Waiting for Windows

I haven’t been writing much. Actually, not at all for a while. I was stuck, but a lot of it was, I think, just stress of having too much to do on top of the mental load from current events–which haven’t even had much direct affect on me. I’ll be the first to admit, this stuff has weighed much less on me than on many others, so I really feel for those who have been directly affected.

I decided to step back from the blog too, mostly because I didn’t have anything to blog about, and I needed to remove one thing from my to-do list. My mom suggested just blogging when I do have something to say, and I figured I’d take her advice. Moms are smart like that. 🙂 The ROW80 folks were talking last month about moving away from blogs and just doing goal check-ins on Facebook, so that had something to do with it, too. But it looks like they are still blogging, so I might pop in here with a simple goals update even if I don’t have anything else.

House Update 

Pretty much all the work has been done on the house that can be, until the special-order windows  come in. These are the five trapezoid windows on the top row of  our back wall. We all thought we’d be able to leave the center window, but once they fixed the framing so that the spacing was even, another issue became obvious: the top windows were all 1″ narrower than those below. So all had to be reordered. This time, they measured not twice, but came out three times to be sure they got them right. We’ve now been looking at nicely-spaced windows in an unfinished wall for a month now, so they should come in soon. They have drywall to finish and painting to do in a couple of other areas as well, but will do all of that at once. It will be so nice to get it fixed.

Windows spaced evenly! Now we just need the top ones to finish it.

Writing Desk!

Given that we had to engage an attorney to get the builder to fix our house (which the builder is paying for, we’re thankful), we were instructed not to do any further work on the house ourselves until everything is finished and resolved. So my husband has found other things to do.

One of the issues with the house was water in the basement. That is finally fixed, and our yard put back together. My husband has been doing a lot of work in the yard. For his next project, my husband chose to build this picnic table. It probably would have been cheaper to buy one, but this one is really sturdy and will probably last as long as we live in this house.

We finally have a yard again! And a new picnic table.

My husband needed another project, so I found something I’ve been wanting for a while: a computer desk just for fiction writing. Since we moved, I’ve been using the built-in desk in my wonderful office for everything, including day job work. For many years, I’ve had a desktop computer that I use for anything personal–Internet, Facebook, games, personal business paperwork, and writing.

A few years ago, I read/heard Dean Wesley Smith talking about using a separate computer for fiction writing only. I had a little laptop that’s too slow to do much else with, but since my daughter went away to college, her desk in the critter room had been unused, so I set up there.

It was amazing how much easier it was to get to writing when at that different computer, on a different desk! It’s a total mindset thing, where I automatically know that if I’m on that computer, I’m writing. Smith recommends removing all other software and not connecting to the Internet as well, which I did at first (with another old, slower computer), but later, it didn’t matter if my laptop even had wifi on; I was there to write. That mindset is powerful.

The new house is actually a couple hundred square feet larger than the old house, but has one fewer room, so I only have one workspace here. While not writing these past few weeks, I’ve been going through some of Smith’s workshops, and in the one I recently finished, he again mentioned the writing computer. It doesn’t have to be in a different room (his isn’t), but I remembered from before our move how just having a separate computer makes so much difference.

So I found this free desk plan online and my husband went to work. It’s an Ana White Rustic X-desk, and I love the look. We set it up in my office behind my main desk, so all I have to do is turn around. And I’m back to writing!

The new writing desk, with sleeping dog accessory behind it

Blackberries!

The latest fun discovery on our land! No wonder we have so much wildlife around here–they’re eatin’ good in this neighborhood! I’ve spent a couple sessions out in a small field that was full of them, but mostly, we pick whatever we find along the trail when we walk the dogs each morning. Sometimes just a five minute stop will yield a half pound! We’re freezing them and saving them up to make blackberry wine. There’s plenty for some jam, too.

What’s interesting is there are two species of blackberries on our land. Mostly we have Allegheny, or Common Blackberries. Those are now done. But there’s a patch near the end of our main walking trail that are just now ripe for picking. I identified these as Himalayan (aka Armenian) Blackberries. These are a non-native, invasive species, but where the common blackberries are pretty tart, these are super sweet and delicious, and they’ve only taken over a small area on our land, so we’ll take them.

Getting close to the four pounds we need to make wine

What I’ve Been Reading

Several nonfiction books, plus Nora Roberts’ Key trilogy. These are contemporary fantasy romances, and I’m really enjoying them!

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What I’ve Been Writing

I set up the writing desk and computer without a specific goal last week. My only plan was to get re-started–and I did! I got about 1,000 word in three days, not bad for not having a word-count goal. I would have written more, but we had guests for two days. This week should be quiet, so I’m shooting for writing five days.

How has your summer been so far? Staying safe and healthy, I hope! If you’re a writer, have the current events thrown you off? And what do you think about Smith’s idea of having a separate writing computer? If you’re not a writer, do you need a specific place to do a certain task or hobby? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

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