Archive for the ‘NaSoWriMo’ Category

You heard it here first. And maybe last.

Saturday, November 1st, 2008

It could just be the DayQuil talking, but I think I’m going to undertake NaSoWriMo (as in, 30 songs in 30 days) AND, uh, let’s call it NaBooWriMo (as in, attempt to finish a first draft of a book) at the same time this year. After all, I like to have multiple things going on at once, and this will certainly accomplish that.

If it IS just the DayQuil talking, I reserve the right to pretend like I never said this. So what if it’s on my blog?

NaSoWriMo: Time’s up! 13 songs drafted, none really completed, but still a success.

Thursday, November 30th, 2006

It’s the last day of November, in case you hadn’t noticed, and that means all November writing projects are pretty much at their end. In my case, that signals the end of my 30-songs-in-30-days “NaSoWriMo” challenge, which I have once again failed to complete. But I don’t really care. All I’m really shooting for when I set about to do these things is to make myself write fast and get some ideas down, and I did do that.

I managed to draft 13 songs. I can’t say I really finished even one. But that’s OK. Because this was also a crazy-ass month. At work, we had a major scramble with a deadline of 11/30 (yep, that, too, is today!), and my weekly average number of hours shot way up. I’ve also been sick twice this month, including right now, which is why I’m not expecting to be able to churn out any more than I already have before tomorrow. And my current tummy troubles have me in a really bad mood and I’m finding it hard to concentrate on anything. So yeah, not the best conditions for creative writing.

So it’s over, and the count is 13 songs in 30 days, sort of. There might even be a few ideas worth going back and polishing up, which is a bonus because I was really just thinking of this as an exercise. Maybe I’ll try the challenge again in a few months when it’s not looking to be a crazy month at the day job and I’ve loaded up on multivitamins and echinacea.

In the meantime, the month of December is usually a wash for songwriting. Too many weekend activities, too much commotion, not even time to sit idly with my laptop, my guitar, and a cup of coffee and mull over an idea until I find just the right thing to say. So this is probably pretty much it until January. But I’m pretty satisfied with where things stand, so I’ll be happy to take a break and then get back into it come the new year.

Hope everyone else who participated in a writing challenge this month got something good out of it!

NaSoWriMo: Day 1

Wednesday, November 1st, 2006

Today it begins. You’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo, and some of you may remember that in years past I’ve attempted my own version: NaSoWriMo. 30 songs in 30 days. Last year, as a result of the death of my father, I didn’t participate.

I’m back in the saddle this time, though, so today I will be setting some time aside to begin my challenge. Wish me luck!

The year in review

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Borrowed from and many others; edited for stuff I care about answering. I linked to a lot of stuff throughout; my apologies if any links lead to where you, dear reader, cannot follow.

Review of 2004

What did you do in 2004 that you’d never done before?

Ran a road race. It was the Park Forest Scenic 10, and it was quite the learning experience.

Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I did, for the most part.

I wanted to run a half-marathon (13.1 miles) but I only ran a 10-mile race. Still, it’s close.
I’m doing OK with the three goals around my nutrition.
I haven’t really made much progress on my guitar playing.
I have sort of made more time for songwriting.
The debt is effectively gone.
And I’ve done better with organizing my wardrobe, but I’m planning to address this in the new house in a major way.

What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?

More time with friends, more time for songwriting, more money to spend on fun things. I’m starting to get closer to attaining all of these, and I want that trend to continue.

What date from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Work dates come to mind first: March 29th, when we launched our product to the corporate campus; November 15th, when we shut down the legacy product.

And, of course, November 2nd.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I dunno, maybe writing 15 songs in 30 days, even if that fell far short of my 30-song goal.

What was your biggest failure?

I can’t think of anything significant. I feel good about that.

Did you suffer illness or injury?

