Yesterday went alright. I got exactly three thousand words write for my National Novel Writing Month project, which was a ton of fun to realize. I hadn’t planned it, but when I went to update my word total on their website at midnight, I discovered I’d written exactly three thousand words. That felt like a good place to stop since I’m not under any particular crunch other than the “I want to catch up before the end of the month” crunch that I’m familiar with. I’m only about six thousand words behind at this point, so a dozen days of five hundred extra words will do it. I know I can handle an extra five hundred words a day, no problem, and I’ve still got thirteen days to go so it should be easily handled. I may try to do more today than I did yesterday, but I’m not going to push it. I’d like to do more, but I definitely need to avoid over committing myself to things like I usually do.
Despite how crazy things have been lately, yesterday was actually pretty calm and normal. I needed that. In fact, my only complaint about yesterday is that I spent most of it with an incredibly sore neck as a result of spending most of my night scrunched up against my headboard. I have no idea why, but that happens sometimes and I always wake up with a headache, sore neck, and stiff shoulders. I should probably look into the ways I sleep and actually get a good mattress, but those are both long-term tasks. Neither of them will be simple solutions since it’s difficult to figure out the physical aspects of my sleep since I’m, you know, asleep for their duration. Getting a good mattress requires a lot of research and some time spent investigating at a mattress store so I can figure out if I prefer more firm or less firm. So far, my mattress buying has been entirely driven by prices and convenience. I’d like to get an actually good mattress just to see if it can help me deal with my various sleep issues. I’ve got enough of them that I’m willing to try just about anything for a while, to see if it helps.
I should probably try “go to bed at a reasonable hour” since I haven’t gone to bed before one in the morning since… I honestly don’t know. It’s definitely been more than a week. I think. A lack of adequate sleep is really bad for your short-term memory so there are something things that have faded from my mind a bit…
I joke. I don’t always check the clock before bed and, without an actual hard number to attach to the thought of going to bed, I lose most of my sense of when it was beyond “late” or “reasonable.” I really should work on not pushing myself below a minimum of six hours a night, since I’ve managed to handle it this past week without too much of a problem but I can’t explain why. Unless, of course, therapy lights help deal with sleep deprivation side effects. Or maybe most of my tiredness from not sleeping enough was tied to my depression and, since the light helps lessen that, my exhaustion levels never got quite as high as they usually do.
Truthfully, it shouldn’t matter. I know I need six hours of sleep a night at a minimum. I shouldn’t be starting these posts at midnight, I should be finished with them and in bed by midnight. I shouldn’t put off my daily NaNoWriMo writing until ten at night, I should be doing it right away when I get home from work. Video games can wait and they’re a bit easier to stop doing. Aside from, you know, that Pathfinder Kingmaker game I’ve been playing that kept me up until three and two in the morning on subsequent nights. That was a really poor choice on my part and I will own up to that. Nowadays, I’m sticking to Pokemon games with a focus on the new one, Pokemon: Let’s Go. It’s pretty fun, but I wouldn’t recommend playing it if you want a new experience. If you want to relive the Kanto region, already own a Nintendo Switch, and can have a realistic reaction to something that resembles something else, in that you don’t immediately hate it because it’s different, you should play Pokemon: Let’s Go. If all of those things are not true, then you probably shouldn’t play it. Especially if the last one is true. No one wants to deal with that, so just avoid the game.
I am optimistic about how much I’ll get done today. Yesterday wasn’t amazing, by any means, but it was a solid day. I’m hoping today will be similar. I’ve got Dungeons and Dragons planned for the late afternoon and early evening, so that’ll be fun. It has been a long time since we’ve played, for various reasons. Some of them have been my fault, some of them have been the fault of one or more of the players, but we’re finally ready to play again. We were at a good pausing point since the party returned to their caravan, so it should be a relatively painless restarted. There will be hiccups because there always are, but I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to take up a good chunk of my day, about four hours of running the game and at least two of preparation since I’ll need to refamiliarize myself with all the notes I wrote during previous sessions in addition to planning what we’ll do tomorrow. Rough plans are good enough for most sessions, but I need to have a more solid one since this is our first session in a while. The smoother it goes, the more likely it is that we’ll actually get through this chapter of the campaign by New Year’s Day.
Anyway, I hope your day goes well! I hope you’re all caught up on your goals and that you’ve been enjoying this chance to rest and recharge for another week of writing and, for the people of the US, navigating the difficulty that is the holidays. Whatever the problems are, whatever petty bullshit comes up, just remind yourself that you’ve got a story to tell. Plotting and working through scenes makes for a great distraction from the messily unfolding drama that often shows up during the holidays. I hope your day is great and I wish you the best of luck!
What are your protagonists hobbies? What are they interested in? The things that hold our attention and that we care about influence the way we think. I enjoy video games, so I tend to view most of the stories in my head as a cross between a video game and a movie. I can pause and move the camera around to look everywhere, but the story is happening on it’s own so I can miss it if I look away. It influences the way we talk, the metaphors we use, and how we relate to people. How does your protagonist’s interests influence their interactions with other people? Write a scene showing them bonding with someone over a shared interest or perhaps them struggling to connect with people who are disinterested (or maybe even people who dislike) what they care about.
I’ve been working at this crap for over a year and, let me tell you, believing in yourself will only get you so far. There will be a day when that belief runs out, when you have nothing left to push yourself forward. For those days, I have a few things to remind me that I’m not the only person who believes in me. One is the speech my creative writing professor gave when she awarded me a scholarship for creative writing and fellowship. The other is a birthday card from a good friend filled with heartfelt words. The first I only have in electronic format, but I’ve memorized it so I can recall it at will. The later is pinned above my desk so I all I have to do is look up to be reminded that I’m not working in a vacuum. There are people out there who see how hard I’m working and are excited to see where I’m going to go. Believing in yourself is important and should be your main goal if you’re just getting started. Having someone else who believes in you is super helpful for getting there, though.
I know you probably have a place you like to write, with a specific ambiance and location, but you can write at pretty much any time. Bring a notebook if you prefer to write by hand, and take whatever time you have during your day to write down some ideas or make a big of quick progress on your National Novel Writing Month project. If you don’t really care how you take notes or work through things, set up a writing application on your phone and just type it out there. I’ve got Google Drive set up on my phone and most of my writing projects are stored as documents in my Google Drive. Two aren’t, but that’s because they’re so big they cause my browser to crash or hang when it tries to do the whole “dynamic saving” thing that google documents likes to do. It apparently doesn’t like anything that passes one hundred thousand words since that’s when it starts to get buggy. But it’s still great for quick edits, taking notes, or having an easily accessible place to do some five-minute bursts of writing throughout my day. I suggest you check it out to see if it will help you.