Camp Nano Adventures- If You Dare

Pull out the marshmallows, charge your laptop and stock up on your favorite summer treats- Camp Nano is back! At the end of the week we go charging into yet another literary adventure, my dear friends- if you dare to take the plunge. The July session of Camp Nano is set to begin at the stroke of midnight this very Friday. Be still my beating heart, I cannot wait!


Last camp didn’t feel particularly authentic to me. I was in an incredible cabin full of active and vibrant individuals who were constantly chatting and running word sprints together. It was truly inspiring- and yet, I had opted to work on an editing project for the last go-round. Granted, it was something that I deeply needed to invest in- but truthfully, I felt a bit left out. So this time around I am perhaps ignoring my better judgment and trying my hand at a brand new project. In fact, I will be working in a genre I don’t generally dabble in- a touch of historical fiction will be shaping my summer. 

I’m so excited; I have my plot all lined up, a soft sketch of my characters is sitting firmly in my mind, and I am ready to hit the ground running (If I manage to stay up until midnight on Friday, that is). It feels so good to play with a new story after I’ve spent so long diving into prior projects that are still in disrepair, no matter how much tlc I smother them with. I have new characters to know, new sets to craft, new shinanigans for them to dance through.

But the one thing that I am still on the lookout for: a few wayward writers in search of their own adventure. I set up a cabin this year (a bit later than usual), and now I am hoping to find some brave souls to embark on this journey with me. They’ve made camp so versatile this past year that you can really do just about anything with it. There are new methods of tracking your work, new styles you can claim- which makes your nontraditional paths much easier to traverse. I’ve worked on new novels, editing, poetry and even blog posts in previous years- the opportunities are endless. Not to mention the fact that they’ve expanded the figurative walls in each cabin- now you can easily accommodate 20 people in each group. And did I mention they finally set it up so you can name your cabin? It’s the little things in life that bring the most joy, I promise you this.

So if you dare to dream of the written word, my friend; if you have adventures running through your blood and stories singing in your heart- what do you have to lose? Take the plunge, my dear. Would you like to join me, fellow traveler? The fire is warm and the company is good. I can’t promise we will succeed in our endeavors, but I can swear that the journey will be well worth the work we put into it. Much like the brave little hobbits prodded by a wise wizard- you won’t know what you are capable of until you take that chance and step outside of your comfort zone. Please, dear friends- do you care to share in an adventure?

Dreaming in Stories (unconscious me is one odd little duck)

Last night I dreamt that I was a witch who also happened to work in a science lab. We were studying some kind of small ancient tree; I was rocking the white lab coat and oversized glasses while serreptitiously casting spells on the unusual object to figure out why it was so different from other bark-entombed entities. As it turns out, I must not have been a very good witch, because I accidentally cast a spell on it so that anyone who touched it would also turn into a tree. And of course, I touched it. My co-workers found a woman-shaped tree laying mossy-face down in the lab the next morning clutching a notecard in its hand-er-branch with a simple warning scrawled on it: do not touch the tree. One of my co-workers, apparently understanding what had happened, then hid tree-me in a closet when the evil boss came to check on our progress. And that’s when I woke up to the cat yowling for food because I had been so insensitive as to allow his dish to get to the dreaded halfway point. I know, will the horrors never cease? Looks like I’ll be getting a visit from kitty-protective-services soon. 

You may be asking yourself what the point was to that odd recitation. I mean, who really cares about a strange dream where I turned myself into a tree? The answer: we all should. The creative process is one that has no rules or regulations, and the body has an innate sense of what we truly need; the process of storytelling has created bonds and built bridges since Homo sapiens first came into existence. Humanity itself was build on story-telling; you can find paintings on cave walls in France that tell tales about hunting, sharing their knowledge with distant ancenstors they could not have ever pictured. Stories were the building blocks of our societies, creating lasting bonds and sharing knowledge to help those that came after them. We told stories to explain the world, to understand why life was the way that it was, to understand ourselves a little better, to share hopes for an unknown future, to bond, to tear apart. We have told our tales over flickering campfires, drawn them on cave walls, scrawled them on papyrus, and infinitely more have been coded onto computer screens and sent out into virtual existence. Our venue of storytelling has changed, but the innate nature of it within our souls has not. The telling of tales is in our very DNA, it is the cornerstone of our continued existence.

