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Life update – 12.03.19

Winners-Certificate-2019-Photo-768x595

I came home from visiting family for Thanksgiving with a terrible head cold. I’m so mad – this week is super busy, plus it’s the toughest week in my RunBet game, and I’m resigned to the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea. I don’t even like tea, but it’s the only thing that feels good to my throat right now…

But in happier news, I finished NaNoWriMo! (There’s no name or date on the certificate, because a slow website + slow WiFi = no patience from me). This is the first time I’ve attempted it seriously with a work of original fiction, and while the story is a hot mess and only about 70% done, I got my 50,000 done! I’m super proud of myself; as a reward, I bought a discount Phalaenopsis orchid from Kroger. I repotted it on Sunday and it looks happier already.

What really worked for me this year was:

1) Plotting ahead of time (shocker). I didn’t have a very complete outline, but I had enough so that I had 18 or so scene cards in Scrivener already laid out by Nov 1.

2) Writing consistently. I knew ahead of time that there would be one weekend in which I wouldn’t be able to write for three days; but those three days were so easy to turn into four, then five…it was super hard to start up again, and after that I tried extra hard to write something every day, even if it was just 50 words.

3) Word sprints. I started these on day 13. I was a skeptic going in – I don’t know why – but on that first day I tried them, I knocked out 3000 words in just three sprints. They were garbage words, but still words – something that I can edit. The sprints also helped with finding consistent times to write. Doing 25 minutes of writing with a 5 minute break meant that I could sit down and define exactly when I was going to start writing, when I was going to stop, and kept me from getting distracted.

Graph

So, next steps – I need to compare my outline to what I actually ended up writing, and pull out all the “Note to self” markers I left in the document; then write up a new outline, and rewrite, rewrite, rewrite.

Now that the bulk of Draft 0 is done, I’m feeling much more excited about the story than I was at the start. Not that I wasn’t interested in it before – but I’m used to fan fiction stories, where even when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about new scenes and new stories and can’t wait to get back to writing some more. With this one, since it was so new, that didn’t happen – until I was about 20,000 words in. At that point, I felt like I was finally getting a feel for my characters and for what the overall plot would be, even though I had it outlined already. It just started to feel more real.

So, that was a pretty exciting feeling, and a sort of internal validation that yeah, I might actually be able to hack it as an author of original fiction!

Well, we’ll see what the final product ends up looking like.

Anyway, back to struggling through work now…my goal is to take it easy without letting things pile up. I can’t really get upset with my clients for being late on deadlines if I turn around and let their drafts sit on my desk for a week.

Unfortunately.

Life, the universe, and everything · Uncategorized

October 21, 2019

My favorite thing is waking up early when it’s raining, then just lying in bed listening. This morning I woke up at 530am – pouring rain, and the temperature was finally dropping below 80. So, I stayed in bed, and fell back asleep.

That’s the time of night/morning when I always have the most vivid dreams. This morning I dreamed I was in some sort of sailing context, but we had to use inflatable ribs instead of actual sailboats, and my team’s had several holes that needed patching. From there it morphed into this bizarre period piece that I was a character in; a politician had engineered for my ship to sink, and then hosted a very sad torchlit funeral in the middle of Washington DC to honor all the crew that went down with the ship.

On the pretext of needing him to talk to a lawyer, I got him to follow me to a closed-in, crowded square. As we walked around the square, the supposedly dead sailors and people who were eyewitness to the sabotage started falling in with us, until we had a huge crowd assembled on the steps of a church. Then the crowd started singing a hymn, and the captain of the ship pushed his way forward – that was when the politician knew he was fucked, and I woke up.

The worst thing about trying to remember dreams is that they don’t make any logical sense; it’s the feeling of them that’s powerful, and the most hard to describe. I don’t know what it was about that dream, but it was super impactful, and I hope I can keep remembering it.

And of course, I’m already thinking of whether or not I can tie it in to one of my story ideas….

In other news, I spent the morning on Saturday trying to maneuver a 50lb steaming light into place, and strained my deltoid, which was already sore from climbing on Wednesday. I guess the good news is that I don’t need that muscle for running?

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Sirloin or Siri

I know I said my next post would be a travel post, but I have to talk about the ridiculous dream I had last night.

Today is election day, the first since I’ve lived at my current address. So of course I dreamed about trying to find my polling location.

I went to this huge school gym and asked the poll worker there if I was in the right place. He said that he couldn’t tell me; I had to figure it out on my own.

I asked how.

He said he would show me.

This he did by setting a sirloin steak (well done) on the table. He then made a slice with a butter knife from edge to edge, in the center, along the shorter line. It wasn’t even a slice, really, since he was using a butter knife. It was more of a mark.

He made two more cuts, all about an inch apart.

Then he got out a compass and protractor, and measured the length of the lines and the gaps between them, as well as the perimeter of the steak.

Then he pulled out two more steaks, because you have to have an n of three to be truly accurate.

I was supposed to go home and do this myself. Then, with the resulting measurements, I could consult a chart and determine my polling location.

So of course I told him that that was really stupid and wasn’t there a better way? A list that he could just look up?

He said of course it was stupid, and that’s why the voting system in this country is so messed up.

…I blame this dream on the dental work I had done yesterday, which involved cauterizing my gums with a laser so that my mouth tasted like the gross charred bits on a steak. I have no better explanation.

Anyway, it turns out that you really can just look up your polling location online. I was half expecting them to turn me away this morning, but the list was accurate and I was in the right place.

No steaks required.