Things I’m Doing

I recently finished a new draft of Book 2 in my SHADE series and now that I’m done I’m getting that, “so now what?” kind of feeling. I’m trying to decide whether the book needs to go into cold storage for future editing or if I should try and fix things I think may need fixing. But I go through this with every novel, every major draft.

Book 2 got split into Book 2 and Book 3, which means Book 3 is practically finished already. Woot! I think I’ve discussed this before, but have you ever had to do that? It was a super hard decision I fought for a month or two. This must be the outliner/plotter in me that when a draft has been completed, it’s completed! Luckily I’ve done enough revisions over the last couple of years the logic side of my brain comes out to remind me all the goodness that awaits in revising.

But there can be too much revising, or rather too much at the wrong time. I’m a firm believer that drafts need to rest. The cache needs to be cleared.

The odd thing was when I started new draft, I had no motivation to write it. I was still fighting that old splitting decision. Now that it’s come to an end, my motivation demands more writing. It’s a nice feeling.

So I’m turning to project codename CLEMMINGS. Originally I’d only planned it as a novelette at best. Now I’m trying to figure out a novel’s worth of plot. Sometimes it’s tough in the beginning. For me it always seems to help if I ask myself a bunch of questions.

  • Who is the apparent villain?
  • Who is the true villain?
  • What’s the main goal?
  • Can I make characters that seem like they are good guys be bad guys and vice versa?
  • What’s the point of the whole story?
  • How would I like for the main character to arc?
  • If this person is the villain, what does that mean for everyone else?
  • What do my characters believe about their world and how does that move the story forward?

Stuff like that. Sometimes I type it, sometimes I write it in a notebook. The nice thing about physically writing things like this down is you can see the progression of your thoughts. It is possible to see that digitally, it’s just more apparent physically. Many an outline has started that way, though I organize all those thoughts digitally in the end. It’s hard to keep my notes straight after a point, the way I write them.


I decided to save on gas and improve health I wanted to purchase and use more often a bicycle. It takes around 45 minutes to bike into work (mostly depending on me) and it’s not super easy, but I’ve noticed my happiness factor has increased since doing it. That doesn’t mean I never have bad days, but they certainly seem easier to cope with.

Yesterday I went out to a trail that’s an old railroad route. Utah’s natural state isn’t typically much more than prairie grass and sagebrush in the valley. And while there is that along this trail, there was also lots of trees, marshland, wildflowers—even a tunnel and a couple of creeks. And though several cyclists passed me by frequently (we have a high concentration of legit cyclists, both of the road and mountain persuasion), I kept reminding myself to enjoy the ride rather than keep the pace.

It really helps clear the cache. I’ve been trying to walk, too, in order to keep my feet conditioned for tour guiding. I feel like it’s making me a better writer, all this exercise, for how much it alleviates stress. Sometimes I think about my stories, sometimes I don’t.

It just seems stopping and smelling the roses so to speak has helped me maintain some balance.


Candy Crush Saga and the farm one (most of you know what I’m talking about) have also occasionally been pushing their way into the horizon. But I think it’s important to know yourself. And while there are times when I probably play a little too much of these games, I find them also to be good cache-clearers while I’m writing. Sometimes when I was stuck on a certain scene, all it took was a game or two and I had clarity again. And if that didn’t work, the walk or the bike ride.

Curse those stinkin’ jellies!

Whether games, exercise, TV shows/movies (and I consume plenty of these as well), I think if done in good measure can be helpful to our mental health and our writer health.

So, with all that being said, what are some things you do to keep up mental/physical/writer health? Are there things you definitely can’t do? Anything you’d recommend that has worked well in your life? What things help you through difficult scenes? What things help you through difficult moments of life?

Late Bloomer Appreciation

Hello friends! I know I’ve been significantly absent as lately. I’m still trying to sort out life, but I haven’t forgotten about you, the fabulous WP community (and really the fabulous blogging community overall).

I recently went to New York. You see, many of us struggling writers need a day job and while I enjoy graphic design and will probably still keep doing it part-time, I’ve been investing time in starting another career. It’s called tour directing, but essentially I take people on vacation for a living. And in New York I led a group of students through the city, many of them for the first time.

View from the Top of the Rock. The bright area is Times Square.

View from the Top of the Rock. The bright area is Times Square.

I’ll probably do another post on that later, but it’s a lot of fun, it’s just a bit hard to get into. I’m not sure why I’m attracted to the difficult careers, but it is what it is.

