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November 28, 2013

Things I Love Thursday:

Vintage Thanksgiving Card
Image from The Graphics Fairy


    The week leading up to Thanksgiving can be a busy and stressful one.  That just gives me more of an excuse to take note of the things I enjoy in each day.  Here is my list of things I loved this week.  Happy Thanksgiving and be safe.


    Happy Holidays.  Listen to some great music, spend time with loved ones, and remember to take note of life's pleasures.  

November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo: It's Not All About Winning


NaNoWriMo Participant
NaNoWriMo 2013
Web Badge 

    Including today, there are six days left to write your novel.  How many words do you have left to go?  Do you think you can still win?  If you don't think you can win, I have news for you.  And if you think you can win go ahead and listen in too.  

    Accepting the insane challenge of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days is about more than just winning.  It is about pushing yourself.  It is about challenging yourself.  It is about seeing just what you are capable of.  This is an amazing chance to experiment and learn.  What is your best time of day to write?  Where are you most inspired?  What do you like to listen to when you are writing?  When do you work out your plotting best?  Do you know your answers to any of these questions?  November is a fabulous time of year to try out new things with your writing.  Be adventurous with your writing and writing processes.  There are six days left!  How much do you think you can write in six days?  NaNoWriMo is about more than making a word count.  It is about getting the ideas on something other than grey matter.  It is about getting the story out of your head.  Is there a story in there?  Is there an idea in there?  Play with it.  Have fun.  Just write.  You could be amazed with what or how much you can actually turn out.  Even if you don't pass the 50k mark, look at what you produced.  My first NaNoWriMo, in 2009, only got me about five thousand words.  That is only 10% of the goal.  What it did do though was give me a chance to try to put in words a concept that I had been bouncing around in my head.  It allowed me to attempt to express something that I felt I could contribute to this world.  Furthermore, I credit this as one of the activities that finally pulled me out of a two year writers block. (Yes, writer's block exists.)  What will you achieve attempting what you think might be a stretch or impossible? What will you learn about yourself?  What will you teach yourself?  If you want to write, if you want to express, teach, or even just tell one good story; go write.  

Writing Response

    When I thought of monotonous reasoning I thought of, we do it this way because we have always done it this way.  Is there another way to interpret monotonous reasoning?  Maybe robotic or systematic.  Maybe even without change, which is what I feel I have done with this piece.  The rhythm feels very steady, even boring to me.  But that seems appropriate for the prompt.  Here is my answer to last weeks haiku prompt: monotonous reasoning

This is how we work
Brick by brick or stone by stone
always in this way

Writing Exercise

   One more haiku prompt to finish out the month.  Did you give last weeks prompt a try?  I'll be using the same method to pick this weeks prompt.  Here goes.  First word is 'agreeable.'  The second word is 'vacillation.' I don't know what that means.  New word!  Vacillation  So this weeks haiku prompt is 'agreeable vacillation.'  Have fun and go write something.  

November 21, 2013

Things I love Thursday: A Full Year of Gratitude

Victorian Lady
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    That's correct.  I have been keeping a gratitude list for a full year now.  I decided to go back to that first list I made a year ago and see what I was thankful for then.  It is really nice to be able to look back.  If you haven't tried making a gratitude list yet I highly suggest it.  One of the things on last years list was "NaNoWriMo for being one of the things that helped to end my two year writer's block."  Now for this weeks list.
  • Autumn and the seasonal arrival of mincemeat pie 
  • As for 8tracks this week:
  •  Showing off my small collection of Lego mini figs.  Some of which I have used as role playing minis.  
  • Playing Feed The Beast
  • Seeing a couple episodes of the old Addams Family episodes.  
  • IMDb My go to for info on movies and shows.  
  • Friends and family I have meet over the years.  
  • Watching the launching of MAVEN!!!! 
  • Being around people in real life that don't just think I am weird when I nerd out
  • Twitter and Pinterest.  Such great ways to get information, inspiration or to spread joy and laughter.
  • Working on my NaNoWriMo project.
  • Chocolate Chai Latte
  • Fashion
  • Sleep
  • Warm baths
  • Bloglovin'
  • Thrifting
    I want to send out a huge THANK YOU to Gala Darling!  I have said before, Gala Darling, is the blogger that inspired me to start writing these awesome lists.  She has so many encouraging words to share and I have discovered so much through her blog.  
    Happy Thursday!!!

