W.I.P: Writer is Procrastinating

As most of you may know, my dream is to be a published, best-selling author one day. When I was in middle school, I learned that Christopher Paolini had gotten Eragon published when he was nineteen, and he became my hero. Over a decade has passed since then, and the closest to getting published I have ever gotten is way too many Glee fanfics on fanfiction.net. I write a lot less now than I did back then, but I still write. That’s one of the main reasons why I participate in NaNoWriMo every year- it motivates me.

As a by-product of all those National Novel Writing Months, I have several projects in process. Most of them don’t even have a completed first draft completed, but I wanted to tell you all about them. Maybe it will give me some drive or ideas on where to go with them from here.

I’m going to start things off with the trilogy I mostly finished while I was in high school. I say mostly here because the first two books were completed. I have no idea where the third one ended up, but I never typed it and now it is gone. Children of the Moon was my first real attempt at writing a novel, and the story is basically Percy Jackson has the magic system of Eragon. Now, I did not read any of Rick Riordan’s books or watch the movie that doesn’t exist until after I finished writing the first one. That was a bit of a shock. I just really loved (and still love) Greek mythology. It does have all the Young Adult components: chosen one, prophesies, love triangles, etc- and I still love the premise of the story. It just needs to be completely rewritten so it doesn’t sound like a teenager wrote it right after reading books with the exact same elements. Fifteen-year-old me had some weird ideas of how reality worked, even for a fantasy novel.

Butterfly Kisses was the one and only time I won NaNoWriMo. It was either 2013 or 2014, so I had all the free time of a college student. My main character was an accountant and a mother (I have no kids, so basically that whole part of the story was guesswork based on observing my own mom and other maternal figures in my life). Her own mother had passed away from cancer when she was very young, causing her to be paranoid about her own health. Main character ends up getting diagnosed with breast cancer fairly early in the story. I actually did a lot of research for this one, and it was only half-finished at the end of NaNo. The chapters were specific dates to show the progress of the cancer and how it affected the relationships of everyone impacted. I was really proud of it, but it didn’t really have a direction. I lost steam and just abandoned it.

One of the characters I have been writing for eons is my favorite pirate captain: Destiny Dalma. Her origin comes from a Pirates of the Caribbean roleplay that dates back to my early teenage years, and she is the daughter of Captain Jack Sparrow and Tia Dalma/ Calypso. She is my go-to character when I want to write something random, and I really want to put her into the Children of the Moon universe. Sea of Destiny barely got started, but Destiny is ultimately the one that hears the prophesy that sets the trilogy in motion. And, of course, I would alter her backstory to avoid copyright infringement. I may be a cast member, but that does not mean I get to do anything I want. You have to be smart about these things.

My most recent, and technically current, project is titled Golden Soul. I used the Skin the Cat! Writes a Novel method to plan this one out, and my characters laughed at me and said “Nope!” within the first chapter. The basic idea was to do something like “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” meets the myth of Orpheus. Should have been simple. But now these is royalty involved and the earth reset itself but a task force in the underworld made sure that some information survived so humanity didn’t start all the way over. It’s now an almost steampunk era, but not really? Also, there are now some Jane Austen elements/ feelings involved? Yeah, I lost control of this hot mess. All I wanted was for Lucifer to fall in love with a violinist and she would have to win his soul with the gold violin he gave her when he had to return to Hell. Sigh.

So, those are my main works in progress that I am not progressing on. It’s honestly really hard to find the energy to actively work on one of them right now. Plus, TikTok and Reddit are very addicting, and I’ve only watched Hamilton four times. I’m trying to get better at having a set time goal to write every day, but it is very hit or miss. I even signed up for July Camp NaNo with a goal of 20,000 words, but as of now I am somewhere around 5,000. I know if I want to achieve my dream of being published, I need to get to work. Because I love writing. It’s one of my favorite things to do… when I actually do it.

Anyone else having the same difficulties? How does one overcome them?

Goals Check In

Hello everyone! We are still in self-isolation/quarantine land, and I have barely been outside my home in over a month. The worst traffic I have seen is my cat cleaning his junk in the middle of the walk way. As such, most of my health goals have been replaced by excuses.

I started out really well with morning runs and such, but then the Cast Member 5K at Disney Springs was officially cancelled and I just kind of lost the motivation. And that motivation has been extremely difficult to get back. I haven’t worked out in two weeks. It’s bad.

