vintagewitch: (writer between drafts)
 I FINISHED THE FIRST DRAFT!

After my post a couple of days ago, I really did get to sit down and write, and wow - 5,500+ words later, I have a finished draft!

I have learned SO MUCH from writing this draft. And it kind of blows my mind that after two years of writing, storyboarding, doubting myself, changing direction, I have finally made it to the end. I am SO excited to start the editing process, but I'm probably going to wait a month before digging in to that. I think distance will be key - granted, the first 50,000 words were written in November 2013, but I think even with that I still need a little space.

BUT HOLY HELL IT'S DONE!!!!!
vintagewitch: (writer between drafts)
Have somehow gotten behind on DW posts - will catch up later today. This has been a bit of a whirlwind of a week.

I am >thisclose< to being done with the novel. Six scenes. SIX I TELL YOU. But I've been having a hard time motivating myself to sit down and type away. 

Part of it is that I feel like I'm scrambling to make ends meet, and isn't it amazing how much brain-space not having enough money takes. The other part of it is that I genuinely have a lot of projects I need to work on before we go backpacking.

But I think another part of it is that I don't want the writing to end. Which is silly, because there will be SO MUCH editing to do, and I'll need to add and expand scenes, and things like that. 

But today. Today I will write. Today I am putting aside other things, and I am focusing on the novel, because today I can.

Will report back.
vintagewitch: (UP Coast Perhaps)
 I've been meaning to write a sort-of retrospective on the year since my birthday, and haven't gotten around to it because summer is Crazy. (I'm 27, y'all, when did that happen?!)

I spent all last weekend at or traveling to the Remember the Kalamazoo event. Five years ago in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek, the largest inland oil spill in US History happened, and because it was tar sands oil it sank to the bottom of the river, where it still sits. In order to get it out of the river, they need to dredge it, and even that isn't working.

So it was a weekend of sitting with allies in Michigan as they remember what was once here, fight to stop the pipelines and to stop this from happening again, and looking forward to a future. We also took a toxic tour of the BP-Whiting refinery on our way home, led by the only activist in the small company town. It was horrific - to see what refinery communities have to deal with, have to live with. I stepped off the bus and could barely breathe because of the particulate matter in the air. There's an oil spill that's been sitting there for basically five years, with no real clean-up efforts because it's on industrial land. 

The whole experience was chilling. Some might even say Orwellian.

But that all deserves its own post!

There's an all-day climate change solutions visioning workshop today that I RSVPd for when I got back from Kalamazoo, but now that I've gone through a week of intense stress about grad school logistics, I'm feeling like I really just need to have a quiet morning with my coffee, my computer, my notebooks, and my plans. I feel more like reflecting, and then getting a ton of job applications done, some of my commissioned research, and maybe even writing.

Great Things About This Last Year:
  • Took a couple of great vacations with Matt - to the UP, and again to Lutsen Lodge
  • Applied to and got in to grad school
  • Deepened some friendships, let go of one particularly toxic friendship
  • Quit the horrible, soul-sucking job back in January
  • Was extremely productive with my writing - I am >thisclose< to finishing my first novel!
  • Got much more involved in environmental activism again - finding my place in the movement, after I was forced out by my previous job
  • Committed in a new way to my spiritual practice, with rituals almost every month. It feels like I'm really taking charge of life through spirituality.
  • Got commissioned to work on a huge march, which was really gratifying - yes, I have worth and am offering something to the movement.
  • Found out about Dreamwidth! This has been fantastic - and has also kicked my butt to journal a whole lot more.
  • I've seen some GREAT music live this year.
  • Women's weekend was fantastic - spending time with family was definitely a priority last year.
  • Figuring out that I need to cut dairy out of my life, and committing to being a healthier person physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has become more of a constant in my life, and I'm so thankful for that.
Challenges From This Last Year (OR: Why I'm a Much Stronger Person Now):
  • The parts of this year when I was working at Horrible Job were horrible. Dealing with constant ageist microaggressions, trying to change my boss' racist ways, feeling completely controlled and helpless, trying to work toward justice with people I was organizing with but being undermined by my boss and my organization's goals ... all bad news that meant almost daily anxiety attacks. That was hard, y'all.
  • It was really, really hard to break up with my old friend, but it had to be done. I'm still feeling really emotional about this in some ways, but it's getting easier.
  • This year, Matt and I went through a streak of being either apart or having tension in our relationship for 5 months. I think we've rounded the bend, have had some deep and open conversation, and things feel like they're finally coming back to a normal place.
  • MONEY. I had saved enough to cover a couple of months before I quit the job, but finding money and making ends meet has been a near-constant problem.
  • Depression has reared its ugly head, but I continue to work through it.
Looking FORWARD: The Year To Come
  • HOLY SHIT Y'ALL I START GRAD SCHOOL IN A MONTH.
  • Trying to find a balance with grad school and my volunteer work - which, while stressful, really gives me a sense of purpose.
  • Unforeseen opportunities: internships, research assistantships, meeting new people, building my network, all those great things
  • Finishing my novel! And starting the editing process.
  • Continuing my spiritual practice. I'm particularly excited to start in on the Alternative Tarot Course by Beth Maiden.
  • Matt and I are going to try to fit in some awesome backpacking trips! We're probably going to do an overnight this coming week, and will be doing a section of the Superior Hiking Trail. More camping and nature in general!
  • More live music, travel, festivals, play with friends, good times yay!
  • More writing - I want to write more about things like climate change, spirituality, feminism, anti-oppression work, my experiences as a queer woman, etc. Not only that, but I want to write more short stories - I'm not ready to dive into another novel, but I want to keep my chops up
Whew! What a year it's been, what a year it will be! I'm so excited for the things that I don't know about, and I'm so grateful for all the experiences of the last year. I'm a much stronger person now than I was before, and I look forward to this next year.

