Asking the Right What Ifs

On Wednesday, it will be September. In our family, that means the unofficial start of autumn, and maybe more importantly, the return of my superpowers. It’s also the time for the seasonal turnover of planners, which took up a lovely portion of my Sunday afternoon. I love that ritual, of curating my planning supplies, moving from summer vibes (as much as I do, which isn’t much, as it’s not my favorite season) and into my natural environment. Bring on cool days, warm afghans, hot tea, big books, and all that good stuff.

In a writing perspective, that includes writing those books as well. Another part of the afternoon was me going over my edits letter from Safeword Author Services, which I cannot recommend highly enough for any author looking to hire an editor. Awesome encouragement, excellent insight, and I actually agree with the changes my editor proposed…so why haven’t I made them since February? That’s kind of a while.

First, let me introduce you to my non-besties, Anxiety and Depression, and the common author challenge of mind numbing terror when it comes to working on some of the tough stuff. But is it really? Sometimes, it’s as easy as asking the right questions. When I set up my writing notebook for historicals, I made sections for A Heart Most Errant, and Her Last First Kiss, with another for general tips and ideas for future project. For AHME, the first thing in there is the editorial letter. I read it through, then highlighted the areas I needed to address, color coded for hero (blue) heroine (pink) and general writing (green.) If I had a villain POV, which this book does not, then that would get a yellow highlight, because yellow is my least favorite color.

When I have Character A flip flopping from X to Not X a couple times throughout the story, making that decision for them wasn’t going to do. Instead, I turned to a fresh page and asked myself, “How does Character A feel about X, really?” Pros. Cons. Why they can hold both beliefs at once. Both hero and heroine in this book are trauma survivors (which is probably true for most of my characters in any story) so that is going to play into how they react to things, even good things. There’s also whether Character B would really focus on Y at a given moment. If they don’t focus on Y, then what would catch their attention instead? What would be more important? How does Not-Y fill a more urgent need than Y?

The only way to find that out, for me, is to do what I did when I wrote the beginning of My Outcast Heart, my first published historical romance (out of print right now; stay tuned for reissue talk) — follow my character as they run off on their own and write down what they do. It’s not entirely pantsing, as I can tell them “okay, here’s what has to happen next,” but usually, they figure out how they are going to that on their own, in their own particular way. It’s also not always in order. When I wrote Orphans in the Storm, my fourth historical (also out of print right now) I wrote both ends against the middle. I knew how it started, I knew how it ended, but connecting those two?

That was a matter of connecting “what happened after that?” with “what happened before that?” Repeat until the two ends meet. (I do not recommend the other notable thing about this manuscript, which was losing the whole file, after I had already sold it, but if you do, be sure to have an awesome critique group with hardcopies.) In this case, it’s translating to “okay, if X didn’t work, what could be Y?” Not what is, necessarily, but what could be? In the words of an online writer friend, “it’s just riffing.” Have fun. Chuck some ink on that paper and see what transpires. For my money (and that which I hope comes from it) it’s well worth the trip.

How are you getting ready for September?

Against The Current

This is one of those multipurpose titles (hopefully; it’s at least my intent) where one group of words can stand for multiple meanings. It’s been a weird week. Sunday was ugh. A fun Monday outing with Housemate got derailed before it could get started, when her just-“fixed” windshield wipers stopped working while we were driving, in the rain. Yeah. Not fun. Cue another round of Housemate wrangling the car fixer people. We did manage to salvage part of the day but at the cost of most of our collected energy. Crossed wires on the now-weekly video chat with one of my besties, on Tuesday, but we had a great chat, only a little later than usual. Sometime in there, basically our entire bathroom stopped working. Toilet went on perma-flush, and bathtub clogged

