Introducing Project 52: **Dinners with Caroline**

Drum Roll Please…

***I am imagining you engaging in a vigorous drumroll wherever you are reading***

 

Project52DWC

 

I’ve decided to stick with the original name for this project, Dinners with Caroline. Planning this project has either gone super well or super – bleh? I have known that this is the project I wanted to work on since I started bouncing ideas off of my loved ones, but I didn’t know how I wanted to write it. After drafting the introduction posts and figuring out the format of the story posts, it became clear to me that this project was always going to be called Dinners with Caroline because there is no better name. It perfectly sums up what the content of this story covers, even though it doesn’t actually tell you, the reader, anything.

Excitement is starting to build with each day and when I happened across this color scheme by accident tonight… I just settled into a place of comfort. This project is mine and I’m not just excited, I’m not just ready – I am confident.

When my Patreon launches – one of the things you will gain access to are all of the doodles and color drafts that I put together before settling on this color scheme and font. Spoiler: I did not originally want to go for a grayscale appearance. But, I mean, it looks pretty good – despite my limited art skills. Right?

So that’s it, then.

Dinners with Caroline.

Are you ready?

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What the heck is Project 52: Title Pending?

So – if you’re here, you’ve noticed the change in my blog’s appearance and the sudden disappearance of my sidebar pages. There’s no more separation amongst my past works because I’m working on a project that will take one year to complete (maybe 13 months, if I participate in 2019’s Nanowrimo Challenge). All of my works can now be read through the “All Writing” page, which will present my stories from the most recent to the oldest (I don’t recommend reading them in that order, however, because my writing has improved over the last three years significantly).

Making that commitment is a pretty big deal – and if you read my stuff – you probably want to know more than what I’ve shared on the main page of my blog. Project 52? Title Pending? Financial Backing? January 2019? That’s a lot of information that is really vague.

In response to those silent questions you’re not asking me, I’m going to give you three more bits of information about what this project is going to look like and what I’m hoping to accomplish with it.

1. 52 Weeks, 12/13 Months – Regular Posting!

With this new project, it is my plan to post every week. Weekly stories work best for the kind of life I am leading right now, and I felt the most fulfilled with my writing when it was cohesive, as I was doing when I abruptly stopped my “Writing the World” project. My plan with this project is for every post to belong to the same universe and the same characters. This project will follow the same two characters from the beginning to the end with a plot.

Right now, I’m looking at six posts per month. There will be a weekly story that you can read in the format that you would expect, however, there will be biweekly posts as well that are meant to read as transcripts. It will be similar to that of a script for a film or television show, or perhaps a hearing in court. I don’t want to explain much further because it could give away the specifics, and we’re not close enough to January 2019 for that level of hype yet.

I’m committed to this project and have already started planning the “introduction posts” that will premiere the main characters and hook readers into their stories. The excitement I feel is scary awesome and I simply cannot wait to share this story with you! It is going to be so much fun to create!

2. Love & Loss

Without giving too much away, this project is going to deal with grief, primarily, and the healing power of love when a loss has been suffered. Death is something that has always plagued my life, it seems, and with my father having passed away earlier this year, this is a topic that keeps popping up in everything I write – this struggle of loss.

Loss can be experienced in many different ways, of course, and it’s a feeling that everyone can relate to in some way. We as a people lose things that we love, lose things that we care about, and that makes my potential audience very large. I like that idea because I want to craft characters that people can read about and “see” in the mirror. Good storytelling always comes back to good characters, and good characters make readers keep reading.

As for the romantic aspect of the story, while it will be a secondary plot, I have always believed that love heals. Finding the love you have in the world, be it something you love doing, or someone loving you, or loving someone else, it gives you something to hold on to and enjoy. Finding love can be the difference between falling apart when grief is overwhelming or rising above and wielding that grief to achieve more in your life. It is my intention to showcase that in this project.

3. Financial Backing for Creators

I watch a lot of YouTube because I am broke. I don’t want cable, but I couldn’t afford it even if I wanted it. My television is cheap, cheap, cheap. Hulu, Netflix, Crunchyroll, YouTube, Prime TV – free or cheap. As such, I watch a good number of YouTuber’s content that is heavily paid for and sponsored through Patreon.

