This Halloween costume, Jessica Fletcher from Murder, She Wrote, is literally one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life:
I started a semi-private 365 set on Patreon on January 1st at the $1 per month level. I’ve done a couple of completely private 365 self portrait/journal entry sets, just for myself/Shaun and I was toying with doing another this year but I had also been trying to come up with something fun to do with Patreon so I combined the two. I’m doing a theme every week, kind of remixing and adding to the list I wrote in 2014, because that set made me feel really happy. In addition to the 365 self portrait set I’m sharing lots of outtakes and other stuff I’ve never posted anywhere before, so even if I have a low week of 365 selfies and one sentence journal entries (and experience tells me, I will) there will be plenty of new content to look through.
I’m also hoping to edit one of my NaNoWriMo novels this year, updates, excerpts and other stuff about that will be on Patreon first, for sure.
In other news, I’ve been working on my 2016 in review photo post for a couple of weeks. It feels a little overwhelming and sad towards the end of the year and revisiting all of those feelings so soon after the fact has been a struggle for me. The past few weeks have been a Christmas vacation for me, but I hope to get back to regular blogging here next week. Thanks for a really good year on WordPress, friends. See you in a bit!
I’ve really just been doing the bare minimum to keep on top of all of my projects this month. I’ve been vacillating between anxiety and depression. I haven’t been depressed in a while. There was a weird moment of relief, when it first hit me, because anxiety for me is caring a lot and depression is not caring at all. I’ve decided I like anxiety more, though. I can be anxious and happy, I have a lot to show for it when I’m anxious, I’ve been doing it for so many years, I’m very good at it. My depression is mean, too, it’s a voice in my head that says really nasty things to me about how nothing I do or have ever done has mattered. Anxiety tells me it all matters too much, that I can’t give up, that I just have to try harder every day. This is how I have learned to live with it. Up until this past couple of months, I was actually doing really, really well with it, the motivation to DO was there and the bad anxiety stuff was very mild, easy to dismiss, unimportant.
I had a bunch of really bad, 0 words days this month, but because I was depressed, I didn’t really care. A few days ago I was sobbing while cooking dinner, facilitated by PMS, and I think it was one of those mythical good cries. I’ve had maybe three of those my whole entire life. I said all of these things aloud to Shaun, and per usual, he made me feel better, because he’s very good at looking at the logical sides of things, and he knows me so very well. I feel like I turned a corner and things are going to get better. The next day I wrote 2,836 words on my NaNoWriMo. The day after that (yesterday) I wrote 7,108 words, passed 50k, kind of brought the bit of story I was writing to some sort of resolution and won NaNoWriMo for the 11th time.
I’m trying to take today off, but I keep mentally going over all of the things I neglected to do this past month, so good to know I’m firmly back to my anxiety, I guess. Maybe I’ll write them in my bullet journal. That usually helps.
Here are some pictures I took this month:
Tuesday. Woke up bright and early and full of civic fervor. We waited in the misty rain for a half hour or so to vote, right after the polls opened. Everyone was friendly. I was beyond optimistic. I wrote 3,137 words and got back ahead with my word count (ended the day with 14,004). I cooked dinner. We sat on the couch and distracted ourselves from returns with a couple of episodes of Luke Cage and then it started to look bad and Shaun, being mathy, did the math and we went to bed and I cried. (Whoops, there’s my feelings.)
Eight years ago my dad was in the hospital. Being grotesquely optimistic I didn’t believe he was dying even when they told me to say goodbye. I remember my mom telling me that she told him that Obama had won and he seemed to understand and be pleased. He died a little over a month after the election.
Wednesday I waffled between keeping informed about all of the important things the election results mean and taking care of myself because breaking down completely doesn’t help anyone. I feel dramatic, but then also terrified that I’m not being dramatic enough. I dragged Christmas out of storage. Patiently, methodically, put up the tree, strung the lights and tinsel, laid out all of the ornaments so that Shaun and I could finish trimming the tree together when he got home. I watched disc 80 of Dark Shadows in it’s entirety. I put in disc 81 and watched half of that. I took a 3 hour bubble bath. I thought I might not write at all. I didn’t put pressure on myself. In the evening I did, though, I got 1,102 words written, enough to keep on top of my daily goal. We ordered pizza. We drove to pick it up. We got fries with it because potatoes are soothing. We forgot to go to the liquor store and restock the wine. We went after dinner. The clerk commiserated with us and I felt less alone in our precinct that voted 58.8% for, you know, the candidate that won. Also I had wine, so that was good. We trimmed the tree. We watched more Luke Cage. We drank that wine.