The brain can do amazing things. It codes, catalogues, interprets, directs, and creates every single moment of our lives. If you stop to truly appreciate the beauty that is the mind, it is deeply moving on a fundamental level, though difficult to fully comprehend. Our brains keep track of our stories; the ones we live, the ones we see or hear, the ones we personally create. Even when we are too tired to tell our own stories, it sings us to sleep with one of its own. We live in stories, we always have. Even when we are not conscious enough to fully appreciate them (or notice that it is perhaps a bit odd that when you start turning into a tree you decide to scrawl a warning instead of- oh, I don’t know- maybe the counter-spell that will turn you back into a human?). But this right here is the art of a good writer- to make something fantastical seem perfectly plausible in the world that you have created. A witch scientist? Why not.

Many of my dreams are bizarre and disjointed. They make perfect sense when I am enmeshed in them, but once I regain the world of the conscious, I begin to realize the flaws. And yet, there is still usually a kernel of something special left behind. Some of my best ideas have come from my unconscious self (and these are just the ones I remember the next morning). They send my into a tizzy of creative efforts, my mind lingers on them as I get ready for my day, scrawling a few quick notes before I completely forget about the magic I had been immersed in. Some of these stories stick with me for days, weeks, even years. Others are as fleeting as the gentle flitting of a bird’s wing. 

They say that a person is most creative when they first wake up; right in that moment when you have your rational mind in control, but there is still a dusting of that unconscious magic about you. I don’t know if this true, I may try to find out this week if I can get myself up early enough. But it wouldn’t surprise me. The dream world can be a curious place; but it can bring out the best in any creator, no matter your medium. Your unconscious mind will make connections that the wakeful version of yourself might miss. It’s like a dear friend on the other side of the veil whispering secrets and answers to you. If you slow down long enough to listen, you just might find something worthwhile. And just for the record- yes, I may have to see what kind of trouble this witchy-scientist can get herself into. And how on earth will she ever get out of that tree?

One Word Trailing Another (The Motivation Mambo)

When that beautiful mistress, the muse, is showering you with attention and sincere affection, writing is simple, the words rage from your pen like a river during flood season (apologies, my local area is currently under flood watch, so apparently these types of analogies have climbed excitedly to the top of my brain). This was me last week; like a snake who has been charmed, I could not look away from that lovely beauty, could not ignore the words that desperately wished to find solace in the blank page before me.

But then this week came. And can I just start off by saying that I am exhausted? You see, that balance between the literary life I crave and the real world that demands my attention- it is a hard line to walk. Some weeks I am a boss; I kick ass, I take names, I dance backwards in high heels while juggling legal briefs and homemade cupcakes. Some weeks I am a superhero; I can do it all and still manage to have enough time for date night on Wednesday, happy hour on Friday and meal prep for Sunday (did I mention homemade cupcakes- with pacman fondant?) Yes, some weeks I rule my own little corner of the world.

But other weeks I scrape myself out of bed after my second alarm. I grab my cardigan and I run out the door- only to discover when I get to work that it is not, in fact, my cardigan, but instead it is my fiance’s dirty t-shirt from the night before (true story). I go to sip my coffee only to realize I forgot to rinse all of the soap out. I hit the dreaded ‘reply all’ when I only meant to reply to one (that button really should come with a pop-up warning that asks you if you are really sure you want to send your message to the ENTIRE contact list). I guzzle immunity-boosting tea to fight off the cold that is once again nipping at my heels. I get yelled at by sweet old ladies who are deceptively mean when they don’t get their way. I dodge camera crews that are planted outside my office trying to get a sight of the defendant in our most recent media case. I burn the chicken at dinner and trip on the dog when I try to carry the plate to the table. I smile all day long, and crumple onto my bed when I get home.

