Journal

Friday Update: The Day that Wasn’t Friday

This was an insane writing week. I’ve really been holding myself to the 500/day on the novel, which (thanks to some stellar naps and possibly a shift towards more predictable one-a-day naps) ended up almost always hitting closer to 1k/day, but I also had fun writing a side “just for fun” project idea one day, which kicked me up over 2k for the day (which is insane). I owe myself a shiny star sticker. (I need to get back into rewarding myself with stickers–they’re so fun and shiny and make me feel awesome!)

All told, I wrote almost 6k this week. SIX THOUSAND WORDS. And that “almost” may actually be “did,” because I forgot to record my word count Thursday, but I know I hit 500 that day, at least, so it defaults to 500 (for shame!)

It was a good week, habits-wise, though. There were several days when I just did. not. want. to.–whether for writing or exercising–and I still managed to get my crap done. At this point, I’m just trying for consistency, not excellency. (On Friday, I whined and whined and whined through my whole exercise regimen, but it GOT DONE.) I also finished a couple books (The Color of Magic, and The White Mountains with B-Bug), which means my nightly routine of getting Goldbug down to bed, and then reading after he’s asleep seems to be helping build up my available reading time. I also started reading Story Engineering by Larry Brooks, and while he’s occasionally somewhat bitter-sounding, there have been some wonderful insights into storytelling and what makes stories tick. Here’s hoping I can internalize some of these ideas and apply them to my WIP (and more usefully, to the next ones!).

Otherwise, life chugs on, slowly but surely, and deeper into the wilds of 2021. Andy’s due for his second vaccine this next week, so fingers crossed he doesn’t have too terrible of a reaction, because he’s still planning on working the next day. We’ll see how that goes!

Also, I found out that my dark flash story about the horrors of those first weeks of motherhood, “More than Instinct,” is going live on Daily Science Fiction on Wednesday (February 3rd), so I’m quite excited about that! Woohoo! I’ll post a link day-of, but I’m excited that it’s got a specific release date now.

Hang in there, and be extra kind to yourself! It’s not over yet, but there’s at least some movement in the right direction. :)

Journal

Friday Update: It’s Updates All the Way Down

Happy Friday, everybody! It’s funny, even not bound to the 8-5 workday, I still get so excited for Friday. My schedule on the weekend literally doesn’t change–Goldbug still lives by his routine–and other than other people not working (aka more adult conversation), Saturday and Sunday are technically speaking no different from Tuesday or Thursday.

But I’m still conditioned to FEEL like it’s a weekend! XD What a mad, mad world.

Anyway, this week chugged along. I’ve been setting a goal of 500/day on the novel to keep up with course requirements, and most days that’s been doable. I’ve only had to do it twice on my phone (blech!) stuck under a snoozing baby because I’m pretty sure he’s toothing again (yay!) so naps have been tough and unpredictable. My thumb gets tired. But other than today, when I added 400 to my current short story WIP instead of the novel (I got 1k+ twice earlier in the week, so no time lost, and I hit a spot I need to think about a bit before progressing), I hit my goals. I’d love to find a way to fit more short story editing into the weeks, but that’s still eluding me so far. :/

But I’m officially signed up for the Write Your Novel course at AWC that starts in March! I’m so excited. I’ve been banging my head against a wall on the continuing development of this novel, so knowing that I’ll have an experienced mentor kind of guiding me through the process is exactly what I need right now. I don’t want to waste years more trying to muscle through blind, so here’s hoping it offers some clarity. All the courses I’ve taken from AWC so far have been incredibly helpful, filling in a lot of gaps in my writing toolkit. So I’m optimistic. It took some thinking (and some humility!) to choose the 12-month course rather than the 6-mo. Originally, I’d hoped to get this draft wrapped up as fast as possible, but with the inevitable complications of having a 1yo and amidst the pandemic, and after experiencing the workload for the Novel Writing Essentials course, I realized there was no way I’d keep up with the 6-month workload. I need all the time I can get. But hopefully a year from now I’ll have a fairly functional second/third draft of this thing that I can finally focus on fine-tuning (rather than applying another Sledgehammer Special…)

