NANO-WHAT-MO?!

Ok, you guys. It’s just about that time–a few more hours until kickoff.

After you’re done celebrating with the other ghosts and ghouls roaming the streets begging strangers for candy, it’ll be time to dust off the old keyboard and get to work.

You’re going to write the first draft of a novel (or at least 50,000 words of it) in the 30 days of November.

I’m saying “you” specifically because I feel it’s my personal duty and responsibility to con as many people as will let me into doing this seemingly impossible task with me. I truly believe that everyone should give this activity a go at least once. It’s honestly just plain fun!

You don’t know if you’re a writer or not until you give it a go.

1,667 words per day. You can go over that, you can write under that (as long as you catch up within the next few days).

You are NOT allowed to edit. You just let the words trickle out onto the page and save all the editing for December and January.

You can write any and everything that you want.

Dragons? Yes.

Detectives? Do it.

Realistic Fiction about life on the Oregon Trail? You bet.

This year, I’m diving full force into a smut novel. I may be a spinster IRL, but my fictional characters need not be!

Then, on the last day November 30th, you log in the work you’ve written (it doesn’t save any of the content, it just counts the number of words you write) and if you reach 50k, you win!

Yes, technically you could just write the word “fart” 50k times, but that takes the fun out of it. Or, I dunno, maybe that’s fun for you, so let me not judge and just encourage you to WRITE.

Go to this website right here: NaNoWriMo.org

Register yourself.

Then tell me your screen name so I can find you and add you as a “writing buddy”. Selfishly, keeping you accountable will help in keeping me accountable, as well. It’s a win-win!

I’ve already suckered two people into it this year, my goal is 10.

There’s plenty to do on the site if you’re re-watching shows on Netflix and are a little bored after your sugar coma kicks in tonight.

There are forums with people giving advice, old school chatrooms separated by novel genres, age, locations, etc. There are forums where people talk about how exceptionally well they’re doing and forums with people whining about any and everything, like how they’ve absolutely ruined everything with the 1,300 word dumpster fire they’ve created on Day 1. That’s my favorite forum because it usually makes me feel a lot better about wherever I am on my journey, which is usually me lagging dreadfully behind.

There are in-person events in your area that you can attend and meet new book/writing nerds, or you can be a loner and just do it all on your own.

The best part of all of this: it’s free!!!

Midnight tonight begins the challenge. Who’s in!?

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That Time I Tricked Myself into Going to the Gym

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Recently, as in within the last couple of days, I decided that I would stop wasting the gym membership I am paying for and actually take my happy ass to the gym. Except, describing my ass as “happy” is inaccurate because I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around on it and it’s tired and annoyed that I refuse to pry myself out of my computer chair in search of physical activity.

That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about my ass, but you all knew what you were getting in to when you started reading my blog.

Short and Feisty, keeping it real.

Anywho—I have a really hard time getting motivated to go to the gym. I know, I know, who doesn’t? (…beyond the freakshows that live every day just so they can go to the gym after work and be amongst their people. I dated one of those about 7 years ago, and I’m only still a little bit bitter that the call of the weight room was almost always stronger than the call of my company)

But lately, the thought of getting my out-of-shape-self into the neighborhood YMCA had gotten me so anxious that I began to panic. My best friend, a former trainer, asked me to pinpoint what is was that was making me so anxious, and my predictable response was, “I have no idea.”

Was it fear of failure? Fear of looking ridiculous? Fear of tripping on the treadmill and falling flat on my face?

No! None of those! Which makes the presence of those stifling feelings even more frustrating! Which then leads me to berate myself for having them! Which in turn makes me more anxious!

Hooray for anxiety and panic disorders!

Whatever it was, when I would drive passed the gym, my palms would start to sweat, my heart would race, and I’d floor it until I’d cleared the next intersection.

But the fluffy bits around my midsection have started to jiggle—something I’ve not yet experienced as a previously fairly athletic person. I played a lot of team sports, ran 5ks and half marathons, and supplemented all of that movement with my hyperactive nature. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling any love from my newly developed love handles.

