NaNO Arguing with Word Count Goals

I’ve read a bit about the use of “she said”s , both the pros and the cons, and while you really could come down on either side of the debate, I was two words away from today’s NaNo word count goal.

So you know what? She said.

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Self-Fulfilling NaNophesy

I met the word count goal 8 days in a row and told myself I’d catch up on Sunday when I fell behind.

It’s Sunday, I have a half-dozen metaphorical fires to put out, and my brain does not care half as much about writing this thing as it does making sure the rest of my life doesn’t burn down around me.

This is what I anticipated when I started NaNo this month. I was kinda just hoping that was the pessimism talking and that it’d all work out in the end.

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Similar Homecomings

For the record, I started writing The Homecoming Effect in the summer of 2013 at my shitty desk job for a company that was crapping out and yet somehow paying me to answer their mostly silent phones and collect their mail. Also, unbeknownst to them, to write a book. It took me 3 years off and on to finish it, edit it, and self-publish it on Amazon.

So… now that that’s established (and yes, I have proof), let’s talk about this:

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I haven’t seen this nor have I heard the podcast yet but… it has been suggested to me that this could be like, a prequel to my novel. Only, you know, better written and performed in two mediums with super famous people and resulting in money made for all of the people involved. Whereas, I sold a copy to my mom and a couple dozen strangers.

THUS it is yet again proven that there are no truly original ideas and if there are, I don’t got ’em.

But, you know, if you’re interested in a possible future scenario with a similar basic premise, you could be one of the dozens who’ve read my first novel.

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The Homecoming Effect by Eda J Vor available in ebook and paperback format on Amazon.

Not at all affiliated with or plagiarized (I have proof) from the Amazon Prime show starring Julia Roberts, The Homecoming Effect is a post-apocalyptic chick-lit novel about a found family struggling to survive in a new town after their old world is blown apart.

What starts as a meaningless fling between Bunny, an emotionally-conflicted older woman who just left her battle-scarred husband and Daniel, a hopelessly infatuated younger man recently graduated from college, is curtailed by a series of explosions that destroys schools and hospitals sending the couple 200 miles from home with three children in tow. When the found family seeks safety in a strict religious community, they are forced to concoct a web of lies to appear legitimate and avoid being exiled, or worse. Can they maintain their ruse to avoid suspicion and keep their family together or will the secrets they keep from each other drive them apart? And how much of the trauma they discovered her husband and his father shared upon returning from war was ultimately responsible for the tragic events that lead to their new lives?

Cheaper than Amazon Prime and featuring several sexy scenes, my book is not at all a reasonable substitute for anything involving Julia Roberts.

 

 

NaNoProblem

It’s only three days in so really, it’s too early to make any predictions but what I’ve got going for me so far:

  • I’ve met the word count goal every day so far
  • I’ve found a way to sneak like 15-20 minutes of writing into my regular routine with only minor changes that my son only sort of notices.
  • My husband is on board so far with helping me find more time by taking the kids on a nap ride in the afternoon without me. This won’t work every day but it’s working so far
  • I’ve chosen a story that I’m interested in finding out more about in a location I’ve been curious about for a while with a main character who reflects some of my current attitudes about interacting with other humans (bad) so it’s been easy to write so far
  • I’m so used to surviving on precious little sleep at this point. Like, why not stay up writing a few extra half-hours?

What I’ve got going against me is:

  • Having two children now, neither or whom will nap without a ride in the car or go to bed at night without a whole lot of love and attention.
  • Two imploding job situations where I’m dealing with two separate sets of problems alongside two teams of people who can’t always handle their shiz
  • Honestly, like three or four non-consecutive hours of sleep at night. I’m on the brink of sleep-deprived madness, for REAL. Maybe it’s fueling my creativity? Or maybe it’s making my husband and children WANT to escape from me for a few hours every afternoon. Hard to say.

Anyway, I’m at 5100 words and the fam’s not back from their nap ride yet so I’m going to forge ahead and make tomorrow easier.

