Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Legos and Anime Don't Really Help with Writing

Sorry about the late post. This week has been super screwy for some reason. I keep thinking today is Friday. Yesterday I was bouncing back and forth between thinking it was Wednesday and Thursday. Monday felt like Thursday as well. I thought Sunday was Saturday. At the beginning of the week it felt like the end of a long week.... it was just draining and kooky all week long. I'm so disoriented. It didn't even occur to me until just now that - had this been two years ago - I'd just be finishing up my last page push for Script Frenzy. I'd also most likely be no where close to the 100pgs in 30days goal of the event.

Anyway, my off-balance probably isn't being helped by the fact that it's dreary out yet again. April showers bring May flowers and all that junk. I sure and heck hope that means nice weather starting tomorrow!

Hubby and I have more-or-less spent the past week binge-watching Sword Art Online and My Bride is a Mermaid. SAO is filled with so many "feels" while MBiaM is more "OMG, WHAT ARE WE WATCHING" fluff. Nice contrast.

When we're not watching Netflix we're getting lost in the semi-open world of the new game Hubby bought with a gift card he won at work: Lego Marvel Superheroes. Just when I didn't think I could love Lego any more, I start playing these games. I actually finished off Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap about two weeks ago and have been periodically playing Lego Batman ever since. These games are just so goofy, I love them! You have the main missions, and then you can replay the missions while being able to switch through your unlocked characters in order to find more goodies. You can also go through Lego Batman as the villains for a second set of Story and Free Play modes, while in Marvel you can just run around NYC in an open-world format. Hubby and I spend HOURS just running around Manhattan gathering Lego Studs - the currency of the games - and doing side quests.

In fact, that's one of the reasons this is being posted so late.

I was working on a solo-play for Trish since I haven't done anything with her since January. I wrote a quick little blip recapping her recovery after getting banged up in the obstacle course. I then wanted to start up a new location in the Brotherhood section of the board, but I needed to do some quick research for the description of the area. Naturally, this "quick research" lead me to be sidetracked for about 30min. I posted the new location and then was about to role play in it as Trish when my mind went blank. I needed some inspiration, and so I thought "I'll run around NYC as Pyro in order to get inspired for Trish."

Well.... I ended up doing sidequests for three hours before realizing it! Still no inspiration either, awesome. So now I'll have to bring the notebook with me to work and see if I can get my mind to focus while I'm on break.

That's the other thing as of late. My job is becoming more and more stressful. We've had a LOT of people leave work lately. Some retired. Others got better-paying jobs. A couple left for medical/family reasons. One was even fired. Or she quit. We're not quite sure which came first; it was kind of at the same time.

Anyway, this means we're on a skeleton crew at the start of our busy season. I have to run around like a chicken with my head cut off all the time. Add in the lack of diversity when it comes to co-worker options, and we're all getting on each others' nerves at this point. The place is a powder keg!

So when I go on break I haven't been writing for the past month. I just can't focus on anything writing wise. It used to be that writing was a great stress reliever, and then I downgraded to simple puzzles like Sudoku or Word Finds that don't require too much thinking on my part. Right now I'm so stressed that I just spend the fifteen minutes turning my brain off. I slowly eat and drink as I lazily read the promotions work uses as the screensavers for the computers, or I'll read the labels on my food/drink, or I'll actually just color something.

Complete brain shut off.

Not the most desirable thing when you're trying to avoid Zero Days.

I go in to work, I zone out on my break instead of writing ANYTHING, and I finish my shift. I then come home, veg to decompress, and end up spending the entire day on the couch watching anime or playing a video game before I realize where the time went.

Hubby and I nearly forgot about dinner at least twice this week already. Twice! Out of three nights already this week! We are in such desperate need for vacations. I hope my need to just turn off the brain doesn't keep me from being productive my two days off tomorrow and Friday.

Aside from cleaning - perpetually - I want some productivity to be centered around writing. I took a step up from last week. I didn't have a week of zero-days again, but at the same time I didn't really do much more than a few posts on the forum. I'm hoping forcing myself to work out this Trish solo-play is another step in to getting in to my writing rhythm again.

We're also supposed to be getting new hires at work, and so I'm hoping this will help destress that environment too. The first new hire starts tonight, so we'll see how that works.

I've also started thinking about converting X-Future in to an original work some more this week; world building that concept. I'm still struggling with a generic term besides "mutants" since everything I come up with either seems to elevate them or has a demeaning connotation. Maybe I should just use both and that way you can determine the "haters" from the "allies" by how they refer to the mutants. I don't know.

