Typing With Wet Paws: Almost Mid-December Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Holiday mode is setting in here, as Aunt Linda has the weekend off, which means Mama Anna can rope her into holiday related shenanigans. There will be several of those, I am sure, as Mama Anna has her Christmas planner/journal in full swing. That’s probably because she’s been sleeping a lot better as of late. I can take credit for part of that, as I am not playing around when it comes to bedtime. Especially since Papa is usually in bed first, and that makes it super cozy when we are all in there together. I get Mama Anna into bed, under the covers, and then I flip over so she can rub my belly until one of us falls asleep.

photo by Rheuben Bowling

Word on the street (okay, floor) is that the humans are putting up the Christmas tree on Sunday, probably on the kitchen table/Mama Anna’s journaling spot. There will be new ornaments this year, and part of the shenanigans abovementioned, will be the obtaining of a tree topper, which we did not have last year. Mama Anna says she wants a star, with lights that blink and/or chase. As you can imagine, I am extremely interested in this sort of thing. Will keep you updated as things progress.

Speaking of progress, let’s take a look at Mama Anna’s Goodreads Challenge. As of this writing, she is only four books behind schedule, with eighty books read out of her goal of ninety. Not too out of reach, especially with the weekend ahead, and a low-key Christmas planned. She plans on closing the gap with audiobooks and novellas if needed. She is getting that win by any means necessary.

As for writing, that is honestly going rather well. Slowly, but well. I’ll let her talk about that part, but moving to a two blog a week thing is paying off. Of course, one of those is mine, because quality content, am I right? I can’t take credit for the fiction, though, but I am definitely performing my Mews duty, sticking close and sending love beams. When, that is, I’m not trying to get into the third drawer in the big dresser.

For the last few days, I have been doing everything in my power to get into that particular drawer. Mama Anna wasn’t sure at first, why, other than that I can reach it from the top of my house (big cardboard box, if you’re new here) but standing on my hind legs and reaching and pawing at it with what can only be described as ardent determination. Then the time came when she wasn’t willing to put up with my folderol any longer, and she opened the drawer to see what I was after with such importance.

It was catnip. The big bag of catnip she thought she had put in the refrigerator but was not in the refrigerator, because it was in that drawer. Stil is, really, but now that I know that she knows that I know what’s in there, I only have to ask her nicely for some catnip when I want it. She’s pretty sharp that way. I have also heard the words “red dot” and “cat castle” mentioned in the same sentence as “presents,” so this holiday bodes well.

Headbonks!

Storm

And Then One Day, You Do

The art, and probably science, of coming back to oneself, especially as a creative, after a significant trauma, is not a straight line, but more like a manic freeform scrawl, like what one might find if a toddler were given a Sharpie and a blank white wall. It feels like forever. It feels big and blinding and impossible. It’s at once a fever dream and a much-desired goal. How to get there, though? Beats me. I have been through this journey more than once, may well again, as I still have some time in front of me, and each time is going to be different.

it also involves a lot of The Sims, or maybe that’s just me

There are big chunks of wanting to do the things that make a person the unique individual that they are, to get the creative voice to make a sound, but …not. There is knowing the thing, knowing one likes the thing. The thing is right there. One could do the thing. This crawls through one’s brain like a news crawler. One wants to do the thing. One wants to like doing the thing. One wants to have done the thing. Does one do the thing? No. Why?

Season 5 Whatever GIF by Paramount+
Lucy says it best

The easiest explanation I have, for my own individual case, is that there aren’t enough spoons. If you’re not familiar with spoon theory, it’s kind of like the pain scale. Basically, there is only so much energy a person has when dealing with a chronic condition, it’s finite, and putting spoons in one place means they can’t go in another. Sometimes they go to playing Sims for a few months or rearranging the furniture, or constructing planners or whatever happens to fill the need at the time. It’s different for everybody. It also very seldom resembles what the person thinks it’s going to be.

For me, I thought it was going to mean gorging myself on a steady stream of historical romance, preferably from my keeper boxes. Probably Netflix/Hulu binges, and oh the writing I was going to do. I’ve done some. I hired my first indie editor, the fabulously talented Jessica Cale, and got through the first round of edits, which then just…sat. Because. As with the reading. As with the viewing. As with the total lack of listening to music, which has some interesting results for my Spotify year in review. I will also mention the war between a mad race to the end of my Goodreads challenge, or shrugging that off and deciding it is what it is.

And then. Because there is always an “and then” when it comes to this sort of thing. Thing is though, there is no sort of time table, though one would be incredibly useful. Maybe, though, we write it as we go. At any rate, we go about it one foot in front of the other, maybe even plodding through rambly blog posts, or lack of blog posts and it gets annoyingly tedious. Will This Ever End? Maybe there has been some writing, but it’s more like going for a hike with a cartoon style ball and chain around one’s ankle. Doable, and one can technically get to one’s destination, but is one going to appreciate the scenery and/or have a lovely chat along the way? Possibly not so much.

But back to the “but then.” Then one day, one does. Oh, look, I’m reading a book. Oh look, I finished watching a series on Netflix. Oh look, I added something new to Spotify. Oh look, sleep tracker shows a steady bunch of nights that count as decent rest. That’s all good stuff. It’s not one thing. The ball and chain doesn’t drop off dramatically. It gets ground down by a million single steps. Online chats. You Tube videos playing in the background when not looking at the screen. Mindless tablet scrolling, like treading water in an infinity pool, no agenda in mind.

Then one day, the ball and chain isn’t there. It’s weird. Writing is a challenge, and then, one day, it’s …normal? The way it should be? Familiar? Sort of “oh, there you are.” Not exactly the same, because I don’t think that’s possible, but okay. Stepping from one room into another.

Do I know where this is going?

Season 5 Whatever GIF by Paramount+

Not sure, but it’s real, and it’s true, and writing it feels good, so I am going to hit the publish button and then get on with my day. Moving to a two blog a week schedule, one of those Storm’s responsibility, honestly has made a difference in my fiction writing, so I am thinking of keeping the practice beyond December. Not sure yet; we’ll see, but putting the emphasis on writing romance fiction, feels right.

Hmm, probably time for a new signoff graphic.

Typing With Wet Paws: Early December Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. Shockingly, the Christmas tree is still not up around here, though Mama Anna assures me it will be soon. It’s been a pretty decent week over here. All the humans are working, including Mama Anna. Most of her work is either at the glowy box, going tappity tappity on the keys, or (my favorite) lying on the bed on her side, writing on paper with a pen. I like that best because then I can lay out with her and carry out my mews duty, Of course I can also do this with the box (aka my house) next to her desk, but the bed is comfier. Either way, I have a good chance of scritches, so I win either way.

me, hard at work

The big thing this week is that I had to work super hard on Sunday morning. One thing to note: Aunt Linda is usually up and out of the house before six in the morning. This day, though, it was seven, and she was still there. Obviously, an emergency, of course. I tried my best to wake Mama Anna, but she was having none of it (or very little) but was not deterred. This was an emergency. Potential Dead Aunt Alert.

I did what any family-oriented kitty would do. Papa was right there, and if I couldn’t wake her, maybe I could wake him. I balanced on Mama Anna’s shoulder and bapped Papa in the face, three whole times. No claws, I should add. I am not a monster Still, no reaction. Fiiiiiine. I tried again with Mama Anna again and then I finally got her to come check. She said nothing was wrong; it was just Sunday. Aunt Linda didn’t have to go to work, so she didn’t have to get up early. Eh, fair enough, I guess.

Anyway, if you’re here, you have a higher chance than usual of wanting to know about Aunt Anna’s writing work. (Either that or you appreciate a quality calico. Possibly both.) She kind of just reaches down to pet me without looking, maybe grunts, and keeps writing. Apparently, this is good? She says the Kanban board is still working, She will probably get some super sticky sticky notes, because I have been eyeing the notes that are tuck on there already, aka my future toys when they fall, as they inevitably will. It might even count as Christmas ornament practice.