November 20, 2013

What Has Been Distracting Me From NaNoWriMo

Science

    So much science to read about, learn about, and watch.  There really is.  I have loved learning and exploring for a rather long time.  Astronomy and space are a special interest for me and the internet has made getting access to information on the sciences I love simple.  From blogs to podcasts to virtual hang outs and star parties.  There are so many opportunities out there not only to learn, but also to get involved and meet people.  After going to the virtual star party last month I have really had to be disciplined not to spend my writing time gazing through other peoples telescopes via the internet.  One event I had planned on allowing myself was the launching of MAVEN.  I have no clue how long I have been waiting for this mission.  I first heard of it some years ago.  The very subject matter of the mission really intrigued me.  Really go check out what they are doing over at NASA with MAVEN.  There is really so much science out there.  To put all the things I have been checking out into this one blurb would do them no justice.  I really must do a longer post some time on all the spacey things.


Thanksgiving Greetings with Turkey
Image from Antique Images

Thanksgiving and Baking

    It is Thanksgiving time.  I get to enjoy some of my favorite seasonal pies.  Like mincemeat.  I love mincemeat pie.  I also love sweet potato pie and buttermilk pie.  Buttermilk is available most the year though.  I need to learn how to make these pies at home.  I'd like to start by learning a basic pie crust.  I will have to go see if Alton Brown has any videos and recipes for this.  He probably does.  Baking!  I need to crack out some of the sweets from my oven for the upcoming gathering.  Pumpkin marble cheesecake is my traditional addition to the Thanksgiving feast.  Though I would like to have some other offering in addition.  Not that anyone will turn down cheesecake.  I have been wanting to make something new with pumpkin, but I just haven't made time between everything else.  I think pumpkin muffins would be delicious or a pumpkin loaf of some kind.  Something that could be eaten for breakfast.  These are very distracting thoughts from NaNoWriMo.  And with thanksgiving a week away I need to start baking or it will sneak up on me.


New and Interesting Things

    The internet has no lack of new and interesting things.  Or rather things I have yet to learn of or want to know more about.  Take science for example.  I have been filling up a folder of bookmarks that I just can't look at now, because I really need to be writing.  I think one of my try-its for December will be going through all those bookmarks.  Yeah, 45 links and counting.  I really have my work cut out for me there.  New blogs and people to follow.  Bloglovin' has been a good bit of fun.  Twitter!  Twitter is so distracting.  It is compelling, educating (depending on who you are following), and encouraging.  But all the links and tidbits I want to know more about.  I am simply going to have to shut that window down while I am writing.  I had to shut it down just to write this post.  And, oh the bane of my productivity, Pinterest!  It starts so innocently.  Let me just check out this board.  Before I know it an hour and a half has passed!  But there are really some great things to discover and if I am really careful I can find some really great info and inspiration there for my noveling.  It is a slippery slope though.


1917 Vintage Pump
Image from Antique Images

Fashion

    Between lolita and dandy and all sorts of other fabric wonders, I am in love with ascetics.  It can be just so fun to see how you can transform a dress or a shirt and pants by using different accessories.  Just check out some of these Lolita Blog Carnival posts 1 dress 5 outfit challenge.  Go to the bottom of Megan's post for the links to the other blogs that participated in the challenge.  I had some fun yesterday thrifting with a friend.  We both founds some cute things.  I found a cute olive brown bolero that I think will look quiet smashing with my Eat me Ink me Wine Lover skirt.  


    These are just some of the things that have been distracting me from my writing.  What has been distracting you this month?  

November 18, 2013

Using Affirmations To Win NaNoWriMo

    First, an off topic note:  MAVEN should be launching today at 1:28 p.m. EST .  For more details check out @MAVEN2Mars or on NASA web site. I also posted some other useful links last week in NASA MAVEN Mission.  Now back to writing.

NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo web badge from 2013

     We are well into NaNoWriMo.  Some of us may feel we are way in over our heads, some of us may think we can still catch up and some of us may be well on our way to success.  Today I'd like to introduce you, if you are not already familiar with them, to the powerful tool of affirmations.  What are affirmations?  Let me turn it over to my favorite definition website Dictionary.com

af·fir·ma·tion

  [af-er-mey-shuhn]  Show IPA
noun
1.
the act or an instance of affirmingstate of being affirmed.
2.
the assertion that something exists or is true.
3.
something that is affirmeda statement or proposition that is declared to be true.
4.
confirmation or ratification of the truth or validity of a prior judgment, decisionetc.
5.
Law. a solemn declaration accepted instead of a statement under oath.  

