It has been one full year since my mother died. One full year of holidays, birthdays, special events, a graduation…and no mom. I’ve picked up the phone dozens of times to tell her things and dozens of times to ask her things. Mostly I’ve just been sad. I took all the pills, talked to a therapist for weeks and weeks, and still the sadness kept being there. Which I knew. You knew. Everyone knew.
So I’d like to just put a giant Thank You to everyone that has walked through this year with us, holding us in their hearts. Thank you for loving us and putting up with us and listening to us babble incoherently at times. We couldn’t have made it through the year without you.
I spent the last week of November feverishly writing. I got up at 5am every day and wrote straight through until 7am, when I took a short break to go out and kiss my kids and help them find breakfast. Then I went back most mornings and wrote for another hour or two until it was time to visit my dad and sister, who were here for the week of Thanksgiving. Some evenings, I would come back and write even more. I had so much to catch up on. The last three days I wrote nearly 20,000 words, which is a huge stretch for me. I know I’m probably going to throw out the whole first chapter in edits, but right now I’m going to sit here and glow about having finished the first 50,000 words of this novel.
One of my best friends and I made books this weekend. She took a four-day workshop on it and graciously offered to have me down for the weekend and teach me her new skills. I forgot to take a picture of the book press, which is large, red, and dusty from having sat in someone’s workshop area for years.
Things I learned:
1. Glue is the foundation of all books. That and more glue. With some glue here and glue there. Also some paper.
2. I cannot cut the cardstock. Not at all. My friend ended up cutting it all. BUT she has a Cricut and we’re going to cut down some of her huge cardstock sheets to run them through the machine later. I folded all the paper in half, though.
3. Stabbing little holes in paper is fun! So much fun!
4. Sometimes you forget how many holes to make, so you have to improvise. We accidentally put in 5, but you need an even number in this style of book binding, so we put in another one at the bottom. We used variegated thread for our inner binding, which made it super festive.
5. Beeswax smells just like when you smush your face really deep into your cat and then try to breathe, but without all the fur up your nose.
6. There is no 6. 7. Waxing thread is also addictive. I don’t know why.
8. Sometimes you have the wrong sized paper for your interior. So then you need to cut it, but it is hard to do without the guillotine. You may try many things, like sanding the paper, cutting it with box cutters, or even using the dremel wood cutters. They will not work. They will also make the house smell weirdly burnt. Then you will go out to Wal-Mart really late at night and buy a guillotine. They are CHEAP. Start with that last step.
10. Bookbinding has a lot of waiting time while the press does its work. We watched irreverent feminist comedy specials on Netflix while we waited. You can watch whatever you want. 🙂
11. When putting the endpapers in, use the tiniest line of glue. We thought we had. We were wrong. Also, don’t use thin paper for the endpaper. Mine was a little too translucent. Steph’s was fine (a nice sage green, not pictured.)
12. Make a feature of a little error. My error was cutting the paper too close to a little signature spot on the paper. I ended up putting it on the front, where it looks like a cute little frill. We also learned that if you don’t like one side of your book, flip it the other way and make the back the front (my blue was crooked on one side. This side is much better.)
We had such a fun time making these little darlings! 🙂 12/10 would do it again.
A newish sort of friend <insert long, complicated story here> wanted to know what I do with my time at home writing. I felt like snarkily showing her one of those writing memes like this:
Instead I’ll just say it here. Some days “writing” is character sketching on an iPad version of a worksheet I like with an Apple pencil, some days “writing” is world building like literally making maps on a really cool website someone from writers group suggested, some days “writing” the world building looks more like answering a questionnaire about your imaginary country, some days “writing” is actually literally just writing on the novel, some days “writing” is doing a tarot spread for a character or Meyers-Briggs tests for recalcitrant characters that refuse to do anything useful, some days “writing” is writing poetry to use as hymns to be sung in the background of a scene that you wrote last year and put <insert words from hymn here>, sometimes “writing” is gathering up all my notes from my desk & purse notebook & van notebook & husband’s car & the table by my favorite green chair & the back of the kids band calendar & a bulletin from church and typing it all in or doing voice transcriptions because my hands hurt that day, some times “writing” is reading up on things I know I don’t do well enough or things that I see other people doing awesomely that I want to emulate or just re-reading my own stuff because I don’t remember where I was going with that bit of something in Chapter 3, sometimes “writing” is making the perfect playlist on Spotify for upcoming scenes that you know you won’t be able to write without intense music, sometimes “writing” is searching for stock photos of interesting people so you’ll know what a character looks like later on, some times writing is going to writer’s group or writing class and doing silly prompts and listening to other writers talk about their novels and writing and sharing tips and resources and lending each other books, and sometimes it’s just starting out the window for an hour daydreaming about leaves falling from trees because my mind refuses to tell me what the next thing I need to write looks like.
