Determination, or How I Try To Get Out of a Funk

I have today, for the first time all April, hit my daily word count target. Huzzah!

Unfortunately, that still leaves me around 20k words behind my cumulative target. Looks like tonight will be more about writing than reading.

I don’t know if it’s still possible to even hit the 50k target I somewhat arrogantly set myself, but acknowledging that I may need to reinterpret my story plan did help along the way. Rediscovering my entirely incidental worldbuilding database (it’s so pretty…) also motivated me to get *something* written down. All I need to do now is word vomit all over the scenes I’ve identified as needing to be written.

Piece of cake, right?

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A Proper Grownup

I bought a car this week. It was both exhilarating and considerably scarier than I feel it ought to be. That, of course, is because in my head I’m still not a real grownup.

Those ideas you have as a teenager don’t match adulthood at all – more in the way you feel than the way people treat you. I fully acknowledge that other people think I’m an adult (or have the good manners to keep it to themselves if they don’t), but I don’t.

That’s right; I’m a teenager in my head still. Maybe that’s the point at which my brain stored developing new and awesome pathways, Or maybe getting pregnant at nineteen stopped something, but either way I haven’t made any significant mental changes since those days.

The obvious downside there is that I have a person depending on me; surely that ought to spur some kind of maturity? Well, no. I do things for him because I have to, but there’s no sudden compulsion to provide for my child. Take on any aggressor for him? Absolutely. Spend all my time thinking about him? Not so much.

That may make me a bad person, but honestly I don’t think it does. My examples of parenting have been contrasting; my mother throws herself into her children’s activities with such vigour she didn’t have her own, and my father remains committed to enjoying his time to himself.

I don’t think either of these is a terrible example of parenting, but neither is quite what I aim for. The fact that I come much closer to dad’s style is less relevant than that I understand my shortcomings. Luckily for me, my other half is the kind of father who’s very good at daddy things (that he got an early start on dad dancing and happily refers to himself as an eighty year old despite being under thirty are especially helpful in this endeavour).

All this points to what I think is the pinnacle of growing up: putting someone else’s needs first without a trace of resentment. Once I get there, I’ll be a real grownup, even if it takes me to my sixties.

Update – PreCamp

I’ve let the standard slip again, I’m afraid, as I get well into the reading I’m doing. I’ve had a good run of new ideas in the last week, though, so that’s encouraging.

The bulk of my non-work time has been devoted to reading, and I’ve devoured some new things. Spending an evening on Mythcreants, as the slightest incursion to their archives will do, did damage my writing somewhat. Discovering new series is always fun, and I’m happy to report I seem to be out of my romance phase for the moment. No objection to those re-reads, but this has a fair bit more depth.

Speaking of my sci-fi (entirely Space Opera) bender, I should go back and whack my brother for kicking this off in the first place. If he hadn’t recommended one book to me, and my addictive personality hadn’t latched onto it, I would never be in this position…

It changes up my writing nicely though, and what writing I *have* managed to do has been different from the previous. It feels warmer, less formal, though I’m not really sure why that would be as it’s all *my* writing.

I’ve done nowhere near the prep for Camp NaNo as I did for the main event, though I have been writing more anyway. I imagine restricting myself to a single storyline for a month will be even more challenging than hitting my target word count.

I suppose I ought to spend some time boning up on it, but I have to be honest and say that may take a backseat to all the things I want to get done this weekend.

Knowing When To Stop

I have very nearly made up the ridiculous shortfall of the last week by writing 5k today. The thing I’m struggling with is whether to charge on, or stop here, recharge my batteries and attack the particularly juicy scene I’m writing tomorrow when I’m fresh.

Let it not be said that I’m not proud of my achievement – that kind of word count is something I haven’t managed since the heady early days of NaNoWriMo, when I was consciously dedicating large blocks of time to knocking out a novel.

This is a different beast, as I am focused on getting into the habit of writing a significant amount every day; that’s why I think I ought to stop. There’s no prize if I tear through a scene tonight only to run out of energy for it tomorrow.

There, I’ve decided – less is more, when I’m on a roll.

I will write again tomorrow!

Nooooooooooo!

I have just had my worst experience of cloud-connected writing.

Not only have I previously been smug about being able to access my files wherever I like, I have taken advantage of that exact feature to do some writing in unlikely places – like my son’s swimming lesson today.

The writing I’d already done today – 2460 words, I was rather proud – was extended to 2685 in a little burst of inspiration. I saved the file. All good so far.

I get home, open up the laptop… and the file is corrupted. No matter, I think to myself, and look for the copy stored on my hard drive.

Too late – it was also corrupted.

Now, and I will most certainly be taking backups going forward, I need to try and recall what I wrote this morning, or drown in a pool of my own tears.

Unsmug Kitten Out.

Shiny New Distractions

I made a massive booboo this week – I broke my laptop. Just the screen, so if I could be bothered I could probably fix it, but I reckon it’s past the point of being worth it. Bring on the new laptop!

New toy excitement aside, it massively derailed my 2k per day plans – I managed to hit that word count from Monday to Saturday last week, then my rugby (Scotland in the 6nations) love resulted in a defunct device.

I don’t anticipate hitting my word target today either, but as my laptop arrives tomorrow I’m hoping to make it then. After that, it’s getting back on the horse and slogging away until spewing words out is a force of habit.

At that point, I will be that much closer to:

  1. a complete draft of another novel (most of what I’ve written has been for the same story)
  2. being able to keep writing even when I don’t feel like it
  3. figuring out how to manage writing while working

Back to the shiny: I have an opportunity here to alter my routine, to maintain my writing every single day in such a way as to reach my dreams. In April I’ll be undertaking Camp NaNoWriMo with a different story (I doubt I’ll *ever* run out of stories to be writing), so that may require some redirection.