Back to the gym I go, then.

“What if,” I told myself a few days ago, “you just go to the gym to pick up the group workout schedule? You don’t even have to stay to workout.”

“That’s pretty low stakes, I think I can manage that.”

“Yeah, I think we totally can. And so you don’t look too out of place, why not throw on your workout gear?”

This was when I started to get a bit suspicious about my motives.

“But wait, you said we didn’t have to workout—“

“Yeah, I meant it! Just get in the clothes so you can get used to the feel of the spandex on your skin again. Then it won’t feel so strange when you put them on tomorrow to workout. It’ll feel like second skin.”

“I guess that checks out, but your wording also creeps me out in a ‘Buffalo Bill’ kind of way.”

I threw on my spandex running pants and a t-shirt from the film I worked on earlier in the year. I’m usually not someone that would wear workout clothes for anything other than their express purpose, but my inner monologue was making a lot of sense.

“Ok, hop in the car, drive to the gym, and remember—under no circumstances are we to work out today!”

“Got it.”

Drove the 2.5 miles to the gym and got out of the car. Without the pressure to actually perform, there were no panicky sensations or attacks threatening to incapacitate me in the parking garage.

Since it was the middle of the day, there were a plethora of older men and women working out in the pool, soaking in the hot tub, and participating in “chair aerobics”. They didn’t seem to be having such a tough time, but I was still convinced that the goal of my day was to pick up that piece of paper—which I did.

I turned to leave when my inner monologue made me pause in the gym lobby–

“You know,” says me, “we do have to pay for parking, even if we’re only here for 5 minutes.”

“UGGGGH, I didn’t even think of that! I’m trying to penny pinch now that I’m not working full-time. Now I feel like this whole trip was a waste!”

“Why not just go for a quick walk? On the treadmill?”

“YOU SAID NO WORKING OUT—“

“And would you really count a quick walk on a treadmill as working out?? You who has conquered 13.1 consecutive miles more than once??”

“I guess not.”

I head upstairs, put my purse on the ledge underneath of the screen and above the handlebars that monitor heart rate, and hit the green “go” button.

I had my headphones in my purse so I popped those in, connected to the gym wifi, and turned on the Spice Girls Pandora station.

And then I walked.

I walked until halfway through the song “Spice Up Your Life” where my 5th grade self took over and kicked the walk up to a jog. I made it through the end of the song, huffing and puffing and slowed the pace down again. I wasn’t even supposed to be jogging, so there’s no shame in returning back to my walk.

A ton of 90’s dance songs and 2 miles later, I had walk/jogged my way to the end of my workout—the workout that I promised myself would never happen but the one, both physically and emotionally, I desperately needed.

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“Getting My Life Together”

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I currently find myself in a transitional period, the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

I’m out of debt, I have an agent that I’m hoping will score me some sweet auditions (nothing yet), and I’m acquiring income by piecing together any freelance opportunities that come my way.

I’m staying afloat, paying my own way, and not starving for my art.

YET.

For those that know me in person, or have been reading this blog from the very beginning, you may be asking yourselves how I’m managing to live this new lifestyle while keeping depression and my anxiety disorder at bay.

The short answer is: I’m not.

I’m not.

That’s the honest truth.

I’m terrified, and I’m worried, and I’m anxious, and not an hour goes by each day when the ticker tape in my head doesn’t stream:

I NEED TO GET MY LIFE TOGETHER. 

In fact, whenever someone asks me how I’m doing or what I’m doing or where I am in my journey, my response is always, “I’m getting my life together.”

That single phrase both kills my confidence and my motivation in one foul swoop. It makes me feel guilty for not having full-time guaranteed income, makes me feel impotent (not in the sexual definition–the other one–google it, you dirty minded person) for not being able to control my career path, and just generally drives me insane because it implies that I AM NOT DOING ANYTHING.

[The shouty capitals are off the chain in this post because that’s what my subconscious is doing 24/7–it’s yelling at me. Sorry for taking it out on you, but misery loves company.]

