Posts Tagged ‘writers’

Word count: 50,012.

Yeah, got it done and it was almost impossible to do. If you are or have participated in this, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Nothing replaces one’s own intention and this last week was proof of how stubborn and pig-headed I can be. I put a lot of things on hold to finish this, but the one thing I was not going to do was blow-off Thanksgiving. My original target was to finish the day before, but life had other plans for me.

On Friday, my car decided it was time to start acting up. I woke-up with an almost flat tire and wasn’t sure if I could make the drive to the gas station right down the street, but I HAD to get to work as I had a client that had flown in from back East for the week and there was no way I could reschedule. During the agonizing drive was the time the “check engine” light decided to go on – again. I knew I needed to take it in and get the spark plugs replaced but you always thinks you’ll have time to do that. Nope, not anymore.

The guy takes a look at my tire and tells me he can’t fix it because it’s too worn out and not safe. This was news to me, but who am I to argue with a mechanic? I ask him if he can put the spare on for now and I’ll get a new tire later. He says he can and gets out the thingy to take the lug nuts off. I’m texting my client while he’s doing that and telling her I will be there soon as I am getting a tire fixed. I look over and the mechanic is waving me over and I suddenly don’t want to know why, but I wander over there to see what the trouble is.

The problem, he tells me, is one of the lug nuts is stripped and he can’t take it off without breaking it. Even I know it’s not a good idea to drive around without one but I try to get him to tell me that it’s OK to do. No such luck. So all he can do is fill the tire with air and hope for the best because I now need to drive the car to a tire shop and have them deal with it.

I am now running late and not sure how long the tire will hold, so I take city streets to work and all is fine. I get there on time and life moves along. I leave for home Friday night and cautiously approach my car with my fingers crossed that the tire is holding up. It is and I do a quick happy dance in the parking lot. I get home and cross my fingers again because I have to be back at work the next morning and I can’t do it if the tire is flat, so I call a friend as a back-up driver if I need it. He says no problem.

The next morning, with my fingers crossed again, I check my tire and it’s fine. I drive to work and again go through the same routine when I leave. All is good and I figure I will get a new tire tomorrow and all will be right with the world until I start driving home.

My car now doesn’t like me accelerating and is being a real bitch when I drive home. I wish now I hadn’t gotten on the freeway and would like to personally apologize to all the drivers behind me when I couldn’t get my car to go faster that 35 MPH while merging. By the time I got it up to 45 MPH, I was ready to take my exit.

The next morning I find out the tire place is closed on Sundays! Who the hell closes on Sunday? I snap and snarl but at least the tire is fine. I run a few errands and my car REALLY does not like me pushing on the gas petal. Too bad, I have places to go and things to get done.

I also have to get this all done before Wednesday as I am driving 4 hours to see my family for Thanksgiving. I start to feel a sight panic start in me but I push it aside and tell myself everything is fine and not to worry.

I can’t go on Monday because of another client and by now I am so nervous and worried when I drive that I start to get a headache. I am now staying off the freeway and praying for slow cars on the road that I can stay behind. Better they get honked and yelled at than me.

I finally get it to the tire place and come to find out, I need two tires replaced and I can see exactly what he’s talking about. I tell him that he needs to give me a break because I am the 99% and after he was done laughing so hard I thought he would die, he tells me that he will give me a discount because I am so funny and adorable. Shit, I’ll take it. Then he tells me they can’t fix the broken lug nut and give me the address of a guy who can.  So now I have to go somewhere else to get this done.

I thank him and again drive carefully over there and trying to keep visions of two tires falling off and me crashing into the retainer walls and dying a fiery death.

I get to the new guys and it takes them about 1.5 hours to take care of my car BECAUSE ANOTHER LUG NUT BROKE OFF! What the hell is it today with cars trying to kill me? I am wondering if I need to name my car “Christine” and start looking around the parking lot for Stephen King.

Now once that’s done, I still need to take my car over to the mechanic who is going to fix the “check engine” light and get my car past her fear of acceleration. I get lost going over there, can’t find the damn place and am about to pull over and have a nervous breakdown when I see it. I mentally bitch slap Mapquest for HAVING THE WRONG ADDRESS!. I pull in and throw myself on his mercy to fix my car.

