Archive for December, 2010

V-  Vacations! I know I technically didn’t take a true vacation this year, but weekend trips to visit friends (who all happen to live 2+ hours away) count in my book. Those weekends gave me something to look forward to when the weeks seemed just a little too long. I will take an actual vacation in 2011 if it kills me, though. Lol.  

W-  Writing. I competed in NaNoWriMo this year and managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know 1,667 words a day doesn’t seem like a lot, and it wouldn’t be if life didn’t get in the way and push you 20,000 words behind schedule with three days left to go. Lol. I’ve left it alone for a while so that when I go back to it, I’ll look at it with fresh eyes and can add scenes/characters/brush up dialogue without the bias that comes from being too entrenched in my work. I’ll post some snippets once editing starts.

X-  Umm… X-rays? Xylophones? Xerox? Xenon?

Y-  YouTube. Hours have been spent laughing and singing along to videos, shows and songs from my childhood as well as new favorites. You should really check out schmoyoho if you haven’t already been exposed to the genius of the Brothers Gregory.

Z…  Ze end! Yep, it’s a flake out for the very last letter. Hey, don’t get mad at me; you tell me something amazing that starts with “Z” then. 😉

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Q- Quilting. Yes, I am secretly a grandmother trapped in the body of a twenty-something. My grandmother taught me to hand-piece and quilt when I was a very young “tween” and I am the only other person in my family who is carrying on her legacy through handicraft. I would not stop for anything in the world. 

R- Rupert Grint. How adorable can you get? And boy, he has grown up before our eyes into a beautiful young man.

S- Sushi. Need I say more? 😉

T- Tumblr. It’s a great outlet for my thoughts, as well as a source for discovering photographs, movies, quotes, songs, etc. that I would not have been exposed to otherwise. Check it out for yourself! 

U- Understanding. I have come to accept more things about myself that have heretofore been glossed over and gagged by me, than ever before. Coming to terms with those quirks, faults and inconsistencies within myself has helped me so much in determining why I am where I am in life and where I wish to go from here.

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I- Introspection. I have never delved further into my own psyche than I did this year. I hope that the coming year holds as many personal discoveries and truths as this.

J- Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki. Beautiful men, beautiful actors. Pair them with a brilliantly written series and pour these two into the characters of bruised, funny, hauntingly broken brothers and you have a winning recipe. For Heather bait.

K- Knitting. Yarn is one of my major addictions, and I find knitting both entertaining and therapeutic.

L- Listening. As I mentioned before, my friends are more than my chosen family. They are my everything; and that means that I listen to them. Their jokes, stories, experiences, gripes, fears, joys, celebrations… I love to listen and I love to show my affection for the people around me through lending an ear if one is needed.

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M- Making new friends. I love my friends. Having some people drift out of my life, or leave it with a heart-hitting bang, has actually been a great cathartic purge. But I am ready to open myself to new people, and I think I’m beginning to get some of the old Heather-sparkle back J Get ready world, I’m finding my bearings again, and none of you are safe from my charm. Lol.

N- New Zealand All Blacks. My favorite team in my favorite sport. A welcome change of pace from glorified American sport.

O- Onread.com. You can read practically any book for free online, and I’ve heard you can download them as well, though I have never done so myself. There are a few drawbacks- to get around copyright regulations, I suppose. Be forewarned, the formatting of the books is completely screwed up (meaning the punctuation and sentence breaks are misplaced and sometimes non-existent) but if you are an intelligent person, that is easily rectified as you are reading by your own assumptive reasoning.  

P- Phoenix Coyotes. If I had to pick a favorite US sport, it would be hockey by a landslide. And I am a sucker for the underdog. I love watching these guys play. Hearts of gold, they have. So sad Gretsky isn’t a part of the coaching staff anymore, but they brought in a great replacement for him so I can’t complain.

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E-     Ed Sheeran and Erik Hassle. My two favorite musical discoveries of the year. I just plug ‘em in and sing and all my troubles melt away. I am sensing an escapism pattern here; maybe E should be for escapism. Lol.

F-       Food. Loathe as I may be to admit this… food is a large part of my life. Hang out with friends: food. Family? Food. Three squares a day, too. I love to explore new cultures through food. Though I would love for next year to be a little more controlled with my choices and veer a little further from the food-addict side of the spectrum.

G-      Good friends. I would be nowhere without my friends. Some have disappeared this year, some have re-entered the picture, but I have just the right number of people on whom I can actually depend.

H-     High-speed internet. Since I moved back to Roanoke, I had been living with dial-up and the addition of high speed saved my mind. I can actually check my email in less than an hour 😉

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Taking a cue from someone very fun, I wanted to do my own a-z list for 2010. Haven’t figured out all of the letters yet, but I promise I’ll get there before the ball drops 🙂

A-     Alcohol. Shouldn’t be #1 on my list, but hey… I didn’t design the alphabetic system we use in this language. Take it up with them if you have an issue. Lol. But seriously, I don’t drink often, but when I do it means that I am out with friends. And they make my life bearable.

