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Downs and Ups

It’s been an interesting couple of days.

Due to some confusion at the garage I got my new muffler Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday morning, which freed up all of Thursday for a trip to a town (DuBois) about an hour and a half away to go to a craft store (Pat Catan’s) that I’d heard great things about but had never been to.

And a trip to DuBois isn’t worthwhile without a trip to Dutch Pantry for lunch – and an Apple Fritter Sundae for dessert.

Only it wasn’t.  Horrible service there this time. Definitely not the norm but definitely beyond bad.  Sort of ruined the day.

Which means that I wasn’t in the mood to explore the craft store.  Which means that I’ll have to go back to the craft store another time. (Such a sacrifice!)

My Work Box 3.0 was, according to tracking, scheduled for delivery today but apparently that only means to the freight carrier’s hub, so I’m not getting it until Wednesday, which means I have to take another (unpaid) day off work. I’m not a happy camper because I was looking forward to getting it today (since I was already off) and having all weekend to get it assembled.

So I emailed work to request the day off (because by that time talking to people was probably really not a good idea). I got a reply (that gmail, for some unknown reason, decided to hide in my spam folder so I didn’t find it until the office was closed for the weekend) stating that I can’t call off via email.

Um… Okay, but I’m not calling off.  I’m requesting a day off, in writing, just like I did for the 31st and first.

So I called and got the on-call supervisor who was as confused as I was and agreed that wasn’t calling off.  I’ll reply to the email (when I get my snarkiness under control) and will also call on Monday when the regular people are in the office.

So, anyhow, I’ve kind of not been in the mood for much of anything creative lately and I swear the universe is conspiring to piss me off. (And succeeding quite well.) It’s enough to make me want to log into Materia Magica and kill things.

But on a brighter note, I have tentative names for the two main characters (and one secondary character) for my NaNoWriMo novel.

And on an even brighter note, I have figured out how to use Asana to manage trilogies and beyond.  Name the project for the trilogy (or series) – The Other Mages, for instance. Then, instead of adding a task, add a section (it’s kind of hidden next to the “add task” button), and then add tasks below that.

This means I have no excuse not to enter the Academy of the Accord series into it now. (That’s going to be a task and a half!)

 

 

 

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Goal Tracking App Update

On Monday I talked about a couple apps I was going to try out to help with productivity: Habitica and Asana  . Since then I’ve come across another one (WordKeeperAlpha which I found via Rachel Poli’s blog (and she found it via Skye Hegyes’ blog).

Anyhow, I promised you an update on what I thought of them.

Mostly I’ve played with Habitica because it’s fun and addictive. Is it the time sink I feared it would be? Not quite. Yes, I spend time there that I probably shouldn’t, but it is productive time. I’m already up to level 4 and halfway to level 5 and it’s keeping me on task for habits, daily (also weekly) goals, and to do lists. However, I find that I’m using it more for mundane things than for writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I really enjoy using it so I’m going to keep on using it, and maybe find a way to revamp my writing goals to put into it. (Right now the only writing things it has are daily goals to work on Onyx Sun and The Academy of the Accord (which currently means my outline for November) and I’m not sure exactly what (if anything) I should change for it. I think I’ll let it go as is at least for now and rethink the writing aspect of it after NaNoWriMo.

(Fun notes: you can get “pets” in the game. The first one I hatched is a red wolf. Red Wolf Inn plays a key role in some of the Academy of the Accord novels. The second one is a purple tiger. Purple Tiger is one of the things that “P.T.” is rumored to stand for.)

I haven’t fooled with Asana much but hope to do more with it over the weekend. Right now it looks most useful for tracking progress on several different WiPs. With Asana you create a project and then set tasks under it.

For instance, Onyx Sun is a project. Tasks under it include:
Finish Space Battle Scene
Add scene where Soraine “pays back” her rescue
Change “More Araxians” scene to passengers
Put additional scenes into main manuscript
Print for paper edits and revisions
etc

Academy of the Accord hasn’t been entered into it yet because I’m not sure if I should make it one project or make each book of the series a project.

But what I really want to do with Asana is create a project for each Work in Progress, even if it’s just a “story start” (sort of an advanced plot bunny), that takes it from outlining through writing and editing and into publication. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but wasn’t sure how, and Asana looks like it might be the solution I need. Hopefully I’ll have time to play with it more this weekend.

Then there’s the newest discovery, WordKeeperAlpha. I just registered on the site so I don’t have much in the way of first hand feedback for you yet, but I love the fact that it has graphs to track your progress and if you set goals it will tell you how many words you need per day to reach it. (Yeah, some of the stuff I miss having in non-NaNoWriMo months.) And it lets you post your progress directly to FB if you want.

I’m still trying to find my way around the site (it seems to have eaten the project I entered to test it out for this post) but it’s kind of cool and I see it becoming really useful in the future – probably in December.

So there you have it. All three are pretty cool and have (at least in my mind) different uses, all of which are things that I’m finding helpful.

Now, if I just knew how to code I’d create a website that combines all three.

