Writing Journal: Week One

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016

This is it, it’s the first day of NaNoWriMo. I’m in it. Here we go. Yessir.

I’m sitting on the couch of a dead relative, firm enough to support me and low enough to use TV trays at, on which my faithful Lenovo laptop rests. I brought this laptop with me while backpacking across Asia, uploading my travel journal at every destination on each evening, and it has never failed me. For a while the video started to fail, but I just took out all the components and reinstalled them, and it works like new. It’s my writing laptop, stripped down of all unnecessary software and apps, retaining only a secure browser, Scrivener, VLC for music, and little else. This is for serious writing.

I’ve also got my booze, can’t write without that. I bought a proper scotch tumbler because that’s the only glass that will hold the spherical ice cubes I like to make. Tonight the ice hovers in a pumpkin liqueur with a shot of Glögg. Seasonal. And I was setting up my laptop in front of the couch, when suddenly my sweet black kitty pushed his way under my arm and aggressively wedged himself onto my lap. As I’m not one to shun the kindly attention of a cat, I’m now leaning over into some pillows and reaching into space to type these words, and he’s purring contentedly, chinning my patella.

The booze is good but I’m going to need more.

I just sent a note to my writing partner, also doing NaNoWriMo, both to build some camaraderie and to motivate myself to quit dicking around and actually start writing.

This is my writing journal. I’m in a good mood, slightly sore left shoulder, belly full of leftover fish ‘n’ chips. My wife’s super supportive and excited for this month, bless her heart.

Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016

Good writing days, yesterday and today. Yesterday I just tuned out with wine and then beer, downtempo on over-ear headphones. Once again my black cat wedged himself on my lap but not in a prohibitive way, so I could still reach the laptop on the TV tray.

I’m working on several stories at once, for my collection, so it’s easy to stay fresh and motivated and excited. I’ve got humor pieces, cruelty, sexy, speculative, whatever: I can switch off and pick something up, or start something new. I have no shortage of ideas, with two filled notebooks of urges, notions, dreams, lusts, and what-ifs.

My NaNo buddy has a headache (I do so have friends) but she’s pushing through. Very brave: it’s easy to just want to duck out for a night, like if you’ve had a bad day or your head’s killing you. But she’s determined… the only risk is attaching a stigma to the writing process, but this unpleasantness will pass.

So, day three: I’m still motivated. And I’m still cranking out my story-a-day project (if three days is “cranking out”). I’m getting support from… I have this small group of giantesses, and they’re very encouraging of my work. It means the world to me, it changes everything. Sometimes they give me praise, sometimes they share ideas. But they always read, and that’s all I need: the belief that someone, somewhere is reading me. If I can convince myself of that, then I can produce quite a lot of written work, for their sake. It shouldn’t be that way, probably, I should be doing this for the intrinsic value… but this is how it is, and for now it works.

Monday, Nov. 7, 2016

Has it been a week already… well, I wrote my story-a-day thing today, so all I’ve got is an hour of NaNo hacking to bang out. I believe in myself. I believe I’ll have another drink…

How’s it been going? Well, some days are better than others. It’s not that I haven’t felt like writing, but Saturday and Sunday have been full of family obligations. I don’t feel good about telling family, “Sorry, I can’t hang out today, I’ve got to write the first draft of a novel.” That’s a choice I’m making: I’m not blaming this on anyone. I made the decision to spend the day with family rather than secure enough time to write. I own this.

Otherwise, it’s the same-ol’-same-ol’. I like one story, I work on it for a couple pages; I get tired of it, I switch off to something else for a couple pages. It’s a good system, and I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do this… except it’s easy to not really accomplish anything. You can fart around with this story or that one, rereading them to get back in the mood for them, plotting the next turn of events and extrapolate this out over a messy semi-chapter… or just think about it too hard like I’m doing right now.

I’ve been faltering, to be honest. As easy as my setup is, and as fun as it is to switch off… it’s just no replacement for telling everyone close to me to please fuck off for half a day and let me just do this thing. I think I’m going to have to start being belligerent, because people say they support this, but in practice they think nothing of asking me to do hours-long favors and giving me a look when I say I need some time to write.

Or they hold loud phone conversations in the dining room when I’m trying to write in the living room, because apparently there are no other rooms in this apartment (looks pointedly at wife, who is ignoring me).

Image: Learn Scrivener Fast.

2 thoughts on “Writing Journal: Week One

  1. Well, I’ve started working on my NaNoWriMo novel again. I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish it, but it is a real project, one I’ve thought about working on for over a decade, so NaNo or not, it will go on. I may have run out of steam, and I might be running on fumes, but those fumes might still ignite.

    That first week was made vulnerable by the election. Once it passes, and one knows the result, the whirlwind of emotions, and dealing with situations close at hand, can do nothing but take one away from writing. Only the most disciplined will write anyway, and I certainly don’t fit into that label. Not yet, anyway.

    You did well, for as long as you did. If you don’t continue during the month, those words will be waiting for you anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has to pass. You must be right about this. There’s always a period of disruption, when one moves from one city to another, or when a loved one passes away, and then life somehow, callously, moves on and we find our new level. It doesn’t feel like that right now, but I’ve seen this cycle before and it’s just a matter of time. I suppose that’s a survivable trait.

      And like the naysayers crow, “Why just November?”


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