Thursday, December 12, 2019

December Update: 2019 Achievements and the Uncertain Path Ahead

For some reason, I thought I'd already written a December post. Woops. Guess I should do that, now.

So, NaNoWriMo was a bust. I never even made it to any write-ins. I went to some of the non-writing events, but I stayed out of the Discord completely except for the midnight kickoff, and I stopped checking in on the forums after the second week. I swore the event off completely on the 20th when they announced validating wasn't going to be a thing, revealing they'd done nothing but lie and miscommunicate with MLs and users the whole flipping month (and much of the month before that). The NaNO HQ staff totally ruined the event for me, which sucked, since I'd already been struggling with writing so much. I mean, if it had been like every other year, it still might not have rekindled my love for writing. But as it was, I stopped writing after the first week, and all of my good feelings toward NaNo soured shortly after that. It's unlikely I'll ever go back, if I'm honest. And while some of that is due to my struggle with writing these days, a lot of that is I think it's time to move on from NaNo.

Some of my quitting last month was because my novel idea took a turn I wasn't ready to follow after. I think it's going to be a cool world, but it's not something I'm interesting in writing about right now.

Although to be fair to the novel, I'm not really interested in writing about much of anything right now.

At any rate, between the 5k words I wrote on the novel and another 2k words I wrote brainstorming a dream, I ended up with a little over 7k for the month. Which is more words than I've written in a single month since May. I wrote almost 5k in June, but not much more than 5k total in the months between June and November. So. I wrote some words, finally. More than just brainstorming words, too. Yay.

Trouble is, I still have no love, excitement, or passion about writing. I didn't enjoy writing any of those seven thousand words. It was perfunctory. Like a chore. Something I felt like I was supposed to do. I think I mentioned that last entry (I only wrote one other day after that post aside from the 2k brainstorming day on the 19th), and that never really changed.

So, yeah. I'm still not in the right mindset to write. I did get a little excited as I read back through this year's blog posts, though. I made some pretty awesome progress those first several months.

This progress should be noted, as this is, essentially, my year-end post.

In 2019, I:
  • Wrote nearly 60,000 words over the course of the year
  • Finished final edits on Druid Wars and queried 50 agents
  • Edited MystWatch book 3 and sent it out to beta readers
  • Wrote an entire Sally Prescott adventure and started on the next one
  • Wrote over 10,000 words on Chain Letter Choice and outlined the rest of the book
  • Brainstormed on ideas for EIGHT new stories/books (wow!)
  • Started writing a new sci-fi novel for National Novel Writing Month
  • Wrote a story (and a half) for the Confabulator Cafe and kept it running for its last year
  • Beta read one novel and several short stories for writing friends
  • Finished Masterclasses from Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, and James Patterson
  • Went to Murdercon in North Carolina with Rachel and learned a ton of cool stuff

I mean, for breaking up with writing, this year, I did pretty damn well. I know 60k words isn't a ton, but I edited two novels and queried a book. I also did Masterclasses and a convention to learn more, as well.

There's one or two things I might try to do in the next two weeks, but we're approaching holiday crazy time, so I don't hold out much hope. I'd really like to finish the Cafe story I was supposed to post in October. And I'd like to send Druid Wars to my brother and sister for Christmas. And I definitely need to write a "Cafe is Closed" post for the Confabulator Cafe.

And then I head into next year. I don't know what next year brings as far as writing, yet. I've given myself permission to not write for as long as I need to. And I'm enjoying doing other things.

But I miss being a writer, sometimes. I miss making plans, updating my progress, and, if I'm honest, getting lost in my imagination. There's a lot of baggage associated with being a writer, and I don't miss that stuff. But I miss being a writer at a very fundamental level. We'll see if I can get back there. It may take some more time, and it might take scrapping everything I've ever written and starting fresh. I'm not sure.

I do know that I'm planning on starting a new blog to talk about my journey toward homesteading and self-reliance. I'm not sure how much I'll update there. And I really don't know how much I'm going to update here.

We'll see how I feel in January, but I'll probably still try to check in here once a month. It is the last year before this blog reaches the end of the 10-year journey. So I should keep it alive for at least the last year of my 30s.

Talk to you again when I'm 39. Happy holidays, and a joyous and safe New Year to you.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November Update: Taking Stock

I wrote a total of zero words last month.

Even with meaning to write a story for the Cafe, I never wrote a word.

Well, that's not true. I wrote words. Blog posts. Journals. Emails. Plans. But no stories. I did a tiny bit of brainstorming for NaNo, but the blurb I wrote for the website was probably only a couple hundred words long, so I didn't count it.

Part of me was trying to save my creative energies for NaNo. Part of me decided I didn't want to write out of obligation. Yes, I wanted to tell the story, have one last tale from that serial on the Cafe...but it didn't happen.

That's not to say it won't. I will probably try to write it at some point this month, become a bit of a NaNo rebel, and maybe even write a Cafe story for the "goodbyes" prompt.

But maybe not.

I've got a small start on my NaNo novel so far, but I'm days behind par and I'm not really feeling much about the story I'm telling. Again, I find that I'm writing more out of obligation than any joy. It feels like a chore because it's November. It's a thing I need to mark off the to-do list, like laundry or paying bills or doing dishes.

So. It looks like my passion for writing really is winding down. NaNo hasn't really fixed anything, just re-emphasized that something is well and truly broken. And by broken, maybe I just mean played out.

I'm getting close to the end of the time I set aside to achieve the goal I set back when I turned 30. The reason I started this blog. To be a published author by the time I'm 40.

Next year is the last year for that. And...it's not enough time. I don't have a book ready to query, and even if I spent a few months finishing or cleaning up, beta readers wouldn't get it back to me in time to query and get any solid yes or no from an agent or publisher. And I'd need more years to actually sell that book to a publisher from there.

Even adjusting my goal to getting a book accepted by someone is probably impossible. Which isn't to say I should stop trying. It's not like I turn into a pumpkin the second I turn 40.

But. I have spent most of the last ten years working toward this goal. And I have had some success. I have had over half a dozen short stories published. I've won writing contests. I've queried two complete novels. I even finished writing an entire urban fantasy series.

Cobbled together, I guess you could say I achieved my goal, more or less. I am a published author and I did everything within my power to get a book out there.

And I'm tired. Or not even that, really. I have lots of energy when it comes to other pursuits. But with writing, I'm tired before I even begin. I need my passions to give me energy, not take it away.

