Total Shutdown

Today is Wednesday.  No, no, don’t check your calendar.  You’re on Thursday, I’m on Wednesday, because I am trying to stay a little ahead in some areas, in case of catastrophe.  My stomach has been…disagreeable.  I went to the gastroenterologist and our new theory is that the whole shebang is broken, not just the stomach.  Nothing is working right, from the esophagus to the intestine.  My digestive system’s check engine light has been on for a while, but recently, it began blinking, and now here we are with an endoscopy on Tuesday and a bunch of new medicines at the pharmacy. 

We shall wait.  We shall see.  In the meantime, we shall eat applesauce and dream of cheeseburgers. 

And, try to focus on something else.  Like work. 

So far today I have updated my Patreon and assembled my spring submissions and now I’m here, and hopefully if I don’t run out of steam, I will go crack open the WIP and work on making that “Netflix money.”  It’s not coming as smoothly as it was, but I think a lot of that has to do with two things.  One, I like a good deadline.  NaNo really pushes me in that department, and I deliver.  Second, I need recovery time after such a sprint.

But now I’m recovered and ready to get back at it, but I’m stalled, and I think that might be because I am so close to being finished.  I’m writing the last third of the book now, and I’m halfway though that.  It’s time to say goodbye, including to a few characters that aren’t going to make it to the end scene.  This is some heavy stuff for a writer, you see.  We both love and loathe killing off our characters, and it is a traumatic experience all around.

And then, the final scene, or the epilogue…haven’t decided which I’m going with…and two little words: the end.  And then, it’s over.

The fifteen years that it took me to put this from spark to paper, will be over.  Then what?

EDITING.

The most garbage part of the job, the part for which I wish I was wealthy enough to hire someone.  I love editing poetry and short pieces, but a whole novel?!  I do not know where to start.  Look at my novella, still sitting unedited three years after completion.  There’s a reason for that, and it’s not procrastination.  It just straight up SUCKS to edit a large work.  (In my opinion, at least.)

So, that’s really all I have for right now: a broken digestive system and a WIP to struggle.  I am hopeful that things improve on both fronts, as I am pretty sick of being pretty sick, and I also want these words out of my fingertips and into my computer. 

I don’t think I’m out of steam yet.  Let me go open her up.  See what happens. 

Happy Wednesday.  Err…Thursday.

Writing Roundup, 2021

I fell behind in literally everything regarding writing last week, and for once it wasn’t due to illness, just the impending holiday season plus some extra personal stressors.  Suffice it to say this is not our best Christmas, but we are keeping our heads up.  That said, I was preoccupied and so all writing endeavors were put on hold, ergo no blog update last Thursday, no work on the WIP, and me frantically penning a late newsletter for my Patreon.  I wrote in there about my year in writing…which was silly because I’m also going to write about that here, and now. 

This year has two halves to one unit.  Writing is not just the actual words on the paper, but also the publishing side of things.  Let’s start there.

My publishing year was dismal.  Icky book sales, only two poems published, and still no release date for my mini-chap after working on it all year.  I try to brighten myself, however, with looking at the financial side of things…I did sell books.  I started my Patreon, providing me with monthly money for writing expenses.  I made very small revenue on my blog, but revenue nonetheless.  And soon my mini-chap will be published, and that will bring in funds as well. 

Then, the actual writing side of things.  I have a couple of new poems, and I polished up quite a good little short story, too.  Most importantly, I dropped over 50k words into my WIP, and am hoping to churn out the rest by the end of January.  If that goes to plan, I will be editing and then preparing for query sometime in March 2022.  The novel is the moneymaker, folks…I know in my heart it will be published.  And I also know that someday I will be sitting in an office negotiating a film deal.  (I’m not trying to brag or anything, I’m trying to manifest.) And when that day comes, I will look back on now as the time when it all began, and I started to really make a career of this.  I will look back at pitiful book sales and silly ad revenues and think…gee, what a year that was.

Anyways, I’m off to do the things that make the monies, as Christmas is in 5 days.  A gentle holiday reminder that I now have a tip jar to the right of this page, in case you want to help me out with buying stocking stuffers.  And always accepting new patrons on Patreon.  And also books for sale.  Just sayin’.

