October 31, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Happy Halloween

    Well today is Halloween.  A wonderful day indeed.  However you celebrate, I hope you are having fun and being safe.  On one of my bike trips, this week, I found this Halloween colored cutie on a door.  He even looked at the camera.
Jumping Spider
Jumping Spider
Googly Eye Pumpkin Girl
Image from The Graphics Fairy
    I am now trying out bloglovin.  Follow my blog with Bloglovin.  Hope your week is going great.   What did you love this week?  Did you dress up?

October 30, 2013

Progress On My 13 Autumn Goals

    It is about time that I talk about the progress of my goals.  That is exactly what I shall do today.

GIMP

    I downloaded GIMP and have taken a little bit of time to try it out.  I used a very simple tutorial from Her New Leaf's Pimp My Blog series.  How to Make a Signature Image With GIMP was very straight forward and the results were pleasing.  The only problem is since my blog has a colored background I could not get the resulting product to look seamless on a post.  It would have been nice to have been able to use the signature.  I enjoyed the tutorial though and if your blog has a white background, you should give it a try.  Here is one of the signatures I created.  It was really simple.  I look forward to trying out some more tutorials.  Maybe I can edit some of my photographs.
-Lilian A. Brennan
Created using tutorial from Her New Leaf.

Books

   I finished one book on the 25th of October.  Mary Robinette Kowal's "Glamour in Glass" is the second in a series.  I have adored these books.  They are artfully crafted and keep me on the edge of whatever I happen to be sitting on at the time with anticipation and excitement to see how things turn out.  I enjoy following the character  Jane and her adventures.  I very much look forward to reading the next in the series "Without a Summer."  However, I will have to wait to read it until December as, if  I start now, I will get nothing done.  
    I wanted to start a new book in October.  However, many of the books I am interested in starting next are too close to the genre of my NaNoWriMo project.  I don't want what I am reading during November to influence what I am writing.  This will likely happen anyway.  But at least if I am reading a cook book I will notice it much more quickly.  LOL.  I will of course never finish reading a cook book cover to cover in the remaining seven weeks of autumn.  But it can certainly be one of the books I am on the side.  Plus, I'd like to learn some new recipes to try for my 13 Autumn Goals.  I can always pick up another book in December.  Maybe even "Without a Summer."  Or perhaps I will read "Homeland" by R. A. Salvatore.  We'll see.

Autumn Decorations

    I have enjoyed this goal.  I haven't done a whole lot of seasonal decorating.  It can get expensive and I am saving up for things I really want to get.  I have gotten a seasonal item that I have wanted to get for several years now though.  A cinnamon broom.  Every year something seems to come up.  But not this year.  This year my home is filled with the delicious smell of cinnamon.  I have friends come over insisting that they smelled chai.  What a wonderfully welcoming smell.  I have also picked up a little, very little, pumpkin.  It sits at my door looking festive.  I will not be carving it as it will last longer.  Also, I feel carving it would make it very Halloween themed.   I look forward to adding a few more pieces to my decorations as the season goes on.  For now I am very pleased with my little treasures.



French

    I was successful I think in listening to more French in the background using 8tracks.  Just check out some of my Things I Love Thursday posts.  Even better, I was introduced to a website where I have started to study again.  Duolingo!  I found it through a friend's tweet.  I am not very far along and can't give much of a review.  I am enjoying it so far and am hoping to make it a part of my daily routine.

Decor

    I have been having fun dreaming of decor and all the beauty I would like to create in my home.  I have a rough idea of what I would like for several of the rooms in my home save the office.  Look forward to more dreaming of decor posts in the future.

    Well those are some of my major updates as far as my 13 Autumn goals.  Tell me about your goals and how you are progressing on them int he comments.  Or if you talk about them on your own blog leave a link.  

October 28, 2013

A Few Last Preparations For NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo web badge of 2012.

    NaNoWriMo is right around the corner.  I can practically smell it.  How about you?  Are you ready?  Today I have a few suggestions for being prepared for the impending challenge, whether you are a pantser or a planner or something in between.


