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Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2166092
by Emily
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #2166092
A blog to house my musings, curiosities, and fascinations.
When it came time for me to start blogging again, I found myself paralyzed. I was trapped by the belief that my blog had to be unique, that it had to have a defined theme, and that it had to be appealing to everyone. After some time scouring Google for advice, I realized that if all I did was worry and plan, I would spend forever worrying and planning and never get to writing.

From that realization, I've decided to display my blog writing guidelines here for everyone to see, but especially for me to see when I come here to write.

Blog about what is appealing to YOU.
Don't worry about anyone else.

Allow yourself to WRITE!
Don't restrain yourself to one voice, one writing style, one genre, or one topic area.

Throw out the fear of maintaining a consistent theme.
Blog about your passions, interests, fancies, inspirations, opinions, musings, curiosities, ramblings, and loves.

Explore, experiment, and have fun!

So, this is my solution. A blog about anything and everything that sparks my interest. *BigSmile*

The title is inspired by the quote at the bottom of this introduction. Everything you love, even for a short time, becomes part of you. Our experiences and perception of the world is colored by those things we love and have loved, whether those things are *Paw* or not. This blog will be a place to house those passions and curiosities. Please enjoy!

"It came to me that every time I lose a dog they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are."

Merit Badge in Aloha
[Click For More Info]

Only the most selfless, dedicated person would come up with an idea like an Aloha MB. But then, from all those  things you do on WDC and we know you're doing out in the world, it's what we should have known you'd do. You've always been working to make things better and help people, animals, and places. Maybe the badge should have your picture so everyone knows a real example of Aloha.
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December 6, 2018 at 4:40pm
December 6, 2018 at 4:40pm
Well, so much for my plan to blog every day in December *Laugh* I knew I had to get in here today though 'cause a couple super awesome fantabulous things happened! *Proud*

I started this paragraph a million different ways, but none seemed quite right so all are now lost in the ether of deleted words. I wanted to convey how fulfilling my first ever Nano experience was, but every time I wrote it, it sounded like bragging, which was not my intention. I was the slacker of my team after all! It was really Carol and Jayne who pulled the Black Team to word count victory in the Nano Write-o-Thon, and Jeff who pushed me to write more than I thought I could. It was my team that pulled through and dragged me onto the winner's podium with them. And that is what made my first Nano experience one to remember. Thank you for helping me reach my goal, and contributing to such a successful fundraiser! *Heartt* Read the full stats here: "*Graph*2018 Results"  

But now, with Nano over and the first week of December almost gone as well, I need to start getting back to my normal routine! A la Elle, here is my goals list for December:

*BoxCheck* Announce "30-Day Blogging Challenge November winners on Dec 7th
*Boxcheck* SuperPower Reviewers review crediting for Dec 6-8
*Box* Review crediting for Dec 12th Raid
*Box* Review crediting for Dec 13-15
*Box* Update my "Early to Bed, Early to Rise Challenge tally every day
*Box* Secret Santa from Dec 12-24
*Box* "Scheming Scoundrel's Forum of Finesse
*Box* "The Contest Challenge
*Box* Reviews for "Anniversary Reviews and "SuperTower Review Room MB Rewards

Speaking of reviewing ... SM surprised me in my inbox yesterday with this:

Merit Badge in Good Deeds
[Click For More Info]

Congratulations, you won  1st Place  in the  August 2018  round of  [Link To Item #gooddeeds] !

Never ever have I been more surprised by something happening to be on this site. I was truly bowled over! I guess I had always seen Good Deeds as something other people won, but never me. I still don't think it has fully sunk in *Laugh* But now I'm totally ready to shower my "Secret Santa 2018 with oodles of Christmas goodies! *Cool*

Funny note about winning Good Deeds: I told my bf I had won actual money on here and he said, "How?" I said: "By sending good reviews." And he said: "What if you sent bad reviews?" And I was like: *Think* "Well ... I wouldn't have won then, silly!" lol!

*Pthb* Anyway, I'm off to sleep off this cold. Ta-ta!

December 1, 2018 at 7:25pm
December 1, 2018 at 7:25pm

December 1st Prompt
What are your thoughts on snow?

