Welcome back! I hope everyone has had a good Memorial Day weekend, if you’re reading from the U.S. I’m wrapping a really nice long four-day weekend!
Here were my goals for the month of May:
Finish the first draft of my second novel. — Accomplished!
Start editing the first draft. — Semi-Achieved.
Reorganize my American Girl items. — Did not accomplish yet.
Go through my bookshelf and decide what books to keep. — Semi-Achieved.
Start tackling the “catch-all” room. — Did not accomplish yet.
Publish at least two Book Review posts. — Semi-Achieved.
Host a small group of P.E.O. sisters. — Accomplished!
I’m so proud of myself with my second novel. I felt like I was being pulled in different directions throughout the month after having such great success in April with Camp NaNoWriMo. Finally, this past week, knowing that I had Friday and Monday off, I knew I wanted to sit down and look through the entire draft again, and see where I ended up. By Friday afternoon, I had read through the entire draft, made some edits, and wrote another 723 words. Then, I wrote the two magic words that feel amazing: THE END.
It’s currently the longest novel I’ve written to date, clocking in at almost 76,000 words. Next step is to print out the 300+ pages for the first true edit. I also wrote up my first Camp NaNoWriMo recap post in more than a year.
I started going through my bookshelf and donated a few books for the latest pick-up for the local Vietnam Veterans charity, but I have a new bag to fill, so I’m looking forward to a bigger clean out next month. I’m tired of the clutter in my office. I have too much stuff, and what I do have needs to find a proper home, or leave my house altogether.
I did successfully going through the three boxes of stuff from my parents’ house that were cluttering up the corner of the living room. I filled 3/4 of a trash bag, a 1/4 of the new donation bag, and packed up the journals and photographs for my office. I also found my old passport after it had been missing for 13 years! It was fun going down memory lane – A lot of stuff from high school and college were in those boxes. We also found my Uncle Richard’s collection of cameras, plus an undeveloped roll of film! I’m hoping we can get that developed soon to see what’s on it.
I published one Book Review this month. I loved L.C. Rosen’s Camp!
I really enjoyed having my mom and several of my P.E.O. sisters on my porch for the evening earlier in the month. We had a great time, and I’m already looking forward to the next gathering. We are still doing our regular meetings by Zoom, but hopefully we can start to transition to a hybrid setting by the end of the year. Next weekend is the first-ever virtual Virginia State Convention!
Did you have any goals for the month of May?
Come back tomorrow to see my goals for the month of June!
Welcome back! Here’s my recap of Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. This was my seventh Camp NaNoWriMo session. I did participate last July, but I did not write a recap post. I was mentally burned out last fall, so I skipped NaNoWriMo 2020 in November.
As of April 1, 2021, I had 44,617 words written.
Original Goal: Write 10,000 new words for book #2.
Day 1: 45,299 words (682) – 15 minutes
Day 2: 46,582 words (1,283) – 26 minutes
Day 3: 47,256 words (674) – 15 minutes
Day 4: 47,948 words (692) – 15 minutes
Day 5: 48,744 words (796) – 20 minutes
Day 6: 49,716 words (972) – 30 minutes
Day 7: 50,496 words (780) – 20 minutes
Day 8: 50,569 words (73) – 30 minutes
Day 9: 51,276 words (707) – 20 minutes
Day 10: 51,276 words (0)
Day 11: 52,230 words (954) – 25 minutes
Day 12: 52,356 words (126) – 5 minutes
Day 13: 53,045 words (689) – 15 minutes
Day 14: 54,246 words (1,201) – 30 minutes
Day 15: 54,965 words (719) – 20 minutes
Original Goal Met!
Total word count: 10,348 new words.
Created second goal in NaNoWriMo, in hopes of finishing the first draft by the end of April.
Second Goal: Write 20,000 new words and finish first draft.