Finished two books this week: a reread of Atomic Habits by James Clear (soooo good), and You Are Not Your Writing by Angela Slatter (chock full of no-nonsense, don’t-be-precious mavensense (yes, I just made that up: n. A specialist’s version of common sense, garnered through years of hands-on experience.). This week we’re giving some focused time to The Color of Magic by the inimitable Sir Terry Pratchett, and The White Mountains by John Christopher (with B-Bug). I’m also tempted to reread The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry, but weeeeeee’lllll seeeeeee…

Stay safe! Stay healthy! And hugs all around!

Journal

(Belated) Friday Update: Highs, Lows, and the Rise and Fall of Femmeputer

It was the best of weeks; it was the worst of weeks. Some of the highs came on days that seemed like they’d be the lows, and some of the lows came on days that seemed pre-destined to be highs.

I

No-nap day, which I managed to muscle through and produce 340 words despite the fact that the baby didn’t sleep, the computer battery was dead, and I didn’t have access to any of the notes I needed. HIGH! Made me feel like a million bucks to get those words.

II

Baby napped for a dreamy two hours, and I not only got my exercise in, but also went through my assignment for the Novel Writing Essentials course I’m taking, buffing it up to a beautiful polish. THEN, femmeputer crapped out, deleted everything, and left me rage-screaming into a pillow. (Yes, I’m fully aware that that was immature. Yes, I realize it’s probably just evidence of pandemic-stress-buildup hitting that final straw. And, yes, I realize I did everything I tell my nearly 7yo not to do when he’s frustrated, so I am humbler today than I was yesterday.)

But, I *also* received Femmeputer 2.0 yesterday (sooooo shiny!), so perhaps Femmeputer 1.0 was simply trying to Harry and the Hendersons me: Go on! Get out of here! It’s been ten years! I don’t want to work for you anymore! I hate you! I’ll delete your stuff, you rotten writer! JUST GO! *sobs with love*

Anyway… I’m doing better now. I’ve got most of my documents for WIPs on the new computer, which is snappy and slick and not bogged down by bloatware and years of slo-mo videos. It’s a fresh start, and I’m looking forward to writing SO MANY BOOKS on this thing.

But the old Femmeputer served me well for years and years and years. She just couldn’t anymore, and I’ve forgiven her for her glitching out yesterday. Long Live Femmeputer!

Today I’ve had entirely too much caffeine and an incredibly intense game of Splendor (which if you haven’t played, holy crap, do!), and I’m looking forward to a slower pace. I’m going to try either today or tomorrow to get the Jules Verne story locked down, so we’ll see how that goes. At least this week I managed to write 3,980 words, so not too shabby, even with yesterday’s freakout. One day at a time, ammiright? XD

Journal

Notes from a Poly-Reader: JANUARY 2021

And so begins a new year, and with it, THE GREAT PURGE. When you read a lot of books simultaneously, inevitably there are going to be some that just don’t cut the mustard. Maybe I’m just not in the right mood for them. Maybe I just didn’t have time when I picked something up, and too much time has passed, or the reason I picked it up has gone away, or any vast number of reasons a book falls out of circulation. Instead of keeping deadwood in my “currently reading” list (or feeling guilty about a growing list of books I am really not motivated to read), every year in January I re-evaluate my stack and decide what to keep moving forward and what to jettison.

Currently Reading, as of December 2020:

A couple of these books have been on the list for a while, but some are relatively new. The Color of Magic is one I really need to pick up again–it just wasn’t a priority, though it’s a fun read, and I could use a fun read. Dad is Fat has been on the list for a long time, primarily because for some reason audiobooks have been really tough to fit into my day. I may try listening to audiobooks more this coming year (I love them, really!), maybe during Goldbug’s second nap. I’ve got a bunch of others I’ve collected, and I really need my Vorkosagan Saga fix…

The White Mountains will be easy to wrap up here in January, we’re over halfway through in my reading of it to B-Bug. The Power Broker is fascinating, but it’s a physically huge paperback, which has always been the bane of my young baby reading phases (can’t hold it on your lap, can’t hold it one-handed), so I *might* consider getting it on audiobook, if I can make time for more listening. Otherwise, I’m going to need to walk around with it somehow, which AIN’T EASY. Designology is really interesting, and still relevant, so I’ll be keeping that one around. Just need to give it some focused time.

