So I made myself a book cover…

This is some of what happens when I really don’t want to be productive, but need to be more productive than browsing Pinterest.  And hey, this is totally inspirational, right?

image copyright to Shim

I was going to try to write up some kind of back-cover blurb thingy to share in this post, but ohmygosh those are so hard to write.  (It probably doesn’t help that I’m only in the middle of the first draft, so…heh.)

So instead, here’s a…shorter blurb-thingy.

Former thief Ceveth and his two older siblings are contacted by someone named Izi who offers them the heist of a lifetime—break into the most secure building in the city, the city hall treasury, and steal an unidentified item  As a reward, Izi promises them a fresh start to their lives—and the only way to keep from ending up in prison for the rest of their lives.

(And for anyone who’s curious, I shared an excerpt of the first chapter over here.)

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Why Writers Should Appreciate Long Shopping Lines

The past few months, my schedule has gotten busy and filled with lots of activities—important things, like school, chores, social interactions, meals—and less important, fun things.  As a result, it’s more difficult to find time to do everything I need or even want to do.  Even my writing has happened less often than I would like.

Sometimes, I get kind of impatient when things take longer than I want, because it’s wasting my time—time I could spend doing other things.  So when the shopping lines are long, for example, the usual thought to cross my mind is, “Ugh, I could be writing/[insert other task here] right now.”

Shopping

You know what, I really could be writing right then.

Think of it like a word war/sprint.

The point of a word war is to try to write as much as you possibly can in a set period of time.  No worries about spelling, grammar—just get as many words down as possible.  Usually, you do word wars with other people, and when the set time is over, you compare word-counts.  My favorite word war lengths are fifteen minutes.  It’s enough time for me to get in the “writing groove”, and really get writing.  In fact, for NaNo 2014, I discovered I could write about ~800 words in that fifteen minutes.

While you’re standing in line, you might not have fifteen minutes.  (I really hope the line isn’t that long.)  Maybe you only have two or three.  Maybe you have five.  And sure, there’s nobody to compete against.

But if I write ~800 words in fifteen minutes, and we pretend that I can keep that speed in five minutes, then I should be able to write 267 words in five minutes.  That’s…a lot of words for five minutes.

Okay, I really can’t write that fast.  Eight hundred words is only for those really good word wars where I’m really trying, and it takes me about five minutes to even get “warmed up”.  So in five minutes by themselves?

I get maybe a paragraph.  Or sometimes just a sentence.

That’s a paragraph or a sentence more than I had before.

Let’s say I can write 50 words in five minutes.  I’m on a long shopping trip with my…say, sister, just because.  Three separate stores.  The first one is pretty quick, no time to really do anything else.  But at the second store, my sister sees an old friend and she starts chatting.  Five minutes.  Fifty words.  The last store, there’s a long line.  Five minutes.  Fifty words.

By the time I get home, I’ve not only done a lot of shopping, but I’ve also written a hundred words!  My personal goal is usually to write about ~500+ words every day, so if I’ve already gotten a hundred, then I’m a fifth of the way to my goal already.

Even in other situations, sometimes just using those five wasted minutes, standing in line, waiting for someone, standing in the elevator.  Who says you can’t make use of it?  Five minutes start to add up after a while—maybe you’ll get your whole quota for the day done in five minute segments.

Of course, I would like to say that setting aside time to write solely is important.  Sometimes, you have to be totally immersed in your world.  If nothing else than just for your sanity.  (Break from reality, anyone?)  There are plenty of times where I can’t actually make use of those few extra minutes, but in order to go any further, I need to be in my world.  And five minutes in my world is…both not enough, and actually kind of frustrating.

So this does not work all the time.  I’d say, it probably doesn’t even work for everyone.

But five minutes.  A single sentence, even.  That’s more than you had before, and all you’re doing is standing in line, anyway.

More Resolutions-y Stuff!

I’m too lazy to write a real blog post, so I’m going to do the latest Beautiful People post, which is about resolutions and stuff! Yay!  I did technically already do a resolutions post, but I like some of the questions in this.

These questions are from Beautiful People.

What were your writing achievements last year?

I made it through draft two of Oracular.  That was about it.  But that was a lot, so hey.

Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Finish Sleeping in Cyberspace.  Make it through draft three of Oracular and hope that the story when I’m done with that pass-through will actually be coherent.  And…write some novellas.  Okay, that’s actually three, so if you want a one-project answer, then I’d say finish draft three of Oracular.

