Walking

It’s sticky hot in Montréal and I’m already regretting my decision to walk as much as I have today. I had convinced the boyfriend that Home Depot was close enough, that it wasn’t that warm, blah blah blah. We got to sit inside while I applied for financing so we could have appliances delivered to our new apartment, but when it was done and the iced coffee was gone, it was back into the sweltering summer air. We parted ways, and I continued deeper into the Mile End to meet Lisanne for a writing session.

I’ve made it a good five minutes from the store, though it felt like thirty, when I check my phone and get the news that our destination is closed. She’s relocated to la Panthère Verte, which isn’t much further, and I make it there in no time. We greet, I dump my bag, and line up to order. We share a nice meal, me with lots of picking around unexpected mushrooms, and take out our laptops.

The only problem is, the place has filled up a bit and gotten a bit livelier. It’s great ambiance for a date or a friendly debate, but not so much for setting in for some serious writing. No matter, it’s Mile End, there’s bound to be a cozy café we can work in.

We step back out into the miasma and head down Saint Viateur in search of a quiet place. It’s early on Saturday evening, surely folks are having dinner or predrinking before going out. We step into one place, but the vibe is all wrong, there’s bustle and children and noise noise noise. Back out again.

As we walk, we see restaurants and bars, not what we’re looking for. There are any number of cute boutiques, but we’re not here to shop. Before long, we reach Park Avenue (which is always avenue du Parc in my head, #sorrynotsorry) and realise that we’re near where we sat to write last time.

Naturally, we turn left, go back to that same café, and get some solid work done. I broke 10,000 words and nearly finished my sixth chapter. I also had an amazing pistachio chocolatine and a delicious iced mocha, so thanks, Caffè in Gamba! Next time, we’ll just cut the crap and head straight there.

I was so pumped with how much work I got done that by the time we said our goodbyes, I decided to walk the full half hour back home. Fortunately, it had cooled a bit by then, but the bounce in my step wore off before I could make it all the way upstairs. But then I got to collapse into bed and have a very relaxing evening, so it’s still a victory.

Dreams of autumn

I attended my first session of QWF’s Shut Up & Write, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. I was able to wrap up the third chapter of Claire and get a fourth out in three hours, including the novel’s first sex scene, which was interesting to write while in a room full of people. I left feeling accomplished and buoyant, and went and spent entirely too much money at Lush.

As I write more of this Louisiana project, I am exploring strange little corners of memory that I haven’t visited in a while. I don’t think my recollections are pristine, and I get a freedom from that to fudge details even further. This is meant to be fiction; the truest parts will be the emotions I felt. I hope I can successfully weave those into these alternate versions of events.

In the vein of digging up my thoughts on the past, I have signed up for a workshop on oral storytelling. I haven’t the faintest clue where to start, and the description specifically mentioned a focus on the difference between oral and written storytelling, so I think I have a lot to learn. I’m excited to see where this takes me.

I’m also looking forward to having a regular schedule to follow. My writing workshop is meeting infrequently enough to feel quite irregular. Part of what is holding me back is that I’m moving in a month and would like to start a routine that I can do at home. That’s not much of an excuse, though. I could treat myself to a nice drink and snack somewhere public. I often look at people in restaurants and cafés with a bit of envy; there’s no reason I can’t be them.

Then once I move and have proper spaces to write in, I can fix myself some tea and put on some good music to work to. The bf is fine with my writing time here, so I doubt there will be any problem once we have even more space to occupy. Meanwhile, we’re sharing a studio with a kitchenette and no bathtub and I’m hunched over my laptop on the bed. My back feels marvelous.

So I have my next meeting with my workshop soon, a brand-new workshop starting up, and a positive change in the home situation coming up. The start of fall is going to be a beautiful time.

Also, people are absolutely shitting on Tim Hortons’ pumpkin spice menu, I’m pretty sure they’re irredeemable at this point. R.I.P.

Of course, it’s been damn hot this week, so dreams of autumn feel slightly out of reach. Here’s hoping there’s a change in the wind soon.