Happy Monday.

On Sickness and Subscription

I didn’t update yesterday because I woke up puking at 2am.  A quick jaunt to Mercy told me I would be waiting for several hours, so I went over to St. Joe’s, which is in many ways my preferred hospital for my situation.  Mercy is close and has all my history, but it’s always 100 patients and 10 nurses, whereas St. Joe’s has this weird reputation for being crappy, so the ratio is completely flipped.  I’ve never received poor service there, however, only the best.  And yesterday they ushered me in quickly and had me medicated and calm within half an hour. 

Anyway, that was not the first visit to the ER this week.  Hopefully, it was the last, but now today I still feel weak and out of it, and am vaguely surprised I’m even sitting here writing right now.  I don’t really have a topic, either; I just want to talk about Patreon.

Patreon is the single best way for me to earn a monthly income through writing.  A monthly income means a website that never goes down, and ad funding for my books.  What is Patreon, you ask?  Well, it’s a monthly subscription service connecting you to creators.  If you visit my page, you will see I am creating poetry, short stories, essays, and more.  Now, there are three subscription tiers, and should you decide to subscribe, you should ABSOLUTELY DO THE CHEAPEST ONE.  I mean, it’s super sweet if you want to send me extra money (PS this blog has a tip jar over on the right) but I don’t know how to work the extra features so frankly, you won’t get what you paid for.  Do the 5$ subscription.  I will be plenty grateful and you will have access to everything. 

And what is everything?  Well…we have poems, stories, book chapters, chapbook excerpts, vlogs, essays, newsletters, and cover reveals.  At least a piece a week unless I am laid up, I try to provide my subscribers with an insight into the writing process for me as well as my life as a writer.  Everything is unpublished, new, or raw at the time that I post on Patreon, and it’s the only place to find my fledgling videos, The Vociferous Vlog (which I really have to work on this weekend…oh please don’t let me get sick again.) 

All I’m saying is that if you like me, and you like what I write, and you’ve got 5 bucks a month…I will happily trade you some words.  I really enjoy doing my Patreon, and I am hoping it picks up a little not just for monetary purposes but because I like the platform for connection that it provides. There isn’t anywhere else I would be comfortable sharing the first chapter of my WIP, or starting out making vlogs. 

I’m editing the page a little later today to give possible subscribers a taste of what is being offered, so there will likely be two or three pieces available later, but there’s a lot more available once you subscribe.  Either way, I hope you check it out and consider subscribing.

That all said, my shoulders are killing me.  I’m headed back to the couch for a bit.  Happy Friday.

https://www.patreon.com/brigidhannon

Creating Flavors

Back before the world got sick, I forced myself to attend an open mic poetry reading at a local bookstore.  Then, that ended because of the pandemic, and I retreated back into my little anxiety shell and didn’t come out for a year and a half.  Then, last week I saw an ad in the paper for a writing workshop.  There were only a few slots available, but I figured what the heck and threw my name into the hat.  Two days later I received an email saying I was registered.  Turns out, it was also a free event, so I was even more pumped because in case you were wondering, poetry collections are not best sellers. 

But then, as it does, my stomach came out to play on Friday and sent me into a tizzy.  Saturday, the day of the workshop, I felt better physically, but terrible mentally.  Firstly, I did not take my meds the night before because I was fearful of throwing up again.  Secondly, they pumped me full of the strong stuff at the ER and it was still wearing away come Saturday afternoon.

At 3pm, I was near tears, scared to go, unprepared, rushed…all the feelings of anxiety that like to stop me in my tracks.  I was even a little sick to my stomach, which made me all the more worried.  Mark did what he always does, and that is get me through it.  He remined me how excited I as when I got the registration email.  He reminded me how badly I wanted to get out into the world again, and he reassured me of my talents, as he does every day.  So, I got dressed and drank some coffee and got in the car and went.

Awkward at first, as always, I was maybe the second person to arrive.  I settled in and we got a box full of goodies (photo below) with a notebook and a journal in it, along with supplies for making tea bags.  First, Julio (whom I met once before at that bookstore, so it was a little easing to see a face I knew in the room,) gave a talk about the histories of tea and the cultural and religious significances, and then discussed the tea flavors we had and what they symbolized, which was very interesting.  I jotted down my combinations I wanted to try: hibiscus mint for mom, lemongrass mint for Bernie, and lavender chamomile for me.