Its stuff like this I'd like to talk over with the writing group, but that all but fizzled out. Omnibladestrike is unmotivated to write. Ronoxym is still MIA aside from one comment on celestialTyrant's status before ghosting again. Finally, Cyhyr is uber introverted and was having difficulty letting others in to her writing process. It seemed to be hindering her more than helping. Ironically though, just before I was going to disband the FB group that Omni started up and officially declaring our group dead, Cy posted a discussion topic. Last I checked I was the only one who responded to her, but it does give me hope. The writing group may not be a good idea for us right now, but perhaps in a few years we'll all be at the right mind set for it to work. In the meantime, we can slowly post helpful tidbits on the group page to keep the concept from dying completely.

So, in the meantime I still have Hubby as a sounding board. Once I have either glasses or my friggen laptop back I can hit up WH frequently again. Perhaps that can help. Now, to just get myself in the mindset to WRITE in the first place.

Until next time - which will hopefully be more productive and on time.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Breaking Through That "I Don't Wanna" Threshold

Alright, I've been putting this off for an hour. I sat here and debated if I could get away with not updating, mainly because I don't have anything to update about. With Easter this past Sunday I've been slacking off with the writing. All zero-days. I felt ashamed to type that.

Then I told myself that it wouldn't get any better if I just continued my week of zeros by ignoring this blog. If I did that then my post next week - if I even had one; it's a slippery slope once I miss one update - would have to include an apology for missing this week, and then an explanation as to why.

Either way, you were going to know about my zero week. Might as well not put it off, right? Bite the bullet, confess, and get myself back on the horse at the same time. If I can push myself past my insecurity, shame, and lack of momentum for this then maybe I can train myself to also do so with my fiction.

My biggest concern for not writing this post, however, was the idea that I had nothing really to talk about. It seemed pointless. It felt like a waste of time - both mine and yours.

Yet, as I forced myself to write that opening line the follow-up quickly came to me. Then the next line, and the next. I'm now up to seventeen sentences and five bite-sized paragraphs. I'm also hoping that I'm still at least mildly entertaining. If nothing else, I'm proving yet again that I'm a flawed human.

See, I'm the same as you with your struggles. Be it writing, exercising, socializing, cleaning, studying, or whatever it is that you wish to accomplish. I'm the same as you. I have good days. I have great days. I have week-long successes. Then I have this week of failures.

You're not alone.

Heck, I didn't even realize I was going to work on something motivational until about a paragraph or so in to this thing, and yet here we are. Now I know that I want to show you how easy it is to get back in to the rhythm of things once you've pushed yourself past that threshold.

One of the MANY comments to Ryan's Self-Help Gold was about exercising. You want to avoid a zero-day? Get on the floor and do one push-up. Just one. It doesn't take that much effort or time, and you accomplished SOMETHING, even if it is just one push-up. Surprisingly, though, once you're on the floor and doing just one you figure "while I'm down here I could probably crunch out a few more." Next thing you know, you've done your full set. All you have to do is cross that threshold.

Same goes for writing. Ali frequently throws out the challenge - both on her blog and in Writers’ Huddle - to set a timer for about five minutes. That's it. Everyone can steal away five minutes a day to write SOMETHING. Even if you just write out a quick paragraph for your latest project. Or you finally jot down a brief overview of your plot. Maybe you use those five minutes to write a simple bio for your protagonist. Whatever. It's going to be brief and it's going to be accomplished in five minutes.

Task is done and you can move on with your life knowing you don't have a zero day.

Yet, once you've written that little bit you tend to keep going. The timer may have gone off, but you're now in the flow. That opening paragraph turns in to a full page, and maybe even the full chapter. The brief plot overview becomes more and more detailed as the story unfolds in your head. The simple bio for your protagonist leads to a bio for your entire cast of characters.

Congratulations. Now you've really gotten somewhere!

Not a writer or someone who has difficulties with exercising motivation? Well, this tactic can work for just about anything.

Bouncing back to Summer's anxiety blog, this girl writes a lot that is surprisingly helpful for even her readers like me who don't have to worry about such mental difficulties. Another super helpful blog post of hers uses the same concept of "bite-size tasks turn in to full project completion", or as Summer puts it "ADHD Cleaning".

The long and short of it is to write down simple tasks that you need to do around the house that can be completed in just a few minutes. Come on, you can spare five minutes to collect all the dishes and bring them to the sink to soak. You can take a ten minute time-out to quickly vacuum the living room. Spending a few minutes to make the bed isn't so hard. So on and so forth. You get the idea. Anyway, you take these simple tasks and you put them on individual note cards or slips of paper. Then just take one task. That's it. Just one. Leave the remaining pile there for "when you feel like it" or the next time you feel guilty enough that you want to take a break to do another task or even for the spouse and/or kids to finish off for you. But after doing that one cleaning task - and seeing the remaining pile on the table or wherever - you feel compelled to do another one. What's another five minutes out of my day? Before you know it the pile is gone and your house is sparkling. YAY! According to Summer's post she and her husband even make a game out of it to see who can complete more tasks first. BRILLIANT!

