I Keep Not Doing Stuff

Hello, readers. Are you still out there?

It’s the middle of December, and I haven’t written here in a long, long while. I was busy during November, as you may recall, attempting NaNoWriMo, trying to write as many words as I could on one story in 30 days. I succeeded, in a way, and then stopped writing. Maybe I tired myself out?

And now I’m back. Today is the first day of the rest of my blogging. Who knows what tomorrow will bring? Today, though, today I’m writing whatever comes to mind. I can do this.

It’s Sunday night, and I’m anxious about work tomorrow. I have a lot of stuff I need to get done before the end of the year, and the time crunch is primarily my fault, so I’m mentally beating myself up about it. One piece of me wants just to run away, and another, more serious piece, feels a sense of responsibility to at least show up and try to get it done, and the battle rages in my head.

And while the battle continues, my body sits here in front of the computer or wandering from room to room, with the pressure to do something, anything, warring with the pressure to run and hide, and as a result, I do nothing but feel guilty not doing it.

I guess this is what anxiety feels like? I don’t like it, no, I do not.

I just keep… not doing stuff.

I have done things this weekend. I finally topped up the automatic transmission fluid in my car, for example. My gas mileage has been getting worse, and when I’m driving uphill, the transmission does not shift until very very late, and when that’s happened before it was because my transmission fluid was low. I had bought a quart of it a week ago, but I just never got around to checking and topping it up until Saturday. Saturday, I checked—the dipstick was bone dry, bad bad bad—so I dumped the whole bottle in there, and the rest of the weekend it’s been shifting as it should.

I had bought a shirt from Target back when I was trying to piece together an Old Luke Skywalker costume, but then I bought a full costume, and it arrived and was great, so instead of just eating the cost of that Target shirt I took it back to Target last night.

I’m in a Secret Santa gift exchange with an online group I’m part of, and I had most of the gift purchased, but I wanted to add something local (my giftee is on the East Coast.) Today, in the spirit of getting things done, I went to a little shop in Sellwood and bought a cool artists’ rendition of my favorite street in Sellwood and a book about Portland to include in the gift. Now I have to package it up and mail it out.

And, as you can see, I visited the glorious Bins (a.k.a. The Goodwill Outlet in Sellwood) and, while looking for cheap boots I could wear as part of my Old Luke costume, found the perfect toy lightsaber! Such a serendipitous find. I can’t believe it.

…that’s it, that’s all I can think of for Getting Things Done this weekend. There’s paperwork I could do, and of course packaging up that gift for shipping, and laundry, and probably lots of other things. I can feel the anxiety returning to my brain.

Wait, I can add one other thing: I just wrote a 500+ word post for my blog, something I haven’t done in weeks. Whoo-hoo! That also counts. Hello, readers, I have missed talking to you. Thank you for sticking around!

NaNoWriMo 2019 Wrap-Up

Did I win this year? No… but yes.

My total official wordcount for NaNoWriMo 2019 is 35,735.

Officially and technically, I did not win. I did not reach 50,000 words between 1 November and 30 November. This is the 8th year I’ve attempted it, and the 8th year in which I did not reach the goal.

Why didn’t I finish? Why did I hit a wall about the 20th day in, and grind to a halt? I began to have doubts about the story. I started to overthink the plot I had discovered and started to pick apart the scenes I had already written and how they fit in. I also felt my old friend, my Inner Negative Voice, start to tell me that the story was dumb, it wasn’t worth telling, and it was not interesting to anyone else. I had that old anxiety. Once that fear crept it, it became more and more difficult to continue writing.

However, as many participants have pointed out, every word I wrote was a word I’ve never written before. I wrote 35K words that no one has ever written before, and just by attempting it I’ve done something no one else has ever done: tried to tell my own story, and challenged myself to write something every day. I made it to the 24th day, writing something, even if it wasn’t the goal average of 1,667 per day.

I wrote daily for the first 24 days, then hit a wall. But it’s still better than I’ve ever done before.

This year is the best, the most, I’ve ever done in all the times I’ve tried NaNoWriMo; my previous best was 22,145 in 2016. All told, I’ve written 75,775 words, officially, which just seems like a lot.

I learned many things from the experience. I learned that I can go in with just the vaguest idea, and as long as I keep writing, a story will develop. I didn’t know where the story was going on the first day, and somewhere along the way, I discovered the shape of the story. I don’t yet have all the details, and I created some loose ends and dead ends along the way, but I can see where it should all end up. And I think it’s a story worth telling.

I learned that even though I started with no direction, a direction or path would come to me as I wrote. At least twice, I would realize “If I’m here, then the next logical things to happen are this, this, and this,” and I would write down notes for future scenes, which comforted me. Those future scenes gave me peace of mind that I wouldn’t sit down the next day not knowing what to write next.

