In Writing-Nothing in Technology is Full Proof

In my last post I shared my disappointment with missing another self-imposed deadline for July. But I concluded that post with a declaration of getting back to writing. And that’s just what I did. Since that last post, I have writing and revising my manuscript according to new detail that I realized needed to be included in the storyline. Everything was going well until I opened up my Google document and noticed that the last paragraph I added earlier that day had someone duplicated itself into multiple areas of the document!

WTF!

It was late in then evening. I thought my eyes were deceiving me. So I sat up on my bed and immediately notice that my page count had gone form 200-something to 360.

HUH! Another WTF!

I literally had no idea how this happened. And the worst part is that the platform wouldn’t even allow me to select any part of the chapter to delete it.

My heart sunk! My mind flashed back to a issue I encountered when using the Scrivener software when I started writing this novel. I was nearly done with the first draft when all of sudden that file wouldn’t open! Seriously wouldn’t open. I later learned that I had neglected to update the software for the current version of my MacBook.

I thought working in Google Docs would prevent any craziness from occurring during my writing process but clearly no technology is void of potential problems.

The good thing about Google Docs, however, is that every version of your document is saved soooooo all was not lost–except the 778 words that I had added earlier that day. It wasn’t that hard to retype another what I had already written once I got over the annoyance of having to retype it. Arrgh!

Now, since that foolishness occurred when using a work computer, I have avoided using that computer since. And now, more than ever, I’m closing out Docs and signing out of Google each time I use it. Hopefully, nothing like this happens again.

If you’ve had anything like that happen to you, please share how you dealt with it.

SideNote: As much as I was enjoying using Scrivener, I haven’t used it since. I had no way of knowing when the software was no longer compatible with my Mac so I won’t chance it again.

Another Month, Another Deadline

I know I’m wasn’t alone in my sadness when it was time to flip the calendar from July to August. After all, August is the official last month of summer. And, particularly, in the Midwest, where I live, it means that hot days, the kind where I can where shorts, tank-tops, and flip-flops are short-lived. As a writer with, yet another self-imposed deadline to finish developmental edits for a novel I’m writing, flipping the calendar was beyond sad, closer to depressing. If you follow my blog, you’ll know I started working on these edits a year ago when I left my job of 23 years. For the first time in my adult life, I was off for the summer. Suddenly having that much free time while adjusting to this major life change, it goes without saying that I wasn’t in the headspace to give my writing the necessary attention. So when the following July came, a complete year since I left the job and I still hadn’t finished the edits, I declared, “Enough is enough! Time to stop playing with this novel!” Then, I declared I would finish this work by July 31st!

I set out with this goal WITHOUT a strategy for how I would make this happen. I didn’t sit down and look at my schedule to determine what days and hours I would have time to write. For instance, there was a Friday that I was not scheduled to work, and would have written on that day, but I had to drive my son up to Michigan State University for a week he was spending there. And then, that following Friday, when I was off of work, I had to pick him up. It’s only an hour drive from our house, but dealing with kids and colleges is unpredictable. It can be a lot, physically and mentally.

My first MSU alum with my future 2nd MSU alum

Then, the last three days of the month, I travelled to New York to help my friend celebrate her 40th birthday.

Arriving in New York after 7 hr delay in airport. We still managed to smile!

Furthermore, I didn’t even look through the manuscript to determine how many chapters were left to edit, how many I would need to work through per writing session to finish by the deadline. I didn’t think about doing that until the middle of the month. That was also right about the time when I made a major change to the protagonist, which then, sent me back to beginning of the novel to infuse those changes into the story. I knew then that my deadline was out the window, but it was doomed from the start without proper planning.

I don’t like to say this about myself, but the proof is in the pudding. I have never done well with self-accountability. Not with diets, exercise schedules, or writing. I’m too quick to give myself passes when something gets hard. I rationalize the hell of stuff.

“Life is too short to not indulge these bagels and donuts that management was so kind to bring into work,” I’ve been known to say when I’m supposed to avoiding carbs.

“Is this flabby stomach really preventing you from living a fulfilling life?” I have asked myself when I was on day 4 of a 30 day ab challenge.

“You’re not a full-time writer. You can’t expect yourself to write like you are. Your daughter needs to talk to you. You’re a new grandmother. You’re nurturing a new relationship.” I comfort myself when I find myself breaking a scheduled writing session when any of the important people in my life call. I feel such guilt when I put them on DND (do not disturb).

Sometimes I curse the day I decided to write a book. Even more so the day when I declared I actually wanted success as an author–the kind of success in which I could actually make money and support myself. Even knowing that it’s only a small percentage of writers who are privileged to live that life, I’m not ready to give up on the dream of me being one of them. In the meantime, I will continue to do better. Create some accountability partners, no matter how terrifying that is to me.

