NaNoWriMo: Day 18 (120,003)

NaNoWriMo2016I have had a Eureka! moment.

It was not, unfortunately, a good eureka moments, but it was still valuable.

I’m a good writer. I’m not remotely humble about it. I mean, I have the moments of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, but I also read a lot. My writing is better than a lot of stuff out there and, in spite of the fact that I often use other stories as a jump-start to my writing, it’s more original. (As I said, I’m not very humble about it.)

I’m a very good editor. I can even, given enough time, find the issues in my own work (although I prefer to have someone else do it). When it comes to straight line edits, my books are cleaner than a lot of professionally published works.

I do okay in cover creation. Yeah, I’d like to let someone else do the covers, but that costs money I don’t have, thanks to some debts with the Figments Mafia Mob Bosses. So I do my own. One day I’ll fix that, should my readers ever start actually buying my books.

What I don’t do well, though, is marketing. Guess what a successful self-publishing author needs to be successful? Good marketing.

I watched Big Eyes on Netflix a few nights ago. Amy Adams (who secretly has a crush on me she doesn’t know about) plays an artist who marries another artist. She starts signing her works with his last name. Spoiler Alert: he’s a fantastic marketer and steals her work to sell as his own, making her famous by proxy.

I was pathetically excited when The Wicked Witch of Whatever came out that three people wanted a signed copy. Three. Think for just a moment how absolutely sad that is… and then I’ll throw in that two of the people had characters in the book, so they had a vested interest (and had been beta readers to boot).

Yeah. I suck at marketing.

So I’ve made a decision: no more trying to be a successful indie author. I don’t have the skill set for it. Instead, I’m going to write my books, put them up for as cheap as possible (maybe put some of them up for free) and stop spending money on ISBN numbers, shipping, conventions, and other things.

No one is reading my stuff anyway, so why waste money on it?

Instead, I’ll write because I love writing (and I’m craptastically good at it) and I’ll just leave it out there. Honestly, I’m in such a funk that I really don’t think people deserve my books, but that’s okay. I’ll put them out there anyway.

My big Eureka! moment was really a Suck It! moment.

And that’s just what I’m going to do.

(Oh, and as for NaNo, I wrote 20k on Wednesday, then promptly crashed and burned on Thursday. 2 words all day and I’m going to delete those. No more big days. Not worth it.)

NaNoWriMo: Day 16 (107,002) Owww!

NaNoWriMo2016Last night at 11:00 pm, I made the crazy decision to try (again) for a 50k day. It may not have been the wisest choice, but I was starting a new novel (Cheyna and the Doorway to Everland) and the words were flowing and I don’t have too much to do today. A little food shopping. Some exercise. A shower if I want to persist in this thing called Real Life without being shunned. I’ve heard that those who manage a 50k day do without those things.

And sleep. They do without sleep and I slept almost five hours. I feel so *yawn* rested.

So I’m off. No long talk today. I’m only 7k in and I’m already feeling it, so I need every minute. You should be writing, too, right?

BTW, I shut down Facebook. Honestly, you can’t trust me around politics. I see an inconsistency, I jump in, and sanity is over. So, bye-bye Facebook.

Back to the words.

NaNoWriMo: Day 15 (100k and some change; book 2)

NaNoWriMo2016Sorry for missing yesterday. After a huge day on Sunday, I didn’t feel like blogging. Or writing. Or moving.

I’ve hit the 100k mark (double-NaNo) and finished up book 2, The Word Runner. I’ve also realized The Word Runner went horribly wrong (I didn’t write it with any sort of an outline, just a vague concept) and I’ll have to rewrite the entire thing from chapter two onward.

Ah well. Live and learn.

Today I will start book 3, Cheyna and the Doorway to Everland. I’m also prepping for Orycon in Portland, OR on Friday and gearing up to do a big attempt at marketing The Wicked Witch of Whatever. Yes. I am talking about marketing. But not until December.

So, it’s halfway to the end of NaNo and I’ve only finished two books. Maybe six was asking too much of this non-Figment body– and that’s okay. I’ll keep writing through December 15th to get as far as I can on first drafts. Theoretically, I should be able to do all six by then. It doesn’t take into account my steadily growing hours at the day job (retail-associated), but I can work around that. I think.

