Unsettled

I can’t quite put my finger on why I feel so out of place. It’s not the existential angst I went through during my teenage years (and, let’s be honest here, most of my twenties as well). It’s more a feeling that everything is ever so slightly wrong. (I was going to insert a bullet list of ways things are actually wrong, but that was depressing, so…wheeze.) My point is, shouldn’t I be freaking out about the things that are legitimately ungood and worrying less about the vague sense of malaise hovering over my head?

I feel unsettled, which conjures up the mental image of stalking around in a haunted manner but in reality consists of spending the day working from bed, just like every other day. Fortunately I stopped getting better from my cold, so I’m spending my energy on trying to breathe through my wheezy lungs rather than contemplating creative ways to end myself. So that’s good, right?

Always looking on the bright side, that’s me.

In other news: the NaNo novel is chugging along (don’t ask me how far behind I am on word count), and I’ve been pleasantly surprised to realize that the main character has a much more interesting back story than I’d originally planned. When you’re writing all in a rush like this, you find that things tend to sort of develop on their own, which is awesome and fun and probably a little bit irresponsible but whatever. I’m looking forward to a few solid days of writing once I get some work projects off my plate.

And as soon as my lungs stop sounding like something out of a horror film, I’m going to start doing some goddamned yoga. Because why not? I’m pretty sure I don’t need to get out of bed for that.*

*I do actually get out of bed, just fyi. I am occasionally prone to hyperbole. I KNOW.

Another November, another NaNoWriMo

It’s National Novel Writing Month again! I’m crazy excited. I celebrated by totally missing my word count yesterday. Double words today! I will write everything twice! It will be glorious!

(If you’re wondering about all the exclamation points, I had pumpkin pie for breakfast. Take THAT, healthy diet!)

This year’s foray into creative non-nonfiction is a psychological thriller about a girl with false memories who may or may not have committed a murder. That she confessed to. It’s all very confusing. Luckily I know who actually did it! Probably. Anyway who needs outlines, amirite?

I’ve fired up Scrivener on my Mac and I’m creating a kick-ass writing mix on Spotify. Totally ready to go! When I get distracted (I was going to say ‘if’ but we’re all friends here and there is no reason to lie) I’ll post a clever little word-meter in my sidebar because I know you all are just aching to see my incremental progress in bar-graph form.

This is going to be awesome. You guys, I should have pie for breakfast ALL THE TIME.

Damian Kulash. Grammar. Swoon.

If the sentence preceding the example were ‘Our tuition was wasted on our fucking Luddite teachers,’ the meaning is nice and clear, regardless of whether you then follow with ‘use’ or ‘utilize’. Similarly, if the sentence after the example were ‘The Amish kids just looked at their mentors with terror in their eyes,’ the inherent vagary of the example vanishes, whether you use ‘utilize,’ or you utilize ‘use.’

Reason #9,203,541 I love the internet: a vintage 2005 article about Damian Kulash and grammar in an LA Weekly blog, complete with Damian’s etymology geekery in the comments.

style council: Stop Making Sense

NaNoWriMo: Week 2

So here’s the stats, for those of you playing along at home:

Word count as of yesterday: 19,087

I’m still ahead of schedule, but the last couple of days have been slooooow going. It’s not that I’m getting bored or anything, but I think I need to do a little bit more work on my time management skills. Today, for example, I’ve had my writing window open since I booted up my computer* but I keep clicking over to the “work” window. Which – I’m at work. I’m working. I get that. But when I can’t focus on writing or working, nobody wins.

But the bottom line is, the book is coming along FABULOUSLY and I feel crazy good about it.

*Yes, I actually had to boot up this morning. My laptop is all good things, but the ONE problem I have with it is its tendency to freeze the hell up and not respond to keystrokes.

Writing for writers

So I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Oh, did I forget to mention that?

Here’s a fun fact about me: I go a little crazy when I don’t write. And I haven’t been writing for a while, so you go ahead and do the math on that one. The last three days I’ve been writing around 2000 words a day and I’ve been in a great mood. Surely the two cannot be related!

This all started when I had an epiphany about work vs. writing, and the epiphany went thusly: I own my own business. I set my own hours. What’s stopping me from scheduling time to write? Because before, when I’d try to work on a book or start a new story or what have you, I’d make it like my reward. Finished all my work for the day? Great, I get to write!

But any small business owner will tell you, the work is NEVER done. Never. This isn’t like having a day job, where you put in your eight hours and then go home and decompress. This is more like having a baby (except one that doesn’t give you colds or pull your hair or spit up on you, if you’re lucky), in that it’s ALWAYS on your mind and there’s ALWAYS something more you could be doing.

But, like having a baby, the parts that rock REALLY rock. I can work from anywhere. I don’t have to go into the office unless I feel like it. I don’t have to log hours or call in sick or worry about overtime. I can work in my pajamas if I want to. I can take off in the middle of the day to pick up my kid at preschool. I can work early, work late, take a Friday off and work on Saturday instead.

And I can set aside two hours every morning to write.

Yeah. My life pretty much kicks ass. (Running tally: 7729 words and counting.)

nano nano

NaNoWriMo: Day 1 was a rousing success. I got almost 1700 words and can’t wait to do it again tomorrow. This is because I am a crazy person, but crazy people are fun, right?

Not So is watching Ghostbusters. This is what we do. We watch things.

