My Choices

Rules: No corrections, no stopping, nothing else
Time Limit: 10 minutes

I have had quite an interesting week. I have gotten some time to seriously just sit down and think about where my life is, where I want it to go, and where it is supposed to be going. Yesterday after I got home from work, the hubby took the laundry over to get started and we went swimming. We were only gone for about 30 minutes, but it was relaxing and fun, and exactly what I needed.

One thing that I have learned is that I can absolutely not take my work home with me where I am at currently. I need to do my job to the best of my ability, and then when I clock out at 4:30, I need to leave it there and enjoy what really matters, my home life with my husband.

It is not that I don’t like working extra or helping to make where I work better and more efficient; however, when they fall upon deaf ears it can be defeating. They ask your opinion but they don’t really want it. So I’m choosing to not let myself stress over it. I am choose to let it go and leave it at work. I did that fully for the past three days at work and it feels awesome.

I have been struggling a little this week with my novel writing. I’m realizing how unprepared I was in planning that I am at a point where I feel a bit lost. I’m on the cusp of reaching 100 book pages, which is amazing… but I might need to rework things and start over. Don’t get me wrong, there are so many ideas and conversations that would move on into the revision, I’m just wondering if I should keep plowing through what I’m doing to finish just to say I finished, or if I should sit down and revisit the storyline and rebuild from there.

There is another writing project (a smaller but more long term one) that I am currently praying about. I have told a couple of people about it and they seem excited for the prospect, but I am unsure how I want to start it and when. The concern only comes from the amount of time it will take to do it and the amount of time I currently have. This whole working full time thing is really getting in the way!

It is my hope to ponder and pray over the weekend and make a decision closer to the front of the week on where I want to take my writing in every aspect of my life. It seems I have much to think about. I am very thankful I have the next two days off to relax and figure it out!

One last thing. I slept for 8 hours last night. The first time in what feels like months. What an amazing feeling… I say that as I yawn. Hehe…

~Kay

Ready, Set, Goal

Rules: No corrections, no stopping, nothing else!
Time: 10 minutes

It is amazing that I have so much on my mind and nothing really to say. My main focus this morning has been that it is Friday and I look forward to having a weekend off. And by off, I mean jam packed with all sorts of activities. Tonight after work and for most of the day Saturday, Steve and I have a class to take so that we may become members of our new church officially. The class itself isn’t required for membership, only if you want to volunteer within the congregation. Steve has already started ushering so it is important that we get this done straight away. I definitely want to serve myself; however, I am not sure what I want to do exactly.

I rarely drink soda, but this morning I am sipping on this amazing Vanilla Coke from Sonic. I like their ice as much as I like the soda. I wish I had a freezer full!

My first month writing challenge is nearly complete. I have had great support from my family and friend and am really feeling accomplished. I’m going to keep the official numbers secret until June 1st; however, I can tell you now that I STOMPED my 10,000 word goal. I have been doing a lot of learning over the past 30 days, not just about writing but about myself and I am truly thankful for.

If you are considering writing a book, I cannot tell you how absolutely imperative it is to write a very detailed outline. The outline might have to work in stages. The first one, just do broad story ideas, but as these ideas progress, dig deeper and get into specifics. I thought I had a great outline (don’t get me wrong, it’s decent) but it is not nearly detailed enough to write an entire book between 250-350 pages.

After an outline, I recommend setting some goals. I would say think about the whole picture. Daily goals, weekly, monthly and throughout the year. I knew that I wanted to complete the first draft of my novel by my birthday (23 September), that was my long term goal. So I needed to figure out what I needed to do to get there.

I didn’t want to overexert myself so I kept my goal reasonable at 10,000 for the month of May. I didn’t want to burn out. I didn’t want to give up. I made my goal easy enough to complete. That was about 350 words a day. I found it to be too easy so somewhere around the halfway point I upped it to 500 words a day. Not a huge increase either, but it was a realistic goal.

For me, I would rather have my goal be a little lower and me reach it than set it too high and fail. I need to do everything in my power to make my dreams reachable, even if that means making smaller goals. It has been working for me. On Sunday, I will let you know totals and I will set up my June goal, which I can already tell is going to be a little bigger than my May. It won’t be too dramatic of an increase because I want to keep this steady and consistent.

Disciplining yourself to write everyday is easy when you know it’s what you want to do. If you’re still making excuses for why you don’t write everyday… well, maybe you’re just not ready for it yet. Never give up on your dreams. Make them a reality by making goals and reaching them. Put a date on your dreams and simply make it happen!

Keep Calm and Write On!