I injured my knee doing a 10-mile run on May 31st. I probably already had an injury, but the long run flared it up. That turned into iliotibial band troubles, which led to hip troubles, which led to possible bursitis and a prolonged break from running. I stopped running for the month of June, but spent July and August training for the Scenic 10, and I wasn’t fully recovered. I laid off for the rest of September, October, and ran a few miles in late November before realizing I still wasn’t recovered. I probably won’t be running again for a few more months, much to my frustration and dismay.

What was the best thing you bought?

My Clie.

Where did most of your money go?

This year was all about finishing up the debt repayment. And since I’m such a Quicken addict, I can give you percentages. Aren’t you excited?

The vast majority of it went toward paying off a single credit card. (23.94%)
Another large sum went to taxes. (13.53%)
Then rent. (9.27%)
Then another credit card. (7.99%)
Then savings for future house renovations, 401(k), and downpayment, respectively. (7.67%, 6.20%, 5.79%)
Household expenses. (4.58%)
Another two credit cards. (3.06% and 2.59%)
Groceries. (2.11%)
Car stuff. (1.66%)

Ain’t we got fun?

WAY down the list, you start to see things like:
Vacation (0.99%) - but this includes the trips to Chicago for my dad’s chemo treatments. Whee.
Songwriting (0.66%) - we’ll spend more on this in 2005 when we record some more demos.
Dining (0.65%) - we don’t eat out much.
Entertainment (0.50%) - and most of that has probably been spent in the past month.
Recreation (0.12%) - this includes my race fees and running shoes. Whoop de doo!

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Our new kitten, Bopper.

What song will always remind you of 2004?

“Live Like You Were Dying” written by Craig Wiseman and Tim Nichols and recorded by Tim McGraw.

What do you wish you’d done more of?

Take vacation time. I worked a hell of a lot of hours. All that overtime certainly helped pay off the debt, but I have serious knots in my shoulders to show for it. Our in-town vacation, while fun, wasn’t nearly enough.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish there’d been no reason for all those trips to Chicago for my dad’s treatments. But I’m glad I was able to be there and help out, and I’m certainly grateful to for generously volunteering to watch our kitties during one of those trips. And when I say I want less of it in 2005, I mean that I want my dad to be healthy again.

What was the best book you read?

“About A Boy” by Nick Hornby. Much better than the film, although I love Hugh Grant (or “Huge Grunt,” as Karsten and his sister refer to him) in just about anything.

What was your greatest musical discovery?

I don’t know, really! Maybe it was the discovery that I can, in fact, write lyrics to existing melody. Not that I haven’t done it before this year, but I usually choke when faced with a melody I have a lot of respect for.

What did you want and get?

Pre-qualification for the mortgage I wanted. I’d say “a house,” but we haven’t quite signed the paperwork yet.

What was your favorite film of this year?

It may be 10 years old, but I just saw “Before Sunrise” a few months ago, and I loved it so much. “Before Sunset” was very good, too, but it felt a little contrived whereas “Sunrise” just felt spontaneous and beautiful. Wow.

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

My birthday hasn’t come around yet in 2004. I’ll be 31 on 12/23.

What is at least one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having to deal with my sister’s ridiculous crap on top of everything else.

Who did you miss the most this year?

My good friend and former co-worker, Tom Johnson. He’s a nut, and I love ‘im, and I miss hanging out with him.

Who was the best new person you met?

No one but Karsten has ever made more of an impression on me in a shorter span of time than has. I was hoping to find good friends this year, and he’s a great find and a definite keeper.

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, keep a brave face, and enjoy yourself every minute you can. Life is short and precious.

(Actually, I’m sure I learned that long before 2004, but it’s a lesson I keep learning again and again.)

Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes
You just might find
You get what you need

CMA Awards show and writing instead

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004

I missed the CMA Awards show last night. We were going to go work out and watch the show on the cardio theater TVs, but my knees started hurting and I didn’t feel up to it. Now that I’m reading the press release about it, I’m so bummed to have missed Randy Travis singing “Sunday Morning Coming Down” in a tribute to Kris Kristofferson. That is one of my favorite songs of all time, and Randy Travis has the perfect voice for it.