    A lot of people talk about the power of positive affirmations.  Think about this for a moment.  You are listening to what you are saying and what you are telling yourself.  If you keep saying 'I can't do this, I can't do this.'  Guess what, you can't do this.  You will fail no matter how hard you try.  So the first thing you need to do is to stop talking down to yourself .  Just stop it.  Don't tell yourself how much your novel sucks.  It is a first draft!  Don't tell yourself you don't have the time to finish this.  Make time to finish this.  You are the boss of you when it comes to this awesome, amazing project you have started.  Give yourself some encouragement.  Believe in yourself.

    This is where positive affirmations can really come in handy.  I had wanted to post a list of affirmations that could be used to help us all get through NaNoWriMo.  As I thought about it more, I realized that each one of us is different.  Each of our projects are different.  The problems we face may be similar, but when examined carefully each case is unique.  Here is my challenge for you today.  Come up with your own affirmation that you can tell yourself.  What is it that you really need to hear right now?  What encouragement do you wish someone would say to you?  Don't be hard on yourself.  Word your affirmation in a positive and encouraging way.  Stand in front of the mirror and profess to yourself how great your project is going and how much you are enjoying it.   Be your own cheerleader.  Then write like the wind my friend and win NaNoWriMo for yourself.

Writing Response

    Last weeks haiku prompt was 'Waiting and change of seasons.'  Did you give it a try?  I like haiku.  They are very short and can express so much.  Here is what I wrote:

Observe the branches
Still and slack and grey and brown -
When will green appear?


Writing Exerciser

    For this weeks haiku prompt I used a time tested method.  Without looking, I opened the thesaurus to a random page and put my finger down.  I collected two words this way, here is the result.  This weeks haiku prompt is 'Monotonous reasoning.'  


November 14, 2013

Things I Love Thursday: Legos

Scientist from Lego Minifig Series 11
Scientist from Lego Minifig Series 11

   It has been a wonderful and busy week.  I am still behind in my novel for NaNoWriMo.  However my last two sessions were both over 1500 words and I am confident I can catch back up to my goal.  I would like to give a shout of thanks to Gala Darling again who inspired me to originally start these gratitude lists by posting her own on a weekly basis and blogging about how much in can improve your outlook on life and your own situation when you make efforts to notice and remember the things that make you happy, laugh, or just smile.  I have suggested gratitude lists to others and they have also seen results.  If you haven't tried writing your own gratitude list I highly suggest giving it a try.


    So what was awesome in your life this week?  

November 13, 2013

NASA MAVEN Mission

Mars Globe
Mars Globe
Image from NASA

    I am very excited about the MAVEN mission that should be launching this coming Monday(November 18th of 2013.)  MAVEN stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN.  MAVEN is an orbiter that should reach Mars in September of 2014.  It will then begin its mission, taking an elliptical orbit that should pass through several layers of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere.  It will be collecting data from the upper atmosphere, ionosphere and the interactions with the sun and solar wind.

"The atmosphere of Mars is less than 1% of Earth’s, so it does not protect the planet from the Sun’s radiation nor does it do much to retain heat at the surface."
Read more At Universe Today: Atmosphere of Mars

    Since Mars no longer has a magnetosphere the solar winds strip away the atoms of the atmosphere.  I find magnetospheres and their interactions with their planets and the planets atmosphere fascinating.  For more information on the atmosphere on Mars read the quoted article.  For information about atmospheres in general also check out the Astronomy Cast episode #151 Atmospheres.  There are eight instruments on this NASA orbiter including a pair of magnetometers and a neutral gas and ion mass spectrometer.  You can find a list of all the instruments and updates on the mission at the NASA website.  If you are interested in watching the launch also, you should be able to watch it at NASA TV.  Don't be surprised if I am tweeting with excitement about updates on this great mission.

Preparing MAVEN
Image from NASA

November 12, 2013

Haiku Prompt

    Last week's writing exercise was to write a haiku that expresses a scene or a facet of a scene of your story.  If you are not familiar with haiku I put a few links in last weeks post.  I used the opening scene of my NaNoWriMo project.  One of the characters is exploring and trying to study a patch of land that is imbued with magic.

glittering green grove
fluttering foliage full
mind seeks to master

    I had fun doing this.  Did you try a haiku this week?  Have you ever tried to write a haiku?

    Now for this weeks haiku prompt:  Waiting and change of seasons.  

