What I Did Over Summer Vacation

No, it’s not my first day of school. But, it is my baby girl’s first day of tenth grade. That makes me feel all kinds of old. I keep reminding myself that I’ve been through this three times already. I can survive one more.

In my last blog post, I talked about what I have been doing all summer – reading. Lots and lots of reading. Believe it or not, I have actually done a few other things this summer.

I re-watched Battlestar Galactica (2004). I love it just as much, if not more than the first time I watched it. It has a little bit of everything. There are strong female characters with Kara ‘Starbuck’ Thrace and Laura Roslin. These women are strong, but allowed to have flaws and weaknesses. They aren’t just hard-nosed b*tches. They love. They mourn. They make mistakes, but they aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe.

The ethical, political and religious questions/dilemmas in BSG ring true and feel oh so familiar. Monotheism v. polytheism. Abortion v. right to life. Political rule v. military rule. Treatment of prisoners/traitors. Human rights v. Cylon rights. And on and on and on.

The casting in BSG is another high point. Whether it’s the stars or recurring or guest actors, the casting is spot on in almost every case. BSG is where I discovered Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber and Tahmoh Penikett. I still get excited when they appear in other shows. The recurring/guest actors that parade through BSG are a who’s who of some of my favorite TV actors. It’s a long list, but here are a few – Mark Sheppard (Superrnatural), Rick Worthy (Star Trek: Enterprise, The Vampire Diaries, Heroes), Ty Olsson (Eureka, The Vampire Diaries), James Callis (Eureka), Richard Hatch (the original Battlestar Galactica) and Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap). Seriously, that’s the short list. I could go on and on.

I also started my Prison Break re-watch. I’m almost at the end of season one. There are so many twists and turns that I had forgotten about this show, it’s almost like watching it for the first time. About halfway through season one, my husband asked if I was falling in love with Michael Scofield like I did the first time around. Short answer – yes! I’m not rushing through this re-watch, but plan on finishing before the Prison Break even on FOX next year. I’m still curious how they will handle the parts of Michael and Lincoln, since Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell will be on CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, which begins at midseason.

Hubby and I are still working our way through Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix. We have three episodes left and I wish I were more excited to watch them. As much as I want to love the show, I don’t. I think it’s the pace of the episodes. Many of them seem to drag. I think Daredevil falls into the same trap that many origin stories do. There is so much foundation to be laid, it bogs down the action. I’m hoping that season two moves past that.

I’ve also done some writing, although not nearly as much as I’d like. I did finish secret project #1, a short story. I need to start editing it, but wanted to take a break from it first. I’m also debating posting in on Fiction Press or Wattpad. Hopefully, but the time I finish the editing process, I’ll have an idea of what I want to do with it. In the meantime, I’ve continued to work on secret project #2 and started project #3. This summer I have realized one thing about writing. If I don’t make it a priority, it’s not going to happen. So, I think it’s time for me to set a daily word count and a time to write. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Back to what I have been doing this summer – reading, which I talk about here. As of this morning, this is what my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge looks like.

reading challenge

I’ve already bumped up my goal a few times and will probably do it again.

That’s been my summer. Not very exciting, huh? Let’s face it, that’s my life year round. That’s perfectly fine with me. I’d rather have a predictable, peaceful life than one filled with daily drama.

What have you done this summer? Anything fun and exciting? Please share in the comments.

From Wannabe to Want to Be

When I hear the word wannabe, I think poser, someone who is pretending to be something they are not. Up until recently, that is exactly how I felt about my writing.

Eighteen months ago, I wasn’t writing. At all. The sum totally of my writing experience amounted to me venting about whatever was going on in my life at the time. As a preteen, I would fill spiral notebooks with my thoughts, feelings and the drama around me. I was ten, there was no real drama in my very ordinary life, but I was sure there was. As a teen, I would fill those notebooks with all of the usual teenage angst, heartache over unrequited ‘love,’ anger over ‘wrongs’ committed by my friends, my ‘poetry’ attempts, you know, the usual. Each of those notebooks was squirreled away in my cedar chest, never to see the light of day again.

