An Uneventful Week is a Good Week

And yes, it’s been an uneventful week around here–just doing the day job, writing, and living life between the two (as in fixing dinner, cleanup, that sort of thing). Yesterday a bad storm rolled through, which for me = migraine, so not much of anything got done then, but yay me! I’d already met my goals. And that’s so much easier to do when there’s not much else going on.

My dog Skeet finds uneventful days a good opportunity to make herself comfortable on the day bed in my office.

What I’ve Been Reading

I finished another novel in the fantasy box set (I swear I’m almost done–I started this thing back in August!). I enjoyed this one, too. I don’t like to talk about books I don’t like, because in the case of the one in the box set, it was just not to my taste, but because of it, I don’t want to name the set. But I do expect I’ll be buying more fantasy this year, because most of these books are part of series.

What I’ve Been Writing

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As noted above, I met my goals this week! After not hitting my writing goals in so long, doing so twice in a row is really exciting. My writing goal was to write 375 words/day, at least five days. I did write five days, and exceeded the word count for a total of a little over 2200 words. Part of me wants to ramp up to 500 words/day (and I exceeded that one day), but it was also a bit of a push so I’m going to go for 400/day this week, again shooting for five days and a total of 2000 words.

I also met my learning goal of completing week 2 videos and assignment for the WMG Publishing “Teams in Fiction” online workshop, and I went on to week 3. I’ve done all but one video (there are five), so I’m going to set a goal to complete that and the assignment, and do the week 4 videos this week, with a bonus goal to complete the week 4 assignment as well.

What about you–do you like uneventful weeks, or do you find them boring? Do you read box sets? And if so, do you go on to buy other books in a series if you like the one in the set? How are you doing with whatever goals you’ve had, whether writing or otherwise? 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.

A Good Busy

Not much writing happening this week, between the holidays and hosting family and friends. We decided “new state, new traditions,” and started by inviting neighbors over for a drop-in open house on Christmas Eve. While we kept the menu fairly simple–a few appetizers, snacks, and cupcakes–there was still plenty to do to prepare, plus we needed to wrap gifts. And wow, what weather! We wrapped gifts outside on our deck! Can’t say I ever did that in Ohio, though we hear it was unseasonably warm there too.

We had no idea if many (any?) would come to our Christmas Eve drop-in, as a lot of people are busy that night with family, but over a dozen people showed up on Tuesday night, and we had a great fun just hanging out and getting to know our neighbors a little better. Our daughter and her partner arrived that evening too.

They love coming to our new place in Tennessee, which makes us feel really good. On Christmas, after we opened a few gifts (we kept that simple, too), we did a little hiking on the property, and DH taught our daughter’s partner how to drive the tractor and let her bush-hog, which she thoroughly enjoyed! Christmas dinner was simple as well as delicious–our usual traditional ham and twice-baked potatoes, with green beans and biscuits.

We spent the next few days with them, trying out a couple of new-to-us restaurants and a local brewery, which made for a fun and relaxed few days. On Friday night, more friends from Ohio came in, and we made use of our secondary guest space in my office. Our daughter and partner took off the next morning, and we spent the day doing some shopping and sightseeing with our friends.

We drove out to Douglas Dam, where one of our friends took this fantastic photo.

The weather has been amazingly warm and nice all week. Our friends left this morning, so DH and I went for a motorcycle ride, just doing a little exploring in our part of the county. It seems crazy to be able to do such a thing in December!

What I’ve Been Reading

I still managed to read a little every night before bed, even with guests. I’ve been reading through a big box set that I probably won’t discuss in detail, as I didn’t like one of the books in it. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my taste. I am enjoying the others–pretty typical sword and sorcery fantasy fare.

What I’ve Been Writing

I set a very low goal this week, given the holidays. I did not plan to write while we had guests, but I did get to it on Sunday and Monday, and met my goal. This week, I’m going to shoot for 250 words, for four days, as New Year’s comes right in the middle of the week and I don’t yet know what we’re doing for that holiday (if anything).

