Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Simple Woman Daybook 169

FOR TODAY: October 25, 2015
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

Outside my window... rain on the glass

I am thinking... Korea, my future, and story ideas (NaNoWriMo is a week away).

I am thankful... Colette

I am wearing... my pjs

I am creating... a Book of Harmony purse, bones for Sibylline Sisterhood' necklaces, and much sewing.
I am reading... Blue Sapphire

I am learning... Spanish
I am watching... too many Korean dramas.

Cosplay update.... Hal-Con is 4 days away. I'll be working up props everyday from now to the event.  

I am geeking out... Korean dramas

I am playing... Bang!
One of my favorite things...  preparing for cosplay.

In my kitchen... been avoiding the kitchen this week. I want to change that.

A few plans for the rest of the week:... Sister arrives Thursday! Then a glorious weekend of geek and fandom at Hal-com!!!
A few pictures to share: my new friend and Hal-Con buddy

Days Until Sister Arrives: 3
Days Until Hal-Con: 4
Days Until Sci-Fi Symphony by Symphony Nova Scotia: 5
Days Until NaNoWriMo begins: 6
Days Until Christmas (and the Doctor Who Christmas Special): 60
Days Until I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: 61

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Cosplay Checklists, Nocturne, and Countdowns

Santa Claus isn't the only one who is making lists and checking them twice. Checklists are my cosplay survival tool. With Hal-Con less than two weeks away my lists have lists. There is a master list for each costume, props supply lists, a shopping lists and to do lists, and even list of lists I need to make. I'm attending the con with my sister and Aurora. We have a different theme planned for each day for a total of nine costumes.

Day 1 -My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic
Aurora is going as Dr. Hooves, Sister as Rainbow Dash, and I'm going as Twilight Sparkle. These costumes are almost done! I still have a major prop to create. 
Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash with reference pictures

Day 2 -Doctor Who: Fires of Pompeii
We're going as the Sibylline Sisterhood. I love these costumes but they still require so much work.

Day 3 -Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
This was the easiest set. Aurora and I went was Roxie and Ramona two years ago. And sister has most of the items needed for Knives Chau. I finished her scarf Friday and I think we're all done.

Friends and I went to Halifax's 8th Annual night of art. We saw at least 15 of the installations and still didn't catch half of them. It was am amazing experience. I think the acrobatics in the church were my favourite

Days Until I Vote: 1
Days Until Sister Arrives: 10
Days Until Hal-Con: 11
Days Until Sci-Fi Symphony by Symphony Nova Scotia: 12
Days Until NaNoWriMo begins: 13
Days Until Christmas (and the Doctor Who Christmas Special): 67
Days Until I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: 68
Days Until my American Friends Vote: 386

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

7 Ways to Prepare for NaNoWriMo in October

I love October. The weather cools, the leaves change, and there freshly harvested apples. And what is better than sweater weather and pumpkin pie? It is also the prefect time to begin preparing for the insanity of November and NaNoWriMo.

There are already a number of great resources available on how to prepare your plot and characters. This article is different. NaNoWriMo is a lot of fun but it consumes your life for the entire month. You become a plate spinner with three too many plates to spin. It can be a challenge to keep your life going while focused the 50k goal.

I've successfully participant in NaNoWriMo since 2007 and have been an ML for 7 years. Even with the writing wins November hasn't always gone smoothly for me. It takes effort and planning to stay balanced and organized. Below are seven tips, tricks, and helpful suggestions to help you prepare for life in November while avoiding dropping any plates.

1. Schedule Your Calendar
A common piece of advice is planning when you will write. It is important to set up large blocks of time for writing while finding spare moments to steal 5 to 20 extra minutes to write here and there. 'Schedule your calendar' takes that a step further. Look at what family, work, or school commitments you have in November. Make a list of those and any appointments or projects you have. Ask yourself what can you do ahead of time or put off till December? Make a to do list of these things. Start projects now to help relieve some of the stress in November.

