Saturday, November 16, 2013

What Would I Say? Part One

What Would I Say? (if you don't know) analyses your Facebook past and attempts to emulate you, with mixed (and hilarious) results. It's kind of addicting, because for every ten random statuses that make no sense, you end up getting some sort of a gem that tickles your funny bone in odd and different ways. And so you start clicking again. And again.

The website gives you a chance to post the statuses directly to Facebook, but rather than clog up people's newsfeeds, I'm going to share some of my favorites with you here. I think this will be done in multiple parts, because I'm finding some common themes that run through these statuses.

So let's get to it!

Today's Theme Is: Well, I Guess I'd Say That?

Alright, DaniBot, update my status for me:

"And I've had sudden overwhelming urges to nap in a temporary quiet state." -DaniBot

Hmm. Ok. Well, this status isn't a lie; I certainly have had urges to nap due to the fact that Silas still wakes up at least twice a night. But do I really need to be so specific? I guess I have to distinguish from my urges to nap in a permanent quiet state? Maybe I have a subconscious desire to nap in a temporary loud state.

Let's try again. Go for it, DaniBot!

"Driving for 17 hours is as nice as a full night's sleep." - DaniBot

Oh dear. I think DaniBot is just outright mocking me now.

"Silas is excited to play minesweeper and freecell for me." -DaniBot

This has my favorite combination of elements from the What Would I Say experience - it combines perfectly mundane parts of my life in new and exciting ways. Not that Silas is mundane, but I do talk about him a lot. And I also play minesweeper and freecell a lot. But to think that I'd be bragging about how excited Silas is to be playing those games for me? It's like a peek into a very scary and sad future.

"I think my creativity ran away." - DaniBot

Hitting me where it hurts, DaniBot cycled through this potential status update SIX times. Now, let's not focus on how many times I may or may not have pressed the "generate status" button for a moment. (It is literally hundreds, if not thousands, of times.) Let's focus rather on the fact that, given access to all of my thoughts on Facebook, this cold and calculating machine analyzed everything and decided to confirm one of my worst fears.

Then again, rather than come up with my own content, I guess I am relying on a website to generate potential humor for me to talk about. Well played, DaniBot. Well played.

Part Two to follow!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What is "extended" breastfeeding like?

It's no secret that I'm a fan of promoting breastfeeding. (At least, I hope it's not a secret, because then I need to talk to my PR department.)

Here are some more (rambling) thoughts.

My Favorite Breastfeeding Moments

Sadly, this moment is now just a memory. But in the past, when Silas used to fall asleep nursing, he would enter this stage of being mostly asleep, but j-u-ust awake enough to continue nursing. Then he would fall asleep completely, without my noticing.

Then, he would laugh in his sleep.

Look, you know that if you like baby laughter, it is the sweetest sound ever. Well, when a baby laughs because he is in a deep sleep and he still happens to be cuddled up to you, it adds a wonderful touch of surrealism to make it a perfect moment.

Now if I want Silas to laugh while he nurses, I can just make a funny noise and he will crack up. Everything is funnier to him when he is nursing, for some odd reason!

Why nurse past a year?

Some babies initiate weaning on their own, sometime around their first birthday. After all, ever since they received their first bite of solid food, a baby is on his or her path to weaning. And, let me tell you, that path can be very different for each baby. In Silas's case, he still loves to nurse. And nursing still is a wonderful experience for me.

So you can pick and choose whatever reasons you want to nurse past a year. If it's working for baby and for mom, then I don't need to bore you with World Health Organization guidelines or anything like that; just go with the flow. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Writing About Some More Writing

Today I'm discussing what happens when I write my characters and realize that they want different things than I do.

So you've created some characters and set them loose in a fun, vibrant environment (erm, the environment will be another post, I'm sure) and now you want to get to the Big Plot Points you had envisioned. If you're better than me, you might have even written down these points in some form or another of an outline.

My problem is that sometimes, my characters don't want to do that. As I write scene after scene, trying to push them into a specific corner, they squirm and wiggle their way into different rooms, sometimes sprinting down hallways of ideas I can't see. (And then I have to be cautious, because I'm afraid of the unknown.)

Does that make me a bad writer if I can't control my characters?

I don't think it does. (Of course I don't think it does!) I just happen to prefer to write character-driven plot more than action-driven plot. There's nothing wrong with either form. But to me, it feels much more organic to step back and observe what my characters do in a situation rather than force them to do what I want them to.

