When the Old Way Is Better

Every once in a while, I’m struck by how an old or older “technology” really is better than something newer and allegedly better.

Take, for example, a cast iron fry pan.

pan
Old, new, can’t tell with one of these.

I never owned one until very recently. Why? Well, because this new Teflon non-stick coating was so much better. Granted, I have to throw out a non-stick pan the moment the coating started to get scratched as its toxic to ingest, but it was still so much better, right?

Except, maybe it’s not.

I was feeling wasteful at having to toss out pans if the coating got scratched. I was also feeling a bit nervous about cooking on a toxic surface, so I tried the next greatest new thing. The ceramic pan. Except, that scratches, too. And yes, I use only plastic utensils on the pans, which, I’m not entirely sure if that’s  great choice either, as plastic does bad things at higher temps.

So, I was hanging out watching Netflix when an old cooking show came on and the host was talking about how amazing cast iron is. I ignored it, but the thought was percolating back there for some time. So, when I was looking at having to toss yet another scratched pan, I decided to try the cast iron.

Holy wow, this really is a weapon. And here, I thought Disney was just teasing with Rapunzel using it as a weapon. They weren’t. The basic cast iron 12 inch skillet I bought weighs over seventeen pounds. It was approximate seventeen dollars, which makes me wonder if these are sold by the pound. But I digress.

rapunzel
Yes, these really can be used as a weapon.

There are some pros and also some cons to our new pan.

Pros

  1. This sucker is going to last a lifetime with proper care
  2. It does an amazing job browning food.
  3. It goes directly from stove top into the oven. This means no extra pans to clean when you need to say, brown steaks, then finish them in the oven.
  4. It cooks faster than other pans. I add this as a pro because it will be in the long run. Right now, I have to relearn all my cook times for things.
  5. It’s cast iron. Nothing toxic getting into my food.
  6. I don’t think you can scratch it. Time will tell on this.
proscons
I always feel like this.

Cons

  1. Clean-up. You can’t pop this into the dishwasher. After it cools, you have to scrape all the particulate off of it, wash it, then completely dry it. Once that’s done, you have to rub a bit of cooking oil over it to protect it. Yeah, kind of a pain.
  2. It’s heavy. As in, two handed heavy when popping it into the stove. Not a con in and of itself, except for the fact that…
  3. It’s hot. There is nowhere on the pan you can touch without your oven mitts. Mine are silicon because this is one thing new technology has over the old: no spots on my silicone gloves where I can still get burned even while wearing them. It’s also easy to wash off anything that I might’ve spilled on them

 

For the moment, the pros are outweighing the cons. I’ll see if I’m still using it in a year.

How about you? Have you ever cooked with cast iron? Do you like it? What are your thoughts on non-stick pans? Any other kids of pans you can recommend?

Running Out of Time

Are we really as time deficient as we think? We all seem to be constantly running out of time, or claiming we never have enough of it.

time1
Maybe both.

 

A quick Google search will reveal oodles of articles on time management and how to get more done in less time. (Hint: it involves turning off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

We all think that the modern world is super stressful and that we never have time for anything, but a look back through history tells us of twelve and fourteen hour work days. It tells us Saturday was long considered as much a work day as Monday. Only the Sabbath was taken off, and then it wasn’t a day of rest, but a day of prayer.

I know, sounds like some people’s jobs, especially with all of the connectivity, but it still doesn’t answer why are we feeling so particularly time-crunched now.

work1

I did some Google research, and I didn’t find a lot of articles out there. So I did a little introspection.

I can honestly say I didn’t feel the same level of stress and pressure before having children as I did after. They are a monumental task in our society, which many people from previous generations have told me was not always the case. I’m not entirely sure why the sudden pressure on parents to perfectly organize, arrange and educate their children, but I can tell you that it’s there.

The days of kids riding their bikes and hanging out have been replaced with soccer camps, computer programming classes, and “enrichment” activities.

drive
And it only gets worse.

