Emily M. DeArdo

writer

memoir

2018 Goals: March update and April goals!

goal setting, Barton Cottage Crafts, knitting, memoirEmily DeArdoComment
GOALS .png

So, if you're new to this, I use powersheets to set my goals. I love Powersheets! You can catch up on this year's series by going here

March was the longest month. It really was! But there was progress made in some areas!

Goal Number 1: 

Work through Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps for Financial Peace to cultivate good stewardship, gratitude, and contentment.

 

March goal: Finish baby step one--get an emergency fund in place. 

Status: ACHIEVED! Guys, I am so proud of this. And it was so enjoyable to know that, when I was having computer issues earlier this month, I could go to the store and know that if it needed repairs, I could pay for them! This fund also allowed me to replace part of my Bionic Ear without freaking out. 

April goal: Start baby step 2--also known as the Debt Snowball. This is where you list all debts, smallest to largest, and start to pay them off, by moving as much money as you can toward to the smallest debt. Once that's paid off, that money + the minimum payment for the second debt goes to the next debt....you see how this works? I will have the first part of the snowball done by this fall. Yay!

 

Goal Number 2: 

Find an agent for my manuscript

March goal: At least one two-hour block of time outside the house working on my proposal. It doesn't have to be finished. But I have to dedicate at least two hours to drafting one. 

Status: yeah...no. AGAIN!

April goal: GET IT DONE. And I've already started! I've written out the basics of a proposal and now I just have to tweak/re-write the sample chapters. I am ON IT. 

Goal Number 3:

To deepen and strengthen my relationship with God, because He is the center and the well-spring.

March goals: Weekday Mass once a week, confession once a month, holy hour, daily vespers (evening prayer).

Status: Everything but that weekday Mass--because every time I tried to go, there was no place to park. I'm not kidding. So I tried, God! But I did get in a holy hour and daily vespers. Confession, no go either...I wanted to go wen I went to Mass. Face to face confession is offered at my parish on Fridays, which was the day I wanted to go to Mass as well. But no parking. Sigh. 

April goals: confession, holy hour, Mass once a week! 

Goal Number 4: 

Continue to lose weight and treat my body well so I can do everything else I want to do, and honor my body which God made. 

March goals: Daily yoga glo classes, weekly meal planning, go to bed by 10:00 (be IN bed, not necessarily asleep). 

Status: I did REALLY well here. I attended a yoga glo class almost every day! The meal planning was OK, as was the bed thing. 

April: Focus on healthy snacks, regular workouts--yoga glo strength courses, continue meal plan. 

Goal Number 5: 

Grow Barton Cottage Crafts, to help with baby steps (goal 1), but also to have a creative outlet and for enjoyment. 

March goals: Keep trucking. :) 

Progress: I finished my drachenfels shawl  and am almost done with a current commission. That means that BCC is open for new work! If you'd like a scarf or a shawl, please contact me and we'll talk! I can do them in solid or variegated colors. Shawls at $45, and scarves are $35, and shipping is included! 

April: finish new projects (I have two that I want to knit), get more commissions!

Goal Number 6: 

Have a beautiful, peaceful, welcoming home so I can appreciate what I have, encourage hospitality, and cultivate peace. 

March goals: ZERO OUT (with alarm at 9 pm); zone clean weekly; weekly surface clean; contentment challenge; finish Emily Ley's simplify challenge! 

StatusZeroing out just isn't me....I sort of tried but it doesn't work. I'd much rather come down in the morning and clean a bit. So that's what I switched to. I'm in zone cleaning weekly, and doing the weekly surface clean. 

The Contentment challenge is almost done!

The biggest thing I did this month: 

Sorry it's blurry!

Sorry it's blurry!

This was a terrible corner on my first floor. I hated it. I had no idea what to do with this empty space. 

So I was sick of looking at it, and went on an organizing spree. I dumped my old stereo that I NEVER use from my book case, and added a new shelf of "favorite books". That gave me more space in all my bookcases, yay!

