I’m Not Behind for No Reason!

So, when I made my last post on Friday I was exhausted and my throat was scratchy and I was generally not feeling all that great. I made it through work (including an awesome talk someone gave to our company who worked for a major tech company up until recently – because working at a tech startup sometimes is a stereotype in the best way possible)  and felt okay, but the throat scratchiness wasn’t abating. By the time my commute home was over, all I was really able to do was collapse into bed.

Cue a largely sleepless night because every time I swallowed it felt like I had nails in my throat. Around 3AM, frustrated that drinking copious amounts of water wasn’t working, I used the light from my phone to check my throat in the mirror. Sure enough, I had all these big, gross white spots just chillin’ back there, looking bacterial and painful. So I made an appointment at the local urgent care and just tried to wait it out until I could get some antibiotics in me.

Not exactly the way I wanted to spend my weekend…

But now that I’m not either sleeping like the dead, lying awake in pain, or snuggled up in bed watching Mindhunter (which, sidenote, is SO GOOD. It’s definitely creepy and definitely gory, but as a true crime fan I am eating it up. I just finished the last episode, and that last scene is a doozy.), I feel a lot better about the fact that I’ve fallen behind a bit in some of the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish. My body is telling me to rest, so I am. Sucks that I feel like I keep needing to rest, but to me, that’s saying that my processes of life are inefficient and I need to keep working on making my own life easier and more efficient.

I’ve been taking on more at work and have been trying to help out more at home. I haven’t been the most successful on the home front, unfortunately, because honestly once I get home I mostly just want to be a lump tucked under blankets. Some days I have the energy to do one or two of the things on my to-do list, but either they get sidelined for stuff that’s more pressing like helping with dinner or meal planning or running errands or cleaning the kitchen. But those days feel like miracles because I feel like I’m always The Tiredest Person Alive, regardless of how much sleep I’ve gotten (though I’m pretty sure I haven’t been getting enough the last few weeks). I wish that giving the toilet a proper cleaning didn’t feel like climbing Everest, but it does, and I’m just not completely sure why.

The main thing I’ve been trying to tackle is being more efficient with meal planning. I’ve been trying to use more nonperishables that we already have, as well as make meals in an order so that if there are leftovers, we can try and use them in later meals. Example: we made a roasted chicken, ate the chicken with rice and veggies, then saved the bones in the freezer for when we get some time to make chicken broth, and then saved the meat we didn’t eat for a sorta-keto BBQ chicken pizza. Super simple, but it takes a few extra minutes of planning and thinking the week through. It also makes it harder for us to come up with excuses to just have PB&J for dinner.

But that only does so much. I need to figure out how to better use my time while I’m commuting. I have about an hour each way on public transit, and with a smartphone in hand, there’s a whole lot I can do. I also want to try and get rid of more of the clutter and some of the furniture in the house, because all it does is get in the way and stress me out. It just takes time to take care of that and I haven’t had days off besides weekends, which are already all booked up with other errands and chores. I’m also trying to get back in the mindset that if it takes less than two minutes, I should probably just take care of it. Also trying to deal with the fact that a lot of the time, I can’t do The Whole Thing At Once. I have to do things in parts, because that is what I have time and energy for. Would I like to spend an hour scrubbing down the whole bathroom and get it to my ideal level of cleanliness? Of course. But sometimes, I just need to clean the dirty mirror because it’s gross and bothering me and if I take care of that one thing for 5 minutes, it will improve my life.

Anyway, in summation, I’m tired of always being tired and sick, and now that the smoke has finally cleared over San Francisco and I won’t be horribly sick in a few days, I can finally get back into a proper routine that includes exercise, spending some time outside, and generally being better at doing life. Just gotta stick to it.

99 Things…

I messed up with my decluttering challenge and got behind. Really, really behind. Yesterday, I made a list in my notebook for the 99 things I would end up tossing in the evening once I got home…

…it’s still blank.

