The Next 5 Year Plan

Posted by mindy on 21 September, 2014
Category Goals

With the impending approach of the 42nd annual marker of my birth, I thought I should do this. It's time to update, okay it's long past the time to update / renew my 5 and 10 year plan.

What I've accomplished in my last 10 years doesn't seem like much in comparison to the time. When you consider the monetary aspect it makes a big difference. So, here we go.

I've accomplished: 21 credits towards my college degree; planned, plotted, developed, or written a number of papers, stories, essays, and articles. I have recorded the word count that puts me past 400,000 words. And that's just on the fiction. I also participated in this challenge NaNoWriMo and swore that I will NEVER do it again!

I have managed to improve me health with supplements and visits to the DR. Had necessary procedures and dental work. There is still a road to travel with my health but I will travel it.

With the monetary goals - since 2007 (when I began to take it seriously) I have paid off over $ 25,500 in personal debt.

I have invested in myself with 4 groups / clubs. The first is Long Ridge Writers Group- a home school program designed to help writers develop their skills for publication in magazines and periodicals. Another is Melaleuca- a company with awesome products and a home-based business opportunity. The third is The Cooking Club of America- a club that has an abundance of recipes, collections, events, and resources for every need in the kitchen. The last is Toastmasters International. I joined this at WITCC with the thought that it would help me overcome my anxieties of public speaking and socializing.

Finally, I found a church in my area where it just feels like home.

I also managed spoiled 3 healthy cats. Spoiled is the only way to have pets.

So, what's next? Well, I need to FINISH what I've started. And that is the goal 'across the boards' for my next '5 year plan'

Where do I see myself in 5 years on just these things? December 31, 2020.

I plan to break another 200,000 words. I don't like to say "I'm going to finish this project or that one" - this just sets me up for failure- because things do happen that are beyond my control. Things like a virus hitting my computer in the middle of November right as I hit 24,000 words on my NaNoWriMo project.

That said, I do believe that there's plenty of room and time to squeeze in 200,000 words between now and 2020.

In the short term, for the rest of 2014 and through 2015 a few things will be academy in happening. 2 credit cards will be paid off. A debt of $251 will also be paid, which will allow me to get back to classes in the fall. I have been attaining my goal of $ 2,000 / year and I don't see this changing in 2015.

I will get back on track in my writing projects. I've discovered a few tricks that work in drowning out the distractive / external noises. Thanks you Jen for the recording. I am also certain that I will be finished with Long Ridge inside 2015.

With my health- I want to be down to a healthy wealth. Let's just say that the last time I weighed in- it was NOT GOOD. Ideally, I should be between 130 and 150. I believe that this can be achieved in one year.

The 5 year plan:

With my finances- at the rate I've been going, about $233 a month towards my debts, I could feasibly pay off another $14,000. I would like to pay off at least the small student loan that I have. As of today it's around $ 1,600 @ $ 30 a month. This should just about hit the end of the 5 year plan.

On my academics, I would like to either complete or be close to completing my associates degree. Due to time constraints, a limited bus system and not having a car, I can only attend part time. So, averaging 6 credits a term, 3 terms a year = 18 credits per year. 64 credits for the degree - 21 earned= 43 credits to go. At 18 credits a year that'll be 2 years and 1 term. I might go over 64 because there are courses I need and courses I want. Of course, Long Ridge does offer college credit for the program- I don't know what the value is or if I'd qualify. If I do- it'll be a BONUS!

With my health, I'm not going to stress myself if I don't make my weight goal in 2015. There are plenty of years ahead of me. As I am now, I don't feel old- but there is room for improvement. One thing's for certain, I could do better in keep my with appointments. That would help.

The 10 year plan:

These are the long range plans- so I really just have a list. Nothing is actually planned out. There's breaking 1,000,000 words, being published, finishing my associates degree, learning German, getting healthy / losing weight, and seeing a few local spots before I make that next big move. Yes, I want move- to leave Sioux City Iowa before I'm 50.

EGADS!!!! That's 8 YEARS AWAY!!!

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Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

Posted by mindy on 19 September, 2014
Category Book Reviews

I cannot say enough about this book. Renni Brown and Dave King hit pay-dirt when they collaborated on this crown of jewels. I obtained my first copy through the writing program of Long Ridge Writers Group.

I find myself going back to it again and again. Their tone is like having coffee with conversation with an old friend. And that is one of the things that make this book great.

If you're looking for a book on the aspects of writing fiction that does not get preachy- this is The One. Treated with humor and common sense Brown and King get to the basics of working with fiction stories.

Topics covered include: Show and Tell, Characterization and Exposition, Point of View, Dialogue Mechanics, Interior Monologue, Proportion as well as a few others. They also include a number of exercises scattered throughout the book.

