Halfway There

Through the month, that is. Don’t get me wrong, I am no where near my 50k words. I had a feeling that it was a pretty unrealistic expectation from the beginning, but the point is I have been making good (but slow) progress. I am at about 15k words right now, and my goal is to be at 25k at the end of the month. I also had the unrealistic goal to have my Christmas shopping done by before Thanksgiving. I have yet to get one gift. You ask what I am doing in my spare time? Beats me. But I am always busy. It is like that meme, bills, bills! What are we even paying? We don’t know! Except replace bills with doing.  Busy, busy! What are we even doing? We don’t know!IMG_20181116_122201_227

Yesterday I did this. I couldn’t help it, the snow was perfect. It was my alternative workout as I didn’t really want to go to the gym. At this point I am sure the roads were fine, but hey, less people on them the better. I think one of our deer stole the nose.

I did finish the first workbook in my language learning adventure though, and I am pretty impressed with myself on that. Usually I peter out come future tense. I think because this is the most difficult language I have tackled this far, and that it being nothing but hard is actually a benefit. Often at first everything is really fun and kind of easy, and then you get to the hard parts and it just kid of turns you away from the whole thing. This has not been the case. I am a little behind on vocab recognition, but a lot of the grammar I have down. If I keep going with it all I am going to attempt to take a proficiency test in the summer. Not that I need it for anything other than my own measurement of learning.

The rest of the month is going to fly by. I have been listing to a new YA release, What if it’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. It is not bad, but I don’t think it is for me. I know a lot of people really liked it, but, I don’t know. Maybe I have finally outgrown the YA genre. Or just need a break. That’s alright. I have plenty to distract me. Like the fact that Ralph Breaks the Internet comes out next week. I cannot tell you how long I have waited for this movie. Wreck-it Ralph is one of my top 5 favorite movies. I even dressed up as Vanellope von Schweetz for the Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon a few years ago. Needless to say, I will be there opening night! Happy Thanksgiving.

Day One

For those of you who don’t know, yesterday was the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I am attempting to participate with my current WIP. The challenge is to write 50k words in the month of November. This would really get me close to a full draft. I have been procrastinating the last 3/4ths of my story. My first quarter is pretty strong, and has been for a while. The rest of the story, not so much. There is a decent amount written, but I have changed  the subplots so many times that I am basically starting fresh. Hence that outline.

Did I write anything yesterday? Sure did. But first, let me tell you everything I got done before sitting down to write (It was my day off yesterday). Let me say, the house is sparkling. I think I did every chore under the sun, even some more obscure ones like cleaning out the fridge. Then I studied for a solid two hours (teaching myself another language). Then, finally at around noon, I sat down to write. On and off till about 10pm. I got a little over 3k words, which is good but not great. I need to average 1667 words a day to reach 50k. And there are some days were writing is just not going to happen this month. Thanksgiving, a trip to the city one day, a concert coming up. I am hoping this weekend I can knock out 10k so I can get a good head start. As long as I can stay ahead, I think I will be able to do it. It is the catching up part I struggle with, and it could cause my writing to become sloppy.

On a side note I’ve had some pretty rocking music to listen to while working. My Mom made me a ‘Happy Songs’ playlist on Spotify. I had requested that she compile a list of songs for me that just sounded happy. The words don’t necessarily have to follow suit, but I wanted something to put me in a good mood/give me a bit of nostalgia for the old days. My favorite song on the list so far is Paul Simon’s Kodachrome. I always forget how much I love his music. There are 67 songs on the list so far. Impressive. My longest created playlist is 28. My shortest playlist is 0, titled ‘I’m Cool, I’m Hip’. I wanted to make one to play in the car with my friends, since most of them are not fans of techno. Clearly that did not go well.

A Song or Twenty

This past weekend was my Dad’s birthday. Normally, I really struggle with what to get him. This year though, I had just the thing. A songbook/sheet music to Matchbox Twenty’s first album, Yourself or Someone Like You. As I said before, I am a huge fan. It is something unique I share in common with both my Mom and Dad, who are two very, very, different people. And I am not quite sure where it came from. The soft rock genre doesn’t do much for me. But here I am, letting MB20 commandeer a blog post finally.

