Two Books In…

Something interesting happened this month. I wrote a second book! Well, almost. I wrote about 57,000 words of a young adult novel that I hope to be about 60,000-65,000 words by the time it’s completely finished. This was an amazing accomplishment for me for several reasons.

I have a toddler now, and I managed to write a book. I had been afraid until now to try starting a big project because I didn’t think I’d be able to find time to do it between working full-time and being a mom. This month blew that assumption completely out of the water. I guess it’s really true that if you’re looking for an excuse, you will find one, but if you’re looking for a way, you will find it.

Another reason why I’m really excited is that I now have two books under my belt. Two! I mean, writing a book is great, but I had this inner fear that perhaps the first book had been a fluke and maybe I wouldn’t remember how to write when it came time to do the next one. These thoughts sound really silly now, but I think it’s something we probably always struggle with as artists. We shrug at our past accomplishments, looking our good efforts in the face and say, “Sure, I did it once, but I’ve surely lost all my capabilities for some completely irrational reason, right??”

This book was also different because I used extensive planning this time, with an outline, instead of “pantsing” (writing the plot as you go). I think that I found my preferred work style, because the outline really helped me fly through things and I finished writing my 50,000 words in 18 days.

I just wanted to give anyone following an update on my Nanowrimo journey. I’m very proud of my effort and also extremely exhausted. I need a break! And a maid. Oh, gee, my house is wreck.

Thanks for the good vibes and well wishes.

Thanksgiving

This is early, but I’m thinking about Thanksgiving, and it is crazy to me to think about how much my life has changed just in the past few months. We moved to a new home, and then shortly after, my son started daycare when my parents went through major health struggles and could no longer provide childcare. This was a huge adjustment at first, because I never imagined him being in daycare, and I had to deal with my own feelings of guilt and sadness over that, but the care he receives is wonderful and I can see him benefit greatly from it.

Daycare turned out to be a huge blessing for our family and not only reduced our commute time by almost an hour every day but gave my son additional opportunities to grow and gave us back more time in the evening as a family. Really, the only thing that is difficult is the fact that it puts a strain on our finances to afford it at times. But even so, we were fortunate to be able to have a wonderful, quality, safe daycare that we could afford.

I also started my second-ever novel for nanowrimo, and I’m now just a few thousand words shy of getting to the 50k-word goal. In fact, I had to raise the bar to actually go OVER 50k for this month, which would have only been a dream to me in previous years.

Thanksgiving is a good time for me to reflect on the fact that although things have been difficult at times, there are just as many wonderful things to be grateful for, and I can choose which I want to focus on.

Some Thoughts about Nanowrimo

Here I am, writing to you from the jungle of Nanowrimo. I’m in the middle of it. In the weeds.

I’ve been doing great. Every day so far, I’ve written above the suggested goal. I’m learning a lot about how to incorporate writing into my lifestyle as a parent and about how to just level up my writing speed overall.

But I think the most valuable thing I’m getting out of it is what I am doing this very night.

You see, I’ve been sick since yesterday. I have a monster cold and I ‘m stuffy, coughing, and incredibly tired. I didn’t get to write until after my kid went to bed today, and when everyone in the house was asleep, the last thing my exhausted body wanted to do was sit at a computer and type. I knew that it was possible that my kid would wake up several times in the night, and the mere thought made me even more exhausted. I had a word buffer of several thousand words, after all. I was ahead of my Nanowrimo word goal. I could afford to put it off for one day.

But I won’t.

Because this Nanowrimo, I have something to prove to myself. I want to prove that I can do this writing thing, no matter what. I don’t want to wimp out just because I have a “buffer.” I don’t want to let myself get cozy because I’m ahead of schedule. I want to challenge myself to write every  day.

I want to bring it. Every. Single. Day.

And it really stinks, because I want to go to bed right now, but I have 1000 more words that aren’t going to write themselves.

Stay strong, fellow wrimos! You can do this.

I can do this.

One Poo at a Time

I want to talk about a new philosophy I’ve learned as a mom. There have already been many of them, and I’m sure there will be many more. But this is the one I want to talk about, because it’s the one I need most right now.

Since my son was born, we’ve become well-acquainted with his pediatrician, mostly due to a problem that started cropping up in his second month: milk protein intolerance. We’re exclusively breastfeeding, and what this means is that my son has a reaction to dairy if I eat it. This reaction was manifesting as blood in his poop. Terrifying, right?

If there’s one thing true about me, it’s that I’m stubborn. I feel that I worked too hard and went through too much pain in the beginning of breastfeeding for it to become comfortable and a good bonding experience for us, so I sure as hell don’t want to stop until I feel he has reaped the full benefits! So, the answer was simple: cut out all dairy from my diet, even “hidden” dairy in the ingredients section disguised as whey, casein, buttermilk, etc.  I scoured allergen information for restaurants. I became intimately familiar with the all-bold MILK pronouncement on the ingredients section of foods, often followed by a “Really?!?!” and a groan. My husband also became familiar with these things, since he does a lot of our shopping and wants to help support my success with the diet (isn’t he cool?).

Some of the things that include dairy are surprising: the particular brand of Worcestershire sauce in our fridge, for one.  McDonald’s fries (yeah, look it up!). Certain pretzels. I no longer eat anything processed if I can’t examine the ingredients, because milk inclusion in processed foods has no reliable pattern.

Every time since the diagnosis, when my son has a bowel movement, I also

poop-2024794_1280
Image credit (in the public domain): https://pixabay.com/en/poop-shit-wc-2024794/

get a small amount of anxiety. I get anxiety because I’m afraid to open the diaper and see blood in it again. Afraid we’ll have to go to the doctor again this week only to be told to “keep monitoring it” and that “all dairy may not be out of your systems yet.” Afraid of the next step in the elimination diet, if that’s necessary. Will it be soy? Will it be wheat? Will I be able to cope with the diet changes if that’s the case?

Then my husband said something to me one morning that made a lot of sense (cue husband’s I’m right! bragging).

“One poo at a time,” he said. “Just take it one poo at a time.”

And that’s what I’m trying to do right now, guys. With everything, not just this. I suggest you do that too.

Poo happens. Take it one poo at a time.