Two Years of Daily Writing

According to the event counter on this blog, I hit two years of writing daily last Monday, March 24th. Somehow, my own list only had that day as Day #348, but I trust a computer more than my own counting skills so–Hurrah! I have been writing daily for two years.

First, the stats:

The most I wrote in one day was 3500 words (HELLO, NaNo!) and the least was 125 (Hello school essay that I definitely had no motivation to complete). In total, I wrote approximately 181,000 words this year. That figure includes short stories, a novel, fanfiction, school papers, and blog posts of substantial quality. It’s shocking, actually, considering that I feel like I wrote way less than last year, when in reality the difference is only seven thousand words.* Given that I didn’t stick to any minimum amount this year, and overall was a lot easier on myself about whether I got things done or not, I think that’s pretty good. I also wrote substantially less “unreal” writing–fanfiction, blog posts, etc–so more of my writing is at least potentially publishable.

Speaking of publishing.

I need someone to invent a magical pill that gives me the motivation to sit down and edit this stuff. Right now I have three short stories and a novel that are all finished and probably good enough to go somewhere if I could just sit down and work through them. Somehow, whenever I think “Ah, I have a nice quiet weekend coming up, I shall do editing then” I get swamped by class, by family, by an evil mutant cold virus, etc. Next weekend, for example, I’m working every day (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Unlike with writing, I can’t edit in short bursts. I need time to concentrate on what I’m doing. Hence the lack of blogging too–I’m behind on everything, it seems. It’s just gotten to that point of the year.

Here’s to Year Three of writing daily, and here’s hoping this isn’t the one that shorts out my brain.

*You can see the stats from last year here.

Discontented Days

I’m trying to do something more journal-y with this blog, because somehow I feel like regular journaling is merely narcissistic, while blogging at leaf has the potential to have entertainment value to other people. Maybe this is because I’m from the accursed Millennial generation, and have somehow been imbued with the idea that the only words worth writing are those posted in public. But that’s a debate for another day.

As the title says, I’ve been going through a period of restlessness. This is partially good, since these periods always indicate more writing and more inspiration. But the rest of my life suffers. It’s difficult to sleep or pay attention or analyze the complete essays of Montaigne (well, it’s always hard to find an interest in Montaigne) when you just want to go. Go where? Who knows. I’m sick of schooling, honestly. I like learning, and I like classes, but I’m ready to be a real person with responsibilities and a permanent mailing address. I would like to read for fun again. Time seems to be fluid lately, more than it usually is. I sit down to do something, and suddenly it’s an hour later and whatever-it-was that was supposed to get done is still unfinished.

I don’t often miss suburbia–in fact, I almost never do–but lately I’ve been missing commuting with the windows down, blasting music at a volume that was sure to annoy passersby. Those were some of the few moments when I actually enjoyed the car culture that all but controls the Metro Detroit part of Michigan. Probably this is also wrapped up in the fact that driving time was some of my only reliable alone time, back then.

Ah, well. I’ll change my mind in a week, and decide that I like it here and still hate cars.

Why People Order Food Online

Calling the pizza place.

Me: “Hi, can I get a–“

Pizza Person: “Please hold.” click.

Second Pizza Person: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, I’d like a pizza for delivery–“

Pizza: “I have to transfer you.” click

Pizza Delivery Person: “Hello?”

Me: “Hi, can I get a gluten-free pizza with–“

PDP: “A what?”

Me: “A gluten-free pizza?”

PDP: “None of our pizzas have grapes.”

Me: “A GLUTEN-free pizza. With ham, onions, and pineapple.”

PDP: “Oh. For carryout?”

Me: “For delivery.”

PDP: “Okay. Ham, pepperoni, and olives, you said?”

Me: incoherent shrieking.

 

ALL I WANT IS A PIZZA.

This Blog is On a Government Watchlist

Time for the semi-annual (aka whenever-the-hell-I-feel-like-it) roundup of weird search terms people have used to find this blog, edited for grammar and spelling! And thanks, everyone, for making absolutely sure that the NSA is interested in me!

