December Writing Projects

Ho ho ho. It’s the most stressful time of the year. At least for me. Because I haven’t even begun my Grinchmas making this year, have barely even thought about it, and this year I have a day job to work around.

As I always say…I’m not happy unless I’m driving myself crazy.

And since I will be busy doing just that, it’s only right that I go easy on the writing this month. The only project that I have lined up is finishing the latest round of revisions on (Vampires) Made in America. I know. I started that months ago, but between NaNo and squeezing in an episode of Book ’em, Danno last month, I only worked on the manuscript for a couple of days. Despite being pressed for time, I think I can get it done since I only have about 50 pages left to do.

I’m also going to try to squeeze in one more episode of Book ’em Danno before the end of the year. I’m getting quicker on the recording, but the editing still takes me hours. If you ever wanna feel self-conscious about your breathing and how often you pause while talking, start a podcast.

Speaking of, Episode 7 of Book ’em, Danno went live just a few days ago. Give that a listen and feel free to talk it up to your friends by liking, subscribing, favoriting, rating, reviewing, commenting, sharing, whatever. It’ll make my heart grow three sizes.

And if you’re wondering what’s happening with Murderville, well, the Season 4 promo goes live for everybody on December 3rd. It’s going to be a good one, so become a patron and don’t miss out. $1 an episode let’s you read; $2 an episode gets you a bonus every other month, like the one that will be happening on December 17th.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 7

Episode 7 features two more episodes from Season 1: “Deathwatch” and “Pray Love Remember, Pray Love Remember”. We’ve got Nehemiah Persoff and James Shigeta being smug bastards while Denny Miller and Ron Feinberg break our hearts.It’s a tonal shift between episodes that’ll drop your transmission if you aren’t careful.

Listen on Soundcloud or iTunes

I thought I had a picture of Denny Miller from this episode, but I don’t. So here’s one of him in Emergency! about five years later.

NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner!

I hit 50,000 words on November 17th and finished the first draft of The Support Group Meets on Wednesday on November 21st. Final word count was about 54,000 words, which isn’t too bad. I’m already thinking of revisions. Of course, I’m going to sit on it for a while before I go down that road. No telling what some time and a fresh read will bring.

Most days, the words came pretty easily. The hang-ups were usually me getting started or not getting distracted by social media. I think all but one day I was able to get my word count in before my day job shift started. I was lucky. The story flowed really well. Any issues I had were me getting in my own way, like always.

One thing I’ve noticed in the last few NaNos in which I’m writing an actual novel and not a couple of novellas is that the first drafts are getting better. I’ve got a better understand of the story, even if I don’t have the most exact outline. My first wins were due to very specific outlines that I followed. Those manuscripts usually needed a lot of revision, but that bit of hand holding helped me get the confidence I needed to know I could get the job done. They gave me the base to build on to do a better job of crafting a first draft. They helped me get a better feel for what the story is and how to get it down on the page.

There are still things I struggle with. I have yet to successfully execute a B-plot in a first draft. And even after all of these years, description is something that usually happens in the revisions. I put some key things in during the first draft, but never enough. Some people put too much; I’ve always been the opposite.

The challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is no longer a challenge for me. It hasn’t been for a while. Now the challenge of each NaNo is small and more specific. It involves challenging myself to do better, to write a better first draft, to work on my writing weaknesses.

Hopefully…someday…it’ll pay off.

Have a Bad Day

I woke up from a dead sleep at 4am with an anxiety attack. It had something to do with the day job, an insignificant thing that my broke-ass brain decided was a much bigger issue and decided to flail about it despite my repeated attempts at logic and reason. It took almost two hours for me to get back to sleep and even then, I ended up having fitful anxiety dreams.

This set the tone for my day. It colored everything I did. How I interacted with other people and dealt with them, how I went about my writing and my day job shift. When I finished my exercises in the morning (because I made myself do them), I sat on the floor with my head in my hands for twenty minutes, inert. I knew that it was going to be a day. I was going to be out of sorts.

And you know what?

I let myself have a bad day.

There’s this idea that bad days should be avoided at all costs. Do whatever you can to not have one. Don’t let that one moment ruin your twenty-fours hours. Change your attitude, change your perspective, other people have it worse, don’t let it get you down.

Granted, no one wants to have a bad day, but I think so much of that is because people don’t like dealing with other people having a bad day. It makes them uncomfortable. It’s awkward. They don’t know what to say or what to do. So, they tell you not to have one so they don’t have to deal with it. Which perpetuates this idea that bad days are some kind of failing. To have one means you’re not fighting hard enough to be happy and therefore not burden the other people in your life with your unpleasant, unkempt shit.

