I am kaitco

a writer's log

Year 30 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 6:36 pm
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Do you ever have so much to say that you no longer have anything to say?

A lot has happened recently. I’ve turned 30. I’ve traveled alone to London and returned, safe with no drama. I’ve finished another stage of Anne and I’ve even given this stage its own name: the grave phase. The grave phase of a novel is where I’ve got it to the point where when I ask myself, “If I die tonight, will I rest peacefully in my grave knowing this novel will be posthumously published from its current state.” If the answer is yes, I’ve reached the grave phase and can rest happy.

In turning 30, I’ve also decided to make some major changes in the way I live my life. I read this amazing post on procrastination the other day, ironically, while procrastinating, and it really got me thinking about my capabilities. Just today, I’ve etched out time to do what would normally take days to accomplish by simply putting post-its all over the place to remind me to keep away from my favorite procrastination hobbies, such as Reddit, Dorienne TV, and the Banished game. Another major change will include changing careers, but I’ve decided to keep the specifics there to myself, as I tell far too many people far too many details about far too many of my life’s plans.

My visit to London was short but lovely. My mother was originally supposed to travel with me, but my stepdad got injured on the job and she had to remain behind to care for him. There was a moment when I considered cancelling the trip altogether, but as nearly all of Year 29 surrounded the actions needed to get me to London for my 30th birthday, the thought of not going depressed more than I’m willing to put into writing today. In the end, I’m glad I went on my own because I had a trip that only I could have. Everyone I mentioned the trip to had all this commentary about where I should go and where I should stay and what I should do on different days, but no one seemed to fully grasp my intentions with the trip.

I’d never left the US and thus, had never experienced an international flight. Now that I have, I’m not enthused about doing it again, especially in coach, but I know how best to prepare myself. I had never viewed the sites of a city via tour bus and I wanted to simply sit atop a double-decker bus and just snap pictures. I had a half dozen people telling me there were better days to spend my first day in London, but I after a nine-hour flight (in coach!), I didn’t want to do much else aside from Ooh! and Ah! and take pictures.

I wanted to visit Bath, England and I did. Everyone I mentioned this to looked at me like I had six heads. Where is that? What’s there? That’s it? Why would you want to go there when you only have four days? Even the car service driver on the way back to the airport had commentary about seeing Bath which was “so far away” when I could have visited Windsor Castle, etc. I, however, wanted to see Bath. I wanted to visit Bath Abbey and walk the 212 steps in its tower. I wanted to pass by Queene Square and marvel at the Royal Crescent and visit the Jane Austen Centre. Specifically, as the Austen fan I am, I wanted to walk the streets that she would have walked two hundred years ago. I wanted to take in the modernized sites that she would have seen. Visiting the Austen centre was an almost religious experience for me, even though, I know she never lived at that site and she didn’t really care for Bath as she got older. I learned that she first started writing a novel at age 11, just like me. I got a deeper understanding of her family and how she lived, the likes of which I’d never received throughout my whole degree in English literature! I had an English tea in the Regency Room and loved everything about it, from the extra sweetener they used to the soft cucumber sandwiches they presented. After this, I went to the Royal Crescent and spent almost an hour, just walking and staring at it as a marvel of architecture and of history. I then visited No. 1 Royal Crescent to see what a house would have looked like during Austen’s day and had such lovely conversations with the staff that I didn’t mind that my feet ached after traipsing across central Bath all day. I loved every moment of my time in Bath and I only got a day to experience it, but no one else understood, even after viewing my Facebook pictures and seeing my little souvenirs, why I wanted to visit Bath.

I saw the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London and saw the African and the Egyptian and just a bit of the Assyrian exhibits at the British Museum. The Tower was interesting, to say the least, but I could have easily spent two whole days in the British Museum. I can’t wait to go back and peruse again when I have more energy. There was something magical about the Egyptian exhibit and fighting my way to see the Rosetta Stone was well worth it. I consider museums to be very personal experiences, not requiring a lot of talk, and I’m glad I got to see what I wanted to see and stare at the sculptures and art for as long as I wanted.

I visit Westminster Abbey and took a “selfie” with Big Ben and then went on to Buckingham Palace to finish my trip. I only visited two sites and had the most wonderful day in doing so, even though I was beginning to get a cold. I walked past Elizabeth I’s tomb in awe of her death mask and I stomped on Dickens’ memorial, though I later chided myself for doing so and prayed for forgiveness for my immaturity (I still hate Dickens, though). Buckingham Palace was everything I expected it to be and the fact that they allow you to view at your own pace was downright beautiful. I spent an entire day marvelling and staring and taking pictures to the point that I hated knowing I had to leave. By the time I got back to the hotel, I found myself even saying my “thank yous” like the Brits I heard all around me.

I’d planned for a year for this trip to London and, though it was technically short, it was everything I needed it to be. I got to view London through the eyes of a writer and a lover of architecture and British literature and history, which I think is what most people fail to understand when they ask me, “Oh, why didn’t you go on the Harry Potter studio tour?” or “You mean, you didn’t see the Downton Abbey place?” when they consider my trip.