So, I think, even though I could continue to strive for this goal beyond my thirties and into my forties...I don't think I'm going to. Next year, my last year in my thirties, I think I'm going to wrap stuff up. Decide what the last things I want to accomplish as a writer are, then close the book on this part of my life.

I guess this really should be more of a December post, rather than November. But I think I'm going to spend the next month or two figuring out a plan. I might actually move from writing new content to getting MystWatch out there. I could feasibly spend all next year cleaning it up, hiring cover artists and editors, then put it out after my 40th birthday. I kinda like that, honestly. Would be a really nice way to honor the last decade of work. My capstone project, as it were.

The only real problem with that plan is finances. I haven't saved up any money to actually self-publish. So we'll see. I'd have to borrow from my other savings goals to do it, and hope that eventually I could pay it back. I might not be ready to do that next year. The self-publishing of MystWatch is more of a vanity project than any expectation that it's going to make any money. More just to say I did it. Getting settled in a new house might take some precedence over that. We'll see.

Anyway. Yeah. Still not writing. Still not excited about writing. Although I did finally get my first beta read back on MystWatch. Mostly positive, so that's cool. It needs a bit of work, but nothing I can't handle. And there's a fairly natural place to break it into two books (just about dead center, even which wasn't intentional, but hey!). That's something I've thought about doing with the second two books, and then drastically paring down the first book to make it a five-book series in all.

I'll update again in December. See if anything has changed. Maybe by the end of NaNo, I'll be back in the groove of writing. Then all this talk of taking a break will have been for nothing.

Or it might just be the last nail on the coffin of this whole writing thing.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

October Update: Flash fictions and prepping for NaNo

I did participate in the 24-hour short story contest last month. I wrote a story I actually quite like. I also put together a flash fiction for the Cafe for a prompt that didn't get any stories. I even threw a few words at a Cafe story for October. All said and done, I wrote less than 5k words, but hey, I wrote two stories last month.

This month, I need to finish my October Cafe story. It goes live on Monday, so it's hitting crunch time. I've been reluctant to write too much of it, since I didn't have the ending. I do, now, but I haven't written it out, yet.

I'm also gearing up for NaNo next month. I made a cover for the NaNo site. I wrote a little blurb for it. I think it'll be fun. I haven't done a ton of world building yet, but I like the main character so far. She reminds me a bit of Diana, and also a bit of Kit from Dante novels. She's a badass, but not entirely competent. She's disillusioned but hasn't given up yet. She's got terrible luck and thinks she doesn't have much else to lose, until she loses it. I haven't decided much in the way of sidekicks or other side characters yet. They tend to crop up when I least expect them to, anyway, so it's better not to plan...except for the AI she'll meet in the Dream Machine...because lately I've realized how much I love sentient and sassy computers. Marvin the depressed robot, Murderbot (and the asshole computer), the AI in Ted's novel, the computer in Skyward, even AIVAS in the Pern books. So, yeah. I'll have my own ghost in the machine in this book. I still probably need to give her something to fight for. Maybe it's a dog, I don't know. People love dogs. Loyalty to her pup will make her a lot more redeemable if I make her otherwise cranky and horrible.

So, yeah. I haven't written a ton, but the things I have written haven't been too painful. The flash fiction, and even the 24-hour short story contest were surprisingly easy, once I knew the shape of the stories and what beats I wanted to hit. It's good to know that even as stagnant as I've been as far as writing, as out of practice, it's not at all like being out of shape and having to exercise. Or maybe it is. There were days after a long rest from running that I could easily run two miles without stopping. Doing it consistently, on the other hand...well, that's where NaNo comes in. It'll give me a chance to consistently work toward telling a story in more than just one sitting.

I'm not all that excited about the regional stuff, especially since they've gutted and revamped the NaNo website without taking into account what most of us have been using it for. But I'm also worried that talking to people about writing might snuff out this delicate flame I'm trying to kindle.

But having Amanda and Dianne to talk to about the 24-hour short story contest was nice. So maybe it'll be good. I'm just trying to take care where I step and keep my mind on what I'm doing, not where I'm going. Enjoy the simple act of spinning a story. Creating a world, getting to know characters, jumping into the deep end of NaNo without a plan.

And not just a plan for the novel. No plans beyond just telling this story. No thinking about publication or beta readers or sequels. Because it's been five months, and I'm still not really writing. There's still something broken. Something I did ended up breaking something, and I don't want to go back there or end up there again. So, yeah. I'm doing NaNo. Yeah, I'm writing short stories. But I'm still not really considering myself fixed or made-up with writing. I'm like, dating other people. I can't go back to that relationship yet. Maybe we're meant to be, once we work out our differences and grow as people. But I can't go back to it after what happened until lots of things change.

Baby steps. Maybe I'll get there. Maybe I won't. Maybe I really will retire completely as a writer. Maybe I'll go back to only writing during NaNo. Maybe this will be my last NaNo. Only time will tell, and I still have no plans to force anything. I believe the magic will be back. But magic isn't something you can force. If it's right, and you believe in it, then it will happen.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

September Update: Time to Backtrack

Unfortunately, this isn't going to be much of an update. I still haven't written anything.

I take that back. I wrote about a thousand words summarizing a dream I had that would make a good YA fantasy novel. But that's all I've written in six weeks.

I'm still really struggling. With exhaustion. With burnout. With what's going on with me. There have been times in the last six weeks that I felt sort of like writing, but never did. Or made plans to write, but didn't.

I haven't even managed to maintain an interest in any other artistic pursuits. I did photography for a hot minute, but nothing else since. Short of organizing things, decorating, and buying new clothes, I guess. If you can consider that creative.

It all comes down to...I don't know what to write right now. I've had to adjust my expectations as far as being a writer. Suddenly, I'm not sure what I'm doing about publication. My two finished novels, nobody wanted. So, do I try to finish the other two novels? They're so much like the things already rejected! Okay, do I focus on a book of a different genre? Do I have the energy to do that? If I do, what comes next? I don't have something else in that same tone, and I don't have any ideas for more stories in that tone, so my writing career is pretty much over before it begins in traditional publishing route.

So, what if I self-publish? Then I can write whatever I want, publish whatever I want.Whenever I want. Surely these books that were rejected by agents and publishers would appeal to a larger audience.