Thank you, everyone who's had a part in this, and to the Dreamwidth community! You're wonderful, and supportive, and this site has been a truly fantastic discovery.

Peace and love and kindness to all of you!
vintagewitch: (writer between drafts)
 Not much has changed.

Currently reading "Brave New World" b. Aldous Huxley. It's amazing terrifying amazing.

I've officially wrapped up the gig on the march, so now I'm contacting my network and putting some feelers out there for temp work to carry me through until school starts. 

Matt is still not back. Trying not to dwell on Things and Feelings.

Getting some good writing done. Camp NaNo with [personal profile] syntaxofthings starts on Wednesday - we have a write-in planned already! My goal is to EITHER finish the work in progress OR write 30,000 new words. But if I finish the manuscript before I hit 30,000, that will be a huge landmark. 

That's a little under 1,000 words/day, which actually seems really doable for the pace I've been writing these days. It's more about finding the time to get in the writing mindset, which isn't always easy. But if I hit the writing hard this week, I'll get ahead of myself before my next temp thing kicks in. 

Today's word count: Something like 700. Not bad, considering how weird today's been.
vintagewitch: (tea)
 Wow, it's almost 10:30. I guess I got home kind of late after the action night, and running around in the next town over.

After the day I've had, I don't know how it is I've still got thoughts to put to the page. I don't think I have the energy, yet again, to really get into the main thing on my mind, but it feels good to get some of the clutter out.

Temping at an accounting firm during tax season is very busy. But at the same time, what I'm doing there is so very mindless that I have a lot of time to think. It's amazing the brainspace that's been freed up since I found out I didn't get the job. Now, it's back to planning and daydreaming instead of endless fretting over what it would mean to take the job. 

Graduate school, to get my Master's in Public Policy. That is what I'm doing for the next two years. 

It feels good to know that. 

Hopefully, this newly-free space in my mind will mean I can get back to writing the novel. It's been far too long since I was able to pick that up in any real way, I've been thinking far too much about Big Decisions and Life Shit.

Speaking of the novel, I think one of the reasons it's been difficult for me to work on it lately has been the sense that I'm just ... not a good enough writer for the story. I'm so very attached to it at this point, and I think it's an important story that needs to be told and told well so that people listen. But I don't think I'm good enough to really tell it yet.

At the same time, I'm worried that if I stop (at over 200 manuscript pages), I'll try to pick it up again in the future and be unable to figure it out. The manuscript will be completely out of touch, illegible, I won't even be able to get through it as a reader, much less a writer and editor. I need to build up my writing chops generally.

So short stories have been appealing to me lately. I will absolutely not be able to finish the story by the deadline, but there's a literary journal looking for stories based on The King in Yellow, and I do plan to write one. Perhaps I'll make it into a longer NaNo project this fall. I have a certain plot bunny that I've been keeping in the pen. But maybe it's time to let it out. Maybe I bit off a chunk too huge with the older project. And it does feel so good to be writing other things, experimenting with style and character. 

I never thought I would enjoy writing short stories. It's odd. It's good, though. This really is the best way to get better at writing.

