If We’re *All* Obsessed With True Crime, Then It’s Totally Not Weird, Right?

A few nights ago, in the middle of watching a four-part docuseries about the Night Stalker, my husband asked me what the deal is with women and true crime. I’ve been thinking it over ever since.

I mean, we all know that women are obsessed with true crime television shows (and podcasts and books and YouTube channels and entire broadcasting networks). That’s not new information. Hell, our society has normalized this obsession so much that no one bats an eye when I start casually dropping facts about how Jeffrey Dahmer disposed of his victims or why John Wayne Gacy used sharp angles in his clown makeup- somehow, we ended up in a place where that’s completely appropriate cocktail party conversation.

But until I was asked the question, I guess I hadn’t really thought about the why of it all.

Why am I obsessed with true crime? Why do I like learning about horrible things that certain human beings (mostly weird men) have done to other human beings (usually young ladies)? Why do I think it’s totally normal to have a favorite serial killer (Albert Fish) and a favorite unsolved murder (JonBenét Ramsey, although I’m 99.5% positive that I figured that one out).

It is kind of weird, right?

So I’ve been thinking about this for a few days…and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with basic human evolution.

Our lizard brains like being scared, you know? That’s why we all pack ourselves into the cinema (shout-out to the Beforetimes) to watch anything from slasher flicks to supernatural thrillers to however the fuck Ari Aster would describe his filmography. That’s why Stephen King is one of the most popular authors in the world, despite the fact that we all kind of agree that he’s a hack in most of the ways that count.

We like scaring ourselves, but in ways that don’t really put us in danger. Horror movies and scary stories are safe outlets to vicariously experience the titillation of something really terrifying happening to us. We get to scratch the evolutionary itch of being kept on our toes and skillfully, narrowly avoiding dangerous predators, but we know that Jason Voorhees isn’t actually going to pop out of the bedroom closet and cut us into little pieces. (That said, I still fully believe that Norman Bates can and will get you in the shower, so be careful.)

True crime is the logical extension of this feeling.

I know I’m not going to get murdered by Ted Bundy- his reign of terror was over before I was even born. But even so, he was still real. I still could have gotten murdered by Ted Bundy, if I happened to be walking around California at the wrong (read: right) time.

It’s as far removed from my reality as any slasher flick, so there’s nothing to be scared about.
But it’s also a reminder that I’m one instance of forgetting to lock my door away from being a gruesome video on Buzzfeed Unsolved- and that is something to be scared about.

So in summation, why do I like true crime? Because it’s like a scary story, except it’s real, except that it isn’t, but then also it TOTALLY IS.

Or maybe I’m just a weirdo. But I don’t think I’m alone here.

Then again, when you consume as much true crime content as I do…you never really feel like you’re alone anywhere.

The American Experiment Was Nice While It Lasted

Deep down, in spite of everything, I guess I really do love America.

Or at least, I love the idea of America. The land of the free, home of the brave, truth, justice, and the American Way- you know, the whole bit. I still want to believe that’s the real core of our nation, no matter how much evidence I see to the contrary. I still want to believe that there’s something special about America.

But after this past Wednesday, I’m forced to concede that there isn’t.

We’re not the leaders of the free world, or the best example of a government for and by the people, or anything of the kind. We’re just another one of those “shithole countries” where sometimes a seditious mob storms the capitol in an attempt to overturn the results of a fair and democratic election- and the next day, life goes on.

It’s pretty sobering to suddenly realize how close we might be to the violent toppling of our democracy. But the thing is, it shouldn’t be sudden. We should’ve been expecting this to happen any day now.

Why? Because every country goes through the growing pains of tinpot dictatorships and violent revolutions- we were being naïve when we assumed that America was somehow immune to those pitfalls.

We just weren’t old enough as a country to have gotten to them yet.

Think about it- counting from 1776, the USA is only 245 years old. Do you know what that means? That means that if you’re my age (29), you’ve been alive for more than ten percent of America’s entire existence.