I'm sure if you think about it long enough you can find a way to apply this to just about any situation you're struggling with. Just break it down in to little bites that have a definitive completion point. That way you don't feel forced to continue because your timer went off but the task isn't done yet. So what if the rest of the living room is a sty, at least everything is dusted. Task complete. Alright, so I may not have done enough of a workout to break a sweat, but I at least got that ONE push-up done. Task complete. Eh, I'll go back and write bios for everyone else eventually, but I at least have the one for my main character done. Task complete. I'll just start up my blog and go "meh, I slacked off and don't have much of an update. Sorry folks, maybe next time." Task complete.

Easy as that.

But once you pass that threshold you feel compelled to keep going for as long as life will afford you to. You don't feel OBLIGATED to keep doing push-ups until your workout is complete. You can stop at any time if you wish, but you feel COMPELLED to keep going regardless. You don't necessarily feel GUILTY about not finishing your chores, but since that one task was so easy why not do another one? You did what you set out to do - one task off of one card - so you can stop whenever and feel proud of your accomplishment. Yet you now have that DRIVE to take another quick card, and then another. You don't feel FORCED to write out the entire plot of your story. You have the broad strokes that you can think about, and that's good enough. Although, now you're EXCITED to keep going in order to let it all spill out of your head.

And me? Well, my simple "I done goofed" blog post that was only going to be a few paragraphs at most turned in to a great lesson once I got in to it. Here it is, an hour later and I'm still writing.

The real trick is forgiving yourself if you slacked off - or if you got WAY too chaotically busy - and didn't try even this "five minute time out" tactic. If - like me this week - you STILL end up with a zero day just buck up and try again tomorrow. Just remember to focus on pushing through next time. Maybe even have a loved one help you out with a friendly daily reminder: "Hey, did you do your five-minute task/single push-up today?"

So join me in pushing through that painful wall of "I don't wanna" - or even the more painful "I can't" - and accomplish SOMETHING today. Even if it's a simple five-minute task, it will still get you back on track with those Non-Zero days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ins and Outs of Creating Gods

Well, here we are on our first OFFICIAL Wednesday update day. Hello, everyone!
I am currently writing this on my new "elevated" bed. In other words: Hubby and I finally have a bed frame and box spring. YAY! Look at us being adults and no longer sleeping on a mattress on the floor! *Ahem* Anyway....

I did mostly researching this week, and so I don't really have much to show to you guys. I'm hoping to change that soonish. My big thing was to use that digital copy of Demigods and Deities I found last week. It has certainly helped a little. I now have a better understanding of roughly how many gods need to be in my pantheons. I also recently hit a realization that should help me better structure them too.

The book suggests breaking down the most basic character classes available in the Player's Handbook. For those not real big on D&D and other such fantasy games, the basic classes are things such as "Fighter" or "Monk" or "Bard" or "Cleric." You get the gist. Well, the book suggests breaking those classes down in to more generic branches such as "Martial Arts" or "Magic Users" and then come up with roughly three deities that would be able to cover the full spectrum of character alignments for each grouping.

Again, if you're unfamiliar with the term "alignment" it's very simple. Every character in the D&D world is somewhere on a nine-point scale between Good and Evil as well as Lawful and Chaotic. Lawful Good people are like your police force. They defend the people, defeat evil that threatens innocents, and follows a strict code. The exact flipside would be Chaotic Evil which are like demonic anarchists. They want nothing else but unorganized pain and torture of every living being. The more innocent, the better. Then you have seven other alignments in between: Lawful Neutral, Lawful Evil, Neutral Good, True Neutral, Neutral Evil, Chaotic Good, and Chaotic Neutral.

Alright, now back to pantheon creation. So, the basic trick is to have three gods with different enough alignments that there is at least one god that a character can pray to given their alignment. For instance, if you have a Lawful Good deity he can be the patron to Lawful Good, Lawful Neutral, and Neutral Good characters. The only restrictions is that the god should have at least ONE element on the scale that is the same as the character - which is why Lawful Neutral and Neutral Good can pray to him as well - and that no part of the alignment opposes the characters. This is why no Chaotic characters would pray to him - it's in opposition with the Lawful side of the god - as well as no Evil characters who would have a problem with the god being Good.

So I have my break-down. Essentially it's just easy to have nine gods - one for each alignment category - and then double or triple up somewhere in order to have a god that fits that particular fighting style. For instance, just having one Lawful Good god for both magic-use and melee seems a bit odd. The god would have a fighting preference, and so he should favor one class type over another; creating the need for at least one more deity within that alignment.

