Friday, December 1, 2023

NaNo 2023 Is A Wrap!

Letting the graphics speak for themselves today. Well done, me!

To clarify: yes, I actually wrote 104,284 words from midnight November 1st to 11:59 pm November 30th. That is a Double NaNoWrimo; my first double NaNo.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Final Day of NaNoWriMo 2023

At the beginning of the final day of NaNoWriMo 2023, I have 103,625 words I have written since November 1st. This is the first time I have completed a double NaNoWriMo and it feels good.

I will write more words today. I don't have a target in mind, but more words will happen!

I will also be closing out NaNoWriMo 2023 with a friend, a writers, and we will close out the month together, as we opened the November writing together, as well.

In another 21 hours and 58 minutes, this NaNo will come to an end!

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Days 22-25: NaNoWriMo 2023

 My current word count is 91,979 words written since November 1st. That is amazing and feels good. This year is my highest word county by far.

I keep writing that "I'm not writing much on the story." But I realized today that I am writing My Story. And I have some pieces for a fiction story, which are based on My Story. So, there is that.

It has been an interesting NaNoWriMo. I am - obviously - writing a lot. I have written every day and, I'm not sure what my average daily word count is, but it is high. I have written at least the 1667 words on almost every day; there are a few which were closer to 1000. I think I have this write every day firmly entrenched now. It's not a rule, but I have been doing this for over a year now - the writing every day. It helps to not put a lot of rules and restrictions on what I count as "writing."

We are in the final month - less than a month - of the Mavens of Mythmaking with Ariel. A full year long class coming to an end. I have much to do to get my final project wrapped up, so that is what my focus will be now. I've fallen behind again, in feedback and such. I am keeping up on the reading and I've been slowly working on the manuscript. Too slow. But I'm taking a new direction at this stage of things, thanks to a conversation with my old-new writing buddy! I am excited to have time with her, again, to be able to reconnect one on one about our writing and support each other. This will definitely help.

Below is my landing NaNoWriMo page, with my current stats and my writing graph. There is more on the site, but this is a good overview. NaNoWriMo is working through some problems and I hope they work it out. For now, I'm using the site as I have been - which is a tracking page. The organization changed significantly several years ago; and not for the better in my and many people's opinions. I don't know a lot about the current issue, but the Board is involved and I hope the truth and resolutions happen. 

For me? I'm happy. I am at 184% of the goal and I think I am going to aim for 200% - in other words, a double NaNo. I've never done that before, so I guess I will now. I have just over 5 days to complete 100k words in 30 days. I can do this!

NaNoWriMo 2023 general stats for Dot.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Monday, November 20, 2023

Days 18-20 NaNoWriMo 2023

Current word count 
a super moon over ex-Fred's house. photo by Dot
1am 11/20/2023 = 75,155

I am still writing every day, even though I already have half again as much as the 30-day goal. Which is awesome! There hasn't been much movement in the story realm itself, but I have had a few glimmers in my stream of consciousness writing which may become stories on their own, or may be culled for pieces of the story. Later; not right now.

Some exciting news is that I have reconnected in a writing buddy way with a longtime friend. We live in different states now, so writing meet-ups don't happen. We did that in the old days, but it's been a long time and many life changes since that happened. We have crossed paths in other writing ways off and on for years. It's been great to have shared space.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking I wanted to reach out to her about some help with my big manuscript in progress. She's an amazing writer and supporter of writers, editor, coach - there are probably several labels which would apply to the care she provides when working with authors and their projects.

Then a little over a week ago, she gave me feedback on a piece in the online writing space we shared. She mentioned wanting to exchange manuscripts (I'd asked for something to do with that in my post). 

And here we are, a few emails later, with a virtual meeting scheduled for this week to discuss what and how and when we want to support each other in this writing thing we're doing.

I am excited and I value this friend's skill and knowledge. I look forward to us supporting each other.

A couple of so weeks ago, I also attended a virtual writing workshop/presentation with a local writer I admire. It was about how to get published and navigate that system without an MFA. It was so much more than that, but that was an important part. That author is local to me, we've maybe met once. She was so authentic and wise and warm. She offered to start an email and maybe online group for those of us present; I nearly immediately said, yes, please.

All of this to say, I am writing. I have a large manuscript which is starting to really get the attention it deserves. I always believe that 'writing begets writing' and I sometimes forget that the attention put into writing also helps to draw resources and supporters. I have been attending many workshops from different places, I'm in the final month of the year-long program. I am still reading writing books and more.

And this is where I am now. 
Building community 
Putting writing at the forefront
...did I already say, writing?...

Change doesn't always look the way we think it will look. And the road to get there takes many turns.