But what if they don't? Plus, I don't want to write anymore Druid Wars. At least, not right now. I could cut my losses on past projects and just work on finishing new projects rather than trying to clean up and finish old ones, despite the obvious time setback that puts me at. But I really wanted to have three or more years worth of releases ready to start publishing before I got to that point. I've been writing too slowly to manage that. And where will I find the time and energy to do all of that on my own, not to mention the money?

I don't have answers to those questions. It's not helping me decide what to work on.

So, maybe I should just not write for publication. What would I write, then?

I don't know.

Or maybe I do. Maybe I should listen to that quiet, whispered voice that says "nothing." Maybe if I stop writing for publication, I just won't write.

But then Rachel and I thought about co-writing this Hallmark-style romance. And I've been longing to return to the MystWatch world. And I've been excited, off and on, to start writing this new book for NaNo this year.

I'm adrift in a sea of indecision. I still think I kinda sorta want to write, but I really don't want to write right now. I'm thinking about trying the fall 24-hour short story contest this weekend. It might be a good place to start. Or I suppose it could be a horrible place to start. NaNo might be a better place to start. I honestly don't know.

At any rate. That's where I'm at. Still trying to move past my writers block, which I think is mostly caused by rejection. I think the feeling of having to go back to the drawing board YET AGAIN has taken more wind out of my sails than I ever would have expected. I wasn't able to be as resilient this time. That tells me that I might have one last round of queries left in me. And it won't be for a long time. So my biggest goal going forward, I think, is to write some books. For me. For my siblings, if they want to read them. But I don't want to write them for beta readers or agents or publishers or fans. I just want to write something for me. That's why I loved Monsters of Lawrence so much. Why it was so fun to write. Why I love it still. I want to try to find a way back to that feeling. That place. Because after writing the opening to this entry, I think that's the only thing left right now. The only way to salvage all this. I can't think about writing right now without thinking of a way to get it published. So as tired as the idea of going back to the beginning again makes me, it is necessary. That may be the only way to fix this, whatever this jagged, broken thing is inside me. I've taken a wrong turn somewhere, and now I have to backtrack until I find a trail that doesn't lead back into this darkness.

I think maybe the best place to start is to go back and read over some of my stories. The ones I love going back to. Maybe I can drum up some honest enthusiasm. Make me come up with some ideas for things I really, truly want to write about.

And be open to the possibility that maybe the stories I want to tell aren't the same, anymore. Whether that's from the constant rejection, getting older and finally "growing up", or this gradual change in faith, I'm not sure I can or even want to write about the same things I once did. Perhaps that's at the heart of my inability to write. I don't know what to write about, because what once resonated with me no longer does.

I truly hope that's it, and not that I just can't write anymore. Writing has been such a huge part of my life for the last five, ten, fifteen years. Twenty, if you count getting my degree in creative writing. A twenty-year investment in something. I'm not ready to give up on it after a few months of writers block. I went away from it for a year or two when I was doing more editing, but I came back. I have to believe I will this time, as well.

But I think it's still going to take some time. And it's probably going to be hard. Like getting back to exercise after time away from it.

For now, I'm going to enjoy being lazy for awhile longer. Listening to myself, I can tell there's still too much pain to try to push it without drying up any fragile buds that might be poking out.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

August Update: Murdercon

Murdercon was great. The people who put on the Writers' Police Academy are amazing. The instructors were knowledgeable and interesting. I learned a TON of stuff. About forensics, fire, firearms, blood, working undercover, funding for the various CSI branches, how the federal units work with local units, and how amazing the crime scene community is. I got to hear writers talk about writing, including Heather Graham talk inspiringly about "making it" and what the long journey of being a writer is like. I also learned what an amazing human my friend Rachel is.

I could go into greater detail, but I probably won't. Because what it all comes down to is this: I do not have any interest in writing mystery, procedurals, or anything having to do with crime or police. As fascinating as everything I learned was, it didn't trigger any new ideas or desire to write.

I do not regret going. That was one of the coolest trips I've ever taken. It was amazing to spend so much time with Rachel. As a learner, I sucked up every detail they gave me and relished in doing new things.

But it was not the magical cure for my writers block.

I didn't figure it would be. I just hope it unlocks something for Rachel in ways it didn't for me.

For me, it just made me tired to think about writing. About how those authors are always "on." They all want to talk about what they're writing. Share their business cards in hopes of drumming up sales. They were all super kind and interesting, but they were also still promoting.

I'm just so tired. I'm starting to worry this goes beyond burnout. I thought things were coming back. Maybe I crushed them by paying them too much attention. But I haven't written a word in over two weeks. No desire to. No ideas. No characters yammering at me. And when I sit and think about what I want to do next, work on next, pursue next, I want to curl up in a ball.

I don't think I've processed all of my anger and frustration as far as my rejection yet. I know I won't be able to move on until I do. And I think that's not something I can force. It's something that's just going to take time and working through slowly in little increments.

So. A week into August. Still not writing. And still not making any plans to force myself. I may write in a month or two. Or I may wait until NaNo. I'm not really sure. There's a lot going on deep in my subconscious that's hidden from me right now. Things are changing. I hope writing stays with me after the dust has settled. But maybe it won't. Maybe that part of my life is done for now. For awhile, anyway.

I will need another creative outlet soon, though. Probably photography. Maybe painting. I'm not sure what it will be, yet. Hopefully by my next update, I'll have a better idea what's going on with me.

Until then, may you find inspiration where I have not.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

July: Still Fallow

I got the last rejection I expected to get today, and with that, I'm closing the book on querying Druid Wars. For the foreseeable future, anyway. I'll be closing out three of them in a day or two, and then I'll have one left that was a long shot to begin with and I don't anticipate ever hearing back about, so yeah. Done.

Which is sad, since I was thinking about book two a little today, but oh well.

It's time to move on, I guess.

I've really been struggling the last few months. In the last two months, I've written 10 whole days. Most of that was brainstorming or outlining. Actual progress was only about 2k words out of 6.5k. I was really hoping July would be an output month, but I've been avoiding everything related to writing, including my friends. I did actually "quit" for a minute. A minute being about two weeks, actually.

My top agent, who has been closed since I started querying, finally opened. I sent in my revised query, excited and hopeful.

Got a "Dear Author" rejection less than 24-hours later.

I was gutted. I went into a funk and swore off writing. The constant unrelenting rejection was too much. The stress of trying to stay on track was causing me to melt down. I cannot write and query at the same time, but writing while querying was putting me behind on all my plans.