He does – 2.5 hours later – and now I’m toast. I am spending money I don’t have, I haven’t been able to get any writing done because of all errands I’ve had to run the last few days and now I have a headache because I haven’t eaten all day. He also gives me a discount because I was funny and nice to him and I drive off wondering how I am going to pay for all of this. I decide that it doesn’t matter because the important thing is to make it for Thanksgiving and now that my car is safe, everything will work out.

I rush over to work but it’s pointless. The day is shot. I’ve only had 2 days off for the month, so I figure I deserved a break. I grab a check, run to the bank to cover my expenses and go home. I am too tired to move. My toenails hurt and I don’t have anything for dinner. I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and decide to watch  movie and pick-up my writing the next day after a good nights sleep. Besides, it will be the day before Thanksgiving and the office will be quiet, so I’ll have time to catch-up and finish my word count while I am at my family’s house. Everything will be fine as I hit the “Power” button on my laptop.

I won’t boot up and keeps dying on me.

“NO!” I scream and scare my cats so bad that they run for cover under the bed. I don’t care. I lost count of how many times I hit that power button but I knew – I was totally and completely screwed.

I sit down and cry. I cried for a long time. I was exhausted, broke and at my wit’s end. I sat there for a long time and no matter how hard I tried to figure something out, it was useless. I was out of money, didn’t know what to do and was tired of thinking.

I finally got up, packed up my laptop and headed out to Best Buy. My friends were there. The Geek Squad was there and all I needed them to do was wave their magic wand over my laptop and everything would be fine again and I could take it with me, get my writing done while everyone was asleep and have a nice Thanksgiving.

Instead he told me the mother board was dead and couldn’t be fixed. I suddenly realize I had not backed-up anything and my book was gone. Gone. It was all over for me. All my files were gone, all my notes, my pictures and all my documents for work.

I was an idiot and now everyone was going to find out. I confess to him that it wasn’t backed-up and casually asked if there was anything they could do about it. I was calm and he had no idea he was talking to a woman who was hysterical. No reason for him to know that. It might have scared him away.

He tells me they can try, quotes me a price and then points towards the computer section and says I’ll need to buy a new one in order to transfer the data. I quietly look at them and all I can see are the prices. I have no idea what to buy or how I am even going to do it. I walk out, go home and cry some more.

The next day, Wednesday, I go into work and tell my boss what happened and I feel myself wanting to cry again. We talk and we work out a way for me to get a new one and off we go, back to Best Buy. I love these guys. I had called Fry’s and you would have thought I had just killed their kitten with the way they treated me.

I get the computer but it’s going to take a few days to transfer the data. I smile and tell them it’s fine and that I understand there’s no guarantee that they can but they will try.

I leave early Thursday morning for a long drive of coffee and rock and roll blasting out of my radio. I don’t care anymore. If I have to take another month to finish this damn book, I’ll do it. If I have to re-write it from memory, then so be it but I am GOING TO HIT 50,000 WORDS EVEN IF IT KILLS ME.

I come back late Saturday afternoon. I had called The Geek Squad (some of the nicest people I have ever met) the day before but they couldn’t say exactly when it would be done.

Then suddenly on Saturday night, they call! It’s done and I can come get it. I rush through dinner, grab a friend to come with me because I hate crowds and am too wired to speak rationally and off we go.

I pick it up and now I’m terrified that something will happen and I’ll either drop it or run it over with my car. They told me they recovered all the data and it’s ready to go.

I power it up and hold my breath. YES! It’s all there! I immediately grab the flash drive that I bought and back-up the laptop. I did that again today. Yes, I do learn things on occasion.

This morning I start writing and writing and writing. I forgot to eat, so around 1:00 I forage and find something. I write some more and suddenly realize I have to go to work tomorrow morning and haven’t done my laundry. I jump up, go and get it done and come back.

(Out of respect for my male readers, I’ll not write about the “period from hell” I got on Thanksgiving. You can thank me later).

I am 2,000 words away from my target when the toilet stops working and floods the bathroom floor. I stand there, watching it overflow and suddenly I start laughing. Well, it’s either that or cry, so I decided to laugh. I clean it up and call a friend who comes over but can’t fix it, so tomorrow he will get some different tools and try again. All of this strikes me as so par for my life. You set your sights on something and it’s as if you called forth the God of Murphy’s Law.