There ya go… that’s why I’m spending so much time “writing” and that’s why I need a planner for just “writing stuff.” 🙂
After I wrote all that yesterday about not being able to write, I ended up adding a couple thousand words to my count. This morning I got up and did some more character building for a character that is going on a quest with my main character, as well as the main antagonist. I was hoping to get more done, but it is time to move on with the day. We’re having a birthday party for my 16-year-old this afternoon and there’s still cleaning and decorating to do.
I’m really struggling with Nanowrimo this year. I have zero energy, very little in the way of time for writing, and since I spent time working on writing classwork instead of planning this years nano novel, every time I sit down to write, I instead end up spending 3/4 of the time working on background info and character sketches. So for every 2 hour block of writing time, I get maybe 30 minutes of good writing in, which gets me about 500 words a day. But I haven’t had time every day because of days like Tuesday, where I spent all morning working on PTA stuff, went to the meeting, had to stay late to work on yet more stuff, and that used up all my free time and energy for the day. Or days like Wednesday, where I spent time writing for class, went to class, and only got real words on the book done during the Write-in that I could only stay an hour for (because they scheduled them during school pick-up time.).
By Friday this week I really just gave up. There was no way to get ahead with the way things were going. I sat down to write and spent an hour doing background planning again and while I got a lot of good information out of that session (and got to use my son’s new Apple Pencil, which is how I convinced myself to do it in the first place), I just couldn’t see how I was going to finish.
But then this morning, my sweet spouse asked how it was going and if I was 1/3 of the way through my novel like I should be. I told him about my struggles and he encouraged me to spend more time writing, to put it all into the calendar and enforce those times, and that he’d get me up every morning at 4am if that’s what needed to happen so I’d get my time in.
So here I am, blogging instead of writing. I can’t get into novel-mode with as short a time period as I have until breakfast, plus two of my sons have wandered through since I started typing (and in the time it took to start and end that part of the sentence, one of them wandered back in a second time, but it’s his birthday, so I’m indulging his wandering-ins because he’s showing me photos from his friends celebrating him at midnight last night.).
Here’s my writing schedule for the next three weeks (barring disaster):
Sundays: 7-9am at home, 2-4pm at the library write-in
Mondays: 9-11am and 1-3pm at home
Tuesdays: 9-11am and 1-3pm at home
Wednesdays: 2-3:15pm at the library write-in (will also write for classwork 9-11am, but it doesn’t count towards nanowrimo)
Thursdays: 9-11am at home
Fridays: 9-11am and 1-3pm at home
Saturdays: 3-5pm at the Barnes & Noble write-in
Mathematically, if I get 30 good minutes writing for every two hours spent times 500 words per session times three weeks like that, I should be at 50,000 words by Christmas. *sigh* Maybe I’ll have to start writing in the early mornings and late nights, too.
Howdy my peeps! It’s NANOWRIMO, so I know this time of year I usually get an upswing in visitors from new writing friends, so welcome to all of y’all! This blog is a combination of my online diary/way to kept in contact with far away family/ place to blather on about writing/ health journal. I’ve been doing this for 20 years now, so there’s quite a lot of backlog that’s kept under lock and key as my kids have gotten older and wanted to have less of their baby pictures and stories online. I’ve tried to make the writing and health posts more available because I have a lot of readers for those things. 🙂
Sometime late this summer I started posting and saving things as drafts, meaning to go back and add photos or links and then totally forgot about all of that as school got busy, PTA got busy, and I got sick once again. So this morning I went back and updated all 20 or 30 or those entries with photos or links and set them free from the WordPress jail (aka: published them). SO if you’re a regular here and have not been reading along feeling like you’ve been missing something: the posts in between are there now. Go, read, catch up on my weirdness.
As always, love to all of you. Hope everyone is doing well! 🙂
We had a great first Write-In at the Tyler Public Library today! Well, a little chaotic because we were moved to an area that had no places to plug in our computers, but I found us some help. The rest was really good! We had 7 writers total, six that stayed and chatted and one that zipped in late and out early. Met some very lovely ladies that I’m looking forward to seeing again later this week! 🙂
Our Halloween… over at my parents house on Woodhaven, of course. 🙂 We had a pretty good turnout, but still had one whole bag of candy leftover at the end of the night. We watched HalloweenTown, but not HocusPocus because my children have decided to rebel and say they “hate” HocusPocus. Ah well, at least we had the traditional Taco Soup.
Here’s how me and my friend Elizabeth dressed up for our Tyler Public Library Writer’s Class Halloween meeting. We went to the coffee house like this first and people were amused. Only one other person at the group dressed up, but we got candy and read spooky stories that we wrote. 🙂