Anne is now its grave phase, which leaves me perfectly happy. I had no grandiose plans for finishing a novel this year, considering what I’d accomplished with Damen last year, but I’m glad I’ve even reached this point. There’s lots to do, though at 185k words, it’s in far better shape than I was with Damen starting at 285k words. Anne still has room to take on a life of its own. While I try to quote Austen wherever feasible, this is my novel and at this stage, I’m comfortable in deviating from the parent story enough to tell the entire story properly.

I still think Anne will be my first foray into the self-publishing world, though I think I may wait until 2015 to start pushing Damen on agents again. I have no delusions of becoming one of those self-publishing successes; I just want my story to given to the world. Speaking of giving my story…I lost my beloved Kindle Paperwhite during my travels to London. I think I put it in the seat flap on the return flight and forgot to take it with me in the bustle and confusion of leaving. I’ve already removed my Amazon credentials from it, but I’ve got a version of Damen on there that’s now floating around lost on the device. I doubt I’ll ever get it back and, oh darn, this means I’ll have to get the brand new even more awesome Kindle Voyage, but the fact that Damen is where I can’t reach it, leaves me a little irritated.

These first 30 years have presented me with quite a lot. Oddly, I don’t feel as old as I did last year. On the trip home from London, I was surrounded by a group of people in the security line who were amazed that I was 30, as they all said I didn’t look like I could be older than 22, which just cheered my heart. 🙂 I went into this year expecting an early mid-life crisis, but instead I am rejuvenated for all of life’s possibilities.

So, Year 30. Onward and upward!


Realistic Planning Sunday, August 31, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 9:10 pm
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I came upon an interesting concept as I was making my plans for the month of September: I need to set realistic goals. It sounds utterly simplistic and obvious, but it’s actually taken me thirty years to understand this.

My original plan for August was to complete this current phase of Anne so I could spend all of September focused on re-editing Damen. Yesterday, however, upon realizing I still had another 10 chapters left to go, I made a plan for August 30 and 31 that was essentially, “Write ALL THE THINGS in less than 48 hours!!”

Shortly after creating this plan, any mild satisfaction I had, melted away when I realized it simply wasn’t feasible. Even if I skipped dinner, and didn’t workout, and didn’t take my normal hour to relax, and wrote until four in the morning, and skipped church the next day, and wrote throughout the entirety of the day and well into Sunday night…I still wouldn’t be able to finish the whole novel by the end of August. Well, technically, I could have pulled it off, but whatever I managed to write would have been absolute tripe and would have to be completely re-written or just tossed in a few months anyway.

This realization led me something I’ve been doing naturally in all my other life goals this year, but hadn’t yet applied to my writing. I told myself it was okay that I didn’t complete a specific goal for the month and then laid out daily writing goals I wanted to reach. More specifically, I planned parts of the story I wanted to complete each day until this phase of the book could be properly completed. To my surprise, I found that if I meet these meager writing goals each day, I’ll have the book done in a week, and, honestly, my competitive nature will likely bring that down to five days. In less than a week, due to a little realistic planning, I’ll have this phase of Anne done. I’m rather in awe of the idea of it.

Every August, I reflect on my past year and make special plans to meet my birthday goals. With this September bringing my 30th birthday, I initially was in “Do ALL the things!!” mode, but this year will be different. This year, my only real goal is to make realistic ones.

I’ll be traveling to London for my birthday and I’d love to see everything there is to see in Bath, and visit every London museum, and see every church, castle, and great house in the area, and watch every play and musical, and shop in every store, but…I’ll have a much better time on the trip by making realistic plans.

I want to get published before it’s time to reflect on my 40th birthday (good Lord), and I’d love to write ten novels a year, and send 50 query letters a month to 50 different agents, and work on another ten novels after the first ten get rejected, but I’ll have a much better time pursuing this dream if I make some realistic plans.


Trepidatious Switching Friday, September 13, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 8:33 am
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In less than two weeks, I’ll be a year from 30. What’s really interesting is that WordPress reminded me that it’s been 6 years since I first registered here and I can remember fretting in posts tagged “25” over the idea of turning 25 as if it were yesterday. I keep telling myself that my 20s have not gone by fast (in fact, they often feel incredibly long), but when I’m honest with myself…really, they have!

September is usually my month of reflection. While most people make resolutions, etc. around the first of January, I like to use the start of my new year to determine my successes and failures and generally determine whether I’ve had a good year or a bad year. Sad as it sounds, the last few years have not been wholly good, but I’m glad to say that Year 28 has been fantastic.

I am happy with first-job, a feat I’ve not accomplished since…well, since I was 15 and first ventured into the working world because I knew I wanted a car when I was 16 and I knew my mother, under the guise of not allowing me to be spoiled like my peers, would never have outright bought one for me. I have a good job that allows me to tithe even more than my 10% to really help my church, allows me the freedom to buy and explore tools and avenues into my writing, and allows me to live comfortably without running from paycheck to paycheck with the thought that one check is all that keeps me from homelessness. I think it’s what makes pushing through this agent-seeking process a little less arduous as it would have been if I’d come to this point last year. Rather providential, I’d like to say as I just received this job about 10 months ago.

I finished (really finished, as in trying to get published, finished) a novel in the past year, an accomplishment I’ve not seen in years. I’ve come to this point at ages 15, 17, 23, and 28 and I know that had I done nothing else with Year 28, completing another novel makes Year 28 stand out as one of the best thus far.

