Fell Off the Face of the Earth

fallingNo, I didn’t. Though, I’m sure some of you probably thought I had. I’ve been so consumed lately with work and then Spring Break vacation and family time, I’ve not put much focus toward writing nor blogging. However, that’s all about to change. Yes, I’m gearing up for facing sleepless nights and early mornings once again. No more sleeping in till 5 or 6 am. I’ll still be putting forth my 46+ hours of work per week, adequate time for family and then all the extras will come in within those hours while the rest of the world sleeps, and I’ll be missing those precious hours of dreaming, though they’ll still be precious, as I’ll be appointing that energy to writing daily and blogging at least once a week.

And if you haven’t figured out how crazy I am yet…

Camp NaNoWriMo, Here I come!

Yes, indeedy, I’ve lost my mind, taking the plunge of investing up to 50,000 words and finally finishing my novel (book 1) during the month of April. I’m not entirely sure it will be 50,000 words that I type during the month, as I’m half finished with book 1 already. Mostly, needing to reorganize, then finish. Certain parts need to be transferred to books 2 and 3. So, that’s my main objective for April – finishing book 1.  Then May will be spent revising, editing, proofing, polishing, employing my beta readers, querying agents/publishers, and finding representation/ publication. A little crazy?  Yes. Impossible? Never. I have reached 50,000 words before during a NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, so I know I can do it. Plus, it does become a bit easier once you get in the habit of getting up at 2am or 4am every morning to get in your 1,500 to 2,000 words per day.

If you are a writer and love a challenge, I encourage you to join in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It’s free and it’s most helpful if you need a kick in the pants to motivate you to get your rear in the chair and write a book or finish something you started. Wanna learn more about it? Check this out.

When you work from home and have a family, you set a crazy schedule that best works for you.

Here’s my schedule now:

M-F

Up, fix coffee, get ready for the day 6-7

Work 7-8

Fix breakfast and lunch for the kiddo 8-830

Work 830-430 (while walking 2 dogs every hour, it seems)

Prepare and sit down to supper 430-5 or 6-630 (depending on day)

Family time (depending on how much homework and studying Mini-me has) 5-8 or 630-9 or 10

Get ready for bed – anytime between 8 and 10, depending on what’s going on that particular day

Sometimes, it varies, though. Sometimes, I start at 4 or 5am, depending on what else I have going on that day. And if I have to be out at appointments on a particular day, I’ll spend part of Saturday morning getting the rest of my work hours. Plus, getting in a smidge of writing time on some of those mornings or evenings. Sound crazy? I rather like it, myself. It’s not that hard working in your pajamas or a t-shirt and shorts, and for clients you actually like, doing work you actually like. Plus, it’s nice setting your own schedule.

My new schedule, starting April 1, will look more like this:

M-F

Up, coffee will be ready (on auto) 4am

Write quietly (in office or livingroom) 4-6

Get ready for day 6-7

Then, everything else, and making sure I get to bed NLT 8pm, and hoping Hallie can make it to bed by then, as well

 

I’m gonna be a tired Mama-jama.  Of course, if there are appointments anywhere that day, I’ll be getting up at 2am to fit it all in, as well as getting up super early on Saturday morning. I’ve done it before.  This is not just my schedule for April but will my schedule for May, as well, since I will need to fix all the details and polish the book the month following Camp Nano. Half-way dreading it and half-way super excited to dig in!!  Are you coming to camp? Will you be joining a cabin? Look me up if you like and shoot me a message.  To message me inside the camp, I think I’m Carol-Blake or Carol_Blake. This may be my last opt-in for the cabin-mates. A couple of times, it was really great, because a couple of the bunk mates made good conversation and I made new friends (that are still friends in and out of camp) but most of the camps, the cabin was pretty quiet. Not sure that I’ll be making much conversation in April, either. We’ll see.  And good luck to you, whether you join us at camp, or not.

What are you doing in April? Got any big goals planned?  Been thinkin’ about you guys! And been missing y’all.

Chat soon! Smooches!  xoxo

-Carol

The Latest…

Camp-Winner-2015-Web-Banner

Not sure exactly how I did it but I did it.  While working my 36-46 hours a week, chasing after a busy teenager, managing to clean our filthy house (with a lot of help from Hallie!), and mowing a few acres each week, I somehow got in the writing time I needed to work on my novel, and run a contest for a couple of weeks!

My goal was set pretty low for this camp, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put time in each and every day.  My original goal was 10,000 words.  My final count was…wait for it…

15,864?!

