Confessional

I would like to clear up an assumption that has been made about me. I have been told by several people that I just have the drive to write and that writing comes very easy to me.

I wish this was the case. Each and everyday I write, I fight with myself tooth and nail to actually meet my goals. There are days where writing 100 words seems impossible, let alone 500.

Inspiration does not come pouring down from the heavens. My novel does not write itself. When I was younger, I always heard people say that writing is 2% inspiration and 98% work. I did not know how true this statement was until the month of May when I really buckled down and started to write. Not only did I learn that, but I learned how important having an outline is when novel writing. It is SO easy to get off track.

With my monthly challenges, I am doing it less for the writing goal and the end result. I am doing these challenges to discipline myself into writing every single day. I want to write for a living, why wouldn’t I practice my craft any chance I got? The question became: “Is writing what I really want to do?”

For me, the answer was yes. That yes is what drives me to write first before anything else in the day. That yes has no time for my excuses. That yes is what keeps me going. I want my daily writing to be so ingrained in me that I think of it as a necessity to surviving life, much like sleep and breathing.

Some days 500 words takes me 10 minutes and other days it takes me 5 hours. Both are perfectly natural and fine, as long as I am writing everyday. I think too much of myself to succumb to excuses and eventual defeat. I will fight on, I will write on.

~Kay

Inspiration

As a writer, I seem to have to feel inspired to write, although that shouldn’t be the case. If I want to get something done I need to just do it and make a habit of it everyday, NOT wait for some divine inspiration (although it helps). Sometimes watching a movie I have seen quite a few times, allows me to write without really having to watch the movie. Listening to celtic music or my very own book soundtrack (which I’m still working on for the book I’m writing now) helps me as well. However, I failed last month. I allowed myself to get caught up in the idea that I needed to be inspired to write that day or that I could just shrug it off and say “oh, I’ll just write more tomorrow”. I also got caught up in the excuse of being in pain all the time which made it impossible to think. I could have done a lot of writing while I was in pain. In fact, it would have been great for my main character.

There I was, disappointing everyone around me, including myself, by not making my writing goal last month. We are on the 2nd day of this month and I haven’t even touched it. There is still a lot of time in the day, and though I like to do the majority of my writing at night, I may need to do it while I have coffee in my hands sitting in a room with no T.V. and no distractions. I’ve been coming to the realization that the TV is a huge distraction for me. I turn it on and get sucked into the comedic styling of Shawn Spencer and Gus from Psych. I need to turn it off, at least until after my writing is finished.

It’s a new month, a new time, a new goal. I will make it!

Thank you Kay for always being an encouragement to me as I struggle daily. You inspire me to write more and to do better and for that I thank you.

-Jay

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

Dreams and Wishes

Growing up I think it is safe to say that the majority of us are dreamers. When we are young we think about all the different careers we could have or who we want to be. Tell me, out of all those dreams, which ones have you achieved?

I remember gowing through grade school being interested in so many different things; Horses, cats, Panda Bears, Killer Whales, singing, acting… the list goes on. The older I got, the more detailed these interests became.

I believe it was around middle school that I wanted to be a marine biologist. It could’ve been that I watched Free Willy one too many times, but I had a genuine interest in that career. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t completely genuine. There were parts of that job that I really wasn’t wanting to deal with. For example, gutting fish. I have been fishing many times, however gutting a fish was my dad’s job. It took me a few years of fishing to just get used to baiting smelt to fish for sturgeon on the Columbia River. Also, the smell really bugged me. The main thing was that I wanted to work with Killer Whales. Because that entailed the above duties, I quickly grew out of that phase.

It wasn’t long after that I thought about another line of work. “What about astronomy?” Well… what about it? I enjoy looking at the stars and glimpse the vast expanse of our universe. There wasn’t much about this job that I would dislike, although the college career path did seem a bit daunting. Although I never became an astronomer, it his a hobby and on clear nights I will set out my telescope and gaze at the great beyond. Too cheesy right?

