Things and Stuff

This is a blog post about how I wish I had something to say because I’d like to write but lately there has been NOTHING.

I’m a bit numb because of everything going on with my health. Adding in more drugs. Having to do more things. Beginning to feel trapped at home.

While at the same time feeling like I need to get out of the house for a writing session to get back into writing. But, hey, this counts as writing!

I’m running out of time to decide if I’m going to participate in Camp NaNo in July – and what I’m going to write. I could “pants” something or I could start outlining something. No idea.

Numbness makes creativity difficult to process.

Being sick sucks when you’re already ill

I think the English language does not have enough words to explain things like sickness, illness, disease, infection, and the difference between chronic and acute. To me being sick is acute, like having an infection. Illness is chronic, like disease. So, when I have a kidney infection that means I’m sick on top of being ill since I have 2 chronic illnesses. (Or 3, does asthma count as a chronic illness?)

Same goes for pain. Acute pain and chronic pain are two entirely different animals too.

I suspect some people also only consider people sick if they are contagious. All of my problems are practically invisible right now.

The worst part? My chronic illnesses cause cognitive problems and being sick saps my energy even more.

I just want to be able to work on one of my writing projects but it’s been so long I can’t remember what I had planned, where I was, or where I was headed. Writers say write every day, well, I’d like to meet a writer with a chronic illness who still writes every day, regardless. Some days I’m lucky I can function.

First Attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo: Semi Useful

I see I have a blog post about my plan to do Camp NaNoWriMo (for the first time) but no blog post about what happened. Basically, health problems meant I didn’t meet my goal. Between multiple doctor appointments, a medical procedure that involved anesthesia, an ER visit, an allergic reaction to an insect bite (wondering spider since a recent ant bite only gave me the itchees) and then an allergic reaction to a new drug all meant that I had a super busy April minus normal things.

I did get started writing poetry and have some decent first drafts or rough ideas to work on. I also realized in this same month that waiting for test results and to (probably) start treatment for MS has done a lot to my mental state. As in it’s a lot of shit to deal with and just distracting yourself from this type of shit doesn’t help!

End result, I now have a project set up in Scrivener that is half poetry and half journals. I’m hoping to collect some of my thoughts as I go through this journey of rediscovering who I am because of what chronic illnesses has done to my life.

Also, writing daily when you don’t know what the next day could bring is very difficult. I’m going to start working on weekly and monthly writing goals instead of daily goals… while still aiming to update the blog a few days a week. But if I can’t? Then I can’t.

Today Recovery, Tomorrow Writing

Today I’m wearing a knit wool hat even though it’s 70 in here (and rising) and my head has menthol on it. The migraine is down but the nerves are still twingy AND I woke up an hour and half later than normal. I’m so stiff but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stretch today either.

Tomorrow Camp NaNoWriMo starts. I’m aiming to write some poetry. I’ve already done some minor brainstorming and set aside a notebook. I draft poetry better on paper. I’ve also got a book on types of poetry. I’m hoping to test my abilities and learn some things this month. I think I’ll plan on a novel for the next round of Camp NaNoWriMo, depending on what’s going on.

In preparation, I have printed out some signs to hang around the house. These kinds of images still amuse me.

Both found on the Internet – searched google for you should be writing Neil Gaiman pictures.

I’m hoping poetry written on paper, as compared to a novel in Scrivener, will make it easier to write even when I’m in doctor’s waiting rooms. I’ve got three doctor appointments and one lumbar puncture in the month of April. Here’s hoping the lumbar puncture does not cause me any headaches or leave me recovering flat on my back.

In other news, I’ve found decaf coffee I can drink with no unfortunate effects. I didn’t have coffee for last November’s NaNoWriMo.

 

you should be writing

GaimanNeil

Reading Progress

Books either read or finally finished since the start of 2014. My original goal was two books a month.

