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How is it only the 13th?

I’m stuck in one of those weird NaNo time warps where I feel like I’ve been working on this novel so long that it must be at least November 56th. Except that actually I only have as many words as I should have on the 12th, so… I guess it’s good that I’ve caught up to being only a day behind.

But seriously, how did I write 20,000 words already this month? Clearly I know it’s possible or I wouldn’t be doing this for the fourth year, but when I look at this in comparison to my normal life I’m either not sure how I’m functioning right now (short answer: tea) or not sure what I’m doing with my time the other 11 months of the year (short answer: the internet).

Anyway, I actually need to spend a few hours doing my day job today (boo) but have a Wordle before I go.


Scenes From a Novelling Life

I’m 10,000 words into this year’s NaNo novel, which puts me right on track to finish in 30 days (even if I spend the rest of today sleeping and watching Hoarders – tempting!). I’m only sort of vaguely sure where it’s going next, which is about on track for the 20% mark based on my previous four years of doing this.

The novel is going okay! I was going to write the final book in a series of 4 contemporary romances about the children of two professors, but then at the end of October I decided to write a sort of urban fantasy thing that starts with a train blowing up. I don’t read that kind of book, and I definitely don’t write them, so I actually have no idea how it’s going. But it definitely contains more than 10,000 words so I’m pleased for the moment.

Now without further ado, since I’m supposed to be writing a novel today and not blog posts, an album of images from my first 10k of writing.

NaNoWriMo 2011

And finally, to prove I’ve actually been writing something…

a wordle of the first 10,000 words.

TV Ate My Novel

I did pretty well for the first two days of October, and then yesterday brought a bit of a shock at work (separate from the boss situation of the previous post) that means I’ve spent the last two days sort of haphazardly jumping from one task to the next without many spare moments or much excess brain power. It should be settling into at least a constant level of chaos within the next few days, but for now it means staying present in real life is taking precedence over putting my head into my stories.

It hasn’t stopped me from catching up on my TV, of course, because I can give TV less than 100% of my attention and still feel that I’m doing a decent job of watching it. Some drive-by thoughts on what I’ve seen recently:

New Girl: I tend to hate ‘funny’ movies and shows. Any moderately popular comedy film, sitcom, or comedic actor from the past decade? I probably hate her/him/it. Also, CRAZY embarrassment squick. Somehow I love this show! I occasionally have to watch with my hands over my eyes or ears but it’s worth it.

Terra Nova: I’m a little biased because from the earliest commercials this reminded me of LOST, a show I thought was stupid beyond belief. Somehow TN has the feel of a low-budget 80s special effects movie even though I know the production quality is quite high. Seriously? Crazy dinosaur birds are chasing us down in a futuristic past parallel universe? They should just show reruns of Phil of the Future, which was awesome.

NCIS and Criminal Minds: Still solid. Still weird to remind myself these are new episodes since, in both cases, I came into the shows when they were well-established and caught up through out-of-order reruns. I like Reid’s hair this season.

Fringe: LOVE LOVE LOVE. I love everything about it. I want to have a daughter so I can name her Olivia, and another daughter so I can name her Fauxlivia (note to future children: at least you are not a twin boy and girl, or else you would be named Luke and Leia). I want Fringe to be on every night. I want to write characters as awesome as Olivia and Peter and Walter and everyone else on this show.

House: I actually thought the season opener was entertaining, but it’s going to take a lot for me to stick with this show through another season. I feel like I’m staying with it out of loyalty, but in that case I should just get out my early season DVDs and watch an episode of those every time there’s a new one on TV.

Glee: Still fun. Still makes me laugh. Not loving as many songs this year — I want more group numbers!!! — but great characters keep me coming back. Brittany is my favorite, except when Emma is my favorite.

I’m going to stop right there because this is actually getting depressing since I haven’t gotten to Project Runway, Top Chef: Just Desserts, Castle, CSI, and I’m sure other shows that are on our DVR. I’m going to need to make a tough decision about TV time unless I can figure out that whole time-turner thing…

Decisions and Stickers

A few weeks ago, I learned that there was a good possibility that my awesome boss was leaving to run another office. This was… okay, traumatizing. My boss is the best thing about my job, a job that had been pretty stressful for most of 2011 but was looking like it might finally settle down.

And to make matters more complicated, there was the possibility that I could take my boss’s job if she left. I’ve been telling my boss for years that I don’t want her job, and she has been telling me for years that she doesn’t believe me, but somehow it never occurred to me that we could be having the conversation for real someday.

So I thought about it, and cried about it, and talked to friends and family, and eventually I decided: no. If I moved up to a better job, it would mean more money and more prestige and a chance to make a difference at a higher level, but it would also mean more stress, more long hours, more uncertainty. And maybe I’ll want that someday, and maybe I’ll regret losing this opportunity, but I’m okay with that. What I’m not okay with is never really giving a writing career a chance.

So it’s time to put myself out there. Time to stop using work as an excuse for why I’m too tired to write, too busy to exercise, too stressed out to do the dishes or make the bed. The only real excuse left is fear — fear of actually getting that first rejection letter, and all the others that will likely follow even if I eventually become the success I think I can be. If I don’t try, there’s still the possibility out there that I’ll be an instant star. But there’s no possibility of ever seeing my name on a cover, and I’ve decided my desire is finally greater than my fear.

