Sunday, July 2, 2017

Chasing the Wind

The Kingkiller Chronicles have had a huge impact on the way I think about life, and most recently is the idea of Chasing the Wind. Basically, it's going out into the world and experiencing things you wouldn't experience regularly or in your safe bubble.

Now, I don't have the luxury (or desire) to take a year off of work and school and just go but I can chase the wind day to day and hopefully, after I graduate, I will get the chance to really chase the wind and maybe take a few months to experience the world.

This is a quick post, but I just wanted to let you know that this is something I'm going to be doing. Low-key, I'm considering vlogging such experiences, even if that's only for my own benefit. I'll probably blog about it here, as well.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Writing a Book In a New Way

The book I've been working on has been coming out in a new way for me. Normally I go into a book with a rough idea of how long I want it to be and how I want it to be set up. Often this means chapter breaks come naturally or have been thought of already. For example, with TQR, I wanted there to be ten chapters and two of those epilogue and prologue, because it went well with the theme and cadence of the book. With SaS I knew that I wanted each chapter to feature a different character's point of view, with most of them being Will because she was the main character. For LaM I wanted it all to be third person omniscient with each chapter going between the two major storylines until they met up.

But with my current project chapters have yet to enter the equation. I know roughly how long it's going to be (just shy of, or about the length of, City of Bones) because of how much story I want to fit in and how long I think it's going to take. Of course this is a fluid estimate and the book may end up being longer or shorter, depending on how much time it roughly takes. However, as I began writing I just kept creating page breaks between scenes and character pov shifts. It wasn't a conscious decision it just started happening. When I realized what was happening I thought about going back and throwing in chapter breaks but I've decided to stay away from them for now. I don't need them in a rough draft and I've also found some advantages to writing this way:

1) I can write out of order. For instance I wrote a bunch of scenes that follow each other but then got stuck on one so jumped ahead four or five scenes and then went back later.

2) I can move scenes around. I realized that one character was dominating many scenes directly following each other and I wanted to include another character's narration earlier anyway, so I just switched around the scene order. It worked out nicely and didn't change the structure any great deal.

I like writing in this way but it certainly couldn't work for just any story. Like I've said before, this is my heart-story, something that has been with me a long time and something that I know very well because of how long it has been with me. Writing in this order works so well because I don't need an outline for it I can just go with it and trust the story.

Now, back to writing.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Things are looking up!

And I've been working on a new project. I'm keeping which one under wraps for a bit longer, but here's a hint to those who have been reading the blog for a while: it's the story of my heart. Okay, anyway, what I can say is that I'm tackling this story in a different way than I normally do. I'm approaching writing this book like it's my career. Because that's what I want it to be, after all, and why not treat it with the same respect as any other type of job?

I can't work a full day on my writing, I have too much going on, but I can push myself to work on it every day. Instead of saying "sit down from these hours to work on it as much as you can" I say "get this much writing done, no matter how long it takes" and that's been working for me pretty well. My goal is to have a complete complete version of the story (one I'd be happy to query an agent with) by the end of the year, which means writing 2.5k words a day. And, at least for the last two days, I've managed that without getting burned out.

Today, and the rest of the week, is going to be a test because I have to work. None of my shifts are longer than four hours this week so I'm hoping that helps keep my motivation going. It's nice to say "Can't sleep until this is done" but when I've actually had a full day that's a little harder to achieve. My fingers are crossed and my mind is set, so hopefully that is enough.

One thing I'm doing differently with this story, at least in this earliest draft, is that I'm not breaking it into chapters. I have breaks within the story, but I don't determine whether those are chapters or just regular breaks at this stage. I didn't really go into it thinking this was how I was going to do it, but it came naturally this way and there's no reason to cut it into chapters at this point so I'll keep going like this. I think either during the first editing phase, or during the second draft, I'll try to crack down on where I want the chapters to be, but I'm not too concerned.

Otherwise things have been going pretty well. I've had some dark days but I've also really worked on recovering from these in a healthy way and not letting it affect me for too long. Having a writing project helps in more ways than one, especially since it helps fill in extra time I normally have where I could feel lonely or sad.

Talk to you more about this project soon!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

What now?

For the past hour and a half or so I've been having what I call a "quiet anxiety attack" because it's not as bad as they can get, and it's not completely crippling, and if you were to talk to me it would probably seem like nothing is wrong. What happened is I called work to get my schedule and they gave it to me. Nothing went wrong, I put my schedule into my calendar, and then I started having a quiet anxiety attack because immediately I went to all the ways things could go wrong.