Many people in my life have done Kickstarters to fund a project or get a project started. Other people have utilized GoFundMe to raise money for families and organizations in need where I live and work. These platforms give people and companies with good intentions who have befallen hard times an opportunity to succeed.

And, despite my continuously saying that we’re fine, we can afford to just scoot by until I’m traditionally published, that’s – just – not – true. I’m going to breaking my back to keep this schedule, which is fine, but I’m ready for my writing to support me. For this reason – I’ve got a Patreon account set up and waiting for the launch day to arrive. I haven’t decided if I’ll launch the week before I roll my project out or a week after some of the content has come out, but it’ll be launched.

The idea is that if Project 52 grows and captures the hearts of readers, then maybe I’ll be able to go back to working one job – and then maybe I’ll be able to do this full time! Writing and working from home will allow me to more efficiently and effectively pursue traditional publishing for my Nanowrimo novels, and create a brand that includes ALL OF US, since, at the end of the day, I write so that we can feel connected. If I relate to this, and you relate to this, then we have found our common ground. It brings us together and puts us on a level playing field in this crazy arena we call ‘life.’

With any luck, the Patreon won’t scare anyone off, and will also, maybe, hopefully, work…

Thanks for reading this update, thanks for being here. I’ll share more sometime next week to talk more about what I want to accomplish with this project and why I think it matters enough to be read by others. Until then, please remember

You are loved.

Yours always,

 

–ab

3 Completed Days of Nanowrimo

I should’ve collaborated more with my buddy Ouranose, who is participating in Nanowrimo with me this year. We were going to do weekly updates with our progress through the month together in a similar format, but that’s kind of gone with the wind. She posted her first update, which can be found here, and so here I am, posting mine late.

Because I’m a true and proper mess.

So – here’s my week one update.


 

Week One:  November 1st – 3rd

Nanowrimo Week One Projection:  5,001 (Based on the daily 1,667 to finish in 30 days)

Word Goal:   5,750

Word Count Achieved:  7,016

One thing I learned:  I was reminded that having a plan is nice, but writing what feels organic with the actual content that’s coming out of my mind is much better for the piece. I always get discouraged when my outline gets derailed early, but I always find a way to bring it all back together in a far more cohesive way than I originally thought. The battle was much shorter than usual, too, which means my confidence is continuing to grow!

One thing I want to improve on for Week 2:  Stop getting discouraged by the word counts of other people. Firstly, I am a huge believer in “quality” over “quantity” when it comes to writing. I would rather write the best piece I can rather than try to compete with the numbers of my friends and competitors. At the end of the day, when I have a clear mind, I know what I’m writing is good. And that’s all I need to worry about.

One thing I did really well:  Recognizing when something doesn’t work. When the music I was listening to didn’t work, I changed it. When the story wasn’t working as I designed it, I changed it. If I wasn’t able to sit still or focus, I changed my environment in some way so that I could be comfortable. I usually have a pretty good grasp of when I can do something and when I need to change something, and that worked out very well for me the first “week” of Nanowrimo.

Week Two Hopes:  We’re already well into the second week of Nanwrimo, the first full week, and I know it’s been rough. My hopes at the beginning of the week were to write every day. My life is overwhelmingly busy and I struggle to prove that I’m worth as much as my fellow writing buddies. This was going to be a rough week because of the obligations I had prior to November 1st coming into play, so being able to write when I am too tired to even get off the couch would be hard. That’s my first hope, is that I can just get that writing every day. I missed the update badges last year due to four missed days at key times, so I want to redeem myself on that front as well.

My second hope is just to continue learning how to adapt and adjust. I had so many ideas and plans and “reels” for how this sequel was supposed to go, and I keep changing it and adjusting it, and it’s nothing like what I originally thought it would be. But I love where it is and where it’s going. I want to continue relying on that part of my brain so that I don’t get stuck. I haven’t been super stuck yet, so avoiding that would be absolutely darling.

Week Two Goal:  12,750

Nanowrimo Week One Projection:  11,669 (Based on the daily 1,667 to finish in 30 days)


 

Feel free to share about your Nanowrimo experiences, what’s working for you and what’s not. Share your advice or ask for advice! I won last year early after missing the target word counts the first three weeks. I might have a good thing or two to share with you, probably. Post quotes. Whatever you want – so long as it is helpful, engouraging, and kind!