So, as my wise (and officially out-going) boss asked, what does giving a writing career a serious try look like? Most importantly, it looks like writing something every day. It also looks like joining some kind of writing group, submitting query letters, and entering contests, but what I need more than anything is to finish a damn book. No one is going to pay me to write 75% of a novel.

To that end, in preparation for NaNo ’11, I’ve made myself one of those charts meant for small children where you reward them with a sticker when they do their homework or use the potty or whatever. I have a color-coding system where I get a star for (this month) writing, cleaning, exercise, health, and crafts. I have no freaking idea whether this will work, but I’m pretty sure ‘doing nothing’ is not working, so I might as well try it. I really do like stickers.

Music By Which To Novel

So I’m behind on NaNo (by only 1,330 words, but still). I was actually ahead for the first half of the month, but this weekend has been kind of a mess. Friday night Harry Potter premiere, Saturday afternoon/evening Wrigleyville Classic, Saturday night/early morning board/card game party at our apartment, Sunday mid-day brunch. Very little sleep. It’s hard to write while you’re:

1. Covering your eyes because you don’t want to look at Ron’s splinched arm
2. Shivering through 2-6 layers of clothing while you watch your team get mauled
3. Trying to win a paper airplane making contest with one arm around your opponent and the other holding a plunger (I did win, btw).
4. Eating a bacon-butterscotch donut.

So, life or writing: the ever-present dilemma. Clearly, though, the solution to a low word count is MOAR PLAYLISTS. This is the one I’m using at the moment, and I have really no idea why:

1. Winter Song (Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson)
2. Brothers on a Hotel Bed (Death Cab for Cutie)
3. Samson (Regina Spektor)
4. Come Home (OneRepublic & Sara Bareilles)
5. Wild Horses (The Sundays)
6. Chelsea Dagger (The Fratellis)
7. Grace Kelley (Mika)
8. Empire State of Mind (Glee Cast)
9. Blame it on the Pop (United States of Pop 2009) (DJ Earworm)
10. Before it Breaks (Brandi Carlile)

Man I’m sleepy.

Conversations Had Whilst Novelling

(over gchat, I am suggesting dragon names.)

Elizabeth: Hermes
Elizabeth: Apple-Biscuit
Penelope: can you imagine a poor baby dragon named apple-biscuit copperwing?
Elizabeth: Yes.
Elizabeth: In my imagination it is very cute.

(at the dentist’s office, I am being fitted for a bite split)

Dr. J: Trust me, this is going to make your life a lot better.
Elizabeth: Well, on the bright side, if my skeleton is found somewhere, they’ll be able to identify me from my recent dental impressions.

(at staff meeting)

Woman on training video: The only way to make something in the public domain is to put a statement on your website saying that anyone can use it.
Elizabeth: Is this video from before Creative Commons?
Coworkers: *completely confused by question*
Elizabeth: *esplains interwebs*

(I’m taking laundry down to the laundry room)

Imaginary Clinton Kelly: That is not an acceptable outfit.
Elizabeth: I’m just taking the laundry out! No one will see me!
ICK: There is no excuse for wearing a sweatshirt, dachshund-print pajama pants, and whatever you’re calling those shoes out your front door.
Elizabeth: I’m writing a novel! And I used the side door!
Imaginary Stacy London: Honey, you shouldn’t even have to look at yourself in the mirror like that.
Elizabeth: Whatever, I don’t need a bra to do laundry.
ISL: *falls over*

(I’m gchatting with my sister while listening to Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me)

Elizabeth: omg I need to find a transcription of this limerick
Baby: that’s what she said

(Baby picked her own nickname. She’s my baby sister. Penelope picked her own nickname, too. She’s my best friend, among other things.)

T-minus 78 minutes and counting

Less than an hour and a half before the official start of NaNoWriMo 2010 here in CST, I’m scribbling away at a J.K. Rowling-inspired plot chart. I’m on vacation from my day job for the next two days, so while I don’t think I’ll be pulling an all-nighter, I’m actually going to begin writing at the stroke of midnight.

I’ve done less plotting this year than I should have, I think. I know so much about the universe where my characters live (having done books 4 and 1 in the series for NaNos ’08 and ’09 respectively) that it didn’t seem like I would need to worry about it too much. Now I’m regretting that decision and my brain is un-helpfully supplying alternatives such as “Abraham Lincoln Is My Boyfriend,” a YA novel about a girl who invents an imaginary boyfriend from home so she doesn’t have to tell her new college friends that she’s a lesbian, and a horror novel in which I’m the stupid bad guy who keeps secreting away the mysterious creepy artifacts and saying spells over them and will probably end up killing everyone except the beautiful heroine and hero by the end of the story (that was actually a dream I had last night).

I like this year’s couple, Meghan and Ryan. They like each other (eventually), and I know I’ll like telling their story, but I don’t know them well enough to love them yet. They haven’t quite come into focus. Here’s hoping that it happens within the next 30 days…

Oh, and for extra fun? A patient at my dentist’s office had an emergency last week, so my appointment got rescheduled from a reasonable mid-Thursday to a painful 8:30 AM on Monday. At least I don’t have to go to work, and I’ll be too distracted to freak out while they’re filling in my chipped tooth and fitting me for a night guard (surprise, the anxious control freak grinds her teeth!).

Almost down to an hour. Wish me luck!

NaNo 2010 Plot Chart (in progress)