Halfway 365k365day Update

It’s one of those mornings when my eyes continue to burn with sleep even though my mind wants to be awake. Those are almost more difficult than the other way around. When your mind is asleep but your body is awake, there are numerous things you can do until it catches up. This tends to just make me feel restless.

My 365k365day challenge has not been going well. I’ve barely written anything for the past few months, and even my updates about it have been neglected. Although it’s pretty pointless to update if I haven’t written anything. More than anything else I’ve done journaling, ranting, brain-dumping sort of writing, which is sometimes necessary to clear a bunch of crap out of your mind. At this point I am VERY behind in my word count, and I’ll only be able to catch up if I am very diligent about writing every single day from now until 2016. This may not be possible. There’s a good chance I might not reach 365k, but if I can manage 200 that’s still quite a bit for me. Maybe next year I can do better.

I’ve had a thousand million thoughts, tons of writing ideas–most of them I’m sure have been not as good as they seem in the moment so it’s probably a good thing I can’t remember them–but they never seem to get on the page. I tend to get ideas when I’m in the middle of doing something else, and I have never been one to stop everything to write down my ideas. When I was younger, I remembered most of them anyway. Maybe I’m getting too old to keep track of ideas? Well, I have though a few times about started to do that–interrupting whatever I’m doing to record my writing idea–but I already have trouble paying attention to things lately, and I don’t think this would help. It would probably tempt me to go work on the writing instead of whatever obligatory thing I was already doing.

When I DO remember, I have a hard time placing the piece. I can’t figure out where it belongs. Should I publish it on this blog, my other blog, or submit it to some other website for publication? And then somehow the whole thing gets lost in the dark maze of my brain…

I’m slowly trying to train myself to have better habits, so that I can stop wasting so much time. It’s a process though, and it’s one that backtracks a lot. There’s no smooth path to becoming truly productive…

Another Reason Not to Procrastinate

I have a habit of procrastinating. I’m not embarrassed to admit this because almost everyone does it. If I have a clear deadline or specific duties that need to be done at certain times I do them, but outside of that it can take me a really long time to get going. In other words, I fulfill my obligations and commitments but it can be very hard to get things done if there is not any set commitment…

Bookmarking sites are a great invention. You can make a note of websites or articles that interested you and come back to them later. Much later. Like, months after you intended to. One of the bookmarking apps I use has a number of sites marked that I had intended to blog about. Some of them have been up there for a long time. At this point I can go back and read/look at them, of course, but good luck remember what it was I initially wanted to say about it. Good luck recalling that spark of an idea that made it feel significant enough to bookmark. It may come back upon reading the site; it may not. It’s a mystery and a gamble.

If I had read them right away, or, say, within a week, I might have written something poignant and thoughtful. Chances are if I try now what comes out could very well be half-formed and short of that original point that came to me way back when. Of course, since I can’t really remember the ideas, I can’t prove they weren’t terrible ideas to begin with. But now I’ll never know, because I procrastinated for too long.

Bookmarking is an excellent way to procrastinate because it makes it very easy to forget about things.

Writing Update: Quarter 1

I think I’ve decided that having a quarterly check-in about my writing goals would be a good idea. Perhaps I’ll change my mind before too long, but for now that is what I’ll do.

March is very quickly ending, thus the first quarter is as well. I don’t have good news, unfortunately. If you have read my previous posts this year, you may know that I did okay in January, although not meeting the daily goal for the whole month, but hardly wrote anything in February. This trend continued in March. I could detail the reasons that I didn’t have the time, talk all about the circumstances I’ve been dealing with lately, but it is really just excuses. If I’m being completely honest, I think I haven’t been writing because it takes a lot of discipline, a conscious effort to MAKE time for it. Apparently, I haven’t been doing that.

The minimal word count I did complete (only a few days of writing out the entire month) consisted of blog posts and work on the same Sleeping Beauty retelling I have already talked about. For a while I was quite stalled on that story, but I decided to go back to it and move on to the more interesting parts, and figure out that whole post-exposition, pre-action section in the next draft. Or perhaps all of that is exposition.

I’m a little worried that I’ll finish it and determine that while it has points of interest, as a novel it will not be of great interest to readers. I mean that the people who read it will enjoy it a lot, not that a lot of people will read it… I think that I have a bit of a tendency to stick to my original story ideas as far as plot goes, where I should be learning to make better adjustments so that it’s just a better story. This can sometimes result in a story saying something very different than what you originally intended. Sometimes that’s a problem, and sometimes it’s okay.