My Dad plays the guitar and can sing pretty good for someone who has never had any formal vocal lessons. I, on the other hand, have no musical aptitude. That skipped me and went to the next child in the birth order. But we both have an appreciation for words, and the feelings that they convey. My Mom too. Maybe that’s why we have MB20 in common. I have mentioned the song Rest Stop before. It is one of the most powerful, sad songs I know. It was the song Dad and I talked about the other night. I had debated between either the book for the first album or the second, but went with the first since the latter is much darker. We could both quote the lyrics.

“She said, while you were sleeping
I was listening to the radio
And wondering what you’re dreaming when
It came to mind that I didn’t care”

I don’t have to describe the feeling. You either know it or you don’t. Don’t get me wrong, they have plenty of other songs vying for ‘saddest’, but I think this one takes the cake.

In other, happier news, I started two new books. Mystery by Peter Straub and Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Both were recommended to me by family members. I am very determined to get through Mystery. I have yet to finish a book suggested by my Mom, which greatly shows my inexperience with reading. I am finally getting to a point where I can push through uninteresting sections in stories, where before I would just quit. They are both supposed to be twisty books, so I am excited to see them through.

And in writing news, I finally finished that outline. Did I mention how important those were to keep up with? I did? Well, it would have saved me a lot of time if I just listened to my own advice. I plan on doing NaNoWriMo next month, but I am not sure if I should do it with my current WIP, or the other one I have. The problem with doing it on my current WIP is that I already have about 60k typed, and it would be hard to gauge what is new. Sigh. I am sure I can figure it out. Just making excuses here. I don’t have enough experience to work fully on two stories at once. Hopefully one day I will get there.

 

Outlines, who knew?

Why didn’t I do this earlier? I know why. Because I’m lazy. Seriously though, I spent the weekend writing an new outline for my WIP, and then I started one for my second story. I had one from before, but so much has changed that it is practically invalid. It really does help to see everything laid out. How some scenes that I put in certain sections can actually work better in others. Especially with having three POV’s. I struggle with knowing whose is the best to write from. For the most part my three main characters are always together, so I use it more as a form of character development than a story telling vessel. Because no matter what the story will get told.

For my second story, I get so afraid that if I start working on it, the first one will get ignored. But on the flip side, it has seemed to only help me more. I think it’s because now I don’t feel like I have to jam everything I want into my first story.  Knowing that I can have a character who is, I don’t know, really into music. My characters right now are pretty far along in their development. I feel like if I just add a hobby in there, it will seem forced and unnecessary (because it is). But in my other story, that can be one of the things that defines one of my characters. If that makes sense. Being a newb at this just makes me want to write about every exciting thing that has ever existed. Ever.

Also, new sites to add to my block list, ones with song lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I have no musical ability whatsoever. But tonight I really wanted to work on my rendition of Handlebars by the Flobots and Nico And The Niners by Twenty One Pilots. I usually listen to Tycho when writing so I don’t get distracted by lyrics. Now we know why. Anyway, moral of the story, outlines are awesome, sing to your hearts content. Also, don’t drink chai at 8pm. Thinking I am going to regret that one.

Chapter 10, Again

Is it possible to be both productive, and counter productive? Because if so, I walk that fine line well. My vacation is over. In fact, I need to leave for work in 15 minutes, so I better make this quick. I am behind in my running, currently at 13 miles total for the month. Running in Florida was a struggle for me, bless you who do. It was hot hot hot. My Husband and I leave Saturday for a concert, so I am not sure where the other 17 will fit in. Nevertheless, I will try.

I finished Bloody Rose, and am now onto The Obelisk Gate. It is good so far, but a little confusing. I might have waited to long between it and the first book. But speaking of books, I cam home to this– My pre-order gift for V. E. Schwab’s Vengeful. It cDnKrR4WUYAEslSAomes out in October and I am excited to read it. Also pictured, vicious Titan who decided to wake me up three times this morning. Yay for first day back to work in a week. And boy it will be a busy one. Dinner tonight, a class tomorrow, a hair appointment Wednesday (thinking of chopping it all off, not that I will go through with that). The list goes on.

As for writing. Aye. That is all I can say. I sat in bed Thursday night, unable to sleep. This turned into a double epiphany. The first one was with a part of my current novel I have written a few times (looking at you chapter 10). World building has been a struggle, but I think I am finally get close to where the story needs to be. Of course that means I now have to rewrite a bunch of things I had already worked on this past week. Oh well. Part of the process right? The next idea I had was for a whole separate story. It just came to me, all neatly packaged, characters, setting, plot and all. Tempting. I know the package is a lie, but still I wrote some of it down just to get it out of my head. And so I could go to sleep.