I learned that a good way to just get some words down was for me to just rant. There are several passages that are just me, ranting about the ideas and themes I’m working from. Whether or not those stay in the story, or just inform my understanding of the characters’ actions and their world, remain to be seen.

I am going to finish this draft. I’m not done with this tale at all. I owe it to myself to finish the scenes I had figured out I needed, and try to wrap up this version of the story. After it’s done, I can go back and re-draft it, taking out the parts that didn’t work, and moving things around to make more sense, and fixing the plot holes that came up because I was making it up as I go (that’s another thing I learned: if I spotted a plot hole, it’s best to just make a note, and keep going; I did not go back and re-write anything earlier because of something I decided later.)

It was worth it to try. I will do it again.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

I passed 13K words tonight. The writing is going well. I’m seeing the shape of the story now, and I’m having fun.

I probably shouldn’t (many writers advised against it) but I’m going to share a scene from my work in progress. Just a little bit that gives the flavor of what I’m working on, presented without context.

Feel free to let me know what you think; you can reach me through the social medias listed on my About Me page. Or wait for this weekend’s Community Post and share your feedback. I’d love to hear what you think!

Excerpt below the cut.

More

Community Post – MidWeek

A camel in the desert, facing to the left, head up.
Is Wednesday a good day for camels?

It’s the middle of the week. If you were to graph people’s interest, at least people who work the standard Monday through Friday work week, this is the peak of the graph. It’s all downhill from here. The graph would rise up from Monday, hit today, and then drop down towards Friday. Like some kind of… bump? There’s probably a better word for this but it is not coming to me.

I was going to round up some links of things to talk about, but I spent my lunch break tapping out words for NaNoWriMo instead. I still want to do regular posts where I let y’all talk back to me, or talk about your own projects and things you’re excited about, so this is that post.

Feel free to say hello, promote your own stuff, or tell me where the best Taco Tuesdays are. Or whatever else you want to talk about! TACO BOUT. Get it?

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Just a quick update, tapped out on my phone. I managed almost 2000 words today, including 350 or so before work, which brings my total, my official total word count for NaNoWriMo, to 10,092.

I’m officially more than a full day ahead. I know it’s early but I will take a moment to savor my streak.

And the shape of the plot is coming together. It’s all starting to gel. I know what the main character needs, I know what stands in his way, and I know generally what he’s planning to get him out of this mess. My plan to “just write and see what happens” is working well.

And I have a working title: Seasonal Work. That title makes me giggle, though it might not make sense to anyone but myself, yet.

Thanks for checking in. I’ll have a comment post tomorrow and maybe some things to chat about!

Weekend Community Post – Sunday 3 November 2019

A curtained window taken near sunset. The lighting and color is intensely golden-yellow, inside and outside.
Took this last Saturday. I was on my computer when I suddenly realized just how golden the light was outside, and how it had transformed my office. Within 5 minutes, the light had faded, but I’m glad I was able to capture it in the moment.

I want to open regular posts to comments, and so I’m starting with this one. I’d love to hear from you if you’re an old friend or a new reader! Let’s build a community. This is especially important to me since I deleted my Facebook account. I’ve been spending time on Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr but I would also love it if visitors felt comfortable here.

It’s Sunday morning in my time zone. I’m in front of my computer, full of oatmeal and bacon, with a half-pot of coffee, and no outstanding plans except to write as much as my little fingers will manage. That means I’ll be in and out of the blog.

Leave a hello! Ask me anything. Or comment on some news you saw this week—I’m more partial to good news than bad, but speak your mind.

I’m still writing a full comment policy, but for now, just know that I’m not opposed to disagreement. I am, however, going to dump in the trash any obvious spam, hate speech or pro-fascism. There may be other lines I won’t allow commenters to cross, but for now, that’ll do for some ground rules.

Happy 16th Birthday to This Blog

On this day, 16 years ago, I clicked “Publish” on my very first Lunar Obverse blog post. That’s a long time.

If I had been planning ahead I might have more to say about it than this, but as you may know, I’m on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo and so most of my writing energy has been going towards that project (the rest of it has been texting my friends and tweeting about how far behind I am on my NaNoWriMo goals.)

The good news is that I did, in fact, reach my Day 2 goal today. As of right now, my project-in-progress is at 3,643 words. I’m about two or three scenes in, maybe one and a half chapters, and I have introduced four named characters and a handful of important-but-so-far-unseen characters. I have no idea where the story is going yet, but it’s early, and I just want to keep up my habit and momentum, as I have talked about repeatedly here.