But, all good things must come to an end and as I close Year 28, I begin new projects in a manner that I’ve not attempted in the past. I’m writing two books simultaneously. Both Jill and Anne are pressing upon me and I’ve switched back and forth for the past few weeks, trying to decide who will take precedence, only to come to no real decision.

I love both stories and, just as I decide to focus on one set of characters, specifics of the other set jump out at me, so I figure the best thing to do is ride the wave and write as inspiration hits. When I’m inspired for Anne, like I was this evening, I’ll write Anne. When I’m inspired for Jill, I’ll write her instead. When I’m inspired for nothing in particular, I’ll write bits of both of them until I get the creative juices flowing in one direction or another, like I did the other day.

The project switching, however, is not what has me concerned. What does concern me is this nagging desire to take a break from writing.

I’ve experienced this same sensation at 15, 17, 23, and 28 and it was the prime reason for the time in between writing each book. Writing Damen took so much out of me that I don’t wish to dwell on it long for fear that I’ll grow exhausted from the mere memory. I know that I’m tired, but the issue here is that I’m dangerously close to letting a short rest between books turn into an extended hiatus where I may never complete anything again, which is where this constant project switching begins to to really concern me.

Indecision irritates me, so while I’m just going with the flow right now, I can’t help worrying that a comfortable first-job combined with the exhaustion of completing Damen and the relative stress of facing a new a decade will leave me with a desire to tell stories, but without the drive to write them.

Perhaps, I’m getting a little too existential about the whole matter. It is, after all, September and this is when I begin to ask all the questions about who I am, what I am, what I aim to do with this life, and whether or not anything I do or don’t do will make an impact in an ever-expanding, cold, indifferent universe…

The good news, however, is that I’m quite stubborn. If I’ve learned anything about myself in nearly a decade of writing various blogs, I’ve learned that I don’t give up quickly and, even after I’ve told myself I’ve given up something for good, it only takes the slightest burst of energy or the simplest prayer for guidance to keep me pushing forward.

Anyway…on I switch from Jill to Anne and Anne to Jill. Onward and upward!


Starting over Monday, December 12, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite — kaitco @ 11:10 pm
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Today, I wrote 839 words. Some time in September, however, I just stopped writing. After ten months of pouring my heart and soul in Damen, I’d just had enough. It was clear that it was not going to be complete by my birthday and with all the upheaval at first-job, I just plain quit. But, I refused to admit defeat and tried to play catch-up with my posts and my writing. I played that game until the end of November, when I stopped caring about that as well.

I was originally going to title this post “The Great Failure of 2011” but then I realized that this blog and my efforts for this year, haven’t really ended in failure. True, I’ve lost a lot of momentum on this novel, but I’m still writing. I’ve got dozens of stories just waiting to be born and the most important part is that I haven’t given up on Damen entirely. I still imagine that the first draft can be completed before the end of the year; if it doesn’t, however, it’s not the end of the world.

For the past couple months, I’ve kept repeating the same things to myself, over and over: 27 is not 26. Age 27 feels much older than 26 did and it felt this way the day I turned 27. I’m different than I was a year ago and, while a lot of the goal still remain the same, the focus is starting to shift; some in good ways, some not so good. The main thing is that I recognize the change and know that embracing it is my only option.

I’m going to update with the rest of the unpublished posts, but I thought it best to just start over all together, rather than trying to rush everything at the end of the year. If I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that I can only do so many things. It’s not really possible to write a novel, create sim objects and stories, update websites, learn Japanese, teach myself the piano, take up running, work 60+ hours a week and keep the house clean in one day and still manage to fit basic fundamentals such as eating and sleeping into the same day. Everything has its time.


1065 Monday, August 15, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:56 pm
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One would think that funerals, memorials and homegoing services would cause me to think about my own mortality, but really they don’t. This is because I think about mortality almost every day. What sort of legacy, if any, will I leave on this Earth and, even if I do manage to leave one, will it really matter when the sun starts to die and engulfs the earth and everything on it or when the “new heaven” and “new Earth” prophesied by John emerges?

I’m not sure if it’s because I now hold the advantage, such that it is, of youth on my side, but I find it very difficult to see myself reaching old age. What’s further concerning is that I feel far, far older than I am. In about six weeks, I’ll be turning 27 years old, but feel very close to fifty which is why I often feel as if my life is beginning to slowly wind to nothing. I’m even starting to feel too old to do things that, technically, I’m of the proper age to be doing.

Marriage? Why, I’m far too old to be of use to anyone and far too set in my ways to start trying to compromise and start thinking about forever. Children? I’ve passed that age where children would be a fit for me and the older I get, the more apparent it becomes that I’ll just have to settle with being an Aunt Dee or a godmother. Career? The career I’ve got will most likely be it, as I’m far too old to start another one at this point in my life.

Rationally, I know none of this is true, but this is how I see myself, so when I consider aging and mortality, it’s difficult to consider myself growing old because, in many ways, I sense I’m already there.

Brother Mike’s memorial service was this evening and it got me thinking about how many souls we’ve sent on home since I joined the church five years ago. Far too many in far too little time.