I don't think it makes me a bad writer, but I think it means I have to be aware of pacing and making sure that I cut out superfluous scenes. I think it means I have to make sure my environments have interesting elements to interact with and I have to occasionally nudge my characters to explore their own personalities.

I think this all goes back to what I said a little bit ago about how I need to allow more time to pass in my writing. Although I am perfectly content to read about the ins and outs of my characters day after day, not everyone will feel the same way. By forcing myself to use time leaps (sorry, maybe they have a fancy name that I don't know the phrase for), I've been forcing myself to imagine what has happened in the interim time instead of writing down every time the main character has trouble falling asleep.

I'm pretty sure that's helping me balance my characters with a little bit of action. We'll find out.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Thanks, everyone!

Thanks to my friends, family and an army of dedicated spambots, my little slice of the internet has now received 10,000 pageviews.

Never mind that it's only taken me three years to accomplish this, never mind that many sites see that sort of traffic before people have poured their morning coffee, never mind that spambots seriously account for more than half of those views - mostly, I'm just happy that I've somewhat routinely updated a site for this long. I'll probably keep doing it, mostly because I'm really, really good at writing words down and hoping that people like them.

Here's some party hats, guys! When I first started blogging, I didn't have a clue that in three years, I would be having a baby and going back to school. I don't really re-read what I write, so maybe one day it will be fun to go back and see how that transition played out in my writing. (I suspect that I just like the IDEA of being able to go back and read about my life.)

Hopefully in three more years, I'll be a nurse, and have another kid (or two).

I guess I'll just have to wait and see how it turns out.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Totally Giddy - Will it Last?

Like a teenager in a first relationship, I am over the moon with my NaNo Novel so far. We've only really known each other for three days, but I feel like it's been forever. I mean, we just get each other. When I want to write a scene, my NaNo Novel is ready for me. It's encouraging me to keep writing. It's letting me know that, sure, yeah, I'm a little cheesy, but I'm having fun.

I want to stay up late writing. (Yeah, ok, "late" means ten pm.)

This is so completely different from last year.

Last year, I literally could not write. I distinctly remember trying to think of a plot for a story, and failing so hard that I thought for sure I was never going to be creative again. This year, it's like all of that potential creativity waited for me all along!

For the first time, I tried doing "word sprints" tonight. That's where you set a timer and then write as many words as possible during that time (no, you can't just write the same sentence over and over again. I'm looking at you, Jack Torrence!).

I set a timer for ten minutes. The first time, I wrote 584 words. The next time I wrote 632 words in ten minutes. I was happy about at least 80% of those words. You guys, I need to take a moment, because I'm pretty sure I'm just gushing about myself. It's embarrassing, really.

It's just nice to create things. And though what I'm creating is far from perfect, for once it feels like the story in my head is actually materializing on the screen in front of me. That's a new experience for me with my own characters. (I consider fanfiction to be a perfectly fine way to write, but it is a different animal to work with other people's creative property.)

So far, I have gotten off to a good start. I have 8423 words written, which will hopefully tide me over as I tackle my next round of schoolwork tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my ridiculous moods to myself.


Entrenched in Writing

Since November started, I have gotten off to a good start on my NaNo Novel. I'm currently ahead on schoolwork, so I'm able to write during Silas's naps. However, this coming week, I am back to studying new topics, so I don't know how I will continue. We'll see.

I have another area of my writing that I know I need to work on, and I've decided to work on that in this novel as well. And that issue is the flow of time. I really, really like to show EVERYTHING. I don't know how to step back and leave part of a day unwritten. This is somewhat related to my annoyance with books that skip large periods of time; I'm pretty sure it's a personal problem and not due to bad writing. But, I just can't stand it. I hate that books and movies can just show a climatic scene and then cut to something else. I hate it because in real life, when something happens, people have to deal with it and then continue dealing with it.

Maybe this just means I have a problem with letting go of things. But here's an example. A character will make a BIG REVEAL about something, and then we cut to three days later. I can't stand it. What happened directly after the BIG REVEAL might not be as dramatically exciting, but it really kills my suspension of disbelief to think that no one else would have a problem with waiting three days to actually discuss what happened.

Again, I dunno. I will look for some more concrete examples later, but I have to go back to noveling now. And despite my rant above, I will be working hard to pick and choose the moments of time that I show, rather than just describe every minute of the day. (For example, in my first NaNo Novel, the 50,000+ words I wrote describe what happens in the course of one and a half days. Oh boy.)