Thoughts on Writing… pt. 2 – Giving Myself a Pep Talk

tumblr_static_writing450A wise man once said that if you want to be a writer then you need to act and think like a writer.  So the first step for me is to start writing more.  Even bullshit blogs full of grammar and spelling errors counts in my eyes.  There is a reason that I named this “First Draft Thoughts.”  Not a lot of editing going on here.

Every year there is this community event called NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month http://www.nanowrimo.org/ .  It’s one month out of the year where they encourage everyone to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  I have mixed feelings on this.  On the surface I think it’s a really cool idea to encourage people to write more and express their creativity.  However, what ends up happening is I get a facebook/twitter feed full of “Wrote 350 words today…”  That’s the part that I seem to have the biggest issue with.

Word count is important and I understand that you need to do it or it’s never going to happen.  It’s something I’m kicking myself on a nearly daily basis about.  But, I have to wonder about the numbers.  It seems that more people are obsessed with the numbers than they are with the content.  I could be (and most likely am) completely wrong about this, and that’s just how I see it on the surface, but it does get me thinking.

Is it better to write 500 so/so words or write 50 great words.

My problem is that I want to edit as I go and I want it to be perfect the first time.  I do a lot of editing in my head when inspiration strikes.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the idea before actually putting the pen to paper.  (Yes, that is a nice of way justifying my not actually writing any ideas down.)

In other aspects of my life I have accepted my flaws and limitations.  I play guitar, but I also understand that I was not meant to be a lead guitarist, I’m much happier just banging away on chords and let someone else play the crazy leads.  With a lot of what I do Good Enough simply is good enough.  But with the writing it’s different.  It has to be perfect, maybe it’s a more personal thing, it’s more of my heart and soul being poured out.  I get discouraged if I sit there and write out those 500 words and they aren’t the perfect words.

nanowrimoI still have my goal for 2013.  My goal for 2013 is to actually write and complete a story.  Preferably it’s a story that is longer than 5 pages.  I’m not trying to set the world on fire with my amazing prose or skill, but I would like to do it for myself to prove that I can do it.  Like most things, once you have that first one out of the way, you’ve done it.  I will have conquered the first hurdle.  Everything else will be easier, because I’ve already done it.

I need to start thinking like a writer.  If this was my job, I’d have fired me by now.  If I want to be a writer, then guess what I need to do.  I need to write.  Or else I’m just a ~er and not a writer.

So there we have it, just giving myself a pep talk and getting out of my brain and out into the ether.  Because once it’s on the internet it never really goes away, it’s even more permanent than being carved in stone.  Hold me to it Internet.  I need someone to keep me on track.

Maybe I need to actually do the NaNoWriMo thing, but I need it before November.

No-Cola: The Beginning

tumblr_lqrcu01ajM1r036oao1_r1_400I don’t have many vices.  I don’t smoke.  I barely drink.  However, my biggest vice is junk food.  If it’s horrible for me, I probably love it.

Over the last few years I have tried to get myself into better shape.  Frankly, it started because I saw a picture of myself and I did not like how I looked.  You’d be amazed at how much armor can tell you about your body shape.

In about 2009 I did an event and I saw myself in the pictures and I just hated what I saw.  To make it worse I had a pair of pants that were no longer fit and another pair were getting tight.  I decided it was time to make some changes.

I’ve tried a few different exercises, mostly things I can do around the house.  Because, like most people I am scared of the gym.  I don’t know how to use half of the items in there and I don’t want to look like that flabby out of shape idiot who is sitting on the machine wrong.  Pushups, situps and other exercises you can do around the house have really helped and made me feel like I’m burning more calories than simply sitting there watching TV.

I know the big thing I need to do if I was really really serious about getting into better shape, running.  I just can’t seem to get myself to do that.  I guess it’s partially the socially awkward part of me and it’s simply a matter of finding time and commitment to do it.  My schedule is pretty full already most days.

One thing I knew I had to cut down on was the soda.  At my worst, I was drinking about 4 cans of soda a day and I’d usually have a 32 oz fountain soda with lunch.  It was really bad.  And this was not any kind of diet soda, this was normal Coca-Cola.  So yes a disgusting and disturbing amount of soda.  I decided to start cutting down.  I discovered that the fountains at work also had Iced Tea that wasn’t half bad.

Quick sidenote about Iced Tea and me.  Since I live in the South, everywhere I go is Sweet Tea.  Now since I’m not only weird but was raised in California (Sweet Tea does not exist there in case you’ve never been there), I don’t like Sweet Tea.  It’s just too sweet, it’s like drinking sugar water.  Which I guess is basically what it is.  So me ordering Iced Tea in any place in the South is pretty much a crap shoot for how long my unsweetened Iced Tea becomes Sweet Tea by mistake.  Add to this the fact that I don’t like lemon in my tea or the crime against humanity that is the Passion fruit flavored tea, and you begin to see my dilemma with Tea.

The lunch time drink is taken care of with Iced Tea, and at home I made a conscious effort to cut down on how much I soda I drank.  I worked my way down to 1 can per day.  Usually having it with dinner.  Having a Brita water pitcher has been a great investment.  Our tap water isn’t bad, but I like my water ice cold.  Bottled water was okey, but keeping it stocked in the fridge was a bit of a pain and I started to feel bad about the amount of bottles being thrown away.  So we bought a pitcher and haven’t looked back.  I love it.

Recently I’ve started to think about dropping soda’s 100%.  It was a mixture of running out and not being able to make it to the store.  It just got me thinking about finally taking the plunge.  So this past weekend I finally decided to do it.

Of course, wouldn’t you know that Jenn and I went to the movies on Saturday and of course bought a Large Coke for us to split.  So I would say Sunday was the first day without any.

Sunday night was not a good night for me.  It may have been a bit of caffeine withdrawal mixed with drama earlier in the day to just make me feel extra shitty by the time I dragged my sorry butt into bed.

Now it’s Monday night and I feel okey.  It felt a little weird to not have a drink with dinner but after a few bites of dinner I was no longer thinking about it.

One thing I have noticed since I cut down is that I can’t drink very much soda anymore.  I could barely finish a 20 oz bottle and if I ever opened a second drink within a short time of the first one I would just feel gross.  It felt extra syrupy and sugary, it really helps you to realize how awful this stuff is for you.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly pull the caffeine monkey off my back, but I’m hoping to make him a heck of a lot smaller and with any luck my waistline will follow as well.