Next, figure out what are non-negotiable activities. For students it might be a test, project, or presentation.  For my American friends it maybe a trip home for Thanksgiving. Mark these on your calendar. This will help keep you from forgetting your commitments when you are deep in the world of writing. It will also help you know the days you might not make the 1667 word goal while showing you the best word count recovery days.

2. Make a Meal Plan and Freeze Meals
I often decide what I am going to cook that day, if I am really on top of things I know a week in advance. For November I try to have the whole month planned. I even cook extras in October so I have meals ready to go in the freezer. My other meal trick is paper plates. My places doesn't have a dishwasher. To gain more writing time I cut down my dish washing time.

3. Gather Inspiration
Writing is pilgrimage. It is you journeying alone through your creativity. Writing will take you to the highest peaks of inspiration. But it requires will and determination to keep going because after the mountain tops comes the valleys. These low points are filled with self-doubt, negativity, and an inner editor who won't shut up. It will make you want to give up. You need tools to help you stay motivated and keep writing. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Find good quotes about writing. I keep mine as the cover to my research binder. You could write then on note cards and put them up around your work space. Or make them your desktop background.
  • Gather inspirational images, postcards, or your own sketches. I use a mix of pictures I find pretty or make me happy and those that fit with my novel idea and spark my creativity. Use  your collection to create a poster or desktop background.
  • Make a writing playlist or two. Music is different for everyone. I like to use movie and video soundtracks. I find songs lyrics distracting because I want to sing along.
  • I got this idea from another ML, I have never tried it, but make a box or cage to be the symbolic prison for your inner editor.
  • Have a way to recharge and/or relax between writing sessions. It could be drawing, walking, a bubble bath, or whatever works for you. Something that can be a quick 10-20 minute reset. Try to avoid using the internet or TV for these breaks. Both draw you in for longer than you expect and aren't as helpful at letting your mind wander to the next twist your novel needs.
  • Write future you a motivational note on why you want to finish NaNoWriMo to be opened on a rough day.
  • Read the nanoprep talks that are sent out every week.
4. Get Involved
Writing is a solo activity but NaNoWriMo doesn't have to be. If you haven't already, find and set your home region. Introduce yourself on the forums now. Connect with other writers in your area or find some writing in the same green.

Check to see if there are any events scheduled near you. Many regions have preparation meetings and kick off parties in October. One of my favourite events in NaNoEve. Then through out November there are write in's and meet ups. The local MLs work hard to make these events fun and supportive. You don't need to go to everything but it can help to commiserate with others that understand. And you never know when someone's random comment might fix a plot problem you've been struggling with.

5. Prepare for Mundane Lighting
I have found my best thinking happens when I am doing something else. Ideas come when you least expect them. Be ready to save these inspirational moments of creative lightening. Probably your best tool is paper and pen. If you get ideas when you are falling asleep keep a pad of paper by the bed. Or carry a notebook and pen with you while your run errands or go for walks. I also use my phone. It helps keep short notes but also take pictures of things that inspire me. One of my friends is a NaNoRebel who is writing a musical. She keeps a recorder with her to save melody's that pop into her head.

6. Choose and Know Your Software
My first few years of Nano I used Word, never again. Now I use Scrivner. I love it. I know there are other programs out there at different cost brackets. I believe yWriter and Storybook are free options. Do your research and make a choice that is best for you.

Once you have made your software decision, take the time in October to get familiar with it. Play around with the options and tools. I am going to redo the Scrivner tutorial. I know there are a number of features I didn't use to their fullest potential. Also check out YouTube for help and how to videos.

7. Have Your Backup Plan
Writing a novel takes time, energy, and effort. NaNoWriMo is extreme novel writing. At the end of the month you should have a pretty decent first draft all shiny and new ready for the editing process. Unless something horrible happen to your files. And sometimes horrible things happen, computers crash, laptops are stolen, USBs get run over, notebooks get left on buses. It can be devastating.

I know the pain of losing a manuscript. In 2012 my laptop died mid November and was beyond repair. There was great weeping and washing of teeth. Till I remembered that I had emailed myself a backup copy just a few day earlier. The total lost was only 4000 words. Now I regularly hit save, save a copy to a USB, and email a copy. Others might use an external hard drive or the cloud. I have less advice for handwriters. Maybe you could scan, photocopy, or take pictures of your work. However you write have a plan to save your work.

