Shifting Out of Neutral

The main point I am taking from the first half of this week is that winging even a couple of days without a written plan does not work for me. Hence this being the first blog of the week. I do not have the spoons to figure out what WordPress’s beef is with me and pictures, so we will be using stock images today.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Very sluggish start this morning, which led to extra morning pages to figure it all out, which led to thinking of planners and a back and forth with my own brain about whether it was too late to even bother and maybe the whole week was um, useless. Obviously not, but throwing together a quick spread for the rest of the week, in the mini dashboard layout Happy Planner I will now be carrying for everyday use, made things feel anchored enough to actually shift out of neutral and get things done. I need the structure, and that is that.

Such blabber is maybe something to save for AnnaLog, which most assuredly needs more videos, so onward we go. As one may be able to guess, this is one of those blabbery posts so that I can check it off my list and move on along to getting current on a workshop on reclaiming dreams and desires. Rather on the nose with that one, but let’s face it, getting back to somewhat of a supposedly normal life after over a year of trauma is…new territory.

This past weekend, I gave my Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All The Toys workshop to a small but enthusiastic group at Capitol Region RWA chapter. This is my home chapter and I love them, so not only did I gegt to see some familiar faces, but with my snazzy new laptop, there were no problems with connectdions and audio and all of that good stuff. I’ll be talking more about that later, either here or on a free post on Patreon, once I get all of that stuff sorted.

Today is all about laying groundwork for the rest of the week. Not only things like washing dishes and putting away laundry, though those are indeed important, and not only “write xyz” on this day, but making sure I take time to take in media and other stimuli that will fill my creative well with what I want to draw from it. That’s not slacking off. That’s making sure I have tools I need to do the job that I am here to do.

This workshop is asking some tough questions. As my BFF said, a few days back, “Anna, meet Anna.” I think this is probably something a bunch of us are going through (with your own name there instead of mine) and there may be a learning curve in getting back to a normal that may be a different normal than one would expect.

Melva and I talked about that a lot during our last Zoom conference. There’s a lot of thinking involved, and, in my case, a lot of blabbering to myself on paper, semi zoning out while playing Sims (current laptop game is Sims 4, only lightly modded, very light on custom content, soooo…a French Vanilla game rather than plain vanilla?) and even time of sitting on the floor with paper and pens and various items of organizational alchemy.

Photo by Cristian Rojas on Pexels.com

Flying into the mist, some call it, and there are times when I think this is all I talk about here anymore. Then again, it’s what’s happening so it’s at the very least true. That’s also about what I’ve got for today, because I have homework and am burning daylight. Maybe this was meant to be the rambly post, and the next one will be more coherent. At least that’s the plan.

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.

Cat Trees and Kneeling Chairs

Last night, I promoted the kneeling chair I have been using since the 90s from office chair to cat tree. This was a difficult decision. Somewhere deep in the storage unit, I do have a more traditional office chair, a gift from a local writer friend two moves ago. We will be digging it out, but probably not until my back stops twinge-ing, I am not sure exactly what the cause of this back pain is, but the most likely culprit is the kneeling chair.

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

I still love the dratted thing. I bought it decades ago, with money I earned from working retail. I probably paid more than I should have for it, but A) it was my money, B) a favorite author/writing inspiration had that same model chair and loved it, and C) it was (and is) pretty darned cool. It is, however, old enough to own property, join the military, get married without parental consent, and drink. It has probably wanted to do exactly that over the years we have been together, and it deserves its retirement as Storm support. (Unless Storm decides she no longer wants the chair now that it is not my office chair anymore. She is a cat, after all.)

Real Life Romance Hero moved one of the kitchen chairs in to take the place of the kneeling chair. I like the straight back, and I am already feeling the change in how using the computer physically feels Back support for the win. While I do believe there is a lot of truth in the proverb that a poor workman blames his tools, I am also fully aware that having good tools does’t hurt.

That’s largely where we are in a lot of things in the Annaverse. (Is that a thing? I say it’s a thing, and I rule the Annaverse, so now it’s law.) We have been in our apartment for six months now, so half as long housed as we were unhoused, and believe me, we are insanely delighted to be able to say that. It’s time to not only put down roots, but to make sure those roots are the right roots for the lives we want to live. For me, that means embracing life as a writer of romance and romance related blabber, and making sure that I have what I need to do that job most effectively.

