Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Day 10: Crowdfunding highs and lows (mostly lows)…

April 10

Well if my upcoming birthday isn’t depressing enough (really, I used to get excited for this, not so much anymore), now my crowdfunding efforts to support my attendance at the May 2-3 fiction writing seminar is not catching much action. I am so grateful for my 3 funders, and yet I feel deflated that not more peeps are supporting me. Should I be surprised? I guess not. Am I allowed to be a tiny bit bummed? Okay, a little.

Honestly, I hate pitching myself (but give me a fictional character and I’ll talk your freakin’ ear off, seriously, I won’t shut up and your ear will fall off, but it will be artistic and inspiring as it happens). I don’t want to be a salesperson, I don’t want to have to promote myself and tell people I’m worth it, that’s just not me. But, it is my job to continue to develop as a writer and if I don’t promote myself who will?

So I’m going for it, but it’s (omgee, omgeee) scary. I kind of love-hate it. It’s like asking out a boy at school, you know what I’m talking about…the handwritten note folded up and passed from friend to friend all the way over to the kid across the room who you don’t know if he’s been making eyes at you or the girl behind you and you’re risking it all on this one small effort, this one attempt to be confident and bold and daring!!!!

And then he opens it, the handwritten note that says “I like you. Do you like me back? Circle yes or no.”

And he looks around. Notices you noticing him. Everyone is waiting to find out what he’s going to do. He doesn’t do anything. He just crumples it up and throws it in the trash can in the corner. It bounces off and the teacher goes and picks it up. Un-crumples it. Reads it (gulp) aloud in front of the class.

“Well?” she asks. We look at her, not sure what to do. None of us.

“It’s very rude to leave a question unanswered” she says.

“It was her!” that bitch points at me, you know the one I’m talking about. The girl who always tattles on everybody. Yea, the one with the curly hair and strappy shoes. You know her.

And so, there I go marching up to the front of the class to write on the board that I am a loser (not in so many words, but I was used to getting busted for passing notes so I already knew what I had to write)…”I will not pass notes”.

“Oh no, you’re not getting away that easy this time,” she says, yanking the chalk from my hand.

The class follows up with their typical, “Oooohhhhh.”

“You are going to write a fifty page report examining how your distractions adversely affect other students in this classroom.”

And there you have it. How I began my writing career.

And that is also how random blog posts are born. (Shh, don’t tell the kids!)

Want to help me get high again? (Oh stop, you know what I mean!!! LOOK at the blog post title!) Check out my crowdfunding page for Novel Writing Seminar with Tod Goldberg and chip in, if you feel so inclined (see, I’m terrible at this whole self-promotion, sales stuff…also why I will never receive all the reimbursements from the kids soccer team for the banner I ordered, I just hate asking people for money).

Day 2: Crowdfunding for Writing Seminar! (Why the fuck not?)

April 2

Maybe it was a mistake to launch my inaugural crowd-funding efforts yesterday, on April 1 (oopsies, now no one will ever take me seriously). But as it turns out, the timing was just right. I was in the “mood”. You know the one. Yes, that one. That “Why The Fuck Not?” sort of attitude when you are sick of hearing your sorry self talk inside your head about the endless opportunities you fail to reach out for.  Well not this time, sucker (she says to herself, which happens a lot, and then wonders do other writers live deeply inside their own thoughts in this way?).

And so, lo and behold, a crowd-funding campaign is born for “Fiction Novel Writing Seminar with Tod Goldberg.” What the wahhht, you say? It’s exactly as it sounds. A chance to have my novel in progress given new life with some additional guidance, support, feedback, and time it deserves.

What is the big deal? This seminar is by a local writer who I became familiar with when he visited my “Satire and Irony” class, he’s a friend of this incredible writing teacher who has continued to inspire me to this day. And so, when Stephanie Hammer tells me someone is amazing and invites them to speak to her class, you better know she’s not lying. She turned me onto Aimee Bender, who not only shares my NAME (Whhhaaatt???? Yes, we’re part of an elite Aimee club) but I drool over her work and it makes me feel like, “Wow, I can still be weird even when I’m all grown up and supposed to be a (making a very grave expression) serious writer”. Yea, like that. Ahhh, refreshing. For me that feeling was (like totally) better than any other feeling in the (whole wide wide) world (yes, I just fangirled out for AB, and I gotta give a shout out to my other inspirational wonder woman Goldberry Long who’s right in there too in continuing to inspire me to keep being a writer and to show me that yes, moms with littles CAN be writers too!). So yes, Stephanie just published her  new novel and Aimee wrote a blurb for her, and Tod wrote a blurb for her and all I could think was “Omgee Omgee maybe someday they will all write blurbs for ME!!!” (you too, Goldberry, wink wink, pretty pretty please with sugar on top, and whipped cream, and a cherry!).

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 9.57.52 PM

To summarize, it was an oddly optimistic day when I just said “Why the fuck not?” I want to go to this writing seminar and get this novel all the way out! Out I say! And off to IndieGogo and social media I went! (And then, hour by hour, it set in: the incredible dread of self-doubt and fear and anxiety that this might actually work or not work, ahhhh! It’s all too much! In a good way!)

If you’ve enjoyed any of this craziness I call writing, check out my IndieGogo page and consider donating or sharing just for kicks (and good karma)! YOU could be the proud recipient of a hand-crafted bookmark, or I’ll even name a character in my novel after YOU! For reals!

*And sorry to those I may have offended with the F-word. I’m a mom, so I rarely get to cuss, and I just really like to cuss when I’m really excited and/or nervous! It just feels right sometimes, you know?

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!)

Day 1: First or Third Person POV?

