And we turn another calendar page.

It surprises me when I realize that in just a few weeks, Andy and I will have been Portlanders for a whole year now. We’ve really settled in, I think. The apartment feels a lot more like home (though this past week, we longed for air conditioning or a cross-breeze!), we’ve settled in to our daily routines, and in general I think we both feel less like squatters and more like residents. It’s a good feeling.

Andy’s in his fourth semester of chiro school, though he’s looking at possibly taking a semester off this fall to study for MCATs. He’s been debating the idea of whether or not he’d like to be a Doctor of Osteopathy rather than a chiropractor, but there haven’t been any firm decisions one way or the other yet. We’ll see how he does on the MCAT (which is the one thing he’d actually need to get into D.O. schools).

Me, I’m rounding up to almost one year with my current job! I started last year around the end of October as a temp, and have been a full-time employee since January. Did I mention I’m getting an iPod touch as a perk for free? I LOVE this job. ^_^

Sometimes I think I surprise myself, looking around at the major life changes that have occurred in the past year. Getting married, moving out of my parents home, getting a full-time job with benefits, paying my own non-dependent taxes, keeping bills paid AND keeping my sanity despite all the time-commitments I have–it’s kind of amazing. But things are going well, and we’ve got great friends, great pets, and most of all, we’ve got each other. ^_^ It’s a wonderful feeling. Now, I just need to visit home!! ;_;

Writing Stuff:

Since it’s the first week of August, it’s time to re-evaluate the writing goals of last month, and put down the goals for this month. Let’s take a look:

X Edit “Dystopic SF”
X Submit “Dystopic SF”
X Write Chapter 4 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 5 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 6 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 7 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 8 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 9 of UNTITLED NOVEL
– Write Chapter 10 of UNTITLED NOVEL
X Resubmit “Mimicry”
X Post Thief Dilemma – Chapter 17

As you can plainly see, my NOVEL goals took the hit this month. Ran into some plotting bumps which threw me for a loop, got frustrated, restructured how I think about writing and what I want to accomplish as a writer, etc., etc. I could come up with excuses all day long. What it really comes down to is this: I was over zealous in estimating how many chapters I could get done, particularly without knowing where I was headed in the story or what kinks I’d run into in the process. I’ll be a little less haphazard with my choices this next month.

I DID, however, finish and submit the Dystopic SF story (officially titled “Memories of Hope City”), and I did post Chapter 17 of The Thief Dilemma, and I DID resubmit “Mimicry”. I also actually finished Chapter 4 of the NOVEL, even if I stalled out after that. (Believe it or not, I did actually get a lot of words on the page per day, just not on the NOVEL. >.<)

I do tend to overestimate or over-dream how much I can reasonably get accomplished for any given period of time. I can write a lot more when I’m motivated and jazzed about a project than I can if I’m forcing my nose to the grindstone and just getting stuff down. But sometimes I think you do have to do that, just to move forward. I’m still battling what the perfect balance is: force something, when you know that there’s a fundamental issue that forcing through isn’t addressing (i.e. treating the symptoms, not the disease), or taking the time to puzzle through a stump session, despite feeling unproductive and seeing little by which to measure progress (i.e. taking two aspirin and calling the doc in the morning).

I’m going to try to balance that this month by not allotting too much time  to one project (like this last month). I’m distractible by nature. Anyone who knows me would probably willingly corroborate this statement. I’ve got dozens of hobbies, I flit from one thing to the next, and I can often find it hard to focus on any given thing for long, particularly when it’s annoying me. Writing is a little different. I always come back to it, no matter what. I’m always thinking about new stories and what I want to do next. I love it, even though it often drives me insane. Juggling multiple projects, particularly short fiction projects which have relatively shorter time requirements, has so far helped me to ward off the doldrums.

So this month’s list!:

– Finish (draft/edits–>sub-worthy) “Faith, in Layers”
– Compose, write, edit, and submit a 3k-5k short story for ASIM
– Write Chapter 5 of the NOVEL*
– Write Chapter 6 of the NOVEL
– Keep a minimum of 15 journal entries**

As you can see, it’s much smaller than the last one. I’m hoping to surpass this list, ultimately, but my goal is to complete everything on it (at  a minimum).  It may not look like much, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty of time required, it’s actually pretty extensive. By the end of this month–if all goes well–I will have two submit-able short stories, two new NOVEL chapters, and I’ll have gotten a lot of narrative practice (writing journal/writing exercises). It’s less ambitious, but more obtainable. And naturally, anything BEYOND this would be fabulous.

But for now, that’s what I’ll stick to. And if I can get it all done, I’ll be quite proud of myself.

* Did some thinking on the novel project today, and overcame whatever mental block was stifling me up (I give the honor of this success to switching to fantasy for a while to loosen up my brain). So I think obtaining Chapter 5 isn’t far off, really. I’ve got about 2000+ to work with, and I’ll probably make it a little longer.

**It’s not so much of a “journal” as a place to practice writing narrative. Narrative is by far the most challenging thing for me to write–I think–without just getting bogged down in minute, unimportant details or speeding through just to “get on with it”. It’s something I need to practice. So far, it’s been a very interesting experiment! Later, I may branch out into other writing exercises.

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