So for now, I’m going to drop Count Magnus and Other Ghost Stories, because I’m trying to work my way through some other short fiction collections, and I’ve only just cracked the first story in that one after months. It’s good, though, so I will probably revisit it when I’m in the mood for some good ghost stories, which I do love, but don’t 100% love if the only time to read I have is right before bedtime… And I’m going to drop Story Trumps Structure for now, mostly because like many writing books, I feel like it’s most persuasive arguments take place in the first third of the book, and the rest so far feels a little…filler-y? It might still be worth checking all the way out at some point, but with the classes I’m taking this year, I don’t want to clog my head with too many “How To Write” concepts. (I fully admit to getting easily overwhelmed.) We’ll see, but I’m going to let that one take the dive.

Which means now is the time to look at what books are proceeding into the new year, and they are:

For January, I’m going to prioritize The White Mountains and The Color of Magic and Dad is Fat, and look at picking up another short-ish read that I can easily blow-through. If I want to hit 50 books this year, I need to be cognizant that that’s basically a book a week, with two weeks off. And with some on the list like The Power Broker, I’ll have to chip away at bigger ones on a steady basis in order to wrap them up by the end of this coming year.

So that’s the start! I’ve got some westerns in the pile to check out, so I may read one of those this month, too, but I’ve also got some Rex Stout, and lord knows I love me some Archie Goodwin, so that could make it on the list, too.

Journal

(Belated) Friday Update: Rewrites, Thinking, and Chunks

Always tricky to get much done during a holiday week when everybody’s either off-work or off-school, but managed to scrape out ~1,400 words this week, despite all the distractions, mostly in little bits here and there on my phone. I spent a good deal more time thinking, which has become necessary as I hit walls on several projects and had to actually…you know…know what I was trying to do. O_o

All the thinking centered on the novel project, which I’ll be working on for my upcoming class, and the short story for the Jules Verne anthology. I think I finally hashed out the proper opening for the book, which is actually earlier than I’d thought, and includes a duel-POV, which the first draft *did* but not with the correct person as the alternate POV. So I’ll probably be working on that this week, seeing if I can get a better opening hashed out for my submission for critique this coming week.

As for the Jules Verne story, it quickly became clear that if I just sit down and pick at it over the next few weeks, it’ll become SUPER BLOATED and nothing close to a short story. So I sat down Friday and hashed out what needed to happen, what’d be cool if it happened, and where all the major scenes would have to fall in order to fit it into a 4k story.

It’s so crazy, it might just work…

I’m not sure this method of hyper-plotting will work for me, but it *does* make me look at how many words I have available and what needs to be done in that space. I used to think absolutely nothing could be accomplished in 300 words or less, but since taking that Creative Writing 1, and having to nail openings and scenes in 200 or less, I’ve realized the power of brevity, and have learned how to do an amazing amount of work in two paragraphs. I’m also writing this one a bit out-of-order, which is unusual since I typically write short fiction top-to-bottom. But it’s seemed easier to chunk this one, than to flow with it, since that’s lead to the bloating problem. We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

Otherwise, the week was both good and nuts, as it goes. We’ve lately become obsessed with possibly adding a puppy into the mix someday in the not-so-distant-future, but we’ll see about that, too. Today we’re starting to take down the holiday decorations and easing into the New Year-proper. Class starts Monday (eek!), and then things’ll get chugging along.