So, onward and upward. Moving on.

How’s your writing going? Are you halfway or better on your goals?

NaNoWriMo: Day 13 (81,953)

NaNoWriMo2016I finally got my mojo back (or rested up enough) to get some serious wordage in yesterday. It didn’t start off the best, though.

First, I went to an in-person write-in because I’m trying to be social for this event and I no longer belong to a certain group that has provided all my social interaction without leaving the house. Also, the in-person event had pastries. But mostly social, really.

When I got there and set up all the way, I discovered I was missing all 1k words from Friday. Now it was only 1k, but it was a hard 1k. I fought for that 1k. I bled (just a little) for that 1k.

I searched all three backup locations. No 1k.

Then I had a thought: what if it was still on the home computer under autosave? So I left the write-in, took a Pokémon Go detour, and then checked the home computer. Huzzah! All the words were there! And I had pastry, which was bonus.

Then, finally, I got to writing, mixing it up with some offline stuff and quick bursts of exercise to combat the fluffy writer syndrome. I’m still not at epic levels, but I’m back to making progress. That’s what matters. I’m not just treading water.

I’ve set myself a big goal today: hit 100k and a double-NaNo. If I manage it, that would be almost 18k in a single day, which I haven’t managed yet. It would also be very close to finishing a second book.

There are social obligations today. There’s a halfway event. I may or may not make it. But at least I have something to shoot for.

What’s inspiring me today? A little lemon-ginseng tea, this Doctor Who word crawl, and this Doctor Who epic soundtrack on endless repeat. Also, maybe regular yoga, because the body is weak and the letter orange, because life is short and should be laughed at.

What’s inspiring you?

NaNoWriMo: Day 12 (75,091)

NaNoWriMo2016I don’t feel like writing today. Actually, I don’t feel like being today.

People on social media have caused so much furor that I’ve stopped reading or posting anything that doesn’t post there automatically. I’ve considered giving up my attempt at Real Person status. Then I considered trying to be a Real Person somewhere else. Then I just considered no longer being.

Yeah, that’s where all you angry, hateful people are pushing me, and I suppose I’m not even considered one of the endangered groups.

So, no social media. I won’t be replying. I’m a sensitive soul and the majority of those posting are either jerks or chicken littles. The sky is not falling. The presidency hasn’t even changed hands yet. But I see people talking about moving, about seceding, about suicide, about revolution, and about ignoring how the Constitution is set up because it didn’t suit their definition of who should win.

The moderate people have just gone away entirely so we don’t get branded with the very large irons that are being handed out.

And that’s as much politics as I’m going to go into– or follow– for some time. Since I’m a Figment, maybe I’ll just make up my own country and go there. I’m certainly not proud to call this my Real Person home right now.

So I’ll go back to writing. There is a heavy satire in the works if I can handle the backlash. Otherwise, Figments, Bobian… I’ll live in my own fantasies. Now I just need to defeat the stubborn construction ninjas so I can get in more than 30 minutes of writing time. Which is why I only have 1002 words yesterday (not even a NaNo-goal standard) and why I will be spending all day holed up somewhere writing a lot more words. A lot.

Maybe words will at least make me want to stick around long enough to finish this book. And the next one.

NaNoWriMo: Day 10 (74,088)

NaNoWriMo2016I slowed way down yesterday. Way down. Like, I hit the accelerator and was going 60, then I slammed on the brakes at the first light.

At least I was wearing my seat belt.

Yesterday was day 10, 1/3 of the way into the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who are despairing that you still have 2/3’s of the challenge left to go, let me comfort you with knowledge of my distress: I am not done with high word counts until all six books have a first draft. I’m still on the second book. And today I start my newest day job, which will involve 11 hours of being on my feet with no access to a computer anywhere.

Am I still gonna write? Of course.

I’m taking the laptop and I’ll write during lunch. I’m going to write now, at 3:30 am, before I get in the car for my commute.

Because, for me, it’s not about winning NaNoWriMo. I’ve done that. It’s about meeting my personal goals.

So before you go another third through NaNoMonth, figure out what your personal goals are. Do you want the 50k win? More? Less? Maybe you just want to be sure you write every single day? Whatever it is, figure it out before you go any further. Because winning NaNoWriMo is awesome, but making your own personal goals is epic.

