Snapshot #134 | 10 Things for 25 August 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. starting… work on that dress I’ve been meaning to make forever.
2. trying… to kick my motivation back into gear. I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why.
3. making… the year’s first batch of ice cream. At the end of August. It’s been a weird summer.
4. forgetting… what a nightmare some stores are right now, with back-to-school season coming up. I just wanted to look at pens.
5. spending… six and a half hours in the emergency room. I’m ok! Just had a bit of a scare and needed a bunch of tests. They all came back good. (And I’m incredibly grateful for the Canadian health care system right now.)
6. reevaluating… a few things.
7. finding… a reusable cup for iced coffee that fits in my bag! I’ve been looking for ages. (This is the one, if you’re facing the same dilemma. The silicone feels a little precarious when it’s full, but it works just fine so far.)
8. wishing… the cat would stop waking me up in the middle of the night.
9. exploring… a part of town that I haven’t visited in years. It’s changed a lot, and it’s kind of fantastic.
10. hoping… that next week is better than the last two have been.

Snapshot #130 | 10 Things for 30 June 2019

Personal

The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a wash, and I’m genuinely struggling to think of things I’ve actually done. But let’s try anyway.

Currently…

1. craving… ice cream. I haven’t made a single batch yet this year.
2. wondering… if the new coffee beans I got for the office are really this bitter, or if it’s just the way I’m tasting things right now. (Stupid cold.)
3. worrying… about the balcony plants. The building-supply place around the corner closed last summer (they’re building a hideous corporate HQ in its place, which infuriates me for so many reasons), and buying plants has been difficult enough without a nearby garden centre, but now I have to try to get potting soil before the herbs die.
4. avoiding… the rain. Barely.
5. starting… to wean myself off Pinterest, or at least change the way I use it. (If anyone can recommend something that works better as a digital ‘swipe file,’ let me know. I use Evernote for a lot, but sometimes a grid view helps spark ideas better than a list.)
6. reorganizing… the archives.
7. recognizing… some missing skills in my writing life, and taking steps to build them.
8. finishing… the stack of books at my bedside. I’ve still got at least a dozen ebooks to read, but it’s something.
9. trying… not to let my anxiety get the better of me.
10. looking… forward to things getting back to normal.

Sketchbook #44

Personal, Photography, Writing

“Maybe I’ll have some answers by the end of June,” I said

Why do I set myself up like that? 

I’m being a little overdramatic. The first two weeks of the month were good. Really good. It took a few days to figure out what I was doing with Violet Lane, but I’m well into the second draft now, and it feels like the big changes (cutting down the number of point-of-view characters, eliminating one character entirely, et cetera) are the right ones. I’m still wavering a bit on the tone (I want to make it darker, but it doesn’t seem to be working. I might have to rework the main character again), but in general, I’m happy with it.

My progress with photography is… ok. I’m in a bit of a rut—so many flowers—and I’m trying to figure out how to push myself out of my comfort zone with that. Part of the problem, I think, is that I’m in a bit of a rut when it comes to my routine in general—I do the same things and go to the same places, travelling the same routes, at roughly the same time every week—so I’m not seeing anything new. Nothing is feeling fresh or interesting. (I haven’t gone on as much as a day trip in over a year. The logistics for that kind of thing get tricky when you don’t drive.) Plenty of photographers have found inspiration in mundane environments, but I’m dealing with a general sense of frustration that’s just feeding on itself right now, and I need to figure out how to break myself out of it.

That said, the flower photos are ok—some of them have been quite good—they’re just boring.

Other than that things have been pretty much progressing as expected: I’m having fun with the website redesign, I’ve been making some real progress when it comes to figuring out my long-term plans (which… yeah, I kind of worked on that a few months ago, but I’ve been refining the ideas and framing them in a way that means I can work toward them rather than just dream about them), and I took a few small steps toward that big project that I’m still not announcing, even though I fully intended to do so this month. (More on that in a minute.)

