30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 23: Writing Fighting

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.23.14Where I Wrote: Pelham Bay Park. It was a much nicer day than I expected, so I decided to forego another indoor lounge and go for a public park instead. Nice, but the temperature didn’t hold up.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Good. As I said yesterday, I was expecting to finish my addition today and get to editing tomorrow. However, today wound up being as careful and pensive as yesterday was–I was a bit too eager to finish this fight and wound up adding and deleting repeatedly. In the end, I got out a solid bit of work and crested what’s probably just the first of many hurdles in this fight scene. Now, after having stopped early on the last day of Week 3, I’m fully aware that my deadline for NaNoWriMo is officially tight. But I’ve always been fine with tight deadlines.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Fine. Much better than yesterday although I pressed the same boundaries I did then.

The Experience: I woke up to emails from friends. Immediately, this made today better than yesterday.

I read those emails, had breakfast, played some games, and, once again, didn’t worry about where I was going. I let the excitement for writing my scene simmer a bit and then headed out when I heard (a little belatedly) that it was almost 50 degrees outside. Mental note made: check the daily forecasts. And although being relaxed is fine, waking up earlier affords more flexibility and more choices for the day, making things even more relaxed… The first hint of something I wasn’t realizing about my mood.

The early-start point was driven home by getting to Pelham Bay Park a bit late.


It was beautiful and I got to write there for a while, facing the angel monument. But I Definitely would’ve liked more time–would’ve preferred idling and taking even more pictures and exploring the park more thoroughly. The day was about writing, of course, not exploring, and write I did, but still… The second hint of something I wasn’t realizing about my mood.

I started my fight scene a little too eagerly and a little clumsy, making sure to take my time when I found myself rushing. Actually fighting myself to make sure I put the right words down. I’m wasn’t sure why this fight scene was so much more difficult than the first one. I knew, definitely, that I was tired–that the physical fatigue from earlier in the week turned into mental fatigue.

But it wasn’t just that. Pushing myself out again near nightfall, forcing myself to be okay with things I’m not usually okay with, I somehow wasn’t getting that those things were wearing me out. That those things were making me fight my writing. Some part of me has been silently protesting the changes; I want to be okay with going out later. I want to be okay with writing around loud, rowdy idiots. But the fact is, I’m not. Maybe its my associating the night with drinking and partying that makes it harder for me to write after sunset. Or maybe it’s the promise that getting home will be a pain in the ass on public transportation. But no matter what it is, pushing myself to accept these later writing sessions and a handful of changes meant I pushed in a different direction–I got home and just gamed when I should’ve been working and doing other things.

Essentially, I started sabotaging myself without realizing it. I’m not an expert on my own psyche, but when I packed up to use the park’s restrooms and get out of the cold, the thought, “You can always just write tomorrow,” came too easily. I was rounding back to being sedentary. Which meant I was rounding back to the idea of giving up on NaNoWriMo. Back to staying in and choosing to game instead of write. In the same flash, I thought, “Even if you don’t finish it by December, you’ve got time.”

No. No, fuck you.

When I got home, I threw down my tablet in one of my favorite rooms and continued my scene until I had to break for the night–in direct opposition to the reflex to just stop, post, watch videos online, and essentially give up.

I will not give up.

Tonight was the last night of pushing for extra challenges–the last night of trying to make myself deal with a new set of uncomfortable changes to my life while also doing NaNoWriMo. Because I will not sabotage this. I will not heap a ton of other objectives on top of finishing this one book. On Day 12, I talked about how I dropped photography and design and other hobbies to write.

Well, I’m officially dropping my sudden need to go out later and write under waterfalls or whatever the hell else I think up. No diners. No returns to places where people interrupted me. No uncertainty. No trying to change myself now, of all times, when there are 11 other months I can work on my neurosis.

For the rest of NaNoWriMo, there will only be NaNoWriMo.

For the rest of NaNoWriMo, there will just be me, a book, and a deadline.

