I am kaitco

a writer's log

Project Duality Sunday, May 31, 2015

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:57 pm
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I’ve always suffered with my short attention span. It’s common for me to forget what I’m saying in mid-sentence, but in my writing and in person, and it hasn’t got much better as I’ve aged.

Something I think that’s kept me from pushing forward with some projects in the past is my lack of attention. Even when I’m fully engaged with a project, I eventually reach a point where I no longer have the drive to look at it. I want to write, but everything else in the world will pull at my focus and keep me from continuing.

I think, perhaps, this month I’ve come up with the best band-aid solution to my problem that also requires a little effort as possible, given that I lack the attention necessary to fully tackle the problem: Multiple projects.

I’ve always been in the middle of writing one thing or another since I was about ten years old, but in general, I typically “focus” on writing one book at a time. In the past month, however, I’ve been writing both Anne and Re-Flight. They are in completely different phases, but so far I’ve enjoyed simultaneously writing them. I write Anne until my attention begins to wane and then I focus on Re-Flight. By the time my enthusiasm begins to falter there, I switch back to Anne and manage to make headway in both projects this way.

It’s hard to say whether this will result in something worthwhile overall, but I’m just excited to say that I’ve consistently written in one project or another every single day for the past few weeks. A few hundred words here or there, in one project or the other, may not get me to my end goals as quickly as my impatience desires, but at least I’ve not let my waxing attention prevent me from writing at all.

On I press…

 

I Dream of Writing Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne,Favorite,Writing — kaitco @ 6:36 pm
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I’ve been using the Lift.do app for much of the past eighteen months. In addition to helping me make flossing, bible reading, and some form of exercise daily activities, it has also given me a graphical display of my writing activities over the last year.

IMG_3566

Towards the beginning of the year, I seemed to be writing almost daily, but from August through the remainder of the year, I’ve been declining month over month. It’s one thing to have an inkling that one hasn’t been writing much, but seeing it forces acknowledgement. Of all things I aim to correct in 2015, one of the most poignant will be to correct the above graph.

My lack of writing, however, has given rise to an incredible epiphany about myself.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit concerned about the dark and violent nature of my imagination. When left to simply create out of nothing, my imagination always defaults to something dark and dreary. I noticed it with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year where I decided to write about pedophile serial killer seeking help for his deeds. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hardly better as I simply started with “Once upon a time…” and 5K words in found myself writing a story about a young boy escaping into his dreams as he is being abandoned by his family. I’m still unsure why my imagination, when left on its own, falls into these dark places and that’s something I’ll have to ponder and pray about at another time. This could arguably be to blame for my reduced writing in the latter part of this year, but I know outright laziness when I see it.

I’ve also been having these very detailed recurring dreams which I almost never have. I hate dreaming entirely because I never dream about horses or flying or living a happy life in my elder years. My dreams are almost always just as dark and horrible as my default imagination, but they often include very realistic circumstances involving people I love.

I had one dream several years ago where my mother and I were walking across campus and she suddenly collapsed. I tried picking her up and dragging her to find help and then I noticed that Death was following us. I then proceeded to drag my comatose mother all across campus, in and out of dorms and classroom buildings, trying to run away from Death. I had another dream about a dear friend of mine, who had just been married and was pregnant at the time. I dreamt that I arrived at work and my co-workers surrounded me to comfort me as they told me my dear friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident. That one was so horrible that I actually woke myself up screaming and I had jumped out of the bed and stood around my bedroom for a few minutes before I understood that I’d just been dreaming. These are just a couple examples of the ones that have stood with me over time, so needless to say, I hate dreaming.

My recurring dream, like most of them, can be easily interpreted. I was in college at the time I had the dream about my mother and losing her would have been incredibly difficult for me, at any time really. My dream about my friend occurred because usually when things are going perfectly for too long, I expect something horrible to happen. My recurring dream includes a mixture of current racial tensions in the country and my own frustrations about my life’s limitations. The end doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me yet, but I’m hoping to forget the dream sooner rather than later.

Despite having a mild understanding of what my recurring dream meant, I started searching online for a dream interpretation forum; something, anything, to help rid me of this recurring dream. In my searching, however, I started to think about what was really bothering me. It’s not the dreams themselves, because I know what they mean, but it’s the fact that I’ve been having these horrible dreams far more frequently than I’ve ever had and they’re recurring.

