Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in June: “I wrote a thing,” setting benchmarks, the impact of free stock photography, thoughts on wellness and mindfulness, crossing the US border, the origins of the Green Man myth, and more.
The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a wash, and I’m genuinely struggling to think of things I’ve actually done. But let’s try anyway.
1. craving… ice cream. I haven’t made a single batch yet this year.
2. wondering… if the new coffee beans I got for the office are really this bitter, or if it’s just the way I’m tasting things right now. (Stupid cold.)
3. worrying… about the balcony plants. The building-supply place around the corner closed last summer (they’re building a hideous corporate HQ in its place, which infuriates me for so many reasons), and buying plants has been difficult enough without a nearby garden centre, but now I have to try to get potting soil before the herbs die.
4. avoiding… the rain. Barely.
5. starting… to wean myself off Pinterest, or at least change the way I use it. (If anyone can recommend something that works better as a digital ‘swipe file,’ let me know. I use Evernote for a lot, but sometimes a grid view helps spark ideas better than a list.)
6. reorganizing… the archives.
7. recognizing… some missing skills in my writing life, and taking steps to build them.
8. finishing… the stack of books at my bedside. I’ve still got at least a dozen ebooks to read, but it’s something.
9. trying… not to let my anxiety get the better of me.
10. looking… forward to things getting back to normal.
“Maybe I’ll have some answers by the end of June,” I said.
Why do I set myself up like that?
I’m being a little overdramatic. The first two weeks of the month were good. Really good. It took a few days to figure out what I was doing with Violet Lane, but I’m well into the second draft now, and it feels like the big changes (cutting down the number of point-of-view characters, eliminating one character entirely, et cetera) are the right ones. I’m still wavering a bit on the tone (I want to make it darker, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I might have to rework the main character again), but in general, I’m happy with it.
My progress with photography is… ok. I’m in a bit of a rut—so many flowers—and I’m trying to figure out how to push myself out of my comfort zone with that. Part of the problem, I think, is that I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to my routine in general—I do the same things and go to the same places, travelling the same routes, at roughly the same time every week—so I’m not seeing anything new. Nothing is feeling fresh or interesting. (I haven’t gone on as much as a day trip in over a year. The logistics for that kind of thing get tricky when you don’t drive.) Plenty of photographers have found inspiration in mundane environments, but I’m dealing with a general sense of frustration that’s just feeding on itself right now, and I need to figure out how to break myself out of it.
That said, the flower photos are ok—some of them have been quite good—they’re just boring.
Other than that things have been pretty much progressing as expected: I’m having fun with the website redesign, I’ve been making some real progress when it comes to figuring out my long-term plans (which… yeah, I kind of worked on that a few months ago, but I’ve been refining the ideas and framing them in a way that means I can work toward them rather than just dream about them), and I took a few small steps toward that big project that I’m still not announcing, even though I fully intended to do so this month. (More on that in a minute.)
… and then I came down with a cold. Nothing much has happened since last Wednesday. At all.
I’ve run into this problem every single time I’ve tried to do a daily photo project: what am I supposed to photograph when I’ve got a cold and spend all day asleep (or trying to sleep)?
1. spending… a little too much money. I should be able to get back on track going forward, though.
2. being… indecisive. I said I’d been trying to choose between two very similar WordPress themes? I’m still second-guessing myself. If you have strong opinions for or against blog sidebars, feel free to chime in. That’s what it’s coming down to, and I keep changing my mind. (It seems like I do have strong opinions for and against sidebars.)
3. reading… Keep Going by Austin Kleon. It’s the followup to Steal Like an Artist and Share Your Work! and I really needed it right now.
4. looking… for a new podcast to listen to. (I knew this was going to happen.) If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments. I’d especially like to find good ongoing podcasts about photography—audio only—and 20th century history. Also I tend not to listen to things that run more than 30 minutes an episode.
5. playing… with a kitten that made Lucy look chill and well-behaved.
6. making… the first batch of cold-brew coffee of the year.
7. thinking… about my long-term goals, and trying to turn them into plans.
8. starting… to see some improvement in the whole running thing. (According to the numbers, at least. When I’m actually out there doing it, it doesn’t feel like it’s getting better or easier at all.)
9. catching… up on all the TV I didn’t watch during the season. (Or starting to.)
10. wondering… why all the Marvel Funko Pops are bobbleheads. It annoys me that they don’t match the other ones I have. (Apparently I collect those things now? I don’t know.)
There are some weeks when I really don’t know what to say about the photos I’ve taken.
This is one of those weeks.
Hey, remember those ‘under construction’ gifs that used to be all over GeoCities? I kind of miss those days.
It’s time for a few changes around here. Nothing too dramatic right away—I’m starting with some cosmetic changes and we’ll see where I go from there—but it’s probably going to take a couple of days (… or weeks) before everything works (and looks) the way I want it to. I’ve been trying to choose between two only-slightly-different themes for at least a week, and I can’t imagine I’m going to get less fussy about it as I go.
So, if you’re looking around and anything seems to be broken… I’ll get to it soon. Promise. If this post is still pinned to the top of the blog, I’m not finished yet. (And of course, none of this is going to matter if you’re reading this via RSS or the WordPress reader. You can wait until I’m done to check out the finished product. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.)
I managed to get away from bright flower photos in the past ten days, at least. Mostly.
1. getting… back to work.
2. talking… myself out of dying my hair pink. Or teal. Or any colour other than blonde. I miss real colour desperately but I know I can’t be bothered to maintain it.
3. planning… the next draft of Violet Lane. I’m ready to start writing on Monday.
4. experimenting… with the whole bullet journal thing again. Turns out the setup I was using didn’t work as well as I thought.
5. trying… Beyond Meat burgers. I was pleasantly surprised—not the best burger I’ve ever had, but perfectly good for something store-bought, and far better than any other veggie burger I’ve had. I’ll have them again. (That said, I do want to finally try making my own veggie burgers this summer.)
6. catching… up on my podcast backlog! Completely! As of right now, there is no backlog. Which means I’m tempted to go looking for something new, to start the cycle all over again.
7. making… plans for the site redesign. Now I just need to pick a day to tear everything down and rebuild.
8. meeting… the new ravens! Over the past few years, I’ve managed to become friendly acquaintances with the local pair; this year I got to see their fledglings! (Which, yes, meant I was standing in the middle of a public path talking to four ravens like they understand English. But four ravens! 😍)
9. starting… to build my DVD/Blu-Ray collection again. I got out of the habit, but as streaming services multiply, it makes more sense to me to buy anything I want to see more than once. Now I need to figure out how to store these things.
10. refining… my goals and updating my inspiration board.