I had a lot of false starts this morning with my writing.  I almost decided to stop and just let it go for tonight, the next day.  Later.  Just, not now.

But then the last two lines of Invictus floated to the forefront of my consciousness, and I couldn’t help but smile:

“I am the master of my fate.

I am the captain of my soul.”

W. E. Henley

Do you know what invictus means in Latin?  Invincible.  Undefeated.  Unconquerable.  I like that.  Makes me feel like though I may be battered and bruise, I still survived the battle.  And, am ready for more.

Invictus is my word for November.  I will own it.  I invite you to do the same.

Have an invictus writing day, my fellow dreamers.

Because Sun and Sand Make Me Ridiculously Happy, AKA, The Requisite Post-Vacation Post

Still a little travel-sore

Well, I’ll go ahead and say it: I need a vacation from my vacation!

I got in at 5am after road tripping back home to Indiana from Marco Island, Florida.  A 1200-mile trip that should have taken 20ish hours took me about 18 hours…my excuse if I had been pulled over?  “Officer, I really really want to get home.” :lol:

A little back story:

Every year for our anniversary (September 25! This year was our seventh anniversary, woohoo!),  we do something a little more beachy or adventurous (in honor of the fact that we flitted off to Maui for our own wedding).

For our first 2 anniversaries, we had the opportunity to explore different Hawaiian islands.  In 2004, we tagged along with my parents when they visited friends in Oahu, and were able to be in my cousin’s wedding on Kauai.  Of course, we had to return to Maui in 2005, because Maui no ka oi! (Maui’s the best). ;)

In 2006, we spent it with family in New York, because we knew that my grandmother was not long for this world (she died February 2007).

In 2007, we explored California, driving up and down the Pacific Coast Highway.  My parents had recently moved there in the latter half of 2006 to be closer to my grandmother after being New Yorkers for 20+ years.

In 2008, I had the opportunity to inherit my parents sporty CR-V, and get a cross-country road trip out of it (something I’ve always wanted to do!).  So, we flew out to California, and meandered our way back to Indiana, taking lots of pictures along the way!

In 2009, I was craving sun and sand again, so, we decided to take up our father-in-law’s offer of using his condo on Marco Island, Florida for our sun and fun needs.  Since we’re trying to be responsible adults, we decided to return to my father-in-law’s condo on Marco Island this year so that we had another year to save for a trip back to Maui.


A typical day on Marco Island:

-Around 10, walk down to the beach to get some morning sun while doing my morning, pre-breakfast (but post-coffee!) cardio

-Back to the condo to swim in the pool for an hour, which for me means taking turns tanning in and out of the pool.  I’d bake for a bit on lounge chairs, and when it’s too hot, jump in the pool for a few laps before taking a break and baking on the chairs again.  That’s my idea of an interval workout!

(oh, and the elevator was being repaired, so it was 5 flights of stairs for us each time we wanted to go anywhere/do anything.  Some people may be inconvenienced by that.  But, I thought, “Cool. Sprints!”).

-Around noon, eat breakfast, which for the first half of our week is traditionally bacon, eggs, and toast (or croissants!).  The best aromatherapy is coming back to a condo that smells like maple-y bacon.

-From 12-4pm: Depending on the weather, either cool off in the condo, while watching copious amounts of HGTV, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel and deciding which local restaurant to eat at for dinner. (Generally, at this point it will rain for an hour anyway to break up the humidity; also, we don’t have cable TV, so HGTV is basically our secret indulgence). Or, cool down poolside, and if it’s especially hot, float around in the pool for a bit.

-Around 4-7: Go on the hunt for thrift store goodies, food, and ice cream.  Mark is obsessed with Good Will and other secondhand stores, and of course, who doesn’t like food and ice cream??  We try to patronize as many locally owned businesses as possible, but a trip to Coldstone Creamery did work itself in there.

-From 7pm on: Watch movie marathons, or episodes of home renovations on HGTV before passing out around midnight. (Again, we don’t have cable TV, so these are definitely treats for us!)