Then I went on the IKEA website--motivated by a birthday coupon--and looked some something that would fit here. KALLAX would! KALLAX is pretty!

KALLAX IS HEAVY. I had to open the box and take the pieces in piece by piece. :) After an hour, I had entered in the realm of adulthood, because I had put together a piece of IKEA furniture. 

And now, behold!

IMG_6805.JPG

 

Isn't that much better

So, for April: My goal is to get another one of these units to go in my living room, to hold some other things that are currently being "stored" crappily. :-p I will also continue weekly cleaning (both detailed and surface). But I want stuff up off the floor. I'm tired of living like a college student! :-P 

Goal Number 7: 

To nurture my creativity so I can learn new things, inspire myself, stretch my mind, and feed my soul. 

March goals: Shawl--finish? Maybe? Continue Artist's Rule. 

Status: DONE, on both counts! Yay!!!!

April goals: Knit two new Quince and Co. projects, get new commissions, start Artist's Way reading. 

Progress is happening on the first project: 

IMG_6842.JPG

It's a really simple project, but I love this yarn. I'll talk more about these in the next yarn along. 

So, March had ups and downs. But it also had some great progress!

 

 

 

Seven Quick Takes No. 88: A Very Important Day

writing, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

 

Today we only have one big piece of news! 

The manuscript is finished. Edited, formatted, and printed out, finished

Now, no book is ever really "done"--there just comes a point where you stop writing. There will probably be a few minor tweaks in the future, especially if/when it gets taken by a publisher. But I've stopped messing with it, and it's reached a form I'm happy with people other than me seeing. The story is as I want it. 

It took me probably five years to get there--from the initial getting everything down on paper, to the editing, then more writing, then more editing, a few tweaks, and then the pages finally having a corporeal form. I love to look at the stack of pages on my desk! 

In this last editing go round, a lot of things that had been in the manuscript from the beginning went by the wayside. My focus became much tighter, and I think the book is the better for it. 

It runs 351 double-spaced pages, and is just shy of 85,000 words.  351 pages is almost a ream of paper, so imagine a ream of paper minus about 100 sheets. That's it. 

Next week, this gets mailed off to a publisher for perusal. But right now, it's done!

 

 

DaybookNo. 103, in which a manuscript is revised (again!)

Daybook, memoir, writing, books, Tidying Up, foodEmily DeArdoComment

Outside my window:: 

Sunny and hot. Hot. Hot. HOT. Did I mention, hot? Not that I'm ready for two feet of snow, mind you, but I am ready for it to be not ninety

In the CD player::

Cassie and Maggie, and Joyce DiDonato's ReJoyce! recording. 

Reading::

Cloud Atlas--I'm more than halfway through, and am by turns intrigued and frustrated. I'm trusting that the everything will congeal into a Pleasing Whole as I go through the second half. Since that's a library book, I'm giving it more attention than the other things I'm reading (including Middlemarch) and it's just one of those books that requires close reading, because if you put it down for too long, you'll forget everything, and that's not good in this book. 

Writing::

So I am preparing to send the Memoir Manuscript to a publisher, to see if they'll take it. They want it completed. So I was doing what I thought was a brief perusal for formatting errors yesterday morning. No. It turned into a slash and burn editing session. I took out entire pages, plot lines, and people. I embraced the idea of "nothing that does not serve the story", and out went a lot of things. It was liberating, in a sense, and it definitely tightens things up. I also decided that it definitely needs an epilogue, which I'll write this week. Before I fell asleep last night, I was toying with the idea of moving some pieces around, and I think I might do that today/tomorrow too. This is what makes things better.  And it's sort of exciting, actually. It's like cutting away the fat from a piece of meat. 

