masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
I have almost finished chapter 12. I'm starting chapter 13 this week, which, because of the reshuffling, is actually the chapter I've been referring to as "14" in all my weekly goal references. So technically, today I'm starting the chapter I wanted to finish by the end of this month. I don't want to use that as an excuse to get overly ambitious. In fact, it would be good to cut myself a break this week. I have at least one day when I will be go, go, going from before dawn to after dusk on non-writing things.

Besides, chapter 13 promises to be just as involved as chapter 12.

Working title: The Girl From Venus
Planned # of chapters: 27
Planned date of first draft completion: Jan 31st, 2016
Current chapter: 12
Finish last week's goal? Yes
This week's goal: Get at least part way into chapter 13
This month's goal: Chapter 13

In other news:

(1) A bit of a shake-up at work-work as my supervisor of eight years and another team lead were "let go" a few weeks back. In my sup's case, I think it was a mutual decision. He seemed pretty miserable there the past few months. But he was basically fired for incompetence--"not having the skill set his job as it is now under the new CEO regime requires." Did I mention our old CEO sold his business back in July, and we've had a new Jefe for a while? A lot of the changes I've been trying to convince my ex-bosses of for years are part of the new bosses' business-as-usual. One can only hope that after putting up with eight years of chasing my tail the craziness will level off.

(2) I have been discretely noting my writing friends' Nano progress, and what is interesting is I've noticed my feelings on NaNoWriMo have come full circle. A decade (!) ago, I wrote a skeptical entry about the utility of writing 50,000 words in a month. Then a year later, I did Nano. I did it a few more times, and one year, I did Camp Nanowrimo in July. I always felt free to change the rules to fit the moment (a different word goal, writing fan fiction, writing more than one piece, writing a story I already started).

But now I'm right back to the opinion that me and word counts are unmixy things. Mostly because I'm a born over-writer, and my forward momentum on a story is usually in an inverse relationship to the number of words I write on it. I cringe at what the novel I am working on now would be like if my goal wasn't the concrete "finish chapter 13 by the end of the week" and instead was the nebulous, "write 500 words a day."

Anyway, your mileage may vary, yada, yada.

(3) I have recently started listening to audio books. On the plus side, lying quietly in the dark in the position of your choice having the story read to you? So much more comfortable than the contortions I normally have to do to read eBooks, or God forbid, paper books. On the minus side, audio book readers consider themselves performers and you get the story through their oral interpretation of it, rather than just a straight prose reading. That can be distracting. I am encouraged, though, as I whizzed through The Girl in the Spider's Web, the latest tome in the Millennium series in about three days.

That book, I'm happy to say, ended up reading like vintage Steig Larssen despite the fact that he's been dead for years and it was written by a successor. The only quibble I have is Spoilers )


Oct. 28th, 2015 06:31 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
I am not going to be doing NaNoWriMo this year, ironically, because I am busy working on the first draft of my new novel. I have a rhythm down and it really isn't compatible with cranking out as many words as possible every day for 30 days. Plus, next month, I have a three-day work conference, a new writing class starting, and plans out of town for Turkey Day.

I've been doing my writing first thing in the morning. That is about the only time of day I have any energy, as work has been really busy for the past couple months (if you don't understand the reference "ICD-10", count yourself fortunate).

And I have other sources of social energy besides NaNo. The writing classes, including a course following Julia Cameron's Artist Way got me going on morning pages. And the Twitter hashtag #WriteChain has continued that by giving me a place to keep accountable for my daily writing goals.

My main excuse, though, has been physical pain. Unless a quip is short enough that I can peck it out with a finger or short enough for my voice-to-text not to get lost mid-sentence then crap out on me, I don't post it much. Hence my continued presence on Facebook.

I might try doing a November blogging thing if there are folks still around here in LJ/DW land. Roll call?
masqthephlsphr: (Emma)
Welcome, September. I for one will be glad to see summer go. It's going out like a lion rather than a lamb--the monsoons--but "bye bye."

I tend to hibernate in summer, and this one was no different in that respect. We also got mega busy at work in the past month or so, and I have veered between long days at work and sleep. OTOH, I found out recently I will lose a week's accumulated vacation if I don't take it before mid-November. So I will have 5-6 three-day weekends in the next month and a half. Can't say I mind. I was saving up days for next year's Australia trip and possible days off due to my back procedures, and have not nearly had enough days off.

