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.

 

Onto Stage…Whatever Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 3:51 am
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Finally, I’m onto file damen1-13k. Technically, it should be 13h, but I don’t really care for the letters F and J, so they were skipped. This is the 8th edit of Damen and in this version, I’ll be doing a spell check/grammar check that’s not truly possible in the full document. Because Microsoft sucks (though their products are sadly the best currently available), their spell check function stops working somewhere around the 100th page and my only way to catch typos, etc. is to find them on my own or add each of my 36 chapters to their own document and individually review the book again, chapter by chapter, document by document, just to catch if I’ve spelled “thought” as “tohguth.” Mac Office is even worse and stops counting words after 100 pages in addition to jacking up the spell check. Total crap, but my Microsoft rant is best left for another post.

I was a little dazed when I finished the seventh edit yesterday, so I’m not entirely sure if I’m on Chapter 2 or 3 at this point. I’ll pick Chapter 2 because you can’t read through the book enough times.

Current word count is 121,542 which I think is slightly higher than my previous update. Though I told myself that I was through with rewriting anything else in this edit, I ran into the same problems with the middle part of the book that I’ve re-re-re-written more than any other part of the book. What I find is that with each edit, I lose my emotional attachments to specific scenes.

In a previous edit, I’d gone back and retrieved a scene where Jessie Clarke and Brit have a major fight because I wanted so badly to show Jessie’s compassionate side. In the edit I just finished, I realized that Jessie really didn’t need to show that kind of compassion because Brit has enough compassion for the both of them. If I had 500k words to work with, I’d still probably include the scene, but given that it unnecessarily broke up the flow of the book, it had to get cut.

Of course, that scene was wrapped around a more pivotal scene where we see Damen really struggling with his mother’s addictions. What I ended up with was a completely re-written chapter where we see Angel balancing her problems with the love of her son, we finally see some imperfections in Anessa’s character, and we get to see Damen grow a little as he realizes that he’s not the only one in the world handling emotional problems. For the first time since I’d first finished the novel, I can actually say that I enjoy the events and flow of this chapter.

I’d figured I was done at this point since I’d not added to my word count, but then I came again to the chapter where we come to understand the root of Jessie Clarke’s character. I cried through the scene as I always do, but this time around the end was very flat to me. Jessie reveals a very long, painful story about her childhood and then when Damen refuses to divulge anything about himself, she just lets it go without showing the relative crazies Jessie displayed throughout the previous chapters.

Up until this point, I’d made very few changes to Jessie’s part of the story, but this time around, I added another 4-500 words to the book to make sure Jessie went ape-#$%@ when Damen did not do as she said, just as we’ve seen her do throughout the novel. I hated to add 500 words to the book to show all of this, but scene feels complete and really envelopes you in the pain that’s coursing through Jessie.

Apart from those two re-writes, the book felt really done for the first time since I thought I was done 15 months ago.

Now, my next steps will be to review general spelling and grammar through each chapter file and then make this into a Kindle book that I can read either on iPad or Kindle, like I would a normal book. The goal there will be to ensure that I don’t lose my own interest as I’m reading. Anywhere that I feel like it’s time to put down the book is a weak point of the novel and may need to be revised. Further painful revisions notwithstanding, once I do a Kindle-read through the book and print out and mail the whole thing for my Poor Man’s Copyright, I will finally begin my hunt for an agent.

Phew! It’s been a long ride. Onward and upward!

 

A well-read day Thursday, August 23, 2012

Filed under: Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 11:49 pm
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I’ve not written anything today (though, I may end up writing a little after writing this), but I’m not at all troubled by this.

I’ve been reading a ton; like, flipping between three books within the same hour kind of reading. Hunger Games, The Silence of the Lambs and also my book, Flight. I made Flight into a Kindle book for my mother to force her to read something I’ve written, though a year later, she still hasn’t, and I like to see where I was nearly four years ago when I first finished it. I like to read Flight as a Kindle book on my own, however, because unlike reading it from a Word doc or even online, I can’t suddenly stop reading and begin to edit, even though I may be compelled to do so. My errors are trapped in the ebook and I get to face them without means, albeit temporarily, to fix them. I’m not sure how vain it is to enjoy reading your own work, but I like it.