So, I posed myself some questions. Why was I dreaming so much?? What’s going on in my life that’s causing this? Is it a change in diet? Exercise? Music? Television? What?!?

No answer came to me immediately, so I focused on other things, namely my writing habits as I saw them in the Lift app and then it finally dawned on me: Reduced writing has given my brain no other storytelling outlet and thus, has left all the creative thoughts that used to be spent on a writing project with nowhere else left to go, but into dreams.

It sounds fanciful at first, but I came upon this realization in a slightly empirical manner. As I hadn’t been writing as much I should have been, I initially aimed to fix it by enacting what I called “No Write, No Reddit.” I procrastinate way too much on Reddit and so, I figured that preventing myself from viewing Reddit unless I’d written at least 100 words would kick start my writing and this actually worked. I started writing for a few days and, though it hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I had no dreams during this time. Unfortunately, after a few days, I started to get busy and I stopped writing and Redditing altogether. Then, the dreams started again and then they started to recur and the dreams even included a few slight deviations…almost as if my brain was trying to perfect or edit the dream.

After recognizing the correlation between writing and dreams, I tried to make sure I didn’t go more than 48 hours without some kind of creative storytelling and, Lo! the dreams have stopped. If were really a scientist, I’d test myself further by ceasing all creative activities again, while maintaining consistent diet, exercise, sleep, etc., and then see how long it took for the dreams to restart (and, I still may as that sounds very intriguing), but like I said, I hate dreaming and a simple hypothesis works well enough for me.

I’ve asked God recently about my writing endeavours and had considered giving up the craft altogether to focus on other ambitions, but I think I might have received my answer.

I’m a storytelling through and through. Whether I tell these stories aloud or commit them to the page, they will form and with nowhere else to go, they will internalize and haunt me either way. So, on I’ll continue.

Whether I publish or not, I’m still a storyteller and, if for no other reason than my mental well-being, I’ll continue to tell my stories until the end.

 

Year 30 Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 6:36 pm
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Do you ever have so much to say that you no longer have anything to say?

A lot has happened recently. I’ve turned 30. I’ve traveled alone to London and returned, safe with no drama. I’ve finished another stage of Anne and I’ve even given this stage its own name: the grave phase. The grave phase of a novel is where I’ve got it to the point where when I ask myself, “If I die tonight, will I rest peacefully in my grave knowing this novel will be posthumously published from its current state.” If the answer is yes, I’ve reached the grave phase and can rest happy.

In turning 30, I’ve also decided to make some major changes in the way I live my life. I read this amazing post on procrastination the other day, ironically, while procrastinating, and it really got me thinking about my capabilities. Just today, I’ve etched out time to do what would normally take days to accomplish by simply putting post-its all over the place to remind me to keep away from my favorite procrastination hobbies, such as Reddit, Dorienne TV, and the Banished game. Another major change will include changing careers, but I’ve decided to keep the specifics there to myself, as I tell far too many people far too many details about far too many of my life’s plans.

My visit to London was short but lovely. My mother was originally supposed to travel with me, but my stepdad got injured on the job and she had to remain behind to care for him. There was a moment when I considered cancelling the trip altogether, but as nearly all of Year 29 surrounded the actions needed to get me to London for my 30th birthday, the thought of not going depressed more than I’m willing to put into writing today. In the end, I’m glad I went on my own because I had a trip that only I could have. Everyone I mentioned the trip to had all this commentary about where I should go and where I should stay and what I should do on different days, but no one seemed to fully grasp my intentions with the trip.

I’d never left the US and thus, had never experienced an international flight. Now that I have, I’m not enthused about doing it again, especially in coach, but I know how best to prepare myself. I had never viewed the sites of a city via tour bus and I wanted to simply sit atop a double-decker bus and just snap pictures. I had a half dozen people telling me there were better days to spend my first day in London, but I after a nine-hour flight (in coach!), I didn’t want to do much else aside from Ooh! and Ah! and take pictures.