The first experience with snow that I remember was sledding down a fairly large hill with my dad when I was 5 or 6. Most of this is reconstructed from what other people have told me, but as I understand it, we were hurtling down this big hill, me in the front part of the sled, and him behind. I remember my eyes streaming with tears because of the cold air whipping into them, but I wanted to keep them open because it was exciting but terrifying at the same time. Then, I saw this tree coming up ahead. I heard this crunching sound behind me and then the sled felt a lot lighter as it continued straight for the tree. I heard someone yell, "Turn!" and then I had a face-full of bark and a bruised forehead. I was angry at my dad for bailing, but he was actually trying to turn the sled and lost his grip. I didn't sled again after that. Well ... that's not entirely true. I made one exception:

After my traumatic experience with the tree, my family moved us to Hawaii where my formative years took place. We didn't move because of the tree incident, but I was still thankful for this because snow was a far way away at the end of a journey up a mountain. I remember it being an all-day adventure just to see three inches of snow. We brought our boogie boards so we could sled down the hill by the observatories. It was usually a once a year excursion simply because it was so difficult to get up there. We had to borrow a neighbor's 4 wheel drive truck, drive 2 hours and then wait for 30 minutes at the visitor center to get acclimated to the low oxygen, then drive the rest of the way to the top on a road I remember as being terribly treacherous. We had to bring all of the warm clothes we owned and layer rain coats on top of sweaters on top of sweatshirts since of course no one there owned any winter gear. It was a blast though. It was mostly fun just for the experience of seeing snow, but of course we brought our boards up there for a reason. Kids would rip down rocky hills covered only with a few inches of ice, but I was mostly too nervous to try for myself (remember the last time I was on a sled). Eventually, after a few years watching other kids do it, I decided it would be my year to try as well. I went all in - running start and everything. I hit the slope, belly down on my board and careened down the hill. About halfway down, I could tell the snow started to thin out and I tried to stop, but of course the momentum was too much. I felt a big bump under the sled, dislodging my grip, and I tumbled the rest of the way down the hill. I ripped both knees in my pants, got a healthy gash in my hand, and tore a huge rip in the bottom of the boogie board. It had evidently hit a sizable chunk of lava rock (a'a), but from that day on, my Dad said the board got that way from a shark attack.

Now, I no longer live in Hawaii and am back in a place with snow, which involves adult activities like shoveling, auto-starting the car, and putting booties on the dog so she doesn't get frostbitten. I know you may call me crazy, but I actually enjoy shoveling. It is cathartic in a way, and it feels good to be working hard but not getting too hot (which is the main thing I have against working out in general). I also recently bought a new car that handles like a dream in the snow and ice, so that makes driving enjoyable rather than stressful as it had been. And watching the dog bound through the snow is what pure joy looks like. Plus hot cocoa and fuzzy socks. *Heartt* Yeh, I don't mind winter. *Snow2*


In other news ... What's up?! I'm back at this blogging thing! Nano was obviously crazy busy, but I'm so thankful I finished my word count, and finished the book! It is so so far from being readable in any way, shape, or form, but it exists! I really need to give it some space before trying to edit though. I found that in writing it, I often neglected the sensory details, so those will need to be added later, and took several liberties with transitions. I needed to get my characters from one place to the next, and didn't want to take the time I should have to do to properly, but again, that's something I can add after. The main thing I'm proud of is that the skeleton is there and I reached the word count goal I had set for myself. *Proud* Pretty proud of that! (My pretty graph is below *Bigsmile*) It was crazy to me though how some bloggers in the Official 30DBC last month actually won Nano and blogged every day! Y'all are crazy! I'm jealous of how you did that. About the 30DBC though - if you're reading this, I'll get the winners announced by Friday, Dec. 7th. Jim and I are compiling the scores this weekend. *Smile*

Take care all! I hope to be writing in here more often now *Heartt*
November 12, 2018 at 9:44pm
November 12, 2018 at 9:44pm
Holy crap, dudes. I only freaking did it! I have been so stressed out these past two weeks trying to keep up with all my commitments, but this weekend in finally did it! I finished all my assignments for both of my online classes! *Proud* {e:happydance} The first one was due on the 18th, and the other class was due on the 20th, but I finished all 4 outstanding assignments this weekend so I wouldn't have to stress over them any more! God damn, I'm super super happy about having that off my plate! That means I'm halfway done with my Certificate as well! *Bigsmile* Aaaaannnnd, I've managed to keep up with Nano on top of all that too. Whew *Smile* Time for some hot chocolate to celebrate.

