I am kaitco

a writer's log

Writing Recovery Friday, July 26, 2013

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 5:14 pm
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Whether it was from the absolute stress and nervousness of sending query letters or completing a project that has encompassed so much of my life for the past 4 years, I’ve spent the last week languidly procrastinating as I sought a new purpose. For the first time in AGES, I did not have a chapter to complete or several pages to revise and I found myself unable to do much more than sleep or read and then go back to sleep. It wasn’t until Wednesday that it occurred to me that the efforts of finally finishing a novel were taking their toll, but this shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me.

When I finished Evan when I was 15, I was still recuperating from my second ankle surgery and still on Christmas break, so my fatigue was well-expected and its source went unnoticed. When I finished Alex when I was 17, I was getting ready to start school at Ohio State, but I remember a week of stomach-gnawing stress and fatigue that I’d attributed to nervousness about starting college. When I finished Flight, however, when I was 22 (I guess; I’m too lazy to look up the completion date at the moment), I was preparing to graduate and, in posting that final chapter, I was ill and generally fatigued for weeks, which is why I couldn’t even think clearly about Damen until March-ish of 2009.

So, here I am, with another book finished and just as much fatigue as I’ve encountered with the previous ones. Unlike the other ones, I have nothing on which to place the blame. I’m not recuperating from surgery, or starting school, or finishing school. Now, I can see what writing a book really does to me and how much of myself I pour into every word. It is, without exaggeration, an exhausting process.

Today, however, I am quite refreshed. To occupy my time, I watched North & South and then read the book and then watched it 2-3 times a day and also while I slept and then re-read the last few chapters of the book again. To avoid fully falling into some OCD spiral, I refused to watch the film again yesterday, but still finished the book. I’d like to read the novel once more as I’ve started to read it like I read Persuasion or used to read Goblet of Fire; i.e., I read through favorite scenes, stop, and then re-read those favorite scenes a couple more times before progressing with the remainder of the book. That said, I know a cycle when it’s coming and it’s best, for now, that I move onto other things.

I’m not entirely sure what I will focus on writing this weekend. I’d like to write a poem or two in this “As…” project I’ve created and, while there’s no cure for the old novel like starting on the new novel, I’d also like to write something completely outside of anything I’d like to see traditionally published. A good ole’ fashioned SVU fanfiction or something, just to get the gears moving without wearing them down too soon.

Oh, well; we’ll see. It’s just as likely that I’ll spend the weekend playing games (dear God, that Steam sale!), so we’ll just have to see.

 

20 Years of Writing Friday, November 30, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 6:39 pm
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I started a new first-job at the beginning of November and the multiple changes in schedule combined with the thrill of finally having something new to learn with first-job, prevented me from having the energy to put towards writing. So, my NaNoWriMo project, like so many others, fell before it truly got started. That said, I’m not at all dismayed or discouraged.

As I lay in bed this afternoon, now that I’m on a more vampiric schedule, I somehow started to consider that there was virtually I’ve done “for the last 20 years” because I’d thought I simply wasn’t old enough to have had anything to do from age 8. The moment I realized, however, that 20 years ago, I was eight years old and in the third grade, I remembered that my third grade teacher used to force us to write short stories with our spelling words so that we could learn them better. This was the same teacher who, after I wrote a poem with our spelling words, decided to read my poem aloud to the class, causing me to run from the class and stand outside the door until she had completed the poem to avoid the awe and stares from my classmates.

That trauma notwithstanding, it was through these short stories that I learned to enjoy creating written stories. In the third grade, I created my very first true character; first in the sense that he was the first character for whom I’d thought about for more than one week’s worth of spelling words. I wrote several stories about this character, many of which were never intended to be presented for a grade, and I remember writing about him into the summer and into the fourth and fifth grades as well. The setting for this character provided me with a basis for what would become my second attempt at a novel, Evan, and the third, Alex, which got me in a rhythm of being perpetually in the midst of some writing project.

At age 8, I first started to write stories and it occurred to me only today that I’ve been writing for 20 years. I love just saying it over and over again: I’ve been writing for 20 years. 🙂

So, anyway, I’ve not looked at James of Avradel since I last wrote about it, but I’ve finally been kicked into gear for completing Damen. Everything works out and, despite some ups and downs every day. Life is good.

 

NaNoWriMo Day 1 – James of Avradel Friday, November 2, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 12:19 am
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So, last night, shortly before midnight, I made up my mind to really craft a story from nothing so I could have something completely fresh for this writing excursion. Without being able to draw from characters or circumstance in Damen or Jill or even Evan, I stared at my laptop screen for several minutes before I decided to tell myself a story. And, so I started to just speak aloud to myself, “Once upon a time…there was a boy…who had a…magic…hat.” and so began this new story.

