Day 1 – A is for Abature

 

Well, well, well…looks like April is upon us already. A promise of spring and all things new. And the looming shadows of my two giant writing projects: 50k words for Camp Nano, and the A-Z Blogging Challenge.

Still, I remain undaunted completely frozen in fear. You would think I would be better prepared, having done NaNoWriMo MULTIPLE TIMES and such…but no, I have been all but running away from my keyboard today. I sat down at 7am this morning and got myself all prepped to write…And here it it, nearly 11:30am, and I’m finally putting words on the screen.
But I’m putting all that fear behind me now, because there’s no use in learning from your failures if you don’t take the risk to fail at all. And basically, I can’t fail with these projects as long as I’m willing to just sit down and write. No one’s judging me on quality here, right? Right?

So bear with me through this month. I’ll do my best to at least keep it real. Without further ado…

Day 1 – A is for Abature

I was going to do something entirely different today. I had lists, story notes, research, help from family and friends, a near-complete topic list…That I promptly decided to scrap literally a minute ago. It just didn’t feel right, whatever that means.

My original topic was going to be all fantasy themed: armor, dragons, classes, etc. But I really didn’t have anything new to say about the topics, other than “Hey, unicorns are pretty cool! Let’s all be wizards, okay?” And for the topics I did have something to say about, it was a much longer article than I wanted. On the A to Z Challenge website, they say to keep your posts short, so that other people can read them quickly and have more time to read more blogs. (It’s really a big social event excuse, now that I think about it.) So writing an essay paper on the function of historical armor versus fantasy flair clothing would not really fall into that category. And so, on a great big ol’ whim, I decided to change my topic.

Plus, I wasn’t sure you lovely peeps want to read a whole month of fantasy nonsense. Sure, I like fantasy and I love to write it, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it everyday…actually, no, wait, I do, but I don’t have a fantasy-themed blog, so it would be unfair to submit all the rest of you to that particular brand of torture. You’re welcome, I think.

So the Official New Theme for the A-Z Blogging Challenge will be: Random Words. Yes, I will be picking a random word for each day, hopefully an obscure one so we can all learn something together. I am literally just going to a big list of words and picking one out of the ether, so hopefully it will stay a bit more interesting for both me AND you.

Today’s word: Abature

Noun: (usually plural only) Grass and sprigs beaten or trampled down by a stag passing through them. [Late 16th century.]

I lived in rural Indiana growing up, and hell if I didn’t go down my fair share of abatures. We merely called them deer trails, little paths carved by hooves that always threatened to get you hopelessly lost. My father passed on his love of trail hikes to me, and one of the most infuriating things was thinking you were going the right way on a trail only to end up looped a half mile back and losing the trail in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, deer infrastructure sucks. (Getting into nettles was a serious tie for second most infuriating thing. Tied with ticks. Nature is beautifully gross.)
Now I don’t know if abatures have to only be caused by a stag, or can be caused by any deer, or really what a stag is even (apparently just a really big buck), but I hope I can still call them abatures anyway.

Since this year’s Camp Nano theme is all about cultivating a “Creativity Garden,” I’d like to imagine mine as a hidden forest grotto sort of thing, and the only way to get to it is by running through the Endless Abatures, and you have to backtrack at least three times or else it just doesn’t even show up when you get there.

Bonus points if you get stuck in a deer gridlock on the way.

Happy trails for the weekend, everyone!

 

(A smallish disclaimer: there is a possibility that I am completely misconstruing this word and it just means the ACTUAL grass and whatev’s that the stags step on and not a path, and if so, just pat me on the head and say “yes, dear, whatever you say.” I won’t be offended.)

 

 

Summer Camp and Alphabets

So what are you doing in April? Yes, I know we’re still in March, and it’s probably bad manners to ignore the month you’re in (sorry March), but since I’m a heathen hermit I do what I want!

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Ahem. Yes, April plans. Come, plan with me!

