Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oh, Those Countdown Jitters

So, NaNo’s almost upon us and I need to set some terms to keep me focused. I have a tendency to abandon projects when they take too long or become too difficult and, to be honest, that’s one of the things I really want to change about myself that I haven’t gotten to yet. I give up too easily, way too easily, and if I’m ever going to make something of myself in the literary world I’m going to have to develop not only discipline but also perseverance.

With that idea in mind, I’ve decided to give myself a set of conditions that I MUST adhere to. If I make it, I’m picking up the Garmin eTrex Legend Bonus Pack from Best Buy that I’ve been eyeballing for a couple months. I’m dying to get into geocaching but until now I’ve satisfied my curiosity through websites like and the Podcacher podcast. I’d like to actually go out and do it before it gets too cold, but the clock is ticking and there isn’t much time left in the year. I love my exercise hour, and I love walking, but I think spending that time hiking around searching for things would make it a lot more fun. Also, it’s something cheap Eric and I can do together that doesn’t involve sitting around in front of a TV/monitor or eating. Zoning out and stuffing my face are what got me to the breaking point to begin with, now I just want to get out and be active.

Now, for the hard part. What if I lose? I don’t plan on losing, even if I have to furiously pound at the keys until I’m down to three hours of sleep a night. It’s a possibility, but I’m going to fight until I can no longer fight to get it done. If I don’t, though, how do I punish myself? I thought I could send money to Focus on the Family, but Eric told me he would kick my ass if I threw out our savings like that. So, should it be something despicable but non-monetary? I had originally thought that I could motivate myself by threatening to vote for the worst possible Presidential candidate, but they haven’t even been narrowed down yet. I’d be delaying the negative effects for almost a year. So, there’s only one last threat to make.

If I, Jessica Brown, do not meet the requirements necessary to win NaNoWriMo, I’ll have pictures taken of myself and they will be posted online. Terrible pictures. Underwear pictures. Possibly… homegrown. First, I want to let anyone who’s reading this (all two of you) know that I don’t take pictures of myself. I haven’t since I was young. Even when I was in peak physical shape I hated photographs of myself. There are no pictures in existence of me in my high school cap and gown. None. My drivers’ license expired at the end of September and it’s now the 25th of October and I haven’t renewed it because I am terrified of having my photo taken. I think this will make a perfect motivator for my short attention span ass.

I’m renewing my license tomorrow, by the way. Even if I have to have someone physically shove me into the DMV office.

I went to the library yesterday. It was the first time I’ve been there in nearly ten years, and it’s been completely rearranged. There have been additions to the building, the departments have moved and the entrance is in a completely new spot. The floors, the carpets, the furniture, everything’s been replaced. The last time I was at the library there were two computers available to use, and they were on dialup with text-only displays. I used to go there to look up information for small press publishers. Oh, how the times have changed. It didn’t hit me until I showed up last week to get a new library card that I’ve missed that place so much.

I’d probably live there if I weren’t paying twenty-five cents every half hour for parking. I was only there for a short while yesterday, just to pick up Clive Barker’s novel The Great and Secret Show. I sat down to read it a bit before checking it out but not two minutes after my butt hit the chair than a lady brought an older woman over and sat her down across from me. Everything was fine until an older man started wandering around behind me and the woman kept going “Where are you going? What are you doing?” It wasn’t really annoying me, but my attention span is so poor that I kept finding myself reading the same paragraph over and over and unable to comprehend it beyond recognizing the words as being in English. Next time I’m going to have to bring my earphones.

It’s been suggested to me that I consider medication again. I was diagnosed with ADHD, and then later on simply ADD, at the age of five and didn’t stop using medication until my late teens or early twenties. I won’t deny that some medications, like Ritalin, did me a world of good at times. It didn’t always work, but some years it was a great help. However, I remember a time in the eighth grade that I wanted to kill myself and it turns out that the medication I’d been on that year (Dexedrine) has that effect on a lot of people. I’ve since become reluctant to medicate myself or even consult a psychiatrist, since most visits with a professional were just me sitting down, telling them how my month went, and getting a prescription. I didn’t feel like I was improving, and now I don’t think there’s anything to improve, really, aside from my attention span. I think the only way I’m going to be able to beat it is by forcing myself to adhere to a rigid structure, keeping a strict writing/reading schedule and continuing to write regardless of the quality of my output. It can all be edited later, but I need to write first to get to that point. I think getting out of the house and taking my laptop with me to the library might be the best thing for me. I might need to scout out other places to park, though, and I’ll have to start a strict walking schedule as well so I can get everything done in a day.

So, when I get home, I’ll be going to lunch and heading out to the library with my writing gear in tow. If this works out I’ll probably end up spending the entire month of November there.

A short list of things I need to have done by Wednesday, at the latest:

Find a suitable notebook (done, I think, but you can never have too many).
Outline your plot (I don’t want to talk about that right now).
Come up with a suitable playlist or two of inspiring music.
Write out a schedule to follow that allows for exercise, writing and chore times.
Read some stuff to get the creative juices flowing (NOT your “fiction manuals,” for chrissakes).

I think this has been enough fussing for one day.


Lori said...

I loved this entry--thank you! (I wish I had more time to read your blog, but I must go to sleep sometime. Oh how I wish I had your night job!) I'll have to address the NaNoWriMo issue sometime in my blog, I suppose. Spent all night playing with YouTube videos and posting them to my blog on WordPress. Was a great short-film-making primer, but didn't get my textbook read. Oh, well. Won't have time for silliness like that after Wednesday, will I? All my spare time will have to be spent getting that counter up to 50,000 words until the month ends!

It was great meeting you and Eric last week!

Lori said...

Would you please add me as a Writing Buddy on NaNoWriMo again--I must have messed up, for you are not showing on my list after I clicked the link to your Nano page.

How did you find me on there, anyway? I just searched like crazy and I cannot find out where to look for particular people on the site!

Lori said...

Never mind. Must really be time for bed. I went to the forum and found you and our other Jess and added you both as buddies--didn't realize that just because you added me you wouldn't show up on my list until I added you. Sigh. And it will only get crazier after Wednesday . . .