Now I have to add 20 more slots to this list so I can finish it tonight and get back on track – 119 items in total. Ugh. I definitely have 119 items I don’t want, but it seems like such a daunting task. It’ll probably only take me 45 minutes, but I just… don’t wanna.

As you can tell from my post history, October has been a really exhausting month for me, particularly the past couple weeks. I haven’t had the mental energy to sit down and write or do anything more productive than making sure dinner is made and then trying to decompress before I go to sleep. It might be the seasonal shift and the fact that when I get home it’s getting dark now, new responsibilities at work, or just overall fatigue catching up to me.

Regardless of whatever’s got me so tired, it has seriously affected my ability to declutter. I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch up this weekend and maybe get a little ahead. I’m also going to start working on the process of actually getting the non-trash items out of my house rather than having them stacked in the living room waiting for me to do more than designate them as unwanted.

For now, I’m just trying to think of all the things that need to go so it’s a no-brained once I get home…

#Preptober Continues!

There are twenty-two days left until NaNoWriMo. I’m getting a little more scared, but also way more psyched up. My boyfriend and my dad have both decided to participate, which is exciting. I’ve never really done NaNo with anybody besides me, myself, and I. I’m also going to be living in the city while really-for-real-not-quitting-after-three-days participating, which is also awesome. I’m a Real Adult now and the idea of going to write-ins or other local NaNo events isn’t completely scary now. I’m also doing some NaNo-related stuff for work, which means I’m thinking about NaNo all the time instead of just when I’m in productive leisure mode (the rarest mode of them all).

The most exciting piece of prep I’ve done so far this month has been writing a synopsis for my novel. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, considering that I haven’t been 100% sure what my story was even really going to be about. But I tried to treat it like I used to treat thesis statements in my college essays. It’s a possible roadmap for where I’m going that will get me asking the right questions, but I may go down a back road and find something totally unexpected but way better than what I started with. I may end up writing something entirely unrelated to the synopsis/thesis and end up having to rethink it altogether. And that’s fine. The point is that I have a starting point and have told myself what direction to start going in.

Here’s the synopsis so far:


Screen Shot 2017-10-09 at 10.11.10 PM

Add me as a Writing Buddy on NaNoWriMo.org! My author name/username is missbluestocking.


In writing just those first few hundred words, I learned some new things. The city people are definitely going to be some of the main antagonists in this story, but I didn’t have a fully realized idea of how that would happen. I still think I need to rework some of my ideas about them. Like, for example, I don’t necessarily want to write a story where violence is the answer/the main conflict. But the premise I’ve given myself leans that way. So my current options are: 1) continue with this premise and then subvert the violence paradigm by having Masha always choose nonviolence and use more creative problem-solving, or, 2) change up my premise and have the issue be more internal. The girl that Masha picks up – she’s damaged. She’s been stewing in a deeply toxic ideology for a long time. Maybe that girl causes problems because her social training just doesn’t work in a society so radically different from hers. Maybe she tries to apply city rules to the community she moves into and it causes conflict.

It’s an interesting choice to make. I’m not entirely sure how I want to go about it. I have this idea of what I want this book to be, what I want it to say and mean, but I haven’t yet figured out how to get there. I’m really happy I’m already thinking about these questions, though. This story has been rattling around in my brain for months, but this is the first time I’ve actually really put pen to paper and done anything real with it. I definitely think that that’s worth doing before November 1st, especially if you’re a Planner rather than a Pantser. (That is, if you prefer to plan ahead for your novel rather than flying by the seat of your pants.)

I still have a lot of questions that I need to ask myself in the next few weeks, but I feel really happy about where I’m at right now. Definitely feeling more confident in my ability to finish this year than I have ever felt before.

How are you preparing for NaNo? Are you a Planner or a Pantser? Share your thoughts in the comments!



October Declutter Challenge!



