Saturday, March 23, 2024

Did You Know: Scarlet Maples Hold Their Leaves Until Spring?

Sometimes it's the simple things which bring pleasure, maybe even joy. Or in the case of such a simple fix, it brings us a sense of safety. Which will seem ridiculous when I tell you what it was. 

Somehow it fits. With this photo I took almost a week ago: the moon through the scarlet maple, still full of the rust colored leaves from fall, waiting for the spring bud to emerge, green, pushing away the crisp leaves. I was sitting in my car, a few minutes of transition from the drive home from work, before going into the house.

The moon in an a nearly totally clear sky. Its light bright and soothing, lightly illuminating the places out of sight from the ineffective street lamps.

The very simple thing I did a few days ago? I bought small, palm-sized motion sensor lights to put on the stairs. The light fixture on the top stair landing has always been funky, but it gave out several years ago. No one wanted to replace it for us, because - well, reasons. No way either of us are going to try to install or repair anything involving electrical wires. So we're always extra cautious going up and down the stairs at night. There is a little light bleed from the front porch, or a little on the landing if the upstairs light is on; but there are dark patches with very little usable light. We've managed. We've never fallen. There is railing. And. For safety reasons, adding light on the stairs seemed like a good idea.

It was and it is. Every time I have to go up or down the stairs at night right now, I smile. I can see each step. I can see the piece of mail I forgot to put away. I can see the water bottle I left on the stairs. I can see the fanned corner at the bottom.

Such a simple solution. No holes were drilled, no wires messed with, no big expense or major time investment. Yet we are safer and more comfortable moving through the house at night.

A little light on the stairs, which automatically turn on when we approach, and turn off about 10-15 seconds after motions stops.

I wonder what other simple solutions are just around the corner. 

Next week I will be meeting with a beta reader of the manuscript. He is one of my "book lights" I'd say. I look forward to seeing where his light falls and where he found shadows, or what questions remain.

I don't think there is a this simple of a solution for getting the manuscript from here to publishing. But maybe keeping the focus on each step, each edit, each round of feedback will do the trick. 

There is a bit of light coming through and a path going forward. Like the moon through the scarlet maple anticipating spring. Like me with my slippered feet making their way more confidently down the stairs for a cup of nighttime tea. 

One step. One light. Keep going.

Friday, December 1, 2023

NaNo 2023 Is A Wrap!

Letting the graphics speak for themselves today. Well done, me!

To clarify: yes, I actually wrote 104,284 words from midnight November 1st to 11:59 pm November 30th. That is a Double NaNoWrimo; my first double NaNo.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Final Day of NaNoWriMo 2023

At the beginning of the final day of NaNoWriMo 2023, I have 103,625 words I have written since November 1st. This is the first time I have completed a double NaNoWriMo and it feels good.

I will write more words today. I don't have a target in mind, but more words will happen!

I will also be closing out NaNoWriMo 2023 with a friend, a writers, and we will close out the month together, as we opened the November writing together, as well.

In another 21 hours and 58 minutes, this NaNo will come to an end!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Days 22-25: NaNoWriMo 2023

 My current word count is 91,979 words written since November 1st. That is amazing and feels good. This year is my highest word county by far.

I keep writing that "I'm not writing much on the story." But I realized today that I am writing My Story. And I have some pieces for a fiction story, which are based on My Story. So, there is that.

It has been an interesting NaNoWriMo. I am - obviously - writing a lot. I have written every day and, I'm not sure what my average daily word count is, but it is high. I have written at least the 1667 words on almost every day; there are a few which were closer to 1000. I think I have this write every day firmly entrenched now. It's not a rule, but I have been doing this for over a year now - the writing every day. It helps to not put a lot of rules and restrictions on what I count as "writing."

We are in the final month - less than a month - of the Mavens of Mythmaking with Ariel. A full year long class coming to an end. I have much to do to get my final project wrapped up, so that is what my focus will be now. I've fallen behind again, in feedback and such. I am keeping up on the reading and I've been slowly working on the manuscript. Too slow. But I'm taking a new direction at this stage of things, thanks to a conversation with my old-new writing buddy! I am excited to have time with her, again, to be able to reconnect one on one about our writing and support each other. This will definitely help.

Below is my landing NaNoWriMo page, with my current stats and my writing graph. There is more on the site, but this is a good overview. NaNoWriMo is working through some problems and I hope they work it out. For now, I'm using the site as I have been - which is a tracking page. The organization changed significantly several years ago; and not for the better in my and many people's opinions. I don't know a lot about the current issue, but the Board is involved and I hope the truth and resolutions happen. 

For me? I'm happy. I am at 184% of the goal and I think I am going to aim for 200% - in other words, a double NaNo. I've never done that before, so I guess I will now. I have just over 5 days to complete 100k words in 30 days. I can do this!

NaNoWriMo 2023 general stats for Dot.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Monday, November 20, 2023

Days 18-20 NaNoWriMo 2023

Current word count 
a super moon over ex-Fred's house. photo by Dot
1am 11/20/2023 = 75,155

I am still writing every day, even though I already have half again as much as the 30-day goal. Which is awesome! There hasn't been much movement in the story realm itself, but I have had a few glimmers in my stream of consciousness writing which may become stories on their own, or may be culled for pieces of the story. Later; not right now.

Some exciting news is that I have reconnected in a writing buddy way with a longtime friend. We live in different states now, so writing meet-ups don't happen. We did that in the old days, but it's been a long time and many life changes since that happened. We have crossed paths in other writing ways off and on for years. It's been great to have shared space.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking I wanted to reach out to her about some help with my big manuscript in progress. She's an amazing writer and supporter of writers, editor, coach - there are probably several labels which would apply to the care she provides when working with authors and their projects.

