Thoughts on Writing

A good friend of mine recently took a week off and rented a cabin out in the woods entirely by herself. She realized she hadn’t been taking much time for herself, and decided to take the week to give her some time to do the things she wants to do more of and doesn’t have time in real life. One of those is writing.

This really resonated with me. When I was younger, back in the days before widespread home computers (I think about this on occasion, and my mind is boggled, but that’s a side issue), I used to write recreationally. I had spiral bound notebooks full of stories. My hand writing was actually legible. I continued this into college. While I did work my tail off when I was in college, I still had the free time a child has, and I took advantage of that to write. After my sophomore year, that happened on my own personal computer that I bought with that summer’s earnings. I dabbled in fan fiction. (Not sure if it’s still available online – that particular fandom is pretty dormant.) I had a couple different ideas for novels that I have chunks of written. (For fiction, I’m not a very linear writer – I come up with scenes, write them out, and figure out the joins later.) I got a faculty nomination to be a tutor in our writing center, which I’ll be honest, was one of the most flattering awards I got in college. But the point is, I wrote all the time.

I miss it. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment that my writing dropped off, but it wasn’t that far into my working career. I’ve always had office jobs, so I’m on a computer all day. I pretty much never write longhand anymore, and my handwriting has definitely suffered for it. I have moments where I get into a bit more – when I first started this blog, I used to write more detailed posts, especially around travel. But I’m more likely just to post pictures from my travel days now.

So what can I do about it? First thing – I need to make my home computer desk more ergonomic. I’m typing this today during a break at work, because I have a desk here that has been perfectly customized for all my ergonomic needs, and I can sit here and type for hours (I’d really prefer not to, of course, but I could). My desk at home is a little too high for long term typing. It’s fine for formatting pictures and paying the bills, but I can really feel it after I’ve even just composed a longer than average email. It’s not an automatic desk, but it can be adjusted. I need to do that.

I also need to commit to writing more at home. I need to get back to doing at least one longer form entry about a trip, even if I then do several separate posts that are mostly pictures. I also need to commit to figuring out something I can write about longer form at least once a week. I’ve got two blogs going – I should be able to accomplish that between the two of them. This seems like baby steps, but it should at least get me back into a habit, and if I can do that, we’ll see where I can go from there.

Writing Notes

So Nanowrimo is officially over, and my word count is sufficiently unimpressive enough that I will not be sharing it. Although I didn’t get nearly as far as I’d hoped I would, I’m glad I signed up. I got all of the scenes that had been knocking around my head out on “paper”, which has already freed up my mind to start exploring some of the other action in the story. I also realized that while I’d pared down the story idea, which was good, I’d actually pared it down too much. So I’ve got a few more ideas about how I can expand on this, which I think will actually help me in the long run. So, overall, it was a good experience. It was also confirmation that I can’t just sit down and write things straight out without being able to do some editing in the middle.

Weekend Notes so far

I have one and 2/3rds pair of socks! Which leads into the fact that my Nanowrimo novel is pretty much dead in the water. I decided to start with this story idea because I’d finally refined it to the point where I figured it was focused enough to pound out. Turns out I’ve focused it too much. I need a couple of side stories, and I need some time to let that idea percolate in my brain. I’ll still try to write on it, but I know there’s pretty much no way I’m going to get to 50k words this November. Oh well.

I’m finally to the point in my reading where I was ready to head to the library again. I was smart this time, and picked two books for the Armchair Traveler’s Reading Challenge, so if I hate one of them again I’ll have immediate backup. I also picked up some fun fiction (in my books in progress list, since I tend to read those right after another due to the library’s oppressive only one renewal policy).

I have all of next week off, but that’s because my sister is coming in from CA, and my older brother is coming in from MI. I really need to get some garden clean up done, and I have to go to the dentist on Monday, but other than that, I have no idea what I’ll actually be getting accomplished this week.

Weekend Notes

I just returned from a long weekend in Mass, having attended the seventh annual alternate Thanksgiving celebration held my a group of my college friends. I’m coasting down from an insane sugar high. (The pie-fest was perhaps not well timed, as I have my first physical with a new doctor on Tuesday, and my weight loss plan for this year did not go as planned. Oh well. It was damn good, and I’m not sorry!) The only bad thing about this weekend was the snow squall we encountered in New Hampshire on our way down on Friday. I realize it’s November, but I don’t want my snow until after Thanksgiving! (And after I’ve raked the yard. Snow right now would be bad, bad, bad!)

