“Working” From Home

Well, it’s certainly been a while, hasn’t it?

With all that’s going on in the world with the pandemic, most of us are doing what we can to stay home and stay safe. For me, that means I’m not working at the moment. Nordstrom has closed all of its stores across the country until things stabilize a bit. It seems as though, in the coming weeks or sooner, that could change for some stores in certain states. I look forward to being back at the Rack, even as busy as I’m sure it’s going to be (oh, the returns that people must have built up in this time from their online purchases!).

In the time since my last shift, though, I’ve been doing my best to expand my resale empire. That’s not to say what I’ve been doing is anywhere near the massive undertaking of some of the resellers who do it full-time. I have, however, taken my listings from Poshmark to new platforms. I’m now on Mercari, Depop, and (to a small degree) on eBay. It’s been quite a while since I sold on eBay! Probably since around 2005-2006, in fact. I’m even still using the same profile, which had a decent amount of feedback.

You can find my stuff here: on Poshmark, on Mercari, on Depop, and on eBay.

Message me that you found me on my blog for discounts!

#GirlBoss

Well, maybe I’m not a boss, per se, but my Poshmark closet is still going strong. I’ve been working on adding new listings lately, and new stuff is going up this week. I’m up to my eyebrows in unlisted inventory. My dressform, Bernadette, which I found on Facebook Marketplace, will be a big help in my new clothing posts. I obviously can’t model everything. I like to when I can, though.

If I’m being fully extensive in my #girlboss explanation, holiday products are now available on regansellsavon.com. I’ve been with Avon since 2005, and it just keeps getting better (word is, we’re going to be carrying Chi hair products in the New Year). If you’re a first-time customer, use the code WELCOME10 for 10% off your first purchase. As always, $40 purchases get free shipping. Sign up on the site for my mailing list, and you’ll be notified of any special offers like free shipping on smaller orders, or free gifts with purchase.

In addition to working it on Poshmark and Avon, I’m working it again at Nordstrom Rack. I’m easing my way in as a part-timer, and I’m having an awesome time so far. It’s like coming home again after being gone since last spring– at least, I’ve been treated that way. I love my teammates. I wouldn’t say I’ve lost my sea legs just yet, but most of it has just come back to me, which is super-handy.

The weird news: it’s November, and I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. I considered it, but in the end, just didn’t have the right ideas for another 50k-word novel. Short stories? Yes. Novel? No. I keep seeing my NaNo group’s members posting about meetups, and I just don’t have it in me to do it this year. It feels… slacker-ish. Or maybe my goals are just changing. I suppose that’s fine. I don’t have to have the same goals my whole life.

I just need to think about that a bit.

And the livin’s easy…

Summertime. The time I get slothful about my writing habits. I make excuses and cut corners and don’t follow through with commitments. So if you see me out there at Starbucks or Barnes & Noble, and I’m typing furiously on my keyboard, it means something has actually gone right in the universe, and the muses are speaking though me.

I have a mini-outline in my head now of the events that need to happen to wrap up the tail end of my first draft, and I should probably commit it to paper or digital in some way so it all actually happens. I met up with my Mt Pleasant girls today to get in a bit of work, and I’m moving forward. Always moving forward.

In other news, I’ve been taking voice lessons. The school I go to had a showcase for students this week, and it was fun to be back on stage. My vocal coach wants me to start going on gigs with her, so we’ll see how that goes.

Words+

I’ve been reading lately much more than I’ve been writing. I finished The Trespasser, which had an excellent twist at the end. Then, even after having watched the series on Netflix, I read You by Caroline Kepnes. Excellent. Terrifying and true. Then I picked up Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forgot. Made me never want to forget a second of my awesome life, despite the many deeply flawed many moments.

My own novel is giving me fits. I’m not sure whether to write the final chapter or trash the whole thing. I’ve gotten such mixed feedback. I’m energized enough to move on to something new, but then, what to do with this mess of words I’ve left behind?

