And here I am blogging about it. 🙂
So, my computer crashed last week. Luckily, I was able to do a refresh instead of a full reset. With the refresh my files were saved but I lost all of my emails and all of my programs. It took me two days just to get into email, then several days of updating and program loading. Last night, I finally got my writing program loaded and was able to open my most recent work-in-progress. I also recovered my email files which ended up being a happy accident. The whole incident was a wake up call, believe me I’ll be setting up a monthly schedule for backing up my computer.
Clearly I didn’t get much writing done during all of that. I’ll have to do some backing up with my writing too. I lost a week and I’ll have to go back to read over everything and get back into where I was with the story. This week, I am hoping to get my read through done and then back to writing every day. One good thing is that while waiting in line for my car to be emission tested I was able to work out a few plot points that had been a bit tangled.
Sometimes it feels like there have been so many setbacks and obstacles recently with my writing. I started this year saying that 2014 was going to be my year. I was going to get my work in progress rewritten, out to beta readers and maybe even take a shot at self publishing. It’s been a tough year, and there’s only four months left in 2014, it would be smarter to just do what I can now and regroup for 2015. Right now I am not feeling all that smart. I am feeling stubborn and a little mad. I had a plan for this year and I’ll be damned if I am going to let all of these little crappy things that keep happening stand in the way.
Come hell or high water, I am going get my rewrites done and get it to my beta readers. I am going to write that novella too. I’ve got 132 days left in 2014. 132 days, I can do this. It’s not world domination but it’s a start.
Last year, I got the opportunity to see Neil Gaiman. He was doing a reading and book signing for the release of his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was a great experience, he is as smart and funny as you would expect, but more so. I can’t begin to explain how amazing he is while at the same time seem like a normal everyday person. A few nights later my almost-niece, Andia, attended a similar event in LA, except she got the opportunity to meet him during a small reception before the event. She’s exceptional, so her special time with Mr. Gaiman was well deserved. I mean, the girl brought him homemade chocolates with book themed decorations. C’mon!
I saw this quote from him earlier this week and I couldn’t quite get it out of my head. It was so close to what I talked about last week that it just stuck with me. I can’t quite give up on being a grown up but I can surely follow the sage advice of someone who knows what he’s talking about.
Plus, I think I’ve already got insane covered so it’s all uphill from here, right?
Check out Andia’s website SteamCupcakes
Ok, the good news is that I am writing again, but it’s not on my current work in progress, the novella. Instead, I’ve been writing a lot of blog posts. I currently have three blogs; this one for talking about my everyday stuff and writing, a second one that I use to post about homeschooling and craft projects and the last one I started preemptively as an author blog.
It’s a little nuts, having three blogs, I realize this. The crazy thing is that I really enjoyed setting each one up, I must have changed themes ten times until I found the one that worked exactly the way I envisioned it. I did that for all of them, in fact, I had a theme on one blog and realized it would work better on this one and changed them out. I really like how each of them look, they are all different but have a similar bright, clean look. Every time I publish a post I have a moment of creative giddyness because I like how the blog post looks, and more importantly because I am writing.
