Snapshot #131 | 10 Things for 14 July 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. eating… all the strawberries.
2. noticing… that I’ve broken a few bad habits, completely unintentionally. An unexpected benefit of that cold, apparently. (Don’t worry: I’ve still got plenty of bad habits. Glad to be rid of those ones, though.)
3. finishing… the office coffee station. I finally found a tray I like! (This is the kind of thing I get excited about.)
4. tackling… that chore that I’ve been putting off since… last summer. Really. But it’s done and I can move forward with the big photo project, and I’m thrilled! (The bus ride wasn’t quite as tedious as expected, but it was close.)
5. hoping… that the new sunscreen I picked up will solve all my (sunscreen-related) problems.
6. looking… for good baked doughnut recipes. I finally broke down and got a pan, and I can’t wait to try it. Just as soon as the humidity breaks and I’m willing to turn on an oven again.
7. troubleshooting… an annoying computer problem. Not sure if I’ve solved it yet. Fingers crossed.
8. taking… care of the balcony plants. Finally. If they die now, it’s because of the oak trees, not my neglect.
9. cleaning… up the files on the ancient MacBook Pro, in the hopes that maybe it can be repaired and used again for less than the cost of a new laptop. I’m not optimistic, but it’d be nice to have something in between the desktop and tablet. (And, yeah: a lot of computer stuff going on lately.)
10. trying… those ruby cocoa KitKat bars. The chocolate is really interesting—I’d love to see it show up in a form that I can experiment with (chips or plain bars, something). I feel like it’d make a really good ice cream.

Snapshot #92 | 10 Things for 14 January 2018

Personal

It’s the first Snapshot of 2018! And, really, the first one in almost a month, because… just because, really. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Currently…

1. searching… for new desktop wallpaper. It’d be easier if I wasn’t so picky.
2. falling… into a few bad habits after the holidays. December pretty much destroys all my routines, and it can be a struggle to get back to them… not to mention all the new things I want to be doing.
3. wishing… it wasn’t so cold these last few weeks. It’s not exactly making me want to go out and do things.
4. slipping… on the whole taking-photos-regularly thing, but I’m not really worried. After the 365 project, I need a little bit of a break. I’ll get back to it soon enough.
5. thinking… about my plans for the blog.
6. catching… up on so many TV shows.
7. looking… for a good iOS text editor, with Dropbox integration and (ideally) Markdown formatting. Still. Again. Whatever—the one I’d been using still hasn’t fixed Dropbox compatibility, so it’s useless to me.
8. baking… these lemon bars. Among other things, of course, but the lemon bars were particularly good. (And easy! The small batch makes everything so simple, and there’s no leftovers.)
9. trying… to figure out how to better manage my time. I’ve got a few hours later in the day that I could be using productively, but I’m just… not. And I’m not sure how to get past that slump.
10. starting… to think it’s time to cut my hair.

Sketchbook #14

Art + Craft, Photography, Writing

I think I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.

If you remember, June… well, it wasn’t the best month for me, creatively. I’ve been feeling a bit adrift, and frustrated, and I made up my mind to try to take things slowly in July while I figured things out. (Or, while I tried to figure things out.)

And, generally, that’s what I’ve done.

As far as writing goes, I’ve maintained my 500 words a day, and haven’t pushed myself to increase that. I’ve been thinking about my NaNoWriMo story, and I’ve done some outline work, but I’ve tried not to put too much pressure on myself. I’m starting to realize (like, just now, as I’m writing this) that I know a lot more about this story than I think I do. When I sit down to try to write an outline, I get overwhelmed by all the things I don’t know yet. But when I just jot down my ideas and put them in some sort of order, things are starting to click together and work in ways that I don’t expect. (I also tracked down my old login information for the NaNoWriMo website. I had to reset my password, but somehow the account itself still exists. So that made me feel good. Weird, but good.)