Journal

Dancing Doombots (Or, How We Learned to Love Our Robot Overlords)

Aaaaaah-! I can’t help it: I both love and am completely freaked out by Boston Dynamics’ dancing Atlas and Spot robots. I just can’t help thinking about how horrifying it’s going to be having a “Thriller” style mob of killbots dancing down the streets (I mean, there is no way I’m resisting that beat)! XD

Killbot 1: You should love the work you do, and do the work you love!
Killbot 2: It’s all about work-life balance!

Just note, Future Robot Overlords, that the fam–B-Bug especially–are big fans of Atlas since the NOVA documentary about DARPA’s Challenge for rescue robots (we have watched it many, many times). Also, I’ve got an old family friend who works on robots for Boston Dynamics, so it feels personal. XD I just hope the roving killbots will also accept “dance-off” as a possible alternative to murdering me…

Journal

BEST BOOKS OF 2020

2020 is finally wrapping up (thank goodness!), which means it’s time to do a quick review of the five best books I read this year. Out of the 42 books I intended to read this year, I got to 24. Of those 24, these were my top five (plus two honorable mentions).

The Marriage of Cadmus & Harmony — Roberto Calasso — This is hands-down one of the best books I’ve ever read. A very well-read friend of mine recommended this one to me (GOSH…years ago), and loaned me her copy. I got through a chunk of it, but it’s so meaty that I just took a really long time with it. I eventually got my own copy, though, and gave hers back. For the next THREE YEARS I chunked away at it. I never let it off my currently-reading list because it was so good, but it wasn’t a book I wanted to plow through. I wanted to savor it, like a decadent chocolate mousse. The end bit gets into some pretty weird stuff, but it’s still such a fascinating survey of Greek mythology in a way I had never experienced before, even with the public school system going over it again, and again, year after year. This actually made Greek mythology make sense–the fact that one version of a myth may be totally different from another version of the same myth, so you don’t just get “the story of Perseus” as one concrete thing, but as a multi-variant, complex idea. It’s so good, you guys. It’s a bit like that scene in Matilda where the one poor kid has to eat his way through that giant chocolate cake, but it’s SO WORTH IT. I got dozens upon dozens of ideas out of this book alone, and I will never look at Greek mythology the same flat way ever again.

Meander, Spiral, Explode — Jane Alison — This is my newest favorite book. I picked this one up months ago when I was getting frustrated by the standard Three Act Structure stuff and just wanted to see if there were other ways to plot fiction. AND OH MAN, ARE THERE. This book is an absolute treat. It’s like Cadmus in its ability to generate dozens of ideas, but it’s also short. It also contains a multitude of references to literary works I now REALLY want to read, so I’m excited about that, too. But if you’ve ever wanted to just appreciate and get lost in the methodologies of language, this is a poetic, brilliant book.

A Feast of Sorrows — Angela Slatter — The only fiction work that made the list! (I’m so ashamed–I need to read more fiction…) But that said, it was absolutely fantastic. I made the mistake of reading the stories out of order–because with the wee one underfoot, I didn’t always have the focus to work through a longer story, so I’d pick out the short ones first–but I would recommend reading it cover-to-cover, because the stories all interweave, and I’m certain I missed some really lovely connections by jumping around. This book is just fantastic, though. I adore Slatter’s rich prose and lively characters. I just want to BE in her worlds (and also, NOT, because they’re sometimes pretty scary–in the best of ways!). Everything is rich and feels so real, and it’s a masterclass in excellent, immersive short work. Man, I wish I could write like her!

So You Want to Be a Writer — Allison Tait & Valerie Khoo — Picked this one up after signing up for one of AWC’s courses, and although it covers the early basics of becoming a writer, it has some excellent advice that I hadn’t come across much elsewhere. I really appreciated the tack Tait and Khoo took in looking at how to fit writing into an ordinary schedule, and how that doesn’t necessarily mean writing eight hours a day, every day, or giving up your day job or neglecting your family. That said, they also don’t give anybody a pass for just “being too busy to write,” and I picked up some great tips for being productive even when I honestly can’t get to a computer during the day. Excellent, encouraging, inspiring–if you’ve any interest in writing, do yourself a favor and read this one.