Watched Season 4 of OUAT when it came to Netflix. Still poorly executed, but it makes more sense the second time through when you know they aren't throwing free will off the table.

Anyone seen the new Star Trek online movie, Renegades? I just started it. Planet and ship special effects are much better than 90's series, but the ship interiors and some of the characters look like amateur YouTube Trek. This despite it being a collaborative project of several Trek veteran actors.

GF and I are watching Farscape. First time for her, second time for me. Enjoying it more the second time around. I guess seeing it before changes my expectations for it.

In writing news, I sidelined the novel I've been working on for the past few years because it was spinning out of control and not getting finished. Started a short story in a writing class that has now turned into a novella. How does this happen to me? Plan: learn the art of plotting for brevity.
masqthephlsphr: (masq)
It has been a while since I've posted. My bout with back pain last fall has become shoulder pain, and the standing and walking I was doing to relieve it have been complicated by inflammation to my right knee. Bottom line is that sitting and typing can be painful, so I have had to save it for work and my writing class.

I have been experimenting with voice recognition input, which is great for one-liners on Facebook, or for making notes to myself, less good for composing, to say nothing of editing. Any tasks which put me in a similar position as typing (sitting with arms bent at a 90 degree angle), such as driving, are also difficult.

What have I been up to? See above re: work and my writing class. I have another short story finished, although it's probably not something I would submit anywhere. The teacher in this class wanted us to write "literary fiction," which apparently means NO GENRE WRITING OF ANY KIND. Not sci-fi, not mystery, not historical fiction (whut), not anything that's actually interesting. So the story I wrote doesn't particularly inspire me. But there are more writing classes to come. I find it a good motivator, and a way to connect with other writers. Just will have to keep my eye out for profs that are tunnel-vision SNOBS.

I have also been spending time at the gym, which has partly helped and partly contributed to my difficulties (exercise smart, not just hard, kids!) I have also been in and out of the pain clinic, getting various shots and procedures to my various screeching parts.

And for those of you who've friended me on Feeb, I am of course following and echoing the latest Solar System antics of 2015.

Now that my writing class is wrapping up for the semester, I hope to post a bit more.

The latest

Jan. 24th, 2015 01:18 pm
masqthephlsphr: (word)
Wanted to thank everyone that gave me feedback on my short story, Home. I submitted an updated/edited version to the Maricopa Community Colleges Creative Writing contest and won an Honorable Mention Winner in the Fiction category. It will be published as part of an annual publication the contest puts out.

In other news, got done a round of epidural steroid shots on my cervical vertebrae. I have some other interventions lined up for shoulder muscle tension and an arthritic lumbar, so stay t00ned for that excitement.

I joined a nearby gym as part of the Wellness Program at my job and have been working on strength training and stretching with a personal trainer. I am also looking into non-inflammatory diets. OMG, I lost five pounds in the last month just eating healthier. Nothing motivates like PAIN.

I got my new orthopedic recliner finally. It's a good chair, but I still have issues that mean I can't sit all day like I used to. I think having to move around more just for comfort reasons contributed to the weight loss.

Finished the second draft of my novel despite my sitting issues, just by letting is SUCK all it wanted to. I needed to move seriously to working on the plot before I spilled any more pixels on the words.

Happy Birthday, [profile] crimsonsenya!!

Happy Birthday, [personal profile] lakrids404!!
masqthephlsphr: (boring)
...I don't even know where to begin. I guess... a month ago? I started to experience incredible pain while sitting. In my neck, in my back, in my left shoulder. Some of this is arthritis, some is muscle strain from arthritis. I've been experiencing arthritis twinges in the knees, back, and neck for a few years now. But I've never had any trouble sitting for long periods of time. Then the pain got exponentially worse at some point in November, I am not even sure when, to the point where I can't sit and write anymore, at least not comfortably, and I have to do pain drugs from my orthopedic doctor to get through my work day. I can't sit on my recliner (at all), or on my couch/at the dinner table without major neck and back support (or any chair, really). I have an inexpensive ergonomic chair at work that I can sit in most of the day, if I get up frequently and walk and stretch out.

That's the crazy thing. It's more comfortable now to walk than sit. I take walks when I'm in too much pain. At home, I have been reduced to lying down in my bed to do most sedentary things (and you can't lie flat--I mean, everything flat, including your head and neck--and do most sedentary things, it turns out). Over Thanksgiving weekend, I lay down so much, I got a bed rash.

