Tag Archives: goals

Mad Dash

My social media and blog progress has fallen short of my goal this season.  I think I’m two blogs short, and I haven’t posted anything on my social media in weeks.  I explained a little, in my last post in April, why I fell short.

My birthday was at the end of March, and I did spend some time with my family.

I also did a quick life revamp. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I bought an adorable mirror for my wall. It’s a baroque mirror; I feel like a nicer version of the wicked queen. It’s great.

I started my diet again. It’s been up and down. It involves a lot more cooking and time.

Lastly, I’ve been working on Tapestry. I’ve done a ton of edits, and still have a ton more to do. However, I have a deadline. And not one of my imaginary, hope-I-meet-it deadlines. I have a friend who is beta reading my work. She has some stuff she has to handle by mid-June, and won’t be able to help me again until the end of the summer. I want to finish all the edits on the stories before she’s unavailable.

Editing away!

So far, it’s been okay. I have enough distance to edit properly; I feel like I’m really improving the stories. I have gotten half of them to her. However, I need to finish the other half in under two weeks.

I have also thought about redoing the cover for Tapestry. I don’t want to start from scratch, but I do want to make improvements. I’ll see how I feel about it in a couple of weeks.

And I want to create covers for my friend’s short story series. So I need to squeeze in some meetings about that in the upcoming weeks as well. (Which I am very happy to do.) This is all to say, wow am I busy. I am enjoying the work, though.

I will try to do better with the social media. It’s been hard to get back into the swing of it.

I have had more blog ideas. I have written them down. I’m excited to write them. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I can squeeze in the two blogs I missed during this craziness.

Happy spring everyone! Hope it’s going well for you.

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Superstitious

In my past, I have been slightly superstitious. As time goes by, my superstitious nature tends to increase. I find myself crossing my fingers and knocking on wood during conversations. No jinxes! This superstition seems to be an unexpected consequence to my being poor.

I have been living off of my savings while trying to become a writer, so I have a fixed income so to speak. I don’t mind overall. March and April went well. I had finished April by winning CampNaNo. I wrote my blog happy and victorious with a small thought in my head: oh no, good luck please stay with me! I had ambitious yet reachable goals for May. I was excited and ready.

A couple days after I wrote the blog, I got the estimate to fix my car. It was an astronomical amount for me. What could I do? I paid for it. It wiped out my savings. I was in shock for the first day or two. I was not writing; therefore I fell behind with my goal. Ironic isn’t it? The clock is set. I have to write like my life depends on it because it does, and I stop. After the shock, came sadness.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. Several years ago, I was getting in shape. I felt amazing. Then, I got sick. The illness lasted over a month. I lost all of my progress, and no longer felt like working out at that time. Almost two years ago, I finally got a third of the way through a fantasy novel. A grand accomplishment. I could not wait to finish. I was backing up my work monthly at the time. A couple days before my backup, my hard drive crashed. I lost a huge chunk of the fantasy novel as well as all of another personal project. Devastated, I had to go out and buy a new lap top. This depleted the savings quite a bit. I have not opened the fantasy  novel since. Although, I still hope to finish it. Shortly after the hard drive crash, my car battery died. I replaced it, then it died again a few months later. Startling. The company did replace it, but it was not a comforting day. Last year, I had a dentist overcharge me. He also did a filling incorrectly, so I had to have it done again (by someone else).

One step forward, two steps back.  Yes, I have become more superstitious. Always hoping luck will be on my side.

This time is different because my wiggle room is gone. I’m anxious.

I am moving up my editing schedule. I need to publish. I need to sell my book after publishing. If I don’t, well I’d rather not think about that. I want to finish the first draft of my Christmas novel since I’m in the middle of it, but I worry that it will take too much time.

I am writing this blog on May 11, 2016. I have had my setbacks. However, I am proud of my progress overall. I never give up. This time it’s one step forward, half a step back. I want to do this. With all that I am, I want to succeed. I have slowly started to get back into writing this week. I’m several days behind, so I adjusted my goal.

I will keep you updated.

*Knocks on wood.*

wood

Are you superstitious?

Update (June 16th): I met my adjusted goal for May. I hope to do the same in June. I also found this article:

http://writerscircle.com/five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2/?utm_source=twc-twcfan&utm_medium=social-fb&utm_term=20160511&utm_content=link&utm_campaign=five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2&origin=twc_twcfan_social_fb_link_five-famous-authors-and-their-strange-writing-rituals-2_20160511

 

 

 


My Second CampNaNo Win!

I participated in CampNaNo this past April. CampNaNo is a writing competition of sorts. You write with a virtual cabin full of people cheering you on.  I was able to set my own goal, and I achieved it! This is the second time I have accomplished this. Although last time was heartbreaking as I lost my work. This time I made sure to back up my work daily! CNW_Winner_180

I ended up sticking with my Christmas story, which is about a boy who needs to learn the meaning of Christmas. A mysterious man tells him the tale of Santa Claus, and how he came to be.

