Saturday, May 31, 2014

Plans for June and July

During June 2012 and 2013 I did "unofficial" NaNoWriMos. This year I had planned on skipping it entirely, instead taking the month of June to prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo (which comes in July).

But no, as the fates would happen, there have been people posting on Twitter about it. Then Jason asked if anyone else he knew was doing JuNoWriMo.

So of COURSE I have to do it now. It feels weird for him to NaNo when I'm not, and vice versa. (November 2013 we did a NaNoWager. I beat him. It was one of the most glorious moments EVER.) I currently have no novel ideas I want to work on (though I have a YA fantasy retelling that I may write in July), so I suppose a lot of today will be figuring out what I'm writing for June.

So anyways, June aside, here's what I'm planning to do in July.


Wait for it...



Seriously, I have no idea what I'm doing for this Camp NaNoWriMo. Usually if I pick a story idea a few weeks ahead, I ditch it three days before the event starts. At this point, I have no idea what genre I'm doing. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

*le sigh*

Remind me why I'm going to do back-to-back NaNos for two months? My dad is still sick to a certain extent (that's for another blog post) and I still have babysitting to do. My Mom and Jessica are going to spend most (or all) of June building the new loft beds (with desks underneath. OMG I finally get my own desk!!!), so my room is going to be a mess, which obviously isn't conducive to writing.

Oh well, my brain has decided we're doing it anyways. May God help us all.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Burned Out

*** I've been up for...18ish hours? This probably isn't going to be coherent. At all. ***

I haven't worked on my novel, Prisoners of The Mind, in about a week now? I've never taken such a long break from any project, but in all honesty, I've never worked on a draft of something for 5 months only to be trashing and constantly rewriting whatever I come up with.

My good friend Brett Jonas rekindled my love for the project, but it was only temporary. In all honesty, I'm tired of writing that novel. It's been my hardest project yet. I'm just tired. I never make any progress and everything I write for it is crap.

I know this all sounds incredibly amateurish of me. And it probably is. I think part of the reason I've been struggling is because I have other things stressing me out (my dad's illness, etc) so it's hard to put the appropriate amount of brainpower needed into focusing on my novel.

Or maybe I'm just burned out. Maybe I've focused too long on one project and my brain has decided to throw in the towel. Either way, I need some space on this novel. I love the characters, but when I'm bored with what I'm doing and hating what I come up with and stressed out with it instead of enjoying it, I think that means a break is needed.

Anyways, I'm working on a short story (untitled as of now) and will hopefully finish it *soon*. It's running longer than I expected. But at least I'm writing something.

**Also my brain insists that "burned out" doesn't look right. If I'm wrong, I'm sorry. I haven't had any sleeps yet...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Why I'm a Racist

I live very close to 2 convenience stores, and if you read my Twitter on a regular basis, you see that I'm often at one of these stores for a daily dose of my favorite drink (Coke). Now, being the weirdo I am, I sometimes get my mother to take me up there when it's late at night (because walking late at night is obviously not safe with there being at least 50 registered sexual offenders in this town, etc etc, and I'm a little 5'6" white girl who weighs less than 130 pounds. Sure, to an extent I can kick someone's arse, but I'm no match against a gun.).

I'm always cautious of who I'm around. I do my best to be observant and make sure that I stay away from the creepers (and there's plenty of those around here). If there's a particular super creepy person in the store, I usually wait in the vehicle until they're gone. I've learned that if I'm getting a bad vibe, I should listen to it and follow my instinct.

But with trying to avoid the creepers, I notice that I judge people based on their skin color. More than once I've avoided going into the store when there's a bunch of tall black dudes in there. It's not that I'm particularly "intimidated", but it makes me feel uncomfortable. I feel short and a little overwhelmed.

Okay so maybe I am intimidated. Although if properly enraged, I'll snark and yell and curse someone out. It's happened. (Not so much with the cursing part, because the people I'm yelling at usually happen to be my family. ;) )

I don't always do this with the white guys. Sure I might feel a little uncomfortable if they get in close proximity, but never as uncomfortable as I get around black guys. I hate that I think like this, because I know it's racist and very much wrong. Yet my "instinct" still tells me that a group of black guys wearing baggy pants and chains around their neck is something I need to stay away from.

Which brings me to this question: Even though we know racism is wrong and we do our best to respect/accept people different from ourselves, why are we still inherently racist? And is it really racist of me to do what I do, even though I hate doing it?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Blocked With My Writing and Why

I've always heard that if you're blocked with any writing project that you should write out why you're blocked, and eventually (hopefully) a way past the block will show itself.

