It’s been a little bit since I won NaNoWriMo with my word count of 50,359. I still have two or three (?) more chapters to finish my book but I will finish it. I’ve lost a little momentum due to life making writing difficult to prioritize… and there!… Did you see that?! How I tried to blame life for not writing? That is probably the number one benefit to doing NaNo. Writing WAS the priority. I could have written over the last few weeks. I chose not to. Continue reading
Day 22 and 23: I forgot to update the blog with my progress yesterday. Actually, that’s a lie, I remembered as I was headed to bed but decided against the idea of firing up the computer again. I was tired, damn it! Although, I was chagrined today – chagrined? That’s not the right word. Let’s go with humbled instead. I was humbled today a couple of times about the subject of being tired. Once when reading this article from a woman named Linda Tirado about some of the thought processes of people who are chronically poor and why they are chronically poor. One line in the article: “Rest is a luxury for the rich.” Given that girl’s schedule, I can understand that girl’s attitude. She is busting her ass! Then while I was out doing a little shopping for my trip to NYC coming up next week (and doesn’t that sound just so la-te-da!), the clerk checking me out was chatting with her coworkers about how she’d already worked 8 hours – her day started at 7am and she was happy to be off the day after Thanksgiving so she could be out with the other shoppers. My first thought when I heard her say that was ‘why in the hell would you be out buying stuff if you have to work two jobs??’ Um, my guess is see exhibit A (the first link). Linda Tirado talks about why the poor make choices that don’t make a lot of sense sometimes – because the short term, very temporary substitution for bliss in those poor choices is all they have to look forward to. And here I am, feeling a little tired because I chose to take on a project like NaNoWriMo. However, for the record, I am not putting myself down. I have actually been where Linda is. I have been that poor before. I am not rich now but I have enough that I don’t have to sweat the bills. Continue reading
Day 15: I decided to take myself out on a date tonight and saw the sweetest movie, About Time. I absolutely loved it and I am so glad I went. I think I understand now what Julia Cameron was talking about in the Artist’s Way when she directs her readers to go on artist dates. It filled me up to go out and enjoy a movie because I LOVE movies. And frankly, while I usually love being a happy little hermit inside my cozy little cottage, I really just did not want to be home alone this evening. There have other times when I have thought about going out on my own and I’ve talked myself out of it for whatever reason. Tonight, I realized the only reason that I was playing with the idea of staying home was because of my NaNo quota for the day. So I made myself a deal: go to the movie, enjoy it and write like hell once I was back. (We won’t talk about how much time I spent fucking off before the movie, mainly because I got an idea that I really, really liked for the book. Jotting that down made up for all the fucking off.) Continue reading
- Day 8: It took me a while to get going. Well, actually I fucked around on Facebook and goofed off for a little bit. But the writing got done and I’m happy with it. As happy as anyone can be with their own work. You know what that means, right? LOL Some of it I like; Most of it I think is drivel. I have zero objectivity. But I am enjoying the work and that is awesome. NaNo is teaching me that I can focus when I need to. I can sit my ass in the chair and do the work. Ooh, and then the voices start barking… ‘it’s only week one, don’t get cocky!’ Yeah, yeah. I hear ya. Word count: 1652
- Day 9: This was supposed to be a writing marathon day. Maybe that intimidated me or something. Despite my best intentions, I had a really hard time getting to work. Funny, after my writing yesterday that I was learning to focus. Of note (and of value), I know how I screwed this up. I got up in my head and let thoughts and indecision ping pong around in my head until I simply ran out of time. I didn’t plan my day according to what was really a priority for me and here we are. I am pissed off at myself even though, of course, I realize the futility of that. I don’t intend to stay pissed off. And okay, pissed off is too strong a term. I’m not pissed off. I’m disappointed. I’ll do better tomorrow. Word count: 1514
- Day 10: Ass welded to chair is how I got this done today. For some crazy reason, weekends are hard for writing. You’d think with more free time, it would be the opposite but not so. As I was writing today, noticing how hard it was to get words to come out of my fingers, I remembered what I heard Angela Lauria talk about in a recent interview about writer’s block. How it was really a gift from what she calls your “inner author” that something in your work isn’t right or something needs doing that the author isn’t doing and so the “inner author” will shut it all down until the problem is fixed. She said it much more eloquently than that. Like, it made sense when she said it. I am not sure I can put two words together and have them make sense at this point. But I got where I needed to go quota wise so I am happy. Tomorrow, when I can think again, I will do some of the back end work that my “inner author” is screaming for. Right now, I’m going to go have myself some popcorn and some red wine – this seems to be the official NaNo dinner – and relax in front of the boob tube for a while. Oh, and I got to see Anne Lammot today thanks to my sweet friend Laura Neff. Anne said all kinds of stuff that I found fascinating and I liked listening to her. I imagine tomorrow’s morning pages will tell all. And so will I. Eventually. Word count: 1654
