Writer’s Boot Camp Day 15

It’s almost 4 pm and I’m just now starting on this.  It’s all because of physical therapy. Anything that changes my routine can really throw me off.  I got up early, drove in Atlanta “oh God!  Water is falling out of the sky! What do we do?!?” traffic, and then did an hour of hard exercises.  Then drove home. I got home at 12:30 pm and I should have gotten to work then, but I changed clothes, did some of my morning tasks and took a nap.  Sorry! I didn’t mean to, but I guess I was really tired.

I was dreaming, that I was showing Dean from Supernatural a thing I had made, a health monitoring suit.  And he was telling me how we had to stop Dio (“Holy Diver” Dio) from getting enough red gold to build a throne for Satan. I was going to help him, but first, we were going to eat  Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.

Anyway, I’m awake now and ready to work.  

The book doesn’t have any exercise today,  it’s just about making sure you have enough snacks.  I normally work at home so that generally isn’t a problem.  But I’ll remember this sage advice for any time I’m out in the world.  

I guess I need to just write now.  Maybe do a few of those “obstacles” from yesterday?  I’m not that far into the new story I started, the mystery and it is really hard for me.  The main character isn’t someone I can identify with, we have very little in common which makes him very hard to write.  Also, mystery, or at least this sort of real-world rules crime story is hard, because I’m not a cop or a lawyer. I’m having to stop and research things all the time.  The worst part is that it’s set in the 1960s, so info is hard to get.

Today, I want to give up.  I honestly don’t know why I’m doing this.  I feel sort of silly working this hard, because I have very little to show for it so far and because I’m feeling like I suck.  Like I’m never going to be a very good writer no matter what I do, because of a learning disability I have. Unless I can pay someone to do tons of editing to fix the fucked up ways I write, and I don’t have much money. I’m feeling sort of isolated. Maybe I need to make friends with more writer’s. Or maybe I just need more friends.

I guess we can count that last paragraph as 5 minutes of writing down hurdles.  The fact that I am very smart, well read and creative, but have the sentence structure and punctuation of a 3rd grader is certainly a ‘hurdle”. Or the sentence structure of Hemingway, depending on how you look at it.  That bro was all about the run on sentences and weird punctuation.

I’m going to pull out one of the cards and do whatever it says now.  

60 minutes – I started a short story using a list of words on the card,  Working title “Curse at the Opera”

After that, I took about a 2-hour break.  I’m just not an awesome motivated person today.  But I’m back.

5 minutes of free writing

10 minutes putting some notes and to-dos in my writing notebook, mostly from a podcast I listened to earlier and updating my worklog.  

20 more minutes on “Curse at the Opera”

10 minutes editing “Eat the Rich”

Total writing time 2 hours 55 minutes

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 14

I’m pretty surprised I’ve gotten this far.  I have written at least an hour every day for the last 2 weeks.  I don’t know if I have ever done that before, maybe back when I did NaNo in 2013 or 2014.   One of my self-definitions is that I lack discipline, but maybe it’s time to change that label because I’ve not only done this but I’ve also been dieting for a last 3 weeks and lost about 8lbs.  I still have about 10 lb to lose to get back to my pre-leg breaking weight. Weighing less and continuing physical therapy will hopefully get me off using a cane in the next few months. Hey, there is another thing where I’m pretty damn disciplined,  I’ve done P.T at least once a day almost every day for a year, many days I manage twice. I also got my first yes.fit medal this week for finishing a 22 mile race, sadly it took 10 months because when I started it last July I could only walk about half a mile a day.

On to today’s assignments, which are called the “obstacle course”.  Looks like I’m going to be working on lots projects today and timing them.  Might be hard to get into a groove, but we’ll see.

10 minutes on the mystery story I started last week.  

5-minute sprint, also on the mystery story

So it turns out the timer I’m using only beeps when I’m on that web page because my stopwatch says 50 minutes right now.  So I did way more than 5 minutes on the mystery story sprint. I’m going to pause for a minute and go find an egg timer or something. Well, never mind, I don’t appear to have an egg timer, odd I just figured that was something everyone had.  I mean, yeah, I never bought one….but you know seemed like something that would just be there…I’ll put the timer up on my other screen, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

5 minutes of free writing

Made some notes about the free writing in my notebook for later

5 minutes of “weightlifting” – worked on the outline for the mystery story

5 minutes of “hurdles” I face today,  that was pretty cathartic, I like to whine.

10 minutes of cross-training (working on something that isn’t writing, but keeping a notebook nearby to write down thoughts) – I paused my stopwatch for this.  I took my afternoon vitamins, had some soup and listened to part of a short story on “Starship Sofa” about living under the authority of Grays (classic bigged headed, flying saucer, mutilate cows and put things up your butt aliens). I didn’t have any thoughts that I wanted to write down.

