Simpler Times for Scumbags

Well, I certainly did try to edit my NaNo project into something cohesive and I’m not saying I’m ready to give up on it. But I do believe it needs some space to breath.

This is true for most of the things I write, that I need some space between the writing and the editing, but especially so for a mostly true story about a totally shit time in my life.

So I’ve started something new! Something fun! Something that started out as a merry jaunt through time and space, an attempt to recreate a nostalgic event in the lives of the main character’s parents… but then… my mind went to the dark place and so did the story. Now the main character will share her story with her mom who’s been reading a lot about the #TimesUp movement and following coverage of a fictionalized version of that scumbag gymnastics doctor’s trial and reexamining some of those nostalgic events through the lens of a more cynical and much more informed adult eye.

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Also… woo! Road trip!

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Oprah’s Big Ole Heart

There are few things more enjoyable on a cold morning than a warm beverage in a quiet place with a nice view. That place for me is work on a Sunday when less than an eighth of the people who usually work on my floor are here and most of them are just trying to get their stuff done so they can leave. Meanwhile, I’m here for the duration so I’m taking my coffee break in the lobby by the big windows, enjoying the sunshine and silence.

There is so little silence in my life anymore.

Friends, blog readers, countrypeople… I have reason to believe that I have recovered from my “baby blues” and have rejoined the world as a normal person who already had issues with mild depression and occasional existential dread. And it feels wonderful!

It feels like time to start the editing process of my NaNo project, which was written at the height of my baby crazies and is therefore probably a giant pile of poo. I’m sure it has all the narrative flow of my wildly unpredictable mood swings and stays on topic like a dog at the window on a windy day.

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And all those concerns that no one would be interested in reading it? Pashaw! Mental illness is all the rage these days! Oprah will be singing my praises for being so “raw” and “honest”. Especially with such emotional tenderness as this:

“See…” I’m clenching my fists now. Emphatic gestures to follow. “That’s not a normal thing to say! ‘She’s not as mean now,’ is not a reasonable justification for continuing to take our child to a terrible doctor. ‘Not as mean now’ isn’t a glowing review on Yelp. It’s not a person you would willingly chose to take care of your sick child!”

“I just don’t want to change doctors now. I don’t like it.”

“What YOU like has nothing to do with the quality of medical care our son gets! How is this about you at all? Because she’s your doctor too? I’ve got news for you, cupcake, she’s not very nice to you either.”

“It doesn’t bother me is all.”

“Then keep going to her. But let’s switch to the other pediatrician.”

“I just don’t… think it’s… good.”

“I just don’t think YOU are good, you selfish prick!”

“Hey!” he says, pointing to the boy.

Because that’s exactly what we need now, I think, to have our kid calling people pricks. The mea culpa stops my tirade for the moment, but I’m not done. I’m starting to think about all the times I thought I was doing the right thing only to question myself after one of her shitty comments. I’m thinking about those first few weeks with my son when I was still suffering silently with the trauma of his birth, the pain of breastfeeding, the discomfort of my changing body, and the overwhelming emotions of it all and instead of having a doctor I could trust and speak to candidly, I had this bitch making me feel worse.

In comparison, my daughter’s doctor asked me how I was doing. He made me feel normal. He listened. He asked questions and he answered mine. And then, when I admitted I wasn’t so great, he offered me resources. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

“The deal was that we’d check out the new place and see if we liked it. We did, we do, I don’t see why we can’t switch,” I say with less bite. Instead, I feel the tears welling up, the warmth in my throat that tells me a mini-breakdown is on its way. “I just want someone I can talk to, like actually talk to and be honest with instead of always pretending everything’s ok just so I won’t be judged.”

“OK,” he says but it’s distracted and dismissive and he’s looking at his phone again.

“Can you just… with the phone? Can you listen?”

“I’m listening,” he says but he’s not. Even when he is, he’s not comprehending, so what’s the point?