Real Life Romance Hero definitely proved why he gets that title, as he shooed me off to Panera so I could chill while he did domestic warrior king duty, dealt with bathroom fixer person, and I could get some work done in peace and quiet. If you thik you sense an incoming “but,” you are right. If you didn’t know, I have a visual impairment, so reading menu boards behind a counter is a big nope. Thankfully, most food selling places these days also have their menus online, which means if I’m on my own, it takes but the click of a button to read the menu. This only really works if I actually put my tablet in my tote. Cue frantic patting around contents of purse. Planner, traveler’s notebook, makeup pouch, annnnd that’s it. Oh crud. Ended up asking counter person to tell me what the three kinds of bagels left by that time were, which sorted out well. I ended up writing ten pages in my traveler’s notebook, and maybe sorted out my wrong turn at Albequerque in Her Last First Kiss. That will be helpful if theory translates to practice.

Speaking of translating, I have a whole scene from Queen of Hearts to transcribe and send off to my contemporary writign partner, I very much want to do this, but when insomnia medication gets confused to the difference begtween AM and PM, we get sleeeeepy summer days, which really, brain? We’re doing this now? Really?

Also throw in guilty looks at the TBR books, annnnd the video I’ve been meaning to film for mmm, two weeks now? Yeah. There’s that. Not an insurmountable thingamaboodle by any measure. Calling back to Anne Lamott and Bird by Bird. In Anna Dreamspeak, wash one dish. This blog is my dish. If I end up transcribing one page at a time, that’s okay. Still gets done, and one page is one page more than didn’t even try. For the reading thing, pick up one book. Read one chapter. That still counts.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Which brings me to another meaning of against the current. A bunch of the library books I borrowed are new releases, because well, one should (if you’re a longtime reader of mine, you know where I am going here) be reading. Well, no. Could read, yes. If one wants to. What I am excited about, as my guided journal I use at the end of the day often asks about, is doing a deep dive into some of the classic historical romances that cemented my love of the genre, as a reader and a writer. Big, sweeping epics that cover years (or even decades) and continents and bore witness to the spirit of the times, which could be anywhere from the ancient world to the early 20th century.

I picked up one new book that I was excited to see, by the author’s name and the cover, then, a few pages in, waaaait a minute. Who are these people the current people are talking about? Oh, right. I have walked into not only the middle of one series, but two (or three?) intertwined ones. This is not a bad thing, as I do want to read all of them, but when spoons are low, I don’t want to have to do research before reading. Still, it also has one of my favorite tropes for that subgenre, so yeah, I’m reading and will figure out the rest later.

I am a big proponent of story in, story out, so getting on that track and staying there is a priority, and I need to do what it takes to keep a firm footing on that route. Again, not a bad thing. I don’t summer well, it’s true, but we are halfway through July at this point, which for me is the middle month of summer, so we are now approaching that nebulous August moment that ushers in pre-fall. The Back to School stuff is making its appearance in stores which I find delightful and energizing. I want all of the stationery, not for school, but to tell love stories, in our time and others.

Someplace around here is where my k-12 teachers would say that I need to put the closing sentence/statement/paragraph. Okay. Tihs week has been weird. I’m muddling through. School supplies are everything. Read more romance novels. Especially mine. Or someone else’s. There’s good stuf fout there.

Last week was, in a word, disgusting. Mostly for the heat, though there are most assuredly worse ways to spend days where the temperature reaches the nineties than sprawled in front of a box fan, mainlining coconut seltzer. That’s as close to a tropical vacation as I care to get, as I am pale and heat sensitive. Big plans to plow through my mini library haul were for naught, and I made only slow progress on e-reading as well. That’s all okay, though, as Drama King is now in the hands of its potential editor, and I am currently getting ready for tonight’s video chat with Melva where we will get the ball rolling on an outline for Queen of Hearts. This also means I now have brain space to give back to historicals, whihc I have sorely missed.

None of that is news to the regular readers here, but sometimes the best way to get the ol’ brain in working gear is to write stuff one already knows. That’s not a bad thing at all. Firm footing and all that. Another thing that helps here is to get my plans down in a visually appealing manner. Here is the desk planner for the week, mostly before the pen.

