Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Writing Day (page 1 of 5)

It Is Finished

My big deadline? The super secret goal? Completed, with 6 hours to spare. It’s amazing what one can get done, amidst distractions, when one has resolved to do it anyway. We’ve had multiple visitors, a sick dog (she’s doing much better now, thanks for asking), car troubles (new clutch, and it’s making a HUGE difference, thanks), all my kids going off to college (no, not my biological kids, but they’re still mine, and they still all left to save the world), and the various other bits of craziness that normally make up life in the Whitt house.

My novel is done. The novel that I finished a long, long time ago, and then pulled apart a big section of because I figured out what was bugging me, and it was a big enough problem to warrant the pulling apart and putting back together. The novel that got rather abandoned because Real Life Took Over And Exploded this year.

That novel.
It’s done.

That was my goal: to finally complete all the revisions needed to make it a whole story again, worth submitting.

There are, of course, always things I *could* keep fiddling with. But I will not. I am backing away slowly, with my hands in plain sight, leaving this manuscript just as it is, because it is finished.

I’m not even going to talk about the next steps until tomorrow, at least. Tonight, I get to enjoy the fact that my manuscript is complete.

Take that, August!


Manuscript Progress and Antidepressant Adventures

Ten days since my last entry isn’t so bad, really.  Not when it’s been caused alternately by furious manuscriptural progress (yeah, I made that word up, and I quite like it, thanks for noticing) and some pharmaceutical adventures, the latter of which I was rather slow to catch onto.

First of all, I’m more than halfway through this manuscript revision, which is significant because close to the first 1/3 was new material that had to be connected and smoothed into the existing text, and now that I’ve passed that juncture I anticipate veritably flying through the remaining work.  In other words, I am optimistic.  But then, I am rarely pessimistic, so we should take my optimism with a shaker’s worth of salt.

As to the pharmaceutical adventures, it’s a rather long, roundabout story, but the short version is that our new medical insurance policy very much prefers not to cover my customary antidepressant (hereafter Drug B), so I switched to another variety that has the same active ingredient (Drug C).  I was assured that very few people have trouble with this change as the two drugs are very similar, and I am so far from being picky about brand or method as long as the darn stuff WORKS that I readily filled the prescription.  Unfortunately, I am part of the “very few people” who do not adjust seamlessly to the new (to me) drug.

For about the last week and a half I have had seriously strange dreams–abnormal ones, for me.  Not scary dreams, just uber weird.  Pretty much every night, three or four a night.  I know this because I wake up between all of them and have trouble getting back to sleep, which leads to a tired Betsy.  I’ve been taking naps most mornings, and have only proceeded from napping to writing (rather than reading or watching “A-Team” episodes on Netflix) about every other day.  Finally, sometime in the nighttime hours no one should ever witness between Thursday and Friday, it dawned on me that there is only one other time something like this has happened to me–and it was almost two years ago, with the very first antidepressant I tried.  This reaction isn’t as severe as the first one, but then I was on Drug A for a month and a half, and Drug C for only two weeks.  Less time to develop strangeness.

At any rate, I called the doctor folks on Friday morning and after numerous call-backs for them to verify lots of angles, I am now gradually shifting to Drug D. If it works, great.  If not, I know that the doctor can jump through some hoops and get Drug B (my antidepressant of choice) approved coverage with the insurance, if it’s the only thing that works for me.  I’m not sure how many others I’ll have to try before they can conclude that I actually do need Drug B.

All in all, I’m not all that upset at present.  I’d much rather not have to jump through hoops (either personally or via my doctor) to get what I need to be healthy.  On the other hand, if they make me try several more medicines before we find one that works, I can see the next two or three or four months basically going down the drain, practically speaking.  As it is, barring severe immediate issues, I have to stay on Drug D until Christmas, more or less, before they’ll consider trying me on something else.  I have not yet run through even all the antidepressants that most people would recognize on hearing because of various advertisements, much less any lesser-known ones.

But I am trying to remain optimistic, because getting pessimistic about depression tends to be a rapid downward spiral and we can certainly do without any of that.

All that to say, another week (probably) of funky dreams before I’ve totally phased out Drug C, and then we’ll see how well Drug D works through my winter depressive slump.

And now back to my regularly scheduled manuscript edits.


A Resolution

I have decided to stop apologizing.  So hah!  Take that, guilt!  For those who wish I would update a bit more often, I’ve added a widget to display my twitter feed in the right-hand column at the bottom of this page, so you can keep up with goings-on even when I’m not finding much time for blogging.

The last few weeks have been busy ones.  I’ve been writing, Matt’s been super-busy with work and classes, and we currently have almost two feet of snow, and it’s supposed to keep coming down for another 12 hours or so.  I do like snow, but this is really early for winter to hit like this.  I have a feeling we’re going to have a whopper of a winter.  Also, we need to get new tires on the truck.  I thought that could wait for another month or maybe two, but with this much snow we can’t put it off much longer.