Have you ever noticed that when your toilet doesn’t work, you have to go to the bathroom more often? Fortunately for me, there’s a gas station right across the street, so in-between going over there and putting my laundry away, I wrote. I ignored the looks I started getting from the attendant the third time I used the facilities.

Then I hit the 50,000 word mark and screamed and scared my cats again. I did it, somehow.

And the best part is this – I love my book. There’s more to go but I learned that any one of us can do what we set our minds to. Busted cars, broken laptops, impossible working hours, clogged toilets, horrible cramps and PMS and lack of sleep and money but I kept going and I did it.

I did it.


Word count: 36,295.

I can’t believe I’ve gotten this much done with an impossible schedule. I realize it’s far from being done as it will have to survive a few re-writes, but yesterday the story started to flow and suddenly I knew the characters inside and out.

I really dove deep into them and I must say, I like them.  Suddenly, there they were and it was so easy to write about them. Almost as if they wrote the story themselves. They didn’t, of course, but there was a point where they came alive in my mind.

I’ve had this happen a few times but not quite like this. I know these people and they fascinate me. I would have kept writing tonight, but it’s getting late and I’m tired.

But something tells me they will be here in the morning when I wake up.

One of the things that prompted all of this, ironically, was some recent rejection I had experienced the other day. The details aren’t important, but it was something that really pissed me off and hurt my feelings.

I wasn’t in the mood to write but I’ve got this ridiculous target to hit and I can’t let my emotions get in my way. So, I picked-up the story where I left off but I was in a pissy mood, so my main character had a bitchy side to her.

I sat back and wondered where that had come from and realized I was taking my upset and putting it into the book. Well, that’s fine if it’s part of the story, but today it wasn’t. What I was feeling was not what the character should be feeling.

I know we all do this as writers. Use something that happened to us or someone else and spin it. It’s quite therapeutic to do but not in the middle of a story.

I put the brakes on, took my emotions and parked them, and went back to the story.

I rocked it. I just nailed it and then some. I didn’t go and change anything because someone had hurt my feelings.

I stuck to the story and was true to it. That was the exact moment the characters came more alive and the story took off.

It’s not easy doing this, but we do it anyway.

Word count: 17,310.


Yeah, I’ve never done this before. Didn’t quite expect it and I’m not sure how to go about it.

I’ve certainly read enough of them in books and to be honest, I don’t quite care for them with few exceptions.  I much prefer the author let me use my imagination.

But, now it’s important to the character and the story because, well, she’s been having a rough time lately and really isn’t into the whole “trust thing” with guys and this scene needs to convey a few things and one of them is her vulnerability with this guy.

This guy. The great guy that no one knows yet how great he is. In fact, right now you can’t determine much about him or whether or not he’s worth her trust OR just another loser that’s come into her life.

So, there they are and it’s time and it has to be written perfectly to move the story onto another level and make the relationship cohesive.

It also needs to be just right to play into the back story of the loser husband that she dumped and sex with him was, well how to you say this? Let’s just say she wasn’t sure she even needed to be in the room with him when it was happening. Know what I mean, jelly bean? Thought so.

I am a believer in letting a reader use their imagination as much as possible with a story. Tell them enough so they know what’s going on and keep it moving at a steady pace, but don’t give them too much detail. Let the reader see what they want to see and let them, with their own imagination, contribute to the story.

That is one of the reasons I don’t care for heavy sexual scenes in movies or in books. The same with violence. I don’t need anything shoved in my face. Let me read or watch and participate with my own thoughts and ideas. Let me enjoy a story the way I want to.

I didn’t quite expect this to go this way with the story. Yes, I intended for them to get together, but I’ve written a much deeper and complex woman than I originally thought I could. I hadn’t thought that this scene would be so important to her and the story, but it is.

Maybe I should go pick-up some romance novels, which I don’t generally read.

I can’t believe I am blushing while I write.

Word count: 14,959.

I took a quick road trip yesterday to see my family and didn’t get much writing done. Now that I’m back, I am wondering why I thought it was such a good idea to have blueberry pancakes for breakfast.

