New Year, New Goals

2016 totally got away from me. I’m not sure how, one minute I was writing a post on this blog in May, the next thing I knew it was 2017.

Last year was a pretty great year for me. I spent a lot of time alone, with my thoughts and ideas. I got to wrap myself in creative pursuits, even though I didn’t progress on them nearly as much as I had planned.

I was really hoping to review and edit the first draft of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2015 and that just didn’t happen. It wasn’t a good draft and I didn’t know how to fix it. I read several books on writing dealing with editing, scene and structure, description, character traits, viewpoints, and dialogue; but all that did was cause me to panic a little and realize how bad that draft really was. So, after much heart ache and debate, I decided to start over. So then I pondered my story for months. Writing is really difficult. I kept waiting for inspiration to hit and cause my fingers to fly over the keys coming up with the next New York Times Bestseller. But I got bupkis, nada, nothing, zilch. Apparently writing takes work, and lots of it.

So the goal for this year is to get super serious about putting in that work. Right now I would say that my writing is like a toddler, I have things I would like to describe and talk about but the works won’t come, so instead I throw my sippy cup down and have myself a nice little¬†tantrum. That toddler idea is not mine, it came from this great article:

http://lithub.com/how-to-be-a-writer-10-tips-from-rebecca-solnit/#

My personal goal for writing is 500 words a day. I don’t think those necessarily need to be on one story. It could be a variety of things, including this blog. The idea is just to keep practicing and learning and moving forward toward the goal of a finished draft of a novel to submit for review and hopeful publication.

I am also hoping to read 20 books this year. I joined the reading challenge through Goodreads and will track books there. I will also post book reviews here. Last year I tried 20 books but I joined late and only got 12. Better luck this year!

And of course there are gardening goals as well. We shall start planning that in the next few weeks. Yay veggies!

Anyway, I should get to it. Have a great new year and I will talk to everyone soon!

It’s been too long!

Wow! I hadn’t realized it had been so long since I posted on my blog. What the heck?

I won NaNoWriMo and came in with just over 50k words! Yay me ūüôā I then took December ‘off’ and read some books on writing in hopes that my revisions would go smoothly. It didn’t help. I have been struggling with it since. I really need to get my story to at least 80k words. After 5 months of working on it I am only at 59k. Are there any other writers out there that can give me tips on how to stay focused? Any advice or suggestions would help.

Other than that it is now spring! So we have been working on our garden. We started seeds for tomatoes and peppers. The tomatoes are happy, the peppers are not as happy. We should be planting them in the ground outside over Memorial Day weekend, so we will see how that goes. I will be sure to post pictures when that happens.

In our new backyard we are making a flower garden. My mother really wants one and I love color and whimsy. We have years to make this place ours and anyone who has a place of their own is probably very familiar with the fact that you can’t do it all at once and it takes time.

I am looking forward to growing vegetables for food and flowers for beauty.

Pictures coming soon!

Inspiration and Relaxation in the New Place

We have been at the new place for a little more than two months. A lot of things have been completed and in the list of things that we need to do just keeps growing. Work is never done.

We have started building screens for all the windows that have been without so we can open the windows. I thought living in a brick house would help keep it insulated and cool, but it turns out that brick seems to absorbs heat. So in the interest of not killing each other due to heat we bought a window a/c unit. I try not to use it if possible because of the use of electricity, but it has been necessary more days than not so far.

We have also started building our raised garden beds. Once we built them I had 5 tons of top soil with 10% compost amendment delivered. It was so much cheaper and less time consuming then the bagged stuff found at the local home improvement stores at $40.12 a ton. Plus we got to support a local business, which I always like. We didn’t have quite enough to completely fill all the beds we built, but enough to get some late start stuff in the dirt before the season is over. Until we design and start building a greenhouse we will create hoop houses over the raised beds to get things started for next year.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

This is the first bed built by my boyfriend.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and  screw them together.

My boyfriend built panel sides in the shade of the garage so we could just bring them into the yard and screw them together.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn't till any of the underneath. You can also see the tarp that we are waiting to put dirt on.

We lined the bottom and sides with cardboard to keep down the grass/weeds. We just laid these beds on top and didn’t till any of the underneath. There is a¬†¬†tarp in the background to put dirt on.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

The 5 tons of dirt arrived. You can see the comparison with the house in the background and the beds waiting.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

We had more dirt then beds so we built a few more.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn't quite enough, but that is ok.

