Things I’ve done in the past week.

  • Gone through 2.5 bottles of red wine
  • Fallen in love with Sherlock a la Benedict Cumberbatch
  • (not written anything towards the novel)
  • Made chocolate chip cookies
  • Ordered indie nail polish
  • Drank more wi-

Oh, what was that? What was the third thing on my list again? Shush. Silence. You didn’t read anything. I’ve been such a disciplined, diligent writer, writing hundreds of words every day. The novel’s almost finished, now. There’s just pages and pages and I’ve made incredible progress.

Sigh.

Sometimes I feel like this will never get finished. And then I don’t write for a week, and I really feel that way.

Okay. No time to dwell on the past. Got to keep moving forward, right? deep breath. All right then.

(picture me marching gallantly back into the field of battle, here. While wearing a kilt. Kilts are awesome.)

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In which I take a break from writing to talk about fuzzy animals.

So when I’m not spending my weekdays writing (or more often than not, avoiding writing), I am often spending it instead with fuzzy, adorable animals.

Not everyone thinks the animals I coo over are adorable, mind you. For example: we’ve had a spider living outside our front door for several weeks now, and I’ve grown strangely attached to him. He’s our spiderbro and I root for him when he rebuilds his web. I totally look for him every day to say hi.

But I didn’t come to talk about spiderbro. I came to squee about some of the adorable animals I work with at the best volunteer job ever.

I volunteer for an animal education group, and a lot of my time is spent prepping animal diets and cleaning enclosures. BUT, another big part of my time is spent socializing with the animals, and it’s almost always one of the high points of my week (except for when I get into boxing matches with the kangaroo. No, really. That happens a lot).

A new little animal came to us recently, and he has stoleth my heart, I daresay. Like a thieving thief.

His name is Lionel.

Lionel, the babiest, slothiest sloth.

Oh little tiny baby sloth, my husband is so sick of hearing about you. Because I talk about him all weekend long. “Do you want to go drive over and see Lionel?” I’ll ask him, when we’re taking a walk, and he’ll sigh. “I just wish I could hold Lionel right now,” I say, as we’re sitting down to watch a movie. My husband looks skyward and nods his head, knowing there’s no way to break me out of animal mania once I’ve gotten sucked in.

So, I’ve taken to sitting with Lionel for ages, and he’ll fall asleep on my chest, his little claws curled around wrinkles in the fabric of my shirt. And when I put him back in his enclosure, he’ll wrap his arms around his ‘Mama bear,’ which you can see in the picture. He lost his mom at a young age, and Mama Bear acts as a replacement and a security blanket. He spends most of the day sleeping with his arms wrapped around her.

Seriously. He needs to stop being so freaking adorable.

I work with a lot of other animals, but this post has already gotten ridiculously long enough since I can’t seem to not turn into a cooing, melting mess when I start talking about Lionel. But I thought I would share this picture with you guys, because it amused me how this little armadillo was eating.

Right, so eating IN my food bowl is probably the best way to approach this.

This dillo lives with eight other armadillos, but he’s a baby and hasn’t seemed to grasped the concept of ‘sharing’ yet. Nobody else needs to eat, right?

Interestingly enough, he and his brother were actually ‘surprise babies.’ We’d had no idea the mama dillo had had a litter until they were old enough to start wandering around on their own. It was definitely a pleasant surprise.

Also, the food he’s eating took a long, tumbling route to get to him, as I managed to trip and roll down a hill while carrying it, spilling a bunch of it everywhere in a rain of insectivore, dog kibble, and shredded carrots. Sigh. I’ll say this: picking pebbles out of your forearms and limping up a hill to remake food for 26 armadillos is not the funfest you might imagine it would be.

But it’s totally worth it.

So since my husband fell asleep and I can’t keep talking to him about my animal friends, I’m babbling to my blog instead. I mean, it’s just hard for me to focus on writing when Lionel is a little distance away, wishing I could hold him (and he totally wants me to hold him. We’re going to be total BFF’s one day. I have to get started on the friendship bracelets). So, I have an excuse for not having written yet today, right? Right? Sigh. No. Okay fine, I’ll get to work.

* grumbling and stomping back to writing desk *

Things I did tonight instead of writing:

Cleaned all my fountain pens

Drank wine

Tried out some new fountain ink

Tried to convince my dog to sleep in a cat bed

Lit some incense

Lit some candles

Stared at the candle flame for an undetermined amount of time

Attempted to have a conversation with the characters in my story

Went shopping, bought nail polish remover and more wine

Wrote about how I wasn’t writing

Finally gave up and started writing. And you know what? It was slow, and my writing is rough, but it was also kind of fun. My characters are still weak and undeveloped, but they’re getting to know themselves and each other, and there was some good dialogue going on. I think not writing is harder on me than when I finally sit down and write.

Word count for the day: 1,029

Excuses

Last month, I printed out a monthly calendar and started writing down my word count towards the novel for each day. On days when I’d written nothing, I’d simply put down the hideous, shaming number zero, where it burned singular and lonely in its little daily square.

This month, I’m taking it a step further and writing down my reasons when I have a zero day. So far, I have three of them (out of five in the month! I hate myself). And the reasons consist of: 10/2 Headache, 10/3 Villain issues/brainstorming, and 10/4/ which just says UGH. Because I basically was in such a state of self-loathing at that point that I spent the entire day on the couch, miserable.

Isn’t it weird that the solution to my gloom is to simply sit down and write, but I just keep…not doing it? Mustn’t I hate myself very much to keep doing this to myself? And then when I do sit down to write, and I realize ten minutes in that my eyebrows have crinkled together in a vice grip and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to relax them…why am I doing this to myself? Shouldn’t this be fun? Shouldn’t I be metaphorically skipping through a sunny meadow, since I’m trying to pursue my dream, allegedly doing the thing I love? Maybe I actually hate writing. Have I just been wrong my entire life?

I’m beating myself up more often than not. When I’m writing, I’m trying to shut up the inner critic and jam out the words. When I’m not writing, I’m hating myself for not writing. And I want to run away from it all and work at Subway. Except something small and quiet inside me keeps saying, “This is what you want to do. Keep trying.” And somehow, it manages to be heard above the clamor, above me stomping and flailing and brewing a thousand cups of procrastination coffee. And it calms me for a second, and I sit back down.

I think I’m making myself crazy. But that was probably bound to happen whether or not I decided to finally try and pursue this writing thing.