Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30

I wrote 520 words on my old story.

A hard workout in the morning, a hard day at work, and then I got to play in my story and get my words.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29

I wrote 509 words on my new story.

Pretty tired today. But I'm not skipping my words.


The last few weeks, I've been having some horrible headaches. Nothing seems to touch them. I take pain killers, nothing. The heating pad hardly helps. And then I noticed that my shoulders were hunching up higher, muscles between my arms and neck tight and bulging.

So, naturally, I took to the internet for answers. No, my trapeziums were not overdeveloped, but they were under extreme tension. The tension pulled at my neck and, I believe, created a lovely tension headache.

Since I don't like getting tension headaches, I tried to figure out how to release the tension, other than getting a massage, which I'd actually love to do, but can't afford at the moment. The recommendations that I decided to try involved my old nemesis: posture.

If I had a dollar for every time my dad told me to stand up straight, I'd have a heaping pile of cash. I've never been good about standing or sitting up straight. Every once in a while, I'd make a concerted effort to do it, but it's never stuck. I even read that when you work on pull ups, your posture should improve, so I kind of expected something to happen when I started getting pull ups. But the only thing I got was tension headaches.

And, according to my research, I needed to relax my upper traps (the part I could see bulging up a bit) by pulling my shoulder blades together behind my back with my mid and lower traps. I needed to hold my head high, centered over the spinal column rather than letting it lean forward. In short, I needed to improve my posture with these new muscles I'd developed, rather than letting my bad old habits give me headaches.

So far, the practice seems to be working. I'm being conscious of my posture, and my headaches have not returned. Of course, it's only been a week. And next week I'll be going on a backpacking trip, and I'll be too tired to be tense.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28

I wrote 246 words on my old story and 302 words on my new story.

It's been a long day. I should write more about my backpacking trip but the trip itself has left me quite tired. I wish my days had more naps.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 23-27

June 23
289 words

June 24
121 words

June 25
139 words

June 26
147 words

June 27
330 words

Got back from the woods today. I started a new story on the 23rd at the trail head, in part because my phone battery was running down and I couldn't write on my old story. I'll be back to it tomorrow and work on both until one of them is done and then keep going. Forward motion is good.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22

I wrote 600 words on my old story today.

I've got a backpacking trip this weekend so I won't be posting again until Monday. I'll go for 250 words each tomorrow and Monday and 100 on each of the other days when I'll be hand writing in the wilderness. I've got a killer headache today but I'm sure it will fade when I get to the trail head.

Writing On

I am doing well on the words part of my challenge. I have built up a streak and I'm sticking to it. I'm nowhere near the production I wanted so far, but I've gotten a lot farther on the old, unfinished story than I thought I would. I thought it would end quickly after the place I had initially stopped, but it just keeps rolling along. What I thought was going to be the ending wasn't the ending after all. And I feel like I'm almost too committed to finishing it to start on another story.

I do want to start another story, even if it's another short one. Not only will that improve my production overall, but it can help me keep moving forward with the other story. I like being able to play with whichever one I feel best about on any given day, rather than having only one work in progress that I must produce 500 words for. And, I also like being able to settle into a different character for a change of pace. The differences help remind me who I'm writing and how they would think and speak.

My accountability goal is also going well. I'm posting once for every night I spend at home, with the nights I'm not at home recorded and posted with the first night back. That's not a problem at all, except for that one night that I thought I'd hit publish but it didn't acknowledge the button push and I had to backdate it. Still, that was a software issue. I had the post ready and every intention to publish the night of.

I told someone at work the other day that I'm writing fiction. This person only knew that I was writing non-fiction, specifically, the backpacking books. They were quite eager to read my stories, being, as they said, an avid and nonjudgmental reader. On the one hand, having another person to read through what I've written could be quite helpful. On the other hand, I have to work with this person and I'd hate for them to lose esteem for me based on either subject matter or perceived skill. I still lack confidence about my fiction, partly because I've never sold anything.