Some days I’m the windshield, and some days I’m the bug. I used to just cave into these moments, chalk it up to a bad week and drop my writing goals at the door. I needed a break, I would reason (and occasionally still do). But the thing is, if you constantly push aside what you really love, what you deeply want in life- just because it gets hard sometimes- you aren’t going to get anywhere. You can drown yourself in your own pity, but it won’t help you float.

Trying to maintain a successful job/career, relationships and relatively clean household while simultaneously chasing that dream of writing; it’s not easy. It wasn’t meant to be. Chasing your true passion never is. It’s something you have to fight for, even when there’s nothing left inside to fight with.

So how do you do it? How do you sit down in front of your keyboard when your body and soul are drained, when you want nothing more than a strong drink and a soft bed? I’ve searched for the secret, climbed figurative mountains, read all of the articles the internet has to offer; but really, the answer is quite simple. You just do. You sit down. You put your fingers to the keyboard (or hand to the page) and you string one word after another until you reach the end of the sentence. And then you do it again. And again. Until you reach the end of the paragraph. And then you do it again. And again. Until you reach the end of the page. There is no mystical solution, there is no get-rich-quick scheme, I can’t spin this straw into gold. There’s just hard work in the face of adversity. Sometimes the frustration will make you want to cry- so you do. And then you string together one word behind another. Even if you only manage to fight through one sentence- you still took a step, you still did it. You are still a badass fighter, a hopeless dreamer, a dedicated writer.

Tonight the last thing that I wanted to do was write. I am exhausted, this week has been one to try my patience and seriously make me wish I had the kind of job where I could just call in sick and hide under my covers all day. But alas, life waits for no one (and neither does my boss). I got to work an hour early, pushed through the day, stayed late, and picked up a salad on the way home. And while right now I would love nothing more than to find the comfort of watching Netflix until I’m comatose, I know that tomorrow morning I will regret that decision. So here I am, typing away, stringing one word behind another. And the funny thing is, once I started typing, I found myself enjoying it, finding comfort in the mere act of writing. Words breathe life back into my soul, no matter how hard I try to fight them sometimes. You must persist. You won’t regret it. Even if you hate every word that makes its way to the page; at least there is more than yesterday. Prove it to yourself- that you deserve this, that you were meant for this. Fight for it, even when the fight is hard. That’s what passion is all about. You are a badass, a fighter, the superhero to your own story- even if you don’t feel like it. You can do this. I promise (and have I ever lied to you?)

Adult Snow Days for the Win!

For the first time ever, I jinxed myself in a good way. If you read my post from last night, you will remember that I opted to give myself a ‘snow night’ because my work never closes due to inclement weather, and therefore, there were no snow days in my future. I was pretty confident in this statement. But today, the world conspired to make me a liar. And I’m okay with that. After several hours of miscommunication and confusion on the part of everyone involved (like I said, we never close so the  protocols were a bit rusty), the decision finally came out- essential staff only was to report, everyone else got to stay home. And guess who was NOT considered essential staff today? This girl right here!

Oh, I was quick to don the pajamas again and refill my cup of coffee, ecstatic that I found out right as I was about to go warm up the car. Originally it was just a late start, and then an hour or so later, it was changed to a full closure.

Like any self respecting adult, I drank extra coffee, excitedly sent group messages to my coworkers who were all in a state of shocked disbelief, and then I put on warm clothes and ran out into the snow with my dog, who was just as excited as I was about the wintery developments. As it turns out, snow is his favorite treat. I learned this to the dismay of the snowman I was attempting to create (Apologies to my little creation, you never stood a chance). Once I cajoled my fiancé into coming outside with me, we walked the dog down to our local grocery store, picked up soup and bread bowls, and trekked back home as more flakes fell.

We reveled in this rare day; our winter storm was dubbed ‘Jupiter’ by the mysterious powers that be, and stretched from California to the Midwest. In my area our local towns got the biggest accumulation of snow since 1980. Oregon declared a state of emergency as officers on quads buzzed around downtown Portland checking stalled cars for stranded motorists that they then transported to local precincts before providing emergency hotel arrangements. A call to arms to assist the homeless was broadcast. People helped one another and people played, enjoying the rare elements for what they were.