B-      Books. What would I ever do without books? They are my constant companion and an endless source of decompression, escape, inspiration, wishful thinking, intellectual stimulation and

C-      Colin. Morgan. I love this man from the tip of his little head to the soles of his adorable feet. The accent, the talent, the voice, the eyes… well, you get the idea. I’ve blogged about him before, so I’ll just let that suffice.

D-     Dad. Though my mother’s mental condition continues to deteriorate, my father has held strong. He is the most amazing man I have ever known; and even though I hate that he is saddled with her, I admire him for standing by her, even in the worst of times.

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2010 In Review

And so another year comes to a close. Not as thrilling as I might have hoped, but brilliant nonetheless. I thought I’d do a quick little write up/reflection about my year (thus far. Still a few more days to go, after all…). First up the obligatory “This Year I:” list.

This year, I…

  • lost a few “friends” that I realized I never needed to begin with
  • gained several great new friends
  • reconnected with friends I have missed dearly
  • wrote a manuscript for a novel (though it is just a very *rough* draft)
  • discovered a lot of new music/musicians that have made my days invariably better
  • had some hair-brained schemes, only some of which actually managed to blow up in my face 🙂
  • have lost about 15 pounds, and found a few of them again
  • discovered my love for micro-blogging, by starting my own Tumblr blog
  • have been more productive than 2009 in the following areas: crocheting/knitting/crafting projects, reading, writing, poetry, chronicling, blogging (I think…), self-reflection/analysis, and… that’s all I can come up with right now.

2010 was a great year for:

  • inspiration
  • self-reflection
  • cause celebs
  • my cats; I think they may have fared better than even I did this year
  • my new job
  • 80’s and 90’s fashion
  • geeks. The new chic.
  • discovering new music, movies, plays, shows, books and talents
  • British accents
  • beards. But then again, what year isn’t a good one for beards?

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And I even managed to finish a day early 🙂 My final word count for the timeframe was 50,114! I didn’t quite finish it completely, there are still four or five plot points I need to cover and then comes the long, arduous process of editing and adding additional detail/scenes/etc. But that’s what December is for… and January, and February, and… well, we’ll try and keep it to February.

And, though my posts in November were few, I wanted to close out my NaNoWriMo experience with a recap: My Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of NaNoWriMo.

  1. DO find your inspiration beverage and use it shamelessly. (Mine? Peppermint hot tea, imported dark beer and/or gingerbread chai tea lattes)
  2. DON’T join a book club in the middle of NaNoWriMo (Found out the hard way)
  3. DO participate fully in the process: take advantage of the website stats, forums, etc. They really do help! But don’t rely on those tools alone for your inspiration. You are your own best writing tool.
  4. DON’T allow well-meaning friends/family to belittle your goal; you decided to silence your inner critic. Don’t let the external critics win, either.
  5. DO share your goal only with those you know will understand your insanity. If you have someone in your life who has done NaNoWriMo before, turn to them for strategies and guidance.
  6. DON’T choose this time to be a grammar nazi. I’m not saying that you should turn to phrases like “ain’t this place some kinda neatoriffic” or “golly gee, whys don’t ya’ll all just walk around in yer underbritches”, unless, of course, that is something one of your characters would actually say. And if that is the case, perhaps you should ask yourself why your character needs to speak that way. Lol.
  7. DO use writeordie! I cannot tell you how many more words I wrote during the blocks I used this website. I don’t know why it works so well; it’s a very simple concept. But I can tell you that it works!!!
  8. DON’T use really, really cheap word count tricks (like copy-pasting the same chapter multiple times). You’ll regret it when you go to rewrite.
  9. DO use only moderately cheap word count tricks 🙂 (such as writing out most of your numbers, not using contractions and giving your characters complicated first names like Sally Anne or Jimmy Jo Bob). Names of places also help. (I have to admit I didn’t actually use these tricks, but I still think they’re acceptable)
  10. DON’T use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to lock yourself in your room and not emerge for 30 days. When all is said and done 1,667 words a day is not that much and it won’t take up your entire life. Unless you get behind and still have 10,000 words left to write with three days to go. Lol. Then it’s a little hairy.
  11. Oh and one more: DON’T stop with 50,000 words! Beef it up, flesh it out, finish that sucker! Then rewrite, rewrite, rewrite… Polish, pluck, twist, turn, do whatever you need to do to whip your draft into a passable semblence of a novel and then get it out there!!

All in all, I had a blast and finally rediscovered my love for writing. And I kicked my serious case of writer’s block squarely in the ass. I cannot wait to do it all again next November 😉 And now I’ll leave you with a few final images from my journey:

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