I am me, plain and simple. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm complicated. My life is full of drama, and for some reason, people want to hear about it. I'm a writer at heart and a mama by choice. I love everything music. I dislike heartache, though there's plenty to go around. I can't be anyone but myself, and not everyone likes that, but I am who I am...
Well, it's official. I have 2 full weeks with almost no work scheduled that I can devote entirely to my new outline...and to Christmas, of course.
I have a pretty interesting lineup for the week of Christmas, visiting, Church, presents, and the like, but only 1 day of work scheduled (graveyard at the group home). School's out until "next year" (hahahaha)and that leaves plenty of hours in the day for writing...I hope.
I made a commitment to my therapy group to finish my outline by Christmas and have at least 5k written on the story itself by the time we meet again at the first of the year, so I need to get my butt in gear. The commitments we make in group are very important to our treatment and I feel strongly about completing them. I hope to exceed my commitment this time around and have at least 20k pumped out, but I decided to give myself a little cushion of safety (I know, I'm a wimp).
Anybody got fun Christmas plans or writerly angst going on this Holiday season?
I haven't had one in a while and I had been lulled into a sense of security that I had stopped having them.
I. Am. An. Idiot.
This migraine knocked me on my ass for the better part of 3 days, putting a serious crimp in my outlining plans. I got almost nothing written because I couldn't look at a computer screen all weekend.
The weekend was not a total bust, just a total writing bust.
The roommate and I baked 360 bite sized sugar cookies on Sunday. Yes, 360. 30 dozen. Bite sized tiny little cookies to give as Christmas gifts. And that doesn't include the 2 or 3 dozen regular sized cookies or the 4 giant cookies that we made with the extra dough that was left when we just couldn't stand to cut out any more cookies.
It was a 5 1/2 hour process that left me exhausted and more than a little sick to my stomach. We ended the evening eating leftover pork and watching The Bucket List, while working on Christmas craft projects.
(And may I say that I totally and completely LOVED The Bucket List? Totally made me cry)
It was a pretty wasted weekend for writing, but otherwise a pretty productive one. We're almost finished with our one Christmas craft project and well into the other, while completing various Christmas tasks. I'd say it was an ok weekend.
*Memo to me* Replace digital voice recorder that was stolen a year ago in order to prepare for things like nasty migraines and carsickness. (duh).
There's a story nagging at the back of my brain, characters whispering in my ear. Unlike with Shifting Destinies, I don't think this one will be forced. I think that this story will come easier, flow better than the last. I'm excited to begin outlining and then writing. I haven't written anything novel-wise since NaNo ended (I've written several new poems) and I'm excited to start up again.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the question "why do you want to be a writer?" I am asked this question a lot usually preceded by things like "it's not going to make you any money." and "you can't possibly hope to make a living by writing!"
So, why am I so determined to be a writer? I've thought a lot about how and when I decided to be a writer and I've determined that it was my Senior year of High School when I realized that I could possibly make it as a writer.
I've always written. I mean, since I was old enough to know how to hold a crayon I was making up stories, first in pictures then in words when I learned them. I started writing poetry when I was in 3rd grade and short stories in 4th. I continued writing, mostly poetry, all through school up to my senior year when I took Senior level Creative Writing.
My creative writing teacher said I had talent, I won an award for my two short stories that I wrote that semester, so obviously other people thought I was talented. My poetry has won several awards, not to toot my own horn, so indeed there must be some shred of talent somewhere within this lowly creature which is me, but of course I couldn't really believe it.
But I didn't set out to be a writer. I got into college and declared my major in Special Education. That was an epic fail after my first year, so I decided to become an English teacher, maybe literature. In my first English class of the semester (a writing class) yet another teacher told me that I had talent. I still didn't really believe it of myself, but she convinced me to change my major to a Creative Writing emphasis.
I did it.
