Thoughts from a tree

Posts tagged ‘goals’

Achievement Unlocked: Dopey Challenge

How did I get here?

As I walked, this was the thought that kept running through my head. How did I, someone who had frequently professed to “hate running” end up trying to do not just a full marathon, but 48.6 miles in 4 days?

It started out small. I joined a 5K race on a lark, refused to run for any of it (I can walk pretty fast) and finished it successfully. Then there were more 5Ks, I started running, a 10-miler, and we completed a few half-marathons.

On the heels of finishing a half marathon “surprisingly easily”, our friends somehow convinced us (ok, me) to try the “Dopey Challenge”.

I should have known better. Really. When I first started the races, it was always my feet that held me back. Flat feet + Fibromyalgia caused immense pain even during 5Ks. Better shoes, new orthotics, and medicine that actually worked were the only reason I could go longer distances.

During training for Dopey, I soon realized that the improvements weren’t going to last me through a full, even with an increase in meds. Then, with less than a month to go, my ankle gave out. Between then and the first day of Dopey, I think I only managed to do one practice run. Not the best preparation.

The 5K was rough. The 10K was rougher. After finishing the half, I said, “How are we supposed to do that TWICE tomorrow?” By then it was a battle for which was worse: my ankles, or the standard foot pain.

I started the full with a brace on each foot. They helped the ankles, but made other parts of my feet hurt worse. By mile 3 I started having IBS issues, on top of everything else. Around mile 11 I told Gary to go on ahead of me. I also got some Tylenol from a med tent, even though I knew it would make me sick.

By mile 12 I was more than ready to quit. I went to a restroom, took off the ankle braces, sat there for a while, and massaged my feet. When I went back outside, there was no one in view but the emergency people on bicycles. I thought it was already over, and felt a mixture of relief and disappointment. Then some runners showed, but not many. I ran, and managed to catch up with the balloon ladies.

I told myself I’d stop at the next med tent (it seemed like a better plan than just sitting down in the road to wait for the struggle bus). Then it was “after the next mile”. Or the next. I ran little, barely kept ahead of the balloons, and thought about quitting at pretty much every step. When my friends hit 20 miles, I got a notification, so I knew there was a tracker there. I decided I’d try to go that far because it would post mine to Facebook, and then people would know that I at least got that far. But at 20 miles, well, there were only six miles left. Right?

Somehow, I made it to the finish line.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I was sure I wouldn’t make it, but I still showed up on that start line. I wanted to quit, but I didn’t. Two years ago I would have laughed if anyone had even suggested that I should run a marathon. Yet, I did it. Determination and stubbornness can do amazing things.

Our dreams may appear to be impossible. Our fear of failure can be so high, that oftentimes we don’t even begin. We talk ourselves out of showing up on the start line. But, if we take just one step at a time, maybe we can get there after all.

What have you accomplished that you didn’t think you would? What are you working towards now?

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10 Question Writer Blog Hop

Beth Salmon tagged me to answer a 10-question blog hop.

1) What genre(s) do you write, and why?
Adult Fantasy. It’s my favorite genre to read. It has magic, unicorns, and mermaids – what more could you want? I read all shades of it, but I prefer the “traditional fantasy” according to Goodreads categorizations. Stories related to fairy tales are my favorites. There’s some argument over whether my current manuscript is NA (New Adult) or not, but it’s not filled with sexy stuff, so as far as I can tell, that means it can’t be NA, at this time.

2) Do you mostly read within your own genre, or do you read others as well?
I read fantasy the most often, but I also like historical fiction, mystery, sci-fi, and paranormal romance. I’ll try almost anything, but I have very definite preferences. In particular, I will stop reading books where very bad and/or graphic things are done to animals. I also get bored with strong military themes and most romance.

3) What have you learned as a writer that you wish you knew when you first started?
There are so many things… If we go all the way back to when I was a kid, I wish that I hadn’t stopped pursuing it as a career. I was talked out of this by my well-meaning father who threatened that I would become a “ditch digger” if I tried to become a writer. And that I wouldn’t be able to afford ponies 😦 . I’m not sure that qualifies as something I’ve “learned” however. I suppose learning to not write in omniscient earlier would have been helpful. Since that’s what most fantasy novels used to be, it was how I started out.

4) What author or book speaks to you the most and why?
Anne Bishop – she writes dark fantasy filled with amazing female characters, talking animals, and a dash of romance. Although horrible things may happen in her books, the bad guys always end up equally punished by the end. As someone who believes in eye-for-an-eye, I especially enjoy that sense of justice being delivered.
Kristen Britain – Her Green Rider series (yes, with a title tailor-made to appeal to me) is an epic fantasy told from the point-of-view of a female messenger, who also happens to have a bit of magical power. This started out as a fairly standard good vs. evil fantasy series, but has since evolved to be much more, and the characters turned out to have a lot more gray in them than originally suspected. Her last book even centered on time travel. The only problem is that it takes her YEARS to write each book, partly because they are each very large.

