30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 9: The Art of the Quick Recovery

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.9.14Where I Wrote: I started in City Hall Park, but, when I needed to search for a restroom, I wound up walking back to South Street Seaport, where I found Cannon’s Walk.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Really good, although, more than any other day, I was aware that what I wrote needs a good edit for consistency. I breezed through a short… sneaking segment (I guess you could call it) that I want to round out. I then introduced another villain with, in contrast, an extremely detailed description. Didn’t really feel fair to the sneaking segment.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: After yesterday, incredibly reluctant and expecting failure.

The Experience: If there’s one thing I’m weary of doing on here, it’s being really depressing. I definitely don’t want to bring anyone’s mood down with what I write, so I apologize for bringing the funk yesterday. But I definitely wasn’t going to lie about how I felt; I don’t want to fabricate any of these posts–create drama and manufacture good vibes–because I’m not writing a story for you here. I’m just being honest and open for once, with total strangers because that’s something that kind of scares me–something I never would have done even just a few months back.

So, believe me when I say that I did not want to head out today. My morning was slow and rife with minor maintenance–the completion of small goals that meant putting off going outside and writing. Today, more than any other day, I wanted to succumb to that tired voice that pleaded, “You can just write here. You can play some more Binding of Isaac and then get to writing later. Your one friend is going to be on at some point and you can finish the Nightfall in Destiny. And even if you don’t get around to writing today, you can write tomorrow.”

At which point I started throwing on my clothes. It was too tempting. I wanted to do the silent wallow–fall into that same void I fell into when I got my first rejection letter. A week–at least–of not writing because I’d just been defeated by something.

So heading outside anyway and jumping on the train regardless was more of an experiment than anything else. Did I need that week to recover? Would I fail to find a new writing spot and go home defeated again, or possibly find a spot and just not be able to write?

I had absolutely no plan for a location. The morning saw me second-guessing every possible spot I could think of. When I was finally on the train, I just rode past transfer points for a number of different spots I thought I’d try.

In the end, I opted for City Hall Park.

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Simple and inviting, the above fountain had benches around it, loosely occupied. I took a seat, took out my tablet, decided to give it a shot.

And the words came. Despite the uncertainty, they came easily and comfortably. Actually, not just comfortably–comforting; the more I wrote, the better my mood got. Pretty soon I was smiling, probably looking just… super weird to the families that walked by, but eh.

Of course, the usual problems arose. Not the cold; I was determined to just deal with that because I’m tired of migrating for it. However, after about an hour, I needed a bathroom. There are no public restrooms nearby (although I didn’t look in the park itself, so maybe I’m wrong). Instead, I tried a Starbucks across the street and then a nearby Dunkin Donuts, determined to just come right back.

Instead, I migrated to one spot that I knew had public restrooms–South Street Seaport. It was not a long walk, and after the rest room, I thought, “Maybe Pier 15 again?”

But that’s when I saw a sign for the Cannon Walk.

“The Cannon’s Walk.” My eyes narrowed. I’d seen the same signs on Day 3. Was it a Chelsea Market kind of deal? Maybe they’d have seats? I shrugged. Walked in. Checked it out.

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And found this. Accessible by a door on Fulton St. (between Water St. and Front St.), the Cannon’s Walk was an… enclosed, public… alleyway? There was a bench, a few tables, doors that led into stores and (likely) the Seaport Museum, and absolutely no one around. Well, there were people from the stores and Museum walking around, moving stuff, but those who saw me never told me I had to leave or put back the table I’d dragged over to the one bench. I suppose the best way to sum it up was there were very, very few people, and those who stumbled through didn’t care to stop and take a breather. Or let their kids loose on the one bench. Or feed the squirrels. It was calm, enclosed enough that it wasn’t cold (at least until night fell) and, most of all, comfortable.

So I wrote, getting over quota for the first time in days.

And all after fighting myself to go out at all.