Care For Yourself

    Eat well and get some good shut eye.  There is a good chance that in the effort to make our word count goals we will sacrifice sleep and not make best food choices.  How about starting the month off in good health?  Whatever is your optimal amount of sleep be sure to get it at least these last couple nights before the midnight bells toll, signaling  the beginning of our epic adventures.   Also, and I am sure you have heard this advice before, drink plenty of water.  Dehydration is a miserable state to be in.  It can cause headaches, nausea, and vomiting.  None of these symptoms are conducive to writing a novel.  So drink plenty of water and start November right.  Basically take care of your health.  P.S. This includes your mental health too.  Be good to yourself.


Clean Your Space

    As with our health it is very likely that our chores will fall to the wayside.  So tidy up some of your space now.  Dishes in the sink?  You won't want to have to do them when you'd rather be writing.  Bathroom needs a little bit of cleaning?  Get it done in October.  Your work space.  Ah the work space.  Every year I decide that I want to get it cleaned up before NaNoWriMo.  Haven't been successful with that any year so far.  Maybe this will be the year I clean my desk by Halloween.


Story note cards
One of many NaNo prep ideas.  Quick referance note cards.

NaNo Prep

    This means something different for each person.  Even if you are going to start off NaNoWriMo with a blank sheet and write whatever comes to mind there is still some prep you could do to be prepared.  Maybe you could make a list of prompts in case you have no idea what to do next in the story.  Check out Oblique Strategies for ideas.  Maybe a collection of inspiring pictures is more up your alley.  Or maybe rather than having to search through your extensive notes you could write  important notes on note cards.  Like a mini character sheet with a basic description and some important points.  Maybe even have note cards for locations.  This is entirely up to you.  Whatever you think will help you in November.  Try to prepare it now rather than being distracted by it later.


Feed Your Muse

    Do things, read things, watch things, eat things, listen to things, enjoy things that inspire you!  “Fill the well” as Julia Cameron says.  Let your mind flow with ideas and give it new images and activities to chew on.  Read your favorite blogs.  Finish that book you have been loving all month.  Get lost on pinterest.  Allow your mind to wander.  Learn something new.  Have fun.


Set Goals

    In order to complete the 50K word challenge you need to write at least 1667 words each day.  This will be easier some days than others. This is the time to set your goals for finishing your novel.  Some people like to write extra in the first week.  Word count goals aren't the only kind of goal you can set though.  You could set story goals.  What plot point would yo like to reach by 6K words?  Or maybe your goal is simply not to drink all the caffeine in your house by November 5th.  Having goals can be a great way to stay on track.  For some people having goals to achieve is a source of motivation.  Now is a good time to set some goals for yourself and your novel.  If you'd like further enticement for those extra tough days, maybe you could pick out some little rewards for the milestones throughout the month.  

    What other things could you do to prepare yourself for November the first?  Leave your ideas in the comments below.  I’d really love to hear to hear them.


Writing Responce

    Last weeks writing exercise was to describe a location in 100 words or lees.  Here is my response.

Library
By Lilian Brennan

    The smell of dust,  wood, and aged books fills the air.  Dark wooden floors support the towering shelves.  Heavy wooden tables stretch out in the open spaces.  Their surfaces scattered with books and scrolls.  In dusty half-forgotten nooks plush, cushy chairs wait to be read in.  Archways and doorways open into smaller rooms each with its own purpose.  The brass railings lead up the stairways to the upper floors.  Sounds echo off the coarse stone walls and visitor try to be quiet for each others benefit.  Librarians diligently replace the tomes to the innumerable shelve with precision.  


Writing Exercise: Oblique Strategies

    Go to Oblique Strategies.  What did it say?  Now write a poem.

October 24, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Science!


Pink rose
This rose had a fragrant smell.
    There is a whole mess of wonderful things that I am loving this week.  It has been a very science friendly week for me.   I also got out a lot for rides on my gorgeous bike.  Enjoy and let me know what you are loving this week.



  •  Jazz
  • There are so many butterflies out.  There was even one that flew along side me on my bike for several blocks.  That one was a sizable orange one.  I've also seen yellow ones, blue-grey ones, and I think white ones.  
Blue grey butterfly
This little guy hung out for me while I
 snapped up pictures of him on the roadside.

  • Going for bike rides on beautiful days and taking my camera.  
  • Finding a bush of pink roses that smelled lovely.  See the picture at the top of the post.  
  • Lolita and prince-style fashion.  So cute and adorable!
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate chai lattes

  • This tweet and the related article.  Seriously you can't make this stuff up.