-Lather, rinse, repeat.

Anniversary Special

So, for my actual anniversary, we decided to walk on the beach again, yay…but this time, instead of enjoying a condo-cooked meal of bacon, eggs, and croissants (which, by the way, I’m a total expert at cooking), we walked up to one of the restaurants lining Marco Beach (aptly named, Quinn’s on the Beach), and splurged on a little brunch.

I ordered the shrimp BLT (which had arugula instead of a traditional lettuce, served on a French baguette, yum!).

We finished off our day bobbing around in the pool, and otherwise not moving until our requisite steak dinners at 7pm, for which we were only mildly hungry.

Afterward, we enjoyed a movie marathon of the living dead (Resident Evil! I Am Legend!), because nothing says “I love you” like watching survivors of an apocalypse kick butt!

Happiness is the meeting of sun and sand

I tend to be a lot more relaxed during these vacations because the holiday season in the retail industry is most frenetic (I don’t like using the word “stressful” as it has lost it’s meaning and impact), and I like to soak in as much sun and fun to carry me through till January (where I usually take a vaca in the middle of the month for my birthday.)

I always believe that the best souvenirs are a killer tan, and beautiful memories/pictures of a very relaxing and stress-free time. Here is my last view of the beach.  I’m sure you agree with me. ;)

I Discovered I Really Hate Coming Up With Titles to Blog Posts

So, I discovered lots of things today!  So many things, that I should probably list them for ease of reading.  (Plus, I feel like I’ve been more productive on my day off from my paythebills job when I see it in list form…especially since I have the Friends’ influenced urge to say “check!” after naming each point in the list, thus further emphasizing how truly productive I am).  In no particular order of importance, relevance, or chronology here are Today’s Discoveries! (Exclamation points and Capitalization also imply things of Great Importance and Prominence.) (!)

1. I discovered that I find lots of Important Things to busy myself with in the mornings rather than write.  On an unrelated note, Twitter is shiny.

2. I discovered that I can’t write dialogue worth crap—argh!  [Excuse me, let me take the moment to write a positive affirmation: I write fantastic dialogue!  The dialogue is natural, smooth, and sounds just like two people having a real conversation in my living room.] * eye roll *

3. I discovered a little extra protein in the form of a grub in my would-have-been spaghetti squash lunch. (You can imagine me throwing up a little in my mouth right…here.  I also promptly threw it away right about…now.)

4. I discovered that 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil, dried garlic and other seasonings can really jazz up regular spaghetti (the aforementioned seasonings were my original toppings for the spaghetti squash; not as healthy, but I was having spaghetti one way or another!)

5. I discovered that I CAN tell someone about my Work in Progress!  I did it in email form, but it really helped me to sit down and think about it, and I’m so happy!  That’s like, half a query letter right there, see productive, ha!

6. I discovered that I found a great method of plotting out my story that I can stick with …but I have way too much procrastinating to do before I sit back down and play with said story.

7. I discovered that it’s hard to write about the bleak and depressing parts of the novel when I’m too goofy to settle down and compose my own thoughts.

8. I discovered that even though I’m a really goofy, silly person who can laugh at anything, when I sit down to write, I have a weird librarian voice going on in my head.  What’s up with that?

9. I discovered that coffee is such a joy and comfort to me in the mornings.  I already knew that but it’s always worth mentioning things I’m grateful for. (Is it ludicrous that I automatically edited in my head: “…for which I’m grateful.”  Really?)

10. I discovered that quite possibly the number one reason that I’m so distracted, and kinda goofy is the fact that I’m not listening to any music right now.

So, after getting myself another cup, I’ll flick on the Pandora Radio, and get back to The Novel!

Silly Self-Talk

The Path

One little obstacle

It’s almost hilarious to me that no matter how much I work at ensuring that my mindset is where it’s supposed to be, and that I surround myself with affirmations and inspiring quotations, that one little obstacle (that turned out not to be an obstacle at all) can easily destroy all that careful building up.

