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Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 26: NaNoWriMo and the Difficulties of Being a Step-parent

10/25/2010
The Good, The Bad and The Writing

The Good
1)    I am back.  I was beating myself up this morning when I woke up and realized that I hadn't written last night.  I was recovering from my Halloween Movie Marathon.  We had a blast!  But the good thing about the way i felt this morning is that I am convinced that writing every day is now a habit.  I was extremely worried to miss a day.  It is so easy to say, "Well, I missed a day, so what's the difference if I miss today as well?"  Well, I didn't feel that way.  I felt MORE inclined and more desire to write, because I hadn't written yesterday.  So I am counting tonight's writing as a victory for myself as a writer.  One more baby step to freeing myself from the bonds of accounting.  And the freedom of creating entire worlds out of nothing more than the neurons and synapses in my brain.
2)    NaNoWriMo - November is National Novel Writing Month.  I would recommend anyone who wants to become a writer, or anyone who is a writer that just wants to throw caution to the wind and try something completely new, to check out the website www.nanowrimo.org.  I am going to be attempting it this year.  I've wanted to since I first heard about it in 2006.  I didn't have the courage that first year.  In '07 and '08 and '09 I was working two jobs which was a convenient excuse, since I also lacked the courage those years too.  This year I am afraid as well, But I am going to go for it anyway.  Am I afraid to fail?  Yeah.  Hell YEAH!  But i am tired of my life being all about trying not to fail.  Fuck it!  I am going to go for it.  And if I fail, so effing what?  Have I failed anyone?  Nope, not even myself.  Chances are that even if I fail, I will have a pretty damn good start on a new novel.  And really, how can THAT be a failure?
       I guess I should give you a little more info.  Maybe entice one or two of you over to the website and try your hands at writing an entire novel in one month.  How to define a novel and whether you wrote one in the month of November?  Well, the coordinators over at event HQ define it in extremely rough terms.  Any original piece of writing that is 50,000 or more words in length.  This will equate to roughly a 175 to 200 page novel.  A short novel, but that is how they are defining it and that is what I am shooting for.  I am hoping for more in the range of 300 - 350 pages when the first draft is complete.  So, that is about 75,000 - 90,000 words.  Do I think I can do that in one month?  To be honest, no.  Especially in the month that I celebrate my wedding anniversary, and I am hoping to go camping as soon as the damn weather stays cool enough on a weekend.  I will be shooting for the 50,000 word goal.  I figure if I make it to 175 pages, I can't let it die.  I will have to make sure it gets finished.  Whether it is just another 10 words, or if it is another 300 pages.  I don't even know yet.  I have a general idea of the direction the novel is going to take, but mainly, I just make it up as I go along.  That is how I have always written.  No outline.  No thinking ahead.  Just letting the story flow out of my brain down through my arms and out my fingertips onto the keyboard where I then magically see my thoughts put into words right before my very eyes.
       So, because I am an accountant, I had to break down exactly what 50,000 words meant to me.  It meant that I had to write an AVERAGE of 1,667 words PER DAY!!!  To put this into perspective, from the end of the previous sentence to the top of this blog is only 671 words and it took me about forty minutes to write it.  671!  I am going to have to average almost three times that every day for an entire 30 consecutive days.  Ok, so that is about two hours a day every day.  That doesn't sound that bad right?  I am getting scared again reading this.  But I am going to venture out into the deep end of the pool with this one.  There are no sharks in the pool right?
        This is going to cut down on my blogging time considerably.  I will pop on here and try to update you at least every other day.  But "The Writing" section is going to be severely lacking from November 1-30.  Unless I use it to flesh out some ideas in the NaNoWriMo project, or if I get an idea for another project.
        Side note.  I've read that after the first draft an edit should take place and an average of 10% should be shed from the piece.  That means that if I am shooting for a 300-350 page first draft, then I will end up with a 270-315 page document ready yo be sent to an agent, publisher, editor for more chopping.

The Bad

     Being a parent is hard.  I know.  I have two daughters.  One teen and one preteen.  Fun right?  Cake walk compared to being a step parent.  I also have a teenage step son.  The boy  isn't the greatest student in the world.  His attitude can suck at times, especially when you ask him to do something on days that end in "y".  I am not the boy's father.  I know this.  Therefore my hands are tied.  I get all the frustration, yet can't really do anything about it.  I can't yell at him.  Even when he is disrespecting me.  I can't ground him. I can't really punish him in any way.  If I try, then it becomes WWIII around here and I don't need that.  My wife doesn't need that, and the boy could care less.  I have come to the conclusion that he honestly doesn't give a flying fig about any sort of punishment.Video games gone?  Doesn't care.  Doesn't get to play sports.  Doesn't care.  No TV.  Doesn't care.  I don't get it.  There is nothing I can do.  And he already knows that he will win any battle that comes in this house between he and I.  The big one last school year had to do with my job.  I wanted to leave San Antonio so I didn't have to be cooped up in the house all day long by myself every day? And actually work in an office.  This meant moving to Tennessee.  It's all the south to me.  Except there they are more liberal.  Thank GODDESS - get me away from all these conservatives!
     I tried to use the fact that the schools here are not nearly as good as they are in Oak Ridge, TN which is int he top 10 in the nation, and if he couldn't get his act together here, we could get him the help he needs in a real school system.  Well, I was of course the bad guy in that.  Did I continually bring it up.  Yes.  I was at my wit's end last year trying to find some way to get him to give a crap about his school work.  Nope.  He was grounded from before Xmas until the last week of school because he couldn't keep all of his grades at or above a C level.  He'd bring the 2 he was failing up and let another or two others fall below the "Mendoza Line"  So, I was the asshole.  I helped him with his studying, yet I was the asshole for trying ANY and EVERYthing I could to motivate.  Well, short of laying a hand on him (something I will never do).  So this year, I am keeping these thoughts to myself.  And a lot of others as well.  And guess what?  The boy knows he's won.  His attitude is in the complete shithouse unless every little thing goes exactly his way.  His grades are improved, but he is failing math and tonight told us it's because he "doesn't care".  There were about a million things I would have said at that point had it been one of the girls.  But I'm just the step dad, and no matter how well intentioned I am, I will be the asshole.  I have no idea what to do.  I fear that if I don't try something he is going to fail math and science.  But I can't really do anything.
        Yeah, it's way harder to be a step-parent than a parent.
        Enough of this rant.  Time for bed now.

The Writing
      No original writing tonight.  Spent it all on the ranting and raving.  But that's ok.   I got it out.

Stay scared my friends,
My Little Demon
myltldmn@gmail.com

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