All I can say right now it that it's a good think I enjoy long distance travel.

dragonfly in the Grand Canyon 2008; photo by Dot

Friday, November 17, 2023

Day 17: NaNoWriMo 2023

Word Count at the beginning of 11/17/2023 = 66,515
Words written on 11/16 = 6847

The coast writing retreat has been exactly what I needed it to be. A place to sleep until I wake up. With minimal writing interruptions. There is no wifi here, which is obviously not keeping me from updating word counts, going online for brief periods, and so on. But because I'm relying on cellular data, the connection seems less than ideal and it uses a lot of data to go online.

Today we also took a little writing break to interpret a wonderful webinar. It's for an arts organization which is phenomenal and which is doing great work to provide arts education where it is needed most and to give hope to our collective future. Luckily, the data held. We had both of our devices synced to the computer, so that if one went out, the laptop would automatically connect to the other and there would be minimal interruption to our interpretation. Luckily that wasn't needed - but we were prepared.

The rest of the day so far has been spent on writing. And talking about writing. And relaxing and sometimes, just staring at the ocean.

Staring at the ocean and drinking coffee (in the morning) or green tea (in the evening) is a part of my writing practice. Something I need to make more time to do.

I'm happy to say that I'm making a plan with another writer to become writing buddies - again. We did this in the long ago, when we both lived in the same town. Now we are states away, but still connected through online classes and workshops and other electronic methods. We are currently looking at how we can meet virtually for coffee, conversation, writing. And looking to exchange manuscripts and work together in that way, as well. I am excited about this possibility. Accountability and community even from afar. This will be awesome.

"Lighting the Way" comic by Dot. 2022

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Days 15 & 16: NaNoWriMo 2023

 Current word count, at 4:00 AM on November 16th, is 64,188.

My writing buddy and I came over to the coast after we finished work at 8pm on Tuesday 11/14. We had to pick up her things and pack them into the car. But quickly, because we wanted to stock up on food for the rest of the week from Trader Joe's; which closed at 9pm. 

We made it.

We got some iced tea and ate in the car as we made the nearly three hours drive. 

The nice thing about driving so late at night is that there is significantly less traffic. Less traffic means the drive is less stressful. Generally I am not stressed on longer drives - I actually like it, and I can find it soothing, when not dealing with aggressive drivers.

It was lovely to wake up to the ocean today. The misty sky, looking out over the waves until I couldn't see them any longer in what I thought was an incoming storm.

The wind shifted and pushes the clouds, the fog south. Maybe that was where it was heading all along.

I did a lot of writing today, around a scheduling mixup with a couple of interpreters I'd placed on a show, added a matinee. The situation that created when I had to find a new interpreting team for the interpreted matinee fell into my "no work unless it's urgent" category. Working with the somewhat intermittent internet (no wifi at the place we're staying - yay!), I was able to get a second team for that second performance, connect everyone to each other, notify the theater. And now, hopefully, there is nothing else "urgent" which comes up related to work.

I want to focus these next few days on writing. 

I am long past the 50k in 30days writing goal. But I am still writing. I am still playing the quests in 4TheWords. And editing. Still working on the edits - which are going very slow. I have to step those up, for sure. Somehow, I will. I am hoping to shift the bulk of my writing time to the edits, to get it done.

This is the graph from the NaNoWriMo website, showing the trajectory of my writing this month. The angled dotted line is the 50k in 30days target; my actual writing word count is highlighted in yellow. Looks good!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Day 14: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 54,313
Total words written Day 12 = 4,352

I do believe this is the earliest I have ever met the 50k word count in NaNovember! I did it! 

November 13, 2023 I surpassed the target of writing 50,000 words in a month. My writing for November is far from over - but that benchmark was met. 

Maybe I will go for a double-NaNo this year. I am going to be shifting to more editing words than generating new words. I do have a final project coming up due very soon, and I chose to complete this draft's edits as my "senior" project. 

And I will continue writing, but probably a little bit slower pace.

Tomorrow after work I will be heading to the coast for a few days for my annual November writing retreat. I think that the beach will be the perfect place to sink into book revision.

For now: congratulations to me! And here's a toast of kombucha to the next leg of this writing journey.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Day 13: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 49,961
Total words written Day 12 = 8,012

photograph at sunset, overlooking Agate Beach State Park; trunk of tree in foreground, two trees with low branches trimmed off appear to dance to the ocean's waves
photo by Dot.
Trees above Agate Beach
This is the day - November 13th. It will happen today.

I had no idea I was that close to the finish line while I was writing for my second round on Saturday. It's okay, though. Draw out the suspense one more day.

I'm smiling. There were more story words written, along with a lot of other things.

I will be heading to the coast Wed - Sat for my annual November writing retreat. This is the first year that I've had my 50k completed before the retreat. Which is exciting, because that will also be the perfect opportunity for sustained longer periods of time to work on the edits. 

Watch for the "congratulations banner" tomorrow!