So I will keep writing, keep reading, keep practicing and get better. But I don't know if it will ever be any easier to point acquaintances to my writing with the expectation that they could, if they like the style, enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21

I wrote 649 words on my old story today.

I think I'm getting better at last. The words are flowing more easily from my head to my fingers anyway.

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20

I wrote 603 words today on my old story.

Still feeling ill. I'm tired of it. Bah.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 19

I wrote 726 words on my old story today.

Feeling ill today. Happy to get the word goal.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June 18

I wrote 1292 words on my old story.

Feeling a bit ill today, but once I got around to writing, the words were fun to write.

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17

I wrote 752 words on my old story.

Another tired day, but the words started to flow a bit once I got started. I guess this forming a habit thing is working.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 16

I wrote 395 words on my new story and finished it. I wrote 169 words on my old story.

A tired day today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15

I wrote 301 words on my new story and 585 words on my old story.

A better day though I was frustrated by my computer's needing to reset itself before I could start working. And by reset itself, I mean I had to do a hard reset and wait for the disk check to finish. Someday I'll get a new one, I hope.

Roughing the Writing Challenge

Over Memorial Day weekend, I kept up with my writing streak despite being camped out. But car camping is not the same thing as backpacking. For that weekend, I used my phone to type up my words. Those words were automatically counted for me. And I had plenty of time on my hands to get it done.

Last weekend, then, was the true test of how I would do with keeping up my writing streak on a backpacking trip.

I packed four sheets of blank, unlined paper in a quart plastic bag and a mechanical pencil in the top of my pack. I had to be careful about where I put the mechanical pencil, because it's sharp and pointy and I don't want it tearing anything. Since this was a short trip, I also took my Kindle, not only for the purpose of reading a book when I had time, but also because it serves as an excellent surface to write on.

I got my words written in the evenings on this trip, laying down on my stomach in the tent and alternately writing and counting my words. I chose to go a little over 100 at a minimum so I wouldn't have to worry about counting the words in my chicken scratch handwriting with complete certainty.

I was correct in thinking that I would be tired at the end of the day and might not want to write, but the streak is keeping me motivated. I did my writing before the sun went down each night, but we were done for the day before six in the evening each night.

The second night, I wrote over 200 words and could have kept going, but every word I wrote out there would need to be transcribed, and that's not my favorite thing to do. Plus, I reached the end of a chapter I didn't know which chapter number came next. That's a good excuse, right?

I'm not keeping up on my production goals when it comes to writing a short story a week, but I didn't realize how long that first new story was going to be. I'm hoping the new new story will be shorter so I can start adding up some finished works.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14

I wrote 642 words on my new story and 225 on my old story.

Headache still occupying a lot of my attention, but so is my new story so it balances out a bit.

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13

I wrote 541 words on my old story.

I've had a headache all day. I got my words and that's going to be enough.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 9-12

June 9
317 words

June 10
142 words

June 11
218 words

June 12
516 words

I decided that since June 9 and June 12 were both partly backpacking days and partly home days, I needed to do at least 250 words for each of them. The words for the 9th through 11th were all on my old story. Today's words were on a new one because I didn't want to dig out the handwritten ones from over the weekend and transcribe.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8

I wrote 865 words on my new story and finished it. Now my husband gets to read it. Eeek!

Now I get to start writing another story, as well as keep wording away on my old one. Good timing, I think, because I'll be going backpacking this weekend, leaving internet range on Thursday after work. There will be an early post tomorrow - I aim to get those 500 words before I leave.

Los Vecinos Malos

I suppose we were lucky, when we arrived on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, that there was a campsite available. It was the smallest developed campsite at the Queens River Trail Head, but we didn't need a lot of room and we took it.

The two larger campsites, closer to the bathroom, were thoroughly occupied by a different kind of camper than us. There's nothing wrong with camping your own camp, so to write, but it can be interesting when styles that are so different must co-exist.

They were fire builders, ATV riders, hard talkers, drinkers and shooters.

The fire wasn't so bad. We were upwind for the most part, so I couldn't even smell the smoke. I didn't hear any extra coughs from Ambrose, so the fires only bugged me at night when I wanted to look at the stars and the light killed my night vision.

