Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...Heh. I don't really know how that whole quote goes. All I know is, my project timeline is out the window. As usual.
I didn't do much over the last quarter. I did work a few days each month (an average of four days per month, based on my spreadsheet), but I didn't make significant progress on much of anything. I worked on Mystwatch 2 edits one day in this quarter, then never went back to it. I hit a chapter where I was going to have to write a whole new chapter, and I just...never did. I'm irritated with myself for not pushing through the "I don't wanna" feelings and writing it while I was in Mystwatch headspace. But. Eh. Right now, I'm following my passions. Or trying to. The minute Mystwatch was no longer a passion, I had to let it go. The fact that I keep coming back to that world tells me there will be time again for me to work on it. And I'll be excited to work on it, rather than avoiding writing for three weeks because that's what I should be working on but I don't want to so I'll just not work on anything.
That said, I did work on stuff. Writing group has started meeting in person for writing on Wednesdays at Rachel's. It's been a mix of chatting and work, like most in-person write-ins from the past, but I've actually found myself to be fairly productive for at least an hour at them. So I hope we keep doing them.
In August, the only days I worked were the days we met. So in July, I worked on SP 2.4 a couple days. One day was awesome, because I sat down and outlined the whole thing. Usually I outline those when I'm a few thousand words in not knowing what comes next. I'm hoping by having an outline somewhat established out of the gate, I'll have an easier time settling in to work on it. I'm just shy of a thousand words on it now, but I really like my opening so far. SP openings are always my favorite. I can't start a new adventure until I have a solid opening scene. I've liked my habit of trying to write at least a few hundred words on the new adventure right after wrapping up the old one. That's when I'm the most in the right mindframe for it, and it always makes me so excited to start the next one! It's nice to know that I've left Sally right at the cusp of some new mischief. And she definitely lets me know if I've left her alone too long. She starts demanding my attention. I did try to go back to her on Saturday, but short of cleaning up a few sentences and adding one or two, I didn't have much luck. I don't think I'm in the SP mindframe right now. I do still hope to get a bulk of this adventure written before the year is over. But if I don't, that's okay. As long as I'm working on something at least a few days of each month.
I still do want to aim to write at least a week out of every month. To help with that, I am going to start joining the Saturday night Discord write-ins. They don't help me nearly as much, but if I get a thousand or so words written on Wednesdays and a few hundred on Saturdays, that should be roughly 5k and eight days a month. Well. Seven. One Wednesday a month is the monthly meeting.
As much as I'd like to try to write on my own during the months, the fact that I am carving out time to write or at least talk about writing eight times in a month is beyond valuable. It's helping me deal with my feelings about writing and writing group. Even if I'm not writing much, even if I'm not submitting or querying or publishing, I am working on things, so I can talk about what I'm working on without feeling like an impostor. It's helped a lot, not only with my creativity but with my friends.
Anyway. In August, I wrote four days out of the month, for a total of just over three thousand words. That isn't quite the five thousand I'd like to be hitting (or the 10k I had planned on hitting to reach all my new project timeline goals, ugh), but at least it was progress.
All of August was spent working on Chain Letter Choice. And I added another almost thousand words to that last night. I am really liking having such a detailed outline to work from. I really thought it would kill my interest, because I already knew what happened. But as it turns out, there's a huge difference between saying, "okay, this is what needs to happen in this scene and these are the emotional notes I want to hit" and actually taking the time to build the scenes. I read over a scene I'd written where the outline just said, "they have a conversation that resolves the tension and she finally forgives Seth and chaos," and the scene itself actually brought tears to my eyes! So yeah. The outline thing is totally working. It does put a damper on the excitement of not knowing what happens until you write, but that does sometimes happen when I get into a scene I have to flesh out a bit, still. And the thing is, when I am only writing a couple times a week, I don't get lost in the writing to where things just happen because I'm deep into exploring. Having an outline to know what scene I'm writing next helps me keep writing scene after scene. Even when I'm not feeling it, I'm still making progress. I don't have to be deeply into the world to know what's happening next. I have it all written out. All I have to do is read the last scene I wrote, read about what is coming next, and that's all I have to focus on. I can write the best scene I can by focusing on that small piece of the novel, knowing I've already parsed out how it fits into the greater novel. I think that will mean a lot less cutting out of meandering scenes when I'm trying to figure out what comes next. Which isn't to say some of what I wrote won't get cut. I spent a lot of time stretching out tension by making my character do boring class stuff, but I'm hoping that's created the tension I want while also showing character growth. We'll see, I guess, when it comes to beta readers. Or if I hate it when I'm reading through it later. When this thing is finished.
