Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Camp NaNo Update

For those who officially signed up, Camp NaNo is over. It's also over for me, who unofficially signed up. I had planned to go into August with it, but what I discovered was that my writing routine is what it is. I write when I'm able to--when other, more pressing matters don't move writing to a lower priority.

That said, July was a terrible month for me to try to boost my output. I did manage to write 14,000 highly focused words. Because I have such a thorough outline, I don't expect to have to do a ton of rewriting in the revision, once I've completed a draft. Making the prose prettier? Sure. But scrapping and almost totally rewriting it? Not at all.

Having an outline, though, doesn't mean I know how a scene will roll out for me. I'm a plotter only insofar as that I have mapped out the general plot and each scene that builds it. What's in any unwritten scene is waiting to be revealed to me. And when my characters start talking, it's so much fun to see what they say to each other! There are a couple of social snobs in this book (hero's mother and soon-to-be ex-girlfriend); a highly emotional child (hero's daughter); a blind, skeptical teen (heroine's sister); a complete scoundrel (heroine's brother); a lothario (very minor role); and the rational minded male protagonist who gets frustrated at all the imperfection he sees all around him, poor guy. Oh, and the female protagonist. She's doing her best to keep her head above water, given all the antagonists in her life. Just as the hero is attempting to do.

What are some of the things that kept me from locking myself in my room and writing from dawn to dusk? (The following is a list of things done in June and July.)
Miles jogged in June: 60
Miles jogged in July: 54
Other exercise opportunities: 5K fun run; bicycling 14 miles along the Spokane River
Layouts completed—only 5, alas.
Totally forgot about: My idea for an updated 31 Days project—will need to return to that when able. 
Family and friends:
After three months of looking online for a dog, we had one for a week. But after an unfortunate incident between the dog and the neighbor’s horse, we had to give him up. We also realized that although we like pets, we’re planning to be away from home overnight a lot at this stage of our lives. Owning a pet would present a problem when we’re away. So maybe it’s okay to be without a pet.

A full weekend of babysitting all five grandkids, plus a few other stints of babysitting three of them.

Holidays/birthdays celebrated:
Father's day: Dinner at Anthony's with Mike; a picnic at Boyer Park with the family
My birthday; Lance's birthday
Bi-weekly dinners out with friends

A biggie in July: My 88-year-old father visited us for six days last week. This was such a wonderful visit. He drove himself over from Seattle, which is 300 miles from us. He lives with my sister (a nurse) and her husband. For the past 10 or so years, he hasn't been doing much driving, except to buy groceries for himself. We were all worried that the trip would be too challenging for him, but he was determined to try it. And he succeeded, without much difficulty

While he visited, we presented him with a whirlwind of activity. By Friday, he admitted that maybe we had been on the go too much, and he was tired. While he was here, in addition to seeing a bunch of relatives, he spent a lot of time with Mike's father, who is 89 years old. Mike's dad has also not been driving much for many years, but the two old codgers had a ball, and put over 150 miles on Jack's car, touring the countryside. 

As to the picture, above, that's Buddy-Boy, as Dad named him. Buddy Boy was first bought many years ago by Mike's mother, for our kids to play with when we drove across the state to visit her. Then when we had grandkids, she gave us the dog. Our grandkids enjoyed it for a few years, but then basically forgot about it. When dad saw it in our basement, he inquired about it. I checked with my daughter, who said her kids wouldn't miss it, and so Dad took the dog home with him. It's there in his basement apartment at my sister's house, above. When her grandkids--two of dad's 12 great-grandkids, come to visit him, they can play on Buddy-Boy. This is a very long-lived dog, and so easy to take care of!
House updates:

I began June by cleaning the garage, then shaping up the front of the house by planting flowers, tomatoes in whiskey barrels, and by planting perennials in North flowerbed. 

The petunias still look really pretty, but I had no idea the tomato plants would turn so monstrous. Although, we will have TONS of cherry tomatoes soon, see below. 



We also had our septic tank pumped in June; I tore down and rebuilt brick retaining wall, but terracing that area has yet to be completed because ... 

I spent a LOT of time (days' worth) planning a new deck and pergola. I worked back and forth with my son-in-law, who will be building it, to figure out what will work within the area itself, and, of course, our budget. 
I scoped out countless websites, downloaded countless web images. We finally have a plan. Son-in-law wrote up a bid. I gave it to hubby. He did a cash flow analysis, and decided we will have to forego the pergola for this year, and also the planned steps that lead from the deck to the patio below. We have only $15,000 to spend on this project, this year. 

Farmers do things differently than other folks. We don't build $60,000 deck/pergolas/sunrooms. We're practical folk. It's not likely we'll ever spend much time on our deck, or at least not for a couple more decades, when we start to slow down, and so we can't see any reason to put a lot of money into something so impractical. But we will build a Pergola over it next year, and install shades for the south and west sides, as the deck area won't get any shade otherwise.
We flew to Kamiah, Idaho. 
We flew to Joseph, Oregon.
We flew to Saskatchewan, and were gone for one week in July. 
Reading: I'll probably review most of these books in the next few weeks. 

The Returned

Cold Case Christianity

Why We Get Fat
The Paleo Diet Solution

Tell don't show
Live to write another day
Writing Active Setting I & II
90 Day Revision
The Perfect Pitch 
In June, I downloaded my entire blog into TJ6, was quite time consuming, but the better organization and cross-referencing capabilities felt important to me, Ms. Need-to-Be-Organized, or I'll Go Insane. Plus, if Blogger ever goes away, it's on my computer, not in cyberspace. 

I signed off my blog from July 2 until now, presumably to complete Camp NaNo, although I did end up writing about six blog posts in July. 

It was interesting to see my stats plummet. Most of July, only about 25 people, on average, were reading my blog each day, which was less than half of what is normal for this little blog. 

There were exceptions. Every once in a while, probably about 2-3 times each month, someone discovers my Enneagram posts, and then that person will end up looking at about 60 of my posts. 

Then, my friend Vince said he would share my Saskatchewan post links on a flying listserv that he belongs to. In the past two days, my stats jumped to 195 on Monday and 165 on Tuesday. 
That sums up my Camp NaNo experience, as well as my life for June and July. 
Hubby has officially started harvest today, and so I expect that without having to help him move machinery, and him not being around for many hours each day, I should have many unbroken hours to write ...

Well, that is, unless my son-in-law decides he needs me to help with building our deck. 

But that's life, and What a Wonderful Life it is.


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