And so, I had my answer–clear and indisputable data from my experiment. I didn’t need the recovery time. I didn’t need to wallow. I never have. In fact, that recovery time, in which I’d put off writing–the one, sure fire thing that makes me happy–only made those ruts worse. And, really, of course they did. It’s so easy to miss something so simple, but, of course.

All I actually needed to do to recover from those failures was to just get right back up.

 

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 8: Admitting Defeat

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.8.14Where I Tried to Write: First I stopped by the NaNoWriMo write-in at Paragraph. Then it was on to a handful of places around Union Square before I gave up and went home.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: I feel like I wrote exactly 20 words today.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: A lot worse than I thought. Or maybe I started off alright but getting repeatedly stymied made my mood worse.

The Experience:

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I smiled when I saw this. Not sarcastically–I have a running joke with a close friend that can be summed up with a single line: “This is a disaster.” When I got to the NaNoWriMo write-in, my big, terrifyingly social move for the day, I found this note and immediately heard her say, “This is a disaster!” in my mind. Not our usual caliber of disaster (the surprise parade was my favorite), but still enjoyable.

As the note suggested, I went upstairs to add my name to a waiting list. I want to go into details about Paragraph, but I took up the offer to come back for a trial day, so I’ll reserve comment for when I’ve actually utilized the space. For today, it was just a walk up three sets of stairs and a short wait to put my name on that waiting list. The space did look comfortable and cozy and I wish I’d arrived earlier to nab a seat (in my defense, I genuinely did not imagine that the space would be filled [I imagined an auditorium but got a room roughly the size of my own living room]). I suppose that if you’re planning to attend any NaNoWriMo write-ins, expect a crowd and aim to be at it’s head.

From there, I took a moment to stand on 14th Street and genuinely wonder, “What do I even… do now?” There were a few, very vague possibilities in the area, but none were tested–I’d really banked on a simple, heart attack-inducingly social day and a triumphant ride back home.

Instead, I tried Forbidden Planet first, not sure if their new location had a gaming area with a free seat. No dice.

I moved on to the Strand, which, in all the years since I’ve been there, seemed to only grow more crowded.

Union Square was next, even though it seemed like the worst idea possible right from the get go as, once again, it was cold outside. Oddly, this is where I got my 20 words out and intended to do more.

But then a lady started walking by my spot, chittering and throwing nuts everywhere. I don’t mean that she was insane, over-hand tossing peanuts at people (I clarify because New York). She was, however, feeding the squirrels in the park. Cute for exactly 10 seconds, at which point squirrels started running around everywhere, under my feet, onto the back of my bench, stopping, squirrel-glaring at me as if I was supposed to have nuts too.

And that’s when I was done. Because seriously. I like all manners of cute, furry things, but I’ve seen enough squirrel-on-human violence happen at the Bronx Zoo, when tourists, more amazed of the mythical black squirrel than the elephants directly behind them, proceeded to hand-feed said squirrels and then always–always–get bitten. No thanks. I actually watched Madame Squirrel jump and laugh as one snapped at her foot for another nut. No. No, I’m good.

From there, I made my last stop the Barnes & Noble on 17th. The idea was to just give up and repeat a location–something I really didn’t want to do–but I was already at a loss for other options. Of course, it was a weekend in Manhattan though, so Barnes & Noble was a mess, its cafe crowded, its floors lined with people who weren’t supposed to be sitting but were anyway.

And I just gave up. I gave up and I kind of hate myself for it. There was one more option that I had planned for another day, but it was already 5 by that point and I was sure said location would be swamped. So, weighing my options between something else falling through or just throwing in the towel, I actually, finally threw in the towel today. Not, I specify, on NaNoWriMo overall–there’s no way I’m quitting on finishing a new novel.

But, staying taut with my weird, personal NaNoWriMo Challenge (with the finding spots and writing outside), I gave up on writing for the rest of the day. Because the easiest thing in the world would’ve been coming home and just writing here instead (as I am right now).