November 11, 2013

5 Ways to Stay Creative in the Madness of NaNoWriMo

    Fifty thousand words can put a lot of strain on us during the month.  It can push our creative selves to our limits and even help us to exceed them.  Some days it will be harder to crank out your 1667 words or more if you have fallen behind.   Here are some strategies to keep your creative self going this month.  

NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo 2012 web badge.  


Play Dress Up

    Dress up is not just for little kids.  A good outfit or costume can affect your mood in positive ways.  Put yourself in your character's shoes.  Literally.  What kind of attire do the people in your story wear?  Does your character like to wear pillbox hats or cowboy boots?  Try wearing something that would be worn in your story or by one of your characters.  If you or your friends don't own anything that your characters would wear try visiting a place that carries the appropriate clothing.  Tr different things on.  See if there are any costume shops near you.  They can be amazing places to explore and may even seed some new ideas to spice up your interest in your story. My story takes place in a medieval fantasy world so I shall be donning my renaissance outfit.

renaissance outfit
My renaissance outfit.

Do a Physical Activity

    It can be refreshing to get up from your chair, go outside(weather and health permitting), and move.  Do something that will give you some time to think.  A run or walk.  Maybe even hit the local playground and just swing for a bit.  My personal favorites are long walks and bike rides.  Not only do you get some exercise, you also get fresh air and possibly some new sights.  An activity that you don't have to completely focus on can give your mind time to wander.  You never know what you'll come up with when you let the thoughts flow.  An activity you have to focus all your attention on can also be beneficial in that you get a rest from having to crank out ideas.

Write in a Different Location

    It is always nice to have the convenience and comforts of your own dedicated work space or office.  However, monotony does not breed creativity.  An occasional trip to a new and invigorating location could be just what you need.  Just yesterday I did some outlining at a coffee shop.  It was great to be away from the looming distractions of my office.

Prompts and Challenges

    This one is especially for those of you who are pantsing their novel or anyone who wants to goof around with their setting or characters for a bit.  Get a prompt for your writing.  Just do a Google search or pick up a book of writing prompts at the bookstore.  You could also try one of the many NaNoWriMo writing dares.  Here is a link to the main thread.  Dares 2013  You can search "dare" on the NaNoWriMo site to quickly find a few of the other dare threads.  Or go through the genre threads for more specific dares.

Meditate

    I am not kidding.  Sometimes so many ideas and thoughts are speeding through our brains that we have trouble focusing.  Taking some time to be still can help us focus and as such be more creative.  I have been using Calm for my meditative purposes lately.  However there are plenty of resources out there.


    There are plenty of other things you could try and each person is different.  Each story or creative project is different.  So just find what works for you and don't be afraid to try new things.

    How do you stay creative during projects that push you to create vast amounts of material?  Do you have any great strategies to add to the list?

P.S. The writing exercise and response to last weeks haiku prompt will be up tomorrow.

November 7, 2013

Things I Love Thursday:Dancing to NaNoWriMo

    I have been working hard at NaNoWriMo.  There has almost always been a flow of music of some kind. It has been a fun and frustrating first week of NaNoWriMo.  I am looking forward to catching up to my word count goals.  But for now food sounds great.

    There were a hand full of tweets I absolutely loved and some that touched my heart.  I included some of those here today.  I hope your Thursday is fabulous!  On to the list of loves.

Pink Rose
I love taking these pictures.  


  • Food.
  • Good tea. 
  • Dance breaks.  
  • Coffitivity All the ambient sound of a coffee shop without anyone trying to talk to you while you work.  I have been using this with 8tracks and the sound of the trees and birds outside.  The combination is very good for my focus.  
    And yes, I have been taking dance breaks.  What did you love this week?  Leave me a comment or a link.  

November 6, 2013

Dreaming of Decor: Bathroom

    Now for another installment of Dreaming of decor.  Today I will be talking about the salle de bain.  I have been brushing up on my French.  For me the bathroom is not just a room to clean oneself and leave.  It is a small haven of luxury.  Or at least I think it should be.  A place where you can take the time to care for yourself and your grooming.  It should be relaxing and pleasing to the eyes.  Filled with smells and possibly sounds that help you unwind.

Bathroom
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    Where as the sweet lolita styled bedroom is not to my taste.  The bathroom seems like a very good place to indulge in the soft pastels and sweet themes of the style.  My dream bathroom would be styled with a little french macron shop as inspiration.  A pastel color palette consisting of primarily mint, blue, purple, and pink.  With a nice cream color as the neutral.  White would be too stark and hard on the eyes.

