In November…

Is it bad that I saw this heading and asked myself “did I live in November?” Obviously, I did. I had to have lived to be writing this in December. But I don’t remember much. And I think that’s just a side effect of it being November because NaNoWriMo consumes my life so fully. I really don’t think I ever remember things in November that aren’t writing related.

I know that other people think of November as Thanksgiving or pre-Christmas, but for the past eight years, this has meant NaNoWriMo for me. The month where I become even more reclusive and hunch over my laptop like some gremlin trying to write 50,000 words.

Living

The first two weeks of the month were free. I had just finished my last days at my old job and wanted some time off from the awfulness. I enjoyed two weeks of waking up later, though I still tried to get up at a reasonable time to get things done and write.

Remember how I was talking about finding affordable international shipping methods last month? Well, I made the jump to sign up for a shipping service that does just that. It’s a little complicated to explain and I’m still in the early stages of using it, but I’m really liking it so far. It’s enabled me to do major Black Friday shopping because I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for shipping. Yes, that means I’ve spent a little more money than I should have when I first got the service, but I got to support some really amazing businesses and buy from one of my favorite bookish stores during Black Friday.

Smack in the middle of the month, I started at my new part-time position. So far, it’s been really good. I greatly enjoy the flexibility of working only in the afternoons because that means I get to work on other things during the morning. Or at least tell myself I’m working on things when I’m really on YouTube.

OOOOH I also made a work friend! This was really exciting because she approached me during a team meeting and we ended up chatting for over an hour. She’s also a writer, so it was nice to connect with a local person who knows what it’s like to be a creative in this country. Because despite Singapore’s growth in the arts, it’s not the same as Western countries. But the important thing is that I made a friend and maybe one day, I’ll get to meet her in person.

Reading

Number of books: 0.75
Number of hours read: 2:23mins
Number of pages read: 227

I originally had the intention of reading 45 pages every day because that felt manageable. It’s not a lot and it gets me through about four books for the month. But then reality set in and I didn’t even finish the one book I started.

#1 – The Other Man
Format read in: E-book

It’s not a bad book, but until I finish it, I’m gonna reserve my opinions. I will say that I’m glad I picked this as my first M/M romance.

 

I decided to get kind of back into WebToons this month. I’ve lost track of what’s currently coming out and what’s over, but I knew that a lot of my favorites either started a new season or just ended. BUT I wasn’t picking up with my favorites because I knew I’d get too invested and stop focusing on writing. Instead, I caught up on the latest episodes of Dying for Views, a horror comedy that I’ve been loving for awhile. It’s pretty short because the creator has had some health problems since starting, but everything that’s out is great.

I also read the first six chapters of Hellbound, which is currently really popular Korean drama on Netflix. Yes, it was originally a comic first. From what I understand without spoiling myself, the WebToon was first available in Korea before getting picked up as a Netflix show. The guy who wrote Train to Busan wrote the original comic script and Choi Gyu-Seok did the art. Both are very well known in the world of Korean TV adaptations, so I’m sure the comic is fantastic. Because the WebToon is slowly being released now, I’m waiting for the next 23 chapters to drop so I can understand the things I didn’t quite get from the show. And it’s always nice to see how the original story was intended to be.

Writing

Blog words written: 10,224

Novel words written: 50,990

Another year, another 50,000 words written for a novel that’s nowhere near finished. Technically, this is Draft 2 of Project Ceiling Cat. And though I thought it’d be a partial re-write in the beginning, it’s turning into a full re-write with some major changes. There are new characters, different roles, a stuffed bunny, and a lot of me not knowing what I’m doing (as usual).

I had an outline prepped for the first 16 chapters (because I never fully outline before NaNoWriMo no matter how much I tell myself that I will), but that went out the window when I started writing. A better idea for the story came along, so I re-wrote the first five chapters entirely and moved on from there. Only, without a new outline, I spent most of the month writing complete nonsense.

After many, many writing streams and spending the last 72 hours writing as much as I could, I did cross the 50K mark. It was a close call, but I’m too competitive not to try. This was the first year I was okay with not winning, but only if I tried really hard and wasn’t able to hit the 50K mark. And I kind of wanted to win for the 7th time because that would be a really nice winning streak to have.

On the blogging side of things…I tried to keep up with it, but the more NaNoWriMo consumed my mind, the less capacity I had for blogging. There were plans to put out two bigger posts and I ended up not writing either of them. Well, I started one but it was so bad. It’s gonna sit on the side for a bit until I can figure out how to make it better. I do wish that I had written more for the blog, but it’s so hard to keep up with anything else when my life is consumed by figuring out what plot twist comes next or whether semi-love triangles are a good idea.

