I’ve tried to dampen down my natural oddness at various times in my life; even so, people call me weird. Now, I just let my unique freak flag fly!
OK, that was fun to write, but really not what I want to talk about…
I’ve got something of an odd problem-that-isn’t-exactly-a-problem.
Comments are piling up around here like the snowdrifts we don’t have outside today, and I’m finding it all but impossible to get to them.
Oh, I want to! One of the biggest reasons I post here is to engage in connection and conversation with others…but, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for…even, apparently, when what you wish for is blog interaction.
I love reading your comments. I want to answer you – and I want to bring in firewood so my home is cozy for me and the other beings who live here – my Accomplice, the Boyo and the Girl, the ancient guinea pig, the getting-old pit bull mix, and the formerly feral feline of the house, who also rules the yard. I want to hone my revision skills, through revising my own work, and critiquing and beta reading for others. I want to draft and refine some of the stories in my head (and keep T’Pol from taking over by making sure that she gets her fair share of attention, or something she can at least find agreeable). I want to be submitting, and publishing, and blogging…
Sometimes, I even want to be with these beings I live with. We happen to like each other here, and there are the odd moments of snuggling, conversation, shared meals, entertainment, and, where my Accomplice is concerned, even some occasional canoodling (I like my marriage happy, and canoodling from time to time certainly helps!).
Oddly, I even sleep sometimes. Well, not all that much, honestly – I’m something of a sleep camel, and I don’t generally sleep more than five or six hours, and often considerably less (I’ve had 3.5 hours of sleep since about 10:30am Thursday; it’s now 8am on Saturday morning. I’m tired, but not exhausted).
I’ve got to have a better way to handle comments. At the moment, I try to answer each and every one, and make a return visit. I try to visit multiple people on each hop I join, and read other interesting blogs as I find them.
I feel a sense of failure when I can’t get to those things. And yet – nearly all of my discretionary time is spent on writing-related projects. I’m not wasting time, or twiddling my fingers – and I still can’t keep up, or even come close. The last several days, as I do various critiquing and beta reading projects for the three other members of my local critique group and move through a beta reading I took on a year ago, I’m only catching the odd comment, and the string of those I haven’t responded to is getting longer and longer.
I’m trying to accept that I can’t get to you all right now. That may change, once this new crit group becomes not new but SOP, just another part of my every week. But, for now –
I’m not ignoring you. Oddly, I’m probably thinking about those unanswered comments a lot more than you are. I’m feeling guilty about it, and that’s not good for any of us.
I need to let go, not try to break even….
So, this is my blanket comment to all of you who take the time out of your own lives to interact with me here.
You are valued.
I read your comment.
It’s very likely it made me smile, or laugh (I kind of do those a lot).
I might have nodded silent agreement.
I almost certainly wrote you at least the beginning of an answer in my head.
I was, and am, honored that you took the time and energy needed to write that comment.
Things will settle, and I hope to get ‘caught up’ then-
But I can see that I might end up making myself stressed and crazy trying, and I’m sure none of us want that….
I promise to do my best to show my appreciation – if not in return comments and visits, then in the content I share freely on this blog. I hope that, whether you just popped in the first time to read an odd post or two, whether you’ve been here a few times, or even if you read Every Single Thing I ever post, and want more, you will find something here that makes you think of commenting, even if you don’t.
If you’re a blogger (especially a high-volume and often-visited one), how do you deal with comments? Do you answer each and every one? Do you have a system? Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Do you even try to get to them all?
NOTE: The last line of this piece contains two relatively mild curse words. Those offended by profanity might wish to avoid it.
Donovan went, blinking, into the studio proper, which smelled of damp clay and the fresh flowers Corinne kept scattered around the space. The shades were drawn to create some darker patches, where he could sit out of the sun, and empty except for a tiny elderly woman, delicate, but with a definite air of strength, and a small, painfully thin, dark-skinned little girl.
The woman’s hands trembled as she kneaded her clay with the practiced ease of someone who had spent a lot of time baking from scratch. The girl’s brows creased into a frown as she used sculpting tools on – a slightly lopsided vase. It was tall, fluted, and quite ambitious.
Corinne went over to them, putting a hand on the elderly woman’s shoulder and leaning in. “Gladys, Iris, I’d like you to meet my friend, Donovan.”
“Hello there,” Donovan said, walking to a shadowed table two away from the one where they sat, and reaching at once into the lidded bucket where Corinne kept fresh clay. It was easier to connect with people if he was busy with something of his own; the clay was cool and refreshing in his hands as he rolled a handful into a ball, then squashed it to begin again.
“You’re an albino, aren’t you?” Her voice was soft, and unusually accented. It wasn’t a question; she was too sure of herself.
“Iris -” started the woman, warningly.
“Yes, I am.” Donovan said. “Most people your age don’t know that.”
“I read a lot, and watch things.”
I don’t mind, and I’d rather answer questions than just be stared at.”
“Me too,” said the child,, and she came halfway round the table, watching him. “You’re blinking a lot. Does the sun hurt your eyes, even in here?”
“Yes,” he told her, simply, kneading the clay. She was silent as he rolled another ball, then took up a knife and sliced it in half before rolling out a snake. “Why don’t you put your sunglasses on, then?”
“I wanted you to be able to see my eyes. People sometimes get nervous, when they can’t, and I’m hoping we can be friends.”
“You can put them down, if you want. I’ve seen your eyes, now.” She pulled out a chair across the table, and rested a knee on it. Donovan wondered what made her so cautious, and put that shadow in her eyes. Experience and instinct said that it was something deeply rooted, and nothing to do with the woman she was with.
“Can you still see your clay?” Now she looked directly at him; the sunglasses seemed to offer her as much protection as they did him. Not a child who enjoyed being the subject of adult scrutiny, then.
“Well enough. I’ve had dark lenses since I was a baby; I’m used to them.”
Donovan noodled with the clay, rolling and coiling, making something that might be a basket, a bowl, or a cup. Corinne went to sit with the old woman, and they chatted quietly.
“Did you know that ‘kifo’ means ‘death’, in Swahili?”
“Yes, I did.” Donovan kept his eyes on the clay. He could feel her working up to something, testing him with it.
“My grandma Gladys came here to die. She’s very old – ninety-nine! – and she has Parkinson’s disease.”
“I can’t think of a more beautiful place to die, or to be with someone who is.”
“I’m going to need some friends,” Iris said, very quietly, reaching to place her dark hand on his pale one. “I think you might do.”
Donovan smiled, and put his other hand on hers. It was bony, but strong and sure, sandwiched between his own. “With honor,” he told her.
The front door jolted open suddenly, and the child crouched into the space beneath the table as Donovan, caught in a shaft of full sunlight, tried to shrink away from the painful assault.
Corinne, her voice kind and unruffled, said “Please close the door quickly -”
A man’s voice cut her off. “Gladys! Where the hell’s that damned stepdaughter of mine?”
Squeak the cat figured out how to move the drop ceiling in our bedroom, and get into the upper reaches of the house (not really high enough to be an attic). That was inspiration for Jim to add some much needed insulation and do a bit of repair work he didn’t get to last fall.
I got out by myself, to do a bit of personal shopping and have dinner. Jim’s taken the kids out a couple of times, so I’ve had some time to myself, at home and away.
Jim returns to work on Wednesday, so we’re gradually shifting back to a more typical rhythm…
And it’s March, which, for me, means that, as the round winds down, I will be selecting just a few goals to focus on. New or adapted goals will be appear like this.
My main focus will be on :
Revising Chameleon’s Dish;
Submitting the children’s homeschool reports;
Preparing for April and May’s intensive writing projects.
Continuing with home embetterment.
Continuing with life embiggening.
Play Jar Update:
It was a better Play Jar week. The house is somewhat shambelized, with Jim on vacation until Wednesday, which shifts our flow and focus – in good but chaotic ways.
I want my Play Jar to be fun. So I’m dropping the deadline. I might do less when I am focused on something specific, and more when I get that restless, looking for something new feeling…
3/58 slips completed.
#49. Buy 3 large paper lanterns – I am calling this complete, although I didn’t buy the lanterns. I decided to buy a very pretty string of lights, and may choose to add the lanterns later.
#35. Read Miah’s fanfic with him. We read a few chapters, and he decided it was enough. He was happy, so it was a success! =)
#53. Private – no peeking! 😉
Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.
Answer comments at least every other day. Target attained!
This has become habit, so I’m expanding for March.
Answer comments regularly, across all blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.
Make at least two return visits every other day, on average.Target attained!
Yes. I’ve had more comments, this week; moving through the return visits.
Maintain regular posting schedule;queue one post for each regular feature.On target.
Create Scrivener file; list basic facts for each protagonist (age, gender, physical characteristics) by March 10. Pending.
Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May). On target.
More pondering, this session.
Create timeline, premise, GMC, and character sketches for both protagonists by April 1.
Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.
Work through Chameleon’s DishPre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. Target attained!
March is designated an editing month; for me. New goals below.
Complete first revision pass for Chameleon’s Dish. On target.
This is a rough, non-linear pass; the focus is on adding scenes, character and subplot development; correction of talking heads, info-dumps, characters as mannequins or in limbo, structure, and consistency.
This is a completely pantsed NaNo WIP, and this step involves major rewriting and revising. I’m not setting an end date; I will use time goals, per month, until the revision is complete.
1/60 scenes complete; scene 2/60 in revision.
Spend at least 60 hours (2hours/day average) on this pass during March.On target.
3/1: 5 hours, 20 minutes.
3/2: 3 hour, 15 minutes.
Month to-date:8 hours, 45 minutes.
Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.
Continue the family room reset.On target.
Computer desk will hopefully be moved before Jim’s vacation ends on Wednesday; general decluttering.
Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.
Begin collecting info for second quarter homeschooling reports; due March 15.On target.
Since it’s now March, this goal needs adapting.
Complete and submit both children’s reports by March 15.
Completed Annalise’s English Language Arts and Mathematics; Sciences in progress.
Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.
Select and complete projects from my Play Jar.On target.
Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.
Choose two playful motions for each day in February; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. On target.
Still not quite up to pre-flu levels, but getting closer.
Walking, moving firewood; stair stepping; lunging; toe touches.
Goal will be adapted for March:
Choose two playful activities per day; walk at least one mile each week: workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week.
How was the break for you? I spent time with my husband – talking, romancing, and watching Enterprise – we’re at the beginning of a wild ride; a 15-episode story arc that takes T’Pol, and the rest of the crew, where they’ve really never gone before.
I’ve hung with my kids –flowing with all the things that impassion us – geodesic dome blanket forts, forgotten in the rain. William Carlos Williams poetry, Minecraft. Doctor Who, My Little Pony, Creatures of Olympus. Budgeting,scheduling, planning, dreaming. Snuggling, cooking, and deep conversation negotiation. Two trips to the Y, a mother-daughter day. Hometending, laughing, negotiating. Learning, growing.
I’ve done some things just for me. I’m not quite ready to share them yet – I’m absorbing the warm glow and deeper meanings, holding them close until I’ve grokked them better.
And…I’ve been writing. Quite a lot. I have a blog queue building, WIPS growing, ideas brewing, and a rhythm that feeds the different areas of my life. I’m weaving the pattern of my writing life, and that’s my theme, this round.
Use Blogging Action Plans – smaller steps to reach larger goals.
Post 4 non-ROW80 posts weekly: two at shanjeniah; one each at other blogs – October 15.
Maintain this level throughout round.
Write/Revise Mission Statements for all blogs – October 31.
Five posts queued for each Regular Feature:Coffee and Conversation; Wordless Wednesday; WIPpet Wednesday; and Saturday’s Share – November 1.
