NATURAL LOSS OF MOMENTUM AND THEN BIGGEST DISTRACTION OF THE YEAR

#NANOWRIMO2016 & #ELECTION2016

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AMBER LOVE 11-NOV-2016 You can sponsor the Vodka O’Clock show, this site and my work at Patreon.com/amberunmasked. For information about my books including the Farrah Wethers mystery series, just head over to my Books page. Also, you’ll be able to hear me talk about self publishing and comics on the ComixLaunch podcast airing on Sunday, November 13.

Second Week: Day 6

I didn’t reach goal for minimum word count. I did a respectful 900+ words, but it puts me at risk of falling behind. The good thing was that I had some good days where I went beyond minimum words and it gave me a cushion. I had a few hours to myself, but I had to dedicate most of that time to podcasting. It was great though because I got the chance to interview two of my NaNoWriMo cabinmates from the monthly challenges, Jolene Haley and Brian LeTendreVodka O'Clock 1623.

nanowrimo scrivener writing

Day 7 Monday

Words were a bit of struggle, but after a long four-hour writing session, I got to 1,713 words for the day which brought me to 12k total. Since Day 4, I’m well into the downward slope off that cool high from starting a new project. It took several more chapters than I thought it would based on my outline to get to the murder. I don’t think the pacing is necessarily off because there are plenty of other things that the protagonist has to deal with.

nanowrimo scrivener

Day 8 Tuesday – also Election Day in the US

This election should never have become the nightmare that it was. It has made a lot of people sick. The attacks on PoC, on women, and everyone falling under the queer umbrella, escalated. The Pulse nightclub shooting happened during this campaign “season” of 18 months. Mass murderer Dylan Roof is on trial and they’re in voir dire. Churches were burned. Buildings spraypainted with hate symbols. It has been over a year of darkness. There are vacancies on the Supreme Court and representatives in Congress saying that they will flat out not do their jobs and confirm appointments. Why do they get to keep their jobs? I had hope anyway even if it’s kind of rare that one POTUS party go three terms in a row.

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Physically I was sickened by the anxiety of the election when I woke up at 5AM. I was hungry but had nausea; my head kept spinning; my eyes were constantly tearing up. I waited until 9:30AM to go vote. Only had gotten 97 words out by then. As soon as I was in the proper line with the voting machine plastic card, I felt better. First of all, everyone at the polling place was happy and sweet. People were catching up because they never get to see each other. The problem was that an entire district had broken machines and they wouldn’t be replaced so they had a huge line of people (for that small room) in the middle of the room who were waiting to cast on paper ballots. I was in a short line and was in and out in 15 minutes.

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My own father had his friend drive him because he wouldn’t ask me — probably thought I would really say no. He came out of the booth on his crutches and didn’t even say anything to me even though we agree that the electoral college is a bizarre idea declaring some states more valuable than others & the final electoral votes can be different than what the people of the states want anyway. So we agree on some of the intricacies of the system and still can’t be in the same room.

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I was done, I was happy with my choice in the Presidential part; the rest were such bad choices it was basically, who gives a shit level; all the local elections smaller than the county were unopposed anyway.

But I got home quickly and Gus greeted me in a hurry. He had woken up from a nap right before I left so he was energetic and needy for attention. Cat time and then doing a tarot reading for a friend made my symptoms calm down for a little bit but not forever. They came back reading posts online. So it’s been pretty hard to get back to my mystery story and get more words out. The exercise of journaling these NaNoWriMo days helps to get my head in the right space (away from the hate and worry) and gets my fingers moving to make words even if they aren’t in my project.

nanowrimo scrivener

I wasn’t a HRC fan until she won me over. I’m one of the people that had to be convinced about her and she did that for me as Secretary of State. I’m sick of hearing about the tragedy of Benghazi because I was an adult voter when embassies were attacked under Republican rule. It’s going to happen. There is absolutely never going to be a time of peace because humans are not homogeneous. I’m not a party voter.

I didn’t reach my daily target, but got a respectable 1580 and broke 14k. The night affected me hard. Devastated is the only word that really seems to fit. I was in a bad place. Then the combination of thoughts-you’re-not-supposed-to-have with exhaustion of little sleep left me a mess Wednesday.

[Edit: Adding this link to Terrible Minds because it’s apropos]

It’s very difficult to just sit down, not look at the news, open a Word .doc, and start writing some cool shit. It feels, nnngh, somehow precious, too special, like you’re eating cake while the house burns. “Oh, I see we have zombies trying to break down the door,” you say. “This seems like an excellent time to watch Cinemax and masturbate.” – Chuck Wendig, Terrible Minds, “How to Create Art and Make Cool Stuff in a Time of Trouble” web. 13 Dec 2016

Day 9 Black Wednesday

Zero words.

Content Warning for Self Harm

I didn’t — couldn’t — get out of bed. I struggled to get to the kitchen to make sure the cat was fed. After that, my head was on the pillow until about 9PM that night. I ate some bread and veg cream cheese, a cookie, chips, and hummus. And vodka with ginger ale because why the fuck not? The trending hashtag was to call this day The Morning After but that reminds me too much of the contraceptive pill the winners will likely take off the market, jack up to unaffordable prices, or find another creative way to make it unavailable. So I call it Black Wednesday. The futures market was crashing overnight and got lower than it had after 9/11.