I wrote 1065 words tonight (from it until long after the sun had set) and though I often feel as if I won’t make it to the other side of the mountain, I keep setting goals and trekking towards it. I’m pushing hard to make myself at least meet 500 words daily, if not the full thousand to push out this novel as if I were giving birth to it since, as I welcome twenty-seven years walking the earth, I’d like to do so with a full draft of my novel in my hand.


Lord, Lord…my day Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
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Phew! The day I’ve had…

My “assistant” is leaving which means I’ll have to find someone else to help with all my dozens of projects and I’ll have to re-train someone else on how I do things. I’ve already got someone in mind, but I doubt I’ll get a say in it this time like I did with him.

I’ve thought a ton about my first-job and my future, not to mention putting in the long hours today which what I’ll blame tonight on why I’ve got nothing written.

A while ago, I found myself presented with a choice between what was right, that is a new challenge with new faces in a new environment, and what was easy, that is the same old thing, just with a new title; I chose what was easy. Now, it’s easy for me to look back and think that my own frustrations about first-job come from making that decision, but I’ve found more opportunities in this last year than I’ve ever had. That said, when I look at my long term goals, I can’t help but see that one of the main reasons the novel isn’t done is because of the intrusions of first-job.

Second-job, writing, is what I want to do, but there’s a real possibility that the second-job will never become my first and only job. Damen could easily be a disaster that no one will ever publish, Jill could be even worse, Luka may never get off the ground, Evan will never see its second-coming and I’ll never be published.

It’s hard to dwell on all that though. I think I’ve had so many signs telling me that this (second-job) is what I’m meant to do, that it’s difficult to remember a time when I wanted to do otherwise. The reason I have the first-job that I do is because I sat in my car one day and asked myself, “Dorienne…what do you really want to do?” The answer was write and the solution was to just support myself with first-job until first and second jobs became one.

Years later, I’ve come to reason my ambitions can hardly be masked. Everything I do, I do it fully and I can’t help but strive to be the absolute best in what I do. This is why I hit walls where it takes a day to write a paragraph, but also why I’ve been able to make my leaps in the first-job. So, now I’m faced with making a decision I really don’t want to make: Giving up the second-job and focus solely on the first, or continue as I’ve always been. Again…a decision between what is right and what is easy.

It’s easy to move on the same path I’ve always walked and a strong part of me, no matter what everyone else tells me, believes that first-job and second-job are doomed to exist together. Neither dream will thrive while the other lives.

Melodrama aside, I’m just not sure I’m ready to give up either dream at this point in my life. I’m 26, though I say I am and feel 27, and hopefully, have a lot of life left to live. I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what life would have been like had I stayed the course and continued with the decision I’d made when I asked my 22-year-old self what I wanted to do. At 22, I also said that I’d rather have a dead-end job while reaching for my dream than have a upper-middle management job having never sought the dream. The more I think of it, however, I also don’t think I’d like the idea of my previous mantra, “If I can’t have what I want, I want nothing.”

Decisions, decisions…

I can only pray about it. Even after a quick prayer today to calm my spirit in the midst of such rapid turmoil, He answered me and calmed me with better news. So, all I can do is pray that He’ll let me know when I’m on the right track.


Picking up pieces Monday, August 30, 2010

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:33 pm
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I had a stunning revelation this afternoon; I’m about to turn 26 years old.

Usually by mid-August, I’ve accepted my new age and begin telling those around me that I’m the next year older, but it was only this afternoon that it truly hit me. Year 25 passed me so quickly that I can barely remember what, if anything, significant happened to me in the past 12 months.

Much of this Year 25 has been spent in a state of perpetual catch-up. Nothing was ever clean, I was never ahead on anything, I barely found time to write and I can say I wasted many more days than I used productively. There was even a long time where I was not even wearing clean clothes. I can say that in the past week things have grown far better, but it is a little daunting to think that my 25th year on this earth was so unproductive.

Many nights were spent in front of my PC playing some inane Facebook game or simply reading article upon article on Cracked or StumbleUpon or some other time-wasting activity. Time that could have very well been spent writing was wasted by laying about in the bed all day or again, screwing around on the Internet.

I suppose my career has seen great strides, but I don’t feel as if these strides are permanent or have any significance on my life. Sure, slightly more money is coming in, but I still don’t have my Honda and I’m still deeply entrenched in credit card debt. I’m working harder than I ever have in my life and have very little to show for it. The main concern is that my life goals are going unrealized and I’m going to be 26.

26. Just saying it out loud sounds like a gavel beating on my youth.

There is so much more that I could be doing with my life and yet…

I won’t use this as a time to get depressed about what I don’t have or what I haven’t been able to do, but as this time of year is my time for self-reflection and deep thought, I find it fascinating how quickly this year has passed by me.

I think what brought this on was yesterday’s viewing of an X-Files episode. I recently bought an Xbox 360, mostly because I wanted something on which I could play Star Wars video games, but found a secondary use in the fact that the Xbox brought me downstairs and away from my PC. Up until two weeks ago, I was spending some five to seven hours a day on Facebook games and there was no end in sight. The dishes were never going to get done, the laundry had stopped piling up because I had simply taken to re-wearing clothes I had already re-worn three or four times and trash was literally building up around me because I brought all food to my bedroom in front of my PC. The pounds were piling onto my body at an astronomical rate because I could go for an entire day without moving at all; everything in my life was focused on my PC and the Internet. But, last week I bought an Xbox and finally moved away from my PC.

