Posts Tagged ‘progress’

Out of the Woods

Hey, so it’s May! Oh man, it’s already the 5th. I feel like April flew by and May’s going to same. Time needs to slow down. I can’t believe it’s almost summer.

So, let’s talk about Camp Nano and how it went.

I did not connect with anyone, at all. They got rid of the cabins and now just have groups, which are the same groups from Nano, so all my online writing groups have one, and I think I looked in, oh, twice? And no one else seemed to be talking either. It autoposts any badges you have earned, so that was really about it. I also posted in my local Nano region’s discord twice or so as well.

I mean, there is some argument to make that the social aspect of writing challenges takes away from writing time, and that keeping it to a minimum might be better in the long run, but why do a social writing challenge at all then? The idea is to have accountability and all that jazz.

I haven’t been connecting very well to any of my writing groups lately. People don’t seem active when I’m active, or they’re not working on similar things, or not working at all. Also, all my social energy has been going to my Among Us group, some of who I get along with really well, so I don’t necessarily have the energy for my writing groups, especially when it feels harder to connect to them.

(Some of that may also be lingering confidence issues, like we talked about last week.)

As for Camp itself, I got 17,000 words on World’s Edge, which is less than the 25K I hoped for, but still better than I’ve done the rest of the year.

It feels a little unfocused, but not to where it’s not fixable in revision. I’m at 73K, so we’re only a little ways out from The End, and I’m not 100% sure how the end needs to go, so that’ll be fun moving forward.

I also realized that I set my word for the year as Polish, and I’ve done almost nothing for that. I mean, I poked at the beginning of Book One for a month or so, but I didn’t really get anywhere. I also submitted Book One to #RevPit last month and heard nothing back, so yay. Not sure what to do there. Going to leave it alone for the moment.

I think, after I finish World’s Edge’s draft, I’ll edit the scifi novella I finished last year. It’s shorter, so it should go a bit faster, and maybe I can get back into my groove. Maybe go into editing Ex-1 (the space dinosaur novel) after that, or maybe poke at some novella ideas.

I just want things getting finished, you know?

I just want my mojo, and my confidence, back.

Oof.

Anyway, Camp was a success, I think. It was nice to be moving on something, and I hope to finish the draft this month, though I’ve set a more modest goal of 15K for the month. Extra is good, but I’m not going to stress out about it.

How have you been, squider? How are your goals doing?

WriYe and December

Oh, hey! Sorry this is late. I joined an Among Us discord channel that is only for grown-ups, and they’re a very fun group of people. Also, it’s hard to work over virtual school.

The WriYe blog prompts fell by the wayside this year, like many things, but we did get one for December, and maybe there’ll be more next year as hopefully we all recover from 2020.

2020 is almost over (yay!). In a very unpredictable and unstable year, sum up your year of writing.

I mean, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. I did nine months of prompt responses, both universe-expanding drabbles (working on making it ten) and random prompts. I wrote 55K on the perhaps doomed Changeling story and another 50K and a complete draft of my mystery in November. (I have read back through it now, and it’s not terrible, though it could definitely use more meat in the second half.) Oh, and I got my scifi horror novella done and beta’d.

I’d better check my goals for the year to see if I’m forgetting anything.

Oh, yeah, I started my Drifting sequel for the luddite challenge, and I poked a few older stories to see if they were viable.

It’s not everything I wanted to do, but it’s not bad.

Did you meet your goals? Did you survive? Barely hung on?

I met…some of my goals, but I don’t think I’ve ever met all of them, so that’s not that weird. I haven’t touched World’s Edge since last Nano, and the sequel to City of Hope and Ruin continues to be stuck in the mire. I did have two stories published (here and here) which is down from previous years.

I upped my word count goal from the year from 100,000 to 150,000, which is good but, at the same time, I don’t really feel like I have a lot to show for my year.

And there was so much of this year when I could have been writing, and I didn’t. I understand that this year has been rough on a number of levels, between medical issues and the pandemic and virtual school and all that jazz. But I still wasted a lot of time where I could have been doing something else.

Give us your biggest triumph and what you are most proud of!

Hmmmm. Hmmmmmm. My scifi horror novella went over pretty well during the summer marathon. I’ve done a couple of previous marathons, and normally I get ripped to shreds, but everyone seemed to really like the story, so that felt pretty good. And it was nice to come out of Nano with a complete draft, especially now that I’ve read it and it’s not terrible.

I’ll do a more formal year-end review when we actually get to the end of the year. And, fingers crossed, next year I’ll be able to get more done.

