Halfway Point!

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We’re now just past the halfway point in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. I wish I could say I’m halfway to the goal of 50,000 words too–but I’m not even close.  I have a little more than 7000 words written so far.

I’ll admit NaNo hasn’t been my main writing priority lately. I wanted to focus on getting another manuscript ready to go for the #PitMad pitching party on Twitter, which is scheduled for December 4th. It’s a former NaNo novel, which I first started writing in 2008. I think it’s past time it was kicked out the door to start the search for a publishing home.

My focus this week will be trying to find a better balance between revising the old novel and working on the new one. Also, I have another follow-up with the hand surgeon next week. Hopefully to discuss what the next stage in my treatment will be. The steroid shots are not helping much at this point, and some of the side-effects have been a bit unnerving. At least, I hope it’s side-effects from the shot and not my body trying to mess with my mind.

National Novel Writing Month: NaNoWriMo 2015

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo is underway! I probably should have published this post at the start of the month, but put it off.

I have no expectation of actually winning this year. For one thing, I still have my wrist issues, and using dictation is extremely awkward for me. The other reason is that I’m actually working on the novel is started during NaNoWriMo 2013, and I’m not entirely certain there’s another 50k words left in the story. But it doesn’t matter at this point. I just want to finish it.

So far, I haven’t hit the daily goal once. Maybe I should be bothered by that, but honestly? What I have managed to write feels like a major accomplishment. In the first week of November, I wrote more words than I did in the entire month of October. And that’s with losing two days of work last week. I had another steroid shot done to my wrist done on the 3rd and for the first couple of days after the injection, my hand and wrist were even more painful than usual. Even though I could have used dictation to try to keep up the writing on those days, the pain itself was too distracting. Hoping that this was my last injection, and that my wrist will finally respond to the treatment.

As of right now, I’m at 5000 words written for this month. How about you? How many words have you written for NaNo this year?

MRI, Steroid Shots, and Star Wars

Finally had an MRI done on my sore right wrist on 10/9, received the results on 10/13. It came up almost completely normal, except for one tendon that is apparently out of place! But the doctor doesn’t think that’s the cause of the problem. Oh, and he doesn’t agree with all of the previous diagnoses that I was given. So basically, I still don’t know why I’ve been having pain in my wrist and hand since mid-April. Six months!

His solution was to give me a cortisone (steroid) injection in the part of my wrist that was bothering me the worst. Which, on that particular day, happened to be the tendon running down the outside of my wrist from my thumb, opposite of the one that is actually out of place.  I was told it would take 5-7 days for full effect. The first 2 days were bad. Really painful, worse than my normal pain. It’s now subsided somewhat, but though today is day seven after the shot, I can’t say I’m any better overall…

So what does all of this have to do with Star Wars? First, I’m a big fan, having grown up with the films. My parents tell me I saw the original (and best) version of Episode IV in the theater, but being only 2 at the time, I don’t remember that. Like many others, I watched the new trailer for The Force Awakens last night–we won’t get into how many times I watched it–but I probably had a very different reaction from most. Don’t get me wrong. I loved seeing all the new characters along with a couple of glimpses of old favorites. And I’m not ashamed to admit I teared up a bit over it all. Especially seeing Han and Leia together.

But when I saw Finn with a lightsaber, two very different feelings ran through me. First was excitement over the thought of another lightsaber duel on the big screen. Then–maybe because of my own hand issues–I couldn’t help feeling a bit of dread on Finn’s behalf. Young guys losing a hand in their first on-screen duel seems to happen more often than not. Though now that I think about it, I suppose it could have been a Skywalker thing, since only Obi-Wan came out of his with all of his limbs intact. Still, I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch the scene in Episode VII without those mixed feelings until I see the outcome.

And here’s the trailer, in case anyone needs an excuse to watch it again:

Forward Progress

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Two months after injuring my hand/wrist, I finally started occupational therapy yesterday. The weird thing is, I can’t pinpoint precisely how I hurt myself. All I’m certain of is that this is the second time I’ve been dealing with this issue since October. I know part of it was due to writing, or rather handwriting, a portion of a story I was trying to re-write. But now that I’ve been told that it’s not carpal tunnel (which was my first assumption) but is actually De Quervain’s Tenonsynovitis–inflammation of the tendons that are responsible for thumb movement–I think the actual injury may have been caused by the origami folding I do for my Etsy shop. Since it’s the second time in less than a year, I am giving serious consideration to giving up the business, but it’s hard to let go of something I’ve been doing for ten years, even if it causes injuries that interfere with writing.

I’ve had to stay off the computer a lot since getting hurt, as dictation software frustrates me and typing with only one hand isn’t a great option, either.  The latter is how I’m writing this blog post. The self-imposed restriction meant that I unfortunately missed posting about the publication of my short story, “Fortune’s Dance” in Fantasy Scroll Magazine when it went live last month. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

I’ve been given a rough timeline of up to five weeks of therapy to heal my injury. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take that long!