At the end of last month, my mom (hi Mom!) and I were both talking about how much stuff we’ve been wanting to get rid of – cluttery things that we don’t use that are still just sitting in our houses, gathering dust and getting in the way. Both of us aspire to some degree of minimalism. (We’ve already talked about how I’m not good at minimalism, at least with regards to books.) And as we talked, she said, “We should do a declutter challenge!” Fresh off my successful September eat-in challenge, I was totally into the idea. She explained in further detail: we would get rid of things that were just sitting around and either donate them, sell them, or throw them away. On the 1st, we would get rid of one thing. On the 2nd, two things. On the third – you get the idea. This would lead up to eventually getting rid of 31 things on the 31st of October, and then looking at your house and feeling a little bit freer from your stuff.

One week in it’s been going well. Other than the things I’ve thrown away, the other stuff is still in the house because I’d rather take it all to get donated at once rather than make a bunch of trips throughout the month. But it feels so good to have started to go through things! I’ve been saying I would go through my books for months and now I’m actually doing it. I’ve also been taking care of those weird piles of clutter that just start to collect when you live in a place long enough. It’s been a really good experience so far.

I will admit that I have not been entirely perfect in completing my daily declutter numbers. There have been two days this week where I simply forgot about it. Happily, I’ve been able to catch up. So on the 4th when I forgot, on the 5th I knew I had to get rid of nine things total to make up for missing the day before. I’m a little worried about forgetting later in the month considering my current track record, but it’s comforting to know that if I really need to I can take my time.

It’s also been a really nice way for me to connect with my mom. We text each other most days and usually talk on the phone at least once a week, if not more, and we never run out of stuff to talk about, but it’s been nice to have this in common. It’s also really motivating getting her texts with overviews of what she’s gotten rid of, especially when it’s stuff I know she’s had forever and just hadn’t been able to let go of. And it’s been nice to know that my stuff is going to end up at the local Goodwill or making me a little pocket money on eBay rather than just sitting in my house doing nothing for me or anyone else.

To Walk Invisible

to walk invisible

Last night, I finally got the chance to finish up To Walk Invisible: The Lives of the Brontë Sisters. It’s a two-episode miniseries put out by Masterpiece and the BBC that mostly focuses on the adult lives of the three Brontë sisters, particularly their relationship with their brother Branwell.

I’m going to say this up front so that I can focus on other things later on: I really loved it. It is extremely rare for me to be able to watch anything without messing with my phone or knitting or whatever. I was absolutely glued to the screen. It was beautiful to look at, and I felt like each actor inhabited their role completely.

That said, I feel like this would be a difficult movie for someone who is not slightly Brontë-obsessed to watch. Had I watched it a year ago, before taking a class on the trio of sisters, I would’ve been pretty lost. Now that I have that semester-long class (which thankfully included lots of biographical information and reading of the Brontës’ juvenilia) under my belt, it felt more like getting to visit old friends. The film spends a decent amount of time on the Brontës as children, particularly the fantasy world of Gondal that they all wrote about as children. The miniseries throws you right into the children’s imaginary world with no explanation, and without knowing that the Brontë kids were adorably creative and made up an entire fictional universe that they used to write stories and poems and use while they played, it’s a confusing place to start. Fortunately, because of the time I spent in my aforementioned class on the Brontës, I knew what was going on, and I felt this intense rush of recognition and joy at seeing the young Brontës.  It’s an important piece of them that makes them feel more real and human to me.

I also felt that the focus on Branwell, the only brother in the Brontë household, was sort of odd. I understood to some degree why he was the center of everything in the series, because he shows up in other forms so often in his sisters’ works. However, it often meant that time was taken away from the sisters and what they were doing. Branwell is an important piece of the puzzle but I would have preferred to hear the sisters discussing him more rather than seeing him slip deeper and deeper into alcoholism and illness.

Also, I had one petty complaint: Patrick Brontë, played by Jonathan Pryce (who is always a joy to watch, just as he was in this film), sounded far too British. I was looking forward to hearing a Reverend Brontë with a thick Irish brogue. Unfortunately, they decided to go a different route and have Pryce sound much as he always does.

