Over the weekend, I finally sat down and read the February issue of bUneke Magazine. I try to read it every month so I know what’s going on (and also to find articles to highlight on the Sustainably North Twitter, @SustaintheNorth). In the February issue, Anna East writes about getting things done. You can find her article here:
Anna East’s article hit me pretty hard because I know I am very, very guilty of not finishing projects I am working on. Take right now: I’m part way through the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way Anthology, I wanted to start another short story about aliens in the wild west, I have three RPGs that I’m building on RPG Maker (Tears of the King, Memories, and Soccrpg). And I have various other short stories I have started and failed to finish for one reason or another.
I think Anna East’s problem is my problem, too: I want my work to be perfect. So when a project is failing to live up to my impossibly high standards, I stop working on it. I also have a million ideas and there’s never enough time to get them all written, so that doesn’t help either.
And I’m busy. I know that this is a problem that everyone has: there just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. But specific to me, I started my other blog, Sustainably North. I started volunteering my time with bUneke Magazine, writing a monthly column. I’m trying to get a bunch of reading done (I did make a goal to read 25 books this year, plus I just really like reading). And then I do a fair amount of writing for my day job too (even more right now because I’m helping out on a few bigger projects that are coming up). All of this has been making me feel fractured and really time-pinched. Plus after a full day at work, I find myself coming home and just not wanting to work on anything else because I’m done for the day – I’ve got nothing left.
And since I have no intention of stopping Sustainably North, volunteering, reading, or working on those projects at my day job, I am going to dial back on projects at home. As much as I would really, really like to work on a story about aliens in the wild west, I honestly do not have the time for it right now (especially since it got stuck in worldbuilding). Plus the plot just isn’t worked out right now anyway, while the story for the Make Your Way anthology is plotted and just needs to be written. So I’m going to stop working on the wild west story, and just focus on getting the Make Your Way story written. And at this point I need to make sure I don’t bog myself down with feeling that it isn’t good enough; this is a first draft right now, so of course it won’t be perfect! It has to be written before I can worry about polishing it.
Happy New Year’s! It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year. Last year, my goals were:
- Read 25 novels. Success! I read over 50 novel-length books this year! I didn’t read many long ones, but that’s okay. Having no pressure to read made it much more enjoyable over 2018.
- Write two polished short stories. Failure. I wrote one, but didn’t finish the second one. 😦
- Finish a bloody RPG! Failure. I didn’t really work on anything at all. 😦
For 2018 I was hoping to work towards freelancing more. Even though I wasn’t really successful with my goals, I think I was somewhat successful thanks to starting my other blog, Sustainably North. Thanks to Sustainably North, I was asked by bUneke Magazine to write a monthly column, which has been a lot of fun and tremendous experience. For my day job I also wrote 9 articles, 7 book reviews, and interviewed 12 authors for TBPL Off the Shelf, so that’s pretty good, too. Oh and I almost forgot that 2018 saw my first published short story, “A Harmony of Soil and Sand,” which was published in Menagerie de Mythique Anthology back in May. So while I didn’t exactly meet all of my goals, I still think 2018 was a pretty good year of writing for me! 🙂
Oh yeah, and I participated in my very first game jam back in January! That was fun, too! 🙂
For 2019 I’d like to do things a little differently, particularly in regards to my writing goals. This year I’d like to set smaller goals every month rather than big overarching goals. My thought is that way I can use the end of the month as a deadline, plus I’ll have more flexibility in case other unexpected projects come my way (like when that big freelance project came my way back in 2017). Plus if something takes longer than planned (like how the story I’m working on for the Make Your Way anthology got bogged down in worldbuilding), I can adjust my scheduled goals accordingly. So here are my goals for 2019 so far:
- Read 25 novel-length books. 25 books worked really well for me last year and I’d like to keep the same goal. Like I said, this took the pressure off of me and made reading more fun. This goal is the only one I’m naming that’s for the whole year.
