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

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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.

Magic is Born

When I begin to write

It’s as if a sleeping curse has lifted

Wonder and passion breed

Currents of electricity flow

And magic is born.

_____

Do you feel this way?

 

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
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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!  😀

 

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

To Camp or Not to Camp

Camp Nano, that is.  Camp Nanowrimo to be exact.  Contemplating my final decision on this and jotting down my thoughts as I decide.

Have I signed up, yet?  Yes.  Some of you may know me well enough by now that I like to bite off a bit more than I can chew.  I come from this kind of stock.  My mother is the same way.  Stubborn.  Hard-headed.  Doesn’t listen.  Goes off in 20 directions at once, full throttle, no stopping until your body or brain stop functioning properly, or both.  We always have too much on our To-do lists, although I take the lead with the list making, as I’m a diehard-write-it-all-down in a planner or small note pad/ledger list maker.  I even do the sticky notes.  All over the place.  Partly, because I’m senile and I’ll forget 10 seconds after I thought of it.  Anyway, I digress.

I signed up with the best of intentions.  Yes, I know where the road of good intentions lead.  Thing is, I get so super-duper uber excited when I think about the 31 days of juicy and delicious chaotic manic creative insane hair-pulling sleep-depriving writing frenzy.  As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now causing sleep deprivation.

I worked from home for a year.  I needed more money fast so I got a law office job from hell.  Worked with Satan’s minions for what, 1.5 months?  And really, that was too long.  I was desperate.  What can I say.  Turned up my work-at-home contracts and got my rear in gear and got myself out of hell.  Sort of a long story but I can save that for another day.  So now, one contract here.  One contract there.  Another to begin today or tomorrow maybe.  A fourth to start Monday and I’m working my fingers to the bone.  I have an option for a 5th contract but I really do need to get some sleep at some point.  Even my laptop can’t handle the pressure.  It’s falling apart and it’s only a year old but then my kiddo did step on it, so that might have something to do with it.

As you can see, my conundrum is too much work and not enough play nor sleep nor sunshine makes Carol a dull girl and exhausted.  So, my goal for the following  7 days will be to decide which contracts to keep and which to maybe set aside and put on hold until I need them again.  I will establish my work hours for 8-10 hours per day M-F instead of 12 or 18 hrs and I will make (yes, I said make) the time for my creative outlet.  When I don’t make time to write, I become this sad, angry, tired, feeling old sort of person who’s all about work-work-work.  I mean, I make time for family, just no time for me.  I know when I do the Camp Nano thing, I still feel tired and feel a little old and honestly, dragging around like a zombie sort of person but there’s more excitement and fun and wonder in the midst of my bedraggledness (yeah, I just made that a word).

So, okay, I’ll do it.  I will make a plan.  And hopefully stick to it.  And I will participate every day during Camp Nano in July and try to find 5 minutes to hang out with my cabin mates, but not gonna promise on that one.  Not enough hours in the day.  Know what I mean?  And I’ll try to make more time for my blog.  Remember when I posted every day?  I need to get back to posting at least once a week.  We’ll see what happens.

Oh, and I found out a few days ago that you can request some of your previous bunk mates and/or camping friends from other bunks to join you in your cabin this go-round.

If you happen to be carvin’ out time to do the Camp, as well, shoot me a message here or at camp.

http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/carol-blake

And good luck to you in all your endeavors whether you join us at camp or not.

Lata!

-Carol

*squishy hug*