ostarella: (Goals)
I was going to wait to change my theme, etc, until the actual end of the year, but got impatient (and bored).

Goals for the month - currently at 50%, with minor chance of improving that. But I'm doing much better than I thought, considering there was Christmas and my son home for a week, and this week working five days in a row (bleah!).

Actually got some writing completed, though not Covenant's next chapter. There are times (too many) when I think I should just give it up - but I'm too stubborn for that and the really good part is coming. I'm so close to the end! But I got Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Christmas (and a new monitor that doesn't drive my eyes bonkers) so I think that's going to help a lot. Learning curve, of course, but I understand it really isn't that steep. I'm quite excited about it, since I tend to talk and think much faster than I can type! LOL

Anyway, adjusting my monthly goals to reflect what I didn't get done this month, shifting some of January's back to February, etc. Feeling confident that I will catch up, and sooner rather than later. The monthly thing seems to be working better than the weekly (and infinitely better than the daily) so I'm not feeling the guilt/anxiety which was really counter-productive.

Also had a brainstorm the other day about my original works. I've had so many snippets pop up and I suddenly realized that I could, with some manipulation, put them all together into a longer story I've been working on (in spurts) for the last several months. Gives me that little tingly feeling I haven't had for a long time, so I think I may finally be on the right track.

Work is... hellish. Waiting to hear on a couple of online jobs (one as a 'practice' juror for lawyers who want to see if their case is worth taking to court versus settling outside, and another doing transcription work). I'm hoping something comes of those and that I can make enough to at least cut back one day at the store. And, of course, looking for other 'regular' jobs closer to home as well.

The last few months have been difficult. I've been fighting my depression, with varying success, but I'm starting to feel more normal now. Hopefully the new year will see an end to this latest episode and I'll be able to accomplish more. At least now I feel like trying.
ostarella: (Bah)
Third warmest Christmas since 1886. No snow. Brown grass. Bare trees. Windy as hell.
ostarella: (Default)
A herd of wild turkeys walks nonchalantly down the street...







And yes - they are huge (approximately 2-1/2 - 3 feet tall)
ostarella: (Goals)
Last month, I started working with a list of weekly goals. That didn't work out so well - too many 'incidentals' that interfered during the week. So I redid the whole thing, setting up monthly goals instead. I have a daily schedule - but it's only so I know how much time I have available for my various projects - not a set in stone "It's 3:00 - I have to be doing this now!". And it seems to be working much better for me. Already I have 19% of my goals attained for the month! Granted, there are some heavy-duty projects coming up - but I know how much time I have each day to work on them, little by little, and I'm actually feeling confident that I can achieve them. I expect a few bumps along the way - days when I'm just too damn tired to do anything, something goes awry with a project and it takes longer than expected - but that doesn't bother me. I know that over time I'll get more and more used to working toward the set goals, and keeping better track of time used and lost.

So onward and upward! :D

Snow...

Dec. 2nd, 2011 02:19 pm
ostarella: (Tired)
Well, first real winter storm is supposed to hit here starting Saturday afternoon into Saturday night. 5-8 inches of snow expected. I'm supposed to work tomorrow night but unless the storm moves to miss us (which is still a hopeful possibility) I ain't budging.

Guess it was too much to hope we wouldn't get anything until closer to Xmas...
ostarella: (Arrgh)
I know you're new, and excited to be in a new community but please - don't go responding to every discussion on the site. Especially the ones that died and went to heaven several months before you joined. Especially those that are asking for help or advice, since the problem has no doubt been solved long, long, long ago.
ostarella: (Why me)
Last night we had 27.5 hours of work. 3 people. 8 hour day.

Yeah.

That didn't include the two pallets of pics (replacement product). So add another hour and a half.

I'll let you know when my brain and body meet up again...

Vindicated

Oct. 9th, 2011 03:11 pm
ostarella: (Writing)
I left a writing forum over one major issue - the idea of being respectful when giving critiques. It was, basically, the straw that broke the camel's back. My contention (as a beta for several years) that there was absolutely no reason to get nasty or arrogant when giving a critique (and let's be sure to distinguish between a critique and a review). For that, I was labeled (along with anyone else who might hold the same opinion) a 'speshful flower'. (My own betas know that's so far removed from the truth it's laughable. Loudly laughable.) Now, I knew there were others who felt the same way (and who posted thusly in that discussion), but in a recent look-see at another forum, I discovered I was not the only one who left Forum A because of this attitude. Quite a number were so dismayed at the attitude of the other forum they not only left, they wanted to warn others about it.