Thankfully, for me, that means making a lot of lists. I would take a picture of the papers and binder discs that are scattered all over the stripped bed right now (housemate is off doing mega laundry; she is a superhero) but my back says that is not an advisble move with the angles I would have to put myself. Sitting in a straight backed chair is good, though, and lying on my side in a pillow fort is good, too. Fortunately, those are both writing positions of choice. So far, so good.

Research is underway to get a new laptop PC. We have become, over the last couple of years, the laptop graveyard> I am not going to give up on the vintage MacBook Pro, but the others, well, those probably are best suited to recycling. The HP laptop with no H key, and the screen that folds all the way back when it wasn’t designed to fold back at all; the hot pink laptop that I still love but which screen won’t show anything unless I I lie flat on my back and hold the screen at an angle that is best described as three-quarters closed. This is probably a severed wire, and probably an easy fix. We will see. RLRH also has his share of laptops that have gone to that great power strip in the sky. I can’t play Sims on that one, though, and that’s become essential. Hence the research. Writing and Sims. I know my priorities.

We may also be doing some research into office chairs, and/or pick up an interim chair in case the chair in storage won’t fit in the back of Housemate’s car, and will need to wait for when we rent a van and move the “real” furniture home. Furniture comes from a variety of sources. Parents’ homes, secondhand, locally sourced, brand new, and the nebulous area of me finally deciding that the best way to incorporate the hammered copper topped coffee table my grandfather made when my dad was little is to repurpose it, maybe as a dresser topper, or maybe with a new set of legs, to serve as a dining table or desk. We will see. I know I want my secretary desk, that I have been in love with since I was about four, for my longhand pursuits, and then pick everything up and take it to a separate computer desk when it’s time to transcribe.

Storm, as always, supervises it all.

As for the writing, my plans to jump right into it this morning snagged on getting the mega laundry ready to head out, with a pause for my weekly conference with Melva. We talked about the audio complications that kept our interview from going as well as we all wanted, how an offhand joke will make a great scene for our planned Christmas collection. That will probably go into the notebook I am setting up for my collaborations with Melva, most likely in index card format. Getting stuff down in the quickest away possible and filing it away works well for me to get the thought where it belongs and letting me focus on the work I need to be doign now.

I am very much into “now” right now. What can I do now? What works best for me now? What do I need right now? What is no longer serving its purpose and needs to move on along so it doesn’t become a stumbling block? What have I put away that I really need to bring back out because I miss it and want it and it’s part of the bigger picture and always has been? There’s a lot of stuff like that.

For today, getting this blog post up, even if it’s a big blob of blather, was essential. I don’t need the guilt of a missed blog post dogging me into writing time or family life, and consistency is something I want to improve. Hence this, and also trusting myself and my words, hence stopping it here and moving along to the next thing on my list for the day.



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

Tails up, Storm Troopers! It’s Black, White, and Orange Friday. I’m Storm, you’re awesome, and this is Typing With Wet Paws, Since it is Black, White, and Orange Friday (commonly abbreviated to Black Friday, but really it’s a day to celebrate Calicos in all of our glory) when prices are dropped in many places, that it will be easier to shower the Calicos in your life with gifts. I like gushy food, in case anyone needs a suggestion, and catnip is super fun. I also like blankets a whole lot, which works out well for me, because Aunt Linda makes blankets. How cool is that?

What is also cool is Aunt Anna rebooting her Patreon. She has learned a couple of things about Patreon, some of those being:

  1. Actually making content.
  2. Telling people about that content.

Umm, that’s pretty much it, except for the whole finding one’s niche and playing to that. So, I will do some of it for her. Here is her Patreon, and here are a couple of posts that are available for everyone, no tiers requires:

How Not To Start a Patreon

Historical Romance Setting Wishlist

If you like Aunt Anna’s posts here, want to see what books she recommends, make her find books for you (yep, she does that) or participate in polls that will help shape romance stories yet to come, drop on by and consider lending your support. Will said support get you exclusive picture of me? Chance are high, that is all I am saying.

post-Thanksgiving dinner nap

In case you are wondering how our Thanksgiving went, it was pretty fun. Aunt Anna played Sims a lot, Aunt Linda knitted, and Uncle Rheuben made the best grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Dinner was frozen lasagna, for reasons I am not allowed to go into, but the humans said it’s the company that counts, and they still count this as a successful Thanksgiving. They will have turkey and some pies later.

