Snapshot #140 | 10 Things for 17 November 2019

Personal

Currently…

1. underestimating… the windchill. I’m still figuring out the right combinations of coat+sweater for this weather.
2. trying… an apple from one of the trees that’s gone wild next to the parking lot of my apartment building. (What? I’ve been curious.) The verdict: tart-sweet and very crisp, reminded me of a russet in both taste and texture, but it didn’t have the leathery russet skin. No idea what it was, but it wasn’t just the result of some kid throwing away an apple core thirty years ago. (This was farm/church land 60-100 years ago, and I know that some of the apple trees are from that era.)
3. running… behind on pretty much everything blog-related. I’ll get caught up this week.
4. watching… Dolemite Is My Name. It’s one of those movies that makes me want to make stuff. So much fun.
5. making… some amazing bread.
6. planning… a couple of craft projects. Because I’m not busy enough right now, apparently.
7. panicking… because a technical glitch somehow sent my online pizza order halfway across the country. (I got it sorted—kind of—but it was still a nerve-wracking few minutes… and a late pizza. Also, I feel bad for the delivery guy in Ontario who may have had to go to what streetview suggests is a creepy deserted corner of an industrial park and didn’t even get paid for it.)
8. starting… to think that my running season might be coming to an end. I might have a week or two left before it’s consistently too cold.
9. painting… the living/dining room. Finally. Now I just have one bedroom, the kitchen, and the entrance to do and I’ll be done with this awful beige forever.
10. looking… forward to a (slightly) more normal week.

Snapshot #95 | 10 Things for 25 February 2018

Personal

Currently…

1. planning… a photo project that will (hopefully!) get me out of this rut.
2. painting… over more of the awful builder’s beige, one room at a time.
3. waiting… for the books I ordered to arrive.
4. getting… super excited about incredibly boring office supplies. (I found the specific file sorter I’ve been searching for! And it was on sale! 😍)
5. looking… for an interesting cupcake recipe.
6. finding… a skirt that I might actually wear. It has pockets!
7. admitting… that that new regular feature for the blog is actually a couple of weeks away. Oops.
8. obsessing… over inspiration and mood boards.
9. working… out the details for one rewrite, and trying very hard not to think about the draft I just finished at all.
10. starting… to think about running again. The weather’s been decent enough lately….

2017 Project365 #190 | Reghan Skerry

Sketchbook #25

Photography, Writing

July has actually been a really good month for me, from a creative standpoint.

I know. I’m surprised, too. Lately, I’ve started every one of these check-ins with a sigh about how weird things have been, but July… actually went well. Mostly. I mean, it didn’t start well, but the last few weeks… I’m really happy with the work I’ve been doing.

First of all: I finally started the painting! It’s been on my list for two years (I bought the canvas in 2015), but I kept putting it on hold, for various reasons. The big one was that I couldn’t settle on what I actually wanted to do with it—I had a general sense of the concept (I wanted something bold and graphic, but rough), but I kept changing my mind on how I wanted to achieve that. But now it’s just about done, and I’m so happy with it. I can’t wait to show it to you guys (just as soon as I’ve taken care of a few finishing touches).

I’ve got another two paintings that I’d like to finish up by the end of summer—early fall, at the latest—but we’ll see how that goes. (I still need to pick up supplies for one of them.)

I still haven’t quite pulled myself out of the midsummer photography slump that I seem to fall into every year, but I’m getting there. I’m basically caught up on the Project 365 posts, and I’m still (reasonably) happy with the photos themselves.

I suspect that that might be at least part of the problem. I’ve been creating photos that I like, but I’m very aware that they could be better—and that means things are going to get difficult again, and I’ve probably been resisting that.

Um… yay?

But that’s fine. I mean, it’s a little bit tiring, but… it’s normal. And realizing that that’s what’s probably happening (even if I didn’t realize it until I sat down to write this post) gives me something to focus on. And, coincidentally, I just bought a book of photography projects, so that might give me some ideas.

