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Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist

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Writing

Writing up a Storm

I had a painfully slow start to nanowrimo. I was prepped, somewhat, and I expected to be able to write at midnight, for a few solid hours. Instead, I dozed off in the evening and wasn’t able to start writing until mid-afternoon of day one. I did manage the nano-prescribed 1667 minimum for day one and day two, which was nothing short of herculean when you add into that the fact that a family member woke up with unexpected blurred vision/near-blindness on day two. Talk about scary. Well… the good thing is with a sudden medication change, the vision seems to be a factor but not total blindness, so far. I am on call to support the family member, though. I had been already, which has worn me down quite a lot the past year. This is an added layer of stress and concern on what’s a non-stop difficult living and overall situation. It all complicates my own medical picture, too, mainly from the stress alone. It affects certain factors in my body and how my medication does or doesn’t work… it’s complicated and even my doctors are having trouble keeping me somewhat stable and out of the hospital.

Yet, I write on. I picked up many more words yesterday, day three. I pushed past the 15K mark! I take that as more than making up for the first day. And, with my total sitting just over 17K today, I am prepared in case I don’t get solid writing time the next few days. I know there will be days I get much less or much more than my personal goal of around 3K/day; I’m thankful I’ve written a lot of words this weekend. Tomorrow, I should be able to get a good amount in, too, barring something unforeseen. I know everything written isn’t my best, but I am comfortable with my story and I like my characters. That’s something, right?

 

Triple Play

This is my first page in a planning notebook for nanowrimo. It may or may not become a bullet journal, but it will serve as my hands-on, analog talisman between the digital writing sessions when I need to jot things down.

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Halloween aka Last Day of Preptober

Last day of October may be when most people are focused on dressing up, dressing their kids up, getting organized or playfully disorganized trick-or-treat/trunk-or-treat events, taking the work and family photos and putting them online on every social media channel, handing out goodies from their homes, playing spooky music, watching scary movies…

I don’t have a workplace, so no office contest, party, etc. No significant other, and no kids… so no costume couple or kid/family pics here. We usually barely get kids at our door, due to the events planned for this past weekend, and we live in an odd area, rural but not far from some towns with actual community gatherings. They have parties and the trunk-or-treating things at set times, and very few families go door-to-door anymore, especially in a dead-end or cul-de-sac community. We get candy to hand out just in case, but it’s rare we get more than three knocks on our door. More candy for us, when it’s said and done, usually. Which brings me to the next thing- preptober.

It’s THE LAST DAY BEFORE NANOWRIMO, aka NANOEVE! Are you ready? Are you nervous? Excited? Have you been planning? Or, planfully not planning? Whatever your jam is, I hope you are looking forward to November, full of great isolated but communal creativity exploding into the universe from notebooks, computers, smartphones, and scrap paper all over the globe. It’s kind of a neat thing, when you really stop to think about it. I don’t always have a few extra funds laying around this time of year, due to multiple important family birthdays in November (thanks to growing up in a snowy area, with lots of uh-huh going on in those early winter months, apparently!)… and of course, the holidays approaching. I don’t usually buy gifts and knit things to give for Christmas, but, as many of them now either have what they’ll use from me already or have moved to warmer climates where they simply don’t need hats, scarves, a pile of cozy blankets… it’s a little tougher for me financially, and I end up sending gifts or gift cards (less postage on those)… because of the changes and some important budgeting around it, I was able to free a small bit to make a once every few years type of donation to the cause of nanowrimo, specifically to fund one writing package for one student. I figured, I became inspired and interested in writing thanks to a few great teachers while I was in elementary school, and rejuvenated again my freshman year of high school. If I can help possibly stoke the creative flame of just one kid somewhere, that’s pretty great, really.

So, I don’t feel ready for nano this year. I have announced my novel. It has a title, a cover, and an obscure and not-quite-right blurb which I’ll update as the month goes on. I have gathered the troops – nano buddies, my local writing wrimo group– via nano site, facebook, and discord. I feel like life around me in general and specifically things like my not officially designated home writing spot (hard to explain, but… it’s a mess and is not really ideal or distraction-free) are anything but ready. I know what nano is like and that things are likely NOT to get super organized, relaxing, or better over the next month. I would *like* life to calm down and Mary Poppins itself into some semblance of order. I can dream, right?

I will charge forth, words blazing, hoping to not only slay my word count goals, but to actually find my way back to my writing routine. It’s suffered greatly this calendar year, as I have, and *we* need a reboot. That’s truly what nano is for me this year… a personal overhaul, of sorts.

Less than 12 hours to kickoff. Ready, set… almost ready… one more trip to get water, snacks, another round of  Words With Friends…

If I don’t see you at midnight, or for the next 30 days, have a successful nanowrimo, fellow writers. You can DO it!