- Day 11: Several times during this running update of NaNo progress, I have written about how hard it has been at times. I was thinking about that today, the idea of something being hard. I wonder if by thinking something is hard, I make it harder by my preconceived notion of difficulty? Listen, I am not ready to say something crazy like “writing is easy!” I am pretty sure all kinds of authors of any ilk would likely want to hurt me for saying something like that. But I want to try a little experiment with myself. Instead of sitting down to write, thinking about how hard it’s going to be, I’ll try simply sitting down and writing the number of words I need to write that day. How hard can it be, right? LOL – Come on, that was fucking hilarious – you have to admit. Anyway, today I did a lot of backbone work. Hearing that interview with Angela Lauria probably saved my NaNo ass. Word count: 1914
- Day 12: Well, I wasn’t thinking about how hard. But damn! I was SO sleepy! I had to really work to stay awake. Yes, my book is THAT exciting! Actually, it is – to me, anyway. I am pretty sure the fatigue was some sort of cosmic form of resistance although I didn’t read anything about resistance making a person sleepy in any of Stephen Pressfield’s books. I battled through and got my quota in. And now I am going to crawl into my warm, cozy bed and read Gone Girl. I’m to the part where we find out Nick has a mistress. Asshole. Word count: 1726
- Day 13: I made a very important discovery today. It’s called the lunch induced coma. I left the office about 3ish to take back some boots before sitting down to write and I could hardly keep my eyes open. The carb/sugar combo I had earlier was too much for my system. Once I got home, I had to take to a nap. Don’t laugh but I found this significant because it meant that my writing yesterday wasn’t that boring. I had soup with a bunch of noodles yesterday. And I went to Target. Shit… maybe it’s not lunch but shopping that is knocking me out. I intend to try an experiment with food to see if I can skip the coma part of my day. It takes away from my productivity. And no, I don’t want to become a work-a-holic robot but I do want to do my work. Whatever that is. I want to live my life and that means being awake to do my work, exercise, have fun, watch movies, take pictures, read books, pet cats and dogs and all the stuff I love to do. I thought everything I wrote yesterday was awful but I looked at it today and it’s not that bad. It needs a lot of editing but duh! the entire thing will require some 9th level editing/re-writing/gutting. I have to remember that NaNo is a time to get words on the page. I’ll sift for gold after. (Ha! No delusions of grandeur here!) Word count: 1650
- Day 14: Hmph.. Well, I guess I didn’t feel like updating today. Funny, I completely forgot. I must have been tired although the writing went well. Word count: 1785
NaNoWriMo, for the uninitiated, is this crazy global writing project where you finish (or at least make one hell of a dent in) a book draft. 50,000 words within the month of November. And I’m one of the crazies. (I actually already blogged about this here) As part of the “fun”, I thought it would be neat to document the experience. So instead of making a bunch of different posts, I think I’ll just keep adding to this one as I go along. So, here we go:
- Day 1: I set up Scrivener the day before. Correction: I installed Scrivener and looked at the guided tutorial thingie. Seemed pretty simple. Today, I set up my new book project but hit a little bit of a delay because there was this scene thing and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to start typing in there or create a new blank page. Plus it said not to bother with numbering the chapters. Okay. Whatever. I didn’t feel like dicking around too much with the software to get my daily quota of writing done so I went with ‘blank page’ and dove in. I decided to begin a new ritual of putting the scarf I bought for my belly dancing class – the red one with the silver coins on it around my shoulders. It’s my “writing cape”. The writing: It was hard. Mostly because of the “voices”. The ones that said everything I was writing was drivel. I have no idea what I’m doing. Blah, blah, blah. I missed the double rainbow because I needed to keep my ass glued to the chair. Fortunately, lots of friends took pictures and posted them on FB. Nice! Word count: 1705
- Day 2: It’s Saturday so I spent a good part of my day avoiding my computer. I sat down at about 5:30 and got to work. At 1100 words, I found myself wanting to nod off. Not out of boredom but because apparently, being creative on demand makes one tired. There was a part of me that wanted to give up but I didn’t. Told myself a firm no and got back to it. And then, a new character showed up. I think this is not new to veteran writers – this twist that shows up as a surprise. But I’m a green-green newbie so it delighted the hell out of me. I’m realizing a couple of things. I do have discipline but sometimes it wants to run off. And I need to take care of myself or this will not work. Left over Halloween candy, popcorn and red wine are not adequate food stuffs. I did have an excellent breakfast but I need more greens, veggies. Or how about real food? I had about two seconds of feeling sorry for myself that there wasn’t a guy here, cooking up fabulously nutritious meals and generally taking care of me while I embark on this NaNo thing. Then I realized I am more than capable of taking care of myself and feeling passed. I work on adding Prince C to the castle later. Word count: 2084