Aside from those few things, though, I can’t say enough about the film. When the film began its final scene with the death of Branwell and transitioned to shots of Haworth Parsonage, where the Brontë family lived, as a museum crowded with people excited to see the space that Charlotte and Emily and Anne lived in, I started sobbing. It’s silly, but I just felt so proud that these sisters had made it. Charlotte, of course, was celebrated in her time, but nothing like the kind of veneration the Brontë sisters receive today. Seeing a gift shop filled with books written by and about the three sisters and people who looked like they were from all over the world poring over them was… something. Something good. The shot of the statue that stands at Haworth of the three sisters, and then the transition to the actresses who played them standing out on the moors and looking every bit the happy trio was one of the most moving things I’d ever seen. I felt such a strong sense of how much they’d overcome to be the staples of English literature they are today. It felt like they’d won on my behalf, somehow. They wrote these wonderful books that have become my touchstones, and they cleared the way for female writers and intellectuals like I fancy myself to be.

So, if you’re a diehard Brontë sisters fan, this is definitely a movie you should see. If you like Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or are some mysterious individual who is really into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (please get in contact if you are, I have lots of questions for you) but haven’t delved deep into the Brontë Mythos, I definitely think it’s still worth watching, even if there’s parts of it that aren’t readily accessible. To Walk Invisible is definitely one of my new favorites.

September 2017

It’s been a long month. I mean, if I’m being honest, every month has felt simultaneously way too short for me to get anything done and at the same time like an eternity in which so many things have happened that I can barely remember it all. But this month feels particularly draining.

Part of this is because I’ve been feeling sort of gross all month. I’m currently down with a mild fever (because why would my body let me get things done over the weekend when it can force me to rest?), but I’ve been dealing with what seems like allergies for weeks. It honestly might just be the change in weather as we move from summer to fall, or maybe another case of San Francisco’s notorious mold problem. It’s so much harder to do anything when you just feel tired and slightly sick all the time.

I also think I’ve been trying to push myself more. I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing. I’ve been trying to do things I enjoy more often, which has been good but also means I’ve been cutting into my sleep time. I’ve also been trying to be more productive and use my time more efficiently. I can’t really say I’ve been successful with that.

Some good things, though: I found a new Goodwill near work that is an absolute treasure trove! Oh my god, I still can’t believe I found a new pair of jeans and a decent everyday cardigan, plus a bunch of books I’m planning on flipping, all for less than $16. Not to mention the fact that this Goodwill has a separate section for plus-sized clothes. I almost cried, y’all. Thrifting while fat is almost never easy, but this was a breeze.

Also, as of next week Cael and I are planning on registering our eBay store as an official business. We’re both pretty excited. It’s grown a lot since we started it a few months ago and we’re getting better at it.

So, as much of a drag as most of this month was, September is almost over and the best month is about to start. I don’t really celebrate Halloween anymore but I love seeing all the decorations going up and reading and watching spooky stuff all month. The weather is also usually ideal. I’m also going to be gearing up for NaNoWriMo and really diving into preparations for that. I’m super excited!

It’s Real: The Galvanizing Power of Disaster

Early Friday morning, before the sun had even come up, my partner and I were jerked awake by the sound of the fire alarm going off. Both of us looked at each other, exhausted and annoyed.

“Do you think it’s real?” I asked him.

He shook his head, unsure. We’ve both been through so many false alarms in our building at all hours of the day and night. Rather than inducing a mild panic and ensuring that we get out as soon as possible, the alarm is often just an annoyance caused by some inept college freshman trying (and failing) to cook. “It’s really early,” he said. “Maybe…” I understood what he meant. Who was cooking something at 5:25 AM that had set off the fire alarm? Maybe there was a fire.

And then we heard a young man outside shouting, “EVERYBODY GET OUT! THERE’S A FIRE! EVERYBODY GET OUT!” He kept repeating himself over and over, shouting as loud as he could. My partner and I looked at each other, eyes wide.