Off for my words. You’re on your own now. Don’t blow up the universe before I get back and go thank a service person. You are here because they were there.

NaNoWriMo: Day 10 (71,772)

NaNoWriMo2016Why, oh why, did I decide to be Real when I did this year’s NaNo?

My eyes hurt. My wrists/ hands/ fingers hurt. I have a niggling pain in my left elbow.  Yesterday I decided I was getting too fluffy, so I started amping up my exercise, so everything else hurts, too.

This means you’re getting a short blog post today. If I added all my blog posts to my word count, I’d have another 5k. I could really use that additional 5k right now.

So, here is what I have to say to inspire you:

I wish I could say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn’t be [my] style.
Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory… lasts forever.
– Shane Falco (aka Keanu Reeves), The Replacements

I have no idea why I should care that baby birds like scars– and I don’t plan to get any while I’m writing. But the discomfort will pass. The tired will pass. When I’m finished, I will have glorious (and vomitous) words to edit. Words– and glory– last forever.

So go out there today and make a little bit of forever. But scars are kind of gross, really, so make forever without damaging your body.

I believe in you.

NaNoWriMo: Day 9 (63,782 words)- BackUp Your Work!

NaNoWriMo2016A Cautionary Poem

We backup to our hard drive;
We backup to our mail.
We backup without thinking;
We backup without fail.

We backup to a DropBox
Or similar device;
We backup to a flash drive;
We even backup twice.

We send it to our family;
We send it to our friends.
They send restraining orders
And then the fun begins.

Unless you like retyping
A thousand words or more
Backup your words this instant
I beg, beseech, implore.

Backup when you’re done writing;
Backup the in-between.
Backup before web browsing;
Backup your words, your dreams.

If you forget to backup
(And everybody does)
Then post this short reminder
Wherever you have cause.

And now I’m off to backup
My own words places three,
And life will be less stressful
If you backup like me.

My computer had major issues yesterday. Major, won’t boot, issues. Fortunately, I had saved all my work for the day on a flash drive, so I wasn’t worried about losing my progress. Unfortunately, it limited how much I wrote for the day.

Off to make up for the loss. Go back up your work, then get writing.

NaNoWriMo: Day 8 (59,787)- The Healthy Edition

NaNoWriMo2016I kept running into that wall yesterday, so I finally cut myself a little slack. I went and played four miles of Pokémon and watched football (and was quite disappointed that only a couple of players seemed to use their feet) and went to bed early instead of obsessing about word counts. I’m behind… and that’s okay.

When I committed myself to crazy word counts for this NaNoWriMo season, I promised I would also practice self-care. I wanted a real body– to be a Real Person– I was certainly going to take care of it.

That’s harder than you would think when every instinct you have says to sit in the chair for 12-14 hours a day.

But I have mostly been managing it, other than being a little behind on cardio exercise. It helped that I started with a plan:

  • Every morning I get up, make a big cup of tea (I cheated once and had coffee instead and felt less hydrated all day). I take a probiotic, a multi-vitamin high on Omega-3s, and (because I’m a Figment trying to turn real), a special vitamin for skin, hair and nails. (You have no idea how funny you look without those three things until you don’t have them).
  • Most mornings (I have been lax at times), I then do fifteen minutes of yoga or strength training, followed by five minutes of meditation.
  • Then I do this blog.

What does this do? Well, I start off hydrated and, by holding off my caffeine (and sugar), I don’t head toward an energy crash until later in the day. The vitamins help make up for those times when, instead of eating a real lunch, I grab a pastry from the coffee shop (where I’m having my coffee with too much sweet stuff). Starting out with exercise stretches out all the kinks from the day before and means I’ll get some exercise no matter how distracted I get by all the glorious words flowing from my fingertips. The meditation and blog get my mind in the right place to have a good, productive day.