Hope those help and happy writing!

Days Until Sister Arrives: 22
Days Until Hal-Con: 23
Days Until Sci-Fi Symphony by Symphony Nova Scotia: 24
Days Until NaNoWriMo begins: 25
Days Until Christmas (and the Doctor Who Christmas Special): 79
Days Until I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: 80

Monday, October 05, 2015

Make It Monday: Birthdays

After a long hiatus from paper crafting I am back at the creating. I hosted my first card making party last Tuesday and I am hoping to make it a regular event. Someone requested birthday cards, which was very helpful. So many friends had birthdays this weekend.
For a few of the cards I used retired colours, but they could easily have been done with Melon Mambo and Bermuda Bay. The first two were designs I found on Pinterest.
Birthday Balloons:
Stamp Set: Celebrate Today
Ink: Retired 2012-2014 Colors Strawberry Slush and Coastal Cabana
Cardstock: Strawberry Slush and Whisper White
Other: Balloon Framelites, Baker's Twine -Bermuda Bay, Stampin' Dimensional, and adhesives (I like the Stampin Up! Snail).

Half Card Bouquet:
Stamp Set: Flower Shop
Ink: Blackberry Bliss
Cardstock: Blackberry Bliss, Blushing Bride, retired 2012-2014 Strawberry Slush, and Whisper White
Other: Pearl Basic Jewels, retired 2012-2014 DSP Strawberry Slush, and adhesives (I like the Stampin Up! Snail).

Swallowtail in 2012-2014 In Colours:

Stamp Set: Swallowtail, Papillion Potpourri, and Endless Birthday Wishes
Ink: Retired 2012-2014 Colors
Cardstock: Crisp Cantaloupe and Whisper White
Other: Thick Baker's Twine Crisp Cantaloupe, Sponge Daubers, and adhesives (I like the Stampin Up! Snail).

And a little ice cream:

Stamp Set: Big Day (retired)
Ink: Night of Navy
Cardstock: Night of Navy and Whisper White
Other: DSP Birthday Bash, Stampin Up! markers, Stampin' Dimensional, and adhesives (I like the Stampin Up! Snail).

Happy Happy Happy Happy Birthday:

Stamp Set: Amazing Birthday
Cardstock:  Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Tangelo Twist, and Whisper White
Other: DSP Stack Cherry on Top, Baker's  Twine in Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, and Tangelo Twist, Stampin Up! markers, and adhesives (I like the Stampin Up! Snail).

The Simple Woman Daybook 168

FOR TODAY: October 5, 2015
You can find the more daybooks at Simple Woman's Blog.

Outside my window... busy streets

I am thinking... about the upcoming election and which issues matter to me, I have no complete thoughts at the moment. I am not really sure what I care about.

I am thankful... chocolate milk

I am wearing... jeans and a yellow shirt.

I am creating... a black and white scarf, many red robes, a book purse, and a mini 4th Doctor Who scarf to be a garland on my Christmas tree and hopefully used by a friend at Hal-Con. There is so much still to do before the convention.
I am reading... Blue Sapphire and Howl's Moving Castle.

I am learning... how to use equipment at the gym. I joined a gym (I had a free month membership). Today was my first day.
I am watching... too much TV. Of course Doctor Who and I'm trying a number of the new shows but I just went through all of season one of Scorpion. And my friend and I are now in the second season of Arrow.

Cosplay update.... Hal-Con is 24 days away. I'll be working up props everyday from now to the event. I'm going to do a whole update series soon.  

I am geeking out... on Hal-Con and the symphony.

I am playing... Mystery of the Abby (extreme Clue).
One of my favorite things... lazy Sunday afternoon walks.

In my kitchen... I want to try to make zucchini lasagne. I've also discovered a friend writes a food blog I am going to check out this week.