I’ve also learned that commutation between parents and care-givers, whether kindergarten or formal pre-school, is difficult. This adds to confusion and makes everything take longer.

Yet, for me anyway, it’s more than this.

For me, the lack of time stems from me not being able to do all that I want to get done. Mainly, writing and the corresponding social media presence that entails. For a friend of mine, it means not getting to work on her jewelry making. For another, it means not getting to ride her horse.

This is why I feel time pressured. My choices for entertainment are greater than they’ve ever been, and most are instantly available, at the same time that so many other obligations have been added.

How many of us really want to chauffeur our kid to dance class and then watch a room of kindergartners try to master basic ballet steps before carting them home? I think we’d all rather be binge watching something on Netflix. Or reading. Or writing.

For me, the feeling of never having enough time started around the time I realized I had to be social to write books. I mostly love writing, but as you may have noticed, I’m a bit of an introvert. Okay, a lot of an introvert. Social media is hard for me. While writing felt like an unpaid part time job, the social media aspect made it feel like a full time job, on top of kids, a spouse, and a day job.

This is why I feel time crunched.

time2
About right.

What to do about it?

Well, the kids are non-negotiable. Most days. That means the day job to support them and everything that goes with them is non-negotiable.

Not entirely sure what to do about the writing. I should complete three first draft novels this year. Two are already done, and the third is halfway there. Not exactly the four most romance writers produce a year, so even with as much time as I’ve committed, I’m not quite at the romance author level. And, that doesn’t account for revisions. All of my work needs serious revision.

The logical answer would be to set aside writing, but I’m not willing to do that. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I clearly want to do this thing, and I’ve already put it off too many decades.

So, back to feeling like I never have enough time.

 

How about you? How do you balance family commitments with you professional life and hobbies? When was the last time you binge watched on Netflix? Any real life tips for making a serious hobby work with family and work?

Will Retail Compete?

I had a pretty frustrating experience with retail shopping this week that reminded me why I do all of my shopping on line. Made me wonder if retail is even truly trying to compete with online shopping.

Saturday morning, I ran to the bank with my toddler. While for some, this would be a painful and frustrating experience, my toddler loves running errands. She loves going to the bank. So, we took care of our transaction and headed back to the car.

She begged not to go home.

toddlerroadtrip
She can be convinced to do a lot for a ride in the car. Like getting dressed.

I’d been planning to head home and order a Christmas present online, but I checked the Toys R Us website on my phone, and it said my “local” store had them in stock. The closest store is about twenty minutes away, but the toddler loves the ride, and I love the quiet.

So, we headed over there. Only, they didn’t have it in stock when we got there. Because of course they didn’t. A snotty floor attendant informs me of this, at which point, I showed him the website on my phone saying that they did, in fact, show it in stock on their site.

Biting back several expletives that I don’t want my toddler to parrot back to me, I took her to the mall which is right down the road from Toys R Us. I was going to pick up a Christmas ornament that JCPenny said they had in stock.

Only, at 9:45 am on a Saturday morning, JCPenny wasn’t open. Because who is out on a Saturday getting all of their errands done before taking one of their children to a friend’s birthday party then going over to see family for dinner?

StoreNotOpen
No, just twice, because I couldn’t believe it the first time.

I am not waiting fifteen minutes outside in 34F/1C weather with a toddler. Or even without a toddler. Especially not when I can order the same thing from Amazon, with free shipping, and it’s $0.03 cheaper.

Finally, we swung by a cabinet store to get a special knob to spruce up a plain white desk. I wanted a sparkly knob to make it look less like furniture we put together, even if it totally was furniture we put together.

I’d done some perusing of the internet before going to the cabinet store, and I almost laughed myself and my toddler out of the store when they were charging $27 for the exact same knob, by the same maker, as one I’d found online at several different place for less than $10. That $10 included shipping.

All in, three stores and well over an hour of my life, and I came back with nothing I’d set out to get.