Now back to these edits…

Who Are They Series? Pastor Yolanda Davis

Okay, yes. You may know the woman in the above picture as Grammy Award winning gospel artist Yolanda Adams. But for the purpose of my novel, this woman is Pastor Yolanda Davis, a redeemed, drug addicted woman of the streets who was pursuaded to make better choices for her life after a chance interaction with Kania, as a young attorney with a passion for helping others. Neither of them knew how influential they would be in each others’ lives from that first encounter and their reconnection fifteen years later.

Interesting Facts About Yolanda:

She may look like Yolanda Adams but singing is not her ministry

On any given day you can find her with a stylish wedged-heel gym shoe

She’s an unapologetic sugar addict stating that it’s better than what she used to be addicted to

Favorite Scripture: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-39

Favorited Cocktail: Sex on the Beach

Although my main character, Kania, is becoming more fully developed in this novel, I especially enjoyed creating Pastor Yolanda Davis. She’s one of the few new characters created in these last two books I’ve written. All of the other characters were born in Unfinished Businesss. I’m really excited introduce this unintentional troublesome character.

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Who Are They Series? Lydia Love

She’s an oldie but goodie! The one who started it all! If you read Unfinished Business, you’re very familiar with this lady right here. That silly, lost woman who kicked a good man to the curb to backslide into an old relationship with a man who has only broken her heart.

In the current story, Lydia is the supporting friend to Kania. She isn’t nearly as silly as she was in the first book, making herself available to a man who means her no good. No good at all! Instead, as a happily married woman, she is one of the main voices of reason to Kania, much like Kania was to her in Unfinished Business.

She’s still ultra independent, though she’s married to Roy, a man who adores her and can more than take care of both of them and their child as the owner of a successful local chain of auto supply stores.

Interesting Things to Know About Lydia:

She’s an only child.

Her favorite workout class has changed from Kickboxing to Barre.

She loves to cook. Her recent thing is making pasta from scratch.

Her favorite movie is Imitation of Life.

Her favorite activity with her husband Roy is taking long, scenic drives

She’s low-key resentful of Kania’s budding friendship with Pastor Yolanda but she’d never let on to Kania

Feel Good Friday

Pong Detroit

I am not the bragging type. Not at all. Instead, I prefer for you to experience the fullness of me at any given time. And that’s with anything I do. Writing, education, parenting, work, partying…whatever!

So one thing that I’m pretty good at is playing ping pong–a game I grew up playing. We had one in our basement. I played with my dad, my brother, and an high school boyfriend.

For years, every Christmas holiday, I would contemplate buying one but I didn’t. Not really sure why. However, when I moved back into my house after the fire in 2019, I bought one. Put it smack dab in my dining room. I didn’t have a dining room table at the time and it just made sense. After a few months, though, that seemed silly so I did the grown up thing and bought a darn dining room table.

But the desire to play that game was always there.

Then came Pong Detroit in 2020 (this after Drive Table Tennis Social Club closed it’s doors in 2019). I was going to get there. Didn’t know when? Didn’t know with who?

This past Wednesday was the day. My new boo was the who.

Now my new boo and I haven’t talked about my love for ping pong or my history with it. But when I first mentioned that I wanted us to go, the first thing he declared was that he was going to destroy me.

“Oh yeah?” I replied. “OkaY.”

Let me tell you…new boo left that spot with his tail between his legs! In all fairness, it was a great game. I finally had a formidable opponent. We might make this a weekly thing…unless I scared him away.

Lesson here: Don’t tell ’em what you’re gonna do, Show ’em. LOL

I’m riding that victory out all weekend!

Feel Good Friday

It’s amazing to me that, even working only part-time, I still managed to be one of busiest people that other people know. LOL. I swear, I don’t mean to be this way but that’s how it happens. In addition to keeping up with my writing projects, I’m always open to new experiences that add depth to this thing called life.

Though I knew I shouldn’t have taken on this particular project, I agreed to it, only when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing it by myself. It’s an oral history project for this organization in Detroit called the Detroit Women’s Forum. I’d never heard of the before I received an email from one of my graduate school professors stating that this organization was looking for past oral history students to manage a project they wanted to do. The oral history class was my last class as an elective for my MLIS degree. But as a writer always looking for unique ways to gather information, this class intrigued me. Though I knew my daughter would be giving birth within weeks, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to participate in an actual oral history project–for a fee, I might add. Turns out, I’m leading it.

Early in April I interviewed for two more librarian jobs. One is a full-time librarian position at the library I ultimately want to work for. First it’s my community library. Second, that being the case, it’s even closer to home than the library I currently work at. The other is a part-time adjunct librarian at a community college. I applied for that one to work in addition to my current part-time job and I want to experience the academic side of librarianship as well. Interestingly, I thought I bombed the interview for the adjunct position, but surprising received a job offer two weeks ago. And for the full-time librarian job, they said I wouldn’t hear anything from them until mid-May if I’d move to the second interview round, but they called last week for an interview for this current week! Talk about blessings on top of blessings. If all goes well with my interview this week, I’ll be in a position to choose what will work best for me instead of taking what I can get!