Let's hope this works.

For the past 5 months, I've been working on Draft 2 of my horror novel, Prisoners of The Mind. A lot of what I've written has been "trashed" (filed away in a file, probably never to be used again). I struggled with how I wanted the plot to go, etc etc. Only for the past 2 months have I felt like I've really figured out where I wanted to go with this story.

Unfortunately around the beginning of April, my dad fell ill. He does have congestive heart failure and asthma, so it's not unusual for him to lie around for a few days and be a bit unwell. This time things ended up differently. He wasn't getting better. He'd spend a lot of the night coughing and gagging. There was also some pain in his chest and lung areas, causing him to think that he may have a blood clot.

All of April he was like this, in constant pain and having never ending coughing fits. Eventually he went to the doctor and was told he had a blockage in his throat (a surgery on his neck a couple of years ago ended up scorching his throat and the growth is layers of skin attempting to heal it). Then he told us that he'd gotten pneumonia too.

Now under normal circumstances, he 'd enter the hospital for a week then come out fine. This time he refused to go, saying he wanted to stay home with his family. But as far as I know, he has received little or no antibiotics. And he's not getting better.

This has placed stress on all of us. I've been babysitting my siblings for a few years while my mom works. Now that Dad is so ill, it's become mostly me in charge. I like to call myself the "surrogate mommy". And honestly, I don't mind doing what I can to make my parents' lives easier. I just find out emotionally taxing at times. My sisters are 4 and 12, then my brother is 9. Obviously there is a bit of rebellion every now and then from the three of them, but my brother is the worse. I'm not saying that to be mean. He is just very argumentative and tests my patience.

Throughout all my emotional struggles with doing what I am doing and experiencing all this stress with my dad's illness, I try to keep writing. It's therapeutic for me. When I can't write because I'm experiencing a block, it's insanely stressful, and unfortunately I sometimes let this show via my emotional state (irrationally angry, etc). Or I just feel lost and spend lots of time whining on Twitter about it.

With writing this, I can already feel a weight being lifted off of me. I hope that with confessing all that I have, I can hopefully get back to writing more tonight or tomorrow.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Believability With Fictional Characters and Depression

My novel (WIP), Prisoners of The Mind, has been an ongoing project all year. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo 2013, and then completely started over at the beginning of this year with it. My NaNo draft of it had no plot and it was an unholy (no pun intended) mess. xD Of course, I'm not on the same draft I started with in January. There have been lots of "false starts" that I've set aside. I can't count how many uncompleted versions I've set aside!

One of my main reasons for having restarted so many times is that I struggle with making the characters' actions believable. My four FMCs are in an alternative mental health institution and suffering from some pretty serious stuff (Abby and Keri are both diagnosed as schizophrenics, yet not the same kind, but that's for another blog post). While I have family members and friends who've suffered (and some who continue to suffer) from various mental illnesses, I still struggle with whether or not I'm portraying these illnesses correctly. I've done research, but I still worry. I don't want to romanticize it or completely misrepresent it (like I've seen done way too many times with dissociative identity disorder).

I myself have struggled with depression. Not just "oh I've had a bad day" kind of depression. I mean full-out, I hate myself and am completely inadequate kind of depression. While I won't go into why I've had these feelings, it's never been an easy thing to deal with. At 14 I wanted to cut myself, and at times I still do. I can't remember what particular thought/feeling triggered that urge. I told my mother that night, and while I completely advocate having a support buddy (because a lot of times it's kept me from taking drastic measures), part of me somewhat regrets telling her it that night. Or rather telling her when I was having an urge. She (unintentionally) made me feel uncomfortable about the whole thing. To this day I don't tell her when I want to cut or am feeling inadequate, etc. I have an online buddy whom I'll talk to, and that has saved me a lot of times from taking drastic measures. I am forever grateful for that friend.

Keri Lanier, one of my FMCs, is diagnosed with schizophrenia before she enters the institution. But she also has depression. A lot of times I find myself venting my feelings (past and present) through her. She is a lot like me, both in personality and what she is suffering from. This is therapeutic for me in so many ways, and I think that maybe since I'm putting so much real life experience into her, that she will be believable. I hope she is. Maybe too with venting through her, I can let go of some of my own angst, and hopefully come to love myself more.

I'm hoping to have this draft finished by December 31st. If I can get better with character believability (I have a beta reader and then another person who edits my chapters. They both give me excellent feedback on my story.), hopefully I can keep moving forward and meet my goal of having a completed second draft by December 31st!