Much to my toddler’s chagrin, we went home at that point. I popped open my iPad, and less than fifteen minute later, I had the toy ordered, the Christmas ornament for the tree on its way, and the knob for the drawer bought.

Even when I want to support local stores, I’m reminded why so often I don’t. I either can’t afford to, they don’t have what I want, or they just aren’t open.

 

Anyone else have these kinds of struggle with retail lately?  Is it just me? Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by online shopping for so long?

 

 

 

Medical Issues Suck

Of course medical issues suck. When was the last time someone said, “Hey, I suddenly feel better than ever! I think I need to go to the doctor and fix that!”

No, medical issues tend to only go one way, and that’s to the bad. Look, I know we’re all getting older, and this is the way things tend to work. When you’re young and healthy, you have no clue how lucky you are because that’s all you’ve known.

Then you get a little older.

Okay, maybe a lot older.

old

You reach the time in your life when not only are your friends getting sick with more than just a summer cold that a couple shots of vodka will fix. (Learned that in college. Who knew?)

It’s also the time when you start having to accept the mortality of your parents and grandparents (if you’re lucky enough to still have them).

A sinus infection sends your grandmother to the hospital because a simple course of antibiotics isn’t enough. Your parents, aunts, and uncles are still talking about the latest sports game, but now they’re suddenly also talking about cholesterol medicine, diet restrictions, and cancer scares.

Yeah, like I said, medical issues are never good.

But I will tell you this. When you do have a medical scare, it puts things into laser focus. What is important to you?

For me, I learned a few things.

  • My kids were the very first thing I thought about. I double checked life insurance policies to make sure they will be taken care of. I want to be there for them, to do mommy daughter things, have long talks, and watch them grow into amazing women. But if I can’t? I want to know they will not suffer financially. A lot of you are like, “Of course you thought about them first. They’re your kids!” But years ago, before we started a family, I’d never have guessed that. People change. I changed after having them, and it was more than mom jeans and baby weight.  (picture of girls hand in hand)
  • My second thought was my husband and how hard it would be for him to have the girls alone. I was trying to think of ways to make it easier on him and failing miserably.
  • Then I thought about my writing and how I’d race to get all that I’m working on finished and published. That this was something I wanted to do, really wanted to do.

 

You know what I didn’t think about at all? My day job.

dayjob

 

Maybe not that strange, but definitely worth considering. Makes me wonder if it’s not fulfilling enough, challenging enough that I’d miss it, or if being a corporate cog means you really do it just for the financial security.

The challenges haven’t changed my need for that day job to support my family, but it has made me take a hard look at career advancement. Is it really something I want? Is a promotion, that means more money but more hours, really better than what I have now? I don’t have answers yet, but the questions themselves are worth asking.

 

How about you? Ever have a medical issue that made you really take stock of where you are and what you’re doing? Did it help realign your priorities? Maybe it made you realize your priorities were fine all along?

Without Us

Without Us

checkmate-1511866_640

I studied Mac, and she glanced over at me. We both sucked in one last breath of clean air as the doors to the bunker opened. The rest of the team stood behind the blast shield, ready to flood the area with gamma rays if anything forced its way in.

Nothing did.

We hefted our packs and walked out, the doors closing with an ominous thud.

Following the concrete tube, we walked into a brilliant light that seared my eyes and forced me to turn away.

Tears ran down my cheeks as Mac touched my shoulder. “Put on your Uplink.”

The moment it settled over my eyes, the light dimmed, and a pre-war map displayed our destination and directions.

“Bet none of those streets still exist,” Mac said.

“It’ll auto correct as we go and send back updated information.”

“Let’s hope they don’t need it,” Mac said.

I swallowed and nodded. We needed to survive and bring back the needed components so we could all make it another hundred years.

Mac and I worked our way down the mountainside, but the endurance training hadn’t prepared us for the uneven terrain, choking undergrowth, or burning sun. After a few hours, I was sweating, my legs ached, and my feet hurt.

