Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Night Before NaNo

Why is the night before NaNoWriMo always Halloween? This creates a bitter dilemma for someone like me, who does not write well late at night, loves Halloween, and has a day job. My annual choice is to give up celebrating my favorite holiday or give up November 1st as a writing day, since if I go out the night before I will, inevitably, not be able to wake up early enough that morning to write before work.

At least this year my body solved the conundrum for me: I was fully intending to enjoy at least the early shift of my city’s downtown street party, but by 6:30 I was crashing despite my optimism about the night during my commute home. All I wanted was a warm bath and an early bedtime. I no longer wanted to go out, and at my age I have stopped forcing things I am not in the mood for.

So I decided to look at this as an opportunity rather than a disappointment. I took my bath (with aromatherapy!) and cleaned the house just enough that I won’t be distracted by the mess tomorrow, ate a healthy dinner, and winding down my day with a bit of TV before I hit the mattress at 9 p.m. Eight hours from 9:30 (since I seem to be moving out of the 10-hours-a-night phase) is 0530. Two full, glorious, blissful hours to write before I have to put pants on and drive to the office.

In celebration of my maturity I made myself a poster. Happy All NaNo’s Eve!

secrets of a successful nano

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How many scenarios does it take to make a story?

Even though I have forbidden myself from writing anything before Friday, I am thinking about the story. It is a relatively new idea (been floating in scenario form since maybe Late July) and totally underdeveloped as a story – all it was was a glorious set-up. This is my fatal flaw as a writer: great scenarios, no idea what to do with them. I have had other “aha” moment breakthroughs where I rifled through my mental file of undeveloped ideas and found one to plug into a story for a twist or a needed depth to the character/conflict/backstory. So I took stock of my current stash of “unmarried” ideas and, lo and behold, found one that plugs in perfectly to the scenario I was already building. Now I have what feels like the bones of a story. Maybe not a full skeleton yet, but at least the backbone and some ribs. I think it will be enough for me to get something going next month.

And in even happier news, I woke up today at 520 unable to sleep any more and not yet (at lunch) feeling ill effects from abbreviated sleep. So I might actually be CAPABLE of a proper nano attempt. Thank the gods of perpetual dreaming and dilettante addiction.

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NaNo 2013 Prep

I have decided I definitely want to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. Definitely going with the new story, because the other stories going just don’t excite me.

I am hoping that my mental acuity continues to return this week, as it has seemed to be doing for the past fortnight, such that by Friday (at which point I am officially in trimester 2, at week 14) I have my brain and energy mostly back. I feel I should…I am getting bored with sleeping for more than 8 hours at a time, even when I think I need it.

Prep work this year mostly involves me consciously not bothering to write (fiction) until November.

It also involves me hopefully slapping together half my Ren Faire costume this week (which obviously cannot involve a corset this year and so must go in a direction entirely different from anything else in my wardrobe), as well as finishing the spencer jacket I started forever ago that I need for my cover photo shoot, so I don’t have much sewing to distract me in the coming weeks.

It probably should involve me coming up with a better sense of the big story, and I have been contemplating the actual plot (as opposed to the opulent set-up), but to be honest I just don’t know what happens yet. I am getting some inkling but no big moments to start threading together, no definite decisions from any of the characters. I don’t know what my conflagration is yet.

Mostly, at this point, I am pysching myself up to the challenge. I can do this, I will do this, I will enjoy doing this. My mind will be my own again, my body will be compliant, and I will be so obsessed with what I’m writing that I will WANT to keep working on it above all things. It doesn’t matter that I have to start working more hours at my job again because I can’t afford 38 hour weeks anymore; it doesn’t matter that I get exactly 1 day off at Thanksgiving or that my mother in law will be here that last weekend; it doesn’t matter that I lose one weekend to my husband being off and another to the annual Ren Faire expedition; it doesn’t matter that I also have a book to finish prepping for publication this month; none of that matters because if I am *actually* using my time wisely I can write a book around it. I just have to want to badly enough. I just have to try hard enough. I just have to cunt up and DO it.

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All Too Representative of Me

This is how I feel right now. Like a cat who has, of course, CHOSEN to not write much of anything for three months . 🙂

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E Tu, LeFevre?

It is 11 days until the end of October. That means it’s time once again for everyone who has ever thought about writing a novel, and who also regularly uses the internet, to talk about whether they will attempt NaNoWriMo this year.

I am considering it.

I always consider it. And then usually I attempt it, or some bastardized version of it that fits in better with my schedule.

If I attempt it this year, it will be in one of two ways: a grateful outpouring of pent-up words and creation that spills out in a tsunami of production due to having my faculties back as pregnancy progresses into the honeymoon phase wherein I feel happy and energized and able to take on the world OR an exercise in abject stubbornness because I still still feel like shit and have decided to put more resources into not being conquered by that.

What to write, in either case? Perhaps I could do a compromised NaNo again and set for myself a more modest goal. For example finishing my 15K (projected) word story that is already 25% done, 250 words by 250 painstaking words. Surely THAT would be doable…and if I did it right enough the first time, maybe I could still publish it before Christmas – maybe not simultaneous with its companion novel, but in close proximity.

