Friday, November 23, 2012

On the Immorality of Black Friday

I'm writing this while sitting in a Barnes and Noble at 10:41am on Black Friday. The only thing I have purchased is a coffee. Let me preface by saying I am not against buying presents for friends and family. I am not against the idea of gift giving. But I am disgusted by the overwhelming consumerism that grips our nation one day a year. Ironically, Black Friday happens the day after we are compelled to be thankful for what we already have. Instead, millions of Americans have left their family to spend hours in line to buy cheap, made-in-china products from corrupt mega-corporations. And I really don't understand why.

Do you really need the box set of some banal tv show that you probably won't ever watch again? Do you need another blender? A slightly different drill? What drives people to such a level of shopping fever that they are willing to trample other human beings in order to buy something they don't strictly need?

Someone I know was explaining that while she was going to go Black Friday shopping, she was only going to local, craftsman-based stores. I support this. I support buying from local artists and eschewing the likes of Walmart. But the fact that most people who go shopping today are going to mega-stores like Walmart or Target or Best Buy just blows my mind.

So in conclusion, I will not participate in the insane, inane "tradition" that is Black Friday. But if you do, I urge you to shop local, not just today, but every day.

And with that rant out of my system, back to my book!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On the Importance of Taking a Break

I know. You're not supposed to take any breaks from writing during Nanowrimo. Oh, the horror! However, my brain gets tired of single-minded focus especially when that focus is super intense. So yesterday, I sat down to write and ... nothing happened. Oh, I wrote a few words and I was already above the day's word count goal when I started, but it just wasn't happening like it had been the last few days. So I stopped.

I've experienced this phenomenon many times. Sometimes I focused too much on math/science subjects and my brain forced me to stop and write a poem. Sometimes I spent too many hours on a pen and ink drawing and my brain commanded me to get up and bake a cake. Yesterday, it ordered me to make something. Anything. So long as it require the use of my hands.

I know. Technically writing is done with your hands, but it's just not the same. So I took a sewing break. 

I bought two white t-shirts a long time ago at a CVS (2 for $5) and had planned on doing something cute with them. Since the move, most of my craft stuff is still in boxes and piled on one side of my studio, but my sewing stuff was fairly easily accessible. I've also recently clean/organized my studio.

I have a desk that I use for writing. It's two-leveled and very convenient. I've also got a small dining table that I used as an interim desk. I set up the desk in front of the window (because that's where I like it) and the table is set to the side, creating an L-shape. This makes it very easy for me to just turn my chair and be at a completely different work space.

So yesterday, I just turned my chair around and spent some time sewing. Here's a pic of my creation!

Please excuse the low-quality and lack of hair/makeup. 

And today, not only do I have an exceedingly cute new shirt, I feel ready to get back to writing. In my experience, it's really easy to burn yourself out on an activity, even if it's one you love, if you don't do anything else at all. I think it's also helpful to give your brain a break and allow it function in a different way. This keeps it (and you) energetic and engaged.

What do you like to do when you take a break?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nanowrimo: End of First Week

Okay, guys. Today is Day 9 of Nanowrimo. We made it past the first week! I finished yesterday a little below goal at 13,028, but I've already written over a thousand words this morning and I'm going strong. It's hard to reach the daily goals, but don't feel discouraged if you miss a day. I missed this last Tuesday/Wednesday thanks to election jitters and a stomach bug, but I'm nearly caught up!

I've also discovered how important really good outlining is. The first third of my book was very thoroughly outlined. I knew what happened, where, with whom, and in what order. Which meant that when I sat down to write, I knew exactly what was going on and could churn out scenes with minimal difficulty. The I reached the middle. Now I know a lot of writers have trouble with a "sagging middle," but I didn't think I was going to have that problem. Lots of exciting stuff happens in my middle, although the first half of the middle is mostly character interaction. My problem? My outline said vague things like "she starts being interested in him." Which means absolutely nothing to me when I'm trying to visualize a scene before writing. Where are they? What are they doing? What was it that interested her? I don't think I intentionally fudged on the details when I was outlining, but the end result was a huge stumbling block.

Thanks to Nanowrimo, I went ahead and wrote. If I didn't have that motivation I probably would have stopped and struggled with it for a while. And while I did write, I'm not saying that what I wrote is good or whether or not I'll end up keeping any of it. But at least its there on paper. I can see what's wrong with it and how to fix it. But editing/rewriting will have to wait until December.

So I plowed through that difficult section and I'm finally back on firm footing with my outline. I'm reaching the middle of the middle (where something exciting happens!) and I'm doing pretty good at churning out the scenes.

So that's where I'm sitting at the end of my first week of NaNoWriMo.

How are you guys doing?

Friday, November 2, 2012


Okay, guys. I really did not plan on doing this year's Nanowrimo. I'm in the middle of a book. I didn't want to drop everything and start a new one, but I couldn't help but be a little interested. So I looked into it. The stated goal of NaNoWriMo is to write everyday for a month and achieve the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days. Guess how much I have left to finish on my manuscript?

So I'm not starting a new book. I'm finishing one. I wrote 1,312 words yesterday and I'm getting ready to write today. If you're interested in participating you can join here. It's free to sign up and this website provides great info on how to accomplish your individual goal. You can also track your stats as the month goes on. Based on my one day of writing, I'll be finished on December 8th. So I need to step it up.

I probably won't be writing any lengthy blog posts over the next month, but I will try to write an update at least once a week so you can track my progress with me.

If you are doing Nanowrimo and need some encouragement, feel free to contact me. Writing may be a fairly solitary activity, but you are not alone. We can all do this.

Good luck!