“You know–” I start and the anger is rising again. Peaks and valleys, dips and swerves, my emotions are a five star coaster in a two-bit park and it’s about to break down.

But my son can’t find his red transformer and he’s starting to panic. Normally, my husband wouldn’t even notice, wouldn’t hear the repeated phrase, “My red transformer, my red transformer, my red transformer.” Normally, he would ignore even direct requests for help if it interrupted whatever nonsense he was partaking in but right now, of course, when there is something more important happening on the couch, his focus is on the floor.

He gets down on his elbows and knees to search under the bookshelf and I’m left looking at his ass and wondering what to do with all this righteous indignation. The conversation is far from over but I don’t want to interrupt him playing with his son. Instead, I swallow my bitterness, chase it with a handful of my son’s cheese crackers, and check Facebook for the third time in half an hour.

Oprah’s crying right now as she reads this. I’ve obviously touched her heart.

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Against All Two Little Adorable Odds

Happy last day of NaNoWriMo 2017! If you haven’t finished, may all the words unburden themselves from your finger tips and your editing brain take a little break until you’re done.

I’m proud to announce that despite a buttload of obstacles (and by buttload, I mean the actual unit of measure equaling a barrel of wine which I cannot drink because I am nursing) I got my 50,000+ words thereby making me a…

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I mean, I’m a winner no matter what because I look my mirror reflection in the eye every morning and tell her so, but it is gratifying to accomplish a goal and get a t-shirt so I can brag about it.

What I cannot brag about, however, is having a finished manuscript. Far from it. I can imagine the chapter I’m currently writing as being the last one but I have the kind of ending that’s like… “the only change was in my mind and I still haven’t decided what to do about it. The End”

True to life, man. Because I think I’ve finally emerged from the dark cave of baby blues–or at least found the exit, if I haven’t quite made it through the gift shop yet–and I don’t know what the hell to do with myself now. This WIP, this challenge was the thing that was keeping me going. After today, I don’t know. I’ll just have to use “getting through the holidays” as my motivation to keep moving forward until I find something else to cling to.

Maybe I’ll put an effort into finishing my NaNo project. Maybe I’ll start something new. Either way, I’ll definitely be doing it from a better mental state than I started this month.

The Book No One Will Read

I’m about a day and a half behind schedule and that ain’t bad for starting over on the second day.

I feel like the words will come easier for this WIP since it’s based on real life but I also think maybe the story will be lacking in commercial appeal. It’s a labor of love, challenge, and self-reflection that won’t sell for shit unless I find the magic editing potion that makes it more interesting.

But that’s next month. Right now it’s just getting the story out in as many words as I can think to use*.

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*I don’t consider it cheating to refrain from any kind of editing that takes away words until after the 50,000 are reached. It’s efficiency, if anything. Right?

I Like to Tell Stories

One of my toddler’s frequent declarations lately is, “So much fun take tings apart an put them togethah.”

“I’m glad you like your toys, bud,” I say as he yanks all the face parts off a potato head for the 15th time in a row.

But he’s got a point. When you find something you love to do, something that makes sense to you and provides you with a certain amount of satisfaction even in repetition, it is so! much! fun!

Mommy says, “So much fun, writing stories, ripping them apart, and then putting them back together.” Even when I complain about editing, it’s still part of an overall process I really enjoy.

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Although… I can say that now because I’m pretty much done.

Details to follow! A new book! About ghosts and self-care and workplace issues and feminism! Oooooohhhhh!

Camp’s Closed for the Season

Camp doesn’t work for me when I’m not writing. I deleted my July Camp project today because actually, it’s just about done. And trying to find a way to record the progress I’ve made in their tracker wasn’t working. Being, as I am, a firm believer in throwing out that which doesn’t work in favor of that which does, I’m going to stick with my To Do list, finish that bad boy up, and move on with life.

Sorry, Camp, but I’m an indoor kitty.

Gone Camping

It’s the graphs, you know it is. The question: why am I participating in Camp NaNoWriMo again if I’m editing and have trouble setting “goals” for non-writing activities.

