I miss her

I haven’t given her much attention lately, even though she’s still on my mind.

Six months ago, I started a new job that challenges me in a great way. I give so much of myself at work — I feel like I have nothing left to give once my day is done. I’m exhausted, but I feel fulfilled and happy.

But I miss Melissa.

You would think that if I missed her so much, I’d give her more attention. That I’d spend time with her and see how she’s doing. That I would just write her story.

I want to. I just want to make sure that while I spend with her, I give her the best of me. I want to sit with her when I feel I can really get into it with her.

I just have to find a way to give her the time she deserves. Find a way to focus and write her story.

She needs me.

And I miss her.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Recap

So… If you read my last post and were waiting for weekly updates, you probably noticed I didn’t write any.

I really did intend to write an update every week. You can see at the end of this post I had written two days worth… and then I stopped.

About a week before NaNoWriMo, I started reading Story Genius –How to use brain science to go beyond outlining and write a riveting novel — before you waste three years writing 327 pages that go nowhere by Lisa Cron.

Well, when I started applying her technique, I found that the scenes almost wrote themselves. It’s such an effective method for me, but it takes some time to set up.

If I had found this book two months before NaNoWriMo, I’m pretty sure I would have won, and then some. And because I was following the new technique, I didn’t want to just write anything just to get my word count. I wanted to write something that I could really work with.

I still managed to write over 11,000 words. I’m happy with that considering how my month went with family issues and getting used to a new job, and the fact that I’m still learning this structured approach to writing.

I feel more confident than ever that I can and will write this novel.

I’m hesitate to set another deadline… but what the heck. How about I aim for finishing this novel for an e-book release date of December 1, 2019.

This may not be realistic considering my day job is starting to ramp up a bit. But I want to try.

The more I’m getting into my story, the more I’m falling for my characters and the more I want to see what’s going to happen.

I’m looking forward to sharing Melissa with you.

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Day 1

word count: 1708

I was worried before I started writing that I wouldn’t be able to.

I get to work about 45 minutes earlier than I need to. It just makes it easier with traffic and all.

So as soon as I got to work, I just powered up my laptop and started writing like it was my job. And just like that, I wrote over 760 words in about 30 minutes.

Then, I wrote for 20 minutes during lunch and got to 1248 words.

And then, when I got home, I cuddled with Chris a little, prepared a snack, and wrote for 30 minutes, bringing my total up to 1708 words for my first day.

When I stopped I felt like I could have kept going. But I wanted to pace myself, so I stopped. I’m trying to prevent NaNoWriMo fatigue. I don’t know if it’s a thing, but I don’t want it to become a thing for me.

My plan is to pace myself during the week getting to a least my daily 1667-word goal, and do a little binge writing on the weekends to try and get ahead of my writing goal for when, you know, life happens.

Even though it was a successful writing day, I’m still not sure I’ll be able to write tomorrow.

Day 2

Word count: 2134

I was tired today. I wrote for 30 minutes this morning, but it felt a little forced. I tried to write at night, but I could only manage 7 words.

I did do some planning though. I’m not officially counting that, however it will help for the rest of the writing.

NaNoWriMo 2018

I’ve been working on a novel. But the thing is, I didn’t really like what I had written so far. After only 4,665 words, I lost momentum and didn’t really know where to go from where I was. I knew the kind of story I wanted to write, but I didn’t know how to get there.

I like plans. I like making them and thinking about them. I don’t always follow through, but plans make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside — they help me figure out what (I think) I’m capable of.

So I looked online for plotting and outlining advice. After all, these are writing plans. It seemed like exactly what I needed to get out of this writing jam.

I found tons of writing advice. Websites and YouTube videos. I tried to apply some of the stuff I found, but I felt like something was missing. Then, I came across Rachael Stephen’s YouTube channel. She’s a young writer whose writing advice resonated with me.

She has a course on how she uses Dan Harmon’s plot embryo (which is based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey.) If you want to know more, just search online — you’ll find tons of information on all of these people and this subject.

Anyway, I applied what I learned to my story and wouldn’t you know — I found a path through my ideas. I already have a whole bunch of scenes to write.

Rachael, along with many writers, is participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo event. And I want to join her (virtually).

In case you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month and happens every November.

