Sketchbook #1

Art + Craft, Writing

Starting today, I’ll be sharing updates and behind-the-scenes looks at the various creative projects I’m working on: writing, painting, photography, whatever works I happen to have in progress. It’s probably going to take a couple of tries before I figure out the format, but you can expect to see these Sketchbook posts on the last Monday of each month. Love it? Hate it? Have something else you’d like to see? Tell me what you think!

Untitled (Medium Test 1) |

An early, small-scale test. If it was 2’x3′ instead of 5″x7″, I’d be tempted to just leave it as-is.

I’ve had vague ideas for a painting for a while now—nothing complicated, just an abstract with some text, but I haven’t been entirely sure how I wanted to tackle it. But I’ve started some tests (mostly playing with different ways of applying the paint and what sort of texture I want to add), and I think I’ve got an idea of what I want the text to be, so I seem to finally be making progress. (Which is good, because I’m kind of getting sick of that one giant empty wall.)

That said, I need to top up some of my paint supplies; I’ve still got plenty of titanium white, but it’s starting to thicken up a bit, and I need to get some new black. Which means I’m going to obsess over whether mars black or ivory black is better for this particular piece, because I’m ridiculous like that. (The final project will involve a lot more black than the test piece above.)

Still: progress!

Somehow, I’m also making progress on the writing project I started a couple of weeks ago.

I’m still working without any sort of outline, though that’s probably going to change very soon. So far, I’ve just been writing individual scenes as they come to me, completely out of order and with only the hint of a plot connecting them. And, so far, that’s worked. It’s giving me a chance to get to know the characters and their world, and the freewriting aspect is showing me what I need to be thinking about when I get into the story itself.

But. I do need to find a coherent plot within these disconnected scenes, and I need an outline to do that, even if it’s only bare-bones. I’m going to start working on that next, I think. (It turns out that there’s an advantage to limiting myself to only about 500 words a day: I can fit that in alongside outlining, and painting, and photography, and everything else I want to do right now. It’s not an either/or situation.)

And I’m happy with what I’ve been writing, which feels like a small miracle. One scene in particular might be one of the best things I’ve ever written; even if I decide it doesn’t work in the overall story, or if I still change my mind about committing to the whole story, that one scene might have to become a standalone short.

Snapshot #25 | 10 Things for 24 May 2015



1. starting… my annual search for a high-SPF sunscreen that doesn’t leave chalky stains all over everything. (Have a recommendation? Let me know. Please. I’m desperate. I’m also super pale and wear a lot of black.)
2. feeling… productive. And inspired. I seem to be getting stuff done for once. It’s kind of awesome.
3. planting… this summer’s garden. Or getting ready to, at least.
4. getting… over my fear of horizontal stripes. Apparently.
5. pretending… that the Jem and the Holograms movie doesn’t exist. (Not linking to the trailer; if you want to see it you can find it.) 7-year-old me (who was always Stormer when she and her friends played ‘Jem’—and hell yes I wanted to be one of the Misfits) would be so disappointed.
6. trying… to get (back?) into the Twitter habit. And Instagram.
7. thinking… that if a certain beta reader hadn’t gone AWOL a few years ago, she’d be blown away by the stuff I’ve been working on lately.
8. wishing… the cat wasn’t quite so obsessed with routine. I can’t remember the last time I got to sleep in, even a little.
9. looking… for a good iOS text editor. Markdown support is nice, Dropbox support is essential, but other than that, is just needs to be as straightforward as possible. (And look nice.)
10. putting… the finishing touches on something new. It’ll be up tomorrow.

Telling Stories


So, it seems like I’ve started writing (fiction) again.

Despite the hints I’ve been dropping over the last while, I didn’t really plan this. It’s not one of the story ideas I’ve been turning over in my mind, I haven’t done any outlining, and I’m not really sure where I’m going with it. But the idea came to me last night, almost fully-formed, and it seems to be one of those ideas that demands to be written.

This morning, I wrote 500 words.

I could have done more. I kind of wanted to do more. But I’m still not sure that I can write this sort of thing without letting it take over my life. (And not in a good way. I’m not talking about “flow,” I’m talking about obsessive perfectionism that makes me hate the process of writing, and hate every word I’ve ever written.) I’m hoping that I can take things slowly and remember that I do actually enjoy writing, sometimes.

It’s possible that nothing’s going to come of this. The concept might not be able to sustain the story. I may not be able to find a plot in all the cool ideas and character moments. I might lose interest, or I might have to abandon the story if I start to get too weird about it. It might be a good thing that this isn’t one of the stories I’ve been thinking about for a year, because it takes some of the pressure off—I don’t have any real expectations for it, and if it doesn’t work out, it’ll be easier to let it go. And if it does work….

500 words today. A lot of notes. And I still feel pretty good about all of it.

For now, that’s enough.

Snapshot #24 | 10 Things for 10 May 2015



1. loving… that it’s finally starting to feel like spring. Just in time for summer.
2. thinking… about tattoos. Still. The fact that I’m thinking about them isn’t unusual. The fact that, for once, I know exactly what I want, and the placement, and haven’t got bored of the idea within a week? That’s unusual.
3. getting… distracted. Or obsessed. Could go either way.
4. watching… the UK election results. Because… I’m not entirely sure why. (And, in the end, I kind of wish I could pretend it didn’t happen.)
5. freaking… out over nothing. Literally nothing. Ugh.
6. making… plans for the garden.
7. reorganizing… some of the categories around here. It’s still going to be a while before I’m ready to launch the redesign, but I’ve got a few minor changes to do in the meantime.
8. realizing… a few things about myself.
9. building… my routines back up.
10. indulging… in that white forest cake I mentioned. So. Good.

Nick Cave: ‘There is a Light’ | Soundtrack

Inspiration + Obsessions

This one’s a bit different.

Something—I’m not entirely sure what—reminded me of this song a couple of weeks ago. It took a bit of time to track it down (I knew it was Nick Cave, and I knew I had it on a mix tape when I was 16, but beyond that…), and then it turns out that it only seems to appear on one album, and the track isn’t available for purchase on its own.

And I’m not buying the entire Batman Forever soundtrack just for one song. (I’d forgotten Batman Forever existed, to be honest.)

It’s not Nick Cave’s best song (though I still love it). It’s twenty years old. But nostalgia + the degree of difficulty in finding it means I’ve been listening to this song obsessively for about a week:

‘There is a Light’ by Nick Cave.