Summer School

Look what popped up as we got our gardens ready to grow! We had no idea what most of the gardens would look like aside from the palms. Ed, who takes care of our lawn, also trims the palms. We have seven of them. They’re beautiful. It’s starting to rain a bit here in SWF (Southwest Florida) and rainy season soon will be about an hour shower or storm daily. That’s beautiful too. With wind, the palms stream water through the rain. So otherworldly. Well, if your world for 66 years was Michigan.

A snag occurred in Jane Book 3 last week when our calendar overflowed with invitations from friends. The Michigan people are going home, so we had get togethers to say a final goodbye (until next year) and the new neighbors are inviting us for get to know you cocktails. Someone had a party every day last week. At first I thought, oh that’s fine, I’m done writing by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Well, ha, writers need to be in shape to write. Maybe just older writers? Party drinks and fancy snacks will sneak up on you. Over the week, instead of writing, I filling the gas tank with naps and reading to get myself ready to be social. The just-started story was reduced to scribbled plot notes.

Today I was determined to get back to work but it took me an hour just to turn on my new computer and find the Word program. I tried to do a blog post first but Windows didn’t recognize my Word Press sign in. So here I am on the Mac. But I have to stay with the story on Office/Word. I HAVE TO. I would like to maybe take an online class. Or two. http://www.wethegeek.com had some good info. I’d like a personal class like I got with my genius at the Apple Store. Not sure Miscrosoft has that. In an ideal world I’d like one tutorial for switching from MAC to WINDOWS when blogging and one for writing novels. Also email would be good too. Had no luck finding my email on Windows.

A thing about getting older is learning new stuff takes longer. Also Al is only willing to help me with this up to a point. He got my garden growing, moved furniture, painted living room, keeps the spa ready, and so much else. Even some golf. 🙂 My plan for now is to just use Word and get on with my story. And blog on the Mac. For now. Until school starts.

Van Go!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Work on the novel is going well. Today I’m taking a day off for a date with friend Donna to see Van Gogh exhibition. I have to get ready in a minute. I’ve spent some time trying to post photos of my darling granddaughter (she’s five) when she saw the same exhibit. There’s an installation of his painting of his bedroom–she’s posing in it! So cute. But those photos are on a private family account. Plus the other thing where Word Press does not like a jpeg anymore.

My blogette on Twitter didn’t work, either. I wrote it last Monday and it disappeared. One person did retweet it before that happened. I’ll try the blogette again next week. Maybe with my own Van Gogh photos. But for today, I typed Van Gogh into Pexels and got pages and pages of people driving vans. Ha!

Took 3 days to revise 10 pages. I moved a subplot so that was quick and easy. Mostly what I did was take out boring parts and add in some color. I noticed even when I was doing the revision without stop that I had mostly dialogue. I kept going. Next weekend we’re having a writing Zoom meeting so I revised and added lots of description. Well, not too much. I had one goal with this revision and the description helped.

My goal: go somewhere. Take the story from negative to positive or positive to negative. And I did it. I try to do that with every scene. Make it move. Van go!

Shake it Up

Photo by Aishwarya Rivonker on Pexels.com

A few things. I’m not going through the hassle of converting from whatever photos is saving pictures to now or how WordPress is doing it now to jpeg anymore. That takes longer than writing a blog post. I am back to writing my novel daily and so I’m just using Pexels which comes with WordPress. I had a picture for today, too. My own, I mean. I’m so stubborn but finally I have caved into corporate blogging. It’s been twenty years and mostly the changes have been good. No more coding. I would code an image but I forgot how to do it <i/>. I could google it, but I’m trying to save time to write the book. Googling leads to trouble. Hours of it.

Yes back at the book for real. It’s been two weeks. Every morning first thing. I have a new writing partner who was having same stuck problem as me. We are in a mystery novel critique group together. She’s the reason I’m writing again and loving it again. Most of the time. I’ve never had a writing partner. It’s working for both of us. Before her, I was writing five pages a month, mostly spurred on by my group. Accountability.

Yes, the moving to Florida forever took a lot. But that’s done.

So from 1500 words a month, or 750 words in two weeks, I have progressed to 7000 words in two weeks. Maybe 14,000 by the end of the month?! After all my new writer energy burned out at about book 7 or 8, I learned this butt in the chair habit from NaNoWriMo. I learned it was possible to show up with a blank mind and build something. I built a Bat Cave 2020 today. (My book is set right before Covid). Didn’t know the spy house was coming. I knew Jane was going to visit Jesse’s house for the first time. I had no picture in my mind of what it would be like. The words and images showed up. I really like when that happens. So fun living in my head and following Jane around.

