WWPR: Cold & Overwhelmed (Pass 1 Week 2)

It's been really cold here. Like so cold my toes never feel warm. I'm from California so me and the cold do not mix which led to some general feelings of unwellness. I'm crossing my fingers that my immune system does not get compromised before Christmas like last year... Now, that was a sad Christmas. 

Anyway, week 2 started off great in terms of productivity, but then somehow, I crashed and burned. On the bright side, I was ahead of my deadline for Pass 1--finishing up on Sunday the 17th instead of the following Saturday (the 23rd). Huzzah!

This week in writing:

THURSDAY: I started the week pretty strong by revising chapters 18-24. I guess I just wanted to keep the ball rolling ;) 

FRIDAY: Because Thursday was so productive, I allowed myself a night off for an in-home Date Night! Michael and I opened some vino, made some dinner together, and rented a movie (I was so tired though, I fell asleep like 10 minutes in).

SATURDAY: I put my butt in the chair and set out to get a lot of work done. I ended up revising chapters 29-39. Chapters 25-28 would be new scenes to add (which I have yet to write) once I started Pass 2. It was so nice to feel accomplished before going out for the night. Michael and I tried out a new restaurant Revel (which was delicious by the way) and ended with a night cap at The Barrel Thief in Fremont.

SUNDAY: I couldn't sleep. I ended up waking up around 6 a.m., made myself some coffee and finished going through chapters 40-47! Almost a whole week before my deadline! My back started to hurt though so I made a makeshift stand up desk to start writing in my changes. I ended up typing in changes for chapters 1-5 thinking I'd get it all into my scrivener file and then go back and do Pass 2 once I finished. I quickly realized this was the wrong approach. It was so mind numbing, and my brain was quickly starting to hurt from going to paper then to computer then back. Suddenly, I felt REALLY overwhelmed about the whole project because it still needed a ton of work so I started psyching myself out. I had to accept that it probably wouldn't be in CP shape by the end of the year, so I stepped away from it.

MONDAY/TUESDAY: Oyyy. I was not feeling well on either of these days. I don't know if it was merely exhaustion, the cold dip in temperatures, or whatnot, but I was extremely fatigued. It was to the point where I'd collapse onto the living room floor and balled myself up by the fire. I ended up taking a break from writing on these two days and focused on wrapping presents and rereading one of my favorite books to wipe my brain clean of my story.

WEDNESDAY: I still wasn't feeling up to snuff, but I had had enough of my self-pitying and told myself that I wasn't in enough physical pain to excuse my laziness so I managed to force myself back into my office and started on my pass 2.

I decided I would focus on doing 2-3 chapters a day, first by typing in my changes and my notes, then rereading and line-editing for pass 2. It worked much better this way because it kept my mind engaged with the story and had the benefit of being improved with another layer of close reading. It also allowed me to slow down with the story to make sure I got everything I wanted in each scene.

Ideally, I want to finish this before I leave on vacation to Hawaii in January, but I also want to enjoy the holidays, so most likely I'll have to extend my deadline to the end of vacation and work my magic in the sun.

Here's hoping I get one third done by next week! Hope you all have a happy holiday weekend! As always, thank you for reading!

 

Finding the frame for your vision.

Over the weekend I finished the second draft of my WIP (for nomenclature purposes I'll refer to it as ATLWTO--which is shorthand for my working title). Though it only took me three weeks to crank out, I felt like it was emotionally draining so I didn't really celebrate.

Draft one, which I will deem my exploratory draft, was just all over the place. I couldn't decide on the tense, I fiddled constantly with timelines--it was basically a mess of me trying to figure out what was the best way to tell the story. My outline did not help whatsoever. Sometimes unfortunately, you don't know what works until you're knee deep in 30K words, and then you reread some bits and think, this would be better if I wrote it this way instead. Then there were the scenes that I thought was important to show but it did not serve the plot. Oh and then one character who I didn't really like, kept convincing me that he did not fit in the character box I was trying to fit him in, so that threw a wrench in things.