That’s SUCH a ridiculously short amount of time to have started claiming that we had our shit together- and getting invested in the narrative of that claim is the reason that we’re now collectively blindsided by our shit rapidly falling apart.

But the silver lining is that this might not be the end of America after all- just another bloody chapter near the beginning.

…or is that a silver lining? I don’t know anymore.

Guess we’ll have to let the future historians sort it out.

New Year, Same Bullshit (But In A Shiny New Package)

I’ve spent the last few days hemming and hawing about whether or not I want to make a New Year’s Resolution.

On the one hand, I’m the sort of person that won’t get a goddamn thing done, ever, if I’m expected to self-motivate. An arbitrary deadline is literally the only thing that gets any results out of yours truly. I’ve seen it proven time and time again, and as much as I’d like to just wake up one morning and be the kind of person who simply Does Things For Their Own Good, it’s been nearly 29 years and that just doesn’t look like a switch that I have the power to flip. But a New Year’s Resolution, that’s an excuse to hold myself accountable in a way that I otherwise just won’t bother to do.

But on the other hand, adding Yet Another Thing to my list is a surefire way to increase my day-to-day anxiety, cause me to beat myself up when I inevitably fall behind the stupid arbitrary schedule I’ve set for no good reason, and ultimately end up completely and totally miserable when I fail at a goal that I only sort of wanted to do in the first place.

And this happens to me every year. Every year, I go back and forth for at least a week about whether I should make a Resolution, or just…I don’t know, be a better person without it needing to be attached to a holiday or the calendar?

I’ve decided that this year, instead of coming up with a New Year’s Resolution, I’m going to set a few “intentions” for the year. Think of them as mini-resolutions, if you like- the important part is that they’re things that I actually want to do, not things that I feel like I have to do to “build character” or whatever.

So, here are my intentions for 2021:

Bye Bye, Anxiety

I say this every year, but every year it gets a little closer to reality. Through a strategic deployment of cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, white wine, and strong-arming it through panic attacks while screaming along to Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge, I’ve kiiiiiiiind of gotten to a place where I feel like my anxiety is occasionally grabbing the steering wheel out of my hands rather than being the one in the driver’s seat. I’m going to try to keep that going for the rest of this year (and my life) and see if maybe, just maybe, I can trick my brain into doing what I want to do for a change.

Spin, Spin, Spin

Last year was a weird year for my level of physical fitness- I was either on top of shit and busting ass every day, or else I was laying motionless in a pile of empty Taco Bell wrappers. Literally zero in-between. This year, I’m going to try to stay on top of shit the whole time. Hello, Spin Bike- nice to see you again. Sorry I’ve been so distant. We’re going to be best buddies in 2021, don’t you worry.

Just Write The Goddamn Book Already

In 2020, I went from having one mostly-written-but-still-unfinished-novel hanging over my head to having TWO mostly-written-but-still-unfinished-novels hanging over my head. It’s sooooo much worse, and I’ve decided that I’m not going to stand for it. Come hell or high water, I’m finishing a novel this year even if it literally kills me.

And I guess that’s my 2021 laid out- I’ll keep you posted!

But If You Take The Blue Pill, You Still Get To Look At Memes

Every few months, I seriously consider deleting all my social media.

I picture it like the closing scene of a classic Western: a cowboy dropping his six-shooter into the dirt and sauntering unburdened into the sunset, his dueling days behind him and a world of fresh possibilities ahead.

Just think of it. To live a life unencumbered by the endless chimes and buzzes that incessantly demand my attention. To be utterly ignorant of the latest stupid controversy that everyone is going to reverse opinion on by this time next week. To never again look at a photo of a baby that I don’t care about, or at an engagement announcement that I weirdly care about way too much.

To be free.

But then a couple of hours later I’ll see a dumb little photo somewhere on the internet, and I’ll click “Share” without thinking about it, and then 30 people are paying attention to me and that’s enough of a dopamine hit that I decide to stay on social media after all.

