A Tough Tuesday

It is November 2nd, and I have written nothing.  Nothing for NaNo, unsurprisingly, but also nothing for my blog or Patreon yet this week, so here I sit catching up on the word game while I have a spare hour.  Blog comes first, followed by a Patreon update, then perhaps I will grab 1500 words out of my WIP and see what I can do with them.  Alas, I suspect that by the time I get to task number three, I will run out of time.  I had all morning yesterday to write, but I forfeited it to go drive down and visit my mom, instead.  She is currently in a nursing home and rehab facility in Salamanca, so the drive was a little better than when she was in Erie.

She seems ok, same as usual, and I spent a little while trying to get her to communicate with me in some way, but nothing really came of it.  So, I got frustrated, and gave her a good firm talking to about how if she doesn’t start swallowing and speaking she’s never coming home, and then she just starts swallowing, as if showing off!  “Good, now do it with some food!” I said. 

I went to leave, and I did hug-a-head.  It’s this silly thing we have always done, where we hug each other’s head and say “Hug a head!” and then the other person says “Hug a head!” and it’s just this cutesy nonsense we have always done.  So, I hug her head, and I say “hug a head!”

And doesn’t this woman respond, raspy, but clear enough: “Hug a head!”

I screamed, and cried at the same time; I was so startled, and also happy.  When I was in Salem, I was sad because all but one of my voicemails from my mother was deleted from my phone, and I wanted to be able to hear her voice.  It made me sad that I couldn’t remember the last thing she said to me.  I know it was something along the lines of “I’m sleeping in tomorrow, so don’t come over too early…” but nothing specific.  Now, I have something!  The last thing my mother said to me was “hug a head.”  No recording, but at least I have this memory until her speech expands again. 

I drove home, and when I arrived, I noticed that my car was behaving strangely, for the third time this month.  Reluctant to return to the mechanic, I spent the time I should have been writing driving to the gas station and checking the oil…of which there was none.  I mean…zero.  Dry as a bone.

Checking the little tag from Valvoline, I discovered I should have gotten it changed about 700 miles prior.  I am, of course, unsurprised that this detail slipped my mind during the past month or so.  I got some oil and put it in and then drove back to dad’s house to borrow his car to go to work.  Then…it was time to go to work.  So, no words dropped, for anything.

At work there was a gas leak, so we had to evacuate to the community center, which caused chaos to reign, particular in my K-1 class.  Little kids suck at change in setting and activity…so, of course, we dropped them in an unfamiliar building and had them do their homework in the gym, instead of at a table in a classroom.  Many of my kiddos didn’t have homework because they were evacuated before folders were handed out, so really I just had to corral them for an hour or so.  Then the littles were taken down to the basement to a game room, and I manned a computer lab that none of them were very interested in once they discovered the computers lacked both Roblox and Minecraft. 

When I got home, I was exhausted, because I didn’t sleep much the night before.  I went to bed early, again forfeiting my writing time for the day, and slept soundly until I awoke to go get an oil change this morning.

You know, I really love my jobs.  They are both very rewarding, but on days like to day I am sad that I have so little time to devote to my writing.  Even now, it is almost 1pm, so I need to wrap this up and post it before I get ready to go.  I have just enough time to finish this and post my Patreon, but I don’t think the WIP is getting touched today.  There are just not enough hours in my days anymore.

NoNoNaNo

Earlier this month I set up my profile page for this years National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo, or henceforth, just NaNo.  I decided I would do my “final” draft of my novel, assuming as one does that by the start of November my life would be a little more in order…and it is.  However, time is now a factor.  I work every afternoon at the school, and 3-5 mornings a week at Avis.  On top of that I have writing responsibilities, household responsibilities, deep-dive motherhood on weekends, a mother who is sick in another state, and my own mental and physical well-being to deal with.  It can get overwhelming, so why am I trying to throw 1,667 words a day on top of it?

Because I am a writer, and I am crazy.

As evidenced by the fact that I’ve been up since 3am waiting to write this, but there wasn’t enough light until now at a quarter to eight.  I am really missing my office right now…it is the only thing i have missed from the old apartment.  I hate having this noisy old computer in my bedroom, and I don’t feel as much good energy as I did when there was a door that I could fling open and let in the air and sun.  I wrote the first draft of my novel there, and I am a little sad I will be finishing it elsewhere. 