After watching The Silence of the Lambs on Sunday, I’m further compelled to read the book because it’s just so much better, which is quite a feat considering it’s also my favorite film of all time. Every time I watch the movie, however, I just have to read the book and since I’ve now read Hannibal and enjoy it’s ending so much, I know I’ll be re-reading that too. I’m still at the beginning of Hunger Games, but I enjoy it a lot.

I bring up all that I’m reading at the moment without a real way to describe why. A quote from Sex and the City, I think, summarizes my point nicely: “(Samantha) was one of the only people I knew who felt that proximity to beauty made her feel more attractive.” (from Models and Mortals) So, before I continue writing, I think I’ll do just a bit more reading.

 

Brilliant Movie Night Monday, August 20, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 11:10 pm
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Yesterday evening, I took down my braids which is normally a 4-6 hour event. I awoke from my usual Sunday afternoon nap to find The Miracle Worker playing on my so-called Dorienne TV and from there, after crying at the end like I always do, I queued The Silence of the Lambs and after that watched The Godfather. Throughout these cinematic adventures and humming the tune to The Godfather through half the night, I completely forgot to post anything. All this notwithstanding, I didn’t really write anything yesterday, so there was nothing about which to even write.

I’d hoped to get the book down the 150s by today, but I’m either experiencing my first real migraine or I’ve got an emergency trip to my ophthalmologist coming in the next week since I’ve not been well all day and my eye has been in constant pain. While this does pose a few problems when it comes to staring at a bright laptop screen to create, I’ve worked through worse pain, so I’ll just chalk up today to simple sloth.

I’m off tomorrow as well and the night is not over, so if I can push forward to write here, I can at least begin the re-write of Chapter 14.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Fourteen Thursday, June 14, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:49 pm
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Well…

I’m in a lot of pain today, not that it’s an excuse for anything, and I’m quite tired. I’d hoped to get a little more than 1764 (Brit said, still giggling) written today, but I didn’t and I’m ready to write off this whole week as a steaming pile of failure.

I hit a small patch of inspiration earlier in the day, but got distracted and so, here I am.

I keep telling myself that if I just get a little rest, I’ll have the strength to push through this, but from where this rest is coming, I’ll never know.

I think what’s got me so very down today is that I’d hoped to at least be into Chapter 30 by now and I’m not. I’m barely into Chapter 28 and at 1500 words in, I’m already over budget on this chapter’s word count. Not to mention, I’ve not felt well all week and I sometimes feel like I’ll be in my same position at first-job for the rest of my days, whether I’ve got a hundred of them to go or another thirty-thousand of them…

Oh well…onto tomorrow.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Twelve Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:34 pm
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I’ve not felt well at all today and so, I’ll have to use the dreaded “None” tag for this post, as I should have written something, but failed to do so.

I did manage to pull together my notes for this revised chapter, along with the word count limits for each scene, so I suppose that is some sort of victory.

Something I noted to myself yesterday is that I’ve made a lot of progress in the last two weeks and I know this blog has had much to do with it. I’ve no one to hold me accountable for my writing since I seldom speak of it with my family and friends, so outside of the very rare, “So, how’s that book coming, Dorienne?” I’ve got few reasons to chug along outside of personal drive. This blog, however, serves as a record of the things I have or have not done and it gives me that accountability I desperately need if I’m to get this thing done.

So, while I’ve not actually written anything this evening, I’m fully aware of my failure because I’ve had to write about it and because I don’t like how the shade of failure looks against my skin, I know I’ll strive hard to prevent it from appearing tomorrow.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Seven Thursday, June 7, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:10 pm
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Goodness, I hate Thursdays. I think it’s because I’m so tired after Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that I really need Thursday to be Friday, but when I wake up and realize that it’s not actually Friday, I get depressed and the whole day sours before I even get out of the bed.

I wrote 5760 words this evening (but neither Brit nor Damen laughed with her) and I know if I pushed a little, I could have probably wrote a bit more, but today being Thursday and all, I’m tired and ready to just play Rock Band and then veg on the sofa.

Some of this fatigue is coming from just looking at the amount of editing this chapter needs. Once again, my problem comes from the desire to “show” but the need to “tell.” Somehow, I’ve got to make peace between to the two to save the word count, especially since I’ve “shown” so much about something that is really just a peripheral story.