And then I’ll ask myself: Did I decide to stay? Was it really a decision that I made, consciously and of my own free will? (Is this my beautiful house? Is this my beautiful wife?)

Or is it that I can’t leave?

In my experience, trying to get off of social media is like trying to fight a hydra with a particularly crafty method of regenerating heads. I mute my phone notifications, and my smartwatch conveniently ignores the memo. I close an app, and then the website opens in a new browser tab. I visit an unrelated blog or store even a game, and it automatically redirects me to Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest or wherever else* as a standard part of the user experience.

*I specifically don’t mention Twitter; I already broke free of that wretched hive of scum and villainy, and the less said about it, the better.

I am Michael Corleone in The Godfather: Part III. Just when I thought I was out, someone texts me the link to a fucking TikTok.

Oh, to be free.

But even as I claim to yearn for freedom, here I am. On social media, complaining about social media, for the benefit of everyone else on social media, hoping that they’ll share links to my social media on their social media, and genuinely thinking that being self-aware about being trapped in the Matrix somehow makes it the least bit better.

#WhatAPieceOf WorkIsMan, amirite?

Now, it’s not all bad- that’s what I always end up telling myself, when I really need to dig deep for a logical reason that I keep taking the blue pill- social media isn’t all bad, right? It’s how we stay connected with our loved ones, especially in a year like this one where it was mostly illegal to see each other in person. If it wasn’t for Facebook, I’d immediately fall out of touch with about 90 percent of my friends and acquaintances.

But on the other hand…are we even friends if our only interaction is scrolling past one another, each of us more interested in our individual quests to win the title of Zuckerberg’s Favorite Lil’ Attention Whore?

I don’t know, man. I’m not here to analyze the algorithm; I just click what it tells me to click and buy what it tells me I’ll like.

Obey. Consume. Like. Subscribe.

Someday I’ll be free of this burden, the cowboy thought, looking down at the pistol gripped tightly in his trembling hand. Someday, I’ll unplug.

Someday…

Move Over, Spotify; I Discovered My Own New Music Genre

This year, I finally gave in and admitted that a girl cannot subsist on Billy Joel alone. So I’ve spent the last few weeks scoping out some new music, and along the way I uncovered a vibe too groovy not to share.

Do you have a moment to hear the gospel of Dreampop Surf Vibes?

That’s the name I made up, so don’t worry if that sounds totally incomprehensible to you. I’d describe it like this: dreamy synth-pop that makes you feel like you’re at a beach party, but a weird tense beach party where someone walks into the ocean at the end of the night and everyone else is strangely at peace with it.

This sound is my New Aesthetic™, so I’ve compiled a Personal Top 10 of the Genre to share with you. These are presented in no particular order, but shoutout to the band Her’s for making the list three times.

Click the song name to give it a listen!

Ether (Sick at Heart) by field trip

My favorite thing about this song:
The way the vocals and synth effects blend together.

Favorite Lyric:
I know it’s hard to not just go insane / Sick at heart

Teenage Blue by Dreamgirl

My favorite thing about this song:
The soft, indistinct vocals that really put the “dream” in dreampop.

Favorite Lyric:
All that I’d ever see / All that I’d ever believe is through
All that I’d ever see / All that I’d ever believe is blue

Blue Lips by Her’s

My favorite thing about this song:
That damn funky bassline.

Favorite Lyric:
She likes to think of you / As somebody else
Now, don’t be oh-so-sure / That you know what’s next

80’s High School by CASTLEBEAT

My favorite thing about this song:
The high school imagery is an instant nostalgia trip.

Favorite Lyric:
Think it out you’ll be fine / Take a minute to rewind
All the noise in your mind / 80s high school all the time

Out Like a Light by The Honeysticks

My favorite thing about this song:
The musical crescendos going into the first and final choruses.

Favorite Lyric:
You never leave / You never leave
You never leave / You leave me uptight

When I’m With You by Best Coast

My favorite thing about this song:
SURF. VIBES.