First things first, I am now and forever officially participating in Camp Nano next month. If you are unfamiliar with it, here’s a friendly FAQ link to help you get by, but it’s basically an online writing retreat that doesn’t have mosquitoes or questionable food choices because it’s done in the safety of your own home! (unless your home is full of mosquitoes and questionable food choices and then I am so so sorry.) It has all the benefits of talking with fellow writers in a private setting without all the wild bears and raccoons and wendigos running amok outside! You can make a cabin and invite your fellow writer friends, or join a cabin some cool person already started, or if you like serendipity, be randomly paired up with a group of similar people. It’s very fun and motivating and you can find some really awesome writer-type people! Fun fact: one of my most consistent writing accountability partners is from last year’s camp. Yeah, it’s that awesome.

Speaking of potentially cool people that start cabins, I have started one of my own today! It’s the Morning Larks: a group of daytime writers fighting against the Night Owl Writer Stereotype! Well, not really “fighting,” just banding together to have cool conversations mostly. I started this cabin last year and had a great time meeting new cool people and staying on track with my writing goals, and it was too much fun not to do it again this year.

So if you like this Camp idea, and are interested in a cabin, and also happen to write while the sun shines, AND want a chance to write and talk with me, which is more likely inversed (I’d love to write and chat with YOU more! I’m a lonely hermit y’know), let me know in the comments and I’ll hook ya up!

Also, there happens to be the A-Z Blogging Challenge next month, which I will *gulp* being participating in…the rules for that are right here. To sum it up, during the month of April, bloggers all over the net will be blogging a post every day based on each letter of the alphabet (I can feel my email subscribers dropping off already – sorry in advance! It probably won’t be all crap, I promise!). I am really doing this as a dare to myself. Last summer I dared myself to blog every day and by crikey, I mostly did it and it was great. I do enjoy blogging and sharing my random thoughts with suave strangers online, and the A-Z blogging challenge will force me to to that and make me be a bit more creative about it too.

April is shaping up to be quite the writing month indeed! I am so looking forward to furthering my craft and meeting new people next month!

 

So do you have April plans yet, or are you content to live life one month at a time like a reasonable person? Are you interested in Camp Nano? The A-Z blogging challenge? Eating s’mores around a campfire? Do you want to build a snowman? Let me know in the comments below!

My Goals for March

Time for a new slice of curious life!

Yes, in my quest to be the most interesting person in the world (or at least in my own household), I have a new category that I am going to add to this blog: ACHIEVEMENTS!
And no, I don’t mean like recognition from other people for all the hard work I’ve done over the years——pffftt, can’t even finish that sentence without laughing. I mean, like, personal achievements, goals met, that sort of thing. You play Xbox, yes? Yes? So you know I’m talking about Xbox Achievements, right? Right?

Here, have a Wikipedia article to get you up to speed: click here! And here’s a quote from said page! Look here:

“In video gaming parlance, an achievement, also sometimes known as a trophy, badge, award, stamp, medal or challenge, is a meta-goal defined outside of a game’s parameters. Unlike the systems of quests or levels that usually define the goals of a video game and have a direct effect on further gameplay, the management of achievements usually takes place outside the confines of the game environment and architecture.[1] Meeting the fulfillment conditions, and receiving recognition of fulfillment by the game, is referred to as unlocking the achievement.”

Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. And man, do I really love that definition. Meta-goals defined outside of a game’s parameters… These goals that I am hoping to achieve are like playing Life outside of the normal daily quests. What are daily quests? Hoo boy…maybe I should put a gaming tag on this…For example, my usual daily “quests” are as follows: brush the dog, dress the child, make dinner, do the dishes, etc. It’s like the normal upkeep for normal living, or something like that.

But these achievements are meant to be something more. Something not entirely necessary to life, but that will enhance it! So without further ado:
My March Achievements *insert big dramatic orchestra music here*:

1) Finish  my online Mindfulness Course
2) Throw a dinosaur birthday party for my daughter
3) Join the April A-Z Blogging Challenge
4) Commit to and make a cabin for Camp Nano
5) Become a better dog owner (start the 30 Days to a Well-Mannered Dog book)
6) Finish taking notes on my Library Books
7) Do Story Sketches 3 times a week.

