Andi Winter

Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Category: WPM

Lessons from a gum graft

Day 7

So I had gum graft surgery, and life is returning to a new normal. This means eating foods from a blender, trying not to make any facial expressions, and not talking. I hadn’t realized how much I talked until I couldn’t.

Some things I’ve learned as a result of the surgery:

  1. Don’t think and/or worry about things you cannot control.
  2. It’s okay to let others take care of you and help out.
  3. Just focusing on this moment is a Fine Thing.
  4. The blender is a blessed tool. And is not just for frozen mixed drinks.
  5. Sometimes you just need to take the day off and do nothing. And that’s okay.

As for writing, I did my fifteen minutes today, not expecting much to come of it. However, I got some ideas for a creativity project which I can use, so I’ll call that good.

As with everything it seems, it’s all about small moves. Very small moves.

And so it begins

Day 6

Tomorrow I go under the dentist knife (literally), which I’ve been dreading for years. Well, time to put on the big girl panties and do the Adulting thing, which I’ve come to understand as “things you do so life doesn’t suck even worse in the future”.  Things like retirement accounts, house repairs, and now gum grafts. Meh.

Spent my fifteen minutes of writing time going over what I’ve written so far with this new story, and found a number of Easter Eggs*, which has me tingly with excitement**. You would think that I would remember what I had written (it’s only been a week), but I seem to only recall the Big Things like major plot points, and not the nifty details that create the World and assorted Conflicts. So yeah, found some nifty stuff that I’m pretty pleased about.

As for the daily Writing Practice Month challenge, well, at this point I’m not even planning to try to write over the next few days. With any luck***, I’ll be back at the writing table next week.

 

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*Like the “Easter eggs” in DVDs or video games—hidden cool things that the creators put in that you hunt for. Only in this case, Muse has kindly dropped them for me to find. Muse is awesome.

**Or maybe that’s the surgery anticipation.

***Luck = minimal lingering pain. My fingers are crossed!

Even littler steps

Day 5

Got ten minutes of writing in, which is a fine thing given the chaos that was today. Tomorrow looks like it should be a bit calmer, thankfully.

On the book recommendation side, the graphic novel Rolling Blackouts by Sarah Glidden is a fascinating look at one person’s experience in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq in 2010, as she traveled with independent journalist friends interviewing Iraqi refugees.

Time to get some sleep.

Little steps

Day 4

Got the fifteen minutes in and 359 words. Nothing exciting, but felt a little like playing, which is a good thing. It’s also a decent distraction from the upcoming Dental Havoc (a nice bonus). I’m doing what I can to stay in the moment (“How am I feeling right now?” “Can I focus on what’s in front of me, and not think about the upcoming potential Heaping Helpings of Pain?”), and performing multiple recitations of the Bene Gesserit litany against fear:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

Okay, so it’s a bit dramatic, but it feels reassuring to say.

Sometimes the old ways are the best ways

Day 3

I had (mild) intentions of getting fifteen minutes of writing in yesterday (3/4), but housework and socializing were higher priorities. That, and resting and watching more 1990’s comedies (that Dharma is such a sweetheart!). What was it the immoderate Greeks said about moderation*?

Anyway, I’ve been frustrated at the slowness of writing the past few days, and realized part of that was due to 1) writing by hand and 2) constantly doubting myself and overthinking**. If the new ways aren’t working, maybe it’s time to try the old ways. So I sat down for 15 minutes with Writemonkey*** with a 250 word goal and started writing. I came up for air after 25 minutes and discovered that I had written 648 words. Much better! Now I have something to work with, and I wrote at a reasonable enough pace that the words aren’t a complete crazy jumbled mess (i.e. shouldn’t require editing). Hurrah!

Which brings us back to the concept of using whatever works. The key being: it has to work.

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*”Everything in moderation.” I’m not sure which Greek said it, though.

**And this due to trying Dean Wesley Smith’s recommended “pantsing with class” writing method (he calls it “Writing into the Dark”), where you write without a premade outline and write the first draft like it’s the only draft—none of this “fix it in post/rewrite it later” nonsense. At the same time, he recommends not seeing one’s words as precious, and to keep practicing. So yeah, I was perhaps fretting too much about my words being good enough for a final draft.

***I really loves me the Writemonkey. <3

Is this progress?

Day 2

Got my fifteen minutes of writing time in, and managed again around maybe 100 words. This feels incredibly slow, since I tend to average closer to 300 words in that time period (even 500 when I’m hot). I feel like I have so many questions that I want to resolve before I can go any further with the story, and with that, constant self-doubt: where do I want this story to go? Who are these characters? Where is this story even taking place—is this historical, fantasy, sci-fi?

Of course, it’s not like two paragraphs should be causing such confusion. Like a lot of times, I think I’m overthinking it.

<sigh>

So, it’s going slowly, but hey! Two days in a row of putting new words down. Gotta start somewhere.

And in other news, I watched a bit of “The Voice” last night on TV. Apparently I’ve been missing out!

It’s a start

Day 1

After trying four—count ’em FOUR—different story starter techniques, and spending entirely too much time on them, and just not feeling excited, interested, or even remotely positive about any of them, and then scribbling in my notebook “Or maybe I should just f*@#ing write?”, I saw in my mind’s eye a young woman sitting under a large tree on a hillside with a journal on her lap.

Um, okay.

So I spent the next fifteen minutes writing about her and what she was thinking and feeling.

Honestly? The writing felt pretty good, and I didn’t want to stop.

Hmm. There may be something to this radical concept of JUST WRITE.

Ahem.

We’ll see how this goes.

 

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