Over half the draft is done! It has been strange writing it so far because a huge portion of it is not overly Christmassy with jingle bells and elves. A lot of Nicholas’ life involves not being Santa, and this story dives into that part. However, in a few more sections I will get to the North Pole part. I cannot wait! I want to write about beautiful lights, and hard working elves.

I hope to finish the first draft soon. Then, I’m going to put it aside. It will need a rewrite, and a few edits. It probably won’t be out this year, but my fingers are crossed for 2017!


March Madness!

Starting from the end of February, it’s been craziness here. I have had a family member hospitalized (all is well now), a fun visit with my aunt, and this week I have been sick. Beware! I am snotzilla!

Needless to day, my writing and other goals have suffered. But I am not discouraged. Before illness overtook me, I had four good writing days. I also maintained my exercise regime until this last week. I hope to be able to get back on it by next week.

I wanted this post to be an update on my New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. I finished my Duolingo French lessons AND had a completely gold French tree around mid February. I am proud of all the work I have done :D.  This means I can have conversations in French, but that they will not be very good ones. Now I am going to move onto watching French movies, and reading French books. Yay!!!!!
  2. I have continued on with my exercise. I started both the French and exercise regime last fall. In the beginning, I only did several minutes of exercise a day. I played around with how many days I wanted to do it. Recently, I decided a few days a week is enough for me. I have also doubled my exercise time, so now I try to do around 10-15 minutes. Maybe even 20 or 25 on more ambitious days. This is the longest streak of exercise I have ever had! 😀
  3. Writing. Well, most of my other posts are about this. I will add that submitting my short story into a competition has made me feel more official. I’ve been positive and happy about my writing, and that’s a great feeling. clovers

For those who celebrate it, Happy St. Patrick’s day!

Until next time,

Kalen


Happy New Year!

How was your New Year’s Eve? I had a calm, but fun night. I curled up with delicious chocolates and champagne.

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My new year resolutions are easy because they don’t vary by much, and they’re all long-term goals.

I still want to lose weight. While I didn’t lose any in 2015, I have started exercising more. I am finding my limits, and what I can stick to.

I will be published in 2016! I thought Tapestry would have been out by now, but editing is more time consuming than I thought it would be. That being said, I am MUCH closer this year. Half of the stories are on final edits! As for the others, I will not give up. They shall be edited over and over until I feel they’re ready.

I will be starting a completely new writing project too!

2015 was a wonderful learning year for me. I can only hope to do more in 2016.

I have also added a new resolution. I want to finish learning French. I have taken classes before, but I have never reached fluency. I have been learning it again for the last 3-4 months, and I intend to continue. I want to at least be able to understand most of Le Petit Prince by 2017.

What are your resolutions?


The Struggle: NaNoWriMo

For those of you who have read my blogs before, this won’t be a surprise. I failed NaNo again. It started out okay. I decided to continue on with my Christmas story from a previous year. It was not my original plan, but I cannot write 50k words unless I know what I’m writing about. I don’t outline. What I do is write.  Just write. Not 1,667 words. Just any words that enter my imagination. I write however much I can for as long as it takes for the story to take root in my mind. Once it does, I got it. I know what the story shall be. There are twists and turns along the way, but the general story is there. I did not have this knowledge with my original story choice, so I changed it. The Christmas story already had over 14,000 words, so it was a good choice.Print

By November 2nd, I had my story. I was ready. Then, I fell behind in my word goal. All it takes is a few days before it starts to feel impossible. NaNo also does not allow for breaks, and I need down time.

Long story short, I got 9,612 new words for the month. I love every single one of them, and I love my story. I will continue writing it after I have finished editing my current project. As of last week, I reverted back to my short story anthology because I want to finish my edits.

While I did not meet the 50k word goal, I am happy with my progress.

As an added bonus to my shiny, new words, NaNo introduced me to cool, new people this year. It was awesome! For the first time, there was a weekly write-in in my area! I went to three out of four meetings, and had a great time. Breaking up word wars with conversation is fun. I hope we have it again next year, and maybe for the Camp NaNos. I also participated in an online group, and gained some writing buddies! The social aspect of NaNo is nice.

On a completely different note, how was your November? I decorated the Christmas tree this last Friday! It was time consuming, but fun. It looks glorious. Perhaps I will post a picture ;).

Until next time,

Kalen


How It Goes

It’s less than one week before June, and there’s so much to do! I am behind on my editing, but I am determined to finish it. I can’t wait to have the anthology ready for publication. Plus, June is the start of JuNoWriMo. It’s my first year participating and I’m excited. I am going to be one of the sprint leaders and a featured author on their website! I’ll be sprinting during the afternoons on Mondays and Wednesdays. During the month of June I want to finish editing, and write a huge chunk of another novel!

