Wednesday, January 29, 2020

January Update: I'm Still Here

Hey look! I'm actually updating my writing blog! How exciting is that? I wasn't sure I'd have anything to say after last year.

But I do.

I am still a writer.

That's mostly what I wanted to say.

This month, I've actually done some writing. About 5,700 words. Writing that I was excited about, that wasn't a chore! I even met with the girls on a Saturday like old times and Dianne and I talked for hours, building a world and developing a general plot. It was so, so awesome. That's one of the things I've missed the most. Hanging out with the girls, talking craft, working on brainstorming together, looking up after some quiet writing and sharing when you've come up with something clever. It's the part of NaNo I missed out on. And that is probably a lot because I didn't go to any write-ins. But also because, at official write-ins, I never felt like I could just hog an entire afternoon to talk about my ideas.

I was having these wild, steampunk, sci-fi dreams for about a week early this month. Then, we had a couple of really foggy mornings. And an idea was born. After much daydreaming and freewriting, and even making a kindergarten-level model, the world is precariously built, and I have the beginning of a story. Most of the words for the month were brainstorming, but over 500 words were on the actual novel. I've even got a Pinterest board. I am excited about this idea.

Of course, that means I haven't written on it much at all since mid-month. It's not that I'm scared or anything, but I'm being cautious. I don't want to force things. Writing was harder than I wanted it to be, when I finally did it. I know it'll come back, but it's a lot of work right now. And I've also been sick, which takes away some of the writing energy.

But, not only do I have this cool idea I'm having to build a whole world for, complete with climate and politics and fashion (because Dianne), but I also came up with a steampunk romance story I'm excited to tell, as well. I haven't done any world building for that one, beyond trying to describe what was in my dream. It could very well be in the same world as my NaNo novel was, but it could also be its own. I haven't decided yet. I really just want to tell the story, then I'll figure out details. Which, of course, is what got me into trouble with Dream Machine back in November. But even with all the world building I've done for the other new idea, I haven't done much actual storytelling yet. So there's a balance to strike in there somewhere between prep and actual writing.

My brother and sister also finally got to read Druid Wars. They both liked it (Aron loved it, and Emily liked it but had some feedback for me, in general saying she didn't love it as much as MystWatch). So I have some excitement for that world again, as well. It will probably be a long time before I go back and make the changes Em suggested for book one, but I found the opening I wrote for book two, and I am kinda toying with the idea of revisiting that this year.

And, as always, I'm always drawn to MystWatch. Just walking around Lawrence, I feel the pull of that world, the stories I've told and still want to tell, there. I still haven't gotten feedback from anyone else but Amanda on book three, but I'm about to go through without and fix things, then send it to Em and Aron anyway, make them be my beta readers. I asked Em if she'd be willing to give me feedback on stuff going forward, and she seemed excited about it, so that makes me happy. The next book I finish is going to her first.

Although to be honest, I do not know what book that will be right now. In my last blog post, I talked about how this year was going to be the year I was going to wrap things up, since this blog is on it's "last year," but I think what I've realized is that, despite needing a break at times (sometimes a longer break, sometimes shorter), I will always be a writer. Noting my progress and accomplishments here helps remind me of that. It helps me get excited when I get things done and helps me remember when I'm in a slump that those moments will pass.

The biggest thing right now is that I'm making a conscious effort to divide writing from publishing. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do as far as publishing. Despite swearing that I'm not making any plans anytime soon, I often think about self-publishing, or what I might submit next. I'm just not making any decisions right now. I'm going to see what ends up happening this year as far as writing. Focus on product, then maybe next year figure out what I want to do with that product, if anything.

So for this year, I've set a goal to write 5k words a month each month. That's it. That's my only goal. No finish this or start this or submit this. Just, write what I feel like writing when I feel like writing. I've spent several years with such a structured writing schedule that it might be nice to just relax and go where the wind takes me. But, setting a goal to write 5k words a month (and keep up with this blog), will keep me in touch with writing, so I don't end up adrift with no creative output for months. I can write 5k in a couple of days. Even if I don't have a creative inspiration at some point during a month, I can fake at least a few thousand words, or make up those words on another month.

So yeah. First check-in post of the year, and of the decade! I'll probably shift to posting at the ends of months this year rather than beginnings, unless I have big updates. So for now, until the end of next month. Leap-year February!