Saturday, November 28, 2015

Turky Trauma and Thousands of Words

If you have participated in NaNoWriMo, you know well the challenges surrounding Thanksgiving. It's a quagmire  for writers. Word counts die on this day. In the past, I have felt lucky just to get a couple hundred words

My accomplishment for this Thanksgiving? Writing two thousand words while navigating family, the OH DEAR SWEET BABY JESUS I JUST ATE MY WEIGHT IN STUFFING sensation and binging on Candy Crush Soda Saga (is this a humble brag? I think I may have just humble bragged.)

Black Friday I spent adding another two thousand words, and I can finally, proudly say: The End Is Nigh. I am finally caught up with this month's word goal and I can see the sweet, sweet light of freedom.

What have I learned from this NaNoWriMo?

1) I hate writing literary fiction. Hate. It. I have precisely 0% interest in producing anything the League Of English Professors will approve of ever again. It's back to wizards and space operas for me, thank you very much.

2) Outlines are helpful. Seriously, that I have one is the only reason I did not bank out entirely. It's why I am going to finish this monstrosity.

3)If you put your plot bunnies in time out, they will eventually settle down and let you get to work. I have a couple Word files filled with story ideas right now. And I am going to start working on one in earnest the second this month is over.

So that's it. I am going to try to get three or four thousand words done today, so I can finish up entirely by tomorrow. Because Monday is my birthday, and I don't want to be working on this damn project when I could be crafting myself a Tuesday morning hangover, that's why.

Ciao for now.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

For The First Week Of NaNoWriMo, I Lost My Sanity....

In which I give a brief summary of this week's activities.

Day One:

Wake up late. Look at the goal of hand writing this novel. Realize I was clearly crack addled when I made that goal. Open up Scrivner. Write a bunch. Go to the write in at St. Peter's. Write a bunch more. Eat diabetes inducing quantities of sugar despite having brought healthy snacks. Like an asshole. Crush my word goal. Forget coat at St. Peter's. Realize the fact far too late to do any good. Swear a bunch. Drink a beer.

Day Two:

Wake up in agony. Pop pain killers. Pull a few hundred words out of my bone marrow at lunch. Go home. Get shitty news. Write some more anyway. Curse the stupid inefficacy of stupid painkillers and stupid, ill timed migraines. Hit my word count goal anyway. Flip off the universe. Go to bed.

 Day Three:

First two plot bunnies show up. They are fluffy and adorable. Put them in a pen and promise to play with them the second November is over. Receive yet more shitty news at lunch, and spend the rest of the day trying to proofread through tears. Go home and write anyway. Hit my word count goal. Flip off the Gods of NaNo for daring to try to thwart me then  apologize and swear I didn't really mean it. Please stop hurting me.

Day Four:

Wake up late, feeling like Satan personally shat in my Wheaties. Whimper over coffee.Write at lunch. Nearly forget to feed myself. More plot bunnies show up. Beg them to stop fucking and let me finish my novel. Go home in the goddamn dark. Trip in the yard and sprain wrist. Write some more despite feeling like someone tried to beat me with a lead pipe. Go to choir. Sing. Write some more. Barely squeak past my word count goal. Whimper some more. Go to bed.

Day Five:

Write at lunch. Resign myself to the rampant fornication of the plot bunnies. Manage neither to injure myself nor receive shitty news. Go home. Write more. Hit word count goal. Drink celebratory beer. Pat self on back. Go to bed.

Day Six:

Write at lunch. Go to a cafe and write a little more. Realize I am a half step away from chanting "red rum RED RUM" in a shrill, crazy voice. Decide to take the rest of the night off for my mental health. Get drunk. Regret nothing.

Day Seven:

Do several hours of printmaking. Go to the library and do a couple of word sprints. Curse myself for falling so far behind. Take the dog to the dog park and watch him run around like an idiot. Transfer my Scrivner MS into Word. Realize I was massively off on my word count because Scrivner can't count. Cry. Vow to spend the rest of the night doing word sprints to catch up.

