Back to Basics

I’m transitioning between two positions within my “real job,” so sneaking in writing time has been a struggle. As I’ve spent the last few days reconnecting with the story line, typing hasn’t been a productive mode of composition. Had to return to the fountain pen and page. Seems to be working since I’m writing mostly out of order. Notes on chapter two followed by the beginning of chapter seventeen.

At least I’m feeling reconnected with the characters. So much of my writing is about the characters that they become real to me. That’s good, right?

Thanksgiving Day

Had to pull out my favorite fountain pen and Leuchttrum journal to take advantage of the drive to the in-laws yesterday. Knew I wouldn’t have time today to work on the novel and I want to stay on track.

Sometimes just a change of writing medium is all I need to get unstuck or figure out a difficult chapter. Such as writing a scene from the perspective of a moose 800 years ago. I hope it works.

Holiday Habit

A dear friend of mine reminded me of a one-act play I wrote in college. Like “White Hell,” it was also set at Thanksgiving.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my habit of setting stories during the holiday season. Here’s my rationale:

  1. Family and Personal Drama. Forced togetherness can amp up the tension, expose cracks in happy facades, and shine a light on childhood traumas.
  2. Reason no one is at work. I hate shows and movies where no one seems to need a job. How do you support yourself if you never go to work? Shouldn’t you be in school? Setting a novel at Thanksgiving or Christmas, gives me an easy excuse for why my characters have free time to find mischief.
  3. Shared Experience. Holidays have their own language and culture so the audience can collect with the characters quickly.

Word Count Goals

Setting small word count goals each day keeps me focused and writing everyday. I tried the NaNoWriMo method multiple times and I’m just not a binge writer. I can handle 500-700 words each morning rather than fretting over 1677 everyday.

A screenshot from this morning’s keyboard time. Unadulterated. Spelling errors and all.

One writing podcast recommended Written Kitten as a means to achieving word count. I gave it shot. I’ll try most things once.

For every 100 words I type into their word processor, I get a new picture of a kitten or cat or leopard. I can count off my daily word count goal but number of kittens. Additionally, the small window of words allow me to focus only on that scene. I can’t decide to go back ten pages and fiddle with the language from yesterday’s writing.

I worked for multiple publications while in college and also did some freelance proofreading in my time, so I love to edit and fiddle with sentences. After multiple attempts to write a novel, my love of editing is one of my greatest weaknesses when knocking out a first draft.

Ever onward. I’ve already altered the outline of this current piece, but I keep writing without deleting or moving the previous chapters. I’ll save that for the second draft.

Qwerty Hatred

Each morning I try to knock out about a 1000 words. Some days I fly through it, some days it is a total slog and only get 500 crap words and I’ve committed multiple literary atrocities. I struggle with the keyboard. We argue and I want to cry.

Can you tell this was one of those days? I hate you keyboard and fingers that type the letters out of order. Bwahhhh!

Alexa, play Chopin

Stephen King listens to Black Sabbath and Judas Priest while writing. I wish that I was that rocking, but lyrics get in my head.

I’ve tried typing in silence, but then I hear everyone that lives on the same floor. I start wondering about their lives and backstories and it becomes a whole other thing.

I tried the Mozart Effect, but then I think about the movie Amadeus and my friend Jeff that was maybe a little obsessive about it.

Chopin for the win! Piano and cello is good loving! The only weird association I have with Chopin is Adrian Brody’s enormous hands from The Pianist.

What do you listen to work?

All I want for Christmas

Legos. I want Legos. All the Legos.

Between writing sessions and shifts at “the real job” and the impending holidays, I’m a little stressball. Sleep-deprived, anxious, ear infection little stressball.

I’ve been eyeing this set of Legos at a local retailer for a few weeks and finally splurged. It’s better than any adult coloring book or oddly scented candles.

But with the holidays, come rampant consumerism and I’m not immune. I want more sets!

Dinosaurs and wizards and Jedi. Oh my.

Writing schedule

I write best in the morning, coffee mug in hand, before the day can overwhelm me with its needs and purposes.

I get up, pull on a hoodie, pour a cup of coffee, settle onto the sofa with Mr. Tini over my shoulder judging my words.

My current goal is 720 words a day for an 80,000 word first draft by March first. In the last two years, I’ve become very goal-oriented and deadline driven. Set a deadline and work backwards. Mr. Tini seems happy with the progress even if the new project has a Great Dane and not a wily cat.