Finding the Pace

Writing

Last week, I said that if I didn’t start actually writing this story by today, you could nag me about it in the comments.

You can stand down. I’ve started writing, and no nagging was required.

I’m taking it slow right now, for a few reasons. I’m still putting the finishing touches on the outline (I’ll finish that up early next week, if everything goes according to plan), and I’m still missing one worldbuilding element that is really freaking important, so I don’t want to get too far into things before I sort that stuff out.

But the big reason is this: it always takes me a while to find my way into a story. Every single time, no matter how prepared I am, it takes at least a week or two to figure out the rhythm of a story and reach a point where I have more good writing days than bad ones. Even knowing that, it bothers me, just a little, every single time.

So this time, I’m going to take the pressure off. For the first week or two, I’m going to limit myself to short writing sessions: no more than thirty minutes at a time. I won’t make as much progress as I might hope, but that’s fine – later, when the story is moving smoothly and I know how the characters interact with each other, I’ll make up the time, and the overall story will be better for it.

Do or Do Not | Reghan Skerry

Sketchbook #30

Photography, Writing

February was one of those months that just… didn’t work for me. That one week in the middle—something like a vacation, but not quite—threw me off my game for the entire month. I had a hard time being productive the week before (because I knew I’d be taking a break, so I didn’t want to build momentum only to lose it again), and I struggled to find my stride again after.

I really need to find a way to work around interruptions like that. They’re a real struggle for me, and I’ve never been able to figure out a way to integrate them into my creative process.

Anyway.

After finishing the first draft of The Black Sun (NaNo ’17), I’ve been very carefully not thinking about it at all, letting it sit while I (hopefully) get enough distance to look at it again without hating it. Instead, I’ve been brainstorming for Violet Lane (NaNo ’16, formerly known as The Persistence of Memory), and trying to make the story work the way I want it to. I’ve mentioned it before, but that’s going to be a complete rewrite, rather than just an edit: I’m getting rid of one storyline entirely, eliminating a lot of characters, and… it’s going to be a completely different story, built on the same premise.

I’m hoping to start the rewrite in March, but the outline is going slower than I’d hoped, so… we’ll see.

Now. Photography. I’m still not really doing anything (I still haven’t even looked at Instagram, and I’m feeling guilty about that), but that’s about to change! Like… on Thursday.

Here’s the plan: one photo a day, from 1 March to 9 June (100 days). Black and white only. No restrictions on the camera, but I’m going to try to use a real camera more often than my phone. I’m going to post to Instagram every day, and post a roundup here every ten days. Other than that, there are no rules.

With any luck at all, this’ll be enough of a challenge to dig me out of the rut I’ve fallen into these past two months. If it goes well, I’ll plan a second 100-day project to follow, with new rules.

So that’s where I stand: February was kind of meh, but at least I know why, and I’m making plans to make March a more productive month. (And I’m also going to try to get the sketchbook post for March up on the last Monday of the month, like I’m supposed to.)

Let’s do this.

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….

I was a lazy writer this week. Next week will be better.

Writing

I have been so lazy this week.

I intentionally took Tuesday off from writing (I had reasons. They were good, and I stand by them), and my schedule on Wednesday meant that my head wasn’t in the game, and I’m not writing today because (apparently) my brain just doesn’t work that way on Fridays, no matter how much I want it to.

So I only wrote two days this week. But they were good days! I really feel like I’ve found my writing groove again, and the story is flowing perfectly.

I’m down to the final stretch in the draft I started for NaNoWriMo, and I’m making a firm commitment to reach “the end” by next Friday. It might be tricky (there’s a lot going on in these final chapters), but my writing time is completely clear all next week, and as long as I sit down and do the work, I can do it.

I’m also hoping to start the serious plot and character work for the rewrite of 2016’s story. I’ve still got that one giant plot hole that I need to sort out, but if I’m very lucky, making sense of my characters will help with that. Maybe.

I hope.

Anyway! That’s the plan for next week: finish this draft, and get my plans in place so I can jump straight into the next/previous project. This is entirely possible, and I am definitely not overreaching.

Really.

It’s been a good writing week! Finally!

Writing

I am officially back on track with my story! My writing sessions still aren’t quite as long as I’d like, but they’re perfectly reasonable, and the words are flowing nicely again.

And it’s not a minute too soon—I’ve reached the point where everything is falling apart (in the best possible way), and I’m feeling really good going into this last stretch. It’s a fun story to write.

Mostly. I’ve still got to learn how to really write an action scene, because there are a lot of them coming up. They don’t have to be perfect for this draft, but I’d like to be able to write these scenes without getting too caught up in fight choreography or logistics. I’ve got some studying to do over the next few days.

Still, I should be able to finish this draft by the end of the month.

Plus I think I’ve figured out how to fix the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2016! I’ve always loved the premise, and I know there’s a solid story there, but the draft I wrote initially… isn’t it. It’s got too many characters and points of view, my evil organization is vague and unfocussed, and I hand-waved my way through too many of the details. I’ve known (almost from the minute I finished writing) that the next draft would need a complete rewrite, but the idea has been daunting, and I haven’t really known where to start.

But I’ve stripped the idea down to the most bare-bones concept, tried to remember what exactly I wanted to accomplish with the story, and spent a bit of time brainstorming… and I think it’s paid off. I’m throwing away or reinventing half of my characters, dropping one timeline, the core plot is entirely different, and one huge plot thread is still missing, but… I think this is the story that it’s supposed to be.

I’ve got some character work to do, and then I think I’ll be able to start outlining the new version. If everything goes well, I should be able to start work a few days after I finish the current project.

Snapshot #76 | 10 Things for 7 May 2017

Personal

Currently…

1. feeling… bored. With a lot of things.
2. making… friends with the neighbour cat. I’ve wanted to say ‘hi’ to her(?) ever since her people moved in, but this week was the first time I was outside at the same time she was. (She’s very friendly and fluffy. 😻)
3. rewriting… the NaNoWriMo story. It’s… a lot of work. But I’m happy with it. And I’m really happy to be back to putting words on the page.
4. getting… a bunch of books that’ve been on my list for ages. (And one of them is step one in those plans I was talking about a couple of weeks ago.)
5. starting… a couch-to-5K program, and modifying my usual workout accordingly. (Translation: everything hurts, in a good way. Mostly.)
6. baking… chocolate-Guinness cake. So good.
7. playing… with my DSLR, and remembering that I actually really love it. I rely on my phone so much lately—and I do sometimes appreciate the limitations—but I need to use the real camera more often.
8. cursing… Canada Post. They’re kind of terrible at scanning the parcels I’m waiting for. (The parcels did eventually arrive.)
9. hoping… to get into a routine that works for me next week. Between the new workout schedule, baking, and trying to fit errands in around the weather, this week was kind of a mess.
10. thinking… about what to read next.