Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Wastelands

I feel like I'm trapped in a wasteland. Ever since they announced our call center was closing, I've felt like I'm in limbo.  I decided to take severance, and it is really weird coming into work knowing there's an end date. Most of my coworkers have transferred or gone to home based (HBA.) There are very few of us left that decided to take the $$$ and run. It's been nine years, so I think it may be time to move on.

My writing has not progressed (obviously.) That needs to change. I am taking two months off after I get severance, so the goal is to get back into writing. I have a couple trips planned, but I should be able to write during those as well. It's just been difficult with the job thing, and my health issues are not being resolved as fast as I would like. I may, in fact, be going back into the hospital if things don't improve. The fluid buildup will just not go away, and the doctor is not 100% sure what is causing it. We've upped the water pills again, so we'll see if that makes a difference. At least the blood clots did not come back, and he took me off the blood thinners. That's a step in the right direction. Also, a huge relief. The blood thinners caused so many things to be dangerous that I was tired of always worrying about it.

So the plan for this summer is to take my fiancee to meet my family in Nebraska. Then later we may go the the D Day reenactment in Ohio. That is definitely on my bucket list. It will be nice to have a couple months of no stress, no job worries, etc. Just doing what I want, when I want for a few weeks will be a nice break. Pretty sure when I go to look, I won't have much trouble finding a job. Also, going to get a new desktop and maybe a Surface laptop (for write ins) The Surface has kickass battery life, and I won't have to worry about getting a place to plug in at writing get togethers for NaNo. Plus, it won't have games or anything on it but productivity tools for writing. That will be a big help, kind of like the distraction free Alplasmarts.

I see the way out of the Wasteland, I just need to begin the journey. It starts today. Anyone need a guide out of the wastelands? You're welcome to come along.

Sunday, April 22, 2018


So March and April have been basically zero production months on the writing front.  My  grandmother passed away, and they announced the building I work in will be closing. We have been offered options to move, go home based, or take severance. My finacee nannies a child she is very attatched to, so moving is out. Our apartment is too small to meet the requirements for home based, so severance is pretty much my only option. It's a nice amount of money, but I still need to find another job. To get the severance, I have to work through June 30, so job hunting right now won't accomplish much, as they would most likely want me to start before June 30.

This time has given me time to think about my writing quite a bit. So, ideas are floating for several projects, including the one I was already working on this year. I will start again May 1. I really hope for no more major distractions this year. I feel bad as I am the one that got people doing the 200k word thing this year, but life does tend to intervene at times.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Motivation Dropped

Well, as my wordcount shows, I have not been doing even close to what I should be doing. Had a lot on my plate, but trying to clear the decks and focus on this monster challenge I created. Going to head to work early for a while and try and get some serious wordcount in then. I really need to catch up. I'm still about 6k behind for the year, not horrible, but it looks daunting.

On the upside, I did finally get a car. A (new to me) 2014 Ford Fusion with leather and a lot of bells and whistles. Nicest car I've ever owned. It has 50k miles on it, but it seems to have been well taken care of (the seats don't even look like they were sat in,) so the miles don't worry me much. That's kind of break in mileage for a car that is well maintained. I find myself looking for excuses to drive. I've been without a car since mine was stolen in October, mainly due to foot surgery and recovery. But, I'm back at work and trying to get back to walking and using my Fitbit.  Getting back in shape is another goal for this year. I should be able to start back at the gym in a couple weeks.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

January Ending

So, only a couple of days left in January, and my 200k Challenge for 2018 is already very far behind.  The cumulative word count for today is 12,374 and I have a paltry 7,024. Granted, there is a lot going on in my life right now. Since I proposed on Jan 1, there is wedding planning,  and I returned to work this month after an absence due to medical issues.  Getting back up to speed at a job that is constantly changing is no picnic, let me tell you.

My lacking word count disappoints me even more as I am the one that started this challenge and roped others into it as well. I should be at least keeping pace, and I plan to give my best effort to hit goal by Jan 31. This is not a good start, and I will overcome that and hit my goal for the year, as I'm sure others that have taken up this challenge will as well. I'm sitting here in Panera, working away at word count. I found an old novel I'd been working on stashed away on Google Docs. That bonus is that I'm rewriting it, which is going faster than writing from scratch. So, that may help me hit goal for the month. It's a novel I was sure I had lost all copies of, so finding it was an unexpected surprise of the first order. Maybe I can actually finish the damn thing now. It was a great idea, and I believe it still is. One of my better ideas, actually. And to find it when you believed it was gone forever and that you could never start over and have it be as good as it was is a good thing.

I have to tout a few of my favorite writing things here. Scrivener is the software for noveling that I wish I had been able to get my hands on years ago. It simplifies the process so much!  Yes, the learning curve is a bit daunting, but there is a book, Scrivener for Dummies, that really simplifies it to the point it's much easier to use without watching hours of tutorials on YouTube. A caution, be careful what flash drives you pick up online. I found an all metal flash drive (256MB) that was just too cool looking to pass up.  On the third use, my files disappeared. Looking at reviews online, that was not uncommon. It appears some foriegn companies are making these drives in 16 or 32GB format and using firmware that makes them read as much larger. They will eventually (apparently very quickly) fail, and you are in danger of losing your work. So, beware!  Finally, I got a rechargable Bluetooth keyboard to use with my tablet, and found it works well with my phone. Makes for a lot more portable if you want to write at the park or somewhere you don't want to lug the laptop to. I got an Anker from Amazon.  My fiancee liked it as well, but found one at WalMart she liked the layout and feel of a bit better. That one runs on AA batteries and was under $20, but she's been using it for a while now and loves it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018


Obviously not feeling it this week. For the 200K Challenge, I should be at 7,955 words today, and as you can see I'm just shy of 5,000. This week has been occupied by my return to work after almost 3 months of medical leave, so my focus has been getting back up to speed there. I know I can make up wordcount on my days off, and I fully intend to. 

