Aaaand We’re Back! (sort of)

meowser-48.jpg posted by meowser

Okay, so first: Congratulations to everyone on Team Fat for NaNoWriMo, all 5 of whom (including yours truly) finished their 50,000 words!

If you NaNoed, feel free to use this thread to tell me what you’re doing next with your magnum opi. (Heck, if you didn’t NaNo and you have a magnum opus, you can join in too, if you want.)

Me, I’m zoning out for a few days, then (dirty little secret time) doing the sweaty work of putting my scenes in sequence, because I…wrote them all (except for the first two) OUT OF ORDER. Yes, that is how Not So Little Miss Right Brain rolls. I put my scenes on index cards (writing new cards whenever a scene idea occurs to me and I don’t have time to write it just then), then I write wherever my energy is going that day. That means a lot of jumping around.

Yes, you are allowed to write that way if you want to! Nobody’s going to stop you! (My favorite NaNo FAQ: “Can I write one word 50,000 times?” Oh, just guess what the answer is to that one. Can you imagine trying to explain that to the people you live with?) I have given myself the gift of not showing anyone my work until I feel like I’ve gone as far with it on my own, or even telling very many people the subject matter. I had to learn that particular “shooting my wad” lesson the hard way, I’m afraid.

So…I don’t know how much blogging I’m going to be doing from here on out. Some, probably, but I can’t quit or take leave from my job, and Remeron makes me dead to the world for 9 or 10 hours a day, and this book has been in my head in one form or another for at least the last 8 years, and I’m not gonna live forever…I’m sure you understand. But I’m still on the fat feeds, so if I do blog, it will show up there.

Oh, here’s an interesting bit of news: My psychiatrist has been so blown away by what I have to say about my experiences with Asperger’s that he has, with my advance permission, been bringing interns in to our sessions, and they have been knocked on their keisters too. So much so that he has asked me to do a presentation with him about it at a local hospital later this month! This will be my first public speaking gig, and I’m sure I will be sweating piss pellets once I start getting close to the date, which is right before Xmas. So, anyone who has done public speaking and wants to leave their bons mots about their experiences in comments, or write to me about it…blaze away.

GO TEAM FAT! GO GO GO GO GO!

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15 Responses to “Aaaand We’re Back! (sort of)”

  1. The Bald Soprano Says:

    I was a NaNoRebel this year, because I had a deadline on the theory chapter of my thesis at the end of November. My advisor spontaneously extended the deadline to December 10th, but I still sent him the chapter draft on November 23, a whole week before the original deadline! Then I collapsed and basically slept for a whole week.

    Now he expects me to work through Christmas because he wants the next chapter on Dec. 31. That’s sooo not going to happen.

  2. buttercup Says:

    Yayyyy I missed you! (does happy dance and gives virutal hugs)

  3. Cassy Says:

    Woo! Congrats for writing 50k!

    As for your scenes being out of order, have you heard of a program called yWriter? It allows you to load individual scenes, and then lets you shuffle them around until you’re happy with them. It might make that reorganizing work a little less tiresome.

    The best thing though? It’s free. You can get it here:
    http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html

    I’m working on the preliminary cleaning and editing so I can cash in my free copy from CreateSpace. I’ll also be working with my writers’ group to get feedback and get to a draft that I’m happy enough with to try and get published.

    And again, because it should be repeated: Woo! Congrats!

  4. wellroundedtype2 Says:

    Congratulations!!!!
    I’m sort of back, too, not to blogging but at least back on the computer after vacation.
    I will be emailing you soon…
    It feels like I spend about an hour a day talking with SHP about Christmas.
    SHP: (whining) You’ll never let me celebrate Christmas.
    WRT2: (in most patient voice that I can conjure) We’re Jewish, honey. We don’t celebrate Christmas at our house.
    SHP: (whining) Awwwwwwww…
    WRT2: We can celebrate it at our friends’ houses, and they can celebrate Chanukah with us.
    SHP: (whining) But you’ll NEVER let me celebrate Christmas.
    WRT2: Have I mentioned that there are presents on Chanukah?
    SHP: (whining) But I want Christmas!
    WRT2: …

    ——————————-

    Regarding public speaking, my bons mots:
    – I once had a really bad experience, and it made me nervous for years afterwards. But what got me over it was practice.
    – I have a friend who can be somewhat shy and private when meeting new people, but she is an amazing public speaker, as it’s part of her job. She just transforms into this really comfortable speaker, and it’s amazing.
    – Sometimes, when someone who is speaking in public who clearly doesn’t do it all of the time comes across as a bit nervous (and says something to the audience about it), it’s really endearing. I think it’s a welcome change to the polished speakers. So, being nervous doesn’t necessarily detract from what you are saying, it sends the message that you care about what you are talking about and you want the audience to understand you.
    – You have some really important stuff to say. Reading your writing and talking with you has changed my perspective on so many things. You provide windows, doors and bridges to people who are neurotypical to understand how we can better interact with people who are not neurotypical. So, maybe try to focus not on yourself but on who you will be helping with the information you are conveying.
    – A couple of years ago I spoke in front of about 200 people at a conference and did really, really well. In a way, it felt like acting, but also like being the most “presentable” version of myself — not in terms of acceptability, but in terms of ability to get my point across. You don’t need to be any different than you are to convey the information you want to convey. You are the perfect person to do it.

  5. Ruth Says:

    Hey,

    Welcome back, and congrats!

    This Nanowrimo was my 1st time, and I tend to write short stuff, mostly poetry and the occasional short story. So, my intent was to just see if I could write that many words. Which I did.

    So it is not a novel. It is probably 99% “dear diary” crap, with a 1% salvage potential (I’m so not ready to wade through that mess). But I’m OK with that. It’s a milestone for me, I finished, and next time, I’ll set the bar higher.

  6. Alexandra Lynch Says:

    I didn’t do NaNoWriMo because I was primarily spending November getting used to a new psychoactive medication (whoa, I has an attention span! Thank the gods I kept the smaller sizes of jeans, too, or I’d have a clothing crisis!) and figuring out what my capacity is when I can pay attention to what I’m doing and also finding my house.

    Now that Thanksgiving is over, and I’ve got my Christmas fanfiction exchange story done-but-for-beta-suggested- word-tweaks-here-and-there, I can get into a rhythm of giving the novel a few hours every day. It’s about two-thirds done, and I’ve discovered that if I just sit down and map out a scene, even if the rough draft is crap, I can feel my way towards where it should go and what needs to be said and shown to move it along. And, of course, sometimes a scene is amazingly vivid in my head and comes out equally vivid first draft and is keepable. I may do NaNo next year on the second or third book of the series, as the story is really three novels, with potential to talk about other things in other parts of the world in future books.

    And if anyone likes historical dramatic novels and is willing to beta for me, shoot me an email; I’ve got one, but I’d like a couple more so I get more perspective.

  7. iphy Says:

    Hi there!

    I have NaNoed for several years, though I did not this year, and am the author of a published book (“Stumbling Towards Faith”), which was written through many parts of my blog and pieces of my NaNoes.

    As a result, of the published book, I am also a one-time (whew!) public speaker. This was difficult for me on many levels as a Fat — it was in Canada, so I had to fly; I was terrified I wasn’t “good looking enough” to do it; I also struggle with anxiety/stress (and other dx’ed mental illness, in fact, i just finished 80+ electroconvulsive therapy treatments).

    At the time of the public speaking engagement, I took some extra xanax and pretty much faked my way through it. Not much help, I know. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about mindfulness, and while it certainly doesn’t cure/fix/resolve my anxiety, it can (and sometimes does) help. At least enough to get me through the doorway.

  8. Bee Says:

    I keep telling myself that one of these years I am going to do NaNo and it will be awesome, but until that year arrives, major congrats and buckets of envy to all of you who did it this year!

    As for public speaking, I presented a paper at an academic conference last year to a packed room, and I was terrified. I’d spectated last year and seen one of my presenting classmates get absolutely ripped to shreds in a debate that got way out of hand, and I feared that even though I’d done loads of research, a bunch of angry Hemingway scholars would see right through me. Luckily, my advisor was the room moderator and personally ensured she’d kick the ass of anyone giving me too much trouble. I was still horribly nervous—my legs were shaking so hard behind the podium I thought I’d collapse there for a while, but I pushed past it, read my paper, and even took questions (which had been my biggest fear).