But right now, I’m bogged down by the holidays. There’s so much to do aaaauuuugggghhhh why do I do this to myself every year? My sister texted me for Christmas present ideas back on Halloween.

How are you doing, squiders? Feeling okay? What are you most proud of this year?

We’re Back and it’s the End of the Month

Oh, hey, we’re back in our house, and we’ve put most of the furniture back, so, you know, progress.

Also, all the houseplants got stuck in the office while the ceiling/walls were being redone, and I kind of like it. My own personal jungle. I am considering leaving them all here and potentially getting even more.

But we’ll see. I am a notorious houseplant killer and I’ve found that moving plants after they get used to something is generally a bad idea. I had two plants in college, an African violet and a tea rose, that I somehow kept alive and happy with my florescent desk lamp, and when I upgraded to a room off campus and natural sunlight, they both died.

I feel like July has been mostly catch-up, trying to recover from the fact that June was useless, and I feel like I’m getting closer. Actually, I’m going to take a look at my yearly goals and see what’s what.

Apparently I’m supposed to be finishing up my draft of World’s Edge because according to this I was supposed to have finished the changeling story in June. Actually, this has me working on both through May and June, which seems like bad planning on my part. Or maybe I just thought I’d pick one and run with it.

Actually, my timing on this is quite suspect. I’ve got five different projects on here for April, for example. Maybe I was thinking that if I was going to get to that project, that would be the month to do it.

January!Kit was full of hope and promise. LITTLE DID SHE KNOW.

I’m going to tweak this real quick. Hold on. (She says, like you’re not going to read this all at once.)

ANYWAY. July’s gone pretty well. Despite the anxiety of not living at home for two weeks, I actually had my second highest word count month. It’s not an impressive word count, but it’s not awful. I’m over halfway on the changeling story and have hit the point where I hate everything, but all that’s fixable in revision. And I am caught up on my prompt response stories, and almost caught up on my monthly reading goals.

For August, as we wait for school to never start, my goal is to work on finish the changeling story draft. If that gets done (unlikely, but hey, anything is possible) I’m going to revise my scifi horror novella that I finished earlier in the year. I put it through a critique marathon and got a ton of great feedback, but then, like an idiot, I had to move out of the house and got distracted and didn’t download the feedback for the last two weeks, and they only keep a few weeks of feedback because the server gets overloaded.

So that’s very distressing. I posted on the boards, though, and I’ve gotten a couple of emails with missing critiques, but alas, I will never regain some of it. And the end had the most comments, of course.

But, hey, no use crying over spilled milk.

And that will probably take us to Nano. Last year went pretty well, so, depending on the school situation and whatnot, we may give it a go again. Or not.

Also, I spent yesterday drawing a castle. It looks pretty nice in real life, but I both took a picture and scanned it, and couldn’t get it to quite look right. Ah well.

castle drawing, colored with colored pencils

Anyway, how are you, squiders? I’m pretty done with the whole pandemic thing, but I suspect everyone is. MileHiCon is going virtual and I need to decide what I’m doing with it. How are you guys doing, mentally?

Stupid June (and Butterfly Update)

Well, squiders, yesterday morning, the other butterfly hatched. And it did exactly what you would expect it to–it climbed all the way out of its cocoon, hung there with its wings nice and straight until they dried out, and has since been climbing and flying around the butterfly habitat.

So there’s something definitely wrong with that first one. Poor guy. I think he didn’t come out right, or maybe he didn’t form right in the first place.

With the second butterfly out, I needed to refill the sugar water and put out a new banana slice for them, and both of those seemed like a bad idea with the first butterfly still hanging out in the water bowl, so I very carefully lifted him up with the flat side of a butter knife and put him out on the ground part. He’s definitely still alive, but he can really only move the top part of one wing.

Tomorrow is release day (technically today should have been for the first one; the instructions say to release them three days after they hatch) and he is going to be eaten by a bird. I am sorely tempted to at least try to smooth his wings into the right position but that it probably not going to help anything.

The smaller, mobile one is overjoyed by her one functional butterfly, so there is that. But, man, if I’d known how emotional this was going to be, I would have bought her…I don’t know, sea monkeys or something. Do they still sell sea monkeys? What even is a sea monkey?

Maybe I should have gotten the ants.

June was basically a wash in terms of story writing. We talked about what I did get done earlier, but in terms of writing writing, I wrote a grand total of 2.4K, 1000 of which was a prompt response, and 1.4K of which were on my changeling story at the very beginning of the month. I mean, it’s not the worst, but it is pretty bad for me, especially since the changeling story (did I tell you guys the working title? It’s Through the Forest Dark and Deep. I made icons and a banner and everything.) was going so well at the end of May.