2019 Goal Wrapup

This pretty much sums up how well I met my admittedly crazy writing goals, given the move:

via GIPHY

I wanted to finish my current WIP. I got about 20,000 words written on it, most of which were written before the move. Heck, I’m just glad I got anything at all written since then! Here were my other goals, which I didn’t detail out in my initial goals post at the end of last year, but that I did write down elsewhere:

  • Finish writing Time’s Guardian – DONE
  • Finish writing Time’s Judgement – this is the current WIP. See GIF above.
  • Complete at least one WMG workshop per quarter – DONE!
  • Read The Copyright Handbook – Nope
  • Attend WMG Business Master Class in Las Vegas in October – YES!
  • Send out one newsletter per month until giveaway books are gone; at least one newsletter afterward in 2019 when there’s news (ideally, quarterly) – uh, I did one books giveaway and took the rest to the library. There hasn’t been any news to speak of on the writing from since, so no newsletters.
  • Keep track of books read, including business and other nonfiction, and those not finished – Yep. I read 35 books this year, plus TONS of blogs.

So, I guess I would consider that kind of a mixed bag, though better than I expected. I’ll take it!

ROW80 doesn’t start back up until next week, so I’ll post about my 2020 goals then.

What about you–how were your holidays, if you celebrate them? Did you stick to old traditions, or work in something new? How did you do on your 2019 goals? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you. And have a happy New Year!

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.

Any Progress is Good

The pups are ready for Christmas!

This didn’t feel like an eventful week, yet when I think about it, I got a lot accomplished. We finished decorating for the holidays, and took photos for the Christmas cards, which I ordered yesterday. I would have liked to have had this done way before now, but that just didn’t happen. They’ll still come in in time for people to get them before Christmas, so that’s what matters. 

What I’ve Been Reading

Fiction reading has been slow, as I’ve been glomming on a blog lately: A Slob Comes Clean, by Dana K. White aka Nony the Slob. I discovered her books first, which I blogged about a couple weeks ago. When I learned she started with blogging, I had to check it out. Not only am I always looking for easier ways to manage my home, her writing is pretty darn funny.

She’s been blogging for ten years, and I went back and read from the beginning. I do this with blogs every once in a while when I find one that really draws me in, and I realized it’s reading about someone’s journey that I really enjoy. If you struggle with keeping up with your house, or just want some entertaining reading that’s also informative, I highly recommend A Slob Comes Clean!

What I’ve Been Writing

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My goal this past week was to write at least five days, 250 words/day. Well, I ended up getting slightly stuck again, and I did get unstuck (thank you, Twenty Answers!) but didn’t quite hit that goal. I did write for four days, for a total of just over 1000 words. It may not be my goal, but any progress is good, so I’m happy with that. I still have some holiday-related stuff to do (mainly shopping), so I’m going to stick with the same goal for this week (and hope I stay un-stuck!).

What about you–are you ready for the holidays, if you celebrate? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Do you like to read blogs (other than writing blogs, for you writers!)? 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.

I’m Back

Six weeks ago, we moved into our new house.

In a way, it’s been a long six weeks. In another way, it seems like it’s been no time at all.

The house wasn’t 100% finished when we moved in. We gave the builder a punch list when we were here on Labor Day weekend. They finished the things they needed to get a Certificate of Occupancy, but didn’t fix any paint dings, unevenly-hung doors, or things like that.

Nor did they clean (they wanted $3000 to do that, then came down to $1500. Plus the builder’s 15% fee. No thanks).

But the move finally happened three weeks later. We’re here, and slowly cleaning, fixing things, and unpacking.

But never mind all that. How about some pictures?

