Birthdays and Hurricanes

Well, it’s been a busy week and a half since I published the site. It seemed like there was something going on almost every day, before or after work. There was a wedding reception to attend, immediately followed by a hangover to nurse, friends were in town, a major hurricane was coming, my boyfriend was getting things ready to leave for a new job where he’ll be gone for weeks at a time, which meant me helping pack and trying to get as much time with him as I could. I started to fall behind on my writing but now I’ve had a few days to get back on it and am feeling good again. Unfortunately, thanks to Hurricane Maria, Hatteras Island was more or less out of commission for a couple of days, tourists being evacuated on the 25th – my birthday. So, although the hurricane brought a good deal of flooding and closed down businesses, which is never good, especially near the end of the season, I took the opportunity to hunker down inside for two days and do a ton of reading and writing.

I don’t usually have an immediate answer, if any, when people ask what I want for birthdays or Christmas but this year all I really wanted was anything to do with writing. Mostly, I was counting down to get Stephen King’s On Writing, which I’d been eyeing for months. After a few hints, and finally flat out telling my boyfriend “this is what I want you to get me,” (because you know, he’s a guy, and most of them aren’t good with hints) I got to rip open the packaging of that awesome little book. We laughed, pretending it was a surprise. With him off to the new job and me with a house to myself (apart from the cat and dog), I cracked it open the next day while Maria did her thing and read it all in two days, and managed to get a little writing done of my own. I don’t think I’ve gone through a book that fast, or been that excited about a book since I was a little kid.

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I knew with all this free time, I would hate myself if I only spent it reading so I started to go over one of my drafted stories. I say draft because it’s “done” in the sense that everything’s written but I still need to do the fine-tuning and edits. I decided it was better to let it sit and come back to it with a fresh mindset. The anxiety that had been building over the last week was telling me I needed to move on and get to the next story. I did just that and after some thinking and staring, and finally deciding to stop talking myself out of it, the words started to flow. I love when that happens. What I love most is that I often don’t know exactly where they’re going but it’s just happening. The story starts to unfold on its own terms. I may have to pause to rethink something or do a little research but then I get back into it and I can’t wait to see where the story takes me. So, I got a little over 2,000 words down yesterday and will hopefully get close to that again this evening. I am still no master when it comes to completing a daily word count, but I’m working on it. Mr. King, at least at the time he wrote that book in 1999, committed to 2,000 words a day and wasn’t satisfied until he got them. I’m taking his advice and starting with a smaller number. He also allowed me one day off. Thanks, Steve.

But now, it’s back to reality as tourists are being allowed back on the island today and I need to get ready for work. I did some long overdue house chores this morning (which I am so good at putting off), so that when I get home tonight I can focus on the writing, and not sit there looking for things that “I really need to do,” i.e. excuses to procrastinate. Wish me luck!

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