I suppose there’s no reason to assume a first draft is anything worth keeping. It’s a vomit of words from a first-timer. I printed it out to try to edit it, and– well, it gave me fits. Parts of it made me happy, and parts of it made me twitch. I want to finish it, but I want to finish it well. I hope I can think of a way to do that.

Plot Twist

So much for an outline.

My writing has a mind of its own. The story has taken a turn that I didn’t see coming. This, after having the whole story laid out carefully, then scrapping it and plotting it anew. Yes, it’s evolving into yet another version of itself, and I’m pleased with the momentum I’ve built lately. I wouldn’t call it fast, but it’s steady. I’m relying on two local writer connections as accountability partners, as we meet up on the weekends to pound out words.

I’ve quit smoking, since I don’t think I mentioned that before. How’s that for a plot twist? I’ve been a smoker for almost my entire adult life. I’ve had periods of quitting before, sometimes as long as a year. But as soon as I thought I could have one cigarette, I’d have a pack. I don’t do moderation.

This time I quit by switching gradually to vaping, then tapering down the nicotine level in the juice, and then cutting down vape use. It might have been a roundabout way of doing it, but it seems to have stuck. I don’t seem to think about the hand-to-mouth action so much anymore (or, if I do, I’m filling it instead with drinking water). I’m also knitting, poorly, to keep my hands busy.

I’m reading Tana French’s The Trespasser, on my friend Briana’s recommendation. It’s a murder mystery, takes place in Dublin. Everything is “shite.” Not being super familiar with Irish slang, I had to figure out some of it in context, like gaff (home) and jacks (toilet). Made me wonder how much local dialect like that I’m using in my own writing. Would my book be difficult for a Dubliner to read? I’ll have to make a note to scan for that when I do an editing pass once I’m finished.

New year, new motivation

This weekend, I met up with two local writers. We connected through NaNoWriMo. We spent an hour or two talking about where we are with our current projects and our goals for our books. We’re each at different places in the eventual publishing process, but it gave me a good push to get going for the new year.

Meanwhile, I’m making a serious effort to do better on my reading this year. To go from ~80 books in 2017 (and ~100 in 2016) to FIFTEEN in 2018 is inexcusable. To that end, I’ve started Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty with my long distance book club, and I’m enjoying it so far. I got a couple of Barnes and Noble gift cards for Christmas (which, hey, if you’re ever looking for a gift for me, this is a good one), so in addition to that one, I also picked up Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I’ve been wanting to read that one for a while. I made a very doable goal of 26 books to read in 2019 on Goodreads. Words in, words out.

After not having touched my own manuscript in a month or so, reading through the last few chapters I wrote makes it easy to– well, to spot errors; but also appreciate the things that work well, storywise, and take note of things that don’t flow as well. I now have a better idea of where to go from here, although it’s still not quite according to plan. I hope to swap feedback with my new local writer cohorts. 😉

Happy new year, y’all!

NaNoWriMo, y’all

Last year at this time, I was powering through writing my novel for National Novel Writing Month. I may have been taking a break or twelve to attend a Tony Robbins convention. Tony was fun for a day or so, but I’m not as (I don’t want to use the word cultish, not only because I’m not sure it’s a word, but because it would probably be perceived as insensitive) as some others who were there. He has his devotees, that’s for sure.

Despite writing time I missed out on during last year’s “Unleashing the Power Within,” I’m pretty sure I benefited from it. Maybe not as much as some. The weekend was essentially high-speed therapy. Having gone through plenty of therapy, it felt redundant to ME. To lots of people on the audience, though, who might have thought they were there to learn business mastery, I’m sure they felt either great peace, or great trauma followed by great peace. Me: I just kept talking to people around me. Why are you here? Where are you from? What do you hope to achieve when you get home?

What I told EVeryone I wanted to achieve was “be a writer.” Not “publish a 80k word novel,” not even “finish my work in progress.” Just BE a writer. It doesn’t require writing credits (although, I could pull some out of my sleeve, if you really wanted me to). And it’s totally not about quantity. It’s about the act. It’s about getting oneself to work each day and stringing words together.