Even U-Haul’s biggest moving truck couldn’t fit all our stuff! DH has had to make several trips back to Ohio, mostly for garage stuff. Maybe we have too much?
The disaster that was my office after moving day
The kitchen and dining room three weeks later, after our daughter and her partner helped us clean. There were still boxes shoved against the island.
Husband and dogs napping in the family room
The view off our deck one foggy morning, with clouds layered between the mountains
After a couple weeks of constantly sweeping dog hair, we got a robot vacuum. Isis still isn’t sure what she thinks of it.
One day my husband kept hearing something going clunk… clunk… near his truck. Then he saw the legs underneath. I guess this wild turkey thought he found a new friend in the truck’s shiny, black door!
The front of the house, complete with junk still on the front porch.
The back of the house, with some grass growing now that we’re finally getting some rain!
Taking a walk down the driveway. The dogs love it out here!
The office is no longer a disaster! Isis approves.
…but there are still plenty of boxes to be unpacked, mostly books (does that surprise anyone?)

As you can guess, there hasn’t been much writing happening. Since early summer until this past week, I think I broke out the WIP twice, maybe three times. And those Big Hairy Audacious Goals I came up with back in January?

Um, yeah. Not happening.

But I’m now getting back into my WIP. This past week, I went to Las Vegas for Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Business Master Class for writers. Well worthwhile, though much of what I learned there is future oriented–as in, information I’m not ready to put to use right now, but that will be good to know for planning, ideas, and just knowing what’s possible.

I also got to meet some cool and interesting people, including Smith, creator and owner of Bookfunnel Damon Courtney, BundleRabbit creator and owner Chuck Heintzelman, Mark LeFebvre of Draft2Digital, and Allison Longuiera who runs WMG Publishing for Smith and Rusch. 

While the learning opportunity was great and met my expectations, the workshop helped me achieve my other main goals: 1) get my writing mojo back and 2) bust out of my comfort zone.

Granted, the whole move has been about the latter, especially given that I’ve been interviewed on TV twice since then! That was for our neighborhood group that continues to fight the business that’s trying to go in across the street from my house. They are trying some different tactics now (requesting a new mixed-use zoning designation instead of commercial), but so are we. All is still up in the air, though I highly doubt they’ll get to do as large an enterprise as they’re shooting for.

What I’ve Been Reading

Plenty! I have to read at least a little bit to go to sleep at night. But this is already going long, so I’ll go over some of those books next time.

What I’ve Been Writing

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As noted above, not much! After I returned from Vegas, my goal was to simply open my WIP each night and just write something. I did that. Now it’s time to jump back into ROW80, “the Writing Challenge that Knows You Have a Life.” For those unfamiliar with the group, the year is broken up into four quarters, or “rounds.” They’re already well into Round 4, but what’s great about ROW80 is you can jump in any time, set goals that work for you, and get that accountability some of us need on their blog or Facebook page. 

I still have a lot to do in my office and around the house, so I’m going to keep this week’s goals modest: 100 words/day, for six days. Wish me luck! And visit other ROW80 members on the blog or on Facebook.

What have you been up to lately? I’ve tried to keep up with my blog reading this summer, but that too has been down a bit in the past few weeks, so let me know! Did you make any Big Hairy Audacious Goals at the beginning of the year? If so, how are you doing on them? 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.

Overdue Update

Anyone who’s read this blog recently (this past year) can probably guess why I’ve been absent for the past several weeks. Yes! My brain has been stuck on house-house-house-apartments-house-house-apartments-house-house…

We’ve been to Tennessee twice since I last blogged, and there’s been a lot of progress on the house. All three people who read this are probably looking for pictures, so who am I to disappoint them?

The exterior painting is mostly done, with the exception of the porch posts and deck railings, and a few spots of trim. Also, the builder finally got rid of the big dumpster in front so I can finally get a decent photo:

    

They’ve mostly been working inside this past month. They have stained the beams, installed the tongue-and-groove ceiling in the great room, master bedroom, and my office, and have put up most of the window and door trim. Ahhh, the smell of Minwax in the evening…

When we were there in early May, our daughter and her partner joined us. It was the first time they’d been to the property, and they loved it! We went for a hike around the land. There is an old, fallen-down farmhouse on the other side of the ridge from where we’re building, and our daughter found the outhouse that went with it. She also found wild roses along our driveway, and there were wild strawberries growing on the other side of the ridge. Fun discoveries!

A lot more had been done when DH and I returned last week. Kitchen cabinets were in, and so were the built-ins for my office!

