NaNo Camp July, Friday 21st (2017)

NaNoWriMo

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: be kind to yourself, especially during something like NaNoWriMo. Did you remember to drink water? No? Take a few swallows. I need to do that right now myself. Did you rest well? If you’re caught up on your words, take a breather– you don’t have to sleep, but taking five or ten minutes away from the computer or journal you’re working with can do loads of wonders.

Not completing NaNo isn’t the end of the world. And NaNo isn’t over yet, anyway. Pace yourself, but don’t burn yourself out. Procrastinate when you have to. Take breathers. Remember to give your eyes a rest– reading, and by proxy writing, stresses the eyes.

And don’t forget: Every word you have written is a victory on its own, one word you didn’t have before.

–Natasha

NaNoGoal: 17,753/20,000

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About Me: Writing

One of the most impressive things about this year is that I’m sticking to my guns.

My new years resolution, one of them at least, was to write a thousand words every day for a year. So far, I haven’t failed this. I’ve skated the line pretty close, but I’ve always climbed over it.

Some days are harder than others. Some days I crawl and claw my way to my goal. A thousand words isn’t as easy for me as it is for others; I can’t crack it out in twenty minutes. Sometimes I can’t hit that number in ten hours. It’s hard. Some days I find myself positively miserable for it. Some days I want to quit. But you know what? I can’t.

When I was little, my father told me I had a hard time sticking to my commitments. A few years later, my horoscope said the same thing: I couldn’t handle long-term goals. (That was once-upon-a-time land, back before I decided, quite stubbornly, to use 13 Zodiacs instead of 12, because what is that nonsense? But that is another post for another time.)

During NaNo I got some new friends. That usually happens in November, when I survive off carbonated soda and snacks, watch a movie for every ten thousand words, and attempt to remember that exercise is not an elective I can skip out on. Some of them are Accountabilibuddies. Some of them are not.

One of them told me she was going to challenge herself. She invited me to do it with her.

I said yes, on the condition that she make me stick to it.

She has.

Every once in a while I catch a two-thousand day. Once in a blue moon, I hit three. Some days, I only manage a thousand and one. But she’s never let me slip.

Some days we write together. Sometimes, I get my words out early in the morning and I don’t worry about them again for the rest of the day. Some days I crack them ten minutes to midnight. We make a point to ask if we got our words. We share our numbers.

Life does not occur in a vacuum. It can’t. At the same time, writing cannot occur at all without taking in information, bouncing ideas off walls (and some people,) and sitting down to do the writing.

Some days I don’t feel like it. The words move like molasses. I have to slough through it. They’re not always good words. But every once in a while? I can look back at them and say, those are the best words I’ve written all week.

We’re in month five, and I’ve made it so far. I’m not done. I’ve a long way to go. But I’m not giving up. I’ll make it.

–Natasha

The Belated Valentine

In case it’s been missed, it’s still February. I managed to hijack myself to the blog again! Boon! I feel like I deserve a cookie, but I’ve no cookies to give myself, so I’ll just drink my coffee instead.

February is the Month of Love according to some people. Lots of people get engaged on the fourteenth, ala Valentine’s Day; and just as many people find sweethearts to spend time with. Some many more are like me: I’m single.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happily single. I’ve no great urge to go trying to change this on account of a few wishes and the scheming of my relatives. I don’t really understand this great and driving urge to break yourself on stones to make other people like you, want you, or otherwise decide you’re perfect. Gods know I’m not. So I’m single. And I’m going to be happy about that despite society shoving anatomically incorrect hearts into my face.

Our local Walmart was doing before Christmas. (I originally wrote that as Warmart and now I have Ideas, oops. Still though, imagine, a store that sells antiquated weaponry and armor, various heraldry abounding. I want it. I have a thing for armor. One day, I will build myself a set.)

But then again, Walmart had Christmas trees set out before Halloween, too. I can’t blame them terribly for being terribly, hideously confused about the season.

It’s an interesting thing to see though, a nifty way to study the human mind, society. As a writer, these things interest me more than they probably aught to. I like to know what makes people tick. And it’s important to me, also, to understand the marketing schemes of companies, especially those which sell to individual consumers. It’s companies like these that will one day be selling my books to thousands, I’m hopeful. So aside from the writing standpoint, I have to know how and why they do things from a business view.