Now, you might say, "Well, all that sitting isn't healthy anyway." But that's kind of like saying the barn door shouldn't be left open after the horse is long gone. I am writer, and a computer programmer. I have been sedentary for a long, long time. All I can do now is try to fight against the tide.

I'm trying to figure out what changed between October and now to effect me so radically (besides crappy genes on both sides finally coming to a head against years in sedentary pursuits). And there's only one thing I can think of. In late October, I went to my orthopedic doctor about my neck arthritis, because it was becoming something of an issue at work. He sent me to a physical therapist, who worked on my neck and shoulders. It was after those sessions were completed I started to have the constant, piercing pain, even when everything was well-supported, and repeated muscle pulls and muscle tenderness.

I made a follow-up appointment with my orthopedic doctor and he took me off PT and had me schedule two MRIs, one on my back and one on my neck. I literally broke into tears from the pain in his office. I was (still am) very fearful I won't be able to do my job anymore. I remember the day--it was my birthday, last month--when the words "going on disability" popped into my head for the first time as a possible scenario.

Now, I am hoping that won't happen. I am working on all sorts of interventions. A new, orthopedic recliner (zero-grav) for home, a new gym exercise/muscle strengthening program with a personal trainer, and then, whatever interventions my orthopedic doctor recommends after he sees my MRI results (I had those done Tuesday evening).

Pain is a strange thing. I always considered myself pretty stoic, but the pain I've been experiencing lately--inescapable, debilitating to normal, everyday activities--has turned me into a harpy. You just discover this wounded animal side to your personality.


Nov. 14th, 2014 09:05 am
masqthephlsphr: (shane)
I don't have to post today, since my thirty days was up yesterday, but I am so glad it's Friday. Loooong week. We had a national user's conference at work, and I had to commute to Phoenix for the first three days, then I had an early AM blood appointment yesterday, so I have gotten little writing on the novel done this week. Some of that has to do with I am SO THROUGH with my La-Z-Boy recliner, where I do my writing (and reading, and TV watching, and everything else). Currently shopping for a more ergonomic replacement.

Today is my 7th anniversary of working at this place.

OTOH, check out my original fiction short story.

Also distracted by a robot landing on a comet (a bunch of times).


Sep. 24th, 2014 01:11 pm
masqthephlsphr: (robotsonmars)
(1) I am reading stuff. But it's all trashy true crime, so, we'll skip that part.

(2) I had the stomach flu over the weekend and still feel crappy.

(3) Nevertheless, I climbed up on my roof on Sunday and cleaned off all the pine needles so roofers could come and give me a bid on resealing the flat part of my roof. Bid was humongous. *croak*

(4) We are moving to a new building at work on Friday. This will in no way be TOTAL CHAOS (/ sarcasm)

(5) I am taking an online writing class through a local community college. It is a LOT of work. Between that and the constant dental appointments (root canal, crown prep, crown...) I am feeling a bit stretched. Which explains (2).

(6) Mars! NASA MAVEN and ISRO's (India) Mars Orbiter now circling the red planet. September has been a cool month at least in that regard.

(7) Not prepared for new TV season. Just don't know when I'll have the time for any of it. Planning on watching Disney's Frozen as homework this Saturday, though. When did TV start having homework?

(8) Friend visiting in a couple weeks for OctoberFest. I hope it feels like fall by then, 'cause it doesn't right now. September is, traditionally, still summer here, except for the early mornings, which finally begin to cool down. We've been known to have 100+ in early October. I am losing my tolerance for this *&^%.

In conclusion, chocolate.
masqthephlsphr: (borg)
(1) I am exhausted. Literally, fall-over-into-bed-after-work exhausted. Combination of Spring insomnia, work-work busy-ness, and daily novel rewrite sessions, methinks. Also, not having taken a whole lot of vacation since Christmas.

(2) I have been saving my vaca days up for a July get-away, a visit from a friend in October, and of course, this year's Christmas. Plus now I am saving up for a visit to Australia in summer 2015. For this, I need to request three weeks off in a row. Not that I'm not looking forward to Australia, but bunching up vacation time into one big ball means not getting as much in the interim.

