On The Road Again

Today we interrupt your regularly scheduled novel blogging to take you on an adventure!

TO GEEKY CON!
TO GEEKY CON!

That’s right kids, seems like just yesterday I was leaving for Leaky Con 2014, but here I am a year later just about to set off on the road with my new MuggleNet friend Rachael.

We have a long journey ahead of us to Orlando. Tonight we will be hitting it Winchester style by crashing in some motel along the way and then completing our journey south in the morning. Can’t express enough how ready I am for this since its probably the legit-ist road trip I have ever been on, and it really is to the most exciting place ever: Geeky Con.

Best. Place. Ever.
Best. Place. Ever.

For those unfamiliar, Geeky Con used to be called Leaky Con, which started out as a small Harry Potter convention a few years back, but over time, and as other multi-fandom nerds like myself began to emerge, the con took on a bigger, crazier atmosphere – which I love, to be honest. I’ve seen a lot of hate flung this Con’s way, and while I can’t speak to what it was like before 2014 when I went for the first time, I can say going last year was some of the six best days of my life. I met John Green, made awesome new friends, chilled in a hot tub with famous YouTubers and one of the actors from Glee, and most specially – I got to meet and chat with Robbie Thompson, my favorite writer from Supernatural, and hug Amber Benson, who played Tara on Buffy. (She even took one of my business card as well!!!!!) Safe to say, Geeky is a magical place.

See? Coulson agrees!!
See? Coulson agrees!!

This year there are a number of people attending who I cannot wait to meet, many of whom are friends I have made on the internet, who I have yet to meet IRL, but now finally the time has come! We’ll get to hang out, relax, and even attend panels to help me with my writing! I may even meet Veronica Roth, the author of the incredible Divergent series. Oh, and did I mention? In addition to the con, I’M GOING BACK TO WIZARDING WORLD OF HARRY POTTER AND FOR THE FIRST TIME, TO FREAKING DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!

ME RIGHT NOWWWW
ME RIGHT NOWWWW

There’s really nothing better than being able to go on another adventure like this. I’ve recently had so many people say, “Oh your so lucky!” and I’m really just at the point where I don’t believe thats it. For the first time in an extraordinarily long time, I really feel so very, very blessed. While I’ve had plenty of struggles in the past year (there’s a lot more to my life than my blog) I’ve also seen such a turnaround in my fortunes, and I truly believe it’s because I finally believe that if something good can happen, it will.

So happiness to all, chase your dreams like Bilbo chased those dwarves, and there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to . . .

 

Advertisements

Camp NaNo: Weeks 3 & 4

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 8532

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 16,767 

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

4a449790dac6ff40c8aad373e9e61589795cb65f_m
ONE WEEK LEFT. AAAAAGGGHHHHH1YYTFRDE5315467!!!!11

I’m rather upset with myself that not only did my writing fall behind, but my posting about writing did as well. I think at the start of the month, when I was hopeful about this new venture, I must have been expecting every day to be this creative, happy sunshine world in which I write and write about writing and make videos about writing about writing . . . that just didn’t end up being a thing. Honestly, it probably would have been perfectly doable were I not working a full time, 40 hour a week day job, but ya know, bills gotta get paid. I think the hope is that one day I won’t need that day job to take up so much of my time that could be spent creatively running off into the sunset with my characters, but it is not this day. This day is the day that marks six days until the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, which means I’ve got six days to write about 33,000 words. (All while also being at GeekyCon)

tumblr_m7qjbwdloO1rziwwco1_500
Me right now tbh

At a moment like this, I very well could throw in the towel on this month’s writing, give myself a gold star saying #YouTried and go into full on OMG I’M GOING TO GEEKYCON mode. But as fun and easy as that would be, it wouldn’t be fair to my story, or to myself. I set out to accomplish goals all the time, and then when I fall short, I feel like a total trash can who can’t do anything and that feeling is really no fun for anyone. I hate making promises I can’t keep, to myself and especially others, and I feel I’ve already gone back on my word enough by letting the blogging and vlogging fall by the way side this month.

