Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for NaNo

Reflecting, reliving, relearning.

Well it is a new year again, and here I am again, wondering what the heck happened. You may or may not know (or care) but I have never been a particular fan of New Years, or of resolutions. In fact, New Years Eve found me in bed by 9:45, wishing I’d gone to bed an hour earlier.

Ok, so that was probably 78% baby and 22% Tania, but still. I have never really cared for the whole, new start, ball dropping, counting down fiasco that is New Years Eve. I do enjoy a nice get together, when I have a baby sitter and am not pregnant. Next year…yeah!

Since I am not a fan, it would follow that I have no resolutions, and I don’t.

I’d like to resolve to blog more, but with a baby coming in April, this doesn’t seem realistic.  No new baby this year and I didn’t even do that.

I’d like to resolve to lose weight, but again, that won’t be a possibility until April. And even then, I know I’ll do it. I always do. I may not have lost all 70 Parker pounds, but I lost a good 65 of them…it just took two years 😉

I’d like to be more organized, more scheduled, to conquer the constant struggle that is getting my toddler to eat…but those are daily desires; they don’t change just because one day marks the end of an arbitrary time period and another starts.

And, I’ll be honest, I could go on and on. But I am so hungry, it is hard to concentrate. So I’ll move on. Both to a snack and a new topic.

I once read that Stephanie Meyers got the idea for her Twilight novels from a dream- she dreamt (is that even a word?) of the meadow scene from the first book (I believe). I was a bit irked when I read this, as I’d already had my own amazing vampire dream years before- honest, it was an incredible dream, the kind that stays with you for days and really resonates with you. Unfortunately for me, Stephanie Meyers proved to be more motivated than I. This is why I am freaking out about a $500 plumbing bill and she is probably counting her cashes and laughing.

Good news, kids! I had another dream. And no it was not about vampires. I doubt I would have what it takes to write a good vampire story anyway, and who would want to? Everyone and their mother are jumping on that one already. I’ll stick to what I know…nice middle of the road women’s fiction. Thrill a minute people.

Sorry, self deprecating moment has passed…I think….ok.

Anyway, I had the most amazing dream…in fact my sister woke me from it (Thanks Pilar). I can’t begin to describe it- I think I need to write it first on my own privately, so that I can remember it more clearly.  The really great news is that I believe this is my NaNo story for this year. It’s only January, so I might be jumping the gun, but I’m pretty psyched. I’m not the kind of person who is flooded with novel ideas…I generally only get about one a year, and use NaNo as an excuse to make it happen. Mostly cause I love a deadline, and my husband respects the one month time limit and is very supportive during that time (Well he is anyway, but during NaNo he helps me out with the house and the baby quite a bit so I can get it done).

My only tiny, insignificant little caveat here is the story of what happened to me during NaNo this year. I’d come up with my story in July, and for the entire month I was obsessed with it. I ate, breathed, dreamed that story. But I refused to write it, saving it for November. Of course, by the time November finally rolled around, the fervor had passed. I got it done, but I don’t know that the story is as good or the same as it would have been, had I written it when I was really in it. I don’t want a repeat of that this year, but at the same time, I have to trust that I can do this, and that I need more than the frenzy of sudden inspiration to create. I have a kid, and another on the way. I have a house to care for and my niece (for now) to watch.  I’m not always going to have the luxury of time whenever I want to write.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I need to trust my skill as a writer and know that I can craft a good story, even in the moments when I don’t feel absolutely struck by inspiration. If I can’t, then there isn’t really a point is there? Because editing is so much slower, more precise, and so much less about the initial lighting strike moment in which the story comes out. And this is the skill I am trying to hone and to strengthen; I am great at banging it out during NaNo, not so great at working on it consistently. And all that mumbo jumbo about trusting my skill as a writer…that’s all talk. But I am working on it. Right now I am at the stage where I am still to embarrassed to tell people that I consider myself a writer, or to tell people what my books are about. Not a great way to sell yourself. If I should ever get to the query stage (which I hope to, but that means I have to get back on the editing wagon), I’ll probably want to do it will a little more confidence than….well it’s a story about a girl…it’s dumb really, you won’t like it…

So, at the end of the day, what I’d really like to see from the New Year is this. A little more confidence, a new book in november, and the will to keep editing. And I need to find a crit group. Anyone know how I can do that?