 

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Goal Tracking? There’s an App for That!

A friend introduced me to a role playing game (sort of) this weekend. It’s called Habitica and it’s a combination of a goal tracking app and a role playing game. The basic gist of it is that you list your goals and click them off as you accomplish them.  Clicking them off earns you experience points and gold. There’s more to it than that (Guilds, Groups, Parties, Quests, etc) but I’m still learning about it so I’m not going to get into that here.

I’m rather nervously giving it a try. It looks like fun and it looks useful, but it also looks like a time sink.

You can play on the computer or with a phone app, and since my phone’s memory sucks I’m doing it on the computer. So far it’s cute and it seems to be effective. (But I just signed up for it yesterday so it might be a bit too soon to tell yet.)

Is it a time sink?  Well… I don’t know yet. It takes some time to set up your goals and the rest, I suppose, depends on how involved you get with guilds and parties and groups and such.  (There is a writing guild, so of course I had to join it. I’m not entirely certain what it does yet.)

Also, the FAQ leaves much to be desired and a good tutorial would help a lot.

The same friend also told me about Asana. It seems to be more work-team focused. (When you sign up it nags you for a work email, teammates, team name, etc.) I like the idea that you create projects in it, with individual tasks under that project to break it down.

Then again, I love that same basic idea in Scrivener too, and, um, yeah, well… Let’s not talk about me and Scrivener. I should probably just delete it from my computer. (And I would, but I’m too stubborn. I want to like it. I know it could be useful for things like… oh… organizing the disaster known as The Academy of the Accord.  But it’s just too much.)

I’m thinking that Asana might be useful for organizing all of my WiPs and ideas and starts. We’ll see.

So, that’s part of what I was up to yesterday. Let’s see if I can keep up with at least one of them through Friday.

 

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Revising Goals

On Monday, I wrote “I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.”

And so far I’ve done a pretty good job at that, despite having spent most of the week battling the cold from hell.

Unfortunately, all of it has been for the prequel to The Academy of the Accord (current working title: Creating Accord) and it’s been nothing more than a few notes jotted down in the traveler’s notebook that I carry with me at work. Some of the notes are things to check (or possibly change) in the other books and some are notes for this one.

So, it’s been some progress, but not much. (The lack of productivity is mostly courtesy of the cold from hell and the evil day job, but mostly the cold from hell.)

Since the cold seems to be breaking up and I’m starting to get some energy back, I think I’m going to have to revamp my goals a little bit, by changing just one little word.

No more “or.”

“Or” is now “and.”

I need to do one small thing daily for both The Academy of the Accord (either the series or the prequel – probably the prequel this month since it’s looking like it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo project) and Onyx Sun.

Otherwise, Onyx Sun will continue to be ignored, and I’ve already missed several “I want to release this by” dates, which is only adding to the frustration with it and the feeling that it will never be done.

Will this work any better?

I have no idea.  Monday will be too soon to tell so I’ll give it until next Friday to see how it’s working.

 

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Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.

Why?

I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)

 

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Progress = Standing Still

The Academy of the Accord is giving me a headache.

Yes, I know. I’m supposed to be working on Onyx Sun, and I am, but yesterday I had a few flashes of insight into The Academy of the Accord and scribbled them down (and typed them up so I could read them later).

One of those flashes of brilliance belongs with a scene that I’m pretty sure has been cut (but which I know still exists in one of the previous versions). The headache comes from not knowing what book it’s going to go in.

I’m pretty sure it can’t be Book 5.5 (which will be Book 6 eventually but I’m really not ready for the re-numbering headache yet!) but I’m not sure how to get it to fin into the current Book 6 of 7 either. Seven would be a better fit, I think.  It definitely has to come before Book 8.

I really need to get Onyx Sun finished and off to a beta reader so I can get back to work on The Academy of the Accord.

I think working on Onyx Sun (and catching up on the blog hops from last weekend, which I still haven’t done) is going to be my main goal for the rest of the day today – and maybe over the weekend, too, although I want to get this weekend’s blog hops done as they happen. (It seems like if I don’t do them on the weekend they don’t get done until just before the next round starts. I’m not quite sure why that is.)

In other words, my goals for today are pretty much the same as they were for Monday.

But on the other hand, at least I’m not any further behind.

 

 

 

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Routine? What Routine?

I got a phone call from the staffing agency around 7:00 last night, telling me that the kid that I ride the bus with was admitted to the hospital so I’m not working today after all. (I have no idea why he was admitted or to which hospital so there’s no way of knowing when he’ll be going back to school.)

So, I’m unemployed again.  Just as I had finally figured out a rhythm of some sort that was letting me do some writing.

So, it’s back to being home and now I’m going to be job hunting just in case this absence stretches on for too long.

And I still need to find some sort of rhythm and routine for my writing. Novel-writing, that is. I’ve already written one blog post today for a 30 day journaling challenge (unrelated to novel writing) and now I’m working on this blog post.