  • Viewing the sky and identifying objects and constellations.   
  • Catching up on the last two weeks of Far Lands or Bust. Just saw episode 302.  

October 23, 2013

Dreaming of Decor: Bedroom

Victorian House
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    It seems like I always enjoyed watching decorating shows, admiring design and observing architecture.  Ever since I was young, I loved the look of Victorian houses.  The bold colors and attention to detail made me dream of what it would be like to live in such a beautiful home.  That is one of the reasons that when I first say lolita fashion I fell in love.  It was gorgeous and so detailed and elegant.

    I have never been one for the sweet lolita-styled bedroom though.  They are cute and very pretty.  However, they don't match my taste for decor.  I prefer darker colors.  I like dark fantasy art, fairies, and dragons.  I enjoy 1:12 scale miniatures, dried flowers and vintage treasures.

Alain Viesca Illustrations
My two beloved Alain Viesca Illustrations.  I'd like to get them framed.


    As was part of my goals I have been dreaming about what my bedroom could look like.  Though I cannot paint the walls where I am living there is no harm in dreaming of my someday room.  If I keep my someday room in mind when picking out furniture and decor, I am essentially building my someday room now.

little treasures
Some of my little treasures.


    When I think of my ideal bedroom, I imagine dark, rich colors with antiqued brass.  I think of gazing up at the stars in an enchanted forest.  As whimsical and fanciful as that statement may sound it gives me an idea to base some of my decorating choices around.   I would paint the walls a deep green and the ceiling would be a dark blue.  Ideally I'd like to paint constellations and little star clusters on the ceiling.  They would be based off of real star formations.  It would add another layer of surrealism if they glowed in the dark.  I would use dark wood furniture and adorn the walls with some of the beautiful art pieces I have collected.  A motif of stars and mythical creatures would be a wonderful touch.  This is certainty not a complete picture, still I think this is a wonderful start for my dream bedroom.

    What do you imagine your dream bedroom looks like?  Tell me in the comments.



    EXTRA: If you are a lolita interested in decorating your bedroom check out the 2012 posts on EGL under the November theme tag.  There are lots of inspiring room pictures.  There have also been some fun related posts on some of the blogs I follow.
Lolita Brand Inspired Decorating at F Yeah Lolita
It’s Your Castle: Series Start! at Parfait Doll
10 Ways to Cute-ify Your Room also at Parfait Doll (Go to the bottom of this post for links to the rest of her series on Lolita rooms)
8 Tips to Decorating a “Gothic Lolita” Bedroom. Is an older post from EGL

OH MY, YES! LOLITA DECOR! Is a tumblr for inspiration

Here are a couple pinterest boards too:
Lolita/kawaii room ideas
Lolita Decor

October 21, 2013

Improving Your Writing Speed For NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo 2012 Web Badge.
    I love charts and math.  One of the things that I was excited to know in NaNoWriMo fairly early on was how fast  I was writing.  I timed myself and did the math.  When comparing those results to how fast they want secretaries to write it was depressing.  In fact it is depressing just to look at the number of words per minute.  But I thought it through.

     The typing tests are usually done with copying down something as opposed to writing from creative scratch.  Also I have heard of people who can type as much as 400 words per minute.  If a person did NaNoWriMo at 400 wpm(words per minute)  they could complete all 50k words in only 125 minutes.  Think I am lying?  Here is the math.

50000(word) ÷ 400(Words/minute)=
50000(words)÷ 400(Words/minute)=
50000(words)÷ 400(Words/minute)=
500 ÷ 4(minute)=
125minutes

125 minutes.  That is two hours and five minutes.  I don’t really see that happening.  If it were that easy for quick typists, the goal would be a lot higher than 50k.  That is when I stopped being sad about my speed and started to compete with just myself.

    I created a lovely little spreadsheet and other simple tracking tools for myself.  I started tracking my word count and wph(words per hour) for each writing session.  I started out with a speed of between 300 and 500 words per hour.  I set a goal for myself of writing 1k words in an hour.  Not only did I reach that goal after quite a bit of work, I doubled it on some of my best days.  For comparison of tracking by the hour verses by the minute, 2k wph is only 33.3 wpm.  Over the time that I was doing this challenge with myself I learned a few things about writing faster.