See ya!
November 6, 2018 at 5:51pm
November 6, 2018 at 5:51pm
Entry in the contest:

24 Syllables  (E)
Can you write a poem in just 24 syllables?
#2162300 by WintryWordsmith🎅

Syllables: 24
Lines: 5
Prompt Word: Stymie
*Trophyg* 11/7/2018 Winning Entry!

To not vote
is passive acceptance
of your minimized voice
and progress
stymied by ignorance


~ ~ ~
October 28, 2018 at 12:36pm
October 28, 2018 at 12:36pm
Just wanted to take a quick second to pop in here to mention the successes I had today:

I finished the last Nano Octo Prep assignment!
I finished my Nano Outline
I reached 50,000 words for October
I wrote and submitted my second to last assignment for one of my online classes
and I made a poll for the people to decide what I should name my Nano book

Woop woop! *Proud*
October 22, 2018 at 10:35am
October 22, 2018 at 10:35am
As my days have gotten significantly busier, by no one’s fault other than my own, I figured I’d take a minute to write about it, thus further procrastinating doing all the things that are keeping me busy! *Laugh* In all honesty though, I’m feeling really motivated. Busy in a good way! I also want to do this to look ahead a little bit and see how my days will be filled in November with NaNo and the 30DBC. I like to have my time planned so I don’t forget anything and ensure I have time to complete all my commitments. And also, just an fyi – I likely will not be blogging as much in November. You’ll probably see why after you read this entry. Also (last “also,” I promise), this post may be TMI, but whatever … *Pthb*

This is a typical Monday/Wednesday/Friday in November:
5:45am – wake up to alarm and lie in bed checking WDC for a few minutes
6:00am – get up and make breakfast, pack lunch for work, and put away the dishes from last night
6:15am – eat breakfast while watching YouTube
6:30am – 10-minute mini workout
6:40am – brush teeth, wash face, brush hair, get dressed
7:10am – load dishwasher with anything left in the sink
7:20am – feed and water dog and let her outside
7:30am – drive to work
8:00am – work …
4:30pm – drive home
5:00pm – make dinner and eat
6:00pm – clean kitchen
6:15pm – settle on the couch to write while man watches TV (try for a solid hour of writing)
7:30pm – relax with a bit of TV (while checking WDC…)
9:00pm – shower + brush teeth
9:20pm – evening WDC prowl, post 30DBC prompt
9:30pm – sleep

Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I don’t work I have to focus on maintaining my volunteer responsibilities, catching up on writing (I will get in my 50K word count!), and working on my online grad school classes. I’ve currently completed one, am about halfway through another one, and the third begins on October 24th. So, my Tuesdays, Thursdays, and the weekend will be my days to focus on classwork, keep the house tidy-ish, attempt to be “host-like” at the 30DBC by putting out any fires and collecting the judges scores, and maintain some sort of relationship with the man I’m living with. Ha! I think he understands … *Think* I just better end up with a novel at the end of this to prove I wasn’t wasting my time.

Some of my other goals these coming months are:

*Bullet* Drink at least 2000mL/64oz of water every day
*Bullet* Stick to my new diet/workout plan (alternate high carb and low carb days and 10 minutes of HIIT workout every Mon/Wed/Fri morning)
*Bullet* Maintain my hygiene routine … this can get left by the wayside if one is not careful, but I will remember to wash my face and brush my teeth twice a day *Laugh*
*Bullet* Find time to continue reviewing for Anniversary Reviews and the Contest Review Challenge and continue entering contests for the Scoundrel and the Contest Challenge
*Bullet* Continue to engage on WDC, lol! *Laugh* Auctions, Raffles, all the fun stuff
*Bullet* Continue Captain duties with the SuperPower Reviewers

And this doesn’t even go into work tasks, but that is a whole different world.

So, if you’re reading this because you want to know why I’m not around as much, there you have it. Please email me if there is anything I’ve forgotten to do – I only have so much brain capacity, lol! *Rolling* Give a sister a hand? *Angelic*

See ya around (maybe?)

