NaNo 2018, Day 1

NaNo 2018 for the win! I think I can, I think I can, I know I can!

I wasn’t going to do NaNo this year because I have so many projects on my plate, and I’ve been frozen into a state of near-perpetual writer’s/editor’s block for months. In the last year and a half at work my project load has at least doubled, and I find myself spending more time chasing notes and trying to figure out where I am in the process than spending time actually editing (I work full-time as a copyeditor). Instead of shutting down my computer at the end of the day and feeling like I’ve accomplished anything, I just feel like I’m more covered in virtual piles of paper. It’s not good for the soul. I want to finish something!

And so on that note, with so much to do already, I had a bit of arm-twisting from my fellow authors at Corrugated Sky. I tried to resist, but it’s too hard to swim against the tide, and the “I would like to, but…” excuse was replaced with “Well, maybe…” until there was just no avoiding it. So here I am. NaNo 2018, Day 1. I have a 181-word description of what I’m going to write, and that’s pretty much it so far.

It occurred to me that if I do NaNo, I will finish it — because every time I’ve done NaNo I finish it. I’m hoping that freight-train of writing momentum that NaNo ushers in just might unstick me from the other freelance projects I have going. Kind of like riding a bike, you know? The faster you go, the easier it is to find balance. Whether moving forward on my personal projects helps me at work is another issue, but a positive attitude never hurts work morale! And so, on that note of I’m-going-to-get-things-done, I’m off to start my NaNo project.

Good luck to everyone who’s accepted the challenge this year!

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I’m Stuck on Glue

I bought a Cricut cutting machine earlier this year and I haven’t had much time to get to work with it, but I decided to make the paper hearse and coffin project for the Corrugated Sky book table at HallowRead. I cut the pieces out last week and they’ve been dutifully collecting dust, but last night I started assembling the coffin. I had some double-sided tape and thought that would be less messy than white glue, so I cut some teeny pieces and stuck the coffin and its lid together.

And then this morning I found the piece sprung apart. Either the tape is just so old it’s dried out, or it’s just not strong enough for assembling card stock projects. I tried putting larger pieces of tape on the coffin, but that lasted only a little while before it gave up the ghost (ha ha). So, out came the ol’ reliable Elmer’s glue. Though I must say I probably got more glue on my fingers than the card stock, even though I tried to be neat about it. I guess that’s what I get for starting detail-oriented art projects at 11:53 p.m.

I have three pieces of the hearse together and need to finish it tomorrow. Thursday night is for getting ourselves organized for the event and having dinner and just relaxing. Friday is writing workshops, so we don’t really have to have our table stuff ready until Saturday, when we’ll be signing and selling books. We’ll also have some themed bookmarks to tie in to our book subjects.

HallowRead 2018

In just over a week I’ll be at HallowRead in Ellicott City with my Corrugated Sky coauthors. The event runs on Friday and Saturday and we’ll be donating an autographed copy of Tales of the Black Dog to be given away. We’ll also have a table set up for selling our books.

On Friday there are writing workshops and on Saturday there’s a whole line-up of presentations and panels, including “Steam Work Makes the Dream Work,” a panel on Steampunk. I’ll be taking part on the panel, which runs from 12:00 to 12:45.

 

 

Biting the Bullet (journal)

And so, I’ve finally succumbed to the siren song of the bullet journal. I have a gorgeous new fountain pen, Marvy LePens, highlighters, drawing pencils, colored pencils, stamp pads, and more gel pens than you can shake the proverbial stick at. And I have an orange Rhodia journal just waiting for my words of wisdom to be deposited within its dot-gridded leaves.

This summer has been atrocious. The weather has alternated between monsoon-like rain and heat indexes that make me swoon just looking at the numbers. And work has been so busy I feel like I can’t breathe. My week of vacation came and went and I’m wondering if it ever really happened or was a figment of my imagination. But what isn’t imaginary is the amount of writing and editing projects I have on my to-do list. I’m floundering and starting to panic. What I need is to get my projects organized and establish deadlines.

Deadlines may be a nightmare to some, but they can be a writer’s friend. The trick is to make them work for you. Establishing priorities and due dates means that I can focus on one thing and ignore the rest because the rest of those things will get taken care of later. Meanwhile, my one and only project gets my undivided attention. Or at least, that is how it’s supposed to work. I haven’t been a paragon of planning virtue this year and I’m wasting more time worrying about what I need to get done than it would take to do the tasks ten times over.

Enter the bullet journal (and Trello). I’ve been considering the journal for some time, as it’s a way to keep track of things, plan, keep my idea lists in one place, and play with art supplies and feed my inner artist. I’ve had the Trello app for awhile but I haven’t done much with it. Today I started setting up a Trello board for my writing projects and labeling them. The bullet journal is going to be for more general items, as well as project lists.

I’m a bit stuck setting up my bullet journal’s “future list,” so I turned to the internet for ideas. Website after website, the layout seems to be the same, the fonts are frilly scripts, and I can’t help but notice it’s mostly girls doing this stuff. Yeah, I’m a girl, too, but it just seems odd, especially given that the inventor of the bullet journal is a guy. Why aren’t the men doing more planning? Or are their bullet-journal websites just buried on page 629 of the search list? Or are they so busy doing that they aren’t planning?

So far, I’ve drawn a few lines, marked two pages as “index,” created three “signifiers,” and put some page numbers in the bullet journal. It’s a start!