Category: werewolf story

Sundays are for Writing #24

This week wasn’t really a productive writing week. I only did one fiction-writing session, and I was too exhausted from the day job for much else.

But one is better than none, I suppose.

Decisions, Decisions

In my Creative Writing class, the reading assignment for next week is about Revision. Revision is not my favorite part of the writing process. It is, quite possibly, my least favorite. (Okay, perhaps tied with writing the first sentence, but that’s a whole other phobia…) Revising is hard work. Sometimes I can see what needs re-worked right away. Sometimes I might as well be trying to read it in Braille or Swahili, for all the sense it makes to me (I speak /read neither, by the way). I know revising is necessary, that it is essentially where the magic happens, but I don’t really enjoy it or anticipate it.

That being said, while I was reading about revising, all I could think about—all the Muse could think about—was the werewolf story. I love the characters in that story, the world, the conflict, everything about it. The writing is done. It’s even been revised (once). But it could use some more work, some fresh eyes. I’m wondering if the Muse is trying to tell me something. Perhaps I should put in a little bit of revision time on this story, as well as drafting The Fall? (And it would only be a little bit of time, because that’s all I have to give.)

I could do it. Maybe only an hour a week, but I could. Then I could start writing the next one…ah. Delusions of grandeur are on the agenda today, I see. Considering my weekly writing goal for The Fall is two measly pages, and I’m doing good to hit that, now I’m mentally gearing up to write something else. I really have to stop trying to do too much.

What do you think? Add a small bit of revision into the mix, or stick with just writing for now?

Zombified

"...brains..."
“…brains…”

I have become a zombie.  It’s true.  Several months ago, I noticed that most of the people on campus at my university can’t seem to go anywhere without headphones on.  It takes what, three minutes to walk between classes, and they can’t go that long without listening to music?  And some of them would sit in the classroom/auditorium/lecture hall with their headphones on, until the professor would come in and actually start talking before they’d take them off. Then they’d act like it was a huge inconvenience to be without them.  It was like all these people were withdrawing from the world, wanting to live in their own little bubble, with no contact with anyone outside of it.  On one hand, it irritated me greatly.  On the other, my Muse thought it had great potential to be used in a dystopian story, and that turned into The Fall.

Today I realized I’m guilty of this as well.  I don’t know when it happened.  I don’t know how.  But I rarely go anywhere on campus now without my headphones on.

It’s not because I don’t want contact with the people around me–although sometimes that’s the last thing I want.  Have you seen how annoying teenagers are now?  (Suddenly, I feel very old.)  Plus, there are inevitably people who decide to talk to me, even though I am clearly wearing my “Please Don’t Talk to Me” face (Seriously, people?  Can you NOT see the look I’m giving you?  Get a clue.).  But even that’s not the real reason.

The real reason is because I find myself in desperate need of inspiring and uplifting music to get through the day.  My priorities have shifted drastically over the last six months, and one of the things that has changed is the music I listen to most of the time.  It keeps me on an even keel.  And considering the stress in my life, I need an even keel (and, possibly, a life preserver).  Hence the ever-present headphones.  But I do take them off when I go into a classroom.  And I can’t listen to words with music when I’m writing–not that I’ve done much writing lately–so I don’t use them there, either.

I haven’t written in a couple of weeks, but I did some background work on The Fall this weekend, filling in some details.  I also worked on the revision outline for the zombie story, AND the revision on the werewolf story.  I also spent an hour or so starting the Scrivener tutorial.  I’ll try to finish that up this week, and start actually using it this weekend.

I need to write.

Doing Too Much

In case you’re wondering where I’ve been (you know, all three of you that are reading this), I need to make a confession: I tend to over-commit myself. Basically, I need about 5 extra hours in every day to get everything done I need and/or want to do. Here’s a list of things I need to be doing on a weekly basis (some of which I’m failing miserably at):

