So Many Days

Honestly, it’s been almost a year since I last popped on here and said something. But it hasn’t been for a lack of general productivity or anything. In fact, when I stopped posting was about the exact time that I started really ramping up my production and got stuff done. Seriously. I’m not even lying.

Through August last year, I was starting to get all my ducks in a row and I had finally come up with a plan. I was going to use August-October to plan out my story and get everything ready to go in anticipation of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times, but for the most part, my preparation was pulling out all the various notes that I had ever made about the story and putting them in a pile that I wouldn’t reference. This time it was going to be different, because this time, I was going to use it as a jump start to get my story going. And so those three months were crazy.

I was dog sitting at my auntie’s house near the end of September when I finished planning out the final book in the trilogy. It was something like 10am because I had woken up stupid early that morning to go get the SNES classic, and then decided to stay awake and be productive. I remember wanting to cry, I was so happy to have finally got there. It was pretty special. But I didn’t get to stop there. Nope. Now that I had everything planned out on paper, well, in a thick notebook, it was time to get it typed up and organized on the computer.

I had spent some time typing characters and places up as I went, but this was the point when I really buckled down to make sure that I didn’t miss a thing. It was almost the end of October by the time I got everything sorted, and then I did something that has been incredibly valuable for my sanity and my writing productivity. I loaded my characters and places to the Staples printing site to get them put into a coiled book. And then when I saw how awesome that was, I did the same with my plot. One is 92 pages, and the other is 74, and I bring them around with me almost everywhere as a quick reference. Sure, I could pull the files up on my computer, but I really like having something tangible that I can grasp, and highlight, and mark up. It’s something I love, and I know it’s something that I will continue to do and use after I finish these books and as I move on to other stories.

Then November hit, and it was time to start running. And I did. Amazingly. Shockingly. The goal for the month was 50k. That’s the official number for NaNoWriMo. I knew I would hit that. I’ve done NaNoWriMo enough times to know that I can hit that in eight days. I don’t recommend only leaving yourself eight days to write 50k, but I now know it can be done. No, I wanted to go big, or go home. So I set my minimum goal to 50k, but my actual goal to 75k. I made 80k with a few days to spare, but traveling and all that meant that I missed out on a few writing days. It was okay, though, I was happy with the 80k.

What followed were a few months of doing nothing. After pushing myself for three months prior to NaNoWriMo, and then outputting so much in November, I was a little burnt out. Throw some year end holidays in there, and a trip abroad, and, well, you can imagine that I wasn’t super productive. But then in February, I started to get the itch again, and I decided to start setting up for a productive March. I set my goal for that month at 60k, and managed to put out just over 76,000 words in the end. April was Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set my goal for a modest 25k, something I had set before I even started writing in March. I decided not to change it, because I was afraid that I wouldn’t write much more than that. Privately, though, I had my eyes set on 60k. I didn’t reach it. But, I did surpass 40,000 words and that’s nothing to scoff about. This month was supposed to be another 50k, I think, but then things started to unravel a bit.

See, I’m still technically working on book one of my trilogy, but I’m over 200,000 words in. That makes me wonder if maybe I’m trying to put too much into one book. The whole reason that I split the books where I did was because I was so set on having three books. Now, the more I look at it, the more I think it’s actually four. And so I stopped writing for a while, and I did a bunch of thinking. While I was thinking, and trying to figure out the best place to cut the first book into two, I came across a note. This note told me where I had planned on cutting the first book off in the first place. It was the same place that I was looking at to make the division. I guess it was meant to me.

So, now my trilogy has become a four part series (at least), and that means I have a decision to make, and that’s what’s been holding back my word count lately, and also making me immensely unproductive. I don’t know if I want to continue on with the story as it is and then take care of the split later, or if I want to stop my forward momentum and get back to the actual first book and start cleaning that up. The Queen of Quantity tells me that I should just keep going and write all the words. But, I also know that I do have areas that I have to fix, because I basically just skipped them, and that will give me a chance to add a ton of words to the mix.