I also throw in a few other things, already planned for:

  • I’m rather addicted to Pokémon Go, so I get in some walking on a daily basis. Unfortunately, it’s often slow walking, as our area is inundated with gyms, poke stops, and creatures, so it doesn’t count as true cardio, but it does count as exercise.
  • Other than lunches, my meals are planned out and healthy. I have a pre-planned grocery list for each week. I really don’t have to think about what I’m going to eat, so I eat what I should.
  • I have no snack/ junk food in my place of residence. This does not stop the siren call of num-nums when I’m out at a write-in or escaping the construction ninjas, but it still helps.
  • I use this wonderful stuff called Arnicare Gel to massage my hands daily. I’m sure just the massage does wonder (as do breaks),  but the gel works well for me. Don’t take just my word for it, though. WebMD says: “Early research shows that using an arnica gel product (A. Vogel Arnica Gel, Bioforce AG, Switzerland) twice daily for 3 weeks reduces pain and stiffness and improves function in people with osteoarthritis in the hand or knee. Other research shows that using the same gel works as well as the painkiller ibuprofen in reducing pain and improving function in the hands.”
  • I use a Pomodoro-style timer (25 minutes work, 5 minutes break) or word crawls to do my writing. Yes, it’s hard sometimes to stop mid-creative flow, but the frequent breaks give my eyes and hands a boost. I also find that stopping mid-thought sometimes makes it easier to start up again.
  • I’ve planned on down-time/ social time. Sometimes this is just going to the local write-in. Sometimes it’s taking a walk (see Pokémon). Sometimes I even let myself watch one (just one!) episode of television.

Even if you haven’t already been taking care of yourself, it’s not too late to start. Remember, the words will be there whether you write them in November or January. If you damage your body– assuming you’re not a Figment– you’re stuck with that damage forever.

How do you care for yourself?

NaNoWriMo: Day 7 (55,802)

NaNoWriMo2016I have run into a wall… and it wasn’t all friendly-like.

Sundays are traditionally a recharge day for me, but it’s NaNo. Recharge means I wrote a little over 4k, finished up the cover and formatting for The Wicked Witch of Whatever, and hit the shiny “publish” button.

Today, I don’t want to write.

And this is honestly the thing that will separate me from the pack when it come to the long-term. Because I’m going to sit my rather fluffy butt in the chair and write anyway. I may grouse. I may kill off Eric in new and exciting ways. I may even deny the Bobian (and myself) ice cream.

But I’m going to write.

Take a chill pill, those of you who just went all full-defensive.  There’s no judgement in this. The only writer I get to judge is myself. But I want to be a full-time Writer. (I also want to be a Real Person, but that’s a different blog post.) Are there writers who manage a good living without writing when they don’t want to? Absolutely. But there are more who make themselves write when they don’t want to, because the road to success isn’t paved by Muses, it’s paved with sweat, tears, and the blood of our Characters.

So I’m off to write some words. Actually, I’m off to write a lot of words. Hopefully that inspires you. If it threatens you, why? We have the same 24 hours in a day (except on the days I cheat and write myself into a world with 37-hour days… you didn’t read that).

Yes… but you get to write full-time.  Actually, I write full-time now and then, but a Figment who wants to be Real has to spend time at a day job, same as most of us. I have orientation for a new job today.

Yes… but you don’t have babies or toddlers or small demon spawn running around. I don’t, but I have done time in the world of parental units. When I did, I wrote during naptimes. I got up early. I settled for smaller word counts. But I wrote a little every day… and the experience added up, even when the words were unusable.

Yes… but you aren’t as sick as I am/ don’t have my mental illness/ seem perfectly healthy. First of all, I work really hard to seem this healthy, both mentally and physically. In fact, tomorrow I’ll post about that. But I have dental issues, eye issues, ulcerative colitis, the niggling start of what may be rheumatoid arthritis, and a few other concerns that I can’t get into a doctor to work on because, well, I don’t have a regular full-time job with insurance. I also struggle with being overly sensitive behind this debonair, devil-may-care exterior and suffer from depression, especially in the fall months when all the glorious sunshine takes a vacation somewhere else. Helen Keller wrote books, blind and deaf. Stephen Hawking wrote books and he has trouble with basic functionality. An excuse is an excuse is an excuse. (Also, if you’re creating yourself as a Real Person, only add in so much angst. Yes, it makes you a better writer, but it wastes so much perfectly good writing time.)

So, get off your “yes… buts” and get on your writerly butt and write some words. Or don’t. But don’t come whining to me about it. I’m busy writing.