NaNoWriMo 2021 Final Update

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So here we are on the final day of November. I did not reach 50,000 words. I didn’t really even get close. But I did write every day except one, I took Thanksgiving Day off. That is way more of an important win than how many words I wrote. Because honestly, I’m not sure how many of those words are actually useful. I started the month without a real story in mind. I had hoped in expanding on the drafts I already had, one might start emerging. That did not happen, and I think I’m more confused now than when I started. Now I’ve got even more fragments, random scenes, and character background and less idea of the story I want for these characters. But I’d rather not dwell on the downsides.

There is a much bigger bright side. I managed the longest daily writing streak I’ve had in I don’t even know how long. The other major outcome of this month, has been a better sense of how to structure my days and schedule my writing time. Since I left my job earlier this year, I haven’t been very good at sticking with a routine or daily schedule. I’ve been switching it up often trying to figure out what works best. I finally realized that if I want to write every day, I think I do, it’s best to stick with the same time every day. I also concluded that it’s best to get my writing done in the morning. The days I had afternoon write-ins scheduled, it was easy to lose track of time in the morning and end up wasting time instead of working on something else. So yeah, a month well spent. I’ll just share a few stats to finish things off.

  • Total word count 30, 883
  • Highest daily wordcount 2,052
  • Daily writing streak 24 days
  • Average daily word count 1,028

NaNoWriMo 2021 Week 3

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Week three went about as good as I expected, which wasn’t great. I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. I mean like literally, I still don’t really have a story. I’m working with a vague idea and couple of characters. I thought working with workshop drafts would have inspired some new ideas, but not so much. I expanded on a few of them, but they weren’t as productive as I thought they’d be. This week I had to start from scratch and it was an uphill battle all week.

I had the added bonus of feeling kind of sick all week. Nothing major just a little congestion but also feeling really run down. Didn’t get much of anything done all week. I still managed to write everyday, which at this point is a bigger goal for me than my wordcount. I’ve completely given up on catching up and reaching the 50,000 word mark by the end of the month. I’m going to keep it up though. I lost of a bit of momentum, but I feel like writing everyday has had an effect on my productivity. I hope to keep it up after this month.

NaNoWriMo 2021–Week 2

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The Project

This year’s project revolves around Dante, a character I’ve been writing about for quite a few years. (Check out her fictional blog) I haven’t posted to the blog in some time, but she’s still very much in my head. For a while every workshop prompt would end up being about her or somebody in her world. So I have all these bits and pieces that I decided I would type up, finish, expand, whatever. Honestly, I’m not sure what I’m doing. I don’t really have a story in mind yet, just barely the tiniest spark of an idea. But I decided to go with it any.

Week 2 Writing

So far it’s been pretty easy, mostly I’m just typing up handwritten drafts. As I go along I’m adding extra little bits and expanding or finished incomplete scenes. I’ve still been running behind on my daily wordcount. Hosting the write-ins have been extremely helpful, days I really didn’t feel like writing, I pretty much had no choice. While I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, it might have been a good idea not to skip days. It pretty obvious the days without write-ins I’m a whole lot less productive. Wednesdays seem to be the worst day, two weeks in a row, I only managed a few hundred words. I’m trying not to stress too much on it. Instead I’m focusing on the achievement of writing everyday. That a big win to celebrate no matter what my actual output is. I knew this would be a big challenge, especially since I’m not solely dedicated to the NaNo project.

This week I finished all of the drafts I had. Now I am working completely from scratch. So, we’ll see how I progress going forward. Today is officially the halfway point and I’m at 19086 words, my average words per day is 1272 and I’m on track to finish by December 9th.

I’m Not Superstitious But…

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Decided today was the day to finally let go of all the abandoned blogposts sitting in WordPress as drafts. Found this one and thought instead of deleting I’d just go ahead and post it. So enjoy

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So I got a prompt recently for OctPoWriMo that was all about numbers. One option was about to write about your Life Path number. While I’m interested in Tarot, Astrology and things of the sort I’m not sure how much I believe in them. It’s the idea that our lives are predestined to be a particular way. But I guess they can be useful tools for guidance. Truth is though they usually, I think, just confirm or give us the confidence to follow our gut. We see, hear and take from them what we really want to hear.

Anyway that was getting off topic. So out of curiosity I tried to determine what my Life Path number was. If I did it correctly, which I have my doubts, my number turns out to be 7. The description of this type of person is pretty accurate. Eerily so actually. (I may not be an authority on anything, but I thought last words coming up was a funny little coincidence, or was it.)

Seeker of Knowledge

As a Life Path 7 you are always looking for the answers. Whether the question is big or small, doesn’t matter, it’s the glory of finding the answer that drives you. This can lead to some interesting journeys during your life since you tend to seek spiritual or inner self understanding.