It's also suggested to sprinkle in some deities that are patrons to specific races: halflings, elves, dwarves, gnomes, orcs, and possibly some patrons to the monsters the adventurers will come up against.

So now I have my ranks by way of alignment, class, and race break-down. How do I fill them, though? I feel weird just arbitrarily naming by way of "This Chaotic Good god will be named Rothbar; moving on." I fear missing something and not having the pantheons feel real, which is weird because the likelihood of my readers ever knowing of their existence is slim. But world building is world building, I need to know all because I don't know how it will affect something.

Well, next up on the "creating gods" docket was to make sure the gods all had control of the main 22 Cleric Domains. If you didn't have 22 gods, it was fine as long as they doubled up. For instance, there are only 19 deities in D&D. What is so important about these Domains? Why were they called Cleric Domains? Why 22 of them? Well, the simple answer there is that the 22 Cleric Domains are the different concentrations clerics could take based on the god she followed; hence Cleric Domains. They're so important because if you are replacing D&D's pantheon with your own and not all 22 Domains are covered by your custom gods then a cleric can't choose that path, and the spells specific to that Domain are lost to your campaign. Finally, I believe 22 was an arbitrary number. The creators of D&D did the basic list that included such things as the four elements, good, evil, law, chaos, life, death, etc. They needed at least one domain for each god. Plus, as I said before, some gods had multiple Domains. Obad-Hai, for instance, is the god of nature and so he was obviously in charge of the four elements.

Alright, so I have at least nine gods that should include the 22 Domains. Not crucial to storytelling, but imperative if I want to use Gyateara as a basis for any D&D campaigns I run; which was the whole reason I started creating it in the first place. The easiest way to organize it would be to group like-domains together and hand them to one god. As I mentioned, Obad-Hai is god of nature and so he can cover four domains just by grouping the elements together.

Now that I know what I need in my pantheon, I now need to figure out who these gods are. My biggest thing was getting all nine alignment options. I had this world set up as "pantheons were gods that allied together during the Divine War." So, why would a Chaotic Good god ally herself with a Lawful Evil one?

I could go down the traditional route by way of Greco-Roman or Norse mythology: they are one huge family either by blood or marriage. I didn't want all of my pantheons - I'm planning on having at least four - to become essentially "Four Major God Families Fighting For Control" in terms of the Divine War. I needed another reason for opposing alignments to work together.

I then had my epiphany: Gods are just divine D&D parties. You have your warrior, cleric, magic-user, and rogue. You have differing alignments. You have some overall goal: a quest, if you will. It works. I'd like to thank the webcomic Order of the Stick for that insight.

The comic's creator Richard Burlew periodically sprinkles in reminders that while the party leader Roy is Lawful Good, his longest traveling companion Belkar is clearly Chaotic Evil. Why do these drastically opposing alignments join forces? For one, Belkar is willing to do whatever needs to be done to complete their quest and/or save their hides; things that a Lawful Good character would never fathom of doing. Therefore, Belkar gets to fulfill his bloodlust and Roy gets out of tough scrapes without having to compromise much. Roy understands that the party as a whole is better having someone being his foil. Belkar, on the other hand, couldn't care less as long as he gets to kill - which he does; frequently. Another reason for this pairing? Teaming up with Belkar is the lesser of two evils. It is better to have him as an ally - and possibly curb his destruction - then it is to oppose him and/or let his bloodlust run free and wild.

Burlew went so far as to demonstrate this point in one of his comics. ***Spoiler warning for 444-strips in.***

I'm pretty sure I'll be using a similar tactic. Sure, I'll most likely have family alliances in at least one pantheon, but I think I'm just going to look at my deities as if they were D&D characters instead. Make them mortal first, if you will. If they were an adventuring party that brought in more allies, how would that structure play out? Would there be love interests? Family? Rivals? How was the opposing alignment recruited? Why? Now that the Divine War is over will these opposing alignments and rivals now feud? I'd be alright with that. Every pantheon - including Christianity's - has at least two warring divine powers. Thor vs. Loki. Osiris vs. Set. God vs. Satan. Nearly everyone in the Greco-Roman pantheon was battling against someone else within their ranks. I'm sure if I went in to Aztec or Mayan or Native American religion I'd find at least one god who battled against another. Even in the D&D pantheon there are a few gods that don't play well together.

So anyway, that's my newest weekly goal. I am going to forget that they are supposed to be deities for a week and just come up with characters like I normally would. I have guidelines to help me form the "right" characters, but all I need to concentrate on is building a campaigning party.

