Friday, October 19, 2018

It's not about WHERE we write

As NaNoWriMo approaches, I have been doing the best I can to keep my mind off of deciding what I am going to write (maybe that will happen next week?) so I find myself diving into other NaNo-related topics. One that keep popping up is where I am going to do the bulk of my writing.

In previous years, most of my writing has happened at home (right where I am writing these words right now) but for the last month or so I've been thinking about how I can get a bit more mobile. What will be my primary writing device? What bag will I use (I love bags!)? What notebook do I have that will fit into said bag along with said device? Where all can I venture out to?

My brand new NaNo mouse along with the laptop I picked up super cheap at the pawn shop over the summer which will be my primary NaNo device either on the road or at the kitchen table!

But yesterday, sitting out on the deck reading one last book to prepare my mind for the month ahead, I had one of those epiphany things! Spending time deciding where to write and getting to these places is time I could be actually writing. It's all a big 'ol distraction. I can stay right here in town if I need to escape the house. I have access to various quiet buildings. If I don't want quiet, there are several coffee shops and restaurants I could occupy a corner of. I could probably even sit in a corner of the band room during lessons or after school rehearsal and type, type, type.

I do like the idea of writing buddies and meeting other people who are attempting the same crazy goal of 50K written words in thirty days but the priority going in will be simply to meet my daily writing goals and if I accomplish those goals just popping open the laptop at my kitchen table over thirty days, that will be just as good as undertaking a NaNo tour of far-flung coffee shops. It's all about the writing.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The wave of calm

I don't want to get on here and say I have a totally new attitude about life or anything but there has been a wave of calm in my life lately leading to at least a slightly more aware attitude that seems to be taking me into new directions.

OK, so we can play some Patti LaBelle, let's say I have a New Attitude!

We should take any opportunity we can to play some Patti.

I don't know. I think realizing I needed to throw the brakes on the podcast at the end of August was a huge step for me. Not quitting in frustration. Adapting.

It took me a bit longer to figure out how this blogging thing fits into my life but I feel like I'm in a good place here now also and I think NaNoWriMo is going to be another big step because I feel like I'm going to do it differently than I have in the past.

In fact, I feel like I'm doing a lot of things differently than I have in the past.

I'm not saying that I don't get frustrated from time to time and that things are always going perfectly 100% of the time but I find myself retreating to that calm place more easily lately when things do get out of whack and I believe the reason is that I've been better about making rest a priority and setting realistic limits.


Friday, October 12, 2018

What vacation?

I was on vacation this last Monday through Thursday. You would have never have known it if you had followed me around. I was insanely busy. There was not one day, not one waking hour, without something that needed to be done. I'm actually thankful to be at work today so I can take a break from my vacation.

Remember the excellent movie "What About Bob?"

Dr. Catherine Tomsky: Relax, Leo.
Dr. Leo Marvin: I'm relaxed!
Dr. Catherine Tomsky: Take a vacation.
Dr. Leo Marvin: I'M ON VACATION!

That's about what it was like.

And I see NaNoWriMo looming in just over two weeks and I wonder how on Earth I will have enough free time to do it.

I did finish a book I was reading this week and I am not going to start another one. That will save me some time.

And, marching season ends on the last Saturday of the month so I won't be gone all day on Saturdays once November rolls around.

Time will slowly free up.

It's just hectic right now. Mighty hectic.

Monday, October 8, 2018

A lesson learned from stepping back a bit from podcasting

Once I stopped the weekly podcast, I realized that the nice gift of not having to analyze my daily life in order to pull out the "good parts" to share. By the "good parts," I mean the entertaining or opinionated little snippets from an otherwise average, mundane life.

This is why in podcasting weekly and mainly about my own life, I felt the need to present the exaggerated parts of myself and got quite frustrated when my days were routine and not productive for material.

No one wants to hear a line by line analysis of my grocery list compared to a line by line analysis of the receipt showing what I actually bought versus what I went into the store to buy.

OK. Maybe there is a weirdo or two that would find that fascinating. I started to find it fascinating just writing that out but, of course, I am also a weirdo.

I know that people do enjoy the exaggerated, irregular parts of life such as stories from my Taco Bell days or the guy that spun around in the department store bathroom stall while peeing and laughing. But, these are not normal occurrences and they are finite.

There is not enough material in my life to sustain a weekly podcast of just the exaggerated.

So, I go through most of my week now thinking occasionally about the next show (the next one is already planned but nothing has been done yet) but not fixating about which snippets of my daily life will or will not make the cut and that is how I had been living my life for most of the last five years.

A Harlan Ellison quote about cop shows applies perfectly to how I now feel about the grind of weekly, personal podcasting: "It just gets to be a drag after a while."

Friday, October 5, 2018

Split online personality

What is a split online personality?

This blog was once titled "Up In This Brain" but I wanted to use that name for the podcast in 2013. So, this site became "Up In This Blog" just on the basis of keeping it similar. It sounds a lot like this is the colonoscopy of blogging which as true as that might seem was not my intention.

