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.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

POV Edits are Done!!!

Not much else to say except that now I'm one step closer to being done with this novel.

For the rest of this week I won't really be bothering with it, I want the few days rest, but on Sunday I'm going to go through all my notes on the book and print out a physical copy to do some edits on. It should take me about two-three days to hand edit the chapters for continuity problems and with ten chapters that means I'm shooting to finish the handwritten portion by the end of January. February, then, I will focus on putting those edits onto the computer and pulling everything together in a cohesive, if still not perfect, story. And then a break as I send it out to alpha readers!

It was so nice to be able to reread the book this way, and it's actually my first time going through it all completely. I have a feeling I'll be going through it a lot during the next year.

See you all again in January!

Monday, December 5, 2016

December Writing Goals & State of Samantha

I'm stealing this from the genius that is Brandon Sanderson. Every year in December he does a post where he lets people know where he's at with his many projects. Since I've talked about several this year I thought I'd bring them up and tell you where I am with each of them, since the state of them has changed throughout the year. I'm also including my goals for the month and what I achieved since last month at the bottom of the post.

The Queen's Ransom
My main project at the moment. I have a 400 days plan, which I'll talk about in the latter half of the post. If I can't manage that I'll stick to the original plan, which involves finishing completely by either May of 2018 or April of 2019. Currently I'm finishing POV editing, which I'm hopeful will be done soon, and then move to continuity editing before sending it off to a few choice Alpha Readers. While that's with readers I'll be taking a crack at the "epic" version I've talked about. I don't know where that will lead, but you'll definitely be kept updated.

Lamp and Mirror
Originally the idea for this story was completely different, but now it has morphed into a victorian-era vampire romance trilogy, which will probably be my next project. I plan to start writing it by June of next year, though the sooner the better. If all goes to plan I'll have the rough draft done in September.

Whole New World
The companion novel to The Queen's Ransom (and title subject to change) will also be a project I begin in the new year. I don't think I'll get to it until the latter half of the year, which means, tentatively, October through December will be the rough draft stage of this book. 

Wheel and Cog
This is the project of my heart and I dearly want to write it, but I don't know when I will. It means to much to mess up and while the big picture doesn't evolve the small details do slowly. I don't think I'll get to it next year but I will get to it eventually, so stay tuned.

Septology Project
On the way back burner for right now. I don't even know if it will be written at this point because the spark has mostly died. Most likely I will take ideas from it for other projects, which I think is the best course of action for this one.

Previously Unmentioned
There are several projects I want to work on in the new year that I've never mentioned on here before, so I thought I'd throw them in.

Train Towns
This is a novella full of a lot of different things that I want to at least start in the new year. I want to keep it short and sweet and I'm hoping it will be good enough to submit to magazines or competitions when it's done. My plan is to start the rough draft in February.

Monsters Under Bed/Monsters in my Head
A poem that has also been circulating in my mind for a bit. I think I will begin this in May, after it's been circulating a bit more. Again, I'm hoping it's good enough, when it'd done, to send off to competitions.

I'll be continuing my rewrite/POV editing this month and my plan is to also get through the continuity. However, I recently came up with a rather ambitious 400 days schedule. This means I want to finish the book and have it out there for submissions before 400 days have passed. You're wondering why 400. Well, in 400 days (less now) I'll be having my last day of work at where I work since I'll then be leaving for studying abroad and can't keep the job overseas and don't have any plans to immediately return after studying abroad. If I can have a novel up on it's own feet in that time I think it would be brilliant. Here are the next big hurdles according to my 400 days plan:
  • December 15th -- finish POV editing
  • January 14th -- finish continuity editing
  • March 15th -- finish with Alpha Readers

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Writing Break I Should Have Seen Coming

With finals happening right now (I have one test tomorrow and two on Sunday) I should have been able to predict that I would be taking an (unintentional) break from writing but I didn't. It's really not a problem, but motivation has just been at a low thanks to constant studying and just being really really busy in general. I will return to writing Monday or Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

It's Been One Week Since the Election

It has indeed been one week since the fateful events that gave us President-Elect Trump. Since that time a lot has happened. For me:
- I finished the extended edition Lord of the Rings movies
- I finished my classes for the term
- I took a trip to Davenport IA and really enjoyed it (and I'm going back)
- I started getting ready for Christmas
- I nearly finished planning my trip to Colorado
- The sun rose
- The weather got really warm, then really cold, and now it's pleasant
- I got really mad at someone for not doing their job
- I laughed at the Joe Biden memes
- I had dialogues with people about why Trump was elected
- I cried a lot in the beginning
- My aunt had a baby boy (unnamed as of yet, but they're considering Chester, which I think is cute)
- The Beauty and the Beast trailer came out and I loved it
- New Hamilton mixtape songs dropped
- I started a lifestyle blog and love it
- I created a budget for winter break so I don't spend too much
- I sent some letters but one of them was returned because I have no idea where the person lives now
- I tried to get into contact with some friends but they are slow at responding, lol
- I read some books
- I bought a really pretty copy of The Once and Future King
- I got to hang out with my friends a lot
- I had pizza
- I actually paid for something with change instead of charging it because I'm becoming more mature I think
- I took some warm showers
And those are just some of the things. The world goes on and I am happy.

Do I still get upset when I remember that Donald Trump will be our president? Hell yeah I do. Sometimes people get cuts on their heart, things happen, and then those cuts scar. I have a few of my own and this, well, it feels kinda like how those feel. Except not really. Maybe it's just bruised my heart. It won't ever get better, it'll always be tender, but overall it will fade away bit by bit.

I saw a post by someone who said the way many people felt after the election was the way they felt when they were depressed. It was a very good way to put it, because it did indeed feel that way to me.

I ended my last post about the election with this
Is there more to say? Yes. So much. So much. too much. But not today. Today, I rest. Tomorrow I find my feet again- my strength. Take a day by a day until again we are not just walking but running. Until
Don't let this stop your world. Let this reignite it.
and I want to comment on it.

There is still so much more to say but I don't think I'm the one to say it.

I did rest that day. The next day I did get back to my feet. I was sore but I did it. The day after that I may not have been running, but I was speed-walking. I was getting thing back on track and finding the road again. I did. And now I think I'm ready to run again. It is soon.

The next election isn't for another four years, but I'm already ready for it. These next four years I'm going to stay up on the news, on who's running, on what the current members of the government are doing, locally and nationally, and what all the policies are. I want to be an ACTIVE member of my country. I want to make it a better country- one I would be pleased to raise kids in (yes, that's far away for me, but still). And when it gets closer I want to donate to whoever I'm backing, I want to be a part of it all.  This is my plan. My re-ignition.

What's your plan?