I’m nervous because there’s so much to get done this summer. Editing takes longer than writing for me. I go over the scenes multiple times, ponder how to make it perfect, add copious words, and I take some out. Sometimes it feels never-ending. The novel I am writing over the summer has already been started. I need to reread what’s there. Try to find where my mind was when I was writing it, and go back to that mental place.

I hope to squeeze a novella in too, but it’s not looking good. We’ll see and I’ll keep you updated. I hope I can do it because I love the concept. It’s a dark fairy tale with a sexy Prince Charming. I don’t want to let him go!

And I am officially a Goodreads Author! It took a few more steps than I had anticipated, but it was intuitive enough. I created my page and added my flash fiction story, Flowers, under my name :D! I can’t explain how exciting it is to feel like a real author with all the author accoutrements. Here’s the link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13794103.Kalen_Williamson


Spring Cleaning: An End and a New Beginning

My write chain is officially over. I wrote for 534 days before breaking the chain. I didn’t choose this specific day; although, I knew it had to end soon as I stated in my last post. I spent day 535 cleaning. I was exhausted, and there was a lot more cleaning to be done over the week. I opened up my work in progress, and thought about writing. I was tired and not in the mood. I love my work and thought it needed more attention and energy from me. I didn’t want to write my 80 words for the day; I wanted to be able to choose a time where I could dive in and write as much as it needed. I thought about writing in my journal, but I had written an entry the previous day. I didn’t feel like it needed an additional one. So, I let it go.

While I knew it was coming, it still felt like a big decision.

However, I spent an entire week cleaning! My living space hasn’t looked this good in awhile, and I have no regrets. This is a new beginning: A cleaner, more organized, living space. And a new writing pattern. I also got an AC unit for my window, so I won’t melt this summer. I could not be happier with this week’s accomplishments.

While I was cleaning all day long, I had no time to think of writing. Now that I have given myself a couple days off, I notice it. Midnight approaches and it occurs to me I don’t have to write. The time I write no longer matters (I used to wait until the next day, midnight, if I already had words for the current day).

That being said, I only took one day off (no cleaning and no writing). For the last two days I have written at least a hundred words. I am excited for this new period in my life and feel it will be beneficial in new and amazing ways.


The Breakup: Write Chain

**(I realize I just published a post about my write chain. That post was written five months ago, and I put it up to keep you guys informed so you know what I’m referencing in this post. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago).

I made a decision to give up my write chain. I have been going for 500 days. The original plan was to give up on day 500 and take the day off, but it has been a long day. There was an ice storm which took out the power lines leaving me with no electricity. Instead of having a fun celebratory day 500 and washing laundry, I did almost nothing.

I spent 2 hours grocery shopping. Thankfully my house is cold enough where I think my groceries will be fine. It’s the logic I’m using. Initially the power was supposed to be back by the time I was finished. It hasn’t come back. It’s been 25 hours and it is expected to be at least 13 more.

Other than that, I have been staring at my ceiling. I haven’t been able to sleep. I’m tired. Luckily, I finally found a gas station with power and an available outlet. So I find myself writing. Day 501.

I am bored out of my mind. The 21st century doesn’t have much without power. Writing on paper isn’t the same for me especially since my stories, notes, and whatnot are on my computer. Cleaning is hard when leaving the haven of covers results in freezing. Plus, cleaning is beyond boring without any kind of background noise.

Anyway, I decided on a new plan. I am going to keep writing because I have to get my stories finished. However, whatever day I skip is whatever day I skip. It’s time to stop writing every day.

I realized this when I took a small break for myself after the craziness of the last year and ended up still writing 80 words every day. It wasn’t much, but I still noticed it. I want a real break. I also want to see the effects of forging the chain … how much better are my writing habits?

Plus, I am very goal oriented. I am more concerned with getting the 80 words in anything (like a journal or different piece or brainstorming session) than finishing my current project. I want to change the goal to: finish the project any way. Even if that means writing 2000 one day and nothing the next. I want to mix up methods, and see what the results are.

This isn’t to say that I have not appreciated my write chain. I have. It has pushed me when I needed it. It helped me create the best journal I have ever had. My journal is amazing and I hope to keep up with it. I also want to keep up with my random thoughts, brainstorming, and blogs. It’s been a great journey, but it’s time for a different one.

If you want to know more about my write chain below is another blog I wrote about it.


My Write Chain Challenge

Almost a year and a half ago, I joined a writing challenge, which involved writing every, single day. Each day was a new link. If I skipped a day, I’d have to start over. I can’t believe I have written every day for so long. There have been challenges and comforting moments.