I wanted to visit Bath, England and I did. Everyone I mentioned this to looked at me like I had six heads. Where is that? What’s there? That’s it? Why would you want to go there when you only have four days? Even the car service driver on the way back to the airport had commentary about seeing Bath which was “so far away” when I could have visited Windsor Castle, etc. I, however, wanted to see Bath. I wanted to visit Bath Abbey and walk the 212 steps in its tower. I wanted to pass by Queene Square and marvel at the Royal Crescent and visit the Jane Austen Centre. Specifically, as the Austen fan I am, I wanted to walk the streets that she would have walked two hundred years ago. I wanted to take in the modernized sites that she would have seen. Visiting the Austen centre was an almost religious experience for me, even though, I know she never lived at that site and she didn’t really care for Bath as she got older. I learned that she first started writing a novel at age 11, just like me. I got a deeper understanding of her family and how she lived, the likes of which I’d never received throughout my whole degree in English literature! I had an English tea in the Regency Room and loved everything about it, from the extra sweetener they used to the soft cucumber sandwiches they presented. After this, I went to the Royal Crescent and spent almost an hour, just walking and staring at it as a marvel of architecture and of history. I then visited No. 1 Royal Crescent to see what a house would have looked like during Austen’s day and had such lovely conversations with the staff that I didn’t mind that my feet ached after traipsing across central Bath all day. I loved every moment of my time in Bath and I only got a day to experience it, but no one else understood, even after viewing my Facebook pictures and seeing my little souvenirs, why I wanted to visit Bath.

I saw the Crown Jewels at the Tower of London and saw the African and the Egyptian and just a bit of the Assyrian exhibits at the British Museum. The Tower was interesting, to say the least, but I could have easily spent two whole days in the British Museum. I can’t wait to go back and peruse again when I have more energy. There was something magical about the Egyptian exhibit and fighting my way to see the Rosetta Stone was well worth it. I consider museums to be very personal experiences, not requiring a lot of talk, and I’m glad I got to see what I wanted to see and stare at the sculptures and art for as long as I wanted.

I visit Westminster Abbey and took a “selfie” with Big Ben and then went on to Buckingham Palace to finish my trip. I only visited two sites and had the most wonderful day in doing so, even though I was beginning to get a cold. I walked past Elizabeth I’s tomb in awe of her death mask and I stomped on Dickens’ memorial, though I later chided myself for doing so and prayed for forgiveness for my immaturity (I still hate Dickens, though). Buckingham Palace was everything I expected it to be and the fact that they allow you to view at your own pace was downright beautiful. I spent an entire day marvelling and staring and taking pictures to the point that I hated knowing I had to leave. By the time I got back to the hotel, I found myself even saying my “thank yous” like the Brits I heard all around me.

I’d planned for a year for this trip to London and, though it was technically short, it was everything I needed it to be. I got to view London through the eyes of a writer and a lover of architecture and British literature and history, which I think is what most people fail to understand when they ask me, “Oh, why didn’t you go on the Harry Potter studio tour?” or “You mean, you didn’t see the Downton Abbey place?” when they consider my trip.

Anne is now its grave phase, which leaves me perfectly happy. I had no grandiose plans for finishing a novel this year, considering what I’d accomplished with Damen last year, but I’m glad I’ve even reached this point. There’s lots to do, though at 185k words, it’s in far better shape than I was with Damen starting at 285k words. Anne still has room to take on a life of its own. While I try to quote Austen wherever feasible, this is my novel and at this stage, I’m comfortable in deviating from the parent story enough to tell the entire story properly.

I still think Anne will be my first foray into the self-publishing world, though I think I may wait until 2015 to start pushing Damen on agents again. I have no delusions of becoming one of those self-publishing successes; I just want my story to given to the world. Speaking of giving my story…I lost my beloved Kindle Paperwhite during my travels to London. I think I put it in the seat flap on the return flight and forgot to take it with me in the bustle and confusion of leaving. I’ve already removed my Amazon credentials from it, but I’ve got a version of Damen on there that’s now floating around lost on the device. I doubt I’ll ever get it back and, oh darn, this means I’ll have to get the brand new even more awesome Kindle Voyage, but the fact that Damen is where I can’t reach it, leaves me a little irritated.

These first 30 years have presented me with quite a lot. Oddly, I don’t feel as old as I did last year. On the trip home from London, I was surrounded by a group of people in the security line who were amazed that I was 30, as they all said I didn’t look like I could be older than 22, which just cheered my heart. πŸ™‚ I went into this year expecting an early mid-life crisis, but instead I am rejuvenated for all of life’s possibilities.

