Category: writing

NaNoWriMo ate my life

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Ah, yes, November. That time of year where I vainly try to write 50,000 words in 30 days, and usually peter out around 20,000 – 25,000. And yet, I insist on trying. 20,000 words in a month is still twice my usual goal of 10,000 words in a month. Plus, it’s fun. (Yes, I realize that “fun” is a relative term.)

Except this year, we’re a third of the way through the month and I’m more or less on track? (KNOCK ON WOOD.) I’ve been sidelining some other things (like this here blog) to focus on getting words on the page, but my efforts seem to be paying off. The goal for today is to have 15,000 words written, and I’m sitting at 12,285 (I had a killer migraine yesterday, the kind where I couldn’t even sleep because my head was pounding so hard, so I only wrote 500 words).

But perhaps more important than my total word count is the fact that I’ve managed to write something every day in November. I’ve been really struggling to get back to a consistent writing practice—I keep letting the “urgent” (lesson plans! grading! walking the dog!) get in the way of the “important” (working on my novel! submitting stuff!). The truth is that even though I’m busy, I still have time to write for 15 or 30 minutes every day. I just haven’t been forcing myself to do it.

Well, now I am. I’ve gotten back into that long-term flow of the project, where I’m thinking about it constantly, imagining what-ifs and figuring out what my characters would do in situations I find myself in. Self-help gurus love to talk about “flow,” the state of being “in the zone” and essentially getting shit done. I’ve definitely felt that flow state while writing, but I think there’s a larger, less immediate type of flow that comes from working on a project deeply every day. Or, at the very least, consistent work makes it much, much easier to access the flow state. What do I know? I’m just a writer.

Speaking of which, I have 3,000 words to write today. I’d better get cracking.

New flash fiction in Uproot!

I have a short short story—”Lonely Weather”—in Issue 5 of Uproot, a journal focused on “place, migration, and dislocation.”

Mia walks west. She walks without stopping for rest, for sleep, for food, for water, because she is a ghost and feels no physical pain. The word echoes in her mind: ghost, ghost, ghost.

She hopes that the miles will wear her down to air, that time will erase her memory.

Keep reading at Uproot! (Content warning, though, for suicide.)

This story comes from my collection, She’s Tired of Going Nowhere. It’s part of a mini-cycle within the collection about a group of women who’ve died because of patriarchal/capitalist violence and what they make of the afterlife. This particular one is not super uplifting, but it’s not meant to be, because not all victims of violence—whether straight up physical violence or the kind of environmental violence I tackle in “Lonely Weather”—get happy endings.

Camp NaNoWriMo 2018: Week 1 recap

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Although I’ve given myself permission to fail (better) at Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m actually doing pretty well! Here are my stats for the first 10 days of this 30-day writing challenge (not including today):

  • Total words written: 7,024
  • Words left to write: 17,976
  • Average words per day: 702
  • Days without writing: 2
  • Mental breakdowns: 0
  • Emotional outbursts: 0
  • Moments of utter despair: 1

Monday through Thursday I wrote at least 800 words each day. Friday I went to a coffee shop after work to write, but foolishly left the rough draft of my novel at home. My partner had homework to do, so I busied myself with submissions instead of writing. I’m trying to stick to a regular sleep schedule, so I went to bed when we got home instead of staying up too late.

Saturday the endometriosis pain returned, so I didn’t do anything except watch documentaries on Netflix. (To be fair one of those documentaries was a literal autopsy of a dead person, so it was definitely useful for my writing.) Sunday I was still in pain and had a serious case of brain fog, so I only wrote about 200 words. Yesterday I wrote about 1,500 words, so ultimately I’m not too far behind where I should be to hit my 25,000 word goal.

I’m finding that holding myself to 800 words a day does feel somewhat like a stretch, but it’s a doable stretch that leaves me feeling accomplished for the rest of the day. (And that’s not including other writing projects, like this blog and the Tuesday Night Monologue Project!) If things keep going well, I may try to up my daily word count to 1,000 words a day.

I’ve mostly been writing early in the morning from home, but I’ve also written from my coworking space, especially on days I need coffee (like yesterday).

So for now I carry on, and we’ll see how this next week goes!

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