This Sim got struck by lightning. His eyes were like that for a long time.

The decorating has begun around here, but the first bit is not technically a holiday decoration, because Aunt Anna plans to leave the lights on her planner cart forever. They make her happy, so they stay. I have not been chewing on them, but I am a prime suspect in why Uncle Rheuben’s less than a year old laptop that never goes anywhere suddenly doesn’t even turn on anymore. We will be looking into that. I maintain my innocence, but I do have a track record. Eh, I’m cute.

This will be my second Christmas with these guys, but my first proper Christmas, since last year was a tricky year. I am pretty excited about it. I think I probably had a tree and stuff when I was with my first mom, but I don’t remember. I wasn’t allowed in the room where the tree was when we visited Aunt Linda’s brother, but we will be home this year, and I am definitely up to the whole experience. Aunt Anna says that today is the first day she allows herself to play her Spotify Christmas playlist. It’s umm…eclectic, that’s all I am going to say, and it does start with a Thanksgiving song, so maybe she can bump that date back a day for next year. She does want to listen to more music these days, so this should be a big help. Do you have any favorite songs think she might like?

It’s also Time To Start Reading Christmas Romances. I will let her tell you about that later. I think that’s about it for right now. so I will let Aunt Anna have her computer back.

Headbonks!

Typing With Wet Paws: Almost June Edition

Tails up, Storm Troopers! I’m Storm, you’re awesome and this is Typing With Wet Paws. This was a quiet week for blogging, because we had a small family emergency last week (all sorted now, everyone is fine) and then Aunt Anna picked up a gross bug ( the people sick kinds, not the fun six legged hunting kind) which means I am on nursing duty, which means I yell at her when she is up for too long. I have also been diligent in making the very best use of Uncle Rheuben’s butt warmer (he calls it a laptop. It is a butt warmer. Good thing he’s cute.)

Things Aunt Anna has been super good at while sick:

1) naps (I coach her)
2) staying hydrated (once again, I lead by example)
3) watching You Tube videos mostly about Sims and Degrassi.
4) feeling really really guilty as she looks at her unmoving reading tally (and usually falls asleep next to a good book.)

On the one paw, there is nothing to feel bad about because this is how healing happens. On the other paw, the library does want their e-books back after a certain amount of time. On the other other paw, Kindle Unlimited is a thing, and she has a ton of books in her Kindle already. On the other other other paw, there are all those great stories waiting for her, and reading makes her want to write more, and writing more helps her feel better, so those things all feed each other and she really does tend to overthink things like this too much.

That’s okay, though. Taking a catnap with an actual cat is beneficial for everybody involved, and text to speech means that there is always a dependable robot voice ready to read a tired human a story. Not to mention the small notebook Aunt Anna keeps at hand, to write down stuff for when she’s able to keep a thought in her head already (her words, not mine.)

One thing that helps her a lot in both reading and writing is accountability. On the reading front, she is way way way ahead of the game, and on the reading front, she is reading The Pirate Prince by Gaelen Foley, along with Aunt Linda. It looks like this:

143730

Aunt Anna doesn’t know much about this book, except that there are pirates in it, and it’s got a pretty good reputation, so she is optimistic. If she can stay awake for anything, she can stay awake for pirate. Also belly rubs. I do require my belly rubs. More regular posting coming next week, toebeans crossed.

Headbonks!

Cautiously Optimistic

Today is a very Monday-y Tuesday, but that has ceased to phase me. Internet may be spotty this week, but blogging feels normal, so I want to get an entry up on as regular a schedule as possible. The offline times are good for writing longhand, so I am not complaining at all. As much as I love winter, this has been a tough one, and I will not be that sorry to see it go. I am ready for a new season.

The title of today’s post comes from a discussion Real Life Romance Hero and I had earlier this week. We are pretty sure that the light at the end of the tunnel is not, this time, a train, so we are moving in that direction. That also means that the Patreon will indeed be a go, and, for the first time, setting up tiers doesn’t seem as scary as it once did.

This past weekend, I presented Play In Your Own Sandbox, Keep All the Toys, at Capitol Region Romance writers. I learned a couple of things. First, I really do need to use visual aids, for myself as well as the people taking the workshop. A dry erase board usually does the trick, and I probably should learn PowerPoint. I will add that to my list. The second thing I learned is that, when visually impaired, and knowing darned well one needs high contrast, do not attempt to work, in front of a group, from handwritten notes, if the only inks available are pink and turquoise.

