Tag Archives: rats

One Third

We’re one third of the way through NaNoWriMo and I’ve fallen below par. I started the day needing 2539 words to get up to where I need to be, 873 of which were from yesterday. I’m not going to get there today, and will probably end up even further behind because I’m in one of those phases where every word I put down is a struggle.

(Waking up with a migraine this morning didn’t help.)

So, I may be running (and feeling) a bit below par, but I am at least managing to write every day. (Maybe not much today, but still… some words are better than no words.)

In addition to trying to get the words on the screen to match the scenes in my head, I’m also trying to get all of my paper crafting stuff moved out of my room and downstairs to my Work Box. It’s a slow process – I’m taking stuff down each time I leave my room but I’ve dragged so much up here that it’s taking forever. Plus, I’m putting it away when I get it down there which is also taking time. (But on the other hand, I’m making great progress at organizing it as I go.)

And, of course, being November, my rats are sick so they’re getting medicated twice a day. (I don’t know what it is about November and their respiratory systems, but medicating rats pretty much an annual event now.)

And I have other things piling up on me that I need to be doing and I’m feeling guilty about them, so when I’m not writing I’m thinking “I should be writing” but when I am writing I’m thinking “I should be doing this, that, or the other.”

And, of course, now we’re at the weekend with blog hops to do and a rat cage to clean and…

Sometimes there’s just no way to win.



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Crunch Time!

That noise you hear is the sound of panic coming from hundreds of thousands of writers who are realizing that there are only three days (not counting today) before NaNoWriMo.

I may or may not be one of those writers.

Actually, I’m in pretty good shape as far as the novel itself goes.  I have one pretty thorough outline that I’m still tweaking a bit (I’m having trouble with the sequence of events in a few places but if that’s not settled by the time I get to that part of the story I can fix it in the rewrite) and I have two more outlines waiting in the wings.  I’m not going to need them, but I can always finish them and use them for Camp sessions next year.  (Or work on them around the editing projects that I’ve been ignoring.)

(Yes, that means that I’ve decided which of the Elven Bard books I’m going to work on.)

My panic comes from the list of things that I need to finish before the end of the month.  It’s a very long list and it refuses to get any shorter no matter what I do. (I swear my lists are the spawn of hydras. I cross one thing off and two others grow in its place.)

I did get the stock up shopping done, so there is that.  I still need to get groceries – I’m hoping to do that Sunday night after work.  (I was going to go after work last night but it was raining and I’m already fighting off some sort of respiratory crud so I just came home instead.)

(I don’t have time to get sick.  NaNoWriMo is coming!)

Mostly my list consists of things to do.

Some of it is stuff to get done and out of the way around the house (like get the rat food out of the big 40 pound bag and into smaller containers).

The rest is stuff to get done online so I don’t have to deal with it next month (finish setting up snippets for the blog hops, for instance, and ordering more meds for the brat rats).

How much will get done before November first?


I’m hoping that the rat food and the online and computer stuff will be done before then, along with at least one major assault on the clutter that has accumulated while I wasn’t looking. (I need to finish a craft project first, too. Oh, dear.)

And I’m working today, tomorrow, and Sunday.

And Monday I’ll be busy baking and cooking and getting ready to start writing at midnight.

Sleep may be something I only dream of…


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Redefining Time

“Time is an illusion.  Lunchtime doubly so.” (Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

I’ve been thinking about time lately. (No, I’m not plotting a time travel novel, although I am hooked on excerpts from one in the Sunday Snippet group.)

Time in my life is… different.

I work evening shift (3:00 to 11:00).  It’s “morning” until I go to work, and it’s “today” until I go to bed, even if I’m up until four or five o’clock in the morning.  I frequently eat my first meal of the day around noon, which means that my breakfast is at lunchtime, my “lunch” comes at suppertime, and “supper” is a midnight snack turned into a meal.

And I work every normal weekend, so my “weekends” are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and my workweek is Thursday through Monday, so Thursday is my Monday and today (Monday) is my Friday.

(And people wonder why I don’t know what day of the week it is!)

All of this time rambling has come about because one of my goals for this month is to write a thousand words a week.  But what’s a week?

The accountability group I’m in posts the weekly share thread on Friday, but this month’s new goals just started on Thursday, which is my Monday, so…

So I have decided that my “week” for the weekly goals (write a thousand words a week and spend at least an hour a week working on some other craft) will be Thursday through Wednesday.

Because, you know, I need another definition of “week” in my life.

Meanwhile, it’s lunchtime, so I should go get some breakfast, but I don’t want to disturb my rat.

Peter Helping 05
Peter, in happier, healthier days, helping me write.)

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Progress and Plans

It was strange being home this weekend.

Normally I work on weekends and am scrambling to keep up with Rainbow Snippets before I go to work on Saturday, then scrambling to catch up with it and Sunday Snippets when I get home Saturday night – and again Sunday morning and afternoon before work (I work the 3 – 11 shift), and Sunday night after work, and Monday before work…  But I was able to stay caught up on both all weekend, and it just feels… weird.

