A Day in the Life

Homeschooling and Medieval Living

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 660 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 11 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Creating Something from Nothing

Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Sharon Drummond via Compfight

It is so hard for me to come up with inspiration. Sometimes, I need a writing prompt, others just a word or phrase from someone. I was hoping I would have more happening in my life that I could write about. Lately, it seems I have so little. I should be working on my novel. There are so many things that get in the way of that. I have homeschooling, driving my husband back and forth to school (he has no license) and taking my dear mother to her various doctor appointments. I have no problem with any of those activities. That is why my book suffers.
Then, when I do sit down to write on my novel, I am wracked with insecurity and perfectionism. I rewrite every paragraph I write. I really want to be able to write it and leave it – at least until the entire thing is written. I keep adding to the plot, changing characters and deleting whole chapters.
So, I come back to my blog. For some reason, my perfectionism doesn’t interfere here. I write and post – no problem. I will share some important writing resources with you today. In need of a writing prompt or two? Here are some places to get those ideas flowing.

Daily Post
The Daily Post has everything from blogging courses to daily and weekly prompts. I love it. I have used a few of the ideas for my own blog. There are also many articles about how to blog and how to reach a wider audience. They just started their Blogging University this year. The University has a new course – Blogging 101: Zero to Hero.

Daily Compass
The Daily Compass is full of writing prompts as well as spiritual introspection. There is always a question at the end of the posting that really gets you thinking. This is another one of my favorite sites. Many of my posts from January of this year are written from their prompts. Some of them have left me melancholy while others have helped me become a better person. It is well worth checking out, even if you aren’t a writer.

Seventh Sanctum
The Seventh Sanctum is a generator of massive proportions. I have used it for writing prompts, name ideas, character generators and D and D campaigns. It has so many uses. There is the What-if-inator that generates scrambled histories, Quick Story Ideas, and the Symbolitron (that generates story ideas with meaning) – just to name a few.

Rory’s Story Cubes
Rory’s Story Cubes are actual physical dice. Each six-sided die contains several pictures on it. There are nine dice in all. Roll the dice for some interesting story ideas. If you don’t want the actual dice (for fear of losing them), you can also download his app from the App Store or Google Play. I have the app for Android. I love it. I have used it for ideas and for fun. Whenever I am in line at the store or just want a giggle with the family, I pull it out. The kids like making up stories with it.

RPG Character Generator
The RPG Generator by AC Arcana is great for generating characters. I have reviewed this app in my blog before. I even included screen shots.

Well, that should be enough to get you started. I am currently creating pages for resources. I hope to have them up soon. I will have one for writing resources and one for homeschooling resources. If there is anything you think I should include in this list, please let me know in the comments below.

Happy writing!

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Jeff Goins Saved My Life

I sat at my computer as I normally do – stressed out and lacking in thought. I stared at my blank page of MS Word and growled. This was not going to be a good day for writing. “Why is Microsoft torturing me – again?” I thought. Three times I had re-written my 3,000 words. I moved them about the page. I copy/pasted them into OneNote (for more sharing capability). Nothing was working. Since I was not going to be writing, I turned to my second love – reading. I like to read blogs. They inspire me. The one I chose yesterday was no exception. I turned to Jeff Goins.

The first headline that caught my eye was “Why I Will Never Use Microsoft Word Again”. Since I was really feeling that pain, I decided to give that post a go. In his insightful post, he described his trials and frustrations with the dreaded word processing software. He had been using it for years and was fed up with it. He said that he had “finally seen the light”. He had found Scrivener. Many authors use this handy piece of software, including Michael Hyatt and Andy Traub. And now, so do I.

I went on over to the link above and checked out Scrivener. I noticed the 30 day trial that is offered. So, I downloaded it, watched the how-to videos and read their in-software tutorial. I have one word to say – amazing. It was totally love at first sight. I immediately imported everything I have written into it. I moved words from Word and OneNote. I even moved all my research into one place. Scrivener will hold just about anything. It now houses my wiki links, PDFs, sound files, video files, pictures, manuscript, notes – everything. The best thing is, if I don’t like Scrivener, everything will export right back to its original format. I can also save my manuscript as a PDF or Kindle format.

OK, so this isn’t an ad for Scrivener – I promise. It is about Jeff Goins and how he saved me. Well, after using Scrivener for a couple of hours, I could feel the stress levels plummeting. So, I went back to his blog and read some more. I read “10 Steps to Finding Your Writing Voice“. In this article, he explains that you should find your voice in order to “set yourself apart”. It will make you stand out from the crowd. It will also keep you from getting burned out. After completing his exercises, I think I am finally finding my voice. I was always afraid to use my voice. I found that riding the fence does nothing for your readers and it makes the work stale. I really need to stop that. I looked through my blog and studied the statistics of each one. I found that the post I wrote during my depression was the most popular – because it is real and in my own voice. I wrote it from the heart. Afterwards, I was afraid that it would get some negative feedback (mainly from my family). Some of them can be rather harsh. But I left it anyway. I am glad I did.

