Sketchbook #53

Over the last few weeks, one of my writing friends and I have been talking (emailing) about trying to do creative work right now, in this world. About how difficult it is to get into the flow of it, and how deep work is almost impossible. Routines are shot to hell; writing time is being swallowed up by new chores. Money’s tight, and art feels a bit frivolous. Tempers are fraying, ennui is setting in, and it’s just really hard to think of good stories right now, ok?

But at the same time… the things that felt like busywork two months ago, the things that needed to get done, but still left me feeling a little guilty when I spent my time on them instead of writing actual words? It turns out that they’re perfect right now.

Things like outlining: I finished the scene outline for the new thing. (The new thing that needs a working title ASAP so I can talk about it like a normal human being.) I’m still nowhere near ready to start writing—I still have to do a massive amount of character work—but I’m already a little bit in love with this story. It’s going to be so much fun to write.

… and that’s it. That’s my writing progress for the month of April.

I didn’t read through Violet Lane. I tried to, but it turns out my usual routine for reading WIPs doesn’t work at all with my reduced attention span. I’ve converted the file to something a little more readable, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to do that this week.

I did send out a new query letter for The Black Sun. Nothing fancy—and I haven’t tackled any of the notes I’ve received on that, let alone incorporated any of the suggestions—just enough to get myself moving again. 

I haven’t taken any photos, not really. (I did order a book that might help me find a bit of inspiration. That should be getting here today or tomorrow.)

It’s not much, but it’s something. It’s movement.

And (again, this is total busywork, but I don’t care) I finally updated the design of the site. (If you’re reading this on the site, you probably noticed that. If you’re reading it via RSS or the WordPress reader, come check it out.) I’ve still got work I want to do—the front page is still a work in progress, and the portfolio and about page both need complete overhauls—but I like it. A lot. It feels more in line with what I’ve always wanted this site to be, and is a better balance of writing- and photo-related stuff. 

I’m not sure what May is going to bring.

I do want to work on Violet Lane. Whether that means actually starting the next draft or just planning it, I don’t know. And I want to at least relieve the stress of those TBS critique notes—accept them or ignore them, it doesn’t matter at this point, I just need to not dread seeing them waiting in my inbox. 

(The last few days, I’ve been thinking about how, when the world starts moving again, if I’ve got a few solid outlines just waiting to be written… that’d be a pretty good scenario.)

I need to start taking photos again, even if I don’t produce anything worth sharing for a while. That’s starting to feel like an almost physical absence, and I need to find a solution soon. 

I want to post here a little more often, and about something other than just how difficult it is to make things right now.

If I have to focus on busywork for a while, that’s fine.