2015 Successes and 2016 Goals

2015 has definitely been a year of transition for me. It seemed to take a long time in the moment, but now that it is almost over, it seemed to fly by. A lot has happened in 2015, some things permanent and some things not so permanent. 

In 2015 I:

Traveled by Plane for the First Time:

In March, my boyfriend and I traveled to Phoenix to meet his dad and his family. It was my first plane ride and it was awesome! I am sure it will not be the last.

   

Got Two Tattoos:

The first tattoo was in April, to honor my mom. It is a purple butterfly on my right shoulder.

 

Butterfly after being touched up for the third time

 
 The second was the day after Christmas, a blue owl bought with my first paycheck from a nursing job. 

 

The owl a few days after, before the peeling started

 
Passed my NCLEX-RN:

After six months of studying I took my boards in June and passed. I am now officially a registered nurse!

Had Seven Interviews:

With a new license, comes new responsibilities. I had four interviews with three different hospitals, and two interviews for non nursing jobs, and one interview for a doctor’s office. 

Had Two Jobs and One Volunteering Opportunity:

Two of the interviews stuck. I worked at Panera Bread for just over a month and am now working for a cardiologist’s office. I have never been happier. 

 

Ready for Work at Panera

  

First day of the nursing job

 I also began volunteering at a local hospital in hopes of getting a job there, but nothing happened so I am volunteering because it helps others. 

Wrote Several Short Stories:

While 2015 has been a year of several transitions, I have been able to write several short stories and continue to write. I doubt this will stop anytime soon as writing is my passion. 

Learned/Am Still Learning Spanish, American Sign Language, Russian and French:

In an effort to partly make my resume stand out and partly feel like I can help people and patients more than just treating them, I decided to learn Spanish since it is pretty much the second language of my local community. I also decided to start learning ASL because I have always wanted to learn it since 6th grade. I decided to freshen up my French and Russian (which I have been learning for two weeks now) looked fun. 

I know I’m probably forgetting a few accomplishments in this list, but those are the big ones. 

Now for next year’s goals:

In 2016 I hope to:

  1. Edit the third draft of my novel and maybe publish it, if not publish in 2017.
  2. Continue to write short stories, at least one a month if not more. 
  3. Continue to further my education and at least start a BSN/MSN program. 
  4. Continue to learn languages and other things to help me in my fields of study. 
  5. Start my life by saving money and building credit to find a place and move out. 
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How To Tuesday: Every Story Needs Conflict

We’ve all read stories where it seems like nothing is happening. Stories that are boring, or slow, or maybe the characters just aren’t working for us as readers. I find that most of the time when stories bore me, it’s because the conflict doesn’t resonate with me, or that there doesn’t seem to be a conflict, or high enough stakes for me to have an interest in the results. 

Every story needs to have some sort of conflict. 

Whether it’s the fact that your character can’t find the right shoes for their prom dress or the character has to diffuse a bomb before the timer goes off and he can’t tell what color word to cut because he’s colorblind. Your story needs a conflict, something to resolve for the story to feel complete. 

If you don’t have a conflict for your characters, it might as well be a story where everyone is happy and nothing bad ever happens. Even short stories need conflicts, something to move the plot forward and engage the reader and make them care about the characters and what happens to them. Even the simplest of things can become conflicts. 

The easiest way to come up with a conflict is to think of the word thing that could happen to your character and make it happen, but we will talk more about that next week. 

Wednesday Works: Write a Rhyming Poem about the Last Book You Read

The last book I read was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

On a cold clear moore, in Scotland gay

A pretty young lass loses her way.

She travels through time, back and back

and meets a sexy stranger who calls her “Sassenach”.

Through several days of watch and suspicion,

The chapters quickly turn to needing parents’ permission.

For Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser,

Is one quite sexy hell raiser.

From a second marriage, to hot nightly romps,

Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser saves her new husband from chumps.

Toward the end, Poor Jaime is more foe than friend

Oops, I guess I shouldn’t tell you how it ends.

Writer Life Lesson #16: Outline Before You Write

Whether you write essays, or novels, or anything in between, you have an outline. As crazy as that sounds, even if you swear that you always write by the seat of your pants, you do have an outline, it just might not be written down.

This week’s lesson has to do with physically outlining. And Outlining Before You Write.

This lesson is one of my favorites, because I get to talk about my outlining skills and show you some examples. If you are planning on participating in NaNoWriMo in November, or just planning to start a novel in the near future, outlining will be your friend.

Simple Outlines

I didn’t used to outline, and then I came up with the idea for my 2011 NaNo Novel, Spark: The Girl. It started out as a simple stand alone novel, and it still can be a stand alone novel, I think. But the more I thought about it and the more I planned the more I realized I needed some kind of outline. In the course of a week, I wrote simple outlines for all seven books. Though I didn’t plan it too well back then, because there are still several holes where I can add things in as I go.

This is what I like to call a simple outline. You know the basic structure and the big events, but the small events and the other characters are not always planned. There are still room for surprises. I prefer these outlines because it isn’t as rigid as a complex outline, and I don’t feel as disappointed if I forget to add a detail. It can be as simple or complex as you want the detail to be. A lot of time I leave myself notes on my whiteboard, or a single sentence in my notes

Example: Jared and Emily meet Lea at the hospital instead of at the apartment. Why are they there?

I like to end my simple outlines with questions sometimes, something to think about when I get to that point, because I don’t know what exactly is going to happen in that book once I start writing it, or what small details I can connect to it once I start working on it.

Complex Outlines

I like complex outlines for things that I absolutely know are going to be in my novel or characters that I cannot forget to introduce at a specific time.  I prefer to use Complex outlines during second or third drafts when I know what needs to be in the novel I am working on. I use Complex outlines to go chapter by chapter, or sometimes scene by scene.

Example: Chapter 5- Jared and Emily finally start talking about the issues between them in Dr. B’s office. Emily brings up the fact that Jared tells her things she’s not sure about. Jared brings up the fact that Emily is not herself. They end up fighting and Emily storms out. Next scene is in the hospital cafeteria where Jared vents to Dr. Owen and asks for a raise to gain Emily’s trust back. Chapter ends with Jared groveling.

With Complex outlines, the content tends to be longer, more in depth, and more linear. Sometimes they take a little more thought and organization,  but they do end up making it easier to write, at least for me.

I tend to not structure my outlines too rigidly, since I do enjoy creative freedom, so occasionally as I write, I will change the outline to fit what I’m writing. Sometimes I’ll take a previous idea that may or may not have originally been part of the plot and add it in.

Whether you choose to outline or not, it does help to just have simple notes and ideas. Usually I have an ending in mind first, so occasionally it is easier to outline backwards. Other times, my ideas are all jumbled and I look at the outline ready to scream “WHAT THE F@&# DO YOU WANT FROM ME?”

Whether you outline or write by the seat of your pants, it doesn’t matter. Whatever works best for you, do it!

At least you’re still writing.

Happy Writing!