During the day we played and enjoyed the weather, and tonight I am taking my momentum and redirecting it to my writing as my dog and cat are cuddled up beside me, exhausted and warm after a day of snowballs and icicles. My goal for the end of January is to complete some projects that have been left incomplete. Most of them are very close to their conclusions and just need that final push before I que them up for editing. 

This week I am playing with some new writing plans to figure out what will work best for myself and my daily schedule. My goal is to get some fresh, higher quality content posted to this blog. I want to step it up and put some more time into it. But I don’t want to neglect my other writing projects in the process, so a bit of a balancing act is going to be required. I haven’t figured it all out yet, and I’m still experimenting with different options. This month might prove to be a bit challenging; we seem to be having unprecedented weather this season, and there’s a possibility I will have to go out of town for three weeks, though I won’t know until about 3 days before I would have to go. Although, who knows, perhaps a hotel room will keep the distractions at bay. Though I would desperately miss my little family while away.

If there is anything that this season has taught me, it is to roll with every punch and every storm. It will be a grand adventure if you are willing to look at it the right way.

Keeping Portland Weird, no matter the weather

Too Much of a Good Thing (remembering who I have become)

Have you ever watched the movie ‘Matilda,’ you know, 90s classic that was a staple for me growing up. Oh how I always wanted to be like her; reading the entire library, able to move things with my mind and bubbling over with adorable charm. Yes, that was the dream- minus the horrors of Ms. Trunchbull. We could all do without that little gem in our lives.


As it turns out, lately I have been a lot more like Bruce Bogtrotter than Matilda. He was the infamous cholocate cake boy (who incidentally grew into a pretty handsome man, only proving my theory that cake is a the most amazing human invention and can fix anything in your life). 


Now- what do I mean when I say that I’ve been Bruce Bogtrotter? Well, remember how all he really wanted was some chocolate cake, and he just couldn’t resist so he stole a piece from the grinchy principal? His punishment after that sounded amazing: to eat an entire chocolate cake all on his own. Yes, it was a dream come true- until it wasn’t. As it turns out, too much of a good thing (even with something as glorious as chocolate), can still hurt you. The key has always been balance; something I am continually working on. After Nano ended I decided that I was going to give myself a little break, I reasoned that I had earned it- I hit my crazy big goal in November, and honestly, I was a bit tired. I craved the free time I never had, I desired that freedom the same way Bruce craved that cake. I simply couldn’t resist, though I knew the dangers of falling back into my old ways. So I opted to take time and relax, read my books, ease off of my writing projects and just give myself a bit of a break. Which was wonderful. Until it wasn’t.

All work and no play makes Katie a dull girl, and conversely, all play and no work makes Katie fall asleep far too early and lose her pizzazz. I loved the first week or so, well, actually, I still love it- it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to sit and read my books guilt-free without the constant nagging in the back of my mind on what I should be doing. So I read, and when I got burnt out on my current paperback, I started poking around online. A lot. And, as usual, the holiday season is a busy one for me- with ugly sweater parties, Christmas tree train rides, holiday plays, gingerbread houses,  a first attempt at a wine tasting, family frivolity and friendly festivities. But as it turns out, a lot of other things fell by the wayside as I spent more and more time indulging myself. This blog even- it started to fade into a late night afterthought, a tinge of guilt, but no real desire to sit down and work. One of my projects has been languishing, neglected and alone on my laptop. Even my laundry has been a mountain that has flooded over the top of its hamper, continually threatening to topple on the unsuspecting cat who only wants to play with the dangling sleeves of my sweaters.

