#writemotivation August Wrap-up and September Goals


The last week and a half has been crazy.  Between trying to find out what is going on with my pay checks and making sure Colin behaves in school, I’m lucky to have a few minutes to breathe.

I’ve had time to write, to be honest, but I have not been able to focus on writing very much.  I can sit here at my desk and open the file to resume the story and that’s as far as it gets.  My concentration is next to nil.  There is so much on my mind, the character’s aren’t heard clearly, if at all.  That’s why I’ve been more editing what I have now to get to know the story and the characters better before putting them through a blizzard deep in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains.

Really, it is worrisome when you haven’t written any business when you are living on commission.  Thankfully, I’ll have something tomorrow, one way or another, even if it won’t get me near bonus.  Cross your fingers, I’ll have more to write before the end of next week.

With all of this weighing heavily on my mind, I have to say that my son, mom, Dave, and the cats have given me much to smile about and keep up a positive attitude.  A few people at work know what’s going on and they are right there helping me keep positive and work harder.  They are even going so far as helping me finesse my presentation and ‘paint the picture’ for our clients to understand the need for life insurance.

I can ‘paint a picture’ with my writing, but when it comes to speaking to strangers, those same words run and hide.  Sad as it sounds, it is very true.  It is also why I am seeking a part-time job as well.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/
Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/

1) Write two chapters to Black Friday 2. (Two chapters a month sound reasonable enough to keep this one around)

I did manage to complete this one.  When I had to stop writing for the night, I thought I had only a partial chapter.  Looking at it now, no more needed to be said.  Definitely completed.

2) Work on Dark Crystal contest submission

I gave up on this one.  I could not come up with anything that could fit within the theme, let alone within the word count required.  I may try a normal fan fic on my own time later.

3) Word on edits/revisions for the last half of SoNL

I did manage to work through one full chapter.  Consider this one done!

4) Keep trying to exercise twice a week

Yes, I have been exercising.  Not quite as much as I should, but this is all a good start.  Those who have met me know I am not in the greatest shape.

5) Work on edits for Black Friday for republication.

Would five chapters be good enough to consider checking this one off?  I did, though I started off seeking out character names and frequency then opened my red pens and made the pages bleed.  >.<

6) Study the craft of writing.

Done, done, done!  Still reading on the craft, too.

7) Get art and items prepared for August Elks Swap in Pryor.

No way I can afford to make it to the Swap and Shop any time soon.  I have to take care of other bills first.  Maybe sometime this winter.

For the month August, I did well.  Only two things could not be completed but nothing says I can’t come back to them later.  I’m of myself for getting this much done with as crazy as this new job is and how much time it hordes.

No one said being an independent contractor would be easy.  *sigh*

Now, for September!

I’m keeping the goals simple.  I need to write as much business as I can so I can pull out of my financial hole and get my medical bills paid off.

1) Keep writing in Black Friday 2 (anything so long as it moves the story)

I’ve managed to get a little bit more written, but mostly I’ve gone back through what I already had to make a few corrections.  I’m also going to add to this editing on Black Friday.

2) Do revisions on SoNL

I’ve done another page.  I’m lucky to have this much done.

3) Keep walking.

Adding more exercise to this one.  Not just walking, which has been increasing little by little, but I’m going to add a short cardio workout a couple times a week.  Nutritionist’s orders!  😀

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#writemotivation Late Update Week 3


I know this is awesomely late this week.  The way things are looking, I am going to have to keep my lists short until I can balance my new job, writing, and home.  As it sits now, work and home are cutting deep into my writing time.

Selling insurance is not very easy to do.  We have several no cost items to help us get into the door, but once inside, getting people to go through the whole presentation becomes the challenge.  Most just want the no cost stuff (it isn’t free.  Huge difference), and don’t want anything more.  But, I do get several who will allow me to show them what we have to offer to help fill in the gaps in their existing insurance.

Mostly, I need to work on my presentation so I am asking for anyone who lives in NE OK to volunteer to sit through a full presentation.  Who knows, you find what I show worth buying, but there is no pressure to buy.  I only show the need for buying that first policy or getting additional insurance.

