Currently listening to: Can’t Hide by Sarah Jarosz

Today marks the halfway mark for National Novel Writing Month (i.e., NaNoWriMo), which means I should be at 25,000 words. Hmmm…well, let’s just say I’m a bit short. No need for specifics. I’m not counting myself out quite yet. I have made movement, but any significant advance in my word count was curbed by some serious editing & preparing for my second submission of pages for my novel class last week. Comments have started coming in on those, but I haven’t yet looked at them. No, I’m not having another anxiety attack about being liked, but rather, I don’t want to get sidetracked. If I look at them, I’m going to want to go back right now and work on whatever needs fixing when my focus needs to be on moving forward. So,  I will refrain, at least until tomorrow when they will demand my attention so that I can ask follow-up questions and issue some thank you’s to classmates & instructor for reading. (more…)

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Nanowrimo 2009 largeYes, I’m doing National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short, again this year. This marks my 5th year. The first three years I succeeded and hit 50,000 words. Last year, I failed miserably. But all things considered, the fact that I even ventured to try to do it last year was an accomplishment.

Day 1 is off to a good start. Met up with a group of NaNo-ers this morning & spent 4 hours writing. Got just over 1,800 words–making the daily word count goal of 1667 words. Admittedly, my writing was a little slower going than a usual NaNo as I am being a bit of a NaNo rebel this year. Instead of adhering to the original NaNo principle of starting a novel from scratch on Day 1, I am doing this 50K as part of my WIP. So, I’m reluctant to just spew words out in the hope of making my word count every day. I’m trying to make them quality words in the hope that upon revision few will need to be hacked away. The goal is to work forward on the WIP and be closer to being finished on December 1 than I was when I started.

In the midst of all this, my next submission for my class is due November 10. I’ll be submitting the next 30-pages. Some of them are already written, some need to be heavily revised, & others need to be written from scratch. And I’ll be doing all this while working on NaNo.

So, if you hear from me even less than usual this month that will be why. But you can always find me wasting time on Twitter.

Yesterday I spent sometime reading the little that I managed to write on my 2nd draft last month. I like some of it, but I feel like I’m about to fall off a cliff with it, or at least run head-on into a wall without braking. I don’t think I chose the right entry point this time around. My first draft runs chronologically, with flashbacks thrown in. For my 2nd draft, I got the idea to come into the story later–the question now is: how much later?

I think I might have gone too far into the story. I think I need to step back time wise. So, I spent the better part of my writing session today writing out scenes on post-it notecards (wonderful find!) & sticking them on the wall to try and figure out a timeline. I think I’ve found my in. It comes a little earlier & leaves more to be revealed over time. I think the problem with my first attempt was that I entered at a point where I’d have to reveal everything right up front for the reader to get hooked. Whereas, if I rewind the clock a bit I feel like I have more–more to actually make it to 300 pages.

So, while I didn’t exactly get a mentionable word count in today, I do think I made some progress in terms of thinking this out. And now, I can stare at the wall next to my desk & see it all laid out & move the pieces (notecards) as I need to until it makes perfect sense.

I realize this blog has been hijacked, sidetracked, just like my life, by recent events.

It’s been hard to work on my novel. Case in point, my abysmal attempt at NaNoWriMo this year.

I can’t really put my finger on why. The lack of focus. The inability to be alone with my thoughts. The distaste for silence. All are factors. But the reality is, if I don’t write, I struggle. So, I need to get back to it. I need to get back to draft #2. I need to figure out where this story is going. I need to see if 1st person POV is really the right POV for this book. I need to see how it all plays out.

I need to finish the fucking thing.

So, I done with life hijacking this blog. I’m rehijacking it back. This is me writing a novel. This is me getting the damn thing done so that my mother’s death is not the only defining event of my 33rd year.

Image: athena via flickr

Even I’m starting to wonder when I’m going to lose track of how many weeks have passed.

Well, didn’t really get any more details today on what’s next for Leo. The vet got called into an emergency, so only could remove his sutures & give me a call later. She did call this afternoon, but somehow I missed it. I think I was outside at the time. She did say that she wasn’t going to give me timelines on voicemail; they aren’t good. Not sure what “aren’t good” is–weeks, months, a year? She did say that the timeline with chemo was better. She’ll give me a call on Monday to go over everything in more detail. Honestly, I don’t mind waiting. I know I’ve been wanting to know what’s next, but now that I should know it, I really don’t care to know. I know I can’t avoid it entirely, but I’m in no rush. Although, I guess it would be better to get started on whatever comes next sooner rather than later. But I doubt waiting until Monday is really going to change anything.

