Things I Do When I Cannot Write

I wrote 7 scenes yesterday, but my brain could not be bothered to come up with more than 500 words today, which is the lowest limit I allow myself for productivity these days. So I made this list of things I could do that are mostly Writing Adjacent on those days:

  • Make list of things to be done
    • Scenes
    • Outlines
    • Character sheets
    • Research
  • Research things off my Research list
  • Write “daily pages”
  •  Update Writing folders on computer
  • Read “Downloaded-yet-Unread Writing Related Articles”
  • Sort “Prompts” file by type of prompt for later use
  •  Figure out what topics I want more info on for the next writing group meeting
  • Prepare my 2-page item for sharing at TPL’s Writing Club
  • Do coursework for online writing classes
  • Help someone else with their writing

 

So then I did, yay verily, sort all my prompts. Also, dyed my hair teal. It didn’t come out quite how I hoped, but that’s how my whole week has gone.

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Writing Group

This week I joined another writing group through my public library. The library had advertised it as a new group, but once I got there I found out that it had actually been a group that had met for a few years in another location and been transplanted over to the library, much like my book club was more than a decade ago (that one I quit going to because they changed the time on us and wouldn’t let our breastfeeding mothers feed their babies during group time? Yeah, that was a long time ago). I love my ETWG, but they only meet monthly and I wanted something more regular than that.

In any case, it seems like an interesting group. Most of the other writers are memoirists, which was initially disappointing, but the idea of meeting and having people to read my stuff is invigorating. We wrote some 10 minute writing sprints with prompts, which is not in my wheelhouse. I did awful at it the first time. The second time was marginally better. We shall see how it goes.

Hello again!

I have let this blog flounder for far too long and today is my first day back at it.  We have had a wacky, crazy year. I’m not even sure that I should try to summarize it, but find myself wanting to. Let’s start where I left off… oh my. Okay. That’s a rough place to start.

December 5th, 2018 my mom left the nursing home to go home for my dad’s birthday. She lasted at home until December 7th, when she had to be rushed to the emergency room. I went down on the 9th because it was clear that she was on her way out of this world. She passed away on December 12th. I spent the month in College Station or Wisconsin. We had two funerals for her, one in each of her hometowns. They were lovely, both of them attended by family and friends and filled with beautiful reminiscences of her full, mostly happy life. (Please note that this is short, not because I am being in any way flippant about it, but because I’m crying too much to say more.)

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In January we tried to be humans. We had our annual board game extravaganza on January 1st at my dad’s Tyler house so he wouldn’t have to be alone yet and could be a little distracted from all the sadness. April is with him all the time, but we come and go and try to bring a little joy to them with our visits.

February and March went by kind of in a blur. We visited College Station every couple or three weeks and spent half of spring break with my dad and sister. David and Nick were each gone a week in April and then it was birthdays and Easter all at once. We celebrated in the Tyler house, trying to avoid sadness, but failing. Easter was one of my mom’s favorite times of the year.

In May everything ramped up. The six month anniversary of my mom’s death was literally Mother’s Day. How’s that for irony for you? April and Dad ignored the day completely, while Nick, the kids, and I went to Scarborough Faire for the day (something I’ve been wanting to take the kids to for years. They were, naturally, underwhelmed because we’d waited too long).  All the end-of-year “lasts” were heightened because it was David’s last high school everything. We had a graduation party for him the day before graduation, we all attended graduation night outside at the stadium, and then the very next day he left for his band’s spring trip. And because we’re crazy, we had a family BBQ the following Monday with Nick’s family.

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June was even crazier, though. Nick and David left the first weekend, Nick for work in the Czech Republic and David for Tennessee for working a pre-teen camp. Then I left for China the same day Nick came back from his trip (and no, we didn’t even get to see each other at the airport). Greg spent weekdays at his Nana & Pa’s house while the other two boys came and went. David had college orientation for a few days in there. Nick and all the kids went to the Houston Aquarium for Father’s Day while I spent Father’s Day with my dad in Tianjin. Then kids all spent the last few days I was gone working the pre-teen camp at Camp Piney Woods while Nick was in Tennessee for work. We all were supposed to get home Wednesday, June 26th, but my flight got delayed by several hours and I ended up getting home at 4 in the morning on the 27th. Then on the 29th, Greg and David got in a van with other church kids and left for Teen Camp at Camp Pinecrest in Missouri. (I will most likely blog about my China trip in some upcoming posts.)

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Today is first day I’ve felt human and somewhat put together in a really long time. I’m getting back onto somewhat of a schedule. I’ll be spending weekday mornings at the gym and afternoons writing. Ree has this whole month free, so we’ll be starting parent-led driving lessons for him this week as well, probably in the mornings after I’m back from the gym. 🙂 Greg will be in day camps most of this month and who knows what David will be up to? I sure don’t! He was looking for a job last time I checked, but no one would hire him because he was out of town so much this summer (he has one more camp he’s working at the end of the month).

So there you have it. We are crazy and we know it. 🙂 See you tomorrow.