9eIUxxe

So what can I do to not feel like a total fartbag? I can fucking do this. I can sit down over the next few days (even while at Geeky) and focus like a freaking laser on getting to 50K before August hits. I can stop scrolling through tumblr for a few days, stop trying to tweet so much about writing that I don’t actually write anything, and honestly, I can stop blogging about it. I need to just set down, with me, my notes and an open word processor, and let this happen. My best writing days tend to be the ones where I stop being so worried about creating a story and realize that the story already exists, I just haven’t put it to paper yet. At least for me, it helps sometimes to think of my stories as already done, as forgone conclusions that I’m merely transcribing to a page. Its my plan for this week, and hopefully it works.

cdcf6960d1f78b73fe33f730500e77a6ee243a1398f3bd559d525d9e5e927419_large
Thanks Yoda. You’re such a good writing coach.

I can’t make promises that I will absolutely reach my 50,000 word goal before the clock strikes midnight on August 1st, but I can promise this: I’m going to do everything within my power to make it happen, and I WILL NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES give up. Here’s hoping I’ll be posting August 1st with a bunch of happy success gifs because I did what I really set out to do. Here’s to real word sprinting, typing like a maniac, and hopefully, to hitting 50K.

i cant wait
You and me both, Ru.

 

Camp NaNo: Day 11

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 1654

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 8235

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

Morpheus
#YAS

After finally seeing my word count climb I honestly just feel like busting out a rendition of “At Last” by Etta James cause GOSH DARN IT DOES IT FEEL GOOD TO SEE THAT NUMBER GO UP.

For anyone who’s been following, you know I’ve been having a rough time of things this week two. Honestly it’s been difficult trying to find the right inspiration, even despite my efforts to go to new places and seek out new horizons. New spaces are amazing and help so much, but what I’m coming to realize is that sometimes going to the physical spaces isn’t quite enough. Sometimes it’s ones own head space that can be the hardest to escape.

Today was rather uneventful to be honest, because it mostly consisted of me waking up, going to work for four hours and then booking it down town to find my new space for the day. I ended up turning down an office party actually to go get writing done, which some people found surprising. For me, it was an easy decision – not because I don’t love my coworkers and could have used a night to relax, but because in a month with so little time and so much to be done, sometimes the work has to come first, and it makes the decision a much easier one to make when the work is enjoyable as heck.

tumblr_lx1vftsh0L1qj373v
Me about writing #AllDay #EveryDay

My place I ended up trekking to was new for me. It was a cafe called Cake and the Beanstalk, which I had been to before to grab a coffee, but had never had a chance to sit down in and get any work done. As fate would have it, this day I walked in, worried I’d not find a seat, only to find NO ONE else was there. I had free reign to pick whichever adorably cute hand painted table I wanted. (I actually ended up switching tables before the night was out, cause why not?) This little place was perfect with super yummy iced coffee and this gluten free, flourless cake thing that was 10 kinds of delicious. The sitting room also happens to have enormous windows which show the beautiful garden right next door, so the ambiance of being outside in a secret garden while getting to stay inside with outlets and away from bugs was great too. Safe to say, I adored this place. 10/10 would recommend to others for a good place to get some writing done.

But as for the story, I guess I just hope I can keep up the momentum so I can finally pull ahead in my word count. It’s been so hard trying to keep on top of everything, which I suppose comes with the territory of being a writer with an unrelated day job to pay the bills. Here’s to hoping though that all this stress, long nights, and relentless missions to find new places to write pays off one day with a book I can publish, so maybe, just maybe, I can make a living doing the thing I like doing as much as breathing.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
5:45pm, Cake and the Beanstalk Cafe

IMG_7984

Camp NaNo: Day 10

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 107

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6581

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

giphy
I THINK I GOT IT

Some days, you can spend hours and hours and way too many cups of coffee just to come up with notta. No new ideas, no character development, no resolution for your #plotprobs – NOTHING. These days tend to leave one feeling like curling up in a ball would be a much better game plan than writting 50K in four weeks.