When I first started the challenge, I was writing something near and dear to my heart, and I was determined to write it because I had put if off for too long. This kept me going for over two months. I accomplished much of what I wanted to write, and the story began to fade. I was going to edit it; and added editing to my Write Chain Challenge daily goal, so I would either write or edit each day. This idea quickly evaporated. The story was a mess; editing was harder than I thought. I gave up because it became clear my goals for the story still needed to be worked on further. That story was not ready to be finished.

This is when I hit my first bump with the challenge. I did not have a new replacement story, nor did I have a particular goal. However, by this time, I had too many links to give up on writing daily. Therefore, I started a journal. It’s nothing I can publish, but it kept me writing. This went on for several months, and I learned a couple of things from it.

I ended up thinking of a flash fiction story due to a journal entry, and I improved my writing. I used more adjectives and details. I could write the entry similar to a story if I wanted. It wasn’t like this every day, but when it started popping up in my writing, I was pleased. This was also a writing accomplishment I had not previously achieved.

Throughout my life, I have bought journals and have been given them as gifts. I love them. They’re colorful and meaningful. Some of them come with lockets in different shapes and sizes with cool keys attached, others look like they could travel through time and belong to anyone. Every time I got a new one, I was excited. For one whole week, I would write my daily thoughts and desires. Then, poof! The magic was gone, and the lovely journal would be put aside. Now, I have more consistent entries spanning a year! Another side benefit is that a journal entry can be about ANYTHING: feelings, story ideas, daily activities, frustrations, observations, quirks, etc. Later, when writing fiction, this information can be useful for character building as well.

My journal has made my write chain links strong and consistent. Of course, when the time was right, I put aside my journal and returned to fiction. From time to time, I still write an entry to keep it going, though because it is definitely worth it.

There have been hard times along the way. Days when it was extremely tempting to give up, and stop writing daily. I have used a couple motivational ideas to keep my going. Starting out, I knew I had a commitment problem, so I picked the perfect number of words. Sixty wasn’t enough because it was too easy to accomplish without much effort. Surprisingly, eighty was my perfect number. Some days I would get to 77, and sigh. Three more words were needed. I forced myself to continue, and ended up with close to a 100 or more. I make sure to finish my sentences when writing instead of writing the exact number of words needed and stopping mid-sentence. It’s a great trick for adding more words to the daily word count.

My word count goal was also useful for hard times and challenges. I have had quite a few of these. When my computer crashed, I had to get creative with how I wrote my words until I could get a new computer. I used paper notebooks, and on an especially creative day, I used a cell phone app. I would not write a novel this way, but it was perfect for temporary use. On exhausting, difficult, sad, or celebratory days, I could always spare five minutes. Whether it’s a family member in the hospital or Christmas, I could still manage my word count goal.

On days when the motivation was not there, I had to remind myself I only had to invest 5 to 10 minutes. I would push myself to do it, feel accomplished, and yet not annoyed or exhausted since the obligation was more than reasonable. This kept my write chain going because I knew if I quit, I would quit for awhile. Which brings to me to a powerful motivation to write: I wanted to keep the chain going.

Once I had some links behind me, I did not want to have to give up and start over from the beginning. The thought of starting over was daunting. All my previous links would vanish. All those days, gone! 

As this over-analytical thinking takes longer than writing my 80 words, I stick with the writing. On my worst days, I start down this path, sigh, figure it’s not worth all the hassle of giving up, and continue to write. It has gotten to the point where my brain is learning to head straight towards the thought “Just write” with shorter and shorter trips down the Give Up Highway since it’s already been there and already knows all the pros and cons.

It’s important to remember your daily goal is your minimum goal. The sky is the limit when it comes to the maximum to write daily. In less than a year, I have written over 115,000 words! I find that number extremely inspiring! Sometimes, it’s a matter of just getting started.

Lastly, I want to address the inspiration muse. Artists everywhere talk about the muse. She’s a fleeting beauty. Getting inspired can be as easy as a random thought, the latest popular incident or controversy, listening to a great song, watching a fascinating movie, reading a touching book, or finding fun pictures and quotes. All of these things can be found anywhere on the internet: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Netflix, Amazon, images found on search engines etc. If the internet isn’t available or isn’t particularly inspiring that day, there are museums, libraries, parks, and personal life events. The latter doesn’t have to be big either; a small life event can lead to interesting story seeds.

The trick is in the timing. Inspiration lasts for less than 5 seconds. Once it is felt, it must be acted upon immediately. Any hesitation and it floats away. On great days, it comes back. On less wonderful days, she can be gone for good. Even if it is at an inopportune time, like in the middle of an epic scene of a show I’m currently watching, I have learned it is best to take a few minutes and write. It’s a record of the inspirational idea, and words to add to the story.

Happy Writing!