 

Post Nanowrimo Thoughts

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When I started Nanowrimo this year, I felt super prepared for it. I’d done a couple months of prep writing to practice getting back into the habit of writing every day, I spent a month making a new outline for the novel I was working on, updating bits of the story here and there and strengthening the theme I wanted the novel to have, and I blocked out my calendar for the month to make sure I had time to write every day.

So of course it all fell apart. But I already wrote about that. This is the post where I talk about what I can do to make it better in the future.

In non-writing related things: First off, I’m going to make sure that my husband is, in fact, not going to be out of the country when I’m intending to do crazy things. Second, I’m going to make myself and everyone around me use more hand sanitizer. Third, I’m going to write ahead each day so I’m caught up with the words from Thanksgiving week so that I don’t stress so much that last week because I am so far behind. Fourth, I’m going choose easier meals to make if the husband is, in fact, gone while I’m trying to write a ridiculous number of words. Fifth, I’m going to make my kids start doing their own laundry.

Writing-wise: Numero uno, I am going to make sure that that spiffy new outline is completely fleshed out before I start. I had several days where I looked at my outline this time around and realized that a chapter only had one scene or that I hadn’t figured out how a character was getting from here to there from one scene to the next. Two, I’m going to make sure I have done all the research on the things I need to know more about before I start writing. I have a bunch of places where I have “insert data on that here” or “insert something more specific here” in my novel right now. Tres, make sure I really love character names instead of putting in place-holder names that I can’t remember how to spell from one scene to the next. Quatre, I’m going to figure out my magical system before I start writing so I stop making plot holes.

That’s about it. I’m looking forward to writing another 50,000 or so words again this next month now that I know I can do it under some pretty insane conditions. 🙂

 

7,000 words to go

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Me earlier tonight at the Tyler Christmas Parade.

So because I have a ridiculously busy life, I still have 7,000 words to go tomorrow. Will I make it? I don’t know. I have done more than 5,000 words a day every day this week so far. We shall see. So tired.

Visiting the local writing guild

Last night I visited the local writing group. I have been very confused about which group is the most local to me, as one is Association and one is  Guild and one is in a town 45 minutes from me and one is here, but both are listed as “local.” In any case, personal confusion aside, I finally made my way to one of these meetings after several times of not being able to make it when I planned due to tornadoes and other random mishaps.

This was the monthly business meeting. The people there were very nice, there was a guest speaker who talked about her local magazine, and there were snacks. I saw a few people who had come to another local writing event earlier in the month. We were told that if we chose to join, we could get added to a critique group, should we wish. Being the spontaneous sort, I paid my dues and joined on the spot. There’s another meeting next week that I won’t be able to attend due to scheduling issues, but I’m putting all the meetings from here on out on the calendar so I don’t miss any more. 🙂

Five days in!

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This year’s Nano has been a little bit rough so far. My lovely spouse is in Spain for the first three weeks of November, the kids have been sick, and I have been sick. I managed to soldier through the first few days, even while sick, and got my word count in, but yesterday and today I have really struggled. I know what I want to write, I have a really detailed (for me) outline that I’m following, but all the words feel clunky and all my scenes yesterday and today seem weak on detail and execution. Hoping that tomorrow goes better.

Nano begins!

Streak-Badge-Square-1080-01I think earlier I mentioned the changes I was making to my novel, but I never mentioned which one. I am re-working my novel which is tentatively titled The Dreaming. It is the fantasy story of a magical family who must rescue a beloved family member who has been kidnapped by a jealous ex-friend. Of course, the story starts off in a dark place, with the children’s parents having recently died, their aunt and uncle having taken them in, and then the uncle being kidnapped, but then they start an adventure in a magical world they previously knew nothing about, learn about the world of magic, and eventually rescue their uncle and his former friend from an even bigger enemy than any of them could imagine.

This story has been going on in my head for nearly a decade now. I’m ready for it to be all out on paper so everyone else can go on this adventure, too. 🙂

Nanowrimo is upon us!

From a tweet about Nano:

NaNoWriMo is a month-long creative adventure that takes you deep into your imagination every November.

NaNoWriMo is your chance to finally write the first draft of that novel you’ve always meant to write.

NaNoWriMo is waiting for you.http://nanowrimo.org

I am so excited that Nanowrimo is starting tomorrow. I feel extremely well prepared this year, which is far and away better than I’ve done in years past. I think I will make my goal this year. I am doing somewhat of a Rebel Nano, in that I am re-working a novel that I worked on in a previous Nano, but I am changing it so completely that only a few hundred words are being kept. My viewpoint characters are no longer several children. I’m writing it third person omniscient, mainly from the viewpoint of the children’s aunt, uncle, and the person they think is the main villain. It’s a tie-in novel to another Nano novel from a few years ago now, which is another change I’ve made, so some of the world is different and there’s actually a bigger Big Bad out there that this family will eventually learn about at the end of the novel… it won’t quite affect their ending, as I’d originally envisioned it, but it does change where the characters are heading post-novel -one is heading to yet a third Nano novel from year’s past. I hadn’t realized that I was writing one of my side-characters there to be this character at the time, but when I came back to this piece, there he was waiting for me, tapping his foot and saying “See, you really have wanted to write me for a long, long time.”