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On the suckitude of Mondays

 

My PiC (Partner in Crime) and I have been having an off-and-on debate. He’s of the “Mondays suck” mindset. My question has always been, what does Monday matter to full-time creatives? It’s just a day like any other, isn’t it. Then it hit me. Monday is when I do all the “adulting” that has to happen during “regular business hours.” That way it’s out of my hair and I can spend the rest of the week focused on writing. Well, adulting isn’t fun. People like me who plan it out and do it promptly don’t do so because we like the day-to-day adult responsibilities, we do so because we don’t. And since Monday is the most practical time to adult and adulting sucks, my PiC is right. Mondays suck. 😜

I’m still not doing much reading. I’ve decided to increase my daily wordcount goal to 2,250 words so I can have the zero draft of Solitaire finished by the end of the year. This breaks down into five thirty-minute chunks of writing spread across the day. That’s really not bad with breaks in between, but I’m still pretty fried by the time I squeeze out that last one. If I finish this on New Year’s Eve I’ll really have something to celebrate. (And I’ll really need that drink!)

So I’m only occasionally reading stories from Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages. But they’re really, really good stories. Every one I read I tell myself, This is now one of my favorite stories ever. And every time, I mean it. But I’ve never meant it so much as when I read “Echoes of Aurora.” I sat there and just stared at the book for a long time when I’d finished. I was absolutely dazed.

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It’s Nothing Like a Writing Desk At All

November was quite a ride on a lot of levels. Now it’s December and 2017 is almost over.

I wrote 55,970 words this past month, 27,900 of them on the zero draft of Solitaire. The story clicked right along but I focused too much on the narrator and not the actual protagonist, so the first third-ish of the story will need tweaking during the first draft.

I want to extend my admiration, respect, and thanks to the team at 4thewords. This NaNo’s special event was intense. And since many of them live in Costa Rica I’m particularly impressed that the event went off with only minor glitches. The prizes are awesome (I have cat eyes for my avatar!) and the experimental platform seems to have worked pretty well even though I mostly went old-school. Fantastic work, guys. I can’t wait to see what’s coming up in April.

I hardly read or watched TV this month because I was so busy chopping up marionettes. I did take a poke at Pinterest. Recent updates make it so much easier to organize that of course I’m throwing everything out of the proverbial closet and fussing over just where to put each thing.

Weekly Update

Wickedly Wonderful. Wonderfully Wicked.

I hope all y’all who celebrate had an awesome Thanksgiving. My husband and I don’t do anything for it unless we’re invited over to a friend’s, and this year that friend is having Thanksgiving elsewhere. So no Turkey Day for us, which is just fine. Less stress, more writing.

In the vein of ‘more writing’… I did it! I met a challenge that would be very difficult for anyone and should have been impossible for me. I had a 365-day writing streak on 4thewords. Okay, so the wings don’t go with my personae. I’m going to flaunt them for a while anyway. (These wings are given as a prize to the first 25 people to get a 365-day streak. I’m the eleventh.)

 

This week I found a new writing toy tool that I love.  Writometer is a free Androd app that lets you set goals, do multiple projects, have timed writing sprints, track your wordcount, know how many words you still need to write per day to achieve your deadline, and even reward yourself for a job well done. It’s my brand new, suped-up ‘secret weapon’.

There are some things I’d tweak. I like timers that have a soft ticking sound as an option. It helps keep me on point. Also, the sound it makes at the end of a timed session needs to be louder, because when I’m in a flow state I don’t hear it. It would be nice if the sounds it makes were customizeable. I’ll mention these to the developers, and maybe some update it’ll have them.

 

1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts by [Kinder, Ryan Andrew] Wicked Wonders by [Klages, Ellen]

I’ve read a little bit this week. For Nonfiction November I gave 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts, by Ryan Andrew Kinder a look-over. They really are awesome. For fun I might occasionally pick one to do via random number generator. (I started to make myself an aesthetic™ jar and write the prompts out on colorful slips of paper… but then nah. But y’all absolutely can!

While I was at the library last week I couldn’t resist checking out Wicked Wonders by Ellen Klages. It’s a book of short stories, which right now is perfect for me. The first story, “The Education of a Witch,” was so me as a kid. (And well, look at me now!) I’ll be reading the other stories in the book a little bit at a time as next week progresses.

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My Writing Superpower and Secret Weapon

 

Almost everything I’d planned for Solitaire has been scrapped due to lack of character cooperation. So far I’m going along with it because it’s making sense. If things veer too far off track I’ll stop and re-evaluate wtf I’m even doing.