This is my first ever time covering the left hand (my left) side with scrapbook paper and totally ignoring everything pre printed on the page. I have heard this is not an uncommon issue but for some reason I always thought I was “supposed to” deal with what was printed on the page, the way it was printed on the page. This is the same me who would be the first person to tell someone else to white it out, cover it, but don’t stare at the page and feel dumb becuase they’re not making it work. Ahem. Yeah.

So. Part of all that was spending a big chunk of Sunday putting together my first Frankenplanned writing notebook to see me through the stretch from July to January. I’ll share pictures and maybe a flip through later. Don’t ask me about specific goals at this point. Still working on those, and I am pretty sure I know how I want to deal with Camp Nano. Pretty sure I’m going to be in the rebel encampment for that one but very much looking forward to the cameraderie and shaking pompoms in the general direction of any potential cabinmates. Would love to end up in a cabin full of historical romance writers. That hasn’t happened yet as far as I know. Well, for me that is.

For now, I have a hot date with a cool drink and a good book before I get ready for my chat with Melva and the requisite color coded highlighters and index cards. Tonight, we lay the foundation.

Hot Takes

I don’t summer well. Regular readers know that. If you’re new, now you do, too. This is the third (I think) too hot to function day in a row. Staying cool and hydrated, hanging with my fan club (as in we have box fans) and turning my sleep/wake cycle on its head as days are more somnolent and nights are more active.

This is working out well. Yesterday, Melva and I agreed that the draft of Drama King is indeed ready for submission, and all we have to do today is write a cover letter and then off it goes. Monday means we knuckle down and outline Queen of Hearts. I love outlining, Melva, mmmm, not so much. In that Melva does not love outlining. For me, it means that I have the weekend to pick out a QoH notebook (probably from my on-hand stash) and probably set up a Scrivener theme. We will ignore the fact that this will mean angsting over whether I want to try and get Scfrivener on my cufrent laptop even though my documentation that I really do own it is in storage and not easily accessible, or get my old laptop that already has Scrivener on it fixed so that I can use it. We will see how that all goes.

It’s also time to set up my historical romance notebooks. That second half of Her Last First Kiss is gnawing at me, and I am SO CLOSE to the end of the firs round of edits on A Heart Most Errant, annnnnd there is a pirate trilogy that will not sit down and be quiet while I tend its elder siblings. Phew. Time to get a move on, which includes getting down the bones of other stuff that has been simmering for far too long, and new stuff that won’t quit coming.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Writing query letters and the like are not my favorite sorts of writing. The very first query letter I ever wrote, I scrawled something like “I really don’t write/talk like this” at the bottom. This time, though, I feel delightfully detached from that part of the process, and eh, we wrote a thing, editor said she wants to see it, boom, here it is kthanxbye. Only more professional. There’s fake dating, and a grump/sunshine relationship, independent theater, and an orange former street cat who sets the house rules.

One other thing that is striking me as a newness is that there is a definite shift in my planning/journaling practice. I did not see that coming, but when I completely claimed the kitchen table as my de facto office desk, that involved setting up an improvised bookcase from a wooden crate, and finding covers for my discbound books so I don’t look at rows and rows of discs, annnnd some things moved on their own. Not in objects relocating themselves, but Book X belongs in Y cover, and I now want to write morning pages in book A instead of book B. Also, I came to terms with the fact that I don’t like blank pages and putting some visuals on said pages is actually a big help.

Going to wrap this now so I can get the letter written and to Melva, so we can smush our individual letters together, and then flop back in front of the fan. Just me and Kindle Unlimited and a nice cold watermelon seltzer. Also frequently my feline supervisor still demanding her seat on my torso, weather be hanged.

Typing With Wet Paws: Bye Bye April Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Super good week this week. Aunt Anna is thinking about doing a bonus post this weekend, or maybe a video, to make up for missing Wednesday. That turned into an impromptu family day. No regrets. She is very much getting back into the groove of things, and that means I have to be at top of my mews game, to make sure we are doing the best that we can.

greatest hits picture of me, as we are still working on the pictures thing

First of all, my big box is still awesome, and this week, we got a new, smaller box that I m still figuring out. One of Aunt Anna’s writer friends sent her a fun package, and I have a couple of days to have fun with this new box before the humans break it down. One of the great things about humans settling into an apartment is that boxes and bags arrive and I get to inspect all packaging. It’s pretty sweet. I don’t like when the humans break the packing material with the really big bubbles, though. That stuff is scary. Humans need to take care of that outside.

Another big thing is that I love my cat bed again. Aunt Anna and Uncle Rheuben put the cat bed on top of the trunk at the foot of their bed, and yesterday, when we were all doing our own things, I hopped into it for a nap. They stopped what they were doing to point out that I was indeed in the bed. No pictures, though. Slackers. I will have to get them on that ASAP. I’m cute.

Photo by Cristian Rojas on Pexels.com

On the Aunt Anna front, I am happy to report a good writing week. Aunt Anna and Aunt Melva are on track to be done with this draft of Drama King on time. Aunt Anna’s heart is going pitty pat on that one, and Her Last First Kiss is back on the agenda. Historical romance writer friends, please be warned; she will be prone to unprompted blathering about the direction of the second half of the book. Tell her she’s pretty, give her tea, and back away slowly. If in doubt, add stationery.

Now that Aunt Anna is back in the historical romance saddle, that does mean she’s probably going to power right through the rest of the edits for A Heart Most Errant. There’s a bunch of other historicals banging on the door of her brain. Pirates, more mediecals, a whole lot of Georgians, and some English Civil War/Restoration people. Good thing I have scratchy thing near the kitchen table, which is where Aunt Anna does most of her glowy box stuff these days.

Speaking of scratchy thing, I love it. I did get a new one, and it came with catnip, and it is the good stuff. I do scratch it, and I like to loaf on it, because I exactly fit, and slow blink at Aunt Anna while she works. I can also keep an eye/ear on whoever is in the bathroom. I don’t know why the humans insist on going in there alone, when feline supervision is clearly a need.

Onto the Goodreads challenge. This week, Aunt Anna has hit the 50% mark. She has read 45 books out of her goal of 90, and 16 books ahead of schedule. I am encouraging her to do even more reading or listening to audiobooks, by throwing in a free kitty cuddle with every reading session. I even throw in motor purrs. I think that’s a good incentive.

Another part of that is her book of books, aka TBR notebook, which still needs a picture. If you’d like a word picture, hop on over to Buried Under Romance and read about that. Aunt Anna is a list maker from way back, so I am not surprised that keeping lists of this sort of thing takes a lot of the time she would normally spend thinking about what she’d like to read next out of the picture. I will remind her to take pictures and/or make a video about it, because it is super neat. It’s also very comfortable, because of course I have sat on it. I sit on a lot of stuff. Which reminds me, I better get to that.

Headbonks!

Calico got to go!

The Weekend That Wasn’t

I had big plans for this weekend, to get current-cufrrent on the revisions to Drama King, make a dent in A Heart Most Errant edits remaining, and get my planniing done early, preferably Saturday. Here is what I did instead:

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That’s pretty much it. Fell asleep Friday night, dragged myself out of bed Saturday long enough to write my Buried Under Romance post, dragged self back to bed. Woke in late afternoon when Housemate wafted food before me. Ate. Went back to sleep until the wee hours. Offended self with own stench, so late night ablutions, and then, you guessed it, back to sleep. There was a bagel at some point. Sunday was marginally better, and now I feel fine. What happened? Who knows?

Whatever, the week is now before me, I didn’t do what I wanted to do for the weekend, but apparently what my body needed (see feeling fine as stated above) so I guess that is still a win. Onward. I woke this morning at a normal hour, alert, one shower and some caffiene away from getting down to business. Self-flagellation is not very productive (or at all productive, for that matter) so my intention is to bypass it. Did a slapdash planning session this morning, and now on to the next item on the list, this blog.