Favorite Lyric:
Ever since I was a little girl / My mama always told me there’d be boys like you

Harvey by Her’s

My favorite thing about this song:
It’s a reference to Harvey- you know, the giant invisible rabbit? Hell yes.

Favorite Lyric:
Harvey/ Nobody knows what I see
Everyone thinks I’m crazy / Crazy for you, oh boy

She Needs Him by Her’s

My favorite thing about this song:
This song is the best of both worlds between 80s nostalgia, and the 50s nostalgia of the 80s.

Favorite Lyric:
My heart takes up all my strength/ No more can I think of them
No more can I hold her in my thoughts / Don’t say that she needs him

Sensitivity by Worn-Tin

My favorite thing about this song:
The handclaps. Those are so underutilized in modern pop.

Favorite Lyric:
Show me hospitality / Sorry for the fantasy
I just want to know you for a long long time

So Sad, So Sad by Varsity

My favorite thing about this song:
That drumbeat just syncs right up with my heart.

Favorite Lyric:
Trying to be a perfect circle / Weak just like I take my drinks

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Seasonal Depression

I’ve got the winter blues, y’all. But this year, doesn’t everyone?

Mid-December is usually when I jump into Christmas preparations: sending out a holiday card, buying presents, trimming the tree, trying on party dresses, baking cookies- it’s a full-time job, getting into the holiday spirit.

But in December of 2020, it seems pretty pointless.

Not a lot of good news to put into a holiday card. Not too many people in my bubble to exchange gifts with. It seems silly to trim a tree that no one’s going to see and that isn’t going to have any presents underneath it. There sure as hell aren’t any parties to go to, and everyone’s been baking approximately 105% of the time between March and now.

And yes, I know I probably need Christmas cheer more now than ever- I’ve seen Mame, I get it- but just…bluh. Why bother? Who cares? What does it matter? Why try to force a Christmas this year, when then universe so clearly doesn’t want it to happen? Just where am I even supposed to get Christmas cheer- make my own? In this economy?

Plus, you guys know I live in NYC- you saw that absolute wreck of a tree that they dragged into Rockefeller Plaza, right? That’s what the whole city looks like right now: nobody’s putting their best effort into the usual holiday magic, because we’re all distressingly aware that this isn’t anything like the usual magical holiday. Half of the famous storefronts in midtown didn’t even bother with their elaborate displays, and most of the celebrations, performances, and spectacles that we look forward to are cancelled- no Radio City Rockettes, for the first time in 87 years. If that’s not a sign to hang up the sleigh bells, I don’t know what is.

There’s no carol you can sing or holiday movie that you can watch to make this stupid, bullshit pandemic slump feel Christmas-y; it’s just going to feel like a Christmas-themed episode of the X-Files, and not even one of the good ones.

All I want for Christmas is to be able to spend the day with my family, who because of this nightmare of a year, I haven’t seen since last Christmas- and it’s not even a possibility. For the first time in all my twenty-eight years on this planet, I won’t be opening presents with my parents on Christmas morning.

Under those circumstances, it’s hard to muster up much excitement for putting up a string of lights out on the fire escape or whatever.

But I know I can’t be the only person feeling like this- and I guess that’s the silver lining, if you could call it that: we’re all in this together. It’s the worst Christmas I’ve ever had, but it’s also the worst Christmas you’ve ever had- we’re all brothers in this time of holiday strife.

And there is light at the end of the tunnel, now that we’re finally talking about upcoming vaccines instead of imminent lockdowns. This might be a depressing winter and a particularly blue Christmas, but it brings us that much closer to the end of 2020. Not a bad present, I guess.

And who knows- maybe it’ll all turn around if I say my prayers to Mariah Carey, the Patron Saint of Christmas Cheer. That should work, right?

Thirty Days, Fifty-Thousand Words, And Three Rules

Great news, everyone- I wrote most of a novel last month!

For the first time in my life, I successfully defeated National Novel Writing Month, with my final word count on November 30th coming in at 52.6k out of a necessary 50k.

