Saturday, November 19, 2011

Never give up. Or, how Nanowrimo is maybe a little bit like a relationship.

tiny note. If you came to this blog post for the pumpkin spice latte recipe, then scroll all the way down to skip the crazed ramblings of a lunatic trying to compare writing a novel in a month to being married.

She stopped her frantic typing  and dragged her hand down her face laughing dejectedly. " I have no idea what I'm doing right now...oh my gosh, this story is so lame...."

...And welcome to what is commonly called the 12 days remaining blues. Or more likely, I just made that up.

But apparently it's normal to go from thinking "I'm doing great, my story is really coming along, I'm ahead and this is going to be AWESOME!!!" to "this is crap, I can't even believe I'm still bothering to write in this loser of a novel." And yet, I keep writing. Our week three Nanowrimo pep talk came from Chris Cleave, a writer I've never heard of before. He wrote (among other things,) this, to encourage us:
The more I learn about the writing process, the more I suspect that there is no such thing as a bad day at the keyboard. Sometimes you need slow days where you work through a dozen ideas that aren’t destined to fly.
And he went on to say:

The good days are when you perform; the slow days are when you learn to perform better. The only bad days as a writer are the ones when you are too cowardly or too lazy to sit down at the keyboard and give it everything you have. 
This is why I won't give up this hacked up piece of work. I won't stop to try starting a new more miraculous story. I won't allow myself to continue on the line of thought that this story simply wasn't ready to be written and I really ought to simply delve into another work of fiction that's been stewing in my mind lately. No, no no! I will reach 50,000 words before the end of this month, I will I will I will!!!!!

Even if the only thing that this novel writing month activity produces is a better writer (as opposed to an awesome publish worthy novel) then it will have not been for naught.

I'm kind of seeing writing a novel for Nanowrimo like falling in love and getting married. You start the whole process and it's electric and exciting. It pervades your thoughts at all times. You can't wait to get back to writing. Words are flying and things are wonderful. You and your novel are soul mates!

But then you get to know it. You see it's faults and the whole not-so-great-shebang that it is. The more time you spend with your novel, the more you see that it's really just regular, no more special than any other novel you've written or read. In fact, it's probably worse. A lot worse. The characters are all flawed and some of them are doing really, really dumb things. They've taken on problems bigger than they can fix and they're kind of getting under your skin. But you can't go back, because now you're committed. It's half way through the month and to try and find a new more exciting story to write would be very foolish, and very unfair to this novel, as well. Even though that story about alternative early America does sound super awesome and success-worthy, you can't go and try it out while you're committed to this story for November. Now it's not exciting or easy or even going very well, but you can't stop, because you've made this choice. You have to stick to it. You've promised this novel and your love is no longer an option, it's a necessity. You've got to write in it every day if you want this Nanowrimo thing to work! Nanowrimo is hard work, but it's very worth it.
 (Right, isn't that what people always say about marriage?)

Okay, my illustration may be stretching it a little. Because this is really nothing like how my experience of love and marriage as been. It's quite possible that lots of people do have marriages like that - no longer a breeze,  or exciting or heart-pounding and passionate and they actually have to remind themselves of their vows because they think their spouse is so lame and not worth their time that they wonder why they haven't hit the road yet to find someone new and exicitng.... I'm sorry for them, but if they keep sticking to it even after all that, props to them, they're probably better people than I'll ever be.

Because mine is nothing like this. I don't think I could ever possibly find a guy as amazing, wonderful, and awesome as John. We no longer spend whole days making out any more (well, not usually, anyway) and yeah, maybe I'd prefer if John played less video games sometimes. But I know that if I looked for someone else, they'd have some annoying habit too. Everyone's got something wrong with them. (Because we're all sinners and no one except Jesus is perfect.) You pick the bad habits you're willing to put up with...Or rather, you pick the person whose bad habits you're willing to put up with. Like Bob Marley said "Truth is, everyone's gonna hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." Really, video games are a whole lot more preferable to me than some people's flaws. And I actually did know before I said my vows, that John was super duper into video games and I'm (mostly) okay with it. Even with John's video game habit, I still find him the most wonderful guy I've ever met. He's hot and super sweet and forgives a multitude of my own sins and annoying habits. (like asking him to do something he's about to do, which I HONESTLY did not realize he was about to do, but he doesn't believe me. And if he did that to me, I'd probably kill him, because that is seriously annoying.) Soooo....

Somehow this update on my Nanowrimo progress turned into a dissertation on marriage and how it really is nothing like writing a novel during National Novel Writing month....At least from my own perspective of falling in love and getting married. In fact, I wish my experience with this current novel were more like my own marriage, because then I'd be only slightly annoyed or less than satisfied with it some of the time rather than wanting to punch it in the metaphorical face!
Current word count: 35,010
We'll see if I can keep this average up for the next 12 days. pffftttt.