For example: I'm not scheduled to work for the rest of the week. My thought: Does this mean the person I asked didn't see that I work this week and so told me the wrong day and now I'm going to get a call when I'm in the middle of something else and not be able to make it? And then what will happen?

It's irrational. I doubt the person misread anything. But if they did, it's at this point out of my hands; I called and got my schedule and I will be going to work for those days that I was told I was scheduled to work. Done, nothing else to do. If I get a call tomorrow I can tell them what happened and I can know it's not my fault because I have no way of knowing.

Another example: I'm schedule to go to work early and unload trucks. I haven't been schedule to do this since last summer and I don't know the etiquette. My thought: what if it isn't trucks? What if we're doing something else? What if I wear the wrong uniform? What if I get there too early.

Irrational. I keep reminding myself that I'm being irrational. Everything will work out and I have to remember that.
But why am I telling you? Well, I think it's time we talked about work on here because my job, a part-time retail job that I rather enjoy when it's not giving me anxiety attacks.

I know it's not a permanent job and I've long planned to leave it after December of this year because, if things work out, I'll be studying abroad and won't be able to keep it while I'm abroad (I have to work once every so many weeks to stay on the payroll). Then, next summer, I can try to get an internship in publishing. It works out perfectly! Yet even though it's not permanent, and I'm more than halfway done with it, and even though I really do love working where I work, inside it's kinda constraining.

I'm not the most people person out there and I know it. Interacting with the customers drains me and by the end of a shift I don't want to do anything. It's made me realize, more than anything else, that I can't live this sort of life and I have to be a writer. That may sound... strange? I don't know, but it may sound sorta selfish too, perhaps. But having his job has convinced me that, in the long run, I can't be happy with this life and I need to have a life where I can write and make money on that writing.

One of the goals this summer is to really stick to writing and get things done in a large enough capacity that I feel like a real writer.
But to be a writer I need to have something I'm working on and right now, I don't. I mean, I do, but it's not one solid project. I've been bouncing around from project to project because it's become difficult finding something that really grabs my muse and allows me to tell a story right now.

Last night and tonight I reembarked on a television idea I had and I've begun outlining. Tonight I think I'm going to finish outlining season one and work on the script of the series. Is this the most feasible writing to begin with? Absolutely not because what am I going to do with these scripts? I can't exactly sell them and get a job that way. At least, not that I know of. But it is really fun to return to this idea that I had several years ago, tighten it up, and explore the world I had in mind. If nothing else, it's a good set of writing exercises that I can enjoy doing.
I haven't been super active on the blog and I know that. Things are going to pick up this summer. I want to do a weekly check in if I can manage it, talk about the projects I'm working on, and give you an idea for how things have been going.

This is partly for myself and partly because I think you all might find it interesting. I've also been considering doing a monthly vlog, starting at the beginning of the month and every time I do some major writing or need to vent about progress, taking it up with you guys and then editing and posting it all early the next month. We'll see how that goes, though. I've also considered getting an instagram again to talk about writing and reading things. Again, we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I'm Stagnating

in basically everything I do. You could call it procrastination, but it's different than that. It's the feeling that I really don't have anything to work towards and that I won't achieve anything either way. It's stagnating because I can't see the future. I get little bursts of energy that will motivate me through periods of time that last from only an hour to two full weeks but then I stagnate again. Depression and anxiety and other mental and emotional health reasons surely affect it, but I don't think I should put the blame entirely on that. I think I let myself just STOP and it's started to kill some of my creative spirit and some of what makes me me.

I haven't been posting here, but I'm going to try to do that again. Though it will certainly be more tangental and just kinda on and about everything and everyone, even if it's not writing related.

With writing: TQR has been sucking something out of me. I've been working on it for too long and feeling like I'm getting nowhere and every time I sit and look at it I feel like I have to start over. That's not happening, I've decided. I don't want to start over- at least not right now- when I've put so much into it. I'm not giving up on the piece, but I'm giving myself a year, maybe more maybe less. I need to move onto more fertile ground, and I need to move onto something that feels untapped and new and limitless. Scrolling through all my ideas, all my stories, one still feels very fresh and it is nothing like TQR and that's Lamp and Mirror. So, finally, finally, I'm going to sit back and write it and we'll see where it goes.