I spent close to 30 minutes writing whatever came out of my mouth until I had created the notes for a simple story and, while the overall message of this new tale is rather dark and a bit depressing, as a lot of my writing is want to be, I can’t help but be amused at what happens when I just let my imagination go.

This evening, I’ve written the first installment of my 30-day 50K non-project related novel writing and I have to say, I’m just tickled at what I’ve produced. With just some bare bones notes, I’ve created this magical world that’s complete with it’s own geography and gods and dragons and I only started on this at around 10:45 at night, finishing just a few minutes after midnight. In any other setting, I would have thrown out all of this before I’d even figured out a name for the boy or certainly at the moment I’d decided that “once upon a time” some boy had a magic hat of all things, but since this isn’t supposed to be some grand masterpiece to be studied long after I’m gone, I’m having such fun just letting my imagination do what it wants.

If I want there to be forests that grow in every colour – Bam! It’s done. If I want the ground to be gold and speckled with the blood of the “fallen” – Kazzam! I’ve got it. I can honestly say, I’ve not had quite this much fun writing a story since I was eight years old.

 

I HAVE been writing Friday, March 9, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:07 pm
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I know it does not look like it from the lack of posts, but really a lack of posting at this stage in the book simply means that I’ve spent more of my time focused on writing.

I’ve got maybe ten chapters left of this thing. I had only nine, but then I split one chapter into two and I’m certain I’m bound to do the same before the end, but I’m just so close.

The notes for the doc damen29-end (as in Damen chapter 29 through the end) was less than 14K words when I first started it. That 14K worth of notes is littered with mostly complete dialogue and prose so I know I’m close…so very close.

I’ve got Jill and Reruns popping up in my dreams now and my thoughts come back to them and even Luka or Evan or even Annie more often than focusing on Damen. Just yesterday, I “saw” Jill and how she interacted with her friends and realized that I would be making her far more like myself than I had done with Brit…but this is just the flow of my mind; a mind so anxious to move onto other projects that it makes me want to cry that I’m just so close to finishing Damen.

When I was young, I used to get mad when a TV show I liked ended or changed drastically because one of the actors got bored and left the show. I never used to understand it. How could they do that? Didn’t they care about the overall story? What about the people who’ve watched this since Day 1? Lately, however, I get it. There comes a point in a project, any project, where you’re just so…over it.

I love Damen. I’ve loved creating these characters and imagining this world where they interact together, but I’m soooo ready to move on because I’m just so close to the end. So close…

 

Waiting for the moment Monday, September 12, 2011

I’m not sure when I developed a routine of deep procrastination prior to a project, but I wish I could break the cycle as much as I wish I could avoid being late. I want to say that this started in college when I would wait until the last possible second to write papers or study for exams, as if I were giving myself the added challenge because the coursework wasn’t interesting enough to hold my attention by itself. That’s incorrect though; I’ve been doing this probably since I was fifteen, if not earlier.

When I was fifteen, I set a goal to finish Evan, which I’d started four years earlier, before the new millennium and it wasn’t until I reached the end of December that I put my writing in overdrive to achieve the goal. When I was seventeen, I set myself a goal to finish Alex before I went off to school and I didn’t finish it until about a week before classes started.

This cycle of procrastination brings an odd rush with it. It’s like an extra set of endorphins that steadily release, increasing with the more time I let elapse. The less time I have to accomplish something, the greater the rush I get when I complete it. If I’ve got a paper due at 9am, the rush I get from waiting until midnight the previous night to write it is nowhere near the rush I get when I start at 4am to write the same paper.

I don’t think I intentionally crave this rush as I hadn’t really recognized it for what it was until just now, but I can’t think of any other reason why I’d put off projects, really, really important projects, until the very last second except to get a hit of that rush. It worries me because, as with any drug, you never know which hit is going to be the one to spin you into ruin.

I wrote 594 words today (like a five-year-old girl), but a part of me, however, wishes that I could reach that moment once again to push myself into overdrive for the rest of this novel…just one more hit.

 

Another effort Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:31 am
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I’ve not got much to say this morning since fairly little occurred between now and my last post, but as I’m desperately trying to make this “writing in the morning” thing work, I thought it worth mentioning that I’m taking another stab at it.

I’ve reached a new point in the novel which I don’t really remember having with Flight. With Flight, I had a complete outline of the entire story and barely deviated from it when I created the heavy notes and then the first draft. Damen is becoming more reminiscent to Evan or even Alex which I wrote before I went off to school.

I find myself struggling to pull together the remaining parts of the story and I’m beginning to have thoughts of completely re-ordering the rest of the novel. I’ve all but decided to drop one character entirely or at least downplay Tabitha towards the beginning of the novel, though I’m stubbornly retaining Dana Barrington as I’ve at least identified a specific use for her.

