Impending Nano


So every year, for the past few years (this being the fourth year) I have attempted to participate in Nanowrimo. This for those of you who don’t know takes place in the month od November, with the express purpose of people around the world writing novels. All proceeds they raise from donations go towards literacy for children. This in itself is enough cause to participate. I however, have not been the best participant. I have yet to make the word goal of 50,000 words in one month. This is not to say that I am incapable, yet I seem to find that life gets in the way.

I tend to find that life enjoys getting in the way of literary pursuits, whether it is in writing or reading. Real life tends to take offense to a person who would prefer to spend time reading or writing things that do not coincide with what “real life” thinks we should be doing. And looking at the looming date of November 1st when I am supposed to begin my novella, I struggled. I couldn’t find a topic, inspiration, or anything consisting of the two. But I prevailed.

Now I have to figure out how I am going to complete this goal. I must write everyday­. I must focus on my characters and remember that they are really in control. I have to let go, so that I can prevail. I can do these things.

I have officially gone off meds, so my characters will be more crazy, and maybe this month of writing will help me embrace my crazy instead of medicating it to the shadows. I hope that my characters will show up when I call them. I am not holding my breath on this one. After having directed plays before I know that actors and characters show on their own time, I hope that I have the patience to handle this.

The main point is that I am again writing! I don’t know if any good will come of this writing, but I will be doing it. I will be talking to myself in the best possible way, having multiple conversations with myself via my keyboard. This excites me. I miss those conversations. I even look forward for a character wandering off and leaving me hanging, just so my mind can go in search of them. It’s much easier to go in search of a wayward character than it is of a drunken friend. So despite my trepidation, I look forward to this year’s nano in a way which I haven’t looked forward to those of the past.

So embrace the crazy, write something insane and see what you find.

If you are interested in nano and all it entails go to: www.nanowrimo.org

Happy writing!

Advertisements

Accusations


It is always annoying to be accused of things which you don’t do. It is more annoying when it comes from people who don’t know you well. However, the most irritating is not just being accused of things you don’t do, but being told all about what a horrible person you are by someone who you’ve only met in person 2 times. When this happens, it is hard for even the most emotionally stable of us not to give pause and wonder just what is wrong with people.

Last night I was at home, recovering from straining my calves, at this point I could barely walk and so was not in such a great mood. I got a Facebook message from a guy I had met through an online dating site.   While I had well over a month ago decided that this person was not someone I could date, I had thought that we had enough similar interests that we could at least attempt a decent friendship. I should have listened to my friend, who does know me well, and blocked him, cut my loses, and just ignored his attempts to contact me. However, being a stubborn person I decided I would try to talk to him if he messaged me.

It had been several weeks since I had heard from this individual, but every conversation we had tended to end up along the same course. Each time we spoke, the conversation would be turned to why I wasn’t interested in dating him. He could not understand that I am not currently interested in dating anyone seriously, and I’m not looking for a friend with benefits either. He would take this as a personal affront and tell me in his own words how I really felt. I would generally stop responding at this point.

When we got to this point last night, I again tried to explain myself, and how I felt about the general situation, and why I wasn’t interested in dating him. In no uncertain terms, when we had first started talking a couple months ago, I had told him that I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship, wasn’t looking for friends with benefits, and could not deal with clingy or co-dependent people. Somehow he over looked this and has spent the time being clingy, co-dependent, and pushy about relationship and other things. Last night when he brought up this subject again, I told him that I didn’t want to have this conversation.

After twice telling him how I felt about having the conversation, he turned around and decided to bash me in every way he could think of. Apparently, I make up my mental illness to use as an excuse or a crutch and it’s not real. Also, I am selfish, which is of course why I plan on going to school for counseling, that’s what all selfish people do. I am also a childish person, a liar, and a bad parent.   All this was gathered from a person based off three factors: 1. I didn’t feel inclined to cuddle or make out with him, 2. When he came to my house the first time he asked if I need anything, I answered honestly and said toilet paper, and 3. That I am not interested in dating or sleeping with anyone at the moment.