“At least the chiefs were right about nothing surviving,” Mac said. “Haven’t even seen a squirrel.”

Peering through my Uplink, I wondered if it would be able to identify a squirrel if we saw one.

As the sun dipped low, Mac pointed to a dilapidated shack in the distance.

Fear filled my throat. “It’s not structurally sound.”

“Nothing’s gonna be, and there might be tin, iron or gold.”

I thought back to our training. The risk was minimal, and the training said people had kept gold and silver jewelry before the war. I followed Mac.

The front steps had rotted away and the door hung off its hinges. Mac stepped inside, her weapon drawn. I drew mine and followed behind her, the weight of the gun cold, slick and foreign.

After a hundred years, there was little to find. Tattered drapes twisted over broken windows and trees sprouted up between rotted floorboards. Bits and pieces of debris littered the floor, but I couldn’t identify most of it and neither could my Uplink.

“Over here,” Mac said.

I followed her to what had once been a kitchen. Cans of foodstuff lay scattered across the floor, their exteriors corroded and labels worn away.

“Lots of metal in here,” Mac said. “Looks like copper plumbing too.”

“But no neodymium.”

“Didn’t expect there to be. Let’s hope the chiefs are right, and there’s still some of that in the old battery factory.”

“Assuming the factory is still there.”

“Better be,” Mac said.

I opened my magpack and withdrew the despacer. After a few minutes, I’d reduced the usable metal down to the size of a fork and loaded it into my magpack.

“Curious?” Mac asked as she held up a couple of rusted cans.

“Not really.”

Mac grinned and popped open the can.

“What is that?” I grimaced. The smell was nauseating, and the greasy brown contents looked worse than the smell.

“Looks like canned meat product.” Mac stuck her finger in the gelatinous goo.

“Do not eat- I can’t believe you just did that.”

“Tastes better than it smells.” Mac grinned and offered me the can. “Sure you don’t want to try a bite?”

I shoved it away and swallowed back bile. “Positive.”

Mac sat down beside me and we split a tube of foodpaste.

I glanced over at the can of gooey meat. “Could you imagine eating that?”

Mac shrugged. “They needed more calories than we do.”

“They weren’t confined to an underground bunker.”

“Or modified.”

I rubbed my legs. “We should find a place to spend the night.”

“This seems as good as any.”

“Sure the walls won’t come down on us?”

“Haven’t come down in a hundred years. Doubt tonight will be the night.”

I considered that for a moment, and while it wasn’t a logical argument, I was too tired to argue.

 

The high-pitched chirping of our Uplinks woke us and warned of a huge creature moving at twenty-five miles-per-hours in our direction. Fear swallowed me as a huge mass of fur and claws barreled through the rotted walls.

The beast gobbled the contents of the meat can and swung its shaggy head towards us. Mac stood frozen beside me as it snarled and reared up on its back legs.

Gunshots deafened me and pounded through my head as a pre-war robot shot the creature.

The creature roared and charged the robot.

I steadied my breathing and aimed my weapon.

As the creature knocked the robot to the ground, I pulled the trigger.

The creature flew across the shack, knocking down the rear wall, and then exploding as it smashed into a tree.

“What the hell kind of gun is that?” the robot asked as it stood up.

“You’re not a robot?” I asked.

He laughed as he removed his helmet. “Knight-Captain Wyoming reporting for duty.”

“Knight-Captain?” I looked up at the strange man. The top of my head barely reached his shoulders.

“You’re not from around here,” York said.

“But you are. We thought no one survived the war.”

He gave me a lopsided grin. “Glad to prove you wrong. But we should move before the smell of blood brings something nastier.”

“Where to?” Mac asked.

“There’s a checkpoint not far from here. On the way there, you can tell me what two civilians are doing up here in the wilds.” He motioned to their strange weapons, the Uplinks over their eyes, and their odd gear. “And you can explain all of that.”