And you know what happened? It stopped being fun. All of this extra time I had on my hands- it was a waste. I was standing still when I have spent the past year pushing so hard to inch forward, one toe at a time. It felt like I was losing all of the ground I had fought for. To suddenly find yourself languishing, and knowing it was all your own doing- it kind of sucks. It’s like sitting in the bathtub until the bubbles are gone and the water is cold, you’ve overstayed your welcome and the relaxation turns into anxiety. I found myself killing time that was once such a precious commodity to me- by mindlessly scrolling through the interwebs, checking my Facebook way more than I should, and even finding myself so bored at night that I was falling asleep early, kindle still propped on my lap. There was no stimulation, no motivation, no fire burning me up from the inside and sparking life into my soul. I had become dull and faded without my inspiration to guide me. I had become the girl I was once upon a time when I would dream without doing and wonder why my life wasn’t changing.

Much like the chocolate cake; when you eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it loses its appeal and pretty soon you find yourself craving an apple. You have to indulge yourself occasionally with a piece, but knowing it is a special treat makes it all the sweeter. That’s the balance I have to remember, I need to learn to teeter when I want to totter.

I don’t know who I am when I’m not writing, I lose my focus and start to feel like my very identity is slipping, I feel like a shadow of the myself. I have spent so much time this year working my tail feathers to the bare nubbins. And in spite of the dedication and laser focus it has required- it’s felt amazing knowing that I am doing something for myself, that I am taking steps towards a dream I have always had. So treading water- it doesn’t feel as good anymore. When I know what I am capable of, it hurts to do anything less. I feel like I’m wilting.

And so, here I am, frustrated with complacency and ready to strike back. It’s been fun, but I am sick of my holding pattern. So here we are my friends- Tipsy is back and ready to take a shot (I meant that in the dukes up, fight for myself kind of way- you know- hit me with your best shot; not shot of alcohol way, though technically that probably works too).

It’s time to come back to my new life, the one I fought so hard for. And now I can find comfort in knowing that I don’t think I am capable of slipping back into that girl I had once been- the one so full of unrealized dreams. Because I just tried, and though I did wilt for a time, I find myself blooming again. I can emphatically say: I am not that girl anymore. I am stronger than her, and damn it, I will keep on fighting for what I want. Because it’s the only thing that leaves me fulfilled and satisfied at the end of the day. Cheers, my friends, it feels good to be back. I’ve missed you. And perhaps I’ve missed me a bit too.

Nano Adventure Comes to a Close (raise your glass)

It seems strange to think that we set out on our daring adventure just 30 days ago. And yet here we are, standing at the final stage on our figurative journey. The foes have been met and the dragons slain (or tamed, if you hold pro-dragon beliefs). We are battered and weary as allegories and alliterations dance through our tired minds, sped on by the hyperboles of our rhetoric. Whether you reached that goal or not- we have done this crazy thing, and come out on the other side. We are haggard, but we still stand.

This past month has been a whirlwind. And yet, after the dust has settled, and all has been said or done; I must admit, it has been a truly beautiful chaos we have found ourselves in. Life does not wait for us to finish that last paragraph or discover that awaiting plot bunny, no, it goes on no matter what crazy goals we have set for ourselves. Thanksgiving brought with it family fun and visits with old friends who have moved farther away than I’d like. There have been roadblocks and pitfalls (and I am still not over the horribly-awful-no-good-very-bad defeat of my Cougars at the Apple Cup this year. Luckily, my Husky friends were kind and didn’t run it in too bad.) And I am also a tad disappointed with my loss during our Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. Next year I will bring bribes for all voting participants. I’m just saying- I brought out Carlton! You know- ‘now this is a story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down…’ (you know you sang that to the tune- and probably finished the next few lines). Who would have known that I would get Trumped in the end? (Pun very much intended: I lost to Trump and a reindeer yard ornament that was safety pinned to a sweater- they tied. I can only hope that my step-dad was truthful when his shirt promised to make Christmas great again).


My computer problems persisted (it still does not like the internet), however, it did miraculously decide to reconnect to the internet right after I managed to hit my goal- so I swooped in and validated: thank you computer gods who had mercy on me. I owe you some peppermint hot chocolate…or whatever it is you enjoy- perhaps some 001010110 scarves. 