Well back to the grind. Hope everyone has a nice work week. I will update after the concert 🙂

Dancing in September

Or rather, wake me up when September ends. A little of both. This is going to be a rough, but fun month. Despite whatever is going on in the background, I have goals. Lofty ones might I add.

30 miles for 30 years. Yep, that’s right, turning the big three-oh! So in celebration (or masochistic intent, you choose) I will be running 30 miles this month. This is not too much of a reach for me, I already run. But with an upcoming vacation to Florida and plans every weekend, it wont be the easiest. I say I will run while in the sunshine state, but my melting point is low 80s so there’s that.

Finish 3 books. Right now I am working my way through Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, which I am absolutely enjoying. I love protagonists who are not ‘kick-ass’ in the traditional sense. As someone who jumps when the toast pops (yes, every time) I find it hard to relate to sexy sword-bearing females.  The other two I have planned are the remainder of the Broken Earth Trilogy, or one of those and 1000 Years of Solitude that I have yet to really get into. Those could change though. I might go on vacation and decide I need a sappy YA contemporary. Which sounds pretty amazing right now.

Lastly, have a full first draft. A ‘finished’ story. I keep going over my strongest sections, and I need to write past that. I changed a few things, which has been mentally frustrating, because it makes me feel like I will never get to the end. Just the other night I diverged from the story-line to write a kissing scene, and as I debated where it fit in, I had a whole new idea on how that part of the book should go. Aye. I hope that is all part of the process, and I hope that I will just keep getting better at it.

It is going to be a busy month. Birthdays galore. A vacation. A concert. Fixing some things. Changing others. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Save Ferris.

Stories

Ahhh. I am finally using this blog for what I set out to do; procrastinate my writing.  Last Sunday I was amazingly productive, so I figured I would try this Sunday as well. I have my laptop set up in the office, my water, my tissues (screw you sinus infection), and an eclectic collection of writing music. So far, I have eaten second breakfast, and browsed Twitter. Off to a great start.

On the subject of writing, I think about the own stories we create in our lives. Sometimes we have to take a step back from what we are doing and live a little. My case in point– this past Thursday. Often I will avoid making plans during the week. I have a lot of goals this summer. Have a completed draft by September. Be more fit. A sewing project or two to finish. But my coworker wanted to visit our work gym for the first time and was hesitant to go alone. Figuring I can always use a workout, I offered to go with her.

What started as a simple workout, ended in a night of hilarity and pizza. We have to remember to live a little. Between work and hobbies, and ever important sleep, there must be time for us to create our own stories. Not even 11am and I am getting super philosophical here. This calls for a second coffee. Time to get some work done.

Wait. I also wanted to share this article by David Barnett (courtesy of my Twitter browsing): The one piece of advice every aspiring author needs to know

Or, how not to obsess over writing advice. Which I personally have a tendency to do, and then get scolded for. Anyway, I found the article helpful. Maybe you will too.

Measurements

It is funny how we measure things. Most of my day was spent working. Which, was not horrible, but, also not notably wonderful. Happiness stacks just like sadness, though I feel we notice the latter more. That is why there is the saying ‘when it rains it pours’, and not one ‘when the sun shines it…’ well I don’t really know what it would do after that. Explode in a fiery mass, dooming mankind? That took a turn.

Last night, my Father helped me figure out the science I was struggling with in my story. And while I was researching something he had asked me to find, I got the epiphany my characters were going to have. Eureka. I have been struggling with that for weeks, and it finally feels like it is coming together. Tonight, I had the best workout I have had in years. Kicked my but, and I loved it. Now, my cat is curled up in my lap, and I am reading a book after almost two months of barely anything. Not the best of books, but it was part of a series that I wanted to finish,  and really it’s not that bad. Just falls into a lot of cliches. I knew that going in though, maybe that makes a difference. And maybe I kind of like it.