10 minutes of meditative writing (I wrote a short poem about aliens, but not about them putting things up my butt)

10 minutes of reflection on the obstacle course exercises

This was a little odd.  I’m used to focusing on one project for as long as I possibly can before my brain starts to feel squishy.  I sort of power through the scenes, even when that isn’t what I really want to be working on. This was better in that I moved around, mentally.   I had lots of thoughts and ideas. But on the other hand, I didn’t get much usable material. I only have about 4 paragraphs on the mystery story, a few ideas jotted down in my notebook and part of a rather poorly written poem.  But I might be every more drained than normal. It’s only been about 1.5 hours and I feel like I have been at this all day!

I think maybe this book will help me find my own best ritual for writing, maybe a few of those 5 or 10 minutes things before focusing on my main WIP would be a nice mix for me.

Total time today 1 hour 47 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp day 13

I don’t know how to do what the book wants me to do today.  I think I might be confused. The way the book is set up there is a short chapter for each day and then sometimes it tells you to turn to exercises at the back of the book. Today is titled “Writing Meditation” and it says “Now it’s time to slow down a bit.  This would be a great time to Recharge. Turn to page 215 and then come back here for the guided meditation” But the exercise on page 215 involves taking a day of rest or unplugging for 24 hours and then write about it. But if I took a day of rest right now I wouldn’t be able to do today’s assignment.  I thought this was supposed to be 30 days straight of writing.

Also, I’m going, to be honest.  I don’t even understand the concept of a day of rest.  How the fuck does that even work? I keep a daily task list of all the things I do every day,  on a day of rest would I just not do any of those things? Would I not do my exercises, or take vitamins? Who feeds the cats?  Who feeds me and washes the dishes? What do you even do on a day of rest, do you just stare at the wall? Do you read a book or watch TV?   While I was injured and I couldn’t do my chores and tasks I got super, super depressed. Putting the little checks on my list is sort of the only reason I get up in the morning.  I feel like taking a whole day off and not doing that stuff would be super stressful, because I would have to do it later.

I guess when I go on vacation, away from home I am not doing most of my tasks.  So it can be done…but why? I’m willing to give it a try I guess, but I don’t think now is the best time to take a whole day off.  But then again, it might be the only time. I should be starting back to work soon and I am going to be starting to move in June if everything goes according to plan.  Once work or the move starts I can’t take a whole day off. Could I instead take a long time one day off? Like 4 or 8 hours? I think I could manage that without guilt.  

Is it fucked up that the idea of not doing stuff for a day makes me feel sick levels of guilt and anxiety?  I’m not actually doing anything super important as it is. I’m not lying to myself about this, I know I mostly do my own made up list of busy work.  I feel “productive” with all my little tasks if I don’t think about it too hard, which I am now, and starting to question why I’m even alive. I think this is getting into a personal journal or talk to a psychiatrist territory, moving on.  

So, I’m not doing the exercise today,  but I am as a compromise I’m going to put on my to-do list “Day off”  this will be a day when I do my body upkeep stuff (15 minute PT, eat, take meds) and my most important household stuff (Feed cats and Do dishes) but other than that I will not do anything.  I’ll get food delivered. I’ll not write, clean, or do “high-value tasks”. I’ll spend a good solid 8 hours watching TV or something. Moving on.

The next part of today’s assignment was reading a sort of guided meditation and then writing about a time when you felt free, happy or at peace.  

 

The Beach, at Night

I’m on a beach,  it’s near sunset or night time.  This isn’t one specific beach or one specific date.  It’s all the times I have ever been on a beach, alone or nearly alone from sunset to sunrise.   

It’s a night in Hawaii, sitting the sand, looking out to the black waves, which are louder than the music behind me from the Monona Surfrider Hotel,  the music, and the waves sound right together, natural. I had been feeling hurt and ignored when I walked out to the beach, but the sound of the waves and faint music pull the pain out, leaving my soul silent.  

I’m a child,  we’re staying on Tybee Island.  I’m standing on the pier by myself,  it nearly high tide. The place where I played and searched for shells just hours earlier is gone, under the waves that crash against the wooden legs, shaking the pier.  There is no one to hurt me here. No one to judge me. I have never felt so completely alone before, so amazingly free. I think about stepping off, into the water, giving myself to the waves.  I don’t do it, but I realize that I could and that gives me comfort. On some of my worst days to come, I’ll look back at that night, half wishing I had joined sea, but more so reminding myself that it’s still there,  it’s always there, always waiting. If I really, really need to get away she is waiting, ready to receive me. There is a place I can go, that never changes, that always will accept me. I guess, that makes it home?

It’s sunset, near the north shore of O’ahu.  We get to the beach just as almost everyone else is leaving.  The only other people are two guys down the shore fishing and an old lady with lots of cats who lives in a tent near the tree line.  Aside from them it just me and my husband, we have had a nice day, a perfect day. With sea turtles, peacocks, weird local honey and tiny bananas.  We are both tired and happy. He wants to leave, to go back to the hotel, but he indulges me this time, letting me do something that I really want, even if it’s a little stupid and inconvenient. I am so happy.  The sand here is deep and hard to walk on, the changing area far away. I have a sarong in my bag, I put it on and strip out of my clothes under it. I walk to the water, and take it off quickly, before jumping into the burnt orange water.  I swim alone in a tiny tropical bay as the last rays of the sun fade. The only light comes from the windows of multi-million dollar homes in the distance. Those people get to see this water every day, but I wonder how many of them have ever skinny dipped alone in it?  Right now the whole ink-black ocean is mine. The moment is perfect, my life is perfect.

It’s two hours before dawn when I hobble up the sand, using one crutch.  It hurts a lot, but I don’t say anything. My injured leg doesn’t like the shifting uneven ground or the beach plants that try to grab at my support.  I’m afraid of falling. I’m tired, we have been up all night. My boyfriend drove me 6 hours away from home so I could watch the sunrise on the winter solstice.  I feel grateful and oddly melancholy. We reach the beach to find it totally deserted, the only sound is the waves. There are lights in the distance, lights from the hotel behind us, but not so many that I can’t see the stars.  It’s not as cold as you would think, but cold enough. I sit in a camp chair, wrapped in a flannel blanket and wait for the new sun to be born. I feel like I’m at the edge of the world. I feel hopeful, maybe the worst year of my life is going to end this night. Maybe the sun will dawn on a new world, where I don’t hurt all the time, where I don’t feel trapped and afraid all the time. Maybe the darkest part of my life is over.  And maybe not, at that moment it’s enough to listen to the song of the waves.

I have others, but I don’t want to do this all day.  I love the ocean at night. Someday I’m going to live near the sea, someday I might die in it.  

That’s not all!   Today is going to be a long writing day!   Now the book wants me to pick a card from the prompt stack.   I had been wondering when we would start using the cards.

Prompt “How do you define living on your own terms?” 5 minutes

Money.  It’s all about money, that is the only possible freedom.  And I hate that so much it burns inside. But I accept it, because I can’t change it, that is our world.  I have spent my whole life needing others, obeying others, bowing down because that is how you live. To live on my own terms would be to have enough money to pay all my bills, to have my own home, to have enough money for food,  healthcare and medicine. If I had twice that amount I could travel, I could see the places I have dreamed of, I could be the person I wish I was. I’m not submissive by nature, but by nurture. I learned subservience equals survival.  

I still need to do my WIP writing.  But short break first.

I did some edits my friend suggested on the story I finished yesterday and then did some research on my next story, but not any actual writing it yet. 

Total time today 2 hours 13 minutes

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 12

Today’s theme is endurance but also picking what you want to put your energy into.

I feel this contradicts with yesterday’s advice about being busy and doing lots of things between writing.  Today the book is saying to give up or pull back time on things that wouldn’t have catastrophic consequences.  So which is it?  Have a balanced life that is super busy because of writing or change your priorities letting somethings slide and use that time for writing.

I finished writing my WIP yesterday.  I will grant you that 11 days to finish one short story is a little long.  I have finished short stories in a day before.  However, that was a long time again,  in the last year I have finished maybe 2?  So one in 11 days isn’t bad.  I feel like I have been writing all the time some days, which adds to feeling like 11 days is too long, but I need to remember that I’ve spent most of the “writing” time doing these blog posts, reading, and researching.

I’m going to type this up when I get home. I’m in a car now, going to the mall to hang out with one of my friends for lunch and some shopping.  Shopping is a weakness of mine, it makes me feel good. I got a Pinkie Pie glitter mud mask and the best Tokidoki unicorn today, the perfect one I that I have been hoping to get for my new house! Yay!.   After I get this typed up I’m going to edit “Eat the Rich” and maybe start on story #2.  I guess the mystery story I started working on a few days ago.

I’m home now, obviously, since this is typed. I spent about 10 minutes emailing and texting friends, relationship maintenance, and then cleaned for 30 minutes, because the litter boxes were gross.  Full disclosure, I took a few muscle relaxers because my leg is hurting and my back is feeling tight.  So maybe I should work on literary fiction because I’m about to be “artistic” if you know what I mean.   😀

I guess up until this point I was about 45 minutes in.  I worked for 30 minutes on editing and actually fell asleep at my desk, how amazingly authentic!

I finished editing the story and then emailed it to a friend to read over.  This feels like progress.

Total writing time today was  about 2.5 hours. I am now going to spend the rest of my Sunday drinking pink alcohol and binge-watching netflix. 

 

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 11

The theme of the day is “cross training’  but not working on another project, but more balancing writing with the other parts of life. The idea is that with all the extra writing I’m doing that all of my other tasks would have fallen behind,  but thankfully I started this project while I’m currently not working, so I have about 8 hours a day of “extra time’ and I’m only using about 3 or 4 a day tops on writing.   Some tasks have fallen behind, because I’ve added in other things in my downtime, like doctor’s appointments, working on my side job, listening to more podcasts, dieting and going to the gym more.  Yesterday I did almost nothing productive other than doctor’s appointments, driving, and writing.

I was looking at houses and I have officially started the moving process today by getting a storage locker. This makes me a little happy and excited, but also super sad.  I really don’t want to leave my home. Moving is going to be stressful and take a lot of work and time, which oddly enough something the book feels I need at this point.

The phrase “If you need something done, give it to a busy man” is used by the author.  And I know from experience that super busy Kitty is a more productive Kitty. My last year of college (in Macon, GA) I was taking more than a full load of classes, working 20 hours a week at Barnes and Noble cafe,  I lived in Monticello 45 minutes away from work and school, went to the gym 5 days a week and I was dating someone who lived on the Northside of Atlanta. I don’t know how I did it, but I got everything done. It was weird how much stuff I could fit into one day,  granted I was sometimes up until 2 am, doing homework when I knew the alarm was going off at 6:30 a.m. I was sleep deprived and probably took too many stimulants, but I sure was productive.

I’ve tried to be that productive since then and it never works.  And I think the reason is there are no actual consequences and/or no one else cares. In college, if I missed classes or didn’t study I would fail the class,  wasting time and money if I had to retake something. So I worked my ass off because I didn’t want to retake anything. If I lost my coffee shop job we would have been in serious trouble for money, because we were just barely getting by. I probably should have given up the Atlanta boyfriend, but at the time that seemed important too.  But almost nothing I do now is that import, take this project for example If I just stop working on writer’s boot camp right now nothing bad will happen. If I don’t read the books on my reading list nothing bad happens. I seldom have guests over so my house doesn’t need to be that clean. I’m stressing a little about not having a paying job right now, but I have money saved so I’m not super worried.    

I literally could just feed my cats, clean litter boxes, take out the trash a few times a week, feed myself, take my meds and shower sometimes and nothing bad would happen.  I only have about 1 hour of things I “need” to do in any given day. That will all change in about a month when I have to start moving seriously, knowing I have a deadline, and maybe at that time I’ll get more productive in everything?  

I keep a Daily Task Tracker now with lots of tasks on it.  I very seldom finish it any given day, but I normally do at least the first half.  The process is that I get up in the morning and I just start doing these things in order and most days I do ok, but there isn’t any real urgency about it.    I think the book wants me to sort of alternate between writing and the rest of life, with the theory that you are more creative when you are active. I can buy that, worth trying anyway.

I have an idea, an experiment if you will,  on this cross-training. I think parts of the day when I’m supposed to be doing stuff I’ll work on my list for some amount of time and then write for the same amount of time and then made even add in breaks too.   It is Saturday at 4 p.m and I don’t have anything I have to do until 6:30 p.m when I need to get ready for an event. So I’m going to try to create urgency.

I’ve been working on this so far for 40 minutes,  but I think I’m going to work in 30-minutes chunks until 6:30;  Writing, working on things off my list, break. (I’ll pause the writing timer of course)

In my 30 minutes of not writing work I filled up cat food at water bowls and then worked on the KonMari for dresses,  This will take a while because I need to try most of them on and I started with 74 dresses. Also, I have wonderful taste in clothing and most of these dresses are beautiful, which makes getting rid of them hard.  

For my 30 minutes of deserved break, I started a show “Altered Carbon” which everyone says is very good.  So far I have no idea what is going on, I don’t think it’s a watch in half-hour increments sort of show. 

I was supposed to then write for 30 minutes, but I got caught up in what I was doing and wrote for an hour.  :-/

Oh, well, I’ll try harder tomorrow to do this alternating between writing and other tasks.  