I did manage to read one book, I think on Friday, so that’s partial credit for reading. Zero progress on my to be viewed list, which irks me, but small potatoes as far as regrets go. While I do like having background noise when I write, I don’t put on anything TV or movie related while i write, because I am going to want to look at the screen, so that is for later. Either ambient sounds (coffee shop, rain, etc) or critical analyses of books, preferably that I have not read nor intend to read. I am flirting with the idea of listening to audiobooks in languages I do not speak. Human voices, but a much reduced chance of getting distracted with the story or information. We’ll see.

Right now, it looks like Tuesdays or Thursdays are going to be good for AnnaLog videos. I have a couple more tags in mind, and a flip through my TBR notebook, which was honestly fun to make, and is indeed helping me keep my reading goals on track. Will this translate into a similar approach to a writing notebook? I’m willing to give it a try.

Time to wind this to a close and go for the low hanging fruit of the day, fleshing out some Drama King scenes. I’m looking forward to that. How does your week look?

Monday Stream of Consciousness

Jumping into this post with no actual plan, because A) blog is under the “low hanging fruit” category of stuff I need to do today, and B) if I don’t do it now, it will nag me throughout doing anything else.

Usually, Sundays are my planning afternoons. Yesterday, though, had a few different influences. A) I am still getting used to new medication, so surprise slumber parties for one are a thing; B) yesterday was also a full house, with all family member hone in a smallish space, and C) I am not at all sure that my plan to coast along from April through June on mini planners and no classic planners is going to work as well as I thought.

That last one is the easiest to fix: hop on over to a craft store that carries my planner of choice, grab a currently dated one from the clearance section, hand over a pittance and jump right in, back to the usual method. That leaves mostly just today to be free floating in no classic planner land. I could technically re-date older pages, but that is far too labor intensive when what I want to do is jump in and lay out for my plan of attack.

I like seeing things laid out, where I can tell at a glance what jobs I need to do, to get to where I am. Making it aesthetically pleasing is a plus, and, with the new YouTube channel, I have a lot more ideas of what I want to not only talk about, but write about as well. I don’t normally do TBRs but I see those are frequent on BookTube, and look like they may indeed work toward my goal of reading more historical romance. They also look fun. I could use some more fun, and, after a very long time without it, fun is something I can do these days.

See the source image

Over the last couple of nights, I binged Picnic at Hanging Rock on Amazon Prime. Loved it. Australian Gothic is a thing, and I want more of it. Which reminded me that I very much do want to rereach On The Jelllicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I refuse to use the shortened American title, because that’s not its name. Yes, I will die on that hill. I also want to see On the Jelicoe Road made into a movie (I don’t usually) with an all-Australian cast, on location, with 80s film effect on the 80s timeline. Failing that, I would like to hear it on audio, with two Australian narrators.

Thankfully, I can carry that over into historical romances set in Australia, by Australian authors, like Cadace Proctor and Alison Stuart. Ms. Stuart also writes Engilsh Civil War historical romance, which is one of my all time favorite settings.

In the meantime, I get to do mundane adulting things, such as putting away laundry and straightening my work area, both things that are super good for letting my creative brain do stuff on the back burner where I am not looking.

I am a little disappointed that I won’t be doing Camp Nano this round, but July is not that long away, and it’s also when I can bust out my brand new eighteen month planner, so I take that as a sign. What do you think?

Plan B and Other Stories

For the last few nights, my brain has been throwing some killer slumber-less parties, with me as the guest of honor. It is not my favorite thing. Being awake at night is different from being awake during the day, and while reading is sometimes possible, especially listening to audiobooks, or letting the robo-voice in my Kindle app turn any book into an audiobook, writing, well, that’s a different story. Pun intended.

Planner fatigue?

We will start with the planner aspect, because I am definitely a planner. Normally, I like to take time on Sunday afternoon to plan out the week ahead. This week, I did plan on Sunday, but the current lined vertical layout, eh, no. Done. Over it. I ended up taking blank pages of a vertical layout from an old planner, glued them to the lined vertical pages that glared at me, and then followed a YouTube tutorial to design the layout. it’s pretty functional rather than decorative, but I am okay with it.

