fireflys_locket: (Valerie's Happiness - fireflys_locket)
It's a new year, and I'm actually pretty excited about that. It's freeing to put away the complications of a long year and start fresh again. I felt pretty good at the beginning of last year, too. But this year might feel even better. Maybe there was just more I wanted to let go of. Truthfully, you can start fresh at any time, but this is a really powerful time to try.

I wrote out a post about what I wanted for 2013, and I decided to look back at it now and think about how the year went.

I've said this before, but I think 2013 was by far my best year when it comes to writing. I finished two first drafts in the first three months of the year. It was an emotional, bittersweet experience. For a while it was mostly painful, but I can look back with pride. (I put everything I have into writing first drafts, so it's definitely worth something at the end.) I spent most of the rest of the year working on the second drafts, resulting in about 15 nearly ideal chapters of fiction. In October, I took a little break from revision to start a new story. I also finished the first draft of my half of Spun of Silver, and got started on its second draft. And got very, very close to finishing the first draft of Miss Masquerade.

And almost all of that work was done without putting pressure on myself to constantly be getting stuff done. I didn't make sure I had something to show Jill every week. I chose to follow what I felt most called to work on at that moment... whether that was writing, revising, outlining, building houses, making Sims, sorting music (which sometimes leads to amazing new ideas), or even just relaxing and taking in inspiration. And it led to my most productive year ever.

I also did a lot of organizing in 2013. I didn't completely finish clearing a space for a new bookshelf and DVD cabinet, but I put a slow, consistent effort into sorting through stuff. I get really anxious when it comes to empty spaces in my room and letting go of possessions, so there was really no way to get this done more quickly. And I'm proud of myself for just getting this far. It may not seem like a big deal from the outside, but inside, it's a huge deal, trust me.

There were some things I didn't do so well with, though...

Health-wise, 2013 was a total flop. Well, I didn't get super sick or anything like that, which I'm quite thankful for. But I probably put the least amount of effort into eating healthy and exercising since I first started thinking about that stuff. If I'm honest about it, it's been a continual downward slide since my Grandma died in 2011. I don't know exactly why, but it's something I've noticed. And I don't really feel comfortable talking about weight and exercising, which maybe isn't helping. I do know that - like it or not - I am a very low energy person, and I have to be careful with where I put that energy. Last year, I chose writing. A lot. And I'm not exactly sorry about that. But I would like to put a bit more energy into health matters this year. If I could even just shift out of this downward slide a tiny bit, that would be great.

Another thing that suffered was reading. I only read 11 books in 2013. That's not even one per month. I've always been a slow reader, but this is pretty bad. Still, I actually know exactly what went wrong here. I spent most of the year reading books I felt like I needed to read over what I really wanted to read at the moment. I had books to review, books from writer friends, and books from writer acquaintances. That's not to say I didn't enjoy those books. I definitely did! (Well, except that book I reviewed. That, I could have skipped.) But I constantly had another book next on the list, instead of just following the flow of what was really calling me. Having everything scheduled is very draining to me. I like to have important necessities planned out, but when it comes to the rest of my time, I like randomness paired with intuition. There was a point where I wasn't even enjoying reading anymore, because I had turned reading into work. That's when I finally followed my intuition and took a break from my list to read some books I was really excited to read. I think I would have enjoyed the other books I read last year more if I had spaced them out better from the beginning. Lesson learned, I hope.

So, what do I want to do this year?

Well, I'd love to have another great year with writing. I learned a lot about revising and editing last year. Writing second drafts has really built my confidence as a writer. I'm finally pretty consistently proud of the work I'm doing. A lot of the time, revising has flowed exceptionally well, probably because I spent so very much time building a good base. But certain parts also had their difficulties. More than I expected. In that way, it's been both easier and harder than I expected it would be. That's why I'm hesitant to set any large goals this year. I think there's a good chance I could finish Magic Inc.'s second draft this year. But I'd also like to spend more of my time on Dreaming in Shadow. Then, there's Miss Masquerade. I don't think there's any chance I won't finish the first draft. And I'm excited to get started on the second draft. As for Spun of Silver and The Town of Raindrops, they are more side projects right now. But who knows? I just want to follow the flow of my inspiration wherever it takes me.

I want to get myself on a pretty regular sleeping schedule that lets me have the optimum amount of rest and time to get things done. For me, that's getting up at 8:30AM, getting my early morning stuff done by 10:30AM, leaving the rest of the day open, until 9:00PM when I relax in the living room with my Mom, then get to bed by 11:30PM. Yeah, I like to sleep 9 hours. It's what I usually need.

