Purple Bangs

So I dyed my bangs purple. It’s another one of things I’ve been doing lately just because. It’s a little unsettling, because I’ve been a huge self-analyzer since…well…probably as long as I can remember. And now I’m doing things just because I can. No internal struggle over the why. No big identity crisis.

Though, I’m probably directly contradicting myself here, because obviously I’m worried enough about it to talk about it. My nervousness about dying my hair in Portland of all places is pretty silly; and of all things to do when having a just-do-it moment, dying your hair is minor. It’s not permanent. It’ll wash out or grow out or whatever.

Or maybe it’s more along the lines of I didn’t have an identity crisis before deciding to dye my hair, but I’m wondering about it now. It goes along with the whole concern about identity that’s happening post-graduation: my sense of self and esteem has been tied to school for so long I’m feeling in limbo. Change in the moment isn’t necessarily scary because everything seems to be changing, but afterwards it’s like, did I just make everything worse?

Anyway, let’s move on from the whining session.

My word count for the novel I’m working on has a current total of just under 120k words. That’s definitely the largest I’ve ever written. Everything I’d researched before always said that novels really shouldn’t be over 100k, soooo, I kinda freaked myself out about having to cut scenes and gave myself writer’s block for a few days. (However, I have been doing more research about book lengths and I might be more alright than I think). Editing will probably take that down a bit. But anyway, I pulled myself out of it last night and wrote the ending scene. That helped. I’ve just got one more scene to write before I can bring the story full circle. . .

(We’re just going to skitter away from the whole idea I might have this novel done soon before I start spazzing out)

Speaking of finishing a novel! A few days left before NaNoWriMo starts. It’s been really fun to read all of the comments on it; some of you are really excited, some of you are done with all the updates about it already, and some of you are just like whatever. I can’t decide if I’m going to participate or not. I never have before, mostly because writing at least 50k words while attending college is a bit difficult, and this year I don’t have that in the way. On the other hand, I’m not quite sure I’m going to have the energy to write that much after wrangling my current project.

(I know, waaaa. Boo-hoo to me.)

But, there is also something very clarifying about moving from one project to working on another, at least for me. Maybe it’s because after working on something for so long it’s harder to step back and see the big picture. Moving to another project provides the break to allow clarity. Also, I think that focusing on a different story with different characters and places and tone allows for the subtleties of the first story to be more apparent when returning to it. There’s always the danger of screwing up the tone of the first one, but I think if the author is aware of it, it can be beneficial.

What do you think? Does working on a couple or few projects aid in your process, or does it hinder your ability to see the individual stories clearly?

(and is 120k words too long?)

About R. K. Brainerd

I've been writing since my pre-teens, mostly in the realm of fantasy and sci-fi. Taking interesting concepts and dropping complex characters into fantastical worlds is my jam. I also raise dairy goats and herd cats, the evidence of which can be found on my Instagram. Welcome to the adventure. View all posts by R. K. Brainerd

4 responses to “Purple Bangs

  • thatjenn

    Enjoy the purple bangs! It really sounds like fun. And I would read 120K words but I’m a huge nerd. 🙂


  • Tabitha Genthner

    When I write, I find getting side tracked with writing some other stories here and there to be cathartic. I think because I do invest myself on such a personal level with my characters, I get annoyed at their choices or how they treat others (even though I’m technically orchestrating it all). I’m also an over-editor and I do miss important things because I can’t tear myself away because it will never be perfect. I encourage side tracking.

    I’m pretty nerdy about any kind of book, short or long. I suppose I can only offer, as long as the 120k is consistently strong and isn’t that long for the sole purpose of bragging rights of being 120k words.


  • aspirationsofflight

    Ah yes, the aim of perfection. I’ve gotten better about not obsessing over the details to achieve “perfection,” though I wonder if I’m really just ignoring it and it’ll come haunt me later with vengence.

    I also get annoyed with my characters. But I think it’s more of a annoyance with their voice after spending so much time writing it. Which is funny, because technically it’s my voice.

    I hope mine is consistently strong. That is the aim! And yes, I agree. As my step-father would say, quality over quantity. Nobody is going to read it if it’s crap anyway.


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