As it turns out, in an effort to not choose, I’ve just been kicking back and forth between the two options and not really doing much on either, choosing instead to binge watch Netflix shows. In good news, I think I’m running out of things I want to watch and also the rest of the internet has become pretty boring to me. At least for now. I think I need to jump on this and use it to be productive. At the moment, I’ve decided that I’m just going to keep writing. Tomorrow, it might be a different story. The only good thing is that I know I have the option to switch paths at any point.

This summer, I’ve taken up a remote job. Should be interesting. I’ll either get a ton written, or nothing at all. Time will tell, but I’ll get more into that later. Actually, the job is kind of the reason that I’ve decided to get back into this blog, other than the fact that I kind of missed blogging. See, I usually daily vlog, but out in this remote place, internet is scarce, so I can’t exactly be uploading a gig or two of data every day. Gotta adjust to the environment, so look forward to more of this.

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And Then It Was Friday

I think I’ve said this before, but Friday is a bit of a waste of a day for me. Even when I have the best intentions, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to get everything that I need to get done. I think it’s because on any given day, even when the first person gets home from work, I can keep writing. I can yell a quick hello, and then just keep writing, or at least finish up what I am doing. On Friday’s, though, things are different. Friday’s are Dungeons and Dragons nights and when people start rolling into the house, it’s social time. And today, my time was even further shorted by the fact that I slept in until 12:30pm. Yes, that late. It was great though and much needed, I think. I’ve been fighting off a potential cold, or something, and that sleep helped fend that off. It was nice, too, because I had some lengthy and in-depth dreams. I love having great dreams.

As a result, though, I didn’t get any writing done today. Still, I’m not bummed about it. I was able to get one of my “assignments” done last night, which made today not such a loss. Also, the two things that were remaining to be done, are just reviews, so it’s something I can easily flip on to another day. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the progress that I made this week. I’m hoping that I can sustain this momentum over the next week, and the week after, and the week after, until I wake up on day and I have a full story written out in front of me.

A Solid Day!

I started yesterday’s blog with a comment about how planning will lead to success, and let me just say that it’s true. I couldn’t get to sleep last night, because it seems that the more creative I get, the more my insomnia, and other mental health issues start to manifest. Which is always fun. But I feel like it’s the price I have to pay for that creativity. So long as I manage it, I think it’ll be okay. It’s important to stand on the edge to unlock the full potential. But that’s not what I came here to talk about.

I planned out my week, I slept in until around 11am, and before 4pm, I was done everything. And it wasn’t like I only had two things to accomplish, let me just give you a list of the things I did:

  • wrote up the description for the West Coast University
  • wrote up the description for a character named Cara
  • reviewed the description for a character named Luken and made changes
  • reviewed the timeline and acts for book 1
  • cleaned the kitchen
  • did a face mask
  • did laundry
  • baked some twist bread
  • uploaded my vlog
  • cleaned my room

Yep, I would say that I did amazing. And I’m so happy about it! In fact, I even did some stuff that was slated for tomorrow. I think I might actually get back into the grind tonight and start working on stuff from tomorrow’s list. Why not? I’m just always so amazed at what I can accomplish when I plan. My brother made fun of me for spending an hour yesterday getting everything written down, but it was definitely worth it and I will ┬ábe spending an hour every Sunday getting my agenda filled up for the following week.

I know this may seem boring, but if I follow this train of action for the rest of the week, next week should be set up to be a solid week of review. Which means that, by the end of August, it’s likely I’ll be writing. It’s so exciting. I’m not even freaking out about it right now.

Today was a good day!

Still No Progress

Honestly, I feel as if I should have just written this week off from the start. I mean, it’s Thursday night and I’ve only just caught up on my vlogs, or will be at some point tomorrow. And, while I’ve unpacked my suitcase, I haven’t unpacked any of my make-up or toiletry bags that were in it. Even worse, my notebooks are still packed away in my backpack. How am I supposed to write with them in there!?