~Kay

Unstoppable

There is something freeing about free style Fridays. I like that I can just take a few minutes to relax and unwind. I can allow the stresses of my job for the week just float away like snowflakes falling from the sky.

I have been on this writing challenge journey for sixteen days and I feel as though I am doing a phenomenal job, if I do say so myself. I am far from perfect; however, the key here that that I have met or exceeded my goal everyday thus far. I am in the process of fully discipling myself to write daily. I love the feeling. When I complete and exceed my goal, I find myself feeling happier and more confident in myself. And for those of you that actually know me, you know how big of a deal this actually is!

Something that I am learning, is that when I write, I love to be alone. I need to be away from every single distraction. There are times where I wish I could unplug the wireless internet (pun intended) so I cannot get onto Facebook. It has been harder than usual especially because part of my job at work is to run the social media for the store. I am on there off and on for 8 hours a day five days a week. You would think I would be sick of Facebook… and to be honest with you… I kind of am. I read and reread the same posts over and over again. I comment and like on occasion. I have recently gone through and followed a few British news sights and the local Tennessean here in Nashville. Something interesting I found out– nine times out of ten, the British tend to post stories that are backed out of the USA before the US actually does. Does that make sense to you? It was a little puzzling to me as well. But I digress.

So as I have been writing, I like being alone with absolutely no other sound than myself clicking the keys to my laptop. I love the sound of a good keyboard. Last night, I had been typing in bed and my husband was at his desk, and bless his heart he kept talking to me. I used to get frustrated when I was trying to concentrate; however, this time I simply told him I loved him, kissed him on the head, grabbed my laptop and moved myself to the darkened living room.

I love dark spaces. I love saving energy as much as possible, so I have grown to love the dark. I shut the door to the bedroom and settled in on the couch in darkness. The only like that showed was that pesky modem light that reminded me that my wireless internet still worked, and that it missed me desperately. The other like was just the gentle glow of my laptop, open to my novel. My cursor was blinking to the beat of my heart and I just fell in step. My fingers moved rhythmically at lightning speed as the words were coming out of my brain almost faster than I could talk.

It is in moments like that when I know for sure what I want to accomplish in my life. I am writing. I know that the rest will come with me in time and after a ton of research and questions to anyone that is willing to stop for a moment and answer. It will be a challenge and it will be hard. You know what? That doesn’t even matter. I know that it will be worth it. So, bring on more writing in the middle of the night with no lights on. Bring on less sleep than I really need. My heart demands that I commit and finish that which I start. I have never been so excited or determined. I am ready to take on the world.

Keep Calm and Write On!

~Kay

The Funk

Have you been in it before?  The writing funk I mean. It seems like I have no escape from it today.  A scene that should take only a half hour has taking an hour to write one line! Heck, it’s taken me fifteen minutes just to write this! Could be because I’m distracted by the TV. Maybe I should stop watching it while trying to write. I was going to go outside, sit on the porch, drink coffee and write in the quiet of the morning. However, the neighbors are working on their roof which means lots of loud noise. So inside writing it was.

Sometimes I need something to distract me, but right now I feel like I can’t have the distractions. Focus…. Focus… what’s that?

The funk will go away, at least I hope… I still have a writing goal to meet today! :D  Keep it up… no matter what.

-Jay

Freedom to Be Me

No corrections, no stopping, 10 minutes, nothing else!

The weather has been getting warmer, and the part of the building where I work is humid, and it doesn’t get great air circulation. I have two fans set up and they work pretty nicely; however, if I move beyond their range, I get hot and sticky fast. The only official uniform we have are these super thick men’s polo shirts which allow zero breathing room. What I wouldn’t give to be able to wear a nice thin cotton t-shirt!

It has been a busy week at work, but I am finally seeing some progress in my department after being going for a while, first with Jay’s visit and then with not being well. The road ahead is still long. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I need to pace myself and take my time.

I loved waking up to a cloudy sky this morning. I know so many people that crave the sun. I am not one of those people. I crave the cloud cover, and the rain. I don’t wish or hope for damaging storms, but I like that type of weather. I feel at home there. I feel safe and welcomed. It puts a smile on my face and that is what is important.

I have too much on my plate right now and it is wearing me thin. I need to prioritize and figure out what I can cut out in order to make sure I am getting more than four hours of sleep at night. There are some things; however, that I am absolutely not willing to give up.

I refuse to give up on my writing on either medium. I will continue to blog 5 days a week, and I will complete my writing challenge everyday of at least 350 words written in my novel. I refuse to give up on the business that my husband and I have started. It is a lifestyle change and it will be hard work, but let me tell you, in the long run, it WILL be worth it. Working side by side with my husband is a dream come true.

