Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Let’s get 2014 started already

Well, 2013 was supposed to be the Year of the Snake Mouse.

As it turned out, it was more like the Year of the Snake Mouse Curled Up and Hiding in Dry Bush that Served as Camouflage.

I did not have my best year, financially or creatively, for reasons I hinted at in previous posts and am not yet ready to make explicit. I often felt unmotivated, uncertain, unmoored. I didn’t even create a new calendar like I usually do. (Went and bought them at the B&N at 50% off this year after Christmas.)

That will change in 2014. I feel that my mindset is already reverting to normal – if not better. (Sometimes, that happens when you’re not actively trying.)

I’m tired of the way things are now. I’m tired of dragging my feet.

I am ready to dance.

Photo credit: Dalbera (Flickr)

Let’s get the party started.

P.S. Today is our fifth wedding anniversary, too. Right now, we are out there, enjoying our time together.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Note to self

Spend more time (and money) in places like this in 2014:


(Photos taken at Bookman, Orange, CA)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

No no, NaNoWriMo

In November, I announced that I would attempt two writing goals at the same time: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). As you can tell by looking at last month’s posts, I succeeded at the former. The latter...not so much.

Needless to say, I did not partake of this cake.
Photo credit: cvillewrimos (Flickr)
My participation in NaNoWriMo consisted of fitful writing on paper and a few pages in Word.
It looked like this.
I learned two facts about myself.

One, I cannot achieve two major writing goals in a month. And have a busier-than-average-for-this-year freelance slate. And help take care of our neighbor. And do all the other things I need to do.

Two, the NaNoWriMo format does not work – for me.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word (or more) novel in the thirty days of November. I did some calculations, and this is what it means:

50,000 words divided by thirty days equals (approximately) 1,667 words per day.

A letter-sized (8.5 x 11 inches) page of words in Courier New font, double-spaced (the usual standard for writing submissions) adds up to about 250 words.

1,667 words divided by 250 equals approximately 6.7 pages per day.

Now, I can write 6.7 pages of fiction on any given day.

I am not sure about writing 6.7 pages of fiction every day for a month – on top of all the other things I must do.

But you know what?

That’s OK.

I don’t need NaNoWriMo to write a novel. Most writers don’t.

If you were to average just one page a day for a whole year, you would end up with 365 pages (on non-leap years). 365 times 250 equals 91,250 words – way above the NaNoWriMo minimum of 50,000.

(Did you notice that there’s more math in this post than in the previous 262 combined?)

If I take just half a year, or six months, I’ll just need to write two pages a day.

Hey...I can do that.

If I keep it in mind...and just do it.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

This is not a NaBloPoMo post...

...it's the first of December!

But I just want to show you what I waited for all last week...

...sitting at a coffee shop to read and write.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

What have we learned, Jennie Brown Hakim?

This is my final post for November 2013’s NaBloPoMo. What have I learned by blogging every day for one whole month?

1. I wouldn’t mind doing it again – just not during NaNoWriMo. I erred in trying to do NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo in the same month. I realized I cannot concentrate on two major writing goals in the same month – I blew off NaNoWriMo for the most part, though I did make some progress on that project (but nowhere near 50,000 words). Speaking of goals...

2. When quantity is the primary goal, quality takes a back seat. You may have noticed that quite a few of my November posts have been short. As in photo-and-a-quote short. I don’t think I made some of my best posts this month. (WelI, the ones with JFK and the uncircumcised penis and not giving a damn weren’t too bad, right?) Still, I think I’d prefer to write four good-to-great posts per month than thirty grab-bag ones. Is posting every day good for anyone’s blogging in the long run? Maybe not for me.

3. Still, I can see myself participating in future NaBloPoMos. Doing it once a year helps with making my yearly quota of 48. Doing it twice guarantees it. (Doing it in this weird year of 2013 really helped - I am now at 63 posts, matching my largest total from 2009.) 

But I don’t want to blog every day for just two months a year and leave every other day blank. That’s not how I roll. Meandering happens every damn day, and good blog ideas can come on any day and at any hour.

Maybe I’ll do it again in 2014. Perhaps in April. Or in June. Not in November. (I owe you, NaNoWriMo.)

NaBloPoMo November 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

On not giving a damn

Yes, I know that it’s racist and retrograde, but GoneWith the Wind will always remain one of my favorite books (and movies). Margaret Mitchell was a superb storyteller (not a storyshower), and anyone who cracks her book open will soon forget that it’s over a thousand pages long.

Even if you have not experienced GWTW in any form, you certainly know this line:


This is Rhett Butler’s final line to Scarlett O’Hara as he walks away from her – for good (unless you read the sequel). Rhett has finally gotten tired of Scarlett’s pining for another man – just as Scarlett realizes that she never really loved that man at all, and is ready to be a true wife and partner to Rhett.

Whether or not Scarlett deserved that line is a question for another day. But you know some people in your life who do deserve it.

So do I.

I would rather not give a damn about my enemies than hate them. Or trying to get them back into my life. Or forgiving them.

When you don’t give a damn about your enemies, it’s a sign that you are in control over your head.

It means you care more about you, and those you love, than the people who are not on your side.

It means freedom.

What’s not to like about that?

NaBloPoMo November 2013