Another factor in my lack of productivity has been the holiday that started this week. Unless I am nose to the grindstone in my writing, I try not to write when other people are around, because being social is important, too. However, this will likely change when I get into full-blown, writing the story. Right now, I’m still in the planning phases, so it’s a little bit easier to step away. From past experience, though, I know that once I’m really into writing, it’s hard to pull me away. I often neglect food and hygiene, sustaining myself on whatever is easy to grab and consume or sometimes nothing at all. I can’t wait to get into that phase again because then it will mean that all this planning was worth something.

I’m generally pretty remiss when it comes to planning. I prefer to just write and hope for the best. Granted, I definitely ended up with continuity issues and the lot, but I always said I could just go back and fix them. I never did. And that was the problem. So planning.

If I recall correctly, I only have 10-15 more people and places to type up/create. Then I can get back into the plot. I’m still trying to decide if it’s a trilogy or just two books. When I first conceived of the idea, it was one book. But then something like seven years passed and the story became much more complex. From that point on, I always kind of saw it as three books. Now, however, I’m wondering if there’s enough, specifically for the final book. If I’m being realistic, the plot point that drives the third book is the weakest. I think it’s partially because I don’t know the character that comes to prominence in the third book that well. While he’s existed for at least a year, he only got a name recently and my knowledge of his life barely goes beyond that. You see, I’m a firm believer in creating, or discovering your characters and letting them lead you. Is it weird that I’ve sat in a car with one of my main characters, discussing his life as he drove to work? This was all in my head, granted, but it gave me a better understanding of him. Memorably, during one fast paced writing session, I started yelling at my character for doing the one thing I didn’t want her to do, as I was typing out her actions and choices. As a writer, you can only do so much before you just have to sit back and see what unfolds from what you started. I guess I’m waiting for my characters to tell me how long the story is.

A Social Life?

After kind of figuring out what works for me in terms of being productive, everything was put on hold by the super social day I had today. I have done nothing in regards to my writing. The only productive things I’ll be able to add to the scoreboard today are writing this post and editing my vlog, though I feel like I may have to redo the latter. Then again, part of why I jumped on this crazy new adventure of mine was because I had no work/life balance and definitely no social life. Which means that I’m okay with having days like this. Plus, I was so amazingly productive yesterday that it makes it okay. I definitely think it’s key that I be willing to work at any time of the day.

When I first set out the terrible routine that I have still yet to adhere to, I had it set up so I would be done working around 4pm, but I just don’t think that’s realistic. I think it’s better to have a list of things I want to accomplish in the day and just make sure that I get them all done by the time the day is over. Basically, I think I need to meld the routine with using my agenda. If I can do that, I think I’ll be well on my way with a formula for success. Right now, though, I’m super excited with anything that manage to get done. I’ve only been out of the real workforce for about two months, and it’s not even fully out of the workforce, because I’ve been reluctantly picking up shifts here and there. But I think it takes a while to adjust from working for someone else, and their expectations, so working for yourself and setting your own expectations. The other day, someone told me about two of their friends who had independently quit the workforce in order to write. It took one of them over a year to get into a groove, and the other one is several months in and still not there. It’s great to hear that, because it helps put things into perspective for me, but I would definitely like to far surpass that one year mark and hopefully be putting out quality content in the next few months. I can only work as hard as I can and hope that that’s enough.

Sleep Day, Beach Day

Remember that time when I anted to have a new routine and do productive things every day? Well, still not really happening. Oops! I am just so good at sleeping and so good at procrastinating. Tomorrow I will get up on time, maybe. Or even an hour earlier than today would be fine with me. I just have to remember that naps are totally allowed and that might help me get up earlier.

