Category Archives: Updates

Tuesday Update: Looked Over Some Old Stories :)

I finally did it: I sat down and started looking through some older stories that I’ve written. I’ve been meaning to do this for a few weeks now, so I was happy to finally make the time to do so! I found some interesting things in my notes too; one old story had some notes in the margins that I made for editing purposes, so that’s one I’m hoping to sit down with over the next few months.  And another one was very exciting – this was a story I started writing for a friend after his dog passed away (but I never gave it to him – it never felt good enough to be a gift).  I didn’t think there was much to the story, so I was surprised to see I’d added some stuff to it….specifically an unnamed, mysterious character who shows up to retaliate against the main character; my mystery man literally just says “Now we’re even,” and flees.

I still can’t believe that was in there!  Who the heck is this character and what the heck happened to them that they needed revenge like that???

So yeah….looks like I know what story I’m going to be working on! I don’t know if that stuff with the mystery man will stay, or be saved for a different story with those characters, but either way, I need to figure it all out. 🙂

On the language-learning front, I accomplished everything I set out to do this week.  I read more stories in both languages, played more Influent in Ukrainian, and continue to progress in Duolingo (I turned a few more Ukrainian lesson bubbles to gold – only 20 left for a golden tree!)

I also did manage to read a little bit for fun this week! My mom lent me her Kobo so I could read The Huntress by Kate Quinn last month; it also has The Gown by Jessica Robson, so I decided to start that rather than The Alice Network.  I sat down to read it on either Tuesday or Wednesday night, but the Kobo wasn’t working!  The screen was on and said it was at full battery power, but I couldn’t get it to do anything, even reset.  Finally I plugged it in and it started charging – for some reason it ran out of battery while still showing the home screen with a full charge!  So I wasn’t able to start reading that night, but I did get to it a few nights later. 🙂

So how’s your week been? Anything exciting planned for this week?

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Tuesday Update: Language Learning + Character Brainstorming

Hey everyone, how’s your week been? I set myself a few too many goals and didn’t get through them all. But that’s okay; I had a feeling I was being a bit too ambitious when I set them. So going forward I’ll have a better idea of what I can accomplish in a busy work week during this pandemic!

While I didn’t accomplish all of the goals I set for myself (I completely forgot to look through older stories I’ve written…), I still feel like I made good progress on the language front. I read a few short stories/chapters in both French and Ukrainian. I played around with a language-learning game on Steam called Influent – I need to work on my Ukrainian vocabulary, so I’m hoping it will help! And I even managed to finish watching season 1 of Les Revenants, which is a super good show in French (I watched it with English subtitles because my French is not good enough to follow media yet – I tried watching a movie without subtitles awhile ago, and if not for the visuals, I would have been totally lost!)

One thing that I was also very happy about last week (that was not a goal) was that I sat down and brainstormed a couple of new characters! I have a very vague idea at this point for what could be a series of stories set in a pub on one of my worlds. While I still have a lot of things to figure out about these characters, I was just happy to actually sit down and write a bit over the weekend. 🙂

Oh, and one thing I decided to add to my goals for this week: read for fun! I haven’t read a book in awhile (other than the French and Ukrainian books I’m making my way through), and the last few books I was reading were all for an article I was writing at work. So this week I want to make a point to at least start reading a fiction story of some sort with no pressure on myself. I’ve heard really good things about both The Gown by Jennifer Robson and The Alice Network by Kate Quinn, and have been planning to read them for weeks. So hopefully I’ll actually start one of them this week! We’ll see how it goes.

So how about you? Any plans for the week? Reading anything fun? 🙂

 

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Tuesday Update: Revisiting Goals

Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you had a good weekend *and a good Thanksgiving if you’re in Canada too). 🙂

This weekend, I sat down and revisited my goals.  I realized that I haven’t really been thinking about that sort of thing in months.  But I’m doing well with the goals I set here on the blog: I finished Memories and have already read over 25 books this year!  That just leaves editing a few short stories that I’ve previously written.  So I need to get on that over the next few months!

I also noticed that in my notebook with the weekly goals I try setting for myself, back in 2019 I set more long term goals.  So I took some time to set some goals for myself over the next year and beyond.  At this point, I’m mostly focused on my language learning as I’ve already put in so much time learning both Ukrainian (over four months) and French (about 3.5 months); I don’t want to stop working on either of them right now because I’m afraid I’d lose the progress I’ve made.  So ideally I’d like to get one of them to a point of conversational fluency sooner rather than later to get it off my plate, so to speak (I’m hoping/thinking that it’ll take less time  per week to maintain a language once you’ve learned it well enough to have in-depth conversations in it).  Realistically, this is going to be French, thanks to both its similarity (particularly in terms of vocabulary) to English and the fact that I took French classes in elementary school many years ago.  I’ve found that French vocabulary is currently a lot easier for me to learn and retain, and for that reason alone I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to have conversations in French far sooner than in Ukrainian.

