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May check-in: Falling off the wagon May 1, 2020

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The story of my writing in April can be pretty well summarized by the graphs of my progress:april-prog-1april-prog-2

Truth be told, I struggled a bit emotionally in April. As a result, I focused on self-care, which meant allowing myself to not write if I wasn’t feeling it or couldn’t get into the scene. I just didn’t have the mental spoons to beat myself up over my own goals.

So, I ended up with a large lull mid-month. And while I started off well enough increasing my daily goal to try to recover from it, I lost motivation at the end of the month and only ended up with 15,385 words of my goal of 20,000.

But I’m not worrying about it. I’ve adjusted my daily goals for May to try to make up for those last few thousand words I didn’t hit in April. It’s not a huge difference, so hopefully I’ll be able to manage it.

I didn’t do much else creative last month, either, particularly in the second half of it. Mainly, I’ll admit, because I’ve been playing video games. I received my preorders of Final Fantasy VII Remake and Trials of Mana, and the latter has been a great stress reliever in the past week.

I have also been continuing to play guitar. Not as consistently as I’d like, but I’ve played enough to now surpass where I got before I gave up last time, in both rhythm and lead guitar. In fact, I’m into it enough that I’m lamenting the brief instruction time on Yousician free and starting to consider a subscription to the app. (Of course, part of that may be that my tablet’s battery is too weak anymore to use for playing tabs I download.)

I’ve also maintained another good habit.

Screenshot_20200501-115656_Fit

(Six weeks ago I missed one day due to bringing home the kitten.)

I’ve been doing very little activity aside from 20-25 minutes on the elliptical every weekday, and unfortunately my body seems to be growing used to that. However, I’m glad to be keeping up this routine, and to anyone else struggling right now, I can’t stress this enough: get some exercise if physically able.

For May, I’m playing it by ear. The month is starting with gorgeous weather in southern Ontario and I’m actually trying to grow some vegetables. (This is a big deal; I finally gave up on trying to fight my lifelong brown thumb a few years ago.) But I may need to resort to more Trials of Mana and not just because I like the game. I’ve adjusted my writing goals, but I’m going in with no expectations. Lockdown is hitting me hard, despite that my life has received less disruption than many and I’m enjoying staying at home and having my family around me. Above all, I intend to continue being kind to myself. I hope those of you having a hard time out there feel the same way.

April check-in April 1, 2020

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people-1492052_1920There, it’s happened: March 2020 is finally over.

Not that April shows much more promise yet, but it’s a welcome reminder that all things are temporary. Hang in there, everyone. We will get through this.

So, was March better or worse for my writing? Neither, really. As the owner of a home-based business, the biggest changes to my day-to-day life have been having the family at home all the time and the cancellation of extracurricular activities. The latter has had a bigger impact than I was prepared for (though shouldn’t have been), as spending an hour or two alone waiting for lessons to complete four nights a week provided an excellent opportunity to get writing done, and indeed became my routine for half the week. I’ve had to fit in more time for writing at home, obviously, which comes with its own challenges.

Fortunately, I haven’t had to combat heightened stress or anxiety, so struggles with writing usually pertained to the normal issues: blank page syndrome, figuring out where a scene is going, just not feeling it some nights. Overall, I’ve kept up progress pretty much in line with my goals, and ended up just falling short on the last day of the month, due largely to a general devil-may-care attitude this week, and yesterday in particular.

I’m not disappointed with my progress though.

march-prog-1

march-prog-2

Note that these figures only begin from the day I started the spreadsheet to track my writing progress, on the 8th.

The story itself is progressing well. I don’t feel like it’s moving too quickly or too slowly, though how the remaining 2/3 of the story unfolds remains to be seen. I should note at this point that 120,000 words is an easy goal for the length of the manuscript, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it falls short of that.

Aside from writing this book, I’ve dipped into some other creative pursuits in the past few weeks, which I’ll share in coming posts. I continue to work on playing Tales of Vesperia, the first game for PS4 that I started playing in earnest, which I’ve almost finished now, some fifty hours in.