I’ll figure it all out tomorrow, I suppose, when I’m less tired and more willing to take my literary axe to this chapter and make meaningful, but concise. For now, however, I’ll concede to the Rock Banding (yes, that’s a word) session I’ve earned this week.

Edit: I knew I wouldn’t remember this until the WordPress Dashboard mentioned it. I can’t believe I’ve done 400 posts in this thing! Woot!

 

A chapter a day, makes the book…yeah Sunday, April 15, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:01 pm
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I’m currently on Chapter 14 of 40 and I’m down about 44K words, which brings me to a current word count of 243K words. Still quite a behemoth, but it’s getting manageable. If I stay at a rate of about 40K words deleted per 12-13 chapters, I should be able to hit my ideal word count. The problem, however, is tackling that length.

I’ve fallen into this routine of measuring the word count first (10K for Chapter 14) and then reading through the chapter figure out where I was going with it. Sometimes, I’m lucky and I can even recall saying to myself, “I’ll have to cut this on the next draft.” as I was creating the original prose or dialogue, but sometimes this involves almost re-writing an entire chapter. Chapter 14, at first glance, looks like one of those luckier chapters since I know I’ve got loads I can just strikethrough and keep trucking, but it’s tying together the relevant pieces that will require a general re-write that is so infuriating.

Some days, it’s like I take two steps forward and three steps backwards.

I keep praying and asking God if any of this is at all relevant and at all a part of His plan. I don’t get the booming voice from above saying, “Yes, Dorienne. Stay the course.” so there’s that part of me that’s unsure whether some of this frustration is coming from some nagging voice telling me there’s something better I should be doing or if an “I quit” attitude is just so much easier than pushing and pushing.

I suppose the real frustration comes from knowing that I’m not quite sure what else I could do outside of write. When I look back on my childhood and adolescence, all I remember is storytelling. Verbal stories I would tell myself as a very young child and then putting those stories to paper as I reached the latter end of elementary school. From there, I started to write novels and even finished two of them before my eighteenth birthday. Writing is all I know. It’s who I am and to be so close to just touching my goal, only to sit and wonder what else I can do with my life if I fail is a little discouraging.

I haven’t any snippets of inspiration for myself today’s post. The sermon at church today was all about how frightening and hot hell is and while fear can motivate, it does little to inspire.

Maybe I just need to get some sleep…

 

Just another couple days Saturday, March 17, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:47 pm
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I had wanted to finish Damen today. I’ve been writing since 11am ET and I’m just exhausted. I’m starting to feel that strange ache in my stomach that at first feels like hunger, but then I realized it’s really just plain exhaustion. The spirit is willing, very willing, but the flesh so weak!

I find myself often asking God why I’ve been cursed with this body that just always need to be fed and if it doesn’t get enough rest, it just doesn’t function. I almost never get the answer I want.

So, either tomorrow or Monday this novel should be done. I have less than 3400 words of notes to fully write and I may even just push through the remainder of this chapter leaving me with two nearly completed chapters left in the whole book!

I’m so excited, but it’s difficult to express it since I’m just so darn tired, but after years and years of writing…it’s just a couple more days.

 

A thoughtful day Sunday, September 11, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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It’s hard not to become philosophical when one starts to think about a possible existence that occurs after one’s life is spent. As a Christian, it’s easy to start to think of heaven and its wonders, but as a mortal person with a clear sense that space and time are so intimately infinite, the internal discussion becomes far more interesting.

I’m not sure whether it was the witness of real illness today or the remembrance of how I spent a warm Tuesday morning ten years ago that got me thinking about death today, but once I got started, it was difficult to stop. I know that I shouldn’t really concern myself with it because one or another, my own death won’t bother me; either I’ll be welcomed home or that’s the end. The idea of having to start life over again is only comforting if I could take the memories of this life with me and, though I’ve often been called an “old soul,” no past-life memories have ever seeped into my dreams, so I doubt that’s a real possibility.

Life is just so odd. As my pastor often says, your life is nothing but a dash; 1984 – whenever. Everything that I was, am or ever will be rests in that dash and even that dash isn’t permanent. When I consider my almost 27 years wandering this tiny rock in the midst of a dark sea that’s internally governed by space, time, matter and energy, my life seems like even less than a dash. More like the tiniest electron-sized piece of a single dot out of the millions of pixels on a screen.