Then came the semester of disaster, where I was so sick throughout the semester that I flunked everything and racked up some incredibly impressive dollar amounts in medical bills. I ended up dropping out so I could work to pay off those debts and somewhere along the way I started writing just for the sheer enjoyment of writing and I found that I enjoyed it a lot more than writing for classes.
I made the decision to pay off my bills and enroll at another school that offered an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreting degree and license. Interpreting would give me the opportunity to make my own hours, choose my clients and jobs, make a decent amount of money, and leave me plenty of time for writing. It was perfect.
And so here we come back to the present. I am still paying off medical bills and other debts, considering filing for bankruptcy, and still hoping to go back to school, possibly while working at least part time (working full time and going to school was what started the whole mess of me being so sick, so I'm thinking a repeat would not be a good idea).
I stopped writing for a while because I was really depressed about my life and where I stood and everything just felt hopeless, but I'm back to writing at least a little every day. I want to succeed, and I know I can't succeed by sitting on my butt feeling sorry for myself.
Deciding to become a writer was a long and confusing process that I didn't even know was happening at times. I still sometimes wonder why I would ever want to be in this business, reading stories of trial and heartache and struggle on various blogs. But there are also stories of success and triumph that warm my heart and bolster my resolve. I want to do this. Not for money or fame (though those could be nice) but for the joy of writing thigns that touch people's lives and hearts.
A long way of getting to the point, but there it is.
I think that Adam was the one who wanted to hear my story of wanting to become a writer, so here it is Adam!
Too many distractions and diversions and just plain laziness all contributed to my failure, along with a massive miscommunication between my characters and I. We just weren't speaking the same language or something. The story didn't flow like I needed it to and it made writing swiftly intensely difficult.
I have decided to put the story to rest for a while and start working on something else to maybe help clear my brain.
I have been putting off the editing and arranging my poems to hopefully publish in an anthology in order to do NaNo, so I'm going to start back up on that project for a while. I have several ideas nibbling at the back of my mind that I may start working on. There's also the massive backpile of unfinished projects saved in one place or another that I could tackle.
So who knows.
I think there's plenty to occupy my time. I just need to focus. That's all, right?
It seems so easy when I write it and read it. It's just putting it into practice that seems to be the hard part.
I am so far behind on my NaNo project that I have very little chance of finishing on time, but the coming holiday weekend brings 5 days where the only interruptions I have are the actual Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday and getting my pictures taken on Sunday. Hopefully this will lead to many thouseands of words being produced by yours, truly in a vain attempt to finish this damn project.
This month may not be teaching me as much discipline as I had hoped for my writing, but it is teaching how much I have to learn about being disciplined and forcing myself to work. I have some good role models (Scarlett and Lori, to name two) to base my work ethic on and some success stories (Lori and Adam and several other friends) to make my mouth water and my heart scream "I want that!!!!!"
If I am going to make it as the writer that I want to be, I have to make it for myself. There has to be commitment and discipline that I have been severely lacking for my whole life, most especially since I took this dream to hand and decided that this was what I wanted.
Well, if I want it, I just have to prove it, now don't I? So bring on the holiday weekend. I'm raring to go.
I will briefly take a break from noveling blog entries to gush over my newest obsession.
Barnes and Noble has come out with an eReader much like the Amazon Kindle (my previous obsession) with a bunch more features and bigger memory (more books!!!).
I have fallen in love with the Nook. I want one desperately, almost more than I want my Netbook (almost, but not quite). The prices are identical and for many more features, the Nook is a much better deal. And of course there's my absolute love for B&N to begin with to sweeten the deal.
I am trying incredibly hard to save money for a Netbook with life expenses sucking away my paychecks before I even see them, but I will get there and as soon as I do I will start saving for a Nook.
Who knows? By the time I can afford one, they'll probably be a lot cheaper than $256! So, keeping my fingers crossed.
And who knows? maybe Santa will be kind to me...or maybe not...
I'm still several thousand words behind where I want to be, but I'm making progress. I have a weekend with minimal commitments, so I'll have a lot of time for writing. I just have to utilize it. We'll see where it goes.
