Coming On Back; All Them Worries

It’s been a time since I’ve blogged. Lack of time, can be the blame, along with lack of focus.

Blogging is something I’ve wanted to come back to, something to help me sort my thoughts, collect writing and art that I’ve been working on, and maybe lay out my worries.

And, you know, Corona virus happened, so this is just as good a time for that as any.

It hit me today that this thing is real. I mean, I knew it was real, I know it’s been hurting people, that we’ve needed better response to it. But today it hit me as a thing that’s going to affect me, what I do, how I live, for some time. The Museum of Science closed right before I was going to take my kid there, and even if it hadn’t I was beginning to wonder if that plan was something I should follow through with. I’m not going to take her to her swim class that she likes (and that I’ve paid for) because it doesn’t seem right. I went to the gym before I realized, I should not be here, and I turned around and left. My work could close. Schools have closed and so my daughter’s daycare might follow along, and what do I do without a two day break in between?

(What’s bonkers is I know I wouldn’t be freaking out so much if I didn’t have a kid. I’d be mildly excited for the excuse to lie on the couch and read and play too much Pokemon for my health. But now I have this tiny person to take care of and entertain and I’m like “Aaaaah what do I do with a day??”)

When the worry hit I pulled out a notebook and made a list. Everything to do with my kid that doesn’t involve 12 hours of TV a day. It was easy to make the list long — there really is so much to do! — but I needed that list, to calm myself down, so I can return to it when I inevitably feel frustrated (as I get even when leaving the house is an option) and so I can feel a little bit in control as normal things slip away from me.

Image result for bob's burgers anxiety

I hope I’m doing the right things, I hope I’m staving off a real break down, I hope I can feel like things are normal soon.

And I really, really hope I can just stop touching my freaking face.

Just Write About Whatever :: Writing Problems

This week I had a couple of reminders that I don’t need to overthink this blogging thing too much.

On Wheezy Waiter, Craig Benzine commemorated spending 11 years making videos by talking about how he manages to keep up with making so much content: by not worrying about being perfect. You have an idea? Do it. It might be crap? Probably, but still: DO IT.

I honestly don’t spend as much time as I could proofreading my posts, but I always feel like I can’t post unless I have something specific to talk about, be it my latest writing failures or examining a potent quote from a book. If I want to keep up with doing this, I need to be willing to write up ideas and put them out there, even if they’re not great.

One thing is I always feel like my little stories here need to have a major point — but that’s another thing I’ve learned from some recent videos doesn’t have to be the case. Hank Green told a story on his own YouTube Channel about finding a donut he’d placed in the trash in the alley, and there was no conclusion. John Green’s recent vlogbrother’s video is just him trying to figure out where he put his copy of the Norton Anthology of Poetry he wants to read a poem from.

I can write about snips of my life, post the beginnings of an idea that’s been poking at my brain. I can write about whatever I want. It doesn’t have to be that complicated.

Gone Too Long from Blogging

Well, that was a long hiatus.

I got pregnant, which isn’t much of an excuse because the baby wasn’t here yet, but that’s what happened. I let myself get distracted by new clothes, rearranged rooms, doctor appointments, the complicated, borderline torturous task of finding child care. There were family illnesses, family deaths. The holes were filled with writing, editing, critiquing, all with a constant film of worry over what kind of country I was bringing a kiddo into.

Then, the baby came. She became everything. A whole pink cooing farting world. Caring for her, and sleeping, were my only concerns.

And then they weren’t.

She didn’t become easier (I think she’s harder now) but we’ve grown used to each other. I started reading more, and I wrote my novels.

My blog was still untouched.

Now a year has gone by since everything changed — for the better, though sleeping past 8 is still a fervent dream. Even longer since I hit “post”on something more elaborate than an Instagram picture.

But as everything else eventually settled back into its place, maybe this is coming back to me, too.

Baby Toys.jpg
The varying things a toddler loves.

Writing Updates: April 2016

QKNVDENHQPAfter getting comments back from my critique partner and a couple of people from the fantasy critique group I’ve joined, I’ve been spending the last couple of months editing my middle grade story. I think I’ve finally got it polished up to the best of my ability, and had planned on getting it ready to send out now….

…but, things never work out how we want. I haven’t changed the main plot, but I’ve made alterations to some character motivations and reactions, and I want to make sure they work for people other than me. So, off to the group for one last go!

Hopefully I’ll be able to get this out to agents in June, so while I’m waiting for comments I’m going to work on my query materials: the letter, the synopsis, the list of agents that I hope against hope will accept me.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about my new adult WIP that I put aside a few months ago, to let it stew, so it’s probably about time to pull it out again and fix it up. Maybe I can get some comments on that this weekend, too.

I’m also trying to keep up with two posts a week on this blog. It’s been working for a little while — but I need to do a better job of coming up with content, and of writing posts ahead of time so I’m not struggling to get one out.

That’s what I’m writing — other writers, anything new for you?

Weekly Finds: 10/04/2014

I’m going to try to make this a (mostly) weekly post, where I post links to things I’ve really enjoyed, or to things that have inspired me in my writing.

Firstly, Three Habits of Highly Effective Blogging over on The Daily Post. Just some basic advice on how to do a better job at your blog. One idea that I want to implement into my disorganized life: an editorial calendar, where I’d figure out not just what days I want to blog on, but what I want to blog about on those days. Maybe I can keep up with it…?

