Monday, November 24, 2014

Oh How I Miss You Blogfest

It's time for the second annual, Oh How I Miss You Blogfest. Thanks to Andrew Leon, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Matthew McNish for hosting.

The bloggers we miss, and the bloggers we would miss...

Since I've been at this bloggy-thing for a pretty long time, I want to take the opportunity to introduce you to some blogs none of you have probably ever visited. When I first started blogging, blogs really were just online diaries. Over the years, my best blogger friends have dropped like flies, and for awhile, there were a handful that kept on going like me. But alas, three of them have decided to stop blogging just this year.

RIP - Blogs I Miss

The Weird Girl (2005-2014) Mary was a new mother who juggled home life and her work life as a writer/editor. Recently, her blogging slowed down, and her last post was early September. "Back in the day," she was one of only a few writer-friends I had. We're still great friends, and I have come to rely on her as a beta reader. We keep in touch on Facebook too.

Shaken Not Stirred (2004-2014) Angel Jr. started blogging a year before me, and his blog was a true online diary. He talked a lot about his favorite shows, his struggle with passing his medical licensing exam, and every day stuff. He was also the very first blogger I got to meet in person in a tiny airport in West Virginia. Although his blogging days are over, we're still friends and talk via Facebook.

Phats (2005-2014) Phats became a blogger just a couple months before me. He often posted about his love for anything Purdue Boilermakers. We have a lot in common: I was a high school tennis coach (and Phats still is to this day), we both have a similar sense of humor, and we each had to death with near death health scares. He shut down his blog this summer, but we still talk all the time through Facebook.

Notice a pattern here???

Blogs I Would Miss

The Blog (2004-Present) Cube has been at this for a long time, and she celebrated her 10 year blogiversary just this October. Her posts have gotten much much shorter the last few years, and she doesn't really visit others as often as she used to. Her blog has also taken a political slant since 2010 or so. But Cube is still at it, which is why I listed mentioned her last year. If she ever stops before me, it'd be sad to lose yet another long time blogger.

Confessions of a Dumb White Guy (2005-Present) Shife started blogging in January of 2005, and his posts always make me laugh. It's been pretty cool keeping up with Shife's life throughout the years since discovering his corner of the blogosphere - he had become a father twice and his his book (based on his blog posts) FINALLY came out this Fall. Shife and I are good buddies, and it's been great watching him realize his dreams. Go visit Shife right now!

Thinking about all of these "old-line" blogs, I've come to fully realize that next August 3rd will be my ten year blogiversary. A whole decade of blogging! Any ideas as to what I should do to celebrate with all of you???

Monday, November 17, 2014

I Got Nothin'

I tried this, and it works
Oops.

So I skipped a post last week, as I was out of town on business. My day job is very demanding, and I just didn't have time to publish a post before I got on the plane.

I was in Kalamazoo, Michigan (yes it's a real place) from Monday through Friday night. During my time there, I had very little time to write. I tried my very best, but it was just not to be. With each passing day, I saw my wordcount stall. And my stats showed that it would be damn near the 4th of July when I'd hit 50,000 words.

Not totally accurate, but it's not looking good, folks.

I'm such a Type-A, and I think all the stuff going on in my life is taking its toll. I had TWO books published in September, and then I had author events every weekend through October. The day job is also kicking my arse. All of this stress is actually manifesting itself physically.

I quit!!!
I don't mean to gross you out, but I get horrible canker sores when I'm stressed. Lets just say I had to stay away from orange juice for a week, and today is the first day I can actually eat a handful of peanuts and not feel like I'm chewing glass.

I'm not a quitter. And I hate losing. But I think I have to throw up the white flag.

So for the sake of my sanity, I'm not going to kill myself to get 50,000 words in before the end of the month. Instead, I think I'm just going to write whenever I have the time and energy.

If you take American commercialism as gospel, it's been Christmas for nearly three weeks already. But, the holidays are right around the corner. In fact, everything in St. Louis is covered in snow. I think I'm going to slow things down and enjoy the holidays without deadlines and tough goals hanging like a dark cloud over my head.

Christmastime is already stressful as it is, right?

How about you? Stress creeping into your life? What do you do to handle it? Is this time of year tough for you too?
I'm gonna be like Ang

I hope to just take it easy, visit all of your blogs, and try to get myself centered for the duration of 2014.

Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Kickoff

Last year, I wasn't very confident about doing NaNoWriMo since I had a huge optical certification exam. I had not studied very much several months leading to taking the test the third week in November, and I was cramming. Big time.

Somehow, I had written enough before cramming and after taking the test for me to hit that 50K word count goal and win for the second year in a row. It was a miracle.

This year, I'm no longer working in the ophthalmic/optical industry, but I've still got a HUGE obstacle looming for this year's NaNo. I will be out of town for work for an entire week. Monday-Friday. I'll be in Kalamazoo, Michigan and there won't be time for writing at all. Lots and lots of medical training will be going on. So yeah, five whole days...

It's funny, because whenever November rolls around, you hear the debate emerge all over again. There's one school of thought that believes NaNoWriMo is not only stupid, but is actually detrimental to many writers. One author buddy explained it to me simply: writers are pressured to hit that word count, and they burn themselves out by writing "crap." After NaNo, the writer is left with 50,000 words that are unpublishable and the manuscript will need heavy demolition and reconstruction to make it halfway decent.

The other school is thought is that NaNoWriMo is a way to kick the procrastination monster. To stop talking about writing and get your ass in that chair and finally, you know, write. I can't tell you how many so-called-writers don't actually do much writing. It's sad.

Obviously, for me, NaNoWriMo is not only a way for me to kick it into high-gear and get some stuff down on my screen, but it's an opportunity to be part of a writing community. I have forged a comradery with my regional group here in St. Louis. Although I'm not super-involved with all the events and write-ins because of my travel schedule, I still participate when I can. We all support each other, which is pretty cool.

I tend to be an over-thinker, so NaNo forces me to just let it all out.
The Mothman

My NaNo novel this year is titled The Gateway Mothman. It's about the legendary creature, The Mothman, coming to St. Louis. It's been so much fun writing about my hometown, although all the names have been changed to protect the (not-so) innocent. If you're doing NaNo and we're not buddies, look me up: Jay Noel.

Although it's unlikely that I'm going to slay that 50K word count dragon, I've posted my NaNo wordcount graphic in the upper right corner of my blog to motivate me. I'll try my best, but even if I don't win, I'll still have more words down than I did on October 31st.

See you at the finish line!