Tuesday, November 08, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016: what I've learned so far

I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. This is technically my third time to attempt to write 50,000 words in the form of a semi-coherent novel. I won the first time (in 2009), and gave up within a few days the second time (in 2011, when I had a 4yo and a super-demanding infant, I really don’t know WHAT I was thinking). I’m at it again this year, and feel I have a pretty good chance of winning again. We’re a full week into this thing, and here are some things I’ve learned so far:

  1. The second-week slump is real, yo. The first several days I was rocking it, writing over 4,000 words on Nov 1st, 3,000 on the second, and over 2,000 words most of the days since. All of a sudden, yesterday and today I’m having a harder time with my story. I’m proud of the 15,000 words I’ve written so far (or, well, of having written 15,000 words) and at the same time 15k seems a long way from 50k. BUT! I will push through. 
  2. Ergonomics are important. I spent a bit too much time yesterday slouched over my laptop, using a table that was too low. My back is paying for it today. 
  3. Shutting down your inner editor is key… having an audience who likes your story is even better. I’m writing a fantasy novel about our pet rabbit, and my 8yo son asks me every day to read him what I’ve written. I’ve been looking at NaNoWriMo as a writing exercise, with little intention of doing anything with the product of my writing come December 1st. Having my kid be so into the story has me wondering if it might be worth going back later to edit and clean it up, perhaps looking into self-publishing (if nothing else then for the fun of having our own paper copy on a shelf). 
  4. I’m really glad I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year because writing my story and reading the constant discussions on the NaNoWriMo facebook group I’m in have proved great ways to distract myself from the election. This has done wonders for my sanity. 

Now to stop procrastinating and get back to writing…

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A round-up of things I've done elsewhere

New photos on exposure.co:
New thoughts on Medium:

And last but not least, I just published a piece on Ravishly about our experiences with unschooling. I'm pretty excited about it and hope others will enjoy it, too. =) 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Amsterdam so far...


Amsterdam, so far:

  • being greeted by rain, and a Syrian refugee asking for help, at the airport upon our arrival into the country.
  • dodging hordes of bicycles while trying to cross the street with our 5 massive suitcases + hand luggage.
  • getting up to our apartment and basking in its sheer adorableness.  
  • holy jetlag, Batman.
  • being invited up for tea at the neighbor's flat, and feeling thankful that they're so welcoming and casual. 
  • freaking out at the boys because they keep spilling water on the nice wooden dining table (we've already added a few nice new water stains). 
  • bicycles, bicycles, everywhere.
  • feeling like an asshole American every time I speak English to store clerks or anyone else I need to ask for help, and for being so clueless about Dutch.
  • thanking Google Translate multiple times a day.
  • realizing no one seems to care about speaking to you in English.
  • trying the infamous frites and pannenkoek and your kids rejecting them bc they're different from US fries and pancakes (they'll come around, I'm sure). 
  • also trying poffertjes and experiencing love at first bite. 
  • spending 30 minutes googling words like "spoelen" and "sterkdroog" to try to figure out how to work the washer and dryer. 
  • facetiming with our best friends back home, marveling at how it's nearly bedtime here but morning there.
  • walking past the brick buildings with their cute windows and flowerboxes, and the canals lined with leaning trees and sweet little boats.
  • stumbling upon some of the coolest playgrounds ever. 
  • being very pleasantly surprised that our closest grocery store is not only open till 9pm most nights, but it's even open on Sundays!
  • really, really liking this little neighborhood we're in. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

the night before

It's our last night before we take off for The Netherlands tomorrow. I am in the midst of every emotion you can imagine having before such an adventure. I'm feeling that heavy exhaustion deep in my chest and shoulders that comes from feeling stressed and excited and anxious and nervous all at the same time, trying to plan and pack and envision what the full packing job will look like but not being able to get it finished till the last minute and hoping, hoping, hoping it will all fit and be under-weight. Fighting that nagging feeling of I must be forgetting something.

I am excited about the apartment we got, what it will feel like to walk down those old city streets alongside the canals, the travel opportunities from Amsterdam. I am excited for the fries and waffles and hagelslag. I am also nervous about the flight, about how the boys will adjust, how long it will take us to get used to the time change. I know enough about going abroad to know how difficult and frustrating aspects of it can be. I am alternating between "this is going to be amazing!" and "What the heck did we agree to?"

It is also a bit surreal to go around our house and our bedrooms and try to tidy things up and imagine what it will be like to come back to these same spaces in 6 months.

It all feels a bit surreal. And somewhat overwhelming. I'm trying to just trust that everything will work out, and to enjoy as much of the experience as we can (and the rest will make for good stories, right?).

Unrelated, here are some of my recent posts on Medium:

How Do We Reduce Gun Violence?  On looking at the different factors that contribute to our culture of violence.

Men, We Need Your Voices. Realizing that the majority of people speaking about sexual assault are women-- and that we need men to speak out, too.

Friday, May 27, 2016

posting on medium + amsterdam prep

1) I'm experimenting with writing over on Medium. I've posted a few things, a mix of new writings and reworking of some older posts. It's a new space with a different potential audience, and I'm finding some good things to read there as well.

2) Our departure for the Netherlands is coming up quickly--less than 3 weeks now. I'm making out lists of what to pack and how, and what I need to set up for S to take care of our house and animals while we're gone, etc etc etc. I'm also spending way too much time and energy overthinking silly trivial things like how best to record our time there (do I blog about it? if so, where? here, or start something more dedicated and self-contained?). But something I know well about myself is that my memory sucks, and I tend to make more of a point of recording things if I plan to share them. So I will probably write here about our experiences abroad as a way to be able to easily find and remember them later on when I've forgotten just what it was we did over those 6 months.


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