On the other hand, I’m a little glad I missed “Live Like You Were Dying” winning song of the year. I’m thrilled for Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, who write incredible songs and truly deserve this kind of recognition, but if I’d seen them winning, I’d have lost it. In this press release, Tim McGraw is quoted as saying backstage, “The song came to me around Thanksgiving. That’s when we sort of learned that Tug [Kate's note: that's his late father] didn’t have a chance. We cut the song three weeks later and it wasn’t sad. It was something special.” I have a hard enough time listening to that song without crying; now it’ll be waterworks every time I hear it.

The real upside to having missed the show is that by staying home I was able to focus on writing, and I wrote not one, but two songs. One of them was kind of a throw-away piece of dreck, but as soon as I finished it I started on the second one and it was much sharper for having sort of “warmed up” on the first one. I read the second one to Karsten when I was done, and he said it had real presence. So yay! That makes five songs total this month, and at least two of them are real possibilities for serious development.

Five down, 25 to go.

NaSoWriMo update

Monday, November 8th, 2004

I’ve been a total slacker on songwriting this weekend, but I forgot to mention that on my way home from work on Friday, I came up with an idea for how to finish a song I started months ago. True to my usual auspicious beginnings (which mostly end up sitting around unfinished), I had come up with a great hook and a tentative chorus for it, which, when I showed it to Karsten, got him excited enough about it to write a truly inspired chorus melody. To which I said,

“Oh, shit.”

Nothing seems to freak me out more than having to write lyrics to an existing melody — especially when the melody is so fantastic. ‘Cause then there’s no wiggle room, no way to say, “Well, I can’t think of an eight-syllable way to say ‘I wish I knew the real you like I know the fake you’ in pentameter with an ending anapest, so I’ll just go with that line and he can rewrite the melody to accomodate it.” (What a weird example. I wonder what nether reaches of my subconscious that little gem just came from.)

Anyway, this one was freakin’ me out big time. And Karsten kept dropping hints that if I wanted to work on this song, he was open to discussing anything or helping me talk through how it was going to go, and all that.

Still, no progress for months.

And then Friday, boom! The story flow occurred to me, and as soon as I had that, I knew how to write the song. So I raced home, nodded hello to Karsten, made a beeline for my desk, and wrote the whole thing out.

It’s not Lennon, it’s not Simon, but it’s a start. And it’s good enough to give back to Karsten so he can finish the melody.

3 down, 27 to go.

Absurdity du jour: / NaSoWriMo rationalization du jour

Friday, November 5th, 2004

(Side note: Happy birthday, and !)

Absurdity du jour:

I ninja
you ninja
how does the rest of the world ninja?

NaSoWriMo rationalization du jour:
I did finish a song last night. However, it was called “Stupid Song” and was a completely and utterly pointless exercise. BUT! I’m counting it. Because the whole point of this 30 songs in 30 days thing is to get me writing songs, and even writing “Stupid Song” is practice for the real thing. ‘Cause here’s the thing: I was totally joking when I sat down and started typing lines like “this is such a stupid song” or whatever, and I wrote a verse and chorus from start to finish, occasionally rhyming lines spontaneously. By the time I got to the end of the chorus, I thought about turning away and starting something else, since this was obviously just a joke, and then it hit me that, for my particular weakness as a songwriter, finishing “Stupid Song” would be the best kind of practice. No pressure to make it commercial, just the exercise of starting a song at the beginning and writing it through to the end. So I did. I wrote a second verse, rewrote the chorus, improving it as I rewrote it (which is one of my tried and true techniques) and, when it was done, sat back pleased with myself. It may be a “Stupid Song” but I felt very smart for letting myself finish it and include it in the total for this month.

So. That’s 2 down, 28 to go. :-)