- Finish the story for the Make Your Way anthology by January 31st. I think that’s a reasonable amount of time to get this story written (and hopefully submitted!)
I’m not going to talk about Sustainably North goals on here right now. At this point I’m kind of just carrying on, trying to get a weekly blog post written plus an article for bUneke Magazine. If that changes, I’ll let you know. 😉
This will be an interesting year – I really hope that setting smaller monthly goals (with deadlines) will work better for me!
So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂
It’s #WriteMonday, it’s the end of the summer, and I thought that now would be a good time to reflect on those goals I set for 2018. To date, the only goal I accomplished from my short list was to read 25 novel-length books. That leaves me with four months left and two goals to go. I think what I’m going to have to do is set a goal for each month (which will also leave me with an extra month either for a goal that needs a bit more time, or to work on something else). For September, I think I’m going to finish the short story I was working on in June. I’d like to get that story out of the way since all it needs now is some edits. Depending on how long that takes, I may also do a bit of work on Memories (which I think is going to be the RPG Maker game I try to finish this year).
So with that in mind, I spend a couple of hours yesterday writing down everything I could think of about an idea I’ve had for a few weeks now. I love this idea and would really like to work on it. But first I need to finish some of my other projects that are on the go before I plot it out (and learn how to write for a whole new medium, which this project will require).
Sasha passed away really early on Monday morning. I was visiting my parents on Sunday and when I went to say goodbye to her that night, I knew it was going to be for the last time. I’d been over a few times that weekend and she very rapidly deteriorated over those few days. It was very very hard to leave her (my mom told me to go home because Merlin needed me, too; my mom stayed with her all night so she didn’t pass away alone). Me, my brother, and his wife all went to my parents’ on Monday afternoon and we buried her in their backyard (she’s a fair distance away from Tink, which I think she will really appreciate – she never liked him in life and I’m sure she wouldn’t want him very close in death either). She will be missed by us all.
*sigh* Every time I think I’m doing a good job keeping up on this blog, something seems to happen and I disappear again.
This time it’s Sasha. She’s not doing very well. She’s been living at my parents’ place for almost seventeen years (she just turned 17 last week! But we got her once she was a few months old so she hasn’t lived there quite that long).
Sasha and Me
Many years ago, my mom and I had a talk about where Sasha would live once I moved out. We agreed that she would stay with them; she was probably around 10 already and had lived her whole life in their house. So when I moved out I was able to adopt Merlin while Sasha stayed in her home.
We’ve long been joking that Sasha will live to be like 30. She loves her people, but hates almost anyone who comes to visit the house (she actually will go to the door when visitors are leaving to make sure they go!) She’s also pretty set in her ways and has no problems letting you know when you’re annoying her. So of course she’d be the perfect candidate to make it to some ridiculous age.
Unfortunately that isn’t looking very likely now. She stopped eating about a week ago. My parents brought her to the vet (which is never a fun experience – apparently when the vet took Sasha into the back room to take some of her blood, you could hear her out front!) We know that something is wrong with her liver but we’re not sure what; because of her age, everyone agreed not to put her through any invasive tests. So now my parents have been doing their best to feed her and keep her comfortable. Realistically though, it doesn’t look like she has long left.
So of course a lot of things are kind of on hold. I’ve been going to their place as often as I can to visit with Sasha (while being sure not to neglect Merlin).
In terms of writing, I haven’t been doing a whole lot lately. Unrelated to Sasha, I decided not to submit that story I was working on back in June; I’d asked over Facebook whether or not they would accept a shorter submissions. I was willing to try making my story a bit longer, but they never replied to me, so I felt it wasn’t worth submitting to them. I’ve got another market in mind to try submitting the story to though, so I will continue to work on it. And thankfully the submission date is several months away so I’ve got some time in light of what’s happening.