But then, will I ever finish it?

I like NaNo because it pushes me to write, and I work well with deadlines.  It helps me get organized and stay focused on the task.  Last year, I ate, slept, and breathed my book throughout the month of November, and I won NaNo, and I got my +50k words.  Just like I did when I won in 2019 with my novella, The Second Before.  The following year, I planned on starting my first draft of my novel, and broke my pinky.  Then last year, I accomplished the feat.  This year…well, I think it’s a broken-pinky year.  Seriously…there is something wrong with my hand.  Same pinky, but this time it is a pain in the knuckle.  Anytime my doctor would like to call me back would be great.  But I digress…

My point is that I feel like I will maybe give it a go, but I also think it isn’t going to work out, and I don’t know if it’s my self-doubt or my psychic abilities talking this time.  Thing is, I know deep down that finishing this is my key to financial freedom…I don’t usually brag about my stuff, but if I retained wide publication with this book, Netflix would come calling.  As a theatrical person, I can confidently say it would make a great little script.  Alas, I am stalled because…life.

I think of Stephen, of course, tossing the first chapters of Carrie into the trash, certain no one would read it.  That was me, last year.  I think about JKR a lot, too (despite not wanting to anymore,) but I imagine her sitting in a little coffee shop or something penning Harry Potter on napkins and waiting for the welfare check to come in the mail.  That is me, right now. 

My book is this lovely little cup, see.  It’s a little mishappen…think of a Rae Dunn mug, Many imperfections, not quite circular, but sturdy and simple…useful.  That is what I have right now.  I mean, I started with just the lump of clay and formed me up some pottery, so I am pleased with what I have accomplished and if I stopped there, it would still be a valiant effort.  But what I want is an ornate teacup.  The teacup is beautiful and perfect and free of flaws, usually with an accompanying coaster (read: film option.)  Or maybe I want a Yeti thermos, scientifically proven to work, perfect for on-the-go situations and new opportunities (read: sequels.)  The point is that I really love Rae Dunn, but my mug needs a little more shine.

So that’s what I intend to do in November.  Provided my hands and head and stomach all get together and cooperate, but it’s been days since that happened so I am not holding out much hope.

In other news, my reading is tomorrow night, and I have it all planned and timed and everything.  I’m a little nervous, but not very.  I just kind of wish it was tomorrow already, is all.

Back in the Saddle

Where do I even start?  The move itself was hell on earth for me, but once I got settled down a little, things looked brighter.  I’ve been decorating and organizing like crazy.  I worked a lot these past coupe weeks at both jobs, so between that, my need to fully form my home, and some neuropathy/carpal tunnel/possible fractured pinky has hindered all my writing.  I did pen a little poem for my cousin though, about some sandwiches waiting for a bus. And the Patreon stayed updated.  But the blog, she was neglected.

In fact, I’m writing early Sunday morning for post on Monday because I don’t know if I will have time to sit down and write anything tomorrow.  I am surprised I can right now, actually. My hands have been the worst, and yesterday…was just terrible.

I have been quite well for the past couple months, and this flare-up came with absolutely no warning.  I woke yesterday and tried to fight it, but 10am found me at the ER, and I wasn’t home until 3ish.  Then I passed out until five.  This all would have been fine, had I not planned an epic 40th birthday for my husband last night.

Mark never had a real birthday party, so I wanted to give him one.  It was something Mom and I had planned to do together, so that made it all the more important to me. Not having her there really made me sad when the time came.  I went into full “Maureen-mode,” wanting everything to be perfect.   In the end, it was not.  The cake got burnt, most of the decorations were never hung, and I fell asleep in a chair about 30 minutes in.  Mark tucked me into bed, and then I woke up and everyone was gone. 

A nice surprise was that his sisters came to town to surprise him, which is a big deal to Mark.  He misses his family a lot, but we hardly see them because we frankly don’t have the car to make the trip often.  And they hardly come here, what with their gaggles of children and jobs and such.  So, it was a lovely surprise that they came to visit, and I really wish I didn’t have to work in two hours and could spend some time with them.

