Sketchbook #37

It’s been two months since I did a general update on how all my creative projects are going, so I’ve got a lot of ground to cover today. And since this day is already shaping up to be kind of awful (they’re rebuilding the balcony below mine, which means noisy generators and sawing through concrete, I’ve got my first serious cold of the season and so my attention span is pretty much nonexistent, and they’re going to be testing the fire alarms at some point today, and that’s always a joy), I’m going to try to make it quick.

When I did my last update, back in August, I was… going through some stuff. I was trying to figure out how to consistently create work—fiction or photography in particular—and get feedback, and not turn the entire thing into a chore.

I’m still working on that. That’s pretty much the driving force behind my reboot—and that’s going well. Still a process, of course, but I really do feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

One thing that’s come up in that work (and I touched on this the other day, but I think it’s relevant here, too), is that my long-term creative goals aren’t nearly clear enough, and that’s making it difficult for me to move forward. Especially in photography. I have some solid medium-term goals for my writing (querying agents, publishing), but when it comes to photography, I know more about what I don’t want to do than what I do want. And when I try to think long-term—five or ten years—things get really vague. I know that I want to be able to support myself through my writing and photography, but beyond that…?

I guess I’m still going through some stuff.

At least my writing projects are going well. I heard back from my beta readers on The Black Sun (thanks again!), and I finally mustered the courage to actually read their comments. After a few days to process and deal with my emotions, I’ve been able to start thinking about what comes next.

The story needs a lot of work. I knew that would be the case, but it still stings a little bit. (It always does.) The general response was good, though, and that’s enough to reassure me that I’m on the right track with this story. I was hoping to be able to wrap up the next round of revisions by the end of the year, but with NaNoWriMo approaching (two days!), that’s not likely. I am ready to start planning those revisions: comparing the different sets of notes and figuring out what the underlying issues really are, and deciding how to fix them. Once I sort that out, I’ll have a better idea of how long the revisions themselves will actually take.

I’ve also started writing Violet Lane. Which is fantastic and fun, and I’m definitely not as far along as I’d hoped (stupid cold), but I’m feeling good. If I can build up the momentum enough during November, and if I settle into a pattern that works for me, then I might still be able to get through the first draft before the end of the year. Fingers crossed.

… which brings me to photography.

I’m still stalled. I have made exactly no progress since I checked in last.

I wish I could say that it’s just because I’ve been so focussed on writing, but… that would be a lie. I just haven’t been taking photos, and I am not happy about that.

I’ve been thinking about photography. That’s something? (It really isn’t.) I’ve been seriously tempted to do a major upgrade of my camera gear, but I know that won’t solve the underlying problems. (Except for one. I stopped carrying a real camera every day because it was heavy and awkward and making my back hurt. New gear would solve that.)

It comes back to the issue of goals—when I have something clear to aim for, it gets easier to get over myself and take photos.

So, that’s my mission in November: to sit down and figure out what I’m really working toward, in my writing and in my photography.

That, and NaNoWriMo. And planning the next round of revisions on The Black Sun.