(3) Further on the topic of vacation: starts tomorrow! Seattle, followed by Vancouver Island, followed by Vancouver. Sure, I have been to Vancouver, like, a bazillion times, but the Sculptor has not. Did you know Vancouver Island has vineyards? And, of course, Vancouver has Storybrooke. Plus bonus [personal profile] midnightsjane.

(4) I have been fighting my fatigue and extreme vacation-needing lately by staring at my Twitter feed. I NEVER do this. The Place of Tweets has been neglected for years, except for when my Wordpress blog auto-updates it. Now I am using it to find cool science articles, and in the process, became addicted to @ISEE3Reboot and #ISEE3. For those who don't know, this is a project by some citizen scientists to reawaken a derelict space probe from the 1970's that was abandoned by NASA in 1999, rescue it from its wanderings through space, and pull it into Earth orbit to Do More Science.

I'm less excited about the specifics of their project than how it all came about. When NASA told them they could not fund time on the Deep Space Network to attempt to communicate with the probe, these guys used "crowd sourcing" to raise the money - getting public donations. Private citizens who aren't corporations doing space stuff, guyz!!!

Check in

May. 19th, 2014 10:20 am
masqthephlsphr: (trubel)
I realized May is half over and I have not updated my LJ. I'm around, I read my flist every day and respond to stuff that catches my eye. Work is still busy, and my novel second draft is progressing, and there's not a lot of variation in that schedule that's post-worthy. Plus, I'm just plain exhausted.

I am glad the regular television season is wrapping up, I was watching about a dozen shows and keeping pace with that is a source of aforementioned exhaustion. More or less liked OUAT's third season (season two is my favorite so far, I think), and enjoyed Grimm as well, especially the new recurring character, Trubel, who is many kinds of awesome. She could have walked off the pages of one of my own stories. I always have a screwed-up brunette tough-girl.

Things to look forward to for the summer: fresh cherries, Orange is the New Black s. 2, the new Dresden Files, and my trip to Seattle/Vancouver, BC at the end of June/beginning of July. Beyond that, I plan on hibernating with my writing. Summers have always, generally speaking, been just a stretch of time for me to endure.
masqthephlsphr: (masq)
I have not posted a real post in like, the longest time. I read my flist daily and hang around other people's LJs/DWs, but posting, not so much. Things have been kind of insane-busy of late.

(1) Work. Multiple projects. Colleagues on vacations at the exact wrong time.

(2) On a marathon draft of my novel. This will take a while. I have sort of accepted that. It's a complicated little bugger.

(3) Also attempting to write a few short stories. Totally different mindset than a novel. Trying to get into that mindset by reading other people's short stories. Science fiction, mostly. Got recs?

(4) Cooking. I have been doing some cooking. Gets me out of my writer's chair on Sundays. I have made some actually pretty yummy, healthy foods. And lost, like, five pounds in the process. Then stressed out big time (see 1 above), went on a sugar rampage, and gained it all back.

Hi, I'm Masq, and I am a sugar addict. No, really. Despite the OMG-yummy (healthy fats! healthy carbs! Vegetables with actual flavor!), my body Freaked Out against the healthy, and now I have to do that withdrawal thing all over again. But at least now I know what to expect when I go back to my new healthy way of eating. My sugar addiction weathered previous periods of weight loss because I was eating processed diet foods with all those hidden, processed sugars. Take those away, and you're left dangling above a very deep pit you never knew was there.

But back to the cooking part. Here's the things my momma never told me about cooking:
(a) when you cook something, it's never one serving. So all that effort actually goes into multiple meals.
(b) when you cook, you can eat anything you want. This may sound like a trivial truth. I'm a grownup, of course I can eat anything I want. But as a processed-food eating grownup, I was pretty much restricted to what someone else had decided to make and package. When you make it yourself, you are still at the mercy of stores to stock basic ingredients, but so far I've been able to find everything.
(5) Anyway. It's Spring. I don't breath. I don't sleep. I just watch the city roll up the sidewalks for the coming months of hibernation.

(6) There's ten gazillion good things on TeeVee right now. OUAT, of course (*sob*lastweek*sob*), Continuum, Grimm, Cosmos, The Americans, and SOON more Orange is the New Black and Orphan Black. Yipee. Okay, The Vampire Diaries is tedious, OUAT: Wonderland was dull as a stump, and Criminal Minds is being written by a million monkeys with a million typewriters (would someone please put it out of my misery please)?