October 20, 2018 at 2:16pm
October 20, 2018 at 2:16pm
The final task of my "a very Wodehouse challenge this round is to write a blog post about my experience with, interest in, and impressions of the horror genre, and I have to say, this month was the perfect month for this challenge to come my way.

Prior to this month, my experience with horror was largely non-existent. I knew I didn't like horror movies, so I assumed I would also dislike horror writing. I even had in my Review page for a while that I would not review in the Horror/Scary genre. However, I did have one horror piece I had written several years back still hanging out in my portfolio ("Pet Me, Master) from when I wrote it back in my freshman year of college. Out of the blue, a certain "Prince of Horror" on this site gave me a lovely review for it and slapped it with a handsome awardicon, which made me all giddy inside. I was thrilled someone actually liked that bit of horror I had written, but it was literally the only piece I had ever written in that genre, so I didn't know if I could do it again. It felt like a one hit wonder, if you know what I mean. But then again, I had never even tried.

So, I promised Angus I would try to enter his Halloween Screams Contest this month, but didn't know if I would be able to fit it in, especially with October Nano Prep. But then, as if it were fate, my Wodehouse Challenge was Horror themed! *Laugh* I mean, I guess I didn't have a choice now. I set up my favorite writing spot, dog curled at my side, and steeled myself to write a horror short story for Angus's contest. My fingers hovered over the keyboard, but nothing spilled out. I had zero ideas. How the heck was I supposed to write a horror story if not a single idea came to mind? Okay, new plan. I figured I could start with the other components of the challenge and get those done first and then come back to the short story. That was less intimidating.

As part of the challenge, besides entering a horror contest, I was asked to complete ten reviews, write five product reviews, welcome two newbies interested in horror, and write this blog post. Around work and school and October Prep, I found time to do the reviews, the product reviews (my first ever), and welcome a couple new members, but still that dang short story was looming over my head. I knew I was already too deep and couldn't back out of the challenge now, so I had to give it a real try.

It was last night when I started drafting my little story. Coming up with an idea was hard in itself, but I relied on the one thing I knew about horror - real life is what really freaks me out. Ghosts and demons and paranormal stuff aren't for me, so I knew I had to stay in the real world and in the realm of the possible. Through my reviewing, I also learned that I enjoyed horror where the reader starts getting creeped out thinking one thing is going to happen, but then something else happens that's even more gross than they were expecting. Through my research into horror (mostly just trying to get ideas for what to write), I came across another notion as well that apparently works well in horror - if you make the reader believe the character made a mistake and is about to be caught or found out, that is another great way to build the tension for the ultimate reveal at the end.

I tried to incorporate all those elements and ended up with this story:

Halloween Happy Hour  (18+)
Neighbors enjoy a Halloween potluck, but someone is mysteriously missing
#2172488 by Emily

It's only my second time writing horror, so I'd really appreciate any comments, especially from experienced horror writers!

And so, with the posting of this blog entry, I've come to the conclusion of my very first Wodehouse Challenge! *Bigsmile*

You can see the links to my completed challenges here: "Emily's Wodehouse Challenges!

Thank you to Angus The Red Nosed Gargoyle for your encouragement to continue writing horror, to Jeff for offering this horrible challenge and your beautiful badge, and to iKïyå§ama for including it as a Wodehouse Challenge and enticing me to choose Comrade Butt! *Laugh* *Bigsmile* *Salute*

October 19, 2018 at 11:45am
October 19, 2018 at 11:45am
"30-Day Blogging Challenge
Make a List of Ten Things on Your Desk

Oh! I have to jump in on this prompt! I do not have a desk at home and tend to write either in bed or on the couch with my laptop in my lap, so I'll be writing about my desk at work, where I spend most of my days anyway.

My work desk is a lovely, dark red mahogany in an "L" shape. I have a laptop and a separate monitor so I'm able to work on dual screens. I sit in my desk facing a window, which is my favorite part because my previous desk did not have a view of the outdoors. I share my office with another lady, who sits in the opposite corner from me and has her own window as well. The office door is behind me at about 5 o'clock and there is a filing cabinet blocking my direct view of the door, which also means I'm not too distracted by what's happening outside my door and people walking by don't get to creep on me, which, I admit, is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so I'm happy for the privacy.