Late Bloomers — Rich Karlgaard — I picked this one up a while ago out of curiosity and–I’ll admit it–a not so recent tendency to obsess about “being successful” by a certain age (which, yes, is toxic thinking, but I think a lot of us do it without realizing it, either). It was an interesting read that really examined our modern cultural obsession with wunderkinds and reaching insane levels of success incredibly early in life. Karlgaard examines this element of our society through the lens of his own late blooming tendencies, and how being a late bloomer is both an undervalued strength and a lot more common than spicy “30 Under 30” list-articles would lead us to believe. Definitely read this one if you’re feeling you’ve somehow fallen behind, or in the teeth of changing careers.

Honorable Mentions

Hound of the Baskervilles — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — This one makes the list because it’s one of my absolute favorite works of fiction in all of history, and on the honorable mentions because I’ve read it probably half-a-dozen times, so it’s not really a “new to me” book. But I just had to emphasize how fantastic this tiny book is, as I recently read it aloud to B-Bug. It’s SO GOOD. It’s so easy to read, it’s perfectly spooky in the best ghost-story kind of way, and it’s dreadfully satisfying. If you’ve never read it and like vaguely spooky things (my 6yo could handle it at bedtime), please, do!

How to Write Funny — Scott Dikkers — This was a short, snappy read, with some really interesting insights into humor writing. I’ve never had much interest in being a stand-up comic–my interest definitely lies more in long-form humor writing–but it laid the groundwork for understanding the mechanics behind what makes things funny. If you’ve ever enjoyed a comedian’s work (Iliza Shlesinger or Key & Peele, anybody?!) this will make you appreciate their skills so much more, while not spoiling the delight of the punchline. I’m really looking forward to Vol. 2 of this series, How to Write Funnier, which gets into longer-form fiction.

Journal

The Year in Review (2020) & The Year Ahead (2021)

Boy, what a year, am I right? It started waaaaaaay back in January, when I was super pregnant and waiting for Goldbug to show up, and then within weeks it turned into The Plague Year 2020. Who knew?

Life-wise, we had a lot of changes. Goldbug came along mid-January and increased the heart containers in the family unit to four. I took the Writing the Weird class via LitReactor and instructor JS Breukelaar, which was freaking amazing, and led to three of the four short story drafts I wrote this year, including the story “More than Instinct,” which will appear in an upcoming issue of Daily Science Fiction. I sold four new stories this year–Up from two last year, which is a record for me!–and saw four stories published, the last two queued up for 2021.

“Tower’s End” appeared in February 2020 in the Bronzeville Bee online ‘zine; “The Miracle of Jane” appeared in Bards & Sages Quarterly in April 2020; “Rhapsody in Flesh Minor” appeared in Negative Space: An Anthology of Survival Horror in June 2020; and “Any Day but Today…” appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Magazine in June/July 2020. The two stories sold but awaiting publication in 2021 are “Deadhead” in Abyss & Apex, and “More than Instinct” in Daily Science Fiction.

In September, I took Realizing Your World, a character-centric world-building course on LitReactor by author Gwenda Bond, and in November, I took the Creative Writing 1 course from the Australian Writer’s Centre, which was fabulous. I met some wonderful new friends and fellow authors, and I’m signed up to begin Novel Writing Essentials from AWC in January 2021, which will hopefully kick my butt and get me generating a decent rewrite draft of Frosthaven. This year, it’s been much easier for me to make time for writing with a course assignment breathing down my neck. And I finally purchased my own domain name for this site, which makes me feel *terribly official*. XD

So it’s been an amazing year for writing, despite adorably distracting babies and everything else seemingly burning down around us! Who’d have thunk it? In quick summary, here are the rough goals I had from last year, which I intend only to try to improve on a little year-to-year. Some of them were missed more because of the good year of sales (more sales = less stories submitted = less submission attempts), so I’m not beating myself up over those. I can tell by looking at the numbers that it was not a big “production” year, in terms of writing new drafts, which is 100% due to baby and moving and remote schooling, though I’ve picked up the pace again in recent weeks, and should be able to do better this next year. Maybe I’ll give myself a Chekhov month sometime in 2021… I could use the “just bang out drafts” method to stock up my submittable pile!