So, this Nano I decided to try AGAIN at doing something completely and totally insane. I made a goal that I have attempted to reach every year (and every time, I have failed miserably). My goal: 100,000 words in one month. That’s right, I was one of those masochistic psychos that decided to attempt a double Nano this holiday season. I know what you are thinking, why put yourself through that writerly agony when you could instead be eating mounds of pumpkin pie completey ensconced in entire containers of whipped cream? Well let me tell you something: I am nothing if not a multi-tasker. Type with one hand and hold the fork in the other. Boom! Problem solved. (Word of advice, do not forget about the fork unless you think your laptop would look good with a pumpkin coat).

I don’t know what was different this year; I was just as busy as I typically am, life was filled with the normal drama and surprises. But I was determined. I jump in head first and just hoped that I could learn to fly. Sometimes all you really need is blind and reckless faith to force you out on that ledge. But you know what? All of the best stories start right there, with your toes poking over the edge.

This year it just felt right. I was hell bent, I was frazzled, but I was finding my muse and the motivation to dance with her. And so I clickity clacked well past my bedtime. When I wanted to watch my show, I waited to hit my daily goal before turning it on. I jumped way ahead of the curve, I fell behind, and ultimately, I rallied.

And you know what happened? I did it. That’s right, I actually met my crazy goal, not only that: I surpassed it. It was reach for the stars, over the moon World Series kind of stuff. I will proclaim it proudly: I wrote over 100,000 words in 30 days.

But you know what? It took me years to get to that point. It took a perfect aligning of inspiration and circumstances to allow me to even have a shot. And I honestly don’t know if I will ever be able to do it again. I can’t tell you that what I wrote was gold- because I was a tad delirious through half of it, and I am sure that the editing gods will smite me with their well-worded wrath. But for me, this year, that was not the point. This year I wanted to prove to myself that I could push past all logical endurance and achieve something that felt impossible. I wanted to remind myself that these crazy dreams of mine might not be as far-fetched as they have always felt. If I could accomplish this, well then, perhaps I can take another step and reach for something else. Maybe I’ll finally start sharing my work with my loved ones, or find the internal validation that I need to finish editing a project and step out in search of an agent. This year I was searching for my grit. And I found it.

We have fought a hard battle my friends, and I am so incredibly proud of all of us- I have been keeping up with the nano blogs, the message boards, the Facebook groups. Look at all we managed to accomplish- whether we hit our goals or not, we stepped out there, pen raised in the air and screamed our challenge to the blank page. Having the courage to even take that step is inspiring. And knowing that so many other people joined me on that front line makes me feel a little bit less alone in this wide world of ours.

So tonight, I raise my glass to you: cheers, my friends, there is no one I would have rather shared this adventure with. Thank you for keeping me inspired. Thank you for giving me the reason to keep on pushing and hit my goals. Because this year, that was the real difference: having this blog and all of you to keep me responsible. Thank you for helping my make my little dream a possibility.
And so, without any further ado, and for the last time this Nano season, let’s take a look at the final numbers:

Word Count: 113,269 out of 100,000

Percentage of Goal Complete: 113%

Current Mood on Project: you know how on Fridays your are happy and exhausted all at the same time? That’s how I feel. So happy I did this, and yet also simultaneously thrilled that I am done and can bury my nose in a few neglected books for the next week or two


 

Rushing Through Halftime: Nano Update #3

We have officially passed the day 15 mile marker and have started the Nano descent; love it or hate it, we are now sledding down the mountain to our inevitable conclusions. And of course: what a week it has been!

Truthfully, my week didn’t start out all that strong on the writing front. I was caught up in some good books I was reading (and listening to on audibles), and was stealing spare minutes to page through to the next chapter. One of them was equal amounts fascinating and disturbing. ‘This is Your Brain on Parasites’ will not only educate you, but convince you that you have little critters in your brain controlling your movements like a robot. It will also teach you that your cat is an evil mastermind. And washing your hands is vitally important. In spite of the fear enduring moments, I loved it nonetheless, and would recommend it to anyone interested in finding some good fodder for a sci-fi thriller or zombie novel (if you are working on the latter, you also have to give ‘Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep’ a shot).

