December 9 2017

Only (Five Minute Friday)

Today’s Five Minute Friday word is only.

I only need to write for five minutes. I only have a million things to do. Not that I will do them because I am only writing. I was making the graphic to go with this post. I really enjoy doing that and seeing how different I can make them while keeping them looking similar in style. I’m only a novice at it but seeing them makes me proud because instead of paying only $1 for some of the photo backgrounds that Canva offers, I take my own. Whenever I am out and about and see an interesting texture, I snap a photo with my always-present cell phone. I zoom in so the texture is all you see filling the screen and sometimes I zoom in even more. In case you are wondering, today’s graphic is only denim, I thought the orange would go nicely since it reminded me of the thread color on many faded pairs of jeans I have worn over the years. Often, I only have one pair of shoes to my name, only a couple of pairs of jeans. Who wants to have two weeks worth of laundry piled up? If you only use what you have until it wears out, only have the bare minimum of things, you can never have too much to wash when everything is dirty, right? I only have a couple of loads a week most of the time.

I have learned a lot by being a blogger. I only need to know what I need to know today, tomorrow’s problems will present themselves soon enough. I teach myself how to do only what I need to know how to do at the moment. I used to use PicMonkey to create my graphics because it was free. I got pretty good at it, but then it suddenly wasn’t free anymore and since this blog has yet to earn anything for me, I try to get things free when I can. So I used Canva instead because again, it was free. I was frustrated because using Canva wasn’t the same as PicMonkey and it was new and different. There are still things about it I don’t understand, but I only had the need to try it when PicMonkey got greedy and decided I couldn’t save my graphics unless I paid. Thanks for the opportunity to learn something new. PicMonkey pushed me out of my comfort zone and I only learned more because of it. I still think of myself as only a newbie blogger, but then I find someone who is way newer to the whole thing than I am and I can help them so much by sharing the mistakes I have learned along the way. Maybe I am no longer only a novice. By continually stretching myself beyond my comfort zone, I continually amaze myself with the new things I am learning each week. Many weeks I feel I am only writing for myself and the spammers who seem to be the only ones to leave comments. I get enough of those that sometimes I don’t trust the honest to goodness real comments when they do happen. I am only me, so why do all these spamming people from so many other countries want to spam my blog? Do they read it and decide it is worthy or does some bot find my little old piece of the web and deem it worthy of posting a spammy comment to? Only God and the spammer really know.

I only do what I do and try to share some of the lessons I have learned the hard way in my half-century inhabiting this planet. Remember, it isn’t always that deep, sometimes it is only denim!

I forgot to set the timer and once again when I get to writing the words just keep spilling out onto the page. So you, dear reader, get an extra long ramble to read.  Remember I post new content every Thursday and whenever I get the Five Minute Friday prompt written, ideally on Friday. Until next week, I am only your humble rambling writer. Have a great week and subscribe so you can be the first to see what I post next Thursday.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Only
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

December 7 2017

Ben Franklin Used A BuJo?

I was poking around the internet as writers are known to do from time to time and stumbled across photos of an old journal of Ben Franklin’s. Reading some of his entries are interesting too, but the layouts of some of the pages that were not all text are what caught my attention.

I got really excited because it looks like a lot of bullet journal layouts I have seen. I told hubby, “Ben Franklin was a bullet journaler!”

“How do you figure?”

“I’ve got photos of his journal to prove it.”

“Show me.”

So I showed hubby the three photos above and he agreed they looked like something that might be in a bullet journal. Not that hubby is a bullet journal expert, in fact, he is more skeptic than anything.

Franklin had what basically amounts to a weekly habit tracker.

He also had a 24 hour time tracker

So, there you have it. Ben Franklin may have been one of the earliest known bullet journalers.

The new year is fast approaching and I have been considering how to set up my 2018 bullet journal. Some spreads should be copied into the new one, others will get blank versions of things in the old one, like the list of books read for instance.

What spreads do you find extremely helpful? Have you tried using a bullet journal? I have been using one for over a year now and love it! If it was good enough for Ben, it is good enough for me! Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite page or layout idea you want to share.

Photo of Franklin comes from:

http://leadershipvoices.com/2013/10/07/manday-quote-ben-franklin/

The pages of Benjamin Franklin's Journal are from:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/20203

December 1 2017

Near (Five Minute Friday)

As the end of this year draws near, I find myself thinking about the goals I set and whether or not I will be able to accomplish all of them. I think about the word of the year I chose for 2017, FEARLESS, and all the things I dared to try because I was determined to live up to my chosen word. I have been thinking about my new word of the year to guide me through 2018 and am having trouble deciding which word to choose. No rush, I still have an entire month left to think it over while working on trying to finish up projects that are nearly finished or I am nearly out of time to finish. No, I won’t tell you about them yet, that is what my end of the year goals wrap up will be for.
I know in December I won’t be writing anywhere near the 55,000 words I wrote in November. But I will still be writing, at least every Thursday night. If you haven’t already entered your email to sign up to be notified when I post something new to this blog, I really wish you would. There is a sign-up box near the top right of the page, and it takes nowhere near a minute to do it from start to finish.

