Inspired | January 2018

Links

I thought that this was going to be a new monthly feature for the blog, but it’s really just a revamp of one that I let slide two years ago. This time, instead of sharing one cool thing every week, I’ll be doing a monthly roundup of all the things (articles, videos, et cetera) that I can’t stop thinking about. Enjoy!

Learning to Write Fluffy, Glittery Violence from My Little Pony by Seanan McGuire

You could get away with anything, if you made it fluffy and pink enough. You could destroy the whole world, as long as you were willing to cover it in glitter first.

Oh, this was going to be fun.

How Comic Book Storytelling is Changing Movies by Patrick (H) Willems (via TMS)

Do You Want to Be Known For Your Writing, or For Your Swift Email Responses? by Melissa Febos: How Patriarchy Has Fucked Up Your Priorities

The Organized Writer by Antony Johnston

Meet the original single lady, who wrote the book on living alone by Laura Smith: Marjorie Hillis was the “spinster-in-chief” who showed women that they could make it on their own

Frances Glessner Lee revolutionized forensic science by building mini crime scenes an excerpt from ‘BRAZEN: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World’ by Pénélope Bagieu

I Choose My Pearls: On Feminism, Fashion, and Disneyland by Tabitha Blankenbiller

Women don’t need laws to repress their fashion, comfort, identity, or preference. Our society’s deft ability to shame does all the heavy lifting. Frontierland Feminist didn’t dismantle a patriarchal demand to regulate clothing; she picked up the baton.

Losing its sparkle: the dark side of glitter by Ellie Violet Bramley

Twitter’s Great Depression by Mike Monteiro

The Incredible Possibility of a Year by Paul Jun

You’re Most Likely to Do Something Extreme Right Before You Turn 30 by Daniel H. Pink (via The Art of Non-Conformity)

Growing apart and losing touch is human and healthy by DHH

What allowed me to change and prosper was the freedom to grow apart and lose touch with people. It’s hard to change yourself if you’re stuck in the same social orbit. There’s a gravitational force that pulls you into repeating the same circular pattern over and over again. Breaking out of that takes tremendous force.

• My inner 15-year-old just found her new favourite band:

Snapshot #93 | 10 Things for 28 January 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. feeling… restless. There’s been a lot of daydreaming about tiny studio apartments and Airstream trailers lately.
2. wearing… the fingerless gloves I got for Christmas. I love them.
3. rethinking… pretty much all of my social media use.
4. discovering… that my hair is finally long enough for a decent messy bun, just at the moment when I’d decided it was time to chop it all off. Now I’m torn… I like the idea of being able to do something with my hair, but history shows that when it gets this long, I’ll just get annoyed and throw it into a ponytail.
5. learning… how to use my AeroPress. 🖤
6. preparing… a new regular feature for the blog. I think it’s going to launch on Wednesday.
7. trying… to rebuild my habit of watching at least one new-to-me movie a week.
8. waiting… for the specific bulletin board I want (have I mentioned that I’m really picky? Because I’m really picky) to come back in stock. I’m literally checking the website twice a day. It’s absurd.
9. getting… back into the routines I put on hold back in November.
10. debating… whether or not to rearrange all my books by colour. I need to do something with my bookshelves, but I don’t know what. (Exciting, right?)

I was a lazy writer this week. Next week will be better.

Writing

I have been so lazy this week.

I intentionally took Tuesday off from writing (I had reasons. They were good, and I stand by them), and my schedule on Wednesday meant that my head wasn’t in the game, and I’m not writing today because (apparently) my brain just doesn’t work that way on Fridays, no matter how much I want it to.

So I only wrote two days this week. But they were good days! I really feel like I’ve found my writing groove again, and the story is flowing perfectly.

I’m down to the final stretch in the draft I started for NaNoWriMo, and I’m making a firm commitment to reach “the end” by next Friday. It might be tricky (there’s a lot going on in these final chapters), but my writing time is completely clear all next week, and as long as I sit down and do the work, I can do it.

I’m also hoping to start the serious plot and character work for the rewrite of 2016’s story. I’ve still got that one giant plot hole that I need to sort out, but if I’m very lucky, making sense of my characters will help with that. Maybe.

I hope.

Anyway! That’s the plan for next week: finish this draft, and get my plans in place so I can jump straight into the next/previous project. This is entirely possible, and I am definitely not overreaching.

Really.

It’s been a good writing week! Finally!

Writing

I am officially back on track with my story! My writing sessions still aren’t quite as long as I’d like, but they’re perfectly reasonable, and the words are flowing nicely again.

And it’s not a minute too soon—I’ve reached the point where everything is falling apart (in the best possible way), and I’m feeling really good going into this last stretch. It’s a fun story to write.

Mostly. I’ve still got to learn how to really write an action scene, because there are a lot of them coming up. They don’t have to be perfect for this draft, but I’d like to be able to write these scenes without getting too caught up in fight choreography or logistics. I’ve got some studying to do over the next few days.

Still, I should be able to finish this draft by the end of the month.

