Friday, February 24, 2017

The Victor's Blade Update: Book 1 Draft Complete

Yep. Just got done with the latest draft of The Victor's Blade, Book 1 out of 3. One down, two to go.

I can't believe I'm even saying that.

This is the fourth major draft of the book that hasn't been lost to a computer dying and lack of backup. It clocks in at over 500 pages, but the exact count varies depending on which computer you're using to view it.



(Sorta. It's still got a long way to go to clear up the boring parts and clear up a few more plot holes.)

It's hard to describe how I'm feeling right now. I commented to a few people that I wonder if I'm just in shock. I honestly thought I'd feel a lot more excited than I do.

(Maybe I just feel too exhausted from this unbearably long week to be excited.) :P

Months--heck, years--of work to hit this major milestone. It really is unbelievable. I feel kind of proud of getting this far, of actually sticking to it even on the days that were hard--and not beating myself up when I needed to take a few days off. Sticking to this project has been such a challenge for so long--which is why it's taken so many years to get this far. So the fact that I finally did it... that's pretty rewarding for me. I like to see that I've grown as a writer... and as a person.

I wish I could give you a snippet to whet your appetite, but honestly, at this point I'm still too scared to spoil something.

I wish I could tell you how good it is or how excited I am for you to read it, but again, I'm still in a bit of shock! I'll let you know when I start reading through it on my own whether it's any good. :P

My mind keeps whirling ahead to all the work I still have left to do on this series--or even on this Book 1. I have to remind myself to not "Perfectionize" it; it's never going to be perfect. I have to keep reminding myself to take a break now, to pat myself on the back and rest for a bit.

A few weeks ago, when I realized how close I was getting to the end, I told myself I'd probably take a week off from writing to give myself a fresh start. I think it's going to be hard to keep that. I'll either feel guilty I'm not working, or... I might even miss the writing sensation.

I might even miss the discipline. A little bit.

What have I become.

Anyway, really hope this helps inspire all of you out there who have been working hard at something--or even are just in the dreaming stage of something awesome.

Thanks so much for all your support, guys. I love you all! Group hug!

(...I couldn't find a good group hug picture, so here, have a gender-ambiguous silhouette against a starry sky backdrop. That symbolizes me hugging you wherever you are in the world. Ooh! And it can even work if you're on like, Mars or something!

Jeannette, you are a genius.)

Photos (in order of appearance):

From Him, To Him

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Problems (and Possible Processes?) of Prioritizing

More like "Pains from Trying to Prioritize and Realizing I Can't."

I have a lot of priorities right now. God is the biggest (at least I'm trying to make him my biggest priority). But then there's also trying to finally lose those last few pounds--which requires daily workouts. And there's my book, of course. But there's also work. And singing at church. And then, after all that, to make sure I'm not killing myself, I have to make sure I fit in some relaxing activities just for me.

It's hard to balance so many priorities that are actually important to me. It seems like every time I try to focus on one of those priorities, I let another one slip. Want to make sure you get those workouts in? Oops, now there's not enough time to work on The Victor's Blade. Want to get that writing in? Oops, now there's no time to work out.

I basically balance priorities as well as I juggle: not a pretty picture. Something--and usually that means everything--ends up on the ground.

"So don't do so much!" I hear people say. "Lighten the load."

But all these things are important to me. If I were to give up one, well... I wonder if I'd really be doing myself any favors.

Not working out? Well, if I cut down my workouts, then I'll never get down to a healthy weight. Don't work on the book so much? Then I'm never going to realize my dream (and get out of the realm of working a single part-time job). And don't get me started on dropping my time with God. My Bible studies may take a good chunk out of the morning, but I've learned the hard way that cutting it short leaves me in a royal wreck by the afternoon.

It's frustrating.

But I do think that the more I try, the more I'm getting better at it. Some days, yes, I fall behind and I have to cut something from the routine. But this week has actually been pretty good. Maybe I can get the hang of maintaining all these vital priorities after all.

I think there are three keys steps to prioritizing:

#1: Actually prioritize.

Know what's most important to you. Study yourself. What do you need to do to function well--sleep more? Eat better? Make more relaxing use of your free time? Actually set aside time to regularly work on that novel? Make sure those important things get added into your schedule.

#2: Let yourself be human.

Give yourself grace. Sometimes, you just had a bad night and needed some extra z's and now your whole schedule is out of whack. It's okay if you have to drop some things. You're not perfect. Not every day is going to work out the way you wanted. Besides, tomorrow might be a totally different story and might make you forget all about today's rough spots. It's not worth getting bent out of shape over and beating yourself up about.

#3: Check out your attitude.

How are you feeling? Frustrated? Frazzled? Why? What sparked those feelings? What chain of events started your grumpy mood?

Just stopping for a second to examine my emotions often--not always, but often--makes a world of difference to my bad day. One little flake of irritation can snowball into an avalanche for me, but looking at why I feel this way helps me to acknowledge, "Hey, that bothered me." Usually it's nothing I can change or do anything about ("I had a bad dream that kept me up all night"), but just the fact I'm acknowledging the fact it bugged me often helps me shift my attitude. I can let go of something bad or annoying and choose to make a fresh start that very second.

It's never too late to make a fresh start on the day...

...Just like it's never too late to make a change in your life! Who says new year's resolutions are just for making (and breaking) in January? ;)

From Him, To Him