Speaking of weekly writing goals, still nothing with the local writing group I started. Omnibladestrike has once again hit the "self-doubt" wall that has crippled him. So his task is to learn how to keep that inner critic in check so he can get back to writing. Even with the mantra of "Dare to be bad" when it comes to his first draft, he can't shut that stupid critic up. Cyhyr has seen my quandaries as to what the group is doing since we've become dormant, but she hasn't responded to anything I've posted. So I'm not sure what's up with her right now. Ronoxym has gone full radio-silence. I haven't seen him even online since we had our Skype session last month.

I know that Ron and Cyhyr have a convention coming up that they're going to with The Bard. It's a weekend-long LARPing session where they will be in-character pretty much the entire time. I know they were working hard on getting their characters ready for that, so maybe that's where they disappeared to.

That being said, I fear that my venture in to running a local writing group crashed and burned fairly quickly. Sad, really, I thought maybe we had something the four of us could be really excited about. We'll see if I can revive the group. I'll keep you posted.
The real thing that's been killing me though about this silence between the four of us is the fact that Ron seems to have vanished from the internet this month. The forum is pretty much dead because he hasn't been on to role-play. I have no clue how his latest venture in writing has been going. Also, I spent two days this week going back through portions of the collab story we have about Devon and Willow; editing it and practically pleading for him to continue on with the story since he hasn't in nearly two months.
It's driving me BONKERS that this story isn't done, and that I can't even come up with my own ending for it since I have no clue what he was planning for the last portion of it.

I guess that's karma for not updating my own stories; especially What Is Truly Meant To Be which hasn't had an update in a year by now. I really need to start using some of my non-zero days to work on that again...

OH! Before I forget, I want to state that it seems I've had a recent flood of new readers lately, and they all appear to be coming from Why is that, you might ask? Well, it seems dear Ali Luke linked me in her post on the 7th: 17 Ways to Make the Most of Your Writing Time - Even When It's Limited. Apparently Ali has joined the "No More Zero Days" bandwagon, and wanted to thank me for the idea. In turn, I made sure to thank Summer for introducing me to the idea in her blog, and Reddit member Ryan for posting the idea in the first place.

The main thing I wanted to convey here, though, is how friggen awesome it is that *I* inspired my own writing mentor with a way to keep up her writing! I'm so ecstatic about this, you don't even understand! Plus, the fact that Ali clearly keeps up with my blog is awesome. The fact that in inspiring her to ban "Zero Days" from her life - and her wanting to pass that along to her readers - means that I'm inadvertently helping other writers is mindboggling. Finally, I just get such a kick out of the fact that this guy Ryan was trying to help out a guy who was feeling bummed out, and it got so much energy online that Summer wrote about his post in her blog about panic attacks, and then I shared the idea as my own personal motivation for writing, and now all of these writers have this tactic idea. The internet is cooky, and I love it! How else would Max have had Ryan's advice? How else would the WORLD get Ryan's advice? How else would information be handed over to such a diverse set of people? I'm in awe.

Anyway, WAY off topic in regards to writing. So, I'll take that as my cue to finish up.

In order to do so, I'd like to conclude with a few words for my former writing group in case they're reading:

Omni, you really need to figure out what is stopping you from writing. Don't tell me "I don't know" or "I'm not sure." Figure it out. Is it lack of drive? Fear of being bad? Intimidation when comparing yourself to other writers? Do you not have the passion you thought you did? Is it because you can't focus? Are you not in a good writing environment? Is this the wrong story for you to tell? What is stopping you!? Do some soul searching to try to figure that out.

Cyhyr, what's going on? Why the radio silence with you two? Was I right? Are you too busy creating your characters? If so, just let me know and I'll stop bugging. Otherwise, give me some sort of heads up as to why you guys seemed to disappear. I'd understand, I'm just confused right now.


Well, until next week. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Writing Recap and Original Stories

I told you guys I was working on this at the same time as the last post! So... hope you enjoy this Double Post Day!

So, this post will be solely about what I've done writing wise in the past two weeks. What exactly I did during my hiatus that wasn't cleaning, crocheting, sewing, or celebrating birthdays.

Well....In regards to writing, I haven't really done much since April hit. Yup, that means another year where I'm not working on Script Frenzy...
Maybe next year....
Anyway, let's backtrack to my March 26th post. I was excited about the new local writing group that I started. I wanted to hit my first week goal of having at least one prose written, and I actually got two done as well as re-worked a third. I was all set for Friday's Skype meeting.

