ROW80: Tryin’ To Get That Feeling Again

Yes, the title of today’s post is indeed a reference to Barry Manilow’s hit song, and yes, that’s a clip of him performing it in concert below. It is, I promise, relevant for today.

You see, I have hit the mid-month slump. My pretty NaNo novel, which seemed so sparkly and wonderful and exciting when I started it at the beginning of the month, now seems rather… lackluster. Insipid. Boring? Metaphors and figures of speech are unwieldy, not to mention a bit cliche, my characters are revealing some crazy inconsistencies, and I’m starting to see the holes in my lovely outline. One of the problems is that I’ve been working on the voyage sequence (where my main character has been sailing to the strange and frightening land of her birth) for over a week, and I think I am just sick and tired of talking about it. I need to get poor Liandre off the darn ship and onto solid land, so the rest of her journey can take place.

I can’t complain terribly about my NaNoWriMo progress. The beginning of the week was a challenge, but I’ve caught up with my word count. At the moment, I have 19,311 words, and by the time I finish writing tonight, I will have hopefully added on at least 2k more. When I sit and really think about this, I can hardly believe that I’ve written so much in such a short period of time. It’s not perfect — far from it — but I think by the end of the month there will be some salvageable bits that can be edited, polished up, and (maybe) turned into something real and substantial.

I think I’ve reached the mid-point blahs with everything, not just writing. Monday marks the beginning of Week 8 in our academic quarter (there are 10 in total), and oh god, I am just… squeaking… by. I spent the past couple of days laboring over a 5 page paper that I should’ve been able to write in a few hours. I can barely stand reading for class. That thesis thing that I’m supposed to be writing? Yeah, that’s not happening either. I’m a bit tired, a little low on energy, lacking in excitement, and all I really want to do is go home and see my family. Thanksgiving can’t come soon enough.

Pictures of kittens make everything better.

On the other hand, I will say that I’m surprised that I didn’t hit this bump earlier in the quarter. I’m tired, my desire to juggle is flagging, but I’m not unhappy, and that’s more than I can say for previous quarters. By week 5 of each quarter, I’m usually indulging in escape fantasies —  you know, plans to drop out of grad school and join the circus, or become a makeup artist, or move to a commune in the forest. I’ve managed to avoid escape fantasies this quarter, which I count as progress. Things are getting done, just not necessarily in the time frame that I’ve intended. However, slow and steady wins the race, etc, etc.

Anyway, if I go a little quiet on the Twitter/blog/social media front, you’ll know why. We’re entering the stretch when I have to tackle the most immediate things first (i.e., all that stuff that I’m getting graded on). I’ve got plans for this week’s blog posts, and some drafts, but we’ll see if I can actually pull them together. I missed Friday’s post because I mistakenly thought that I should be responsible and take care of my 5 page paper before everything else. Had I realized that the dumb paper would’ve taken 2 days to write, I would’ve just gotten the blog post and my NaNo writing out of the way first. Juggling — it is a fine art, and one that I have yet to perfect.

So that’s where I am this week! Just as a reminder, Em and I are hosting another Fun Not Fear! check-in, which I highly encourage all WriMos, and WriMo cheerleaders, to visit. And don’t forget to swing by and wave hello to the rest of the ROW80 community.

36 thoughts on “ROW80: Tryin’ To Get That Feeling Again

  1. love the kittens – you’ll get there girl and really with all the juggling you have to do I think you’ve done amazingly well – couldn’t you drop the vogage and pick the story up somewhere else after all theres no rule that says a book must be written in a straight line:)

    Before wishing you the best for coming week have to say I like your escape fantasys def. short story material!!!

    • Alberta, thanks so much for the tip. I don’t know why I felt like I needed to write this story linearly! I started jumping around to the most interesting scenes, and now I’m back on track.

      I’ll have to give some thought to spinning my escape fantasies into a short story or two! There are some hilarious ones that would be fun to scribble about. :)

  2. Thanks for my bit of Sunday morning Barry, it has to worth 2 squares of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate. You are far busier than I have ever been or could be. I have tried the poet’s commune but it was too cold and damp to write. Could you watch the randomness of a cloud or a leaf trembling in the breeze for 10 minutes? That’s the kinda thing I do for just no reason at all. Mind you, I don’t get much done. You’ll make it cos I know you don’t want to fall into the same abyss of indulgence and self forgiveness. It’s quite nice down here though!

