Syndactyl Salutations

Thoughts on writing, knitting, and the world around me.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Nano Day 30 -- 2743 (so far)

Novel validated at 50061 half an hour ago! I'm so glad I decided to put on that last burst of speed and just go for it. Validation was still nearly exciting as it was last year, and the story has gotten more interesting than it had been for a while.

He had a lot to do with it, actually, nudging me without nagging, just asking if I was sure I didn't want to finish. That's why he's the best.

The folks are back on home turf. Safe trip, interesting sight-seeing, they enjoyed themselves, all is well.

I may take a break from writing now this afternoon, maybe do some sewing or some knitting, maybe I'll just nap.

First I need to make my donation to the fine people at NaNoWriMo.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

NaNo Day 29 -- 7060

Running total 47,269. Yes, after nearly a week of saying I wasn't going to finish this year, I appear to have changed my mind. I did 600 words last night and got up this morning raring to go, well, as raring as I get, at least.

I spent the afternoon moving between the computer and the sewing machine. I wrote the most I've ever written in a single day and I matched all of my little squares and started on the next level of squares.

More of the same tomorrow, except he'll be home with the kids and I'll only have a third of the words to crank out. I could probably do more tonight, but I'm getting tired and I'd rather not be completely wiped in the morning. If I am, it'll make it all the more difficult to get started early. I'd like to be able to validate as far before midnight tomorrow as possible.

Ten good fifteen minute sessions should do the trick.

Saw an old friend when I was writing out, sort of awkward, not much to talk about anymore, but nice to see him all the same.

Got the grad school stuff yesterday, it looks good, but what I'd want to do with it would not be what they offer via the web. May actually have to speak to someone about it. Still don't know how serious I am, but it sure is fun to imagine.

Of course, dreaming about going to class completely unprepared doesn't bode well. Thing is, I have dreams like that often, whether I'm taking classes or not.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Thanksgiving and No-Nano

I'm in what I presume are tryptophan induced doldrums. We went to his step-mother's for dinner, it was nice, although I was out of my element in a house full of people I barely knew.

I don't do well in groups, especially when they are groups of unfamiliar people. I spent a lot of time out on the deck or wandering from room to room after dinner.

I haven't heard from any of my family, not that I really expected to, and I could call them just as easily, but I'm using my discomfort with picking up the telephone as the excuse for not doing that.

I haven't heard any more about my sister or my new nephew, but the folks should be home in a few days anyway.

I don't think I'm going to finish my Nano this time around. Part of me feels like it is yet another failure, but part of me really isn't too concerned. I've done maybe 500 words since the 2600 word Saturday, and I haven't even uploaded those. The story could be good, but it's not right now and I'm not sure how to make it so.

I know all the conventional wisdom about terrible first drafts, but I just can't make myself sit and work on it. All I really feel like doing is turning on the evil box and zoning out, but he is actually recording and accomplishing something and I don't want to disrupt that.

I wish I could get into the holidays more, but I usually just feel dragged down by them more than anything else. I have a free day tomorrow -- no work, no kid duty -- and I have a feeling I won't leave the house because the Black Friday crowds will be insane. This despite the fact that I have shopping that I should do.

I'm still waffling about grad school, I haven't gotten my information about the program yet. Should I get a study book and take the exam just in case? Should I look at the information first? Is it even something I am seriously considering?

I don't know the answers to any of those questions, and I don't know that I will any time soon.

Maybe a piece of pumpkin loaf and vanilla ice cream will cheer me up.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm researching graduate school exams, I think I must be insane.

NaNo Day 22 -- 2640

Running total 39,016. I should certainly break 40k tomorrow. Most of today's writing was done in 15 minute segments interspersed with cleaning and bill paying sessions. Sometimes breaking the task into tiny pieces is the easiest way for me to get it done.

I probably could have gotten more done if I hadn't been calling the world about my new nephew, but I'll forgive him on his birthday, and ever after.

I met with a fellow 'wrimo this evening and spent a companionable hour tapping away. I like group writing, but never seem to get the chance to do it. I started this year's effort in an online group setting, but this was the first chance I'd had to duplicate it. We were both rewarded with decent word counts, and he had the bonus of getting official goodies. Maybe more people will show up next time.

