Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Carnival Time Again

I'm over at the Carnival of Christian Writers today, swinging on the merry-go-round. Well, not too much because I'll get sick. Anyhow, there are a lot of good articles over there today so go check it out.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Not Sure What This Says About Us . . .

While we were making the five-plus-hour trek to Palm Springs (that's five hours each way, in one day) to spend Thanksgiving with Peter’s family, I happened to notice something interesting. Three of the four people in the car had headphones/ear buds on. Peter was listening to his real estate classes on an MP3 player in preparation for taking his licensing test. I was pounding away on my Mac (sans earphones, but I had a pair in my bag). My daughter was listening to her CD player and singing along. And Calvin was watching Cars on the portable DVD player (courtesy of Grandma) while looking at the Black Friday toy ads.

Not sure what this says about us, but we have gadgets and we’re not afraid to use them to keep ourselves occupied on a long car ride. Beats singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” or the Christian version that we sang on youth group outings “99 Bottles of Coke.”

But their is cool side of technology too. We took my laptop inside and Peter was able to share with his father a video from YouTube. It was a documentary on famous Hungarian soccer player, Ferenc Puskas. His dad was really impressed.

. . .

Two things I hate about using my computer in the car. One, the glare. I end up squinting because I can’t wear my sunglasses and see the screen. Also the screen is just plain hard to see anytime you use it outside (I have this same problem when I take it outside to work while the kids play). Sometimes, though, that’s a good thing. It keeps you typing away on your WIP without really looking at the words and editing.

The other annoying thing is the trackpad. When the car bounces, even slightly just from normal road stuff, my hand hits the trackpad and all of the sudden I’m typing in another document or a different part of the same documents. And because of the screen glare, I don’t always notice it right away. I can’t always figure out where the cursor is either.

When I had my PC laptop, I would get frustrated at night. The glare was gone, but I couldn’t see the black keyboard. So, when I got my Mac, I specifically got one with a lighted keyboard. That is very cool. Of course I have this odd bluish glow on my face that occasionally gets me strange looks from passing cars.

I still tend to be pretty productive in the car. I’ll never forget finishing my first novel just as we were approaching Phoenix on the way back from California. The scenery between Phoenix and Palm Springs is nothing special. I’m bored, so I might as well write, and I have no Internet connection to distract me. However, if I even get a broadband connection, that might change.

Monday, November 20, 2006

He Wrote, She Wrote . . . You Could Learn Something

Bob Mayer and Jenny Crusie co-wrote a romantic adventure Don't Look Down that released last April. Last January they started a blog, He Wrote, She Wrote, detailing the adventures of writing with a partner, the writing business, and Living the Dream. They're pretty hysterical to read, plus they share great advice on the craft of writing.

Starting in January 2007, their blog is going to be dedicated to the craft of writing. Basically, it'll be a free on-line class where you can ask questions in the comment section. I've listened to both of them teach on CDs from RWA conferences and they are both very good at it. It's going to be a great resource, one I plan to take advantage of. Plus, it's free. You can't beat that.

Nano update: As you can see, I finally cracked 20K. Not even half way to the goal. I'm not going to make it. At this point, I'm hoping to make 35K, which is a good pace for me normally if I make my daily writing word count.

And, I'm still beating all my buddies . . . someone owes me chocolate.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Is Your Book Addiction Ruining Your Financial Future?

This tongue-in-check article from The New Yorker playfully considers how our addiction to books could be robbing us of a secure financial future. Those of us who would seriously consider blowing the grocery budget on a shopping spree at a bookstore will find it particularly amusing.

(credit to Lisa Samson, though I'm so far behind on blogs, y'all probably have read it by now)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lessons from Nano

I think I lost a week while Nano has been kicking my butt. About 8000 words short of where I’d like to be, and I don’t think I’ll hit 50,000 words, but still I’m making progress. I’ve been doing some brainstorming . . . and I’m quite happy with some ideas I want to go back and layer in after I’ve finished this crappy rough draft. So that is inspiring me to push on.

It’s been interesting doing this project while I’m in the middle of the book. The middles are the hardest for me, where I want to most give up, where I think none of this is ever going to come together, where I threaten to kill off my main characters because they’ve grown independent of me, gotten an attitude and aren’t doing what I tell them to do. So forcing myself to push on without giving much thought to character arcs, plot threads, etc. has been freeing. I’ve come up with some good stuff, probably a lot of crappy stuff, but overall it’s been a good experience. It also doesn’t hurt that I’m still ahead of everyone on my buddy list . . .

On two other nonwriting related notes. . . the back yard is done, all but for some stucco painting. So when that’s done, I’ll post the final pictures. Sorry, Chris, the ferris wheels didn’t make the final cut.

And my son did this one day. That was the salt shaker. I thought it was an interesting statement. Feel free to analyze in the comments.

Friday, November 03, 2006


Yes, it's that time of year. November is National Novel Writing Month. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo before. Usually I'm furiously trying to finish a book, not start one. But this year, due to things like painting and selling a house, major rewrites on last year's book, and general procrastinating, I only have half a book done. And since I'd hate to go a whole year without finishing a book, I decided NaNo would be a perfect way to shove my perfectionism in a closet and help me write a, um, crappy rough draft.

Technically with NaNo, you're supposed to be writing a new book. So I'm not doing it the official way. What else is new? But I do hope to get 50,000 words written this month. It's not too bad, actually. It works out to 2000 words a day, six days a week. I don't write on Sundays. Not legalistic, it's just that I could so easily be a workaholic when it comes to writing that taking a day off is my gift to God . . . and my family. But I generally write about 1500 words a day when I'm in my writing groove. And, if I get to the 50,000 word goal, my book will be mostly done by the end of the month, well on the way to my goal of having it done by the end of the year.

But it's Day Three of NaNo and I'm already behind. I spent the first two days rereading what I'd written up to this point. However, today I hit my daily goal, as evidenced by the neat little tracking widget under the NaNo icon on the sidebar to the right. Since I'm putting my goal out there, feel free to encourage, harass, mock . . . whatever. And if you're doing NaNo, leave your user name in the comments and we can add each other to the buddy lists.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Making Progress . . .

The back yard when we bought the house. Well, two-thirds of the yard anyway.

The back yard three days ago. The center thing is the built-in barbeque. The other two are raised planters.

The back yard yesterday. I have plants! I was amazed at how quickly these guys worked. It took about six guys and a cool machine one day to do what took me about a month by myself in a yard half this size. I'm so glad they were doing all the work. According to the foreman, I should have my yard done by the end of the week. I'll be glad not to have dirt and mud tracked into the house constantly by the dog and kids.