Monday, August 22, 2016

The Curse of Organization

Sounds like Nancy Drew Mystery, doesn’t it? Or maybe a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The Curse of Organization.

I like to be organized. So when I sat down at my desk to start working on this post, the first thing I had to do is get my work space organized again. Staying organized wasn’t exactly a priority when I was working on the transcribing, and any time I pick up the house a lot of miscellaneous “stuff” ends up in my office. So cleaning up/organizing is part of the reason I’m so extremely late with this post. The other reason is the insane amount of time spent trying to pick out new tile for the bathroom we’re about to renovate, but that’s a story for a different time. :-D

There are a lot of good reasons to be organized: you can generally find things easier, it leads to greater productivity, it makes for less stress, you’re always prepared, and it’s a great time saver. But there’s such a thing as being a little too well organized - you have to do everything in a specific order, there’s no spontaneity, everything must be just so, and what happens to your precious schedule when the unexpected happens?

I guess I fall in between the two camps - I like to be organized, but I’m not obsessive about it. In fact, even when I think my desk is clean, someone will come along and comment about how messy it is. But I’m in good company, Albert Einstein and Roald Dahl both had messy desks. A messy desk is said to create a more creative atmosphere and encourages thinking outside the box, which leads to better problem solving. There’s a great article in the Daily Mail that explains it far better than I can.

The curse part of being organized comes from the fact I’m good at the organizing part, not so good on the maintenance. Everything will be arranged to my satisfaction , but it doesn’t last for long. So things start piling up, things aren’t put back where they belong, and schedules fall by the wayside. Then I’ll suddenly snap out of it and spend way too much time getting all organized again.

It’s a curse I tell you!

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,351words total
Down by about 500 words from last week, which kind of surprised me because I thought I’d been wordier than usual, especially on the movie review post. Guess I can just be really succinct when I put my mind to it.

0 words total
I’m about halfway through the Lord of the Flies and I finished reading Andrew Lang’s Pink Fairy Book. For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Mr. Lang, he gathered and edited hundreds of fairy tales, distilling them into a series of story books, most notably The Colored Fairy Books.

6 to 8 hours total
This was spread out over about three days, and while I didn’t finish the edits on An Elemental Earth as I’d hoped to, I at least made a big dent in it.

New Words
2,533 words total
While I’d like to say that I spread these out nicely and wrote an average of 350 words a day, that just didn’t happen. A couple of days I only wrote a dozen or so, a couple of days I wrote nothing, and a couple of days I wrote close to a thousand words a day. Ideally, I’d like to work my way up writing a steady 500 words a day ... but I think that day is still a ways off. And I’d just like to point out that I started to re-think my stand on not including personal correspondence in my word count after writing a 4,500 word letter to my sister. ;-)

Weekly Goals:

Last week:
My new editing strategy did pay off with An Elemental Earth, despite the fact I didn’t get it finished.
I did not get the chance to start working on An Elemental Spirit.
I was successful in not melting, but it was a near thing. ;-)
This week:
Finish edits on Earth and send it out to the Betas.
Find one more Beta reader.
Minimum of 3,000 words on Wandering Wizards.

This week’s excerpt is from Wandering Wizards. Howard and Ellen have arrived in the Magical Realm and have met up with the elf Lady Aracelia, who’s Jessica’s grandmother:

“Howard, the talisman you were sent did not contain enough magical energy to open a portal to this realm. However did you accomplish such a feat?”

“You know I’ve spent the better part of my life doing research on magic,” he said.

Aracelia nodded.

“Earth wasn’t always devoid of magic. There are ancient texts . . . scrolls that are barely decipherable . . . one of these scrolls had what looked like an amplification spell.” He shrugged. “I took a chance that it would amplify the magic in the talisman.”

“I should have known you were up to something,” Ellen said, arms crossed over her chest. “You’ve been too freaking quiet these last few days.”

“I’m sorry, really,” he said, with all the sincerity he could muster. “But I wasn’t sure the spell I’d found would amplify magic, it might have amplified something else. Something . . . bad. It was okay to risk my own life, but I couldn’t risk yours too.”

“You still could have told me. What if something bad had happened?”

“That’s why I left you my power of--why are you dressed like an extra from Kung Fu?”

Ellen rolled her eyes. “I came home in the middle of kenjutsu practice to get my bokken and I found your note. I didn’t expect to get pulled into another universe with you or I would have changed into something more practical.”

“I quite like what you’re wearing,” Kaelan put in. Ellen opened her mouth for a quick retort, but then she looked over at him and a faint flush suffused her face instead.

Aracelia took charge of the conversation once more.

“Perhaps it is just as well that you stumbled in upon Howard as he was casting the spell. With the power he generated, who knows where he might have ended up? You both know what happened when Thackery and Paranithel interfered. Your extra presence used up the excess of energy.”

“So Ellen’s presence here is both a good and a bad thing,” Sebastian hazarded. When everyone turned to look at him, he continued. “It’s good because it used up magic that might have sent Howard someplace dangerous, but it’s bad because now she’s trapped here as well.”

“I wouldn’t say trapped,” Aracelia said. “Either Thackery or Paranithel will be able to create a portal back to the earthly realm. Jessica as well, once she has been properly trained.”

“What about Howard?” Sebastian asked.

Howard looked at him blankly.

“You have studied wizardry your whole life. While Jessica held the moonstone amulet you were able to assist her in her magical endeavours. Do you mean to tell me you have not once tried out your own magic since arriving here?” Sebastian said with some amusement.

“I--I--” Howard looked at him, chagrinned. “I never thought of it,” he said in a small voice.

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