And once I get myself comfortably back on that schedule, I'll start trying to fit in more exercise with that extra time.

I'm definitely planning to get another bookshelf and cabinet in my room this year. I'm going to get the rest of the stuff off of my floor and binned. Hopefully, soon. (But like I said, I can't push it.) And we'll see what happens after that.

I'll try to read at least 12 books this year. Haha.

I'm still looking for more balance when it comes to friendships. I met a few new people. I occasionally connected with old friends. I think there were some improvements over 2012. But there were also times, I felt like giving up on socializing altogether. Ultimately, I'm still looking for my tribe.

As a big part of that, I'll (of course) keep calling in my soulmate. Because finding him will always be my most important goal. Until I do. Then, it will be creating a beautiful life together where we can support each other's dreams.

I want to wish you many blessings in the year to come. I hope you meet your goals and thoroughly enjoy the journey there, too.
fireflys_locket: (Pinwheel Summer - fireflys_locket)
So, hey... I'm back. I'm just going to make this a quick one. I posted a longer explanation of why I've been missing, but I put it under a lock for now. It's been hard to write a normal entry after posting that one, so this one might be a little awkward. Things have gone back to normal in general, but I just want to get things back to normal here.

Though I haven't been around to say, writing has been going pretty well. I have 7 chapters of Magic Inc. revised and typed up. That story is flowing so well, so that's what I've been focusing most of my writing time on lately. I also started the second draft of Spun of Silver. I typed out 12 pages that day, which has got to be a record for me. Still working on that first chapter of Dreaming in Shadow. I'm not sure why I'm taking so long with that one. I guess it might be because I invited a lot of friends to read that prologue, and I want the first chapter to look really great before I show it off.

And then, there's Miss Masquerade, which has me dragging myself through the last bit of filler. I didn't so much finish the most recent chapter as give up on it (temporarily). It's been rough comparing how well my second drafts flow with how Miss Masquerade is going. It's really close to the climax, but it's so much harder to write than everything else I'm working on. Still, now that I'm done with filler, I'm hoping I'll at least be more excited to work on MM. That should help.

In some sadder news, a couple of people died recently. MaryAnn's Mom died after being in and out of the hospital a lot. It's been a long time since I've seen her, and I feel a bit bad about that. But mostly, I'm just sending blessings to MaryAnn and her family. And Ryan Davis, from Giant Bomb, also passed away. Though I never met Ryan, he's been pretty constant in my life since the end of 2006. Those Giant Bomb guys have gotten me through a lot of hard times, where the only thing that would get me through the day was constantly watching their videos. I believe both of these people have gone on to a better place, but it's still very heart-breaking to know they're gone from this world.


Blessings and love to all. Try to live the life that makes you happiest and treasure the time you have.
fireflys_locket: (Kagome Hands - fireflys_locket)
Okay, deep breath. I was triggered really badly this past week. Looking back at the post, that did it, I can see that it was more of a build up of emotion than just a reaction to that one post. (But I think that's how a lot of triggers work.) It didn't help that Jill was out of the office last week. Sunday just left me feeling so miserable that I was scared. I felt like the mostly decent mood I'd kept up for a month was finally failing me, and I was crashing down to the ground. I had a couple of really bad days. Then, I started to realize something. I'd fallen back into this mode of stressing about writing and not letting myself rest without guilting myself about it. I had given myself a lot of pressure to get a lot of writing done while Jill was gone, and I did, but I ended up drained and easily triggered. Of course, I'm always easily triggered, but when your energy is low, it is hard to bounce back.

The other part was the writing I had done (and hadn't done). I decided to avoid writing the big climax of Dreaming in Shadow in favor of writing the hardest chapter of Spun of Silver. It may be the hardest chapter I'll ever have to write, on a personal level. In fact, I almost guarantee it. But I had decided to lay everything bare in this story. To make this version of me, the real me with my real issues. And I didn't want to gloss over things. If you're expecting an typical paranormal romance from my side of Spun of Silver, look somewhere else. I have high anxiety, body issues, and people issues. I've written myself as I am and Morgan as how I imagine him to be. Neither of us are your typical love interests. But there is love, and there is romance. And intensity. And passion. And that's going to have to be enough for you.

Anyhow, writing that chapter was such an emotional challenge for me. And not everyone I turned to understood. But some did, and I made it through. But I was still very drained.

