Leave it to a writing contest to completely turn me off from writing for a solid 4 months.
To those of you who missed me, I apologize. To those who were happy I was gone, I apologize.
This may have been one of the greatest failures of my writing career. However, from every failure comes a learning opportunity. Now I know to never attempt to write a novel when I have no story line, plot, or remote intention to publish a book. I did come up with some good story ideas, however. I suspect that the beloved Raezana, Se’Quasha and Ricardo will one day have their full stories told. If I decide to continue writing during next year’s NaNoWriMo, apparently not a lot of progress should be expected.
Five days in to NaNoWriMo, I was burned out. I was tired, stressed out, anxious, and felt chained to my computer. Every moment that I didn’t spend writing was full of guilt and self-doubt. Why did I think it would be fun to impulse-write a novel? 2,000 words per day? What was I thinking? I normally write a 300-word blog post once or twice a week, if that. So where were these 50,000 extra words going to come from?
For the first couple of days of NaNoWriMo, I did okay. I had some momentum from writing a tight prologue to my novel the day before the contest officially began. The next day, I hyped myself up by perusing the message boards on nanowrimo.org and conversing with other participants.
Then, I hit a wall. As I started to run out of ideas, I realized that my characters were haphazardly developed. Where did they come from? What were their motivations? Why did they exist? On day 3, I decided to spend a few hours turning my characters into people. Afterwards, I forced myself to spit out 2,000 words of story.
As I read over what I wrote, I started to become disappointed in myself. Normally I consider myself a talented writer, but the sentences and paragraphs I had thrown on to paper were just as haphazardly formed as my characters were. I had rejected my “short and sweet” writing style in favor of run-on sentences and unrestricted rambling. I started searching for ways to throw in more words. I stopped using contractions. I became wordy.
My main character started to develop ADD. It took her hours to wash her face in the morning because she just could not stop “daydreaming.” Microsoft Word’s Readability Statistics dropped me from grade 12 to grade 5 over a matter of hours. I was officially becoming illiterate.
I hated what I wrote. It wasn’t my style. And I wasn’t enjoying writing. I didn’t feel proud of what I was producing. So I quit. I stopped writing. I took a few days to sit around and play computer games. I watched television. I voted in the election.
But now, I feel like I abandoned my characters. They are begging me not to forget them. They need love and a place to stay, just like any other human being. So, I will continue writing my story.
I have, however, determined that the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days should be reserved only for the insane. Or at least those who have a lot to say. If you are the annoying person at work who just won’t stop running their mouth, then you might have a chance at winning NaNoWriMo. However, if you are naturally quiet and reserved like me, then it might not work out so well.
Wow, those two weeks went by quickly! I haven’t had time to do much of anything lately. Between working full-time and yelling at my husband, who has time to write?
I’m kidding. The real reason that I haven’t posted anything is because it’s hard to write a coherent blog post when you’re drunk. I decided to stay sober today in an effort to reassure the Internet that Raezyn has not disappeared. Is anyone actually tracking these things? You can call off the search party.
I haven’t even had time to read other people’s blogs. There are a few funny writers that I have completely fallen out of touch with. It is a shame. Not only am I isolated in real life, I am isolated on the World Wide Web. But today, I have returned to entertain you, Internet. Hopefully my friends will call me back so I can go out and do something fun afterwards. I’m kidding again. I don’t have friends.
This morning I woke up to a half-full glass of Merlot and an open box of Milk Duds. Leftovers from my wild and crazy Friday night. So I had Milk Duds and wine for breakfast. Given that I was still kind of drunk from staying up drinking until 3 AM, those last sips of wine were all the alcohol I needed to pass out and sleep some more. I’m not an alcoholic.
I woke up at 2:30 PM with a sugar high. Go figure. After scolding my husband for exhibiting man-like behavior, I remembered that I had abandoned my glorious blog. So, I made myself some coffee and powered up the ol’ laptop. After surfing the Internet for a couple of hours, I started writing. I hope this post is satisfactory, because it’s all you’re going to get today, Internet.
I’ve got to start getting ready to hit the bumpin’ comedy scene in D.C. I don’t have time to edit this post and add pictures and what not. Do I seem moody? I feel moody. I’m a little moody today. I’m not sure why.
As everyone is aware by now, I am new to stand-up comedy. I need guidance: How to write jokes, how to structure a set, and how to avoid fainting on stage. So last weekend, I attended a stand-up comedy seminar taught by comedian Joe Matarese. It was well worth driving 2 hours one-way to Baltimore MD.
I met some local comedians that were not only funny, but supportive as well. I had some time on stage during which I was *supposed* to perform my act (read what actually happened). Instead of rolling their eyes at the newbie from Virginia, the comics gave me some helpful suggestions on how to develop my act and they even laughed at some of my jokes!
In order to become successful, you need the support of your peers. And as it turns out, comics are willing to support each other because they’ve all started at the beginning. Experienced comedians know that they wouldn’t be where they are in their careers without the encouragement of supporters. Therefore, this group of funny Baltimore comedians welcomed me, the confused beginner from Virginia.
On Saturday evening, I dragged my husband along with me to watch Joe Matarese headline at Magooby’s Joke House. Paul Spratt had the guest spot and Ayanna Dookie was the feature. Together, they reaffirmed the fact that I love comedy.
In my desperate efforts to put together a stand-up comedy routine, I have been carrying around a notebook to record every funny idea that I have. I write down everything that even remotely strikes me as amusing. At bedtime, my notebook and pen lie within arm’s reach. This is a brilliant strategy because I am most creative late at night, in between dreams.
One evening, I wrote:
“Unexpected diarrhea is the best diarrhea.“
“But that’s the worst, when you look like your act.“
I remember writing those comments down. I remember laughing about them. I don’t recall why. If only I’d had the presence of mind to clarify the joke. It’s been a week since I wrote them and I’m still perplexed. Trying to piece together the context of these statements is fun. Over time, I’ll hone my skills to figure out what they mean. If I ever have to solve a crime committed by my evil alter ego, I’ll be ready.
My last note of the night was:
“I’m still more sober than some of you have been in years.”
This tells me one thing. I am an unnecessarily mean person late at night. First of all, who am I berating here? I must have dreamt that I was an AA group leader and I showed up drunk to the meeting. This is the only scenario that makes sense to me.
If this is the case, then why did I only write that one line? I’m still more sober than some of you have been in years. Brutal. Once I start performing at open mics, I’ll have to convince the bookers to put me on stage early. After a certain time of night, I become inexplicably hateful.