Another naNOwrimo.

I tried.  I really did.  I got to 17,451 words.  But I haven’t written in the past 7 days, and I just don’t see myself making it, even though I logically know I could just bust my ass and finish it.

There are a few reasons (excuses).

One, sitting in bed for long hours is painful.  It hurts my butt, my hip (the bad one), my back, etc.  And sitting in the living room means that the TV or loud Xbox is usually on.  So I just don’t have a great space to sit for the hours and hours it takes for me to quiet monkey brain and start writing.  I’m going to work on that.  I’m spending today cleaning my office, and making the desk a workable space again.  For the last 2 years or so, it’s just been the place where I put shit that I don’t have any other good place for (TM).  Here are some before pics.  I’ll post after pics, you know, AFTER.

Nasty messy office

Nasty messy office

 

You can see my attempts at TRYING to organize

You can see my attempts at TRYING to organize

 

Let's make this more peaceful and useful, shall we?

Let’s make this more peaceful and useful, shall we?

 

Two, stress is bad for fibro.  I’m definitely a type A personality when it comes to reaching goals and accomplishing things, and I’ve been driving myself to write around my work schedule, write when I hurt, write, write WRITE!  I’ve been causing myself so much stress, that I started having a major fibro flare.  My life is stressful enough without adding my own obsessiveness to the mix, and I needed a break.  Another thing that’s bad for fibro is not getting enough sleep, and NaNo is the great sleep-killer.

NaNo was productive, however.  I did get those 17,451 words, and I’m very proud of them, as I don’t think they’re all that bad.  I also hit on the idea of writing ritual, and I realized that I need to dedicate a quiet space to writing (hence the great office overhaul of 2013).  I also discovered some fabulous writing YouTubers, and I’ll be following them for a long time to come.  I’m also going to keep a date book where I write down a word count for the day, as I think that making less of a word GOAL, and more of a writing RECORD (to look back on and be proud of) will help my mindset immensely.  I also learned a lot about making really good coffee.  🙂

I’m certainly not beating myself up over this.  My life has taken a lot of turns over the past few years, and I can honestly say that I gave it a good shot.  I just have a lot of other shit that needs to be addressed as well.  So I’ll definitely continue writing, (I like this book SO much more than the first one), but I’m going to continue plodding away at it slowly and steadily.  And I’ll be plodding away in a new space, with candles and stones, and the right music, and etc.  Lots of etc.  I particularly enjoy the etc.

Now the question remains: What do I do with all this leftover candy??

Writing Rituals and NaNoWriMo update

NaNoWriMo is going pretty well so far. As of right now, I’m about 3500 words behind on my goal word count for today, but that can be easily made up. Also, I’m going to use this blog post as part of my word count. That may not be strictly legal, but I’m writing and being creative, and goddammit, I need a bit of a mind cleanse.

So far, I’ve written about a faerie infestation, the breakdown of a polyfidelitous relationship (something I know well), and a foray into the Akashic Records, which is something I’ve always been fascinated with.

I’ve also been watching endless YouTube videos about NaNo and writing in general. One of my favorite channels is this one: KatyTastic.

She’s very young, but also fabulously geeky and enthusiastic, and she gives some great advice. I’ve really been enjoying watching her videos, even though her style is kind of opposite of mine. She’s a planner, while I sit down and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write. Any time I try to make an outline, I end up blowing it off 1/4 of the way through in favor of the newer, neater idea I just had. It’s just how my brain works.

One concept I’ve been fascinated with is the idea of writing rituals. I’m a very superstitious, ritualistic person, and I love the idea of surrounding myself with things that help me get my brain into the right space for creativity.

The idea is that when you create a ritual, the more specific the better, the order that your neurons fire becomes connected. So, for example, if you always light a candle, wear a specific piece of clothing when you write, drink a particular drink, etc., eventually your brain will make the connection that once you’ve done that thing, it’s time to write. The reason is in the way that neural pathways are created. Once a series of actions or sensations become connected through repetition, the brain actually coats that neural pathway with thin layers of the material that our brain is made of. That makes that pathway stronger and more efficient, and creates a bit of a shortcut for us.

Human Brain Evolution

Human Brain Evolution (Photo credit: hawkexpress)

This is something that’s true of spiritual ritual, and it seems obvious that it would apply to a writing ritual as well.

A few years ago, I put together a creativity altar on my nightstand. There was a motivation candle, elemental incenses based on the section of the story I was writing (I’ve divided my books into 5 sections, one for each cardinal element), and several tumbled stones that help to enhance creativity and imagination. It’s covered with a nice layer of dust these days. (I’m not the best housekeeper in the world.)

However, I’ve dusted off the motivation candle and found a nice glass candleholder to carry it around in. That way, I can move it between the living room and the bedroom depending on where I want to write. I think I’ll finish burning that, and then make my own candles with a blend of essential oils that aids in memory, concentration, and motivation. It’s time to dust the plate that the altar rests on and rededicate it as sacred space.

