Time flies

Where does the time go?

So Facebook has this somewhat-entertaining feature called “On This Day” where it shows you the posts you’ve made on that particular date for the past however-many-years-you’ve-been-on-Facebook. Sometimes it reminds you of stuff that sucks, but for the most part (if you’re not a Negative Nelly) it shows you the highlights of the past. It can even be a little cool to see what type of person you used to be–though I shudder at the horrendous spelling and grammar errors I made when I first started Facebook; I guess I thought textspeak was OK at the time.

Though I’ve seen the shared tweets and articles, it only just hit me today that I’ve been with Talk Nerdy With Us for over two years! It might not sound like much, but it feels good that I can say I’ve worked as a “freelance entertainment journalist” for that long. When I started writing for Talk Nerdy With Us I had never imagined having that kind of work, paid or no, and despite the free nature of the freelance work–and the fact that I don’t have much time to write anymore–I still enjoy it. I’ve stayed on as an editor even though that writing time is scarce, so I can still contribute to the site’s work. Come to think of it, I really need to dream up more article ideas…. I’ve also written an article for another entertainment website, Starry Constellation Magazine … though again, I haven’t had the time or energy (or creativity) to think up more article ideas.

It’s crazy how life turns out sometimes. Even though I’ve been writing for Talk Nerdy With Us for this long and have had tons of Twitter followers that likely followed me for that specific reason, it’s still almost surreal. I mean, wow. Just wow. I don’t think words can relay to my “bosses” how much I appreciate the opportunity they’ve given me over the past two years. It still blows me away some days.

I hope I can continue to do this work and dream up more articles and do more reviews (and the occasional interview–when I’m not working). This experience really allows me to tap into both my creative and my supremely nerdy sides.

If you have to force it, it’s probably …

Yeah. That’s where all my creative ideas are right now.

Writing and drawing are at a standstill right now… I want to do all the things, but my muse is giving me a big fat middle finger the past couple of days. I want to get the story down on Book 2, and I want to play around with my Wacom drawing tablet. Book 2 is yet again stalled as I have found an end point that isn’t really an end, and I can’t even figure out what I want to draw. Even picking out a blog topic after a day or two of no blogging was a struggle.
I guess it’s a sign that I need to take a break from it all. All that stuff probably should be left alone until the creative funk is gone, which is something I have trouble doing. I am so driven to complete the projects that I want to do that I can’t seem to make myself take that introspective step back.

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that you can’t really force the creative process sometimes. It’s good to try to push through on some things, but knowing when to sit back is important as well. What I need to do is find that balance between pushing through and dragging along.

What do y’all think? Is it better to keep up the momentum every time or should you give yourself some “time off” to regroup?

Bye-bye cravings?

A couple of months ago, I started on a new medication to try to help me lose weight. Now I don’t know for sure yet if the medicine has taken effect (because I haven’t weighed myself in a good couple of weeks), but in the past week or so I’ve noticed that I’m eating much less than previously, to include not bingeing, eating smaller portions, and not eating as many high-calorie or high-sugar foods. I even saw a huge container of homemade cupcakes in the break room at work today and found myself having no desire to take one.

I’m really excited to weigh myself soon and see if there’s a difference. Between the decreased hunger and cravings and the increased exercise, I think I might start making progress. My clothes aren’t really too much “bigger” (except maybe my surgery scrubs) but even if I haven’t lost actual poundage I am feeling better about myself and not feeling as gross, fat, and sluggish. Sleep is still a foreign concept to my body, apparently, but otherwise I’m feeling good about my physical health lately.

Now it’s a matter of keeping it up. Maintaining. Telling myself I can do better and consciously avoiding the bad stuff. Going to exercise as often as I can. Basically, keep up what I’m doing and maybe I”ll lose some weight finally. After a couple of years wayyy up there, I’m ready to be down to at least a reasonable weight. Like, not obese. That would be nice.

Is it the medicine or just coincidence that my cravings are falling by the wayside? I don’t know yet, but I’m damn sure gonna keep doing what I’m doing. This will be great for my self-esteem and overall health for sure.

Hurry up and take your time…

I swear, I could kick myself some days.

Plot holes remain abundant in my latest WIP despite me going back several times to “fix” them. It’s quite frustrating, as I haven’t had that bad of a problem with it before. I suspect I’m trying too hard to push the story forward, to the point where I’m making stupid, sloppy mistakes in the plot. Go back, fix Chapter X. Go back again, fix Chapter Z. Go back again, fix Chapter Infinity. Ugh.

Sometimes I have to kind of remind myself to take my time with the story and figure out where it’s going. The characters don’t always tell me exactly what’s happening, so I have to use my brain to sort things and make them fit. Tie this thing in here, streamline that there, etc. Characters don’t have time for that kind of thing. They’ve got important things to get through. Survival takes precedence for them over anything else. It’s up to me to take care of the rest of it.

It’s hard to slow down. Despite not even being done with book one, I for some reason feel a kind of pressure to finish the first draft on book two. It’s weird. I mean, why be so worried about this one when the other needs to be fine-tuned first?