 

Nanowrimo is near

At the stroke of midnight, around 36 hours from now, it will begin… one month of writing boldly, rapidly, steadily, bravely. It is always daunting in some ways and comforting and predictable in others. Each day, the goal of 1,667 words makes the overall 50,000 words for the thirty days seem reasonable and attainable. Until the blank page glares back at me and my mind goes blank. Or, I realize at 11pm at night that I haven’t put down a hundred words on a given November day. I’ll try to push myself while also being kind to myself, because life is hard. Yes, nano is supposed to be productive, and it’s also supposed to be FUN.

Someone please remind me of that last part after we’re about 12 days in.

Nanowrimo 2018

I wasn’t sure about committing to this November’s National Novel Writing Month (nano). I have so much going on. I’ll get into that another day.

Last year I signed up and didn’t actively try to “win;” I had too much going on and didn’t feel like spending energy on one more thing. No matter how much I liked the idea of the story I’d wanted to write. December hit and I felt like a failure.

This year, I’m caving to peer pressure, at least somewhat. The writing group I’ve been most active in this year has members fired up about nano. And, I do feel connected to both the nano process and my writing group.

I logged in, created my novel project, and even designed a book cover. To my surprise, my bestie (who hadn’t done nano before, that I know of, but who is a member of my writing group)- joined and set up her novel project, too! We even worked together on a cover design for it.

Whether or not I win (of course, this year I’ll try!), it’s going to be more fun to do than it will be “work.” At least, that’s the plan.

I’m Sick

I have bronchitis. It’s never any fun, but it’s especially not pleasant this time of year. I have so many things I need to get done and want to do that being sick on top of my chronic conditions really drags me down. I am not on antibiotics, which I’m glad about for many reasons. We’re hoping a few types of inhalers, combined with the little round “perles” and over the counter cough syrup will help me enough until I can get the rest of the buggies out of my system. If I’m not much better in about two weeks, I’ll get checked again. And, my stomach had to start acting up on top of it all. I have so many problems, on any given day. I’d love a day or a week when it’s “only” my usual with nothing extra tacked on.

Writing has been hit-or-miss. I was on a roll with a new story for a few days. I had no energy to add to it for the past few. I’ve been working on it today, as I felt up to it. I would like to get anything near completed this year… so far, that’s not happening. I have had zero energy to knit at all. Tomorrow is knitting group at the library, which I missed last month due to illness and too much pain in my knee (because of where I need to get to inside the building, after how far I need to get from the car to the front door is pure hell on my bad knee)… I want to go so badly. There is a conflict of transportation, on top of the illness and injury matters. I’m bummed and I need to talk to the girl who runs it about another way to try to get this to happen, or about changing the location inside the building, maybe.

 

 

Exhaustion

That one word sums up my day, my week, my life…

The guy is history. He moved on. I lowered the boom and brought up concerns I had. He insisted, again, we could discuss and be rational (I think trying to convince himself, as I remained calm throughout)… then, he alerts me through social media notifications he has committed to some other female. Blink, blink. Yep. I’m still shaking my head. However, I don’t need to waste another moment wondering what his deal is. He moved on, he showed his true colors for sure, and I’m all right. Does it hurt? YES. It sucks when someone proclaims to be interested and says they want to be with you and spend time together and plan some kind of future with you, only to find out it was all a game and non-stop lies. I will guard my heart in its locked little box, let the gashes heal a bit, then I will keep going on with my life. I didn’t need him before, I certainly don’t need him anymore… no big loss at this point.

I did manage some writing the past few days. I doubled what had been a super-short story from five pages into about 10.5 pages. I changed it around slightly. I will find out tomorrow what others think of it in my workshop group. Feedback is helpful. I always learn something about myself, my writing, and how others view fiction. I’m too exhausted to write more on this post right now. I am trying to make more entries, but I also have a massive to-do list tomorrow. Meaning, I need to find a way to relax for a bit and unwind. I haven’t been knitting much. I will read, maybe listen to some music, then I’ll crash.

Till next time.

Can things get ANY worse? Yes.

Never even think the question to yourself, because breathing life to the thought brings it into existence. Though I’ve heard it before, it continues to happen. No sooner are things so bad they feel almost impossible, then something even harder and more impossible comes up. It keeps happening, unstoppably.

My cough has finally ceased, for the first time since the last week of November. But, several bad things have happened since Christmas. A few are not getting better. Some of them are only deteriorating, and I’m not sure how to push through it all.

I keep knitting when I’m up to it, writing when I can focus my brain for thirty minute chunks, and generally sleeping or worrying the rest of the time.