  1. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
  2. The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles book 1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. Legion by: Brandon Sanderson
  4. Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella by: Brent Weeks
  5. The Emperor’s Soul by: Brandon Sanderson
  6. Magician: Apprentice by: Raymond Feist
  7. Game of Cages: A Twenty Palaces Novel by: Harry Connolly

 

Writing Short Stories and Mordor

I’m sitting here on the couch staring at my laptop wishing I could write something GOOD. Weather and such has been screwing with me and my brain is – here but not. (Also on Benadryl at the moment.) Long story short I did some googling. Specifically, I searched “How to write a short story” on Google. (Technically googling isn’t a thing, but whatever. Or has Google given up on that?)

I ended up reading through three very different pages about different opinions on how to write a good short story. The one on io9.com was the most fun to read and definitely the most interesting. The article on Huff’Post was useful because it made suggestions about keeping the story under 3500 words. The third one was on about.com and probably the most conflicting because it tells the writer to follow conventional story structure but still to know when to break the rules.

All together, these articles suggest to a potential writer to make sure every word and sentence means something and provides something to the reader – whether that be plot, setting, or character information. I probably liked the advice from the article on io9.com the most in that it also warned the writer against using that cool thing that gave them the story idea as the plot. I’ve come up with cool ideas and it’s hard to remember those cool ideas aren’t the plot. It’s just the gimmick that makes the story interesting and different. The ring is the gimmick, the walk to Mordor is the plot!

one-does-not-simply-walk-into-mordor

Haikus – My Little Pony

I had the random thought to do haikus for the leading characters of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Here they are.

Twilight Sparkle
Your friend and ally.
Student of magic studies.
She makes great lists too.

Pinkie Pie
Bouncing, always happy.
Thrower of awesome parties.
She will make you laugh.

Rarity
Appreciates beauty.
Maker of anything fashion.
Spike loves her so.

Applejack
Always a loyal friend.
Working hard and willing to share.
Apples, yum, apples.

Fluttershy
Quiet, shy and loving.
She loves all the animals.
Brave warrior protecting.

Rainbow Dash
Bright and brave. She flies.
Exciting and strong.
Watch her blow away the clouds.

Haikus – our cats

Randomly, thanks to seeing something on twitter, I decided to try some haikus. Kind of like a writing prompt. After I looked up the proper format I tried out a few. Here’s what I came up with for our cats.

Leya
Buddy on the couch.
Pet the thick black and white fur.
The door bell rings. RUN!

Parker
Flooftastic brown fur.
Head butting and squeaking.
Lap cat only on her terms.

Codex
Gray tortie meows.
Ready to pounce her sister.
She wants your cracker.

Murphy
Old man stoic cat.
Calm and loving brown tabby.
Purrs like a motorboat.

Writing Exercise – Day 6

Found here. I’m on Day 6 which promises to be fun, frustrating, and or interesting.

Day 6:
Select a book on your shelf and pick two chapters at random. Take the first line of one chapter and the last line of the other chapter and write a short story (no more than 1000 words) using those as bookends to your story.

I picked The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

First sentence is from chapter 35:

The force of the storm wall nearly knocked him unconscious, but the sudden chill of it knocked him lucid.

Last sentence is from chapter 17:

Just like every day.

I did keep looking for a first sentence until I found one that didn’t have a name in it. Brandon Sanderson as a specific style for his names that’s definitely fantasy and I didn’t want to feel trapped in fantasy. Last sentence was the first try.

Writing and Chronic Illness

I have this thing floating around in the back of my head. I’m trying to figure it out and give it some flesh and blood. What if fibromyalgia is what happens in my life that means I finally take the steps to become a full time writer? (Thankfully I have a supportive spouse in this equation.)

It’s weird because while wondering if my chronic illness is going to make it easier for me to change my life I’m also afraid my chronic illness has trapped me and I won’t be able to change my life.

The trick, I think, is to find a place to start. I’ve realized that writing is like mental exercise. I’ve started exercising at 10 minutes every day or every few days. We’ll play it by ear. I can do the same thing with my writing. To start. Blog posts don’t necessarily count.

I also recently read on the internet that on days you cannot write, you read about writing, or think about writing. I’m hoping this book will help too.

