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.

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!

Words that start with A

This randomly popped in my head. I’ll try to limit to just nouns too. I spell-checked too, and may have had some help with a few.

1. anger

2. animosity

3. angst

4. apple

5. anchovy

6. answer

7. antennae

8. antifreeze

9. actor

10. action

11. anonymity

12. allowance

13. addition

14. Andromeda (I said nouns so proper nouns count too!)

15. availability

16. accent

17. anaconda

18. anagram

19. albatross

20. anthem

21. anathema

22. alabaster

23. appearance

24. ass

25. asthma

26. allergy

27. agriculture

28. adjective/adverb

29. ark

30. arc

31. antimatter

32. avocado

33. artichoke

34. Anteres

35. atoll

36. anchor

37. American

38. Audi

Ok I’ll be done.

Writing Prompt

Using this (bits in parentheses not specific to prompt, how I thought of the word)

Dogs (lived with them)

daffodils (up after the crocuses)

dandelions (blowing seeds)

danger (ER visit)

dragged (kids get dragged places)

deer (seeing in the field)

day (at the library)

dots (glasses in junior high)

dreams (wanted to be a veterinarian, then a scientist, then a writer)

dads

dear (cause it seems to fit when thinking of childhood)

don’t (do that!!)

distractions

dead/death

dreary (rainy days)

done (with a book, with school, with chores)

drift (watching clouds)

deed (doesn’t apply but it’s a d word!)

drowned (bugs, frogs in the pool)

dandy (cause I wanted a word that starts with d that is a candy but thought it up instead)

dessert! (Christmas cookies every year, baked by mom)

desiccated (hard shell crab dinner at home on the patio)

dragons! (I had the infamous loved dragons and unicorns stage)

digging (in the dirt, under rocks, I had the less infamous liked to play in dirt stage)

different (me)

Writing writing writing

I signed up on nanowrimo so I can follow stuff on their site in preparation of maybe being part of nanowrimo this November. Is it too early to start preparing now? I don’t think so. I’ve know about nanowrimo for at least… 2 Novembers… but never took part because I did remember soon enough in the year and didn’t want it to distract me from my classes. Well school is over, I’ve got both degrees now. So, there’s nothing standing in my way, especially since I’m still unemployed/job searching.

I’m thinking the logical next step is to start writing every day, so I can get in practice again. Well, outside of being forced to write every day for class. I did blog more, once. I could use the blog to write every day or I could use prompts to write freehand/fiction. Or I could do stream of consciousness sit down with a timer and write for some specific exact period of time. I did subscribe to a blog that offers writing prompts but I’d really rather use one that I’ve got recommendations for.

I know if I do start actually writing a book I’ll use scrivener. (I’ve used it for writing in school and it’s awesome… a research paper and an independent study paper/project.)

I have also remembered that it would be fun to write a scifi(fantasy)/future/alternate history sort of story by paying special attention to the society/sociology. I’ve just figured out the future/alternate history possibilities as well as wondering if I should read more “alternate world” scifi(fantasy) books.

And then there’s the part where all of this is technically just procrastinating starting writing. So, really, I could procrastinate starting for at least another few weeks… and then if I have a job by then use the job to procrastinate more! Obviously I need to not procrastinate if I’m serious! Am I serious?

I know I like to write, I know I can research – even if I’ve really only researched for school, that doesn’t matter, because I can research. I know I like to be doing something that is creative – whether that be blogging, writing, or knitting. I also know there is some (small?) part of me that would like to publish a book – see my name on a book sitting in the store. (But isn’t everyone that way?) I also know a little about the best ways for me to work thanks to school – like changing things up every now and again. Going to $tarbucks with a laptop is almost clique now but it can really help get work done. Ok I’m not ending a blog post by talking about taking a laptop to $tarbucks.

So, I have learned. I do have a vague general idea for how to write a novel. I have no idea if it’s a good idea, I have no idea how to go about it and I have no idea if I should research by reading similar books. Perhaps if I think I should then it’s a good idea? I’d also have to figure out if I want any kind of post-apocalyptic action. I’d lean towards no because I think that kind of storyline is a bit like vampires – easy to overdo. Warping some type of current society could be interesting – but would I also need to do some political research? (not tea party vs. everyone else, but at the country level). Anyways. This is enough for now. I’ve got this here so I can refer back to it if necessary.

Writing

So if I were to start writing now that I’m done with school and not having my creativity sapped and while I’m still unemployed/looking for a job and cursing my student loans… would blogging every day be a good start?

What in the world am I going to blog every day about?

Anyways.

Words here.

Writing is revising again, and again, and again

I finished a paper in an independent study over last semester. The professor congratulated me on a job well done. It was hard to do. It seemed near impossible sometimes. Especially since I picked a topic with little completed research. The point of the independent study was also so I could work on my writing.

So, I came up with a list of things to read for when revising a paper…

First read through:

relevance and redundancy

Second read through:

quoted material vs. “original” material – this is to help make sure things aren’t being missed

Third read through:

Sentence structure, passive voice, adverbs

Fourth read through:

organization, format, cites, spell check

Fifth read through:

still need to continue rereading if any large changes have been made.

*I came up with this when I was nearing the end of my editing/revising/rewriting