Thank you, Jeff, for inspiring and enriching the bloggosphere. You are an amazing writer. I look forward to many more posts.

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Flash Fiction

I looked into Flash Fiction upon the recommendation of my best friend. I looked it up on Google and I found the Flash Fiction Chronicles sponsoring a contest called the String of Ten prompt. So, I took their 10 words and began to write with the intention of entering it into their 250 maximum contest. Well, after writing more than 1000 words, I decided it wouldn’t meet their criteria. But that is fine. I have a cool story anyway. So what do I do with it? For one, I am going to post it here. It will serve as a place holder until I figure out what to do with it. Please feel free to read it and post a comment. I can use some thoughts on it. I will post it in a separate posting here.

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Delays

Hello everyone!

This has been a very trying week. My van broke down (again) and my internet went south. So I have not been updating as I had hoped. I have been writing in my journal though. So, I will spend this week adding (and backdating) all my journal entries. I am now able to connect at school so I can at least blog. I was also able to attend service at the CLF today. It was so fun. I missed last week and I was really sad about that. It was so great to be with everyone today. Want to check it out? It is an online worship service at www.questformeaning.org. Drop by and say hi! Everyone there is so lovely, especially Reverend Meg.

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New Year’s Day

I have always loved journaling ever since high school. I will never forget Mrs. Romano, my Creative Writing teacher. Our homework in the class was to keep a daily journal. There were times when it was my best friend and others when I dreaded the assignment. I have tried many blogs and I have quit them all. I think there are two main things that keep me from staying up with it. First, I let life get in the way to often. Two, I am always afraid that someone will read it and judge me. I hate conflict and I really hate being judged. I should not care what others think, but I do. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I hurt easy. I have tried to toughen up but it is very difficult. This is my effort to toughen up. I am starting this journal on MS Word to begin with. If I can keep it up for more than a couple of weeks, then I will start yet another blog. It is very important for me to have a journal of some sort. I start one on paper then I lose the paper. I start it in a journal book and I lose it. Then I am afraid that my family will read it. So, here is my blog online so everyone can read it. It makes no sense. Oh well.

I have also started another new thing today. I visited the online community for the UUA at www.questformeaning.org. It really got me to thinking. I used to be a member of First Jefferson UU Church. I loved it. I really miss it. I wish I could attend but I live over an hour away from it now. I also do not have the gas to visit there. So, I am now looking into the online community. Through that community, I also found a site called the Daily Compass. It is great. It reminds me of the Baptist “My Daily Bread”. The Daily Compass is a daily blog with a passage and a question. It is designed to really get you thinking. I figured it would give me something to write about. It looks like I found something without using it. But, I like the question anyway. So, I will include it here.

New Year’s Day

The passage from one year into the next is really no different than the passage from one day to another, except in our minds. But in our minds is where all possibilities of change and growth begin.

What new thing do you imagine for yourself this year?

I would really love to spend more time doing the things that matter to me. Right now, I work outside the home. I work Monday through Friday. I leave the house at 10 am and I get home around six in the evening. Now this doesn’t seem so bad. But, there is a problem in this. I homeschool my children and I am an officer in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Both are a dear passion of mine. But I cannot indulge in those passions because my work takes way too much out of me. I am off today and I will spend the day doing all the things that have needed my attention way to long. I will clean house, catch up on email, write a report (for my SCA officer position), and get other SCA loose ends tidied. This will probably take the entire day. After which, I will be off to bed. As soon as I get home in the evening, I am tired from driving all day (did I mention that I am a courier who drives over 1000 miles a week?) and want nothing more than to eat and go to bed. I rarely spend time with my family. The good news is that I am allowed to take them with me. I only have room for one other person, so we rotate who goes with me. The kids loved it at first. Now, they really don’t like going. But, it is the only time I get to spend with them.

Anyway…I really want to solve this problem. I feel the best solution is for my husband to work and allow me to stay at home. Right now, he is going to college. He gets no support from my family in this. No one in my family (except me) ever attended college. My mom married two months after graduating high school. My dad always puts my husband down because he feels that he should be out there working. “College won’t get him anything but a stupid piece of paper and no job,” my dad says. And sometimes, he really convinces me. I see so many college graduates who are working at McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. I see people with a BS in Computer Science who become construction workers because there is no work in the CS field (or it is just so flooded with applicants). So, what do I tell my family? And it does not help that my husband doesn’t complete his work. He went from Phi Theta Kappa (honor society) to scholastic probation.

So this is a bit more than I really intended to write. I guess I really need journaling after all. There is so much I want to say that my blog entry seems very disjointed. I guess I will really have to work on that.

Well, this is where I must leave for now. I will be back tomorrow with another Daily Compass assignment.

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