I use an online writing group called Scribophile. Today, 1/1/16, they have been updating their servers or something. I can’t get on. I’m going through the internet jitters where I keep going back to the website to see if its fixed. It’s official. I’m addicted. Guess I will have to be more conscious in 2016.
I am a little older than I used to be, and for my brithday, we went camping. Ever been to Ha Ha Tonka?
I took this image from: http://www.dupontcastle.com/castles/hahatonk.htm. This site has some of the history of Ha Ha Tonka. Sadly, this manision only survived about 20 years before fire destroyed it. The home originally looked over a side branch of the Lake of the Ozarks. When the Bagnell Dam was built in 1929-31, the lake disappeared, leaving Ha Ha Tonka castle overlooking a spring.
Still beautiful but not a lake.
If you are looking for a
mildly strenuous hike, take the Spring trail up to the castle. They say its 316 stairs one way. I counted 357 on the way down. Even the dog was exhausted.
Other than hiking Ha Ha Tonka, we enjoyed camping on the lake. We had classic camp food (s’mores, dutch oven cobbler, foil steamed vegetables, grilled meat, bacon), two evenings just staring at the fire and relaxing, card games by lantern light, and just us. It was wonderful. Even the dog enjoyed his time sniffing around.
I’m pondering the work/life balance today.
I’m a fairly organized individual. Or I used to think I was. Now I think I may be the least organized individual I know. I find my work/life balance is much more of a yin-yang than even scales. I go from heavy work to heavy life. Somehow that translates in to little time in general for my hobbies.
That being said, I managed to find some time in the last week to do a few critiques and draft a few words for a revision of one of my pieces. I hope this means I am experiencing an upswing in hobby productivity.
What I am left wondering is, how does everyone else find a balance? Are they just as lost and controlled by the circumstances as I am? Or do they put in the effort to control their destiny? (Since I am a crazy writer person, do others exert more character agency on their own work/life balance?)
Things to ponder on a Monday morning.
I was working through a book 90 Days to Your Novel. I was doing really well, even ahead of schedule, then I ran into the section that said write act 1, write act 2, write act 3. Ack!
It might have gone better at that point if I wasn’t working three rough drafts and a novel revision. So I fixed it. Now I’m only working through two rough drafts and a novel revision. It may not sound like much of a change, but I have been able to shift from getting nothing done to writing one to three chapters a week. Yay!
Enough writing. Pictures time.
What I am getting done is some of the crafts in my house. I might actually have a sewing room that is usable in a few months. Since my last post, I have:
Made curtains. It may not be obvious from this picture, but this is a roman shade my sister and I made. It will go in the basement. It is backed with blackout fabric and uses 3/16 dowel rods to make crisp folds. We got the pattern and instructions from Sail Rite
This is a quilt I have worked on for a few years on and off. My sister bought the pieces for me on a visit to Jamesport, an amish community. What I finished just recently was filling in the designs on the sunbonnets. Now that all the girls have hats, they must wait to be quilted until the rest of the other quilt tops waiting in line are quilted.
This blue and pink quilt is a charity quilt. My oldest sister is a minister. At her church, a lady dying of cancer was given an unfinished quilt top. The person gifted it with less than a fourth of the quilt top stitched. I took the quilting out and machine quilted it ditch-stitching style. It was my first attempt to stitch in the ditch, and this quilt was big enough for a king bed. My little Kenmore protested. Its not perfect in any way, but it is done and in time for the woman to enjoy it. Kudos given to my sister who helped hand stitch the binding.
Don’t look at the wall beneath them too much because we haven’t put up the molding anywhere.
These cushions have been sitting in my sewing room for near four years. It is nice to have the giant rolls of foam out of my craft room. Each cushion has four inches of cushion inside. I managed to get a bead of trim around the edge of the cushion as well, making it the fanciest upholstery that I have done to date. Almost gives me the gumption to do other small upholstery projects I have sitting around.
Either way. Another big project out of my house.
Ok. Show and tell time over. There are still more projects to work on and more writing to do.
I made a blog. Great. Now what?
I like yellow brick roads. Ones that start off small and get bigger. When I’m comfortable with what I know, I build to it.
I started with the basic blog. I opened the beginners tutorial. It says choose a theme. There are a lot of themes. The tutorial tells me to watch out for things like columns, customizable headers, and themes that will automatically make mobile and tablet pages that are easier to access. (I’m not sold on mobile access. Some of my favorite websites have nothing useful on their mobile access, but my blog could be different, right?)
I started with something small, but the more I play with it, the more I feel like an ameba in the ocean. What I am now worried about is that building and keeping up all this networking will consume my time to do the things I love. If anyone has advice on how to balance electronic networking with life, let me know.
Yesterday, I started this blog.
Then I spent hours wanting to play with it and love it and post every thought I had. I restrained myself under the assumption that less is more. All the excitement over the shiny new blog has me thinking about beginnings.
So I want to know:
1. When did you start writing?
2. After you decided to be share your work, where did you turn?
My giddiness is a pattern. Take writing for an example.
I’ve always written. I won school contests as early as 1st grade.
I even had some poetry in high school published in college magazines. Then school ended. College required me to shift focus. I still wrote, but I had to get the writing bug. The one that infected me with a great idea followed by four, feverish weeks of writing. College ended and work began. Writing became an exercise in short sprints written between tasks or after work while dinner cooked. I no longer submitted pieces to local magazines. I no longer entered competitions. I was a closet writer.
Last year, I decided I needed a support group. Hello. My name is Louise. I’ve been writing for 23 years.
Finding a support group is not that easy. I missed out on the convenient methods such as maintaining my connection with my English teachers or joining a group hosted by the college. As an adult, none of my friends were interested in a writing hobbyist group.
So I did what any good person would. I googled. Google scoffed at my attempts to find local writing groups. It suggested classes at a university. No published websites or meetings groups came up in my searches. The one group I did find, met on Wednesday during the normal work day. Why, Google, do you not create things on my whim that work perfectly in my schedule.
I like Nano in many ways but not in others. Camp Nano introduced me to two people who would actually discuss writing and ideas. Great. But they both live far, far away.
Never fear, Camp Nano told me. In November there would be local events and a bigger program. I met a group of four writers who agreed to meet and talk with me after November. Thank you Second Chapter for being there.
Google also introduced me to Scribophile and Critters where I could inundate strangers with my writing. These online communities kicked my backside, scolded me for disorganization, shoved craft books under my nose, and prodded me until my writing improved a little.
In 9 months since deciding to do more than binge write at home, I have found programs I enjoy and built a small circle of folks I can rely on.
I’m an aspiring writer. It is not all I am, but it is part of who I am.
I dabble in prose enough that I finished a novel length first draft. Great.
So I look around. What should I do with this collection of words? The internet, writing groups, organizations all have different ideas.
Revising is one I am choosing. Revising the writing only seems appropriate.
Editing is in the works.
A query has been drafted.
The summary needs work.
But then what?
Make a list of agents. Huh? How?
Develop a platform? Like wood and nails? Like 70’s Kiss shoes?
Build a network? I thought my computer was already plugged in.
So many suggestions and most of which I do not know how to implement. So here I am, starting with a basic blog. Learning the ropes. Contemplating in written form to myself wondering how such thoughts will lead to developing a reputation.
Welcome to anyone who wishes to join me on this journey.