It's week two and I am about 2000 words behind where I need to be to stay caught up. It's frustrating when life gets in the way so much. My story has taken on a life of its own, going places I never expected it to. My characters are becoming completely different people than I originally imagined them to be. Both those things makes the story a lot harder to write. It's not flowing like I need it to. And on top life distractions, I have a head full of other story ideas and characters screaming in my brain to have my attention. I have a very full head, which makes for a very difficult time writing.
As of now, there are exactly 36 hours until NaNoWriMo starts. I've been stockpiling munchies and pens and notebooks. I've been scribbling ideas and outlines. I've been getting as much sleep now as possible to prepare for the sleeplessness to come. I've cleared my schedule as much as I possibly can.
Ok, so it's almost November, and you know what that means! NaNoWriMo!!!!! That's an exciting thing, right? Not when you can't seem to pick a story!!!! I've got a bunch of ideas in my notebooks, but none of them are jumping out at me with that intense ferocity that I need to make the deciding vote. I think I might just have to put them all in a hat and at 11:59 on 31 Oct, draw one out and just start writing. Oy. We're having a midnight Write-In at Denny's on 31 Oct-1 Nov so I guess that's just what I'll have to do.
I am desperately trying to juggle everything I have going on in my life and it is just about killing me. I'm about ready to jsut drop it all and say screw it. Nothing is worth the restless, worrying nights and the stress-filled, panic attack inducing days. I want to write and everything else can go to hell.
But I can't do that. Not yet. I have to earn a living. I have to have a roof over my head. I need food in my belly. I need human interaction.
Sometimes I wonder, though, if all the heartache is worth it.
So I work two jobs, both of which put me at high exposure for the H1N1 (aka Swine Flu) virus. I have become (more so than usual) the most paranoid handwasher, sanitizer, germ freak on the planet. I sooooo can't afford to get sick, either financially or personally. At one job we had a death, indirectly related to the flu and at the other job we've had several confirmed cases.
Freak me out much???
Fortunately, I have not let this interfere with my NaNo preparations. I have finished 1 1/2 story outlines and worked hard at cleaning up my space so I don't get distracted by clutter (which I am s famous for doing). My desk is still covered with clean laundry, but the floor around it is clear enough for a chair.
I am continuing to scrimp and save for that new Netbook, slowly but surely, I will get it. I maight have to do NaNo this year on my ancient laptop, but I will manage. It has been good to me.
All in all, things are going. Not necessarily well, but going.
Here's a little Q&A that I got from Scarlett and Lori. Thanks guys!
When and how did you find out about NaNoWriMo? How did you go? I learned of NaNo last year through some online friends at Webook and thought it was just about the coolest thing ever, so I decided to give it a try.
How many times have you done NaNoWriMo? Once.
How many times have you won? If you haven’t won, what was your best result? None. My first NaNo attempt was a total FAIL. I have excuses coming out my ears, but the simple truth is that I JUST DIDN'T DO IT. There is no excuse that seems good enough for my complete and utter failure.
How did you go last year? See above.
Where do you write and with what do you write? I have a desk that is meticulously organized and ordered (when the cats stay off it) where I do most of my writing on my ancient laptop. I am saving for a Netbook (hopefully for my birthday) so I can write anywhere. I also make notes and write poems and such in a black Moleskine notebook.
How do you find time to write? Recently, I haven't. Epic FAIL. I am remedying this fact immediately. I make time. There are 24 hours in every day and there MUST be time for writing in it or I am not a Writer.
Are your partners, friends and family allies or enemies? I have many allies and my biggest enemy is myself.
What are you strengths and what do you use to help you get to the end? I don't know yet. I've never made it to the end of a project. *blush*
What are you weaknesses, obstacles and challenges that hinder you from finishing? My weaknesses are numerous. I procrastinate, I make excuses, and I just FAIL.
