Daily Check-In, editing, journa, Writing

Small Victories

Today in Mommy-Land

Trying to get back on the blogging horse! This morning, Andy, the Little Man, and I went out with my good friend K— to breakfast at Parker’s Maple Barn (deeeeelicious). Little Man had tastes of pancake, non-spicy sausage, potato fries, and french toast, which he loved very much. While K— and I caught up, he and Andy walked around. My mother got him some itty bitty baby shoes with good soles on them, and now that he’s discovered walking outside (it’s been so beautiful, weather-wise lately!), he almost never wants to stop. He looks so big wearing shoes! Like a proper toddler, and not much of a baby at all.

Yesterday, we took him to the library park for the first time, and he rode on the baby swings (pretty fun), sat on a wobbly thing (with support–kind of fascinating), spun on a whirligig with Mom (okay, kinda weird), and slid down a slide with Daddy (NOT FUN AT ALL, WHY ARE YOU TORTURING MEEEEE?!) Then we went to Mine Falls in Nashua, and walked around for quite a while. It was so beautiful out, and it’s been spoiling me something rotten to have Andy around mid-week. We figure we’ll soak it up now, since come July, I probably won’t see him for a year. XD

We also bought a pint of kumquats to try, since we’ve always toyed with the idea of getting a kumquat plant, but weren’t sure if we’d like it. I’m pleased to report, we do! They’re very citrusy–like an orange-lemon combo–with quite a tart kick, but very sweet, edible rinds. I, personally, prefer to remove the rind, since it has a way of sticking around in my teeth after I’ve eaten it, but otherwise, they’re quite tasty.

Today in Writer-Land

As is always the case when Andy’s around these days, I didn’t get any writing done yesterday, though I did start the retyping of a short story I’m editing on Monday, so that’s making slow but measurable progress. I also found out that one of my short stories, “Snap,” is being held at a really nice little small press publication, so fingers crossed on that one! Got two other rejections yesterday and today (rawr…), but got them both resubmitted this afternoon (yay!).

In keeping with the title, my small victory is this: I counted my total rejections from 2014 and 2015 (so far), and last year I got a total of 19 rejections, and so far just within the first four months of 2015, I’ve gotten 21! Now, this may not seem like a victory, but it is, and I’ll tell you why: in previous years (prior to 2014), I’m not sure I even submitted fiction 19 times. So that’s Victory #1. And then on top of that, I’ve already topped my 2014 total submissions, so I’m doing better than last year!

Here’s a question: What metrics–writing-wise–do you find helpful to track/keep a record of?

I’ve determined I need to focus more on competing with myself when it comes to writing, rather than constantly measuring myself up against more successful authors. For one, it’s not a fair measurement, because I only see the good things going on for them, and oftentimes they’ve been in the field a lot longer than I have. For two, it takes the focus off the writing, which is really the only thing I have control over. So I’m doubling-down on self-awareness and trying to be mindful about the kinds of discouraging thoughts that pop into my head on a near-constant basis. I also want to start tracking my own process metrics (total submissions, for example). I’ve been considering metrics like personalized-to-form rejections ratio from markets I submit to often, maybe word count (though that’s tricky with editing, which is most of what I’m doing these days), maybe length of project (how long it takes from when I start a new story vs. if/when I finish editing and submit it), etc. So what works for you/what data do you find interesting to follow?

It's all about the Data...
It’s all about the Data…

Day 3 – A Forgiving Day

Sometimes, I have what I’m starting to call “forgiving days.” Today was one of them. It started off rough, from cat vomit on the floor, to the fierce onset of a clogged yet runny nose, food seeming unappetizing, to clocking my head on one of the apartment’s angled beams, to spontaneous bursts of tears. Ah, pregnancy is a delight.

On days like this, I try to remember that life doesn’t follow any patterns or rules, and that no matter how many lists and goals I set for myself, sometimes I just need to lean back and let go a little. Forgive myself for not doing everything I want in the time-frame I want. Forgive myself for being overly emotional, because let’s face it, the hormones of pregnancy are one heck of a wild ride at times and can come and go without warning.

The surprising fact is, on these Forgiving Days I sometimes do accomplish more than I might think. I try not to worry about goals or personal deadlines or doing just about anything other than relaxing and letting go. Today, that letting go led to charging through the first fifty pages of MINDFUL BIRTHING by Nancy Bardacke, CNM, a book on mindfulness as related to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. It’s a book my mother recommended. She’s in the last leg of her Masters of Mental Health Counceling, and has found a lot of the mindfulness-based stress management techniques very useful as a therapy. I have another book on general mindfulness to reduce stress that I’ve been meaning to go through, but as I haven’t gotten to that one yet, I figured I’d pick up the one that’s pregnancy specific, since that’s one of the main sources of stress for me at this particular point in time.

It was wonderful. Even just reading a little bit, trying a few of the breathing-consciousness exercises, and generally allowing myself to let go of my “list of grievances” of the morning (yes, I actually wrote them down in a comprehensive list, believe it or not). I felt so much better after that. Even the lingering headache I’d started the morning with (and that was *prior* to hitting my head, joy joy) seemed more manageable. I haven’t gotten all that far, and it’s certainly no miracle cure–I’m not really looking for something like that–but it rings very true with something inside me, so perhaps that alone made me feel better.

I read a lot today. I actually got some writing done, too. I squeezed in a bit of editing, and actually tackled the few things on my to-do list that were stressing me out to no end this morning. When I started feeling too overwhelmed, I took a few moments to get back into the present, center myself a bit, and remind myself that today was a Forgiving Day, and that I didn’t have to blame myself for anything. In all, what had started out as a train wreck of a day became one of the more peaceful days I can remember in the past few months. Perhaps all my days need to be Forgiving Days. :)


WRITING PROJECT: In a world where wars are waged in shadow and the separation between man and machine is shrinking by the day, a war-droid wielding cyborg-girl begins a secret battle against those who would control her and destroy the only chance of a future she’s ever had.

Working Title: Shadow Games: Book 1 of the Shadow Engines duology
Added Words: 1,165
Total Words (to date): 89,970

Happening Today in the World of Fiction!: Virtual espionage! Split multi-consciousness! The construction of mental labyrinths! And a serious case of scrambled-brain syndrome that might prove fatal…but not yet…

Notes: Did what I always do when I just don’t have much energy for writing: I set a timer for ten minutes. These short little sessions usually run over (this one did, branching out for another twenty), but it gives me the freedom to walk away after only ten minutes if it’s just not working. I rarely walk away, but I have when needed. Today, a thousand words felt pretty fine, so I left it there and didn’t worry about more. I finished a complete scene. That’s good enough. :)

EDITING PROJECT: Ghosts and legends and Bluebeard, oh my! The cold Maine coastline! Haunted grounds! Ribbons and bitter, ghostly wives! Dueling secrets! True love? Perhaps!

Current Editing Project: Nobody Here But Us Monsters
Accomplished in Edits: Wrote another rewrite scene, and it actually accomplished one of my plot points. I will say I’m looking forward to chopping out a lot of words from this later, but for now, it’s flowing pretty well, and that alone is worth being happy about.