Just Another Day

Everyday Life, Writing Life

Me: (making a cup of green tea after 2 cups of coffee) I’ve already written 1000 words this morning and committed a heinous act of violence!

Mom: (not looking up from her newspaper) Well, easy come, easy go.

Let me know if you have family and friends who are not impressed when you tell them one of your characters has murdered another because it’s just another day at the office for them.

New Year’s Resolutions

Writing Life

I have never successfully been able to keep any new year’s resolutions except the one I made back in 2013 when I told myself I would either make my life better or kill myself. Somewhere in there I decided I wasn’t done living and I successfully did that (made my life better) and that, at the time was really hard. So why could I do the really hard stuff but not the easy stuff like give up soda and go for a walk every day?

I’ve had these goals for a long time now and I really don’t want to write them out again for another year of “failure” but for posterity, here’s what I’ve tried to do for the last 4 years:

1. Lose 50lbs

2. Practice yoga every day

3. Walk every day (even when it’s gross and rainy)

4. Write every day

5. Find a day job that supports my writing

6. Read more books

7. Clean my house regularly

8. Stop dwelling on past mistakes and embarrassments, live life in the present moment

9. Meditate every day

10. Deepen my spiritual/religious practices

11. Teach myself how to play a musical instrument.

Here’s why I couldn’t do all those things last year (not that these are excuses but…)

My job took up most of my time so I couldn’t write, exercise, or clean every day or read books because I was always working.

When I decided to put time away for writing because writing is important, I sacrificed exercise/yoga time, meditation time, time with Mr. J, and, of course, cleaning time to write.

When I changed jobs and went back to school for more medical certifications, all my extra time went to studying, practicing, and writing.

When I got a job with more reasonable hours I spent my extra time obsessing about how much that job annoyed me and all my extra energy went to finding a solution and getting out.

SO now I’m at the beginning of another year with a completely clean slate, a brand new, fresh start.

How am I going to fuck it up?

I completely resonate with the statement: insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. So I am extremely determined this year to change what I’ve been doing and hopefully I’ll reach some of my goals.

The first thing I’ve done is started early, which may or may not be cheating on the whole new year thing, I don’t know and I don’t care. I’ve changed my diet exponentially, by going Whole30. I’m not expecting the weight to fly off but my digestion has greatly improved since I started almost 20 days ago. (And I’ve lost 5 pounds so…)

In December 2018 I moved back in with my mom because Mr. J is being transferred away for work and I decided would be easier for me to live with my mom–rent free–than get an apartment just for me while Mr. J is away working.

Moving in with my mom fixed several of the problems I had fulfilling my new year’s resolutions:

I won’t have to cook for myself. And no, I am not ashamed to say my mom still makes my meals even though I’m 32. I am not ashamed because I am a TERRIBLE cook. Ask anyone. Ask Mr. J. He’ll tell you. It’s for the best, really.

My mom is a yoga teacher. I have zero excuses to not do yoga.

My mom lives in a neighborhood where there are actually nice places to walk (the place I used to live was fine but it was next to a highway and there was literally no place to walk).

It’s going to take time and discipline but I believe that if I don’t find a job that stresses me the fuck out I will be able to start devoting more time to things I enjoy. Like yoga and walking.

And here are the negatives of living with my mom:

I’m not living with Mr. J anymore which makes me very sad (we’re still very much married and we talk every day but his absence from my life is, at its worst, debilitatingly painful).

My mom is a hoarder.

No one gets under your skin quite like family.

Write every day: I was doing pretty good in November 2018, I even won nanowrimo. When I moved in December I had to put writing on the back burner because my mom needed help cleaning her house. I’ve slowly been trying to add writing back into my “daily routine” but living in a clean, de-cluttered house is more important that writing.

Find a day job to support my writing: before I moved in my mom told me her house wasn’t that bad, that she’d been working on it since I cleaned out half of the clutter in 2016. When I came home I discovered all the space I had cleared out had filled back up. So when I saw how much work I had ahead of me I told my mom I wasn’t going to get a job until I got her house completely de-cluttered and re-organized. Because I cannot work a full time schedule AND get rid of a shit ton of garbage. It’s too much.

Read more books: well, you can always read more books so that’s kind of like an unobtainable goal but last year I didn’t read very much and this year, if I am determined to up my writing game, I have to read, read, read. So that’s what I’m going to do. And reading will provide a great escape for when my depression and anxiety get bad. (So does tying knots. Once, when I was having a really bad panic attack, Mr. J sat me down and re-taught me how to tie a bowline knot. Tie the knot, untie the knot. Tie the knot, untie the knot. I carry paracord in my purse.)