Civilians. So more than just the military had survived.

I looked at Wyoming and then over at the dead creature. Those of us in the bunker were supposed to be mankind’s ticket past the apocalypse, the start of a new future. I thought about what we’d been sent to retrieve and what we’d already found.

There were other people. People that lived outside the bunker.

The future of mankind had happened, and it had happened without us.

That Moment When It Clicks

We all have those moments when it clicks. When doing suddenly becomes infinitely easier.

Perhaps it’s the moment when you are learning to ride a bike and you finally make more than a few inches before scraping your knee.

bike.png
About how it’s going teaching my daughter.

Maybe it’s the moment when you can finally see the image a differential equation represents without needing a graphing calculator. Yeah, that moment didn’t happen for me either.

A friend of mine makes and sells jewelry, and she has repeatedly told me how she’ll be bombarded by ideas one day and then will have no ideas for weeks after. She has to quickly write down the ideas as they come because they are flashes of inspiration. If she doesn’t write them down, they’re gone.

I have my own experience with this on a regular basis. My muse comes and visits me, and together, we can produce one-thousand words in less than an hour. Good words. Stuff that will get refined, but stuff that I think will still be there in the final draft.

Then, there’s the days she doesn’t visit. Like a Saturday not long ago where I managed to squeeze in three hours of writing. I got less than a thousand words during those three hours, and I’m not sure any of them are good.

Magic

But, I did get them down. So, progress. I can edit something that exists, but I can’t edit a blank page.

Still, I understand why people get discouraged. When the muse is here, we can create in hours what would take days of toil. Yet, those days of toil are still important.

You don’t get to ride the bike without the hours of learning put in beforehand. You don’t understand the differential equations in a moment unless you’re that one kid in my second semester calc class. Okay, maybe you never understand them completely, but if you don’t do the work to get there, you’ll never have the chance understand them.

equation
Yeah, I know they’re not differential equations.

I sometimes think this is what inspiration is all about. Basically, the motivational poster that says it’s 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration, yet, I think it’s true even if I’m not much for motivational posters.

I’m trying to treat the hour my muse visits me as the reward for the previous three hours of grinding work. If I just wait for her, she won’t come. She’s waiting for me to put in the work before giving my prize. Maybe I’m right on this, or maybe its complete garbage to make me feel better, but at least it gets stuff done.

 

How about you? Do you find you have to struggle for things and then there’s a magic moment where it clicks? Do you wait for inspiration, or do you plod through? Maybe you were the kid in the back of my class that just “got” differential equations so your muse is always ready to go?

 

 

What I Really Want

I’ve been reading a lot of craft books. Things that tell me books should be all about plot, and tension, and making characters miserable until the very end. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not what I want to read.

isthisakissingbook.jpg
Please let it be a kissing book!

Yeah, I know. Kind of a revelation to me, too.

But the deal is life has been pretty stressful.

There’s hurricanes like Irma and Harvey, issues with North Korea, Las Vegas shootings, NYC terrorist attacks, trade concerns, Russia investigations, debt ceilings, border walls, and whatever else is gobbling up the news. It feels like a constant stream of ugliness and negativity. Maybe it’s always been there, and I was better at not noticing.

There’s family and work and health issues and . . . Well, you get the idea. You probably suffer from all of it, too.

So maybe, just maybe, when I slip into a fictional world, I’m not looking for heart wrenching agony. I’m not looking for Game of Thrones level treachery, betrayal, and angst. Maybe, I just want a nice romance with a few obstacles to overcome and then a happily-ever-after.

kindle

Yeah, that’s kinda ugly to admit. But it’s true.

I have a rather large stack of books to read. Most of them romance, so I should get my happily-ever-after. Yet, I don’t want to read about a lot of things in them. I never have the stomach for rape. I’m really not looking for characters that keep making bad choices as we watch the suspense build.

I don’t really want to be on the edge of my seat. I just don’t have it in me to care. Or, if I do care, I’d rather save it for something else.

