Tag Archives: time

A Writer’s Need

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_participant

NaNoWriMo is well underway. It has been for twelve days, and the participants should be somewhere around 20,000 words written, if they’re on track. Many aren’t and that’s okay.

I wasn’t going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year because I’ve simply had too much on my plate and I need a break. I switched The Boy from home school back to mainstream high school, then discovered I still have to babysit him, plus he has his learners permit and I have to take him driving. Getting The Girl to choose a college, then change her mind twice was fun. She finally started school and got hit by a car. She’ll recover, but her injuries make attending even some of her classes hard so Hubby and I are helping her out. He drives her and carries her backpack to the classes she absolutely can’t miss, and I’m now playing teacher for The Girl instead of (mostly) The Boy for the classes she’s missing. It’s like a horror novel.

On a related note, I’ve taken up reading horror in my spare time (AKA long bubble baths). I didn’t like it before, but now… If I can survive a teenage boy, what’s a little death and carnage? Bah.

Oh, and we’re moving Hubby’s parents from the large house they’ve lived in for 40 years to a small apartment in a retirement village. Everything we pack has a memory and a story that must be relived at that precise moment before I can put it in a box. This will take forever.

And then NaNo came around again. I seriously have no time. Except, courtesy of stress and time constraints, for the past year I haven’t been writing much. I used to be able to sit down and knock out 1000 words in an hour or so and 5000+/day wasn’t anything worth celebrating. But I haven’t been writing 5000 words/day; most days I don’t write anything. I should have finished my work in progress by the beginning of the year. It’s November and I’m maybe 2/3 of the way through.

I don’t have time for NaNoWriMo. (Sound familiar?) I need to pack my inlaws, help my son with a math assignment, then study for a chemistry test. I need to make him actually read The Crucible because he’s trying to fake his way through the assignments. I also need to help my daughter study for two upcoming tests, clear out the garden and compost the tomato plants that refuse to die, winterize the yard, cover the air-conditioning unit, and get a new battery for the second car. Also take The Boy driving for Driver’s Ed. See? No time. Too many other things I need to do.

No, I’m a writer. What I need to do is write, and I haven’t been. Not blogs either. To a novelist that’s just not the same, and besides, I haven’t even been good about staying up to date there. Too many things are being pushed aside. I’m going slightly mad and I need to pull myself together. How? Write. I’m a writer, the need is pervasive and as essential as breathing to my overall well-being.

Back to NaNoWriMo then. It’s day 12. I have written exactly 0 words in my manuscript so far this month. I counted. (Actually I looked at the last day the file was updated and it said October 28.) I don’t need to add 50,000 words to this book. It’ll take far less than 50,000 words to finish, but I need to finish it. I’m going to stick with the 50,000 word goal of the challenge anyway because it’s tradition. Once I finish she novel, I can start something else. But to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month means 2635 words/day. So? I used to do that regularly when I competed in NaNo. My personal goal was 2500 words/day and I usually exceeded it, so no sweat, right?

No. There will be a lot of sweating. Probably swearing too. I’m out of practice with less free time than usual and more stress. In short, I’m in about the same mindset as someone doing this for the first time. I was better than this my own first time which makes my position particularly embarrassing and uneasy for me.

The upshot? I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again this year because I need to get my butt in gear and head back in the game, and this is part of what the challenge is about. For new writers or those who haven’t established regular and successful writing habits yet, NaNo is about making you stop daydreaming, procrastinating, or overthinking your project and just do it. I thought I was done needing NaNo years ago. When I participated it was for fun not the actual challenge of it. I lost my way over the past year and a half and now I need NaNo again to whip me back into shape.

The challenge is ready and waiting, now it’s up to me to rise to the occasion.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Writing

Goodbye Facebook

fb

Time is a precious commodity. I’m really feeling that right about now. The kids are sucking up more and more time as The Girl starts looking at college options for next year and The Boy persists in being irresponsible with his home/online schooling schedule. I may boot that kid back into the system just to save myself some headaches. Except it won’t save me any headaches, it’ll just create different ones. Grr. (Reaches for another book on raising teenage boys.)