That's about the it.
masqthephlsphr: (word)
My life since graduate school: I am a child in a candy store, the one who is told she cannot eat anything until she's finished her chores.

I have a job, but beyond that, few responsibilities. I am single and childless. I don't belong to any organizations (anymore, used to be a thing with me). I have a few family obligations, but nothing that taxes on a daily basis. My family (including my GF) gives me lots of space. Even in my job, I am left pretty much alone as long as I get the work done. Sure, sometimes that work is demanding.

But it is safe to say, that for the most part, I do what I want when I want.

Which means there is a candy store of experiences waiting for me to just try them. What's the candy? Sometimes, it's a wonderful television program. Sometimes, it's a fascinating place to visit. Sometimes, it's feathering this little nest I've built for myself. Sometimes, an interesting friend. Sometimes, it's literally a piece of candy.

But I'm not allowed these things until my chores are finished. So of course, I sneak off and I eat the candy, and then berate myself. No candy until your chores are done.

And what are my chores?

Writing. That's my chores. "The great American novel." That should be one of the pieces of candy, the most delicious, enticing candy in the store. Instead, it's the thing that the mom-voice in my head is telling me to finish before I can taste one little delicious piece of life.

So of course I'm always rebelling by watching TV, working on some personal project, or eating. And then berating myself, bitterly. In an endless cycle.

Self-beratement doesn't work. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. All it does is turn the best thing in my life into a cudgel I use to bludgeon myself with.


Jun. 25th, 2013 09:14 am
masqthephlsphr: (CrankyHarry)
That's me, officially hitting The Wall. The Wall of six plus months solid of work with only a couple three-day weekends, two plus months solid of taking care of my mom while she was in the hospital, rehab facility, and now in home healthcare, who-the-hell-knows how many years months solid of banging on a novel whose plot and World still continue to elude me in many ways and...

well, everything else.

I am sick, and I am tired.

I took one sick day earlier this month to "shake" this off, and then I had to do it again yesterday.

So totally, totally should have scheduled a real vacation earlier than I did. Of course, my idea of a "real" vacation is a two-week long staycation with a recliner and Netflix and a computer on my lap, still banging on that novel. I don't know how to take a break from it. I keep going back to it, whether the work I do on it is productive or not. I know it's my control freak tendencies. Which I get from my mother. And if I didn't know this before, I do now. She has been cut off from the usual avenues of daily life of late, and so she keeps needling me to take care of all the things she can't control--my elder nephew, a late bill that somehow didn't get paid, people she needs to contact, etc, etc.

And my vacation, when it comes, doesn't promise to be any sort of break from responsibility. There are trains to catch and tours to get to and most of that is left up to the Sculptor and me instead of a tour company. I think I have every detail worked out, 'cause that's what I do.

But right now? Stop the world, I want to get off for a bit.
masqthephlsphr: Halt and Catch Fire (girl geek)
Part II of the OUAT flashbacks in chronological order, featuring my boy Baelfire, Jiminy Cricket, and young Geppeto:

In other news, less than a month until my fab Netherlands/Germany/Switzerland vacation. The Sculptor and I are making plans with [profile] zargon10 for our Amsterdam jaunt.

In the mean time, I am having a brain-fried time at work, I am squeezing in daily hours on my novel, and I officially cancelled the lumbar medial branch block+radiofrequency ablation procedure, at least for now. I may revisit them in a year down the line, but I want to try just going on physical therapy exercises for time being.

Oh, and I got a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, which I am wrestling with as I learn how to use it.

And my mom is being discharged from the extended care facility next Monday.


Apr. 24th, 2013 06:30 am
masqthephlsphr: (word)
Woke up at 4 am this morning. PT at 7:45. I told my boss yesterday I was going to be late for work because I needed to visit my mother. ICU is closed down for the shift change between 7 and 8:30 anyway, so I could only see her after PT.

The goal today was to just get as many words out as possible, no matter how junky. There were a few words I liked, it wasn't all junky.

22447 / 25000 words. 90% done!
masqthephlsphr: (muse)
A lot of people don't like doing New Years resolutions, and I don't blame them. Each year of our lives has a particular flow, and the flow we are in in one year is different than the one we veer into in the next, and therefore the expectations we develop from one may not apply to the other at all. We can't always control the way our lives flow.