In good news, I am being productive, though perhaps not getting in as many hours as I would like. I am writing and I am progressing the story by putting these new building blocks in place. And I’m enjoying it, which I think is the best part. It obviously means that I am doing the right thing, if nothing else. In fact, I had a pretty enjoyable day. I slept in late again, and after a quick lunch, headed to the beach. It was another gorgeous day and I sat on some driftwood and wrote for a few hours. I think I’m actually almost at the point where I can start writing the actual story. What!? Yes. I think I am almost done with most of the massive planning stage. Sure, there’s still a bunch of little things to go in to connect the dots, but we’re getting there, and it’s super exciting.

Tomorrow I’m going to attempt to get up earlier, which means that I should attempt to go to bed sometime before 1am tonight. The beach seems to be a pretty decent place for my creativity to flow, which I’m grateful for, but it gets pretty hot pretty quickly, so tomorrow I think I might try the park, to see if that gives me the same creative juices, but also some shade. Mainly because I’m a little sunburned from today.

I’m just still so excited about this story, and then the next story, and the one after that. I just want to live in Elyria forever.

Life Updates

I missed a day of blogging, and it’s weird that it’s only been a few days and I feel terrible that I didn’t make it. I’d like to say that something exciting happened and therefore I was unable to blog – like maybe I was kidnapped and had to fight my way out and then save the princess, but that’s not it at all. I just had a super busy day after a late night and I was exhausted. Like face-plant-into-the-pillow-at-the-first-possible-moment exhausted. It wasn’t even that exciting of a day. I went out of town to do some shopping, which is a terrible thing because then I spend money, as soon as I got back into town, I went to my cousin’s playoff lacrosse game, which I was late to, and then to his house for dinner afterwards. Like I said, nothing super interesting, although I do enjoy family time, but it was just go, go, go all day. I was grateful that today was a very casual day. I slept until 11am with some crazy dreams that I will get to in a minute, and didn’t even leave the house if you don’t count going into the yard. It was definitely the type of low key day that I needed before I start my new “work” schedule. I’ve been joking that I need to make a time sheet and pay myself an hourly rate to motivate myself, but somehow I don’t think that will work.

Tomorrow is the day that I’m supposed to start my new routine to get stuff done, but we’ll see if it actually happens. I can’t remember exactly what time I’ve penciled in to get up at, but I’m pretty sure it’s some godawful time like 6am. Now, when I was working a real job, I would frequently have to be up before then to get to work on time, but it’s a lot harder to motivate yourself when there is no real repercussion for not getting up and getting going. Plus I’ve always been really bad at the reward system thing, you know, where you set a reward for doing x amount of work or whatnot? I usually just rationalize that I can avoid doing the work and just get the reward immediately. The only time I can remember being successful was during Nanowrimo one year. My reward for hitting the word count was a Nintendo 3DS. I even bought it beforehand, because I knew I would finish, but I made myself wait until I hit the 50k words. I did, about a week early, and then I got to play my 3DS. Honestly, though, that’s the only time I can remember this system actually working. In university I was able to incentivize myself with stickers, so that could actually be an option, I would write down every little thing that I had to do in an agenda, and when I completed it, I would put a sticker over it. This has some potential, and maybe when I hit a certain number of stickers I can trade them in for a prize. Am I a child? Yes, yes I am.

Speaking of, I definitely had the weirdest dreams last night. I was in a city, maybe Vancouver, when Godzilla showed up. Naturally, everyone started to evacuate. I ended up on Vancouver Island and then the earthquakes started. I’m not sure if they were related to Godzilla or if maybe my dreams just collided together. All I knew was that I had to get out of any cities with tall buildings, so I headed to the north end of the island where my grandparents live, because there’s nothing tall there. But, we also had to worry about tsunamis, so after packing stuff up, I went in search of a hill. I felt pretty confident in my ability to survive, which is more than I am say for my thoughts in real life. Is it weird that I’m always wondering what my best course of action is in a natural disaster? Maybe not when I live on a fault line. I definitely have to look at fault lines in my story world. My brother keeps mentioning how important they are, and I agree, mainly from a topography point of view, but I can work with earthquakes, too… interesting.

Anyway, I’d best be signing off for the night. Something about getting up early in the morning.