But then, I stop and think about what it is that I am doing and I try to cut myself some slack:

  • I’m showering almost regularly (don’t judge!)
  • I’m accepting the work that’s being offered to me without thinking that I’m “taking a step back” by nannying or doing cashier work or menial assistant tasks
  • I’m really trying to meet up with friends more now that my schedule is flexible (which is hard when income is tight)
  • I’m not spending all day in bed depressed…at least not every day There have been quite a few in the past months where everything hurts and life sucks and I just need to try and sleep it off.

Other than that, I’m reminding myself to breathe.

And really utilizing the emotional support systems that I have because, MAN, this is tough. I’ve been talked off the ledge more times than I can count by my closest friends (who happen to be thousands of miles away).

I’m shaking while writing this because this is a “no income week” so far and I’m wondering if anything will pop up.

I’m looking ahead to March and my 30th birthday and wondering what I have to show for the three decades I’ve been circling around the sun.

I am not in a happy place, or even a good place for that matter (The Good Place on NBC is a great show that’s been helping me get by, just gonna plug that. 1st season on Netflix, 2nd season happening now).

It’s hard to be creative and to write when survival is looming over your head and you feel selfish for pursuing these astronomical goals and not abandoning them for stable work.

It’s lonely being a spinster sometimes, and modern dating makes it even harder to find and form an emotional/romantic connection with someone without the threat of being “ghosted” or ending up in a dead end relationship.

Things suck right now. Yes, they could always be worse, but HOLY CRAP, you guys!

But I’m always open and honest when I write on these pages, so there you have it. Things are ugly right now. But I know that once you’ve hit the bottom, you can only go up. And I’m thankful that my “bottom” hasn’t found me starving and homeless.

YET.

I wanted to end this post on a high note, but that would feel really disingenuous.

So here’s a pretty picture of the sunset that I took at The Grove last night.

Just because.

 

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Work.

To stay up-do-date on all of Short and Feisty’s posts, click the Follow this blog button at the top right of this page.

My body has decided that now is the time to overthrow its master.

The last eight months of my life have been incredibly stress-riddled and my immune system had graciously been granting me an easy time of it (with the exception of a few migraines and a thrown out back).

The day I signed off and signed out one final time, my throat started to feel kinda funny. I tried to brush it off as “dry air” and maybe sleeping with my mouth hanging open directly in front of my fan (no AC, hello LA heatwave).

But then my nose started to leak a little bit…and then a little bit more…and now I feel like a dam is about to burst and the citizens living in the valley need to evacuate.

The fog that’s currently obscuring my mental vision is keeping me from writing anything truly fancy or inspirational. Honestly, this blog post is just an excuse to have a pity party that I know at least 3 other people may read. THANK YOU THREE PEOPLE.

BUT–and that’s a big ol’ “BUT”– I swore to myself that when my last job ended, I would hustle even harder than before to get words on paper, to start creating and making, and generally force myself to stay on the grind.

With that in mind, I purposefully parked my car in a zone that required me to move it within two hours of the moment I parked there. I set my alarm for 1 hour and 55 minutes and then promptly sat down to watch Netflix.

PRODUCTIVITY (?).

When I saw the remaining 30 minutes on the clock slowly ticking down, I wrenched myself out of my chair, and pushed my body into the shower.

Growing up, I was always the kid in the family who refused to get into the bathtub. My poor mother would beg, cajole, and then eventually threaten me to get in. I’m assuming I thought baths were a waste of time and I had more important things to do like play or read or makeup songs on my kiddie-keyboard even though I didn’t know how to play it. Good personal hygiene was for the weak.

Whatever it was, I despised this basic and necessary daily ritual. When my mother finally got me in and wrestled me like an alligator to wash me, I would then refuse to get out of the tub. I would stay in playing with my toys and with my washcloth until the water became ice cold and my mother had to drag me out.

Nothing has changed.

Today was the same.

I ended up snatching myself out of the shower after only 20 minutes (miraculously), threw on some clothes without even really looking at what I was adorning my body in, and left my apartment.