The other thing of note is the pronounced tendency I have to write based on the style I’ve most recently read. The space fleet opera I’ve been bingeing on lately has clearly influenced both my most recent ideas (fully expected) and the writing I’ve been doing (less expected but welcome as its influence has largely pertained to tactics so far).

The Writing Train Has Finally Left The Station

Writing – finally, we have progress again!

Apparently, all I needed was a mental recharge and a visit from my sister to trigger a scene between sisters. 5k later, I’ve managed to write a daily amount which would see me comfortably through NaNoWriMo, which is plenty for a daily average and a good idea to maintain just for practising.

That or it was the genre swap (I’ve been reading Sci-Fi for a week instead of fluff) or the ridiculous amount of alcohol consumed over the weekend.

To be perfectly honest, I don’t care what it was; I feel like I have my mojo back!

It’s also nice to be able to write something I intended on doing… even if there is one (perfectly logical) diversion. It doesn’t even make later scenes change. It’s also allowed me to acknowledge a greater depth in one character. Good stuff, so far. Now to redirect this on time in April for Camp NaNo…

Back to the sci-fi binge – I need to stop being obsessive about things I find interesting. I breeze through everything available rather than pacing myself – though spending a week reading six books is pacing myself – then get a prolonged story hangover when I’m done. I’m just lucky in this case that there’s already a spinoff to get into, though I’m not convinced it’ll have the same impact.

It may freshen up my ‘you might like’ list though – moving it away from fluff.

It’s also, unfortunately, the time when the TV programmes I was watching before Christmas have started airing again. That means less reading time 😦

On Marriage, a Rant

A sad realisation this morning. Even if I were to somehow get a proposal before my 30th birthday (we’ve been together since I was 18; I’m 25 now), I’d probably still say no. You don’t take 12 years to decide to keep someone; a year of living together is plenty.

I know I have an attachment to the concept of marriage. We’re raised with it, with this ideal of sharing your life completely with someone else. What used to be an exchange of paternity and security has become an expression of shared commitment. What used to be the thing everyone aimed for has become optional, at least as far as men are concerned.*

This has a downside. No longer is the assumed future of a relationship a piece of paper stating union; it’s a mortgage and kids without that binding that cements the partnership. I, like many others, have had to resign myself to this. What do you do? For me, it was finding an acceptable alternative. Something that would make me feel as though I had grown up for real, instead of pretending like I do now.

My solution: a name change. When I reach the determined age, I will change my name. I will own a new self, complete with new middle name spelling.** My surname will no longer be my father’s; it will be mine. I’ll always regret not having my son’s name, but I’ve come to terms with never giving him a sibling as much as I have never sharing a name. He’s named for my maternal uncles and grandfather (they had the same name, not three different ones), and that’s good enough.

It makes me wonder, this dream we keep instilling in our children, whether we should. I’m not saying we should teach little girls (and boys; my own is a wee fairy princess) that no-one will choose them for life like in the stories. I’m saying we should maybe change the rules. Rules like ‘you have to have a diamond engagement ring’. Rules like ‘it’s the most important day of your life’. Rules like ‘you can’t call yourself ‘Mrs’ until you’re married’.

That last one is a particular bugbear of mine. I will forever be ‘Miss’ – no ambiguous ‘Ms’ for me – and it irks me that women can’t be addressed as women as a matter of age like we do men. We aren’t in the olden days, when women belonged to their fathers and then their husbands; we’re in an age where women can earn ‘Dr’, ‘Maj’, or ‘Cllr’ just as easily as men. Why, then, do we not start addressing grown women as such as soon as they attain adulthood? My other half (we need a new word that isn’t ‘boyfriend’ or ‘partner’) has been known as ‘Mr’ since he hit 18. My son will do the same (though when post arrives addressed to ‘Master’ it’s pretty fun). Why am I stuck with ‘Miss’? If I started calling myself ‘Mrs’, everyone (no, really) would assume I was married.*** We should really remove marriage as a rite of passage if it’s not going to be done by everyone.

Because a woman is just a girl until she gets a man. That’s what I really object to. Doesn’t stop me craving that piece of paper though.

*as men are concerned and told to perpetuate. It’s not ‘manly’ to want to get married.
** ‘Voira’ is not how my mother spelt it.
*** a lot of people already assume that. It’s really awkward telling people I’m his girlfriend and not his wife, especially sweet older relatives of his uni friends. Especially especially when our son is standing there. Some cultural norms die hard, especially especially especially in my romance-novel-loving head.

Overload

I’ve been busy at work, busy with sorting out my car, busy messing up dinner and then crying about it… Nothing seems to go right lately. I’m more than ready for my upcoming week off *snigger*.

The snigger, of course, is because it isn’t a week off from stress, only from going in to work. I will still have to drive my family around, I will still have to cook dinner (though admittedly we’re spending two nights away from home so I won’t have to do it then), and I will still have to remain on call for my job (which is a whole lot less glamorous than ‘doctor’ or ‘consultant’).

Why am I looking forward to it? I associate not having to go into the office, and even not having to wear office clothing, with relaxation and de-stressing. Probably a holdover from my school days, where non-uniform days were hailed as the pinnacle of any school term.

My writing has, yet again, not been progressing, though I’m edging towards what I think will be some quality writing time – we’ve finally taken on the task of getting the housework finished before we go away.

In the meantime, I’m adding continually to my over-long list of stories to write, largely in the low-intensity area of romance. The sheer number of situations I can envisage is something to be proud of; the main reason I haven’t been upping my fantasy count so much is that the setting has taken up the bulk of my creativity there.

I was pleasantly surprised this week when I was required to write something distinctly non-formal for an expo we’re doing: 100-word limit, no sales jargon, describe the company without being boring. I had loads of fun with that one!