Sketchbook #21

Photography, Writing

This has been a strange month. (Another one.) Not bad, just… strange. In a number of ways.

I’m currently planning the second draft of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year, and I’m in the earliest stages of planning a different novel. I’d worried that it would be confusing, trying to work on two different stories, but it’s not; they complement one another, but they don’t get tangled up together.

It does mean that I’m working on two different stories, but not actually writing either of them right now. I’m not putting words on the page. And the writing routine I built over the last five months doesn’t quite work when I’m outlining, or researching, or trying to make sense of the notes I made last November. I’ve been trying to do some free writing, but… meh. I don’t quite have the hang of that—I always reach a point where it feels like I’m just typing, rather than writing.

So, keeping myself on track—and feeling like I’m actually being productive—has been a bit of a struggle.

What I really want is something like my daily photo project, but for writing: a low-pressure way to give myself a little bit of structure and a reason to actually do the work. I’ve been really happy with the 365 project so far: not every photo is great (or even particularly good), but I’ve produced a few that I really like, and I’ve seen an improvement in my work in general, just in the last three months. Even posting the pictures to Instagram is part of it—I’m not chasing likes, but I’m not going to deny that the only reason the project hasn’t stalled out already is because I’ve got people who notice when I post, and who comment when I post a particularly good shot.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks trying to come up with a way to do something similar with writing, without much luck. I did have one idea that ticked all of the boxes, but… it’s not something I want to do. (And I realize I’m being vague. But. It’s not a good idea, and I’m just going to leave it at that.)

(I also realize that I’m saying this on a blog, and that a pretty good solution would be to just post more often. And that might be what I end up doing, but I’d rather focus on writing fiction.)

On a brighter note, this whole thing inspired me to dig out the unfinished drafts I was working on a couple of years ago, when I made my first attempt to ease myself back into writing. My goal at the time was to write 500 words of fiction a day, with no real plan or outline, just to see if I still could (and get some of the ideas out of my head). The attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, but… a couple of those drafts are actually really good. The stories themselves aren’t going to go anywhere (I abandoned them for a good reason), but… I think I came closer to “finding my voice”—or just finding a prose style that really works for me—in those stories than I have before or since. It’s a good time to remind myself of that, right when I’m about to start the rewriting process.

So! What’s coming next?

April’s going to be a busy month for me, which… isn’t great, but it’ll be a good time to think about my options and try to figure out how to bring some structure to my writing time. And, now that I’ve started, I want to get the outline for draft 2 of the NaNoWriMo novel done ASAP; if at all possible, I’d like to start the writing process sometime in May.

I’m taking my time with the outline for the next story. I rushed the process for the NaNoWriMo outline (trying to get a plan in place for 1 November), and I regret it now. But I’m still working on it, and I want to see real progress by the end of the month.

I’m also hoping to get out and take some proper photos sometime soon. But, really, I’m pleased with how my photography is going. If I can keep it up, I’ll be happy.

2017 Project365 #79 | Reghan Skerry

Project365: #78-84

Photography

Let’s be honest: by the end of the year, about 80% of the pictures I take for this project are going to be of cats or carbs. That’s fine.

I don’t have too much to say about this week’s photos, except that I’ve been trying to take that picture of Lucy for at least two weeks. She has a tendency to sit like that, looking adorable, until the moment I pick up my phone or get the camera in focus, and then she gets up, walks three feet to the left, and then sits down again in the exact same position.

Every time. (Almost.)

Snapshot #73 | 10 Things for 26 March 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. wishing… that grocery delivery was an option in my area. It would be so helpful.
2. having… kind of a weird week. Nothing major, just… random daydreams and a lot of internal debates that don’t actually go anywhere. 😐
3. loving… this TED Talk. (This one was good too, but in a slightly-depressing kind of way.)
4. thinking… about alternatives to Evernote. I’ve loved the app since 2009, but… ugh. I hate the most recent iOS version. I’ve accepted a few minor annoyances over the last little while, but it might be time to switch.
5. wanting… a change of scene. I keep finding myself browsing airfares. And apartment listings in cities I’ve never visited. Or just wondering how practical it would be to swap my bedroom for the office. (Not very.)
6. starting… to outline the second draft of the NaNoWriMo story. (Have I mentioned that I’m basically rewriting the entire thing from scratch? Because I’m basically rewriting the entire thing from scratch.)
7. buying… the supplies I need to finish up that bag I’ve been making. Finally!
8. getting… annoyed. I’m looking at non-specific schedule disruptions for the next week and a half, and it’s throwing me off my game.
9. trying… to get focussed. (See numbers 2, 5, and 8.)
10. hoping… that the weather evens out soon. I am ready for spring. (I probably said the same thing last week, didn’t I?)

2017 Project365 #74 | Reghan Skerry

Project365: #71-77

Photography

I’m a day late posting this week’s roundup, I know. The last few days of the week were a low point, as far as inspiration goes, and it was a bit of a struggle to get myself motivated. (There are a handful of small chores involved in preparing the photos for a blog post—not to mention finding something to say about them—and I just couldn’t be bothered until today.)

However! This week does feature one of my favourite photos of this entire project-to-date. It might actually be one of my favourite photos I’ve ever taken with my phone. And it was probably part of the reason I struggled with the rest of the week…. There are some days when I really don’t mind taking ok and uninspired photos, but I wanted to follow that picture with something as good or better, and it just wasn’t happening.

Still. I do really like the nail polish.

Snapshot #72 | 10 Things for 12 March 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. shopping… for new makeup and workout gear.
2. thinking… about storytelling in general, and my next project in particular. It’s going to be interesting.
3. spending… an entire day reviewing & rebooting my goals. (I’m trying to do that once a quarter… so far, so good.)
4. feeling… all the inspiration and motivation that goes along with that. (And a little bit of anxiety, because.)
5. eating… Cadbury Creme Eggs.
6. having… a bit of a ’60s girl group moment.
7. taking… advantage of the time change. It’s the one day a year that the cat lets me sleep in.
8. reading… my NaNoWriMo draft. It… well. It needs a lot of work. But it’s not terrible. I’m still really looking forward to draft two.
9. working… on the tote bag. Still. It really is almost done, but I’ve got to pick up a few bits of hardware before I can wrap it up. (Also: I’m improvising the whole thing, so I keep having ideas that I want to incorporate. They’re not all successful.)
10. settling… on a recipe for Easter dessert. (Turns out, I’m going for cheesecake after all.)

2017 Project365 #60 | Reghan Skerry

Project365: #57-63

Photography

This is a first: this week, my daily photo project has produced multiple photographs that I’m genuinely happy with. Obviously, there were still a few days where inspiration failed me entirely, but that’s fine. The good photos more than make up for the bad and uninspired ones.

And, yeah: another picture of a loaf of bread. But I refuse to live in a world where homemade bread is considered too boring to photograph.