I fall off the wagon, I get on…

Oh the circle of life. How it turns.

Ok so that makes no sense, but hey, Parker and I watched the Lion King (again) this morning, so I have it on the brain. Now we are watching Finding Nemo. Poor guy inherited my immune system. Which is to say he got nothing good. Thank goodness he got the de Sostoa hair, or I’d be feeling pretty guilt, especially as he’s coughing up a little lung right now.

So, I am back. Morning sickness is over, NaNo has been defeated yet again. I made it in the nick of time- I was only 4,000 words short at about November 21st, and then for some reason I stopped writing and just…stopped. It might have had something to do with the death cold I’d contracted, but details, shetails. Finally, November 29th, I camped on Maura’s couch, cementing my bony butt into her cushions,  and declared I would not leave until I was done. Unfortunately, her family expired before I got to the goal, and at 9pm, I left, with only 500 words to go. Motivation being my middle name by this point, I settled on my own couch and made it work (A la Tim Gunn, of course).

I won’t pretend this book is anything as good as I’d hoped, or even really somewhat like my vision going in, but that is what NaNo does to you. It makes a mockery of all your carefully laid plans, spits on your hopes and dreams; and just at the moment when you are curled in the fetal position, quivering and crying for your mother, shows you the light. Did that make any sense?

Ok, it is obvious NaNo has sucked the life and intelligence out of me at this point. I am mostly here to update you all, get back into the swing of blogging, and talk about the future.

I’d intended to keep track of all the books I read this year…which I did for about half the year. I have no idea when I stopped really, so I can’t even guess what I am missing. Which is a good thing, actually, since I haven’t read a single thing of substance in months. I don’t know why, but I guess I just decided to read easy stuff and skate along for a while. I never read Dangerous Liasons, and now I really would like to get that done, if only that, by the end of the year.

I’d like to set a timetable for editing and querying for the first book, and get back to reading SRP books with Maura. I think those will be on my mind for next year. I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, as a rule, but I would like to start the year with a plan. Of course, several things will be getting in the way of that plan….Relay for Life, having a baby. You know, the usual.  For now, other than reading Dangerous Liasons, my number one task is to pick a name for little baby boy. Any suggestions?

Tale of a disappearing blogger

Yes, I am once again guilty of disappearing. I realize this is a weakness of mine- I am terrible at making a routine committment to my blog. If I swore I have a good excuse, would you forgive me just this once? Cause, I promise, this time I really do have a good reason.

Morning sickness.

That’s right, morning sickness. Lucky for me, I’ve never been the throwing up type of girl. Usually, this is awesome.  Not so much this time. I cannot swear that this is accurate, but from what I hear from other friend, when suffering from morning sickness, once you throw up, you feel better. Until the next round of course. Not so much for me. Since I never throw up, there was a good two month period where I just never felt better. Unless I was lying down with my eyes closed, a little jar of pickled ginger close at hand.

I’ll acknowledge that I am a total pansy.  There is something about constant nausea and dry heaving that completely interrupts my life, ability to think clearly, be productive, and get anything done. Rest assured, this blog is not the only think in my life that fell by the wayside. Laundry, clean kitchen, dusted rooms and shelves, all a thing of the past.

As I am officially past week 12, I felt safer in finally letting the cat out of the bag.  I am slowly trying to get control of my life again, starting today with the huge mountain of laundry which has been multiplying in my basement. I haven’t edited a word of the novel in over two months, and NaNo is just two weeks away. My best friend Jenney is arriving in less than a week for a nice visit, so things are bound to get hectic, and I’d like to be on top of the ball, rather than smushed under it.  If step one was starting the wash machine, step two is this blog post.

We shall see what the coming months bring, to this blog and my life. I still have my niece and my son to take care of during the days- he’s just two and she’s only 1.5. They bring me so much joy, but many a challenge as well! Getting ready for the next little one, keeping true to my commitments as Relay for Life Vice Chair, and making sure my family is happy and healthy, all the while continuing my journey as a writer…this is gonna be fun!