Happy belated Pride!

Last weekend was the big weekend of Fierté Montréal, and the Village drew me in a couple times before I ran out of energy for it. Friday had me having supper with a friend from out of town, which led to a nostalgia tour of musical favourites as I walked to the bus and let my memories carry me away.

Saturday started a bit more low-key: brunch with the boyfriend, followed by meeting up with Lisanne for some serious writing. This time, we weren’t going to get carried away with conversation. We stuck to five-minute breaks between 25-minute stretches of silence, and I got out the entire second chapter of my novel. During our second break, I had shared a bit of what I was writing, and some of Lisanne’s questions led to me adding a bit more to the second chapter than I had originally planned.

We retreated to the park afterward, sat in the grass beneath a tree, and talked about writing and life. I think I liked this arrangement better than our last meeting; we got more work done while still being able to socialise and enjoy each other’s company afterward. I’m sure we’ll do so again soon.

From there, I met some friends for an afternoon of snacks and drinking. Then we headed off for the show in the park, me thinking I was entirely too drunk to be bothered by the crowds. In the beginning, it was fine, though I kept complaining that the music was too much soul and not enough beat. Then the act changed, the beat drew a bigger crowd, and I peaced out.

I only meant to step to a less densely-packed area for a moment, take a breath, maybe grab a bite, and head back in. Instead, I found my feet carrying me out of the park, my thumbs texting my friends to let them know that I’m fine, but I’m leaving. I wasn’t really fine, but I went for the shorthand. I knew I was going to be fine and that even if I was in a state, it would pass, and I didn’t want them to worry over me. Enjoy the show, but I’ve gotta get out of here.

I felt a little stupid being bothered by it, but I’ve long known that I’m a homebody, and my weekend had already been filled with social activities. I could have figured that my reserves would be low and I would’t be able to properly deal with stressors. Still, I did go out for a little bit, I heard some good music, I sang in a crowd with friends. That’s a win.

For the end of Pride Weekend, I had planned on going to the parade, but I didn’t feel up to crowds again. I opted instead for a quiet afternoon with my boyfriend at a friend’s place. We watched the Pride episode (a Pride episode? Did they do more than one?) of Queer as Folk, made comments on how much has changed since that show originally aired, and ate entirely too much junk.

I came home and ended up doing some more work on Claire. I was describing a conversation that was happening during a drive, so I decided to pull up the google and take a virtual trip down familiar roads. It’s the first time I’ve really done this, a good dozen years after the time when I drove those roads most often. The experience was surreal, and really helped me pace the conversation and weave in little details, some versimilitude. I know these roads. My school bus used to take me down them, so that even before I started driving, I had memorised their twists and turns.

There was even a memory around a certain twist, and as I wondered if it was too dark and too real to include, I wrote it in. I can think about it when I’m editing. I’m going to have a lot to consider in terms of where I draw the line between fact and fiction.

Energy levels

I had a fantastic weekend. Verdungeons & Dragons on Saturday after my shift; we finally reached level three, and I completely flubbed my character’s very first spell. Then brunch with a friend and some mild shopping before the QWF picnic.

Now, you might be wondering why someone would possibly think it’s a good idea to brunch before a picnic. I suppose we can chalk it up to me trying to have my cake and eat it too. Plus I don’t have a kitchen, I didn’t bring anything, so it didn’t feel right to mooch off of everyone’s collaboration to the event. I did sample some delicious sugar tartlike thing with pecans in it and I swear, I had an out-of-body experience.

As expected, it was great to talk to other writers about writing, to hear their experiences, to hear some of what they’ve worked on (I’ve made a note to look up a book later). I really enjoy the sense of community and camaraderie that I feel with these folk, and look forward to getting to know them better. It’s also reassuring to know that when I progress in my writing life, there will be people to ask for opinions and advice.

