An Ambitious Undertaking: Now with More Orphans!

So, a few days ago, I was reading Buzzfeed, as one is wont to do for hours at a time entirely on accident. I’m sure it started with something like, ’42 Dogs Who Are Having the Best Ice Cream Sandwich Ever!’ and spiraled into ’17 Horses in Unflattering Hats!’ and before I knew it, I was reading the ‘Definitive Ranking of All 131 Baby-Sitters Club Cover Outfits. This was, quite possibly, the most majestic list ever made on Buzzfeed (and that says a lot, coming from a broad like me who falls into a Buzzfeed hole at least once a week).

But it got me thinking.

I need a literary or creative project to keep me motivated alongside working on my own personal writing. My husband, over the past two years, participated in this challenge called #NerdBery, where he read every single Newbery winner in chronological order. While he complained a lot through the 1920s, he otherwise seemed to enjoy the event. And I kind of have this addiction to reading Full House Reviewed, which is exactly what it sounds like, every episode of Full House watched and reviewed in chronological order.

And then, this definitive ranking of all outfits of all Baby-Sitters Club books?

So I did what any ambitious nerd girl with a desire to embark upon a project that’s probably bigger than she needs would do: I took to social media for advice.

If I was going to read an entire series of books that were popular in our youth (and this is, indeed, what I was setting out to do), which one should I choose? In the end, I narrowed it down to these options:

Baby-Sitters Club
Boxcar Children
Sweet Valley High
Encyclopedia Brown
Saddle Club

Encyclopedia Brown was a little on the short end, and Saddle Club I just threw in there because, OMG I love horses. But the real decision came down to the top four on that list. The debate got a little heated, but in the end, we threw out Goosebumps

(mostly because all of my posts would be like this, and also because I greatly feared that books I thought were goofy as a pre-teen would be terrifying to me in my 30s.)

Apparently, there is someone else out there reading and reviewing the Baby-Sitters Club series. And I just didn’t think I had the patience to read Sweet Valley High, because, although I’ve never read any of them, I presume it must be like 140 typewritten volumes of the movie Clueless.

And also, it seems my friends are really emotionally invested in the idea of me reading the entire Boxcar Children series.

My friend William even went so far as to find me a checklist of all 133 books, in order.

Lucy's Ready to Read
And Lucy offered to help me read.

And then it turns out that the first twelve volumes were on super sale at Amazon…

So, I made myself this fine-looking notebook (I couldn’t find a 1980s-style Lisa Frank notebook, so I made this one myself with dog stickers), and starting this week, I will be embarking upon the journey of reading all 133 original edition Boxcar Children books, and blogging about it here.

I haven’t come up with a definitive format or timeline yet. I think I’m going to see how the first 2 or 3 volumes go and then take it from there. It’s been a looooooong time since I read these books, but I can promise you that I will bring you the finest in survival skills that I learn, and also, that you will have to deal with me complaining a LOT about how my life is not as good as those of the Boxcar Children when I get to that volume where they move into the houseboat.

So, check back as the week goes on to see my progress. I hope these are just as wonderful as I remember them, but also with maybe some bad fashion mistakes like I’m sure the Baby-Sitters Club would have delivered.

The New Year – On Non-Resolution Resolutions

I aimed to take a like… week’s break following the end of a disastrous National Novel Writing Month… and I disappeared for over a month. Yikes.

NaNoWriMo was a bit of a mess this year… I spent a lot less time like this:

Fox & Katherine Writing

And a lot more time like this:

Not Writing

And admittedly some time like this:

Writing Under the Influence

But by the end of the month, I managed to hit 50k for the twelfth consecutive year. It wasn’t pretty, but it was done. As I mentioned here in an earlier post, I chose to write a serious world-building story about ‘good guy demons’ and a girl who unexpectedly becomes their queen on her eighteenth birthday. It has a lot of flaws, including the fact that the boy who was *supposed* to be the love interest you root for became a friend, and the boy who was supposed to be the sexy-but-not-perfect-match boy became the one you root for.

The pluses? I could conceivably turn this into a trilogy if I wanted to spend more time fleshing out the mythology and working on it. And most importantly: I hit 50k words of new material that I wouldn’t have written if it wasn’t for National Novel Writing Month.

Fox at the Cage

(And I had an excuse to go to the Cage like four days a week so I could write!)

But after the month ended, I crashed hard: creatively, emotionally, physically. I was worn the hell out. I barely touched writing (even in my blogs), and I didn’t even have the energy to pick up any editing on the project I’d started *before* November. I guess every so often you need that little break (which I’ll admit was full of lots of other fun things, like Christmastime).

But here it is now, the New Year, which sparkles and shines in such a wonderful way that you can’t help but *want* to make resolutions!

Unless you’re like me and hate the idea of resolutions, in which case the New Year makes you want to just give out a lot of hugs and smile and make lists about all the vague, non-specific things you’re going to do to make this year Fucking Awesome.

So, it’s *kind* of like resolutions, for those of us who are shit at sticking to plans.

My lack of willingness to use the term ‘New Year’s Resolution’ was the ultimate inspiration for 101 Achievements way back in 2009. I was so full of upcoming-new-year energy, but I couldn’t bring myself to do a ‘resolution,’ which has such a negative connotation anymore. And thus, the 101 List was born.

If I made resolutions, they would be like this:

~ Be more badass.
~ Clean all the things.
~ Keep up on photo editing (Full disclosure: this is like, the single biggest problem in my life. I can’t keep my pictures organized! And I forget to take some off of my memory cards sometimes! I just found like 90 pictures from 2012 that I’d forgotten about!)
~ Write like, all the time.
~ Stop flirting with boys (hahahahahaha).

And you can see how poorly I’d stick to all of those.

So this year, a friend of mine started this idea of 12 30-day challenges in 2014. No long-term ‘resolutions,’ just a list of 12 different challenges to attempt throughout the year. She invited any of us who are interested into a Facebook group for it to help keep us all motivated. Here’s my final list:

30 Day Challenges

Obviously, not all of my challenges are specifically related to writing, but a number of them are, and many of them are creativity-based as well. I thought this blog might be a good place to keep track of how I’m doing.

This month is a fitness challenge. It’s a long story I won’t get into on here, but I’ve been having some health issues lately that have contributed to the general feeling of no energy and some weight gain as well, so I’m trying to get back into the swing of things with what Trainer Mike has dubbed ‘NaSquaMo’ (that’s National Squat Month) and some cardio dance videos. Today was Day #1, and I did 30 minutes of exercise, plus my 50 squats, so I’m off to a good start!

As things start to settle down more now that the holidays are over, I’ll hopefully get back into creative pursuits more regularly, but I’m going to try to be forgiving of myself if things aren’t perfect right away. (And that right there is waaaaaay out of my comfort zone!)

So what’s everyone else feel about the New Year? Did you make resolutions? Anything creativity-related? I’d love to hear!

And here’s to a happy, healthy, creative, and Fucking Awesome 2014 to all of my readers!