I’m not sure if people have much of an idea of my history with Nanowrimo, but I’ve been writing every November since 2003. Every November, I write 50,000 or more words. The only time, to date, that this wasn’t the case was 2004.
It started in 2002 actually…
In 2002, while I was writing after breaking off ties with someone I’d been working with, and working on some pretty difficult stuff, someone told me about Nanowrimo. At the time, my ex and I were still together, and though everyone thought we were ok – I mean, my daughter was a year old, we had a three year old son. But he was pretty convinced that I shouldn’t be allowed to write, that if I was going to manage it, I’d have written that bestseller. Already. He wasn’t a bad man – we have two amazing children, but neither he nor I were not good for one another. Between 2002 and 2003, we seperated.
Fast forward to 2003
Single, unhappy and lonely, I decided that I would take my mum up on her offer, and I vollunteered to run as an ML…for the whole of Scotland as it happened then. We all met in a very loud pub, I made lots of friends, and discovered a gaming club called GEAS. 2003’s Nano was also Glass Block. And Elliot Peters firmly entrenched himself in my life. Elliot is Glass Block. Eventually, when the library of posts comes back online, that’ll make more sense, but he’s one of my backlist books. Tomorrow, he goes to an editor for update before we re-release him, thanks to my beloved’s help. In 2003 though, I hadn’t even met him. Instead, I had Elliot, waking me up at 4am and telling me stories. Y’see, Elliot thinks of me as a confessor of sorts. And Internal Affairs as he’s a cop. As I live with psychosis of several kinds, this is completely normal to me, but I know some people find it uncomfortable that my characters are *really* real. Others aren’t. It’s ok. I was seven months from my other ‘leading man’, Farran. Five or so from Tempus. And I quite honestly had a ball during Nano. Honorable mentions at this point to John, James, Gregor, and everyone else I met during those months of writing. You all made my Nanowrimo so much fun, and in fact, that was true for the whole time I helped out and ran Scotland as the ML.
I did promise you a love story, didn’t I?
Well, the truth of the matter is, and it’s a story I’ve told several times, without Nano, I wouldn’t have gone to GEAS, and in all likleyhood, Tempus and I wouldn’t have met. I can’t actually say that for sure, because I might have taken it into my head to look into D&D again, but… I’d given in on that having my kids. Tempus and I have been together 17 and a half years. We origonally just decided we wanted to hang out and have a bit of fun, but…a year in, when it came down to actually thinking about the future, neither of us could actually picture a time without one another. By 2006, we’d moved to where we are based now for his work, as he’d graduated in 2005. 2007-2011, Uni for me. It’s not all happily ever after. My mental health is a challenge we meet with varying success, but he and I share many interests (newest one, solving our arguments with lightsabers, aka we’re both going to train and learn Ludosport.). It’s no secret we’re both gamers, and we’re both super geeky, but we do have enough divergent interests that we can be together or apart. But, I truly believe I was lucky, and that Nanowrimo plays a huge part in that for me.
Our love story isn’t over. I don’t believe it ever will be while either of us are here, but it’d be nice to think that we’ll have a child together and live long, happy lives together. I really do love him, and without Nanowrimo, who knows if I’d have had this chance.
You’ll note, I don’t refer to him other than ‘Tempus’. It’s because he’s not keen on talking about himself online. There are a very few pictures of us together, and I’ve added on to the bottom of this post, but I do know one thing. My life is a very good one, and I love that it’s with him.
This is me and him, 2018, in the Dominican Republic. The full length shot of me with a boogie board was taken about an hour before, for those that know it.
He’s my bad idea bear, my beloved, my companion, my gaming and sparring partner. We talk books, games, movies. We tell each other jokes and pass on research from cyber security and infosec, and have a date night every Saturday. We go exploring good places to eat, we giggle at one another playing Fallout 76. We have our friends over for Gloomhaven. We’ve raised two wonderful young adults together since the 20 year old (@artenapan) was about 2 1/2, and her older brother too (he’s just as private as Tempus in many ways, so you’ll see him referred to as ‘Wonderboy’, or Titanboi. He’s in his 20’s too, and a wonderful man, and all of us are gamers of one sort or another. But Tempus… He’s the best person in the world, and I’m so blessed.