Even so, I crazy love this workshop, and the CRRWA chapter, and I came away from the experience remembering how much I really do love writing romance. When I got home, a chapter was waiting for me from my contemporary collaborator, Melva, which has me excited to work on Drama King. I also need kick in the behind to get Her Last First Kiss back in action, because those pirate books are chomping at the bit. That’s part of what I’m taking care of this week.

I know how to do this. I know how to write books. I know how to write good books. This is the thing I wanted to do more than anything else in the world for as long as I can remember. It’s easy, though, to lose sight of that when life gets crazy, and boy howdy, has it ever this past year and change. I am hanging onto the “change” part. I have mad, mad, mad respect for the productivity of authors like Sandra Sookoo and Kathryn LeVeque, the staying power of Cynthia Wright and Kimberly Cates, and yes, there is most certainly a seat at that table for me. It comes by putting butt in chair (or passenger seat) and pen to paper and telling those stores. Dump from brain to page, rough and raw, and make it pretty later.

Right now, I am tired and stressed and hopeful, and very much in love with my chosen genre. I have added an ebook edition of the material for PIYOSKATT (pee-yose-cat? Pie-yose-cat?) as a Patreon perk for a middle tier, because now, it feels like a reachable goal, and actually kind of fun. Small online class offerings may also be in the offing, because I also crazy love teaching workshops, both on my own and with other talented author type people. It’s a good place to be.

see you next time

Typing With Wet Paws: Special Tuesday Edition

Hi, Storm Troopers! Are you surprised to see me on a Tuesday? Wild, huh? I know, but it’s one of those weeks. Aunt Anna and the other humans will be off the grid for a couple of days, as we are off on another trip to Aunt Linda’s family home, so Aunt Anna asked me to fill in today, to cover yesterday and tomorrow’s post. I told her no problem. That’s why I’m here, right? Well, that and to spread magical fibers of love and joy.

Anyway, about what’s going on over here. Aunt Anna is having kind of an existential planner crisis, or, depending on the perspective, (let’s reframe!) a chance to try some new things and get even more creative. She wouldn’t let me take any pictures of her planners in progress, but trust me, there is stuff going on. Some of that will be going on while we are on adventure at Chez Grandmere (the mother of your aunt is your grandmother, right? I think that’s how it works. I am not sure about human family terms.) Aunt Anna is also planning on doing a lot of writing in longhand there, because Chez Grandmere does not, unfortunately, have interwebs. Maybe not so unfortunately if that means more writing time.

Aunt Anna has already started trying out a new to her plotting technique that she learned from a Heart Breathings tutorial. If this works, that will go a long way to solving the problem of what to do with a bunch of outdated Happy Planner pages. She has set up her spread for a story to be determined, and will give that a go during out adventure. Watch this space for the results. Normally, she doesn’t go in for charts and stuff, but when it’s time to get back on the horse (nobody told me there was a horse) trying new things is always a good idea.

This is also a good time to go through some stuff that the aunts and uncle have stored at Chez Grandmere, which may provide some interesting results. I find that rather exciting. I also find the place called “basement” very very very exciting, but I am not allowed to go down there. No idea why. Other cats used to go down there. Maybe they left some food or toys. How can I leave that unexplored? Humans. Hmph.

Huh. This doesn’t seem like a lot of news for a “special” blog, but that’s okay. Can’t all be rock stars, am I right? Except for beautiful calico girls. We are all automatically rock stars. I like to sing the song of my people at special midnight performances, and you should see the choreography that goes along with it. Truly a work of genius. We’ll be back on Friday, Saturday at the latest, and there will be better updates then. Rest assured that I will be in full mews mode, providing inspiration and encouragement.

Okay, wait. I remember. I was supposed to list some of the planner and notebook things that Aunt Anna is going to revamp over the next few weeks. Let’s see if I can find some pictures to go with them.

