October Status Report: 2012 Goals

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After the insanity of September, I’m very surprised to report that October was just as crazy. It turns out a hardcore writing schedule is harder to switch off than I thought. Rather than sit back enjoy the victory of completing the first draft of Novel #2, I found myself with an incredible urge to keep working. I jumped right into revisions and my muse is showing no signs of slowing down.

While I love the constant inspiration currently flooding my imagination, some of my other goals have once again taken a back seat. This year has a been characterized by an interesting learning curve as I have come to accept the fact that creativity doesn’t always like to stay in the boundaries of organization. The color-coding, to-do list part of my brain has actually lightened up a little bit, so it’s not bothering me as much that I can’t cross everything off my 2012 goals this month. Instead, I find solace in focusing on what I got done!

1) Submit five pieces of writing to contests, journals, literary magazines, or the newspaper.

I didn’t submit anything, but I am working on a story I started in London. It’s something I hope to submit at some point and it’s a nice little project to have on the side for when I get stuck revising Novel #2.

2) Finish minor changes in my first novel.

Novel #2 is keeping its hold on my focus. I haven’t touched my first novel in two months and I don’t suspect I will be for a while. Both the story and characters are silent in my head because they are being drowned out by everything in Novel #2. It’s hard to work on a large project like this when my muse wants nothing to do with it at the moment. So, on the shelf it remains.

Starting word count:  7,975
Ending word count: 7,975
Total word count: 0

3) Work on my second novel. Revise Novel #2.

Much like last month, I can’t stop thinking about Novel #2. After completing the first draft – Yay! – I went back to page one and started revising. This is weird for me because usually I like to let a project sit for a while before returning to it for revisions. Not this time. All I wanted to do was be in the story again and listen to my characters.  I’ve never experienced a pull like that after finishing a writing project, which is why I decided to listen to my tagline and follow my muse. She seems to know where we’re going and who am I to question her?

Starting revised word count: 0
Ending revised word count: 10,865
Total revised word count: 10,865

See NaNoWriMo (Revised) for the goals I’ve set for November on this project. It’s insane, but I’m up for the challenge.

4) Send out five query letters and be ready with a synopsis.

My query letter for Novel #2 has gone through three more revisions. My goal for November is to have it ready to send off to two beta readers.

5) Keep up with my blog.

Despite my crazy writing schedule, I managed to post on a very consistent basis this month. Thank you to my readers for your continued visits. I appreciate all of your comments and “likes.” Your encouragement to keep writing means so much to me.

6) Network more with other writers.

It was a good month on social media! I made an effort to be a little more present on Facebook and Twitter and I have to say it was a lot of fun. My thanks goes to everyone who has stopped by and followed me Facebook and Twitter.

My Facebook Page has grown from 198 to 221 Likes.

On Twitter, my followers have grown from 288 to 425.

To join in the fun, please visit my sidebar to follow me on either network. As I work through revisions, I’ll be posting frequently on both networks with ramblings fueled by extraordinary amounts of caffeine.

7) Inspire other writers to keep writing.

As always, I hope I am a positive presence!

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Happy Halloween! May you have your fair share of jack-0-lanterns and candy! Last year I wrote about the origins of Halloween on this post: Hallowed History. If you’ve ever wondered where Halloween traditions began, you may want to re-visit my spooky history lesson.
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c.b.w. 2012

NaNoWriMo (Revised)

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Right around this time every year excitement surges among writers. NaNoWriMo is a mere few days away and thousands of writers are getting ready to jump into the insanity of writing a 50,000 word novel in just one month.  I have to admit it’s hard not to get caught up in the electric energy responsible for motivating so many people to write like lunatics for 30 days. I love absolutely everything about it!