Now, this is not to say that, after working with someone for some time, one has to be as tactful. With those who really want the honest feedback, it's easy to start jokingly 'bashing' something ("You didn't really write that, did you? :D") or getting more firm ("You need to correct this [continual problem] in future postings or I just can't work on it any more."). Then there are others who just want you to gush over their golden words - and after a point, it's difficult to remain polite, much less tactful. (I told one person sometimes it takes getting hit with a pile of bricks for it to sink in.) But again, this is after you've worked together and gotten to know each other. You don't do those sorts of things on a first post (or even the first couple of posts), or [especially] when the writer is new and genuinely seeking help.

It just is beyond me why writers, of all people, can't seem to figure out how to word a critique without getting arrogant, nasty, or snarky. I mean, that's what we do - use words and phrases to communicate effectively.  So I was left wondering who the 'speshful flowers' really were - those asking for help or those deigning to respond.

So anyway - glad I left one, even gladder (is that a word? lol) that I found the other.

[I'm deliberately not mentioning either forum because I don't want to provoke any snarkiness between the two - anyone interested can pm me. One for a warning and the other for a recommendation.]

Discoveries

Oct. 7th, 2011 09:58 am
ostarella: (Default)
Having stopped logging in/posting to one writers' forum, and joined a couple others, I've discovered one thing - writers tend, at least in these communities, to have an overblown sense of their own importance. Now, that's not to say that all are like that. There are a great many who are sincerely and truly helpful and open-minded. But there are far too many who, either from being members of these communities for eons or from already having an overabundance of self-worth, think their advice is golden. That if they state an opinion, it should be taken as fact. That if you don't do what they say, or if you dare to disagree, you're stupid. And I won't even get started on the self-publishing "gurus"...  (until another post :D)

I've also realized that there are a lot of writers who refuse, absolutely, to listen to any of the advice given, good or bad. Now, having been a beta, I already knew that occurred in the fanfic world. There are prima donnas out there who think because they've got groupies that their writing is perfect. I guess I was naive thinking it didn't happen in the 'real world'. And at the other end of the spectrum are those writers who want people to tell them how to write - everything from basic grammar to how the story should evolve (ie, "Write my story for me!"). It amazes (and frustrates) me that these people waste the time of forum-goers asking questions they could (and should) find the answers to themselves (What - you didn't know there were grammar books out there? Or articles online?) If one is confused about the information found, that's when the forums should be utilized - but really. "When do I use a comma?" WTF?

Connected to that is my discovery that there is very little about writing per se that I haven't already learned. Publishing is a different story, of course, but writing... yeah. Now, I realize that that statement sounds every bit as egotistical as those I just complained about. But writing is a craft - and of that aspect, I am very confident. What few grammar questions I have typically turn out to be matters of style and 'currency' - things that are not rules so much as how one 'authority' prefers things versus another 'authority'. But I definitely know how to string together a coherent sentence, how to form dialogue, how to weave a story together so it holds the reader's interest - with the given regarding that last item that everyone improves the more they write.

Now, when ones talks about methodology, my preferences are no better - and no worse - than anyone else's. What works for me works for me and may or may not work for someone else. And that's what separates me from the blowhards above. I recognize that each writer needs their own style and their own methods for completing a book.

So, I'm finding myself glancing through the various communities, reading with half-interest those newbie questions about how to write, shaking my head at the "You have to do it this way" replies, and noting those who offer suggestions versus commands (ie, who recognize the individuality of the writer). Otherwise...

What it all boils down to is this: I started looking at various writing communities because I thought they could teach me things about writing. I was wrong. There's very little a seasoned writer can learn about writing on these forums. There is, however, a lot one can learn about publishing and when I am to the point of actively pursuing that (ie, when my first book is completed), I shall certainly be going to these various forums to glean whatever knowledge and insights I can. But I shall do it with one caveat - not everyone really knows what the hell they're talking about. Even the published authors. Those who are in the publishing business - agents and publishers - certainly need to be listened to. But even those need a grain of salt, as one will inevitably find they contradict each other. But reading their advice, and finding that which seems to be a consensus (or at least, makes more sense), will be invaluable when I start querying for my book. And there will be a few individuals (again, see above) to whom I will listen with more than just mild interest, and those to whom I will not listen at all.

So, I will be spending a lot less time on these communities and a lot more time actually writing. Because that's really all that's important.
ostarella: (Tired)
Fang was sneaking up on a mouse this morning. In the dining room. Out in plane sight. Luckily, it went into a box and I just scooped it up and dumped it outside. I have this thing about cleaning up mouse guts, you see.