Granted, these are not all of them, nor does Aunt Anna expect to be able to keep all of them running for unique purposes (or the same one; boy, would that be repetitive) at the same time, and she is beginning to come around to the idea that it’s okay to move the same guts to different covers as the mood strikes. Also that there are plusses and minuses to the different sizes and formats she likes, including but not limited to:

  • discbound (Happy Planner, etc) in micro, mini, classic or big sizes
  • Traveler’s notebooks (strings) in pocket, personal, and standard sizes
  • Six ring binders in personal or A5 size
  • Three ring binders in full or half letter size
  • traditional hard or softcover notebooks, sewn, perfect, or wirebound

So yeah, that’s kind of a lot, and it does relate to writing, because that’s what she likes to do in them, so she is figuring out what format her exploration of these should take. Blogging? Vlogging? If you have a preference, leave a comment and I will make sure she gets it.

Headbonks!

2020 Vision?

Yesterday, I didn’t mean to spend the entire day on Patreon work, but that’s how things worked out. I started out making a spreadsheet for my TBR for the coming year, and things kept going. One list for favorite lush historical romances, another for favorite contemporary YA, and a batch of ideas for more. I love making these sorts of lists, and I love connecting readers with favorite books in favorite historical eras, with particular themes, etc. Current plans are to make requests for such lists available on one of the tiers., If the list is for something that isn’t quite my taste, say wallpaper Regencies, I can still do some educated guessing, as in what’s popular, has received high reviews, or looks interesting in some aspect. I could pick out books all day long, seriously, and be happy to do it.

Today is the first day of my one page a day writing schedule. One page of fiction -doesn’t matter what- bare minimum. More if I can, more if I want to, but that first page, those first two hundred and fifty words, they don’t have to be perfect, don’t have to be even good, but they do have to be. That’s easy enough. I will proably lump those in with Storm’s weekly blogs, along with other progress reports. We will see how it goes, and I am more than likely going to make some sort of paper tracker because that’s how my brain goes.

Speaking of paper planners, I plan (see what I did there?) to share more about what I do with that, as well. There is a beautiful black version of Spinebreaker headed my way, to hold my everyday carry bullet-y journal-y commonplace-y notebook. Spinebreaker’s lovely pink self will hold some different inserts to help me manage the writing projects I have on tap for this year. I will figure it out as I go.

Both yesterday and today, I have been listening to YouTube videos analyzing episodes of Black Mirror. I have seen exactly one episode of that show, “San Junipero,” but I’m still getting a lot out of the commentary. My tenure at Heroes and Heartbreakers gave me the chance4 to ramble on about my favorite TV ships, and the moments that worked, as well as the ones that didn’t. I’d like to bring some of that to the blog, and/or Patreon. This amy involve another attempt at making video blogs. We will see. Some of that will depend on where we land, Stately Bowling Manor-wise, but it’s definitely on the table.

The thing that has to happen before any of this other stuff can occur, though, is the writing. The putting of the bottom in the chair and words on the page, paper or virtual, one page at a time, one after the other, on and on until Once Upon a Time reaches And They Lived Happily Ever After. It’s a new year, and there are stories to tell. There is no section on Amazon or in Barnes and Noble or any other brick and mortar store, for great three chapters or excellent outlines. Only. Full. Books.

That means moving forward, even when there’s no gaurantee that t hings are going to turn out on the page the same way they are in my head (can they ever be?) That means tapping back into the girl who set up a makeshift desk out of TV trays, and typing out stories that couldn’t possibly go anywhere on an electronic typewriter. Only, they did. Maytbe not those exact pages, but the were needed to get me one step further down the path to where I am now, and where I am going next.

For today, that’s going to mean this blog entry, one page of fiction, and probably planner therapy after. Doesn’t have to be perfect, does have to be written. That’s doable. Let’s see where it goes.

Happy New Year.

Random Blabbery Post

Leftover picture from Monday’s photoshoot is a good indicator that I this is going to be one of those posts where I open the document and start throwing down random brain droppings, because the plans for the original post aren’t going to work. Where are we going with this one? I have no earthly idea.

I am now only six books behind on my Goodreads reading challenge, which gives me a nice boosts. I have a mental sticky note on the books that I am turning to while pushing for my reading goal this year. Right now, I am both absolutely thrilled to be reading Broken Things, the fourth book in Jessica Cale’s Restoration era Southward Saga of historical romances, and itchy that there is only one other historical romance by this author, set a couple of hundred years later. I need moar. There will be a Buried Under Romance post on this sometime in the future.