I was able to stop in York on my way home and pick up more Brittany needles from the yarn shop down there. I just love those needles. They’re so smooth and well weighted! The progress on my socks was going well. Last Monday, I finished up sock number one. It’s perfect! Unfortunately, in order to start sock number two, I had to untangle the yarn skein, a process that was not completed until Thursday evening (when I tangle a skein, I do it right!). I took Friday off so we could meander down to Mass, but we weren’t leaving until noon, so I decided to cast on the sock and see how far I could get at around ten. I’m not entirely sure what happened. For some reason, I was absolutely unable to get past the third row, on multiple attempts. I believe I cast on that darn sock five times before giving up. I’ll try that again on Monday, as I’m overtired enough from the weekend festivities that I’m sure any attempt today would end up a repeat of Friday.

My Nanowrimo process has hit its first big roadblock. I’d been doing pretty well until Tuesday, when we spent the entire evening with friends. After that, I was unable to muster the energy to work on my story. Over the weekend, I had a great talk with one of my friends, a previous Nanowrimo winner, who is actually stalled at 1400 words. We had a great conversation about the whole thing, and I’m feeling much less pathetic than I did going into the weekend. I’d like to think I’ll be able to spend some quality time on it tonight, but I know my my recovery time from 2:00 bedtimes too well, so I know I can only commit to work on it tomorrow, but I’ll definitely do it.

Other than that, not much going on. Hard to believe that it’s only two weekends until Thanksgiving. I’ve got to call up the family this week and figure out what we’re all making so I can start planning for the coming frenzy of food preparation.

Weekend Notes

My weekend started out with a lovely girl’s breakfast out with my mother, followed by a mutually enabling trip to some local craft stores. We checked out a little fabric place on the East End, where I found this great fabric:

I’ve recently found out a good friend is pregnant with her second child, and while she’s not due until July, I’m on the look out for good baby quilt fabric. I loved this for a backing. It’ll work for either sex (they didn’t find out what they were having with the last baby, but they may this time around, so I’m not sure how unisex I’ll have to go.) I really love the colors. And on a side note, can I just say how much I love making baby quilts. The built in deadline is exactly what I need to make sure I actually finish these projects.

Our second stop was Knitwit, the shop I took my class at, where I was able to find sock yarn to make socks for my mother. (She’s allergic to wool.) Anna happens to carry sock yarn made out of corn fiber (which is just really cool). So we picked a good color, and I’ll aim to see if I can get those done for her birthday in February.

Which brings me to my socks. Yesterday afternoon was definitely a good afternoon for hunkering down (though I admit, it turned out to be a rather pathetic nor’easter). I confess I frogged the socks twice between yesterday and my last sock post, so I started from scratch, but look how far I got. I nearly have a full sock! It’s so exciting! I was originally thinking I might go straight to my sister’s sock once I’d finished one of mine, on the off-chance I could get them done in time to send them home with her when she visits during Thanksgiving, but I want my other one so I can wear them. They’ll be cheap to mail. I’m just really glad that Anna stocks less expensive sock yarn than the stuff I bought in York, is all I can say about that.

And lastly, I’m off to a start with Nanowrimo. I’m definitely behind my daily word count that would ideally keep me on track, but I’m happy with where I am. I got home on Friday, after a very long day of spreadsheet management (definitely my least favorite part of this project), and I didn’t want to turn on my computer. And I don’t see anything wrong with that. I’ve known for a while that I don’t have the time to write like I did when I was in school, and if nothing else, I wanted to do Nanowrimo to remind myself that I still do have time. I just have to make sure I take advantage of it. So I may not win, but I at least feel like I’m giving it a good go.

Books and Writing

So I broke down and put aside Titus Groan last night to read some fluff (why yes, that would be Sorcery and the Single Girl). And it was good. And then, this morning, I received the Nanowrimo reminder in my inbox, and realized I better get my butt in gear if I actually want a vague chance at success this time around. (My last foray into Nanowrimo was less than a dazzling success.)

So, this means that I must finish off both the R.I.P. II and Books to Movie challenges by the end of October. I’m not worried about the Armchair Traveler challenge, as I have more than enough time to read two books for that in December.

And what shall I write? I have a vaguely sci fi idea kicking around in my head that doesn’t want to leave me alone. I think it has 50k work potential, but even if it doesn’t, this month will be a good opportunity to get the bulk of my ideas down on paper and out of the way. I tend to write in important scenes first, and then go back and fill in the transitions. Getting those scenes out on (virtual) paper actually helps me go back and fill in the rest of the story. So we’ll see what I can do.