Re-organize the filing system. — Did not accomplish.
Clean out the cabinet above the oven. — Semi-Achieved.
Start a new writing prompt series. — Semi-Achieved.
Spring clean my closet. — Accomplished!
Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
De-clutter the dining room buffet. — Accomplished!
Spend at least one hour on American Girl items inventory. — Accomplished!
Start re-organizing the garage. — Accomplished!
I made a lot of progress this month. I’m really pleased with the number of posts I published here!
I threw out all the expired products in the cabinet above the oven, and made a list of needed replacements. The job isn’t finished, but I’m happy with the progress.
I learned that my favorite consignor, Darby, was going to be accepting new consignment boxes as early as June 1st, so I rushed to sign up for a box. I’m mailing it to her new house in Washington State next week. I had a lot of fun going through everything in my closet, and I nearly filled the huge box from Walmart that our new Blu-ray player came in. Plus, everything is now organized for the summer!
We made a ton of progress on our garage. I’m so happy with it. Everything has a place. We filled our trashcan. And we can walk around freely without tripping. Al also was able to move the refrigerator from the detached garage out back to the attached garage, so we can have drinks out there and some overflow space for freezer items. We also worked together to clean and sanitize it.
I published THREE Book Reviews! Yippee! I’ve finally gotten back in the habit of reading between 15-45 minutes every night before bed.
I also embarked on a new Writing Adventure with joining the Ebony and Fire Writing Club. Stay tuned for more posts every week!
What about you? Did you have any goals for the month of May?
Buckle up, friends. Expect a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club coming to you every week for the foreseeable future!
I’m so thrilled with the reaction and support that I received earlier this week when I announced that I was joining the club in my Writing Adventures #5 post. If you’re interested, contact Tiana or Phoenix!
I’m currently editing my draft of “Experiences From Camp.” This is the novel that I started during my first-ever NaNoWriMo in November 2012. It took 6 1/2 years, but I finished the first draft on March 30, 2019. I’ve sent it to several people to read and critique since then, and I’ve received some really good feedback.
For Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020, I printed out the first draft, threw it in a binder, and went to town with a blue pen and hot pink Post-It notes. Now, coupled with the reader feedback I’ve received so far, I’m translating it into a second draft on the computer. Once the second draft is done, I’ll send it back to my readers. I have set a deadline of sending the second draft to my readers no later than June 30, 2020.
You don’t have to write a novel! You may enjoy writing poetry, fan fiction, blog posts, short stories, or free verse. It doesn’t have to end up as a book or something published. As long as you’re writing, that’s amazing! You have a gift. And, since you’re on WordPress, you’re creating!
I recently wrote a short story for a contest, and I had so much fun! It was a great way to stretch myself and actually submit something.
What are you working on?
If you feel comfortable, tell me what you’re working on in the comments! I’ve always enjoyed supporting others and being a cheerleader.
Stay tuned for another Writing Adventures post, coming soon!
My mom let me read one of the copies I purchased soon after they arrived. At the end of the 37 pages, I was crying. The story is so special and heartwarming.
It shows that teachers truly make a difference. Mr. Falker made a huge difference in the little girl’s life, especially when there weren’t nearly as many male teachers back in the 1940s.
It’s hard to talk about this book because I don’t want to spoil anything. What I will say is this book is based on true events and real people.
This is one of the best children’s books I’ve read. I plan to buy a copy for several teacher friends for their classroom libraries. If you haven’t read Polacco before, I highly recommend it. Her writing is beautiful, and she also illustrates them.
If you’re interested, click on either one the Ebony and Fire Writing Club posts, and comment with your name.
The idea is those who want to participate will do a weekly post about the progress they’ve made with their work.
Tiana and Phoenix are also setting up donation pages through Ko-fi (Please note: This part is completely optional, it’s not a requirement to join) to give club members special access to writing advice, tips, tricks, and inspiration.
I’m really excited to participate! I’ve admired Tiana since she started her blog, and I’m looking forward to getting to know Phoenix better, along with the other club members.
