Sketchbook #18

So! This month!

My creative life has pretty much been taken over by NaNoWriMo. Which isn’t a bad thing—I kind of knew that was going to happen, and I planned accordingly. But it doesn’t really leave me with a lot to talk about here. Despite the cold that knocked me back last week, I’m on track to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month (!!), but I’m only about two thirds of the way through the story. I’m going to keep writing until it’s done (hopefully sometime before Christmas), and I’ll have some kind of postmortem for you then. Right now, I’m still too close to the whole thing to really talk about it much.

But it’s going well! I don’t hate the story, the concept of writing, or the world in general. (Or… I kind of do, but that’s not related to my writing. I’ll get back to that in a minute.) So that’s good!

Still, like I said: it doesn’t leave me with much to talk about. I’ve been chipping away at the 52 week photo project, but my heart hasn’t really been in it, and I haven’t been doing much other photography. I haven’t been drawing at all, my sewing project is on hold, and my painting is still more of an idea than an actual thing.

Despite all that, I’m feeling pretty good, creatively.

Over the past month, my motivation has kicked into overdrive. Some of that has to do with NaNoWriMo itself (and I’ll go into those specifics in my postmortem), some of it is because I’m starting to learn more about what motivates me and how to make it work, even when I don’t feel all that inspired. And… some of it is a direct result of the US election.

I’m angry. I’m heartbroken. I’m scared for the future.

I know that those same feelings have made it difficult for others to think about making any kind of art. (I’ve seen so many people who gave up on NaNo altogether after the election.) And that makes sense. When I heard the news on November 9, I kind of expected the same thing.

But that’s not what happened.

For me, the anger and heartbreak and fear is turning into fuel.

I believe in art as a disruptive force. I believe in art as an act of resistance, and of defiance. I believe that art and stories can both document and shape the culture.

And I believe that we need that right now.

So, that’s where I am: committed to telling stories and taking pictures and making art that represents the world I believe in—messy and beautiful and complicated and diverse. I’m feeling more motivated now than ever before.

So. What comes next?

My first goal in December is to get to “the end” in this particular story. It’s seriously flawed, but the foundation is good, and I’m really happy with the writing routine I’ve managed to create this month. It feels like something I can sustain, maybe even around the holidays.

But let’s be honest: that’s probably wishful thinking, especially with everything I’ve been neglecting in November. I still have to get back to work on my photo project (even though my mind is already moving on to other projects), and I am absolutely determined to finish my painting and sewing projects before the end of the year. And I’m still hopeful that I’m going to get my portfolio updated by Christmas. (I can do some of it, but I might not finish.)

Regardless of how the rest of the year goes, I’m already starting to think about 2017.

It’s going to be interesting.