On a positive note, I have been keeping up with Sustainably North. My plan for the month completely fell apart because I’ve been reading a bunch of nonfiction books that I really wanted to talk about on there. I considered starting to post twice a week, but right now I’m still just doing one. Earlier in the month I was a bit ahead and felt like I had a lot I wanted to talk about, so two posts would be possible. But I’m back to being just a week ahead right now (I just wrote the post for next week this afternoon); I’m going to keep it at one post a week for at least another month and then decide from there.
So earlier in the week, I got sick. It sucked, because while I was feeling completely like crap, I didn’t feel like working on that short story I’ve got on the go (even though I had just a few paragraphs left to go on that editing pass!)
But what I did end up doing was reading. Quite a bit, actually. As of today, I finished one book and read two more, including Steve Brusatte’s The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs, which I read in about 24 hours (thanks in large part to starting it while waiting to see a doctor yesterday). The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs actually ended up being book 25 in my reading challenge! So yes, as of earlier today, I accomplished one of my goals for the year – I read 25 books! At least some good came of being sick. 🙂
In all seriousness though, I am feeling a bit better today. I’m now on antibiotics, which I think is the main reason for that. I’ve eaten a bit more today without feeling super nauseous (thanks to being nauseous, I barely ate anything over the last two days). I’ve spent the evening making soup (it seriously has ended up an entire evening affair – I started at about 6pm, and it finally finished at almost midnight! Oh well, at least I now have soup). And over the last few hours of soup making, I sat down to finish this editing pass on my short story. 🙂
So with my story shaping up, I went to go and check the Duotrope listing I’m planning on submitting it to. The listing closes in about a week and a half, so I’ve still got plenty of time to work on it. Unfortunately, I just realized the listing wants short stories of 3500- 5000 words in length. And their website says they are looking for horror (the Duotrope listing says horror, sci fi, and fantasy). This story is currently quite a bit shorter than 3500 words (it’s now 2440, which is over 1000 words longer than the first draft, so it’s moving in the right direction), and is not at all a horror. I just sent them a message over Facebook asking about the genre and whether they are open to accepting shorter submissions (someone else asked about the shorter submissions on their website, but they didn’t answer). And of course after I asked my questions I found that they say they are open to all forms of speculative fiction. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get this story to 3500 words or not. But that’s a problem for another day. For tonight I’m just happy to be done this editing pass! And whether it gets submitted anywhere or not, at the very least it will hopefully be one of the two polished short stories I wanted to write this year. 🙂
Over the last week, I unfortunately haven’t done a lot of writing. Well, that’s not exactly true – I did get an article written for work, which *should* be in the paper next weekend (depending on whether or not the paper actually publishes it). But I didn’t get a lot of personal writing done.
What I did do though was a bunch of planning for Sustainably North. I decided I’m going to try treating that blog like a magazine. By “magazine,” I mean that I came up with some monthly themes; my hope is to write an intro blog post for each theme at the beginning of the month, then two regular posts and one book review. During months with five weeks, I’m not quite sure what I’ll do for that last post. I’m currently thinking I’ll do another Article Roundup, but I’ll have to see once that happens. Nearer the end of the year, I’ll assess whether or not this strategy is working.
So for June, I’m going to continue writing about gardening stuff. I’m already doing that a bit, so I thought it would be an easy topic to continue in order to transition to “magazine” in July. Ideally I’d like to have my posts all written ahead of time (so far I’ve been writing Sustainably North posts pretty last minute), so I’m going to hopefully use June to help me get that set up. I also have a book picked out for a June review, so I need to get that read, too!
Other than working on Sustainably North stuff, I also did finally type up the handwritten first draft of that short story I wrote over the long weekend. I’m really glad I did it too – the notebook I’d written it in was sitting out on my table for like a week! Feeling fed up with it sitting out was what finally got me to stop procrastinating and get it typed up. I’m hoping that over the next week or two, I’ll have a chance to start revising it. 🙂