Around the house::

So while the above was happening yesterday, I also decided it would e a good day to kick off "Kondo-ing" my house. If you've been anywhere near a bookstore in the past year, you've seen Marie Kondo's The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've read it a few times, but I decided yesterday to get to it, and I started with my clothes, as she suggested. So far, three bags (trash bags) have been filled (no, they won't be trashed--they'll be donated. If the clothes are full of holes and torn up, then they go in the trash.). There is a huge pile on my bedroom floor that will probably take another two bags, and the hangers! It's incredible! Today we move on to socks, bags, accessories, and shoes (or as many of those as I can get done today). 

From the kitchen::

I made Irish Tea Brack yesterday from Clodagh McKenna's Irish Kitchen cookbook. I had a piece for breakfast, and it was delicious. It smells like gingerbread when it's baking. For dinner today, I'm trying a Jamie Oliver salmon stir-fry. I've got a very small grocery list that needs tending, as well. 

So in case you can't tell, yesterday was the Epitome of Crazy Busy, but good crazy busy--the kind that leaves you feeling very satisfied when you go to bed and look back at what you did. A good start for the first full week of September! 

 

 

 

 

The Book Proposal is Written!

behind the scenes, current projects, memoirEmily DeArdoComment

Getting closer to a real book! @emily_m_deardo

An update on last week's checklist:

I have a written book proposal--a completed proposal! I am, if you can't tell, really excited about this. I'll be talking more about this on Wednesday (what  makes up a proposal), but this is a huge step forward in preparing my queries/book packages.

The proposal is essentially an Idiot's Guide to my book. I summarize it, say why it's needed, talk about me and my background, and then give a bit of the book. Some agents and houses just want this; some want this and a completed manuscript, and some just want a manuscript, full stop.

I've also decided that the book, at the moment, doesn't need a prologue, so I don't have to write a new one. I'm planning on writing the new epilogue once I'm back from vacation, because by then the actual ten year anniversary will have passed.

Today, I start work on the last list item: going through what particular houses/agents want.

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! Did you do anything particularly exciting to celebrate?

Getting to "it's a real book!": The checklist for July

behind the scenes, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Getting closer to a real book! @emily_m_deardo

So, if you read last week's post, you know that I've made some major decisions regarding the length and scope of the memoir manuscript. (If you haven't read it, go do that and come back.)

OK. So, I give a vague outline there, but here's more specifics of what I need to do:

  • Write a new beginning/ending to the manuscript, reflecting the new scope and tone of the piece. Due date: July 9.
  • Get out the drafted book proposal and print it out. There will be a Real Live Editor from a publishing house at the conference I'm attending in July, so I really hope to get to talk to her, and I'll need this to show her (I think. Maybe not. But it can't hurt to have it, right?) Due date: July 6.
  • Go through my list of houses/agents and being to assemble the things I need for a query. This can be really complicated, actually. Some want them mailed, some want them emailed, and they all have a list of things they want in the "package." Some houses don't want to see the manuscript at all, and some want it completed (Hence item one on this list.) Due date: July 9.

These are the things I'm aiming to have done before I leave. When I come back, that will start the actual process of querying, which as I said before, is terrifying, but exciting ("excited and scared", anyone?)

Eureka--Manuscript breakthrough!

current projects, memoirEmily DeArdo1 Comment

An update on the memoir! @emily_m_deardo

I feel a little sheepish about this. However, I'm sharing anyway!

I had thought, when I was writing, that I needed to write about the entire decade post-transplant. Everything that happened....every trip, every show, every everything. And I kept hitting blocks in my writing.

While I was trying to write what I kept calling "the last part", I had a brainstorm. What if....I didn't write everything? I mean, who says I need to write everything? This isn't War and Peace! You don't need to know all this stuff I'm writing!

It was ridiculously freeing. So I opened my scrap document (this is an idea I got from Elizabeth Gilbert--a Word/Pages doc that holds the big parts I cut from the manuscript, so I can use them later, if I need them), cut out about 5,000 words, and put them in there.

I feel so much better! And the manuscript is now a decent length! I've decided that it needs a new prologue and a new epilogue, but that's it.

So I'll be moving things around/fixing things for the next week or two, and when I get back from Charleston, I'll start sending out book queries.

