Thirty Day Recap
Well, another thirty days in the books. This was an interesting one, as I changed the rules far more than I’ve done in the past, especially when it comes to the writing side of things. I took yesterday ‘off’ from this blog, so I could return to some writing not for publication, which was great because I got a lot done on next month’s story. I even, believe it or not, went to the gym for the first time in months. I also brought along my laptop so I could write in a new place before hopping in the pool (which also felt like it hadn’t been cleaned since last time I was there). I feel more put on my righteous path than ever before, and I’d love to see where else I could take things. It’s also never been more clear just how important writing is to me. I don’t care if I make people’s ears bleed about it, I finally feel like I’ve found my thing after years of searching. But we’ll get into that in a minute.
I had four rules for this month in the same vein as the past monthly challenges. Unfortunately there was really only one I stuck with through and through, but I feel the benefits far outweighed the negatives. Something great came out of all of this, even if I wasn’t perfect this whole month. So let’s take a look at how I actually did.
Rule #1: Write an Entry Every Day, with New Guidance
So this one I obviously completed. I wrote an entry every day and kept to my updated guidance. Rule one was three anecdotes featuring what I’m letting go, what I’ve discovered, and what I hope to find. I had to keep up a minimum word count: 750 words the first week, 1,100 the second, 1,450 for the third, and 1,700 for the final week. I didn’t call too much attention to the progression, I just noted the word count at the end of each entry. I hit each one of these goals, so that felt good.
These entries were tougher this time around, as it was hard coming up with a story to explain how I feel. I said “anecdotes,” which was a format I didn’t always stick to. But I thought a short story was better than nothing. Some days it was easier to find something relatable that kept with the daily theme. I tried tying a cyclical motif into each entry, which ended up becoming the only thing I’d think about each day. It was important to stick to the script, because I’m going to need the same kind of discipline in November. Writing and completing a novel is something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m giving myself the opportunity not to fail this time. I think I can do it. I’d really like to do it. It’s about time I actually do it.
It was very helpful for me to do the word count lead-up, as 1,700 words a day can be an intimidating goal. Especially when you’re trying to keep a narrative on track, keeping it compelling enough to keep the reader interested. I don’t have a ton of experience in doing that, but there’s a newfound confidence that I’ll find it along the way. Just as long as I don’t get side-tracked. I’ve written down story ideas and plot progressions, something that will keep me motivated to keep writing in November. I’m glad I did the challenge this way, as I think it put me on the right track to fall back in love with my writing process.
As far as the content in the entries, I didn’t go back to copy-edit every single one. I did some light searching along the way, but some days it was harder to fight sleep before I could hit publish. But I think there’s some good feelings and stories I discovered while writing. And I was able to do it without just staying at home. I took my nice trip to New Hampshire, which was also fun to write about. Just another documentation of getting out of my comfort zone. I hope what I conveyed was interesting (and coherent) enough to take some things to heart, as that’s where a majority of my writing comes from. Even if someone wants me to tell stories with a different body part. We can save that part for later.
RULE #: No THC, but this One Thing is Okay
This one was interesting. For the first seven days of September, I got stoned all day. I wasn’t as ready to quit as I thought, but I didn’t make anyone aware of it. I didn’t want to constantly remind you about the rigidity of the rules, I just wanted it to be about the writing. I was hoping for thirty days with a clear head, instead I got twenty-three. It began the day of my road trip. I decided not to get stoned and proceed to drive four-and-a-half hours. Even if I ‘came down,’ I’m still driving impaired. That just felt irresponsible to me. So I left the THC at home. It did cross my mind to bring a piece of the Punch Bar I have in my fridge, but I ended up ditching that idea. I sobered up in the Granite State, and when I came home I figured I should just keep going. It was part of the challenge, anyway, though I can’t say I wasn’t tempted to break it. The nice lady who spoke to me at the New Hampshire gas station told me about a vape shop thirty minutes away, and I considered taking a little drive. I stopped myself out there, but when I got home to the city, I bought myself a vape at the local bodega. But I put it away. Right in my drawer, next to the stuff I cannot mention here. I did not give in. And I’m happy to report that I didn’t for the rest of the month.
One of the main factors in me needing moments of clarity is so I can know where my sober mind is leading me. Will it tell me all my cloudy thoughts are crazy in the daylight, or when I sweep away the fog will I find that I’ve been on the right track this whole time? All of that has never been more clear, and I can feel more confident in my ability to hold myself accountable. Even on my most temptation-filled nights, I hung in there and felt better for it. I’ll have to do it again in November, since an unblurred mind may have an easier time writing. Or perhaps I can hit my daily word goal then hit my vape. This past month has given me a chance to understand what ‘work now, play later’ really means. I was giving myself a deadline of 8:00PM to get the writing I needed done, and thought that if I was still smoking at that time, I’d get a ‘reward’ for completing my job. I’ve spoken about this before, but using food instead. That seems to be under control, which I’ll get into in a little bit. As far as smoking and being in the clouds, I still enjoy doing it, but I know it’s a much more manageable lifestyle without it. I’d either like to see how I can incorporate it in my life, take designated breaks, or get rid of it all together.