    My advice is don’t get nervous about being nervous. It happens to just about everyone, and nobody will judge you for it. If it suits your speaking style, open with some gentle self-depreciating humor (mine was, “If this is terrible, I plead being an engineering major,” since it was a literary crowd). If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about your topic, that will shine through any nervousness you might feel. Answer questions honestly (I had to admit hating Hemingway. It was a little scary, but endeared me to quite a few in the crowd.), and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something.

    For something more concrete, “work the room” with your eyes while you speak, make eye contact with people in the crowd in between looking at your notes (familiar faces mixed in makes this easier, I’ll admit). Also, be smarter than me and DON’T lock your knees. It seems so obvious, but when you’re shaky and sweating bullets, it makes everything about a hundred times worse.

    Finally, you will probably be your own worst critic. Even relieved as I was, I still felt like a bit of a dweeb after I’d finished, but I actually had people come up and engage me later in the day about my presentation and being happy to find someone to bitch about Hemingway with, and my classmates in attendance informed me people had considered me charismatic and fun. It’s tougher than Speech 101, but even if you don’t feel you were as perfect as you would have liked, I think you’ll find it an extremely rewarding experience.

  9. Twistie Says:

    MEOWSER! I’ve missed you!

    Congrats on your NaNo success. I completely understand that you need to go underground for a while to get everything in order, etc. I’ll miss you again, but agree that writing your novel is important. Write it. Get it out there.

    As for words of wisdom in public speaking, rehearsal is as good for public speaking as it is for plays. Work out your speech and then read it aloud over and over and over until it sticks in your brain. Hold a practice session where you read it to a couple trusted people. Ask them to let you know if a point isn’t coming across to them, or if you’ve expressed something awkwardly. Remember, sentences that read well on the page might not read as clearly aloud, and vice versa.

    Take either the entire text of your speech or a series of notecards with key points with you to the podium. That way if you have brain freeze, you also have a way to get past it.

    Most importantly, take a couple of deep breaths before you begin speaking. You have something important to say which these people are eager to learn about. They want to hear you. They want to like you. They are on your side.

    Best of luck! You’re going to do just fine.

  10. the fat nutritionist Says:

    Congratulations on your novel! I will want to read it when it’s done 🙂

  11. meowser Says:

    Everybody, thanks for your feedback! Cassy, thanks for the tip about yWriter. That sounds like exactly what I need.

    WRT2, LOL about the Christmas thing. It’s pretty much ascended to national holiday status by now, and gets hyped to freaking death for at least a whole solid month, so I can see how she’d feel that way. (My parents compromised by giving us Christmas morning stockings, even though we did the bulk of our celebrating around Chanukah. But they never taught me to believe in Santa; the stockings were always from THEM, even when I was little.)

  12. Bronwen Says:

    I agree with what Twistie says regarding the speech. Another tip is to practice in front of a mirror. Practicing in front of a mirror will show you habits you don’t know you have while you’re talking, like scratching your chin or smoothing your hair every 30 seconds.

    The other thing to do, when you get to the actual speech, is to look around the room frequently. Don’t just look at one person. If you have problems making eye contact (I used to when I was regularly speaking), pick people in the front 2/3 of the audience and look at the top of their heads. You will not actually be making eye contact with anybody, yet everybody will be fooled into thinking you are making eye contact.

    Other than that, practice, practice, practice. Do your best to know your material inside out and upside down. Yes, bring your note cards and use them, but also have such a thorough knowledge of your topic that if (the gods forbid) something bad happens — like somebody spills coffee all over them, or they accidently get dropped in a muddy puddle) you can still perform without them.

    Congrats and good luck on the speech!

    Also, much luck on the writing and editing. I’m so envious of people who can finish NaNoWriMo (I tried it last year and couldn’t finish it).

  13. Rosa Says:

    I had a workshop teacher who literally printed out her novel, cut it into sentence and paragraph-length pieces, and put it back together…with tape, all over her apartment walls.

    And then there’s Jennifer Crusie, who collages as part of her writing:

    Congratulations on getting through Nano. And I am so glad you’re back!

  14. Lindsay Says:

    Hi, Meowser!

    That’s wonderful that your psychiatrist is having you teach about Asperger’s! I’m excited for you. 🙂

  15. Lara F Says:

    Didn’t know there was a team fat! Will join you all next year. I’ve did my 50,000 words right in the middle of moving to a new house! Unfortunately I haven’t finished the story yet. So that is what I’m working on now, but the pressures off and I haven’t been writing as much.


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