Sadly, Cyhyr wasn't feeling well that night, and so we rushed through her stuff so she could go to bed. Next up was Ronoxym about his newest project. True, he sort of failed his goal of "continuing a Work in Progress before starting a new one" but he stuck with the project he started up during our in-person meeting the week before. That sort of counts, right? Anyway, he has a large cast to his story and he went through all of his characters; well, most of them at least. Once he hit that hour-mark of talking about his story, his characters, and getting feedback it was time to move on to someone else. Omnibladestrike went next. He too has a large cast of characters and he went in to great detail about a lot of them - he's been working on this story and these characters for over a decade by now. He went on for about an hour as well and it was starting to get late.

I never got a chance to talk about my stuff aside from quick insights while giving feedback to Ron and Omni...

I was so excited about my myths and wanted some sort of feedback to see if they seemed alright before posting. Well, Hubby ended up reading them while I was at work that Saturday, gave me few minor notes, and the next day they were posted.

Yup, if I was able to write a blog post on time March 30th I would have had those three tales ready for you all to read. I commented on Facebook that I had them posted, and in the two weeks they've been up I haven't had many reads. Maybe I'll get more via you: my faithful readers.

Anyway, the whole concept of my tales started with me trying to figure out how Amara's world fit with the world Gyateara that I created for my NaNo story a few years back. The two tales were in different countries and most likely on different continents, so the fact that the two had completely different pantheons wasn't that hard to grasp. Think of all the different religions we have in our world; most of them regional and then spreading out with human migration. The trick with Gyateara though is that the gods aren't part of religion per se; they are actual beings and the inhabitants have proof that they exist.

If the citizens have proof that the gods exist then why don't they all worship/believe in the same mass of gods? Why do the humans in the NaNo story believe in only The Four Sisters while Amara has never heard of them? That's when I came up with the idea that the gods were given different sections of the globe to govern over, and promised to stay out of the domains of the other gods. This would explain the isolation of the characters and why only certain gods were known only in certain locations. Problem now became wondering why the world was sectioned off in the first place.

I then came up with the idea of the large population of gods all fighting over how to rule Gyateara. There was a war over it and SOMEONE had to eventually step in and suggest that they just share via splitting the world. Each pantheon of gods would take a property equal to the power they controlled: large pantheons could control huge masses of land while The Four Sisters - the smallest pantheon - had a series of islands similar to The United Kingdom or Japan.

I then wondered who this lone voice was that created the truce among the warring gods. I named my first god - outside The Four Sisters - and was intrigued by her. I then wrote up a fable about her. It started out as her being the Goddess of Order and she had a twin brother who was the God of Chaos. They'd be two sides of the same coin constantly at odds with each other, but also appreciating the world's need for the other sibling. When I told Hubby my concept of my newest tale he informed me that while he liked the God of Chaos, my original goddess sounded more like a True Neutral character instead of a Lawful Good one. He also pointed out that my God of Chaos wasn't inherently evil - a true counter to a Lawful Good goddess. We talked it out some more and came to the conclusion that my original goddess from the creation story was actually the mother of the twin gods of Order and Chaos. Neither son was inherently "good" or "evil", so it worked out the way I wanted.

After I was done with those two tales I couldn't focus on anything else besides working on these pantheons. I went back and tried to tweak the fable of The Four Sisters so it sounded more original and less like a blatant Legend of Zelda rip-off. Hubby once again helped a great deal with that.

The three stories can be found both on Deviant Art as well as on my Fiction Press account: my first uploads there!

Here, check them out!
"The Divine War: The Creation of Gyateara"

"Ardista: The Neutral Mother"

"The Four Sisters: Creating the Northern Isles"

I wanted to work more on the vast number of gods that rule over Gyateara. I actually went to the FB group page that Omni started up for our writing group and declared that as my new weekly goal; since we had to cut the Skype meeting short none of us stated what our weekly goal would be.

I wasn't really sure where to go next with the pantheon though. I had been trying to work on this project for about three months - off and on - but the above three stories was all I had to show for my efforts. Hubby thought his friend The Bard had the D&D book Demigods and Deities - a book that helps players come up with such creatures - and suggested that I borrow the book at our next LARP session. Said session happened to be the same Saturday that Hubby beta-read my tales, and so I thought it would be perfect. I wouldn't skip a beat! I'd post the three stories on Sunday, read some of the book while Hubby was on his overnight shift, and then I'd breeze through my weekly goal!

Sadly, it turned out that he didn't have the book. Another friend of Hubby's was the owner, but he had donated all of his D&D books to the local library when he stopped playing. Even though I live next to said library, I've been a lazy lump on a log and haven't even set up a library card in the 2 1/2yrs that I've lived here. Guess THAT should be my next weekly goal....

Although, ironically, I DID just find a link for a PDF version of the book when I googled it to try to find a link for this posting. Guess I know what I'm doing with the rest of my week - well, aside from getting that library card.