But that isn’t what I need. I’ve already finished books at home. It has definitely taken longer before NaNoWriMo, but only challenging myself to finish another one faster wouldn’t have helped me as much as going outside–meeting people. Chatting. Networking. I know I’ve made it a joke before that sedentary life can change a man.

But it isn’t a joke. I need outside because I’m terrified of not needing outside anymore.

So it rankles a bit to only get 20 words down for the day–it was pretty depressing to update my “progress”–but I’m going to do this challenge my way.

Because I don’t want to go back to being the comfortable person who wouldn’t even accept it. The man who wouldn’t even put himself in a position to feel this particular kind of defeat.

I don’t want to go back to being the Louis who’s afraid of making mistakes and sometimes losing.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 7: Nearly Perfect

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.7.14Where I Wrote: Another crawl (these are becoming the norm). I tried the City Bakery first but they were full. From there, I found a few spots on the High Line and then ended in Chelsea Market (that is, not in one of the restaurants in Chelsea Market, but a spot in the market’s main strip).

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Good. Today was a bit of filler, but not bad filler; I cleaned up and then finished a time transition that could’ve been awkward. I also made a few decisions that led me to a solid, weird idea for Chapter 4, which I’m really excited to start tomorrow.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Pleased. I was glad to be out again. I was particularly excited to try the City Bakery and the High Line.

The Experience: Cold. So cold.

So, the only bad part about NaNoWriMo is that it’s in November. I didn’t realize this was a draw back until earlier today. Not when I went out and found that it was a bit chilly; that was fine because it meant I could finally justify a long-drooled-over return to the City Bakery (not really though, because their amazing hot chocolate is seriously $7 [I don’t know how I forgot that, but one thing’s for sure–I still bought that hot chocolate and enjoyed the hell out of it]). So, no, the slight chill was fine, I thought.

But then, after finding the City Bakery jam packed, I decided to try the High Line. And, holy shit. I’ve been to the High Line before, but never to look for writing spots. What did I find?

The High Line…

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… is lousy…

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… with writing spots.

The problem is, these spots are obviously opened to the air, and, today, that meant they were pretty frigid. My first spot was not so bad:

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The theater on 17th is recessed enough that there was no wind. Sitting down at the foot of the very bottom step, the view out of those large windows was also pretty awesome:

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It was very–very–nearly perfect.

But then the rain started. I don’t want to make that sound like a disaster because it did not kill the session. It did mean I had to migrate south on the High Line until I reached an underpass where vendors are usually set up. There are two levels on that underpass, and near the southern end of the bottom level, there’s this ridiculous, scenic seating area that would have been amazing.

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Would have been if it wasn’t freezing. That’s why I wish NaNoWriMo wasn’t in November. To immediately clarify, I don’t blame NaNoWriMo–I think the challenge is amazing and I’m really glad I’m a part of it. More to the point, my decision to find writing spots outside for NaNoWriMo was my decision alone, not theirs, so I really am not criticizing.

In fact, I’m completely acknowledging how unrealistic my need was to write on that insane balcony, with the clouds and the sun shining behind them. And an almost comically dramatic American flag waving in the background. I mean, come on… Man do I wish I could’ve written there. But that’s what Summer ’15 is for, I suppose.

Still, the session was not over and at no point did I consider just giving up; I’ve thrown in the towel on other days because I didn’t want to burn straight through a handful of potential spots in a row to no avail. But today, having seriously spent more time taking pictures than writing at this point, I had to head indoors to Chelsea Market.

I didn’t take any pictures there (it was way too crowded and would’ve been crazy awkward), but Chelsea Market was today’s winning spot. There are public bathrooms there and restaurants all around for when the inevitable thirst and hunger crop up. But, most importantly for writers, there was free seating. Everywhere. Somehow I hadn’t realized it before, but there’s free seating in front of many of the Market’s shops. And it’s oddly easy to nab one of those seats; the milling crowds paid way less attention to them than I expected.

I passed through once and easily nabbed a seat in front of a clothing shop. And there, I wrote until I felt I had to stop again, the endless murmuring of the crowds a comfortable background noise.

Somewhere, I’m pleased at finding such a good spot in a place that I wasn’t expecting; Chelsea Market was absolutely an after thought when I headed out earlier–a place I would head to if I needed coffee maybe. And yet, I did nearly all of my work there. There’s a part of me that sees that irony and understands it and determines to be more open and accepting of what I perceive as lesser writing spots–to not play up and deify places I know will be awesome.

But at the same time, seriously with that American flag already! Are you kidding me!?

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 6: Breaking the Ritual

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.6.14Where I Wrote: The laundromat down the street. And then, home. I immediately feel bad for not hitting somewhere interesting today, but I’ll explain.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Fantastic. Today saw the moment where the last piece of the plot fell into place; I now have a full plot for Memory. And, thankfully, it all fit together smoothly (there was only one loose element from an older version of the plot that had to be cut).

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Restless, but ultimately accepting; I wanted to reclaim the West side of Manhattan after yesterday’s fiasco, but there was no denying that I needed to take care of a few things today.

The Experience: I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it yet, but I didn’t plan to do any of this. I know that in my first post, I mentioned how I was considering trying daily posts, but I have to reiterate that, until the end of last month, that was only the vaguest of ideas. On October 30th, I found out about NaNoWriMo. On October 31st, I decided to take the challenge. On November 1st, I decided to post about it daily.

So I hope that it’s not surprising to hear that I woke up today, looked at my selection of clothing and realized,

“I don’t… There’s nothing here for me to wear.” And then I stare for a moment and, “Huh.” And I mean “huh” like “weird.” As if my clothes are just supposed to be clean for weeks and weeks (again, the sedentary, stay-at-home lifestyle, folks).

Still, I’m all, “I’ll just go out today, then get up early tomorrow and go out tomorrow too–no big.”

And then I looked out the window. Saw the rain. Sighed. “Fine. You win,” I told… the world, I guess?

Even so, that definitely did not mean I wasn’t writing. But I absolutely was not going to return to Bronx Park or the Barnes & Noble Cafe from Day 1 because Bronx Park would’ve been a total nightmare in the rain and Barnes & Noble didn’t feel worth it.

So where do I write? How do I take care of laundry and not just write at home–definitely the most uninspired possible place. I was not writing at the laundromat–that was for sure. That place is a loud nightmare–they show kids’ shows and music videos at the same time. It’s obnoxiously loud, and if there’s one place I can’t write, it’s somewhere with noi–ohhhhh. Wait. There it is. That’s where I’ll write–somewhere I’ve never written before.

In a loud nightmare, with kids’ shows and music videos playing at the same time. The way I immediately thought of it, I was going to “break the ritual,” as my friend Justine Manzano put it in a guest post on Scarlett Van Dijk’s blog back in September.

The thing is… I wish I could ham up the experience more for you. I wish I could tell you of the pure strife I had to endure to belt out the pages that I wrote there.

But the only difficult thing about it was how quickly my clothes were done. There was a fair bit of me saying, “Really?” incredulously and too loud–at laundry machines–because I couldn’t believe my clothes were already washed and then dried. I do not know if the last five days were enough to change me, but what was once impossible was now so easy that it made me shout at laundry machines. I managed to write a scene introducing my villain before coming home and determinedly finishing up a second scene that I knew I could finish (instead of reflexively putting it off for tomorrow).

I absolutely will get to go out tomorrow–to actually go somewhere and (hopefully) find some place new and amazing for writing; I’ve been restless enough for another win that I have a short list of potential candidates in mind.

But, in some really weird way, today was amazing and empowering for me. I used to be the kind of writer who threw up his hands if he wasn’t writing in total silence.

