Between the ages of 19 and 21 and I developed a somewhat healthy obsession with Dance Dance Revolution. My friends and I would play the various games all the time and I eventually introduced my family to it and showed them how it was “meant” to be played. At one point, I could do most of the songs on DDR Max on the hardest setting and still finish without failing and the majority of my daily exercise surrounded playing DDR in Workout mode to burn through 1000+ calories in the game.
Tonight, after close to 6 months without doing any real physical activity, I decided it was time to work out a little and, since this desire has only come a few weeks after I finally cancelled my gym membership, I decided to play through 500 calories worth of DDR songs. I learned something fascinating after the first song, however…I am not 21 anymore.
I stopped being simply out of shape years ago and have metamorphosed into something entirely new. I got through my workout, but wow! Six months of inactivity can make you just plain delirious after a while.
I wrote 418 words tonight (close proximity to my neck with scissors) and I’m starting to delve into some more really interesting character development. Brit cutting Damen’s hair is one of those scenes that came to me early in the notes of the novel and has developed almost entirely unchanged over the past couple years; I’m excited to finally “write” it.
As I approach the end of July, I’m starting to get the urge to set some fantastic goals, but I wonder if I’m stretching a little too far. After my recent piano failure, I’m loathe to pick up a new hobby, but this goal-setting itch just must be scratched. I’m leaning between upping my word count to a 300-word minimum a day and something crazy like working out every day, but I recognize the good thing I’ve got going for me. My 250-word minimum has not failed me these past months, even on days when I was ready to thrown in the proverbial towel or give up on Damen entirely and since I’ve worked out tonight for the first time since at least February if not longer, I’m not sure I’m ready to throw myself back into an exercise regimen that I’m just going to quit in a few weeks.
I suppose I’ve got the rest of the month to decided; these are just some ideas floating around in the end since I’m still a bit dizzy from that workout.
I’ve not been this sleepy so “early” in the night in quite a while, so this will be quick.
I’ve got to find a better way to manage bad news and a better way to manage stress. If it means that I come home and write immediately or play Rock Band until I forget about the bad things or watch some of my favorite Frasier episodes until I can’t focus on anything else…then so be it.
On the positive side, I managed to accomplish my June goal for the first day of the month. I did spend about five minutes playing scales with my eyes closed as I tried to wake up myself, when I clearly needed more sleep. Hopefully, tomorrow will fair well as I’ve got to be up far earlier in the morning for first-job….blargh…
I wrote 367 words tonight (unintentionally appropriate concern about his departure) and I’m a little ridiculously obsessed with Green Day’s music for the moment. This too will pass, but until then I’ll keep fine tuning my new playlist as I play this post’s title song and Little Girl over and over and over again, occasionally playing Peacemaker to liven up things…
I think I like this concept of playing just one game at a time on my Xbox. I haven’t played games like this since before I left for college and, now that I think about it, I used to play just one game at a time back then as well. Hmm…
I’m a bit exhausted from playing the entire Green Day American Idiot album for the corresponding challenge in Green Day Rock Band, but I enjoyed getting through the entire thing. At this point, I’ve become moderately good at Hard mode, so Medium goes very smoothly for me and is so nice and relaxing that I can just let the rest of the day float from my fingers with every strum.
Despite all this Rock Banding, I managed to write 707 words tonight (buoyed his spirit in just a few minutes). I kept trying to stop, but each time I’d pause to make some notes on what I would write for tomorrow, the notes came out as full prose and I’d continue for another sentence and another and another. You can never write too much, though, so it’s just 707 steps closer to getting a final project.
I can’t believe it’s been six months that I’ve been actively writing and four months of writing every single day, rain or shine, want or not, deal or no deal. It’s been a pleasant, although daunting, experience and I’m glad I’ve undertaken this task this year. I do worry a bit, however, about what I’ll do with myself once I have a draft complete. Perhaps, I’ll set the goals a little higher with editing two or three pages each night and then blogging about that. Who knows.
Well, now I’m really exhausted and, seeing as how I’m reaching that level of fatigue where it hurts to sit upright and hurts to breathe, I think I’ll check out for the night.
One last note about movies though: I watched Toy Story 3 last night, and I believe that this one is probably my favorite of the trilogy (that I hope remains a trilogy and doesn’t go into the whole “Bonnie” grows up storyline or into a bunch of Andy/Bonnie playing with the toys as animated shorts). I have to say, I haven’t cried so much in a kid’s movie since the end of The Iron Giant, let alone any other movie…probably just ET brought out the same level of lachrymal fluid…
I went to church today, reasonably close to on time, sing in the choir and then took a trip to go see my grandmother. On top of getting the added bonus of the long drive I’ve been wanting in my new car, I got to see both aunts and one first cousin and my grandma. I hadn’t seen them in such a long time and as always, we had what I can only describe as a jovial time together.