I’ve still got a ways to go before “winning NaNoWriMo” becomes “finishing a novel.” But this was the hardest I’ve worked on anything in recent memory, and I learned a few things along the way that I want to share.

Here are my three new rules for writing, each presented in accordance with my new philosophy of just trying to have fun with the medium:

Rule One: With Apologies to Charles Dickens

I’ve always had a deep disdain for long-winded prose. Less is more, as the experts say. Why say lot word when few word do trick, am I right? Usually I’m the type of writer who’ll spend an hour looking for ways to cut pages down to paragraphs, and those paragraphs into sentences.

But that approach is the antithesis of NaNoWriMo, where the primary goal is to puke words onto the page at a blazing speed. No stopping to think, edit, or retool- just start typing and keep going until you hit the daily word count.

It was a hard adjustment for me to make, and for most of the month I felt like I was betraying my ideals as a writer. But damn if I didn’t end up with all the prose that I needed. Turns out, it’s easier to prune an overgrown word tree into the shape you want than it is to figure out the shape all at once when starting from a seed.

Rule Two: I Am God

I realized that whenever I’m writing a narrative, I get bogged down worrying about “realism” when what I should be worrying about is “credibility.” It’s akin to some advice an old musical theatre director once gave me about what makes a stellar performance: you don’t have to hit every note, as long as you can sell the song to the audience.

During NaNoWriMo, I did just enough research about the fields of aviation and exploration in the 1920s/1930s to make sure that I wasn’t writing something implausibly stupid.

And then I had to remind myself that I’m not writing a technical manual about the subject; I’m writing a pulpy adventure story that’s laughably unrealistic on its face. It’s going to be a little implausible, and the stupidity is half the fun.

I’m creating this world and the characters that populate it. It might look like the real world, but it doesn’t have to function using the same boring rules. Whatever I say happens in this world, is what happens in this world.

I am God in this world, and I can write whatever I want.

Rule Three: Screw the Rules

Outside of English classes, I’ve never really given a lot of thought to the rules of writing. All the guidelines for grammar, usage, and mechanics occupy some dusty shelf in my brain, and I rarely need to refer back. I’m pretty well trained in the art of proper writing, after all. I just do what what I’ve been taught to do, without thinking about it.

But that doesn’t always jibe with the authorial voice that I want to use.

Sometimes, the sentence that best conveys the tone and emotion I want the reader to feel isn’t grammatically correct, or it tells instead of showing, or it goes full Lewis Carroll because I was convinced that a certain word existed in the English language.

What I used to do was agonize over getting the closest “correct” sentence down on paper. Even though I know the rules of writing prose, I worry that if I don’t stick to them, everyone is going to think I don’t know.

During NaNoWriMo, I just started saying, “Eh, screw it.” I’m writing this novel to have fun, and the audience will be reading the novel to have fun. Nobody’s getting graded. End sentences with prepositions, split your infinitives, let a character say “me” when they should be saying “I”. It doesn’t matter. Screw the rules.

We’ll see how the finished novel turns out- but I’m definitely enjoying the writing process more now than with anything I’ve done in the past, and I certainly consider that a win!

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen- Until December, Anyway

If you read my post from two weeks ago, you’ll remember that I was toying with the idea of trying to write a whole-ass novel over the next 30 days.

Since writing that post, I’ve spent the last two weeks thinking and planning and plotting and outlining. And ultimately, I decided that I am going to go ahead and try to write a whole-ass novel over the next 30 days.

The novel, if you’re interested, is called Peril in the South Pacific: A Buck Bishop Adventure. Now, I know that sounds like an absurdly over-the-top 1930s pulp fiction paperback- and that’s because, in spirit, it is. It has a dashing aviator, it has a spirited lady-reporter, it has a marooning on an uninhabited island, it has a kidnapping, there’s a volcano, the bad guy is literally wearing a pith helmet, and you’d better believe that you can slash the sexual tension with a machete.

We’ll see if this turns out to be one of my best ideas, or one of my worst.

