Retreat / Advance

Before COVID-19, I’d occasionally think about renting a vacation cottage somewhere, or booking a hotel room on the other side of town, and locking myself away for a few days to write. I’d daydream about another (quasi-)spontaneous weekend away, getting lost and taking photos and not thinking about anything else. A DIY creative retreat, with nothing to do but make art.

Sketchbook #54

For the first time since March, I was able to start thinking about fiction again, and start taking photos again, and in the last two weeks or so I’ve even been able to concentrate for more than ten minutes at a time. This was the month that I started to feel like an actual, functional, creative, human being again.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy.

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?

Looking back at 2019.

2019 was… well, it was exhausting and awful and the world is on fire—literally and metaphorically—and I’m glad it’s over, even though I’m not wildly optimistic that things are going to get better any time soon. (American voters: prove me wrong! Also, register to vote, and make sure you’re still registered every month or so between now and November. Please.)

But personally… it was the best year I’ve had since… I can’t remember when.

Sketchbook #16

Ok, so: July and August were kind of terrible, creatively. I’ve acknowledged that and moved past it. It happens occasionally – both due to my own issues, and things beyond my control – and I just have to deal with it.

I went into September with modest goals: I wanted to get back on track, and dig myself out of the rut that I’d been in all summer. I wanted to see if I could find ways to motivate myself, rather than relying on inspiration to just happen. I wanted to work on clearing my weekly photo backlog, and see if I could make some progress on the NaNoWriMo outline, but I didn’t set any specific targets – any movement would be good, as long as it was forward.

So how’d I do?

Sketchbook #13

[FYI: This is kind of long. Feel free to skip it if you’re not interested in reading my stream-of-consciousness artistic angst.]

Ugh. This month.

I mean… it’s not as bad as I probably make it sound. I’ve made real progress in figuring out what’s going on in my NaNoWriMo story: I know who my main character is, and who the antagonist is, and I sorted out the big worldbuilding issue I was having. I’ve started to figure out how the backstory I’ve been thinking about fits into the main story, and I know (generally) what’s driving the plot.

I’ve also been (slowly) building my daily writing practice back into something that I’m happy with, and that will put me on track to be able to hit the word counts I’ll need to make it through NaNoWriMo.

So far, so good.

But.