Everyone is entitled to their vote (legally of course). My house is a prime example of “divided.” My mother (70) tried to make up her mind, but ultimately, she wouldn’t go vote; it wasn’t a protest vote, as they say. She wasn’t saying, “I don’t like either of them,” as far as I could tell. I think she would’ve been incapable of defending her choice as I was when I was in a miserable abusive marriage. My father doesn’t control her the way my ex did to me, but it’s crystal clear that it’s been a patriarchy here once my maternal grandmother died. So that “hilarious” photo of Trump watching to see how his voted is something that likely happens to a lot of people. Even though she would’ve been able to do one thing and then lie since our polls have closed curtains, I think she was truly too unsure of anything “good” in a Democratic candidate; pretty sure never voted Dem in her life. My father, as you probably guessed, is the poster boy for the conservatives: war vet, Freemason, middle class, blue collar, retired from the National Guard after entering late in life, gun nut, redneck, hates everything. I think if she hadn’t been afraid to defend her choice, my mother would have easily chosen Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So, if you were like me and found it impossible to write words or even take care of yourself, know that you’re not alone. My friend Jesse texted me to make sure I as ok. I texted Kristen to make sure she was ok. A sort of phone tree of the depressed.

As I gained a little strength, I would look at Facebook; I mostly RT’d on Twitter because people were saying the things I was too exhausted to say. I made an image, not to be hyperbolic, but because in order to post to Instagram, you need an image. It wasn’t meant to look like a meme, just look like text to whoever was reading. Hey, this is a message from me. I’m alive and I don’t want to be.

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BLACK WEDNESDAY CHECKLIST

I did eventually brush my hair. I stank pretty bad. I didn’t care. I did turn the computer on, but never sat down at it. And I guess because somehow animals just know, they have that telepathy or instinct or whatever, Gus stayed at my side or at least in the room where I could see him for over 24 hours. He obviously left for food and water, but he kept coming back even sleeping on the bed pushed up against my leg which he’s only done about four times since he was adopted back in March. He was a good boy and I needed him.

I looked over the comments on that checklist image the next morning. My friend wrote this incredible thing and I asked her if I could make a quote image from it; she said yes. I thought maybe a delicate font would show the reader that we’re always in a delicate state of trying to keeping living. It didn’t feel right. Being angry felt more appropriate so I picked the storm cloud background and the hurried look of a Sharpie marker in all caps as the font. Instead of a suicide note, it’s a Fuck You I’m Not Killing Myself Because of You note.

 

amberunmasked.com suicide survivor quote

 

I looked at the filtered feed I have for writers and was surprised at how many of them were able to sit at their keyboards yesterday. Mind you, I know not everyone I follow is American, so that’s not what I mean. England is having Brexit trouble of their own anyway. There were an enormous amount of quips about those fictional dystopian futures authors create and fans find compelling. It’s a defense mechanism to make jokes about despots with nukes. People need ways to cope. That’s just not mine in this instance. I’m in awe of you if you managed to get through your day, do your job, stick with your hobbies, or make some new worlds. You do what I can’t do.

Day 10

I spent the day trying to catch up on the 0 word count of Wednesday. It took the entire day beginning as early as possible, but I reached 2,588 words. I drank about a whole pot of coffee. Other people are doing this challenge with only an hour a day. I don’t know how they can. Oh, and then my browser (I think) once again crashed but this time froze everything open including Scrivener. It went to a black screen then a grey screen.

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NEVER SCREEN CAPPED MY WORD COUNT BUT HAD A CRASH!

 

I’ve had the Comcast “Soundscapes” music channel playing since NaNoWriMo started. At least, other than Tues & Wed, I have managed to enjoy a little of TV/Netflix, but it’s been roughly 8 hours a day of new age hippie dippie dulcet tones trying to keep me calm and focused. I’ve also taken a lot of cat pictures and had a lot more Gus time. I think he just knows I need him. And he could tell I was doing better too; he would scale back his time and leave me at night.

Gus amberunmasked.com

Day 11

Don’t forget to backup. Even though I have a lot of faith in Scrivener which is far better than Microsoft at autosaving, I was still nervous about yesterday’s debacle.

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BACK UP TO AN EXTERNAL DRIVE. KEEP IN A SAFE. UPLOAD DUPLICATE TO A SERVER.

 

Today, I felt a lot more functional and productive than yesterday and certainly a whole different feeling than Wednesday. I was up at 4AM for absolutely no reason but didn’t get to focusing on my story until around 10AM. I had my words and backup done by 2PM. I finally got around to posting some replies in the NaNoWriMo forums. I feel like I was a much better participant last year and 2014. This year I’ve hardly found any motivation to respond to people. Fortunately, I found a couple threads that didn’t have a lot of replies and I could offer some tips.

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DAY 12

I guess I’m feeling more like the adequate version of myself because today was my highest productivity day in terms of words per hour. I actually clocked in just under the minimum target for the day at 1,628, but I reached that in only an hour. My expectation for this scene was that the protagonist would have her computer hit by a virus and her son would help scrub it; the malware would be blamed on one of the murder suspects. Perhaps the long walk I took in the park (where there were no loud parties and barbecues for a change) did my mental acuity some good.

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DAY 12 NANOWRIMO WORD COUNT

 

Serenity now. #babbling #river #nature #peace

A video posted by Amber Love (@amberunmasked) on

TIP OF THE WEEK:

Take advantage of days when you have more time or more productivity. If you reach your daily target and still have time, go on and make a cushion of the word count because you’ll need a day or two off.

susan wittig albert quote on writing

LINKS:

 

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