… and then I came down with a cold. Nothing much has happened since last Wednesday. At all.

Snapshot #113 | 10 Things for 4 November 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. starting… to panic. I haven’t settled on any of my Christmas baking plans. (Actually, I’m panicking a little bit at how close the holidays are in general.)
2. feeling… feverish. The most recent cold was very brief, but intense.
3. debating… the merits of various notebooks.
4. making… apple pie. And remembering why I don’t make fruit pies very often (they stress me out). It’s not pretty, but it tastes good.
5. craving… silence.
6. reminding… myself that I can still hit 50,000 words for NaNo, even though I’ve only had one good writing day so far.
7. enduring… construction on my building and fire alarm tests.
8. getting… annoyed with Pinterest again. It’s a cycle.
9. looking… forward to a normal week.
10. buying… post-its and highlighters. (So many post-its and highlighters!)

The 2018 Reboot | Week 8 Check-In

Productivity

The past seven days have been… less than ideal. I’m still dealing with this stupid cold (the worst of it seems to be hitting me right about now), and construction on my building, and… yeah.

But! The reboot continues, even if it’s a little slower than I’d like at the moment. (If you’re just joining me and not sure what I’m talking about, here’s the explanation.)


I’m going to keep this update short and sweet.

The goals:

Improve the quality of the art I’m consuming, in order to improve the quality of the art I’m creating.
Still going strong. Not right at this moment (my attention span is pretty much limited to the fluffiest of romcoms right now), but in general: I’m doing well.

Find a way to structure my time in order to support my bigger goals (creative and otherwise).
This… hasn’t been going so well. I’m still tracking my focus, motivation, and energy throughout the day, but I’m going to have to keep that up for another week or two. (The data is a bit skewed right now, for obvious reasons.) Overall, though, I do feel like I’m moving in the right direction.

Develop workflows for writing and photography. And blogging.
This has been, without a doubt, the most challenging part of this whole reboot. Partly because it’s kind of boring (let’s be honest), and partly because I need to test and fine-tune any workflow that I develop, and that requires doing more actual work than I have been lately. But November is coming up (… tomorrow…) and with multiple projects at various stages of completion, next month is going to be a really good opportunity to test some systems. (It’s also going to be a good chance to really work on structuring my time.)

Experiment with productivity and journalling systems, and find something that works for me.
This is definitely where I’m showing the most improvement this week (and in general). I’m still figuring things out, especially when it comes to longer-term planning, but I’ve made progress on the day-to-day. This week has been a really good test—my current todo list setup has kept me (mostly) on track, despite wanting to sleep all the time, so that’s a win.

Finish the work on the office.
I’ve made a little bit of progress on this, but not much. Hoping to make a little more progress today.

Snapshot #111 | 10 Things for 7 October 2018

Personal

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend!

Currently…

1. reading… some very good books.
2. feeling… inspired.
3. getting… irrationally frustrated every time I see someone talk about “fonts” when they mean “lettering.” (Actually. No. It’s not irrational. Fonts and lettering are not the same thing, and I love them both.)
4. buying… one of the dress patterns I was swooning over a few weeks ago. I’m sure it’ll drive me batty, but that’s fine. It’s worth it.
5. starting… to narrow down my options for the Christmas baking marathon.
6. enduring… a cold.
7. resisting… the temptation to buy a bunch of new camera gear. (Sort of. I’m channelling the temptation into research, planning, and motivation.)
8. waiting… for the new series of Doctor Who. Only a few hours to go!
9. accepting… that I’m not going to reach my running goals for the year. I’m going to be spending the rest of the season just getting back to where I was before the humidity derailed me. But that’s ok. There’s always next year.
10. looking… forward to getting back to work. I’ve got a lot of plans for the next few weeks, and I can’t wait.