I did a load of laundry; it felt so good to wear an actually clean shirt instead of a clean-smelling shirt. I put some of trash into actual trashbags; I have yet to take anything outside, but that’s a subject for another day. I did something other than come home and go straight to my PC…and it was wonderful.

Yesterday, however, I managed to stream all the TV shows from my PC and tera drives onto my Xbox and I came upon an episode of The X-Files. Even though I’d watched the episode (Small Potatoes) more times than I could possibly count, there was something so alluring to view Mulder and Scully in their heyday. It was only once I came to the end of the episode that memories of my childhood spent adoring those same characters that I began to truly reflect on what I had been doing in these past few years.

In fact it was the discussion between Mulder and Scully that actually got the train of thought rolling:
Mulder: The person you wanted to be in high school…how far off were you?
Scully: Career-wise, miles off target.

In listening to this exchange, for the first time I was able to answer the question myself and I mused over the fact that I, like Agent Scully, was miles off target from the person I wanted to be when I was kid. My miles off target, however, is nowhere close to the success that I imagine I should have at this point in my life. I’m not just miles of target, I can’t even remember what the target was supposed to look like anymore.

All this notwithstanding, I can say with some confidence that I am slowly (very slowly) picking up the pieces of my life. I am doing things that I had not even thought to do in the past 9 months and, for the first time in almost a few years, I think I am moving back to some track. I am no longer wallowing in the jungles of uncertainty; I’ve found the path that leads to the bigger one, the golden brick one, the one that leads to my actual dreams for myself in adulthood.

I am turning 26. Dorienne Allison Smith is turning 26.

A side of me is terrified by the idea of turning not just a year older, but a year closer to an age when I really should have everything figured out and have my life running along a path of fulfilling my desires. Another side, however, the side that wants to have a clean house and wants to lead a normal life like, is excited. I am approaching adulthood and I think I may actually be ready for it this year.


Coming together Monday, November 9, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 1:21 am
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I haven’t had the drive to write much until the beginning of November and then, I suffered a death in the family which killed -er- hurt my drive, but today is the first fully motivated day I have had and had been able to use to the best of my abilities. I got a good deal of my laundry and general house cleaning done and I have come to terms with a so far unacknowledged obsession of mine.

I am very addicted to the Internet. I am constantly checking the news via Google at work and at home, the first thing I do is go straight from my PC. Between checking e-mail, Twitter, new forum posts, Facebook and my ever-growing list of webcomics, I have found very little time to do much else with my time, which meant that the house work was shirked day in and day out, which only aided in exasperating my growing depression. Today, I decided that Sundays are going to be not only Internet-free, but computer-free as well. I get to cheat a bit and make a quick playlist to have some music to guide the rest of my day, but I told myself I am unable to do anything on my computer until 12:01 Monday morning. Around 8:00PM, I thought was I going to crack, but I maintained and got so much done that I feel like a new person.

Despite all the goals I had lain out for myself, I did not get the novel completed by my 25th birthday. I got a very rough draft completed on October 2nd, which, while still being some kind of accomplishment, was still not what I wanted. I wanted a full manuscript when I turned 25. I wanted to be able to look at and say, “Wow! Look what you did!” as a birthday present to myself. Instead, when I realized that my goal simply was not feasible, I spent the day playing old video games (Mario N64 is too much fun, BTW) and got the rough draft completed a week later, once the heat was no longer weighing on my shoulders. Unfortunately, the strain of doing so much writing in a short period of time took its toll on me and that, combined with what I deemed as complete failure, kept from even looking at the thing for the majority of October.

In the past week, however, the writing bug as bit once again, inspired in part by NaNoWriMo. My initial goal for NaNoWriMo was to get a more complete draft ready and finish my Harry fic, but honestly, if I can just get through the rest of the draft by November 30th, I’ll be happy. If I can stick to that goal, I should still be in line with having a manuscript ready to start sending to agents by the New Year. If I don’t, however, it will still be okay.

If I’ve learned anything in the past month, it is that I worry myself into a depression over things that are completely beyond my control and all of these personal deadlines are just unnecessarily stressing me out for no real reason. The novel is going to get completed. Someone, somewhere, at some point in time, will want it and it will eventually get published by one means or another. I just need to calm down and regain some of my patience.


I had thought (or agonized over, whichever) that the beginning of the novel was going to need a complete rewrite, to the point that I thought the whole project should be scrapped. The review, however, is proving to be in much better shape that I originally thought and flows quite smoothly with the rest of what I had written.

Right now I am focusing on creating the most enticing first chapter possible; enough information so that the reader has an idea of what is going on, but leaving out enough details to keep the reading wanting to continue. It has been incredibly difficult to write in this vein because there is so much that I want to “tell” to help the reader understand why things are the way they are, but I’ve recently read in an agent’s blog that all these “telling” details are many times meaningless simply because a reader could easily forget everything I’ve “told them” at the times when it would be helpful for them to have this knowledge. Again, it all comes down to show versus tell, but really “a bit of tell interspersed with enough show to let the reader know I’m not simply dictating to them.” All in all, the review has been as fun as it is frustrating.