In theory, if the CoQ10 I’m now on seems to be helping my fibro fog. Exercise will also help. So, I just have to think about this like it’s a journey. You have to start someplace.

Writing Prompt: Poetry

She looked at the crystal goblet and the dark liquid it contained.
She pursed her ruby lips, wondering.
The thin goblet sparkled in the light,
but the liquid within was so dark to be almost black.
They had been told to drink.
She tucked her long blond hair behind her left ear, staring.

He tried to ignore the metal chalice,
glancing around the room he saw riches.
The two women sitting in the room with him seemed to be ignoring him.
He did –
not understand.
He wondered if the goblets were the puzzle.
He wondered why the room had no windows. He smoothed his hands down his silk tunic.
He stood up so fast his chair fell to the floor.
The two women flinched at the noise and he started to pace.

She picked up the simple glass vessel,
examining, wondering, and
debating. She felt overwhelmed. She did not fit in.
She wanted out of this room. She looked up at the woman and man sitting at the table with him but then,
quickly she looked down to her lap.
She picked at the loose thread in her simple dress but then looked back at the goblet in front of her.
The simple glass goblet was light weight but hard to hold.
The drink contained within was light but not like water.
For the first time, she looked to the woman at her left and the man at her right.
(When had he sat down again?)

They drank.

——–
Not really great, but I did it. Prompt found here.

Post NaNoWriMo 2013

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

A few things I learned:

1. I still love the actual process of writing.

2. There are only as many rules as you want there to be.

3. Writing first person is harder (for me) than writing third person.

4. Writing first person only happens if I want to write some kind of humorous this is some of the crazy stuff I’ve done book.

5. I want to try short stories too.

6. Writing happens. It’s not magical. Writing happens when you’re tired, sick, in pain, happy, well rested, giddy, sad, etc.

7. I’ll probably have to go back and fix all my dialog formatting.

8. I’m not good at writing action sequences like fights and plane wrecks.

9. Stop using the word suddenly!

In a post NaNoWriMo world, I’m looking for writing outlets since I want to take a break from my NaNoWriMo novel. I succeeded at NaNoWriMo because not only did I write the necessary 50,000 words before November 30, 2013 at midnight but I also learned a lot about my own daily writing methods. My low word count day was around 800 words. My high word count day was like 3200 words. For reasons I’m not going into here, I do not have a regular full time job so the finding time part of NaNoWriMo doesn’t figure in here for me. It was more about finding the energy.

If I want to do more than just write in any given day, then 3200 words is obviously not happening often. The 800 words in a day means I can write when I don’t feel that great and or do more than just write in that single day. This is obviously ideal since I want to get into freelance writing and make money from writing WHILE working on finishing my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel.

I’ve also updated my blog. Again. I’m trying to figure out blog options for something a little more official than a free blog on the wordpress domain. I continue to think that if I own my blog I’ll publish to it more.

Writing and Unemployment

So far I’ve been unemployed for 2 weeks. I quit my job willingly for a number of reasons. I felt the economy was better and I was safe to start looking for a job that uses my masters degree – instead of being stuck in a two parts customer service one part technical support job that was sapping the time and energy needed to search for a job. The job I quit was slowly sucking my soul – also for a number of reasons. I’m not going to gripe about the job I no longer have because I’m not going to dwell on the past.

I haven’t started going crazy, yet. It probably helped that my first week of unemployment was spent recovering from a double vaccination. I got the flu vaccination and the pneumonia vaccination at the same time. My knitting has also helped me. I’ve finished two small projects in the last 2-3 weeks.

The federal government shutdown is also making me nervous. I’m hoping to find a job in nonprofit – which could be hampered by this shutdown of government funds. I’m hoping – illogically? – that this will be taken care of before the United States defaults and so it will not hurt the economy and job market too terribly much.

I’ve been searching for jobs on multiple sites almost daily. I’ve applied for lots of jobs too – not all of them in nonprofit. I finally got around to reading this blog post on freelance writing earlier this morning, which affirms that I need to get back to writing daily. My blog is an easy way to do that!