On Mama Anna’s reading front, which is also another opportunity for me to get cuddles, she is closing on on her goal. Though she is three books behind schedule, with 79 books read out of 90, the audiobook industry should get her back up to speed. I prefer when she uses audiobooks, because that means she can pet me with both hands instead of just one.

Headbonks!

Storm

Home Stretch of the Year

Well, it’s December. For any of us, it’s the holiday season. For many of us writers, it’s time to take a breath after NaNo and then get down to editing. I did not NaNo this year, but I did make a Kanban Board, and that’s actually proving to be more helpful than I thought. With things out there when I can see them, it’s easier to stay on track. It’s a good feeling. For those who have been reading this blog for a while, you’re familiar with the roller coaster of the last couple of years. Things are evening out, and I am feeling more like myself. Which means writing. Which is nice.

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

Where December comes in is that I am coming to the end of my current planners, and that means looking at next year. Which is…interesting. While I’d been hot and cold with morning journaling, using an outdated/redated horizontal planner for that, a few lines before I try to write anything close to morning pages , has worked out surprisingly well. In short, thrash about until something works, then stick with it. At the end of the month, I can either archive the pages I have now, and put new pages in the current setup, or archive as is and stick Dec-Sept pages into new discs and cover I’ll figure it out when it’s time.

Though the Kanban Board is much much much newer, as in last week, there was an immediate “ding” in my mind. I am even thinking about using the back for a specific project, or starting another board, or maybe dial back on the manipulatives and remember I have Scapple, which can totally work like a digital Kanban. Though the in-person variety does mean I get to use my Post-its and once they are used, I can get more.

All of it, though, means nothing without the actual story, without the actual hard work, the putting of butt on chair and fingers to keyboard, even after I have put pen to paper, because Mark Twain was probably the last writer to get away with handing in handwritten pages. Which isn’t always the fun part, or the interesting part, but it is the part that can’t be separated from anything else. Otherwise, t’s only having a fine time with stationery. Which isn’t a bad thing. Stationery is a fun hobby. It’s also writing adjacent. I have this pen, I have this paper. My as well do something with it.

So, where is this post going? I’m not sure. I have blog post on the schedule and I want to cross it off, so that’s why we are here. Also, my family is currently on their way home, and I want to get in some plotting work today. Much easier to do when it’s kitty and me than the entire company. With the end of the year only one month’s inserts away, I want to knuckle down and put the focus on the fiction. Part of that is going to a two entry a week schedule instead of my usual three. One from me, and one from Storm, ideally, but we will see.

How’s your week going?

Typing With Wet Paws: Black, White and Orange Friday Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! This is going to be a quicker than usual entry, because A) It is Black, White and Orange Friday, meaning Mama Anna and Aunt Linda are going to make out like locusts at the craft stores, and B) Mama Anna started yesterday out by slicing her middle finger in a freak bathing accident. She is okay, but it also means using that finger isn’t the most fun thing she can do. Apparently, it is an important finger in typing. I’m glad I have paws and my grooming routines do not require any sharp things. I wake up like this every day.

several times a day, in fact.

Not sure what came over me with that whole wanting a boy cat thing. Papa is the only boy I love. No boys, just toys. Preferably with catnip.

Pretty chill day yesterday, except for the whole finger slicing thing. Everybody was tired, so they took lots of naps and then ordered pizza. Then more naps. Nap, food, nap…were they practicing being cats? Because they did a pretty good job. There may be hope for them yet. Also, it was cold. We were fine, thiugh. They have blankets and sweaters and I have fur. Also radiators.

Anyway, the humans are very thankful for all of the above. Except for the finger slicing. I am thankful that I have had TWO great mamas in my life. My first mama, Mama D, did a super amazing job of getting me through the awkward kitten stage and making sure I am happy and healthy and scarily well adjusted. Even more than the humans, TBH. She can still see me on social media, so she knows I am okay.

Since it is now shopping season, I have told the humans that I want a red dot for Christmas. i think “laser pointer” is how to say it in human? If you know where they have good ones that are kitty safe, put it in the comments and I will give my humans a gentle reminder.

Headbonks!