Anyway, I tried to brainstorm more on my own, but cleaning and finishing the pillow for my niece took precedence. Plus - as I stated - I had no clue where to go next. It was easy to start with a Creation Story, and that brought about the one goddess Ardista. I then wanted to know more about her and why she was the one to call for peace. That's how I came up with the next tale of her and the idea of twin gods: Order and Chaos. The third tale was just a re-work of a story I had for years now. But now what? The only thing I could think of was to work out more about the mother of the Four Sisters, however I couldn't really think of anything.

Didn't really matter though, since we didn't have a writing group meeting this past week. We didn't even talk about possibly having a meeting this past week. Technically we haven't talked about having a meeting THIS WEEK either, so I need to get on that.

Guess that means my To Do list for today is:
Announce Blog Updates
Do Laundry
Read Demigods & Deities PDF to work on pantheons more
Stop being a bum and get a library card
Watch Captain America 2: Winter Soldier at the local one-screen theater for only $5 a ticket!

Yup. Today's gonna kinda rock.

Still Alive Over Here

Yup, still alive. Sorry about the unexpected mini-hiatus. It's been really crazy lately. As predicted - and to my one smart aleck cousin: it takes 3seconds to predict and 1hour to write so... there... - I didn't have any time to work on my blog either this past Sunday or the one previous.

Once upon a time Sundays used to be the perfect day to update my blog. My husband does a once-a-week overnight shift from late Saturday in to Sunday morning, and I would typically have insomnia while he was at work. Something about him not being in the house when I tried to go to sleep.... So I'd stay up almost the full eight hours he was working. Awake in a quiet house, not wanting to leave my bed in case I could lull myself to sleep, and nothing to do but to stare blankly at the walls usually resulted in me working on something via my laptop.

If I couldn't get my blog done before Hubby came home - for whatever reason - I then had Sunday afternoon to write. The house was still quiet while Hubby finally crashed after his long day. Before I started working I would use Sundays to either write, clean, and/or play video games. This is how Sundays became my official "update day."

Over the past year situations have changed. With my laptop now dead I only had two options for Sunday Insomnia nights. Option one: stay up on the desktop; which wasn't ideal since it kept me from my bed and further prevented any sleep I might have gotten Plus I was killing my shoulders, back, and eyes straining to sit and type at a desktop while sleep slowly set in. Option two: Swipe Hubby's laptop; which is an older model so it's big, bulky, not as comfortable to type on while laying down, and has to be plugged in at all times since it is too old to hold power in its battery anymore. Neither option is the most ideal.

My insomnia is waning as well. I don't know if it's my body finally getting used to the routine or if I'm just so exhausted from the rest of the week, but I've been passing out only an hour, two, maybe three after Hubby goes in to work. Granted, that's still enough time to work on a blog post, but for me that's only BARELY enough time. Plus, if I can manage to fall asleep even FASTER so I can get a full night's rest in, I'd rather take that then push to get a blog post up.

Finally, with Hubby's work days getting later and later my window for not only posting before noon on Sundays, but posting at all before I go in to work myself is getting smaller. Most Sundays I just don't have time if I actually sleep. My routine has become: Take Hubby in to work, stay awake for another three hours tops, pass out until I get the "I'm done, come pick me up" call, fetch Hubby, have something to eat and snuggle for a little until he passes out, do some light cleaning, go to work, come home and crash.

WEDNESDAYS. Wednesdays on the other hand seem to be the new "perfect" day for blog updates. I'm sure things will change as soon as I put this out there - because that's how my life works - but for nearly a year now I've had Wednesdays off about 80% of the time, and when I do work Wednesdays it tends to be a closing shift.

Meanwhile, Hubby has his opening shifts on Wednesdays. I'm up and have him to work at 6am, and then I have four or five hours of a quiet house before I have to go pick him back up. Having roughly from 10:30am on to do whatever I need done that day, I am more than willing to use those four hours of alone time to work on my blog. It seems to have been good for my writing momentum in the past.

Maybe I've found my key "writing time": first thing in the morning for a few hours. That way I can justify that I have "the rest of the day" to do whatever else I need - cleaning, exercising, socializing, crafting project, hanging with the Hubby, etc - and I won't feel guilty about taking a few hours to write.

In the past, if I take a "time out" to write in the middle of the day I feel a touch guilty about it. Sure, I accomplished something that might push me further towards my goal of a professional writer, but at what cost? Is the house still a mess since I spent four hours writing instead of laundry, dishes, or dusting? Did I miss the small window of socializing with Hubby between his shift and mine? Could I have completed that crocheting project that I need done for a gift? No matter what, I always sort of feel like my time writing should have been spent doing something more productive. However, I don't have this guilt when I get the writing done first thing in the morning.