Day 16: 55,795 words (830) – 25 minutes
Day 17: 56,094 words (299) – 45 minutes
Day 18: 56,714 words (620) – 1 hour
Day 19: 57,845 words (1,131) – 40 minutes
Day 19: 58,294 words (449) – 10 minutes
Day 20: 58,882 words (588) – 20 minutes
Day 20: 59,451 words (569) – 10 minutes
Day 20: 59,977 words (526) – 15 minutes
Day 21: 60,621 words (644) – 15 minutes
Day 21: 61,312 words (691) – 15 minutes
Day 21: 61,532 words (220) – 5 minutes
Day 21: 62,026 words (494) – 20 minutes
Day 22: 62,389 words (363) – 10 minutes
Day 22: 62,833 words (444) – 10 minutes
Day 22: 63,322 words (489) – 15 minutes
Day 23: 63,917 words (595) – 15 minutes
Day 23: 64,832 words (915) – 20 minutes
Day 24: 65,791 words (959) – 20 minutes
Day 24: 66,000 words (209) – 15 minutes
Day 24: 66,481 words (481) – 10 minutes
Day 25: 67,140 words (659) – 25 minutes
Day 25: 67,627 words (487) – 15 minutes
Day 25: 67,798 words (171) – 5 minutes
Day 25: 67,984 words (186) – 5 minutes
Day 26: 68,350 words (366) – 10 minutes
Day 27: 69,045 words (695) – 15 minutes
Day 27: 69,372 words (327) – 10 minutes
Day 27: 69,917 words (545) – 10 minutes
Day 27: 70,640 words (723) – 15 minutes
Day 28: 71,250 words (610) – 15 minutes
Day 28: 72,089 words (839) – 20 minutes
Day 29: 73,046 words (957) – 20 minutes
Day 29: 73,539 words (439) – 10 minutes
Day 30: 74,397 words (858) – 20 minutes
Day 30: 74,955 words (558) – 15 minutes
Day 30: 75,221 words (266) – 5 minutes
Second Goal Met!
Total word count: 20,256 new words.
Overall Total for April 2021: 30,604 new words.
Current word count: 75,221 words.
I’m super proud of myself. I tracked my progress every day on blue Post-It notes, and I plan to do something similar going forward. I took most of the month of May off from working on this, but I’m determined to call the first draft FINISHED by the end of June. After that, I’ll print it out and start the first true pass of editing.
I also have to thank my friend Ren. We met through the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook, and struck up a friendship through Messenger after that. She started streaming on Twitch during April, and participating in her streams and writing sprints is one big part of my success for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. I appreciate her continued encouragement, along with Al, my family, and other friends who have cheered me along in this process.
The key for me is to sit down, whether it’s before work, after dinner, or when I can’t get a scene or dialogue out of my head, and set the timer on my phone. No distractions whatsoever. I’m super proud that I only had one true zero day during the month! Breaking it up into chunks of time has helped me so much.
After I finish this first draft, my plan is to work on book #3 during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. It’s the project I started during NaNoWriMo 2014, so stay tuned for an update on that project on Facebook every day in July, and then a recap post like this in August.
Clean out the pantry to donate food to the church food pantry. — Accomplished!
Go through all my clothes again for donations. —- Accomplished!
Clean off the couch in my office, and keep it clean. —- Did not accomplish yet.
Prepare for our taxes. — Accomplished!
Fully fund my Roth IRA for the year when I meet with my financial advisor for my annual review. — Accomplished!
Publish at least one Book Review. — Accomplished!
Publish at least one Commentary post. — Accomplished!
Publish at least one Writing Prompt post. —- Accomplished!
I felt a lot more productive this month. I wrote and published more blog posts this month than I have in quite a while. And I have several more new ones in the works!
The Super Bowl was pretty disappointing in terms of the game. Even the commercials weren’t super impressive. However, I did make amazing food for Al and I to eat!
