Finding my flaws

Yesterday I went through all the half-novels, unfinished short stories, and other writings in my giant folder of Writing from the last 20 years and made a list of where I stopped in each and every case. Because I always stop before I am done with a story. I never, ever finish one. Oh, I have endings written, I just don’t carry through on the other bits…and I wanted to see what those stumbling blocks were.

In the beginning, it was actually writing that got me stopped. I outlined, wrote character sketches, started world building. I wrote a couple scenes within each story and an ending and then stopped and moved on to another idea.

Ten years ago, I would write and write without an outline. I had beginnings, middles, ends, but no transition scenes and no climax written.

In the last five years, I was outlining, world building, character sketching. and writing stories chronologically as they came in the novels, but then quit just as the climax of the novel came. I’d skip over it, then write a quick ending, and move on to the next book.

So looking back at my lists, I see a pattern: I don’t know how to write the climax scenes. I was talking about it with an indulgent friend who lets me talk about everything and in talking I realized that that is the part of books that when I’m reading them, I skim through them. I want to know the ending so bad that I don’t pay close attention to how they got there. I just want the end. And I’m like that in real life as well; if there is any way I can avoid a conflict, I will.

So now I know what I need to to work on. I am spending this morning going through all the writing books I own to find sections on writing climaxes and if I don’t find anything (I haven’t so far in 4 books), I will go out an buy another book. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Hello, hello.

I know, you’ve forgotten I exist, or I’ve forgotten I exist, or something like that.

Last time I wrote here (a year and a half ago. Yipes!), I was starting Novel in 90. It went really well, I nearly finished that novel, I started outlining for the next, life was going well. Then school ended, several financially horrifying things happened in real life, and we spent a LOT of time trying to repair that situation. I did spend quite a bit of last fall writing and then dropped off in the new year again. I took a lot of time off to crochet and cross stitch and then end of the year PTA stuff took over. The summer was busy, filled with trips to Nashville and Wisconsin and summer camps and family reunions and prepping kids for new schools and one for his senior year of high school.

Last week hit hard with a new medical diagnosis (which I will write more on later); it was that kind of thing where you look at your life and go “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE!? I HAVE ALL THESE THINGS I WANT TO ACCOMPLISH AND I NEED TO STOP WASTING TIME AND START NOW!!” The biggest thing: WRITING.

So this week I am starting back to basics with writing. Yesterday I spent my “writing time” listening to podcasts about writing prep work, reading articles about getting your writing mojo back, and generally just dipping my toes in the water. This morning I installed Scrivener on the new computer (another one died last year) and am working my way through the tutorial for a refresher course and this afternoon I am doing a NANOWRIMO Prep Write-In.

Last Day of Effexor, Last Day of Therapy

So today is two big lasts: my last day being on Effexor and my last day of going to mental health therapy. It was completely random that they coincided like this.

 

So far, the drug transition has gone pretty well. I’m on week two of three. I see my regular doctor on Thursday about everything, but I think it’s gone pretty well. I had a few bad days and a few really good ones and several in between.

 

The therapy went really well, too. I’ve learned a lot more about myself and what I want and how to get there from here. My therapist was really great to work with and asked a lot of good questions that honestly if I’d been self-help-booking it I would have just glossed over and not answered. It’s important for me to have someone there looking at me waiting for an answer before my brain will provide me with one.

 

I have spent the last two weeks mostly avoiding the world, though. I haven’t done any writing at all (though plenty of daydreaming), or paying much attention to the calendar (sorry I missed a few things), and am at the whoa-nuke-my-email-inbox-and-start-over stage of emailing. Thankfully nearly all important things are texted or FB messaged these days. So if you’ve been waiting for an email response from me…well, try again through another method because I have totally just been deleting everything these days.

What else? This afternoon I start writing actual words again. Tonight I’ll work on a therapist-suggested daily schedule for writing/housework/hobbies. I’m also outlining a new chores/consequences schedule for the kids, since they have not been motivated by rewards (also therapist-suggested). Tomorrow I’ll put all that into motion.

I think that’s it. Whee! On to the writing….

Health updates

Yesterday I said I’d get some chronic-girl health updates done, but got bogged down in running kids here, there, and everywhere.

Rheumatoid Arthritis: I’ve had a few little flare-ups here and there, one bad enough to go on prednisone again for a taper. That seemed to do it for me, though, and although I’ve had ongoing knee pain, most everything else has been fairly okay.

Fibromyalgia: Stressed Lisa = tense muscles = twitching. It’s been bad, y’all. My left eye is the worst, then my upper right arm, then my left thigh. I have a sample of Lyrica that the doctor gave me, a month’s supply, but I’m just worried about the side-effects, so I haven’t taken it.

Migraines: Just one in the last couple months, which is quite lovely. I killed it with sleep.

Anxiety/Depression: Yesterday was an up and down kind of day. Sometimes I felt manic and anxiety-free and then I’d just spiral back down into sadness at the drop of a hat.

Day Four of Effexor/Trinellix transitioning: Today the vertigo and tummy troubles hit. Not so pleasant.

 

 

Transitioning from Effexor to Trintellix

As most of you know, I deal with both depression and anxiety disorder in my daily life. I’ve been on and off meds for them since I was about 16. The drug that worked the best and for the longest has been, up until recently, Effexor. It has reached the failure point, though. I keep going up on dosage and nothing happens.

