Promises, Promises

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 I’ve hinted a bit lately on Twitter and in other posts that I was working on some exciting things. My plans are still in the works, but I felt at this point I should probably start putting it all out there and making it a reality. Everyone knows, once you tell someone your goals you are more likely to stick with them for fear of public failure. Or, at least that is how it works for me.
 There are so many things going on in my brain right now that it is actually difficult to get it all out and onto this screen without just becoming a jumbled mess of words that make sense to no one but myself, so stick with me here. I’m really trying.
 I have been working on plans for 2018. I’ve told myself that it has to be a better year than 2017. I honestly can’t handle any more bad, not like I’ve had the last year. Not at all if I can help it, but I realize that is probably not possible.
 In my planning I’ve decided a few things about myself and the direction that I want my life to take. I’ve already put some of my plan into motion already. That is, I’ve gotten approved to volunteer weekly at my local Public Library. It may not seem like much to some of you, but books are a huge part of my life. Without them I may not have made it this far into adulthood. I’m unsure I would have even survived adolescence. I start my actual volunteering in January due to some family events I have planned out of state, but I feel it is a great way to start the new year anyway.
 Beyond the Library I decided on a few other things. First being this is the year I finally put myself out there with my writing. And I mean really out there. So far I have a Patreon set up which I am officially putting out in the world for you all to view and hopefully it will really help.
 I have also decided this is the year to get myself into Freelancing. I know it won’t be easy. I know it is going to be hard as hell actually, but I’m determined and somehow I will figure it out and I will succeed. Even if it takes me all year. With that said, if anyone has suggestions or is looking for someone to guest blog- shoot me an email!
 Can there be more? Oh yes, of course there can. It is me after all and if there is one thing I do it is set up millions of goals for myself. Some days having an obsessive personality and Manic episodes can really get yourself into more than you expected. Today may end up being one of those days, but I won’t dwell on that, not yet anyway.
 I finally have an idea for a novel. One that I want more than anything to see finished. So this year I plan to write it. I’m starting my goal with just a first draft, but in reality I’d love to see myself editing a second or final draft by the end of the year. Or if I could have that part done by November for NaNoWriMo that’d be great. I would hate to have to work on a second project for a month while I’m still in the middle of the first one. Speaking of NaNoWriMo- another goal is to participate, and win, both Camp NaNos and NaNoWriMo (April, July, & November). I also hope to continue working on the poetry collection that I started a few months ago entitled “I’m Not Afraid of Dying” and has a large focus on the last year of my life recovering from the loss of my brother. Sure a major underlying theme is loss, but it isn’t all about death. It has been difficult to work on but I do hope to have a final draft of the Chapbook by the end of the year as well.
 This past year didn’t go well for me. I struggled to survive and was just barely able to do that. The one thing I did have that worked for me, when I used it, was my Bullet Journal. This year I decided to make a digital one so that I could save paper, update it wherever I am, not have to try and draw, and so I could share with others if they were interested in making a copy of it for themselves. It is basic and bare bones, but if you would like a copy of it, it is yours. I hope you are able to take the base and add into it all the things you need to keep yourself on track for the year. Do make sure you make a copy of it before you start trying to edit and make it your own. You will not be able to edit the Template, which is why you need a copy. 2018 BuJo Template
 I hope that everyone is as excited as I am for all the new things that you plan to do with your life and your new year. I am forever trying to improve myself, live as my truest self, and to just be happy (that one can be difficult with Type 2 Bipolar).
 As always I love comments, emails, Tweets, whatever form of communication you want so keep it coming!

NaNoWriMo 2017

In my last post I talked about how I was going to commit. I was really going to get things done. I didn’t. I don’t even think I made it past that post. Then I disappeared- which is common for me, for those of you that don’t know me personally.

My disappearing isn’t the reason I’m writing here though. So I’m not going to bother getting into it. I honestly don’t know the reason that I’m writing here. I haven’t figured it out, even though I’ve already started writing….

I guess I will just jump back in after my break at full speed. NaNoWriMo starts on the first of November. I was going to participate, then I wasn’t, now I think I am. I haven’t really been working on any kind of novel. I’ve been focusing more on poetry, when I actually spent any time writing that is. I do want to participate though. I just have to figure out exactly what project I want to work on.