List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

  1. Less procrastination.  I think this basically explains itself.  I spend a lot of time doing things like “oooh, Pinterest” and stuff, but there are also countless hours I spend doing basically nothing because I just don’t want to write (or anything else).  If I just cut some of those down, I think it would be so much more.
  2. World-building.  I did already post about this a little, but I really want to work on my world-building and…really figure out how in the world people world-build all the way to the end without getting sick of the world.
  3. I want to write something funny for once in my life.  My writing style tends to be very serious, and while I normally don’t have a problem with it, for once I’d like to write something humorous.
  4. Read more…I don’t feel that I really read enough last year.  Eheh, guilty.  I’d like to change that this year—and keeping track of what I read would be great, too.
  5. Find more confidence in myself (and get better so that confidence is well-founded). Confidence is probably one of the biggest things holding me back, so I would like to change that.  But, of course, I would like to actually be good and be confident in it—not just think I’m good when in reality I’m terrible or something.

Are you participating in any writing challenges?

I don’t know yet?  I may or may not do NaNoWriMo this year.  It’s too early to tell, really.  It’s possible I will try again to write the sequel (all the way through, this time, instead of just pieces) for Oracular for NaNo this year, although maybe I’ll have another project  by that point.  (You can always count on the plot bunnies to find you, that’s for sure.)  Maybe Sleeping in Cyberspace will have a sequel.  (I think it has potential for a sequel because of the way I’m setting up the world.  I just don’t know if my characters will allow me to write a sequel.)

What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

As of about a week ago, I found two possible CPs for Oracular and we traded the beginnings of our novels.  We’re still in the “trial run” stage, so I don’t know if it’ll actually turn out, but I’m hoping!

Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

Yup.  I got three writing-related books for Christmas, actually.  I can’t remember their titles off the top of my head, but I would like to read them.  (One is basically a “here’s info about guns for writers” (this is for my sci-fi WIP), and the other two are on character traits.)

Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

One?  Just one?  Um.

Um.  After going back and forth a little, I decided on Iaelie Crestal.  She was one of the first characters I “got to know” while planning Oracular, but while writing the second draft, I started to realize that I didn’t actually know her as well as I thought I did, and I think I might be misrepresenting her somewhat.  (Weird, I know.  I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen with a character.)  So before I start truly editing draft 3, I want to get to really get to know her, and do her character justice.

Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

That may or may not be how I’m approaching editing.

Actually, that’s not totally true.  I don’t have a fully-formed plan, but I have some vague ideas, and I’ll be fleshing it out better once I’m closer to editing.  Right now, I shan’t worry about it.  (I’ve always wanted to use the word “shan’t” in a sentence.  I think I just fulfilled something on my bucket list, teehee.)

 

As for querying?  No.  I don’t think I will be at a stage to even think about querying until next year at the earliest (and probably not even quite then, depending on how well draft three fixes up the plot).

Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

I’m actually writing about the relationships between teen/young adult siblings at the moment, and I can’t say I see a whole lot of that in fiction.  Or at least YA.  Not that there aren’t siblings, I just don’t see a lot of stories where the relationship between siblings is all that relevant to the story.  Seeing more of that would be nice.  Especially good relationships.  Of all of the sibling-relationships I can think of, most of them seem to be “my brother turned evil and now we’re mortal enemies” or something.

Good, strong, healthy relationships between siblings.  Or just familial relationships as a whole.  (Turns out, it’s hard to have a character have a good relationship with their parents when the parents are dead.  And…a lot of parents end up dead in YA fantasy.)

(I think it would be nice to see more ordinary, platonic friendships, as well, but I like the idea of familial relationships right now.)

What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

…a lot.  ‘Nuff said.

Mostly, I want Oracular to be readably coherent and have a world to stand on.  I also would like Cyberspace to have a finished first draft, and plans for edits, and I also would like to have some more short stories written (see bar on the right), but the main project is Oracular.

World-building! Yay!

And so we start the world-building again!

This is blackboard tape on my bedroom wall.  It was a Christmas present and I love it so much.  I can’t decide which is better anymore—my whiteboard, my sticky-notes, or my blackboard!

After deciding that I won’t start any major plot changes/revisions until after I’ve had at least one beta-reader go through my novel and give me feedback, I figured starting the world building now would be acceptable.  I tried it last night, actually, and ended up instead extremely frustrated.

Today, though, proved to be much more fruitful!  That blackboard was actually mostly empty this morning, and the strip underneath wasn’t there at all.