After our selections, we took to writing about our flavors.  I didn’t get anything very good, because I was writing longhand which is just TORTURE in my opinion.  But I of course typed it up and then cleaned it a little, so you can find it below.  Everyone else shared their pieces, and they were lovely.  I like open mic style things because everyone’s flow is so different.  You have free form, traditionalists, rhymers, alliteraters, slam poets…so much variety.

After the journaling and sharing, we put our tea in the bags and decorated tea boxes.  Then, Bianca, who seemed to be the one in charge, gave everyone a personalized cup (and you just know I love stuff with my name on it.)  We had a little open mic, where you could share whatever, and I read Sick Since Sixteen because it was the first poem that came up on my phone.  It was a good choice though, because I received both snaps and “mmmh’s” which is like a standing ovation in the poetry world. Then everything broke up and most people started heading over to The Gypsy Parlor across the street for an iced tea tasting, and that’s when my brain screamed “NO.  GO HOME.”

So, I gathered my things and thanked my hosts and left, dejected.

See, the mingling bit was the part I was looking forward to the most.  I barely know any local writers, and it is so hard for me to get out of my shell and find actual humans.  And my stupid brain said no, then triggered my stomach to agree with it, causing me to gag on the corner of Grant and Potomac.  Sometimes I feel like that stupid brain-gut connection is truly ruining everything good and exciting in my life.

Anyway, I went home.  I made my tea, and it was delicious.  Soothing chamomile and destressing lavender.  Very helpful.  Then I typed up what I wrote in my journal, and texted Sahar to tell her of my woes.  She suggested I try to network virtually, which I don’t know if I would be better at.  I decided to follow the hosts of the events fb pages.  Hopefully that will keep me on the radar for upcoming things.

Julio is having an ugly Christmas sweater open mic, which seems pretty cool, but who knows if anxiety will let me attend.  I will try, though.  I will always keep trying.  In the meantime, I shall sip my tea and write in my journal and hope to make a new friend that I can talk about the business of words with.  Someday…

4pm
Gram was British, 
so 4pm meant tea time.
Our cups, 
filled with cream and sugar, 
(honey and lemon if you were sick.) 
Biscuits were a necessity, 
though mother would say 
“It’s too close to dinnertime!”  
“She’s already overweight!”  
No mind paid by Gram, 
tea and cookies at 4pm.
Rose Red tea, 
so I could collect the porcelain figurines, 
and terrible shortbread 
from a blue metal tin,  
She would have been one-hundred on Saturday, 
but I lost her when I was eight, 
her body as cold 
as the cup of leftover tea 
on her nightstand.
my goodies.

Survivor Stories

As the regular reader might know, I love to research.  I have been doing so since childhood, when I would spend hours amongst the stacks at my local library trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe.  Now, as a writer, one of my favorite parts of the process is the research part.  You get to find all these little puzzle pieces, and then you put it all together.  I like finding the pieces, it’s kind of like hunting for clues!

A common joke amongst writers is the Google search history.  We like to tell each other what crazy things we have recently researched that would make an FBI agent raise an eyebrow.  With my current WIP, I have Googled such things as “Bahamian police uniforms,” “the weight of a 9mm. gun,” and “what kills you faster, the belladonna leaves, or berries?”

Now, Google is a great place for information on places, items, time periods, and even plot points, but it has nothing when it comes to characters, in my opinion. For instance, my current WIP has to do with a cult, and those who have escaped it.  I can read every article and book, but that doesn’t show me the people themselves, and their emotions and thoughts in regards to the situation.  I would consume documentaries to find what I was looking for, but there are only about a dozen or so about cults.  Yes, I’ve seen everyone I can get my hands on, most recently a bit about the Turpin family, which wasn’t a cult but was absolutely crazy (do not click this link if you’re squeamish.) Then, one day, on a whim, I found TikTok.