But either way, I don’t think I can crank out fifty-thousand words of certified fresh pulp adventure and keep up this blog at the same time. So for the month of November, I’m taking a hiatus from That Type Of Girl and diving headlong into NaNoWriMo 2020.

I’ll see you all in 30 days- wish me luck!

Make Your Own Damn Coffee: A Feminist Manifesto

I could make a lot of points about how difficult it is to be a woman in the workforce, but it wouldn’t be anything that Dolly Parton didn’t already tell us in 9 to 5.

I don’t believe for a minute that anyone reading this article is going to be confused by my lack of explanation, wondering what injustices I could probably be talking about. Certainly not any of the female readers, anyway.

Am I right, ladies?

Haven’t you had that boss who condescended you constantly while acting like your idiot male coworkers were business gurus?

You’ve been interrupted and talked over in a corporate meeting, only for goddamn Jerry from marketing to steal credit for the idea that he just freaking heard you suggest, right?

And hey, remember meeting an upper-level colleague who only shook hands with the men in the room, completely ignoring your presence?

Of course this has happened to you. Or if not this exactly, then whatever the equivalent is in your particular profession. It comes with the territory- we women must bear the slings and arrows of outrageous workplace sexism, and if we’re really unlucky then we’re expected to do it while wearing a pair of high heels.

Yes, the unfortunate truth is that being a woman in the workforce means a daily discovery of new and creative ways for The Man to shit on you. It’s tough trying to fight the patriarchy, and sometimes the only thing you can do is try to survive to fight yet another day. You have to pick your battles.

But you know what battle I always pick?

I’m not making the goddamn coffee.

If I had to boil down all of my bad experiences in a workplace into a single concept, and if most women were asked to do the same thing, the concept would be this: male bosses and coworkers don’t think twice about treating us like their secretaries.

You know what I mean. Being the girl on the team means that you’re the one who gets asked to answer the phone, to order lunch for everyone, to go around getting signatures on the birthday card, to greet any clients that walk in, to water the plants, to make a sign for the conference room door, to print this thing, to make a note of that thing, and, invariably, to make the coffee.

I refuse to make the coffee, and in my experience this is the single most satisfying action that I can take against workplace patriarchy.

I’m not your secretary; we have the same job title. You can make your own damn coffee.

I’m not the office den mother; I’m not here to serve you and take care of you. You can make your own damn coffee.

Do you understand that I don’t even make coffee for my husband at home? Do you realize that I don’t even drink coffee?

I don’t belong in a kitchen; I belong in a board room. You can make your own damn coffee.

I make thirty cents for every dollar that you get paid, mister.
You can make your own damn coffee.

It’s taken me a lot of years working in a lot of offices and putting up with a lot of bullshit to realize that this is where I draw the line, and I’m never going back. The day that I abandon my principles and make coffee for everyone in my office is the day that I’ll poison it, you mark my words.

Every pot of coffee that I don’t make is a victory for women everywhere. And as far as I’m concerned, that’s a much better start to the day than a cup of joe.

It’s That Time Of Year Again, When I Decide To Complicate My Life For No Reason

Yes, it’s that time of year again- everyone is either getting ready for NaNoWriMo, or loudly railing against the expectation that they start getting ready for NaNoWriMo.

For those of you who aren’t in the know (and bless your souls for your blissful ignorance), NaNoWriMo is the fun, cool way to abbreviate “National Novel Writing Month”. The idea is that every November, hundreds of thousands of authors give themselves thirty days to write a 50k word novel.

It doesn’t have to be a good novel, or even the final draft of a novel- it just needs to clock in at 50k words, and you’ve succeeded. It’s all about putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard, or whatever method it takes for you to puke out a manuscript of appropriate length. All you’ve got to do is hit your word count. It should, in theory, be easy.

That said, I myself have tried to participate in NaNoWriMo five or six or nine or fifteen times over the years, and every single time I have failed miserably. Never once have I made it anywhere in the ballpark of 50k words before quietly giving up on the whole idea.