Watching

YouTube: I watched a lot of Game Theorist last month. For some reason, the extensively complicated lore of Five Nights at Freddy’s is a strange thing I find comfort in. Hearing Mat explain why things do or don’t make sense makes me feel better. Like nothing can be as chaotic and confusing as that game. Does it have an ending? No one really knows. How many monochrome-colored villains can there be? Probably more. Am I worried about being attacked by animatronic robots if I ever visit a Chuck E Cheese for some reason? Absolutely.

I went through some of his other videos too, like the Bendy and the Ink Machine game and everything on Undertale/Deltarune. There’s something really satisfying about having someone explain something I don’t understand, even if it has little real-world effect on me. I mean, I know more about robotic suits than I ever wanted to, but I still have no idea what’s going in FNAF and I don’t think I ever will. Maybe it’s Mat’s voice that comforts me. Either way, I spent many, many hours watching his videos instead of writing. And I don’t regret any of it.

Speaking of writing, it’s not something I could have done as much of without the many, many streams from Kate and Cam. Once I figured out that the time zones worked for me to attend Cam’s writing streams, I went to as many as I could. Having a community there and making the whole thing fun was part of what kept me going. The nice thing about the 14 hour time difference between me and Kate was that I could wake up and have a new writing stream to play back. I did miss the conversations, but it’s better than having nothing.

It’s still weird to me that I discovered writing streams last year and realized how much they help me. I’ve always been a bit iffy about writing sprints, even though I won in 2014 and 2015 with the help of the NaNo Word Sprints Twitter account. I stopped using it after that (although I still follow the account), and wrote on my own until I decided to try one of Kate’s streams last year. That one stream was all it took for me to be hooked. The community aspect of having people come together to write, do homework, or be generally productive is immensely helpful. Knowing this, I don’t think I could go back to writing without these streams in one form or another.

Movies: I went to watch Eternals with my parents during its opening weekend. It’s a different kind of Marvel movie from anything else and I’m not sure how to feel about it still. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie a lot. The cinematography was stunning, the representation is beautiful, and I loved seeing how Chloe Zhao would change the way Marvel movies looked. But is it wrong or bad that I called the major plot twist in the first five minutes? I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an MCU plot twist right that early into the movie, but this one just felt so obvious to me.

Again, it’s not that the plot was bad or poorly written. It lives up to Marvel’s writing in many ways, but I also felt like I was expecting something…more? Is that the right word? No, I don’t think it is. It was good, but it’s not going on my list of favorites any time soon.

With all the hype around Red Notice coming out on Netflix, I watched this with my parents too. I went into it expecting a good time and that’s what I got. The plot is nothing to be wowed by, but the dynamic between Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot made me enjoy the movie. There were plot holes and I can’t say it’s the cleverest heist movie ever made, but it was a fun time. I got pretty much exactly what I was expecting.

AND how could I possibly forget the masterpiece that is the All Too Well short film?! I watched it along with the thousands of other people on YouTube when it premiered and wow, it was so amazing. Didn’t think I needed more of a reason to love Dylan O’Brien, but I now have more reason. He and Sadie Sink did such a beautiful job of playing out the dynamic of an age gap in a relationship, and I hate how well Dylan acted as toxic guy. I was genuinely furious with him during the short film, but I was also really confused because I love him as a person and actor so much. It’s truly a beautiful piece of work and I highly recommend watching it.

Shows: I had plans to finish my rewatch of Sex Education and Bakuman, but once I started writing more and watching all those Game Theorist videos, I never picked these shows back up. I think I might have watched one more episode of Sex Education and two episodes of Bakuman. Other than that, I didn’t continue with either of them. Maybe in December though.

Another K-drama with great ratings recently is Hellbound. I knew it first as the WebToon, so my dad started watching the first episode one night. I missed the second and fourth episodes, I think, but what I did watch was really good. The first season only has 6 episodes, which are all available now. They’re waiting to see if a second season gets green-lit, which I’m sure it will. But until then, I’m reading the WebToon version (which is very far behind) to understand things a little more.

Listening

Podcasts: I’ve gotten further into my re-listen of My Dad Wrote a Porno. It’s still encouraging because I know that if millions gather to listen to Rocky Flintstone’s highly questionable writing skills, I can produce something that actually has caliber. Please don’t take it personally, Rocky, it’s just that I still have no idea what’s going on despite having listened to the story twice now.

