Monday, July 22, 2013

A Problem Emerges

Guess what?

If you guessed, "Abby has officially gone off the deep end," you would be partially correct. If you guessed, "Abby has downloaded more MMORPGs than are humanely possible to play," you would be completely correct. If you guessed, "Abby is right now wearing a red Motion City t-shirt and playing Pixel People," I'm calling the police.


I made another blog!

Don't worry, it's not going to replace this one. This is not my midlife-crisis of blogging (I already had that, anyway). When I'm being generous, I like to think that The Litterateur's Journal is either something to put on a writing resume or at least a good way to practice writing semi-polished material on a regular basis. When I'm not being generous, it might be a midlife-crisis. But we're all allowed those, okay?

Old people these days. Sheesh. Glad I'm still 53 and young.

I digress. Anyway, this new blog is supposed to be "professional," which means I don't post pictures and instead I talk about stuff that no one really cares about and posit my opinion all over the place*. There's no cute asterisk'd asides, either. Honestly, who would want to read that?

Despite it's myriad faults, I hope that the blog will get even a fraction of success, simply because I'm going to try to commit really hard to it. We'll see what happens. Right now I have to log onto one of my many MMORPGs so I can grind dungeons on my level 28 Kali.

See ya nerds.

Warmest nerdy regards,


*That sounds dirty.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Introverts and Irish Literature

The closer college looms in the fall and the more I am forced to think about leaving this comfortable, known life, the sweeter the siren song of escape seems. And maybe that's why, instead of picking up my next-in-the-line The Exorcist, I wanted to read The Granta Book of the Irish Short Story. It's a compilation of prominent short stories by Irish authors, put together by Anne Enright, and it's the first thing I picked up when I learned I'd be living in a triple this year.

Now, in case you hadn't surmised by my gaming and writing predilections, along with the fact that I still run a regular blog in the age of Tumblr (tried it, sucked up my whole life and wasn't even as fun as gaming), I'm not an especially social person. That's not to say I'm some kind of Emily Dickinson misanthrope who actively runs away from people; in fact, I like to think that I have quite the average amount of friends and I usually love to hang out with them.

What I mean is that I get tired of people quicker than the average extrovert. To avoid making this post a really long explanation of my personality, I like this definition of an introvert (though I don't really get what the 'gifted population' is supposed to be about- ignore that).

That's why college is so scary to me. I'm going to have to be around people- not even people I already like, though I'm sure I'll make friends- 24/7. I was really hoping I would get a single, but I resigned myself to the freshman double- and now I find out it's actually a triple.

I'm sure I'll cope, my introversion has never seriously hindered my life before, and the roommate I have met seems nice enough. I've already made a few friends from orientation and the Facebook group. But it is sure to be a drastic change from my quiet, only-child life. I will likely hide in my computer or in books when I need to be alone, and I can only hope that the people I meet respect that decision (if not, I have a friend with a huge single who has offered their figurative couch).

And if I really get lonely (not usually a problem for me), I'll always have this blog to rant to, especially since I always express myself clearer and easier through the written word.

Quietly yours,


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Immature Mind

Suffice to say, I am no closer today to finishing a novel than I was the last time I posted, which was an embarrassingly long time ago.

Honestly, I've already called to attention a couple factors in my decision not to commit myself to Camp NaNo this year, and yes, they are mostly excuses. But upon thinking further about why I really was so loathe to finish this novel, there was one recurring obstruction: I had no idea where I was going with it.

You see, the whole premise that I started off with, I discarded around the second week of NaNo. That's healthy, I was told; explore! However, I never picked a replacement premise. I dabbled around in 90+ pages with several different ones. The 90+ pages I have are winding, aimless, and mostly drabble.

That's not to say that I wrote 90+ pages in November of flowery imagery. What I have for this novel is heading (meandering) in some direction, but it's not the direction I want it to go in, and because I have written myself into a very deep hole, it will be incredibly hard to guide it in the right one.

Here's where I make another excuse for not finishing this novel (at least, right now): I set about practicing the wrong thing. NaNo is all about no holds barred, quick and dirty writing without a plan (or at least it was for me). I thought my problem was getting rid of my inner editor. Wrong!

NaNo helped in a sense, when I had to get up every day and write or face consequences, and for that reason I will still endeavor to participate in the coming years*. It is still immeasurably useful in teaching the importance of carving out a chunk of time every single day and writing.

But what I don't need to practice is heedless writing. I don't need to practice writing without a plan or a purpose for the sake of getting words on a paper. I am a wholehearted advocate of that if you are new to writing, or are writing for fun, etc. I, however, plan on being a professional author. I take that plan extremely seriously, and, let's face it: writing as a hobby and writing as a profession are incredibly different worlds.