Now I’m the kind who finds his own silence, even when it seems impossible.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 5: Not According to Plan

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.5.14Where I Wrote: Just a crawl of bad writing spots (not intentionally, of course). I began on the Central Park side of the water fountain on the northeast corner of 59th and Central Park West. Then Whole Foods in the Time Warner Center.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: I did make the tough writing decision from the end of yesterday’s session, but I didn’t get far beyond that. I am honestly bummed by how little I got done today and the honest fact that Memory definitely isn’t going to be 50,000 words (I always planned for it to be a roughly 100 page novella, written as a break between bigger projects) isn’t much comfort. I really want to be up to par on my daily words–even if it means finishing Memory before NaNoWriMo ends.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Victorious; before leaving my place, I settled a nagging financial issue and I came up with an awesome answer to the above-mentioned plot question.

And yet…

The Experience:

???: “Hi there.” <sits down directly across the table from Louis>

Louis: <if his eyes aren’t wide with surprise on the outside, they absolutely are on the inside. across from him sits a completely normal person, who whips out a tablet and chats amiably and comfortably about it. and about how he’s a writer and blogger. he works in a joke that genuinely makes Louis laugh. and Louis, being Louis, struggles not to wail a Lemongrab-esque, “UNCOMFORTABLEEEEE!!” in his face, out of nowhere>

Confession–I am really, really bad at talking. Very, very bad at it. Not bad enough that I completely ignored this fellow blogger when he approached, but bad enough that I could not, for the life of me, think of anything to say to him. In case I haven’t made it clear yet, it was not the stranger’s fault–he really seemed like a nice guy. But being sociable is not on my set of skills. Not with strangers, at least; with my friends, of course, I’m least likely to stop talking. Maybe there are situations when I go public-mute because I’m trying to figure out an uncertain social element, but during hang outs with friends, the jokes come easy. Maybe even too easy.

But the thing is those public-mute moments; I require an observation period to figure out if I like someone/something or not (I’m weird–have I ever clarified that I’m really weird?). Otherwise, I’ll just assume someone’s a great person, an assumption that’s burned me enough times that there’s no comfortable side of a random “Hi there.”

To make matters worse, my entire day was oddly… weighted, I suppose you could say. Scripted, maybe? I woke up trying desperately to fix a financial issue and come up with a major plot choice, which meant instant pressure all morning. Those issues were resolved before I even left the apartment, thankfully.

But then I headed to Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center, my original choice for the day’s writing session (the entire intent to be coming somewhere familiar and easy so I wouldn’t have to look for a place to write). Only… I’ve worked in the Time Warner Center, which made going there to write feel exactly like going to a job that used to really stress me out. Bouchon was also packed when I got there, so I walked out to the fountain on the southwestern side of Central Park (not the Columbus Circle fountain–the one across the street, to the northeast of it). Only it turns out, the spot on the fountain where I used to have lunch wasn’t any better on my old man back than the rough rock steps in Bronx Park. I stood at the fountain just long enough to implement that big writing decision I’d made earlier.

But then I had to stretch my legs and move inside to another old lunch spot–the cafeteria in Whole Foods, the bowels of the Time Warner Center. And that’s when Paul sat down–after maybe a half hour more of writing.

I was determined to not be completely anti-social. Really I was. I tried to chat back because he genuinely didn’t seem like a bad person. But, in the end, clamming up won the day; I eventually drifted off into a silent stare at my tablet, determined, at least, to actually keep writing (“Be comfortable, damn you!”). I only succeeded in getting out another line or two.

Again, I don’t want to make it sound like it was his fault (even now, hours later, I don’t want to be the dick who’s all, “I can’t write with you being all friendly, bro.”). I honestly also hit the end of my initial outline, meaning I had to actually plan what was coming up, something that I was incredibly reluctant to just free write.

So I waited until I was at least in the mindset to write again and certain that, no, I’m not just leaving because I’m afraid of talking to someone (serious progress, for me). When I was sure that I couldn’t write more because I just didn’t want to force the next few pages (which always goes poorly for me), I packed up, bid Paul farewell, and walked outside.