AND THEN–

Lo and behold, a golden parking space of opportunity shone forth: a parking spot with unlimited time and RIGHT in front of my apartment.  These babies pop up only once a millennium, or so it feels like. Could I waste this moment and ever recover emotionally?

“What if,” says me, “I park in that spot, go upstairs, wallow in my oncoming disease, and take a nap.”

“No,” came my short response.

Well that settled that.

I got myself over to that coffee shop and here I sit–I’m making a writing schedule, sending off emails, responding to texts that it’s taken me an egregiously long time to respond to, and wondering why the guy sitting next to me at the community table must sit so damn close IT’S A HUGE TABLE, MISTER.

Hold me accountable, y’all. Time to work.

 

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This Lavender Chai Latte didn’t disappoint!

 

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

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I was thinking of a title for this blog post and the one I landed on was the first thing that popped into my head.

Something about it, though, made me think that I’d already used it as a title before (but I’m too lazy to go back and search). The reason for this being that, on multiple occasions, I’ve literally said to myself, “this is the first day of the rest of my life”.

After college, I boldly stepped into the Washington, DC nanny world (and got kicked in the butt with my first job)–knowing that I wanted to boost my resume before I moved out to LA so I could wipe baby butts for a day job. I shot out of a cannon 1.5 years later and landed in Los Angeles. Most recently, I tumbled head first into the world of celebrity assisting.

And today, after 5 years in Los Angeles, I make the moves to pursue acting and writing full time.

My assistant job ended, the movie now complete from my former employer’s end of things, and all things considered, I would say the experience was absolutely invaluable.

I learned a lot about the industry, I learned a lot about film production on a big budget scale, and I learned more about myself than I went in thinking I would. You really don’t know what you’re made of until you’re tossed into less than ideal situations and are told to make your way out with a broken compass, spotty cellular reception, and a short string of dental floss.

But I did it, I’m on the other side, stronger than I was back in January, I’m completely out of debt, and I’m ready to get this show on the road–or the screen, really, because I’m not interested in doing touring theatre.

This is the part when I break into cold sweats, wake up every three hours at night panicking about the future, and start to compulsively eat as much junk food as my stomach and poor acne-riddled countenance can handle.

And I did that for a little while but then I woke up this morning, the first day where I get to go H.A.M. on this crazy dream, with so much determination that I almost feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience.

And I think I’m so dang pumped to make moves because it feels like the Universe is conspiring to help me achieve my ultimate goal.

As soon as I got back from traveling with the film production, my old nanny families pounced and scooped me up for every available hour I was willing to give them. I was referred to a few new families and a couple of new freelance assistant gigs. Thankfully, gloriously, money isn’t going to be a huge issue. A struggle, yes, but I feel like I can make this happen.

Most exciting of all, and the reason I know the Universe is on my side: a brand new friend, not officially associated with the industry in any way, referred me as an actor to one of her friends that works in the casting world. Even if nothing comes of it, the fact that she referred me has single handedly spurred me forward into the unknown with confidence and excitement.

Do you know how hard it is to get a referral out here?!

Really damn hard.

People in this industry usually aren’t willing to go out on a limb for you unless it directly benefits them. Rarely do people at the top extend a hand backwards and pull someone up from the bottom. Hopefully things will not always be this way, but it’s what I’m working with now.

I refuse to focus on that aspect of the monster to which I’m currently attempting to sacrifice my life.

Instead, I’ve been getting really quiet with myself over the last few weeks. I’ve been trying to objectively look back at my journey over the last 5 years. I’ve been trying to see past what I didn’t achieve and look at what the heck has happened.

The common theme: I’ve moved forward, never backward.

Every negative thing that’s happened to me out here in La La Land has acted as an electric shock to keep me from veering too far off of the path I’ve chosen for myself. It’s kept me focused on what I want, kept me from being sidetracked by my Plan B and Plan C, all the way to Plan Z (I don’t actually have that many alternate plans. In fact, the only one I currently have is to move into the woods and be a hermit writer).

My time is now, I can feel it, and I can’t wait to share every step of the way with you guys.

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