     

And in case you’re wondering, no, our entire house is not being painted mauve. That’s the primer (which was weird to me, as I’ve always seen white primer).

In addition to the house stuff, there’s also been some big changes in our real estate investments (aka my retirement). We sold the 16-unit building we owned here in Ohio, which leaves us owning only our house here. We then bought two small complexes in Tennessee, one with 10 units, the other with 13. There is a lot of paperwork involved in both selling and buying, and I’m the one who handles that, so… apartments have been very much on my mind. It helps that the new buildings came with property management in place, and they look like they really  have their act together, so once I get online banking and a few bill payments set up, our work with these should be minimal.

We’ve also started working on our current house, getting it ready to sell. My husband’s been patching walls and painting, and we’ve started to pack away personal items and get rid of clutter. We’ve already taken a load of outdoor stuff to Tennessee, and will take more once the house is under lock and key.

What I’ve Been Reading: Of course I’ve still been reading! I can’t go to sleep at night without reading first, kind of like how Beavis and Butthead can’t sleep without TV (thumbs up if you get that one!). I’m too lazy to link them all or find covers, so I’ll just list them. There were a couple of additional non fiction books I started but did not finish, that are not listed here. I highly recommend all of the books below!

  1. Soldier’s Duty by Patty Jansen. Third in her Return of the Arghyrians science fiction series, which I really enjoyed.
  2. Writing with Chronic Illness by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. I found this one really helpful in seeing how someone else has dealt with this and still manages to produce a lot.
  3. Heir’s Revenge by Patty Jansen. Fourth and final book in the Return of the Arghyrians series.
  4. “Savannah’s Destiny” by Stacy McKitrick. A fun, entertaining short story that meshes her Bitten by Love vampire romances, and her Ghostly Encounters paranormal contemporary romances.
  5. Growing as a Professional Artist by Leah Cutter. Came as part of a writers bundle I bought. Some good tips on dealing with being a introvert and having needs that are different than most people (creating art).
  6. Atomic Habits by James Clear. Details why and how we form habits, and how we can control which new ones we form (and get rid of bad ones).

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhhhh… not much. I started about a month ago with a greatly-reduced goal of 100 words/day, five days/week. I hit that for a couple of weeks, then hit a snag in the WIP. It was too easy to just set it aside, especially when the latest Tennessee trip came up and apartments took over my brain. I have still been thinking about my WIP though, and I think I see a way through the hangup, so I’m going to try getting back to the WIP. Since the new house, and all the stuff to do at the old one is still taking up a lot of my brainspace, I’m going to start back in with my easy goal of 100 words/day, for five days.

What’s been going on with you, or in your life? Do you sometimes feel that your brain is too full to be creative? How are you doing with whatever goals you might have? 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.

Getting to It, Again

Things have been crazy since I last posted, three weeks ago.

In that time, we’ve sold an apartment building, realized our house was waaaay over budget (and figured out some ways we can mitigate that), and contracted to buy another apartment building. Oh, and there was a holiday in there too, for which I had to do extra cooking and cleaning (fortunately, I had help).

So yeah, no time or more importantly, brain, for writing or blogging.

The apartments are kind of a big deal, because that’s most of our retirement. We manage them ourselves, and that has made them more profitable than they otherwise would have been. We can’t exactly do that once we move, so we decided to sell them, and buy something in Tennessee. This has all involved me collecting a lot of paperwork, executing contracts, researching potential purchases, and more–enough that I’ve had no brain for writing. Fortunately, the new apartments we’re under contract to buy make good money–enough that it will help with the house’s budget overages. So it’s all good.

My husband took a few more house pictures when he went there last week to look at the apartments. The exterior is finally getting paint. The fireplace on the back porch is done, and drywall is also done. I picked out interior paint colors and emailed the builder, so that comes next.

          

What I’ve Been Reading: In the past three weeks, I’ve completed two nonfiction books, plus a short story anthology.