Now I’m learning the power of a partner. We do not stay in contact through the week with pep talks or anything, too busy writing. We are both determined self-starters. I keep a running tally like I used to do with NaNo. We just connect on Sunday, share what we’ve done and how we feel (we were both down and uninspired when we started this). She’s benefited as much from the partnership as I have. Writers are jealous of their writing time. They don’t want to share. But a minimal share like this (or a group!) can have maximum effect.

How did we find each other? Our group. She said “I’m struggling,” and I might have said “Me, too.” Then I got the idea to check in with each other once a week and texted her and she said she was in. I had no idea if she’d go for it. But she did. The thing is, if you want a partner, look around and then ask. If she’d said no, I would have understood. Writing is such a private thing (until you’re published and then it isn’t). Showing your word count feels like showing your bank statement. But nope, it’s motivation. And it works.

The other thing is I’m going to blogging every two weeks. One week I will post a pic of my own on twitter and write a blogette. The next week I’ll do this. For awhile. See how I like it. The older you get, the more you are willing to try things and then give them up if they don’t fit your life. Writers need to be careful what they let in. Speaking of, my dad and family are coming over today to see the house for the first time!

Writing is a Gift

We had our first overnight guests (they brought gifts!) and watched our first sunset from our new beach which is maybe ten minutes away. This new place is so much more laid back than St. Pete and we love our house. When we booked the date with our friends, I told them I had my Zoom writers next day at noon and they were fine with that. Al was home so they hung out on the lanai while I worked. My writing friend and I are both having a problem pushing ourselves to finish our current WIPS. We decided on a simple weekly check in, how many pages, how many days. If for nobody else, then for each other.

Today is the first day. I talked it over with Al and have finally let go of the dream of sipping coffee and talking in the morning. He likes to check in with the market first thing so me writing first thing will help his plan. Our house is 99% finished and now it’s time to get back to work. Instead of 5 or 10 pages a month, I will try for 5 pages a day, or however many come out of a scene or sequence.

I noted that my writing has gotten a bit rusty, or maybe I didn’t revise enough, but I saw some plot holes in yesterday’s submission. So did my writing partners. They were very kind about it. Both of them saw the same problem and it was with the beat with which I was trying to wow them. Not there yet. I’m going to push on regardless. I have their notes and I know what I want to do there. I’ll come back to it. Now I’m pushing through to a finished first draft. I’ll let you know how it goes.

All I Want For Christmas

We were supposed to move today but it got pushed back due to a few very disappointing tangles and so I’m staying here in St. Pete awhile. I’m reading historical Christmas novels so I don’t have to think about how things got so messed up and postponed. Finally this morning I sort of snapped out of my funk and decided to work on the murder scene in Jane2. I had this murder scene planned out; it took some time to get the details right but when I finally did I thought I was a genius. Until I had a better idea. Which is what I worked on this morning, so now I’m in a great mood. Writing a good scene will do that for you.

Here’s the thing with patience: I have little to none. But I’m learning. Al is the most patient husband in the world. I do see how much calmer he is because he can handle setbacks. It has been a bit stressful, though, even for him. But we’re fine and expect to be all moved in by Christmas. Cohabitating in a tiny condo with boxes all over in not fun (I don’t do well with chaos either) but happily I kept my living room and sunroom just as they are: the Christmas tree is lit, and the season is upon us despite my recent depressed mood.

Al keeps asking me what I want for Christmas! I sang him the Mariah Carey song (because it’s true) but it didn’t come out quite the way she sings it. So Alexa played Mariah’s version for him on iTunes and that was better. Also I think it’s great we’re moving in so close to Christmas. That’s a lovely gift. The best ever. No snow down here to contend with, except the flakes in my snow globe.

Since the current work in progress takes place in December, it will be another Christmas book. I’m finally in the mood to take Jane into Christmas with me. Write what you love to read, that’s the key to enjoying your work. The photo above is from a few books back. My first Christmas novel. It was so fun to write. I forgot to promote it until it was too late. I’ll have lots more time for all that promotion stuff in my new office. Right now I’m too busy thinking about my real life, well and the novel. And how calm our lives will finally be when this move is complete.