Then there are days where one little statement sparks in you something you never tried, and before you know it, you’ve cured your writers block.

I-ve-Got-Presents-harry-potter-27826967-500-295
BRILLIANT!

Lemme back track, as I’m sure some of you are doubting the epicness of this idea given I only got about 100 new words for this day.

I decided my Write Space for the day would be a Starbucks I know that’s open late downtown, but upon arriving to said cafe, I realized I’d left something crucial behind – my computer charger. For those who don’t know, my computer is a precious old lady computer that I got the month before college and poor baby can’t function for more than 40 minutes without being plugged in. Given that I was a few miles from home and would have wasted almost an hour trying to get home, get it, and return, I resigned myself to notebook brainstorming.

The words just weren’t coming though. I kept reworking the same paragraph as the day before, unsatisfied with everything about it and worried that it didn’t send the chapter on the right trajectory. In my frustration, I messaged a friend of mine who’s been hella supportive of my writing endeavors and expressed how horrendously depleted of ideas I was feeling.

Scott understands me.
Scott understands me.

That was when said friend sent a text that changed the course of my night and the chapter…

When I lose all momentum or motivation playing piano, I practice backwards. Start with the last measure and work my way back. Any way that can translate into writing terms?

As soon as I read this, an idea popped right into my head as to how exactly the chapter could end, and then as if by magic, I had a vauge outline for the entire chapter (and the one to follow) within ten minutes.

I. Was. Floored.

I think that’s the outrageously exciting thing about writing. You can do it for most of your life, think you’ve got it all figured out, and then someone can say something as simple as “work backwards” and before you know it you’re realizing there’s a lot that you don’t know. Like I said in my post the other day, sometimes you need to stand on the desk to see things in a new way, but sometimes it takes going a step further. Crawl under the desk. Look out the window. Leave the freaking room, for goodness’ sake. There’s an infinite number of ways to approach writing – like most things in life – and honestly the sooner I just embrace that, the better off I’ll be.

4be2164a2b00d77d48eba942e59f94cf
How the universe probs feels when talking to me…

As I was completing my outline, the place I was writing in was closing for the night and so I began making my way back to catch the bus home. This was when randomly, out of the blue, a friend of mine called and invited me to go out to dinner, and I figured, why the heck not. But as I ended up waiting for him to come pick me up from where I was at on South Broad Street, I decided to whip the notebook back out and do something that probably looked weird.

I began writing and videoing myself writing right there on the street. I got some odd stares, but it felt strangely liberating to pick a piece of street I’ve been on countless times before and try to look at it with new eyes, to look at it through the eyes of my characters and think things like how would they be inspired by this space? So I guess I really got two new write spaces for the day, which is pretty awesome. (Which was followed by a freakin delicious late dinner and drinks with my friend at Applebees, which was pretty awesome too)

Moral of the day: listen to your friends, and think outside the box. It helps. It really helps.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
10:06pm, 16th & Chestnut Starbucks

IMG_7954

 

11:35pm, Broad & Sansom Streets

IMG_7970

Camp NaNo: Day 9

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 213

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6474

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

Gosh dang darn it
Gosh dang darn it

It would seem despite my efforts I’m still stuck. Frustrated Elayna is frustrated. I managed to get out about a paragraph and a half of my fourth chapter, but for whatever reason I keep hitting a wall there and committing the cardinal sin of NaNoWriMo – editing as I write.

