Thursday, July 30, 2009

Twitter, Fairy Wings, and Tutus

I got my computer back on Monday. It was a glorious reunion! I found out on Sunday afternoon that my computer issue was in fact a hard drive issue. Cue my heart stopping. But Dude told me that it should be golden--he was pretty sure he could rescue my documents, pictures, and music from my old hard drive. So now my laptop has a brand new, shiny hard drive that is twice as big as my old one...and now it's running SO much nicer! It no longer takes it 10 minutes to turn on (I wish I was kidding) it only takes a minute or so. Good stuff.

Today was my writing date with Emmy. It was our first writing date in two weeks and we had a little bit too much fun. I was happy to have my computer back (hand-writing this novel over the weekend gave me a renewed appreciation of writing on the computer). Anyway, about halfway through our time at Urban Coffee, we both got side-tracked by Twitter. And by "side-tracked" I mean we had an entire ridiculous conversation for at least an hour just over Twitter...any of our mutual friends who follow both of us probably had nothing on their feed but our insanity. After she distracted me by talking about her iTunes playlist she has for the story she's writing, which led to me making a 60-song playlist for my own novel, THIS happened:

ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm I also love how we're talking over twitter and not with our voices, since we're sitting at the SAME TABLE! Eat your muffin!
Serenityfilm @ErinLMillar Also that girl over there is wearing a tutu, and the other one is wearing fairy wings, it's distracting...
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm Weeeeeeiiiiiiird. Do you like how I spied through the bizarre coffee bean on the back of the bench?
Serenityfilm @ErinLMillar Yes. Very much so. I also enjoy that we're using twitter for incognito communication...
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm EAT THE MUFFIN, DAMN IT! You paid $1.75 for it!
Serenityfilm @ErinLMillar But you just stabbed it, now its tainted...
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm Weirdo. I'll put the strange girl's fairy wings on you in retaliation.
Serenityfilm @ErinLMillar SOO WEIRD! Whatever, I'm not judging, I'm not. Really I'm not. I swear to god.
Serenityfilm Great, Splenda now owns my muffin. Thanks @ErinLMillar
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm You know you love your muffin flag, don't deny it.
Serenityfilm - This muffin has been claimed by the land of no calorie sweetners.
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm YEAH it has!
ErinLMillar @Serenityfilm I dare you to go over and ask Fairy Wings and Tutu why they're wearing...fairy wings and a tutu...
Serenityfilm @ErinLMillar That would be a no. HELL no in fact, I'd rather just silently wonder.

Anyway, after this entire exchange and a few more distractions, I actually managed to get an entire (long) chapter written today. Start to finish. I'm getting to the really tense, really interesting part of my novel it's almost getting harder for me to not finish a chapter soon after I start it. Which I'm gonna say is a good thing. Another accomplishment today is that I'm now on the last page of my outline! The end is in sight, friends!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Technology and why I hate it

Life has been a little interesting around here over the last week. On the positive side...I managed to finish three chapters, which is pretty remarkable for me lately. And I finally broke 100 single-spaced pages. Took two and a half years, but that made me pretty happy.

On the down computer died yesterday. It just up and died on me, which annoyed me to no end. I don't really know that it legit DIED, but I do know that it will no longer turn on for me without giving me a fantasic Blue Screen of Death. Oh, how I loathe the BSD. This happened yesterday morning. After I spent a good half hour fighting with my laptop and trying with every fiber of my being to get it to TURN ON, I finally gave up. I called computer dude (that's how I refer to mom calls him the computer guru...his real name is Bill) who has fixed my parents' desktop computer on numerous occasions recently, found out he deals with laptops, and was told to bring it over. So I did...frantically. I was in complete frantics all morning because, oh, yeah, I haven't really backed up much on that piece of crap. FORTUNATELY, I have probably 95% of my digital pictures backed up and (most importantly) I have my novel backed up in, now, four places. Those would have been the things I would be stressing out about the most. I'm hoping against hope I can get the rest of my documents back...and my iTunes music...but the novel and the pictures would have made me devestated if I lost (especially the novel).

Anyway, Dude told me that it could be anything that's causing the BSD and he would have to diagnose it first. He said it could be merely a hardware/software issue, something could need updated, it could be a virus, ooooor I might need a new hard drive. I'm hoping it's a quick, easy, cheap fix that doesn't make me lose anything...or at least not much. I guess I should be impressed that I've had my laptop for four years and it's only NOW causing me to take it to the shop.

Ah, technology. It's really good at biting me in the butt.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Every Ending is a New Beginning

Cheesy title, I know. But just go with'll make sense, I swear.