As to the items populating my desk, I of course have the usual array - laptop, laptop stand, monitor, various laptop cords, iPhone, phone charger, earbuds, keys, wireless keyboard and mouse, mouse pad, office phone, pen and pad, stapler, tape, business cards, mug with writing implements, and tissues. Besides those things, I have some more personal and unique items:

1. My water cup. This is not an ordinary cup that can be bought at a store. No, this one is completely unique - only one in the world. It is ceramic, handcrafted by my mother to perfectly fit the shape of my hand. It is glazed in my favorite sea foam teal color and has ripple-like waves around the outside surface. The lip and base are perfectly smooth, which is soothing to my OCD. In meetings, I like to rub my finger over the bottom of the cup in a circular manner. The cup is approximately the size of a small mug, but does not have a handle and fits intimately in my cupped hands like it was always meant to be there.

2. My water bottle. My water bottle is new as of last month when my sister went to college. It is a Nalgene, 1000mL/32oz bottle in dark blue with my sister's school logo on one side. I use it to fill up my cup rather than drink directly from it. The bottle itself actually has a story for how I acquired it. When dropping my sister at her college, we were walking around campus touring the various buildings and saw an abandoned bottle on an outside table. We said if it was still there when we came back this way, we would grab it. All the new first-years were given a bottle, which were normally $20 (probably ... maybe an exaggeration). But, low and behold, when we returned to the table, the bottle was still abandoned there. My mother who was with my sister and I said, "Didn't you forget your bottle over there?" And, well (I think I'm admitting to a crime here), I took it. *Laugh* I mean ... yes, I was wrong to take it, but I was just teaching a valuable lesson to a new adult about the value of their property, especially at a college in a big city. And now I have a good story, ha! *Ha*

3. A replica cornerstone gargoyle from the west facade of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. You might be thinking, "What the heck? Why?" and you would be absolutely justified in that response. In fact, I had the same thought when it was given to me. In my office, the newest employee receives this gargoyle from the previous newest employee, so when I started my job, he was passed on to me. Someone has even taken the time to color his eyes red. Now, he sits in my stack of books in the corner of my desk. He reminds me to get back to work when I want to slack off.

4. My environment-related book collection. The gargoyle rests of a stack of books related to my work. Some I've read, some I've yet to read, and some are for reference, but they form a nice totem to the work I've found my passion in. Here is a list from top to bottom: "Animal Tracks of Minnesota and Wisconsin," Peterson's "First Guide to Wildflowers," Aldo Leopold's "Sand County Almanac," "Drawing Life in Motion," Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," Doug McKenzie-Mohr's "Fostering Sustainable Behavior," "A Fierce Green Fire," and the "Project WET Curriculum and Activity" textbook.

5. A "Thank you" note card. The card is the size of a business card, yellow, with an image of a light bulb with a plant growing in it, and has the words "Thank you for lighting the way for education about our environment." I received it after hosting a table at an event for youth at a local nature center. It was a complete surprise, and even though the organizers of the event gave the cards to every agency at the event, I've kept mine and display it leaning against my stack of books.

6. Three Hanayama puzzles. Hanayama is a company that makes the best, in my opinion, fidget puzzles out there. The three I have are the Coil, Donuts, and Vortex (which is basically impossible - do not recommend that one. It does look pretty on display though). I can do the Coil with my eyes closed after practicing so many times and learning the sequence, but I like offering it to visitors to my desk to see how they fair. Donuts is a little trickier, because it takes more hand/eye coordination, but fun to twirl without even solving it. They are a odd and interesting addition to my desk.

7. Hand-painted miniature calendar by one of my friends. This one isn't actually displayed yet because it is a 2019 calendar, but it will come out when the new year hits. Each calendar month is a separate sheet of paper and a separate painting. Each day on the month is hand-lettered and numbered, and each is adorned with a unique painting of different leaves and other foliage.

