Wednesday, October 31, 2018

November Goals

Happy Halloween, everyone!

As you perhaps gathered from the title of today's post, I'm talking goals. First up is a brief-ish recap of how I made out with last month's goals:

1. Release Second Nature's ebook

This actually happened. It turns out that much of my frustration was due to the fact that I kept sending the wrong version of the book to my e-reader, so none of the changes I had made were showing up. Oops. Once I realized the mistake (really, I'm smart in other ways. Probably.), things went a lot smoother. So yeah. Second Nature is officially available in paperback and on Kindle, which means for the first time in years, I have no Second Nature goals on my To-Do list. I'm not actually sure how I feel about that. I hope eating my weight in peanut butter cups will help me figure it out.

2. Finish first draft of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance novel

As of the writing of this post, I have two scenes left to write. Of the four scenes I mentioned in my last post, I deleted the one on which I was undecided and finished the dreaded sex scene. Sure, the sex scene is about as sophisticated as a Dick and Jane story, but it's good enough for the first draft. This leaves me with the last two scenes in the book: the lead-up to the happy ending, and the happy ending itself. I absolutely have no idea how to actually end this book, but here's hoping I figure out something before midnight. Or before my peanut-butter-cup-induced coma kicks in. Which ever comes first.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

Didn't quite get there. I was swamped with other projects this month, and this one fell by the wayside. But it is definitely taking shape. Shape-ish. It'll get there. Eventually. Ish.

4. Log at least three miles per day

Done, and done. I think I'm still slightly behind my year-long goal, but I have two months to try and make up the difference. Or at least some of the difference.

Here are my goals for November:

1. Win NaNoWriMo

I haven't participated in the November edition of NaNoWriMo since 2015, where I ended up with 35,000 words and a loss. I hope to do better this time around. My intended project is Book Three of my fantasy series (aka Full Circle). I will need way more than 50,000 words to complete this project, but I aim to get a nice jump on things. We'll see how it goes. I've been chomping at the bit to work on this book for months now, but I'm worried that I was only so eager to work on it because I had other things I had to do instead. But now that I have an entire month set aside to do nothing but work on this book? I'll probably just end up doing my very best Cave Slayer impression.

2. Don't hide/embarrass myself during this month's book events any more than absolutely necessary

This month, I am scheduled to attend two local author book fairs (details in the sidebar), which is making me feel a great deal of anxiety—this on top of the regular amount of anxiety I feel about everything everyday anyway. I may have to make eye contact with people. They may ask what my books are about. I may have to do the whole putting-words-into-sentence-doing thing, and I am really terrible at that. And everything else I mentioned. So the goal is to pretty much act as normal-ish as possible as much as possible.

3. Log at least three miles every day

I need to make sure I don't become part of my desk chair this coming month.

That's it for me today. Are you NaNo-ing this November? Doing something else exciting?

Tune in next time when I may or may not remember to post something at some point in November!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Four Scenes and Three Days

Before I get to the actual post part of this post, please allow me one small indulgence...


Okay. I'm done.

(Narrator: MJ was not done.) the beginning of the month, one of my goals was to finish the first draft of the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance novel.

Now it's the end of the month, and I am four scenes away from accomplishing this goal.

(This sounds, perhaps, less impressive (provided it sounds impressive at all) if you know that at the beginning of the month, I was eight scenes away from the end. It's possible I didn't have a ton of time for writing this month...and not just because I was watching baseball.)

Of those four scenes, two are partially written. They just need to be finished. The other two have yet to be started. Of those two, one may be cut entirely because I'm not convinced it actually needs to be there. (And the more desperate I am to finish this book, the more convinced of this I become...)

But the thing is, I only have three more days to write those four scenes.

I mean, sure. If I don't get it done, it's not like the manuscript will self-destruct or anything, but it will put a serious cramp in my writing plans not only for the rest of this year, but the start of next year as well. I'd really like to avoid that if I can. I get so far behind so easily that I'd really like to not get behind in 2019 until 2019.

Dare to dream, right?

So, the bottom line is I really want to finish writing this book in the next three days. For a couple of reasons.