I read somewhere that “A word of encouragement during a failure is worth more than an hour of praise after a success.”  Not that I’m planning to fail, or feel like a failure, but writing to me is one of the most personalized journeys that I can make and own (second only to a body transformation).  I only have myself to compare to, my own level of focus and dedication…and to see me compare what I did accomplish to what I could accomplish, well, I may be a harsh critic, but I often see myself coming up short.  There’s a fine line between berating and constructive criticism, and believe me, I dance with that line a lot.

I don’t tend to dwell on the things that I can’t control; but I definitely criticize myself when I do dwell on those uncontrollable things.  Also, when there are things that I can control, and fail to use or maximize them, more criticism is waiting for me.  (I don’t seem to give myself any slack or respite).

For example, when I encountered a story that at first, seemed eerily similar to mine, I automatically broke down and went into a “woe is me, what’s the point in continuing” mode.  I got over myself after chatting with some funny people and was able to move on and roll my eyes at myself.  But, I should have realized sooner that I was being silly.  I should have realized that I can’t go back in time and work on my story earlier.  I shouldn’t even be comparing myself to another writer.   I should not have allowed myself to become discouraged.  But I did anyway.

So, I don’t necessarily have a solution other than to say that I am reaffirming my commitment, and I promise myself not to be so crazy and delusional (and quite frankly, finding excuses to quit).  And, I will own my affirmation throughout the rest of my hundred day challenge to a finished rough draft.

(Here’s a great blogpost that talks about crazies, and I should have recognized the crazy in me while I was in the midst of craziness.)

Are There Methods in the Madness of Writing?


My favorite writing accessories: coffee and moleskine

I’ve been in a business/management environment for the better part of a decade and I can’t help but think in terms of following best practices, finding strengths and opportunities, and creating action plans to leverage found strengths against any opportunities (aka, areas of weakness, but no one likes to say “weakness”). I do this unconsciously, and constantly analyze and re-analyze various scenarios in order to arrive at the results I want, hopefully becoming more efficient, more effective with each project.

I’ve been thinking recently about how to finish my story in the most effective manner possible. Of course, I am familiar with the stayinyourseatandtype writing method, and the don’tlookatbrightandshinyfacebooktwitteryoutube avoidance techniques. Those address the problems of discipline, work ethic and focus: all very important, but not necessarily what I’m thinking about at the moment. It’s more like I want to know best practices, methods and techniques that other writers have employed to get them from one scene to another, eventually stringing all the pretties together into a finished story.

I’ve mentioned before that I have completed my plot outline of the major points of the novel. So, here I am plodding along, filling in the blanks between the points of that plot outline. But, I have been wondering recently: should I keep writing straight through the story as it is laid out chronologically (per my plot outline), or would it be more effective (or at least equally effective?) to write out some of those “fun” scenes, those major plot points, and then write in the transition scenes later on?

I’ve read that “writing to” something helps to iron out what those little, in-between scenes need to be, especially important if I need to hide clues or throw red herrings in along the way (though I’m not to that point in the story yet). I know for me, I had a glimpse of another chapter of my character’s life (basically the beginning of a potential other book, though I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, so I’ve chosen to call it “chapter”), and it looked like so much fun, that it helped me to outline and plot the novel toward that point. Plus, it just made sense to see how the BIG picture ends.

But, I still have a nagging little voice in my head that tells me if I touch those big scenes first, then I will lose the motivation/fire/passion to write the rest of the scenes. I know it’s silly, and I’ve come a long way from that mindset, but it’s still there.

cute cuddly with the potential for scary...yup, that's my muse

I know there’s no right way to go about this per se, and that the best method is the one that keeps me writing. So, let’s just call this inquiry my overwhelming, insatiable need to know things, and you get to help me learn more about the creative process. What method do you use in your madness, and why do you like it? The jittery, caffeine addicted gremlin that is my muse would like to know.