#MAYkingItWork Friday Update: Tools

Standard

Hey #MAYkers! This is our last official Friday in May, though I suggest we gather next Thursday too, for our final updates! Well, finalish.

Because I have an idea I’d like to float around, but we’ll get to that in a second. I mean I could go ahead with it and see if you all notice that I’m not actually updating my progress, but you’re an awfully astute bunch, so I know better.

How was that for stalling? Not bad?

I made progress on both projects this week, though not as much progress as I would have liked. I did spend some energy on a political piece at Medium; I’ve decided political opinion writing is something I’d like to get back into doing. So if you’re interested, you can check out my work there, I’m planning to publish on a more regular basis.

My new stylus has infinitely improved my editing, since it hearkens (huh, I didn’t know there was an e in there. Neither did spellcheck, by the way, it just knew it was wrong. Thanks Dictionary.com) back to my early habits of editing on paper. I’m on my third round with the completed manuscript, and that tends to be slow-going because there’s so much attention to word choice and sentence structure.

The downside is the incomplete manuscript I’m supposed to be reading is also getting edited, even though it’s not time for editing. Hmm. But I’m going forward. Incrementally. Still forward.

And now my idea. I’m really liking this reporting in on Fridays, and since I never, ever let a pun go unpunned or a portmanteau go unported, next Friday, I’ll launch #AccountaClub. (I did warn you. Didn’t I warn you?)

It’s our little accountability club–or mine, if no one else wants to play along–where you can come and brag or whine or whatever you need to do on Friday. We can also think of it as our accounting club, but not the math kind, the kind where we just talk about the week.

So how’s it going?

#MAYkingItWork Updates:

Donna B. McNicol

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Advertisements

A way editing can be fun. No really. Seriously. Please stop laughing.

Standard

Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid by Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Ireland

So a while ago, I had to replace my computer. I was pretty irritated about it, it wasn’t that old, but it had always been a kind of reluctant co-conspirator, not terribly interested in my computer-usage schemes. Even though I got it new, it had a crotchety-ness about it. It groaned and grumbled; it rejected my shenanigans.

We had to part ways.

In replacement, I got one of those 2-in-1 computers (3-in-1? What would the 3 be?) that can function as a tablet. We’re totally besties.

In the morning, as a tented tablet, it streams me my yoga. When I’m writing, it sits up, prim and proper, as though it hadn’t just done the splits. It’s got a much nicer touch than my previous keyboard.

BUT.

Yesterday, I got the best part. The BEST PART. It’s a part so good I had to just yell about it, as you can see. Yesterday I got a stylus.

And suddenly my childhood visions of marking directly into a computer have nearly come true. I don’t think I could write on the screen like a notebook and have it convert to type (though maybe I can, any suggestions? Google would probably know. Google knows all), but while reading though, I can mark a red line through a word and POOF! it vanishes.

IT VANISHES.

I have the benefit of typing on the onscreen keyboard when it’s in tablet mode, so instead of my chicken-scratch handwriting, I can put in something I can actually read later. Mark up a page as I would if I printed it.

You guys know. There’s nothing like marking up a page that’s printed. Except this.

You can circle to highlight. That’s all I’ve learned so far; I’m sure there’s a guide to the editing symbols it will accept. It’s definitely helping as I work through my #MAYkingItWork goals. Only wish I’d done it earlier.

Wow, I’ve gushed a long post. That’s how cool it is. See? I told you.

Editing and fun in the same sentence. Who’da thunk it.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Outside can be nice

Standard

Me, four minutes ago: “I haven’t even started my blog post!”

Me thirty seconds after that: “Maybe I like THIS part for 1 line Wednesday.”

Turns out I did not. Have plenty of lines with “lost” in them; can’t really separate any from context. Alas. And I don’t want to let out any future Aunty Ida spoilers.

No game for me today.

Yesterday I got outside for a little while, in the early evening, and the birds were everywhere. High above the trees, small ones circled and darted like bats do. They chattered and they flitted. At one point I stood eye to eye with a woodpecker, a beautiful black-and-white bird with a red cap on his head. He didn’t stay long.

I didn’t bring my real camera. I went outside to get a walk, that was my intention, so all I had was my cell. It takes remarkably good pictures, but works best as a wide-angle lens. Maybe I got some birdies, but I doubt it.

Hang on, I’ll look. Just one came out, which, given it’s a cell and not my super awesome camera, is surprising.