YEAR IN REVIEW (2020 / 2019)

Submission Attempts: 12 / 39

New Submissions: 2 / 3

Personal Rejections: 1 / 8

New Rough Drafts: 4 / 3

Total Word Count: ~32,500 / 114,000

Stories Sold: 4 / 2

Books Read: 23 / 42

^^^^^^

All told, not a terrible year. Fell short of a few markers from 2019, but I doubt anyone will say that 2020 was a normal year, and it wouldn’t have been normal for me regardless due to the arrival of the new baby. My one worry is that by not having as many short story rough drafts waiting to be dusted off, my ability to turn around and submit more fiction next year may be a bit stymied. Still, I have several from this year that I wanted to edit and submit that I just didn’t manage to find the time to work on, so perhaps next year will be better for those as we’re all settled into our more normal routines. I’m actually pleased that I managed to read half of what my reading was last year, because I’ve been doing SO BAD at reading lately. That’s definitely something to revisit this coming year. Word count-wise, again, not surprised at the lower output, due to baby and sleep exhaustion. It’s also probably a bit of an undercount (probably not that much of an undercount, but some) due to my really awful method of tracking daily word counts, so I need to do better on that next year. I’ve started jotting down my daily counts in my notebook whenever I finish, though I’d love to have a more formal notation practice to both track process and progress. I think this next year I’ll also start tracking word count for submitted work and new rough drafts, as I’m branching out into novels more, and those just take a lot more time and words for a rough draft. Personal rejections and sales are both things I just track, since I technically have no say in what they end up being in a year (set goals for what you can control, right?), but it’s nice to see the numbers if only to gauge the success of the year.

^^^^^^

So that all said, my upcoming “goals” (really, just totals markers) are as follows:

New Submissions: 4
(one more than 2019’s 3 submissions, which is a personal record)

New Rough Drafts: 5
(1 = Novel Rewrite draft, 4 = short stories)

New Summary Drafts: 1
(I’m going back to this method to see if it helps me plan books better)

Total Word Count: 100,000
(Theoretically, 80k novel draft, 20k in new short fiction of ~5k each)

Books Read: 50
(This may still be a stretch, but I’m starting to find times when I can focus on reading, so I think this will become easier with time and tracking)

As for the rest, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we? Happy New Year, folks! Hope 2021 is kinder to us all! :D

Journal

Friday Updates: Holiday Edition!

I’m sitting in a preternatural silence. Christmas is over, and the boys are off with Andy to check out the swollen stream down the street (safely, of course). I’ve squeaked in a bit of writing–mostly notes, today, but prose-notes–and tidied up a little after the whirlwind of flying paper and (modest) explosion of new toys all over the living room.

Guys, it’s so quiet. I didn’t even remember it was possible to hear my internal monologue so clearly. XD

This week wasn’t actually completely lost to progress, despite the usual holiday brouhaha. I wrote about 2,300 words-ish, some on the novel, some on the short story I’ve been toying with. I just broke out my brand new “From Santa” bluetooth keyboard for my phone, which is charmingly easier to write on. Here’s hoping it works for a long time!

It’s also getting into goal-setting/year-reviewing season, so expect a formal “Year in Review” post in a couple days here, either combined with or followed quickly by a “2021 Goals” post. It has been a good year, writing-wise. Life-wise, it’s been good, with the new addition, moving back to NH, and Andy starting his big-boy job out of residency, but also completely insane due to the pandemic. Even exchanging a too-small pair of boots becomes fraught when it’s bought in a store in MA, and MA has a quarantine requirement for visitors. Ah, 2020, I will not miss you.

In the meantime, hope everyone had a good holiday season, and is staying safe and healthy and finding some joy in the small things this season. But if you’re not, I also totally understand that. Here’s hoping we’re soon going to start turning a corner towards a new relative-normal! Hugs all around!