    • Haha, yes, I think you’re right — Barry is worth a couple pieces of good chocolate! Sometimes I think it would be lovely to just leave everything behind and sit around in the woods for a while… but then I realize that there would be all sorts of things I would miss. :p Thanks for stopping by, Emma!

  3. It is so hard to balance everything and sometimes it can really feel overwhelming. I try to sit down and work out when I can fit everything in which sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself if the juggling isn’t easy and I am glad you will get some family love at Thanksgiving. Me? I am on the countdown to Christmas holidays….5 weeks and counting! Take care and hope to sprint with you sometime soon!
    Em recently posted..Sunday 13th November ROW80 Check-inMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, my darling! And oh goodness, I really can’t wait for Christmas. I’ll only be home for about 5 days for Thanksgiving, but I’ll get a whole month for the Winter holidays.

      I’m loving our sprints! They’re really keeping my spirits up these days. :)

  4. stop the presses! i think you just need a metallic blue shirt like barry’s, and all your slump issues will be resolved! haha :)

    in all seriousness, it’s not easy holding every goal together. i’m in awe at your nano word count alone!

    my suggestion is to do something creative that doesn’t involve writing – stroll around an art gallery or draw a new world or play dress up for an hour. and maybe take a teensy break if you think it’s worth it. refueling the creative juices is part of the process!

    happy rowing!
    gina
    Gina recently posted..ROW80 Update: In Which Highlighters Save the DayMy Profile

    • YES. I was hoping someone would mention the amazing blue shirt. What I really want, though, are Barry’s amazing silver platform shoes. Seriously, they belong in my wardrobe. :p

      Switching up creative outlets is a great idea, and something I definitely didn’t think of. I think an hour of dress-up is totally what the writing doctor ordered!

    • Aww, thanks, Raelyn. The predictability of the whole process is a little crazy to me, the fact that everyone seems to be hitting this crazy mid-month wall. But I am fighting my way through it. :D

  5. And these are the times I start watching strange things on Netflix! When I get a little down in the dumps with where things are, I look for something to watch that is totally different from what I’m working on. If it in any way resembles what I’m working on, I’ll keep working in my head while watching, instead of escaping for a brain break!

    Those kittens are so darn cute. I must have done 3 double takes…scroll ups? Adorable!

    I wish you luck this week with everything :D I hope it’s on track and fantastic!
    Lauren Garafalo recently posted..Bumpity Bump Bump – ROW80 Check In 11/13/11My Profile

    • Ooooh, strange things on Netflix! Also an excellent idea. I may have to go back and watch some Eddie Izzard — he never fails to put me in a good mood.

      Thank you SO much for getting us all in the sprinting mood. It’s done wonders for my word count. :D

  6. I’m there with you, Lena. This past week kind of sucked, to be honest – my motivation lagged and I wasn’t so good at juggling. Seems like a lot of other ROWers are in the same boat (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) – as in, there seems to be an epidemic of low moods this check-in. Good thing we have Thanksgiving coming up to recharge our batteries! (Except that I have so much work over break, it’s not gonna be much of a break at all.) Anyway, congratulations on your fabulous progress, and I hope this next week is a bit better for you!

    • I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who hit a rough patch this week, and all is forgiven with the pun. :p

      I’ll be grading papers and trying to work on my thesis and a final paper over Thanksgiving break, so I totally feel your pain. Here’s hoping we get a chance to pause a bit and enjoy tasty food!

  7. At least you are caught up and where you need to be. If you think you’ve talked enough about the trip than I’m sure you’re readers will feel the same. You can get through it! Just keep putting your hours in.

    I agree that thanksgiving can’t come soon enough. Been looking forward to a nice home cooked Ham for months. As well as saying the family too.

  8. Oh man, ROWsis! I know all too well how you feel about the school stuff–I want to run away and become a starving novelist, usually.