We were figuring it was just that time of year - but then again, my brother just brought down a bunch of boxes that were in a storage facility up in the Cities - so I'm thinking we may see a few more until those boxes are emptied...

Bleah...
ostarella: (Tired)
Didn't go to work last night. Went to bed about noon, feeling fine. Woke up about 5:30 sicker than a dog. No idea why - something I ate, too many Advil, flu bug - whatever. Slept on the couch the rest of the night, just in case, and got up about 6. So far, just feel totally exhausted and have a massive headache (so my screen s down in brightness and huge in fonts).

Sometimes I think my body is just trying to give up on me...
ostarella: (Default)
So, my back injury which was supposed to be healed up in a week or so... hasn't. Oh, it's much better than it was, but I still have a sharp ache when I walk more than a few steps, and bending over, and going up stairs, and lifting (even light boxes). Have been living on Advil, which helps the first couple of hours, but then I can't take it again right away and by the time I can, the aches have taken over. Doesn't seem to bother on the left side, but the right is bad. I noticed that the moment I first stood up after falling, too, and mentioned it to the intake nurse. I'm thinking I didn't land square on my back, but more on the right side, which is the only logical reason for it. I'm thinking if it doesn't clear up in the next couple of days (making it the full '7-10 days'), I may give the doctor a call and see if there might be something else wrong. And if you know how I feel about doctors, you'll know how desperate I am to get rid of this constant ache!

In other news...

Have gotten a good start on the next chapter of Covenant. Have figured out some tie-ins with earlier parts of the story, and how to get the ball rolling for the next 'adventure'. Getting back to the canon parts of the story now, and I'm looking forward to giving them my take. :D

Also have figured out a few sticking points in my newest original story - like why the MC is acting the way she is. It was a heavy sticking point because if I couldn't plausibly explain her motivation, it just came across as stupid. And I hate stupid MCs - particularly of the female variety! But I've really got to get down to the writing now, as it's going to be a bit long and I really want to be able to enter it in a contest that's due the end of the month. But it's been percolating in my head long enough - I think it's going to write itself fairly quickly once I get started. But even if I miss this deadline, I'd rather have a good story and try other avenues for getting it published, than submit a crappy one and just waste the entry fee.

Also considering setting up a new writing blog. I feel a bit inadequate to do so - but then I do know quite a bit about writing and have some opinions that don't require one to be an expert - just observant. I just don't know if I want to add another commitment when I'm already having trouble keeping up with the current ones. :p

Off work...

Sep. 3rd, 2011 09:53 am
ostarella: (Tired)
Officially on medical leave for the next few days. I was trying to pull a pallet out of the freezer last night (just after midnight this morning, actually) and landed flat on my back. The floor is always frosty, and we all have had near misses, but this one took me by surprise. One second I've got the pallet moving, next thing I know I'm looking up from the floor. Landed on my tailbone, and it hurt so damn bad I couldn't get up. The other guy in frozen came in a few minutes later, thank God, and then I had to have a couple of the managers help me up. Then a trip to the emergency room to make sure nothing was broken - thankfully just a very very nasty bruising. Drove myself home - never realized how painful it can be to shift gears, or how many fucking bumps there are on that highway. Hurts to walk, hurts to stand, hurts to sit, hurts to lay down... even with the painkillers.

Damn.

FFNet

Aug. 30th, 2011 09:13 am
ostarella: (kill)
Well, in case anyone's looking for my stuff on FFNet, it's gone. I tried to update some chapters and add the next chapter to Covenant and it totally screwed things up. So, rather than try to straighten it all out (which would mean going in and copying and then reformatting all kinds of chapters from Covenant), I just said the hell with it and took everything off. Left a note on my profile as to where people can find my stories, though.

Don't need hassles just to upload a simple chapter...

FINALLY!

Aug. 29th, 2011 04:58 pm
ostarella: (Covenant)
Chapter 73 of Covenant is UP!

Will have the monthyly update for the Directory up on the first, btw.

Now, if only I had a wee bit of brandy in the house to celebrate... lol
ostarella: (Default)
Got a notice in the mail today. I'm scheduled for possible jury duty starting in October. I can be notified any time during a 90 day period after that. I was called for it several years ago (different county) but was disqualified because it was a real estate case and I knew or knew of several of the people involved :( But I think it would be kinda fun, actually. I hope they won't disqualify me because of my brother being a criminal attorney!