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Day 12: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 41,949
Total words written Day 11 = 3,256   

About half of those 3200 words were story. Excellent odds today! 

I also had to attend to several everyday life activities, such as laundry and scrubbing the bathtub. Also completing assignments for the Mavens of Mythmaking year-long program. We are in the final month, so the weekly action and reading assignments are primary focus for me, as I continue working on the edits in the book manuscript. 

As you can see, I am getting very close to that magical NaNoWriMo 50k words written within the month! It looks like this is going to be my earliest 50k goal achieved in all of my -now- sixteen years. I'm impressed *grin.*

This doesn't mean that the writing will stop. I am still committed to writing every day. My aim is to continue with at least the NaNoWriMo daily average of 1667 words; if I have an "off" day, I will be satisfied with the 4TheWords minimum to achieve the daily count there of 444 words on those days.

I will be switching more of my time to the edicts on the manuscript. That is my final project for the Mythmaking class, so I need to switch primary focus to the book in order to make it before the end of 2023. But all editing and no writing can make me cranky, so the generative writing will continue.

I don't expect to see any more 8,000-word days of writing this month. Unless I'm counting editing words, then I better have some 8k+ word days to wrap it up before December is over.

Stay tuned. I expect to cross 50k on 11/12 or 11/13!

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Day 11: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 38,693
Total words written Day 10 = 2,454   

This was a lighter writing day. There were other things to attend to and it was a broken sleep day due to my work's schedule release being early in the morning. So, as a night owl, I have to try to go to bed earlier than usual so that I can get up very early to catch the schedule as it drops and, hopefully, add a little bit more time if my bid hours are not what I requested. 

Which, for the last year and a little more, it never is. The being unable to get what I bid has nothing to do with my job performance or anything like that. It has to do with the corporation making changes in how they're scheduling and there are other reasons they haven't told us about. That is how corporations are, in case you haven't experienced that yet, yourself. It has to do with their profit margin and something else. The hours I've been working for 10+ years are no longer available? I know a several people who have seniority over me in the one area I can't control - how long I've worked for the company - and of the ones I know, none of them are interested in working the late night hours. I've come up with potential other reasons, but those who know (or might know) are not talking; those who definitely know are not telling us the truth.

But this is not a hill I'm going to battle on. I am able to add hours other places once I find out how much they give me of my bids. I add bid awards to my reduced-by-them set schedule and then see where I can tack on more time. Not easy, not fun, but this is a better option than some others I have. 

But the early morning schedule release days mean that I get only a couple of hours sleep before the schedule drop. Get up and play with that for a little bit. Then I go back to sleep for as long as I can. So, in total, I might get enough sleep in there, but the two-hour sleep break is not my friend. I've never been a good napper and this system is kind of like a nap. A nap when I would usually sleep, wake up and do work stuff, then try to get some actual sleep. It also means I don't wake up until early afternoon.

A long day and I've learned that it is not usually a very productive day.

But I showered, got dressed, made my word count, and went to the store. So, not a bad day, as long as I keep my expectations low. Ha!

My word count was still a little above the average, which I like. And there was even more story writing which happened. Which makes me very happy!

Friday, November 10, 2023

Day 10: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 36,239
Total words written Day 9 = 14,211

Thursday was a phenomenal writing day. Much of this was fueled by activity at 4THEWORDS. The wonderful thing was that some of my writing was even story writing. I have the writing separated out, but I didn't divide out which writing was in story and which was journaling and writing into the NaNo project. 

I did a trial period of 4TheWords last year during NaNo. It was useful to get butt in chair and fingers moving words through on the page, so I decided last December to give it a one year trial when the 30 days ended. 

I have not had a day of regret. It's a silly thing that this website has made such a difference. No, it's not just a website. There is a community of writers there. From what I've heard from people I know IRL, the ages vary, with the majority being adults and many nearing midlife. There are quests, different types of creatures to battle with all kinds of word sizes and times. There are rewards for completing quests. Several months ago they added multiplayer quests, as well. There are forums. There are big goals, and medium goals, and small goals. There are special events.

Speaking of which, it is another special month-long event right now for NaNoWriMo. Today started a short-term extra special event - a Moon Celebration. 

Yesterday I joined a Twitch stream group who were battling a string of the November Headmaster. There is a special multiplayer quest where you have to battle them 8 times - and that's a lot of words. It was really fun and sent my word count into hyperdrive! I'm still an introvert online, so I'm not into lots of conversation. The Twitch streaming group was set to medium battles and we did the challenge in sets of 4 and 10 minute breaks in between. But in the NaNo world we had little conversation other than "good job" "gee, you're fast" or "I'm tapping out." 

As soon as I get this posted, I have a battle queue lined up to take on. I decided to take a couple of timed quests (most of them are not) for the November special event, and I only have about 20 hours to get them done.

