Saturday, December 01, 2018

Greetings from the NaNoWriMo finish line!

NaNoWriMo is officially over!  I actually did really well this month, as you can see from my graph.  I started off the month a little behind on word count, but then I got ahead and pretty much stayed ahead the entire month.


It also amuses me that you can really tell where the weekends fell throughout the month.  Most of the write-ins I went to were clustered around the weekend (Friday night, Sunday afternoon, Monday evening, and Tuesday evening).

I was also pleased with my badges this month.  I missed the badge for updating 30 days in a row, since I decided to take last Saturday completely off (even knowing I'd miss out on this badge), as well as the donation badge (just didn't have the money this year).  But I really enjoyed the process of watching the badges rack up all month.


I hit 50,000 Wednesday night and didn't blog at all on Thursday.  I did blog a little last night while at my last write-in of the year.  Today I'm finishing up the post I started while I was there (this one) and hoping that the habit of blogging daily or almost daily will stick with me beyond November.

How did NaNoWriMo go for everyone else?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Down time

I guess you can probably tell by the mood of my last post -- which I actually wrote Friday and scheduled to run on Saturday -- that I was getting overwhelmed and burning out a little.  The burnout actually culminated on Saturday, and after I got done babysitting that morning, I actually went home and took the rest of the day off.  I read, napped, watched TV, and worked a little on my dolls.  It was a lovely break.

I had intended just to nap and then have a productive later afternoon and evening, but after reading and napping I just couldn't get my engines started again.  I often have trouble with breaks for that reason -- it's always hard to get back to work again afterward -- but I think this time, I just really needed the break.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Career decisions

I have a problem, and I don't know how to solve it.  Or rather, I do know how to solve it, but I don't know if the solution is feasible for me.

Lately I've been feeling pretty overworked and stressed.  Between freelancing, babysitting, nannying, barn chores, administrating a busy Facebook group, and my other hobbies, I'm busy all the time.  It's rare I have time that's not scheduled at least once over.  So my secret wish coming up to Thanksgiving was to turn down all the invitations, stay home, and spend the day sleeping and reading.  It's just been so long since I've had a real day off, especially a day to read.

Of course, I didn't get that.  I had so many invitations and felt obligated to pick one of them.  And the rest of my day filled up too, predictably.  I don't regret it, as part of my plans answered the birthday wish of a friend's little girl who wanted to ride my horses and the other part meant I got to spend some time with family, but it still means, as usual, very little time to myself.

The solution is, obviously, to schedule less for myself, but I don't know if I can.  Alternatively, I could try to manage my time better, but I'm already cramming everything in so tight, I'm not sure how much more efficient I can get.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Live-blogging from the museum write-in

I'm sitting here at a write-in at the museum, with a big rolling white board blocking the sun from falling on my screen.



We have some really great write-ins that we do every year.  The weekly Friday night write-in at Perkins is always one of my favorites, of course, since that's the year-round continuation of a write-in that originally started during NaNo 2011.  I've also organized a great write-in on Sunday afternoons/evenings at a local gaming coffee shop, and they've become a fantastic supporter of our region, as they've been hosting our kickoff party as well.

We usually do a couple of big events, too.  For example, we did an eight-hour write-in this year, where we wrote from 3pm to 11pm last Saturday.  We had about 25 people at that one.

The overnight write-in at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, famous for being the basis for The Shining, is also always a hit.  We didn't do it this year because it takes a lot of planning and all of us MLs were unusually busy, but we did it the previous two years and it was great.  The first year we had eight people crammed into two rooms in the original hotel, and the next year it had exploded to nearly 30, for which we rented out three condos above the Stanley.  But it's still not my favorite.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

NaNoWriMo mid-month reflections

NaNoWriMo has been going quite well for me this month, especially considering I went into the month with almost no preparation or planning.

Most of the personal writing projects I've worked on this month have been blog posts, and the vast majority have been for one blog I've been trying to get started.  It's been good for that blog because I needed to build up a bunch of content to get it off the ground, but I need to spread it out a little better between my various writing projects -- I have plenty else that needs my attention.

One of the things that I think has helped my word count immensely is including pictures in my word count.  I used the "a picture is worth a thousand words" saying to determine my word count, but I think it's appropriate because of the time it takes to set up and take pictures, normally taking several of them before settling on the best.  And the particular blog I've been working on is a subject and format that does well with lots of pictures, so assigning word count has been beneficial and a good way to level the playing field (it's much easier to rack up word count writing fiction than it is writing blog posts or other nonfiction).

Even so, I've been super busy this month, so the vast majority of my word count has been on weekends and at write-ins.  I've been attending several write-ins a week: the two I organize on Fridays and Sundays, and one organized by one of my co-MLs on Tuesday evenings.  There's also an unofficial writing group with a friend Wednesday nights.  I try to get a little done during the week, but it's usually only a token word count, with the sole purpose of updating every day.  There was one day where I literally wrote a single word before getting distracted and busy.  But I wrote that word, darn it, so I updated with it!