Yours,

–ab

What are you reading?

~ ..,,;;::= THIS POST REQUIRES PARTICIPATION =::;;,,.. ~


I was just on Facebook, scrolling through my feed after having a mental breakdown about copyediting services and prices. Participating (and winning!) NaNoWriMo 2017 has essentially fried my brain in the absolute best way possible. One of those posts asking “what are you currently reading” popped up and it gave me an idea.

So I want to know what you are currently reading! I don’t want to know just the title, though. I want you to give me the title, the author, and a catchy one sentence summary that you think best describes the plot.

Here’s mine to start us off:

I am currently reading: Kids of Appetite.

The author is: David Arnold.

This book is basically about: a young man who embarks on a journey to spread his father’s around his city but gets implicated in a murder along the way.


 

You can copy and paste form below into your comments and let me know what you’re reading! This is a fun way to find recommendations for the winter season, best known for cuddling up in your blankets and reading without judgment for staying indoors all day. It is also a fantastic exercise to get us thinking creatively about work that isn’t ours.

Thanks for your participation, recommendations, and active reading! It’s people like you that keep me motivated to write (even when I feel like I’m never writing/posting enough).

Yours,

–ab


 

I am currently reading:

The author is:

This book is basically about:

Boy Does Time Fly… Like, Too Fast

Dear Readers,

Somehow my dream to prove I’m a capable writer through the art of blogging died – because somehow I can’t make myself compromise the real-life demands of traditional employment with my goals set in stone to write professionally. To all the authors and bloggers making a livable wage from writing *while* being employed elsewhere – lend my your strength!

My blog sort of died (yes, I would say died) in about a year. It really is terribly difficult to maintain a schedule when you have a job which maintains zero set scheduling. As I take another financial risk to have a less demanding position with a set schedule fulfilling part-time hours – MAYBE, and I don’t dare to say more than MAYBE, I will be able to get back into the writing I’d intended for this blog.

I think, unfortunately, I will have to create fresh projects to make it relevant once again. Though I am saddened at my failure, I do feel new life breathing over me. When I go long periods of time without writing it is as if I have lost a part of myself. I cannot exist without a venue to write and share the creative words bouncing around in my brain.

Writing is a lifestyle – and it has got to be my lifestyle.

Before ending this post, allow me to take a moment to thank the few people who have been straggling about my blog and reading bits of my work. Those lone views and likes are what keep my alive – honestly. It reminds me of my purpose and my aspirations when I feel surrounded by darkness. Knowing that somehow, someway, someone has found their way onto my blog – that sends a light into my life. So thank you for all that you do simply by browsing my content. You are fantastic, you are, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Until the next post,

Yours,

-ab

An Update on How Being Grown Up Really Sucks

Dear Readers:

When will I stop apologizing for being so irregular in my posting?

Or maybe the better question is when will I stop being irregular in my posting in the first place?

Being a grown up sucks. It means being smart, cautious, and – ugh – responsible! Writing is something I want to make a career out of someday but as a parent and a wife I also have to make sure that life is stable right now, and that everyone is happy right now. As such, that sort of means that things that make me happy fall to the wayside.

Between soccer, bowling, cub scouts, work, and that various volunteer projects I take on – it’s a surprise I have time to do anything self-fulfilling! If I’m really lucky I might get to watch some cartoons with the family during dinner time but every other minute of my day is pretty much taken up. In just the last week alone I’ve gone from just a wife, mother, and writer to a team manager, an assistant coach, a volunteer cub scout leader, a sort of counselor for nearly everyone I know, and personal assistant. It’s amazing how many different roles we can occupy for what is generally a fairly small group of people.

I’ve been reduced to living my life out of a planner just to know what I’m doing each day. I never used to need one – not even in high school! I was always Miss-have-it-together. I went from organized to “booked.”

Actual “booked” too.

A family member called me at work to discuss an important family issue… to which I replied – “I only have a half hour window between work and soccer.” That’s the kind of person I’ve become these days. I feel like a major douche wad without a matching six-digit salary to justify my lifestyle.