One of the more memorable moments of the day for me was going to my grandma’s living room to see the old pictures of her parents she had hanging. I love looking at the photos and seeing how similar I look to my great-grandmother. We all look fascinatingly like her, so I’m not sure why I’m so surprised that my second and third cousins and I all look so much alike.
I wrote 576 words tonight (though he friended her nonetheless) and must get some work done for first-job or else there really will be hell to pay come tomorrow.
But first, I feel a bout of procrastination and The Sims 2 coming…
As I opened this post, the title song was playing and the specific words “I’ve got nothing to say.” are quite fitting for how I feel about this post.
My sleep pattern is completely off kilter now that I’ve been getting up early in the morning, to the point that I can no longer stay and do what I really ought to do. Tonight, I simply put myself to bed for about an hour since it was apparent that nothing else was going to happen tonight unless I got some kind of nap.
Anyway, I wrote 556 words tonight (As long as you don’t cry wolf on me) and I didn’t really want to stop, but this post is late as it is and I knew I didn’t have much else to say tonight…
I’ve not been sleeping well these past few nights and it seems to have all caught up with me in the last twenty minutes. Nevertheless, I did manage to write a little.
I signed all the loans for my car today. It was simultaneously an amazing and an ignorant decision. Where do I get off borrowing 15K for some little thing to take me back and forth to work and church?? On the other hand, just the thought of my current/old car is enough to drive me into a depression. Though I’ve not driven the new car yet, I’m already in love with it.
I’ve decided to change the second book Damen and Brit read together from Their Eyes Were Watching God to A Raisin in the Sun instead. I’ve not read Their Eyes in a long time and, while the story is great, I realize I’ll have more to say about the play than the novel…
…hmmm. Just realized that that change kind of mucks up a previous conversation between Damen and Corey which leads to a big revelation about Corey. Oh well…I suppose I’ll make it work somehow.
I still haven’t figured out how Dana Barrington fits into the latter half of the story, but I’ll add the play to the now growing list of inconsistencies with the novel that I’ve got to fix.
I wrote 256 words tonight (when you live two seconds away.) and because of my extreme fatigue, I really wanted to just let this night go and not write at all. In the end, however, I looked at the date on my laptop clock and said to myself, “Are you really going to let almost 90 days of consistent writing go to waste like that?” So, I wrote a little and brainstormed some more. I’ve got even more to “correct” in the book, but at least I’m recognizing my issues before half a chapter goes by and I’m left to really correct the book.
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.
I went home early from first-job today out of complete exhaustion and pain. I tried not to sleep because I haven’t been sleeping well and I didn’t want to sleep all day, only to screw up my already haphazard sleep schedule. It didn’t matter though; I ended up writing a little, watching InuYasha a little and sleeping a lot.
I’m still wretchedly exhausted. I just wanted to finish this chapter, but I’m so tired that I’m starting to feel that ache that runs through my body when I hit my limit.
Throughout all of today I managed to write 2505 words (wondered if Zach had been shooting his entire life.), but still didn’t finish Chapter Ten.
I knew this chapter was going to be a doozy since I saw that it was a rather large file, without even going into the gritty edits, but after reading through what I had for Nine and Ten, I actually feel a lot better about what’s coming.
Normally, I read what’s ready to edit in a new chapter and I want to quit before I even get started. Today, however, I’m pleasantly surprised.
I managed to finish Chapter Eight, after midnight, writing until it became difficult to see. I completed 1717 words to finish Chapter Eight and then came home tonight and wrote! I ended up writing another 936 words for a total of 2653 in one day. 🙂
I love the end of Chapter Eight. I do this whole blur between Damen reading The Catcher in the Rye and being a part of what he reads. It’s not often I look at something I wrote and say, “Crap! That was awesome!” but the end of Chapter Eight fits that in spades. Hours later, I think I’m still just surprised that it works so well…I only hope others will be able to understand what I wrote. This could very well be a step into written insanity, but awesome written insanity.
I’m about to finish Damen’s musings about Corey, Brian and Zach in Chapter Nine and I just finished adding Corey’s rant about the 2008 candidates. Huckabee was the hardest to add. I thought Obama would be the most difficult since I had to make sure Corey noted that he was a poor choice, but not immediately because of race, but my own voice came out in Corey and the Obama rant went without pausing my fingers. Poking fun at Huckabee, however, proved far more difficult. I settled with “Huck-a-what!” but it was between that and “Huck-a-bee better to sit down” and thought the former made a little more sense.
