Dear readers, followers, and random people who stumble upon this page,
Hello, again, and thank you.* Why am I thanking you? Why, because you’ve been helpful, of course. Let me explain.
Yes, I know I’ve been absent for a while. Some of you are probably wondering where I’ve been, or even who I am, since you may have forgotten you followed me in the first place. So here’s an update of sorts on life in general.
Much like this blog, I’m behind on everything. I have “To do” lists in six different places, including my bathroom mirror (thanks to Tommia’s Tablet for that idea and making my fingers itch for my guitar). The system is working, but more than ever I’m aware of how little time I have in a day. It seems incredible that fifteen years ago I found time for hiking, flute practice, homework, video games, chasing rabbits around a yard, writing, household chores, and reading all in one day. I never estimated in the time cost of daily house maintenance, bill paying, work (and the fatigue that comes with), and basic hygiene until I was an adult. I’m grateful lately if I manage to get to the dishes and comment on blog posts. I’m still wondering if I’m sick or if this kind of fatigue is (gulp) growing up.
Despite my seeming inability to get anything done, I volunteered myself to beta-read another writer’s fantasy novel. I’m honored that they’ve entrusted me with their passion and hope I’m living up to the challenge of giving them an honest critique that focuses on their strengths and helps them improve any weaknesses. They have beautiful prose, an engaging story, well thought world rules, and intriguing characters, so for the most part it’s fun! I feel confident that their story has great potential and can succeed in the market once it’s been fully polished. It’s exciting to be one of the people with an opportunity to read it before that happens.
There’s a bonus to beta-reading I hadn’t expected, though, in how I approach and view my writing. Rilla Writer has an excellent piece on how beta-reading can help us improve and see the snafus in our own work, and it’s part of a larger set of articles on how writing fan-fiction can improve writing skills. Beta-reading has helped me see the positives in my writing while simultaneously helping my inner editor focus on what’s really important, and that it’s not the end of the world to have to go back and fix something.
I also learned something else about my writing process from Nanowrimo, where the lovely 4amWriter was gracious enough to keep me company (pssst…she also writes some useful posts on overcoming writing block and the dreaded inner editor that have been useful as well). It’s true (too true) that I often write long-winded passages of explanation, and that particular fact drives me crazy and often stops me from writing. Yet if I let that part of myself do the writing when I’m not sure what the exact words of dialogue are, I can see what I want to express and how to reach that point with greater clarity. I’ve come to see my “telling” vice as a way to create a detailed outline, and to get to the point of what I want to say faster than staring at my computer screen hoping meaningful dialogue and action will spill out of me. I’m starting to see my first drafts as fleshy outlines, and I’m finally okay with the fact that this is how my process works. Having these two experiences means that I’m ready to face Camp Nanowrimo with less dread, and that I can tell my inner editor to be silent (for now).
I’m facing the “adult life is scary” terrors head on for the first time in years. Not just with lists, mind you, but with verifiable action. Maybe I am tired, but a recent vacation has helped me focus on what really matters. I recently got a retirement plan in place, and I’m submitting to a health physical for life insurance tomorrow. I cannot express what a relief it is to feel as if I am doing something to secure my chance of a future (or Mr. Wonderful’s in a less than desirable scenario) where I won’t have to work until I die.
Some of my nearest and dearest are also buying houses. I’m excited for them, but I’m a bit envious, because I’ve been putting off saving for one until I’ve reduced my student loan debt further. The tie-up of a recent story (hurray for archeology and character building!) by jmmcdowell solidified my longing and resolve to start saving, and a sudden urge to dig out my chalk pastels and rekindle my past led to obtaining a newspaper and wistfully eyeing the market, which was when I realized while staring at an ad (and a bit of internet research): I qualify for those home-owning programs. All this time I thought I had to be, well, poorer.
I am a bit nervous. With this spate of life changes, I also went to the doctor. They called me a week and a half ago in one of those “Call us back, now,” fashions, but I haven’t been able to get ahold of them since. I suspect that means one of my tests came back and that all is not rosy on the health front. On the other hand, everything I was tested for is treatable/fixable, and it’s nice to know that maybe this “tired” junk isn’t what getting older is supposed to feel like. Hopefully I’ll be able to contact them tomorrow and see what the ruckus is about. Let’s hope that whatever is going on doesn’t kill my ability to obtain life insurance.
Well, at least I’m sure that I’m not the victim of a flu epidemic. Thanks to Carrie Rubin at The Write Transition who tipped the balance with a timely Facebook posting after my parents chronic reminders and being sick of being sick failed to inspire me, I did get a flu shot this year, so while my coworkers call off work and stumble about desecrating trash cans, I’ve been symptom free. By the way, have you read The Seneca Scourge yet?
Then there’s life in general. A special thanks to Goldfish, who is truly a Fish of Gold, for reminding me that it’s never too late to think about other careers or moving, even if I am stubborn and afraid of change. I believe you can surmount the worst, Goldfish. Oh, and it’s your fault that my chalk pastels and sketch books are coming out. You post so many pretty pictures and descriptions of art that my pessimistic jerk-brain can’t come up with excuses fast enough. Thanks for all the fish, without the so long part. You know what I mean.
I blame all of you. You know, in a thankful, you’re all awesome sort of way.
*There are more of you, of course, and I’m sorry if I missed you or didn’t manage to squeeze you in. Some of you are really prolific and it’s hard to keep track! You’ll get your day soon, I promise.