There were some fat round black-and-white ones (like that guy above) I would have thought were finches but may have been warblers;* there was an all-gray smallish medium bird that looked like a robin but had no color at all. From my digging, it might have been a black swift, but I’m not entirely sure.

They were everywhere and so very, very loud. It was fabulous.

*UPDATE:  on Twitter very astutely identified it as a chickadee! It’s a black-capped chickadee, to be precise! Thanks, Dear Reader!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

Instant escape

Standard

Sometimes, when things are overwhelming here on Earth, which, these days, they frequently are, I like to imagine other planets way, way out in the reaches of space. I imagine what they look like, from a distance, blends of colors, nothing more than distant marbles.

And then I try to envision their surfaces, or what it’s like to be in a planet that’s only a ball of differently-colored gasses. The color of the sky. If they have rainbows, how they change depending on the atmosphere. What a storm is like.

But those aren’t my favorites.

My favorites are the ones where I imagine life, teeming life, different than ours but still alive. What sentience might look like there; what vegetation might look like there.

It gives me comfort to know that out there in the universe, life exists. It must exist, because the numbers of stars and their halos of planets is just too too vast for there not to be life.

Way out there, in that part of the universe we’ll likely never see, we are no more than a shadow passing in front of a star, our conflicts and problems concealed by endless space.

I’m sure those faraway planets have their own issues, but the ones I flicker into existence in my mind don’t. They’re calm, serene places where everything happening now here is nothing more than the imagining of a curious alien being.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Monday Zen

Standard

Sunday was languid. The drizzle outside alleviated the need for an excuse to stay inside, and stay inside I did. I was on twitter; I watched some TV; I took a nap; I did the most luxurious-feeling yoga online class.

With all that’s going on right now, there was a nagging edge of guilt to my relaxation, but still I managed to persist in a state that felt a lot like having gotten a massage in an afternoon at the spa.

This morning I awoke to thunder, something I hope will be literal and not metaphorical, given the political unrest, and in a gray blanket of cloud, that unhurriedness persists. You may have noticed.

I have no hesitation, no dread directed at my tasks for the day. Perhaps the stress will creep back in as it always does. Perhaps all this yoga has finally peeled away enough layers to let me sit in a calmer space.

Maybe.

But I know my nature.

If you need some calm, if you need some being in the moment, take some of mine. Take this moment with me and just breathe, just be. Even if it’s Monday.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

#MAYkingItWork Friday Update

Standard

Brace yourselves, MAYkers and non MAYkers alike. Brace yourselves. Are you braced in there nicely and tightly?

Good.

Progress has been made. More to the point, progress has been made by me. After my escape in the middle of the week, and after an extensive wrestling session with my cursor, I wrote yesterday. Words. 826 of them. Not my most productive word count day, but I’m back in it.

With a slight problem.

I’ve let it sit so long, I have no idea what’s happening in the broader story. The scene, sure. But the broader story, no. So I have to go back and reread everything I have so far. Nearly 70,000 words in.

So there’s that.

On the editing front, I just left that manuscript to come write this update. So it may have taken more than half the month to ummire me from the extremely sticky molasses of inertia, but I’m unmired.

And I have a little insight as well. Sometimes, if you take the break, if you get away from it, you can get to it.

How’s it going for you? Doesn’t Speak Klingon has a great update I’ve reposted in the comments!

#MAYkingItWork updates:

Donna McNicol

 

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

Two-hour vacation

Standard

Yesterday I played hooky. I got away from the computer for the entire day, without an accusing blinking cursor with ten feet of me.

OK, well, part of the day was getting done things you have to get done, like laundry and taking my car for emissions testing, but the other part was spent among the fully-blooming crab apple trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Glorious.

It’s one of my favorite times of year there, if not my very favorite, with an entire arching pathway covered in bursts of blossoms. Yesterday there were cloudless blue skies and hot, bright sunshine. Yesterday the winter faded entirely, superseded by the explosion of life that is spring.

Fat fuzzy bees danced excitedly from tree to tree, and I just watched them, not even bothering to try to capture them with my lens. Little birds drank the flowers’ nectar, and in among the branches, stood sturdy nests.

I got groceries and put them away and hung up the wet stuff that doesn’t go in the dryer to dry, but right there, in the middle of the day, it was like I went away to somewhere else entirely.

And it was just what I needed.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.