Or perhaps I could focus on rewrites of the novel that took me 18 months to write, that I finished last spring and have yet to get back to – that’s probably 20K’s worth of words, right there.

Perhaps I could write one of the novellas that are meant to bracket it.

Perhaps I could go back to the novel I had gotten back into over the summer, the old friend that I made good headway with until the cosplay/procreative hurricane hit my life. 50,000 words would finish it, and I wouldn’t even have to subtract pre-written words because I have almost no pre-written scenes on that story. The basic plot has always been clear but the specifics too fuzzy for me to do any scene sketches.

But none of those projects really appeal to me, at least not tonight as I sit here contemplating them, and the mad, inspiring rush that is NaNo. No. What I see myself doing, as I picture it tonight, is saying “fuck it.” Just letting go, and falling into the abyss that is my imagination.

There is a story that I want to write. It’s been tugging at my attention for a couple months now, since my husband got me thinking with one casually cynical comment about the frailty of the church. I know the beginning. The inciting incident. The story has a long, detailed, and utterly glorious prelude that I know in some detail. But what comes after? I have only the pairing, and the barest hint of his state of mind when the real story begins. I know that a story which begins with such fireworks must end in an absolute conflagration…and I have no idea what to burn.

I cannot deny it; part of my wants to simply say fuck it, and let go, and see what happens. That is the point of NaNo, and something I have rarely been able to do even when I have tried to do so. I am a planner, a plotter, something of a control fetishist, and decidedly terrified of just striking off into the unknown without so much as a compass. But right now, what I mostly am, is tired. I have been worn down by the demands of my life and worn down by my failures to overcome them. I do not fear failure by going into the unknown this time, because I am standing here failing no matter what I do. It cannot be any worse, and perhaps it will be better.

So perhaps, for once, I will simply cast myself into the fire and dance. It cannot possibly be worse than doing nothing.

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This…THIS Is Why I’ve Been So Upset Lately

A friend of mine had a status update yesterday that summarized in twelve words why the past month and a half without my writing voice has been such a miserable time for me:

It’s when I am [writing] things that I remember who I am.

Yes. That. Perfetto.

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The INTJ Pregnancy: Trimester 1

I assumed, as an INTJ, that I would probably not react to pregnancy with the typical mentality of “expectant mothers” – in part because I am so uninvested in maintaining societal norms that I won’t force myself to conform to some expected set of behaviors, and also because my mind does not work in the same way as the “typical” female’s. A quick summary of my mental state going in: I have long assumed I would have children, because I would look back as an old lady and regret not doing so (or at least not trying), and my husband and I have gone through the progression of “worst thing that could happen!” to “not ideal but we would deal with it” to “it would be okay if it happened” to “let’s make this happen” during our decade+ together. The last was as much a rational decision as an emotional one; certainly I have never yet experienced the “omg i need baby now!” emotion that some women report. Eh. No. If we tried and it didn’t happen, then that would be that, and we would go on living our rich lives with just each other.

I am nearing the end of trimester one, and so far I am progressing typically on physical symptoms and getting annoyed by the tone of baby and mommy blogs, that, frankly, have piss-all to do with my mentality or lifestyle. So, since I seem to attract so many other INTJ ladies (and possibly also the gentlemen who love them), I thought I would offer as a public service a series of articles on being pregnant (and presumably a new mother) as an INTJ woman.

So here we go:

Early Pregnancy Fucking Sucks (Especially for INTJs)

1. Work n shit

I assume because you are an INTJ that you are employed, and possibly also investing gobs of your free time into projects that fulfill you and might, with luck and dedication, lead to self-employment. Prepare to have your productivity decimated.

You will feel like shit for weeks to months on end (7 weeks straight for me, and going strong!). At first your discomfort will distract you at work so that you can hardly do your job. Then you will realize that your tolerance for other people’s bullshit is now zero, and your uncontrollable annoyance with your coworkers will ruin your ability to focus instead.

It won’t matter, though, because you quickly realize underpinning the short temper is a vast and unquenchable need for sleep. You will be so exhausted you can’t do anything besides eat dinner and go to bed because you have that job to go to so early in the morning. Your creativity will disappear. Your life will narrow to work, sleep, and a few stolen hours with partner and friends because you just can’t stand doing nothing but working and sleeping. Any side projects will sit untouched. Your self-esteem will plummet because you are being unproductive and inefficient. You will feel like a failure because you cannot force yourself to ignore the physical needs of your body the way you normally can. Sure, you can force your body to get up an hour early, but you can’t force your brain to think straight if it’s not ready to be awake. You will try anyway, repeatedly. Maybe you will succeed where I could not.

Forget trying to be the super employee or the woman who proves that pregnancy takes no toll at work. When your employers find out you are pregnant, they will expect you to take extra sick days and leave early sometimes. Take advantage of this to keep your mood and health (or just mental health) up. This is one time you can convincingly pretend to be a normal female, because your body will be doing all the normal pregnancy stuff, and regardless of your mental state, your physical state will be typical and beyond your control. So let yourself act like a normal woman and puss out. When every Wednesday feels like Friday of hell week, standards and pride become remarkably hard to find.

