5min Update

This week has been an interesting one. I’ve got a new shift at work, and a lot more time. Or at least it feels like it.

Before this week I worked Friday to Tuesday, from 3-10. This week I’ve got the weekends off, and I’m home by 7pm.

I’m a natural night owl so I didn’t mind working late. It just meant I stayed up late and did stuff when other people were asleep. But I don’t know why this shift makes me feel like I have more time. Maybe it’s because I can still get to d&d even though I worked that day. Maybe it’s because things aren’t closed when I get off work and I can go out to eat, or shopping for a moment.

In any event, I’ve had a bit more time for me, and I’ve spent that time editing Ghostly Intentions. I’m half way through, so I’m pretty confident I can get it out this weekend. That would be awesome.

Also, I have Costume Shop ready for an edit so I’ll probably be finishing that up and publishing it in a couple weeks. Plus I’m working more on finishing book two in my half blood sorceress series…. So much writing. And I’m happy to be doing it again!

And that’s my five.


5min – Just keep swimming

It’s been a while since I started these five minute writing excersize, and I’ve learned that taking some time off is a bad plan.

A rolling stone gathers no moss…right? So if  you keep moving, keep progressing toward your goal, it’s less likely that you will stop and start growing moss, or in my case, procrastinating.

It’s so easy to procrastinate though. You have games to play, movies to watch, meals to eat. You can even procrastinate by cleaning the house. You need to clean the house, of course, but when  you’re looking for anything, even the little tiny things to clean just to get out of doing something then it’s more than cleaning. It’s procrastination.

The last couple of weeks since I finished “Dragon’s Flame” I started working hard on the procrastination. Games, mostly. A minecraft pack that I wanted to try, and West of Loathing (which is a WONDERFUL game and I highly recommend) were great distractions. Talking to my children, spending time with Bjorn when he took a moment from his own work. And so much more.

But I suppose it’s time to stop procrastinating, and start writing again. I am half way finished with the next book in the Half Blood Sorceress series, and it’s time to get to finishing it. I still haven’t gotten the edits back for the first book, but… that will come.

And there’s my five.

5min – Half Blood Sorceress

Today has been a good day. I’m writing this at the end of the day, instead of the beginning, because I’ve been doing a lot of writing and editing. Mostly editing of the first book so I can get it to the editor.

I hate estimating these things. I’m almost always wrong. I have these big ideas that I can just ‘edit one chapter a day and get it done” but something else comes up. And I know some of it is excuses, and other times it’s legitimate things. Like being sick for the last week because there are forest fires going on and my asthma is not making life easy.

Regardless, I have grand ideas that I don’t end up doing it. Another big reason is that I end up spending time on other things instead of the main project. I have been trying to get the editing done for this book, but I admit that I hate editing. I have taken a lot of “breaks” to write major plots for the third book so that I can start on it soon. On the plus side I have a lot of that story already figured out. On the minus side…book one isn’t finished yet!

But after this second pass I’m actually happy with the story. I had been thinking the main character was too ‘whiny” when I first wrote her. But no, she isn’t. She’s the right amount of upset that a large portion of her life goes south really fast, and nothing she seems can fix it. And it’s okay to be upset when that happens. That’s life, and that’s how it works. We can’t control everything around us, even when we really want to.

I guess I should take a note from my characters at this point.

And that’s my five.

5min – Editing

Today has been pretty busy, so far. We went out to a birthday lunch with friends, went shopping to get supplies for Gregg’s armor that he’s making, and I cleaned up the house a bit.

Then I came home and I spent a few hours playing a game. This was a much needed mental health moment because I know I’m going back to work tomorrow, and I needed some time to just have a little fun, and veg out. Most people watch TV for that, I play video games.

But now it’s time to get back to work, so here I am writing my morning pages in the evening. It’s 9, and I usually go to bed at 3am or so, so there is plenty of time.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been stuck between editing and writing. There is a huge difference in mind sent with both of these. If I’m writing I just put the words on paper, and let them flow. Easy. I sometimes get a thousand words in less than an hour. It feels productive, and if I actually did it for more than an hour a day I would probably be able to keep up with everyone else. With the writing at least.

But once that first draft is out I need to do the revise. Read through, clean up spelling, grammar, rewrite a few sentences. Add in bits that were missing, or sometimes add in whole chapters. This part takes me forever. I need to figure out a better way of doing it. It doesn’t matter how good or clean the first draft is, there are those little bits of filler that I need to put in so that the 50k words make one sensible story line instead of just scenes strung out on a page.

I don’t know why, but reading back over my words is really tough to do sometimes. I get so easily distracted, or just space. Probably because I know what’s going to happen, and I just can’t stand to read it again so soon after writing. Maybe if I put it in a draw for a while it would be easier, but I’m going to have to write a LOT to be able to do that.

And there’s my five.

5min – Hurdles

My daughter came by with a friend today so I started clearing some of my clutter by giving her things that she loved. Some of the pop figures, and a dagger, a few shirts that didn’t fit me but do fit her. It was good. Cathartic even.

