Per Usual

I can’t say I’m surprised that my attempt at a writing habit took only 7 days to fail. I do have a chance at redemption for the month of July, as my camp goal was only 100 words a day, but above that was a goal of daily writing, which was the ultimate failure. This time.

I can only say that with my daughter and her friend home from college, life has been stressful and I have run out of spoons quicker than I planned. She has been dealing with anxiety ever since she arrived, and has exploded at times when I least expected it. She says she is working on her outbursts with her therapist, but as a mom it is hard to watch (and hear) your grown child berating herself for something minor, or yelling at a sibling for something even more minor. She says she is learning to unleash her feelings instead of bottling them up. I’m trying not to take her outbursts personally.

I am going to try to get back on track this month. My side job as a driver has given me a great opportunity to think through plot and characters, and I have a new idea for the Forever Novel that should help me punch out the missing 1,300+ words I need to catch up.

Hopefully I will have a more cheery update soon.

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2022

I’ve had this domain for over two years now, and I’m finally doing something with it!

Okay, I decided spur of the moment to set a (very) small goal for myself (100 words a day) and see if that gets me writing again. I miss it. Daily journal entries don’t count (those, at least, I know I can maintain. Baby steps).

I’m using Novlr (another purchase I made when I “won” NaNo at the end of 2020) to keep track. I hand wrote my first attempt late last night, and typed it into Novlr this morning: 167 words. On track.

I’m playing with my “forever” novel, the one I’ve had in mind for over 30 years. I worked on it during NaNo 2015, but didn’t get far. I have it in notebooks all over, started and stopped on a regular basis. I have learned many things about myself, my history, and the city of Detroit (the setting) in the past 4 years especially, that have helped shape the story in my mind. When I try to switch stories (like with my 2020 NaNo), I stretch my writing muscles, but always return to the Forever Novel when I think about writing.

I’m going to look at what I wrote in 2015, and perhaps my 2020 work (a whole fresh topic, that I had a lot of fun with), especially if I feel like I’m flagging at Camp.

What’s the single most important thing you accomplished in 2010?

I’m drawing a blank today (not really, more on that in a sec) so I’ll answer the Daily Post suggested topic for today.

The most important thing I accomplished was writing in my daily journal. More to the point, writing down my gratitudes each day. So, you see, I CAN write everyday (okay, well…here & there I’d have to play catch-up, but never more than a week at a time, and even then that only happened once…or twice…but who’s counting?)

Another important accomplishment tied to putting my thanks in writing was finally reading my way through Simple Abundance (yes, 15 years late…). A lot of her lessons reminded me of things one of my favorite scrapbook artists/teachers, Ali Edwards, is always preaching…things like “it is okay,” “embrace imperfections,” being authentic, etc.

In honor of this latter accomplishment, I have chosen my One Little Word  for 2011. In 2009 I sort of chose “nurture,” meaning to  take care of myself, but small children and new gardens will get in the way, so I never followed through to the extent that Ali’s disciples usually do. My word(s) for 2010 might as well have been gratitude, simplicity, order, harmony, beauty, and joy — straight from Breathnach’s book.

I don’t know that I will follow through with my word this year, either, but I have at least chosen my word (or, as the disciples say, it chose me🙂 FOCUS. Something this entry could have used a little more of. But hey, it’s only January 3rd.

If vacations lasted forever, they would cease being vacations. Right?

Blame it on my recent trip to Venice, Florida. Despite staying in an efficiency with a kitchenette, with the express request that I figure out meals to save us money, I still managed to re-energize myself to the point that I lit a fire under my writing dreams — again. This happened last June, driving down to Franklin, Tennessee, for a scrapbooking weekend. Nine hours by myself in a car, iPod fully loaded with inspirational tunes for my novel. Came home and wrote a detailed outline, with the help of R. Karl Largent and his brief but excellent How to Write and Sell Your Novel, which I picked up at the Ann Arbor Friends of the Library book sale for $2.

This time around, it was Carolyn See and her brilliant book on Making the Literary Life, which I found at the Sand Dollar Bookstore on Miami Avenue in Venice. I hadn’t planned on reading (or knitting) this vacation (see kitchenette, above); my husband threw in Ironside (which I was reading before we left) but it was too dark to be a frothy beach read. I surprised myself by consuming See’s book in just a couple of days instead.

The best advice this time around was her 1,000 words a day rule. Not 1,000 words of rambling, self-pitying navel gazing, but of fiction (preferably, or whatever topic you were writing about…not a journal entry, in other words). Four pages by the handwritten route. Easy enough, and I managed it just fine for 5 days (you take weekends off). Then I did a sixth day, then…I stopped.

One of the things I am discovering that I need is solitude. That is practically impossible with a 3 year-old around. Notice I said practically. I could certainly try around 10a every day, when Jungle Junction is on (his must-see TV). Of course, that is usually when I (finally) jump in the shower. But a shower only takes me about 15 minutes, and my son watches TV for a good hour, hour and a half some mornings. One thousand words can take me anywhere from a half hour (my speed record, and BTW, I loved what I wrote under pressure that day) to a full hour. That’s it! Doesn’t seem right, does it?

I find once I decide what scene I am going to focus on that day, I dive in and don’t look up. But that, for me, takes solitude. I understand why J.K. Rowling wrote in a coffeeshop (well, I am blessed with heat, which she wasn’t at the time, but she was bless with a daughter who napped, and both of my children stopped napping when they were two!) I love my coffeeshop, and yes, it offers solitude.

Here’s another interesting fact I learned about myself in this brief process: I can write any time of day. I always thought I’d do my best work in the morning (I still might, once my son is off to school daily), but it turns out I can write when he is in afternoon preschool (coffee helps).

Now I just need to get back to my 1,000 words a day. Next week is Easter break, so the kids will be around all. day. Here’s to hoping I can find my focus again and get back to my novel. I’ll consider it a mini-vacation from daily routine.