New Year’s Resolutions

squirrel-chill

New Year’s Resolutions

Can’t ever seem to follow them, can’t ever seem to stop making them.

New Years is a symbolic time, when we flip over that new calendar page to reveal a bright shiny new year, unblemished by the hangover of toils and tribulations and all the baggage of the last year.  It’s a brand new year, a do-over of sorts, when we get a fresh start.  So naturally, all that bleeping optimism leads us to make New Year’s resolutions, that if we are being realistic, we know we aren’t going to keep.

But, when turning over that new calendar page, optimism gets hold of me and I can’t help myself; I make resolutions in January that will be blown all to heck by February.

I made all the ubiquitous ones:  Lose weight; blog more; be nicer to squirrels; exercise; make friends with Twitter; finish that WIP…

All the ones I made last year and didn’t follow through with.

So I asked myself what the problem was?  Why can’t I follow through on all those lovely good intentions?

The problem isn’t my work ethic. I don’t have a problem with hard work.  There could be a whole host of psychological factors, perfectionism, procrastination, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of squirrels, fear of successful perfect squirrels…

But I think what it comes down to is a lack of focus.  I joke about having too many plates spinning at one time, and being like the circus clown trying to keep them all from crashing down, and that’s not too far from the truth. (Especially the clown hair that goes with the image.)

I do a pretty good job keeping things spinning most days, but at the end, I haven’t made much progress toward goals.  I feel like an eight horse hitch with all the horses pulling in a different direction.  Lots of work, not much progress.

So, this year, I decided in addition to making a detailed list I would work on a concept for the year. 

FOCUS.

(with a nod to Jennifer Grayson who got me thinking about this)

I do have lots of goals, but this year I’m going to narrow my focus to a few of them, and ask myself if the action I’m doing now helps to move me forward to that goal and the end result.

So how does that fit into blogging?  One of the key goals I have for 2013 is to devote more time to building relationships both here in the cyber world and out there in the real world.  There are a lot of really cool people out there and I miss interacting with you.

Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any tips on maintaining focus throughout the trials and tribulations of daily life, I’d love to hear them.

That and if you have any tips for getting a squirrel out of your ceiling tile.  I’m not joking.  Maybe if I could teach the little varmint to spin plates in a clown suit…

A “look” at my WIP

So, my good friend and crit partner, Tameri Etherton,(who has an absolutely appaling lack of respect for my very narrow comfort zone-just sayin’)   tagged me in a new meme that is making the rounds. 

The challenge is to share an excerpt with the work ‘look’ in the title.  Hence the title of the post…oh never mind, time to stop stalling.

I did find one paragraph in the rough draft that had “look”  four times…yeah, gonna revise that one ASAP, lol!

In this excerpt of the currently untitled work my protagonist, Elieana, has been kidnapped by outlaws who plan to use her to revenge themselves upon her father, the king.

The new arrival pushed back his hood, and even in the moonlight Elieana could see that he was scarcely more than a boy, maybe 15 or 16.  Slender and wiry, he had the animal grace of someone well used to living on the edge.  His hair was a tousled mop of dirty blond clumps and pieces, and it looked like it had been a good long time since it had seen a proper washing.

But his eyes…if she thought her captor bore her an intense hatred, this boy made him seem loving and kind.  Elieana hadn’t realized blue eyes could burn so intensely.

“Well, well, well.  Now here’s a ripe plum.  Shaking like a little rabbit, isn’t she? Wouldn’t expect that filthy coward to have a spawn with any backbone, though. Let’s just cut her throat now and be done with it.”  He pulled a knife every bit as deadly looking as the one Elieana had become well acquainted with earlier and crouched down in front of her.

That’s it for now!  Thanks for tagging me, Tameri!

( I know I should tag someone else, but I have to confess I’ve been living under a rock for the last couple of weeks and don’t know who’s doing what these days. I reserve the right to ambush tag later!)

Gotta run, someone just brought me a sheep!

ROW 80 check in

My goals for the  check in period between March 1 and March 7:  Updates in bold

1.  Complete outline for workshop book.

Newp, didn’t happen.  But I have a lot of notes, and it should not be too difficult to doIf I get the freaking thing started.  But the other stuff is so shiney!!  Squirrel!!

2. Read two of the easier reads on my Magical March list.  (I’m saving Game of Thrones for later in case I decide I can’t live without knowing What Happens Next.)

Got one down and started on the second.

3.  Get a jump on the writing class homework so I don’t get left behind and play catch up.  Complete any assignments within 3 days.