With the house infinitely cleaner than it was when I woke up today, I think this new burst of energy might be one I can maintain for a bit. I’m not only happier and more enthusiastic about all my projects (I joined a gym today, heaven help me!), but I am also gaining the peace that I had so sorely sought when I was 24.


The final countdown Thursday, September 24, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:11 am
Tags: , , ,

I turn 25 in three days and have the better part of a novel to complete by then. I’m not sure if I will complete my goal, but in the spirit of putting in my last bit of procrastination until the moment is completely dire, I thought it necessary to at least acknowledge that I know I am down to the final countdown.



Procrastination, part 1 Sunday, August 16, 2009

Filed under: Artwork,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 12:05 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

I saw “part 1” because I know this is just one many, many future posts that will feature procrastination. It’s now been eight full days since I’ve written any part of Damen. This happens every time I finish a chapter or a major scene and this little cycle is getting a little boring.

I know if I just sit down and start writing I’ll be able to just finish the rest of the notes, but I just can’t make myself write Damen. It’s not even that I can’t bring myself to write at all. After all, I’m writing this, I just can’t make myself write Damen. I’ve even taken to creating Edition 3 of Flight just to take the edge off. I know I want and need to write especially since it’s halfway through August and I’m still working on the notes, but it’s the same level of procrastination that kept me from studying for my O-Chem exams until the very last minute that’s plaguing me right now.

I blame some of this my cycle and the fact that I normally can’t write if the house is a mess, which it is, but I’m rather alarmed at how I’ve not yet figured out how to shake this procrastination. I know everyone deals with it on one level or another, but I’m almost 25 and I still haven’t made any progress with it. The worst part about it is that it almost seems productive.

Writing a blog post feels like it’s productive, but since my main only goal for my birthday this year is to get the novel done, any time I’m not writing Damen, I’m procrastinating. That includes working OT, reading, reading books I’ve already read, editing books I’ve already written, cleaning, DDR, eating, sleeping and I’d like to say even going to church, but I’d rather not be smote before I get the book done. I’ve been feeling rather creative lately, but just not towards Damen. I want to edit Flight and focus Edition 3 on craft and perspective. I want to create my webcomic Little Green Men. I even wrote a few notes on a storyline for “LGM” and have been trying to draw more, even though drawing is not my forte regardless of the genes handed down from my father. I just keep finding new and genuine ways of procrastinating.

Hopefully tomorrow, since I’ve put teaching on hiatus, but ironically want to study and teach more than ever now, I’ll get the cleaning bug and clean the whole house and do laundry and all that jazz and turn of the sims, which is a battle in itself, and sit down to just write. It’s quite a hope and I don’t have much “hope” in it, but here’s hoping…


Finding the old routine Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:15 am
Tags: , , , ,

Between trying a fitness “boot camp” and various stages of mourning over Michael Jackson, I’ve not only fallen out of routine, I can’t seem to find or even remember what it was like. I’ve predicted for most of the year that I would start to “lose it” a bit once I got really close to 25, but this seems to be happening a lot sooner than I had expected.

What’s most frustrating about the last two months is the lack of anything significant happening with my writing. I’ve not actually got much accomplished even though I’ve been fervently writing Damen constantly, which has got me more than worried about my deadlines. I’ve completely missed the “light notes” deadline for 8/1 and, if I don’t get my act together in this next week, I’ll most likely miss the “heavy notes” deadline of 9/1. It’s just most distressing because I can’t seem to get my head in the right place.

I can’t make myself do anything. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve fallen out of routine or all I want to do with my time is listen to, read about or watch Michael Jackson lately, but this lack of any sense of routine has been more detrimental to me than the simple doldrums and monotony of a rut.

I suppose all is not proverbially lost as I was able to create a list of remaining scenes in Damen which will definitely help me shape the storyline, but I can’t ignore the fact that there are probably close to a hundred scenes between now and the end, and I should’ve already had these “light notes” done! My mind is simply so unfocused and I’m not sure how to get back on track.

I also can’t ignore the fact that, whether it is a cause or a result, I’ve not had the desire to do anything related to my church in the past two months. I think it’s time to take a step back from teaching because, while previously, I just didn’t want to do it, but knew I had no reason not to and I knew that once I got into it, I would enjoy it, nowadays, however, I’m really displeased with it and it’s lack of substance in my life. I don’t feel like I’m learning anything and so I don’t care. It’s like…one of our deacons has often said that the Sunday school was the foundation of the church. My foundation has been swept from beneath me and now I don’t know where I stand and what’s worse is I can’t figure out how to convince myself to care anymore. Very, very distressing stuff.

Half the reason I continued coming to church was because of all that I learned about Jesus and the rest of the Bible through Sunday School. Now, I’m not learning anything, I don’t feel as if I’ve got anyone to learn with and, since I’ve always got to be stimulated or else I’m quickly bored, I don’t desire to have anything to with it.

A part of me wants to say that all this disorder over my church has nothing to do with my writing, but it does. It’s everything. I’m a Christian and I feel like I’m losing my grip on what keeps me closest to Christ. This descent of mine has been growing for several months and, unsurprisingly, it took only a mad helping of BPD and OCD to tip me over that edge and really start falling. It’s like, first I lose my “dependence” on my church, my “sanity,” if you will, suffers and, of course, my writing suffers as well.