Well based off these amazingly accurate bits of information, I must be a lazy, selfish, lying, not crazy enough, bad parent. Also somehow in this rant from him I am all of these things as well because I don’t have a terminal illness and I can’t possibly know what it’s like to be lonely or in pain. Wow! I have given birth, naturally I might add, and I don’t know what pain is. I am starting to feel a bit more sane already.

This is why I had talked about finding a crazy which fits your own, in an early post. I think it was “Hey Baby, What’s Your Diagnosis?” So, I do talk about embracing the crazy. I never say “crawl into your crazy and use it as an excuse for everything!” I would never want to do that, much less tell others to do that. I do have other problems that cause difficulties for my life, who doesn’t? I don’t blame other people for my inability for find a good job, well not more than the general lament about wanting a chance, please, someone… Either way, I don’t blame others for my allergies, or my physical illnesses, who would I blame, my parents? It isn’t like they picked out those particular genes to pass on to me.

As for my parenting. Someone who knows very little about me, especially someone who has never seen me with my kid let alone any other children has no right to judge that.

Embrace that crazy, but tread lightly while learning that of those around you. Like personalities, or colors, not everyone goes together.

Trying to Write to the Sound of a Six Year Old


Today I wanted to try and write some fiction again. This was a fairly short lived idea. I had searched around on the internet for a good writing generator for prompts for a horror story. Since I am still lacking plot bunnies, I figured that this was the best way to force my fingers into the mode of writing something different, and being October horror felt appropriate. The problem was partly my timing, and partly the existence of the six year old son of my friend.

I have been writing over at my friend’s house recently, because of two reasons: 1. She makes me write and 2. She has internet, something which I cannot afford right now. Since keeping a consistent blog is difficult when you have no internet, I have effectively created a spot in her bedroom in which to write. It is not the most comfortable spot and this is not only due to the fact that I have to hold my laptop in my lap while writing, but also because despite the fact it’s her bedroom, there is a lot of human traffic which makes it hard to concentrate. Add to this the fact that I keep forgetting my noise canceling headphones and it doesn’t make for a very good writing situation.

Now I spent about an hour reading ridiculous prompts, and finally came across one which seemed to have potential. About the same time I began to write on this prompt, her six year old came into the bedroom to hang out while his older brother got ready for bed. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that it is very hard to write anything when a child is present and whining about anything which pops into his head. I never write while my own son is home and awake, and usually I wait until her kids are asleep before I begin, but tonight I was almost inspired.

It took about three paragraphs before I gave up. Leaving the beginnings of a story left to be found and possibly finished at a later date. I realize now in a most intense way that I need to finish my project of purging my house. This way I will be able to have my writing space at home away from other people and distractions. I might even write something of quality if I have a nice space that is dedicated to this process. Then if all else fails, and a new job doesn’t appear to help me actually pay my bills, then I can still go to my friends to use the internet for research and posting my blog stuffs.

The other important factor in getting this space done is for my own sanity. I get anxious when I am trying to study, research, or write over at my friend’s house. Between the 15 year old, the 6 year old and her husband, who constantly roam in and out of the room asking questions and causing general distraction, I can’t focus and this increases my anxiety in an uncomfortable way, which makes me no longer enjoy the process of writing. I need my own space in which to stare into the void and attract the plot bunnies. I would rather a bunny make me anxious for finding things in my brain which surprise me than increased anxiety due to a kid just being a kid.

So in honor of this week being mental health awareness week, I call upon everyone with anxiety or any mental health problem, to find a place for themselves. Whether it is a desk or a room, or just a park bench, we all need to find a place where our thoughts can run free, so that when we leave this spot we can be free from the troubles of the mind. This will also help if you are needing inspiration, if you create a spot where you are inspired, staying in this spot for a bit of time each day should help with that.

