It has not been a productive week; I spent most of it in a deep funk regarding my day job. In lieu of anything useful, therefore, please accept these photos I took on my afternoon walks.
Five whole days into the new year, and I still don’t have a writing plan. So I’m going to do one now.
Yesterday I finally wrote out a scheme to address the thorny chapter of Fairy Hills on which I have been stuck since NaNoWriMo, so I am out of excuses not to just sit down and write the damned thing. I think it’s going to end up rather longer than the version in the previous draft. I have 43k words to go in order to hit my 90k target. That is do-able in a month where I have little else going on (I’ve said that before), but I’m going to give myself through February to finish this draft, if only because I do have a few other things going on.
Who knows, maybe I’ll have something ready for Pitch Madness this spring. Stranger things have happened.
After that, I think I will be more than ready to change gears and work on something different. This next project will certainly qualify. And I have learned my lesson with Hills: this time I’ll do an outline. Exploratory writing is one thing if it’s something short, but this looks like being a long, complicated story, enough so that I think it’s reasonable to allocate the rest of 2020 (except November) to research, outlining, and first draft. I’ll shoot for a solid outline by June, just to put a date on that; I have very little idea how long this process will actually take. My main writing goal this year is less to accomplish a certain number of projects than it is to make steadier progress than I did in 2019, which was marked by repeated stall-outs that lasted weeks at a time.
I may try to fit a few smaller things into the margins of the year, and I do still want to give self-publishing another try. We shall see if the world cooperates with that.
In other news, I have been working steadily on my current hat, which is now halfway done. It uses some of the alpaca wool I’ve picked up at the Sandwich Fair over the years, which is butter-soft and feels better than anything. I’ve been watching Ever After High with my teenager, who is currently into that, and Power Rangers RPM with my pre-teen (involuntarily, as he has been binge-watching it in view of my workspace). I have been reading Hannah Fry’s Hello World, which is educational and infuriating in roughly equal measure. I’ve been using my new CD player to revisit music I haven’t listened to in years or decades. The apartment has been de-Christmas-ized.
Let us all try to avoid quoting overmuch from “The Second Coming” this week. I don’t really talk about current events on this blog because God knows there are plenty of places to get that sort of thing, but they do weigh on the mind.
Plus a cowl I don’t have a photo of, which I made for a co-worker, the scarf I made for my MIL, ditto, and three projects in various stages of barely-started, because they don’t count until they’re done.
The only goal I had for knitting this year was to use up random single skeins I had bought or been given. Most of those were on the small side, hence the numerous hats, but a couple were hefty. I have little room for storage, and want to keep the stash size under control. This modest goal was met, as eight skeins went out over the course of the year. I have probably at least that many again still waiting for inspiration to strike.
I bought a fair amount of new yarn in the fall, but it’s for specific projects, and won’t be taking up long-term residence in my single storage bin. I find myself getting a bit more confident with practice, although as you can see, I’ve been sticking with simple projects.
2020 will probably see a continued working through the backlog, and finishing what I have started, which will mean mastering yarnovers finally.
A ballpark of my writing wordcount for the year breaks down as:
- Draft 2 of the second Round Table book: 89,686
- Draft 6 of Fairy Hills (so far): 47,283
- NaNoWriMo: 50,010
Grand total: 186,979 words. Plus morning pages every day starting on September 10.
Not terrible, considering that there were entire months (like this one) in which I wrote virtually nothing. I feel like I am slowly homing in on the approach I want to take next year.
I gave myself the weekend off last week, and next weekend we’ll be traveling, so here is my attempt at a year-end wrap-up.
I deliberately left some space open as I was planning my 2019, and that paid well. It was a successful year in terms of my very limited writing goals; I finished the draft of Fairy Hills, and I have been reasonably diligent about blogging throughout the year. On top of that, I finished a first draft of another book, put another NaNoWriMo notch on my keyboard, and am halfway through revising the draft of Fairy Hills that started the year. (This book, I swear.)
I found clarity in my job search. I got involved with some volunteer opportunities, which I hope will lead toward a better place in 2020. I started working on a professional certification. I tried some new things in my work, with mixed results.
I spent a lot of time working on habits and lifestyle stuff. I quit Facebook and Candy Crush. I started running again, finished a couch-to-5k program, and bought a bike (and fell off of it a couple of times). I all but eliminated red meat. I signed up for a composting service. I tried growing things in our driveway, and they didn’t die. Diet Coke is now an occasional indulgence rather than a three-cans-a-day habit. I bought a drying rack for the laundry. I started a morning pages practice, and have been diligent about meditating. I’m still finding a place to fit language practice into my routines, but I haven’t given up.
Sometimes I think, “Haven’t given up!” should be my motto.
I read 35 books (still hope to finish a couple more–there it is again) and uncounted blog posts and articles. I did a little bit of knitting. I said goodbye to my grandfather, something I am still getting used to months later. I wrote a few letters. Listened to a lot of music. And of course I cleaned, cooked, shopped, decluttered, ferried children, went to work every day, and so on.
It probably shouldn’t surprise me that I’m ending the year tired, very much looking forward to a break, but I certainly can’t say that it has been a static time. I did a lot, learned a lot, and while I doubt that I will ever be 100% satisfied with myself on any score, I can honestly look at this year and say the time got used.
I will see you again in 2020, and we’ll talk about what might come. Have a wonderful New Year.
Five batches of cookies today, and I think I’m almost done–with the baking, at any rate. Shopping is at maybe 50%. This has been a wildly productive week in all areas except writing, and even that has seen a bit of progress. It’s been to get back on balance after NaNo, catching up with the rest of the things I’ve got in hand. I’ve gotten a lot done at work, caught up on my volunteer projects, got back into Duolingo (again), and finished a couple of books I’ve had hanging around mostly-read. My manuscript is at least open at the spot I need to work on.
Two more weeks of work, and then I’ll be off through the end of the year–a rather dizzying prospect. Of course we have a lot of plans, but there are a few days sprinkled through in which we have nothing on the schedule. Including New Years Eve; I had been hoping to have a party this year, but it appears to not have been in the cards. Perhaps in 2020.
It is also of course a very reflective season we are entering. End of year, end of decade. I won’t be compiling any exhaustive lists of things done and undone, but I have my little accumulation of rituals to go through. I find myself warily excited about the year to come; many opportunities, many chances for things to go badly. Going forward with hope, kind of thing.
Since we don’t travel for Thanksgiving, and I do my best not to participate in Black Friday, yesterday was a long, quiet day. I spent it baking cookies and writing, and once I crossed into that final thousand, I knew I was going to finish a day early. It is an absolutely terrible draft of a rather silly story, and it’s done, and I am pleased.
Today there are errands to be run, and catching up on various non-writing tasks–I think I can take a day off before I settle back into working on Fairy Hills. Tomorrow we are due to get the first real weather of the winter season. This will probably result in more cookies, although I am also taking the kids to see Frozen 2 for some indulgent reason.