NaNoWriMo Is Destroying my SOUL, and other Thoughts About The Current State of My Sanity

As if I don’t already have enough to do/worry about, I started NaNoWriMo thinking it would help me quickly pound out the bare bones of the YA Sci-Fi project I’ve been outlining for months.

NaNoWriMo is something near and dear to my heart. I’ve done it for five years (with one missed entry), and it has helped my complete five full length novels (that will never, ever see the light of day). I’ve grown from it in ways I can’t express, and whenever November rolls around I get this giddiness for writing that makes me remember why I do this for free.

But goddammit if it doesn’t drive me up the wall.

Once thing I’ve come to notice about NaNoWriMo (there really needs to be a small version of this) is that I tend to shirk my other responsibilities in favor of this wonderful little site.

Dishes? No.

Sweeping everyday? Forget it.

Homework? Haha, what is that?

Walk the dog? Pft. I don’t even have a dog.

Sleep? Lol, more like…not…sleep.

I know it’s just me putting extra pressure on myself to fart out a 50K novel (or most of one, anyway), but I can’t help but throw myself completely into this. I feel like it gives me an excuse to do nothing else but write. Instead of cleaning or scheduling a doctors appointment, I get tunnel vision. I make myself believe that I need to sit at home and write 3K-4K of words a day to accomplish anything.

The fact that I’m complaining about writing too much is a testament in itself.

I need a break.

From writing.

But…but….what?

How do I do that?

How do I physically and mentally do that?

This is what I feel will happen if I take a break:

  1. I will plummet into a pit of despair.
  2. I will get so comfortable with not writing, that I will never write again and will be doomed to become a trash-man (I hear they make good money though…).
  3. I will lose the ability to write and have to spend the next twenty-years finding something else I’m good at.
  4. I’ll sit on my couch and watch all the shows
  5. I’ll replace writing with food (which doesn’t sound half bad).

Realistically, I know none of these things will occur. Realistically, I know I’ll go back to what I was working on and life will go on.

But it’s terrifying. I have a personal quota to meet. How else am I supposed to have a trilogy out by the time I’m thirty? How else am I’m supposed to be on the New York Times Best Sellers list in time for my twenty-year high school reunion? Of course I’m kidding about these things, but I’m honestly worried about my long-term goals and how realistic they are.

Hm. I don’t think this post is about NaNoWriMo at all.

-A.

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Harper Voyager is accepting Manuscripts.

I’m crying a little bit on the inside…

Here is a little blurb on their website:

“Fall’s Open Call Is Here!

While we’re always on the lookout for full-length fantasy, science fiction, and horror, we’re really in the market right now for Urban Fantasy and Military Sci-Fi. And be sure to check back throughout the year—we’ll be doing other calls for different genres as well!

Keep in mind we are looking for full length manuscripts between 60,000 and 90,000 words. The submission window closes on November 6th so start submitting now!”

(If you DON’T know, Harper Voyager is the Sci-Fi and Fantasy “branch” of Harper Collins, one of the largest book publishing companies on the mother fucking planet.)

I want to throw my finished by not edited YA Sci-Fi out to them. I really, really do, but I know the odds will not be in my favor (heh). The good thing is that they do this every year (sometimes twice a year), so hopefully by this time in 2016 I’ll be all set to move forward.

-A

Rejection: You suck, but I suppose I still need you.

A few weeks back I submitted a short story to an online Sci-Fi magazine.

Yesterday before work I received an e-mail notifying me that though they enjoyed reading my submission, it was not selected to appear in their upcoming selection of articles.

My instant reaction wasn’t what I expected. I didn’t feel sad or angry or depressed, but relieved and a little bit excited that though I wasn’t chosen, I took a step in the right direction in terms of finally attempting what I’ve been afraid to do for years.

The feeling didn’t last for long, I admit. A few hours later the doubt set in. An hour after that the second guessing about my career aspirations, the hours, days, weeks, and years spent writing instead of going out with friends; and the thoughts about not being good enough suddenly rained down on me.

I began thinking all kinds of insane things. I started mentally picking apart my finished work. I even contemplated dropping writing altogether and going back to school for Finance because even if it was only for a little while, I led myself to believe this one rejection somehow determined the course of my entire writing career.

Stupid, I know. Silly, I know. Absolutely ridiculous, I know.

So, I wallowed in self-pity a bit. I let myself feel that heart crushing defeat. The point is that I had to go through a period of mourning to come out the other end of it with a sense of calm (if this sounds terribly exaggerated to you, then you’ve never been a writer).