But querying is like setting a field of prairie grasses on fire. It kills everything. I was blackened and dried out. I had nothing left in me. I didn't even want to think about writing.

Now, new growth is starting to stir underneath that razed field. Little shoots are poking up, testing the air, and other things are coming to life again.

I'm not expecting a huge amount of output anytime soon. I'm giving myself the space to write or not, depending on how I feel. I'm ignoring my project timeline. I'll probably throw the whole thing out. Things are changing. I'm changing. My writing might be changing. I don't know how much looking back I'm going to be doing.

I don't know how much planning for the future I'm going to be doing, either.

I was astounded when one of my friends announced she had decided she was no longer going to write for publication. I thought we were all in this little club of folks wanting to make it, and suddenly, she wasn't anymore. Can she even do that? I wondered.

And now, I think I agree with her. The publishing landscape is treacherous. It's like navigating a stormy sea full of pirates and sharks. I don't think I want to be a part of it, right now. I've thought more and more about small presses or self-publication, but even if I do either of those, it won't be for awhile.

I'd like to try to step back and just write, for a bit, without worrying about agents or fans or even beta readers. Write for myself, and for my characters, and maybe, just maybe, my brother and sister.

And honestly, I think it's going to be MystWatch. I've been meditating on what to do next, and I keep coming back to that. I tried to tell my inner self that ship has sailed, but it doesn't seem to matter. It's where my heart is. Always has been. I don't know who gets their story next, but I think that might be what next year brings.

This year, I'm mostly focusing on recuperating after querying and getting myself ready to write once November hits. I've been taking notes about that project on and off for months. It's really starting to come together. Or at least, the world and the feel is starting to flesh out. I'm actually looking forward to it, which is something I haven't felt about a story idea in...quite a long time.

I may poke at Sally Prescott, Chain Letter, or even Witches between now and then, but again, only depending on how I feel. If all I want to do is read nonfiction books about birds and trees, take pictures, and play videogames, then I'm allowing myself to do it.

And if I do query again someday, I'll have to make sure I don't plan on writing anything. The two cannot happen simultaneously.

Anyway. This is my update for what I did (or rather, didn't) in July. I'm leaving for Murdercon with Rachel next week and won't be back until late on the 4th. I figured I'd do this post now and a post about Murdercon sometime later in the month. I've been bad about post-con updates the last few years, but I haven't had a lot to say after Conquest in awhile. I should have at least a thing or two to say after this experience!

So farewell until next month. I promise I'll keep coming back here, even if I'm not writing. It's good for me to check in, even if the only progress update I have is that I haven't made any progress.

Monday, July 1, 2019

July: Creativity Bust and Waxing Philosophical

I was wrong about June being a catch-up, month. Turns out, it really was my mid-year break. I just started it a little early, in May.

Not good.

There were moments in June where I really contemplated quitting. Wouldn't life be easier if I didn't have to write? If I just threw in the towel and let someone else write. Writing is hard. Editing is hard. Querying is soul-crushing. And it doesn't sound like any part past querying is any easier. Why do I even do this to myself when half the time I don't even like doing it??

Well, it's like Judy Blume said, more than once, in her Masterclass. Because I do have to.

So I haven't given up. I am letting my slow month slide and I'm revamping my goals.

The first thing that's going is the idea of quarters. It's too structured. Or not structured enough? Either way, it's not working. I want to have flexibility. I want the option to edit two months, write a month, edit a month, write for three months, take a break for two months. It's great to have quarterly goals, but I don't think they should be so focused like that. Projects, yes. But not whether I'm writing or editing. Eventually it gets to a point where I've done all the editing and need to write more.

Anyway. The quarters thing got me through my edits early this year. So I don't regret setting that up. But as with all things, when they stop working, it's time to change.

I've also revamped my project timeline. And my self-publishing timeline. Which, is all theoretical anyway. But it was helpful to give myself some space and time. I feel less pressured. And I like having what feels like a semi-realistic ten-year plan for my writing career. It's comforting.

The other thing that's not exactly changing, but wrapping up, is querying. I have three outstanding queries right now (the rest either closed without response or were rejections, including the full MS request), and next week when my top agent opens, I'm sending out five more queries. But. Then I'm done with Druid Wars. That will put me at 50 queries. I've lost any hope of it getting picked up. It sucks, but it is what it is. Now is not the time for this book. I've lost my excitement for it, anyway. I'm having trouble mustering enough enthusiasm to send out the last five queries. There were a couple queries I closed out that I should have sent follow-ups on, but I'm really just done. Ready to move on.

I want my creativity back, and as it turns out, I can't write while I'm querying. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to do both, but the biggest lesson I learned about myself this querying round is that I need to schedule something other than writing while I'm querying. Or schedule nothing. My brain just doesn't want to create when its creative output is being shot down every week.

I don't need to worry about it next year. I won't have another book ready to query until early 2021. But then I'll be querying two years in a row, so I'll have to keep in mind what I'm capable of doing during the handful of months I'm sending those out. Maybe I can edit other projects. Or take more Masterclasses or something. Outline books.

That is one thing I did manage to get done. Two things, rather. I started and completed the Judy Blume Masterclass, and I finished the CLC outline. I didn't get any words written on it, but it's ready to power through when I get the time and motivation to sit down with it. And the Blume Masterclass was really motivating and comforting. My other two goals I wrote down for last month were to write a short story and query the last five agents. As I mentioned, the querying will happen next week, although I did personalize two of the queries I'm sending. And the short story...well, I worked on the Shane MystWatch short. But I didn't finish it.

So, it wasn't a total bust. I did a lot of thinking and brainstorming and soul searching and planning. The more I reflect on this year, the more I realize that this is a learning year. I thought I was ready for the big time. But at is turns out, I still have a lot to learn. About craft. About process. About the industry. And about myself. The Masterclasses are great. Murdercon is going to be great. NaNo is going to be great (it's looking like I might try to write sci-fi this year).

This month, I am going to write another SP adventure for Camp NaNo. I may also try to write the Shane short. Those are my main focuses. And I think, as far as Masterclass, I might go back through my notes and maybe some exercises from the classes I've finished, but the next class I do, I want to be for fun. Maybe the photography one.

Then for August, who knows. The tentative plan is to finally start Pandemonium. But hell. Maybe, just maybe, I'll do CLC first. We'll see how I feel when that time comes. If I am ready to write or ready to edit.

