A Rainy Weekend

It’s been a dreadfully rainy weekend here u Natashi (at Natasha’s), which means outside activity (i.e. walking) has been impossible. Therefore, I’ve mainly been inside reading, writing, and making macaroni and cheese.

The reading material has consisted mainly of nonfiction. In fact, I’ve read nonfiction almost exclusively this year thus far, but more on that in a later post. The most recent book I finished was Albert Speer’s Spandau: The Secret Diaries.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read that book. I think I read it a few in high school, but it’s been over ten years since I read it. I think I remembered the book as better than it actually is. Don’t be me wrong, it’s fascinating as a historical document, but I’d forgotten how miserable and depressed Speer was at times, which makes those sections difficult to read.

As for writing, I didn’t write at all yesterday, but I’ve done 2,000 words so far today. My book is rapidly approaching the end, so things are getting very exciting and dramatic. I love writing epic confrontation scenes between characters and my poor protagonist is about to have the biggest confrontation of her life. (Granted, she’s only seventeen, so she hasn’t exactly had that many confrontations before, but there are some nasty surprises awaiting her.)

I have to work tomorrow, but I wish I had another day off to write fiction and write more blog entries… and to spend some time walking since I couldn’t go on a walk this weekend. Too bad I couldn’t have worked today during all the rain so that I could have tomorrow, which is supposed to be nice and sunny, off!

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Where Does The Weekend Go?!

If there’s one complaint I have about most weekends, it’s that they’re too short. Seriously, I have so much to blog about, but no time to do it. It’s not like I was sitting around wasting time online this weekend (that’s definitely something I have been known to do…). I was out and about, running errands, walking around in the freezing cold (for exercise, not the errands), and listening to my audiobook. And now it’s Sunday night and I feel like I didn’t get anything done! Well, I did make a ton of progress on my photos organization project today, so that’s a good thing. But I didn’t blog or write fiction or even read very much.

When are three-day weekends going to become a thing?! I, for one, eagerly await such a development.

A Weekend In Bullet Points

  • I got home early on Friday, which was glorious, but then the electricity went out less than an hour after I got home, which was not so glorious.
  • Since it went out due to a storm that blew in, a ton of people in the state were out, so it took a few hours for it to be fixed. I didn’t know when it was going to come back on, so I ended up going to Whole Foods for dinner. I actually hadn’t wanted to go out, but everything I had to make required electricity to make it. Some people were out for way longer than I was though, so I’m not complaining.
  • I shopped and read books on Saturday. Oh, and seven months after starting the draft of my novel, I finished it on Saturday night around ten pm. Of course, I immediately started on another book, the one I was outlining concurrently with writing the now-finished draft.
  • I wish I could stay home and write tomorrow. Why don’t we make random days writing days when we don’t have to go to work?!
  • On Friday I picked up a book of essays about the Russian revolution. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it because it looks really good.
  • I wrote so much last night and tonight that I think my June word count will be amazing based on that alone. I really need to throw in more 3,000-word days because those really have a way of upping the daily average! 😉

The Exam Result Is In!

Remember in my last post when I talked about how studying for the final part of a certification exam took over my life? Well, I took the aforementioned exam on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, to be exact. I’d wished I’d been able to get an earlier time, but I got there early and they let me start early, so that worked out well.

Anyway, I received my result right away. This isn’t like some exams where you have to wait for weeks at a time before finding out if you passed or not. And yes, I do have good news: I passed! That means I passed all the exams on the first try and after I file some paperwork, I will finally have my certification!

I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have passed. Not only was I sick of studying, but I really thought I was going to fail when I was actually taking the exam. There were some really tricky questions that I struggled with. I did a lot of preparation, but there were still concepts I hadn’t seen before.

Anyway, I did some actual fiction writing tonight, and now I’m writing this blog post. I do plan to resume blogging again, so get ready for that. I have some pretty good posts in the works, if I don’t say so myself. 🙂

Trapped In Test Land

I haven’t written fiction in almost three weeks.

My apartment desperately needs a good cleaning, but that’s not going to happen right now.

I haven’t played violin in months.

I haven’t worked on my knitting since the beginning of the month.