Okay, I know that was only 7, but I've listed literally everything on my desk, so that should be satisfactory. *Laugh*

'Til next time!
October 17, 2018 at 9:10pm
October 17, 2018 at 9:10pm
October 16, 2018 at 9:15am
October 16, 2018 at 9:15am
I did an experiment today. I set a timer for an hour and wrote constantly through that whole hour just to see how many words I could get out and get a better judgement of how long I will need to dedicate to writing per day to reach my Nano goal. It was really illuminating! Here are the stats:

Writing time: 1 hour
First 30 minute word count: 1326 words
Second 30 minute word count: 1280 words
Total word count: 2606 words
Average words per minute: 43.4333

So, it looks like I did slow down at the end, which is probably due to a few reasons. First, I was running out of things to write about, and second, my fingers were getting a little worn out *Pthb* I write all day for work too, so carpel tunnel might be in my future. I'm not too worried though, so long as this book gets written *Laugh*

This writing session this morning also pushed me over the halfway point in my practice Nano! I have over 25K words written in October (only counting my blog and OctoPrep assignments)! Yay! That's an accomplishment, I think! Only one day late too. *Bigsmile*

Now, time to tackle this Wodehouse thing *Surfing*

October 15, 2018 at 7:52pm
October 15, 2018 at 7:52pm
My OctoPrep entry today was exactly the number of words I need to write each day to stay on track for Nano. I think that was the first time I actually reached that number in a single post. I've so far been cobbling together my blog entries and my OctoPrep word counts, but this time I actually got to see how long I have to dedicate to writing non stop each day. I think I haven't had the real experience yet though because I'm not writing my actual story. No offense to the OctoPrep prompts, but some are not as interesting as others and I feel I can't write enough on them. But when I actually get to write my story, I hope it will be different and I'll get to ramble on and on and on and on! *Ha*

In other news, I took on another challenge *Laugh* I've officially taken on the role of "Comrade Butt" at the "a very Wodehouse challenge and it's a perfect challenge for me! It's perfectly horrific for a perfectly horrific month! Best challenge out of all of them, in my opinion! *Bigsmile* I get to write more horror! Just like Angus told me to do! *Delight* I'm very excited to give it a go!

Okay, I think that's it for now. I want to start on the Wodehouse challenge now! Maybe I can draft up a bit of a story idea and then call it a night *Smile*

Take care!
October 14, 2018 at 5:44pm
October 14, 2018 at 5:44pm
This'll be another mishmash entry since I've done a couple things of note today. First, I added a fair bit more to my Nano novel outline. I think I have the transition from part one to part two solid. I also added a bit more to part two. Slowly coming together. I just have to remember to dedicate time to it every day so I don't get surprised when November rolls around.

Then, I created a super nifty spreadsheet for handling the 30DBC official month judging. It automatically populates itself and does all the addition itself. There are even links so you can jump around in the spreadsheet *Geek* *Bigsmile* I like it when spreadsheets are pretty and functional. In fact, I'm really jealous of the OctoPrep assignment spreadsheet. Wow, that one's a doozie!

Other things besides Nano that I still have to do this month include finishing my Anniversary reviews for the month and recruiting guest judges for the 30DBC.

And lastly, SMs sent the proof of my special surprise *Wink* Just wait until you see this baby! *InLove*

Hope your weekend was swell! *Bigsmile*
October 13, 2018 at 9:32pm
October 13, 2018 at 9:32pm
Finally did it! *Ha* I don't know how many folks actually read this (and most of you are *Ghost*s anyway *Think*), but Wordsmitty ✍️ and I are conspiring behind y'all's backs *Wink*

That is all.

Oh? What's that? You want to know more? *Smirk*

Guess you'll just have to wait and see *Wink*

Be patient ...

October 12, 2018 at 6:05pm
October 12, 2018 at 6:05pm
Entry in the contest:

24 Syllables  (E)
Can you write a poem in just 24 syllables?
#2162300 by WintryWordsmith🎅

Syllables: 24
Lines: 4
Prompt Word: Adept
Quote Inspiration: "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

a flat sea does not
an adept sailor make
for it is the sea’s chop
that demands innovation


~ ~ ~
October 11, 2018 at 2:30pm
October 11, 2018 at 2:30pm
Umm ... outline is freaking hard! What the heck, OctoPrep day 11?! You're kicking my butt...

Maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself because I'm trying to fill in every crack and hole in the story now so that come November, I won't have any hurdles left to overcome. I'm a little wary about this though because what if I solve all my novel's problems through outlining and then the story itself isn't fun to write because I know what'll happen? What I'm doing right now is just giving the story a first pass so that I can begin fitting in the elements that need to happen in the correct places so I don't miss anything when I'm actually writing in November. I'm still kind of hazy on the ending of my story too, which is freaking me out a bit ... A good thing about the outlining is that I can get a high level overview of the story from beginning to end (assuming I finish the outline *Pthb* ) and be able to see where places are at risk of being slow, and where all the twists and reveals are so I can make sure to pace them correctly.

Anyway, we'll see how I go. I plan to work on it regularly and try to do at least a chapter a day, and more on weekends and off days. I've learned though that in the middle especially, I have a lot of things that need to happen, but I don't quite know how they connect yet. So I've started backwards on some parts, writing out the ending of the scene first and then figuring out how I'll get to that point. It's different than anything I've done before (there are those words again), but I want to put in some good work and some good struggle now so I don't freak out in November.

Oh, and I actually signed up for Nano officially! Woohoo! Haven't been placed on a team yet, but I'll have to beg some friends to sponsor me eventually. Jeff has a big goal this year, so I'm excited to jump on the train *Smile*

And I did some reviews today as well! Finally ... about time I got back into it. I'm not counting those reviews toward my practice word count though just to give myself more of a challenge. *Wink* With this blog entry, I'm up to an average of 1,490 per day, which would be 44,697 over 30 days. Better than the last update! *Bigsmile* Getting closer to that magic number! I think in November I'll have to stop blogging though. It'll be hard since it's the official month for the 30DBC, but they'll survive without me.

Ok, gotta go for today. Take care!

Draft outline here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AlvhZcLv0H-9Goj8nNPld8ZJppxy7TuEQc9BJ8gB...
October 10, 2018 at 10:07pm
October 10, 2018 at 10:07pm
A little annoyed by what happened at work today. But before we get there, you'll need a bit of backstory.

My position is funded by a grant. This means that everything I do needs to be recorded so the funders can have some assurance that the purpose of the position is being fulfilled. I have to be very conscious about where I dedicate my time so that the funders know I'm not using the money for anything they would consider a waste of staff time.

That said, I'm still very early in my position, so there is some available time that I can use for peripheral activities. One of our partner organizations asked me to participate in a presentation to a local chamber of commerce, which really isn't in my job description and wouldn't be especially useful to me or fit within the terms of the grant, but I agreed anyway, mostly to keep in good terms with the partner org. I talked to my supervisor about how to make the most of the situation, and we came up with a fairly decent plan, but it was still out of my focus area, and so there was little I could talk about and still connect in some way to the grant funding. Still, I spent a fair bit of time planning my presentation and getting input from my supervisor, and I felt pretty prepared come today when the presentation was scheduled.

I head over there, eat the provided lunch, and settle in to listen to the first half of the presentation that was to be given by our partner org. They were to use 20 minutes, and I was to use the last 10 minutes. Unfortunately, and here's the annoying bit, they talked the whole time! And even went over time so I literally had no time to say anything! Not only had I gotten all worked up and nervous about this damn presentation, but now I had wasted approximately 8 hours of my time, plus 2 hours of my supervisor's time for NOTHING! There was nothing I gained from being at this presentation because all I could do was beg people to come talk with me afterward if they were interested, but of course no one did. I was really pissed off that I had put all this energy into this, and now I would have to either report to the grant authority that I had wasted this time, or fudge the numbers somehow... Why did they even ask me to come if she would just use up my time!? I mean ... she even said she would flip through her slides quickly, but obviously she didn't rehearse adequately because dang, she just dragged on and on.

This job really forces me to think of myself as a resource. I only have one brain and it needs to be focused on what's most important. Gaah ...

At least I have tomorrow off...
October 9, 2018 at 6:34pm
October 9, 2018 at 6:34pm
Hey all!

I did some fun things today! Well, fun if you think learning new things and growing as a human being is fun, and I'm not being sarcastic about that at all! *Bigsmile*

I don't work on Tuesdays, which at first I thought would mean that I got to do nothing on my days off, but I'm realizing as an adult that I have so many other interests and activities I want to do, that spending a whole day doing nothing isn't really an option. But that's totally okay. When I have things to do that interest me and stimulate my mind, I'm so productive! In the past, if I had a day off, I would sit on my butt doing nothing and not wanting to write or anything. Now, I feel like I get so much done!

