I am kaitco

a writer's log

So, then, life happened Thursday, April 30, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 7:38 pm
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I don’t have anything meaningful to say about this month because, as far as writing goes, I’ve not done anything meaningful.

I’ve spent a lot of time on first-job, by which I mean 65-hour weeks, “a lot.” These weeks have found me actually gaining some fulfillment from my job for the first time in my fifteen years of work experience. All this work, however, has prevented me from making any real headway in Anne. I’ve not written in more than a week, but I’ve been “noting” a bit, so I suppose that’s got to count for something.

I’ve made the tentative decision to re-write Flight as a novel with my own characters. As I’d said aloud to my mirror a few weeks ago, “If that 50 Shades heifer can do it, why can’t I?” I’ve made a lot of notes on what I’ll need to change and how I’ll be shaping Denny Darrow and Olivia Jennings in order to tell the story I’d really like to tell. It’s been fun thus far, but I’ve still not done anything meaningful outside of first-job work.

I suppose I’ve come to a point in my life where my paid work isn’t just something to keep a roof over my head and the internet flowing. Instead, I almost look forward to first-job and have been willingly allowing it to supersede my writing. I’m not sure how to feel about that…

 

World Keeps Spinning Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 10:34 pm
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I stare at this empty page
The cursor blinks at me
I plead the muse of inspiration
To look down amicably
Upon this Christian soldier’s eyes
That search for daily meaning
In her writing that she creates
Whose verbosity is careening
Out of control. The cursor blinks
With it’s evil grinning
And while the author waits and waits
This world just keeps on spinning.

I’ve not written anything worthwhile here in ages, though a million things have occurred in the last few months. First-job is not un-enjoyable and is moving in a good direction and I’ve got a few eggs dropped into the paths of my literary goals that are finally beginning to hatch.

We lost a church member just last week and her homegoing is this weekend, but I can’t remember the last time I was so uplifted by another soldier’s work. She brought up her family in God’s ways and was a faithful Christian to the very end. Every time I think of her and children, I can’t help praying, “Lord, that’s the kind of Christian I want to be. Help me get there.”

I had an epiphany with Anne this month; simply put, she was just too good. There was no stain upon her character, so I had to muddy her a bit, as even I was beginning to struggle to relate to her.

So, there. Lots of happenings, but nothing particularly notable in a blogging sense, hence the attempt at poetry. On I trek towards my lofty goals…

 

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!

 

Quite literally, almost there Monday, May 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:53 pm
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No pun intended on the “literally” either…

So, I’d forgot to post yesterday. Meh, Sundays are hard on night shift-working church goers. I’m just happy I went after a two-week absence. I always feel better when I go to church, so I’m not sure why I sometimes let my desire to sleep overcome the need for church, but that’s for another post.

About a week or so ago, I’d sat down and tried to understand all the remaining parts I left to cut/rewrite and came up with just 3 “parts.” Over the weekend, however, I finished the last of these parts, but in re-reading the 4th and 3rd to the last chapters of the book, I saw that a mass re-write and some unfortunately painful cuts are in need. Not so much for word count as I’m down to around 123K, but just because I no longer see it as necessary. It’ll be painful to make these cuts, but as I’ve compromised on several others throughout this problem (e.g., Dana Barrington), this round of cuts and edits doesn’t feel quite as agonizing as others.

After, I’ve done these 4th and 3rd to the last chapters, I’ll finally be able to tackle the 2nd to the last and the last chapters, which because they make even me cry hard, I’ve left virtually untouched since they were in note form. These should be done in another day or two and once that’s done, I move onto the edit file I’ll call dameni (or perhaps I’ll skip to damenk) which will be my last read-through before I fix all the margins, read it again, turn it into a Kindle book and read again as a Kindle book, before I begin the quest of finding an agent.

It sounds like a lot of “3rd to the lasts” and the file before the last file before the last file, but this is, indeed, the process. It’s long and arduous and generally unpleasant when compared with the fun of using my imagination and crafting a plot, but if this is what I plan to do with my life, it’s got to be done. It’s a lot like first-job. No one wants to spend a year or talk on the phone talking to customers and no one wants to work 60-hour weeks as a manager to work a dozen projects, but these horrible tasks are necessary in order to the get the long-term perks.

