Writing is Occasionally Like Torture

I officially edited or wrote 51,691 words on A Thousand Years, “winning” NaNoWriMo (as of today). The only problem is, I spent my second NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month) working on a novel that I may abandon, soon. I don’t know what to do anymore. The novel has lost its way. And I guess that means I have.

When you write fiction that is primarily character driven (vs. plot driven) and you run into a character problem, you’ve got an entire novel problem. And . . . A Thousand Years has a character problem. The problem is, I love the heart of this novel. Which means that this little fear churning inside – that I should dump it, when I don’t really want to (but also don’t know how to fix it), is a little like torture. Like, you know, as if I’m water boarding myself. Who willingly tortures themselves?

Writers. Writers willingly torture themselves. So here I am, it’s the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve technically hit a 50,000 word count goal and I’m absolutely nowhere. I don’t know if it’s salvageable – though I long for it to be. Torture, I tell you.

Is this what this feels like?

Autumn has finally started showing up around here.

It’s Sunday evening. And while I can’t say I’m bummed about that, I already miss my weekend. Okay, so technically I’ve been off work since Wednesday so this time off has felt extra good. Nonetheless, I love weekends. How do I get more of them?

This weekend has been weird and also, super productive. Not only did I reorganize the master bedroom and move my gynormous “headboard” (which isn’t a headboard at all) out of my room, but I shifted furniture around, too. I made major changes to my spare bedroom, (mostly) finished decorating for Christmas, and then created an office in the spare room.

I moved from a four bedroom house to an apartment. That second bedroom of mine, here in the apartment, has been a mess of boxes and stuff – for ages. I was also a foster mom with two twin beds and a crib. All of that furniture moved into this apartment with me and has sat there – taunting me, to be honest. Some of the other items piled up in there included kid’s toys and books. It was depressing thinking about it.

But I started working on organizing and didn’t stop until I could set up one of the beds (for now it’s a daybed kinda couch sitch) and move my desk and a bookcase into the room. There’s still more work to do, but I’ll probably leave that until I take vacation time in December.

My writing space will take shape soon enough. I’m happy with how it looks for now.

I kid.

Here’s the thing, I also made beef stew, maple Dijon chicken thighs, and edited/wrote 11,211 words for NaNoWriMo. I’m now at a grand total of 28,149 words edited/written, since the 1st. Where did all of this energy come from? Probably my infusion on Wednesday – in part. I have another one this coming week. If I feel this good before the second one – I’m hoping after #2, I’ll be feeling like a million bucks.

After a busy day yesterday, I made an apple cider margarita, turned on all of the Christmas lights (and a Hallmark Christmas movie), and relaxed with the dog.

It feels good to be productive. Which probably sounds dumb. But when you have a chronic illness and all of your energy goes to the 9-5 job, Monday – Friday – there’s usually nothing left for my personal life. So is this what this feels like? Having energy to accomplish life things? I like it. How do I get more of this energy? 🙂

I hope your weekend has been either super restful or productive! What’s something good happening in your life these days? I would love to hear from you.

National Novel Writing Month

Live Oak, spanish moss, elaina m. avalos, chasing hope, lacey mays
Photo by Ashley Knedler

November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). I’ve been a NaNoWriMo participant since 2009. But until last year, I never actually finished a project. In 2020, at one of the wildest times for me professionally, I wrote a 51,640 word novel. The words poured out of me. The novel, A Thousand Years, has been varying states of editing for 11 months. I start in on re-write and it doesn’t feel quite right and I start over. It has been weird. I love the story. But it has changed dramatically from what I started writing in 2020.

As I gear up for NaNoWriMo 2021, I have a decision to make (real quick like). Do I focus in on a final draft of A Thousand Years, or do I write Sea Glass Hearts (which I’ve started)? I also have another book – still untitled, about a character named Lacey James that desperately needs to be written. I have until Monday to decide. I thought tonight I’d play around a little with all three and see if my muse catches fire. He’s finicky. So . . . eh, we’ll see what happens.

You can read some of Lacey’s story, here & here.

Sea Glass Hearts excerpts are here.

A Thousand Years, is here.



Till There’s Nothing Left

“I wanna know what it feels like/To disappear into you and/Never have to say goodbye…”

This is a song I hadn’t heard before until I started listening to a “Country Kind of Love” playlist on Spotify. It’s kind of addictive. I’ve listened to it about a million times the last couple of days. I thought I’d never heard of the singer before, but found another song of hers, Burning House, on YouTube. I do remember that song (from 2015). She’s good. It’s sad that I had no idea who she was and hadn’t heard this song before. Country radio is really crappy, to be honest.

But I digress. Some songs just stick with me and this is one of those. My muse is . . . I miss him. He’s a him, right now. Maybe always will be. But songs like this, help. I have the itch to write today.

Till there’s nothing left by Songwriters: Hillary Lindsey / Jeffrey Bhasker / Cam Ochs / Tyler Sam Johnson

But Not Without My Muse

“Take me to the lakes where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong, and my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

I want auroras and sad prose
I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet
‘Cause I haven’t moved in years
And I want you right here
A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
With no one around to tweet it
While I bathe in cliffside pools
With my calamitous love and insurmountable grief”
– Songwriters: Jack Antonoff / Taylor Alison Swift

The writing muse is finicky. My current lifestyle makes him/her/it hide a little more than I prefer. I’m ready for change. “I’m setting off, but not without my muse.”