I’ve decided that it’s time to retire the ‘Sketchbook’ column as a formal, regularly-scheduled thing.
I’m going to keep this short. I’ve got a bigger end-of-year thing coming later in the month, and really… November wasn’t much different from any other month this year. I had some good writing days. I edited some photos. Not as many as I wanted, but more than I thought I might.
It wasn’t ideal, but it was fine.
I didn’t want to write this post.
I wanted to be able to write about how I wrote every day—or at least most days—in October, and about how happy I am with the progress I’m making on Birthday Girl. I wanted to be able to write about settling into a good routine, at the very least.
But I can’t write about any of that, so this is the post I’m writing instead.
I keep feeling like things are getting better.
Welcome to September. A few days late, but time is still weird so I’m not going to worry about it too much.
July was another slow month. It wasn’t bad, exactly—it was probably the most productive and creative month I’ve had since this whole thing started—but it didn’t live up to my hopes going in.
It’s not really an issue with the work I’ve been doing. It’s that there’s still a disconnect between my plans and expectations and the reality of the situation. My good days have gotten so much better than they were back in April or May, and my bad days aren’t nearly as bad as they were (I don’t spend nearly as much time staring into the void these days), but still.
June wasn’t the most productive month, even by pandemic standards.
But I’m ok with that. I needed the time to regroup and reset so I can get out of the weird holding pattern of the last few months and get back to work.
Over the last few weeks, one of my writing friends and I have been talking (emailing) about trying to do creative work right now, in this world. About how difficult it is to get into the flow of it, and how deep work is almost impossible. Routines are shot to hell; writing time is being swallowed up by new chores. Money’s tight, and art feels a bit frivolous. Tempers are fraying, ennui is setting in, and it’s just really hard to think of good stories right now, ok?
Is it just me, or is the year moving really quickly? But in a weird way: there’s part of me that feels like January and February took forever, but then I freak out because how is it March already?
It’s probably just me.
I’ve got to rebuild routines that the holiday season shattered, and find my way back into stories I haven’t thought about in a month. I have to navigate a minefield of existential crises, brought on by that same new year/birthday season. January is dark and rainy or so cold I can’t even bring myself to walk to the coffee shop to interact with someone that isn’t my cat. If it wasn’t for those big goals and dreams, I don’t think I’d be able to make it through the month.