So, Year 30. Onward and upward!

 

And, the search begins… Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 5:01 am
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Despite my best efforts at procrastination this month, I finished review my novel as a Kindle book. I definitely added a step onto my writing process as I found soooo many missing commas, random words, and grammar errors that should have been caught in reading through this thing eight times, that I can’t not read projects as Kindle books going forward. There’s something special about reading my work like a normal book that helps me notice everything that’s wrong with it.

So, now, after so many, many days of procrastination and actual work, I’ve actually come to this point. I’m a little shocked. So, much, so that I’m not really sure what else to write at this point, but I suppose that’s to be expected after reading almost nonstop for 36 hours.

I promised myself that if I got the book entirely, ENTIRELY done today, I could spend the rest of the day playing video games or just lazying on the couch, so that’s the plan. πŸ™‚

And so, Thursday, I will begin the search for an agent to get this four-year effort published. Unlike the preceding parts of this process, I’ve never even attempted this in the past, so this will definitely be an adventure!

 

The Final Step Saturday, July 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 7:56 am
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I’m on my final step. Woot…

It’s taken me about a month to get here from my previous point and after 32 days of editing (including 20 days of outright procrastination), I finally made a Kindle book from my book. This would sound like the final step were I going the new-aged route of self-publishing, but since I’d really like to at least attempt this through the traditional route, I’m left with a final step prior to finding an agent.

So, this morning, I created my Kindle book and read the first paragraph of my book, on my iPhone because I was too lazy to cross the room for my Kindle Touch or go downstairs for my iPad to read like normal. I have to say, however, in reading just that first paragraph, I got a chill of excitement I’ve not experienced in close to a year.

I’m really here! I can’t believe it. Barring any unfortunate issues while I read this like a normal book, I’ve got in my hands (literally and figuratively) what may be my first fully published novel. I imagine I’ll be in shock throughout the rest of this weekend and likely throughout this entire read, but if I’m going to be shocked about something, I love that it’s my book!

Oh! I think it’s worth mentioning that “final” word count for this project is 120,878 words. Considering that 16 months ago, I was staring down the barrel of a shotgun monster standing at 287,969 words, if I do nothing else with this book, I’ve still accomplished something special. πŸ™‚

 

32 Chapters to Go Thursday, June 6, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 10:53 am
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Yesterday, I managed to get through the first 4 chapters of the book. I think I’m going at a decent enough rate, though my dutiful sense of procrastination is beginning to lurk its ugly head.

The closer I come to the end of this journey, the more I seem to find more pertinent things to do with my time. Even this morning after first-job, I had several hours to myself, as I do every morning, and I cleaned my bedroom and then cleaned my bathtub, acts which I generally procrastinate doing until it becomes dire. I would feel ecstatic that I cleaned unprovoked by a looming visit of a relative, but because I used cleaning and later exercise as a manner of procrastination, I’m slightly glum.

All this procrastination notwithstanding, at least I’m getting something done this week. Onward and upward…

 

Sooooo…tired Friday, May 10, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:59 am
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Well, as I’m entirely off schedule this month, I think it’s relevant to post the tiny bit of progress I’ve made with the novel this week. When I mean tiny, I absolutely mean tiny.

I’m still on the last little part that remains before I have my 12 edit of a Damen file and all I can say is that the ugly teeth of porcrastination have not just bitten me, but dragged me all the way to bottom of the Lake of Failure.

There’s hope, however, as I play to get a full “night’s” sleep so that I can get some decent writing done later, but as I’m typing this mostly with my eyes closed as the effects of the Zquil I’ve taken are forcing me to close my eyes.

So…onward and upwardzzzz….

 

The Final Five Thousand Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 8:53 am
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Admittedly, not as cool-sounding as The Last Ten Thousand (which would be an awesome title for that James of Avradel thingy I never finished…), but I suppose it is apt.

I’d wanted to post something yesterday so as not to go an entire month without posting my progress, but I dislike posting just for the sake of it, especially when I’ve nothing particularly relevant to say and, until early this morning, I’d not done anything particularly relevant to this blog.