I also took a picture of it, but can I remember what file I saved it to? Nope. I have absolutely zero doubt that I will find it when looking for something else, so I will trust in that outcome and keep going forward.

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

The worst part about a week like this is that I had to postpone my weekly chat with Melva Michaelian. I like to be current on my assignments when we meet, so moving that back a couple of days and spreading the backlog over those in-between days, should make things a lot more manageable. There’s also figuring out which family members will be home when, when we want to handle some adulting things, like housecleaning, recycling, and quality time, because I actually like the people who live with me, so that is a very good thing.

When my brain gets all oogy, as Real Life Romance Hero puts it, making lists helps me a lot. Focus on one thing at a time. Why am I feeling uncomfortable about that? What could I do to make any degree of change in that matter? How would I like it to look, ideally? There are definitely medical and spiritual components, but I’m focusing on the mental parts for right now.

Taking those couple of weeks away from planning in my catchall planner were not a good idea, even though it felt okay in the minute. Planner fatigue is a real thing, but it doesn’t have to be a block in the road. I like a lot of different kinds of planners. Try a different format, et viola. Stop fretting about what isn’t working, turn to something I know does work, and see if that gets me somewhere better.

This time, it kind of did. Housemate has her staycation this week, so we are scheduling how to best manage the days when there are two adults in one apartment, and even the days when there will be three. Real Life Romance Hero has his days off as well, so there are going to be days when I will, most likely, have to put on the hot pink cat ear headphones and put on the flashing ear lights. That’s our family signal for I Am Working On Writer Stuff. Do. Not. Disturb. Or. Else. Do Not Fight Me; You Will Not Win.

Because I love writing. I really, really, really do. Even when I am tired. Even when I am super tired. Planning helps. Pretty stuff helps. Tea helps. Remembering why I do this, remembering that it’s the kind of work I have wanted to do since I was but a wee little princess, and my best shot at being the me-est me that ever there me’d, well, that goes a long, long way.

do I need a new signoff pic? Because I think I need a new signoff pic.

Typing With Wet Paws: In Like a (Calico ) Lion Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws;. It has been a full year now since the Before Times, which gives people a lot of feels. I recommend kitty cuddles as remedy. One year is a whole third of my life (give or take; we don’t know my actual birthday, so we are celebrating it the same as Big Sister Skye’s, February 14th, because I was probably born thereabouts anyway.)Aunt Anna finds that kitty cuddles, journaling, and Sims are really good ways to cope. Also reading and writing romance novels.

this is me last year; am I a grownup now?

Now that it’s March, Aunt Anna is looking forward to when the new spring planners are released, because this re-dating everything every month is for the birds. (mmm, birds) She finds that dating undated stuff is a lot easier than red-dating wrong-dated stuff. I am not sure how that works out because humans are complicated. I think they could use some jingle balls. Those always work for me. Especially at 3AM. New planner things come out in June. She will either get a brand new pre-dated one, or use undated printables. There was an incident on Monday regarding the whole re-dating thing. Aunt Anna knows a lot of words.

dashboard vs vertical layout
big/letter size/vs classic/composition size

Aunt Anna obviously has time to figure things out, and she has a lot of options, so expect some flailing about and then settling on the right thing right under the wire. That’s how she works. That goes for writing as well as planning. I am used to it by now.

One of the planner things Aunt Anna has not yet settled on is her reading tracker. I mean, she has the notebook she wants, and the printables, but she hasn’t gotten around to printing or having them printed yet, so maybe something else will work better for now? Right now, she is using Goodreads, so let’s see how she is doing on her challenge. As of today, she has read 23 books out of her goal of ninety. That puts her at 26 percent of the way to her goal, and 8 books ahead of schedule. Well done, Aunt Anna.