The other half of my weekend was given to cleaning in my apartment, sensibly nudged there by my boyfriend. I’ve basically been living in his place, and the landlord will need to show mine to interested renters, so it was due. We spent three hours sweating with only a fan to push the hot air around us. I was sweeping and cleaning up, but poor Fred was using hot water in the kitchen and scrubbing cabinets. Before we could finish all we wanted to, I called it quits; my head was pounding, my temper was building steam, and I was tired of standing.

So, socializing (a LOT) and keeping pretty physically active put me in no mood to go and deal with the daily grind. Getting back to work wasn’t so bad, but I had to start canceling on events to be able to stay home and recover energy. I feel a little guilty, but I’ve come to an understanding that if I don’t manage my energy levels, I start to feel a little frayed at the edges, and my mood sours. If I want to function and be productive in my daily life, I need to maintain a certain balance. Then it’s easier to make time to write, and I feel happy about having been productive in my writing life, and that feels great.

All that to say that I haven’t really worked on Claire apart from revising the first chapter and submitting it to my writing group. Now I have a little over three weeks to read their pieces, which is always fun, and progress a bit in my own work so that I have a few choices for my next submission.

I am loving this whole schedules thing, having other people rely on me, sharing work with others and reading theirs. It’s easy to keep momentum when I have these reasons spurring me on, keeping me going. It makes the entire thing more fun, also.

Disrupting my process

I’d like to begin by saying that I feel inexperienced enough to admit that I don’t yet have a good idea of what my process is. The only novel whose roughdraft I completed is now almost five years behind me, still unfinished. However, I’ve already started toying with an idea of doing something differently with my latest project.

I had it from my high school teacher before anyone else: “Don’t edit until your first draft is finished.” This was back when I thought all writing advice was gold and to be taken to heart and never questioned nor ignored. I think there is quite a lot of value in this thought, but I’ve also learned that it’s okay to try new things. That advice is not absolute. That I owe it to mix it up until I find what works best for me.

With Yggdrasil, I completed the entire roughdraft before I showed it to anyone for feedback. With my current project (let’s call it Claire) just beginning, and my writing workshop meeting regularly, I thought I’d try sharing the opening chapter and seeing if I’m starting off on the right foot. Since I think it’s a waste of my peers’ time to submit the very first draft I wrote, I’m revising a chapter before the rest of the novel is written. I’m almost satisfied, and will hopefully get some good criticism; for our meeting after that, I plan to have several more chapters to choose from.

I discussed a bit of it with Lisanne, a friend from the group, when we met for coffee last week. We didn’t get as much writing done as we had planned, but we had a nice time talking about our projects and peoples’ reactions to them, and how much truth was too much to put into a fictional version of events. We shared our experiences, and hopefully mine gave her more insight into what it was like growing up in Southern Louisiana.

One thing that’s easy to represent in my writing now is the heat. It’s been hot and humid here, and I was down south recently enough to recall key differences between summer in Cecilia and summer in Montréal. Despite this, I went for a day in the park with friends in Verdun. I was introduced to someone new, and I talked about my past for the first time since deciding to put it into a novel. I don’t think that necessarily changed what information I share; usually only the essentials for a first meeting. But then, of course, in quiet moments staring up at trees, my mind was going over which parts need to go into the book to tell this story properly.

I’ll be in the park again next week for a picnic with the Québec Writers’ Federation. I hope to meet some new folk, chat about writing, and relax (fingers crossed for cooler, drier weather!). I don’t think I’ll feel any of the apprehension I did about the last social event; I’m rolling right along, and anyway we’re all different, so there’s not much use comparing myself to anyone else. (Tell this to my nervous mind.) It will be fun to meet with like minds and discuss what we like to do.

I am considering adding another project to my plate: a member of the QWF posted about a call for submissions of dragon stories. Just like with my vampyre story, I always wanted to write about dragons (no alternate spelling here), and any new short story is a good way to practice. I haven’t come up with much about it, and an attempt at an introductory scene fizzled out when I realised I hadn’t yet come up with the emotions motivating the main character. If my current pattern holds, it will be something I’ve felt acutely and can portray accurately.

