And then the first shoe dropped

You just can't trust yourself when you don't sleep - apparently it turns you into a sociopath with dissociative identity. And an obsession for making up rules.

You just can’t trust yourself when you don’t sleep – apparently it turns you into a sociopath with dissociative identity. And an obsession for making up rules.

So I had promised myself I would write every day this month, but to be honest, on Wednesday I was knackered. Technically I’ve skipped also Thursday because it’s 3AM on a Friday now, but I don’t believe in technicalities. Day isn’t over until I go to sleep. Which I’m going to do right now, otherwise it becomes a slippery slope. I’ve pulled this kind of bullshit before, I stay awake all night working on something and I’m like, yeah, just one night, no biggie. Then the day after I consume ridiculous amounts of caffeine to keep myself in an upright position and by the time I should be going to sleep again I’m too supercharged to even consider it. And then the thing goes on until I collapse or something, which I hear isn’t super healthy.

I’m off to bed now, which is kind of a nuisance because I’m totally on a roll and haven’t finished my piece yet. But whatever, I’m sleepy and if it’s good it’ll still be there tomorrow. And if it’s bad, sleepless minds are not the best judges so I wouldn’t be able to notice it and this would be a waste of time. So goodnight, and if you want in the meantime you can read the first 500 or so words. Yep, it’s happening, I’m cheating by posting only the first part of what I’ve written and keeping the rest for tomorrow so that I have backup in case I can’t get anything more down. It’s my blog, I can make my own rules!

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Roar!

I wonder if today's weather might have in some way influenced my story...

Wonder if today’s weather might have influenced my story in any way…

I think it’s become pretty clear that my day job is becoming a hindrance to my writing. At least when the objective is to write a minimum amount every single day. I guess I could just quit my job and become a full time writer, but then again I would probably find some other excuse, like how difficult it is to write when it’s cold and rainy and you live under a bridge.

I actually had a couple of classes cancelled today so I ended up getting home pretty early and on my way here I thought how lucky I was! Today I won’t reduce myself to writing at midnight and being super-cranky! So I got home at about 5:30, turned on the computer, sat myself on the sofa and began procrastinating. I read a couple of interesting New Yorker articles, an old interview of Terry Pratchett by Cory Doctorow, checked my Facebook news feed, checked my Twitter notifications, read some other blogs on WordPress and all in all managed not to write a single word for three full hours.

Then the love of my life got home and I admitted that a) I was feeling uninspired and b) I was hungry. We ended up having dinner watching last week’s Doctor Who. And I thought, this is it. I’m actually going to sink the project this time. So I went anachronistic, grabbed a notebook and a pen and locked myself up in the only room in the house that provided no distractions: the bathroom. There I sat, pen resting on my lips, cogs turning in my head, just the sound of the rain and passing cars to keep me company

I wasn’t surprised by the outcome. Just like yesterday, I apologise in advance for the lack of editing. I’ll try to fix these over the weekend.

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Moonlighting

Alas, missed the midnight deadline for a blink of an eye!

Alas, missed the midnight deadline for a blink of an eye!

I had the most annoying case of lightning writer’s block. All the way home from work and while doing a couple of urgent chores I had this situation in mind, which was probably set in the same world as Eskarena and the Imaginarium and could have been an interesting chapter one. But as soon as I sat in front of the screen the idea started weakening, I realized I hadn’t thought through any of the details and got hopelessly lost at about 150 words in.

So I decided it was destiny, opened a new file and started an entirely different thing. An odd piece that appeared to deal with compulsive behaviours and boring summer afternoons. But that turned out to be a dead end too. I was ready to throw in the towel. My number one fan kept trying to motivate me, suggesting I should write about sexy female vampires, or sexy witches, or sexy female vampires with sexy witches, but I had to turn down all of those ideas despite being aware of just how marketable they would be.

But then, after staring aimlessly outside the window and smoking a nasty cancer stick, a memory emerged. And it led me to another memory. And then another one. And then I knew what I was going to write today.

I haven’t edited it at all, so I can only imagine how dreadful the syntax and grammar must be, but bear with me. It’s past midnight, I’m exhausted and a long day awaits me tomorrow!

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First world problems

Evidence A of the subject's absolute lack of dark, depressing thoughts

Evidence A of the subject’s absolute lack of dark, depressing thoughts

So today didn’t go quite as well as yesterday. I was really hoping to get so much writing done I would go on right past midnight and end up having also enough material for tomorrow too – see, it’s not cheating, it’s being exceedingly precise about time. Now despite whatever I may have written in my ramblings yesterday, I did consider trying to get a novel out of that piece. I was ready to set up a whole world around the Imaginarium, with Eskarena and Haikand’s walk in the woods as a prologue. But try as I might, today I just couldn’t delve any deeper in it. I stared at a mostly white with some dark symbols screen for hours at end. Hadn’t been doing that since the days when I was playing KoL. The staring at a mostly white screen, I mean.

Great, now I want to play KoL.