Today I feel better about it. There’s still a sting of sadness, however, and I expect that it will never go away, especially once I begin getting rejected by all the big name publishers and agents (yay….).

Despite these odds I’m still excited about continuing. Let’s hope I can remain this semi-optimistic.

-A.

I did it.

Well, sort of.

What is this “it” I speak of?

I submitted a short story.

A story that I wrote…with my brain.

To an online flash Sci-Fi website (don’t worry, it’s legit).

As in I put my work out there.

For the world to see.

Into the wild, wild west of the internet.

Where it can be bashed, praised, or torn apart by anyone who happens upon it.

The catch is that is has to be accepted by whoever oversees the site, and that my friends, is something worth being excited about.

I’ve decided that if it doesn’t get accepted it won’t be a bad thing. Rejection can be as much as a thing to be proud of as success. It means that though you didn’t get what you set out to get, you still did something.

This is will be my mantra as I attempt to delve into the world of traditional publishing over the next year.

I’m scared shitless (this should be in the dictionary by now, guys). The wait is killing me, but I know whatever answer I receive from the powers that be will be the one I need right now.

Now my tumultuous journey begins.

Care to come along for the ride?

-A.

I “literally” have no idea what I’m doing anymore…

It’s been a few weeks (or months?) since I’ve updated this thing.

Surprise, surprise.

I’m a terrible person.

In my defense, I’ve been dealing with a ridiculous decision to go back to school, personal issues that I refuse to speak of, and the depression of falling into a bottomless pit of writer’s block (again).

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit down, for whatever reason, about my on going aspirations of being a writer.

I’ve been having doubts. I’ve been having nightmares. I’ve been having days where I stare blankly at my ceiling with my laptop pressed against my chest in hopes that it will somehow force something of worth out of me (it never does).

My ongoing projects, though fun to work on, aren’t “doing” it for me anymore. I have five or so manuscripts collecting dust-bunnies in the black void of my laptop (and two flash drives…and two disks) that I can’t seem to make myself look at. The current WIP I spend every few days working on is starting to slump in the middle, and it makes me think, Am I capable of actually being a writer?

I spend my days obsessively searching for published writer’s my age. I read their books in backward fragments, hoping to somehow learn the formula to their success, or to absorb their awesomeness. I research, research, research. I read, read, read.

Nothings works, and at the end of the day I look at the work I’ve done and think, This will never be enough to capture the hearts or attention of a world that is constantly spinning toward the next fresh thing.

I have no idea what that means, but it sounded poetic in my head.

If I could just write a book of single-lined through and patent that, I’d be set.

Anyway….

What I’m trying to say is that I’m starting to get scared. I’ve investment so much brainpower into the thought that I’ll be a writer without giving much thought about what I’ll do if that doesn’t happy. I know it takes a special and tactical kind of person to be a writer. I know most writers never get published, but I feel like I have something to say, and I am terrified of falling into that category of, “She could always write, but not everyone can be so lucky”.

Does anyone else feel this way, or am I the only insane person out there who keeps this at the forefront of their brain?

If not, it would be nice to get some feedback or opinion on this.

(Written in a painfully transparent doctor’s office lobby with the sound of a women loudly flipping pages of a magazine).

A.

Understanding the Introvert in an Extroverted World

Warning: None of this is meant to sound either lordly or deprecating. I think I’m just finally at that point where I have to say my two cents. I’m speaking from my own personal experiences and opinions with an intermediate level of research on the topic.

A few nights ago I did something I haven’t done in a long time. While attending a co-workers get together with my boyfriend that was full of people I didn’t know, I stormed out. Not in anger, but in an impatient rush to get out of the situation.

What situation you ask? A situation full of people conversing around a table regaling in small talk, alcohol, and an array of topics I didn’t find much interest in.

To an extrovert (most of the worlds population), this might seem like a wonderful occurrence, and like most extroverts, it will be easy to sink their teeth into this type of fare. You see, extroverts thrive on attention, on socializing in groups, while introverts thrive on small groups, one-on-one type situations, and long talks about one or two subjects. They may even get so bored as to completely block the conversation out and start thinking about something else entirely.

For some reason people find this strange, unsettling, and even frustrating.

Back to last night…

After taking my leave of the ‘party’ (another pet peeve of an introvert is having to stay somewhere longer than intended—say, if you tell the person you’re with you’d like to leave soon and more than fifteen minutes roll by while you’re growing more anxious by the second) my boyfriend was angry at me. Very angry. He screamed. He yelled. He told me that he couldn’t understand why I did what I did. Why I couldn’t just include myself in the conversation.

I can’t blame him for being angry.

He is, of course, an extrovert.