I had a great day today! I finished a chapter, made it work on time, did some laundry and came home and wrote just like an aspiring writer should.
I wrote and edited 783 words tonight, which is really incredible considering that I wrote close to a hundred words while half asleep and didn’t think I’d get passed fifty words tonight.
It’s hard to really grasp why I wouldn’t want to write anything when I devote so much of time thinking about the craft and my plans with it. Not a week goes by where I don’t add another entry to my “Book ideas” note on my iPhone and daydream about my own characters on my way to and from my first job.
I often think about whether Damen would have embraced a Kindle or if he would have remained true to paper books. It is very rare that I don’t try to picture Luka as best I can and identify things that make him too similar to Damen and ways I can change that. Today, my aunt even told me how much she likes reading Flight now that she’s started it while at my own Nana’s. The craft is a part of my very being…so how can I reach a point in the day where I grumble, “I just don’t want to…”?
It defies any logic and while I’d like to just blame the first job, I can’t help thinking that I never had these problems while trying to write Flight. I finished the 450K-word novel in less than two years, but here I am rounding the corner on Year 4 of Damen and I’m still in “I just don’t want to” phase. Back then, I even had to teach myself to give up drinking so that I had the capacity to write in the evenings instead of fall asleep after a light buzz, but all I really wanted to do tonight was cuddle in my blanket and watch “Seinfeld.”
Once I got the juices flowing (and hit a more planned part of the novel), I got a partial second wind, but I don’t I’ll write another word tonight; perhaps it’s real fatigue since I’m getting that pang in my stomach that starts when my body is too tired to stay upright, or maybe it’s just plain laziness.
Either way, at least I got in some writing tonight. Tomorrow’s another day.
When I think about nights like tonight, I think back on when I was rounding the final corners to the end of Flight. I would be in the midst of what I considered perfectly crafted prose and then just shred it to pieces (no pun intended) as I came up with something better. I completely recreated the scenes where Damen throws The Fountainhead and ripped it to pieces (hence the need for the unintended pun).
The original writing was pretty solid and I actually liked it as-is, but much like I did when writing Flight, when I got down to it, the prose just sounded better the “new” way.
I’m proud of the fact that I can still do this; make the necessary edits, that is. It’s quite easy to get so wrapped up in your own brilliant writing that you fail to create something that’s worthwhile because you can’t bear to let go of a phrase or a particular way a sentence is worded. Even now, I know that hundreds more edits are awaiting me, but this is all part of the creation process, which just makes me even happier about my decision made almost five years ago to create my practice novel.
Five years ago, I decided to figure out how I write a novel. I had seen the blogs and read the guides, but the actual writing of anything significant escaped me and seemed like it would never take hold. I had written a lot and had actually finished two “novels,” but I still had no plan, no guidelines, nothing to show me how I create a novel. I wrote Flight to teach myself how I go about doing what no one could take the time to show me and the decision keeps coming back to help me.
Flight is the reason I know how close I am to having something meaningful and Flight is the reason I recognize how beautiful it is to say to myself, “On to the next chapter.”
I almost didn’t make it tonight and came very close to falling asleep in my chair again, with the chapter stagnating in its unfinishedness, but I pulled myself from the edges of sleep and plowed forward.
I completed 1015 words tonight bringing my grand total since 12/1/10 to 6777 words in about 10 days. It’s nothing super fantastic, but just being able to say, “I’ve completed another chapter.” is all I need to be able to sleep well tonight.
Before I talk about writing, I have to talk about my latest swing of Guitar Hero.
Last night, I defeated “Woman” by Wolfmother on Hard mode. This was no ordinary feat as many songs on Hard are ridiculously hard. Just look!
I first attempt this song about a month ago. I had completed all the songs on Medium and, once I had figured out how to complete Cheap Trick’s “Surrender,” I had zoomed the rest of the songs on the first tier. I was flying high and imagined I would fly through all the songs on Hard as did on medium. Then came “Woman.”
I attempted it several times and then quit the game, realizing that I had hit a wall so tall I had no hope in ever climbing it and it was quite possible that I would never be able to play any other song on Guitar Hero.
A few weeks went by and I attempted the song again, only to fail even harder than I had on the first attempt. What made it so difficult to stomach, aside from my hatred of failure, was the fact that I couldn’t stand the song. The hard songs are fun to master when I actually like the song, like “Message in a Bottle” or “Jessica” or even “Free Bird,” but a song, I can’t imagine I’ll ever listen to outside of Guitar Hero is just painful to keep playing over and over and over again, with no hope of ever playing another song on the Hard tour.
