Running through the Year

My first attempt at acrylic painting. In case it’s not obvious, the red things are pears. And don’t ask why one of them is standing up!

I’m trying to get back into running. No, scratch that. I am getting back into running. I signed up for a 10K virtual race this time. No 5K — just straight into a 10K. Well, I haven’t been running, and the race is scheduled to be live in just three weeks, so I don’t have much time to train. That means, of course, that I’m going to be doing a lot more walking than I am running. The biggest issue is going to be just dealing with the time, because music, audiobooks, or story line for the race aside, the treadmill gets boring very quickly. But I have a list a mile long of why I won’t run in the neighborhood, and why I don’t want to drive to a park to do my running. So, treadmill it is.

The race is the Run to the Deep and I already have the tank top in hand (because who can resist a kraken?), but I won’t wear it until the official race. That’s going to be my reward for training and seeing the race through. After the race I’ll likely drop back and do some additional foundation work, aiming to keep building muscle and adding in some sprints to get my speed up. I’ve only been training about two and a half weeks, but I can feel a difference in my legs already.

In writing news, we’ve begun working on stories for our third Corrugated Sky anthology, which we hope to release in September. I can tell you that the theme is zombies, but you’ll have to buy the book to read the stories. I’ll keep posting updates as the projects progress. Meanwhile, I’m finishing up the cover art for Seacombe Island and doing a final read-through to catch any typos or other issues. The novel should be ready for release in early March and I’ll keep you up-to-date on its progress. We also have some other novels in the works, and a writer’s journal series that is currently under development. In all, we are hoping to release five new titles this year, so it’s going to be a busy spring and summer!

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The Year of Numbers

numbersThis year I’ve set some pretty ambitious goals for my writing and reading. I need to set some exercise goals, too, but that’s more difficult for me because I’m less fluent in knowing what exercises I need and how much. So far I’ve decided to read 50 books this year and write 240,000 words. I’ve signed up for the Zombies, Run! virtual spring race, too, so I need to get back into running training.

I’ve found that the more I slack off the less I get done. Maybe it’s because there is no sense of urgency because there are no deadlines. Crochet projects fall to the back of the closet and get forgotten. Other art projects disappear under piles of paper. The one thing I am really good about is maintaining my reading schedule, but I find that when I push myself to write every day I tend to find ways to avoid doing it. I don’t think it’s writing itself, but if I am working on a particular project and I get stuck then I just find ways of weaseling out of the task. And the more frustrated I get with other things in life the more likely that writing and other productive things get ignored.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t meet my writing project deadlines. I’ve only asked for two extensions on more than sixty encyclopedia articles, and I gave my editor a heads-up. It’s not the same as letting deadline go by without taking notice of it. I’ve never been late on term papers, either. When I need to I can pump out some words. It’s just a matter of lighting that fire under my chair and typing, typing, typing, until the work gets done.

So, my ambitious goals mean that I need to plan out my work and set reasonable numbers for myself. Nearly a quarter of a million words seems ridiculous, but it will include editing. I’m just not ready to count 1,000 words per hour as recommended by the good folks at NaNoWriMo; perhaps 500 would be more reasonable for me, judging by past rewriting and editing experience. I’m calculating on doing NaNo again this year, so that will be 50,000 words. Then I need 190,000 words in 48 weeks, so I’m setting a weekly goal of 4,000 words. I’m doing well despite a few days of ignoring the keyboard: I have 6743 words written since the beginning of the year and I’ve finished reading two books. Here’s to determination!

I Wanna Be a Pumpkin

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.

I drew this pumpkin first as a pencil sketch and then scanned it and colored the line art in Photoshop.

 

I’ve ignored my blog for some time now. I could use the excuse that I’ve been busy, but I have really been wasting a lot of the free time that I do have. Part of it is stress, but I’m also finding some other creative things to do and so I’ve spent some time away from the computer. Look, I sit in front of the computer 12 hours a day already, so I really need to do something else. Unfortunately most of “what else” I do is on the computer.

I registered for a Zombies, Run! virtual race that’s coming up in April and I have done no training. I suppose I’ll be walking most of it, but my goal is to finish the 5K in under an hour. I’ve also signed up for a couple of noncredit online classes, including one on making comic books. It’s “How to Make a Comic Book” on Coursera, and the instructor leading the course is Patrick Yurick. The pumpkin started out as a pencil sketch for the first week of the class and I colored it electronically to add some pizzazz and made it my avatar.

And I also signed up for a quill-along with Erin Perkins Curet of Little Circles, so I’ll be making a peacock mosaic just for fun. Quilling is making art with little rolls of paper, which can be a simple flower or a complex mosaic or even 3D artwork. I did quilling a long time ago when I was a kid and then put it aside, but I still have a 3D paper dragon I made that has survived a house fire and a tornado. (Of course! Dragons are tough.)

This week is for getting back into my writing projects. I’ve been hammered at work and so mentally fatigued that I’ve spent most of my time playing Guild Wars 2 instead of writing. But now with this blog post under my belt I can say that I’m back in the saddle, so today is about taking stock of my works in progress and moving forward.

Have a productive, creative day, everyone!

Running from zombies … again

I started the Zombies, Run! 5K training program again this January and I’ve been struggling to get to a point where I’m truly consistent with the workouts. I know I should do the exercises first thing in the morning to avoid having things during the day mess up my schedule, but it just doesn’t happen.

It also doesn’t help that some days I work downtown and some days I telecommute, and on those days I work at home I sure don’t get up at 5:20 a.m.! Worse, I’m having trouble with insomnia and I go to bed and toss and turn and thrash for about three hours before I fall asleep. I don’t want to take sleeping pills, but I’ve got to get a handle on my schedule.

I think the running is helping with that, so the more consistent I can get the better off I’ll be all around. I’m still running slowly — 2.7 mph is the speed I use for my runs, but it lets me complete all of the runs without dropping to a walk. Today I just finished the Week 5, Workout 2 of the training program.

I’d hoped to finish the 8-week program by the end of March but now it looks like I’ll need the first week in April to complete it, but that’s okay. I’m satisfied with my progress right now because I am running and the slow speed is keeping shin splints at bay. I’ve scheduled my next run for Tuesday and on Thursday I’ll begin the week 6 workouts.