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…

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Time and Money, the Worst Things In the World

Ok, I know there’s a reason for the calendar to be the way it is, and it has to do with freaking SCIENCE – physics, calculations, earth’s rotations and revolutions. Nevermind that leap year thing, this is probably as close as they can get. But I can’t help feeling like they did it wrong, leaving us with a distinct lack of time to get anything done.

I mean, think about it. Wouldn’t it be great to have eight-day weeks–three-day weekends every single time–and five-week months? An extra weekend day to make trips and projects more doable. Another week’s pay before you have to shell out for all those bills. Yes. YES. What a glorious idea. It would make life so much easier. We can all relax now.

But it wouldn’t solve anything, really. The bills would just cost more, and the deadlines would be moved up, and we’d all be clamoring for FOUR-day weekends because those three days were spent on Netflix and we just need ONE MORE DAY and we’ll actually use it to get things done. Or so we say.

It’s not the calendar guys’ fault. It’s whoever decided that people should be constantly doing or paying for something. We should all just calm the hell down.

Holy Shit, November’s Over…

I officially bombed my unofficial NaNoWriMo. I had not expected to actually write 50,000 words, but I figured I’d at least get a little momentum. I literally worked on my novel ONE DAY this month. It’s really a good thing that I did not actually participate in National Novel Writing Month. Then my failure would be more than hypothetical.

It doesn’t matter much now, if I think about it… November’s over. However much writing I did not do in the past 30 (let’s just say the month is actually over) days is still left to do in the time coming up. So I’d better get fucking moving. If I don’t keep writing I feel like my head might explode.

I’m extremely unmotivated. Nothing inspires me anymore. I used to have this constant urge to write, but now my stories are like late births, huddled up in their wombs, going “It’s really warm in here. I think I’ll stay in a while longer.” It’s going to be a long labor, I think.

Sorry about that image. For some reason, I just watched What To Expect When You’re Expecting. It wasn’t that bad, actually, although I don’t think you could possibly enjoy it if you’re a man.

I have had a few sparks for flash pieces, my little micros that certain people are always saying are the beginning of a story… they’re the story. If you don’t like it, why are you reading micros? Unfortunately, those sparks are too personal, to fresh, and I don’t have the courage to put them out into the world. Most of the time. (Like, what if¬†someone actually understands what I’m saying, and all hell breaks loose? What am I supposed to do then? Am I supposed to say “Hey, it’s just fiction, calm down“? Yeah, okay. Good luck with that…)

 

Here’s to a better month in December. I am all out of optimism but somehow I can actually still hope. Yeah, I don’t understand it either.

Sleeping Beauty is waking up!

I am very very happy to report that I’ve made some headway in my retelling of Sleeping Beauty and the story is really starting to take shape! I am still regretting all the writing I didn’t do in February, considering how much farther I would be now, but I guess it was just one of those things that had to happen in its own time. I have a much clearer picture of everything now. I’m aching to go back and add all the things a reader needs from exposition. I have not decided whether I will do that before my first full revision, or as part of the “first draft” writing.

 

I can share one idea with you now: I was going to have the entire book be told from Ric’s point of view, but I had what I deemed a brilliant thought that I would do the first part from Ric’s point of view, the second from Elli’s (whose name might change), and then the final part from several different POVs, depending on whose story is resolving. (To remind yourself who these characters are, see this post.)

I’d love to hear what you think, but of course ultimately I will write it the way I think it feels right.

 

On a side note, spring is fighting its way forward and I’m very excited to put away my winter clothing! Crossing my fingers for an extended stretch of mild weather before it starts to get hot and summerly.

The Writing Life

Sadly, I don’t have any new work to post at the moment. I still haven’t written more in Helen since my last post, I’m only halfway through my latest short story, and everything else that is fit to see the e-sunlight will not be posted on this blog unless it’s rejected everywhere I submit it. With these unfortunate circumstances in mind, I’m afraid I’ll have to settle for posting writing-related personal news. Such a disappointment… or is it? I hope not.

 

As I was reconnecting with sites to which I had planned to submit writing, but had let fall to the wayside while I attempted to figure out life in Boston, I realized that it’s been a long while since I submitted anything. Luckily, I have now submitted one story to multiple literary sources, and I have plans for continuing submissions. Could this be it? Could this be the true beginning of my self-marketing endeavors? I have submitted writing before, but in a few-and-far-between manner. Never simultaneous submissions before, and never so close together even for different pieces. I’m excited about it. Even if these particular publications don’t opt to include my story in their collections, if I continue this way, something is bound to be published somewhere.

I have to admit that I have never felt so much like I have written stories that are truly good enough to submit to publishers, literary magazines, and/or contests. When I look back at a story I submitted to a contest 4 or more years ago, I shake my head at my naivety in thinking that it had a chance at winning. The writing was good, but the story was grossly incomplete. Now, I read the bios of the authors of pieces in online magazines and grimace to see all their publishing credits. It does make it seem as if you can’t get published until you’ve already been published – but that is just not true – there’s no way it can be true – and I refuse to believe it, or let it stop me.

I finally finished reading The Tale of Murasaki a week or two ago. It was a very good book, and I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ve just started reading Life of Pi, and although I know I’m late to the party (and I’ve only read about ten pages so far), I’m looking forward to finding out why everyone likes it so much. I’m considering writing a review of it when I’m done, just so I can pretend that I can actually spend time doing the things I really like to do. (e.g. Write critically about literature.)

My most recent peeve: I really, really need a workspace. I don’t have a desk, and if I did I would not have a place to put it – there is little enough space in my bedroom without adding more furniture, and no room anywhere else in the house. I could set up in the living room, where there’s an enormous table, but that table is usually covered in things and there is too much to distract me in the living room, like the television and the new feline addition to the house (she’s tiny and might have kitty ADHD). There are a few cafe/restaurants that have wifi and would possibly offer something like desk space, but as I am still very much unemployed, I cannot afford to use Panera as my office. What little money I have left would disappear in no time if I did. Now, it’s not that I absolutely can’t get work done while in a half-sitting, half lying-down position in bed with my laptop resting on my thighs – on the contrary, I’ve proven that I can. However, I would be many times more comfortable and productive with a work area, desk included, that I could depend on. If I had money, I would even consider renting office space. That, of course, would require a much more reliable income than what I’m likely to make outside of a full time job, where I would most likely have an office anyway.

Thanks for reading my ramblings. I suspect that, if you’re anything like me, you would rather read the creative pieces than blog posts about the writer. But then again, we live in a society that tends to be very interested in other people’s personal lives, so who knows. As you’ve born with this post, I will try very hard to have some creative work worth reading ready to post by the end of this week.

Helen Update

At last, a week later than desired, I feel like I’m starting to make actual progress on this story. I’m really digging in now. I’ve got it in my head. When I sit down at my computer I can write more than one sentence at a time. It feels good.

I forgot how much I dislike this “first draft” business. In some cases I do much preparation before writing, so that I won’t have to go back and edit in research and details. This time, I can tell that the story will be fleshed out quite a bit in the second draft stage. I suppose once I get used to the idea, I won’t think about it so much. For now it is a little distracting to think of how much will change later on. However, like many things I will push it out of my mind until I’m really truly focused on the writing alone.

If I keep up the current pace, I might finish Chapter 1 by the end of the weekend. I plan to post part or all of it, and I hope that I’ll get at least a few constructive comments… my biggest question for the chapter: do you get a sense of the character? (If you have to ask which character, you didn’t read very carefully.)

At the very least, I’m writing again, and enjoying it rather a lot.