The other thing I wrote over this time period was a very long chapter of Magic Inc., where Jane tells Jenny a fairytale. Parts of this fairytale have been around almost as long as Magic Inc., itself, but I had to strip away the parts, that weren't mine. After all, I had blended in a lot of stories into my secret world back then. At that time, I was creating it just for me, with no intention of ever writing it out. The fairytale flowed very well most of the way through, with some help from Ally recommending that I start watching Once Upon a Time. (She didn't even know I was working on a fairytale; it was just perfect timing.) So, I tried to busy myself with the fairytale to escape the emotions, that Spun of Silver had brought up in me. I won't exactly say I regret this, because I adore the fairytale, and I'm very proud of all the work I put into it. But instead of giving myself a rest after writing that difficult Spun of Silver chapter, I jumped right into the fairytale the very same day.

All of this mostly to escape the fact, that I was terrified to finishing Dreaming in Shadow. What was worse, was that I was ashamed of this feeling in the first place. I felt like I'd come so far from that place of being scared, and now, I was moving backward. But life doesn't always move forward in this straight line. It reminds me of the second episode of The Wonder Years, where Older Kevin says something about life being a series of advances and retreats. This is very much what I believe, but sometimes, we all get caught up in trying to push forward too quickly.

So, for a good week or so, I was really beating myself up about it. When being scared does actually make sense. I'm three chapters away from the end of the story that has stood by my side since before I left school. Three chapters away from ending my first novel. That's scary stuff. Sure, I need to be able to work through that fear and, eventually, come out on the other side with a finished novel, but avoiding acknowledging a fear doesn't make it go away. Avoiding feeling your feelings makes them worse in the long run. So, I'm scared. That's okay; this is important enough to work through. But it's also okay to work through it slowly. I was getting caught up in this idea of possibly finishing those 3 chapters in two weeks, when that is totally not how I work.

So, now, I'm trying to breathe. To rest, to feel. And just be okay with all of that. Today, I finished up the fairytale, which is the second to last chapter of Magic inc. Book One. When I posted that on Facebook, Audry said I was an inspiration. I immediately react to most compliments by brushing them aside. It's hard for me to feel good about myself, ever. But I am living my dream and being myself completely. And you know, those are always good things, even if it's me doing them. Yeah, that's the closest I get to giving myself a compliment. We're all works-in-progress, after all.
fireflys_locket: (Sparkling Lake (Valerie) - amillionicons)
I am a slow mover. Compared to a lot of people, I change very, very slowly. And actually, I like that about myself. I'm a constant. I'm reliable. Even when I do make a change, it's usually just growing to accept a part of me that was always meant to be that way. It makes sense.

Still, there are some changes I want to make this coming year. It's around the time to think about resolutions, and though you can make changes at any time, there is something, that feels sort of special about it. So, I thought I'd talk about my ideas for next year.

I'll barely make mention of finding my soulmate, because pretty much anyone, who knows me at all, will know that's the most important thing to me. But I also feel I need to make some more friends or at least rekindle some old friendships. I'm extremely lonely, and though I have friends I love, they are always so busy. Both of these hopes for the future really come down to finding relationships with a better balance. To be really important in someone's life. Important enough, that they will make our relationship a priority in their life. But there's only so much I can do about that right now. Basically, just be open to it and pray for it. I can't make people love me. So, let's move onto some things I have more direct influence on...

This year, I talked about ending the first draft of Dreaming in Shadow by the end of the year. That hasn't happened, though it's awfully close. I could still make it happen; I don't doubt that. But I'm not someone who needs to push themselves to prove a point. Times I've tried, I ended up with regrets. When it comes to writing, I usually hate whatever I write when I'm under pressure. I don't want to hate the end of Dreaming in Shadow! It's too important, and I'm nervous enough about other people hating it. So, I might not "succeed" in the traditional sense of meeting a goal, but I certainly put a lot of effort into it. That's good enough.

For next year, I want to actually finish the first drafts of Dreaming in Shadow and Magic Inc. Book One early on and get solidly into the second drafts of both stories by the end of the year. It also would be nice to finish up the first drafts of Miss Masquerade and Spun of Silver by the end of next year as well. That's a lot of work to be done! Again, I'm not going to give myself too much pressure. This is one of those goals I'm going to put effort into, but I'm not going to make any huge changes in how I'm going about it. The exact goals are not as important as the idea, that I just want continue to progress.