And determined, instantly, to try and be better about my plans. Obviously, that meant planning my story more actively (I already have my idea for the next plot point and I’m going to continue polishing it up for tomorrow). But, more acutely for me, it meant being able to deal with a break in my personal plans; I could never possibly have planned for someone to just sit down and talk to me. In all honesty, I’m weird enough that I forget I’m in public when I’m in public–that people can engage me (a solid year of sedentary work-from-home can change a man). But I want to be able, specifically, to deal with random social engagements when they happen. To invite them, even.

The next time someone engages me, I will–probably very awkwardly–engage them right back. I swear I will.

And the next time I know I’m reaching the end of what I have planned for a book, I’ll make sure to plot out the next part of it ahead of time.

And, of course, never again will I choose a writing spot associated with “stress” and “work.” I’m sure I could’ve prevailed anyway… but why? I’ve already chosen to be a writer; why make my life harder?

Why not make the first step of every writing session, “Find a comfortable seat in a place you love?”

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 4: Maintenance

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.4.14Where I Wrote: Bronx Park, just a short walk from one of the entrances to the Bronx Zoo.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Really good. I was actually confused by how much I got out and how quickly it happened (from just before sunset to just after). It’s enough to balance the fact that I was a bit below quota.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Eager.

The Experience: It was around 4PM when the electrician got here.

I’ll explain, but, before I do, I wanted to throw that time out there to show how late of a start I got; it’s Fall here in New York, which means sunset is around 5PM. Not actually late, but about… 5 or 6 hours after I usually like to head out.

But it was necessary; I’ve tweeted about the spooky wiring in my room, the light turning on and off on its own. That was only pretend-enjoyable until November 1st; at exactly 12AM, it wasn’t festive anymore.

A little annoying to have to wait that long after my Anxious Hearts moment yesterday; I wanted to get out and find anywhere new.

But it just wasn’t in the cards; not if I wanted to get any writing done, get back home to post this, and get a good amount of work done.

So I settled for Bronx Park, a place I’m familiar with. And a place that’s pretty horrible for writing. In direct contrast to the miracle that was Pier 15, Bronx Park only has rough, public benches–not the worst offense…

… unless you’re a writer who gets there, looks around, and immediately goes wide-eyed as they wonder, possibly aloud, “Where the hell are the picnic tables?” I wound up sitting on a set of rough rock steps just off the main path. That lasted until nightfall, at which point my back started protesting. From there, it was on to a small set of bleachers. I had to sit on them backwards, using one of the lower foot rests as a seat, the actual bench above it serving as a makeshift table.

Improvisational. Utilitarian. A no frills arrangement engaged just to get some work done before going home and getting more work done.

And man did the pages fly there. I left around 4PM and, when I hit a point where I felt I had to stop (Chapter 2 ends in a plot choice I refused to make willy nilly), I was certain the time on my tablet was wrong. 5 and change? Seriously? I’d only been writing for about an hour?… What?

I don’t know how that works. Maybe it’s because there were no distractions–only people playing sports I don’t care about and, when night fell, only a small handful idling around.

Or maybe it was watching the electrician when he got to my apartment, taking about twenty minutes to fix three problems that I assumed would take hours.

Either way, I’ll take days like today. Straight forward. Fast and devoid of glamour.  Maintenance, done in hours less than I expected.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 3: Catching Up

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.3.14Where I Wrote: Pier 15 at South Street Seaport.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Really awesome. At worst, a tiny bit worried that I’m being too indulgent with my main characters in Memory.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Really, really good.

The Experience: I got out early today, just as I’d planned after the fiasco that was Day 2.

My start was a little stunted, me stumbling with a handful of word processing apps. To accurately summarize, I spent enough time testing them earlier today that the copy of my story that I bounced between them eventually turned into a mash of wingdings and nonsense code.