One good thing about today, at least is that I made a Pumpkin Spice latte. And it was awesome. Here are some pictures to prove it.
I kind of did my own thing to make a Pumpkin syrup and then added it to Jim's Organic Coffee Holiday blend flavour along with some heated milk and some freshly made whipped cream. It was delicious. So good in fact, that John claimed it "barely even tastes like coffee!" it was that good. I used these two recipes as guides and inspiration. (there were others, but I can no longer find them.)
Pumpkin Syrup by SaavyEat
Pumpkin Spice Latte by A Full Measure of Happiness (whose blog I totally love)

I put a lot of cardamom in mine and it made it taste very chai-ish. Which I loved. It made my crappy writing day a little better. Hope it makes yours a little better too. Cheers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is email a thing of the past?

Caution: This may get a little ranty.

So about a month ago I deactivated my facebook because I felt it was encouraging superficial and shallow relationships amongst other things. I decided that from now on, when I want to get in touch with someone I'd call them or write them a real email, one with substance and quality. And I have several friends with whom I correspond using real mail also, so that's great. But I'm not much of a phone-caller. Unless it's a to the point phone call to establish some meeting or verify information I find phone calls a little awkward and they tend to make my ears get irritated. There's a few people I make the effort for and I really ought to try more on this, but really a letter or a real life hang out are better for me.

Sometimes, though, hanging out in real life is not possible and most people I know wouldn't have the time or self discipline to really have a snail-mail correspondence, so I don't expect it of them. Instead, I'll use email. Right? It's quick to type up something and sooooo easy. Everyone checks their email every day! Some people check it multiple times, supposedly.  I mean...I probably check mine at least 3 times a week and maybe even a little more since I don't have a facebook account anymore. So this should be a great way to keep in touch, right? In the past few weeks I've thought of several people I wanted to re-establish relationships with or just thought I'd send them a nice email to stay in touch....

 And not a single one has responded...

I understand that whole "I am so happy to get an email from this person and I want to respond but I don't have time right now, so I will later..." And then forgetting until a couple days later... But this has been a few weeks now. It makes me wonder. Does anyone even check their email anymore? Maybe I've sent these emails and no one has even seen them because they only look at their facebooks... Could it be? Is email a thing of the past?

Maybe in order to actually keep in touch with people I'll need to reactivate my facebook. I shudder to think of it. Facebook is a tool that can be used properly or improperly. Unfortunately, since everyone is connected you are subjugated to everyone's views on how it should be used. If one person feels that their facebook is the place where you badmouth your friends even though you'd never say anything of the sort to their face or if they think it's where they hold their family feud, yes their family and friends see it, but so do I. And I kinda don't want to. If someone feels that facebook is where you express your dislike of all your self-portraits (you know, the kind where you obviously just snapped some random nasty photo of yourself to immediately upload  for everyone in the world to see), then I have to see that person's self-loathing too, even though I disagree.

In my personal opinion *insert pompous attitude here*, facebook should not be the place where you air your life's problems and how much you hate the world, or tell people how great your boobs look or even update everyone on the humdrum moments of every minute of your life. You wouldn't include stuff like that in a phone call or email, would you? My facebook friends pool was small. I limited it to 42 people and a large margin of that number were family. Immediate family, even. And yet, since I had to see what their friends were saying, I felt like I was being informed of everything ever, and some of it I didn't want to know. Plus, seeing strange boys outrageously flirt with my sisters and then claiming no they weren't flirting, they just wanted my sister to know she had super hot legs, was really irritating. And I also didn't want to see all those hot prima-donna photos my little sisters were posting for all kinds of weirdos to see. It's still happening, but at least I'm not seeing it. And don't even get me started about...right, nevermind. Should not be aired on the internet, right? Just, the amount of people I deleted because friends of their friends of friends and so on and so forth were just nasty and creepy.

So I feel like I'm suddenly out of the loop. I do have this blog so those of my real fans (lol) can still see what I'm up to (when I actually post.) But since no one ever comments to tell me what they think or how they've been doing...(excuse me while I stop to cry *sob, sob.*)  I don't really know what anyone else is up to. Except the people I really keep in touch with, i.e my family, whom I call occasionally, and the people I see on a regular basis. And the four people I write real-mail letters to, of course (You guys are awesome, I love you!)

So how about it everyone? Let's just go back to simple ol' email! And while you're at it, write me back!

dislcaimer: I am not targeting anyone specifically with this rant (with the exception of Priscilla. You shouldn't be posting such hot photos of your self for all kinds of weirdos to see!). If, however you get guilt-tripped into writing me an email all the better! Heck, even a comment on my blog would cheer me up.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Novelling update or, how much I love Nanowrimo. (Also, autumn!)

Allow me to ramble about my novel for a bit, will ya?