What I need to learn is technique- not writing technique, but noveling technique. NaNo is about honing the art of writing, but I need to start learning the art of putting my writing into a cohesive being. I need to learn about pacing, about planning out acts and scenes; I need to hone the skill of ratcheting up tension at just the right moment; I need to learn how to keep a theme running like an undercurrent throughout the novel, tying everything together.

How am I going to do this?

I'm going to read.

And then I am going to write.

As an exercise, and because I still do want to spend most of my summer hanging out with my friends, I will return to my previous habit of reading everything I can get my hands on. Then, when college starts in the fall**, I will apply my newly-formed skills of time management and self-reliance, and start writing every. Single. Day.

Whether that will be towards a novel or just random short stories or projects, I've yet to determine (after all, I've also got to keep a 3.8 to get into the honors college), but as long as I can teach myself the habit of writing every day without an incentive like NaNo, I'll have one more valuable skill to launch myself into the world of authordom.

Sorry for the long post***. In other news, I have finished Broken Verses, Catch-22, and Ocean at the End of the Lane. I am currently reading World War Z. As a reminder, this is all on my Goodreads.

Carpal-tunnel-syndrome-y yours,


*Also, it's tons of fun, and I have a great dream of, one day, making it to the Night of Writing Dangerously.
** After giving myself a grace period to get used to it, because holy shit, college is terrifying.
***Not that anyone's reading. /disgruntled blog owner

Friday, July 5, 2013

Missed by a Mile

It is currently 3 AM and it is giving me a massive headache to follow the progress of words on this line because for the last hour I have been merely zoning out and waiting for the messages of my friends so I could brainlessly reply.


I am updating because I said I would update on Thursdays. Technically, it is now Friday, but fuck the system, etc.

It was the Fourth of July yesterday and therefore I take vacation leave and excuse my absence of posting in the last three hours.

I have not gotten past my mental block. Instead, I hung out with friends until midnight, whereupon I came back home and hung out with friends online until approximately ten minutes ago, when I felt sufficiently shamed enough to come back and post something- even if the quality of that post is appallingly sub-par.

So I apologize that the trek of my July novel-writing course is uninteresting so far, but to be fair I don't believe there is anyone around on this blog to be bored.

On the upside, though, my reading has definitely increased. Even if I get no writing done for Camp NaNo (and no, I have not given up yet and I will still try to force creative juice from my dry fingers- ew metaphor) I will at least endeavor to keep up with my 52 book promise and read a book a week, which gives me until Sunday to finish Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie. It's entertainingly witty and well-written so far and I am enjoying myself immensely, even if it makes for poor blogging.

Next week, it's finishing off Catch-22 for the second time and then off to the library.

Thoroughly quotidian post, especially for three in the morning.

Apologetically yours,


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Race Against Time?

Yes, this is Abby, reporting live from a home she has never appreciated so much with a headache that was probably caused by exhaustion but exacerbated by Skittles, and I have not written a single word for Camp NaNoWriMo yet*.

I could blame this on laziness or lack of inspiration, but it's actually due to terror. You see, I had college orientation yesterday and the day before. And I was not impressed.

I won't go into the gory details because it was mostly just a lot of presentations and icebreaking games and things like that, but I can tell you that I was nervous before the orientation about leaving for college and now I'm petrified. It is such a different atmosphere from my small, diverse high school. It was loud and full of people that weren't as openminded or easy to talk as I'd hoped and the independence they threw at you- from paying off your interest on your loans, to picking your schedule for the next FOUR YEARS, to filling out a work employment form- was difficult to take in.

Also, they don't offer Latin. And the beds were akin to mortician's slabs. And the dorms had no air conditioning. And they've refused to place me in a residence hall so far

Whining aside, I did make a few new friends and the English department actually seemed both really capable and inclusive, which gave me hope for the coming years. Mostly, though, it has sent me in a tailspin of a rather harmful variety.

Because it now seems like at the end of the summer there is a giant monster waiting to devour me with loneliness and anxiety, I can't find the heart to ignore my friends and get into a positive writing mood. Instead, I want to plan every second of the rest of my summer with my boyfriend and my best friends that I will all be leaving behind, since no one I know is attending my school with me.

I know I will have to shake this mindset for both the well-being of my writing and also myself, but it's way easier said than done.

Hopefully I will get a couple hundred words in before bed.

Anxiously yours,


*Tomorrow doesn't look great either. Hey, it's Independence Day!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Blobby Little Jellyfish

Well, I forgot already.