“I can’t tell if he’s just some drunk asshole reacting to the fire alarm and joking around or if he’s seeing something we can’t,” I said as I sat up.

“We should leave.”

The guy outside kept shouting. We got out of bed, putting on warmer clothes, knowing that even if it was a false alarm we’d be stuck outside for at least half an hour. (A smart choice – it ended up taking close to two hours.) I grabbed my purse and my bug-out bag (which is woefully underpacked, but still better than nothing) and shoved my work laptop into my backpack. As I heard the first two firetrucks pull up, and then a third and a fourth, I felt my breathing hitch. More than one or two trucks means a real fire. (Unfortunately, I’ve been through enough real fires in my building to know.)

We and headed down the stairs. I smelled something burning and was glad we hadn’t stayed inside. Once we were outside, we saw probably a hundred people all staring in the same direction. As we turned the corner of the building, we saw it, too: flames pouring out the window of an apartment on the seventh floor.


It was a scary sight to see. Especially when, moments later, the glass in the open windows shattered dramatically and the debris fell to the ground in a flaming heap. Nothing else caught fire, thankfully, but as an enormous plume of gray-black smoke rose into the pre-dawn sky, I felt my heart catch. I hadn’t closed my windows. What if the flames spread? What if we did lose everything?

But I calmed myself once I realized that I’d lived through two other fires of similar magnitude, and my stuff and I had always been fine.

And for us, everything was fine in the wake of the fire. But two of the people who lived in the apartment – now a burnt-out, blackened shell – who were injured aren’t. I saw the pile of debris on the sidewalk growing as the fire department pulled it out of the building on my way to work. All their possessions gone, just like that.

My partner and I have been talking a lot about disaster preparedness recently, but money is tight. We pick up a few extra things here and there and split them between our bug-out bag (BOB) and our pantry. With everything going on across the world lately, in particular the huge number of natural disasters that have hit over the last fe weeks, I’ve been a lot more willing to spend any extra cash I have on a few extra cans of food. With earthquakes of varying strengths rippling around the Ring of Fire, including a few small ones closer to our home in San Francisco, the need to stock up has felt even more urgent.


But even still, there’s always this sense that you have more time. When a fire rips through an apartment right in your building, though, things feel a little more urgent. My partner and I have been talking more since yesterday and are going to be getting some supplies this weekend. I’m also planning on doing more research on what to do in the event that an actual disaster happens sometime soon.

That means that I’ll likely be posting more stuff about disaster preparedness and prepping, particularly for the apartment-dwelling crowd who can’t put together the kind of preps that everyone always recommends. I’m also planning on talking about other ways to prepare besides stockpiling, because I feel like if stockpiling is your only form of preparation, you’re limiting yourself. I’m someone who appreciates participating in communal networks of knowledge and help that comes in a variety of ways, and I believe firmly that no matter how much you stockpile, knowing that you can reach out to and rely on others is far more important.

In the meantime, please make sure your stove is turned off and you haven’t left your curling iron on.




How to Edit Your Own Writing Like a Pro: Part 1 – The Basics


Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash

When it comes to writing, fresh eyes and a second opinion are invaluable tools. Having someone who can look over your writing and make it flow better and catch all the typos and misspellings you weren’t able to catch on your own can take your blog post, short story, or novel from “meh” to “amazing.” (Trust me, I know – the majority of my job is taking the work of okay writers and making their writing sound like it was written by a great writer.)

Fortunately, you usually don’t really need a professional copy editor like myself to fix the biggest issues with your work. A lot of the problems I see are simple fixes, and with a little practice on spotting those issues, you’ll be able to fix half the issues in your work so that when you actually do have someone go over it, they can focus more on the quality of the content rather than fixing a bunch of easily-avoided errors.

The absolute most important part of this is taking the time to do a first edit yourself. I know that probably sounds like common sense to a lot of you, but for those of you – or, if I’m being honest, us – who want the instant gratification of our stuff being Out There For People To Read Right Now Immediately, this can be challenging. But most blog posts only take a few minutes to read, and investing five extra minutes in your blog post or the latest chapter of your story on Wattpad is not going to kill you, and it will improve your audience’s experience. Whether you take some time to read it out loud or just read over it and check for mistakes, it’s worth it.