30 Days of NaNoWriMo – Day 16: A Great Imbalance

LS-NaNoWriMoProgress-11.16.14Where I Wrote: Pelham Parkway, just off of White Plains Rd. in the Bronx.

How I Feel About What I Wrote: Strange. Exhausted. The bad news: Today was the very first time I wrote something super hurriedly and then got stuck because it came out completely wrong. The good news: I know exactly how to fix it and I fully intend to actually cheat a little tonight (I didn’t last night) and at least get what I wrote in order (literally–I very quickly wrote a few segments of a single event in a bizarre order and need to adjust it). All of that said, I’m genuinely surprised that I met my quota for the day.

The Mood I Brought to the Table: Anxious and reluctant, unfortunately. I’ve had my days when I needed extra time for work, but today was probably the most intense. I really didn’t want to stay in the Bronx today or, at the very least, I wanted to visit a slightly more interesting part of it (although Pelham Parkway turned out to be pleasant), but I just couldn’t take a chance on work hours tonight (and I’m glad I didn’t).

The Experience: Today was a stern lesson on balancing my time.

I’ve always known it was a struggle to juggle work and writing. It’s probably the primary struggle of writing–at the very least, it’s in the same pantheon of Writer Struggles as Motivational Problems and Writer’s Block. Typically, you go to work, come home, and you’re too tired to write. I was all about this problem for years.

Of course, now I have a way more flexible job. So, why the trouble? NaNoWriMo. I don’t want to antagonize the challenge at all, so I’ll specify that the trouble has been my inability to balance NaNoWriMo with work. In the Work VS Writing power struggle, NaNoWriMo has clearly won in a totally backwards way; now I go out every day, put in a surprisingly constant amount of hours at my tablet, punch out when my brain tells me I’ve put in enough work, and then come home too tired to work work. At least too tired to work well (my job is really, really intense about performance evaluation).

Today was the tipping point for that problem. It’s been too easy to think, “I’ll put in more/some hours tomorrow,” every day until I reach days like today, when I get up, look at the time, and realize, Fuck… I seriously can’t go to Manhattan again.

Particularly bad because, in truth, I didn’t even want to go to Pelham Parkway, a place where I have truly ancient memories and little else.


It’s not that it isn’t nice; it’s actually pleasant–maybe even pretty for an expanse of greenery lined with roads. It’s not that there aren’t places to purchase coffee, but it is one of those strange places between places; I’ve rode through countless times on my way to different schools, hospitals, shopping centers. Probably any other mundane location I could possibly think of. And, like Loreto Playground from Day 10, it’s surrounded by residential areas, meaning there are no public restrooms there. It is, I suppose I could say, totally unremarkable. A last ditch choice on a day when I wish I had more time for anywhere else.

Somehow, I managed to knock out my quota at these benches and another a block or two away, where two lone tables caught every cold breeze that came off of the cars driving past. In summer, perhaps, this place would be fantastic. But today, it was cold and distracting. I was able to get a lot of words down, but they were massively flawed and demand instant attention or I’m in danger of forgetting a small, pivotal details of their fix.

All of this because I had to rush. Because I didn’t balance writing and work. I don’t want to go on about this, but I give it so much weight here because I officially can’t say, “I’ll go somewhere in the Bronx then!” ever again. I have not run out of locations in Manhattan, but the only three options I have left in the Bronx are wildly time-based; I will need to be up early and spend a full day at all three (likely), and of those three, I only actually want to write at one of them.

That means I absolutely must balance things out. I have to get into the groove of the Everwork, an uncomfortable, video game-less place where I constantly remind myself, “Bills are coming.”

Which means that next week is going to be all about the balance–another facet of the challenge tacked on. I don’t know if it’s writing about it here or the fact that I’m working this out for NaNoWriMo and Memory’s sake, but no matter what it is…

… I’m feeling preeeetty sure I can kick this challenge’s ass.