Elizabeth Amber Love book cover

AMBER LOVE 30-NOV-2015 Start at the beginning of my diary if you missed it. This week had me anxious before it even began. I didn’t have to worry about Thanksgiving plans last year. This year, I want to make sure I don’t fall behind. I have enough cushion to take one more day off from writing since I used November 21st to skip writing while I attended a comic convention.


I didn’t do too bad today. I think it took me three hours to get through today’s scene. I could’ve spent more time on research or going back to fix something that might be really wrong in an early chapter. However, the advice of WriMos is to push forward to get to the word goal of 50K and not worry about editing or filler until December.


I have less than 8,000 words to go after today’s writing session and nine days in which to achieve it. At this point in the story, I should have a great handle on things. Unfortunately, I think I may change Who Dun It. I’m not sure. Maybe this character isn’t a murderer and really is just a douche. But the more days I spend with my main character interacting with this guy, the more I hate him and want bad things to happen to him.


I’m not sure if it’s because of external forces plus a holiday disrupting my routine or the fact that I was out of the house two days in a row, but something has felt way off today. I struggled to get out of bed. I had a great time on Saturday at the NJ Comic Expo, but that doesn’t mean the change from sitting in front of the TV on a Saturday didn’t creep in and affect me unknowingly. I’m simply not sure what the hell is going on with me today. I managed to upload the last podcast interview I did and post the link to Patreon. Writing, however, took some time to even approach today. I didn’t start until after 12PM and finished my scene around 4PM. It’s more like two shorter scenes together, but not long enough to break them up on their own. That may be something to fix in revisions.


At 4:15, I sat at this desk and tried to convince myself that YES, I did do a full day of work. I posted one episode of Vodka O’Clock, updated the Patreon page, shared the link, edited a new episode for next week and wrote the show notes, then slowly slogged through 1,855 words. I didn’t want to get out of bed, but I did. I didn’t want to do anything besides eat, but I did.



Another day where I felt like I was treading through quicksand to get the words out. I spent my entire morning working on other things because I felt like I couldn’t write about Farrah and June’s progress. I needed to get the recap of NJCE done anyway because I prefer if a convention review is out timely even if the recordings are spread out. It was easy for me to write 2,000 words about the convention while my fiction was stuck at 675 for hours. Once I got that post done and ate a giant heaping mountain of pasta, I got back to writing. It was slow until somewhere around 1,100 words and then it went fine. I’m at 46K. If I keep it up, I’m slated to reach goal on Friday.

112415_progress nanowrimo

I’ve been falling asleep at odd times like as early as 6pm or 8:30 and then I end up awake half the night. I’m trying not to stress about adjusting my internal clock because A. I still don’t have a day job except for modeling so I don’t need to get up early, and B. after many months without sleep, I’m going to take it whenever I can get it.


I was awake from 1-3AM again. I looked at Twitter and saw more shootings at a Black Lives Matter protest. My timeline was half that and half about the Civil War trailer where Iron Man essentially wants to run a police state. Art = Life. My muscles feel like I’ve had rigorous workouts and don’t I wish it was that. No, it’s tight muscles from posture and anxiety being so wound up. I never could relate to how the stereotype of an uptight person meant straight back, shoulders back, and stiff like a soldier. Maybe “tight” and “uptight” aren’t related at all. I’m depressed and anxious and feel like life is a disaster but I slouch, overeat, rarely move and have uncomfortable tight muscles. I do make an effort to stretch, but it’s not enough. On next week’s Vodka O’Clock, I asked two artists how they stay healthy given the nature of their jobs and long work days, so keep your eyes and ears out for that.


I can tell I’m nearing the end of NaNoWriMo because that’s as far as I got in a detailed outline. It trails off as you can see in my Scrivener corkboard notes. I have a couple more chapters spelled out and then nothing. In other words, I don’t have my ending!

corkboard-end nanowrimo


I wrote a little bit on Thursday morning before company arrived. I wasn’t doing any of the cooking. My only requirement of the day was to shower. I even considered getting dressed into a proper casual outfit like real pants with pockets, but quickly said FUCK THAT when I realized how uncomfortable my favorite clothes had become. I showered, put on yoga pants and a t-shirt that at one time was like a tent but now barely fits on me at all.