I have a few days left in March and I do plan to get some writing in, but the most urgent thing right now is some spring cleaning. I’ve got much to organize, throw away, and clear out. I’m very, very behind in the 365k challenge, in terms of what my total word count should be. In February I didn’t mind this, but now it’s been going on much too long.

Would it be  so terrible if I don’t make the 365,000 word goal at the end of the year? No, not really. Not finishing would not affect my life much, really. But it would most certainly be fantastic to meet that goal, or even exceed it. Finishing would affect my life, even if only in the sense of developing better writing habits. I think that’s worth the effort.

Me, of Late

Well… picture me heaving a huge sigh. I would say “throwing my hands up in resignation,” but that’s such a cliched phrase, and also I don’t actually do that. But I do sigh a lot.

Instead of being productive and getting all that stuff done that I would love to do if I felt motivated, I’ve mostly been:

drinking too much coffee;

sleeping in an extra hour or two;

watching too much Netflix, youtube, etc.;

spending too much on food;

crying;

making messes.

I’ve been reading, but not writing, and, more than anything else, wondering when I’ll have enough time and/or energy to start doing the things I really want to do in life. Like learning guitar and studying languages. Applying for writers’ residencies (they have them for unpublished writers, right?). Figuring out how all the features of my camera work. It’s not even a fancy camera, it’s just a basic digital one, but for some reason it’s not functioning as it claimed it would.

I know I should start with the “spring cleaning” purge of all the stuff that’s collected over the past year or so that I have been intending to throw away or give away or sell. I want to sell some things because I need money, but I think that might be more trouble than it’s worth, since I don’t really own anything valuable.

I wrote a poem last night, but it’s rather private and I don’t want to share it. But at least I did write something. Better than nothing at all. Or… that’s what they say, although really it’s almost as if I wrote nothing at all.

Do you ever wonder why you love the thing you love but then you never feel like doing it?

Recent writing update

End update.

Not much to say on that front. What was true before is still true now. Not a lot of extra time, lack of deadlines… I did manage to complete my futon, so I do have a better writing station at home. I was hoping that would help, but so far it hasn’t done much for my productivity. My room looks much better, though.

If you could do me a favor, show up, bop me on the head, shout,

“write!”

And then leave, it would probably help a lot. Think about it.

Thanks, Mayans…

Life is a strange, quickly-moving thing. Insert Ferris Bueller’s Day Off quote here…

As a result, writing is not getting done. And I’m not too happy about it.

I’m excellent at making plans for writing, and these plans tend to be reasonable and would result in productivity and timely creation of projects. If I could ever get myself to stick to these plans.

My problem is the lack of a deadline. I need real deadlines set by someone other than myself in order to really get to work. I could impose a deadline on myself, it’s true, but I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work. I know why – it’s because the only consequence of not getting my writing done by the date I set is not getting published … which, somehow, is just not enough of an incentive. Perhaps because there’s no guarantee that I will ever get my work published – outside of self-publishing, that is.

This mostly just adds to my original point. I wanted to self-publish a novel this year, and I have yet to do the necessary research on self-publishing to know what the steps are after the straightforward part – the writing. (That’s a joke, by the way.) I have barely done any work on the project I plan to publish, and at this rate it doesn’t even seem likely that I’ll be done with the first draft by the end of this year.

 

And since the world is ending this year, I guess that means I just won’t ever be published… thanks, Mayans. You have just crushed my dreams.

(That was also a joke.)

End Times!

The new year’s almost here. Time for a writing update.

Anyone remember this post? Here’s the follow-up on that… the answer is no, I did not make a Twitter account and enter this contest. I did intend to, but when I was reading the prompt, I couldn’t come up with any ideas that worked with their theme – at least, nothing that would have been interesting or original. Nothing I’ve already written would have worked. So I left that one aside, and procrastinated on my other writing instead.

Also, in reference to that post, I want to apologize to Twitter users… it may have come across that I think using Twitter is in some way reprehensible (and I guess that would depend entirely on how you use it), and that’s not what I meant. If you like Twitter, good for you. I just don’t feel like it’s for me, at least not for now.

As for my other writing, you’ve already seen most of what I’ve worked on lately. I posted it here. I fully intend to start working on some of my bigger projects again soon, and some of the short stories I’ve been looking at more recently. Biggest frustration at the moment, other than the m key that sticks, is the missing flash drive. I’m pretty sure it’s not going to turn up at this point, and in any case I can’t wait until it does. I’m kind of pissed, actually, because I was sure I had printed out the revised versions of the Krishna stories, but I can only find the first draft versions. Now I have to do the second drafts over again. And I had at least two of the stories just the way I wanted them. Goddamnit.

