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Day 24: Only ONE SPOT LEFT!!!

Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 10.44.42 AMApril 24

Oh NOOOOO!!!!! I have ONE MORE WEEK to raise my funds, but there’s ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!

Will I make it??? Gosh I hope so! I’m trying to keep my sunshiney optimism but it’s looking more and more like this whole crowdfunding for writing thing is NOT going to be a success this time around…awwww poop!!!!

I’m not giving up, just feeling the pressure that I HAVE to find a way to make this work!!!!!

What MORE can I do???

-Blog!

-Promote on Facebook and Twitter!

-Have a garage sale?

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Day 30: And Then NaNoWriMo Was Over.

Saturday, Nov. 30 (or Sunday, Dec. 1, but who’s counting?)

2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner

Well, I did it (patting myself on the back), and to begin celebrating I did absolutely nothing. I mean, sure I changed my Facebook banner to “NaNoWriMo Winner”, and bragged about the success of it all. But really, it was so nice to call it “done” (even though you and I BOTH know that it is FAR from “done”, if it EVER even achieves the status of being “done” enough to be viewed by the outside world). I didn’t blog. I didn’t eat cake. Or even drink champagne. I fell asleep on the couch maybe fifteen minutes after getting the kids to  bed.

So, how does it feel to be a “WINNER”? Pretty darn good, actually (until Facebook friends get TOO excited about your status update of “NaNoWriMo Winner” and think that you, like, wrote the best novel out of ALL the other people writing novels this month and you don’t want to correct them but feel obligated (after half a day or so goes by) and let them know you are a “Winner” because you finished, which is still a hefty accomplishment but not, like, as good as they assumed, you know?). 2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

Do I think my novel is amazing? Meh. But I think it has the potential to be there if I keep at it. Maybe. Hopefully. It was entertaining for me, at least. And they say, write for yourself not for your audience. So…there (sticking my tongue out because I’m real mature like that).

Okay. So there. That’s it? Feeling relieved that it’s done, but also a little deflated. The excitement. The uncertainty. Would I or wouldn’t I finish? It’s all over. Kids go back to school tomorrow. Life goes on.

Except for my characters. They are stuck in the last moment of the first-draft novel wondering if their Creator will come back someday and bring them back to life. Wondering, is this it? Really? Or is She going to come back and change things around? Some might even be wondering, What is my purpose? Is she going to just cut me completely out of existence? Um, yes to both I’m sure.

Even if I feel like it’s impossible to find the time to work on my writing, completing this NaNoWriMo challenge proves to myself that I can do it, if I really want to. If I make the choice to sit and do something (like write!), I will do it. Of course, this also means there are sacrifices to be made and obsessive behaviors to either let go or adopt (as in let go of the idea of a clean house, and adopting the habit of writing as much (or little) as often as physically possible).day 30

And maybe sprinting is okay in writing. Sure, there should be some regular writing habits (i.e. this blog?), but it’s also okay to just give yourself a deadline and work towards a writing goal in an obsessive sprint to the finish. And then take a little breather.

But the funny thing is, I don’t want a breather. Now it’s like I’m addicted to writing again. And I am ready to jump in and give the manuscript a decent once-over and coordinating to-do list of how to make it better. And in the meantime, without the pressure to write the novel every free second, I can go back to some poetry revisions and submissions.  My poetry manuscript is active again, after rejection from a chapbook contest, and since they wouldn’t allow simultaneous submissions I’d put all those poems on hold. Now, maybe they will find homes while I let my novel breathe (after I obsessively go over it at least once!).

What will my next challenges be? Learning “Flowers in December”, by Mazzy Star, on acoustic guitar? Breaking out the pencils and paper (and typewriter and paints and glue and photography) to do some long-put-aside art projects…mixed media anyone (oh I’ve always wanted to do this!)? Let you know after I take a breather (or obsessively revise my novel for the next couple of weeks, wink wink)…

Day 29: A Novel Story.

Friday, Nov. 29

Once upon a time, there was a girl who wanted to write a novel, so she signed up for this thing called NaNoWriMo, where people from all over come together to support each other’s efforts to not just write a novel, but to write one in 30 days. She took to writing. Making slow, but steady progress.

And then, all of a sudden…there was ONE DAY LEFT!

And this writer (or wannabe) is blogging instead of writing her novel.

baby novelThe novel crawls out from under the couch.

The mean, overly tired writer just sits at her computer. Sipping coffee (really bad coffee because this stupid writer forgot to fill the water reserve in the coffee maker all the way before brewing). Checking Facebook updates (gratuitous pics of food and family). And searching the internet tirelessly for Monster High ornaments that are either sold out everywhere or available on Amazon and Ebay for basically five times the retail price (sigh).“Help me!” the novel says.

“Help me!” the novel says again, trying to crawl over to it’s writer.

“Go away!” the writer shouts. Sipping crappy coffee.

baby novel 2

“But please, you need to finish me…you only have one more day. And you still have 5,616 words to go. Don’t give up now.”

“Bah! I don’t know how to finish you.” The writer looks down, refusing to make eye contact with the novel.

The writer can’t admit that, deep down inside, she doesn’t want to finish the novel. She knows she will miss it when it’s done. Even if she will spend the next several years re-reading it, revising it, cutting and adding scenes. She knows the thrill of the shitty first draft will be over. If she finishes it now.

“Please, mama,” the novel begs, now at her feet as she sits at her desk, typing on the very thing that she used to create this little novel.