Post Script:

I just found my missing words. I had managed to hide one of my chapters in Scrivnerland. So, maybe wait until the month is over to start learning this program? Yes. Sounds like a plan.

Monday, November 2, 2015

What's Black And Blue And Pissed Off All Over

*This post first appeared at Tumblr. I am re-posting because I anticipate losing my soul to NaNoWriMo, and I want to try and stay consistent with this here blog.

I have a love hate relationship with going on long runs with my dog Buster. On the love side, he’s a great motivator. All I have to do when I’m on the fence about going on a run is pick up my running shoes, and that damn animal explodes with joy. It’s contagious. He’s even conned my husband, an avid and committed couch surfer into running a few times, and before Buster I was convinced nothing short of a velociraptor out for sweet, sweet white guy blood would do that.
On the hate side, there’s the pulling.

I don’t know if any of you has ever tried to train a Pitt Bull how not to pull like the little Goddamn engine that could, but it’s challenging.  It made me wonder at times: is trying to rip my spine out through my arm a life goal for my dog?

We’ve made some progress over the years. He mostly heels when we’re on a walk and he runs a few feet ahead of me. Normally, running with my dog is pretty enjoyable.


There is one notable exception to the happy, well-mannered running rule. Critters. Man, you put a terrier… any terrier in front of a small and fluffy, and they will turn into laser guided killing machines. It doesn’t really matter much what kind of small fluffy it is: rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, whatever. If he sees it, he’s gone, and screw whoever happens to be holding the leash at the time.
That brings me to my tale of woe. Saturday morning I woke up early. The weather was fine, and I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to take his nibs out to the Great Western Trail for a long run. For those of you who don’t know it, the Great Western Trail is up in Northern Illinois. It’s about eighteen miles through farm and marsh land. Tall grasses and trees line the path. It’s a great place to go, and I tend to run at least ten miles. That day, my plan was to do about thirteen.

Well, about four miles in, I was feeling great, the dog was happy. All was right with the world. And then a fucking chipmunk darted out in front of us. And Buster gunned for it with every ounce of strength in his body.

Perhaps it might be helpful to note that while he is only 49 pounds, those 49 pounds are 100% lean muscle, and I was in mid stride.

Most people would just sort of instinctively let go of the leash at this point. Not me. Oh hell no. My reflex reaction to my dog tearing off like a bat out of hell is to form a death grip on the leash. My stubborn goes all the way down.

I sort of did a belly flop onto the gravel, and the dog proceeded to drag me three feet until he finally ripped the leash out of my hand.

I flailed on the ground for a few minutes, holding my gut and gasping for breath. TMI moment of the day: I have a fibroid tumor. It’s about the size of a grapefruit. When I was diagnosed, I joked with my husband that it’s really my twin that I ate in the womb. And I named him Eustace. Because he’s a painful asshole, and Eustace seems kind of like an asshole name. That’s why.

Guess who I landed on?

Oh yeah, that’s right. Eustace.

Instead of doing the sane thing and turning right the fuck back around and going home, where there are ice packs and heating pads, I was so mad that I ended up running ten miles.
Ten miles was how long it took me to stop chanting “Red Rum. Red Rum. Red Rum” in my head.
The dog was naturally perfectly oblivious to this fact. He’d chased a chipmunk AND gone on a run. Best Day Ever!

The next morning, I woke up bright and early, and because I am a total masochist, I went on a run again. This time sans dog.

Sweet saint fuck, was that ever a shitty idea.

It turns out Eustace really doesn’t like being dropped hard on a gravel trail and dragged three feet because the next day when I went running he felt sort of like he was trying to chew through my abdominal cavity. We already know who won that battle, so I kept running because if Caesar Milan has taught me anything, it’s important to assert your dominance.

Fortunately, that experience burned out all the pig headed I have in me for the week, and I won’t be running at least until tomorrow at the earliest.

So here I am again, dog sulking at the foot of the bed because I can’t run with him yet, cozied up to a heating pad, waiting for the swelling to go down.

Ain’t running grand?