I know Pandemonium keeps getting punted. And each time I do it, I ask myself...is it worth going back to? I don't write paranormal or even horror anymore. Sure, it's a cool bit of worldbuilding and has a couple interesting characters, but I wrote it so long ago. Are my energies better used moving forward rather than looking back? I did briefly consider throwing Dante Novels into the mix in my upcoming plans. But the more I think about it, the more I think maybe Pandemonium is as far back as I should go. True, there are novels with potential from further back (Hunker City, Immortals, Dante, maybe even Primoris Curator), but the amount of cleanup work those will need just at the sentence level...I don't know. I just don't know. Dante I have mostly let go. Same with Hunker City. I never really figured I'd go back to Primoris Curator since I stole a lot from it for MystWatch. Immortals has some nice moments, and I like the relationships (same with Story of Brenne). But I only have so much time and creative energies. Rather than going back and finishing old projects, I kinda feel like I should focus on the ones I'm working on now. MystWatch was the big one I wanted off my plate. Pandeomium is, too. I love the premise. So yes, I think I will eventually get to it.

Just...maybe not this year. Maybe this year, I will finish writing Chain Letter and SP and work on my new NaNo project...and next year can be finishing Once We Were Witches and fixing Pandemonium. Pandemonium has waited this long. It seems a shame to lose momentum on CLC while it's still fresh in my mind.

Yeah...right now, I really feel like finishing projects I've started in the last few years is more important than digging into a project nearly a decade old. It's a little freeing, thinking about putting off (or even putting down) that old book. It is definitely one I want to give its due. The last of the old NaNo novels that has potential. I've just got so many of those, now, with a new one just about every year! I need to get better about finishing them the year after I start them. But I'm not sure I'll ever be that person. I have to draw the line somewhere. And right now that line is hovering around Pandemonium.

At any rate. This has been a very long, philosophical entry. Like I said, I spent most of June in thoughtful mode. I have a lot of thoughts, as it turns out. I feel better having thought them, and even better having written them down. But the time for thinking is coming to a close. It's time to get back to work.

I am hopeful--optimistic, even--that July will be an output month. I think historically, August and September have been my prolific months, so output may not be huge. But as long as I can get around 15k written this month, I'll be happy.

Monday, June 3, 2019

June Update: Lackluster Progress

I'm still in the query trenches, and it's still really killing my creativity. I didn't get nearly as much done last month as I would have liked, only writing about 13k words. About 10k of those words were on my novel, but the rest were brainstorming and finishing up the SP adventure from April.

I'm starting to rethink my "quarters" after this month. In some ways, I like it. I like having three months to work on one aspect, because if one month ends up being a flop, I still have two solid months of work. On the other hand, writing 15-20k three months in a row is a lot. I guess I've done it before, so it shouldn't be as daunting (both the first and last books from MystWatch I spent 3+ months writing 15k+ consistently). I guess maybe my mid-year break just came a little early. I had figured June would be my slow month. Now, June needs to be my catch-up month.

Either way, it doesn't seem likely that I'll get Chain Letter Choice done. I'll have to decide at the end of this month where I'd like to go from here. Continue doing quarters and switch to editing? Keep writing? If I do write, do I do the next SP adventure or try to finish CLC?

One thing I managed to finish in May was the James Patterson Masterclass. Part of that was because on days I was really unmotivated to write, I pretended that learning about writing was as productive as actually writing. I know to some extent, it's necessary work, but it's not a great excuse for not writing. I will say I learned a thing or two from him, so I'm glad I took it. His class just wasn't as good as Gaiman's.

My biggest takeaway from Patterson is outlining. I've always been a planner/pantster hybrid, but after seeing how efficient his process is, I'd like to go more planner. My biggest argument against outlining has always been that it sucks the fun out of the story if I know what's going to happen. But the actual joy of writing should be in turning a dry, telling outline of a scene into a beautifully crafted scene that shows what I want to convey. I did it with MystWatch book 3. Most of the second half of the book was done that way, and it in no way hindered my creativity or joy.

So I've decided to go ahead and outline the rest of CLC as an experiment to see if outlining works for me.

I imagine I'll still do NaNo as a pantster, because some of my most off-the-wall ideas come from diving into a sprint unsure of where I'm going, but I think for non-first books in series, for the SP adventures, for books I need to finish once NaNo is over, I might start to do more outlines.

As far as querying goes, I have submitted 45 queries. Right now, I'm at 22 outstanding queries (a couple of which I will probably close out this week), 18 rejections, 4 closed with no response, and 1 full manuscript still out there. I have been doing a lucky job search candle magic spell on Sundays to put positive energies out there, but I haven't had much success from that so far. I'm hopeful this week that will turn around.

I have also had zero success keeping myself from obsessively checking Query Tracker. But it's fine. Checking it is better than wanting to check it and wondering. I'm thinking about it either way. Plus, I'm watching the two agents that are closed that I want to submit to. I will probably send out queries to five more agents at some point this summer, then call it quits for awhile. Although #Pitmad is this week. I'm debating whether or not I want to participate. If I do, I really need to work on my pitches. And my hook. That's the other thing I learned from James Patterson. Pull agents in with a good hook so they have to know what happens.

I've learned a lot this round of querying. I thought I was an old pro after querying my first book, but boy was I wrong. I'm still such a newb. It gives me the confidence that the next time I query, things will go a lot better.

I haven't entirely given up on this book as far as querying yet, but we're getting close to the end. So far, it's had less interest than my first book. I'm starting to think the full request was just a fluke. I hate to put that negative stuff out there, but all my fears and insecurities are nagging at the back of my brain. Maybe I'm not ready. Maybe I'm not actually that good of a writer. Maybe all of my ideas are overdone and tired so nobody will ever want to read my books.

Thing is, even if all that is true (which, on some level, I know is not), I will keep writing. Keep trying. This is what I do. Even those days I want to throw in the towel, never write again, it doesn't last. I will keep doing this, even if I never get published. Because I am a writer. For better or worse.

So. For June. I'd like to get CLC outlined and at least another 10k written on it. I'd like to query the last five agents on my list when they open (which might mean rewriting my query a bit). I'd like to start another writing Masterclass. And I'd like to write a short story, since I haven't yet this quarter (and since we didn't go to Conquest, I didn't get to do story-in-a-bag).

Seeing as it's already June 3rd, I guess I'd better get to work.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Update: Writing Quarter Take 1

I forgot how much querying a novel can suck the creativity out of a person. It's been a rough month for that. Although I will say that it hasn't been entirely in vain. I sent out 35 queries and have gotten 11 rejections and 1 full manuscript request in the last 30 days.