I'm having a case of nervous stomach, it may be from looking at a magazine full of stuff I can't afford to buy, it may be the knowledge that last year's milestone has come and gone, it's probably just generalized pre-holiday, post chocolate overload angst. Or the fact that my "winter clothes" consist of one skirt, one pair corduroys, two turtlenecks, and two sweaters. Someone needs to go shopping very soon.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

The Niecernephew is a Nephew!

I am an aunt for the second time, to an unnamed as yet 10 lb, 4 oz baby boy. He apparently wanted to wait until both sets of grandparents could bask in his presence.

The blue scarf was an appropriate gift.

Welcome to the planet baby nephew, may it treat you well. Wish I could see you in the morning, but I bet your grandma will take lots of pictures for me to see.

Strange Dreams

Knitting, typing, loud boys dreams. Typed something for a roommate I didn't know and printed it out on a long scarf. We drove through an area with giant pre-historic animal heads mostly buried in hillsides.

The boys were cranky and fell asleep just before we had to walk down these ridiculously long, winding corridors back to the car.

Strange dreams.

Friday, November 21, 2003

NaNo Day 21 -- 2007

Running total 36,376. No, I didn't make it to 40k today, but I see myself getting there by the end of the weekend. I seem to be reining myself in on my story and I'm not sure why. I think it may have something to do with writing in first person. It took a lot to get my words today, I hope it's not such a struggle tomorrow.

There will be no movie theatre distraction tomorrow, he's got a double run, so I'm on kid duty. Interesting to see how much I get done during that five hour period.

On the British front, my parents and sis made it there fine, and other sis was apparently going into labor when mom called. May well have the niecernephew by this time tomorrow. May have it now, for all I know.

Tomorrow is writing, quilting, desk cleaning day. Sounds like too much fun for your average human, doesn't it?

Thursday, November 20, 2003

NaNo Day 20 -- 806

Quilting class nights are not good word count nights. But I did better than I have for the past couple of Thursdays. Running total is 34, 369. I'd love to break 40,000 by the end of tomorrow, but I just don't think it'll happen.

Quilting went better than I expected this evening, I have two weeks to get the top all sewn together (before the next class), and I'm a little nervous about that.

What makes me more nervous? The fact that I requested information about a Masters program. Grad school thoughts have been worming themselves through my head on and off for some time (that must explain all of my random class-taking). Today I discovered that the one program I'd want is now offered in web-based form. I'm just looking.

No niecernephew news yet; my parents should be through stage one of their trip by now.

Strange dreams last night that I no longer remember. I do, however, remember the neighbor revving his car at 5:30 am and our bedroom windows vibrating because of it. I was a zombie until at least noon.

Gonna try to make up for it right now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

NaNo Day 19 -- 1671

I talked to a couple of other 'Wrimos today and decided I needed to do at least minimum today, got tired of slacking. Besides, I had that adrenaline rush from playing racquetball, so I thought I'd put it to good use.

My running total is 33,563. I could probably do enough tonight to get me to 34k, but I'm getting tired and I have one or two other things I want to look at before I call it a night.

Racquetball is a good thing, haven't played in probably a month for a number of reasons. It felt good, I'll be sore for a day or two, but it'll be worth it, and we have the court reserved for Monday already.

He got his amp modeler back today, so he's been playing nearly since we got home from the gym. My boy-oh is happy again, and this makes me happy. Of course, he'll probably stay up late playing tonight.

The feast was essentially hitch-less, but I never enjoy it as I could. I fret over things as much as possible until it's over. I was being very silly today all around, though, discussing my fused metatarsals with the anatomy teacher, getting excited about the barely-trees being planted across the street from the school, and I didn't even have a ton of sugar (I knew I should have snagged that cheesecake before I had regular food!) in my system.

Gotta get out, gotta get out, gotta get out!!

Enough, now note-taking, shower, and bedtime.

NaNo Day 19

Nothing yet today, less than 300 yesterday. I'm still slightly ahead of the game, but I'm absolutely not going to finish on Saturday, which was when I finished last year.

The story keeps spitting me out, I can't get it to move along like it should. I like my characters, but I'm not quite sure how to approach them. I shouldn't be as shy around them as I am around real people. family is congregating in NYC tomorrow before the British migration. The baby scarves have been delivered, though the smallest baby hasn't. She's nine-and-a-half months pregnant and not sure about much. I feel for her, but she's the only one who can make any of the decisions she needs to make.

