Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in December.
I’m still on a bit of a hiatus for the holidays. Happy New Year, and I’ll be back full-time next week.
1. eating… all the food.
2. indulging… in nostalgia. (I’ve been playing Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the first time since I was… thirteen? Fifteen? Somewhere around there. However long it’s been, the muscle memory is still strong.)
3. figuring… out how to fix the one issue with The Black Sun that was still nagging at me. It’ll involve shuffling some scenes around and adding some stuff, but it’s going to be so good.
4. making… all the plans. I am so ready to get back to work.
5. feeling… annoyed. My favourite camera store is closing at the end of January. They’ve got another location, but it’s a 40-minute bus ride away, so that won’t be happening very often.
6. craving… a site redesign. It might be time… or it might just be that I’m really feeling the whole new year thing and kind of want to change everything. (Or at least refresh the current design.)
7. accepting… that no ‘real’ work is going to get done before the 7th. (Despite #4 above.)
8. trying… to catch up on the podcast backlog.
9. looking… forward to packing everything away and vacuuming up the glitter. As much as I love Christmas—and this year was kind of amazing—I can only handle the trappings of it for so long.
10. taking… advantage of Boxing Day sales. (In my defence, it was online—so I wasn’t actually braving the crowds—and it was spending gift cards on books. So I feel no guilt.)
Things are going to be slow around here for the next two weeks. Regularly scheduled programming (snapshots, inspired) will continue as usual, and I’m not disappearing entirely, but I won’t be around very much, and there probably won’t be any posts outside the regular ones.
I’ll be back on January 7. In the meantime, Happy Holidays if you celebrate! I hope you have a fantastic few weeks!
Technically speaking September was only four months ago.
But 2018 has been the longest year ever, and it feels like it was at least two years ago that I decided I needed to make some changes.
Back in August, every project I was working on had either stalled or was moving too slowly to see any real progress. My motivation had plummeted. I was in a rut, and I needed to get myself out of that rut, and I needed to figure out how to avoid falling into it again. And so in September, I came up with a short list of things I wanted to do by the end of the year. They weren’t huge goals—and they definitely weren’t dramatic—but it was about building a system that could support my bigger goals going into the future.
We’re fast approaching the end of the year, so it’s time to look back at how (and whether) my reboot has worked, and where I’m going from here.
1. feeling… sleepy. The cat’s been waking me up in the middle of the night.
2. watching… the trailers for Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, over and over (and over) again.
3. solving… story problems. Or trying to. (I think I am.)
4. making… cookies. The actual marathon doesn’t start until tomorrow, but I had a jar of peanut butter I had to use up, so….
5. hemming… yet another set of curtains. Thankfully, I’ve only got one room to go, and those will be nice and simple. I’m done with the sheer and/or slippery fabrics.
6. trying… to balance my time. I’ve still got a lot of things I want to get done in the next two weeks, but I don’t want to stress myself too much.
7. listening… to DJ Riko‘s 2018 Christmas Mix. Still one of my very favourite holiday traditions.
8. thinking… about my plans for next year.
9. muting… so many keywords on Twitter for the rest of the month. It’s a good time for a break.
10. wondering… why it’s so difficult to find good quality felt around here. (I’ve got a couple of craft projects in mind, and it shouldn’t be this much of a challenge.)
Next week, I’m going to do a complete end-of-year report on this reboot, looking at what did and didn’t work over the past few months, and what it means for the future.
For now, I’m just going to do a quick update on how I’ve been doing this week.
Clarify my long-term goals, in writing, photography, and in general.
My focus this week has been on my 2019 goals, rather than the true long-term goals, but I’m starting to feel good about this. Some of the short-term goals (and what I actively resist) are helping me figure out what I want to do long-term, and I’m choosing others that will help me narrow the focus even further over the course of the year. I’m also trying to choose goals and projects for next year that will move me in (mostly) the right direction, no matter what those long-term goals turn out to be.
Find a way to structure my time in order to support my bigger goals (creative and otherwise).
After taking a break last week to recover from NaNoWriMo, I’m back to work this week. (Still in a limited capacity, since the holiday chaos is slowly starting to take over my free time.) And, really, that’s one of the best metrics to judge this particular goal: I was able to dedicate one month almost entirely to writing, and another week to almost nothing, and I don’t feel like it’s broken my stride. I was able to get back to a routine that works for me without any real difficulty.
