Sketchbook #49

I kind of feel like I should start this with some kind of ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times’ riff.

November was… a month. You probably could’ve guessed that—I barely posted to the blog at all, and I’m nearly two weeks late with this particular post. It’s not that it was a bad month, but… there was a lot of stuff going on (most of it good), and I’ve been kind of terrible about managing my time.

I’ll start with the ‘worst of times,’ because that’ll make the good stuff even better.

I completely stalled on photography (including my 366 project) in November, and I am not happy about it. There are reasons—I’m still questioning my presence on Instagram (not that that’s been an issue the last few weeks), I stopped taking evening photowalks when the time changed and I lost the light, I spent a week painting my living room. They’re all perfectly good and valid reasons, but the real issue is, I missed a couple of days, and then the whole thing started to feel overwhelming and I haven’t been able to get back to it. 

Meanwhile, the Big Scary Photo Thing, the one that I was absolutely going to announce in November? At the very last minute, I ran into a technical issue (not on my end) that will take me at least a few weeks to resolve. And since the next few weeks involve a lot of holiday chaos… it’s going to be January or February. (As a side note: this is why I don’t like relying on third party services for important things. The thing that’s holding me up is a tiny detail, and it’s one that I accounted for back in the spring. But between spring and now, some terms of service changes were rolled out and screwed everything up. Honestly, I’d rather be doing everything related to this project myself, and I do hope to move to that eventually, but for now, I’m stuck.) 

Anyway, yeah: I was super annoyed with everything related to photography in November.

Writing, though… writing has been pretty amazing.

Not just in what I’ve accomplished—I finished the final revisions and polish on The Black Sun!—but in the way writing has felt lately. It’s been fun. I’ve been excited to work on my edits. When I get bored, I’ve been opening up Scrivener instead of clicking through the same mindless circles of the internet. This is what writing used to feel like—play, rather than a slog.

The Black Sun is officially finished (for now), and I’m incredibly proud of it. It’s a good story, and it’s helped me find joy in writing again.

November was also the month that I started querying agents. 

That… has been a little bit terrifying, I have to admit. (I often tell the story about the first time I shared fanfic publicly. I spent all day psyching myself up to do it, finally hit ‘send,’ then I waited just long enough to make sure it posted properly, then immediately turned off the computer and walked away for the rest of the day. It took me about two days before I could look at the comments… which turned out to be universally very good. This is like that, except I know that the majority of responses are going to be polite form rejections rather than swooning.) 

But it’s getting easier. I’m not agonizing over every single query letter I send, and that first form letter only stung a little bit. 

(On top of all that, I’ve been doing some sewing—nothing too involved, but enough to rekindle my enthusiasm—and that creative hobby I mentioned last month? It seems to be a keeper. I’ll go into detail in my year-end review.) 

And now I’m thinking about the rest of the year.

I’ve got two big goals for December: I want to get the 366 project back under control, and (now that I can think about something other than The Black Sun) I want to reach the next big setpiece in Violet Lane. They both feel… challenging but doable, even with all the madness that’s going to take over the last two weeks of the month.

I’ve got a handful of agents I still want to query in the next week or so, then I’ll pick it up again in the new year when things start moving again. 

Other than that, I need to take some time to figure out my goals for next year, and make plans for how I’m going to approach them. 2019 has felt like a transition year for me, like I’m in between stages and not really doing much, but it also feels like a necessary pause, a chance to catch my breath before I start moving forward again. And if that’s the case… I need to start getting ready.