“But what do I look for when I’m editing?” you ask. “How am I supposed to tell when something doesn’t sound right or isn’t working? I suck at grammar!” My simplest answer to this is reading out loud. It’s a lot easier to catch when something’s funky in your writing when you have to say it and hear it, especially if you’re a native English speaker. You just know when something isn’t quite right. This works great for issues like:

  • Tense switches, where authors can’t seem to decide when their sentence is taking place. Like this:

I was walking down the street and then we see each other.

The word “was” tells me that this sentence is taking place in the past. But then the word “see” tells me that this sentence is taking place in the present. It makes for a very confusing experience as a reader and an editor, because I often have to use context clues from other sentences around the problem sentence to decide whether I need to change this sentence to “I was walking down the street and then we saw each other” or “I am walking down the street and then we see each other.”

  • Grammar issues, like punctuation being outside of quotation marks, or apostrophes in the wrong place. If you have trouble with things like grammar and punctuation, your best bet is honestly to google it. I do it all the time. Every time a teacher or professor has tried to teach me grammar, I have really struggled to understand it. It goes in one ear and out the other. (What’s a past participle? Hell if I know.) I understand how the English language works and what sounds right, but I can’t always explain why. Knowing why can be really important in editing, because English is a mutant language with a ton of exceptions to all of its rules, not to mention a ton of rules you have to memorize in the first place. If you’re unsure about a rule, the easiest thing to do is go to Google. It will often lead you to places like Grammar Girl’s articles where different grammatical concepts will be explained to you in a simple way that is usually pretty easy to remember. But if you don’t remember, it’s totally okay to look it up again. (And again… and maybe a few more times after that because grammar is hard.)
  • Problems with sentence structure. I will see a sentence that’s just weird. Usually these sentences aren’t wrong, exactly, but they just don’t quite come out right when you read them. I’ve been guilty of this. There’s a lot of different ways that this can happen, but here’s an example:

How foolish that was I have no words to express.

Technically, there’s nothing wrong with this sentence. (At least, as far as I can tell – someone correct me if I’m wrong!) It just sounds weird. And there’s a better way to write it so that it flows better: “I have no words to express how foolish that was.” See how nicely the second version flows? Just changing the words around a bit made the meaning of the sentence much clearer and easier to read.

And that’s really the whole point of editing: you want to make your writing easier to read. We could get really nitty-gritty and talk about every possible issue your writing could ever have, but the details aren’t as important as it is for you to keep the goal of making your writing as accessible for your intended audience at the forefront of your mind.

Have specific questions about editing? Feel like I missed something important? Leave a comment and I’ll answer your question in a future post!

Book Hoarding


For the past several months, I have been trying to get rid of some of my books. It is… not going well. In the three-ish months (god, I really hope it’s only been three and not longer) since I resolved to separate my books into “keep,” “donate,” and “sell” piles, I have only been able to select about ten books that I’m absolutely certain I don’t want to keep. Some of them are gifts that I am just not all that interested in and never have been, while others were assigned reading that I always meant to finish but haven’t gotten around to. I haven’t read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (yet), but from what I have heard secondhand, one of the most important things to do when tidying is ensure that the stuff you are keeping around you is stuff that brings you joy.

I love my books. I love having books on my shelf. But I’ve had to admit to myself recently that I have not made much time for sitting down and reading physical books. I read all day at work and I’ve prioritized other hobbies since leaving high school. I can’t say that it’s a good thing, but I tend to prioritize gaming and watching TV over reading. Which means that now, instead of having a shelf full of possible sources of entertainment, I have a shelf full of heavy decorations that are not being used.