Total writing time today was  

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 10

I don’t want to do this, it’s 6 PM on a Friday night.  I would rather be going out with friends. I had two different concerts in my planner for tonight.  I decided which one to go to, the later show, with the more talented musicians, but I have decided against going at all for a few reasons.  One of which is I have to do this stupid writing and two is that planning is hard and I don’t want to drive out to a show alone.

I had two doctor’s appointments today,  I forgot to have any caffeine before I left the house this morning, meaning I have a headache now.  The computer screen is bright and the computer is oddly loud.

I feel like the advice in the book today isn’t currently relevant.  It is about using brainstorming, story mapping, outlines, and timelines.  How doing these things can make the writing process more efficient; saving time and helping you create a better story.

20180511_182807I agree, brainstorming is fun and has helped me when I’m having writer’s block.  I found two old brainstorming sheets from novels I started.  Both of these novels are still in the works, so if anyone is actually reading this, thank you for that, but don’t steal my ideas. I’ve never used story map, but it sounds like a good idea. I know from experience outlines can speed up your writing, while also keeping the story on track and making sense.

 I used to not be a fan of outlines, I felt like they were extra work and would stifle my raw creative genius. Then I realized I’m not some literary savant, but I normal person who loves to read, who loves to make up stories and who wants to tell stories that others want to read.  

So now I use outlines, especially in longer works.  Sometimes I don’t in short stories.

Which brings up why this exercise is irrelevant today.  I’m almost done with my current WIP, which had a rough outline.  I only need to write a few more scenes and edit, so I can’t follow the book’s advice and do an outline for my WIP.   I guess I could it for the project I was researching yesterday, but I don’t want too. I would rather finish one before getting too involved in another.

This books is encouraging multitasking a little more than I would like.  Yes, that makes it feel more like a “real” job, but also I think might decrease productivity.  But who am I to say, since clearly people buy Rachel Federman’s work and not mine, so I guess that means she knows more than I do.  

I’m going to work on my WIP for 30 minutes now.  I wish I had finished the painful emotional scene yesterday, working on it today seems really, really hard.   I hope writing this shit helps me get over some stuff. Maybe stop thinking about it so much so I can forget a little,  but not forgive.  I will never, ever forgive.

Maybe I can do editing type stuff on it instead, I don’t know.

I mostly just read what I had so far and did some edits.  I’ll do the hard stuff tomorrow.

Total time worked today is 1:25,  much less than yesterday, felt longer.

Writer’s Boot Camp day 9

Today is about stretching,  reaching outside of your comfort zone as a writer.  Writing in different genres or formats than you normally would.

I want to start this by thinking about I write.   When it comes to fiction I write horror, fantasy and sci-fi,  or some combination of those three. I’ve done sci-fi horror (check out Treacherous Nature for “Red, in Tooth and Claw” which is a sort of sci-fi psychological thriller, maybe fantasy horror thing).  I’ve done fantasy/horror, and even some fantasy/sci-fi. The mixing of these three genres is my jam. I am also pretty good at adding stuff to them. I’ve done steampunk, which is sort of just historical sci-fi, sometimes with a touch of fantasy thrown in. I’ve written a lot of historical horror.  I do Weird Western which is fantasy in the old west. But as far as fiction goes I very seldom step outside of those entirely. I might have never written a story that takes places in the current time, with normal people doing normal things. I guess the closest I’ve come to that is something like “Dream Girl” which is still horror.

I write plenty of non-fiction, but mostly first person, journal or essay style, about my life, opinions or experiences. Lot of topics, including homesteading (which I don’t do anymore, currently), cosplay or writing.  Like I’m doing right now, this moment. Y’all, I am writing about how I write about myself writing in a post where I write about myself writing…..deep.

I write a fair amount of poetry.  My style of poetry is something best described as “whatever the fuck I feel like”.  If it appears to have a real style, that is probably purely by coincidence. I’ve seen a lot of Shakespeare, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I write in iambic pentameter sometimes, but I don’t try to, at least not in a very long time.