Yes, I do recommend 4TheWords if you are looking for something to help you keep your pen or fingers moving. I know it's not for everyone and I thought it wasn't for me. But it's about the right level of challenge and carrot/stick to keep going. It's simple fun for writing accountability and I can still be my introverted self in an online community of writers.

Here is a screenshot of the 4TheWords worlds.

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Day 9: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 22,028
Total words written Day 8 = 3368

I am writing a lot. Still. Little of it is story related, but some of it is.

Here is my first drawing from Inktober 2023. Just because. I didn't make it through Inktober well this year and that's okay. I will return to it!

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Day 8: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 18,660
Total words written Day 7 = 2168

No story updates today. Again. And that's okay. This was my longest work day, so I"m not surprised. I did write feedback for my companion Mythmakers as we wind down the year-long program. Which is good. I am nearly caught up with feedback.

The chapbook seems to be stalled. I am on the brink of calling it quits for now; postponing it for another time in 2024. Yesterday I made that decision; today when I went back and declared my "senior project" for this year, the chapbook was there. I don't know if I can make that happen or not. It seems a little too big to chew and I have both feet stepping through the goo of depression right now - or at least one foot and the toes of the other. I'm working on stepping back from the goo, but right now it's not clear how I'm going to win this particular battle. 

I'm not giving up, though!

My word count continues to grow and that's good. I wish there was more happening in the actual story, but it 'tis what it'is. 

Nothing else to report. 

Just me with a super quick check-in.

And a photo of The Man, whom I still miss very much. We don't have another cat, yet; and that is another question we haven't firmly answered. If a feline came to us, yes, we'd take them in, just like we did our boy here. So far, we are quite content with the neighbor cat who visits often - Crookshanks. You don't pick her up and you don't rub her belly, even if she invites you to do so. Otherwise, she's a very lovely cat and very floofy. She also keeps hours close to mine, so I sometimes have laptime on the porch with her, after I get home from work in the wee morning hours.


Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Day 7: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day word count = 16236
Total words written Day 6 = 4142

Day 6 was another process and non-fiction writing. Nothing more on the novella/novel/story. Truly I feel okay with that this year. For reasons I won't repeat and reasons not shared, I am satisfied with making writing happen, in the ways it needs to be. I am working on making more space for the writing I'd like to be doing more of: fiction, short story, memoir & creative non-fiction. I also want to have more time for experimenting with drawing, making comics, and I'd also like to have some focused time to learn more about watercolor in the realm of comics. Actual water and brush watercolor.

For now, writing is still happening every day.
Words go onto the page. 
My NaNoWordCount increases.

It's going well, even if it is currently in a complete jumble.

Monday, November 6, 2023

Day 6: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day 6 word count = 12094
Total words written on day 5 = 2512
Story Wanderings by Dot

Most of my writing for day 5 was related to the year-long class I'm taking in the Literary Kitchen. There were a couple of other expository rounds of writing, too. But nothing on the actual story, except in my head.

My head and heart are also filled with the Palestine and Israel situation. I'm still reading and listening to podcasts to get a better understanding and avoid the pablum being put out by the media and the people spinning their stories about blaming this side or the other - but not holding responsible who is really to blame. I've listened to activists to the far left, Palestinians, Israelis, American Jews and American Muslims. I've listened to and read from long time activists and "lefties" and young people still in high school, in college, in their 20s and 30s.  

I disagree with the activist who said we should not be calling for ceasefire. We absolutely should. I agree that ceasefire is not the solution to the problem - it is not. But we need to call for the killing to stop. *And* we need to look to other actions to stop what has been happening for 75 years. 

My heart was already heavy with losses and changes and the world being both literally and figuratively on fire. But it has grown heavier this past month as atrocities mount and people turn against people in the name of religion and politics and more.

Hamas and Bibi's military must stop. And the people on the ground, the victims, the dead and their families? They are not Hamas and they are not the military. 

And the hate being waged against Jewish and Muslim and Israeli and Arab people here in the US needs to stop. It is appalling how quick and hateful the country has begun. But then, the set up for the hate has been brewing for many years - longer than I realized, I know (I was among the naïve who believed we had made huge strides forward and would never go back). But the foundation was laid long ago for this hate and there is a group or groups of people who have been working toward just the chaos we have right now.

This hatred needs to stop. Here in USAmerica and around the globe. 

Some days right now, what I can do is write the emotions, the reactions, the tears in the form of words.

This NaNo I am now hoping I will come out of it with a medium short story alongside exposition and maybe research and a lot of exposition. I am not expecting a miracle of a novella; I'd say "yay" if it happened, but I would also be surprised.

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Day 5: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of day 5 word count = 9582
Total words written on day 4 = 1672

So far, so good. I am keeping up with the daily average word count of 1667. Nice. It's only day 5 now and that's okay. I like it when I don't fall too far behind in the beginning of the month!