I don’t follow many people on there, but there are two folks I have found that have inspired my writing.  One, Jilly, I found first.  She didn’t have a cult background, but she did have abuse in her past, specifically of the narcissistic variety.  As my antagonist is somewhat narcissistic, and most definitely abusive, my interest was piqued by her account.  I wanted to see how a survivor of such abuses could speak out and fight back, and I have been watching Jilly for weeks now, doing just that.  I was inspired by her bravery, and I poured a little of her courage into one of my MCs (main characters.)

Then I found Candid.  I don’t know if that’s her real name, but it’s what it says on her page, so it’s what we shall call her.  Candid grew up in a homeschool cult.  It wasn’t “organized” in the way the cult in my WIP is, but again, I’m not here for plot; I’m here for personality.  Her youth was somewhat similar to my characters, so seeing the way she has grown and changed since leaving home has inspired me to work harder on my two MCs development as they escape and discover the outside world.  I am also taking note of her trauma reaction posts, as it pretty much goes without saying that anyone who came out of a cult probably has complex PTSD (another thing I’ve been researching…that hasn’t been as fun, because it makes me confront my own traumas, and that’s just…well, it’s just for a different blog post, is all.)

Anyway, I am watching these two women who are survivors in the way my MCs are, and I am inspired by their journeys.  I think I learned more about the human condition in relation to my WIP since joining TikTok than anything else…except that Ludacris audio.  That’s in my head all damn day.  (If you’re on TikTok, you know what I’m talking about.  Luda…BACK AGAIN!)

I have included a graphic here with the national suicide hotline number.  I looked around for like a crisis service number or something, but those are only local.  If you need help, reach out!  Use this number, go Google your local CS, or call 911 if you are in a really bad spot.  Someone will help you; someone wants to help you.

In the meantime, I hope we all stay strong, together.  Everyone is a survivor of something.  Wear that like a badge of honor.

NaNo21: The Final Countdown, PM Edition

I did it. It is done. I am a winner.

After 29 days, during which I dealt with a week of sickness, I managed to pen over 50k for my novel. Now, I’m projecting another 20-25k until it’s done, so I will definitely keep you posted. However, can we just take a second to relax and celebrate what a huge accomplishment this is for me???

NaNo21: The Final Countdown

I will admit it was a slow week, what with Thanksgiving smack dab in the middle of it.  Last Tuesday I dropped a couple thousand words, and then on Wednesday I hit 45k.  This was a big moment, because it meant I was in the home stretch.  Ideally, I wanted to be done by today’s blog post, so I could celebrate here…alas, Thanksgiving.

See, I didn’t expect to write that day.  We went to my mother’s in the morning for breakfast and I watched the parade and then I showered and ran errands and got dressed and it was back to mom’s for dinner.  That night was the Bills game, and I thought maybe I could get a few words in then, but I fell asleep…damn tryptophan. 

The next day, I picked K up early to come over and help me decorate for Christmas.  Then, I had lunch with Sahar because she was in town for the holiday, and then Mark, K, and I decorated the tree.  The house was bumping all night with visitors, from Bern and Erin to Carey, so we were busy, and so…no words.

On Sunday I woke up early and dropped around 800 words, kicking off the last chapter of act 2. In the afternoon, I took K shopping and dropped her home, then managed a few more that night, but not much as I was so tired.  Carey was over a few times as well, since someone she was close to had passed over the weekend.  So mostly, I just stayed on my sofa on Sunday night.

Now, Monday morning, my projected finish date, and I’m not done.  Yes, I have until tomorrow at 11:59pm, but I’d like to not be writing down to the wire.  Right now, I have a little less than 3k to go, which I can do on a good day, no problem.

But is today a good day?  We’ve yet to see.  I have a big cup of coffee, and I took a pain med for my back which gets sore in my desk chair, so I am ready to try and conquer this bad boy.  Wish me luck, and happy Monday!

Drug of Choice

Sure, my experience with drugs is fairly limited.  I’ve smoked pot, so I know what that’s like.  And I’ve gotten copious amounts of morphine and dilaudid due to my stomach condition, so I know what a temporary rush those can be.  Somewhere along the line, I stumbled across an article telling me that most people who have been on SSRIs for a long time cannot get the chemical high associated with most uppers and psychedelics.  So, that wiped all other curiosities off the table with the rationalization that trying anything else would be a risky waste of time and money.

However, there is one dragon I will chase until the day I die, and that is the writer’s high.