And that’s okay. I re-evaluate pretty much daily anyway. Making minor course-corrections as I go along is the superpower that helped me write 27,934 words by mid-month despite feeling like doo-doo and some unexpected (and not particularly pleasant) surprises during the past week.

My secret weapon to go along with my superpower? A timer.

I use a modification of the Pomodoro Technique. I can only work in short bursts before I have to take a break, move around, and count my spoons. So, I set a timer for just thirty minutes and do my best during that amount of time. When that timer goes off I set another one for fifteen minutes, during which I tidy the house a little, stretch… whatever I need to do. Then I sit down and work for another thirty minutes. After three of these I have the option of taking a thirty-minute break, when I usually lay down and read, or listen to a podcast while playing a semi-mindless game.

🖊

Speaking of. As y’all can see I had to give up on all the reading challenges and read-a-thons for this month, except one. I’m still doing Nonfiction November. Since this dovetails with NaNoWriMo I’m focusing on books about writing. And I’d be extremely remiss if I didn’t discuss DIY MFA by Gabriela Pereira.

I’ve attempted college twice – once when I was nineteen and again in my early thirties. Both times I had to drop out due to health problems. To say that I was frustrated would be an understatement. I was the first person on my father’s side of the family (that we know of) to go to college at all and I really wanted to set that example. But mostly I thought, like a lot of writers, that I needed an MFA in Creative Writing to legitimize me and help me along the path to becoming a published author.

Lately I’ve come to the understanding that writers don’t need a degree to be published and successful. But it helps to have the knowledge and experience that goes along with getting that degree. DIY MFA (the book, the website, and the podcast) saved my self-esteem and bolstered my determination to improve myself as a writer and find success in my own way and on my own terms. I can’t sing enough praises.

🖊

My favorite podcast episode that I listened to this week is Writing Excuses 9.44 Getting Into the Writer’s Mindset with Peter S. Beagle. I was blown over! If somebody told me Mr. Beagle is a wizard I’d straight-up believe them. No question. I felt honored and awed just to be listening to this.

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Hear, listen can you hear / The haunting melody surrounding you

 

Well, the plans I had for this blog need to undergo complete revision. Thankfully I’ve barely been posting for a month and almost no one has seen it, so no one has any expectations.

🖊

I’m not officially participating in NaNoWriMo. I used to, and I “won” several times. However, it wasn’t worth the physical and emotional drain and I never kept anything I wrote. Yet part of me always missed it.

Last year I discovered 4thewords, right before the kick-off of NaNoWriMo. That lit a new fire under me! I love the different themed events, new critters to battle, and prizes to be won. And the sense of camradarie I’ve been yearning for is right there on the message boards for when I have the energy to read and post.

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“Tam Lin” – Tricky Pixie

Of course I had to post this song on Halloween.

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Booked Solid: Week 2

FrightFall Read-a-Thon (Sun. Oct. 1 – Tue. Oct. 31)

  • Read at least one scary/spooky book

OWNtober (Sun. Oct. 1 – Tue. Oct. 31)

  • Read as many books as you can from your physical TBR pile

The House Cup Reading Challenge (Sun. Oct. 15 – Sun. Nov. 12)

  • First Year: reader’s choice
  • Second Year: reader’s choice
  • Third Year: reader’s choice
  • Fourth Year: reader’s choice
  • Fifth Year: reader’s choice
  • Sixth Year: reader’s choice
  • Seventh Year: reader’s choice
  • Ravenclaw: Read a book that revolves around a mystery.
  • Tri-Wizard Tournament: Read a book that involves a competition.
  • Occlumency: Read a book about a character with magical abilities or superpowers.
  • Death Eater: Read a book told from the POV of the villain.
  • Platform 9 3/4: Read a book that features travel.
  • Time Turner: Read a book set in the future or past.
  • Fantastic Beasts: Read a spin-off of a beloved series.
  • Dumbledore’s Army: Buddy-read a book with a friend or group

Spookathon (Mon. Oct. 16 – Sun. Oct. 22)

  • Read a thriller.
  • Read a book with a spooky word in the title.
  • Read a book based on a childhood fear.
  • Read a book that has orange on the cover.
  • Read a book with a spooky setting.

24hourathon (Oct. 21)

  • Read for 24 hours straight

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon (Oct. 21)

  • Read for 24 hours straight

Autumn Read-a-Thon (Oct. 22-28)

  • Read a gothic/spooky book

Spooky Reading Challenge (Oct. 23-28)

  • Read a book about a haunting
  • Read a book about a monster
  • Read a horror classic

Alphabetathon D (Oct. 23-29)

  • Read a book with two D’s (Title. Authors first or last name begins with D.)
  • Read a book with a main character whose name starts with D
  • Read a book with a D setting (Town, city, state, etc. begins with D.)
  • Read a book that has an object on the front cover that begins with D
  • Read a book over 400 pages
  • Read a book under 200 pages
  • Read a horror book

Sbooktacular Read-a-Thon (Oct. 25-31)

  • Book 1: Read a book of your choosing
  • Book 2: ?
  • Book 3: ?
  • Book 4: ?
  • Book 5: ?
  • Book 6: ?
  • Book 7: ?