And not only did I stay caught up on the blog hops, I also reached the halfway point in making changes to Book Two of The Academy of the Accord. Now that I’m on a roll with it again I’m hoping to finish it in the next couple of days, definitely by the end of the week.

Barring any more snags, that is.  At one point I needed to get more pages out of my binder and my “oh, so not spoiled” rat was in my sleeve and I couldn’t do it without disturbing him so I had to wait until he moved.  (Nope.  Peter isn’t spoiled.  Not at all.)

Anyhow, if I can get it done by Tuesday there’s a chance that I can get Book Three’s changes entered before I go back to work.

(No, I don’t know when that will be.  I have a follow up appointment with the surgeon on Tuesday the 23rd so I’ll probably find out then.)

I also need to get back to work on the paper edits of Book Four, and I really need to get back to work writing Book Six so I can get it finished. (At the rate I’m going I’ll be ready to edit it before it’s ready to be edited.)

But we’ll see.

At least the weather is going to cooperate and help me out on the editing goal.  It was supposed to be in the 40s tomorrow and I was planning on getting out and running some errands (which always takes longer than planned) but now they’re calling for snow starting this evening and devolving into freezing rain through Tuesday afternoon, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a better day to stay inside with lots of hot tea.


My fingers are itching to stitch (counted cross stitch) or crochet, and I still haven’t figured out how to balance everything. (Or how to stitch with my hands and type with my toes.)

And, of course, the kitchen still refuses to clean and declutter itself.


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A Light in the Dark

It’s been a rough few days.

Friday night I came home from work and found one of my rats had crossed the bridge.  Pistol wasn’t big on snuggling – he was far too busy to do that – but he was the personification of mischief and the cage is much quieter without him constantly instigating something.   For now, his body is on the back porch in a hanging basket that I had bought for in the cage (he loved hanging baskets) covered in potting soil.  In the spring I’ll plant petunias in it; petunias, to me, are such happy, riotous flowers – they completely match his personality.

Then, an hour and a half or less into my shift on Saturday, while helping reposition a patient in bed, I lost strength in my left arm and gained pain.  Ibuprofen didn’t help, so about two hours later I filled out an employee injury report and turned it in.

It kept getting worse so after my shift I picked up a form and went to the ER.

Actually, it was cold and foggy and I was going to wait to see if it would miraculously feel better in the morning, but I reached my fingers out to turn on my turn signal and almost put a moon roof in my car, so I stopped at home long enough to drop off my stuff and make sure the boys (my rats) had food and water, then I braved visibility that wasn’t much beyond the hood of my car and drove to the hospital.  Drove home in more fog and collapsed into bed around four o’clock in the morning and slept until noon.

(I called work from the hospital about two o’clock to let them know I wouldn’t be in the next day… later that day… whatever.)

So, like I said, it’s been a rough few days.

Then, yesterday, there was a burst of sunshine.

A friend of mine – we’ll call her Caroline because… well, because that’s her name – has been wanting to read this year’s NaNoWriMo novel since I first bounced the idea off of her. (The main character is a hedge witch and she has a group dedicated to it on FB so I asked there if I could call on them for feedback and help to keep it authentic.)

Anyhow, Caroline was bored, so I was teasing her about reading one of my books (just to keep her out of trouble, you understand) and she said, “Send me Hedge House.”

Now, it’s nowhere near ready to be seen by anyone, but she talked me into it so I made a version without all my notes to myself and warned her about it containing grammatical errors, inconsistencies, etc.  You know, the usual first draft stuff.

She thought it would be fun to see the rough stages of a novel, so I welcomed her to my nightmare and sent the file.

I have now been ordered to drop everything else and finish it.

Now, those are words that every author loves to hear and I was bouncing and happy for hours.  (Still am, just not quite as giddy.)

But now I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to drop everything and finish and polish Hedge House, finish the revisions on Onyx Sun, and finish Book Six of The Academy of the Accord and Book Two of The Other Mages trilogy – all by the end of the month.

Not to mention other things, like Pocket Letters, crochet, counted cross stitch, eating an occasional meal…

Oh, and work.

Short of winning the lottery so I don’t have to work, I just don’t think it’s going to be possible.

And while I’m quite skilled at believing impossible things (before, during, and after breakfast) I’m not quite as skilled at doing them.

Eyes the list.

Or am I?


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I have the “Shoulds”

Writing is my main love, my primary hobby.  (I don’t make enough money at it for it to have anything more than “hobby” status.)  It is what I spend most of my free time doing and my non-free time thinking about.

But I do have other hobbies:  I crochet, I do counted cross stitch, and I collect stuff for scrapbooking.  And then there is my much neglected dollhouse renovation.  And a few million hobbies that I want to learn.  And I’d like to do some gardening this summer (if summer ever comes) even though it will just be container gardening.

Oh! And my rats!  We can’t forget the rats!  It’s way too hard to resist them when they tug at my sleeve or pant leg because they want to come out to see me.  It’s also really hard to type with a rat in your sleeve.