But anyway, unless something drastic were to happen, I don't see myself failing to finish NaNoWriMo this year.  I'm hoping I can continue the habit of writing every day -- even if it's only one word! -- after the month ends!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

I would prefer not to

Who here has read Melville's shorter work, Bartleby, the Scrivener?  I read it my last semester in college for a special class in my English degree.  I remember my professor, who was stepping down as the English department chair, saying that he wondered if Bartleby's words, "I would prefer not to," reflected in any way how Melville was feeling about writing.  After all, he had poured his heart into Moby Dick only to have it poorly received.  Wouldn't that make a writer feel like saying, "I would prefer not to?"

I've been thinking about those words a lot lately.  I've been really busy, and with my freelancing relegated to evening, sometimes I'm too tired after a long day to spend my evening working too.  Sometimes, honestly, I just don't want to.

Sometimes I would prefer not to.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Plans for my blogs

Once upon a time, I had a healthy network of my own personal blogs.  I had perhaps half a dozen that I updated regularly, almost daily, and one in particular (my wedding blog) that earned me some nice pocket change in ad revenue.

I miss those days.  I miss the pocket change too, but I especially miss the blogging community.  It's been replaced with other social media, of course, and probably more easily monitored social media if we want to be honest, but I miss the writing aspect of blogging over other outlets such as Facebook.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Another November, another NaNoWriMo

November rolled around again, before I was quite ready for it.  And because I'm a Municipal Liaison, NaNoWriMo season begins a little earlier for me than for everyone else.  I have to start thinking about organizing in September... or at least, I should.

This year, I got a couple of things done early.  The most important things: Shooting off an email to the gaming coffee shop that hosted our kickoff party last year, to see if they could do it again this year, and also emailing the museum, to see if we could rent the conference room again for the museum write-in we've done the past couple of years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tax Day aftermath

I blogged earlier today about the extension for last-minute filers, due to the IRS system going down yesterday.  Apparently the site had a message on it during the outage saying it wouldn't be back up until December 31, 9999.  Wish I'd gotten to see that!

I ended up working on my taxes for about 14 hours straight overnight Monday into Tuesday, which is a good argument for being better about keeping my records up-to-date this year.  Updating the records, going through all of my old receipts, filing last year's taxes (I still hadn't!), and getting organized took most of that time.  Actually working on this year's tax returns probably only took about four hours, and a lot of that was rearranging my spreadsheet so that all of my expenses were listed under the correct categories.

So.  Next year.  Stay up on the reporting.

Tax Day extension

I meant to post this sooner -- like yesterday -- but I was exhausted and fell asleep early in the evening.  More to come about that later.

For those who need to know, though, there is an extension on the Tax Day deadline to TODAY because the payment system went down yesterday.  So if you haven't finished yet, you do still have today left to do it!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tax Eve and why it's better this year

Happy Tax Eve to those who are spending tonight doing their taxes!  I'm risking a little fuzzy-headedness and doing mine in style.


I'm risking some fuzzy-headedness here obviously, so hopefully it won't backfire on me.  But I think I can relax responsibly, and it might help with the overall motivation problem of taxes!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo woes

I have to admit, I've fallen behind rather badly in Camp NaNoWriMo this month.  It happens every April, partly because of tax season, but I've also been really busy lately on top of that, having picked up some new clients earlier this year.  And then on top of it all, my mom and I were selling at a doll show last weekend, so I had to spend a lot of time getting ready for that.

I did pretty well for the first four days of Camp NaNo, but after that is when it all fell apart for me.  But the month is nowhere near too far gone yet, so I'm trying to recover!  Today is the first day of getting my life back -- well, of getting my Camp goals back on track, anyway.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Why Tax Day falls on Tuesday the 17th

You may have noticed that Tax Day is on Tuesday this year, April 17th, instead of the usual April 15th.  With the 15th falling on Sunday it's obvious why it's not that day, but did you wonder why it's not Monday?

I was afraid I was getting wrong information and didn't want to file late, so I looked it up to be sure, and this is what I found.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo conflicts

I often forget the biggest problem with April's CampNaNoWriMo: It conflicts with tax season.  It interferes with my goals every year.

I even had the best intentions this year to get my taxes done earlier.  I started catching up on all the income and expense reporting (which I got behind on throughout the year, although not as badly as usual) months ago, but then my workload picked up in February and I stopped working on it regularly.

So this month I have a new goal: to get taxes done and stay on track with my Camp NaNo goals.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo: The cure for blog neglect

I've been neglecting my blogs horribly lately.  It's partly because of how busy I've been -- I picked up a couple new clients and I've had an increased workload as a result -- but also just partly because working on my own projects has fallen so far off my radar.  That includes my novels, some nonfiction projects, and, unfortunately, my blogs.

It's been a problem for a while, and last November I tried to fix it by making a general goal during NaNoWriMo of working on my own projects for an hour every day.  My goals met with only moderate success, and the whole experiment wasn't as habit-forming as I would have hoped, so I decided to do something a little different for this session of Camp NaNoWriMo.