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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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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Oh, Hey 29! Good to See Ya!

I’m breaking my long radio silence on the occasion of my 29th birthday.

The last time I found myself jotting notes on these pages, the world was crumbling after the election of–ugh, I’m not going to even go there. It’s my birthday AND HE WON’T BRING ME DOWN.

Lots has changed for me since then. Namely, I’ve relocated to another country, albeit temporarily, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in, quite possibly, my entire life. That’s not hyperbole or exaggeration. I am so sublimely happy working as a personal/writer’s assistant to a really cool actor that thinks I’m the bees knees (sucker!). The feeling is entirely mutual. It’s a literal love fest every day of this job. I’m sure it’s sickening to hear about, but just be glad you’re not witnessing it in person. You’d probably barf in three different colors.

Naturally, as a result of this euphoria, my anxiety and panic disorder has me catastrophizing anything and everything. You name it, I see the danger in it.

Eating gummy bears? I’m going to choke and die.

Boss does a really simple stunt. Boss will be injured and it’s all my fault for not swooping in and magically being the savior.

Showering? My, but these floors are slippery.

But I’m trying my best to put my irrational fears to bed and just live a little. Working on a movie set has been an education, to say the least. There are a million different acronyms, a million faces to put with a million names, and a million snacks to eat at Craft Services.

I considered writing more in depth about this life-changing experience, but going into detail may violate the well written, iron-clad Non Disclosure Agreement I’ve signed. If I do anything to fuck this job up, I WILL NEVER RECOVER.

Yep, 2017 has already been good to me, there is absolutely no denying it.

But I must say, 2016 was a roundhouse kick to the face so I am in no doubt that I deserve the positive changes that have been heaped into my lap. That may sound conceited/vain/entitled, but if you could’ve seen me last year…

HOOOO–WEE!

I was a steaming pile of Hot Mess, littered with Epic Fail, and sprinkled with Deep-seated Regrets: relationships (ugh), career prospects–both survival and aspirational–(dismal), basic hygiene (putrid).

It wasn’t looking, or smelling, at all good for Short and Feisty.

And then the actor that I’d been doing PT writing work with for over a year decided to kick things into hyperdrive, offered me a chance to come on board full-time,  and put me on a plane to London with 3 weeks’ notice.

Business Class.

Not. Playing. Around.

And now I’m sitting in my hotel room, about to wander over to set, wondering how I got so lucky. Forgetting the years and years of blood, sweat, and baby poop that got me to this point in time. Forgetting the vastly large amounts of rejection I’ve gotten as a writer and as an actor. Purposefully ignoring the miles and miles of road left to trudge before I get to where I ultimately want to be.

Because now I have that elusive mistress HOPE in my grasp and I’m not letting her go.

Here’s to 29.

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NaNoWriMo and GO!

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.

There’s not a lot that can distract me from America’s impending doom if Donald Trump takes the “win” in less than a week from now.

I’ve already started researching Visa laws in Canada and England–there are burgeoning entertainment hubs in both of those countries. I wonder if I can qualify as a refugee…I’m multi-racial (all minority races) and I’m a woman so it’s not looking good for me in a Trump version of America.

I’m renewing my passport tomorrow.

Enough about my possible immigration–the one thing that’s keeping November from being a gigantic mess of a month for me is an incredible program for writers (and aspiring writers) called NaNoWriMo.

That crazy word is actually a shortened version of the real name: National Novel Writing Month.

As such–the “Wri” part of that word should be pronounced “Rye” as in the bread not “Ree” as an idiot might consider pronouncing it. You may think that sounds overly cruel/judgmental, but if you YouTube and google Vlogs about the event and then someone pops up with the “Ree” out of nowhere, it’s like freaking nails on a chalkboard.

THIS GIRL KNOWS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT and she is MAD.

The overall goal of the entire shindig is to write 50,000 words of a novel from November 1st until November 30th at midnight.

If you reach that goal, you “win”–if you don’t reach that goal, you still have thousands more words of a novel written than you did in October/than you would if you had spent the month sitting in front of a television screen procrastinating.

The cool thing about the website is that you can log on and create a profile, then create a profile for your novel and use their daily word counter to track your progress. They even stick it into this really neat graph to let you know what you need to do to meet the minimum daily goal (1,667 words a day). It even averages out your words per day, shows you how much more you have left to type before you reach 50k, and when you’ll finish at your current rate of writing speed (among many other very interesting facts).

I learned long ago that, in order for me to accomplish any sort of writing, I have to have some sort of deadline hanging over my head. As a screenwriter, it’s usually the submission period for a competition. For NaNoWriMo, it’s getting it all complete within those 30 days–and if you don’t stay on track at at least a rate of 1,667 for day, BOY can you fall behind really quickly.

Last year, I made it to day 10 and 16,752 words. Somehow, I got distracted or ran out of steam of SOMETHING–but I stopped because that’s where my bar graph caps off for the remaining 20 days. The fact that I can’t even remember why I stopped says a lot about what’s happened in the last 365 days since NaNo 2015. At this point, I can barely remember what I did yesterday, so I couldn’t tell you what slammed on the creative breaks a year ago.

But this year, I AM DETERMINED.

I put the call out en masse to my Facebook friends to see who would be up to the challenge and many replied with the courage of a thousand word warriors.

One of my grade school pals hooked me up with a small group of women that are all set to conquer NaNo 2016 and we’ve got a nice little FB group chat going on to encourage one another. And that really is the key to keep going–

ACCOUNTABILITY.

When you have someone else cheering you on and harassing you (in a positive way) to put your butt into the seat and start typing (or hand writing, if you prefer–or dictating, even!) you’re much more likely to be successful. And this is because, inevitably, halfway through the month your writing motivation will begin to peter out. You’ll wonder why you’re “wasting your time” and you’ll ask yourself in the harshest manner possible: “Why did I even THINK that I could write a novel?! Who do I think I am?!”

The answer, of course, is that you’re a writer. If you’re engaging in the act of writing, you are, indeed, a writer. Perhaps not a very good one (I’m just being honest!) but on the off chance that you are, that you’re even possibly spectacular, you’ll never know unless you give it a whirl.

So get your butt in that seat and try!

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