Stop dwelling on past mistakes and embarrassments, live life in the present moment: I think I will always be working on this. My anxiety and depression manifest when I remember all the stupid shit I’ve done. I get triggered really easily and since I’ve moved back into the house I grew up in, I’ve found a lot of things that remind me of all the things I’d rather not remember. It’s hard to live in the present moment when all you think about is how shitty your childhood was.

SO what am I going to do to succeed this year and actually fulfill my new year’s resolutions?

1. Clean my mom’s house. (As of Dec. 31, 2018, I only have 1 room to go!)

2. Dedicate time to write, practice yoga, and meditate. I don’t care how busy my schedule gets. If it’s important to me I can make the time for it.

3. Follow the Whole30 diet and stay away from things that fuck up my digestion. Including bread and pastries.

4. Don’t be a home body like I was when I was living with Mr. J and get out of the house. I can use the library as my office, like Ray Bradbury did.

5. Mr. J gave me the first 5 volumes of Goblin Slayer so I have plenty of books to read.

6. Forgive myself for all the stupid shit I’ve done and move on with my life. (Easier said than done, I know, but I’ve got to start somewhere.)

7. And somewhere in there I’m going to re-learn music theory and teach myself how to play a musical instrument…yeah…

Happy New Year! Keep on keeping on!

2019 Writing Goals

Writing Life

As the new year rolls around I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to spend all of my 2019 future time. I don’t know what this year is going to be. Happy, sad, vicious, exhausting. Lonely? Definitely. But determined and pernicious also.

So, here’s a tentative list of all the writing projects I want to complete and publish before this same time next year:

Havoc’s Moon (Slaughter Chronicles Book 1): paranormal horror

Resonance: stand alone sci-fi novel

Here and Away (The Heart of the Forest Cycle Book 1): urban fantasy

2 Slaughter Chronicles short stories

Another Slaughter Chronicles novella

So that’s 6 things. I have never completed 6 works in progress before. I’ve already got one of the short stories done, more on that later, so really I only have 5 but still, I am being extremely ambitious right now.

I also want to write more poems. Even though I revamped my two poetry collections last year, I have only written like maybe 4 new poems since 2016. I need to fix that.

But the biggest thing that I want to do is change who I am as a writer–not change my writing style or anything–I want to be a bigger, badder writer. I want to be a braver, more fearless writer. I want to make writing a happy thing.

Right now, whenever I sit down to write, all the negative thoughts–

This is shit

No one will like this

You’re doing it wrong

–can’t leave me alone and sometimes I don’t have the strength to push them away.

I want to be a stronger writer.

I also want to win camp nanowrimo this year. And nanowrimo again in November.

That’s it, simple right?

Let’s make it happen.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What’s gonna happen to all these books when I die?

Writing Life

This is going to be more of a personal blog and less technical writing stuff or nanowrimo progress stuff.

Trigger warning for death. I will be writing about my feelings about death. My feelings about death might not be the same as your feelings about death. That is okay. If thinking about death makes you uncomfortable you might not want to read this.

So I think about dying every day. I think about how I might die: I get hit by a car while driving, someone shoots up my place of work, inclement weather throws a building on me, I spontaneously combust or catch the plague, I drown, I get hit by a car or a bus while not driving. You get the idea, there’s lots of ways to die.

And because I think this way I try my best not to get too stressed out about things (maybe death thoughts are a holistic way to cope with my anxiety) and tell Mr. J and the cats that I love them as many times as possible because. I take the saying: ‘dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.’ I also really like: ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst.’ All the while I try to exist in the world as a not-depressed person.

So back to the question at hand. What is going to happen to all my books, all these projects I’m spending my time, love and tears on? I don’t have children and I don’t want children. My mother will hopefully die before I do so I can sell her house and pay off my student loans so they won’t go to her. My cousins and their children will probably not be interested in some distant relative’s self-published poetry. I have no idea what will happen to my digital book babies when I die.

And what if I did die tomorrow, Mr. J would be left with 11 unfinished manuscripts and nothing to do with them. I know some people who want their work published posthumously by a trusted party. I am not one of those people. If it’s mine and it’s not finished, don’t publish it. Because it’s not finished and I don’t want unfinished, sloppy work under my name.