Both sites have separate Twitters because, as I mentioned Wednesday, I got into my head that sharing everything in one place was sort of spammy. I don't know why I felt that way but I did. So I have two Twitters to maintain which seems dumber and dumber as I go along.

I've also had websites, blogs, Tumblrs, podcasts, etc. all under separate names. Sometimes the names have changed right in the middle of doing something. URL's have been bought and cancelled. It's all confusing.

I don't know why I did it. I think that I sometimes hide my creative projects in different places, maybe afraid to truly be who I am to everyone all at once. I control who sees what by keeping things separate. It certainly has to do with self-esteem or lack thereof. It also has to do with worrying too much about what other people think.

However, I am slowly getting my act together. I moved my NaNoWriMo account back to upinthisbrain this week and I have a request pending with Instagram to get my user id there corrected back to upinthisbrain.

Symmetry? Cohesiveness? I don't know. I do know that slowing down the podcast and stepping back a bit has given me the chance to do some in-depth observations about who I am as a creator and who I want to end up being.


Thursday, October 4, 2018

It’s so busy

After yesterday’s post, I was looking at Tumblr and, like Twitter, it’s just busy - non-stop streams of information assaulting your senses. It’s also a fantastic way to do no work at all. Just scroll through posts all day and avoid doing what you are researching to do.

All in and zero out.

I was thinking about the olden days when we didn’t have the constant stream of information, we had to purposely seek the information we needed. That typically meant a trip to the library or the bookstore or even taking classes. These were accessible things but not so accessible that the inflow of knowledge could lead us down endless rabbit holes and result in us wasting hours and hours.

I guess I am saying there must be a better way.

I guess I am admitting that I learned a bit more about how to outline a novel today but produced zero actual work.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

I have figured out what is missing on Blogger

Community.

Writing on Blogger is like yelling into a closed department store. There's plenty of those around. Go try it.

I have a Twitter for this site with a handful of followers and maybe one will see a post about an entry and come here. My tweet about the entry prior to this one had a whopping 4 engagements. 4! And, only 1 link click. 1!

I assume the rest of the visitors are bots or are lost, sent here by Google while looking for something else.

Sure, it's a lot my fault. I've quit blogging, resumed blogging, quit, resumed, changed the name of the site, etc. I think I've done all of that because it's so quiet here - creepy quiet.

Is it the lack of interaction that is frustrating? I don't know. I don't really need interaction. I am writing to write. I think it's the lack of possibility of interaction. I write something here and I know that most likely no one will see what I wrote even before I click on publish.

Blogging is certainly not what it once was but Blogger is the Blockbuster Video of blogging sites. There are no community building tools at all. You publish it and you try to grow a following on a site like Twitter which has plenty of its own problems.

And, I've done myself no favors on Twitter by not sharing my blog to my main account. I feel, maybe stupidly, like I would be spamming people if I did.

So, what are my options?

With Wordpress, you get a built-in community but a lot of the interaction there was spam when I was on there in the past.

With Tumblr, well, let's face it - they're not much better off than Blogger but it doesn't feel as empty as this place does.

So, then what? Do I pick up this site and head off somewhere else or do I keep plodding along and maybe if I build it, they will come?


Who knows. I'm just starting to get tired of standing out in this cornfield all by myself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Desperately seeking structure

I am thinking about NaNoWriMo a whole month ahead this year. In fact, I thought about it during most of September also but I haven't done a bit of what I would call real preparation. All I have done is worry myself in the realization that I know zip about how to structure a 50,000 word story.

I've "won" once, way back in 2014 and I put that in quotes because the story that came out of that was 100% crap. OK, maybe 90% crap. 10% of it was acceptable.

I would like to go in this time with an idea (I have a basic one) and an outline (I am nowhere near even beginning that at the moment).

I need some structure!

I like structure - lists, index cards, something!
Some of my actual index cards patiently awaiting my story ideas once I figure out how to organize them

Without structure, I feel listless (no pun intended at first but then I went with it) and I think that's why my NaNoWriMo attempts start strong and then end up feeling like an out of control battery-operated scooter that is about to burst into flames.

So, I'm searching for some basic structure or outline that I can use to start organizing my thoughts.

It's already October 2nd so time is ticking down.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Getting out of the house for NaNoWriMo

If I'm going to be successful at NaNoWriMo next month, I'm going to have to leave the house to write.

Part of it is there is no place in this house where I can hide from interruptions, mainly the three four-legged interruptions that constantly need things such as attention (usually involving tennis balls) or passage in and out of the house. Also, they each have different levels of sonic hearing which can cause barking outbursts at any random moment depending on who hears what.

I'll be saying this a lot in November!

The big problem is my never-ending, self-replicating to-do list. I just got up to fix toast and noticed two other things that need to be done this morning. Yesterday was a day of to-do's - one to-do leading to another and no time to slow down, just go, go, go.

That's not going to work when I've trying to type out hundreds of words of nonsense every day for a month. That's why I'll be in coffee shops, libraries, restaurants, parks - you name it - all through the month of November.

Dogs and to-do's out of sight, out of mind.