The book has me list out some genres I would like to try.  So far I have come up with:

  1. Cozy Mystery – I’ve been reading a lot of those recently, as a divorced woman with cats, who likes to read, cook and write every heroine in these books is a representation of me.  They are pretty much as comfortable to read as the name implies.
  2. Mystery in general -I like reading them and figuring out whodonit, but I’ve never gotten the knack of setting up the clues, leading the reader to put things together.  I tend to just throw narrative at my readers like hacky sacks. (Plot device to the face!!!!!!!!!!!, Duck! here comes a character development!)
  3. Realism – or whatever you would call a story that takes place here and now, with normal sorts of people living life.  (hmmmm….I think I would call that boring…)
  4. Literary Fiction – this is a confusing term, which might be meaningless honestly, but like porn, I guess you know it when you see it. However, I think one must first have a patron before one can write literary fiction, and maybe one requires a drug or alcohol addiction.  If anyone wants me to seriously give this a try I will require donations totaling at least $400 and half a bottle of Percocet.
  5. Youtube show scripts, because that sounds fun.
  6. Erotica – from what I can tell sex sells,  and this sort of writing makes money and isn’t super hard (hehehe get it?).  I could do it under my phone sex name.
  7. Romantic Fiction – again, this is a good money making genre from what I’ve heard.  I tried to write a romance novel about a werewolf once I think…I wonder if that is around here someplace.  
  8. Stand up Comedy-  I have tried to put together a stand of routine in the past, but not seriously,  I should give that another go. I’m super funny, and short, and odd looking. I think it could be a thing.  

The assignment is to research one of these genres for a few minutes every week and then give it a try.

20180510_135938It just so happens that I have the most recent issues of both “Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine” “ and “Mystery Scene”. Yes, I really do just have them on hand. I buy short story magazines because I like short stories and I want to keep up with the markets I would like to publish in.  I buy writer’s trade magazines because it makes me feel motivated and like a legit writer when I do it. No, I don’t ever get around to reading either, because who has time for that? I guess I mostly buy them for the much longed for Future Kitty who is a full time writer and needs these things for important businessing.

However today Present Kitty is going to use them!  Hosanna! (fyi, I always assumed this word meant “Yay!”  but in a fancy old-fashioned Biblical way. However it has something to do with praying for help, which isn’t applicable here, but I’m going to leave it because I know you wanted me to lay this knowledge down, also, because I still want it to mean “Yay!”).  

I’m going to grab a glass of water and read one mystery story and one mystery trade article.  BRB

I’m back

I read the short story “10,432 Serial Killers (in Hell)”  by Emily Devenport and a biography “The Remarkable Lives of Anthony Boucher”.  

I think I’ve read something by Emily Devenport before or listened to a podcast she was in, not sure, her name is familiar. Check out her blog, if you want to know more about her work.  The story “10,432 Serial Killer (in Hell)” was fun and charming, the main character was pretty adorable.   I enjoyed the story. This is an example of a story that makes me a little confused as the perimeters of the genre “Mystery”,  as the story told us right away who the bad guy was. Does “mystery” just mean stories involving crimes or stories told by characters who are cops or private investigators?  I’ll read another Mystery story in a day or two and see if it has anything to solve. If not, then maybe I can write in this genre without being good at actually forming a “mystery” to solve.   This was a pretty straightforward narrative with elements of fantasy and horror.

The article I read was about Anthony Boucher,  the writer, critic, and editor, who co-founded “The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction” back in the 1949 and was one of the organizers of the Mystery Writers of America.   He wrote a lot of short stories, a few novels and was involved in all parts of the mystery, sci-fi and fantasy industry in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Bouchercon, a big annual Mystery convention, is named after him.  I should go to this, as it’s in St. Petersberg this year, which wouldn’t be hard for me to get to if time, money and work allows.

At 2 hours and 9 minutes so far today.

Now I supposed to work on writing in the mystery style for 15 minutes.  I don’t even know where to start. I feel like I’m going to be staring at a blank screen for the next 15 minutes….

I actually worked on this project for over 40 minutes, because I came up with a good character.  But most of the time was spent in research, not writing. Research is a time consuming, but important part of writing.  And part of why my paid work averages less than $1 per hour income.  :-/

Wow and Hosanna!  I have been working a really long time today and I’m still not to the daily slog to work on my WIP.  Being a writer is hard.

Timer is at 3 hours and 20 minutes when I finished working on the current short story.  I was working on a pretty rough, triggery scene in my WIP.  I might have to take up the drinking or drug habit after all.

I am ready to be done today.  I’m going to edit this as fast as possible and post it.  Sorry if there are errors.

Final time today is 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 8

I’m frankly surprised I’m still doing this.  Focusing on one thing for this many consecutive days is hard for me.  I’m having to fight the urge stop because I feel like everything else is falling behind.

While I’m out of work with my official day job, I should be doing more of my side hustle,  It’s been over a week since I worked, and no work means no money. That is stressing me out.  I have a good bit saved, but still, steady income is important. Also because I wrote for over 2 hours yesterday I missed going to the gym.  I need to try to make that up today if I going to progress on both weight loss and getting my left leg muscles strong again. It’s been over a year since I broke my leg and I’m still walking with a cane. I know that the damage was severe and some of this will stay with me the rest of my life,  but I can try to make the best of it and get my leg as good as it’s going to get.