If that is what I will not give up, what does that leave? That leaves pursuing my master’s degree in English and Creative Writing (which in all honesty is going horribly at the moment), and my 40 hour a week job. Interestingly enough, these two areas are what is causing the most stress in my life. I am trying to cram two full time jobs into 40 hours (Social Networking Specialist for the entire store and running the media department within the store).

School is the easiest thing for me to drop right now. As hard as I am trying, I am barely making a passing grade which is so unusual for me to get anything below an A. There’s a month of classes left. I am unsure if I can dig myself out of the pit that I am in grade wise. This is hard to admit without being ashamed.

As much as I would LOVE to give up my job, it is not a financially wise decision. I wonder if slimming back my responsibilities and maybe going down to 4 days a week would make a difference. That is something that I would need to discuss with Steve. If nothing else, it would allow me to catch up on the sleep that I so desperately need.
mickywrite

Here are a few of my writing goals both short term and long:

1) Write daily in my novel, 350 words minimum (with a personal goal of at least 500 for the rest of May).

2) Write 75,000 words (approximately a 250 page book) by my birthday: September 23rd. In order to accomplish this, I will need to up my monthly goals from 10,000 to 20,000 which means about 700 words a day for June, July, and August, and finishing up the final three weeks in September.

3) Continue to blog five days a week.

Food, Glorious Food

With it’s subtle hints of sweet and savory flavors and the perfect combination of spices, a bland dish like meat, potato, and vegetable, can explode the palette of anyone. I grew up around bland meals. Every night it was hamburger patties with mashed potatoes, and corn or peas. The best part of the meal was the Mashed Potatoes. Every now and then mom would make biscuits and hamburger gravy or some oven-fried chicken with white gravy, but there would always be mashed potatoes and some starchy vegetable. I couldn’t complain much as a kid about our food cause at least we had some, though I did wished that it had a bit more flavor. My dad taught my mom how to cook and he learned to cook while he was in the military. This explains a lot!

Since neither of them really experimented with anything, I had to wait till I learned how to cook in order to fix something new. I would sit for hours watching cooking shows on the food network or dig through recipe book after recipe book trying to find new and inventive ways to have the same things we made everyday. I remember making spaghetti one night (my favorite meal) using the store bought Prego sauce. Since I was cooking, I decided to spice it up a bit. I reached in the cupboard for all the spices and started putting in dashes of flavor. The end result came out a little spicier than I had imagined, but it was really good. Dad didn’t like the spiciness much. He almost refused to let me ever cook again.

After that I started baking. I mostly made popovers, muffins, and cookies. Cookies were pretty easy but I hardly ever ate them. I don’t really like cookies. When I married my first husband I was able to experiment a little more, but since he was hardly home, I didn’t have to cook much for two people. When I met my second husband and his family, I was introduced to a new set of foods. My mother-in-law basically used me as a guinea pig. We had artichokes, spinach dips, sourdough pizza, some bean thing, and lots more. Although I’m still not a fan of artichokes just yet, everything else I had was incredible.

Now that I am married and live 3,000 miles away from my family, I have begun to really dive in to cooking. I love it. I even made my own spaghetti sauce recipe which I hope to put in a food contest sometime. I’ve experimented with crock-pot meals, soups, and tried my hand at some cauliflower crust pizza. You could call it an addiction. However, I might take it one step forward and say that my addiction stems with recipe books. I have tons of magazines from better homes and gardens, Taste of Home, Cooking Light, Rachel Ray, Paula Deen, and many more. It is some of my favorite midnight reading material. Even if I have looked at the recipes once before I will do it again.

Most of the recipes I made,  I have changed to make my own. For example I made some Turkey Meatballs last night. The recipe called for cornmeal but since I was fresh out of cornmeal I used bread crumbs instead. I also added a little more spices to the meat then what it called for. I put those meatballs in with my homemade spaghetti sauce and it was one of the best spaghetti meals we have had. Since we have leftover meatballs, we plan on making meatballs subs for dinner tonight.

I hope to continue down the path of experimentation. I don’t want to be a chef but I would love to continually provide meals to my family that will expand their palette. Let’s hope I can do just that!

Although I will never cook lobster or octopus!!!

NEVER!

-Jay

Overcomer

Rules: No correcting, no stopping, nothing else!
Time: 7:04-7:14am

I feel like it has been ages since my last free write. I have started a 30 day challenge with one of the writing groups I am involved with. I set my own writing goal for the month, announce it to them, and then they help hold me to my goals. I am aparently pretty ambitious. My goal for myself with them is 10,000 words in my novel. This is a huge deal considering that I’ve been talking about starting it for aged and haven’t done anything with it yet.