And because this writer is a mom, she takes pity on the pathetic little thing lying at her feet, groveling for attention. She pets it’s bald little head, looks at it with sympathetic eyes, considers wrapping it up in a blankie and putting it down for a nap. But then the novel starts screaming. Crying so loud that snot runs down it’s sad little type-face.

“Ohhhh,” the writer says, feeling bad, but unable to tear herself away from the evil internet, full of distractions and pulling her from this living, breathing novel, away from the reality that if she doesn’t finish this thing, no one will.

baby novel 3“Okay little guy, get up here,” she says, pulling the novel onto her lap.

“Yay!” the novel squeals, waving it’s paper-thin little arms up in the air with glee.

The writer, novel in lap, begins typing away. Only time will tell if she’s able to fulfill her destiny and help this novel to live happily ever after…

Stay tuned for updates from the future!

In the meantime, your guess is as good as mine…will she FINISH in time? (And spoiler alert: probably won’t end with a good ol’ Happily Ever After, sorry!)

day 29

Day 2: It’s Not Writer’s Block (is it?)

Saturday, Nov. 2

I don’t know what to write about. I don’t want my writing to be boring or predictable. I thought about writing in a setting of a grocery store. They say write what you know. And sometimes my other ideas don’t actually make sense for me to write about if I know nothing of the subjects. I mean, sure, I can write about anything. I just might have to research or study some things. And that’s okay.

But I want the root of my story to be closer to something that I feel more comfortable writing about. Or is it better to write about something that makes you/me uncomfortable? I think that is actually what I would like to write. Something that makes me and my reader feel uncomfortable, and yet so engaged that you want to keep reading even if you are somewhat disturbed by what you’ve read and what I’ve written.

So, what to write about? I’ve gone off the deep end with last year’s entry, and I have to admit I loved it. I loved every minute of writing from this strange and endearing character’s point of view. And I enjoyed discovering new places that the story could take me. And now how do I live up to that? A book that’s written, but not even finished, and still I love the characters as though they were my family. My people. Even though they are horrifying, I have a certain passion and consideration for them. All of them.

I was told to just write as if I were talking to my girlfriends. Be me, but a more brash, abrasive, undaunting version of me. One that says all the horrible things I say to my best friends. One who doesn’t care what other people think of me, one that finally releases all those wacky thoughts from within. And that’s what I need to do to continue to discover and develop my narrative voice. I need to be me, but super hyped up, me sitting on top of a pile of dynamite (think coyote vs roadrunner) ready to write or blow up. I have nothing to lose.

So…that’s the theory here. But how do I put it into practice? Get drunk and start rambling on Skype with one of my besties? Take cupfuls of cough syrup (hey, I DO have a cough!)  (and also I am in no way advocating getting drunk off cough syrup) and then write in a trance-like state about whatever speaks to me? Write about this voice that should be speaking to me? Go back to a previous idea for writing, even though I am not feelin’ it? Will I feel it? Will I have to force it? Ah! What is a writer to do?

Could this be (dun dun dun…) writer’s block??? Eeks!

No no no. There can be no such thing as writer’s block (there’s no such thing as writer’s block, there’s no such thing as writer’s block)! I must shoo that idea away and hold tight to the belief that if I just keep writing, something good will come. And until then, I am clearing the cobwebs in my head. Making room for those brilliant ideas to flow freely from brain to pen (okay okay, to keyboard!). But I am impatient. I want to write NOW (yes yes I’m writing, but you know what I mean). I want to write something good, right now!

What can I do to encourage the muses to smile on me and give me something good? Well first of all, I probably need to get some muses. Where does one find muses these days? Amazon.com? Ebay? Craig’s List? And then, I need to drink copious amounts of coffee, alcohol, and water (hey, gotta balance out the dehydration). And then, I eat all the good stuff out of the kids’ Halloween buckets. And then, I sit and stare blankly at the screen, actually staring somewhere up inside my head, sort of right behind my eyeballs and towards my forehead region. And then something appears!

Is it a bird? A plane? A ghost? An….idea???

I could just type out whatever I see. A pumpkin. A pen. A water bottle. Go for a walk. A leaf. A bicycle. A trash can. Trash Bin

Could I begin my story with a trash can? And then what? Where do I go from there?

I think a big part of writing is asking yourself all these types of questions. And continue asking questions until you find one that’s fun to answer. Until one answer becomes a platform for more questions. And then…ta dah! You’re writing! No, I’m writing. We are all writing! (Okay, no cough syrup, but yes I’m getting a little loopy)

My writing goal today has nothing to do with word count and all to do with content. If I could just develop one paragraph even that will give me the starting line. Give me something to go on. And then tomorrow I can be off and running (even though admittedly I hate to run…I’m using this as a metaphor here people). And then it’s a month-long marathon of discovery and pushing through the pain to get to that 50,000 word goal. And hopefully it’s not just 50,000 words of garbage (please pronounce this last word gar-bahhj, it sounds so much more eloquent).

And so, loyal followers (or not so loyal, or new, or old, or maybe I’m just addressing myself), I must now go find an excuse to postpone working on NaNoWriMo (you know, the whole 50,000 word challenge I’m toe-deep in on Day 2). I can go stare in the fridge for something to make itself for me to eat. I can go to Facebook and re-read all the posts from this morning that served as my initial procrastination tool. I can get dressed in real clothes (hey, it’s Saturday, aka pajama day). Go put on makeup to make myself feel better (except I actually don’t feel like it, because lo and behold I no longer NEED to wear it every day and today I feel crummy and I’m okay with looking crummy to match (I’ve always liked matching)).

And here I am, procrastinating my procrastination strategies. Okay, Aimee. Go. Write.

Yes ma’am. (Whew, she’s lost it!)