My 2020 Goals are About Writing and Living

Today, my mother turns 92 years old. She never thought she’d see this age, yet here she is. Like many of us, we are never aware of what we’re capable of doing. We just do it.

2020 is a transition year for me. There are things that must be done, and only by working off property will I accomplish them. So, this spring, I plan to begin working 40 to 50 hours a week, which will take me away from writing in the short term, yet will deliver me closer to a few long-term goals I want to accomplish in the next five years.

Much like when I worked at the garden centre a few years ago, this job will be physical (my favourite type), and I’ll be outdoors most of the time. It will chew up most of my time from April to December. Then I’ll be free to write through winter again.

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A Look Back at 2019

Eye on the DestinationIf I had to wrap up the year 2019 in one word, that word would be Unexpected.

While many things I expected to happen happened, there were many unexpected things that happened that had never before happened. They were a mixture of good and bad. All I can say is I survived intact, and it’s time to sum them up and keep moving forward.

On January 7th of last year, I posted my epic goal challenge. Here they are exposed like the bare rocks on the seashore.

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Music Inspires, Motivates and Keeps Me Between the Ditches

I’m going to state this right upfront; get it over with; air my thoughts before we delve into this subject deeply: I don’t understand how people get through life without music. A life void of melody is unfathomable to me.

My parents listened to music every day and I’m told when I was strong enough to stand, I was holding onto the crib rail and bobbing to Cal Smith singing on the old black and white television. The radio in the kitchen was on every day without fail. If it broke, as tight as money was, a new one appeared without delay. The radio in the truck was always tuned to music; no talk shows for us. When my dad installed an 8-track player in the truck, that played more than the radio.

We had a floor model stereo with a radio and record player, which could easily be moved to the deck or the lawn. That thing is more than 40 years old and still going.

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My Unplanned Future is Filled with Unknown Possibilities

I’ve let go of the regret I carried since I was 17 and the mistakes I’ve made along the way, forgiven myself for what I did and didn’t do, removed self-imposed lines that set limits on my life and found peace within. I’m working on increasing my confidence and self-worth, and I’m transforming this body into one that is healthy and strong.

Where will I go from here? Honestly, I thought I had the next ten years figured out and a good idea of what the rest of my life would contain, but…that was before the transformation this spring. I began making alternative plans, but they kept changing as new possibilities popped into my head, and one thing conflicted with the other. How can I do A if I want to do B? I’ve always believed I was suppose to have my future planned.

My parents preached it, and so did the school guidance office: secondary school for X-amount of years, work for X-amount of years, retire.

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Like Every Wise Boy Scout: Be Prepared for Opportunity

In this minute, if you were given the opportunity you had always dreamt of, would you be ready to accept it?

I’ve asked myself this question many times since the new year. Before May, my answer was an undeniable, regrettable NO. The no applied to many areas in my life, not just writing.

Ready means I’m able to accept that opportunity at the moment I’m offered it, or, given one hour, I’d be ready to accept it.

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The Magic of Confidence and Letting Go

Two weeks ago, giddy from riding a wave of confidence growth, I tried to explain to my sister how I felt. In my mind, it was like dragging that Krazy Karpet to the top of the hill in two feet of snow, then pushing it to get started because the snow was soft and the friction kept me still. After about six feet, I felt the momentum of the Karpet, and I had to use less effort to increase speed and then, I hit the smooth, icy section and I was off!

Confidence is like that. I’ve never really had much in life; it was something others had, something I envied and sometimes felt annoyed by because some had too much and were in my face or not bothering to look back to see how they looked from the perspective of others. That was my problem, not theirs.

Long ago, I gave up the desire to obtain confidence because I thought it was something not for me. It was like the talent to play guitar, the ability to recall phone numbers after hearing them once, the skill to walk in high heels and not feel like an idiot.

Over the past two months, that’s changed. I can’t thoroughly explain why; I don’t understand it myself. I just feel different.

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Stop Putting Limits on Living

This is one of four posts on life and how my perspective of it has drastically changed the past three months. The transition started July 2018, but it has taken me until this spring to fully realise the path I travelled up until last July has changed. From the outside, I look the same (except I’ve lost over 35 pounds). The major changes have taken place inside. It’s like someone else’s brain fell into my head, and it’s looking around thinking, let’s renovate this life. There will be exceptions to how I think, but the exceptions don’t change the rule.

I’m writing these for two reasons: 1) to remind me of my journey and where I really want to go (out there, beyond where I’ve been); 2) to share my experience with the hope others will be inspired to change their perspective, so they can live a better life. My journey has been helped by those who put into words a better way to live.

Last fall, while sitting around dreaming about what 2019 would give me, something clicked in my brain: I didn’t want it to give me anything; I wanted to earn and control what entered my life, take what awaited me. I could only do that if I had the courage to change my attitude, the way I looked at my life and what I was willing to give in return.

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Why Do I Write?

Why I writeI’ve been asked many questions over the decades concerning writing, but one that often stands out is: Why do you write?

I’ve answered this with a question of my own: why do you fish, why do you build houses, why do you do what you do? The obvious reason is because I want to.

Telling others why I loved fishing was easier than explaining why I loved to write. I mean, to many, writing was school work, which they were thankfully graduated from and wouldn’t have to do again.

Lately, I get this question with an add on: Why do write so much?

Ten years ago, I couldn’t answer this question nor the simple one (why do you write) as accurately as I can at this moment. It’s not that I’ve thought about it any more; the answer simply comes to me when I’m asked.

Why do I write like a mad woman?

The Short Answer

I have stories that need to be told before I die, and I want to live where I love.

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My Epic Writing and Personal Goals for 2019

Eye on the DestinationAs an epic fantasy writer, I suppose it is only fitting for me to make epic writing goals. Normally, I don’t, but 2019 will be different. I’ve been feeling it in my bones since September that this year was going to be my year.