Valentine’s Day was a bit of an adventure this year, since I got my second COVID vaccine on Thursday the 11th. The immune response was fast, faster than I had anticipated. I got the shot at 8:00 a.m., and around 3:00 p.m., my energy went from 100 to zero. I finished working from home, and then attempted to eat dinner. I started having chills, a slight headache, and a low fever. I drank a ton of water and managed to finish one of the small/mini bottles of Gatorade. I’m really glad several people encouraged me to take the next day off from work, because I needed it. I had already slept around 10 hours between Thursday night and Friday morning. I took a long shower on Friday morning, and then slept off and on for another three hours. My dad was nice to bring over Panera chicken soup. I ate about half of it with more water and Gatorade. The only time I got really concerned was when I took my temperature on Friday afternoon. It has risen to 103.1. I looked up the definition of a high fever for my age. I was already considering taking some medicine, and I took an Aleve. My fever started coming down, and broke later that night. By Saturday, I was feeling much better. Valentine’s Day was a bit subdued (because the pandemic is still happening), but I was back to 100 percent. We got takeout. All this to say – I’m grateful I was able to get the vaccine so quickly. I may have felt like I had the flu for 36 hours, but that’s far better than having COVID and being on a ventilator, or worse.
I went through all my clothes in my IKEA drawers and closet, including the three under-bed storage bins that I reorganized last summer. I filled a large leftover shipping box for Darby’s Dresses consignment. The rest is being picked up by the Vietnam Veterans of America tomorrow.
Publish at least two Book Reviews. — Did not accomplish yet.
Publish my latest TBR Recap post. — Accomplished!
Spend at least two hours every weekend on my office. — Did not accomplish yet.
Look up at least five new recipes to use in meal planning. — Accomplished!
Celebrate Al’s birthday! — Accomplished!
Celebrate P.E.O. Founders Day. — Accomplished!
Complete the filing project with the filing cabinet in my office. — Did not accomplish yet.
I didn’t have the energy to write the Book Reviews in January, but I’m hoping February will be a different story! Al and I were just talking about getting up 15 minutes earlier in the mornings, to shift back to our “traditional” schedule/routine, so I’m hoping those extra 15 minutes will help me blog a bit more in the mornings before starting work. We’re determined to start it on Monday. He remarked that it was a possible “unpopular opinion,” but I think it’s a good idea. I’m eventually going back into the office full-time, so doing this now will help ease that transition for me. It’s supposed to happen at the end of June / early July, but we shall see.
Olive Garden Alfredo Sauce (See photo below) – This was easily as good, maybe better, than Olive Garden’s. Super easy to make! I poured it over rotini pasta, and it fed us for four nights.
Chicken with Curried Mango Sauce (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
Crispy Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork) – Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list.
Best Chicken Alfredo Roll-Ups (Planning to do this one next week!)
Honey Garlic Steak Bites (I think I made this once last year, but I can’t remember, so I’m counting it as new)
Hawaiian Roll Ham Sliders – I made this for Al and I and they did not last long. Yummy. I’m making them again this weekend when we watch the Super Bowl.
Crispy Baked Shrimp Scampi (Haven’t made this yet, but it’s on the list)
I also watched Baby Driver (2017) for the first time! It was an excellent movie. Edgar Wright is a master.
Al’s birthday was on a Monday this year. We both worked, and then we had steak, shrimp with cocktail sauce, and crab puppies. My mom made amazing key lime cake for him, and I bought a cookie cake. I’ll post the Crab Puppies recipe below. I’ve substituted the Ritz crackers for bread crumbs both times I’ve made it, and I don’t think I’ll change that. My college roommate, Amanda, made that suggestion when I shared the recipe on Facebook.
We had a wonderful P.E.O. Tidewater Reciprocity Founders Day event – Our first virtual one! We had over 50 women join us via Zoom.
I was able to sell several American Girl items that were duplicates through the big doll board/group on Facebook, so that was exciting! I’m slowly reducing that volume, piece by piece.