Still, I am sad, and depressed, and angry.  Sad because I missed the party I planned so hard for.  Depressed because I feel like I let Mark and other folks down.  And angry, because OF COURSE my stupid stomach had to act up.  When I called Dad for a ride to the hospital, he said that it was because of the stress I put myself under for the party, and he’s right, but it’s not just the party.  It’s that, plus work, plus a new apartment.  It was just too much.  I thought had it under control, but I need to remember that I just can’t take on the amount of things I used to, because the stress monster comes and makes me sick. 

So I am very sad I have no recollection of my husband’s first birthday party.  I am glad, however, that we have the kind of family and friends that swooped in to make things right for him when I could not.  Just the other day, Mark had concerns: will anyone show up?  Did I invite everyone I wanted to?  What if there’s not enough food? Wait, people are bringing gifts?! Why are you making cake if I don’t like cake?  I basically had to break down birthday parties for him, but when I woke last night at 1030, here is what I found:  a tipsy (but not wasted) guy enjoying his friends and family that were still there. Smiley and content, he showed off his presents like a little kid would.  Then, they decided to go to the casino, and I went back to bed.  I made him promise to be home before morning, and found him today snoring on the sofa,  I leaned in and whispered “did you have a good night?”  He smiled, nodded, and rolled over.  Good.  That all I wanted, really. 

Anyway, as you can see, I have my computer back together, and my hands are somewhat on the mend, so I intend to return to regular blogging on Mondays and Thursdays,  Patreon updates are always Wednesday, but if I get five more subscriptions that will get bumped up a bit (and I can also offer merch!)  And as for writing, the two things I will be working on are preparation for my reading on the 28th, and trying to decide if I’m going to do NaNo…I’d love to hit up my final draft with it. We shall see, since I can’t get in to my doctor until January and these hands just will not cooperate. (On that note…anybody have extra hand braces?  Mine were lost in the move.)

Well, that’s all…Happy Sunday. No…Monday.  You’re reading this on Monday.

NaNo21: The Final Countdown

I will admit it was a slow week, what with Thanksgiving smack dab in the middle of it.  Last Tuesday I dropped a couple thousand words, and then on Wednesday I hit 45k.  This was a big moment, because it meant I was in the home stretch.  Ideally, I wanted to be done by today’s blog post, so I could celebrate here…alas, Thanksgiving.

See, I didn’t expect to write that day.  We went to my mother’s in the morning for breakfast and I watched the parade and then I showered and ran errands and got dressed and it was back to mom’s for dinner.  That night was the Bills game, and I thought maybe I could get a few words in then, but I fell asleep…damn tryptophan. 

The next day, I picked K up early to come over and help me decorate for Christmas.  Then, I had lunch with Sahar because she was in town for the holiday, and then Mark, K, and I decorated the tree.  The house was bumping all night with visitors, from Bern and Erin to Carey, so we were busy, and so…no words.

On Sunday I woke up early and dropped around 800 words, kicking off the last chapter of act 2. In the afternoon, I took K shopping and dropped her home, then managed a few more that night, but not much as I was so tired.  Carey was over a few times as well, since someone she was close to had passed over the weekend.  So mostly, I just stayed on my sofa on Sunday night.

Now, Monday morning, my projected finish date, and I’m not done.  Yes, I have until tomorrow at 11:59pm, but I’d like to not be writing down to the wire.  Right now, I have a little less than 3k to go, which I can do on a good day, no problem.

But is today a good day?  We’ve yet to see.  I have a big cup of coffee, and I took a pain med for my back which gets sore in my desk chair, so I am ready to try and conquer this bad boy.  Wish me luck, and happy Monday!

Drug of Choice

Sure, my experience with drugs is fairly limited.  I’ve smoked pot, so I know what that’s like.  And I’ve gotten copious amounts of morphine and dilaudid due to my stomach condition, so I know what a temporary rush those can be.  Somewhere along the line, I stumbled across an article telling me that most people who have been on SSRIs for a long time cannot get the chemical high associated with most uppers and psychedelics.  So, that wiped all other curiosities off the table with the rationalization that trying anything else would be a risky waste of time and money.

However, there is one dragon I will chase until the day I die, and that is the writer’s high.

You’ve heard of a runner high, I’m sure, and I assume this is similar, though I don’t know because I only run if something Is chasing me.  I know it has something to do with a release of endorphins to the brain, but I’m not sure what triggers it all of the time.  But me, I’ve been getting high every day for the past week.