So you can imagine when I started my second draft how daunting all of this was when draft one became a mish mash of broken pieces. For draft two I simplified things by focusing on one thing, and one thing only: plot. I needed to nail the frame down for my vision, which meant I had to decide on the tense and stick to it. I had to decide if I wanted to do multiple timelines and why. In the end I decided I needed one thing solid to build off, because I was not going to go through a revision nightmare. Thus in three weeks, I revised the chapters I would keep, and then rewrote half of the MS fitting in the stepping stones to connect the plot for me to flesh out in draft three.

Case in point: Figure out the frame for your vision before you begin. It's like when you have a very dear photograph you want to frame. Do you just put it in any one you find? Or do you actually spend time looking for the perfect one that will compliment your photo? Note to self: take frame shopping seriously.

This week I'm going to take a much needed break from the MS by outlining the next idea. Then during Thanksgiving break I'll do my read through and make a heavy lifting revision plan for draft three--which I will give myself 6 weeks instead of three to complete. If all goes according to plan I'll have a working draft going into the new year!

On the other hand, since I've been obsessed with getting this MS done, done, done, I've been more introverted as usual and off of social media. The introverted thing can't be helped sometimes. It's SO DAMN DARK in the PNW so all I want to do is hibernate, but I will say being off social media has been a great 'breather' which increased my productivity.

 I'll end this post by dropping some reading recs that were my favorites this month and jotting down a few life updates:

An Enchantment of Ravens - I adored the love story, the adventure, the world building (so lush), and the pretty but to the point writing :D This will probably be a book I revisit. I read the whole thing through during a weekend.

Body Love - I always love reading up on diet and nutrition in the hopes of optimizing my lifestyle and I really loved the science-y explanations on blood sugar and hormones. Not to mention the simple approach to balanced eating.

I traded in my natural hair color for a balayage. Still getting used to this lighter version of me. Hopefully I'll have a better picture of it up on the blog later.

A dusting of snow came early to my neck of the woods. It made for pretty writing weather but terrible conditions for my already dry skin.

Lastly, I tried out Bounty Kitchen in Seattle with some TIU girls. Definitely a cool spot to catch some healthy eats in Queen Anne.

TIU LA Trip: Day 3

Like all things, the trip came to an end, but we made it an eventful one to celebrate my sister's birthday. We woke up and started at Two Guns Espresso which was absolutely delicious. Best coffee during my trip was had here, and they make a killer garlic toast, so try it if you ever go.

After fueling up, we went for a 4-5 mile hike to check out the coastal views. It was so peaceful and tranquil that I had to strike a yoga pose or two. It has been a while since I delved into my practice though, so I'm gonna make it a point to get back into it.

After the hike, we walked along the Santa Monica Pier then headed to Venice to replenish at Café Gratitude. I loved this café so much, I really hope they come to Seattle. I loved the vibe and the positive affirmations. Not to mention the delicious and good-for-you food.

We rested at the beach for a bit before getting ready for the birthday dinner at The Strand House then celebrated the night at Elevate Lounge to ring in the birthday at midnight. The next day was a travel day, and though I had an amazing trip, it also feels good to be back home with the hubby and kitty.

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TIU LA Trip: Day 2

Hands down, day 2 was probably my favorite day of the trip, probably because I've been dying to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios and this was my opportunity! 

Before we headed out to Universal, we started our day with a morning run and then went to Sunlife Organics for some Acai bowls.

Then we spent the whole day at Universal where I got to drink butterbeer, go one rides, and enjoy the sun. It's been so long since I've been to an amusement park, and I really enjoyed this one. It's a good size that you could do it all in one day (as long as it's not too busy). We definitely lucked out too because we barely had to wait in any lines for the rides. I thought it was worth it just to do the Wizarding World, but that's just me.

To end the night, we had dinner at Perch and watched the sun set from the rooftop bar. All in all, it was a very good second day in LA.

TIU LA Trip: Day 1

As I write this, I am so filled with thanks and gratitude. The past week has been amazing! My sister and I traveled to LA for a TIU/Birthday trip, and when I returned to Seattle, I had the pleasure of attending the TIU tour! I'm still coming off from the high of this week, so be warned, the next 4 posts will basically be me fangirling about Tone It Up ;)!

On Thursday, my sister and I met up at LAX to begin our trip! After grabbing the car and checking into our hotel, we headed out to lunch at The Source Café. For all our foodie needs, we basically followed the LA TIU City Guide for suggestions on where to go and eat for some delicious, healthy, and instagram worthy places and they did not disappoint! We ended up splitting a green smoothie and paleo salmon toasts.