Still: I’m just about caught up, and I’m happy with the photos.

I’ve also started making a real effort to learn my way around the Lomo’Instant. I love the camera, but any genuinely good photos (or just not-terrible photos) I’ve taken with it have been pure luck. So, I’m trying to change that… it’s not going quickly, but I am making some progress.

Finally: writing.

Most of my writing time this month has been brainstorming and character work. I’ve been trying to streamline the plot and sort out motivations for some of the secondary characters in last year’s NaNoWriMo story, and doing a little bit of worldbuilding on the next story (which is probably this year’s NaNoWriMo story).

I’ve also started (like… just last week) a daily freewriting practice again. I’ve been feeling like I need to be writing, not just doing all this prepwork, and this felt like the way to do it.

I’m handling things a little differently than I did last summer—then, it was mostly about building my typing speed back up in preparation for November. I was aiming for wordcounts, and a lot of my writing turned into brainstorming sessions or journalling or a mix of the two.

This time around, it’s purely about writing for a set amount of time every (week)day – something manageable, that I can fit in around other things, and that I might be able to maintain even when I’m working on an actual project. If I reach 1000 words in a session, that’s great. If I reach 250, that’s good, too. I’m also trying to focus on fiction this time around: just disconnected scenes or responses to writing prompts, or whatever comes to mind. It’s a way to explore scenarios that pop into my head, or character voices, or just… play.

I said a few months ago that I’d like to find a writing project that worked the way my 365 photo project was working for my photography. I don’t know if this is it, or if anything’s going to come of it, but it’s the closest I could come up with. The current plan is to keep it up until the end of the year, and then reevaluate. (I might take November off for NaNoWriMo, but… we’ll see.)

I’m still figuring out a way to keep it organized, and I’m still thinking about whether or not I want to share any of the little snippets I produce (here? Or this might be more suited to Tumblr). But, like I said: I only just started, and it was kind of a whim. I’ll figure it out.

August is going to be a busy month, but I’m not too worried; I know I’m going to have lots of opportunities for photography (which is nice), and I’m going to try not to slack off too much on my writing. (I know already that I’m going to be taking one week off, but that’s fine. It’s never a problem when I’ve made a plan.)

Other than that… I’m not sure. It’s time to start seriously planning my NaNoWriMo project for this year (I’ve got the story and the basic outline, but that’s it), and I really want to get the next draft of last year’s story started.

But, really, my big goal for the month is to maintain the momentum I’ve built up over the last few weeks. That’s enough.

Snapshot #81 | 10 Things for 16 July 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. taking… steps to find my inspiration & motivation again.
2. playing… with kittens. 😻
3. hoping… for a pleasant surprise when they announce the next Doctor later today.
4. remembering… why I should never give in to an impulse buy, no matter how tempting. Grr.
5. catching… up with my 365 project! Finally. (It’ll still be a couple of days before I’m completely caught up, but I’m getting there. The pictures will be up here by the end of this week, I promise.)
6. attempting… that ice cream recipe that’s been giving me trouble. I think I know what’s been going wrong (chemistry!), and this should confirm it one way or the other.
7. starting… the painting. You know the one.
8. searching… for a bag that’ll hold all my stuff. The one I thought was perfect… wasn’t. (See #4, above.)
9. wondering… why Canada Post never bothers to scan parcels. Ever. (I wonder this every single time I order something that ships via Canada Post. It’s maddening.)
10. practicing… with my Lomo’Instant. I am determined to learn how to use this thing properly.