Sporadically, I put on a couple of episodes of Bad on Paper and My Favorite Murder because I needed a change. But neither of those lasted long. I’ve needed the comfort of something absolutely ridiculous that I can laugh at and that’s exactly what MDWAP has given me.

Music: The most important thing outside of NaNoWriMo was the drop of Red (Taylor’s Version). I got together with Audrey and some of her friends to do a listening party of all the From the Vault songs and the 10 minute version of All Too Well. It was a great time. I highly recommend doing listening parties with friends when your favorite artists drop new music. And if you misses it, I wrote a whole blog post about my favorite Taylor Swift songs to honor the release of her owning this album fully.

I haven’t really listened to much else outside of that album. It’s so well done. Basically, anything after November 12th has been entirely Taylor Swift. I’ve had the album on repeat any time I put on music with words, and a lot of that has been the 10 minute versions of All Too Well. Yes, you saw that correctly. It’s plural. There’s the Sad Girl Autumn version as well and I’ve been dramatically lip-syncing to it a lot over the past two weeks. I will take any chance to get out residual anger at the toxic guys from my past, and this song has helped a lot with that.

Before Taylor’s album dropped, I was talking to Jemi one day and she decided to spam me with about 15 songs she wanted me to listen to. Somehow, despite both of us being major Spotify users, neither of us thought about this until literally a few weeks ago. I created a collaborative playlist so Jemi can put in songs I need to listen to. Saves her from spamming me and saves me the trouble of asking what she’s been listening to. After all, I steal her music taste half the time so it works out.

When I wasn’t aggressively singing along to Taylor’s new album, I was playing music from my VERY, VERY long NaNoWriMo playlist (3,211 songs and 141 hours of playtime). I did try writing to Red (TV) for a bit, but I kept getting distracted by the lyrics and pretending I was in a dramatic early 2010s music video. So it was back to movie and TV show scores to keep me going.

Without fail, I start every writing project with My Dear Frodo from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. It feels fittings. Each project is a new journey, so starting with the musical beginning of an iconic fictional journey just feels right. From there, I sometimes go in chronological order of what I have in the playlist and sometimes pick the scores that feel most fitting for what I’m writing. The perks of having such a long playlist is that I’ll have something for every occasion. There isn’t a mood that I don’t have some music for. And if ever decided to listen through the whole thing, it would take me many, many hours of writing (almost 6 full days of writing).

Posting

YouTube: According to my Creator page, I posted two videos at the beginning of November. Do I remember doing that? Nope. Like I said, November is hazy for me if it’s not NaNoWriMo related. After putting up my second video of the month, I looked at my content calendar and realized I didn’t have the time to edit two massive videos while writing. So I decided to put off videos until I had the month was over and I didn’t need to devote all my free time to writing a novel.

I put up my vlog of trying the #AngieWay reading method and the second quarantine vlog I filmed. Both are long, but I had a lot of fun making them. Especially the Angie Way vlog. It was so interesting to watch myself work with my reading list as the month went on before it all descended into pure chaos. I liked that one a lot and Angie told me that she enjoyed watching it after I put it up.

Blog: I don’t really remember what I wrote or posted on the blog either. There was the Taylor Swift post, a few reviews, and a short list of a few things I’m saving for. Kind of sad that I couldn’t keep up with writing more posts, but guys, I wrote over 60K words in November. That’s a lot no matter how I look at it. I chose what mattered to me more and I’m glad I made that decision instead of stressing over trying to get more things written.

IG: I did my first ever Live on IG when the clock struck midnight on November 1st. I had it going until I hit the first 1,667 words for NaNoWriMo. Although I don’t think I actually got there before deciding to go to bed, but it was close. A few people came by to watch me write, but I mostly did it by myself as a fun little thing to keep me accountable.

Part 2 of my most popular Reel also went up. I intended to post it earlier to capitalize on some of the traction I had gotten from the first part, but I was so busy trying to write that it didn’t go up until the middle of the month. Once again, it took some time to gain traction, but it did decently well after a bit of time had gone by.

Only posting during the week is still really nice. I did miss two posts out of pure tiredness, but I did my best to keep to my regular schedule no matter how late it was when I posted. There were a few times when I posted after midnight because I was in a writing stream and forgot, but I still did it.

Pretty sure this was a longer wrap-up than October was. For someone who didn’t remember much of November, I somehow had a lot to say. Or maybe it’s my tendency to ramble. I can be very talkative for an introvert.

I like doing this though. It’s fun to reflect on a whole month of things. I find myself coming into the draft throughout the month to write down what I’ve been doing so I can keep track of everything. Having a place to record whole months of my life is like having a little time capsule to come back to in the future. And I really like that.

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