As you can see, it’s a rather varied list, but trust me, I narrowed it down from even more ridiculous things. And I will make sure and keep this blog updated with my progress, don’t you worry. And I’ll explain a little bit about the topics as I get to them…whoo, commitment, yeah! But for now, it’s just enough to just make the goals. I mean, achievements. Stick to your own words, Christine…

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What achievements are you setting for yourself this month? Or have you reached them already, you glorious over-achiever-type cool person? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to support you/gaze jealously at you from afar!

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Seriously, that phrase has been in my head all day long. And it’s silly because I don’t even think I’m in the mood for a chicken dinner…but I am in the mood for winning! Camp Nano, that is!

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I’m pretty dang pleased with myself. Not because I wrote 50k (I didn’t) or finished my draft (not even close)…but because I proved to myself that I can do this. I made a doable writing goal for myself. I set up a dedicated writing time and stuck to it for the month. I allowed people to read my baby novel-in-progress. I learned where it was weak and where it was strong. And I found out that it might actually be halfway decent. It might not go to MIT, but I’m pretty sure it can cut it at state college. My little novel, all grown up and having people read it and critique it. *sniff sniff*

I really thought I’d never get this far. I never imagined I’d be so involved in this writing hobby of mine that it would directly affect my life and the way I live it. I never thought I could get up at freakin’ 5:30 in the morning just to write my story down for others to read. Hell, I never thought it would ever be good enough for others to read…I guess what I’m trying to say is just do it. If you have something you really want to create, go for it. Make time for it. Don’t sit around and wait on it to fall in your lap…My only regret in all of this writing business is that I didn’t start doing this sooner.

And now that I’ve gone down the motivational road once again, I suppose I should wrap this up by congratulating all the other Camp Nano winners! I’ve met a bunch of you this month, be it in my cabin, on twitter, or here on good ol’ wordpress. Dang, I almost feel like I’m getting the hang of this social media thing…better knock on wood.

Going into August, expect me to frantically be catching up on my Blogging 201 course that I’ve been filing away for a rainy day. I also promised to post about my second award that was given to me, so that’s incoming. And after that, you’ll probably hear about some of this stuff in random order: novel-writing, beta-readers, characters who don’t do what you want, plotlines that don’t do what you want, my upcoming trip back home a.k.a. let’s find out how a three-year-old handles a flight across the country, my dog’s inability to not be a total spaz, evil diets, treadmill belts, and why my backyard looks like a jungle. It’s been a pretty interesting month and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Until then, have a great weekend, all you lovely faces! Keep on keeping on!

-Christine B.

Still Alive (and making Portal references)

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know I’m still alive! Living under a rock maybe, but still alive!

Sorry for the lack of posts. Once again, I find myself only being able to work on one project at a time and the recent project has been Camp Nano. My rewrite of my Nano 2014 project is going swimmingly, with me keeping on pace with my self-imposed 1000 words a day goal. I’m surprising myself by how well I’m doing, and I have this blog to thank for it! If I hadn’t spent so much time here last month and saw so many other amazing people doing crazy inspiring things, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. My only regret is being absent from it for the past ten days…

But no more! I’m going to keep on trucking and try to balance out this writing life piece by piece. Even though I suck at it now, it’s important to me to be able to write on different things at any given time. Even though I couldn’t be happier working on an actual novel (I still can’t believe I can say those words), I have really missed the community here.

Anyone who’s commented, liked, followed me recently: Thank you thank you thank you! Once again, I’m sorry that you caught me in a small blogging slump, but I will be catching up on my notifications this weekend and giving you all a bloggy-style visit! Thanks for being patient with me and my crazy hermit ways.

Have a fan-freakin-tastic weekend!

-Christine B.

And, because I can’t get this out of my head after writing the title, how ’bout a little music for the road?

Free-Writing Is the Only Option

Free-writing. I know I mentioned in a previous post that I really hate free-writing. It’s true, I do. But right now, I have a longing, and the only way I know to get it out of me is to free-write. Every writer has to eat their words once in awhile, right?