Next came being a storm chaser. Oh the thrill of danger awaiting the next on coming storm, hoping to release Dorothy into the sky to collect data… oh wait, that’s Twister. It is what got me interested in it. In fact, during High School there was a time where we had to job shadow someone in the career we were wanting to go into. I chose to job shadow Katy Brown – Meteorologist of NW Channel 2 news KATU. I don’t remember much about the shadow, aside from getting to tour the studio and see where the “magic” happened.

This dream did not last for long. It wasn’t until my Sophomore year in High School with my Creative Writing teacher Mr. Mendenhall, that I even thought about writing. I mean I wrote small stories before this, but didn’t have a true connection with it. When I took that class and submitted my first story (a horror story about a young girl who sees herself after she dies), Mr. Mendenhall told me I had potential. I kept writing, but never thought about it as a career.

From the beginning of my grade school years I loved to sing and act. I was in many church and school productions, and sang a solo almost every year. This is what I wanted to do the rest of my life. I’m not sure exactly how old I was (i’d have to ask my parents again) but there was a time where my family and I would go eat at Calamity Janes. Every Wednesday and Friday they would have someone come and perform. It was all country music and I had memorized almost every country song on the station at that time. One day we were there and the guy sang “The Auctioneer” while I sang along at my table. He walked by, hearing me, and so did the owner of the restaurant. During the break they asked me if I would like to sing with them or on my own for a little on one of those days. I really wanted to do it, but my Dad thought it would be best for me to turn it down. Was that the best move? I don’t know and I’m not going to live a life full of regrets because of it. However I never stopped dreaming of that. Still haven’t. I don’t want to be famous. I just want to share it with others.

I now write. Yep… I am writing right now. This is what I ended up doing and I could not be happier. I love it. It frees me! Good or not, I enjoy doing it and I’m not going to stop. So what if I didn’t become a Marine Biologist, Astronomer, Meteorologist, Actress or Singer!  That didn’t stop me from enjoying bits and pieces of each of those. I love Killer Whales, looking at the stars, watching storms roll in, act and sing.

Here’s the thing, just because the dreams you once had are not what you have today, does not mean that they did not make you who you are today. Remember… whatever you do, don’t stop dreaming or wishing!

-Jay

 

Words from a Stranger

The most intriguing and/or unexpected conversation you’ve had with a complete stranger.

I was at the mall today, eating my very delicious cup of Aunt Annie’s Pretzel Nuggets when a grey, toupee wearing man said something.

“Are you in High School?” He asked. I had no idea he was talking to me. I continued to eat my pretzels and not think anything of it. “Are you in High School?” He asked again, this time standing right at my table and looking me straight in the eye.

“No.” I replied… a little worried about why he was asking me such a thing. I know I look young, but I’m pretty sure I don’t look like I’m still in High School. He began to list off the grades in high school while I replied with ‘nope’ and ‘uh uh’. “I just graduated from College sir.”

He looked shocked.

“May I sit here with you.” He motioned to the chair situated on the other side of the table. I don’t like turning down a conversation and I had some time before my hair appointment so I said he could.

Although I do not remember every detail of the conversation, it started out with what I received my degree in.

“I like to write as well. In fact, while I was in the army during WWII I wrote a poem to my mother on Mother’s day. I still remember it.” He exclaimed, his arms crossed on the table.

I smiled. We discussed how writing releases a lot of emotions and that everyone should write, even if they aren’t great at it. It’s a good way to clear one’s mind. The conversation moved from writing to being a disabled vet in no time. He was 100% disabled vet but clearly was not completely disabled. He was walking and from what one of the mall employees said, he frequents the mall every day, walks back and forth a couple times, and talks to random girls. I told him that my husband is a disabled vet as well, but not getting a 100%. He then began to tell me that he could get my husband a lot more disability.

He proceeded to hand me his business card. As he opened his wallet I saw the familiar green and white ID that military personnel carry around. The white card with black lettering seemed too simple for a business card. It read:

“DOC” Will
Doctor of Pulmonary
Army Veteran

(Insert Phone Number)

I politely accepted and told them I will tell my husband about him. We talked of other things however I do not remember them at this instant. No matter, I really enjoyed having someone be friendly here. It was a nice change.