I’ve got two ideas in my head you see. One that would be something anyone who knows me would easily expect me to write. It follows along the lines of my personality and would shock no one that it is more Sci-Fi than anything. The other though, it would be more general. No Fantasy. No Sci-Fi. Something that is a bit less expected.

I have no idea which route I want to go, but will attempt to write a bit of both and see what one really speaks to me. And I’ll go with whatever one pulls me more. And the other will just have to wait until next year I guess!

I’m worried about trying to write either one of them as I usually get frustrated with myself quickly when I’m trying to write a novel, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep trying. I know that I’ve got it in me somewhere to write something that is more than poetry. So I just have to keep at it.

That is how life is right? Just keep trying? My depressive episodes of my Bipolar are more consistent these days and I have a hard time getting myself out of bed for work in the morning (which is sad because I work from home). I have a hard time doing anything to be fair, but when my brief Manic episodes kick in I’m really able to get things done. That is just how it is with Biploar, but I’m trying to still get work done even when I don’t feel like I can. Today is one of those days. All I want to do right now is get under a blanket and hide for the day, but I can’t, because I have responsibilities and I have things that must be done, bills that must be paid. I’m lucky that I do work from home because I’m not sure that I could get up and go to a brick & mortar job like many people do. I applaud anyone that works like that, because I can’t.

But no one wants to hear about that. Or so my brain tells me, so I’m going to try to push through it even though I know it will never end or go away. I’m going to try to keep trying.

That is all I have for today. If you use the NaNoWriMo website let me know, we can be buddies. Maybe you could be the difference in my motivation! Good luck to anyone who is participating.

Hamilton

I have been binge listening to Hamilton for several weeks now. This isn’t the first time I’ve listened to it, nor is it the first time I’ve binge listened to it, but for some reason something has really struck a chord with me on this round of binging. There is a line that comes up in several songs “Why do you write like you are running out of time?” and it hit me this morning while I was listening to the soundtrack at work- Why am I not writing like I’m running out of time? I would think that is something I should want to do, always. I do remember a time when this was the case, but for some reason I have lost it. It isn’t like I’m uninterested, or that I lack the passion. I have it. I also have depressive episodes, so it makes things harder to accomplish.
I’ve talked about this before, several times as some of you might be aware. I’m not sure how to always how to keep pushing through these kinds of things, but I am trying either way. What better way then immersion. I’ve spent several weeks doing nothing. I think it was even less than nothing if that is possible, which having lived my life for the last two weeks I know for a fact that it is, but I guess at least the end result is this, me sitting here and writing this instead of continuing to binge watch a show I’ve seen before on Netflix or spending 8 hours a day playing WoW.
Life has a way of getting away with me sometimes. I let so much of what is going on in my head dictate what my life is doing, and not in a good way. I realize that most people don’t know when I’m doing poorly. Instead of taking the time off when I need to get my mind straight I keep up appearances. I go to work and do my job and by the end of the day I’ve spent all my energy for the next week. When I’m out of work it is impossible to get that energy back, no matter how little I do. I could lay in bed and watch Netflix until the moment I’m out of work until I go to bed and guess what? I’m still not recharged when the day starts over again the next day.
I need to start taking better care of myself. I’ve heard so much from so many people about self care, and I know that is going to be different for everyone, but part of my self care involves writing. So I need to be more conscious of what I’m doing or not doing in order to keep and eye on myself and try to get myself into a good head space. There will obviously be times when this is impossible, I do have Bipolar after all, but at least being more mindful of what is going on with myself would be a good idea instead of always trying to ignore it in order to be a functioning adult, or just functioning in general. A few times in Therapy I was asked what I do when I have the kind of day where I just want to build a blanket fort and hide away all day. I didn’t even have to think about the answer. I get up and go to work because I’m required to push myself beyond my limits to pay my bills and to do what is right for my family. I’m going to try to be more aware of those days and maybe at least take it easier on myself. I’m not going to be able to change the fact that I have to get up and do what I’ve got to do, but I could at least be patient with myself while I’m trying to work my way through it.
All of this is circular thinking on my part. I’m talking about pushing myself to write, which is a way that I need to talk care of myself, but I’m also being hard on myself for not writing during a time when I know I should be easy on myself. I guess this just shows that I’ll never really be able to win this fight, but that isn’t really what I wanted to get out of writing this. What I want to be focusing on is taking care of myself. There will be days when I need to push myself in a good way, and there will be days that I need to stop beating myself up and just take it easy.
I want to assume that everyone goes through this kind of process with themselves, but I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who doesn’t take the time or effort to take care of themselves in a proper way. So today I’m going slow, but I’m still going and that is what is important. For anyone else that is struggling like I am— be kind to yourself and take it slowly if you need it. Only push yourself when it is actually going to be helpful.
As for me: I’m going to try to get some work done this weekend!