As I am now seeking to go on to graduate school for counseling, I believe that this spot I plan to create for myself will be helpful in more than just my literary pursuits. I hope everyone can carve out their own spot where if nothing else you can embrace the crazy.

Lack of Inspiration


You would think with all the stress in my life, and a job that I hate I would have more than enough inspiration to write. However, I seem to not want to write about the horrors of my job, or the stress of my life and I’m not sure what that leaves me with. I haven’t had many recent brushes with my own mental health, not in any interesting or majorly problematic ways. I haven’t even been doing anything especially interesting with my time. Mostly I just sit at my house and read. In fact, if I don’t have someone to drag me out of my house for some reason or other, that is mostly all I have done for the past few months. This is with the exception of forcing myself to try to go to work when I’m not physically ill, which I have been often as well in the past few months.

I’m not sure why, but all I can seem to do is to crawl into a book and stay there for long periods of time. Now, when most people say they read for long periods of time, they tend to mean, or at least in my experience, that they read for a few hours a day. I however, tend on average when my son is not home, to read for at least 8 hours straight. I do not even pause for bathroom breaks. I will get so involved in a plot or a chapter that I take my book with me to the bathroom. I have been so entrenched in reading for the past few months that I have, on last count, read 30 books. My last count was over two weeks ago though, and I have read at least another 6-8 since then.

While this binge reading isn’t so much an unhealthy activity in and of itself, it means also that I have managed to very thoroughly take myself out of reality. I ignore most phone calls, though I still answer texts and any call which might be a job I applied to. I don’t leave my couch, I hardly eat, not that I generally eat much, and I don’t move or do anything during these reading hours past smoking an occasional cigarette and drinking water or soda. It is a thoroughly boring, and somewhat satisfying thing. However, it has now grown old. I enjoy reading, and it does help with my anxiety, but my love of the written word has taken the place of socialization, and of course literary pursuits of my own.

The books I have read recently, while rekindling my love of fantasy, have not given me any inspiration of what I might like to write on my own. While in the past I might have been inspired by an author’s use of folklore in their writings, now I just am happy to see the folklore come into a piece of work and retain its origins. So while I keep reading, and I enjoy what I read, I have started to spend entirely too much of my time crawling inside of books and staying there until the words of the author sputter out. While in the past this would at least give me an idea of a story I would like to write on my own, it now just leaves me empty and uninspired. The saddest part of this is that I not only love reading, but I love writing.

I love when the plot bunny comes to visit and bounces around my head making me narrate small parts of the story in my head as I try to fall asleep each night until, I figure out the characters names and can begin to write about them. However, there have been no visits from the plot bunny, or any other kind of bunny or rabbit for that matter. I would be happy with a chocolate Easter bunny, if it would give me an idea of something, anything, new to write about. I don’t even have many stories I have written in the past that I want to go back and work on, and not so many stories of my past that I feel like reliving in words right now, much less in thought.

So I am stuck inside the minds of other authors, who seem to have a never ending supply of things for their characters to do. I suppose their brains must be filled with strawberries to attract so many plot bunnies. My brain is however, filled with brain material and this seems to be unattractive to both the plot bunnies and the muses at this time. I’m not writing fiction, non-fiction, or music right now. The only thing I can seem to write about is my lack of ability to find something I would like to write about.

I don’t know where all my stories went. Perhaps, I need to take my own advice. Perhaps I need to embrace the crazy, in a more meaningful way and see if that will make my brain grow the wild strawberries which seem to attract the bunnies, who I use to hate yet now miss. I long for a sleepless night because I can’t get my own plot out of my head, and not for one caused by an inability to stop reading someone else’s stories

If anyone has a spare plot bunny torturing them, please feel free to send them my way.