I’m a big believer in secondhand books. I rarely buy any books with a hard cover or brand new, because I’m a very heavy user. I make notes in the margins and dog-ear pages. A lot of my favorites no longer have covers and are falling apart. Buying secondhand is simply part of frugal decision-making for me – why buy a book at full price that isn’t going to stay pristine? But a big part of my belief in secondhand books has always been being willing to let books go so that others can love them just as much as I did. But for some reason, I haven’t actually put that concept into practice for several years. I’ve gotten rid of a few textbooks I had no attachment to, sure, but not any of the novels I picked up from the free library in the laundry room and never started, or the books that I am entirely certain I have grown out of that I no longer have an emotional attachment to.

I’m not entirely sure why this is. I think to some degree I just haven’t had much time to de-clutter much of anything in my apartment over the last four years, and I’ve been lazy about taking on big projects. But a huge part of it is that I am deeply attached to my book hoard. The thought of decreasing my collection even by one book makes me uncomfortable. They’ve been a heavy presence at the corner of my eye for so long. Many of these books have been with me since I was very young and it feels wrong to release them into the wild for someone else to have. I can’t say they feel like part of me, but they certainly feel like part of what makes my space mine. I worry that I would be lonely without them.

But even with all those emotional ties, I can’t help but consider things like what will happen when I move out. How many boxes will all these books take up? (Too many.) Will I really want them in whatever new home I end up in? Even if I don’t move out any time soon, do I really want to keep all that space for books that are going unread when I could use it for vital storage of other, more useful items that have had to be tucked away elsewhere? And the more I think about things like this, the more I realize that my hoard is less of a comforting presence and a collection of knowledge and more of a reminder of my issue with letting keepsakes go. So I think back on Marie Kondo’s rule to only keep things around that bring you joy and ask myself: are my books bringing me joy? Some of them. But most of them feel like an anchor.

That tells me that I have to do something about this. I treasure my books, but I need to move forward and let them go. I need to let other people find them and treasure them and hopefully crack them open once in a while. And I need to do it soon.

Fingers crossed.


Yes, It’s September, and Yes, I’m Already Prepping for NaNoWriMo


Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

It honestly feels weird to have already started prepping this early. The 4 other times I’ve started NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those unfamiliar with the challenge) I have waited until the absolute last minute to get started. November 1st rolls around, I remember I made a commitment to myself to do NaNo again, and I just wing it and see what happens. I’ve finished twice this way, and failed another two times. While it’s fun to just let myself type out whatever comes to mind, I feel like I’m not really the kind of person who wants to deal with the stress of pulling two thousandish words a day out of thin air as I hope for the best anymore. My time is a lot more limited and I need to be thoughtful about how I work to make sure I can actually accomplish my goals and not feel overwhelmed.

So, for the first time, I’ve been planning. I have a setting sketched out (a post-apocalyptic America where everything isn’t a gigantic mess and people are actually doing pretty okay–I’ve gotten lots of inspo from the solarpunk movement and have done a lot of thinking about non-capitalist economies), I have a main character (her name is Masha, she’s butch as hell and flies a solar-powered airship), and a general conflict (City People are weird and holding too tight to the old ways, while everyone else just does their best to avoid the City People, but, of course, trade happens between those groups, and things get ugly at one point).

Every time I get an idea, whether it’s for plot stuff or character stuff or setting or whatever else, I make sure to write it down in my journal so I can go back to it later and not forget it when it’s crunch time in mid-November and I’m losing my mind trying to figure out where this story goes and how it works. And it feels really good to be taking care of that ahead of time and feel like I’m setting myself up for success rather than just chugging along and hoping I don’t fail.

I’m also really excited about this story. I feel like I haven’t had a “good” idea in a long time, but my brain popped this one out and it felt like I absolutely needed to do something with it. It’s a culmination of a lot of my interests and sensibilities, with a main character who has been rattling around in my head for a while but just didn’t seem to fit anywhere, in a setting I really care about. So maybe it’s way too freakin’ early to be trying to plan out my book for NaNo, but it’s exactly the right time for me to be getting pumped about spending a month churning this novel out.