Pre-Thanksgiving Rambles

This morning, for my weekly chat with bud Mary, I turned my folding desk around, so that my back was not to an off-white wall, but the rustic bookcase festooned with white fairy lights. Note to self: get more fairy lights. I had every intention of writing a “real” blog post (what is a real blog post, anyway?) but then after an extremely good chat that ended with online ornament shopping and discussion of the big epic novels/miniseries of the 1970s, aka high drama, it hit me that we are on Thanksgiving Eve, which means it’s basically a holiay, and I do need to set up my Christmas planner, because the day after Thanksgiving, is Black Friday, and it’s go, go, GO into Holiday Mode.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

We do have our tree to put up. This year, beyond the basic colored balls, we have a gorgeous Tudor rose ornament from Mary, and that means it is high time to have some more personalized ornaments on the tree. Cats, writing instruments, that sort of stuff. Can’t go into that unprepared and still face myself in the morning. Which will be Thanksgiving morning.

This year, we are going with a theme of “we tired,” and will be ordering in or getting takeout like the city dwellers we are. Pajamas all day if possible, relaxing, getting current on streaming backlog, reading, and hitting the ground running for full on holiday mode. I will be armed with lists, more lists, and lists of lists. No, I am not kidding on that one. I can take organization to meticulous levels when I have a mind to, and when I am all hopped up on visions of sugarplums and all that other good stuff, well, think of the logical outcome. All of that means that putting thought into a “real” post is not on my agenda.

One of the things I am list-ing is a somewhat loose TBR for the coming year, though I may not wait that long to get started. It all depends on what the library has in store. When I fell down the rabbit hole of V. C. Andrews analysis videos, I glommed hard on to the high drama factor, and what captures high drama than those big 70s epics I mentioned earlier? I was a bit young for those the first time around, but getting a taste for them now, so sprinkling them through the coming year might be something to add to my plans for 2022. Reading high drama fuels writing high drama and I do love my high drama. I know, big surprise on that one.

Anyway, the lure of a pillow fort and hand-knit afghan is calling, with a Kindle full of books, and a paperback Christmas historical romance anthology right there on the nightstand. I have a cuddly kitty and a plentiful tea supply. Also, my brain wants, very very strongly, to go back into fiction mode, and that pillow fort would put me verrrry near a lot of my pens. If you’ve been here longer than five minutes, you know all about me and pens. (Did I mention that I have started to see holiday pen gift sets popping up in stores? Have to say PaperMate is stepping it up this year.

What’s on tap for your holiday?)

Typing With Wet Paws: The Gravitational Pull of Afghans Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! It’s a rainy day here in Albany, the leaves are falling in tons of colors, Papa is currently taking a nap under a hand knitted (by Aunt Linda) afghan, and Mama Anna is having a good writing week. She and Papa had delivery for lunch, which I did not touch because I am a kitty and kitties eat kitty food, not people food. That’s an important distinction, and Mama D taught me that early on when I was still a baby kitten.

Anyway, this is the kind of autumn day Mama Anna loves best. Later in the day, she and Aunt Linda will go hunting for groceries, including cat food, but after I am done with this post, she needs the keyboard so that she can write.

The current working setup; photo by Mama Anna

Last night, she had her weekly meeting online with a local writer friend, which is one day after her weekly talk with Aunt Mary, so she does tend to get charged during the latter half of the week, because talking. She is also drinking a lot of tea. These are good signs. On Wednesday, she walked all around the lake in the park when she went to take out the trash. I did not authorize that trip, and complained to Aunt Linda until Mama Anna got back. Oh, and I ran to the computer when I saw Mama Anna was talking to Aunt Mary. They both liked that a lot. I do aim to please.

Right now, the gravitational pull of the pillows, afghan, real paper book and freshly brewed cinnamon tea is very strong. Add in me and Papa also on the bed, not to mention Mama Anna’s catchall notebook and pens, so she can even do some writing there. This sounds like good napping time for me.

photo by Mama Anna

Papa wanted to get a good picture of me in Mama Anna’s desk chair, facing the computer, but I was at such a position he couldn’t get a good angle. He will, later, though, so a greatest hits picture for now. Mama Anna says he and I need a photoshoot, so she can have a reserve of pictures. That’s not a bad idea. I am rather gorgeous.