I’m not sure what’s got me so focused on life and death and what exists before, after and in between it. All I know is that sometimes I wish for some kind of brain injury that inhibits my ability to think about things like this…but then, I dislike wishing for things I really don’t want in the end.

I wrote just 503 words today (when Damen had first come to visit) and I think, with this project for first-job pressing, it’s perhaps time to for some sleep.

 

Grateful Thursday, September 8, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:27 pm
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Much has happened with first-job in the past few days and I’ve got much to do ahead of me, but I’m still happy. I’m not smiling because it’s the end of the day and it takes quite a few muscles to smile, especially when tired, but I’m still happy. After days of earnest prayer, Grandma is well and God is good. 🙂

I wrote 711 words tonight (then dissipate before following Corey.) and studied more before I sat down to write. For the first time in this endeavour, I really didn’t want to stop at the end of Chapter 8. I’d just gone through Christ’s driving away the two devils that drove the swine into the sea and I got so wrapped up in how they called Him the Son of God that I wanted to just continued reading. I didn’t, however.

I think at this stage, when everything is relatively new, exciting and fun, I can easily inundate myself study, but find it taper in the coming weeks. I’d much rather keep a steady chapter-a-night flow going and leave myself continually wanting more than to get burned out and quit when I’ve got another 65 books to go.

I worked a lot, wrote a bit and prayed a lot today. I’m very grateful today; for the power of prayer and for the gifts God has given me.

 

Changes Monday, August 29, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Today marks Day 2 of studying my bible prior to writing…I’m not noticing anything particularly different about how I’m approaching my writing, though I’m rather disappointed in myself for feeling like this was an extra chore in my day. It’s not that I’m not fond of reading and studying my bible, but the obligation of writing just seemed far more difficult when I’ve piled a brand new piece to the exercise.

I’m honestly bereft of anything meaningful to say for and since I’ve just spent 60 full seconds staring at my screen wondering is worth sharing in the blog tonight, I think I’ll just call it quits while I’m still relatively coherent. I wrote 585 words tonight (work either of these in the coming weeks) and I can sense some major changes coming in my life. Some welcomed; others, not so much.

 

500 words a day is !@#$%& hard Friday, August 26, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Something I’ve realized recently is that there is a reason I’ve not made the jump to 500 words a day earlier. This crap is hard!

It’s not just the act of getting a post up on time or getting in the words within a specific interval of time. “Days” have a very different meaning when you go to sleep and wake up in the same “day” all the time, but it’s the act of finding what I want to say, pushing myself even further to get to the chosen word count and then finding a way to shut off the faucet once I’ve got all these words flowing.

Somewhere between 350 and 600 words, I fall into the zone and then I just can’t stop writing. Thoughts of “just a little bit more…just a little bit more…” flourish and before I know, the morning is lost and I’m running late or I’ve written well into the early morning and won’t get any sleep for the day.

I suppose there are worse things from which I could suffer, but there’s a certain level of frustration that comes battling my way up a hill, only to crash into something at the bottom once I go careening down it on the other side.

I wrote 990 words today (a dozen others at other tables) and I’m wondering if I’ll find that “off” switch today or if I should just give up for the time being and just let it flow until it’s time to call the plumber…

 

Dorienne vs. the devil Sunday, August 21, 2011

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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Every Sunday for the past three or four years, I’ve had a personal ritual that took me close to a year to recognize. Each Sunday following church, I require a three to five-hour nap. The nap by itself is nothing remarkable as many people take naps on weekends because the time is available, but I am not a nap person. The only time I end up sleeping during the day is when I’ve gone the last 28 hours without sleep and I have to go to sleep; I don’t nap. Every Sunday, however, I require a nap following church.

This Sunday nap only occurs on Sundays when I go to church. After going the entire month of July without setting foot in my church, I’ve tested this empirically and came to a conclusion I suspected long ago, but never had the opportunity to truly examine.

What’s fascinating is that I’m not doing anything that would require sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I usually get a full-night’s sleep Saturday evenings, the drive to the church doesn’t take any longer than the drive to first-job , I don’t wake any earlier than I do during the week and most weeks I don’t do much more than clap a little, sing with the choir a bit and take notes from the sermon. Logically, there’s no need for this Sunday nap, but when I sit down and really consider what is happening to me each Sunday morning, it makes perfect sense.

