Coming Out of the Storm

It’s the end of the month and time for me to come clean with how productive (or not) I’ve been. Fairly recently I had a friend compliment me on this regular feature of my blog. She said it was a courageous way of making myself accountable. I suppose it seems courageous to some. It’s definitely a way to keep myself on track, but I hope readers enjoy the glimpse into the messy life of a creative too. A creative’s progress on any project will be messy, like a storm is messy. Storms stir up all kinds of good and bad stuff and strew things randomly across streets and yards. Creativity is like that. Sometimes it’s a raging storm. Sometimes it’s deadly quiet, like the eye of a hurricane. Even before my husband died, sometimes finishing a project felt like coming out of the storm.

Photograph of dark storm clouds over a green wheat field with lighter clouds visible in the distance and the words "Coming out of the storm or heading into it" written across the image

And once the storm is over, you won’t remember you how made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm’s all about.

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Intentions

It’s been a while since I’ve explained this. Instead of goals or resolutions, I use intentions. You can miss a goal. You probably break most resolutions. But an intention is a focus. When life interferes your plan, take care of life, then return to your primary plan. Every morning begins with a renewed intention. Want to know more? Read A New Year and New Intentions.

I put my intentions in four buckets or areas: Making (writing, blogging, outlining, etc.), Managing (noncreative stuff like correspondence, budgets, planning, etc.), Marketing (activities related to ad creation, management, or other actions to sell my books), and Home (everything else.)

Making

The big news in the Making bucket is that I am on track to finish the revision draft of If I Should Die by the end of the month. Yay!

My word counts across all areas of Making are lower than previous months. I am not disappointed because this phase of the revision draft doesn’t call for a lot of rewriting. This phase is more about smoothing and doing a little polish here and there.

I can’t overlook the second piece of big news. My first blog post for Writers in the Storm went up this month, and it went well. Thanks to you all for checking it out! And a special thanks to Jenny Hansen and the WITS gang for inviting me to be a part of their group and for a very warm welcome.

While there were some misses this month, overall this month has been successful in the Making area.

Managing

Image says coming soon! Fellowship has a new look with a peek at the new cover showing a shadow against a light brown image on a dark brown background.

Managing and Marketing mixed it up a bit this month. I’ve created new business cards, done a bit of correspondence, and a lot of pre-production work for the re-release of Fellowship coming up next month.

I also had an interesting thing happen on the website. Apparently, there are bots out there that make fake pages for some websites. Yeah. I had no clue, but one showed up on the reports I view weekly. I reached out to my awesome web host, TechSurgeons, who investigated and assured me it was a fake and needed no intervention. Yay, I think.

Marketing

It’s been an interesting month for Marketing. As mentioned above, there’s been some with book production work. I also spent some time tweaking ads on Amazon and analyzing what happens. Some of what I’ve done has been successful, some I need more data to understand what impact the changes made.

Home and Me

This is the area of intentions that has been crazy busy the last two months, particularly this month. My friends have sold a lot of inventory from my husband’s former business. (It was a very niche business and requires specialized knowledge that I don’t have.)

I got my flu shot and my COVID-19 booster. Had my regular checkup. Besides my own exercise program, my doctor added some physical therapy. Don’t worry, I’m all right. My head isn’t spinning any more. But several months of being physically inactive because of grief, followed by four months of being as sedentary as possible because of vertigo, have taken their toll. I need a little extra help to get muscles and joints back to doing what they’re supposed to.

…and a New Car

Photograph of me standing by my new dark blue Honda CR-V just outside of the Jay Wolfe Honda showroom.

At the end of September, I sold my husband’s van and my car. That left me with a 2017 Toyota Wheelchair van. So, I started looking for a new car during the last week of September. I put a deposit down on a vehicle that was being shipped to the dealer. It arrived in town the first of this month and I bought a 2022 Honda CR-V. My first brand new car in a very long time. I’d forgotten how much paperwork accompanied selling and buying cars.

My wonderful son helped me rearrange the garage (which is still very full). He did such a fantastic job, that my new car fits. This is the first time I’ve been able to get my car in the garage for more than ten years!

Oh, and I got my haircut.

Selfie of me with much shorter hair styled in a Lob (long bob).

Events

We celebrated a birthday, and I played with two grandkids while their parents celebrated an anniversary. I enjoyed lunch out with a friend and texts and phone calls with friends.

Photograph of thirteen year old grandson C lying on a sofa watching the game on his phone while  2 year old grandson J plays a game with toys on the other sofa.

What I Learned

I am a lifelong learner. But my lessons these days have more to do with re-learning who I am, what my goals are, and how I can best go about reaching those goals.

I miss my husband every day. Grief doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it, to go on despite it.

I love the quote above. Not because it speaks of a storm, but because you walk out of the storm. Changed, not the same, but that is what the storm is about, what life is about. Change can be painful, but it isn’t inherently bad. Sometimes it’s exciting.

Going Forward

Next month has new challenges. I’ll be offline for a week, attending a writer’s conference. But I’ll return invigorated by new information, new acquaintances, and an infusion of energy. (Yes, masks are mandatory at the event.)

I may start an outline, but I don’t expect to get a lot of fiction words written. Beta readers reading If I Should Die won’t submit their feedback until the end of the month.

Mid-month, I will put a new blog post on the Writer’s in the Storm site and I will reveal the new cover for Fellowship.

Of course, Thanksgiving will be here in the US. There will be family gatherings and food. Lots of food.

I’m coming out of the storm only to head into another one or two or three. That’s okay. Storms make a mess, but they also clear the air for something new.

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