I even picked up the guitar again after at least a year of letting it collect dust. I need to build up the calluses on my fingers before I can start properly playing chords again, but I’ve done enough work on lead guitar over the past week or so to be back to the point I was at when I stopped playing before. I’m not going to make any promises about continuing–it’s easy to say I’ll keep doing it when I don’t have to make those four trips out per work week, making sure dinner is ready precisely on time every night–but I’d certainly like to keep it up. And, given that the app I’m using to learn it only allows me about ten minutes per day of instruction, I could do that in the afternoons instead of, say, that stupid mobile game I keep playing, if at a limited rate.

Also, I got a kitten.

20200401_140502

So, here we go, April.

February check-in February 9, 2020

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A little late, but at least not as late as my last post. If I keep this up, I might eventually write a blog post on time!

So, here we are a month into the new year. (Wait, already? No wait, only? What year is it?!) I thought I would check in with my progress on my goals for 2020.

I fell a bit short of my goal for writing book 3 of the Sisters of Chaos trilogy last month, only ending up with 2,500 words of my intended 10,000. However, the important part is I’ve beaten blank page syndrome and have indeed started writing the novel, and I’m starting to develop the habit of writing again. Not much of what I’ve written so far I feel is very good, but at this point I’m just pounding words out on the page. I’m certainly more of a plantser (plotter + pantser) than either/or, and I need to just write to find out what works and what doesn’t.

I was also very glad to start a new scene today from a different character’s POV and find that the interaction between this character and another continues to be incredibly fun. Simply letting the two play off each other ended up with some unexpectedly entertaining dialogue.

Taking my goal of 10,000 words/month very literally, I need only write about 660 words per day to get back on track with 20,000 by the end of February. Considering that I’ve been writing around that much or more most days that I’ve actually sat down to write in the past few weeks, I’m feeling pretty positive about my progress so far, even if that daily goal is about twice what I would normally need to hit 10k in a month.

Reading has also been going well, as I managed to knock off four books on my TBR in January, and have completed two others since then, which brings me down to less than twenty remaining. I also read my first 5-star book in almost two years, Artemis by Andy Weir. Incredibly entertaining and highly recommended.

20200206_203210

Ready to game.

 

Of course, last week a PlayStation 4 happened.

So, now I need to be a little more stringent in handling my free time. I’m working on it. Today was a success story; work days might be a little trickier.

In unrelated artistic news, I’ve tried out some new baking techniques recently. A mirror glaze (didn’t quite work out as intended) and, just today, I attempted decorating cookies with royal icing by piping wet-on-wet. While I made some mistakes and learned some things, and could certainly use a smaller piping tip, they came out pretty well.

Nothing else of note in the last month, but then, I am trying to limit my attention to just a few endeavors right now, much as I might derive inspiration for other media. Must… focus…

At the moment, I’m feeling good about how I’m doing. Keeping the big picture in mind while focusing on achieving the small daily goals.

Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Passion in progress April 18, 2010

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Some new sketches from this weekend:

And a progress image from a large, currently secret work, done last weekend:

Sketch backlog the third March 23, 2010

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It’s not much of a backlog anymore, nor is it necessarily all sketches, but I have a streak going.  Why not keep it up?  (I’ll post some writing soon.  I swear.)

Walking home last week, I saw someone in our neighbourhood walking a dog with really pretty markings that reminded me a bit of African wild dogs, and I wanted to draw it.

Our cat Tux, drawn from life last September.

Concept sketch for a larger piece.  I have a very vivid picture in my mind of how this one’s going to look, but alas, I don’t think I’ll have the chance to work on it for some time, so I threw down some quick colour a few minutes ago to try to keep the image fresh.  Unfortunately, it’s only making me want to work on the final version of it more.  C’est la vie.

Obviously not a sketch, this is a progress image of a picture I worked on this weekend.  The sketch was done about three years ago, though I couldn’t work myself up to painting it until now.  I have about three hours’ more work on this one done now, but I do have priority art I should really work on first, so I’m not sure when it’ll be finished.  It will be, though, undoubtedly, and hopefully before too long.

Photos part 2 January 8, 2010

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It occurs to me that while I didn’t take a lot of really great photos last year, I still have most of the year’s work to catch up on.  This will take a few posts.