Other news - Chapter 73 of Covenant is done! Well, except to get the 'okay' on one last section from my betas. ;) I think the next few chapters will go more quickly (well, they'd almost have to if I want it done before they bury me!) because it's getting closer to the start of the series, and the characters will be getting more and more like we saw them in the show. Still have to figure out how to get Face into his womanizing ways - which is a lot more complicated than it sounds... :p

Bro's up at a golf tournament today, so have to the house to myself - and it's my full day off! HURRAY!!!! lol Going to be house cleaning, prelude to the major fall cleaning. Worries me a bit when I start thinking of all the things that need to be done before winter hits - but hopefully with my brother here it won't be quite so overwhelming or time-consuming. Hard to think about fall - seems like summer just got started. Already looks like fall, but that's because of having so little rain the last few weeks. Everything's stressed and turning brown. :(
ostarella: (Default)
So here's my list (as per Becky Black beckyblack.wordpress.com/ and Teresa Morgan teresa-morgan.blogspot.com/)

Heroes )
ostarella: (Goals)
Don't know what the hell got into me today but I have been going a mile a minute on everything!

First - 4 loads of laundry. No, don't ask how it got to be that large (other than I've been putting it off hoping for good weather on the days I have off - which hasn't really happened). Finally broke down and took it to the laundromat for the washing, then ran it all through 2 cycles of dryer before bringing it back and hanging it all up (wanted it semi-dry as there was a chance of rain/thunderstorms today).

Second - cleaned up as much of the broken tree branches as I safely could and ended up hauling a full pickup load out to the dump. I was so tempted to saw off some more, but didn't dare. Have to call that guy to come finish it up - brother keeps saying he'll take care of it but he keeps 'forgetting'. :(

Third - revised 3 chapters of Covenant to fit with the new information I got on the plane crash (mechanics of it). So will have those to repost when Chapter 73 is done - which, incidentally, should be ready for my betas by the weekend (if they still want to do it, that is - such busy people nowadays! ;) )

Fourth - got my application and resume sent off for a librarian position in a nearby town. Between the pay increase, less hours, and shorter distance, I figure I'll come out about even with what I net now, and it wouldn't be nearly the hassle and physically draining work. So keep your fingers crossed.

Also did a couple loads of dishes and actually put them away instead of just using them out the DW. Yeah, we definitely live a bit Bohemian around here...

And now, having brought in the laundry, folded it and put it away, I'm going to fix some supper, have a nice long shower, and maybe take a short nap before going to The Pit of Hell work.

I have a feeling I'm going to sleep all day tomorrow...
ostarella: (Default)
Well, weather continues to be typical Minnesota. A day or so of bearable (heat and humidity) surrounded by several days of ungodly heat and humidity. Today is one of the latter - 85 degrees and you feel soaked just sitting. At least there's a bit of a breeze.

Got notified that I've won my first Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing. It's an ebook, though, and I have yet to figure out what format. Guess I'll find out when I get it and hopefully can download a free ereader for the pc to suit it. Refuse to buy one, software or otherwise. Just can't see spending that kind of money and then having to buy the books on top of it. Not when I can get online books in PDF or from the library in print. Yeah, I know - cheapskate is my middle name. ;)

Have another idea for a short story to submit to Glimmer Train. Problem is the ending is almost cliché, but I can either work to make it more macabre or go in the opposite direction. The whole thing may be a little too macabre for them anyway, but what the hell, right?

Anyway... off to do laundry. Too humid to hang it out so have to visit the laundromat's dryers. :(
ostarella: (Default)
Well, weather continues to be typical Minnesota. A day or so of bearable (heat and humidity) surrounded by several days of ungodly heat and humidity. Today is one of the latter - 85 degrees and you feel soaked just sitting. At least there's a bit of a breeze.

Got notified that I've won my first Early Reviewer book from LibraryThing. It's an ebook, though, and I have yet to figure out what format. Guess I'll find out when I get it and hopefully can download a free ereader for the pc to suit it. Refuse to buy one, software or otherwise. Just can't see spending that kind of money and then having to buy the books on top of it. Not when I can get online books in PDF or from the library in print. Yeah, I know - cheapskate is my middle name. ;)

Have another idea for a short story to submit to Glimmer Train. Problem is the ending is almost cliché, but I can either work to make it more macabre or go in the opposite direction. The whole thing may be a little too macabre for them anyway, but what the hell, right?

Anyway... off to do laundry. Too humid to hang it out so have to visit the laundromat's dryers. :(

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