As I browsed through a bookstore earlier this week I came across a copy of Elaine St. James’s Simplify Your Life on super-sale, and since I usually do better when I have a checklist of sorts, after I paged through it a bit I brought it home.  (I did pay for it first. I’m not always a book thief.)  I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been updated since it was written in 1994, so there are some pretty great time/lifestyle gap things, but the concepts are all very solid and easily modified to apply to life 15 years later.  And the first thing is to clear out the clutter.

You see, we have a LOT of stuff.  We’ve acquired it in the usual ways: purchased back in the day when we had extra money, gifted by well-meaning friends and family members, swapped with friends, salvaged from other people’s trash, and generally accumulated so slowly we never realized how it was piling up.  We even clean out every time we move, which has been once a year lately, and we STILL have tons of stuff we never use and probably never will.

So, following the first two suggestions in The Book, we have been cleaning out the house during the last two days as drifts of snow piled up outside.  So far, we have almost two 18x18x18-inch boxes of stuff to donate and at least two 30-gallon trash bags to throw out.  That’s from the office (and closet), our bedroom (and closet) and two bathrooms.  We haven’t touched the main living area, the kitchen, or the garage.  It feels really good to get rid of stuff that’s just been sitting there, being moved from apartment to apartment.  It’s amazing–there’s room in the closets for things that have been “living” on the floor, getting kicked out of the way all the time.  Crazy!

Also, we bought some cheap plastic drawers for my quilting fabric, which means now it’s not all piled in big boxes, so I can actually get to what I need without taking over the whole office.  There are drawers for my projects-in-process and all sorts of loveliness.  See?

Fabric Stash!

So today warrants hot chocolate and cozy writing time, at least until Matt gets back from his youth ministry symposium.  Then I suspect there will be snowshoeing.  I’ll try to get video of Shiloh–she LOVES the snow and has tons of fun.

Oh, and I am signed on as a Official Participant for NaNoWriMo 2009, but honestly I haven’t figured out how serious I am about that.  I suppose I should decide, since it starts in two and a half days.

Also, my good friend Venessa Giunta has asked a good question over at her blog:  Do you [as a writer] tell people what you do?

Finally, for those who use Amazon Wish Lists and/or those who wish they could get their hands on a Kindle without paying for it, don’t miss the Kindle Love Sweepstakes.  You can enter through Saturday for the Kindle, and then it moves on to another kind of prize next week.

That’s all for now!  Time for hot chocolate!


Writing Day

So I stayed up late last night to finish reading a book.  And then I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

Why is this news, you ask?

Because oddly enough I had fun dragging myself out of bed because I needed to go to work–and I’ve gotten quite a bit done on the manuscript, in fact.  I realized yesterday that one scene would go from “cool, but pointless” to “cool, and a building block for later events” if I simply changed who was the rescuer and who was the rescuee.  And the rest fell in line behind it.  Brilliant.  There are still a few things that need to be clarified, added, etc., but for now all the important things are there and things are lining up very well to tie this all into the next section.  The tying in has been a stumbling block for months now.

Now it’s time to turn my attention to Devlin’s thread and make sure everything’s set to weave these new introductions back into the fabric of the original manuscript.  I’m feeling quite optimistic.

Oh, and for those looking for a good romantic suspense, check out Cindy Gerard.


Ah, the Slacker

I apologize for my slackeriness lately.  I promised photos and other semi-exciting news and absolutely failed to produce on either.  More than that, I waited more than a week to apologize.

I blame the paint.  No, seriously, I painted my brother’s dining room last week.  I’m fairly certain the fumes didn’t get to me too much, but the painting and surrounding activities (like spectacularly burning a batch of sugar to their nice saucepan–I really am going to tell that story sooner or later) sort of got in the way.  And then I was flying home and enjoying the company of my husband and our dog, and everything got a bit out of hand.

I live a wild life, can you tell?

At any rate, the writing is progressing and I got a satisfying amount of stuff done *aside* from the writing yesterday as well, so that always makes Betsy a happy girl.

Also, I’m working on reorganizing our LibraryThing so that I don’t have to use both LT and Goodreads (nothing against Goodreads, there are some things I like about it very much, but I’m trying to simplify) AND you will actually be able to access my 2009 reading list, the link for which has been nonfunctional pretty much since I posted it.

Finally, those of you who read directly from my website as opposed to through the various feeds have probably already noticed that the look of the website has changed–again!  But I’m a big fan of this one and it seems to all function properly and I have a feeling the new look is going to stick around for a while.

Now, time for a quick bowl of cereal, making some tea, and then writing!  So lovely to make progress.


The Latest Attempt

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve gotten some things done as planned, and others have fallen through the cracks. If I’m honest, that’s because I have stayed up too late and then been extremely reluctant to wake up early enough to have a truly productive morning. It’s a common trend in my life.

Matt has the car today, so I’m stuck here at the apartment. Stuck isn’t really the best word. I mean, I do have legs. I can walk somewhere–there’s a wide variety of things within a mile of here. Or I could ride my bike, which opens the circle of possibilities further. And, you know, there are city buses. But the easiest, coolest (as in, air conditioned) mode of transportation is the car, and I don’t have access to it today, which means either I will lie on the couch and waste time (tempting, but guilt-inducing) or I will get up and get to work on the variety of things just waiting for my personalized attention (delayed gratification–stinky now, feels great later).