And, one final, bonus fact. He’s the reason I have most of my pen name. He encouraged me to stay as Kai when I explained why I’d changed my name, and I did. In late 2004, after we’d been together for a few months, I asked him if I could use his last name so that when we get married, I didn’t need to rebrand. He didn’t even blink. Like I said, he’s an awesome guy. And that’s my Nanowrimo Love Story 🙂
We move through our lives at a constant pace. We can accelerate or decelerate ourselves with a limited amount of success, but the speed we do things at, at our base rate at least, is probably something we’ll never change. Some of us rush headlong into everything and batter through life as fast as we can, hungry for as many new experiences as we can pick up, and tired at the end of each day because we’ve packed in so much.
Others go as slow as possible, savoring every step, and realising, deep down, that they can’t do everything they might want to.
My problem is I want to savor everything, but I want it all. I have too many hobbies, and too little time on my books for new stuff. I book far too much into my life, mostly because I can. My laptop became both my freedom and my curse, because now, there’s a whole world of reading and writing out there, and I get nothing done.
Facebook is a horrible blessing. I can meet and hang out with so many wonderful people, and keep an eye on my friends, and there are some really cool games on there, but, lets face it, I’ve got a nasty habit of refreshing my page again and again, and then wondering, at 2pm, where my day went.
Worst of all, I’m a person that moves through life with a momentum that pulls others along behind me. And lately, I kinda feel like I’m out in the middle of a great big ocean, with no chance of finding the new land I was aiming for. But it feels like I’m stranding other people now and I don’t like that feeling.
Momentum is working out where you’re going and I think that’s the biggest thing for me right now. I need to work out which map I’m working from – someone else’s or my own. If I’m working from someone else’s, where can I adapt it so it’s all mine – or if I’m going to dive on in headlong and do it all myself, I need to work out where I want to go – there are *so many* choices right now.
What I do know is tomorrow begins my ninth Nanowrimo. I’m really looking forward to it. It gives me another month to work out and plan the roller coaster that is about to be my life. One way or another, things will start resolving and working out the way I want to.
Plans are coming soon, though. I’m happy to report there *is* a plan, but it’s difficult to see whether it’s the right choice right now. So I’m going to have a bit of fun with my writing for a bit, and see where that takes me. It’s too easy for me to lose sight of what I wanted to do when I started out online – which was writing. I’ve gone all over the web since, looking for something that’s ‘all me’ but what I am, underneath it all, is a writer.
I noticed this morning that I hit the magical 30 post mark, from the 30 posts in 30 days (in my case, really it was 30 posts in 45 days!) and wanted to do a quick round-up, along with some observations.
First up – I suck at timetables.
Actually, more accurately, I suck at working within timetables, when there is lots going on around me. In the last month I went back to Uni for a new term (my last one), I moved laptops to a much sleeker, faster, sweeter piece of kit (which leads me to a point I’m going to make later), and I finally discovered that my love for writing definitively needs fiction to keep the flames burning. And that simply reading it for now isn’t enough.
I also discovered that 30 billable hours equates to much *much* more than that, and I procrastinate too much, which lead me to another project idea for this month/next month. I discovered that I’m not in the best shape mentally, or physically, and that I really need to find and adhere to boundaries. That means less answering email on my phone when I should be chilling out, and more spending my time working on the things – all of them – that makes me happy. Journaling, despite being suggested, isn’t something I can get into any more – I had a horrible time of it when my then psych council got his hands on one of my stories and tried to commit me because it was about suicide, and jumping out the windows of my flat. I know mental health care has moved on in leaps and bounds since then, but there have been other incidents where people have used my journal against me. Next best idea is to go back to fiction :).
Of the 30 posts I had planned, I’ve still got 14 drafts left. I’ve also added to that and have ideas for about another 60 blog posts – or partial posts. If I got them scheduled and farmed to the right blogs (because some of them might not belong *here* when I’m done) then I’ve got content for two blogs for a month, or several blogs for several months depending on posting schedules.