Yesterday was sort of hard for me emotionally too,  so I kind of want to not do anything today, except maybe sleeping or watching TV.  I’m tired, hungry and feeling like this writing thing is pointless. Why am I doing this, what do I even hope to accomplish?  If I can’t get my friends to read the things I write how can I expect that anyone else will? How can I expect to have any sort of success?  

Am I a bad writer, who is self-deluded into thinking I have talent and potential?  I wonder if I am suffering from some sort of narcissism to even for a moment believe that anyone anywhere would want to read what I write.  Is this true for everyone who tries to be successful at an artistic pursuit? How do you get past the idea that you are just a petulant child standing in the middle of the room screaming “pay attention to me!” ?  

I enjoy writing when I’m doing it for fun, but most of the time I don’t think I have anything worthwhile to say,  so why say anything? I have other fun hobbies that no one gives a shit about, why not focus my time on those?

Today’s assignment is to spend 30 minutes on my work in progress,  which is good because I’m going to do a Facebook post later with an excerpt from my WIP,  maybe in half an hour I’ll have something good to post.

 

Work Log

At 23 minutes I stopped working on the blog post and switched over to my WIP

At 1 hour 2 minutes, I stopped working on the short story

At 1 hour 7 minutes, I’m done editing this and ready to post, I don’t feel like adding pictures.  

I think I’ll try to write a little more before I post the WIP.

Writer’s Boot Camp day 7

Today’s theme was freestyle writing,  which I think should be writing whatever comes into your head, but there was a questionnaire to fill out.  I honestly didn’t understand having a structured free writing exercise. I did it, but it just annoyed me.   So I’ll just do my own as this blog post.star

I’ve written something every day for a week!  Yay! At first, I feel proud of that, then I feel silly for feeling proud.  I always feel silly when I have pride in my accomplishments.

I feel both happy that I have managed a week, but also annoyed and guilty that I haven’t done more,  I always feel like I should do more no matter how much I do in most areas of life. I constantly feel like I’m failing at everything.   Things that I see as optional, like writing, I normally choose not to do at all, because either way, I’ll feel like a lazy loser. It’s hard to not get down on myself when I have the honest yet unhelpful thoughts like

  1. You have spent hours this week writing,  editing and doing blog posts, but ultimately this time is wasted because it isn’t commodified.  You could have spent this time in a money making task.
  2. You spent hours writing and all you have to show for it are some blog posts that no one will read or comment on and a few pages of a short story that you don’t have plans to submit to anyplace
  3. You worked hard this week,  and if you kept it up you might accomplish something someday,  but you are almost 40 and you only have a few published short stories and one novella length piece that you refuse to edit,  if you had been more disciplined you could have been a writer, but now it is probably too late. Give up.
  4. You are not good enough, never good enough. Not a good enough writer,  not a good enough career person, not rich enough, not smart enough. This is why eventually everyone leaves if you were worth more people wouldn’t leave.

Today is very much a give up day.  I so badly don’t want to do this, it feels like a stupid, vain, pointless waste of time.  And I feel like a pointless waste of space.

20180508_143934I guess I should mention that today would have been my 8th wedding anniversary, to explain why abandonment is on my mind.   The one person who promised to love me forever stopped loving me. The person I respected and loved most in the world betrayed me.  The person I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, who promised to never leave me, left. It’s been over a year since he left me for another woman, who clearly has more worth than I do.  It has been a few months since we were officially divorced.20180508_144007_HDR

Yes, these pictures of from our wedding scrapbook.  Yes, I have kept it, and will continue to do so.  I put dozens of hours of work into the wedding and then into the scrapbook.  It is a fucking working of art that I’m proud of even if that marriage was a failure.

I want to be over this so badly,  and some days I am. And then other days I miss him so much I ache.  I want to send him cute pictures of my cats, that used to be his babies, that he loved so much until he didn’t.  I want to tell him about things I’m doing, places I’ve been going, my goals and plans. I want to ask him about his life and be a part of it.  However, every day the urge to reach out to him trends a little less, I now go weeks without communicating with him sometimes. But then he texts me about something,  or I end up sending him a cute cat picture and we start talking, and while we are chatting for a few moments I feel like I have my best friend back in my life. A few days ago we had a conversation about “Noir” by Chris Moore, one of our favorite authors,  we talked about the Avengers, he laughs at the funny things I say, and it feels good in the moment, and I know it shouldn’t. I want to text him now, but today of all days I will not.