To give some context to those less familiar with the month long writing challenge I’m partaking in, the goal is really just to make the words happen. Get something onto a page or your word processor, and worry about the rest later. Reckless abandon writing would probably be the best way to describe it, but instead I kept writing something and erasing. Writing it again, and erasing it again. This is an extreme NaNo-NoNo as there’s always time to edit and refine later. NaNo is about getting something to work with. One of the best ways it’s ever been put to me was actually by a TV/film writer – who’s written for Doctor Who & Torchwood among other things – that I met at last year’s GeekyCon. His words are what I have to remind myself ever time I find myself staring at that God forsaken blinking line on Microsoft Word, I remember:

You can’t fix a blank page.
– James Moran

It’s the truest thing I’ve ever heard where writing is concerned. There’s nothing you can fix about nothing, but there’s always something to be fixed about something. My problem at the moment is just throwing caution to the wind and letting the ideas flow, something that seems to happen a lot less in the second week of NaNo, at least for me anyways. Week one usually be like…

tumblr_inline_mun72fwISP1r767ys
I’m writing words! DO THE SUCCESS DANCE.

And then week two rolls around and that writer life be like…

wBXzvDe
WHY DID I CHOSE DIS LIFE?!?!

The NaNo struggle is real, but here’s to hoping tomorrow brings with it a new idea to get past the week two blues.

As for today’s WRITE SPACE, plans to go somewhere else were thwarted by a massive thunderstorm that rolled through, so my space ended up being my blanket fort (which my instagram followers are pretty familiar with already). It made for an interesting atmosphere, the likes of which I would have previously only existed on some dream-like Pinterest board: cozied up in a comforter with lights in my fortress of blankets, the sound of rain and thunder rumbling outside my window. I wish more words had come of it, but honestly, I’m not too worried about it. If there’s on thing I know, it’s that in a story, rain always represents that a change about to happen.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
10:30pm, Fort Kimmy Targaryean (My apartment)

IMG_7948

Camp NaNo: Day 8

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 0

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

anigif_enhanced-23685-1400658913-19
2 day 0 streak = LOKI ANGSTTTT

There’s nothing quite as frustrating for a writer as waking up feeling like this…

GOING FORTH TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS!
GOING FORTH TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS!

But you end your day like . . .

WORDS, Y U NO GET WRITTEN?!?
WORDS, Y U NO GET WRITTEN?!?

That was pretty much my experience. While much like yesterday, this was a day in which I did some GREAT brainstorming, there’s just something so disheartening about seeing that little number on your NaNo stats bar stay the same for a prolonged period of time. I know there’s still plenty of time for that little guy to soar, but sometimes you just find yourself wishing the story would just fall out of your head and onto the page without you needing to do a dang archeological dig through your consciousness, just to find a tiny piece of what you’re looking for.

Ya feel me, Indy?
Ya feel me, Indy? #TheStruggle

As for this being my first day doing WRITE SPACE, I decided to keep it a little close to home and went to accomplish my brainstorming-not-quite-writing in the 12th Floor Lounge of the building I live in, which has the most KILLER view of Philadelphia. We’re talking, sweeping, epic view here . . .

9545359_orig
S: What’s that shadowy place over there? Me: That’s Camden, Simba. You must never go there.

It was certainly a good place to go to get me thinking big picture, which is really what most of my brainstorming was about. I came up with some really good pieces of backstory for some of my newer characters, which has been super exciting given that some of the characters in this story are pretty old and familiar to me by now. It’s really been such a remarkable experience already to finally sit down and try to tell a story that’s been in my head and my heart since I was 13, and I can see in the words I’ve written so far that the story isn’t the only thing that’s grown up – I certainly have too.

PROJECT WRITE SPACE

TODAY’S TIME & SPACE
9:50pm, 12th Floor Lounge of my apartment building

IMG_7938

Camp NaNo: Day 7

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 0

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

No words makes a sad Layna
No words makes a sad Layna

This post is coming a day later than it should, but there’s just something about a day where not a single word happened that can feel discouraging.