Speaking of gorgeous, there are a lot of gorgeous covers in the books Mama Anna has been reading this year. She is currently back on track with 77 books read out of 90, and she is reading a few at the same time, pretty much. Getting back into it. This kind of day is conducive to reading, so again, strong draw towards the reading nest.

Yesterday was a really good writing day, even working on Her Last First Kiss, and it didn’t feel forced. That is a very good sign. I have to believe my emotional suport goes a long way toward that, as well as Mama Anna increasing the amount of blabbering to other people that she has been doing. Snuggling with me and a book couldn’t hurt, though.

Headbonks!

Storm

If The Ears are on, I’m Working

It’s funny, the things we remember sometimes. This morning, when I set aside time to fully plan out my week (I hear the voice of an aunt in my head: “I don’t mind clutter, but I can’t stand chaos.” I may well be turning into my aunts, which is fine, because they were all awesome.) my brain informed me that the first time I knew (American) football was a fall sport was on my first day of maybe second or third grade, when a fall themed bulletin board included football imagery.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

The reason my brain thought I might like to know this was probably because I had laid down some autumn leaves scrapbook paper, because having an image on the page anchors my attention, making the actual planning a lot easier. Insomnia has been raging this past week, meaning that I do have some ground to recover, and planning is the way I figure out how that happens. Planning is also great for focusing on something that is creative but not storytelling creative, which gives that part of my brain some room to do its own thing without me in the way.

There’s also the fact that I can see my week laid out, mark the family days (two per week) that I will have a full house (not the tv show) so those are very unlikely to have writing time unless I leave the house. This is one reason I look forward to having a dedicated office, with a door I can close, in our next apartment, but we will be here for a while. Not at all complaining about that. I will make do with cat ear headphones. If the ears are on, leave me alone. This actually works because if eyes are on me, then I know I have to actually produce something.

For those who may be wondering, this post has nothing at all to do with football. I neither watch nor play, so it doesn’t affect me in any way I can relate. Why did it show up on my mental feed, then? I am not sure. Maybe because I am training myself to get back into writer mode, after being in survivor mode for so long. There is executive dysfunction, which is basically “I need to do the thing. I want to do the thing. I know how to do the thing. I have the stuff I need to do the thing. It is right over there. I should do the thing,” and then….not doing the thing. Gets annoying after a while, by which I mean immediately, and every time.

The only way through this kind of executive dysfunction with writing is to actually do the writing. Which means writing bad pages. Knowing that I am writing bad pages. Write bad pages until I write good pages. Lather, rinse, repeat. Feels like I have been doing that a lot lately. Probably boring and/or annoying people, because geez, get on with it, woman. Not always that easy, but there is indeed a path through. Insert the maxim about not comparing someone else’s chapter thirty to one’s own chapter five. Even if chapter five seems really long. It happens.

The point of al of this? Eh. An item off my list. Seeing things on a list, especially a visually appealing list, makes the Big Scary Task look and feel a lot more palatable. So. It’s here. So am I. I call that a win. Planner open at the ready, now off to Google Docs and some time with my imaginary friends.

How does your week look?

Anna

Typing With Wet Paws: Pre-Home-i-Versary Edition

Tails up Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws. In case you were wondering where I was last week, have you noticed that I am a cat? That’s kind of our thing. I was probably in a box, or in Aunt Linda’s window. I’m here now, and isn’t that all that really matters?

Photo by Rheuben Bowling

On October first, we will officially begin our second year in this apartment. Technically, we moved in a week before that, but I’m too comfy to check the calendar or ask Aunt Anna for the exact date. October also means coming up on my adoptiversary, when I first came to live with these guys, which was a year before that. I have asked for a red dot for my present. I love red dot, especially at night. Aunt Anna agrees I need more toys, though honestly, I’m good with midnight parkour. Not going to say no to toys, though. I love toys. They are fun, and also nice to have around when I want to give Aunt Anna a present, since I am an indoor only girl.