It happens when I finish writing a scene, and I edit it really quick.  I don’t do extensive edits during the first draft because the goal is just to get the words on the paper, but I will read it back and clean it up a little.  When I’m done, and I save it, and input my count on the NaNo website, I feel a rush come at me and the next thing you know I am literally dancing around the office because I can’t sit still.

I asked Twitter when they experience this, and folks said it happens once in a while, or when they finally publish.  Now, I know the publishing high, too, but this is different.  The publishing high is great because you can tell your family and friends about it and they get really happy for you, but the writer’s high is a little more personal.  I can’t very well call Kevin every time I write a scene and ask him to celebrate with me.  Instead, I celebrate alone, in my own little happy ways.

I wrote two scenes so far today, and both left me feeling on top of the world.  They weren’t even what I would consider good, they are just words on the paper, but that is enough for a first draft.  I am currently 5k away from my goal, and roughly 25k from the end of the novel, and I am dying to find out what the “completion high” will feel like again, especially with such a large work this time. 

Anyways, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to watch a parade and stuff my face with turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving!

NaNo21, Week 3

Yay!  No illness!  Only progress!

On Tuesday last week, I finished the first part of my novel. I did a literal happy dance around the office, because I felt like the Flippin’ Queen of the World.  This inspired a blog post about the “writer’s high,” but I’m going to talk to you about that on Thursday, because today is, of course, NaNo update day.

So, after I passed my part one, I rolled on in to the start of part two. I wrote a few words on Wednesday to start the chapter, but also updated my book playlist with some new tunes to pump me up while I write.  On Thursday I managed to cram in three sessions, and realized I was becoming addicted to the story (again…more on this in Thursday’s blog.)  On Friday I thought I wouldn’t have time to write all weekend, but then somehow I was able to run right past 40k last night, leaving me 8 days to write 10k words.

Right now, I have about 10 chapters, each coming in around 4k. I’m almost halfway through part two, and then there will be the epilogue, and then it will be done.  The full first draft probably won’t be done by the end of the month, but I am fairly certain I’m going to get the 50k by the 30th, and that is the goal of NaNoWriMo.

Anyways, I am off to pen some more words for the novel I am craving.  Come back Thursday to hear about how writing is like drugs.  Happy Monday!

NaNo21, Week 2

This week only yielded 5000 words, which was disheartening.  I was quite sick, however, which was no surprise to me, because honestly, I budgeted for this.  Maybe not an entire week where I was in the ER every other day, but alas I went hard during week one because I knew it would happen.  I sensed it.  I just can’t sense it in time to turn it off, I guess.

Stomach issues aside, it was a very difficult 5k to pen.  It’s a matter of wrapping up the action of part one and moving on to the events in part two.  New characters are being introduced, and plot devices are being thrown around to get us from point A to point B.  I finished up a great deal of research for a couple of my characters, and there was much planning for the lead-in of part 2, so as far as thought-processes go, it was a good writing week.  The thinking bit I was able to do.  The part where I actually sit down at the computer and type is slightly more difficult.  Even as I write this blog, I feel my wrists ache and fingers grow tired.  I’m just not functioning at 100% yet, and that’s fine, but it makes me feel behind schedule, which I hate. 

One of my NaNo buddies won last night.  She crossed the finish line in two weeks.  I won’t compare myself, because I know she doesn’t have the things in her life that I have in mine to keep me from writing, but I am using her as a sort of reminder to keep going.  In 2019 I finished early, by almost a week, so I know how proud she must be of herself right now.  I know I will be equally proud, whether I finish by Thanksgiving or at 11:59pm on November 30th.  Either way, I will be bouncing off the walls.

So, last weeks pitiful work did bring me up to the halfway mark 2 days early.  That was something to be proud of.  Now, here I am with half a month left and half a book to write. 

So why am I wasting time with you guys?  J/K.  You know I love my blog readers most.

NaNo21, Week 1

I’m starting to write this on Friday afternoon and will likely finish it Monday morning, but here’s how things are going so far:  I just passed 20k.  Really hopeful to crank out that extra 5k before Monday, because then I would be halfway done in a week.  However, I’m hitting some snags…some parts I’m not sure how to work with.