Rough Estimate:

  • Rough Draft (with a month or so for planning): April-August
  • Break + Editing (aka drafts 2, 3, 4): September-February (2018)
  • Break/Alpha Readers (close friends): March-April
  • Second Draft (more like draft 5, really, but it's getting more of an overhaul than the others): May-August
  • Break/Beta Readers (close friends+a professional+others): September-November
  • Editing (aka drafts 6, 7, 8): December-April (2019)
  • Break + Final Draft (including about a month for final touch-ups): May-October
I may be thinking too far ahead, but it gives me some perspective on how long this will really take and I need to let myself take this long with writing it because it's important. If it goes faster, great.

School: I'm stagnating here, too. Even now, as I type this, I should be working on homework. I have three essays, around 200 pages of reading, and notes to take, but I just don't want to. I don't see the reason, the need, to do it. I do understand why it's all important- that's not the problem, but my stagnation is preventing me from really and actually understanding the worth of these things.

Which relates to study abroad: I really want to go. I know that now. I know that I NEED to go because it will change my life. But I'm stagnating. This will change, tomorrow, because it needs to.

Why? Yesterday was not a great day. It wasn't awful but it was not good. I felt uncared-for, even as I went to ends to make sure others felt cared for and about. It's draining to not feel as if you're getting anything back from a relationship. An episode of yesterday: I don't have a roommate (well, I do now, but I don't actually know who they are)
Okay I looked, and I'm literally laughing because none of my professors turned in grade reports for midterms (they don't have to) so that's fine. If you're failing they have to let you know, so I'm clearly not failing.
because my roommate from this year is going to be living with another of our friends (which is fine and good because then things work out best for them, it was just low-key shady how they did it behind my back but that's a different story I think) and all my other friends already have roommates. Plus, as I'm studying abroad next year, I'll only be around for one ten-week term, so it's really not much time. (This is why I need to study abroad! Well, one of the reasons.) I managed to get the same suite as two of my friends (both my roommate this year and the other one, that she's rooming with) which I have mixed feelings about. I have, not necessarily in the last two weeks, but definitely this term, felt like a third wheel (they're not dating but like it still stands) when I hang out with them. Living with just them and a stranger feels... scary? But again, only ten weeks. And they were happy- and I thought they were happy for me; but it seems they were only happy for themselves. I mean, I'm happy for them (they were worried about getting two people they didn't know and now they only get one) and I'm happy for me. A few comments, though, made it clear that they weren't really aware of... me as a person as much as me as a piece, I guess. I'm tangental- and they'll look out for each other and I look out for myself.

I'm ranting and it's making me sad. But that was an episode. And surely part of it is colored through how I feel, but when I try to make it clear how I feel- When I say week's in advance that I'm super stressed about rooming next year and don't really know what to do and they get mad at me (another story) then I don't want to tell them these things anymore.

And I don't want to make them seem like bad friends. Really, they're not. I promise you, Internet, that they are really solid, really great friends and we will all stay friends for a long time and, seriously, it's not unhealthy relationships. I've been in those- I know. But right now, I'm in a place where they can't/won't reach (not just these two, but all my friends, really- different stories) and I don't want to reach from alone.

So I need to study abroad, is the bottom line.

Are you still reading this? Thank you, seriously, for sticking along I didn't really know where this was going when I started, just that I needed to let people know what was up.

Reading: This, at least, is picking up. We'll see for how long.

Summer: Holds all the potential if I can only get through this school year. Five more weeks! I know I can do it, I did it last year. Flunk day is coming up (which is both a super-stressor and also something I'm really looking forward to). I have Plans for this summer (they're not grand but they exist at least!). I got a raise (almost a whole dollar!) at work. I can do this. I know I can. I just need to stop stagnating.

And if you're still reading this: do you have any advice? How do i get out of this, dare I say, life slump? I'm sure I can google answers (and I probably will) but first-hand would be really great to hear.

That's not a good place to stop but I need to eat.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

I'm Writing Again, Kinda + New Plans

I got the urge to write pretty hard not too long ago, and while I'm not ready to set aside time each day yet and dedicate myself to a project, I did give in and start writing again. Sorta.

What I did was I started fleshing out characters for a graphic novel series I want to write. I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but it's called Wonderland, and it's about high schoolers who end up in this other world. Yeah, great description, I know, but I don't want to talk to much about it yet, because it's still near and dear to my heart and it actually plays with one of my favorite fiction tropes, subverting it. But again, I don't want to say exactly what that is because it's kind of a surprise twist and spoiler for the series, if I ever do get it made.

