Nov 11, 2017

NaNo 2017

Oh wow, it's been awhile, hasn't it?

And yet, here I am. Because I'm feeling that itch to write something, as long as it's anything other than my NaNo novel.

National Novel Writing Month is going surprisingly great this year. Except for two days, I've met my goal of 2K a day. This story is just flying from me, which is the oddest thing in the world because it's a contemporary romance.

Why am I writing such a thing?

Mainly because when I tried to fit my characters into a speculative setting, I just couldn't come up with one. So sad. But hey, if you force an aro and an ace to be in a fake relationship, I figure that needs enough attention without spicing things up.

(I blame my ace book club for this novel, because of the things we've read, nothing has felt wholly right.)

Sadly, because I'm me, this story is going to have a more bittersweet ending than a happy one. The more I write these two ladies, the more I realize sometimes you can't compromise. You can only hope your previous relationship doesn't end in tatters.

I was ridiculously happy seeing
my write-in advertised
 in a bathroom stall.
This year is also weird because I'm a Municipal Liason for my region. Yeah Gwen, let's just write a novel, manage a region, and do all the other freelance/9-to-5 stuff. Great idea.

But it's actually been pretty cool. NaNo always makes me brush up on my time management skills and the 'be productive!' mindset. I'm actually getting my errands and chores and adult things™ done on time. Whuuuut????

Course, we're not even 1/2 through the month and I know Thanksgiving will drag me down. Families can be so demanding, but honestly, I'd probably not have it any other way.

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Aug 22, 2017

Carbondale 2017

Yesterday was a mixed day of frustrations and wonder.

Woke up at 7am for a 3 hour drive. Surprise! It was actually 5 hrs. Then, later, left for a 5-6 hr drive. Surprise! It took me 11 hours so I pulled into the drive at 1:30am.

All of these, of course, I did without a co-pilot to change my CDs, unwrap my snacks, switch between Waze and Google to compare alt routes and ETAs, or keep me away.

I drove 16 hours yesterday where I sobbed because my audiobook - The Fault of Our Stars - was so sad, went through rain to thick I couldn't see the semi-truck two cars in front of me, and only had one break for a meal, two breaks for pee, and avoided caffeine until 9pm because I'm some sort of secret solo-rider driver. That, or I have an unhealthy need to push my body to its limits.

(Remember kids - one of the biggest things about dark magic is the more you push your body/soul, make it ache and stutter, the greater your power grows!)

My parents kept checking in on my - calling every half hour, giving me alt route options, telling me in nearby exits had gas because next work sucks in rural Illinois - and the question came up a few times.

This is a huge, huge pain and hassle. Is what you sent to see for 2.5 hours worth it?

Considering that I got to see a total solar eclipse in Carbondale (The Eclipse Crossroads of America!) the answer is this:

Yes, very much so. But for the next one, I'm taking two days off and spending the night in a hotel.

I wish I had photos of the eclipse, other people certainly took a lot, but the truth is, it spellbound me. Watching the light go weird, the shadows get crisper, the shadow bands waving on white tarp paper, the orange glow of the crescent sun through my glasses. The whole crowd yelling at the clouds to move, get ou' the way!, and then the sudden darkness and silence. The feeling as if you had been transported somewhere strange, the sudden understanding of this is why the sun and moon are worshiped, this is what religion is based on and then crowd pivoting from silence to cheers and you look up without solar glasses and -

I will fully admit, I cried.

It was instinctual. I didn't mean too. I thought I'd cheer and whoop with the people around me, but I literally just stared at the sun and silently cried. I wish I could write poetry, cuz it needs a poem. But I would fail entirely. I can only tell you, it is beyond the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

(If anyone knows a good eclipse poem, send me a link. It needs to be next to my redwood trees one)

At SIU during a total solar eclipse, I saw a 360 degree sunset all around Saluki Stadium.
Sunset colors in the afternoon!
The 360 sunset at 1:21pm was also stunning, the diamond ring effect was stunning but had me scrambling for my glasses because I thought I was gonna get blinded. But nothing can compare to the first look of the sun with my bare eyes and all the photos I've seen of it seem muted in comparison.

My awe stayed with me during my way to long drive home.  Dry lightning behind layered and textured cloudscapes, showcasing the sweep and path of the wind. Full jagged bolts of lightening, surprisingly, in different colors. Red. Green. Blue. They served both as a means to keep me awake at 11pm, but also a distraction between I wanted nothing more than to watch. Fields stretching beyond my site, green and heavy with corn. Farm equipment with enough space between the road and the carriage for a school bus to pass under.

I'm not sure if it's awe, or long day catching up to me that affected my experience of the field of red lights. They were odd, blinking on and off together across both sides of the state highway. Airports don't blink. And then, getting closer, I realized that each time the red light flashed, right behind it would be a burst of flames. Really confused (or blurry-eyed) I stared harder into the darkness of midnight, and I think it was actually the red light reflecting off of moving wind turbines.