112615_words nanowrimo

I tried not to stress about anything. It meant a lot that I got any writing done, not that I feared not reaching 50K by the 30th considering how well I was on target. I guess it’s the excitement of just wanting to be there at the finish line. But then I’d inevitably begin to worry about the remaining 30K I need to write to have a full novel. And considering that the murderer I originally planned seems to have wandered off my outline and out of my plot somewhere along the way, I have no idea what the final act of the story will be.


For the first time in weeks (or months) I feel like I slept through the night. I laid in bed with the cat on top of me and tried to figure out what the hell I would do to finish the scene I started yesterday. Last year I had several long marathon days of writing to catch up. My highest count last year was 4,462. This year it was 3,535.

50,000 REACHED
50,000 REACHED

I feel like I’m stressing about things that aren’t in my control on top of the things that should be in my control – like my life and source of income. In one of the many quotes by authors I read this month, there was one that said something about controlling the story or the characters. I can’t quite remember, but it was the notion of having control over a world when you have none in the real one. Yet, I’m pretty much feeling like I have no control on my story anymore. I started out wonderfully strong and confident in the crafting of this. Then I don’t know what happened. It feels like there’s literally no way for me to get my main character to solve this crime.


I wouldn’t call this feeling one of someone who “won” anything. All I feel like is that I had a thing on my To Do List and was able to check it off. Now the next thing says “Write Act III”. After that is proofread and edit, revise, change that geography problem, and email to friends who might want to read it. Today, my confidence is pretty much in the toilet even after I pasted words into the official word count validation box.


Overall, I think it’s a stronger story than the first book and you’re supposed to get better the more you do something. The problem is, I need the story to speak to me and tell me where the fuck it’s going now that we’ve made it this far together.


This is the last sentence I typed before validating the word count:

“Holy shit! See, June! I told you to be careful about that social media stuff!”



SATURDAY NOV 28: 14 WORDS (not a typo)

Set up new goal to have the novel completed. Now there’s no calendar deadline, only a word count milestone. In my head, I’d love to see this finished in December before the holidays. However, I know that would mean keeping up this pace with writing 4-8 hours a day and neglecting everything else. Also, that measly 14 words in my headline is real; I fixed a sentence and found some with missing words. I didn’t write in the novel draft but instead went back to notes on the Scrivener corkboard and handwriting a chart.

NewGoal_112815 nanowrimo

My progress bar is no longer green. So sad! But at least it’s not red. My last act wasn’t even outlined. My murderer is likely different. I feel like I’m starting a whole new project. I changed the view in my Scrivener screen to focus on the corkboard and go back to making plot points.




Overnight, perhaps because my rather tense week was over, I had a revelation of what I could finally do to solve the murder problem. I hope readers like it. I managed to make some more notes in the final act’s outline and write a little bit despite new construction noises outside my window (Winchester Mansion, remember?).




Took a couple breaks from writing to do things like make a video and do a little online shopping. I bounced back and forth to the document, but at one point needed to reboot my machine. I had emailed the Commonwealth of Pennyslvania regarding a question pertinent to my plot; I just received their reply at 2PM today. Unfortunately it means I have to change the geographic location of my story; fortunately, that’s not a big deal. In the first book, I invented the town in New Jersey so I’ll invent another one and move my plot from PA to Fakesville, NJ again. As long as there’s a couple hours drive for my characters to be “somewhere” that isn’t at home, that’s all that matters.

113015_progress nanowrimo
TOTAL: 54,135

Feeling really pooped. I’ll be catching up with Josh Neff for a recording of Vodka O’Clock soon to discuss how both of us this month. I thought I’d only be taking a break this afternoon and then get another few hundred words out, but no such luck. I had the time but not the energy. And then I saw trolls comments waiting to be approved on my site and that pretty much sealed my mood for the night.

I did good though, but like last year, I had opportunity that other people don’t have. I had the chance to spend as many hours a day as I wanted at my computer writing. Other people did things I couldn’t though like go portable for the local Write-Ins at coffee shops or libraries. So maybe you have something in your process that you never realized was an opportunity or privilege that other people envy. Just something to think about. Tomorrow I’ll be continuing Farrah’s drama, but I’ll need to spend more time returning to “normal” life of job hunting and podcasting. I need to book some guests and figure out what my favorite things about 2015 were because the year-end episodes are always fun when we talk about that.


TOTAL: 54,135


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