On Friday morning I almost caught my hair on fire. Okay, that might be a tad dramatic, but my hairdryer did start changing it’s speed and then smelled strongly like burning plastic. I opted to risk getting a cold and ran out of the house with sopping wet, stringy hair because I was terrified my little drier would explode in my face. I also left it in the sink far away from any flammibles just in case spontaneous combustion decided to become a thing in my house while I was at work. Good news: it did not.

A weekend dentist appointment (I know, I’m a glutton for punishment apparently) left me with a deep appreciation for things that I generally take for granted. First: whoever created localized anesthetics was an amazing human being and I owe them an immense gratitide for all that they did in the name of pain management. Based on the sounds I heard coming from my gaping mouth, it’s a good thing I was so numb I could barely blink my own eye. I walked out of that office feeling like two-face from Batman- the entire right side was totally numb and unmanageable. I attempted to act like a normal human being while walking through Target (on a mission to replace my aforementioned hairdryer) though I suspect they noticed something was a tad off when I kept running my hand over my mouth to see if I was smiling with both sides. I also rediscovered the importance that I put on the spoken word in my daily life. How, you ask? Well, when your tongue is numbly rolling around in your mouth like a water wiggle, it takes a concentrated effort not to lisp or bite it. Repeatedly. In situations like that, silence is truly golden.

Last night was also a bit of an adventure: started out by going out to a rare little date night to see ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.’ Word of advice: get up right now, find the nearest showing and go see it. Feel free to take my advice with a grain of salt- I am a hardcore Harry Potter fan and love anything and everything about that world. But nonetheless- still see it. It’s cute, it’s fun, the settings are gorgeous and the actors did a phenomenal job adding memorable quirks to their characters. I loved it.

On the way home, however, the real adventure began. It was only about 9:30 at night when we say a car almost hit another while changing lanes in front of us. The offending vehicle veered away before things went south. I thought that would be the end of it- it happens to all of us, I’ve been guilty of those mistakes myself. But then the weaving started- back and forth across two lanes of highway traffic right in front of us. At one point he was driving right in the middle, straddling the line between the lanes. And then he started tailgating an older woman in her car. So I did something I have never done before: I called the police. We kept an eye on him until our exit. I don’t know what wound up happening. He looked really young, too young. I can just hope that nothing happened after we lost sight of him.

Needless to say, it was a relatively eventful week. My writing, however, was starting to suffer; perhaps ‘starting’ is the wrong word- my writing was continuing to suffer. The week two slump hit me hard. And I used my week one progress as an excuse to relax, to do other things, to let my project languish. In fact, I spent a good portion of this past week behind schedule. I had lost all of the lead that I had gained in the first few days on Nano. I had been halfway through my goal before week one was out- a huge lead; I lost all of that. 

But then, this weekend; I rallied. Yes, in the midst of my regularly scheduled life, an amazing thing happen: the muse decided to grace me with her presence again, that fickle little fairy that she is. I had been burnt out- it always happens to me in week two of Nano, I hit a slump and fell face first into a literary rut. Climbing back out feels amazing. I didn’t add as many words as I had originally wanted to over the weekend, but I have the drive to push forward. Last night when we got home I even went straight back to my laptop and started tapping away. I finally had to force myself to put my work away and go to bed at 11:30 (this is late for me).

I’m trying to run with this for as long as it holds out, because that muse does not tend to stick around long. I’m not moving as fast, but I would like to think that I’m getting out higher quality content. At the very least, I’m working through some stronger ideas and plot points than I had originally figured out. So I’m running with it. 

I feel like I’m really going to do it this time, if I can just keep up my momentum and keep the work going steady. I’m afraid to get too excited though; I’ve stumbled at the finish line before. I have had years where I made it up into the 80k range and then fell off the cliff when I tried to fly. The key is to focus on one day at a time and not get too far ahead of myself.

So let’s peek at the numbers and see how it’s going:

Word Count: 81,721 out of 100,000

Percentage of Goal Complete: 81%

Current Mood on Project: feeling like I just drank a Monster energy drink and I’m ready to rock the keyboard (or cry trying)