Writing has been something I’ve done since I was a kid. Being a writer is something I’ve wanted to do pretty much since I started writing. Even though it was what I wanted to do I don’t think I let myself really think about it as an actual possibility until just recently. I talked about it and let it roll around in the back of my head but I don’t think I ever really believed that I could do it. My father was my biggest champion, and yeah, dad’s are supposed to be supportive and all that. I’d like to think there was a little more to it though. My dad was pretty smart, he came out of college with a double major, Social Studies (History and Political science) and Kinesiology (the study of human movement). He was also playing college football on a scholarship at a smaller college in California. He followed the Bachelors degree with a Masters, and taught at a Catholic Prep high school. I actually had him for Honors English and U.S. Government/Economics and also P.E., he was also the head football coach but also coached track, swimming and was the weightlifting coach for all sports. He was a Renaissance man though, he was a published poet, he could repair any vehicle, build almost anything and he came up with amazing solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable. When I was a kid he designed and built on an addition to our house that was bigger than the original house. Looking back it amazes me because he learned it all from reading and talking to people, there was no internet or You Tube videos to learn how to do things. I remember helping him build a brick wall and platform for our wood burning stove, it was really neat to see it coming together, I mean literally seeing a brick wall built brick by brick. How many eight year old girls know how to split a brick in half? I learned a lot from my dad, not just in school but all of those other things like building and problem solving. **
I mentioned all of that to explain this next part. When I was in college, I was having a stressful moment, I think I was struggling to get classes scheduled and I was full doomsday mode. My dad sat down at the table with me and said, “Why are you going through all of this?” Of course, I responded all frazzled talking about classes and grades and how I was never going to graduate. He told me to quit worrying about my classes and get back to writing. I was bit surprised, my dad was all about getting a good and thorough education. I told him I was going to school so I would have something to fall back on. It seemed like a logical plan, go to school, get an education, get a job so I could, you know, eat. I figured the writing would come later. He says to me, “Forget about the back up plan, go write,” and then walked out of the room.
My father passed away in 2007 after a 16 month battle with lung cancer. It took a year or so but all of those conversations I’d had with him over the years about writing kept coming back to me. I had been writing off and on for years, I mean, I could wallpaper Brooklyn with pages from my unfinished projects. It wasn’t until November 1, 2009 that I got a serious push toward writing. I read a post from Jennifer Crusie about National Novel Writing Month (NaNo). I logged onto the website and signed up. I spent November writing my 50,000 words and I was very proud of myself. I planned on getting back to writing after the holidays in January but, you know, sometimes life happens. In the middle of May, I remembered that I could get a free proof copy and I spent most of June hunched over my computer finishing my story. When I got my proof copy in the mail, I did a little happy dance and then burst into tears. It was the first time that it seemed like writing was something I could actually do.
After that first story, I realized that I had the perfect idea for a story that would come before the one I’d just written. Not long after, I had a plan for a series of books set in the fictional town I had created in my first NaNo project. I’ve used the opportunity of subsequent NaNo’s to work on my ideas for the different books. I’ve been trying to rewrite the first in the series, it’s been a bit of a struggle after a large timeline change along with a few plot point changes. I’ve rewritten the beginning and the next step is to get an new outline that incorporates all of the changes.
The important thing is that I write, and it can be hard. I’m pretty busy trying to keep my house clean, the lawn mowed and food on the table and then homeschooling takes a lot of of prep and teaching time too. It might be blog posts I am going to do this though, I am going to find those minutes. I will get my butt in the chair and I will get my words on the screen.
I figure if I keep repeating it, that it will eventually happen, right?
**My dad helped me design these matching L – shaped desks. It was one of the first projects that I constructed from beginning to end. Sully was duly impressed. 🙂
So July was supposed to be the month where I got my act together. Camp NaNo started July 1st and I had come up with a fabulous idea to help straighten out a particular issue with my work-in-progress. A short story or novella would be the perfect way to get my characters to my fictional town and a fun way to kick off the series. Two birds, one stone, how could this not turn out awesome?
I had already signed up with Camp NaNo setting my word count at 30,000 words. I figured 1,000 words a day would be pretty easy. During NaNo in November, I write 2,000 words a day so 1,000 words should be no problem. In the first few days it wasn’t a problem, in fact I didn’t get started until about July 6th and I was writing 1,500 words each day to catch up. It was going well, I was excited about two new characters that I’d added that filled in some gaps in the backgrounds for other characters. I’ve been using Scrivener for a little over a year now, not consistently but I finally feel like I’d gotten a good feel for how to use it and had even spent some time setting up character and location templates I was really feeling positive about how it would all turn out.
