What’s Up Wednesday – Vacation Countdown edition

Snowman Button (final)What’s Up Wednesday is a blog hop created by sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin Funk, to help writers connect. Follow either of those links to get more information, and join in!

It’s not snowy where I am, but since it’s very snowy in much of the world, here, have a snowman.

WHAT I’M READING

Because I’m working on short fiction these days, I finally dived into my recently-acquired array of PULP LITERATURE short-story collections. There are five books in the series, featuring works by a mix of well-known and lesser-known writers (mostly Canadian). Book 1 starts with a visceral story of loss and forgiveness by C.C. Humphreys, which gave me shivers. I’m only at the second story, which is longer and stars an elderly sleuth called Stella Ryman. So far that’s a hoot. I really enjoy short fiction, especially since I do most of my reading at bedtime. I need to read more of it. Please recommend authors and collections to me! I got a big fat Chapters/Indigo gift card at Christmas, and I read both paper and digital books. (So yes, please enable my book addiction.)

WHAT I’M WRITING (+1 WRITING GOAL)

As mentioned previously, I’m working on the MICE series of stories. The best demonstration of the variances seems to be to write the same story with each different primary element, and the relevant POV character, so that’s what I’m doing. My story “The Fairy Experiments” will be published later this year (if we stay on schedule), and it’s an IDEA story. So I’m going to tell that story three other ways, from three different points of view. All going well, I’ll publish the stories here. Possibly to coincide with the launch of the anthology with the original story in it.

The writing goal, then, is to actually write one of those stories. I need to scratch out an outline/first draft of each of them before I dive into the actual writing.

WHAT WORKS FOR ME

Scheduling things. I need structure in my day as well as structure in my fiction. I have taken to planning out my week, to ensure I get writing time, working out time, and looking-for-work time in an attempt to minimize my internet time.

WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON

I’m off to Africa in six weeks, so today we went to the Travel Clinic to see what we need to get to be prepared. Because this is our second trip there (my third), we’ve already had all the vaccines we need. We’re going to Botswana, which is a malaria risk area, so we’ll get some tablets to take before we go, while we’re there, and for a few days after we leave there. The doctor gave us a prescription for ciprofloxacin, in case we get traveller’s diarrhea. We filled this prescription the last time we went, in 2008, and I think I took the unused pills back to the pharmacy last year for disposal. I might just get my hands on some probiotics and take them prophylactically, too.

I’m enrolled in the (non-credit) Editing Program at Simon Fraser University now, and my first class taught me a ton I didn’t know about editing as a process and as a profession. I’m taking my second course now, and will finish a third before I go to Africa in April. It’s fascinating and I can feel my brain synapses making new connections as I learn. I’ve already arranged my airfare and hotel for the Editors’ Association of Canada conference in Toronto in June. Now I just need to register. Maybe when I get back from Africa.

15 thoughts on “What’s Up Wednesday – Vacation Countdown edition

  1. I’m all about scheduling things, especially if I plan on being productive at all. It’s too easy to let the day slip away. Of course, social media doesn’t help much, always distracting me and whatnot. 😉 You’re going to Africa? That’s pretty exciting. (I had to cringe at the cipro, though. I’m allergic to it, like anaphylaxis allergic. Eek.) I don’t know of any short fiction to recommend to you. Hope you’re able to find lots of awesome things to buy with your Indigo gift card! 😀

    1. I do not expect to need to take the cipro, thankfully. And OMG anaphylactically allergic? The discovery of that sounds like a rough story.

      Yes, South(ern) Africa! Twelve days in and around Cape Town, then five days’ safari in the Okavango Delta, then three days in England, then home. I think there will be mucha family time in Cape Town, and I am hoping for mucha wildlife in Botswana. And no typhoid, traveller’s diarrhea, or malaria!

    1. Yes, Africa is a vacation. We’re going with my parents (ages 79 and 80) and will be 12 days in Cape Town, visiting family and seeing the sights, and then going on a 5-day safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, which should be swarming with birds and wildlife about that time. We’ve been to the Cape before, but Botswana is new to us.

      One of the best time-management tools I ever used (back when I was doing direct sales part time) was a spreadsheet with time (increments of 15 minutes) down the side and days of the week across the top, covering the full 24 hours of each day. In the spirit of “big rocks in first”, you first put in the inflexible things: sleep, day job, commute times, meal times, grocery shopping, etc. Then you add in things like social obligations, sporting and cultural events you are going to, kids’ events, etc. And then you see what you have left for whatever else remains. So if you have three hours a week available for writing your novel, you schedule those in, and you use the time for that, and you don’t beat yourself up for not having five hours, or only being able to get another five hours a week by giving up an hour of sleep every weeknight, etc. It’s a great reality check, and a good way to keep yourself on track.

  2. I really need to read more short fiction. It seems like a great way to sneak in reading when things are busy–which they always are. Might have to tackle some novellas soon for that reason.

    Good luck with your writing course, and I hope all the prep for your Africa trip goes well!

  3. I can recommend Everything You Need by Michael Marshall Smith, which was just released for Kindle recently. The stories in that collection are lighter, more contemplative than the horror stories of More Tomorrow, a previous collection. The title story, I thought, was particularly poignant, but there is one (“Author of the Death”) that I think has a lot of specific tongue-in-cheek appeal for writers.

  4. Hope you have an amazing time in Africa! Definitely recommend the probiotics. 🙂

    And hooray for new synaptic connections! Love things that give my cranial ganglia a much-need workout.

    Hope you have a great week!

    1. You used ‘cranial ganglia’ in a sentence. I have a little crush on you now. 😉

      We’re not going anywhere really remote in Africa, but different soil and different water can be disruptive, so better safe than sorry, right? Yes.

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