A recent SciShow episode about the science of wildfires was not only fascinating, it reminded me of a story idea that I had set aside a few months back, and which I think I might be able to get back into now. Never mind that this story involves volcanoes, not wildfires…

 

What’s sparked your imagination this week?

Recent Inspirations: Young Lady YouTubers

Ever since I figured out the YouTube app on our Playstation and my phone, I’ve been watching a lot of videos not just at my desk, but now on the couch while I eat lunch and even some of my breaks at work. So, my list of subscribed channels I watch has been steadily growing. While a lot of these channels are run by older men (I love you, John Green) I’ve stumbled upon a couple by younger (by which I mean, younger than me) ladies who I not only find interesting and funny, but inspiring as well.

JustMargaret

A twenty-something ex-English major who talks about books and other nerdy things, her videos remind me of myself just out of college with the weird wide open world before her, except she seems to have a much better (and healthier) grasp on herself than I did at the time. I’m not too far off from where she is, so occasional talks about the uncertainty of Life After College and how that’s normal and nothing to be ashamed of resonate quite loudly to me.

Nerdy and Quirky

This channel is run by a high school kid named Sabrina. She showcases a big personality I wish I’d had the guts to show in high school, displaying her unabashed nerdy weirdness. I haven’t skimmed as many of her videos as Margaret’s, but again there’s some fun focus on what she loves, and her reactions to the world around her. Also some videos that are simply fun, as above.

Books and Quills

I just started looking at her page, so I’ve only gone through a few videos. But I would regret not mentioning her here, since I know this page has already inspired a couple of planned posts. This is mainly a book reviewing blog by a young woman named Sanne, but she also talks about books in general, what she’s bought, as well as things outside of that scope. Right now, she’s reminded me of how much I want to go back to writing quick reviews of at least the graphic novels I’ve been reading, with her own graphic novel review videos.

I don’t vlog, but I blog, which is the same thing except I hide behind a mask of text rather than embarrass myself by trying to talk to people, and seeing how they handle the content on their pages has started to inspire what I want to try to do here. Firstly, to be a little more varied in the way that I talk about books with things like the list I showcased from JustMargaret’s channel (though I need to be better at writing reviews, in general). Also, to not 100% focus my posts on books and/or writing. Though that’s the alleged purpose of this thing here, I start to run out of unique or even mildly interesting things to say. Occasionally writing on other passions or interests (like YouTube videos) or things I take note of doesn’t stray so far from the simultaneously specific and overly vague point of this blog, and may even generate the kind of conversations I keep hoping will start here, but which rarely ever do.

Anyway — go to their channels, watch their videos. They’re very much worth it.

What’s been inspiring you lately? Do you have any YouTube channels you enjoy? Ever made your own video blog? Share below!

Moments in Editing: Chop Chop Chop

I’ve gone back to my recently rehashed old manuscript again, after setting it aside for a few weeks to give me a break. One thing I’ve noticed: It’s really not that terrible anymore, which is nice. Another thing: There’s still a lot to cut.

Chop ChopOn that last go through, I didn’t quite reach my goal of cutting 10,000 words (essentially a quarter of the book) and got to the end with ~8,000 words sliced out (it sounds like a lot, and it kind of is, but it wasn’t as hard as you’d think since most of those words were so, so bad). It was a big goal, but I was a little disappointed with my failure. But, luckily, now that I’m going back again, I’ve found sentences and phrases and single, weirdly placed words to ditch, and I managed to cut out ~200 words in the first three chapters. This leaves me hopeful that there are another 1,800 overripe sentences or misguided word placements I can extract.

Lesson learned here: you can always cut more.

In interesting (and flattering) news on my ramblings on the process of this whole thing, an earlier post on all the massive mistakes I noticed was picked up by Kath Temean and reposted on her blog, Writing & Illustrating. If you want to see it again, please go here, where you’ll also see a comparison of my old and new opening pages.

New Manga Reviews: Sasameke Volume 1, My Girlfriend’s a Geek Volume 2

Sasameke Volume 1 by Ryuji Gotsubo, Soccer Manga Omnibus
Sasameke

I managed to get up a couple additional manga reviews on Suite101 last week. First there was the first volume of Sasameke from Yen Press, a manga about a soccer whiz who comes back to his small town and doesn’t want to play soccer anymore. Like VIZ’s Cross Game, this manga was released in an omnibus – but unlike Cross Game, I wasn’t in love with it. It was a joy to read three volumes in one go with Cross Game, but with Sasameke’s lazy writing and art this manga was kind of a chore.

My Girlfriend's a Geek Volume 2 by Pentabu and Rize Shinba
My Girlfriend's a Geek

I also got a review up for the second volume of My Girlfriend’s a Geek, also from Yen Press. This manga was really cute, even if I wasn’t a huge fan of the leading lady. I wish I had read the first volume of this manga, and I might buy it on my own at some point.

I’ve gotten some new manga to review for Mania.com (I put the pictures up on my Facebook page if you’d like to see) and I should have at least one of those reviews written this week – hopefully two.

I’ll also be participating in the Great Manga Gift Guide, where manga bloggers write their own holiday shopping guides. I’ll be posting it on Bookworm’s Corner when I get it written. This was created last year, and Daniella Orihuela-Gruber of All About Manga is restarting it this year. Check out her website to get more info on the guide!