What most extroverts cannot fathom is someone who isn’t completely up for being in social situations spontaneously and frequently. For them, going out to to drink or party every night of the week is a dream. They revel in it. They can sit for hours in one place bouncing jokes off one another.

For introverts, it’s a soul sucking, energy draining, activity that we have to recharge from in order to be able to wake up in the morning and be productive (I’m speaking strictly for myself, mind you). For me, it takes a large amount of strength.

Even being at work, constantly talking to people, laughing at jokes, trying to keep up with the quips and comebacks that everyone seems to be vying for attention at the same time, exhausts me. To be thrown into the same type of situation directly after burns me out, and that is exactly what happened last night.

Needless to say, I was in tears the entire ride home. He was upset with me for being disrespectful and not including myself throughout the night. Upset that though it isn’t true, I tend to distance myself whenever we go out. I could have said this was a lie. That when we go out with people I know, people I’ve had multiple occasions to warm up to, I talk as much as anyone else. Instead I snorted and snotted into my Starbucks recycled napkin while contemplating jumping out the car window. I didn’t, of course. I sat quietly and took in the lecture because like most introverts, I’m a fantastic listener.

I’ve considered myself an introvert since about the age of eleven or twelve, but it wasn’t until recently I realized that more of the world is populated by extroverts who do no understand the science of their opposites.

We get labeled as boring, difficult, weird, because we do not fall into the same category, communicate the same way, or handle situations the same. I swear we aren’t doing it on purpose. We can’t help it. But I will not apologize for the way I am. Maybe I need therapy, but maybe I don’t. Either way, it’s amazing how long it’s taken, and how long it is still taking, for people to accept that personalities vary outside of someone being ‘loud’ and ‘an attention seeker’.

I won’t pretend to know everything there is to know, but I strongly recommend anyone dating or raising an introvert (my Mother never did her research and scarred me for life growing up because I never ‘acted right’ or there was ‘something wrong with me’) to read up on personality traits, triggers, and history of why we are the way we are. It will save you a lot of confusion and grief later down the line.

Going back to my story, I felt like shit the entire night (and well into the morning). I sat in the bathroom staring at myself in the mirror, willing myself to just be like everyone else. Willing myself to speak up about things I don’t particularly find interesting all for the sake of being accepted and liked by people I hardly know. It was high school all over again, and at twenty-seven, I felt absolutely ridiculous.

I sat on the bathroom for for ten, fifteen, thirty minutes wishing I were like everyone else, hoping that one day I’ll transform out of my body and into a body that can be the life of the party. And that, is something so toxic. Pair that with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness, and you’ve a cocktail for disaster.

The frustration you have toward your Introvert doesn’t compare to the frustration your Introvert has over not being understood.

To all you intros:

Never apologize for who you are (unless you’re someone who goes around hurting people). And never make someone apologize for who they are (again, unless they go around hurting people). Attempt your best to make them understand. Be lighthearted (I know it’s hard), but be firm about the person you are because no one changes overnight. Besides, no one is asking an Extrovert to tone it down or be a little more reserved.

And for all you extros, I leave you with this:

Be patient. Be calm. Be understanding.

Yes, there are days when we want to be left alone. Yes, it gets tiring being around someone who just wants to write all day or read on a Saturday night. And yes, we get quiet a lot, but it’s probably because we’re thinking about the state of the Union and the probability that Keats will rise from the grave and regale us with some poetry that is much needed.

Maybe we aren’t like your ex girl-friend who was the center of attention; whom everyone loved because of their outlandish in-your-face humor, or your former best friend who had everyone doubled over and cackling all night, but we have our own ways of shinning, of shocking the world… of living.

We’re funny (even if you don’t get our references every time), caring, and if my research is correct, brilliant as fuck. Studies show that Introverts typically have higher IQ’s (and tend to have artistic leanings), which means we have a hell of a lot to think about, so don’t sue us when we gaze off into space while you’re talking about some YouTube video you saw or show no interest when everyone is going on about a Facebook post.

We’re trying (though it might not seem like it). Trying to fit into a world that classifies us as ‘quiet’ or ‘shy’ or ‘bitchy’. Trying to feel comfortable in our own skins while finding a balance between wanting to be like everyone else and saying fuck it to the social expectations and norms forced on us when we’re born.

We are trying, but it’s up to you, the extrovert, to try too.

The worst thing in life is feeling like you’re somehow broken or damaged. The best feeling, is knowing despite not being perfect, there are people that have enough understanding and patience to handle your most difficult days.

So strive for that, kids. It’s the greatest gift you can give someone. And it’s free.

This quote:

.kjjvfjkfhds

A.