The super book editing behemoth of my dreams.

Oh man, just give me a big fat F for blogging this month. Man life is out of control. Not only has my life exploded, but my brain, apparently as well.  I’ve read approximately three books since I last blogged, none of which did anything to improve my life. Two were Nora Roberts books, and one was my own book, for Book Club. Since we read it, I am now trying to edit it…which is lame. I mean really, really lame. I need to invent my own book editing software. It will involve at least three giant screens, a super computer with really detailed voice recognition software, and some sort of automated serving bar. Except that I cannot drink thing fun. Wine, beer, soda, tea. Apparently, when your stomach is waging full scale rebellion, all you can drink is water.

On the subject of wonderful things, only this time, actual wonderful things, I have been allowed the blessing of watching my niece Paige full time. She is just about the cutest, sweetest, and absolutely the easiest 9 month old baby in the land. No joke.  Having two little ones under the age of two running around has wrecked some havoc in my life however. I did finally get the house clean today. And I mean clean, not picked up. As in, cleaned bathrooms, scrubbed floors. For the first time since Parker was born, I am caught up on laundry, and have been keeping on top of it. Unfortunately, I’ve been an epic failure in the kitchen lately.

Question for you stay at home mom’s out there who aren’t at all good at it…does it ever feel like as soon as you’ve gotten one aspect of household management under control, another one falls apart? I mean I was a disaster in the kitchen, and then one day I decided I wanted to start cooking, and suddenly I was like, a whiz in the kitchen. Ok well…that may be an exaggeration. But Dan was going to work every day with a home cooked meal, courtesy of moi. Of course, while this was happening, the laundry was busy multiplying in my bedroom, and before I knew it I had seventy five bastard piles of laundry love children to pay child support for. Or something. And now, I have that whole fiasco under control, but poor Dan and Parker have been eating spaghetti and chicken stir fry every meal.

And the worst is that I know I could be like, super mom, super wife, super Taaaaaniiiiiaaaaa…but I am lazy I think. I like working on my book, and sitting and watching a little TV at night when Parker is asleep, hanging out with my girlfriends and their kids.  Plus there is the sickness I call Farmville. I still have no idea why I like playing this game. There is hardly any point, and yet, I am sucked in. If I just cut Farmville out, I am sure I’d be rocking the stay at home mom gig. Oh the pressure.

All right, well I am off to edit my novel on the dinky machine I like to call my laptop. One day, I swear I will make the dream come true, and will have the super book editing behemoth computer of my dreams. Just you wait.

Crock pot dinner gets 2010 off to a great start.

Well, lets face it…I was a bit of a blogging failure in 2009. In fact, I’ve been a bit of a blogging failure ever since Bloggate 2007 ( I’ll explain that one later). Anyway, moving on. If Step One is admitting I have a problem, Step Two must be assigning blame.  Now, now, don’t you start with your pious, “There is no one to blame but yourself” speeches…  I must blame someone, if only because the blame game is so much fun, and I don’t really feel like taking the blame myself.

Actually, since it is a new year and all (although generally I don’t do the whole new year/resolution/starting over type crap, believing instead that each day is a new opportunity to try again, and commit to being a better person, whatever that may mean to you),  I feel the urge to recommit myself. To creative pursuits, to blogging, finishing at least one novel, and of course, being a better person. Mostly this is due to the amazing inspiration of my love, Jenney, whose blog has me in stitches quite often, and who is generally a totally awesome woman.

I defense of, well…myself, I must say that 2009 wasn’t a complete letdown in the writing and creativity fronts. I did finish the second edit of my first novel, and began working on the third. I took a giant leap of faith, and began emailing chapters of said novel to friends for advice, critique, and tomato throwing. I also managed, somehow, to complete another 50k NaNo novel this year, in a record 10 days (a success which I owe completely to Maura for egging me on in our strange little competition, and Dan, for letting me hole myself up in the study for hours at a time while he played with Parker).