That being said, I’ve never actually participated in NaNoWriMo. I’ve watched from the sidelines and cheered people on, but for various reasons I never got around to signing up for this crazy adventure. For as long as I’ve known about it, I’ve always had a novel or a project in the works, so it didn’t make sense to take on another. I find myself in the same position this year with my second novel occupying all of my attention. I’m in the middle of revisions and I don’t want to drop it in order to start something else. Essentially, I am stuck between wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo and wanting to finish the revisions on Novel #2 (I swear I’m going to come up with a title soon!).

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that I thrive on goals, so I think I’ve come up with a solution that will solve my little conundrum. I’m going to participate in the idea of NaNoWriMo on my own terms and with my own benchmarks. One of my favorite bloggers, Wings of Wonder, is doing something similar and she has inspired me to give a try.

Instead of writing an entirely new novel, I’m going to continue revising Novel #2. I will subscribe to a similar schedule of defined daily word count goals and an overall monthly goal. Seeing as revision is a different beast than creating a first draft, I won’t be going as nuts as official NaNoWriMo participants, but I will be pushing myself to a new level.

I pledge to revise 500 words a day in order to reach a grand total of 15,000 words by the end of November. Furthermore, I will hold myself accountable with weekly blog posts documenting my progress and daily updates via Facebook and Twitter.

As a result of setting these goals, my blogging schedule may be a little more erratic than usual. However, I will try to keep up with it as much as possible. After all, my Scribble Diary and the Photography Challenge are huge sources of inspiration for my muse!

Wish me luck!

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What about you? Are you taking on the challenge of NaNoWriMo or something similar?

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c.b.w. 2012

Scottish Humor

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I don’t know, Arthur. Don’t you think we’re a little too matchy matchy?

Duke of Wellington statue, Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, Scotland, 2005
Photo by: c.b.w.

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After doing a little research, I found out the traffic cones are a bit of a local tradition that dates back to the 1980s.  They are meant to represent the humor of the locals, which I can wholeheartedly vouch for with a chuckle.

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c.b.w. 2012

Photography Challenge: At Work

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This past summer I took on the challenge of completing a list of photography prompts put forth by one of my favorite bloggers, all the soft places, (see the challenge here and here). After completing about half of the list, my day job started up again and I ran out of time to complete every prompt. However, I haven’t forgotten about it! This week, I decided to jump back in because I am still very determined to finish what I started. I may not get around to it every week, but I won’t give up the project until every item can be scratched off the list.

I took my camera to work yesterday and here’s what happened:

Prompt: Capture something vibrant.

Thermal Map of the World
Photo by: c.b.w.

I took this shot by aiming at part of a poster in my classroom. Those bold colors represent the varying temperatures of the earth.

Prompt: Capture something that makes you smile.

Lava Lamp Bubbles
Photo by: c.b.w.

My lava lamp is an endless source of entertainment. During my first year of teaching, I found a lava lamp hiding in the supply closet and it had a place in both of my classrooms until it met an unfortunate end last year.  After a period of mourning, I bought a new one and it makes me smile every day.

Prompt: Transform something boring into something interesting.

Lesson Plan: England’s transition to a consitutional monarchy. Are you excited, yet?
Photo by: c.b.w.

I relied on my profession for this one! This is one of my more popular lesson plans because it lets students cut loose with markers and crayons. Historians may find England’s transition to a constitutional monarchy exciting, but fifteen-year-olds do not unless you make it fun.

Prompt: Find something that is always growing.

How’s this for a self-portrait?
Photo by: c.b.w.

My hair. I’ve been growing it out for over year and it’s getting really long. At this point it’s halfway down my back and I love it!

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As for the rest of the challenge, I have nine more shots to take!

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c.b.w. 2012

Inspiration is Waiting

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Inspiration is everywhere just waiting for us to notice. There is never a moment where it doesn’t exist as long we choose to see it and do something meaningful.

Sometimes I wonder how many times a day my muse tries to speak, but I’m too busy or distracted to listen. More frightening still, what if I’m lazy or “switched off” for the day? That fear keeps me awake and aware.

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Stay inspired!

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c.b.w. 2012