The Fiction River was enjoyable as they always are, and yes, there were two or three stories I skipped because they were in first person present tense. Despite the title, only a couple of the stories were romance; the others dealt with love for one’s children, family, friends, or even a place.

The Due Diligence Handbook was all about things to look for and check into when under contract to buy commercial property, which includes apartment buildings larger than four units. We are under contract to buy 23 units, so this seemed worthwhile. It really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, though, and a lot of it was not applicable to apartments, but more focused on retail, office, or other types of commercial property.

Work Optional was a good book about preparing for retirement, and was written by the author of the Our Next Life blog. Like the blog, the book goes over the financial aspects of preparing for retirement, but focuses mostly on the emotional side of it and planning what you’ll do with your time–material that isn’t well-covered in many other retirement resources. Recommended, whether you think you’ll be able to retire early or are just hoping for a traditional retirement starting in your mid-60s.

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What I’ve Been Writing: Uhhhh….. (see above). The apartment and house stuff pretty much took over my brainspace for the past few weeks. There just wasn’t anything left for writing. It was compounded by the fact that I’m in a stuck spot right now. So this week, I’m going to try to ease back into it with a very modest goal–100 words a day, for five days. We’ll see how that goes.

What about you–do you sometimes feel  like there just isn’t any brain left for writing (or something else)? Have you read any good books lately? What’s been going on in your life? And how are you doing with your goals, whatever they might be (I hope better than me!)? 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.

Family First

This week, I lowered my writing goals a bit, because I knew I’d be spending more time with my family–and family comes first in my priorities, definitely above writing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch wrote a good blog post about this a few weeks ago, and it’s worth the read on the importance of setting these priorities, especially when we have limited time and energy.

When regifting is cool: the bell to the left of our wedding cake topper was a gift from my mom – she received it for her 25th anniversary!

This week, we celebrated my being married to my own personal hero for 25 years. That’s a long time! And it’s been great. We’re looking forward to 25 more years, starting with an adventure moving to a new house in a new state. DH and I went out to our favorite special-occasion restaurant on Tuesday, the day of our anniversary. We’d planned to have my parents and our daughter and her partner over for a celebration at our home yesterday. My mom wound up hurting her back, so we went to see her on Friday instead, and enjoyed spending time with the kids over the weekend. My mom was feeling a bit better, and we had a nice visit (with my dad, too). And having the kids over is always fun.

So not much focus on the writing, but that’s OK.

Nothing to report on in Tennessee, but I hope to have some more house pictures soon. Oh, and this is why my husband and I didn’t buy each other any gifts–we’re buying each other a new house, LOL!

What I’ve Been Reading: I’m not going to name this week’s book, because while I enjoyed it, it really ticked me off.

I knew when I bought it that it was short, no problem. I knew it was the start of a series, so I expected that there would be some plot points not tied up at the end.

Except what it actually was, was the start of a serial.

Meaning nothing was tied up. It left off in the middle of the action, and nothing was complete.

I’ve read serials before, and it’s fine when I know that’s what I’m getting into. I’ll typically wait on them until the whole series is out, so I can grab the next book right away. In this case, there’s one more book out, but I have zero expectation that it’s finished, so I’ll pass on that. Fool me once, you know?

I also got a nonfiction book from the library that just wasn’t doing anything for me, so I let the loan expire. No big deal.

So not a good week for reading. I’ve started another novel by an author I know will deliver, and I bought an omnibus of the series, so no worries about being left hanging. I already read the first book, and it was appropriately tied up (with a few things left loose) so I have no worries about this one.

What I’ve Been Writing: With all the celebrations, I lowered my weekly goal to four days writing, of 500 words each. I hit that goal with 2200 words. Normally, I’d raise the words/day for this week, but it could be a busy one too, so I’m leaving it at 500. I’m also still getting a feel for the story, so more is pushing it.

What about you–any celebrations in your life lately? They don’t need to be a milestone like mine! How’s your reading been? Do you like serials, or stick to fully-finished books? How have you been doing on whatever goals you’re working on, whether writing or otherwise? 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.