Oh, yeah, I remember – BECAUSE THEY TASTE FRICKIN AWESOME! That’s why.

Plus my Mom and my cousin made me do it. Yes they did. They actually did. My cousin put a gun to my head (right there in the restaurant and no one called the cops) and my Mom said she would be disappointed in me if I didn’t eat them.

Because I’m a writer, I get to make shit up. Like the above. I get to do this all day long. Well, most of the day I don’t because I have to earn money and I can assure you, no one is paying me to be a writer. I don’t know if anyone will, but no matter; I’ll write anyway.

I am tired but it was worth it. I had a great weekend with my family and will be going back up there for Thanksgiving. That is one reason I am trying to keep such a high word count. I plan on being done with NaNo before Thanksgiving so I can take some time off, take my writing and shove it in a drawer where the sun don’t shine and start on my next project.

But, back to the carbs. I don’t eat them hardly ever, but when I do, it’s like a drug. I get the immediate high and then the crash. Plus the fact that it took me over an hour to drive through Sacramento due to some horrendous car accident, by the time I got home my butt was killing me.

I have not figured out how to write standing up, so here I am again. Sitting down with a headache and pounding out the words.

The story is going fine and I’m just getting into the next section of it and am at a bit of a loss on what to do next. I’ve got the outline but I am learning to segue better. I still suck at it, but it’s getting better.

I am also way behind in my own personal reading. I just picked up a book called “Once bitten, twice shy” by Jennifer Rardin. I’ve been hooked from the first paragraph. I will be reading everything she wrote. Godspeed Jennifer.

Word count: 12, 644.

I’m still here with the rest of you. I am reading your blogs and comments on G+ but mostly too bleary eyed to say much back. I can handle a comment here and there on a thread and I must say, reading how everyone else is doing is helping.

The book is going very well, humming right along. I’ve written this one character (based on a true story) that is a real asshole and the more I think about him, the more I want to kill him off. I don’t know if I will or not, but it is quite amazing how we can take things that happen to us and turn it into a story.

I have had a few things come up on this book that stirred some long forgotten memories and emotions. My book has a bit of truth mixed in with the fiction, but I think we often use that to tell our stories.

I also know enough not to slam down a true story carelessly or to write about people I know. That I would never do, but it’s interesting the things I am using from the past to write fiction.

Whether this or other characters stay in the final draft, I do not know. Right now it’s all about getting it written the first time and letting the story evolve.

Last year when I did NaNo, I was completely alone with no support system. Now I have G+ with a bunch of writers that I chat with and it has been an amazing difference.

I’ve never taken myself seriously as a writer until a few years ago when I just jumped in and started doing it. There really is no way to prepare for it or to really understand it. You can’t easily explain to someone why you would rather stay home and write all by yourself than go out that evening.

But now that I am this far into it and it’s going well, I am enjoying my time with the story. I am now finding it relaxing and not hard. I am magically making the time for it and that is becoming a bit of a struggle, but that’s OK.

I like what I’m doing and I’m proud of myself.

That says a lot.

I am tired and bleary eyed, so I’m keeping this short. Hopefully get some sleep and start this all over again.

Word count: 8,808

I mean, really? What was I thinking about when I decided to write this story? I’m not going to bore you with the details of it. Besides, you can buy it when it’s published and I’m rich and famous.

Yeah, right! It sure doesn’t seem that way right now. I thought my story would be easy to tell. I have it outlined and all I’m trying to do is follow the outline.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that the outline doesn’t mean shit when suddenly you have characters showing up out of nowhere and won’t leave?  An outline is supposed to be how your book begins and ends with a bunch of stuff in the middle, right?

Wrong! Oh no, not for me apparently. It seems that while I’m writing, if I have a thought about a scene or a character, suddenly I am writing something that isn’t even planned. It’s like I’m possessed.

But then I’ve got to explore the idea and see where it goes. Because I have to. I HAVE TO.

Sure, it’s great for the word count and is probably one of the reasons I’m a bit ahead of target. That plus I’m blowing off everything I can in order to write this month. So I realize it’s about the quantity more than the quality.

But that is a lie that I tell myself because the quality of what I write IS more important than the quantity.

