Me (Mischievous)

The Real Goal (Post-NaNoWriMo Thoughts)

I can do a shit load of writing in November. At this point, that goes without saying. For the past few years though, that's the only time I've been able to write consistently.

THE CYCLE
November: 30 days of nonstop writing
December: Take month off to recover
January: New Year's Resolution to write daily
Early/Mid-January: Resolution fails
Late January-October: Struggle to get back into writing

That's really why I attack NaNoWriMo with such single-minded desperation. I know it's the only time of the year that I'm guaranteed to get a decent amount of writing done.

You know what? That's about to change.

That list above… it's clear where the problem starts. By the end of November, I've formed a habit. I'm deeply in touch with my stories. By the end of December? I'm a literary couch potato.

This year, I'm not taking a month off. I wrote yesterday, and I wrote today, and I'm going to keep on writing. I won't be doing it for hours at a time each day, but 15 minutes, 30 minutes? Whatever I can spare. I just want it to be a consistent, ongoing habit, not a month long binge followed by 11 months of struggle.

With that in mind, I have this chart…



I want to be able to mark off every day in December, but not just that. I made charts for 2020, too. Will I end up with 365 little green squares? Maybe not, but my goal is to come as close to that as possible.

We'll see how it goes…
Me (Mischievous)

Winning (NaNoWriMo 2019, Day 12)

Won NaNoWriMo a couple hours ago. That's a new record… the earliest I've finished in the past was the 15th. I'm going to keep writing, but I probably won't update about my progress until the end of the month.



The thing about NaNoWriMo… at this point, it feels like expectations on me are crazy. Seven consecutive wins, a couple years where I was super inspired and did 100k+ word counts… it's like a given now. I feel like I have to overachieve, as if a 50k word count isn't enough.

Part of that is me internalizing what others say. They mean those things as a compliment, of course (i.e. "Going for 200k this year? I know you could do it!"), but the assumption that I can win by a landslide year after year, forever outdoing myself? That's a lot of pressure.

For the record, I could not do 200k, nor would I ever try. There's a fine line between masochism and insanity.

Of course, the other part is my problem. I'm competitive by nature (with myself), and I thrive on positive feedback. I love proving that I can achieve these huge goals, but… it takes a lot out of me. It really does.

On that note, I need to abandon the "highest word count possible" mentality. I'll write like crazy if I feel inspired, but pushing beyond my limits, forcing the words when I'm so fucking exhausted and far past ready to quit? I need to do less of that. A lot less.

I'm striving for a high count this year. There's one more personal record I'd like to break, and a couple projects I'm desperate to finish. After that, though? I'm just going to focus on winning, not doing so by huge numbers. 2k rather than 4k per day… much more reasonable, and hey, I'll have time for a life!

Speaking of which, I'm going to go take a break, watch TV, maybe play a little WoW.
I've earned it, and more importantly, I need it.
Me (Mischievous)

Fuck All This (NaNoWriMo 2019, Day 7)

The good news is, I did really well on my word count for the first week. The bad news? Everything went to hell after the first three days.

First, I developed a dental abscess. If you've never had one of these, I'll just say that a.) you're lucky as hell, and b.) they hurt like a motherfucker. I'm talking white hot throbbing, unable to function debilitating pain.

I'm still impressed that I managed to write through that. Granted, most of it is stream of consciousness crap I'll never be able to use, but I did it. I spent a couple days curled up in the fetal position, managing to type out a few words on my phone here and there… I was in so much pain I couldn't sleep or eat, but damn it, I wrote.

Long story short, I got some antibiotics, and I'm back to normal. Well, almost. The swelling in my face has receded, the pain is low grade/manageable, and I should be back at 100% in the next couple days.

So yeah, when I say I take NaNoWriMo seriously, I'm not kidding. I will soldier through damn near anything to hit my word count goals.

Speaking of word counts… Collapse )

Almost 30,000 words from my first week. Not bad, eh? :)
Me (Mischievous)

Starting Strong (NaNoWriMo 2019, Day 1)

So my first day of NaNoWriMo went really well. Submitted my word count right before midnight, and I clocked in at 4913. That's impressive, especially since I'm woefully out of practice. I rarely hit 4-5k targets before the middle/end of November when I'm fully in the zone.

Just a productive day or a harbinger of good things to come? I'm hoping it's the latter… it would be so damn cool to shatter all my past records this year.