I decided that I was going to start my world building with the history.  And the history, I’d start at the beginning.  Yay for figuring out creation!  I actually considered an idea for it, but then it developed into something else, and now I have a really, really awesome idea for my religion, and no clue how the world actually came into existence.  (I’ll probably say “science” and be done with it.  Because, really.)

Tomorrow I’m going to work more on fleshing out my timeline (that’s what that bottom strip is), and then next week, I’ll probably be working on research.  I suck at research and my first and second draft were both written with a “I’ll pretend I know what I’m talking about and hope nobody notices” kind of attitude.

I’m pretty sure that won’t actually slide.  (It actually already hasn’t, considering the culture and whatnot of my world feels very blank.)  And I would like to know what I’m talking about in a few cases.  So now begins the research!  Yay!

That’s basically how it’s going so far.

I also happen to be procrastinating from my WIP, but hopefully that won’t last long, because I would like to finish the first draft of that.

How goes the writing for everyone else?  Where do you usually start when you tackle the huge chaotic mess that is world-building?

And NaNoWriMo Approaches Again!

NaNoWriMo is quickly approaching!  Aaaaaaaahh!

As I write this, I still have about five more chapters left of last year’s novel to edit.  Five chapters.  Sounds like a lot and like nothing at all at the same time.  Considering I have school and only about two weeks to edit it, on my end, it feels more like a lot to do.

But…whether or not I complete it before NaNoWriMo starts, I am still going to try for NaNo this year.  This year is probably going to be the hardest one of all.  Again, because of school.  Ugh, when did school decide to become such a huge pain?  How does the rest of the world deal with it?

Hmm, they probably don’t do lots of school and NaNoWriMo and have a family life and draw and have all of the other random hobbies I have.

Anywho, I have absolutely no plan for NaNoWriMo this year or how I’m going to win.  The only thing I know for sure is that I’m sticking with 50k this year, and not going for 100k like I did last year.  I’m going to write the sequel to last year’s novel, even though said novel…still has five chapters left before I’m done with draft two, and I should probably be spending time editing that more instead, but I know nothing about the plot of book two and I’d really like to know where the plot is going.  So I’m writing that.  As I said, I know nothing of the plot.  I have a…vague idea of the beginning, a possible vague idea for a couple character arcs, and then an idea for a random scene that’ll be somewhere in the middle.

That’s about what I had when I wrote the first book, so I’m really not worried.

I do not have any sort of plan on how I’m going to manage school and NaNo, though.  Probably, I’ll just do what I’ve been sort of doing up until now—which is procrastinate from both school and writing and find other things to do.  Oooh, idea for a drawing!  Let’s draw that!

Ahem.

So anybody else doing NaNoWriMo?  If you’re still in school, how do you balance between the two (or do you at all)?

 

 

Percolating Snowflakes and Other Strange Things

So.  As some of you might have noticed, I haven’t exactly been absent from WordPress.  Not as much as I’d wanted to be.  So, right, so much for a break.  I didn’t see a point in continuing my half-break, so here I am again.

Long time no see.

Anyhow, in the week since I’ve posted, I’ve decided to change things around a little.  For one, as you can probably tell by the fact that my bar on the right is still at 31 days, I haven’t written in that particular story in about a week.  I won’t go into why because that frustrated rant isn’t necessary here, but I more or less stopped.  I plan on trying to finish it anyway, at some point (in fact, if anyone’s willing to do any word wars at any point, that’d probably help a lot), but now my focus is on a newer story.

Yeah, yeah, a new one?  Anybody who’s really listened to me rant much knows that I can’t keep my concentration on one story very well, so it’s not a big surprise that I came up with a brand-new story to write on.  But that’s one of the things I decided to change up a little.

For two years, I’ve always thought I was a discovery writer and I abhorred the very idea of outlining ahead of time.  I thought, but then I’d know everything that happened before I wrote it!  It’d be no fun.  I wouldn’t be able to discover plot twists right as they happen anymore…  How could anybody want to outline?

As you can probably tell, I’ve changed my mind.  Discovery writing is fun, but I’ve found I can’t write any form of beginning without an outline (you can probably see how that might be problematic as a pantser), and my stories always end up with about half a million plots running through them because I can’t decide which one I want to actually work with.  That is the main reason the story that first started me writing still hasn’t been written yet.  So, I think I need to try outlining.  But instead of just the half-outlining I’ve been doing the past few months, I decided I’m going to try some really heavy outlining.

