Rollin’ On: Day 3 of 350 Word Writing Plan

I worried a bit when it was after 4:30pm. I had not yet begun to write, and I have phone plans with friends tonight. I would have been happy with 350 words. I ended up with 708 words that brought one of my scenes to a close.

That brings my 3 day, zero fuckery 350 words a day writing plan, word total to 2,008 words written in three days. My minimum required words for 3 days is 1,050, which means that I am almost double over my self-required minimum daily words to write.

Even better? I wrote 2,008 words out of a 5,213 word story in three days. My goal is to write somewhere between 6K-10K words so that I have enough to get my writing workshopped by my critique group.

Huzzah! There’s nothing like getting your writing life on track. Now if I can get my health on track, too, that would be like winning the lottery.

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Schedule Test: 350 Word Writing Plan

A friend shared a link to a blog article by Chuck Wendig about how to become a full-time writer. Wendig also links to his article on his Zero Fuckery Writing Plan. In short, set a 350 word writing minimum five days a week and stick to it, whether it takes you fifteen minutes or two hours. In one year, you will have written a 91,000 word novel.

The last two weeks were a waste because I was sick. When I am sick is the hardest time to get me to be productive. Between that and other excuses, I did not write. This week, I decided to put this plan in motion.

Instead of 350 words, I wrote 500. Today, I wrote 800. I am not trying to push myself. I am merely trying to get to 350, and then seeing if I have anything else to say. I imposed a two-hour writing block within which to get it done, and I still wrote 800 words.

My goals for 2014 include get healthy and write a book that is ready for publishing status. So far, Wendig’s plan is helping me out in that arena. And I haven’t even started on my novel. The words I wrote this week are for a short story that I am going to submit for critique in my writer’s group. Once this is done, I will get to work on my novel.

Nothing makes you feel accomplished like setting a goal and meeting that goal.

Hello. My name is Wendy, and I’m a write-aholic….

One morning when I was writing my morning pages, I realized that I was writing an idea for a self-help book that had been bouncing around in my mind for some time.

That would make Book idea #3 just this year alone, along with an idea for a short story. Today I had another idea for a premise of a dystopian society short story. I then realized: I have a problem.

A writing problem. Now that I have declared myself a writing and not doing enough of it, the universe is soft-balling me ideas. The problem is that I am not progress on the ideas I have, let alone make time for the new one.

Took me a few days to get back to it. This morning I typed out an idea that was part of the self-help book into Scrivener so I can start a file. I have no excuse now. I have plenty of choices of stories to work on. I just need to work on them.

Failing that, I need to create Writers Anonymous for poor souls like me whose writing ideas outstrip the the pace of their writing. Our meetings would start small in a circle of chairs that face each other. Someone would stand up and read:

THE Twelve STEPS OF Writers ANONYMOUS

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over our writing—that managing our writing ideas has gotten out of control.
  2. Came to believe that a Writer greater than ourselves could restore our plots to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our story ideas over to the care of a damn good Editor as recommended by our Agent.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our Characters, their Flaws, and how it might bring them to the falling action.
  5. Listen to another Writer, to ourselves, and to an Editor the problems of our Plot.
  6. Were ready to have our Editor remove all these defects of Characters and Plot.
  7. Humbly asked our Editor to remove these defects and return our manuscript to us.
  8. Painstakingly went through the Manuscript and incorporated all Changes noted by our Editor.
  9. Continued to make Edits as required by our Story and not our Egos.
  10. Continued to make as many as Revisions as needed to create a solid final Draft for Publication.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our sales numbers, hustling and marketing our Books to our target Audience.
  12. Having had a completed Book as the result of these Steps, we pick a new Writing project and start the process all over again at step #1.

Disclaimer: My steps are a satiric take on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is Copyright © A.A. World Services, Inc. 

Week 8 Artist Date: Solo Trip to NYC World’s Fair Site

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the opening of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens, NY, the New York State Pavilion got a fresh coat of paint and was being reopened for 3 hours only. I decided to make my artist date a solo trip via bus and to go look at the location.

