Nov 18 2014

NaNoWriMo no-show woe


When last we left our plucky heroine, she was valiantly attempting to push on with NaNoWriMo after losing time to moving in to a new office, setting up said office, increasing her Day Job hours, and getting hit with the coldish/flu-ish virus that is making the rounds, having figured that after a week of sniffing coughing and hacking, that thing should be on its way out.

Surprise!  It decided to get worse instead.  What fun.  Oh, for the virus, not me, that is.

Nyquil and Dayquil basically had no effect any more, and just yesterday I dragged myself over to the walk-in center and got told by the nice young doctor that it looked exactly like what everyone else in the waiting room had, but was hitting me harder and sticking with me longer.  Possibly because I was still on chemo, and had recieved a dose just a week ago, a few days after the virus first hit me.

He gave me Tylenol with codeine.   So’s I could actually get some sleep, the lack of which, in my opinion, was just exacerbating the whole situation.

And I did sleep, hooray!  The first dose, oddly, had zero effect, but the second, this morning, let me get a good six hours of snooze.

Result: my brain is now working again.  That’s nice.  I missed it!  My brain is my favorite thing.

Other result: I can now do math!  And,  oh, look!  It’s now November 18, and I’ve written about 5,000 words of my NaNoWriMo project, leaving 45,000 to do in the next 13 days.  That would be 3,462 words a day.


In theory that is possible.   I have at various times in my life achieved over 3,000 words in a day.  But not every day for a sustained period.

Of course, there’s no particular reason why I should limit myself to the NaNoWriMo one-month time frame.   I can go over as much as I need, just not as a participant in the NaNoWriMo cultural phenomenon.  No big deal, right?

Well, true.   But I signed up for NaNoWriMo for actual reasons…

1.  After ten months of grinding through the whole cancer-treatment experience, during which I mananged only to write in small fits and spurts,  I wanted to do something that would knock me out of the artistic doldrums,  kick out the jambs, shake things up, realign everything.   I’d hoped that the total-immersion ethic of NaNoWriMo would be just the thing!  I’ve seen it work for other people.

2.  I’ve always been most productive in an all-out mode.  Every time I’ve finished a book, it was when I’d quit my day job.  But I can’t quit this day job (not yet).  As a participant in NaNo, you’re expected to put everything else in your life on hold (or as close to that as is possible), for the space of just one month.  It seemed that doing only the Day Job and my NaNoWriMo novel would be as close to doing only the novel as could be achieved at this point in my life, and it was worth trying for the space of that one month.

3.  The month of November this year is the only month in which it’s possible for me to do that.   Because: a) I should be getting back more of my strength every day, with the main cancer treatment over, so energy level up!; b) I won’t yet be working full-time at the Day Job, so less drag on whatever emotional and physical energy I do possess; c) I’m doing my usual thing of taking the entire Thanksgiving week off from the Day Job, and effectively withdrawing from the entire universe, and focusing on writing (time off that’s only possible because the Day Job provides us two paid days off that week).  By sheer coincidence the one time I can do all that is the same month as NaNoWriMo.

4.  I’ve heard and seen that NaNoWriMo can be fun!  Let’s have some fun, please? That would be nice.

So.  13 days of NaNo left, almost no way to hit the 50K mark, so what do I do?

I think I’m going to go for the fun bit.

I’m going to do as much total immersion as is feasable (without shorting myself on sleep, exercise and healthy food), while achieving as much fun as possible.

Immersing myself in imaginary worlds is lots o’ fun for me.

So.  That’s the plan.

Oct 18 2014

What’s up. Plus: Score!


What’s up: Day Job. Same old. Going to increase the hours in the weeks to come. I’m planning to keep it to three days a week through November, and then hit 32 in December.

Trying VERY HARD to keep writing despite the return to the Day Job, which has always been a difficult combination.   Day Job plus Writing equals Day Job Not Writing.  Fighting the math.  Trying Very Hard.

And I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, as mentioned before. If I can get the day before Thanksgiving off from the Day Job, I can do my tradtional escape-to-undisclosed-location and have a good block of time in which to write — as well as the typical NaNoWriMo deal of dropping everything else in one’s life that one possibly can, for the space of one month, and cranking out a novel-length work, start to finish.   The rules call for starting something new, not continuing a work you’ve already been doing.  So, yes, I will step away from Book 5 for one month, but fear not!  Because it will still be a Steerswoman book:  A parallel YA novel dealing with the Steerswomen’s Academy, taking place during the same time as Book 5.

I’m hoping that the drop-everything-else approach will clear my head, revitalize my subconscious, and help me keep  on track when I return to Book 5.    I have good reason to think it will.

Plus, of interest only to fans of Welcome to Night Vale:  Ha!  I managed to score tickets to their next live show in New York in January.   This was not easy.

The tickets went on sale noon Friday.  Thirty seconds after noon, the website was completely swamped, and it rolled over, put its paws in the air, and only displayed messages amounting to:  GO AWAY I DED NOW K THX BAI.

Sabine was at home that day, on the internet trying to get through, and declared that she’d keep it up for a half hour, and then stop because she had Things to Do!  And Why Weren’t They Prepared for This?  And They Should Know By Now!

I was at the Day Job, but slyly put up a browser window in the background and poked away at it when I could,   Eventually I realized that everyone in the universe was using the exact same link to get to the box office (provided by Night Vale,) — but the venue had its own separate previous existence, so there must be other ways to get to its box office…

And she scores!

The show they’ll do in January is the one called “The Librarian,” versions of which they’ve performed before in the States, and some version of which they are now playing in their first-ever European tour.  And I just now heard that Dublin, their first stop, gave them a standing ovation.

So, happy about that.

Also: currently visiting pals in New Hampshire.  So, must stop doing this at some point, in order to be social.  And possibly go kayaking.

