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Friday, April 12, 2024

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2024 and Ongoing Plans to Write

We're just over a third of the way through the month right now, and so far I've been able to keep up the habit of writing nearly every day.  There were a couple of days where I didn't write, or only wrote a few words before petering out, but I've largely maintained the habit.

I'd done really well maintaining a daily writing habit last November, but I lost it again in December, and then of course with all of the events of this year so far (my mom's hip replacement, my dad's cardiac procedure, my cat's diagnosis of diabetes, and the doll show), I never made the time to pick it up again.

So it feels really good to be writing daily again, and I hope to continue the habit throughout Camp NaNoWriMo's April 2024 session and (hopefully) beyond.

What's interesting, though, is that I've been writing a completely different story than what I was working on in November (and have been working on intermittently for over a decade).  I came up with the idea for a new story just a few days before Camp started, and decided to run with it.  I knew if I didn't write it now, I wouldn't ever get back to it, so here I am.

It's turning out to be a good story idea, and I'm not sorry.  I feel like it has a lot of promise.

Camp is a much quieter affair than full-blown November NaNoWriMo, of course.  Normally we don't have any write-ins during Camp at all, but we'd talked about starting up a year-round one after the holidays.  After the doll show, with Camp looming, I decided now was the time to do so.  And while it's proving to be helpful, I also feel like a lot of the impetus is on me, since it's only that one write-in once a week.  The rest of the week, I'm doing it on my own.

I'm planning to continue writing even after April is over.  I'll have the weekly write-in to help keep me going, but if I do fall off the wagon again, at least I'll have the next Camp session in July to get me back on track again.

I hope everyone else's Camp NaNoWriMo is going well too!

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Weekly Goals, Week 15: Tax Day Cometh

Tax Day is looming, and the week is slipping away from me like water through a sieve.  Already it's Wednesday evening and the week is more than half over.

But first, an update on last week.  After I wrote my post about my goals for the week, Izzy took another turn.  We ended up switching her food altogether as I couldn't be sure anymore that it wasn't just that food, especially since there were a lot of reports in my feline diabetes Facebook group that the same food was causing problems for other people, too.

After that she went back to normal, but it was another distraction in an already difficult week.  So while I managed to achieve some of my goals last week, I didn't accomplish everything I wanted.  I didn't make any further progress on my Square site, since I didn't have time or spoons to take pictures, and I didn't work on dolls or taxes for the same reason.

What I did accomplish was working on my novel every day.  I'm actually pretty pleased with how it's going, as I feel like I'm doing good work on both the novel and the re-creation of a daily writing habit.

As for this week, to be fair I did expect Monday to be a wash, as we spent the day at the museum to see the partial eclipse.  Yesterday shouldn't have been a surprise either, as I had plans to meet a friend at the barn to ride together, and that often leaves me tired afterward.  Thanks to the write-in we had scheduled in the evening, though, I still got a substantial amount of writing done.

And today I had a meeting at the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls & Toys to talk about future plans for more doll events, some errands to run, and a babysitting gig in the evening.

The rest of the week (what little of it is left) will be similarly busy, unfortunately.  I am babysitting some more (unexpected, though the income isn't unwelcome) and I have another ride planned with my friend.

I feel like at this point, the week is a goner and I just need to focus any remaining time on the most pressing of goals:

  1. Work on taxes
  2. Write every day

Yes, I still want to make sure I work on my novel at least a little every day, but other than that, I'm going to try to spend any free time I have between now and Friday on taxes.  This weekend we have very few plans, so I should be able to devote most of that time to taxes.

Since Tax Day is Monday, I anticipate I'll be working on it still then, and probably won't officially start my week until Tuesday again.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Weekly Goals, Week 14: Camp NaNoWriMo Is Here!

Well, the week got off to a rough start since we had to take one of our cats to the vet yesterday, for the second time in three days.

This cat was actually diagnosed with diabetes on January 31st, the day before my mom's hip replacement surgery, but I neglected to blog about it at the time because so much else had happened.  But that's been one of the things I've been managing over the past two months, while everything was blowing up at the same time.  It has been a journey for sure!

Anyway, on Saturday she suddenly stopped eating and started throwing up and having diarrhea, so we hustled to get her into the vet before the holiday, figuring we didn't want to have a pet emergency on Easter.  They said she was very dehydrated and gave her fluids, which seemed to perk her up.  She ate fitfully for the next two days, so we took her back in yesterday for more fluids and a fructosamine test.  By the time we took her in, however, we had determined that it was likely bad food that had caused the issue, since as soon as we switched to a new case, she started eating fine again.  Today she seems pretty much back to normal.

Between that and a bunch of errands, though, yesterday was almost entirely hijacked.  I finally had a chance to plan out my week in Google Calendar and blog about it today, but the rest of today will likely be hijacked as well, between errands, barn chores, and a brand new write-in.

But that last part is a thing in itself, because yesterday was the start of Camp NaNoWriMo!  That means (hopefully) a jump start to my languishing writing habit.

I actually started writing a new story on Friday.  I had an idea and I just ran with it.  It's turning out to be an excellent story, so I'm going to focus on that this month, despite Ruby still waiting in the wings.  I don't want to say no to the new story idea.

Last week wasn't the most successful of weeks, but it wasn't terrible either.  I did get the write-in set up, and I did get the sales stuff reorganized a little better.  I also worked a lot on a new Square site for my doll business.  Making progress on three out of five goals isn't bad!  However, I didn't have the motivation to work on dolls as I had planned, nor did I get started on taxes.  The taxes especially are a problem, because I'm running up against the deadline.

Unfortunately this week has a lot that is getting thrown onto the list, so I'm trying to be careful about writing goals I can accomplish:

  1. Start writing daily for Camp
  2. Work on doll collection organization
  3. Make progress on future sales plans
  4. Get back to work on dolls
  5. Work on taxes (!)

It's a big week, especially with one day already lost to Izzy and errands.  But the weekend should be largely available to me, too, which will help.

Most likely Monday of next will be a loss as well... well, in a manner of speaking.  With all of Izzy's problems, we decided not to travel to catch the full eclipse, as I didn't want to leave her in someone else's care right now, while we're still trying to get her insulin doses and her glucose control a little better.  So instead we are going to the museum for education and eclipse viewing.  So I expect not to get much else done that day!

Friday, March 29, 2024

Another Reason Why I Love Plottr

 It's been a while since I blogged about how awesome Plottr is.  I mentioned it way back when I first got my Surface Go as a travel computer, and again when I did a review of the Surface Go.  But somehow I've never blogged about their awesomeness as a standalone post, even though I meant to.

TL;DR: Plottr is increasing their prices in early April, which is what instigated the purchase that made me decide to write this post.  If you have been considering trying it out, click here to get Plottr now!

Also, their customer service is awesome.

Note: This post includes affiliate links, but only because I genuinely believe in this software, and wouldn't mind getting a few bucks back for recommending it.

I initially bought Plottr when they offered a discount as part of the prize package for "winning" NaNoWriMo.  I decided that I had enough going on in my novel series that I needed a series bible in a way that Scrivener couldn't do for me.  I liked the visual interface of Plottr, so I decided to try it.

And wowwww was I blown away.  Plottr has so many features and they're ever expanding.  I can plot individual books, upload covers, set up character sheets and other notes and indicate which installments they appear in, and then export everything into Scrivener so that all the pertinent information is automagically loaded into Scrivener project for each novel in the series that I write.  

Fast forward to last spring.  My dad was planning a trip and asked me to go with him, so I bought the Surface Go with the intention of putting Scrivener and Plottr on it so that I could work on the trip.  Of course I'd only gotten a license for one computer for a year with Plottr, so I had to upgrade my license in order to make it work.

I reached out to customer service to see if I could get the upgraded license prorated, and they upgraded me with my original NaNoWriMo discount, plus restarted my year.  I set it all up so that I could save my files to Dropbox and have them accessible from either computer.

Fast forward to now.  Plottr sent out emails recently warning us that the prices would be going up soon, so if we wanted to upgrade to Lifetime (no more annual fees!) we should do so before early April.  My license period hasn't expired yet, so I reached out to see how to streamline the upgrade... and they sent me a link with another prorated amount.

Honestly, between the Facebook group, the regular updates, the tutorial videos, and Plottr customer service, the support for this product is beyond phenomenal.  I'm not sorry at all that I bought the lifetime license.

If you're interested in a powerful series management tool, I highly recommend getting Plottr before prices go up next month!

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Weekly Goals, Week 13: Aftermath

The doll show was on Sunday.  Last week was of course very productive, as I had an immovable deadline that I had to be ready for.  I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do, but I still showed up and made great sales, even better than last year's.

Next year will be even better!  I'm learning and improving as I go.  And I have big plans to expand next year as well!

This week will likely not be as productive.  I'm feeling very fried still, even two days after the show.  I was SO busy all day on Sunday, and didn't even get to quit until about 9:30 or 10pm that night, between packing down, unloading at home, rushing out to put blankets on the horses in the snow, and picking up the dog I'm watching this week.  And that's after being up at 6:30am and being on my feet pretty solidly until I finally had a chance to sit down around 1pm!  It was a madcap day.

So this week I'm trying to balance my goals with the time I know I need to recover.  I often find that I'm sluggish and slow to get moving after a lot of over stimulation or intense activity.  I call it a productivity hangover.  The difficult part is not to let it go beyond a reasonable recovery time, as the inertia tends to spawn more inertia.

