Monday, September 1, 2014

The Best Part of #NaNoWriMo

It's September 1st and still far too early to be thinking about NaNoWriMo, yet I find it on my mind as I wait for November. I'd like to attempt it this year, even if I don't finish the 50k goal. 

http://myrenaissanceblog.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/sophie-keep-calm.jpg
Source.
Why? While I do like racking up the word count, the best thing about National Novel Writing Month has been the writing community. I love hanging out on the forums. It's a place to post questions, answer questions, pick and choose ideas, and chat. I've found critique partners and some other interesting people there as well. 

There's a whole writing community that I never would have found if I hadn't done NaNo, and my writing would be the poorer for it. NaNoWriMo is helping me get over my intense fear of sharing my writing. I used to be exceptionally paranoid even among other writers I knew when it came to sharing my writing. This is helping.

It hasn't been entirely positive, and the forums can be an extremely distracting place. However, the "Word Wars, Prompts, and Sprints" and the "Adoptables" forums have been extremely, AMAZINGLY helpful in getting new ideas, forcing myself to write, and beating my own personal procrastination monster.

Every year around this time, I see a flurry of posts on NaNoWriMo -- why you should do it, why you shouldn't, etc. Most people do the plug about how it forces you to speed-write 50k in a month, which helps you focus on discipline and ignore perfectionism. It does do those things -- but I've never seen or heard anyone to recommend it for the writing community. 

So I will! :) The best part of NaNoWriMo is that all the other people on the forums can be extremely useful, helpful, and fun. Of course you have your nasty people, too, but the moderators generally do a good job. (I can recall only one time I was really and genuinely offended by a moderator's response to my concern.) And the best thing about the forums is that they don't close when November ends. There's a small but dedicated group of people who hang out on the forums all year long.

Have you done NaNo? Have you "won" NaNo? Did you use the forums at all?

Friday, August 29, 2014

First Day of Grad School!

I survived my grad school orientation!

All right; that's not much of an accomplishment. This was really just the first dip of the toe into the dangerous waters of a graduate degree. I'll be drowning in paper soon. I wanted to take a photo of my pile of books for this semester, but the thought made me want to cry. I'm going to try to read the first chapters of all of them before class on Tuesday.

My first graduate degree will be a Master of Letters in Shakespeare and performance. I'm quite excited. I feel like I've been waiting to really dive into Shakespeare, once I decided that that was want I wanted to do. I also want to audition for the MFA program in my third year. It's based on a company model, which is very exciting and not an education you can get at very many other places. 

I was in a high school company that collaborated on a lot of theatrical decisions and work. Even though we had a director, we all wore several hats and were pretty flexible; we also had the chance to bond. I rather miss that dynamic. I know a graduate program will be a heck of a lot more intense, but the MFA -- especially in this format -- is something that I'm really shooting for.

Now on to classes and brainstorming a thesis topic. *gulp* At least 50-80 pages isn't all that much for a writer. It's all the outside reading I'm getting worried about. I have the ghosts of some ideas floating around in my brain:


  • Something about stage combat and audience reactions/empathy
  • An acting focus studying portrayals of Lavinia from Titus Andronicus 
  • Some kind of textual analysis or survey examining how female characters describe other female characters and women
  • Iago and sexual fantasy; something about how he manipulates everyone's perceptions to make them believe everyone else is having a lot of sinful, adulterous sex in order to compensate for his own homoerotic sexual frustration (although I believe this has been written about quite a lot already).
  • Studying the casting, portrayal, and gender assignment (or lack of gender assignment) of gender-unspecified or androgynous characters like Puck and Ariel and how it plays onstage
These are all fun topics. All quite huge topics, too. Oh, well. All I know is that I really don't want to write about Hamlet or anything to do with Hamlet again. Not for a while, at least.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Stop With this ALS False Humility Bullshit

To those of you doing the ALS ice bucket challenge, I applaud you. It's quite a clever idea, especially for a summertime activism/awareness campaign. The most effective of these campaigns make something trendy in order for it to spread farther faster. 

It works a hell of a lot better than guilt-tripping or shock value. It requires donors to participate in a way that's more active than sharing a status. Take the challenge, donate some money, share, post, challenge others.

Most people -- judging by the admittedly limited sources of my Facebook and twitter feed -- seem to enjoy taking part in a big cause in a small way. Then there are those who scoff at it as "slacktivism" and refuse to participate. Opposite the "too cool for this" group are the few people who appear to believe that dumping a bucket of ice water on one's head makes them an expert on ALS and is the most important thing they'll ever do to help the ALS cause -- whether they donate or not. 

Then there's a fourth group. And this fourth group, while probably the smallest, angers me the most -- the False Humility group.

They're sort of like the "too cool for all you 'slacktivists'" group, except that they actually donate. However, they take the challenge with a sneer and a "holier-than-thou" attitude. Others in this group don't take the ice bucket challenge. Rather, they make sure you know that while they won't be doing a stupid challenge, they're donating money to the cause because I guess they're just too damn good for childish antics.