One of the things about Nanowrimo is that it gets your story out whether or not it's really ready. Sometimes that's good and sometimes its bad. For me, I think this is good. I tend to get caught up in time lines and how much of past should I put in and how can I incorporate flashbacks, and blah blah. And then I never seem to actually write the derned story. Nanowrimo encourages simply hacking out what you have, what you know and allowing room for improvisation as you go. And so far, I feel it's been working out really well for me.

I have parts of my story that are completely backwards. I changed my mind about a semi-huge aspect about 4 chapters ago and decided to simply go along with the story as though this is the way it's been all along. I simply added a note up near the beginning where the guy asks the girl to marry him that, no he actually doesn't do this at this time and we'll fix that later. (Funny enough, it was one of the huge exciting moments in my story way back then when I needed lots of motivation to keep it going. I liked it so much I used it as the excerpt to show off my novel.) So now, as I write and I decide "You know what, this guy actually has done this, or that and not this. And this portion isn't so great...." but one of the main rules of Nanowrimo is to NEVER delete anything. I am very impulsive at times about my writing. I revise as I go, editing and frequently deleting and simply rewriting. So the parts I have are oh so perfect and the rest is never done because I realize I needed to actually not have that proposal scene there but oh-my-gosh it's so well written how could i ever delete that amazingness???!!!!

Thank goodness for Nanowrimo and the deadline and the enormous goal that prevents me from having the time to go back and do these horrible things to myself. That proposal scene is pretty good, but it's not perfect. And since it's not deleted, or revised in anyway yet, I'll have the time later when I'm not hurriedly tapping out 50,000 words to really mull over it and figure it out and what I should do with it. Can it be recycled? Easily changed to fit the new and improved story version? We'll see!

In the meantime, I've decided to not be afraid to really change it up if I have to. I can always go back later and put together all these puzzle pieces I've written for myself, right? Right! I simply put notes beside the places I know will eventually need to be changed and guess what's also awesome? Those notes are adding to my word count! Is that like cheating or what?

But here's what you really wanted to know...
Word count update as of 11/11/11: 19,337.

I hope to get to 20,000 later on today. You know, to really celebrate that whole 111111 thing. 
Anyone doing anything fun for this special date?

Okay, now that I'm done with that love letter to Nanowrimo for helping me get out what I think might be one of my best stories ever, I'll update you on other things that I love.

Autumn! Heart, heart, heart. This is shaping up to be a glorious autumn. The colours have been madly different. I never knew so many shades of brown could look so glorious together! And these crazy lime-greeny yellows! I apologize that my writing has kept me from really taking many pictures but I have a few here for you to gaze at in gazemazement. (a little Strongbad reference fer ya, there.)

Aren't my woods beautiful?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

W is for Wednesday, wonderful words and writing!

A few wonderful words for your Wednesday!
1.It's National Novel Writing Month! Expect me to be a little errant this month (as opposed to how prolific I am normally, right? ha.) as I hack out my amazing great American novel. Actually, it has nothing to do with America. It's a fantasy setting... If you'd like more details (not about my novel, but about the event in general) or want to participate in novel writing month, go to! Anyone else out there doing this with me? Any of you even heard of it? It's great fun, and wonderful motivation if you're interested in writing!

2. I meant to post this on October 31st but my kid* brother-in-law (who is living with us for the time being) contracted a virus to my computer and I was unable to do much until my sweet genius husband had time to fix it for me. But seriously, I know you all want to know about my costume!
Well here I am. A purple sorceress. Or if you will, Purple Personified. Because we all know purple is a sorceress in her own right. My hair didn't get quite as purple as I was hoping it would because I ran out of hair spray-paint about half way through. It was what I had leftover from my Night Elf costume, so oh well.
My facepaint looks really cool, though, eh? And I think my hair style was pretty popular too. If you look close you can see the toilet-paper rolls I used to achieve the sticking out look. Ah, I loved this costume! I felt so cool!
 And check out those purple and black striped socks, yes indeed! For more details about how I made the skirt out of shirt sleeves see my post at Refashion co-op!

3 Well, this is back to NaNoWriMo because it's all that plagues my thoughts since October 31st. But while looking at the New Hampshire forums I noticed a name that was familiar, and then saw a FACE that was familiar. I'm pleased to announce that an amazing lady from my very own church is ALSO participating in NaNoWriMo! I'm so excited to talk to her about it this Sunday. She is, in fact, one of our Municipal Liaisons!

4 We had a great snow storm last Saturday night. Power went out and everything. Snowy Octobers** are awesome. I didn't get to take photos, though, because instead of walking to church on Sunday morning we found ourselves driving to John's parents house down in Newbury Port, because our church got cancelled due to no electricity. Unfortunately, theirs was too. Oops.

5 I thought I had something else but now I can't think of it. And it turns out that now I'm going to be late to my herbalist friends house, so I better go. See ya!

*Kevin is not actually a kid, he's 21. lol
** It occurs to me now that Snowy October would be a really cool name for a band, no?
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