In related news, to help promote the blog I started a blog-related Instagram account. Go follow LunarBlog if you have a mind to. The blog is mostly words, and Instagram is a visual medium, so I’m not certain how to cross-post there, but I’ll figure something out.

A lovely writer’s account on Twitter, Tara Neilson, gave my Twitter account a boost, along with a bunch of others, to get our writer’s follower counts above 1000. I currently stand at 961 thanks to this post. I believe I gained at least 10 new followers, and I promptly followed them all back. It was a very nice gesture and not one I expected or asked for, and I thank Tara for the lift.

#WritingCommunity Lift writers under1,000! @SeeLoveFollow @Story_Beard @ellysejmoir @SerraSwift @wendywyant @RRozow @RebeccaL_Carey @BRBWilcox @MarkScully365 @J_D_Wilkes @kattitudereads @NicoleJSimms1 @Graybird_Grace @brooklynstasher @lunarobverse @erintheinfp Go #NaNoWriMo2019! pic.twitter.com/ydQZdJfuzt— Tara Neilson (@neilson_tara) November 2, 2019

Thank you, Tara! If you’re readinig this, go follow all of these mentioned accounts!

And now, since I’m caught up, I’m going to give myself permission to play The Outer Worlds some more, until tomorrow. Goodnight, and I love you all.

NaNoWriMo Day 1

I managed 560 words this morning before work. Was busy all day and had to work late (monthly server patches), then happy hour with Terry and Ken. Then a short visit with Max before he starts his new job. Then a stop at WinCo for food to get me through the next week.

And now I’m home and exhausted and feeling spent, too spent to write the next scene.

I wrote something today. I’ll write tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

G’night. I love you all.

An Auspicious Night

Hurley knows something about taking action over feeling sorry for yourself. “Let’s look death in the face and make our own luck.”

What does the word cusp mean, anyway? What’s its etymology? Where is it from and what is the metaphor behind its meaning?

After tonight, two things change for me. The first is me quitting something, the second is me beginning something.

I’m quitting Facebook. It’s a cause of anxiety and joy. I’ve posted about that before, and I’ve written about my reasons—mainly political in nature. I don’t like how the company is being run, and I don’t like the awful things its behavior has enabled. Looks like they’re going to go on enabling those things because the money spends just as well as any other money.

I suppose it’s possible that Zuck believes what he says in public, but I doubt that. I do like that hundreds of Facebook employees wrote a stern letter taking their boss to task for his misuse of the phrase “free expression.” I also like that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter (which is its own dumpster fire) made the exact opposite decision and subtweeted Zuck about it. That was fun.

Am I going to miss some things about Facebook? Sure, I am. There are some communities there that provide me with a little light, a little hope, and a little laughter. But I can find those things elsewhere. I’ve been connecting with people online since way, way, back. Those skills won’t leave me. I’ve joined BBS’s, forums, Usenet groups, and social media sites. I’ve made my impressions and gathered friends from there. I’ve had this silly blog for a decade and a half, as well as the founder of other, long-gone blogs.

My presence will remain on the internet. Just not on Facebook, after tonight.

The thing I’m starting tomorrow is a cause of joy and anxiety. Completely different. Starting tomorrow I turn this “write every day” thing up to 11. Or, rather, I turn it up to 1,667, because that’s how many words a day I would like to be stringing together. NaNoWriMo technically begins at midnight tonight; I won’t be staying up late to do any write-ins, though, because tomorrow is a workday.

I’d like to get up early and do some writing before work. Hopefully, typing that out doesn’t click in my brain and satisfy the urge to do it, which is apparently a thing that can happen. Saying you’re gonna do something sometimes kills the actual drive to do it. Brains are the weirdest thing.

I’ve managed over two months of daily writing, but my word count hasn’t gone up as much as I’d hoped. I’m going to have to dig deep. Or I’m going to have to just turn off my inner critic and write whatever comes to mind. Probably the latter.

Look, I beat myself up a lot, about a lot of things. I don’t have to beat myself up about this. I can just relax, have fun, go crazy with writing, and see what happens. I’m going to pants it—as in, fly by the seat of my pants. If I can keep the daily writing up, and there’s literally no reason to think I can’t, as I have proven to myself, then at the end of November I’ll have 18,000 words added, only these words will not just be random, unconnected blog posts, but all on the same story. That’s awesome! That’s more than I’ve done in years. And if I push, I can reach the half-way point of a full NaNoWriMo. And maybe the momentum will push me to write more and more.

Maybe my muse will come back to me, whisper in my ear, and encourage me further. If not, I will have put in the seat time. Either way, I win.

Winning is a good thing. I can use a win these days.