2017 Goals Check In

I meant to do this last week, but because of various health issues (both mine and my cats), I ended up pushing it off for a week.  So here we go.

  • Write more consistently every day – I am going to aim for 500 words a day with fewer non-writing days.
    • Not even close. According to my Word Count Spread Sheet O’ Doom, I averaged 102 words a day.  Because of illness, I’ve missed more writing days to date this year than last.
  • Read more books – I’m setting a goal of 40 for 2017.
    • As of the end of June, I’ve read 21 books so far.
  • Submit the final draft of Chaos Wolf
    • Changed my mind and started the self-publish process.  Chaos Wolf is out for a developmental edit and I’m filling out the paperwork for a cover.  More on that in a future post.
  • Write more short stories
    • I rewrote one short story, and I think it’s going to be rewritten completely again based on feedback I’ve received.  I’ve got ideas for more short stories, and I’ll wedge them in between the novels I’m working on
  • Rewrite the first draft of the second Jordan Abbey novel Chaos Hunt.
    • Haven’t started it yet.  Once the developmental edit for Chaos Wolf is done, I’ll get back to work on this one.
  • Transform the fanfic story into an original story
    • This is going to need an extensive rewrite to fit it into a something I’m interested in participating in.  More details in another post.
  • Finish the draft of Lucy Harker, Vampire Hunter
    • Not quite there yet.  I had to stop and do research, but I’m diving back in.
  • Tweet and Facebook more
    • Working on it, but with the day job, I feel like the conversation is long over by the time I see it.  I did hook up my Twitter to post to my Facebook at least.
  • Find a writing group either online or in realspace to join.
    • Done a little research.  The problem is that the ones I’m interested in are during times I can’t attend, and I don’t have an interest in founding one myself.

In summary, I’m on target for some things, and others I still need to work on. We’ll see where I am at the end of the year.

Motivation

Sometimes the universe gives you a swift kick in the butt to get you moving.  I was on the receiving end of one this week.

Although I’ve been feeling better, I haven’t had the motivation to work on Chaos Wolf.  I have to turn it in by the 23rd of July for it to be edited. Although I’m over my cold, I haven’t regained my energy yet. I’ve been working on Thin Red Line with Julie, but not much else.  I’ve been poking along, trying to find inspiration.

During my monster cold, they took an X-ray to make sure I didn’t have pneumonia or bronchitis.  The noticed a strange shadow that didn’t quite look like either of those.  So my doctor asked me to do a follow-up X-ray.  I went back in Tuesday night.

Wednesday morning I was contacted by my doctor.  The shadow was still there.   I was looking at two possible diagnoses – a lung nodule, or a calcified disc.  I scheduled a CT scan for that evening.

I spent all of Wednesday  deep in introspection.  Due to past medical situations, I have a habit of jumping to the worst diagnosis as the correct one. A nodule could potentially be the first signs of lung cancer.  It would be ironic to die of lung cancer, since I’ve never smoked.  But it would also be the kind of luck I would have. I went to the hospital and had my CT scan done, then spent a restless night wondering what was coming next.

Thursday morning I got an email from my doctor.  The scan revealed that it was a calcified disc.  A weight lifted off of me. This is the best possible outcome, other than it was an error and there was nothing there.

Given my scoliosis, I wasn’t surprised I had a issue with my disc.  I’ve been told as I grow older that arthritis and calcification are going to be issues. I probably have several calcified or herniated, although they haven’t been diagnosed yet.  All that can be done is pain management as needed.

But for a few hours, I wasn’t thinking spine issues.  I was thinking lung issues.  What if it is a lung nodule?  What if it’s potentially cancerous? What happens then? What happens to my mother? To my cats? If I had to do chemotherapy, would I be able to publish my book?

Time isn’t something we’re guaranteed.  We need to make the most of it. I am going to be using mine more wisely from here on out.

The Week That Was

My writing has been somewhat sidetracked for the last month, but this has been a worse week.  During the cold itself I wasn’t able to write much. Instead of words, I was creating random keyboard strikes while coughing.

