, which is good but not great. I need to average 1667 words a day to reach 50k. And there are some days were writing is just not going to happen this month. Thanksgiving, a trip to the city one day, a concert coming up. I am hoping this weekend I can knock out 10k so I can get a good head start. As long as I can stay ahead, I think I will be able to do it. It is the catching up part I struggle with, and it could cause my writing to become sloppy.

On a side note I’ve had some pretty rocking music to listen to while working. My Mom made me a ‘Happy Songs’ playlist on Spotify. I had requested that she compile a list of songs for me that just sounded happy. The words don’t necessarily have to follow suit, but I wanted something to put me in a good mood/give me a bit of nostalgia for the old days. My favorite song on the list so far is Paul Simon’s Kodachrome. I always forget how much I love his music. There are 67 songs on the list so far. Impressive. My longest created playlist is 28. My shortest playlist is 0, titled ‘I’m Cool, I’m Hip’. I wanted to make one to play in the car with my friends, since most of them are not fans of techno. Clearly that did not go well.

A Song or Twenty

This past weekend was my Dad’s birthday. Normally, I really struggle with what to get him. This year though, I had just the thing. A songbook/sheet music to Matchbox Twenty’s first album, Yourself or Someone Like You. As I said before, I am a huge fan. It is something unique I share in common with both my Mom and Dad, who are two very, very, different people. And I am not quite sure where it came from. The soft rock genre doesn’t do much for me. But here I am, letting MB20 commandeer a blog post finally.

My Dad plays the guitar and can sing pretty good for someone who has never had any formal vocal lessons. I, on the other hand, have no musical aptitude. That skipped me and went to the next child in the birth order. But we both have an appreciation for words, and the feelings that they convey. My Mom too. Maybe that’s why we have MB20 in common. I have mentioned the song Rest Stop before. It is one of the most powerful, sad songs I know. It was the song Dad and I talked about the other night. I had debated between either the book for the first album or the second, but went with the first since the latter is much darker. We could both quote the lyrics.

“She said, while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you’re dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn’t care”

I don’t have to describe the feeling. You either know it or you don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of other songs vying for ‘saddest’, but I think this one takes the cake.

In other, happier news, I started two new books. Mystery by Peter Straub and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Both were recommended to me by family members. I am very determined to get through Mystery. I have yet to finish a book suggested by my Mom, which greatly shows my inexperience with reading. I am finally getting to a point where I can push through uninteresting sections in stories, where before I would just quit. They are both supposed to be twisty books, so I am excited to see them through.

And in writing news, I finally finished that outline. Did I mention how important those were to keep up with? I did? Well, it would have saved me a lot of time if I just listened to my own advice. I plan on doing NaNoWriMo next month, but I am not sure if I should do it with my current WIP, or the other one I have. The problem with doing it on my current WIP is that I already have about 60k typed, and it would be hard to gauge what is new. Sigh. I am sure I can figure it out. Just making excuses here. I don’t have enough experience to work fully on two stories at once. Hopefully one day I will get there.

 

Outlines, who knew?

Why didn’t I do this earlier? I know why. Because I’m lazy. Seriously though, I spent the weekend writing an new outline for my WIP, and then I started one for my second story. I had one from before, but so much has changed that it is practically invalid. It really does help to see everything laid out. How some scenes that I put in certain sections can actually work better in others. Especially with having three POV’s. I struggle with knowing whose is the best to write from. For the most part my three main characters are always together, so I use it more as a form of character development than a story telling vessel. Because no matter what the story will get told.

For my second story, I get so afraid that if I start working on it, the first one will get ignored. But on the flip side, it has seemed to only help me more. I think it’s because now I don’t feel like I have to jam everything I want into my first story.  Knowing that I can have a character who is, I don’t know, really into music. My characters right now are pretty far along in their development. I feel like if I just add a hobby in there, it will seem forced and unnecessary (because it is). But in my other story, that can be one of the things that defines one of my characters. If that makes sense. Being a newb at this just makes me want to write about every exciting thing that has ever existed. Ever.

Also, new sites to add to my block list, ones with song lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I have no musical ability whatsoever. But tonight I really wanted to work on my rendition of Handlebars by the Flobots and Nico And The Niners by Twenty One Pilots. I usually listen to Tycho when writing so I don’t get distracted by lyrics. Now we know why. Anyway, moral of the story, outlines are awesome, sing to your hearts content. Also, don’t drink chai at 8pm. Thinking I am going to regret that one.