What about you? Have you joined any blogging clubs or groups? What abour on social media?
This article was published in March 2019, but it’s a really cool idea. The U.S. should really start paying more attention to what the Europeans are doing!
The premise: Amsterdam-based Civic Architects helped transform a former locomotive shed into a public library and public space.
The skeleton of the locomotive shed was basically preserved. There’s a ton of natural light. A series of movable textile screens are able to be adjusted through a computerized system.
In addition to books, there are small “labs” in the space, visitors can learn new skills and experiment. Meetings are held, exhibitions can be displayed on the large reading tables, and there’s a coffee kiosk. The space can hold up to 1,000 people at one time.
I really like this idea. There are so many abandoned buildings and industrial spaces, and that’s not just in the U.S. If this idea were to be embraced, it would take time and money, but it would also create employment opportunities, engage revitalization efforts, and help the community at large.
This was one of FIVE books that Al bought me for Christmas!
This book, along with Kristen Martin’s Soulflow (Review coming soon!), felt like divine guidance when I needed it most. I was in such a slump with blogging and writing until the beginning of May. Then, it felt like a switch was flipped in my head. I felt inspired again. And both these books were big contributors.
I’m planning to read more from Gilbert down the line. But, this book is just what I needed at this particular moment. It’s part memoir, part self-help, part inspiration.
Although not pleased with how choppy everything felt at the beginning, I liked how she structured the book. It was like listening to a wise friend or relative tell stories over the course of a summer afternoon. And there was something for me to remember or ponder over with every chapter. She placed good reminders in my hear and heart.
It’s hard to describe Big Magic! But I felt comforted the entire time. It was a breezy read, perfect as the weather here has gone up and down and sideways. Until yesterday, it felt like September!
As someone who has Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and struggle most days with imposter syndrome, this book allayed my fears. It’s shown me to stare my fear(s) straight in the face, and proclaim, “You don’t own me. You don’t control me. I do. So step aside and let me finish the work I was called to create. Thanks!”
Charis brought up some excellent points and statistics. Here are a few of them:
Nearly 100,000 books were published by major publishing companies in the United States in the year 2019.
In 2018, more than 1.6 million books were self-published digitally and physically.
The odds of getting a publishing contract is 1 in 4 (25 percent), according to a 2014 report.
If you choose to self-publish with Amazon, you will get roughly 70 percent of the profits.
A traditionally published author will only receive 6-10 percent of the royalties.
Reading her analysis, it’s pretty obvious that self-publishing is the easiest way to get your book out to potential readers. However, you also face stiffer competition because there are far more self-published titles available by volume, and for less money. If you haven’t, just take a glance at Amazon Books, plus their Kindle Store. It’s overwhelming.
I was really impressed with Charis Rae’s research and analysis! I hope you take the time to read her post.
Also, consider your sources when you purchase books. Of course, I will always recommend borrowing books from the library or getting e-books if you’re into that (I’m not, but that’s just a personal preference). Amazon makes it really easy and convenient, but I encourage you to think outside the box a bit, and consider other sellers once in a while. For example, I bought a copy of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson from a friend’s online store through eBay!
As for me and my writing journey, I’ve been studying both avenues for the last several years. I personally want to go the traditional route first, mainly for the experience because I’ve never attempted it. If I find myself struggling after a period of time, I’ll consider the self-publishing route. I’m excited to get my work out there!
This Camp session was different. After getting valuable feedback from my two main readers of my first draft of “Experiences From Camp,” I knew it was time to start the first round of editing.
Original word count: 51,960 words (161 pages)
On April 1, I printed out my first draft for the first time ever! I made the 161 pages double-sided, hole-punched them, and put it in a binder.
Almost every night for the first week, I sat down with a blue pen and pink Post-It notes, and read through the draft.
I added page numbers, designated chapters, page breaks, questions about the plot, sentence structure, and recommendations from my two readers.
I was very pleased with my efforts. I faltered a bit after the initial read-through, but I read through nearly 52,000 words!
Because I was editing this time, and not really writing, this Camp session was very different. However, I met my goal!
