Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Story of My Life

There are always piles of crap on my floor. I don't know how it happens. Apparently each time I enter my room I drop whatever I'm carrying or wearing until it's impossible to walk and then I finally look down and say, "What the hell happened in here?"

Gotta go clean this up.

Friday, October 28, 2005


The Emma situation is still not resolved. Here'a link to Scott's friend's site where I posted my views on Emma riding the 'little bus' :

Have an ad to work on. Need to change gears.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here's My Card

I haven't actually given it to anyone yet, but I'm working on it. The background is white - it just looks odd in the photo. I know the script font is a little wacky, but the selection at Staples is limited to the first fonts ever created. One day maybe I can have a snazzy logo. For now, this is better than scribbling my info on post-its. I've had worse-looking cards in my career.

So far, today has been a good day. I got to speak to an actual person in an actual marketing department instead of being dumped into voice mail or HR. While he didn't need any freelancers right now, he liked the fact that I am nearby and have relevant industry experience and said to send him my information. It might go straight in the garbage, but it's the best response I've had so far, so I'm clinging to it. Plus, I'll be able to send a snazzy card :)

On the book front, I spent 4 hours at the library yesterday, making my way through the list of "to fix" items I made last week. I can actually see some progress. Now I just need to type it up and add it to the official page count.

I like my cards.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Almost Time for Another Freakout

If I wasn't so tired I would do it now. Spent the afternoon at Emma's school for a meeting about uhh... I"m not sure... the need for more meetings? It was one of the strangest meetings I've ever been to. That hitchiker's guide song 'thank you for the fish' keeps playing in my head.

My role in the meeting was to take notes. I did my best, but it was like being in a class where the lecturer never really said anything, just babbled in jargonspeak. So - zero book progress today. I spent the morning calling various places trying to drum up freelance business. It was good in the sense that I got some practice and worked on lowering my Minnie Mouse phone voice. Luckily, my mom has my PR under control and already sent my website address to everyone on her e-mail list. Watch - I'll get more business through her than through my own efforts. I won't complain!

So tomorrow- book book book and then more book. Then I'll freak out.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I spent the majority of the weekend working on my other site so I have pretty much been neglecting the book. Our hapless heroine is perched on a cliff - will she jump? She's getting tired of standing there, or is she wobbling... no - teetering...

Yes, yes, I'll get back to it. Right now I need to deal with the cyclone in my room. Someone dumped a bunch of work samples all over the floor and they don't seem to magically be making their way into file folders in the handy "work samples" storage container.

I really appreciate the supportive e-mail you send, like the following from a faithful reader in Montreal:

Blog getting stale. Readers losing interest.

Plainfield, IL - CEO of karenworld to hold press conference later today to explain why viewers are being deprived of much needed content on the Karen and Linda Blog. With the last posting on the K&L blog over 5 days ago, critics are citing dissention within the Karenworld empire.

After sweeping reforms to who can publish on that blog, ex-partner L. Stratton said, “I can’t even get my two cents in. She just cut me off and is hogging the site for her own agenda.”

Viewers of the popular blog are now starting to believe the rumours that the blog is just another in a series of over hyped, disposable media outlets in the growing Karenworld empire. One reader cited the Karenword discussion group, K&L blog, and now the new Karen Smock Freelance site as examples of Karenworld executives creating a media dependency and then abandoning a site and moving on to a new format.

One information availability advocate said, “[Karenworld] is becoming like Microsoft. As soon as I get used to one thing and I like it, they tell me I need to upgrade to a new product I don’t understand.”

A Karenworld spokes person said the move to the new web site was not intended to shut readers out but to open up a new, parallel market and that all three sites would continue to receive the attention they deserve. The new Karen Smock Freelance site was designed with slick graphics and lots of eye candy that appeals to companies with too much money to spend. The K&L blog is still targeting readers like desperate housewives and retired soap opera stars.

Other rumours circulating are that The National Enquirer has entered in to informal talks with Karenworld CEO in order to secure the rights to use the K&L blog to publish Elvis sighting reports and unauthenticated UFO pictures. Karenworld executives did not want to comment on that rumour saying it was too early after breakfast to think straight.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Right Brain, Meet Left Brain

My right brain and left brain aren't getting along.

RB: Woo-hoo, I'm moving into act II

LB: Whoa, whoa, how many total words do you have?
RB: words, schmords - don't stifle the muse, man
LB: the muse needs to have 90,000 words by Christmas or Santa is going to skip over your room
RB: no Santa?
LB: no Santa
RB: FINE. Stifle my creativity and do your stinkin' word count
LB: let's see - a bunch of files, no order to them, holes in various plot lines. If I print out this mess and add up the totals, you have 21, 030. Not bad, but we need to analyze Act I a bit further before we move on
RB: You said no editing until 2006
LB: I didn't say edit, you chocoholic flake. I said analyze and fill in holes until we reach 30,000, ok?
RB: I hate you
LB: back atcha

So, yeah - I've lost my grip on reality and am now an unmedicated schizophrenic. AND I have piles of printouts all over my floor. I hope little elves come in and organize this into the snappy new binder I bought at Staples.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Had Enough Yet?

The blog and the discussion board aren't quite enough. Now I have my own website for my burgeoning freelance business:

It doesn't seem to be live yet - it's still "propogating" What does that mean? I'm not sure - I just keep checking, waiting impatiently for it to show up.

I'm not thrilled with how it looks - I used default templates to save time. I hope that the look doesn't detract too much from what I'm trying to say. I still need to add some more pages to make a real online portfolio and I need to complete an "About Me" page. After that it will pretty much remain static until I can afford to have it done properly.