I’d wanted to have the book finished and shipped before April 1st, but my interest waned as I came upon three points of the novel that just weren’t going anywhere. Everything before and after them were fine, but these three parts were keeping me from having something worthwhile to present and, so, rather than force it until they worked, I did everything but write. I bought a new laptop which increased my FPS on Minecraft from around 7-10 fps to averaging around 121fps and I was able to give the old laptop to my cousin. I played around on the Internet a lot and spent countless housrs playing The Simpsons: Tapped Out (seriously, I’m too into this game; I’m kaitco there as well). I generally passed the days as if my twenties would last forever and just reveled in the idea of not having anything to do. All idle time must, however, come to an end.

As I find myself most productive when I remain accountable and since this is the beginning of a new month, now is as good a time as any to start another 30-day push with the novel. Current word count is around 125,800 which puts me very close to my goal, though, it’s quite likely, I’ll just send it when it’s done since I’m just sick of thinking about word count.

I’ve been saying this for the last 14 months: I’m so close. I’m not going to “plan” on sending anything on June 1st or June 15th or even July 1st. I’ll just send it when it’s done. The goal here, however, is to just keep Damen at the forefront of my mind so I don’t face another September and another birthday still working on this bleeping novel.

I’ll do my best to post my progress daily, if only to have a log for the final days in writing Damen. Cheers to me!

 

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.

 

Ten days into this… Friday, August 10, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Gaming — kaitco @ 10:58 pm
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So, ten days into this fast tells me how spoiled my mind and body have become. The urge to do what I’ve always done is so great, but I’m still holding on.

I didn’t actually load Minecraft today. I checked the forums and wiki to see what had become of the 1.3 update and to see if my mods had updated. I learned that I’m actually better off waiting to play since I would have had to go without my favorite mods for this long anyway, but the itch to play is so great that I’ve been getting headaches.

I haven’t gone out to get fast food, but I’m in the mood for a treat, so I’m about to go out and buy some cookies to bake. I was $17.00 under my shopping budget on Monday, so this is just a little bit extra, while remaining in that limit.

When I have a day at first-job where I have to remind myself that I accepted a position that was 30% management and 70% social work, I know I need a (non-alcoholic) treat. I accepted it, so I’ve only done this to myself. I just really wish I’d majored in social work (or even better, psychology) to prepare me for the career into which I’ve fallen.

It’s not likely I’ll be writing tonight, but with this coming Tuesday as a day off and a 3-day weekend for myself ahead of me, I think I’ll still be all right and I may even bring the book down to the 150Ks.

 

Goodreads makes goodwrites Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Reading,Writing — kaitco @ 11:05 pm
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I love Goodreads like I love Earl Grey tea. There’s something so special about it that even if I walk away from it for a while, I’ll always return wanting more. I am kaitco there as well, in case you were wondering.

Today, I spent a long while perusing some of my Goodreads recommendations since I love discovering new books and, after adding 5 or 6 of them, I reviewed my To-Read list because I have this very obsessive complex with lists that Goodreads feeds better than my Netflix queue. Right now I’m reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred which is turning into one of my favorite books, Darth Bane: Rule of Two which keeps me reading because I’m just anxious to see how it ends and The Phantom Tollbooth which is simply amusing.

Up next I’ve got Northanger Abbey, The Hunger Games series, The Color Purple, a couple more Star Wars books and a couple others I’ve recently “discovered,” but after those comes the Twilight series.

Now, I’ve obviously not read Twilight yet (technically speaking, I’ve read up to the part where she first sees Edward in the cafeteria, but that was more than a year ago), but I’ve also not seen any of the movies either. This does not, however, prevent me from being well-acquainted with the plot and almost dreading to finish the first book.

On the one hand, there’s a chance I’ll enjoy them if I just erase all the commentary (positive or negative) from friends, relatives and peers and take the books at face value, but there’s also a huge chance that I’ll just plain hate the books because I’ve so many reasons to hate them.

I’ve seen that the folks who tend to adore the Harry Potter series tend to loathe Twilight and I really love Harry Potter. I’ve looked at the books read by those who love Twilight and I can’t help but cringe because I often judge others (often incorrectly) by what they read. Then I’ve read descriptions about vampire romances which makes me begin to lose faith in humanity because if this is all we have to offer, let’s just bring on the four horsemen.

All this notwithstanding, I’ve decided not to procrastinate on Twilight any longer and after I’ve read the other 8 books ahead of it on my list and written my own novel and cleaned the bathroom and beaten “Through the Fire and the Flames” on Expert in Rock Band and completed Skyrim to 100%, I’m going to start reading Twilight.