The dog is extra-needy today. She wants attention and activity. Both Matt and I have been gone during the day for the last five or six days, so her life has been less than exciting, napping and waiting for us to come home. We’ll see if I can work out a trip to the dog park after Matt returns with the motorized chariot. I suspect she will curl up touching me once I settle into place at my workspace, which today is my folding table since my desk is covered in Stuff I Need To Deal With Eventually and if I have to look at all that Stuff I won’t get any revisions done. And nobody wants that.

That’s about all the news. Things here are, on the whole, quite good. Can’t complain, except that I’m not getting enough done. And that’s nobody’s fault but my own.


I’m Not Taking My Laptop To Work Today

It provides too much distraction, as I think all of you know. Or maybe I should say, Facebook provides too much distraction. And chatting. Yes, it’s definitely a leave the laptop at home kind of day.

Remember those things I was going to check off my to-do list a few days ago? Well, as it turns out, I didn’t get everything checked off (hey, don’t look at me like that–it was a long list) so I’ll be finishing those things today, as much as I can. And I’ll do laundry tonight, since rumor has it my husband is perilously close to the Cliff of No Underwear. And, you know, I’ll take care of the toffee that’s been taking up the middle shelf of the fridge for the last week and a half. Okay, two weeks. Otherwise, I’ll be writing thank-you notes I should have sent two weeks ago and rewriting a newsletter article that I already wrote most of once and then managed to delete. Gotta love that.

And when I finish those things, I’ll be writing the book I’ve already finished once, but couldn’t resist tearing up so I could finish it again. Because I felt like it. And it will make the book better. A lot better. Just you wait.

Just you wait, ‘Enry ‘Iggins! Just! You! Wait!

Sorry, I had a Musical Moment there. It won’t happen again. At least, not in this post, because I’m stopping. . . now.



There are no longer essential chunks of manuscript missing from my novel. All the big gaps have been filled, and it feels lovely to be able to say that. There are, of course, several threads that I need to be sure are securely woven throughout the course of the story, but most of those will only require a sentence or two here and there. There’s still plenty of work to do (I do have three whole days before I figure I have to mail this off, and far be it for me to not use all my available time) but things are in pretty good shape.

I’ve put off thinking about the wisdom teeth stuff for now; I made my consult appointment and it’s not until October, which means I’ve got time to think about it later.

I have something of a job interview today. Am excited to see how it goes; updated my resume and need to remember to print off my list of questions about the job, since there are several.

This week is busy – aside from that little deadline thing, I’ve got Bible study tonight, I’m accompanying a friend to the doctor to be there for her stress/heart test, I’m working Thursday (as usual) and have a lunch meeting on Friday. And then Matt will be gone this weekend. Lots to think about, lots to do, but my brain is fried enough that I’m not worried. That is the up side of being on your brain’s last legs. Nothing much bothers you.


Still Alive

The manuscript has become pretty much all-encompassing, except for when I shove it forcibly out of my mind. Most annoying is the fact that I think about it while I’m falling asleep–or rather, while I’m NOT falling asleep because I’m thinking about it. And when I do get to sleep, it’s not good sleep. I’m remembering my dreams, waking up in the night, and feeling extra tired when I wake up, which all point to less than stellar rest.

At least I’ve made progress this morning on the myth/legends that I’ve been putting off for the last few months. I’ve know for some time what the point of the various stories needed to be, their moral or theme or whatever you want to call it. The trouble has been that I didn’t know what happened in each story. Theme without plot isn’t a story. So I’ve got a plot for one of them now, which is great, but for some reason the words aren’t flowing very well. I was going to write the story while all the plot ideas were still fresh (though I brainstormed on paper, so it’s not as if I’ll lose something vital), but at this point I’m thinking I should just move on to the other stories and see if tomorrow is more friendly to putting words on the page.

I made an appointment for a consultation with the dentist who will pull my wisdom teeth, so events have been set in motion for that.

I’m also being a weenie about the potential of moving away from my current day job. The alternative is a very good one, and I’m sure I’ll like it, but I never like giving my notice to quit, especially when I like my coworkers. But the move will be good both for my writing and our finances, so I have to get past the weenie-ness.

But now it’s time to get back to the writing. And the thinking about the writing. And the finishing. Ta ta.


The State of the Novel

Three scenes need to be finished/rewritten. Three scenes need to be written in the first place (I’ve known about them for quite some time). I need to go through my To Do list one more time and stick in bits and pieces here and there to make everything consistent and multi-dimensional. I need to read through the last half of the book aloud, and go through the entire thing one more time for typos and spelling errors.

And that, my friends, is all that needs to happen before I can mail this thing off. It might even be done early. I’m not even kidding.

And just in case you were wondering: yes, I am wearing my dancing pants. And I’m utilizing their innate tendency toward dancing as I celebrate how very, very close I am.

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