To satiate my Guitar Hero desires, I started to go through the Medium tour again to play as many songs as possible to five stars and even got through the first tier, but at the back of my mind “Woman” still lurked, waiting for me like a behemoth that knew it could never be defeated.
Last week, I decided that I was going to beat “Woman.” If I did nothing else in life, I could at least revel in the fact that I had beaten my Everest of Guitar Hero songs. I tried just playing and playing the song in hopes that I could just “get” it randomly, but I continuously failed at 48%. The hammer ons and pull offs were what perplexed me. I took the tutorials twice more in hopes of understanding the concept, but nothing came. I pulled YouTube videos of greasy 13 year olds explaining how to accomplish the hammer ons and pull off, but I could only take so much of those cracking voices and quickly grew frustrated.
I tried practicing the song on every speed, but even there I was making less than a third of the notes. Finally, I literally said “F**k it.” and just decided that I was just going to keep playing the song until I died. For the past four nights, I’ve been doing just this. I go to work, I go home, I eat a bit, I play Guitar Hero and I write. Every night I would play, but I would get no further.
Friday night, I discovered to my amazement that I had actually mastered the verses, but could not go any further. Then, I realized the usefulness of the star power and got a little further and even into 71%, but continued to hit that wall. Last night, however, I discovered how Dorienne! does hammer ons and pull offs. On a whim, I just slid my fingers across the fret buttons and Lo and Behold! I had made the pull off!
It was like a stroke of genius, like getting hit on the head with an apple and I grinned wildly as I continued to play and play and play using my newfound skill and going further and further into the song. Then…I did it.
My mouth hung as I realized I had surpassed all my other hiccups in the song and was winding the turn into the end of the final verse and then, I did it! My neighbors probably thought I was being attacked by the amount of screaming and jumping that was going on when I saw “You Rock!” at the end of the song, but I didn’t care. I did it. I beat “Woman” on Hard tour. After I beat that song (and after a short rest), every song that came after it was a cakewalk. I had arrived!
I have no delusions of grandeur about completely beating the game and getting through Expert mode, but the moment I beat “Woman” was just so sweet.
On to more important things…
So, all this week, I’ve been falling asleep in my chair, waking at 4am and then dragging myself to the bed. Last night, I took things to another level and just slept in the chair.
Out of the pure stubbornness of not wanting to go to sleep until I finished the chapter, I refused to go to sleep. I’d lean back in my chair and then push myself forward to type just one more word…I was so close to the end. But, then, I awoke and found myself in my chair, my space heater whirring gently beside me. I expected to find that it was 5 or even 6, but it was 8:30.
I knew I was going to church this morning, but was just annoyed that I hadn’t even got to my bed. The same stubbornness that kept me in the chair until 8:30 in the morning, pushed me back into my bed just to gain the feeling of getting out of bed in the morning.
Despite all my best efforts and the rampant stubbornness, I only managed to squeak out 611 words last night. I’ve decided that both the Brit/Britiana and the Facebook friending/unfriending will be an allusion to the turbulent state of Damen and Brit’s friendship. I also realized, however, that I have yet to really answer why Brit doesn’t have any black friends. I know I’ll have to make whatever the story is start sometime back when she and Jessie were in first or second grade…maybe one of the black girls in their class said something mean to Brit and Jessie just slaps the girl across the face and instant best friends…I don’t know…
I don’t think I’ll get much writing done later tonight. I’m a bit tired after spending 5 hours at work after church (an exhausting day at church at that) and I think I’d really rather just play the sims, not to mention that I’ve got the rest of the Guitar Hero II Hard tour to attempt. That said, I’ve not gone this long writing consistently since I was in the depths of Flight, so perhaps taking the night off may not be the best thing to do just yet.
I fell asleep in my chair before I could post anything, but I’m counting this for last night anyway. I was so tired that all I could do was just drag myself to my bed and fall.
Yesterday was just a long and miserable day, the type that have been far more frequent since I all but stopped going to church. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence…
I read/edited 1946 words last night before I hit a wall; a rather large one at that. I wrote:
He grabbed The Odyssey from the top shelf of the bookcase in his room, quickly found Book 6 and lay across his bed where Jessie Clarke had lain in an attempt to seduce him.
If it weren’t for this line, I would have been able to finish the whole part or got at least 2105 words finished, but the part about Book 6 of The Odyssey sucker punched me.