But (aside from cleaning the rat cage) I find that I feel guilty when I engage in another hobby.  It’s not so much like I’m cheating on my writing as it is having a case of the “shoulds” – as in, I should be writing.

But then sometimes when I’m writing I start to feel guilty about the stashes of yarn and cross stitch stuff that are going unused and I feel like I should be stitching or hooking. (Hooking = crocheting. Get your minds out of the gutter. This isn’t that kind of blog. Sheesh!)

But as soon as I start doing one of them, I feel guilty because I should be writing.

(Note: this only happens when I’m struggling to get words out – when I’m really inspired and the words are flowing well nothing else even crosses my mind.)

And, then, of course, there are the other “Shoulds.”

I should clean the house.
I should do dishes.
I should organize papers.
I should cook supper.
I should get some sleep.

Does anyone else suffer from this?  How do you balance writing with other hobbies and more mundane activities?



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Camp Ramblings 7-18-2014

I started Tuesday 8966 words behind par.

I started Wednesday 9767 words behind par.  (Tuesday was not overly productive.)

8380 behind par going into Thursday.  Yeah! Progress!

But as of this writing, I am 9993 words behind.  *sigh* And I have spent most of the day fighting with my computer, finally resorting to a total reboot, which seems to have resulted in a slightly more cooperative piece of equipment.

I was supposed to have 4 days off next week but agreed to go in on Monday, so I’ll be working for the next three days and not making much progress. I’m hoping to get at least 1000 words done each of those days, though.  (And I haven’t started writing today yet.)

And on Tuesday I’ll be spending most of my day downstairs where my computer isn’t, waiting for a delivery.  (I ordered a larger cage for my rats and it’s supposed to arrive then. I will then have to assemble it, and between now and then I need to clear space for it in my room.  In the process I will, hopefully, find my wrist blood pressure cuff…)

So, yeah, it’s going to be tough to get caught up this month.   (But on a brighter note, the new cage will be much easier to clean and care for so it shouldn’t take as big of a chunk out of my day as the current one does.)

On the other hand, if I’m where my computer isn’t and I write long hand, I could get a lot of words churned out.

And I finally worked through a rather rough scene so the rest should be fairly smooth sailing.

So, yeah.  I can still do this…

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Progress, Rats, and Work

It’s actually not been too unproductive of a week.  I’m a couple pages ahead on the “page a day” challenge and (courtesy of a pan of brownies) I’ve finished the latest round of paper edit on Sanguine – just need to get the changes made in the word doc now.  There are still a few rough areas toward the end that I need to spend some time on, and the ending is weak, but it is coming along nicely and now that the rest is pretty much fixed up I can focus on those two or three scenes and the ending.

And I’ve been doing a miraculous job of not starting something new, even though there is a story nagging at me almost continuously.  I think I might type up at least the basic premise and first scene (which is really all I’ve got anyhow) just so it shuts up and leaves me alone. (That works, sometimes.)

And, in non-writing news, I finally dragged out all my t-shirts and got my sweatshirts put away so I have more than 3 shirts available.

And the rats have learned to love their antibiotic and seem to be feeling better – still some sneezing but no wheezing.  I started a blog for them (Rats in the Belfry) just because they are such fun critters.  They did leave me a mystery to solve, though – somehow the bottom of their cage got soaked overnight.   I would blame a leaking water bottle but the intervening level is dry.

Back to work today after three days off.  I enjoy hermit-hood way too much.

Off to clean up the mess in the bottom of the cage and psych myself up to go to work…

Somehow the two seem to go hand in hand…

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So, just over a week until Camp NaNoWriMo starts.  It’s going to be interesting this year…

For one thing, I’m still adjusting to a new job with no set schedule, which is making it a little hard to get into the swing of writing.

For another, I’ll be doing NaPoWriMo along with camp – attempting to write 30 poems in 30 days in addition to the 50,000 word goal I’m setting myself for camp.

Normally I am a rebel for camp, working on an already started project and trying to finish it.  This year I’m actually trying to finish two:  the first two books of The Other Mages trilogy.  Book One is almost done and Book Two is about halfway, I think.  I have no outline prepared for either one – I suppose I should probably do that sometime between now and next Tuesday.  (Or at least figure out what still needs to be covered in each of them.)

And this year I have an additional distraction – three of them, actually: Peter, Paul, and Perry, my pet rats.  They aren’t all that time-consuming, technically.  It takes about half an hour to do a thorough weekly cage cleaning (with quicker cleanings in between) but they are spoiled little critters who love attention and who are endlessly entertaining.

And they are very bad for productivity.  (They are sort of anti-muses.)

They love to come out to play with me, and it’s really hard to resist those bright hopeful eyes peering at me through the bars of the cage, or the tiny little paws reaching out for me.

But it’s also really hard to type with them using me for a jungle gym, especially when Paul and Peter try to sit on my wrists while I’m typing.  (Perry, so far, is not at all interested in the keyboard, although the other two find it fascinating.)

You know, now that I’m thinking about it, they aren’t too different than plot bunnies: trying to get my attention, trying to tear me away from what I should be doing…

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