Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giving Thanks

OK, so... um.... yeeeeeaaaaaahhhh.... about last week.....

So, I allow myself to go ahead and be all emo and vent-y in this blog for three reasons. First, because my mood does greatly effect my writing, and as a writing blog I feel it is only fair to explain this issue to my readers. Second is because I feel it's important for me to see the times that I was down, and remember that I bounced back. To see that with each passing year my "Why am I bothering" posts get less and less. Perhaps one year I'll actually make it through all twelve months without feeling lost; at least, in regards to writing. Finally, I write those posts on the off chance that someone else feeling just as low and worthless stumbles upon my blog. Upon reading my rock-bottom moments, maybe they will feel like they're not alone anymore. Someone else has been in the same place they are. They aren't a freak. Others go through the same thing. And each following week I usually feel better. So, maybe said hypothetical reader will see it as hope.

Thus I keep in emo posts that apparently freak people out, and then I subsequently get about four different IMs from people asking me if I'm OK.

Um.... whoops.....

I appreciate the love, though.

So, that, plus the fact that American Thanksgiving is this Thursday, leads me to start this post with some positive vibes: 30 things I'm grateful for; Writing Edition.

  1. I've discovered that writing is my passion, and I did so early in life.
  2. As much as I whine about not being good compared to others, if I were to look fairly objectively at my work, my first drafts are actually really good compared to most. I just need to do a few structural edits, tighten things up a scooch, and/or fix a handful of grammatical/typo errors; for the most part.
  3. Everyone I know gets that I'm a writer and cheers me on. I even have my co-workers thumbing over at me and stating "she's the writer..." People understand and accept that I'm as much a writer as I am a female, Caucasian, or 5'3". It just IS. I don't have a single nay-sayer surrounding me, and the only one I've ever really come across my whole life was my college creative writing professor. Apparently I'm beyond lucky with this lot; most of the people I talk to have friends, family, spouses, kids, and/or co-workers who don't understand the calling that is being a writer.
  4. Along those lines, my blog has increased to close to 50 reads every week, and 11 followers. I know this is pathetically small in the grand scheme of things, but considering I only had about 11 hits each week when I first started, it's an awesome improvement. Especially since this is a glorified diary, and not an informative blog like most are this day and age.
  5. The passion my mother has for my writing, even if I don't ever seem to write in the genres she enjoys to read; it's more stuff my dad would have loved. She's my biggest cheerleader - sorry, ChibiSunnie, but you can't surpass a mother's support! Even in weeks, such as this past one, where I feel like writing is a waste of time, she has relentless faith that my calling to write will get me somewhere. She is willing to do whatever it takes to push me there.
    As a side note, writing a list of things we're thankful for in November is her idea that she instilled in us since my sister and I were super little, so you can also thank her for this list!
  6. Proof of my mother doing whatever she can to help me succeed: her buying me MasterClass lessons. They are inspirational and informative. I still find myself referencing back to the James Patterson lessons. In fact, those lessons were the main reason why I'm a NaNo "Plantser" this year - "[finding] the sweet spot between plotting every detail and jumping in blind." I like to think I am so successful with NaNo this year because of that, and I wouldn't have thought to do so to the extent I have if it weren't for my mother getting me into that MasterClass. At least, I wouldn't figure it out on my own so quickly.
  7. I have an awesome writing group that I can go to every other Tuesday; and today is one of those Tuesdays! Everyone is super supportive, and I've made some friends there that I enjoy seeing every meeting; as well as chatting with via Facebook the rest of the time.
  8. She may still think that it's needless elevation of her, but I still consider Ali Luke a writing mentor of mine, and it's great that we're such good friends. I appreciate being able to connect with her, and having her cheer me on.
  9. While we've been slacking with the back and forth, Ali set me up with a really awesome writing pen-pal. We really do click, and we're supportive of each other. It's nice to have such a large supportive net surrounding me.
  10. While most of my Facebook posts and statuses seem to go unnoticed - simply due to the lack of reactions/comments I ever get - every single post I've made this month in regards to my NaNo progress has had "likes" and "loves" as well as words of encouragement. And not just from my mom, either.
  11. Even when I'm exhausted, I can manage to crank out at least a few-hundred words towards NaNo. It helps keep me from feeling like a slacker.
  12. I gave myself permission to miss up to two days each week by going with the "write only on weekdays" word count. Granted, I'm still behind by a little over 1200 words, but that's a heck of a lot better than I've done in the past.
  13. In past NaNo's I usually have already given up by this point in the month. I'm basically insanely behind in word count, or I lost track of my story, or life just got in the way and I couldn't find any writing time; it was depressing. Which is why I didn't bother with it last year. But this year has been going amazingly, even if I am behind. I can still smile at the progress I've made, be proud, and press on knowing that if I get just ONE good day in, I can easily make up the words I'm behind.
  14. I have almost viciously loyal fans. Granted, they are only about five in number, but how many aspiring writers can say they even have one? If you are one of those fans, know that I love you and I'm beyond humbled by your undying love for my craft!
    Hacker Girl
    Facebook Sticker
    by Birdman Inc
  15. Ever since I started working at my new job in April, I've had tons of time to write and craft. It's fantastic to have a job that allows me the downtime to be creative so I am less stressed about having to fit it into my limited "outside of work" hours. It gives me the evenings to clean, snuggle with Hubby, and/or socialize. It really relieves the pressure of trying to shoehorn writing into my life; keeping it from feeling like a "chore."
  16. Even if Hubby and I haven't had much time together, if I tell him "OK, I didn't find time to write today, I have to hide away for an hour or two" he gives me a kiss, locks me away in the bedroom, and wishes me luck in finding inspiration. I know our alone time is precious, especially since it will nearly disappear once we start having kids, so it means a lot to me that he understands how important writing is to me, and is willing to sacrifice some of his time with me so I can do what I need to.