Nothing new to report on story development.

I am happy to report that I am feeling a little more positive and a brighter outlook in general with doing more generative writing. Even if it is mostly semi-autobiographical with a mix of straight up journaling.

Writing is writing and especially in November!

I kind of doubt this one, but it would be nice!
"Done" meaning that I pass 50k words written.

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Day 4: NaNoWriMo 2023 + bonus reminder

Start of day 4 word count = 7910
Total words written on day 3 = 3152

NaNoWriMo end of day 3 word count

Before my daily briefing about how my writing is going so far, a reminder - mostly for me, but also for anyone who might stumble across this in the next 24 hours: It is that dreaded (by many of us) time of year in the USA when, for most of us, time changes. In November we set the clocks back  and this year, since the thing which supposedly passed in Congress ?a couple of years ago? has been lingering somewhere in its bowels, we are doing the time change dance again.

Which brings into my squirrel brain none other than, Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But, of course.

It is currently 2:00 AM on the West Coast. In exactly twenty-four hours from now, it will be 1:00 AM. 

Remember fall back; spring forward. This year we fall back on Sunday, November 5th.

Now a short hop away from NaNoWriMo for the scene from Rocky Horror. Feel free to skip, or go ahead, watch it, satisfy the brain squirrels.

There was a little more story writing which happened on Day 3. There was more exploratory writing than actual story, but I'm letting that be okay this year. This year is about the process of writing, rather than completion of a novel draft. I suspect that I might get a short story, or two or three, out of this, plus adjacent writing about place and time and back story.

This year's NaNoWriMo motto is: "all words are good words." That is usually my writing motto - but especially right now. This NaNoWriMo is especially about greasing the writing wheels and getting them moving again. I am still deep in the thicket of edits on the manuscript, but I feel much better when I am writing, too, and not only editing. Especially right now, this November. This fall was a little brutal in terms of non-writing responsibilities and demands on time, but I was fortunate to have the Mavens of Mythmaking with Ariel Gore still in process, so that kept me connected to writing. Without the year-long program, I could have been engulfed with the external situations.

So: short version = words happened. Many of them! Which is good.
Story progress? Not much. But I'm finding out who this still unnamed main character is and how she ticks.

Be well. Be safe. And remember to change your clocks before you go to bed Saturday night, unless you live where you don't have to gain/lose an hour twice every year.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Day 3: NaNoWriMo 2023

Start of Day Three word count = 4758

It's too early to know how the month is going to go. But I'd say I'm off to a strong start. That's about how it usually goes for me. We'll see how it goes as the month continues and work continues and so on.

Which is why I tend to take my annual NaNoWriMo writing retreat in the middle of the month!

Generally, around the end of week two, other things have come up and claimed my time. I've had "things I have to do" which detract from writing. Sometimes I just don't feel like it and the words don't come. That's okay. I haven't gone back and tracked for sure (and I'm not sure how much data I have saved on this), but I'd guess that by the end of week two, I am words behind the daily average target. The daily target it 1667 words. Yes, each day - 1667 words written. The thing about that number is that it seems to grow exponentially when you fall behind - at least when I fall behind. 

Enter a writing retreat! Time away from the laundry and the faucet which needs tightening and the drip out front which I can't really do anything about and the new neighbors and the traffic and and and. Time away where the only thing that has to be done is to write. So in the middle of the month, a writing buddy and I will take a few days at the coast - yes, she is doing NaNoWriMo, as well - and focus on writing.

The story? Thanks for asking. Eh. There is one. Fictionalized life or a total fiction - I know the answer and I'm letting it be what it wants to be. This year is definitely an exploration and a throughline and maybe a plot are poking through. Maybe or probably. We'll see where it leads!

One letter at a time, one sentence at a time. Full steam ahead to write a little more for day three before I go to bed. As my NaNoWriMo stat shows, I'm a night owl. That was absolutely a know fact before the month began!

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Day 2: NaNovember 2023

End of Day One kickoff word count=1677
Start of Day Two word count=3353

I also thought I'd try Inktober/Cartoonistober/Drawtober last month. I started strong the first ten days. Then slowed. Then, when it became five days that I hadn't drawn even a 3x3 sticky note quick sketch, I accepted the reality that October 2023 was not a drawing month for me. I also stepped back from the Diary Comics class I'd signed up via Push/Pull. The first meeting was wonderful, the artist instructor was nice. I liked it. But I had too much happening at the time and realized something had to go. 

That's okay, too. That actually is a part of NaNoWriMo (or any writing or other creative adventure) - learning how to recognize when there is too much and it is interfering with, not supporting, your creativity. 