Snapshot #89 | 10 Things for 5 November 2017… or, rather, 7 November 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. digging… out my scarves and fingerless gloves. Finally. It’s not consistently cool, yet, but it’s finally starting to feel like fall.
2. getting… over the flu. Here’s hoping that I manage to stay healthy for at least a few weeks this time.
3. struggling… with my schedule, just a bit. My NaNo project isn’t flowing quite as smoothly as I’d like, and it’s slowing me down on other things.
4. wondering… why, every single time I genuinely love something (a particular food, a shade of makeup), it gets discontinued immediately. (I had to find a replacement for my foundation this week. After some back-and-forth with the woman at the makeup counter, we found something that (probably) works. When I got home, I looked the new stuff up online… and found out that it’s about to be discontinued.)
5. hoping… that I’ll be able to get back into a good running and workout routine sometime soon… October was a bit of a setback.
6. thinking… about new projects and plans. It’s good.
7. starting… to get nervous about how close the holidays are. I don’t have any of my baking planned.
8. trying… to break some habits and establish new ones… with mixed success.
9. knowing… that I’m way behind on posting. Sorry.
10. feeling… determined to not only catch up on my NaNo word count, but to build up a bit of a buffer this week. Let’s do this.

Sketchbook #28

Writing

It turns out that getting three colds in the span of a month—and dropping Thanksgiving in the middle of that—doesn’t exactly do wonders for my creativity or productivity.

Who knew?

So… yeah. October wasn’t a fantastic month.

Really, I’m fine with it. It wasn’t great, but in general, I’m happy with what I have been getting done under the circumstances.

Of course, my highest priority this month has been writing—or, rather, outlining. NaNoWriMo starts in two days (!!!), and… I’m ready. My outline might not be as complete as I’d hoped it’d be (it’s definitely not as complete as I’d hoped it’d be), but it’s solid. I’ve got a good grasp of my characters, and my scene breakdown is done, and my worldbuilding is as good as it needs to be right now.

As for photography: I’m back on schedule with my Project 365 photos! I really don’t know how I did it, or how I’ve stayed on top of things, but I’m back on track, and I intend to stay there for the rest of the year.

It’s only two months. I can do that.

Aside from that project, I haven’t been able to take very many photos this month. The inspiration and motivation just haven’t been there, and, let’s be honest: one of my 365 photos was literally a blank wall. (Well. The corner where two blank walls meet, because I had to include some kind of visual interest.)

… and that’s about it. That’s all the creative work I’ve done this month.

That part annoys me. I mean, I can give myself a pass for this month. I had valid reasons for not doing much in October. But in general, I haven’t been happy with my creative output lately: I haven’t done any sewing in months (my half-finished bag is hanging in the closet, waiting for troubleshooting), I haven’t drawn anything in ages, and aside from my NaNo prep and a bit of freewriting, I haven’t been spending nearly as much time writing as I’d like to be.

We’re also getting close enough to the end of the year that I’ve started thinking ahead to 2018… and evaluating what I’ve done in 2017.

I know that my goalsetting/productivity habits aren’t cutting it right now. I know that the bullet journal system—as much as I like it in theory—doesn’t quite work for me in practice. I’ve started experimenting with some modifications that I hope will work for me (or at least lead me in the right direction), but I’m still trying to figure out what I actually need, let alone how to get there.

Maybe November isn’t the time to be thinking about this, but maybe it is. One of my NaNo goals is to firmly establish a creative habit that genuinely works for me, and that I won’t abandon as soon as the draft is finished. And, like I said: there’s only two months left in the year. I’d like to get myself back on track in time for the new year.

So. That’s the plan for November: make it through NaNo, ideally with a nearly-finished draft. (I’m still not 100% certain how long my story is going to be, but I know that it’s more than 50,000 words.) Try to do it in a way that doesn’t throw everything else into disarray, and that I can sustain through the holidays, and into the new year. (While I’m at it: reread last year’s story and start outlining the rewrite.) Continue to stay on top of the 365 project, and try to take pictures that aren’t just for that particular thing.

In general, just find my focus, and figure out how to do the work I want to be doing.