2012: 50,247
2013: 85,729
2014: 70,236
2015: 116,000
2016: 77,927
2017: 126,785
2018: 91,320

127k? Eek! I'm not sure I can pull that off (2017 damn near killed me). Regardless, I have plenty of projects to keep me occupied, and I'm feeling great! :)

(PS: Forget what I said about not posting on LJ much this month. Regular updates might actually help me stay on track.)
Me (Mischievous)

NaNoWriMo 2019!

October is a busy month for me, which is why I've been scarce lately. I've been catching up on work projects/getting everything else sorted so I can focus on NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo?
I'm sure most of you have heard of it, but in case you haven't, the goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. Traditionally, this is a draft for a novel, but I (and many other participants) use it to work on various writing projects.

I've done (and won) NaNoWriMo for the past seven years. It's challenging, sometimes grueling, but I look forward to it every year. It brings out the best iin me as a writer, inspiring me and pushing me beyond my limits like nothing else can do.

It's especially important to me this year. Between work, other creative projects, and various distractions, I haven't gottten much writing done. My WIPs have been gathering dust, and I'm not happy about it. NaNoWriMo is exactly what I need to get myself back on track, so yeah… I'm going all in on it this year.

On that note, I won't be checking/updating LJ much, but I'll be back in December. In the meantime… wish me luck! :)
Me (Mischievous)

New LJ Etiquette

So I just realized that LJ now has a "love" button. I was wondering why so many little hearts were popping up in my comments. :)

Question: Am I supposed to respond to these? I don't see a way to "love" back, so I've just been replying with HTML hearts.
Me (Mischievous)

Sorry, Facebook. I'm Done.

About a week ago, I decided to take a break from Facebook.

Of course, they don't offer any sensible way to do this (i.e. setting a vacation message), so I made a couple graphics…



My contact info was also the top post on my profile, so yeah… I did everything I could to make it as easy/obvious as possible.

Not obvious enough, apparently. I checked Facebook this evening and I had a slew of messages. It seems most people didn't even realize I was gone.

This infuriated me, though not at those people. It's Facebook I have a problem with, all the more so because most people don't seem to realize and/or care how manipulative they are. I've spent 16 years developing websites – it's easy for me to provide options for away/vacation messages, and I'm just one person. Do you really think the entire Facebook dev team couldn't figure out how to do it if they wanted to?

… if they wanted to.

That's really the point, isn't it? They don't want you to take a break. They don't want you to be able to redirect your friends elsewhere, forward your messages, anything like that. Why? Because they want you to be as addicted to/dependent on that site as possible. It really is as simple as that.

So I quit. Well, I didn't do it yet, but I put up a status notifying people that I'd be deleting my account this weekend. Gave out my contact info one last time, and invited them to send me theirs in a private message.

That's all I can do, really. I've spent years struggling with this… hating the site, yet not wanting to lose those connections. Something rock_dinosaur said really resonated with me, though. He said (paraphrasing) "If people can't be bothered to stay in touch outside of Facebook, maybe they're not worth it."

Am I the only one of my friends who dislikes Facebook? Somehow, I doubt it. I'm sure they stay there for a lot of the same reasons I did – convenience, not wanting to lose connections, etc.

I get that. I really do. But making Facebook our only means of communication is a conscious choice, not a necessity. Yes, we all have busy lives, but are any of us so overwhelmed that we can't visit a different site, shoot a quick email, send a text from time to time? Of course not.

So yeah, that's the conclusion I came to. I wouldn't be cutting people off by leaving. I'd be enabling them if I chose to stay. Those who are willing to make the effort will do so. As for the rest… any relationship that requires my presence on Facebook isn't much of a relationship, is it?

I have more thoughts on this, but I'll save them for later. For now, I'll just share the final paragraph of my "goodbye" status:

"I know I'll never hear from some of you, which makes me sad. The truth is though, that's exactly why I'm choosing to leave. I hate the way Facebook dominates our lives, reducing/eliminating other (often better) options we previously used for staying in touch. I hate the way it dumbs us down, forces our dependence, exploits us for profit. Most of all, I hate the complete lack of ethical standards the company has, whether that's selling our data to unscrupulous organizations, allowing the proliferation of fake news, or doing their damnedest to eliminate would be competitors so they can retain their monopoly.

We deserve better. *I* deserve better.
I've always believed that. Now it's time to act on it. ♥"