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

 

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?

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.

Profanity in Young Adult Novels

I am having a dilemma with the book I am currently writing. The main character is 15 years old. The target audience for the book would be 14-18 year olds. When I was 15, I said a bad word from time to time, sometimes more often. All the other people I was in high school with did too. Saying bad words was in a way important for many, like a little rebellion. Maybe they are not drinking, shoplifting and having sex, but they will say dammit if they want to.

So I can say with certainty that teenagers curse.

But in YA novels it seems like portraying the teenagers accurately is a big no-no.  In the world of YA, people don’t say bad words.  They always don’t do anything more than kiss.  But I guess that is another subject all together.

Yesterday I was writing and my main character thought “My jaw is a little strong, my forehead is a little high, and maybe my nose is a bit too small. I have some acne, but who doesn’t?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know, I just look like a person.  A normal fucking person.”

I had to clutch my pearls.  I went and changed it to “freaking.”  Then I changed it right back.  No, she would not think “freaking” here.  She is upset, she is hurt, she is confused.  This is the right time to say a strong word.  To change it would change the character; it would give her more respect for authority than she has; it would make her more timid than she is.  She is not a shrinking violet or a damsel in distress.   For me, fiction is most believable when the characters act like real people.  Real teenagers say “fuck.’ True fact.

As a self-publishing author I can, of course, do whatever I want.  There is no editor to tell me to tone down her language.  So this choice is up to me.  But what if writing a teenager as a real person makes people not want to read my book?  Am I writing to the audience or to the story?  To the genre or for my own enjoyment?    Writing is my job, so selling the books is a concern, but if I start censoring my character this early on, who is she going to be by the end of the story?   I want a real, believable girl, not a cardboard cut out of one.

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!