I've seen protests from these supposedly humble activists that no, they won't be filming and sharing an ice bucket challenge because they're not narcissistic enough to use social media like that. They'll share on social media that they are donating, but specifically not doing the challenge. Because, you know, that totally shows how humble they are. And, you also know, it would be totally narcissistic to put the challenge on social media and get more people to see it, donate, or get curious about the cause. It's not like social media sharing is how this cause got so popular or anything.

There's nothing wrong with saying you don't want to dump a bucket of ice water on your head. I wish this last, oddly smug group of people would just admit that instead of spitting on the rest of the people doing the challenge -- without whom they probably would have heard nothing to be smug about. The pride and false humility is more about a disdain for being seen to participate in current trends rather than any specific objection to the cause or the awareness campaign itself.

You want to be humble about your activism? Donate some money -- and then try not to brag about how you donated money out of the goodness of your soul, instead of dumping water on your head like all these other dorks.

http://thatdingostolemy6pack.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shut-up-and-take-my-money.jpg


I won't be doing the challenge. I may or may not be donating, either, depending on my financial situation. Perhaps I'll set a donation by for a later date when I have money to spare. However, I'll leave this link here in case you would like to donate or read more about ALS:

http://www.alsa.org/donate/

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Summer Without Internet

Some of you may have been wondering where I've been all this summer. I've barely posted any reviews to examiner, I've been completely absent from here, and I said I was going to do that Ready. Set. Write! thing.

Unfortunately, I haven't had Internet access for most of the summer. Sigh.

This is probably the part where I'm supposed to wax eloquent about what a relief it was not to be so busy and connected, and how being shut off from social media and the web was a blessing in disguise. I've read enough posts about taking Internet breaks; I know how it goes.

Something-something, enlightenment, the corruption of the modern world...
Well, it wasn't. I understand Internet breaks, but I'll be very happy to get my Internet back. It's been annoying at best and at worst, has interfered with my job. I couldn't email my supervisor (or my mother), or go online to check important life kinds of things without taking myself to the library (where I am now). And with two jobs, I haven't had a lot of time to go to the library during regular hours. I couldn't check email for updates on grad school. I know, I know, first world problems. But I hate being cut off from my writing, entertainment, and news sources. Perhaps that makes me petty and shallow like all the kids nowadays. Personally, I just think I like being connected. I especially dislike getting news by word-of-mouth from people with no idea what they are talking about, with no way for me to fact-check.

I've hated not having Internet. My roommate was supposed to set up our account back in June. June. She volunteered to do it because she had a phone with Internet access, so it was easiest for her to do. The thing is, because her phone had Internet, it wasn't exactly as urgent an issue for her. We got our account in mid-July-ish and we're finally getting our cable outlet installed. We were supposed to get that done Friday, but the techs never showed up. We get a discount, fortunately, but I'd rather just have my Internet.

Anyway, this has all been a valuable life lesson in living without Internet and with roommates. Adulthood. Yay.

Not that Internet is essential. Clearly I've been surviving without it, mainly by crocheting and reading a lot. (And drinking.) If I'd bothered, I probably could have gotten it all set up a lot earlier. Just like I could have mowed the yard today. Oh, well.

So, what have I been up to?

I am currently working two jobs, though I'll have to drop one when school starts again in September. I'll miss the extra money, but I'll probably appreciate the extra time for reading and homework. I'm living off-campus in a house with two roommates and no pets. It also has a yard, which I simultaneously hate and like to mow. I'm getting all my drinking and partying out of the way over the summer. I gained some weight, which my mother is only too eager to point out every time I see her. I lost some weight, too, but since I'm still over 110 pounds, my mother still feels the need to point out that I've gained weight.

I'm looking forward most to my Stage Combat class, though less so to getting up at 7:30 AM for it. I'm beginning to feel the panic setting in as classes approach. I'm reading a lot -- a lot of dark fiction, oddly, seeing as how I typically read lighter stuff in the summer. I'm barely writing, though I do knit a lot. I also broke up with my boyfriend -- who has finally stopped texting me. The unfortunate part of that situation was that my phone doesn't allow me to see who sends a text without opening it. Dumb.

And...that's about it with me. OH WAIT RIGHT and I'm watching The Legend of Korra. If you aren't, then you should be. Actually, I'm going to go catch up right now, while I'm still at the library.

Have a good week, blog readers!

*crickets*

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ready. Set. Write! Goals

This summer kicks off Ready. Set. Write! Hosted by Jamie Morrow, Erin Funk, Katie Upperman, and Allison Miller, Ready. Set. Write! is a weekly blog hop about summer writing goals. Anyone can participate, and we all give help and encouragement along the way. 


This is the goal-setting week (which I'm coming slightly late to). For this week, I will:
  • Return to my editing journal for The Book 
  • Add 500 NEW words -- not edits or revisions -- to The Book
  • Add another 1,000 words to Contracted
In the following weeks, I'll update with these headings: 
  • How I did on last week's goals
  • Goals for this week 
  • A favorite line from my story
  • The biggest challenge I faced that week
  • Something I love about my wip
Since I will be moving this weekend, I am not sure how much I'll be able to get done. I might have problems with updating the blog as well. When things settle down a bit, I'll be back. Until then, have a great rest of the week! :)