Earlier this week I listened to an episode of Cabana Chats from August 2023. She was talking about honoring and managing your capacity. That resonated. My capacity right now is a little lower than usual and it is not a moral or ethical failing, it's a fact. With the world on fire and politics (abroad, not just here) in the toilet and thousands of people being tortured and bombed and a list of atrocities I'm sure I don't need to recite to anyone who even glimpses at the news - of course my capacity is less. I am spending more energy on keeping afloat emotionally and spiritually. It can take more of my resources to get through a workday, where I work with an expansive range of people, many of whom hold different beliefs from mine, who may be in the opposition groups, who may say things which I believe to be morally bankrupt. Yet I have to be just as present and excellent at my profession for them as for someone whose beliefs are more in align with mine. That's good. That's a line I've learned to navigate well, and I am glad to have had to opportunity to associate with all kinds of people in this work. 

But sometimes my personal capacity is lessened by how much of it I have to expend at work. At being neutral and honoring the conversations I help facilitate. Because the conversations are theirs, not mine. My job is to allow the people in the conversations to be their full selves and fully express what they have to say in their own ways. I can do that.

Then I need my own time.

My capacity reservoir can run low when the need is high everywhere else in my life. 

All of this to say that
- I am resilient
- I am strong
- I am and will be fine
- I have limits
- right now life is sometimes hard.

So I am honoring my capacity and sometimes, I have to say, no. Not today.

So, I am doing NaNoWriMo. I even have a bit of a storyline started already, which is good, and unexpected. I am in the final month of the Mavens of Mythmaking year-long program, which has been amazing and I've benefitted from this writing community and Ariel's teachings and exploration opportunities; and I've made progress on the manuscript. The chapbook is going to be delayed; it is definitely not going to be completed within the Chapbook Challenge class time. The chapbook plan is solid and good and I want to do it - but I don't have the capacity.

So. NaNoWriMo gets to stay. The Mavens of Mythmaking, I am scrambling to get caught up with feedback for others. I hope to return to the Friday Night Comics soon, and dip back into drawing, which is always fun but it's been difficult recently to feel connected to that form of expression. Hopefully the fog of a too full schedule will lift soon and I can add more visual expression, as well (which is a major part of the chapbook).

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

It's November which means? NaNoWriMo!

November 1st means that NaNoWriMo has begun. Yes, I'm "in" again! Kicked off in my traditional way - the first minute available after midnight on the first day of November. 

This year, as it has been several times previously, "midnight" came past that mark in my time zone due to work. I think we actually started at what would be Hawaiian midnight or Alaskan midnight? I ended up working 25 minutes past when I was scheduled, due to a complicated situation I had to wrap up; that happens. 

Then I popped over to my friend's apartment where we kicked things off with tea and Trader Joe's snacks.

I wrote 1677 words, just a sliver over the NaNo daily average of 1667. I will write another - at least - 1667 later today. It's already later today, but our night wasn't over when we stopped writing about 3:30 am; so I am just now getting a start to my day. There was an emergency situation my friend needed help with and I'm glad I was there to help out.

At least it's still light outside, right? 

On to my day and more writing and preparing for a midday job tomorrow.

NaNoWriMo 2023 is officially underway!

11/1/2023 official word count (so far): 1677

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Quarterly check-in (jk but not really)

 It's been a while. Which does not equate to the absence of writing, only to the absence of putting words in this creative space. To mark that I've been here, I'm sharing day one of Inktober2023, also known as Cartoonistober and Drawtober and Sketchtober, and other variations. 

I first joined in Inktober two years ago. I'd seen the hashtags and thought it looked like fun. I'd been experimenting with making comics alongside my writing; not usually together, but simultaneously. I didn't know that Inktober had some guidelines and rules so I felt a little guilty that I just did it my way. But I've come to do NaNoWriMo that way, too, so why not Inktober? 

When I discovered there were other variations, I felt better. I was not the only one not following the original rules of Inktober - which I respect and am impressed with those who create that way. I appreciate the October draw each day encouragement.

This year, I haven't made it each day. I have drawn something *for* each day, but it has not always been *on* the day. Too much going on and time is slippery and there are some things which are requiring extra time and attention, hence the "slippery" time label.

All is well. Here is Day One of Inktober 2023: Rain Dance, fitting for here, where we've been drier than usual. And on that day, it rained. That first big rain after some drier and warmer than usual resulted in my favorite smells, and nice puddles for reflection. (This was drawn with a Pilot G7, so preplanning as I tend to do {call me "pantser"!}, and in the small Moleskin I carry with me, which is cradled in a Portland Leather wine-red cover, with a long wrap strap to hold it closed.)

And, yes, I have signed up to do NaNoWriMo, again. Keeping my pen -and fingers on the keyboard- moving!

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Shifting Normal

Tomato plant in our garden;
fighting off a leaf disease

I want to write something profound. It doesn't come. 

So I think that maybe I will write something personal, close to home, about this change of "normal." It floods in words and feelings and it doesn't look like what I mean and I think, that sounds like a pity party.