If I am to succeed, I have to practice, practice, practice.  Anyone with kids or a mortgage, please, let me practice with you.

Other than work, I have three restaurant reviews to go over.  One is a brand new place right around the corner from my apartment and the other two are very well established.

On to the goal check!

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/
Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/

1) Write two chapters to “Black Friday 2″. (Two chapters a month sound reasonable enough to keep this one around)

I have written part of chapter 12.  This one is coming from Nick and Nahana’s POV and what they see while gathering wood in the building storm.  So, YAY, progress!

2) Work on “Dark Crystal” contest submission

Still a no-go on this one.  Barely times for my other WIP, so I’m crossing this off for now.  We’ll see how things look come NaNo time.

3) Word on edits/revisions for the last half of SoNL

I have started on this one.  Only a few paragraphs into the second half of the book.

4) Keep trying to exercise twice a week

There is a lot of walking involved in this job, so, this is a definite yes.  Not to mention, I walk Colin part way, most days, to school.

5) Work on edits for “Black Friday” for republication.

Nothing done on this one, yet.

6) Study the craft of writing.

Been reading up on it this week!

7) Get art and items prepared for August Elks Swap in Pryor.

It’ll be, at the very earliest, November before I can get to an Elk Swap Meet.  Bills come first, then my little hobby items can be stocked up.  I’ll let you know when I have soaps and lotions ready for sale, or sampling.

#writemotivation Goal Check 1 and 2


Or is that 1 and a 1/2?  *shrug*

calendarAnyway, there isn’t much to report for last week or this week.  The main reason being is that training at work has me staying late; after six or seven in the evening but until after nine if I’m not very lucky.  The first few days were fine when we left at around four in the afternoon on a long day.

But, when we started actual field training, in which I made a nice sale at the first appointment (YAY!), I didn’t see home until after dinner.  Call nights, when we go through referrals and leads sent in by the many unions around the state, to set up appointments the next day we could be there until nine which is the mandatory time when we HAVE to stop.  The ‘No Call Law’ made to prevent telemarketers and bill collectors from bugging you at all times of the night kicks in.

Before you say it, no, I am not a telemarketer nor am I soliciting life insurance.  Yes, I want people to buy (Mostly because I don’t want to see them going through the hell I do because of no insurance more than for the money), but I am not pushing for sales.  I honestly do have some wonderful stuff that is no cost and very useful to the average person.  I wouldn’t be calling them unless someone they knew pointed me in their direction.  At the beginning of that chain is someone who is/was in a union that started the ball rolling.

The company I’m with deals with unions and associations and will only go to people outside of them on a referral basis.

It is really a very niche market and AIL is running with it all the way.  I have to learn a lot about this niche and perfect my presentation before I’m allowed to step out and bug people on my own.  😉

So far, I’m enjoying it and encountered only a couple of people who irritated me.  One was an elderly woman whose husband was injured and laid-up for a while.  The dramatics she put on (That so tired sigh with the back of her hand against her forehead and the mock pained glances toward her husband) were way over the top.  It was easy to tell she didn’t want us there.  I could hear it in the tone of her voice and the clipped answers she gave.

Her husband was giving her those looks of ‘would-you-stop-the-drama-before-I-kick-your-butt’ kind of looks.  He was listening and being cordial.  He wanted us there.  I found his expressions amusing and, to be frank, if I were him, I would have said something about it with us there.

The one whom I have trained with the most in the field, and who helped me make that first sale, is a sweet gentleman.  He’s patient and gave many good pointers which I’ve used.  He’s young and married, but he’s supportive and guides.  My boss, who I’ve also trained with makes me nervous and is far too much the alpha male.  He expects perfection out of the gate even though he says he doesn’t.  His body language and attitude in general says otherwise.