October is also Aunt Anna’s birthday (closer to the end. Um, of the month, not of her) and then Halloween one week later. After that, it’s straight into the holidays, with Thanksgiving prep (the humans are doing ham this year. I will be getting tuna.) then it’s Christmas and Boxing Day (which kind of does have something to do with boxes) and New Year’s Day and Valentine’s Day and then after that comes the ugh weather and Aunt Anna may go underground again until September. Okay, not that extreme, but she really does prefer the autumn and winter, and those superpowers are very much kicking into gear.

I totally get how Aunt Anna is only snow really relaxing and settling in; I was the same way when I graduated from First Mom’s house and came to these guys. The first couple days, I stayed in my adventure cave and taking their measure. When I figured out they love me and are okay, I draped myself over a sleeping Aunt Anna, and well, here we are. It’s pretty nice.

One thing Aunt Anna is doing to make sure she can be at her best level right now is to make sure she stays in touch with her human friends. That means an increasing amount of video chats, which means more chances for me to crash said video chats. I love when humans in the glowy box tell me I am beautiful. They are right. Still never hurts to hear it. Fall is also good for snuggling with tea and blanket and lots of pillows and a good book. Most importantly of all, a kitty. By which I mean me. Aunt Anna can drink tea with on hand and then rub my belly with the other. Hm. Maybe she should consider an audiobook in that case.

It’s been pretty interesting around here as of late, as Aunt Anna gets back into writing gear, and all of the humans are talking about moving things in from storage and that kind of thing. What I take from all of that is “more boxes,” which is a a very happy ending for me.

How’s your week?

Headbonks!

photo by Rheuben Bowling

Storm

Anniversaries (not the romantic kind) and Other Stories

Yesterday was my and my friend Mary’s 20th friendiversary. It was four days after 9/11. We weren’t sure if the event where we would meet in person for the first time, an American Revolutionary War reenactment, was still happening. It was. I brought Housemate, she brought her hubby and then six-year-old son, who is now a firefighter and a fiancĂ©. It’s been that long. Right away, I knew that this was found family for life. I am glad to see that I was right. Real Life Romance Hero was working that day, but when he was able to meet them in person, he blended in seamlessly. To say we have been through a lot together is an understatement.

Mary and I had our weekly everything and nothing talk. I cannot say how much good one of those chats with a good friend can do. Thankfully, I have a lot of such friends. I know I have been remiss in staying in contact of late, but it’s been, well, a lot in the last couple of years. Things are getting better now. We are coming up on another important anniversary, that of moving into our current home. We are already renewed for another year. It’s time to let out the breath we didn’t know we’d been holding (phrase used ironically) and relax.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

That means reading. That means writing. That means having my special things around me; gargoyle pencil holder, CORW awards, Elaine Duillo print that I need to reframe, and my and Melva’s first book cover together, that needs framing itself. My secretary desk, with all of its cubbyholes, my favorite classic historical romance novels in the bookcase my father built from scratch when I was a baby. It means reading the first paperback I bought in two years because it’s safe to do so. It means Walking through the park and looking for waterfowl, always my favorite neighbors. It means cutting myself some freaking slack because :gestures at last few years: Yeah. That stuff.

Which brings us back to :deep breath: writing. Specifically writing fiction. Specifically writing commercial fiction. Which means walking in that direction even if it feels wooden and rote for a little while. Crappy first drafts, even if those are crappy second drafts. To quote a friend with whom I do need to reconnect, “you’ll suck at first and then you’ll get better.” Wise words, and ones I am more than happy to tell to others.

Where am I going with this? Nowhere, really. It’s a blog post and that’s what I intended. It’s also fair warning that if you haven’t heard from me for a while, it’s because :gestures at past few years: and I will probably be showing up soon. Which will mean taking my own pictures again, which I dearly miss. Taking stationery pictures means figuring out the stationery situation, probably a cull, and definitely some refining. That will be a journey in itself. Stationery isn’t “just” stationery. Few things are “just” anything, for that matter. At least for me.

How about you? What anniversaries do you mark, other than the romantic relationship kind?