Once I reached a bit over 9,000, I stopped counting.  Then, on July 31st, I checked it and yup, I exceeded my goal.  Yea!  I’m sure much of it was rambling.  You know how I do.  I get caught up in it and ya can’t shut me up.  You know I ramble.  Kinda like I’m doin’ now.  Anyway…

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  Working hard on my novel.  Got the character name I was looking for!  Thank you, my friends out there, for participating.  That was really fun!  Hopefully, I will finish this novel within the next couple of months.  That’s the plan anyway.  Was planning on finished by the end of August.  We’ll see.  I’m gonna try.  Got a little bit to finish.  Then revising, revising, revising.

Just sticking my head in to say hi, I hope you are well.  I know I haven’t been on the ole blog much but, well, by what you can see above, I’m pretty busy these days.  Perhaps I’ll get back to posting more on a daily basis when I’m finished with the ole book.

Squishes and smooches!  Love yooze guys!  xoxo

So how ya been?  What have ya been up to?  Tell me everything!  *cup in hand and eagerly listening*

Light It Up!

fire-spitting-dragon

Ignite the world with your words.  Spitfire!

– Carol Blake

_____

How would you put your spin on it?

Sorry I haven’t posted an update lately.  Been swamped.  Didn’t get to 25,000 words in Camp Nanowrimo, but I did reach 21,638.  I will continue to find ways of carving out some writing time each day, even if it means I have to get up at 2am.  Still trying to work in time to write out my lesson plans for a class – not even halfway done, yet.  Working 47 hours per week, which is good.  I’m not complaining.  Will probably continue like this another week or two and then, I’ll shorten my hours closer to 40.  Looking forward to vacation at the end of May for sure!  No social life to speak of right now.  Just working and chasing my kid around like a crazy woman.  She’s doing so much!  Not complaining about that either.  Hanging out with her and Mama on the weekends.  Love my girls!

What’s going on in your world?  Drop me a line.  I know I am really missing you guys!  Planning on doing better with catching up with all of you very, very soon.   I wish you well and only good things!

Love, hugs and smooches!!  Go out there and spit fire!

– Carol

 

Oh, and om, let us all make time for getting down our words and get to the point of sharing them with the world.  I’ll leave you with this…

So light ’em up, up, up
Light ’em up, up, up
Light ’em up, up, up
I’m on fire

Gonna be singin’ that all day, now, aren’t ya?  You’re welcome.

(image courtesy of mrwallpaper.com)

You’re a Stah!

star smiles

What a cool thing to say to the one you love, be it significant other, child, parent, best friend.

__________

Sorry I haven’t been on here much lately.  A post here.  A post there.  I’m slackin’!  I need to get crack-a-lackin’!  I have had soooo many contracts come in (thank You, Lord!), so I’m working around 46+ hours this week.  For those of you that don’t know, I work from home.  I’m a single/divorced parent of a busy, hungry teen, so I have to work, work, work.  But I love my work, my clients and wouldn’t be doing anything else, except perhaps writing books full-time if I had the opportunity.  Ah, wouldn’t it be nice to be independently wealthy so you could follow your heart’s desire.  I would write books, stories, songs, poetry.  I would garden.  I would landscape.  I would volunteer my time and money.  I would clean more.  Yeah, don’t look at my house.  I’ve been slackin’ on that, too.

I’ve also been trying to squeeze in time for Camp Nanowrimo.  I’m a bit behind but I try to write some every day.  Didn’t get a chance to yesterday.  I hope I get a chance to make time for writing today.  How are you doing?  Drop me a line and let me know what’s going on in your life.  Let me know if you have any prayer needs, because although my faith may be weak at times, I know the Big Dude Upstairs listens and answers prayers.  If you don’t believe, ah, tell me your needs anyway, because I believe in Him and He believes in all of us.

Have a wonderful and wacky (in a good way) Wednesday and may none of us run into any wack-a-doos (weirdos), unless you count me, of course.  😉

You make me smile!  You’re a stah!

Love ya!  *smooch*

-C

Searching For Her Beloved

She walked tirelessly

Until her feet bled

And then, she walked on

Ignoring the pain

She held on to the faith

She’d find her beloved

That belief is what sustained her

Through her hunger

Through her restlessness

Through the welcomed setting sun

As she knew with nightfall

She’d finally find rest

If only for a moment

Until the sun rose the next

__________

This is actually a line I just wrote today from my novel.  Listening to Earth Shadow by Deuter, I felt it sounded more like poetry than perhaps a line so felt the need to share.  If you are a writer reading this, always be on the lookout for inspirational music to play in the background, something new to you, something different.  You never know with what you may find your inspiration, no matter how blocked you think you may be at a given time.  Usually, I prefer to write in silence.  Sometimes, you have to change things up a bit.  Happy writing and/or creating and may inspiration and creativity flow to you, through you and onto whatever you choose as your canvas.

