Week 2 Just Sucks.

Welcome, my friends, to the shittiness that is Week 2 of NaNoWriMo.

The excitement of Week 1 has worn off. You’re probably pissed at at least some of your characters. It’s possible your plot did one or both of two things that plots are wont to do in Week 2: died prematurely or got completely out of hand. (If your plot got completely out of hand before jumping ship… well, I’m sorry that happened to you.)

So what do you do?

First, it’s okay to go through the stages.

Fox’s Four Stages of NaNoWriMo Week 2
as interpreted by Fox’s dog, Lucy

Complete despair. You’ll never write this. Never. You’ll never catch up. You’ll never figure out what to do about that plot hole with the wombats back in chapter two.

Anger. You hate your characters, your plot, your non-WriMo friends who aren’t going through this, your WriMo friends with better word counts, the man, flowers WHY ARE FLOWERS SO DAMN HAPPY ALL THE TIME THOSE JAGOFFS.

Panic. You know you have to keep going but how? HOW WILL YOU KEEP GOING WHEN YOU MUST KEEP GOING SO MUCH? Write all the things! No! Wait! The laundry! Oh, the gym! And they want you to go to work? But! The words! The words!

The Inability to Give a Shit. You just don’t care. You just want it to be December 1 so you can have your life back. You will do whatever it takes to get that purple WINNER bar, and you do not care what you must do, because you are now so emotionally uninvested in it that there is no longer any regard for quality, just for the magical number of 50,000. You will kill any character if it is convenient, you will write lengthy scenes describing outfits, and you will allow your characters to deliver monologues about their favorite Cure albums. You just do not care.

And then it gets better! It really does!

But how do you survive, while you’re suffering through the Four Stages?

Do something that isn’t writing, but still inspires you.

Like cooking! Cooking leaves you with a sense of accomplishment AND something to eat at the end!

The more you cook, the more hours you have an excuse for not writing!

Take a couple of hours to embrace your exhaustion.

Acknowledge that you’ve really been working hard, and even if your word count isn’t reflecting all that hard work, you might need a little mental break. And go ahead, dream about how fabulous your book is going to be when you wake up and start working on it again.

Be understanding of yourself that you might be acting a little strange.

Don’t totally freak out if you wake up in the morning to find that you’d had a Drew Barrymore in Mad Love style meltdown overnight and moved all of your gargoyle and dragon protectors right next to your bed. Remind yourself that all the best authors were truly crazy, so this is just part of your process.

Go out with your fellow WriMos

Commiserate with them about plot holes and word count distress. Get completely off topic and don’t get a word of writing done at a Write-In, but walk away from the event with a thousand hilarious quotes and at least one really awesome picture like this.

Ease back into the writing.

Maybe start with a blog post, or some writing in your journal, just to get the hang of things again. Maybe brainstorm a little before getting back into the meat of the story. Just go casually into it.

Return to your happy writing place.

When you’re emotionally ready, head back to your happy writing place, and settle in for a few hours of hard work. Play the jukebox, wear your favorite outfit, maybe bring along a friend who will keep you on task but not distract you *too* much. Sit down and power through some words until you’re feeling more confident.

And before you know it, you’ll be looking like this when someone asks how your novel is going. You’ll tell them, “It’s just fine, and I can’t WAIT for Week Three to get here!”


Christmas Came Early!

Oh yes, that’s right, days before my favorite holiday of the year, Christmas arrived on my doorstep.

A few weeks ago, I randomly stumbled onto a Tweet mentioning a blog doing a YA book giveaway. Since I’m always looking for new YA books to read, and especially since that little train-time pledge to be more dilligent about posting here and reviewing books I read, I checked out the blog and entered the giveaway.

And I won!!!!

(I am totally the type of girl who NEVER wins anything, so this was extra exciting.)

The giveaway was from the lovely ladies at Short and Sweet Reviews, a review blog that specializes in concise-but-informative book reviews (which I find great in my time-strapped life).

I got five books in my first shipment, four that I had picked out of a list that Coranne emailed to me, and a fifth that was a surprise, based on what my other selections were.

Even Lucy was excited for this special delivery (she’s more interested in how books smell than what they’re about, but I appreciate her enthusiasm anyway).

A day or two later, a sixth book arrived, and I am now fully set with reading material for quite a few weeks! I’ve already read one book out of this package (Various Positions by Martha Schabas), which I loved and will be reviewing here shortly.

In the meantime, I invite you to check out Short and Sweet Reviews – they’re doing all sorts of giveaways right now, so you could be the next one to receive a stack of books in the mail! Thanks again, ladies!!

Writer Retreat

Okay, sorry AGAIN for the delay between posts! To say that life is a little crazy is a bit of an understatement. I’ve been writing a bunch (and doing a bunch of things I haven’t yet had a chance to write about) on 101 Achievements, and sitting on the back steps of my house, trying to find where I should start on tearing up my yard to make some functional gardens (which has so far been so overwhelming that I am literally just sitting in the backyard and staring).

So obviously, my book, and my writing blog, and my general Carrie-Bradshaw-esque existence has been pushed to the backburner (except for the Carrie Bradshaw parts about going out to eat and reading fashion magazines – those, I’ve been pretty consistent about).

Which brings us to today, to a place where I do not live, with my little red sidekick.

Lucy Peeking
“Mommy, are you bloggin bout me agains?”

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the hotel beyond the City of Pittsburgh to take back the novel that I have forgotten about.

Yeah. That’s about it: I took myself on mini-holiday so I have no excuse to not sit around and WORK ON MY BOOK. (And play in the woods. I’m going to do some of that tomorrow, too.)

I don’t know what it is about a change of pace, a change of scenery. There’s something about being in a hotel room, or on a train, that clears my mind a little. I think it’s because I can’t think about dusting, since there’s someone who comes in to do that every morning for me.

So, I thought I’d actually dust off this blog (haha, see that agents? I’ve got transitions DOWN TO AN ART) and tell you my goals for this little trip:

~ Write a real knock-out of a synopsis.
~ Prepare about five queries to go out in the week.
~ Think really hard about what my business card is going to say for the blogger conference in two weeks.
~ Play in the woods.
~ Take my dog to the beach.
~ Nail the first chapter with a finesse that will surprise even me, the author.
~ Try out some new coffeeshops.
~ Find a wicked good Casear salad.
~ Run.
~ Read a few more chapters in Born to Run

I have somehow managed to snag the most majestic hotel room desk for the purposes of this trip. Behold:

Writer Retreat
Pretty sweet, right? I mean, ignoring the little pouty one in the front of the frame.

I have Yelped my coffeeshops beforehand, and I have MapQuested the state park I’m going to visit. I brought a jug of water, two bottles of wine (a Zin and a Malbec, since I know you’re wondering), and a whole load of poo bags for Miss Lucy. I also made a list of first sentences and paragraphs from my favorite YA books (and other, less-favorite, but massively-successful ones as well), to help me figure out what my first sentence needs to ZING.

And I promise I won’t use buzzwords like ‘zing’ anymore, unless I start writing Batman comics.

Wish me luck. I’ll be sure to update again about the progress (because blogging is an excellent distraction from the writing I’m *supposed* to be doing).