I want to slip into a book and let it be a nice ride. Give me some bumps and challenges to overcome, but that lets me escape into it. I don’t find fear or horror relaxing. Or suffering.

gotd

While maybe it’s not good storytelling and doesn’t follow the rules of craft, this is what I want right now. What I’ve been reading. What entertains me. And for me, that’s all that matters at the moment.

Maybe I’m alone. And that’s okay. It won’t be the first time, and it won’t be the last.

 

How about you? Ever find yourself too wrung out for high-intensity fiction? Am I the only one that watches reruns of Bob Ross to relax some evenings?

What Is a Knight?

What is a knight? Most of us picture a man clad in heavy armor, similar to this:

Knights

But, as with many things, our general perception doesn’t encapsulate the entire truth.

I did a bit of research on historical knights so I’d know what they were and could borrow from reality and legend to create the knights in my own work.

In reality, a knight was usually a mounted soldier serving under a feudal lord in Europe. The concept of what a knight was would come to mean men, usually of noble birth (but not required), who would be apprenticed as first a page and then a squire.

During this apprenticeship, they were taught all of the skills necessary to be a skilled fighter, as well as religion, reading and writing, and social decorum. They’d then be given the military rank of knight and be bound to the code of chivalry.

This code of chivalry was enacted partially to control behavior. Because history has taught us how well behaved soldiers can be. See also, Vikings.

vikings
They’d terrorized much of Europe, so yeah, chivalry had its reasons.

Unlike many other titles (duke, baron, etc.), knighthood was not hereditary. It was given to a person by a sovereign because of personal merit or service. This means that it was easier for men who were good at being soldiers to move up in rank. It also meant you never had a six-year-old knight. Unlike some kings. And helped reduce the crazy, unlike in kings.

Knights were an important part of feudal system established by Charlemagne. Under this system, the king owned all of the land, and he granted fiefs to various lords in return for loyalty, protection and service.

In order to provide this protection, the knight class was created. Many knights were professional warriors, and the lord they served paid them for the services, and provided food, lodging, armor, weapons and horses.

Knighthood was a way for a man to advance in a society that offered few other means. As it also wasn’t an inherited position, it was a way for a younger son of a lord to advance himself. Knights could make fortunes from their service, and they could be granted land from the king and become a lord in their own right.

While many of us think of Knights of the Round Table when we think of knights.

kingarthur.jpg
Okay, maybe not this King Arthur.

In reality, knights were experienced mounted soldiers. They were also supposed to have a firm grounding in religion, among other things, but the reality was knights were about as religious as any other general order of soldiers.

Stories of knights have been told for a very long time. I think it somewhat relates to the legends of King Arthur, but I also think seeing men riding in armor on horseback left a strong impression. It was story worthy.

 

How about you? What do you think of when you think of knights? Maybe Sir Lancelot or Sir Galahad from King Arthur’s court? Ser Bronn from Game of Thrones? Sir El Cid of Spain? Or maybe you think of something all together different?

All or Nothing

Why is there this perception in our culture that you must do something all the way, be completely immersed in it, and be the best, or it’s not worth doing at all? It’s everything or nothing.

I’ve seen this time and again on a variety of things. Why can’t walking for 30 minutes a day, most days of the week, make everyone happy? This is what science says is great for our health. At least, so say the New England Journal of Medicine. They don’t mess around with faux science there. Why does our collective society look down on walking and instead believe we have to be doing hours of grueling cardio and intense weight lifting before we feel like we’re really excising?

lazy
This does NOT count.

I don’t have an answer for this need for all or nothing, but I’ve seen the same thing in writing.

Stephen King, one of the preeminent writers of our time, wrote a book called On Writing. Yeah, I know, you’ve already heard about it. Maybe even read it. But in that book, he says he writes 2,000 words a day. And, I believe him.

I’ve only read a handful of his books. There’s a reason for that. I’m a coward.

bedtime2
Please, no! I want to sleep again!