I did sign up for a virtual 5K that is taking place May 2nd. Bert’s Big Adventure from Atlanta is hosting it. All money raised is going to the charity which takes children and their families to Disney World among other things. Most of the children have some kind of serious illness or superpower, and I have been a big supporter for more than a decade. It’s awesome. Go check them out. The race is $15 for a runner and $5 for each additional runner you register.

I also purchased an elliptical that has yet to ship. I am hoping it will come soon, but COVID is putting a delay on a lot of purchases.

The other big problem my health goals are facing is the fact that I can snack all day long with no judgment thanks to working from home. The snacks plus the lack of movement (I am averaging less than half of the usual steps a day I got in the office) means I am definitely consuming more calories than what I am burning.

But, this is a new week leading into a new month. I am going to get back on track and complete that 5K. I will be ready to get back to the gym and the theme parks when they finally reopen. And as soon as that elliptical gets delivered, I will be adding it to my morning or afternoon routine to the point where I am doing some kind of cardio at least 4x a week.

And I will continue to be honest to myself and to you guys when it comes to the ups and downs of this. Health is hard, and you have to be able to acknowledge the issues to get there.

Camp NaNo Check In

Howdy! It’s a little over half way through April. So, I thought it was time to do a check in.

My goal for April Camp NaNo was 20,000 words on my novel from November. I have written a grand total of 707 words so far.

I just haven’t had the motivation to write on that story. I’m kind of at the part where things need to be set up, and it’s just UGH. I want to get to the good bits. Heck, the 707 words I did write are not even the part I was working on. It’s in the middle-end part of the book! But, it is something so small victory.

And I have written other things- like this blog for instance. The words just don’t count towards the goal I set. Also, I started playing Starfinder with a few members of my family which is basically writing without writing (I do take notes though).

It’s been hard to find the energy to write. Working from home has ended up being more hours than I was working before the quarantine started, and by the time I am logged off from my computer, my brain is tired. I don’t want to look at a laptop anymore.

But, the good new is there is still over a week to go in April. I can write 19,300 words in a week. I hope.

Create Stories

My career is in accounting. It took me four years to get my CPA license after graduating with my bachelor’s degree. The first year of that I was also getting my master’s degree while working full time. Accounting students that may be reading this: I do not recommend doing all three at once. Pick two. I used to be a tax accountant- did five tax seasons- and now I am a cast member. I create a story with numbers.

However, that is not the type of story I want to create. I started college as a creative writing major. I wrote a lot of fanfiction and a trilogy in high school. I want to be published. I want to write stories.

My goal this year is to create the stories I want to tell. But I’m treating it more seriously. I am reading books on writing. I am watching Brandon Sanderson’s lectures on YouTube. I even have a planner separate from my normal one to keep track of how much time I put into my writing. This blog included. It’s practice.

While my main goal is to finish the NaNoWriMo project I started in November, I also want to start creating more short stories. Ones that I can share here. I haven’t done that in some time, but I think it would be good for me. Exercise my brain and all that jazz. It should hopefully help with writer’s block as well when my main stories get to be difficult.

Speaking of NaNo, Camp NaNoWriMo starts next week! I have a modest goal of 20,000 words as it is a slightly busy time at work. I will be working on that 2019 NaNo project, and I hope you guys will join me! The people at NaNoWriMo are also doing a “Stay Home Wri Mo” right now. They are posting daily challenges and prompts on the Facebook page if anyone is interested.

Add me as a NaNo buddy: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/destinydalma. DestinyDalma is also my author name if you feel like reading cringey fanfiction on fanfiction.net that was written a decade or so ago. Tell me about your writing projects! We’re a large community, and I am excited to be a part of it.

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

The Word of the Year is Create

I am a big fan of having a word of the year. And after having more “serious” words the last few years, I decided to do something more fun. My 2020 word is “create.”

I am not sure if you can read all of the headers, but the pictures above say “In 2020 I will Create…”

  • Stories
  • A Healthy Lifestyle
  • Ears
  • Better Relationships
  • A Loving Home
  • Memories
  • Stable Financials
  • Gratitude

I have four blank columns left, but all of these correspond to some goal I have for myself this year. I want to work on what makes me better as a person, which means I need to create the habits and hobbies that will get me there. I have also noticed that I have stopped spending time doing the things that make me relaxed an happy, which is why you see stories and ears at the front of the list.