Never forget that you can learn some of the best things from a stranger!

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

The Hobby Killer

I used to write all of the time. I would play my guitar. I would watch movies, listen to music, and hang out with friends. I would take spur of the moment beach trips and camping trips. That is, until I met “The Hobby Killer”. Let’s go back to March 2007 when my then boyfriend (now husband) flew me down to meet his parents in Florida. It was there that I was introduced to “The Hobby Killer.”

At the time, “The Hobby Killer” and my boyfriend were good friends. He introduced us so that I would understand why he liked “The Hobby Killer” so much. Little did he know that “The Hobby Killer” and I would become even better friends than he was. From April 2007 until January 2008, Steve and I shared a computer, which means we had to share “The Hobby Killer.” Everything was fine and good while he was away at work and I didn’t have to share. However, when Steve would be home, I would still want to split our time on the computer fifty-fifty. It was only fair right? The days I had it by myself were exempt.

January 2008 we got Steve a computer and we were finally able to play “The Hobby Killer” together. This worked out amazingly for us. If you haven’t guessed already, “The Hobby Killer”‘s code name is World of Warcraft, or as most know it as WoW. WoW was good to us. We got to play games together and have adventures on a very tight budget. It was in these first few months of 2008 that I really found out that healing was my niche. Steve and I could conquer the world, and we did that.

Over the years, we  had mad some incredible friends through this game. Polly (via Oscar), Ricky, and Matt to just name a few. We even found some friends from the real world that play as well (Melissa, Patrick, Jay, Jon and more).

For many years, too many years, it was our main focus. We thrived on competition and doing and being our best. We enjoyed end game content, especially raiding. Although we took many breaks we have made it to the end of every expansion so far. However, recently, our dreams have been growing and changing and we have been phasing our gaming life out and focusing on our business and the world around us.

Steve took the first leap and put his notice in of our raiding team of nearly 3 years. I wasn’t long to follow him. Steve’s account is currently inactive, and mine goes inactive on May 8th. Sometime toward the end of this year there will be a new expansion coming out called Warlord of Draenor. I couldn’t even tell you if we’ll pick it up and check it out.

Since stepping down from gaming I have been blogging regularly (as you can see), working on two different novel ideas, and so much more. I’ve made friend in the Nashville area and I am excited to be doing this business with my wonderful husband. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the game, and enjoy playing around on it; however, I love my freedom.

~Kay

Day Six: Kay and Jay’s Nashville Adventure

Kay: Today was so packed that thinking back to this morning is almost a challenge. Have no fear though, I think I can manage. Last night I got a full night’s sleep. I used the new night mask I picked up at the mall yesterday. I never used to wear one of those, but when I do, I tend to fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer. Yay! Breakfast was quick since I pressed the snooze button past 7am! Blueberry yogurt and a banana! Jay was up before me and was practicing her French lesson that I managed to complete the night before.

Jay: Unlike Kay, I suffered from sleep deprivation. My night consisted of extreme pain and a short conversation with my husband on the phone while I balled my eyes out. Needless to say, it was not a fun night, regardless, I was looking forward to the day. I had a banana for breakfast. I took enough pain pills to dope up a horse. I also practiced my French this morning. After the third try, I finally finished the lesson. Let’s just say my pronunciation and learning French is not going as well as Kay’s.

Kay: I had a lot to accomplish at work this morning. I knew I was going to be out of the office for a few days so I needed to take the time to schedule out the store’s Facebook posts until at least Tuesday. I have many ideas that I want to see come to fruition; however, there is only so much time in my workday and some of my ideas simply had to wait. I hope to soon get to my volunteer request for the media department, and I would also like to highlight the different departments. Part of my newest position is going to require me to socialize more, which is always a good thing. While I worked on the online campaign, Jay finished up her final day of volunteering at ThriftSmart. Thank you for helping this week!