And unfortunately, I really can't spare a lot of time spent on recovery right now.  I'm giving myself the rest of today and making myself get back to work tomorrow.  I have a lot I still need to do, which speaks to my goals for the week:

  1. Get the show stuff organized and put away
  2. Start working on taxes (eek!)
  3. Get back to work on dolls
  4. Start working on future selling plans
  5. Set up off-season write-in

I'm trying to juggle all of this, plus recover, while not losing sight of the things I wanted to do once the doll show was over.  I have a lot going on, big picture:

  • I want to keep working on dolls.  I do, after all, have a rehab and reselling business I want to keep up on!  So rather than storing the show stuff until next year, I want to get it all organized to facilitate working on and selling dolls on an ongoing basis.
  • I want to be more prepared for the doll show next spring - and an even BIGGER show in the summer.  There's another show I'm thinking of selling at next summer.  It's a big weekend show, so I'll need to have a lot more dolls ready, much more in advance than what I did this year.  This means working all year to be ready to sell at the shows.
  • I want to keep selling in the meantime.  I don't want to neglect selling entirely until next spring, though, so I'll need to get into a habit of picking up TLC dolls, working on them, and stashing some while selling others.  I'm thinking of ways to reach my full audience (not just Facebook, but also Instagram and blog followers) with items I have for sale, instead of only running sales in my favorite Facebook doll group.
  • I want to get back to work on my novel. I still would like to finish and publish!  I had talked to some people after NaNoWriMo last November about setting up a regular off-season write-in, and I need to follow through with that.  It'll be especially helpful right now, with Camp NaNoWriMo starting next week.
  • I need to start working on taxes.  I've been neglecting this and have a lot to catch up on, so I desperately need to start working on it!  It's bad enough that I think it may crowd out some of my other goals for the moment, but it needs to be done, as that deadline is fast approaching now too.
So much to do!  It's hard to prevent being overwhelmed, especially with multiple projects going at once.  I'm going to give myself the rest of today to recover from the show, and just focus on some minor tasks for now.  The rest of the week will be for the goals I listed above.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Weekly Goals, Week 12: One Week Left

It feels like most of last week got away from me.  I did accomplish some things, but looking back I'm not sure what.

To be fair, I was also participating in a medical study, so I was at the clinic all day two days last week (and too exhausted afterward to get anything done in the evenings).

I did, however, get some things done and I can't forget that.  I started making branded tags for the dolls I sell or repair at the show, picked up some more things I needed, and got a few posts up on social media.

I just need to accomplish a lot more this week.

So without further ado, my goals for the week are as follows:

  1. Organize doll show stuff
  2. Work on dolls for the show
  3. Post on social media

This week will just totally be focused on prepping for the show.  I do have other things I want to do, but at this point they can mostly wait until next week.

Once this show is over, I want to start working on the rest of the house again, getting shelves up and doll areas organized.  Another goal is to start working on my novel daily again.  Camp NaNoWriMo starts April 1st, though, so I'm hoping to start back up on that the first week of April.  I'll take the last week of March to get settled after the doll show: to recover from the insanity, to get stuff organized and put away for next year's show and so I can access it to sell throughout the year, and to finish (hopefully) getting my doll spaces more or less organized.

Once the doll show is over, I'll also be working on taxes, which I anticipate will take up a lot of my time over the three weeks between the doll show and tax day.  I hope to still be able to work on my novel every day starting April 1st, though.

But first: Get through this week and the doll show!

Monday, March 11, 2024

Weekly Goal, Week 11: Of Frying Pans and Fires

I was so glad when my mom went home and my care duties were over.  I thought I'd have so much time to get things done.

Unfortunately, I was less productive than I'd anticipated in the first half of last week, and then of course I lost all of Thursday to taking my mom to an appointment.  She ended up spending the weekend with us, too, so I didn't get as much done over the weekend as I had wanted, either.

I did meet a major organization goal, but it was more for the sake of my mental state than preparation for the upcoming doll show.  I also spent some time designing professional tags for the dolls, and planning some other things I would need to buy for the show.

This week things are going to ramp up even more.  In addition to all the doll show prep I still need to do, I'm starting a medical study this week that will take up some time over the next two weeks.  I have an initial appointment tomorrow morning, and all-day in-clinic days Thursday, Sunday, and next Friday.  That's three days where I won't be able to work on doll show stuff, although hopefully I'll be able to get some amount of other work done on my computer while I'm there (awkward while I have an IV in my arm and a heating pad wrapped around it to keep it flowing, but still possibly doable).

Most likely I'll be too exhausted when I get home on in-clinic days to accomplish much of anything in the evening.

So with the looming time constraints in mind, my goals for the week are as follows:

  1. Prep for doll show
  2. Work on organization
  3. Post to social media

It's still important to post regularly to social media and keep up with promotion and networking, especially with the doll show coming up, so I can't neglect that.  And some organization will need to be done as I go along, for the sake of getting organized for the show as well.  But on the whole, I'll be 90 percent focused on getting ready for the doll show this week, aside from the days I spend in the clinic of course!

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