Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Returning From Va-Cay

It was a truly wonderful Christmas. We saw family, spent time with the kids and grands, and managed to get to mass at the Marymount convent with our daughter. I don't understand a word of it, but some of the songs are traditional Polish Christmas carols. The order used to be heavily immigrant Polish, so some of the sisters still remember those days.

We also managed to sign the paperwork for the sale of the house. We made our son a good deal, giving up some profit in order that he would have an affordable house that he could manage to keep up and repair (it's had work done, but still needs some updating). He will sign by the middle of January, and from that point on, we will only have 1 house payment for the first time in 10 years (at one point, we had THREE houses!). It should make a major difference as we round third base towards our retirement.

When we arrive home today, we'll return the rental car (we weren't sure of the weather we would be traveling through, and didn't want to risk an accident with our new car), get the house warm and organized, and enjoy the rest of the break (I return on Wednesday). I managed to get some of the planning done for my Honors Physics class, and set up OneNote class notebooks for the others. The administration wants us to be electronic, as much as possible. I'm game, but just haven't used this particular technology in class notebook form.

By this time next year (or, if circumstances lead me differently, in May, 2018), I will be retired. I'm doing a lot of the groundwork now - organizing the house for non-teaching (I.e., getting rid of a lot of junk), doing the paperwork prep, contacting some folks that had previously mentioned short-term workshops that I do to bring in extra money, and taking my writing seriously.

What do I mean by seriously?

Getting paid for it. Writing every day on my fiction. Taking the time out of even busy days to continue forward motion on writing-in-progress.

I've started work, and dropped it, in the past, when life interfered. Sometimes, it was necessary - planning for funerals, dealing with illness - mine or a family member, working on large projects with a deadline - these aren't the things that kept me from writing.

It's the personal self-doubt that was my real opposition. The setting work aside when other demands intruded. Wasting time with aimless web browsing. Giving into guilt when my kids or husband complained about me being on the computer. Not taking my work seriously enough to insist that it came FIRST - before other commitments.

NaNoWriMo was a revelation for me. It was only a month, so shutting out doubts, interruptions, and complaints was relatively easy in that short term. I was able to crank out from 1500 - 3000 words a day, day after day. When I fell behind during Thanksgiving, I didn't give up, just committed to doubling my output for a few more days. Slowly, I caught up, and, with a burst at the end, just barely hit the mark.

50,000 words. It needs revision, expansion in a few places (I used the # symbol to great effect, marking places where I needed to return and untangle confusion, expand on character development, or add another scene to make the story flow more smoothly), and cleaning up of loose ends. But, the core story is complete.

I signed up for the January revision on NaNoWriMo, which should help me with all of the above. My goal is to have it ready for a look by a beta reader by the end of the school year. For the first time in my life, I believe that it can happen.

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