Snapshot #77 | 10 Things for 21 May 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. looking… for inspiration.
2. thinking… about the ice cream I’m going to be making this summer. I’ve already got some recipes in mind. (The weirdly hot weather this week has helped.)
3. spending… just a little bit too much money. 😐 Time to bring that back under control.
4. listening… to a lot of grunge and mid-’90s alternative music. Chris Cornell’s death hit me harder than I would’ve guessed, and it’s made me dig out a lot of music that I used to adore.
5. feeling… frustrated. (With my purses & bags, specifically. None of them are quite working the way I need them to right now…. Though, I might have found a solution to at least some of my problems. Maybe.)
6. daydreaming… about tiny studio apartments with exposed brick walls. (This is not a new, or particularly unusual, thing for me.)
7. drinking… iced coffee. ❤️
8. getting… ready to start that painting. (Still. Again? Either way, I’ll probably start the actual work in the next week or so.)
9. starting… to cultivate a new(ish) obsession. It’s tied in with some of the plans I’ve been hinting at the last few weeks.
10. making… progress on the second draft of the NaNoWriMo story. Slowly, but there is progress.

Snapshot #74 | 10 Things for 9 April 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. fixing… a weird problem with the site. (Basically, if you looked at the site a little more than an hour before this post went live… there was nothing here. At all.) I’ve got the issue itself sorted, but there might still be a few little problems. Trust that I’ll have it cleaned up in a day or so.
2. working… on two different story outlines (one new, one for draft 2 of the NaNoWriMo novel). I’m having way more fun than I expected.
3. having… one of my occasional creative/existential freak-outs. It only lasted two days! This is progress!
4. running… into problems with the tote bag I’ve been making. (This is why I shouldn’t improvise this kind of thing.) The project’s on hold while I sort out the logistics.
5. re-watching… Prison Break. Not the whole thing… just enough to remind myself where we left off before I start watching the new season.
6. finalizing… plans for the huge painting that I’ve kinda-sorta been planning for a few years now. I will get it done within the next few weeks. (… and I’ve already started planning a second painting. So.)
7. doing… a little research. I have plans.
8. looking… for a good casual game for iOS. (Since I started limiting my news & Twitter browsing, I’ve got weird little empty blocks of time that I don’t know what to do with.)
9. playing… with HeroMachine. I suppose it’s technically procrastination, but I have my reasons, and it’s not a complete waste of time.
10. making… deep dish pizza, for the first time in ages. So good!

Sketchbook #17 | Reghan Skerry

Sketchbook #17

Art + Craft, Writing

I knew going in that October would be mostly taken over by NaNoWriMo prep—despite all my good intentions, I didn’t really start the actual outlining process until this month. I didn’t even really know how I wanted to outline the story until this month.

I’ll come back to that in a minute—because while writing was my primary focus this month, I did actually manage to think about some other creative projects.

First off, photography. I’m still terribly behind on my weekly project, though not as far behind as my blog posts would have you believe. I’m slowly chipping away at the prompts, and should have a few more ready to post sometime in the next week or so. So that’s good. I’ve also been working on some portraits—and I’m really happy with them, despite the less-than-ideal conditions on the day.

I still haven’t gotten around to updating my portfolio, which is really starting to annoy me, but my schedule this month hasn’t been great.

As far as drawing goes… it’s on hold for the moment. I did make some progress earlier in the month (switching back from hand-lettering for a while), but in the last week or so, I’ve started setting aside anything that isn’t absolutely essential. Which includes drawing. Although… I do have solid plans for that giant painting (finally!), and I’ve started picking up the materials I’ll need for it. With luck, I’ll actually have the thing finished and on the wall by the end of the year.

Now. Back to writing.

The outline is going well. I’m using index cards, which is kind of a new thing for me. (I tried them in the past, and they never quite clicked. But I’m starting to figure out that each story has its own process, and figuring out what that process is is half the battle.) I’ve got a pretty good grasp of the first act of the story, and the rest is coming together a little more every day. I know the shape of the story, as far as scenes and acts go. (I’m getting a little experimental there, and I keep worrying that I’m overcomplicating things, but I think it works.) I’m reasonably sure that I’ll be able to hit all my writing targets and finish 50,000 words on time.

