Alright, how about some NanoFail instead

November 9th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

I set my sights pretty high this year for nanowrimo. I wanted to actually write a story this year. I had to put it off in 2007 (even though I started) because of school. Last year (the year of hell) was just far too full of classes and homework and projects and boyfriend and drama (etc) that I didn’t even considering writing Nano. This year was supposed to be different though. I have all this free time now that I’m school-free. I had a handful of projects to finish (for xmas, if you must know) and since the projects I wanted done are now officially done, I figured why not, y’know?

I had an idea. It was a pretty good idea, if you must know. I was mostly excited about my idea. It just happened to be a fail idea, though. Works well in the movies-ish type of way, but no way could it coherently be told in story form. Not to mention that I haven’t actually read a good book in so long that I feared I might resort to using sparkling and beautiful ad nauseam until I hit the 50k word mark. I suppose it is a possibility.

In the end, I was putting off things like hanging out with the boyfriend, or going out at all, to pretend like I was going to do some writing. I wasn’t writing. I was catching up on Greek (on Hulu.com) and knitting. Watching Greek and knitting was way more fun than trying to figure out how to move a story along that was so obviously being forced (which, trust me, is the point of Nanowrimo, but doesn’t mean it has to be that hard).

I debated for a couple of days over whether or not I should keep trying. Just plug along and eventually I would get over the “hump” and the story would flesh out and viola! I’d have another novel on my hands. I just wasn’t feeling it. It just didn’t feel right. I’ve written plenty a nano novel without any plotting, or research, or the like. I’ve also had difficult points where I had to nearly force myself to be bothered to care, let alone to write it out. There are many chapters in my previous nano novels that are “tough” to read (imagine having to be the one to write it!). This year was simply different.

The process of Nanowrimo has changed. What it means to me has changed. It used to be this fun event that I toughed out along with so many of my other friends from across the world. It was a learning and growing experience. It was ridiculous and unnerving. We joked about adding flying ninja monkeys, or killing people off, and it was reasonable. It happened. It wasn’t about the story, it was about the process.

For me, once Nanowrimo became what it is today, people have lost sight of what it used to be like. It used to be about growing as a writer, now it’s about the race to word count. It used to be about telling a story, now it’s only about “having the word count to brag about.” Notice a trend? It’s not a personal journey anymore. It’s definitely not fun anymore. It causes me stress. A large portion of that is because I want to believe myself to be a writer at heart, but really it’s a craft I have yet to perfect (if there is such a thing). Not to mention a craft that I have pushed to the wayside. It’s not something I do all the time. It’s not something I do daily, that’s for sure. So how can I write a novel telling a story about characters I don’t even care about. I don’t even know who my characters are!

I said it before though, I haven’t really been doing much reading either. It’s not that I think I should mirror my writing style towards anyone in particular, but you have to keep your brain primed for the kind of stuff you want to write about. I haven’t read any fiction all the way through in so long I’ve forgotten the last novel I’ve read (within the same year!). I have this pile of books (yes, a large pile) that I’ve picked up over the last couple of years, and they haven’t been shelved appropriately… well, because I don’t want them stashed. I want them where I can see that they’re asking to be read. They’re needing me to look at them and be curious what story is between the covers.

So late Saturday night I grabbed The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. Not the first on my list of must-reads, but it’s on there. I picked this one mostly because it’s about one of my favorite hobbies… knitting (of course).

Maybe if I can open up the reading repertoire it will also open myself up to the better writing I’d like to do. As easy as it is for me to explain why passive-voice writing is BAD to other people, I’m falling prey to it far too much… and it’s annoying.

So this year nano takes a backseat to other things in my life. Including reading, knitting and going to the gym.

Testing WP 2.0 for iPhone

November 4th, 2009 | Tags: , , ,

No offense to the WordPress iPhone devs, but 1.0 was a pain in my ass to use! I’d write and entry and publish it and it would never show up. I’d have to do all sorts of finger-crossing and hoping that after 20 minutes of screwig around with it on a computer would I eventually figure it out. And while I don’t expect to be writing anything profound or fantastic on my cellphone, I still wanted it to work.