My story is starting to get complicated. I’ve turned off my inner editor and am slugging it out, but I had hoped to keep this story simple and lean and it’s not cooperating with me. At all. Whatsoever.

How well do you follow your outline?

Word count: 4,752.

How many of you are brave enough to do it?  I actually would like to read them, so please share them with me. I know for me a book has to grab my attention fairly quickly if I am going to continue reading. I may give it a chapter, but when I’m in a bookstore and trying to find something to read, that first sentence and paragraph is very important.

I also won’t buy books online if I can’t read parts of it. Sorry, it’s not about the money. It’s about me spending my valuable time with a book. Whether I spend $1.99 for $25.00 on a book, if I don’t like it, I feel ripped off.

Here’s the first two sentences of my book:

Eli thought it had been a wonderful business trip for the last week until she came home and found a used condom in the bed she shared with her husband SamUp until then, it had been great trip but not so much anymore.

I love this first and second sentence. Every time I think about tweaking them a bit, I just can’t. I don’t know if  they will survive the second draft, but for right now, I love them.

I’ll also confide something to you, but only you and that is: this is based on a true story. That one moment in life where everything changes and goes off the rails. But before you jump to conclusions, it didn’t happen to me but it did happen to someone I know. I’ve put a bit of a creative spin on it, but it did happen.

It’s funny how we as writers can take a moment and build a story around it. I think that makes us the coolest people in the universe. Whether any of us get published is not relevant. What is important is our stories and what we do with these moments in life and how we use them.

If you look around, there are stories everywhere to write about it. All it takes is the intention to do it and sitting your butt down in a chair for a long, long time and telling the story.

So, don’t be shy. Tell me about your story so I can learn.

Words written today: 2,356

Not bad for my first day, but it’s always like that. You know it’s coming and BAM! Off you go! I’ve been chomping at the bit for over a week to get started.

Here we go, right? All bright and shiny. I found it hard not to start before today. You commit yourself to this idea of writing a novel in a month – you know it’s nuts – but you just can’t help but be excited about seeing what you can do.

This is my second year of doing it. Last year, I heard about it for the first time about 3 days before it started. I signed-up and jumped in without any idea of what I was going to write about.

I had started writing again about a year before. I gave up being a writer years and years ago for all the wrong reasons. I have a busy life with lots of stress, just like everyone else.

I agreed with a “friend” that I wasn’t good enough. See previous blog on my various acts of stupidity and that was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made.

Life had gone in a direction I had never imagined, most of it pretty brutal and unhappy. I’ve had to overcome more than my fair share of hurt and betrayal.

One day, I woke-up and I was 50. 50! How the hell does that happen? It was a really turning point for me and all in a good way. I spent a few months really taking a look at my life in between doing the paper chase.

I realized that I had never gone after the one thing I always wanted to be and do and that was writing. I don’t know how it is for other writers, but I hate having people read what I write. Doesn’t make much sense because isn’t that the main point of writing? Have others read it and like it?

The fear of rejection is very powerful. More powerful than I like admitting to. But there it is. I soon discovered the world of blogging and with a very deep breath, I published a silly little story on a website where I had been chatting with about 15 people the previous year.

The next thing I knew, they said they loved it, laughed along with me and wanted the next chapter. Chapter? What chapter? I had no intention of doing anything other than that little story and now people wanted to read more?

So, the next day, I wrote something else and they wanted more. Suddenly I was writing this book, a chapter a day and making shit up as I went. All thought the story was true!

Oh geez! What do you do? Do you tell them the truth that you’re just pulling it out of your ass as fast as you can or do you tell them that it’s true.

I said nothing and kept writing. After I posted one chapter, I got emails within an hour wanting the next one.

No one was more shocked than I. Plus I was doing it at work because I didn’t have a laptop or computer at home. Hell, I still don’t have TV or cable. I would come into work early, write something and post and then go on with my day. I ended up writing, for fun, what has now become the first draft of a novel.

I print it out and now my family wants to read it. They, of course, love it but they are biased but that’s OK. My sister then buys me this laptop with the promise that I will write everyday and never stop. I agree to 4 days a week and a deal is struck and I come home with this little laptop.

