Sunday, October 21, 2007

Crunching with clients, not sweating with Sven

It never fails. I sign up for a writing challenge, I get either a bug or a freelance editing project with a tight deadline.

This time, I got both. Lucky me.

Poor "Sven" has been neglected for several days in favor of editing and/or feeling wretched. There will be more editing, but with luck, there will be no more wretchedness. I did manage 650 words tonight--rather pathetic, but more than I've done since Wednesday.

Tomorrow there will be mighty catch-up, although probably not enough to make up for four missed days.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My poem "Ten Things Found on the Beach" is now online in the autumnal issue of the journal Sea Stories.

I'm always excited when a new poem is published, and I'm especially pleased by this publication. As you might guessed from, oh, my user picture and my frequent posts about going to the beach, I'm in love with this ocean. This journal is the artistic arm of the very wonderful Blue Ocean Institute, which I first learned about while working at New England Aquarium.

To quote their own PR material, because I couldn't say it better: "Sea Stories is a quarterly online journal of international ocean writing and art, published by Blue Ocean Institute. The journal welcomes memoir, poetry, descriptive prose, and imaginative nonfiction, as well as photographs, drawings, or other visual arts, by contributors from all walks of life – scientists and beachcombers, students and vacationers, fishermen and seafood-eaters, coastal residents and inland ocean-lovers. Anyone who has ever felt her or his feet sink into warm sand, or poked around the tidepools, or struggled against the powers of wind and wave, or stood transfixed by the reflections of sun and cloud on water, will find renewed spirit In so doing, participants will contribute to our shared goals of nurturing people's love of the sea, instilling hope, and helping restore living abundance in the ocean...

Blue Ocean Institute, founded by MacArthur Fellow Carl Safina and Mercedes Lee in 2003, works to inspire a closer relationship with the sea through science, art and literature. Through a variety of programs, BOI helps develop conservation solutions that are compassionate to people as well as to ocean wildlife, and shares reliable information that enlightens personal choices, instills hope, and helps restore living abundance in the ocean."

(Good news for those not fond of my more usual racy writing, or who access the Internet at work: This is 100% worksafe!)

Ah, Sven, I've let you down already!

After a good "warm-up" and a decent Monday (made my new-words goal and edited a novella--I quipped to a friend that it took me longer to cut 250 words than it had to write 2500 the day before), I failed last night. Both the asthma and the sinuses were acting up, making all the rest of me feel pretty vile too, and by the time I got home, all I could handle was a big bowl of soup, a blanket, a cat, and Eloisa James' Desperate Duchesses. (Not her best, but "not her best" means that I was able to set it down and go to the office, but did keep reading while I was doing my back exercises. Her best are dangerous--I don't get out the door.)

So today I need to hit my word-workout and hit it hard. Ack.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

2000 words and beach

God, today was a glorious fall day. We headed down to Horseneck Beach in Dartmouth and spent a few hours just walking on the shore, listening to the waves and the wind and recharging. Between that and a decent night's sleep last night, I feel almost human again. No ospreys, but marsh hawks or something over the highway--a pair, circling majestically on an updraft--and all sorts of adorable, comical shorebirds.

And a huge purple jelly (better known as a jellyfish, but I worked way too long at the New England Aquarium, where we were not allowed to call them that because they're not fish) washed up on shore. I took pictures because it was so strangely beautiful, like Venetian glass or some abstract art. If they look halfway decent, I'll post them.

2000 words today on the Super-Sekrit Novella, and it's back to Dayle because I'm a bit too sleepy to plot through the next bit. Sven, I'm getting my writing muscles back in shape. Getting ready for you, you hot, sweaty Swede you.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sweating with Sven warmup

I've managed 1000+ words both yesterday and today on Threshing the Grain. No idea how they actually read. I sense I'm rambling, trying to figure out who the characters are--I thought I knew, but as I started writing I realized a lot remains to be discovered. Tomorrow will the next installment of the Mysterious Novella with Dayle. (And mysterious it is. I mean, we have a plot. We have characters. We have a setting. Yet it doesn't seem to be settling down as gracefully as some of our pieces do. Partly, I think, because I keep thinking novella means we have, oh, 40,000 words, and in this case it's more long short story.

The glamorous life of a writer is feeling less glamorous than usual of late. I think that much of my malaise is more literally malady, a low-grade sinus bug that's just making me feel so run-down that doing anything is a struggle. (I'd be more worried about this if half the area wasn't down with it. My office isn't exactly a lively place right now, with us all struggling to stay awake, let alone produce accurate payrolls.) I'm tired, I'm uninspired, I'm cranky, and I'm afraid I whined at both my dear co-author and at my friend R.

R, being a wise fellow and rather experienced in the vagaries of creative types, promptly took me for a walk around the block. It's chilly, but star-filled, and smells like autumn leaves and, faintly, of chocolate--my house is near a chocolate factory. He's promised a trip to the beach tomorrow after I've gotten some writing done (I'm carless at the moment) to walk by the water and blow the cobwebs out of my head.

Meanwhile, I'm wearing my cat ears and trying to think positive.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What was I thinking?

At a time in my life when I'm having trouble making myself write at all some days, I just signed up for the "70 Days of Sweat" Challenge, aka "Sweating with Sven."

They're actually giving us 90 days this time, due to the holidays--how merciful!--but the idea is to average 1000 words a day over 70 days. Should be doable in theory, but much depends on the three large editing projects I expect to see between now and the end of January.

Well, it's gotta be better than nothing, even if I don't make the goal. Right? Right.

Officially the challenge doesn't start until Monday, but having made a public commitment to doing this, I should at least try to write something tonight, just to prove I can.

Onward and upward!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Check it out tomorrow!

The very fabulous writer and editor Alison Tyler will be blogging at Lustbites tomorrow about exhibitionism and voyeurism, or rather about the new anthology Hide and Seek, which features erotic stories on those sexy topics, including one by yours truly.

I'll be adding my take on the subject, so if you want a revealing read, one where I may say more about myself than I normally do in this blog, come check it out tomorrow!

(Although you might want to wait until you're home from work. Lustbites tends not to be exactly work-safe.)

Why I sometimes have trouble getting work done

Sometimes it's hard to work around the sabertooth desk cats...

Rumble and Noodle: "We're just helping, Mom!"
Me: "Um, guys...there's no room for me to work."
R&N: "You can't fool us. You're taking a break to read someone's blog. If you're taking a break, you should be petting us. Much more relaxing than reading about your friends' crazy lives!"
Me: *pets the cats, lest they eat my monitor*

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Caution: Lions at Play

The good news: I wrote the last chapter for my lion and witch book. (No wardrobe involved although when--not if--it gets published, I'm sure some reviewer will make the joke. I certainly would.)

The bad news: I still have about 25K to write before I reach said ending. (And then at least 25K of miscellaneous ramblings and subplot that didn't gel to cut, but that's another adventure and I can't let myself worry about that yet.) But I was sitting there staring at the next logical scene and suddenly the end--and a proper answer to one of the central questions of the book, that I'd had an answer I was increasingly unsatisfied with--popped into my head and I had to write it.

The news that's both good and bad: The way it now ends cries out for a sequel. And since I'm already pretty sure it needs a prequel to get Heroine and Hero#1 together, this means the dreaded trilogy.

Good thing I like my lions and my witch and the crazy world they live in, eh?