Sketchbook #52

“I’m looking forward to March,” I said. “It’s going to be a good month,” I said.

Wow. So… I should know better than to tempt fate like that, I guess?

I’ll start with the good news: I finished the draft of Violet Lane that I’ve been working on since last November. I haven’t gone back to read it yet, but I didn’t type ‘the end’ and immediately hate everything, so I’m calling it a success. And this week I started in-depth brainstorming on my next project. I’ve been thinking about the idea for probably close to a year at this point, but things only started to gel in the last few months; it’s been so much fun, and a great distraction from staring into the void. 

In some ways, it’s just great to have exciting plans for the future. All of the other writing projects I’ve got going right now are things I’ve been working on for years, and that I’ll be working on for a while yet. And as much as I love them—I wouldn’t still be working on them if I didn’t—it can be hard to muster much enthusiasm right now. Having something to look forward to, something new and different that’ll be waiting when I’m ready to hit ‘pause’ on one of these other projects it helps a lot.

The other thing I did this month was exchange some chapters with some new potential critique partners. That’s been… kind of a mixed blessing. 

At the beginning of the month, when I first put out the call on Twitter, it was great. The response was better than I expected, and I got some amazing volunteers. But I couldn’t have picked a worse time; I need to be in a good headspace to process feedback on my writing—good, bad, or in between—and I haven’t been in that space. Obviously. (Giving notes is almost as bad. It’s hard to do a good job with stuff like that when I’m so distracted, but I really hate to let people down or let go of commitments I’ve made.)

I’m not sure how I’m going to handle that in the long run. I’m trying to set reasonable expectations, more for myself than anyone else, and we’ll see how it goes. It’s a weird time.

I also said that most of my attention in March was going to go toward photography.

I really shouldn’t have said anything about photography, since I’m now stuck indoors: the parks and trails in my area are closed to the public. I’m only leaving the apartment once a week (if that), to walk to the supermarket, and most of that walk is next to a highway. (I’m so relieved that I didn’t commit to a public photo-a-day thing again this year.)

But. Remember that thing I wanted to announce back in November? I took care of the logistical issue that got in my way. I still won’t be able to launch for a while, but I’ll be ready to go once the crisis has passed. Finally.

Again: it’s something to look forward to. That counts for a lot.

I’m not going to make any big declarations for April. I’m not going to commit to finishing anything complex, or starting something big. 

But I’m going to work on the outline for the new thing, and start planning the next draft of Violet Lane. (I want to be able to start writing again in May.)

I’m going to get back into the query trenches with The Black Sun, because if I let that go too long, inertia will take over, and it’ll be like starting all over again.

I’m going to figure out how to handle the critique situation, whether that means stepping back from some of those commitments or leaning into them.

I’m going to come up with some ideas to reignite that photographic spark, to use these limitations to my advantage, rather than letting them get me down. 

I’m going to keep moving forward, however slowly.

2 responses to “Sketchbook #52”

  1. I had similar thoughts about March. It was going to be great. I had ana amazing job offer after months of looking for work. I was going to rebalance my finances. Then, the job disappeared because of covid and I’m left wondering how I’ll cope. So, like you, struggling to make sense of things.
    I also get how you are trepidatious about your feedback. Just take it one hour at a time and face it when you feel in a good space.

    1. Ugh. I’m so sorry to hear that; things are precarious around here too (temporary layoffs), and it just magnifies the stress of the situation.

      And thanks for the commiseration on the whole feedback thing. I’m usually pretty good at taking notes (or I can deal with it, at least), but nothing about right now is ‘usual.’ (I did get a very nice comment on TBS yesterday—unrelated to these critiques—that’s helped pull me out of my funk. A bit. It’s helping me keep going, at least.)

      Here’s hoping things improve soon, for all of us.