Currently up to date on all assignments, which did include introductions, and was easy because I do know my name.  Most days.

4. Continue to stretch my daily word count to between 800 and 1200.  Any form of writing except emails and blog replies counts.  Blog posts, homework, book outline, all are on the good list.

Didn’t keep good track here, but I did write daily.

5.  Finish synopsis of my novel and figure out what the next step is there.

Just finished it five minutes ago and sent it off to my crit team.

6.  Make it back around the blog o sphere and check in with my peeps, who hopefully haven’t forgotten me!  Comment on three blogs every day for the next week.

Again, I lost count, but I did make it around and check in with my peeps and I’m pretty sure I got more than three in daily.

 

For the next check in period, I’m going to keep Rowing in the same boat (hahaha it’s 12:49 a.m. and I can’t sleep and apparently think I’m freaking hilarious).

1.  Write the damn outline. Get that monkey off my back and bury it!

2. Two of the easier reads on my list.

3. Continue to rock it on my class assignments.

4.  Keep a bit better track of my wordcount, but bottom line to do something writerly every day.

5.  Won’t do much more on the synopsis until I get feedback from the team.

6.  Continue with the visit/comment 3 blogs daily.

How did you all do this week?  It kind of felt really awesome to be back in the groove again.  I’m headed for bed to try to salvage a couple hours before the 4:30 alarm calls. shrieks.  Hang in there, peeps!

The above is a repeat of a post I did for the ROW 80 challenge. Be nice to yourselves, peeps, or I’ll send my friend after you!

A Round of Words in 80 Days

 

Until about a couple of years ago I pretty much existed in a writing vacuum.  I didn’t know hardly any other writers.  I hid anything I did write behind a ridiculous pseudonym and refused to put myself ‘out there’ for fear of ridicule and rejection.  But I finally realized that if I were going to actually write and get published, then that was going to be part of the game and I could either get in and play, or continue to ride the bench.

So I cautiously edged out of my comfort zone, took a few online classes, actually stopped using that fake name as my email address, and edged my way into the community of writers.

What do you know…no one sent me packing and told me to go back home where I belong!

I learned that the doubt, insecurity, fear and fragile optimism that I felt, nearly…

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ROW 80 Check In

*blink, blink*  Wow, that light is bright.   *sneezes*  Sorry about all that dust, peeps.

It’s been way too long since I touched base with my goals.

I seemed to sprain something this last month.  I had been pushing myself harder and harder, at least mentally, and I think I suffered from sort of a writing related training injury,  sprained my muse or something like that.  So, much as we hate it, the only solution for a sprain is to rest it until it heals up, and then take it easy until it’s back to full strength.

In the last month, however, while I was “resting” I did complete an article for publication that a magazine had requested, something that they will even pay me real money for!  No beads or trinkets, actual cash that I can use to buy books groceries with, and that ain’t nuthin.

March is looking to be a very busy month.  I’m putting on a workshop in April, and it’s up to me to write the book that goes with it.  I entered another reading challenge, this time committing to read 5 books over at The Roof Beam Reader’s Magical March challenge.  Oh, and my dumb ass signed up for three online writing workshops. What was that I said about taking it easy until things heal?  Monkey don’t learn.

But I have learned a bit about myself recently, and about pacing.  I’ve almost figured out how to make it all work without losing it and sitting in the corner crying and eating crayons.  I actually got that article completed on time and didn’t bite anyone in the process!  So, it’s time to try my speshul new pacing skills out on what I’m calling my Madness March.  (hmm, why does that phrase sound vaguely familiar?)

My goals for the next check in period between March 1 and March 7:

1.  Complete outline for workshop book.

2. Read two of the easier reads on my Magical March list.  (I’m saving Game of Thrones for later in case I decide I can’t live without knowing What Happens Next.)

3.  Get a jump on the writing class homework so I don’t get left behind and play catch up.  Complete any assignments within 3 days.

4. Continue to stretch my daily word count to between 800 and 1200.  Any form of writing except emails and blog replies counts.  Blog posts, homework, book outline, all are on the good list.

5.  Finish synopsis of my novel and figure out what the next step is there.

6.  Make it back around the blog o sphere and check in with my peeps, who hopefully haven’t forgotten me!  Comment on three blogs every day for the next week.

Well, that should do it for me.  How is everyone else doing?  I’ve seen several of you rocking it, good on you!

Take care and check in if you get a chance!

