Over Halfway Full

On day 22, I was 3/5 of the way through when it suddenly felt like I had run out of words. I was exhausted. Work had been mentally taxing this week, leaving me with little energy to get through the list of creative endeavors I wanted to undertake — writing for NaNoWriMo and RKic and recording for ReadMeSpeakMe.

My plan to catch up on Friday evening was thwarted by one of my cats taking my lap hostage. As I awkwardly balanced my laptop on my knees, I stared at the open word document and found myself with no desire to add to it.

This NaNoWriMo season has been an awkward one. The novels I usually write during November are ideas that had been stewing in my brain for a year or more. In September through October, I wrote a story using the daily VSS365 prompts on Twitter. It had its fingers in two separate stories — The Bone Fairy and Moonrise Water — both inspired from writing prompts.

All was going well until about the 15,000 word mark when I realized that the story didn’t have enough substance to be anything more than a long read. I deviated and wrote a short story, added more pieces to older novel projects, and started a new long story.

But on Friday night I was ready to give up near the 30,000 word mark because I really didn’t care anymore. I stared at my screen for 3 hours before shutting it down and napping on the couch with the cat who competes with NaNoWriMo for my attention every November.

The next day, everything was fine. The world didn’t end. I sat down again in the afternoon and started typing away, forcing my cat to take a seat next to me instead of my lap and hacked away at a 4,000 word chunk. I have about another 4,500 to go before I can be officially caught up.

Now that I’m so close to the end, I’ll finish up what I’ve been writing and write whatever until I hit the 50,000 word mark. It won’t be a novel but three first drafts of two long stories and one short. That’s an accomplishment within itself.

And short stories are easier to edit than novels.

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Meowa-ha-ha-ha! Move over inner critic! The cat is here!

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Thank you for reading. If you’re curious about my other works, please check out my SoundCloud (for ReadMeSpeakMe recordings) and Twitter pages.

SoundCloud: S. M. Saves
Twitter: @sm_saves

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Witch’s Stew

Brewing in a bone cauldron
An eye socket of a giant being
Slain by the Witch Queen
At the bottom there are stones
and on top of them bones
Simmering for five hours
In go the root vegetables,
the fingers, the toes, and somebody’s nose
It’s a witch’s stew for young and old
But preferably for young
The meats much more tender that way.

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I’m Hail-Marying this one in. Snow and Halloween and #ReadMeSpeakMe have taken much of my time this week. OctPoWriMo got pushed to the back burner. And NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow! Gasp!

Thank you to everyone who came and visited me during OctPoWriMo; liked, and commented on my pieces. I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

As always, thank you for reading!

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The Tea Tree

Written was the epic,
the journey takes thee home.
A body in need of healing
back and hands both sore.

Seek out the tea tree
by the babbling, boiling brook.
Leaves dry and crisp
despite the steam
creating a gossamer mist.
Most unwary travelers will miss
it’s gnarled, char-colored limbs.
Those who do notice flee.

Approach light of foot
with offerings of bergamot and honey
to leave amongst its lifted roots.
Gather the leaves that fall to your feet
and ladle the brook water to brew.

If you care, then stay awhile.
The tree yearns for company,
but only ’til your cup is empty.
Departure is necessary
or there you’ll stay forever.
Always with a cup.
Never again with a pen.

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It’s been quiet on the little blog…

I hope you weren’t worried by my absence.

Coming off hot from writing 31 poems for OctPoWriMo, writing a novel for NaNoWriMo was a nice change of pace. Unlike last year, I wasn’t scrambling to finish. The bulk of my words were written on the weekends at the kitchen table (to deter the cats from sitting on my arms).

This is the first year I engaged with other NaNo writers. I’ve been a lone wolf during previous Novembers but I much prefer the engagement on Twitter and seeing how other’s were progressing, their shout-outs of encouragement to each other. It was heartwarming during the struggles and triumphs of expanding The Vow of the Peacock from a standalone short story to a novella. Now it rests and I rest as work calls me away from writing (hence the reason for the gushing of words on the weekends).

So, lovely readers, what have I missed? Please link me in the comments below to a piece you posted during November while I was away. I need to catch up on some reading.

And as always, you can find me on Twitter! @sm_saves

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How NaNoWriMo Inspired Me to Write Again

While writing in my traveling pocketbook during OctPoWriMo, I rediscovered my first entry I had written on December 1st, 2017 following NaNoWriMo 2017. I thought I’d share it on the first day of NaNoWriMo 2018.

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Yesterday, I finished NaNoWriMo with just two hours to spare. This was after writing 3,000+ words a day to make up for all the zero days I took.

I honestly didn’t think I was going to make it. I was up against a 10,000 word deficit a week ago and no matter how much I wrote, I would end back at the start[ing] point because the goal was always increasing by 1,667.

I had to overcome running out of ideas, lack of sleep, stiffness in my hands and elbows, my own cats, who only wanted to sit on my lap when my laptop was present.

50,000 words later I feel accomplished yet disappointed. It’s not my best writing, it’s not supposed to be, but oh wow! did I drag things out. The verbs are weak. The scenes are stagnant. There’s too much chit-chatty dialogue.

Part of me was reaching for that word count goal but deep down, I know that I actually suck at writing. Not just that but I lack the passion I once had for it.

There’s a difference between sucking but passionate and sucking [and] apathetic. You get no joy from the latter. Yes, there was that moment yesterday when I was excited, an adrenaline rush going through me when I had 2,500 words to go — 1000 words, 500 words, 100 words. Sweet relief!

But like last year’s win [2016] I found that I had created 50,000 words of filler and not a story.

I need practice. That’s the ultimate answer. NaNo is the most I write in a year and with the exception of a single poem [Paper Flowers] and scenes for my novel, I wrote nothing else.

So I decided to do this. My goal is to write something everyday — a poem, a glimpse of a story, novel scene, whatever.

On the days I miss, I will put the date on the page and nothing else. The page will remain blank.

My hope is that I can build a habit of writing and practice, expand my repertoire and write stronger stories. And empty my head of all the glimpses and glimmers of stories rattling around in there.

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I managed to keep that goal going for four days, then I dropped it faster than a New Year’s resolution.

But I was writing again. In March, I dusted off this blog and started posting what I was writing. On a whim, I signed up for the April A-to-Z Blog Challenge the day before it kicked off.

And I completed it but that’s not all.

I continued writing throughout the year and started submitting a few poems.

October was a whirlwind month. On October 1st, The Drabble accepted and posted my poem “Broken Gods”. Then Hypnopomp Literary Magazine accepted my poetry submission for their sixth issue.

The writing hasn’t always been easy. There are many areas I need to improve, but it’s progress.

Which is more than I could ever ask for.

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For those of you who’ve taken part in NaNoWriMo in the past, has it changed your writing habits? For better or for worst?

Let’s stay in touch during NaNoWriMo. Connect with me on Twitter! @sm_saves

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