Or I could take a break and watch another episode of A Million Little Things. Can you believe the baby’s father is the other guy? No, because you don’t care? Well, I kinda do… for the 54 minutes I’m watching, anyway.

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Nothing Good Happens in the Extremes

For any endeavor to be successful, you have to have a overarching goal, right? You have to have a way of knowing if you’re getting what you want out of your effort or if you need to make an adjustment because you’re just not where you thought you’d be when you started.

When I started writing with intention, I also started setting goals. I want to write a whole complete novel. I want to self-publish. I want to connect with other writers.

Within that goal, there are smaller goals or mile-markers or strategies or whatever, whatever but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a very general WHY AM I DOING THIS?

Today I was thinking about what the overarching goal of parenting is and my answer ended up being a spectrum of Raising a Successful Adult where the median outcome is “child grows up and is able to care for oneself without my help so I can die in peace or, like, fulfill my youthful ambitions and then die in peace.”

But that’s just where I’m at.

Because where I got stuck in my thinking was at the two extremes of that spectrum where JUST BE NORMAL seems to be staring down BE THE MOST SPECIAL. I started lumping the terrible parents I’ve known onto one of those ends.

On the JUST BE NORMAL side is where you find your “disowned my kid for being gay” parents along with your “my kid doesn’t have autism, he’s just shy” parents and the “what you do with your big emotions is, you just shove ’em way down deep and don’t acknowledge them” parents.

On the BE THE MOST SPECIAL end, you’ve got your Beverly Goldbergs, your “you must be teaching it wrong because my daughter is brilliant” parents, those “go easy on him because he went to bed late and maybe don’t point out any of his mistakes because it’ll hurt his feelings” parents, and your, “you’ll never amount to anything as long as you only take seven out of the eight offered AP classes this term” parents.

Those parents never do notice the irony of their techniques backfiring, do they?

This is all just to remind myself that my kids are who they are and it’s my job to help them figure out who that is in a loving, encouraging, respectful environment with just the right amount of boundary-setting, rule-enforcing, and push toward self-discipline.

I mean, I don’t always succeed and my son is already king of arguing a loophole until I have to give in out of respect for his moxie but, you know, I try.

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My Two New Shows

A Million Little Things stars Nick from Grimm and I’ve missed that show so much that I had to check out his new show. And HEY! the funny guy from Psych and the funny guy from The Forty Year Old Virgin are in it along with that guy from Office Space who’s also in like, all sorts of things. This’ll be a GREAT show, I think, watching the teaser to the pilot on a Tuesday afternoon while my kids play quietly on the floor.

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I loved… this show. 

And then what’s his name, who didn’t finish the TPS reports, jumps off a balcony and kills himself and my son decides THAT VERY MOMENT to pay attention. “Mommy, what happened to that guy?” he asks all sad-faced and too smart for his three and some odd years of life.

What happened is I turned that show off, turned Sesame Street on, and now I watch A Million Little Things alone when the kids are out of the house and cry to myself because life is a bitch, ain’t it? This show is my This Is Us, I’ve decided, which I cannot watch because I passionately dislike Mandy Moore. Also I think a baby died at some point. I don’t watch dead baby shows. “No, thank you,” as my son politely says to my husband whenever he tries to sing.

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I could not stand… this child.

And on the opposite end of the emotion-o-meter, I’ve been watching God Friended Me starring that woman I saw somewhere before plus the guy who was The Mayor? and the dude who plays his dad was the bossman in Speed and the adopted Blues Brother. I was pretty pissed that Kevin Probably Saves the World was cancelled since it was my weekly reminder that everything doesn’t suck all the time so this show has to MEASURE UP. And it kinda does! Plus gay characters and racially diverse cast and a Star Wars reference to sum up the main character’s relationship with his dad! I love a feel-good show.

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Convenient! Kevin and Miles actors promoting their former shows.