But not all is bad. I had a pretty great Christmas. I have a few cool new books to inspire me, a nice stash of chocolate, some new music to write to, and a smartphone – so now I can check my blog when I’m not at home. If I’m inspired when I’m out, I can post right away, and then obsessively keep track of how many views I’m getting. Sounds awesome, right?

The F*&%#ing Flash Drive…

As you may have guessed, I still have not returned to anything resembling productivity when it comes to writing. (Or anything else, really, but let’s not go into that…) So, it’s going to be a while before I have any big posts, whether it be in publishing news or fiction longer than a few paragraphs. You don’t mind, do you?

I probably mentioned my lost flash drive in some previous post or other. Still isn’t found. This has been a hugely disheartening setback. I was nearly prepared, or preparing, to submit my mythology project, The Universe Through Their Mouths, to publishers, contests, and/or agents (have not yet decided if I want to pursue getting an agent). And now I’m brought back to the point of only having first drafts which need substantial work – which I have already done once – before I can send them out. Having spent so many hours and so much effort working on those stories already, I am so frustrated at the thought of doing it again that I haven’t started yet.

Not sure what else is on that flash drive and not saved anywhere else. I don’t think there was anything else quite so important. I hold two fervent hopes in my mind. 1) That I will, somehow, find this fucking flash drive again, and before I’ve had a chance to do my re-revising of those five stories. 2) That if someone came across that flash drive (presumably if they have and were planning to give it back, they would have already), they deleted my files. The thought of some random stranger having access to that stuff without my knowledge bothers me more than the thought of never getting the drive back.

The good news:

(You are now thinking, Thank god there’s good news. I don’t want to come read this blog just to hear this girl whine about her “misfortunes”)

The forty-five or so pages of my Sleeping Beauty retelling made it onto my external hard drive, so I haven’t lost that. Really good thing, too. That was just a breakdown in the making… And I have a feeling that I’ll be working on that soon.

I have also found that the file in which I typed up Beauty and the Beast is not lost. I’m on a fairy tale kick at the moment, so I’m likely to start working on revising that one. I think it has a good chance for getting published, and if I send it out and only come up with a bunch of rejections, I will be posting it on the blog. So, you will be able to read it. It’s a very different version of the story, pretty dark and rather poetical in the language. Is poetical actually a word? I’ve heard it used, but then, I’ve also heard “subliminable,” so you never know. If you happen to know for a fact whether “poetical” is a word, please comment.

I haven’t done any more work on Helen, for anyone who’s wondering, and am not likely to any time soon. That said, if you haven’t read the first two chapters, posted in several places on the blog, go ahead! All evidence so far would suggest you’ll like it.

Thanks for reading!

A Langston Hughes Poem

You know the one – it starts “Hold fast to dreams…”

It’s terrible, what we do. We have these dreams, and we let them fall to the wayside as life gets in the way. It doesn’t matter what we really want, because the culmination of our dreams feels so far away that pursuing them just seems pointless – or, at the least, like something that we can just get around to eventually. …Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t say “we,” I should just speak for myself. This is what happens to my dreams.

Dreams are like that cup of coffee you accidentally left on top of the car before driving on the highway. You’re going to have to get another cup, because you’re never getting that one back.

Outside my window, a tree full of green leaves stands out against brick buildings and a uniformly gray sky. I want to be walking the peaceful streets of Cork, back when I was 21 and newly heartbroken and still having an amazing time in Ireland, the one place I had always wanted to go. What would happen if I picked up and moved to Ireland? I mean, aside from having no job and no money and ending up living in a field with a whole lot of sheep – what would my life be if I made that decision? Sometimes I wonder if there could be some way, of which I know nothing, that would make it possible. And as lonely and pained as I would be to once again be somewhere I have no friends or family, I bet I would do it. Ireland calls to me, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get back.

November, In Closing

In a few short hours – but not any shorter than any other hours, of course – November will be over. Finally…

Although I’m glad December is just around the corner, I do have one small regret… I didn’t actually meet any of my November writing goals. If you missed them, or don’t remember them, you can read about them in this post.

I certainly still intend to do these things at some point, but I do feel a little bit like I let an opportunity slip away by not using NaNoWriMo to devote myself to writing. I’m tired of attempting to justify (mostly to myself) the wasted time, and I’m tired of getting so little writing done. But why am I telling you this? It’s my problem – one I’m unlikely to solve any time soon.

I did manage to finish Chapter 2 of Helen, and although that is far behind where I wanted to be, it’s something anyway. I didn’t finish any of the short stories or write my synopsis or work at all on my fairy tales. I have not yet done the cursory edit of chapter 2 either – I’ll try to get to that in the next few days so you can read it.

Generally, there is more bad than good to my Novembers. Maybe next year…