Guess I’ve got to prioritize. Wait for the latest beta/critique/edit to come back on the first book, then tweak that one until it’s bright and shiny and new … and then tweak some more. Let book two simmer on the back burner for a while and wait out the creative process until it starts processing again. Letting my frustrations take over won’t do me any good, and neither will forcing the story out when it’s not solidified in my head yet.

I have no idea how some authors can churn out multiple books in just a short year. Even though I have a general idea of what’s going to happen in the future of this series, I would never be able to produce that much quality product in that brief span of time. Maybe one book a year–maybe.

Then again, I’m probably putting the cart before the horse or something. I mean, if book one’s not published, books two and three and however-many-they-end-up-being won’t be published either.

Maybe it’s time to give this book a nap before I put the first draft to bed.

Writing outside the lines

Ever since I discovered the daily Twitter writing events/games I’ve noticed something interesting about my writing strengths and weaknesses.

Basically, the writing events are, for the most part, centered around a weekly theme for each day. You search your WIP for a line (or sometimes a couple of lines, if they’re under the 140-character limit) and copy/paste into a tweet with the day’s hashtag. From the numbers of likes and retweets, I can kind of tell what lines are strong and what ones fall flat. The results are a little surprising some days. Sometimes the lines I absolutely love receive little to no response from hashtag readers, and sometimes the ones I think are only so-so get a tons of likes.

So how has this applied to my writing? Well, as of yet I haven’t quite figured out the pattern. I still post lines that to me are great, and I still get bupkis on many of those lines. I’ll give you some examples from today’s tweets:

-She pulled back to look into his eyes. “What’s on the agenda for today?”

“Every girl’s favorite thing: shopping.”

Now, I think those lines are funny, so I posted them for a hashtag that had the theme of “humor.” The readers of the accompanying hashtag? Not so much. No response whatsoever so far.

-“Right. And I’m just an innocent girl.”

“You are innocent. It’s actually kind of refreshing.”

This has gotten a bunch of likes and a couple of retweets just in the last 40 minutes. What the heck? It’s not super exciting or profound…to be honest, I just did a document search for “innocent” (today’s theme for that particular hashtag) and copy/pasted the first lines that popped up.

It’s not always like that, though. Sometimes the lines I personally like get a relatively decent amount of likes/retweets…which is a little confusing for me. How do I tell which lines are great and which fall flat? I mean, part of the writing process is self-editing, so theoretically I should be able to tell which lines to keep and which to rewrite or cut altogether.

Theory and practice are not always in sync, I guess.

One of these days I’ll be able to use this free mini-beta-testing service to gauge my lines and write stronger ones, but for now I’m still baffled.

Rollin’ with my homies

Now that my husband and I have re-entered the world of Having a Social Life (nerd version), we’ve gotten back into RPGs–roleplaying games–and it’s taking some reorienting on my part.

I used to be able to create a caster character practically with my eyes shut and my hands tied behind my back. Need a blaster caster? Yep, I’m your gal. Healer? Yeah, I can do that. Buffer/debuffer? No sweat. Now? Now I’m making stupid mistakes in my character creation that are more than a little embarrassing, at least for a geek. Miscalculating stats, forgetting to buy certain special items that are practically necessary, forgetting major bonuses…yeah, I’m out of shape in that category. Last night’s game wasn’t a total loss, though; I blew the majority of the bad guys away in one fight, so at least I remembered how to utilize the spells I chose.

There are other social activities that we’ve been engaging in with our friends, and it’s weird to be back in that kind of mindset. Even my husband, who works from home and thus is virtually dying to get out of the apartment when he’s off work, has complained a bit about being worn out from all the go-go-go-go-go that we’ve been doing. Mondays are one thing (well, three for him really, two or three for me depending on when work ends), every other Tuesday something else, Wednesday and Thursday evenings have something on the schedule, and Fridays, Saturdays, and even Sundays each have at least one social activity with friends planned out on a regular basis. To go from zero to chock-full in a very short amount of time like this can be pretty exhausting, as we’re discovering now.

It’s cool to have friends to hang out with again, though, and I’d rather be exhausted from having too much of a life outside of work than exhausted from having no life outside of work. So I guess I’m not really complaining…more like stating the obvious.

Our friends are pretty cool, too. They have a lot of the same interests that we do, they’re encouraging, and they’re all-around nice guys. I’ve already learned a bunch from them and I can tell they’re going to provide a wealth of information in the years to come. And who knows? Maybe I can impart a little of my limited wisdom on them as well.

That’s how Having a Social Life works: You hang out, you have fun, and you just roll with it.

No rest for the weary

I swear I’m going to lose my ever-loving mind…

After a night with only two hours of sleep, I was going to type up a post that was 95% bitching about the insomnia. I actually did type it up, but I deleted it all. Because fuck the insomnia. I’m not going to let it win. I’m going to drink my coffee, take my shower, and get ready for the busy work day ahead. I’m going to do my job until it’s time for me to go home and then work out, eat dinner, and hopefully crash into a peaceful night’s sleep.

And if I don’t? Well then, it’s just going to be another long night.