If your story is losing momentum, juice it up by inflicting some major changes on your characters. Crash the spaceship. End the marriage. Buy the monkey.

This may be one of the best pep talks EVER. I am totally buying the monkey. 

Chris Baty’s pep talk | National Novel Writing Month

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.

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.

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?

NaNo NaNo

Happy NaNoWriMo, everyone! Yes, I’m doing it again this year. This is because I am a crazy person.

I’m ridiculously excited. I’ve got all my notes bookmarked, copied into Scrivener, or saved. I’ve got a reference book lurking just to the right of my bed (it’s a psychological thriller, this year’s novel, which is an entirely new genre for me) and a bunch of back episodes of Cold Case Files at the ready. (Funny story: I realized before we decided to get rid of our cable that I had seen every single episode of Cold Case Files at least once, and could tell which case it was just by seeing the opening teaser. This cannot have done good things to my psyche.)

Want to know what else I use to squeeze 50,000 words out of my head in 30 days? I broke it down on Buzzverb for those following along at home. Whee.

and how might you be?

You know, I was going to post something substantive and clever, but then I realized that I left the diapers at home. The office is now somewhat…odoriferous. Thusly, I leave you with these three things:

1. I posted a new video rant – scroll down if you’re on my site, or go see it on Viddler, or look for it in your rss feed or whatever. Or ignore it completely. So many options! (Note: it looks like Viddler’s having some issues, so hang tight if you can’t see the video & try again later.)(Seems to be back up now…)

2. Is Russel T. Davies the UK’s answer to Joss Whedon? Discuss.

3. I have 61,300 words on my book. Who wants to make guesses on how many words I’ll cut in this round of edits? Winner gets to be a background character.

Off I go to decontaminate the toddler. Here’s hoping we have the elevator to ourselves!

these words don’t write themselves

keyboard Taking a break from the novel, seeing as I’m premenstrual and liable to begin using the delete key in a decidedly unhelpful manner. A long time ago I figured out that my creativity is cyclical, and trying to force it along is always, always a huge mistake.

Besides, I’ve got work projects galore, and happily THAT sort of creativity is pretty much always on tap. My logo project is coming along nicely, and the new ecommerce client promises to be more fun than kittens. And kittens? Are a lot of fun.

I’ve got a great idea for the redesign of the Cranky Pals site, too. Because CLEARLY it needs another facelift. Pretty much since I stopped rearranging the house at regular intervals or dyeing my hair a different color every six weeks, I’ve been pouring my energy into website redesigns. It’s a sickness. But hey, it gives me something to do, right?

Speaking of, I turned neumanbeck.com into a Tumblr page (redirect isn’t live yet, but it’s here) and gave it a lovely custom skin. This is how I spend my free time, people. This, and gossip blogs. (Hey, it’s research.)

classic creme cookies

You know, I don’t like Oreos much, but these Back to Nature Classic Creme cookies? Dude, they are the bomb. Not So says they taste insufficiently Oreo-like, but I love them with the heat of a thousand suns.

I am eating some right now. In case you were wondering where that came from.

In other news, I am writing again (yay!) but decided to chuck 20,000 words of my 40,000 word manuscript (…boo). But I’ve written 5000 words in the last week, and that’s something, right? You know what’s funny, I read Neil Gaiman’s blog, like, constantly, and I was getting all set to sit down and write about my writing process (as he does, on occasion), but then I realized two things: 1) I am not Neil Gaiman and 2) nobody cares. So I decided to have some cookies, instead. Good times.