What I like about religiesque shows is all the happy fun miracles and positive life-affirmingness without any of the Seventh Heaven preachiness. I don’t need TV shows to tell me how to live MY life. I need them to play out my more extreme emotions so my daily life can remain drama-free. I will go to fake condensed for TV church/temple/service just like I adore a sports plays chosen for maximum dramatic impact sport-type movies. Get to the point, relate to the subject matter, and end in 30-60 minutes and I’m all on board.

Meanwhile, shows I hated within minutes of viewing the first episode:

The Neighborhood

I Feel Bad

Happy Together

Couldn’t do it. Too sitcommy. Too reliant on boring tropes and stereotypes. The only good sitcom anymore is The Good Place.

 

Don’t Mind Me, I Just Created That Life

What do you do… when you tell someone how many you kids you have and they look at your husband, wink, nudge, and exclaim, “Hey, you’ve been busy, eh?!”

Because, FIRST OF ALL, *I* been busy. ME. I have been gestating and birthing babies, ok? I have done that work. And “scoring” with your wife isn’t that big of an accomplishment.

Secondly, what kind of manly man patriarchal bullshit says it’s appropriate to congratulate a man for having sex with a woman who then bore a child IN FRONT OF THAT WOMAN?!

Now, I am a firm believer in choosing your battles and pissing off this man has some pretty significantly negative consequences so no, I did not tell him what I thought of him. But neither did I blush and look away because “tee hee, I’m an innocent in all of this. Where do babies even come from?!” No, I flushed–as one does when angry–and took a deep calming breath, reminding myself that old white men only change when they feel like it and this one, he ain’t changin’.

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To his credit, my husband did not accept the compliment. He actually got really flustered and changed the subject then apologized to me later.

And for future reference, you congratulate people on having children, not for having sex. That’s weird and intrusive.

Seriously, what’s wrong with people?

 

By the Seat of My Pany-pan Pants

This is the blog post where I try to decide what to do for NaNoWrimo. Write something new or finish something I’ve started?

No matter what I write in this post, I will end up doing whatever the hell I feel like doing coming November 1. And there’s a good chance I will change my mind and start over again on November 2.

So this blog post is pointless. Trying to plan ahead is pointless. My writer self does whatever the hell she wants whenever she feels like doing it.

Incorrigible. Inveterate. Resolute.

Pantser for life, ya’ll.

 

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Bewareness of Apathy

I am in awe of people who can stand up and do the right thing when they’re well aware of how many monsters are waiting to tear them down. It’s a kind of bravery I cannot conceive of in my own life and why I concentrate on finding small acts of kindness and courage instead.

But for every selfless act that pins a hero down to be scrutinized and repudiated, there’s a couple hundred selfish acts of hubris that’re all spectacle and no soup and THAT is why I can’t find good parking today at work.

The hospital I work near is having its annual Walk-a-Thon to fill the coffers of their Walk-a-Thon fund while claiming to Fight For a Cure! From what I hear, very little of that money goes to research, researchers, equipment, lab space rental, clinics, clinicians, or clinical trials. I suspect that the bulk of that cash flowing from the feet currently pounding the pavement goes into the department that advertises and runs This. Very. Event. Some money is given to research but I have a feeling they spend more on the giant fake check they take pictures of themselves handing over to someone in a white lab coat than on any of the actual work.

Can we just stop? Can we stop with the awareness raising and start with the ACTUAL WORK of making things better? I don’t want to go to a Cancer Walk. I want the government to supply the NIH with enough revenue to give grants to promising research. I don’t want any more college students marching around campus to Take Back the Night. I want it to be pretty freaking obvious that someone who has MULTIPLE accusations of sexual misconduct doesn’t unquestionably deserve a new job with bigger responsibilities.

I am plenty aware of cancer and sexual assault, but thanks for the colorful ribbon.

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I don’t disagree that education is important but the people walking by my window right now aren’t learning about cancer. They’re part of the spectacle, not part of the cure.