But I think those of us privileged enough to have some semblance of control over at least part of our time ought to at least visualize how we'd like to spend that time, even if other stuff comes along to divert us from those visions. 2012 was a case-in-point year for that.

Read more... )

2012 had a lot to commend for it. And more than one place to improve.
masqthephlsphr: (nt)
(1) My home refinance is complete. A notary arrived at my house this AM to take me through the paper work. FINALLY! I originally contacted my mortgage company in early June, and was conditionally approved August 11th. WHUT is today? November 16th! It dragged on for so long they had to check all my financials a second time in case something had changed in the intervening three months since conditional approval. The only good thing about the delay is the value of my home went up and the interest rate I would have had on the refinance loan decreased by another 0.5%, giving me a 2.5% total drop in interest rate from my initial mortgage. I also have a shorter-term loan than before.

In the mean time, my finances were in a state of limbo for five months. Couldn't touch my nest egg because it was collateral, and had to put off my finance guy, who was trying to move forward on some investments we had discussed. Couldn't put too much on credit because it would effect my credit score. But I had to put things on credit because I didn't have enough cash for a few big purchases that I'd planned before this sleigh ride began.

(2) I was feeling under the weather in late Oct and early Nov, although in the past week, my strength has been returning. I was literally working from home in a horizontal position three weeks ago at this time. Not sure if it was the flu or the Autumn Icks I often get for no particular reason this time of year (stress, I guess; Fall is a busy time at my job.)

(3) I have been reading political news on the internet for the past week and a half. I'll stop, soon, as it goes from being entertaining to depressing again. There's definitely something wrong with me when I'm feeling too tired to write fiction and then find enough energy to read the Huff Post instead. Politics is so anti-Masq 99.9% of the time, I have to filter out my own brother on Facebook even though I agree with his positions on the issues.

(4) TV seems entirely lackluster this Fall, with just about every show I am watching. Nothing impressive, nothing that stands out as truly bad, either.

(5) I am going to San Francisco for Thanksgiving! Will see old friends and my nephew/grandnephew. Hopefully there will be pics. No, wait--my mother hath commanded me, "There WILL be pics!"

(6) I am plotting the next draft of my novel, although the burnt-out quotient is dragging that out. Keeping up the writing pace I did this summer through October was a lot of effort and part of the reason I started feeling under the weather. Mostly, I am putting together electronic "note cards" of story events and plot points that in short order I will attempt to organize into an actual PLOT.

At some point, though, I must balance out the "plotting" with actual writing. I don't want to force myself to write before I'm ready or I'll just over-rely on my first draft material and risk not "taking the story to the next level" as I want to. But as a Pantser, I also know my ideas often shift during the actual writing stage, negating well-intentioned attempts to "pre-plan."

But it occurs to me that in the second draft, I don't have to write in chronological order like I did the first draft--that is, chapter one first, chapter two second, etc. I did that for the benefit of my beta reader, so she'd have a consistent, unfolding story. But in the second draft, I can write whatever sections are inspiring me on a particular day.

So the tentative plan is to start writing on Jan 1st, regardless of where I am in the plotting process. I think it will be a NaNoWriYear of sorts, with a daily goal of 250-350 words. Maybe more if I don't want that draft to take me the entire year to write. And I will post little snippets in my journal if I think they're particularly interesting.
masqthephlsphr: (draft)

But yes, alas, that means I am not doing NaNo this year, 'cause October has been my NaNoWriMo--a non-stop writing-and-editing spree that began each morning as soon as I woke up , stopped only so I could go to the stress-hell that has been work this month, and resumed the minute I got home until I collapsed in bed.

I think part of the reason I managed to whack out the rest of this story in one month is that work has been so sucky, writing distracted me from dwelling on it. Which, bonus. But I overdid it. I have been sick with the flu for over a week now. Still working at my job from home--blast modern remote login computers.

I crawled into my actual place of employment for meetings twice last week and couldn't even sit up for the length of them.

Now I am all jealous of my friends prepping for NaNo. Not because I'm dying to spew out 1,667 words a day, but because it's fun to be part of all that energy. My Nov and Dec will be spent planning the second draft of my novel (and posting on that process, hopefully). And it will need planning--lots and lots of planning, 'cause for Pantsers, the first draft is really the "outline." It is the raw material out of which the "actual" novel is formed.