I have so much to say about the shift of "normal" but it is large and others have already commented, are commenting. What do I have to add to the discussion?

Except my experiences. My own shifted normal to a place where I never thought I'd be; to a place which is the same but my perspective has been forced to a new view by conditions and situations which are - actually - outside of my control. They were not caused by me, were not sought for by me, were not wanted. If anyone would have asked me in January or February 2020, "Hey how about we try this?" I would have scoffed and turned away and known that wasn't my path to walk.

I haven't had COVID-19. I am still actively avoiding getting it because I have a genetic disorder which makes me at increased risk for negative outcomes if I were to catch it. I reconfirmed with my medical team six weeks ago when I had to go in for something unrelated. 

"No, YOU don't want to get COVID," the usually conservative provider said. The one who would happily prescribe more pills, is cautious with too many tests, and has told my partner and others that - since they're up to date on vaccinations - it should be okay. But not me. Not with the genetic condition for which there is no cure, only a medicine to offset what it causes (an increased tendency to make blood clots). 

One of the things COVID-19 causes is making blood clots. Also, recent studies have shown that, at least for some people, tiny blood clots are a factor in causing Long Covid. The primary drug for us regular people for treating COVID-19 is Paxlovid. Some medications are contraindicated for Paxlovid use, and among them are anti-coagulants, which is (one part of) what is used to treat exactly what I have. One type of anti-coagulant reacts so badly that Paxlovid is listed to be used only when they are out of all options. In this, I am lucky, because the anti-coagulant I am taking is the best one in terms of Paxlovid. If necessary, with the particular medication I take, I could take Paxlovid, but I would need to be monitored for blood clots, for DVT (deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)). Taking Paxlovid would increase my risk of another pulmonary embolism; something I would rather not repeat.

So, this "shifting normal" for me is, that I have a genetic condition which means that many places are not safe for me. Without masks, with no social distancing, with oftentimes questionable air circulation - my answer has to be, "no, thank you." Creative spaces, both inspirational for me and expressive, personal and professional, are not currently safe.

I am now on the "expendable humans" list. This is new. Because of a genetic condition I was born with, but had no idea I had until I ended up in the ER in 2011 with blood clots in both lungs, I am now pushed aside. I used to not be afraid of a cold and I didn't get the flu - I'm still not. But COVID-19? Different story. 

I'm not ready to die, but I am not afraid of dying from COVID-19. I am completely up to date on my vaccinations and boosters. I always mask in public, when around other people even at my home. We don't go to parties and crowded events. Because the internal damage from COVID-19 can be months or years-long. Some people are developing problems caused or triggered by COVID months or a year after recovering from the infection. I know people who are surviving and struggling with Long Covid. 

I would rather have a healthier life, with my brain cells intact, and my internal organs functioning.

So I will continue to avoid COVID-19. Which means I am missing out, yes. Which means I am still breathing, yes. Which means I can continue to work as an interpreter and do my writing. 

This is not normal.

This is not what I used to call normal.

This is my shifted "normal" as other people continue to get reinfected and think they are fine. Some are; especially those with the financial resources. Some aren't. Some people are dying or have brain fog or develop heart problems or diabetes or several other negative health issues because of that. Some people don't even know they've had COVID because they haven't and don't test, assume it's a cold, the flu, allergies, or they're just tired.

And don't even get me started on the climate situation. North America is already on fire and it's not even officially "wildfire season." 

If you have any of those nasty N95 or KN95/94 masks lying around, you might want to get them out. They also help to reduce harm from wildfire smoke.

The normal we knew no longer exists. Sometimes the attempts to replicate the past are like eating carob to replace chocolate. Just not the same.

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Creativity Comes in Many Forms

 After 2 1/2 years of never missing a Friday Night Comics, I was hit with a lot of coordinating and assignments for the marvelous Mavens of Mythmaking assignments and a few other things which came up. I mean, the Mythmaking assignments were not a surprise - I knew when I was signing up for the year-long certificate program that there would be intense times. 

So - life happened. I had to skip one Friday Night Comics, then again a couple of weeks later. Then it was several in a row and then. Where had they gone? 

Right where I left them: on Friday nights, same time, same sponsor. Oh, look, the haiku comics instructor was up last week. And, even better, I didn't have anything scheduled, no theatrical crises or dire needs, so I signed up.

It was awesome. David Lasky is an excellent graphic novelist and comics instructor and more. And his writing prompt which led into a comic without pictures was inspiring. Sure - there are a few things I'd need to clean up and make a little better (stronger) if I were to redo this "Float Tank" - which was inspired by the prompt of 'write about your first or an early experience in total darkness." Float tanks weren't my first, but they were my strongest memory last Friday.

I like this one!

And, look, it led me back to here. 

I'm still wondering what I want this to be. What I want it to look like. How I will use this website-blog etcetera. 