I've had to limit myself to checking query tracker once a day so I don't drive myself nuts wondering if/when I'll hear and what the response will be. It can really make a person crazy and keep one from being productive.

I did eventually get productive, though. I took my sweet time getting in to writing, managing about 1200 words the first couple days, although a third of that was brainstorming, then nothing for almost two weeks. But as per usual, the last two weeks I kicked into gear and managed to get all but the last scene written for SP 2.2. I finished that up this morning, so I'm calling it a win. And not counting the words I wrote this morning, I hit my 15k words (almost exactly) for April. Kicking off my writing quarter was a success.

I also did some brainstorming for Druid Wars book 2 and tweaked my 10-year writing plan. Which is basically a self-pub plan. Eventually I will need to revisit the idea of self-publishing, especially if the next few novels I query don't get me an agent or a book deal. I'm hitting snooze on making plans for that, but right now, I'm looking at aiming for 2026 to start publishing on my own (which will be when I hit 45, five years after my "get published by 40" goal passes me by).

I also reread and did a little poking at Dante Novels book 1, since the big news this month is that Tor is opening a horror imprint. Might be next up on the list starting next year, once I get Online Dating for Demons off my plate later this year.

But first, this month and next, I need to focus on finishing up Chain Letter Choice. I'd like to write another 30k-40k on it, and I have two months to do it. Yikes. I will say, though, once I got my SP adventure finished up, I started reading where I left off, and I'm exited to dive back into that world. Hang out with those characters. I'm even going to try the NaNo goal tracker, just to see how it works and if I like it better than myWriteClub and my own tracking spreadsheets.

I also finished Neil Gaiman Masterclass and have started on the James Patterson one. It's an interesting contrast as far as creativity versus craft. Gaiman was good for getting ideas brewing. Patterson has some interesting suggestions on the more mundane things like building plot and characters. Who knows, I might start outlining the next novel or two to see how that goes. If I ever want to be as prolific as him--and let's be honest, if I follow my self-pub plan, I'll have to be--that might be the best way to "manufacture" books for maximum income.

Which, by 45, is what I will probably be aiming for. Sad to say. But I should have quite the body of work to draw from, so I think it's sustainable for at least ten years. Which should be enough to keep me set to retire and have enough to get by until KPERs and Social Security kick in.

Anyway. The last thing of note is that all plans are made for Murdercon in August. Convention fees are paid. Hotel is reserved. Flights are booked. It's a lot of money to go to a con for a genre I've never really considered writing in before, but I think it'll be a good experience. I've never been to such a big con before, and I think even not writing thrillers/mysteries, I stand to learn a lot. I'll have to do a second post that month to tell all about it!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April Update: Successful Editing Quarter

I'm going to take a minute to brag.

I edited the shit out of March. I got my intensive first edit of MystWatch 3 done within the first three weeks of March, got it out to beta readers, then I turned around and did a final proof of Druid Wars 1. I kicked so much ass, and I'm incredibly pleased with myself.

Not only that, I also managed to write a couple of short story snippets, thanks to the Neil Gaiman Masterclass, and brainstormed a couple of different future story ideas.

And then, I spent the first day of April doing a final edit on my query and putting together my first batch of agent queries. Those went out this morning.

It has begun.

The next several months will be a roller coaster ride of hope and rejections. I'm ready. I mean. Ish.

In the meantime, I need to shift focus. My editing quarter was a resounding success. And now, it's time to start my writing quarter. It may take me a few days to switch gears from editing to writing, which makes me glad I'm starting with SP. She makes for a good transition series. I'm all signed up for Camp Nano, and now that I've got about a week or two before I hear back from my first few queries, I have some time to be creative and stop thinking business.

I do want to think about craft for a minute, though. Neil Gaiman made me think about a lot of things I already know how to do and the things I need to work on. But someone also shared an article with the writing group that I found really interesting, and it got me thinking about my One Free Trick.

Basically, this writer says everyone gets one thing by default that they're really good at. The rest we have to learn to do better. I keep trying to figure out what my one thing is. Every time I think I have it narrowed, I trace it back to where I learned to do it, instead. So I've finally come down to, I'm good at putting characters in situations where there's going to evoke some emotional response from the reader.

I like to believe that I have the Plot Machine figured, but there was a long time I was bad at beginnings, middles, and ends. I think I have an instinctual feel for the shape of stories, so story structure comes pretty easily. I'm good at coming up with horrible things to happen to my characters to keep them from their wants and needs. And I've gotten good at subverting reader expectation, once Ted taught me how to do that. Dave taught me to do better dialogue. Dianne has taught me a lot about showing versus telling. Amanda helps me figure out where I've hit the emotional beat I meant to hit and where I missed. Jack gives me weird stuff I wouldn't have thought to include. Rachel gave me the confidence to keep writing what I love and put myself out there.

Yes, I had a few solid tricks when I first started writing, but it's been thanks to all of my friends (and family, too! My brother and sister are my biggest fans!) that have made me a better writer, and kept me writing even when things seemed bleak.

Anyway. I digress. I've just found it interesting to reflect on my process, and my journey as a writer. Especially since I'm trying to hard to take the next big step in that journey.

But for this month, I just need to write. Hopefully I can wrap up this next SP adventure. And then, over the rest of the quarter, finish up writing Chain Letter. And write another short story at some point. Here's hoping my writing quarter is as epic as my editing quarter! Really liking this goal system so far.

Friday, March 1, 2019

March Update: Moving Right Along

I had a productive month.

I have done All The Edits for Druid Wars except for a last copyedit/proofread. I also still need to polish the hell out of the first chapter or three to get it query ready. And I need to tweak my cover letter a little bit. But all of those things shouldn't take very long. I'm updating my agent query list so that by the end of this month, I should be ready to begin the query process. My top agent is still closed, though, so if I need to take some extra time, I can. I'm debating sending it off to one last beta reader even before the proofread to make sure I'm not missing anything. As kind of a final check. Even before I send it to my siblings.