Speaking of feelings, I got a gut punch in the form of disappointment this week. After checking their website daily, I finally got my entrance exam results for McGill. My application has been refused because I “do not meet language requirements.” Eighteen credit hours of French at Concordia University, at least eight years of work experience in primarily francophone environments, and I failed the exam. I had felt so confident about it.

What I suspect is that because I do not read very much in French, I made mistakes that a seasoned reader would not have. I have always meant to read more news articles, novels, even classics; but somehow never got around to it.

I’m not closing the door on translation just yet, but before I schedule another exam for myself, I would like to practice for it. I want to get more comfortable reading in French, expand my vocabulary, gain an understanding for tenses not used when speaking aloud. I want to write in French and have someone experienced to give me constructive criticism. I feel that I severely underestimated what it takes to work in the field of translation, and that is why I got the results I did. I’m still disappointed, but it helps to understand that this didn’t fall on me out of the blue. I set myself up for this.

Waffling

I keep going back and forth with this blog.

On the one hand, there’s my unfortunate preoccupation with what other people think. “Oh, he has a blog? Who does he think he is?” and similar variations. Well, maybe he’s just like every other millennial who pours their every thought all over the internet, hoping someone else will recognize how clever and unique it is. By posting here, I am subjecting myself to the opinions of others, nevermind the fact that I will never know what most of those opinions may be.

Then we come to the other hand, which I make into a fist, and I proclaim myself a writer. Writers have blogs. They’re usually more for informing those who care to know what the writer is up to. I don’t estimate there is anyone who doesn’t hear my news from me personally, but hey, maybe that can change.

There is also the issue of posterity. When I journal, I often write about writing, but I tend to focus on the emotion of it. Here, I could be more goal-focused, and celebrate my achievements as they come. I’ll probably also share the weird, intense, and unexpected emotions I encounter along the way. Why the hell not.

Well, that’s two pros to one con, good enough for me.

So ever since shaming myself into accelerating my writing life, I have been quite busy with projects. There was the queer short story where I had already started to explore some feelings, then I started working on an old idea I had for a vampyre (yes, with a Y) story. Both of these had ticking clocks on them, and I found the deadlines extremely motivating.

The trouble is, I underestimated the time I would need for the vampyre story, and how big the story actually was. To give the events proper emotional impact and get to know the characters at a more meaningful depth, I’d probably have to turn this 10,000 word story into a novel. I might even try that later, but for now it’s stuck in a virtual drawer. I haven’t looked at it since I printed it, stuck it in an envelope, and dropped it in a mailbox to submit.

(Holy fuck, my first submission!)

Then it was time to come back to the queer story. I had already written something with more truth in it than I thought I could do. I was still uncertain about editing that out and going with something a bit less real. In conversations with friends (and my therapist, of course), I came to understand that using these raw feelings felt cathartic and they might resonate with readers. So, the feelings stayed, and I put more of them into subsequent drafts, until I finally arrived at a place where I felt comfortable sharing it.

A thought on digital versus paper submissions:

Paper submissions involve many more steps between the moment you stop writing and the moment your writing is irretrievably out of your hands. There’s the printing, the putting into the envelope, the getting dressed, the walking to the postbox.

Once I stopped typing and looked over my second submission, there were far fewer steps to take. Write a cover letter, draft an e-mail, and hit SEND.

The moment before clicking that button dragged on for an hour as I thought of all the things I could go back and change. This scene could be longer, that description could be better, was that line of dialogue really necessary? I may have even closed my eyes, like when I was much younger and told a guy via instant message that I liked him.

(Holy fuck, my second submission!)

In two moves, I have further solidified my identity as a writer in my head. I have shared my writing in a significant way; even if it does not get published, I have taken a huge step. I am involved in a writing workshop where I regularly share my work and critique the work of others. I am working on a novel, and looking out for more opportunities to submit pieces for publication.

And the one thing I keep forgetting to give myself credit for: I wrote a book. I haven’t finished revising it, because I have come to learn that editing is the terrifying flipside to writing, and I am woefully inexperienced. Getting these short stories ready has given me a new appreciation for it, and a better idea of the journey involved in turning a roughdraft into a novel.