For now, another post. Three months after the last one when I thought I would try once a month, at least. 

I'm working on a plan.

I'm in final stages of edits for a manuscript ("final" = I hope!).

I may have some more things to write about soon, but that depends on a couple of factors. Right now, I want to keep this light and not get into those other things. *smile*

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

2023: What's Ahead

Portal Cards by Corporeal Writing

First, I have continued to write every day since the end of NaNoWriMo. Which is kind of amazing for
me. I don't usually do that - or not outside of November. Even during NaNovember, I often don't make the personal goal of writing every day of the month.

I am writing story starts, ideas for stories, and have made a little bit of progress on The Project (hybrid/memoir). I have also started journal writing, again. With everything happening, that seems like a good idea for me. It has been beneficial, so my intent is to keep up that practice.

I had a boost toward the writing everyday, because I participated in the Literary Kitchen Winter Break Intensive, again. This is a fast-paced, daily assignment class/workshop where we are given 12 assignments in 14 days. (The two days "off" are up to the individual participants.) In addition to our own daily writing, we also provide feedback to three other people's writing for each assignment. Think of it as a writing marathon. It is. And it is a great activity for the last two weeks of December. It's a great way - at least for me - to keep present in my life and keep connected to my writing. The world goes kind of haywire with expectations and holiday gatherings (or not, if you're being COVID cautious or don't like the holidays, or whatever - but even if you avoid the holidays the pressures and expectations from others are still there). This clipping-along writing commitment is fun and gives a nice, creative focus in a time which can "try one's nerves."

I did get all of the assignments done and all of the feedback done. I fell behind on the feedback, so I didn't get it completed until January 2nd. But I did get it done. I do have a few things from that workshop which seem like keepers to develop and edit further; and a few germs of ideas, even though the particular thing I wrote is "not it."

So. On to 2023. In terms of writing, this is going to be a spectacular year. 

On January 1, 2023, the first meeting of the Maven of Mythmaking Certificate Program was held via Zoom. The participants are from all over. Armed with our required and recommended book list and the textbook for the program, The Wayward Writer: Summon Your Power to Take Back Your Story, Liberate Yourself from Capitalism, and Publish Like a Superstar, we met for two hours, did a writing exercise about our goals/intentions For The Year!! We did not do introductions, because we had already begun posting our introductions on the class online Boards. 

That's right: the Maven of Mythmaking is a full-year program, led by Ariel Gore. There are weekly assignments: readings, actions, writing, and of course, feedback. Most months we will have two Zoom meetings, as well. Ariel will have Office Hours. 

The Mythmaking Authors are an eclectic group. We are writing everything from memoir to essays, fantasy to short stories, horror to novels; so much more. We are writers with many publications, writers who have written primarily for themselves; writers who want mainstream publication and writers who want to self-publish or do a hybrid; writers with MFAs and writers who have barely started taking any writing workshops; the age range is large and joyous. 

This is day four of the year-long program and I know it was the right decision.

On some days, when the news is bad and politicians are using citizens as collateral, when my primary work is creating havoc with scheduling which impacts my income and my "safety net" (it is no longer that) - I wonder. Did I do the right thing? This big of a time and financial commitment?

Those moments of doubt are tied to old patterns and old beliefs which still live under my skin. Even though their impact has shrunk, they still exist. Those moments of second guessing myself and toying with self-regret or remorse are truly fractions of a second and rare. But they do still seep through the excitement and creative energy, poking through the surface very briefly. I've learned to give that negativity a nod and a "thanks for trying to keep me safe; but I'm good." It isn't able to get a hold any longer.

So. One thing I am going to try to do is be more present here. I don't have a plan for what that looks like. I'm hesitant to set up a strict schedule, which would put more pressure to perform on me, and potentially set me up for failure. Or, at least, fear of failure - which I am trying to avoid. With the continuing high numbers of COVID-19 cases and my personal additional risks, I still have to avoid prolonged indoor events, especially with large crowds; and if masks are not required, it could be deadly for me. Which means that theatre - another passion of mine, and an important creative outlet, is minimal and mostly virtual for me, until COVID is truly under control - which is not now. (I have a genetic mutation which increases the likelihood of blood clots. It was discovered in 2011 after a bilateral pulmonary embolism incident and don't want to experience it again. This puts me at higher risk of hospitalization and more severe complications from COVID-19. Therefore, I must avoid infection.)

I don't know where this year of Mythmaking and a kind of "alternative MFA" is going to lead. I do not have a specific project I am working on. I am showing up for writing. I will write every day - sometimes that will be journal writing, sometimes it will be generating new material, sometimes it will be reading about writing, writing about writing; sometimes it will be working through edits on The Project; sometimes showing up for writing means loafing and relaxing and going for a walk, where I will be thinking about my writing.

2023 is going to be a good writing year.