2014, The Year that Wasn’t — Or Was It?

When I first started thinking about writing this post, I was definitely focused on what I haven’t done. I didn’t send out a single submission to agents for my novel. I stopped writing short stories in the summer–at least, I stopped finishing stories. I wrote two first drafts, then never bothered to try to polish and edit them.

I could blame part of my lack of progress on moving across the country during the summer. Even after the move was finished, I never seemed to have much drive or energy for anything creative. I looked at the number of rejection slips I’ve collected over the last couple of years and got so discouraged, I stopped sending out subs. I resolved to quit writing shorts completely.

Then I heard about a submission call that intrigued me. I still couldn’t bring myself to try writing something new, so I decided to look over all of the stories that were still lingering on my hard drive.

As I did so, I realized I still like my stories. It dawned on me that I needed to work and edit several of them all over again — I’ve learned a lot as a writer since I first started subbing some of them. One, in particular, sparked the idea for a complete overhaul. The basic events of the story will remain, but not much else. And I’m ready to look at the other stories, with an eye toward possibly tearing them to shreds and seeing what I can salvage from the carnage.

Thinking about sending stories out again forced me to realize that I have achieved things in 2014, even though it felt like nothing happened. I got my first short story published. I had a second story accepted for publication. I was short-listed for the first time at  a pro-level magazine (though that ultimately ended in rejection.) Baby steps forward, maybe, but I’m that much closer to my ultimate goals.

I’m not quitting. I’m going to write again. To take on the highs and lows of sending stories out on submission. So, bring it on, 2015! I’m ready for anything you might throw my way…

The Hidden Power of Letter Writing

Anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably noticed that I love the Denver Broncos. I’ve been a die hard fan for twenty years. Through the McDaniels disaster, through the fanbase being taken over (and sometimes divided) by Tebow-mania, and last year’s ignominious defeat in the Divisional Round at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens, I didn’t think there was anything that could shake my faith in my favorite team.

Until this year’s Super Bowl.

So many emotions. All negative.

Worst of all, I had no one to talk to about it. None of my friends are sports fans, and neither is my husband–to the point that he couldn’t understand why I was mad at him for putting the Seahawks logo on my desktop background. He thought it was just the best joke ever. Though I lurk on several fan-sites, I didn’t feel comfortable enough to post on any of them. If anything, being on those sites only made me feel worse. The anger and pain expressed by my fellow Broncos fans intensified mine.

Some retail therapy helped:

Stack of books = retail therapy

How a bookworm does retail therapy

But not completely. I also planned to get stinking drunk as soon as I got home.

Then for some reason, as I was returning from the bookstore, I remembered the feature I had seen about the handwritten letters Broncos QB Peyton Manning had sent to other players, and the impact those letters had. And in my head, I began to compose a letter of my own.

To Peyton, of course.

I know what you’re probably thinking. That it was an angry rant, never meant to see the light of day. And when I first put words down on paper, that’s what it was. But as I revised and rewrote that letter (by hand, not in the computer), it slowly evolved. It became something more. I no longer felt the need to drown my sorrows in booze. I could feel that my belief in my team and its players had only been temporarily shaken.

And I wanted him to know that.

I’m mailing that letter. I don’t expect a reply. I don’t even know if Peyton will read it. But it doesn’t matter. In a way, the letter has already done what I needed it to do. Writing it has helped my broken heart begin the healing process, and made me realize one very important fact.

I am a Denver Broncos fan. For better or worse, that will never change.

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

A New Year’s Resolution post is probably one of the oldest cliche’s in the blogging world, but I’m going to write one anyway. Even if no one sees it, having my goals out “in print,” so to speak, makes me feel like I need to be a little more accountable for what I do.

2013 was my first full year of writing and submitting short stories on a regular basis. Because of this, I had no set goals, just a vague idea that I wanted to write 12 new short stories in the year, and to submit them as often as I could.  In the end, I finished 9 new stories, and did a total of 46 submissions. For 2014, I want to double my output: 18 new short stories, plus whatever novellas, etc., that pop into my head. I want to make a grand total of 100 short story submissions. No goals as far as responses, good or bad. That’s the part I can’t control. I also have my novel length work that needs to be sent on submission. I’ve been procrastinating on that, big time.

My other goals for 2014: to keep up with both this blog and my Twitter account on a more regular basis. Especially Twitter. I missed out on quite a few themed submission calls last year because I wasn’t paying attention to what was being tweeted by other writers. It really bugs me to be missing out on the Lightspeed special issue: Women Destroy Science Fiction. It sounds like a really fun idea, but I doubt I’ll be able to participate. I have only one science fiction short that is ready for sub. It was sent it out two days before I heard about the call, to a market that most likely won’t reply until after the deadline. And since I write more fantasy than science fiction, I’m not counting on coming up with something in time. 😦

For the blog, I’m going to try for one new post a week, on Mondays. We’ll see how that goes…

What goals/resolutions are you making in the new year?