The problem with taking two years to write a novel is that, sometimes notes get lost and prose that made loads of sense a year earlier is practically gibberish much later. Like anyone who’s graduated high school, I’ve read some bits and pieces of The Odyssey, but I’ve not, as of yet, perused the whole story, so the part about Book 6 stood out like a sore thumb to me. There was no way to ignore it either because I wrote about a better analogy involving Beowulf, Grendel’s mother and “sword of Eotens” and after re-reading that, I knew that part had to go.
I stared at the line for close to twenty minutes trying to remember what part of Book 6 could Damen be relating to his recent experience with Jessie Clarke, but nothing came to me. I then started with Wikipedia and then moved onto just finding a copy of the text online to just read Book 6 and see where I was heading with this. The problem was that it was 2 am and my capacity to read eons-old literature had diminished, so I went to SparkNotes for a quicker understanding (Cliff’s Notes was totally useless).
I read the summary for Book 5 and 6, but still found nothing, so then I tried to read the text again, but again, came up empty handed. I then started from the beginning of the SparkNotes summaries and spent an hour reading the entirety of story’s summary; still nothing. The closest I could come to The Odyssey becoming some great analogy for Damen and Jessie Clarke was Odysseus being Calypso’s love slave and I can’t imagine that I was groping at that weak a straw for an analogy. That’s when I leaned back in my chair to consider if it was even worth trying to relate Damen to analogous book for his dilemma and, if I did, which book it would need to be. I woke a few hours later with just a enough strength to crawl to the bed.
I’ll have to research this throughout the day today before I start my second job because I knew he needs to read something since he always turns to books in times of stress, but which book and why will be the questions of the day.
The good news, though, is that I am still consistently writing and, if I can keep up this act, I may yet get finished before the new year.
I made it to 757 words tonight, but considering I can’t recall any time when I successfully wrote anything significant two nights in a row, I’d call 757/2000 a victory!
I realized today though that in order to truly get serious about my writing, it’s time I start considering it my second job. I get home from work, have a little something to eat and then “go” to my second job. The problem with this idea is that I’m incredibly lazy and the idea of taking up a second job (one that offers no money as of yet) is a daunting and unwelcome task. I had a glimpse of my life for the rest of this month and the title of this post was born.
All this abject laziness notwithstanding, I made a great leap today as far as Damen goes: I finished another chapter. Albeit, it is in a manner so artsy and English major-y that it’s difficult to stomach, but for now I like it. I had to start by sleep-writing, but I eventually woke up and got the chapter completed.
The goal with Damen is that whenever I add any tidbits from another novel, in this case Oliver Twist, it should be done in a way that anyone should be able to grasp what I am saying. Tonight’s goal was expressing a grieving boy without having to actually say the words, “Damen was grieving his father.”
Anyway, I’m exhausted and need to be up in a few hours to work my paying job, just so that I can come back home and work my unpaying job for another night and continue the cycle…
I can honestly say that my new job has provided me with a new skill in my writing endeavours; multitasking.
I often find between the numerous questions and constant projects that I have to split my attention to make sure I don’t lose my thought in the middle of a new face-to-face question. Many times, I simply keep typing away as someone comes to my desk to ask me a question, but lately I’ve started to turn and face my visitor while I continued typing. Most of my team is accustomed to this by now, but it still manages to freak out other people that I can not only type without staring at the keyboard keys, but continue my thought without even looking at the computer monitor.
Of late, this new skill has allowed me to fall asleep in an entirely new manner. Cozy on my sofa, wrapped in my giant afghan, I sit with my laptop poised upon my thigh and against my knee and just write. The Xbox hums in the background as it struggles to present music through my television and I continue to write as if I were sitting at my desk, but far, far more comfortable. In this comfort, the hour grows later and later and, eventually, my eyes close and my head tilts to the side slightly as I lay in the beginning stages of sleep. All the while, however, my fingers do not stop. The stories continue, even with my eyes closed.
In this state of writing while in a semi-sleep state, the image appears in my mind far clearer than when my eyes are open. This scene, while in great need of clean-up, was written while I lay “asleep” and still typing:
He shuffled towards the low brick wall that ran a few feet away from the building while he let the blinding white fade from his eyes.
A warm wind caressed his cheeks and hair and for a moment he thought he was back in Crestview. The hot sun from what he had heard referred to as Indian Summer spread across his face filling him with a brief and mild swell of happiness he had not experienced since he first caught sight of the grey overcast of Cabot, Ohio.
As I re-read, the image seems even more powerful because I was able to imagine it without the added unpleasantness of my eyes trying to process images in my reality and subconscious at the same time.
For a few moments this evening, I found that I had actually fallen asleep in this half-asleep, half-dreaming, half-writing state…and I loved it. I can’t say it is completely practical or that I will be able to manage it consistently, but I just love the idea of it; writing myself to sleep. 🙂