Halfway through this whole process, I realized why it took me a year to dive into this. It's such an intensive process. I have to fully immerse myself in a world. I have to read and reread several times, look at it from every angle, and pick apart each scene and sometimes even sentence. It is hard work to edit a novel. It's even harder work to get a novel ready for querying. It's only the second book I've had to do this to. With MystWatch 2 and 3, I'm not going to do a line edit, a copy edit, and a proofread, as well as a crutch word pass. But those things need to be taken care of before I can send a book to an agent. Or, I suppose, if I were going to self-publish. Which, I've decided not to for the foreseeable future, so that's here nor there.

Anyway. A lot of the reason I dragged my feet on Druid Wars submission was because querying sucks. But it's also because I wasn't ready to breath, eat, and dream Druid Wars.

It's been different, though. With MystWatch, the more I read it, the more I love it. With Druid Wars, the more I read it, the less I love it. Rather than being discouraged by that, I'm actually heartened. Maybe querying won't be so brutal. I can take it less personally this time around. And as I mentioned, if I have to trunk this series, I will have fewer feelings about it.

That being said, I am not as fatigued as I'd expected to be after all that. And I'm not tired of the world. I even made some notes for book two. So I'm in a really good place with all that.

So now, of course, it's time to switch gears, and projects, to focus on finishing up my MystWatch trilogy. Time to edit book three. It took about four weeks over the course of two months to do about the same level of edits on Druid Wars that I want to get done on book three this month. And it's a longer book. So it may be tough to get it ready for beta readers before I hit the end of this quarter. But as long as I'm diligent, it should be close. Camp NaNo is next month, and I only need about 15k words to finish my current SP adventure, so I should have some time to finish it up, if I need.

One more month of editing, then I'll slide into a writing quarter. I'm nervous and excited. I've been thinking about Sally Prescott on and off the last month, so it'll be good to revisit her world soon.

In the meantime, I get to go back and visit all my MystWatch friends. I might even try to write the Shane short, since I did make a goal to write a short story each quarter. Although maybe I should consider writing a Druid Wars short. I decided which two I want to write. I don't necessarily have plots for both, though, so maybe it's better to wait. Also, there's no point in writing in-between-the-books shorts if the first book doesn't get picked up. I may anyway, just as an exercise, but I think my writing energies may be better spent focusing on other things.

At any rate. It's only been two months so far this year, but I'm happy with my pace and progress. Moving right along. Hopefully by the end of this month, MystWatch 3 will be ready for beta readers.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

February Update: Finally Stuff and Things

I realized in my last post, I didn't announce this, but I finally got my rejection from DAW. So, the MystWatch series is officially on hold indefinitely. Maybe one of these days, it'll make its way out into the world. For now, I'm just going to clean up book three for my beta readers and siblings, then I'm done with it.

I'm finally excited about the first Druid Wars book again. It only took a year after getting it back from my beta readers. But. I got the beta reader feedback incorporated. Now I just need to go through and do a line edit, then a copy edit, then probably one last proof, and it will be READY TO QUERY. It's really close, now. I should have it done this quarter, as I had planned.

I haven't done much to MystWatch book three, but I did add to a scene I'd been struggling with, so I can at least say I have touched it this year. I'd like to get Druid Wars off my plate before diving into it. I don't know if it'll take me all February to wrap that up or not. Either way, I plan to spend at least one whole month on it, and probably whatever time I have leftover once Druid Wars is polished.

I even dragged out the literary agent list I compiled last year for it. I've updated it a bit, and even checked on my query letter. All of that is mostly ready to go, so yeah. I'd say I will hit my quarterly goal of having it ready to submit before Camp NaNo hits.

I'm nervous and excited. The querying process was soul-crushing last time around. This is a better, more marketable book, I think. Better written. A hell of a lot shorter. I'm hoping to get at least a few more requests for partials (maybe even fulls!). I'm not 100% convinced it'll be my big break, but I think it has a better chance than Hunter's Blood ever did.

And hey. Worst case? I trunk it and move on. I didn't make the same mistake with Druid Wars as I did with MystWatch. I didn't waste a lot of energy writing a second or third book, so I can let it go more easily. And hey. It took me about two years to get through all the queries I wanted to do with Mystwatch. By that time, I should have a my next book lined up to begin querying, if Druid Wars doesn't make it.

I know my yearly plan is rather aggressive, editing three books and finishing writing at least one. But last year I didn't manage to get these books off my plate, so I have to do it this year. I have these three outstanding books that have been weighing on me for years. Time to wrap them up and see where my next adventure takes me. The Order and Autonomy world? The Dante novels? Fractured Worlds? Hunker City? Something completely new? Only time will tell.

So far, the quarterly goals are working really well for me. Knowing I have three projects to work on over the course of three months is allowing me more flexibility in following my motivation. I never liked how when a month ended, I had to immediately try to switch gears. Knowing I just have these three things I want to get done before April helps me relax, knowing that if I really don't want to work on something, I've got something else I can slide in. So even though my plan is to work on Druid Wars and then MystWatch, I can swap them, if I so choose. I also would really like to write a short story this quarter, so I can sneak that in, as well.

I've got a lot to do over the next two months, and I lost a week to another cold this month. But. I think I'm ready to dive into line edits. I even told my sister that she'd get to read Druid Wars soon. I told her she'd be reading it while I was querying, but maybe I'll hold off and see what she says about it before I do that. Make sure it's really truly reader for readers.

One last item of business I wanted to mention. Neil Gaiman now has a Master Class on the MasterClass website. It's $90 to take it, and I think I'm going to. For twice that, I can have an all-access pass for a year, and take classes from James Patterson, Judy Blume, Margaret Atwood, and Dan Brown. It's an investment in my writing career, and that's pretty inexpensive for writing classes. It will kill my writing budget line for the year, but I never spend all of it, anyway. I think this would be totally worth it. Short of beta reading, it's been a long time since I did much to improve my craft. It might be about time.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Updated January Update: Revisions

That first post of the year is always a lot to process. It makes me feel a little overwhelmed, and I worked myself into something of a standstill, not sure where to start. So, only about a week after my accomplishments and goals post, I'm already coming up with a somewhat new plan for the year.

I mean, not all that new. Revised, a bit. And a bit more organized. Rather than just saying I want to get x, y, z done this year, I've actually sketched out a rough timeline, breaking down the year into quarters. This year, I've decided to set quarterly goals, alternating writing and editing quarters. I don't know why I had this sudden urge to make this distinction, but I've decided that it is important to my process.

So. First quarter is editing. I want to get a solid pass on book three done so that it's ready for beta readers. I also want to do the final push on Druid Wars so that's ready for querying before I start on SP for Camp NaNo in April.