Scary, scary thought. It sort of terrifies me to send out book queries. But hey, it has to be done. Seize the day, screw your courage to the sticking place, and all that.

Writing Updates: June 22, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, memoir, Real HousekeepingEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

  • I've submitted my August Real Housekeeping piece to the editors, so I'm excited about that. My piece on books for babies will be going up sometime in July, and I'll post the link here when it goes live. My August piece is about how to create and keep a well-stocked pantry so you can make a variety of meals without having to run to the grocery store right before dinner time.
  • The memoir is coming along. I feel like I keep writing that, but it's true! I'm working on the section about the Dominican nuns now (for those of you who don't know me, you're probably going, what? But all will be revealed....eventually). This section is proving to be the hardest to write, but it's also the last section that really needs written. The plan is to have this section done by the end of the month, so that when I'm back from vacation in July, I can start sending out queries and proposals. I'm on track with this plan.
  • The Jane Re-Read continues with Northanger Abbey. 

Writing Updates--June 8, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, fiction, memoir, writingEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

  • The first installment of the Jane Re-Read is up on the blog. A new post will go up every other week throughout the summer. First was Sense and Sensibility, and next is Northanger Abbey. Come join us!
  • The Dominican Part of the Memoir is being written. The timeline is important here, and after this part is down I'll need to finesse how it works in the manuscript as a whole, but this is an important part that's been missing.
  • Remember the NaNo novel I abandoned last year? think I might have a new way into it, which excited me, but I need to play around with it. Right now it involves moving from a third person to first person narration, and possibly adding more points of view, instead of the limited third person I was going with before. But we'll see if that helps.
  • Coming up on the blog this week: travel tips and Sketchbook Skool!

Writing Updates May 25, 2015

behind the scenes, writingEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

Notes from the writing room:

  • This week I'm finally adding the new (and hopefully last) section to the memoir. I've nicknamed this part the "Dominican section", since it deals with me joining a Dominican parish, discerning a vocation to be a cloistered nun, and things that happened after that. (No spoilers here, guys.)
  • I'm writing up my D.C. trip on the blog tomorrow, which, coincidentally, involves more Dominicans. (Subscribe to the blog if you don't already, please?) It was a picture-perfect weekend, weather wise, which was so nice, since the last trip I made to D.C. involved snow and cold.
  • I'm also writing my next Real Housekeeping column this week, which involves how to stock your pantry and create easy meals from your food stash.
  • On Wednesday in this space will be a piece on revising vs. editing: no, they are not the same thing!

Writing Updates--May 11, 2015

behind the scenes, current projects, fiction, memoir, The UndesirablesEmily DeArdoComment

Writing updates from my desk pile @emily_m_deardo

The latest updates from the office:

  • First, I'd like to state that, as much as I love the new baby princess's name, I named my royal character Charlotte years before she was born (The Gift of Snow). So when the novel comes out, don't be thinking I stole her name, guys. ;-)
  • Blog: The blog has its own tab here (look up--it's the furthest right), but if you want blogging posts when they're published, please go over there and subscribe. Here's what I wrote about last week: How to handle life's curveballs; knitting and reading. Two weeks ago, I had a post about books you need to read before you die, so if you're looking for some summer reading, I've taken care of it for you!
  • Some of you have been asking about excerpts of the novels. I'm in the process of working on finding good sections and I will post those under the "excerpt" pages, above (they're currently empty). I'll update you when there is something there!
  • I'm doing major revisions to The Undesirables. When I first wrote it, my objective was basically to get a beginning, a middle, and an end in 50,000 words for NaNo. To do that, I wrote quickly and skimmed over some pretty large plot developments. Now I'm going back and filling all of those empty spaces in, and I'm having a ball.
  • As a gift for subscribing to the page, I've sent y'all a copy of Pilate's Wife. If you did not get it--or are a Wordpress Subscriber, in which case you didn't get an email because I don't have your email--please let me know so I can send you a copy. I want to make sure everyone who wants to read it can!