Practicing also gives me a better idea of what sort of process works best for me. The most important lesson I learned from my vampyre story is that I need time to put a piece away so that I can come to it with fresh eyes. I ended up marathon editing over the course of a weekend. I was miserable, lacking in confidence, and my work doubtless suffered. I gave myself more time for my second submission, and I am much happier with the piece I submitted as a result.

So, that’s my latest. Except I’m also working on a novel that is a fictionalization of my life and the gravity of that horrifies and thrills me. I have no idea if I can actually do this, but I’m going to keep going until I make my decision. After all, so much of it is a story I’ve already told time and again.

What I’ve been up to

I had a lot to get out in the previous entry, so I didn’t get to the point of properly discussing what I’ve been up to lately. It’s easiest to come here and make updates when things are actually happening in my writing life, so here goes the latest!

Since NaNoWriMo of last year, I’ve been working on the latest version of my oldest novel, which I’m calling Project Oathbreaker for now. I started it with a new protagonist, then realized that I still need the older ones, but writing from a fresh perspective gave the story a new energy that was previously lacking. I still feel a little weird about continuing to write a story that I’ve been working on for so long, through so many incarnations, but the biggest part of me feels that I need to get this out and it will feel so rewarding to finally do so.

I’ve also dusted off a proof copy of Climbing Yggdrasil and started making notes to bring the damn thing to a third draft at long last. I often get annoyed by the fact that I finished its rough draft at the end of 2013 and I still have not gotten it to a place where I feel it’s ready for proper critiques. Maybe this sentiment is wrong and I could actually get more momentum by sharing it with others in its current form, but in the meantime, I have opinions on things I can change. I feel I owe it to future beta readers to take it as far as I can before bringing in outside opinions; I want to respect their time and make the best use of it that I can.

I am also working on a short story to submit for a queer edition of the Malahat Review, using an idea that has been rolling around in my head for a while. Those are my favourites, little seeds of thought that stick around and draw other ideas in until I have no choice but to explore them and see where they lead me. I’d like to say more, but I think it’s best to keep it to myself for the time being. I’ve completed a rough rough draft, and I’m working on fleshing it out a bit more before I seek constructive criticism. I’m excited to submit something for the first time!

With all of this, plus rejoining my soccer team, studying to advance myself at work, and maintaining some semblance of a social life; Google calendar has become my best friend. I am a little nervous about the level of organisation required to keep everything on track, but I am willing to put in the effort and hopefully feel that my time is being well spent and properly enjoyed. The last thing I need is to become completely overwhelmed by too many things going on at once.

Relaxing into myself

I had one of those days yesterday. The kind of day where you meet a lot of great people and shake a lot of hands and smile and come home completely exhausted, yet brimming with energy. A day that when you wake up the next morning, you can’t believe it was only yesterday, because it felt like it went on forever in the best of ways.

(Maybe I shouldn’t post something that honest online, but I’m a huge dork, so why the hell not?)

I was sitting in a therapy session and expressing mild satisfaction with the direction of my writing life, and a hope that things will accelerate when my work schedule changes. As ever, my therapist suggested I not wait, that I try to get involved in something sooner, since it might take some time to get organized, meet up, et cetera. She pulled up her laptop and started Googling, and when I went home that night I decided to join the Quebec Writers’ Federation.

Then I got a newsletter, and pressure started to build. I had signed up, I would have to meet these people soon enough. How many books had they written? How many more years of experience did they have over me? And the biggest question, naturally, what would they think of me? This goofball who probably dresses too young for his age and likes to use the word “fuck” in fiction?

I put it away, but kept coming back to it during my breaks at work. I did this so that I could meet writers and discuss writing, find community and support, perhaps kindred spirits. I picked a morning social mixer. It wasn’t very long, I could duck out and retreat to my apartment if I felt overwhelmed.

Of course, I had a nightmare.