Round 1 Wrap-up

Hard to believe we’re halfway through March already! Even harder to believe that it’s only three days until spring – it was snowing buckets here earlier today!

This weeks has been relatively uneventful, which is not a bad thing. No news from Tennessee on the house. As far as the unwanted neighbor business goes, they just closed on the purchase of a large, adjoining lot. The landowner claims he’s going to turn it into gardens, but no one believes him at this point. It doesn’t change anything as far as his zoning change request, except that if he still wants the change, they’ll have to re-apply at this point. So we’re still in a wait and see mode there.

What I’ve Been Reading: Finally finished my novel last week, The Longview Chronicles: The Complete Saga by Holly Lisle. It took a long time because it was actually a boxed set of six books that started with a novella, and each one got longer. Book 5 was definitely a full-length novel, and not a short one either (at least it didn’t feel short). But, it was well worth it. This is set in her Settled Space universe, a series I love. While it’s an independent story, it links to the prior two books in the series, Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and Warpaint. The main characters from those novels appeared in the fifth book, which I had not expected and was a great surprise since I love them. However, it was probably more enjoyable since I’d read those books. This series is space opera at its best–fantastic worldbuilding of a dystopian society, and characters fighting to make a difference. I will note that this series is very dark, and contains graphic violence, so be aware if that’s not your thing. It’s normally not mine, but it’s completely appropriate for these stories, and I doubt they’d pack the emotional punch they do without it. Highly recommended!

What I’ve Been Writing: I didn’t quite make my goal this week, which was to write five days, for a total of 2500 words. I had a couple days where I just didn’t feel like writing, so I only got four days in. I got 2015 words out of those however, so I’ll consider that a “failing to success” as it’s still not bad and moves me forward. I am getting a good feel for this new WIP, and completed the first scene.

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Which brings me to my quarterly goals, or ROW80 Round 1 Wrap-up. I know it’s not quite the end of the quarter, but ROW80 is only 80 days, so it ends on Thursday and this is my last post before then. My goals were to finish Time’s Guardian, my last WIP, and start on my new one. I did both of those. I have about 3600 words in on my new book, which is hmm…. far short of the 40,000 I’d hoped for! So what happened? Well, the first book ended up taking a little over 18,000 words to finish–a good bit more than the 5,000 I expected! I also went through a revision, which took waaaaay longer than I thought it would–pretty much the whole month of February. And ramping up to the 5k/week also took longer than I expected.

But still, that 22,000 words is more writing, done more quickly, than I’ve accomplished in years, so I’ll consider that “failing to success.” And I still have a chance to hit my BHAG (Bit Hairy Audacious Goal) of writing 150,000 words this year.

I also had a goal to complete two online workshops, although I didn’t mention it in my 2019 Goals Post back in December. That goal I met.

This week I have a few things going on, so I’m going to shoot for what I did this week: four days, at 500 words/day, for a total of 2,000 words. And, keep up with the online workshop I started yesterday.

What about you–what’s been going on in your life? Read any good books lately? And how have you been doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? 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.

Progress

View from our back deck, with snow-covered mountains

This has been a week of progress on many fronts.

It finally stopped raining for long enough in Tennessee that our builder was able to pour concrete for the front porch and lower level back patio.

The back patio now has concrete

And we got confirmation that the business wanting the commercial zoning across the street has again postponed their zoning hearing. Even better, a similar request is on the docket for this month’s meeting, and the agenda packet already has the board’s recommendation: Deny–for all the same reasons as our rationale for denial of the one across the street. So it looks like the zoning commission is very closely following their published policies–a very promising precedent for our group! One of our neighbors wound up getting into a long conversation with the landowner yesterday. While he was cagey as usual, she interpreted his hints as leaning toward downscaling his operation to the point that it will work within agricultural zoning.

Which makes me very hopeful, as our #1 goal is to avoid the commercial zoning. There could still be some undesirable effects if the downscaled business goes in, especially for the neighbor who spoke with the landowner (she’s right next door to his property), but he’s now on the county and environmental agencies’ radar, and we’re hoping they’ll also give him some pushback.