Ta-da!  I’m doing the Snowflake Method.  It’s the most in-depth outlining method I’ve ever seen (not that I know of very many), but I like how it works.  In case nobody’s ever heard of it and is too lazy to click on the link, it’s basically an outlining that starts with the very basics and slowly builds upon it.  Like taking a very simple triangle and adding to it until you have a complex snowflake (hence the name).

I’m on step…five at the moment, I think.  Yeah, step five.  I’m actually having two issues with it so far, both of which are entirely my own fault.  The first is that I’m not outlining just one book, I’m more or less outlining an entire trilogy at once.  (Is it bad that every time I say the word trilogy, I’m thinking of this post and wondering if I should find another format for it? Liam, you’ve screwed up my trilogy already and I haven’t even written it yet!)  Mostly, I’m doing it this painful way because the idea I had for the story was an idea for the entire series, not for the first book.  I’m not even a 100% sure how I’ll break it up into separate books yet, but I’m trying to basically outline and figure out the structure for four things at once.  The three books, and then the series itself.  (I love it when series have a big over-hanging story and yet each individual book has a smaller plot on its own that still fits.  That was one of the things I liked about Percy Jackson and the Olympians.)

The other problem I pulled on myself was I started too early.  I haven’t let this story sit and brew in my head, so I barely know anything about it or the characters yet.  This also brought on the realization that I haven’t really let any story of mine sit there in my subconscious for a while before I start writing it in…oh, six months?  I seem to have found a lot of issues of things I’ve been doing/not doing the past six months (but I’m pretty sure this particular one isn’t imaginary).  I think somebody stole my percolator.  It took me forever to find one that doesn’t brew coffee.

If anybody happens to see it (or run into it, since it has a tendency to turn invisible), please kindly call the following number and ask for Shim.  [Insert random phone number here.]

Anyway.  This post is getting awfully long, so I’ll stop it hereabouts.  Or so.  Anybody do anything exciting while I was sort-of gone?

Taking a Brief Break from Blogging…

Title says it all.  There’re several reasons for this, and I’ll tell them to you, even if they might not all be particularly interesting.

  1. I just got new glasses—or, er, I will be getting new glasses in a few weeks; I just went to the optometrist earlier today (or, yesterday, by the time you read this), and I definitely needed a new pair.  Anyway, my sister also needed a new pair, only way more drastically than I had.  Her vision had worsened a lot.  And she’s not even nine years old yet. That’s bad.  So my mom decided, it must be related to the fact that me and my siblings all spend about nine-tenths of our time in front of computers, books, the television, and other things that only require us to see things that are close.  We never really look at things outside and faraway much, which is why three out of five of us are near-sighted.  (I should say three out of four, though, since the baby doesn’t really count yet.)
    So what does this have to do with me taking a break from my blog?  Well, my mom decided we’re going to have less time indoors.  So less Internet, less reading, less writing…less pretty much every single one of my hobbies.  So, I decided, if I’m going to have less time, then I really need to prioritize and figure out what I want to use the littler time for.  As you can guess, writing and reading and school came up higher on the list than blogging.
    So…I’ll not be on here as much.
  2. I am procrastinating.  A lot.  A lot.  So much so, in fact, that I’ve gotten bored of procrastinating.  Sounds crazy, right?  I know. What it means is basically I’ve been bugging other bloggers by posting pointless comments on old posts.  (Sorry, Liam.  I really don’t mean to harass you, I swear.)  Anyway, I decided, if I’m going to not write, but can’t concentrate or just really want to do something else, then I’m going to get off the computer and procrastinate elsewhere.  I won’t stop myself from procrastinating, since I’m not sure that’s possible, I’ll just find new ways of doing it.
    Maybe I’ll even find more productive ways of procrastinating.  Like, say, school or riding my bike or chores.  Doing all of that is technically procrastinating from writing, right?  (Nobody burst my bubble, please.  It’s a very nice bubble.)
  3. I’m going on vacation end of June/beginning of July.  That’s way in three weeks, I know, but I don’t know how long this “break” will last, but just in case it happens to last three weeks and I don’t pop on before my vacation, then I thought I’d say.  Just in case.

So.  I’ll be back either after my vacation (so, second week of July, I think) or I might pop on right before I leave and then disappear again.  Depends on how busy/bored I get.

I’ll still be writing though, so nobody worry about that.  I have one day left of my “month of writing”, so I am definitely going to get that.  And I’m fairly sure I’ll be writing after that, too.  Even on vacation.  (For some reason, my “writing vacations” never sync up very well with the real vacations.  I have no clue why.)