And I haven’t blogged in forever. I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been since I wrote a Wednesday Music post.

Yes, my friends, it has happened. I thought I’d be done with studying after I finished school, but that’s not the case. I decided a few weeks ago to sit down and start studying for the last exam I need for my professional certification. I’m tired of the whole thing hanging over my head, so I’ve been studying nonstop. Obviously I still have to work, too, so there hasn’t been much time for doing things other than studying, I’m afraid.

There is an end in sight because my test date is coming up. Either I’ll pass or I won’t. If I don’t, I’ll be terribly demoralized and have to study more so I can retake it, but I’m really hoping I’ll pass. Then I can get back to writing, both fiction and nonfiction on this blog.

Until then, the posting here is likely to be sporadic, but I hope to start posting regularly again soon!

April 2017 Writing Report

Obligatory writing instrument.

In the interest of not having a writing report almost an entire month after the month in question has ended (I have no idea if that sentence makes sense, but it happened with the February writing report this year), I wanted to post the April writing report this evening. You know the routine, dear readers. Here we go…

In April, I wrote a total of 17,296 words. That’s an average of 576 words per day. Not my goal of 700 per day, but better than last month’s daily average. I only missed ten days of writing, which isn’t too bad. The bad thing is a lot of those were Fridays and Saturdays, which in theory should be the days when I have more time to write.

The thing is, I’ve been a bit exhausted this March and April. (You’ll recall I had a dismal writing month in March.) The problem is a certain project at work. It’s kind of dreadful. It would be dreadful in the best of circumstances, but the circumstances are nowhere close to being the best right now. There aren’t enough people working on said project and the manager isn’t doing a very good job of managing it. As you can probably guess, these circumstances are a recipe for disaster. It also doesn’t help that I have a professional certification exam I really need to study for but haven’t been studying for due to the dreadful project (and yes, writing takes away from my study time too, but a person’s got to have some way to de-stress outside of work, don’t you think?!).

Anyway, fingers crossed that things get better soon… Overall, I am pleased with my writing progress in April. Here’s to a successful month in May!

My First Business Trip

Okay, the title of this post is a little bit misleading. This wasn’t my first business trip—the trip to New York in 2015 that I forgot to blog about was my first business trip—but this was my first trip with my current company.

The city by night after we arrived

Two of my coworkers and I went to a major city in the southeastern US. We ate some fabulous food, which was great. My prior company had a limit of what you could spend per day on meals. I think it was $25 or $35, which isn’t very much for a major city. My current company doesn’t have that. We are asked to “use judgment” when choosing where to eat, which I interpreted to mean that the five star restaurant I really wanted to go to was off-limits. Within reason, though, we could eat anything we wanted. Swiping the corporate card was very satisfying. 😉

However, the highlight of this trip was the hotel. We stayed in a Four Seasons, which was a first for me. I’ve wanted to stay in one for a while. Allow me to explain.

Several years ago, I started writing a crime thriller. In one of the scenes at the beginning, my intrepid protagonist gets to stay in a Four Seasons with her wealthy cousin (the cousin’s wealth greatly ties into the crime aspect of the book). I stopped working on the book for a while, then came back to it in 2015 and finished it. In preliminary edits, I ended up cutting the Four Seasons scenes—too much backstory—but those scenes still had been fun to write and I harbored a secret desire to stay in a Four Seasons. (Also, that book is one of my favorites that I’ve written so far, so I really need to go back and give it a proper editing and try to sell it to a publisher.)

Anyway, who would have guessed that years later, I would be able to stay in a Four Seasons? It was a very neat experience and I do have photographic evidence to share with you.

Here’s the hotel room: the first photo is at night after we arrived and the second is during the day.

The bathroom was quite luxurious, so I had to photograph that as well.

That’s a five-star toilet right there.

And that, my friends, was my experience at the Four Seasons. I ate the restaurant one morning for breakfast, which was decidedly lackluster, so I went to a local bakery the other mornings. Of course, the whole time I was there working and eating with my coworkers, I kept thinking of the book I wrote and how my trip wasn’t just an ordinary business trip. It doubled as book research, a fact I’m sure all my fellow fiction writers will appreciate.