Distractions

    There are many things that can distract us.  And it is likely that you have heard this one before.  Close out of social media and all other sites, turn off the phone or toss it into the other room, and of course send the kids to the kennel and the dog to the sitter. Wait a minute strike that, reverse it.   One of the things I do is play music.  Back then it was often rock and metal.  I would use this music when I studied in order to literally block out all other distractions.  It doesn't work for everyone.  Some people find music very distracting.  Others prefer instrumental.  Just take the time and effort to find what works for you.

Routine

    Creating a routine really helped me improve my productivity.  I would sit down at my workstation(desk), open the programs I was going to use, get my writing music going, put in my earbuds, and start working.  By creating and following a starting routine I trained my brain to enter a state of productivity and creativity on command.  The command of course being a set sequence of activities.

Goals

    After all the challenges I have taken up and progress I have made I can tell you that having goals are a great way to push yourself.   Also, if you keep records, you can look back over your progress and see how much improvement you made.  Even when you've not made it to your goal seeing how much closer you’re getting can motivate you to do better and better.  Set yourself a goal.  Whether that goal is to write without stopping for thirty minutes or finish so many words by a certain date.  Aim high and see how close you come.

Practice

    It took me seven months of seriously writing to get from 300 wph to a top speed(for that month) of 1185.18 wph.  I suggest working on some other writing projects or just some writing exercises these last eleven days before NaNoWriMo hits.  Get into the habit of turning off your inner editor while you are writing first draft material.  It is first draft material, as long as you can read it later, just keep writing.  Try learning how to open up your mind and let the ideas flow.  The more practice you get the better you will get.

Bad Days Happen

    Understand that you will have bad days.  Don’t kick yourself for them.  Give it your best effort and if you just can’t do it try one of the many strategies out there to get your creative juices flowing again.  Sometimes a bad day(and this is from personal experience) will be the result of overworking yourself the day before.  On at least one occasion I cracked out 5k in a day.  I just couldn't write the next day.  I would try and I couldn't even force myself.  Or I would get a pathetic hundred or so words.  Now maybe for another person they would have to write 10k in a day to overwork themselves and still someone else can only write 3k.  Each person is different and that is natural.  This is also a number you can improve with practice and experience.

Find What Works For You

    The whole experience of challenging myself to write faster made me more familiar with myself.  I learned what distracted me, what motivated me, and how best I worked.  Try different things with your writing habits and find a method, whether it is ordered or some manner of chaos, that works for you.



Red Bottle Brush Bush Flowers
Picture taken by Lilian Brennan.

Now for the writing exercises!

Last weeks exercise: Your friendly Thesaurus
    Pick a random item.  Think of three adjectives that describe the item.  Write a short description of the item using the three adjectives.  Now look up those adjectives in the thesaurus.    Pick a synonym for each of your three adjectives.  Write a short description of the item using the three synonyms.  How different are the two descriptions?

    Item:  A bottle brush flower.  I absolutely love these bushes and trees.  They attract little buzzing bees to the flowers and I love to photograph them.  

    Initial adjectives:  fiery, straight, vibrant

    The red bottle brush flower is a long straight, soft green stem covered on all sides with little, fiery collections of needle like petals.  The vibrant collections are so closely clustered that they resemble a firework frozen in time.

    New adjectives: excitable, smooth, lively

    The red bottle brush bush flowers are an excitable sight to see.  Their smooth green stems are covered in lively, red sprays of petals.

    The initial adjectives I chose left a lot of room for interpretation.  The options for synonyms were interesting.  Some of the options I skipped over for synonyms were hot-headed, violent, short, successive, and vital.  This was quite fun to do.  On to today's exercise.

Writing Exercise:   Setting Scene and Mood

    In no more than 100 words illustrate the location that a story or scene will take place in.  Try to use as many of the senses as you can to help give a more complete picture.  Try to give a mood to the scene as well.  Is this location in a horror story or a comedy.  

October 17, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Music

My new key chain decoration!

