Friday, 22 January 2010

A Few Tidbits

I've noticed more and more blog posts written point form. Is this because we are all becoming so busy it is easier to list a few things and then move on to something else? Throughout the day I think of the odd thing to write, but I never actually get to sit down and write it. (Notice I am finally sitting down to write a few words and it is almost 12:30 a.m.? Yes I'm just a little crazy and a lot sleep deprived.) So here are a few things running through my head. . .
  • I finally finished half of an assignment for my class. I'll work on the other half tomorrow so I can get it sent off. Who knew I could find summarizing a short essay so difficult? It's probably because I over-think everything and hold myself up to such high standards. Rick keeps telling me not to worry so much about it. Hopefully the school thing will come a little easier as I find my groove.
  • Still working on edits for Finding Rose. It's coming along, but not nearly as fast as I'd like. I did make some good progress today and I'm hoping to be able to get it out to readers soon so I can get it submitted before I head down to the LDStorymakers conference in April.
  • I finally registered for the conference and am so excited to be going again. The night I registered, I just kept laughing to myself. Just one more reason for my husband to think I'm a little off my rocker. I think I look forward to the conference so much it just made me happy to sign up and get the money sent off.
  • Finished a book today that had to be the worst book I've ever read. No I won't tell you the name, but I learned a lot about pacing and story development through this great example of what not to do. I couldn't help rewriting the book in my head as I read it. Sometimes reading something that bad helps me look at my own writing through different eyes. Hopefully I can catch any similar mistakes in my own work and clean them up before submitting.
I really should get to bed. Morning comes early and I'm never ready for it, even when I do get to sleep on time. Maybe I'll dream up a brilliant blog post to make up for the above randomness. Or at least enough material to finish the post I began yesterday. One can always hope, right?

Monday, 18 January 2010

Finding What Works

Ever since I had my first child, my weight has climbed. There have been the odd times when I lose a few pounds, but nothing I tried ever worked long term. Most of the time I give up far too easily and end up heavier than ever. As I watched the number grow, I found myself more worried about my health and even worse, I found my confidence shrinking. At one point I gave up. Why bother trying if every diet plan just made me frustrated and grumpy? Last October I stood on the scale and the number horrified me. I hadn't even been that heavy when I was pregnant. With some good advice from my mother, I decided to give it another try. To date I have lost twenty-one pounds. I'm still working at it but there will be no quitting this time. I think I found what works for me.

Writing is a struggle, too. Mostly it is a time issue. I need to drop something from my schedule - I just haven't figured out what yet. Some of it is a confidence problem. I still see so much of my work as unreadable and wonder why I ever thought I could do this. Those are things I try to improve on daily. The bigger problem is that I am still trying to find what works.

I tend to write by the seat of my pants. I let the story flow from my fingers and just hope it makes sense in the end. It's the same way I used to write high school and college papers - not really a highly recommended method, but somehow I got by. What I've discovered is that I'm not really fond of editing. When the story is told, I want to be done. Of course, letting it all just spill out onto paper leaves a lot of holes that I have to go back and fill in. I can do it, but it just about drives me crazy.

I'm trying to teach myself to outline a little more. But I love to see where the story goes without me over-thinking it. So I need to find the balance of not too much planning, but just enough to leave me with fewer holes in the end. Someday I'll figure it out. Until then I stumble along hoping that I can pull it all together and find the right system for me. I go to conferences, participate in my critique group and read as much as I can. All the little things I pick up here and there help and I can see myself getting better all the time. It's all just part of the lengthy learning process. But if I can improve my eating habits, surely I can improve my writing habits as well. It's all just a matter of finding what works.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Warm Air Please

I love the snow. It's beautiful. It's fun. But I can only take so much. Right now I am so ready for a chinook. That's the big advantage of living where I do. The snow comes, it get bitterly cold, and I drink a lot of hot chocolate. Then every so often a chinook comes along and relieves us of winter for a few days.
A chinook is a warm wind that blows from the coast over the Rocky Mountains. When it hits the prairies, the snow melts. You can get up in the morning to -20 C and a foot of snow then by noon, the snow is almost gone and the temperatures are hovering above zero. People shed coats and enjoy the spring-like temperatures for a few days before the cold returns. Yes, a chinook does mean wind - sometimes gusting up to 120 miles per hour - and it means things get a little muddy for a few days. But after weeks of temperatures well below freezing, I'll take a little mud. So many people here gripe about the wind, but I'll admit, when I moved away from the area I found myself missing it just a little.

So I'm ready for a little warm. Just for a few days. Then I can take the deep freeze again for a while. My pantry is well stocked with hot chocolate after all.

Friday, 1 January 2010

A New Year and a New Start

2009 wasn't a great blogging year for me. As I think back, maybe it's because not much seemed to happen and the things that did happen kept me from the computer. I seem to take on more and more projects and I wonder how I get anything done. Anyway, I'm not looking back right now, this is all about looking forward. There are so many things on my plate and the biggest challenge is going to be scheduling everything.

1. Community Service: There are some new jobs I need to learn. I'm a member of the Cultural Arts Society in town and only barely managed to avoid the position of president at our last annual general meeting. I ended up as vice-president. It was made quite clear that they are grooming me to take over. Hopefully that is several years away. I am also on the public library board and at our last meeting they asked me to take on the role of secretary as our old secretary is retiring. I tried to beg out of that one, but no one else would step forward, and the job needs to be done. Sometimes I want to walk away from both of these, but they've had so few volunteers in the last few years, and both are important to me and to the community. I guess I'm in for the long haul.

2. My family is also expecting more homemade bread and other goodies, thanks to the Bosch mixer that Santa brought. It is a huge step up from the old -fashioned egg beater I had been using. I made a couple loaves of whole wheat bread yesterday and couldn't believe how fast and easy it was. I'm excited to try new recipes and add all the fancy grains I love. I'm tired of paying so much at the store for a high fibre loaf of good bread.

3. I also signed up for Weight Watchers online a few months ago. It's been going really well (although Christmas really got me). I plan on hitting it hard this year and I can't wait to see the results. Already, I'm wearing a skirt I haven't been able to wear in two years.

4. Education: I took a huge leap and signed up for university. My husband and I have been having a lot of conversations about the future and my lack of education keeps bothering me. We finally decided going back to school is the right thing. I'll be doing most of it through distance education, which will give me the freedom to stay home with the family and take as few or as many courses as I can handle at one time. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but now that I am actually looking at course manuals, I wonder if I have enough brain cells left to make it work.

5. Writing: I'm still working on the edits to my novel and hope to get it resubmitted very soon. The revisions are lengthy, but I can see how they are going to make the story better. I'm looking forward to the LDStorymakers conference in April and will likely be bringing a bunch of writing friends this time. This past year I started a critique group that has been valuable and a lot of fun. We kept things pretty casual, but with a rather large donation of funds, we had to go more official, so the group elected me Chairperson of the Southern Alberta Writer's Workshop. Should be another interesting learning experience.

6. And last but not least is family. Despite all the other things going on in my life, I need to spend more time with my family. I keep thinking about my oldest daughter and how she only has a year and a half before she heads off to university. It seems like it is coming too fast and I have to spend every moment with her that I can. Then I look at the other two and realize they aren't far behind. Every moment is precious. I'm especially grateful for my long-suffering husband who takes the pieces of me that are left and never complains. He needs more time too.

So with all that I am juggling, I don't know if this blog will be any more active. I'm not setting any concrete goals here. I'll just be here when I can and hope you will all continue to drop by once in a while.

Happy New Year!
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