So anyway, after hours of being snubbed by every muse in the area, I just ended up with a writing exercise. Describe an absolutely ordinary situation as if it were extraordinary. And when I read what I wrote I figured out what might be the problem. I’m really, really happy. I know, I know. Woe is she, so happy that she can’t write, some people have real problems yada yada yada. I know that. But for most of my life I had planned an Eleanor Rigby scenario for myself, and in a way my writing drew from it. I don’t write about happiness, it tends to be far too conclusive for my taste, like a Disney spin on folk tales. Now, if I could just direct your attention to that picture  in the top left, that’s me when my head is filled with flying ponies and marsh mallows. And writing in those moments can be a bit challenging. It’s not that it’s impossible, I was happy yesterday too. It’s just that it tends to be a lottery, some days I’m having wild ideas erupting from my brain so fast I can barely get them written down on time and others, well, they’re more of the “hearts and arrows” persuasion.

Trust me, I’m not complaining. It’s the type of problem I can live with.

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Down the rabbit hole

#NotNaNoWriMo begins! And what an unexpectedly prolific beginning it was!

#NotNaNoWriMo begins! And what an unexpectedly prolific beginning it was!

Well, OK.

I’ll admit I wasn’t particularly optimistic about this project. And to be entirely fair, it’s far too early to say that this enterprise won’t sink. I can already see lots and lots of icebergs ahead. But at least I started, right on time.

First day of November, first 500 written words. Actually, more like 800+, a fact you may have no doubt I will soon use as an excuse to write far less in the days that are to come!

My biggest concern was that I haven’t actually written anything in a while (no, years) so didn’t think I had any stories in me at the moment. Sometimes while walking home from work I would try to create plot lines in my head but nothing would come. So today, when I found myself sitting in front of a blank page, I was pretty much ready to give in, white flag et all.

And then the first paragraph just appeared in my head. And right after that a name. OK, the name was lifted, to be completely honest, from Terry Pratchett’s Equal Rites, but it was by pure chance! I read that book ages ago, and the name just suited my protagonist perfectly! Then after the name came the rest. I started typing and typing and from without even knowing where it was going I suddenly got to have a precise setting and an ending. Well, the final result is definitely not Discworld material, but rather Philip K. Dick inspired. (In case you were wondering, I did not leave it blank. But telling you which author it is would be a dead giveaway! If you don’t mind spoilers, just highlight that blank space. Otherwise do it after reading my piece and see if you guessed it right.)

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Challenge not accepted!

Time to get creative

Time to get creative! Time to do stuff! Time to dig out your crayons and doodle!

See, in films there comes a point, approximately 65% into it, that the protagonist just knows they have to push further, overcome their insecurity and do what they’ve never dared do before. And it’s easy to see it coming. First of all, it’s a freakin’ film, which means you can see how much time has passed and how much film is left. Secondly, there’s a series of key factors that have been popping up since the very beginning, then by the X hour there’s a crescendo and the character’s change of heart or sudden boost of confidence or whatever becomes inevitable. Seriously, after that many hints it would be like trying to stop evolution. And finally, for those who need a more in-your-face clue, the music tells you. (Perhaps that makes it more, like, in-your-ear?)

But I digress. I started this blog three weeks ago and I have only written the one post. Which makes this my very second post. Don’t get me wrong, that is an extraordinary accomplishment for me, two posts in less than one month? Crazy talk! Two posts in the same year? Phoooey! Yeah, I’m over my average, but the whole point to this enterprise was to change my nasty habit of starting something and not finishing it.

So I was flipping through the pages of my work diary to see if I could “pencil in” being creative and writing something on here. I figured on Tuesdays I finish work early, and on Mondays and Thursdays I have long breaks between one lesson in a company and another. With a tablet I could be super-productive and write loads, loads I say! Except I used to have a tablet and my productivity was close to nil. There were so many other things I could do that took up all the precious time I should’ve spent writing, so ha. Anyways, as I was saying, flipping through my diary I was when I realized we were nearing the end of October. Which meant next month is November. And you know what that means: NaNoWriMo!

What better way to force myself to finally stop piling excuses and trying to write the friggin’ novel I’ve always meant to write? Last time I took part to a writing challenge I actually did get stuff done! Granted, it was flash fiction, the theme was winter and I practically ripped off a classic myth, but the words were pouring out, and I did finish it! And just to brag a little, I also won the challenge. And just to brag a little more, here’s a link if you want to read it.

But then my instincts kicked in, and I started piling excuses. At the end of the day, I really do have too much going on at the moment. But here is my plan, I will NotNaNoWriMo! (If that hashtag doesn’t exist, it totally should.) 1700 words a day is not realistic for me, not at this stage of my life. Look at me, I’m struggling to get this post online and they’re what? 600 words? So here’s my objective: I will write at least 500 words a day for the entire month of November. They may or may not be all tied up together in a novel. They may or may not just be plot outlines for 30 short stories. They may or may not be a bunch of crap. But I’m doing this. I’m writing the hell out of November, or at least I’ll be writing more than I have in any of the past Novembers of my life.

And that must count for something, right?
Right?