Anyhow, on a different note, I have no idea how this’ll affect emails yet, so Kiwi, I might or might not reply to you soon.  I don’t know yet.  But if I don’t, I apologize.

So, farewell, my few and far between followers!  Until…July.

So…Erm…Ugh…

Okay.  Now I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do.  Today and yesterday, I’ve just been staring at my Scrivener window and doing nothing.  I can’t write.  I have things to write, sort of.  I just don’t really want to.  Yesterday, I only barely made my goal for the day by writing about one sentence to a paragraph or two in a dozen different scenes and chapters, until it all added up to 500 words.  Today, I really don’t have a way of doing even that, but I can’t seem to write.

I don’t want to take a break, though.  I want to write.  I even wrote a few hundred words in a separate story, but this one particular one, I can’t seem to go anywhere.  I want to take a break from it, and work on some of my other stories.  But at the same time, I want to finish this one.  I haven’t finished a project since last May (an entire year ago), and this is the closest I’ve gotten since then.  I’m, I think, about half way through the novel.

But I’m staring to get…bored, I guess.

So should I switch to another story or try to get past this and just keep writing until I reach the end?

The Importance of Writing Every Day

My dad made a point to me this morning: if you don’t practice a skill every day, or at least regularly, that skill begins to atrophy.  That works with almost everything. Last year, I did P.E. only on Wednesdays.  And I was terrible at jumprope.  I hoped that if I did it every Wednesday for the whole school year, maybe, I could get a little bit better.

Did I?  No.  It was every Wednesday and not every day.  I’m still absolutely terrible at jumprope.  In fact, since I haven’t touched a rope in over a year, I’m probably even worse at it than before.

How is this relevant?  Well, the same goes for writing.  What have I not been doing with my writing?  Doing it every day.  And what have I been finding when I actually do write?  It’s hard, it’s slow and mostly unproductive, and it doesn’t turn out very well.

Hmm.  I wonder if I see the issue here…

It’s actually rather frustrating.  I don’t want to have to sit down and re-learn all of this stuff, but I have to.  It’s kind of like my flute.  I haven’t seriously touched the instrument in five years, so when I sit down to try to play, my fingers remember which keys to push down, due to muscle memory, but I don’t really remember how to blow into the instrument properly.  So, I have to start over as a beginner.  Granted, I’ll admit, part of the problem with my flute is that it badly needs to be tuned, but that’s irrelevant.

I’m sure you can imagine the frustration I’m having.  I’ve been writing for nearly three and a half years, and yet, I feel like a total newbie all over again.  Except, I’m lacking the confidence I had back when I’d first started.  Then, I was amazed any time any words came out on the page.  When my first novel reached a word-count of 20k, I was absolutely ecstatic.

The other day, I went and reread my ’12 NaNo novel, just on a whim.  I was sure it was absolutely terrible, but it really…wasn’t.  Sure, there’s still my key signature of a lack-of-description, and some (most) of the dialogue is awkward, along with other random problems, but I’m actually rather impressed with the writing style itself.  It’s not terrific or anything—not even close—but it’s actually better than what I’m writing right now.

I wonder why.

I guess the point of this post is to say that I—and any of you reading this, ahem, looking at you, Kiwi—should try to write every day.  So, I’m going to give myself a goal.  Write five hundred words every day.  Just five hundred, no less.  I’m also going to try once again to limit myself to one project.  Not that I can’t write on any other project—I’d drive myself to insanity if I did that—but I have to write at least five hundred on one project, and then I can go write whatever I like wherever I like.

In order to really do this, though, I’m going to need someone to help me hold myself accountable.  Anyone willing?

Mostly Pointless Rambling

You know, I realized, this blog is…completely pointless.  And not because it’s a circle.   I mean, what’s the point of this blog?  You’d think, from the name, it has something to do with writing, and probably fantasy, but really, that’s not very specific.  So all it ends up being is ranting about my own writing.

Heh.  No wonder nobody really reads this blog. I don’t even know how to make it more interesting, either.

Anyway, that’s off topic.  I’m still sort of writing.  Sort of.  Meaning, I’m supposed to be writing one project, but I’m too lazy to do so (hey, it’s spring break, right…?), and end up writing random things for random other projects that are really not well-written or anything and there’s only one person I know who could really appreciate them.  (You know who you are, V.)  Eh.  I’m still writing, though, right?