    Well it is Thursday again and of course that comes with a Things I Love Thursday list.  A gratitude list is a great way to help remember the positive things we enjoy and experience.  Check out some of Gala Darling's TiLT lists over at her blog.  It was her weekly gratitude lists that inspired me to give this a try.  I love these lists.  They really help me keep a positive perspective even on the really unpleasant weeks.  Have you tried writing a gratitude list?
    What did you love this week?  

October 16, 2013

Ada Lovelace Day, Lolita, and NaNo Prep

    Here is another slice of lice collection of links and my thoughts.

Science, Women, and Ada Lovelace Day

    So I learned yesterday that it was Ada Lovelace Day.  Have you heard of her?  Here are a couple links if you haven’t.  I remember ThinkGeek.com had a series of heroine shirts.  The ones I remember were Marie Curie, Ada Lovelace, and Mary Shelley.  Most of them have been retired.  However, it seems the Marie Curie Babydoll is still available.  I really do love reading about women in history both in STEM fields and outside of them.  I wish they had been covered more in school.  Perhaps I can plan a fun, educational day trip for next year as a way of celebrating women in STEM careers on Ada Lovelace Day.  Also, I need to grab me one of these Lego mini figs.

Lolita and Cute Fashion

    I've been having a blast exploring the blogosphere.  Especially the Lolita Blog Carnival posts and generally just finding new lolita bloggers.  One of my favorite bloggers (and one of the ones I have been following the longest), Caro from F Yeah Lolita, posted about her first attempts with circle lenses.  My First Time Wearing Circle Lenses, Courtesy of Simply-Subtle  I have seen these darling lenses associated with lolita for years now and the more I look at them the more the idea is growing on me to try them myself.  Recently posted to EGL was a video of the “Fashion Show of the Innocent World Tea Party in Vienna.”  It was a good quality video and I loved the chance to see the fashion show.  Maybe some day I can go to one of the lolita brand events in person.  I was particularly fond of The Chocolate Chess JSK and The new Gargoyles of Notre-Dame JSK.
From http://innocent-w.jp/

From http://innocent-w.jp/


Writing and Nano Prep

    Creating an entire world is no easy task.  I recently asked about advice on creating a magic system and was directed to Sanderson’s Laws by Avery from Zero's Journey.  I only in the last week happened upon her blog and I look forward to more of her posts.  I have read half of Brandon Sanderson's essays on the topic of magic systems so far.  I am hoping to finish reading the other half by the end of today.  I have also been going through episodes of Writing Excuses tagged magic.  Here are links to Sanderson’s Laws of Magic.
Sanderson’s First Law
Sanderson’s Second Law
Sanderson’s Third Law of Magic
I am hoping to have some semblance of an outline and a much better understanding of the magic in my world by Halloween night.  Just in time for NaNoWriMo.

    Hope your Ada Lovelace Day was great.  What have you been into lately?  

October 14, 2013

7 Great Resources For NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo web badge from 2013

    With NaNoWriMo approaching, it is time to prepare yourself and possibly plan your fabulous novel.  Here are seven resources that can be really helpful to you in your quest.  Some of them are great for during NaNoWriMo, others are great for the preparation.  It all depends on how you are going about your work.