I hope, anyway. Fire-spurting towers in the middle of farm land is a nightmare waiting to happen. Or a story...

Regardless, despite the drag on my eyelids and lack of proper rest, food, and drink, I loved my trip to Carbondale. Problems and all. 12/10 would do it again in 2024.

Eclipse shadows.







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Feb 11, 2017

Paradigm Shift

January has been an odd month, mainly because I had a shift in how I perceive myself.

I now view myself as working in tech.

Which is weird, cuz I've always viewed myself as a marketing/writing girl. But it slowly crept up on me that people now ask my advice in using excel. I've joined a volunteer group focused on automating tasks. And I signed up for a hack-a-thon.

It's quite a whirlwind, because I would have never seen myself doing all this two months ago. And yet, despite the newness and strangeness of this, I feel inordinately proud about it. Go young women in tech!

This, of course, comes on the heels of Trump's new administration and having marched in the Women's March. It's sorta fuelled me to not just acknowledge, but embrace every part of me: hobbies, sexuality, gender, career.  Which involves being maybe overly proud of all of me and sending letters to my representatives in Washington.

Gotta hand one thing to Trump - he's pushed a lot of people to get involved in politics.


January's be interesting from a writing point of view too. I did a presentation on editing at a local library, submitted to several short story markets, somehow always have a copywriting client, and am making great progress on Stars. It's the beginning of the year, but things already feel positive  ^_^
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Jan 4, 2017

Self-Improvement & Support

Source
I had so much I wanted to do in December and didn't so I ended the year feeling a little weird - upset I didn't finish things, but happy to hang out with family. And really, as a year, 2016, personally, wasn't all that bad.

I couldn't keep up with my resolutions. I had all these daily allotments for working out, reading, writing, learning...I quickly realized I didn't have enough time. Meeting my goals took at least 2 hr a day. And that's impractical when you have a 9-5 with an hour commute.

But I did have a theme for the year, self-improvement, that I kept to. I did a lot of things to help me get better at a variety of things - networking at BookCon, participating in #PitMad, leading workshops for the Writing Journey, learning new skills that got me the first 9-5 job I'm happy with, and I figured out how to market me to build up freelance income.

Granted, my GR reading challenge and personal attempt to read around the world? Failed.

www.asexuality.org
This last year, with it's focus on self, also made me re-evaluate whom I identify with and how I label myself. I've spent several months embracing the idea of not being straight, coming out to people slowly and in different manners, and getting miffed at slights and stereotypes from people just not understanding when I  explain the ace spectrum. Most people in the world have never heard the word asexual, let alone demisexual. Some refuse to admit it's real. Other think it's so foreign, such a dividing line, I'm classified as an 'other' to avoid.

(Dating, inevitably, has been hard.)

Now I like advocating for those on the spectrum, answering questions and educating people. Seeking out media. I told all my friends when a book series I love added an ace character. In Stars, I'm officially making Trilutha ace. Which can present problems as she's a child bride...

But the whole process of my 'make a better me year' made me realize:
  1. My support network is so much bigger than I thought 
  2. I underestimated how easily friends, and even acquaintances, would accept a new facet of me
  3. I stressed about each and every one of these conversations, but didn't need to
  4. I would have gotten no where without my support network in all things, be it my identification or my efforts to grow
And so that's going to be my theme for this year, supporting others. I've been really bad, despite being an indie author, in supporting that industry. So I'm gonna write down the titles of writers I follow, read their stuff, and review. I'm gonna host more workshops and help people, taking on more Journey projects. Even at work, I want to automate processes for some of my co-workers once I learn VBA better. Plus, I think I'm gonna be more vocal about causes to show support for my values. There's a women's march for the inauguration...

Here's to a new year!


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Dec 2, 2016

NaNo High

Deep in the midst of NaNoWriMo, or even the last ten minutes of the very last Write In when my fellow WriMos watched me push out the last 100 words I needed, the only thing I could think of (aside from winning) was December 1st.

December 1st, when I could crack open all my waiting books. Turn on Netflix. Do more mundane things, like grocery shop, wash my sheets, and put away the Halloween decorations. As much as I enjoy writing, I couldn't wait to be done for awhile.

Except, driving home from work yesterday, despite my large Dec 1st list, all I wanted to do was write.

A different story, of course, I gotta leave my project from this year to the side for awhile, but I apparently wasn't as sick of writing as I expected. Just ready to move on to something new.

This is one of the reasons why I always love NaNo. Not only do I finally push out a story that's typically been haunting me for awhile, but I feel like I get an adrenaline shot of creativity and productivity that can carry me through a few months. (Which I really need in December cuz I'm making a bunch of Christmas presents.)

NaNo is full of this swirl of creative energy, from talking to others about their novels. Even processes. There's a new critique style I wanna try now. I've got ideas galore clamoring in my head, and a new bunch of people to talk to about them. I'm excited and eager and above all feel accomplished in a way I rarely feel during the earlier parts of the year.

*sigh* I'm so ready for NaNoWriMo 2017.


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