Never a Dull Day

Warning: this post is LONG!  If you don’t want to read it all, link directly to certain sections here: Ready Set Write, ROW80 overall (triggers!) and ROW80 goals concise.

Second warning: this post may include triggers for people who’ve dealt with suicide and mental illness.


There’s this old saying…

May you live in interesting times….

I must say “No, but thank you” to whomever offered me this equivocal blessing.  My characters’ lives are interesting enough for me.  I don’t feel any need to change things up now.

Well, I do…  just in what Douglas Adams called “rigorously defined areas of doubt and uncertainty”.  I’m adding another writing challenge to my summer  excitement, the Ready. Set. Write!, a summer writing intensive that melds the goal setting and cheering of the ROW80 with a bit more of a “get a project done” push of writing challenges such as the many Fast Draft options out there.

So this is another two-fer post:

  •  a Ready. Set. Write! initial goal setting post
  • a ROW-80 check-in

Ready. Set Write!


RSW4The Ready. Set. Write is about goal setting and writing that story in your head that needs to find its way to the page.  It feels a lot like the ROW80 in that sense, just geared more toward weekly goal setting, and much briefer, once-weekly check-ins.  The basic rules are (mostly copied from RSW co-founder, Allison Miller’s blog):

At the start of each week, we’ll update our progress and set new goals using these headings in a check-in post:

  • How I did on last week’s goal(s)
  • My goal(s) for this week
  • A favorite line from my story OR a word or phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised
  • The biggest challenge I faced this week (ie finding time to write, -getting sick, having writer’s block, etc)
  • Something I love about my WIP

We will keep our check-ins short (no more than a sentence or two per heading), and add our post to the group linky.

In that spirit, here is an overview of my RSW Work In Progress and a checklist of my goals for next week:

Getting my present WIP, Courting the Swan’s Song finished, and to beta readers would just make my summer.  A coming-of-age fantasy, CTSS is part of a larger series of books that I’ve been working on, where three people save their world through destroying it, by contacting an ancient enemy and by finding new homes in the stars.  Book 1, CTSS, deals with one of these three people: Alanii Vestimiir.

So my goals for this week are:

  • fully draft two main transition scenes in Courting the Swan Song
  • do read for consistency in in Book 1 and 3 regarding city description and Alanii’s exposure to Wanderer people
  • add to overall world map drawing; begin map of Darshaila

Simple enough in theory.  The first one has stumped me for weeks.  I don’t like writing transitions, scenes where even the characters seem to be trying to find ways to keep from being bored.  I know intellectually that these are great moments for character development and world-building, but knowing something and believing it are two different things.  So a challenge to be sure.

I have more goals than these as I also participate in the Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) challenge.  For the rest of my goals without a lot of reading, go to my concise ROW80 goals checklist…

ROW80 Check-in


The ROW80 touts itself as the Writing Challenge That Knows You Have a Life, and…  it was so nice to have Life happen and not feel like I was failing on all fronts.  It’s amazing what a little nice word in my pending comments was able to do when things fell apart around me on Friday.

I tossed around the idea of talking about what happened here (or anywhere beyond family and a few trusted friends).  It’s one of those things people wouldn’t have talked about when I was a kid.  Thing is…  I believe a lot of things these days are getting better because we talk about them more despite their disturbing nature: things like depression, domestic violence, child abuse, etc….

What happened was my son, the Boodle, helped himself to half a new bottle of acetaminophen (the cherry-flavored kids’ version that looks and tastes like candy), and while we were in the Emergency Room Friday morning, told the ER doctor that he wanted to die and was going to kill himself.

*blink blink*

1610935_10207369926113181_2911818854783318960_n

I’ll die if I don’t get it

Now, this isn’t the first time the Boodle has used this dramatic catch-phrase.  He’s written letters to Valve Software saying he would die if they didn’t create a Portal 3 game.  He’s made similar claims about  various books and movies he wants to see.  When he made a major faux-pas in one of his homeschooling groups and almost lost his friends, he claimed he wanted to die and not talk about what had happened (he was happy to find out that talking fixed the problem though).

So we’ve heard this phrase more than I care to admit lately.  The tone, the gestures, the situation..  none suggested actual danger given his past use of “I’ll die if” instead of something similar such as “I want to crawl under a rock”.