NaNoWriMo Forums

    With a site filled with hundreds of thousands of other writers, I always find the forums to be a safe place to ask questions.  Whether it is researching something your afraid to ask elsewhere or writing techniques.  Even grammar questions are safe to ask.  I am still looking forward to the thread I see every year about research.  The thread usually asks what people are researching that could be perceived as less than innocent.  (ie: How long does it take to bleed out from (insert wound here?) or What does it feel like to pass out from chloroform?)  Generally things you don't want to test out on your own.
    It is also a great place to just hang out and procrastinate, learn about new things, or talk shop.  There are the Genre Lounges with threads for Adventure, Chick Lit, Historical Fiction, and Satire(among several other genres).  There is NaNo Groups with sections for different age groups and backgrounds.  Go and take a gander at the forums over in NaNoland.  I am sure you'll find something of interest.    
    With eight seasons of advice from published authors, writing excuses is a treasure trove of knowledge in the art of writing.  Each episode is as they say "Fifteen minutes long.  Because your in a hurry and we're not that smart."  Check out the tag for NaNoWriMo.  Last year they even did four mini-bonus episodes just for NaNoWriMo.  I hope they will grace us with another round this November.
    Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson , Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells have covered so many topics and answered so many questions.  Take a look through their archives or select one of the tags you are interested in.  I will be going through some of their episodes on magic and magic systems later today.  One of the tags I have devoured in the past is worldbuilding.  They also have episodes on outliningwriting career, and comics.  The episodes that focus on their own writing projects are engaging and insightful.  Get some great advice and encouragement from the folks at Writing Excuses.  
    Any dictionary and thesaurus will serve you well when you are writing.  I like this site because it is right there at my fingertips.  It is easy to switch from the definition of a word to the thesaurus entry.  It will also read the word to you.  This is great for those time when you have read the word a hundred times, but never heard it spoken.  It is also great for words you use all the time, but have never seen in writing so you simply don't recognize the word when you do see it.  They also have some interesting articles they will feature on language.  Here is one of the recent articles; Why is it called America, not Columbusia?  Go check it out.  Learn some new words.  Or maybe new uses for old words.  
    This is a great source for inspiration, writing advice, and collecting ideas.  Just don't get sucked in.  In fact, I would suggest using this before November starts and then being very disciplined with your use of it during November.  If you create an account you can then create web based inspiration boards for your work.  There are also boards dedicated to writing advice and NaNoWriMo.  But like I warned don't get sucked in when you should be writing.  
    Do you ever get stuck?  Not sure what to do next?  Pop on over to this link and have it give you a short idea or strategy.  Simple, sweet.  Don't like what you got, just refresh the page.  

8tracks.com

    Need to set the mood?  Pick out some playlists to work to.  You can even create your own mixes.  I like to work to instrumental playlists.  Fewer distractions.  Chantel showed me this user, The Great Zucchini, who has several mixes for different setting.  I am hoping to get some mixes picked out for the different scenes in my project and then hopefully a few extras on the side.  One of the great things about this site is that when one playlist ends it will automatically start a new playlist based off the tags of the last one.

Your mind

    The most important tool and resource for creating any piece of art is your own mind and heart and soul.  So create and may your muse be with you.


    Here is my writing response to the writing exercise from September 30th.  Description Exercise
    A brass and glass housing.  The rounded brass base is stable and thick.  On top of the base a brass cup is nailed in place.   Each of its six windows, mounted on the edges of the base, is engraved with a simple star.  On the top of the windows sits a shallow bowl shape of brass with two smaller copies of itself open faced to each other mounted on top.  Each of the bowl-like shapes is punched through with six point stars.  On the very top is a little loop that can be used as a handle except when a candle in the inner cup is lit.  Then the little loop and the top of the housing becomes too hot to touch with bare hands.



    It was a lantern.  I think I am going to try this a few more times.  I wasn't particularly pleased with my results.  I need more practice.

Writing Exercise: Your Friendly Thesaurus 

    Pick a random item.  Think of three adjectives that describe the item.  Write a short description of the item using the three adjectives.  Now look up those adjectives in the thesaurus.    Pick a synonym for each of your three adjectives.  Write a short description of the item using the three synonyms.  How different are the two descriptions?

October 10, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Realms Con



    This week has been so busy.  I worked at the convention and met all sorts of people.  How is your week going?

  • Seeing humming birds for the first time in what seems like forever.
  • Experimenting with blending lipstick colors.
  • Helping friends. (Worked at Realms con)
  • Seeing other lolitas in person.  
  • Finally finding an adorably cute little cupcake for my key chain.  
  • Sleeping for eight hours.  
  • Steam punks.  They are cool, crafty, innovative people.  Special shout out to the crew of Air Ship Isabella!  
  • Talking about hats and making hats.  
  • A great TEDxSF Talk by Mel Robbins TEDxSF - Mel Robbins - F--- YOU - How To Stop Screwing Yourself Over
  • Just hanging out in the local bookstore.  
  • Cinnamon tea
  • Listening to the silence once in a while
  • Going for walks
  • Brainstorming about my NaNoWriMo project and having an epiphany.  