After I had commited to it, I questioned my state of mind, because I think that I was crazy to make such a lofty goal. But you see, it seems that big because I am looking at the big picture. Let’s break it down. If I write 350 words a day, just 350 for 31 days (in May) I’ll have written 10,850 words. Whoa, that’s more than my goal! And 350 words a day is NOTHING! I can do this. Not only can I do this, I am excited.

That’s the good news, the bad news is that I only made it to 132 words last night. But hey, if I reach 700 today I am already back on track, it is that easy. I like that!

So there is no confusion, I kind of have two different book projects going on at the same time. The first one that is associated with my goal is the book that has been brewing within me for more than half my life. The second is a project that I am working on with Jay. What’s interesting is that these two books are so far apart from each other, it is surprisingly easy to keep focused on no matter which piece of writing I am working on.

I work today so I plan on working on my word goals on my breaks and on my lunch. I am pretty excited about this, and I get to skype with my friend Jen for the first time in ages. I think we’re both a little nervous, but excited at the same time. It is my prayer that she has a restful day and will be able to chat for a while tonight. I hope to make this a more regular thing. She is one of the main inspirations for this book that I am working on. I have the general basis set up, but things have been slowly shifting the more that I am writing.

So, I think I have found my biggest hindrance when writing. It is extremely hard for me to stay in present tense. I find myself using past tense, and passive writing all the time. I’ve been catching myself in the past two days, but it is something that I have to actively do. Ugh! That is my Achilles heel. I will overcome it, because as Mandisa says, I’m an overcomer!

~Kay

Sleep Style

Rules: No corrections, no stopping, no other rules!
Time: 8:27-8:37am

I forget how I heard this, except through my husband that if you have to wake up to an alarm clock, you are already sleep deprived. That was a sad realization to me as I wake up to alarms at least five days a week. I try not to set them on my two days off and just sleep; however, something always comes up and I simply do not have the opportunity to sleep in as much as I used to. Do you remember the lazy weekends or summer days in school when you didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to do something or be somewhere? Yeah, I miss them as well.

This morning was no different. My alarm was set for 6:40am. It went off, and I grumbled. I hit snooze until 6:48 and then reset my alarm to 7am. When 7am hit I apparently set my alarm again for 7:15. I’m glad I did not set it any later because I gave myself 30 minutes to get ready for work. I could hardly keep my eyes open, so even the act of walking around like a zombie was difficult.

With a little motivation from my husband I was able to get ready and get out the door on time. I even managed to catch all the good lights and was able to clock in three minutes early. Sweet! I am still dragging. I can’t help but to yawn and I feel like I am walking around with lead in my shoes.

My agenda for the work day is full and I am looking forward to completing my tasks. I have a few things that I need to take care of on my breaks, but if I play my cards right I will be able to go home after work today and start to get things finished for Jay’s arrival Sunday afternoon.

Steve has been doing great at keeping the apartment clean so it will probably consist of doing laundry. I might push that off until tomorrow just so ALL of my clothing is clean for when she is here. I might still need to do laundry then, but we shall see.

We have already started mapping out everything that we want to do. They must have the door open because I can hear the morning birds chirping outside. I know that some people find that annoying, but I actually really like it. I would rather wake up to birds than my alarm. Wouldn’t you?

I am looking forward to the adventures Jay and I will have when she is here. I know we will be taking pictures of everything we do (or don’t do) and I hope for us to be able to share this week long adventure with you!

This seems to be the longest ten minutes I have experienced in a while. I mean I suppose its the same 10 minutes as any other; however, just like watching a pot of water boil, time seems to stand still. I am looking forward to writing a poem tomorrow for my poetry weekend! I haven’t told Jay this yet, but I think we should both post poems tomorrow so we can keep all next week strictly adventures! Ah, I’m so excited!

Well, I took my morning break early to get this written, and it is just about over. I hope everyone is feeling the effects of Spring and not Winter this morning! I am also wishing you non alarm clock mornings! Take care my friends. Let’s get ready for the day ahead! It will be whatever we make it to be. Let POSITIVE things motivate you!!!

~Kay

Free Sleep

Time Limit: 10 minutes

Rules: No corrections, no stopping, and nothing else!

Time: 6:50-7:00pm

 

Today I woke up in a great mood. My husband and I chatted and I lazily got ready for work. I was slow enough that even though I woke up early, I nearly arrived late. That’s okay though, because I live close to my job and the traffic signals were good to me today. If I was pressed for time in a serious manner, then I would have most certainly hit every red light between my home and ThriftSmart.

