garden, life, writing

A Little Better than Yesterday

This morning the husband was fretting over the slowness of the decline in our state’s COVID-19 numbers. “It’s 2020,” I said. “All I ask for today is that it be a little better than yesterday.”

It has been a good week personally, which feels a little weird, given the larger context. My personal projects are all ticking over with more enthusiasm than usual, probably because I took most of the week off work. I may have to deal with the strong implication that I simply cannot be productive in dribs and drabs of interrupted time here and there throughout my day. If I am doing a NaNo-style 0th draft then sure, I can put out words that way, secure in the knowing that it doesn’t matter if they are barely coherent. If I am revising? Doing research? Five minutes here, fifteen there doesn’t work. Having had the time over the past week, I have figured out yet another structural problem in the fairy book, which I have started working out the fix for. I have also started thinking more seriously about the next project after this one. (Which, believe me, is going to be way more thoroughly planned.)

Other things continue. I had a birthday. Have been trying to get outside, even though the heat has been wretched most of the week. The pea plants are flowering, and the other containers are muddling along all right to my amateur eye (that’s chard down in the corner).

I finished reading Upstream and turned down corners on a quarter of the pages. Dyed my hair again; I like the blue and want to keep it for a while. Went to some online events for career-related topics. Watched TV with my teenager. Pleasant, ordinary life stuff.

How to keep this, or enough of this to get by on, next week, when the world demands more, is the question. Can things get a little better, somehow.

writing

Insightful New Decade Reference Here

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.

 

monthly updates, writing

The Year in Writing – Numbers

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.

writing

Done!

Done

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.

life, writing

NaNoWriMo Week 3

Not only was the last post late, I skipped a week after that and didn’t even realize it. This NaNoWriMo has gone relatively smoothly — 12,000 words to go with a week left for writing, so barring catastrophe there’s no reason to think I won’t finish. I took one day off, which burned up my early lead, but have been staying on target since then.

NaNo

This past week was relatively quiet, which helped a lot, and while we do have Thanksgiving ahead, we’re not traveling, and I’m keeping the menu under control this year (recipes will be posted next week). I’m really looking forward to a few days at home!

What else is going on? I’m doing some knitting. Started making Christmas cookies to stash in the freezer, since the holidays are so close together this year. I’ve done a little bit of shopping. Still doing my morning pages and meditation. I’m 13 books behind schedule on Goodreads, so I don’t think that goal is going to happen unless I cheat; on the other hand, 33 books is pretty good for me in recent years, and I might finish a few more that I’m stuck partway through. One of the books I’m reading right now is about how to write an effective newsletter, so look for experiments in that area next year.

2019 has been weird and scary in a lot of ways, but on a personal level, it has been kind of amazing, and I want to make sure I take the things I’ve learned into 2020. I think that one reason I’m looking forward so much to time off at the end of the year; I very much want some time to reflect on all of this.

I hope the holidays treat you all well.