As a Writer, Are You a Fool?

roald“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”

–  Roald Dahl

_____

It can be a rather lonely profession at times.  I don’t know about you, but most of the time, I like my alone time, especially if it means I get to have time to write creatively.  Oh, sure, at times, even for work it’s quite enjoyable granted the contract is writing something you’re interested in.  Sometimes, you’re writing technical mumbo-jumbo you couldn’t care less about but it helps pay the bills, huh?  So it’s not all bad.  When you’re actually writing something you love and you’re getting paid for it, aw yeah, that’s the good stuff.  And when you can score a free couple of hours to write creatively for yourself?  Man, that’s gold.  And working from home doing all of that stuff, and fitting it in around family time.  That’s priceless.

Do I sound like a credit card commercial?

_____

Sorry I’ve been out for a bit.  Too much going on – trying to figure out how to do lesson plans for a class, trying to fit in Camp Nano, working on contracts, looking for more contracts, writing for work, writing for fun, family time, cooking, cleaning, walking the dogs, the list is endless.  I’ve not forgotten about my blog and all you cool peeps.  Just running out of time to do everything.  All work and no play makes Carol a dull girl.  Chocolate and wine helps!  😉

So how are all of you?  What’s going on in your world?  Tell me everything.  Gimme the skinny.

Who all is participating in Camp Nanowrimo?

A Stake to the Heart

david“If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.”

— David Mitchell, Black Swan Green
_____

So, what about Beta Readers?  When you write something, how many do you employ to get their opinion?  Do you have close relatives read it?  Perhaps close personal friends?  Strangers?  Members of your writing group?  Or do you read it, reread it, read it yet again, proof and polish and then simply send out your queries?  In your opinion, how many Betas should you have read your precious baby?  And who should they be?

Camp-2015-Newsletter-Header

On another note, how many out there are participating in Camp Nanowrimo, starting April 1st?

Happy Spring, dingaling!  😉  Oh, and happy Solar Eclipse and SuperMoon!  😀

 

What Rhymes with Camp Nano?

Camp-Participant-2015-Web-Banner

If you’re thinkin’ of takin’ part in Camp Nano
Do ya gotta have some sort of planno?
Do you write first to last?
Do you skip and advance?
Do you even want to open that canno?

Do you write science fiction with flair?
Your comedy cause giggle or glare?
Are you a pantser or planner?
Do you call yourself camper?
Or too busy with to-do lists to go there?

Me? I’m gonna give it another go
Will I make it? I simply don’t know.
But I’ll give it my best
Put my muse to the test
And hope and try to come out a hero

I have so many things to write
I pray none of it sounds trite
Have two books in mind
On both I’m behind
So both till the end I will fight

Can I work on two at the same time?
Are you sick and tired of this rhyme?
It’s just about done
Just havin’ a little fun
Before starting and possibly lose my mind
__________

Just a silly little Nano poem.

Are you participating? Camp Nanowrimo is a “Mini Me” compared to the regular Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month). Regular Nano is held in November every year, starting Nov 1 at midnight, ending on November 30 at 11:59pm and is traditionally 50,000 words written within those days as a new novel.

Camp Nano is usually held in the months of April and July from the first of the month till the end and can be any amount of words 10,000 to 1,000,000, can be a novel or script or poetry or whatever, new or revision, and you can have bunk mates, I believe up to 12 in a cabin these days. You can choose a private cabin of personally selected mates, choose mates with specific criteria or leave yourself open to let them surprise you with new friends.

You can also opt out of the bunk mates as many of us prefer to focus on our writing and not socializing. I do a bit of both. I’ve met some great people in the cabins with whom I’m still connected today. Some days, I’ll chat it up over s’mores or wine and cheese at the campfire. Other days, I’m quiet and fully focused on pumping out that word count.

What about you? Are you open to apply yourself more to your writing? Dedicate yourself to a certain word count run per day in the hopes of reaching the finish line and being treated to some nice wins and refreshment for yourself? There are many perks that come with winning the race. Interested?

If nothing else, you can make plans to plant your butt in the seat in front of that laptop, desktop, pen/pencil and pad, antique typewriter, whatever your tool is to record your precious gold, and pump out your daily word count and get that sucker down. You can go on to publish, as many Wrimos have and have even gone on to have their gold not only turn out best sellers but movies, as well. Whatcha think? You ready to share your God-given treasure with the rest of the world? ’cause I know we’d love to read it!