In the past, I would have struggled to turn my frown upside down and that struggle would have made my bad day worse. I would have pushed and everything I touched would have gone to instant shit. Like the Midas touch, only crappy. Instead, I knew from the minute I woke up with that anxiety attack that I was going to have a bad day and I accepted it. I didn’t wallow in it. I didn’t take it out on anyone else. I just acknowledged that this was the day that I was having and it was okay. I was allowed.

The result?

My day wasn’t great, but it didn’t get worse. It was bearable. I was more productive than I thought I’d be because I didn’t push myself. I gave myself an out for everything on my schedule. I forced nothing. I took nothing personally and I ate comfort food for dinner. I let myself be, I had my bad day, and I didn’t make anyone else uncomfortable in the process. My day ended up being grey instead of black.

And it ended better than it started.

Two bowls of cereal have that power.

November Writing Projects–This Year’s NaNo

It is once again that time of year in which I torture myself by writing 50,000+ words in 30 days. This year I’m going back to writing a novel.

This year’s NaNo project is The Support Group Meets on Wednesday. I’ve already written it as a short story (which is really just like a bad first chapter) and it was my entry in the script writing contest last year. So I’ve already got a synopsis and the first fifteen pages of a script for it. And maybe one day I’ll get around to finishing that script.

But in the meantime, I really do want to get this idea out in its entirety in some form (really, it would make a good script or novel) and I think it will be make a good NaNo project. I like the idea, I’m interested in it, and I think it’s hearty enough to get me to 50,000 words without much trouble.

Provided I can be productive, of course.

If all works out like usual and I’m done before Thanksgiving, I’ll get back to revising (Vampires) Made in America. I didn’t finish it last month (I didn’t think I would), but I’ve only got less than 100 pages left to revise.

I probably won’t get it finished before the end of this month, either.

Maybe before the end of the year.

The official promo for Season 4 of Murderville goes live for patrons this month. So become a patron and don’t miss out on the next Munsterville mystery and who will be solving it starting January 2020.

Episodes 5 and 6 of Book ’em, Danno went live last month. I’ll do my best to get another episode out this month, but since I got behind and never really caught up and now it’s NaNo, I can make no promises. Didn’t I warn you about this? I believe I did.

Book ’em, Danno–Episode 6

Episode 6 covers “By the Numbers” and “Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won’t Be Born”. Johnny Crawford exhibits poor decision making skills and has a rough time in Honolulu. Steve has an even rougher time on the beach. It’ll be the first of many times our main man is either shot or blown up during the run of the show.

Listen in on Soundcloud or iTunes.

Visual reference for when I mention Johnny Crawford’s less-than-attractive shirt.

Writer’s Apathy

I think the last time I had a true writer’s block was back in my early twenties when I was transitioning from writing mostly fanfiction to writing mostly original stuff. As the fanfiction ideas disappeared, the original ideas weren’t quite there, and there was a time when I didn’t write anything at all. There was a certain amount of anxiety preventing me from trying. I wasn’t sure that I could write anything if I wasn’t writing fanfiction and I wasn’t sure I was good enough to even bother trying.

But, I got passed that. Obviously.

What I have now isn’t writer’s block. It’s writer’s apathy.

It’s like having writer’s block, but instead of being unable to write, I don’t know what to write because I kind of don’t care.

I mean I do, but I don’t.

I’ve got my projects list and I’m currently revising (Vampires) Made in America again, but it’s more for something to do -to say that I’m writing- rather than because I really want to.

It’s been a little while since I’ve really wanted to write anything. I thought that much of my problem had to do with my depressive episode earlier this year. But that’s abated and the apathy remains. No matter how many times I ask myself “What do you really want to work on? What do you really want to write?”, my answer is always “I don’t know.” I look at my projects list, I look at my idea notebook, and nothing really jazzes me so much that I feel like I have to work on it right now.

I’m hoping that NaNo helps snap me out of this. I like the project that I picked (even if I don’t have that feeling of urgency to do it), so I’m hoping that it will re-energize my writing mojo. Otherwise I’m going to have to start asking myself some really uncomfortable existential questions like “Do I still want to be a writer?” and “Who am I if I’m not one?” And frankly, I’m just too shallow for those kinds of questions.

The question that I need to answer is “What do I really want to write now?” because “I don’t know” isn’t cutting it as an answer. I need to keep asking until I get an answer because I think that there is one. I’m avoiding it for some reason. Maybe because I know I won’t like the answer. Or maybe because I know that the answer will take me out of my comfort zone.

Whatever it is, I need to do myself a favor, stop dodging the question, and just answer it.

Time for a resolution.