If you’ve been in retail and fast food for as long as I have, you pick up on those or the job will chew you up and spit you out on the streets.  The same reasons why I don’t like people is also why I enjoy the job.  Working is my only social time with others.  (I don’t count write-ins as work.  That’s fun-social which I need more of)

Tomorrow, I’ll be in the field with a girl is, more than likely, half my age.  She’s pretty, vivacious and bubbly without being annoying.  I can imagine her being a cheerleader in school with her get-up-and-go attitude to getting the job done.  She and I had one preset appointment each then we hammered out the rest (for eight appointments total) in an hour and a half.

So, that is what I was up to for the last week or more.  That will explain why I haven’t done anything on my goals, too.  They’re bad excuses, but they are true.

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/
Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/

1) Write two chapters to “Black Friday 2″. (Two chapters a month sound reasonable enough to keep this one around)

I did get started on this one around the first.  Sadly, nothing was written at all in the last few days of July.  The way things look, until I can do presentations on my own, I won’t be able to do much unless I manage to get home early or on a Sunday.  When school starts, I won’t be doing anything after midnight so I can get up at six to get Colin off to school.

2) Work on “Dark Crystal” contest submission

The same on this one.  The only exception is, I just cannot come up with anything.  I have the premiss but the story isn’t there.  I do like the character, however, so I may use her in one of my fantasy stories at some point, or see her cameo in a current work in progress.  Nothing at all last month either, so this one will probably be dropped until I can focus more on my writing again.

3) Work on edits/revisions for the last half of SoNL

I started re-reading this one to get an idea of where it’s going.  This one, after I get the first half back for revisions, is going to be going through the wringer in a few other writer’s groups I found on Facebook.  A few are critique and help groups for just such problems.

4) Keep trying to exercise twice a week

This one I can say I have been doing.  There is a lot of walking involved plus some extra on the side just to help keep my knees and rump from getting sore on call nights at work.

5) Work on edits for “Black Friday” for republication.

Some has been done, but not enough to put it in the green.  I need to do more than a word or two to call it progress.  But, at least there is some progress to speak of.

6) Study the craft of writing.

This one has been easy to do.  I’ve managed to read through four books on writing.  I’ve gone over speaking and dialects, show and tell, how to write a scene, and how to show emotion and action.  There’s still more to read and many more books to buy when I have the spare change again.

7) Get art and items prepared for August Elks Swap in Pryor.

This one could not be done.  I had to work and Saturday’s appointments were all in Bixby, OK.  A lovely little town with such a cozy friendly atmosphere and countryside that makes you want to kick off your shoes and go running through the fields.  *sigh*  When I finally build a house, it will probably be in Bixby on several acres of land.  I saw a plot there I would love to have, now, but there’s no money for it and terrible credit to get it.

The September Swap will be out of the question for now.  I’m going to aim for November (Yes, during Nano) so I’ll have some set back and plenty of change to get supplies I need to make soap.  Yes, you read that right, I’m making homemade soap.  For now, using a premade base until I can get the things I need to make it from scratch without ruining the good cookware.  There will be more than just homemade soap.  I’ll delve into lotions, oils, bubble bath, and liquid soap as well.  Basic bar soaps are all I have for now.

#writemotivation Week 3 Update


This is how I felt when I found out the hearing was rescheduled /after/ it was supposed to be done today.
This is how I felt when I found out the hearing was rescheduled /after/ it was supposed to be done today.

Uhg!  As if trying to study for a third try at the state insurance license exam wasn’t enough, I had to worry about my appeal hearing for my unemployment.  Some may recall me mentioning that my claim was denied because they think I was fired due to not taking a break or something along that line.

That is untrue.  I was written up for not (or better yet) forgetting to put product back into inventory after a 12 hour shift.  Something the night crew consistently leaves for the day shift to do when they have overstock or unfinished pallets at the end of their shifts.  Everyone knows this and yet, the wrong people get in trouble for it at Wal-Mart.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

I was supposed to have the appeal hearing today via phone.  I have worried myself sick about this since last week.  Studying was difficult because of the worry and my few distractions, such as the Hangout on G+ Thursday, were brief reprieves from the worry.  I get up early so I’m alert and focused, register an hour early and wait for the hearing time to arrive.