I also put together a chart chronicling my art progress over the past seven years:

As frustrating as my art has been in recent years, it was reassuring to make that.

Progress update May 3, 2008

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Bear with me here while I get this thing the way I want it.  There are so many options and features that I feel like I should do more with this than I had planned.  What counts, of course, is the content, so I thought I’d do an update on current projects.

Art – I still haven’t been able to get myself seriously into comics, so art is still going a picture at a time.  The only major project in that regard is the 2009 catgirl calendar, a continuation of a series I began several years ago, but neglected to get to last year for the first time since I started it.  I did sketch out all calendar images, most of them to my satisfaction, so I do intend to make it this year, I just need to sit down and work on it.

As for other art, I never have any shortage of works in progress.  Think I’ll update with a list of them later.  At the moment, since I’m still recovering from my latest bout of crippling perfectionism, I’m feeling more inclined to work on a series of simple portraits I did for various people I know, at least to get back into the swing of things.

I do have, at some point, a 25-page comic planned, scripted, and a couple pages already storyboarded.  I came up with the idea years ago, and even drew a few panels back then, as a way to introduce myself to comics.  That I still haven’t gotten around to it makes clear the fact that I probably couldn’t handle an epic comic, but I like the story and I would still like to draw it.  One of these days, I’ll just have to sit down and make myself do it, but with the volume of works in progress I currently have on the go, I’m content to let it wait a bit longer.

On the other hand, I haven’t written any short stories in quite some time and novels have consumed my writing for a while now:

Aurius – This began as my NaNoWriMo project last November.  Three months later and roughly 70,000 words past the finish mark, I completed the story.  I’ve spent the past couple months rereading it and editing it and as of yesterday, I have begun a proposal for submission to a publisher.  Still have to work on the cover letter and rewriting it for a few different publishers.  Wish me luck.

Eyes of a Dragon – The first serious novel I started writing, this has gone through half a dozen or more different attempts, and I’ve recently begun writing it again.  This is the most current project, and I’m hoping to continue working on it until I finish.  I managed to write Aurius in four months; if I just adopt the NaNo attitude, hopefully I can get at least close to the end before this November comes up.  I actually hadn’t meant to start writing this again just yet, but I guess the characters decided it was time.

The Fire Within – Working title of a novel I finished writing a year ago and available to read on the website.  After sitting on it for nearly a year, I finally started revising it, but it’s currently stalled as I try to figure out what to do with it.  Unlike Aurius and Eyes, the things that happen in TFW just don’t seem essential to the story, and I’m struggling to figure out what I want to do with it.  At this point, I’m content to just revise it as is – that’s how the story began, as it was reincarnated from its past form as a Final Fantasy-based story – but I’m still somewhat displeased with the conflict in the second half of the story.  I’d like to get it cleaned up and done, because the longer I leave it available to read online, the less I like it as it is now – though I’ll admit, I like the way it’s written, just not the plot – but it’s at the back of my mind since I started EoaD again.

Halcyon – A fairly recent idea pretty developed and lacking only some details in the middle of the story before it can be written.  Saving this one for next NaNoWriMo, as I do predict it’ll be a bit shorter than some of my other ideas.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t turn out to be.

Dreams to Tears – Old title for another originally FF-based story turned original.  I’ve been working on developing this one for a little while, as the storyline and characters are a bit deeper and more complex than most of my other stories.  However, it did occur to me recently that an idea I’ve been nursing for it makes the conflict of the story pretty much the same as in Halcyon, so it needs a little more work yet.

Picking Up the Pieces – Non-fantasy novella idea I came up with some time back which I would like to get out at some point.  Yes, this one would be shorter, without question.

Untitled thus far – A few years ago, I thought about doing an epic comic and came up with this idea for it.  Since I still haven’t managed to get off my butt and do even the 25-page comic I already have scripted, I decided to adapt it for a novel, instead.  I actually expanded on the original idea into a series.  Due to the nature of the story, I think each part will be a shorter novel, at least by my standards, but when I do get around to writing it, I would like to write it as a series.