However, that seems to have translated into everyone out there who is writing thinking they need 2,000 words a day, too. I’ve heard it over and over again. Watched people tout this goal. Watched them try to live up to it.

Interesting, though, how few achieve it more than a few days a month. Even more interesting is how many of them stop writing altogether because they “failed” at being a writer. Not mocking them, as I’m not writing 2,000 words a day either. But then, I stopped holding myself to that criteria about 30 seconds after I finished reading Stephen King’s book.

See, he was making that word count as a full time writer. As one of the most prolific writers alive today. As a man at the top of his field.

Trying to hold myself up to that is like trying to hold a flashlight up to the sun. Yeah, I think my writing is pretty good, but there’s only one sun. I can still illuminate the darkness and make people happy without being the sun.

flashlight
I can dream.

Sort of like I can walk thirty minutes a day and still get the health benefits. No, I’m not going to look like a Hollywood celebrity doing it, but then even dedicating myself to exercise isn’t going to accomplish that.

I set my goal at 500 words a day. Yep, 500. It’s enough that words get on the page, but not so much that it’s daunting to even sit down at the computer. And here’s the thing. When I have a goal I’m pretty sure I can achieve, I’m much more likely to start it.  Sometimes, I sit down hoping to eke out 500 words, and I get a 1,000. Sometimes more. But what got my butt in the chair was the knowledge it was just 500.

 

How about you? Do you set smaller goals for yourself and then try to surpass them? Or are you more motivated by larger, grand goals that may be very challenging to reach?

NaNoWriMo 2017

I will not be doing NaNoWriMo this year. I know, strange to hear an author say that, but here are the five reasons why I won’t be joining in the “fun”.

 

  • I Already Wrote Three First Drafts This Year – Not quite the four per year of more established romance authors, but I feel like it’s still an accomplishment. Maybe not the book in a month of NaNoWriMo, but clearly I already have the motivation to produce.

 

  • I have Five Books That Need Revising – In addition to the three new first drafts I produced this year, I also have two other books in need of revision. I need to be focusing on that as much, if not more, than producing new content right now.
rewrite2
Yeah, about like that.

 

  • Prep Book For Publishing – I am seriously considering the self-publishing route right now. I’ve been querying a completed book, and I haven’t found any agents interested. But this means I need to spend some of my writing time formatting the book and figuring out how to launch it rather than write.

 

  • I want My Family to NOT Hate Me – This is a big one. I have that full time day job, and November is one of my busiest times of the year. Even busier than year-end and tax season. Combine that with Thanksgiving, two amazing kids, and a wonderful spouse, and they just don’t need the crap. Seriously. Trying to churn out 1.7k words a day is hard. It’s daunting. And it requires a commitment from the whole family I’m not willing to ask.

 

  • Stress Kills Creativity –  For me, NaNoWriMo isn’t motivating, it’s stressful. That makes it even harder to be creative, especially in an already stressful time of my life.
stressed
Me starting mid-October to April 16th

 

  • I Want Writing to Stay Fun – The reason I write is because I love to create character and worlds. I love to see good triumph and get my happily-ever-after. I’ve loved reading since I was a small kid, and I decided I wanted to write after reading some books with crappy endings. I wanted control. To see things resolved properly. No control issues here. Nope. None at all.
control
Me reading a book. Yup.

The one thing I’ve learned is every writer is different. What works for me doesn’t work for them. So, if NaNoWriMo is something that helps a writer achieve their goals, great!

I simply haven’t found it helpful, and for things like work-life-family balance, I’ve found it detrimental. I’m much happier with my five-hundred words-a-day goal. A lot of days I get more, but most days I get at least the five-hundred. It works for me.

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, I’ll still be here, but I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines.

How about you? Do you find deadlines like NaNoWriMo beneficial? Do deadlines help motivate you? Or do you find the added stress actually makes it harder to achieve your goals?