Now to be fair, I got quite a bit of brainstorming done, and also completed a layout for how I want the next several chapters to go, but I also found that as I was sitting in the cafe thinking of these ideas, I was getting more worried about what kind of video I would make when I got home than I was about writing what I’d been planning, which is not good.  Part of this month’s writing experience, and my journey as a writer/blogger as a whole, requires that I be honest with myself, and if I’m being honest in this moment, I was so determined to do a vlog about my writing every day, that I wasn’t writing as much as I could or should have, and given the words are what this whole month is supposed to be about, this made me feel like I was heading in a bad direction.

10/10 Not A Pleasant Experience
10/10 Not A Pleasant Experience

SO! That being said, as I head into week two of this writing/blog&vlog extravaganza, I’m going to try something a little different, based on an idea I had while in the cafe on the night of the 7th.

The thing is, I LOVE finding new places to write. It physically gets me out of my normal head space, which is extraordinarily helpful for me trying to come up with new things and look at things from a new perspective.

“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
-John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society

I honestly think about this phrase whenever I’m feeling trapped in a rutt. In addition, as a photographer and journalist of my own life, I love capturing moments in time, via both images and words, which frankly is why you’re sitting here reading this. So as I sat in that cafe the other day, I decided the new direction I’m going to go in for the videos.

WRITE SPACE is going to be a new photography/writing project I start this week in which every day, I must go somewhere new, that isn’t my apartment, and write. What else will I do? I will bring along my camera and take a photo from my perspective of where I’m sitting, so as to capture not just the moment of writing what I’m writing, but the space in which that work was written in. How does this become a vlog you ask? Each of these days, in addition to a photo, I will capture little bits of footage of those spaces and on July 14th, I will release a video featuring each of the spaces I spent my week writing in (from the 7th to the 13th) and perhaps talk about the experience of it at the end of said video. As I go through this experience, I will still post a new blog each day, and that blog post will include my progress of what I wrote about in those spaces. So while I won’t be having a video released each day as I planned, I will be writing, which is what matters.

If being a writer has taught me anything, its that sometimes things change along the road of your story. Plot twists change your path, obstacles and roadblocks get in your way, and characters decide to change their minds and do what they want. So before you know it, you’ve gone from a miserable 11 year old on Privet Drive to a legendary hero who’s sending your children off to Hogwarts when all is well. I can’t predict where this story – or the journey of writing it – will take me any more than Harry could have predicted his, but you know what? I think that’s fucking beautiful.

anigif_enhanced-buzz-6346-1380317135-14
#BrbSobbing

JULY 7th WRITE SPACE

IMG_7908
Space: Chapterhouse Cafe & Gallery in South Philadelphia. Time: 8:45pm, July 7th, 2015

 

Camp NaNo: Day 6

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 970

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 6261

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

giphy
I’ll be over here thankyouverymuch

Today was quite a mixed day as my allergies were back with a vengeance and I spent most of the day huddled up under covers feeling like crap.  But Camp NaNoWriMo doesn’t wait for allergies!! Thankfully I managed to do some really fun word sprints with some new people on twitter, and upped my word count by nearly 1,000. I’m still  behind what I need to be at for today (11,290) but with the roll I’ve been on I’m perfectly certain I’ll catch up this week.

Given that yesterday I got to have such a great time running word sprints and sharing postivity with the sprinters of twitter, I thought I would follow up today with a special blog post, in which I offer a few little beginner tips on how to get new ideas and keep on keepin’ on while you write. I also thought it would be a lot more fun if I brought these writing tips to you with the help of a little friend of mine. Ladies and gentlemen and variations thereupon, please enjoy the very first Writing Tips with ROFL.

 

Camp NaNo: Day 5

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 2,899

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 5,291

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

WORDS ARE HAPPENINGGGGG

For today’s video, I did something that I don’t do often enough as a writer: I went outside.

Scary notion, I know.