So with that in mind, I set the goal of conversational fluency in French for one year from now.  I made some goals to build towards that through the year, including making it through some books, finishing the Duolingo French tree, and understanding French media without subtitles.  For Ukrainian, I’ve set similar goals, but with a longer timeframe; my current hope is to be conversationally fluent in Ukrainian two years from now.  But it’s okay if I don’t meet the goals I set in the exact timeframe I’m hoping for; I’m going to treat these goals as a sort of road map to help me get to that point (not as a set in stone deadline for being able to have deep conversations with people).

In terms of writing goals, at this point I haven’t set any new ones for now (although as a super long-term goal, I’d love to create French and Ukrainian versions of Memories….)  Hopefully I’ll be able to meet the last goal I set for 2020 here on this blog (editing two stories), and then I can plan for some new writing projects for 2021!

Oh, I am still planning on brainstorming a new story idea I had as well, but I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself by making that into a set goal for the remainder of the year.  We’ll see how it goes. 🙂

So what about your goals for 2020?  How have they been going?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Starting to Think About Writing…

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this last week literally flew by!  But that’s ok – overall the week felt pretty good (although I did find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at times too – it’s looking like a second wave of Covid is hitting my country and province).  I’ve been just trying to take everything one day at a time, and to that end, I also wanted to start tackling things like my email, which was getting a bit out of control (I really need to consider unsubscribing from some things….)

But in the middle of everything, I was starting to feel a glimmer of actually WANTING to write something, which is pretty exciting.  I haven’t really been working on any projects since finishing Of Pieces and Memories (I attempted to work on editing “A Friend From the Deep,” but that story felt an awful lot like writing about self isolation, which I’m honestly not ready to do).  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to work on next, but I do have some ideas of themes that I’d like to explore a bit more before committing to anything. We’ll see how it goes.

My main goal right now is to not overwhelm myself.  I’m studying two languages right now, plus I gave myself a whole bunch of reading for articles for work.  So adding a little brainstorming work in shouldn’t be too overwhelming; I can start working on something once I finish off that reading!

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Update – Lots of Reading + Language Learning

Apologies for no post last week; I was on vacation from work and forgot. 😦

Over the last few weeks I haven’t really done any writing; I’ve been trying to read a whole bunch of Massey Lectures for an upcoming @ Your Library article I’m planning on writing for work (that’s the column the library I work at publishes in the local paper).  I’m hoping to get through another two more Massey Lectures (and in a perfect world I’ll have time to reread A Short History of Progress, but realistically that won’t be happening before the article is due).  Wish me luck!

I’ve also been continuing with the language learning, both Ukrainian and French.  I signed up for iTalki and had my first lesson in Ukrainian last week; I really liked the teacher and have another lesson booked for this weekend. 🙂  Right now I’m only planning on booking Ukrainian lessons on iTalki since there’s still a lot more French to learn on Duolingo…maybe once I eventually get to the end of the Duolingo French tree then I’ll try French on iTalki too (lol but that’s a looong way off from now).

So how have you been over the last few weeks?  What’s new and exciting?  🙂

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Hello 2020!

Oh my gosh, it’s a new year already! I can’t believe how fast 2019 has gone!

Last year I did things a bit differently.  My plan was to set smaller goals every month to give me the flexibility to accomplish more through the year (especially as plans inevitably change).  But then that didn’t really work; the goal I set for January (finish the Make Your Way story I started writing) – took until May to finish the first draft, September to finish edits, and I finally submitted it in November.  And by the time fall rolled around, a few other commitments popped up (ThunderCon and the book editing I’m still working on), which pretty much brought me to the end of the year.

In the beginning of 2019 I was also trying to balance working on Sustainably North with other writing goals.  I even dedicated the entire month of March to working on the blog.  But over the spring, I started to feel like I was spending far too much time on the blog to the detriment of everything else; by the end of July, I decided to stop working on Sustainably North.  As much as I was sad to do this (and still am – I feel like Sustainably North was a good thing to be working on), stopping the blog freed me to work on other things; I’m pretty sure if I didn’t stop working on it, I’d still be trying to fit in finishing the Make Your Way story!

One thing that I did in 2019 that I was very proud of was I started setting weekly goals for myself.  In a notebook I’d write down the things I wanted to accomplish in a week, then break them down into really small-pieces and check them off as I accomplished them, like so:

weekly goals example

Here’s an example page from September 2019, where I broke down editing sections of the Make Your Way story.

This worked surprisingly well for me, keeping me on track and motivated, while allowing me to chip away at things and a very sustainable pace.  Unfortunately I haven’t been able to use this method with the book editing project because I have no control on what I’m working on when.  But as soon as that is finished, I’ll definitely be going back to this!

I also did accomplish the year-long reading goal I set in 2019.  I actually blew past my goal of 25 books in June, finishing with 40 (well, Goodreads says 40, but it was a bit less because I added a few short stories on at the end – my goal for the year was 25 novel-length books, which doesn’t count those or graphic novels like Die, which I added because I loved it so much).