But I’m not a doctor in an Emergency Room dealing with a child that has overdosed on pain relievers.  The doctor, and then afterwards the social worker and the nurse,  and then the experts we had to see at the crisis ward of the local psychiatric center…  everyone acted as they had to, and we spent a very, very long day wondering if our son had done damage to his liver, having our daily life analyzed, and just wondering if we’d be able to go home as a family for the next week as inpatient care was discussed and insurance forms were filled out and bed counts were made…

I am worn out emotionally, still.  Both my husband and I are trying to figure out what we need to do next first.  Counseling is required (there’s a three-month waiting list at every place I called this morning unless there is a crisis, in which case… why did they send us home); changes all around…

…because we have to take such claims seriously (I first attempted suicide when I was eight… I survived, but some kids don’t), because there is a history of depression and suicide in my family, because the Boodle doesn’t always have a clear grasp of his actions and their consequences and will do things that can harm him without a second thought.

To the Boodle, that tween lament was no big deal, merely an expression of embarrassment and dismay when he had to explain why he didn’t go downstairs for supper (he told me later it was because he didn’t want to stop playing K’Nex and “Littlest Pet Shop in Minecraft in Real Life” to eat or do homework) and instead decided to get into a brand-new, (so-called) safety-sealed bottle of candy-flavored pills.

It was “no big deal”.

But big deals are made of small deals….

ROW80LogocopyAnd with that, I think I should get to my ROW80 check-in.  And about my goals?  I did what I could:

  • Writing — Managed a pile of writing on Thursday and some on the weekend
  • Time with characters/storyworld — So very, very little…  my head and heart just weren’t there
  • Pushups/general fitness — I’ve been a lump
  • Camera time daily — missed Friday (because of above) and Saturday for brain-drain; went out again last night (this morning) with the Boodle) for another photo session; posted photos from the first session for the First Friday Photo.
  • French and German daily 10 minutes — missed this Sunday
  • MOOCs — none; I may drop this goal for the summer

It’s been one helluva couple of days…  but we’re here.  All of us are safe, ….and we’re moving on.

35 responses to “Never a Dull Day

  1. {{hugs}}. One heck of a week, indeed. I’m glad all are okay. My family has had its bouts with depression and suicide, so I do understand the professional reaction. I was thirteen, and survived, although I probably could have done with professional help.

    I’m amazed you got anything done at all this week. I still want to put up my First Friday photo, even if it is late.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the consistency of the ROW and the JuNoWriMo (it’s odd that feeling like I had to check in with Becca Campbell because I couldn’t host my scheduled sprints) helped as much as it did, but… it was a place to focus. I had an external place to report to and stay sane for… Buried in Work Writing.

      There’ll probably be hell to pay when i finally come down from all of this, but for now…

      Please do! I left the linky open until Thursday this week hoping more people will join in.

      Like

  2. I’m so happy you’re joining us this summer, Eden! Best of luck with all your goals. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to meet you, & looking forward to following ur progress this summer!

    Like

  4. Alison Miller

    Glad you’re joining in with RSW this summer! Hope you have a very productive week!

    Like

  5. Oh, man. I’m so sorry about what happened with your son. I’m glad that, even if it wasn’t an earnest attempt on his life, the professionals are acting–well, professional. So often you hear about these things being swept away as unimportant only to be actually VERY important in hind sight. Stay strong! Can’t believe you still had time to fit in writing with such a crazy week!

    Like

    • No one we dealt with was at all interested in sweeping things under the rug; you’re right that it was good to know they were being professional (and really, quite kind and thoughtful.. it just was a lot to deal with).

      Writing was the way I stayed sane. I firmly believe that. When I was writing, I was able to redirect my focus for several minutes to something beyond the stress of the moment.

      Thanks for your ind word, Crystal.

      Like

  6. Interesting goals this week! I’m doing a lot of rereading for consistency between books as well. Glad you could join us for RSW this summer, and I hope you’re able to finish your WIP!

    Like

  7. Never heard of Ready, Set. Write! Am a little curious…might need to wander over and check it out.

    I am sure this hasn’t been easy, but it’s a one day at a time kinda thing. Sending some good vibes your way.

    Like

    • Everything is really one day at a time… we forget this, and it makes us panic and stress out. If we live each day to our best, to its fullest, then… the only thing that should bother us is that eventually we run out of days.

      Thanks, Cindy. (As for RSW… definitely a nice cheery group there too)

      Like

  8. Map drawing sounds fun!! Good luck with your goals this summer!

    Like

    • It is fun, and a great way to visualize details in a place we’re trying to write about. Since I’m writing a fantasy story, I need to consider so many things we don’t think about at all in our normal cities and towns… it helps.

      Thanks, Courtney

      Like

  9. Welcome to RSW, and thanks for the super encouraging comment on my blog. I totally get you on how sucky transition scenes can be to write. Good luck with them! You can do it!

    Like

  10. *hugs* to you and your family. I hope this week is less stressful for everyone.