So here’s me. On iPhone app WordPress 2.0 with fingers crossed (again) that when I open a browser and go to my blog, I will see this little post.

Oh PLEASE work!!

Edit #1: Test one was a failure. The I set it to publish, and it shows status as Published. Visibility as Public. Shows the date and time of publishing, but when you visit my blog there is nothing. This edit is being done on a desktop.

Edit #2: And after adding the first edit, and updating the post, it shows up on on the site. *ponders* I don’t know if that’s quite as functional as I had hoped. Better, but still a pain. Not sure what’s going on.

Putting Life Back Together

November 3rd, 2009 | Tags: ,

Now that the big decision of “to move or not to move” had been dealt with I’m faced with the reality that I’ve let a fair bit of life slip by the last couple of months. At times I think it’s because I wanted someone else to fix it for me. That going away was going to magically make it all better. Really, it wasn’t. It was a night thought though.

Up until a few days ago life was stuck in limbo. I wasn’t sure what was going on, or where I was going to be. I was wondering daily whether I had made the right decision, or contemplating the severity of… well… all of it. Once the final decision was made (and it wasn’t mine to make, mind you) it felt as though this huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t have to wonder anymore. I didn’t have to weight the pros and cons. It just was.

Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been slowly reading through all of Laurie’s blog entries. There’s a funny connection that you can make to a total stranger when they put their entire life on the internet for you to read. It’s so very personal and real. I feel like I know her and that we’ve been friends forever. I’m not delusional, but it just feels like that.

Over many of the months in 2008, and even in 2007, she had yard sales. She decluttered and got rid of things. She stopped buying excessively. She put an end to all things clutter in the home. I know this feeling. This desire to have some semblance of control over the mass quantities of things is one I’ve felt for a long time.

Part of coming to the realization that you may move to the other side of the planet is the idea that you will not have to pack all of your belongings and decide if it stays or goes. And of those belongings, what is worth keeping and what is worth giving away, throwing away or selling in a yard sale. This is completely overwhelming. Completely. The first time I thought about it, I nearly cried. I think I did at some point, but not the first time. The first time made me gasp.

Since I’m not going anywhere and I’m staying right where I am in my tiny little apartment I’m going to have to seriously reconsider the quantity of stuff I have. I tend to keep things because there’s a memory attached to it. I want to remember who gave it to me, the moment in which I received it and all that nonsense. Except, when I really think about it, do I need to keep holding onto stuff that I never use? Stuff that I only occasionally look at and think, “Ahhh, I remember that day” until it goes back into yet another box and is forgotten for another year?

I don’t think so.

I made some progress last night. I went grocery shopping. Not just for tons of food (which I bought) but for stuff that I will actually eat. Another great thing I picked up from Laurie is the “No Dieting” concept. I’m not going to diet, per se, but I’m going to keep as much junk food out of my home as possible (so as not to be tempted) and I’m going to keep stuff I like and is healthy. Even if I eat mostly the same thing every day. So I bought a lot of frozen stuff that’s not filled with mass quantities of sodium and fats. I bought stuff that’s slightly better for me and will keep in the freezer for awhile. These ready-made meals are not for taking to work. They’re for those days when I’m holed up in my apartment and instead of ordering pizza, I’ll grab one of those. I mean, I really need to cut back on the pizza ordering. I actually got irritated that the online ordering system wasn’t working and I had to *gasp* call them!

And so I start the process of reorganizing, and removing a lot of the stuff I’ve been carrying around with me for years. I don’t need most of it. I don’t need much of it at all. It’s time to say good-bye to all those boxes and label the boxes I do have so that I can read them and find what I’m looking for more easily. I want to rearrange my apartment and find a much happier medium between computer, television, yarn and cat.

It’ll be a long process (since I just read that for Laurie it took many months and even years), but it’s going to happen.

And all of this while trying to knit Xmas gifts and write a NaNoWriMo novel. November is proving to be very interesting already.