I think I need to clear some demons before I can find my old routine again and, as much as it pains me to say it, perhaps I need to take a step back from the church and…well, I’m not really sure what from there, so perhaps that’s a sign that I shouldn’t take that step, but either way, I need to fall into some kind of routine, hopefull a normal writing routine before the end of the month. If I approach 9/1 and I still haven’t got the heavy notes completed, I really might “lose it.”

I’ve found someone who has contacts with different agents and I feel it a blessing from God, but my lack of routine and my inability to make myself doing anything, even if it is for my own good, may allow this opportunity to slip through my fingers.

My goal for today is to take one step into that routine. However, minute and insignificant it may seem, but I’ve got to do something before I hit 25 and the storm really comes.


More sacrifices Saturday, June 27, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:31 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I must say, up front, that working 66 hours in one week ranks somewhere on the top ten of the worst experiences in my life. It’s not only that I did little else, but work and sleep. It’s also the idea of trying to write when my brain is just barely functioning that makes the entire thing so irritating.

Like I predicted, I was able to make some headway in Damen and am finally ready to tackle the nuances of the scene with Jessie, much the way I had to ready myself and get over the whole thing Damen and Anthony in the car. Thinking about those scenes in reference with the rest of the book, they don’t seem all that important, but I know it’s really important that tell as much I as I can about these characters in those scenes as possible because otherwise I run the risk of spending the novel “telling” what the characters are doing instead of just showing what they do. <<Phew, what a run-on!>>

Anyway, Friday got me really, really ready to put a lot more effort into writing and getting out of debt. It was probably one of the worst days I’ve had at this day job of mine in the two years I’ve been there and I found myself needing some time to sit and remind myself that I’m better than this little day job of mine. I pulled up Flight, read much of the first chapter and got enough of a boost to keep from walking out of the office when my frustration reached its peak. I also got a review for Flight on SVUfiction.com which just made me grin for much of the day…until I got to work, that is. I miss writing it, but just thinking about it makes me want to push even harder to attain these goals. I know I can do this. It’s in the cards, in the plan, in the…whatever!

So, I’m going to pull out all stops for July and reach for every goal I’ve been pushing back each month since I created my pseudo-New Year’s resolutions. I probably won’t be updating a lot between now and July, but still…on I trek!


Sacrifices Friday, June 12, 2009

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:04 am
Tags: , ,

I have made some headway in Damen in the past couple of days and predict that I will still manage a little bit here or there in the next few weeks, but now it’s time for some sacrifices.

As my debts are starting to eat away at my soul, I’ve decided that it’s time to put in some long hours and make as much as possible in the next few weeks to ensure that I’m not trapped trying to write in between other things for the rest of my life.

The goal is that I won’t be too tired to at least update something from time to time, but putting in close to 60+ hours a week is something I’ve never done previously and it’s likely to have affect me severely; whether that’s positively or negatively, I have yet to see, but I’ll definitely be affected for the next month and a half.


A weird kid Thursday, June 4, 2009

Filed under: Artwork,Coding,The Sims,Writing — kaitco @ 11:35 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I haven’t been writing at all lately.

I haven’t even looked at the notes for Damen since at least Monday. I guess I’m in some kind of slump or the old bipolar monster has reared her head again and I’ve been too low to think creatively.

Anyhoo… Even though I haven’t been writing, I’ve coding and designing the crap out of my site. I completely finished my About page and made it a little more asthetically pleasing and hopefully it makes a little more sense than the list of words I’d had there previously.

I’ve still got to create the “Dorienne Presents…” page and redo the links page before I’m ready to “launch” version 3.0 of the site. I suppose another week of heavy coding and designing should get me ready.

Also, I’ve been simming a lot in between all this coding. I’ve been playing a lot of sims that I hadn’t played in probably close to a year. It has been wild fun re-discovering some of the dormant stories in the game. I think I’m ready to bring the neighborhood to a new generation, but this may be a result of the BPD monster working her magic, so I’m not really sure.

In the midst of the coding and the simming, I have been trying to rescue my Geocities pages. It took about an entire day to get through all my sites because I’d definitely abused their services by creating about a half dozen names and linking them all together to get a site that was close to a small site with about 50MB of space total. I’ve not really made use of Geocities’ services since 2004 when I’d created Dorienne Smith.com, but I wanted to keep everything for posterity sake. My hope is that they allow a redirection service for all those sites that have owners that continually log into their accounts, but I doubt that is going to happen. I had to save a Japanese writing site that had a mirror through Geocities as well and that took a couple days by itself, but getting all my own site was a chore that really wasn’t necessary and if Geocities when just went a little extra mile, they wouldn’t have to close the service in the first place.

What got me writing, though, was that in my zeal to recover my Geocities’ pages, I had to search through this pile of papers and notebooks in a shelf that I have just moved from my parents’ house to the dorms to two different campus apartments and to my current house without having gone through all the crap that was in those papers and notebooks. Most of the stuff were just notes on sites I’d planned to make and the preliminary stages of Dorienne Smith.com, but a good many of the pages were old things I had written in the past decade.