There is one goal, which requires an actual change. I'm probably not willing to make as much of a change concerning this issue as people would recommend, but I'm making a compromise I know I can actually live with. I talk a lot about my issues in this journal, but I don't think I've touched on this one very much. I'm basically a mini-hoarder. Well, not in the sense of like having old pizza boxes or 40 cats or anything that self-destructive. I have a lot of interests, and I like buying things. This results in a lot of stuff. I'm not going to stop buying things, because I never spend more money than I have, and I need to constantly be able to have just the right thing to inspire me at just the right time. I've already started to release some things that no longer serve me, like books I know I'll never read again. And it feels good to make donations, but I still have a lot of stuff.

I think it's not the amount of stuff so much as what I do with it. I've used my stuff kind of as a nest to keep me safe. It's something that I've done since I was little, and it does need to change. I like a little organized chaos, but I've been feeling things are getting out of hand, even for me. I have pile of stuff basically as wide, long, and high as my bed. Things have been bad like this for a long time, but I've come into a place in the last year of getting more money than I'm used to on a regular basis, and more than ever before, I am not able to sort through the incoming stuff even a quarter as fast as it is accumulating. I know, it's a curse of abundance. But I'm also running out of places to put the things I'm keeping. My bookcase is getting stuffed, and even after removing my CDs and putting them on their own shelf in the basement, my cabinet won't take long to fill again. I need more shelves and cabinets for storing things, but that pile needs to get out of there first, because there is literally no place to put any more furniture in here.

So, next year, I am going to get a bunch of huge plastic bins and finally sort through everything in that pile. I expect this to be a hard job, both physically and, even more so, emotionally. But this is something that needs to happen in my life, and it needs to happen soon. I've already spent a lot of time going through old toys and such in the basement, and I need to get that job done first, but I think it's been preparing me for this job. Maybe I'll document the process a little. And hey, I'll probably find some really cool stuff at the bottom of the pile. Or just really silly stuff like my long lost Aaron Carter CDs. Yeah...

And there's one other big thing I want to do next year. I want to work a little more exercise into my regular schedule. I really don't feel comfortable talking about dieting or exercise or anything that involves my body - it's a Social Anxiety thing - but I do want to make that change in my life.

Now, to distract you from that last paragraph, I want to share these videos with you about making changes from Gabby Bernstein. She was there to inspire me during the switch of 2011 to 2012, and now, she's doing the same thing this time around. The reason I'm making this post is that she says it's helpful to write out your goals and share them with others to get support. I hope she inspires you, too, if there are changes you want to make for the new year. Share those with me, if you feel like it!

Just in general, I really would love it for people to respond to my entries. (I know they've been sparse lately. Apologies.) Even if you're usually pretty quiet, always feel free to talk to me about anything. I am honestly one of the nicer people you'll ever meet. My therapist has been telling me I might need to actually invite people like me to come out of lurk mode, and it finally seems like the right time to start.

I love you all!
fireflys_locket: (Pillow for Morgan - lovestruckicons)
Wait, check the calender. It's May. May. Not March. Right, got it.

But to my point. I'm writing stories. Hopefully, you already know this. If not, I'll fill you in... I'm actively writing 4 stories: Dreaming in Shadow, Miss Masquerade, Magic Inc. (Book 1), and Spun of Silver. The first three of those stories aproximately follow a school year, at least for most of the story. And somehow, they are all stuck in March, waiting for the big things that start to happen in April or May.

The strange part is that, in my life, March has been a month of changes. Often, painful in one way or another. But it doesn't seem to be happening in the way I've lined up these stories. Or maybe, I should say that I'm now trying to make it happen, and I'm having issues. I do think that I'm on the path of figuring out how to make March a month of changes for Miss Masquerade and Dreaming in Shadow, but Magic Inc. is being resistant. If only I could remember 4th grade better. And I thought I had a great memory...

I have to say though, that writing is going extremely well lately. Last week, I wrote over 15 pages, which is insane for me. And this week, I've already written about 8. The reason seems to be pretty simple. Truthfully, my emotions have been all over the place. And I really started to wonder if my writing - Spun of Silver, in particular - was fueling my depression, or if my depression was fueling my writing. As in most cases, I think it was a little of both.

But why is it so much harder for me to write Spun of Silver, when Magic Inc. is also directly about me? The simple answer there is that SoS me is the real me, the right now me... as close as it can be. And even though, as the writer, I know that Morgan loves me endlessly, this me is full of doubts and scared. Just as the real me is terrified of never finding her soulmate. Every word I write is completely true and real for me. And this feeling I have now is wondering if Morgan can feel me where ever he is out there. I feel like I keep calling out with no response. How do you not start to fill with fear and doubts when that happens?