Since the kids started taking up more time, and Hubby’s parents are getting older and need us around more, I’m finding less time for writing. This is a bad thing for many reasons.

Writing is my sanity. Trust me when I tell you the whole house down to the lizard feels it when I’m not writing regularly. With that in mind, I need to feed the lizard. I wanted to finish The Thousand Words Series and the next book in the Genie In Your Pocket Series (which is also a sequel to Never Ready from the Lexi Frost Series and the final book from The Thousand Words Series. Timelines are a little nutty in there but I explain it all.) I’m partway there. I published A Glorious Mess, the third in The Thousand Words Series, but only as an ebook. The paperback still isn’t available – totally my fault, sorry. And I did finish the final book in The Thousand Words Series but I received interesting feedback on it from my beta readers. I’m debating what to do about that because changes I make there affects Desperate Wishes (the next book in the Genie In Your Pocket Series) and I’m about half done writing that first draft. I intended to have A Thousand Words Book 4 done and published by now (no title, that’s part of the problem) and finishing up Desperate Wishes by Halloween, but that’s not happening. So I’m behind. Realistically, I’ll get The Thousand Words Series finished and on Amazon as an ebook by the end of the year, but Desperate Wishes won’t be published until next year. Fine, I accept that. Grudgingly.

Aside from less time for writing (and revising, and editing, and publishing, and marketing) my lack of available time shows in another way: online. I’m not there as much. Blog posts are erratic, coming sometimes every two weeks instead of weekly. I’m not spending much time on social media and actually irritated by the amount of time The Girl spends on Tumblr simply because I’m jealous. (And she needs to focus on the upcoming ACT to expand her college options.)

Social media isn’t a problem really. I can just let accounts sit idle and get to them here and there when I can. In fact, that’s what I’m doing. Except Facebook picked a bad time to irritate me with their updates and policy changes. I know they’re like a virus and possibly worse than Google when it comes to disregard of user privacy, but Google is handier so they sneak by under my radar. Facebook doesn’t have that luxury. Worse, Facebook is now being shown to be almost useless to writers for reaching their audiences. Readers may follow you, in theory to get updates on book releases and promotions, but those messages get lost in their timelines. When readers can just as easily follow you on Goodreads – a site made specifically for avid readers – sites like Facebook and MySpace are superfluous. And they’re not as useful as once promised for reaching new readers. As an author, I have to take a step back and say “What’s the point then?”

For a long time, authors have been told to have a presence online, it’s necessary for reaching readers. Now the value of many social media sites is under review and not holding up to the potential. Especially if you’re short on time to devote to marketing specifically to those sites. In general, it’s no big deal. You can update or promote occasionally and let it otherwise float along and I’m willing to do that, except with Facebook. I’m tired of policy updates and hearing about their privacy violations from news sites. Now it’s come up how many ‘dead’ accounts there are and how difficult it is for people to get social media accounts deleted after a relative dies. And people with pages and an audience who don’t have their account deleted are targeted to have their pages hacked and updated ‘from beyond the grave’ by bored tech-savvy youths. I can only imagine what might show up on mine so I now have a technology amendment on my will.

Personally, I don’t play games and the updates and invitations are so annoying I have to force myself to even log in. Some of the pages I personally followed have disappeared, my daughter threw in the towel and deleted her account a year ago as did one of my cousins. People who genuinely know me have other ways to reach me. In fact, friends and family never reach out to me on Facebook. Readers can send me a note from my website. There’s little to no value in Facebook for me anymore, so it’s going to have to go. (And I should add I’m very proud of myself for not making that a slam-dunk New Year’s resolution and just taking care of it now.)

So goodbye, Facebook! It was a fun ride there for a while, but it’s time to go our separate ways.

Leave a comment

Filed under Everything Else