Monday, November 19, 2007

The Best Laid Plans

Maven Darcy BurkeLast weekend, Mavens Erica and Lacey and I spent a fabulous two days plotting a book each. We storyboarded our turning points and each and every scene. It was so fabulous we decided to do it again this past weekend. Erica was coming south to Portland to stay with me anyway, and Lacey got an oil change and washed her car in anticipation of joining us Friday evening.

And then Life happened.

Raise your hand, writers, if Life has happened to you. In this case, Life came in the form of Illness. What started as a cough, turned into pinkeye and then ultimately became a mild case of pneumonia and an ear infection for my daughter. Mr. Burke came down with a nasty sinus infection, which he passed on to me, and my son picked up the pinkeye and the ear infection, but, thankfully, not the pneumonia. Meanwhile, Maven Erica was staying with us and I'm crossing every finger and toe that she doesn't come down with one or, heaven forbid, all of the above. So far, so good (*knocks on wood*).

Not only did this week of sickness kill our retreat plotting plans (curse you, Illness!!!!), it also pretty much killed all of my writing time as I scrambled to care for sick people and keep the house remotely ordered. Did I mention I was trying to do NaNoWriMo? I doubted I could write the whole 95,000 word draft, but I hoped to get the NaNo count. What I'll end up with is a kick-butt storyboard (which I already have - w00t!) and hopefully about 20,000 words.

Life happens to me. All. The. Time. I still manage to achieve goals, but some are harder than others, given whatever Life happens to deal me. My new goal is to have the first draft of this book done by the middle of January for The Return of Mavens Erica and Lacey for my RWA chapter's Debra Dixon retreat. I qualify that goal by saying I have no illusions. I'm sure Life will happen again and I will adjust accordingly. To me, the important thing is to keep setting goals and keep pushing forward.

Your turn: What do you do when Life happens? Any Life happens stories you want to share?


Erica Ridley said...

Raise your hand, writers, if Life has happened to you.

/raises hand!!!

/uses raised hand to high-5 darcy

/runs off

lacey kaye said...

Does not high-5 Darcy because she's SICK. eeeeww :-)

Still healthy as a horse, by the way!

Gillian Layne said...

Is this just not always the way? And with kids, a given.

These story boards sound really neat. Have you all posted a picture of one and I've missed it?

lacey kaye said...

Here's a link! Thanks for asking :-)

Bill Clark said...

*Bill's hand is also raised*

Alas for the Burkes and the Burkettes! May good health be quickly restored to all!

Maven Erica was staying with us and I'm crossing every finger and toe that she doesn't come down with one or, heaven forbid, all of the above.

Heaven forfend! :-)

Vicki said...

I hope all is feeling better in the Darcy household soon. And not only am I raising one hand but both. It seems whenever I decide to tackle a new goal, Life comes at me in all directions. Sometimes it's a wonderful diversion, sometimes not so much. Still what ever it is it gets in the way of writing and then I have to get myself back in gear again.

Vicki said...

Oh yeah, forgot to add that the storyboards look amazing. I have one but haven't used it. I need help getting the thing going. Ahem...Maven E, if you ever decide to do a mini workshop on storyboarding from your home, I'll bring the wine. Heck I'll bring the dinner, wine and dessert. :D

Kendra said...

It looks like Darcy and Erica were so excited to storyboard, they forgot to take off their coats.

No sicknesses this school year yet. (crosses fingers) But we have had vacations canceled due to a rugrat getting sick.

Novemeber is the worst month for NaNoWriMo. There are no full weeks of school in our district and I have Thanksgiving and Christmas preparations to do. I've only finished NaNo once.

Jacqueline Barbour said...

Life getting in the way? With a husband, three kids, two cats, and a full-time job? Nope, never happens ;)!

Honestly, it happens all the time and I don't have any answers for dealing with it. I just do my best to muddle through, I suppose.

I'm glad you're all on the mend though, and hope Erica and Lacey stay well!

Carrie said...

I think that's why you always build in extra time for deadlines, because life ALWAYS happens when you don't really need it :)

As for me, I've been learning to roll with it and enjoy (?) the twists. I used to get stressed out if life kept me from writing or editing and now I just take the time to enjoy not writing for a change :)

Plus, you never know when life will up and toss you a good story idea along the way :)

lacey kaye said...

Kendra, I think Darcy and Erica are wearing coats because I keep my condo at a crisp 51 degrees. Heh.

And Darcy did get well enough last night to chat about her new story idea, which is great! I think you may be onto something about going with the flow, Carrie.

Darcy Burke said...

Thanks everyone. I'm feeling much better.

Vicki, funny you should mention a workshop...we're actually thinking about that right now. I'm going to be doing some boarding with folks here locally (yay Kendra!). Stay tuned!

Kendra, you are so right about our school district. November's a giant waste (especially when your kid misses one of the four day weeks instead of the three day one!).

Carrie, you are so right. Great attitude.

Gillian Layne said...

Whoa, really cool! What are those, poster boards taped together?

And hey? i didn't see one single piece of chocolate anywhere...don't tell me you feed your muses healthy food and they actually come through for you....

Darcy Burke said...

LOL, Gillian. Actually, we miraculously refrained from dessert items, despite my pleas for a Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae run. :-) We had wine, beer, good food, and, of course, each other. The muses were on fire!

The boards are tri-fold cardboard. You can buy them at Target or any craft store. Elmer's (as in glue) has a brand that's about $3.50 at Target in my parts. Or, you can get a sturdier foam core board (not necessary, but at the time, it was all I could find), which I found at Office Depot. That was considerably more - about $13. Your most important investment is an array of colored sticky notes. Get as many colors as you can find. I guarantee you will use them. And when a rare color runs out, you will be sad. I believe Mavens Erica and Lacey will have more to say on the subject of storyboarding come Wednesday (Maven Erica and I switched days since she is traveling today) and Thursday, so be sure to check back!

Gillian Layne said...

Thanks Darcy! I'll be sure to check back.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Life happens all the time to me. I roll with it. (Since I'm not published yet, though, I think it's probably easier for me. No deadlines to worry about yet.)

The only 'life happens' moment worth talking about is in the middle of my first book - I got married and moved 600 miles. It was totally worth it, but I didn't get any writing done for about six weeks. I haven't really had to deal with sickness much since I started homeschooling - fewer germs to contend with.

Sorry you were gacked-out, Darcy. I'm glad you're feeling better. =oD

India Carolina said...

Okay, I am sooo jealous of your kick-ass storyboard. I too was hoping to NaNo, but...without a kickass story board, I knew it would be wasted. So then my goal was to be plotted up and hit around 20-25K. Er...not. New goal: get plotted by Dec. 1.

I really want a kickass storyboard (don't know how). Will be watching your blogs with interest.

Lenora Bell said...

I can't believe I missed your Portland festivities. Clearly I am lame-oh. But I have an excuse. NaNoWriMo happened! Armed with an Erica-inspired storyboard I embarked upon a new WIP and I'm proud to say I'm 30,000 words in and none of my friends or family, not to mention my poor boyfriend, has seen or heard from me in three weeks.

As for life happening, I have this totally sad sequence of blog posts in September where I start out all hopeful and bursting with writerly ambition and then I break my elbow and my laptop dies.

Sorry to hear about your sickness, Darcy. I think 20K and an awesome storyboard is amazing when you are coping with something like that.

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