Fast forward to NaNo last year and I jump in and I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING! None at all. I remember spending a lot of time alone during that month and becoming obsessed with word count. I would check in on Twitter for some words of encouragement, and it helped. But in the end, the only one that can do the writing is the writer.

I found out I was committed to doing this and honing what I could about writing all by myself. I’ve read a million things about it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all opinion. What matters is that I – and you – write and write and write and not worry about it.

So, here I am again and I decided to blog about it because maybe it will help me to do so and maybe it will help someone else. I hope so.

So here we are. The first day is complete. I spent the previous weekend getting as much done as I could at home. But the laundry will need to be done again this coming weekend, I’ve got to be out-of-town with no internet access on Sunday. My job will still require at least 60 hours of my time and the world will continue to spin with or without me.

I write because I like it, but it’s hard and lonely. There’s a lot of things I don’t do so I can write, but that’s my choice.

But for now, I’m good to go. I still don’t know how I’m going to get all of this done.  I love the idea of my story but getting it done in a month without me tossing the laptop across the room will be interesting.

So, how was your first day?

Really? What did you expect?

You sat down at your computer and you had a lot on your mind. It could have been the fight you had with the spouse/significant other/various other PC terms that I don’t give a rats ass about.

Or maybe you wanted to share a political point of view or something happened at work and you wanted to talk about it. Maybe you just wanted to say something and get it out of your system.

You sat down and you wrote about it and you poured your heart and guts into it and then you did the unforgivable.

You hit the enter key or the share key and you put your words out there for the entire world to read.

What did you expect? What did you really think would happen?

You thought that you would be accepted and that you would be understood and maybe even loved a bit for your words and your heart and your soul. You actually thought everything would be OK and that your world would be better for the one sin y0u committed that will never, ever be forgiven.

You had the audacity to communicate.

How dare you! How dare you go against the norm of THIS society and actually put down, in words, what you think and what you feel. No, you aren’t supposed to do that. You are NOT supposed to rock the boat or have a different opinion than others.

You have NO right to have an original thought.

You should burn in hell for that. We should all string you up, laugh at you, share your stupid post and be done with you!

But I won’t. I will read what you have to say. I will comment or not, but I will know that your words came from your heart and soul and it has nothing to do with what I think and I will not pass judgement on you until you do something really stupid and then I will nail your ass to the wall for it.

And that stupid thing is when an idiot comes along and bashes you and then you do something really idiotic.

You defend what you wrote! What? Oh no, don’t do that.

Then, because stupidity has a tendency to go downhill very fast, you then begin to argue and the fight begins.

You see, the reason you defend it is because there was something about what you wrote that wasn’t really “you” or who you are and you got nailed on it.

Soon the postings are going back and forth and I sit back and watch. I shake my head because you could have done several things and been fine with it.

You could have deleted their stupid comment. Remember, this is a social network and not a democracy and as far as I’m concerned, it’s my post and I don’t owe anyone anything.

You could have blocked them and saved yourself a lot of time and grief and used that for creative energy.

You could have ignored them, which is the biggest insult of all and trusted your dedicated readers to oust the troll that got out of his cage and chase him away.

The opposite of love is not hatred. It is indifference. You could have yawned your way out of it.

But you didn’t. You carried on with the drama and lowered yourself to their level. The more you defended your position, the greater the value you gave him. You showed everyone that this persons opinion of yourself was more important than your own.

Now, I can live with most of that, but then the real harm can follow after that which bugs the hell out of me.

You stopped communicating. You decided that it was all so horrible and terrible and no one likes you and you went outside and ate some worms or had a drink or even worse, came back on your post/blog and whined.

Screw you if you can’t take it. Seriously, screw you if you let anyone get in your way of communicating.

Because the thing that you forgot was for every negative comment you received, there were at least ten positive ones.

You kicked us good guys to the curb and that pisses me off. Even if no one ever responded or stroked you or said a word, why would you care?

Do you write and post to get approval? Go to hell and don’t waste my time.

But if you have something to say, then say it and let the chips fall where they may. Maybe no one will approve, but so what? These are your words and your stories and your soul and if you don’t think it’s important, why should I?

Go ahead and communicate and keep it up, no matter what.

I dare you.