How to get more reviews on fanfiction. By far, the most popular relevant* search term. I get a hit from some variation on this theme almost daily. If you came here looking for that post, please click here. Maybe I should do a Cliffs Notes version, given how popular it is. It seems the world has a need for a faux-agony aunt writing about fanfic problems. Though to be honest, I don’t write much fanfiction of my own anymore even though I read quite a bit. According to my Fanfiction.net profile, I last posted a piece on October 13th of last year. I have some ideas I would like to work on eventually, but other things have to take precedence. Like schoolwork (which I am already, astoundingly, behind in), and real writing, and the two jobs I’m working. A fanfiction concept has to grab me by the ears and shake me to get me to work on it anyway, and none of the things I’ve got rattling about in the brainpan have done that yet.

Hardest kiss/hardest kissing. Can someone explain this to me? Is this a meme that I’ve missed, seeing as how I live under a rock, pop-culture-wise? I can’t remember writing anything that pertained to kissing, let along The Hardest Kissing of All.

Weird sex act. My mother would be so proud.

How to make your secret society fun. You could invite me to join. Seriously. That sounds cool.

My library manners. Generally, the rule of thumb is that if you have to ask, you’re not doing it right. Here’s some guidelines for being a person in a library: be mostly quiet, be polite, don’t watch porn in the kid’s section, clean up after yourself, use common sense. Really, it isn’t hard. If you find yourself chafing against these basic societal restrictions, you might want to start getting your books off Amazon.

Are all American classics boring? No. They aren’t. I recommend The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, and anything by Toni Morrison. I do think that we place too much of an emphasis on “classics” in school, though. In the end, it probably matters more that kids read rather than what they read. Reading as a habit facilitates an understanding of the English language that is hard–if not impossible–to get from grammar lessons alone.

Rhinestone jeans for guys. I don’t know how to help you here. We live in a masculinized heteronormative society. Maybe get a Bedazzler? Do they still make those?

Google thinks I’m a pervert. Yep, me too. I google lots of weird shit for stories–once it was “intestine magic.” (The real word, apparently, is haruspicy). Maybe we should start a support group.

Deviantart girl sucked into a vacuum cleaner stories. I–what? Is this a popular genre? I’m a “you do you” sort of person, but I have no idea how this got you to my blog. I…write about DA a lot, I guess? I might have mentioned vacuuming once? HOW DID YOU GET HERE?

*********************************

*Meaning: after discarding generic searches (“picture of open door,” “tweeting on twitter,” etc) and things that don’t actually pertain to any post I’ve made.

A New Theme

I was getting bored with the old one.

This one might not last long though, since I’m not fond of the pink. It’s hard to find a free theme that has both the configuration and style that I like.

Starfish Zombieism and Other Internet Goodies

There is actually a disease which is causing starfishes’ limbs to pull away from their bodies so that their intestines fall out.

Eew.

Here’s the story.

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Pictured: the zombie apocalypse

I’ve been spending a lot of time on the internets lately. It seems that I’ve moved away from writing the sort of fantastical fiction that doesn’t require much more than a good grip on the mechanics of handwavium to things I actually have to do research for. The short story I’m working on right now has me researching folklore (specifically, Lakota and Yoruba myths right now) and sculpture. The myths are easy. The sculpture is hard. Armature and types of clay and all this new vocabulary. I might just be putting off actually writing the story, because I don’t have any sense of the ending. Which is okay. I should be editing, anyway.

It’s amazing how many cultures are fascinated by spiders. Creepy, knobbly, disjointed little things. The Lakota have Iktomi and the Ashanti (from what is today Ghana) have Anansi, who’s fathered many other incarnations of himself across the world. In ancient Egypt the weaver of destiny, Neith, was associated with spiders.