For the portfolio, I'll need to scan some selected pieces and maybe somehow make the text available - not sure yet how I'll do this. I need to choose the pieces first.

As for the book, I am apparently terrible at research. Those of you who were with me during my stalker phase might remember how badly that went. Well, unfortunately something bad must happen in this book and I had to dig around to find something bad but not horrifying. It's really not that fun to read old newspaper articles about real crimes. Depressing actually. I think I found one that will work for the purposes of the story. I need to quit playing with the colors on my new site and start writing the crime bits. yuk.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Back in the Swing

More or less. Feeling much better today. Final word count: 12,802. Good recovery from week one, but still not exactly where I know I can be. Room for improvement.

I've pretty much finished 1/3 of the book, so that's exciting. I'm moving on to Act II. Act I isn't perfect, but the basic plot points and scenes are there, so I am pushing forward.

I officially heard from the library - they don't want me. OK fine. On to plan B. Get the corporate freelancing up and running. Start spending 10-12 hours per week drumming up business or doing billable work. It helps boost my confidence to have people paying me to write.

I'm off to Staples this afternoon. Now that I have so much of the book done, it needs a big binder. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Feel Like Crap

Not sure if it's PMS, post-travel blahs or the torn between friends and family in two places feeling, but I have been slugging around all day like I'm in quicksand. I don't have a final word count yet because I still have some stuff in notebooks from Thursday and Friday that needs to be entered. So far, in the computer I have 10829 words. Even that is much better than the 1500 I had after week one. So I'm not feeling bad about that, just ... blah.

Pressure to get the freelancing thing into full swing? Possibly. Insecurity about the book? Again? Doesn't really feel like that. I feel drained and tired. It was an emotional two weeks.

Linda helped me unpack and got me out of the house this afternoon, so that helped a lot. Hopefully after a good night's sleep I will be back to my usual book writing angst.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Up and At 'Em

I am up, breakfasted and halfway through my 2nd cup of coffee. Poised and ready to be uber-productive today (knock on wood). I thought about why I was able to get so much done yesterday afternoon (3016 words!), and some of it may be because I did a lot of timeline work last week - figuring out what has to happen when and plotting it on an actual calendar and index cards. It didn't translate into words, but it laid some good groundwork and a much clearer path for where I need to go. So, what's the lesson? Stay on top of word count, but don't panic as long as things are getting done. I still need to make up the word count - I need to stay on that track or I'll never finish, but I'll stop the self-flagellation routine.

As for NaNoWriMo it sounds like a fantastic idea - sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in one month - from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. If I were completely blocked I would definitely do it, but the thought of losing a month to my current project doesn't sit well with me. Also, in general, I just don't work that way - spewing out words with no plan. I am an outline person. If I were doing it just for the heck of it, then I guess I wouldn't care if I had an outline or not and it would just be a fun thing to do. If anyone signs up, let me know. I'm curious how rewarding it is.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Judgement Day

So the idea is... I can work anywhere I have a computer or a notebok and a pen, right? My goal is 8,000 words per week. This trip to Montreal is supposed to be a trial to see if I will work when there is distraction around or if I will be distracted. The verdict? Last week's word count:


Not good. Not even half of what I needed. In my defense I also did three character sheets, but STILL that does not make up for the lack of productivity. Visiting my old office was sort of work-like in the sense that it's a bit of networking, but still...

Bad. I'm bad. I was running around too much, visiting friends. This is not supposed to be a big vacation. I will redeem myself. I will be so prolific this week that I will make up for my shortcomings last week. That means I need 14481 words by the end of the week. This feels like final exams for a class I didn't keep up in. I'm cursing myself but at the same time, I know I can pull it off.

Gotta go. Bad Karen.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Yesterday was an insanely busy day of running around. First, downtown to meet friends for lunch. I definitely don't miss trying to park near a metro station! Lunch was fun, food delicious. I wish someone would open up a Basha or an Amir in Plainfield.

Then off to my old office to pick up a freelance check and say hello. That took 2 hours! Fun to see everyone, but I felt oddly disconnected as though it had been much longer since I left.

Next stop - dinner with the ex. It was his birthday and I gave him one of Tad Williams' books - it seems like the kind of thing A. would like. We had a nice chat. He's not traveling at all for work any more so he's in town, getting more involved with local activities. He lives in the same apartment building we lived in for the last 3? years, but a smaller apartment. Very odd to see half of the stuff that used to be in our apartment in his place. My new place looks completely different. Again I felt completely disconnected from the person who used to be his girlfriend.

Are these disconnects the best way to move on or some kind of coping mechaism? Not sure, but it feels good to have faced my previous life and have confidence in the direction I'm heading even if I'm still taking baby steps.

Tonight: dinner with Stephen. Looking forward to it. Today: enter some text I wrote by hand on Monday. Thought it was crap at the time. On re-reading it, I think it works even though there are unanswered questions. Moving forward...

BTW, the refrigerator and pantry here are FULL of chocolate. It's like freaking temptation central. I'm getting hooked on Nutella in the morning. I'll definitely be working out tonight before dinner.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What a Character!

I've introduced most of the characters in my story, now I'm working on fleshing them out completely. The characterization exercises in some of the "how to" books are so detailed, I don't even know myself that well!

I've always loved taking those cheesy magazine quizzes and changing the answers to alter the results. I'm looking at characterization the same way - if this person is untrustworthy but fun to be around, what would she do in each of these situations...

At the same time, stereotypes must be avoided. AND it's ok to act out of character every so often to keep things lively. Characterization is quite the mixture of rules and free reign.

BTW I am in Montreal working remotely with a big vase of gorgeous flowers on my desk. Happy... so happy... :)