Hallowreadathon (Oct. 31-Nov.1)

  • Read a book with a ghost
  • Read a book with red on the cover
  • Read two books

Saturday, Halloween 21, 2017

I’m doing Dewey’s and 24hourathon with breaks to get some sleep when I need to.

At midnight I went to bed listening to Ghost Story Collection 001 on LibriVox. I did fall asleep, but I woke up again at 2:30 and went back to the stories I’d missed.

In the afternoon I read two more stories from Zombies vs. Unicorns. When I needed to rest I lay down with Six Creepy Stories by Edgar Allen Poe on LibriVox. When I felt up to actually reading again I finally finished Zombies vs. Unicorns.

I had only two hours left and no idea what I could squeeze in. Then I remembered that comics count! I read Detective Comics 51-54 (yes, the original Batman) before the old font made my eyes blur and burn.

All told, it was a surprisingly good readathon day for me. (Now I’m going to dial it back just a bit.)


Sunday, Halloween 22, 2017

For the last day of Spookathon, the only challenge I hadn’t yet fulfilled was to read a thriller. I didn’t have an OWNtober book that qualified and the library was closed so I raided Amazon’s freebies. The book I ultimately chose was Getting Wilde by Jenn Stark.

Well. That was quite a ride! I read sixteen chapters pretty much in one sitting, so on the edge of my seat that I forgot to take movement/stretch breaks until my body finally reminded me by shutting down.


Monday, Halloween 23, 2017

I felt like reanimated roadkill. No reading. Hardly any anything except either sleeping or sulking.


Tuesday, Halloween 24, 2017

I finished reading Getting Wilde by Jenn Stark, this time setting a timer to remind myself to self care. I needed that timer. There are hardly any places where a reader gets to slow down and catch their breath. It’s an insane ride that ends in a head-on collision with a wall. I was shaking in the good way when I finished.

But I have one serious problem: (Spoilers! Trigger Warning for nonconsent!)

The primary male characters keep violating the protagonist, sexually. There’s no actual sex, but in my mind it’s definitely assault when they keep touching her sensually – whether physically or psychically – after she’s told them repeatedly she doesn’t want them to do that. The protagonist takes issue with it every time it happens and demands they respect her boundaries, but to very little avail. Then a third guy grabs her and kisses her all of a sudden. She’s more down with that, but still! Despite the fact that Jenn Stark is an amazing writer and I otherwise loved the book, I’m not sure I can read the rest of the series. At least, I won’t be able to binge read them without throwing things.


Wednesday, Halloween 25, 2017

Another bad day. I chose my next book (Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige) but didn’t have the spoons to read it. Again I spent the majority of the day sleeping heavily without waking refreshed.


Thursday, Halloween 26, 2017

I had a dentist appointment today and that dumped my spoon drawer. I still managed to read the first four chapters of Dorothy Must Die. So far so good!

Right after I got out of the dentist chair we went over to the library because it was pissing down rain and I needed a rest. I checked out Brody’s Ghost Book 1 by Mark Crilley because it ticks some challenge boxes. Then, of course, I had to get book 2. And I couldn’t resist a Halloween cozy mystery, Death of a Pumpkin Carver by Lee Hollis.


Wrap-up

  1. Ghost Story Collection 001, LibriVox
  • FrightFall Read-a-Thon
  • THCRC: Fourth Year
  • Spook-a-Thon (Read a bok with a spooky word in the title; Read a book with a spooky setting.)
  • 24hourathon
  • Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

2. Six Creepy Stories by Edgar Allen Poe, LibriVox

  • FrightFall Read-a-Thon
  • THCRC: Fifth Year
  • 24hourathon
  • Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

3. Detective Comics #51-54

  • THCRC: Sixth Year
  • Spook-a-Thon (Read a book that has orange on the cover.)
  • 24hourathon
  • Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon

4. Getting Wilde, Jenn Stark

  • THCRC: Occlumency
  • Spook-a-Thon (Read a thriller.)

5. Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige

  • OWNtber
  • THCRC: Seventh Year
  • Alphabetathon (Read a book with two D’s; Read a book over 400 pages; Read a book that has an object on the front cover that begins with D.
  • Sbooktacular Read-a-Thon: Read a book of your choice