A few days later, I’m sitting down with my boss at work to discuss my performance and where I’m going. He said to me, not unkindly, “I can’t move you with these numbers,” and I knew it was true. The same feeling that was stressing me about meeting the QWF was plaguing me at work: I don’t deserve to be here. Any moment, someone will find that unforgivable flaw, and I’ll be thrown out.

I am an impostor.

Curiously, it was after that meeting with my manager that I started turning it around.

Walking back to my desk, I’m thinking on what my manager has said, and my dread at going to a casual social event. I tap into something that has helped me in the past when I’ve been out the door and on my way to meet strangers: fuck what everyone thinks. I’m here for me. So I am going to be me, unapologetically.

I sit back down at my desk, and having somehow, suddenly deciding to stop giving a fuck, I manage to have better connections with my clients, more in-depth conversations, and I am able to see more ways to help them. I don’t care what the clients think, I am there to do a job, and I can do it best by being myself.

I feel instant gratification because I am having fun with my job, my conversations that evening were more conversational and genuine. The next day, I read Lauren Graham’s In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It and it validates my experiences from the day before. I go to therapy and am told that I have relaxed into myself, and that sounds really positive. I go home and write more of my second novel, edit more of my first, and I feel more awake and present than I have in a shockingly long time.

I don’t realize at first, but I am arming myself against impostor syndrome. I am doing things that will allow me to push back against those feelings with logic. When the voice tells me that I’m not a real writer, I am able to know that I have just written, I am writing, I will write. I may have not written as much as some, but surely they didn’t get to where they are by letting doubt stop them from moving forward. At least not all the time.

By the time I meet members of the QWF, a few at a time as they arrive, I am able to feel at ease. Just like when I started playing soccer two summers ago, I didn’t feel judged about my level of experience. These people were encouraging, interested, and interesting as well. I was happy to see what an eclectic bunch they were, and it was pleasant to talk to each of them. One of them even knew where Cecilia was, having spent some time in Louisiana, and I was floored: suddenly we’re discussing the Cajun cuisine, the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, and the prevalence of the French language there. I love how I could never have predicted that conversation would take place, it makes it all the more special.

The rest of the day rushed by: I attended a panel where writers shared stories of events that influenced their writing, or had to be overcome so that they could continue writing. I listened to another where queer writers discussed their recent works, and their motivations for the themes they explored within them. It brought me back to thinking about Louisiana, and I’m wondering if that’s the sort of thought that might grow into something I’ll work on later.

So that was yesterday. Now I’m working on a short story in addition to my two novels, and I’m getting involved with a writing group. I feel like I can finally come here and write things, because I have so much more to say now that I’m actually writing again. It’s like dusty gears inside me are moving once again, the machinery is warming up and coming back to life, and I am loving it.

I mean, don’t expect regular updates or anything. Let’s not forget to retain a speck of cynicism.

Kitchen Timer

I’ve just finished reading Lauren Graham’s aptly-titled Talking As Fast As I Can, which was an utter delight and contained something I did not expect: writing advice.

I had somewhat vaguely been made aware of the existence of Someday, Someday Maybe and thought it to be a memoir, and for some reason never pushed myself to pick it up. For context, it came out during a time when I was mostly reading eBooks, and not especially going to great lengths to get new ones; and even though Gilmore Girls has always been a part of my life, it wasn’t receiving the renewed attention that the revival provided. Still, I knew Lauren Graham had written a memoir or autobiography, but weren’t those always ghostwritten anyhow?

My point being, I went to Talking As Fast As I Can to get to know the person behind Lorelai Gilmore a bit better, and I found more than I expected.

Her best bit of advice comes in the chapter entitled Kitchen Timer. I took it as I take all writing advice: this worked for me, it may work for you, but it is hardly the only way to go about putting words on a page. This way, I give myself permission to tweak things a bit, to try and fail and revise before I find a way to successfully make this into some sort of rhythm. So here goes.