From a business view, it makes sense. From a writing view, I am very curious as to the reasoning behind this; clearly some people like it because it gives them more shopping time. Then again, these are the same people that cause riots over Black Friday, for which I will be thankful to never, ever work again as long as I live, cross my fingers. Sometimes I can bend my mind around the alien thought process, but usually I’m left grasping for comprehension.

So anyway, I’m single, and I spend a lot of time trying to fathom not-single people. But being single doesn’t stop me from celebrating the holiday in kind.

Usually– usually— my mother buys those little candy hearts for me, the ones that (supposedly) taste like chalk, with the letters on them? Those are my favorites. We also celebrate by buying stuffed toys for one another. This year, my mother bought my brother and I teddy-bears– which is somewhat the standard, when we can afford it– and my mother and I splurged on each other by buying one of those plus toys in little cups. Because she’s my teacher, I bought her one that clearly says #1 Teacher, with a little puppy in it. In turn, I got one with a little bear in glasses touting “Talk Nerdy To Me” and being properly adorable. I love it, let me tell you.

But as always, Valentine’s Day and it’s celebration fell in the middle of Lupercalia.

Now, I couldn’t tell you how the holiday was celebrated once upon a time. It’s a Roman holiday celebrating the wolf-mother of Romulus and Remus, the founders of the great nation certainly not built in a day. I also couldn’t tell you how people celebrate it in modern times if they don’t celebrate it in the same method I do. Because I write.

Some odd years ago, a writer started a festival. Psychic Wolves for Lupercalia. I heard about it off the bat, but it took me a few weeks to get my hands on an account on the posting site, Archive Of Our Own, or Ao3 for short. Still, I wrote for it. I’ve written for it every year. The premise is to apply Giant Psychic Wolves to various fandoms. It’s actually super fun, and runs for three days from February 13th to February 15th.

This year, a friend from my NaNoWriMo cohort joined me in my holiday. Between the two of us, we cranked out one and a half dozen different fics, rocking out a combined total of more than fifty thousand words. Most of the fics were sanitary, in as much as the universe in question and the spirit of the festival permit. Some of them are even safe for children. Most of them are neither. But they were fun to write.

Writing festivals like Lupercalia and NaNoWriMo draw a sense of community to writing. Usually you write on your own, or you seem to. But the truth is there are thousands of people out there writing with you, just like there are thousands of people out there dating and thousands out there single.

…I really don’t know where I was going with this post. But I like writing, and I like it more than I like people, nine times out of ten.

There is nothing wrong with being single. Never think that you have to date someone to be complete, or that you have to date someone to be ‘in’ and meet society’s standards. You can still be with people during the holidays, even Valentine’s day, without ever having to have a sweetheart or a spouse.

Sometimes, a good friend works the best.

Just Around The River Bend: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming at midnight, along with Old Man Winter and November; these three things go hand in hand. Old Man Winter brings with him Jack Frost, and November is ever synonomous with NaNoWriMo.

In some parts of the world, NaNoWriMo has already begun. It brings with it to these people the things they need the most for their trip through these thirty days, but also the comprehension that somewhere out there, hundreds of thousands of people are working on their books right beside you, suffering the same pain of writers block, the same joy of breaking through it, the same glee of putting their cast through the wringer and seeing them come out again, better for the trials.

For me, the approaching start time of Midnight brings the frenetic energy of last-minute panic, a caffeine high, the awareness that my book is this much closer to being completed, the annoyed prodding that is my friends, telling me I must.

And a writing circle. A cohort to charge into battle with, to, ah, harken back to last year if I might, slay the dragon with.

They claim G.K. Chesterton said, “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tells tell children the dragons can be killed.”

And he’s not wrong. NaNoWriMo is our support of frothing, ravaging Vikings armed with pens, out to slay the dragon.

We’re not all after the same dragon. But that doesn’t matter; what’s important is we’re all out to slay it. Together.

The word “I” is mighty, but mighter still is “us” — so, let us go. Together.

–Natasha