Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in August.
Most months, I take this post as an opportunity to reflect on the creative goals I’d set, and decide what I want to try to do in the coming month. Sometimes, taking that time to reflect leads me in a direction that doesn’t really fit into the standard format I’ve established for these ‘sketchbooks.’
Which is a roundabout way of saying this might be long, and it might ramble a bit. I’m trying to figure out some stuff, here, and if this isn’t the best way for me to do it, at least it’s been effective in the past.
Ok? Let’s go.
The way I’ve been managing my creative life – the things I’m working on, my creative energy, my time – isn’t working.
Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in July.
I still don’t know what possessed me to try a 365 project in 2017. When I started, I was pretty sure it would turn out like the attempts I’d made before: three months in, I’d be taking the most boring snapshots in the world, simply to fulfil the obligation. I didn’t think that I’d make it through the year without getting bored or resentful, and I definitely didn’t think that the project would do as much for my photography in general as it did.
I keep sitting down to write this post, and it keeps not happening. There’s part of me that feels like it’s not time, yet: I haven’t finished writing the story, so how can I possibly think about any of this objectively? I didn’t write the postmortem for last year’s project until I’d finished the draft, and that worked out well enough. But this isn’t about the story, it’s about the experience.
And this year was a very different experience from last year.
I went in confident that I could do it. Last year was… I won’t say “easy,” but it was fairly straightforward. I wrote nearly every day, and I stayed pretty much on-target as far as word-count went, and then I crashed as soon as I hit 50K, because I’d had a cold for the last few days of the month and the only thing that kept me going was stubbornness.
This year wasn’t like that. At all.
I find it a little hard to believe, but the last two weeks haven’t been entirely devoted to NaNoWriMo. Only mostly. I’ve been: feeling | writing | realizing | solving | starting | finalizing | thinking | wishing | digging | drinking
I got a little bit off-track this week.
I’ve been trying to expand my one-page outline, figuring out my scenes and subplots and character moments and, you know, all the things that turn an outline into an actual story. And, because I’m still tweaking my outlining method, I’ve been looking at what other people say about their processes, reading about outlining techniques, that sort of thing.
(Also: by Tuesday afternoon, I had to accept that I was coming down with a cold. Studying craft was a way to feel like I was being at least a little bit productive, even when I didn’t have the attention span to be working. On the bright side, I’d rather get a cold now than in the last week of November.)
It was probably a mistake.
This hasn’t been a great month.
I’ll just get that out of the way to start: I haven’t done nearly as much writing as I’d hoped, and photography has been a bit of a struggle, and I still haven’t started my painting.
But weirdly, I’m ok with that. I’m realizing that this is completely normal for me, and I’m learning how to work with it.
I’m still at a creative low. It’s not just photography – I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about writing this week, either, and a lot of my other projects sort of stalled on me.
The last few weeks, I’ve been: debating | cleaning | rolling | thinning | taking | thinking | trying | wondering | feeling | searching