I’ve got a number of things already packed up and ready to be taken to various places to sell or donate. But doing that is sometimes tougher than it appears to be. Time, effort, motivation. That’s what you need, right?

I know it sounds so easy. Pick up a box, put in in the car, drive it to x store and sell it. But sometimes I look at all the things that need to go, and the filed house still waiting to be taken, and it’s so over whelming.

Video games, board games, hundreds of books, figurines, miniature bottles…I’ve been collecting for a very long time. And I’ve already started thinning things out and it helps, but boy is it overwhelming.

One room, one item at a time. That’s the trick. So I think I’m going to have to just do that. Start with a shelf, clean out the ones I don’t want, and take them directly to the car instead of storing them in the closet. It’s so easy to ignore a box in the closet, but a box in the car in the seat next to you…not as easy to do. Especially when you start getting a lot of boxes.

I have a nice plan for the tiny home, and it looks affordable if we buy a premade shell, with the wiring and plumbing in it. But where do we park it? And how do we deal with the internet issue? That’s the next big hurdle after clearing out our stuff.

And that’s my five.

The Walk of Shame

February has been the WORST month for writing since… well since I first got this new job. Even on the months that I had bronchitis and whooping cough I managed to write more than this month.

Total word count for Feb 2017: 4006

There are four days left. Four days to try and redeem myself, to try and push through this lethargy and get writing again. And I think I know what it is, what’s “blocking” me. It’s this novel. I’m getting toward the end where I have to re-read everything and make sure the plot stays consistent, and the grammar isn’t HORRIBLE. I have 17 of 22 chapters finished, and the last few chapters I’m just filling in the spaces that I didn’t write on the first run through. So I’m almost there.

The endings are always the worst. I have had to push myself to complete the ending of every single book that I’ve ever finished. Even the short stories have issues. Something about the completion of a book, the final words being put on the screen, that scares me. I mean all those little pieces I didn’t write on the first pass, I didn’t write them for a reason. They didn’t come as easy for me as the rest. They interrupted the flow of words. And now I have to face those spots and tackle them. And when I’m done I have to let go, send it to an editor, and maybe…maybe…PUBLISH IT!

But first I have to finish it. I want book one, at least the first run, done in the next two weeks. I only have five chapters, there is no reason I should’t be able to do a chapter every other day. TWO WEEKS CRISSY! That’s all you have! Get writing!

Then book two, which currently has 9 of 28 chapters finished. that one is going to take some reworking to get into the right order, and make sure everything makes sense, and timelines are good. After finishing the first nine chapters I realized I had a bunch of time that wasn’t accounted for, and that the main character, Sybel, isn’t shown learning about her powers, or growing. It was more just assumed. Which doesn’t work. Show don’t tell. So I added some chapters, plot points, and character development for not only Sybel but all the people around her. Fleshed out the world a bit.

I love this new series. I want to put it out there and start sharing it with everyone. I just need to get my butt in the chair and finish it.

It got away with me…

3I have been trying to do VEDA (vlog every day in April) this month, but I am horrible at finding something to vlog about. Mostly I’m terrible at picking up my phone and vlogging even when I don’t feel like it. (Yesterday’s VEDA was about my board games.)


It’s like the same muscle you use to write, or do anything creative I think. You have to do it even when you don’t want it. It’s not learning to do that thing. I know how to vlog, and I know what works best for me to get the words out. I know that sometimes I have to stop the camera and start again, deleting the old footage. I know that I can’t really edit it much afterward or it will never get done. I know these things.

But the desire to do it, the…what is the word I’m looking for? The stick to it-ivness of things. Going on, and pressing forward even when you don’t want to do it. Tenacity? Persistence? Maybe both.

I think that mental muscle — the one that helps you do a thing that you want to do even when there is nothing in your life to help you do it, nothing to encourage you, no forth coming reward from doing it — has to be exercised like any other muscle in your body. The rewards are so intangible and distant that we have to persevere and find small rewards  before we find the large one at the end.

It’s like a dog getting a treat. You give him a treat for sitting, and he learns to sit when you tell him to. While all he cares about is the treat at first, the end result is a better environment, a happier home, and everyone has a better time of it in the end. But that end is so far off the dog can’t see that as the reward for his learning to sit on command. The two concepts can’t even meet in his mind, so instead he gets treats.

Humans, like dogs, can be trained in many ways. Our parents train us when we are younger. They teach us language, walking, sports. They influence our likes and dislikes. They teach us what is socially acceptable. And they even encourage self determination, or sitting in the back of the class and letting life happen to you.

Because that is what it all comes down to in the end. Are you sitting in the back of the class letting life happen to you, or are you actively chasing life by it’s tell and saying “this is what I want, this is what I’m doing, and this is how I’m going to try and get it. And if that doesn’t work then I’ll just try something else.”

My parents were very much of the first type. Sit down, shut up. Do as I say. Actually, it was more of a “we have our life, you go do anything that keeps you busy so you don’t interfere with our life.” My husband was the same. It was reinforced over and over for decades that I should be seen and not heard, and probably not seen most of the time either.