I’m moving soon and once I do I guess that will change.  Once I leave this house, this part of town there will be nothing else connecting us. We have common acquaintances, but no common friends anymore. He doesn’t talk to my nieces or nephews anymore. There will be no logical reason to speak to him. Any chance of us repairing any part of our relationship will evaporate. This makes me sad, because after everything I still care for him, and still wish we could be friends.  But that isn’t a thing that can actually happen. He is someone I used to know, he is part of my past and has no place in my future, the present is brackish, because I’m still in between two states.

I should write a poem!!!!   I haven’t done that in a while, freestyle is the perfect time to for that.  

Brackish

Adrift, out to sea for ages,  hot sun beats down, skin burned, crystal crusted.

Thirsty

wanting is everything

Begging, prays unheard

Wish, need

floating in a sea of salt tears

Too dry to cry, nothing left

Thirsty

A swallow eases the pain, for a time.

A tiny taste, face upturned to fresh, fleeting rain

Moments of joy, relief

Sun beats down, skin burned and crystal crusted

Adrift

Thirsty

Begging

Praying

Lost at sea

Something in the distance, a mirage

it must be

Land a dream,  stability a fantasy

Wave tossed,  powerless to the currents

Belonging to the tides, forced to go with the flow

Solid mirage?

Is that land?

Dropping down flat to the boards

hands in stinging water

pushing against the waves

Clinging to you saved me, my only solid state

Holding me back now, too slow

Abandon ship

One last push towards survival

The water is changing, becoming less salty

Soothing burns, cool

Swimming upstream

If I don’t drown in brackish water than soon I’ll drink

As much as I want

Hands, no longer flat in prayer, empty, begging

But full, of infinite water.

For now, I swim against the current.  

 

 

Today’s work log

Timer was at 1 hour 42 minutes when I realized I was I’m super thirsty and needed a drink!  🙂 Paused for a few minute break.

Time at 2 hours and 3 minutes when I finished editing and adding pictures.

I worked on “Eat the Rich” my WIP fiction piece until the timer said 2 hours and 19 minutes.   Not bad!  I think this is the longest I’ve worked since I started “Writer’s Boot Camp”

 

 

Writer’s Boot Camp Day 6

Today is all about monitoring my progress and treating writing like a “punch in, punch out” job, with all the aspects of a job such as doing the daily grind work even when you are not feeling any passion for it, making small measurable goals and tracking what you did while working.

The author, Rachel Federman says “there’s a great little thing that happens when you start monitoring your time….Just simply the act of recording how much time you put in will increase the amount of time you have”  I think this is a pretty good theory and one that I already sort do. I turn on a timer for 30 minutes before I start writing and I work at least that long, almost always longer “off the clock” so one thing I’m changing today is instead of a timer that tells me when to stop I’m going to use a stopwatch and record the time I spend,  if I finish in less than 30 minutes I will work on another project for a little while.

I’ve been doing the slog work all this week, and I notice someday are certainly more inspired than others, you can go look at the length and quality of my blog posts and tell which days I was feeling it and which days I wasn’t.  Today I’m not really feeling it to be honest. I have a job interview in a few hours that I’m nervous about and I have other things I would much rather be doing with my time. My house is messy and it’s a beautiful day outside, sitting at my desk seems hard and not very productive.

Writing for 30 minutes a day and doing a blog post every day are small measurable goals,  but since writing the blog takes more than 30 minutes I’m actually putting very little work into my projects.  So, I guess I should add another timed goal, to make sure that I work on some actual fiction every day, even if only for a few minutes, 10 maybe?  At least for the duration of the boot camp. After I finish working on “Writer’s Boot Camp” I will have those 30 minutes most days just to work on fiction.

20180507_141337The other thing I need is a more detailed work log, including time spent on each project.  I already sometimes keep a worklog in my writing planner, but I often forget to put things in there and I never monitor times.   I’m going to update it with times every day, and for the rest of this challenge, I’ll post it here too.  The author also feels that by tracking your work you will feel more able to accept the reward of a break, I don’t really do official “breaks”  I just go from one task to another all day, sometimes fucking around with my phone on facebook or playing games, or watching a few minutes of T.V, but it’s procrastinating and I always feel guilty about it,  maybe with the time tracking I can start taking real breaks doing fun things and not feel like I’m stealing time away from myself and my important tasks.

Today my writing work was:

About 20 minutes working on a script for a youtube channel I want to start and making a list of possible future episodes.

Some amount of time reading “Writer’s Boot Camp” day 6

4.5 minutes updating the worklog in my writer’s journal

25 minutes writing this blog post

16 minutes on “Eat the Rich”

12 minutes editing, adding a picture and posting this blog entry