I’m trying so hard to be positive, but it is harder to do that than ever.

 

 

Sickness and Pain Suck the Life From Me

I barely have the energy to type this, let alone come up with a title for my post. I’ve been sick since just after Thanksgiving, in addition to my chronic and on-going conditions. Add to that a toothache/infection, tummy issues from medicine, and a migraine. I’m beat, I’m exhausted, and I’m miserable.

When I feel so down and have so much pain going on that I annoy myself, the last thing I want to do is vent or burden anyone I care about, least of all my best friend. We talk almost every single day, and I love her for being there for me. And, it’s important to me, to be there for her in return. I feel I’ve been extra moody and needy lately, and that, as a result, perhaps I haven’t been the support she needs or would like to have, at least some of the time. I hope I can get better soon, partly so I can hold up my end of the friendship.

Knitting is something that helps me get through things. I have been doing more of it again, the past several months. I signed up for a little class, which is my first time doing such a thing. I want to write a story about that, but the gist is that it’s the teacher/shop owner, five other women, and me knitting in a yarn store for a few hours for two Fridays. I learned a few things in my first class session. I am much more the listener and observer, not the sharer. I learned how to make a button hole, which is difficult for me with extra-limited use of my left hand. I know how to make cables in my knitting, which is not as complex as it seems. I hate chaos and noise, especially when I need to count and keep track of stitches and rows while learning new skills. I enjoyed the class, and actually learning some new things that will be useful in future projects. I hope I’m healthy enough to get to the second class.

I have been writing daily, for the most part, but this week I’ve deleted more than I’ve kept. My main WIP became two WIPs in the last month, and I have a new writing buddy/accountability partner with whom I’ve been corresponding. We are learning how to support each other, and what works as far as what we share, or how to share without risking offending each other (I think?); it’s a process.

NaNoWriMo Update

My writing has been great, even if other things have been less than wonderful. I’ve grown my nano project to more than halfway, today reaching a little more than 30,000 words. My main non-nano piece has grown, too. I’ve published a few chapters since the last time I posted here. This is good for me, even if I feel like I barely make it from day to day the past month or so.

This next week is unbearable for me, and I want to write about why, but I can’t do it.

I am always a wreck in November. I grieve. I laugh. I bawl. I might not come around here too much until we’re into December, other than to let you know when I reach the 50,000 word goal of nano. Forgive me if I hide. It’s what I have to do.

 

I Am Alive

There are days that is all I can say. My whole past year has felt that way, more of the time than not. It was a bad week. I think things can’t get much worse, then they go ahead and veer off the rails. I would like to get into detail about it, yet I can’t do that. At least, I am not ready to do it.

The part I can share is my family is having a tough time, on top of my own stuff that’s going on. It isn’t one thing. It’s not even ten things. It is a non-stop flood of MASSIVE things. And, it’s too much. I don’t know how the family is getting by, on a daily basis.

I had a doctor appointment this week, which took several hours, and I lost it. I completely broke down and cried and vented for two solid hours. I wanted to curl up and hide, but after the close to four-hour long appointment, all I could do was go back to the family. Back to the situations I’m stuck within. Back to feeling like my body and my life are not moving or going anywhere. At least, not anywhere better. Everything is either stagnant or declining. That is how I have to leave it. I can barely type this. I just keep crying.

I am writing. I am doing nano, though I wasn’t sure I’d be able to even bother with that. It can be a good distraction, for a few 30-minute chunks a day. Will it ever lead to more? No idea. For now, it is getting me hour to hour, maybe day to day. Maybe to December 1st.

NaNoWriMo is Coming

November starts in two days. I am – and am not – ready for this year’s nano. I have other big projects that start on the same day. My health has been lower than the usual, fairly low, holding pattern I exist within. I have multiple goals for the next month, and zero energy.

I trashed the project I had hoped to do for this year’s nano. Maybe not actually “trashed,” but stuck it inside a box, in the back of the file cabinet inside my mind. I may use the lead female character for a future project, or change her around and give her the spotlight down the road. But, not this November.

I am taking the day off. I will write later tonight, because I write every day. I am counting this post as writing, and I will get some things down on my WIP tonight. However, my brain is overloaded, and today my body is screaming at me.

 

Some rest is needed before I face the next month and work on plodding through the rest of the prep work for those, tomorrow.

I also have a big appointment on Thursday, which has me stressed out. I will do what I need to do between now and then, and I hope after that is in my rear-view, I might have less trepidation about the next few months. That will be a refreshing sensation (I say, after going through this several times already).

I’m off to watch my NASCAR race. There less than a handful left in my favorite series with my favorite driver in the field.

Ciao. Happy Sunday.

 

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