Category Archives: Updates

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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#WriteTuesday: Scaling Back a Little Bit

Over the weekend, I finally sat down and read the February issue of bUneke Magazine.  I try to read it every month so I know what’s going on (and also to find articles to highlight on the Sustainably North Twitter, @SustaintheNorth).  In the February issue, Anna East writes about getting things done.  You can find her article here:

Anna East’s article hit me pretty hard because I know I am very, very guilty of not finishing projects I am working on.  Take right now: I’m part way through the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way Anthology, I wanted to start another short story about aliens in the wild west, I have three RPGs that I’m building on RPG Maker (Tears of the King, Memories, and Soccrpg).  And I have various other short stories I have started and failed to finish for one reason or another.

I think Anna East’s problem is my problem, too: I want my work to be perfect.  So when a project is failing to live up to my impossibly high standards, I stop working on it.  I also have a million ideas and there’s never enough time to get them all written, so that doesn’t help either.

And I’m busy.  I know that this is a problem that everyone has: there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.  But specific to me, I started my other blog, Sustainably North.  I started volunteering my time with bUneke Magazine, writing a monthly column.  I’m trying to get a bunch of reading done (I did make a goal to read 25 books this year, plus I just really like reading).  And then I do a fair amount of writing for my day job too (even more right now because I’m helping out on a few bigger projects that are coming up).  All of this has been making me feel fractured and really time-pinched.  Plus after a full day at work, I find myself coming home and just not wanting to work on anything else because I’m done for the day – I’ve got nothing left.

And since I have no intention of stopping Sustainably North, volunteering, reading, or working on those projects at my day job, I am going to dial back on projects at home.  As much as I would really, really like to work on a story about aliens in the wild west, I honestly do not have the time for it right now (especially since it got stuck in worldbuilding).  Plus the plot just isn’t worked out right now anyway, while the story for the Make Your Way anthology is plotted and just needs to be written.  So I’m going to stop working on the wild west story, and just focus on getting the Make Your Way story written.  And at this point I need to make sure I don’t bog myself down with feeling that it isn’t good enough; this is a first draft right now, so of course it won’t be perfect!  It has to be written before I can worry about polishing it.

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Hello 2019!

Happy New Year’s!  It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year.  Last year, my goals were:

  1. Read 25 novels.  Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year!  I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
  2. Write two polished short stories.  Failure.  I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
  3. Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦

For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more.  Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience.  For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too.  Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May.  So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂

Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January!  That was fun, too! 🙂

For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals.  This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals.  My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017).  Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly.  So here are my goals for 2019 so far:

  1. Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal.  Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun.  This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
  2. Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)

I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now.  At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine.  If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉

This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!

So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂

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