I’m so not over my blogging apathy. I still find it difficult to interact on Livejournal, where I started to blog – I don’t know if it’s transient but it’s lasted about eight months so far and hasn’t abated any. I work a full-time job, study practically full time for Uni, write when I can, plus I’m the primary parent for a nine-year old with emotional difficulties (she’s getting MUCH better), and an eleven year old that is an amazing wee guy. And then I fit my relationships with friends, family and my fiancée into that massive mix. It’s not an easy balancing act, and gets harder in November, when I run the Nanowrimo, and in April for ScriptFrenzy. I think it’s a symptom of my life being too busy, but it could just be that I’ve outgrown how I used to blog (24 blogs, updated on a three-day schedule). It could just be that I’m burned out still – and that I need more time to myself. It could be that it’s just one of those things. The 30 day challenge brought me back to a lot of that, but there’s still a lot to be said for needing more time to fall in love with blogging all over again.
I really don’t write enough fiction. I’m not editing at all – I’ve got this one task in my task manager that keeps getting bumped to next week to actually sit down and write Glass Block – which lead me in a very circumlocutory way to a project I want to try. More about that below though.
Emotionally, I’m not over any of the miscarriages I’ve had in my adult life, but of all of them, this last one was the hardest. I think it’s a mix of us both being on board with the idea fully, and the traumatic way we found out I wasn’t pregnant, plus the hospital stuff afterwards, but now I’m not doing well with any of that stuff. The last one resulted in the problems we had when I moved and the referral through the Crisis team in Gloucester (who, really I can’t praise enough) to the Recovery team and my wonderful worker, whom I really *really* miss. This one seems to be worse in some ways, because I’m still feeling it all and I’m ON medication. Time will tell I suppose. December doesn’t seem that long ago, but that morning in the hospital feels even closer to me still.*
I guess the positive in that phrase is that I actually know where I’m going and what my plan is. Well, kinda anyway.
There’s two immediate projects I want to get out of the way and through before I decide what I’m going to do with myself full-time from now on. Lots of the projects I’ve got in mind are just going to have to wait till after I’ve graduated – realistically, I don’t have time to blog in all the places I want to, but I will soon.
But the two big projects.
I want to show the impact social media has on someone’s day – so I’m going to do a Friday *with* full social media interaction, and a Friday without. The Friday *With*, I’m going to use Facebook and Twitter through my laptop – without I’m going to check in on my phone. To get to that point though, I need to rebuild my tweetdeck and reader set-up, plus update what I’m looking at because I’m pretty scattered all over the place right now.
I’m going to journal what I’m doing, and track the time using an app that I’ve long since gotten used to called ‘Rescue time’. I’ll log my full day on (and off) the computer, and post the results and some conclusions I’ve drawn at the end of it. It’s a teeny tiny project, but it’s one of those wonderful things that others can attempt to duplicate and they too can talk about what they found, so it’s going to be interesting. I’m going to stick that happy little project up on Work at home Writers, because it’s primarily about productivity.
The second is a little more hazy now. I’ve got to get the books I’ve written into Scrivener, and then move on from there, but I’m deliberately declaring Sundays ‘fiction day’. I’ll most likely have to skip a couple of them to get my dissertation finished, or when there’s a massively pressing deadline, but if I’m so reluctant to write non fiction, it’s maybe for a different reason and I want to test that 🙂 For that second, specifically, I need lots of encouragement. I am deliberately removing billable hours from my schedule, and guilt aside, I’m not sure that I’m even particularly confident in my fiction abilities any more. So if you could hop onto one of the social media areas where I talk writing, cheer me on at Writers-bookshelf or otherwise play ‘cheering squad for me’ I’d love it, I really would.
* I don’t talk about what went on – and would appreciate that people don’t pursue this one reference to it with me. I’m not interested in baring my soul about it and while I appreciate it’s an area that women really don’t talk about enough, I’d rather err on the side of not talking about it. That said, I’d rather people knew why I was prickly, than simply smack them upside the head.