And when I finish here I’m going to go get something to eat and then I am (hopefully) going to come back to my room and do some novel writing.

I’d better, because I asked a friend of mine to message me when she gets home from work today and ask me how many words I’ve written. So far that total is “none” because the blog posts don’t count.

But I want to have an answer larger than “none” to give her so I’m going to write (as soon as I get something to eat because breakfast was a long time ago).

Until I manage to get some sort of routine going, I think that having an accountability partner will help.

At least, I hope so.  I have goals to reach, and I need help getting to them.

 

 

 

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Happy End of Un-Labor Days to Me

Tomorrow I start my new job.

It’s been two months since I worked at my last one, and I am… nervous? anxious?

Part of that is because…

Well, because it’s been two months since I put on a set of scrubs and dealt with people.

So there’s the “hermit doesn’t want to leave her cave” anxiety. The longer I’m away from people the happier I am and the harder it is to go out among them again.

And then the fact that it’s kids and I’m… not a fan. (Yes, I know I was one once, but that was a long time ago and I didn’t really like them then, either.)

Add to that the fact that I still don’t know anything about the kid I’m to be riding with, (and as far as I know the agency still doesn’t have any doctor’s orders on him either), and the fact that the logistics of what I’m doing have changed four times since this all started, (not to mention the fact that this was supposed to have started last Thursday) and I’m really not looking forward to my first day.

I am (kind of) looking forward to getting back into a routine, though. I’m hoping that it will give me the chance to get more done than what I have been doing (which is basically nothing so anything will be an improvement).

It will, however, probably take a week or so to find a rhythm. Keep your fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping to write at least a hundred words this week. (Low goal? Yeah, but it’s a hundred more than I’ve been writing.)  And I’m going to post them on Friday so watch this space…

 

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I’m Freeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

It was a crazy busy weekend but I got my swaps finished and in the mail –  including two that don’t have to go out until later this week. My next ones aren’t due until September 11th or thereabouts so I’m free to work on writing related projects now.

Sunday, when I had to push to finish stuff, I found myself really wanting to just read stuff I’ve written so I could get back to work on them. I was hoping to do that today but still had a couple things to finish up before the post office closed, then my dog had a chiropractor appointment, then a trip to Tractor Supply where the checkout lady fed him treats. We dropped him off at home then went for supper and for my roommate to do a mystery shop at a frozen yogurt place. I’m stuffed and too tired to do anything else tonight.

So tomorrow I’m going to clean up the disaster area that is my bedroom and try to organize craft supplies.  And I’m going to do writing related stuff.  I’m thinking of maybe setting up some sort of rotation, maybe 15 minutes of craft clean up and then write a set amount of words (unless I really get on a roll with one or the other).

Tomorrow and Wednesday are my last “free” days as I start my new job on Thursday, and I have the feeling that Wednesday is going to have a bunch of errands attached.

Still, the future is looking pretty promising at the moment as far as getting some writing and such done.

And I’m going to be careful not to take on so much stuff that’s all due at the same time.

(Yeah, yeah, I know. We’ve all heard that before.)

But The Academy of the Accord is calling (but I should work on Onyx Sun first) and I want to get back to work on the sequel to Song and Sword (which is now tentatively titled Song and Sight).

What was I saying about not taking on so much?

 

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Increasing Count

I spent most of yesterday in a car getting lost on a road trip to Ohio.  (I don’t know what Google Maps was tripping on when it gave me directions but it sure wasn’t PA and OH roads, that’s for sure.)

So word count didn’t go up, but body count did.

No, I didn’t kill my roommate.

Nope.

We were taking the dogs to a pound in Ohio. (We live in Western Pennsylvania.)

And, no, we weren’t dropping our dogs off there. Jazzy and Riley came from a shelter and have a forever home with us.

Nope, we were going there to meet Laverne and Shirley.

They are 10 year old sisters that I learned about via a boxer rescue group on Face Book (Boxer Rescue of America).   They were surrendered by their elderly owner because she was no longer able to care for them. Laverne is the fawn (on the right) and Shirley is the brindle.

The meet and greet went very well. None of the dogs showed any sign of aggression – not one hackle was raised, no flattened ears, no growls or snarls or baring of teeth, not even a guarded look. A lot of sniffing and going about their business. No cowering in submission from anyone, either.

So, we’re going to back on Saturday (sans dogs) to bring them home with us. (Laverne and Shirley are getting some blood work done this week.)

That’s going to give us four wiggle butts.  Two humans = four hands. Four dogs = one for each hand.

(My roommate wasn’t too sure about adding to the family, but Shirley kissed up to her and now has her wrapped around her little cigar butt tail. Literally kissed up to her.  She did the “Boxer Lean” and slobbered big wet sloppy kisses all over her face and Sue said, “They have to come home.”)

Anyhow, since I’m about nine thousand words behind where I need to be today, and since I’m probably losing most if not all of Saturday (and the days that follow as I help the two new additions settle into their new home) I had really better get myself focused on increasing word count.

And I will.

Right after supper.

 

 

 

 

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