I didn’t do a lot today; however, I got a lot accomplished. Does that even make sense? Basically, I did a lot more organizing in my office and straightened things out. I made a list of everything I want to accomplish in the week ahead and what I need to do to actually get it done. I have a busy day planned for tomorrow; however, I know it will be well worth it. I was going to Skype with Jay this evening; however, plans have changed slightly. I’m a little sad about it, but we have rescheduled for tomorrow evening. I have to make sure that I get off work RIGHT on time so I can make it home in time to talk. We have a very busy weekend.

My first two weeks of school have been quite interesting. It has been easier than I originally anticipated. I mean sure, I still have a paper that is due on Sunday that I haven’t even begun to think about; however, I just figured that it would come to me when it comes to me and worst case scenario… I do it Sunday night! I swear, it’s not that I am a procrastinator… I just really love deadlines. The pressure is thrilling and it makes me create my best work. I don’t think I will be able to do that with my final research project since the minimum amount of pages will be between 15 and 18. I think my goal was to press to at least 20 pages; however, we will see what kind of information I will even come up with. In fact, it might be a good idea to actually… you know… pick a topic.

I came home from work tonight and my husband had cleaned up and reorganized a bunch of the things in our apartment. It looks absolutely wonderful! I love it. He even made a super delicious dinner for us! Yes, it was simple and cheap, but ladies… you have to agree with me that when your man cooks for you… it’s super sweet! Yay husbands! Right now we are just winding down from the day. I’m tired already which is pretty much the norm; however, I am trying to stretch myself to stay awake even longer than usual. I need to build some sort of tolerance for sleep. Really– can I do that safely? Probably not.

I have already got most of my next week scheduled and it is going to be another busy one. I am looking forward to whatever challenges come my way! I am learning to embrace challenges and allowing negativity to just pass right by me. It has been an incredible journey so far and I cannot wait for what the future holds! Now it is time to catch some Zzz’s… in at least 4 hours! :)

~Kay

Free(dom) Style

Time Limit: 10 minutes
Rules: No stopping, no correcting, no other rules!

10:01-10:11am

This morning my alarm sounded before the dawn. I was in such a deep sleep that it took me several minutes of alarm before I realized where I was and what was going on. Can it be that early already? I felt as though I had just fallen asleep. Part of the issue is that last night I didn’t fall asleep until well after 1am and I was hit with strange dream after strange dream. Don’t you hate when you dream so vividly that when you wake up you feel more exhausted than before you fell asleep? It is already proving to be a long day at work. Don’t worry, I’m on my first break!

I forgot to eat breakfast this morning, and as I was walking out I noticed sirens. Well, I thought it was sirens. What it really was was the tornado warning sirens going off. The rain was heavy, the wind was strong and the sky was nearly black. If I wasn’t worried about being swept off to Oz, I think I would have enjoyed it more. I got to work fine and the clouds had lightened up. As far as I know there was no real threat or problem, which is always great to hear.

My free write today has been pretty bad. One of my coworkers came in during my break and wanted to talk and then my sweet husband called. He’s on the road for his final week with WinterJam. We barely get to talk when he is away so I do everything in my power to answer his calls when he is away. Who knows how often we will talk that particular day. Ten minutes? Twenty max? I am happy this tour is ending. It was a great experience and the money was decent too, but I like having my husband closer to home.

I’ve extended the write a little bit, but now my head is all distracted. Over the past few days I am reading people that are doing 30 day challenges about writing a 30,000 word book in 30 days. When you break it down, that is about 1000 words a day. It is not as easy as it seems. Part of me really wants to try it anyway. The truth is I have about 40 hours of work to do in a 24 hour people all next week so even the idea of this seems absolutely impossible right now. Maybe when things calm down a little bit.

Next weekend Steve and I are heading to Virginia (driving) with our friends Nikita and Maria for a 3 day seminar. We will be leaving very early Friday morning then we have a conference Friday night, all day Saturday (I think), and Sunday morning. After that morning meeting we are planning to drive the 10+ hours back home. I will be blogging and doing school work during this time as well. Doesn’t it make you tired just thinking about it too? Yeah, that’s what I though. I don’t know how people do stuff like this on a regular basis.

I hope it rains for the rest of the day. I’m in that kind of mood. The rain will actually cheer me up believe it or not. After work I SHOULD go grocery shopping, which probably means that I will go right home and find some comfy pajamas to wear and make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I’m hoping to get a few more chapters of “The Sherlockian” read and I would love nothing more than to sleep for 15 hours (so never going to happen).

~Kay