I do want to finish it, someday. I still think the goal of having it done midway through next year is a good goal. Of course, that's six months from now. I have probably 30k left to write (I'm coming up on 60k now, so yeah, probably 30k). So if I can write 5k a month on it, I should be done by March. Or by May, like my goal says, if I take a month or two off. I think I'm coming up onto more action scenes, and more scenes where the three are together, so they should be more fun to write and go more quickly.
That does mean SP takes a back seat. Or I can fit her in a month or two when I need a break from emo teens. Heh. Of course, the next book I want to write is Nightmare of Sleepy Shoals. That will have lots of emo teens in it, as well. I am excited about that one. It's been percolating for long enough that I think I'll be ready to dive in and write it next year. Unless. Unless I decide to do Druid Wars 2. I have been thinking about Druid Wars a lot the last few days. So we'll see.
It's also officially fall, so my mind has been trying to covertly spy on Once We Were Witches. I've noticed, brain. Don't think I haven't. I did spend an afternoon cleaning up my A Witch's Daughter #3 story on the Confabulator Cafe. I finally sent my brother a link to it, so I decided to give it a proof, and ended up fixing a few things that were kinda cringy. I love that character. She's like a more magical, slightly more absent-minded Sally Prescott. I bring her up because I think she is probably tied in to OWWW. At least in my mind. She is the heir of a curse, and (spoilers) the main character of OWWW is trying to figure out how to end a curse her family put on someone.
Oh no. Now I am excited for that book! But that's okay. Every time I poke at it, I remember that there's a big section near the beginning I need to revise, so I always get stuck on whether to keep writing like it's fixed or fix it before writing, then abandon it without doing either. Cuz that's how I roll, apparently.
Anyway. September was an eclectic mix of projects. I missed two of the in-person write-ins. One because I was worried I might be getting sick, and the other because it was Mabon. But that's when I decided to do Saturday Discords. In addition to the Cafe short edit, poking at SP 2.4 and working on CLC last night, I also made an attempt at the fall 24-hour short story contest. We all forgot to sign up, but I got together with Amanda and Dianne to talk about the prompt. Amanda was there for moral support, and Dianne and I both came up with ideas. But we both only got a few hundred words written before giving up. Without the chance of winning, slim as it may be, neither of us were motivated enough to finish.
I do like the ideas I came up with. But probably not enough to ever finish them. Or maybe I will. I should. They are very relevant, since it's almost October now. We'll see how I feel the next time I sit down to write. Just because I want to get CLC and SP 2.4 and 2.5 done by June of next year, I should still leave space for other, smaller fun projects.
So that's what I've been up to the last three months. For October, I'd like to keep working on CLC and SP. I would love to have Mystwatch 2 edited this year, as well, to keep on "schedule" but I think that will probably be a January/Feburary maybe even March next year project. Those are the months I seem to prefer editing if I work on anything. So hopefully by my next update, probably at the end of December, I will have at least another 10k written on CLC, and maybe another 5k on SP. Of course, I rarely work in December. But maybe this year I'll make an exception. My main reason for not working in December in previous years has been post-NaNo exhaustion. I don't plan to actively NaNo this year, so I should be able to keep a steady pace as long as my writing friends keep working. At least I can try to work the first two weeks of December, before holiday craziness starts to hit. Somehow, I get swallowed by the winter holidays with a raging force by my brother's birthday every year.
And I'm okay with that. Maybe I'll even write a holiday short story. I do love to go back and read my holiday stories on the Cafe.
Ehem. But. A Halloween story first. It is almost October, after all!
Until the end of next quarter. Stay witchy!