I'm bored and apathetic, but I'll play racquetball for the first time in weeks, so maybe that'll cheer me up a bit.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Nano Day 15 -- 1676

I almost didn't bother breaking the minimum today, I did just over a thousand this afternoon, then came home and spent most of the evening knitting. At some point I realized that if I did the minimum, I'd also break 30k, so I figured I might as well. Running total is 30,083.

I'm still apathetic about my story, but I got into it a little more today, so there is still hope.

What am I knitting? Something for my arriving-any-day-now niecernephew in England. My parents are going in less than a week, so I need to have it done, and I haven't worked on it in ages. My entire immediate biological family will be in England for ten days, without me. I didn't think it would bother me, I knew I couldn't go, but guess what, it does. My brain keeps having the "It's no fair!!!" tantrum, and that's not doing anyone any good.

I went and saw Love Actually today, it was better than I expected it to be. If you need a romantic comedy pick-me-up, this'll do the trick.

I read a three rune spread this afternoon. Guess what? I'm still trying to figure out what I should be doing with my life.

NaNo Day 15

Haven't started writing yet today and only did 760 yesterday and 100 the day before. I'm just not feeling it this year. I'm not sure why, exactly, maybe I don't know the characters well enough, maybe I've gone too far away from my original outline... actually, it's both of those and an inability to be as free and crazy when writing the story as I was last year.

NanoWriMo is all about being free and crazy when writing the story and I'm not letting it happen. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I know I don't like it.

On the topic of what else I'm using this for, I'm still not sure. I've been reading the archives of The North Carolina Experiment, and I'm just in awe of what she does. She talks about ordinary things in her life, but she does them in a beautiful way. Sometimes I think I can write, but when I read things like that, I'm just not so sure.

For those of you who haven't, go see Whale Rider. I saw it accidentally last night and I want to see it again already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

NaNo Day 12 -- 1746

Just above the mathematical minimum, yesterday I hit it exactly with 1667. Running total is 27,547. I'm starting to be a little more random in my writing, skipping around a bit. This is happening because I have diverged wildly from my outline and haven't taken the time to look at it and get back on track.

I'm still not sure what I'm doing with this weblog. I've been sticking pretty close to NaNoWriMo information for the most part. I'm just not sure how far I want to take it, and how I want to identify things and people if I do venture out of the writing zone.

I'll get back to you on that.

Venturing out: I waved and hissed hello, then walked quickly around the corner. Normally one or the other just flees. Childish, perhaps. I know the alternative, I wasn't willing to risk it.

I miss reading Sheila and Holly's weblogs already. I always end up hitting things like this just as people start leaving. Behind the curve, I believe that's what you'd call it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

She's got me pegged

Sheila Kelly is ceasing entries on her weblog, so I was reading archives. Since this is a large part of what makes me me, imagine my surprise to find it listed as one of her medical facts.

Some doctor in Germany even took photos of those cleft hands and feet of mine and brought in a group of med students to look (I was in for an appendectomy). Considering some of the other possibilities in terms of accompanying health issues, I'd say I got off pretty light.

Monday, November 10, 2003

NaNo Day 10 -- 1690

Sometimes it's nice to go just over minimum. You still get the sense of accomplishment and you don't have to wrack your brains over what comes next.

I did 1834 yesterday, and I should break 25000 tomorrow, running total is currently 24,134. I'm still ahead of last year's mark, so that makes me feel okay.

I gave my MC a more relaxing day, for a change, but I think some of her activities may end up getting her in trouble, we shall see.

I've been able to relax about some of the competitive stuff, and I've cut down on the amount of time I'm spending reading the NaNo forums. I like them and all, but they were making me more anxious than I needed to be.

I think I'm looking at low level counts during the week and surges on the weekends, seems to be a trend that's working for me this time around. Job burnout doesn't seem to matter so much that way.

Happy noveling to all my fellow 'Wrimos.

Saturday, November 08, 2003

NaNo Day 8 -- 5170

This is my highest day thus far, and well it should be since the previous three days were patently pathetic: 386, 147, and 752. I plead exhaustion, that's the only thing I can say in my defense.

Today, however, I made up for it. I may have been able to do a bit more than I did, but probably not much. I don't type terribly quickly, so what I did made an impression on my hands.

I still hope to do a fair amount tomorrow though. I wanted to break 20,000 by tomorrow evening, now that I've done that (Running total -- 20,610) I'm eyeing 25k by the end of the weekend. I think that's pushing it, to be honest, but one never knows.

The story is beginning to move again, but there are still plenty of unknowns on the horizon. Fun!