I didn’t even get my two prompt responses for the month. I’ve been sitting on my Pinterest prompts for weeks, and I finally consolidated a plot to go with them a few days ago, but still haven’t written it. I gotta say, the Pinterest prompts are both an excellent and a terrible idea. Since I’m picking prompts purely on age (how long they’ve been on the board) and not how well they go together, some–all right, most–of the stories have been a challenge, and now I need to do two this month to catch up. But combining prompts that don’t go together has been interesting and challenging.

But, anyway, screw June. And it’s over. July may not be much better–a lot of the challenges that messed up June are still here, after all–but at least, for now, there’s potential, you know?

How are you faring, squider? Is it hot where you are? It is so hot here, augggh.

What Happened to June?

Other than giving everybody whiplash and churning out new things every three seconds.

I mean, we’re a week out from the end of the month, and I’m not even sure what I’ve done for the past few weeks.

Not writing, that’s for sure. I wrote a short prompt response on Sunday, and it was the first time I’d written in forever.

Well, there was the anthology. Since I book format professionally (and because I love it a lot), I’m always in charge of doing anthology formatting. I also coordinated the intros for each story, wrote the intro for the anthology (and the back cover copy/description), and made the cover.

So that’s not too shabby!

I also took on a paying client for a nonfiction book, and I’ve been participating in the Summer Marathon over at my speculative fiction forum. I’ve talked about the winter/summer marathon before, but it’s basically a 12-week intensive critique cycle, where people in the group give you feedback on your story and you give them feedback on theirs. This time through I’m doing my scifi horror that I finished earlier in the year (now tentatively titled Rings Among the Stars) and it’s going really well. And because it’s a novella, I’m actually going to make it through the whole story over the course of the marathon, which is amazingly valuable.

There’s eleven stories in the marathon, though, so it takes some time to get through everybody else’s. You don’t have to–you only have to do two–but everybody always does everybody, or tries to.

So. Hm. That’s probably where my time has been going.

Plus I did something called the Stay-at-Home Story Summit, which was a mixture of marketing and craft webinars. That…may not have been the best use of my time. And I went to a couple of panels at TorCon for industry research. Yes. We will call it that.

Oh! And I started listening to my podcasts again. (I haven’t been for about a year.) I was already wildly behind, and so I continue to be so. I did drop one, one of my fantasy stories, because I realized I didn’t actually care about it that much and slogging through six years of podcasts to catch up sounded unbearable.

This post is actually very cathartic. I’d been feeling so bad because I wasn’t writing (or reading, either), and now I can see that I’ve actually been fairly productive, all things considered.

How has your month gone, squiders? Getting everything done that you hoped to?

Let’s Not Be Sad

Good Lord, squiders. I have sat here all day, trying to figure out what to blog about. My thoughts keep going back to what’s going on in the world, which is depressing and awful, and, to be honest, I don’t want to talk about that. Everyone is talking about that. It is everywhere and inescapable. I mean, it makes sense, because it’s affecting everyone, but me talking about it isn’t going to add anything to the conversation.

(Monday I made face masks out of my leftover fabric from the bookmarks I made people for Christmas. That was…surreal. Also the first mask was super easy and then the second and third masks kept jamming my sewing machine and I didn’t change anything so I don’t know why.)

And, I mean, it’s April Fools Day. Now, I’m not a huge AF fan anyway, but you know how many AF jokes I’ve seen today? None. Nada. Not a single one. The whole world said, “Nope, not this year.” I appreciate that. But it’s still kind of depressing.

So! Let’s focus on the positives, shall we?

March was a freaking roller coaster that lasted forever, but it wasn’t all bad. I did some really nice watercolors in my travel journal (though the travel watercolor set I have has some…interesting colors). I got to rib my sister about getting old (she’s two and half years younger than me, but as older sister I am required by law to tease when appropriate). It is well and truly spring now.

I also got some things accomplished. I finished the draft of the scifi horror story. (And found a title for it! Finally.) I finally got through my February writing book. I’ve got the final nonfiction book more or less ready to go. My Pinterest prompt spawned a whole novel idea…which, uh, I guess I’ll add it to my list? (I wrote creation myth for the prompt.) I wrote more than I did in February.

And April, even if we’re still in the midst of all this, well, it kind of feels like a new start. At least March is over, amirite? Plus, there’s Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’m going to work on the changeling story I started as part of How to Think Sideways last year. I stopped cuz I lost interest in the story, but I’m hoping I can poke it into something usable.

I guess if I can’t, there’s always the story I came up from my Pinterest prompts? Or I could go back and finish the draft from Nano. Always options. Too many options.