Do you plot/outline/plan or do you write by the seat of your pants? How much do you plot or how unprepared are you? I have a vague idea of how I want my stories to go. I write character profiles, brief descriptions, ideas, etc. I can't plan things out chapter by chapter because I don't always know where my characters are going to take me. Too much structure is a bad thing, but so it not enough.
Do you participate in the real life community, go to write ins and meet ups in your area? I couldn't last year because of work, but I'm planning to for this year.
What are your writing aids? Special snacks, music, totems, rewards or punishments? I have lots of little totems on my desk, reminders, helpful sayings, etc. I listen to obscure classical music while I write (lyrics distract), and there's always food. Munchies, caffeine pills, and diet coke are the staples of my diet. I am setting rewards for myself this time around to see if it helps. I need to find SOMETHING that helps, heaven only knows.
What are the titles of your past and present NaNo projects? My project (still lying unfinished in the depths of my pen drive and computer hard drive) from last year was called "Heather's Scars" about a teenage girl in a psychiatric hospital. This year's project is still up in the air. Hey, I still have 23 days to decide!!!
Is hitting a certain word count really that important? Doesn't writing at speed result in writing crap? I'm learning that having goals like word counts are a good idea. I think setting tough goals might jsut help me get this done this time!
Ok, so I know it's not rational and maybe a little bit of a delay tactic, but I have to rant about my work space a little bit.
I don't know about anybody else, but I have this huge obsession with having a workspace that is just the way I like it or else I can't work. And the weird thing is, if my workspace at home is in order and perfect, I can take my computer most ANYWHERE and work just fine. But, if things are out of whack at home it throws me off completely. I can't focus on writing if there's clutter, mess, and/or chaos around me. It gets stuck in my mind and festers there like an old wound, blocking my flow and just plain screwing with my processes.
I guess this has a little to do with why I haven't been writing (Excuses, excuses). My living space looks like a bomb went off and left multipe casualties among the wreckage. It's way overwhelming and it just invades my brain and I just can't cope.
I know this is a lame excuse for not writing, but you really can't fault me for having an OCD brain, right?
Putting ideas into actual outlines is stressful business, especially when you've got more than one to do and not a lot of free time to do it in.
I've got characters in my head fighting for attention while I'm trying to help a student with a math problem that I have no idea how to help her with because when was the last time I did long division in triple digits and she's getting mad at me and my supervisor is looking at me funny andI'm turning red as a beet while my head is pounding from all the noise and I have to drive home and then go back out to pick up potatoes from some guy as a fundraiser and I've gotta get some Avon orders so I am actually making money instead of just spending money that I don't have and the group home is calling to see if I can cover a shift and and and...
SO I've started piecing together one or two ideas from my massive notebook of random thoughts and ideas to try and come up with a NaNo piece for this year. I'm gonna do it and nothing, repeat NOTHING is gonna stand in my way. Not work, not sleep, not recurring illness, NOTHING.
I AM GOING TO START AND FINISH A NaNo PROJECT THIS YEAR.
I'm jumping around between two or three ideas right now, all three of completely different genres and all three equally good ideas, I think. I'll start hashing out details into outlines and choose from the three. I've got a whole month to choose. I can do this. I will not panic.
I have been heartened by reading all the new blogs about writers and their progress and it's building my courage. I can do this. So if anybody decides to read this from those blogs, thanks. I need all the help and support I can get.
So in the next month I get to work 3 jobs, work on book outlines, clean my apartment so it's presentable for company, prepare a birthday party, continue in my therapy programs, and maybe, possibly, somewhere in between I might find some time for eating and sleeping.
I have put off my writing for more than a year and it's time to get started. I am sick of procrastinating and putting things off forever and ever. Nothing will ever get done if I keep on like this. I will live forever in this miserable, unhappy state that I am in now.
I don't know if anyone will ever read this blog and I don't care. I suck at journalling and I want to see if I'm any better at blogging. This is my progress from here on as a writer.
I make a vow to myself that from this day forward I am going to turn things around, get things straight and just start writing!