Are you thinking about the goals you will work on in the new year? Me too! I feel like focusing on goals this year has helped me to get so much done. I am actually having trouble figuring out what I can do next year to top this year.

December is always a tough month for me. November is the month I really focus all my free time and effort on writing and winning NaNoWriMo, this leaves me in a bit of a funk because I am usually exhausted, and missing the excitement and extra write-ins with my writing people. I miss the community all focused on the common goal. It takes a while to get over that and begin to focus on holiday preparations which always seem rushed because we didn’t start until December to consider what we would do.

So, as we near the end of this year, what are you planning for 2018? How can you make it your most successful year yet? Nope, I don’t know either, but I’m at least thinking about it.

Check back soon. I usually post twice a week on Thursday and Friday-ish. I get super inspired, sometimes I will post something extra over the weekend. Don’t forget to sign up for emailed notifications so you won’t miss any posts!

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Near
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

November 30 2017

NaNoWriMo Wrap-up

I have come a long way as a writer in the last four years. I have finally become a year-round writer. (As of this month I have written over 113,000 words so far this year!) I am not afraid to call myself a writer. I have put in the work and time and, though I may not have a book published yet, I AM a writer. I have 5 NaNo wins under my belt to prove it (to myself if nothing else).

My motivation for the month was a printout of the image below. This is my 2014 NaNoWriMo progress graph, also the first year I attempted to write fiction. As you can see I got off to a super slow start because I had no idea HOW to write fiction and I just plain had NO IDEA for a plot of any sort. I seriously doubted I could ever catch up once I got started and then around the 25k mark, I began to question whether I had a workable plot at all (I really didn’t), so I didn’t write anything for a few days. Seeing this graph and how I beat the odds, no matter how badly they were stacked against me, kept me going this month. My present-self would like to take this opportunity to thank my 2014-self for sticking it out and winning because if I hadn’t done it back then, I’m not sure I would have believed I could do it this year.

This year was vastly different than the others. I was calmer through the entire month, and I kept thinking how strange it was that I wasn’t freaking out about being behind. Maybe it has to do with being FEARLESS this year. Maybe it is because four years of history have helped me realize there is no need to panic because it IS doable.

So, in case there was any doubt, here is how I did THIS year.

I did not meet my personal goal of finishing the entire first draft of this novel. I kind of stop expecting to do that after the slow start and the lack of planning during Prep-Tober. I feel like this novel was the closest I have ever been to writing a complete story arc in a first draft. I don’t hate the novel yet and may try to finish plotting it out and writing the other thirty to fifty thousand words it will need to be a true novel length draft. I think I might be able to manage that, maybe even by the end of the year, but we will see.

If you have never tried writing 50,000 words in a month, I highly recommend giving it a try. Winning gives the feeling of accomplishment we all crave and it makes you feel like you can accomplish anything you set out to do. You also get cool swag like the graphic below!

November 25 2017

Familiar (Five Minute Friday)

By now, you are familiar with the fact that on Fridays, or soon thereafter, I participate in this thing called FiveMinuteFriday.com. Each week,  provides a one-word prompt to write about for 5 little minutes. Sometimes they just flow out of me without much thought. Other times, like tonight, nothing comes to mind and I just don’t know what to write. As a writer, this happens sometimes. Some would call it writer’s block. I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. In my case, when I can’t think what to write, it is really a case of idea block. Once I get an idea, I can write about it. Sometimes I can’t find much to write, but other times one little spark ignites an entire bonfire of other ideas and I am off and writing.

Writing my novel this month as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge is getting tougher because I am running out of the scenes I had planned to write. I have been adding scenes in along the way as I think of them or find a hole in the plot that needs to be filled. I don’t want to just write stuff for the sake of word count, so no, I will not be adding a dragon to my novel or an unexplained dead body just to boost the word count only to have to cut it all later when future me gets around to editing this novel. I am familiar with the difficulties of editing and future has begged current and past me never to do that to her.

I was on par one day this month, the 12th, I think. I am familiar with the perils of falling behind in my word count, of starting late or slowly, of getting to the 25,000 words stage and questioning everything I have written so far and thinking there is no point in continuing as it is all terrible and no one will ever want to read it. Despite all of these typical doubts and fears, there are only six days left in the month and I still need to write about 11,000 words. I am trying to keep in mind this year that my story needs to be finished which means it needs a beginning, middle, and end. My characters need to grow and change over the course of the novel. I need to get back to writing the novel, but instead, here I am writing this blog post. Really any excuse will do. I don’t feel too bad because I did write 3,000 words today in my novel and these words don’t count toward my monthly NaNo goal. I am familiar with this thing I am doing right now. It is called PROCRASTINATION. Sometimes it comes in the way of writing blog posts like tonight, or doing laundry and loading the dishwasher like yesterday. I know all about it because it used to happen back in college when there was homework to be done. Hubby would catch me cleaning the house and he knew, he was familiar with my tactics. He would ask me what school work I was avoiding by doing housework. Pretty smart that man of mine. Ok, enough of this procrastinating, let’s end this post so I can get back to the novel I should be writing. Stay tuned next week when November ends and see how I did.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Familiar
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.