I suppose I’m finally growing up to the point where instant gratification, no longer gratifies me and, hence, I’m able to remain patient throughout all of this.

 

It’s been a while Sunday, March 10, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 9:21 pm
Tags: , , ,

Like the title suggests, it’s been a while since I’ve been in the blogging mood. Half the reason is due to re-evaluating what I can do with myself as I work these ten-hour days, but mostly I’ve just got tired writing over and over about how close I am to finishing the novel.

Don’t get me wrong; I am very close. I’ve got it down to 131,991 words. It’s still 12K over what I need and at this point it’s seeming more and more possible like I’ll need to lose a major plot point to bring it down to what I want, but I’m still closer to the goal than where I was a month ago, so on and so forth. Though I tire of repeating myself, I’m about to do it again.

I find myself either going back to old habits in times of stress or obsessing wholly about something. Whether it’s playing Rock Band or Minecraft through all hours of the night or trying to learn a new language or re-re-reading books like my current protagonist, I attach myself to something whenever I feel like Ulysses.

Anyway, I could go on about my recent issues with trauma to my eye or the growing concern that the first-job that I’d specifically asked God for may not be the best option for me or even, in this stressful time of my life, my new-found devotion to X-Files, in its episodes, movies, music and books, but I won’t.

Instead, I think it’s just worthy to note that I’m alive and still writing and since it’s been a while, I thought it was time to say it.

 

Thankful Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Filed under: Gaming — kaitco @ 10:27 pm
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I’m so very thankful for today!

I’ve been in such a slump for so many weeks it got difficult to sort out the good days from the bad, but today, I am uplifted for the first time in a long while.

I got a promotion at first-job, but that’s not what actually pulled me from the slump. This started yesterday as I finally took to heart the saying “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” and made a change. I cleaned the house and resolved to be patient because whatever God had cooking for was only going to materialize on His time and never mine.

I was already feeling good about what I’d just come through when I got the call offering my promotion, so that was just the proverbial icing on the cake. I even got some writing done today!

I’m just so thankful that God breaks me down to build me back up even stronger, since that’s always been His way. It’s not until the sky looks darkest that the light starts to shine. Even though all my friends and family have been saying how they’ve prayed for this promotion for me, I remind myself that the promotion in itself is not really what makes today so special. Today was special because I was happy with my lot in life; happy to be patient, happy to recognize that limits aren’t necessarily bad and happy to know that I struggle for God’s greater glory in the end.

Today, I’m very, very thankful.

 

48K to go Saturday, August 11, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:19 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I managed to halve Chapter 7 and as I’m left to consider whether I should split Chapter 8 and include the first part with Chapter 7, the novel now stands at 168K words. I’ve got just 48K words to cut before I’ll have an actual, publishable novel. The thought of it gives me chills.

That said, there’s a chance that even at 120K, I won’t be able to find someone to pick it up, but at least I’ll have accomplished something few have.

I’ve got three free days coming with and given that I’m more or less caught up with first-job, I’ll have this entire to write. While it’s unlikely that I’ll have this novel ready with my latest 1st of September deadline, I’m really, really pushing for it. My first novel, Flight, was supposed to be complete on my 22nd birthday and wasn’t truly finished until the day after it and with all the edits and additions, wasn’t actually complete until about a year later, but on I press.

I’ve got 20 days to get this thing ready. I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I’ll do it.

 

Ten days into this… Friday, August 10, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Gaming — kaitco @ 10:58 pm
Tags: , , ,

So, ten days into this fast tells me how spoiled my mind and body have become. The urge to do what I’ve always done is so great, but I’m still holding on.

I didn’t actually load Minecraft today. I checked the forums and wiki to see what had become of the 1.3 update and to see if my mods had updated. I learned that I’m actually better off waiting to play since I would have had to go without my favorite mods for this long anyway, but the itch to play is so great that I’ve been getting headaches.

I haven’t gone out to get fast food, but I’m in the mood for a treat, so I’m about to go out and buy some cookies to bake. I was $17.00 under my shopping budget on Monday, so this is just a little bit extra, while remaining in that limit.