You’ve heard of a runner high, I’m sure, and I assume this is similar, though I don’t know because I only run if something Is chasing me.  I know it has something to do with a release of endorphins to the brain, but I’m not sure what triggers it all of the time.  But me, I’ve been getting high every day for the past week.

It happens when I finish writing a scene, and I edit it really quick.  I don’t do extensive edits during the first draft because the goal is just to get the words on the paper, but I will read it back and clean it up a little.  When I’m done, and I save it, and input my count on the NaNo website, I feel a rush come at me and the next thing you know I am literally dancing around the office because I can’t sit still.

I asked Twitter when they experience this, and folks said it happens once in a while, or when they finally publish.  Now, I know the publishing high, too, but this is different.  The publishing high is great because you can tell your family and friends about it and they get really happy for you, but the writer’s high is a little more personal.  I can’t very well call Kevin every time I write a scene and ask him to celebrate with me.  Instead, I celebrate alone, in my own little happy ways.

I wrote two scenes so far today, and both left me feeling on top of the world.  They weren’t even what I would consider good, they are just words on the paper, but that is enough for a first draft.  I am currently 5k away from my goal, and roughly 25k from the end of the novel, and I am dying to find out what the “completion high” will feel like again, especially with such a large work this time. 

Anyways, I don’t know about you, but I’m off to watch a parade and stuff my face with turkey.  Happy Thanksgiving!

NaNo21, Week 3

Yay!  No illness!  Only progress!

On Tuesday last week, I finished the first part of my novel. I did a literal happy dance around the office, because I felt like the Flippin’ Queen of the World.  This inspired a blog post about the “writer’s high,” but I’m going to talk to you about that on Thursday, because today is, of course, NaNo update day.

So, after I passed my part one, I rolled on in to the start of part two. I wrote a few words on Wednesday to start the chapter, but also updated my book playlist with some new tunes to pump me up while I write.  On Thursday I managed to cram in three sessions, and realized I was becoming addicted to the story (again…more on this in Thursday’s blog.)  On Friday I thought I wouldn’t have time to write all weekend, but then somehow I was able to run right past 40k last night, leaving me 8 days to write 10k words.

Right now, I have about 10 chapters, each coming in around 4k. I’m almost halfway through part two, and then there will be the epilogue, and then it will be done.  The full first draft probably won’t be done by the end of the month, but I am fairly certain I’m going to get the 50k by the 30th, and that is the goal of NaNoWriMo.

Anyways, I am off to pen some more words for the novel I am craving.  Come back Thursday to hear about how writing is like drugs.  Happy Monday!

NaNo21, Week 2

This week only yielded 5000 words, which was disheartening.  I was quite sick, however, which was no surprise to me, because honestly, I budgeted for this.  Maybe not an entire week where I was in the ER every other day, but alas I went hard during week one because I knew it would happen.  I sensed it.  I just can’t sense it in time to turn it off, I guess.

Stomach issues aside, it was a very difficult 5k to pen.  It’s a matter of wrapping up the action of part one and moving on to the events in part two.  New characters are being introduced, and plot devices are being thrown around to get us from point A to point B.  I finished up a great deal of research for a couple of my characters, and there was much planning for the lead-in of part 2, so as far as thought-processes go, it was a good writing week.  The thinking bit I was able to do.  The part where I actually sit down at the computer and type is slightly more difficult.  Even as I write this blog, I feel my wrists ache and fingers grow tired.  I’m just not functioning at 100% yet, and that’s fine, but it makes me feel behind schedule, which I hate. 

One of my NaNo buddies won last night.  She crossed the finish line in two weeks.  I won’t compare myself, because I know she doesn’t have the things in her life that I have in mine to keep me from writing, but I am using her as a sort of reminder to keep going.  In 2019 I finished early, by almost a week, so I know how proud she must be of herself right now.  I know I will be equally proud, whether I finish by Thanksgiving or at 11:59pm on November 30th.  Either way, I will be bouncing off the walls.

So, last weeks pitiful work did bring me up to the halfway mark 2 days early.  That was something to be proud of.  Now, here I am with half a month left and half a book to write. 

So why am I wasting time with you guys?  J/K.  You know I love my blog readers most.