Wednesday, December 4, 2019

December IWSG: Ugly . . . Yet Useful

I recently dragged my sorry butts – my writing butt and my regular butt - across their respective finish lines, and in both cases, it was ugly. 

The writing finish line was NaNo. I started strong but then stopped having fun with my story idea. So, I decided to switch gears . . . but had nothing substantial to switch to. I was flopping around like a fish out of water. I ended up going the NaNo Rebel route - I pieced together all sorts of ideas and descriptions and flash stories. The end result is some sort of FrankenManuscript - a Mr. Potato Head for the torso, a Barbie arm here, a rag doll leg there, etc.

The actual finish line was for a 5k I thought I could handle walking. Let's just say I pretty much looked like that same fish, only too exhausted to do anything but lie there, gasping for breath. The FrankenManuscript would've lurched across the finish line faster. And looked better doing it. 

Both events left me aching, confused and frustrated, but they also left me with an important realization: it's time to get myself well and truly sorted, writing and otherwise. Sometimes you don't realize how far from the sea you've gotten until you find yourself gasping for air.   


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How was your November? Have any wins – ugly or otherwise – lately? How about any realizations that will set you on a better path? 

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56 comments:

  1. Your reference to a FrankenManuscript cracked me up!

    I failed at NaNo this year. I had such high hopes, started out strong, then fizzled out and never recovered. I don't even think I'd attempt walking a 5K unless they gave me an Oreo cookie every few feet to motivate me.

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    1. That is so what the thing looks like! It's scary but kind of cute, too. It's growing on me.

      Ha on the Oreo idea! I might have to ask my husband to keep a bag handy if we ever try another 5k.... :)

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  2. So maybe you didn't finish both of those "races" the way you hoped to... so what? You went a lot farther than all the bazillions who never got their butts off of the proverbial couch. Ya done good, girl! Stop beating yourself up. :)

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    1. Aw, thanks, Susan!

      But I'm so good at beating myself up! How come I can't get a medal for that? :)

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  3. Sorry you struggled so. But FrankenManuscript - that is just an awesome word. You may have coined a new phrase.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I wish I had thought to make that the title of this post. See, my creativity is lurching around, probably in the wrong direction, as well. Sigh.

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  4. It might have been painful for you at the time, but it made a great read for me today. :)

    I had to give myself a gut check too. For myself, I was so focused on succeeding (and that for me is guaged by sales) that I was completley losing the love for writing. I'm trying to instead focus on the joy of it. The thrill of writing and rewriting until I feel like I've come up with a story I am willing to share with the world. Or my ten most loyal fans. I was killing myself creatively and physocally because I was never moving my growing butt from the chair trying to write like other people. I'm nop writer hare. I'm like your turtles.

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    1. Well, then. it was totally worth it. :)

      Good for you for re-focusing on the joy of the craft again! That is one of the few things we can control. The rest of it is not up to us, not really.

      I'm pretty sure I write slower than the tortoises move. And slower than they write. :)

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  5. I agree with Alex, Frankenmanuscript is such a great word.
    Hey you made it across the finish line of that 5k so that is a win all my itself! You should give yourself a pat on the back for that.
    Here's to us both getting sorted out in the year ahead. Sadly I may have said that last year too, at least about myself, but no matter LOL.

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    1. Thanks, Julie! I would pat myself on the back, but I'm still too sore to reach it. :)

      Ha ha ha! I think I said the same thing about myself last year, too.

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  6. I agree with Alex that FrankenManuscript is a marvelous word! Even though it was different story pieces, that's great how much you did do. Mine turned out to be a lot of dialogue. A LOT! It helped me out of my rut, though. It's been a rough writing year, but here's to a better 2020 for all of us!

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    1. That's funny about all the dialogue you wrote. I wrote hardly any dialogue. Mine was a lot of blather and brainstorming. Fingers crossed something comes out of it!

      And yes to a better 2020! Write on!

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  7. It seems my kid's needs are growing by leaps and bounds as they navigate 8th and 10th grade. Ironically, I got so much more writing done when they were in elementary school. So, for now, writing is second banana and that's my choice. I do admit that the thought of them in college does make me tingly thinking of all the yummy time I could hoard for my own pursuits. But with my luck, I'll fall apart as soon as they actually depart.

    Good for you on finishing that 5K! I did a few of those before realizing that I really hate jogging first thing in the morning.

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    1. Then maybe you could write about how you're falling apart. :)

      Oh, I didn't run the 5k. I walked/lurched my way through it. I tried running awhile back but quit. I might try it again at some point but will stick with walking for now.

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  8. Hi Madeline, I feel for you because for a manuscript I'm revising for a publishing house, the story just didn't behave itself. All I could manage to do for the whole month of November was to grab at the story's various body parts. Finally from the last two days I could manage to assemble a decent story (That's what I think). I think with my next week's deadline looming large, my brain went into a panic mode and I started thinking harder and faster. Hope 2020 is super for you in every which way.

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    1. I'm sure you assembled much more than a decent story, Rachna. :)

      Wishing you a wonderful 2020, too!

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  9. I need to get myself well and truly sorted, too.

    Congrats on your NaNoWriMo win! That's awesome! I love the phrase 'FrankenManuscript', by the way.

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    1. Maybe some of us need to start the "Well and Truly Sorted Club." Sigh.