My point in mentioning all that is tulips. Why tulips? Well, in Utah just before I left was the pique of tulip blooming season and tulips in Utah look good!

A small cluster around town, but go to Thanksgiving Point or Temple Square and times this by 1000.

A small cluster around town, but go to Thanksgiving Point or Temple Square and times this by 1000.

Anyway, off to New York I went. I saw a few tulips and a lot of daffodils, but nothing quite like the focused view I can get in Utah. But hey, I’m in NYC, where’s the need to complain?

By the time I got back, most of the tulips had been trimmed down or were wrinkled shells. Basically I had missed it.

But at my own house which is next to a mountain and where the sun doesn’t shine as fully as in the valley, we had several very late bloomers. They bring a smile to my face every time I see them. I count them as a blessing that I didn’t have to completely miss tulip season after all.

But it got me thinking. Suppose those late tulips had thoughts? Suppose they worried, knowing it was well past the time for the majority of the tulips to come out and they were running late?

It made me wonder in life if sometimes we think we’re running late because things aren’t happening according to our time schedules. Maybe we think we’ve missed the boat on a relationship, a job, a writing career, whatever it is. But maybe our timing is exactly as it should be. Maybe we’re not meant to run according to one timetable because we’re on a better one, one that will bring joy to those who see us when whatever it is we’re working on comes to fruition.

I’ve been working on writing for a long time. And there has been many times I wished I’d been published or been envious of someone else’s success. But maybe I’m just on exactly the timeline that I need to be. I have to admit, over the past couple of years I’ve learned a lot about writing, and I’m not sure I would have learned it if I’d had my success early on.

So I say, here’s to the late bloomers out there. Keep on doing what you’re doing, trusting that if you make your best efforts you’ll emerge exactly at the time you’re needed.

Cheers to the late bloomers!

Cheers to the late bloomers!

Adulation Is Poison

I don’t have cable or even antenna TV for that matter. All of what I watch is comprised of Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. So the only time I hear about celebrities is when someone mentions them on Facebook and most of my Facebook friends care about celebrities about as much as I do.

Which is almost zero.

So the only reason I know a name like Justin Bieber is because someone is making fun of him or some kid I know happens to like him and insists if I just hear this song, surely, surely, I’ll like him too. (Nope.)

And speaking of the Bieber, he showed up in my Facebook feed lately because to no one’s surprise it turns out he’s a ginormous doof and they caught it on tape. Giving a deposition because of something a security guard did or something (I didn’t care enough to find out why), you get to see this class act showing us all how classy he can be.

I rolled my eyes like most people, but at the same time I found myself pondering on the negative effects of fame. Bieber isn’t the first kid celebrity to turn into a total doof or weirdo and he probably won’t be the last either.

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Give Them A Little Power

And I’m back from DC. What a crazy week of stuff and things and even snow.

snow washington dc

Speaking of DC, if you were craving visiting a city where you feel like Big Brother is monitoring your every move and rifling through your stuff every other minute, this is the place. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the city is well worth the visit despite a constant barrage of metal detectors, x-ray machines and watchful eyes. I understand why they have to take that precaution. But it doesn’t mean I have to like feeling criminalized.

And as I said before, at the end of the day you get to enjoy sights like these.


But two things irked me, the first could happen anywhere. The second probably does happen anywhere, but after a week of feeling criminalized, it came to me as no surprise that all of our politicians on both sides of the political spectrum could fall prey to corruption. Quite easily.

I don’t see what’s so hard about being decent to people since 99% of people you encounter are reasonable, decent human beings. I suppose the power of fame or force makes it possible to be less accountable to those who don’t have that power (aka rude, mean, nasty, etc.)

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Nashville Times 2

It wasn’t my first choice, but we ended up at the Hard Rock Cafe for a private event of sorts. The pic is my best effort with a camera phone. I just couldn’t get the letters to show up…

Anyway, we had more bbq and some delectable desserts. Then went upstairs for some dancing, country style of course. I wished I had some kind of boots and a cowboy hat, but maybe next time.


Afterward we hit Broadway and the honky tonk section and listened to some incredible live music. Even if country music isn’t your thing I think you’d still enjoy it live. There’s something about seeing the skill in person.

Tomorrow the bff and I are doing an official tour of the city, so maybe some more pics for y’all then. 😉