My current schedule with first-job makes it virtually impossible to visit my church throughout the week, so the only time when I have an opportunity to enter God’s house with the specific purpose of praise is Sunday morning. Every Sunday, however, I run into a gamut of emotions and “whisperings” in my ear that would prevent me from attending church.

First comes sheer laziness, as my bed is never as warm and comfortable as it is when I have to leave it to go to church in the morning. Adding onto that laziness comes procrastination which comes in the form of everything from checking all my e-mail accounts to perusing every single Facebook update from the past sixteen hours, even those I’d read the previous day, and on occasion even finding my way to StumbleUpon or Twitter to really waste the morning.

On Sundays when I make it to church, I must actually battle through all the negative, lazy thoughts and the onslaught of procrastination thrown in my direction just to get myself to the shower. Even after that, I’ve got the slow haul of getting dressed and putting on my makeup and, in that time, all these thoughts of “Wow, you’re already going to be late. You probably should just give up for now.” flow through my head. Some weeks, I give in to this line of thinking and don’t get to church, but when I pray about it the previous night and I set my mind to it, I can usually push through all of this and can get out the door.

Once out the door, a hunger, that I never usually meet so early in the morning, can often set in and all these desires to make pit stops along the way to church come to mind. Perhaps a stop at McDonald’s first? Maybe I’ll just stop at the Walgreen’s real quick to get something? Still, if I focus on the task at hand, I can get to the highway and finally get to the neighborhood where my church is.

My church’s neighborhood is not in the best of places, but that is where God put me and despite my best efforts to go elsewhere…that is where He put me. That said, when I come close to that neighborhood, thoughts of safety sometimes spark. “It’s really not safe for me to be out here” is most common, but even within three minutes of the church I can still get thoughts of all the million other things I’ve got to do that day and given that I’m already late…well, perhaps I can just get there next week when I’ll be on time?

After I push through all of this, I get to the church parking lot and on most days, I’m usually fine once I can see the finish line, but even there, I can still be tempted. Some weeks, I’m almost an hour late for service and the desire to not appear to be one of “those” Christians is deep and on one disastrous occasion, even caused me to just drive home, even though I was already there! With that memory in the back of my mind, thoughts of “You’ve done it before” and “You can always go next week” continually filter into my mind. God is good though and it is rare that I’ll turn away once I get within thirty seconds of the church doors, but still…it takes quite a bit of effort just to get out of the car.

Phew…

All I do on a Sunday morning is get up, get dressed and go to church, but the act of doing all of this is a battle. It’s a weekly battle that gets no easier as time continues; in fact, it gets more difficult the longer I try to walk in line with Christ and, after a morning of stepping around the mental boxing ring with the devil, by Sunday afternoon, I’m completely exhausted and I just need a nap.

I wrote 714 words today (window popped on the screen from “himebrit”) and, while I had to battle to write them, that fight is nothing compared to the one I’ll face next when it’s time to go to church again.

 

Fah-ti-gew Saturday, August 20, 2011

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:59 pm
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When I consider my childhood, I always think back on the many ways my mother inadvertently shaped me into being a writer.

If I asked how to spell a word, she would make me look it up in the dictionary and if I claimed that I could not look up a word that I could not spell, she would make me start with the first letter and go through the dictionary until I found it. If I were to end a sentence with a preposition, for example, “Mom, where’s my book at?” she would respond with, “Behind that preposition.” and then refuse to answer the question.

Many times, however, she would purposefully mispronounce words so that I would “hear” how they were spelled. For instance, she would often come home from work and explain that she was “fah-ti-gewed” which helped reiterate how the word fatigue was properly spelled. Tonight, I am very, very fah-ti-gewed.

I wrote 1299 words throughout today (didn’t really talk to her) and despite my best efforts at keep my second-job, not so much secret, but just understated, I continually broach the subject to help answer what I do with all my time. I think the answer of “Well, I’m writing a novel” sounds far better than, “Well, I’m playing Rock Band for hours at a time” or “Well, I’m asleep on my sofa watching a TV channel I created from my own videos” sounds to other people. The weird writer sits better with others, I suppose, more than just being weird.

 

 
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