I wrote my OctoPrep entry this morning (a nice long one too). Then I went volunteering with the service poochies. Then when I got home, I wrote my final grade assignment for my Nature Drawing and Journaling class that was this past weekend. It ended up being about three pages. I also scanned a few journal pages to include with my submission to the professor. All of that is here: "ENED 7635 - Nature Drawing & Journaling

And now, I'm finding time to write my blog entry too! I even put on the pressure cooker for roast. The smell is filling the house, rain is pattering outside, dog is curled up beside me - perfect perfect! *Ha* Now I just need to squeeze in time to review *Think*

Take care,
October 8, 2018 at 9:43pm
October 8, 2018 at 9:43pm
This is just a little update on my OctoPrep month. I think I had a great breakthrough today! The prompt was to think about the climax, which I hadn't put hardly any thought into before. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants when writing stories. I start off with an interesting concept then journey along with the characters as they discover the world and eventually (maybe) lead to a climax and conclusion. Perhaps that's why I always found it difficult to write long stories/novels. I could handle short scenes, but tying them all together was my problem. I'm really excited about the discoveries I'm making through this prepping challenge! I've never ever done something like this before, and it is really making me eager for November! I'm able to keep up with posting every day (almost) and catching up when I miss a day. That's really thanks to two things - 1.) my work schedule being Monday, Wednesday, and Friday allows me free days during the week to catch up or get ahead if I need to and 2.) These nifty things called "OwnZone Headphones." They connect wirelessly to the TV so my man can watch TV while I sit in the same room and write! It's really super great because I want to spend time with him, but I cannot write with distracting background voices. This way, we can both be together, but doing our own things and not bothering each other. It's revolutionary!

As for my word count, with this blog post, I'm at 10,744 for the month of October so far (only counting OctoPrep entries and blog entries, nothing I write while at work and no emails, forum posts, etc). That breaks down to approximately 1,343 words per day, which, if I keep up this pace, would put me at 40,290 words over 30 days. Not too bad for my first try, but I'm really glad I'm practicing so I can see how long I need to dedicate to writing every day to hit my Nano goal.

Anyways, that is all for tonight! Take care!

Here's my OctoPrep stuff book, btw, in case anyone is interested:

October 2018 NaNo Prep Challenge  (18+)
Preparing for writing my very first Nano project!
#2170493 by Emily
October 7, 2018 at 6:17pm
October 7, 2018 at 6:17pm
Entry in the contest:

Tweet Me a Story  (18+)
Write me a story or poem in the equivalent space of an 'old-school' tweet-140 characters.
#2040737 by Sally

Character Count: 138
*Trophys* Second Place!

"I wish I could play football like you did in your day," my grandson said. And I wished those days weren't hidden behind a concussive fog.

October 6, 2018 at 9:02am
October 6, 2018 at 9:02am
I’m writing this on my phone, so I apologize in advance if there are any weird autocorrect mistakes *Pthb*

I’m sitting in the parking lot right now before my “Nature Drawing and Journaling” class with a whole hour to spare because I thought it started at 8am instead of 9am *Think* Oh well, I figured I could use the few minutes to write an entry for today *Smile* I really don’t know what to expect with this class. I like journaling but suck at drawing so we’ll see what happens there. I think there may only be five other folks in this class, and I assume most (if not all) will be older than me. It is also quite cold today and the wind is whipping across the restored prairie island in the middle of the parking area. The email said we would be outside, so I brought my bundle up gear, haha!

I expect intros for the class will involve us students sharing what we hope to learn from the class, so I’d better do some thinking now about my answer. Working in non-formal eduction, I’m always looking for quick ways to engage the public and especially children in STEAM activities that promote scientific thinking as well as engage their creative minds. I hope I’ll get some inspiration from this class about some fun ways to do that as well as practice connecting with my own curiosity.

I think that sounds good *Laugh*

Okay, so writing that took up ten minutes... maybe I’ll browse WDC for a bit *Smile* Talk later!


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