Based off of what happened in 2019, for this year I’m going to go back to having only one or two major goals I’d like to accomplish for the year, rather than trying to break things down by month.  I’m also going to just list personal projects and goals, rather than the book editing project which I have been contracted for (even though that is a big project I will be working on, at least for the next few months!)  So with that in mind, here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish in 2020:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books continues to work really well for me so I’m going to keep the same goal.  This number takes the pressure off of me and makes reading more fun.
  2. Finish Memories.  The RPG I’ve been calling Memories is close to being done. The game is pretty much built, but I need to fix up a few points and figure out how to end it.  I really want to finish it this year!
  3. Edit two of the short stories I’ve already written so they’re ready for submissions. I’ve got several stories on my computer right now (including “A Friend from the Deep”) which definitely need to be edited.  I may not have places to submit them to, but having some of them ready to submit would be fantastic!

So what about you?  How was your 2019?  Do you have any goals for the new year? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Back from Vacation!

Last week I was on vacation in Florida. 🙂  My parents and I decided to go as our Christmas present to one another.  We had a lot of fun at Madeira Beach (we stayed in the same condo as when we went three years ago).  I took a ton of pictures (I brought both my Pentax and Nikon; I filled up two SD cards with the Nikon!)  I’ll be working on getting them all uploaded to Flickr over the next week; so far I’ve uploaded my favourites from the first two days to Flickr; check them out here:

Florida 2019!//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This album will be updated as I upload more pictures this week, too! 🙂

I even brought some minifigures with me to Florida (and bought a few new ones – I didn’t realize there was a new series of Collectible Minifigures out!)  I haven’t taken any Lego pictures in almost a year; it was a lot of fun to bring them back out.  Next time I’m at a beach or pool I’ll have to make sure I have some Lego lounge chairs and wine glasses to get some really fun pics!

Over the course of the week, I didn’t do a whole lot of writing.  But I did a whole bunch of reading.  I read three short novels, some short stories (some were in a copy of Uncanny Magazine that I had on my Kindle; the others were standalone shorts), and a bunch of magazines.  It felt really good to read some fiction again!  I ended my vacation by starting a nonfiction book I’ve been wanting to read (Stress Less, Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher), which I’ll hopefully be finished soon, too!

So how’s your week been?  Have you done anything exciting? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – Book Edits Continue

bamboo with yellowed stemOnce again, not a whole lot to report today.  I’ve been hard at work editing the book, especially over the last few days.

Oh, but in sad news, I almost accidentally killed my lucky bamboo plant! 😦

I went to change the water on Sunday and found the stem yellowing on one side!  It was totally my fault too.  Someone awhile ago mentioned that the zero water system, which is the filter that I bought for my plants, isn’t good for humans because it takes everything out of the water.  I have no idea if this is actually true or not, but I started worrying about my plants after hearing that.  I also noticed that my bamboo was starting to yellow a bit more recently; blaming the zero water, I put a bunch of fertilizer directly into the vase.  After I discovered the stem yellowing, a quick search online told me that you need to fertilize bamboo very sparingly or else this happens. 😦

shorter bamboo plant in jarI don’t know if the plant will survive or not, but I’m going to try to save it.  Supposedly you can cut the yellowed stem off and lucky bamboo will reroot itself in water.  So that’s what I’m trying to do.  Hopefully I caught it early enough that the top part of the stem is actually okay.  So this is what my bamboo looks like now (on right).

 

I cut a lot of the stem off, and put the plant in a much smaller mason jar with some filtered water (no fertilizer!) I guess we’ll see what happens. 😦

So how’s your week been? 🙂

 

 

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Getting Ready for the Federal Election

I didn’t do much writing this week – I’m still waiting on editing, so I didn’t really make much of a personal writing plan for the week.  But I did take the time to sit down and read through 4 Maclean’s magazines! I’ve been wanting to get caught up with them because the Canadian Federal election is later this month (and they’re how I get a lot of my news), but since I was about a year behind, I was starting to get a bit worried that I wouldn’t get to them in time.  But over the weekend I read the Sept 2018, Oct 2018, Nov 2018 and January 2019 issues (I’m not at all sure what happened to the Dec 2018 one – I get them from my brother, and maybe he still has it?) I currently only have five more to go – I’m missing another random month and haven’t gotten anything newer than July yet. I’m hoping I’ll get through the remaining ones I have before the election in two weeks.

I also watched the leadership debate last night (and most of another debate hosted by Maclean’s senior writer Paul Wells – it automatically started playing right after the leadership debate was over).  It was very interesting to see all of the leaders together (and I wish the debate had been a bit longer – every time I thought things were getting interesting the moderators would cut the leaders off for time reasons).

Hopefully this week I’ll be able to continue reading Maclean’s…and maybe even get a bit of writing for myself done! 🙂

How’s your week been? What are you currently working on?

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Bamboo Update!

Oh, I forgot to give a bamboo update yesterday!  My Lucky Bamboo seems to be doing fine now that I’m cleaning it out every two weeks and giving it filtered water! 🙂

lucky bamboo with very little yellowing leaves

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