July has actually been a really good month for me, from a creative standpoint.
I know. I’m surprised, too. Lately, I’ve started every one of these check-ins with a sigh about how weird things have been, but July… actually went well. Mostly. I mean, it didn’t start well, but the last few weeks… I’m really happy with the work I’ve been doing.
First of all: I finally started the painting! It’s been on my list for two years (I bought the canvas in 2015), but I kept putting it on hold, for various reasons. The big one was that I couldn’t settle on what I actually wanted to do with it—I had a general sense of the concept (I wanted something bold and graphic, but rough), but I kept changing my mind on how I wanted to achieve that. But now it’s just about done, and I’m so happy with it. I can’t wait to show it to you guys (just as soon as I’ve taken care of a few finishing touches).
I’ve got another two paintings that I’d like to finish up by the end of summer—early fall, at the latest—but we’ll see how that goes. (I still need to pick up supplies for one of them.)
I still haven’t quite pulled myself out of the midsummer photography slump that I seem to fall into every year, but I’m getting there. I’m basically caught up on the Project 365 posts, and I’m still (reasonably) happy with the photos themselves.
I suspect that that might be at least part of the problem. I’ve been creating photos that I like, but I’m very aware that they could be better—and that means things are going to get difficult again, and I’ve probably been resisting that.
But that’s fine. I mean, it’s a little bit tiring, but… it’s normal. And realizing that that’s what’s probably happening (even if I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this post) gives me something to focus on. And, coincidentally, I just bought a book of photography projects, so that might give me some ideas.
Still: I’m just about caught up, and I’m happy with the photos.
I’ve also started making a real effort to learn my way around the Lomo’Instant. I love the camera, but any genuinely good photos (or just not-terrible photos) I’ve taken with it have been pure luck. So, I’m trying to change that… it’s not going quickly, but I am making some progress.
Most of my writing time this month has been brainstorming and character work. I’ve been trying to streamline the plot and sort out motivations for some of the secondary characters in last year’s NaNoWriMo story, and doing a little bit of worldbuilding on the next story (which is probably this year’s NaNoWriMo story).
I’ve also started (like… just last week) a daily freewriting practice again. I’ve been feeling like I need to be writing, not just doing all this prepwork, and this felt like the way to do it.
I’m handling things a little differently than I did last summer—then, it was mostly about building my typing speed back up in preparation for November. I was aiming for wordcounts, and a lot of my writing turned into brainstorming sessions or journalling or a mix of the two.
This time around, it’s purely about writing for a set amount of time every (week)day – something manageable, that I can fit in around other things, and that I might be able to maintain even when I’m working on an actual project. If I reach 1000 words in a session, that’s great. If I reach 250, that’s good, too. I’m also trying to focus on fiction this time around: just disconnected scenes or responses to writing prompts, or whatever comes to mind. It’s a way to explore scenarios that pop into my head, or character voices, or just… play.
I said a few months ago that I’d like to find a writing project that worked the way my 365 photo project was working for my photography. I don’t know if this is it, or if anything’s going to come of it, but it’s the closest I could come up with. The current plan is to keep it up until the end of the year, and then reevaluate. (I might take November off for NaNoWriMo, but… we’ll see.)
I’m still figuring out a way to keep it organized, and I’m still thinking about whether or not I want to share any of the little snippets I produce (here? Or this might be more suited to Tumblr). But, like I said: I only just started, and it was kind of a whim. I’ll figure it out.
August is going to be a busy month, but I’m not too worried; I know I’m going to have lots of opportunities for photography (which is nice), and I’m going to try not to slack off too much on my writing. (I know already that I’m going to be taking one week off, but that’s fine. It’s never a problem when I’ve made a plan.)
Other than that… I’m not sure. It’s time to start seriously planning my NaNoWriMo project for this year (I’ve got the story and the basic outline, but that’s it), and I really want to get the next draft of last year’s story started.
But, really, my big goal for the month is to maintain the momentum I’ve built up over the last few weeks. That’s enough.