In other news, I was really sick a couple of weeks ago with what may or may not have been swine flu (take that, specificity!) and realized one night I forgot to take my prozac. Since then I’ve continued to not take my prozac and I’ve felt kind of fabulous, so I’m counting that as a win. The prozac was great, actually, but it made me so freaking tired I could barely keep my eyes open, except at night, when I would just lay in bed with a million ideas running through my head. I enjoy my sleep, but I also enjoy not sleeping at appropriate times, kwim?

Speaking of sleep, I’m tired, and I have a TON to do tomorrow.

wash your hands afterward

So. Don’t tell anybody but I seem to be re-working my manuscript. The first one. From 1998. There’s no good reason for this, except for the fact that there is clearly something wrong with me (and also I’m waiting to hear back from any of my several beta readers before I can do another draft of the latest novel). I mean, it’s not like I don’t have enough other stuff to keep me occupied, what with the business and the kid and the house and the cats and the husband. But, see, writers? Writers are crazy.

In other news, I think the new draft of the old novel is going to rock.


neigh

red dressThe boys are camping this weekend.

Wait a second. Let me say that again: the boys are camping this weekend.

Given that there are three of us, with two of us gone that just leaves me. Alone. Completely, blissfully alone. For the entire weekend.

I barely know what to do with myself. I feel like the horse in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. To wit:

It slowly surveyed the whole field, and then decided to plan out a nice relaxed day for itself. A little trot later on, it thought, maybe around threeish. After that a bit of a lie down over on the east side of the field where the grass was thicker. It looked like a suitable spot to think about supper in.

Lunch, it rather fancied, could be taken at the south end of the field where a small stream ran. Lunch by a stream, for heaven’s sake. This was bliss.

It also quite liked the notion of spending half an hour walking alternately a little bit to the left and then a little bit to the right, for no apparent reason. It didn’t know whether the time between two and three would be best spent swishing its tail or mulling things over.

Of course, it could always do both, if it so wished, and go for its trot a little later. And it had just spotted what looked like a fine piece of hedge for watching things over, and that would easily while away a pleasant preprandial hour or two.

Good.

An excellent plan.

And the best thing about it was that having made it the horse could now completely and utterly ignore it.
– Douglas Adams

The horse, people? The horse is me.

Heeeeeeeeee.

buckle up, buckle down

I may be the only person who takes a vacation to write a novel.

To be fair, the damned thing’s about 80% finished already. Well, maybe 75%. The point is, I’ve got verbiage, people, and I’m not afraid to use it.

I started this book (not to be confused with the other three books which are in various states of unfinished-ness on my hard drive, which is not a metaphor, though possibly it should be) around the same time we moved to Portland in 2004. 2004!

It is high time I took steps to get this thing finished, and by “steps” I clearly mean “a five-day trip to New York, where I have never been but always wanted to go.” Because that it totally what any rational person would do, right? Five days sans kid: that’s what I’ve got, so that’s what I’m working with. Also: five days in New York! I am totally bounce-off-the-walls excited, or I would be if I wasn’t working so damned hard, which is half the reason I’m taking this vacation in the first place.

I’ll be documenting the trip like the OCD princess I am, armed with camera, laptop, and BlackBerry. New York is clearly preparing for my arrival by forecasting snow (…) and icy temps, which everyone knows are my absolute favorite things ever (/sarcasm). Who will prevail, and who will freeze to death under the Brooklyn Bridge? Tune in this time next week to watch the madness begin.

na? no.

Someone should keep track of all my NaNoWriMo puns. Seriously. It would waste a good five minutes and give you something to do on a Saturday night which does not involve miserably hacking up bits of lung, which is what I’m doing. Oh, I know, waaaah. (Note to those who haven’t noticed yet: I get cranky when I am sick.)

But the last three days of fever and sore throat aren’t the reason I’m dropping out of NaNoWriMo a mere 8 days in. No, it’s much more prosaic than that: I have too much work to do. Work + active toddler + more work + housework = no time. Oh sure, I could something out to make time for writing. Let’s see: sleep? Well, I’m already knackered all the time, and despite all my best efforts I seem to prefer sleeping as long as I can rather than dragging myself out of bed while my angelic offspring slumbers. So that leaves either work of housework. We know what happens when I do not clean the house (SPOILER: the cleaning fairy isn’t real, and by the way, neither is the Easter Bunny) so that’s out.

So I could cut out early from work in order to write, quit maybe the part-time freelance gig I added on a couple of months ago during a particularly worrisome point in our financial cycle, but therein lies a funny realization: I’m unwilling to risk insolvency to further my writing career.

Huh. When did that happen?

The depressing part, of course, is that this means I Am Not A Writer. Which in turn means I wasted a crapload of time wearing lots of black and cramming together enough bad metaphors to fill not one not two but THREE mostly-unfinished novels, the latest of which I was really excited about, damn it. Er, plus the one I’m supposed to be writing now, which I’ve been planning for the past two years, which is even more depressing when you think about all the other things I could have been doing when I was scrabbling down notes and marking articles on Wikipedia and generally being way, way too full of myself.

I don’t know. I mean, I know failing at NaNo doesn’t mean I can never write again, but it’s a pretty good indicator of my commitment level. The way I look at it, I can either be willing to make sacrifices in order to be a writer, or I can quit whining about never having enough time to write. And I’m not sacrificing anything, am I?