  17. Silly thing to be thankful for, especially since one could argue that it's made me lazy in my learning, but God bless whomever thought of the concept of a spellchecker, and added kudos to whomever thought to include it automatically online. I've always been an atrocious speller, and spell check has kept me from looking like an unintelligible idiot for years. A+, Spell Check.
  18. Aside from two slip ups this year - I believe it's only two, and fairly recently - I've been able to consistently write for this blog each week. It kept years, but I think I finally found a good rhythm and schedule. Now to figure out when the heck I'll actually be home on Tuesdays in order to coordinate my promoting of the blog at the same time it goes live.
  19. I've seen a lot of my friends hit hardships with their writing and more-or-less give up, even though you can tell that it pains them to do so. If this wasn't a passion for them they'd just be like, "yeah, I wasn't that good. It sucks, but I'll figure something else to do." However, you can hear the frustration in their voice that they just can't get the words and the story they're trying to tell out of their head. To these friends, I wish you the ability to figure it out, and a reminder that I'm around to talk to if it would help. However, they are also reminders to me of what could happen if I stayed in the mindset I had last week.
    So, this bit of thankfulness is dedicated to the fact that I can bounce back, and - aside from a near six-year hiatus after the discouragement from my aforementioned professor - I haven't given up writing for more than a few weeks.
  20. The shear fact that my friends have come to me with their writing concerns is also a big thing for me. In times that I feel useless and bottom of the barrel in regards to writing, it's nice to have others come to ME. They find me comforting and supportive enough to want to bring their problems to me, and occasionally they do so because they hope I can give them advice. It's nice to get these reminders that I can "pass it forward", in regards to mentoring and supporting other writers. It shows me that I have something that I can give back to the writing community; that I'm not just taking all the time. I have something of value that others wish to tap into. 
  21. Many blessings to YouTube, MP3 players, CDs, and music in general. If I'm not in the right "mindset" for a scene I need to write, I can just bring up a playlist I put together as a sort of "soundtrack" for the scene - or the character as a whole - and it brings me exactly to where I need to be in a song or two. Also, music keeps me productive. As I'm writing this post I have a whole playlist of 90s songs going in the background.
  22. While I may be running out of steam throughout the story - some parts awesome, some parts complete trash - I'm still so grateful that I am inspired enough by Jolene to be able to get the nearly 33,000 words that I already have. I'm not even half-way through her backstory yet! Talk about character epics!
  23. Along those lines, I am grateful that editing is a thing. I'm going to need to hit this story pretty hard-core come January; after a month of taking a writing breather and setting the story aside so I can come at it with fresh eyes.
  24. Even when I feel clueless on how to start a chapter, a scene, or this blog, I can generally just place my hands on the keyboard and work my way through. When I feel I have nothing to say, I can still fall into a groove, and end up with a great deal to tell. May I never take this ability for granted.
  25. The amazingness of my Wonder Twin, Ronoxym, and the fact that we've been chatting a heck of a lot more the past month or so. Apparently, my writing inspires him, and anyone who has read this blog long enough would know how much he inspires me. In most cases, we are on such the same wavelength that I can always go to him if I'm stuck with something. It's also so much fun to see what new Plot Bunny is hopping around in his head. Now, to try to get him to actually MATURE one of those suckers!
  26. I have to give a special shout-out to Shadow. He's been in love with Jolene pretty much as soon as she was introduced in-game. His passion for her, and his need to know her story, is what really helps drive me to keep going. Plus, his determination to not read my story - even though I shared it with him - until I tell him it is complete and edited, is really going to push me to not just toss this to the side once November is over. On top of all that, he digitally pokes me nearly daily to make sure I'm writing instead of wasting time on Facebook.
  27. I'm thankful for my new laptop. Yes, it still annoys me nearly daily, but I think that's because all computing devices got together one day and made a pact to never work properly for me. Still, about 95% of the time it works beautifully, and it's amazing how motivating it can be to have functioning equipment when trying to do something.... such as writing.
  28. I've been able to not just get reading in this year, but a LOT of reading in; at least, compared to past years. It's a part of writing that I've neglected under the assumption that "I should be writing my own story instead of wasting time reading stories others have written." So, I'm glad that I can get past that mental block and again enjoy good stories, while also mentally noting what I should do to improve my own.
  29. Fanfiction being a thing is amazing to me. The fact that people accept that others want to continue an already established story just might be my bread and butter someday. I may use it as a crutch to avoid doing the work of creating an original world - or original characters in some cases - but it keeps me writing. Those times I try to be original and it results in me pulling out my hair, I can fall back on fanfiction writing to keep me from hiding in my emo corner. I can use my imagination to try to think of new situations or scenes not explicitly seen, and go to town. Keep my skills sharp. Keep me from getting too down on myself. Keep me writing even when I think I can't do this properly. Keep me posting things for others to read, and then, presumably encourage me to keep going. Fanfiction keeps me positive, active, and pressing forward. Three cheers for this genre!
  30. You guys! My readers! I will always write because it is who I am, but the validation I get by having people read my work is unquantifiable. Seeing people respond to my writing, seeing my blog hit-counter go up, seeing my followers expand, it all energizes me and encourages me. It holds me accountable. If I was just writing for me, who knows if I'd post here every week? Who knows if I'd try so hard to get stories written and completed? Who knows if I'd bother to attempt writing challenges? Who knows if I'd try to expand and improve? All of this. All this growth. All this determination. All this dedication and discipline. All of this is because of you, dear readers, so super THANK YOU to each and every one of you!
    Facebook Sticker
    by PRANEAT
Whoo! That was an exercise! Now, to try to remember all of those points in the future so I don't get as bummed out anymore.