As a Writer, Are You Crazy?

youre-a-writerYou know you’ve always been a bit different.  But then normal is highly overrated, right?  You’ve been a writer since the beginning of time.  Even before you could write, you were a writer, bursting with stories you’d tell your dolls, stuffed animals, action figures, or the air, just to get them out there.

You’ve questioned yourself over the years as to what has made you a writer.  You’ve questioned yourself if you really wanted to be a writer.  Did you choose it?  Or did it choose you?  You don’t know who you are without writing.

Are you a writer, because you have a tortured soul?  Do you have so many voices talking inside your head that you just have to get them out before you lose your mind?  Or were you already crazy?  Does being a writer make you crazy or were you crazy all along?

These are just the top 10 reasons (out of maybe 100) why, as a writer, I think you (and I) might be crazy.

1.  You have a dream.  Or maybe more of a dark and colorful, exhilarating, brilliant nightmare.  Oh, you thought I meant a dream of being a writer?  No, I mean, in the literal sense.  You have this dream and you have to get up immediately to write out the voices and movie playing inside your head.

2.  Movies that you’ve never seen play inside your head.

3.  You get up at 2am to write.  Yes.  I said two o’clock.  After having said dream, your heart is beating fast, and no matter how much you would love to go back to sleep, you’re wide awake and have to get up right then and write.  Sometimes you’re happy to skip the sleep and are just oh so eager to jump up and write it all down.

4.  You hear voices.  You listen to the voices.  You have to write everything down immediately that the voices are saying.  Sometimes they are talking to you, screaming at you to write their story, and other times the voices are conversing with other voices.

5.  You talk to the voices.  And sometimes the voices talk back.

6. You talk to yourself.  You question yourself.  You answer yourself.  You have long drawn out conversations.  With.  Your.  Self.  And sometimes, you laugh at/with yourself.  Could this be schizophrenia?

7.  You talk to ghosts.  You have (or think you have) conversations with J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis and H. G. Wells.  Could this be delirium?

8.  You channel spirits.  Or you think you have after having said dream that’s something remarkably similar to something out of Tolkien.

9.  You write 4 books simultaneously.  You are working on Book 1 and 2 of a fantasy/sci-fi series, a work of non-fiction, and this dream you just had is the new Book 1 of the series you thought you were writing, as a twist just occurred that gives it a whole ‘nother back story, sort of like The Hobbit before Lord of the Rings.  What particular manuscript you may be working on in any given 30 minutes or 2 hours is whatever the muse/inspiration/voices tells you to work on.

10.  You are silent.  If the voices aren’t talking, neither are you.  You’re depressed.  You’re lonely.  You miss the voices.  Call this writer’s block.  Call this laziness.  Call this depression.  You wait around for the voices to return as if you’re some high school chick with a silly crush waiting by the phone for that cute guy to call you.  He said he’d call.  And you wait.  And you wait.  And wait.

So, I ask you, being a writer, are you crazy?  Or is it just me?

 

 

 

____________________
“My child has taught me more about living, forgiving and loving than I could ever teach her.” – Carol Blake Sessums

“The most important thing you can ever do in this life, your most profound purpose, is to make a positive difference in the life of someone else.” –Carol Blake Sessums

Second Week of Nano

It’s into the second week of Camp Nanowrimo and what do I have to show for it?  Zilch.  But.  I have a plan.  It’s the “easy button” plan.  The “stupid easy” plan.  I have the beginning and parts of the middle of the book from previous Nov Nano and April Camp Nano so I’m trying to figure out my Nano schedule to be this:

July 14 thru 21 –Print what I have written thus far, read thru, pen & ink reorg/revise, comp reorg/revise — This will give me a better jumping off point

July 22 thru 31 — Write 1,000+ words per day

July 31 —  Submit my 10,000+ words by 11:59pm

Cutting it close, eh?  I like it like that.  But see, I have a plan.  If I can clear 2 hours per day to write, I can score 2,000 wpd so that would be awesome.  Yeah, I think maybe I can do that if I get up at 3am on those days.

3-5 write

5-9 work on Contract 1

9-1 work on Contract 2

We’ll see how this goes.  A monkey wrench is about to be thrown into the plan on July 17, so I’m not sure how things will hold up after this.  The following days and weeks will be complete insanity.  Pray for me?  Pray for my baby more?  She is scared to death.  One knee surgery last Dec 26.  The other knee surgery on Thursday.  Ugh.  I can’t even imagine…  :'(

I wish all of you Wrimos out there the best of luck with your writing goals!  We got this!