When I finally found an app that worked well enough (WPS Office by Kingsoft), I set out with absolutely no plan and the possibility that WPS Office would quit on me and destroy Day 3.

But that did not happen. I had no plan, of course, so there was a bit of, “I should get off this train… Right?… Yes!” and then equal parts of, “Shit. I shouldn’t have gotten off that train.” But, in the end, I wound up here:

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Did you… Did you know there are adirondack chairs set up for the general public at Pier 15? There’s a cruise line office there, but built on top of it, there’s an outdoor, waterfront longue… with adirondak chairs. I could not have asked for a better writing spot to stumble upon. To be completely honest, I sat on one of the large, wooden steps nearby for a good hour first before wandering up, curious, and finding these; they’re that tucked away–up a ramp and all the way at the end of the elevated portion of the pier. I’d already written a good amount but when I found this spot, I immediately hunkered down and went over quota.

I didn’t make up all of the ground I lost on Day 2; only because it got really cold as the day drew on. I left hoping to find coffee nearby and a bathroom. Although I didn’t find the former, the latter was also–to my surprise–public access (just a short walk away on Front St.–just off of Fulton). Considering that there has to be coffee somewhere nearby that I missed, I’m really excited for round 2 at Pier 15.

Oddly though, the most intense part of this experience for me was when my futile search for coffee led me north to the Brooklyn Bridge. I know this will sound incredibly nerdy to non-gamers and incredibly fanboy-ish to nerds, but reaching the bridge and looking up turned Anxious Hearts on in my head–like a switch. Instantaneous. The sight of dirty, metal scaffolding and old concrete over head and I’m a kid again, staring in awe, thinking about the countless places that exist that I’ve never seen–that I won’t see. I know that may sound strange, but it’s something that I think of from time to time.

And, of course, it made me a little sad, as the combination of those thoughts and that song often does. Not defeated–not a sting of loss. More like the pressure of yearning; I can’t help thinking that if I’d started sooner–if I hadn’t waited to start these strange, short quests of mine–I’d have found so many more of those unseen places. In a strange way, it made me as sad as it made me hopeful; there’s always a time to start. There are always places to see and things to do, just waiting. All it takes to see them is the desire to find them.

And, in our case, as writers, the desire to put those places that don’t exist–our places–on paper for others to find.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 2: Baby Steps

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.2.14Where I Wrote: A Barnes & Noble Cafe in the Bronx.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Aside from not getting enough done, I actually feel great about what I wrote.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Really good.

The Experience: Well, today was absolutely a collection of lessons.

Lesson 1: I’m fine with rejection letters at this point. Literally the first thing I did after rolling out of bed was find a brand new rejection letter for “The Drowned God of the Silent Realm.” After the last two rejections, this one barely stung at all. Getting outside and heading to a random destination to work on Memory was enough to get a smile out of me again.

Lesson 2: However… it turns out that tablets really aren’t the best for writing outside. At the very least, Polaris Office just… absolutely loves to unexpectedly quit. With a short, unsatisfying apology too: “Unfortunately, Polaris Office stopped working,” it says, as if Polaris Office is shrugging it’s shoulders like, “What’s with that fucking program anyway? Pfft.” Like Polaris itself felt my sarcastic discontent when it shut itself down when I tried to write the sentence, “Not in the breath it took before lightning struck again,” for the sixth time. One thing’s for sure: Polaris Office didn’t understand my exhausted discontent when it shut down for the very first time, taking two pages of work with it.

So, ultimately, I had a good 20 minutes worth of writing, a solid 30 minutes of trying to figure out a way to continue writing without Polaris, and then, upon finding no work around, reading a bit more Alloy of Law and heading home.

When I got home, I started to investigate other apps to write with. But, of course, getting home presented another problem.