And by ears, I mean Mickey. I have started making my own, because even with my cast member discount, those things are expensive. Plus, it’s fun to design and make. It’s putting my sewing machine to good use. I’m not making them to sell, though. I am no where as talented as some of the people I see on Etsy.

I will post about each of these areas- either separately or a couple at a time. There is a lot that will go into each one, but some are hard to describe/ explain correctly. Plus, some just seem to go together so well that it would make sense to talk about them at the same time. I encourage you all to have your own word of the year. I find them to be good motivators.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Happy NaNo!

Go start yours!

National Novel Writing Month is here! 20 days. 50,000 words. Roughly 1,667 words a day. Time to ration the discount Halloween candy to get through the challenge.

My project this year is Golden Soul. I am also using the software Schrivener for the first time. So far I really like it. Go start your project by going to NaNoWriMo.org and announcing your novel! Then add me as a buddy: DestinyDalma.

Well, I have writing to get to. Good luck to all the novelists out there!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe celebration last night. We have officially said goodbye to 2018! Today is the first blank page of 2019, and the book can be anything you want it to be. I’ve been spending the past few weeks thinking about what I want to accomplish the coming year, and I want you guys to help me stay accountable.

  1. Lose 20 Pounds
    1. I want to be in much better shape by the end of this year.
    2. I still have my personal trainer once a week, but I need to be better at going to the gym at least three other days in addition.
    3. I have a snacking problem that I need to work on. It’s bad, especially on lazy days or crazy work days.
  2. Work on Crafting
    1. Now that I have free time again, I want to learn new things.
    2. Quilting is my number one new craft this year. I already have plans with my aunt for her to teach me this summer.
    3. Making my own Mickey Ears. This one should be easier than quilting, but it looks just as fun.
    4. Sewing my own cosplays. This is probably a forever work in progress as I learn how to use my sewing machine.
  3. Better money management
    1. We want to buy a house this year. That means a lot of planning for down payments and cost of movers and new furniture. It’s a huge decision and I can’t wait.
    2. Two pretty big vacations this year in addition to moving. After tax season we are going to Disney World for a couple of days, and labor day weekend we are going on an Alaskan cruise. We have saved quite a bit for these, but they are both big spending trips.
    3. I am weak when it comes to books, leggings, and Amazon. My goal for this year is to cut down on the extra spending on non-needed things so we can afford all of our big purchases this year.

What are your main girls for this year? Maybe we can help each other out!

2018: A Reflection

Gosh, what a year. I passed the CPA exam, swam with sea turtles, started with a personal trainer, and did a bunch of stuff in between. As for my 2018 goals, let’s review together:

  • Pass the CPA exam- check!
  • Lose 10 pounds and be healthier- I could have done better here. I got really close to the goal, but I got really lazy this month which put me at half my weight goal. I did lose an average of 1.5 inches all around, and people keep telling me muscle weights more so maybe I can blame some of the weight on that. But I mostly stuck to a workout routine and ate healthier overall so I count that as a mostly win.
  • Increase monthly savings- check! I now put money into 2 different savings account at each paycheck. One is for our future house and the other is for vacations.
  • Focus more on mental health and self care- This one was a hit and miss during the year. I did get back into reading which is relaxing for me, but I did not do things like face masks and I still need to work on telling people no and removing myself from stressful situations even if it is just a ten minute break. Balance is another struggle that will need more work in the coming year, both in my work and personal lives.
  • Improve back/ posture- honestly no idea on this one. I never got my scoliosis checked (it’s been almost 15 years since I’ve had to wear a back brace) but I did yoga and wear a lumbar brace sometimes. Soooo 50/50 check?

The good:

  • Went on 3 vacations this year, two beach trips and a cruise.
  • Had a fairly food handle on finances even if Christmas went a little crazy
  • No more studying!
  • Got more serious about health goals

The bad:

  • Some issues at work that have been discussed and won’t be said here
  • Passing of family members
  • Did not won 1.6 billion lotto

The ugly:

  • Had to get new mouthguard that insurance didn’t cover but it was very needed
  • Rent and other expenses increased
  • Tax season is always ugly

So 2018 could have been a little better goal wise, but it was still a great year. I know what I need to work on in 2019, and I really hope it does not involve too many intense, serious conversations (I know I can’t avoid it in some situations, but I really hate it).