Sometimes I measure my days by the time I spend at work. That is fine and all, work plays a very important part in our lives. This week so far (it is early I know), I am measuring it by my evenings. We are not expected to be happy all the time, but right now I am pretty darn peachy. WHICH, for those of you who likes peaches, apparently they are supposed to be really good this year. I tested this theory myself by buying four, and proceeding to eat three in one night. Anyway, happiness. Right. Peaches. Happiness = peaches. Also I have been trying to wake up extra early now, to get things done in the morning. So far successful. But I am le tired. 10 points to anyone who knows what that is from.

 

Out of Office

You know you are a skilled procrastinator when you procrastinate your procrastination blog… procastception. I have always been that way, even as a wee lad, doing my homework on the bus to school, or even sometimes the period before. I am the queen of unfinished projects, handed down to me from my Mother. (Sorry Mom! You know it is true though :D) One of the only things I ever kept up with was training for a half marathon, and that was because I signed up for it before I had even completed a 5k. It was either keep training, or eat that $85. That is was I need. The subtle threat of a deadline. Or maybe less subtle.

Maker:L,Date:2017-9-17,Ver:5,Lens:Kan03,Act:Kan02,E-Y

My office today. Yes, I did put my fancy new Starbucks cup on top of my laptop so I could get it in the picture. It has a bunny! And don’t worry. There was SPF 80 on those pale legs of mine. That is also not my pool– though it was home to a porcupine briefly the other night. The real question, did I get any work done? Ha. Kind of. Right now I am working through my second draft, and we use that term loosely. Second draft of my unfinished first draft which is really just a rewrite. Hey whatever help me sleep at night, right? So I did do a little writing, and then came across a section that could be copied and pasted since it still worked well. Bam. A few hundred words down. All work and no play this girl is.

Overall I was quite productive. The perks of dog/house sitting other than doggies and a pool? Access to a washer and dryer.  My husband has more clothes than Carrie Bradshaw. Yeesh. I should know, I steal them all the time. If I could live in joggers and t-shirts, I would. Then I cleaned out a significant portion of our spare room, aka the storage unit, aka my office. A room where dirty socks and magic cards go to die. I really wanted it cleaned so I would have room to start my sewing project. What is that saying? Creativity breeds creativity. What it really means is procrastinate your current creative project with a new one.

Speaking of subtlety (something I do not posses), I started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by  Mark Manson. Does anyone else pronounce it sub-tle when reading it? Like archive. I totally still say ar-chive in my head. Anyway, so far the book exceeds my expectations. Hoping to finish it this week. And, I finally saw Ready Player One. I must have missed the memo because I kept saying, ‘this was not how it happened in the book…’, which was fine by me, I am hardly any kind of book purist. It just took me pleasantly by surprise. Though I did read the book over a year ago so I could have forgotten a bunch of stuff too. A blissfully short memory. Both a blessing and a curse.

 

Decisions

The hardest thing I had to do today, was chose between which tote bag I wanted for the Vengeful pre-order. Well I wish that was the hardest thing. Anyway, they are both pretty great. I am a huge fan of V. E. Schwab, and I loved the first book in the series, Vicious. Which is really surprising. Actually, if you look at a lot of my favorite authors, you would think I am some kind of, morbid? Person. Not sure what would be the correct word there. But morbid is pretty much the opposite of me. I had to skim some parts (I don’t do drowning- you can thank Mario 64 for that), and in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods I had a small panic attack during the morgue scene. Yet I continue to read these things.

On a lighter note, I read my first romance novel, ever. It was so cute! It is called the Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. It is about an autistic woman who hires an escort to teach her the, uh, finer parts of a relationship. If you catch my drift here. It did reaffirm the reason I read mostly sci-fi and fantasy though. I despise when conflict arises from lack of communication. Now with this genre, you just can’t get around it, and I will say the author did an awesome job of working that into the story line. The characters were well defined and very relatable, making it a fun read.

So. The whole reason for my blog. My writing. I really struggled last month. That is okay, life happens. This month I am coming in strong though. I went back to the beginning at started there. Did some editing, threw some new stuff in there as well. I have been experimenting with some shorter chapters among the longer ones. I like it- not sure if the people I share my work with will, but hey, it is all about finding what is right. With multiple points of view, sometimes I just want to show a snippet of someone, rather than a whole multi-scene spread. And if it is getting me to write, why not? The rule is, there are no rules. Someone said that. Or my Mother told me that, I don’t know. But that, and ‘work harder’ are my mantras for this month.