Tonight, I'm proud to say that I finished another chapter (much faster than usual, so that's probably a good sign). I was sitting on the couch with Mom, watching something on the Food Network and after a short break I turned back to my laptop to start Chapter Fourteen. I stared at my outline, read the couple sentences I had written down regarding Chapter Fourteen's events about a million times, stared at my computer, stared at my outline again...this went on for several minutes. And after groaning, and then explaining my reason for groaning to Mom, I realized something. Something I've known for a while, but just haven't thought of that much...

I hate starting new chapters.

I love it too, but I REALLY hate starting new chapters. I love the feeling of moving forward...but I still hate starting new chapters. The reason for this is...I do this ritual every time. Fourteen times (well, fifteen, because of the prologue) during the course of writing this novel, I have spent a loooooooong time trying to start a new chapter. I figured out something tonight, though. It's because each chapter is like its own story. And I've heard several times that the hardest part of writing is getting started (isn't that the truth). So I finish a chapter...and then I turn to start a new one...and even though I know exactly what's going to happen, I never have any idea how to start the story. So I sit there for minutes upon minutes upon minutes, staring at my outline and computer screen, willing my mind to form some opening that doesn't sound completely stupid, something I haven't already used before in the story, something that can get me going.

And then I find that opening. As soon as that happens, it's all golden. For the most part, as soon as that happens, the chapter starts taking form and I know (more or less) exactly how I want to say what I've chosen to occur in the chapter. Yes, there are still rough spots...moments in the chapter when I'm not sure how to get to the next part...but nothing is as bad as when I'm first starting. So I write and write until I've told that chapter's story. I bring it to a close. I celebrate a little--do a little dance, listen to a favorite song, treat myself to a snack. And then I type those fateful words: CHAPTER [INSERT NUMBER HERE]. I feel pretty good about myself...until I pick up that outline and read those few sentences. The whole cycle starts over again and I have to scour my brain for words I haven't used...for something that's not cheesy. But I keep going.

By the end of writing this first draft, I'll have gone through this ritual twenty-six times, assuming all goes as planned. Once I finish, I'll probably miss the cycle...I'll probably miss getting frustrated by opening a new chapter. But then it'll be time to come up with the next novel idea...and the cycle will pick up again with a new story, new outline, new characters. The cycle will never end, not as long as I keep writing. And I plan to write for a long time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I just spent another afternoon at Urban Coffee, but this time I was by myself. Emmy is working/out of town this week, so I decided that I needed to get out of the house to write. I wrote for a good three hours, researched Bible verses for another hour. I've discovered over the last few weeks that I am most productive when I'm completely away from the house. Yes, I can disconnect my computer from the internet and sit outside...and that works for an hour or two before I get distracted again...or it gets too dark...or my computer battery runs low. But getting out of the house, for some reason, I can't get as distracted.

I finished another chapter today. I've gotten to the point where I'm finishing about a chapter a week. For now, this is satisfactory to me...soon, I'll be aiming to finish two chapters a week. It's like conditioning myself for a race. I have to work up to the point of writing during more hours of the day. And for the first time in my life, I can focus on writing THIS novel...this ONE novel. I don't have to be working on another novel for one of my classes...or a short story...or any other piece. I can focus on "Nor the Battle" and I intend to not start another story until I have this one finished.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


My ears hurt from the ear buds I'm wearing. My butt hurts from the hard bench I've been sitting on for four hours. My fingers hurt from typing constantly. It's too hot in here all of a sudden. My computer has completely frozen on me once today, plus only partially freezing a handfull of other times during my time sitting here--thus, I hate my computer currently. My brain is drained...I'm exhausted...and I finished my Iced Chocolate Covered Strawberry Mocha at least three hours ago.

But I finished another chapter today during Emmy's and my writing date for the week. And that makes it all worth it.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Writing Dates

I love having friends near me that are as into writing as I am. One of my good friends, Emmy, and I have decided to start a new "thing" for the two of us. Every week, we're having a writing date. We just had our first one this past Friday. We basically went to Urban Coffee, a local coffee shop, got some coffee (well, I got a chai, but whatever), found a table with an outlet, and settled down to write on our laptops. It was nice, because we both had to write...we could bounce ideas off each other, hold each other accountable. We stayed there for four hours! I got about five pages written, which was VERY exciting.

When I told my mom about Emmy's and my plan, she asked me how that would work. "Isn't writing a personal thing?" she asked me. And, yes, while writing is a personal thing, it's also nice to go somewhere and write with someone. I had a sounding board RIGHT THERE for those four hours. I had someone to complain to if my story started going somewhere I didn't want it to go...Emmy had someone to complain to that she felt her story was getting repetitive. We could give each other advice, try to keep each other from getting distracted. And even better--it was a whole four hours that I had set aside JUST for writing. Because I had someone to write with, I couldn't back out of it or change my mind.