Develop professional image; reflect in blogs.
Strive for high-concept posts for shanjeniahRegular Features.
Post updated Features Buffet Menu, in sidebars of all three blogs –October 13.
Clean up obvious visual clutter on all blog layouts – October 25.
Flash fiction and short stories.
Submitting to paying markets.
Use Noveling Action Plan -smaller steps to reach larger goals.
Write or Plan one scene weekly for The Stars are Fire and Perchance to Dream, through October.
Sign up for NaNoWriMo 2013 –October 20.
CompleteTo Be or Not to Be rough draft: ~200,000 words total –October 31.
PlanKing of Shreds and Patches (A Trueborn Warp SeriesStar Trek fan fiction novel, companion volume to Sima Garo Provides – NaNo 2012 WIP);complete planning exercise/ scene-by-scene outline – October 31.
I submit to paying markets, garnering an income that allows for more yes-saying and necessary maintenance.
Research writers’ organizations – choose 3 for further exploration –October 31.
Develop a plan for pursuing greater business knowledge: record-keeping, billing, shipping, tax records, and other administrative matters.
Investigate beginning small-business info. Make list for further exploration – December 1.
Create peaceful, inspiring creative spaces throughout our home; continue organizing and clutter control efforts in common and personal spaces.
Arrange “office” lighting – October 20; decide if it’s sufficient.
Door covering hung – October 25.
Decorate bulletin board, take down maps (moving to family or living room).
Hang ribbon board.
Minimum of 5 minutes, twice weekly, organizing and cleaning the space.
Minimum of 10 minutes, twice weekly, being in the space.
Find a name that suits my vision of this space – I resist the term “office” and its connotations….hmmm…
Continue the “greatroom” living room refit.
Clean up computer and email files. Sort, delete, file, spruce up.
Clear out email inbox – October 10.
Clear out main Documents folder- organize and delete. – October 20
Prepwork for homeschooling reports.
Create and maintain base form;add items regularly.
Practice fitting this into my writing rotation, so it doesn’t eat up chunks of life later.
Exercise and Movement.
Writing dovetails with my priorities – being with my children in these last few years of their dependence, and continuing to build my relationship with Jim, so that it is an entity readying for the eventual emergence into life as parents of grown offspring.
Make time and sweetness for Jim, in ways that are meaningful to us both, and in ways that are important to him.
Do the same for the children, individually and together.
Make time for connecting with friends.
Immerse myself in writing, living, and being with my family, striving for presence.
Regularly evaluate; adjust as needed.
I attend to my own passions, caring lovingly for myself.
Practice movement daily, for at least a few minutes.
Work out at least once a week.
Get outside for at least a few minutes each day.
Allow time and space to indulge my passions.
I offer assistance to other writers.
Complete beta reading by October 20.
Read, comment, and share others’ posts and links.
Tend sponsor duties promptly.
Find other ways to help.
Want to read more ROW80 writiers? Click here – it’s a blog hop!
What is ROW80, you ask? Why, it’s Kait Nolan‘s baby, The Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life!
Are you a planner who always knows what’s next, or do things tend to sneak up on you when you’re busy elsewhere, living your life?
I spend most of my waking hours with my children, and I love it. As they grow, they need less from me in the way of physical care, and we are, more and more, able to share mutually stimulating conversation, play, connection, and creation of many kinds.
These last days, I’ve been doing hometending and writerly things, and pondering all the sea changes that seem to be happening within me and my family….
And then, I read Kait’s check-in post, and was blindsided.
This is the second to last update of the round.
Many of my goals are long-term, and will be carried over, but there are a few I intended to complete before the round ends…and time is growing short.
Time to assess, and plan. Jim has Monday and Tuesday off, so there will be time to clear the goals buffet table a little, and get ready to reset it for Round 4….
A few words about my goals:
I prefer a buffet of goals. I update only those which have progressed.
From now to the official end of Round 3 (9/18), and during the break,I will be tidying up the buffet table, and considering Round 4 offerings.