Other things I’ve turned up lately include homemade chai syrup (spoiler: it’s lovely) and a recipe for gluten-free bao, something I’ve missed. I don’t have enough of a kitchen to try making the bao right now, but hopefully I will soon. I want some good, savory Chinese food that doesn’t come from a takeout container. Living up to stereotypes, it is damn hard to find anything approaching acceptable Asian cuisine in the midwest.

It hasn’t broken 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) here in over three weeks, with a good number of days being colder than that. I haven’t left the comfort of my giant puffy chair except for classes and library runs. I’ve just finished Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis. It’s a novel that will leave a chill in the pit of your stomach. I tried reading it a few times before, and somehow didn’t get past the first chapter, but I’m glad I bought it this time around. Some friends and I are planning on making a geek pilgrimage to C2E2 (Chicago Entertainment & Comics Expo) so I have to read some of the huge backlog of comics I have before I go and buy more. The main thing I’m excited to see there is the Vertigo panel. I cut down drastically on the number of DC Comics books I buy this year (in fact, I think the only one I’m still getting is All-Star Western) but no matter how the parent company seems to dislike the line, Vertigo will always have my heart. Usually I go to cons mainly to track down old issues I want and see panels, but there’s also going to be several artists at C2E2 who I want to buy art from. Even if I don’t have the wall space to display it right now.

I’ve also been listening to “Fake Palindromes” by Andrew Bird on loop. I bought it a few days ago, and according to my computer I’ve played it 40 times, which doesn’t count the number of times I’ve listened to it on the iPod. Sometimes you find a song that is just perfect for the person you are at that moment, and you find yourself letting it run through your head in the middle of the day like a constant soundtrack. This song is that for me, right now. I found it from watching The Good Wife, which has an amazing music selection for a TV show that is essentially a classed-up soap opera. I can put up with a lot in a TV show if it has a good soundtrack (see: Supernatural).

This post is a very long-winded way of saying I’m not dead, but hopefully something here has also struck your fancy. Real posts to come, I promise.

It’s the New Year (Again)

This isn’t a post about New Year’s resolutions. Or a retrospective of last year with a hopeful comparison to next. Well, it might be a little bit of both, but it’s also neither.

I usually try to do resolutions, but I’m not going to do that this year. For one, I’ve made the same resolutions every year since the Dark Ages (write more, exercise more, do intellectual-y things like journaling and reading) and every year I get slightly better at them. I don’t need to write them down again to know what I need to do. The only thing that I’m going to aim for, at least for the first few weeks of the new school semester, is to make myself a schedule in half-hour increments and stick to it. This sounds extreme, but when I did it during NaNo I was turning out 1,500-2,000 word days easy. I’d like that level of productivity again, but sticking to such a strict schedule is hard.

2013 was a pretty good year for me, writing-wise. I finished a novel, wrote several short stories (two or three which I think might turn into something, one which was dead in the water but good practice), blogged some though less than I’d like, started a new (lovely) novel, and wrote many soul-sucking-yet-rewarding papers for school. Personally, I officially picked majors, took some interesting classes that have started showing up in my work, added to a To-Read list 450 items long, and watched far too many stupid action movies. I haven’t edited a thing. NaSubStuffMo got shoved back to be January instead of December, because of an odd university schedule that puts me on vacation until the 19th. Editing gives me something to do while stuck at home in the -22 degree weather and three feet of snow, so that I don’t go crazy without anything productive to do. I love reading, but there’s only so long I can sit on the couch going through books. And my family and I have been reduced to discussing topics like “So…your deodorant is vanilla-scented? Well, that’s interesting.”

As I’m sure anyone who’s ever been to college can agree (or anyone whose job entails long breaks), holidays are the sworn enemies of work. It seems like all the free time would be a good thing, but the days just trickle away, and the monotony of it is just bad for the imagination.

Dip 1: Thanksgiving Break Dip 2: Winter Break

Dip 1: Thanksgiving Break
Dip 2: Winter Break

Happy New Year, and let’s hope I get back some semblance of life soon.