5) Do you have word/page count goals?
Sometimes. Not at the moment. I’ve completed Nanowrimo a few times, so I know I can crank out a lot of words in a short period of time if needed.

6) Where do you do most of your writing?
At home, in my recliner, with an airdesk to hold my laptop. If I’m writing a first draft though, I use pen and paper, which means I can curl up and write anywhere that is quiet (I do not handle noise well).

7) If you could disappear somewhere for a few weeks to completely immerse yourself in writing, where would you choose?
Somewhere quiet and with few distractions. Maybe a cabin in the woods, as long as it had working plumbing and temperature control.

8) Pick one of your main characters. If his/her house were on fire, what would he/she choose to save and why?
Lisa would save her books. There’s not much else she cares about. Depending on the point in the story, this might mean trying to save her bookbag (holds unlimited numbers of books), which would be a pointless gesture, since it is indestructible. She might also try to simply put out the fire, once she’s learned some control of her powers (early enough in the story and she might have caused it instead)

9) What’s your bad writing habit?
Procrastination.
Oh, you mean something specific to writing?
I probably over-edit. I can always think of more things I want to change or fix. I was at a conference recently, where a story was told about an author who would go into bookstores and correct copies of his books after they were published. I can totally understand that desire.

10)What is your writing goal for 2015?
I still need to think about this some, but at least one goal is to finish the book I just started. To query more agents. To make more friends at writing conventions. I’ll be more specific later. Oh, haha, and to blog more 😉

Hard Goals, For Motivation

Another year (or two), another catch-up post. I *am* going to try to post regularly however. I have found that I follow-through more often if I commit to specific goals and if I tell other people what they are. So my goal for this blog is going to be to post *at least* once a week, even if it is sometimes short.

Let’s start with the general stuff: I still work at Disney (after having my contract extended several times, I was eventually converted to a full-time or “Cast” position). The downside of this was a nasty commute, so we ended up moving (yes, again). Luckily, we were able to get a nice house at a really good price. Unluckily, immediately after we closed the people who had been renting our VA house moved out (owing us a bit of money), and oh, by the way, the septic is no good. Due to the type of soil the house was in, we would have had to put in a fairly expensive alternative system to replace the failed septic. This was the last straw for us, so we ended up short selling the house. And we still owe the second lender a lot of money, yay, since they were jerks (stay away from PNC). Gary went back to work for Comcast; they are letting him work remotely, which is awesome! He is on a team with a bunch of our ex-AOL friends, so that is also nice. I finally found a Doctor that actually fixes problems long-term, so I’m very happy about that. I’m healthier, I’m sleeping better, and I have more energy to do the things that I want.

So, going back to goals. Previously I tried things like “lose weight” or “write more,” but these did not work. I think I am too much a procrastinator for that method. I went to DragonCon in 2011 and I attended a bunch of writing panels. It made me want to write even more, and I told myself I would. But, well, first we had to move, right? There were also games to play, shows to watch, and books to read, and somehow I never got around to it. I went to DragonCon in 2012 and I had accomplished practically nothing. OK, time to get serious. I made two goals to complete before the next DragonCon 1) To be at a normal weight (so, you know, if I get a picture taken with Felicia Day I won’t be embarrassed about how I look) and 2) I would have my novel SUBMITTED.

I actually thought this second goal would be easier than it turned out to be. I already had a book that was written most of the way that I thought had a good enough storyline. It was at ~80K words and just needed to be finished and edited. It was a fantasy novel that starts out in a world similar but different to our medieval age. However, the more I thought about it, the more I felt that it would be better if it started in our world (there are two worlds in the story), and in the modern time. I thought it would be simple and that I would just have to change a few references, here and there. However, shortly after I started I realized that I was going to end up re-writing the entire thing. Once I made this discovery, I felt a bit of a panic: how was I going to completely re-do it in that amount of time? I had been working on this book for several YEARS! Was this even the right choice or would it be better to work on the original version? But, I had a deadline, so I buckled down and got to work.

I started going to some local writer’s groups and I learned about an annual contest for writers. The deadline is 5/31 (DragonCon is 8/30). Can I finish in time to enter the contest? At just under 50K words, on 3/3, I created a schedule, just to see if it was possible (and it was). I wasn’t sure how many words I could do, particularly on a weekday, so I kept the daily goals low at first (500 for a weekday and 2000 for a weekend day). I blacked out all the days I was on oncall or had some other obligation. By the end of the first week I knew my goals were too easy, so I changed them to 1000 and 3000. So far so good, and I should have over 100K before before the end of April. That will only give me a month to edit officially, however, some of the writing I’m doing now includes editing, so I think it will be OK. I guess time will tell… meanwhile, I’m still going to try to write here, and since I’m committing to it publicly, you can hold me to it.