The World’s Fair site is in the Fresh Meadows Corona Park. The bus ride to get there from my home included taking the N24 to Springfield Boulevard and then transferring to the Q88. I disembarked at the Horace Harding Expressway and 108th Street stop and walked the short distance to the park.

When I arrived around noon, I got at the end of the line:

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If you laid down a Z, I was on the line at the top beginning start of the Z. In the distance, you can see what looks like the end. There was a lot more zag to come, but this was all I could see from the end of the line in the parking lot next to 56th Ave.

As I stood in line, I saw Terrace on the Park was overlooking the park. I hadn’t thought about that place since the last time I was there: in 1989 for my senior high school prom. I remember looking out over the park during twilight that evening and seeing the park, but I do not remember seeing the World’s Fair grounds, which I most certainly would have if I looked out. I remember it being a cloudy evening, but you wouldn’t have been able to miss the buildings. In the foreground is a small animal farm at the park with some llamas.

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At first, I was all about taking pictures of the line as I progressed. At this point, I think I’m half way through the Z. The line snakes to the right because of a small circle with a fountain in the middle.

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On the other side of that picture was more line that was as long as what I had already waited on.

At this point, I am wondering whether I should just get off the line, walk around, get ice cream, and take pictures. I decide to stay in line. Even if it took a couple of hours, I would still get a chance to go inside.

Even after I went the length of that line as I well, it only to got me to a bridge that I still had to cross while waiting in line:

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Just on the other side of the bridge was a grove of pink and white blossomed cherry trees under which five sets of bridal parties were getting their wedding pictures taken:

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From that same point, I took a picture of the pavilion. I didn’t find out until later that the line went on the opposite side of what I was seeing:

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When I finally got to stand in line next to the pavilion, I still couldn’t see the end of the line:

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I heard at least one person talk about the history of these towers. At the very top were two observation decks. Just below was an eatery. The lowest tower had an office for Governor Rockefeller:

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Although the pavilion and towers were rusting and in obvious decay, they still take impressive photos:

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At the end of the line, two men in hardhats were talking to people in the groups they came in.

“How many?” asked one of the men.

“One”, I said.

He pulled a ticket off a roll and handed it to me. “Hold onto this number. When your number is called, go to the entrance and get your hat.”

I stared open mouthed at the ticket I held in my hand.

“And how long do you think that will be?” I asked, too shocked to get angry with him.

“About two hours,” he said.

I walked away in shock. I had waited in line two hours only to be told that I had to wait for my number to be called.

I waited in line for two hours only to get this lousy souvenir:

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I had not had lunch yet and still had a number of things to do that day. I abandoned any further plans. Ice cream cones had been calling me from ice cream trucks.

On my way to the ice cream truck, I saw this amazing view:

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On the plus side, I made both bus connections within a minute or two of getting to the bus stops. I busted through some old fears about traveling around Queens by myself. I saw the 1964 World’s Fair remaining structures up close. All in all, I had a great artist date for week 8.

 

 

Lessons in Becoming Unstuck

For my artist date this week, I went out on my own today, taking the bus to a place I have never been, to a place where I have never gone alone, and met new people. I am saving that post for tomorrow.

Whenever I am stuck, it boils down to one obstacle: a deep-seated fear. My adult life has been devoted to uprooting my fears so that I can move on. Luckily for me, a 2+ year stint with a therapist trained in ACT therapy, IFS, and EMDR helped me thaw a number of fears so that my real feelings could find natural expression.

In my family system, I was taught to fear a great many things: people, places, and experiences; things I could control and things I couldn’t; things inside myself and, especially, those from without.

My father used to say, “Don’t tell people to go to Hell. Tell them to go to Brooklyn.” Ask anyone in my family about the borough of Queens and the answer would boil down to, “Don’t go there. It’s dangerous.” Not – “Well, if you go here, you should be fine. Keep an eye out for this. Avoid this.”

The message I heard over and over again were, in essence: Trust no one. Go nowhere. Do nothing. I have lived my life in a terrified state. How could I not? A lot of health issues and my birth order contributed even more reasons for my family to be afraid for me.

But I have done a lot of fighting against it. The thing is, fear isn’t something you can fight against. Fighting feelings never works. Not for me, anyway.

