March Recap: Vacation Edition

March was a mixed bag. On the reading side, I read 10 books, including two from my 2015 Reading List.  I’m still on track to complete my goal this year of reading 100 books. Notably, I read The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins, which has been sitting on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for quite awhile, and I finally read two classics, The Time Machine, and Lord of the Flies. My 10 books included 2 history books, as a result of my traveling, which I always find a little harder to get through.

On the writing side… mm, not so productive. I wrote a total of 8,677 words, which evens out to a sad 279 words per day. As I’ve written on here before, part of this was because I hit a block in my current project that I just couldn’t bypass. Another reason for this was just focusing on things other than writing (I know–what??). My day job has been busy and stressful, and by the time I got home and decompressed, writing was pushed to the back of my mind. There is more going on there, I think, but I’ll save that for another post.

But that needs to change this month. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo! Honestly, I’m wavering back and forth between excitement and reluctance. I need to just buckle down and work. I’m returning to the same project I started last April during Camp NaNoWriMo. I’ve done a detailed outcome, and I’ve split my Scrivener file into parts, so I think I have a good road map. This project is connected to my novel, The Historian, though I’ll keep the connections vague in case you haven’t read it. It’s currently sitting at about 13,000 words, and I hope to get another 50,000 this month. I know I can do it, because I’ve hit 50,000 in both of my previous Novembers. I just need to push myself.

What are your April goals, readers? Anyone else doing Camp NaNoWriMo?

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February recap: Or, in other words, where did that month go?

February has never been my favorite month. It’s always cold and dreary, and this year was no exception. It was a month of snow and sickness and not much else. I’m sorry to say that I didn’t accomplish much at all this month.

But these recaps are for accountability as much as anything else, so I need to own up to my underachievement.

Total words written: 9650. Yikes! That’s less than half of January. I’m not sure what happened here. I was feeling uninspired and, frankly, lazy. I’m at a good point in my project, and the action is starting to pick up. So, I don’t know exactly why I was so bad about updating my project. I’m going to try to write more in March, though I will be on vacation for 10 days where I’ll be away from a computer. Oh, well – I’ll just have to make it up on the other days!

Total books read: 5. Again, not great. Less than what I was hoping. Part of this is because I started two long books–Anna Karenina and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (which has got to be one of the longest books I’ve ever tried to read). I still spent a lot of time reading, but I just wasn’t able to finish as much.

Total Best Picture nominated movies watched: 6. This is really what I was doing with my time in February. I try to watch as many Oscar nominated movies as possible, and I did pretty well this year. My pick for Best Picture was Boyhood, which was an excellently crafted film.

Total episodes of House of Cards Season 3 watched: 5… and I’m on #6 as we speak!

I have high goals for March. I want to match my January word count. I want to match my January book count as well–I think this will be easier to do, because during my trip, I’ll have long flights and train rides on which to read.

I hope your February was more productive than mine! Any advice for how to beat the winter blues writer’s block?

2015 Reading List

This year, I’m challenging myself to read 100 books through the  Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge.  I usually read 2 or 3 books at a time, because I get too impatient to wait until I’ve finished one to start the next one.  There are just too many good books waiting! I know that books will crop up that I haven’t thought of, but here is a list of books on my must read list for 2015:

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (*If I have to leave out one, it’ll be this one)
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Revenge of Geography by Robert D. Kaplan
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
Blood of Angels by Michael Marshall
Collapse by Jared Diamond
American Gods by Neil Gaimon
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
Weaveworld by Clive Barker
Books of Blood #3 and #4 by Clive Barker
The Intruders by Michael Marshall
The Peripheral by William Gibson
The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (*Wishful thinking. I’m unrealistically optimistic for a 2015 release).

That’s 25 titles for the new year. That leaves me 75 to go. I tried to mix classics and contemporary novels, and I even put on a few non-fiction books on there.

Have I left anything out? Any recommendations for other must read books for the new year?