Friday, November 11, 2016

NaNovember Without Losing Your Mind.

Just crossed the threshold of Chapter 3. Still all hand-written (anyone else do better that way?). 


I still put a sticker on the calendar for each accomplished writing day.
Yes, they are Lisa Frank stickers. Also, don't put your write-on calendar on a

frequently used door. We've written on it when it swings open several times, and once even wrote on someone opening the door...hindsight 20/20. 
Still giving up sleep and down-time, still back on board the addictive coffee wagon (despite the sinus tacchy, but I'd found that drinking it early enough in the day doesn't affect me as much, and I can't go over one serving). And with all that, I'm moving so much slower than I thought I would.

But-

I'm working everyday. Every single day. And it's become a habit at this point, to curl up with my multi-colored pens and be allowed to create in the quiet hours of the dark. When you keep up the pace, I have noticed that coming back into the world to write more is far easier than picking it up even every other day. You don't have to think about what's happening, where you are right now in the plot-you know. An outline helps with that, but it's not the same as just knowing the moment you are in. So, it's slow. But, this has had such a positive impact on my work that I'm excited. 

And it is even more exciting that this year we have a group of writers working to finish their books, and I get to kind of lean on them for inspiration and watch how they are doing things (because, face it, like all artists, each writer is different). It also keeps you more accountable, so if you have a chance to go to a writing group either though NaNoWriMo or can assemble one from your circle of friends, don't pass that up. It's wonderful. 

November is a month of beauty, and finally not being so hot you have to pack like you're a desert-trekker, but it's a month of losing your damn mind, too. The holidays are hanging their heads and price tags around the corner. We don't even do a huge Thanksgiving event. We do Friendsgiving, and then some local events like pow-wows and harvest festivities. That's it. And I still find it stressful. 

Some of it is holiday guilt. I feel like, and have always felt like, we can't do enough for the kids. That's hard. Every year. So it's a big deal to search for just the RIGHT gift for each person we love and within our budget, and I often find myself chittering around holiday sales like Black Friday (which SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCKS) and Cyber Monday. And both older children have birthdays packed on either side of the holidays, so we can get triple the dose of "I wish we had more resources to do more for everyone". 

During all of this, self-care sort of goes to the corner with a coned hat to sit and think about the things it can't do. 

One thing I'm trying to keep up with while writing and November-ing is my hair. It's really thick, it's kind of long now, it's hard to deal with brushing your hair out for an hour everyday. I have a survival kit at this point-a specialty brush for my hair type, leave-in spray conditioner, and oil (sometimes coconut, sometimes argan). It still takes a damn hour. Or more, if I've ignored the hell out of it, which I often do. 

Exercise has taken even more of a back-burner position. The weather is finally okay, I'm finally on a working medication for my heart, and still I haven't made room in my head or life for it. Somehow, I need to figure out working, not ignoring myself, and taking care of everything/one. 

But I realize that if writing doesn't stay high on the list, I won't get finished. I won't. I've tried it and I know that I won't. And, if I'm going to continue on this road, that's unacceptable.


I hope to finish NaNo with a lot done, still. Chapter Three makes me feel like I can get where I need to be for that. Everyone participating: remember why you're doing this. Remember why each word you get down is a small victory, 
and most of all don't give up



Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Into the Belly of the Wolf...

Day 1 has passed of National Novel Writing Month, how'd you do?

I ended the day with just over 1000 words. Which, I'll count as good. I'll count that as workable. 
More is better. But this is okay.

I wrote my first novel after bringing home my second newborn. A few times my husband was startled by the alarm on the keyboard at night because I'd fallen asleep with my face hitting the shift key. I once typed five pages of the letter "M" by doing the same thing. A friend suggested I work it into the story next time. "Something smelled great. MMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...It was the chicken." 

And, if that happens again, I'll consider adding it into the damn novel. 

Many swear by writing during the daytime. I can't do it. Or, I can rarely do it. 

My brain space is not open for business during peak hours. It's only as silence enters the house and bedtime finally arrives that I can dream, or write. I'm in the night-owl camp. Which means I usually need a freaking nap and a coffee after the nap. 


The juggling act of three children, with two in a fast-paced charter school, is a different animal than years ago when I had a toddler and a new baby. A stronger animal. And a needier, louder one. 

Uniforms have to be ready. Lunches packed. Shopping trips taken to make sure we can eat. I've given up on the house being company-ready, but it has to be clean enough for us to function. Bills have to be paid, and, not least of all, everyone needs quality time (usually outside). Especially the baby, whose brain development is still incredibly rapid. My husband helps out without missing a beat, which I feel guilty over. He has a demanding job. And this is supposed to be what I DO, right? 

This is what I do. Along with writing and illustrating. 

It's a balancing act.

Trying to finish 50k plus words while not being a shitty mom. 

And if 1,000 words is all I can get at the end of the day, snuggled in the calm of having taken care of everything, then it has be okay. And maybe some days will be easier than others. Or I keep telling myself that will happen. 
NaNoWriMo Day 1