So my doctors decided it was time to get me off the Effexor. I’ve gone off it once before, years and years ago, before they knew quite what an ordeal it was. I went off it basically cold-turkey then and spent several weeks thinking I was going crazy and writing poems about pain and darkness. It was delightful, really.

Now that the drug is not new, there’s a protocol for going off it and I am following that protocol. I started this week going down a notch on it and started taking the starting dose of my new medicine Trintellix alongside it.

Day One: Euphoria. It was like I was Harry Potter and I’d just taken the Felix Felicis potion. I could do no wrong. Everything felt right and good. I did a couple doctor visits, all the laundry, and the dishes. Got it all done quick and easily with energy to spare.

Day Two: The Utter Blackness of Despair. It started even before I’d properly woken up, that feeling of doubt so deep that even moving my foot to start getting out of the bed felt like I was making the worst decision of my life. My brain was telling me all the bad things that could go wrong every second of the whole day and reminding me of every mistake I have ever made. In addition to that loveliness, I felt like my blood had all been taken out and replaced with Listerine or Icy Hot. I was literally writhing in discomfort all day. I mostly wallowed around feeling awful, but did manage to get a few necessary things done, like calling and cancelling all those things we never use, like my gym membership, magazine subscriptions, etc.

Day Three: Seems to be a little bit of a combination of day one and two. I’m back to feeling a bit euphoric, like it might be a really good idea to drive to Frisco and shop at IKEA this afternoon before driving back home and picking up kids, but tempered by the brain whispers telling me that I need to have money in the bank to shop and that IKEA takes way longer than 90 minutes. So since I seem to have motivation again, I am spending the day writing and getting some random housework done before getting started on a cross-stitching project of the Star Wars logo.

 

Words, words, words

Yesterday I had no words left after a good week of writing. I decided to give myself the day off from writing and to let myself doing some story intake instead. So I watched bits and pieces of a few different things.

 

Today when writing time came, the writing came out like a deluge. I wrote about 1500 words in about 45 minutes. It was fantastic!

 

Then I spent some time perusing other writing projects I’d set aside and adding details into them and bringing their files up to date. During the digging through old files, I found a little chart I used to keep of how many words I wrote each day about 14 or so years ago. I never managed to get above 250 words at once.  I am doing so much better now! 🙂 I can usually do about 1000 words an hour these days.

 

Sometimes it is good to look back at old things. There were a few story ideas that I feel more than willing to tackle now that I didn’t feel like I knew enough about writing to do in the past.  I’m so excited that I’m back to writing and feel good about it again.

Too busy not to post

…or something like that…

Life moves very quickly. I don’t remember my last post, but I think it was before we left for the feast. We came home, washed clothes, and Nick was off again to the UK. So I’ve been being mama and daddy to my kiddos and trying to keep up.

I haven’t been reading books lately. There’s no time for that. But I have been reading articles interesting to me.  Some quotes I love from them….

  1. When we hold on to stuff just in case we might need it someday, we not only clutter our space, but also buy into poverty consciousness. Holding on to things we don’t use, or things that don’t work, reinforces the belief that we’re not capable to replace, borrow, or rent what we need when we need it.
  2. “I let go of my harmful habits, clearly seeing how they were forms of violence towards myself.”
  3. What I am recommending is traditionally called “finding yourself.” The difference is, there is no bohemian excess here, none of the “experiencing everything” that comprises nostalgiade la boue. It’s productive, constructive goofing-off.
  4. When you examine your procrastination, you get clear. You’re less reactive and more informed.

Since Nick’s been away, I’ve been cooking more, too.

Starting Over

I have a novel that I’ve been working my way through on and off for a couple years now. I like my characters, I like the setting, I have some great scenes, my brain keeps coming back to it, but something about it just hasn’t been working.

So this week I’ve taken some advice and am just starting over. I didn’t do anything drastic like throw away my notes or delete my files, but I have allowed myself just a little bit of re-imagining time with it. I’ve done a few exercises from The 90-Day Novel: Unlock the story within and am enjoying some new insights into my characters. I’ve also let myself start a new Scrivener file for it from the 7 Point Story Structure template I downloaded from The Self Publishing Toolkit several years ago.

I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Novel in 90 – Day Two

Today I got the rest of yesterday’s words done and went 47 over on today’s number of words as well. It’s going pretty well, although at one point Scrivener told me that I had written -22 words (I got rid of a terrible scene and replaced it with a better one that was apparently 22 words shorter than the original.)

2017-03-02-17-39-53

Ben caught me writing in the van on little bitty post-it notes. He thought I was crazy. I probably was…but I’d had thoughts and my little travel keyboard needed charging before it would connect with my iPhone and I was desperate. Six or seven post-its later and I was fine. 🙂

 

Now Writing!

During our writing retreat last weekend, Steph told me her writing group was doing Novel-in-90 starting March 1st, so I joined that community. Yesterday we started. I didn’t get as much done as I wanted because I was busy, busy, and more than busy, but I hope to make up for it today.

I am working this year mainly on the Magical PTA novel, which I started during a different Novel-in-90 with the same group of people a couple years ago. I’m about 25,000ish words into it already, as I obviously didn’t finish last time. Hoping to do much better this time around. 🙂