What has me writing, though, is that in reviewing and dreading what may come for me with Twilight, I couldn’t help reading the reviews for the book. The negative reviews (at least the most-liked ones) actually fascinated me and I’ve been rolling them in my head all day as I consider what I want and don’t want for my own characters.

Is my dialogue “stilted and absolutely wretched?” Am I doing anything that would make mine a “profoundly antifeminist novel?” Is Brit or even Damen a dreaded “Mary Sue” character? Are there potential problems with my book that would make others create an entire blog to demonstrate what a shoddy job I’ve done (no, seriously)?

Goodreads have got me thinking today about what I’m really trying to do with this novel and, if I accomplish nothing else with Damen, I just want it to be a decent book.

 

My personal fast Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Many of the cleaning staff in my building at first-job are Somalian and I often take the time to speak to least the woman who comes by my area each day. Sometimes it is difficult to speak to her since, even though she’s lived in the US for at least the 5 years I’ve been working there, her English is still lacking, but she told me the other day how much she appreciated how I spoke to her (slow and clear) since it helped her improve upon her English. This of course made me beam from ear to ear.

In one of our daily chats, she shared with me her efforts for Ramadan. Previous to this conversation, I knew that the Muslim holiday involved fasting of some kind, but I was relatively ignorant of anything more. I still am, to some degree, but I was intrigued when she discussed how she had to fast throughout each day. And not just abstain from a certain food or certain type of food, but denying all food and all water from sun up til sun down, every day. I admired her devotion and shook my head since I doubt I’d ever have the resolve to do the same…at least not while I knew I could convert to a religion that didn’t require so much…

Like I said, however, I was still intrigued by the concept of the fast and wondered whether there was anything I could just give up, for even a month. Internet? Not a chance; when the power is out, I start to get the shakes. Reading? Probably, but why would I ever want to fast from reading? Writing? I’ve done this many times earlier in its more commonly known form called procrastination and I don’t think it wise to take that up again. So, from what shall I fast as I move into a new month?

As I looked over this month of July, I find myself sorely disappointed with the lack of progress on my novel and my spending habits, but resolving to do something every day, can work for a month or so, as I saw in June, but once the month is over, I can’t help by slack off whatever I was doing every day. In order to make a real change to myself as the result of some kind of fast or resolve, it has to be something that I would not want to go back to doing every day. While reducing my idleness would be an admirable fast, I’ve done this only to fail in the very next month when the pressure is gone. So, again, I’m left to wonder what shall I do with myself in the month of August.

August is usually a stressful month for me. In the countdown to aging another year, August is like the month of December for most folks bent on doing better with themselves. I look at this entire year from last September til now and take a critical eye at where I was this year versus last and as we end July, I can’t help my yearly ritual. The novel is written, but has yet to be reduced to a publishable form. I still have the same first-job, the same debt, the same weight, the same mild service in my church, etc….With this August, however, and since I’ve got fasting on the mind, rather than just sigh over my lack of progress in this adventure in adulthood, I’ve decided to strengthen my resolve and fast against things that have been destroying any hope of success that I’ve got: fast food and Minecraft.

As far as the fast food is concerned, I’m sure anyone can determine the issues there. It’s mostly bad for me, especially since I’m a vegetarian and can only resolve to order some French fries when I’m forced out to eat, but the monetary hit is what really bites the most. Is it possible to spend more than $1000 in a single month on just fast food meals? Previous to this month’s AMEX bill I would have said “Not a chance.” but now, I’m forced to change my tune. That said, I’ve “given up” fast food dozens of times in the past and, as I’ve before explained, once the month is over (if I even last that long), I’m right back to where I started, so the task here is not about just giving up fast food. To get to the heart of the issue, I’ve got to give up something better, which is my spending money like I actually had it. In order to do this, I have to actually place myself on a budget and thus a “money fast” which will require a fast food fast as well. I’ll have just $20 in cash that I can spend each week if I forget my lunch, etc., but that’s it. There’ll be no swiping my AMEX as if I’d forgot what that swipe meant and since no one can eat out every day with just $20, I’ll have to cook and plan meals each week which sounds simple, but when the mind and body are so accustomed to just going out to get food someone else had already prepared for me, the idea of it is very novel. The ultimate goal is to curb my spending and the way to get there is to almost entirely abstain from eating out.