Second quarter is writing. Start with Camp NaNo, then hit Chain Letter Choice hard. I may poke at it a bit during the first quarter editing months if I feel like writing, so I don't necessarily have to write 30k-40k in two months, but if I need to, I can.

Third quarter is a mix of both writing and editing. I'll start with another SP adventure for Camp NaNo in July. Then I'll probably spend a month or two with Love and Demons in Los Angeles. I may take a break to poke at Once We Were Witches when the autumn nostalgia hits, but that feeling is fickle, so I hold no delusions that I'll be able to write that for any solid amount of time. Besides. The Pandemonium series has been pushed back several times now. I need to finally dedicate some time to it, and taking a quarter to focus on editing between writing quarters is probably a good way to recharge my creative batteries.

Because then, fourth quarter is back to writing, with NaNo proper hitting in November. In October, my plan right now is to try to write a third SP adventure. Unless work is going well on Pandemonium, then I might keep working on that. Or, depending on weather and mood, I might write (or write more) on Witches. But then I dive into crazy writing month, and then December is...well, we've seen what December is the past few years. I call it my wrapping up projects month, but let's be real. December is hibernation month.

The other big change is that I've decided--for now, at least--to put off self-publishing MystWatch indefinitely. I got to thinking that it might not be a bad idea to wait until I find agent representation or get in with an editor at a publishing house before I decide what to do with MystWatch. Agents kept telling me book one was too long for a debut author. So, what if another one of my books gets published and does well? Would they reconsider book one then? I decided it might be worth holding off for. That way, too, Rachel has some more time to focus on her own books and business and not have to worry about me bugging her with my self-publishing journey. Quite honestly, as much as I fantasize about covers and royalties, the time doesn't feel quite right. Of course, the longer I wait, the more chance it'll never happen, I realize. It's a risk, but one I'm willing to take right now. I wrote the books. Even if nothing happens with them, I'm happy to have written and edited them. Nobody can ever take that experience away from me.

I'm slowly shaking off my January funk (where I was debating whether I even wanted to be a writer anymore--it's sure been awhile since I had that fight with myself!). These revisions, this more concrete schedule, has helped perk me up a bit. It doesn't seem as overwhelming, looking at it this way. I still haven't started anything, but I'm still not even two weeks into January. It's not a foregone conclusion yet. I just need to get to work. On something. At this point, I'm not picky which project I pick up. But I'm ready to get creative again. Process planning uses the other part of my brain, which I need to exercise now and then, as well, but writing about writing isn't writing.

It's time to get started.

Friday, January 4, 2019

January Update: Accomplishments and Goals

I had a total slacker December, managing only to get my Cafe story written. I did write a narrative for work but didn't end up submitting it. It's been a slow start as far as January, as well. I have my annual New Years cold, so most of my energy has been focused on feeling better and recovering from all the holiday travel.

I'm finally ready to face this year's goals. But first, a recap of my 2018. Here were my goals for 2018, and a note in parenthesis as to whether they were completed or not:

  • Finish writing Scions of Mythos (DONE)
  • Send Druid Wars to beta readers, incorporate feedback, and hopefully start querying (received beta reader feedback, made editing notes, then stalled out)
  • Edit Online Dating for Demons (pushed back to 2019)
  • Write at least four stories for the Confabulator Cafe, and keep it running (DONE)
  • Start a brand new project for Nanowrimo (DONE)
  • Finish the first adventure in season two and start the second adventure for Sally Prescott (DONE)
  • Volunteer at ConQuest (decided just to drink and enjoy the con)
  • Write at least one blog post a month here. (DONE)

I made really good writing progress. Steady progress. In 2018, I:

  • Finally finished writing the third book in the MystWatch series.
  • Beta read two novels for writing group friends.
  • Wrote a short story for the 24-hour short story contest.
  • Wrote a short story for ConQuesT's story-in-a-bag.
  • Wrote four short stories for the Confabulator Cafe.
  • Had a short story published (and was paid for it).
  • Sent queries out to publishers for MystWatch book one.
  • Wrote one (and a half) Sally Prescott adventures. Put together a query for Carina.
  • Poked at Suddenly, Zombies! and Once We Were Witches
  • Brainstormed two new book ideas (one I wrote for NaNo), and a few short story ideas.
  • Finished the line edit on a BCP book.
  • Overall, wrote 196,400 words and spent 161 hours editing.

I learned that I can consistently write 15,000 words a month, at least on average. I had some months where I didn't write much at all but compensated by writing more than that other months. And while I didn't get all of my original goals accomplished, I'm really pleased with what I did get done. Especially winning NaNo. I wasn't sure I'd ever be about to hit 50k in a month again. I also managed to gracefully shift all of the things I didn't accomplish forward on my project timeline. So!

My goals for 2019 are to:

  • Edit MystWatch book three for beta readers, incorporate their feedback, and send to my brother and sister by Christmas.
  • Incorporate beta reader feedback for Druid Wars book one and begin querying.
  • Start edit for Pandemonium book one.
  • Write at least two Sally Prescott adventures.
  • Write for the Confabulator Cafe as needed. No minimum.
  • Participate in NaNoWriMo (for the 15th year, holy cow).
  • Write an average of 10,000 words each month.
  • Write at least one writing blog post a month.

Those are my main goals. I lowered my word count goal since I'll be working on edits for three different books this year rather than writing. That being said, though, I also want to throw in work on some other projects. I may try to work on Once We Were Witches (probably in the fall, since so much of that book is fall nostalgia), and Chain Letter Choice. I can probably finish Chain Letter in about 30-40k words, so it's worth it to at least consider throwing some words at it. And I always poke at Zombies! when nothing else strikes my fancy.

All that might be too ambitious, but right now, I'm following where my motivation leads me. So I want to leave myself open to working on other projects even as I'm wrapping up some projects that have been on my plate for awhile.

No goals as far as self-publishing for now. I may get a quote from an editor, maybe a cover artist, but as much as I'd dreamed of self-publishing MystWatch in 2020, I don't really have the funds for it, so I may have to put it off another year. Besides. I'm still holding out for DAW.

My biggest worry is that my burnout from doing a 50k NaNo will continue through this month. But at the very least, I need to get a beta read back to Amanda. I think, though, that once I dive into MystWatch book three, I'll be into it. I was daydreaming about the world today as I was trying to take a nap. So yeah. It's there, at the edges of my consciousness. I'll go back there soon.