So we have used as much dirt as possible to fill the beds. It wasn’t quite enough, but that is ok.

In the last picture you can see that we have transplanted a few tomatoes that we had in the ground. They were doing ok, but not getting any bigger. There are also tomatoes in the white buckets. They got beaten up by the last hail storm we had about a week or two ago, so we will see if they come back. To give you an idea on size, the corner bed on the right is 8′ long on the long size. The two detached rectangular boxes are 8’x4′. I think this is a decent start in a new place. On the other side of the rectangular 8’x4′ on the right I am going to start my asparagus bed. From my understanding they take a lot of space and several years to get going, but once established can last 30 years or more. I have the space and nothing but time.

We have also started doing simple sustainable things in the kitchen, like making pickles from cucumbers bought at the local farmers market. Unfortunately in the small town we are in that means about 4 vendors. We have also started making our own bread from scratch. But it is so good that we eat almost a loaf a day. It is so good! To be clear, when I say we have made pickles and bread, I mean my mom has. I have dubbed her the official pickle and bread maker.

Mom's Pickles

Mom’s Pickles

The new house in the new town is so relaxing. It has also inspired the ability to unplug. We don’t watch as much television out here. We like to sit on the porch. We have been taking the dogs for a walk around the park that is a block away. We eat dinner at the kitchen table. It has helped us get more creative. Mom has been sewing. My boyfriend, Jason, got a 3D printer for his birthday and is using it to fix tools, print little fun stuff for me, and to build a walking robot, We’ll see how that goes. For me I have been inspired to write, color, I am going to start a fairy garden with supplies I am gathering, and I am going to start learning how to do wood carvings. I got a couple knives and am going to practice with Ivory soap that I can then use in my laundry detergent.

We have also repotted several things. The avocado tree got a bigger pot. I am not sure how well it will do since it is growing taller but not much bigger around so there is no support structure. The top is flopping over. The dwarf banana also got a new home. It seems happy. The orange tree stayed where it is because it seems just fine where it is, it is even getting a little fruit on it. I am not sure if I should leave it there or what to do with it. I will have to do some more research. I have promised my family I wouldn’t buy anymore houseplants and instead I am concentrating on the ones we have.

Projects we having coming up before winter are to build a shed for the riding lawn mower and yard implements and to put a fence around the property. As you can tell from the pictures, that is a lot of fence. And because we are in the city and it is our front yard it can only be 3 feet high. So we will be doing a fence that is wood framed with wire. I will post pictures when we are done. In the meantime we have already hired a property surveyor that came out and staked the property lines. It was expensive, but better than having angry neighbors or land feuds.

Until next time!

NaNoWriMo is in November

For those of you that don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. I said early on in my blogging that one reason I am doing this is to help develop my skills as a writer because my ultimate goal is to write a novel someday. Well, actually I want to write a lot of novels, but let’s start with one.

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization who’s goal is to help writers write. The goal is for every writer to put out 50,000 words in the month of November. That is just under 1700 words every day. There is no pressure, no one is checking in with you. You can track your words and get pep talks. There is no need to share what you have written, it is more of a helping hand with motivation.

I have had a story idea floating around in my head for about 15 years. I haven’t written anything other than research papers for years. This idea has morphed quite a bit since I first started thinking about it and I want to stop thinking. Time to start doing. One of the things that has held me back is fear. Fear that people won’t read or like my story. Fear that people will be mean in their criticisms. Fear that I will spend hours, days, weeks, months, years on a story and never have it published and that it is all a waste of time. Fear that I am writing something so similar to someone else’s that they will be indistinguishable. Fear that this is a silly dream because lots of people want to become writers and I am no better than they are.

But now I have a fear that my fears are holding me back. I don’t want to wonder ‘what if?’ in the future. I don’t care if people won’t like my story, in fact I know some won’t and that’s okay. I no longer fear its a waste of my time because I have been thinking about this for 15 years already. I should spend another few months or year actually writing it down and seeing what happens. I don’t fear my story is like someone else’s. There are a lot of similar things, no truly original ideas. It’s all about writing, perspective, characters, and tone that make things different.

So I finally started telling people what my story idea is about. It’s still fairly basic, but that’s ok. That is one reason I signed up for NaNoWriMo, to get it out. That is why I am telling you. I want to be a writer. I am going to work hard at becoming one. Yay me!

Check out NaNoWriMo if you haven’t heard of it before. It’s sort of cool.¬†http://nanowrimo.org/

 nanowrimo