Instead, all I want to do lately is sleep. And dream. And write. I need to live in the places, where even the ignored, unpretty little girl, who nobody wanted, who nobody's ever even kissed, has a soulmate. And he loves her endlessly.
fireflys_locket: (Harry and DA Tunnel - changetje)

Well, the week didn't turn out as awful as I was expecting. The appointment with my psychiatrist went well. We decided to just keep with what we've been doing. I have an appointment in December, so we'll see how things are going by then. If anything goes wrong, my Mom can always give him a call.

Ah, so... I got some writing done. Dreaming in Shadow and Spun of Silver. I'm coming to the point in DiS that I have very little left that I've ever written. It's both exciting and scary. I haven't been this far along in probably 5 years. I've restarted it so many times. I think this version is coming along nicely. I wasn't feeling the same about SoS. I'm now writing Chapter 4, which I've never done before. The beginning feels kind of awkward to me, but Jill said it read fine to her, so... maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Poor Grandma got a dent in her car on Wednesday. We were in Dollar General getting some groceries, and when we came out, there it was. :/ Because we don't know who did it, she has to pay to fix it, herself. *Shakes head* At least we got to take a look at some pay-as-you-go cell phones. Grandma finally agreed to let me get one for her, and I think I know which one I'll be getting.

A new trailer for Deathly Hallows Part 1 came out. I'm getting pretty excited. <3 I'm sure I'll have more to say on it in the coming weeks.

Not much time left before more Degrassi! <3 Just two more weeks. I wonder if my Mom and I will have watched all the old episode by then. We just started up Season 5 last night. It's probably my favorite season (of the older characters, anyways). It has two of my favorite couples. J.T. /Liberty and Alex/Paige. It fact, my favorite episodes turn out to be all on one disc. HeH.

I'm just a little concerned that my Mom is going to find my liking of Alex/Paige a little weird, but she's dealt well with Adam, Riley/Zane, and Dylan/Marco. Still, I think she's worried about me not being "normal" at different times. But what is "normal", anyways? I talked about it with Jill a little yesterday, and we both think there's degrees of everything. Most people aren't 100% either way. But I think Degrassi has been a good learning experience for my Mom. I know it was good for me.
 


fireflys_locket: (Come Home SoS - soporifical)

Writing has been going extremely well lately. So well, that I'm a little baffled. I mean how did I go from an average of 1-2 pages a week to 10 last week? o.O;

Honestly, it's not like I'm usually at a loss for inspiration. Anything but that. It's motivation to actually write things out that I'm usually lacking in. When I was in school, I was writing every free second. Since I left (close to 5 years now!), I usually have to really force myself to write anything. Not these pass two weeks. Actually, even before that, I've been steadily writing little scenes from lots of stories I haven't officially started yet. This was a practice I used to hate. In fact, I still kind of hate it. I blame my OCDness. I do not like writing out of order. At all.

I've been putting a lot of effort into Spun of Silver, which is a story I'm writing with Mallory. It actually has us in it. And it has Morgan. <3 I've only only ever written one chapter for it. And Mallory as well. But she's worked on the first chapter over the years. I don't think I had touched my chapter since I left school. I really haven't ever drastically changed my style, but I've found in the lastest rewriting of Dreaming in Shadow that I can more easily think of less cliche ways of expressing things.

It's just really weird to actually enjoy the writing process again. I remember a couple of years ago, probably around the time I first started Miss Masquerade and trying to do a weekly bit of writing for Jill, when I got a little taste of that. And in writing Dreaming in Shadow early on in this revision, I remembered how much I missed Jodi and Jeremy as characters. I'm not sure how long this enjoyment will last. I'm trying not to push myself too much, because I don't want to break the process that is actually working.

I think a lot of the motivation is coming from two things... one is Mallory's enjoyment of when I write SoS. The other, I think, goes to some of the random bits from other stories, as well. Because what I've been writing the most are stories about Morgan. And it's been comforting. When in comes to Spun of Silver, anyways. The other story... well, there's a reason I haven't started it yet. Mostly because I'm really scared. It's been my alternative to reality for almost 12 years. It's been my safe place. And for a long time, that's all it was. It wasn't meant to be a story. It was what I wanted my life to be. When I really start writing it, I'm kind of scared I'll lose it. But well, that's a few months away...

Anyways, writing is working for now, so I'm just going to try to enjoy it. Maybe it will stick around for awhile.


fireflys_locket: (Come Home SoS - soporifical)
My wonderful friend, Mallory, sent some lovely gifts to me from her trip to Ireland! Warning, some pictures of me under the cut. ~_~;

So, Truly, if there is light, then I want to feel it... )

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