Fleshing out the characters has been a rather nice experience. In fact, while I've had really rough versions of the characters in my head for a while I never even had names written on the page, and now that I've got more than a general direction for their independent stories I'm rather pleased.

I also took time to figure out new plans for when I want to get certain projects, writing things done. For TQR I'm going to be doing a complete rewrite of it from April through August. I decided on the complete rewrite because the words I used for the first draft just aren't salvageable at this point. The overall arc of the story and the characters isn't really changing much if at all, but the language is getting a new look from the base up. Then I'll be sending it to some people to test read in September and October, so I'll take a complete break away from looking at the book during that time. Starting in November I'll be editing the whole thing again and seeing where it goes from there.

In September I'll also take the time to start planning the "companion" to TQR.

For LAM I'm going to begin the rough draft in April, but that's going to be second priority to TQR, so I expect it to take me through the remainder of the year after that. We'll see how quickly it takes me to write it, though.

For now, that's the new plan. I may get back to blogging soon, too. Hang tight, friends.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

It Feels Like I'm Giving Up- But I'm Moving Forward

Lately- the last two weeks- things have just been hard. Too hard. It's not the sort of straightforward depression that I was dealing with over the summer. It's a trickier kind. Or at least, it feels trickier. It's been a lot of insomnia, a lot of sudden drops in emotional wellness, and a lot of feeling overwhelmed. One night it got so bad- I only had half the things I needed to finish finished, a really bad headache, and a full day the next morning so I couldn't wake up any earlier to finish things. So I decided to give up. Everything.

But not really.

I made a list of all the things I need to do weekly/daily and all the things I liked doing weekly/daily, and all the things I wanted to be able to do weekly/daily. This ranged from attend classes to coloring books. It's not a huge list, maybe half a page, and I skipped past things like sleep and eat since I would do those anyways, but I may not always go to class.

Then I highlighted, in red because why not, the things I needed to do for bare minimum functioning every day/week. That was Classes, Quiver (the literary magazine I work for on campus), Reading, Television, Bookclub, and Homework. None of those were negotiable or I would probably explode.

And then I did a sort of bracket system for the rest of the listed items to see what needed to get done first and what order to slowly implement them all in.

Let me pause and draw your attention to something important- neither Writing nor Blogging made the list of things I needed to do every day/week. Because while I love both of them, they're both stressors. I had to cut them out of my life. I had to give up on them- for now. It's not going to be a permanent end to either of these two passions, but they are going to be going on an unplanned and sad hiatus. Here's what's happening next.

My top priority is to finish applying for Study Abroad. This has been one hell of an application process and it's only part one. I put things off I shouldn't have and now they're biting me in the ass. I may not be able to go because of my procrastination and it feels horrible. Of course, my procrastination really all stems back to depression and anxiety, but knowing that doesn't make me feel any better about anything especially as I'm watching some of my friends finish up their applications with flying colors.

When I finish that I want to begin implementing going to the gym once a week. My goal was to go three times a week, but I never had time when I was balancing everything else out. The gym makes me feel healthier and it helps me get out a lot of that pent up energy that is adding to my insomnia. If I can go to the gym regularly twice I'll feel like I've improved and can move on.

Which is when I'm going to be getting back into playing Pokemon. It doesn't seem like a priority, or at least like it shouldn't be, but it's something on the list that relaxes me. I have a good time playing, I get some zen time, and I don't feel guilty for missing other things if I make it a point to put time aside for it. So, yeah, this made it higher than blogging and writing.

Once I feel life has just about settled I'm going to begin blogging again. This is, I'm ball parking, not going to happen until the end of February or early March. That's further than I'd like it to be, but I need to do this for my own health. That mostly stands for my book blog, but I think it will stand for this one as well. I might stop by this one and tell about how I've been doing, but I'm not making any promises.

Writing probably won't begin again until the end of March or early April. I hate taking a break from writing even more than I hate taking a break from blogging, but the stress of it was killing me and stopping me from enjoying the writing and doing a good job on it. I want to return to it, but I know I can't do that for a while.

There are a bunch of other goals on my list, but going through them all isn't important and it will take too much time. But these are the important ones.

And you might not hear from me for a while. Don't be worried. Shoot me a question on twitter if you want- that may be my only link to the internet world for a while so I'm going to try to be active.