When I have a day at first-job where I have to remind myself that I accepted a position that was 30% management and 70% social work, I know I need a (non-alcoholic) treat. I accepted it, so I’ve only done this to myself. I just really wish I’d majored in social work (or even better, psychology) to prepare me for the career into which I’ve fallen.

It’s not likely I’ll be writing tonight, but with this coming Tuesday as a day off and a 3-day weekend for myself ahead of me, I think I’ll still be all right and I may even bring the book down to the 150Ks.

 

Surprises Thursday, August 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:54 pm
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I brought the book down another thousand words today and now, if I can figure out the “point” of Chapter 7 without loosing too much ground, I may even break into the 160s before the weekend.

I had lots more to say tonight, mostly surrounding first-job and how it surprises me how much other people surprise me, but I’m not going to rant tonight. It’s been a long hard day which only means that tomorrow will bring even harder and longer one with it.

But still…I’m down another thousand and I still haven’t broken my monetary and Minecraft fasts, so…all is well.

 

My personal fast Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Many of the cleaning staff in my building at first-job are Somalian and I often take the time to speak to least the woman who comes by my area each day. Sometimes it is difficult to speak to her since, even though she’s lived in the US for at least the 5 years I’ve been working there, her English is still lacking, but she told me the other day how much she appreciated how I spoke to her (slow and clear) since it helped her improve upon her English. This of course made me beam from ear to ear.

In one of our daily chats, she shared with me her efforts for Ramadan. Previous to this conversation, I knew that the Muslim holiday involved fasting of some kind, but I was relatively ignorant of anything more. I still am, to some degree, but I was intrigued when she discussed how she had to fast throughout each day. And not just abstain from a certain food or certain type of food, but denying all food and all water from sun up til sun down, every day. I admired her devotion and shook my head since I doubt I’d ever have the resolve to do the same…at least not while I knew I could convert to a religion that didn’t require so much…

Like I said, however, I was still intrigued by the concept of the fast and wondered whether there was anything I could just give up, for even a month. Internet? Not a chance; when the power is out, I start to get the shakes. Reading? Probably, but why would I ever want to fast from reading? Writing? I’ve done this many times earlier in its more commonly known form called procrastination and I don’t think it wise to take that up again. So, from what shall I fast as I move into a new month?

As I looked over this month of July, I find myself sorely disappointed with the lack of progress on my novel and my spending habits, but resolving to do something every day, can work for a month or so, as I saw in June, but once the month is over, I can’t help by slack off whatever I was doing every day. In order to make a real change to myself as the result of some kind of fast or resolve, it has to be something that I would not want to go back to doing every day. While reducing my idleness would be an admirable fast, I’ve done this only to fail in the very next month when the pressure is gone. So, again, I’m left to wonder what shall I do with myself in the month of August.

August is usually a stressful month for me. In the countdown to aging another year, August is like the month of December for most folks bent on doing better with themselves. I look at this entire year from last September til now and take a critical eye at where I was this year versus last and as we end July, I can’t help my yearly ritual. The novel is written, but has yet to be reduced to a publishable form. I still have the same first-job, the same debt, the same weight, the same mild service in my church, etc….With this August, however, and since I’ve got fasting on the mind, rather than just sigh over my lack of progress in this adventure in adulthood, I’ve decided to strengthen my resolve and fast against things that have been destroying any hope of success that I’ve got: fast food and Minecraft.

As far as the fast food is concerned, I’m sure anyone can determine the issues there. It’s mostly bad for me, especially since I’m a vegetarian and can only resolve to order some French fries when I’m forced out to eat, but the monetary hit is what really bites the most. Is it possible to spend more than $1000 in a single month on just fast food meals? Previous to this month’s AMEX bill I would have said “Not a chance.” but now, I’m forced to change my tune. That said, I’ve “given up” fast food dozens of times in the past and, as I’ve before explained, once the month is over (if I even last that long), I’m right back to where I started, so the task here is not about just giving up fast food. To get to the heart of the issue, I’ve got to give up something better, which is my spending money like I actually had it. In order to do this, I have to actually place myself on a budget and thus a “money fast” which will require a fast food fast as well. I’ll have just $20 in cash that I can spend each week if I forget my lunch, etc., but that’s it. There’ll be no swiping my AMEX as if I’d forgot what that swipe meant and since no one can eat out every day with just $20, I’ll have to cook and plan meals each week which sounds simple, but when the mind and body are so accustomed to just going out to get food someone else had already prepared for me, the idea of it is very novel. The ultimate goal is to curb my spending and the way to get there is to almost entirely abstain from eating out.