First, I'm planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, and that starts on Thursday. If you've ever done NaNoWriMo, you know what a time suck it can be. It's supposed to be my reward for finishing other projects (*coughcough* Second Nature *coughcough*), but I feel weird about doing it when one of those other projects isn't actually finished.

The other reason is I just really want to be done with this book. I honestly never thought I would finish this project in my lifetime, so to be so close to doing so now is making me anxious. More anxious, I should say. I'm pretty anxious about everything every day anyway.

But that's another blog post for another day.

Which brings me back to the main focus of the post—THE RED SOX WINNING THE WORLD SERIES!!

No, wait. Sorry.

(Narrator: MJ was not sorry. She was super freaking excited.)

I mean, writing four scenes in three days.

Which maybe wouldn't be such a big deal except that two of those scenes pose my greatest writing challenges: the dreaded sex scene (I seriously hate writing sex scenes) and the happy ending.

I mean, in my other stories, the characters have done well if, by the end of the book, they're not dead, dying, or bleeding from the head, so it's not like I've set the happy bar super high. Still, in a romance novel (even a terrible, horrible, no-good, bad one) it's probably best if I aim a little higher.

But that's totally do-able, right? I can just treat it like a little mini NaNoWriMo or something.

Just as soon as I come down from my World Series high. Which I'm sure will be happening any minute now.

(Narrator: It would not be happening any minute now.)

Tune in Wednesday to see if I can score a mini NaNoWriMo win before I take on the main event...

(Also, congrats on a terrific season, Boston!)

Monday, October 1, 2018

Hooray For Partial Credit

Hello, all!

It's the first of October, so you are in for an action-packed post. Today, I shall be reviewing how I did with the goals I set for myself last month (and based on the title of this post, I'm guessing you have some idea of how things went) and setting some new goals for the current month.

Like I said, action packed.

First up, last month's goals...

1. Publish Second Nature

This is where that whole partial credit thing comes in because I (deep breath......another deep breath........and one more for safety.......) half did this.

And now I am seriously freaking out because I admitted it. (So many issues. So little time.)

True to MJ fashion, the paperback is now available. The e-book, however, is not. This happened with the last book, too. Apparently, it's just going to be a thing with me. But yeah. The paperback has been released into the wild. Here's proof:

I'm trying to get the e-book out into the world, but I seem to be struggling with the formatting. There are a few lingering issues I haven't yet ironed out. I think I've fixed everything, but then it turns out that not only did I not fix things, I managed to break a few things more. And so on and so forth.


I'm working on it.

But, yeah. That happened.

2. Finish the first draft of Vinnie & Ellie

Nope. Didn't achieve this goal. I am getting closer to the end, but I didn't make enough progress to even award myself with partial credit here. My brother and I did, however, brainstorm a potential legitimate title for this project. So, that's exciting. Ish. But regardless of what it's called in the end, it will always be the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Bad Romance Novel to me.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

Didn't quite achieve this goal, either. The poems are somewhat organized now, and I have a clearer idea of what this project should maybe look like, so I feel okay awarding myself with some partial credit here. Here's what the layout storyboard looks like for this project. It looks a little different now, but you'll get the general idea.

4. Walk, run, or bike at least three miles per day

At long last! A goal I actually completed! I don't know why I add 'run' or 'bike' to that list because I don't do either these days, but walking—yeah, I did that. In my house, with my air conditioner running, to protect me know, Florida.

Some days, I even walked more than three miles.

Because that's how I roll.

On an unrelated side note, is anyone else super psyched
for next year's Veronica Mars revival on Hulu?

All right...October Goals.

1. Release Second Nature's e-book editions

Place your bets now to see how long this will take!

2. Finish the first draft of Vinnie & Ellie

Wait a minute...that sounds familiar.

3. Finish the first draft of Retail Rhapsody

So does this. Hmmm.

4. Log at least three miles per day

Ha! That one's different. No more running or biking for me! Woo Hoo!

And on that possibly very sad note, I am outta here. Those e-books won't format themselves. (I know because I've been unsuccessfully waiting for that to happen...)

Did you make any goals for October?