How did March go for you, squiders? Plans for April?

So Which Story Won?

If you recall, squiders, I said I had four stories that were sitting in the incomplete first draft stage, and that I hate having unfinished drafts and it was a goal of mine to get them all done sometime this year.

They are, in order that I started them:

  • The sequel to City of Hope and Ruin, being co-written with Siri, like the first book (at about 18K, but may need serious revisions on the beginning once we finalize the plot)
  • The changeling novel that I’m using to take How to Think Sideways (a writing course by Holly Lisle that I bought forever ago and have never gotten all the way through) (at about 5K)
  • The scifi horror novella I started for Seven-Day Novel in August (at ~20K)
  • World’s Edge, my Nano novel (at ~55K)

In a perfect world, they will all get done in a timely fashion, and I will be able to move onto other or new projects.

But experience has taught me that I cannot write more than one major work at a time (unless they’re wildly different, such as nonfiction and fiction, or a collection of shorts and a novel, or editing one and writing another, etc.), so I cannot work on them all at once.

And I picked the scifi horror novella to work on first.

Why?

A couple of different reasons. One, it’s the shortest, at a projected 30K, so it’s mostly done (admittedly I have already written 5K on it this month). Second, I didn’t stop working on it because it was having problems, but because Nano rolled up and I needed to switch to another project.

And three, it feels really solid. I read back through it, and I really like the story. I’ve never written a dedicated novella before (I either go full novel or hang out around 10-12K) but I’m digging the length. It feels really natural to me.

So, fingers crossed, I’ll have the novella’s first draft done by the end of the month, and then I can peruse the other options for February and beyond.

(That being said, I’m not sure the CoHaR sequel will ever be my primary project. Since it’s co-written, I don’t have full control over when I can work on it, and from my experience with CoHaR and the sequel so far, there’s periods of intense work on my part followed by periods of no or little effort on my side.)

Other things are also going well thus far; the fifth of the Writer’s Motivation books is up for pre-sale (this one is Writing Around Life). I, after much finagling, got a secret gallery up here on the website for when I start submitting my picture book to agents. I’ve written two short stories this month, and looked at the shorts I wrote for the flash fiction class last year to see if they are worth trying to get published.

Of course, there’s still the medical issue to deal with; that’ll come to a head next Thursday. I think I may post a Landsquid that day for my own sanity, but maybe not.

How is January going for you, squiders? Getting what you wanted to done?

Trying To Keep With It

Last week I laid out my tentative plans for the month. As we discussed, December’s always a bit of a pit for me, creatively-speaking. Too much other things to focus on, burnout from November in one way or another, a new year and new possibilities looming…

…and yet, I always try. Maybe one year I’ll take the month off and just…watch Christmas romances on Netflix or something.

(I’ve actually read two Christmas romances in the last few weeks, so…)

As a reminder, here are my goals for the month:

  • Write an additional 15K on my Nano story. Historically it has been hard to keep going on the Nano story post-Nano, but every time I hold out hope that this is the year that it actually happens.
  • Put out my fourth nonfiction book (this one is on writing consistently) and its associated workbook.
  • Finally finish updating my email list and its automations.
  • Start drawing now–don’t wait til January.
  • Read 4 additional books, which will get me to my yearly 50-book goal.
  • Outline next SkillShare class.
  • Start programming again.

We’re a week and a half in, so how are things going?

  • I’ve written maybe 300 words on my Nano story. I mean, the month is young, 15K is ten days of 1500 words, but…well, we’ll see.
  • The pre-order for the fourth nonfiction book is up (here) and I’ve made the cover and gone through my beta comments for both it and the workbook. Next step is to do the final edit on both and write the book descriptions.
  • I finished updating my list! My automations are going, I’ve fixed a few bugs, I’ve managed my audiences, and frankly, made more progress in the last week than the other two years I’ve had the list. (If you’re interested yourself–I’ve got the list streamlined by different books, with free short stories for each–click “get updates” in the header up above.)
  • I started drawing! I took a class on making any animal cute, and am currently working on a coloring class.
  • I’ve read five books. And I’ve got more than half the month to go! This might explain why writing’s not really happening.
  • I’ve picked a topic for the next SkillShare class–planning writing time into your schedule–but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
  • I did a practice exercise in Python, but the test program kept rejecting it. Finally looked at the solution, and for the life of me, I don’t see the difference between my program and the solution. Which is about how programming typically goes for me, which is perhaps an indication that I’m barking up the wrong tree.