Afterward we ended up in Venice to go mural hunting to find the 'Look For Love' hearts that K&K used for the challenge and basically had a blast snapping photos and walking around. For dinner we went to The Butcher's Daughter to split a pizza (which was sooooo good--and that's saying something since I'm not a big pan of pizza).

Slightly tired from the travels, we headed back to the beach right outside our room to enjoy the sunset, then had some snacks and sparkling rose on our balcony to end the night.

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Meetaversery and the latest. 

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Yesterday Michael and I celebrated our meetaversery (the day we met). September 3rd is one of my favorite days of the year. It reminds me of my trip to Paris (a place I've wanted to travel to since I was a little girl), and also of how Michael and I met. It's crazy how one chance meeting can change the trajectory of your whole life, but sure enough in 2012, it did. So every year on this day, we celebrate by going out to dinner (preferably french themed or inspired place) to celebrate and reminisce. It's a great time for us to give pause and reflect at how far we've come and also to practice gratitude for each other and the life we are building with each other.

This year was the big 5 year and celebrating as newlyweds made it even more special. We decided to go to Stateside in Seattle, a French-Vietnamese restaurant that Michael discovered over the winter. As usual, it was delicious and didn't disappoint. 

The celebration was a great way to start off September, considering August was a rough one for me. I recovered from oral surgery and a ridiculous amount of ailments which really got to me mentally and physically. Unable to workout, eat normally, or even focus since I was feeling unwell led to hours on the couch, binge-watching t.v., moping around, and just being pessimistic AF.

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Idleness, as I quickly learned, is not good for me. I always feel like I should be doing something. I hate wasting time. But there I was wasting a lot of it, waiting to get better to get on with my life, which made me turn inward and analyze myself. What life do I want to get back to? Before surgery, I was all-over the place with planning, entertaining guests, and traveling in July that I haven't really had a normal routine or established my goals in awhile. As the healing time came to an end, I started brainstorming and thinking about how I wanted to end these past four months.

I broke down the areas of my life I found most important to my happiness (health/wellness, relationships with others, personal goals, and professional development) and then brainstormed what I could improve upon. Based on that I made goals and actions to take that would get me to the goal. I know I sound like a self-improvement nut, but for me, if I'm not improving, learning, or growing, then I'm simply existing, not living.

I recommend you try it for yourself. Just brainstorming and writing it all out with paper and pen really grounds me and gives me a sense of purpose when I see things I want to accomplish.

PASSION + ACTION = A PURPOSEFUL LIFE

I came across the above quote and it just resonated with me. Hopefully it resonates with you, too.

So, now that I am free from my idleness, I've been going back to eating delicious food! Exercising! And reading! I'm already starting to feel more optimistic!

P.S. I read Kara Thomas's LITTLE MONSTERS in one sitting and it was so GOOD. Highly recommend if you want something dark and twisty.

Santa Barbara Wine Trip

This past week I've been literally throwing myself a pity party. I've had my 5th oral surgery in the past two years. I won't get into the nitty gritty details, but you'd think after the 5th one I'd be a pro at dealing with it, but alas, I'm not. In addition to mouth pain, a soft-foods diet, and no exercise regime, I've found myself really fatigued, unmotivated, breaking out in rashes, dealing with back pain, and in general dealing with suckish-vibes.

My poor husband has had to deal with all my whining and complaining (I'm the hugest baby when it comes to ailments or being sick), but keeps reminding me that this is temporary. It'll pass, I'll be back to normal, and I'll be able to put this whole ordeal behind me.

So, today, I've decided to blog about Santa Barbara to give me a boost of positivity and to remind myself what life was like prior to surgery. And plus, it was long overdue post. Am I right?

Santa Barbara was perhaps one of the last major wine areas on the west coast we had yet to explore. It's up and coming, but still fairly new. We were able to find some gems though and had a blast.

If you ever find yourself exploring the area, here are my top recommendations:

Place to stay: Fess Parker in Los Olivos

Best Winery: Dragonette Cellars

Best dinner/meal: First & Oak in Solvang

Best tour: Sustainable wine tours

Best Wine Bar: Les Marchands in Santa Barbara