Saturday, March 12, 2011

Still Here. Alive and Kicking. And Screaming (a lot of screaming)

*Sigh* I so wanted to be out of First Draft Hell by now. See, it’s been almost a year since I started this blog, and I thought I knew how long this particular first draft was going to be, and woo, I was wrong. This thing just keeps going and going. The fact that I know it’s crap and will have to be torn down and rewritten is highly disheartening, but the real problem is that I have to finish it before I can do that. Bleh. Curse curse curse! (I’m practicing not swearing. See?) I feel pretty bummed that it’s been a year and I don’t even have a good enough first draft yet. But, unlike when I began rewriting Hannah, it’s not because the words won’t come out, or I’m way overconfident about my ability to finish, or nervous about my ability to tell the story. I have been writing more regularly than I have in years, and it feels as amazing as it always does. But I’ve also got a lot more going on in my life than I think even I realized. Since it’s the anniversary of this blog, and I started this blog so that I could share my adventures in actually getting off my ass and getting a life, I thought I’d share. Lots of things cooking, and very exciting!

Firstly, of course, I’m still working on my Vampires. I had an idea that I assumed would take a certain number of words. And I did something I have never done before, I mean ever. I underestimated myself. No seriously, I grossly overestimate myself, generally speaking. Societal pressure meets disability culture, I am a victim of too many low expectations (blah blah blah). So usually I make some ridiculous proclamation like say, “I am going to win a Pulitzer by age 35” (not an actual proclamation). Or, oh, “I’m going to write a book in six months.” (Yes. I did say that.) This time, I made a fairly reasonable proclamation, “When I write this first draft, it’s probably going to be about 120,000 words.” And. Well, I’m not quite at 120,000 words yet. Because about a week ago I got completely freaked out, because I was nearing 100,000 words and holy god I had so far to go! Which led me to two conclusions, the first and most obvious being wow my first drafts suck, and the second being that I would of course, need to do some massive restructuring to the pacing of the story that I absolutely could not do within this draft. Which meant that I would have to finish the horrible ugly and very long draft, and then proceed to not use it. Which led me to my only logical recourse, which was basically to not look at the file for about a week.

I was not hiding under the bed. In the first place, my bed is occupied by several boxes of stuff, the primary purpose of which is to keep the dogs from taking things from around the house and hiding them under there to be destroyed later. Also, I was very, very busy with lots of other things, so technically still writing, so. Myeh. Okay, I was hiding under the bed, a bit. I’m sorry. But I actually do have a lot more work than I thought I would, because in addition to this blog, and the book, I’m working on a couple other personal projects. Namely, of course, is the actual day job, which has been, in the last few months, much more demanding than I’m used to, but is about to slow down considerably, which is nice, because more importantly, I am finally and in earnest pursuing post-secondary education.

So remember a few months ago when I had mentioned the young woman who, after reporting instances of child abuse in the special education class she was TA-ing, was fired pending an investigation of whether her autism would interfere with her teaching abilities? And how I said that when I had a moment, I would rant about it? And then I didn’t? There’s a reason for that. It’s something that goes beyond laziness, and something that I am, eventually going to have to share, but I can’t now. The fact is, the whole thing is just, well, triggering, for me. I sat down to tell my own story about my own college experience and the discrimination therein, and burst into tears all three times I tried. It’s embarrassing, not because it’s not horrible, but because it is common, and because of how naive and unprepared for it I was, and how traumatic I can still find it, six years later. The short version is that I too, after working for years towards the education and eventual career path I most desired, after years of being told that, in spite everything, I was smart, and that would make all the difference, I learned that wasn’t strictly true. And then I also had to put aside my dreams of college education, and for years, it was so upsetting to me that I could not entertain the idea of going back, nor did I particularly want to do something just for the ‘experience’ of college.