Plus I think I’ve figured out how to fix the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2016! I’ve always loved the premise, and I know there’s a solid story there, but the draft I wrote initially… isn’t it. It’s got too many characters and points of view, my evil organization is vague and unfocussed, and I hand-waved my way through too many of the details. I’ve known (almost from the minute I finished writing) that the next draft would need a complete rewrite, but the idea has been daunting, and I haven’t really known where to start.

But I’ve stripped the idea down to the most bare-bones concept, tried to remember what exactly I wanted to accomplish with the story, and spent a bit of time brainstorming… and I think it’s paid off. I’m throwing away or reinventing half of my characters, dropping one timeline, the core plot is entirely different, and one huge plot thread is still missing, but… I think this is the story that it’s supposed to be.

I’ve got some character work to do, and then I think I’ll be able to start outlining the new version. If everything goes well, I should be able to start work a few days after I finish the current project.

Snapshot #92 | 10 Things for 14 January 2018

Personal

It’s the first Snapshot of 2018! And, really, the first one in almost a month, because… just because, really. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Currently…

1. searching… for new desktop wallpaper. It’d be easier if I wasn’t so picky.
2. falling… into a few bad habits after the holidays. December pretty much destroys all my routines, and it can be a struggle to get back to them… not to mention all the new things I want to be doing.
3. wishing… it wasn’t so cold these last few weeks. It’s not exactly making me want to go out and do things.
4. slipping… on the whole taking-photos-regularly thing, but I’m not really worried. After the 365 project, I need a little bit of a break. I’ll get back to it soon enough.
5. thinking… about my plans for the blog.
6. catching… up on so many TV shows.
7. looking… for a good iOS text editor, with Dropbox integration and (ideally) Markdown formatting. Still. Again. Whatever—the one I’d been using still hasn’t fixed Dropbox compatibility, so it’s useless to me.
8. baking… these lemon bars. Among other things, of course, but the lemon bars were particularly good. (And easy! The small batch makes everything so simple, and there’s no leftovers.)
9. trying… to figure out how to better manage my time. I’ve got a few hours later in the day that I could be using productively, but I’m just… not. And I’m not sure how to get past that slump.
10. starting… to think it’s time to cut my hair.

Finding my way back into a writing routine.

Writing

After taking some time off over the holidays, I’m starting to ease back into writing again. (Technically speaking, I started last week, but that was only two very short writing sessions, so I’m not counting it.)

It’s been… interesting.

December pretty much destroyed all the good habits I’d built up during November, and trying to get back to them hasn’t been easy. I haven’t quite lost the flow of the story, but it does feel like the things are dragging right now, even though they’re not. It’s just that I’ve been spending weeks writing one particular scene in short, scattered bursts, and the scene is pretty much all exposition, and so it feels like these two people have been in this room talking literally forever. Even though it’s only been about 1500 words, and there is actually something going on. But I’ve finally managed to get them out of the room and interacting with other people, and the story feels like it’s moving again.

So, yeah. That’s good.

There are two and a half weeks left in the month. I very much want to wrap this draft up by the first of February, and I’m pretty sure I can do it.

This week was a little better than last week, and next week will be a little better again. I hope. Feel free to yell at me if, by next Friday, I’m still not back up to speed.

2018 Watchword | Reghan Skerry

Looking Ahead to 2018

Personal, Photography, Writing

The last few years, I’ve chosen a watchword to take me into the new year, a small mantra to remind me of my goals, both big and small.

In 2017, my watchword was “focus.” I knew the year was going to be rough, and I knew that (for me) the biggest challenge would be dealing with the sheer distraction of it all. And… I kind of managed that. It was a struggle, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I didn’t write as much as I’d hoped (the 2016 NaNo draft is finished, but it sort of stalled after that), and I only did one of the photo projects I’d planned (I don’t even remember what the other one was…). But I did finish that 365 project, and I’m genuinely happy with how it turned out. And one of the story ideas I’d been playing with turned into a draft that I still kind of love. Even if it’s not quite finished.

Now. 2018. Still going to be awful in general, but I’ve had time to process. Not ‘move on,’ but I’ve at least figured out how to function, even when the news cycle infuriates me.

This year, my watchword is “action.”

I know what my long-term goals are. They’ve never really changed; if anything, they’ve become more clear to me as time passes. But I haven’t really gone after them, because… fear, mostly. And perfectionism, which is the same thing. And, you know what? I’m done with that.

That’s the plan for this year: I’m going to stop wasting time. I’m going to write. (Starting with finishing the draft I started for NaNo last year. I’ve only got one act to go, I should be able to finish it by the end of the month.) I’m going to take photos. I’m going to find ways to put my art, both writing and photography, out into the world. I’m going to take the little personal changes that I’ve already started (exercise! embracing minimalism!) and follow through. (Also: I kind of want this to be the year that I finally master the art of winged eyeliner. That, or figure out how to wear bold lipstick without feeling awkward.)

I’m going to take my goals—all of them—and find ways to move toward them.