I’ve also been messing around with other things.  My parents started playing a new MMO that’s supposed to have a pretty good character creation thing.  So I messed around with it, thinking maybe I can create ssome characters that look like mine from my writing, you know, for the purpose of figuring out exactly what the physical appearance of my characters are.  (And apparently I don’t really know the as. I spent a good five minutes going through my notes, trying to figure out the height of a certain character.  All I really knew was that she was shorter than my excessively tall character, but that’s kind of obvious.)  I ended up getting incredibly frustrated at the game because the hair styles are pathetic.  There isn’t even a simple braid over the shoulder, or simple long hair, or anything like that.  All they have is…weird things.  (You can put mohawks and faux-hawks on both female and male characters.)  That and all of the characters are adult, and, well, all of my protagonists are my age.  Hmm.

I ended up giving up, and decided to do something else.  After all, I’m a writer, but I’m also an artist.  I can’t seem to figure out how to draw my characters (yet…I’ve only 99.9998% given up on that…), so I pulled out a 3D Animation program, called Blender 3D.  Then I ran into a new problem being that I didn’t know how to use it.  I was familiar with a really old version (though not good at it) and this brand new version had slightly different controls.

Gah.  In other words, I needed to look up some tutorials.  And deal with the fact that I already knew half the controls, even though the other half I didn’t know.  So I was a total beginner because I didn’t know that alt-F is how you move the viewpoint, or that control-1 shows the back view, yet I knew that B pulls up the selection box, A selects everything, TAB switches to Edit mode…. and so on.

Goodbye, pride.  I hope you like the shoebox I stuffed you inside of.

It was a little frustrating, but the tutorials are actually better than I’d thought, at least as I long as I can deal with the fact that I’m making really cheesy-looking items.  And here comes in my perfectionist side.  And that it’ll be a while before I can create any models of any of my characters.

I also, while talking to fellow blogger and friend, Kiwi, I realized part of my extended writer’s block problems.  I have…absolutely no schedule.  But I used to.  Back when I wrote a minimum of a thousand words, with a two fifty average, every single day, I got up every morning at roughly seven, or sometimes even six-thirty, before school, and just wrote.  I’m still only half-awake, which means still half-asleep, so my imagination has no limits, and I can get a whole lot done.  At least, assuming my siblings allow me to.

But I don’t do that anymore.  Now, instead of getting up early, I sleep in until eight, when my mom drags me out of bed because I have to start school.  No early mornings.  I might be tempted to try to get up earlier anyway, even if I’m dead-tired, but my parents have a new rule that my siblings and I aren’t allowed to use the computer in the mornings.  Yeah, yeah, sure, I can still use a notebook, but, really?  All of my notes, my outlines, everything is on my computer, and I need those to write.  Plus, I just can’t write by hand as fast as I can type.  If I only have an hour, I’ll still probably only get maybe a few hundred words down, and I’m already doing that with my lack-of-schedule writing, so what’s the point?  I might as well spend that hour sleeping.

It’s frustrating.  And discouraging.  I’ve noticed I’ve been discouraging about a lot of things.  Gah.

On a somewhat better note (yeah, I know, this post is already long enough, but I’m rambling here, sorry) I’m going to join a troop thingy…how would you describe it?  I suppose it’s basically a Christian version of what Girl Scouts is supposed to be.  (Because the real Girl Scouts is awful.  I know, I was one for a year or so…bleh.)  So, camping, and outdoorsy stuff and such.  I’m mostly excited because I want to do some of the wild-life stuff, for two reasons.  One, mere curiosity.  I want to know how to start a campfire!  And use a pocket knife without cutting my thumb off!  And so on!  I really hope they do stuff like that, though.  I may be a girl, but I don’t want to do just girl stuff because I’m female.  Not to say I don’t like being female (I’m wearing a skirt as I type this, in fact…I’m also really more of a girly-girl than a tomboy), but that doesn’t mean I don’t like things like that.

Of course, I also want to do things for writer purposes.  You know how many times I’ve said, in my writing, in the vaguest way possible because I didn’t know what they were really doing, “They started a campfire and cooked their food”?  A lot.  Way more than I’d like.  Heh, it’s obvious I’m a city girl, isn’t it?

Oh well.  Hopefully we’ll do just as much wildlife survival as we do home ec and community service.

And now, to make this post even slightly interesting, did anybody know that “smilingly” is a word?  It is.  It’s really awkward to say, though.