I really missed blogging yesterday. It felt so strange to not being putting up a blog post after spending the entirety of last month worrying about it on a daily basis. Instead of feeling a sweet relief of not being pressured, I felt like I was disconnected from my blog, like it was being thrown away already. Weird, right? I have multiple other quality posts that are semi-written and that I could’ve worked on for today, but I missed the personal connection. I’ve taken to being obsessed with staying up to date on my reader, as some of you may have noticed as I stalked your blogs. I don’t know why I am doing this. Living vicariously, I suppose?

So I think I’m still going to be writing a post a day. I’m not sure whether I will publish said posts, but my brain now seems to accept that blogging is a part of my life now. And all because of a 30 Day Challenge that I made up for myself. Sheesh, brain, why you be so cray?

In other news, Camp Nano started yesterday and so far, so good. I’m impressed with my cabin’s output already and so glad I made the cabin. I don’t think I’ll ever go into a random cabin again. Everyone is very encouraging and we seem to be spread out during the day so that usually someone’s on all the time. My cabin is better than yours is what I’m hinting at (ha, no, no, I don’t mean that, probably 🙂 )

My project is going well too. I’m doing a rewrite of last year’s Nano draft, and I love it so far. It’s so much better than the original. Also, the story has completely changed so I don’t think there’s much I can salvage from those original 50k words, but that’s life. I’m chalking it up to being one hell of a writing exercise.

So that’s that. Wow, I feel so much better now. Again, I don’t know if I will be posting all my ramblings daily anymore, but at the very least I’m going to be writing them. If simply to keep me sane.

Anyone else have crazy thoughts of blogging madness? Or think their cabin is better than mine? Sound off below!

Going to Camp

Now that June is wrapping up, my eyes have been looking forward into the future! And not in some divine seer kind of way, but just thinking about the rest of the summer. Actually, just thinking about July because despite being a grown adult, I can usually only plan things one month in advance…

I am especially excited for next month because of Camp Nano starting up on the 1st. If you don’t know what Camp Nano is, then too bad I don’t feel like explaining it then here’s a quick link of its FAQs page. It’s basically Nanowrimo, in the summer, with a virtual cabin of people, and you make your own word count. If you don’t know what Nanowrimo is, then get out here’s a link to that as well. Sorry, the snark-shark must have bit me in my dreams last night.

I’ve been putting together a list of things that I want/need for the next month of camp-writing. Mainly because it distracts me from the fact that I don’t have a complete outline of it yet, but also because it’s more fun to envision it as an actual day camp in my head. Here’s what I have so far:

1) Cabin and cabinmates

I checked this one off last week, go me! I actually made my own cabin, which required setting it up, posting about it on various sites, and then actually inviting total strangers to join me for a month. My hermit self couldn’t believe it. Be still my introverted heart!

2) A campfire

Although I do have a fire pit in my backyard, the chances of me actually taking my laptop out there during the buggy monsoony month of July to write during a thunderstorm are very slim (just another perk of living in the Southwest). So, I’ve settled on replacements instead. I’m thinking a couple of candles, maybe some decorative twigs to really set the mood… It’s a work in progress. I’ll take pictures when I’m done.

3) S’mores

This was a no-brainer, really. I usually have s’mores ingredients somewhere in the house anyway, because why not? I’m thinking of trying to find some s’mores alternatives too, like S’mores Oreos or something. I even pinned a recipe for a S’more wrapped in cookie dough if I get really ambitious. These are definitely going to be rewards for me meeting my word goal every day and totally not snacks for whenever I’m feeling voracious.

4) Notebook

Because every new project is a good excuse to buy more notebooks. And the regular ol’ spiral-bounds are really cheap right now thanks to school sales or whatever. I don’t care the reason; I just want to buy ten notebooks for a dollar and see  my husband roll his eyes when he sees them.

4) Pens

I desperately need new pens. When I moved here from Indiana, pens were not high on the priority on our packing list, so most of my pens are stuck somewhere in a storage shed 1600 miles away. The pens I do have are fading fast. So pens are a definite must for next month.