Firstly, my characters are getting out of hand.  See, when I write, I often feel almost possessed by some spirit who does the typing for me.  I don’t know where my ideas come from, truly.  I just let my fingers do the walking, and then I read back these pieces and wonder who composed them.  My characters themselves are the biggest spirits…I don’t know how I create them, they are just there.  They simply exist, and tell me their stories, and I oblige. 

My cousin Erin says it kinda freaks her out.  Kinda freaks me out, if I’m honest.

Anyways, my characters have been making several changes to the script lately and have forced me to go hard into research mode.  However, this has led me to some wonderful interactions with some wonderful people, so that bit I do enjoy.

Hi, It’s Tuesday.  I’m still at 20k, and if you can guess why, then you must be a constant reader of this blog.  Today I feel like death, of course, but better than I had, and I am pleased that I got out the first 20k as fast as I did, because I knew deep down that there would be a hold up. 

I, of course, didn’t blog yesterday either, so here we are, one week and one day into National Novel Writing Month.  I didn’t hit halfway in a week like I planned, but I did get almost the first part done so that’s a win.  Only another chapter or so to go on this section and then I can move on to part two, where the action really picks up.  That should be an exciting challenge, because my last little book was so introspective that there wasn’t a lot of outside drama…meanwhile, this tale is filled with it.  It has made it so much fun to write, that even when I was sick yesterday I was still thinking about it and wishing I could get to the computer to type. 

I’m thinking about it now.

I might end this here.  Might drop a couple paragraphs before I run out of steam. 

Happy NaNo, my friends.

Autumn Housekeeping

Originally, I was going to do NaNo updates on Thursdays like I did the past two years, but then I realized I already wrote about it on Monday, and also that’s when it started, so if I cover it on Mondays, it makes more sense.

So, what am I supposed to write about today?

I could write about the mayoral election which resulted in Byron Brown declaring victory before the votes were counted, which really plays right into what I expect from that guy.  Can’t accept that primary loss but will jump right in and assume he’s the winner after a write-in campaign that has yet to be certified.  Whatever.  I can wait.

I could write about my stomach, which has been quite good lately, knock on wood.  I’ve been on a new pill for about a month and have had few problems and am both optimistic and waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Overall, I feel pretty good and am trying to do things like live a normal life and eat the occasional cheeseburger.

I could write about writing, of course, in the non-NaNo sense…but not much there.  Just the blog, and the weekly Patreon.  Oh!  I did get a TikTok and you can find me @hamneggs716 (of course.)  I will occasionally read poetry for you, if you’re interested.  Other than regular old promoting myself (which I can’t stand, but do admit I’m getting better at,) I’ve just been doing research and work on my NaNo WIP.  Which I will tell you about on Monday.

So, that leaves nothing else to write about, so I will say goodbye and go back to work on my book and maybe make a fresh pot of coffee.

Happy Thursday!

NaNoWriMo 2021

I don’t intend to write much here today because…well, it’s November.  Which means NaNoWriMo, which means hours in front of my computer, deep in my novel.  On Thursday, I will be updating with my progress reports that I do to hold myself accountable while I attempt to finish this challenge.  Today I am writing about it simply because it is 930am on November 1st, and I haven’t even opened my notes yet. 

I’m going to take a second to teach you some NaNo terminology.  There are pantsters and there are planners.  Planners have outlines and character development and notes and dialogue and concepts all on paper before they write a word.  Pantsers pretty much just say screw it, and sit down to write…flying by the seat of their pants, if you will.  I, however, am what is referred to as a plantser, meaning I have everything planned out way ahead of time but don’t really know what’s going to happen until I sit down to write. 

During my first NaNo attempt I wrote a novella called The Second Before.  It ended up vastly different on November 30th than it was on November 1st.  It was a surprise to me, and really made me think about my writing process.  Sometimes I get so caught up in my story it just falls out of my fingers and I wonder who wrote it in the first place. 

I recently published a short story on my Patreon called The Lucky Virgin, and the few who read it adored it.  This is one of those pieces that I honestly don’t remember writing…it’s as if some spirit took over my keyboard. I read some of it back to myself and thought “damn that’s good.”  God…I love that feeling.

Anyways, my fingers are already kind of tired and I have damn near 2k words to write today, so I bid you adieu.  I hope this month brings you joy and hard work, like it will for me.  (And maybe this year, no broken fingers.)