I want to list all the “occurrences” between now and the end to make sure everything is flowing properly, but to be this far along into a draft and not have all of this sorted out by now is a bit disturbing.

I thought I had figured out all of this. The heavy notes were done! I was onto the draft…Here I am, however, still getting tangled in the plotlines. At this rate, the 26th will be staring at me in the face and I’ll watch another birthday come and go without having achieved a goal.

Sigh………….

I wrote 560 words today (passed over her face for just a moment) and will write a bit more throughout the day in hopes of getting what I need before I do something insane and start stripping the novel even before the draft is complete.

 

The third day Friday, June 24, 2011

I’ve gone three days without television or video games or non-classical music. I think I’m okay.

Whether it was from a dream I’d had during the night or just a bout of inspiration, I woke this morning with the desire to make notes for this Harry story I’ve been wanting to write for the past five or so years. It’s probably the last fanfiction I’ll ever write outside of X-Files and SVU stories the pop to mind, but the more I write the notes for it, the more I start to love it.

I’ve not done more than poke at it for the past two years as I’ve brought my focus completely onto Damen, but this morning, I could think of little else. The characters bounced around in my head throughout the morning and on my way to first-job and when I got bored during a meeting at first-job, I started making some notes for them, specifically another name I could anagram from “Tom Marvolo Riddle.”

When I took a lunch today (an oddity in itself), I sat in my car and wrote about four pages of notes for the story, longhand! My handwriting has deteriorated to that of a drunken dolphin, so it will be a bit of a challenge to translate what I wrote into something that can be incorporated into the main notes for the story, but I could not stop thinking about it until I’d committed it to paper, real paper. I just wish that it was a burst of energy for Damen or Jill or Evan or Luka or any of my feasibly publishable projects instead of just fanfiction.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain as writing is writing and I owe a lot to fanfiction as I used it to teach myself how I go about writing a novel, but still…there’s some frustration in spending the bulk of whole day on something that won’t mean much to anyone outside of myself and a few Harry fans.

That said, I think half of what’s started this is that my mind’s a bit clearer than it has been lately. Perhaps today’s ideas have been floating in my head for months, but I’ve only now quieted all the other noise for long enough for these ideas to give me a real picture. The fact that I wrote longhand is an experience all on its own since I don’t think I’ve written anything longhand since Alex and the first phase of notes for Luka more than six years ago.

I’m rather exhausted today; I think it was the exertion of handwriting at the pace my mind’s eye gave me an image. Fatigue aside, I wrote 466 words tonight (Anthony drove them deep into Cabot, Ohio.) and I delved into the beginning of some of Damen’s spiritual issues. My protagonist is an atheist, or at least believes he is, and I’ve laid some foundations as to why he is prior to this point, but I’ve still not quite figured out just how anti-theist he will remain. The fact that I’m coming to this point in the novel at a time when I’ve realized I must get back to my spiritual roots is surely a coincidence, I’m sure…

 

Time crunch Saturday, March 5, 2011

On days like today, the last thing I really want to do is write. I ran into this a lot in February, but last month I only had to get to 100 words which is barely a couple of paragraphs. Now, I have to have some idea of where I’m going with this part of the story to avoid unnecessary prose or dialogue and I have to hit 250 words and I have to do so in usually less than a half hour, since I normally procrastinate and wait to write until my daily alarm warning me to write rings.

I like writing under the time crunch, though. It keeps me focused on the task at hand and allows me to draw from the pressure to create some interesting stuff. I’ve always written this way. I got most of Evan done in late 1999 because I wanted it finished before the new millennium, I finished the first swing at Alex late August 2002 because I wanted it finished before I went off to school and Flight was finished very close to my birthday in 2007 because I didn’t want to turn a year older without fully completing it. I’ve set similar goals like this for Damen, but I have yet to fulfill them since the time crunch really wasn’t a crunch. There was nothing to signify whether I had succeeded or failed; just my own sense of self-satisfaction, which for the last few years, hasn’t carried me far.

Currently, I’m on the cusp of a promotion at first-job and a ton of change will come with it. So much so, that I haven’t been in the mood to do much thinking in the evenings; just play Guitar Hero/Rock Band or just play sims. The time crunch, however, has kept me writing and thinking even when the right side of my brain protests and complains of fatigue or general sloth.

Tonight I managed 324 words (closing the phone and heading back to the house) and I was half into sleep-write mode while I was writing since my contacts are drying and I just want to roll up in my blanket and rest for eternity, but I made it to goal for another night and, for that, I’m grateful.

 

Lord, Lord…my day Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:58 pm
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Phew! The day I’ve had…

My “assistant” is leaving which means I’ll have to find someone else to help with all my dozens of projects and I’ll have to re-train someone else on how I do things. I’ve already got someone in mind, but I doubt I’ll get a say in it this time like I did with him.