But about a year ago, I had a health scare. Not a major one, but a little one that made me think a lot about my body, and my life, and my role in it, and I began to think about my life in terms of the next three years, instead of ten years or twenty from now, and I saw that what I wanted and what I had were miles from each other, and the first step to everything seemed to be getting off public assistance and supporting myself. Since I tried college, and the hands-on approach didn’t do it for me, I looked into distance education for the first time, which is where I found Athabasca. So now I’m a full-time English/History student. I don’t know for sure, really, what it will do for me, if it’ll get me off the system. But it will make me a better writer, and come hell or high water or whatever else, that is what I will be doing. So I have hope. It’s also not nearly as traumatic.

In addition, I also seem to be embroiled in someone else’s project. My friend Paul has dreams of dominating the world via video games, or some such thing, and has asked me to assist him in the writing. I have no idea what I’m doing, I’m not a gamer by any stretch (bad hand-eye coordination keeps you away from that sort of thing, y’know). But as he keeps asking for input and I keep writing, and we keep talking about it, it looks like one of those things I may actually wind up doing, which is pretty cool. Always like taking on new things.

I feel bad, because I’m not very good at this whole blogging thing yet, I’m still at the stage where I have a hard time downshifting from talking about the stuff I want to talk about to telling the story. Not because I don’t want to tell the story, or because I don’t want to talk, but because once I start telling the story, I feel guilty if I am not eating and sleeping and breathing it as well. I’m improving from this kind of neurosis, but there could definitely be further improvement. So, I promise this year to… I promise to write more entries than I did last year. Let’s just leave it at that.

Also, I may share some of my actual writing that is not just me talking about myself. Ulp.


Couple other small changes to the blog that I will hopefully actually stick to:

-I am also taking part in Inkygirl’s 500 word-a-day challenge. Which I have been doing swimmingly at except for two weeks, the first of which I had the flu and the second… yeah. Hiding under the bed. You should check it out if you’re a writer, want to be a writer, or just missing Nanowrimo at the moment. You can even do 250 words a day. Seriously, that’s like 15 minutes of writing a day or something equally ridiculous. A monkey with a typewriter could do that. On its own, even, without its fifty friends or Shakespeare.

-I am also doing Script Frenzy, in spite of, nay, because of having failed every single year I do it. I may actually have time to blog in the process of that. If not, I’ll probably regularly on the boards, and I need a lot of hand-holding. You should join in.

-I am taking part in the Goodreads reading challenge for 2011. My magic number is 35. You should also do it, if you are a reader, or add me to your friends list if you’re already doing it. Seriously. I don’t have enough friends who read. My friend, she owns the bookstore in town, and she laments every day, “Why did I open a bookstore in a town that doesn’t read?”

- After reading a series of disgusting articles in which we examine the fact that although more women read more books than men, and this planet is about 50% women, yet the books being published that were written by women are around 33%, and the books being reviewed that are by women are somewhere around roughly 20%, I got a little peeved. And after reading the explanation from publishing journals and popular book reviewers that, “Women just aren’t writing the kind of things we review,” I got a little ragey. But rather than go on a full-on rant, I have decided to be a bit more productive than usual about this whole thing. In conjunction with my reading a lot this year, I have decided to review the books I’m reading, but only if they were written by women. Which means some of the books I’m reading will probably be older books that have been reviewed ages ago, in which case, sorry. Books are expensive. If it weren’t for ebooks and audiobooks, I would be even less well-read than I am now, and I’m not anywhere near as well read as I would like to be. Have I mentioned I love Audible? They’re not even paying me to say that, but I do. I should also warn you I do not yet have any sort of college degree, so my reviewing will consist of a lot of squee, omg you have got to read this!!!!, and a lot of despair. (Why am I not as good as this?!) And possibly some headdesking. (Omg how does this stuff even get published erlack?). For more constructive criticism, you may have to wait til something pisses me off. Sorry.

I think that’s pretty much it. If I could squeeze anything else in there, I probably would, but I don’t think I can. I don’t think I’m travelling this year, even. *sadface* Meanwhile, I would like to thank this blog for being an awesome place to dump things that bug me and things I like, and how tortured I am. And, if I have any regular readers at all, seriously, thank you for spending an entire year not thinking I’m horrible, and maybe occasionally thinking I’m pretty awesome. I shall do my level best to not let you down over the next twelve months!

Also, is it completely ridiculous that I find this awesome?

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