One thing that did come out of today’s vet visit, Leo now has to take Benadryl–25mg, twice a day. Apparently, the tumor produces histamine or his body is producing it to fight the tumor. Not quite sure. Didn’t really understand the vet tech’s explanation. I’m just going with it for now, & will follow up with the vet when I talk to her. It was fun trying to get him to take the pill. Leo isn’t a pill taker. He’s well known in the vet office for his ability to spit out a pill even after you’re sure he swallowed it. It took about 6 attempts before I got it down his throat. I lucked out with finally hiding it in some canned dog food; this usually doesn’t work, thus it was not my first method. But before this worked, he actualy spit it out & it fell down my shirt. My white t-shirt is now stained hot pink from the coating on the pill. Lovely.

When I take 25mg of Benadryl, I’m a zombie. So far, he seems to have faired much better than me. Yes, he slept a good solid 4-hours earlier today. But he was up & alert for dinner & a little indoor play, but now he’s back to sleep. I’ll know whether or not it’s really affecting him if he misses his 9 PM whine session. This is a nightly occurrence when he likes to howl/sing to you for a good 10 minutes to get your attention. I can’t tell if he’s telling on his brother, my other dog Teddy; or bitching me out for not spending my entire day throwing his toy around. Usually it ends in me chasing him around the house for a bit to get whatever excess energy he has out, & then him going off to bed. Yes, he’s weird.

So, today was benign. Just hung out at home. I didn’t want to leave Leo home alone since I wasn’t sure what the Benadryl would do to him. I ended up watching the Christian Slater movie, Bed of Roses, on cable. Not bad. I vaguely remember seeing it years ago. But must say, it really was predictable in its timing. I was watching the clock during the last half-hour & could totally tell when key plot points were going to need to happen to provide some resolution. This is the problem with writing seriously & studying the mechanics: you over analyze every story. Yes, a great learning tool, but can really kill a film or book.

Oh yeah, NaNoWriMo ends tomorrow. I think all 4 of my writing group members are going to hit the 50K mark this year. I alas am not. But I’m fine with it. Life just got in the way, & slowed me down a bit. Slowing down isn’t a bad thing. I know what I need to do & I’m sure I want to move forward with this story & draft #2. So, I’ll just plug away through December and January & see where I am by February.

So, overall, benign day. I’ll settle for that.

Image: Leo Reynolds via flickr

Today I was productive. I did the work I needed to get done. Although, I just realized I forgot to make a call to set up an interview. Crappy. Anyways, I got most of what I needed to get done today done.

While there were plenty of other things I could have done as well, around 3 this afternoon I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was going to write, work on my NaNoWriMo word count, but my head just wasn’t there. Maybe it was the weather. It was cloudy, gray, & cold. Not the kind of weather that makes you want to go outside & at least sit to get some fresh air. Maybe that’s what put me into a funk. Just started feeling really lost, lonely, & scattered. No crying for a change. I’ve lived on my own before, not for very long periods. It’s weird to have this house to myself all the time. Definitely feels like too much space. And I’m just not used to being in it alone. The dogs help, but still it’s not the same. I suppose I could consider moving, but the weird thing is when I do, I can’t imagine living anywhere else right now. Maybe sometime in the future, but for now this is home. So, I guess I’m still adjusting. I guess I’m still working on that new routine all these weeks later. This is going to take awhile I guess.

Image: Scarleth White* via flickr

As the day dragged on, my anxiety level has definitely amped up. I’m completely positive that Leo’s surgery is going to go fine tomorrow, but still…. It’s surgery & it’s not like I can really explain to him that I’m doing this to help him & that he’ll be fine–even though I keep doing exactly that. I just want tomorrow to go as quickly as possible & get him home.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my chances of winning NaNoWriMo this year are quickly dwindling. And I’m okay with it. I thought doing NaNo would be a great distraction & return to normalcy, but I don’t think I’m ready. Throw in everything that’s been going on with Leo & I’m amazed I’ve even gotten 7,500 words in. I’m happy with the direction I’ve taken with the rewrite, but the reality is I can’t rush it if I want to do it right; & doing it right is going to take vast amounts of focus & concentration that I just don’t have right now. So, I’m letting myself off the hook. I will keep working on it. I still want to get draft #2 done (hopefully by the end of the year) and will continue to work on it. But, I’m going to be a little more lenient with myself & be ok with not being ready to dive in completely.

Image: Magitisa via flickr