      "FrankenManuscript" is actually what I renamed/re-saved my NaNo manuscript as on my computer/flash drive. :)

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  10. You've finished. That's impressive. Especially the marathon. I'm not sure I could ever do one with my chronic illnesses that leave me constantly fatigued.

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    1. Thanks! Plenty of people walk, and it's usually fine to do that - as long as it's more of a fun run/walk and not super serious. A lot of people just do it for themselves, setting a challenge, etc. For me, it was just about finishing on my own two feet. :)

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  11. Sorry you struggled with NaNo. But it's great that you realized something that can help 2020 be better.

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    1. Thanks, Natalie. Hopefully those realizations will get me on and keep me on a good track. :)

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  12. Way to go! I think it's awesome you crossed both finish lines. I jog-walked-slogged a 5k Turkey Trot and I was just happy getting across the line.
    I hope Frankenscript can be re-stitched back together in revision!

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    1. Good for you for crossing that Turkey Trot finish line!

      Hopefully FrankenManuscript will live to lurch another day. :)

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  13. Looks like you earned a parade. All that hard work and butt dragging must be recognized for what it is.

    Success! Congrats.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. As long as I don't have to march in the parade. And as long as there are cookies. :)

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  14. Congrats on your 5k!! Doesn't matter how you got your butt across the line, just that you did.

    I've got my own FrankenManuscript (you should TM that and sell t-shirts) and I can't even blame NaNo for it. We'll get back to shore and get our footing.

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    1. Thanks, Lee!

      Maybe we can mush all the FrankenManuscripts together into one GIANT MONSTER OF A STORY! Bwahahaha! :)

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  15. Woot woot for finishing! Good job!

    I totally understand the not having fun with where it's going aspect of writing. That's happened to me often enough that I've learned not to try to make it work and just cut stuff and start again. You totally conquered November, though. Did better than me!

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    1. Thank you, Loni! I'm a little worried though because if this is what conquering November feels like, I'm scared about December. :o

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  16. I've been there before, ending the month with a win that didn't feel like a win because I really barely even started the story, because it took me half the month just to understand what the plot really was. Congrats on winning NaNo even under difficult circumstances! That takes determination.

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    1. Congrats on your NaNo win! I so hear you about the win that doesn't feel like a win. I keep telling myself good stuff is in there - and there is! - but it's hard to see it at the moment.

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  17. I did try NaNo sorta, but failed myself. I did end up with two short stories (both were previously half-finished, pre-NaNo) that I'm hoping to revise by end of December. That'd make me feel great! But I didn't submit at ALL during November so I've made up for that this week.

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    1. Excellent on finishing those two stories and good luck with the revisions! I'm hoping I have a flash story or two lurking within the FrankenManuscript. :)

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  18. Hey, at least you accomplished both! That's definitely huge!

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    1. Thanks, Sarah! They were pretty good accomplishments overall. :)

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  19. Congrats on getting through NaNo with something to show for it - FrankenManscript or no. At least you have something to revise. November was exhausting for me. I hit 50K on my new novel, but a lot of it was me just gritting it out. I didn't take enough time beforehand to plan, so I floundered a lot. On top of NaNo, I had a conference to attend for work and a medical procedure, and then I got called for jury duty this week, and now the engine light is on in my truck. *sigh* You'd think I'd know by now that life never settles down.

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    1. I took time to plan for NaNo - twice! One project I abandoned then the next was the one I started NaNo with, only to abandon that partway through. Planning works for me...until it doesn't. :)

      Hang in there! Things will smooth out!

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  20. You always make me smile with your descriptions of your writing life. I did a lot of walking in place or taking teeny steps in November. December is starting out the same.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I'm glad to hear that. :)

      And I know all your walking in place and teeny steps are just you getting ready to race into the the new year. :)

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  21. Those are two big accomplishments, Madeline! Way to go! Wishing you all the best as you sort things out. I think a lot of us go through these phases. All the best to you!

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  22. I enjoyed your description of FrankenManuscript. It reminded me of the toys in Sid's room from Toy Story. Those toys were quite useful in the end, so hopefully what you've written will be the same. Congratulations on making it to end!

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    1. Oh, Debbie, I love that! And I agree - I hope my FrankenManuscript will be as useful and as fun. :)

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  23. I think that was splendid and I am sure it will get only better!

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  24. Listen, you tried! And finished. That says a lot about your dedication and character. Just keep going!

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    1. I would say it's more stubbornness than anything else, but I like your words better. :)

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  25. I fail November NaNo every year. I just don't' write fast enough to get 50,000 in 30 days, but I sign up every year. This year I admit I did not try hard because of getting side tracked. Happy IwSG.

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    1. You never know, Juneta - one of these years might end up being your year. But if just signing up lights that writing spark then go with that, no matter your word count! :)

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  26. Good for you tackling both races! That puts you ahead of a lot of people, so let's call that a win---and preparation for looking absolutely gorgeous next time you cross.

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    1. The next time - and there will be a next time! - I'll just be happy to be upright and not crawling across the finish line. :)

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  27. Hey, congrats for finishing! NaNoWriMo is HARD. 5Ks are HARD. At least you put in the effort. Lots of people quit.

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    1. Thanks, JH. Putting in the effort is HARD, too. I'm tired just thinking about it. :)

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