My hope is that, if not another collaboration, one of them will write a book / course on the topic of internal monologue.

It's my opinion that if you write fiction, no matter what your specific genre is, then you need a copy of this book.


Amazon Link


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Posted by mindy on 14 September, 2014
Category Memorable Quotes

Don't dwell on who let you down, cherish those who hold you up. - Unknown

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Giving Up Cable TV

Posted by mindy on 14 September, 2014
Category General

Some time ago I made the decision and contacted Cable One to cancel the TV portion of my cable service. Since then I've contemplated what I'm actually giving up. Most of the shows that I watch on cable networks are available on DVD. That is, they are old seasons of the shows. So now, instead of watching because the shows just happen to be on- it'll be a deliberate decision and on my time.

So what am I giving up? The primary ones are:

Law & Order SVU
Criminal Minds - now on Netflix (9 seasons)
Ancient Aliens

There are a few other shows but really it's not worth $45 a month. For this amount, I could buy 1 maybe 2 seasons per month on DVD; depending on the show. It'll be worth it; especially since there will be NO commercials!

Besides- TV time tends to rob from writing time. And the writing needs to be my priority. So having the DVDs will give me that flexibility in my schedule.

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Goals Achieved

Posted by mindy on 14 September, 2014
Category Goals


Okay, so it took me longer than expected. I did take a short break to get munchies and a few other things. Still, I've finished the comparing and deleting of the clones for # 38. Now, it looks like I'll be able to get through the copies of # 39 by the end of tonight.

5:43pm DONE!!!!

By 5:45 pm I finished with comparing and deleting the clone files of Psi-B Homecomings.

Along the way I did make some edits. However, phase 2 'the editing stage' will be put on hold for a while. I'm going to set this one aside so that I can focus on "Return' and my Long Ridge Lesson.

Current Stats: Psi- B Homecomings

file size: 387 kb
page count: 188
word count: 59,813


Another goal achieved. Today I finished LRWG Lesson 7 part one- revising the story from a previous lesson. I chose 'Choices' from lesson 4. This is by far the most popular piece among those who've read my work. As it is one of mine. For me, I think that it's because how people respond to it. People view the 3 main characters as I had intended and hoped. They have sympathy for Sharon, adore her best friend Tabitha, and David is a toad.

After yesterday's achievement with Psi-B Homecomings, this feels like a double-victory. I have 2 more parts to write for lesson 7- the cover letter and a note to my instructor. I already expressed to him that I intend to focus on fiction for the remainder of the course. In this letter, I need to tell him is (as it's part of the lesson requirements) about what I intend to write about for lesson 8.

The trick for me is selecting ideal magazines to solicit. It's not intimidating, however, despite the plentiful options in the Market Place book- I can't seem to find one to fit a piece.

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Text Books for Long Ridge

Posted by mindy on 14 September, 2014
Category LRWG

I'm currently working my way through several books as part of the course material from Long Ridge Writers Group. Link to Site

On Writing Well- 6th Edition by William Zinsser

This book is geared towards nonfiction writing, however, as a fiction writer I have found it to be useful. There are many things inside that writers of both will learn from.

In Part 1, Zinsser discusses the topics of simplicity, clutter, style, audience, words, and usage.

I'm through Chapter 1 'The Transaction' in my 2nd read. This chapter sums up the intentions of this book. Along with a comparative anecdote, this chapter discusses what it's like being a writer, what writers are like, and what's at the heart of good nonfiction. The chapter is short and to the point.

Link to Book on Amazon

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King
sub-title: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

This book is geared towards fiction writing.

Let me start by saying that I love this book. There are times when I just can't put this book down. I am currently on Chapter 6 "Interior Monologue".

While it is instructive it does not read this way. It's far from preachy. The writers come across as natural. It's as if you're sitting with them having a casual conversation on the subject at hand. They inject humor, common sense, and an intelligence that anyone can understand.

The writers discuss the issues of: show vs. tell, characterization and exposition, point of view, dialogue, interior monologue, voice, and a few other things.

In my opinion if you are a fiction writer this book belongs on your shelf. Not one of us should be without a copy. Not one of us should go or proceed without reading it.

Link to Book on Amazon

Freelance Writing for Magazines and Newspapers by Marcia Yudkin

This book is geared towards nonfiction writing; specifically articles for print in magazines and newspapers. Marcia Yudkin goes in to details on the various aspects of the writing process. She includes personal stories making it easy to relate to, between her and her reader.

I've only read chapter 1. So, while I know what the book is about I can't go any further. What I can tell is that Marcia Yudkin has a voice that is easy to read.

Link to Book on Amazon

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