Here’s what I intend to do:

The motivation candle is nice, but I’d really like to personalize my own. I’ve always loved making Dixie Cup candles, and I have plenty of wax, oils, wicks, etc. The oil blend I’ll use is rosemary (mental acuity), cedarwood (grounding and centering, ‘getting down to business’), and cinnamon (passion, action, motivation). I’m going to just leave them white, or maybe mix in a touch of pale lavenderish blue. I may even add some dried rosemary. Haven’t decided yet.

Candles

Candles (Photo credit: magnuscanis)

I also intend to make a beaded necklace with blue topaz and sodalite. I’ve created necklaces to honor my patron deities, and they’re fabulous meditation tools, similar to the Catholic rosary or Buddhist prayer beads. These two minerals are especially good for communication and thought, and also finding your life path and clearing obstacles (both things I usually need a lot of help with).

Topaz-k-182d

Topaz-k-182d (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve also created a new wallpaper for my desktop with a flame and Dante’s invocation of the muse. I may or may not recite it before I write. There may or may not be special music or a special song as well.

At any rate, hopefully the combination of all these things will help me to create that sacred space that clears my mind for writing. It won’t be as practical to burn a candle at, say, Starbucks, but I can certainly keep a vial of the oil in my pocket so I have the sensory memory, wear the necklace, listen to the music through earphones, etc. There are ways these things can be adapted.

I’ll post a picture of the altar when I’ve had a chance to reset/rededicate it, probably on the days leading up to the next full moon on the 18th.

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One thing I’ve been taking very seriously that has been helping is my coffee.  I really only drink coffee when it’s cold out, otherwise I’m a Coke Zero kinda gal.  But when it gets chilly and I have writing to do, I get really serious about my coffee.

Previously I had some crummy store brand coffee, and it just wasn’t doing it for me.  So our store had Starbucks on sale, and I got some lovely Sumatra.  However, when I got it home, it was whole bean.  Since my coffee grinder is filled with sticky frankincense, and other spices and resins that render it uncleanable, I had to go grab another grinder.

It was SO worth it.  The difference is incredible.  The dark roast beans mixed with the freshness of the whole beans just DOES IT for me.  You may have noticed that I’ve had a few cups today, in fact.  😉

Coffee beans.

Coffee beans. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Samhain, Rememberance, Yule presents, and NaNoWriMo

Sorry I’ve been quiet.  The death of my ex hit me pretty hard, and I haven’t done a lot of anything, including NaNoWriMo.  I’m at roughly 1900 words, and it’s day 7.  I need to decide to either catch up or give up.  I’m not going to be hard on myself either way, I’m just going to see how much writing I CAN get done.  It would be great to finish the last 35K of my first book before the end of the year.

Samhain was relatively low key.  We were babysitting some rats for a couple that Bear met on Reddit, and they came over to visit their kids.  We invited them to share some of the corn chowder I made, and we had a great time shooting the shit.  It turns out that we all have loads in common, though they’re a bit younger.   So I didn’t get to do some big ritual like I had planned, but it was very nice and mellow, and was exactly what I needed.

One thing I DID do, however, was to write letters to both my ex and my father.  The letter to my ex was mostly an apology for not getting to see him more.  The letter to my dad was..  Well…  Angry.  I got to say a lot of things that I needed to get off of my chest.  It was very cruel, very honest, and very cathartic.  I intended to burn them, but didn’t get to it until tonight.  It was nice to watch the flame spread over the paper and let go of the things I needed to let go of.

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I finally feel like Samhain tide is over, and now I’m starting to think about Yule.  I have plans for my altar, and I’ve already started looking for what I want.  I can’t afford the ingredients for the incense yet, but I know what I’ll be using.

After reading this post by The Witch of Forest Grove, I realized that I wanted to make Yule presents.  I haven’t done that in quite some time, and I truly didn’t have any better ideas.  I can only give so many people so many damn candles before they start throwing them at me.

So this Yule, I decided to make liquers.  I do this by infusing cheap vodka with various fruits and herbs, and I’ve done it a few times before.  It’s been a while, however.  So this year, I decided to give it a shot again, and also try some new things.  For my first experiment, I infused the vodka with roasted pumpkin and Werther’s Originals candies.  I wanted a rich butterscotch flavor, and it really does come out.  It’s been infusing for maybe 20 days now, and I’m going to strain it and add more roasted pumpkin.  The candies were interesting to work with, however, as they contain quite a lot of fat.  That fat separated and created an interesting look.  Nothing smells rancid or iffy at all so far.

 

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

Pumpkin butterscotch liquer

 

I have plans for two other batches.  One will be elderberry/mandarin orange and the other will be lavender/lemon/vanilla.  I just need to save the cash for the vodka.  Even cheap vodka is expensive when you’re using this much of it.

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So, new words written since my last post: 1900
Writing goal: Do the terrible thing to the character I really like so that the story can close  *sigh*

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