Elizabeth Amber Love book cover

AMBER LOVE 16-NOV-2015 Week two of NaNoWriMoClick for Week One has gotten a decent productivity level. It’s been a shift in my mood because of a lot of personal stress going on and it’s affected my writing. The best way I can describe what I felt exactly one ago was that Halloween was like Christmas Eve. I was going to get up early in the morning and like a kid running to the tree, all I wanted to do was run to my computer and start my next project. Week two – not so much.


Sunday morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed. This was what my previous half a week was like. That’s depression, folks. For me anyway. I eat nonstop and I want to stay in bed with the cat watching TV. Since I did somehow manage to keep on target even with a day of not reaching daily word goal (this is why I appreciate days that surpass it), my reward to myself was a road trip.


When I was writing my Black Thursday script (jeez, still in yet another revision), I drove out to the town where the story is set. I have Full Body Manslaughter set in a town that is also driving distance and the weather happened to be gorgeous. I don’t know how many more decent days we’ll get – and daylight is already far too stupidly short with DST – so being in the car for three or four hours looking at the dead trees on a sunny day wasn’t the worst idea.

The funniest part of the trip was when I took a wrong turn to get home. I ended up in Dingman’s Ferry. If you have never been there, you would not believe that this is a real thing. The bridge to cross over at Dingman’s Ferry is a tiny wooden bridge with a shack on the side. It’s barely wide enough for opposing traffic in each direction, but there were plenty of cars in line to cross. There was a sign, $1 for cars. Okay, so no mention of EZ-Pass. I could dig in the tray for four quarters. There was a little old lady in a reflective vest standing on the double yellow lines. She turned from side to side to take the dollars from the cars. I thought I was crossing the River Styx.

Lake Wallenpaupack



Let me preface this entry with the information that it could be triggering for someone with self harm history.



Last night was bad. It started to get better, but then it felt like it slipped away again. The relief that I had been feeling for a few months – the feeling of being unconditionally loved – was gone. That feeling was something I hesitantly trusted in the first place and this past few days is an example of why I can’t trust people.

With depression as severe as I experience, I need to trust people. If you have ever said to someone, “I’m here for you. You can call me anytime. I’ll never toss you out/aside. I love you even if we aren’t the kind of people to say that.” Any of things are sentiments that a depressed person has a hard time believing so you damn well better mean them. Because one day, she might want to cash in on that offer and talk. And if you don’t listen, if you make the conversation derail into a drudgery of life’s bad decisions and how it’s affected you and how your own unhappiness should be the subject of the conversation, well, that depressed person is going to learn a lesson. That you can’t be there for her like you said. That reaching out and exposing painful issues was a huge mistake.


All the meditation energy from the day before was sapped out before I even went to bed last night. I woke up at 3am to continue another set of arguments. By 6am, I was at my desk in excruciating pain that I can’t describe. It was my period. Sorry, gents, I’m talking about that here and now. I felt like the pain of the actual physical assault on my uterus and the emotional distress plummeted me hard and fast. I wanted to die. I wanted all the conversations and arguments to stop. I wanted the pain to stop. I wanted silence not the fucking leaf blower next door vibrating my head. I even went into the cabinet for the super duper “good stuff” that I only take at my most desperate. Cyclobenzaprine, good shit mostly, but it makes me useless, pass out, and I should never drive with it. I only took one per the instructions.

As it was kicking in and putting me to sleep which I needed from a lack of it and because then I would be unconscious during the pain, someone needed to continue another one of these unbearable conversations in person. Not even a text where I could I say, let me get back to you. I was forced to fight the drug in order to stay awake to listen and speak which to me, is how a conversation is supposed to go. The listening part, most people are terrible at.

Eventually I passed out. Got some text messages that needed addressing and sat at my desk again. As of 6pm, now 12 hours later, I’m still below word count by 200 words. I’m impressed with myself. You have no idea. 1,472 new words that probably suck, but they got done. I didn’t think I’d get anywhere today. I thought I’d keep staring. Crying on an off all the hours I was awake.

It was a terrible day. I’d get a paragraph down, end up in a argument, stare at something (the tv wasn’t even on all day, not even music), and then try to type another paragraph. I have no idea how I forced myself to write this scene.