Unfortunately that means I need content – unless I’m going to use writing prompts. Writing prompts haven’t worked for me in the past, so that brings me back to needing content. Content, content, content.

This first post was easy, writing and unemployment! Come November, writing daily will be easy because of NaNoWriMo. No reason to wait until then to write though! Reading that blog post also reminded me of my (old) idea to review a TV show through a sociological lens. I’m thinking that might work better with a current show though. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. perhaps?

Finally, I’m debating paying for this. I think I’ll go ahead and disable comments on this post because I see it attracting a lot of SPAM. Also, why did I say also so much here?

NaMoWriMo 2012: What I learned

Let’s keep this simple shall we? How about a list? In no particular order, what I learned from my first – successful – attempt at NaMoWriMo.

  1. When your background is research, theory, or policy papers in an academic setting, fiction is hard. Fiction means you use as many words as you want to. Describing is more nebulous than getting your point across in a clear fashion.
  2. I spend a lot of time watching tv shows or looking at random stuff on the Internet. I don’t have to do that.
  3. It is worthwhile to prioritize your free time.
  4. Somewhat self imposed deadlines are damned useful. Especially if you buy yourself a t-shirt when you meet the deadline! Or reward yourself with bright fuzzy yarn.
  5. Writing can be done, even when you’re exhausted and just want to go to bed.
  6. Writing can be done when you’re feeling like the world has been shitting on your head.
  7. Writing is fun. If you let it be fun.
  8. Just like everything else, you need to find the right tools for the job. (I <3 Scrivener.)
  9. I would like to write regularly. I don’t know if this should be blog posts, short stories, or another novel.
  10. 2000 words is a lot in one day when you have to go to the real job too.
  11. Just because you can use your own life, self, or close and personal friends for inspiration or basis for your story doesn’t mean you’ll like it when you’re done.
  12. My book didn’t turn out quite like I expected.
  13. I can write plot. (I didn’t say I could write plot well, I just didn’t think I could write plot before.)
  14. I don’t like writing chronologically or in any other kind of order. With the right tools I don’t have to.
  15. It’s really cool to say: “I finished writing a book today, what did you do?”
  16. Inspiration might come at interesting times. Other times inspiration might leave you crying in a corner, or wake you up at 7 am on a Saturday.
  17. I want to do this again.
  18. I can write while sick. It might not work well, but if words happen, does it really matter?
  19. The first draft is the first draft is the first draft, no matter what you’re writing about.
  20. I think if I wrote more regularly it would be easier to write more in a fixed period of time.
  21. When it’s fiction, do whatever the hell you want. Seriously. Make up shit! It’s ok!
  22. Editing has a time and place. When you’re trying to get the story out on paper? No editing. When you’re trying make it better? Editing is fabulous!
  23. If I spend a month doing a lot of writing, I will miss knitting.
  24. Some people will think writing for the sake if writing and not for the sake of sharing is crAzy.
  25. I should balance tv and reading out a little more. Sometimes my book felt like the plot to a tv show. Or maybe that’s just because it was a little cheesy and predictable and I should watch as much tv and read as much as I want?
  26. I couldn’t have completed NaMoWriMo 2012 without some support.
  27. Writing buddies are good when there’s a deadline.
  28. It’s ok to use random stuff or people in the Internet for inspiration.
  29. You do not need to name a character to continue writing about the character. You can name the character LATER.
  30. It’s a really cool feeling to be aware that hundreds and thousands more other people in the world are doing what you’re doing.
  31. The No excuses part was hard sometimes.
  32. It’s ok to add in silly stuff to pad your word count, or add one more to your list. After all, life has silly stuff too.

When revising IMO

This is the list of steps necessary to revise your paper that I built up when doing an independent study during my masters work.

So, when revising, read for:

1. Relevance and redundancy

2. Amount of quotes vs. use of your own words

3. Sentence structure and passive voice

4. Format, citations

The numbered steps mean I’m suggesting rereading four times. Yup. At least.

Insert spell/grammar check in whatever software you are using before these steps, maybe after, maybe both.

Now I’ll erase this list from the white board and clean up the white board!