One Word Goal for 2015: Ambition

hanging out at bidwell pool
I get all kinds of junk mail, and a good number of the self help variety. I hardly read of these emails, but I leave them in my inbox, just in case. And every once in a great while, one or two get read.

For example, Why You Need a Word for Your Year. Actually, I remember last year’s post too. I can’t say I found it particularly meaningful, but this time I liked the idea. Especially when the word “ambition” came to mind.

Ambitious is not one of my personality traits. I am a settled sort of person. So by ambition, I mean the drive to actually stick to some of my bigger goals. Like respecting my writing by 1) writing, and even better 2) keeping up with my writer’s group/buddies, even if I’m not as good as they are. Or like sticking with the exercise and good eating that was actually getting me somewhere.

If I do respect my writing, it may even show up here. Not because the audience for it is here, necessarily, but for the idea of an audience. Maybe there will be more blogging in general too, but it’s not really up there yet. If I get everything together…

So I’ll post my four most important resolutions early (is it really custom to only decide/share tomorrow?)

1: Respect the writing (write a real draft of last year’s NaNo manuscript)

2: Take care physically (eat right, keep exercise goals)

3: Actively manage budget (maybe get a downpayment started? after separate emergency fund)

4: Keep clean! (that means I want a proper closet organizing system and to not let clutter take over again, like it did this past month—the UFYH app already has started on that one. I look forward to a grown up sort of space instead of the one room and constantly moving I’ve had since starting college.

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The thing is, I have nothing to say

The last day of last month I lamented that I’d only finished one book, which, considering my year goal is 100, is a bit behind.

So where did that time even go?

Obviously the internet. And looking back, I was reading, just online, and there were at several hundred thousand words altogether. They just weren’t book words.

Also, Pinterest turned out to work marvelously well with my hoarding tendencies, so I’ve added quite a lot there, which somewhat justifies my time as not wasted, given that I was sharing knowledge with people. That’s my story and I’m sticking too it.

Other than that though, I have no excuse for not writing, and that’s done no favors for my mental health. I know why I haven’t, it’s because I can’t give my writing any ‘voice’ anymore, not when it’s mine. Writing fiction (when it’s not NaNo) is paralyzing, because I just can’t get over my inner-critic, who knows only all too well all the ways I can’t write.

Since then I’ve read two more books, and written, well, not much more than I had before. But I’ve got a story and I’m sticking to it, no matter little it works. At least until I finish. Then I can set it on fire.

(What happened to those days when I couldn’t write a blog post *shorter* than 500 words?)

Off to a Start

I’ve survived the first month of January, and I’ve made some progress. That whole “health” thing is progressing will (runkeeper and sparkpeople.com make the cell phone actually worth carrying).

But at the same time… I’ve finished one book this month. I mean, I started at least five others, but my usual reading rate is something like 8 to 10 books a month, so that’s not good.  Especially since I haven’t been writing either.

And that probably explains why my mood has been so dramatically up and down this month, because there hasn’t really been a chance to keep up with myself.

I’m trying to figure out where that time went.

I completed a few pattern repeats of a “dickie” I started three months ago! But I still haven’t finished. And my mom took me fabric shopping to make my own dress—which can’t be started until at least tomorrow. I’m not keeping up with any television shows.

I haven’t even been playing with my new phone. I know, because I apparently get insanely long battery life.

Whatever, I’m weigh less than I have in at least two years. Balance will come with practice and attention.

And I’ve been noticing a lot of misogyny/bigotry in the world. So there’s that.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 20 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Meanwhile, I was reading the intro to Sweater Quest this weekend, and the author could remember nothing that year she would put on her obituary. Well, I thought, there’s nothing in particular I can think of that would make my obituary interesting, but at least I’ve done stuff this year.

1: I finally got a job—Hooray for passive networking! Because that is one thing not on my skill list.

2: I wrote approximately 1.3 novels. Even if, for November’s National Novel Writing Month, finishing the 50,000 word goal meant typing about a third of that in six hours just before the deadline. Which is an accomplishment alone.

3: I read 132 books, seven more than my goal. Mostly they were not of the enlightening type of books and more entertainment, but that’s what I needed this year. Unfortunately, reviewing fell by the wayside.

4: I completed some knitting?

5: I at least didn’t gain any weight.

Eh, enough about the little things I’ve managed. I wasn’t completely oblivious to the outside world. Then again I’m still only going to talk about what interests me.

For example, while I linked to GoodReads before, I haven’t been using the site since it was purchased by Amazon in…March, I believe it was, and when the first major policy change lead to many user reviews being deleted, I’ve hardly visited. Even so, it is already clear that the site is transitioning from reader oriented to an author/sales focus. And a lot of the active users I followed really did leave, either deleting accounts or only posting links to reviews on other sites.

I made an accounts on BookLikes, and if I ever manage to get it up and running, I will link here.