1) Work (2 15-hour days, 1 13-hour day). On my feet….
2) School: 17 hours this semester (5 class, one lab, WTF was I thinking?)
3) 3 blogs (my writing blog, my personal blog, my environmental blog)
4) Write the first draft of The Fall (My Muse thinks I’ve gone on strike.)
5) Revise the zombie story
6) Revise the werewolf story
7) Write book reviews for Examiner.com (assuming I have actual time to read)
8) Keep up with my writing crit circle (I’m trying.)
9) Church (This has become a necessity in my life. Period.)
10) Keep up with all my home projects (the green-friendly ones that are now my priority)
11) Hang out with family and The Diva (so she doesn’t have a complete breakdown. I love you, sister-wife!).
12) Work out. (Ha. Hahahaha. Yeah. With what free time? I’m pretty sure the 5-7 miles I walk at work 3 times a week count for something.)
13) I’m taking a 6-week Nutrition class on Coursera (halfway through), with a Philosophy class starting in 2 weeks…
14) I’m pretty sure I’m missing something, but I can’t remember what just now…

You’ll notice this list does not include things like, oh, sleep, relax, hang out with friends. All of which are things I do try to do, too. I’ve had some stuff going on with the Sierra Club and Environment Texas. This past weekend, I had a membership class at church. I have another one next weekend.

Watching TV…sigh. It’s a good thing I have a DVR. That’s all I’m saying. Actually, I did watch two shows I had recorded on Sunday, while I was doing other things. A friend of mine called while I was watching. He asked what I was doing. When I said “Watching TV,” there was dead silence on the line for a good ten seconds, then “REALLY?!” Yeah. Before that, it had been…oh, probably a month, since I had my TV on. Money well spent on the cable bill, huh?

In short, I’d show you my daily planner, but I’m too embarrassed. It’s probably confusing to everyone but me. Plus, I’m severely OCD when it comes to my planner and it might be color coded…

So, every day, I feel like this:

"Lalalala...I've got this!"
“Lalalala…I’ve got this!”

But in reality, I look like this:

...or not...
…or not…

Playing with the Muse

Despite the stresses of this week–my aunt was just diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my best friends had brain surgery today–I managed to finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  It’s not very in-depth, only six pages long, but I think it will help me get organized to actually finish the revision (FINALLY).  I’m hoping so, anyway.

I wrote for 20 minutes or so yesterday on The Fall.  Only got a few hundred words or so, but that’s better than nothing.  Even better, I have an idea for part of the plot.  Well.  Kind of.  I think maybe it’s going to be super-important to the plot…but I could be wrong.  It has to do with an up-’til-now-unseen character that disappeared six months before.  I think I know WHY he disappeared…where he went…and even more importantly, how it ties into the larger story arc.  And here I thought he was just the used-to-be best friend.  Who knew?  My Muse, apparently….

I love the mystery and the surprises in writing.  It’s what makes the whole thing truly worthwhile and beautiful.  I love when the little things all come together and something clicks inside my head and it all makes sense.  (I just wish real life could make sense like that.)  I love when a tiny detail you thought wasn’t important turns out to be the key to everything.  I love writing.  I love creating.

I Think I Might Have Found the Solution…

…to my complete inability to get anything done writing-wise.  Something that eliminates a lot of my tendency to procrastinate, and allows me to focus on a project for a short period of time.  What is this magical solution?  Setting the timer on my phone for 30 minutes.

Yes, this is something super-simple that I probably should have thought of before, but I didn’t.  I was trying to bribe my Muse into coming to work today, and said “Okay, if I can just write for 30 minutes, I’ll be happy.”  So, I set my timer for half an hour, pulled up my manuscript of The Fall, and started writing.  I managed 3-4 pages before the timer beeped.  It was a short enough time period that I didn’t get distracted, but long enough for me to actually get something accomplished, which made me feel about a thousand times better than my usual “You lazy bum, you didn’t get any writing done at all today!” vibe.

It worked so well that I tried it twice more.  I managed to revise an entire chapter in the zombie story from 3rd-person to 1st-person POV.  And I also did 14 chapters in the revision outline for the Werewolf story (less than ten to go).  It may not work for everyone, but it’s worth a shot.

If anyone has any other ideas, ways to get over the lack of inertia and start working again, I’d LOVE to hear them!

time

 

 

Lost: one Muse. If found, please send home ASAP

I’m proud to say I’ve actually made progress this week.  Not on writing.  I haven’t done any actual writing this week.  Sigh….Muse?  Where aaaaare you?  Hello? Okay.  This is what my progress on The Fall looks like over the past few weeks:

dear cursor

You’re right:  nothing.  No writing.  But it’s only Tuesday….Apparently, my Muse has taken off for parts unknown.  Knowing my Muse, “parts unknown” is probably code for “a beach with a hammock, a never-ending margarita machine, and a cute cabana boy.”  I digress.  Where was I?  Not on a beach….