If that’s not something to feel good about, I don’t know what is…

Happy Feel Good Friday y’all!

If you have good news to share, and I know you do, please share in the comments below.

Feel Good Friday

This is a strange but awesome feeling to have, especially on a Friday. I haven’t been to work in a week and I was totally okay, happy, in fact, to go to work today. I’m not even mad that I have to work tomorrow…on a Saturday and it’s not even overtime! Man, that’s love. I’m new to librarianship and I’m sure with time, the excitement may lull a bit. But until then…I’m enjoying every moment.

Even more than feeling good about my job, I’m feeling even better about my daughter giving birth to my second granddaughter! I’m beyond excited to be these girls’ grandmother and am truly thankful that God allowed me to live in this moment of my child becoming a mother. He didn’t have to do it BUT He did!

Happy Friday y’all!

If you’re feeling good on this Friday, please share in the comments. That’s how we spread joy in the world.

Naturally Yours

LA

Who Are They Series? Kenneth

The lucky lady that this man, with her mesmerizing brown eyes, full-kissable lips, and sly grin, belongs to is none other than my main character, Kania. Making his name start with a “K” like Kania’s was pure happenstance, but it fit perfectly for the nickname their friends’ gave them–K-Squared. He is the man who captured Kania’s hear while it law school and properly turned her out! Got her exploring things in the bedroom that she never thought she was capable of. But, like women often do, she went along to get along with her man and to explore her own curiosities.

In the novel, we’ll see how Kenneth responds when he notices his wife altering their once agreed upon activities in their relationship after she starts hanging out with her pastor friend and what secrets he may have.

What else would you like to know about this handsome guy?

Who Are They Series?–Kania

Kania LyShay Johnson

I named my current main character so many years ago(1996) that when I started writing her story (2017), it wasn’t even an option to give her a name with any significance to her story. Kania LyShay Johnson was created as a supporting character in my debut novel, Unfinished Business. In that book, the main character had two best friends that were on the sideline of her journey to closing the revolving door she had with her first love. I was twenty-one years old when I started that novel so my point of reference for friends had been my own. Kania’s name is so similar to one of friend’s actual name that when I speak about the actual character or say her name in my head, I actually come close to saying my actual friend’s name. But it’s not just the name of my character that’s similar to my friend. Their physical features and personalities were similar too. Petite, shapely frame, curious brown eyes, smooth dark brown skin. She’s a smart, often thinking she knows more than everyone else, sassy, and no-nonsense. She’s the calm and cool friend of the trio, always having her friends back and setting them straight when necessary.

That was the gist of the character development in that first novel, created waaaayyy back in the late 90’s. Fast forward to the 21st century, Kania, being written by 40-something L.A. Jefferson, has evolved into a complex, flawed woman, walking backwards on the right path. She’s bumping into stuff, falling backwards and forwards trying to do the right thing, the wrong way. I could not fathom my real friend, who has chosen to literally unfriend me in recent months, experiencing the dilemma that today’s Kania is living in.

At the onset of writing this novel, I enjoyed paying homage to my friend with this character that mirrored her friendship in my life. Not so much lately.

Nevertheless, I’m excited to bring you Kania’s story. Stay tuned!

Naturally Yours,

LA

The Writing Continues: 3rd Novel Loading

The story of Kania Johnson, the third and final friend introduced in my debut novel Unfinished Business, is loading for publishing in the early fall of 2022. I started writing her story sometime in 2017, maybe 2016, when I realized she needed a story. Her character evolved from the friend getting married in Unfinished Business, to the friend who transformed from being career driven to mom driven in my second book, Reconciliation to Hell. Her relationship and marriage appeared perfect, untouchable from the vantage point of her friends. But no marriage is safe from strife and temptation. Kania, and her husband, Kenneth, are no different.

So the question,then, became, what should this well-put together, loving couple encounter to test their marriage? How about a threesome partner, a pastor, and a family secret? Sound juicy? I hope so!

I was having a ball creating this story in the writing software, Scrivener, and just when I decided to a do a copy and paste from that software to Google docs, the software crashed! YIKES!

Let me tell y’all..I was thanking God for the spirit that led me to back up my work or else I would have been starting from scratch. But here I am 3 years later, in the rewrite stage following a developmental edit of the book last summer.

Just to give you a snippet of what it’s like to rewrite based on a developmental edits, here ya go:

But at this mid-point of January, I’m trudging along making progress everyday. I’ve set a had goal to get through the edits by March 1st. I’ll definitely keep you posted.

Naturally Yours,

LA