Haven’t been to the movies much this year, but mid-summer realized that only two of ten trailers had speaking female characters, and of those one says evil and the other was eaten. When I watched Catching Fire, practically the same thing happened, only there was one more trailer with lots of women! And that, Divergence, sounded absurd. Apparently girls only get to watch other girls act out nonsensical plots. Once you’ve noticed, you’ll never be able to ignore it.

What else…the library’s book group is still hanging on, if only just. A few of the remaining members started a writing group as well. Speaking of, if I don’t bring a story to Thursday’s meeting, I’ll have to read my high school fan fiction. I have four stories in-progress because that will. Not. Happen.

And there will never be links to that.

Other book-related news, not too long ago, all the major online ebook retailers removed all “explicit” content books from their stores. Because no one wants to read erotica. All this in response to a vocal group in the UK. That’s not insane or anything. Look, I don’t read it (mostly because it’s not a genre known for high quality literature) but I refuse to accept censorship as the answer.

When you go from that to the NSA*, well. What else can I say? Isn’t that a note on which to end the year.

Let’s declare 2014 the year of intellectual freedom! Positive energy can’t hurt.

*My tablet tried to force me to blame the NBA which I know nothing about. Creepy.

A Sorry State of Affairs

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

And not simply in how remiss I’ve been in updating this blog, or how little writing I’ve done in general since finishing NaNo last year.

But when trying on clothes a week ago, I looked in the three-way mirror and did not think I looked awful. 

Actually, I thought: I look good.

Not these jeans make my butt look smaller—because they didn’t, not this trouser line lengthens my stumpy legs—which they did, but also showed off my panty lines. No, I just thought Hey, I look good. 

And I’ve never thought that before. No about me. Maybe my eyes, my hair or sometime my waist. Never before a great deal of effort.

That says something very sad, especially since I’ve never been the one concerned about materially improving my appearance. I almost wrote “concerned about my appearance,” except that’s never been true, even when I refused to make any effort. I only refused the effort because it didn’t seem like it would do any good. After all, I’m not conventionally attractive, and I never will be. For that past few years, I’ve been okay with that part, because I figured making myself look as best I could was enough.

I’ve never actually thought I looked good.

So now I have, and I can look at pictures of myself and not be actively repulsed. This is a strange new world, I admit. Now what will I obsess over? Hopefully, nothing more than books, and writing. Maybe the world I see will be more honest.

Happy for Thanksgiving

Is it just me, or did everyone actually make the effort to be more pleasant this Thanksgiving dinner? True or not, I appreciated the difference.

Too stuffed for pie, but hopefully not for writing. Spending all day actually trying to interact with everyone wore me out and also left no time for writing, hence this late, short post, and also my need to hurry of and get my novel-ing done. But otherwise I’m nearly caught up on my quota, and even ahead on my reading. It’s just knitting that’s fallen behind this month.

Hope everyone else had so nice a day, even if it can only be considered so outside of the particulars.

But I do have to get writing, it’s so cozy in the room right now: a fire burning, sleeping cats and for once a very quiet house. I think I’ll take advantage. Image

Aside

Monday’s moon over Modoc County, taken just about 7 am. Not when I expected to see it.

For personal reasons, posting today isn’t going to work out.

And then I got all the ranting I wanted to do with my family—for once we were (nearly) all in the same room, so now it’s all out of my system. Which doesn’t leave much for me to talk about now.

I will say I’ve been getting some creative writing done: not much, but far more than I have in months. Maybe it’ll help with November.

Right this moment I’m watching NCIS. Yes, it’s your fairly stand police procedural drama, but it has humor and eccentric characters. I love it like woah*. And I remember telling my brother about how annoyed I was about the denial Tony fangirls have (like fangirls in many other fandoms) that he has any flaws whatsoever, and for some reason hate McGee. Since I think both characters’ best scenes are where they play off each other, I’m rather unforgiving of that attitude. So I ranted about it at my brother, and though he hasn’t watched nearly as much of the show as I have, he immediately came out with “but in the later seasons Tony adores McGee!”

He’s not a shipper. He’s not in fandom. It isn’t what he meant. However, it was hilariously appropriate because they totally have a big brother, little brother dynamic going on, and if you can’t take the snark, you should turn off the tv.

Which is why I love White Collar, they snark all over everywhere.

Oh look. For not wanting to talk about anything today, I sure found a lot to say. It’s a good thing I’m an introvert, or I’d never shut up.

 

*Misspelled deliberately, re: Urban Dictionary: “like woah”: an exclamation to add emphasis**

** woah: 2:“Woah, I have nothing better to do with my time than to look up the misspelled word ‘woah’.” ***

***I only first saw it today, so I’m using it too. And yes, I had to look it up.

 

And before I post, I just want to send my prayers to all the victims of Hurricane Sandy.