For the past five or six years, I’ve been all over the place with my writing and editing. I’ve not made a lot of headway with my books; it’s disappointing. I’ve done a lot of work with little to show for it. Last summer, I realised why.

I spent autumn figuring out the best course of action and putting a few things in place. Now that the prep work is complete, it’s time to launch the new goals, ones that will get me closer to what I desire.

Changes

Obviously, there will be changes. To make time in my life to meet my 2019 challenges, I had to reduce time spent on other projects and other types of work. This means, once I finish the two editing/formatting projects scheduled for 2019, I won’t accept others.

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How to Make and Accomplish Goals

Eye on the DestinationI’m a huge believer in goals. Let me rephrase that. I’m a huge believer in setting realistic goals. Goals that are impossible to reach, other people’s goals and goals set for me by someone else are unrealistic, and I have no interest in them. Years ago, my goals were simple. I had only a few and they were easily reached. As I got older, goals became more complicated and harder to accomplish. When I failed at them, it disappointed me, but I didn’t change my behaviour, so I failed more frequently.

Wisdom comes with age and the older I got, the more attention I gave to those who successfully reached their goals. I started making goals and succeeding more times than I failed. They were goals for writing a novel, researching genealogy, getting my articles in newspapers and magazines, buying a new truck and a boat, making more time for camping and fishing and completing projects around the house.

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What I learned about writing two novels at the same time.

NaNoWriMoFor NaNoWriMo 2018, I wrote two novels at the same time: Revelation Stones and Beyond the Myst. I didn’t plan it that way. My goal was to complete the first novel. The second one started as a homework assignment from my writers’ group.

I focussed on the book I wanted to complete first, writing a minimum of 2,000 words a day for it. I wrote 1,500 words a day for Beyond the Myst.

To keep the stories separated in my mind, I wrote Beyond the Myst in the morning between 5:30 am and 7:20 am. If I didn’t reach my goal, I spent a few minutes after the morning chores to complete it. I wrote Revelation Stones from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Often I finished early, so I was in bed by nine o’clock. I get up at 4:35 am, so I need to go to bed early.

Before each writing session, I’d envision the scene I was about to write. This put me in the mood to write and provided details I might not have considered. I run scenes in my head like movies, so I get a clear idea of what I want. The scene is basically written before I sit down to the computer. I just record what happened.

I’ve never tried to write two full novels at once. I have written a short story while writing a novel, but usually I’d write the short story in a few days, then return to the novel writing. This whole experience of writing two in one day was completely new to me. Here’s what I have learned listed under the benefits and the drawbacks.

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Last Day for NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMoIt’s the last day of November and as of bedtime last night, I’ve written 135,880 words since November 1st. It’s a record for me, one that once stood at 60,000 words in a month, one I don’t plan on breaking any time soon. I still have one more day to add to that record. Specifically, 18 hours, but I’ll be in bed before midnight, so that will trim down to about 15 hours.

My goal today is to write every minute I can. It’s unrealistic to do this every day, but today, the last day, I will. I’ve cleared everything off my schedule. Besides usual housekeeping duties, getting kids off to school and work, feeding animals and the unexpected interruption (fingers crossed the power will stay on today), I will write, drink tea and work towards the end of Revelation Stones, the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series. It currently sits at 139,614 words, Chapter 32, Scene 2. Looking at the six scenes left to write, I imagine it needs about 15,000 more words before I can write THE END. Much of the second-last scene has already been written – it came to me a week ago, so I recorded it.

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Ready, Set, Write: Insane November Challenge NaNoWriMo

I’m tempted to answer a challenge I’ve never had before: to write 102,000 in 30 days. That’s 52,000 words more than called for in the NaNoWriMo challenge. My personal goal had been 60,000 words in the month of November.

Regardless of the goal I choose, I will post my word count daily in the right margin, and I’ll post a weekly round up every Saturday.

Since October 17th, I’ve written a total of 28,223 words. That includes

  • 11,827 for Project M
  • 16,396 for Revelation Stones

That’s an average of 1,882 words a day. I need to up that to 2,000 words a day to reach 60,000 words and 3,400 words to reach 102,000 words in November.

Participating in this challenge means I won’t be able to do any other writing except that which is vital to my writing career. This means my Monday post will be on hold until December.

Good luck to everyone who is participating in NaNoWriMo. The clock starts ticking…now!

NaNoMoWri is Fast Approaching

Here we write again. NOVELmber is almost here, which means thousands—maybe millions—of writers across the world will challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days.

Are you onboard? Are you up for the challenge?

The last time I participated was in 2015. Since then, my schedule hadn’t aligned with the challenge but this year, it does. I’m working towards finishing the 3rd book in the Castle Keepers series, Revelation Stones. As of last night, it was 43,334 words complete. I have about another 90,000 to go.

I’m also writing Project M, which is turning out to be a full fantasy novel, not the short story I expected. I’m debating on where it will fit in with the Castle Keepers series. Technically, it is book 4, but I’m leaning towards it being the first book in another series. It intertwines with The Land of Ath-o’Lea but can lead to additional stories not related. Time will reveal its purpose. So far, 10,183 words have been written.

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Two Vital Questions to Ask Yourself About Writing

Thought for the dayWe are all looking for our path to success, but our paths are drastically different. We all don’t get to success the same way, and we don’t all identify success in the same manner.

In my years of reading about marketing and writing, the same questions pop up, and by answering these two questions, it makes us better able to plan our writing careers. In fact, the answers to these two questions are vital in making important decisions in our publishing journeys.

Last week, I posed these two questions to members in my writers’ group. They have a month to think over the answers, but I’ve been thinking about my answers for much longer.

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