As far as psilocybin goes, I didn’t get the chance to do it, and I’m not sure I ever will. Things are still hard with my mother, but I don’t think a magic chocolate bar is the answer. Not right now, anyway. And while I still fancy the idea of going on a trip one day, I can get the same results after a peaceful kayak on a placid lake. So I’m all set with this one.
RULE #3: No Touching, for Real this time
I failed. Oh well. I’m not mean to go long without release, it seems. Which is unfortunate because I don’t always feel like doing it alone. But that’s what I’ve got to do right now. It’s not a bad thing. Somewhere over the course of the summer I thought overdoing it would take away some of my power. And to some extent, that’s probably true. However, I don’t need to do it all the time, and the desire in needing it has become less and less. Still, there’s times I can’t hold it in, even when driving home. So this kind of self-love is never too far from the top of my mind, and maybe it’s time I find a proper way to unleash it.
I wish there was an opportunity for me to be more graphic in the way I discuss sexuality, but despite all my noodling about not caring what people think, I do fear the judgment that comes along with it all. There’s still so much guilt and shame that can surround sex, but it’s an important factor in relationships. I just always think about how we can do it better. But it still feels taboo for me to speak about. I know that I’ve published at least two smut fanfictions on this very blog. I just wonder how hard a turn it is for me to go from philosophical drivel to graphic descriptions and depictions of the depths of depravity.
The story I’m planning to write in November does have some adult themes attached to it, but bringing all the dirty stuff to life all depends on who I’m writing it for. I could see it as some kind of Young Adult fiction, but that runs the risk of teens getting a hold of it. They don’t need to see the kinds of graphic depictions of sex I’m thinking of, especially not ones written by an adult. I’ve thought I could write these more ‘in-depth’ scenes anyway, but not put them in the final draft. They could live on their own as bonus stories for anyone interested in reading them.
This ‘writing prompt’ I’ve been asked to rewrite, however, is something I’m terrified to publish here, because it’s so deeply personal. I don’t know how I’d deliver it when it’s done, and I’m not even sure if the person who wrote it is available to me. So I’ll have this story on my hands that, for now, is just for me. I want to finish it because a) the prompt was unfinished, and b) I just want to make sure I’ve still got it.
I know I have a talent for writing erotica. That’s because I have a very vivid mind. But it’s risky making that my entire persona, as I just want to show how much more I have to share. So for now, it’s about keeping the appropriate lid on my self-heating busybodyness and working on crafting the narrative around the smut. I can work on both, but right now, it’s more important for me to shine through, not how much of a star I am behind closed doors.
RULE #4: No Delivery, Yes Meat
As I’ve said on Twitter, I started the carnivore diet this month. It began the 14th, a day after I came back from vacation. I had been planning for weeks on just how I was going to do it, what I was going to cook, what I could and could not eat. I gave my parents some soups, pretzels, oatmeal, and a few other items from my home that were not on the approved checklist. And so far, I’ve seen nothing but results.
As of this writing, I’m down thirteen pounds, and I feel more confident that ever about my body and my food choices. I’ll eat minimum twice a day, and have been cooking a lot more for myself. I see no reason to quit this diet, even after my promised thirty days are up. It’s possible that down the line I’ll give myself a day to eat a little extra, as long as I go right back to where I began the next day. I miss greenery, like salads and broccoli, and I dream about big bowls of cereal with ice cold milk. But food has become fuel for me, and I like that I can eat however much I want without needing to count calories or measure anything out. It’s just sustenance that’s meat and dairy, and that’s the end of it.
As far as delivery, I did the same thing where I didn’t really start challenges until I went to New Hampshire. And there were a few nights here and there I was so lazy that I didn’t want to cook. Still, I can make better choices that actually are good to my taste buds, and fill me up so I don’t feel the hunger pangs. Plus, who doesn’t love a girl that just loves her meat?
Another month in the books, another challenge done, if not one-hundred percent complete. I’m glad I did it and I’m glad I’m able to stick to my guns on this. Writing is never easy, nor should it be. There’s a lot to pull out from the darkest corners of one’s self in order to bring it to light. I’m not going to talk myself up in any way. Just doing a challenge this month reaffirmed my love of writing and solidified how much I’d love to do this for the rest of my life. Even if it means just crafting little tales from another thousands prompts, it’s going to keep happening forever.
Perhaps I can do something similar for NaNoWriMo, like give weekly updates on my progress. Daily would be far too much writing in one day, and I write all day for my job too. I don’t want to burn myself out, but I’d like a little more accountability to complete my goal.
Either way, I’ll update this blog should the mood strike me, but for now, I’ll be seeing you in November. Arguably the most exciting thirty-day month all year.
2 thoughts on “September Surrender: how did we do?”
Congratulations on your output in September. I read each entry daily and it was nice to get out of my life and absorbed in someone else’s. You did a fantastic job and I really appreciate your honest approach to what’s going on in your life. It’s been very interesting to experience New York from a native point of view. I live in Detroit and share a lot of the same concerns as you and other people in the metro area.
I’m an editor and have to do some writing for my job but I don’t have the same passion for penning stories as you. So, I just wanted to take a moment and say well done for the quality writing and discipline it took for you to approach that.
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thank you so much John! very much appreciated.