But I ventured out into the world today, trying to just get my head out of the space it’s been in all weekend, which is in my apartment, feeling congested and stressed and not making any words happen. Turns out that some fresh air and a new place to write were just the trick I needed. Did some quality brainstorming, recorded some pretty shots and took some nice photos – which I’ll include in my post with the video – and then made my way home. (Discovering along the way that apparently Dunkin Donuts has my favorite kind of coffee for 99 cents every day between 2pm and 6pm from now till the end of the summer)

coffee-gif-04
Me for the rest of the summer, basically

Upon arriving home, I set immediately to writing and FINALLY got some done! I’ve been word sprinting it all evening over with NaNoWordSprints on twitter, which if you’re a writer and haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend you do. While you have to be careful not to be too distracted by the rest of twitter, it’s really great to have constant sprint start & end times, different prompts, and suggestions from fellow writers when you’re stuck for something. It’s pretty fantastic, and honestly, it’s what helped me hit my goal today.

I managed to write just about 3,000 words! (And honestly, will probably keep going as soon as I am done with this post because I do NOT wanna lose this momentum!) Sometimes really all it takes is a change of space and pace to get the inspiration flowing again in ways you wouldn’t have expected. Going outside, and then coming back to write, but writing in one of the offices where I work as opposed to in the coziness of my blanket fort, really helped me to get out of the funk I was in and get my groove back.

tumblr_m3yoshEQ2X1rvzqw7o1_500
#Yas Dumbledore, #Yas.

However this good news comes with some slightly bad news, which is that I was so productive with my writing that I’ve had no time to edit together the video I shot on my little stroll today. As bummed as I am that the video must wait til tomorrow to be shared with you, I am happy that I got to film it, and that I did what matters most in this month of epic writing, which is actually get something on paper. (or computer if we’re being technical) This video WILL be released, but not until tomorrow, which I guess means I am going back to posting videos on the days after the day they are about.

tumblr_inline_nqrinb6H5v1qegzff_500
#CampTimeyWimeyMo

So take heed writing friends and assorted others of the interwebs: if you’re sitting in your room trying to find inspiration, after repeated days of sitting in that same room, trying to find inspiration, chances are you won’t find it. You have to get up, go for a walk, and maybe seek a Great Perhaps. (Looking for Alaska, anyone?) Best of luck with your words, friends. I’m looking forward to writing plenty more of my own tonight.

 

Camp NaNo: Days 3 & 4

NEW WORDS WRITTEN: 147

NEW TOTAL WORD COUNT: 2,402

CURRENT MENTAL STATE

It's been a rough day and a half.
It’s been a rough day and a half.

First of all, to my American friends/followers . . .

The most American Americans to ever American.

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Hope that everyone is getting to spend their days with sparklers, fireworks, BBQ’s and family. Kick back for a day, chances are, you probably deserve a day to relax and celebrate a little.

As for me and what I’m up to today, unfortunately I am sitting in my room having a pretty severe allergic reaction to my friends cat that I watched this weekend, and to be honest, being a little upset about how day three’s writing went . . . or, I guess, didn’t went. (Which is also why today’s video is so very, very, short.)

My word count as you saw above only went up by a little less than 150, and while it’s 150 more than I had on the 2nd, the fact that I couldn’t get much more than that accomplished is a little disappointing. It was a mixture of not feeling inspired, being too distracted by other things I need to get done, and to be honest, making yesterdays video and blog. So hopefully moving forward, my vlogs will be coming out ON the day they are about, rather than being wibbly wobbly bloggy wooggy vortexes. It’s why I’m wrapping yesterday and today up into one.

I really do wish I had more to say, but I guess these sort of days are bound to happen in a span of a month. Not every single day is going to be OMG DIVINE INSPIRATION I WROTE THE WHOLE BOOK IN ONE SITTING, which is FINE. If I let myself get too discouraged by it, it’ll stop me writing all together, which is NOT what I want to happen. So while year, I’m a little disappointed, I’m going to keep going. Some days aren’t good or bad, some days just are, and that’s okay.

So here’s to my countries 239th birthday and to hopefully me channeling that energy of freedom and justice and whatnot into bringing some new life into my story tonight.

IT'S NOVEL WRITING TIME!!!
IT’S NOVEL WRITING TIME!!!