But I’m still kind of scared.

My perfectionism is still a problem. I mean… obviously. It’s not like I expected it to magically go away by the time November rolled around. And the more this story takes shape, the more I worry about what’s going to happen when I finish. I like this story. A lot. And I really want to keep liking it after I’ve typed “The End.” It doesn’t have to be perfect, or even necessarily good, but I want to finish up the month (or finish up the story, since I’m pretty sure it’s going to run closer to 60-75K words, and that is not happening in November) with a draft that I like enough to revise.

I don’t know. I’ll worry about that later. For now, I need to focus on the next thirty days.

Clearly, NaNo is going to be my focus.

I don’t know exactly how long it’ll take me to hit my word-counts each day (my prep over the last few months suggests the best-case scenario is an hour and a half), but nothing else creative will happen until I do.

I’m still going to work on my photography. I want to catch up with the weekly project if I can; I really don’t want to fall even further behind going into December. I’m still determined to get through this thing by the end of the year—not least because I’ve already got a plan in place for 2017’s photo project, and… yeah. I get a little overwhelmed just thinking about trying to do both at once.

I’m not sure if I’ll get around to updating my portfolio in November. I’m not going to worry about it too much; if I can do it, I will. If not, I’ll have time to do it in December. (Really! I did all the 2015 work in around the holidays last year. I can do it again this year.)

Aside from that… we’ll see how it goes. I’ve still got a sewing project I want to finish, and I really do want to get that painting done. Though, really, I’ll consider it progress if I pick up more of the supplies I need. November is about writing, and finding a way to fit that into my schedule without burning out. It’s about prioritizing the work that I genuinely want to be doing.

And it starts tomorrow.

Bring it on.

Snapshot #62 | 10 Things for 23 October 2016

Personal

Currently…

1. working… on my NaNoWriMo outline. I wasn’t feeling that great about it, but things are finally starting to fall into place. I have a plot!
2. falling… behind. Again. I was doing well for a while there, but NaNoWriMo prep has taken over my life.
3. taking… photos. Not as many as I’d like (see #2, above), but I’m happy with them.
4. figuring… out my plans for the giant painting. For real this time. I might be able to get it finished by the end of the year.
5. getting… ready to start my Hallowe’en baking. Because I bake for Hallowe’en, for some reason. (I’m also starting to finalize my plans for holiday baking.)
6. feeling… focussed.
7. prototyping… the tote bag pattern I’ve been working on. My construction plans are good, but the dimensions are off.
8. planning… the next week, and the next month, and the rest of the year. Time to get things back on track.
9. daydreaming… about where I want to travel next. Too many choices.
10. trying… to decide what to read next.

Snapshot #61 | 10 Things for 9 October 2016

Personal

Currently…

1. fighting… off a cold. It’s been sneaking up on me for a few days now, and it’s bad enough to annoy me, but not bad enough to knock me off my feet. 😦 (Until today, apparently. Ugh.)
2. starting… to think about my Christmas baking. Because it’s never too early.
3. getting… ready for NaNoWriMo. I’ve kinda/sorta been making my plans for months now, but the looming deadline is doing wonders for my productivity.
4. planning… my next sewing project. I’m finally making that tote bag that I’ve been thinking about for months.
5. thinking… about that giant painting again. Since I’ve been doing my work in the office, I’m confronted by the (literal) blank canvas every day, and I’d like to do something about it. I don’t know if I can manage to get it done by the end of the year, but I really want to.
6. deciding… to start two new collections. Of actual physical stuff. I’m still a minimalist, I promise.
7. shopping… for new boots. It’s tricky. (I know what I want, but tracking down the colour & size I need….)
8. admitting… that I’m probably subconsciously distracting myself from NaNoWriMo by thinking about other art and craft projects.
9. making… pie. Well. A tart. Same thing.
10. feeling… sleepy. That cold is catching up with me.

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.