Despite these things, our group is not making any assumptions, and we aren’t resting! We’re about to launch a website, which I put together a couple weeks ago, and spent most of yesterday writing content for. It’s one way I can contribute from 300 miles away. Now I’m waiting for just a few more things from others, and it will be ready to go. So more progress!

What I’ve Been Reading: In nonfiction, I read Smart Couples Finish Rich by David Bach. This book is a classic in the personal finance category, and has been recently updated. While it was an easy and worthwhile read, I probably didn’t get as much out of it as a lot of people would, simply because my husband and I already do a lot of the things he suggests. But if nothing else, it made me feel better about our prospects (mostly regarding retirement, and what we’re doing with our move).

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What I’ve Been Writing: Over 1500 words on the new WIP! My goal was 250 words/day for five days, or a total of 1250 words. I wanted to start slowly, as I don’t know where this is going (this is the first time I’ve started a book without outlining, which is new and scary for me, but I think the right choice). In some ways it’s harder than finishing a book, because there’s so much I don’t know. But in another way it’s not difficult, because I at least already know my characters and what’s gone on with them before. So this week, continuing on, with a goal to write 500 words/day, for five days.

What kind of progress have you seen or made lately? Or if you don’t feel you have, why do you think that is? How are you doing on whatever goals you might be working toward, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I 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.

Another Quick Update

This week has been another of those where it feels like I’ve been busy all week, but haven’t accomplished much. This time, it wasn’t Facebook, but TAXES. Yep, it’s that time of year in the U.S., and I had to collect all the tax documentation for our accountant. You’d think this would be easy, because I’m fairly organized with our paperwork, but with five businesses, it still adds up.

Yes, five businesses. None that are very big, but still, all have their own paperwork. Four of these were rental properties we owned (all but one of which are now sold). The other is my writing business. Got that done and met with the accountant yesterday, only to realize a couple hours later that I totally forgot to tally up the mileage and a few random business expenses here and there that were paid by personal credit card, and add those to our business expenses. :facepalm: So now I have that to do this week.

Tennessee update: Nothing much has happened there, because all it’s done this week is RAIN. Rain, rain, and more rain. There are roads closed all over Knoxville due to flooding, and one of our neighbors’ business places is flooded, too. No worries for our house, as it’s on a ridgetop, but I feel for those who have all this water to deal with. The rest of the windows came in last week, but haven’t been installed due to the constant rain. They’re supposed to have a few dry days until they get a little more rain at the end of the week, so the windows should go in soon. Our hot tub was also delivered, as it will be much more easily installed if they can take it through the house before drywall goes in, which should start soon after the last windows are installed. But more important, I hope those whose homes and businesses have flooded are able to dry them out.

What I’ve Been Reading: Back to reading fiction (other than mine), a novel I’m really enjoying! But you know the drill. I’ll write about it here when I’m finished.

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What I’ve Been Writing: No new writing. The goal was to get through my corrections. I came close, but due to the time I needed to spend on collecting stuff for taxes, I didn’t quite get done. I do expect to finish this week, and get the book off to my first reader, and after that, it’s time to start the next book.

This is where it gets scary. I’ve never written a whole book into the dark before, so we’ll see how that goes. My goal for that is just to start.

I also need to do some work on my computer. It’s been overheating lately, mostly if I walk away from it and leave it on. I pulled it out and opened it up the other day, and confirmed what I’d suspected–the case cooling fan isn’t running. As long as I’m using the computer, it stays within an OK temperature, but if I walk away, it heats up pretty quickly. So I need to figure out if the fan’s bad, or possibly just disconnected. Hoping it’s not a software issue, as that’s not software I have any kind of expertise with. The computer is nine years old, so nothing would surprise me. But it’s fine other than the overheating, and I see no reason to replace the whole thing if only a fan needs to be replaced.

What about you–are you staying warm and dry? It’s dry here in Ohio today, but super windy! If you’re in the U.S., do you have your taxes filed yet? What else has been going on in your life? And how are you doing on whatever goals you might have, whether writing or otherwise? Please share in the comments–I 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.