Sunday Horse Day! Mello’s Training Diary

Hello, everyone!  This is Mello, you met me a few weeks ago.  I’m Callene’s AQHA stud horse.  I guess the elegant term is stallion, but personally I just like the way “stud” sounds.  Kinda macho!  Of course, I’m actually a big marshmello, (ha! punny of me!  I have a great sense of humor!) but don’t tell anyone.

I have to tell you how I got my name.  I was born when West Nile Virus was becoming a problem in the US.  According to Mom, that virus can make us horses really sick, I don’t know about it because Mom takes really good care of us and it hasn’t been a problem for any of us here at the farm.  But anyway, apparently one of the signs of that sickness is that you are really lethargic.  (Mom says that word means you just lay around and don’t feel good.) So, I was so cool and mello (ha! check my humor!) as a baby that everyone thought I was sick and had that West Nile thing.  It was only that I just knew I was safe and in a good place, and both my horse mom and my human mom took such good care of me, I didn’t have anything to worry about so why get upset?  The farrier actually argued with Mom about it, can you believe it?  Mom is always right, pity the fool who forgets that.  We have a new farrier now.

Was I cute or what?!?!

So, I’ve gotten to the ripe old age of eight (so Mom says, I can’t count all that well!) without being trained to pack a human around.  Personally, I’m okay with that, but Mom has decided I need to have some basic job skills and at least “earn my keep” by packing her around from time to time.  I was okay with the breeding thing being my bread and butter, but that action hasn’t  been very regular so I guess it beats anything else I could do.  She isn’t too heavy, although she thinks she’s “fluffy”, whatever that means.

Anyway.  Mom has decreed that Sundays will be my training day, at least while it’s still dark when she comes home from work.  I’m glad she wants to spend time with me, but I’m not sure about that whole job thing.  We’ll see how it goes.  I personally would prefer to just laze around between feedings, and think about Quarter Horse mares with big, foal bearing hips, but I’ll give it a shot.  I’m a “stud” so I’m sure I will do well at everything.

Today we went out to the round pen for some training.  It was a beautiful February day, so you have to make the most of those for sure.

But before I got to the round pen I got a little excited and almost got into trouble.  When we went through the gate to the pasture with the round pen, I thought I was just getting turned out to stretch my legs and I ran off from Mom!  Dragging my lead rope and everything!  Fortunately, I ran so fast I didn’t drag it or step on it, because Mom would have been MAD if I had broken my halter. ( I know she would have been more mad if I had hurt myself, but don’t tell her I knew that!)   I’m sure I was quite impressive to the cars going by, I like to give them a good show when the opportunity comes up.  Mom was a little ticked, but she said it was her fault for forgetting I was probably going to be a little fresh.  I don’t know how she forgot, since as a bona-fide “stud” I’m pretty fresh most of the time!  I like sniffing things.  A lot.

I'm too sexy for my self, so sexy it hurts!

Anyway, once I realized I had goofed, and that she really meant “whoa” when she said it, I stopped and we got started again with the real round pen thing.  I’m working on my “transitions”, which is a fancy way of saying going from a walk to a trot and back again when Mom says to.  Mom’s really the alpha mare around here, so I don’t know why I wouldn’t want to do exactly what she said to.  I’m pretty smart and mom really has to watch her body language, because I can almost read her mind and tell what she’s going to ask me to do before she asks!  I guess being a “stud” makes me really smart.  Mom even said I did good, considering it’s been quite a while since we worked on anything important.

Mom is busy taking care of some of the other animals around here now, so I thought I’d borrow her laptop for a while and chat with you all.  She says she really loves some of her online friends, so I thought I would say hi.  You should have seen me going in the house to get the laptop!  It was quite an adventure!  And typing was a bit difficult for my hooves, but I’m very smart because I’m a “stud”, doncha know.

If you would like to hear more about how this job training thing goes, please leave a comment.  And, if you want to tell Mom to just let me do the whole “stud” thing full-time, I would love that too!  Oops!  Better run!  Mom’s coming! Take care, all  you two-leggeds!

What the—why is my laptop out on the deck?  And horse hair all over my keyboard!  Mello!  You are the only one around here with that color hair, don’t bat your big brown eyes at me!  OMG, he got on the internet!  Good thing he didn’t have my credit card, heaven only knows what he would have bought!   Is that a website for pony blow up dolls?!  Holy crap.  Seriously, I need to put a double snap on his gate!  Sorry about that folks, hope he wasn’t too much of a pest.  It’s really hard to stay mad at the goofball.  Stupid stud horses. Gotta love em.