The return to work has been, well, blah. I spent last week sitting with people, watching them do the job I was doing when I went out. It gets boring, you want to DO something, not just sit and listen to others do the job. A lot had changed, policies and minor processes. Yesterday, I spent the second half of the day doing the job, and it actually wasn't as difficult to jump back in as I had feared it would be. Today was my first full day back and was not bad, either. It's actually nice to be back and not trapped in an endless cycle of home and doctor visits. The foot is almost healed, and soon I should be able to ditch this stylish therapeutic footwear they have me in. My stamina is obviously not where I would like it to be, but once I'm cleared to return to the gym that should get better. Still looking to replace the car that was stolen in the carjacking in October. Wanted to wait until I had more $$$ for a down payment and felt better so I could enjoy the test drives. I need one now, as I feel like I'm imposing having my fiancee drive me to work. It feels like I'm intruding on her life.

So, I need to bear down on my writing and find a car. Those are the two driving forces in my life right now. Well, those and being asked about my opinion on various matters for the wedding. I keep saying I have no style or fashion sense so asking me is probably not the best course of action. Still, the questions continue. Having done this once, I would be happy with the courthouse or running off to Vegas. This is her first (and hopefully only) wedding, so it's cool that she does it the way that she wants. I want her to have awesome memories of that day, so it takes what it takes.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Lost Words

Okay, so having avoided the dreaded words lost failures I see so often in the NaNo forums, that streak is sadly at an end. And so begins my worst flash drive experience ever.

I found an all metal 256GB flash drive for a really good price on Amazon. I collect flash drives the way some people collect stamps, coins, etc. I ordered it, and could not wait to use it for the 200K Word Challenge I am participating in this year. Everything was going fine, until about the third time I was using it. My files completely disappeared. WTF??!!??  All the work done towards this challenge, I was ahead on wordcount and building myself a nice cushion for not as productive days down the road. Now, it was all GONE!! Panic mode set in...then I remembered, my files were backing up to One Drive. Unfortuanately, One Drive's copy was approximately 1,100 words shy of where I had been. I am now woefully behind, made even worse by the fact that I had been so far ahead. Makes me want to cry, but instead I will slog on and work to catch up. I'm back at work now, so that will be a bit more difficult. I was making good progress while I was out on medical leave.

I am not giving up, just needed to rant a bit. I will catch up, and I will make goal for the year. This is just more of a challenge at this point, not defeat. Failure is not falling down, it is failing to rise again.

A New Challenge

First, a little background. 2017 was the Year of Shit. I wasn't posting here, because I spent a majority of the year in and out of the hospital  In June, I almost died, according to the doctors. Blood clots in the lungs, a collapsed lung, pneumonia, fluid buildup, and numerous infections. That resulted in a 37 day hospital stay, 8 of those in ICU. 

My primary care physician had missed all this, telling me my lungs were fine and this was just a lasting effect from a bout of bronchitis. Needless to say, I changed doctors as soon as I got out of the hospital. The fluid buildup was bad. Thanks to a catheter and IV diuretics, I dropped 115 lbs. in 14 days. Not a weight loss program I would recommend.  According to the ER docs, if we had not called the ambulance, I would not have made it to morning. 

Then in October, I needed surgery on my foot. I was carjacked in our parking lot at 3am that morning. Lost my laptop, phone, kindle, and other things that were in the car. Luckily a friend was available to get us to the hospital. My girlfriend had totaled her car two weeks earlier, so no we had no vehicle.  At the hosptial, we found out the infection in my foot (related to the fluid problem) had gone into the bone. It looked as if they might have to take part of my foot. As luck would have it, they managed to get it all without having to take any part of my foot.  

So, this year has to be better, right?  On the positive side, I proposed to my long time girlfriend on January 1, and she accepted!  Also, I took on a challenge to give me more writing discipline. I am doing a 200,000 word challenge for 2018. Since I plan on doing NaNo as usual, that only leaves about 550 words/day for the rest of the year. I invite anyone interested to join me. We have a page on Facebook, 200k Year (200k Word Challenge for 2018)

I will be posting to this regularly now that things are somewhat back to normal. I encourage y'all to write more, and enjoy life. I almost lost it twice last year, and it definitely changes your outlook on what is important.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

And So It Begins...

In the spirit of renewing ourselves with the new year, I have decided to undertake one of the biggest challenges I could think of.   I have challenged myself to undertake the 365k words in 365 days challenge.  This being Jan 2, I will admit up front that I failed to make my goal the first day. That is merely a small stumble, as I am not going to let that discourage me from moving forward. It's a mere 1,000 words per day, and I can do that. Hell, NaNo that I do in November is 1,667 words a day, so bonus that month!

This post is short as I just wanted to get it out there that I'm challenging myself with that. I would also like to run a 5k by the end of the year, emphasis on RUN!!  That challenge might be a little tougher to meet, but it's a good goal to attempt as well. So, there it is, my challenges for 2016. What are yours?  Let's meet this year head on and not back down!!