If January taught me anything, it’s that I need to have some kind of well-defined photography project if I’m going to keep shooting. And I need to make a public commitment to that project. Without those two things, I really struggle to stay on track with any of my photography goals.
In other words, it wasn’t a good month for me as a photographer.
I keep sitting down to write this post, and it keeps not happening. There’s part of me that feels like it’s not time, yet: I haven’t finished writing the story, so how can I possibly think about any of this objectively? I didn’t write the postmortem for last year’s project until I’d finished the draft, and that worked out well enough. But this isn’t about the story, it’s about the experience.
And this year was a very different experience from last year.
I went in confident that I could do it. Last year was... I won’t say “easy,” but it was fairly straightforward. I wrote nearly every day, and I stayed pretty much on-target as far as word-count went, and then I crashed as soon as I hit 50K, because I’d had a cold for the last few days of the month and the only thing that kept me going was stubbornness.
This year wasn’t like that. At all.
It turns out that getting three colds in the span of a month - and dropping Thanksgiving in in the middle of that - doesn’t exactly do wonders for my creativity or productivity.
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.
Well. I did say that September was going to be a busy month, didn’t I?
First off: I’ve made up my mind on my NaNoWriMo project. I’m going to stick with my original plan (a new story that I’m really excited about), and leave the rewrite until later.
Looking back, I can split August into two distinct creative phases: for the first couple of weeks, everything was... slow. I was getting some work done, but not as much as I wanted, and I wasn't really into any of it.
Mostly, it was because I had a week's vacation scheduled for the middle of the month, and I didn't want to get too deep into anything, only to lose my momentum. It wasn't a conscious thing, but... I know that it was there. (It's kind of a habit for me, and not one I'm happy with.)
That said: the vacation was actually helpful.
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.
This hasn’t been a great month.
I’ll just get that out of the way to start: I haven’t done nearly as much writing as I’d hoped, and photography has been a bit of a struggle, and I still haven’t started my painting.
But weirdly, I’m ok with that. I’m realizing that this is completely normal for me, and I’m learning how to work with it.
This has been such a weird month, creatively.
It seems like I say that - or some variation on that - every month (which should probably tell me something), but… yeah.
First off: my schedule. I’ve changed my workout routine, which has had an impact on everything else I do through the day. And the impact has (mostly) been good: I can start writing a little bit earlier in the day, which fits my natural creative cycles better, and which means I meet my targets a little bit earlier, freeing up time for other things.
So that’s good.
I knew going in that April wasn’t going to be a very productive month. There were a million little disruptions to my schedule (this is actually the first full, uninterrupted week I’ve had this month), but I’d planned for them, and I’ve (mostly) been able to work around them.
The story outlines are progressing nicely; I still really love having two different projects on the go. It slows both of them down, of course, but it’s fantastic being able to switch from one to the other when inspiration starts to flag. (And inspiration always starts to flag at some point. It’s inevitable.) For now, I’ve pretty much abandoned the daily freewriting that I was trying - I still haven’t found a way to make it work.
And I’m still looking for another writing project, something low-pressure to work on in my downtime, and that doesn’t require months of world building and outlining. It’s… surprisingly difficult. I’ve got a few ideas, but nothing that’s quite clicked for me yet.
But, yeah: it’s been a pretty good month, despite everything.
This has been a strange month. (Another one.) Not bad, just… strange. In a number of ways.
I’m currently planning the second draft of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year, and I’m in the earliest stages of planning a different novel. I’d worried that it would be confusing, trying to work on two different stories, but it’s not; they complement one another, but they don’t get tangled up together.
It does mean that I’m working on two different stories, but not actually writing either of them right now. I’m not putting words on the page. And the writing routine I built over the last five months doesn’t quite work when I’m outlining, or researching, or trying to make sense of the notes I made last November. I’ve been trying to do some free writing, but… meh. I don’t quite have the hang of that - I always reach a point where it feels like I’m just typing, rather than writing.
So, keeping myself on track - and feeling like I’m actually being productive - has been a bit of a struggle.