Ack. Taxes wait for no one, and I've got an early day tomorrow. I should finish up my beer and get to bed.

vintagewitch: (between drafts)
August Writing Challenge: 8/17
Daily Word Goal: ~2,000
Word Count: 1,844
Total: 7,625


I was just shy of my goal for this day because I got really sleepy. Turns out, when I'm alternating errands and writing, it makes for a very full day. I stopped writing Mr. Goodman's journal, because in looking over all of my outline material, I didn't actually plan out the plot points his journal would reveal. And ... I have a pretty good handle on it, but I guess I was feeling inspired to work on something else. I want to just spend some time assessing where I'm at with his journal, and then go back and fill in the rest.

I'm really happy that I've been able to incorporate some of the folktales I learned about from "Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers" - I think it lends a much more interesting texture to the work. I think for the monster, I will need to go back and rewrite to bring together local Lake Superior mythology and H.P. Lovecraft's quasi-religious science fiction. I'm getting a much clearer picture of what the second draft looks like, and I'm eager to start tearing apart this awful first draft.

Anyway, there's kind of a lot going on in my (non-writing) life, but this is a welcome distraction. I've got some thinking to do, working through some stuff. My capacity to deal with other people's bullshit is waning. I need to be more creative, I need to keep up with my writing. It's one way I can stay in touch with my own inner sanctum.

I'm actually (a little bit) proud of some stuff that I wrote on Sunday, so I'll post an excerpt (not the whole thing - the pacing's way off for the rest of the scene). Ugh. Just post it already.

Excerpt: the first storm of the winter )
vintagewitch: (blue coffee)
August Writing Challenge: Second Weekend.
Days 3 and 4
Daily goal: ~2,000 words
Combined Days Total: 1,257 words
Total So Far: 5,781 words


Ok ... so clearly, I didn't get nearly as much writing done as I thought I did on vacation. That's ok ... I'm glad I did all the other things I did while I was out there. But it is still disheartening.

I'm hoping I'll be able to make some good progress today. In retrospect, trying to get to 20,000 words this month seems kind of foolish - I've just got so much going on. I might lower my goal to match [livejournal.com profile] trplnrdscre1's goal of 10,000 (unless she's increased her goal ... she talked about that.)

I don't know. I do have other fish to fry in my (limited) free time anyway. Applying to grad school is a long, intense process, so I will need to focus on that as well.

Anyway, I need to run some more errands before I can get going on writing more original fiction. 
vintagewitch: (blogging)
August Writing Challenge: Second Weekend
Daily Goal: ~2,000 words
Words: 1,012


I actually started typing up this day earlier in the week, but since I didn't finish typing all the sessions, I didn't get a chance to post.

Ugh. This is why I never read drafts that I'm in the middle of. I'm trying not to let myself feel terribly frustrated and disheartened. Of course my writing isn't as good as the books I'm always reading. Of COURSE it's rough, and the prose is stifled, and the dialogue is cheesy. It's in my writing style. What I'm trying to do now is get everything down, so that I can go back and pretty much re-write everything. I need to get the sequence of events down before I can make it beautiful.

So ... this draft is so incredibly rough I'm a little embarrassed to post anything. The good news is, that I'm writing in Mr. Goodman's journal, and so handwriting these entries in particular makes them seem ... more believable. I have a sense of how much the writing takes up on a page of a notebook. But that also means the paragraphs are dramatically shorter than they are when I'm typing.

Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh.

Well, I only have one more days' worth of fiction to type up, and then I can go back to a world where I blissfully ignore how terrible my draft is. Hoping to get 2,000 new words down today, as well as finish typing all of this up.
vintagewitch: (North Shore)
August Writing Camp: First Weekend
Goal of the Weekend: 2,000
Words: 2,150


[livejournal.com profile] trplnrdscre1 and I are doing a writing challenge this month - and so this is my first report back on my progress! We each set our own goals, because we're working on very different things. I needed to get back in the habit of working on my novel regularly, and she was interested in picking up some more writing. So ... the challenge! My goal is to write 20,000 words in the month of August.

Normally, these August writing challenge posts will have an excerpt. Today I won't be able to put together an excerpt, mainly because I spent most of the evening at a Tori Amos concert! The concert was fantastic - she's suuuuuuper weird, but I really admire her ability to tell a story with music, as well as the breadth of experimentation she's done over her career. I was really happy that she played some from "Boys for Pele," and she hit most of my favorites. It was my first solo concert, which was ... interesting. Not having been to a concert alone before, it was a new experience. Felt good to blend in to the crowd a bit. I'm glad I went.

More later, including an excerpt from the more surprising bits of today's writing. For now, I'm feeling tired and accomplished.

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