I had one big goal in April: to get over the ennui and inertia of March and find my focus again. (So… nothing too big, then?)
I think I succeeded. Mostly.
The first step was reviewing and revising my long-term goals, and figuring out how to keep them top-of-mind. And that’s actually been the biggest change I’ve made this month: I’ve completely changed the way I set and keep track of my goals, and I’m working to modify the ways I juggle day-to-day tasks and projects. I’ve taken some big steps, but the whole thing still feels very much like a work-in-progress; I’m still making little changes, and figuring out the flaws in my new systems, but I do feel like I’m (finally) on the right track. (I’ll go into more detail later, once I’ve ironed out the kinks. The whole thing feels like it merits its own post.)
That’s the general. And I’ll be honest: the general is working better than the specific for me right now.
Writing was pretty evenly split between good and terrible in April. On the bright side, I read through the first draft of The Black Sun for the first time since I typed ‘the end,’ and… it doesn’t suck! It’s actually pretty good (for a first draft, which is an important caveat). The end doesn’t work as well as I’d like, but I have some ideas about how to fix that, and as a whole, it bears a remarkable resemblance to the story I set out to tell. So that’s nice.
I’ve also been finding a writing pace and routine that seems to work for me. Most of the time. Enough that I’m seeing progress in the second draft of Violet Lane, and I’m only occasionally finding excuses not to write.
In the last few days, I’ve been wondering if I’m really on the right track with Violet Lane. I still believe in the concept, and the outline I’m working from (mostly) holds up (stories evolve in the writing, so that part isn’t unexpected), but… I don’t know. As part of my whole focus-on-my-goals thing, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do as a writer, and whether or not the projects I’m working on move me in the right direction. The Black Sun does (though I do keep wondering if the genre is a little too niche…), but I’m not sure about Violet Lane. If someone else wrote this story, I would love to read it. I just don’t know if I’m the person to write it.
How do I judge that?
Anyway. I’ll take a bit of time to revise my outline, and I’m going to keep going. I need to figure out whether I have an actual problem with the story, or if it’s just frustration that makes me want to scrap everything. It’s entirely possible that I’ll love the story again next week. And, now that I’ve read The Black Sun and given myself a week or so to think about it, it’s time to start planning the edits! And, for once in my life, they are edits, and not a complete, page-one rewrite.
I’m really looking forward to that part.
Really, I could just leave it at that. That sums up the entire month of April for me.
I am just not feeling it right now, at all. I’m in a feedback loop of feeling guilty for not taking as many photos as I’d like, and putting too much pressure on myself with the photos I do take. (And, as always happens when I’m in this loop, I’m not even logging onto Instagram lately, which just makes me feel more guilty. Which is weird.)
I can blame part of it on the weather. Which is a poor excuse, but at least partly valid; there have been days when I didn’t leave the apartment at all, purely because of the rain. But it’s only partly valid. The rest of it is entirely on me. (I could take photos inside, after all. Even with the oppressive gloom that comes with those rainy days.)
I think, with this, the only way out is through. I need to let go of the perfectionism, and just take some photos. Maybe try a few small-scale projects to get me out of the rut (not instead of the black & white project, but as a supplement). And I do have two big photography-adjacent projects I want to tackle this month, so that might be enough to inspire me again. (More on those later! One of them, in particular, is really exciting for me.)
As I said: it’s all a bit of a work-in-progress. I’m feeling good about my long-term goals right now, and about the short-term plans to approach them. I still have a lot of work to do, but I can live with that.