Likewise, my fast from Minecraft, while very specific and sounding more traditional, has a separate goal.

Sandbox video games where the player can do anything and create anything he or she wishes to do have always been my downfall. The games in which I’ve wasted the most time include The Sims, Rock Band and Minecraft. Rock Band has no real goal other than to just get better and better at each instrument, so I can play just because I want to play and have a lot of fun doing it. The Sims 2 allows me to make any person I choose, dress them up, build them a house and play their lives for as many hours as I choose and even if I were to get tired of that, I can make mods for the game or other downloadables such as hairstyles or furniture. Minecraft plops the player into a space of land and it is up to the player to survive in this wilderness, finding food, fending off monsters, building houses or roller coasters or whatever one could wish to build. All three allow me to do whatever I want to do without any real goals in place and allowing me to play forever if I so chose, so the reason why Minecraft would be the chosen fasted game may not seem apparent at first.

Unlike The Sims or Rock Band, Minecraft takes virtually no effort from me to start and costs me nothing as well. With The Sims, despite having a brand new laptop, the game still takes about 10 minutes to load between the first EA Games screen until the moment I’m in a family’s house. The loading time allows me opportunity to focus on other things, sometimes things that may even pull me away from the game before I’ve had to time start playing. The Sims also requires loading in between different houses or even different places as my sims go on dates or on vacation, so it’s easy for me to get distracted from the game and even easier for me to not want to play because I only have a half-hour to do something and I don’t want to waste it on loading screens.

Rock Band is only a bit better since I mostly like to play the guitar and sing simultaneously. This requires turning on the Xbox and getting the TV to right input, bring out and plugging in the mic and mic stand, finding my guitar, letting the game load and finally deciding on a song or setlist to play. Since I love the game so much, this passes relatively quickly for me, but unlike The Sims where I am sitting for hours on end as I play pixelated characters and their stories, for Rock Band, I am standing and singing for the duration of my play and so again, unlike The Sims, I can’t physically play forever; eventually I’ll get exhausted and will have to pass out on the sofa. The good thing about this is that after a day of being sedentary, just standing (and dancing a little depending on the song) and singing gets in a little more activity in my day. Even with all this said, the setup time frame doesn’t allow me to play just whenever I feel like it and the desire to be lazy also drowns out my love for the game.

This brings us to Minecraft, whose loading times don’t give me enough time to bring my teacup to my mouth and can allow me sit sedentary, though creative, for almost days at a time. This easy access to such a fantastic waste of time has allowed my procrastination to be less of a task and more of an art form. To be honest, other than playing Minecraft and some power outages earlier this month, I’m not entirely sure what else I did in July 2012. This frightens me a bit since I’ve always had at least one or two obstacles in the way of my procrastination, but Minecraft gives me everything that The Sims or Rock Band can with nothing to impede upon my play.

A fast from Minecraft seems like a simple fast from something I really don’t need to be doing every single day of my life, but it’s really far more than that. Before Minecraft (hereafter known as BMC), if I had 30 minutes to kill, I would write or read or makes notes on a new project or even exercise or read webcomics or pack my meals for the day or do some laundry or anything else in the world. BMC I could take that time to do something slightly productive since it would take too long to set up anything that was relatively unproductive, but after Minecraft (which I won’t dignify with its own period), I can kill time more easily than should be allowed. In my fast from Minecraft, I’m essentially resolving to do all things I’ve neglected to do since I’ve been Minecrafting all summer long.

So, here I am. I’m going to fast for the month of August, taking away the simple things that will have the greatest impact on my life. I liken this fast to removing some obstacles that keep a few pebbles from rolling down a mountain. Once those pebbles start rolling, they’ll hit snow and then more snow and then become a snowball so big that my procrastination and wasteful spending will have to run like Indiana Jones being chased by the giant ball out of the temple.

Once again, to keep myself honest, I’ll check in using this blog (hopefully far shorter than I’ve rambled today) and remain accountable to myself since I really dislike interrupting a string of consecutive posts.

 

 
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