Turns out YESTERDAY was Thursday, and even though I spent the whole day at home playing Fallout and shortening my lifespan via Skittles intake, I didn't write a blog post like I just said I would.


I'm going to blame this, however, on the giant time black hole that is summer: where you think it might be sometime in the middle of June or possibly a couple weeks into July but really the only thing you know for certain is that it's the hot-time where the air is muggy and being without air conditioners makes you want to throw yourself into the middle of the raging thunderstorms that hit every afternoon.

I think we all have that sensation when our life suddenly loses structure and you go from waking up at the same time every morning before dawn to go to an institution of learning to waking up before dinner or maybe not at all*. It becomes immensely hard to keep track of days and weeks when there really isn't a reason to.

And while the part of me that is never quite caught up on sleep during the school year rejoices in the ability to sleep for sixteen hours without judgement, most of the time it's just sort of like being a blobby little jellyfish** in the ocean, adrift without meaning and powerless against the current of time spent playing mindless video games for hours on end***. Occasionally I look up through the water and realize that lazing around is really just time lost.

That's another added benefit of Camp NaNo. While I certainly won't just be writing all day (maybe I'll be productive, maybe I'll just play League), at least NaNo will give purpose to a whole chunk of time that would probably otherwise be wasted. While I will probably sleep way past a reasonable hour and stay up late enough that the owl hooting outside begins to sound like the harbinger of death, NaNo will make me keep track of the days as I frantically work to complete my 35,000 words before the clock strikes midnight on July 27th (I'm leaving on vacation).

So next Tuesday I will be coming home from my college orientation that I leave for on Sunday, and then the real fun begins. I'll probably quickly update you on the ~college experience~ before remembering that I'm already two days behind and freaking out.


Nervously yours,


*Just me?
**Just became the title of this blog post. Boom. That's how writing works, people.
***Do you think jellyfish play videogames?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quick-- A Distraction

You know how time flies when you're having fun? Well, time rockets past like a first-time driver with a lead foot when you're procrastinating writing a blog post.
And procrastinating everything else.

I've started this blog post at least three times and then left and done something else. Every day, I told myself: get on ***** Blogger and write something witty and entertaining about your event-less life, you aimless leech on humanity*. Every day, it seemed more fun to shoot some mutated things in Fallout or mindlessly watch a stream for a couple hours.

This post has literally been hours in the making, including all of the time I spent beating myself up for not writing it (and the three times that my computer has crashed and/or signed me out of my Gmail account in the middle of me writing).

My procrastination skills have been plaguing me for, basically, my whole existence. I've been doing homework on the bus since 4th grade. There have been few glorious reprieves when I am fully dedicated to a task, and one of those times has been somewhat sanely documented on this very blog!

That's why I want to do CampNaNo. The only time I have really felt the drive to write, like I would have been seriously amiss if I didn't sit down and bang on the keyboard until I reached a meaningless number, was when I was in glorious pursuit of 50,000 words clanging around in my mind.

I might be a horrible procrastinator now, but my resolve is strong. I am going to finish CampNaNoWriMo.

And, as a lighthearted aside, I'm going to attempt to update this blog on a regular schedule of Tuesdays and Thursdays. Every week. I'm sure when NaNo starts that schedule will be warped and broken and bent over a knee to be smacked, but I'm going to try**!

Lazily yours,


*I think I just made myself cry a little.
**At least then I will have something to write about, like the decline of my sanity and the horrors of starting a new scene when you still don't know how your stupid novel is supposed to end.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Fine Print

Ah, look, I'm back already.

My re-introductory post was listing like the Titanic towards the lengthy, so I had to cut off (dramatically) towards the end the specifics of Camp NaNo as applicable to me and make it into another post.

Indeed, Camp NaNo won't be nearly as exciting nor, hopefully, as exhausting as NaNoWriMo was. I have only set a goal of 35,000 words, mostly because I will be missing the 1st and the 2nd of July unless I can write during my college orientation, and because I am leaving for vacation on the 27th. Also, I have my 18th birthday on the 21st, but it's my party and I'll write if I want to (don't be surprised if that comes back as the title of a blog post on that day).

And*, since ROW80 failed to spur me on towards finishing the first draft of this novel, I shall not pick up a new project for Camp NaNo and instead I will endeavor to finish off the first, craptastic and incredibly messy, draft of A Modern Housewife. I am, however, considering making drastic changes to the plot already. Possibly out of boredom**.