I found my first attempt at a novel that I had started when I was ten years old, Twelve Years. I remember quite clearly that the original title was Seventeen Years, but since I was only ten at the time, I reasoned that I didn’t really know enough about being seventeen to write a book about seventeen years of life, so the obvious action was to only expand the book for twelve years because surely by the time I finished the book, I would be at least twelve years old and would be able to write accurately. The fact that I remember thinking something like this just made me realize that I must have been a really weird kid when I was younger.

In the mess of paper and notebooks, I found a spiral-bound notebook that contained the beginnings of an X-Files’ story that I had first created when I was fourteen years old.  The opening scene was rather disturbing, even for an X-File, and it got me trying to remember what my middle and high school years were like. Whether I’ve blocked them from memory or not, I can’t really doing much more than writing, drawing and making lists to categorize how I was changing. I remember knowing a lot of people, but honestly, I had very few real friends, and after viewing that old X-Files story, and I’m surprised that I’d had any at all. I was definitely a weird kid.

As a kid, I wrote zillions of notes for stories, some of which have materialized (albeit subconsciously) into Damen, I created the beginnings of many stories from those notes and I sketched all the time. I’d gone through college looking back at my high school years as someone who just followed the popular crowds and was real bitch for much of the time, but finding all these notes and writings tells me I was far different from how I’d imagined myself.

I sat down to write my first novel when I was ten years old. It wasn’t like I wanted to create a long story or just write something for my mother. At only ten years old, I had it set in my mind that I was going to write a novel and would someday be able to publish it for others to see. I had actually hand-written 98 pages of this novel before I realized that it wasn’t much more than a thinly-disguised fanfiction and, at twelve years old, I began my first real novel, one that contained characters that were wholly my own. I remember writing it off and on over the next few years and, in late 1999, I finished A Ten Minute Speech. I created a sequel to it, The Martin Drama, and finished it before I went off to college in August 2002. Just thinking about it intrigues me: I had began three “novels” and completed two of them before I was eighteen years old.

Now, while neither completed novel is even remotely publishable in their original forms, I still hold the desire to fully complete them and make them into something that someone without a learning disability could read and enjoy. The fact is, I have been doing this “writing” thing for more than a decade and I can’t believe I’d been trying to do other things with my life for so long, when one look at the piles and piles of notes and story ideas could tell any passerby what I should be doing.

I have been writing novels since I was ten years old. I was a weird kid.


The writer’s log Thursday, May 28, 2009

Filed under: Coding,Writing — kaitco @ 2:04 am
Tags: , , , , ,

In revving up DorienneSmith.com into Version 3.0, I’ve finally decided what I am going to do with this blog. “I am kaitco” is going to be my writer’s log, that is, a daily descriptor of my writing and other creative activities.

I had intended to do this with my LiveJournal, but that has turned into a more casual non-political and more secularized version of my Dorienne’s Log and I would like a little more “freedom” to feel like I’m starting fresh with something. Also, unlike with my LiveJournal and Log, this is not going to have any specific goal or direction. Simply put, when I write something (poetry, fanfiction, progress in a novel) I’ll blog about it to have a record of my creative process. The same will go for all things creative, so some days I’ll have uber-long posts while there may be days where I’ll not have much more to say other than Sim X had a baby whom I’ve named Y because I’ll have spent all my time simming instead of doing “productive” things.

I’ll be using a lot of code names for my novel projects, many of which I’ll never take the time to explain seeing as how this is mainly for my own purposes, but I suppose anyone reading for any length of time could get the gist of what I’m saying. I’ll probably also refer to many coding and art projects in the same light. In fact, I may be referring to characters and scenes that may only be fully understood by myself for years to come, but again, this is really a Dorienne project, so anyone reading will just have to take this as-is.

Eventually, I’ll merge this blog with a specified subdomain on DorienneSmith.com, but life here on wordpress.com will suffice at present. Again, I’ve no real goals with this other than to see how this progresses and if I’ll end up something meaningful on which I can look back and see how I’ve “made it” to whatever point.

All that said…let’s begin:

I’m wicked late with my fifth-year “celebration” for DorienneSmith.com. It’s taken me close to three days to figure out how to create a scrolling background in Flash and have some stuff floating on top of it, but I’ve finally worked many of the kinks out of my header and may even have an update for the site by the end of the month.

I’ve not actually written anything in Damen for close to a week. I think it’s because my darn sleep schedule has been so erratic lately, but I’ve at least e-mailed my most recent copy of it to my gmail, so I’m at least marching in the right direction. The goal for tomorrow is to really dig into the scene where Jessie “confronts” him. I’ve hit a brick wall with it for some reason, much like I had with Damen and Anthony taking a drive to the hood. I like to think the wall is something more than simply procrastination, but I’m suspecting that’s all it is.

I’ve been thinking/dreaming about Luka a lot lately. It may be because I’m feeling rather powerless right now and the story is not too much more than a glorified version of a world takeover Dorienne-style, but Luka and Elia keep popping in my mind far more often than they had in recent months. I’m still trying to stay focused though. If I let a diversion like Luka step in between Damen and I at this point, 9/26 will be here before I blink twice and then I’ll really be in trouble.

Anywhoo…I probably won’t get too much of Damen and Jessie’s scene done tomorrow since I’m still in coding overdrive, but if I can just sketch out a little bit more of them, I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something.


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