A few plans for the rest of the week:... this week is a quite. There are no set plans.
A few pictures to share: from just after the Deep Roots Wee Giants Children's Parade:

Days Until Sister Arrives: 23
Days Until Hal-Con: 24
Days Until Sci-Fi Symphony by Symphony Nova Scotia: 25
Days Until NaNoWriMo begins: 26
Days Until Christmas (and the Doctor Who Christmas Special): 80
Days Until I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: 81

Thursday, October 01, 2015

2015 Reading Challenges -October Review

It's time for a reading update. Happily, there were four challenges completed since the last check in. Finished challenges are in purple font. I realized there are a few challenges I need to focus on if I have any hope of completing them before December 31st. I am behind on quite a few. This is where things are currently:

Outdo Yourself
Hosted by: Book Vixen
2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
Level: I'm on Fire! -read 16+ books over last year.
My Goal: 30 books for a total of 40 read
Progress: 40 out of 30

Cloud of Witnesses
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: Comfortable -6-8 Books by Christian Authors
My Goal: 6 Books Christian Authors
Progress: 18 out of 6
If we are counting Christian fiction; if not the count is still 2.

Operation Deeper Faith
Hosted by: Becky of Operation Actually Read Bible
Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read the Bible
Progress: 14 out of 66 Books of the Bible

Library Challenge
Hosted by:
Level: Seasoned -17-22 items checked out
My Goal: 20 items checked out
Progress: 42 out of 20

Non-Fiction Reading Challenge
Hosted by: The Introverted Reader
Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader
Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography

Level: Explorer -6-10 non-fiction books
My Goal: 8 non-fiction books
Progress: 9 out of 8 books

TBR Pile
Hosted by: Evie Bookish

Level: A Firm Handshake -1-10 books from "my to read" pile
My Goal: 5 books from my "to be read" pile
Progress: 1 out of 5

Flights of Fantasy
Hosted by: Alexa Loves Books

Level: No Levels
My Goal: 10 fantasy books
Progress: 13 out of 10

New Author Challenge
Hosted by: Literary Escapism
Level: 15 new to me authors (I would have preferred a 5-10 level)
My Goal: 15 new to me authors
Progress: 21 out of 15

The Color Coded Reading Challenge
Hosted by: My Reader's Block

Level: No Levels
My Goal: Read 9 books that match the 9 color title/cover challenge goals
Progress: 1 out of 9
Blood Red by Mercedes Lackey
Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak –Victoria Jason
Iron Hearted Violet –Kelly Regan Barnhill

Cloak and Dagger
Hosted by: A Bookish Girl

Level: Amelia Peabody -10 mystery/suspense/thriller books
My Goal: 10 mystery books
Progress: 7x out of 10

Fairy Tale Challenge
Hosted by: Daily Prophecy
The Daily Prophecy

Level: Magic Mirror -5-9 books that retell a fairy tale
My Goal: 5 books
Progress: 2 out of 5

Audiobook Challenge
Hosted by: The Book Nympho

Level: Socially Awkward -15-20 audio books
My Goal: 15 audio books
Progress: 13 out of 15

What Would Jane Do
Hosted by: Mrs. Vucci of Writing Our Fairy Tale
Level: Jane's Wisdom -3-5 Austin or Austin inspired books and 3-5 Austin movies
My Goal: 3 books and 3 movies
Progress: 0 out of 3 books 4 out of 3 movies

Harry Potter Re-Read
Hosted by:
Level: Seventh Year -I have read all of the Harry Potter Books
My Goal: Since I missed the start of this challenge, but I want to re-read the whole series before December 31st, 2015
Progress: 3 out of 7

Reading Challenge Addict
Hosted by: Reading Challenge Addict
Reading Challenge Addict
Level: In Flight -enter and complete 11-15 reading challenges
My Goal: 15 challenges (including this one)
Progress: 6 out of 15

Days Until Sister Arrives: 27
Days Until Hal-Con: 28
Days Until Sci-Fi Symphony by Symphony Nova Scotia: 29
Days Until NaNoWriMo begins: 30
Days Until Christmas (and the Doctor Who Christmas Special): 84
Days Until I can watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special: 85