I’m ready to call this one ‘done,’ even if things are still sort of weird right now.
Develop workflows for writing and photography.
I think I’ve made just about all the progress that I’m going to, at least for now.
Experiment with productivity and journalling systems, and find something that works for me.
I mentioned last week that I think I’ve finally landed on something that works. I’m still making tiny adjustments… and that’s fine, that’s half the point of building something for myself rather than relying entirely on a ready-made solution that’s almost (but never quite) perfect. As my circumstances and needs change, I can change my system
I’ve actively started setting things up for next year. I’ll give you a full tour… probably in January, once I’ve really lived with the final product for a few weeks.
Finish the work on the office.
I finally got rid of one of the stupid boxes I’ve been dragging around—never unpacked—through three different apartments!
… and that’s about all the work that’s going to get finished in here before the end of the year. (Maybe. I’ve got one small-but-deathly-dull project I’d kind of like to take care of in that time.) But progress has been made, and that’s what matters.
It’s been a week since NaNoWriMo ended, and I haven’t looked at—haven’t even thought about—my draft since then.
That’s a good thing.
I’m not abandoning the story. I’m going to get back to work on it first thing Monday morning. But I needed a break, needed to get myself out of the weird headspace that the end of the month (or the entire month) had put me in. If I’d tried to start writing again before I’d had a chance to recover, the story would have suffered. It wouldn’t even matter if it was any good (even for a first draft), I wouldn’t have been able to separate the story from the stress of writing it, and I probably would’ve wound up hating it.
This break was absolutely necessary, even if it’s left me feeling a bit adrift all week.
And it’s given me a chance to look at my experience of NaNo objectively, and really think about what it taught me this year.
It’s really starting to hit me, how close we are to the end of the year—and how close I am to the end of this little(?) project.
I’m also realizing that I never really set a clear end-date for this, beyond “the end of the year.” There are just over three weeks left in 2018; I’ve fallen into the habit of doing a weekly review of the reboot process on Wednesdays… and I probably won’t be posting one on Boxing Day, because that is one of the few days a year when I do absolutely nothing and manage to not feel even a little bit guilty about it.
That brings it down to two weeks.
I kind of feel like that should freak me out, but it doesn’t.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say about it in the next couple of weeks, but this has been a really good project for me, and I’m really pleased with how well it seems to have worked.
(Of course… there’s still two weeks left. That’s still plenty of time to freak out.)
… well, that was a month, wasn’t it?
Leaving aside NaNoWriMo for now (since I’ve been talking about it all month, and I’ll be talking about it even more on Friday; but if you do want a recap: the story has been fighting me, but I made it through), it… wasn’t too bad.
Not great, obviously. I didn’t get to work on a lot of things that I’d hoped to spend time on in November, like the next round of revisions on The Black Sun. Or photography.
But last month, I said that my mission for November was to sit down and think about what I really want to accomplish, in both writing and photography. Everything else aside, if I did that—or if I made significant progress with that—the month would be a good one. If you’ve been reading my reboot updates, you know by now that it hasn’t been easy; I haven’t really been in the mood for the necessary self-reflection, and I’ve been second-guessing myself a lot.
But I’m on the right track.
1. surviving… NaNoWriMo. (I’m tempted to just leave that as the entire post. That’s it. That’s all I did the past two weeks.)
2. making… my plans for 2019. (And December, to be honest—after I’ve had a couple of days to recover, it’s full steam ahead.)
3. missing… the dachshund that lived downstairs. She’s an absolute delight, but she and her person moved out this week, so now I won’t get to see what colour coat she’s wearing on her walks every day. (My favourite is the dapper green one.)
4. enduring… construction and power outages and terrible weather.
5. looking… forward to things getting back to normal. Or sort of normal. For a couple of weeks?
6. craving… coffee. (I mean… I’ve been drinking coffee. Obviously. But I just want to sit in a coffee shop and relax for a while.)
7. going… a bit overboard with Christmas prep. Still not decorating until the 15th, but… I may have bought some stuff.
8. feeling… tired.
9. collecting… enamel pins. It’s becoming a bit of an obsession.
10. wishing… the cat would stop waking me up at 4:30 in the morning. She still hasn’t quite adjusted to the time change.