October 9, 2013

Taking Time For Myself

    After a little more than a day and a half of staying inside to recover from my weekend of volunteering I decided that I needed to get out and do something.  I still felt fairly worn out, so I dressed my self up a little.  Black slacks, a long sleeve white blouse, one of my gorgeous and versatile pashminas, and a stylish jacket.  The weather has been a little chillier this week.  Proof that it is fall I suppose, but as this is Texas it might be sweltering again in a few days.  I donned a few of my favorite pieces of jewelry and put on some basic make up.  I don't personally wear makeup for anyone but myself.  It is an art form to me.  It is  a space of time I spend entirely dedicated to myself.  I think everyone should spend some time each day just for themselves.  Whether they spend it doing make up, meditating, or perhaps listening to their favorite music.  It is good to forget the rest of the world and just spend a few moments with yourself.  I packed some work to take with me should I feel like doing it.  Then putting on my favorite, androgynous hat walked out the door.  I would normally take the bike.  It is such a high to ride without a destination.  However, I had no desire for such exertion of energy.  I wanted to walk and enjoy the weather.  It was cool and still.  The sun was bright and warm when it hit me.  I walked down to the coffee shop to have some tea and a little snack.  A little change of scenery is always a great way to get my energy going again.  I sat there thinking, listening, and observing.  When I had emptied my drink, I picked up my things and walked back home.  The moon was in a fine, slender waxing crescent.  I feel much better after my walk.  What are some of the things you do to recuperate after big events or projects?



October 7, 2013

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

    It is October and with November the first fast approaching it is time to begin preparing ourselves for NaNoWriMo.  This of course means something different for each person.  I have participated in NaNoWriMo for four years now and have even participated in some of the sessions they have run during the summer months.  Camp NaNoWriMo is great for anyone who is too busy in the month of November or for  those who want to take more than one crack at the challenge per year.  Of course, you can challenge yourself anytime you like.  However, there is much fun to be had with the widgets and the silliness and chatting, online or in-person, with other wrimos.  Today I would like to take some time to talk about how we can prepare for NaNoWriMo.



Sign up for NaNoWriMo

    The first step, most certainly, must be to go sign up for NaNoWriMo if you have not already.  Once you have signed up you can update your profile, put some info up about you novel if you have any yet, and find you regional forum.  It is free to sign up and there is a wealth of knowledge on the NaNoWriMo site.  The forums are another great source of support and information.  You can also see if your region is having any in person meetings or parties.  If you are interested in NaNoWriMo and haven't signed up yet, click here.

Writing Game Plan

    Are you going to research, plot, and plan ahead of time?  Or are you going to just start typing on the first and see what happens?  Here are some articles about planing and pantsing as they are called in the NaNoWriMo community.  The Great Debate: Are you a planner or a pantser? is a piece by Sarah Mackey that talks about the difference between the two methods.  Writing excuses did a pod cast about Pantsing.  Another great article to read is Grant Faulkner's Pantser? Planner? Percolator?.  How do you plan on going about your novel?
    In your game plan think about your month.  How many words do you need to write each day.  For many people in the United States of America Thanksgiving can be a very difficult time to write.  If there is a large event of family gathering that will keep you away form your writing perhaps you should plan to write extra before that time so you can stay on track.      There are several other things to think about in the process of creating your writing game plan.  When will you write?  What time of day do you write best?  What time of day will you have time to write?  These times do not always coincide, but that is no excuse to not write.  You would be surprised with how much you can write in a small space of time when you dedicate your mind to it.  What program or method will you use to write?  If you are not typing on a program, that you can copy and paste your novel to validate the word count, I have seen NaNoWriMo suggest using a random text generator to validate your novel.
    This all brings us to another question.  Where will you write?  

Writing Work Space 

    It is important to find at least one place that you know you can work at.  It is nice to have a desk with a computer, but not everyone has that.  There may also be times, even if you do have a desk or table to work from, that you might want to take your writing to another location.  Whatever or wherever counts as your primary work space, determine what it is ahead of time.  If you like to work in a clean space clean your desk or organize your traveling kit before November hits.  Jessi wrote about the distraction of Perfecting My Writing Workspace.  So, get your space perfected ahead of time.