Buried Under Romance had to take a break last week. There have been a lot of breaks, which is a good indicator that there are new and exciting things to do with that blog, coming very soon. That’s a fun way to think about it, rather than frustrating herself.

On the home front, it has been interesting. We have had super cold days, super windy days (I am glad we live inside!)some nice days, and the smoke alarm went off when Uncle Rheuben tried to reheat a lasagna. He also fixed two different sinks that did not like the cold weather. Aunt Anna says that is because this is an older building and the pipes don’t like winter. Well, winter is almost done, and it will soon be time to sit in open windows and chatter at birds. Not sure the humans are going to do the chatter at birds part, but it couldn’t hurt to try. Aunt Anna and Uncle Rheuben think it would be fun to take me out in a cat stroller, but Aunt Linda is concerned that I might go out on another solo adventure, which is a valid concern. Not that being out by myself was that great.

That should be about it for now, so I will leave you with this picture of me totally not plotting with Esme.

Esme and me, totally not planning anything

Headbonks!

Lap (Desk) Dancing

At some point in this week, I am going to ask myself why I thought having two books, in two different subgenres, in the editing/revising stage at the same time. A Heart Most Errant is my first stab at medieval romance, (and post-apocalyptic medieval romance, at that) and my first foray into the world of indie publishing. Drama King is my and Melva Michaelian’s second collaborative contemporary romance, this time where the Polyanna of Publishing falls for a grumpy British actor. This is also the week where Melva and I are swapping character profiles, because it’s time to lay the foundation for Queen of Hearts, book number three in our Love By The Book series.

But Anna, I hear some of you asking – what about the title of this post? Ah, that one. Taking another step back into re-Anna-fication, I now have a lap desk once again. My prior one did not survive our vagabond year, and I can’t get rid of it, because Storm has upcycled it to a cat bed. This means that, along with my Alphasmart and carefully curated notebooks, I am now mobile again. With the current weather, that means within our apartment. Comfy chairs are not yet installed, but I can use the office chair in Housemate’s room when Housemate is at work, unless Storm gets to it first. Storm loves that chair. Bed is good, too, or a blanket pile on the floor, with my back against the wall. I got a taste for that a while back, and it still works.

This is a vertical weekly discbound planner. The discs are lavender metal, and the only semi decorative stickers say "write," "edit" or "revise."
Catchall planner for this week

Normally, my Sundays have a special time set aside for setting up my planner spreads for the week ahead. This time, oh boy did I need it. Normally, I do a degree of decorative planning, but this week, it’s mostly functional, with what I’m writing, editing, or revising that day. Blank spaces are where I needed to check with family members about their schedules before I could assign my own time, but they will fill soon.

I’m actually excited about this. Getting to this point in two books at once, about to dive into another, coming back to a beloved genre (and a new to me time frame) and a new avenue of publishing is a place where I wanted to be for a very long time, and now that I’m here, it feels like I should sew a new patch onto my sash. If I were still in Girl Scouts, that is. Maybe there are Romance Writer Scouts? Does RWA count for that? Maybe take myself to the Panera that is basically down the street from us (with or without lap desk) and celebrate with a hot drink and freshly toasted bagel.

Anxiety levels are surprisingly low regarding all of this. Call it the Bird By Bird effect. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and while “fix all the books”: is scary, but “edit/revise X pages per day” and the like makes it a lot more manageable. There will, in time, probably be a more dedicated writing planner or tracker that naturally emerges from all of this, but for right now, I know what I am doing on each given day, and when that is done, time to do something that is fun and fills the creative well, aka read, play Sims, etc.

Some of this seems like very normal stuff that goes without saying, but getting to actually put this into practice is an absolute delight. Remind me of that when I am banging my head on the monitor because one of the fixes I need to take care of is trickier than I expected. There’s no planning for those. They are all part of the process.

It feels good to be at this stage, and the ability to flit among different methods and locations — computer, Aplhasmart, notebook, desk, bed, floor, etc– goes a long way toward taking individual elephant bites one at a time. In short, cover me; I’m going in.