Lesson 3: Organizing your schedule with work and writing is just… really important. I’ve always known this, of course. I knew that going out to write would cut it close with work (I have a weekly quota of hours to put in, thus my settling for a writing location in the Bronx instead of heading to Manhattan, where I always want to write). What I somehow didn’t expect was that getting those last three hours would somehow take six hours of real time (it’s a strange, strange stay-at-home job). The solution: learning to roll out of bed, get directly into the shower, and leave home without trying (and repeatedly failing) to beat 6-3 in Dracula’s Curse (I will not get started about how much I love and equally hate Dracula’s Curse).

So, in the end, today was a single, long struggle to get a lot done with way too little time. I really, really wanted to put this post off until way later, finishing the scene I was working on outside, but that felt like cheating; I planned poorly and missed my writing goal by a huge margin.

But, at the same time, I learned a ton about being an active writer. Baby steps.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 1: The Worst Possible Start

I’ve been contemplating doing daily posts for a while now; partially because I wondered if I could manage them. But also because I’m getting tired of the article-styled posts. I’ve never been keen on getting very personal here, likely because my personal life totally blows. But there’s a way to write about my life that doesn’t mean wasting breath on things that aren’t worth it, I knew. A way to relate how I feel about writing every day. At one point, I was all, “Maybe I’ll experiment and do like… a week of daily posts?”

And then I learned about NaNoWriMo. And, instantly, all of the puzzle pieces fell into place; I could not deny the challenge to be more diligent and the chance to do daily posts and the excuse to go write in new places every day.

So that’s what you’ll be getting for the next 30 days. Every day I will go somewhere, write there, update my NaNoWriMo page, and post about it all here. I know that this is extremely sudden, but I promise the Progress Sidebar will be back in December; I just couldn’t pass up this challenge.

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s get started.

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.1.14

Where I Wrote: Home (unplanned–see below)

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Pretty Good

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Horrible

The Experience: There are just those days. Days when you’re exhausted because you stood up late last night organizing your old comics for sale. Days when, despite being tired, you still awkwardly haul those comics out in the pouring rain and onto the New York subway. Someone eyes your weird, duplo comic book brief case and asks, “Selling some old comics?” and you smile and answer, “Yes,” because the day still isn’t that horrible.

Not until you get to the place where you’re supposed to sell them and find that Open Buying Day is not, in fact, a full day. And you know immediately that it’s your fault that you’re going to have to haul your awkward collection of comics back home in the pouring rain because you didn’t check the hours for Open Buying Day. You absolutely know you should’ve. You maybe even thought to check before leaving but didn’t.

It does not help that, as you leave, the people behind the counter let you know that, “Man. You missed it by like… ten minutes.” That’s the point at which your brain goes into “Thanks” mode. Maybe, “Really? Thanks, asshole,” mode is a better way to put it. You’re angry at yourself and now just determined to at least A) Not let that make you a jerk to anyone else and B) Not let the day get more screwed up. Because you expect the irony now–a bad day just can’t end well. Bad days generally follow the layout of a story with an Exposition, Rising Action, and a Conclusion. So you just wait for that Conclusion. Will a train hit this stupid pile of comics, somehow? Sounds really goofy, but hey, maybe; I mean, if I believe, I can achieve new levels of failure, right? Will the duplo lock on my duplo comic book brief case shatter because it’s not meant to stand up to 30 pounds of Silver Age pressure? That totally sounds like the one.

But then you get home without the hammer dropping. You carry your duplo case in your arms to make sure it doesn’t explode. You sit down with plenty of time to regroup and not let the Conclusion be failing on your first day of NaNoWriMo (because you just know that the day wants that to be your felling blow). If only to prove the world wrong, you sit down and get to work, find that 1,667 words is way, way more than you usually write and buckle in anyway.

And then you meet your goal. And you realize that, again, clearly now, it really was your fault you missed Open Buying Day. Because what we do with our time is always up to us–we pick and choose our victories and our failures by not being careful and not prioritizing.

I wonder how many days I didn’t prioritize my writing.