I do know that once something is up on the internet it can be hard to get it off, so that’s comforting, I guess. But how to keep it from disappearing into the either? This is where traditional publishing is handy because you have someone else keeping your work in their archives if they decide to stop printing/distributing.

But I’m thinking 100 years in the future. Will my books still be on iBooks or Barnes and Noble’s nook store? The hope is yes.

But will the world still be around in 100 years? Will the internet still be around? I hope so.

But if not and the apocalypse happens when I’m an 80 old lady I will have to suicide out because fuck it I have arthritis and I’m not going to run around killing zombie mutants with my bad hip. Some aspiring, young adventurer will stumble upon my domicile and find a big 3-ring binder full of printed out copies of every word I’ve ever written and think, “I can make a fire!” And I’m glad that person would be warm that night. But still.

So if my work is going to be either burned for fuel or simply get deleted with a website goes offline forever AND if I could die today or tomorrow and my projects will never get done and it might not even matter if they do, then why am I wasting my time writing?

1. Because I’m writing for me. For now. I want my stories in my head out on paper for me to read in the now (the generalized now, not the now now).

2. It’s either this or binge watch Netflix and at least this way I won’t be napping all the time and my brain won’t rot.

3. I need something creative to do while I work at my day job (not at the same time, obviously. Though it would be awesome to tell a patient, “hey, I can’t give you a shot right now, I have to finish this chapter.”)

4. I’ve always been a writer. I was a writer when I was 4 and wrote my very first fan fiction (How Spider Saved Halloween, based on the book How Spider Saved Christmas by Robert Kraus) so I can’t really stop now.

5. And even though sometimes I am very cruel to myself about it, writing is fun.

6. My mom likes my stories.

7. You might like my stories too.

GO OUT THERE AND BE DEATH POSITIVE!

My Inner Editor

Writing Life

My inner editor looks like me only a little older, she is future me yelling at present me for all the mistakes I will make when I start writing.

On the plus side, my inner editor knows her stuff. She knows how to catch mistakes and detach herself well enough to catch most plot holes and inconsistencies.

On the minus side, I do this to myself every day; I am constantly berating and bullying myself–my past self–for the mistakes I made. Sometimes they’re yesterday’s mistakes but mostly they’re mistakes I made YEARS ago that probably no one remembers or even cares about anymore. No one but me.

So my inner editor is a reflection of one of my worst habits, which is self-bullying.

I love writing. I love it so much I don’t care if I’m “good” or “bad” at it. I think if you love something and it gives you joy you should do it regardless of what standards the “industry,” society, or whoever else you value holds you to. So why do I constantly tell myself this isn’t good or that isn’t good or something similar? Why do I do that so much that approaching my keyboard and the blank page becomes daunting and I get no enjoyment from the thing that used to keep me going during really tough bouts of depression?

It’s irrational and it’s mean. And I’ve often found that I have been meaner to myself than anyone else has been. So why do I do that?

I think partly because I’m not mindful enough, I’d rather think about all the things I have to do and get mildly anxious about not having enough time to do all the things than actually doing all the things. Because I’m scared that when the thing is done it won’t be good.

But if the thing isn’t good I can fix it because it’s MY thing and I have that power. So why do I still behave so irrationally?

Years of doing it and I don’t know how to stop? A little nervousness and discomfort is healthy?

You can’t have happy without suffering but this is definitely unnecessary suffering.

One of the things I like about National Novel Writing Month is that the pace keeps you so busy you don’t have time to indulge in those negative thoughts. Especially if you have things to do outside of writing, like raising another human being or paying the bills.

While your inner editor is a good thing to have on hand it definitely has its place and editing/revising is different from creating content. Yes you can edit as you create and sometimes that’s the best thing to do but other times it can slow you down and discourage you. You have to find a happy medium and it’s really hard to do that sometimes because feelings and desires.

I try my best to ignore my inner editor or tell her, “Hey, that’s cool, I’ll get to it later.” And when she screams at me to do it now I slam a door in her face. I don’t know if that’s the healthiest way to cope with my self-bullying because those thoughts always come back but it’s something that works for now.

The things I try to keep telling myself when I feel like I can’t do it anymore are:

YOU WANT TO WRITE.

YOU LIKE YOUR STORY, YOU WANT TO TELL IT.

YOU ARE HAVING FUN.

IT’S GOING TO GET BETTER.

Now go write!