    Welcome to RSW! I’ve been participating the last few years and it’s a lot of fun. Good luck with your goals!

    Like

    • Thank you, Jennifer. The RSW looks a lot like my usual online love, the ROW80 (it’s a nice challenge that doesn’t mind sharing its devotees), and since I always need a little extra push in the summer…

      Though I didn’t know there were rewards involved… what one are you aiming for? I need to think of mine.

      Like

  11. Good luck on all your goals, Eden!

    Like

  12. I do hope Boodle was over dramatizing and not being serious – it must be terrible for you and her husband – the trouble is language gets skewed – there’s, chocolate to die for – there’s, I a nearly died of mortification – die should remain where it belongs = death and of course nowadays children do not experience so much death as our ancestors do – the absence of life is difficult for them to grasp as a concept – even adults find it hard. all my best wishes go out to you and your family – keep your chin up off the floor – talking is helpful I have come to discover after an upbringing of keeping things to oneself- take care:)

    Like

    • You just stated something I’ve been thinking for a while now… how our hiding death away in hospitals, nursing homes, in videos of “the old days” and in newsbites of atrocities we all fear but few see directly (war, murder, etc), we haven’t actually diminished the real power of death. We make it entertainment, a distant boogieman to scare children and elderly people with….

      We’re not that different than so many societies all through history, are we? Tales of Hades and Orsiris…. even the Japanese godling Izanagi

      We’re dealing. I’m going to work off some stress at the gym soon. But my writing community has been a balm for my soul. Thanks for visit, Alberta.

      Like

  13. Great RSW goals for the week! Best of luck with them. We’re happy you decided to join us! 🙂

    Like

  14. Wow. That situation sounds terrifying, but I’m glad that your son is okay. I truly hope everything works out and that he stays okay. I will try to send some positive energy your way.

    I’ve never heard of the Ready. Set. Write. writing challenge before, but it sounds like a nice complement to ROW80. I can’t say that I’ve met all of my writing goals in the last couple months, but I’m hoping things pick up. Good luck with your goals. I hope your whole family stays happy and healthy.

    Like

    • The nice thing about goals is that we can always tweak them. The bad thing about goal seems to be… we always tweak them. One thing I think I like already about the RSW… they have built in rewards they plan at the beginning of the run (I forgot to include mine). A bit of incentive is nice.

      As for the family… it was definitely staggering (I can’t say I was terrified… I was almost catatonic, running on automatic…). It was only the small bursts of writing and updating people that I had to do that really kept me functioning. And… the Boodle’s okay (so sayeth the doctors), except I don’t think he still has a sense of what he did that was so bad….

      Like

  15. Good luck with your summer goals. I hope your family situation finds a positive resolution soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Thank you for sharing so openly. I agree . . . there are things we should talk about that used to be kept hush hush. I pray things go well for you and your family in the days ahead.

    Like

    • Thanks Steph. I thought a lot about sharing it. Then… I decided it was better to be open about it. He’s a kid, and he’s still learning about how the world works (heck, I’m an adult, and I’m still learning how the world works…), so he was just trying to navigate what he wanted to do versus what he had to do… and being more than a bit of a perfectionist, he didn’t like knowing he’d done something “wrong”. At the moment, we’re trying to figure out some better phrases he can adopt while he learns more adaptive strategies (because those habits take longer for him to learn)

      But just because my son didn’t quite realize what he was saying doesn’t mean that other children don’t. And any child or adult can make a mistake… So we need to keep our eyes and ears open and not ignore the cues or hide the discussion behind facades of politeness or family “respectability”

      Like

  17. Oh goodness, what a week for you! I am so sorry for all the anxiety that must have caused you! Just, ugh!! My son is 18 months. The tween years sound HARD. You sound like you’re handling it like a rockstar 😀

    Love your goals for RSW. Ugh. Transition scenes. Tell me about it. Just wrote one today that I’d been putting off for weeks. Since my WIP is sort of a sci-fi mystery, I decided to use it as an opportunity to plant a few more seeds of suspicion about various secondary characters. Fingers crossed my agent will like this one better than the last!

    Also, I have to say, I’m really hoping you might share a .jpg snippet of that map you mentioned in your next RSW post!!! I’m so in awe of people who are artists in multiple media!

    Like

    • Thanks, Carissa. I’m afraid your praise was a bit premature. I’m not really handling things like a rockstar. I’m just making due.

      Sounds like you made a great use of your transition scene. Will cross fingers for you, somewhat… it’s hard to type that way.

      I fully intend to post the map when I finish it. I just don’t know when that will be. I’m already behind on that project.

      Like