As an adult, I would occasionally do the same thing, when life got to be just too much, I would write it all out. There was no rhyme or reason, just a stream of consciousness word vomit that would somehow leave me feeling a little better. Never did I consider what I was doing writing. Never did I even think about wanting to write. It was just something I did to cope because there are just some things that you can’t tell anyone.

All of that changed when I discovered fan fiction nearly two years ago. I know, I was very late to the fanfic party, but better late than never, right? I had become more active on Twitter, especially in the Bones fandom. After following a link to FanFiction.net, a series of breadcrumbs lead back to the Twitter account of a fanfic writer. I followed her, she pointed me to some other fanfic writers and before I knew it, I was hanging out with this group of wildly talented writers, fanfic, original fiction, published, trying to be published, you name it.

When you hang out with such a group, the question – do you write – is inevitably asked. Every single time, I would laugh and say no. Funny thing, after being asked the question time after time, I began to consider it. Did I want to write? About eighteen months ago, the answer went from an emphatic ‘no’ to ‘I’d like to, but I can’t.’ After I made that statement, a Twitter friend sent some prompts my way, all for Bones. I’ll be honest, the thought of writing for an established fandom scared the hell out of me. I just knew I would screw up and have angry readers yelling at me via private messages. I set the prompts aside, but there was this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to give it a try.

I’d like to say that it was something simple that pushed me to write. It wasn’t. It was some extreme family drama that drove me to it. I fell back in to my old habits, in a way. Instead of just venting, I wrote an original story that was very similar to what was going on in my life. After a lot of encouragement from some writer friends, I posted it on FictionPress.net. It wasn’t widely read or reviewed, but the feedback I did get was positive. It was enough to feed the fire that was just starting to burn in me.

That one story led to another seven on FictionPress and fifteen on FanFiction. Most, if not all of those, I consider my wannabe stage. I truly felt like a poser, like I had no clue what I was doing, like I didn’t deserve to be on the same site as my more talented writer friends.

What I have recently discovered is that I want to write, I want to be a writer. That doesn’t mean I think there is a mass audience out there ready to read what I write. It means that I have this need to write, that if I go a day without writing, I feel as though I’ve failed. It means that on the days the words don’t come, I hope for any words, even if they are the wrong ones. Just the act of pounding out a few sentences, a few paragraphs, a few pages makes me feel like I’m closer to accomplishing my goal, closer to being a writer. It means that if twenty people, hell, if five people read what I write and are touched by it, if it makes them think, if it makes their day better, then I can call myself a successful writer.

That’s one of the reasons I started this blog, to practice this craft, to see if anything resonates with my tiny, little audience. (Of course, the other reason is that I have way more to say about my favorite things than my family can listen to, but if you read this blog, you already know that.)

I’ve also started what I’ve been calling the ‘secret project,’ an original short story/novella that I’d like to see published (or, more likely, self-published) some day. Now that I have outed myself, I’m sure my bestie will be nagging me daily to read it. (Sorry, C, you’ll have to wait until I complete the first draft.) Now that I’ve outed myself, I’ve probably set myself up for some accountability, which I want and need.

I’m making the transition from wannabe writer to I want to be a writer. I still have a long way to go before I will feel comfortable saying I am a writer. I’m okay with that. Life is a process, it’s full of transitions. Why should this be any different?

Now, a little advice, which is something I rarely give. Listen to the voice pushing you to try something. Be open to the new. I’m not saying to go out and try base jumping, but if you’ve always wanted to paint, give it a try. Sure, you might suck at it. Then again, you might be the next great artist of your generation. You never know. If a friend asks ‘do you ____,’ maybe they are seeing something in you that you don’t see in yourself. Don’t immediately dismiss it, especially if it comes up again and again. Once I finally gave in to the suggestions, to the urge, I found a part of myself I didn’t know I was missing.

If you’ve already found your thing, isn’t it a great feeling? If you haven’t yet, I hope you do soon. I hope you go from wannabe to want to be, too.