Eiffel Tower
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    I would like to fill the bathroom with photos and illustrations of France, the macron shop Ladurée, and some other sweet themes that blend well with the two.  Some lovely scented soaps and lotions always make a great addition to any bathroom.  I could hunt through antique and thrift shops for a pretty vintage dish to display extra soaps in.  And what better excuse than pampering myself to buy some really nice quality towels and washcloths in pastel colors.

Purple Flowers
Picture taken on one of my bike trips.

     This really gets me thinking of the different projects I could craft, make or modify for decorating.  I'd like to try making a mason jar of potpourri.  It would have pastel fabric and lace.  The scents would include vanilla.  I am not sure what else to blend with vanilla though.  I love the smell of rose and sandalwood together.  It is a beautiful smell that I love in my soaps when I can get it.  I wonder if those two scents would work with vanilla.  Perhaps an experiment for the future.  I have a few cute cupcake puzzles that I might be able to put into use.  With a little puzzle glue and a nice frame, personalized art.  I may even get some use out of GIMP.  I love to take pictures of flowers.  If I could alter the colors of some of those pictures that could be some really nice results.


mini cupcake puzzles.
My collection of mini cupcake puzzles.

    It is rather entertaining to think about my own decorating choices.  With the number of crafty things I could do to spruce up the bathroom this seems quite like the room to start with.  I must wait till December though.  Or I will never get anything done for NaNoWriMo.  Perhaps I can post progress of the crafts I end up doing here.

    Here are some places I will be looking for inspiration for my salle de bain.
Search: Ladurée on Pinterest
Search: France on Pinterest
Search: Ladurée on Etsy
Search: sweet lolita decor on Pinterest

    How about you?  What do you think about the bathroom?  Should it be a haven or just practical?  What would you want in your bathroom?  Until next time, keep dreaming.

November 4, 2013

First Drafts and NaNoWriMo

Typewriter Girl Vintage
Image from The Graphics Fairy

    There is a great amount of advice out there on writing and NaNoWriMo.  Much of what I have to say today is likely just a rehashing of advice that is already out there.  However, good advice should be repeated.  And sometimes, when we are frantically in over our heads, we need to hear that advice even more.  Lets talk about first drafts.

    They suck.  No, they are not hopeless and you should not give up on them.  The first draft is the first step in your adventure.  If you never write that idea down, you will never have something to work with.  It is a big undertaking.  It is messy and you don't always have all your ideas worked out yet.  The first draft is necessary though.  You can learn so much from the first draft. Just write.  Experiment.  Be awkward.  Get your ideas out on the paper and worry about getting them right later.  Send your inner editor on those coffee runs and kick you inner heckler out of town.

    I think Diana S., from The Pelican Writer, sums up the matter very well in her post Perfectionism and Your First Draft.  Also, if you want something to listen to I suggest the Writing Excuses episode from October 20th 2013 The Internal Heckler vs. The Internal Editor.  Without further a do on to the writing exercises.

Writing Response


    Last weeks writing exercise was to go to Oblique Strategies and write a poem using the statement given as a prompt.  I got the question: "Would anybody want it?"  Here is my response.

Would anybody want it
By Lilian Brennan
Would anybody want it?
This skill I have.
To wrap words around meaning
and meaning around words.
To me it is a toy
and yet a tool.
But is it tuned enough that anybody would want it?
Can I find a place where it is wanted or needed?
Can I earn my own?
Or shall I wander the world ever wondering?
Ever hoping?
Ever fearing?
Would anybody want it?
This skill I have.

Writing Exercises

    This month I would like to play with haiku.  If you are unfamiliar with what a haiku is and how to write one here are a few resources.  

   If you are participating in NaNoWriMo or if you have even part of a story written, pick out a scene.  Try to express that scene or a facet of that scene in a haiku.  

   And in closing, if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, go write.  

2013-Participant-Square-Button.png
NaNoWriMo
web badge of 2013


November 1, 2013

November Try-its

Autumn
Image from Antique Images

    I am a crazy person.  That's right.  I am actually going to try to do other things while attempting to succeed at NaNoWriMo.  I was successful in many of the things I set out to try last month.  Here is this months list of things I am going to try.


  1. Write 60K words for NaNoWriMo
  2. Do all the beginner tutorials for GIMP
  3. Drink a seasonal tea
  4. Learn a new recipe using pumpkin
  5. Craft some autumn/thanksgiving cards
  6. Meditate each day
  7. Study French each day

    This list scares me a bit and that is good.  How about you?  What are your goals for this month?  What would you like to try out?  

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