So I completely understand if you are having trouble taking initiative in your life. If you are having trouble coming out of the shadows and into the light. If you want to be seen and heard, and felt. If you want to be counted as a person with individual ideas and plans instead of part of the crowd. I understand, and I encourage it even when others are still telling you to sit down, shut up, and pay attention to what they are teaching. Even when the teachers are insisting that their way is the only way, so learn or get out. Even when the art council says “that’s not art because we don’t think so.” Even when every fiber in your body says “I want to sleep, or curl up on the couch and watch TV” instead of picking up the pen, or the paint brush, or the leather working tool.

I get it. I’m there with you. I want to create, but I also want to watch TV and read books. I want to lay out in the sun and watch the ocean dancing on the sand as the winds play over the vast expanse. I want to breath in the scent of delicate flowers, and fall into the soft nothingness of dreams.

And there is nothing wrong with all of those things. But the people who persevere, those who stretch that muscle that helps them to keep going even when everything is against them, they are the ones that will be remembered long after tomorrow has faded away. And that is a treat worth practicing for.


Life has a tendency of getting in the way.

Today was suppose to be an awesome day for writing. My daughter had a “thing” scheduled, and my son had school so I had the house all to myself today. YES! I haven’t had the entire house to myself since last June.

So I drove my daughter to the college for orientation. Then I had to get my car fixed. A water hose busted a few days before so but it only took about an hour to get that all squared away.

Back home, quiet house, and some music.
My kitchens a mess and I need to have maintenance up to fix my stove, lets clean that really quick. 20 minutes.
Couple things to clean up in the living room, but that only took five minutes.
Sit down at the computer. Oh, email. Let’s answer a couple things, and check my messages on G+. 30 min
I open up my scrivener file, and the chapter I was working on last night. Read a few lines. Hear the sound of a light saber as my cell phone goes off.

“I’m bored, can you come get me, mom?”

It’s now noon and she’s been there three hours. I go pick her up.
Take her to the store since we’re already out. We need cat food and kitty litter after all. Finally home. 60 min
We sit down on the couch for a few minutes and watch a little youtube. Another 40 minutes pass.
It’s now time to take her to her therapy session. Take her there, drop her off, come home. 15 min
I sit back down on the couch feeling tired, and drained. The day is more then half over and I’ve done nothing… well… the house is clean.

Another text, she’s ready to come home just 45 min later.

It’s now 4pm. Everyone is home. Say goodbye to the nice quiet house.

It took me a couple hours to finally get settled in front of the PC and actually get a few words out. But it wasn’t easy. This is why I usually write after 10pm. That’s when the kids are in bed, the TV is turned down, or off, and the boyfriend is busying himself with something else.

As I’m writing this, it’s 8pm. Dinner is over, the kids are settling into their own little things, and I finally… maybe… have a chance to go write. Maybe I need a shower first.

Pity Party, Table for One

I have really been hanging out in the dull drums lately, and I’ve been trying to figure out why so I can kick the thing that’s encouraging me to be there. It’s like this little monster sitting on the edge of a pit, and every time I pull myself up he bites my knuckles and I fall back down again.

But… why? What is this little monster that keeps nipping at my heels? Why does it suddenly find my fingers so tasty?

I think it’s because I’ve been lathering my nuckels with salt and pepper just for his amusment. Someone kick me while I’m down? That’s okay, lets feel sorry for ourselves. It’s just a teaspoon of salt. Someone get that bonus I knew I couldn’t get? That’s another tablespoon of butter. (Because everything tastes better with butter, right?)

I’m reminded of Johnny B Truants little book, “The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying ‘F’ About You“. That person at work didn’t know I could have used that bonus. That customer didn’t know I was already in the dull drums and their harsh words just hurt that much more. All they knew was they “deserved it”, and they “earned it”. How dare that person get in my way.

What if I had gotten the bonus? What if that customer didn’t snap at me? Would I still be chilling on the ice shelf that is called “eh, good enough”?

When people kick you, run you over, and get in your way, you can salt and butter your fingers and let that little devil push you back in the pit that is the dull drums… or you can say to hell with it all, and stop playing the game.

The truth is, that little devil is only a few inches tall. Sure, he has sharp teeth, and they hurt, but if you stop just wincing in pain and dropping back into the pit then there is a really good chance you can fling that little demon off into next week. Then when you catch up to him you just fling him again. Eventually you’ll get stronger, and you’ll be able to fling him into next month, next year, or maybe next decade.

The real secret? Get off that icy shelf called “good enough”. Do something. Learn something. Apply for a new job. Stop salting your fingers and start putting on metal gauntlets with huge metal spikes.

The universe isn’t going to hand you a completed book, or a finished painting. It isn’t going to turn off the game and turn on the camera. It isn’t going to send a knight in shiny armor to save you.

SAVE YOURSELF! First from yourself, then from the little demons biting at your fingers.

Now I’ve got writing to do!