Thursday I didn’t write at all.
15106 / 50000 words. 30% done!
I’m going to do my best. My brain isn’t the best brain, but it’s the best brain I’ve got and I’m not gonna give up on us.
Here are some resources I have been looking at to try to find my next step:
Love you guys. <3
We went for a walk after dinner on Sunday and probably got cursed by this amazing cat.
I had a pretty great writing day yesterday, actually. Followed along with lots of sprints on twitter, used the sprint tool on the NaNoWriMo website (have you tried this, yet? I had an INCREDIBLE 350 word 10 minute session with it.) All told I got 2,381 words written yesterday. Still a little behind, but closing the gap daily. My mom came over to work on her current painting. We watched a bunch of General Hospital. Shaun stayed late at school to help some of his students review for a test. I made a tasty Udon Stir Fry for dinner. It was a good day, not much more to say!
10867 / 50000 words. 22% done!
Period brain chewed me up on Friday and spit me back out on Saturday (good to get that over with early in the month, though) so I didn’t write at all on Friday. Instead we went to Target and looked at Christmas stuff (I’m 100% there already this year) and had an India Palace date night. Indian food is the best of everything.
Saturday I was feeling a little bit better, still felt like my head was full of cotton, but pretty functional in all ways but the creative. I did a lot of thinking, brainstorming and plotting but I only got 323 words added to my novel. Better that than nothing, though. Always good to at least keep the novel in mind when you’re having an off day during NaNoWriMo. I felt good about the fact that I wasn’t beating myself up about it. I also donated on Saturday, which always gives me a kick in the pants. Plus I discovered YOU CAN CHANGE YOUR USERNAME now! Check it out. I literally hugged my laptop.. We ended the day with a quality Luke Cage binge watch. SO GOOD.
Sunday was much better. I started the day with some quality procrastination. I made a book cover and changed my avatar on the NaNoWriMo site. Eventually I jumped into some sprints and wrote 2,816 words total. I also talked some plans out with Shaun and got lots of new ideas. I’m still about a day behind in terms of word count, but I’m going to try to catch that up today, get on track, get back ahead, finish early per usual. Fingers crossed. Here’s a favorite line from yesterday to end things on:
“I told you. I can make any kind of canned soup, too. Haven’t met a canned soup that I wasn’t equal to.”
8486 / 50000 words. 17% done!
Anyway, my main character needs to figure out what she wants to do with her life. I made her cousin a graphic designer and one of her potential love interests is a writer. On that note, I’m not married to there actually being a love interest, but I also thought it would be fun if I went all out soap opera here in a minute. So indecisive! The other potential love interest seems like a hooligan. My book is drifting into Gilmore Girls and Murder She Wrote and away from Twin Peaks. I want it all. Probably Gilmore Girls least of all, though.
Oooh, doesn’t Murder She Wrote/Twin Peaks sound like the most perfect mashup ever? Imagine Jessica Fletcher and Agent Cooper teaming up to solve Laura Palmer’s murder. Of course, JB would have had it sorted in a single episode. /fanfic
I digress, what should my main character do? She’s job hunting. It’s her current crux
Eventually I ran out of other things to look at and I did a few sprints, not enough to get 1667 words, but enough that I still had a teensy lead on the official daily goal. I wrote 1,571 words yesterday.
5347 / 50000 words. 11% done!
After I finished writing, I did this new Yoga with Adriene video and let me tell you it was the Perfect followup to several hours of procrastination and 45 minutes of writing.
I have trouble getting started when things are unfinished. Last year I didn’t even start my NaNoWriMo until November 2 because I wanted to clean up all of the Halloween messes and give myself a fresh house to maybe… kind of… ignore for a month.