    I think everyone I know is in a slump with NaNo; the time of endurance running is here, and it is just hard to remember why one started this in the first place. But you can make it, and you’ll be able to have something to build on at the end. Sing out if you need me, ROWsis. I’m here for you.
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..Ellis Island closes its doors, November 12, 1954My Profile

    • Yes, the starving novelist fantasy is always at the top of my list, along with a Thoreau-esque hideout in the woods. :p

      You’re so awesome, ROWsis! Thanks so much for all the hugs and support!

  9. Tough week. It’s hard to keep the enthusiasm and energy at high with so much on your plate. I agree with Gina, I think you need a good old fashion dose of FUN to get you back on track and feeling creative and rejuvenated.
    The good thing is you are having great success so stick with it. The downer shall pass and you’ll feel reved and ready to rock in no time! Woot woot!
    Natalie recently posted..ROW80 – Round 4 – Check-in #12My Profile

  10. I have a 1,000-word essay and a 1,500-word research paper that I should be able to do in my sleep, but I know what you mean. Some things just don’t come together as quickly as you’d like.

    I’m so glad you took the time to check in. ROW is a wonderful place to come for that You Can Do It encouragement…and YOU CAN!

    All the best with all your ongoing projects.

    I look forward to great reports as you make it past the slump.

    All the very best!
    Stephanie recently posted..November 13 Check-InMy Profile

  11. You already had me in your corner, but the Barry Manilow clip and kittens make me want to cheer you on even more! (I’ve seen Barry in concert twice.) Best wishes pushing through and getting it all done.

    In line with your voyage comment, my father used to say as I got weary toward the end of a semester, “Come into port with all of your flags flying.” Sometimes I did that, and sometimes I straggled to shore with a hole in my boat. Either way, I finished. You’ll get there, Lena!

    • Julie, as I was listening to Barry Manilow and writing this post, I was totally thinking of you. I’m still jealous that you got to see him in concert twice!

      I always begin the semester with the goal of coming into port “with all flags flying,” and like you, it’s been a mixed bag. I’m getting the feeling that this will be a straggling sort of return, but finishing is the goal. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Know the feeling. It’s just more important to keep writing as consistent as possible. And if you have a more exciting section to write – go write it to inspire you.

    I know I hit these types of blahs in my longer works because I have to write the connective tissue that links the action.

    Just keep writing.
    Mark Wilcox recently posted..#Row80 The November 9th Check-InMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Mark. I think I was definitely getting too caught up in things that will take more time and work to grapple with — not the sort of thing that I can do during NaNo. “Just keep writing” is totally my motto for the rest of this project. :)

    • Thanks, Tia! I’ve been aiming for the linear approach this time around, but I think I definitely need to be a bit more flexible and start jumping around, at least until I get excited again.

  13. Wow, I can soooo relate. Only for me, it’s getting burned out working on a revision that’s taking For-Ev-Er! I need to learn to write shorter books! What’s bad is I’m feeling the same way with my day job. I keep reminding myself that I hit this stage with every revision, and I always manage to work through it. Sounds like you’re still making good progress with NaNo. Keep up the good work, and good luck with the class work too!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80: Making it a Book You Want to ReadMy Profile

  14. Life is all about the juggling and the dropping of balls and the picking them up. Just don’t stopy. Write through the cliches (you can fix those later) and the lackluster dialogue (again, later) until you get back to being excited about the story. You can do it!
    Liz recently posted..Prompt #154 My Time of DayMy Profile

  15. Hang in there, Lena! You’re almost to the finish line with the quarter – and you’re past the mid-point today with NaNo. (Sorry, no inspy words for that thesis…*twiddles thumbs and blushes*…

    Good for you. But….I have to say that escapism fantasies are soooomuch fun. I indulge at times, too. My fantasies are a bit tamer and less drastic these days…heck, sometimes I fantasize about being home all alone for an entire weekend. I’d watch all the cooking shows I wanted, I’d make something fabulous from Giada’s recipe index, I’d listen to my music without complaint, I’d watch some old romantic movies….Oh crap! Now you’ve got me doing it….Ha!
    Anyway….keep up your great work! :)
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..A Quick Check-InMy Profile

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