The ATVs were noisy and smelly, but they served a good function. They took the rowdy folks far away and allowed the quiet campsite to be invaded by a visitor.

Hi deer!

Make yourself at home. 

Don't mind the trucks. 

You can come closer.

Or walk away...
That deer was quite exciting for me, because it's the first time I've gotten a good picture of a deer with antlers. 

I had to walk between the two campsites to get to the bathroom, and sometimes it was a little bit scary. These guys are drinking, yelling across camps at each other and swearing up a storm. Now, I swear. I'm not shy about using words, but I use more words than just swears. I  use the words that I feel are appropriate for the situation. These men spat swears in every sentence, harshly and drunkly. They never made a violent move or gesture towards me, but I still felt afraid from their tones and word choices. 

But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part came the first night when darkness fell. The larger camp began to fire what sounded to me like a damn cannon from the confines of our tent. Ambrose says it was a 9 mm automatic rifle. The boom cracked through the air, echoing through the air. We stayed low and hoped that they were sober enough not to fire in the direction of our tent or our car. But how were we to know? We didn't know them, or their standards of gun safety. 

We made it through the night, even though it was punctuated by period booming interruptions. The next day Ambrose figured out they were shooting at a target well away from any of the campsites, so we were more prepared for a repeat performance. However, we got lucky. There was no more shooting that weekend. And we spent Monday night all alone at the campsite, so I got to try my camera out on the stars with a tripod. 

Either the camera isn't suited for taking shots of the stars or I need to learn how to do the settings manually, because the pictures did not turn out. 
That dot - it's Mars. I think. 
Even though we had some challenges with our neighbors, the weekend was still great. Not even being scared to death at the crack of gunshots could ruin camping for us - as long as we don't get shot. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7

I wrote 558 words on my new story and 189 words on my old story.

The new story is cooking. I feel like the end is near and I'm excited.

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6

I wrote 886 words on my new story.

An interesting writing day. I wrote a good amount before I got home from work, either before work or during breaks and lunch. But then I got home and got onto a roll so I wrote more than 500 for the one story. And then it got late so I didn't get a chance to work on the other one.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 5

I wrote 295 words on my new story and 556 words on my old story.

I got a little stuck on the new story, but then I used something that I read on Dean Wesley Smith's blog and I asked myself, "What's the next sentence?" And then I wrote the next sentence.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4

I wrote 533 words on my new story and 75 words on my old story.

Not as productive a day as I'd have preferred, but I got my words in.

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3

I wrote 305 words on my new story and 348 words on my old story.

Another long day starting with 5:30 am cross fit. But I got my words done. A good day.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 2

I wrote 528 words on my new story and 441 words on my old story.

I did a cross fit workout this morning and my pull up workout during my lunch hour. My body is tired, but my mind is still refreshed from the time in the mountains.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1

I wrote 259 words on my new story and 280 words on my old story.

A long day today with two Crossfit classes, but I'm still feeling refreshed from the vacation in the woods. More words tomorrow, I'm sure.

The Streak Continues

My writing challenge has withstood the pressures of car camping! I wrote my minimum number of words for being in the woods each day I was out, and I'm happy about that. 

But I also know I could have written more. I could have spent more time creating words instead of relaxing and absorbing the sights around me. I could have spent more time writing than reading. 

And yet, I'm happy that I didn't. I spent a lot of time reading, a lot of time sitting and listening to the river. I spent a bit too much time worried about our neighbors who had a tendency to disturb my peace with gunfire and loud music. 

I didn't spend as much time as I could on writing, because the point of being out there is not to work on words. The point of being out there is to recharge. To listen to the woods, and the river and mull over what's happening in my stories without actually writing them. 

I set these low minimums for a reason. I want to make sure that I don't feel like writing is a chore, because it's fun. But I do want to make sure that writing gets done - hence setting goals. It's a balance. I like writing, but I like a lot of things, and each one takes time. My challenge helps me make sure that some of time goes to writing every single day. 

So far, mission accomplished.