I got up, opened all the curtains and the front door (opening the front door makes me feel less alone when I’m… alone, I don’t know why, I can hear people talking outside sometimes, watch people walking their dogs, it’s pleasant, I guess.) There was Halloween vomited all over the porch, saying, “Are you going to have time to take me down the next few days? Are you going to feel up to it?” My uterus is a ticking time bomb and my porch and front yard were absolutely covered in string lights and plastic bones. I felt like yesterday morning might be my last chance to take Halloween down for a week, so after a failed attempt to start writing I pulled the tubs out of the garage, fired up some Murder She Wrote on my ipad and patiently untangled all the lights and spooky fabric. It only took about an hour, which is amazing because it took four to get it all put up.
I really feel so much calmer if I do some kind of chore before I start writing, but I also love to get writing out of the way first thing in the morning. Writing this blog post every day is definitely like a warm-up writing session for me, though, kind of like a chore that helps me get going. Outside of November, I do yoga before I do anything else, but I would love to start doing yoga right after I write. I’m not quite there yet. Yesterday I managed to go do a few stretches after I finished my longest writing session, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t feel that post-writing yoga relief I was going for. Something to work on.
I made this tweet (and feel free to comment prompts here, too, I’ll share how I used them in my next post!) and got started with a prompt from @nanowordsprints. A few years ago I wrote a NaNoWriMo novel called Pleasing The Stranger where I used lots of prompts every day and let my novel go wherever they led it. Eventually the novel did that thing it always does where it takes off in some direction and you really can’t control it anymore, but I tried to use as many prompts as possible and it was a fun way to do it. Since I really have nothing this year (no plot has presented itself yet) I’m casually seeing where prompts take me again.
Over four 5-30 minute writing sessions yesterday I got 1,686 words.
3776 / 50000 words. 8% done!
It’s that time again. Jumping into it feels weird. I lost a lot of my regular routines over the last several months, including writing on this blog. I hurt my neck, Shaun went back to school, we’ve had to really adjust our budget, but everything is good. I feel like I’m constantly saying, “I’m getting back on top of things!” and I’m not sure if it’s ever really true. I do more than ever, really, I can tell because I have been bullet journaling and I have pages full of doing, I’m actually on top of a lot of things, but I have been feeling… more overwhelmed.
So of course, it’s time to add another to do to my everyday. But this one actually helps me feel less overwhelmed, most of the time! One of my favorite side effects of NaNoWriMo is that I turn my inner editor off and it seeps into every part of my life. I wish I could leave it off forever. Could I? I actually take more days just for myself, without guilt, during NaNoWriMo than any other month of the year. It gives me permission to ignore a sink full of dishes for a while. I wish I didn’t have to get permission to relax, though! I really need to work on that, because, at the end of the day, the sink full of dishes is still there, and then I clean it anyway and I didn’t spend any time fretting about it. I get SO MUCH done in November. Nothing actually suffers. Anxiety and worry are so useless. I can just skip them and everything works out. How can I get this attitude into the rest of my life? Hmm!
Anyway, yesterday I had no ideas or plans for NaNoWriMo, but I didn’t sweat it. I looked at Behind the Name and wrote a list of names to grab when I’m in the middle of something and need to name a new character, I got a beginning scene location from this random plot generator and then I started writing. I have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m using prompts a lot, especially ones handed out during sprints by the @nanowordsprints twitter. It’s just happening. Only real decision I have made about it so far is to have a contemporary setting but really embrace those 60s gothic tropes, which I’ve never really done before. Contemporary, I mean. I’m all about 60s gothic tropes. The characters don’t feel very contemporary as a result, but I’m enjoying it. It’s got a vibe. Twin Peaksy.
I finished day 1 with a pretty bad backache from procrastinating on my laptop all day and 2090 words.
Here’s my last sentence of the day:
“She threw her coal black curls up into a loose ponytail and did not stand in front of the mirror looking critically at her features, as is so common in novels.”
2090 / 50000 words. 4% done!
Putting away Christmas, going for walks around town, working on my smash journal, and starting our ’52 weeks of us’ project.
Puppies, a new camera, and snow!