You tend to do this journey on your own and can live inside your own head for lengths of time. You can see situations from many different angles. This is great for careers that requires you to analyze a situation solo, or weed through large amounts of data.

However, because of your desire to process things and stay in your own head, it can take a long time for someone else to get to know you. This can make relationships difficult to flourish and maintain. You are highly sensitive, but shy away from emotions that may be foreign.

You Get The Last Word

You tend to be in positions that allows you to give the “Last Word” on a subject because you are often considered an authority on the subject. Careers that you should consider, if you haven’t, include: Lawyer, Judge, Clergy, Scientist. These careers and careers similar to them will work well for you because it allows for the time to process things in your head and allows you to be in a position of authority.

You Value Your Independence

You tend to be a loner and find solace in solitude. From the outside this can lead people to believe you an introvert or self absorbed, when in fact you may be enjoying the details that many people are overlooking.

The Road So Far 2018

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It’s been way too long since a new post, and like forever since any updates to The Road So Far series. By now I have been living in Pennsylvania for over two years. Even after that it still seems so unreal to me. I attempted to dive right in and actually found a job just a month after moving, at a local department store for the holidays. Well it didn’t even last until Thanksgiving. Luckily I had savings and some extra cash due to a retroactive pay raise from my time at the college. So I managed to survive, financially at least. I may have lost my mind somewhere in the house during the winter though.

That’s the hardest part about getting used to living here, there is nothing to do. Even with working full-time now I can go absolutely mad of boredom sitting in the house, and until I start driving I wont have anywhere to go. Even then, it’s not what I’m used to.

Eventually, that first winter passed and I got my butt out of the house and moving. I started going on long walks and passed a temp agency with a posting about a clerical job. I ended up picking up a couple of hours a work in the temp agency office. Due to my impeccable my timing, just as the hours dwindled down, I started working at the local public library. I worked part-time until the end of the year when a fulltime slot opened up.

Things are good at the library, although there is a lot of down time and it’s easy to get bored. I also was disappointed in the lack of writing programs since before I started the job. So of course killing two birds with one stone I proposed holding a writing workshop. This past June I held my first one and have continued  monthly since. I can’t believe I get to lead my own workshop. Which I has gone a long way to help improve my motivation and mood in regards to writing. It’s only once a month and it’s rocky some meetings but it’s something I needed pretty badly.

I’ve been really struggling to get into a regular writing routine and finish up some old projects. I had a little success despite my lack of motivation, for last year’s OctPoWriMo I completed more poems than previous years. So far this year I missed a couple of days but am still doing pretty well. Last year’s attempt at NaNoWriMo, on the other hand was plain sad. I guess the time I would and should have spent writing was filled up instead with reading and–more than I care to admit–Netflix binging.

I think sometimes it’s what needed. A little bit of time, especially after a major change, to be easy on ourselves and figure out a new plan. I’ve been really thinking about my situation, my writing, the future and where the hell I go from here. Plus all the reading has made me so much smarter and well informed. (lol maybe) Anyway I think I might just be starting to pull it all together. In addition to my writing workshop, I will be hosting a program for NaNoWriMo. That should give me just that extra bit of motivation I need. I am really hoping to meet the 50,000 word goal and I think I can do it this year.

Generally, things seem to have turned around the past couple of months. I feel more motivated and have been working at ways to squeeze in small burst of writing on my downtime at work, lunch breaks and whenever possible. I scaled back the newsletter from monthly to quarterly; with the small amount of subscribers the amount of time and effort needed monthly just wasn’t worth it. I have ideas of how to build my list, speaking of that you can sign up here to receive the newsletters if you haven’t already.

I’ve been posting this years OctPoWriMo poems to Lex Poetry. Since I’m spending time on poetry, I’m working again on a collection I’d like to publish. Hoping to have a manuscript, at least in rough draft form by the end of the year. I know that’ll be here sooner than I think, but I’m working at it.

 

 

Television, Distraction or Inspiration?

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As a writer there’s a lot I can justify in the name of writing. Almost any experience or activity can be seen as a necessary part of the writing process. For years it fueled my already voracious reading habits. I’ve always believe the advice to become a better writer you have to read, and read widely. As if I needed a excuse to excessively shop for books. Even with my often visits to the library, my book collection has grown considerably the past couple of years.

But thanks to a good friend and her Netflix account, my new favorite medium is television shows. In the past I’ve been critical of myself watching too much TV, it felt too much like a waste of time. It’s likely because of the lack of choices, hundreds of channels and still nothing good is ever on. But after thoroughly browsing the horror and sci-fi/fantasy categories I realized the potential for inspiration it provided. So I’ve been pretty much binging on all shows having to do with witches, monsters, space travel, fae, etc.

