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 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.

NaNoWriMo: Day 4 Pep Talk

NaNoWriMo2016

I’ve had a few writers tell me that my word count intimidates them (although I know others who have even higher totals). That made me think: is trying to achieve a high word count actually hurting someone else’s journey?

No. I finally settled on no.

We’re not all running the same race here. Some of you are brand new writers, trying out this adventure for the first time. Some of you just do it for fun. And some of us, well, we write every single day and need to hit milestones in order to make deadlines.

Since I’m already using a running analogy, let’s take it a step further.

When kids are young, they to love to race just for the fun of it. We cheer for them even though we could beat them every time– walking. They are doing great for where they are at.

I don’t run competitively anymore, but I like to get out and run just for the fun of it. I still set myself a goal, like “under ten minute per mile” or something, but if I don’t hit it, it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the run. I’m there for the exercise and the enjoyment.

On the other hand, I follow Sara Hall, an Olympic-level marathoner, on social media. When she goes out to run (every single day), she has a plan, a goal, and a reason for it. I will never hit her speeds or her miles…and that’s OK! Our reasons for running, our experience, and our talents… all different. We’re still both runners and we’re still hitting our goals.

So whether you’re a toddling runner taking your first jaunt around the block, a casual runner out for a chat and dash, or a marathoner trying for a PR (personal record), I’m here cheering for you on the sidelines. Or the track. Whatever. You know what I mean.

Now go write so I can cheer!

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

NaNoWriMo2016I am just shy of halfway to finishing official NaNo: 24,718 words. I was going to try for the extra 300-ish words last night, but I was completely out of juice. I had managed a one-hour walk out in the cold and rain as well as attended my first write-in.  I’m working hard on my NaNoBingo card; as soon as I have a win, I’ll post a picture of it here. I’m going for a blackout, but we’ll see. Maybe one kind of over-achieving is enough. (Nah!)

Today, I’ll be starting out with this word crawl to get my blood flowing (as if situps, pull-backs, and toe taps weren’t enough) and this awesome music played on listenonrepeat.com. I may choose a different song from this CD for each day in this book.

Which reminds me (in an oblique way): I think I might put together my own Captain America: Civil War word crawl. I think it would be fun and I don’t see one out there (although maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough because I want to do one.

Also, the goal today is to beat yesterday’s word count, so at least 13k in the books by bedtime. There’s also a pesky Real Life day job interview in there, a *sniff* shower, more exercise, and another write-in.

Good luck to you today, WriMos! Don’t let my over-achieving stop you from getting out there and putting your words on paper. Remember, even if I’m just a Figment, I also do this all the time, so I have a muscle built up. I’m that annoying person in yoga class who does all the poses and asks for more. You may not be yet. But you can. Just keep writing. Build that habit and that muscle!

Ooh, look at that. A pep talk. Now that I’m all peppy, it’s time to take my sweet and spicy tea and my music and get a little groove going. See you on the other side!

Monday Motivation: #BeTheLight

Chess Board - TwitterI’m a humor writer. This means I’m funny, all the time, upbeat, and smiling.

Wrong.

I’m a humor writer. This means I use humor to deal with the tougher things in life, whether it’s the pain of watching someone decline from Alzheimer’s or tough topics like divorce, abuse, and bullying. It means humor is my triage for life.

Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of real life stuff lately and I seem to have lost my ride back to the Figments world (who closed that plot hole?). That makes writing humor harder– and more necessary– than ever.

You would think a humor writer would always have jokes on the tip of his tongue, but I’m a terrible joke teller. Two Figments walk into a bar. One ends up with an en-dash; the other an em-dash.

Not very funny.

My humor tends to be from life. But we need more humor out there, so I’m going to ask for your help.

On 7/14 (that’s Thursday, for those who do dates flipped around as 14July), spread humor on social media. Funny cat videos (because who doesn’t like laughing at cats when they use up one of their nine lives?), personal anecdotes, or just silly jokes. Share them everywhere. FLOOD media and social media with the funniest things you can find.  Tag them with #BeTheLight

Will this solve anything? No. It won’t. But when we can laugh, we can break out of the cycle of anger, hurt, and hate that we get dialed into. We can find a smile, which raises endorphins, which makes us feel good… so we want to be nice to others.

That’s actual science there. Don’t get used to it on this blog.

Spread this. Spread it thick, like peanut butter on a PB and porcupine sandwich (de-quill first). I don’t care if you track it to me. Just get it out there and get someone laughing.

As the second part to this, don’t share anything sad, mad, bad (or ads?) on 14July either. No matter how tempting it may be to share the latest news (and, of course, your opinion about said news), let it go for one day.

#BeTheLight and change the world, just for one day.

Here. I’ll start things out:

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Banana.”

Banana who?

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Banana.”

Banana who?

“Knock, knock.”

Who’s there?

“Orange.”

Orange who?

“Orange you glad I didn’t say ‘banana’?”

I told you I wasn’t good at jokes. Hey, I tried. It was better than that limerick…

Go out. Be a light. Make someone smile on 14 July. Better yet, make ’em laugh.

#BeTheLight

Why on Wednesday: Why Are YOU Writing?

Chess Board - TwitterThere’s a crazy notion out there right now that everyone should publish a book. I’d like to break this down logically, but I’m a Figment, so I’ll break it down Figment-logically:

  1. Everyone should birth a baby. Yeah, that makes sense. Those who can’t birth a baby (men, women with fertility issues, small children, the elderly, aliens, and animals), those who don’t want to birth a baby, and those who shouldn’t birth a baby makes a pretty compelling argument against this. The same thing goes for book publishing: some can’t (lack of skills, finances, commitment, etc.); some don’t want to (which is perfectly valid); and some simply shouldn’t (I’ve read a few published “books” I wish hadn’t been published because… ugh).
  2. Everyone should sell a piece of art/ craft work. Really? Because not everyone will ever be good enough to sell something.
  3. Everyone should become a rocket scientist/ brain surgeon/ marathoner/ concert pianist.  All ridiculous, right?

I am not saying people shouldn’t write. Everyone should write. Anyone who wants to should write a book. Hurrah! I’m also not saying we should stop anyone from writing a book or publishing it.

But there’s a big push out there to get everyone to publish a book. It comes from companies that make good money off fledgling authors. I do not think it comes from anyone wanting the best for someone. It’s not in everyone’s best interests to publish a pile of steaming vomit mixed with crap spew. It’s, in fact, not in anyone’s best interests.

So, that brings me to that big question: why do you write?

  • Enjoyment
  • Mental stability/ emotional release
  • Growth/ learning
  • Memoir/ memory aid
  • Publication

There’s a lot of reasons (including many I didn’t list) to write, and most of them don’t lead to publication.

If you want to publish– especially if you want to be a “professional writer”– you should treat it with the same seriousness, the same intensity, that you would treat becoming a brain surgeon/ rocket scientist/ marathoner/ concert pianist. It’s a job, even if it’s not the job that’s paying the bills.

But if you just want to write to write to write to write (I got a little carried away there), then, please, write! Write to the sun and beyond. Enjoy that writing.

I’m not going to stop anyone from publishing. I’m just going to ask that you treat my career choice with the same respect you want yours given.