It was all good, my word count was on track and then we had a monsoon storm. I live in Arizona and we have these nasty storms in the summer that start with a wall of dust blowing across the Valley of the Sun with high winds often followed by torrential downpours. Sometimes we get dust and some wind and just enough rain to make the windshields on our cars really spotty. This time though it was bad, thunderstorms with high winds and microbursts that hit several areas east of Phoenix. Unfortunately, we live east of Phoenix and lost a good chunk of one of the trees in our front yard. We were watching from our front porch and half of the tree had folded down on itself. My husband went out and moved his car since the wind was blowing in the direction. A few minutes later the wind wooshed in from the opposite direction and folded section broke free and fell into the street. We waited about ten minutes and although it was still blowing out, the crazy wind has subsided. We really wanted to get the tree out of the street it wasn’t quite dark yet but we could see it being a potential hazard. We live about four houses from the main turn into our subdivision, in the dark I wasn’t sure if that was adequate distance for someone to see it in their headlights and safely react in time. We were able to push and pull it into the yard and out of the street but at one point I slipped on the wet grass. I fell straight back onto my tuchus and stupidly put my hands down as I fell. I was laughing before I landed knowing how I looked, scared Sully have to death. What I didn’t know though was that I had severely sprained my left wrist, I guess the adrenaline overpowered the pain. About an hour later, I was nearly in tears, I got some ice on it and it started feeling a little more normal. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I am not sure which, I have a lot of experience with spraining my wrists, and in fact dislocated the left one when I was in high school.*
I ended up wearing a stiff, immobilizing brace during the day and an Ace bandage while I slept. There is no good angle in a wrist brace in which you can type, honestly the same goes for the Ace bandage. I tried different scenarios with my laptop; on my desk propped in various angles, on my lap, on a bed tray, knees up, knees down. There just wasn’t an angle that would work with the wrist brace that didn’t put the other wrist in a weird uncomfortable position. I finally gave up and started writing in a notebook. My word count when I got injured was about 16K so at least I was halfway there. I remember from previous years that many people write their stories out by hand and how they should proceed to validate their word count. I used the easier method, I counted the words on three of my handwritten pages to get an average word per page, I probably should have done more but after three my patience began to wane, a lot. Anyhow, I took the average and multiplied it by my total number of pages. Somehow I had met my word count and I was able to ‘win’ Camp NaNo. Yay me!
Today was really the first day that I’ve able to type without any pain on my wrist. I know, it’s not a huge thing but when you’re supposed to be writing it’s terribly inconvenient. This weekend I’ll have to type up all of the scenes and notes and get them organized into Scrivener. Hopefully, once it’s all typed out I will still have reached my word count goal. Of course, the chances of me typing straight from notebooks is very slim, the urge to edit as I go will be really strong. It’s probably best if I just stick to my original figures and not dwell on matters that were out of my hands. In the past I’ve always managed to reach my word count. This time it was in a different way and I can live with that.
Happy writing! See you next week. 🙂
* Yes, I dislocated my wrist and in the most stupid way possible. I was on the softball team my sophomore year, and while I’d love to tell you that I sprained it hitting a home run or sliding into home scoring the winning run, that is so not the case. During practice after school we were waiting for the coach or something, all I remember is that we were all standing around. Several days earlier some of us had been talking about stuff and somehow I mentioned that I could do a cartwheel on a straight line. So while we were waiting someone suggested that I do a cartwheel on the chalk line. No problem, I do that all of the time. I’d shown people all over the place, sidewalks, bleachers, lines in the parking lot, curb stops in the parking lot. For whatever reason that day when I did my cartwheel it really hurt my wrist. Whether I dislocated it then or just sprained it and then further injured it during practice. And yeah, you’d think I would have mentioned the hurt wrist and stayed out of practice but I couldn’t tell my coach, ‘oh hey, I can’t practice I hurt my wrist doing a cartwheel..’ Super responsible, right? I still can’t imagine having that conversation. I had to have my wrist taped up for the rest of the season. So much fun…