Also also: still walking every day….


Wha --? There it is again!  Another sighting of that mysterious creature...

Wha –? There it is again! Another sighting of that mysterious creature…




Oct 2 2014

What, October?


Yow, it’s already October.

It’ll soon be too cold to work out in my woody nook, and I’ll have to bring in the table and chair.   That will be sad… it’s my favorite place to write!


The nook back in September

The nook back in September


I’m still only doing  three days a week at the Day Job, which is about as much as I can handle.   This month I’ll be increasing my hours, and eventually be back to full-time…

I still get pretty worn down, but that should let up soon.  Maintaining my daily walks when I can — observed, as usual, by the ever-assiduous unofficial neighborhood watch:

Either a new cat or a new neighbor with old cat.

Got my eye on you.  That’s right,  just keep moving…


I’m hoping I’m back up to speed by November, since I do want to participate in NaNoWriMo this year!   My first time, and it should be fun.  It’s part of a plan to combat the inevitable gloominess resulting from succumbing to the necessity of the Day Job.   (Health insurance, health insurance — now is not the time to switch carriers, nor pay for it entirely out of my own pocket.)

Hm… anybody else going to give NaNoWriMo a try this year?   Tell me in the comments!

Other news:  I’m behind in replying to some emails, so if you’ve been waiting for a response from me, this weekend could be the time!

More later…

Nov 7 2013

The thrill of — wait for it — persistence


Just reminding folks that cracking down extra-hard on my writing last month meant fewer blog posts. A simple equation, apparently. Can’t fight math.

Oh, and look! I’ll be doing it again this month! Well.

Seriously. Just gotta.

I’ll still check in at least once a week or so, while I’m in the trenches. If I Twittered, I’d tweet, but although I do have a Twitter account, I just can’t get into it… possibly because the device by which I would tweet is not a phone and only works when I’m in range of an open WiFi network.. It’s the casualness and ease of Twitter that makes it so attractive, and so powerful. Take away those two things, and it’s just another chore!

I have actual writing to do, thanks. So, not likely to tweet.

Meanwhile: Hey, my sister signed up for NaNoWriMo!

What, do you not know that that is? That month-long marathon, in which people of all walks of life, professional, amateur and experimenter, sign up to write an entire 50,000-word novel in exactly one month? Never heard of it? It’s been around for years now, and it’s grown into quite the event. November IS National Novel Writing Month!

Really, go check out the scoop on their website. I’ll wait here.

Back now? Good. Isn’t it a lovely concept?

They have pep talks, too.

And you can always get the book No Plot? No Problem!  by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo.  It’s 1.99 for the Kindle version.  Which means you probably already spent more money than that just by turning on your computer, navigating to the Amazon website, and clicking on “Look Inside.”

So, Sabine’s attacking her word-count like a proper pro. She is currently between day-jobs, and I’m TOTALLY JEALOUS BECAUSE SHE CAN WRITE ANYTIME SHE FEELS LIKE IT ALL DAY but enough about me.   I’m her cheering section this month, and I have no doubts that she will hit the NaNoWriMo mark of 50k words with flair to spare!

My pal, author Ann Tonsor Zeddies has also signed up.

Why didn’t I sign up, you ask? Because the proper NaNoWriMo deal is to write a 50K-word novel, beginning to end, in one month. If you’ve just started something, you can generally slip in with it. But the thing I’ve been working on currently is nowhere near its beginning, and it would just be plain cheating to sign on at this stage.

Of course, I could have taken a month out of my life and started some other work, beginning to end. It’s not like I have a shortage of ideas waiting for my attention. And now I’m kinda wishing i’d done that.

But I’m going to stick with my current plan. Of course, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t sign up.

There are many wonderful benefits of going through the NaNoWriMo experience, chief among which are: writing a novel.

Seriously — that’s enough. Regardless of whether or not the completed novel you end up with is good enough to be published, it’s worth doing.

The experience of writing a novel’s worth of words is, in and of itself, a worthwhile activity

I could point to all sorts of useful results : the sense of accomplishment, the exercise of one’s creativity, the training in daily application, the testing of one’s limits, learning about yourself, yadda yadda.

The hell with all that. That’s like saying that eating a steak is good because it has protein and iron and it’s good for you, and that’s why you should eat a steak instead of candy.

No, no — you eat the steak because it is delicious! (Vegetarians, substitute vegetable of your choice.) Really, it’s good! Never had one? You’re in for a treat. This is why we want a steak. It’s one of the wonderful things about existence.

With NaNoWriMo, you get to find out why writers write: not just to “have written”, but to write. For the doing of it, the doing of something remarkable.

Throw yourself into the story! Take chances, be bold, be crazy –or dare to be deep, dare to speak truth, dare to reach for beauty.

Do you understand that even if everything comes out as crap, it’s still worth doing?

Here’s another metaphor: Do you ski? When you ski, do you ski to win the race? Do you ski to look cute in your snow-bunny suit?

Or do you ski to ski? Chances are you ski because it’s an amazing experience. And you get to do it over and over, as many times as you want, and if you fall face-first in the snow you laugh like a loon, clamber to your feet, find your runaway skis, strap ’em back on, and do it again.

At the end of NaNoWriMo, you have something. It might be something already in its final, perfect form; or that can be improved, made into a work of literature you can share with others and maybe even sell — or it might just be a bunch of great photos of you zooming down the mountain, that you can keep and cherish forever.

NaNoWriMo is only a month long. That’s short enough to not be scary, but long enough to have the real experience of writing a novel.

That’s the point, folks. The doing of the thing.

By the way, everything is really about the doing of the thing. Or haven’t you noticed?

And now, courtesy of those wacky Russians, your Daily Affirmation: