Play Me?

It’s the middle of the night, and the sleepies are missing.   I went on Facebook to entertain myself until the sleepies returned from their break, but that was a bad idea.  All sorts of ideas jumped in before the sleepies got back. My brain is on overdrive, unable to shut off.

There are a lot of topics on my mind, like how the differences in being raised male vs. female in a patriarchal society can cause those raised male to romanticize the experience of being female.  I could write about trying to get back into journaling and how I want to use that to deal with issues that I’m not ready or at liberty to discuss online. I could discuss my recent failures and successes in sex, romance and polyamory. Or maybe a picture I saw of really yummy looking flan.

But you know I’m not going to talk about any of that.  Instead we are going to have another rousing game of “What the Fuck is Wrong with Kitty!?!?!”.

Wooooo, yay!!! The crowd goes wild!

I saw three things on Facebook that came together starting a long conversation with myself and necessitating this post.

Watch this video, we can call it media aid #1 before continuing:

https://www.facebook.com/Themightysite/videos?fref=photo

There was a time when I felt in control.  I had goals and plans spanning years at a time.  Every semester I could look at my lists and know exactly what classes I should take. I knew what I wanted to do with my life, from going to work the next day until I retired on to a farm decades later.  I thought of myself as an “Epicurean,” not in the sense of eating great foods, but in the classical way.  I wanted to work hard, stay focused, and have a life that maximized pleasure by minimizing pain.  It was working.

Things changed.  I changed.

From time to time I try to regain that sense of control.  I read a book on productivity, buy a day planner, join a peer motivation group or make detailed lists and schedules on my phone.  For a while it works, and I start getting things done. Generally the day-to-day stuff like cleaning and exercise get under control first.  Once I feel confident in that, I start letting myself read, write, work on fancy garden projects, try to reconnect with friends, date, get a job, or make income.  I start planning for a few weeks, a few months.  But it never sticks.

I don’t know why.

I have theories.  Is it that I’m too comfortable with my life? Am I afraid of change?  Is this anxiety a chronic disease that I can’t defeat? Do I just not care enough? None of these seem to be the right answer, let alone a solution.

The plans and goals I work hardest at, and the ones I am most likely to be successful at, are the ones that affect the people I love or need.  That brings us to media aid #2.manipulate

Am I a symbiotic parasite?  Perhaps I find people that fill a need in my life.  I then give them what they want: manual labor, money, sex, advice, support, etc.  This makes them stay and do whatever it is I needed.  Am I manipulating people into taking care of me?  Am I lying to myself if I say that I not?  Am I some monster that feeds off of others?  If people who care about me read this and say “no, of course not” is it because I am just that good at the symbiotic part? Is there anything genuine about me? Am I writing this because the parasite part thinks it will help me manipulate the foods?

There are things that I want to do for me.  I want to edit my first novel and publish it.  I want to make money and do awesome cosplay.  I like knitting, playing musical instruments, and dance.   These things always end up at the end of my to-do list, because I know I’m not going to do them and I don’t want them blocking projects I will accomplish. I’m not going to actively do anything that doesn’t benefit the hosts I feed upon.

I’ve tried to get around this by convincing my loved ones that my goals benefit them.   Some recent examples:

I actually said to my best friend, “If you make me do the work thing, I will give you $5 for everyday I make money.  You can get $150 a month just by bothering me!”

More subtly I have tried to get people who have or had an interest in me sexually engaged in the idea of me getting back into dance.  This is reasonable because it could lead to me being more flexible, thin and graceful, which could benefit them sexually or socially.

I have convinced my friend and publisher to call me once a week and shame me into working on a project for her in the hopes that this would motivate me to work on her project and my own.

I try every few days to get a friend or lover interested in my writing, so maybe they will want me to work on that.

Think about the fucked up that this is.  I try to make you love me, so that you might then be willing to give me permission to love myself.  This is going to have to go on near the top of the list on things that are most fucked up about Kitty.  Why can’t I cut out the middle man and just love myself?  It seems like it would take less time if nothing else.  

This brings us to media aid #3rpg

There was a time when my life was a first person RPG, super-open world format.  I could grind if I wanted to, I could take side quests, or I could choose any number of big plot arcs.  I could do anything that I planned out in my little gaming notebook.  

Anxiety has made my playable world smaller.  I worked so hard to level up as an accountant, but I can’t have an office job or that sort of responsibility.  I used to think about going back to school and picking another character class, but that’s likely to be as much of a failure as accounting was.  Every time I look around, the number of possible arcs decreases.

Recently I don’t feel like I’m the person playing anymore.  I feel more like the character, just standing there in a tavern waiting to be moved, directed.  That perhaps if a good player comes along at least I can finish this game in some respectable way.  Or I can be used to farm gold for a more important character.  I can keep being a changeable part of the game, keep having experiences, keep advancing.

I fear that option might close to me someday.  That I will turn into an NPC, conveying one piece of information or helping the important characters by accomplishing a single task.  What if someday I realize I’m just the tavern wench? What if being the tavern wench is all I can be, all I’m made for.  What if being the tavern wench is what I actually want?

 

Too Fucking Happy?

WoW_Box_Art1I spend a huge amount of time thinking about why I do what I do, why I think what I think, and why I feel the things I feel.  I am on a constant quest to understand and control my own mind.   This has been great in many ways.  I used to have terrible anger issues with violent tendencies, and now I don’t.  I used to have PTSD flashbacks, but I haven’t had one in years.  There was a time when I dealt with my emotions by mutilating myself, and that is very rare now.  I used to pick fights with my loved ones. I used to play video games all day instead of living.  I have been known to have social media rage and be petty and petulant. I have control over all that now.

I almost never cry, my anger never lasts more than a few minutes, and I can work through big emotional issues in a matter of days.  I am supportive to my loved ones instead of antagonistic.  I like myself and would invite me over for tea anytime.  I’m not the most emotionally healthy person ever, as I am still a bit paranoid, have abandonment issues, and don’t trust other people’s motivations sometimes, but I have made progress on those things too.  I deal with a little depression from time to time, but with meds and practice I cope.

I know, right!  It sounds awesome!

I am happy or at least content almost all the time.  I am good at not dwelling on things, not letting toxic people hurt me, and doing things I enjoy.  A little too good.  So much so that I don’t seem to have any drive (yes, there could be many other reasons for this, but I am exploring them one at a time).  I think to myself, “Make money?” but then I look outside and scamper off to garden or pick flowers.  I think ,“How about some writing today?” but I say “Nope!” and play with the animals.

RiverI have goals (remind me to tell you later), and I have made some headway in reaching those, but I tend to avoid everything hard.  I float on a happy, lazy river in the sunlight, being pushed forward only by the current, going no place in particular.  I have a 50 minute timer on, making me keep writing this.  If I didn’t, I would be playing the piano or napping with Mr. Snuggles. In fact, now that I think about it, of all the writing I could be doing this is the easiest, with the smallest readership and the most comfortable topic.

Why do I avoid success?  It’s clearly something I want, or I wouldn’t write out goals and daydream about the future.  I think about being a famous writer, owning a farm, traveling the world, creating great things, but I don’t do the tasks that would make any of that happen.  I would rather be happy, supporting my loved ones and watching cartoons.

Distant

The last few months I have had a case of the slow, or maybe the cuddles.   It is kind of like depression, but without as much sadness.  I haven’t felt motivated to write, garden, or go to social events.  Mostly I want to sleep, watch TV, and knit.

Sock

On the upside, I’ve finished several knitting projects.  On the downside, I am behind on editing my novel, the garden is a mess, and I haven’t been blogging.  That is going to change.  I have a goal to write 100,000 words before my birthday in July and to blog at least once a week.   That will be easier now that my blog looks so amazing thanks to the awesome Issa Waters of http://lovelivegrow.com/.  She is a great blogger who writes about homesteading, parenting, body/fat acceptance and social issues.

This might sound odd, but I think taking Zoloft has been partly to blame.  With my anxiety being lower, everything seems less important.  I don’t feel as stressed about anything, so I don’t have as much reason to push myself.  I got on the Zoloft in order to be able to do more social events and maybe get back into the world of business, but now that I am so much more Zen, I don’t actually care about making people like me or being “seen,” and I am not as worried about money.  There is a balance that must be found between loving the life I have and also wanting to make my life better.  I am a little too content recently.

The last few weeks my motivation has increased enough to write down some long and short term goals, get the house back in working order, and start this year’s gardening.   I also started work on a few writing projects.

In case you are wondering what I have been up to these last six months:

I went to Dragon Con for the first time in about eight years. It was a big deal for me to go to something with so many people and not freak out.  I don’t know exactly how many people there were, but it might have been the biggest crowd I have ever been in.  There were a few scary moments, like being stuck in human traffic jams on the sky bridge.  Overall I had fun and even bought tickets for next year.   Some of the highlights for me were playing dress up, looking at all the great costumes,  hearing several great bands, and seeing some of my favorite writers such as Jim Butcher and Cheri Priest live.  I like to imagine that someday I will be up in front of a crowd talking about my writing.gothNurse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of my best friends moved in with us, which has been awesome.  We have been having lots of fun mini-adventures when she can tempt me away from the TV.  I used to think that having roommates would be horrible, but now after having several I find that I like it.  When she moves out, I might have to find another one.L and Ninja

She exercises everyday which has gotten me back into the habit.  I love exercise; feeling my heart pumping and my muscles burning.  I like how good exercise makes me feel, but I hate exercise videos because they talk about weight, fat, pounds, etc. all the time. The thin ladies in the videos often chastise the viewer for being lazy or tell us not to have jiggly arms.   Shaun T’s videos have the least fat bashing, so I do those most.  I am seriously thinking about putting together a body positive exercise video for people like me who want to exercise because they like it and don’t want to be shamed in the process.  I find that exercise makes me a little more aware of my body and not always in a good, emotionally healthy way. I don’t need people in the TV adding to my issues.

I took a trip to Baltimore in November to eat crab cakes and be emo.  I did some sightseeing and went to several museums.  I recommend the Ripley’s museum if you ever find yourself there, we danced, played, created, climbed through a tooth pick city, watched teenagers run head first in to mirrors and saw some weird shit.  It was interactive and informative on things I find interesting, like carnies and giant mummified whale penises. Speaking of mummies, the science museum had an awesome mummy exhibit, you should go see that too.

Rick

Whale

Tight rope

 

 

goth 2

 

 

fish

 

 

 

 

 

Attempted NaNoWriMo and failed.  I thought I would do great this time, since I finished last year and had fun doing it. I started out strong, going to the social events, outlining a bit of a plot, even wrote a few pages.  Then I hit a wall because I wanted to be culturally sensitive and I was working in a genre that I normally don’t write in.  I will do better next year.

I read the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson, which was pretty good.  Currently I’m reading “Ship of Theseus,” which is written in a strange and interesting way. It is two stories: one being told in the normal way, and the other being told in the margins, by two people passing the book back and forth. I finished the “novel” part of it, which was good, but not great, and seemed to be trying way too hard to be weird and mysterious.

Mookie

Other than that, I went to a few plays and movies, spent a little time with friends, watched a lot of Adventure Time, created art, learned a few pieces on the piano and annoyed my cats

 

No Easy Path

Path

My goal is the top of the mountain, but I can’t seem to stay on one path walking straight up. I walk around it, paths crossing and forking, sometimes turning in on themselves. Often I’m going back down towards gray cubicals and financial statements, where heavy air is pumped in to keep alive hands click, clicking on keyboards, where flickering computer screens illuminate glazed eyes and tight jaws. Down there, I’m grounded, approaching stable.

At the top of the mountain the air will be light and dizzy. I will be standing on winners peak looking out at 360 degrees of possibility.

Currently in the forest I pick my way among roots and rocks. In eternal green-gold dusk time is meaningless. Hours and days melt together, each one different and unique in the same way trees are, ways not worth mentioning, that don’t matter when you have a forest of them blocking your view in every direction. Here is both tranquil and terrifying. I’m accustomed to the solitude and cool moist air smelling of decay. Woodland creatures play out fantasy worlds created and destroyed by my thoughts. I could be happy here, in that crazy aunt in the attic with origami birds and cuneiform trees way, but for the wolf.

She always around, sometimes so far away I can lie saying she’s the wind rudely shoving tight knit branches. Sometimes she’s so close I smell her breath. She snaps at me, closing off this path, hurrying me down another, The wolf howl’s screaming “NOW” when in my mother’s voice I think “too late, too late”. This is the time to become who I am going to be, to walk back down or find the smooth path up.

But wanting and doing, knowing and achieving are not the same things. I have turned so often I’m not sure which way is up.

I whistle a bit of “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and keep walking, my woodland friends keeping me company in top hat and tails.

This was written for this weeks trifecta challenge, click above for the details and to read more submissions.

Winning NaNo

I won NaNo!  Yay!!!

This means I wrote over 50,000 words on a novel in the month of November.    The novel has a beginning, most of the middle and an end. It is an ok story that mostly makes sense.  Hopefully after editing it will be a good story that people will enjoy reading.

I am 15 pages in to editing, with all the emotional swings that come with it.  I can go from loving this novel to hating it in a few minutes and then back again.  Editing is way harder than writing and much less satisfying.  For me the writing is almost play and the editing is the actual ‘work’ of being a writer.  That and marketing, but not all writers do their own marketing.  The rest of editing is intimidating, but I hope to finish it this month.  Then have it proof read and edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

I have a few great ideas for new novels, but I have to finish this one first.   If I work hard it will be out in February.

I loved the graph and having daily goals.  I normally just write however much I want to write and then edit when I edit.  Aside from actual deadlines for story submission I don’t normally have goals.  Sometimes I have time goals like “Write 2 hours today”  but not word count.  I loved having goals and a way to track the progress, it kept me working hard to stay on track.  If I slacked off for a day or two then I would put in 5 or 6 hours one day to get back on track.   I need to do this with my editing.

I only went to one NaNo event and hardly posted anything on the forums.  One of the reasons I choose to do NaNo was for the social aspect, but I failed at that part completely.  Next year I want to be more involved and make friends.

Did you do NaNo?

Did you ‘win”?

What are you going to do with your 50,000 words?

Was there a hard part of NaNo for you?

What did you like and dislike about it?

Thank You to My Tens of Fans

First off, I have been out of town for the last week in Chicago, so I have been too busy having fun to post to my blog. Also sadly too busy with the fun to get much work done on my novel, which I am about 5000 words behind on. But don’t worry, I will work hard and get caught back up soon.

Today, what with Thanksgiving being tomorrow, I wanted to write a little thank you note to some people who are making this becoming a professional writer thing a lot easier. A huge thank you to everyone who has bought my book or told people about it. I can’t express how much your support means to me. I have wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember. In fact my first memory of it was a summer night when I was ‘swimming’ in the above ground pool my mom had just gotten. It was a full moon that night and I wrote a poem while I floated around. Of course my little poem when I was 8 was not very good, but I still have it around here someplace. It was that night that I first thought that someday maybe people would want to read my thoughts and care about the things I make up.

Anyway, since I was 8, I have been writing and dreaming of someday having people read my stories, and even better of being able to make a living off of people reading my stories. When I was 11, I got a type writer for Christmas (not a useful tool when you are a horrible speller). But until this year I have always been too afraid to actually give being a professional writer a a try; afraid of rejection, afraid of not being very good, and afraid of losing the dream forever if the reality was that I could not do it.

Something changed this year. I think the first change was when I realized that sometimes people write stories and books that are not “masterpieces” and they do just fine. I don’t have to write something so OMG amazing that it rocks the world. I just have to write.

The second thing was that I can publish my own stuff. I don’t need any “professional” publisher’s approval to be awesome. I can be awesome any time I want, no waiting.

So between giving myself permission to not be ‘great’ and the ability to self publish, my last fear was just that I might lose the dream. Fuck a whole bunch of that. What is the point of a dream if you never even attempt it? It was time to stop waiting around for someone or something else to convince me to write and publish. It was time to take control and do it.

So I did. I worked hard and I wrote something. Yay! But some of that fear was still there. What if no one read it? What if everyone thought I was being dumb and made fun of me? What if it just sits there on the internet getting cyber-dusty? What if this is it, no one buys it, and I lose faith in myself and the dream really does die?

But then people stepped up and bought my book. Most of them are my friends in real life, supporting my creativity. But some stranger has bought “Treacherous Nature”. Friends and strangers alike, it has meant so much to me. Each time I sell a copy I feel so happy, and I feel the urge to keep going. I even sold a story to a publisher. I am writing a novel. I am submitting several stories every month. I am getting paid to write. And I don’t think I would still be working so hard if it were not for all the wonderful people who have bought my book, asked what I was working on, told people about me, commented on my blog, and just said “Good Luck!” or “You can do it” when I needed it.

I don’t want to sound too cosmic space bunny here, but this process is not just about writer and words. The reader is just as important. So, if you are reading this  — Thank You! If you have read my book THANK YOU!!!!!!

Professional Writer

I sold my first story this week! “Noir Noel” will be in an anthology “Strange Christmas” which will be out later this month. It is a nice feeling to know someone wants to pay money to print my story. I am now a professional. :-)

As for everything else, I have only sold 2 copies of “Treacherous Nature” this month. I need do something to pull that up to at least 5. The NaNo novel is going very well. I have written over 10,000 words and most of them are pretty good. I am enjoying the pace of a novel, which is so different than a short story. If this keeps going so well I hope to have it released in a few months.

It is going to be a long time before I can make a reasonable living from being a writer, but for the first time it does not feel like some silly pipe dream. I have been doing this seriously for 8 months, and this month will be the first money I get paid. Right now it looks like I will get a total of $36, from the sale of “Noir Noel”, Amazon and Gumroad combined. It is only enough money for one trip to the grocery store, but it is income. Maybe in December I will make $50. I just have to keep writing. Put a few more books on Amazon and Gumroad, get better at short stories and submit them everywhere. At this pace it will take a few years to start making minimum wage, but that is ok. I would gladly do this for minimum wage. I have been doing it for free the last 8 months.

November Goals

The biggest goal this month of course is the NaNo goal, 50,000 words in 30 days. I am going to do this, but it makes my tummy hurt a little this morning. I should be starting that in about an hour.

Finish the short story that takes place in the same world as my novel and get it formatted and published. I am thinking about doing this one exclusive with Amazon to try that out.

Sell 5 copies of Treacherous nature. My goal last month was 5 as well. I sold 6 at full price and then another 5 at $.99 the last few days for Halloween. Selling 5 this month is going to be hard, I think I have tapped all the people I actually know who might want it. So that means I have to find new markets. I have a few ideas, most of them are insane.

I don’t have a submissions goal this month, because NaNo is so big. But I might submit a few if I get time.

I will keep you updated on the progress.

To the other writers out there, what are your goals? Also to the non-writers, what are you doing this month?

NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is the first day of NaNoWriMo -National Novel Writing Month. Starting tomorrow I am going to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I have tried this twice before and failed both times, normally only a few days in. But that was back before I became “The Finisher”. My super power now is to start stories and –wait for it- Finish them! A few of them have been as long as 5,000 words. So now I am going to do ten times that on one very long story. This has me feeling a little bit of anxiety. Today I feel confident for the most part, but yesterday afternoon I wanted to give up this whole being a writer thing all together and go back to counting other people’s money.

I did not do so well on those goals from the start of the month. I sold plenty of copies of my book, but my friends who want the book now already have it for the most part so next month I have to find a way to reach more people I don’t know. I only submitted four stories to publishers, not the ten I had planned. Maybe I can get a few more in today. I have one really good one that has not been submitted any place yet. I only finished one story this month, but I am half way done with another. I don’t have an outline for the book I am starting tomorrow, but the idea is more solid than it was. And as you know I did not write 2 blog posts a week.

I am going to be traveling some this month which will make this even harder. So I need to really work at it the first few weeks so I have a little slack in the middle of the month. My goal is going to be 2,000 words a day, which if that worked out would be 60,000 words. So right off the bat I have 10,000 words of wiggle room.

A few days ago I went to a kickoff event, here in Nanolanta. And I am going to try to go to several write-ins and regional events. I feel like this social aspect will help push me along and make me work a bit harder. It also might be a good place to make friends who have a similar interest as me. Social things are hard, especially doing them without someone I already know for support. So this might also be good for me in that way and help me get more dealing with other humans XP.

This nice person who writes in my region who I don’t think I have meet yet wrote a song about us. I love it so I am sharing it with you:

One last thing, for anyone who is reading this who is both in Atlanta and doing NaNo this month.

Go Pandas!

Making Goals

I tend to not be a very self-motivated person sometimes. It goes in phases – for a few months I will be like “DO ALL THE THINGS,” and then I will get frustrated or just lazy and slack off. So being my own boss about pretty much everything right now means I have to be the one who cracks the whip, which is not easy for me. Sometimes when the choice is weed the garden bed or watch TV then TV wins. 
 
Over the last few months I have been following a daily schedule to make sure I work on everything I need to do at least a little. I have exercise, writing, cleaning, homesteading tasks, personal time, writing business, and even saying a mantra on there.
 
This month I have set goals for my writing, a well-rounded approach to move me forward an author. It is part about writing more stories and getting better at my chosen profession, as well as connecting with people and selling my work. 
 
This month’s goals are:
Submit 10 stories to publishers– I have done 3 so far
Sell 5 copies of “Treacherous Nature” – Reached that yesterday, yay!
Write 2 short stories – I have finished one so far
Publish a free short story on Amazon – I have not done this yet
Do two blog posts a week– I have already failed at this one, but I need to try to make it work for the rest of the month.
Make some plans for my novel next month – I have a few ideas, but have not put anything down yet. I have not attempted to write a novel in years. This is a very scary thing for me. It is just this year that I have gotten the confidence to finish short stories, so the idea of writing that much, working that hard, and then maybe walking away is pretty intimidating. The most I have ever written on a novel was about 20k words before I ran away from it. So whatever idea I come up with has to be interesting to me as well as to the future reader, and I need some sort of plan so I don’t get stuck and give up. 
 
I am going to have goals like this every month and post them here so I can get your input. 
 
What sort of goals do you set? 
 
How likely are you to meet them? 
 
Are there some facets of what you do that are really easy for you to keep doing, but other parts that you get stuck on? For me writing is fun and pretty easy, but if I did not make myself, I would never edit or submit stories. I would just write and write and write. 
 
How do you stay focused?