I recently read a nonfiction book that was an adaptation of a doctoral student’s dissertation. I was suuuuper confounded, not only because she’d found even more ground to cover than in her original format, but that she had SO MANY WORDS. At what point does one just run out of things to say about something?? Yet she never did. (By the way, 5 ⭐️ to Leslie Jamison for The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath. As a recovering person, I loved the various perspectives, including the author’s own.)

Even by that wide definition of “writer” I’d had in mind at the Tony Robbins event, I haven’t been pulling my weight. So this November, just in time for NaNoWriMo, I recommitted myself to daily writing and began a new project. Even if I’ve only written a few hundred words each day so far, it’s still writing.

Because I am a writer.

Broken writing bone?

I think I’ve been suffering from a fractured writing bone. At very least, a sprain of the metaphorical ligament, because, WOW, have things been dead around here.

I was recently on a plane, and it conjured so very many images for me that the notes I began scribbling for a short story were tough to keep up with. Perhaps it was physical therapy? It was fast and furious, and I was exhausted after, so maybe so.

Maybe I haven’t lost use of my writing limbs after all. Maybe with some regular exposure, I can exercise them into shape.

For the moment, though, could you kindly pass the Gatorade?

Those who can’t do, read

And those who don’t read, attempt to update the “To Read That I Own” shelf on their Goodreads with the heaps and loads of books they continue to buy, despite the fact that they’re not reading at the same breakneck pace as last year. (No? Just me?)

According to Goodreads, I’m reading five books right now. I’ve been hopping between them, not really committing to any one. I was talking to Briana about what I’ve been reading lately and she wondered why I wasn’t reading anything “fun.” I thought I was reading fun things. At least, they were books that were about things I found interesting.

Here’s what I’ve been shuffling between:

Material Girl, Mystical World by Ruby Warrington. I read about half of this one last night. It has tons of information presented in a gabby, accessible way.

Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol by Ann Dowsett Johnston. I bought this one last week and have only just started. It begins with the author’s personal story, so I haven’t gotten into the meat of her research yet.

So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan. I’m about 2/3 through this one. I haven’t reread Gatsby since I started reading this, but I have a copy of Trimalchio waiting in the wings for when I finish.

Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James. I’ve only read a chapter or two, but it makes me feel like an asshole. I don’t think that was the point.

When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone. A little dense, but worthwhile.

So although I like reading all of it, I’m clearly not liking it enough to sit with one until I’m done with it. Perhaps I need a cerebral palette refresher in the form of some funny fiction, maybe even some chick lit.

This is actually the niche in which I see my writing falling. Nothing too weighty; just fast and fun. Hopefully not mindless, obviously, but purely entertainment.

Not projecting a completion date for my book anymore. It’ll be done when it’s done. 😂

Can’t repeat the past? Why of course you can!

Adam’s 42nd birthday was last weekend. He had a cheat day from his healthy diet, and we went to Evo for pizza to end the night. It got us thinking about time, and how it flies by faster the older we get. We talked about the adventures we’ve had so far, moving around the southeast (4 times in 3 years). Now we’re quite at home, here with Vinnie in Mt Pleasant.

Of course, the only constant is change, so we’ll probably end up leaving this place behind, too. But that’s okay. Maybe it’ll be like a seashell that I’ll have outgrown and need to shed in favor of a roomier model.

Occasionally now I feel the pressure of seconds slipping past, and I’m reminded of my career in television, when timing was everything. A deadline was a deadline. Video was either edited or it wasn’t. Reporters were either long-winded or didn’t have enough information to fill, so they ran light. Once it went on the air, it was official. And it makes me wish I had a constant record of my life so I could go back and watch whatever I wanted from an outsider’s perspective.

For the most part, though, I’m enjoying life as it happens. Our SMART Recovery meeting is gaining traction and seeing a steady attendance, with new faces all the time. Work is great. The book is chugging right along.

So maybe I can’t pause time, or, as Gatsby longed to, live in the past. I’m okay with that, because the present moment is fine by me.