2. People

Be prepared for all of your friends and co-workers to be more excited than you are about your baby. First, your rational mind will be considering the statistics of malfunction in the process, so you might not be willing to invest emotion into a probability as quickly as they do. Second, you probably do not experience a rush of emotion at the mere word “baby.” Nope. Does nothing for me, even now. Third, even if you feel very deep and real emotion about your condition, you are probably not used to flaunting it or sharing it with non-intimates. Your friends will understand that your understated reaction in no way reflects your actual emotions (or perhaps I mean state of mind. I am glad of my fecundity but still have no effervescent emotions about it).

Your coworkers hopefully already find you a little cold, so they will not expect you to cry when you break the news. They might. They might also try to hug you. It will be weird. Just smile and let them project the emotions they think you should be feeling onto you. For the reasons above, I recommend waiting until you are in a really good mood to tell your work. Do it all in one day (go hierarchically, top down) and get it over with.

Whom do you tell when? I did it based on whom I would cry to if I miscarried – those friends were told almost immediately. Everyone else was top down importance to me – parents, wider friends, family, then work, over about a 3-week period after my first visit to the doctor to make sure it was really there and in the right place and an expected outcome rather than merely a probable one.

3. Reading

You will find yourself wanting to read at least enough articles/progression descriptions to know you are progressing normally and to be able to plan for what is coming. Systems evaluation and all that. Most of the resources out there will have an insufferable tone. The self-important privilege of mommy bloggers who can dole out advice like “take naps as often as you need to!” (in what fucking employment utopia can that happen between 8 and 5?!) and recommend combatting your physical discomfort “with happy thoughts of holding your baby!” will make you feel like a man who mysteriously got pregnant. Seriously. Where the fuck do they come up with that drivel? How is that remotely fucking helpful to me when I am waking up shaking with exhaustion every morning and feeling nauseated for 10 of my 12 waking hours? There is no actual advice to help you through this trying time, only the feeling of walking on the beach alone as rain falls in icy sheets around you. Complain to your friends until you get paranoid that they will think you are an asshole for never saying anything else, and them do your best not to mention it unless they bring it up. Wallow in the paranoia of becoming That Crazy Pregnant Bitch Who Doesn’t Talk About Anything Else, because you always swore you would not become that person. Constant Vigilance!

Make yourself some obscure motivational posters that only you know are about your pregnancy. Use them to remind yourself of who you are, that person you do not want to lose to the state of motherhood, that person you like who you thought would make a good mother without compromising herself.

  • Keep Your Eye on the Prize.
  • To Thine Own Self Be True.
  • You’re Only Saying Never Because No One Ever Has!
  • Constant Vigilance!
  • Ow! My Balls!
  • The Problem with You, Locke Fucking Lamora, Is that You Have No Circumspection.
  • Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints

That sort of shit.

4. The Dos and Don’ts

Oh, God, the restrictions of what you aren’t supposed to do and eat and be around! Get on the internet and see if anyone debunks them…or if common sense does. Some of the restrictions are legit, some are quackery, some are risk-benefit ratios no one but you can calibrate.

5. Education

Start educating yourself now about what you want from your birth experience. My impression of most hospitals is that they infantalize women giving birth and take their agency away – informed consent is a joke in the delivery room – and they do so with the permission of most patients who either don’t know better or want to stay above the whole barbaric process and be “too posh to push.” I am hardly one to judge choices, I just expect other women like me to want to make an informed choice, whatever it is, and not be told what to do like a child because doctor knows best.

A final word on that – doctor may or may not. If I were not actively participating in my health, and only followed doctor’s advice, I would likely have lost this baby or be on the verge of it. I have a slow thyroid, supplemented with meds, and this is in my chart at my OB’s. Nonetheless, *I* had to ask for a TSH test with my initial bloodwork because she didn’t think to. Her dose increase when my level came back elevated was double what I actually needed it to increase. Her monitoring suggestion was every 3 months – not monthly as is SOP according to my regular physician. Had I not researched my condition and consulted with the doc who had been treating the condition (she had assumed OB would want to take control of thyroid during pregnancy – I promptly gave it back to her!), then I might have taken wrongful advice from my OB in any of three places that could have caused me to miscarry. So trust, but verify. No doctor will ever know your entire medical state as intimately as you will. Their advice might be well-informed and exactly what you should do…but it might not. With something this important you want to take no chances.

I mean, just think of how horrible it would be to go through this misery only to lose the baby because of someone else’s mistake. Intolerable! The height of inefficiency! If I fuck it up, so be it. But no one else is allowed to.

6. Any other pregnant INTJs out there?

We can commiserate about the puke-inducing state of mommy blogs and other people’s enthusiasm for this most selfish of all possible undertakings.

7. Congratulations!

…you had so much sex you win a trophy!

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