And there was so much I wanted to include in this draft I didn't have room for, I slowly concluded it was three books instead of one. So now I need to plan out three books. And then, hopefully before the new year (but I'm not pushing it), start the "second" draft of the first book.
masqthephlsphr: (OUAT)
I have been bamblasted lately with work and finishing the first draft of my novel. I can squeeze a few hours of TV into my week, but my posting has gotten a bit sketchy (looking at my LJ, it's all birthday greetings lately). I do have a post-of-actual-content in the works, but in the meantime, here are some TV impressions of the season so far (space dividers under each cut tag for spoilers).


Revolution )

Grimm )

Merlin S 5 )
masqthephlsphr: (masq)
Yes, this is me, yipping about social media again. 'Cause it's on my mind. And an article I read today got me thinking about how difficult it is for me to compose website blurbs, blog entries, Twitter tweets, and Facebook feebs. At least when I'm posting as an Author.

It's a philosophical thing, you know: the marketed person is not the real person. Ask any celebrity.

A friend recently commented that she preferred to follow writers on Twitter or Facebook if they came across as a "person," and not just a spam-bot pushing books (to which you might say, "well, duh", except it's excrutiating how many authors don't realize this). The comment made me ask, naturally, "What are some ways I can be more personable on my Facebook fan page and Twitter?" I mean, it's one thing for me to let down my hair on DW/LJ. These outlets were created to be places for personal expression, and I consider a great number of my flist to be personal friends, even if I met them first on the internet.

I'm also pretty personable on my personal Facebook wall, although there's some compartmentalizing with filters and some downright self-censoring as well. You know what I mean--don't you hate those people on FB who repost political stuff from their feeds or just say whatever idiot thing is on their mind from moment to moment?

Being personable on an author Facebook page, Twitter account, or website is just that much harder. Don't talk about politics. Don't bore people with the minutia of your daily life. Don't be an obnoxious jerk. Those are the no-brainers. Unless, of course, it's part of your reputation, your internet "personality" as it were, to talk about such things.

Which is really my point. We are socially constructed on social media. The selves we present are a compartmentalized subset of who we are, or sometimes, a character we or someone else made up. And if we're smart, we've developed a persona that the people we want to draw to ourselves like and want to see more of.

One benefit (and drawback) for those of us without a publicist is we can construct ourselves.

So who am I going to be? I can try to be The Philosopher, but that's very hard to do in the limited character-count typical of Twitter and Facebook (at least it is the way I do philosophy). I can be the Philosopher in a blog, and then link to my blog, but the trick is to get people clicking on those links.

On the other hand, I can really funny with the witty one-liners. People at my day job think I'm "hilarious" and "feisty" in meetings and on instant messenger. Problem is, my one-liners are only funny in a context. Twitter tweets and Facebook updates are very low on context.

Who do I want to be on social media? I want to be funny, philosophical Nancy. I want to talk about the philosophical depths of my favorite fantasy and science fiction stories. I want to kvetch about the writing process. Ocassionally, I might want to drop a tidbit from a story I'm writing or an anecdote from my daily life.

Now I just have to figure out how to be that person in Very Few Words. I'm not good at Very Few Words.
masqthephlsphr: (holiday)
So I am apparently in the process of applying to refinance my house. I didn't think this would be possible for me, given how much my house has declined in value since I bought it (last year the loan lady at my bank laughed me right out the door). But I could whack a good two percentage points off my interest rate according to my current loan co.

Here's hoping.

In other news, the sleep study is back on. The policy that made my insurance co deny my request for the sleep study service was supposedly changed as of June 1st, so they could schedule me again. I checked the notice the insurance co sent me a couple months back, and it looks like the policy change has to do with not needing authorization before the service. I am not sure that's the same thing as "(not) requiring a certain diagnosis", which is the original reason they denied--I didn't have a sleep apnea diagnosis.

At any rate, they will have a couple weeks to deny again if there was some confusion.

In other news, I have an ant infestation in my work cube. They need to spray near the wall outside. In the mean time, I peppered my cube with ant traps that I bought on my own dime. The boss bought spray but has not sprayed it yet. Maybe this weekend?

This just in: my coffee maker died. The GF loaned me her french press since she's not much of a coffee drinker anymore. I am learning the delicate art of getting coffee right in it. Only major downsides so far are (1) the second cup is always cold and has to be nuked and (2) I can't get two days' worth of morning coffee out of one pot.