- Day 3: Sunday. My absolute favorite day! I usually get donuts on Sundays but, in keeping with my own suggestion yesterday that I eat more healthfully, I cut up an apple and added it to some apple/cinnamon oatmeal for breakfast. It was a lot more satisfying than carbs and sugar. I knew I had my writing goal in front of me. Sometimes it felt big and like something I might want to avoid. But the story also kept percolating in my head. So a little dread but no real risk of choosing not doing the work. I’m still thrilled about the character that showed up yesterday. It was like a person popping up in front of me which makes me want to ask “who the fuck are you?!” He showed up on his own; He’ll reveal himself in due time. The writing today was hard work but fun most of the time. I added music which proved to be a good thing and not distracting. Word count: 1996
- Day 4: Not a good writing day. Which is not to say I had a bad day in general. I sat down to write at my usual time, 4:30, 5ish but I had a headache. The kind that wanted to turn into a really bad headache of perhaps the migraine variety. I tried to write through it but when I began to feel nauseous, I realized there was a line between discipline and stupidity that I was about to cross. When your head feels like a gong reverberating from the inside out the only appropriate response is to shut off the lights and lay yourself down. I’m bothered that my word quota is down but not terribly. There is the question in my head of whether or not I was a weinnie. I have a trash can next to me if the nausea got that bad. Does the fact that I chose not to make myself miserable a sign that I don’t have what it takes? See how the thought demons can start wreaking havoc with your psyche? I’m just not “a-type” enough to lean over, toss my cookies and keep on putting words to page. Nor do I want to be. I know I say that writing is hard work and no doubt, it is! But it’s not miserable work and I don’t want to turn it into that. I guess I am a little “a-type” though. When I got up, I cleaned the cat box and put the garbage on the curb for the morning pick up. Ha! It’s the little gestures that keep one from feeling like a total bum. Word count: 393
- Day 5: Back on track today. It took a little while to get the flow going but it got going. A new twist showed up. I followed it and might have written myself into a shit pickle but maybe not. If I can pull it off, it will be pretty cool. And if I don’t? I’ll back up and have another go at it. Part of this NaNo thing for me is the exercise of writing for the sake of writing. I haven’t been doing any fiction anything for years – actually, aside from a story attempt or two, I don’t think fiction has ever gotten this much of my attention. Big learning as I go along here. Word count: 1911
- Day 6: I was a little concerned about how I was going to make my quota today. Not because I had such a packed day but because it’s Yoga Wednesday. Which means I wouldn’t have a completely free night to spend on writing. Turns out, I got all but 235 words in before it was time to get ready to go. I came home, relaxed a little with some dinner and an episode of Castle (love that show!) and got the rest of my words in. I have been thinking that I would need to forgo most socializing during NaNo month but maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit? I don’t know. It’s still very early so there will be no getting cocky here. Word count: 1709
- Day 7: Today, the why got nailed down. Important – SO important. Word count: 1754
I got this idea to write a book. NaNoWriMo seduced it right out of me. Surprising because I am not (currently or maybe ever) a fiction writer. I thought I might be once. As a kid, when I thought of my grown-up self, I saw her as a writer living in a cabin in the woods. Yep, my grown-up self had cats and she wrote books. I don’t remember when I officially decided to let that vision slide into nothing but I did. I didn’t think about my kid self seeing my grown-up self as a writer until a guy I was dating said, “you’re a really good writer” and “you should do something with that”. It woke the dream right up again. Well, the writing part. I’m a hermit half the time but I’m not ‘cabin in the woods’ material. So, I was happy writing this blog. I have been working on some kind of e-book or e-booklet or some sort of e-publication for my newbie coaching clients; I wanted something to get us all on the same page so that when we began working together we’d be speaking the same language. I completely dismissed the thought of any kind of self-help book because aren’t there enough of those? But maybe a memoir/self-help book would work. I do have my past to draw from. All non-fiction stuff, though. Until I got this idea. And what an idea! It’s epic. Dangerous. Such delicate material. Frankly, the idea scares the shit out of me. So much so that I wanted it to go away. It felt way too big for me to handle. Except I kept having to stop what I was doing to write random scenes and snippets. I only wrote the idea down in the first place to get it out of my head so it would leave me alone. So far, that plan has been about as effective as eating donuts in the hopes of slimming down.
So I figured I’d take it all as a sign. After all, hadn’t I seen that post on Facebook about Scrivener? And it was the second time I saw a reference to that whacked month of writing deal.
Fuck it. I’ll give this novel a month of my life and see what happens with it.
I think it was all of about five minutes before the crippling voices of doubt started raising all kinds of hell. Continue reading