I’m drawing every day, but lately I’ve moved away from the figure-drawing practice I’d been focussing on and spent more time playing with hand-lettering techniques. (Which has been fantastic. I’m still kind of terrible, but I’m having fun again, which makes me actually want to open up my sketchbook and try to get better.)

Now. Photography.

That’s not going well. I did get around to editing the last of the photos from May, which eliminates a huge source of stress. But as far as actually taking pictures goes… yeah. I’m still not feeling it, even with my 52-Week project. I’m trying not to feel too bad about that—and I hope to catch up with some of the backlog this week, without falling further behind—but it still doesn’t feel great, you know?

All that said, I have spent a lot of time this month thinking about my creative process and what I want to get out of it. I’ve started looking at a few new story outlining techniques, trying to find something that works for me and for the story I’m planning. I’ve been thinking about how I can find my enthusiasm for photography again, and how I can maintain it once I have. And I’m thinking about how to motivate myself to do the work that I want to be doing, when it’s so much easier to just watch cat videos all day. (That’s an exaggeration. Kind of.)

So. What’s next?

I’m ready to start increasing my daily word count again. Five hundred words a day is good, but not where I’d like to be. Think of it as the actual physical training that I have to do to be ready for NaNoWriMo after a few years of not really writing. I need to build up my endurance. And I’m going to start moving forward with my story outline—I had some pretty good momentum going when I first made up my mind to do this thing, and I need to find that again. (And I need to do it without freaking myself out again.) I have three months (!!) to turn what is still just an idea—a good idea, but still just an idea—into an actual story with people and a plot that I care about. Right now, it’s just some awesome backstory, a really fun premise, and a couple of cool scenes. I can do it, but it’s going to take work.

For now, I’m going to leave my drawing practice just as it is. I intend to get back to other subjects soon, but the whole hand-lettering thing is working for me right now, and I’m reluctant to let that go while I’m still struggling with so many other things.

And I’m going to try—really try—to find some enthusiasm for photography again. I’ve got a couple of weekly prompts that are going to be a challenge, and that I’m not particularly looking forward to, but… I’m going to try to do them anyway. And I’m going to try to take some photos that aren’t for the 52-Week Project, which would be a nice change. It’s also a good time to update my portfolio, which will at least remind me that I do take pretty good pictures, sometimes.

But my big project right now (which I’ve already been working on for the last few weeks) is making sure I don’t end up a rut like this again. I’m starting to feel better about things, which makes it really easy to just go back to the same habits that got me here in the first place. I’m trying not to fall into that trap. I’ve been reevaluating the goals I set earlier this year, weeding out the things that aren’t really important to me—the things that feel productive, even when they’re stealing time from writing, or photography, or anything that really matters—and finding ways to really move forward on the rest of it. I’m looking at what I want to do in the long term (which has never really changed), but making an effort to focus on what I can do in the short term.

So, that’s where I am this month: still not great, but better than I was in June. Now, I want to build on that: make August just a little bit better than July, without falling back into bad habits.

That’s all I really need right now.

Snapshot #52 | 10 Things for 5 June 2016

Personal

Currently…

1. editing… the recent batch of photos. Still in love with black & white.
2. catching… up on all the TV I put on hold the last few months.
3. resisting… temptation. Some old habits keep trying to creep back into my life…. (I don’t want to call them “bad” habits, because they’re not, but… they do get in the way of other things I want to be doing. So, yeah. I’d like to avoid them if I can.)
4. trying… to break the cat of some of her bad habits. She’s getting a little too demanding about waking me up in the morning.
5. going… back to a favourite bread recipe.
6. feeling… focussed.
7. starting… my annual search for a good hamburger bun recipe. (I never got around to trying any last year, but now that I’m into the habit of making bread regularly anyway, it feels a little less like a chore.)
8. wondering… what we did to piss 2016 off…
9. getting… back into a routine that feels productive and generally good. I’m still a little iffy on the entire idea of routine (I feel like I rely on it too much), but… yeah. Right now, things are going well.
10. thinking… about that painting that I’ve been planning for ages, and still haven’t actually started.