My other excuse for inadequate word counts this week was a disturbing call from X, it made me mad for a while, then it just made me laugh. I wish things could have gone differently, but they didn't, and there is nothing I can do about it now, even though I often wish there was. Choices have been made and they apparently won't be unmade, so I have to let any remaining guilt go because I have nothing to feel guilty about.

My reward for my nice word count tonight was a tin of sour candy with Cat in the Hat art on it. The reason I bought the tin I did? The tagline: "Give me four." The same reason I like a specific Simpsons episode in which seeing people with five fingers elicits a creeped-out response. Yes, I'm odd, but that's part of my charm. It also explains why I don't touch-type.

Always with the self-deprecating humor.

(I'm hyphen-happy this evening.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

NaNo Day 4 -- 3577

Yes, that is the second highest word count so far. My total is now 14,115. I was despairing early on, I only got a handful at lunch (but I got to rave to an interested party about the AlphaSmart) and was sure I was going to have to fight for a 2k day, if not for the daily minimum.

That was wrong.

I was writing and doing laundry and waiting for him to get home from his test, and things started to click. A post on the FM boards reminded me of how important conflict is (I am conflict-averse in all areas of my life), so I threw my main character some curves even I didn't see coming and the story is coming to first person! I may abandon the letter format, but not right away.

So, yes, it was a good writing day, much better than I expected in a number of ways. I have surpassed last year's total by at least a few words, and am on page four of the descending word count on the big list at NaNo. By the time I look tomorrow I expect to have slipped significantly again.

Best part is, now that I'm getting into my story, I'm not as stressed out about not keeping up with the FM wonderwomen, and I'm happy about that. They are doing fantastically well, but I was never planning to fly through it (though I guess I am, sort of) in the first place.

Monday, November 03, 2003

NaNo Day Three

2024 today, for a total of 10577. Not bad. I could probably do more tonight, but I'm making the decision not to burn myself out or stress myself out. I do not need to finish this in a week or ten days. I'm just a little below where I was last year, and I'm fine with that.

I was supposed to play racquetball with my sweetie this evening (we played ping pong and air hockey instead), so I took my mini cassette recorder with me for the drive up. When I got home and transcribed it, I had 480 new wrods and knew what I wanted to say next. It's coming with me for the rest of the month now.

I'm packing it in and doing some reading while story thoughts work themselves out behind the scenes. Today was a good writing day, even if it was the smallest one yet.

Don't forget to get out and vote tomorrow.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

NaNo Day Two

I beat last year's count again today, my total for today was 3519, the running total is 8553. The plot may be working a little better than I expected from yesterday, but I'm still not sure how it's going to go.

I'm still feeling like I'm competing with people I shouldn't be competing with, and I still don't feel like I'm in a groove with this month's experience.

I'm sort of tense and anxious about my abilities or lack thereof. This is evidenced by the fact that I stopped writing for the day at 9:30 pm today.

Saturday, November 01, 2003

NaNo Day One

Well, I blew last year's first day word count away by something like 900 words, but I'm having major plot difficulties and motivational issues.

I'm finding that the whole letter only thing will probably not work for what I'm trying to do, not to mention that I'm becoming less and less clear about what exactly I am trying to do.

I think it could be a good story, just not quite sure about the execution, I guess.

Also feeling like a slacker because I blew my prime writing opportunity in the middle of the day when everyone was out of the house by falling asleep. Granted, the 4 1/2 hours I got before the children got up wasn't much to work with.

I look at other peoples' word counts and feel like a dolt. I guess I need to remind myself that, for one thing, I only type thirty or forty words a minute at most, and for another, I'm not in competition with anyone but myself.

I have self-esteem issues.

And They're Off...

NaNoWriMo started for those of us on the East coast an hour and twenty minutes ago. An hour and ten minutes in I had written 1711 words! I can't say anything but, WOW!!! I had expected to start slow and maybe manage a couple hundred, but I've already surpassed my daily minimum, and there are still 22 and a half hours in the day.

Of course, I'm going to bed as soon as I finish this, because I can no longer spell, and I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open. I knew I should have cracked open the Nutter Butters and Nutella tonight.

As far as story, my first MC has a totally different voice than I'd expected, and she works as a receptionist at a pediatrician's office. Where the heck did that come from? So far, it's looking good, and a few hours from now, all three characters will be onstage, as it were.

Will I be able to sustain the letter writing thing for the rest of the novel? I certainly hope so. Yay me!