Shari Creates

Thirteen Things I Learned in September

Posted on: September 30, 2009

Thirteen because I just like the number, and was able to come up with that many.

1) Fundraising is hard work.

It’s not that I assumed that fundraising was easy, but I figured it would be easier than writing 60,000 words. It was much harder to come up with people to approach than I expected.

2) Over commitment is a problem.

I found out about Unleash Your Story on September 1st, and decided to dive right in, setting goals of Writing 60,000 words, Reading 10,000 pages, and Raising $150 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Mind you, I do have a full time job and a freaking huge garden, so this month was a little more intense than I anticipated. While I will definitely be participating in Unleash Your Story next year, I believe I will concentrate on the reading and fundraising side. November (National Novel Writing Month) is a better writing challenge time-wise for a gardener.

3) I am a “Pantser” writing a “Plotter” novel.

First, Plotter verses Pantser – a plotter is someone who is able to pre-plan their story, using outlines and other tools. A pantser is a fly by the seat of the pants writer, who usually jumps in to see if they can make a story happen. I have a few plotter tendencies, but usually all the planning gets thrown by the wayside as I write. My current work in progress requires a lot of research, only a very small amount of which I had completed. Plus, I was not actively preparing for a writing challenge yet, as I typically do such things in October for NaNo. However, I am still super excited about my concept, and figure all the plotting agony will be worth it in the end. I even bought a book that may help me with plotting the novel. Maybe. It’s kind of scary so far, LOL.

4) I read a lot, but don’t necessarily finish every time I start to read a book.

So, I may grab a book, and read for a while, then get called away to do something else – and then not go back to that book when I do start reading again. This makes it a little harder to track how many pages I read in a month, since they all pile up around the bed and I have to remember if I started to read it, or just intended to read it.

5) I have a lot to learn about WordPress.

Starting with how to post pictures, and continuing on to, well, everything. I’ve seen some really cool blogs made with WordPress, so I know the capabilities are there. I just need to pick one thing at a time, learn how to make it do what I want it to do, and move slowly. Not one of my greatest strengths, but the only way to accomplish anything. I’m glad I finally dove in and started, and I’m hoping that I can maintain a decent rate of posting.

6) I have über-geeky gardener tendencies.

Not that this is a shock, but I didn’t realize just how far gone my inner gardening geek was. Sure, I had diagrams of what I planted where, and a spreadsheet tracking how many and what varieties of plants I had, but I’m also really looking forward to revising my current setup and system for a better result next year. And starting an indoor terrarium to have fresh herbs all winter. And maybe making giant earth box raised beds next year, with irrigation systems below. And – well, point made, I think.

7) Alton Brown’s Glazed Carrot recipe is divine.

We call them Ginger Ale Carrots at home, and the whole family loves them. Naturally, I followed the recipe the first time, and tweaked it the next several times. Also, if you substitute sliced peaches for the carrots and cinnamon for the chili powder, you have a wonderful fruit dish that you could pour over ice cream – if, that is, you didn’t just inhale all of them warm from the pan J

8) I don’t like the Herbal Essences highlighting kit applicator.

Or having blonde-orange highlights in my wildly sunset colored hair. Apparently, I did not do a good job adding the overall red dye after putting in the highlights, and now my hair is very strange.

9) I still have a lot to learn about my phone.

I have a LG Incite, and there are many things I love about it – the ability to read and edit Excel documents and Word documents, being able to use the internet anywhere at any time, and many more things. There are still things that come up that I have to do a search to fix, like when the time zones do not automatically adjust when I visit my brother and come back. One of the few things missing from the phone is the ability to set a custom ringtone for each person that calls me, I really miss that feature.

10) Sometimes, I still feel like a character in Kurt Vonnegut’s short story Harrison Bergeron.

If you’ve never read this story, you really should. The link in the title takes you to a version online. It’s a dystopian vision of the future where drastic measures are taken to ensure that all people are equal. One of the ways this is done is to have people wear headsets which cause disruptions at an interval to interrupt the thought processes. I don’t even have to wear a headset to experience this. Oh – and there was apparently a made for TV movie of this story.

11) Operation Beautiful is a good antidote to the Rainy Jane blues.

In high school, a friend of mine would call me Rainy Jane (after the Davy Jones song), and so I’ve come to call my depressing inner voice Rainy Jane. I try to look for things to encourage myself when she attacks, and Operation Beautiful is a great site. Of course, I want to design custom notes to leave in real life, and to find a way to post them to Facebook on people’s profiles.

12) When there is chaos, I need community.

Jennifer Crusie is one of my favorite authors, and she has a great blog and a web group called the Cherries. She posted about having an astrologically bad month (Mercury was in retrograde this month) which must help account for the Very Bad Month we are all having, but that the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland trailer is out. Lani Diane Rich recently started a new blog and forum at Story Wonk, and is bringing back the Will Write for Wine podcasts! The forum of fans – called the Wiffers – is a great place to hang out. And I’m finally registered on Facebook.

13) Dialogue is action.

Sure, I’ve learned this before and forgotten, but it is worth revisiting. No one ever tells the whole truth, and what they do say should be part of how you show – not tell – your story. Thanks to Lani for reminding me, on an Audio Writing Module at Story Wonk.

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