Stress and Writers Block


For the last year I have been working, on and off, at a job which makes me extra crazy. It increases my stress, because as a tip based job, and a person with anxiety in general, it makes it extremely difficult to make any money. So for the past year I have been struggling not only to write, but resign myself to the necessity of working a job which does not help in any way in improving my mental health.

I have had a number of crappy jobs throughout my life, but it seems that the past few years, while I was trying to finish my Bachelor’s degree and find a suitable job afterwards I have been stuck in the miserable world of sales or equally uninviting jobs, which are based in private contracting and no guarantee of money.

In the end the stress from trying to find a new job and working ones I hate, has made it extremely difficult for me to feel as if I have much to say. Now every now and then I do get on a role. I post regularly and I feel good about that. However, in the past year, despite my spurts of inspiration, I have had some of the worst writer’s block of my life. At least while I was still in school, I could somehow reach into the depths of my mind to come up with something to write, even if it was just for a grade. Now, however, I’m not sure what to say. Also, when I do have something that seems a good idea to write about I seem at a loss of words when I sit down to my computer to write.

Now I’m not the first writer, and will not be the last, who suffers from poverty and writers block. However, while some writers continue to write despite the stress put on the by the lack of steady, or enough income, I seem to be unable to rise to the occasion. I am not sure why this is. I seem to be incapable of the simple act of turning on my computer and just putting words to page, or screen if you will. It is a maddening experience to have our mind strike an idea and not be able to put it into coherent wording. I don’t know if this is a normal experience for writers, but I cannot imagine that I am alone in this difficulty.

I know many writers who have suffered from stress induced writers block, and yet they managed, without friends forcing them, to push through and put words on the page. I only manage this feat when my friend sits me down and in no uncertain terms tells me that I have to write. To visit her means that I must write, if I don’t, then I sit in her room and watch her write and fret even more about my inability to do this seemingly simple act.

The fact is though, that when I am taken out of my normal stress-filled and silent home I can write. Even if it isn’t about anything meaningful, I manage to at the very least write about not being able to write. This in the end makes it more insane to claim writers block. When forced to write, I write. Otherwise, I read. However, once I get trapped in the world of books I can’t stop reading. While this helps with some of my anxiety, it doesn’t help me get out the words which live somewhere beneath the surface of my conscious mind and set them free into the world.

My only solution to the problem, seems to lie in finding a decent job, and going back to school. However, as easy as this may sound, the simple act of finding a job has been the basis for much of my stress in the past year and a half. Despite putting out hundreds of applications and resumes I have still come up with only the jobs which make me more stressed and lead to sickness and hospitalization. I actually get so stressed out while working a job where I am on commission, or I truly hate, that I end up making myself sick with stress. The other half of my solution costs money, and therefore adds a certain amount of stress in and of itself. I know what I plan to get my masters in, but getting into the program is the biggest obstacle of this plan. I might have the GPA and the reference letters, however I have to take the uninviting and $200 test known as the GRE. For those who don’t know about this test, it is the test you take to get into grad school. Like the SAT on steroids. With a healthy dose of test anxiety, especially with standardized tests, and a lack of income at the time of this writing, this seems an extremely difficult task. I’m not saying it cannot be done, I’m crazy so anything can be done; it just won’t be easy.

So I suppose that I will continue to visit my friend, write whatever pops into my OCD brain and hope for the best. I can only do so much on my own and the rest I have to leave to fate to do with what she will. I also have to believe that something or someone has a plan for me. If I don’t I would give up completely, and I’m just not interested in giving up. I am tired though. Tired of being sick, tired of not having words when I call them, and tired of not knowing how I’m going to survive.

If anyone out there has any advice, it would be welcome. However, I am a bit like little lost Alice in Wonderland, “I often give myself very good advice, but I very seldom listen.” So I consign myself to fate. I will continue to try to get a new job, and plan for school. I will write when I can, and I will continue to live as best I can. I might not be able to keep myself from being stressed over my situation, but I am the only one who can keep myself from giving up. I might be tired, but I am far from finished.