Though making my reading goal for 2019 has become personal, something I am going to do, goshdarnit, last night, I DNF’d a book. Yeah. A historical romance. No, I will not give the name or author, as it might work better for me at another time. This book was a novella, so it fit my desired length. It was a time and setting I usually like, and I very much liked the premise. So, what wasn’t working for me? Ehhh, I don’t know. I will say that I might have liked more detail, more showing rather than telling, but it could also be that I had not been in the right frame of mind. I’ll try again later.

I’m not sure what the reading goal will be for 2020. Real life is still sorting itself out, and my educated guess is that all of the attendant stress/depression/anxiety/lack of energy has had a big hand in the lack of reading that led to the big reading lag. Being behind does create its own stress, but since the remedy for that is to stick my nose in a book, paper or electronic, I am not going to complain and consider that a self-solving issue.

According to Real Life Romance Hero, the snowstorm we got this weekend is the eighth largest in city history. I take that as an indicator that snuggling in bed with a hot beverage, purring cat and hand knit afghan (thanks, Housemate) diving into a good book. There is also some TV viewing backlog, and I may have figured out how to fix the snafu with my Sims 3 installation and engage in some retro-gaming. There could be an art journal or notebook on hand to keep me occupied during loading times. I’m not sure yet.

The calendar says we’re in December, which is getting ready for Christmas season. The snow should be helping but not feeling it quite yet. Still time, though. Maybe some Christmas novellas will help, possibly helped by a traditional fireplace video on You Tube. I haven’t watched any Christmas videos yet, so that may be another thing to try. I haven’t done much seasonal decorating in my planner, so that might play well with movies or music. We’ll see.

Got any favorite romance novellas? Bonus points if they are on Kindle Unlimited, and/or Christmas themed.

maybe I could read this book…

Reverse Hibernation (aka My Summer Happy Place)

I am not a summer person. Not even close. Not even a little. I am sun and heat-sensitive, so, on weeks like this, when all of the daytime temperatures are in the nineties, a form of summer hibernation makes a whole lot of sense. Reverse hibernation, as I call it, works very well with the nocturnal phase of summer, when I am more active at night, sleepier in the daytime, which actually is a good thing, because summer usually sees me sadder, less energetic, and all-around-itchy.

Yesterday, I found my happy place, at least where writing during the summer is concerned. My worktable, once my dining room table, faces the living room window, open now, with a view of my houseplants, trees outside, and my beloved notebooks, pens, and a big jar of washi (decorative tape) in shades of pink. There will be a cool drink at my left hand, possibly a salty snack at my right, and a cookbook holder (vintage) holds my tablet. The box fan whirs, cool air on my bare legs. The whir of the fan may be the only sound, as I put pen to paper, or I may have my tablet tuned to music, podcast, or ambient sounds. My favorites in that department tend to be nature sounds, or atmospheric, like “coffee house on a rainy day,” with my all time favorite being a combination of rain, fireplace, and purring cat. One day, I hope that will be the actual sounds in my actual environment, but, for now, that reasonable facsimile will do.

Back to yesterday. I had a scene due for Drama King, and my Camp NaNo work to do, blog entry shoved off until today, because fiction has to come first, and I didn’t so much think about this new sort of work environment; it happened, all on its own. I opened my Drama King notebook, no need for headphones, as I had the apartment to myself, and off I went, the scene spilling out onto the page. After that, I didn’t want to go right back to the computer, and my Alphasmart was right there, so, once again, the bloop effect comes into play.

The writing flowed, the transcription flowed, and the touch of a button moved the transcribed pages from Alphasmart to word processing program. From there, it was a quick spellcheck, a change of formatting, and, once again, bloop, over to Melva, for her approval, in more than enough time for our weekly chat.

This is not a magic switch, by any means, but there is something special about having a creative space that is mine, where writing can be not in the same place where I watch You Tube and answer emails. It’s writing, not typing (sorry, Dad) and, for me, that makes a difference. This feels natural. This feels right. I can get to the end of a writing day, feeling satisfied instead of drained, and I look forward to settling in for the next session, pen to paper first

This kind of thing is organic for me. I have to splash around in the shallows until I start swimming, and then, after that, its’ all potatoes. (Family term, meaning “everything will be easier after X.”) I get to the end of my list, and then it’s time to take a break, most likely to watch aforementioned You Tube videos, mostly about traveler’s notebooks and/or bullet journaling. Sometimes I watch Book Tube videos, which makes me think about how fun it is to make video blogs, and that may happen, but, for now, it’s fiction first. After that? A long summer’s nap sounds lovely.