My character was trying to rescue someone who was injured. She was trying to be hero when she knew deep inside that she didn’t have the skills to do it, but no one else around was a better choice. This character faked her way through every step until experts arrived to take over. That is how I feel I exist in this life. When you see me at a con and I’m smiling and posing for pictures, inside my head I’m wishing that I was in a hotel room drinking until I black out and become a person capable of coping.


I was awake half the night from the pain. I know at some point I took another pill because I couldn’t handle it anymore. It took hours for it to kick in that time. I was still wishing for death. I assumed that I’d be in bed all day. Sometime before dawn, the meds knocked me out and I stayed in bed until 9:00. I got up, showered, put on clean comfortable clothes and made coffee. I kept checking in on my self awareness to determine how I was really feeling. On a scale of 1 to 10, where was my pain? Could I think clearly or not? Did I require food?

I ate a few digestive cookies with my coffee and sat at my desk. It seemed okay. The pain was going away slowly. I didn’t open up my browser, only Scrivener and began to write. When I needed it, I opened Chrome to reply to a couple private messages and update my NaNoWriMo dashboard, but for the most part, I stayed away from social media and kept writing.


You know how authors have that old saying that characters take on a life of their own and make decisions against the author’s wishes? It makes writers sound like nutjobs, but it’s kind of true. It’s a thing that happens. And this thing happened to me today. It wasn’t so much that my main characters did something I wasn’t controlling. But something happened to my main character that I never outlined. It flowed out quickly and I felt a bit possessed. I was doing these harmful things to her. I was the one typing so I should have been the one in control. But it didn’t feel that way.

I went along with the stream of consciousness that was governing this new subplot. I have points in my outline with indications where she should run into obstacles so that she is continuously challenged and overcomes them. This new thing was fine and fit along with that pace. I couldn’t believe it when I paused to look at my word count meter and I was over goal. Then I kept writing because this weird thing was still trying to come out. I was 1,200 words over my daily target. That’s practically two days worth of words in one sitting. And it happened in three hours.



It’s Day 11 and I’ve only missed my daily word target once so far. I’ve managed to exceed my minimum enough that I can take one day off. I’ll need to cushion it a bit more so that I can take Thanksgiving off too.

DAY 11
DAY 11

I tried to keep at it and hoped to double my target for the day. It didn’t happen, but I did get 1,000 words over my minimum. If I can add to this cushion every day before I need those days off, this will help a lot.



I took a couple hours this particular morning to edit an extra long episode of Vodka O’Clock for Monday (actually today, the day this posts not when I wrote it). This week, I believe, was the first week in 2015 where I didn’t release any kind of show (audio or video). I’m glad there are a couple 90-minute episodes to make up for that. But, the time taken editing meant that I didn’t even get started writing until after 9AM. Somehow, even with more personal drama happening simultaneously, I penned another 2,342 words.

DAY 12: 23,824 WORDS SO FAR
DAY 12: 23,824 WORDS SO FAR


Today I wrote the most that have so far for this year: 3,535. Last year, my highest day was 4,462. I was also way behind and needed some of those marathon days to catch up. I have enough cushion for three days off so the holiday and convention definitely won’t be a problem. This year, it’s going better as far as staying on target. The depression has been just as difficult and challenging. Truthfully, it’s been worse this year in magnitude.

The part of the plot that I had never outlined has helped the words pour out. That’s because it’s based on real things I’ve observed in the world. I don’t even have to make it up. I only need to apply it to my fictional characters in their fictional setting in the real state of New Jersey, USA.


For this day’s graphs, I used the official 50,000 word goal and then I bumped it up to a more reasonable 80,000 which would be a typical paperback cozy mystery length. I wanted to see a visual of how my progress is for the bigger picture. NaNoWriMo isn’t the bigger picture. It’s the underpainting at best.


This probably sounds strange, but my reward this weekend was letting myself go out and have a good date night. I’ve been so depressed for over a month that I wasn’t expecting words to be formed at all. The fact that anything at all I’ve typed can resemble a story, is a miracle. When my boyfriend asked if I wanted to go to the movies, I said yes, if Saturday’s writing went well which it did. We saw Love the Coopers and had drinks then got take out. I devoured an entire personal vegan pizza in about 45 minutes. It was a sight to behold, I’m sure. So I didn’t have to treat myself this week for a job well done and I’m fortunate that someone else was willing to do that for me.


Continue to Week 3

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