Sketchbook #24

This hasn’t been a great month.

I’ll just get that out of the way to start: I haven’t done nearly as much writing as I’d hoped, and photography has been a bit of a struggle, and I still haven’t started my painting.

But weirdly, I’m ok with that. I’m realizing that this is completely normal for me, and I’m learning how to work with it.

When I set my goals at the beginning of the year, I made plans to come back and revisit them every few months: to make sure my goals haven’t changed, to think about whether or not I’m on track, and to decide on my next steps. I didn’t really think too much about it at the time—it was just something I picked up from a productivity article—but it’s turning out to be an essential part of my creative process.

I never noticed it before this year, but my attention and motivation both start to flag after three months of work. That’s all I’ve got before everything starts to suck and I start thinking about moving onto something new.

June was month three in this particular cycle.

Noticing this pattern has been incredibly helpful: in the past, I would have gotten frustrated with myself, and probably scrapped some of these projects entirely. This time, I knew that it was time to set everything aside for a while and reevaluate everything—including my goals themselves.

The good news is, my goals haven’t changed. (Though one or two of them are going to take longer than I’d planned back in December.) I’m still committed to the two writing projects I’ve got in progress, and the various photography plans that have been kinda-sorta in motion over the last little while. [1. Speaking of photography: I am still on track with my 365 project! Really. I just fell behind in posting photos to Instagram, and so I’ve held off on posting them here. But I’ll catch up by the end of this week. Promise.]

The bad news is: I’ve decided that I need to go back to the drawing board on the second draft of the NaNoWriMo story. I’d made one really huge change to the opening scene in order to fix some issues with my main character, but… it’s introduced some new ones, which are just as bad. And I’ve got to fix some structural issues. Big structural issues.

But I’ve got a plan. I know what my next steps are.

As for the next story: I’ve got my basic outline done. Now it’s onto world building and fleshing out my characters, and I know that this part isn’t going to be easy. (I have a very bad habit of slacking off when I get to this stage of things, which is why I abandon so many first drafts… and partly why I’m having trouble with the second draft of the NaNo story. I’m trying to avoid that this time around.)

The next few months are going to be… interesting. Probably not great. My routine always suffers in the summer, for various reasons, and I know that that’s going to be a challenge again this year. And I still haven’t quite figured out how to structure my writing time when I’m in the planning stage of a story – it’s so much easier for me when I’m writing. But that’s ok: it’s going to be difficult, but… I know what I need to do, and I’m ready to get back to work.

(I’m also ready to start that stupid painting.)