I have a lot of work to do now that I’ve completed the first round of editing. I also started using one of the beautiful journals that I received for my birthday last year to ask additional questions about the work and jot down other notes and thoughts.
My main goal is to send the second draft of the novel to my two readers, Amanda and Mike, by the end of June.
Before I do that, though, I need to translate my handwritten edits and other thoughts from my journal into the Draft 2 document on my computer. For some reason, and I think it’s mainly fear, I’ve been resisting doing this for the entire month of May. However, I do have a couple of days off of work coming my way, so I’m hoping to finally sit down (Well, stand up at my desk, LOL) and knock these edits and additions out!
As an Author/challenge joiner: All you need to do is use the characters from your WIP (work in progress), or even a published works, and plug them into the given scene for a short story style post. It can be funny, serious, deadly, really just whatever you want as long as it’s true to your characters (as in, what they would actually do in this situation)!! It’s a fun way to be creative with those personalities that you as their creator love so much. It’s also a fun way to introduce them to the world and your blogs, without giving away your plots and twists… Just pure ‘meet my characters, and get to know their personalities’ separate from their book.
Donning their cloth masks, Brennan and Kristin both sighed. A simple trip to the grocery store wasn’t simple anymore. It hadn’t been for weeks.
“Okay, B., let’s get in and get out. This is so stressful.”
Brennan reached over the center console and squeezed Kristin’s hand. He wanted to kiss her so badly. Usually, kissing started melting the stress away.
“I know, K. But, we’re here, together. We’re being safe. Right?”
Kristin winced. Everything had gotten harder. She was under the same roof as Brennan, in his own apartment, for the foreseeable future. She should be thrilled! But, then, the lockdown started. And it was driving both of them crazy.
Sure, they’d had a lot of sex, and were generally enjoying spending more time together. But, the simplest things were now so difficult. Brennan had been furloughed. He picked up two different virtual assistant jobs to make up for his one day job. Sitting behind a computer all day was draining. And Kristin, wanting to help keep the lights on and contribute, was able to score a temp job. But it was all online, too.
The apartment was big enough where they could separate for their jobs when they needed to. But, being stuck in a 750-square-foot apartment for days, weeks, and now months, was increasingly challenging.
“Let’s go over the list one more time, and then let’s get this over with.”
Brennan sighed. He loved Kristin, that part was obvious. But, this lockdown was not going the way he’d hoped. His emotions were all over the place. And he felt obligated to help keep Kristin from experiencing a full breakdown. He could see it coming – She was teetering on the edge.
“Okay, milk, eggs, bread, paper towels, bathroom cleaner, toilet paper, if we can find any …”
Kristin sat back in the passenger seat. Brennan saw the tears.
“K., look at me.”
She turned. Two tears spilled out, soaking into the blue floral fabric.
“I love you. I say that to you so much because that’s one thing that won’t be changing. Okay? We can do this. We’re together.”
Kristin sighed. “I love you, too, Brennan. I’m sorry. I feel like all I’m doing is apologizing.”
Brennan stroked her hand, remembering that he needed to use hand sanitizer again before they got out of the car.
“I know you’re sorry. I’m sorry, too. I feel like I haven’t been apologizing enough, you know?”
Kristin leaned over and brushed her lips to his forehead. “What do you feel you’re sorry for?”
Brennan’s eyes turned serious. “I feel bad for inviting you down here, with our colleges closed and shuttered, and then the full lockdown hit. I feel guilty. Maybe selfish, too.”
Kristin laughed slightly. “As frustrating as this lockdown has been, I can’t imagine being alone, living alone, right now. We’re together. We’re healthy. And we’re doing a lot of different things. Your apartment hasn’t been this clean, like, ever. We’re both working. There’s really nothing to feel guilty or selfish about.”
She paused. “Now, let’s get this trip over with. I want to get home, wipe everything down, and then get busy. You know, that busy. That’s the only selfish thing I want.”
Brennan smiled, squeezed her hand, and turned the car off.
“I’m feeling selfish like that, too. Lead the way, darling.”