Hearing time comes and goes, no call or anything stating otherwise in email.  Next logical step, I call them and ask a few questions.

What I find out is the hearing was rescheduled on the 18th.  A notice was sent out, but it has not arrived in my box, yet.  USPS is either using the most idiotic person on schedule to deliver this notice or they are sitting on it and wondering when a good time would be to deliver it.  USPS is already on my s**t list now for other things, but that’s a different post for a different blog.

I now have until this Thursday to worry about the hearing.  This won’t make concentrating on my exam tomorrow easy but I have to focus and at least pass the licensing and rules for the state section.  I need to pass both, but the rules, regs, and statutes are the most important part and the rest can be learned on the job.

Hope, pray or do whatever to help me pass this test, please.  This agency really wants me bad to put this much effort and time for one new agent.

On to the goals:

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/
Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/

1) Set SoNL aside until feedback from critiques and betas are in on the first half of the novel

This one is done though I can’t wait to read the feedback.

2) Focus on Black Friday 2. Get at least two chapters written.

Nothing, yet, but there is still this week to go.  We’ll see what the month wrap up brings.

3) Keep up the job search. Four interviews minimum for the month of June

I have the job, just working on the exam

4) Exercise twice a week. (I mean it this time!)

I did exercise twice a week.  Definitely did it twice last week.

While I can scratch off number four, I won’t until wrap up.  At least it is in the green.

A Much Needed Change


ninjasI was going to post this last night but I found myself working more on the different pages and adding pictures to go with the actual content and even considering sub-heading under each page.  Like under SON&L will cover the main plot of the trilogy then give each book its own sub-page as a spotlight.  This also means Black Friday as a series will have several sub-pages because that is one story I’ll write until it reaches a decent ending that’ll tie all the books together neatly with no strings left dangling.

This means a lot more work will need to be done to fill everything in including some colored artwork of characters, places (maybe), as well as updates on progress for writing and submissions to agents and publishers should I decide to go on with traditional publishing.  The way things are looking, I may stick with independent publishing though I may not stick with Xlibris.  For some strange reason they aren’t well liked by many official author groups due to past deeds.

But, I digress.

lightningI’ve some extra effort into customizing my theme.  Firstly, I created a header picture which depicts the different places from all of my stories.  There’s the grassy plain or meadow, distant trees for forests, mountains, even an unintentional glimpse of a far off sea where at least one short story will be based. (Not all my writing has to be land based.)  Let me just say that the picture took a couple of hours to complete using just the mouse instead of hooking up my tablet.

My hand is still stiff and sore from doing that, but I am pleased with the results.

Yes, it does look blurry because I was aiming for a dreamlike quality instead of something in focus and sharply defined.  The main idea being is it represents so many stories and the tag line of this blog is ‘Thoughts of a Visual and Verbal Artist’.

Honestly, I need to post more often, but then I don’t have a lot to talk about with the studying I’ve done and feeling low because of my job situation (meaning no job).  At least people know how things are coming along with the few posts I’ve made.

All I can ask of anyone right now is, Pray for me and hope I pass the state exam this time.

#writemotivation Update Week 3


I know, I did week #2 on Sunday.  That tells you the impact the state exam had on me and missed passing it by a few questions.

There’s some good news concerning the state exam; I am rescheduled for Tuesday next week.  I need to focus more on the rules, regulations, and statutes, along with the basics of the insurance license.  I pass that test, I won’t have to worry too much about the other because that is part of the training.  But, it does look good if I pass both of them.

Provisions, exclusions, and riders are not an easy concept to understand when it comes to life and health insurance.  Add in taxation and you really make a hard subject difficult.  Thankfully, I know the basics of those now and just need to focus more on the provisions, riders, and exclusions.  I also need to make sure I understand the differences between Medicare, Medicare+Choice, and Long Term Care.  There’s enough similarities to confuse even a genius like Hawking.