I’ve thought a ton about my first-job and my future, not to mention putting in the long hours today which what I’ll blame tonight on why I’ve got nothing written.

A while ago, I found myself presented with a choice between what was right, that is a new challenge with new faces in a new environment, and what was easy, that is the same old thing, just with a new title; I chose what was easy. Now, it’s easy for me to look back and think that my own frustrations about first-job come from making that decision, but I’ve found more opportunities in this last year than I’ve ever had. That said, when I look at my long term goals, I can’t help but see that one of the main reasons the novel isn’t done is because of the intrusions of first-job.

Second-job, writing, is what I want to do, but there’s a real possibility that the second-job will never become my first and only job. Damen could easily be a disaster that no one will ever publish, Jill could be even worse, Luka may never get off the ground, Evan will never see its second-coming and I’ll never be published.

It’s hard to dwell on all that though. I think I’ve had so many signs telling me that this (second-job) is what I’m meant to do, that it’s difficult to remember a time when I wanted to do otherwise. The reason I have the first-job that I do is because I sat in my car one day and asked myself, “Dorienne…what do you really want to do?” The answer was write and the solution was to just support myself with first-job until first and second jobs became one.

Years later, I’ve come to reason my ambitions can hardly be masked. Everything I do, I do it fully and I can’t help but strive to be the absolute best in what I do. This is why I hit walls where it takes a day to write a paragraph, but also why I’ve been able to make my leaps in the first-job. So, now I’m faced with making a decision I really don’t want to make: Giving up the second-job and focus solely on the first, or continue as I’ve always been. Again…a decision between what is right and what is easy.

It’s easy to move on the same path I’ve always walked and a strong part of me, no matter what everyone else tells me, believes that first-job and second-job are doomed to exist together. Neither dream will thrive while the other lives.

Melodrama aside, I’m just not sure I’m ready to give up either dream at this point in my life. I’m 26, though I say I am and feel 27, and hopefully, have a lot of life left to live. I don’t want to look back on my life and wonder what life would have been like had I stayed the course and continued with the decision I’d made when I asked my 22-year-old self what I wanted to do. At 22, I also said that I’d rather have a dead-end job while reaching for my dream than have a upper-middle management job having never sought the dream. The more I think of it, however, I also don’t think I’d like the idea of my previous mantra, “If I can’t have what I want, I want nothing.”

Decisions, decisions…

I can only pray about it. Even after a quick prayer today to calm my spirit in the midst of such rapid turmoil, He answered me and calmed me with better news. So, all I can do is pray that He’ll let me know when I’m on the right track.

 

Well, that was a trial Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Filed under: Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 9:43 am
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I’ve just finished writing the scene where Munnerly approaches Damen about his silence and my mind’s ear is sounding very English right now.

Anyhoo, I just love the fact that I got something written this morning. It required what it always required: shutting off the damn TV. As soon as I turned on music, the writing (and the desire to write) just flowed as naturally as any other day.

I’ve long since known the correlation between what I have playing in the background and my ability to write. I’m not entirely sure when I first identified it, but I’ll gather it’s been a minimum of six years if not a full decade. One of these days, I’ve got to just stop messing around and only play music. When I turn on a TV playlist, it’s meant to distract me when I do other things: cleaning the house, playing the sims, coding, designing, video editing, etc. Writing, however, is a very specific task and whatever brain functions require me to “listen” to the TV and form the image in my mind’s eye cannot multitask. It’s either the TV is on and I’m doing other things or the music is on and I’m writing. TV and writing are my oil and water.

Outside of breaking my unproductive writing fast, today is the eleven year anniversary of when I finished my first novel, A Ten Minute Speech. I was fifteen, practically bed-ridden from my second ankle surgery and determined to finish the novel before the start of the new millennium. I remember how proud I was to just complete the thing. I haven’t really done much with it in about six or seven years, but I still cherish the thought of it and still have the original handwritten copy of that first draft. I can’t remember the time (since I always include a timestamp when I finish), but I can remember the feeling of accomplishment that ran through me. Why I couldn’t, at that time, realize that I should have started aspiring to make writing my goal in life, I don’t know, but I just loved the fact that it was finished; that I had finished a novel at age 15.

Every once in a while, I’ll pull out the old pages and sift through my old writing. When I had started Evan, I was just 11 and still dotted my I’s with circles and I had gone through three or four revisions in hot pink and bright teal pen; I was so young then.

I have no lofty aspiration to complete the novel before the new year any longer since that would require somewhere close to 5K words a day and I just squeaked through 686 today, but I think back on days like today eleven years ago and know that I can do this…when I’m ready.

 

 
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