writing

Painting in a Cave

My Bipolar messes with my life.

I wish I could say that I’ve got everything under control. My medication is working and I’m control my life, but that would be a lie. Sure things are better since I’ve started medication, but that doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. Far from it.

Medication is a balancing act. For awhile things will be fine, and then it isn’t. Once I’m on the right dosage I’m sure I’ll get evened out a bit, but for right now, I’m counting down the hours until I can meet with my Psych tomorrow to get a higher dosage of my prescription.

I didn’t want to write this to talk about my medication though, that was only a small part of what I’m struggling with. I’m so out of it I’m not writing. I’m not working out regularly. I’m eating horribly and just not taking care of myself properly. But even that isn’t what I’m really here to talk about.

I realized something with my writing. Or, at least I’m starting to realize something. I have a hard time finishing projects. I’ve always thought it was because I couldn’t keep with one project long enough or because I thought my own writing was horrible, but I’ve started to wonder if maybe the reason I am having a hard time is because I’m not relating to the characters I’m writing.

I’ve also realized I’m writing in genres that I want to read, but I’m not writing the stories that I want to read about.

These realizations, and any others that I get along the way, mean that I’ve got a lot of work to do and  I need to get my butt in gear and actually do it.

I love writing. Anyone who knows me knows this is true. It has been a dream of mine most of my life. Well, I’m getting to the point that I either need to sit down and write or stop dreaming so big. I’m not looking for fame or fortune. I’m looking to be happy, but part of being happy is getting this stuff out of my head and getting it on paper.

I have a ton of work to do. I’ve got a million habits to form. And they all start with one thing– doing the work. Some days that will be easier than others, especially considering my Bipolar and my medication, but I’ll do what needs to be done– or I will at least start trying. I was really on a role at one point, but then I wasn’t. It’s okay, progress isn’t linear, so at least I know that.

I’ve been trying to read more again too. That will help spark some more reading I think. The more I read, the more I want to write. There is a quote from Stephen King that sticks with me, and has since the first time I saw it:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” -Stephen King

I believe this quote to be an ultimate truth in the world of writing. One that I need to live by, among several others, but this one currently above all. And another one about sitting down and writing….

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” -Ernest Hemingway

Yes, that is the one. I guess it is time for me to read and bleed, but please don’t quote me on that. Ever.

I’ll leave you with one last item, the one that I got my title for this post from. A song that always makes me motivated to be creative, even when I really don’t feel like it.

Another Travelin Song – Bright Eyes

I really have no title for this

So my life has been pretty abnormal lately, even for me, but I’m still trying to push forward and stick to my goals for this month, which primarily consist of completing Camp NaNo, getting my workouts in, and making healthier choices.

I’m slightly behind on Camp NaNo, but not enough that would make it hard to catch back up. I’m actually hoping to get some good time today to get caught up and possibly even surpass my daily goal on top of that. Nothing better than some wiggle room.

I’m working on a project that I really feel will make a great story. Obviously I’m not going to tell you what it is, but I will say it is as if I took a D&D adventure and put it into a book. So if you are into D&D or fantasy adventure in general then it might be something you’d enjoy. If I ever finish it that is. I’m not exactly known for getting past a first draft, but with this project I’m really into it, so who knows.

I, for those of you who don’t know, don’t do much planning before I start writing. I have a general idea of what I’m going to write about, but I don’t have any clue beyond that basic idea. I’ve even tried to make a basic outline that I could try to follow, but that is just too difficult for my chaotic brain to handle. How am I supposed to know what my characters are going to do until I put them in situations and see what happens?