Being Social During NaNoWriMo

    Another area to consider for NaNoWriMo is the social parts of your November.  Will you still see friends and family or will you turn into a recluse for a month?  Are there events you need or want to go to?  Are there things people expect of you during this month?  Don't try to only write when no one is looking.  Let people know what you are doing.  Let them know that you are participating in this great challenge.  Not only will they now be aware of why you may have forgotten to call them back for two days, but some of the people you tell are sure to ask you how it is going throughout the month.  It can be fabulous to have a friend who encourages you to write.  Or perhaps you will find out one of your friends already participates.  Or you could convince a friend to join the challenge.  Also remember that your NaNoWriMo region may have meeting, write-ins, or other events planned.  Do you want to attend any of those?  

Food and Supplies

    When it come to writing, as with any task, you need to fuel your body.  What can you do to make fueling yourself in November not cut too deeply into your writing time.  Maybe you'd like to use paper plates and plastic utensils so you don't have to wash so many dishes.  What meals can you prepare quickly or ahead of time.  Think about snacks.  Also think about your health.  Ramen might be quick and easy, but it isn't very nutritious.   
    Think about the items you may need to buy and if you can buy them ahead of time.  Toilet paper, paper plates, cleaning supplies.  Are there foods you can stock up on that won't expire during the month?  Maybe you could even write a list of regular items you plan to buy each week.  Then you can just add the extras on to for each trip.    

    There are a number of ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo or any writing challenge.  It is going to be different for each person.  Make your plan and write on.  

    So are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo?  What are your plans for success?  Do you have any suggestions?  

    Due to the chaos and exhaustion of volunteering for Realms con I will be posting my response to last weeks writing exercise next Monday along side the next writing exercise.  

October 3, 2013

Thing I Love Thursday: Butterfly!

It is Thursday again.  I hope everyone is having a great week.  Here are some of the things I loved this week.



What did you love this week?  

October 2, 2013

e Readers, NASA, and Minecraft

Here are a few of the things I have been reading and doing this past week.

Writing and the e Book Market

I read an interesting post over at Anne R. Allen's Blog.  “The Ebook Market No Author Should Ignore: Think Globally!” was an interesting and enlightening read.  It highlighted for me some of the distinct advantages of e readers when traveling.  I have heard on several occasions people arguing that the e books will make paper books obsolete.  Personally I don’t believe this will ever truly happen.  Books and e reads both have advantages and disadvantages.  I think there is a place for both in the world.  Honestly, do you want an author to sign your e-reader or your book?

NASA and Government Shutdown 

I have been following NASA and Spaceflight Now on twitter.  It has been very informative.  It was really neat to see that they pasted several updates leading to the docking of the Soyuz to the International Space Station.  One of the NASA missions I am most excited about is MAVEN.  The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN(MAVEN) is set to launch on the 18th of November and is going to explore the atmosphere and ionosphere of Mars.
Unfortunately NASA shut down on its 55th anniversary yesterday due to the government shutdown.  Universe Today posted an article explaining what the government shut down means for NASA.  Which includes the possibility that MAVEN might miss the launch window and have to wait until 2016.  See the article at Universe Today. --> What Does The Government Shutdown Mean For NASA?

Geeky Food

This week, while poking around on the internet, I came across a web series I had forgotten about.  Nerdy Nummies.  I soon after found Quake N Bake.  These two series feature instructional videos on how to make nerd related sweets like these Minecraft character sugar cookies.   They came out looking really good.  Maybe someday I will try to make them.  Imagine creeper cookies.  Ahhhh!

October 1, 2013

October Try-its

Try-its!  What are try-its?  Try-its are the former name for the girl scout badges for the brownie level.  Cute little triangular shaped badges they get for of course trying and learning new things.

I like to start the month off with a list of things I want to try.  Try to do.  Try to taste.  Try to see.  Sometimes it is a more focused list of my bigger goals and sometimes it includes websites and blogs I have been meaning to take the time to explore and sometimes it is just a list of things I need to finish.  When the end of the month rolls around I see what all I have checked off and make a new list for the next month.
This month I would like to:


  1. Check out a site brought to my attention by a friend.  The site is called “Tiny Buddha” 
  2. Get prepared for Nanowrimo.  I am a planner and I want all my resources laid out when November the first rolls in.  
  3. Get the program GIMP and start studying tutorials.  Which means I also need to find tutorials.
  4. Play more French in the background.  
  5. Write down my a theme for each room and collect paint swatches.  
  6. Finish one book and start another one.  
  7. Decorate for autumn.

So what are you focusing on this month?


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