Likewise, my fast from Minecraft, while very specific and sounding more traditional, has a separate goal.

Sandbox video games where the player can do anything and create anything he or she wishes to do have always been my downfall. The games in which I’ve wasted the most time include The Sims, Rock Band and Minecraft. Rock Band has no real goal other than to just get better and better at each instrument, so I can play just because I want to play and have a lot of fun doing it. The Sims 2 allows me to make any person I choose, dress them up, build them a house and play their lives for as many hours as I choose and even if I were to get tired of that, I can make mods for the game or other downloadables such as hairstyles or furniture. Minecraft plops the player into a space of land and it is up to the player to survive in this wilderness, finding food, fending off monsters, building houses or roller coasters or whatever one could wish to build. All three allow me to do whatever I want to do without any real goals in place and allowing me to play forever if I so chose, so the reason why Minecraft would be the chosen fasted game may not seem apparent at first.

Unlike The Sims or Rock Band, Minecraft takes virtually no effort from me to start and costs me nothing as well. With The Sims, despite having a brand new laptop, the game still takes about 10 minutes to load between the first EA Games screen until the moment I’m in a family’s house. The loading time allows me opportunity to focus on other things, sometimes things that may even pull me away from the game before I’ve had to time start playing. The Sims also requires loading in between different houses or even different places as my sims go on dates or on vacation, so it’s easy for me to get distracted from the game and even easier for me to not want to play because I only have a half-hour to do something and I don’t want to waste it on loading screens.

Rock Band is only a bit better since I mostly like to play the guitar and sing simultaneously. This requires turning on the Xbox and getting the TV to right input, bring out and plugging in the mic and mic stand, finding my guitar, letting the game load and finally deciding on a song or setlist to play. Since I love the game so much, this passes relatively quickly for me, but unlike The Sims where I am sitting for hours on end as I play pixelated characters and their stories, for Rock Band, I am standing and singing for the duration of my play and so again, unlike The Sims, I can’t physically play forever; eventually I’ll get exhausted and will have to pass out on the sofa. The good thing about this is that after a day of being sedentary, just standing (and dancing a little depending on the song) and singing gets in a little more activity in my day. Even with all this said, the setup time frame doesn’t allow me to play just whenever I feel like it and the desire to be lazy also drowns out my love for the game.

This brings us to Minecraft, whose loading times don’t give me enough time to bring my teacup to my mouth and can allow me sit sedentary, though creative, for almost days at a time. This easy access to such a fantastic waste of time has allowed my procrastination to be less of a task and more of an art form. To be honest, other than playing Minecraft and some power outages earlier this month, I’m not entirely sure what else I did in July 2012. This frightens me a bit since I’ve always had at least one or two obstacles in the way of my procrastination, but Minecraft gives me everything that The Sims or Rock Band can with nothing to impede upon my play.

A fast from Minecraft seems like a simple fast from something I really don’t need to be doing every single day of my life, but it’s really far more than that. Before Minecraft (hereafter known as BMC), if I had 30 minutes to kill, I would write or read or makes notes on a new project or even exercise or read webcomics or pack my meals for the day or do some laundry or anything else in the world. BMC I could take that time to do something slightly productive since it would take too long to set up anything that was relatively unproductive, but after Minecraft (which I won’t dignify with its own period), I can kill time more easily than should be allowed. In my fast from Minecraft, I’m essentially resolving to do all things I’ve neglected to do since I’ve been Minecrafting all summer long.

So, here I am. I’m going to fast for the month of August, taking away the simple things that will have the greatest impact on my life. I liken this fast to removing some obstacles that keep a few pebbles from rolling down a mountain. Once those pebbles start rolling, they’ll hit snow and then more snow and then become a snowball so big that my procrastination and wasteful spending will have to run like Indiana Jones being chased by the giant ball out of the temple.

Once again, to keep myself honest, I’ll check in using this blog (hopefully far shorter than I’ve rambled today) and remain accountable to myself since I really dislike interrupting a string of consecutive posts.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Twenty-Five Monday, June 25, 2012

Filed under: Gaming,Writing — kaitco @ 11:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Today was a good day. I removed an entire chapter because all 2400+ words of it was just plain dribble and was summarized nicely in the following chapter. I got through a total of 6396 words tonight (sketch after sketch of Brit’s eyes) and have just 7 chapters left in this edit.

