Aug 15, 2018

Summer of Writing

Well, it's been awhile since I've given this blog some love, huh?

Truthfully, I've simply been spending more time on social media. Twitter, IG, and a few Facebook groups. But I've also been diving in, I suppose, the professional side of writing.

You know, everything but the writing part.

Which means lots of submissions.

And my first sale!

I sold the audio rights to a short story, and once that it published you can bet I'll be screaming the link to the heavens. While I've self-published before (Flicker) and have been paid for non-fiction blog content, this is the first time I've been paid for my fiction writing and that makes me ridiculously happy.

I've also been helping to put together an anthology a local writers group is doing. Which means writing publishing contracts, gathering cover options, copy editing, figuring out story orders, making sure authors actually get things to me. Thankfully someone else is formatting all the files into a book, but getting all the innards to him is something that I'm responsible for.

It's very different than actually writing, but fun too. I like watching things come together. Though this will be a loooong time coming - most likely early 2019. Have to take a NaNo break, as I'll be a ML again.  This year we're partnering with the Chicago chapter of the Romance Writers of America, so that's fun too.

So, lots of fun writing adventures this summer! If only they gave me more time to actually write :/

But this year has been a slew of advancements and goal reaching on other channels (new job, my freelancing will actually pay for rent this year thanks to new services I'm offering, bought a car for an adulting milestone, and visited Iceland, buffed up my coding skills) and putting words on the page has taken a back seat to branding and accelerating my non-writing life.

Here's hoping I can at least finish a short story in my head before summer's official end!

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Jan 7, 2018


Well, not only did 2017 go fast, the new year is already blazing past. I haven't even fully set up my resolutions yet!

Last year, I set myself up for a year support. As in, helping others as much as I can. It turned into things I totally didn't expect: starting a local book club for asexual reads, growing my freelance work, diving into voluntary groups at work, reading lots of indie books, learning a lot about different identities and experiences, and donating money to causes from space research to memorials for 80s AIDS victims. I dived into the local writing community too, and somehow got wrapped up into being a municipal liaison for NaNoWriMo teaching workshops and helping others reach word counts.

Taking down Writer's Block in November.

I felt good about myself, but as the year went on I started to realize things. Namely that it had been, well, a year and some things hadn't changed.

I have now officially lived in Chicago for three Christmases, longer than any other place in my adult life. I have lived in the same house for the entire time, way longer than the 6 months I thought I'd be here, and despite having toured apartments nine months ago.

I still use a card table in my kitchen, I still don't have all my art up. And when cleaning up for the holidays spotted everything from a model rocket I meant to set off in August to a croqueted scarf I started last January to an acorn squash I meant to cook with a month ago.

I, obviously, procrastinate. But some of that is because, I think, I also overthink. Why put up art if you don't think you'll be someplace long? Why move when your rent would double and you can't find the perfect apartment?

There is reason after reason why I don't do things, and so this year I'm going to leap more. Think less about the built-up consequences (rejections, lost time, resulting opinions) and stick to deadlines (still testing a variety of apps to help with that, but I think I'm gonna use Wunderlist) and say yes to a few things my other thinking brain pushed me away from (networking, conferences, new adventures.)

It's a new year, and I'm going to spend less time dallying and more time getting stuff done. I already have art on my walls and recurring deadlines on my phone, attended an event I would have talked myself out of last year. 

2018 will be good. I can feel it.

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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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