What I can usually do before writing is create a basic backstory for my main characters. In this project I have six main characters and each one of them has their own backstory and reason for being out traveling in the world. Writing those gives me an idea of their personality and their reason for making the decisions that they do, but it doesn’t force the story to go into any specific direction and that is why I can do it without much issue.

I am quite ready for this first draft to be done, that is for sure. I’m looking forward to tweaking it and really making the story come to life. Right now I’m just focused on getting the words onto “paper”. I guess you could say this is how I outline. I write the whole thing is one big ramble and then will refine it later on, if I ever get that far. I usually get lost in the editing and rewriting process of the second draft, if I ever make it that far. I can’t tell you how many half drafts or first chapters I have just waiting to get written. Someday I’ll get to them all. Someday.

 

Writing Courses

I love to learn. It is one of my favorite things to do in my free time (what little I have). I spend that time watching YouTube videos or finding different ways to learn something new. I have stacks of books about writing, it is obviously a subject I enjoy learning as much about as possible.
I haven’t been able to take as many courses on the subject as I’d like, but I have taken one, and it was one I really enjoyed. It has been helpful in creating story ideas when I just wasn’t feeling able to come up with something all on my own. It also made me actually plan out some of the things I would normally just leave to chance or spontaneity. One Page Novel (http://ladywritersleague.com/courses/one-page-novel/) is a really great idea sparking course to take. Once you’ve gone through the videos you can do this process without them, but any time I go back to do it I prefer to use the videos.
Not only is this course wonderful, but with your purchase you unlock any future courses and all the resources the Eva has to offer. Worksheet Wednesday is a favorite of mine. I really have enjoyed everything I’ve gotten out of this course and her resources. I even encountered an issue with my purchase and she responded to me quickly and personally. There is something to be said of someone taking the time out to do tasks like that on their own. I highly suggest One Page Novel to anyone. If you can’t do the course, you can follow Eva on most social media platforms, and I highly suggest that as well. Here is her twitter to start you off : @evadeverell.
That is currently the only real course I’ve taken, but I do have a few I’d love to do if I ever had the money to do them. Gotham Writers (https://www.writingclasses.com/classes/catalogue/fiction) and Writer’s Digest (https://www.writersonlineworkshops.com/) are some of the examples that I have so far, though I’m sure if I went through all my bookmarks I’d find many others. I find the variety of classes and the subjects interesting and I’m drawn to them.
So that is all I have about courses right now. I am sure the lack is disappointing, but that is why I’m writing here. I’m looking for your suggestions. Have you come across some really amazing courses in your time online? Any good books you’ve read that really made you feel like you’ve improved your writing? I’d love to hear what you have found!

Camp NaNo- July Edition

July 1st starts the next round of Camp NaNo. I didn’t complete it successfully in April, but I’m hoping to be able to reach my goal list go round. I’ve been prepping on and off this month instead of writing every day. I want to get what little preparation that I do ahead of writing done so that once July 1st hits I can just write write write.

Realistically I know this is unlikely to happen. I’m going to get exhausted from work, I’m going to procrastinate, I’m going to binge watch Anime or some other thing I’ve been wanting to watch, or play video games, or whatever other thing I use to keep myself in denial about my procrastination problem.

Sure, I’ll start the month with nothing but great intentions. I always do don’t I? I guess I have to make up my mind now if I’m going to stick with the goals I set for myself next month, hell even for the remainder of this month, or if I’m going to let myself drop off again. I’d love to say that I’m going to stick with it, I really would. And I’m going to try my hardest to do that, but if my track record has anything to say about it, it is unlikely to occur.

Even when I don’t succeed with events like this, I still like to try. I participate in Camp NaNo, and in NaNoWriMo on a yearly basis. I keep trying every time and I *have* completed one NaNoWriMo, but I probably cheated (using words I’d written already).

So in the next few weeks I hope to finish up my preprations and get myself ready to try and succeed this time. I don’t like to do much planning, but having an idea of what my story is I guess is helpful. I do enjoy having enough room to play though, you never know where a story will take you if you let it. So I refuse to plan that much, and love to figure out my characters on the fly.

Are you participating in July? What is your project about? What are your goals for the month?