Anyway, on to 2010. The start of a new decade. I think that some goals are in order. I love lists. Lets face it, who doesn’t? The satisfaction of crossing something off of a to do list is pretty awesome. I’ve been guilty in the past of adding things I’ve already done to a to do list, just for the satisfaction of crossing it off again and feeling accomplished. Yes, I am that lame.

Ok, so lofty goals for the year

– Finish editing novel #1. Also, re title it. Hate the title. Begin shopping for an editor.

-Write at least one poem. (I wouldn’t want to overdo)

-Read every book chosen for The Book Club

-lose the rest of this darn baby weight

– Raise $10,000 in sponsorship for Relay For Life, and for my team, Frankie’s Kids, hit our fundraising goal of $1500!

-Begin working on baby #2

-Keep up with my blog

-NaNo 2010…though maybe not in 10 days….

– Read every Jane Austen book (ok, so this is a cheat, since I started this in 2009 and am halfway through the books, but again, I like to know I can cross at least one thing off of a to do list.)

Make dinner today

All right…I know that I will think of more, but for now, that ought to do. I have a plate full of things I must get working on. At the moment, I am not working on any…well except for the Jane Austen part. I am in the middle of Mansfield Park. Although it is slow going; I’ll admit, it’s no Pride and Prejudice. But it has it’s own charms, and I am enjoying it. Maura and I both want to be through with the Austen’s by the end of January (I think), which means that in a few weeks I may be crossing at least one thing off of my list. Wonderful.

Plus, in recent and stupendous news, I already  made dinner- that is I threw lots of canned goods and some frozen chicken into the crock pot. Yay, I get to cross something off of my list! The year is off to a roaring start!

Does feeling it make it so?

I think it must be in the air. I’ve been reading others blogs and there seems to be a general feeling of suppressed creativity.  I think most writers (and I speak for writers because that is the only art I really know. I would say all artists, but I can’t be sure), feel this way at one time or another. As if something is rising up through them, but they don’t know what it is just yet. I can feel this today, inside. I have a story to tell, words to place. They are unfamiliar yet. I don’t know their shape or meaning.

There are times when I love feeling this way. It is a feeling that reminds me that I still have it. I still have the drive and desire to write. That there is still something tangible that I want to grab a hold of. I don’t know if all writers feel this, but I worry that one day, it will be gone. That I will wake up numb and not even realize. Not even miss it. Does that make sense?

Conversely, I dislike this feeling because it feels stuck. Static. I feel like I want to be writing something meaningful and true, but I don’t know what it is yet. And sometimes, nothing happens. I end up crocheting like a madwoman or reading some Sharon Olds and just forgetting about it because nothing comes.

I feel like I know what I want to write-  a story idea that came to me in the midst of a 4 am feeding. It might be absolute lunacy, considering my state of mind at the time. However, I’ve learned that I can do it. I realize that sounds completely hokey. But it is true. Completing my NaNo novel in ’07 taught me that I absolutely can write a book. Before I did NaNo, I was always afraid that I didn’t have enough story in me. That I wasn’t creative enough to write a whole book. Especially after years of poetry writing, during which I learned agonize over each word., when I struggled to learn the art of speaking in four words what should take 50.  Unlearning and allowing myself to use as many as possible (50,000 ideally), was a struggle, but I did do it.

Ok, so maybe my NaNo novel is no masterpiece.  In my defense, it was written on a whim, in 30 days.  And maybe I’ll never complete it, and there is a great chance that no one will ever be allowed to read it, but that is ok. Because I can look at it and know that I have it in me.I feel that I must add though, that all this talk about being a writer is making me a bit self conscious. As if others will read it and think, ” How presumptuous for her to call herself a writer.”  I’m not published, not many have read what I have to offer, and I may not even be great, good or mediocre. Does feeling something inside make it so? All of my life I have known that this is what I love more than anything. That I have the desire to write. Does this make me a writer, or is that insanity and arrogance?

Now if only I had some spare cash and a room of my own. Instead, I think I’ll go make a bottle and plot my strategy for writing during afternoon nap time.