But this year, for literally no reason other than that 2020 has already been a horrendous pain in the ass and I see no chance of success in attempting to make it easier for myself, I’m considering giving NaMoWriMo the old college try one more time.

Don’t try to stop me; I’m already fully prepared to regret this decision.

I’ve spent the last few days trying to identify exactly why I’ve always failed at this goal in the past, thinking that maybe I can figure out a strategy to miss the mark by a less embarrassing margin this year. I think I’ve come up with three things:

Thing One: I’m Just A Slow Writer
I’ve been writing for literally as long as I can remember- somewhere around twenty-two years now. In all those years of writing, I’ve only ever finished one piece of any significant length: the first draft of a novel (Bright & Beautiful, excerpt here) that totaled about 61k words.

It took me eight years. What can I say? I’m no Stephen King, I can’t just fall asleep on top of my typewriter twice a week and wake up both mornings with a fully-written bestseller.

Trying to write 50k words in 30 days is trying to increase my standard level of productivity by approximately ONE-HUNDRED-BILLION percent. That’s obviously going to be a considerable hurdle.

But I think that if I could stick to a consistent writing schedule, it wouldn’t necessarily be insurmountable…and that brings us to the next thing.

Thing Two: I Can’t Stick To A Consistent Writing Schedule
I went to bed at 9pm last night. The night before that, I went to bed at 1am. The night before that, I think I feel asleep on the couch at 11pm and then got up to go to bed properly at a quarter past who-the-fuck-knows o’clock.

This is the kind of person I am.

I do things whenever I feel like it, and two-thirds of the time, not even then. I resent the implication that I should be responsible for managing my time in any facet of my life. I can’t even manage to remember when I’m going to get PMS, and that happens the same goddamn week of every month. So how am I supposed to manage my own writing schedule?

The only thing that I think can fix this problem is to write the schedule ahead of time, and then refuse to let how I’m feeling in the moment have any bearing on the situation. I just need to decide that come Hell or high water, for 30 days I’m going to sit down every night at 7pm and write the next 1600 words of my story. I can’t try to set a schedule based on when I’m feeling creative or on what else I have going on that day; it has to be beyond my control, or I’ll find some way to drop the ball on it.

But this brings us to the third thing, and that’s the one that always really screws me over.

Thing Three: I Never Know What To Write
Now, I’ve got ideas. Believe you me, I’ve got ideas. Ideas as far as the eye can see; ideas as far as your psyche can imagine. Ideas built on top of ideas built on top of ideas. Ideas for DAYS. An endless, boundless, churning sea rollicking with ideas. Oh ho ho, I have no shortage of ideas.

But what I don’t have is the capacity to make an idea into a cohesive narrative.

I’ll have an idea for a scene, or a character, or an AestheticTM, but I’ll have no idea what to do with it after that point. I know where my story starts, but I don’t know where it goes. Or I know where it’s going to end, but have no clue how to get there. And to this day, in twenty-two years as a writer, I haven’t made any progress in figuring out how to close that gap.

Oh, what’s that you say? I should write an outline?

Go fuck yourself. Do you think I don’t know about outlining? Because I know about outlining- but the thing is, if I knew my story well enough to be able to write an outline, then I’d know the story well enough to be able to write the story.

My brain simply doesn’t work that way, or really in any way when it comes to expanding a theme into a plot.

I guess that’s an argument in favor of stealing- er, borrowing- a plot, right? Remember, we’re just shooting for 50k words. Those can be 50k words used to retread a tale as old as time, right? I sure hope so, because as far as I can tell that’s the only way up this mountain.

So I guess this is what I’ve decided in terms of NaNoWriMo prep this year:
1. Recognize that I can’t do this at my usual comfortable pace;
2. Set a writing schedule and stick to it as though it’s life or death; and
3. Steal a plotline and find other ways to showcase my creative spirit within the work.

…you know, the three things I realize every year shortly before failing yet again. Sigh.

May the odds be ever in my favor.