This morning, I avoided my morning plans (shower, eat, write, and go) by helping my mother. When that was done, I missed the first bus I could take. And then I did it: I took my first step towards getting me unstuck.

Unstuck Step #1: I acknowledged that my plans scared me. I acknowledged that, by getting on the bus to start my adventure, I would be going outside my comfort zone and that it would be a bit scary for me.

Unstuck Step #2: I took one small step to remove an obstacle that stood in my way – I made a phone call to find out when my mother’s car would be ready. I have to run some health-related errands for her. One of my excuses not to execute my plan was that her car might be ready soon. So I called the shop and found out they would do more testing in the afternoon. Hurdle eliminated!

Unstuck Step #3: I got on the bus. Once my adventure started, I decided to read to pass the time. After a few pages, I put the book away and decided to watch the neighborhoods unwind by me.

Trees were out in full bloom today – white and pink cherry blossoms, flowering pear blossoms, and green shoots opening up on the ends of tree branches. In a tree grove I passed full of these blossoms, five wedding parties were getting their pictures taken. The day was mostly cloudy, but with enough sun coming through that I got my first bad sunburn on a cloudy day. Ever.

I enjoyed my day, with its treasures and warts, and learned (again) some important lessons:

Unstuck Lesson #1: Acknowledge all your fears.

Unstuck Lesson #2: Take a small step to move your plan forward.

Unstuck Lesson #3: NYC is awesomely huge. With this lesson come mini-lessons:

  • Try to learn about neighborhoods before you go so you can explore.
  • Use a backpack, not a purse.
  • Plan to stay the day.
  • Bring snacks & a bit of water.
  • Pack your go bag the night before.

With enough experiences like I had today, I am hoping that my unstuck lessons will become as deeply learned as the way I learned to be afraid. If that happens, I will have to find other interesting writing topics.

Namaste.

(Trying to) Bike Adventures

Because Long Island is like Los Angeles, you need a car to get to many places. Parks and trails are few and far between. I have a cruiser bike that I love to ride, preferably on paved roads that do not allow cars.

I bought a bike rack and two adjustable bars, one for my bike and one for my husband’s bike. Although I’d received them, we did not have the weather to test putting it all together. Today was a breezy, chilly, sunny, spring day so we decided to give it a try.

We got the bike rack over the spoiler and on the trunk. We were able to put on the adjustable bar that would create a top bar that our step through frames were missing.

However, we could not get the clearance we needed to put my bike on without a nut on the front wheel touching the car. We abandoned that effort, packed up the bike rack and the bars, and went for a four mile bike ride instead.

I wanted to explore some parts of Floral Park that I have not been on by bike, either as an adult or since I moved back to my childhood home.

We took a nice little four-mile route past the library, by Koenig’s, across Jericho Turnpike on Tyson to 87th, onto Bryant until Hillside Boulevard, back across Jericho and onto Covert, until Cisney, Magnolia, back onto Tyson, by the library, and back home.

I tried to embed the map of the trip, but it didn’t work. Here it is, if you’re interested.

Dessert Adventure: Chocolate Mousse

Earlier this year, I bought The Blood Sugar Solution and The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook by Dr. Mark Hyman because I wanted to drastically reduce my sugar intake.

I bought the ingredients for the Chocolate Mousse recipe. The recipe is based on avocado and banana for its pudding-like consistency, but also include a bit of maple syrup, bittersweet chocolate, and strong decaf coffee (among other ingredients).

I have a second hand Kitchen Aid mixture that I used to blend it. This thing is terrible. It cannot blend things. The blades are way up on a hill that leaves anything below it untouched.

I dragged out my immersion blend, scraped the mousse into a bowl, and blended it briefly so there were no lumps. I would have taken a picture, but it looked sad in there. I checked the recipe: serves 4. I told my husband there wasn’t enough in there to feed 4 rats.

Then we tasted it: Very yummy! We can taste the banana but not the avocado so much, which is good. But it is on the bitter side. Suddenly, the serves 4 makes sense. You take a luxurious bite. Then you’re good for a while.

I rate this concoction: Highly Edible.

If you are looking for vegan, low-sugar, alternative meals, give The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook a try!