Journal

Friday Update

Goldbug decided to nap for a smidge longer than expected today, so I’m going to toss up a quick update post while I have a chance. ^_- I’m going to go back to the Sunday Circle structure for this one, because I really enjoyed including things that were inspiring me this week, but I may edit this format for future weeks. We’ll see what works, and what folks even want to know about!

What did I work on this week?: Managed to punch out about 3,800 words this week, which isn’t terrible, given how hard it was to write anything. My brain just was not functioning earlier in the week, but a few decent nights of sleep seem to have helped, and I (may?) have had a breakthrough on the short story I’m trying to write for the upcoming Jules Verne story anthology. It’s convenient that I literally just finished reading Journey to the Center of the Earth with B-Bug, though apparently the version we have is the deeply flawed garbage-translation version? YAY. So I’ve been going back over the free Project Gutenberg version online, which has clarified a LOT. Our translation definitely removed a ton of great stuff, so it’s interesting to go back over it.

Also, writing about fictional mountaineering is SO FLIPPING HARD. I’ve read tons of books on mountaineering, but not being an actual mountaineer does make some of the details tricky, particularly because I’m so research-phobic. I’ll just have to suck it up, though, won’t I? Especially with so many mountain-climbing stories trapped in my skull…

What’s inspiring me currently?: I just wrapped up reading Late Bloomers by Rich Karlgaard, creator of Forbes, and it was an inspiring and soothing book. For so many years, I panicked about the fact that I wasn’t going to be on one of those wretched 30 under 30 lists of authors that always seem to crop up, and that somehow that meant I was doomed to total failure. Late Bloomers is an interesting read if only due to the research Karlgaard has done on our current obsession with early blooming, and how that model just doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a worthwhile read, and I learned a good bit about Karlgaard himself, a self-identified “late bloomer,” and it’s a nice tonic to the sense of panic that arises sometimes at the turn of a new year.

I’ve also been, on a completely different tack, playing around with Courtney Carver’s Project 333, which is a book and a challenge to choose and wear only 33 items of clothing for a three month period, with the intention of discovering one’s own style and reducing closet paralysis. In recent months, I’d restocked my closet as I got rid of my old maternity clothes, but I was totally overwhelmed by trying to figure out what works for me, stylistically, and what didn’t. I’m no fashionista, and I’m afraid my creativity does NOT run towards thoughtful dressing and styling, and I’m also super lazy when it comes to clothes and general put-togetherness. There’s always so much to do, why waste time worrying about that stuff, I always thought. But as I get older, I do find I’d like to generally look a bit more put-together, so I’ve been starting to explore that arena more. Luckily, I basically already only wear about 33 items, so it was a pretty easy pare-down, and I’ll get a chance in a few months to revisit my warmer-season clothing with fresh eyes.

Also have been junking out on The Great British Bake Off, Holiday edition. OH MAN. I literally cannot stand stollen (German-heritage means stollen at X-mas every year), but HOW DOES IT LOOK SO GOOD? XD Maybe it’s an acquired taste, and I’ll start liking it once my tastebuds mature… In the meantime, um, I am kind of obsessed with the idea of making snow eggs…

I mean, how does that not look like the most delectable thing in the history of FOOD? (*drools*)

What am I working on next week? This coming week is holiday week, so I’m counting on NOTHING. However, I will be maintaining the expectation of writing, as I put it in my day planner, “a little something” everyday. That might only be a sentence. Might be more. I’ve got the Jules Verne story to get to rough draft by the end of the year, and I’d like to have another thousand words of the FROSTHAVEN rewrite done so that I’ll have 6k ready for the start of the Novel Writing Essentials course from AWC, starting in January. (Technically, I probably need the first turning point scripted out, so maybe I’ll jump ahead and hammer on that…) I’ll probably be putting up a post on goals/metrics in the next week or two, but I have to crunch some numbers first.

Otherwise, happy holidays, folks! Eat good things, find the joy in the darkness, and embrace the potential of a new year. Here’s hoping 2021 is a bit kinder to everybody!