NaNoWriMo! Or not.

So. After much thought, much wincing at the calendar, and much wondering where the heck October went, I’ve decided to bail on NaNoWriMo again (after skipping Camp NaNo this summer). Much like this hurricane now steaming toward us, there’s been a perfect storm of circumstances that make writing 50,000 words in November something that I really don’t want to have to focus on or worry about.

First, there’s the possibility that my husband may need surgery in early November. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that he won’t, but the chance is there, and if that were to happen, the last thing on earth I want to be concerned with is how many words I’ve written that day or week.

Second, I’ve got a story that needs to be done by November 15 that I haven’t gotten nearly as far along on as I’d like (and that I don’t want to blast out in a NaNo-style spree, because both it and the editor deserve better than me dashing something off).

And third, of course, is that half-finished novel I’ve already got sitting around, that I’d hoped to complete this year. (Forget October — where did this year ago, anyway?)

On top of all that, of the two projects I was considering doing next month, one really needs more extensive planning than I have time for right now, and the other is feeling like it’s probably going to be more like a novella. (I tried doing the write-a-bunch-of-short-stuff thing for NaNo a few years back, and it wasn’t fun, so I don’t want to repeat that.)

As with Camp NaNo this year, I know I could just start in, write as much as I can, and not worry about making the goal. The thing is, it’s really hard for me to not worry about making the goal. I’ve never been the “oh, well, who cares, I’ll just participate for the fun of it and see how much I can do” sort.  I’ve ‘won’ NaNoWriMo every time I’ve participated, and breaking that satisfying little streak without making it to the finish line would leave me feeling guiltier and less productive than if I skip doing it at all. Months ago, I was excited about the prospect of doing NaNo again, but honestly, staring down the first of November, it just feels like one more thing I should be doing — should want to do — instead of something I’m actually enthusiastic about. And I’ve got enough things — creative and otherwise — that I should be doing.

So instead, my focus for the rest of this year is going to be on finishing some of the things I’ve already started. To that end, I’m trying out some new techniques. The whiteboard next to my computer has been turned into a personal kanban, to help me keep focused and not feel overwhelmed by all the unfinished stuff, and based on a recommendation, I’ve checked out Refuse to Choose from the library to see if there might be some insight there to help (even though I’m not sure yet that I’m the sort of person she describes in the book). I may still set a writing goal for the month — writing every day, perhaps, which would be unusual for me, or setting an attainable-but-still-stretching-a-bit goal like 500 words a day — but if I do, it’ll be my goal, and a lot more “want” than “should”.

(Another goal? Update this blog more often, which means getting over my fear of saying something stupid/unprofessional/amateurish/awkward/anything that could be horribly misunderstood. I’m working on it. Stay tuned.)


Video: The Potato Hunter

One of the things I love about the Internet is how it can bring things we loved long ago back to us. I’ve watched ’80s commercials, found Sesame Street clips I loved and hadn’t seen in decades, re-discovered books long out of print thanks to Amazon and eBay sellers, and much more.

When I was in high school, one of the premium movie channels (either Showtime or The Movie Channel; I don’t remember which now) showed animated shorts when there were long gaps between scheduled movies. I used to tune in when movie credits were rolling, if it was still fifteen minutes or so to the top of the hour, just to see what they’d show. There weren’t many outlets then for me to be able to see these kinds of short films, and two of my favorites from that time period were “The Ant Who Loved a Girl” (which I’ve not yet been able to find online, but I may have the title off), and this short, “The Potato Hunter.” The quirky subject matter and character styles really appealed to me, and all it took was a few seconds’ worth of YouTube searching to find the film again.

(Trigger warning for violence against potatoes.)


Ceci n’est pas un blog

(With apologies to René Magritte.)

Since this is something of a new start for my online blogging, I figure something of an introduction — beyond the bio on the About page — is in order.

First, I don’t really consider this a ‘blog’ in the most formal sense. I’m not writing articles here, I’m not trying to get famous through my blog to get a book deal, and I’m not banging away at this keyboard with the goal of building up a huge following to sell books. (Not saying that last part wouldn’t be nice, but it’s not the goal.) You won’t find articles here on how to write; there are tons of awesome blogs for that kind of thing already, and I’m less interested in talking just to writers than I am to current and potential readers and friends (some of whom may also happen to be writers). I’m not here to teach anybody, at least not beyond whatever odd lessons one might glean from my experiences and viewpoint.

I started ‘blogging’ (it seems pretentious to keep putting that in quotes, but again, I just don’t think of this as a blog except just for the convenience of having a short word to call it) several years ago on LiveJournal. I never thought of my LJ as a blog, but as what it was advertised then — an online journal. And though I’ve drifted away from LJ since, I still think of what I’m doing here on WordPress as online journaling. It’s a platform (if a rather low one, something like 2x4s laid out on the grass) to share things I think are worth sharing, either things about myself or my work, or things online that catch my attention. I may sometimes offer opinions, but I’m not aiming to be controversial or trying to make a splash.

In short, this blog is for those who, for whatever reason, are interested either in keeping up with what I’m writing and what’s being published, and/or in keeping up with what’s going on in my creative life and sometimes my offline life as well. There will likely be more announcements and links and rambly tangents than organized, well-thought-out posts, and although I’m going to try to update a bit more often than I have in the past year or two, I know I’ll never update as often as I would like to or on any set schedule.

So if all that’s cool with you, then hi, and welcome. The plate of virtual cookies is right over there, and the kettle’s on for tea.