I did, however, manage to do my revision chapter outline for seven chapters of the werewolf story this morning.  I also converted an entire chapter of the zombie story from 3rd person to 1st person POV.  That’s trickier than it sounds…I’ve done short crits for two people in my writing group.  Written several blog posts for my other blogs.  And looooots of homework.   Yay for homework.  Except not.

Goals for the rest of the week:  Convert another chapter of the zombie story.  Finish the revision outline for the werewolf story.  Write another chapter of The Fall.  Survive.

 

 

Bribing Myself

So, despite loads of homework and reading for school, I managed to do mini-outlines for two more chapters in the werewolf story. Progress, although of the infinitesimal, snail-like variety. Three chapters down, 29 to go…but it will get done. And I promised my best friend/co-writer that I would convert ONE chapter of our zombie story to first-person this weekend. I’m also thinking about trying out Scrivener. Anybody out there used it or have any opinions or comments about it?

I also have this sitting on my desk, waiting to be read:

Personal bribery at its best...
Personal bribery at its best…

I know, I know. The Wheel of Time series has dragged on forever. I’ve heard all the complaints. Seen all the bad reviews for the series in general. I know. Also, I don’t care. I haven’t opened it yet. IF I get all the stuff done that I need to this weekend–homework, writing, revision, blogging, cleaning, re-decorating, planting–THEN I will start reading it. If not, well, it’ll have to wait. It’s been years since I started reading the series, I don’t think a few more days will hurt me.

I’m the tortoise

So, school started again today. Not that I went. Um, the roads were pretty crappy this morning due to a winter weather system that moved in early this morning, and after watching news and traffic reports for a while, I decided I didn’t really want to risk driving 25 miles to school on the first day of the semester. Yes, I hate missing class. But at least this was a day that would have been at least partially taken up with going over the syllabus, which I’ve already read. So instead of risking my life with crazy Texas drivers who freak out at the first snowflake (and let’s not even talk about ice), I stayed home. I did quite a bit of homework. Yeah, I know, it’s the first day of classes. But the more I get done during the week, the less I have to do this weekend. And with 17 hours this semester, there’s a lot to do.

Despite my busy schedule, I still want to keep up with my writing. That means I have to set small goals, instead of my usual over-the-top, all-or-nothing method. With that end in mind, I’ve decided to do a very brief chapter outline of the werewolf story, to make revisions a bit less overwhelming. So I outlined the first chapter today. Granted, it’s maybe 5 sentences, but it’s progress, and I plan to do more work on it the rest of the week. I also plan on converting one chapter of the zombie story to first-person each week, and I also intend to get in at least one writing session a week on the new story. In addition, I’d like to keep up a twice-weekly blogging schedule. That doesn’t sound like much, but I do have two other blogs, so that’s a bit more time-intensive.

This week I’m focusing on baby steps. The tortoise won the race, didn’t he?

Where Have I Been?

…that’s a good question. Let me see if I can give you the simplest answer. (Simple. Ha. There IS no simple answer. But I’ll try to explain.). For the first time ever, I started NaNo but didn’t finish it. I think I wrote about 18k words, and then hit a wall. Not a wall in my writing, a wall in my life. For the past four months, I’ve been struggling with depression. And also, apparently, denial. But about halfway through November, I hit this wall, and realized I wasn’t getting any better on my own. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t focus on anything (Good luck with writing…). I didn’t want to be around people. I was sad and hopeless all the time. Thank God, I have good friends, some of whom have been through this. I finally listened to them, saw a counselor and my doc, and now, six weeks later, thanks to meds and some other changes I’ve made, I’m feeling MUCH better. It’s hard to overstate just how much better I feel now. I feel like myself again. And that is SO nice.

I’ve started being active in my crit group again. I’ve started revising my Werewolf story (again). I’m even planning on starting a new story, if not today, then Saturday. And I plan to start blogging here regularly again. I’m back. You’ve been warned….