Working Vacation

It’s been a rough week writing-wise here, between doctor’s appointments, volunteering for the school, and my sons’ birthdays, but since I’ll be technically working this weekend, I think it all balances out.

This weekend Ottawa is home to the SCBWI (Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) Canada East Conference, and I am really looking forward to attending. I missed last year’s conference in Montreal due to a combination of cost, depression, and just feeling the conference wasn’t right for me (it had two tracks: Beginner, which had things like how to format a query letter, and Advanced: which offered lessons in presenting at schools, but not a lot for an in-between writer like me).

But, this year’s conference sounds great, and I’m looking forward to seeing my Canadian writer people, many of whom I haven’t seen in two years, and to meeting new writers and editors.

But perhaps the thing I’m looking forward to the most is two nights in a hotel. Even though the conference is in my home town, I decided to splurge this year, in the hopes of getting a solid night’s sleep without the puppy or kids interrupting me. Plus, I’ll have more time to socialize with people if I don’t have to bus back to my end of town. And I don’t have to worry about anyone (kids or dog) wiping a messy face on my shirt right as I’m about to leave.

But…of course there’s a catch. One of my sons has come down with a nasty bug: fever, vomiting, and exhaustion. And I catch *everything* they bring home. So now it’s a crap shoot whether I’ll even get to go.

*sobs*

If you have any good health juju, please send it my way. Until then, I’ll be bathing in bleach, gargling with hand sanitizer, and spraying disinfectant like deodorant*.

*(Or, you know, washing my hands every 37 seconds. Whatever.)

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Random Ramblings

Will somebody please stage an intervention with Mother Nature, already?

This week we’ve had an ice storm, rain, snow, hail…and they’re saying it’s going to be 16 C (61 F for my American readers) on Monday. WTF? While we were lucky our area of town didn’t get hit by any power outages (probably because everything came down in that bad storm in the fall), the all-over-the-place weather has been doing a number on my head.

I’ve had brutal migraines pretty much every day this week, but I’m struggling through. Somehow I managed to hit 1,000 words a day on my WIP for the first three days this week, bringing my current total to 25,000 words, aka halfway to my final word count goal (woot!).

Which is good, because the next seven days are looking iffy, writing-wise. Between doctors’ appointments, cake-baking, party-prep for my sons’ birthdays, and family visiting from out of town, I’m not sure how much writing will get done.

Not to mention the slight complication of my newly-diagnosed carpal tunnel, which is making my wrist ache after too much time at the keyboard.

While my YA WIP is growing slowly, I seem to be doing a bit better with my MG Fantasy draft. I’m more than two-thirds of the way through it with my online critique group, which means I’m still on schedule to get it to Bri before the summer. (Yay!)

Well, I think that’s all for me this week. Gotta get back to work.

A Bonus of Self-Imposed Deadlines

A few weeks ago I posted about adjusting my writing goals from 2000 words a day to 700 (mainly to deal with new puppy-induced sleep deprivation).

This worked well at first, and my aim was to complete my current WIP by the end of April.

And then life happened.

I had at least one kid home sick from school for a whole month (including March Break), the dog continues to get me up overnight (though we’re down to only 2-3 nights a week), I spent more than a few days on the couch fighting off illness of my own, and now I’m scrambling to get things ready for my boys’ birthday party.

Every day I didn’t meet my word goal  my daily goal climbed a bit higher (it’s currently sitting at 1508 words/day, including weekends). And every time that happened, I got a bit more stressed out.

Until I finally realized what should have been obvious: there’s no sense stressing over an entirely arbitrary deadline. There’s absolutely no penalty if I don’t finish on time.

Yes, as a writer I should practice completing things on schedule, and yes, I need to get this book finished so I can edit it and eventually send it to my agent and get it on sub.

But…

Not at the cost of my own mental health. I was so stressed out knowing I couldn’t reach my daily word counts, that I didn’t even want to try. Now that I’m ignoring them, I’ve written over a thousand words a day for the first two days this week.

I do work better when I have a goal to aim for, though, so instead of erasing my deadline altogether, I’m simply going to adjust it, and hope I can get this draft finished by the end of May.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

DNF

As you know, I’ve been consuming a ton of YA audiobooks lately, and while I haven’t loved every one, I have finished all of them.

If I don’t like a book, I do my best to try and figure out why, to treat it as a learning experience for myself as a writer.

But this month I finally found an audiobook I just couldn’t complete.

I’m not going to name names. I work in this industry, and I don’t want it to come off like I’m trashing another author or their work, so I’m only going to talk in vague terms about the book I DNF’d (Did Not Finish).

I found the book depressing – I could anticipate the bad choices the MC was going to make, and I didn’t want to follow her down that path. The mental illness issues it dealt with were almost too real (for my taste at least), and I found myself dreading listening to the story unfold.

I’d forget my phone when it was time to take the dog out.

I’d opt for silence while cooking dinner.

can normally get through a YA Contemporary (they’re typically shorter than SFF) in a day or two. By the end of Day 4, I was just past the halfway mark.

So I bailed.

I used to think giving up on a book was a failure on my part. That it made me a quitter.

But lately I’ve come to realize life is too short for bad books.

(It’s also too short for bad desserts – but that’s another post entirely.)

After I quit, I checked the Goodreads listing for the book. It had a decent enough rating, but loads of people said they’d DNF’d around the same point as me (and many who read the whole thing wished they’d DNF’d at that point), so I definitely feel good about my decision.

Even better, the books I listened to after were so good, I burned through them, making my overall numbers for the month not bad at all.

 

March reading stats:

  • YA Contemporary (6)
  • YA Fantasy (6)
  • YA Sci-Fi (3)
  • DNF (1)

March Total: 15

Year to date: 37