5) Inspiration

For inspiration, I turn to pinterest. God, do I love pinterest. The only problem is that it can be a bit of a time-suck if you get off track, but I already have a few boards to be my go-to’s. If you’re interested, here’s my board on general writing things and also a collection of picture prompts.

So how do you get ready for a big project? Do you have any go-to’s that you must have nearby to write? Or do you have any kickass Pinterest boards to share? I’d love to see them in the comments!

Happy Writing!

-Christine B

Apologies

I owe you an apology. I have really not been putting my normal amount of effort into my work this week. I have been in a daze, swept away by the mundane. I have spent time running from one thing to another without taking the time to appreciate life. Everything has turned into a chore this week, even the things I love. It’s an unfortunate side effect of being human.

A Relient K song sums it up best:

Cause if I’m restless
Then why do I
I want nothing but to rest my soul

And I don’t get this and I know why
You see sometimes things are just beyond control

But fear not! I am hopefully on the mental mend. I feel better tonight and more like myself. I have a plan for the next week, and maybe even the week after that. We’re coming up on the end of this month and the end of my 30 Day Challenge and I so desperately want to end the month with victory. And next month I have Camp Nano to attempt, in which I will either be working on my summoner story or ghost-writing a Halo fanfiction for a friend. I’m excited for both. (By the way, if anyone is looking for a cabin, I still have 5 available spaces in mine *nudge nudge*)

I’m sorry for the past few days. Thanks for sticking with me. Here’s to rough seas and the rainbows that follow.

If My Thoughts Were on Balloon Strings, Maybe They Would Stop Floating Away

Well, my undiagnosed ADD has really struck hard today, so this won’t be much of a blog post. I haven’t been able to hold a thought together all day and have spent most of my time writing to-do lists, browsing stupid click-bait links, and wandering around the house from one half-started task to another. I blame vacation for ruining my very delicate routine. But vacation was also very pleasant. I’m so conflicted…

I’ve got some blog posts in the works if I can get my head together this week. I saw Jurassic World on the weekend, started two new Final Fantasy games and revisited my Animal Crossing town, so expect to hear on those topics. Also, it has been declared plot week over on the facebook Nanowrimo page, so yeah, plotting! It actually fits in pretty nicely since my original goal this week was to make an outline for Camp Nano. I can use all the plotting help I can get. I’m more of a “characters first, plot second” kind of writer, much to my frustration.

Here’s hoping your Monday was a bit more productive than mine. And if not, at least we have the rest of the week to make it up!

Tuesday, You’re Alright by Me

Tuesday is my favorite day of the week. I remember consciously making that decision sometime in my early teens, when having “favorites” defined who you were. I dunno, the Nineties were weird. Regardless, I always felt bad for Tuesday. It was too early in the work week for anyone to be excited about it, and it seemed to inherit some of Monday’s blahs. But, at the time, I was all about liking things against the norm, so Tuesday it was. I was also starting to develop my love of music, so the songs “Tuesday Morning” and “Tuesday Afternoon” had a lot to do with it. Maybe if I listened to other songs with days of the week in the titles I would think differently? All I can think of is Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” *shudder*

In honor of poor, neglected Tuesday, I wanted to officially tell everyone that I”m challenging myself to blog every day this month. My blog is just over a month old and I’ve already started slipping on how often I post, so I’m coming at it full force. I’m still unsure of what I want to say on this , so I’m just going to throw more words at it until something happens. That’s how writers do it, right? Or hide under a blanket in the corner with a full pot of coffee, hoping that my novel will become sentient and write itself. Is there a computer virus for that?

Encouraging Thunder Award

In other news, some of my recent blogging motivation has to do with being nominated for an award. I received the Encouraging Thunder Award from fellow new blogger Caroline over at carolinepeckham.com. I really enjoy her blog and am slightly jealous of how organized her blog is, lol. Give her a look and a like, you won’t be disappointed.

So that’s the news of the day! Expect more to follow! Anybody else got any big plans for the lovely month of June? Any writers out there wanting June to be over so Camp Nano will start sooner? Or does anybody have any songs suggestions that feature days of the week? I’m all ears. 🙂