… and I’m back on track!
I mean, I’m still behind the ‘official’ target for NaNo - after that one terrible day last week, I wound up taking the weekend off entirely - but the last five days have been really good. I’ve been meeting my personal goals, and today I closed out the first act.
It’s been two months since I did a general update on how all my creative projects are going, so I’ve got a lot of ground to cover today. And since this day is already shaping up to be kind of awful (they’re rebuilding the balcony below mine, which means noisy generators and sawing through concrete, I’ve got my first serious cold of the season and so my attention span is pretty much nonexistent, and they’re going to be testing the fire alarms at some point today, and that’s always a joy), I’m going to try to make it quick.
When I did my last update, back in August, I was… going through some stuff.
There’s a little less than a week left before NaNo officially starts, and I’m feeling really good about my story.
If you’re just tuning in, I’m rebelling this year. I’m still aiming for 50,000 words during November, and I’m not counting the words I write before then (obviously), but this year it was much more important that I strike while the iron was hot and start writing my story as soon as I was ready.
That turned out to be Tuesday.
Over the past few days, “almost definitely” has turned into “definitely” - I’m going to be working on Violet Lane this November. I'm not going to wait until the first of the month to start writing, but I am going to aim for 50,000 words during NaNo itself.
My prepwork is moving along nicely again. I’ve spent this week on character work, figuring out exactly who these people are and why they exist in the story. It’s been incredibly helpful; developing original characters with unique voices has always been a challenge for me, and it’s only something I really started to feel confident about when I was preparing for last year’s NaNo. (Which means, of course, that I had no idea what I was doing the first time I tried writing this particular group of people.)
I know we’re only a week in, but it feels like October is halfway over already. In the last few days, I’ve gone from feeling like NaNoWriMo is still an abstract concept, something happening sometime in the future, to freaking out because NaNoWriMo is right around the corner.
It’s been a long, hot summer, and in the past few months I have fallen out of every good habit I’d managed to establish in the first half of the year.
Most months, I take this post as an opportunity to reflect on the creative goals I’d set, and decide what I want to try to do in the coming month. Sometimes, taking that time to reflect leads me in a direction that doesn’t really fit into the standard format I’ve established for these ‘sketchbooks.’
Which is a roundabout way of saying this might be long, and it might ramble a bit. I’m trying to figure out some stuff, here, and if this isn’t the best way for me to do it, at least it’s been effective in the past.
Ok? Let’s go.
The way I’ve been managing my creative life - the things I’m working on, my creative energy, my time - isn’t working.
I’ll be honest: the heatwave has been awful for my motivation this month. I haven’t wanted to do anything but hide indoors and stare at my phone. (Even watching a movie or reading has felt like it required too much energy the last few weeks.)
My goals going into July were to write (including outlining and editing) more days than not, and to keep going with my photography project. I wanted to make it another 1/3 of the way through editing The Black Sun, and make a good start on the Violet Lane outline. And I wanted to start carrying a real camera more often.
It's been a very busy two weeks, but I still struggled to remember what I've been doing. I've been: editing | trying | moving | enduring | repainting | worrying | hemming | working | looking | feeling
We’re officially half-way through the year. Or we will be in a few days.
I’m mostly saying that to remind myself, because it feels like 2018 is never going to end. It feels like we’ve been stuck in 2018 for three years already, it will always be 2018, this is our life now. This is an impossible year in which to write, or look for beauty, or make art in general. June in particular has been a difficult month - in light of the news, it’s hard not to feel like this is all a little bit shallow.
But art - writing and photography - is what’s keeping me sane this month. This year.