One of the stories I’m co-writing I’ve had problems dredging up enthusiasm for.  I was banging my head against a window.  I could see where I wanted to go, but no matter how hard I pushed, I couldn’t break through the glass.  I thought it had to do with the monster cold, but even as I felt better, I was still blocked. Julie and I had a talk about the plot and character motivations, and we seem to be back on track.

With that problem solved, my next goals were to get ready for Chaos Wolf’s developmental edit, outline the finish Lucy Harker, and begin setting research for a story.  Thursday, I took Sherbert in for a possible tooth extraction and an ultrasound of a suspicious lump.  Prior vets had told us it was just a fat pad, but that diagnosis never seemed to sit well.

Turns out we were right to be leery of that diagnosis.  While she didn’t need her tooth extracted, the “fat pad” turned out to be an umbilical hernia.  She had surgery the same day to fix it, which she came through with flying colors.  The post surgery was less stellar.

We kept her separate per doctor’s instructions.  Then she slipped out of Mom’s bedroom at 3:00 AM Friday.  I spent the morning trying to figure out where Sherbert had slunk off to and keeping the other cats from harassing her too much.  It turns out there’s a spot under the couch that I can’t reach that is just the perfect size for Sherbert to curl up in.  I managed to get some sleep between the growling but had a hard time stringing words together.

Four AM Saturday Mom woke me up.  We hadn’t seen Sherbert use the litter box, and Mom thought her belly felt big.  So I threw on clothes and put her in the carrier and took her to the emergency vet clinic.  The vet (a woman who was way too nice for it being 5:00 AM) said that since Sherbert’s bladder was small, she was probably using the litter box when we weren’t looking.  So I paid for Sherbert’s visit and put her back in the car.  Sherbert then proved that she could use the bathroom.

The stress and lack of sleep knocked me out for most of Saturday.  I wrote with Julie Saturday night, but I’m not sure that it made any sense.  I’ll go back and reread it.   I’ve been staring at Chaos Wolf, trying to decide if I make a structural change to the chapters before I submit it for the edit.  I haven’t even touched the other two stories that I wanted to start on.

It looks like July will be the month I spend getting things back on track.  Fortunately, I don’t have any close, hard deadlines.  The few deadlines I do have are cushioned by a healthy buffer. So after getting back to normal, it will be time to dive in again.

Clawing My Way Back To Health

I’m still recovering from con crud.  It hit so bad that I haven’t been able to go back to the day job.  I finally turned a corner on Wednesday night when I was able to get six hours uninterrupted sleep.  Still, this has been the cold from hell.  With any luck, I’m returning to the day job today. At least it didn’t become bronchitis.

It has severely sapped my energy, to say the least.  I’ve been picking at things that I intended to get done after the con, and managed to accomplish a few.  They all involve writing, but none of them involve actual putting words on paper.  So my word counts are still at the levels they were before BayCon.  I hope I can get things scheduled out to something closer to normal this week.

In the mean time, my friend ElizaBeth Gilligan has released the third book in her Silken Magic series, Sovereign Silk.  You can find it at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, iBooks Store, or your preferred bookseller.

Book Cover Sovereign Silk By ElizaBeth Gilligan

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The Quick And Dirty BayCon Update

I went to BayCon and had fun, but came home with an epic case of Con Crud that is trying to turn into bronchitis.  So a few quick points before I toddle back to a cough medication induced haze.

I won Best in Show for my X-Wing Pilot costume.  Carolyn Hill has awesome pictures of me and Denise Tanaka in her costume on her website.  I’ll get some up once I’m able to think clearly and get permission to post a few more pictures.  It’s hard to take shots of yourself when you’re in costume.

I had an awesome time hanging out with all my friends.  My hobbies-for-writers panel seemed to go over well, so I’ll keep it in my back pocket for future cons.  The co-writer panel was also a lot of fun, and for once I didn’t feel like an imposter when I spoke.  The Match Game was a lot of fun.  The fanart panel was a lot of fun and brought back memories of my time in the X-File fandom.

Unfortunately, I came home feeling a bit off.  By late in the evening, I had a plugged up nose and began the  process of coughing up my lungs.  Docs have seen fit to give me medicine, so I’m now going in an out of a mental haze. I’ll try to do a deeper writeup when I’m not so fuzzy headed.