I am SO ready for my vacation.
masqthephlsphr: (stone)
I recently discovered something wonderful exists in the universe.

Noise-cancelling headphones.

But jeez, they're expensive.

I want some! Everyone is sensitive to different things in this world, and one of my big fingernails-on-the-chalkboard cringy things is ambient noise at work--cackling laughter, nasal-y volumous chatter, earbud overspill (or worse, no earbuds at all thanksforsharingnot). Right now, I attempt to drown out the sound with my own earbuds/earphones blasting white noise. But even that is grating on me.

So the thought of earphones that can cancel out noise? Yay. But will earphones designed to cancel out jet engine roar work as effectively on voices and external music? If so, which are the best ones for that? Most of the on-line reviews seemed geared to plane travelers. I can tune out engine noise on a plane. It's white noise, after all.

I'd be willing to spend $$$ if I thought the earphones would dampen that one guy's hyena laughter and that one woman's IAmYourMom voice.

Any thoughts on the subject?
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masqthephlsphr: (don't fuk)
I set out my New Year's resolutions before NYE this year, but after a week of working on them, I want to scribble down a few first impressions.

Writing )

Home improvements )

Work )

Weight/health )

That's about the it.
masqthephlsphr: (Ho)
The boss has started to trim the Christmas cactus.

In other news, I am having an allergic reaction to returning to work. Symptoms: achiness, fever, and sore throat.

This just in: Merlin s. 3 continues to charm despite annoying character reboot of annoyingness.
masqthephlsphr: (boring)
New words: 476
Total words: 35,644
Goal: 50,000

35644 / 50000

Counting the hours until Thanksgiving break. I am sick, I am tired, I need a long winter's nap. Not the fault of NaNo, but it's not helping, either.... Whose nifty idea was it to have NaNo in the month where work customers far and wide start to freak out about their year-end billing?
masqthephlsphr: (boring)
New words: 1,120
Total words: 13,494
Goal: 50,000

13494 / 50000

No time to update tonight; had to work late, but managed to squeeze out a few words this morning, so that's good.
masqthephlsphr: (draft)
New words: 1,567
Total words: 4,687
Goal: 50,000

4687 / 50000

Still squeezing NaNoing in the morning before work and the evening after working late. Why do Novembers have to suck? It used to be my favorite month. It still is, but the past couple of years, Novembers have *sucked*. It might have something to do with January 1st deadlines for things and the mad scramble to get them finished before the holidays descend.

Anyway--so far, I have been mostly working on dialogue. Trying to write a bit of dialogue for each future chapter, just to get an idea of what's going to happen in that chapter--really happen, not just my vague outliney thoughts, because I've already started to contradict them with aforementioned dialogue.

When I get through all the chapters, I'll go back and fill in more dialogue, action, description, introspection, whatever comes to mind in those mad writing sprees between hours at work.
masqthephlsphr: (NaNoWriMo)
New words: 1,749
Total words: 1,749
Goal: 50,000

1749 / 50000

InsaNo because work is nuts, and has been nuts for over a month, and I work weekends as well (both days! Uphill! In the snow!) and there's family events to attend (stop having birthdays, people! This instant!) and a girlfriend to pay attention to, and when am I going to write?

And yet just by starting to do that writing today, I know NaNo is going to give my story a kick in the pants it needs. I have been working pretty steadily on it this year, having just finished chapter 7 in mid-October. And handing each chapter off to the Sculptor for her unwaveringly supportive feedback is helping a lot. But working in such a linear fashion, each chapter in sequence, has its drawbacks.

It's hard to establish things in current chapters you'll need for future chapters if you're not sure how those future chapters are going to play out themselves. And outlining doesn't help, because invariably when I'm writing the actual chapter, I think of something better. So NaNo is my chance to write ahead. To flesh out future chapters without the Sculptor chomping at the bit about when the next installment is coming out. And to flesh them out without commitment. I am not handing *them* off to the Sculptor in December, they will just go on the hard drive to wait their turn. If I decide they're dreg or that details need to be changed, no harm, no foul.

There will be some cheating. Specifically, if I have a place to put a blurb I've already written in the actual text of the story, I will put it there and count it. I did a smidgen of that today, and honestly, such blurbs end up being revised to fit the spot I've designated for them. So.

So, on InsaNoWriMo!

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