GRAPHS.

I set my goal this July for one hundred and whatever pages, which is what my WIP comes out to be in non-formatted Google Doc text. But that would be just the one pass through and I’m not going to do just ONE pass at it! No sir. I already did one: the read-through to see if it makes any kind of sense. Next up: spelling and grammar check. Next after that: mapping the story to make DAMN SURE it makes sense (pass one was just a preliminary sense-making screening) and maybe during or maybe after, I also want to map the character arcs to see if they are good and satisfying.

That’s like, 2 1/2 more passes. So how do I mark that “goal” in Camp terms? Double the page count? Or double and a half? Or do I leave the goal as is and record only half the page numbers I’ve read through?

Oh, if it wasn’t for my love of graphs…

I’ll figure it out, I’m sure, but for now I’ve got an open document full of grammar errors and no more than 2 hours to see how much of it I can get through.

So far, I’m crap at Camping.

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I Cheat to Win

No, I cheat to finish this freaking book. I know that Camp Nano is only a few days away but listen: if I have time to edit, I’m going to edit. Graphs be damned.

Wait, no, I didn’t mean it. Graphs, I love you. But my free time is fleeting and I can’t wait for the lure of a good progress graph to get things going. I edited 17 pages of my WIP on Friday and I intend to do more today. If that means I have to change my Camp goal again, BY GOD, I WILL.

Because “winning” is finishing this piece in general. Winning first place is finishing it before new baby is born and both my free time and my sanity go on an extended vacation.

Writer friends, are there non-Nano, non-contest, any-time-of-the-year stat counters I can use to motivate myself with graphs? I am not looking to reinvent the wheel or DIY here and I sure as sugar ain’t payin’ a third party just so I can watch a bar graph go up. But if there’s some free online motivation tool (with pretty pretty graphs) already available, please point me in that direction?

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My heart says yes but my brain says, “Buzzfeed?!”

Writing is hard sometimes.

Editing is like… all… ugh, really? No. Ok, yes, let’s do this. No, let’s put it off. Yes, let’s finish it! But like, tomorrow.

I am repeating to myself, “The only one stopping me is me.”

I am reading one chapter at a time.

I am coming across sentences that sound SO SO STUPID and rewriting them to suck less.

I’m asking myself, “Is this what the character would do or was I distracted the day I wrote that and looking for an easy way out?”

I am seriously considering making a graph of what I have accomplished so far so I can feel better about my efforts.

I’m back on Buzzfeed again but good news! The Pretty Little Liar I’m most like according to my PINK preferences is Aria and I just won an Oscar in a parallel universe! And if you’re wondering if I can Buy An Outfit From Lululemon for under $350, the answer is no*.

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I suspect the real answer is “What the hell is a lulu lemon?”

Hobbies are Self-Care Too

I was doing some light reading yesterday in the doctor’s office because my appointment never starts more than 40 minutes late and I only have so much battery power on crappy hospital Wifi when I came across a chapter dedicated 100% to my procrastination. It said*, “Eda, the only thing stopping you from editing your WIP is you.”

*I could be paraphrasing. Maybe.

And while that isn’t all the way true, because I also have things like household chores, chasing a toddler, being pregnant, and working two jobs to contend with, I feel like maybe some of those times when I’m scrolling through Facebook searching for articles that confirm the downfall of the Empire or taking my third “Which pizza topping defines your archetype” quiz on Buzzfeed, I maybe could be editing instead.

I’m not even at the boring part of editing. I’m reading through to make sure it makes sense. I’m reading “for enjoyment” (and continuity). I’m not even proofreading, man. You’d think I could get through it quicker.

It’s a little bit procrastination, a lot of distraction, and a fair amount of guilt holding me back. There ARE, in fact, other things I should be doing. But if I care about this project, I need to make time for it. Writing and self-publishing is a hobby and I’m content with it remaining so but it’s one that keeps me sane so yeah, I need to make time for it too.

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