As for my NaNo progress, well, I am 1200 words behind where I SHOULD be, as I mentioned above. However, that still has me at nearly 33,000 words, which is more than I've ever written for NaNo before. Most I've ever written in one month. All of my stories with more than 30,000 words have been written over the course of months; even years.

The best part is that while there are definitely parts of this story that I want to skip over because they just aren't entertaining for me - so I can only imagine how boring they can be for the reader - I'm not burnt out. Not like I thought I would be.

Writing has become a daily routine; as it should have been ages ago. Even if I write 500-words; that is still SOMETHING to bring me forward. It's still 500 more words than I would have had if I just went "meh; don't feel like it today." I'm FINALLY making writing an equal priority. Plus, hiding away for about an hour isn't that bad right now, while I have limited other responsibilities.

Will I be writing 1600 words every day once NaNo is over? Probably not, but I do think I'll be in enough of a habit to keep pushing forward with daily.... SOMETHING writing related. Which is the main point of NaNo: get yourself into a writing habit. "Winning" NaNo with a 50,000-word novel once the month is done is just frosting.

Also, the more I work on Jolene's story, and the more the D&D sessions take Jolene and Rensin in the opposite direction I thought they'd go in, the more I want to work on Gyateara, and working on Amara's story finally. I have to admit that the similarities between Amara and Corlmitz has helped bring the poor girl back to the forefront, after being hidden in the corner by my X-Future girls.

I have so many stories that I want to tell, and I want to complete. I have this drive now that I haven't really felt before. I have this determination. It is invigorating!

The rest of 2016 may have been a disaster-and-a-half, but for writing - and my ability to get out of working in the local grocery store - this year has actually been quite awesome!

Here's to pushing forward, keeping this passion and discipline, avoiding the "woe is me" pit-traps, and having an even better 2017!

For my fellow Americans, happy Thanksgiving. And for everyone, I'll catch ya next week with my last drive to hit 50,000 words before the close of the month.

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