Long, whining story short – I feel like a joke. I prioritize contests slightly ahead of my blogging to help build a publication portfolio, but both have somehow fallen back to the bottom of the totem. As always – I’m trying to find the time to put true effort into the work I want to publish on here. I have a “Writing the World” Wednesday entry that I’ve been sitting on for weeks but haven’t been able to structure enough for posting – and a contest entry that received positive feedback but I’ve been wondering if I didn’t want to make it into a series for the blog. I haven’t forgot how to blog and I haven’t forgot the dozens of you that follow me because you like my work. I’m trying.

Forgive me?

Yours,

ab

Missing In Action.

Dear Readers Who Are Still Here:

My unexpected absence from my blog the last two weeks was unintentional. I always feel obligated to provide an explanation. Maybe you don’t care; maybe you care enough to read this post; maybe you’ve been dying for an answer. Really, though, a big part of this post is just to satisfy the fact that I want to note what’s been going on for me that has continually disrupted my ability to remain a regular poster.

Firstly, it is extremely difficult to find time to write in a busy life. Some people are busier and accomplish more, while others are struggling to get anything accomplish with fewer “to dos” than I’ve got. We’re all facing different battles – and all of our activities are warring for the same time slots. I’ve found that my job, while part-time, requires far more of my life than I could have ever anticipated. Some people tell me that this is a good sign. They tell me that it’s because I’m such a great manager that work breaks its way into my life in a dozen different ways. Aside from having a job – I’m a mother shuffling a little boy around from activity to activity almost every single day. I am proud, although exhausted, to see that my son has the same drive to be excellent in everything he does in his life. I know that a brilliant future awaits him – even if my future is filled with very long naps.

Secondly, depression makes life stop. It suffocates you. It blackens your field of vision. It grabs ahold of every bone in your body and squeezes until the fractures become too many and your body crumbles under the weight of permeating sorrow. Depression doesn’t go away because you will it to do as much. Depression doesn’t cease to exist if you’re medicated. It is just an unfortunate presence that not everyone can be free of – and I happen to be one of those people. For a couple of weeks I’ve been feeling lost, hopeless, aimless, and exhausted from all my self-loathing. It’s like being caught in a maze with no exit. How can you write a clear sentence if you can’t even think about something with a clear mind?

Lastly, anxiety. I know that two of these three “bullet point” pertain to mental illness and that probably sounds like a copout to some people. The unfortunate reality is that mental illness is devastatingly good at deterring people from accomplishing simple tasks. As my schedule is determined to make me forget that I have a passion for writing, my depression is in opposition trying to remind me that I once loved to write ahead of vital activities such as eating and sleeping! In those tiniest moments as I am able to pull back and look at these two distinct states of mind (and of life, really) – it stresses me out to see that I’m perpetually setting myself up to fail. I am a control freak and I often have to be able to plan and dictate the outcome of nearly any scenario which involves my future. Scatterbrained scheduling and disruptive depression make it impossible for me to overcome any anxiety I feel by failing to reach personal goals.

Being inside my head is most certainly the equivalent to being inside of a tornado of glass.

Writing the World Wednesday is the only thing I’ve been able to keep up with even close to regularly since starting my blog. After I deleted my Tumblr blogs on accident a month ago, I haven’t really been able to build a following online that supplement that small readership I’ve built here. Spiraling downward from there, I found myself saying I was going to give up on trying to get published. Every day I would find a new way to discourage myself from even trying. If I wasn’t discouraging myself then I was finding yet another thing that would prevent me from being able to meeting my writing goals.

I never know what’s going to happen at work and that sucks. There’s no other way to put it. My personal life is similar to organized chaos. If I want to succeed in these conditions then I have to find a way to break free of this constant self-depravation. To do that I have identify the tools that hinder my growth and make myself the master of those things.

I want to start branching out into an area that I’ve not quite touched base on yet with Writing the World: religion. This requires a level of research and understanding that I’ve not yet acquired. I hope to post this coming Wednesday – and Thursday – and Friday! I need to get back to doing my short fiction pieces for the days I’m off of work. What better way to get back on the horse? Small steps – one at a time.

I have always appreciated your readership, and I will always think fondly of your for your support. What I did to deserve anything so humbling and kind is a mystery to me. Here’s to a brighter future!

Yours,

ab xoxox