Friday, Nov. 1

Yes! My new MacBook is here! After tracking it from China, to Tennessee, to LA, to my city, it finally showed up at 2:02 pm today (I think I scared the FedEx man by answering the doorbell so quickly and telling him I wished I could have tracked his truck so that I could follow him in the city and get my package sooner…)

MacBookAir

And it’s already my new BFF. I love it. And I love that it came on the first day of my new NaNoWriMo challenge. But of course, as much as I love it, life is getting in the way of me being able to maximize all the potential this beauty holds. As in: enter children, enter colds, enter nap-strike, enter dinner time, enter sibling squabbles, enter tired mommy.

And yet, I managed to squeeze out 725 words towards what I’m hoping (and wishing and doubting), will be my newest novel venture (ooh, unintentional play on words, get it?). And somehow, even though I feel glad that I wrote (period), I feel deflated. I feel that achy, nagging, unsatisfying feeling that what I wrote is utterly terrible and stupid and should just be scrapped and deleted and I should start over.

And maybe I will. After all, I had a re-do, do-over, start-again last year. And it turned out for the better. What I had initially written was predictable, sort of, as in characters that maybe too closely resembled me. And now I fear I have done something similar. And it just feels boring (am I really that boring?). So whatever pride I should feel is overshadowed by a feeling of bleh. Yes, bleh. You know what I’m talking about.

I tried writing in third person (okay, I didn’t “try”, I “did” write in third person), even though I instinctively began in first person, I went back and changed it to third. But I don’t know if I like third. I feel like it’s too far away. It’s too much like directing a play. I don’t feel connected. I like being in the character’s head, and while it’s a good exercise to write in third person (right?), I don’t know if it’s going to be the best way to start out a new project.

So success and failure all at once on Day 1. But, hey, isn’t that typical of writing? Maybe I needed to clear out the crap so that tomorrow I can come up with something more brilliant. I swear, the more thought-out the story, the more predictable it seems to be.

Or maybe if I just start at a different place in the story? Start in the middle? Start at the end? Tell it from someone else’s POV? Make something magical happen? Kill someone? Bring someone back from the dead?

I don’t know, but I better figure out something. Because I’m feeling sick of writing this story already and it’s only Day 1 (did I mention that before?). This is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? Writing is fun, right? (The author looks desperately into your eyes for approval, for reassurance, a pat on the back, a hug, anything to tell her that it’s okay to keep going, that it will get better, even if it gets worse before it gets better, it will inevitably get better as long as she doesn’t give up!)

And so, NaNoWriMo (boo hoo hoo) has begun…

Preparing for NaNoWriMo (Nano-what?)

Thursday, Oct. 31NaNoWriMo2013

Tomorrow marks the official start of NaNoWriMo…come on, you know what I’m talking about, right? National Novel Writing Month! This will be my second year participating in this challenge. And how am I preparing, you might ask? Even if you don’t ask I’m going to tell you. And if you look carefully at the date of this entry, you will notice that I am not at all procrastinating (wink, wink).

However, you might be impressed to know that I am anxiously awaiting my new MacBook Air that is currently in Tennessee (after traveling all the way from Shanghai, China) and due to arrive at my little So Cal doorstep tomorrow! Just in time to start  my newest endeavor without the worry of my computer crashing. Yes, my current laptop is roughly 6 years old and keeps getting a white screen off and on, and so I’m backing up my writing every day, and crossing my fingers and toes and eyes that it will hold out long enough for me to get a new one.

And how, you might ask, does one struggling writer afford to buy said MacBook Air? I know, I know. Some people say Macs are too expensive, but seriously, given that mine has lasted me this long…I’d say it’s a worthwhile investment. And once you go Mac, you never go back (hey, they should make a commercial out of that!). I qualified (somehow, some way, with the blessings of the writing gods on my side) for 18 months no interest financing for my new BFF (hello, MacBook Air) and was approved for a $2,000 credit line, of which my MacBook totaled out to be $1,999.94? Okay, it was something miraculously close like that. Be impressed.

And coincidentally it will arrive on the first day of NaNoWriMo, the day I will embark on the journey to write an entire novel in one month. Not sayin’ this is going to be flawless, or even good. But it will be written, nonetheless, and if my luck so far is any indication of my writing abilities, then this is going to be one Hell of a novel (or one Heaven of a novel? Hm, just doesn’t sound as good does it?).

What am I going to write about? Well, I’ve given it some thought. I have an idea. But I also kind of like the spontaneity of “winging it”. So, tomorrow, new laptop at my desk, I will figure it out as I go. My inspiration? I’ve been reading a lot of Chuck Palahnuik and Aimee Bender, though my faves also cover Goldberry Long (the amazing, ultimately awesome, inspiring (okay okay, I have a major girl-crush))  and Wally Lamb.

Female heroine? Journey of some sort? Complications? Um, probably. Isn’t that almost a requirement of sorts? Although maybe I will branch out and write from a male’s POV. Or what about third person? I don’t know. I kind of don’t want to over-think it and just let the creative juices flow (a phrase that is disturbing and kind of gross, but I continue to use anyhoo).

Even though I’ve been battling a cough that feels like tuberculosis (no, I don’t actually know how it feels to have TB, but come on, I’m dramatic, remember?), and a head that is so congested it feels like it’s floating some ten feet above the rest of my body, I will take my kids trick-or-treating tonight, and then the rest of the week and weekend are all mine! Mwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…..

So if any of my family asks where I am, tell them I’m at Starbucks, but just don’t tell them which one, because when it’s time to hunker down (seriously, is that even a real word? Hunker?) and write an entire novel in one month, this writer needs some serious “mommy time”, as in…leave me alone! If even for just 5 minutes, pleeeeeasssse….

And thank you!