Jay: No problem, Kay! It was my pleasure. While Kay was working I got to work myself. I processed a box of VHS, shelved some books, and straightened up the book department after which I got to do a little shopping! When I say little, I actually mean a lot. When you are a student and you receive 50% off, you want to stock up. I was able to get seven shirts for myself, seven shirts for my husband, quite a few books, ties, magazines and one dress… no wait, I got two now. I forgot about the one I picked up at the last minute. All of this for $70. Thank you ThriftSmart! Once I was done with that, it was time to go to the InterNashville Tea Room gathering at ThriftSmart. I got to meet some new people, had some amazing rice and gyro meat. Oh, and don’t forget the tea, which was amazing. That basically concluded the work day.

Kay: InterNashville, run by the amazing Tamara Banks is held on the second and fourth Fridays of the month at ThriftSmart between 11am and 1pm. I work every Friday and try my best to make it to every one. I am excited that Tamara wants to start volunteering in the book department over the summer. After the amazing food and fellowship we stopped by DQ and grabbed dessert. It was amazing until Jay spilled the rest of my blizzard on the carpet.

Jay: I didn’t mean to Kay, I promise! I just got a wonderful hot fudge sundae that was perfect soup consistency by the time we got home.

Kay & Jay: The next three to four hours were absolutely amazing for us. We stayed home, got comfy, opened the windows to hear the buzzing bumble bees and we started plotting. Mwahahahaha… okay, not that kind of plotting. We finally sat down and started a timeline for our book. We have been talking about writing this for years… literally. We realized that it had to be now and we got jiggy wit it. We worked out a ton of unresolved issues and created the timeline from start to finish–all 19 chapters. It pretty much took us until past the time we wanted to leave to go to the restaurant; however, we were not going to leave until it was finished. Talk about dedication!

Jay: So we went to this restaurant called McNamara’s, which happens to be an Irish pub with live music every night. And if you remember in one of my previous blogs, I wrote that while in Nashville, I wanted to see some live music and purchase a CD. I got to do just that. The performer there was named Colm Kirwan. He does country and Irish. Not only was the music good, but the food was amazing.

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, and Homemade Kettle Chips

Pear and Blue Cheese Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, and Homemade Kettle Chips

Irish Nachos

Irish Nachos

One of my favorite parts about this evening was getting to meet Colm Kirwan. He signed my CD, and here is a picture I got with him.

Jay with Colm Kirwan at McNamara's Irish Pub.

Jay with Colm Kirwan at McNamara’s Irish Pub.

Here is a small video I took of his performance tonight. It does not do him justice.

Kay: We are finally home and in our pajamas! We are downloading music to our laptops while working together on this blog. We have had a few distractions, and they have been great fun. As soon as we hit the publish button, we are going to complete our final act of the day: I will give you a two word hint. No wait, I will give you a picture hint.

Sher Lock!

Sher Lock!

Today’s post was longer than originally intended and at the same time just long enough. Tomorrow is Jay’s final full day here in Nashville and we plan to have a ball. But first, an episode of Sherlock and sleep await us.

1… 2… 3… ZZZzzz…

Free write – 10 minutes

 

I hate the feeling when your whole body seems to go completely limp while your heart slowly makes its next beat, and your eyelids begin drifting in a downward motion allowing all light to be blocked. It’s that “dead tired” feeling. That’s what I am feeling right now. Almost to the point of delirium, so this may be the shortest free write yet. My mind can’t seem to wrap around anything at this moment. So here I am. Typing with my eyes shut, only knowing if what I am typing is correct if I force them open, is a lot harder than it looks. I want to write without thinking about anything at all.  Of course for  a writer that is nearly impossible as we think about stuff 24/7. Even if it doesn’t make sense. Sometimes that is the best. I’m not exactly sure why I am so tired. This feeling has come over three time to me today. Once while driving home from the mall, once when I was playing a computer game, and then now. I can see why it is happening to me now, cause it is late, but it’s weird having it occur so frequently. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep. What I don’t like is how I feel like I am about to fall off my chair.

See, I told you this was going to be short. My time is already up. Oh goodness I’m so tired.  Forget dessert… I’m going to bed.  Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. If they do, hit them with your shoe.

 

-Jay