Just to make things exciting, though, I am going to try to finish as quickly as possible, so don't be surprised if there are still posts of complete insanity. In addition, I'm making a concerted effort both to post more consistently here and review more often on Goodreads, even though I am starting to feel the strain of constantly asserting my opinion all over the Internet.

At some point, even I find it hard to care about my own opinions.

If that's not enough working-my-ass-off for you, feel free to suggest anything else writing or art related. I promise to consider it, attempt it with great gusto, and give up on it within a few days.

I'm starting to feel like I'm making a concerted effort not to allow myself to go outside at all this summer.

Anti-socially yours,


*I firmly defend my right to start off sentences with prepositions, conjunctions, and nonsense.
** Also, fragments.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Crawling Back and Packing a Tent

It's hard to come back to a blog you've abandoned.

It is almost like reaching out to stroke a pet you have inadvertently kicked. I know it is the right thing to do and the best way to make amends, but it seems to flinch away from my attempts.

Hard, of course, does not convey the nuances of the argument I've had with myself for the last week about whether or not I should try to continue this blog or just let it gather dust and focus on other writing. Shame played a factor, especially when my last post, so embarrassingly visual to the whole world, betrays such hope and touts such gross promises. Laziness dragged at my fingers. It was all too easy to make excuses for myself.

To be fair, I had several that seem to hold some weight- choosing a college ended up being a more stressful endeavor than previously thought (I am now a Northeastern Husky, but more on that later); I procured, somehow, a boyfriend; the senioritis that spread like mono throughout my class didn't stop at schoolwork, but engulfed nearly everything productive I could have done; and, of course, I have been out of school for about a month with, actually, a bad case of mono.

Regardless, I refuse to devote this post to excuses. I'd like to apologize, too, for not posting and for giving up spectacularly on ROW80, but this post won't be devoted to that, either.

Indeed, it's time for a new beginning.

But this beginning comes with a touch of deja-vu.

Since the less-structured ROW80 simply was not dire enough to force my lazy fingers (I will, however, continue to blame my fingers) to write more than a couple thousand words of my novel, none of which was documented, and since the mono has canceled many of my summer vacation and/or work plans, I have discovered a familiar community.

Camp NaNoWrimo is starting in July. And for the first time since I got my period and had to run down a grassy hill several times during the night with a pissed-off and sleepy counselor to use an outhouse in the summer of 7th grade, I'm going camping.

Pack yer bags, folks. It's going to be another wild ride.

Shame-and-gamefacedly yours,


(P.S. Still on Goodreads. Now also on Pinterest- and there's a writing inspiration board, too. My list of distractions is only growing, but I can only redeem myself by distracting others with them.)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shady's Back

"Hello!" I call into the abyss of my blog, hearing a thousand faint impressions of my voice echo mockingly back at me.

I know it's empty in here. I know there's been a void where witty blog posts should have been. I know that my promises to myself of blogging regularly and writing regularly now seem like traps I set up for myself, knowing that I would fail. I know these things, and I'm sorry.

But I'm back, returning triumphantly from the absolute avalanche of college preparations that I put off for that wild month of November. Turns out that finishing NaNo allowed a bunch of deadlines to pile up and, because I am the best procrastinator ever, I am just now finished slogging through them (seriously, I just applied to my last college YESTERDAY).

Now that that's all over with, guess what I'm back to doing in the new year? Writing. I bet none of you saw that coming.

Of course, it was a lot of fun to throw myself wholeheartedly into my writing and forget about all other worries for most of NaNo. I felt important, I felt intelligent, I felt like I was a true writer. But, of course, I am not a true writer yet; I can't sustain myself on my writing (the idea is laughable); I have a great myriad of other things to take care of. And because I need some kind of incentive to write regularly (as the past month has demonstrated), ROW80 seems to be the best fit for challenging myself to finish my novel while passing the rest of senior year.

ROW80 stands for A Round of Words in 80 Days; as its website espouses, ROW80 is "the writing challenge that knows you have a life." It allows you to pick a goal for the next 80 days (this round runs from January 7th to March 28th) and then merely suggests that you check in every couple days or so on the website with a link to a blog post, such as this, to keep you on track.

In addition to allowing more flexibility, the other upside of this challenge is that it forces me to, in addition to straight-up writing, craft a blog post about each check in at least once a week. Looks like you'll be seeing more of me this year!

My goal for ROW80 is to finish the first draft of my novel. That will put me right on track for finishing my capstone in time, and since it is probably going to be another 50K or so, it appears manageable without being too much of a burden.

So off I go, astronauts!

With much guilty love,


(In other news, I'm also back on Goodreads. You should check out my impeccable reading taste.)