At first I  was going to attempt it without officially joining (you can sign up online). But I’ve decided to officially commit. I’ve announced my novel on the official NaNoWriMo site.

I don’t expect my novel will be finished in 50,000 words — but I expect it to be a good start.

As I go through this, I plan to write a little summary of my daily experience and update my blog every week with how things are going.

I hope to win this challenge. It starts this Thursday. Wish me luck!

Creativity in the shadows

I have been quiet lately. At least, online.

I haven’t given up writing. I have been setting up my writing office and working on a novel.

What does my office look like?

Imagine a bright and sunny room where I write the most wonderful stories at a big white desk. There’s a clear glass vase filled with roses on the corner. The windows are wide open to a bright blue sky – white sheer curtains dance in the gentle breeze.

I get up and walk barefoot across the warm hardwood floor – a cup of tea in my hands – and look out over the yard to the lake where the waves catch the sun.

I squint from the glare, take a deep breath, smile, and walk back to my desk to keep writing.

This is my office… *sound of a needle scratching a record* … in my dreams.

Actually, I write in a dark corner of our basement storage area, next to the furnace, and as far away as I can get from the household goings-on while still remaining in the house.

I need to feel completely alone to write – this hideout seems to do the trick.

It’s the only somewhat free space in the house where I could create an office.

Chris finished prepping the walls for me to paint, and he’ll be laying down a laminate floor to make it more comfortable for me.

He’s pretty awesome.

However, since I couldn’t wait for the hideout to be finished, we’ve already set it up  on the concrete floor and unpainted walls so that I could start using it right away.

Even though it’s unfinished, I love my space.

Being in the basement reminds me of when I was a teenager and claimed the basement in my family home as my artist’s studio. (I love that my parents let me do that!)

Seems as though creativity in the shadows suits me well… for now.

I would prefer the office of my dreams, but I feel that I can now focus on writing in my hideout.

So if you’re looking for me, I’m probably in the basement, creating in the shadows.

 

Flashy writing

I’ve always wanted to be an artist in one way or another. Drawing—painting—singing—playing a musical instrument—acting—writing. Although I’m not great at any of these, I would say I have sufficient artistic talent that could turn into something decent if I stuck it out long enough and consistently practised. I’ve always wanted the honour of being considered a real artist.

I’d been feeling creatively stuck over the past few months. I’ve had this great desire to write, but all my ideas seemed pointless.

I searched online for inspiration and I’ve rediscovered flash fiction.

I remember when I was in high school, a teacher asked us to bring in a photo of any random person for a writing assignment. I had a lot of teen and music magazines at home at the time. I cut out a photo of Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue, outside in the sun. His bushy black hair covering his eyes.

He then told us that we had to write a “nouvelle litéraire” about this person. (My schooling was in French. I’m pretty sure “nouvelle litéraire” is French for flash fiction.)

Well, I didn’t do my assignment until the very last minute.

I’m not joking. It really was the very last minute.

Because my last name starts with a “J”, when teachers went alphabetically to get people to do class presentations, I’d pretty much always be in the middle—alphabetically—whether they started from the top or bottom of the list.

So as my fellow students read their flash fiction pieces one by one, I frantically started writing. I didn’t want to get in trouble, once again, for not doing my homework.

When my turn finally came, I read what I had just written. It was a story of a young man, the extreme thirst he felt while mowing a lawn on a sweltering summer day, his desperate search for relief, and the pleasure of finally being able to quench his thirst by drinking water from the garden hose.

Once I was done, the teacher said that what I had written was a prefect example of the type of work he was looking for.

I was relieved that I didn’t get in trouble. Proud that he liked my story. Maybe even felt a little smug about my work being a good example.

If I remember correctly, this is when I felt I could become a real writer. I wrote poems and punk song lyrics. I tried to write a play. And I wrote more flash fiction.

I loved writing flash fiction! It kind of felt like the literary equivalence of a snapshot or a rough sketch—a potentially beautiful raw quick piece of art.

So, I’ve decided to go back to what I used to love.

My plan is to publish a new piece of flash fiction once a month. I already have a few ideas. Snippets I’ve already written that I can work on to make them worthy (in my eyes) of being published.

I might even publish some of the ones I kept from back when I was a teenager, just for funzies.

 16-year-old me – 1991