I’ve dedicated the next hour to writing. (I actually forgot to set the timer until just before the previous paragraph, oops.) Before I sat down, I cleared my desk of the most useless and distracting things: now there’s nothing but a burning candle, a beverage, my cell phone (turned face-down and on Do Not Disturb), and my personal journal. I am trying to ignore the dust and the urge to reach for the Swiffer hanging on the corkboard: cleaning is such a great accomplice to procrastination. How can I write when my apartment is absolutely filthy?

No, for this next hour, I am writing. Or I am staring at the blinking cursor. I am certainly not getting up to vacuum, I am not fact-checking (though I did check to see if I was blogging when Someday, Someday Maybe came out), and I am not going out for food. If I get stuck here, I can switch to my journal, or I can open Scrivener to work on a novel.

The journal bit struck me as incredibly brilliant. I have often felt guilty about updating my personal journal when my creative writing was lying ignored, but never forgotten. As if text on a screen would stare at me broodily while I scribbled my feelings in a notebook. It’s absurd. My journal is my emotional homework, it is an indispensable tool when I can’t figure out how I’m feeling, why I’m feeling that way, what would make me feel better. The creative stuff is work, and as important as work is, my mental health takes priority.

On more sensible days, I’ve been able to think, “Even if I didn’t write creatively today, I wrote something. I did a good thing.” However, it never occurred to me that I could set my journal beside my keyboard and have both forms of writing be part of a session. It makes sense, I enjoy writing, I feel things while I’m doing it, I have feelings about what I’ve written, as I’m writing it. My personal journal houses many of my feelings. Come to think of it, this could well be an entry in that journal. Maybe I’ll end up keeping it to myself, but I don’t have to decide that just yet.

I know from prior experience that I am happiest when I am actively working to create something, and that spurs me to want to document that experience, and record the emotions I feel as I go through it. It reminds me of something I discussed in therapy, about how getting going with one thing can lead to me doing other things, because completing these tasks makes me happy and makes me want to do more things to continue feeling that way. By overcoming the initial friction of starting one small task, I’ve gotten to a state where my momentum can carry me through other tasks.

I’m about fifteen minutes into my first hour, and I haven’t decided if checking the clock is against the rules. I am over 700 words into this post/entry, and that’s more than I’ve done in a long while. That feels great.

I have a good feeling about this kitchen timer thing, and I expect to post more about it as I go through. More of my deviations this time around: I have read, opening the book to check on what the rules are. I am listening to music with lyrics. I have not disable the Wi-Fi on my computer, though I have managed to ignore my phone. I haven’t used the Internet for any communication, though I think I will post this, finally. And then I’ll go radio silent until my hour is up.

Big Goals, Little Goals

Rather than actually writing, I thought I’d come here and write about writing!

A curious thing happens to me on days off where I stare at the computer and refresh various social media sites in some sort of attempt to amuse myself. Hours go by. The sun sets and I feel that I have utterly wasted another day at home.

Today, at least, I’ve had Dabble open. I corrected a typo. I did not write anything new, however.

I have previously discussed with my therapist my difficulty with motivation. Logically, I understand that Motivation, much like Inspiration, is a fickle friend and it’s best to learn how to begin things without either of them. My therapist suggested I set myself a small task, and one of two things would happen: having completed the task, I would feel a sense of accomplishment. Then perhaps, the fact of having gotten started might give me the momentum to continue on past my initial goal.

If that doesn’t work, it’s no big deal. At least I would have accomplished the lesser goal I set for myself.

NaNoWriMo sets out a rather intimidating objective: 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s easier done when broken down: 1,667 words per day. Write every day. Write even if you’ve fallen behind, or skipped a day, or aren’t where you feel you should be.

Side note: “should” is a terrible word, and anytime I use it I feel my rebellious spirit telling me that “should” is made-up and I can do whatever I want.

So here are a few hundred words about my struggle to create momentum, and now that my fingers have limbered up, it would be a shame not to continue typing away. Even if I don’t break 1,000 words, at least I will have written today. Even if I don’t win NaNoWriMo, I will have a pile of words that I didn’t have in October. That’s something to celebrate.