Then a little over a week ago, she gave me feedback on a piece in the online writing space we shared. She mentioned wanting to exchange manuscripts (I'd asked for something to do with that in my post). 

And here we are, a few emails later, with a virtual meeting scheduled for this week to discuss what and how and when we want to support each other in this writing thing we're doing.

I am excited and I value this friend's skill and knowledge. I look forward to us supporting each other.

A couple of so weeks ago, I also attended a virtual writing workshop/presentation with a local writer I admire. It was about how to get published and navigate that system without an MFA. It was so much more than that, but that was an important part. That author is local to me, we've maybe met once. She was so authentic and wise and warm. She offered to start an email and maybe online group for those of us present; I nearly immediately said, yes, please.

All of this to say, I am writing. I have a large manuscript which is starting to really get the attention it deserves. I always believe that 'writing begets writing' and I sometimes forget that the attention put into writing also helps to draw resources and supporters. I have been attending many workshops from different places, I'm in the final month of the year-long program. I am still reading writing books and more.

And this is where I am now. 
Building community 
Putting writing at the forefront
...did I already say, writing?...

Change doesn't always look the way we think it will look. And the road to get there takes many turns.

All I can say right now it that it's a good think I enjoy long distance travel.

dragonfly in the Grand Canyon 2008; photo by Dot

Friday, November 17, 2023

Day 17: NaNoWriMo 2023

Word Count at the beginning of 11/17/2023 = 66,515
Words written on 11/16 = 6847

The coast writing retreat has been exactly what I needed it to be. A place to sleep until I wake up. With minimal writing interruptions. There is no wifi here, which is obviously not keeping me from updating word counts, going online for brief periods, and so on. But because I'm relying on cellular data, the connection seems less than ideal and it uses a lot of data to go online.

Today we also took a little writing break to interpret a wonderful webinar. It's for an arts organization which is phenomenal and which is doing great work to provide arts education where it is needed most and to give hope to our collective future. Luckily, the data held. We had both of our devices synced to the computer, so that if one went out, the laptop would automatically connect to the other and there would be minimal interruption to our interpretation. Luckily that wasn't needed - but we were prepared.

The rest of the day so far has been spent on writing. And talking about writing. And relaxing and sometimes, just staring at the ocean.

Staring at the ocean and drinking coffee (in the morning) or green tea (in the evening) is a part of my writing practice. Something I need to make more time to do.

I'm happy to say that I'm making a plan with another writer to become writing buddies - again. We did this in the long ago, when we both lived in the same town. Now we are states away, but still connected through online classes and workshops and other electronic methods. We are currently looking at how we can meet virtually for coffee, conversation, writing. And looking to exchange manuscripts and work together in that way, as well. I am excited about this possibility. Accountability and community even from afar. This will be awesome.

"Lighting the Way" comic by Dot. 2022

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Days 15 & 16: NaNoWriMo 2023

 Current word count, at 4:00 AM on November 16th, is 64,188.

My writing buddy and I came over to the coast after we finished work at 8pm on Tuesday 11/14. We had to pick up her things and pack them into the car. But quickly, because we wanted to stock up on food for the rest of the week from Trader Joe's; which closed at 9pm. 

We made it.

We got some iced tea and ate in the car as we made the nearly three hours drive. 

The nice thing about driving so late at night is that there is significantly less traffic. Less traffic means the drive is less stressful. Generally I am not stressed on longer drives - I actually like it, and I can find it soothing, when not dealing with aggressive drivers.

It was lovely to wake up to the ocean today. The misty sky, looking out over the waves until I couldn't see them any longer in what I thought was an incoming storm.

The wind shifted and pushes the clouds, the fog south. Maybe that was where it was heading all along.

I did a lot of writing today, around a scheduling mixup with a couple of interpreters I'd placed on a show, added a matinee. The situation that created when I had to find a new interpreting team for the interpreted matinee fell into my "no work unless it's urgent" category. Working with the somewhat intermittent internet (no wifi at the place we're staying - yay!), I was able to get a second team for that second performance, connect everyone to each other, notify the theater. And now, hopefully, there is nothing else "urgent" which comes up related to work.

I want to focus these next few days on writing. 

I am long past the 50k in 30days writing goal. But I am still writing. I am still playing the quests in 4TheWords. And editing. Still working on the edits - which are going very slow. I have to step those up, for sure. Somehow, I will. I am hoping to shift the bulk of my writing time to the edits, to get it done.

This is the graph from the NaNoWriMo website, showing the trajectory of my writing this month. The angled dotted line is the 50k in 30days target; my actual writing word count is highlighted in yellow. Looks good!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Day 14: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 54,313
Total words written Day 12 = 4,352

I do believe this is the earliest I have ever met the 50k word count in NaNovember! I did it! 

November 13, 2023 I surpassed the target of writing 50,000 words in a month. My writing for November is far from over - but that benchmark was met. 

Maybe I will go for a double-NaNo this year. I am going to be shifting to more editing words than generating new words. I do have a final project coming up due very soon, and I chose to complete this draft's edits as my "senior" project. 

And I will continue writing, but probably a little bit slower pace.

Tomorrow after work I will be heading to the coast for a few days for my annual November writing retreat. I think that the beach will be the perfect place to sink into book revision.

For now: congratulations to me! And here's a toast of kombucha to the next leg of this writing journey.