Now, to show what I haven’t done for June.  >.<

Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/
Header image and thumbnail photograph by Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sahlgoode/

1) Set SoNL aside until feedback from critiques and betas are in on the first half of the novel

I can say this is done.  I have partial feedback in now.  I need to meet up with one and go over the material.  There’s a couple of subplots I need to give some ‘air time’ to as well as adding more suspense.  I’ve got to print out those posts for easier reference.

2) Focus on Black Friday 2. Get at least two chapters written.

Same as where it was last week and the week before.  I need to study if I’m to pass the exam.

3) Keep up the job search. Four interviews minimum for the month of June

I guess I can honestly say this one can be crossed off.  I have the job, I just need to get over this difficult hurdle so I can begin work.  Like other specialized jobs, it is illegal to work without that license.

4) Exercise twice a week. (I mean it this time!)

Exercise has been done, just not quite the amount I wanted.

Half way there… sort of.  🙂

How are your goals coming along?

May Wrap-up + June Goals #writwemotivation+ State License Exam


Well, things are finally starting to take a turn for the better.  Technically, I have a job now, but there will be no pay until after the training period is done and I pass the State License Exam for Health and Life insurance.  This is not an easy thing to do.  My first try, with studying at night before bed, I failed it.  A 47 on one part and a 53 on the other.  I need a 70 minimum to pass.  Yeah, I did not do good at all. /le sigh

Do not fear!  The company I will be working with is coaching me and allowing me a quiet place to study and take notes until I re-take the exam next Friday.  I intend on passing this time and with any luck, a minimum of an 80 instead of a 70.

If the quiz I just took on the most important of it all, the statues, rules and regulations of insurance in OK, is any indication, I’ll do fine.  I missed three out of 15 questions.  One of them was a stupid on my part.  The amount of time the State Ins. Commissioner keeps advertisements on file is 4 years, not 3.  I got the time period mixed up with another one that is very similar.  Easily done, but I should have gotten it since I had just finished going through that section and took many notes about the marketing and sales section.

This also means I will be learning more about sales and marketing, too.  I should be able to apply what I learn from insurance to build sales on my book (soon to be books).

May’s Goals:

1) Get a job or at the very least attend five interviews for a job.

Three face-to-face interviews and one phone interview done.  One was for the agency I am studying for.  I consider this one done.

2) Edit/revise five chapters of Society of Night and Lies.

It wasn’t quite five chapters before I decided to stop and send off the first half of SoNL to the beta readers.  Still, it is done.

3) Write two chapters of Black Friday 2.

I never did get around to writing anything for this one.  Total Fail.  😦

4) Exercise twice a week.

Kind of did, but not each week.  I did manage one day per week.  I call it a good start.

All in all, I did accomplish a lot in May.  A portion was dedicated to studying for the failed exam which did hinder things a bit.  Thankfully, I did manage to find some kind of work.  Just have to jump through the hoops before I can start earning again.

June Goals:

1) Set SoNL aside until feedback from critiques and betas are in on the first half of the novel

Done, and well, done.  I already have some feedback in.  There’s going to be some revisions on the opening and what is going on so you see my MC as more than some depressed alcoholic daydreaming when she’s not.

2) Focus on Black Friday 2. Get at least two chapters written.

I won’t start on this until AFTER my exam date.  My primary focus needs to be on getting some income to support my writing.  I’ve a few ideas already on how to move the story along.

3) Keep up the job search. Four interviews minimum for the month of June

I think I can call this one complete.  I am feeling good about the exam and how well I’m handling the practice quizzes.  B’s are better than F’s any day of the week.  This one will be modified to pass the exam.

4) Exercise twice a week. (I mean it this time!)

With warm weather here, this one will be easy.  There’s going to be a lot of swimming and nature walks for me and Colin.

I’ve collected the writing prompts from the Writemotivation G+ community.  I’ll be posting them sometime this weekend here and in the group.  I am curious what you all thought of the prompts from last week.  My favorite was the prompt “Hush, little one, it’s going to be fine…”  It came out so sad.  Did you feel the emotion in that one?

Pray for me as I study my tail off this week.  I need all the help I can to pass this exam.