I have to admit if it wasn’t for the content I’d probably be saying this was a real problem. At my worst I’ve spent almost entire days watching at least half a season. And more than a few times I was up until at least 4am because I just couldn’t walk away. So I’m starting to wonder if I really am lying to myself. Is this binging really just a distraction from the things I should be doing, or is it a part of the process? Some days I feel like I’m really benefiting, inspiring new creative work. Other’s I feel like I’m wasting too much time. I do have a bad habit of become a little obsessive.

I’m sure plenty of other people have lost time getting sucked into a TV watching binge. How do you know when it’s really a problem? I’d love to hear from my readers, especially other writers. Do you think TV can really be a productive use of time in terms of finding inspiration, or is it a big time suck?

Can’t Escape Information Overload, Help!

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Information overload isn’t a new issue, nor is this the first time I’ve been stuck in it’s grip. The past couple of months have been quite overwintering. In the chaos there’s one thing that’s totally been neglected, my email inbox. I’ve managed a couple of times to clear it out but it seems to fill right back up. I have over 300 unopened emails in my inbox. Plus clearing out my inbox I tend to just move emails to folders that I intend to review later. So in addition to the unopened emails I have another buttload of emails waiting to actually be read. Most days I just scroll through opening anything that might be of importance and deleting junk. Every week or so I sit down intending to really clean it out, then anxiety sets it and I give up. It’s just too much, I’ll never have the time, and even if I do it’s a waste of time. With these thoughts ringing through my head is no surprise I can’t get through it.

The easiest solution would be to just delete everything. But as I’ve said it just fills back up again, plus I get nervous about just deleting it all. Would if I miss that one important article, contest, submission deadline, etc., that changes everything. I know ridiculous right. I admit I’m a bit of an information junkie. I’m always signing up for new online courses, subscribing to newsletters, following blogs, and don’t even get me started on social media. But the problem is I just can’t keep up with it. And I honestly wonder if it’s even worth it to. A lot of the information I collect is inspiration for my writing, career and business advice, self improvement advice, and generally just anything I think might be interesting or useful.

The funniest part is it’s never going to be useful if I never actually read it. I just feel so overwhelmed it’s essentially paralyzed me, I’m not sure where to even start. I’m sure I’m not alone in this issue and I’d love to hear how other deal with it. Please comment with any ideas or advice. Or simply let me know I’m not alone or being completely crazy.

 

The Road So Far: Pennsylvania 2017

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Today makes it’s exactly five months since my move. I like it so far but it’s a big adjustment. I’m still not even used to the idea of not living in New York City. I’m glad to be out but do miss it, mainly because there isn’t much to do up here. The week of Thanksgiving I visited for a couple of days, hadn’t been gone long and it felt like I’d never left. With the chaos of the move followed by the holidays I’m finding real hard get back on track. Most of my time’s been spent getting to know the area, looking for a job and just getting settled in.

I let myself take it easy, trying to get my office together and working out new plans for my blogs, newsletter and Etsy shop. I’ve been slowly forcing myself to get back to writing, but my lack of concentration has made it very difficult. I did manage to write and publish a few new blog posts,  in addition to the last two months newsletters. I’ve been stuck editing (actually rewriting) my novel for a couple of months now, barely making it to chapter five. Between the frustration and lack of structure to my days, I feel like I wasted a lot of time watching TV, playing games online and basically sulking around trying to figure out what to do with myself.

I’ve been working on different strategies and practices to boost my motivation and creativity.  I have small library of books on writing with prompts and exercises I’ve tried working with. Also started reading The Artist’s Way again, before the move I got about half way through. I wasn’t really putting much effort into the exercises and tasks. I really like the advice and approach of letting yourself explore your creativity without judgement. That’s not something that comes easy to me and often beat myself up or give up when I can’t meet my standards. It’s been helpful as I start experimenting with other creative art forms.

I just hope that soon things will start falling into place. It’s no surprise that the move would cause so much disruption. I just didn’t think I’d be working at a snails pace to get back on track. At this point all I can do is keep pushing myself.

2017 Goals

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Every year I make a list of goals for the year. Usually I have a list a mile long, eventually I don’t even want to think about. Basically, I just overwhelm myself so it’s almost impossible to complete anything. This year I’m going to keep the list short hopefully it will help me focus and actually accomplish them. I’ll also try out the advice I’ve read to tape it somewhere you can see it. The past couple of years I’ve written in a journal or notebook and totally forgotten about it. I’ve just included the most important five, I’ll be working on a lot this next year but these, I absolutely must work on.

  1. Finish editing novel in progress
  2. Build newsletter to 100 subscribers
  3. Add two new products to Etsy shop
  4. Complete 5 sewing projects
  5. Complete first Draft of poetry chapbook