I bought some watercolor pencils off of Amazon on Black Friday, but I don’t think they actually are. Watercolor pencils, I mean. I used them to color the tiger and the squid, and then I tried to activate them on the tiger, which, as you can see, did not happen. (It mostly smeared things about.) So now I’m just using them as normal colored pencils, and my mother gave me a set of watercolor pencils she’s not using at the moment.

(I tested them and they work as expected. Lesson here is to not fall for Amazon’s lightning deals, though I needed colored pencils so it’s not a complete loss.)

(I mean, they came with a paintbrush and everything, they just don’t work. I don’t know.)

I’ll force December to be productive yet! How’s your month going? I’m actually fairly on top of holiday things too, which almost never happens.

Let’s Look at the Hope’s Redemption

Happy Tuesdays, squiders! Nano continues apace. I’m keeping about a day ahead of where I’m supposed to be, which is actually a little slow, but we do what we can.

Most of the story takes place on a ocean-faring vessel, known as the Hope’s Redemption. This is a bit interesting, having the entirety of the characters stuck in a tiny place that nonetheless has a lot of moving parts. So I also spent a lot of time on developing the ship, since it’s so important to everything going on around it.

Humans have, of course, been sailing for millennium, so that’s a lot of history to pick through. I went into it with a couple of criteria:

  1. The ship needed to be capable of a cross-ocean trip
  2. The ship needed to be relatively big, but not too big (to save on number of characters)
  3. Based on the state of humans in the later years (during the Trilogy) they couldn’t be at the point of the Age of Sail (late 1700s-mid 1800s)

So I settled on modeling the Hope after a carrack, which is a 15th-century sailing ship. It looks a little like this:

Image by Joseolgon

This type of ship was used a lot by European explorers in the late 1400s/early 1500s. It’s designed to be relatively stable and hold a lot of cargo. And it’s not that big, not compared to later ships. A carrack tended to be about 75 feet in length and have a crew of between 40 and 80 people. I went a little smaller, and settled on a crew of 36 (for my own sanity).

(I have 16 or 17 named crew at this point, so we’re about halfway there.)

I’ve added a couple of boats onto the Hope, which I don’t actually know if was standard practice or not, but I can’t imagine you’d want to beach a giant ship every time you find somewhere new. Or wade between the ship and the beach. Also I have read a lot of the Hornblower books and admit they’ve worn off on me to some extent.

The boats are called the Promise and the Dream, because there’s a theme here.

I also made myself some notes about terminology and how things work, so I hopefully vaguely sound like I know what I’m talking about. Here’s a page of that:

Scanned out of my drawing book

Even with my carefully crafted notes, I’ve noticed me messing it up a few times, so, eh, things to consider once the book is written, I suppose.

So, that’s the Hope! And a very good ship is she, though my landlubber narrator isn’t sure, as of yet.

How’s your month going? Thoughts about sailing ships?

Halfway Through the Year

Madness!

(Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement about both PowerPoint and my class in general on Tuesday. You’ll be happy to know that I did finish the class and now just need to record the audio and get the thing posted.)

(Even thanks to Rick, who expounded on the value of using an overhead projector. :P)

Where is the year going? It’s half gone. It’s half gone and I am not being nearly as productive as I would like to be.

May was a wash, of course, due to certain unfortunate circumstances that we’re still dealing with, and June hasn’t been much better around the small, mobile ones being out of school (and some of us having been too eager when signing people up for summer camps). February was my surgery, and there was the car accident in March (insurance guy is not currently calling me back, go figure).

I think, maybe, around mid to late July things will start to calm back down.

But, I mean, is anyone ever exactly where they plan to be in terms of productivity for the year? Maybe. Maybe there are people out there who are better at estimating how long it takes to do something and how much time they’re likely to have to do said thing.

It’s not all bad, though. I’ve gotten things done.

  • I finished my serial story, which I’ve been working on since 2009.
  • I have edited almost all my nonfiction books (on the last one) and have made all associated workbooks/journals.
  • I finished the dummy of my first picture book and have done some editing on it.
  • I’ve written a few new short stories, one of which was published on June 1 (here).
  • I’ve been working on getting critiques on books that are in the revision stage (expecting one back sometime in the next few weeks, yay!).
  • I’ve been working through a writing class that I bought ages ago and have a decent start on a new novel.
  • I’ve been writing drabbles in established universes for fun and practice.

So not terrible. Not where I wanted to be–I did want the nonfiction stuff ready to do a few months back–but it’s not nothing. And we’ll keep on trucking, and everything will eventually get done.

(And then we’ll start new stuff and the process will be neverending.)

How’d the first half of 2019 go for you, squiders?