I also played around with some Minecraft texture packs and a couple mods and showed some restraint in not starting a brand new project to add a mini-Mincraft image site to kaitco.net since I’ve still got this novel to finish, so it was very good day.

In keeping with this good day, I’m going to do something I’ve not had the resolve to do for most of this month and keep writing after hitting my daily 5K goal. At the start of this month’s quest, I would write for hours, post and then keep writing, but my recent love of Minecraft has had me simply working until I reached 5K, posting and then going right back to my game. Not tonight, however.

With 52 pages and 21K words before I reach the end, I’m going to just push. Minecraft will be there for me when I’m done and I’ve already decided to take a day off from first-job once this edit is done to celebrate with a marathon session of both Minecraft and Downton Abbey. I may even sneak in a fanfiction I’ve been wanting to write since I found the old notes for it a few weeks ago. Either way, I’m going to finish this edit this week.

Since the end of this edit will only mean the beginning of the next edit, I’ll not be as celebratory as I was in March when I actually finished the story, but I’ll take my accomplishments one step at a time.

 

30-Day 5K – Day Eleven Monday, June 11, 2012

Filed under: Writing — kaitco @ 11:03 pm
Tags: , , ,

I know I’m supposed to be saving and all, but I’ve bought a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad and, dear God, do I love it! I’d been researching them for the longest time, but I’d hated the prospect of having to type at a miniature keyboard where I’d have to actually watch my fingers as I typed and the on screen keyboard for the iPad, while useful, is just not useful when it comes to the amount of typing that I like to do. My patience in this regard has paid off and I’ve found the perfect little keyboard that has normal-sized keys and is light enough to carry in my bag.

In honor of my new purchase, I’ve edited my 10,538 words to the end of Chapter 28 exclusively on my iPad today and I’m writing today’s post on it as well. Aside from the delight of being able to type at a normal speed on my iPad, this keyboard is doing wonders on my poor, overworked wrists, which makes me love it all the more.

Despite getting through much of the first-phase cutting of this chapter, I’ve still got to break it apart like I did the previous chapter and eyeball some of these word counts before I begin my rewrite and goodness, what a rewrite this will be. Characters will be stripped entirely and my link to my Reruns project is in jeopardy, but this month is passing far quicker than I would like given my lofty goal at the end of it and, if I expect to have anything to show for this month, I’ll need to continue pushing as much as possible.

I’ll end by noting that, yes, I could have easily edited more this evening, but I’d restarted Downton Abbey on Saturday while taking out my braids and, since I can’t stand to pause halfway through all the episodes, my latest procrastinating endeavour took the stage today…and will likely continue through Wednesday. The important thing, however, is that I write first and then watch as a nice reward at the end of the evening. πŸ™‚

 

30-Day 5K – Day Three Sunday, June 3, 2012

Filed under: Dorienne,Writing — kaitco @ 11:56 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

Coming to 4418 words (that made Damen slightly uncomfortable) out of 5000 is very much like tripping at the finish line of a mile race, but behold…I’ve tripped.

I’ve only tripped because I’d spent the better part of this day procrastinating like it was my job. I got to the point that I’d grown bored with playing Minecraft for 3 hours and I just stood in my kitchen for ten minutes trying to think of something else I could besides write.

Anyway, 4418 is still another 4418 that I’d not had yesterday, so even though I tripped in the race, I still succeeded.

With regard to successes, Thursday afternoon the thought came into my head that I wouldn’t go to church today. I tried to push away the thought since I’d been on my best attendance streak since I first got saved, but the idea of it nagged at me on Friday and again on Saturday and I found myself still in bed this morning at 10:30, preparing to tell God, “I’ll try for next week, I swear.”

I’m the last person to always think the devil has any real impact on my life, but I know these thoughts had to come from somewhere and, since I’m a rather ridiculous control freak, I leapt from the bed, even though “I” wanted to go back to sleep and said, “I’m in control here!” and then went on to church.

I’ve mentioned this struggle in the past, but it still tickles me when I overcome and that victory makes me smile more than anything else today.

 

 
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