I'm also pretty creative later in the day, but I rarely get around to utilizing that time now that I'm figuratively shackled to my desktop. I either "run out of time" doing all the things I'd feel guilty "neglecting" while writing mid-day, or I get caught up in a movie/game and completely lose track of time until I'm about ready to pass out, or I'm suckered in to watching my normal prime-time shows instead of writing. It's rare that I have the discipline to stop whatever I'm doing at about 8pm, ignore the TV, and use the evenings to write.

So, yeah, I think first thing in the morning - if I'm not a slacker and can actually get out of bed prior to 8am on days I'm not opening - might be my "writing sweet spot". Add in Wednesdays Off and I think I have my new update days!

Alright, I'm going to make it official now:


Moving along....

So, what is up with the hiatus?

Well, as mentioned, Sundays have flipped from "perfect day" to write a blog post to "no way in hell am I getting this done".... So, that explains why I wasn't able to update on March 30th or April 6th. What about this past Wednesday? Well, I missed out on utilizing last week's Wednesday Off because I spent it on two other slightly more crucial things.

April 5th is now a jam-packed Birthday Extravaganza day! Not only is it my one aunt's birthday, but it is also celestialTyrant's birthday - who might as well be the brother I never had - and more importantly, it happens to be the day my niece was born!
So this past Saturday Hubby and I got to celebrate our niece's first birthday!

Once we were done with the early-day celebrations, we then had CT crash for the night in order to celebrate HIS birthday too - kind of a big deal since B'day celebrating isn't high on his family's to-do list. They wish happy birthday and have a special dinner and whatnot, but they never really have a blow-out. So that's what Hubby and I are for!
Terrific, but that was all on SATURDAY. How does this explain the lack of updating on WEDNESDAY?

Well, we had some major prepping to do for Saturday. For those who have been a reader since at least Christmas might recall my crazy-long crocheting project. I made a baby blanket for my niece. Owls are her nursery theme and so I made a tree with owls sitting on a branch.
Sadly, I didn't plot everything out quite right, and so I didn't have enough space for two "adult" owls and one "baby" owl. I unoffically decreed that the baby owl was my niece and the larger owl was my sister-in-law. I felt bad about not having Hubby's brother-in-law represented in owl form since he dotes on his little girl. Therefore, before I even finished the blanket I decided I needed to make a companion pillow that has just "baby" and "Daddy" owl together.

I wanted it done for my niece's first birthday, but I once again miscalculated how long it would take me to make the thing. Especially when I have to hand-stitch the backing to it, hem it, and then stitch the hem as a boarder.

Even after forsaking my blog update on Wednesday I still only managed to finish two out of the four sides by Saturday.... So I brought the pillow back home to complete. If only I had those extra two days that it kept me to finish - or if only I thought far enough ahead to start two days sooner...
Now to get started on the stuffed bunny I'm making for my bestie's newborn boy...
Anyway, last Wednesday wasn't completely used to work on a pillow. This place was a disaster due to my neglecting to do chores in favor of working on the gift. I had laundry and dishes piled up. I couldn't see my diningroom table. The living room was a maze of snack tables and other displaced items. It was a mess. So Hubby and I rolled up our sleeves and cleaned house. There went the rest of my writing opportunity last week.

I was debating working on the blog leading up to my Wednesday Off and even leading up to this past Sunday. That way I just needed to do some quick proofreading/editing before posting. I was even going to do so this past Monday and Tuesday to get the update ready for today. Work, cleaning, celebrating CT's birthday, and finishing that darn pillow took up pretty much every free minute.

Thus, the unexpected hiatus.

This also explains why ChibiSunnie is back to waiting around for me to beta-read the rest of her stories, why I haven't been able to really give Omnibladestrike more input on his story, why I haven't really focused on the local writing group, and why I've finally hit a string of Zero Days.

Hopefully today starts a new string of Non-Zero Days. Perhaps I should put up a sign somewhere - a small one - that has the ongoing count of Non-Zero Days in a row. Kind of like what companies do for "Days without an accident." That way I can see how long my streak has been going, and in the corner I can write down my previous "longest run"; a goal for me to attempt to beat.

I kind of like that idea... I just might have to do that....

Anyway, I haven't been COMPLETELY slacking off since my last update. As I stated two weeks ago, I was working on the Creation Story of Gyateara. This post is getting insanely long as is, so I'll save the details on my writings over the past two weeks for another post that I'm actually working on right now.

So, I hope this Double Post Day is the start of my new Wednesday Noon Updates schedule. A schedule I can keep... in theory.

Until next week!