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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

There Is A Louse In My House #drasticmeasures #amNOTwriting

I've been behind on my NaNoWriMo word count but nothing a few word sprints couldn't solve… But, when you have three children, you never know what surprises might keep you from your plans. This time, it was lice.

Remember my blog post a while back titled "I Wasn't Prepared for THIS!"? Well, add lice to the list of things I did not think of when my children were just a twinkle in my eye. More specifically, the idea that I, at 38 years old, would be experiencing my first case of head lice.

For all of you out there who have not had the wonderful experience of head lice in 2014 – it is not like in the 80s when a treatment of Nix would knock those suckers, eggs and all, out of the park. No, those of us inclined to put pesticides in our hair will soon learn that these lice are immune to it. So, in a word, it’s useless. A fine tooth comb and some time (HOURS A DAY) to sift through your hair is really the only sure fire way. There are natural alternative on the market (like Fairytale Goodbye Lice), and certain shampoos (like Coal Tar Shampoo), certain conditioners (like Suave Coconut Conditioner), and good ol' fashion home remedies (like mayonnaise and saran wrap), plus blow drying and flat ironing. Ultimately, though, you still have to sit and pick those suckers out with a comb every single day. Which I've been doing. Not to mention all the laundry which is a completely separate blog post for me because as some of you know I have been using a Laundromat since March even though I have a fancy washer and dryer in my basement (we have gas/propane/plumbing issues that are going to be solved “any day now”).

Anywho, my excuse for not writing this week thus far is that I have been busy de-lousing. Going  slightly crazy as one does when fear of infestation takes over. One might say I went a little more than slightly crazy when I was alone picking through my long locks, imagining the lice taunting me like the mucus guy in those commercials: "We’re setting up shop in here! You’ll never find us in all these tangles!” That’s when I found myself reaching for the scissors….

Drastic times call for drastic measures
 Take that you lousy louse!

I have to admit it looks cute in a it-looks-like-you-cut-your-own-hair kind of way... More pictures to come (after I find a proper hair dresser to fix it and give me a good dye job). Now off to write (after another trip to the laundromat).

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

No Excuses, Just Write!

I love National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for many reasons none of which are the misconception that at the end of the month I will have a completely finished and publishable novel. My goal is simply to have the 50,000 word skeleton of a novel in which I can add the meat during revisions. In a few months’ time, I’d like to have a draft I’m willing to show someone. In the meantime, I am just writing.

NaNoWriMo strips away all my excuses. I am forced to sit down daily and plug away as fast as I can at my novel whether I feel inspired or not. I have to push away all negative thoughts and procrastinations and just write. I don’t have to think of any rules, tricks, or techniques, I just write. I don’t have to worry about what a potential agent, publisher, or audience is going to think, I just write. NaNoWriMo is about finding your voice and telling the story you want to tell and ignoring everything else (like your inner critic).

11 days, 14,000 words, and 45 pages later – I am still writing. Some days the writing is great and I’m excited. Other days, not so much. But I continue to show up and write, when I am lucky the muse joins me. When I’m not so lucky, I push through anyway.

Week two of NaNoWriMo is notoriously tough and I have not been the exception. But I continue to try to push away the excuses and keep going (slowly but surely). What keeps me going is the knowledge that successful novelists have worked this way too. Like Sara Gruen for one. Check out this list of 14 published novels written during NaNoWriMo:
http://mentalfloss.com/article/53481/14-published-novels-written-during-nanowrimo

For tips on getting through the week two blues, check out this entry in the NaNoWriMo Blog:
http://blog.nanowrimo.org/post/102283215611/5-tips-for-nanowrimo-from-gwen-hicks-writers-block

Or, for more info, you can check out these previous blog posts of mine:

NaNoWriMo What?

Need Some Motivation

No Excuses, Just Write!

Monday, November 3, 2014

I Want To Be Braver Than Katniss #MockingJay


It’s hard to deny that kick-ass Katniss Everdeen is brave. And we can all fantasize that if the fate of the world rested in our hands, we’d kick-ass too. But I want to be brave in the real world. Braver than even Katniss Everdeen. 

In her everyday life, Katniss wasn't all that brave. She didn't have the courage to talk to the boy that gave her the bread. She might have snuck out to go hunting with Gale, but never had the courage to explore any feelings she had for him beyond friendship. She wasn't brave enough to confront her mother about the things that were bothering her. She wasn't brave enough to step out of her comfort zone and make friends at school. Until her sister’s name was called at the reaping, she did not show much bravery. And after that, much of what she did was just a reaction to what was happening to her. 

In my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) prep, I did some exercises from the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Maass. One of the exercises is to think of a real life hero and the qualities of him/her that you admire. Since my protagonist is a teenager, I tried to think of a teenager I admire. I came up with a young lady from Pitman New Jersey named Katelyn Darrow. When Katelyn was just 12 years old she started a program called Angels of God Clothing Closet to helps families in crisis (such as after a house fire) get some essentials to help keep them going. Katelyn saw a need in the community and was brave enough to fill it. Five years later, Katelyn’s Angels of God Clothing Closet continues to live up to their mission of helping disadvantaged people and relieve financial stress by providing clothing, toiletries, food and more to those in need at no cost to them through their store-front location and also through school supply drives, holiday gift giving, costume donations, etc. Katelyn also works in the community and beyond speaking to groups, scouts, schools. She has won awards and was even on the Steve Harvey show last month.

I met Katelyn last year during her monthly Kids on a Quest meeting in which she shows kids how they can help in their community. Not only is she brave enough to do extraordinary things but she is also 100 % relatable – she is sweet and down to earth. She talked to the kids about normal stuff too – swim team, friends, the homecoming dance. That is the kind of hero I admire. Someone who is ordinary and relatable while having the bravery to do extraordinary things in everyday life.

I wish I had that courage when I was her age. I wish I had that courage now. That is the kind of bravery I want my protagonist to have (in addition to some kick-ass Katniss bravery).

Learn more about Angels of God Clothing Closet including ways you can help at: http://www.angelsofgod.org/help/donate.html

And, in case you've missed the trailer demonstrating some of Katniss’s kick-ass bravery in the upcoming MockingJay movie, check it out at:
Are you braver than Katniss Everdeen? Do you know someone that is?